Wanted, Chosen, Loved, & Adopted.

Several months ago I sat down and wrote this unsure if I wanted to share it, Today, exactly 3 months since I wrote it, even though my mind is exploding with topics and ideas for my blog I felt a urge to share this. So currently as I am in Duncan,BC Canada I share a piece of my heart with you.

I was reading Come Thirsty by Max Lucado, while sitting at Starbucks enjoying the hustle and bustle of NY that I know I will miss. I hadn’t made it to church and wanted to have a time to spend with Him, I had planned to listen to a podcast, but the internet was slow, so I picked up the book and read a chapter that made my heart skip a beat. If you ask me what the first 4 chapters of the book are about, I could not tell you, but chapter 5, that’s a whole other story. It resonated deep within my soul.

For the past several months God has been showing me new and exciting truths that I never had really cared about. One of these is about being, wanted, chosen, loved and adopted.

Let me get deep and honest with you for a moment, 14 years ago my beautiful mother died due to cancer that plagued her body for 6 years. In the Canadian’s government eyes, I was deemed an orphan, giving me benefits, even though my father was alive and in my life. Even though I had a father, who loved me and tried to care for me, alcohol has imprisoned him for many years of his life. I was surrounded by a community that cared for and noticed that things at home had turned for the worse. I have no regrets of my childhood even though some may say I was robbed at times, God provided in ways I never truly understood. As I look back, I can notice all the things were not okay at home, I could list all the things I saw, all the things that children should never be exposed, but that is irrelevant. However, looking back, I can say I truly was an orphan and the people that cared and loved me realized this too.

One summer, my aunt and uncle applied for custody of me, they wanted me, to protect me, to keep me safe, to provide for me. Note the words I used, wanted, protect, provide, they will be repeated later. The summer ended with me returning with my father and things were different,the drinking did not stop, but things changed as my father was scared to lose me. Now please understand that my father never didn’t want me, he was sick before I was born, and chose alcohol to deal with life. I love my father, the memories I cling to are ones of fishing trips, eating pizza, flying kites and building a playhouse, not ones of neglect. I know he wanted me, but looking back, I know that I was never a child after my mother passed away, I became the adult to care for him. There was a point where my father had upset me, things happened that, once again shouldn’t have and I was at the age where I had had enough. I broke down at my best friend’s house before school, told them what had happened and never really went home after that. The thought of another custody hearing scared me, but they were moving, I knew this family well, I had been apart of their lives for several years, they lived next door from my dad and had been there through everything. Deep down I knew they wanted me, that they loved me, that they were my family. Conversations led to another custody case and before I knew it, I had moved in with a new family,to a new towns and a new school. I had been adopted. I had a home. I had a family that wanted me, that chose to go to court, to add another child into the mix, I had love in ways only they could love me.

Many years have passed and I finally realize how much they had loved me to adopt me, adoption or in my case fighting for custody was not an easy thing. Raising another child as well as their 4 others was not easy, learning how I deal, how I respond and who I am was not easy as I was so different; yet, they chose to, they wanted too. I am no longer an orphan, I have brothers and sisters, a mother and father, I no longer worry whether my father is sober when I wake up or not, instead when I go home I get to be with my amazingly chaotic family. Sometimes my mom calls me her orphan, I am but the best part of that statement is that I am hers. I belong, I am wanted, I was chosen, loved and adopted. No longer and orphan.

I have always had a special place for orphans and truly wonder where I would be without my adoptive family. The chapter in Max Lucado’s book started by talking about an orphan that was in the process of being adopted, her adoptive parents had visited her, leaving her with photos, gifts and a promise to return when the paperwork had been finalized. This child cherished the photos of her soon to be family. Reading this I instantly thought of two of my dear friends that are currently waiting for their children through adoption. They are waiting for children they have never met and yet they are filled with joy knowing one day soon their children will be home with them. As the chapter continued it talked about how the orphan had a ‘heart headed home’, she was excited for the day the doors would open and her father would take her home.

