Monday, October 29, 2012

What do I want to be when I grow up?

Excerpt from the book 'Holes In My Gas Tank'

It’s funny how you know at a very young age what you should become when you grow up. Does God instill that passion, or is it part of our DNA make-up?
 I loved getting dressed up in costume and putting on plays or ‘Shows’ for my parents and their friends at dinner parties. The rest of the cast (kids) and I would arrange a story to tell; get dressed in mom and dads old clothes then act out our story on a make believe stage.
 Grade school was similar, my friends and classmates and I would write out plays, practice and then act them out in front of the class. I loved going to school because of this, until second grade.
 A horrible thing happened to me and the incident became the downfall of my acting career. I know, grade two may seem a little young to think about a career change, or a career for that matter, but in the course of a few months, a deep sense of shame was thrust upon me that second year of grade school, and my first reaction was to run. I ran and gave up on my dream.
 I portrayed the head of the household, a.k.a. father, in our little play at school and my friend was the family dog. Our Teacher loved the play so much that she asked us to perform it on the Big Stage for the rest of the school at the next assembly.
 Tensions were high among my fellow actors; nerves were drawn tight that fateful morning of our d├ębut.
 “What was my line again?” the dog asked.
 “You don’t have any, stupid! You’re the DOG!” my fellow patriot in the arts cried out. She was practicing and getting into ‘character’ for her maternal portrayal of the lady pack leader and mother.
 It was organized chaos behind the curtain before our first scene. A hush fell among the artists as the curtain slowly opened. There was a momentary pause and then the scene began. The first half of the show went well. We all knew it. A pride set in. Perhaps we got a little cocky? That’s why the second act went awry. We got sloppy.
 Scene 2, second act; the dog had to jump up onto the pack leader. That happened to be me. I wasn’t paying attention. I was looking out into the crowd. Looking for the familiar faces of my friends. Looking for approval.
I saw her, the dog, come at me from the corner of my eye. I saw her too late! She couldn’t slow down. I was supposed to catch her. She lost her footing. She was about to fall off the stage when she grabbed me. She took a hold of my stretchy 1972 polyester elasticized pants when she went down.  There was no belt to hold up my pants. There were no suspenders to keep them up. The dog fell, so did my pants, in front of the whole school. I never acted again, until recently, 30 years later.
 There’s a movie called ‘The Bucket List’. I made myself a list like that after my Uncle died a few years ago. On this list was to take an Acting class. I did and I LOVED IT. It felt as if I were finally doing what God created me to do.  This was who I was, what I was meant to do all along. Write and Act. It was a revelation. How does an accounts receivables technician for the past 13 years just drop everything and take up this passion? It’s illogical to drop all and hit the thespian road. I couldn’t do it. Not yet. Money Honey. It’s what pays the bills and puts food on the table.
 “Sometimes you need to leap,” Krista, my friend advised, “You need to show God You are willing to move towards being obedient to him.”
“I can’t,” I replied, “Don’t throw away the old pair of shoes before you buy a new pair.” My parents instilled this into my being.
“I can’t just quit my job and start writing.   It’s absurd!”
 “You’ve got to trust.”
 “I don’t even know for sure it’s what God wants. What if it’s just what I want?” I knew that statement wasn’t true. Deep in my heart I knew God wanted me to write and inspire other women and help children.
 I was at a Women of Faith Conference in Vancouver when God told me what he wanted of me. I gave my life, again, to Christ there. In the midst of these hundreds of women praying and loving, unconditionally, I found Him again. And as I watched Nicole Johnson, doing a skit on stage, Gods told me, “That is what I want you to do.”
 What I told my friend and sister in Christ was a lie, I did know what God wanted of me but I was stalling. Fear held me captive; she knew it too.
 “Jump Anuschka, He will catch you.”
 “I can’t.”

This was written a few years ago and although, I haven't jumped off the edge, I have put on a harness and I am now hanging off the edge, slowly belaying my way. I'm not a blind jumper. I've come to realize that this is the way I am. I'm a slow mover, researching every aspect of something before I ease my way into it. Since I wrote those words 4 years ago, I have acted in 2 Mary and Martha plays with my friend Krista at 2 woman's retreats and I have spoken a few times at Celebrate Recovery. Sometimes, it's a slow process and I've come to realize that this is OK. It's given me time to grow and learn and it's given me time to get to know the Dream Giver a little better.

