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One of the things I found most endearing about my husband while dating him, was he was a man of faith. Every week he was faithfully attending church, as was I. This was an oddity in our 20’s and early 30’s, as most our age were still sleeping from the night before. When I found this in him I knew it was special. We had been baptized different “religions”, but both lovers of Jesus. I remember thinking this is all that really mattered.

When we married in 2005, I did not want to convert to his religion merely because I believe with passion, our spiritual journey is our own. It should not be one based upon another human beings journey, but one in which we take with great delicacy a personal internal observation. I did however, agree to raise our children Catholic, as I knew it was important to him. After all, regardless of the Christian umbrella we put over our heads, we still worshiped the same Jesus.

What gets complicated since having kids, is creating the balance of raising them in their father’s faith, while still showing/guiding them that I to am faithful in my own faith. The part that I never knew would become so complicated when we married was the how to praise Jesus, not the why. My husband, who I still admire and love his passion for faith, and I have had some heavy conversations on our journey through our first son. It certainly has not been easy. However, today we saw a product of our faith shine. Not just one of our faiths but both.

Our son made his First Communion. Most would think that it means only my husbands faith. Today, God showed me how bright His light is in my son. It is not there just because of CCD, or going to mass regularly. It is there because it shines through his parents.

As I was strapping three kids into the minivan on our way to church this morning, I saw Rylan secretly practicing for today. He wanted to make sure his hands were right, that he remembered to say “Amen” when the priest gave him the bread, and that he prayed for someone special afterward.

During the ceremony I saw him bring the bread to the altar, sing a song of praise, take the eucharist, and pray. After the ceremony I was told more than once from his CCD teacher what a special, big-hearted child I had.

I may not always have the answers my child asks–like–“Why don’t you go to confession?” or “Why didn’t you have a holy communion”. I may not always agree with what the church may teach or the traditions they have. The ultimate gem is my son loves Jesus. His love for Him is not defined by the traditions, but by his heart. When there is another moment that my husband and I disagree– I pray I remember today and seeing the light not only shine but GLEAM and sparkle with His Glory.

 

Where ever his path may lead him, whatever umbrella he chooses to carry, I am sure without a doubt it will include Jesus lighting his way.

My son the lover of the light.
We all love the same Jesus.IMG_8228

I was one of those December babies that parents worry about sending to early to school. My parents took the leap, and sent me in as the youngest in the class. I ended up repeating first grade, not only because I was so young, but I also had a few learning disability’s that needed to be attended to. My first day of school of my second year of first grade my teacher told me something that would be held in my heart a life time: “You can be anything you want to be Aimee”. A message I would use as my armor later on when so many others would try to tell me differently.

My second year of first grade is when I went to Heaven. When I came back and returned to school, I was given a stack of homemade get well cards, and a LOT of Michael Jackson paraphernalia. I could tell the school community had worried about me. That me, surviving this, was not the norm. However, there I stood unscathed on the outside, forever changed on the in.

Years later I was dedicating all of my time to making a difference in the community. God’s words of “What have you done for your fellow man” etched into my heart. I was a high school student lit with the passion of helping others. I was also a high school student still trying to make sense of my experience, while also going through the rage of changes.

I sought out the school social worker to help me through some things I was going through. She seemed supportive when a classmate died, and trustworthy when I was on my teen emotional roller coaster. She never really recognized the amount of activism I was doing within the school and community. When I asked her to write me a recommendation letter for college she told me, “You aren’t cut out to be a social worker, you will never make it”.

Words that stung.

Soon after I was called into my guidance counselors office to discuss the future. He had only met me a hand full of times in the four years I had been on his caseload. He looked over my C average and told me I was not college material. In fact his exact words were: “You have two choices- community college with the hopes you will pass, or a job at McDonalds– I would pursue the latter if I were you”.

Broken.

Had he not looked at where I came from? As my education was unique– I went from special ed to regular ed. Sure a C average was my best–however, I also had a great deal of community outreach behind me. Heck I passed a drunk driving law at 16–who does that? I was an extradonary teen that easily could’ve listened to both of these “professionals” and deemed myself unworthy of my dreams.

