Tag Archive | Unconditional Love

Pressing Pause

It’s been a while since I have written.   I do think part of that comes from fear.  Fear that I have nothing to write about as I am on a journey of rediscovery.  Pressing pause and slowly discovering who I am, what drives me, and what values do I navigate my decisions.   Perhaps this is all part of as I enter my 40s, having clear boundaries and making the best use of my time.  I have an analytical mind, I have decided that by pausing my thoughts and quieting the inner voice more energy begins to emerge.  There have been moments where I feel like God’s gentle hand is suggesting that I put pen to paper, so here it goes.

We all are here on this earth for a specific purpose, and all have a journey to share.  Each journey is unique on its own.    Some evolve, some stay constant, and some regress.    It is not for us to judge but to simply watch from a distance.

The chronological path had phases, and each phase was unique on its own.    As I enter my 40s, there is so much I wish I could go back and share with my younger self.    But we can’t go backward in time we can only move forward.    I feel like in my late 30s early 40s the focus is more about my values and the love that I share with those who are closest to me.  Space and time is so precious and it is figuring out how to use the space and time that is the tricky balance.     My husband is so important to me and amidst the craziness, I need to make  that relationship number one.   The time with our children too is precious making sure they hear and learn the things we want them to so that they are set up for success when they leave us.   Our parents, finding and making time to be with them is important because they aging and time is not pausing for any of us.  And then in all of this, having relationships that are unconditional in nature, being around people that share similar values in their lives.  Values that center around family, love and kindness.

Time is like Gold, it is so precious, and how you use it makes all the difference.  I have not figured everything out, I am learning as I walk on this path.  What I do know, is that I deserve abundance and by quieting the voice inside my head, trusting the path is how it is supp0se to be, and focusing on the ones I love – I know that I am walking in the right direction.

I do wholeheartedly wish time would pause, but maybe it is taking the time to pause and reflect when you are in the moment that makes all the difference.

A Letter of Love to My Boys

a letter of lovePerspective is everything.    All we have is NOW.   It is the response we choose to this life that makes all of the difference.    I have been very blessed to be given two little beautiful gifts in this life, along with a best friend and husband.    We don’t know when it is time to meet our Maker, and I have been thinking lately, if I left tomorrow, what would I want to say to my boys.   I am not the perfect parent by any means, but over the course of this life thus far, these are a few of the lessons I would leave.

A letter to my Beautiful Boys

I don’t know how long I will be here, but I want you to both know how much I love you.   Being your mother has been the greatest gifts in my life (aside from having a wonderful husband and my best friend your dad).

I often wish I could tell you everything I have in my head, and transfer everything I have seen to protect you from hurt or sadness.  But this is one of the greatest things in our lives, is learning and living.  We will stumble yes, but it is how we choose to respond to the moments that make all of the difference.  Learning to love myself from the inside out was one of my most difficult journeys.  Love for self is one of the most important pieces in this life.   You have to realize your strengths and your unique giftings in this world – and realize there is only one of you. Do not envy what others have.  Be comfortable right where you are. You are perfectly made from the inside out and it is your journey to figure this out. You were beautifully made, from the beginning of time by God.    I am far from perfect, and what I have learnt the most in this life, is love yourself and show others the same love you give yourself.

Here are some thoughts that I wanted to bring together so that you can think of these things when you go up and down the hills in this life.  

