Soul Healer

written : 5/11/2018

dedicated to  J, Erica*, Veronica*,  Kelly*, Alice*, Holly*, Anna*, and my managers Chris* and Hope*  (*= all are pseudonyms) 

I was alone and in pain

I was also going insane

I felt so much shame

And I was in despair

 

I felt so unworthy of love and care

I dared never to lay my soul bare

Because I knew they’d condemn me

And all I came to be

 

But then, as water

That refreshes the soul,

On a hot, dry day

You came to me

 

You affirmed me with your love

The one from up above

You gave me a reason to hope

When I was on my last rope

 

Now I want to always love you

And bare my soul to you

Because you saved my life

And showed me God’s love

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The Shining Light

The Shining Light 4/3/2018

In a callous world

Full of hate

People everywhere

Searching for something

That will sate

 

People around us

Searching for that last hope

When they’re on this last rope

And all their dreams are gone

 

Then comes a savior

Digging down deep inside them

With all divine might

Revealing a bright light

 

The light blossoms and grows

Within the depths of their souls

And burst forth gems of love

The love from up above

Getting to Know Me

For this post, I wanted you, the reader, to get to know me more intimately, so you will be able to understand my motivation and joy in creating posts for my blog. Also, as you learn my story, I would love to learn some of yours too. These questions are from the blog author, Marcella, but the answers are, of course, my own. If you love fashion and lifestyle type content, please feel free to check out Marcella’s blog at: http://marcellaphoto.eur.hr. If you want to use these questions for yourself, please ask Marcella before doing so. Thank you.

The questions (in bold) and my answers(in itallics)

  1. What is your real name?—My name is Patricia.
  2. What is your favorite nickname?My favorite nickname is “runs with ladders.” My co-worker made this name up because they thought I ran when carrying the ladder. (Note to him: I don’t run; I just walk really fast!). 
  3. Are you named after anyone?—No, my parents just thought it was a good name.
  4. Where are you from? –I’m from the U.S.A.
  5. What is your favorite drink?I love orange juice. It tastes so fresh and citrus-y, and I love citrus fruits too, such as oranges and tangerines.
  6. What is your favorite food?—Ah, so many! I love citrus fruits, like oranges and tangerines, like I said before. I love Chinese and Mexican food. I love tacos from Taco Bell. I also love homemade chocolate chip cookies and sesame balls.
  7. Are you a dog or cat person?I love both dogs and cats pretty much equally, but I have a special place in my heart for cats because my brother has one.
  8. What is one item in your house you can’t leave without? my wallet
  9. What is the last book you read?– I just read a book that illustrates the different things found in the sky and in space. I find space very interesting, and even considered being an astronaut when I was younger (until I had to get corrective lenses. 😦 )  I have also recently read the book, The Cost of Discipleship, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, which is about how to live the Christian life. Very enlightening and worth reading.
  10. What is your biggest accomplishment?This may not seem like a big accomplishment, but considering how hard it was for me to find a good job due to various factors in my life, getting a full-time job one and a half years ago was the biggest accomplishment for me. Even though I performed well at my last job too, my manager at that time did not offer full-time to a lot of people, me included.  So, I did not know if I was going to really succeed in getting full -time at my current job either. However, after just three months, I talked with one of the managers about being full –time. To my surprise and great joy, she agreed with giving me full-time. When she put me in for full-time, I was ecstatic!  My manager at the time approved it too.
  11. What is your favorite color?My favorite color is sky blue. I think the color of the sky is just heavenly, and I like wearing outfits with that color in it as well.  🙂 
  12. What is your favorite fairytale?—My favorite fairytale life would just be how I envision heaven will be like. Everyone loving and serving God and one another in an edenic-like scenic atmosphere. 🙂
  13. Do you have a tattoo?No, but if I did have one, I would get one of a butterfly and the verse from 2 Corinthians 5:17 tattooed on me.
  14. What piece of technology can you not live without?my phone and iPad. Sorry, I can’t choose just one. 
  15. What is the furthest you have been from home?Australia.
  16. What is your biggest fear?being rejected by those who say that they love me.
  17. If you could give your younger self any advice, what would it be?Don’t listen to the people who say you “can’t” in reference to accomplishing your dreams, because they are liars! It may take more work and determination, and you may need help in doing it, but it can be done!
  18. What are your hobbies?—I love to shop, hang out with friends, read, write, cook, and occasionally, do crafts.
  19. Describe yourself in one sentence.I am a passionate and tenacious person. Passionate, because when I do things, I hate doing them half-heartedly, but aim to put everything I have in something or someone.  Tenacious, because once you ignite my passion, it is nearly impossible for you to get me to give up. 

