Search

Life's Little Lessons

"If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud." – Emile Zola

Category

life-lessons

Where the Mean Kids Are

It is amazing what your kids tell you when they have you to themselves. When they have you and your undivided attention and they know you are not distracted by your phone or some other conversation you are trying to keep up with and you allow the silence to settle, they open themselves up all wide and reveal to you their truths. “Mom, there were mean kids there.”

“Mean kids? What kind of mean kids?” As if there are different kinds.

“Some boys made fun of me tonight while we were playing dodge ball. They said I couldn’t hit them if they stood directly in front of me. They told me I suck.”

I pulled into our driveway real slow and he opened his door to get out and I was not too far behind.

“I’m sorry. There will always be mean kids. Don’t let them stop you from showing up.”

As a mom, as his, I want to protect him from this hurt. Especially from being hurt THERE. Our kids have not been a part of a youth group for several years. We’ve given them space, we have all needed it just a bit but it is time to regroup and build some connections and get involved. But where? All of our kids are different. Some don’t mind showing up in a group without really knowing anybody and others feel completely out of their element in doing so. My last two teens need a strong connection FIRST and THEN they step into something so last night, my son went to a new church and a new youth group with a friend he is very comfortable with. It was a HUGE step for him.

And now this. The mean kids.

I’ve been reading Brene’ Browns new book called “Braving the Wilderness.” I cannot recommend this book highly enough, it is timely and needed. Please, if you are looking for a good read that is mind and heart provking and empowering, put this book in your Amazon cart. You will have it Saturday and can read it this wekeend. It’s about belonging and fitting in…with ourselves. She says, “True belonging doesn’t require us to change who were are; it requires us to BE who we are.”

Everywhere and anywhere.

My son walked ahead of me as I spoke those words and had already walked into the house by the time I reached our side gate. As I walked through the front door, I heard him go up the steps to his room. He needed some time. Later he emerged and was hurriedly getting his homework out of his backpack and was heading to the table to do his work. I grabbed his arm. “Hey. I love you.”

“I love you too.” That was all he could muster and it was enough. I thought of the things I could say, all the truths I could speak but sometimes you just need to practice being present. Presence says a lot you know, just being WITH someone and letting them know you are there. That they are loved. That you are not going anywhere.

My son is going to have to learn, like me, like all and any of us how to stand in WHO we are. We have to learn that we won’t always fit in and we won’t always throw the ball hard and hit our target squarely. People won’t like how we look or what we have to say and sometimes, most times, people wear their insecurities discretely and they project their hurts aimlessly and without thought and their comments and actions have NOTHING TO DO WITH US. Mean kids are everywhere, even in Church. I’ve had a mean kid. I’ve been one. We ALL say and DO ridiculously stupid things. We drop our comments like bombs and walk away thinking that we did not leave destruction in our wake but we do.

Words and actions matter.

We have to learn that despite whatever is going on with others, INSIDE others, we have to keep showing up US. This is NON-NEGOTIABLE. We have to make this one of our golden rules, that we will not compromise ourselves for another human being. We will not.

I hope my son goes back. I hope he tries again. I hope he does not let two boys who are probably one of your kids, who could be one of mine, stop him from playing dodgeball and inserting himself in uncomfortable places, like a new youth group.

That’s my hope. But the decision is his. He will have to decide, just like me, just like all and any of us that he is worth being seen. He is worth being heard. He is worth being present.

You are free when you realize you belong no place – you belong everyplace – no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.  – Maya Angelou

 

Advertisements

What You Are Looking For?

For those of you who are friends with me, you then know that our two oldest kids recently enlisted and our serving in our country’s military. And for those of you who don’t, you may have been spared because I am THAT Mom. I never thought I would be but I am and it is my mother’s fault. Her endless championing and cheering me on is in my DNA. She always showed up to everything and was proud…REGARDLESS. I hope I can be even half of who she is.

When our son went to bot camp for the Marines, he was lucky enough to leave on the same day as three other boys from our town…all the same age and all from the same school. And because he was lucky, as his mother that made me lucky too because I instantly had three new friends. MoM’s, or now known as Mother of Marines. The day they all left for Parris Island, we exchanged phone numbers and instantly began a text group where we cried together and asked questions and shared what we knew. The first month, maybe two of boot campy was the worst for me. I remember crying all the time and praying more than that. I knew what the Drill Instructors were most likely having to do to make a Marine out of my son and thought of it made my heart sink on a regular basis. My but MoM’s…they were my lifeline.

