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Worship Mix


Day 8: A Piece of the Puzzle

    Well I am so far behind I don't think I'll ever catch up, but I will still write through the 31 days and make as many posts as I can. I was away for 4 days and have hurt my back pretty bad so sitting is very painful for me and I won't be writing much for a few more days but I did want to continue with a part of fitting in and belonging.
     I was able to visit with some family this week, and learned my understanding of where my name comes from isn't the same as I remembered it or was told. Turns out, my mother was married, for less than 6 months and the man she was married to is where we got our last name. She just never changed it back legally after they split. And I was even able to put a face to the name. It makes me glad to know this small detail, it kind of means alot to me in my struggle to know my life. 
  And this weekend, we drove up to Edmonton so my daughter could visit with her grandma on her dad's side and see family there. I didn't make any plans, I had no idea what I was going to do really, but God worked it out. I got to see not one but three of my sisters and one of my brothers and have turkey dinner with 2 of them, so that was great. And I went out to visit more family and have thanksgiving dinner with them. What a blessing! I learned some good news and some not so good news about some family, but the most important thing for me is being able to see them, and a couple friends I haven't been able to see in such a long time.
      I didn't know if I made it home driving that far, but I pushed through despite the pain and made it home safe. Now I am immobile and wondering just how to get to the doctors since I can't walk and I am scared to go alone or drive. But for now I will rest some more because sitting in this chair is too hard to bear.


Day 7: Belonging

       I was worried about this challenge. Like I said, so many accomplished writers, so many great articles. I try not to write for others because then I just worry about whether I'm as good as some. But I do have to say this is great, stepping out of your comfort zone, and finding there is a whole community of people that have the same fears and worries as I do about writing. People that have a common interest and it's good to see people come together to share and support each other despite their differences, and so many writing styles. To be able to pick a topic and stick to it for a whole month, with things like cooking, knitting, family, faith, you name it, so many talents to learn and share!
Bear with me if I repeat myself, sometimes I have trouble getting my thoughts straightened out and I tend to say the same things over and over again lol.

       So where was I? Oh yes, I missed a day and was trying to catch up, and my mind has changed on topics so many times I've lost count. So I'll do this today, because it sort of ties into community. 
Being a part of something is great. At some level, everyone wants to feel like they fit in or belong, it's just in our nature.
  I'll be honest, I spent a huge portion of my life feeling like I didn't fit in or belong anywhere.  A bit of background to explain that. I grew up under social services, so I lived in foster homes, group homes, receiving homes, hospitals, centers, you name it. In the space of 14 years (not counting the 3 years I went back home to live with my birth mom from grade 2 to grade 5), I lived in a total of over 150 placements. A couple of them were repeats, but yes I was moved over 150 times. I lived all over Central Alberta pretty much. I did the math, it works out to an average of 34 days per placement. Some I stayed much less, some I stayed longer. The longest I was in one place was a year and a half. I have two amazing wonderful loving foster families that I have known for most of my life, and they have become as much family to me as my birth family, sometimes more-so. But I was never officially adopted. So yeah, you can just imagine it was difficult to say the least feeling like I didn't ever really belong anywhere. Sometimes I still struggle with it. My father was non existent, I never knew him. I know the man that my mother claimed to be my father, based on him being around when I was born. But with 7 kids and at least 5 different fathers that I know of, it's not a stretch to say we can't be sure he was around when I was conceived. I met him once, for all of 5 minutes when I was 18. I was living in Edmonton at the time and he had another family in Calgary. He mentioned the only way to know for sure was to get a paternity test. Back then I think it was like $500, wayyyyy too much for me to afford at the time. I was torn. As much as I felt I needed to know who I was I also didn't see the point in knowing if my father was some guy I never knew who had a whole other family in another city and didn't seem to want anything much to do with me anyways. It'd be like just another "placement". So I never got it done and I never really talked to him after that. My mom would always say "you should call your dad".... I'd just avoid that. It bothered me alot later on, feeling like I didn't know who I was, because I started thinking about my name and the fact that I don't even really know where or WHO it came from. One of my sisters fathers, my mom never married, but she just stole the name and attached it to half of us kids. So my name isn't even me at all. 

