The Two Questions

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Are you okay?

What’s wrong?

The top two questions are questions that I do not like. Questions that make me lie even though I am unaware that I am lying. The way you’d respond to the top two questions is pretty common. “Yes I’m fine, nothing is wrong” and we say this with a smirk or even a wide smile, in hopes that the person will believe us and leave us alone with our thoughts. I’ve learned to smile at social events, birthday parties, weddings, get together’s, and etc…I wear a smile in hopes of no one noticing the weariness on my face, and my tone, I up the tone in my voice to make me sound somewhat happy and cheery. Again, the last thing I want is for someone to ask me those two questions “Are you okay? What’s wrong?”.

There are days where I intentionally leave my phone in my purse, I see and converse with people on a daily basis at my workplace that my phone becomes a nuisance to me. I’m so tired, I’m tired of telling people to hold on while I’m barely hanging on myself. So what keeps me going? My 3-year-old niece, she holds an innocence that I miss dearly. I want her to grow with Jesus and to stay close to Him as much as possible. She is hope in my eyes, and the way she can make friends even when some reject her…she looks the other way and continues to play. She’s at an age where the things of this world doesn’t phase her, she doesn’t let anything bother her. There’s so much in store for her, and I want to be there for her every step of the way. I want to be a better person for her, and for those around me that love me and care for me.

I maybe tired physically, emotionally, and I maybe tired of being asked those two questions “Are you okay? What’s wrong?”. But I want to hold on for as long as I possibly can, I don’t want these demons that I wrestle with to win this battle. I hope and pray for the day that I can snap out of this deep depression that I am in, that I can live a life without having to worry about every little thing. I believe that I have a lot in store for myself as well, and I know God has plans for me that are beyond anything that I can ever imagine. I know He’s waiting for me to crawl out of my own pity party, and begin a life that is fully dedicated to Him and not myself. I must decrease so that He can increase. If I really want to see change within myself and with those around me, then I have to be the first one to move. I have to be honest when those two questions are asked “Are you okay? What’s wrong?“.

I have to be honest…I must be honest.

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Death & How We Lived

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“While I thought I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die.”

Leonardo da Vinci > Born April 15th, 1452 & Died May 2nd, 1519


Before I begin, I thought I should let you know that I work for a small community in Wisconsin. Whenever there is a death or a passing of a loved one, they share it with those who work in the community as a small gesture for anyone who would like to attend the funeral to pay their condolences.

Anyways…


About two weeks ago I received one of these emails in regards to someone who had passed away at an elderly home. He was 92 I believe, and I’ve never met him nor did I know anything about him. In the email it described his life and all that he accomplished while living, it also talked about the things that he enjoyed and loved doing. When I finished reading, I found myself quite emotional.

He was a 20 year Marine Corps veteran who served proudly in WW II, Korea, and Vietnam. He repaired and drove the M26 Pershing medium duty tank during the Korean conflict. After he retired from his military service, he moved his family to Campbell, CA and worked for a company there  that built the Bradley Tank. He was a mechanic and then became a welder of this armored vehicle. After his retirement, he moved with his wife to Wisconsin where they built their home and enjoyed their years of retirement.

The email described how he took pleasure doing many things in life; traveling, gardening, tending the yard/home and hobby of wood working. He also enjoyed playing dominos and laughing. His travels took him to see the marvelous sights of the U.S. He had a special place in his heart for this birth place and enjoyed visiting it when he had the opportunity. He also enjoyed visiting his children who resided out west. His youngest son, once he moved out he had located to Anchorage, AK which is where he enjoyed vacationing there to fish and enjoy the pristine sights of the state.

He was a sweet, loving man. He left a legacy with his family and he will be truly missed.


Maybe it was just me that day, but this really got to me. This mans obituary, even if it was summed up in an email, touched me in a way that life is precious. I began to think that if I died today, what would my obituary say? Would it sound anything like this, not exact, but would it touch someone the way this one touched me? In my honest opinion, I don’t think it would. It would probably be a bit pathetic and sad, maybe a bit depressing for some to read. Now I’m not saying that I dread my life in any way, but I know I haven’t been living to my full potential. I have so much to offer and yet, I allow my very self to get in the way. I allow these doubtful thoughts to enter into my head, making me feel like I have nothing to contribute to society. How do I want to be remembered? What is my dream?