Luckily my spirit within wouldn’t have it.

I not only got into one college, I got into three!

While in college I was banging out a 3.9 grade point average because I was taking classes that spoke to my heart. I was learning about the history of activism and the economy. I was gearing for a career to make real change happen. I was armed with “You can be whatever you want Aimee” to disarm so many hurtful “you can’ts”.

Then came day a racist professor took me aside and told me that the only reason I made it to college was because I was “White and cute”. She said I was lucky to have made it this far, and since she was sure I had a “lot of money”, that I should invest in having someone transcribe my papers for now on.

This might have disheartened others into giving up. To me, I was filled with rage, and the determination to prove her wrong. Suddenly, I was working with a friend of hers in an internship for the Mayor of a very large city. The feedback she was getting was that I was unique in my abilities and that I would save a lot of lives in my career.

Then I went on to not only getting one master’s degree’s but two! The second being a specialized program that thousands apply to and only a handful of hundreds make it in. I was one of those handful, not because I was the smartest, but because I had the inner strength and determination to make my dreams exist.

There will always be the person in the world that will tell you “no”. The person that will do whatever it takes to discount you, or make you less then who you truly are. Recently, in my job as a school social worker, I shared this story with my middle school students in crisis. When asked how I made all of those hurtful, negative words turn into dreams–my answer was simple….faith. Being in public schools I obviously didn’t go to deep on what exactly that meant. However the truth of the matter is the only person I needed to depend on to open the doors to lead the path I am meant to, was God (and still is!).

The words we so easily speak, especially the ugly ones to others, may seem so small in our lives, while others lives literally hang on them. I do not dislike the old social worker, the school guidance counselor, or even the professor. They made assumptions and judgements with what they had, and with their own misguided thoughts of who I am or would be. What they failed to do is dig a little deeper and see me for who I truly am.

I am forever thankful to that first grade teacher that spoke the words I carried in my heart. I told her so this Christmas in a Christmas card. I am sure, even those kind words, were forgotten in her memory because it came natural to her. However in my life, I clung to them for dear life.

When someone tell’s you that you are not enough and you can’t, I challenge you to trust in God that with Him and in Him all things are possible. That whatever you are told you can not do, can be changed to I “will do”.

Born Again

What I know for sure now is that my life will never be the same as it once was.

I waited to write here. I wanted to make sure that my words matter when we are speaking G.O.D. I want it to be me real, and tangible. I want to share the truth-from all sides-no matter how hard it may be.

A year ago I would’ve shuttered at being called a “born again”. I would have rather been called a pleather of other unpleasant names other than that one. I had this idea, like most up in New England do, that “born again” were those extremist in the subways with signs I was going to burn in hell, or those millionaire preachers that roll in Mercedes, host tv shows, while greed and sin eat them alive. Those “crazy” southern churches. That made up religion of evangelism that only focuses on the new testament. I even, at one point, questioned it being cult like. It is completely rare in New England that these churches exist. Therefore, by being a product of the environment, anything that did not contain creaky pews, old hymns, and a priest that wasn’t able to marry, seemed completely absurd and for lack of better words-crazy.

Now. Guess what? I want to be called “born again” first and foremost. Why? because for all I have accomplished in my 37 years of life, it is by far the number one best decision I have ever made. YES it surpasses my excellent choice of a husband, and the choice of having kids, because above all-God is first.

When you die and come back to life, little to no other human beings  alive on this earth get that. Imagine living so many years trying to make sense of what I experienced with no basis to what exactly I saw/felt/loved. I was alone in it. I thought it meant I was meant to be alone in it. What I always knew was a God that loved and adored me. A God that believed I was meant to do great things on this earth. A God that made me unique with a different experience to fuel me in a different way then the norm. What I didn’t know was the WHY!

I read about 50 books on near death experiences, at least a dozen psychic books, probably another dozen on miracles, and piles and piles of spiritual self-help books. However, before this year I never once opened up the most important thing that would make sense of what I experienced…. the Bible. In fact I literally would roll my eyes at those people who loved to quote scripture and say the name “Jesus” in every other sentence. Little did I know, this scripture would literally free me to never feel alone in it again. Not ever. I now have answers– my experience there, has met my life here.