During this time, I also joined a Facebook group specifically for family and friends of young men and women at Parris Island all graduating on the same date and in the same Company. It was such a helpful group, the administrators were all MoM’s or Marine Veterans themselves and they shared so much helpful information. Another lifeline.

BUT.

There was this one MoM. I just couldn’t even…

Friends, it was painful.

Every time her face came through my feed, my brain hurt. I’m just being honest. I did not want to think ill thoughts of her but I did. AND I LOVE MOST ALL PEOPLE.

Most.

She talked about her life. She made videos about what she learned at Church. She shared the most ridiculous Meme’s and talked incessantly about nothing to do with The Marines. It drove me crazy because this was a support group/information page to help families through boot camp and here she was using this page as her own personal platform.

Long story short, it ended sort of badly for a bit. I posted and asked publicly for clarification on the group’s purpose and I became to some the party pooper of the group. Militant? Yes, I can be obviously but she was majorly breaking the rules!!!! So in the end, TO SURVIVE, I blocked her after she made fun of our boys going through the gas chamber. She thought it was hilarious that they would get sick and wig out and was CONVINCED they would ALL laugh one day.

Can I just tell you how much I prayed THAT day?

The whole thing has never really sat well with me till recently. First off, I do not enjoy blocking people and making them nonexistent to me. It actually bothers me quite a bit and I am not quite sure why but it does. Second, I needed to better understand, besides being ANNOYED, why this woman rubbed me the wrong way. Seriously folks, the other 900 members of this group all kept it professional. It was about our recruits, our questions, needing help, wanting prayer or having a bad day because we missed our kids. It was not about US and about OUR HAIR or about the WEEKEND TRIP WITH OUR HUSBANDS. 

One day last week I was washing dishes. My hands were in the sink and all of a sudden THIS dropped into my consciousness, “She wanted friendship. You had friendship and wanted information but she wanted friendship.”

I have stared with a blank look before, many a time, but never have I felt I stared so blankly. Like a street pigeon at the sink blinking a way, that was me.

It was true. I had my MoM’s. I had my family and my friends who were amazing. I literally got on that page to get as much information as I could since I was new to this whole thing and I was terrified and excited and I was like a sponge absorbing it all. I did not NEED anything more than what I wanted, at least not from that page and the people in it. However, her need was different.

Sometimes our prayers don’t really get answered right away. Sometimes the revelation we seek comes to us at the most random times, like at the sink when your hand are immersed in hot, soapy water. But they always do and that day I prayed when my son was experiencing the gas chamber, I prayed to see her heart because I was so frustrated at the sight of it. I had stopped long ago seeing her for WHO she was because she became a thorn in my flesh that I could not quite get out. I didn’t really want to see her heart, but I knew with my head it was the right thing to pray and obviously now looking back, this was a me thing and had nothing to do with poor !^%&#)!  *(**%@

(Names have been change to protect the innocent or maybe characters have replaced letters to mask my swear words. Take your pick).

I am convinced Jesus showed me heart, that she longed for friendship and a family and lo and behold, the Marine Corps is just that. Did she go a little too far? Yes. Unquestionably. But her heart longed, it craved to be seen and to be heard. When I saw all of this last week, I became softer around the edges where I had been a little rough.

 

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”  – 1 Samuel 16:7

 

It is easy to get caught up in what people say or do, sometimes I even get tripped up over words never spoken…things I THINK should be said but aren’t. I know not to focus on what I see and hear but my flesh often burns if I don’t so I give in to make myself temporarily feel better. But is a temporary band-aid because heart knows better.

I know what I was looking for by joining that group in that particular season of my life and here I am, walking along without any other military Mom’s to cry with or text or ask questions as our daughter is at boot camp for the Navy. She left all alone almost two weeks ago so Navy support groups ARE my lifeline for connection. I find myself being a bit more friendlier, a bit more personal and not so information focused. There is a purpose and a season for both. I know what I need and I hope in the future, I can remember to look at the heart of person I just don’t get, that I would seek to understand them better, even if we are both looking for different things.

