Tag Archives: love

Staying.

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I like to run.

If you have followed me for a while you know I often train for and run races, but you might not know that I also often run in life from conflict and discomfort.  I’m human and I bet you can relate and do similar things too.   I run or  avoid difficult situations, especially at work and with relationships.  I can get uncomfortable when others have differing of opinions, or when they do not see things my way or, God forbid, offer me helpful, critical feedback that I do not agree with (or do not want to hear).

When I am uncomfortable or in a situation that points out a weakness of mine, like being selfish, self-centered, creating my own stories in my head, my go to is to leave, escape, ignore, exit or blame the other person of who is, clearly at fault.  I know this is not who I want to be.  I want to be someone who can stay and feel and navigate through these situations because I’ve stayed enough times to know that incredible beauty and growth lies on the other side of staying.

Gratefully, I identified this character flaw in myself years ago and I set out to work on getting better at not running.

So, as you can imagine I have been given lots of test of discomfort to see how my “working on it” has been going.

Result: I still run a lot, but I also stay a lot more than I used to.

I got another chance to stay recently.  Here’s how it went.

My beau and I were on the phone talking our love coo’s like we do every night.  But the cooing was not so loving and the energy was zapped from our convo because I decided just before he called to start cleaning out of my closet the clothes that currently are not fitting me and have not for about 1 year (thank you, thyroid).  I feel a bit ashamed about it and embarrassed (which is for another post).  I still want to feel beautiful and wear the clothes I cannot.  In the moment, I did not clearly realize how this was effecting me, but I can now.

Lover asked how my day was.

Poor, Lover.

I was cleaning out a closet of beautiful clothes I wanted to wear but could not because I cannot get the zippers to shut and I’d had a frustrating day of work.

My response was something like, “Terrible, I am a failure, I can’t even lose weight, I eat right, I am exercising, I am paying so much money for so many vitamins, I am meditating, I was home by myself all day (I hate working at home by myself some days). My life is a mess and it is never going to get better.”  And it probably ended with, haven’t I been through enough.  Poor me.

Lover, being the mature man that he is said why don’t we stop this convo and prioritize it for the weekend.  He’s so mature.

We got off.  I cried in my pity pool.

Saturday night at dinner I said, hey, lets talk about our convo this week.  (Side note:  My hope was that he was going to fix my unhappiness and make all the above better – not sure how, but I though he could some how be the hero. Enter setting him up for failure.)

He proceeds to share with me that he is challenged by my negativity, he is fearful of how far down the spiral I can go and fearful of me dragging him with me and sabotaging all the great things we are doing when I am in those moments.  He said he feels like he can’t help me at all when I am there.

Wow.

When he said that I felt like a wind of I gotta get the hell out of here blew in and certainly had to take me out of my seat and anywhere but there.

Hearing the man I love, the steady, supportive, knows me better than anyone man say that made me feel like crap.

So, I didn’t say anything.  I shut up and shut down.

I started to think of any and everything I could to hurt him back.  I wanted to spit mean words back in his face.

I began to conceive ways of how I could join that wind and get the heck out. How could I leave and get somewhere else?

I analyzed what he said in my head and realized what he really said was, I am the most negative person he knows, all my failures in my entire life are because I am negative, I am not able to lose the weight because I am negative, my career is not going where I want because I am negative.  (I was so grateful my mind confirmed all the things he meant to say, but did not say.)

And then I prayed.  I said Jesus, I need you here because I don’t know what to do.  And I said it again. and again.

We went home.  I stayed silent.  I knew the right thing to do, but I just could not do it.   I knew I needed to apologize and share what I was really feeling.

I fantasized about leaving again.

And then, I muttered, “You embarrassed me.  What you said embarrassed me and I am ashamed that I get negative. I know we have things to be grateful for and I don’t know how I forget about it in those moments.  I want to get better.”

And he said, “I agree. We can work on that together.”

What?!  He’s so mature.

I walked away, read a devotional that shared with me that “gratitude is a practice,” it isn’t something that just happens, it’s a practice that we have to work at.  My light bulb went off.  I needed that right in that moment.