  • Love yourself, realize you are beautifully made. And yes we will hear things from others  – they may not like who we are or what we are made to be.   This world is full of differences.   Make sure that what you allow to go through your ears is the truth, do not create a fiction based story. The truth always comes from a place of love – not jealousy or envy.    You can control what voices you allow in and what ones you push out.  Remember this.   You have control of your thoughts.
  • If a friend does something for you, or even sends you a nice note or text, thank them for it. Genuine gratefulness has the ability to create ripple effects.   It is like dropping a rock in the water and then all of the ripples go outward.   Remember a kind word, or thank-you makes all the difference.  Also think of something you can do for someone else – expecting nothing in return.    This is the pay it forward concept – whatever good you put out there will come back to you J    It may not be the same way – but by doing good – good will always come back to us.
  • If you see someone in need, or have something you could do without – extend the hand and help. There will be times in your life where you will require help and it is through our actions that these things come full circle (a bit repeating the previous but this is looking to help where you can). It is important to maintain balance with this, because you must care for your own health first.     Expect nothing in return.   If you live your life this way, great things will circle back.
  • Get rid of clutter in your head, house, and life. Clutter can be defined by items, clouding thoughts, or people that zap the life out of you.   Clean up, it will help you in all that you do.
  • Remember good friends like you unconditionally. These friends will not hurt you; they will not try to make you to do things you feel uncomfortable with.   They will not be spiteful, jealous or envious. Good friends will make you laugh so hard your belly hurts, you feel comfortable and not judged in any way.  A special friend is someone that really “gets you”.  They understand the person you are. Remember this.  Surround yourself with people that like you just the way you are.
  • Exercise, stretch, and keep your body healthy. Take care of your body and don’t overwork it too.    Make sure you rest when you need it.  This is the only body you have.
  • Eat foods that are good for your body and are not overly processed. What you put into your body is what you will get out. Rinse, floss, and brush your teeth gently and regularly. Take care of the body you have been given J
  • Enjoy life, don’t take for granted any of the moments. We are only here for a short time, so focus on the beauty not the darkness.
  • Every day, pause, reflect and look back on the good things. Be thankful for the little things.  Also, look at your life and focus on what is working.  If gratitude is the focus of your heart you will always be happy.
  • It is ok to say NO. Boundaries are healthy. Sometimes when we say No we feel guilty, but if the No is coming from a place where you are taking care of your own health and welfare, it is perfectly healthy.   Let go of the guilt and realize you are taking care of yourself.
  • What you see in others sometimes is what you may see in yourself. Make sure you evaluate and look inside and get rid of the bad.   Remove any envy, anger and resentment if it exists – as these items will bring us down in all we do.  Fill your heart with love, kindness, and beauty.
  • Do not let jobs, possessions or wealth be your focus in this life. These things will only bring temporary satisfaction.  It is love, and love for life that will bring long term happiness.
  • Priorities, establish them in your life so you can make healthy decisions. In my life, my priorities are taking care of my own health (this means spending alone time, exercise, and taking time to pray and be with God), then dad and I ensuring our relationship is strong, then spending time with you and dad, and then family and then friends.  If my own bucket is nurtured, everything else will fall into place.
  • Forgive and let go. Do not let anger, or resentment feed your life.  It is important to forgive others and let God hand the rest.   He wants you to rest, so He is there to help.    You can forgive, but that does not mean allow people to walk all over you.  There is a difference.  
  • Find someone to love that loves you for who you are. Choose someone that makes you feel full.   Someone that when you see them you get excited.   Someone that treats you with respect, love and kindness.     Find someone that would be your friend for life that you can learn and love with.
  • Pray, if you are struggling through the day or need to let go of something. Ask God to help you navigate through this life.  He has been so gracious to me.   He is a miracle worker.   All He asks is that we trust Him completely.      Lean not on your own understanding, reach for prayer and ask Him to intervene.
  • Lastly, always be truthful, honest, kind to others. Be yourself, you both have an amazing gift for love for people.  This is an awesome gift.  Life to love life and people.  Embrace the good.

I am so thankful for the gift of you two bundles in my life.  I cannot imagine life without you.   God has blessed me with abundance.  In the moments where my breath was taken away, I focused on love, prayer and gratitude and it carried me through.  Thank-you two boys for teaching me to be patient, thank-you for loving me the way you do.    Thank-you for cuddles, for grandma kisses, butterfly kisses, eskimo kisses, mommy kisses and Marcus and Drew kisses.    You have been and always will be the best thing that has happened to both your dad and I.  We love you, we are so very proud of you, and we believe in you.   And know, if something ever happens to us, we will be with you.    

Love You so much you fly high in the sky, and love you more than you say.

Mama

Love Wins

love winsWe live in a hurting and broken world.   But amidst this hurting and broken world are moments of love, joy and peace.   Life is good, life is grand if you allow yourself to experience it in its entirety; and observe and be still.  

What drives your sense of being?  When do you feel full? What moments in your life were defining for you?  Could it be moments that you experience deep love and joy? 

I use to think that love could only be experienced when the moments were just perfect.   Happiness is present, joy is present, and everything seems like perfection. 

Over the past years, our family has had their share of pain, suffering and hurting.   There were moments where I stood back and pinched myself, and asked, “Is this for real??”   But I will tell you this much, in those moments I felt the deepest unconditional love that one could ever experience.  