When I was Better at Things 

I’ve been cleaning out most of my house for over a month. I’ve meticulously gone through each room and purged, sorted and cleaned but don’t be fooled, there’s more to do, and through it I’ve discovered a thing or two.

Like I used to be a better picture printer and picture framer which simple means, my intense love of capturing life is still active and present however my ability and desire to print and frame said love…

Not so much.

Our oldest can fill a wall filled with her face. Our second oldest, maybe but shy a sliver. Our middle child, not so much. Our fourth…not even. Our last…not.

Are you hearing what I am saying? I have officially sucked at photo documenting my last three children’s lives. The only real way I know they exist is because of the massively large pile of laundry that collects on the floor of their rooms and my grocery bill.

Chatbooks…redeem me.

Thank God for counselors and safe people to talk to.

Additionally for the last two weeks of my life, focus has been on our son who recently became a United States Marine. We were there and then we were here and it still all feels like one ginormous dream. THIS IS WHY I CLEANED. We crammed we were intentional with our time to the fullest during our 10 day visit and I have not one single regret. We dropped him off Monday evening to catch a bus to North Carolina and woke up the next morning to Halloween and doctors appointments and I forgot both.

Mom for the win. My brain. It was done.

And trick-or-treating…my children. What ever will they be?

BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO BE SOMETHING!!

One wore a bed sheet which was brilliant and if I had a spare sheet, I would have been cloaked in one as well. The other wore her brothers costume from two years ago, a glow-in-the-dark skeleton figure whose rib cage and pelvis bone accidentally had been tore from the fabric when the dog played a little too aggressive months back. And the other, well…apparently MY poor planning landed him at Grandma’s house sitting on the couch without a costume while all of his friends gathered at some house for a party I KNEW NOTHING ABOUT. 

IMG_5915

I just can’t keep up. Ever have that feeling?

It’s real.

When I started having kids, I was young and full of enthusiasm and energy, even though I was sleep deprived and house bound. My biggest worries were getting my children on a routine, especially a sleep routine, and instilling in them good manners so they played nice with one another and showed up clean and respectful around my mother-in-law. Little people…little problems.

Now a days, everything obviously wains. Life is bigger than it used to be. My kids are and so is the realities of their life. Elementary, Middle and High School. Fitting in, acceptance, and self-esteem. Bullying. Extra-curricular sports, braces, and after school jobs. College visits, meetings with recruiters, enlisting and choose to serve. Boyfriends and girlfriends and knowing where ones value comes from. Heartache and loss. Anxiety, confusion and depression.

What do I want to be when I grow up? WHO do I want to be?

As their life gets bigger so do my prayers and I have far less time than I used to sit around worrying myself if I am living my best life, a woman whose home displays every photo ever taken of her dearly loved children. I find myself so focused on the big details that I often forget the small ones. AND THERE IS A DIFFERENCE. I don’t really care if I forget the classroom snack anymore, seriously I have bigger fish to fry but don’t get me wrong, I will try to have thirty-three organic juice boxes and peanut-free, individually wrapped confections that I make from scratch so to stay in the good graces of the room Mom but…

I cannot do ALL things.

My kids have outnumbered me 5 to 1 and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Sometimes I wish I was more with it, in terms of being the mom I used to be, the one who was at one time super organized and turned every paper in on time, but I am not that person any more. I no longer have THAT life. Now instead of one paper, I have 15. However, I am doing the very best I can and I know that my best is enough. It counts where it should, with WHO it should, and that is where my priority lies.

Friends you might not win in all areas of life. There will be times you’ll fall below the line that is invisibly set by you and the standards of others. You may one day even reach an all time low and fall off the spectrum all together. Good. Create your own. This is not a competition, especially against the person you used to be when you were young and full of enthusiasm and energy. Just do the best YOU can. Your best will look differently in each season so give yourself grace to ebb and flow…what was important in one won’t be as important in another and that is ok.

In fact, it is more than.

