Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Shadows




This post was inspired by my friend Lisa Whittle's challenge @ http://www.lisawhittle.com/

Shadows lurk deep at my core. 
Cold, lonely, dark and musty places that evade light and cringe at the possibility of exposure.
 Shadows were my favorite friends for a long time.
They were a place to hide, deny, blame, simmer, boil
and indulge in ingratitude, self-righteousness and entitlement...
I lived in fear that if you really knew me, than you would know that I was much more of a mess than
I considered it polite to be and I just couldn't bear the thought of you knowing THAT.
Before my collision with Christ, I sat in yet one more therapist's office
and explained my desire to live a life of congruence.
For my words, my actions, my beliefs and thoughts to align.
No more pretending.
No more peeling back my layers in an effort to justify my actions.
No more focusing my attention on everyone else and how they were messing me up by
not measuring up to who I thought they should be.
Little did I know that this desire for congruency and transformation
would lead me to a full blown collision with Christ.
But He knew...God is funny like that.
So while I would love to bedazzle my experience by retreating to the shadows and telling you that this collision has always been beautiful and glossy...
it hasn't.
It has been messy, scary, doubt-filled, confusing, intimidating, lonely, disagreeable and oh-so very imperfect.
And some shadows remain.
And some seem to go away...only to return when I least expect it.
And sometimes the shadows fight for my attention and I want to feel the coolness and get lost in the dark.
Because I don't always want to trust, or pray, or surrender, or turn the other cheek, or forgive
or choose to see the best in another.
Sometimes I can be really ugly.
I don't want that to be true...but it is.
 I am after the kind of transformation that requires radical transparency.
The kind of radical transparency that knows nothing of shadows and hiding.
The kind that requires a willingness to dig deep.
And to not just revel in the pretty parts of my relationship with Christ but to shine a light on the ugliness and trust in a love that can sustain my pain and bring redemption.
Salvation did not make me perfect and it never will.
But I need a Savior.
I was a wreck without Him.
And on many days I am a wreck with Him.
And today I stand here in the light, radically transparent for all of you to see.



Friday, August 19, 2011

NEW




I used to believe in a different kind of new.
The kind of new where new shoes, new clothes, a new house, being somewhere new, anything new would make everything better.
That kind of new creates a scary, lonely cycle.
But I have stretched.
And changed.
And I don't believe in that kind of new anymore.
Each day we face the prospect of something new.
Life can change in an instant.
And while something new can bring celebration, it can also shake us to our core and make us ask why.
 Safety beckons and new presents a risky challenge.
New calls us to walk on the edge.
To be present, alive, courageous, open because we do not know what He has in store.
Our senses are heightened and our lives become alive in the new.
New comes in the willingness to wrap our lives around the present
and not just engage in the pretty and controlled.
But to stay put and feel...
no matter how amazing it is, how bad it hurts,
how angry it makes us, how scary it is, how vulnerable we feel.
And while it always seems easier to color within the lines of the plan I create for myself and not take risks and embrace something new...
I long for transformation and freedom.
I long for new.
image: mikemart.com

 






Monday, August 15, 2011

School is Approaching

I am officially grieving the end of summer.
In ten days my boys will walk back into their school and into a routine that week after glorious week will get increasingly harder on ME.
I just don't have a great deal of stamina when it comes to alarm clocks, spelling tests, lunch packing and folder signing.
It makes me woozie and requires far more organization than I care to pretend I posses.
And given my propensity for rebellion, this is really not all that surprising.

Just this morning, LAB asked what our plans were for the day.
I explained that I am on strike and refusing to acknowledge or purchase school supplies
(even though I have had their lists for 2 weeks).
Traffic is too bad to make the trek across town to the uniform store
(and gas is expensive and it's hot outside).
And yesterday I covered my bases and asked my soon to be 1st grader to read me a book just
 to ensure that he had not forgotten how
(because that would have made me look really bad).

If you are still reading this bless your heart.
Because this is all a bunch of silly bravado aimed at avoiding the truth.
The truth is, I don't want school to start because the momentum picks up.
And our easy pace gets interrupted..
School also takes them away from me, which just makes me sad.
With each lunch packed, spelling test taken, memory verse recited, alarm clock set...
they get more independent.
And of course I know that's a good thing.
But it doesn't make it easy.
I kneel beside them and watch them sleep.
They sleep side by side. 
 Their legs hook around one another and their heads tilt together.
They take my breath away.
They are perfect gifts.
Brothers. Sons.
HIS.
I pray for God to guard their eyes, ears, hearts and minds.
I pray that He will set them on fire for Him.
I pray for His will.
Tears fall.
They unpeel me because more than anything or anyone they point me to Him.
And I just want to hold on.

And breathe them in for as long as possible, counting His grace... with no interruptions.


  • Questions with no answers
  • Beyblades in plastic tupperware containers making TONS of noise
  • Pokemon talk that makes no sense
  • Puppy wrestling
  • Sneaking gum from drawers
  • Dance moves that impress
  • Blueberry mustaches
  • Signed baseballs
  • Movie nights
  • clean closets
  • snakes in the drain pipes (or frogs)
  • Heathwood Drive baseball in the dark with neighbors
  • painting
  • ice cream
  • lightsaber fights
  • smoothies (with spinach hidden inside)




Friday, August 12, 2011

Beauty


I was taught well how to reject my reflection by my mother who had also been taught well.
It was generational.
And so very hard to escape. 
Beauty was always just five more pounds away, somewhere waiting in a department store, in the approval of others or
in the latest $100 anti-aging potions.
Satan's generational curse has long pulsed through my women and held our joy captive.
Comparison. Sizing up the competition.
Looking, listening, judging...beauty.
It has been one of my hardest obstacles.
Letting go of lies told and retold by the people that love me best and that I love best.
These women and their ideas that I was once so dependent on. 
But my women did not know that we are more precious than rubies,
that we are fearfully and wonderfully made and that we become what we behold.
They could only see that they did not measure up and they were afraid...
because maybe I wouldn't either.
Rage builds, self-hatred boils and
life becomes dictated by fear in world that is never satisfied.
But beauty is everywhere.
More abundant than I ever knew.
It begs for acceptance. Even in the yuck.
Beauty cannot be compared, judged or shunned.
Because our Creator is perfect and He defines beauty perfectly.
In everyone and everything
But we must be willing to see differently.
Yes.
We must trust and see.
Him.
This is the new story.



