All Grown Up with lots of Scars

Despite my genuine desrie to let them go, many layers of my childhood have hung on to me like an uncomfortable coat, hindering rather than protecting.

Even though the sting might have been removed, the scars remained, staring me in the face day in and day out. I simply could not let go the pain.

One of my very first memories is of the day I went to my first costume party. I vividly recall my conversation I had with another other little girl, while sitting on a carpeted staircase in the hallway.

“What are you disguised at?” she asked innocently.

I instantly shriveled all the way down to nothing on the inside.

She could not tell what I was disguised at. She could not tell who I was.

I wasn’t anyone real.

I was a nobody.

This happened over fifty years ago, yet I can still feel my cheeks turning hot and the shame filling me; I wished  the stairs could swallow me up.

 

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For twelve long years, I held on to the shame.

Childish? Yep.  Yet as real as can be.

It took the Lord Jesus giving me a new identity for me to let go the humiliation.

It took His love convincing me that I was not a nobody.

The message of the costume party lost its power.

No more power to make me feel inferior, no more power to make me feel powerless and immaterial.

And so it was with many, many childhood experiences and memories. Layer by layer, Jesus caused them to lose their power over me.

My mom, she raised me the best she knew how, amidst her own insecurities and skewed perceptions.

My dad, he loved me the best he knew how, amidst his own limiting beliefs and hindered potential.

And Jesus became my knight in shining armor, powerfully rescuing me from it all.

But this wonderful, kind Jesus, He did not remove the scars.

And at first, these scars, they still had a loud voice.

They spoke of how my future would be tough. They said that I wasn’t going to make it. I might not be a nobody anymore, but I still wasn’t all that and a bag of chips, you know?

And as the years went on, I let Jesus work with my mind and my heart.

I changed, I became softer, I became stronger.

I became confident in Him.

And this  wonderful, kind Jesus, He never removed the scars.

And for that, I am eternally grateful.

Because these scars, they no longer feel like a heavy chain that I tote around with me wherever I go. They simply serve to remind me where I came from.

These scars, they are part of the fabric of who I am.

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These scars, they keep me humble.

These scars, they tell the story of rescue.

These scars, they say that I was worth rescuing.

When I was a child, I thought like a child, and the scars meant that I was a nobody.

Today, the very same scars empower me to be filtered by love. I am no longer quick to pass judgment on people’s actions.

Because we all have scars, you know.

And many of these beautiful people, they haven’t yet met with their k\Knight in shining armour.

 

We are a group of women who help each other stay accountable as we learn to #ownourlives. You are welcomed to join us here.

Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

 

Story

Cozily laying in bed with my four year old little girl after her nap, I started the story like this: “So this little boy had a big dog that no one liked because it was ugly in everybody’s eyes.  But the little boy did not see him like that.  All he saw every time he looked at his dog was how much fun they had together every day. So…”

She picked up the story and told us about the games they played in the back yard, and the ball that he popped, and his tongue licking water. And then it was my turn again.

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Our story lasted about 20 minutes, and our little boy and his dog wound up facing a bear, and a fairy princess, and a castle and a river, and a football, Africa and China.  We giggled and almost cried and made the world big and tall and scary and beautiful and exciting. And her eyes, they were twinkling with pleasure. And my heart, it was bursting with joy.

And now she is all grown-up, my little girl. Over the years, life taught her that the world is big and tall and scary and beautiful and exciting. And she grew up strong, filled with grace and courage and dreams.

At times, in the early evening, we sit together in our sun room and I begin a story.  “So, there was this tree, and…”

 

We are a group of women who help each other stay accountable as we learn to #ownourlives. You are welcomed to join us here.

Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

 

Only One Foot

We had peanut butter and nutella sandwiches with cucumber slices for lunch, and we made a fort in which she whispered to me, “Grand’ma, I’m so glad we get to spend time together.”

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We went on a scavenger hunt during which we found 5 acorns, one stone, one stick with mushrooms on it and a bird house with bird poop inside.

We took a long walk uphill to go look at a carved owl and we touched its eyes and beak. Then we turned around and she started to run down the hill, but her little three year old legs kind of felt like they were going a little too fast with the momentum.

“Grand’ma, please, carry me, ’cause I’m scared to fall.”

I tightened my grip on her little hand.

“We aren’t going to fall if we don’t rush, Emmaline,” I said. “If we just put one foot in front of the other and don’t rush, we are going to get there safely.”