Are our hearts headed home? I don’t mean our earthly home, I mean the one that belongs to our heavenly Father. Or have we become content with this orphanage we call the world? Are we comfortable with our bed bug infested, poking out spring, bunk beds, our tin plates, our cold showers, our lonely orphan lives? Have we forgotten that the papers have been filed, the fees have been paid and that we are adopted? Do we get excited thinking about our new family? Honestly, I know that there are times that I forget, I get caught up in being an orphan, on being a victim and throw myself a pity party because I can list things that sucked in my life, I forget that I was chosen, that I was wanted, that I am loved. If I forget this truth of my physical family, so clearly I forget this of my Father in Heaven. Yes, in those moments of me feeling sorry for myself, I forget the love of my family, I forget that I am wanted, I forget because I selfishly want to feel sorry for myself, to make me feel better about myself. I lose hope that this real, feeling like I don’t deserve this, that I don’t deserve a family, that if I crawl up on the bed bug infested bunk I’ll find comfort. There is no comfort there. In fact, there is no comfort in this world, only lies that ease the pain. In 1 Peter 2:11 it says that this world is not our home and that we should not get comfortable. How different would we respond if we lived this out daily.

Since I forget, I’m sure you do too from time to time, that God wants us, He chose us and that He adopted us. In Romans 8:15 & 29 we see that God wants to adopt us as His own. He has searched us out, He knew what we needed before adopting us, He filled out the paperwork and picked out the wallpaper for our room. He covered our adoption fees, which were more than we ever could pay, through the sacrifice of His Son. However, we have to accept our adoption, we either can tell Him to get lost or accept. In the lonely shoes of an orphan accepting adoption is simple, we go for it, trading being an orphan for being an heir. And with God that means an heir with Christ. I am so grateful that God does not have step children, rather sons and daughters whom he loves, wants and adopts.

When we are adopted by God, we are not transported to heaven, we have a new family, but our heavenly home is not yet complete. We know our Father’s name but have yet to see His face. We are caught between what is and what will be, no longer orphans but also not home. We know we are adopted and await His arrival, excitedly waiting to leave this orphanage and be with Him.

In the meantime, time made mean with incurable diseases, injustices ruining lives of millions, preventable deaths and backstabbers making life on earth feel like a timeshare in Afghanistan. But in Romans 8:23-25, Paul talks about finding joy here and foretaste what is to come. We groan, just as an orphan sees a child with a family groans in longing for a family of her own. We groan because we long for that time when we are with our Father, but it is coming.

I want to end with a quote from the chapter, it is the last sentence and it is full of truth, groaning, and hope.

“Every homeless day carries us closer to the day our Father will come for us.” – Come Thirsty, Max Lucado

Words From A Roommate.

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Thia blog post is being written by one of my roommates: Alex Douma

I met Sara when I first came to New York. She was staff when I was doing my DTS. When I met her, I didn’t have a clue of how big of an impact she would have on my life. As my DTS went on, we grew closer and closer. I was able to come to her with anything, spiritual or otherwise, and I could always count on her to watch an episode of Gilmore Girls when I was bored. Our friendship grew more and more and it was something special. But then I had to leave. I went back to Michigan, not knowing when or if I was going to go back to New York and see the amazing friends I had met, including Sara. We would skype, snapchat, and text trying to keep up with each other’s life. But our friendship survived the distance and eventually I moved back to New York. She became my roommate and the adventures never stopped. Late night snack runs, weekend movie marathons, Starbucks trips, the list goes on and on. We grew closer and closer and got into more and more crazy situations. 

One day I walked into our room to see her sitting on the couch. She told me the news: she was leaving. My heart sank, but I immediately felt a strange, overwhelming peace. It was going to be okay. This amazing, wise, crazy girl that I had become my sister was leaving me. There wasn’t really a way to avoid it. So I stayed strong, telling her everything was going to be okay. God has a plan for her, and I’m so excited to see it unfold.

So now, I’m the one sitting on the couch, watching her pack and sort the last 4 years of her life, and I am so excited for her! Yes, it’s awful that she has to leave me. Yes, I’m going to miss her. But the excitement I have to see what God is going to do is so much bigger than the sadness and sorrow that I’m feeling. We’ve already survived one long distance period, so I have no doubt that we can get through this one. But even if she doesn’t end up coming back, I know that she will be so in God’s will, right where she should be. 

