Our Tami (Really mine, though)

I recently experienced a loss. It was the kind of loss that feels very alienating. At the same time, my husband has been away quite a bit, helping his dad, so, the temptation to feel alone has been great at times. Thankfully, I hear God well and often enough that it hasn’t been very difficult.

My husband and I will be celebrating our 20th anniversary on July 21st and I am looking forward to the intentional time with just the two of us. I need it. I have been missing him a lot.

Sometimes, our loved ones know what we need before we do. As one who has felt that I needed to anticipate and meet the needs of others without them saying a word, that foresight being turned towards me is absolutely… humbling.

My husband was to return home on Wednesday. When he came in the door, I was thrilled to see him and then was stunned to see my cousin Tami and her 4 daughters come in soon after.

Tami and I grew up together. When she was 8 and I was 13, she came to live with my mother and I. Tami and I have always been very close. We are more like sisters and best friends. Our lives are beautifully and traumatically interwoven. We love and seek to protect one another fiercely. She was the first person who I felt truly knew me. She can even taste food and know if I would like it. She has always been nothing but loving and accepting of me, no matter what, even when we don’t agree. She was the first to feel like home to me. She was the first person who I felt really saw me, understood me, and still genuinely liked me. I didn’t have to do anything to earn her love. It was a free gift. I have always and still feel extremely protective of her and our relationship.

From the moment she and her girls walked through the door, we enjoyed each other. We cooked, baked, laughed, shared memories, danced, skated, walked, shopped, did fireworks and more. At some point, she smiled and said wistfully, “I really needed this.” I did too. The three days went by too quickly.

We embraced and cried a little as she left. I told her and our girls that my husband said to me that bringing her here was a part of his anniversary gift to me. He said he wanted to make me happy. He knew that for me, Tami is happiness. She told me that he has more amazing things planned for me. If he did nothing else, this would be more than enough. He sought to bring me happiness and he did. Anything else he does will just be icing on the cake. I am so grateful.

To Share, Or Not

I have written several blog posts, only to put them aside.  I am not sure what to share or how much to share these days.  I understand all the reasons why I should be quiet right now and just deal in secrecy, but, what if keeping quiet is harmful?  What about the opportunity to have my issues be a source of comfort, relief, validation or joy for others?  What if my opening up could help more than my being quiet? My friend Juli recently told me that my super power is my transparency.  I agree.  I enjoy being honest and open.  I love the idea that simply sharing my journey can help others in ways I haven’t considered.

I have been on yet another life altering journey of self discovery and healing.  The Lord seems to be moving through all areas of my life, cleaning, pruning and making changes.  It makes me think of a time when my oldest daughter unknowingly gave me a word from God.

We were in a prophecy 101 type of class, and had chosen one number from a cup, twice.  The first number was to be our number, the second was the number of the person we would be prophesying over.  When it was her turn, my daughter said something along the lines of, “I see a person being molded and shaped, like bread.  They are very uncomfortable and want to fight against the molding taking place but God is saying to stop fighting against the molding and shaping, because it’s Him.”  I could only smile in awe when she announced the number and it was mine.  I haven’t forgotten that word she gave me.  It is very true of the process I am in right now.

God has brought to light things that weren’t exactly done in the dark per se, but they were done in ways and at a time where the truth of it all escaped me because I was a child, conditioned to think and believe in very specific ways.  I have learned that because of this, I am what the world of psychology calls, co-dependent.  I have empathy for everyone except myself and tend to be overly concerned about caring for the needs and wishes of others, even to my own detriment.  I have believed so much about myself and my personality that simply aren’t true.  He is teaching me who I truly am and healing me of past wounds so that I don’t continue the cycle of abuse with my children or anyone else for that matter.