  • A fractured C1, in an 8lb halo, observing my children laughing in the household, my husband holding it together, my parents unsure of what is next for their daughter, my brother calling and checking in, my in-laws travelling to see us and show that they care, feeling so thankful and much gratitude for my beautiful messy life.  I had a second chance and was fully alive.
  • My father in law and my mom both going through health issues that were unbelievable, moments where you wondered if they would live a normal life.   Two moments I recall in my mind, the day I shaved my mom’s hair for the first time, trying to be strong and at the same time feeling like a child.  My mother, so beautiful, so strong, always there for me. Smiling as I glanced at my mom, and told her how beautiful she was.  I was in complete and utter adoration.  Another moment, heading to see my mother in law  in another city.  She was trying to keep everything together, trying to be strong, and at the same time shed a smile for me as we heated up a nice Ukrainian meal for her and one to take to my father in law in the hospital.   I made her laugh in the pain.  She was so appreciative, and felt so loved, and so was my father in law.  He was overjoyed with us coming to see him, not so much the meal but coming and really being there.  I remember thinking, I love these people so much and was so thankful to be able to help in some small way. Unconditional love.

These were moments that made time stand still.   My discovery –  there is purpose in pain, and love shines through.    There can be moments where we feel complete loss, but at the same time, love shines through.   People come together to help, to contribute, and to show how much they care. Unconditional love, expecting nothing in return.

With the recent events in Paris we all are in tune to what is happening.  A beautiful friend of mine is currently in France.   The first person I thought of when all of the events happened was her.  She was recently married, and I wondered where they were.     After connecting, I was reassured she is healthy and good.   She gave me a picture of her experience in the pain.   She has exposed me to a wonderful perspective of purpose in pain:

My favorite part of the news coverage is the words of survivors, because it’s actual quite balanced, revealing all aspects of the situation, not hateful.   Many survivors are saying such wonderful things.  Yes it was a horror.  But they talk about the love, watching people protect their loved ones, the kindness of strangers in helping them escape or hide, and the kindness of strangers in consoling them.   But the most comforting statements of all are about watching people cradle their loved ones as they lay injured/dying, and noting these last conversations were all about love, and the people they loved most.   I love the thought that people’s last thoughts as they suffered were not in fact of the terrorists, were not hateful – but instead positive in that people were thinking of their loved ones.  No, it may not be happiness they were feeling, but it was love.  Such a beautiful thought that in some way, its proof that in those last moments, love won out over hate.  

Love Wins my friends, love shows through the pain, and the adoration we feel for one another is amplified.      No matter what happens, we can choose our response.      Love Wins. 

 

Dear Lord God,

Thank-you for this perspective today, I am rest assured that the happiness and pain bring love.   Love always shines through, and love wins God.   Today I am still, and observe Your great works in the pain.   No one can overcome this.   I pray for those family going through difficulty, illness, or loss right now, help bring them purpose in the pain.   I pray for your love to erode their lives in actions and the reactions of others.   Through this, we will reign.  I pray for this in Jesus Name Amen.

 

May you be blessed today my friend, Be Still and Know that He is God and that His Love will always overcome.  

The Gift of Friendship

gift of friendshipFriendships – we all have them.    Over the years, I have come to realize that these gems in my life really help me navigate through life’s hills and valleys.    As a young girl, I wanted so bad to be accepted.    I wanted that special friendship that many girls had, and many times I was envious.     We moved around a lot and it sometimes was hard to make lasting relationships.      But life has come full circle for me, and I am so fortunate to have a few friends that make me laugh until my stomach hurts, and help me navigate through the ups and downs in this life.       God has been so good to me; He gave me what I needed in His perfect time.

I have sorted through what makes a good friend many times, and there has been times in my life where I thought the relationship was something it wasn’t.     There are seasons in friendships too, people change, we evolve, we shift, and our focus changes.  Sometimes we have to let go, and see where the relationship goes.   Sometimes it will leave and come back.     Flexibility with the changes is key – if the relationship can be flexible, it likely will last.  

Some of the elements that I believe are essential in a great friendship are:

  • The friendship is built on trust. What you see is what you get, if there is ever a bump or problem you can deal with it open and honestly.
  • There is no envy or jealousy that exists in the relationship. You truly are happy when something good happens to the friend you love.   You don’t wish for what they may have, rather you are excited for them and want to throw a party for their new opportunities.
  • You want the best for them no matter what.   Sometimes this means being the only honest one in their lives to tell them when something may not be working.   You hurt for them when they receive the information, but you know that you have their best interests at heart.
  • The relationship is easy. It is not forced in any way.   It should be effortless in all interactions. 
  • You pick up where you left off every time you see each other. No time has passed.  It seems like it was just yesterday that you saw each other.   
  • There are no expectations; the relationship is based on love and is unconditional. As we overlay expectations, if someone does not fulfill the expectation there is disappointment.   The expectations of ourselves are different, we are not facing what the other person is facing in their day to day life, and therefore we should remove judgement from the circumstance, and always respond in love and understanding. Seek first to understand.
  • You can be completely honest always.