I’m 24 years old and I’ve spent too much time trying to figure life out instead of actually living it. I wish I could be that person who just goes with the flow, to allow life happen as it should, and not worry about every little thing that faces me. If and when I die, I want people to remember as a good friend, a good daughter, a good sister, someone they looked up to. Just the other day I got down on one knee, eye level with my 3-year-old niece and told her this…”don’t grow up, stay little as possible. I’ll always be here for you, no matter what you may face in your lifetime…just know that I love you and I won’t let anybody hurt you.” As I stood up she looked up at me and said “really eeya?” I smiled and said “yes, really.”

I’m sure the 92-year-old man had some struggles in life, and even some tragedies that he had no control over. Yet he lived 92 years and passed away peacefully. I wish to live a long life, and that I would be able to look back and smile at everything that has happened to me. Life matters, you matter.

Are you happy with where you are right now? If not, what is stopping you from being happy?

 

Caving In

 

Drowning

You can only keep it together for so long. Finally, you come to a point where you just break. You feel the depression settling into your bones, and I mean you can physically feel it and it’s killing you slowly. All of the things that you hide begin to surface and those around you begin to notice, and now you can no longer keep your head up above the waters. You’re drowning in a sea of darkness. A sea that you’ve tried to pull yourself out of so many times already, and now you’re caving in…you’ve finally given up.


My pastor once said “the further you drift from God the harder it is to reach Him again”. And it isn’t because He left you, it’s because you left him and allowed the things of this world to shape and mold your heart.  People who have been in the church for quite some time have this expectancy that if you just give it all to God, if you just pray, things will get better. What they don’t understand is that it isn’t that easy, for some they just can’t cry out for help or spill out every single thing they’ve been struggling with. No. It takes time.

Today, I want to discuss a little bit about depression. Depression has become a drug, an addiction for some. To the point where happiness becomes a mask and loneliness becomes more of a comfort. Some of us have dealt with depression at a very young age, and we’ve grown and learned to mask some of our emotions so that others don’t notice. We become accustomed to the person we create for ourselves, this new identity fits us in a way, it feels like a safe haven for us. I believe this is what cripples us, when we hide what we feel for so long it eats away at us but we insist on suppressing it. We continue to live a life where we live as a person who is happy and loveable, but behind closed curtains we are someone completely different. It’s easy to hide from the world and those around you when you’re feeling some type of way. Overtime you begin to lose interest in a lot of things that you used to enjoy, things that used to bring you happiness and love. So what happened? 

The following information I’m about to share comes from the Mayo Clinic.

The persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest that characterizes major depression can lead to a range of behavioral and physical symptoms. These may include changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, concentration, daily behavior, or self-esteem. Depression can also be associated with thoughts of suicide.

Depression can come in many forms, sometimes it stays sometimes it goes away, and sometimes it only goes away for a little bit. We tend to make depression our friend, a friend whom we dislike but we just don’t know how to get rid of them. They’re the type of friend whom we’ve kicked out numerous of times and yet they somehow find their way back to us.

There are even some who have tried to reach out for help, but it’s frustrating when the other person doesn’t fully understand you or even where you’re coming from. My mother used to say to me when I would discuss my feelings with her “but you have God to turn to”. I know that, I know that 100%. It’s not that I don’t believe that God doesn’t hear me out when I pray or even cry, but it’s nice to actually tell someone whom you can physically see and know fully well that they understand you. There are moments where you just want to burst and tell someone what is actually going on in that head of yours, but we are quick to act on what they may think of us afterwards, or if they’ll even understand. It’s hard and it’s a struggle to reach out and talk with someone about what’s going on, it’s even harder to ask for help. When we feel stuck, when we don’t know what else to do, we shut down and become silent.

I can’t say that it gets easier, the way things are now and days makes our young people easy targets. This is how I see it, it’s becoming even more difficult to live in a world that is quickly deteriorating into nothing. People are wondering why suicide rates have gone up and why they keep increasing. What does it mean to actually listen to someone? What does it mean to help someone who is struggling? If you’re reading this, then know you have a purpose on this earth. You’re going to go through some stuff, you’re gonna wanna give up, and you’re gonna wanna walk away all because it’s too difficult for you to handle.