The Girl on the Train 

I looked at her standing in the crowd and instantly fell in love. Her hair was unique and fun plus she had the cutest little outfit on but surface aside, she exuded a peaceful confidence … was fierce yet tender, like someone I’d love to sit with and get to know over coffee. However the doors of the subway train opened and she turned and smiled and then walked out of my life and carried on with her day and my friend affair ended. 

And as things go, my sadness dwindled because as a people watcher, there’s a plethora of people to pay attention to. More people to investigate, more people to carefully croon with my curious eyes and my inquisitive heart and more people to day dream about. You know how it goes, if you are one who is even slightly interested in the person standing in front of you, you find yourself in a place of wonder about them. WHO are they and WHAT do they do? I for one cannot stop my brain from checking them out. 

I am THAT person with scrolling eyes who sometimes lingers a little (and awkwardly) too long. And I make no apologies. 

Over the last however many years, I have found myself in a place of intrigue of the human race, particularly drawn to diverse individuals. People who are unique in every way imaginable. Perhaps it’s because I am on my own quest for individuality and self-acceptance. Perhaps that is why I haphazardly chose to graduate college with a Sociology degree.  Perhaps that is also why I love the person of Jesus. 

You know who I mean, right? Not the religion of Jesus or the Church of Jesus that one would attend on a Sunday morning, but the very PERSON of the Lord. 

He has always been and will always be about people. He’s interested. He wants to get to know every single one of us. This is the largest part OF Him that has been most challenging to wrap my brain around. That God Himself, the very One who knit me in my mothers womb and supposedly knows ALL about me, is intrigued and curious about WHO I am. This is NOT the Jesus I grew up hearing about and it BLOWS MY MIND, but here I am, staring some poor lady down in the subway train because she has caught my attention and I wish we had time to talk so I can find out more about her. 

Now I know where I get it from. 

Friends…let yourself me curious about people. Don’t discount the draw. I truly believe we ALL want to be seen. We want to know that someone is interested in WHO we are. Like the REAL us. Not the us that wears cute hair and fun outfits but the us that is honest and quirky, adventurous one minutes and a homebody the next. The us who takes too much on and struggles with temper outbursts and then feels like shit for doing so. The us that decides to try again. 

Jesus wants to know THAT person. 

And if He wants to know them, I want to know them. I don’t want to pass them by because I don’t think it’s His nature to do so. Even if time and situations don’t allow personal interaction, I can give them a part of my heart on the subway train. I can completely envelope them in my love with one simple thought … even as they walk out onto the platform and the doors close quickly behind them. 

Ask The Question

Recently I asked someone a question because I wanted to better understand what was happening in a situation *READ: in our relationship* with them, or more so, what wasn’t, and for the last few days, I have been mulling over their response.

TRYING TO UNDERSTAND IT. 

TRYING TO UNDERSTAND THEM. 

What I have been trying to do is apply their answer, their way of thinking and being and living TO ME. I’ve picked their response up in my hands and dropped it into a compartment in my brain that has been longing for an answer. I’ve attempted to absorb their words into my heart so I could begin to grasp the void that has taken place and in doing so, I’ve become increasingly unsettled.

There has been no reward for my sincere diligence in trying best to understand.

Not Fair.

So yesterday, in the midst of doing everyday random things, Jesus whispered, “Your question is a very good question, but you asked it to the wrong person.” I stopped. In my spirit I knew what He was talking about and soon my conscious mind knew as well.

Asking THEM the question was good. Seeking to understand is not wrong, in fact, communication is a good goal in any relationship, but I needed to start with ME. So the rest of the afternoon, I talked with Jesus about what a particular situation in my life looked like TO JESUS.

TO ME. 

I think it was the best starting point to move forward and to keep connection alone.

If you have a sense of wonder IN you, ask the question. Do not be afraid, like I was that day several weeks again, to come across eager or excited, scared or confused. Just ask the questions that need to be asked so you can better understand.

B-U-T…ask the question first to YOURSELF before you ask it to someone else. Often we (I) want to understand others ideas or their perspective before we’re willing to grapple with our own. I know if I would have asked myself, “What does this look like to ME” and then gave myself permission to be fully honest, I would have most likely rested in my identity and then asked the other person, “What does this look like to YOU?” so we could have moved forward further.

TOGETHER. 

