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Saturday, 27 September 2014

September: Alopecia Awareness Month. This Is My Story

9 years ago at the age of 12 I started noticing all this hair on my pillowcase. It wasn't until I was 14 years old and a freshman in high school that I had gone into Miami's Children Hospital to get a biopsy done of my scalp to only find out that I had Alopecia. Alopecia is an autoimmune disease. Meaning my immune system thinks my hair is an invader and well, knocks it off my scalp. Here's an a better explanation of Alopecia: 
"Alopecia areata is a condition that causes a person's hair to fall out. It is an autoimmune disease; that is, the person's immune system attacks their own body. In this case, their hair follicles. When this happens, the person's hair begins to fall out, often in clumps the size and shape of a quarter. The extent of the hair loss varies; in some cases, it is only in a few spots. In others, the hair loss can be greater. On rare occasions, the person loses all of the hair on his or her head (alopecia areata totalis) or entire body (alopecia areata universalis)." - WEBMD. 

It's basically every girls worst nightmare, and I was living in it everyday. About 50% of the female population will experience some sort of hair loss or thinning by 60 years old, and out of those 50% around 20% happen to have alopecia. Now I happen to be one of the, dare I say, lucky ones? Because my alopecia was different, at 14 they told me my hair would not grow long after about a year or two and that by 5 years I would be bald. Well I am 21 and my hair grows crazy long at a rapid pace and I am not bald, God has shown me so much grace. On Instagram the other day I saw the hashtag #alopeciaawarence and I read all these amazing stories of these beautiful ladies and I thought wow y'all are so brave and I decided it was time to share my story.

Frozen is an all time favourite of mine. And Elsa's motto of "conceal, don't feel, don't let them know" was my motto for 9 years of my life, until today. I concealed my hair loss and thinning with every updo known to man, hats and little tricks, I blocked any sort of feelings, and I most definitely never let anyone know. People never noticed because my hair is quite long it is easy to cover. I do get a couple of remarks like: "why do you put up your hair so much?" "I don't think I have ever seen your hair completely down before? Have I?" "Oh your hair is so thin and long!" I use to dread them, but not any more. 

I could easily say that I have felt God's love and support through this entire thing and that I have taken this with grace and strength but if I said that I would be lying. 

The last two years have been officially the hardest years of this process. It's also been the first two years of my life in which I have really encountered God, go figure. Last year, my hair was at an all time low, like nothing I have ever seen, I was so angry at God because I wanted to wake up the next morning and have my hair back. As the year past I saw nothing change.

But this year, 2014, has been different, Theres been a dramatic change in my hair, it is getting thicker and stronger and it feels great. But this year, I was sad. All the years that I have been bottling my feelings up decided this would be the year it would explode. Alopecia not only attacks hair, it attacks self esteem and self confidence. I was in a dark pit that no one could help me out from. I thought God no longer cares and because of that I am no longer going to care too. I had my weeks were I was fine and happy and the whole world was amazing and in those happy times I decided to take pictures of my hair to see the progress of it (pretty cool actually in the long run) but then there were my very sad long days, weeks, and months. The worst week happened three weeks ago, the emotional pain transformed into a physical pain that I had never felt before, it HURT and it hurt real bad. If you know me you know I pride myself in my womanhood, my feminism, my strength and independence. But everyone has a weakness and mines happens to be an autoimmune disease. 

After that day I had a series of breakdowns and anxiety attacks that lead me to just giving up and surrendering it all to Jesus. I thought I had before but I really hadn't. There were many things I still held on to and me wanting to fix myself by my own strength was one of them. I allowed myself to finally feel and be completely broken because I was ready to allow God pick up my broken pieces and create a beautiful mosaic. 

My healing isn't going to be a "snap of the fingers" type of healing. It's been a 9 year journey, and my healing is going to be a process. A process that I am learning to love and to accept. We are not defined by hair, clothes or makeup, We are defined by who we are, who we inspire, who we help, who we love, and who we have compassion for. 

