Patience

Patience is one characteristic that I do not manage completely. In the cue at the pay desk I can be very patient. When I was still a health care nurse in retirement homes, patience was my middle name. But when it comes up to God’s plan in my life, I am not so very patient. This afternoon for example I have been working on a new project. It was an idea that I already had for a little while. And even though I am a very positive person who does not easily give up, my patience was tested to the limit. Nothing I tried worked! And that brought a lot of impatience and frustration.
You see, sometimes I just don’t understand it. If God wants me to publish a book, be a writer, couldn’t He just cooperate a little?  Lately I have been feeling as if everything just does not seem to work out. Very frustrating. Especially since I have been trying to do the best I can.

The thing is that I care about my work. Which is funny because when I started writing as a child, I didn’t like it so much. I was good at writing and it matched a melody deep in my heart. My love for writing had to grow. Which it did. Especially the last six and a half years it did. Writing has not just been a way to express my feelings. It is also a way to communicate with God. To me writing is all emotions expressed. It is sadness, joy, honesty, growth. Writing is the air I breath and the blood that streams through my veins. Even though it did not start out that way, it grew over the years. More and more I am facing the fact that writing fits me. When Jesus called me at the age of five, I didn’t quite understand why He wanted me to write but now I do.

Today I agree with Him completely. He chose the perfect job for me. The only thing I lack to understand is why nothing seems to work out. If Jesus wants me to write a book than why does He seem so far away in making it happen? People say that I am very intelligent and my faith is extraordinary but some things I just don’t understand. And my lack of understanding makes me frustrated. The essence; the root of impatience is a lack of understanding!

And I would love to understand. I would love to see the truth in all this. Trust me I have prayed over and over again for insight…for the truth…but so far the Heavens have remained so silent that you could hear a pin drop. No answer only silence.
I know many Christians would say, “Sweetie you just need to have faith”, but you know what, that is easier said than done. I have been waiting for such a long time now. Waiting, fighting, searching for answers and solutions with perseverance and faith. And yet it has not been enough.

This really makes one doubt its mission. But looking back at my life, and the things Jesus and the Father told me, I know with 100% certainty that I am on the right track. Jesus once said that the only path that leads to eternal life is the small path. Well I can safely say that my path really is a narrow one, where I sometimes wonder if God will leave some space for me to walk. But I have to believe it. I have to believe that God will keep His promise. The way I see it is that satan will do everything he can to keep us away from God. It is not God that keeps me from succeeding but it is satan. And if I give but one inch, I will lose this entire battle. Like I said, I am positive and persevering. I do not give up. Not now, not ever! I will keep on fighting for God, for my life, for my mission, my work. I will finish this race-with-so-many-hurdles. Even if the road sometimes makes me stop, cry and wonder if the finish line will every be in sight, I will not give up. Patience is something I can learn and if it takes me a lifetime to learn it, I will do just that!

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 changing of the hour

This weekend we are turning the clock one hour back. The days are officially getting shorter, and slowly winter is approaching. But not yet, because autumn is still here in all his glory. I love autumn. The changing of the colors, leaves slowly falling down, candles are being lit again and somehow life becomes a little bit cozier. Or as we famously say in Dutch, ‘gezellig’.

This entire change reminded me of a poem that I wrote a year ago. It was autumn and the hour was going back in a couple of weeks and I felt as restless as I do today. I was impatient. Impatient to get started with my work for God. But God gave me a dream to let me know that I was still early. It wasn’t His time yet.

In fact I was so eager to start working, that I ignored God’s message and decided to get up early anyway, to start my days writing more than I did at the time. It was my plan to wake up at 7 am, whereas I usually woke up at 8 am or 8.30 am. Planning my days with chores and writing, I was set to begin my new regime. Ready to go, I set my alarm clock at 7 and went to sleep. It must have been November by that time. But when I woke up the next morning my alarm clock hadn’t sounded. I was 100% certain that I did set the alarm because I checked at least three times the night before! I didn’t wake up during the night either. That’s when I got a vision. I saw in my vision, that Jesus entered my room. He walk straight to my alarm clock and turned it off. After He turned it off, He gave me a kiss on my forehead and left. It wasn’t until a few months later that I realized, that not only did He turn off my alarm clock, His power also broke it down. My clock still functions perfectly, my alarm clock however just won’t budge. And my alarm clock stopped working after the morning that Jesus turned it off!

It was clear to me. I simply had to wait, no matter how difficult that was going to be. As all of this took place, I wrote a poem. The poem is about my deep love for the autumn season. But it is also about having to wait. We have to sit out the present season in our life, before the next season will begin. And sometimes that is really difficult. You are ready to move on, but the problems in your life simply won’t leave. You are ready to start a new career but nobody will take you on. You are ready to sell your house and start a new life elsewhere but your house doesn’t sell. Whatever it is, you are unable to move forward in your life. And that is difficult. It is as if you have to wait for the clock to change the hour. You stare at the pointers in the hope that they will go a little faster, if you just stare at it long enough. But slowly the minutes are ticking away. And frustrating is not helping you either! The clock isn’t changing the hour one minute faster if you get angry.

The only thing that really helps is taking your eyes off the clock. Focus on something else, temporarily. It is just like waiting in a waiting room at the doctor. What do you do until the doctor calls you in? You get a magazine and you read a little. Because time passes by much quicker if you focus on something other than the clock. In the same way, we have to switch our focus to something else in order to wait for God’s perfect timing. If we move to fast, things might go wrong and we can ruin God’s plan with us completely. Besides, God won’t budge anyway, and I can tell you that out of personal experience. If God wants you to wait, He will let you wait in whatever form or fashion, He sees fit.

Our impatience is a stumbling block in our way, but if we try to have patience, God might surprise us in a way, we could never have seen coming. Patience gives the opportunity to learn new lessons and see new things. If we would never have to wait, life would simply pass us by. We would never see the leaves changing color. We would never smell the sweet scent of cinnamon. We would never witness the beauty of a sunset. Patience is a life changer and an eye opener!

Here is the poem:

Early autumn

The chestnuts fall wherever they want.
Acorns lose their hats in the process.
The maple collects its juice for the next harvest.
A squirrel hides his food in the grand old oak.
Unshakable is the tree that bears her fruit.

The cinnamon apples spread their warm perfume.
Sweet is the scent that melts my heart.
The autumn sky embraces the strong cold winds,
but the fire in the hearth keeps me warm.

When the honey sweetens the hot liquid,
the words of my heart are kind.
Now the green leaves fall down,
and in the raked pile I make snow angels.
Joyful is the heart that reminds itself to be young.

In expectation of the winter I look at You,
but the clock hasn’t moved the hour yet.
Impatient is the heart that tries to hurry.
In time the feet will triple over themselves.
The lesson of patience is an impatient one.

At the kitchen table I drink my tea,
as You fill my head with happy memories.
And in the warmth of Your touch,
I learn to embrace the blessings,
of an early autumn.