I want to end with this. There is nothing wrong with you, you are not worthless. You’re different from the rest which makes you stand out. Stop allowing the devil to cover your mouth, eyes, and ears. Continue to live life, continue to pray, and don’t let yourself or anyone else get in the way of your growth. This isn’t anyone else’s life, this is your life. Not everybody will understand, but you can be damn sure that this generation need more people like you. They need to feel that they’re not alone, and that by giving up doesn’t accomplish anything. Our young people want to feel understood and accepted despite their circumstances or whatever is they’re going through. So…

CONTINUE TO LIVE.

Facing Ourselves

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I believe God brings us to a place where there are no distractions, a place to break us from our own demons that lurk within. The ones that hide and that God knows that they need to come out. There has to be a willingness to let go of the things that haunt us, the things that keep us awake at night and that drain the life out of us during the day. Some of us fear people seeing us the way we see ourselves. I’ve learned that I’m not the only person who is hard on themselves and sees themselves as being unworthy at times.

It’s when we’re at our weakest that Satan comes and plays with our minds, making us believe and feel that we are incredibly worthless. A well-known Christian rapper once said during in an open interview “We continue to do the things that are wrong, yet we don’t do anything about it”. Some of us are scared to face our own demons, some of us would rather keep them hidden than deal with them. We continue on this walk in hopes of no one finding out of who we really are as a person. Who are we really when no one is around? What do we do when we’re all alone? You want to know something? God knows EVERYTHING that you do when the curtains are closed and no one is around. He knows every single thought, every feeling, and everything that you do.

There are some things that have a strong hold on us, things that make us feel like a prisoner and that we’ll never be free. Addictions that have consumed our lives, depression that keeps us quiet, and I could go on and on here. The thing is we have to be willing to get on our knees and ask God for help, and for guidance as we go through life. The spirits that we battle with come through our addictions. Example: An individual who never leaves their room because they are attached to their computer, it’s what keeps them company. It’s all they know, the only way they ever communicate with another human being. They become imprisoned by their addiction, and if confronted they become defensive.

We fight with ourselves daily, we fight with how we feel and how we act. It becomes a constant struggle for us, and when we feel the need to turn to God instead we turn away because for some reason that’s much easier to do. My pastor once said, “When you feel like not going to church, then that’s when you need to go to church”. Some of us refuse to leave the wilderness, some of us refuse to crawl out of our own hell. Then there are some (like me) who don’t take the time to pray, or even speak to God. I myself struggle with a lot of demons that I keep “hidden”, tucked away so no one knows that I even have them. At some point, I will have to come forward before God, and He will see everything. And I mean everything. All of the ugly, and the good. This is why He has given us this time, this opportunity, this instant to confess all that we’ve done. At some point we will have to face our demons whether we like it or not, in the end, it won’t be an option. We will see God face to face, and stand before Him in all His glory.

I will end with this. God loves you more than anyone ever could, He’ll embrace you like no one else has ever embraced you. He will tell you endlessly about how much He loves you, and how much He cares for you. He will remind you of how worthy you really are, and that no matter how dirty you feel He will wash you clean as snow. You are more than what you struggle with, than what you battle with. You have the freedom to rise up. So what will you do?

The Hunger for Honesty

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Truth, truth comes from those who have nothing to hide. Honesty comes from those who don’t fear humility. Sincerity comes from those who are not bound but free.

I hate honesty but I also crave it.

I’ve learned that there is a difference in hating honesty and wanting honesty. Most of us dislike when someone points something out about us that we know is true and we dislike it, even more, when we are exposed. Then there’s the type of honesty that we ourselves crave, the kind where we wish we could just be honest with someone for once. The kind of honesty that doesn’t necessarily pertain to us, but the type where we wish we could be more honest with people and with ourselves.

My devotion for this week ironically ties in with my blog, but it gears towards in being brutally honest with God. When we pray most of us only touch the surface, we never dive in deep and pull out the things that we truly struggle with. We only end up giving God a little piece of what is going on in our lives, and we never give Him the whole picture. Of course, He doesn’t have to ask since He knows all things, but He wants us to dig deep and be honest with Him for once. With God honesty is honesty, and truth is truth. Not only does God want to be engaged in our lives, and not only does he want intimacy with us, but He wants us to be honest with Him. He stands in front of us making eye contact while we’re looking all over the place, only because for some reason we’re afraid that He will know everything about us if we make eye contact back. Well, I hate to break to you but He knows what you try to hide underneath. He knows when you’re lying, and when you’re being honest.