I lived off comparing my hair to others, but I stopped and learned to love my own thin strands that make me, well me. I hope that whatever you are struggling with right now makes you stronger, that you embrace everything that comes your way, good or bad. That you love without limits. That you have a heart full of gratitude in even the saddest of days. But you can't do it alone. Run to God, He is there, and it may not seem fair or right that you are going through this trial but know that all things work together for your good! And even if I go bald, or if I get a full set of hair back, I will love my God no matter what! He knows my path, and he knows yours. You just have to cling to him. Trust me life is so much better when you let go and simply let God be who He is suppose to be in your life. 

Besides God. I would like to thank my parents for being my solid rocks. Mom, from being there with me the day they told me I would be bald for life, and for the nights you held me saying everything was going to be alright. Dad, for taking a day off just to take me to the doctors because I felt sad. 
To Dylan, for the past three years you have seen my hair get to it's thinnest form to slowly getting thicker, I thank you for always saying "I love your hair" since the beginning. For holding me in the car like a baby and just cry with me and pray life into me, thank you for making me giggle till I forgot the hurt and for loving who I am and looking past my imperfections and accepting me, I am a lucky lady. And last, to Sandra, my mentor, my spiritual mother, one of my very best friends, thank you for crying with me and telling me how it is when I need it, for loving me from the day we met and letting me into your family like one of your own. Thank you guys for being the people I run to when my skies are grey and allowing me to see the rainbow. 

Even though I thought the day that I would share my story would be the day I was completely healed, God had a bigger plan and he is urging me to share my story to bring awareness on a disease that is often embarrassing, shameful and saddening. I love you all! Y'all are beautiful and worth everything this world has to offer!! 

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." -Matthew 10:29-31 NIV

Here's what we are all dying to see, a picture! I don't know if you see the difference but I do hehe, and it's still not there yet and I have a while to go  but God is faithful and I'll continue updating on my blog about my journey!

 I hope this brought awareness to Alopecia and know that their are many suffers of this, both men and women!! 

Never judge, always love! 

With love and grace 
Diana C

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Winter Trees

Hello everyone! It's Diana coming back from a very long hiatus! I thought I should explain my absence, I'll be honest it's been a rough season for me, extremely rough. The inspired-O-meter was at an all time low, right along with many other things. God is slowly picking me back up and I'm totally allowing him to do all the work, which I normally don't (yes horrible I know) but this life is way to grand for me to be stuck in a rut and if you are stuck in rut like I was just think about life, seriously think about it and just feel in awe of your body and how it's functioning, how the Earth slowly moves  and you don't feel a thing, and of everything you have which was given to you by God's grace and love. I hope you enjoy this little something I wrote, see you soon. 
It's September which means the season of autumn is here. I personally use to hate fall and winter, I'm a Floridian girl living in Canada so it was hard for me to let go of the endless summer love. But this year it has been different, I found myself craving the cold wind, the coziness of fall and winter and all the layers of clothes that come with it. As I was on a walk yesterday afternoon, I started thinking of nature and how awesome trees were and how they adapt to the seasons. In fall, they change colours from green to yellow, red and orange, and then when winter approaches they start shedding those leaves off until springs rolls around and they start growing right back up until summer where they stay nice and green until fall comes back. 

As I was walking, a lot of the trees around me were already yellow, red and orange and when I looked at my feet I could see that some had already started their shedding process. Trees know that winter is coming, so they have to let go of these leaves. 

It made me chuckle because in a way it relates to our lives. But before I go on to explaining that I want to share with y'all why trees loose their leaves. 

"When winter approaches, our part of Earth receives less sunlight, and the air grows colder. When these changes happen, trees prepare for winter. Trees that drop their leaves seal the spots where the leaves are attached. Then fluids cannot flow in and out of the leaves, which change color and fall off. The falling of the leaves does more than mark the season. It also helps the tree survive the cold, dry air of winter"

Conclusion, during fall trees close off the nutrients to the leaves which causes the leaves to change and fall to help the tree survive the winter it is about to face. 