I wasn’t a failure.  I just needed to practice a bit more.  I could practice looking at all I did have – great health, an awesome boyfriend, loving family, a place I love to live – and stop dragging myself into the things I feel aren’t where I want them to be.

Thank you, God.  Thank you for showing up.

After digesting that truth and writing a bit on it.  I walked back to the couch, curled up beside the man I love, with the fireplace burning, and said I love you, I’m sorry.  He thanked me for sharing and held me as we snuggled in and watched tv.

I knew then something shifted for us because he chose to give me honest feedback (which I have been begging for, by the way) and I chose to stay when he offered it (even when it wasn’t wrapped just the way I wanted to receive it).

I was reminded how beautiful and hard it is to stay and how many times I escaped by numbing, eating too much, not eating at all or running too long or creating a big dramatic lie about what was going on and how horrible the other person is.

I’m glad I have the tools now and relationship with God to stay because I grew so much from that.  I learned that I don’t die on the other side of staying, I don’t melt away into a shame-filled ball of nothing, I don’t get smooshed by the other person and become their “less-than.”  I actually become stronger and more able and more filled with love.

And so, I stay.

And I hope I’ll be brave enough to do it again.

Here is the love note I wrote to myself the next day because I need to be reminded of the love.

Dear Sera,

What an awesome experience.   You received feedback on your attitude and you stayed.  He was honest and shared with you.  He opened up with you.  You weren’t awesome with the feedback.  You took it and acted immature for awhile, but then, but then you realized that you were trying to run, you were trying to escape.  You realized that the feeling of rejection and being a bad person was not true.  You realized you were in the game and then you stayed.  You were not perfect in apologizing, but you stayed and your tried.  You thanked for the feedback and suggested ways to try to get better.  You asked God into the situation. You wrote.  AND THEN YOU WENT BACK.  You told ego to hit the road and you went back and let him love you and loved him.  You did not run, you did not eat, you did not lie in your head, you did not hurt him back because he hurt you.  You learned that gratitude is a practice. and accepted that you could practice it a bit more.  You learned that this is what he has been saying about how he wants to communicate and you are now practicing it.  You learned that you do look at life negatively sometimes and it is pretty important to figure out how to be happy.  Being happy whenever things are in your control is not really happiness.  It’s not the game you’re in for.  The game you’re in for the ring you were in yesterday and I am proud of you for staying and listening and learning.
 
Love you,
Me
Here’s to staying.
In health and healing,
Sera Fiana

Patience and Gratitude. Gratitude and Patience.

My life, it seems, has been a series of lessons on patience and gratitude, gratitude and patience the past few years. I don’t always pass with flying colors, actually, I might venture to say I fail a lot more than I pass.  What I am grateful to say, though, it that I keep getting back up and forging forward when I fail.

I stopped writing for a while because healing was not happening as I desired it to.  I gained weight, I was physically exhausted and my emotions were a roller coaster.  I was, and continue to, eat a very clean diet of protein and veggies, I take my load of vitamins, I workout, as my body lets me, I pray, I do deep, dirty, forgiveness and living for love work with my coach, and I felt I physically just continued to spiral downward.

Welcome to this new world of an imbalanced thyroid.

Somewhere between surgery 1, 2 and 3 my thyroid said enough. I’m tired. I can’t keep up. What is going on here?!?

Unfortunately for me, this little butterflied shaped love in my throat regulates my metabolism, energy and hormones! Note to all: you do not want one or any of these to be off.

There have been many times in the last year that I said, I’m done, I can’t do this anymore.  I fail.  Its enough.  There were so many times that I’ve gone into my victim, pity pool of why me.  Haven’t I been through enough health stuff? I have completely changed my diet, my lifestyle, my habits – all of them.  I got really ugly, really mean, really sad, really selfish a lot.  I am so far from perfect or patient.

I have also had days where I have been patient and so very grateful for this journey.  I could see how getting a tumor, having a hernia, and having surgeries for both have majorly shaped who I am today.  I could see that by getting cut so deep I soared so high and found out so much about myself.  I could see that I am in such a better place spiritually and how I have grown so incredibly.  I have hope for all to come.  I can be grateful for my journey and have patience for my body to physically, get there – to where I want it to be.  Sometimes.

