Why do I have to be normal?

I have never really led what you would consider a normal life.  As a matter of fact, I have not ever led anything close to it. Even though society has this ‘bubble’ it would like to keep me in, I just have a very difficult time doing that. I have always dreamed big, loved much and forgiven unconditionally.  I have also striven to learn everything I am interested in.  I am not afraid of deep water, snowy mountains or being alone.  I am terrified of people and their ability to hurt one another with just the smallest acts of carelessness.  However, I am not afraid of what they think of me at all.

These things have set me apart somehow.  Sometimes I swear I connect more to the universe than I do people.  I can look at the moon and literally feel it’s presence alone soothe me.  Yet, there are people that make me feel calmer or comforted but I am always hesitant to truly let them in to my heart.  I have many acquaintances as a result of this and the people I have let in, some involuntarily, don’t realize what a rarity it really is.  They don’t realize what it really takes for me to trust.

The normal thing to do here, would be to talk to someone I suppose, but I really feel like my life  is at it’s biggest risk when it is in the hands of others.  So, this is where I was stuck. I was hesitant to open my eyes to all the possibilities in my life because I always thought somehow, it had to be ‘okay’ with others to pursue it.  I was always under the impression that I had to include other people in my decision to enjoy my life.  Because I knew it would not be supported by those around me, not because they don’t love me but for lack of understanding why this was so important to me, I decided to ask God to just make the way.  He did.

I am not a quiet person, yet, I often did not speak how I really felt.  When people would ask how I was, I would always say, “Good!” Followed by something I was numbly blessed with.  I knew I had been blessed, but I just felt like I couldn’t tap into the spiritual end of things.  In other words, I knew I was blessed, but I just wasn’t ‘feeling’ it.  I wasn’t honest about my struggles or how alone I truly felt.  No one would understand, and no one really cared.  When I would give anything but that perfect answer, I would see a reaction I wasn’t fond of.  Pity maybe? I don’t know, but I didn’t like it.  So, I just quit being honest.  I still do this once in a while when I am struggling with trusting that specific person.

I felt God calling me.  I felt Him telling me that He had a plan for me and that the fear I was living in, was not a part of it.  He was calling me to more and I was totally freaking out!  So many times before when God called me, even though the blessings were great, the trials were exhausting and usually life threatening to me or a loved one.  I was hesitant in welcoming this calling and it worked… well, actually… okay, it didn’t work.

So, I went on this internal missions trip where we brought a VBS to a church whom desperately needed one.  We were fully staffed and had more volunteers than what we knew what to do with. During this missions trip, I was faced with some facts about myself.  I didn’t know myself, I didn’t like myself, and I didn’t trust myself.  This was a difficult thing to realize as I am a ‘leader’ of children, peers and loved ones.

During this trip, I experienced so many things, I was not prepared for.  I experienced unconditional kindness, patience, forgiveness, adventure, and encouragement.  I felt.  I know that seems so silly but I was used to up until this point, not being affected much by people outside of my immediate family. I was moved by them and their stories, but I had never been the direct recipient of these things.It changed me.  It was a confirmation from God that yes, I would be growing but for once, it wouldn’t make me wonder every day if I was going to survive it.  God had good things in store for me.

Sure enough, He blessed me.  I did a spiritual 180 and suddenly I was being faced with more joy than I had ever felt before.  I saw everything brighter, bolder, more beautiful.  The smallest things became life changing moments for me.  From a game of cards on the floor that lasted half way through the night, to grabbing an iced coffee at a little market down the road.  I could feel God breathing life into me.  I could feel his hands caressing me and telling me to just “Open your eyes.” which I did. Oh, how glorious everything seemed to be!

Smells became more aromatic, food tasted better, clothes were more comfortable and jokes just seemed so damn funny.  It was like God had walked straight up to me, bent down and  blew life right into my body. I had come to life.  I had changed.  It wasn’t like a camp high or mission high where you come home and it just slowly fades away.  This was a life altering, from the bottom of my feet to the top of my head, change.

Well, what ended up happening was that I came home changed.  God had taken all the craziness in my life, all the heartache, all the sadness, all the victories and celebratory moments and brought them together.  He made it so clear, I needed them to appreciate what He was giving me.  Another chance.  A chance to love unconditionally, to be patient, and to show grace even when I was hurt.  A beautiful spiritual hurricane was alive in me and there was no going back.

After we got home, this fire just got bigger.  I pursued life as never before.  With intent and purpose.  There was only one problem.  No one else was feeling what I was feeling in my heart and it seemed like I was losing my mind.  I was asked if I was going through a midlife crisis, if I was going crazy and if I had taken up drinking. It was so funny! The changes I had underwent were not experienced by those around me so naturally, they panicked a little… okay, a lot.