       And if not knowing my earthly identity has taught me one thing, it's that I am grateful for the opportunity it has given me to be completely my own person. Who I am isn't shaped by the family tree, as messed up as it is lol.
And living in sooooo many places has let me meet so many great people, that later on I find are all somehow connected and THAT is scary but that's another story for another time lol.
 But the whole point of saying all this is just to say that being a part of a great community, a group of people, having something to belong to and that can make you feel like you can contribute, it's a great thing, take advantage of it, enjoy it, be blessed by it. You never know who might come along that needs a place to belong, so bless someone else by it, I know it has blessed me so far  :D 


Day 6: F.E.A.R.

       There's a saying that goes "fear has 2 meanings, either forget everything and run, or face everything and rise". I spent a long time doing the first and have been trying more lately to do the latter. I've been afraid of failure and I've been afraid of success. Neither has served any good purpose and I doubt it ever will. When we put our trust in God, we have no need to fear because we know that He has everything under control.  Isaiah 41:10 says “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
       I was afraid to stop working because as much as I  thought it was what I should do, I wasn't sure financially it was wise. At a time when many people are losing their jobs and facing crisis, here I am just quitting. I thought I must look crazy to some people lol. I mean, I had just gotten a car and insurance and house insurance, and bought new furniture, and committed to more monthly bills than I had income. And I wondered if I really knew what I was doing. Truth is, I don't. I don't have a plan yet either. But I was given two reminders that confirmed it was what I needed to do. The first was when I started to worry about money thinking I'd have to trim some things down, and I wasn't sure if I could pay for my daughter the things she wanted to do. Like her band class in school, which is after classes, and the school didn't have any instruments so they told me I'd have to rent my own. That cost 3 times what I would have paid through the school, and someone stepped in and covered the whole cost. You probably won't read this but if you do, you know who you are, and you really were an answer to prayer. My girl was ready to give up her music class because she knew it was a huge cost for me, and I felt absolutely horrible that I couldn't give that to her. Just know that your gift doesn't go unnoticed or appreciated and won't be forgotten!

        The second was just a reassurance that God will take care of us, as He has always done, as He always will. I worked very hard to save what I did and that will carry us through and if the things we have planned to do is what He wants us to do then He will make it happen.
      Face everything and rise. 
 Hiding my fears makes it easier to use them as a crutch or an excuse. The best way to clean out the dirt in the corners is to shine the light there, right? 


Day 5: Transparency

         I saw a post from one of the 31 day bloggers that said something about having a private blog, not sharing it with real life people, those they know personally, it can be embarrassing to bare yourself and know that people you know are reading your thoughts. I thought it wouldn't make a difference, but thinking about it some more, I realized she was right. I have friends that are online that I have never met, many who live across the sea, that I have never met and most likely might never get the chance to meet this side of eternity. It feels alot different with those that know and have met me personally though. We tend to keep ourselves private for fear of failure, fear of success, and fear of exposure. Exposure means vulnerability, and that means an open line to being hurt or taken advantage of. I have experienced that many times, with friends who have taken what I've shared with them and using it against me, betrayed me, and caused me to lose people in my life I care about and love. That can be a huge hindrance to being open and sharing.
        I know I am not alone in that, it is an age old thing. Psalms 56:2-4 says "
My slanderers pursue me all day long; many are attacking me in their pride. 
When I am afraid, I will trust in you. 

