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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bubbles

I was 'born' into Christianity, and what a blessing to have been raised by godly parents, to have known Christ all my life.  I am so grateful for this.

Yet this means that, in ways, I find myself living in a bubble of misunderstanding for the lost around me.

 Even in my worst and darkest times,  I have always known my need for a savior, have always felt comfort and thankfulness in this, I have known somewhere deep inside that I was protected and loved and that His arms waited, that I was created and that His plans for me were good.  Yes, this is grace.

But then how do I understand, witness, comfort and even love those who have not shared this experience?  How can I even fathom the pain of one who did not receive this gift as a child, one, who as an adult, upon hearing the name of God, thinks first the thought that if there really is a God, then He wasn't there for him?  One who sees abstract confusion rather than the beauty of the art in the Master's stroke?

I want to speak when faced with this but quickly learn that I don't have the words.  How can I?

Some, I've learned, have a wall up in protection against a God they believe has harmed them.  I want to kick their wall down and show them the loving God on the other side.  But the wall is high and thick.  To chip it would be hard enough, how could I tear it down?

I've always looked at walls as walls of sin between us and God.  But what if that wall is one of sin as well as one of wrong protection?  How can those who have erected barriers so tall, care that their inequity has grieved God when they believe He has grieved them?

My words are not always my tools.  My words fall short if I can't express by them and reflect back that I get it.  I will admit that there are times, I am very guilty of not shutting up.  Of not listening.  Of, rather than letting the Holy Spirit lead me, using instead faulty psychological methods. But can people be led to Christ through psychoanalysis and reason?

 I have no words, only tools.  I've been given faith, where I'm lacking in understanding.  I've been given prayer.

So, sometimes, all I can do is use that faith within my private words of prayer and trust that the supernatural is needed in the natural.


Linking up today at:






Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Amy

"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."
— Anaïs Nin (The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1)


Her name was Amy and looking back now, I realize I still can't quite put it all into words, what this woman was/is to me.

I was fresh out of my teenage angst years and bearing into my early- twenty angst years when we met.  I was living in Washington with my brother and his family, sent there by my parents in anticipation that I would get my act together.  I did not live up to these expectations.

I met Amy at school in a psychology class, which is somewhat ironic looking back.  She was seven years older than me. Very much her own person.  In dress, hairstyle, speech, she was just cooler than the rest of us.  We became friends, somehow plotted to move in together and then really did.

We lived together only, maybe, five months before my parents dragged me back home.  Our time together was at its worst destructive and at its best enlightening and stimulating.   Let me just say that if at the time I could have been Amy, I would have.  She was everything I wanted to be.  She had a painful past that added to her depth.  Meaning, she took that pain and she talked about it, wrote about it  and lived it out in a way that compelled me to do the same.  She was intelligent, funny, witty and above all deep.  It truly was the deep cry of my soul that was attracted to her.  I soaked up every word she said when we'd talk, which talk we did, late into the night in a manner which eventually came to be remembered as 'porch nights'.  I even read her diary once, when she was gone.  I don't know if she knows that. I truly wanted to know everything about her.  She fascinated me with her wisdom and clarity.  She was what anyone would call, 'an old soul'.  And I wanted to be that with her.

I went home and we fell out of touch but have since reunited.  In those years of absence, however, she still somehow lingered because what I saw in her gave me the guts to pursue my own depth, my own writing and my own despair.  Knowing her helped me to embrace what was already inside of me but which I had denied for years.

 Some experiences can not easily be placed into words.  They have evolved into feelings or even knowledge not easily expressed, the facts merging with myth in such a way that it is still all true.  And some people are equally indescribable, the words not enough or somehow right to capture the soul inside the body.  

Linking up at Write on Edge.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Boats

My mind is running amuck today.  My thoughts are so many right now, I can't promise to make sense of them here.  Yes, God is here.  Yes, I am hearing more and more.  And there are times when His voice brings to light that which is all at once a beautiful yet painful revelation.

It all started with friends....

And a great weekend filled with open but intense conversation.  And God was there.  And these are the conversations I live for.  When the deep calls out to the deep.  But still deep requires risk.  A stepping into the light.

And whose is the voice calling out from the desert, I wonder?  Is it my own?

Sometimes I don't know.

But I do know that when I seek, I find.  And here is my confession:  In church yesterday the pastor read from one chapter while I read from another but God spoke to me through what I read.

Isn't life full of these? These mysteries?  And the confusion was comforted but still the journey that continues prompts boats rocking with questions, and we the disciples worry and wring our hands but then Jesus wakes and stills the storm- every time.  Every day.

