If You Really Knew Me

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Life sometimes takes turns that we do not expect; surprising us, challenging us, and changing us.  We plan and hope and dream, all very valuable in helping us navigate successfully through life, but often, instead of just goal setting and dream weaving, we latch onto an unhealthy control in an effort “to make everything ok.”

I’m not sure what everything means, and I still haven’t figured out what ok is.  Maybe ok is perfect, but if I know, fundamentally, that perfect doesn’t exist, why do I try so hard to achieve vapor?

When will I inherently be ”enough?”

As alone as I may feel in my quiet quest to figure out who I am and where I stand, these questions haunt others, and they are at the core of every persons’ existence.

As humans, we search, and yearn, and spend countless hours concocting ways for people to acknowledge us, love us, and accept us, and frankly, it’s exhausting.  Our hearts our broken, our confidence dismantled, and our spirits crushed, just to start the process the next day, when we interact with another, and say in our soul, “Please just love me for me.”

Attractive and successful, Rob Lowe, with millions of adoring fans, makes a statement in his autobiography, saying, “If you really knew me, you wouldn’t like me nearly as much.”

In an effort to avoid rejection, we take on a job description of self-creator; forming, shaping, and molding ourselves into what “fits.”  This is a duty that was never, and will never be our responsibility.

Last night, during a moment of quietness at work, I read the following words, contemplating the gentle reprimand being communicated towards me.

What I read was this:

“Arise and go down to the potter’s house and there I will cause you to hear My words.” Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel.  And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. Then the word of the Lord came to me saying: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so you are in My hand….” Jeremiah 18:2-6

I often argue and become angry with God, because he took me here, or there, or I had to experience this, or that in my life.  But, I thought I was a “better person” before?  I thought I had my life together.  Now?  Well, I feel like chaos on the inside, with the facade of charisma on the outside, and a whole lot of confusion in-between.

Maybe you understand.

With this verse, He so simply, and beautifully communicated that I am not the creator of my life, and what I thought was a good piece of clay, was just marred, but that He will not leave me as that!

A lot of my stress in my life comes from trying to take over the job of the potter, making me into my own creation. But I don’t own that business!  That’s His realm of experience.  He is creating me. He is creating you, out of the marred material, into something else. Something better.  Something new.  The process is done with love, care, and thoughtfulness.

He chooses to create us again.  Into what He sees to be good.

I want instant gratification.  I want the fix now.  Well, timeframes are irrelevant.  Divine Creativity does not fit into human limitations.

And the most beautiful part?  He is willing to sit with my marred piece clay, for however long it takes, and says, each day, each moment, “I really, REALLY know you.  And I love every part of you.”

Trust, Hope, and Haiti

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>I went to Haiti last week. My flight attendant benefits and fairly flexible schedule allowed me the opportunity to join my Uncle, and his family, along with a group of medical volunteers at the Adventist hospital located just outside Port-au-Prince.

I was hoping that I could be useful in some way, even without any medical training. Selfishly, I was also hoping that the trip and whole experience would be personally life altering. In a sense, I came back disappointed because I don’t feel like I was able to contribute much, and I haven’t had any life changing epiphanies yet. Yet…

I have a lot of questions. I question how my existence can make a difference in this world. I question how God can just watch so much distruction, so much pain. After four months, piles of rubble, tent cities, chaos, and brokenness is. It just is…

I asked Joseph, one of the translators, what it is like to be Hatian. “You have to be strong. You must be a soldier. You have to fight for yourself. Look out for yourself. Have your own weapons. Sometimes, maybe, someone will help you. But usually not. You just must be strong. Because you are alone.”

The woman at the clinic says she can’t eat. The nurse inquires to why. In creole, she says she doesn’t have an appetite. The woman then turns and points to a large pile of rubble right behind the makeshift clinic. “My daughter is in that rubble.”

Reggie says if he could take it all back he would. His english is perfect. It’s because he grew up in Miami, having moved there from Haiti with his mother when he was five years old. He’s back now, and not by desired choice, but due to other life choices. He was convicted in the United States and deported. He’s only 26. Along with the time Reggie spent in an American prison, he spent 21 days in a Hatian prison. Hatian prisons are a whole nother hell. A small space becomes a place to sleep, a bathroom, a shower. The only source of food is if the prisoner’s family brings it to them. If the prisoner has no family to bring food, the prisoner has three options; another prisoner shares his food, starvation, or fight someone for their food. Reggie says you can’t blame people for fighting. It’s just about surviving. In Haiti, survival is about looking out for oneself.