The hunger for honesty for me personally is to be able to tell those how I really feel about something. Not in a rude manner, but in a respectful way without feeling guilty or ashamed. There are times where I feel compelled to help someone or be here and there at a specific time and I just can’t. I don’t have the heart to turn people away, even when the water is up to my neck I strive to stay afloat despite my weariness. If I could just be honest for once, I wonder if it would bring me any comfort or any relief. To be honest with God, to go beyond what I normally talk about with Him I haven’t done in such a long time. I myself must admit that I only touch the surface part when I’m in prayer or just speaking to Him.

What if we told God every single thing about us? What if we told Him every single lie we’ve ever made, every single thought, everything we’ve ever said, and every feeling we’ve ever felt? How about all the things we personally struggle with? It’s a choice to go beyond what we normally pray/tell God. Sometimes we just need to sit and be honest with ourselves for once, so honest that the tears start to flow and we don’t even know how to start the conversation with Him. Do you remember when God asked Peter 3 times if he loved him? Peter told God over and over “Yes Lord, you know I love” with an affirmative tone. Peter just said it because He knew that’s how he truly felt about God, but He wasn’t getting the big picture right away. God wanted Peter to realize that Peter would someday lead his people and that he needed to love unconditionally in order to be the leader that God called him to be. So when God asks us to be honest with Him, even if He just asks us one time. Then maybe He is trying to help us see the bigger picture here, and I can’t say what specifically since everyone’s walk is different. God is trying to lead us, but we let the things of everyday life get in the way and hinder us from making any time for God.

Just remember this…

Jesus cares when you feel like no one else does, and He listens to you when you feel like no one is listening. The best thing about talking with God is that He listens, and if we’re quiet enough He may just give us some answers. But remember we have to begin to be honest with Him. No more of this dipping our little toe in the water and that’s it type of conversations. We must immerse ourselves fully in His presence, even if we don’t know what to say right away. Eventually, the words will find you and God will be waiting there ever so patiently. It’s time to be honest, it’s time to be aware of where we stand in this life and who we are as a person.

Here’s one of NF’s songs that I just love. Raw and Honest. The link is below…

NF – Oh Lord

Our Real Weakness

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For so long I’ve felt like asking for help makes you weak and a lot of times I still feel that way, but as I get older I find that pretending you don’t need it is the real weakness.              NF

There are many people out there who struggle to ask others for help. Some of us struggle with all different types of things, and it’s even a bit more complex for those who struggle spiritually. Honestly, the last thing I want to do is burden someone else with my personal problems. The type of stuff that I should be able to bring to God, but even in that sense I still feel this shame come over me for even thinking about it. Anxiety can cause us from having to talk with someone, it can stop us from seeking the help that we really need.

We go through life showing people a side of us that they expect and want to see, while deep down we are crying out. The other day I had posted a little rant, and right off the bat people commented that I should take into consideration that the person may have been crying out for help. See now here’s the thing, I did feel like I contradicted myself in a way but finally realized that I didn’t. No. I didn’t mention any names in my rant or point my finger at anyone in particular. You can only help someone so much, and so many times before you realize that they won’t change. No matter how hard you try to be there for that person. It requires effort on their part as well, you can’t force someone to tell you what is wrong or handcuff them until they spill their guts out. We’re like that, we cry for help but never move from our seats. We expect someone to come to us, someone who will finally get it and understand what it is we’re going through.

I’m not saying I’m any better cause I’m not, I still struggle with asking for help when I need it. All that comes to mind is the shame, and feeling unworthy. Some would even call it being selfish. I constantly fail myself and those around me, and yet I don’t do anything about it. That’s because I refuse to get up off of this seat of mine, and go out and talk to those who may be able to relate to whatever it is I’m going through. It’s like there’s this invisible duct tape over my mouth, God takes it off and I put it right back on. Just the other day my mom came up and told me “Maria you have to stop being so hard on yourself and give yourself some credit every once in a while”. I keep looking at the calendar and noticing that 2018 is literally right around the corner. Lately, I’ve been telling myself that for 2018 I’m going to treat myself better, give myself a break and work on the things that I lack. Take it day by day, you know? Finally get out and seek help from the one who has been there for me since day one. Jesus. Jesus is the very first thing that is on my lips once mid-night strikes and the new year is in.