Every day I enter the boat.  That's okay.  It rocks.  I worry.  Jesus calms.  If I don't admit it's daily, I lack honesty.

The storm may take different forms.  It may be only a shower that my eyes in the darkness perceive as a storm.  But shower or storm...God is here.





Friday, August 26, 2011

The Gift of Aging



Older:

Wow, yes, this word brings much to mind, not necessarily pleasant.  At first.

 But truly, isn't aging a gift?

 Would I go back to the angst of my teenage years?  The hard knocks of my twenties?  And at thirty-two, I've bumped that hump of 'thirty'.  It wasn't so bad.  And I've heard many say forty's even better.

I did feel like I came into my own at thirty.  I felt like a woman.  That sounds cheesy, maybe, but it's true.  I find myself more comfortable in my own skin as I grow older.  More confident.  This must be the wisdom which hopefully, in most cases accompanies the aging process.

I just read a 'duh' article recently- the headline something to the tune of 'Older people make better decisions'.  I've lived with a teenager.  I've been a teenager.  I think this article kind of goes without saying.  Perhaps, at forty I'll look back at my thirties and think, "Whew, I wouldn't do that again"  but right now I'm embracing the present and living in the moment.  I want to intentionally live and grow.



Linking up at Weekend Reflections and




Thursday, August 25, 2011

How Not to Forget

These lines from Holley Gerth's blog  blow me away today and bring those tears I need:

"God sees us that way too. We stand in front of Him with our messy lives, our bare souls and we are certain that there isn't any beauty to behold. 

Then He catches us by surprise, looks our way and says, "Hey, beautiful."

To hear God say, "Hey, beautiful."  Wow.  
Yet, why is it, that on God's love I can write prose and poetry abundant- here....and I can feel it.  But in the same day, the same hour, I lose that certainty.
I revealed to my dad yesterday that after I blog, I sometimes grapple with a strange sadness; a let down.  After discussion and prayer, we concluded that it's a normal feeling.  It comes from being, here, in union with the Spirit, being so deeply touched by God's hand...and then leaving the Spirit when my writing is done.  I am not in union throughout the day.  Not like I should be.  And so, then, of course, I begin to strive.  I begin to forget that I am loved. 
It's a practice, the presence of God.  It truly is.  And when I am in more constant communion, I can more easily accept what I know.  That I am loved.  

My confession is here today.


Linking up today at Holley Gerth's blog.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Submitting at http://www.kateyeview.com/search/label/exploring%20with%20a%20camera and waterywednesday

First Day of School

Today was our first day of school.  We are two weeks and two days late if we're keeping pace with the nearest school district.  Which I usually try to do but couldn't this year, as the kids were vacationing at their grandparent's.  Yet, this is the beauty of homeschooling.

This is also my first year 'making up the rules'. Rather than stick to a specific curriculum, this year, I picked my own hodgepodge collection of books and I am setting my own schedule.  We shall see.

I am teaching off the oldest in most subjects.  I'm doing a little bit of group learning.  I know, I know. I hate group learning, buy hey...

I never know how the year will flow.  I never know how the day will flow.




We are in a new house, in a new state, with new books and subjects.

But some things never change.  The boy still can not sit still.  He still insists on doing the worm while I read aloud.  I think he needs a squeeze ball.

The girl still wants to do extra work.  She still has a desire to overachieve.  There could be worse things.

Overall, I feel that we are off to a good start.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Overlong

'All's grace', Ann Voskamp always says.  And she speaks of it again today.  

And I felt this yesterday, so strongly, with the return of my oldest three after two long weeks.

During their absence I was deeply acquainted with longing yet, upon their arrival home, I realized that my ache for them had been even deeper than I had experienced.

Their Nana drove them that four hour stretch home, and the homecoming was as I had imagined.  Hugs around and exclamations that they looked different, I looked different, smiles wide.

You don't realize.

Two weeks may not seem overlong, in theory.  But mothers will recognize that this is an extensive amount of time to be away from one's children.  I have concluded that I will not be a good emptynester.  Thank God, I have some distance on the horizon in that regard.

Verity was anxious to see her room.  She told me that she and Annika had wondered if I had cleaned it and maybe built a playhouse inside, complete with a slide.

Yes, I had cleaned it.  Why had I not thought to put in a playhouse?

But really, isn't it startling what one's child thinks their parent capable of?  I remember that age of innocence and the wild hopes and fantasies I'd have of my parents plotting to secretly surprise me with something grand.  Even today, in boredom, my mind will sometimes wander to the thought that perhaps my husband is a secret millionaire and is just waiting for the right moment to reveal this.....