Redeeming the Time

I have been thinking a lot about how I am living my life, and what kind of legacy I want to leave.  All around me, I see people in pain, both physically and emotionally.  I just heard of another shooting or rampage from reading one of my friend’s Facebook news feed; the government in my country seems to be in constant turmoil, and just the anger around me, seem to tell me that there has to be more to this life than I can see.  I am not getting any younger, though many people may consider me to be still young (note to them: Thank you for your generous outlook on me. 😉 ) I realize that I won’t likely live forever.

So, in light of that, I posed a question to myself: If today was my last day to live on earth, what would I do? How would I spend it? Would I consider doing anything differently?  This post is also based on the verses in Ephesians 5:15-16:

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (KJV)

 

Here’s what I would do, and the lessons I draw on redeeming the time that I still have now:

  1. If today was the last day of my life on earth, I would tell my family and friends that I encounter, both online and offline, how much God and I love them, and how valued they are. I would also thank them for all they have done for me, to make my life better. — Too many times, we let days, or even, sadly, many years, go by without really taking time to value and thank those around us who have made a positive impact in our lives.  I would also let my family and friends I encounter know that they are loved and valued by me, both by my words and my actions. In other words, I would spend most of the day serving them with joy and gratitude.  I think we (me included) need to do a better job of doing this every single day, because the fact is that we don’t know when our “last day” is.  It could be tomorrow, next week, next year, five, ten, fifteen, or more years from now. I think we are not given knowledge of when our last day on earth is because if we were, we would probably waste our other days and just revel in whatever, without doing anything of eternal value, or at least that would be the great temptation.  Since we are not given that knowledge, we are more able to serve others sincerely and with our whole hearts, if we really think about the limited nature of our beings.
  2. If today was my last day on earth, I would not waste time getting angry at trivial things, or things that wouldn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.—I have observed that many times we, as humans, get upset about the little things people do or don’t do or say, that if we died wouldn’t be a big deal at all. For instance, a lot of people would get upset if a friend of theirs seemed to ignore them when they said “Hi” to their friend. First of all, the friend may be busy or may not have noticed that they said “Hi”at all.  Second of all, if this friend who “purposely” ignored you, was a good friend in other instances, like he or she was there for you when someone you loved died, wouldn’t it be a good idea to just let this go?  If I knew my life was limited, I would not worry about or even consider being upset at such things.  Also, some of the things that people get angry or upset about reflect, not only their own self-absorption, but also that they are not thinking about how limited and precious life is.  For instance, to my shame, I got upset at a co-worker over something so trivial and so selfish on my part, that, in retrospect, I should have just let it go and focused on other, more important eternal things, rather than my own comfort.  If a few people don’t appreciate the effort I put into work, I would instead focus on the people that do care and not worry about pleasing or getting upset over the 5% (I’m just picking out a random, small number, to make a point.) that don’t.  If there is a cranky customer who just wants to get it out for everyone else, I would just feel sad for them and pray for them, instead of getting upset at them myself.
  3. If today was my last day on earth, I would spend most of my day:
    • Spending time with God (40% of my day)—I would spend more time with God in prayer and in reading and listening to what He has to say via His Word (the Bible). I would want to prepare my heart and soul, for what I believe would be a glorious and awesome eternity with Him!  However, I would also want to make sure that there was no unsettled business between God and me, or between God, me, and another person. I would seek forgiveness for any sins (moral mistakes) that God reveals to me, and seek to fix them as soon as I could.  I would want to leave this world knowing that I put significant eternal and spiritual investment in it—that I cared enough to ask God to do His will for the world.
    • Serving others (40% of my day)—I would spend another part of my day just serving others. If I were scheduled to work that day, I would do my very best work possible, and strive to help customers, other associates, and managers to complete the tasks for that day. If I were not scheduled to work, I would spend my day volunteering in any way God directs me.  I would spend a good part of my day just getting to know those around me better, and to be there for them in their lives. I  think we all need to do that more every day. If we spent more time getting to know other people’s life stories (For the post on life stories, see  this link. ), and less time  being “too busy” for people and being engaged in meaningless chatter or tasks that don’t need to be done right away, we would be more able to be flexible in serving others and truly be able to invest positively in others’ lives, even our own families!
    • Resting/ down time (10% of my day)—Of course, I would want to spend some part of my day just relaxing and having some down time. Since I still am a little introverted (and even for some extroverts), I need time to recharge so that I will have the emotional energy to serve others and focus on what I need to.  Some way I would love to relax (and ways you can, too)  are: 1) Observing nature and its beauty. 2) Listening to soothing music.  3) taking a short nap  4) reading .