So do yourself a favor, read this next line out loud if you need to. Stop being so hard on yourself, God sees your worth even when you don’t, He loves you for you and if He didn’t then He never would’ve given you life. Whatever sin you’re struggling with spiritually, I can guarantee you that there are others struggling with the same thing. Stop blaming the world for your anger, your bitterness, your heartache, because you have the choice to crawl out of the hell hole you’re in. Stop letting your negative thoughts separate you from what you know is true. Fight it. Don’t stop fighting, don’t ever give up, and don’t ever feel afraid/ashamed to ask for help or even seek advice. It’s better to speak than to stay silent for the rest of your life.

He sees that you are worthy, even if you don’t.

I Used To…

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    You loved sunsets. All the shades of reds mixed with the blues and yellows. How they washed the buildings and trees with a gentle, golden glow. You always took pictures.

You loved how messy they were. How there was no “right one”, yet each one was beautiful as the last. You loved that no matter how bad your day had been, you could always look at them and ease your mind, and warm your heart. You loved how they just did their thing, no matter how many people noticed.

So while you looked on, I took a picture of you. Because you were my sunset.

-d.c.


There are quite a few things that I used to love that I don’t do anymore, the thing’s that used to bring me happiness and peace no longer have that effect on me. It’s easy to get caught up in the business of life, you become bombarded with bills and you tend to worry more about things than what you did in high school. Looking back, I wish I never would’ve rushed my high school years. I wish I would’ve taken it slow and enjoyed those moments of being with my friends, laughing and going to the movies or even the mall. And being content with the fact that I could only afford something that only cost me $5.

I’m 23 years old and so far I’ve learned that life happens and that we have no control over certain situations that may arise in our life. If you look at it, the thing’s that we used to love may no longer be part of our lives which seems a bit melancholy. We’ve let the things of life take away some of the thing’s that we loved the most, the thing’s that we cherished with every ounce of our bones. How do we go back? Can we even go back? Is that even a good idea? I know people grow out of stuff, but even that is usually related to personal growth. What I’m talking about is not anywhere along the lines of personal growth, and that being the reason we lose interest in some of the thing’s we used to love. No, I’m talking about things that we no longer enjoy all because we’re sad, angry, frustrated, and would rather just shut everyone out because we don’t know how else to cope. We don’t know what else to say, or even how to act.

I feel as if God is looking directly at us, making eye contact as much as possible while we’re the ones who keep looking left to right and up and down. As if we’re scared that He’ll see what we’ve become, or what we’re becoming. There are times where I wish God would grab me by the shoulders and say “Maria, stop”. Stop over thinking, stop looking back, and stop being so hard on yourself. Quite honestly I miss looking at the sunset, I miss lying in bed in the mornings/nights as I put my headphones on to listen to some music that puts me at ease. I miss being me. Maybe I got a little lost along the way of trying to find myself, which might be why the things that I used to love no longer interest me.

I used to talk with God every morning and night, I’d tell him how thankful I’d be for giving me another day. I’d tell him at night all that went on during my day, even if it was bad or good. I used to look forward to going to church and meeting all my lovely church family, I used to enjoy playing Bass for our music team, I used to love fellow shipping at special events throughout the summer with my church. Today I dread those things. I don’t have that desire that I used to and I know people have caught on, sometimes I hear through the grapevine that others have been asking “Where has Maria been lately, or how has Maria been, I haven’t heard from her in a spell?”.

Lastly, I used to write all of the time. No matter where I was at, I could be at the grocery store in the checkout line and an amazing thought pops into my head for a good writing topic. I’d quickly get my little notepad and pen out, and constantly repeat in my head of what I just said and try to put it down on paper right away before the words slipped away from me. Now in days, I find myself struggling with coming up with a blog that people would find interesting, for instance, I’ve been working on this exact blog for about a good whole month now. I’ve deleted so many lines, at least 50 times or so. Looking at this blog has me thinking I’ve been ranting on just a bit too much, but I will post it regardless of what how I feel about it. I just hope (as always) that I can reach out to some of you. That whatever you’re feeling, that you realize just by reading my content that you’re not so alone. Cause you’re not, I can guarantee you that much.

Anyways, I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.