06 Nov

Winds of Change

Late fall in PA is beautiful, inspiration awaits the eye but the weather can be brutal for someone who is cold and damp sensitive. In my body there are challenges that threaten to dominate me if I don’t manage many factors. It can be a full time job just staying on my feet.
My mornings begin early and are carefully laid out to allow for my treatment and the protocol I am currently on.
On days such as today in the damp cold rain I move slower. It is tired and  pain haunts the hidden places so I ask myself why I am bundled in 4 layers (not kidding), a knit hat and filthy boots trudging through mud to the barn.
Poor Marla stuck doing the barn alone, the thought sneaks in. The inner me that feels lousy is a whiner, pity parties are no stranger and a drama queen can emerge. I have learned to sit her in the corner and tell her to be quiet, she can wreck my day.
Let’s be really honest, when we are sick and don’t feel good the natural thing is to seek comfort. But our own ways of dealing with things can become a trap when they enable a victim. We begin to identify who we are with what was done to us, I have been there and stand in no judgement but only tell you getting free of this mentality is liberating to your spirit.
When you can stop seeing the world as delivering blows to you, when you can stop allowing circumstances to define you, when you choose to be the hero, you stand a little taller and think alot more.
You can walk into fire with a defined misson and keep your head up. Connect your spirit to your Creator and arm yourself with truth, no person or church can do this for you, this is all you and God and may be painful. Get an empty notebook and write letters to your wrongs.maglia arsenal
I lived a fast life that only allowed God if it had time, I dressed to the nines and kept and image, I liked to be attractive, strong willed and intimidating and I owned my ego. I looked the part and I studied desired behaviors, my star was on the rise. When my body got sick, it was dings to the smooth finished exterior, the low heeled shoes almost killed me.
I am very unsure today how I was keeping all of the balls in the air. As most things built on shaky foundations it did, my body quit and the kingdom crumbled. The queen fell from her throne and her subjects scattered. Her glittery crown lie in pieces and devestation was on the horizon. No worries it ends well, there was a king and a prince that sprung to action.
Me, the queen of my domain, I kept appearances, ran our house like a tight ship but in my humbled state I found my own path back to the place where I am now, I reached deep inside and began to heal the spirit that was so broken. My cool exterior was so fabricated and I later understood why it was so suprising to many people around me,  I held on a long time and told alot of fibs about how things really were, the fear of failure controlled me, had a grip on me.
I am writing today as someone who was ready to lose her life but realized her own faith. I found a loving God who forgives, sustains and loves beyond anything I have ever experienced.
The fragile broken soul was lifted from the mud and washed in the knowledge of God, I grabbed my Bible and searched for truth but had to throw it all down and confess what I had done. I had built this self serving monster that fell apart and threatened me and all that I loved. I had to be honest, something I was not doing before.
I found my voice and my truth so when I call out to God to whine about my circumstances the answers are brutally honest. Tell me Marla what would you rather be doing? This prompts be do do something I am constantly telling others about, be honest with myself and God.
He reminds me of where I have been and some of my circumstances and the tears roll. But the question is posed to me and I ask it of us all.
How often do we allow our own behavior shape our reality?
It is an old habit of mine was being dramatic,  good and bad situations could be bigger than life at times. I have to be honest about some of my expectations and the things I desired. I am a lover, dreamer, free spirit and we experience life from a different perspective, we can get go a little deeper and when we get lost we can be a mess.
I had to admit I had created an empty existence whose pursuits revolved around personal gain. I did not get there alone, the sales culture has been long villified at warping humans to commit acts that compromise our hearts and acts that mask our true purpose here.
Goals and projections, growth numbers and performance are the microscope we sit under and Corporate America profits from our toils.
In all honesty I can look back and say I prostituted my gifts for the corporate dollar, if you think that is harsh? Let’s break it down.
I am a happy, curious person, a communicator and a lover of words with a big open heart full of love.  It was a struggle to fit this person into a suit but I did it, the urge to get ahead obscured very important things, things that would come home to roost later. Things that produced consequences that my family and I have to live with.
It was an odd fit, sometimes my heart got me in trouble, I openly loved my customers, I was chastised many times for “getting too involved”. Be objective and turn off emotions, it was like telling me not to breathe, it is who I am.
 I digress, life is messy and we are supposed to get involved. I see some of those people 2 years later and am greeted with a warm hug and a story for whoever is at my side about the difference I made in their life. I will carry those treasures in my heart forever, how revealing is this.
The money and the job are long gone but the gifts I brought from that role are so beautiful. My perspective is realigned and a new wind blows into my face, I stand in the light of God’s truth and am free to exercise all of the gifts of my heart here. I am home.
I make my way our horse who is impatient who gets a kiss, then to the ducks, I must release them to the puddles that wait, and into the barn where noises await me. I am struck by what I have become. From the time I wake, the cat and the dogs, then my sweet man, my hungry son, then the barn all stand in line at my food counter.  Did I mention my first job was a breakfast counter in the Dutch Pantry? The feeding never ends and the faces change.
I am a sustainer of life, how fitting that I live on thirty some acres of dirt. We are humbly developing our farm into a system that will support itself. Every decision we make these days is subject to exploration and criticism and we all need to exercise personal accountabiity to be sucessful. We have learned from the past and now that urge to rush in has finally faded, a very wise lady who I love once told me “haste makes waste”, it certainly does.
In my new role it is very different, I still manage things, sans the ego, in blue jeans, life moves much slower now and my mistakes won’t cause a cascade of paperwork. But when the victim is in charge there is nothing victorious going on. On a farm you need those victories, reasons to look up and say thank you God. So I need to bring very specific things with me, personal accountability, an open mind, a thirst to learn, and wisdom.
Personal accountability is the most important of these because without it we are unable to nothing. If we don’t hold ourselves  feet to the fire the rest of the system here will crumble.
This farm is feeding us so it is our job to nourish it and feed it and all that inhabit it, it is a circle that moves to the rythm of nature.  It has brought us together in ways that I never expected and watching it take life is an exciting event that we share as a family. .
It has been amzing to me, the clarity that comes into my view sometimes. My whole life has been leading me to this place and I am finding freedom from the things I once placed high values on. God allows me to look back and sort the past in His light to find strength and hope for the future.
A caring friend gave me a sign for my wall that reads, Don’t worry about tomorrow, God is already there. And you can see from my story what happens when we relax and let our lives unfold in communication with our Creator and have faith.
All we need to do is Believe.
02 Nov