They were happy enough with the clean room.  And once alone for a brief moment, the emotion of their return  hit me.  Tears of relief welled, which I hadn't known had been gathering.  I knew they were safe while gone.  I talked to them often.  But to see them again, I realized I had been carrying an invisible burden of worry.

And also, then, overcome with such amazing gratitude that they are in my life. I felt as though I could breathe again though had not felt breathless while they were gone.

Yes, 'all's grace', is it not?


Monday, August 22, 2011

Mary Heart

My kids have been gone two weeks and are coming home today.  Yay!  It has been surreal not having them here. But...

 Confession:  I had plans to have a very clean house while they were gone.  But.

 I took the time to write instead.  I wrote a lot.  And so today, because my mother-in law is bringing them home, I woke up and started cleaning like mad.

 And now I'm here; writing.  Because my house is guest ready?  No.  I'm not finished cleaning.  I'm just here because I decided that my writing is more important than cleaning.

The house is somewhat clean.  Clean enough.  But if I will be losing time now that the kids are coming home, I think I'd rather take these last few moments of free time to contemplate.

 I have embraced this truth about me:  I have a Mary heart, not a Martha heart. I am a contemplative.

Marthas are amazing.  The world would be a pig sty without them.  But what would the world be like without the Marys?  So, today instead of beating myself up because I'm not a Martha, I embrace my Maryness.  Jesus loves us all.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Invitation




I read recently, in the bio of a blog I follow, a statement which said something along the lines of , "When I started blogging, I didn't know how much I'd talk about being a child of God."  This resonated with me.  I can't help but notice that as time goes on , my blog (my words) have become much less apologetic.  This blog has done something to me.  Or, rather, the process and discipline of sitting down everyday to write.  God has been working on me and speaking to me.  And as I've been challenged, I've also found myself excited.  As I write about who I am in Christ, I am beginning to understand it as well.

Today in church the pastor talked about how the enemy is a thief.  He tries to steal our very identity.  Our identity is in God.  We are His children.  I loved this:  "What I say about God may be true but what He says about me is true."  How beautiful is that?  I will never do a perfect job when it comes to expressing God's character or love.  But I can take with certainty what He says in His word, which is that I am His, to be an infallible truth.  And that's exciting.

I'm excited too, about my new blog.  Excited, and of course, a little scared.  Because I'm always a little scared with new endeavors.  And, though, I've been linking to it, I also want to make sure my motives are pure and that I'm not pushy.  So, I've written a disclaimer, of sorts.  But I also, today, want to give out an open invitation.  I'd really love if you would visit me there, and prayerfully consider joining me.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

New Every Day

New:  Linking up at http://thegypsymama.com/2011/08/five-minute-friday-new/ and at http://www.projectalicia.com/search/label/Crazy%20Days%20of%20Summer and at http://skyley.blogspot.com/

Lord, I want to be new every day.  I see how You have made me new already.  You renew me.  Every morning, remind me to sing, "This is the day that the Lord hath made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it."  It is only when I acknowledge Your presence and Your sovereignty that things can happen.  That I can be changed.  Sometimes, I fall into the mistaken thought process that Your work is done.  But You are not finished with me.  It is ego that tells me, I have nothing left to work on.  That's a laugh.  I'm grateful that You are gentle with Your touch.  That You can point things out to me without condemnation.  I know now how to discern Your voice from that of the enemy.  You are a Lover of my soul.  You love me too much to leave me the way I am.  Help me to remember this as I deal with others, too, God.  Sometimes, I fall into that trap of believing that people are lost causes.  But You can make all things new.  Give me hope, God.  Help me to see with Your eyes.

Just For Fun

Hosted by http://feelingbeachie.com/

This week’s statements:





1. My favorite piece of advice my mom ever gave me was__________
2. I overcame my fear of ____
3. _________ is my favorite fast food restaurant
4. The last time I was sick I had __________


My answers:


1.  Go into a marriage with your eyes wide open and go through your marriage with your eyes half shut.  
2.  dogs.  Sort of.  I now have a big dog that I love.  So that's helped a little in the department of being afraid of other people's dogs.
3.  Burger King.  It used to be my least favorite but I love the rodeo cheeseburger so now it's my favorite! 
4.  Oh, goodness.  I had some awful intestinal illness from antibiotics.  I now avoid antibiotics at all costs.  I thought I was going to die!  Literally, I was sick for over a month and it felt like any movement I made caused me nausea   

Thursday, August 18, 2011

This one comes with a warning

WARNING:  This post is not for those easily offended or those hoping to find fault.  You will probably find it.   I feel compelled to add a disclaimer to the words I am about to write.  I am in no way teaching.  This is not a devotional.  This blog is a place I come to hash out my feelings, and my spiritual journey.  And while I can tell you what I believe, there is a reason that I do not feel at this time called to teach in a direct manner.  Only because my words are subject to human frailty.  The Word alone is truth.  What is revealed to me by Scripture, I may share, yet may not skillfully or easily translate it into the human language.  

