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Saturday, September 23, 2017

GRACE IN THE VALLEY

I don't have so much to add to this song right now... it is the product of my experiences in the passing of our baby girl.  The song speaks for itself, really.  However, I will just say that our Creator is wonderful.  There is always grace in every valley and He will guide us faithfully if we only hold onto His hand.
Even from the day that Ruby went to be with Him, His mercy and goodness were evident in the blessings that He sent our way and the permanent changes He made in our lives and the lives of those who walked through everything with us.  The testimony of His goodness is invaluable.
When you walk through the valley, guard yourselves against the idols of doubt that will seek to enslave you with fear.  Keep your eyes on the Creator of the cloud and the fire and He will surround you with His Grace.  Nowhere have I found Him closer than in the valleys that seemed like they would engulf me.
"The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear?"

PS.  Thanks Viv, for spurring the visual that makes up the chorus to this song.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B-ikC2bFcgLaVFdtc3FvSkd5RjA


Monday, September 11, 2017

Aslan is on the Move!

I have just returned from Meuchad 2017.  I wish you had been there!  Anybody!  Everybody who reads this (if you weren't there)!  I wish you had been there!!

This weekend, our earth was groaning and shaking in unprecedented ways as multiple hurricanes/tropical storms thrashed relentlessly and the earth shook with an 8.2 magnitude earthquake.  Our country is riddled with fire, water, wind, shaking and yes, fear is at an all time high.  But as the dark grows darker I know the light shines ever brighter and darkness absolutely cannot overcome the light.  It is an impossibility on earth as it is in heaven.

This world is groaning in the agony of birthing pains, but that means something is about to be born! Something amazing is on the way!

There are also huge things happening among believers that are beyond thrilling.  Some things I have noticed:

1. Humility - the mountains are being brought low.  the valleys are rising.  the rough places are being made plain and we are all on level ground.  Even at Meuchad this year, the difference in spirit was tangible compared to last year.  Last year was wonderful too, but this year there was a sweetness, unity, humility... I have never seen it like this before anywhere.  As Paul Wilbur said several times, there are no experts in worship. Even in the body of believers, there have always been those who were esteemed higher than others.  There have been "mountains" and "valleys" and "rough places" among us as people, but our Creator is pouring out His humility on us all.  As a people, the ground is becoming level in preparation for the return of our Messiah.
Even within myself, there is a shift.  As I worshiped and sang and looked up at those on the stage, I sensed within myself an absence of that human thought that they are "up there" and I am "down here." That hasn't even usually been a conscious thought in me, but when it was suddenly gone I noticed.  I could see us all as absolutely equal and absolutely one with our entire focus ONLY on worship.  It was so beautiful!
In that moment, I saw in my mind a clear picture from the Lord.  First, I was alone in a "room" with no walls, floor or ceiling.  It was absent from everything except pure white light and I was standing with my arms outstretched, singing my own song of worship.  As I did this, swirls of color came from my praise and rose as an expanding, rainbowed cloud above my head.  Just a few moments later, everyone in the physical room was also with me in the room of light and the same thing was happening above their heads.  These beautiful, ethereal rainbow swirls rising from our praise. We were all humble, unified and equal in our focus and our worship.

2. JOY is our STRENGTH! At one point, during worship on Sunday morning the lights in the building began to flicker and go out; the screen with lyrics went blank and the instruments no longer had any volume... and THAT is when the praise erupted like our own mighty hurricane! JOY broke out among us in an overwhelming way.  I began to laugh and laugh because OUR KING IS COMING! HE'S FINALLY ON THE WAY!!!!
I know that things in the world are frightening, but in that moment of "darkness" and the physical storms heading our way, I could see it all so clearly.  If we have been afraid of the end... if we have been fearful that we wouldn't make it through the hardest times to come... take courage! He is pouring out His JOY upon us and it's everywhere!  In every spontaneous worship time I've been in lately, Joy has been a major theme.  He is the Joy set before us.  We were/are the Joy set before Him.  The JOY of the Lord is our strength.  Suddenly, it is absolutely not unfathomable to understand how Stephen could have been so delighted in the Lord that, even as his physical body was being stoned to death and he must have been experiencing great physical pain, he was shouting about Yeshua and asking for the sins of his murderers not to be held against them.  I can SEE this strength falling upon us all and it is the JOY set before us!  As our King draws near, this physical world becomes less and less real.  It is a poor imitation of what's to come and I am SO EXCITED I can't help but laugh!  He's coming!!!

