Dear God

Dear God,

Thank you for this day. My day begins with You and ends with You. This past week was particularly difficult to endure. But from You, I found the strength to surrender many of my cares. I did this because I know that You will not fail me. There are no mistakes, accidents or coincidences…only divine appointments. I know that with each experience and encounter that You bring forth in my life, there is a lesson that You want me to learn. A lesson that will allow me to serve You in more ways than I can think of. A lesson that will only strengthen and change me. A lesson that will make my life more purposeful and worth my every breath.

I cannot explain why I find myself constantly fighting with the Universe and the things that are completely out of my control. My need to control only worsens my internal conflict. Why do I do this knowing that I will only hurt myself more? Please forgive me for this and help me forgive myself for my past mistakes. Even though I don’t fully understand and know all the answers, help me to accept things just the way they are. You know what is best for me and You will give me far better than I can even imagine when I leave my cares, worries and problems with You. Please teach me to let go of these things quickly and easily, especially the “if onlys” and “whys”.

When I awaken in the middle of the night about my cares, I am assured that I can rely on You for my source of comfort. In the midst of all the tossing and turning at night, many times You help me decipher and resolve my problems or You reveal a divine sign. Please help me continue to trust You wholeheartedly and relinquish my deeply-ingrained fears that are sometimes so downright scary to deal with. Please help me consider and look forward to the blessings that You have in store for me – those blessings that I may consider problems right now but these very well may be opportunities in disguise.

The next several nights are very special and will be the most powerful. As I sit in Your remembrance during these nights, for each tear that streams down my face, there will be a prayer. I ask for forgiveness not only for myself but also for all my loved ones as well as my brothers and sisters in this world. Please help us all forgive each other and let go of the bitterness and resentments that we have held onto from our past experiences. Please heal each one and help us unite with each other so that we may live with peace, love and harmony in our hearts for each other. Your grace and glory are everlasting, and the way that You work in our lives is truly enlightening. Let us not stray from the right path and if we do, please help us return quickly back to You. May we all be directed by Your light that guides us to the path of forgiveness, love and righteousness.

Thank you for blessing us all.

Love always,
Me

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Thoughtful Thursday: A Leap of Faith

In every facet of my life, I encounter fear. It gets the best of me.

As of late, I have been paralyzed with the fear of losing a dear friendship. This is a profoundly divine friendship with my big brother whom I visited daily and with whom I exchanged many thought-provoking conversations in the recent past. These everyday exchanges became somewhat of a normal routine for me and sometimes the only moments of solace that I would actually get to experience. Last month, I chose to leave the company for which we both worked. The thought of not being able to see my brother day after day was beyond disturbing but it was a truth that sooner or later I would need to accept. I feared that our friendship would soon dissipate if I did not do everything in my control to nurture it.

Control. This can get the best of me, too.

In my desire to control and maintain an atmosphere of our friendship similar to what it was like prior to my parting, I became irritated and perturbed when my methods of trying to connect with my brother failed.  As a result, I began to doubt my trust in him. My faith wavered when I noticed that our friendship was not continuing the way I would have hoped for it to. In the very few conversations I had with him over the last several weeks, I acted out of fear and anger as I sensed that he did not view the need for growing our friendship through my lens. And there I was, too weak and weary to even focus on my faith in God that he would make things right.

Last Sunday when my brother and I finally connected on the phone, he asked me to take what I would call a gigantic leap of faith – a leap that would mean fully accepting, believing and trusting that he cares about me and our friendship without having to demonstrate or prove it constantly. And that everything will all fall into its own place if there is faith. All I could think was this:

He was asking for too much. And NO way was I going to do that. How could I carry on patiently without knowing that he was okay? How could I be okay with not hearing from him daily when that is what I was accustomed to for so long? 

This was going to be a difficult leap and one that was way out of my comfort zone. Not knowing daily how my brother was doing or what was troubling him and not hearing his voice would require a tremendous amount of patience and courage on my part. I was just not ready for that leap; I was not ready to let go. As always, he was very considerate and did not impose any of his notions upon me. He gave me some time to think about whether or not I can take this leap. And he would still be content if I just could not.

At that point, I was in a state of utter confusion and deep introspection. Though I absolutely knew that taking this leap was the best course of action for the growth of our friendship, I questioned any faith that I had in myself. Did I value and love this friendship enough to take such a huge leap? Was there another life lesson to be learned from taking this leap? I could only pray to God diligently and ask him to lead my way.