I'm not going to call anyone out by name.  In fact, I share this only because it is what I am currently struggling with.

As I grow in my faith, as I seek knowledge and wisdom, I am increasingly aware that within the body of Christ there at times appear to be two camps. Appear.  I don't know that there truly are.

Reading a book, recommended by my father, a popular book among many Christians I respect, I came across something which didn't quite sound right.  So I Googled the author's name and the word 'universalism'.  I read  many articles last night and was so bothered I couldn't sleep.

Not because of what was laid out in the definition of universalism, which I don't subscribe to.  But because the 'camp' that was calling out the 'universalists' sounded as sketchy as those they were calling out.

Fundamental Christian terminology seemed to trip these writers up; terms like, 'grace', 'unconditional love' and 'practicing the presence'.  These are terms I believe in.  These are terms I thought most Christians believed in.

There was an abundance of articles on heresy and false prophets.  And the more I read the more confused I became.  For a couple of reasons.  Because one, many of the people who were being called out were authors easily accepted by Christians.  Two, I could recognize that many of the quotes employed for the purpose of calling these authors out were taken out of context.

That said, I could not find any articles of these authors defending themselves.

I have wondered for a time how those anointed by God could drift into unsound doctrine.  It happens.  And so my struggle is not with temptation to accept an unsound doctrine but with leaders.  In both camps.  Growing up in the church, there were certain things I took for granted about my faith.  Certain truths.  I have not and will not turn my back on these.  But I do fear that as false doctrines are emerging on one side, so are, dare I say it, pharisees on the other.

On both sides are those whose God is too small.

There are for sure words that make me bristly; words like, 'reformed' and 'emergent'.  I would rather hear about a church experiencing revival than reformation.  And yet, how can I merge this fear with my belief in the necessity of the Protestant Reformation?  Further complicating the matter, is that research indicates that many of those who share my caution in the above mentioned areas, seem to have an equal invalidated caution for words I am comfortable with; terms like, 'charismatic', 'spirituality' and 'contemplative'.    And then there is the problem many 'caller-outers' have with women preaching, tongues, prophecies and the desert fathers.    And these are not perhaps, black and white issues, or rather, not so easily made black and white by us.

I have had my areas of struggles in all of the above.  And yet, I would not call all of the above, 'heresy'.

And so unfortunately, there are many books available right now, which have brought freedom to many which are now subject to interrogation.  Whether they ought to be or not, honestly, I don't know.

I don't come here to offer to or ask anything of you.  I am only here, typing because I feel these are tricky times.  I am wondering if I ought not to read Scripture alone for a time, maybe take a break from the words of some.  And also called to state that, although, I may have quoted books I was reading at the time of my previous writings, books which I gained insight from, if I unintentionally cosigned a false doctrine, this was not my intention.

I am drawn currently to Martin Luther's sentiment that "O that God should desire that my interpretation and that of all teachers should disappear, and each Christian should come straight to the Scripture alone and to the pure word of God!  You see from this babbling of mine the immeasurable difference between the word of God and all human words, and how no man can adequately reach and explain a single word of God with all his words...."

And even that may cause worry for some.  I do not wish to imply no need for teachers.  I am simply echoing James 3, which instructs, "Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.  We all stumble in many ways."

"But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.  Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest in righteousness."
-James 3:17-18

This is my prayer for the Church.  I pray for wisdom, purity and a love of peace.  For leaders who can expose those who are in opposition to the truth but who can do so in a manner which is loving and reasonable, without slander and without conceit.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

His Beloved

In God's heart I am His scandalously chased lover.  I am His beloved.  I am seen and loved for all I am and all I will be.  God's heart knows my heart.  He says, "I love your heart.  Your spirit is sweet".  He says this because like a lover, He sees what I can not.  Where I see hardness and weeds, He sees flowers signifying hope amongst the rubble.

Somewhere along the way, my own heart has been crushed and jaded and so I've hid it. From so many.  I've erected walls to protect it.  I've shunned much to ward off any possibility of pain.  I've adopted tearlessness.  I've shut down.  I cringe at sappy movies and romanticism.


But in God's heart, I am His beloved.  And He longs for me.  The romance between bride and bridegroom.  He suspires to sweep me off my feet.

I am a harlot and He knows.  He knows all.  But still.  He loves me all the same.  