But here we are, in my opinion, stuck. Each with a different idea of how things are to flow. We could have both went forward on the same page, at least in the same book, walking towards a common goal instead of things being left in a state of confusion where expectations take root and people fall short.

Disappointment.

And I have been filled with it. I realize now, it could have been better avoided if I would have just had the guts to ask the questions I really wanted to ask from the get go.

Don’t make assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. – Don Miguel Ruiz

So friends, before you seek to understand someone else and why they do what they do and think like they think, make the time to better understand yourself first. Ask yourself the questions, even the hard ones. I really do believe you can rest a lot easier, be more peace-filled, EVEN JOYFILLED, when YOU know that YOU know…

for YOU.

It turns out my idea of this situation is similar in parts but completely differently then the person I first asked the question to AND THAT IS OK. We all have these pictures in our head of what something looks like. Our lives are all shaped very differently so to say “I am right and you are wrong” serves no purpose. What does serve purpose is the asking, “What does this look like to me?”

This. 👆🏻

You were not created to grace this planet walking around in someone else’s shoes, making your life look like theirs with their thoughts as your own. You were uniquely created so go ahead and ask others the questions in order to better know and understand them. Trying to understand their WHY’S and WHAT’S is good and will help foster intimacy and connection.

Just remember to start with yourself first.

Ask the question.

 

 

 

When Corners are Crooked

As you may know, I’ve spent the last fourteen, now fifteen days of my life immersed in painting projects in my home. Our son is a Marine Recruit in Parris Island SC and will soon be graduating and home for a brief stay. One thing I wanted to do before he came home was paint his room and give it a more mature/adult feel. Well here we are, day fifteen and I’m quickly finding that one painting project leads to two which ultimately leads to six.

I’ve painted his ceiling, cut in the walls, rolled the walls, painted his trim and the door; painted our daughters door because it’s beside his door and well…the difference is noticeable. I painted our front door red becuase we’ve lived here almost sixteen years, and as penitence for my neglect, painted it not three but FIVE coats. Plus there is white trim around the door, touched up red door after splattering with white paint; decided to paint the “other” front door (that we no longer use) so we would be unified and then began painting the outdoor bench with the leftover red paint in pan because I was tired and needed to go to bed and then the white pillars with the leftover white paint in the pan becuase I was bored and still have to touch up white door trim on the THIRD side door (because I loathe my existence) and finish bench, chairs and pillars that are now started but half-assed….plus touch up my son’s ceiling in his bedroom.

Did you follow me? Because I feel confused.

The whole entire point is…do you know how many times I have had to touch things up? A drip here, a drop there? I promise you I do not like to paint and I am no expert…clearly, but once you start, you are compelled to continue or LIFE IS JUST NOT RIGHT. I am not trying to be a perfectionist but when you use RED paint and the corners are crooked, imperfections are noticeable.

And none of us like our imperfections to be noticeable. 

Life is much like my painting projects. One event flows into the next with no definite begin or end and are full of spills and slops (you should see the concrete on my front porch). All I can say at this moment is this: Seldom do things go as planned and rarely do corners match. Mine personally are a little crooked (plus I have a unique one-hundred + year old house) so instead of getting all out of sorts, ALL THE TIME, I do the best I can in making lines meet. My ultimate desire is to merge (rather than collide) colors and in doing so, if I need to take a few extra days (or weeks) and take the painstaking time to touch things up, so be it.

I am tired feeling BAD for needing to touch things up. It happens. Life does.

So for the love of God sweet friends, go easy. Can you tell this is getting worked of me? It’s like showing up for work. I AM punching my time card EVERY DAY. I am in a very grueling yet freeing season of learning to be kind to myself and others by letting go of expectations while maintaining my hopes, dreams and desires and most importantly, not compromising WHO I am.

And when I give myself permission to be me, ALL THE WAY THROUGH, I no longer feel badly for making a few spills a long the way that need touched up as I go. And if I can learn to do this for me…just think of the possibilities. 

YOU would be included.

A win for all.

Progress

Advancement. Growth. Unfolding. Working. Process. Movement. Practice. Stepping.

These are all words I’ve used to describe life and though there are moments when I would use other words, I’d say I consistently choose these ones because they are all relatively positive and enough relatively positive moments mean something GOOD is taking place.