I am working through a lot of rage that I have carried since childhood.  I used to fight, and when I did, it was pretty awful.  Looking back, I am surprised that no adult picked up on the obvious rage in an otherwise mild mannered, kind hearted little girl.  I am especially surprised this didn’t happen when I was suspended in 5th grade, for fighting after school, off school grounds.  I will just say, that poor girl has evidence of that fight today and what I did to her wasn’t at all warranted.  Let me explain…

As I walked home from school with friends, two of them suddenly began fighting.  One friend, got in a good hit on the other and without thinking, something inside of me snapped, and I was suddenly fighting the first girl.  I later went to her home and apologized to her and her mother.  I didn’t know what happened or why I did what I did. I messed her face up badly enough that when we went to school the following day, teacher after teacher was outraged at the sight of her face and, learning I was at fault, I was sent to the principal, who, also outraged, suspended me for 10 days.

Every single fight I had, I remember one common theme.  I would seem to leave my body, fight viciously, and suddenly come to myself, wondering how I got there.  Sadly, there were several people who were left with permanent scars, all undeserved.

The Lord is helping me sort through all this and more, and it’s not fun or comfortable. It’s very hard, actually. I see and understand the reason for it all and am grateful, nonetheless.  I know that, on the other side of this, I will be a better, stronger, truer version of myself. I will set boundaries and have consequences in place if those boundaries aren’t adhered to.  I will no longer quietly assume any roles  God Himself hasn’t designated for me to play.  I am done with it all, and I feel more free having just stated that.

With love, Patrice

 

Random Cohesive (Maybe not) Thoughts

So much is happening. I am processing several things at once and I find it’s not always easy to write or even speak in a cohesive manner.   Typically, when I think of my thoughts as random, lacking any semblance of cohesion, they actually make sense, so, it is with this possibility in mind, that I push onward and write.

When people find out that I have 5 homeschooled children, they are often astonished and make remarks about me being super busy or some other, (weird) comment is stated.  I don’t feel any busier than anyone else honestly, and up until now, I have not had many real issues that had to do with my children.  The issue I have now, I know is temporary and it has to do with helping my son not flip out to the point of crying and not breathing until he passes out.  He’s only a year old, so reasoning with him isn’t an option.  It’s pretty much, try to distract him and if that doesn’t work, just hold him so that he doesn’t hurt himself when he passes out.  Not the most fun.  Thankfully, this, as most other things, will pass.  In the meantime, it is sometimes rough.

I am seeing an unnerving trend in the Body of Christ that sets my teeth on edge and has all my discernment receptors blaring warning signals.  In a nutshell, it is a trend of facing and focusing on problems, instead of simply asking Abba, what’s going on in those moments of confusion.  There’s a place for asking questions, wanting and getting answers, but there’s also a place for mystery.  Holy Spirit can help us know the difference.  Sometimes our prayers can even be so fear and lack based, it’s disheartening.  It implies that we are better moral agents than God, because we’d never allow certain things with our own children.  It’s so subtle, this deception…

Sometimes, I think we are so afraid of the free will God insisted on giving us, that we make up doctrine to support our religious do this, and do that. Proverbs 23:7 (As a man thinks in his heart, so is he) keeps replaying in my heart and mind.  We really do become our own self fulfilling prophecy because we are believing stupid things.

There are a few other things on my mind these days, like the deaths of people who were clearly not wanting to be here any longer.  Death is never easy. By the time I was 37 years old, I had experienced the deaths of two grandparents, my step father, my father and 3 siblings, with the closest of them passing on my birthday.  I have seen enough death up close, to last me a lifetime.  I have held the hands of loved ones as they passed. I’ve held babies who left their bodies prior to or right after being born.  I could go on but I won’t.  I have seen those who seemed to be taken before they finished what they were here to do, and while I do believe people can and do go before their time, I also believe free will can be a factor, and so can mystery.  Sometimes, things just don’t make sense (to me).  I am learning to be ok with that.