"Why am I afraid to dance, I who love music, and rhythm and grace and song and laughter?  Why am I afraid to live, I who love life and the beauty of flesh and the living colors of the earth and sky and sea?  Why am I afraid to love, I who love love?" -Eugene O'Neill, "The Great God Brown"

He remembers me when I was young.  He saw me dance and sing and love.  He sees me in the future and knows I will dance and sing and love again.  Today, He asks, "Beloved, dance for Me, sing with Me, you who love love, you who love Me."

And I do.  Because I am beginning to see who I am in God's heart.

Linking up at:  My Little Drummer Boys, live and love outloud, create with joy, and

Better in Bulk

Wordish Wednesday

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

From a student's letter in Henri Nouwen's, Intimacy:

"Help us to see that which is real.  A reality.  Help us to lie under a tree and enjoy the grass and sky and wind, to have a definitive feeling, perhaps simple, perhaps deep, to think wildly, openly, to stretch.


To hold a hand and mean it, to appreciate beauty, to experience a relationship, a joy, a satisfaction, a sadness, a desperation, an exhaustion.  To feel close to an idea, an ideal, and to ourselves.  To feel part of a country, a person and the earth.  To rise out of the depths of desperation and self-made alienation, and to be close once again to you.  These are what we can grasp, these are real.  These are experiences.  That is our prayer, Lord.  To be aware, to rise up, to realize, to understand and to care."




  I can go through these days of disconnect.  I feel as though I'm merely disconnected from others.  But when that connection is lost with people who belong to God, who were made by God, I lose connectedness with the Maker.

When I pray for others merely because I think they need to better themselves but not because they are made in the image of God and therefore are as loved by God as I am, does that not indicate self-centeredness?  There's me and God and then all those other people.  No.  All those other people are God's people.  Loved no more and no less.  Why then do I lose sight of this?  Again, because I am loving people here on earth for all the wrong reasons.  I am loving them for how they can impact my life.  That is not true love.  And so the vicious circle of disappointment and then disconnection.  And ultimately then bitterness.  Because it is a false illusion to believe that I can tear myself away from others with no consequence to my relationship with Christ.

Lord, allow me to see people through Your eyes.  My eyes are blinded by self.  God, help me to enter reality and understand than dependence on you does not separate me from an obligation to give to others the gift of myself, and most importantly the gift which you have given me of unconditional love.     


Monday, August 15, 2011

Not About Me



God, these are the days that just seem to slip by.  Without purpose or substance.  But I know You are here.  I need reminding.

These are the days so full, but still I feel disconnected.  Empty.

 I need to give it all over once again.

And sometimes, I hear You but I don't want to listen.  Like the kids when I speak and they think that by ignoring me they won't have to do what I tell them.

Sharing is hard for me.  There are the days I can barely feel the ground beneath me and I want to isolate.  I don't want to talk.  I don't want attention.  I want to be plain and unseen.

  I hear what You are saying but you are stretching me and it feels scary.  I don't always feel like I can be obedient; though, I have seen over and over Your ability to transform and teach me.

"Central is the desire to step away from the meager emotions of a technocentric society in which superficiality leads to boredom and the breaking of contact with the mysterious powers of reality" Nouwen, "Intimacy"

When I'm in this space, disconnected, I want to shun everyone.  I want to be needless.

I hear You say these words are gifts. They are Yours and not mine.  They are free.  But at times to speak them feels so costly and risky.  But I am learning.  It's not about me. It's all about You, Jesus.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

In Praise of the Lord



"Surely the Lord is in this place and I knew it not."  -Genesis 28:16

"My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord" - Psalm 145:21



Linking up at shadow shot Sunday.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

Mirrors and God





I'm coming to you today from a very strange place.

My older kids are gone for the week and consequently, I am wandering my house while the baby naps, not quite knowing what to do with myself.

And thoughts are racing without distraction.

And...

I touched on something in my post yesterday which left me with a hollowness I didn't anticipate.

I generally do not struggle for words but though I prayed through that post, still, I hesitated and deleted.

And then, I wanted to discard it.

 I felt exposed.

I hit publish and then instantaneously that gnawing came.  That floppy feeling of panic. I was embarrassed.  I don't think the range of my emotions really matched the actual subject matter but for whatever reason, I felt stupid.

I kept hearing the song Mad Season by Matchbox Twenty.  And I waited around for it to GO.

But it wouldn't.  And all these accompanying feelings of yuck popped up.  Loneliness, disconnect, discontentment.

So here I am now, in this weird place, thinking this all through.  What was/am I afraid of?  That someone would try to disprove my notion that I was not not smart.  How silly is that?