“Okay, Grand-ma.” She held on to my hand for dear life. “Okay, Grand-ma.” she said again. “One foot in front of the other and we don’t rush.”

“Yeah, and we can have some hot cocoa when we get home!”

She relaxed her little hand in mine. “And put some cream on our hands to make them oh-so-soft?”

We put one foot in front of the other, my Emmaline and I, and we made it home in one piece.

And I keep replaying in my mind the picture of her little legs carefully walking down the steep hill one foot at a time. And how easy it really was to get home safely.

Tomorrow, when life’s momentum feels a bit too fast and scary, I am going to hear her voice in my head, “Okay Grand-ma. One foot in front of the other and we don’t rush.”

I am going to trust my Father because He says that I am going to get home safely. And I am going to relax my hand in His, and just put one foot in front of the other.

Blood Work

“We better get some blood work done to figure this out,” Dr. Bassmen said. “The timing of all of this might be coincidental since you responded well to the meds.”

So to the lab I went.

I never get sick. My mind just doesn’t think in sickness. I joke and tell people they can catch my health. Well, it’s only half a joke–I really think they can… health can be contagious, you know.

So when I woke up with red patches all over my chest one day, I kind of ignored them. Until they covered my entire body a few days later. Turns out it was Lyme disease. Nasty stuff.

And then, I just did not feel right after the antibiotics were done. Thus the blood work.

Sitting in the lab, I watched my blood filling the little vials, one by one. And I marveled at the fact that the answer to my symptoms was hidden within this blood that runs through my veins. In a few hours, tests performed on this blood will reveal what’s up with my body.

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“The answer is in the blood,” I heard Him whisper in my spirit.

I love how God speaks to me about deep stuff in the most ordinary of moments.

My blood will show the doctors what my body needs. His blood has shown the way for the healing of man. From the inside out–Spirit, Soul and Body.

My blood will make a way for me to get better. His blood has made a way for the world to be free. From the inside out–Spirit, Soul and Body.

The blood, it holds the answer to all of mankind’s questions.

The man in the lab labels my vials and puts a band-aid on my arm.

“All done,” he said. “You are free to go now.”

I roll my sleeve back down and thank him. And I leave with a skip in my step.

My blood will disclose what I need. But one thing I know: I am all done indeed. The blood has set me free. From the inside out.

 

We are a small group of women who help each other own our lives with joy. You are welcome to join us here.

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings,Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What this Homeless Man taught my Heart

My entire life, I have avoided confrontations with the “homeless”, the “mentally deranged”, the “wierdos”–you know, those who are not like me. I judged them as having made their own misery in many ways. On the other hand, their pain and needs were such a raw bottomless pit that it scared me out of my mind.

I refused to be involved, to be associated with “them.” I pretended they did not exist. Or at least I pretended that I did not see them.

So when I noticed him moving towards us, with his unshaven face and rumpled clothes, I walked a bit closer to my husband and kept my eyes glued to the sidewalk.

“Do you have some spare change for me?” he said.

“Sorry, Bud,” my husband said. “I don’t.” I instincitvely grabbed my husband’s hand and quickened my step. But I felt the man’s eyes staring at me, and I finally lifted my face.

“Do you think I’m gonna hurt you or something?” he asked. “You go grabbing your man’s hand for dear life like that…  I’m not gonna hurt you.”

“Oh no, that’s not it,” I fumbled.  “It’s just… you know, I wanted to hold his hand.”

He smiled a toohtless smile.

“Well, you two have a good day now,” he said. And he walked away.

I never even thought to ask him his name. Or how he was. Or why he needed some change. All I wanted was to put as much distance between him and I as possible. Pretend he wasn’t there. Pretend he didn’t ask.  Forget I blew him off.

My stomach lurched with guilt.

And thus my heart began a brand new journey.

So maybe human misery is a bottomless pit, but it does not excuse me from valuing each life. So maybe human misery is the consequences of choices, but it does not excuse me from treating people with respect.

This man in the heart of the city, he needed to be recognized as a person, just as I do. Valued as a human being, just as I do.  Bur I did not even give him that dignity–I acted as though he was an inconvenience. A threat.

How would I feel if someone let me know they thought I was an inconvenience?

This homeless man in the heart of the city and I, we aren’t much different. We share the same struggles, hopes and joys. The same longings, hungers and sorrow. We have a shared humanity.