This is how I would redeem my time here on earth. While I don’t think I would do anything drastically differently, I would have a much more reflective and purposeful attitude about how I lived my life. Even if today or tomorrow are not one of my last days here on earth, I still aim to redeem the time I have here, because these days can be tough.

What would you do to redeem the time you have here? Would you do or say anything differently than you are now? Please feel free to comment.

 

Why I Love

I will fully admit. –Since I love, I wear my heart on my sleeve.  Some may say it is foolish to love so hard, and I understand where they are coming from, but , from my understanding, that is the power of true love.  Love goes all out for someone.  As it says in 1 Corinthians 13:5-7 (KJV): [Love] beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” (bold italics emphasis mine). Here is why I strive to love so hard:

1.Because of God’s love for me—God has been actively orchestrating my life since the beginning of time! Even when I wanted to give up on myself and my life because of the difficulties I have I had to endure in my life, I firmly believe God has never given up on me. He loved me even when I didn’t feel good enough for anyone and had a self-pity party.  He has showered me blessings way beyond my comprehension and my merit!  He has shown me care and compassion, even when I have forgotten His goodness and God Himself.  That is true love!  That is why I strive every day to love God, through loving others. Yes, I may fail at loving others at times, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get up and try again.  With God’s love, there is always hope for anyone, even me.

2. Because of my life’s purpose—One of my life’s purposes is to love others as God has loved me. I want to share this great love with others because I can believe true love can change the world for the better.  I found that when I want to give up on loving someone, I feel depressed and even suicidal at times! That is because if I refuse to love others, all other things that I do are fruitless and meaningless.  It even says that in 1 Corinthians 13: 1-4 (KJV), where charity equals love:

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”

3.Because it gives joy—I strive to love others because it not only gives me great joy, but because the joy in love and being loved is contagious! I find when I strive to love others the way God has loved me, it brings great joy to everyone involved. For instance, during the Christmas season/holidays at work, I made it a point to give every salaried member of management a Christmas card to let them know, in essence, that their hard work and dedication to our company does not go unnoticed.  All the managers seemed appreciative and joyful upon receiving the cards.  It also gave me joy to be able to make the managers feel loved and appreciated.  When I have the difficult task of loving someone that I’m either upset with or that I don’t particularly like, and I do, it’s like a burden is lifted off me.  However, when I do love these people, I don’t only feel better about myself, but I often feel like there is hope for restoration and healing in our relationships.

4. Because it is better than the alternative.—Today, as I write this, I am deeply troubled and saddened by the hatred and anger in this world, as I hear of another mass shooting in my country. However, today is also Valentine’s Day, a day that we are all supposed to love and care for each other.  Over and over again, hatred always creates destruction and dissension.  As hard as it is to love certain people, we must be diligent in at least attempting to be kind and love others.  Don’t rely on feelings alone to love someone; otherwise, we may fall woefully short.  However, love because your very life and your very legacy depend on it!

This is why I strive to love others every day. Yes, there are times when I fall woefully short of where I should be in loving others, but even in times when we fall short; we must not give up on love.  When we give up on love, we lose our lives, both spiritually and emotionally.  However, when we do love, we can turn the world upside down for its good and preservation.

How You Changed Me (a poem)

Before I met You

I was on my last rope

I almost gave up all hope

Of ever becoming anything at all

 

But You transformed me

You made me see

Your light shining inside me

And gave me worth and hope

 

You breathed life into what was dead

With Your word I was fed

Precious nutrients to my hungry soul

Till again I was made whole

 

You have made me bloom

Into a precious rose

As you continue to grow me

Into what You made me to be

#Me too- Myths about sexuality and solutions

DISCLAIMER: Triggers for mentions of sex and sexual violence and abuse. No disparaging comments, please! Thanks.

By now, you probably have heard of the #metoo movement, where women are taking aim at a societal culture that has devalued and often treated them as little more than sexual entities. It is a movement where some women–and probably men too– are sharing their stories about being sexually abused or harassed by people who devalued and/or wanted to use them as little more than sexual playthings.  I join and support these brave men and women who are coming forward with their painful and difficult stories in order to make sure this does not happen to anyone else ever again, and to change this culture to one that values all people as divine image-bearers and the preciousness that they are.