Organized religion in general always made me shudder. I always thought people were in it for the wrong reasons, and quite frankly I still do. I think religion happens to be a safe place for ugly, dark souls to hide in order for them to believe they aren’t that bad if they show up to church. However, what I failed to realize is most are there for the greater good of God. That I , nor anyone else, is meant to praise by themselves every single day. That regardless of the church you choose, there is a seat for you. A place that meets you on the journey you came here from, the journey you are on. You just need to find the right place.

I RUN to church now. I am never present because I feel like I “have” to be. I am present because I “want” to be.

And that isn’t even the best part of my story. The best part is the day I gave my life to Jesus, and asked his forgiveness for the heavy baggage I have carried over the years. Heavy baggage that I would’ve told you I had forgotten, or that I paid my dues for. Guess what–for as much as my mind let it go–the heart of soul hadn’t! That day when I gave it to Him it fell off of me. Parts of who I am, and thought I always would be, GONE. Not just for the day–but forever.

In all ways, Christ has made me a better person since last May. I am a better Mom, a harder worker, a stronger person–all because I asked to have a better relationship with Him. All because I had a dear friend that cared enough to sit by me for a few years, silently guiding me in this direction.All because He cared enough to send others to confirm this change I was about to make. All because I wasn’t meant to be alone, or to walk my journey wondering why I died and came back to life.

Moving forward my writing isn’t meant to be knock on your door, Bible in  your face words. It is words of my life, my truth, my Savior. The only reason I live. My first and foremost.

In 2014 I plan to write more with very careful consideration on what I put out into the world. In 2014 I plan to learn more of the why, and to make great use of it. My hope and prayer is that you will not judge me for the title in which I proudly wear now (BORN AGAIN), and take what works for you along the ride, and leave the rest for God to take care of.

No Longer 1/2 Full

You know the old saying “Do you see the glass 1/2 empty or 1/2 full?”, I have been seeing this in a different perspective lately.

A few years ago I would have told you  I was completely filled up with God’s love and intention. I would have declared my devotion, and told you there was no more that I could do to seek Him. A few years ago I would have ridden on my ego’s coat tails saying, “Who can tell me about Jesus on the earth when I went to Heaven myself!”! A few years ago, just before my show aired, I was alone bound with my story afraid nobody would care to listen. The lie that was whispering in my ear was that nobody would understand, I would never be accepted, and that my story was unworthy of God’s praise.

I read a book. Now I have read many, many a near-death experience story before this particular one. I to had been a skeptic of some of them. However, this book struck my core. It was from a child’s perspective, had many of the same ideas as my own experience, and was Christian told. I say this because all to often, when you say “near-death”, you are suddenly a mystic. Suddenly, your story is placed in a section of the bookstore representing you in a way that makes you look like you are going to read tarot cards and a crystal ball. This was an issue for me. For as much as I struggled with the word psychic for many years, I knew something–I DID not want to be known a mystic, I wanted to be known as a Christian. This book was written as such.

Have you read it? Heaven Is For Real. http://www.heavenisforreal.net

Fast forward to now and I think of God’s sense of humor. The signs he constantly sends as a reminder that He is in fact there and in charge.

Its only been a month since I truly became a Christian. And my glass that I thought was once filled to the brim, was really just filled and has room to grow. For the years I walked into a church asking “God is this where you want me to be? Is this who I am?”, I felt nothing and moved on. I shuffle back to my own four walls thinking their isn’t a place for me. Who dies and comes back to life? WHO? Surely I didn’t know anyone. Then I found my current church, and guess who was there speaking tonight? Yes. You guessed it. The author of Heaven Is For Real. Sure the author and his family came for a variety of reasons that didn’t have to do with me, but I tell you– I was part of it.

I had the chance to thank the boys Mom for producing this book that help free me of my own story. I had the chance to say to the young boy “Hey I went to Heaven too. Your book helped me to tell my story after holding it in for 30 years”. I met someone who DIED and came back to life at my new church! I met someone who got it.