The difference between him and I is that he knew he needed help, and I did not–until he showed me I did.

So maybe I cannot help the bottomless pain of poverty, but I can look at those less fortunate in the eye and let them know they matter. And maybe I can make a sandwich or two if I am afraid that my change will be spent on alcohol.

And if nothing else, I can smile.

The homeless man did.

Shared humanity indeed.

 

Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday, WFMW, Tell His Story, Testimony Tuesday, ThreeWords Wednesday

 

 

 

Keys for Courage

More often than not, I don’t feel very courageous. I feel more like running and hiding under my pillow in my warm and comfortable bed.

Facing life head on is scary.

Courage takes courage.

Yet in His word, God commands me to be courageous. That’s a pretty strong word, “command,” don’t you think? But I can’t change the words right there, in black and white in front of me: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

If courage is commanded, courage must be possible.

Over the last fifty-seven years, I have failed at courage many times, taking a huge detour so I did not have to be. But I also have won at courage. When I have, it’s mostly been very quietly, one little step at a time, until I found a new boldness rising up inside of me, and I did “it” filled with fear, but I did it. God never belittles me for my lack of courage in the little and the big. But He always encourages me to go deeper, and deeper, and deeper in Him. Because He knows that when I see Him clearly, I will be fine–no matter what I am facing.

Like when I got in my car and drove in horrible weather shaking in my boots. No amount of deep breathing got the shaking stopping, but I did it.

And when I stood up to speak in front of 300 people and my voice refused to obey me. But I pressed through and did it anyways.

And when I forgave someone who turned my life upside down and wounded me in the deepest part of my being, letting go of the righteous gut-wrenching pain of unfairness.

And in all of these, here are the two secrets I discovered:

  1. There is no courage available in me. Courage does not come from the inside. True courage is found when I remember who God is, when I remember that He goes with me. 

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Shaking in my car and in front of all those people, I knew that God Himself was with me. Forgiving the unforgiveable, I knew that I was being graced to mirror my Savior who was leading me.

You can’ fake His presence. You can’t fake courage.

2.Give thanks

I have no courage when I look at what I do not have, my inabilities, inadequacies and short-comings. Because in those moments, I completely forget what I actually do have going for me.

When I remember that God is with me, I begin to see that with Him comes all provision necessary. And as I begin to give thanks for these realities, I sense my very spirits becoming filled with confidence. I stop thinking out of a place of lack and begin to think in view of what I do have.

Filling my mind with the awareness of what is for me puts strength inside of me, and this strength turns into the courage to do what I have to do, whether it is driving in the snow or forgiving the unforgiveable.

 

We are a group of women who help each other stay accountable as we learn to #ownourlives. You are welcomed to join us here.

Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

Loving on You

Here I smile at the thought of you, a new life to cherish, to shape, to nourish. A new life to fill with the awareness that you have been loved before you ever were, that you are loved right now, and you will be loved when you mess up big time. Loved with a love that does not depend on performance.

You nestled yourself in our hearts, so quickly, so naturally.  From your ninety-two year old great-grand-mother across the miles to your “big” sister across the room, there are generations ready to love you into life.

 

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Your new life, it is  filled with hope, and dreams, and birthdays to come, and future laughter and giggles. Play cars and first real cars and trucks and motorcycles. Scraped knees and trophies and little league wins and defeats. The meaning of life, and ice cream and laundry and theological discussions. Diplomas. Weddings. Babies to love and cherish, new lives filled with hope, and dreams, and birthdays to come…

And we stand at the edge of this new generation, your great-grand-mothers and I, filled with childish wonder and the wisdom of life, purposefully stepping back and letting you take your place. Ready to cheer you on as you run your own race.

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When your papa was the new life, I taught him with words, and experiences, and discipline and hugs. It was loud and fast and gloriously busy.

I make my mark on this earth more subtly now, gracefully handing down the spotlight to the one you came from, and the one you are becoming.

In the years of life lived with my God, I have learned what love is because He first loved me. He loves me in the good, and He loves me in the bad. He loves regardless. He loves because. He loves on purpose.

He loves so that we will always know that we matter. You will always know that you matter.

And the teaching is in the loving.

 

Feel free to join us. We are a group of women who are helping each other own our lives and play full out. Please join us here.

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings,Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life,Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

 

Opposite Sides of the Fence

In 2014, my sister’s two Palestinian sons faced war, and my heart was ripped apart.