The next week will be filled with “last” mani-pedis, city trips, Starbucks walks, shopping trips, and everything else. They aren’t really lasts, they are lasts for now. Until she comes back, to stay or to visit. But we will be making the most of every moment. Life is short and plans don’t always work out the way we want, but Carpe Diem. 

Dear 7-Year-Old-Self.

This post is different, it is a memory, a letter full of thoughts that I wish I would have known when I was younger. A letter, if possible would go back in time, addressed to myself at the age of 7, to be received on May 7th, 1999 as a plea of preparation, words of wisdom and thing that perhaps would change my reactions to life. Sharing insight on things that shatter my life, sharing encouragement, hope and understanding.

 

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Dear Princess Sara at the age of 7, (Soon you will outgrow that title, but it will still always make you smile.)

I know that you are busy being a damsel in distress, playing in your playhouse and longing for the day your prince will come, but I want to interrupt that fairy tale moment, I want you to read the words I write, to remember them in times to come, in hopes that they will bring ease and comfort, wonder and excitement and that you will always remember the important things. Sara, I know you think you have it all, a perfect family, many exciting adventures, a great school complete with friends and the world wrapped around your perfect little finger, but your bubbles will burst in time, people will let you down, things will fall apart and it will get harder, but I will let you in on a secret: you will get through it, you will grow, you will become stronger and you will be ruined for the ordinary, but it will all worth it, I promise.

Sara, there is going to be a life shaking event in your life, it will hit you  hard and hurt a lot, leaving you with holes and pains that are unimaginable, but do not be afraid. Everything you think is perfect will come crashing down, you won’t understand why for several years, and you will live feeling sorry for yourself, but you will, in time see it piece back together, you will understand and you will grow up. Your idea of a perfect life, with your perfect famous parents, your spoiled life and your world so perfectly held in your hands will be ruined, but replaced with the opportunity to make differences. You will shed many tears, you will even yell at Daddy and see that brave man cry, and you will be upset, all of that is okay, remember that you don’t have to have it all together, you’re 7, a child and what will happen will be painful. This life shattering event changed me, grew me and I came out stronger because of it, you will to as well, for  I am merely you.

I want you to understand how important memories are, cherish the time you have with the people that both you and I hold so dear, Mommy and Daddy love you more than you have ever understood. Mommy’s love for you, for us has been selfless, pure and unconditional. Yes, I know your upset from the time she put you in the corner for touching Daddy’s bass after she clearly told you to not, but you will move past that. Besides they rarely ever punish you, standing in the corner for 5 minutes will not hurt you. Mommy would give you the world if she could, she has done things to protect you and  to show you love. I know it will take you many years to realize how selfless she is. Sara, you need to hold your memories close, for both of us, we need them to get through. Remember the things like singing on stage with Mommy, or going camping at Fish Lake, most of all don’t forget the important things, the things they taught you, the values they shared, never giving up, what respect and love is and how they go hand in hand. 

One day soon when your world crashes down on you and your life spirals out of control, causing chaos in your perfect life,  leaving wounds deeper than a band-aid can heal and holes in your innocent heart, I want you to remember that it is only part of the journey. Just as Alice fell through the rabbit hole, you too will fall for what feels forever and hit the ground in a place unknown, a place un-perfect, landing in your own Wonderland, with the pieces of your life falling around you at your feet. You are not alone, trust me, you never are, even when it feels like no one knows what you’re going through, they do,  they care and they want to help. Besides God is there waiting for you to reach out to Him. It will be Him that gets you through so you might as well accept His help and spare yourself the depression and anger.

After that perfect world of yours shatters, the gifts, the prayers and the kind words spoken by so many will give you comfort, but true comfort will only come from God. I know you will think you can do it on your own, that you can be the adult, that you can take care of things, but you’re a child, you’re hurting and you’re a fantastic actress, remember to let people in, to see you vulnerable. Never forget your perfect world that you once had, and as I said remember Mom, this will be your strength when you want to give up.