 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?"
I write mostly just for myself, sometimes to vent, sometimes, to get my thoughts straightened out. I never felt like I had much to offer in the way of instruction or teaching or encouragement.  I looked at many others blogs, and they come from established writers, preachers, teachers. I'm not educated or elequent in my words. I probably offend many people with what I say sometimes because I am black and white, can be unrelenting or unwavering, and unapologetic. So I don't expect alot to get or even care what I say and most times that's just fine with me. I never had the confidence that I had wisdom to offer others, again, coming from comparing myself to others, what is WITH that?! So in doing this 31 day challenge I am stepping out of my comfort zone and learning how to say, yes I have something to offer, I have my own thoughts and opinions and I speak from personal experience to back it up. It isn't all just book knowledge, I don't care to just take other people's words. Everything I write or share or say to me is personal, it really is. And if even one of my experiences, no matter how hard or horrible or embarrassing or silly, can help one other person to not feel alone or to know that someone out there "gets it", then it's worth it. All the naysayers and tomato throwers won't really change that. 
  Today I talk about transparency, tomorrow I will BE transparent, I just got a bit sidetracked that's all lol. 
  Who am I trying to impress anyways? Certainly not those who think they're better than me!
Did you know that the fear of trusting others is an actual phobia? I just leaned that!  ''Pistanthrophobia'' is the common fear of trusting people due to past experiences with relationships gone bad.
If you do some research there is literally a phobia for everything and condition in this planet. You name it, someone is afraid of it. I know I could attach this term to myself and with my past and the things I have experienced and endured, it would be perfectly acceptable and reasonable. But I would much rather trust in the bigger picture that God has than in my limited view of people based on my past. 
One of my favorite verses is 2 Timothy 1:7  "For God hath not given us the 
spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."  I found this a great verse to remember at times I was literally paralyzed by fear, times when I felt like I couldn't focus or think straight, times when I felt I was going absolutely insane. Another one I just found is Romans 8:15  " For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father". 
One day at a time. It's all we can do because really, it's all we have. Sometimes, just one hour at a time. And that's okay. I find taking it one day or even one hour at a time helps me to not be afraid because I can focus on trusting that God is in control.
If I trust in man, I can see fear and failure every where I turn, But if I trust in God, really trust Him, and am honest, He has never let me down. He is always faithful, even when we aren't. 

Day 4: The Fear of Success

So this one's a bit late but it's still going to make it in, and day 5 for me will be on schedule. 
One thing most people don't consider is the fear of success. It sounds crazy I know, but it's a reality for many. We  get cozy in our ruts, and tend to not want to wander too far from our comfort zones, if at all. It can feel safer, staying in our little box. 
I could choose to let the past define me, or I can choose to break free from my past and do something different. That cannot happen in my safety net though. Believe me, I've tried. Many times.
       It can be scary to step out into what is unknown. We trust what we know and what we see. But Hebrews 11:1-3 says "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible."
Let's just think about that for a minute.
It takes faith, to believe in the unknown or the unseen. It takes trust in God, to know that He is in control. How is it ever possible to learn to grow in that trust, if we remain in our safe little bubbles? If we never step out in faith, how will we ever know the boundless limits of His grace, His mercies, His infinite wisdom and power? 
  I admit, I was afraid of success. Even though I craved it and enjoyed it, I felt safer playing the victim and living under a shell. But I was miserable. I still faced disappointment, discouragement, depression. And I was still hurt by others. I know that pain and struggles and suffering in this life will never end. Not that I'm trying to be negative or get you down, just that in reality, life is hard, and is doesn't get easy. Relationships are hard. Faith is hard, even for the most religious or spiritual of people. Commitment is tough, letting go, can be impossible. And real success isn't measured by your bank account or the things you own or the number of people you think you can impress by your education or wealth or possessions or worldly intelligence. By those standards, I considered myself a failure. I would never reach those goals. But real success is using what we have, not wanting more. 
Some days, that which we have is nothing more than God Himself.
So I looked for a verse for this and what I found was that the common thread in measuring success in scripture was that we walked in obedience to God.
1 Kings 2:4 “And keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn.”
So the fear I had of success was false. Because the success was false. And the failure I feel, therefore, is false.


Day 3: The Fear of Failure

Fear plays a huge part in overcoming obstacles. And it can take many forms. 
For many years I felt like a failure. There's many things I have tried to do, or wanted to do, that I either just haven't gotten around to, or that I have failed miserably at. At least, that's what I told myself. Every job I had that didn't last long, every friendship or relationship that withered, Every project I undertook that never got completed. How is it so many others can do so many things and succeed? I never even finished high school to be honest. I went back 4 times, and the last time I managed to almost finish. I went through graduation ceremonies even, I just didn't get the diploma because I didn't have enough credits, but nobody knew that LOL. I felt like a failure at education. Sometimes, I feel like a failure as a parent too still. There's always so much more I want to do!
     And that fear of failure, the failure itself, is all based on comparing myself to other people. We use other people's success to measure our own. If someone else does a better job at a task than us, we consider us to have failed. But I can guarantee you that person you think has passed you, has failed compared to the next person who has done even better. Why do we measure ourselves by other people's standards anyways? What makes someone else's efforts worth more than ours? 