I was thinking yesterday how many die with this or that unfulfilled prophecy over their lives, but then, I started to consider why we are here to begin with.  God didn’t want workers, he has angels for that.  He wanted a family to love.  At its core, this is all about relationship.  It’s a family affair.  If the main goal is to be loved by Him and love others, I can’t think of any of my loved ones who did not fulfill that purpose, no matter when they died.  Every single person I can think of, especially those who have passed within the last year, loved so very many people.  They truly left beautiful legacies and they still live!!!  I am re-thinking so many things.  We get so caught up with the do-do’s.  We must do this for the Kingdom, we must do that for the Kingdom, when God simply wanted a family. It all reminds me of Jesus telling Martha, “One thing is needed…” (see Luke 10:38-42).

I heard a story once that I don’t fully remember and will add to.  A man invited his son to come work with him in his wood shop.  His son worked very hard, trying to replicate the quality of  his dad’s work.  He loved his father and wanted to make him proud.  Try as he might, he just couldn’t get his work to the quality that his dad so easily seemed to produce.  The son quickly became frustrated and angry.  What the son didn’t realize was that his father had him there because he simply wanted to spend time with him.  He didn’t need his son’s help, he really just wanted his company.  He was already proud of him and just wanted to be together making memories.  This is what I believe the Gospel really is, the good news that we have all, already been included.  We start out loved, wanted, accepted, celebrated, etc.  Anything we do from there, comes from a place of resting in that love, acceptance, celebration with our Heavenly Father.  That’s it.

The type of things I have been witnessing, if I were a new  prospective convert, I’d want to run the other way.  What I am seeing is not good news. I can strive without awareness of God and all He has done, I don’t need to do it with Him.  It’s unnecessary.

Rob Coscia summed up my feelings about so much of this beautifully. Why focus on the problem when you have The Answer?

I’ll end with Rob’s quote, “When you pay more attention to what could go wrong rather than to what could go right, failure becomes your unconscious goal.

When you study more of what the enemy has done instead of looking for what God is doing, fear becomes your internal theology.”

 

 

 

Culture of Honor

Where love languages are concerned, I always tie between two- acts of service and quality time.  I cannot choose one over the other.  Coming alongside me to help and chat with me as I wash dishes screams love.

In Dr. Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages, it is noted that most often, people love others based on their own love language(s).  I know this is true for me because I am very often seeking to do something for someone and spend time with loved ones. It fills me to overflowing.

I am naturally a romantic, mushy, sappy type.  I love that too and at times crave that kind of experience to be directed my way, but I don’t always get it.  Rather than complain and constantly feel sorry for myself over it, I seek ways to teach my husband and children how to love me the way that most directly and clearly speaks to my heart.  We are in such a moment in time these days.

Around Valentine’s Day, in 2017, I decided to get sappy and romantic with my family.  From February 1st thru the 14th, I wrote each of them something that I love about them.  I enjoyed doing it and had no problem at all coming up with something for 14 days. This is just one example of the types of things I do to love my family and show them I am thinking of them and care. As much fun as I had doing it, I realized a few days ago, lol, that not one of them thought to reciprocate.

I realized that while it comes easily to me to honor those dear to me, it isn’t so for everyone, and because I want to raise thoughtful children, I brought this to their attention.  In as loving a way as possible, I discussed the importance of honoring others and admitted that there are and have been times when I have felt that I was “for them” and they were for themselves as well, leaving me out of the equation.  I told them that I would like to change that and teach them to be more aware of others, especially those closest to them.  I mean really, don’t cry, slob and snot if something happens to me and tell me how much you love and care for me then, tell me and show me now!

In trying to think of ways to help my family, Abba gave me a wonderful idea that I call, Culture of Honor.  There are seven in my household and seven days in a week, so for now, once a month (for one week), we are honoring each person in various ways.

I am enjoying seeing how they are choosing to show honor to one another. One child took over washing dishes another was doing.  One made another’s bed, bought another their favorite thing from the store, etc., many acts of kindness have taken place this week.  My prayer is that this will teach them to remember others and the important roles they play in our lives, and, honor them for it.