Chaos will strike, dreams and wishes will fall to the ground and your perfect life will change forever. You know she is sick, you know that she has the scary word, cancer, that she is fighting. She will fight, but only for so long, Mom will go, she will be gone and  living with Jesus, there will be no more pain, no more chemo and radiation wreaking havoc on her fragile body, she will be cancer free and singing to her Savior, her life will be  perfect. She will be gone, you will scream many nights after at Dad, saying you want her to tuck you in and not him, you will watch him fall to the ground in tears night after night and cry, broken-hearted for his wife. As you wait to for your ride before school you will stare at the window where she stand, hoping she will appear, but Sara she never will. You will compare every woman Dad brings home to her, building up resentment and bitterness in your heart. Sara, understand that her leaving, is the journey. Cherish the moments and memories be for its too late. One day you will return from school and see Dad, home from the hospital and he will pull you onto his lap and say those words you have been dreading, “Sara, Mom’s gone.” You will choose to not understand, but you won’t be able to hide forever.

I know that you will feel that you have it under control, that you can be the adult and make everything go smoothly, and you do try to, but you are a child. Sara, realize there is nothing you  can or could do to save her, to stop the cancer, there is nothing you could do to fix Dad’s drinking. I know you will place a high bar to live up to in your life, to be like her and to put every piece of your broken perfect life back together, but it will never work. Things change and they will continue to and that is the next step of the journey. 

To get through, remember the good things, the memories and her love. You will get through, I promise. Be strong and have courage, you will not be alone, God will be with you every step of the way, even when you try to do it on your own. He will answer your prayers in ways you never understood. Things will get worse before they get better. Sara,  Daddy is our father,  he loves us, but he will become more and more sick, I know you will want to protect him, defend him and keep him safe, but there will come a time when you no longer can do that, and that is okay. Mom never wanted that to be your job, she wanted you to be a child, so slow down, enjoy your child and remember you will survive. God will give you a slightly chaotic, and imperfectly perfect new family complete will all the brothers and sisters you have been praying for. He has already set this plan into motion.

Another important thing to know is that there will be a time when all you do is feel sorry for yourself, living in denial and as a victim and orphan. It will take you a while to realize, but you will have  a new family, full of people who love you, care for you and that will champion you on. You will be in a new town, a new school with new friends, but you will still be you. You will make stupid choices and look for love and acceptance where there is none, making friends with people who only hurt you and you will act like a completely different person by pushing everyone out and hating God. Yes, you will be hurting, there will be holes and pains that won’t heal for years and you will hide under your fake smiles and lies. You will lie to people you love and hurt those that care about you. Your new family, the Beaumont’s, yes the ones that you adore, they become your family, they love you, they will see you hurting and you just need to let them in.

Sara, I know right now with Mommy, you go to church and you love Jesus but you will need Him in the years to come, He will be there for you and He will love you and want to heal you, but you will run away until a moment when everything crashes down and you fall to pieces in your bathroom when you let Him in. There will be years where you will be depressed, angry and bitter, not wanting to life and blaming God for every terrible thing in your life. Yes, I know you can’t imagine that right now in your perfect world, but you will blame God for Mommy not being healed, for Daddy’s drinking and you will hate Him because admitting the truth means it reality. You will also blame yourself for her death, that Daddy drinks because of you and that you are worthless, but that is so far from the truth. God will be the only thing that will get you through life. Trust me, I know. If I told you where you will go in life, you would laugh with disbelief.

With everything you will go through, I want to let you know we come out on the other side, we will have grown, we will have learned, and we will have survived. I know your 7-year-old-self will never truly understand this letter, but the 21-year-old me, wishes I had read this, I would have known not to be afraid of reality, that the pieces of life would eventually fall back into place, even if they were slightly different. I would have understood, or at least tried to that it is not my job to have everything perfect. I would have known it would all be okay, even if at the moment all my dreams and shooting star wishes could never come true. I would have known that with pain and hurt comes healing and change, leaving scars of beauty and growth. I would have known that memories were more precious than gold and that Mommy’s love would be my strength and the only thing I could cling to. I would have known to remember her, her beauty, her voice, her laughter and her grace. I would have known that this hard piece of the journey, would be hard but I am not alone. I would have known God was waiting for me, to be there for me, to save me. I would have known when  thing got  chaotic thing that it was okay to let people in and be real and vulnerable. I would have known that Mom’s death would shake my world, but that God would catch the pieces. You will be strong, like Mulan, brave like Wendy Darling in Peter Pan, you will survive like Alice and I promise even when things feel completely hopeless you will truly be a princess from the inside out.