3. WORSHIP IS EXPLODING! It's everywhere lately.  I am blessed to be connected to many congregations and many pastors and the theme I see the most lately is that everyone wants to go deeper in worship than we've ever gone before.
I mean, this is really wrapped up in the first two points and it's no surprise at all.  We were made for this! It's time to lay down our ideas, our dreams, even the things we KNOW were from the Lord.  We have been busy working our fields, doing things we know we were called to do for a season.  We may think that we are in a pivotal moment in our other functions, but ...just like that... He is calling His people to lay it all down.  Put down the plow, put down the heavy burdens.  Stop the planning, stop the preparations for anything else.  Our KING is coming soon and we were MADE for this moment!  We were created to bow before Him!

So... I think this is not nearly the most eloquent post I have written and it is certainly filled with the vocabulary of those who already believe, when usually I try to make it more relatable to everyone.  BUT I AM JUST SO EXCITED! I need to share this delight with my brothers and sisters and encourage you!  Be Humble in the Lord! He is leveling everything in preparation for new life! DON'T BE AFRAID! No matter what comes, He is our strength and we will be delighted and more removed from the natural as we face the trials ahead.  He is the JOY set before us! Finally, WORSHIP Him in spirit and truth! This is what you were created to do!  It's not about us and nothing in this world will be more fulfilling than living a life of complete worship!

Winter is ending... the snow is melting... Aslan is on the move!  OUR KING IS COMING!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wnW8wGIyOo

Monday, March 13, 2017

Count Your Many Blessings

It has been a month since our precious Ruby went to Heaven.  I miss her constantly and rarely have a moment when she is not at the forefront of my mind.  Some friends and family have been concerned that my husband and I are handling this all *too* well and that maybe we're trying too hard to keep it together... No, we have not been blubbering messes, but outward exhibition of emotion is not much in either of our natures.  I don't think that either of us is attempting to restrict an emotional outflow.  I have seen my husband cry much more in the past weeks than he ever has before.  I can see new tenderness in his heart and soul and it's a beautiful thing. For myself, I have many moments of tears; some that are just a bittersweet trickle and others that cause me to well up with such a sadness that even I am taken by surprise.  I am feeling it all and there is no lack, though these moments generally happen in private and I may seem overly calm in public view... according to some.  I also have a feeling that the wound of losing our baby girl is deeper than either of us yet realizes.  I have no doubt we will walk with a limp for the rest of our lives in remembrance of a beautiful struggle. 

#1: Beautiful.  Truly, when I think back to this whole experience and all of the things that have come from it; even all the details of how it took place, that is the word that comes to mind.  I hope that's not taken in the wrong way.  It's not to say that any of it is something I would have wished for, but my God... my wonderful God... You have crushed us as a stone.  You have come down on us with a mighty force to break us open and we thought the breaking would ruin us, but You're such a skilled craftsman.  We would never have guessed that we would find treasures inside the heavy, broken rocks.

#2: Mercy. Thinking back to the moments of breaking, I can see His mercy on us.  Ruby had been sick, but only for a couple of days and, just the day before she passed, she was still up, perky and playing.  It really was only the morning of her death that she became very sick and then everything happened so quickly.  So, the mercy here is that she got to spend her last hours at home in peace instead of in a hospital being poked and prodded and all of us being much more traumatized.  We all got to experience peace with each other nearly until the moment of her passing and, by then, she was in such a state that I do not believe she really experienced any pain.  She simply fell asleep with her mommy and daddy and woke up with Yeshua (Jesus).  I cannot overstate what a blessing that is.  Her short life on earth was a very happy one and she only went from joy to joy.  Glory to glory... She will not remember any pain she may have experienced here, but for those of us who remain, that knowledge that she went in peace is such a comfort. Thank you, Lord, for Your mercy.