I should mention the true intention of their appearance was to help in the healing of our community post 12/14. They literally came not for promotion but for healing and sharing  God’s light.

This week has been a whirlwind for me. As this was not the only “sign” God has given me. Recently I had prayed for answers involving finances and finding a job that meant something. This week I was literally handed one. A job that not only included God IN it, but also gave me the ability to have two out of three of my kids in the building while I worked. A day before this job was offered to me, I was anxious over the idea of going back to work and what I would do with my little baby. Mom guilt gets all of us mothers in the gut. My son, Bennett, the one with the name meaning “Little Blessed One”, will be at my job in a daycare called “Little Blessings”–Hello Lord I am listening!

This chick. The one that thought nobody could tell me how to believe and love Jesus. The one who thought I would live a lifetime misunderstood and silent about my personal experience, is about to be a Christian teacher. A Christian teacher that was seen for her faith, and cup spilling over and everywhere, who is being called to give it all I got. I mean who gets offered a job from God and says no right?

I always had faith. I always had love. I just didn’t know I didn’t have to have it alone.

So I am beaming it. Instead of always asking for the holy light to surround me, I can literally feel it IN me.

We aren’t meant to do it alone. And if we listen carefully enough, the answers are all there-we just need to take them.

Arrived

Most of my 36 years of living has consisted of trying to make sense of what has happened to me and looking for not only acceptance but identity in it. This is a very hard thing to do when you spent most of it behind closed doors and not telling ones story. Not everyone dies and comes back to life to tell about it. I did. I was alone in it.

Having faith alone in a room and not amongst others was lonely. I could not take the chance that someone may dismiss me. I could not take the chance of anyone saying I didn’t know God. As I got older I tried to be courageous in given organized religions chances. Way to many times, I walked away feeling dismissed, and as though others had felt they knew God better than I just because they went to a chapel or confessed all of their sins. I always retreated back to the safety of my home. A room that only God and I existed in. For as much as I felt His comfort, I have come to realize loving Him isn’t something that should be done alone. I always believed no church would ever “fit” me. No religion could ever name me as their own. That I, on my very vibrant radical journey in faith, would ride it out being misunderstood. I was the religious Pink per say 🙂

I know you have wondered where I am. Why haven’t I written. The reason isn’t because of time or not because I didn’t want to. It is because when I step in a public forum like this I want my words to matter. I don’t want to fill your time up reading what I ate for breakfast, or how I patted myself on the back because I remembered to pray today. I want you to get a clear picture of the walk I have walked, and more importantly the walk I just began.

I had a come to Jesus moment.

(insert dramatic pause)

Ok more like a come to Jesus few months (possibly life). After waking up from a very graphic vision involving mass murder of little kids in a school and it actually happening, I woke up to more than just a horrible day. I woke up to the fact evil does exist. It is easy to discount it if you haven’t run into horror on your back door. That night I literally sat thinking–the devil himself visited the town next door. I was to close to evil. Then I experienced the exact opposite of it all. The outpouring of love. The physical feeling when I went to Newtown that the Holy Spirit was literally cradling its people.

Months ago I wrote in a post about feeling like I was “circling the drain” sort of speak. Not in regards to death, but more about something big happening. Something I was gearing up for but not quite certain of. I prayed a lot. I walked into the stirring blindly, and faithly. I learned to trust. I did things I would have never done before thanks to often being crippled by anxiety. During this time I kept getting messages from other God lovers. People that were from all different religions, sometimes telling me the same exact things, and sometimes trying to make me the triangle fit into their pretty little square. I was frustrated. I was feeling defeated. However, I kept listening.

A few weeks ago my come to Jesus moment because more of a Jesus at my door wanting to share a cup of coffee. It felt like “are you coming with me or going with him?”. Meaning–evil had just knocked too. If I truly believe in the place I went when you died as a kid-how on earth could I deny Him?

While speaking to a pastor of prayer at a local church I said to him, “I don’t want to be remembered as a mystic or a psychic, I want to be remembered as a Christian”. He then asked me who Christ was to me. I stumbled. Like you would at an essay question that you know you know the answer in your heart, but can’t find the right words. I walked with those words with me for weeks. And then suddenly I surrendered.