In embracing this new life, one person asked me, “Why can’t you just be normal?” It’s funny how the best I had ever felt, living fearlessly and confidently was the red flag here.  Didn’t everyone know that to me, THIS is normal.  This is how life was really intended to be… Alive!!!  It brought about a new question for me.  Why am I constantly trying to be normal for others to accept me? ‘Normal’ people bored me. Why was I trying to be accepted by normal people?

Well, I’m not and I am SO GLAD for it! By focusing on God and the amazing adventures that He has planned for me, I was blessed time and time again with the beauty of being alive.  I hit several walls that tried to knock me backwards, but every time, I was saved! I have been LOVING LIFE!  I continue to experience kindness, love, encouragement and all those things, and pretty much by the same people God used over the Summer.  So many seeds were planted in my heart and so many of them are already growing!  I love it!

Had I tried to be ‘normal’, I would have missed so many things.  Hikes, sunsets, sunrises, swinging on a rope, trips to the river, swimming in the lake, bbqs with close friends and amazing road trips!  I would still be missing them…  No thanks! 🙂  I choose life! I choose craziness and deep conversations.  I choose strolls through fields in the moonlight.  I choose coffee with a friend instead of a spotless house.  I choose laughing with my kids over trying to make them normal. I love late night texts and early morning visits.  It is different every day and man, it is so worth it.  My heart beats fast every time I think of some of these adventures.  They literally have changed everything for me.

My life will never be the same.  Thank GOD! 🙂   I just want to encourage you to take your life back as well, and stop trying to be NORMAL!!! You won’t regret it.  You will not regret choosing to LIVE rather than just exist! Living a godly life does not mean living a boring life. 🙂

Today, I am not going to edit or proofread this post.  Just going to send it as it came out!  I also am going to leave you with this scripture…

O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.  Psalm 34:8

Sigh… Love this word…

Thanks for reading!

Blessings!
Angie 🙂

A Visit With Friends!

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In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, sometimes I forget how important it is to spend time with friends.  A recent visit from friends brought this fact to the top of my awareness bubble.  It was so sweet to just sit and relax and visit.  Even though the visit felt like it ended too soon, it was such a blessing!

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I am surrounded by people every day, all day, but what I don’t do enough is just embrace special moments with those people.  I get so wrapped up in what ‘needs’ to be done that I forget what really matters. Taking the time to absorb life rather than just doing life.  There is just something about an absolutely adorable, sleeping baby that makes these realizations surface.  Isn’t he cute!

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Think of how you feel when you see a beautiful smile on a friends face.  It’s like a little ray of sunshine piercing through the window, making the whole room brighter!

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My favorite part of having friends with kids is the atmosphere.  I remember my parents being distraught when we had friends over and wholly expected to feel that way as an adult as well, but I don’t. There is so much life and humor in these kids, that I can’t imagine a life without them.  I love their laughter, excitement over tiny things, corny jokes, and silly stories.  It’s a priceless addition to living!

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Life… Drink it all in…

Proverbs 27:9
The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.

True Friends Strengthen and Help Each Other 
Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. (NLT)

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Here’s to visiting with friends!

~Angie~

Cleansed

Image While I am very aware that this entry should be titled, Return of the Dead, I felt that focusing on what has happened in the months I have been away is much less important than what has happened in the last few weeks.

I love to write.  It is why I am here, you are here, we are here… but the problem is that I am used to being a ‘closet’ writer.  I struggle with knowing how to say what I need to say because I am so worried about offending people, causing conflict or being misunderstood.  I have been urged for years to blog, have spoke at a few public events, and still, I just couldn’t seem to get past this toxic feeling that I really didn’t have anything that great to say or it was going to make too many waves, so what was the point of doing it publicly?

The truth is this… I am a dirty writer!  I write about things that are controversial, I don’t always punctuate properly and I usually speak ‘too openly’ of my personal experiences.  I’m not easily embarrassed and I don’t really mind talking openly about things that gross me out, whether it is physically or spiritually, or whatever. The problem is that I am open and blunt and confident in my opinions, just not in sharing them publicly.

I thought that God was calling me to write publicly because He was going to do something amazing to me to make my writings worth enduring.  I see now, that is NOT the case! God has already done amazing things in my life and He wants me to be honest about the things I have gone through and how I really feel about them.  I hope that people will jump in and correct me when I’m wrong… I want people to share their opinions about my situations or the situations I present.  I don’t want to be who I was a year ago.  I don’t even want to be the same person I was yesterday!  I finally get it!

Like clear, fresh water running over my body, I feel like I can finally write again.  I have been cleansed of this biting fear that has kept me trapped in my own notebook.  I have been set free from the stickiness of the ink that has bound me to paper locked away for no one to see.  I finally get it and I want you to get it too!  I’m ready!

