Sunday, May 3, 2015

Writing With Too Many Words

I've started writing a few blogs lately, but they turn into ramblings without any purpose. Writing that is more suited for a journal than an online blog open for the world to read.

I've been living a life of false strength for a while now. Putting up walls that appear to hold everything together because I am so afraid to show weakness. Afraid to show that I don't have it all together because I have put so much pressure on myself to have it together by now. I've been divorced for almost 5 years now -5 YEARS!!! Some days it feels like yesterday, but most days it feels like a lifetime ago. I have very few memories of being married and those I have are great memories of being married...not so great memories of the person I was married to.

In many ways I do have my life together. My kids and I have  great home in an safe city. We have friends who care about us, family close by. I have a well-paying job where I am appreciated, have medical benefits and have a flexible schedule. We are so blessed with always having food and money for fun adventures. The boys have a stable environment, they are thriving in school and sports and are (for the most part) happy, friendly boys.

Life is good.

Life is also lonely. For too long I have been trying to do life alone. I let people in just enough so I don't need to show them the tough parts. I'm really struggling with feeling sorry for my divorced life right now. My boys are getting a sister soon and their dad is leaving for months again. Neither of which have anything to do with me, but both impact my life immensely. Nights like this are the most lonely - where I need a shoulder to cry on just to cry, but need to stay strong for my boys. I feel needy and selfish. I have even withdrawn from God so much that I am often afraid of crying out to Him. Afraid to have Him hold me and love me. Afraid to have Him break these chains of unworthiness. Afraid to live again. Afraid to accept that this life will follow me no matter how much I "have it all together". Marriage is not meant to be broken, but I am not meant to be bound by the chains of divorce.

There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain...

Yes EVERY chain. Even my chains. The ones I am coming to realize I keep putting back on myself. I need to be strong...not this false strength I've been hiding behind. But the strength to face this unwarranted fear of crying out to Jesus. To surrender my control issues (I am also realizing how much I like to be in control) and reach out to my Father to hold me and love me. To be strong enough to stop caring what people think about how I look or what I do. To live for Christ. To live for my boys. To live for me.

And, once again, I'm writing with too many words...

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

2015 - The Year of GRACE

I don't like to make New Years Resolutions, but over the past few years I have had a pretty clear message from God about what character virtue He wants to grow in me and this year it is grace - grace for others, but more than that, grace for myself. 

I grew up feeling like I had to be perfect to be loved. Love was very conditional in my home. I felt like everything I did was wrong. I wasn't allowed the grace to make mistakes and certainly wasn't shown mercy when I messed up. 

This carried over into my adult life where I left I had to be perfect for my husband to love me. To wound me deeper, once that perfect shell started to crack, he left me and our kids. I felt like I would never myself again. I hated who I was because if I wasn't good enough for my husband, who would I ever be good enough for?

With counseling I learned to love myself again, and drawing near to God, I learned His unconditional love. I knew He made me in His perfect image. That He loved me as I was and I loved me as I was...but I still felt that it wouldn't I wasn't good enough for anyone else. You see, God loved me because I am His child. I accept me and love me because I know God does, but I'm flawed. I lose my temper with my kids. I go long periods of time without picking up my bible or go to church (that's another blog topic), I'm overweight again, I have dark circles under my eyes, I leave my dishes for days sometimes and I leave half-full water bottles everywhere while we are experiencing a drought. Who, outside of God and myself, is going to love that?

Someone will one day. God told me that. 

He also told me that I need to give myself grace. If I don't need to be perfect for Him, I certainly don't need to be perfect for anyone else. I am wonderfully made by Him and I need to give myself grace to make mistakes and know that I didn't fail. Know that I am worthy of being loved - flaws and all. At work. At home. At church. With friends. 

He also reminded me that people aren't out to get me when they mess up. Others make mistakes. Others don't meet my expectations. Others make my life harder - but not on purpose. They're human, flawed - and wonderfully made by God too! 

I used to be one who gave everyone the benefit of the doubt. I though people had good intentions, and if they didn't, I was kind-hearted enough to forgive, but I always thought the best of people first. 

This is the year I go back to being that person. The years I give grace to people - even my ex-husband - and myself. Give people the freedom to make mistakes without fear of ruining a friendship, getting yelled at or feeling like a failure themselves. 

"but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

I want my heart to overflow with His Love and Grace!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Worth the risk

Oh no, my walls are gonna break
So close, its more than I can take
I'm so tired of turning and running away
When love just isn't...

Everything you want, but its everything you need
Its not always happy endings but its all the in between
Its taken so long, so long to finally see
That Your love is worth the risk
Safe by Britt Nicole

After my divorce I spent a lot of time opening up to people about my circumstances and it was welcomed with warm hearts and compassion from people. I had so much support and received so much love as I learned about who I am. I have spent a lot of time loving on broken people and re-giving the compassion given to me. I thought I was open, honest and vulnerable with people...