#3: Mending. My husband and I have only known each other for 3 years and have already experienced SO many stressful things together... moving to a new town (twice) starting a new job, quitting a job to be a stay at home mom, having a baby way too early, spending over 4 months with her in the NICU, learning to be first-time parents, losing our child and now having our second child in the next few weeks and buying a house (yay!) at the same time.  It's A LOT and it has all taken a toll on both of us. Being unified in marriage is a difficult thing to navigate all on its own, so it's no wonder that we haven't had an easy time of it.  Not to mention some "interesting" pasts and particularly rough baggage that we're both still learning to leave behind.  Our first year and a half as a married couple has not been easy in any sense, though we have been sure that the Lord brought us together.
The blessing through tragedy has been that we are now much more knitted together appropriately. We've leaned on each other and shown compassion in new ways that have done so much to heal what seemed so broken.  Our relationship has been much more aligned in godly ways and we are being greatly blessed by that adjustment, even as we mourn.
In fact, this mending has extended out to other family members as well and we all are more connected than we had been.  I'm so thankful.  I ache for my little girl, but this is all momentary and there are eternal things happening here that cause me to take my view to the joy beyond pain.  I am in a fortress of joy. 

If you've read this far, please continue reading as I share the passage that brought me to grateful tears this week.

I Peter 1 CJB
1 From: Kefa, an emissary of Yeshua the Messiah To: God's chosen people, living as aliens in the Diaspora - in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, the province of Asia, and Bythinia - 
2 chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father and set apart by the Spirit for obeying Yeshua the Messiah and for sprinkling with his blood: Grace and shalom be yours in full measure. 
3 Praised be God, Father of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, who, in keeping with his great mercy, has caused us, through the resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah from the dead, to be born again to a living hope, 
4 to an inheritance that cannot decay, spoil or fade, kept safe for you in heaven. 
5 Meanwhile, through trusting, you are being protected by God's power for a deliverance ready to be revealed at the Last Time. 
6 Rejoice in this, even though for a little while you may have to experience grief in various trials.
7 Even gold is tested for genuineness by fire. The purpose of these trials is so that your trust's genuineness, which is far more valuable than perishable gold, will be judged worthy of praise, glory and honor at the revealing of Yeshua the Messiah. 
8 Without having seen him, you love him. Without seeing him now, but trusting in him, you continue to be full of joy that is glorious beyond words. 
9 And you are receiving what your trust is aiming at, namely, your deliverance. 
10 The prophets, who prophesied about this gift of deliverance that was meant for you, pondered and inquired diligently about it. 
11 They were trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of the Messiah in them was referring in predicting the Messiah's sufferings and the glorious things to follow. 
12 It was revealed to them that their service when they spoke about these things was not for their own benefit, but for yours. And these same things have now been proclaimed to you by those who communicated the Good News to you through the Ruach HaKodesh sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things! 
13Therefore, get your minds ready for work, keep yourselves under control, and fix your hopes fully on the gift you will receive when Yeshua the Messiah is revealed.
14 As people who obey God, do not let yourselves be shaped by the evil desires you used to have when you were still ignorant. 
15 On the contrary, following the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in your entire way of life; 
16since the Tanakh says, "You are to be holy because I am holy." 
17 Also, if you are addressing as Father the one who judges impartially according to each person's actions, you should live out your temporary stay on earth in fear. 
18 You should be aware that the ransom paid to free you from the worthless way of life which your fathers passed on to you did not consist of anything perishable like silver or gold; 
19 on the contrary, it was the costly bloody sacrificial death of the Messiah, as of a lamb without defect or spot
20 God knew him before the founding of the universe, but revealed him in the acharit-hayamim for your sakes. 
21 Through him you trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory; so that your trust and hope are in God. 
22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth, so that you have a sincere love for your brothers, love each other deeply, with all your heart. 
23 You have been born again not from some seed that will decay, but from one that cannot decay, through the living Word of God that lasts forever. 


24 For all humanity is like grass, all its glory is like a wildflower the grass withers, and the flower falls off; but the Word of ADONAI lasts forever. Moreover, this Word is the Good News which has been proclaimed to you.

Friday, March 3, 2017

All My Days are Written in Your Book

There may be some people reading this who don't know the things leading to this post so, for the sake of context and brevity, here's a very clipped timeline:

Three years ago I met a wonderful man and we got married in July of 2015.  In August, I was pregnant.  Our baby girl was due in May, but I developed severe preeclampsia and she came in Februrary 2016 instead. Ruby Ann Catherine was born at one pound and five ounces.  It was a miracle that she survived the first few days, let alone any longer. She came out with a mighty cry, a strong grip and a warrior's spirit. After 4.5 months in the NICU, we finally got to bring our little Ruby home.