Sara, today is Mommy’s last birthday here on earth with you. Make it special, tell her you love you, share moments with her and let her know that we will be okay. Create memories and give her a perfect day, because being here 14-years later all I want is to tell her I love her, celebrate her birthday and create memories. You have time before she leaves us, enjoy it, live in it and love every moment of it.

Wish her a Happy 56th Birthday for me, yes I know with you it is only 42 but here its 56. She still will be our inspiration, her legacy will live on through us and we will make her proud. Her love will be an encouragement to us and the more we continue to learn about her in years after will inspire us to be like her.Let her know that you grow up to be a young woman who clings to God, dreams big and longs to change the world. I am sitting here on the adventures of a lifetime, celebrating her 56th birthday, missing her soothing voice, her hands wiping away tears and fixing the hurt, missing her. She changed our lives in ways she never even knows and I know that you will get through the next 14 years amazed that you did it, but we did it because we are silent fighter, we are survivors, we did it because we are her daughter.

So if she sees this letter, which knowing my 7-year-old-self who struggles to read, I know you have given it to her to read to you, so I know  she will know that I still love her, that not a day goes by without her in my thoughts and that I am proud of her. Tell her I am so thankful for teaching me and showing me what unconditional, selfless love is, for teaching me the importance or trust and how to hold myself up when all I want to do is fall, and for the importance of God she placed in my life. Tell her I say “Happy Birthday” and let her know I will take care of her little girl, I will make her proud and I will be okay.

Love always,

Your-21-Year-Old-Self

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changing, Growing and Living.

Sitting at church, listening to the Pastor, ears burning and heart breaking as he talks about being living sacrifices from Romans 12:1-2. A passage read numerous times and never really hit home, until yesterday. Maybe it is because I understand what a living sacrifice is better, or perhaps I am walking though a situation where sacrifices are made, either way, the message was amazing. But the piece that struck me hard was a surrendered life was a life of transformation, a life of change and growth. Change and growth go together you cant have one without the other.

 

After church I went to St. Arbucks  (Starbucks) to journal and just have some time to process my life. Lately my journal has been about the thoughts, stresses and fears of this new season, but yesterday it went like this:

 

“Today in church, Pastor Scott talked about how change and growth go hand in hand. What amazing truth. We go through changes and we grow. It was exactly what I need to hear. I cant grow without change and I want to grow. I’ve been scared of change for so long, scared of  what happens in changes, scared of being uncomfortable, scared of letting go and not knowing what will happen, scared of having to make new friends, scared of people moving on and I being forgotten, and scared of everything in between. I cringe at the changes coming up. But as I listened in the services and thought about Romans 12, I realize that I have to let go, it is a time of growth and that God is going to rebuild my life. It is in his hands, not mine. Just as ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen says; ‘Let it go, Let it go, can’t hold it back anymore, Let it go, Let it go, turn away and slam the door.’ I have to let go of the lies, fears, worries and everything I let hold me back. I need to let the doors close to the lies I’ve believed, the fears I have let control my life, and the worries that plague me. They hold me back from change, from growth. He is in control, He is love, He is faithful and He is the change and growth I need to embrace.

 

Being a missionary is the most exhilarating thing ever, I still am in awe of the journey God has taken me on. I still will be a missionary, in fact I will be returning to Canada for several months to work on fundraising, seeking a long term visa and being with family and friends. I need to work on creating a support network and also will spend time with my new niece, Millie. It is a change I have been dreading, but the growth that will come out of this is exciting! I will never be the same person I am today if I change, if I grow, I will be different. That is both scary and exciting to think about.