I have stopped saying, "I can't." It's changed to words like, "Maybe not now, but soon." Or, "I still need to learn a few more things before God will open up that door." And I really do, still need to learn a lot, because just the other day I slipped a bit. I took a survey. A survey on Facebook that was based on the date of my birthday and it would tell me what jobs I would be good at and what I was born to do. 
- Housekeeper (LOL!)
- Nurse
- Caregiver
- Home Decorator/Interior Designer (LOL!)
- Healer
- Nanny
Although, some items on this list are not far off from what is instinctual for me and I could see myself doing this job, I am still shaking my head as to why I took that survey in the first place. Instead of trusting God, I looked to the world to tell me what my Creator had in mind for me to do, and for just a moment (actually a few moments), I second guessed the dream. I got confused again and I wondered, "is this really what God wants me to do? Because maybe... just maybe... He really wanted me to be a Interior Designer?" 

(You can stop laughing now, Krista, Betty and Tamara! - the D4N's ladies who have had coffee at my house - they know the truth). 

Sometimes change is fast and furious,
Sometimes change takes time.

Prepare your mind for action,
Prepare your will for self-control.
Set your hope on the grace been given to you,
and be holy in all you do. (Paraphrase 1 Peter 1:13-16)

“We have not yet been shown what we will be in the future…. But… we will be like Him.” (1John 3:2).

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Joy Comes In The Morning

There's a song by Jesus Culture that goes, "there may be pain in the night but joy comes in the morning."

A few nights ago I found myself alone and feeling a little sorry for myself. A little pity party for just me, myself and I. It didn't last long. The personal pity parties have been fewer and fewer these days because I am gently reminded to give the garbage I'm holding onto away. See video 'Trash' below.

In the morning, I felt better. I took the dog to the dyke and as I watched her run through the tall grass a thought stuck me. As thoughts often do, they come without warning sometimes, and I was unprepared, no pad or pencil. So, I'll relay those thoughts, from memory, as best as I can.

"Angel's happy!" She looked ecstatic. Joyfully running circles around me. I realized she was happy because I had brought her to the place she was born to be in. Tall grass, marshland, water, and the home to wild animals (I did see a bear there a couple of days ago with her cub and the salmon are spawning). She's part Louisiana Catahoula Leopard dog mix with, Labrador and Australian Shepard. Catahoula's were breed to hunt wild boar in the bijou's, the marsh's and tall grass and although she wasn't hunting, that morning, she was herding and running circles around me just as an Australian Shepard might do. She was doing what she was born to do.
My daughter Alora had that same sparkle of joy when she was jumping a horse over 2'6 foot fences at the Pony Club games a few weeks ago. Rene has that spark in his eyes when he's on an adventure or needs to McGiver a solution to fix a problem. Kalina has it when she's working on an experiment or when she's explaining a good book she's read.
Each of us was born for a purpose and when that purpose is unclear we flounder through life confused listening to what other people think we should do. In the process, feeling discontent and disappointed.

God made each of us for a purpose. He gifted us with dreams and idea's to fill and accomplish, and he gave us the tools we need to make those dreams come true. Because we live in a fallen world, we don't always have the daily opportunity to follow that dream. There are bills to pay, children to feed, perhaps even a sickness to get through and we get side-tracked from the vision God gave us.  We have responsibilities and the side path you may be on is necessary because we do not live this adventure alone and there are others who rely on us. But, just as there are season's in a year, there are also season's in our lives. Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.

There are times when we wish the summer was here already, yet it's only 2 days into winter.
There are days when I wished I had more time to research and write.
There are days that I wish I had already written many books and a few screen plays and I wish that I was making an income from these things so I could have time to concentrate on writing more.

But, it's not my season yet and I must be honest here, I don't always know if it will ever come. Hence, the pity parties. In those clear times, when I am focused on God, I know He wants me to write people's stories. He wants me to write words to tell people that they are not alone. They are loved. If one of these stories equips someone with a seed of hope and gives them strength, then I've done the job God wants me to do. I feel that spark of joy. I feel it now as I write these words to you.

This give and take is a hard balance sometimes and there were times when I felt terribly confused. I may have given myself and my time to others too much, listening to them instead of to God. However, on the flip side, when I'm too self-focused I end up not seeing others, and I don't help them with their need. Tough to balance, and it probably takes a lifetime to fine tune. But, this is how life goes, it's a roller coaster ride of great lows and disappointments, great highs of joy and everything in-between.
Perhaps, those 'highs' we get to experience are extra special only because of the 'low' places we've walked. A roller coaster wouldn't be much fun if it only had highs and no lows. The same is true for our lives.

A last thought:
Maybe the 'high' times of joy come more often when our attitude through the 'low' times are full of integrity, peace, grace, mercy, forgiveness and love?

