BY: Debbie Arace – “Ray of Sunshine, Hope & Laughter”

The past couple of weeks I found myself struggling with what to write for my December blog.  I guess you could say, I had “writer’s block”.  Each day I’d wake up and try to figure out what I should write about.  Nothing, absolutely nothing.  My thoughts were empty.  Why all of a sudden was I coming up blank?  I write daily thoughts that come to me, so, why am I having difficulty writing a blog?  What is blocking me?  My deadline is approaching and I need to get inspired.  My writing always comes naturally to me but now I am pressuring myself to write something.  I’m relying on myself to do this and it’s not working.  The only thing I can do is to “TROG”: Totally Rely On God.  In order to do this, I need to be willing to do an “emotional cleanse”.  I need to find out why I’m preventing myself to be open to God.  I know God will help me.  Am I  willing to let Him?  Let’s see.  

In tears, (the tears are a good indication that something else is going on) I call upon God and within minutes I feel His presence begin to soothe me.  As He always does, He allows me to speak, as He lovingly listens.  I tell Him I feel uninspired to write, that I’m coming up empty.  I’m putting pressure on myself for not being able to figure out a story line.  It’s the Christmas season, fa, la, la, la, la and all that joyful stuff.  I should be inspired to write something joyful, funny or perhaps a story about Jesus.  No, that story has already been written.  Anyway, who am I to write about Jesus.  I hear God say, “Tell me about your burdenś”.  Burdens, what burdens?   I have no burdens.  “It’s me, Debbie, you know the one that hands everything over to You”.  Why are you asking me about burdens when You know I have none?  I trust you to take them from me.  I’m free of worry.  

I could almost feel God breathe in and let out a big “really now, are you sure you are free”?  “Yes, yes, I’m free”.  You take care of me, which leaves me free to take care of others.  You know I want to fix everyone’s troubles so they can have a relationship with you like I do.  “Did You forget why You put me on this earth”?  My job is to make people feel joyful in Your love.  And I’m not inspired to do that because I have nothing inspirational to write about.

I hear a giant hmmm as God says:  “Thanks for letting me know why I created you.  I thought I was the only one that knew.  You apparently know more than I do.  Why then, are you calling upon me?  If you’re the “fixer of problems”, why do you need me?”  

I feel myself tense up as I answer His question.  “I told you, I don’t know what to write about.  I need You to inspire me”.  He notices my tenseness and asks about my health.  “How have I been feeling?”.  “Great, I feel wonderful.  Anytime I can accomplish something I do a victory dance.  Just look what I did for Thanksgiving.  And I decorated for Christmas.  Come on, you see I’m doing the best I can considering.  All that drained me but at least I did it.  I was happy to host Thanksgiving.  Didn’t you see the joy on my face?  I love bringing people together. I want everyone to be happy.  I want them to forget their troubles when they’re around me”.  Another sigh from God as He says:  “I see, you want my job”.  Huh, I don’t want God’s job.  I just want to fix everyone’s problems.   My body is becoming more tense as I listen.  The Parkinson’s is acting up, I can feel it. God beckons me to sit with Him.  He’d like to help me figure out what is going on inside.  He wants us to review the past year of my life.  I tell Him I’m not sure He’ll find anything earth-shattering, after all, I wrote more this year than in the past.    I’m in good shape.  Sure, I’ll review with Him but He’s not going to find anything that’s blocking me.   I’m fine.  We’re about to watch a mini version of “This Is Your Life”.  (Suddenly I have an urge for a large bucket of buttered popcorn and a huge Diet Pepsi as I anticipate what’s about to play before me).  

Before we start, I ask myself some basic questions that God already knows the answers to.  I feel at peace with Him by my side, which is why I don’t understand what’s going on.  I’m happy, I’m content.  So why do I feel so uninspired and lost?  One thing I know about God is that I can’t fake it with Him.  He knows all my truths.  And He knows I have not been honest in my feelings.  I’m hurting, and He’s aware of it.  He’s just been waiting for me to acknowledge it.  I can sense that He wants me to dig below the surface of content that I am faking, to see what I might be suppressing.  He presses the play button, and the past year begins to unfold.  

There have been several major changes this past year that have been going on in the nucleus of my family that I thought I had turned over to God, but apparently, I hadn’t given them completely to Him.  No.  I buried a significant amount for safe keeping.  I was holding on to negative emotions to justify any of my actions, should I need to.  Outwardly, I put on a good front.  I’d been writing positive thoughts, celebrating little accomplishments I was having, entertaining a lot, trying to take people’s minds off their troubles by making sure I brought laughter to them, and I was spending more alone time with God than ever before.  I should be emitting a heavenly glow but inwardly I am having a meltdown.  Glued to my seat, I watch and listen as I hear myself speak.