Confession:  I hate it when people say they're smart.  Hate it.  Hate it hate it hate it.

Doesn't that seem a bit overly passionate?

Why do I hate it?   I think because I grew up feeling like I had to prove myself.  And like I couldn't.  So now, as an adult, I don't even want to come close to anything that sounds like even healthy pride because I'm afraid it will come off as some sort of silly self-defense tactic.  And, so then, hating it in others is merely projection.




But I can look at myself if I'm also looking at God.  Because who I am has nothing to do with my intelligence or my beauty or my accomplishments.  Who I am, is God's child.  That's it.  Period.  

Lisa Whittle says this morning, " Funny, how the solo gaze of God feels crucial in our greatest moments of need; yet in our shaping moments, it feels intrusive and unbearable.We wish for deflection – for His eyes to glance to another."
What does God want me to see or face or work through or admit, that I am trying to avoid?

Thankfully, God is gentle.

 He says, "‘You are my servant’; 
   I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
   do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
   I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."  -Isaiah 41:9



The version I read this morning in my Life Application Study Bible says, "For I am the Lord your God, who takes hold of your right hand."


He takes hold of my hand, gently.  He takes me to the mirror.  And he says, "Don't be afraid."  







Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Way I See Myself Now

Confession:  I never thought I was smart.

I really didn't.  I suppose I never worried about the opposite.  I just simply accepted the fact that I was 'average'.  I believed this because my grades in school were average.

My parents never confirmed this and it wasn't something I really voiced concern over but I will venture that maybe the problem could have been that my parents didn't do anything to negate it.

I have wonderful parents who excelled in many ways but encouraging me in academics was not one of them.

So, after high school, I went to a state college while living at home and then dropped out. Not because I was failing.  Because I was busy drinking and messing my life up otherwise.  And then I got married.  And had babies.

And then I went back to school.  A class here and there at various community colleges.  And I got great grades and great comments from my teachers and then finally, I realized that I had been believing a lie for all those years.  I had been accepting something for myself which wasn't true.  I had become okay with something, taken it as fact, and lo and behold it was false.

How much of what we believe about ourselves may not be true?

Had someone sat me down when I was younger and really encouraged me, maybe things would be different.

I don't at all regret the way my life has turned out.  I know that God has had a plan for it.  I wouldn't have done it any other way.

But I make sure to tell my kids all the time that they're smart.  They are and they need to know it.  And if something doesn't seem to come naturally for them, I help them to get the hang of it.  I struggled the most with math when I was young.  As an adult, I got an A in statistics.  I think I just needed someone to explain it to me better when I was a child or take more time with me or encourage me not to give up.  I still have that personality which is tempted to give up if something doesn't come easy.  But I have an easier time fighting that temptation now.  I have an inner drive because I believe in myself.

I want my kids to believe in themselves.




Think on Thursday

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Imperfect

Linking up for the first time today with Imperfect Prose.  Instructions:  link up a post (old or new) that you feel is 'broken' or 'imperfect' or somehow redemptive 


Which of my posts is not imperfect?  


I, myself, am in no way perfect.  I quit laboring, long ago, to fight this.  


Though "I press on".


On this earth, I will trustingly, grow in holiness, yet I will not be perfected while here.  Today, I embrace my 'imperfections' as those areas which might draw me toward God.  These are the areas where I am able to see my need for a Savior.  


Again, a paradox.  God desires my imperfection as a means by which to 'perfect' me.  Sanctify me.  


But if I admit that I have rightfully accepted my own 'imperfections', how can I not then accept others?


How can I hold any unforgiveness in my heart?


Today Ann Voskamp speaks of forgiving parents. 


 "Sometimes the child tenderly parents the parent,"  she says. 


 And this is true.  Parenting as I know it now as a parent involves love, unconditional.  Forgiveness, unconditional.  And Ann Voskamp has a way of cutting tenderly right to the quick.  As she talks about her failures as a mother, I am face to face with mine.  And yet, though I fail my children, I expect what of my own parents?  Perfection? 






 I am so fortunate to have the blessed assurance that they will be in Heaven, perfected someday. 


Redemption.  


 But here on earth?  Yes, we are all imperfect. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

When the Hard Thing is the Right Thing

I did the hard thing.  That thing I'd rather clean than do.  And it wasn't that hard.  What was hard was the outcome.  Because hearts were hardened, though I tried to leave mine soft.

Why so often, is the hard thing, the right thing?

Why do our words, even when spoken in love, seem sometimes to not be really heard?

More than I hate conflict, I hate having my words misconstrued.  I tend to want to hash it out.  Continue a conversation once started until it's resolved.

