Tag Archives: Shake It Out

Shake It Out

3 Aug

In my day to day life people often stop me to ask how things are going. How are the girls? How is work? How is the adoption going…… any news?

These are fair and honest questions. I often have things to share about school, dance, new job opportunities and the few morsels of news we have heard from the adoption agency. But sometimes I have nothing. So I find myself sharing something else; something unexpected but also truly necessary. I begin to share with them what The Lord has been speaking to me, teaching me and guiding me through over the last few days, months or even years.

Allow me to preface this by explaining that I am far from being a perfect example of a “Christian”. I struggle to make time to read my Bible, I listen to music with swear words in them, I occasionally swear, I enjoy a drink from time to time….. I could do a lot to clean up my outward persona.

However, in all of my imperfections, there are a few things that I cling to in my understanding and my relationship with God. Daily, in my mundane and often frustrating existence, I constantly seek His voice. I do find myself in constant prayer, looking for Him around every corner and in every moment. I long to be close to Him and to feel His peace. My heart desires nothing more than to know Him better. And sometimes, in all of my mistakes and worldliness, I am fortunate enough to hear His still small voice and know that I am not too far off the path that He has for me.

This may seem bewildering to you. “How do you hear the voice of God?” And I wish that I had a defined answer for you…..

Sometimes, very rarely, there is something that moves inside of me. Something stirs in my very core, my heart and soul. It shakes me so hard that I cannot deny that THAT in fact was the voice of God. This was my experience when I received the call to pursue an international adoption. There was no denying what I felt and what I needed to do. I could not imagine ever finding a sense of peace within myself had we not decided to journey down this path. Of course it is terrifying and filled with unknowns, but at every fork in the road or obstacle, that moment with The Lord carries me through.

That type of experience has been rare though. And for the most part, I am glad. It is intense and earth shattering and forever alters the way you live. Most of the time I hear the voice of God in a much more subtle way. I hear the voice of God in music (yes, even the secular stuff, filled with hurt and longing for love) and in art. I see The Lord’s beauty and majesty in colours and in the absence of colour. I feel Him in nature. I think this is why I love the Spring so much. I find Him in deep and intimate conversations with close friends where the things I have been struggling with are discussed and my fears are reassured and calmed. It is in the everyday and the unassuming that I most frequently hear the voice of God guiding me and directing me.

So where am I headed with this? How about my tattoos.

Those who know me well know about my body art and my love for tattoos. Ever since I was 11 or 12 years old, I knew that I wanted a tattoo (or many, many tattoos!). And many of you also know my family. This desire has always been a struggle. I love my parents and understand their perception of tattoos (and piercings) so I waited a very long time before I did anything. But each of my tattoos has come from a very personal message or vision that The Lord has shared with me. Some are straightforward. My maiden name in honour of my Grandparents when my Grandfather passed was an easy, spur of the moment decision. I love my family dearly and I chose to grieve that loss by carrying them with me for the rest of my life.

Every time I make the decision to get a new tattoo or a piercing, I walk away feeling more like myself and the person God created me to be. I still understand why I am met by resistance and head shakes from my family (J-Sauce hates them too). But I feel like I am better equipped to face the world and to share my story. A huge part of that is my tattoos.

So this brings us to this week.

Life has been hard and difficult and uncomfortable and relentless…… as it often is. I feel as though I have been surrounded by bad news or conflict everyday. People around me receive bad news and I feel it so intensely. We find roadblocks or delays in the adoption and it is devastating. My natural inclination is to head to bed every night and complain to God that its not fair. But I find that reaction starting to change as He gently speaks to me and listens to my whining and complaining.

We were never promised that life would be fair. In fact Jesus promised us that we would constantly face adversity and hardship. So I find my new reaction to disappointment and bad news to be, “You only get a little time to be upset about this and then you must move on”. I am shocked with myself and, of course, this is easier said than done. But I do feel myself being able to grieve, to hand it over to The Lord and to move on with my life. My wonderful, beautiful, amazing, colourful and blessed life. I have so much to be thankful for that I truly have no reason to hold onto any disappointment for too long.

So in my very brief and punctuated grieving this week, I decided to get a new tattoo. This design is so completely me and I was thrilled with the outcome.

Years ago, while watching How I Met Your Mother, The Lord spoke to me through an episode and a song. (Yep, even in TV shows…..). Ted once again admits his love for Robin. But this time Robin denies his attempt to make something more out of their friendship. She instead asks him to promise that they will hold onto their deal – that if they make it to 40 and are still single they will marry. Ted takes a huge step and bravely says, “No. I can’t wait around and hope that one day I’ll win the lottery and that we’ll finally be together”. Essentially, as long as that deal stood, he would find something wrong with every other relationship he pursued. So long as he had a foot in the door with Robin, no one else would ever measure up. So he had to let her go.

As the episode ends, Ted is standing on their roof (with a fake New York skyline in behind him….. le sigh) and “Shake it Out” by Florence and the Machine starts to play. As Ted exits the bar later on, with the song still playing, it begins to rain. He takes out his black umbrella and opens it. As he steps out onto the street, everyone else walks past…..with their yellow umbrellas.

The yellow umbrella has been the long standing symbol of him finding “The Mother”. Because Ted has been willing to let go of any future that he might have with Robin, everyone has now become an opportunity. Anyone could now be “The Mother”. He can allow himself to fall in love with someone else and to truly be happy.

I cry as I type this out (and every time I explain it to people) because the message hit me so hard. When you let go of the things that hold you in place – regrets, past actions or relationships, hurt feelings and disappointment – everything else in front of you becomes an opportunity; an opportunity to love, to find joy, to be thankful, to share your story.

This message strikes so much deeper in my heart than I will ever be able to fully explain, but I think that this little portion is enough to express what God has been doing in my heart and my life lately.

I walked into my tattoo shop with just a rough outline and pure optimism. What Sasha created is more than I ever could have hoped for. (And a rainbow on Pride weekend! How perfect!) It is everything that I need and wanted it to be. I love it and am willing to share that part of my story with you.

Shake It Out

 

When life gets me down and things happen that break my heart, I have a good reminder to shake it out and hand it over to The Lord. If I let it go, I can then stand and wait for His still small voice to guide me towards my next yellow umbrella.

 

This song breaks me. She is amazing. I can’t get enough of this performance. That dress, her voice, the choir……gah! So good.

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