We are going to have seasons of coldness and biter air and that's where God comes in and starts closing doors to certain things that will not allow you to survive what is happening around you, the change that you are going to embark on is magnificent that you can not be weighed down, not even by one single leave. 

Snow falls on trees all winter long, the tree does not fall, maybe a few branches snap here and there but it stands tall in its new robe of white. It is being transformed into a stronger tree for all the fruit it will bear but it must go through a process before it can blossom with beautiful green leaves; the winter process. 

The snow starts melting and the birds start chirping and one leaf starts to grow back. God starts opening everything he once had to close for your protection and it is now more beautiful than you ever expected. The colours are more vibrant and you realize that if it weren't for letting go of these leaves and being a naked winter tree, you wouldn't have had the chance to be the beautiful green summer tree you are now. 

Sometimes in life we need God to close doors and shake off things that will not allow you to survive the season you may be going through but know that just because these doors are being closed right now it does not mean that in the next season they won't reopen for your good and under His perfect will. 

So you may be standing on an open field, feeling vulnerable and naked but God is protecting you and He is soon going to clothe you but until then, do not be afraid to be a naked tree and catch the snow on your branches, yes it is cold and the air is biter but you are alive and soon you will blossom and understand what grace he has shown you. 

“It was You who set all the boundaries of the earth; You made both summer and winter.” -Psalm 74:17

He has made both summer and winter. 

With love and grace, 
Diana C

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Are You In A Theory Or A Love Affair?

Today I saw a picture on the She Reads Truth app devotional which is the picture above with the saying "let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair". First off all, I haven't written in a while, so hello blogging world! I'll be honest with y'all I've been very uninspired to write, I've written a few things but I haven't been able to get myself to post them, why? Who knows! But anyways I saw this quote this morning and it was as if God himself gave me a nice slap in the face! A loving one of course. To often we make our Christian life a routine that we forget it's a beautiful love affair. A love affair with ups and downs, faults, struggles, weakness, and strengths. We also forget that there are others doing the same as us. I've seen many Christians bashing on other Christians for not being the perfect Christian that in theory every Christian should be.

THEORY:  a coherent group of tested general propositions, commonly regarded as correct, that can be used as principles of explanation and prediction for a class of phenomena.

LOVE AFFAIR: a romantic relationship or episode between lovers

I'll choose love affair over theory any day. Living a life being in love with God and being on a whimsical love affair with Him is different than being in a theoretical relationship. I'll tell you why, theoretical relationship revolves around thinking too much and observing too much. To come up with a theory, you must research, observe, think and come up with conclusion to create a theory. When we are in that kind of relationship with God we question everything. We observe everyone around us, we think of all the wrong they may be going or even think off all the wrong we, ourselves, are doing. And we draw up conclusions of what we have observed. That's the gate way of being religious, we finger point the faults of others, we think we have ways of making everyone better, we start talking like Pharisees.  

Now a love affair relationship is very simple. I wrote a blog a while back called "Why I Am Dating A Black Man" and I wrote something that I'm going to bring into this, "Many say love is blind. I disagree. Love sees it all; the colour, the perfection, the imperfection, the weight, and the height but love decides to look past all that. Love sees it all and loves it with greater passion." Now that is a love affair. If you are in a love affair with God you are also in a love affair with His people. Simple as that. You love Jesus? Good, but remember; “I really only love God as much as the person I love the least.”- Dorothy Day. When you love, you forget about what the people aren't and you start looking at them for what they have. Like Jesus does to us. The judging stops and the love affair takes over. We start loving in a different way, an innocent way. You may even start to love the annoying things your brother/sister in Christ does. Instead of critiquing you may even crack a joke and enjoy yourself a bit more. 