Standing in the Gap

Standing in the gap, I have read this so many times over the years.
I bought myself a womens bible when I was going through a hard time at the age of 30, a daily devotional and guide through scripture. They day I ran across this it was pinned to my heart forever, my bookmark permanently landed there and I highlighted it.
During those years I fought and searched for answers to life’s tough questions.
I was in a very difficult marriage then, the relationship began in a haze of addiction and tried to take flight many times but never stayed up. My son was born and we tried to build a home but the right building blocks were not there. This became and exhausting game that was played and sadly did not end well.
I knew that my son was not of age but in the place we lived he had begun to absorb things from our environment. The anger, spilled frequently, the words  hurled like stones, the tears could not be hidden nor could the fear.
When I realized that I was largely on my own raising two kids, with aging parents, a failing marriage, school, work, my struggling body, all crashing on me daily, I understood needed help and this fit the bill.
I did not know then how many times I would have to stand in the gap, it is a place I have come to know well. It is there that the bridge from my hear to God is formed. He loves us and hears us.
We as Believers in God all stand in the gap ever day, when we pray for others.
It is easy to stand in the gap for someone you love but what about the opposite?
Lately my prayer takes me to a place of deep questions. The evil present in this world brings me to tears. I have always had an empathetic heart and one that loved everything and everyone.maglia manchester city
Sadly it is not always returned to me, actually sometimes my compassionate heart makes people hate me.
So I stand in the gap for them too. Pray for your enemies the Bible says.
The final line of this says “I unconditionally love”, but do we?
The normal defense in a human is to fight back but the meek in heart will inherit the kingdom of God.
So in meekness today I stand in the gap for unbelievers, for the unborn, for the oppressed, for my enemies, for the lost. And there I will pray, Lord don’t let me waver, and the enemy does seek to destroy.
The gap is the only bridge to God for the non believers, how can we stand in the gap when we stand in a place of judgement?
Each day I ask God to be in my heart, be in my mouth, be in my mind, be in my hands.
In the beautiful light of our Saviors forgiveness we can can find the gap, we can pray for the world.
If I had a dime for each time I’ve been told, “Marla you can’t save the world”.
Watch me.
I am standing in the gap today for you reader. No matter where you are in your life you too can find the grace of God and forgiveness, but only when you seek to find it.
The road less traveled is the one with the most challenges and is not for the faint of heart, but it is the one paved with peace and love.
The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18