1 Thessalonians 5:16
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

Maybe, that's what being 'free' means?

What do you think?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

35 PSI - Pressure, Seriously, Intense

"The car's tire needs air," said my husband as I was about to drive away. I was late and feeling a little rushed.
"HUH?" I asked, not knowing which tire, how much air and where do I do this. I don't think I've ever put air into a car tire before, bicycle yes, car no. I must have looked confused, because my husband rolled his eyes at me.
"If you don't do it tonight, that means I have to do it at 2:30am tomorrow morning."
"I'll do it," I said, "but where and how much air?" I looked at the clock on the dashboard of my little Toyota Corolla and sighed. I had 05 minutes to get to where I needed to be and it was a 15 minute drive to get there.
"Can I do it after? I'm late."
"Yes. Save-On-Gas, the air is free and 35 PSI."
"Okay, remember the number 35." I said out loud. My husband heard me and wrote a number 35 in the dust on the front hood of the car. This was last Tuesday, it may still be there?

All evening I was wondering what PSI stood for:
- Pretty, sound, information
- Possible, serious, impression
- Pretentious, state of impatience

Nothing I came up with had anything remotely to do with air and how it goes into a tire. Now, I was tired. It had been one of those long days, actually, long months truth be told and I was feeling a little run down. Perhaps, just as flat as my tire. I was running low and avoiding the place where I could fill up again.
I stopped reading the Bible, I stopped praying everyday, I stopped going to church and I avoided other Christians as best I could. Why? Perhaps, because I didn't want them to see why I was so down in the dumps. Maybe, because I didn't want to have to explain it and I didn't want to be known as a complainer and a constant whinnier. I just wanted it to go away.
I had a string of bad luck all summer long and I was not coping with it well. In fact I was a little angry with the big guy upstairs, too. Why was God doing this to me? I felt like an Egyptian in the time of Moses.
"It's supposed to come in 3's!" I yelled out. Were up to 8 or 9 now.
Does anyone have some  Lambs blood to put over my door before the 10th plague hits us?

For the last couple of months I have felt like I've been under some seriously intense pressure.

Hey... PSI (Pressure, Seriously, Intense), that's what PSI stands for! PSI was my malady. Now, what's the cure?

That evening after my appointment, I rolled into Save-On-Gas. I checked the pressure on the flat tire, it was at 20 PSI. Then, I placed the air hose thingy on the wheel thing-a-ma-bob to fill the tire. A few moments later I noticed the tire looked flatter. I checked the pressure again. It was down to 10 PSI. WHAT?
"Isn't it supposed to go up in pressure when filling it?"
"Mom, do you want me to ask the attendant?"
"No, no... I'll figure it out... give me a few moments." A few moments passed and it was now down to 5 PSI.
"What the heck is going on! The thingy and the thing-a-ma-bob were connected properly!" The PSI inside me was building. My daughter ignored her stubborn Mother and went in to ask the attendant about the air hose and why our tire was getting flatter instead of fuller.
"It should work now Mom, try again." It seemed the air hose generator was turned off for the night. In a few minutes the tire was up to 35 PSI and my PSI was released.

The cure for a high PSI level is not a stubbornness to fix it yourself. It's asking for help. And, if you can't ask for it yourself, to have someone in your life bold enough to ask for you.

May God fill you with strength to be able to let go and ask for help, and may he surround you with bold and loving people.

Thank-you God!


PS: PSI is a unit of pressure - pounds per square inch

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The 10th Commandment

Everyone knows them, even unbelievers I would suggest to say. So why did I as a Christian have difficulty with the 10th one?

My daughter started school last month in a neighbouring town. Being the manager of Mom's Taxi Service, I was recruited for the job of driving her to and from school. Within the first 2 weeks, I began to noticed the beautiful houses near the school and my mind wondered what it would be like to live in one of these luxurious homes.
Over the weeks I found myself desiring to live in one of them. I began to imagine all sorts of things on those drives to and from school, and I began to justify why it was a good idea to move.
Then I realized that these thoughts were my desires and that I did not have a thankful heart for what God had already given me. I was coveting material things.

Exodus 20:17 "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that [is] thy neighbour's."

Smack dab in the middle of all this wanting, the Lord put a devotion in front of me about coveting. It was a light bulb moment for me, however, it did not take the desire out of my heart. At the end of that second week I went for a walk with my Christian Aunt and I poured out my heart, my desire, and sin to her.
The following week when I drove my daughter to school the desire was gone. By talking about it, out loud to a fellow Christian, it made me accountable and then, and only then, God could do his magic and help take that desire away.

Thank-you God!