Ive been in both of these relationships with God, lately I've been on the theory side, were I sit back and draw conclusions in my mind and think I'm right, I caught myself doing this and just started laughing at how absurd I was. As if my God needed a body guard. I stopped myself in my righteous tracks and here I am writing about how good it just feels to love. 

Maybe you've been to hard on others or even yourself, I don't know who this is for, but if your reading this just know it is easier to love than to not love. It takes more muscles to frown than to smile. Make this love affair count, be in love with Jesus and His creations. Don't be afraid to love, love doesn't run out; it's never wrong and never boastful. 

With Love & Grace- Diana C.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Stop Remembering What God Has Forgotten

 A few weekends ago, I had the privilege of going to an all women’s retreat that was organized by my church. The point of the retreat was of deliverance. By this, I mean that the goal was to let the Holy Spirit rid anything in us that was holding us back from the true potential that God has in store for us. Many areas were covered, and I can tell you that there was breakthrough in many areas; but there was one area that really impacted me, and I strongly believe that God had been preparing me for days, even weeks before that. That topic was forgiveness. But not your conventional “I forgive you, you forgive me” forgiveness. I mean, the real deal, the tough kind; forgiveness of the self. I can’t even tell you how many times I have been guilty of this. It was a really annoying cycle that I wanted to get out of for years. I would do something, feel guilty,  I would pray and repent, and get the forgiveness I so desired. But what happened after that? For years, I remained in a cycle of feeling extremely guilty, dirty, unworthy of forgiveness. Even though I KNEW that God had forgiven me, I just couldn't let it go. I wouldn't forgive myself. The lie repeated itself in my head that I was unworthy of forgiveness; that maybe God didn't forgive me after all.
 A few weeks ago as I was praying for expectancy in that retreat, it came to me. God was like “NEWSFLASH” He HAD forgiven me; He just wanted me to forgive myself. Whatever sin you have committed doesn't define who you are, no matter how big or small. That’s where my freedom was. In forgiving myself, just as Jesus had forgiven me when he died on that cross for me. The bible says that we are new creations, so why don’t we believe it? Jesus says we are forgiven, but STILL we don’t believe it. We are too stuck in our own little bubbles, that if Jesus himself stood in front of us and told us we were forgiven, we probably still wouldn’t believe it.  We are all a work in progress, and that’s a fact! There isn’t anyone out there who can say that they are perfect and free of temptation, and if something is true, it's that we will always fall short of His Glory. 

I held myself captive for years, and I know that I'm not the only one out there who has let guilt and shame take over. I'm here to tell you that God's grace and mercy is sufficient. His love is never ending, and you are never too deep into sin to be redeemed. We imprison ourselves by letting ourselves believe that we aren't worth it, and that whatever we did is too great. I can just imagine Jesus being like "why are you still on that? I forgave you already, and you are made clean" but then as imperfect and flawed as we are, we go and play "dress up" and we  play the role of the sinner, even though that isn’t who we are. What we fail to see is that in the Bible, there are TONS of people who made mistakes, but God used that for HIS glory! My God is truly a God of second chances! So I will leave you with a word that has helped me in my walk. It’s helped me realize that even if you mess up, it is okay, you aren’t perfect, but as long as you get up, wipe off the dirt and keep going, that’s what marks the difference.  Just remember to stop remembering what God has already forgotten.
“The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again…” Proverbs 24:16

With Love, Michelle♥

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

But What About Queen Vashti?

I reread Esther for the 3rd time recently. This time Queen Vashti caught my attention like never before. As a Christian girl I was taught to love and want to be like Esther, to aspire to be just like her. Esther is great, God placed her in a place where she would save her own people. But God also gave queen Vashti her strong will so she would be banished and allow a Jew girl take her place and save his people. I love Queen Vashti, she sets the tone for this whole book, and sadly she's over looked or misunderstood and casts as a "bad wife".

