Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Courage and Fortitude

Well, today has been a more fruitful day. My bug is receding nicely (thanks be to God for antibiotics!!), and I was able to stay in a reality check state of mind all day. Granted, two near miss accidents helped me out with that. I'm just thankful for all the grace and protection today.

So there I was, driving down Colorado Blvd. at an even pace, and a lady in a parking spot decided to hit the gas and swerve right in front of me. I swerved to avoid her. The car next to me swerved to avoid me. I looked in my rear view mirror and saw and heard 2 other cars swerving and hitting the brakes. As it was happening, i was praying "Hail Mary, full of grace…" and miraculously found myself to have stopped less than an inch from her left front end. Her response?? To "gun it" even though there was NO room for her to maneuver and she shot past all of us as if nothing was wrong. ARRRAGGGGHHH!! Thankfully, everyone else saw it, and many of the cars in front of me honked at her. I was almost in a 5 car pile-up, but somehow all of the cars just BARELY missed each other. (Guardian Angels working overtime much?)

5 minutes later, I pulled into the bank to make a deposit, and when I got back in my car to pull out, I guess I was so rattled that I almost hit a car that was driving through the parking lot. Apparently, that was another near miss, as the expressions around me registered as shock. When I looked in my rear view mirror and hit the brakes, it didn't look like there was ANY space between myself and them. So, I pulled back forward into the spot to wait for the car to pass. And then… they didn't pass. They just sat there. For 3-4 minutes. And waved me out. I couldn't do it without hitting them. Finally, they continued through.

I was so happy to pull into the house a couple of minutes later, that I vowed to not leave the house again for the rest of the day (thankfully, I didn't have to). My poor guardian angels! They got me prime parking spots earlier in the day, and saved me from two separate accidents!!

So… as a result of these near misses, I've been thinking about Divine Providence all day. My head has been bouncing around music theory, piano and Divine Providence. It's a constant protection that I certainly don't deserve, but certainly always HAVE. The money is always there, the parking spots are always perfect, the timing on every good thing that has happened to me is always JUST RIGHT. Even my trials and struggles are perfectly timed. Why is God so good?? He even caters the circumstances around my difficulties to be perfectly balanced with whatever lesson I have to learn at the time, with all the protection necessary to allow me the freedom to make sense out of my weaknesses and imperfections so that I can correct them. How does that work?

So then my mind switches over to other events, and other situations. I know this might seem like the almighty ramble, but there is a cohesion between these separate events.

I was reminded today, also, of my old desires. When I was growing up all I could think about doing was working for the FBI in the field of forensic psychology. In fact, I assumed that would be my life. No family. Just me, my brain, a lab, criminal personalities and my co-workers. It was all I could visualize. Then one day, when I was 19, somebody suggested that maybe I should ask God what HE thought of that idea. It was about 4 years after my first conversion, so I took the suggestion seriously. I went into the adoration chapel and I asked God "Well, I know I've never asked you if this is something you want me to do, but since it was recommended, here I am. What do you think?"

I had just finished my first internship with the FBI, and had already declared my major as being Clinical Psychology. I would've had the references. Up the wazoo, actually!! The only adults I had relationships with outside of church… were ALL Agents. Heck, even one of the adults I went to church with and who got me into prison ministry… was an agent. My whole life up to that point had been agents, case studies, clinical psychology… the works. I had been a tomboy all my life, and could give a beating, just as well as I could take one. I was a mama bear in training who would've happily taken on the role for a much larger group of people, than blood relations. I was raised in that environment. I was primed for it. It was in my blood. Laying down your life, is a no-brainer, right?

What else could I be, than a protector for other people? Than a tracker of human dysfunction in order to disable them from hurting someone else??

But there I was… kneeling in an adoration chapel. And for the first time, I wondered if it was something God wanted me to do. I had given him my allegiance, so therefore, I had to get my marching orders from him, right?

"Papa… what would you like me to do? Do you want me to become an FBI agent?"

The loudest "NO" I have ever heard, ricocheted off the interior of my brain in a manner I have never experienced since. Shock ensued. Confusion. What does a person do, when everything they've been invested in, is all of a sudden knocked into smithereens??

Now, mind you, I've had the experience of the loud "YES" occur. In fact, it's happened many times and usually accompanies major decisions. So, he's given me the "courage" to accept it when he closes doors. But this one, really took the cake.

Then "it" started… a whole vision of what He wanted from me. What I saw asked more a sacrifice of me than I ever thought possible. He gave me marching orders all right, and all the courage I thought I had… withered in the face of it initially. I began to realize that it takes more courage to fight the interior battle, then it does to fight the exterior. Thankfully, being my father's daughter, my spirit was rallied and a new commitment was made. I would do it! Somehow, someway, no matter what obstacles I came across… I would FIND a way to do what he asked.

Fighting a bully threatening people in front of me, is MUCH, MUCH easier to deal with (and believe me, I have A LOT of experience doing THAT), then it is to deal with spiritual forces who work best in secrecy and darkness. Fighting off all the temptations and the weaknesses of my humanity, is a million times more difficult. Being diplomatic, when everything in me wants to draw a line in the sand, is pure penance! Putting myself in front of people as an artist and communicator inspired anxiety attacks. In the old day, the only time i got over it was when I was actually performing. Then it would go away. All of time would alter, and I'd be performing in this bubble that included everyone, but also kept me in a state of calm. But before and after??? I'd always be a basket case. Using my brain to figure things out… piece of cake. Unlearning all the ideologies that I had taken for granted as a given since BIRTH… insurmountable mountain. It would prove be the roughest journey I would ever undertake. In my case, it would take years to flip everything the other direction.

Along the way, I've discovered the power of Divine Providence. I've discovered that when God asks you to completely revamp your entire interior landscape, He never leaves you to do it in a vacuum. He provides resources, clarity, education, direction, guidance, support and most of all… a TON of love and protection. It's many, many years later, and He only proves Himself more and more as time goes on, NOT less. That is GRACE. Grace is always seeking to outdo Himself. He only increases in potency as time passes and the human person surrenders more. His protection increases.

A person can't be courageous without His protection. Courage is as flimsy as paper, if you don't have HIS complete and total backup. Courage is grace. It fortifies you from the inside out and not the other way around.

What good are any of our actions, if we are not GROUNDED in HIM?? We are nothing more than walking Pride sticks getting in the way of God's grace. When we pray, the angels have free reign to do all they are created for and the channel of God's grace is unimpeded by us, by cars, by bad intentions, by all that is harmful and destructive. AMEN!

Coraggio… strength of the heart. It has the power to move mountains (…hee hee… and cars!). =)

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