 

“I think that the best kind of change, is the change that comes from the inside and begins it’s way out until it emerges on the outside; a change that is born underneath then continues and spreads until it has reached the surface. That’s a true change. A powerful change. And I have found that while we are emerging, changing into something glorious; it is actually us becoming who we really are. A water lily is born underneath the water, inside the soil at the bottom of the river or lake. And the water lily has always been a water lily for that whole time that it was sprouting out of the wet soil, reaching up through the dark water towards the sunlight, stretching and grasping for the surface; where it then buds and blooms on the outside in the sunshine. It doesn’t bud and bloom on the surface and then try to reach down below into the soil.” 
― C. JoyBell C.

 

This quote excites me for the changes, for the growth, for the living that starts when we surrender, when we sacrifice and when we choose to live the way Christ asks us too.

A World With No More Victims.

The bell rings and the doors open, dark figures file into the massive theater and the chatter of the high school fill every corner of the room. I look at my list, check my headset and walk across the stage to select a few forgotten props and share an announcements to the cast and crew on stage right. I take a deep breath, as I cross back to where I belong, I steal a glance of the audience, the theater is filled and so alive. I rush behind the curtains and prep the actors, I hear someone talking in my headset telling me it’s almost time. The principle’s voice floods the room as he makes every student turn off their phones and talks about the importance of listening. He exits the stage and the lights dim, voices in my headset tell me it’s show time. I say a silent prayer, a prayer that this show resonates with those that need to hear it the most, that lives would be saved, life would be spoken, and hope would be shared. I pray for a world with No More Victims.

For the past several months I have been volunteering with another non-profit called All Access Production. They are a production company that is united by its mission to lend a voice to those that suffer in silence. They use the stage as their platform and tell the stories of those who are and have been bullied. They choose to speak truth in a world that tend to look away. I have been making appearances both on and off stage by serving as a stage manager, playing minor roles and helping with a few hairstyles. If you know me, you know I thrive on stage and I love everything about it. I thought about auditioning for a role, but with my work, it was hard to try and fit it in, so as they started I offered to help and was asked to stage manage. This was something I had not had a lot of experience with but I instantly fell in love with the cast, crew and the organization.

All Access was founded several years ago and started touring the East Coast schools and making a change in the lives of so many, but after some serious health issue, it was put on the shelf until this year when God opened doors again. The cast of the Spring 2014 All Access Tour is made up of a local Long Islanders, raging in ages from 14 to 40. The production is a 40 minute eye opening, life changing, drama complete with music, dancing and a carefully thought out script. It follows the journey of the Prom Queen, the All-Star, the New Girl and the Victim, showing that our choices can truly change a life. It ends with a brief message from one of the founders on the importance of speaking life and how we hold the key to either damaging or saving a life, they offer a short Q & A time for the students and as people file out of the theaters several usually remain and talk to the cast about various things, from costuming, to auditioning, to bullying around them and even their own personal stories. We also try to spend lunch with the students and talk to them and get to know them.

I sat with a girl at lunch last week who told me she didn’t think bullying happened in her school, that no one was beat up, no one was called names and that it just didn’t happen. As the bell rang and she walked away, I thought about it, I had seen it happen in the lunch room around me, heard conversations as students passed by and watched aggressive situation take place minuets after the production. Sadly enough to many of us turn our eyes, avoid it and believe the various lies that entangle our  lives in order to get by and survive. But this epidemic of bullying has grown , kids are being attacked, made fun of and hurt because of what they believe, because they are different, because someone else decided that they could push them down in order to feel better about themselves. It has gotten out of hand, a few days ago someone told me bullying isn’t a big deal and that kids will be kids, I silently shook my head and my heart ached for those who are afraid to go to school, those who are attacked with harsh words and quick judgments.

