Angel Strong

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. –Ephesians 2:8-9

Believe in GodWhen things hit the fan, most of the people who had been around for years bailed out. I do not blame them. For the sake of survival, in the case of  the “fright and flight” response, many times the “fright” switch goes off in the strongest of human beings because we really are “only human.” Vulnerability threads us together.

My fright and flight switch toggled but, thank God, I was in for the fight. A sense of love kept me grounded during some crucial moments. Whenever my faith plummeted, angels flew into my life to let me know that no matter how deserted I felt, I was not abandoned. Sure, from the start, there are a couple of “pins” that still remain intact. My dearest friend Pat, for whom I am eternally grateful, literally saved me from a couple of gun-in-the-mouth moments. A lot of people said they’d “be there.” Pat said she would “be there,” but really was there. Broken down vehicles, car accidents, illnesses, we knew who to call to get a last-minute lift, pick up a prescription and the like… .She never seemed inconvenienced, irritated or angry at taking the time out of her super busy life to “be there.”

Then there was my angel banker. He took hours of time out of his busy schedule. There was a very critical time (or two!) when I really thought he was going to have a complete meltdown with one of the supervisors by fighting on my behalf. I’d go into his foxhole any day.

The first significant sign, in fact, came right when everything went tumbling down. It came in form of a fellow elevator passenger. I did not know this woman nor have I ever seen her again, but I can hear her voice often.

“The world in spinning right now for everyone, darling. We all want to get off, but we have to hang on.”

Don’t ask me how she knew my world was spinning; actually thrown completely out of orbit, her words conveyed what I needed to hear at that time, which was “You are not alone.” She the first angel in a long list that kept me holding on; sometimes with bruised and bloody fingers, but grasping to survive another moment in the hopes that it would lead me to a new day unveiled with a glorious sunset…and when the clouds, rain and bad weather met the dawn, the angels that “miraculously” appeared gave me a healthy dose of Vitamin D.

Going thru a lot of angst and disappointment, I would be a liar if I said I had hope. At least in the sense that I used to have it, but I do believe that I can cruise forward, hang on even when all I have to grip is the tippy-tip of an angel’s wing.

Until next time….Faith forward!1195425090647322028PeterM_Angel_wings_5_svg_med

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Believe, just believe

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. –Romans 12:2 

HumilitySince my divorce proceedings in 2010, I have been trying to save my house. Down to the wire, my former husband will not cooperate in the process. PERIOD. Finger pointing, to me, is part of politics; a total waste of productive time.

On my end, to work with a bank is like having a second job—one in which you do a lot of overtime! Then the process stalks you all day…deep into your nighttime dreams—or shall I say nightmares.

Wait a minutes. WTF…where’s the faith here? Okay, Lord, thank you for this opportunity. I get to pack up a household and leave the premises, not having the foggiest notion where I am going. Yet another good-bye that I am totally powerless over….Oh, that’s right, this is a temporary setback. So why does it feel like I am about to walk off the face of the moon?…the ride down is one-way, not picturesque and definite.

Oops, there I go again. Not Believing that God is watching out for me. I need to praise Him and thank Him for the memories….

Losing houses, marriages and the like, it’s not just about bare-bone statistics. Statistics are meaningless next to a heartbeat of a person. A house is as good as its people; it evokes the times that made you feel secure, alive and thriving—so removed from just surviving. It’s about baking “Welcome Home” cookies on the first day of nearly every year of grammar school. Remembering the times you stayed up until 2 a.m. preparing for the best Easter egg hunt on the block. Visualizing your six-year-old daughter dancing around the kitchen like a hula dancer in her Brownie uniform. Recalling your seven-year-old son frantically turning his closet upside down trying to find his neckerchief slide so he could properly complete his Cub Scout uniform–for the tenth billionth time! Memories that take you back to painting the bedroom with your now former spouse and your best friend and going beyond the tiredness, knowing the chosen color was perfect and would last for years…years…a stretch of time that felt so comfortably forever. It’s about sitting on the couch in the playroom long after the kids had gone to bed and sitting with your former spouse, crying, saying, “I’m sorry. I love you.”