Life is.

But let’s not hung up on my word choices because I’ve seen word choices hang people up ** as in SHUT PEOPLE UP ** So let’s do this…before we go any further, posture yourself to hear my heart more than you hear my words because the last thing I’d want is to trip you up with mine. 

Ultimately, my words convey that I’m somewhere fluid and not just sitting stagnate, decaying in some corner sucking my thumb. I’m developing. I am a work in progress, like film taken from a camera that finds herself in a dark room for a short periods of time behind some closed door. But here’s the thing…the very best moments happen in the dark, like the development of life’s precious ones. 

For the last TWO WEEKS, I’ve been painting. To hear myself say those words, one would think I’ve painted my whole house, but that’s not the case. Not in the least. I have in fact painted my sons bedroom from top to bottom, some doors, a rocking chair and the start of a bench. I wanted to be done three days ago but I’ve found myself standing on my front porch at 7:45 PM more days than not and am tired of wearing crappy clothes and being adorned with grey, red and white hands. I’m slightly exhausted and ready to move on with regular living, but here I am, still painting. 

Why in the hell is this taking so long? 

Good question. 

For a bit yesterday, I began to feel bad, like l-o-s-e-r bad. Like I SHOULD have been done, I should have been THERE, but I’m not. I am HERE, still. And since thinking like that was getting me NO WHERE fast, I decided to think about Jesus who says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” – Matthew 5:44 Sometimes, I am my own worst enemy. This is truth. Sometimes I don’t need your opinions of me, I have enough of my own. During times like this, when I start to feel the weight of my own expectations and that I should be further along than I am, I have to choose to step back and remember I AM making headway. I AM advancing, growing, unfolding, working…

I AM IN PROGRESS. 

Matthew 5:44 helps me remember to go easy, to let my enemy off the hook and remove the chains, even when I’m the continued culprit that places them there. It helps me remember to be kinder to myself because in the end, I am commanded to love my neighbor as myself and if I am being a little too hard HERE…won’t I also be little too hard THERE…with you?

YES. 

So I keep at it. Because really that’s all I have to do in this great life **I just need to keep at it** It’s the place between the starting line and the finish. It’s the place between where film is placed IN the camera and the picture is placed ON the wall. Ultimately it is one brutiful and ongoing conversation with Truth Himself…asking Him what is mine. 

You don’t need to be any place other than where you are at. – Jesus

Keep painting today my friends. At least keep takling what’s on your plate, on your mind and in your heart. I’m going to keep takling mine. If that’s all we get done today, it will be enough. 

 

Shift

We are seven weeks into boot camp which means we are on day forty-eight and have one scripted phone call and ten letters. The long and the short of it is is…I miss our son. What I wouldn’t do to hear his voice and to tell him I love him.

And on Friday at 9:46 AM he called my phone.

I was giving my full attention to the person I was in a meeting with and when they walked out the door and I looked down at my phone, my heart broke. I had missed him. Maybe it was my own sadness and longing to connect but a very big part of me heard it in his voice as well. My son on the other end, miles and hours away, longing to do the same and here we were, both broken for it.

A lot of emotions started to go through me.

*I was thankful I got to hear his voice. This was not a scripted call nor did he yell into the phone as Marine Recruits typically do. This was our son. Our compassionate, loyal and witty son. “Hi Mom, its Tristan…” He sounded serene, mature and my thoughts drifted to gratitude.

*I was angry. Angry at the person who preoccupied my time. Angry at being distracted that I couldn’t even look down at the screen of my watch to see who was calling. Bitter, my heart was turning ugly.

*I was heartbroken. I write him several times a week and in each letter I tell him how much I love him, how much we ALL do but knowing he was trying to reach out and I had missed an opportunity to audibly speak those words….it just hurt. I called his girlfriend, which looking back now was the WRONG person to call. You don’t ever call the girlfriend because part of me thinks that was just mean, but sometimes you just need someone to cry WITH you. Someone who gets it, who gets YOU. 