Monday, August 8, 2011

Keys

Football season is quickly approaching and given that I married the biggest ECU Pirate fan ever, preparations for game day have recently kicked into high gear.
Forget that the tax-free weekend had most of my friends
scrambling to save on school supplies and backpacks. 
In our house we were preparing tailgating menus, reading stats, dreaming of bowl games and
I was looking for purple and gold inspiration of the retail type.
Let if be said that I just love Game Days.
I am the mama of two boys and the wife of a die hard sport's fan.
Testosterone is a major fact of life in my house.
And when it comes to football, I like to add some sparkle to whatever
purple and gold ensemble I can come up with.
So I found a cute dress online and decided to have my crazy creative little sister make it for me.
So off to JoAnn's Fabrics we go.
With two cars and three kids in 110 degree weather.
Two of whom had never seen a fabric store (mine) and briefly thought that it might be a good time to lose their minds.
Especially since I was completely overstimulated by everything in sight, the 40% off coupon and the PEACOCK feathers...but that's another story.
Anyway, we finally get the kids untangled from the boas and pay the cashier $14 as I do a happy dance and declare how thrifty and smart I am, when the panic sets in and I realize...
I have lost my keys.
In a 10,000 sq. foot fabric store.
I kind of whisper the news to my sister who gives me the look...well you know.
Scary truth is I do this A LOT.
I am just prone to be a bit free spirited and ditzy at the worst possible times.
Little sister is used to it and loves me in spite of myself but she is in no mood for my antics today.
She wants to go to Costco for free samples or lunch as it is sometimes called in our house.
She continues to remind me how much she loves me as she pulls
bolt after bolt of fabric out with no sign of my keys.
After searching for 15 minutes, I said a prayer and asked God for help.
I really needed it.
I was up against 2 giants.
My sister who was hungry, hot and trying to keep 3 kids from rioting.
And my husband who would have been very displeased if I had arrived home in my sister's car with fabric for a new dress, no keys and no car.
And within minutes of my prayer...
on an aisle full of every glorious color and width of ribbon ever created.
Were my keys.
The Halllelujah chorus played in my head.
And I thanked God.
And followed my sister to Costco for lunch...I mean samples.


Thanking Him for the little stuff, the big stuff and for being everywhere....

  • a beautiful day at Granny's
  • funny stories
  • rain, rain, rain
  • dinner with a friend
  • brothers
  • progress
  • green smoothies
  • water
  • letters
  • Canadian geese
  • the sweetest puppy ever so glad to see me after 3 nights away
  • boy hugs, boy questions, boy prayers
  • blueberries and blackberries
  • time with my dad
  • transformation stories where Jesus is the star

Friday, August 5, 2011

5 Minute Friday


 
I am one of those girls who grew up always believing that something was missing.
I remember wanting desperately to fit in with other girls and I guess that in many ways it looked like I did. 
But it never felt like it.
I could play the part and look like I belonged to whatever group grabbed my interest at the time but true authenticity was always something that escaped me.
Whenever I felt as though something was lacking my immediate response was to fix it.
And I tried...hard.
I have done every foolish thing I can think of to feel right...to feel WHOLE, to know peace.
Sometimes to the point of self-destruction.
And the very last thing I ever wanted to try,
has been the only thing that has had any power over the gaping hole.
The only thing that has not lost it's power.
The gospel.
 I was made for the King.
And His love makes me WHOLE.
Far from perfect.
But WHOLE.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I am out doing my nightly walk around the neighborhood and I hear this verse from Proverbs through my headphones.
"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life".
Guard my heart?
I think about this for less than a second, quickly concluding, "I've got this one".
I guard well. I always have.
Iron clad.
Protect... shield....defend.
Yep, this I know how to do.
I smile and I keep walking.
I am listening to an Andy Stanley podcast on marriage...on staying in love.
 He continues, explaining that in knowing my heart
I can better understand my often WILD reactions when someone
(most specifically my husband) "bumps" me.
His illustration is too cute.
A boy mug full of blue beads bumping into a girl mug full of pink beads.
Bumping one another with responses that leave them both unpeeled.
The beads are spilling everywhere.
It's messy.
It is a great illustration.
But then he shares this little tidbit of information that hits me right between the eyes.
No one (husband or not) brings out the worst in me.
The pink beads come out and make a mess because that is what is inside of me.
Whoa, whoa, whoa!
Hold on Andy...
The yucky stuff just lies dormant until I get bumped?
And the bumping can lead to a blame-filled explosion of words, emotions, behavior...even silence.
This is my wellspring?
This is what I get for protecting, shielding and defending so well.
A big fat tendency to rush right into DEFENSE mode rather than search my heart
for the truth about what is really going on.
Really?
And how much easier would it be if this struggle only happened in my marriage.
But no, this is a struggle in many relationships.
Relationships simply ignite my ongoing struggle with
rejection, disappointment, fear, lonliness, anxiety and a need to be right.
Do I need this much self-awareness?
Apparently I do.
Holding Fast and Believing in His power to transform,







The Joy Project 40

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