A cousin came into town and gave me a call. Two years ago her mother died unexpectedly, so she comes to visit her father who is here in MN.  I vented to her about my situation and my mother and she told me I might be interested in a business opportunity and asked if she could come over to tell me about it. I knew right away it was some network marketing opportunity because I have been approached enough to know what their schpeel (not sure if that is a real word and if that is how you spell it) sounds like, but I remained open.  

She drove up to our driveway and got out of her truck wearing her red Mary Kay blazer and I was surprised this was the business she was promoting.  Surprised because it is hard to believe these beauty consultants can still make money off of Mary Kay. It has been around forever, and maybe that is why they still do well.  I knew I wouldn’t be interested in selling Mary Kay, but it sure felt nice to have someone touch my face and give me a facial.  
As the night went on, we, meaning her, my husband and I began on the subject of religion. My cousin seems to be very religious.  She talks a lot about the lord, her bible studies and so on. I usually cringe, but again I remained open.  Because of my openness I can usually relate, at least through my non-religious filters, to what Christians  say. I take it and bring it to a metaphysical, spiritual context and can appreciate it.  However, when she began to speak on how the world is coming to an end and the Lord is going to come down to save those who are ready, this is where I move out of openness and into defensiveness.  
Honestly some of these ideas make me want to laugh because of how literally they are taken. However what I do admire about these believers is their belief and faith in God.  This relative of mine has lost her brother, her mother, soon her grandmother who is ill and her uncle just lost a leg.  She seems to remain calm and sees God in it all, knowing that one day they will all be together in Heaven with their Lord, except for those relatives who aren’t going to be there, like maybe her sick grandmother who is a non-believer.  She tells her grandmother that all she needs to do, even if it is her last breath, is ask for forgiveness and for the Lord to take her home. But if she doesn’t do this, then she will be on the other side and those who are in heaven will never remember those in hell but those in hell will see them rejoicing in heaven, yet she tells me God is a loving and forgiving God.  
Then she tells me God is a jealous God after seeing the ‘false idols’ around my house. Yes, it is true I have Buddha statues, and one of a monk and a beautiful Hindu woman praying.  I even have Buddha on my blog, which she saw when we onto to MaryKay.com. When she saw it I could feel the energy of pity upon me and her wanting to save me from my false idol worship because God only wants me to worship Him.  Excuse me but could not Mary Kay and all the pins she was wearing on her jacket be considered a false idol? Who is determining who or what is a false idol? And why is God wasting his time with me and my statues?  How can God be so expansive, so loving yet be jealous and apparently petty?  All questions I am sure the believers can’t answer.  
Again though, there is that faith. She tells me that I keep feeling burdened because God is waiting for me to give it to Him. He loves me, she says, and he wants to take care of me, just like a good father would. This brings tears.  I have been feeling burdened. I do want to be taking care of- or at least held. I don’t want to hold the burdens anymore. I want to give it to Him, but because of my spirituality and my upbringing I tend to believe this life and its future is my responsibility.  How is it being responsible giving my life over to someone else, even if it is God?  However I know the power in surrendering.  Because of both these beliefs I tend to do this dance with God where I give him my life and then after thinking about it, and getting into an old mind set I say to hell with it and take it back.   
My cousin helps a bit with this dance by telling me I am still responsible because it is up to me to take the steps where God leads.  I make a promise to myself for the next week I will give it up to God, look for the signs and steps and follow them, and for the most part I have.  In fact, here is what has happened since this promise.
A few weeks ago, when I was separated from my husband I received an envelope in the mail from St. Matthew’s Church.  Inside the envelope was a letter, a prayer rug with a picture of Jesus on it and an envelope.  The letter had very specific instructions.  First I was to look into the eyes of Jesus on the prayer rug, which was really a piece of paper which looked like a rug, and watch his eyes open.  Then once they opened, which surprisingly they did, I was told to kneel on the rug and pray.  This was a challenge because since I have been a young girl I have found such devotion to Jesus to be uncomfortable, but got on my knees I did and prayed.  Then I was to fill out the form they sent with my prayer requests, put in in the envelope along with the prayer rug and sleep with it under my pillow that night and send it in the morning.  
Yesterday in the mail I received another envelope from St. Matthew’s. This time the envelope held a large gold cross, which on the back reads faith and grace.  I immediately put it in my pocket.  It held a sealed envelope that I am not to open until tonight at sunset, and a purple bookmark which is blessed and should be placed by my bed at night.  This morning around 6 am I awoke knowing The Secret- it is giving.  I realized it is time to give. During this challenging time in my life I have become very small, at least in some ways.  My aspirations for myself are small, the challenges I have been worrying about are small, and in all this smallness I have been self-absorbed and unable to give much.  
There has been much talk about The Secret- the Law of Attraction and so forth, and the biggest piece that is missing from all of this ‘New Age’ talk is giving. If we give little, we get little. Period.  The beautiful moment for me this morning was realizing there is no shame in my not giving much, only a reckoning that I have been in a very tight place for some time now, and I just haven’t been able to get out of it long enough to breathe let alone give what I believe I don’t have.  
This awakening moment began when my cousin came over and told me to surrender my burdens to God and I made a promise to do that. Then by the Voice Inside was told to be curious and wonder what is The Way through this tight place, and I received a cross which reads grace and faith and a message to give.  In the meantime, I am watching for signs and trusting the steps. Knowing as a quote I just read says, no answer is also an answer.
“When we release up to the Lord what our hands control, he then releases back to us what his hand controls.”  St. Luke 6:38

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