All too often, we get comfortable with those closest to us, so much so, that we completely take them for granted.  I don’t want to do this or be treated like this and I don’t want my children to do it either. So, we are seeking to change this and make some wonderful memories while we’re at it. People are very happy with how others are choosing to honor them and there’s a sense of excitement when thinking of what to do for others as well. We also plan to choose others outside our household to honor.  It will be fun to surprise people and honor them.  I am very grateful that instead of stewing in anger, resentment, and self pity, my Abba gave me a solution- Culture of Honor.  Who could you choose to catch off guard and honor today? Go for it, and tell me about it!

 

Rambling and Thanking God For My Tribe

This year in November, around Thanksgiving to be exact, will mark 3 years that we have been a part of Heaven’s Invasion.  I am absolutely floored when I sit and consider all that God has done in such a short period of time.

I remember the first time I went.  Heaven’s Invasion was having a Thanksgiving potluck before service, and Gary Fishman was to be there from the Bronx.  He’d invited me and asked me to speak about something.

I remember my oldest and I going and being excited.  We sat at a table with Scott whose enormous frame, standing at well over 6 feet, did nothing at all to deter us from striking up conversation and feeling totally comfortable with him.

I remember hearing others share a bit, and then, when it was my turn, Russ, who I didn’t know at the time, looked at me and said my name and asked me to come up.  His familiarity with my name alone shocked me, as I’d expected him to have to ask Gary for my name.

I remember the service and worship just felt like home.  In that moment, I knew that this was where I belonged, although I was attending another church Sunday mornings.  I would continue to attend Heaven’s Invasion, Sunday nights until the Lord directed me further.

Eventually, the Lord led me to leave the church I attended in the mornings and planted me firmly at Heaven’s Invasion.  Through Heaven’s Invasion, I gained more family, through the different events held by Kingdom Training Institute, Calvary Tabernacle and The Sanctuary Fellowship in the Bronx.

I have learned the hard way, as most have, that I needed to be very discerning about who I allowed in, how deeply I allowed people in and who I could and couldn’t share things with.  I learned to still be free to be me, but to keep my eyes open.

Now, I am learning to open up in an environment with people where I am safe. I remember meeting my Evelin.  I felt like I had known her all my life, and, after being around her a second time, I told her that she was going to be my friend.  I just knew it.  After being hurt so much in the past, because of my own poor choices, I felt I’d outgrown the term “best friends”, but she truly is one of my very best friends.  I can readily admit that now.  Also, we have a little core group now and I can confidently add that term to JuLissa and Lisandra as well.  In truth, what we have is far deeper than the term that has a bit of a kiddie feel to it.  These women mean everything to me.  These are a few of the women, with whom I feel no walls.  Thankfully, there are many others as well.

To be surrounded on so many fronts with such love and support seems like I’m cheating at times. And the changes!!  I never in a million years imagined I’d be doing much of anything I am doing now.  I am regularly prophesying over people where ever I am.  This includes phone calls I have to make to businesses for home repairs and services.  I love it when I’m asked at the end of a call with Verizon or some other company if I have any other questions or comments.  That’s oftentimes my cue to unleash God’s love on the unsuspecting representative.  I can’t tell you how many times, after prophesying over a representative from one company or another, how they open up, sometimes crying, and start to share a bit of their lives with me.  What an honor!!

As I look back, in just shy of 2 years, I have gained a solid foundation in the prophetic, became a worship leader, youth leader and an ordained minister to boot!  When connected with the right people, God can do some crazy things, crazy fast!! I feel both, new and different, and completely comfortable and at home with my life as it has become, and it’s still changing!  There’s so much more to come!  God has said it and I just feel it!

I pray that you are connected to the ones God would have you connected with.  This is what life is supposed to be like in His Kingdom-family, fellowship, discipleship, love.  I so enjoy doing life with my core group.  I pray that you have this too!