I am so very fortunate to have a few relationships like this.   I am thankful for my girls that keep me strong and give me a strong cup of coffee when I need it.   I am also thankful for the times where we laugh so hard that our stomachs hurt.   Thank-you for the wrinkles.  I am thankful for you, and wanted you to know it.    

Love Ness

Mothers ~ A Gift Given from Up Above

imageMothers – we all have them, and when we reflect on these amazing women, we smile.   Women that give their 24 hours a day to the ones they love.  These amazing women often think about everyone else before they thinking about themselves.   

I am blessed, to have a mother of strength, and one that has always been there for me for anything I ever needed.  She has always been there through the dark times, and the light times.   I cannot imagine my life without her and am so very proud to call her my mother.  

We have been through the good, the bad and the ugly.   Every step of the way, each one of us has been strength for the other.    There are so many moments I will not forget, and moments that I felt like my mom put up with so much from me.   Every time she would turn the cheek and shower me with love and forgiveness.    My mom has showered me with unconditional love my entire life, and if I can be half of the mother she is – I would do a fantastic job.  

Together we have learnt reliance on something greater than ourselves to get through the hard times, and in the good times we are so grateful for each other.   Day after day God shows me His gentle hand. He is always there, and always promises triumph. God is in control and has shown us so many miracles, and much love.  

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

We are meant for an abundant life, if we learn that we are not in control – that He is there to lead, lift, carry and hold. I thank Him every day for the perspective in the pain, and the love that always shows through.  I thank God for blessing me with a mother that loves me unconditionally and is always there for me.

Today lets all reflect on how amazing our mothers are. For those of you that have children, we tend to be hard on ourselves on our ability to “mother”. We are our worst critics… Remember to always give yourself a basket of grace. REST.

I adore my mother, she is a testament of strength and has a heart full of gold. She has always put others before herself (sound familiar)?? In dedication to this amazing woman, I thought I would write a poem to capture my thoughts.

A Letter to My Mom by Vanessa Chesters

As a babe, I look up at my mom and see her blue eyes.

They are beautiful and bright.

The love radiates and flows.

A love that cannot be explained, unconditional.

A bond that is everlasting and shared by two.

Over the years, the eyes change – brought by love, hope, heart ache and pain.

The lines and creases begin to show.

The lines define the moments in time where there was much happiness and sometimes tears.

She is strength, she is life, she is warm, she is a fighter and she defines love.

She has helped me most to grow.

She has helped me through my life and my “lows”.

She feels my pain when I hurt, and over time as I grow, I feel her hurts too.

We are one; the bond can never be undone.

She healed my wounds when they were deep, she has whispered sweet words as a child to me when I sleep.

We share a bond, that is so strong.

All through the years, I know this much is true, I have become the woman I am today because of you.

You are my mother – a women of strength, determination, living with your heart and soul.

Love One Another

 

love oneWe are asked to love one another…

Sometimes it is hard to love one another isn’t it?   Life gets messy, people are emotional, stuff happens.

But we are asked to respond in love.     Before we can do this, we must love ourselves.   Some may be thinking, I already love myself, its simple.   But do you really love yourself from the inside out?

I believe that in order for us to love ourselves, we must nurture ourselves and not look to external means for validation.   Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you ever feel envy?

  • Do you ever feel jealous?

If you answered yes to one of these questions, then perhaps you need to investigate the why.

It has taken me most of my life to love myself.   I often wondered why this was.   But as I look back, I know that when I looked in the mirror I did not see beauty.   I saw a blank face staring back at me.   I know that it came from believing what others said about me, in my youth and childhood I was bullied.   I would never change that experience for anything in the world, because every moment helps us become who we were meant to be.     Letting go of the external validation was such a big step for me, and not being critical of myself or others was a leap.

Here’s the thing, when we are critical of others, it is simply a reflection of ourselves.   What do you see when you are looking in the mirror?

Really look to understand the why’s ….

I am so thankful for the love of family.   This is something that has carried me through over the years.   For me the definition of family are those that love you unconditionally.    

mom and dadToday I celebrate my parents 40th anniversary, quite a milestone these days.     What have I learned about my messy life, and sometimes messy family?   We love one another with our whole hearts, and although we may not agree and often have fiery conversations, what you see is what you get.     I was reflecting this morning on how we got through all of the difficult times together, and realized it was through our love for one another.   Every difficult time allowed us to discover something about each other.   Love carried us through.  

