Posts Tagged ‘God’

Jeremiah 29:11’s “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you, not to harm you…Plans to give you a hope and future”  played in my mind as I slept. In my subconscious, I told myself that I knew the verse. I recited it as my chant of hope whenever I felt like giving up. But, over and over it played, like a song stuck on repeat for some reason that was unknown to me. As if God wanted me to really get the meaning: that He had me. Safe and secured in His arms. That He was my shepherd and my provider.I may not have known the real reason why God woke me up with this beautiful verse this morning, but I knew He needed me to not let my faith fade away.

As I started to get ready for work, He again revealed to me all His promises to those who love and put their trust in Him through this one verse. This verse found me in my most discouraging moments and picked me up. This verse strengthened my faith every day. This verse put a wide smile on my face as I awakened from my sleep this morning, and it kept me happy and content the whole day. This verse gave me a renewed hope, brand new aspirations and the urge to tell the whole world about the unconditional and unfailing love of God.

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I have a very bad habit. And that’s cancelling plans. I usually have some valid reasons, but sometimes I just don’t. My decision to cancel sometimes depends on how I feel that day. Once I’m not in a good mood, I would just cancel. It may seem like a selfish move but it really is not. It’s more like an equation in my head: If I’m not in a good mood, I will draw so much negative energy therefore I will ruin it all for everyone.” So instead of going and being a party popper, I stay home and try to re-mediate myself.

Then there are the times when I do have reasons to cancel. Like I mentioned many times in several of my posts here, I engage in a lot of activities in my church or for my church. Some of them I don’t recall ever affirming that I wanted to be part of, but somehow I’m all up in them. So what happens now is that, everyone__from my pastor to all the presidents of the different departments of the church__ counts on me. Why, you ask? In the words of my blunt boyfriend “Because you don’t know how to say no!”. Not that this is entirely true, but sometimes, I just can’t bear to say no when it comes to doing something for the people at my church. My mother raised me to always be of service for the church anytime that I can. And I’ve always kept that with me. Now it’s making and breaking me at the same time.

There have been times when I had to cancel girls’ outings, birthday parties, bridal/baby showers  just because I had to be at practice or because I had to wake up early for Sunday service the next day. I have broken a lot of my friends’ heart by doing that, and now some either don’t invite me anymore or are skeptical when I RSVP. I hate the fact that, even when I use the proper etiquette of bailing, it still hurts the other person. I then get mad at myself for not handling the situation the right way, especially after I gave my word to be there.

Well, last week was different. I didn’t wake up with a certain state of mind to be bold in the decision I made, but it sure gave me the balls to stand up for myself.  One of my girlfriends came in town to celebrate her birthday: 4-day weekend type of celebration that is. And I knew about her coming since July. And of course, like all the other times, I told her I would be there.

“Are you sure?” I remembered her asking. She sounded unconvinced.

“I promise, I’ll be there.”

Knowing me with my cancelling habit, she was super excited and took (rather, held onto) my word for it. So the plan was for us to meet Thursday night for dinner.  I was excited, that, for once out of  the many times  I’ve cancelled on friends and family, I was finally keeping my word. Only to realize that it wasn’t going to be for long.

Last Sunday was Young Adult day at the church. This is when all the young adults of the church do everything in the services: from ushering to directing and preaching. So guess who was picked to direct THAT Sunday out of every single suitable young person? You guessed right. Me. Now I had a dilemma. If I was to direct, I would need to attend praise team rehearsal which would be that same Thursday of my friend’s birthday dinner. And that night would be the only night she would be in NY, the only night I would be able to see her since she made plans to be in Massachusetts the rest of the week-end. I can’t begin to explain the crowd of thoughts that kept racing through my mind. I wanted to tell my pastor that I wouldn’t be able to direct, if it meant for me to be present at rehearsal. But I didn’t want to let him down. So I said nothing, and concluded that the best thing would be for me to cancel…on my friend.

Too ashamed to call, I sent her a Facebook message, first asking her when she would be leaving NY, because I ‘probably’ wouldn’t be able to make it on Thursday because of rehearsal.

“You always have something going on. I’m disappointed. I’m not going to hide it. But it’s ok. I understand.” was her reply. My fingers  itched to type back “No! you don’t understand! And that wasn’t my question!” but I had to face the truth. And whenever I face the truth, I’d throw a fit then finally, I’d give in. I explained the whole dilemma to my older sister, hoping to get her to sympathize with me, but instead she told me: “So you have so much responsibilities…whose fault is it? There are other people in the church who are  well-able to do all that you do. You just make yourself too available. That’s your problem. Be unavailable for once.”