I found a church that “gets” me. I found others that don’t tell me how to walk the walk but to entrust Him with it to show me. I realized in a matter of weeks I am not in fact psychic, but have the gift of prophecy. A gift I could not understand on my own. A church that is having the author from Heaven Is For Real next week as speaker! If that is not acceptance of who I am to my core I am not sure what is! The best part is I never felt so FREE! I mean truly FREE. I actually WANT to go to church every week. I want to open up and read the Bible without someone telling me how to. And I will in fact die again someday with the world knowing I was not a mystic with a good near death story, but a Christian who died and came back to life with a purpose.

My path is no longer hurdles full of trial and errors, it is a sigh of relief that I have arrived on a beautiful paved path. I got it right this time.

So I haven’t written because I have been trying to take it all in. Like I said before I want my words to hold their weight and matter. I do not want to lead anyone down the rocky path I tried skipping down. I want everyone to find their paved path on their own terms, in their own time, and to truly believe we are all precious gifts from God worthy of His love.

This particular quote seemed to ignite me:

“I encourage you to focus on relationship with Jesus rather than follow the rules of religion”-Joyce Meyer

It doesn’t matter the where per say but the who. For me, I don’t need the chapel, or the traditions of sitting down-standing up– reciting a prayer. I need the right people. I need the inspiration. I need to feel God amongst us.

My wish and prayer for all of you is that you find what speaks the most meaningful truth to you and your own heart, and if you already have you bask in it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love Wins.

5

Ashes To Ashes

What I know for sure is that God is everywhere. He is in the moments you are to busy, the times you are being self absorbed, and in all the moments you forget to call on Him. He exists in every nook and cranny of our existence.

Our personal relationship to God, or lack of one, is our own sacred path. It should not be judged by others. Nor should we be divided by religions using words like “us” and “them”. In my opinion we are all one, with the right to choose how we should worship our God. I truly believe a person finding and praying in his backyard can be as holy and as connected as someone attending mass weekly.

As humans we function well in structure and tradition. It isn’t surprising many in the community frowned upon Ash Wednesdays “Ashes To Go” at our local coffee house. It is hard for some to think out of the box when it comes to God. Many are used to such definition and tradition, that often those that aren’t -are forgotten. The strides that the First Congregational Church of Bethel and St Thomas Episcopal Church took day, in my opinion, were grounding breaking.

For every person that walked up to Molten Java was asked if they would like ashes in a loving manner. They were not asked if they were Christian. They were not asked what they did and did not believe. They were not preached to in any form or manner. They were offered regardless just for being a child of God.

The purpose, as stated in a handout provided: “We’re offering ashes outdoors today as a reminder of need, humility, and healing shouldn’t be confined to a church building. We probably need it more when we are in the middle of our daily business! Throughout today, the ashes we receive here remind us of our need for God, and of God’s call to us”.

A reminder that we are all loved by God everywhere we go in everything we do.

When I went, they also offered up a prayer if I needed one. We prayed openly and aloud in the front of the coffee-house for a little boy who is fighting for his life at St Jude’s Hospital. We prayed for our community and the healing it is in need of. They also offered blessings for my children. A beautiful few minutes of feeling God’s abundance of love on the streets of the town I live in and love. Ending with a perfect latte. Which may sound odd to some since it wasn’t mass, but it was my mass. It fit me just right. The message that God is with me even when I am drinking my latte. The message to me being I am right where I am supposed to be.

I personally would like to thank both churches for thinking of those like me, that often worship God in other ways and in other places. It has reminded me to reflect more, and remember Him in my everyday life.

On the heels of the two month anniversary of Sandy Hook tragedy, this reminder of love is one preserved and well received. Our community continues to feel the pain. The answers of why will never make sense to us in this life time, and we are forced to carry on. It is in Gods love–and on in His–that we will be able to try to do this. As our lives our forever changed– as the Sandy Hook Promise states: “Our hearts our broken but our spirits aren’t”. Today’s small gesture of ashes on the street made me feel part of something bigger then just the confines of a church. For this, I am forever grateful.

May God bless each of you reading this today and always.
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