 I have way too much going on in my little brain.  Thoughts have been popping into my head that are not good for my inner peace.  My memory is full of unhealthy data, and I need to decompress.  I thought I was hitting the delete button each time a negative thought popped up, but I’ve been hacked into.  My hard drive is being infected with harmful viruses. Emotional viruses that are trying to destroy all the positive data that God designed for me to program in.  My spiritual well being is being taken over by thoughts of worry, fear and anger.  They are trying to destroy my trust.  I have faith, but I am not using it to its fullest extent.   Everything about me is freezing up.  I can’t afford a shut down   I need an intervention by God to help me restore my drive before it’s too late.  

Physically, I feel weighed down.  I am allowing the Parkinson’s to overtake territory that belongs to God.  I feel as though this disease is getting worse.  What’s worsening is not the disease itself, but my “dis ease”.  I have been putting myself through unnecessary torment, which is affecting me physically.  I’ve been burdened with guilt, worry and anger. Tremendous guilt that we had to put my mother in a nursing home because I am not able to care for her in the way I see other daughters care for their moms.  She lets me know that she wishes she had more daughters who would do for her (not so subtle is she?).  I have to remind myself that physically I can’t do for her. It’s hard enough just doing for me. Unfortunately, I have always allowed the guilt she throws my way to control my emotions.  It’s been a lifelong struggle of mine.  No matter what I do, I always feel it’s not what she wants.  That guilt blocks me from feeling any positive emotions toward her.  Its gotten to the point where I do out of obligation and not love.  Guilt overtook love. I learned how to deal with it, even though it causes me great anguish.  Needless to say, that anguish is erupting inside since I feel that I’ve failed as a daughter.

The next thing that is brought to my attention is my worrying about my husband.  The loss of his parents over the past couple of years has changed his family dynamic. And on top of that, having to retire before he planned, has left him feeling as though he has no purpose.  I can see how lost he feels.  Both parents now gone, no job, and a wife who is struggling with her own issues – all that is taking its toll on his emotional and physical health.  Needless to say my worry is legitimate.  He tries to be strong, but I see his pain.  Fortunately, he has his music, and I make sure that he keeps that alive inside.  I know he worries about me and tries to help me with everything he can.  Of course me being me, I’m always telling him he doesn’t do things the way I do them.  I get mad at myself for being ungrateful but trust me if you saw how he cleans, you’d feel the same.  lol.  I worry about becoming a burden to my husband, and kids if my physical condition worsens.  I don’t want to have them see me as a burden.  It scares me to think of it. They all have their own issues to work out.  They don’t need me to topple them over. Besides, I’m supposed to be there for them.  

Another worry of mine is the health of one of my brother’s.  He has several serious health issues going on, and his pain is overwhelming.  He’s always been a guy of tremendous strength and prided himself on that.  But the pain is now consuming both his body and his mental outlook.  There’s no relief for him, and so once again, I feel helpless because there’s nothing I can do to ease his pain.  

The last thing I focus in on is my anger.  I am upset about what is going on in the world.  Both in my personal world and the rest of the world.  Unresolved issues that are frustrating me internally on a personal level, topped off by all the lies coming out of Washington.  Not knowing who or what to believe anymore.  Not being able to trust what comes from the mouths of those we rely upon.  I want to give the benefit of the doubt but I feel as though I am inundated with lie, after lie after lie.  People are fighting one another.  Rage, hatred, killings are taking precedence in the news. I find myself consumed with concern about people’s mental health, and the well being of the children of the world.  I worry for my grandchildren.  How are they coping with the world’s chaos?  Are they putting unnecessary stress on themselves because of what they see and hear?  Do they know how to connect with God?   I worry about their safety and well being.  Will they be okay in this crazy, unpredictable world of today?  Will they turn to God?  I see many of my friends and family battling with themselves, questioning God, turning from God, losing faith.    I try to encourage them, but I feel as though I’m letting God down because I’m not getting through to anyone.  I want to fix what’s broken in people, to save them.  How can I save anyone, when I can’t even save myself?  All this unnecessary worry going on deep within me is drawing my attention away from God, not bringing people closer to Him.  On the surface, I try to be positive, but my emotions are getting the best of me.  I feel frustrated.  These emotions are affecting me physically.  I can feel it.  They are blocking my connection with God.  And as if that’s not bad enough writer’s block?! Really, all this and my main concern is not having a story for my blog?!  I think maybe I have lost it!  Ha, ha.  I need Divine intervention and fast. Of all months not to have anything to write about.  It’s Christmas time,  I should be anticipating the birth of Christ, not carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders and worrying about what to write.  Please God, give me an early Christmas present of inspiration.  

I’m beginning to see how I am the cause of my blockage.  In truth, I want to just close my eyes and make it all go away, but I can’t.  It’s all still there.  Every worry, every fear, and the realization that I can’t fix anything makes me useless.  It’s not my responsibility to change what’s happening around me.  All I can do is change what’s going on inside me. Then I’ll be able to do God’s Will, not mine.  