Until I started to date again. At first I thought it was my finickiness  but soon realized that I was afraid. I was afraid to love. I was afraid of rejection. I was afraid that the person I had come to know in myself wouldn't be accepted unconditionally by anyone else. I learned I hadn't fully accepted that person either. 

I put up walls to protect myself from that rejection and ended up sabotaging anything that meant letting someone in to know the "real" me. I wanted to be safe. I figured if I was intentional I'd be safe. Too bad its not what God has called me or you to do. 

Starting last year, I decided to make only one New Years' resolution and it was to say "yes" to God. This year, my resolution is to stop living safe and to love like crazy. To do that, my walls have to break and I have to let people see the real me...I have to let people KNOW the real me. 

I get anxiety just thinking about it, but I know it is how God is calling me to live. I accepted myself and see myself through God's eyes. Now it is time to let others do the same.

His love is worth the risk...

Monday, October 15, 2012

The desires of our heart

Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 34:7

In the church today, many Christians (especially singles) buy into this idea that if they are living for God they get everything they desire: marriage, kids, house, job...sounds to me a little more like the American dream with a little God thrown in as a magic genie. A sense of entitlement with  some God to make it seem like we are not so self-serving. It's all the same...I do this for You God and You give me everything I desire. Because You are good, right?

I know that sounds harsh, and I used to buy into this too, but what if what we desire isn't what is best for us? What if our desires, though they may be good, aren't going to be God's best?

I truly believe that God puts these good desires in our hearts. These are good things, but what happens when these desires keep us from God and get in the way of a complete, honest relationship with our Creator? The desires can become what we live for and our identity instead of living for God and finding out identity in Christ. There are so many good-hearted people telling single Christians that if they are following God's will, they will get married...He will bless them with children...they will own a home...they will have their dream job...

I desires all of those things too (maybe no more kids), but I am finally okay with just me, God and my kids for the rest of my life if that is how I can serve Him the best. If I can love Jesus and people best in the place I am in right now, then I will trust God that I am not meant to get remarried or have a house again. If an apartment is it, then so be it!

I want to love God because he is my Abba Father and not because I get anything from it. He has already given me EVERYTHING I need.

I'm not saying this is easy or that my desires always fall beneath my desire for Jesus...more often than not I find my priorities  shifting towards my wants. The power of positive thinking doesn't change that nor does trying harder, but keeping my eyes on Him and my heart filled with Him does.

Check out this great advice column about this topic: Will God Grant Me The Desires of My Heart?   

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Preschool Theology and Life's Toughest Questions

When Austin was 4, I remember answering similar questions from him.

Tonight, Ryan asked me some of life's toughest questions on the way home from church.

Why do people die?
Who is Jesus?
Why did He die on the cross?
What is sin?
Will Papa die?
Who will drive our cars if we die?
I don't want to die.

So the last one is a statement, but most people would freak out if their 4-year-old asked these questions. Me? Well, I smiled and thanked God for His Love and Jesus, and gave my son answers filled with hope and eternity with our Creator. He still doesn't want to die, but I don't blame him. That's a difficult one for a 4-year-old who can't imagine God will have more awesome toys than the ones he has now.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Facing my giants

I had to face one of my giants last night. I didn't think it was a giant anymore, but as it turns out, it was a pretty big, anxious, traumatic giant.

The last time I was in the hospital (for myself) if was life-threatening. The healing process was long and the post-traumatic stress effected a lot of people around me, including my marriage. Read here for the story of my Factor V Deficiency and my last hospital stay, see here. 

A few weeks ago I got a pedicure (which I have been enjoying on the weekends the boys are with their dad.)  and, unfortunately, I received a bad one.

The woman cut into my hang nail and cut my skin. It got infected - badly - and ingrown even worse. After 10 days of antibiotics didn't work, I ended up in the ER to get it removed.

It's a simple in-office procedure. Why the ER you ask?

The last time I had a partial toenail taken off they did it in the OR with FFP (fresh frozen plasma). Everything has been preventative because of my disorder until the fiasco of Ryan's birth (again read the story.)

Going to the hospital last night, knowing the possibility of having to get FFP again was terrifying. I was so emotional, anxious and afraid. But I went. I faced it head on and came home without any FFP and part of my big toenail missing. I can't say this giant is gone for good, but I pray my visits to the hospital for myself (and for others) remain just as rare as they have been.

*For a great book on facing your own giants, read Facing Your Giant by Max Lucado. 


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Hope Now

I don't think I've been making very good "eternally-focused" choices lately. I don't think I've been living an "eternally-focused" life lately. It sucks to realize it, but it's hopeful that I have.