So I picked up my cell and called the praise team director. I told him I would not be able to come to rehearsal and sent him a list of what needed to be done. He tried talking me out of it, telling me that I needed to be there and such, but I resisted. I knew I needed to be there, but God knows that I’ve always been there, rain or shine, sleet or snow. For once, I had to decline.

So I went to the dinner. My friend was so happy to see me. She hugged me for what seemed to be a very long second and whispered: “Thank you…”. I hugged her back and smiled. That made the rest of my weekend :-).

Then Sunday came, I directed. And the service went marvelously :-).

I’m glad I’m slowly breaking this bad habit.

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This morning was one of those mornings I don’t usually wake up to.

I usually get in a hopeless fight with my bed every morning, but this morning, it was different. I felt myself gently shaken awake to the must beautiful sight ever. I reached for my camera to capture such marvel, but I stopped. Moments like these were to be savored peacefully. And for some weird reason, I was afraid that while I’d take a photo, it would all disappear before my eyes. Then I reminded myself that I wasn’t dreaming. This was real.

I heard the wind’s gentle whistle and saw a few brown and orange leaves twirl in the sky. There weren’t any birds chirping (which would’ve made this moment even more perfect) but seeing a few squirrels chase each other on my neighbor’s roof  humored me.

I got myself out of bed finally, anticipating much more. I was grateful that I saw another day, the most beautiful and peaceful day I’ve ever seen and felt in a long time. I was so content that, if I wouldn’t wake up to see my birthday tomorrow, I would repose in peace.

Once out, I deeply inhaled the fresh morning air and watched the sun’s rays play peek-a-boo with the clouds. It wasn’t a full sunny day, nor was it a cloudy one, it was…just right.

I didn’t want this day to end. I wanted all the time in the world to make the best of it.

Then I heard a voice whisper: “It’s yours. Do make the best of it.”

My heart raced with fright and excitement. Unsure, I paid close attention and heard it again.

I heard it say: “Happy Birthday Daughter.”

I couldn’t retain the tears of joy that ran down my face and all I heard myself whisper was: “Thank you, Lord…thank you.”

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I’ve always been perceived as the strong one in my family. At times I’m not sure if they just wanted to use me (since I would never refuse them my help) or because I seemed to be the one who had more physical abilities (i.e. I was a little bit more active than my sisters yet I was still the heaviest.lol) or maybe they just genuinely depended on me.

My mother even used to call me the ‘boy’ of the house at a certain point (when me, her and my older sister migrated here from Haiti; my father and little sister were still in Haiti then) and all the manly jobs that had to be done, she would rest assured that Lissa (me 🙂 ) was going to take care of it.

I didn’t really like being called the ‘boy’ of the house…maybe because I knew the surtitle came with loads of responsibilities, but somehow I continued to feed their dependency on me, by always making sure that everything functioned perfectly. Or somewhat.

Even after my father passed away, I still remained strong for us. When my mother and sisters were inconsolable, I, who happened to be the first one to get heartbreaking news of his passing, had to put my strong hat on and console them. I had to fight back the tears and play the role I believe I was meant to play. At that time, I didn’t know how I did it…how I became self-composed throughout the whole process of burying my father was almost supernatural. I truly believe that if it wasn’t for God, and the faith I had in Him, despair alone would’ve sent me to my grave.

And even with friends, I’ve always been the strong one: the one to always give them hope when they’re down and out, the one to always give them a testimony or a word of encouragement to boost their faith, the one to internally cry with them when they are in deep sorrow.

In all of these circumstances, I’ve always remained strong, yet deep inside I wished someone could be strong for me. I wished they knew that I, too, even though I don’t show it, can be weak and vulnerable. I, too, cried, almost every night. I, too, needed someone to console and comfort me. And I came to realized that people view you differently once they know that you are like them, and that the truth was, you didn’t have superpowers.

Just like Batman, Superman and all the other superheroes I grew up watching, at times, they couldn’t get themselves out of trouble. Or sometimes, as strong as they were, it would take another weak normal human to encourage them or help them out of danger.

There’s a thin line between pity and disdain, and in situations like these, people tend to walk more towards the ‘disdain’ end of the line, which is the worst thing one can bear with. As if they forget that you ARE human.

I must say, in all of my troubling times, family and friends have always been there for me. And even when they were not, God has always been there. ALWAYS. I’ve never lacked a shoulder to cry on, an ear to hear my thoughts nor arms to comfort me. Such people make your life worth living for.

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