Suddenly I hear the words a priest once told me, echo in my ear.  “You are not the saver of people”. And then I hear God say to me:  “You are burdened by trying to save people.  You are not the Savior”. My Son is the Savior.  I presented Him to the world on a day which has become known as Christmas. He was born to save all mankind.  To free my children from their burdens.  He gave His life so you may live.  He is the reason for this season of joy.  He represents my love.  He is to be your guide.  An example of total trust in whatever I ask of you.  Your responsibility is to me.  It is through me that you serve others.  I’ll use you to spread my Love and my Word when I want you to.  Not when you want to.  Your worries come because you are troubled by the will of others and of your own will.  Do not take on the burdens of others.  My Son carried those burdens on the cross as he took His last breath.  He brought Faith and hope to the world.  That faith connects you to me.  Worry and fear are causing you to feel lost.  Trust me you are not lost.  I am drawing you nearer.  I have never abandoned you.  I hear your cries and I run to your aid always.  All I want is for you to turn to me for everything. I am leading you to where I want you to be. But you don’t see that.  You see what you want to see.  And what you see is you standing in your own way.  You are blocking yourself from me.  What I ask of you should never be overwhelming for you.  I use you in ways only known to me. You should feel joy as you do my Will.  Rest assured, I am here for those you are concerned about.  They know where I can be found.  I love them as I love you.  They just haven’t connected to me in the same way you do but they are not lost either.  Through their pain and anguish, I call to them.  I wait patiently.  I watch over them.  When they turn to me it will be on their doing.  I use you in many ways.  Ways that are not known to you.  When you struggle, you are in your own way.  I bring clarity.  Let me take care of you and the rest of the world. You and they are my responsibility.  I am here to help you take care of you if you’ll let me”.

Wow, who knew all that was festering in me.  No wonder I was blocked.  I needed to see so much.  I knew God would enlighten me.  I just didn’t realize it would be in this way.  In gratitude to God, I reflect upon what I just heard.  I am not a saver of man. Only a person’s desire to know, and love God can save them, as it saved Christ.  His desire to do His Fathers Will and deny Himself by sacrificing His life so we may live is what made Him The Son of God, The Savior of man. My responsibility is to do God’s Will by using the free will He gave me in a meaningful way to draw nearer to Him.  Jesus is my example.  I am to serve God as He wishes, not how I or others expect me to serve.  If God is in control, there is no need for me to control or to worry.  He knows just what to do and when to do it.  I need to trust that.  I need to focus less on the lies of people and focus more on God’s truth.  

As I find solace in all of this, I fall asleep and wake up feeling hopeful.  My body is relaxed, and I can move easier than I have in weeks.  The tenseness of the Parkinson’s is less.  One day if God permits, the “dis ease” of this disease will be gone.  The important thing is I have found my place back in Gods loving arms.  He is carrying me.  I know He’ll stand me on my own two feet and of course, I will stumble and fall again and again, but that’s okay.  I know where to go.  I know where He can be found.  All I have to do is call His name and he’ll come running.  He is my Savior, I am not the “saver”.  I am among the saved.

 As I peek out my window, I am overcome by the beautiful sunrise.  It is a reminder from God that a new day dawns. It is a day that makes totally relying on God so well worth it.  I called, He answered.  My mission was to save.  His mission is to save me.  

As far as my blog is concerned,  I think I just wrote it.  I did receive an early Christmas present after all. See, I’m learning to “TROG”.  It’s a move that takes skill and practice.  I may never master it, but I sure will enjoy strutting my stuff.  

In this great season of love, I’d like to extend my best wishes to all of you.  May God’s love shower you with peace, hope, and joy today, and through the upcoming years.  May faith lead you to learn how to “TROG” on your own.  

On a side note, my hubby came home today with five movies from the library that he said he rented for me.  The first four were really for him.  When I looked at the last one, I immediately put the DVD in to watch it.  The movie was called, “Interview with God”.  Basically, it’s about a person that is struggling with some emotional issues and calls upon God.  God, in reply to the man’s prayers, shows up to have an interview with the man (who is a journalist).  In a way, it paralleled what just happened to me.  Some parts were head-on.  To say this movie confirmed what I heard in my heart prior to watching it is an understatement.    God works in the most amazing ways.

Married 44 years to my hubby whose purpose in life is to prevent me from getting through the “Pearly Gates”.  Mother of two, Nanna of four loving granddaughters and retired secretary aka administrative assistant.  I went to the University of Hard Knocks where I received my Doctorate.  My thesis is titled:  How To Survive Life’s Trials Without Killing Yourself or Someone Else.  I live by the belief that when life throws you a curve, learn from it rather than use it against yourself.  Faith and humor are my survival kit.  Appreciate the simple things for they are the true treasures of life.

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