Over the last few days as I pondered the choice to take the leap or not, I happened to attend one of the most unique and inspirational sessions presented by Cherie Cross on accepting and appreciating human differences as well as our own humanness. The key messages that I learned from this particular session were that people are not out to get you, that you should express your love to the people in your life and believe that they are doing the best with what they can and finally, that what they do or don’t do is NOT PERSONAL; it’s just their style!

Cherie ended the session with a very touching excerpt from Og Mandino’s book called The Greatest Salesman in the World:

I will greet this day with love in my heart.

For this is the greatest secret of success in all ventures. Muscle can split a shield and even destroy life but only the unseen power of love can open the hearts of men and until I master this art I will remain no more than a peddler in the market place. I will make love my greatest weapon and none on whom I call can defend against its force.

My reasoning they may counter; my speech they may distrust; my apparel they may disapprove; my face they may reject and even my bargains may cause them suspicion; yet my love will melt all hearts liken to the sun whose rays soften the coldest clay.

I will greet this day with love in my heart.

And how will I act? I will love all manners of men for each has qualities to be admired even though they be hidden. With love I will tear down the wall of suspicion and hate which they have built around their hearts and in its place will I build bridges so that my love may enter their souls.

I will greet this day with love in my heart.

And how will I confront each whom I meet? In only one way. In silence and to myself I will address him and say I Love You. Though spoken in silence these words will shine in my eyes, unwrinkle my brow, bring a smile to my lips and echo in my voice; and his heart will be opened. And who is there who will say nay to my goods when his heart feels my love?

I will greet this day with love, and I will suc­ceed.

Interestingly enough, just when Cherie stated the last line of this excerpt, I received a text message from my brother stating “I have faith that you will make it work.” I could not stop the tears from rolling down my cheeks. There are no coincidences in life, but rather signs that God has a way of revealing in the right place and at the right time, in His own time. My only thoughts at that moment were that I must let go of the fear that I have about our precious friendship dissolving and surrender to God’s love.

Love is a four-letter word but one so powerful that when offered with the goodness of your heart, it can change the world. I must act out of love for my brother and not in anger, desperation or a need to be right. It is NOT important for me to be right, but rather to get it right – to shower unconditional love in this friendship that will take it a long way, to be understanding of situations that warrant it, to refrain from taking his actions or inactions personally, to be forgiving when mistakes are made or when plans change and to completely trust him knowing that although he may not be able tend to my desires continually, that he really DOES care.

I presume that God is calling me to jump with all my heart and all my strength, and to have faith that He is already there on the other side waiting to catch me; that He will come through for me in the end.

So I eagerly wait to tell my brother this: “I, too, have faith that I will make it work.”

Knowing The Difference

Life throws me so many curveballs when I least expect it. One day can be almost perfect and another day, BAM!! I will feel like I have been shot to hell wondering where I went wrong. And I think to myself: “Wouldn’t it be nice if my life had a pause button?”

I have learned a valuable lesson this week with my never-ending struggle of knowing the things that I actually have control over and those that I do not, which I cannot change. A few recent situations led me to harbor some unresolved emotions which invaded my mind and soul leaving me incredibly frustrated, defeated and despondent. Today, I realized once again that I need to stop. I’ve reminded myself countless times that I have absolutely no control over other’s perceptions, beliefs and behavior — I simply cannot change them; instead I can adjust my attitude and feelings towards the situations, and just let it be.

It is during this on-going battle of my internal struggle that I find myself repeatedly murmuring the Serenity Prayer and trying to remember its essence.

God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference. 
 

Time after time, the wisdom part is what I stumble over the most — knowing what I can change and what I  cannot, knowing what I should do and should not, knowing when to keep going and when to stop.  I think that knowing the difference is a life-long process as life is full of trials and tribulations that everyone experiences in their own way. Through these constant distressful moments, I strive to be braver and stronger than the times before, and to face turbulent situations with impeccable courage. I realize that there are times when it is best for me to just close my eyes and let everything go. I need to let the Higher Power have control.

When the going gets tough, it is often difficult for me to remain positive. I cannot control what will happen tomorrow or a week or a year down the road — the only thing I have control over is this very moment. What I can control are my reactions to and thoughts about certain situations. I am the one who decides whether my glass is half-full or half-empty.  In this moment, I would rather enjoy the opportunities I have to better myself and my relationships, and to cherish the little things in life instead of wasting time worrying about uncontrollable circumstances and further weakening myself. I can already feel an overwhelming sense of peace and calmness through understanding and accepting this yet again.

Nothing is always perfect, not everything will go my way. Sometimes, there is a greater plan in play. Life will continue to throw these curveballs at me but I have to be sure to hit them out of the park. I have a lot to be thankful for today, especially for knowing the difference.