A work in progress!

The other day I was visiting a friend of mine to meet her newborn baby. It is her fourth child and the sweetest little thing, as most babies are! I showed her my blog and she asked me a question. “Do you do all of the things you write about yourself”? “Yes I do”, I told her, “but I am still a work in progress though”. It is good to have a friend like her! A friend that is honest with you and not afraid to ask the right questions. I try to do everything I write about, however I am only human. Sometimes I am better at it, then other times. Especially when my fear is getting in the way.

When I was in my early twenties, I was diagnosed, by a psychologist, with a general anxiety disorder. After I had therapy, it died down until a year and a half ago. I had a traumatizing experience at the dentist and ever since it is back in full force. Again I am fighting a high dosis of fear every day. A fear that was almost gone. I know, with the help of God, that I can overcome this fear but it takes a lot of patience. And patience is one of my weak spots. Often I want to rush things when I should actually take it easy. I want things to happen right away, when God asks me to wait.

Fear will always be a part of my life…unfortunately. However often I have prayed for healing, it is something that I have come to terms with. After all, Jesus was afraid too when He was praying in Gethsemane garden! Right before Jesus was taken captive, He prayed to His Father if the cup could be taken from Him. Or in modern day language, if He could please be spared from what was awaiting Him. You know, many people say that Jesus was not afraid anymore after that. That after that prayer, He knew what to do and He did it without fear because He knew His journey. But you know what, I believe that He was still afraid. I don’t think the fear left Him. I believe that He simply decided to go through with it, regardless of His fear. And with the fear in His hands, He climbed on that cross. His love was bigger than His fear.

His love being bigger than His fear is something that I recognize. When I like what I have to do, it is easier than when I have to do something I don’t like. When your heart is passionate for something, fear reduces to a tiny flame, making it easier to do it. But the tiny flame becomes a huge fire when your heart is not fully in on it. Of course there is a difference between a healthy fear, like before a speaking engagement, or a fear that goes through the roof. Sometimes I can control my fear but there are also moments that I cannot.

For example, after the traumatizing experience at the dentist, I tried to ignore my fear for a long time. I went to the dentist again and even though I had a much better experience, the fear was so big that I could not control it anymore. The trick that God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit taught me is; with patience and relaxation you can overcome it. The fear never goes away overnight. This is a fact that I have to be fully aware of, but it will go away in the end. This thought gives me a lot of peace already. The second step I take is becoming rational. I tell myself to calm down. Jesus loves me and there is nothing on earth more important than that. I also skip things from my agenda when I feel in my heart that I need time for myself. To plan moments of calmth is very important. I am not superwoman. I cannot do everything and that is okay. My life is not easy and God is keeping a lot of things away from me, like a family. Just because I am not married and I don’t have children, does not mean that my life is easier. I have not been requested to do it all, but to do what I can. I focus on my talents and gifts and not on what I am not good at. But the biggest of all remains patience! With a lot of patience, and a lot of faith I overcome my fear. I cannot let it go away but I can make it smaller and that gives me room to breath.

Life remains a battle. Yet in this battle it is good to remind ourselves of one very important thing. Jesus love for us is everything! It is more important than our fear. And with that in mind we can overcome anything. Jesus’s love makes me get up every morning. Just the thought that, besides Jesus, I have a Father in Heaven who loves me so much, makes me want to try again. Of course I am not capable of doing everything. Like I said, I am not superwoman. There are some things that I am, and never will be, good at. But that is okay. God accepts me for who I am. And if I do the same; if I work hard and focus on the gifts and talents that the Father, in all His goodness, gave me, it will all work itself out in the end. Fear may be an ever present companion but at least I can shut him up whenever he talks to much!

The heart that knows how to love

Sometimes, or should I say often, I express myself better in poetry. Because my heart has this melody that is best expressed in music. And poetry is the only way of writing, where a melody is able to meet the words.


The heart that knows how to love

The pearl always hides inside the shell.
In order to find the beauty within,
you have to search inside the heart,
where the diamond is hidden for the world.
Only those with a pure heart will find it.
But those whose heart is destructive,
they will find nothing at all.

One does not run towards a lion.
A cat is not merely a ragdoll.
In order to get close to an elephant,
you have to learn to gain his trust.
In order to catch a butterfly with your hands,
you have to learn the art of patience.

A heart that has been hurt is easily hurt again.
A heart filled with fear will never learn how to trust.
The ability to accept without expectation is a treasure.
It is a pearl in the hands of a loving God.
The one who accepts the broken soul,
has understood the deepest essence of love.