I want my actions to equal fair results.  I want my input of healthy choices to equal an output of a toned body, good health, a clear mind, loads of energy and steady emotions.

Somewhere along the line I believed that if I could just control life, life would give me what I wanted.  If I could just control my body, my body would give me what I want (or think I want).  I am so grateful God is in control and not me. His love is teaching me so much about my false control theories in this.

I believe that God will keep giving me lessons until I spiritually evolve, until I’m done with this – and then continue even after that to ensure I’ve got it.  Only because he’s a good, good father that wants his children to get better, grow and evolve.  I want that too.  I want to end this vicious cycle with my challenged health, body hatred and emotional torture for my lineage and that of others.

I am not the first in my family to go through health and body issue challenges like this, but my hope is to change this challenge more than just physically, but spiritually for those little beautiful girls that run around that I get to now call nieces and cousins….and the ones that come after them.

I know God knows that.  In fact, I believe its one of the reasons He sent me here.  He knows that I know and so I feel like He keeps asking me – are you sure, are you sure you want to be the one to end this?  I think He is reminding me, this didn’t stick around for generations and effect millions of women like it is effecting me because it is easy to push through.

And then I have patience, when I remember Him telling me these words.  And gratitude that He would choose me. And then I solider on and do the work I need to do again, just one more day.

I didn’t think I could come back and write until I was where I wanted to be  – healthy, happy, at the weight I desired, without the thyroid or hormone issues, singing from mountain tops.  I thought this blog would always be an incredible story of victory and overcoming – and maybe it is – because sitting here, writing this post, showing up in the imperfect, sharing the real, that is winning, that is victory.  That is doing Gods work and that is absolutely, perfectly, why I am here.

In health and healing,

Sera Fiana

Sunday Night Calls.

I thought I would share an important story of healing in my life that is much different than what I have shared before on this blog.  Healing is so powerful and it amazes me how it comes in such different ways.  I am so grateful for this healing.  Its changed my life in so many ways…

In Health and Healing,

Sera

Sunday Night Calls

My life has changed a lot due to a phone call. Usually, not for the good. I have had my heart-broken with a phone call, told it was cancer on a phone call, told that loved ones have died via a phone call.  This story though, this time, this phone call, this change, was for the good, a big good and I didn’t even know.  For years, I didn’t even know.  I still do not know that I can, today, fully know how powerful that phone call was.  The call, this one to my Dad, it was a chance, a risk, a  challenge I leaned into that has changed my life.

You would not think this call was so changing because it was just Dad.  My Dad the patient, kind, loving man who thinks the world of me and my sisters.  The man that would do anything for me.  He would answer the phone every time I’d call.   If I would just call.

I did not always see my Dad’s patience, kindness, humbleness and love for me the way I can today.  Thanks to that phone call.  It’s not that my Dad did not embody or show me these character traits of patience, kindness, love.  It was that I was too distracted to see them.

For most of my life, until the time of the phone call, I was so caught up in evaluating the man who left me when I was a small girl.  Maybe not on his own terms, but he was my Dad, the man in my life, and he left my comfortable, yet maybe chaotic, safe home.  Although he emphasized throughout my childhood that he wished and prayed more than anything that he could be back in that home.  I couldn’t see how it could happen and I knew my Mom would have none of it.

I was so mad at him for leaving and making me so different, yet, I didn’t even know I felt this.

I was angry at the separation of my parents.  I was angry at how it made me feel different from other kids.  Most of my friends had a Mom and Dad at home.  They did not have to pack their bags every other weekend to go spend time with their Dads.  They did not have to listen to the negativity about their parents from loved ones.  They did not have to make decisions of who to spend time with, who to stick up for, Mom or Dad, and who to be nice to regularly.  I did and it was hard.  It made me feel different and I hated that.

The leaving, the being different, the separation, it felt like rejection and so I gave rejection to Dad, the easiest target.