I suppose beyond wanting stability for the kids, the pets, beyond it all, my house holds a piece of our innocence. Our youth. A hope of tomorrow. A joy knowing that love once existed here—and still does in another, wonderful, but very different way.

Late last night, in my melancholy of telling myself yet again that nothing stays the same (unless we are insane believing so!), I came upon a very healing post…one that tells me He is watching over me…when I have a hard time watching for Him. I thank a very gifted fellow blogger and photographer for writing this post. Let me take the liberty to share a little of it.

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“I’ve been learning that life is fleeting.  We often realize that as a result of tragedy…allow your sorrow to spur you, not to bitterness, but push through it to the lesson, which will make you stronger. I lived my life as a unbeliever for 33 years and during those years, try as I might, I could never figure out how to do that.  But with the Holy Spirit living inside of us, we can forgive, be healed of the loss, grasp the lesson, and move on. Everyone has pain…it is the privilege of the Believer to reap a great harvest from it. Life is fleeting, don’t miss it!”

90327119_bd17bf7c49As painful as it all has been these last few years, I’ve taken a front seat and haven’t missed out. When people say, “live life fully,” do they really mean to pick and choose? Would that even be possible? To me, I have to remember, life is an experience. Good. Bad. All the gray. To live life fully is to embrace it all. I recall the words, “Nothing absolutely nothing happens in God’s perfect world by mistake.”

At this point I can really say, what a roller coaster…and what a glorious, thrilling ride it has been…and is. I am so grateful that I have had a seat reserved especially for me! I can’t wait to witness what’s around the next bend. I do Believe…divinity will greet me.

Until next time….Faith forward!

Fast-forward “reel” life

Whatever is born of God overcomes the world. I am born of God and I overcome the world. This is the victory that overcomes the world, even my faith. —1 John 5:4

thCAN5LS78computer  Last weekend, there was a glitch in my computer, and I was unable to get the desktop program up on the screen. Typically, I am an obsessive nut when it comes to troubleshooting computers, but by 1 a.m. on Sunday morning, I called it quits on trying to figure out what was wrong with the computer. I shut the office door to the mega pile of computer-related work that layered my desk.

I woke up Sunday and asked myself, “Where’s the faith?”happy-computer-clip-art

Immediately, a peace came over me. I knew it would be okay. As much as I wanted to skip church and, instead, seek a computer expert, I fast-forwarded my reel of life, and I visualized the computer functioning later that day when I needed it to get caught up on paperwork! Then I thought in tactical terms. How much fear did I have? (For me, any struggle—large or small—in my life, boils down to the fear factor.)

I calculated the situation as follows on a one to ten scale. The hard drive on my computer could have crashed; on a one to ten scale, ten being the most fear, this came out a TEN! I doubted, however, that this was the case, because I did see some of my software in place. This lowered the fear factor to a six. Then I thought of possible computer people/companies that could help me solve the problem and get my computer up pronto. That comforting thought wheedled the fear factor down by one. I summed up my fear factor at about a five. Tactically, I had to get a five or higher of faith to buffer and/or override the fear factor. I closed my eyes and visualized again the computer functioning and asked God to guide and direct me.

In church, I noticed a man who was an IT specialist. He had to be the answer. After church, the IT expert basically brushed me off! My fear factor went back up a notch. I countered it with turning the Faith-O-Meter up a notch…”God help me.”

Later, driving home on my road, I saw my neighbor and after chatting with him awhile and sharing my computer woes, he said, “Well, you are in luck. This is my son’s last day here before he moves out of town later today!”

He was referring to his son, another IT specialist, a recent college grad, who had found out-of-town employment in his field. Well, fast-forward to a couple of hours later, and my earlier affirmation had come true to life. My computer was up and running.