At the beginning of 2017, my sister and I, we still live on different continents, and we again stand on two opposite sides of the political world we live  in.

I see things one way, she sees the safety of her children threatened by imminent decisions of our governements.  Everyone’s feelings are hightened by social medial and the news–indignation runs rampid, words fly too fast, emotions are raw.

And I love her while my heart is breaking for us.

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And my mother, she has grand-children on both sides of the fence.

And I’ve run out of words.

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But one thing I know: Love never fails

I pray that my love will be enough to create a bridge between the two sides. I pray that the fence would have no deadly jaggers woven within, that we might take it down despite fundamentally opposite beliefs.

I pray for a miracle.

 

We are a small group of women who help each other own our lives with joy. Feel free to join us here.

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings,Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

Owning My Life

Anyone who knows me even just a little bit knows that I am all about #ownyourlife. All that I do publicly and personally has to do with empowering myself first, and then as many as will come with me to play full out. To live on purpose with joy. To own their lives.

From exercise classes to coaching to having coffee with a friend and playing with my grand-daughters, it’s ALL about empowerment. Dignity regained. Being intentional. Real. Full of integrity.

This passion–calling maybe?–has been woven into me through years of research and discovery, but mainly years of seeing the destruction in people’s lives when they think of themselves as victims, when they allow themselves to be disempowered, weakened by the words and actions of others, or even at times their own. I love people too much to let things stand still.

And I am loved for it. And I am hated for it.

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But I forge forward, because this is the very fiber of who I am.

I cannot not.

So when my life came to a crossroad a few weeks ago, I heard my own words in my head, and I knew I had to walk the walk of my talk: own my life and choose on purpose.

And that is when the voices started to harass me: What will people say? What will they think of you? After all these years, you do what? That’s insane. You are fifty-seven years old for goodness sake! Start anew now? Ridiculous. Stupid. A bad idea.

The “fear of man” consumed me, the nervousness of newness made me sick to my stomach. Choose to not do what I knew I needed to, or go for it, roll my sleeves up once more, and risk loosing credibility?

And it all comes down to this: do I believe my message of being intentional and owning my life? Do I believe that God will walk with me through what is next, whatever it is? Do I believe that what I am called to do is important enough to risk losing certain things?

And the answer is, yes, I believe.

I will walk the walk and own my life. I hope you are going to come with me.

 

We are a small group of women who help each other own our lives with joy. Feel free to join us here.

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings,Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

 

Full of Courage, they Fought…

I met Ashley when her crackly voice wouldn’t get better and the pounds kept melting off of her body. She came to visit me with her mom, one of my exercise sisters.  We talked and laughed and I felt like I always knew her.

Her eyes danced, full of life and mischief.

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And thus began a journey.

The voice and the pounds, they were the tip of an iceberg that Ashley fought with courage for the next year. Specialists from all over the world got together on her behalf.

Chemo. And her Momma, she stood by her.

The smile and the tears, they melted together.

And her eyes, they still danced, full of life.

The exercise sisters and I, we rooted her and her mom on.  We baked a zillion Christmas cookies to help them celebrate, and tucked her favorite CDs and coloring books in the basket for the long hospital days.

Chemo. Surgeries. And her Momma, she stood by her.

Her brother died tregically, and we met again, talking of resilience and joy in the midst of raw grief. We cried and laughed, and I marveled at her and her Momma, at their strength and unshakable commitment to each other.

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And our hearts, they got knit a bit more.

Chemo. Surgeries. Radiation. And her Momma, she stood by her.

And then, Ashley turned 32, and we partied big with cake and friends and a great celebration of life lived fully, moment by moment. And Ashley’s eyes, they danced with gratitude as she took in the love.

And the exercise sisters, they just showed up. Sometimes, that’s the best we can do.

Chemo. Surgeries. Raditation. Pain pump. And her Momma, she stood by her.

And then, there was a wedding.

Savoring the moments, pain pump and all.

And Ashley’s body, it had no more pounds to lose . And her Momma, she stood by her.

And Ashley’s heart, it kept growing deeper in love with the Shepherd who never left her alone, not even for one second.

Fighting at first, then accepting of seasons, Ashley’s dancing eyes smiled one last time as she quietly traveled on to Heaven, filled with the life and love of those all around her.

And her Momma, she loved her so well.

 

We are a small group of women who help each other own our lives with joy. Feel free to join us here.

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings,Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story