Even so, Dad would show up every week, at every game that I played field hockey, basketball, it didn’t matter where, how far, what time.  Dad was there. He would always slowly, peacefully walk up to the court, the field and sit calmly, lovingly by himself.  He would cheer for me.  He’s always cheered for me.  He’d patiently wait for me after each game even if I talked to everyone else before him.  He’d wait on me to embrace and share with my Mom, my Mom’s family, my boyfriend, my friends.  Then him. He’d wait for me.  He always waited for me.

Dad always showed up to pick my sister and I up on our “weekends.”  He was consistent.  He showed up.  No matter what.  He never left me.  He never scolded me for my coldness.  He never punished me for my anger and the distant I build between us.  Instead he kept showing up.

I never thought about what this was like for him.

Until that day of the phone call.

By this point I was in my twenties, I had been working for years on bettering myself.  Growing up.  Cleaning up relationships in my life and bad boyfriend relationships of my past.  I really wanted great health, happiness, a great career, I was on the search for love, when a coach that had mentored me for years asked (again), “Sera, how is your relationship with your Dad?”  After a sigh, a “its fine,” we talk every few months and I see him at holidays, she suggested I start a regular call with him and just consider hearing his story.  What did I need to do that for?  I was trying no heal me here, get me better – not him.  Selfishness and anger creeped in, but luckily for me, a small, still voice inside encouraged me to make the call.

It was a bit awkward, considering we were not used to talking that much.  Dad was very grateful for my outreach and suggestion that we talk more.  I thought I was grateful too, but as soon as my Dad started to say things I didn’t like and make me “feel different” again, I got angry, I lashed out and I yelled at him.  And just as quickly as it started, I decided the calls would stop.

Some how they didn’t.

Some how I called again and we talked about the frustration of the previous call.  I shared with him how he made me feel different and it made me angry and just want to stay away.  I shared with him how I thought some of his views of the world were so different and they angered me and made no sense to me.  He shared with me how he had no idea that I felt this way.  He shared about the pain he felt leaving my childhood home and how that broke his heart.  He shared about how he desired more with me and I pushed him away.

Like matured adults we talked and we shared.  And I started to listen.  I started to hear my Dads story.

That was 4 years ago.

4 years later, what started as a simple phone call has become a healing space for 2 people who dearly wanted love from each other, but did not know where to start.

I slowly began to see this man who loved me so dearly.  I slowly began to hear the life of this man who created me.  I slowly started to hear his story, the pain, the loneliness, the rejection.  I recognized my own pain in that pain.  I saw those childhood memories with new eyes and somehow they healed me.  Some how just by hearing, I healed.  Just by witnessing, we grew.

He’d share, I’d listen.

I’d share, He’d listen.

Our conversations became  longer and longer, deeper,  more spiritual and profound.  I learned so much from and about my Dad.

We became great friends, we shared life.

 

 

As if this wasn’t enough, several months after these calls started, I was re-aquanited with another man in my life.  A wonderful, patient, kind, loving man who I had pushed away before.  Yet, he kept showing up and patiently waited.  We started talking on the phone.  Night by night we talked about our lives and what our relationship was like before.  Night by night we grew, we healed, until 3 years later we remained magically, in love, deeply committed.

And he knows, that each Sunday, he can’t be with me, because I have a phone call date.

With my Dad.

 

 

Miracles.

I’m thinking about miracles.

What they are…

Where they’ve shown up in my life…

And how they come to be.

I’m thinking about miracles because I was reminded of them this weekend.

I was reminded that miracles are what God does.

Which reminded me of a definition I heard of miracles before:  a shift from fear to love.

I was also reminded this weekend that while miracles are  good to pray for…..it’s also important to not pray and focus on the next miracle in your life while forgetting to  live and praise the one your already have.

I think I can say a lot about miracles in just a few words:

Gratitude.

Presence.

Awareness.

Supernatural.

Love.

Trust.

Faith.

cc.miracles

Here’s how the idea of miracles play out in my mind, right now.

I hear miracle:

Immediately, I think of my beautiful scar on my belly and how amazing a gift that is – a constant, for the rest of my life, reminder of the miracle that He gave me.  Healing of my body.  This is an immediate thought.