Ruby's little lungs had been struggling from day one since she was more than 3 months premature. That is why she was in the hospital for so long, but we thought we were really out of the woods. She grew steadily and was happy and healthy for the majority of the time.  Still, she would catch a cold and become congested fairly regularly and the frequency only increased as time went on.  Each time she would come down with this, we'd start breathing treatments again to help keep her lungs open.  The treatments seemed to work well for her and after a few days, we'd wean her back off.  But, each episode took longer to overcome and seemed to be more severe than the last.  Still, this wasn't something we really worried about since she was doing so well in every other regard.  One never considers the unimaginable to take place until it happens.  We thought this was just par for the course in a premature baby and that she'd stop having this issue as she got older.  Our little girl was so happy!  She smiled all the time and was the most content, patient and laid back baby I had ever seen.  She was perfect and we were (are) so in love.

On February 18th, three days before her first birthday, Ruby was really struggling to breathe.  We were continuing to do breathing treatments, but it didn't seem to make much of a difference this time.  After consulting with the on-call pediatrician a few times, we took Ruby to the pediatric ER.  We had no idea the severity of the situation.  Even the pediatrician we had consulted with (only via phone and with a video of Ruby breathing) wasn't sure that we really needed to go to the ER, but wanted us to just in case.  We did become much more concerned by the minute and I literally drove 120 mph while her daddy sat with her and made sure she was still breathing on the way to the hospital.  Still, we expected that they would help clear her lungs and we would go home or maybe stay one night.  Instead, Ruby was rushed back to a room where a doctor and several nurses worked very quickly to "bag" her and then get her intubated.  They had to give her a paralytic medicine to stop what little breathing she was doing in order to intubate her.  After that, Ruby just never came back.  They did CPR on her for quite a while and pushed 5 doses of epinephrine, but she was gone.  A faint pulse faded to nothing and... she was gone.  The breath that had been given by her Creator had been inhaled back to Him and her spirit left its temporary dwelling just as quickly as it had come.

Even as I write this, part of me still doesn't believe it.  I know that some of that is because I know that Ruby is still alive and well in heavenly dimensions..and some of it is because I, ever the optimist, never would have believed that I would encounter such an earth shattering blow.  But, I did.  We did...and we're still here.  We still know that God is good and His mercy endures forever.  His faithfulness extends to all generations. His plans are perfect and His ways are not our ways, but all His paths are peace.

I cannot begin to recount the abundance of things that have been learned and blessings that have been poured out since Ruby's passing, although we still mourn and miss our baby terribly.  I will expound more on these things, but ...since my brevity is already nullified, I am closing this post with things that I always want to remember.  This is for me, but I invite you to delight in her memory with me.

I WILL REMEMBER: 
Kissing the bridge of your nose, your sweet neck, the back of your bald head, your little feet.  

Brushing your hair backwards to make it stand up.  It was so cute when it was messy and I wanted to see how long it was getting.

The times when you would lay your head on your daddy’s chest and we would say “awww” and then you’d lift up and do it again.

"Dadadadadadada"

Your first joke.

How adorable you were in your kitty shoes.

How happy you were to see me every morning; legs and arms a blur of motion and a bright smile on your face.

How devastated you were to find yourself alone, in bed at the end of every nap.

How when you woke me in the night, sometimes I was so tired and did not want to get up, but the minute I saw you, it was worth it.  You were always a joy no matter the time of day nor my fatigue.

Your sweet little toes and the middle toes that bent down below the others.

Your hands that were a miniature version of mine, including the perfectly crooked pinkies.

Your beautifully expressive face; full of joy and intelligence.

How you struggled to get out of your car seat; the constant sound of grunting in the back seat.

How you loved your kitty cats and talked to them, especially Gemmy, who loved you too.

How easy it was to keep you happily entertained with a spoon.

That you were a patient baby.  I’ve never heard of a patient baby, but you were it.

You brought joy to EVERYONE who ever met you even for a moment.  

The way you loved my hair.  It was your favorite toy and your face would light up when I let it down after a while in a ponytail.

Your soft skin.

Your adorable little legs; You standing in our bed in your diaper leaning against me or your daddy...babbling.

The only thing that made you cry very hard was being alone.


You had special smiles for your mommy, daddy and bubbe.

The way you lit up every time I sang to you.

How you seemed to understand worship and engaged in it readily.

The time I leaned over your car seat to kiss you and you gently put your hand on my cheek and we stared into each other's eyes.

So so much more... We will always love you, precious jewel.