Hopefully… so are you!

Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure;
I am clean and without sin”?  Proverbs 20:9

Here’s to being cleansed every day for the rest of our lives!

See you soon!
Angie

Dream with your eyes open!

This morning, I wanted to remind everyone that there is always a beginning to all great things.  One of those things is the accomplishment of true equality.  We can share this country without violence.  We can share our days without hypocrisy.  We can love without conditions…

…and we CAN dream with our eyes wide open.

Take a few moments to appreciate the beginning of great things… to appreciate one who stood and spoke for many… one who lived what he preached…

Dream Big

MARTIN LUTHER KING

http://soundcloud.com/air1radio/i-have-a-dream-the-city

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8_1NYYKixM&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=smEqnnklfYs#!

Making dreams come true…

Angie

 

 

 

Who’s seat is this?

I love going to church. It’s probably one of my favorite things to do.  I look forward to taking a little extra time to get ready, to seeing the door greeters’ huge smile as he shakes my hand, and smelling the fresh coffee as I walk into the lobby. I love catching up with people who I don’t otherwise see through the week. Our pastor, associate pastors and guest speakers always leave me feeling like I heard the Lord’s message and not their own.

I also love to worship at church.  I love the excitement that comes every Sunday morning as I anticipate which songs we will sing and seeing the band all pumped up.   On choir Sundays, I love joining my friends in adding more voices to the worship team and watching the congregation raise their hands as we collectively worship the same One, the same Savior, the same God.  When church is over, I don’t want to leave.  I want to fellowship with those I have never met as well as those I know well.

Church for me, is a place to come together with others who believe, from all walks of life, with different paths, all to reach the same goal… spiritual health and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  I don’t see myself as better than the person sitting next to me, and only on occasion do I find myself concerned with what they think of me.

I don’t always come in and mark my seat, (usually because I am chatting away with friends in the lobby or foyer, whatever you would call it) but very seldom do I ever come in and find my desired seat full.  I sit in the same row, in the same section, ninety-nine percent of the time.  When my husband is in town from work, he usually saves our seat by sitting there and putting my bible next to him and waits patiently, visiting with those around him, until the worship music starts.  We chose our seats because we are a people, easily distracted.  I am distracted having people in front of me because I am constantly making notes to talk to this person about that, and that person about this, or reminded of a prayer I meant to say about whom.  These aren’t bad things, but things that I tend to wander off in thought about and sometimes miss important parts of the sermon.  My husband however, just simply gets distracted and once he loses focus, it’s difficult to get it back.  So, we originally chose to sit where no one else was regularly sitting.  In the second row from the front.  I usually sit toward the inside so people can discreetly find a quick seat by the aisle if they come in late.

So, knowing these things about me I would like to quickly share what happened to me last Sunday…

I was busy visiting in the lobby with friends and giving my apologies for not attending choir this particular Sunday as I struggled with a horrible headache the night before.  I grabbed a cup of coffee, vanilla hazelnut as usual, with just 2 packets of sweetener and cream.  As I walked in, I noticed that all the seats but two on the outside were taken so I quickly moved toward the available seating excited to not have missed any of the worship songs yet.  As I set my belonging down, the people sitting in the next seats over started to grab their stuff and asked if I wanted to sit in their seats.  Panic struck me…  “Oh my gosh!”  I thought searching the row of people.  “Had I invited someone and forgotten and on top of that come in late and left them alone?!”  I searched the faces of the occupants of each seat one by one.  Nope… nothing was standing out.  I must have had a confused look on my face because the woman said apologetically, “We are in your seat.” …  I just stood there like a dummy, completely confused. I didn’t know what to say.  “We know this is where you usually sit.”  Realizing this couple was still waiting patiently for my answer, I quickly said, “Oh my gosh, sit, please.  I am fine right here, for real.”  and shot them a wide smile to assure them they had not in any way put me out.

As we all listened to the music start, I could feel my face get warm.  I was embarrassed that I had somehow unconsciously conveyed to those around me that this was where I sit, therefore, it is my seat.  Now, as the music played on, I rationalized that while this is where I normally sit, I have never complained or given any inclination that it was my ‘territory’ yet it was still perceived as such at least from this couples viewpoint. This got me thinking.  Do I see it as my seat? Who’s seat are we sitting in?  Who’s seat am I really sitting in?  Do we lay claim to our seat in life as our own or the One who gave us a seat to begin with?  Do we have a right to stake a claim to that of which is not ours to begin with?

With this thought in mind, I would like to share with you, a seat that is not only occupied but rightfully laid claim to.

God reigns over the nations; God is seated on His holy throne.  Psalm 47:8

I pray that in all the places we sit today, that we will remember Who’s seat we are really sitting in.  Thanks for stopping in!

~`~ Angie ~`~

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