It strikes me how strange it is that I am walking past tent cities and garbage studded dirt streets with a convicted felon. A country with no sense of safety, and me, with no sense of direction. Ironically, I feel a sense of protection from a person that I would not easily trust on the streets of LA. But, I trust Reggie. Sometimes, you must trust people. But I wonder who can the people of Haiti trust? Can they trust that they will see the benefits of the 1 billion dollars in aid money and supplies that have been sent? Can they trust that their babies will be fed? Can they trust that their homes will be rebuilt? Can they trust that there lives will improve? Can they trust in their Voudoo gods? With no infrastructure and no leader, they have learned that they can only trust themselves.

Sabrina’s clinic is constructed from tarps and poles. Everything about it is mobile. The “pharmacy” is divided between four suitcases that lie on the dusty ground. The “exam room” is made up of the 90 degree converging of a brick wall and a vertical hanging tarp. It’s Sabrina’s Clinic because it is organized and continues to run due to the efforts of an amazing 20-something, nurse-midwife named Sabrina. For 4 months leading up to the January quake, Sabrina searched unsuccessfully for a nursing job. Even during the recent shaky economic times, nurses have still been in high demand, but Sabrina’s search proved fruitless. She felt strongly that God must have some reason for her unemployment and she leaned on the faith that God was going to do something in her life. A couple days after the quake, she got a call from someone asking if she could be at the airport in an hour and a half. She was needed in Haiti.

I ask her if she gets lonely in Haiti. Her family is not with her. She’s young. She’s learning Creole and French. Everything is so different. She thinks for a moment and then replies, “No. Not really. Since I came here, I believe that God has been telling me that I need to go to Him first. Not a boyfriend. Not a best girlfriend. Not my family. Instead, I need to rely on Him completely and tell him everything first. So, no. I’m not lonely.” Sabrina speaks with strong conviction and a calm peace. In Haiti, she has found something to trust. In Haiti, she has found the only thing to trust.

Click hereto see pictures from my trip

Letters to God

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>I went and saw Letters To God this afternoon. It’s the story of an eight year-old boy who has cancer. He writes letters to God, and through his letters, lives around him are changed. It was a touching and powerful story. It’s also very sad. I’m not sure I left with more hope, but I left feeling like I have so much to be thankful for.

Bananas

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I rummaged through my closet this afternoon looking for a t-shirt to throw on. I pulled a turquoise, flowy tank out, and right then, my “Banana” tee caught my eye. I smiled. My banana tee has a story behind it.

One morning, a few years ago, I remember complaining because we had nothing in the house for breakfast. I specifically made the biggest deal that we didn’t even have bananas. When I got home late that evening, there was this ginormous box of bananas on the counter! A huge box completely filled with bananas! Not squash, not potatoes, not apples; BANANAS. Apparently, the grocery store had just received a fresh shipment, so the produce manager gave my mom this box, for free.

Before they call, I will answer. While they are still speaking, I will hear.
Isaiah 65:24
Bananas are a good reminder to me that there are answers. That there is One who hears. One who hears the little things, even when it’s in the form of a complaint. No matter in what form we come to Him, He always hears. Today, “Bananas” reminded me that He is hearing us in all of our questions and concerns with the tortilla business.

Perseverance. Patience. Positivity.

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>Yesterday, around 12:45p, while mom and I were just finishing up Farmer’s Market, my phone rang. I looked at the unrecognized 661 number, and thought, “It must be a potential pilates client or someone with a wrong number.” I answered and was completely surprised that the voice on the other end belonged to the Assistant Business Editor of The Bakersfield Californian. He was in need of a response that was to be published in Friday’s business section of the newspaper, and he needed it immediately.

It’s pretty amazing that I actually answered my phone at that moment, because usually at the market, my phone doesn’t ring, I don’t hear it, or I’m just too busy to answer. The only reason the Editor knew about Created Whole was because of something that happened 2 months ago. Around the beginning of January, I had sent out press releases to writers at The Bakersfield Californian, and also to local TV stations.

Earlier Thursday morning, I had been thinking about our business and I rememberd that I had sent out the press releases. I frowned and had thought something along the lines that the things I do for the business are a waste of time and my press release must have sucked. Pretty negative.

Fast-forward again to the call. The only reason the Editor knew about Created Whole was because I had sent out the press release! It was in his inbox, in front of him. We were a solution to his deadline. Right there when we needed to be:)

Often, I expect life to happen on a specific timeline. I expect people to respond in a certain way, and events to unfold when I determine. Thinking this way is ridculous. The Editor calling reminds of a few things.

  1. Keep Working: You don’t know when it will pay off. Perseverance.
  2. Keep Believing. Know that the work you do will have rewards. Patience.
  3. Keep Hoping. When things are not what you expect, have the attitude that it will. Positivity.

It’s so important for me to be reminded that what feels like rejection may not be, to keep working because I believe in what we have, and stay positive even when it feels like nothing is happening.

Read the press release and the business feature!

Happy Weekend to All!

Kara