Several weeks ago  our cast took sometime to sit together and talked about bullying and shared our stories with each other. I feared the moment the circle of stories would reach me, I thought about what I wanted to share when asked; if I was the bully, the victim or the bystander. I thought about my school experience, I was bullied in elementary school, there was a group of boys that always found a way to bug me and hurt me, to this day I still can remember the day, one of them said, “Your mom died, get over it, Cry Baby”, I can remember everything about it, where I was standing, who was there, what I was wearing. I remember all the harsh and mean words, people spoke over me. The saying my mother taught me as a child was, ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”, has been proved wrong for me and every other person who has been bullied. As I waited, I could hear the voices of my past, those hurtful words haunting me, I could see their faces as if I were reliving every harsh word and remembering the painful situations and rumors that tore me apart, broke me and stole a piece of my will to live. I lived as a victim, not because everyone in my life bullied me and was mean, but because those words, those names, the lies people spoke over me stuck.I started to be my worst bully, I felt I could never do anything right, that I could do nothing good enough and that if I were smarter, prettier, or skinnier things would be better.

As it was my turn to share I realized I didn’t want anyone else to go through what I did, that the heart wrenching stories that my cast members shared, made my heart break, that there are kids that dread school and life because someone else has been abusing them with words that they will remember for the rest of their lives.  I spoke quickly and shared briefly as I hate having attention on me in that vulnerable state. I have been the bully, the victim, the bystander and the hero. I joined into crowds that chose to use words as weapons to tear people down, even though it was short lived I was that person, I was a victim, a victim of others and myself, I was a bystander who was insecure and turned  my eyes and ears in hopes not to be noticed. But I was also a hero, I remember being in high school and my class was working on a project where we shared with different classes about bullying through different ways. I had a few of the younger students come up to me and told me that they had been bullied and we were able to get them help. I went to a small school and I saw people cut others down with their words, spread rumors, and hurts others, in hopes to make themselves feel better. As I finished sharing I knew I wanted to be a voice and take a stand against this injustice that is ruining so many lives.

This morning I woke up to my CNN App going off, telling me that 20 high school students had been stabbed in Pennsylvania. My heart broke, school shootings have risen significantly in the past few years, I realize living in America I am more aware of what is happening. Even in the school district where I live, one of the high schools was recently put on lock down for a serious threat from a student. Last year kids I knew were scared to go to school as there had been threats from students, the next week security was tighter than ever and they functioned in lock down mode. I sit here and wonder what has happened to our world, when kids in America are scared to go to school because someone has threatened to show up with a gun and shoot them? I don’t know about you, but this is not okay. It is also not okay for kids to be scared to go to school in fear of being bullied, attacked and hurt.

The definition of ‘bully’ according to the Webster Dictionary is, ‘to inflict physical or emotional harm upon another, or to make someone timid or fearful of threats.’ This is an epidemic that plagues our schools. It happens, there is so much more I want to say, but I feel that this post needs to come to a close as it is already a jumble of mixed paragraphs and confusing sentences with absolutely no poetic flow, but before I do I want to ask you two things. One, were or are you the bully, victim or bystander and what are you going to do about it? And two, think about the words that left scars, tell me that those don’t hurt, that it is just kids being kids. It is an epidemic that is taken so many innocent lives as victims. So my challenge, speak life, it won’t cost you a much, just a moment, just a kind word, but it might just save a life.

 

12 Years Of Reminiscing

 As I age, I have started to forget the simple and small things of life, but today is a day to remember. I had no idea anything was wrong. How could I? A child of such a young and innocent age. I remember being with some of the extended family on vacation. We were heading back to my home town and we pulled into the hospital parking lot. I jumped out and assumed that Mom was there for another round of Chemo. When my Dad walked out towards me, I was confused as I had never remembered him being there when Mommy got the shots. But he hugged me and told my Mommy was sick. I remember the thoughts going through my head. Of course she was sick, she had been fighting cancer for as long as I could remember. We often went to doctors and appointments, we walked in and passed by the Chemo ward to a room. The smell of hospitals had always turned me on edge but this day was a little stronger. I happened to be wearing a pink shirt with a T-rex and Big dragon fly. I walked in and was happy to see my mom. I hugged her and kissed her pale, empty cheeks. She pointed at my shirt and asked what it was I told her it was a dragonfly but it seemed like she had no memory of what a dragonfly was. I can’t remember any other response or what happened. However long it was until that dreaded day I have nothing but a hazy and muffled blur.