I think one of the main reasons why there are so many people doing sexually abusive and demeaning things to others, is because people have long bought into some or all of these following myths about sexuality:

  • Myth: You need to have a significant other to be truly happy and fulfilled in life. -Many single people believe or have believed (note to self: guilty as charged) the lie that if they just had a girlfriend or boyfriend, and eventually get married, life would be bliss and they would have no loneliness issues anymore. Married people or people in relationships may also buy into a form of this lie by trying to change their partner into their idealized image of who they think they should be.  Truth: You can just be as happy or happier single. I have been single for a VERY long time, and I have never been happier! Though a lot has changed, many parents still think if their children remain single, they will not be happy or fulfilled (what I dub, the “spinster theory”). I am living proof that this does not have to be the case!  I am not saying that people in relationships are never happy. However, it is not because of the relationship alone that makes someone happy or unhappy.
  • Myth: I need sex or a relationship to feel valued and/or powerful in life. Truth: Sex does not inherently make one feel “valued” or “powerful.” Think of how many women in the sex trafficking industry are treated–as less than animals! Maybe the people that hurt them feel more powerful, but not the day when they are held accountable for their evil actions they have perpetrated against these women! What really can help one feel more valued and powerful is what Jesus said in Matthew 20:27 (KJV)-“And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.” That is, whoever wants to feel more great and powerful, let him or her serve others. Doing good things for others not only makes you feel good,  but you also value people by helping others. However, it must be done with a sincere heart and a good attitude.
  • Myth: Children should hug their relatives to show respect for them. Another version of this myth is: “People should hug me/each other to show respect for me/them.” Truth: Children (and even adults) should not be required to hug or touch anyone!  Some children don’t hug because they feel squeamish about hugging, and some children even have had some unspoken trauma over the person they are “supposed to” hug. Their bodies should be respected and valued by not requiring this of them.  Also, there are other ways for people to show their appreciation and respect besides touch.  For instance, we can use our words to uplift and encourage someone, and there are only a few, if any, that would object that to that! Also,  we should teach children and others to thank people who do something good for them, and say “Please” if they want something, instead of just demanding that person give it to them.
  • Myth: “I need sex to get ahead in life or be successful. “Truth: No, you don’t. What one needs to get ahead in life is integrity, hard work, and compassion.  And even if you are not successful, remember your worth is not dependent on what you do!

Here are some ways we should support women and others who have been sexually harassed and/or abused

  1. Know it’s not just women who have been abused–A lot of men have been abused too. Think of the boys that have been abused by priests or their athletic coaches.
  2. Accept others’ “No” without complaining or arguing.–For instance, if someone doesn’t want to be touched, don’t try to argue with them about that in an attempt to force them to “want” to be touched.  Just accept that they don’t like touch. It’s probably not because you did something bad to them, but just a boundary they have for some people, or even everyone.
  3. If someone is attacking someone else sexually, stop the attacker if possible.– If your life is in danger or if the attacker has a weapon, this may not be such a good idea. In all other cases, however,  you can stop the attack by yelling very loudly, “STOP! STOP” and trying to get the perpetrator off the victim, or by saying nothing but running to get help for the victim as soon as possible. A life could be saved!
  4. Let the abuse survivor know it’s not their fault, and that whatever they feel is valid.–Do not try to get the survivor to forgive their perpetrator. Yes, there is a time and place for forgiveness, but true forgiveness cannot be forced!  What the survivor needs right now is validation and the feeling that they are not “damaged goods” and that they are a valued part of society. Affirm and validate them.
  5. Don’t listen to or watch things that glorify the devaluation of people.–Music or movies that glorify using women as sexual objects should not be part of your media diet if you really want to support the #metoo movement. Similarly, watching pornographic movies or tv shows doesn’t get you in the right frame of mind to be able to look at others with dignity and value.  Resolve today to only feed your mind with media that values others.
  6. Support or pray for (if religious) organizations like International Justice Mission or A21, who help sexual abuse survivors reclaim their lives.–These, and many other organizations, help men and women who have survived abuse or sex trafficking reclaim their lives. Other organizations like RAINN help survivors as well.
  7. Teach the next generation proper boundaries and consent.–If you are a parent, teach your child or children proper boundaries and consent. Telling your child, “Keep your hands to yourself” when they touch someone without their permission, for instance, is a good way to start to teach them appropriate boundaries and consent. Also, telling them that if someone touches them inappropriately, they have a right to say something and stand up for themselves, is another good way to teach boundaries and consent and show you value their body and soul.

With many men and women bravely coming forward about their times of pain and heartache at the hands of people that devalued and demeaned them, hopefully the abuse will stop and the perpetrators will be held accountable for their actions.  However, we as a society must stop perpetuating a culture where people–men and women alike– are being devalued, and instead we must all strive to create a society where each person is treated as the valued, priceless treasure they are.