An open heart receives with pleasure.
An open mind has found eternal joy.
True love is only found inside a conscious heart.
A conscious heart is only found inside your love.
In order to love you have to know love itself,
and understand what love has done for you.

In His arms I find my safety,
in His love my greatest miracle.
In His joy I find my laughter,
in His heart I find eternal happiness.
Who can rob me out of His presence?
Who can hurt me in His sight?

My soul is a pearl inside a shell,
protect by a lighthouse against the storm.
Who but Love itself will see the beauty inside of me?
Who will give a broken shell a chance?
I still believe in the power of a miracle,
I still believe in the heart that knows how to love.

Take a breath!

I am in desperate need of rest and peace. My mind is going on and on without intermission. I feel the pressure of expectations weigh on me, like a huge boulder, in every aspect of my life. My heart is racing and my breath is getting shallower as if I am running a race in a too long marathon. I am out of breath and ready for a well needed break. But I am my greatest problem. I can’t say no. I cannot stand up for myself. I am insecure, afraid of what people might think. The pressure I put on myself is immense. To be perfect or not to be perfect that’s the question. That’s the dilemma. And through this all I hear God say, “I love you so much, regardless of what you do”. But it is like an echo in the distance. I desperately try to hold on to His light, but it fades in the darkness of my own expectations. In this world today I know that I am not the only one.  The deep desire to be this perfect girl, to please everyone, is becoming too much for me. But if the answer is so simple, to simply say, “No”, then why is it so hard for me to choose that?

My whole life I have had the feeling of having to prove myself. Not just to my family, friends, teachers, church and God, but also to myself. Making friends has always been hard for me and I have been rejected by people too often. And every single time I think that I am over the past, it hits me in the face. Too much has happened for me to be open and outgoing. My personality has changed with the waves, beating against my ocean shore. But I do not want to dwell in the past. I refuse to dwell in the laughter, the comments and the rejection that I was forced to face. Yet still it affects my life today. I am filled with fear. Fear of people disliking me or what I do. But their opinion isn’t important. This is about my own happiness. This is about me being able to be happy. Focussing on my weaknesses is not going to make me feel better, but focussing on my strengths is. I should be allowed to love myself. It should be illegal for me to hate myself for the things I am not good at. But that is life. Life throws your weaknesses in your face and tells you that you are not good enough. I need a break.

A break from my weakness would be a welcome escape and yet it is haunting me like a ghost in a long-ago abandoned house. How do I escape? And the same answer is back in my face. Just say no! Focus on your strengths instead of your weaknesses. It is so simple and yet so difficult. Because admitting that you are weak is losing your face. It is like standing naked in front a big crowd, bare and exposed. Giving people a reason to dislike you and that was exactly the fear I began with. In life we are asked to do things we are not good at and we force ourselves to do a perfect job at it. At least I do. Instead of being proud of of trying to become better at something that I’m not good at, I feel the noose around my neck tighten until all the air is sucked out of my lungs and I am in full panic mode. I know my strengths and weaknesses but I don’t like to be confronted with my weaknesses all the time. All I have to say is, “No”. Instead I walk away with my soul in my arms, rocking myself to sleep. Hoping then I find peace. Then in the midst of my distress I hear a soft whisper that says, “It is braver to say no and admit that you are weak, than to be brave behind a steel mask”.

The storm in my mind finally comes to a screeching halt. The waves beating against my heart come to rest and silence fills my soul. Rest and peace fill me up until my cup overflows. The love of God is not asking me to do what I am not good at yet, so I will be better. The love of God is telling me that I am good the way I am. Unimportant it is to be perfect. Important it is to be the perfect version of how God created you. God created mankind in His image. He created me as a unique being with my own talents. What I can do is something that others cannot and what others can do is something that I cannot do. We are all uniquely made. I may not be good at organizing events, speaking in front of people or leading a group of people. But I am good at helping people, writing and listening. Saying no at times…is proclaiming who you are. And when you are proclaiming who you are, you are proclaiming who God made you to be. And that is something, you can be proud of. When God loves me, I can happily be who I am, in His image, as His unique masterpiece, even when I have to admit that I am not good at some things.

Now…I can finally…take a breath!

The Power of Poetry

Can I share a thought with you? For a little while now I have been searching for a publisher to publish my poetry. My manuscript is completely ready and all I would have to do is send it. In my search to a publisher I have been reading many experiences of other poets online. Also I have been talking to a few poets myself. Apparently a lot of poets experience the same problem. There are no publishers to publish their poetry. And the publishers who do publish poetry are either unreachable or extremely picky. This problem causes many poets to make the difficult decision, not to publish their beautiful poems. And those who do decide to publish their poetry, have to pay a lot of money to make it happen through self-publishing. In other words. It is almost impossible these days to publish poetry!  Why is that?