To Be Healed; To Be Whole

NOTE: I originally wrote this post at least 3 years ago, but never published it.  I read through it again today and, in light of recent events (the passing of my little girl, Ruby) I thought the final point was absolutely appropriate.

I've been wanting to write this for a while.  I know it will come as a shock, but I'm about to be extremely real and honest here. ;)  The truth is that I value the truth.  For my personal sanity and for growth, self-honesty is very high up on the list of the most important things.  So, here I go again...being real; being brilliantly and perfectly flawed.

I've talked a bit about my weight on this blog...how it has always been an issue for me, etc.  I've also talked about my hips and all the surgeries I had as a young child.  (If you want to catch up on either of those topics, I'd recommend reading this post http://songbirdmuzik.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-weight-of-guilt.html)

Well, regarding my hips and knees, I have had arthritis in my knees since I was 11 or so and, in the past two years, my right hip has really started to hurt.  I currently walk with an almost constant limp and I'm unable to tie my right shoe because I just can't reach it.  Rarely, but it happens... the hip pain will be so bad and so sharp that it takes my breath away when I walk.  So, that's the bad part.

Now, for the perspective:  There are several people who have and still do pray for my hip to be healed and for the pain to go away.  Sure, that would be nice, but here's the thing: It is true that I was born with issues beyond my control.  However, it is also true that I have a serious emotional eating problem and that my pain is largely, if not all, due to my weight.  My weight is due to my habits and my habits are due to a kind of self-comfort; self-"medication".  Let's face it; life is hard! Everyone finds their ways to cope and most of the time those ways are destructive because we lack the faith to believe that really REALLY relying on HaShem will be enough.

So, let me back up a bit here.  Back in July, I was walking up a hill with a friend.  I had been doing a lot of extra walking in the previous few days and walking uphill is always harder on my hip.  As we walked I was in so much pain that we had to keep pausing every few steps.  Well my friend has a lot of faith for healing.  ...More than I have had, I admit.  She prayed for me as we stood there and she seemed surprised when the pain did not immediately dissipate.
In the following days we talked more about my need to be healed and I finally said, "You know, I think this pain is necessary right now.  I need it.  It's serving a purpose."  She disagreed, but I still hold to that quite firmly.

Thinking back to the times when I have most earnestly sought after HaShem, I realize that it was because of pain.  Four years ago, I was such an angry person and I was going through such a difficult time that I really wanted to die.  It was at that time when I cried out to Him in truthfulness.  I told my Creator that I didn't like Him and that I didn't want to follow Him, but that I knew I was wrong and I wanted to be changed.  I can't even recount all the wondrous ways He has answered that cry.  I am miles from that desperate "me" and the truth is I did very little to get here.  All I did was ask Him to re-create me and then I walked the path before me...the path that I know beyond a doubt that He has prepared for me.  It hasn't always been easy, but truly, my effort has only been to walk, keep walking, keep following and be amazed.

So, here I am again in need of change.  I know that the core of my problem is not physical, but spiritual first, emotional second, psychological third... all leading to this physical consequence.  But, I just wanted to write this down and tell the world that, today, I have faith because I've seen this before.  I am asking HaShem to heal the things in me that trigger the habits and create this domino effect. I'm asking Him to help me understand what it means to rely on Him as my EVERYTHING.  My comfort.  My strength.  My overflowing supply of all things.  Just like my physical being is now an echo of internal wounds, I believe that my physical being will be renewed as I become internally whole.

That's why I want to say that, right now, I'm actually pretty thankful for the pain.  It's a daily reminder to seek my Redeemer day and night with prayer and expectation.  If I weren't hurting then the desire to change wouldn't matter enough.  So, future me, please don't ever forget that pain serves a purpose.  When you feel it, USE IT.
Keep walking the path before you no matter how much it hurts... trust that the destination will be well worth it.  Rely on Him and, in the end, you will be healed; you will be whole.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Impossible Phenomenon of You

This week, I was asked to write a brief essay on knowing HaShem's calling on your life.  I'm writing this to be shared at my congregation and I will  try to keep it shorter than my usual novella. 

A few weeks ago, I was thinking about the fact that I have always had a very strong sense of purpose.  I don't recall a time when that wasn't true.  I think that this sense is G-d given, and I also think that anyone can have it, but that many live their whole lives without knowing this.  I am blessed to have been raised with the understanding that every single person has been put in a specific time and place for a specific reason.  