"On the seventh day, when King Xerxes was in high spirits from wine, he commanded the seven eunuchs who served him—Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Karkas— to bring before him Queen Vashti, wearing her royal crown, in order to display her beauty to the people and nobles, for she was lovely to look at. But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became furious and burned with anger."- Esther 1:10-12 

Can you say disobencice? Gasp! But let's take a look why, "For a full 180 days he displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendour and glory of his majesty. When these days were over, the king gave a banquet, lasting seven days, in the enclosed garden of the king’s palace, for all the people from the least to the greatest who were in the citadel of Susa." -Esther 1:4, 5.
180 plus 7 days of banquet = 187 days of King X being drunk, with him asking Queen Vashti to come with her crown. In that time that meant queen Vashti had to come in just her crown, and her birthday suit to parade around the men so that her king could show her off. Queen Vashti did not go she chose to be seen by the king in her timing and to have self respect. She may not have been "submissive" but she was intelligent, and way before her time. She is then disposed off and a law is past that all women should obey their husbands no matter what, in fear that women may react like Queen Vashti. Little did they know that Esther wasn't very different.

"I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” -Esther 4:16 

Queen Esther presented herself to the King when she knew she could have died, but she still presented herself in her own timing, she did not wait for him to call her, something Queen Vashti would have done and did but quite in the opposite matter but they both chose the time in which the King saw them. 

As a women I adore Esther for her strategy and humbleness. But I absolutely love Queen Vashti, for her ability to stand up for herself just like Esther did for her people. Even though these women never met (or so I think), they both impacted many people, they empowered women to believe in something greater than laws. To believe in respect and empowerment. 

What do you think of Queen Vashti's actions? What would you have done in her place? 

Thursday, 29 May 2014

God Loves Me & He's The One That Really Matters

Yesterday morning Dr. Maya Angelou writer of "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" (one of my favourites during high school) and her other 6 autobiographies along with many poetry books and other phenomenal work died at age 86. Of course many of her old interviews surfaced up on the web and i watched a recent one by Oprah when Maya Angelou introduces her last autobiography titled "Mom & Me & Mom" in the interview, Oprah asked her, "Where do you go for solace, for comfort?" She started talking about Unity Church and in one of the books she read called "Lessons In Truth" and there is one particular line in the book that said "God loves me" she says "When I came to read it to my then mentor, Fred Wilkerson , the late Fred Wilkerson, I read "God loves me" he said, read it again "God loves me" he said, read it again, read it again and finally I read "GOD LOVES ME" ..... It still humbles me that this force which made leaves and flies and stars and rivers and you. Loves me! Me, Maya Angelou it's amazing, I can do anything and do it well, any good thing I can do it that's why I'm who I am, yes, because God loves me and I'm amazed at it and grateful for it" 
How many of us have really grasped that concept? That God loves me. It got me thinking about Dr. Angelou's life, in "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" she writes how she was send with her brother to her grandma's house by her father and after a few years he came back and gave them to their mother. She was raped by her mother's boyfriend and she told her brother who then told everyone else and the man was arrested for one day. When he came out of jail he was killed and she became a mute for 5 years because "her voice had killed that man". In her other biographies she takes about having to work in a not so modest place and being a single mother at 17. Yet she is still able to grasp the idea that God loves her. No matter what, God loves her. While singing to Michael W. Smith's "You're The One That Really Matters" feat. Kari Jobe I got to thinking about how Maya Angelou might have felt; black, raped and a single mother. How everything in that time era singled her out as less than a human, and I don't know her personally but her words are words that have experienced pain and neglect, so you just know she suffered. But she kept going and at the end she can say "GOD LOVES ME" because no one matters but Him! 
Can you say that with confidence? 
Have you ever walked by someone and wondered "I wonder if they are looking at me, or looking at my thighs rub together, or belly jiggle or looking at my butt" (the butt one is for me cause it's my insecurity lol) Sounds silly right? But I'm sure that we have all thought it. Not just appearance wise but when I was in high school I would wonder if people would like how I acted or how I carried myself, I worried too much about what others thought yet putting on a brave face of "I don't care what the world says". Which was the biggest lie because I really did care, it was a time when I static in life, I wasn't moving forward but backwards. It is time to align our thoughts with the thoughts of Jesus. Lets not assume this "humble" position that it is okay to think less of yourself because it is "righteous". The one that really matters is Jesus and he loves you. I dare to say that your emotions to yourself do not matter either because you will always, always, always find something negative about yourself, but Jesus won't, He sees you as perfect, clean, pure and not at fault of any wrong doing. Those are the thoughts that really matter. When we stop wondering what others around are thinking but start to wonder what Jesus thinks of us when we walk down the street that's when you start to enjoy life a bit better. You walk with a smile on your face, your insecurities are no longer just yours but Jesus takes them and casts them into this huge ocean of grace. No longer do the chains of caring what others say hold you down. You live to please a living God, not imperfect humans. No one is staring at you when you eat, no one is staring at your belly, no one is staring, period. And if they are, do their thoughts really matter? Is the thoughts of strangers or a person who you know for 2 years really out rule to the thoughts of a God who has known you before you were created?