Confession:  I really just want the last word.  I want to defend myself.  I forget that this is not my job.  I forget that God asks me to 'speak the truth in love' and then give it over.  The results are His.  It's not about me.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Housework

Laundry has always baffled me.  It seems that no matter how hard I try, I can not get a handle on it.  And it doesn't make sense.  It seems that if you start out on top of it and stay on top of it, you shouldn't get behind.  That doesn't work though....except for with my mother in law.  She always comes and does my laundry from top to bottom.

I read a quote, recently, that said something along the lines of "Eve's real punishment was laundry".

Frankly, housework baffles me.  I like a clean house but I am not a natural homemaker.  I really tried in this new house.  You know how when you move in somewhere new, you always make that pledge that this house will stay clean and organized?  I gave it my best shot, but not even two months in, I have failed.

I tend to agree with the above thought.  I also saw a plaque the other day that said, "Martha doesn't live here and that's a good thing."  I don't know if they were talking about Martha from the Bible or Martha Stewart but either one would work.  Here's another:  "Housework is work directly opposed to the possibility of human self-actualization" - Anne Oakley  See, I collect quotes to justify my lack.

Today, though I read something brilliant about laundry at (in) courage.  Something that negated that last quote.

What I hate, what I think is a waste of time or just really find boring; these are all places I can meet God.  These are all places I can give to God.

 I'm there.  He's there.  It's perfect.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Speaking

We sang a song today in church which really moved me.  I hadn't heard it before. I can't find it when I Google it.  Really, it was pretty simple.  It talked about binding and loosing.

I'm not going to get all crazy on you here.  Promise.

I'm not going to preach at all.  I don't know much about that subject anyway. I believe in the biblical concept but not so much on the interpretation that often goes with it.

Anyway, there was also something in the song about speaking (it out?).  There's probably a reason I can't find the song.

But I just got to thinking.  What if we were required to...speak.  Not name it and claim it.  I don't mean that.  I mean our words lead to His word.  He is the Word.  The Word on the cross.  Our words on a cross.  In other words - our words sacrificed.  We, speaking Him.

 Are you with me?

 Sorry, I had to throw in a little preacher jargon there.

He who is the Word heals.

The word heals.

 Can our words heal?  Heal others, ourselves - through His truth?  Are we being called to speak boldly?  To speak freedom from addiction, disease, hangups?

The alcoholic is healed through admittance.  Admitting they are powerless.  Could it be that God wants us to say out loud what we are suffering with so that we might be released?  Maybe this is basic.

I know, personally, that although I come here and I share and I try to do so honestly and still with discretion,   there is also a part of me which holds back.

I'm not even saying that here is where God is calling me to speak all things which must be spoken.  Maybe, I don't even know where He has in mind yet.  And I don't have anything deep and dark and secret that I hold in, I just have certain areas in my life that I like to be 'tough' about.  Meaning, I refuse to share.  I refuse to acknowledge.  I refuse to allow others into my pain.  For whatever reasons.  Embarrassment, pride, fear.

But maybe, God wants us to admit, like the alcoholic, that we are powerless.  Maybe saying it out loud will  bring freedom and healing.

Are you holding anything in that God has been prompting you to speak?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Six Word Saturday:

Homework to do: Rather be blogging.




Friday, August 5, 2011

Broken for Whole

Five minute Friday challenge:




Whole:  God's desire for me.  This means I take all of the everything from my past: my dirty little secrets, my pain, my resentments, and I hand them over.  I say to God, "Here I am - broken."  Because this is what God desires from me.  A broken and contrite heart.  It is only with this gift, this gift that seems so unworthy, that I can  trade the old man for the new man.  We can not hide from God.  We think we can hide from other people.  But when we do so, we lack whole relationships.  If we are whole in Christ, we will be able to offer wholeness to others.  I do not yet, at this point understand what 'whole' would look like.  It is, I believe a journey.  But when we are raw before God and others, slowly God is able to piece us together.  He is able to mold our hearts to be like His and He is able to restore our relationships.  Whole is health.  Health encompasses so much more than our physicality.  God did not give us a spirit of fear but of a sound mind.  A whole mind.  The mind of Christ.  Everything then, a circle.  Everything then leading back to the creator of the Whole universe.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Poetry and Windows

Don't be too harsh to these poems until they're typed.  I always think typescript lends some sort of certainty:  at least, if the things are bad then, they appear to be bad with conviction.  ~Dylan Thomas, letter to Vernon Watkins, March 1938


Bear with me today.  




And here's a non bad poem.  A really good poem in fact:


The Windows


Lord, how can man preach thy eternal word?
         He is a brittle, crazy glass,
Yet in thy temple thou dost him afford
        This glorious and transcendent place,
       To be a window through thy grace. 