Philippians 4:13 says "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength". It's not by our own will we do things, and it's not for our earthly gain.
When I look at some of the things I do, I can only compare it to myself. The real success comes not from doing something better than someone else, the real success comes from learning and growing and doing something better than we ourselves might have done yesterday. And when I look at where I have come from, and where I am now, where God has brought me and where He is bringing me, only there can I see success. Not in my own power, and not compared to anyone else.
    Our ultimate measurement of success is this: to reach the goals that God has given us. And right now what reminds me of that is this verse in 1 Corinthians 10:31 " 
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."



Day 2: Overcoming

One of the greatest obstacles I make for myself is comparing myself to other people. Whether it is in writing, or parenting, or photography or being a christian. I look at other people and wonder how they can do so well, have it all together, have the strength and energy and motivation to get so much done, and here I am feeling like I am doing nothing at all. It's a daily reminder to tell myself, I am not them. It's okay for me to go my own way at my own pace because it's not about them. Let's face it,  it's not even about me. On any given day, everything I accomplish, everything I do or say or have, is, or, SHOULD be, about Him. 
   Psalm 155:1 says "Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!"
When I wake up each morning it's not because of my own power. It's because He has given me a new day to live. A brand new start. Every person in this world, wakes up not by their own might or strength. For me that's a good thing, because I hate mornings and if it were up to me they'd start at noon lol.
It becomes draining, to compare yourself to other people, yet, it is something I don't even realize I am doing most of the time. It's a horrible habit I m trying to break.
 James 1:17 says "Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow."
If we learn to understand the word "good", we know that it doesn't mean good in our terms but in His. And that His faithfulness is unwavering despite our worry and our mistrust.  

 And if Matthew 6:26 is right ""Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?", we should know that He gives us what is good out of His love for us.  
 All comparing seems to do is cause us to worry. We worry about not being good enough, yet it is nothing we can do anyways. We worry about what others think, being accepted. When the only acceptance that matters, we already have, we just don't accept it because we're too busy worrying about being good enough, see the cycle? 
So today, I will not worry. Today, I will not compare. I am no better than others, and I don't want to be.


Day One; Blocked and a new start

                 I used to write. Alot. Mostly diary and letters to people who pissed me off that never got finished and never got sent. I did vlogs and youtube videos, and I did some blogging online, mostly after I left Yahoo360 and joined the ranks of the facebook junkies. I haven't written in years. Then I came across this blog from someone on my friends list, talking about 31 days and I thought even if I had nothing to say and noone read and noone cared,  it might help me get started again, so I will give it a try. I don't have a topic. It's just me. Random ramblings of whatever's rolling around inside my head, and maybe I'll sift thru it later and come up with something tangible I can put to a good use.
                 So, here I am. Recently quit my job to stay at home and be a visible presence for my daughter, if and when she decided she wants or needs me. Those days get less and less now that she is 16. But I am still determined to be here just in case. I will break the cycle of my family, where parents abandon or lose their kids. If I never have one thing to leave behind except this, it will be that I am here. She will always have her mother to come home to, to talk to, to ask for help. I never had my mother to count on, and my father didn't exist. That will never happen for my girl. At least in this one thing, I know I made a difference and I changed a long standing history in our family chain.
                 There are plenty of worse things I could be wasting my time on, and I've done almost all of them at one point or another in my life. So here I was blocked, and here I am facing not one but two new starts. I was supposed to move from 3/4 full time to part time but it became casual, and I was fine with that, until I was paid out and that was the end of my job completely. But I'm not worried, it's a blessing in disguise really.  Freeing up some time to write more again and to be there for my girl. Little things, that most people overlook. Like being able to drive her to youth group and bible study so she doesn't have to take the bus 2 hours one way. Like being able to connect with friends that I haven't seen in years even though we live in the same city simply because our schedules clashed and well, busy lives happen. Like being able to finally attend a small group bible study with my church after 6 years of crappy attendance. It's amazing all the things I miss out on because I can't manage my time, at least compared to some people. I look at some people, who have careers and 3 kids, and volunteer, workout, and are always on the go, and I wonder, how DO they do it? I can barely get my butt out of bed or handle part time work and I don't do much around the house, I don't have a showhome, and I'm not Suzy homemaker baking pies and doing charity drives once a month. To me an accomplished day right now is putting on pants.
                     Which reminds me, it is ow well after 10 am and I need to go get dressed now...

Where in the World...?