Masks

Can we be real? We like to think we’re these compassionate people who are so in tune to others needs and yet when confronted with an uncomfortable situation we put on a bandage with cute sayings of “it will be ok this too shall pass” or “time heals all wounds” or “this won’t matter 5 years from now”. Then we pat that person on the back and move on with our lives. People are hurting and a cute saying we heard from someone else or saw on social media isn’t a quick fix all. Peoples hurts and problems don’t cook off in a microwave of set time. I remember being in a rush with a friend I hadn’t seen a while in school and she was in pain I could see it on her face. I gave her a quick comforting word and hug then said we would catch up & took off. That weekend she committed suicide. It’s haunted me since. Instead of just moving on with life at fast pace, slow down, find out what’s wrong then sometimes don’t even give advice just an understanding hug. Pray for them but follow up. Send them constant encouraging words. Ask how you can help. Just be a constant loving reminder that yes their problems with pass but until then you’re the friend they need to see them through until then. You never know what life you may save…..or when you’ll need that type of help in return.
Prayers of a Wounded Warrior

Simple Love Story

He twisted the ring on his pinkie and glanced around. Laughter floated around him, mingled with clinking glasses and silverware. He looked around at the happy patrons, munching on appetizers and sipping wine. He wanted to feel how they felt but the butterflies in his stomach continued to churn.
It had been 10 years since he had last spoken with the girl of his dreams. He could still hear her sarcastic voice echoing in his ear “You’re pathetic.” when she broke his heart by breaking off what could have been before it even was.
Why was he here? Why did he decide to meet the girl that broke his heart so long ago? They reconnected after so long and she sounded different, more laid back, more fun and open. They were two completely different people back then, just kids embarking on life, not understanding what love truly was.
But he had never forgotten about her. He had always wondered “what if?” Did she feel the same way? He didn’t know, but then she accepted his friend request on Facebook. He thought maybe he could get even and finally give her a taste of her own medicine, so he messaged her. And, she was different. She didn’t seem like the callous head strong girl he met. She was somehow…broken. Maybe broken as he had been, through a series of failed, emotionally abusive relationships. He stared at her pictures, a beautiful smile, with eyes that were shadowed…pained.
A push by a patron awoke him from his reverie. “Sorry.” was the mumbled reply as they continued along laughing together in drunken harmony. He checked his leather watch realizing she was running late. A buzz from his phone made him jump.
“Sorry I’m late. Just pulling in. Traffic was crazy.”
His breath caught. He couldn’t believe this was happening. “No worries, waiting outside of Bulla.” He looked around to make sure it was the right restaurant before hitting send. He paced back and forth, twisting the ring on his pinkie, trying to gain control of the emotions raging inside. He stopped with a thought, “I don’t have to do this. I can leave right now. Leave her high and dry like she left me. Break her heart like she did mine. It’s not like we’re even friends.” He looked around suddenly enlightened. He smiled to himself, taking a step toward the parking garage when time slowed and through the crowd of people, he saw her.
She looked up from her phone, glancing nervously from side to side. She pushed back the curls that brushed against her cheek. She was more beautiful than he remembered. He could hardly breathe. Then she saw him, smiled and gave a small wave. She walked toward him, her dress fluttering around her legs as if floating on clouds. She looked as nervous as he did, not the confident young girl he remembered.
She almost ran the rest of the way before throwing her arms around him. He wrapped his strong arms around her small waist. He breathed in the sweet scent of her hair, wishing the moment
wouldn’t end. Her small arms gripped him tight, he was surprised at her strength.
A loud laugh from the restaurant broke their moment and they pulled apart. She looked at her heels pushing strands of hair behind her ears where gold hoops hung.
Hey.” She whispered.
“Hey, so you finally beat the traffic.”
She laughed; her laugh sounded like music to his ears. “Yea, you know that Orlando traffic.”
His head cocked to the side as he shrugged his shoulders, smiling.
Her large bright hazel eyes widened, it seemed her eye lashes swept her eyebrows. “I’m sorry. I forgot you’re not from here.” She laughed nervously. “How was the flight by the way?”
“It was…ok…not the biggest fan of flying. But that humidity…”
“I’m so sorry I couldn’t pick you up, work and all…” She interjected.
“smacks you in the face.” He finished. They both stared at the ground and laughed. He rubbed his large hand along his bald head.
“Sorry.” She blurted.
“It’s ok. And don’t worry about it. My cousin picked me up. It was nice bonding time for us. I’m just glad you were able to make it out.” He pushed her arm gently. “Even if you were late.”
“Hey! Once you move here, you’ll know what I mean about that traffic!” She laughed, then stopped abruptly. “I mean, if you were to ever move here.” Her face flushed as she looked around at the people meandering by.
“Already making future plans I see.” His light brown eyes crinkled.
Her mouth dropped. “I-I didn’t mean anything like that!”
“Sure you didn’t. So, tell me, what kind of ring do you want?” He couldn’t believe he said that. He always blurted things out before thinking. How stupid! He was about to take it back when he saw her surprised look turn thoughtful.
“Um, no one has ever asked me that before.”
He sighed in relief. “Well it should be something to think about shouldn’t it.” She blushed again, looking down at her heels, twisting her purse strap. “Why don’t we go find a place to eat? I’m pretty hungry.”
She looked up at him, her eyes brightened. “There’s a great place around the corner that serves great burgers.”
“I hope so, I pride myself in my cooking and if I can cook better than a restaurant, I’ll be pretty disappointed.”
She threw her head back to let out a sweet laugh. She snuck an arm around his. “Well, hopefully it won’t disappoint but now you’ve put yourself up to the challenge to have to cook for me someday!” She snuggled up against his muscular arm. He smiled at how comfortable and perfect she looked there. He remembered saying she would be his wife 10 years ago. Maybe it was a prediction, not just a fantasy.
“I’ll cook whatever you want for the rest of our lives.” He caught his breath, realizing he again just blurted out what he was thinking.
Her eyes searched his, filled with hope. She sent him one of her sexy dazzling smiles, making his knees buckle. “You better be a good cook, because I love to eat, and I’ll hold you to that!”
They laughed as they walked to the restaurant, the stars twinkling down in agreement at this new blossoming love.

