Monthly Archives: April 2015

When Good gets Better

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Often when our lives are at a good point and we feel content, and dare we even say ‘happy’, we have the urge to press pause to keep things that way. We don’t want anything to change so we may, subconsciously, put off trying something new or taking a chance or speaking up. It can take a long time to get to good, and we fear losing it.

And while hitting pause may keep the the good from going bad, it also keeps the good from getting better. When things are good, we can have the tendency to think our luck has been used up and therefore the only way to go is down. But good can get better. It has for me.

Life has been good the last couple of months. I am recovered from my illness, I got a job, I paid off debts, I started my own little (unofficial) business and I’ve been meeting lots of amazing new people. I would have been very content to have things stay that way.

But good got better.

After 3 months at my new job, I was given a nice raise and more responsibility. Both my manager and the owner of the gyms have expressed a desire for me to step into more of a leadership role with even more responsibility. They want to work with me and help me grow as a staff leader and staff encourager. They’ve been quick to compliment me on my work and recognize my abilities. They see potential and are jumping at it. I feel valued and appreciated, two things I haven’t felt in a job for a while.

And I love the job! I look back over the last decade and the jobs I did and the things I strived for. I look at how I defined success, by title and salary, and what I needed to obtain that. But when I was working towards big titles and bigger pay checks, I ended up in misery.

Now I have a job that doesn’t have an impressive or important title, nor does it pay a lot, but this is the happiest I’ve ever been in a working environment. I get to meet people every day. I have a chance to get to know people and learn their stories. Every time the gym door opens, I have the chance to put a smile on someone’s face and brighten their day.

My mom keeps saying to me “You really like this job, don’t you?” Yes, yes I really do.

It’s funny to look back at myself chasing those things I thought were important only to realize now that they aren’t important at all. Money and titles mean nothing if achieved at the expense of your character, energy, sanity and happiness.

What’s important is a gym member who feels special because I know their name. What’s important is a co-worker who is proud when she hears I talked her up to our boss. What’s important are the gym members who know my name and want to know when I am working next. What’s important is my manager knowing she can rely on me to get things done. What’s important is looking forward to going to work every day.

I used to struggle to get myself out of bed and to work on time for jobs that started at 9am. I’d often be late and usually a bit of a mess when I got there. Now I get myself out of bed by 3:30am to be at the gym for 4:45am with a 40 minute commute. And I haven’t struggled to do that once. That speaks volumes.

There are lots of other things in my life that are getting better too. I found a room to rent in a nice house in Tecumseh and will be moving in less than a month. The owner has two dogs, and I have been wishing for a pet for months, and now I get two without any expense.

I have sold a few pieces of my jewelry, which is incredibly exciting!

I have a beautiful bond with my niece and nephew who I absolutely adore and I am so grateful I am close to them to see them grow and change every day.

Life isn’t perfect, nor do I expect it to ever be. But a couple months ago it was good. Now it’s better. And there is no way I am hitting pause. Because even though there is a chance something bad could happen, there’s also a chance for the better to become best.

Don’t let your life remain at a standstill because you are content and afraid something bad could happen. Because you could be missing out on something better.

And if the path you are on isn’t working for you anymore, take a different route. Life is too short to just be content or ‘ok’. Better may be just around the corner, but you’re afraid to make that turn.

Go ahead and make that turn!

Go for better.

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Dear Little Girl

A few weeks ago, my counsellor gave me an assignment to write to myself as a young girl when my family was living in the Caribbean. We lived in St. Kitts for nearly 4 years, and the reason my counsellor wanted me to write to the girl I was then is because I still have wounds that have not fully healed from the time I spent there.

I was 8 when we moved there and 12 when we moved back to Canada. I went to an island school where I was one of only a few white kids. I was harassed and bullied because of the colour of my skin. I was called names and purposely left out of things. I was hit a few times by other kids, and even spat on once. I had a few friends in the beginning, but they quickly dropped off as they were ridiculed for playing with ‘white people’.

I was so excited when we moved back to Canada because I thought I would just fit in here since it was my home country. It didn’t work out that way; I came back with a funny little accent, a mix of English, American and Kittian, I was incredibly shy, and I was more than a little damaged. I was once again bullied and harassed.

It has been nearly 20 years since we left St. Kitts, but there are still things that, even today, will trigger a memory and open up old wounds. And that is why I wrote to the little girl I was. And here is what I told her:

Dear Little Girl,

I know life is hard for you. I know you feel completely alone and unwanted. I know you are confused and wondering why they are so mean to you. I know your days are filled with sadness and dread, and your nights are filled with tears and anxiety. I see you withdrawing, isolating yourself more and more, shutting out the rest of the world. And I understand.