Then, after meditating on this, I realized that I am busy BUSY right now waiting for the next miracle instead of focusing, appreciating, praising all that are around me.

I’m so BUSY wishing, hoping, waiting for the next miracle that I sometimes forget how right now, in this moment, in this life, I am living a miracle.

A year ago, my stomach was healed, I flew to TX, faithfully, to have my stomach healed, which also spiritually healed me in so many ways (this is the obvious).   BUT, then I also see the miracles of everyday life.  Of how I have lived in DC, a year and a half ago that was just a dream with no idea how I would get here or what that would look like, I am here in an apartment I love.  I have beautiful, loving, amazing, real, life-long friends, who I cannot believe I’ve only know for a year.  I love my job when 5 years ago – I loathed, had no idea where to go what to do….and Steve in my partner in life, yes, God stepped in when it seemed impossible and worked a miracle.

What I was reminded with this reflection?

When God gets involved healing happens, physically, mentally, emotionally…if you’re willing to give it to Him, trust Him, praise Him and live in faith.

cs.miracles

My point.  Be present.  See the miracles around you.  Even if they are small, so tiny you don’t think they’re a miracle.  And I bet more will show up all around.  I am.  Because it’s a constant reminder of the good, the love, the light in my life.

mw.miracles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are your miracles?

In love and healing,

Sera Fiana

Love is…

I heard this definition of love a few years ago and it was brought back to my attention recently and I can’t stop thinking about it.  I love it.  I do.

I’ve been reflecting on how to enact this definition – always – but I am failing pretty regularly.  I am also succeeding in many instances.

Love is...

 

Good Friday seems like the perfect day to share this definition and give you the opportunity to reflect upon it.

I hope it excites you and challenges you as much as it does me.

In love and healing,

Sera

Portions.

I am living parts of my life in portions right now.  Structured portions…..

For the things I seem to replace God with when left to my own devices.

I am learning obedience.

My portions look like this:

I can eat a certain amount.

I can run a certain amount.

And the rest I give away.

I have exact portions of what I can eat.  I commit this each morning, I get on my knees and pray to God that He help me in keeping that commitment and I feel free all day.  This is part of my healing right now.

I have a plan with my PT about exactly how much running I can do and I set a timer, I run it and then, by the grace of God, I stop (cause like Forest, I would just keep going if I could 🙂 and my body is not there yet…..and so I have portions.

And this is where I am right now.  Its right for me…right now.

I read an excerpt from The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson a few weeks ago that gave me clarity on this and it burst back to my mind in a run today (my portion of a run), so I share it with you…

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Page 112:

The Manna Miracle

When God provided the miraculous manna for the Israelites as they wandered in the wilderness, it says He provided “enough for that day.”  Just enough.  The language describing God’s provision is extremely precise.  Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered a little had enough.  God provided just enough.  Then He gave them a curious command:  “Do no keep any of it until morning.” 

So why does God provide just enough?  Why would God forbid leftovers?  What’s wrong with taking a little initiative and gathering enough manna for two days or two weeks?

Here’s my take on the manna miracle:  The manna was a daily reminder of their daily dependence on God.  God wanted to cultivate their daily dependence by providing for their needs on a daily basis.  Nothing has changed.  Isn’t that the point of the Lord’s Prayer?  “Give us today our daily bread?”

We want a one-week or one-month or one-year supply of God’s provision, but God wants us to drop to our knees every day in raw dependence on Him.  And God knows that if He provided too much too soon, we’d lose our spiritual hunger.  He knows we’d stop trusting in our Provider and start trusting in the provision.

One of our fundamental misunderstandings of spiritual maturity is thinking that it should result in self-sufficiency.  It’s the exact opposite. The goal isn’t independence; the goal is codependence on God.  Our desire for self-sufficiency is a subtle expression of our sinful nature.  It’s a desire to get to a place where we don’t need God, don’t need faith, and don’t need to pray.  We want God to provide more so we need Him less.

And, so, that’s what I wanted to share today.

In love and healing,

Sera