 

The next clear memory I hold onto- I had returned from school and I wanted to go to the neighbour’s house. I walked in the house on one of the first days of Grade 3 and noticed my Dad on the couch. Since I had returned home from vacation my dad was rarely home unless some other relative was at the hospital and then my dad was only home to shower. I was excited and quickly listed who it could be that was here. When he wasn’t answering me I asked if I would go play. He pulled me up onto his lap and explained it the only way an 8 year old would understand and told me Mommy had gone to be with Jesus. He hugged me and his body shook as he cried. I got up and asked if I could leave. I hopped onto my bike and rode to my best friend’s house. I walked in and they asked if I had talked to my dad I said yes and then the muffle blurs appears and I remember being at the funeral. I remember crying. But that night I remember my Dad putting me to bed and yelling and screaming that I wanted Mommy. Then the grown man, my father crumpled to the floor and cried. I hopped down and curled up and both of us cried knowing that our life would be changed forever.

 

Like every mom I was taught things, mine taught me right from wrong and how to be a kid and enjoy life. Even though today marked the 12 years of her death, she still teaches me things. How to be strong and never give up. We share characteristic, facial features and love for things, music and angels. Forever her legacy lives on and I carry in my heart and I always will… Caroline Winders is my angel, my teacher, my legacy. She is my Mom.

God’s Not Disappointed

Over the past month I have been reading a series called ‘The Bailey Flanigan Series’ by Karen Kingsbury. It’s a story about a girl following her dreams to Broadway, I have been learning so much through these books and the other night the one thing that stood out to me was when one of the characters tells Bailey, ‘God’s not disappointed in you, He’s just not finished with you yet, that’s all.’ This remarkable truth stuck my heart. I have been really struggling with feeling like I have disappointed people and God. I am in a season that is new to me; one of change and transition. I know that I was called to YWAM and to be a missionary, but I just am not sure what the next step is and I can’t seem to please everyone. I feel like I should have been able to work harder or done things differently, like if only I did things differently than maybe I could please everyone, my family, friends and God. I believe we all walk through this feeling. But the good news through all this feeling of disappointment is that God’s not finished with us. I’m not walking through this season alone, He is with me holding my hand.

The word ‘disappointed’, means ‘depressed or discouraged by the failure of one’s hopes or expectations; or obsolete’, according to Dictionary.com. As humans, we place the bar high, which is great but when we fall and fail and hit hardship it’s not the end of the world. God’s love doesn’t stop and He doesn’t withhold it. We pick up, grow and learn. We have all been in situations where people are disappointed where we feel like we should have done more or worked harder. Every child’s fear is to have their parents disappointed in them. It’s still one of my greatest fears.

I was watching a little girl with Down Syndrome and the other day she was reading a book to me during her homework time. She was reading it by herself, I was so proud of her. She has grown so much since I met her 3 years ago. Her words are clear and she knew the words. Whenever I had to correct a word or help her, she would say ‘Oh, sorry, my fault.’ I always respond with, ‘It’s okay, it’s part of learning.’ I was still proud of her even when I had to help. I wasn’t disappointed in her, she was still willing to work and figure out what sounds, letters make and how to form words. As a child myself, I struggled with reading, when I read simple words turned into difficult words as letter jumped around and added themselves to simple words like ‘were’ making it ‘where’. I always hated sitting in classes where we had to each take a turn to read. I hated reading out loud, I was slow and not very good. In my head it made sense and I can read at a decent speed, but when I had to read out loud, I would count the people ahead of me and read the paragraph I would have to read over and over again and pray I wouldn’t stumble and make mistakes. I always was disappointed. As I worked on my reading, the words still were a struggle, but I got to the point where I was confident in myself.

I feel like we all are still figuring out what sounds, letters make and how to form a sentence Sometimes we make mistakes and I feel like as we enter new seasons of our lives that are newer and harder. We get into that ‘Oh, sorry, my fault’ type mode. But I know that with all my heart “God’s not disappointed in you, He’s just not finished with you yet.”

I wanted to share this because in the season I am in right now, I need that daily reminder that He is not disappointed.