The problem publishers face is no audience! Hardly anybody reads poetry anymore. Which is such a sad thing because poetry can be so inspiring.
In today’s society poetry is seen as old fashioned. Something people did in the eighteenth century but not in the twenty first. Another issue with poetry is that not everybody understands it. Many people just don’t understand the clue of what the writer is trying to say. Therefore they don’t read it. It is simply too difficult! And the less people read poetry, the less it is sold in stores, and publishers cannot earn money with it anymore. The lack of making money is the main decision that publishers refuse to publish it.

But poetry really isn’t that old fashioned and difficult to understand.  The beauty of poetry is that basically everybody can write. For me, I started with rhyme and expanded from there. The key with poetry is to feel the melody of words. To feel a melody is not something everybody can do, but it is something everybody can learn.
Each heart is different. Each heart plays a different melody. Because of your own unique soul, your heart will play a a different melody than everybody else. Therefore your poetry is guaranteed to be different from other people. The tricky part is to open your heart, in order to hear, feel and experience that melody. And that is where many people cease. Some hearts got hurt and their melody is a sad ballad, instead of an upbeat happy tune. The question is, are you willing to deal with that tune? Or do you rather push it away, into a corner where no one can reach it?

not everybody writes poetry. Not everybody is creative. If I only look at my own family. We are a bunch of different souls squeezed into one group. Some are creative, but others are not. They have different qualities that make them unique. The point is that it doesn’t matter how good or bad you are at writing poetry. It doesn’t even matter how intelligent you are. Poetry is unique to everybody. Therefore when you read poetry, it will give you a different message than the message the writer received. I write my poetry with a reason, but I am well aware that readers can read other messages in it. This is the reason why I love poetry so much. When I read poetry of Emily Dickinson, the Brontë sisters or Akiane Kramarik for example, I read it differently than they wrote it. It is the magic of poetry. Poetic words have a power to touch, comfort, heal and inspire people. For me, poetry is a power on its own. A power given to me by the Almighty God! And I could not be happier to have been given such a gift. It has become a great part of my identity.

In short, poetry is a uniquely written part of someone soul that carries a unique message for everyone who reads it. And the message of the writer can differ greatly from the reader, which is called the power of poetry!
The funny thing is that everybody who has read the bible, has read poetry. Yes, the bible is filled with poetry. Think about the Psalms of David, Song of Songs by Solomon, and even the prophets have written in poetic form. You see, poetry does not necessarily have to rhyme! The songs David wrote, which we now call Psalms, are nothing other than poems. Words written on a unique melody that King David carried in His heart. The Psalms David wrote were his feelings, his emotions, parts of his life story and worship. Just because he sang it in a song, does not mean that it is not poetry. Poetry is a very wide range of written pieces. In a way, songs are poetry as well. Think only about rap. Rap is a very good example of poetry is the form of music.

So if the bible is filled with poetry, why then is it so hard to bring it to the attention of people? Maybe because I, and many poets with me, are not King David, King Solomon or any of the prophets! Yes, God talks to me to. God also gives me messages meant for people but I don’t have a famous name. In order to publish a poetry book, we have to have a name in the industry. We have to become a writer of fiction, non-fiction, bible-study or other high-ranked books first, in order to have a chance at a publishing deal. And this is a sad reality for many poets. Of course self-publishing is a great option, but self-publishing is a big investment that does not always pay back. Many have a mortgage to think about! There needs to be food on the table. And of course you can take a literary agent, but after all the monthly expenses, there is often not enough money for an expensive agent. By the way, agents work like publishers. Many will not represent poetry because of the lack of readers. So in this great worldly web, who stands a chance? Mostly those who have a lot of money!

I have not written this blog because I am bitter. I have not written this blog because I lost hope. My hope is not in this world! My hope is in God. I believe that with God all things are possible. I believe in His Almighty power to bring those things about that are for humans impossible! I believe that God will make a way, exactly at the places where there is no way! I believe in the power of my Almighty Father.
But that doesn’t mean that I cannot have compassion on other people. So many talented writers, poets, write treasures given by God that nobody will read. Diamonds of God’s love that are catching dust. Or in some cases, are thrown in the garbage can. People with a dream that have to give it up thinking that the chances are just too small. I cannot make a change happen on my own. But I hope, that writing this blog, will start a ripple effect. I hope more people will start reading poetry. I hope more people will find joy in poetry. Look, this blog is just my opinion. I am not writing this blog on behalf of every poet, but I still hope someone will read it and give more poets a chance. A chance to bring the melody of their heart, God’s message, to the world. God is present in poetry as well! And I hope that the inspiring melody of God’s music will be spread, all over the world!