I wish I could hug you and comfort you. I wish I could wipe your tears and hold your hand. I wish I could stand beside you and stop those who hurt you. You have no idea how much I wish I could make things better for you.

What I can do is tell you that you will survive this. It does get better. The pain, sadness, emptiness and anger you feel will one day begin to heal. You will learn from what you are experiencing. This hurtful time will teach you to be kind, compassionate, giving, nonjudgmental, and generous. It will cause you to develop a heart for those who are treated unfairly, those who feel alone, those who feel unloved. You will one day fight for them in the way no one fought for you.

I warn you that things will get worse before they get better. You will struggle more and face challenges that you can’t image. You will experience pain that you are not sure you can survive. But you will survive. There is a strength in you that you cannot fathom. This strength will surprise you with its power and determination. It will come barreling through during times when you don’t think you can go on. You will be on the edge, ready to give up completely, and your strength inside will fight its way to the surface and fight for you when you don’t feel you can fight anymore.

You will never give up, no matter how much you may want to. You will come dangerously close to ending it all, but you will never follow through. Something will always stop you. Your strength, your will to live, your love, and your hope. You will hold on to hope during times when you are not sure it even exists. You have a fighting spirit, a fire in your eyes, and no matter how many times someone or something tries to put that fire out, a spark will always remain.

Precious girl, you will experience such love and joy and peace in your life. You will know heartache, but the happiness you experience will push you through that. The hope you have and the strength within you will get you through things you never thought possible.

And you, darling, will experience the greatest love imaginable when you find Jesus. Knowing Him, trusting Him, accepting His unconditional love will give you a peace that will cradle your soul. He will be your rock, your stability. He will carry you when you are too weak to keep going. He will whisper His love to you when feel unworthy or unwanted. Through Him, you will find purpose, a reason to live. He will give you courage and will always walk beside you. He will turn a light on inside you that will shine out of you and allow you to live the life intended for you.

Knowing Jesus will not mean life will be easy or that you will always be happy. You will suffer and face difficult times. You will cry out to Him in dark times, begging for the pain to go away. But be patient. He will use your struggles and your suffering to create good things. He will use you to help others, to comfort others, to listen to others, to lead others. Take comfort, sweet girl, for He has a plan for you.

Little girl, I ask you to be brave. Those who are hurting you don’t really know what they are doing. They are just young too. Their actions and their words may stick with you and create lifelong wounds, but those wounds will help you create good. Those wounds will help you love. Those wounds will allow you to help others.

You are here for a reason. You have a purpose. And that purpose is so much bigger than what is happening right now. You are strong, stronger than you can possibly imagine. You are a beautiful, precious child of God’s. And you are going to be ok. Have courage, little girl. I promise it will get better.

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This is me, about age 9, at home in St. Kitts with my dog, Freckles. That ugly brown dress was my school uniform.

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The Weight of Today

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This morning I woke up without much energy. I felt heavy. I felt down. As I was driving to work through a blanket of fog at 7:15am, all I could see was grey. It was grey outside and I was feeling grey inside.

Of course I had the panicked thought that my depression was making a sudden appearance. But I knew that wasn’t it. It wasn’t the usual sad feeling that my depression brings.

And then I remembered what today is. Good Friday. The day Jesus was crucified.

And it all made sense. The fog, the grey sky, the heaviness, the sadness. Today is the day Jesus died for me. For you. For us.

As that thought weighed on me, I couldn’t stop tears from filling my eyes. I thought about how He was beaten, ridiculed and spat on. I thought about His hands and feet being nailed to the cross. I thought about the pain He endured, and how before He was arrested, He asked God to take this cup of suffering from Him.

But the suffering was not taken. The pain was not spared. He willingly fulfilled His purpose for coming to earth. His life was sacrificed in the most brutal way imaginable, and it was done for all of us.

As these thoughts swirled around my head, my heart felt as though it might explode with love, gratitude and pain. He died for me. So I can be forgiven.

Forgiven for all of the horrible things I’ve done, and for the mistakes I will still make. His sacrifice allows me chance after chance to try again and do things right. To do things as He taught. As He asked.

His death gives me the only reason I need to live. I want to live to honour the sacrifice He made. I want to live to serve Him. I want to live to fulfill the purpose He has for me.

Because of His death, I know am truly loved. I am wanted. I am precious. I am worthwhile.

And the incredible thing is, so are you. Because He died for you too.

And on Sunday we get to celebrate His resurrection. With Him, even death can be conquered.