Declare "GOD LOVES ME" as many time a day as you need to, even if you don't believe it, say it. When you are feeling full of sin, say it. When you are feeling unappreciated, say it. Lonely? Say it. Angry? Say it. Eating a bowl of ice cream? Say it. Just say God loves me. It will change your life.

"I know that I have been found. The cares of life can't hold me down. 'Cause You're the one I want to please. What matters now is what You think. You're the one that really matters" - "You're the one that really matter"

"We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” In loving memory of Dr. Maya Angelou

Here's the interview with Oprah, its worth a watch! 

Thursday, 22 May 2014

A Season Of Clarity

As a person who needs glasses to see far (near sighted) I know exactly what it feels like to have your vision completely blurry and unfocused. My problem has an easy solution, glasses. With them I can see almost as if I had 20/20 vision. About 75% of the population in North America wear glasses or contacts meaning 75% of people have a blurry vision. I'm also sure that 100% of the earth's population has had some sort of unfocused and blurry time in their life and I am no longer talking about eye vision but about your life's vision. In my circle of friend, well actually it's more like a triangle, we had a season of oceans, where we were just drowning in the grace of God. We still are but now I know that we moved on into a season of clarity. For the past few weeks that's all that's been in our hearts. I have three situations in my life where my life's mission was completely and utterly blurry, I was literally a blind bat in my own life. I'm going to share these three moments of chaos with you because maybe you are experiencing a moment of chaos in your life right now but want to move into a season of clarity and just can't see that happening.

  1. Moving countries: 15 years old and packing my bags to move from sunny Miami, Florida to what I thought was igloo land. Oh Lord was it hard! My whole world was falling apart, how was I ever going to survive?
  2. Ending a relationship: Jesus hold my heart because I was never going to love again *sob*
  3. Changing careers: Crazy I know, I live on the edge.

BUT GOD.. (I really do like those two words together)

  1. But God, moved me to love a city like Toronto, with so much cultures and diversity that I would have never been exposed to in my suburb town in the South. 
  2. But God, allowed me to see the destruction of the relationship I was in and if I would have never ended it I would have never meet Jesus the way I know him now, and I would have never meet my earthly love Dylan, the man God had for me.
  3. But God, gave me the courage and clarity to see how much I would have hated my career, I already hated my job, so I changed my unhappiness and now I love my career, Medical Laboratory Technician, and I graduate this summer.