But when thou dost anneal in glass thy story.
         Making thy life to shine within
The holy preachers, then the light and glory
        More reverend grows, and more doth win,
        Which else shows wat'rish, bleak, and thin.


Doctrine and life, colors and light, in one
         When they combine and mingle, bring
A strong regard and awe; but speech alone
        Doth vanish like a flaring thing,
        And in the ear, not conscience, ring.




-George Herbert

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Shaken but Not Moved

I hate talking about the enemy. Because I don't want to give too much credit to the dark when the light is so much more powerful.

But the truth is that their is a struggle and "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

One of our biggest struggles may be in our fear of sharing.  Feeling disqualified.

But I know how blessed and strengthened I've been by reading the stories of others who like me, have fallen, weak and been picked up again by Him.

What holds me back from believing that my story, too, could not be a blessing?

I am beginning to learn how to quiet that voice.  That voice that tells me to be quiet.

It is amazing to witness lives turned around after a long battle, the prodigal returning, or a return to sanity after a dark confusion and I have lived all that.

But today, I am learning how to block the battle before it begins.  I was thinking the other day about freedom in Christ and how the enemy tries to thwart that by employing plain and simple fear tactics or just inane harassment techniques.

Lately, I feel like he's tried to hit me with his best shot and it's just fallen flat.  Because I'm not playing anymore.  I'm learning to decipher truth from untruth.

That is victory.  That is God teaching me peace and wisdom.  That is me finally beginning to understand how much God loves me.



Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Reminders

I went to a meeting last night.  I know I've written about this before, but I need the reminder of how much I love the program.

It was the first meeting I've been to since we've been back.  It's the same meeting I got sober at.  They've moved buildings and I only recognized two people but recovering alcoholics were there and that's the reason I went.

So, I opened the door... and then backed back out.

 It was all men.

But after being assured that it wasn't a men's stag meeting, I went ahead and sat down.  I have to admit, my first thought was, "Well, this isn't what I need."

But I was wrong.

Newcomers, old timers, men, women; it doesn't matter.  I need the rooms and the reminders.

And turns out, there were two women in there.  I just didn't see them at first.

 Most of the men were under forty, a bigger portion probably under thirty.  Yeah, there was ego rampant, testosterone soaring and a whole lot of one- upping.   And my first reaction was to judge.

 And then God shut me up.  I could sit there and focus on what others were lacking or I could reflect on how amazing it was to observe so many young men making an honest effort to change their lives.  To give their lives over to the will and care of God.

 God bless them.  I have never heard the f word so much in my life but AA is the one place it doesn't bother me so much.  These people are trying. Which is a lot more than a lot of people do.

Will they all stay sober?  Probably not.  But some will.  Some will  work that program and they'll find God through it and they'll be healthier than a lot of non alcoholics.  I've seen it.

And I'll say it again, if normies could just go to a twelve step meeting every once in a while, the world would be a better place.

Because to stand in the front of a room full of peers and say, "I'm afraid.  God's working with me on fear," takes God given courage.
To say, "Four months ago, I was in rehab and never thought I'd find anything in life to be happy about" takes God infused hope.
To say, "The worst moment in my life brought me closer to God, if that makes any sense" takes an experience with God.

This is what they are learning about God.  And they are doing hard stuff.  Seriously.  The program isn't easy.  And that third step of giving your will and your life over to the care of God, is something seasoned Christians have a hard time with.

And so, God spoke to me through sailor-mouthed, twenty-something, rough around the edges men.

He reminded me.



Monday, August 1, 2011

And from the list of books to get:

"There is another calling for the artist, and that is one of linking earth to heaven, pointing the human to the divine, finding the connections." Part of the pointing is no pointing at all, but simply bringing one's own beauty and walking along."

-Luci Shaw  Breath for the Bones




How beautiful is that?  


Is that what it means to be not only an artist but a Christian?  






Can other's tell Who we follow?  


I don't mean, necessarily by our actions and our words, although these are telling signs but isn't Christianity so much more than said theology and good deeds?  Is it perhaps a peace within us that shines His light?  A certainty we exude that is a far greater witness than all the words we might speak?  Not a smug certainty.  A certainty about us that God loves us, that though there are storms, we are protected.  If we are at peace with God, we will be at peace with others.  If we know we are loved, we will love.  Maybe it's just that something some people has.  That something that seems to make us wonder how they are able to be so unmoved by the pains of this world, how they are able to extend such grace, the quietness of their souls.  That something that is almost tangible love.  


God, I want to be that kind of Christian.