 

Special and loved!

You are special and loved just as you are! You may not realize it yet but I hope you will very soon.

I see it all around me and I even detect it within myself at times. That deep desire of pleasing other people. It happens so easily and you often don’t even realize it. You are at a party and as you are listening to the conversations around you, you can’t help yourself. Before you know it, you are comparing yourself to everyone around you. The lady on the right is thinner than you, the man on the left is funnier, the third has a better job and before you know it, you feel pretty horrible about yourself. Or another scenario. You are trying to find a job and everybody has something to say. Your mom thinks you should find a job as a nurse, your dad thinks you should be a teacher, you brother suggests administration work and before you know it, you are trying to please at least one of them. In one of my previous blogs I talked about becoming your purpose. But how can you find your purpose when you are too afraid to be who you really are?

All we ever want is to be liked! You hear all these amazing stories of the people around you and you feel bad because it is not you. And the media is not very helpful either. They present super skinny people with flawless faces. When you look in the mirror you cannot see the beauty within yourself because you compare yourself to those faces on TV. And it aren’t only teenagers who do this. Adults are the same way. They start dieting and exercising to be thin as well. A little bit of botox here and a small surgery there. And often it swallows them up completely.

A couple of week ago I was in a town in Germany. We had parked the car in a garage and we had to walk a few stairs down. Now you may have noticed it in my picture but I have a lazy eye. When I was four years old, I had a surgery on my right eye to correct a lazy eye and squint. This surgery was apparently so successful that my left eye felt like it had no purpose anymore. Through the years my left eye became lazy.  Because of this eyes condition I cannot see depth. An annoying thing to live with, especially stairs are a nightmare. You see, the stairs often have just one color. For me it looks more like a straight path. I have to look very carefully to see the steps. Often I hold on to the banister and I am okay.
This day I did the same thing. I held on the banister and carefully made my way down the stairs. Two women came from another floor, from the opposite direction. They took one glance at me and burst out laughing. Pointing at me, they made fun of me and even though I have been laughed at quite a bit in my life, it still hurts. My eye problem is not so much a problem to me. I have learned to deal with it, especially when an eye doctor told me that surgery would not make much of a difference anymore, nor would glasses. My sight is normal, the only problem I have is not being able to see depth and I cannot look with both eyes at the same time. I don’t mind that my eyes are the way they are but when people laugh at me, I get very insecure.

We all have issues in our life. Whether it is our weight, our job, our clothes or a visible disability, we get insecure. The world has a certain expectancy. We have to look a certain way, earn a certain amount of money, behave perfectly and our personality has to be picture perfect as well. And it is so sad.

You and me, we are perfect the way we are. God made people in His own image. He made every single human being as a unique masterpiece. We have to learn to stop listening to what the world expects from us. It is time that we discover our own beautiful self within ourself. My eyes may not be perfect and I may be slightly overweight, but I am a beautiful person. I am sweet, kind, caring and joyful. And so are you. I may not be a lawyer, a doctor or a supermodel but I am a writer, send by God. I am good the way I am.

So are you. Stop listening to what people expect from you. The only thing that really matters is what you expect from yourself! God loves you. God thinks you are absolutely stunning the way you are. In God’s eyes you don’t need to be thinner, prettier or better. You are most beautiful when you are your complete self. When we are young it is so difficult to find out who we really are. But if we turn the noise of the world off. If we start looking deep within our own heart and soul, we will discover who we really are. That person that God created you to be is inside yourself, waiting to come out! Allow yourself to be who you really are because that is the place where you will find real joy and happiness.

But is is also the other way around. We can also look at other people and judge them. Because in order to feel good about ourselves, we make the other person a little worse, so we feel a little better. And it is all about insecurity. But you know what, everybody is just as beautiful you. Everybody is worthful because God did not just create you. He created everything and everyone. And when He saw what He had created, He blessed it because it was good (Genesis 1). If we learn to accept and love the people around us and treat them with dignity and respect, the world will be a better place in no time. We cannot change the way the world looks at us, but we can change the way we look at world. A small change is like a ripple effect in water, it becomes bigger and bigger. Finding out who you are and embracing your true self will lead you to your purpose in life. But most of all, embracing your true self will make you a lot happier. People cannot be happy for you, only you can do that for yourself. Be the real you, be happy and don’t forget that God absolutely adores you!