Two days later, back to crisis mode. After a rough three-year road, we may lose our house after all. In a nutshell, my –ex won’t sign some papers. That’s it. Fear factor? About a “3” today. Sure, when I initially received the news, the fear factor was about to bullet off the scale, but then, miraculously, I kept thinking about this blog post, which I had been in the process of writing. “Come on WTF? Where’s the Faith-O-Meter?” That’s all I could think of. I’ve had a couple of fantastic friends by my side (you know who you are!) Thank you! Thank you!

Hurt people hurt. That’s all I have to say. I am the victor not the victim.

So, here’s my Fast-forward “reel life.”

Under the watchful, caring eye of the Great One, I am lounging somewhere on one of the Hawaiian Islands with my soul mate…mango juice in hand. My kids are playing sand volleyball with a ball that looks strangely familiar to a pineapple. The rest of the family and friends are doing the hula. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” followed by White Sandy Beach and then What a Wonderful World by my all-time favorite artist IZ (Israel Kamakawiwo’ole) wafts through the scene. No slice of life can get better than in affirmation time.

Until next time….Faith forward!

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My name is Stacy, and I am an Analysis Paralysis Junkie

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered.

“I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”Mark 11.22-24

486700646_5a6c7cb706I have another confession. I am an Analysis Paralysis junkie.

It is not so much a defense mechanism I use in order to procrastinate on things as it is to throw myself into a whirling dervish.

Go-to source Wikipedia provides a comprehensive description of the state.

A couple of weeks ago the state threw me into the throes of this zany mindset.

My thoughts fell loosely into the Personal Analysis category in which Wikipedia defines, “Casual analysis paralysis can occur during the process of trying to make personal decisions if the decision-maker overanalyzes the circumstance with which they are faced. When this happens, the sheer volume of analysis overwhelms the decision-maker, weighing him or her down so much they feel overwhelmed with the task and is thus unable to come to a rational conclusion.”

The only difference was that there was no decision to be made. I began over-analyzing a current state of affairs. Before you know it, I was in the “What if my job phases out?” “What if I lose the people I really care about?” stage.

Granted, a part of this obsessive, unhealthy thinking may stem from the fact that I am still teetering from some major setbacks.  Another part is because I am afraid. Afraid to lose what I have worked so hard to get/hold onto. Afraid that I’ll never shift out of crisis mode. You know, that old adage about “waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

To make matters dire, someone reminded me that my thoughts manifest into my behavior that creates the reality around me. Although there is a lot of pop psych about this brand of positive thinking, it can be traced back to the bible as quoted above,” Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

So, back to a couple of weeks ago: I’m a whirling dervish, over analyzing, feeding on my Analysis Paralysis addiction and making myself and anyone with a listening ear CRAZED. The outcome amounted to nothing—nothing earth shattering happened. I still have a roof over my head. Food. Friends. A pretty nice Jersey Strong to lean on.

The thing I did lose, however, by allowing Analysis Paralysis to overtake my week was my physical and mental well-being. I was tired, drained; thus, I could not accomplish some of my routine chores, and I was by no means present to the ones I love in the manner I like to be. The result was that I had to cancel some pleasure time in order to play weekend catch-up.

The problem with Analysis Paralysis for me is that it kicks me to the abyss of a swampland. There I spend idyll time stuck, going under, sinking while the rest of the world moves on.

To have faith is to trust in the process of the good. Unlike a swamp-like, sinking environment, it is a positive forward movement, which nourishes our needs.

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

This is a positive affirmation if I ever heard one. We don’t say things like “have a little faith” and mean that the barrel of a gun awaits!”

Of course when I pick up my Analysis Paralysis addiction, I pick up my imaginary gun; it may not be real, but it is still a hazard.

The best defense for me is a three-P approach:

Prayer…

Positive People

Actually…four, Patience.

I am currently in remission. Things are looking up. I hope.  I’m thinking…oops, that’s one of my downfalls.