 You see I thought my first situations were so permanent, and that's what happens when you can't see beyond your cloudy vision. I'm not saying that you need to have your life figured out because none of us do. But what am saying is that you know exactly what area in your life you need to see with the glasses that God can provide for you. You just have to ask. When I don't have my glasses I squint my eyes to see a little clearer, it works..sometimes, but when I grab my glasses I can see everything without forcing my eyes to focus. That's what we do when we try to do the same with our blurry life's. You try in your strengths and you squint and squint and we just feel tired and our eyes start to hurt. But Jesus is standing right next to you with a pair of glasses, so that you don't have to try so hard to see, He wants to be your eyes, He wants to be your clarity! Seek him! Ask him! Pray for clarity! Your answer might walk straight through the doors, or it may be in a conversation you never wanted to have or your clarity may be in a walk. Jesus is the mastermind behind all this but He can't do His job if you don't ask and qualify Him for it. The most amazing verse is often over looked, are you ready for it? It's 1 Corinthians 13:12:
"Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely."
I mean hello! Hi! How amazing was that?! God doesn't promise us an easy and clear life but He does promise us that if we seek Him we will see exactly how He sees! Doesn't that excite you for life? Yes you may be in the mist of darkness but God is the light, you are the light. Clarity is easy, what is hard is our human emotions. Clarity is God. God is not hard to find but we get in our own way of our own clarity. God has the ability to change your emotions to align to His emotions. You deserve clarity and He wants to give you that gift, allow Him to fill your atoms, molecules, cells, your whole being and He will open your eyes to the bigger picture. Get ready to see your life with new spectacles!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

What Would Jesus Do?

 It's amazing how much of a difference you can make in someone's life just by taking the time, and doing something small. Yesterday I was at work, and I was just about ready to leave when I saw one of the kitchen ladies. This woman always seemed grumpy and angry, and I always wondered why. Over time, I noticed that I had never seen anyone interacting with her or giving her the least bit of importance. So I greeted her. I said hello and gave her a smile. It was so sad to see that she was surprised that I had said anything at all. So long story short, we just began to talk and have a good conversation. I saw her light up and the look on her face changed completely. She was smiling and laughing, and she was at ease. She seemed like a completely different person than all the other times I had seen her. We were both done work for the day, so we just sat and talked about everything. As outgoing as I am, sometimes its difficult to put aside what someone looks like, or even the impression they've given us, and just smile at them or even say hello. In essence, we've all judged a book by its cover at least once in our lifetimes.
 In my experience, I've come to realize that sometimes, the hardest people to approach are the ones who desire it the most. I've been trying to walk like Jesus in the sense that He didn't care whether you were the lowest of the low. Jesus cared and loved those people so much, that they themselves were surprised that someone like Jesus could even look their way. I mean, Jesus would see peoples' futures, and what they could become, rather than what they are or what they've done. He hung out with tax collectors (let's just say, a tax collector in Jesus' time was someone to be hated), prostitutes, and people that no one wanted anything to do with.  I'm talking about those people that everyone would talk about because they were different, or those people who didn't quite live up to society's standards. The ones who put up a hard exterior, but on the inside are hurting because of rejection. They don't get why people judge them, if they really don't take the time to get to know them; to even know who they really are. 
The ironic part is, that at one point we were all in the same position. Whether you were the new kid at school, or new to a city. We've all been judged. There's no doubt about that. There's a huge amount of people we don't even know who decided at one point that we weren't worthy to be approached. I don't know about you, but I don't want to and I am NOT obligated to conform to the norms that society wants us to conform to. If Jesus touched the untouchable, I want to too. Society says that we shouldn't care about anyone but ourselves. Everything is about "me" and my comfort. But the gospel is all about Jesus. What would Jesus do? I used to have a bracelet that had the iconic "WWJD?", BUT I never took it seriously. I was ignorant. I would see someone hurting and I would turn a blind eye. But now that I'm older, and I've taken this seriously, I know what Jesus would do. Something we haven't done for a long time in this society.....CARE.
With Love, Michelle ♡