This is just a small example of life as of late. Thoughts and emotions are all over the place for all particular reasons. Our son was calling us to let us know they were evacuating the base because of Hurricane Irma and as I sat in my vehicle praying for this natural storm to disippate, I realized I needed to shift my attention and my focus to the storm inside of me. *CATEGORY TEN* I don’t know how, on my own, to stop it. It’s raging and appears to be gaining speed with gale force winds and destruction that’s imminent. I want nothing more than to hide under the bow of my boat as the water laps my feet, deep within myself, and stay there safe and protected, but I hear Jesus whisper, “Stand and speak to the storm.”

So today I took a stand. I made a phone call. I made two. I reached out for help. I need to start focusing on navigating MY boat. As much as I care for the safety of others, I won’t do anyone good if I drown in a few inches worth of water.

Sometimes the first person you need to save is yourself.

Speak to YOUR storm.

Capsize

I used to think that if I trusted the Lord enough with my heart, I could withstand whatever came my way. And when I say withstand, I really mean “with ease”. I would not be as buffeted by the waves and the wind, I could still swim and not drown in a sea that was trying to consume me. I still believe this deep down but experience has taught me to approach life a little differently. Time spent with Jesus and time spent with others have shown me…steadily swimming, stepping, and standing looks like something. In fact, it looks like someone. I have a very big part in HOW I withstand.

I sat a couple of weeks ago in a circle of ladies, in a women’s group that I started over seven years ago, as we shared openly. We have cultivated an atmosphere of honesty, trust, and faithfulness and there I sat that particular morning, being partial and half in all of these things. Why? I was afraid to show up honest, being completely raw and naked in a space that I helped create to be just that. Why was I struggling with this?

Trust.

My “used to” way of thinking has come from experiences where I bared my soul and cracked myself wide open, not FOR them but FOR me, and found that not everyone is safe to do that with. Some have gossiped or shared or poked fun. Some have genuinely cared but had not the maturity and/or the knowledge to know what to do with it, to do with ME, and they mishandled my heart in ways that wound. NOT intentional I know. 

IS the person of Jesus enough in these places? Yes. Does He reach His hand into the water when I’m drowning? Yes. Does He walk me through and grow me regardless? Will He restore and heal? Yes. Does He love them just as much as He does me and care about their process just as much as He does mine? Well, yes.

I CAN trust Him that much.

But I no longer think my heart, and the contents of it, should be so casually or flippantly laid bare.

I’ve sat with the Lord a great deal since that morning and asked Him WHY I’ve come to guard my heart in such a way, as in protect. I realize I feel safer offering my heart in this sort of format, but not so much in that. Why?

Control. And control as I know it is rooted in fear.

If I open up and share my heart HERE…in a blog or some post and it goes out to the world then I’ve beat you all to the punch. There’s little to no intimacy required on my end even though I’ve given the appearance of depth…of being open and honest. I type, I click and I share. What you do with it then is really up to you, but I can step out of the picture and tarry on with my day. However, when I sit face to face and our eyes make contact I find myself in a place of intimacy and connection and the waters rise…there is nowhere to run. No where to tarry on to.

Sometimes I don’t know what to do there. It is harder to recover when things in THAT space become misaligned. Impossible, no. Harder, yes.

This knowledge is a double-edged sword right now in my mind and heart. I believe strongly in being open and honest. Open where you show up fully you, uninhibited and honest where you present your heart like an offering. I believe that when you do, His love is strong and wide enough to cover all sins…even sins against your gift of vulnerability…even YOUR sins. Sins like expectations that set others up for failure and you up for disappointment when responses are different than anticipated. 

BUT (here’s the other end of the sword) I also believe not every person is at a place in his or her life where they are to walk with you and your truth. Not everyone’s response is safe. Your boat should not rest in everyone’s harbor.

Sometimes I wonder outside of how I FEEL, what I truly believe in my core.

So I’ll end with this: I’m going to keep swimming, stepping and standing with Jesus. I’ll keep trying to show up ME, as open and as honest as I can in that moment, I won’t try to BE somewhere I am not. I’ll keep trusting that my heart is focused on the Lord and that through Him and His love, I’ll be shown how to best live this life through the lens of Love.

If there is a harbor, I want to abide in it regardless of wether I feel it is safe. His love capsizes me with grace to know He is with me in it and I just know if I keep choosing to show up, eventually I will.

Fully.

 

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