I am so thankful for the love my parents show to us.   My mom is the kind of women that shows strength in all she does, and at times will sacrifice and go without to extend the hand.   She is the kind of lady that “what you see is what you get”, and does not sugar coat.   I am thankful for this, because I am pretty much the same that way.   I have realized honesty is always the best policy and although some people may not like it, but this is who I am . Both of my parents are hugely compassionate, they would do anything for a friend or someone they love. I am so thankful for this, and although I wear my heart on my sleeve, anyone that knows me, knows I would go to battle for them.   My dad has a heart of gold, he wants to help and lift up.   He likes to focus on the positive and balances my mom’s pessimism at times.   He wants to let go of the past, and move forward onto the future.     Letting go is something huge – a lot of us carry too much weight…. This holds us back from being all we can be.   One of the biggest things I have learnt from my dad is forgiveness.   My dad has forgiven always, and immolated this.   I have a bit of a problem with forgiving quickly, but I truly believe this is why my dad is always smiling.   Although the years show on his face, the lines show happiness. My dad’s strengths can sometimes be my mom’s weaknesses and the opposite is true as well. This is why they balance each other so well.

Love one another.

Love has carried me through the good, the bad and the ugly.

I am thankful for the love that made us strong. I am thankful for love that is unconditional.

Loving yourself is always the biggest step forward.   And if you are fortunate enough to find someone to share this life with, likely their strengths are your weaknesses. Remember that we were brought together for a reason. Appreciate all those that have been brought into your life. When I look in my husbands’ eyes, I know he was perfectly made for me.  

Love one another as you would love yourself.   In the good, the bad, and the ugly, ask yourself if you can show love first. It has ripple effects.

May you be blessed today, who can you show some love to today?

Ness

 

Relationships ~ The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly – Relationships…

We all have them and they are the source of strength, and sometimes can be the source of turmoil.  I have found that there are two types of relationships: 1) Unconditional 2) Conditional.

Relationships that are unconditional, have no expectations and a reciprocated in nature… And then conditional – typically have expectations and judgments’ that often feed conflict.

The ideal relationships are the ones that both sides love, forgive and take the relationship at face value.   A relationship such as this is free-flowing, does not feel forced and comes naturally.

We idealize the types of relationships that are “perfect” by our standards don’t we?   Is this the type of relationship we always hope for?  

But God never said that life would be easy did He?   And in the times where there is strife,  if one is open to it, can bring the most growth in ourselves and sometimes those around us.    

I understand the dynamics associated with relationships that feel less than perfect….   My tendency in the past has been to push away from the relationships that require the most work.

But does God want us to turn away?

You have heard that it has been said, You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you, and persecute you; That you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love them who love you, what reward have you? do not even the tax collectors the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you more than others? do not even the tax collectors so? Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48)

It is difficult isn’t it?    When someone “wrongs”  you is your reaction to find someone to confide in?   When you are talking about the issue, does it make the situation feel better  and do you feel more justified in your actions/reactions?

“Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged. For with whatever judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but don’t consider the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you tell your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye;’ and behold, the beam is in your own eye? You hypocrite! First remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5

We can choose to idealize this life, or we can take action now to create change.    Every small change has a ripple effect.

But “how” can we take action?   The “how” is the biggest question.   

  • Create realistic boundaries in your life, about what type of behavior you are willing to endure.   There is nothing wrong with realistic boundaries, God does not want us to be doormats.  The bible encourages us to remove ourselves from people who will hurt us.
    • “But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.  What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”” (1 Cor 5:11-13)
  • Distance yourself from the situation to allow for perspective and space, this will help you refocus and approach the situation in an impartial (emotional free) way.  Our emotions are charged when we feel like someone is hurting us or not meeting our expectations.
    • The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty. (Proverbs 22:3)
  • Ask yourself if it is time to have a heart to heart, sometimes people may not even know the impact of their actions on others.   Being open and honest is the best policy; but you must remember your audience when speaking the truth.
    • If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing. (1 Cor 13: 1-3)
  • Do all things out of love, when you react in love, goodness always reigns.
    • Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Cor 13: 4-7)

We are only here for a short time, forgiveness goes a long way.

Forgiveness does not mean that you have forgotten, it just means that you don’t carry the burden of the pain or heartache.   Yes, it is important to have boundaries, and sometimes space is needed.

But it important to remember, we only have one life to live and in order to be present we have to let go of the hurt that inhibits us to be all that we can be…  As adults. we have grown beyond a childlike response and can control our reactions, we can choose a response that radiates LOVE.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor 13: 8-13)

Thank-you for popping by, may God bless you on your journey,

~Ness