Focus Forward

The picture below looks odd, I know, but if you focus on what is ahead compared to what is in the rear view mirror you’ll understand the purpose of this picture. I wanted to capture the distinct difference in weather from what was in front of me to what was behind me. This is typical Central Florida weather that’s hard to describe to people not from here, except through a picture.
But, as I saw this it made me think how much it correlated to life. Many people come from “stormy” pasts and all of us have bright futures ahead of us. But if we constantly look to what was behind, it will either slow down our progress to achieving our goals and the great things that lie ahead, or it can even derail us altogether and allow those storms to catch up to us and hang over us constantly (aka a constant negative attitude!).
Stop focusing on what happened. You can’t change that! You have to believe that there will be a sunnier day, a brighter future. That will be the only way you can push forward towards it! Decide today to focus forward. Tell yourself “I have a bright future and I’m going to focus on it and run towards it!”. You can learn from what happened in the past but instead of dwelling on it, use it as a stepping stone to push forward.
In every great hero’s story, there was a storm they had to go through, an obstacle to overcome, but the victory was worth the momentary hardship! And that hardship became a distant memory, a small chapter in their life compared to their overall story.

The 5 Letter Ugly Word – Shame

I’ve been thinking & analyzing the word shame. Shame is such an ugly word. It thrives in the dark places refusing to come out because then you have to confront those embarrassing memories or feelings that brought on your shame. Left undealt with, it quietly grows and festers until it becomes such a heavy burden on one’s life, it infiltrates everything including your relationships. You don’t realize it until you find yourself angry at everything & everyone, lashing out for no reason or crying feeling depressed and hopeless. Shame is the feeling of a loss of honor, but we don’t have to be ashamed because we are redeemed by God. While learning who I am in Christ (which I thought I already knew but never applied) I realized God is a redeemer and completely cleanses us. He acknowledges what we did or what happened to us as wrong and loves us despite it and renews us. But, we continue living as if we need to make up for our loss or mistakes & try to win God’s acceptance. God already accepts & loves us, it’s who He is. He’s already forgiven and forgotten our mistakes. He doesn’t hold what’s happened to us against us. He loves us through them! Although it hurts, it’s so freeing to confront what caused that shame and give it to God, then trust Him that we are redeemed & don’t need to feel that shame anymore or think we’re not good enough or deserving of things because of our past. We are more than enough and deserve the best! Don’t ever forget it!

How do you deal with shame? Have any tips? I would love to hear about them!