It's really quite mind boggling to think about the fact that, from the time of Adam and Eve, not one single person has been born who didn't affect the lives of so many.  I really can't say how far our reach goes, but think of this:  If your ancestors weren't exactly who they were for as far back as your bloodline goes (ultimately landing on the very first human beings) then you would not be here.  There would never have been a you.  In this sense, the influence and reach of a single person seems to be infinite! ...All this to say, you are no accident and there's a reason why you're right here, right now.  

It's not hard to see that each person has a purpose, but knowing what that purpose is ...I believe that to be an ever evolving and life long journey.  No one can tell you what G-d's purpose for your life is and I'm certainly not going to try.  What I do want to do is write about what I know of obstacles.  

Though I have always felt a sense of purpose, I have also always felt inadequate for the position.  It doesn't matter whether those around me see me as skilled or not; I am very good at seeing where I fail.  I'm an expert in noticing all my flaws, experiencing my sins and temptations full throttle and not forgiving myself, at knowing, every day, that I could have done something ...everything... better.  
I know that everyone experiences these thoughts and feelings, but the important thing is not to let this stop you for walking in your purpose.  If we are at all familiar with some of the major characters in Scripture then we can easily see how these people, whom our Redeemer used, were full of the same kinds of faults as we.  

Moses was a murderer and not fit to lead.  He was rejected by his own people, yet he was used as the tool to free Israel and he, through his character and purpose, was a foreshadow of Messiah and the Redemption and freedom He would bring.  

Think about David, a simple shepherd and an adulterer, yet considered the greatest king and the standard by whom the following kings were measured.  

Abraham and Sarah were thought to be childless.  They had lost hope of ever having children, yet they became the patriarch and matriarch of a nation who's people cannot be numbered.  

True humility before our Creator requires us to put aside the notion that we cannot be used because of our flaws and to listen.  Listen to how He will redeem you and reshape you, with all your failures, into exactly what you are meant to be.  I find that everything I give to Him, no matter how distorted, is molded into something good and beautiful in His care.  

Keep listening and watching and, whenever you feel unimportant, remember the infinite number of details and variables that had to be perfectly planned to get you right here; right now. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Human Kindness - What is That Worth?

This past week was a challenge on so many fronts.  It felt like a barrage of strife was raining down on my head and on the heads of those around me.  The "funny" thing is that often, I will have had this feeling that HaShem is teaching me something just before I really REALLY need to have learned that lesson.  Sometimes I learn the lesson in time, other times I don't.  In this case, I don't think I quite hit the mark in time.  This is just one of innumerable reasons why I am thankful for a Creator who is patient in His teaching and who miraculously turns my blunders into blessings when I fail.

I don't think I will talk about the actual circumstances of this past week for several reasons.  Not the least of which is that there were others involved and I don't think they'd appreciate that.  I will just say that a situation came up which needed to be handled delicately and, for my part, I think I failed.  I think my actions ended up hurting people I love and, for the past few days, I have been analyzing what I could have done differently.

I've been making this mental list...making an assessment...stating the facts:   1. A situation arose and someone needed to be addressed by someone other than myself. 2. I went to a person who is wise and my elder and they also took on the burden.  3. I told no one else of the issue.
I believe my actions were correct, yet things did not really turn out well.

For the past several weeks, HaShem has put this thought in my mind and heart; Don't pick up burdens that do not belong to you.  Live a life of praise and follow the path of righteousness and TRUST that you are being led exactly where you need to go.

I think that's the thing that I didn't quite grasp and which would have made all the difference.  I allowed myself to be so disturbed that I didn't trust.  I might have done exactly what I was supposed to do, but I know I didn't give it to Elohim.  I was trying to work things out from the kindness of my own heart, but the truth is my heart is deceitful.  It lies to me all the time and listening to it, I become a fool.

So, looking back, I'm still not quite sure what actions, if any, I would have changed.  I only know that I should not have tried so hard to fix this on my own.  I should have been in prayer much more.  I should have remained silent when I wasn't full of love and when I knew my focus was askew.

Things are still not 100% better, but I pray that I have really learned what I was supposed to from all of this.  I want to be a gentler person.  I want to trust my Creator more every day and let Him teach me what kindness really is.  ...My human kindness is worth nothing at all.

Avinu, I pray that your will would be done and that we would forgive all sins as you forgive us.