Saturday, 10 May 2014

A Heart For The Needy

I've had this dream/desire in my heart to make some sort of survival kit filled with a toothbrush, toothpaste, bandages, shampoo, and wipes for the homeless. In my head this was just a thought, I'm just a student there's no way I have the budget to do that. Thursday night one of my really close friends, Diego, asked me if I wanted to go on a random homeless drive and give some food and prayer to them. As soon as I read the message God just said, "this is it". My birthday is around this month and I had 30 dollars to buy a new dress for my 21st birthday, in my heart I knew I didn't need that new dress so I went into Dollarma on Friday after school and bought everything on my list for 30 dollars. 
I packed them up and created a little survival kit with love, since I was on an extremely tight budge I only managed to make 10 and prayed over these 10 people that we're going recieve these little packages. 
To be very honest with you I never thought people would actually take this with thankful hearts, but boy was I about to be wrong! Today, May 10, 2014 started at 6:20am for me, I literally woke up as if someone shook me out of my sleep, I ran outside to my balcony with my bible to encounter Jesus this morning 
Jesus showed up like never before and he gave me this amazing verse that literally marked my whole day:
“Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. (Habakkuk 1:5 NIV)

These were the amazing people who were there bright an early serving the needy when Dylan (boyfriend) and myself arrived 
That picture unites Christians and Muslims together serving people, I love it. These are Diego's friends, they made sandwiches for the needy and were giving them out all morning! 
Most of them left and Dylan, Diego and myself went off to give some money, food and my survival kits. The first person we encountered was Shawn 
He was new in Toronto and just trying to get by in that picture you see part of my toothbrush sticking out, he loved the kit and that's when I really though "wow okay people might take these!" What got me the most about Shawn was another guy name Gor, he was a homeless for a very long time but he found a job and lives with his girlfriend in a hotel(for now) he goes through the streets of downtown  Toronto helping the new homeless people find their way and help them stay clean and get them up on their feet, how amazing is that!!! 

We then met Bowser and Brugetta, Bowser's love for his female dog was beautiful, he even had her name tattooed on his back, which reminds me he had the sickest tats ever! He was actually so thrilled that we cared enough to ask him about his tattoos. After them we met a man name Chris who was a social worker and had recently lost his money and work contract, he was removed from his apartment and had to go on the streets but his hunger to leave the streets was intense, next time we go back I'm sure Chris won't be there. The last one was Justin, black-eyed Justin. We didn't have change left but he was happy we had a survival kit left and a sandwich for him. 

Now before Justin we met another Chris and Tabetha with her dog Skeeter. Chris has Leukemia, a cancer in your blood, because of his cancer he had holes in his skin, he showed them to me and he knew that his time on earth was limited. Tabetha tabetha tabetha, this women with the most bluest of eyes has my heart. Her story touched my heart so much, this lady does not want to be on the street but due to a lot of circumstances she is. She showed us her youngest daughter's picture, the spitting image of her, her name is Layla. Layla is her world along with Skeeter the dog. Skeeter was not eating at all, he's a sick dog with a gentle spirit. Her life story rocked our world. When we left Tabetha my heart was hurting, I could see how people would look at her and all I wanted to do is scream at them and tell them they were wrong! That it wasn't as easy as "get a job" she told us she wished people would ask her why she was on the street instead of looking down on her. We were able to pray for her, her belief in God was crazy! She also wanted a Bible so bad, Diego gave her his personal bible, the joy in her face was beautiful. I walked away with the boys and I just couldn't hold my emotions anymore and cried like I never had before. All three of us were feeling Jesus like never before. I had just encountered Jesus through Tabetha, my heart was bursting. We stopped by a nearby TD where Dylan took out a large undisclosed amount of money and we ran back to her. He kneeled down and poured his heart out to Tabetha and gave her the money. 
I will NEVER forgot her tears gushing out of her beautiful blue eyes. I have never loved a stranger more than I did with Tabetha. We left her and sat down and just cried because that was God's grace and this is what we were made and created for. Many want to go out into other nations but there is so much we need to do at home first, "The change starts with changing our world, our city"- Dylan.

The church is not in four walls, the church is everything under the sky.