Friday, December 2, 2016

From Rejected to Accepted

So it's officially December which means it really finally is okay to get by with listening to Christmas music, watch the movies and cartoons and the like without getting to many looks that if possible would cause serious harm Hopefully this time of year is filled more with fun times and making traditions but it is also a difficult time that I think amplifies some feelings and things people deal with including loneliness, abandonment and rejection.I can't remember if I wrote about the book or not but earlier this year I found and read a book titled,Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely by Lysa TerKeurst and I highly recommend it. That and several other things that has occurred this year has really helped me. Now I'm just typing cause I don't want to tell you what I'm still not sure I am supposed to write in these next few sentences. Like I'm feeling a bit nauseous, biting my fingernails (have had a bit of a slip up with that nervous habit), leg shaking kind of not wanting to type this. Deep breath and let's go....In the book Lysa Terkeurst in part writes about her dad leaving and not having a relationship with him and feeling rejected. And maybe it's just me but it seems quite difficult to find Christian based books that talk about a parent leaving, not even sure it's really talked about so this reading about this really helped. For my story it wasn't my dad that wasn't around it was my mom. I'll leave it at I did hear from her from time to time and I'm not playing the blame game, no hard feelings toward her and ultimately it happened for a reason it's all good. But with that I don't really know what it is to have a mom or those things that is done with mom's but thankfully I had my grandma and I always looked at her as my mom, always will really. That's not to take anything from my mom or meaning to be rude or disrespectful towards her. So I've dealt with the lies of feeling abandoned and rejected, again I am not laying blame on anyone because it's just lies. But if I continue to be honest I have also dealt with believing the lie that God hated me and I must have been a terrible person because of things that happened. Now that I have shared way more than I am comfortable sharing I told that little bit to get from there to the truth. As I always say everything happens for a reason and you meet everyone for a reason. I believe what I went through 1) was no fault of my own and ultimately it was the best thing that could have happened and 2) because of it I believe I will be able to help and/or encourage others that have went through similar situations. To be honest as recent as last year I still struggled with the abandonment and rejection and trying to keep people at a distance and the walls up. Here's why I think everything happens for a reason and you meet people for a reason (and if you read to the end there's a few more of those moments that have recently happened to me that I'll share). But last year at the church I go to there was a retreat thing and as I was sitting there listening  I was also thinking I just needed to leave, I had the it's going to be late when you get home, you don't need to be here, you're not going to hear anything to help, etc. In the midst of just about to go ahead and leave I hear something along the lines of (they were talking about Joseph, coat of many colors Joseph), 'He grew up without a mom, didn't have a mom influence.' and I had a major boy I wish it was possible to ask if she said what I think she just said and then I thought well now I have to stay cause maybe they'll repeat that and I had a did he really, well I guess so I never thought of that, that's odd one never really thinks of that. Well God loved Joseph and he grew up without a mom so maybe, just maybe all this time I've believed a lie that God hated me. I'm doing a really bad job at making my point but my point is we all have felt rejected and maybe even abandoned by someone be it a parent, friend, loved one, significant other we've unfortunately at some point been there. And for me when I felt that sometimes it felt strongest during the holidays and there would be the lies that it was my fault, I'm a terrible person, I'm not worthy, etc. So if you are struggling with that as sound and true as what is going through your mind please know you did nothing wrong it's not your fault or even if you did it's okay because sometimes what we may think looks like rejection is actually the path to being accepted. Accepted for all and who we are, flaws and all. Accepted to a greater calling. In the book Uninvited Lysa TerKeurst writes this:  To be set aside is to be rejected.To be set apart is to be given an assignment that requires preparation...For me that fateful April evening I think I got reminded of something and that is I am so much more of what happened to me. See sometimes if people find out certain things happen to you they label you, which I hate labels, but if we get that label we get stuck and thinking that's all we are all we'll ever be. And I think I did that with the labels of abandoned and rejected I thought that's who I was and all I would ever be. But that was just a chapter, part of my story. Because God didn't let anything happen, it wasn't cause He wasn't there ( because He was there or trust me I wouldn't be here) or because He didn't care or because He hated me. That was a lie that kept me stuck for so long on a chapter that wasn't even really mine to be in to begin with. No longer rejected I am now accepted. Accepted by everyone probably not, will I still face a time I am rejected by someone, possibly but I'll face that when and if it happens because right now I have walls that have been torn down and I know that I went from feeling rejected to without a doubt accepted (and forgiven) by God and He has placed people in my life that have helped me not saying I'm putting them on a pedestal or trying to have them take place of other people not at all. One they're human too and have their own things going on and such and I have no idea how long anyone in my life will be there but however long it is I'll forever be appreciative of what they have shown me and how they have helped me. So to end this part of what I'm writing I'll end with this part from the book Uninvited: "I lay down my need to understand why things happen the way they do. I lay down my fears about others walking away and taking their love with them. I lay down my desire to prove my worth. I lay down my resistance to fully trust Your thoughts, Your ways, and Your plans, Lord. I lay down being so self-consumed in an attempt to protect myself. I lay down my anger, unforgiveness, and stubborn ways that beg me to build walls when I sense hints of rejection. I lay all these things down with my broken boards and ask that Your holy fire consume them until they become weightless ashes. And as I walk away, my soul feels safe. Held. And truly free to finally be me.”
― Lysa TerKeurst, Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely

Now normally I write a post of my year in review but I think I'm going to combine it with this. Earlier I wrote how we meet everyone for a reason. This year strangers and oddly enough two Christian singers inadvertently have shown me so much. I've written about the two strangers I met while on vacation one being a little boy that very much made an impact when he told me that I shouldn't be walking alone and another being an elderly lady that is/was battling breast cancer and she still found the strength and courage to climb a lot of steps to the top of a lighthouse and even when she had to stop and rest she found something to laugh about and just be thankful for. Recently I was at a Logan's restaurant and was waiting on the bill when the server told me that the lady that was sitting in the booth in front of me actually paid for my bill. Dork that I am said, 'Get out!' and I got a bit teary eyed because that has never happened, definitely not a stranger paying for a meal and somewhere like Logan's. I felt bad cause I was like why would she spend that much money on a stranger and wished I could pay her back but if it was even possible I suppose that would be taking away from her blessing so I will try to pay it forward the best ways I know how. And speaking of paying it forward I think we sometimes think we have to pay it forward monetarily but I don't think we always do, sometimes just being there for someone, helping them in some way listening maybe, I think that can be paying it forward. Then in my many fortunate times of getting to go to concerts I was able to be reminded or hear actually on three occasions very encouraging things and twice specifically I heard talk of tearing walls down. So even though there are a few weeks left I am quite thankful for what all has happened this year, how I've gotten to be closer to some people, things I've let go of and things I've picked up that have long needed picked up and accepted. I'm thankful for the good and the bad and though I have no idea what the rest of 2016 or any of 2017 has in store I'm hoping for the best and will do my utmost to keep moving forward.

We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”

― C.S. Lewis

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Courage, dear heart

It called out in a strong sweet voice what seemed to be words though no one understood them...But no one except Lucy knew that as it circled the mast it had whispered to her, “Courage, dear heart,” and the voice, she felt sure, was Aslan’s, and with the voice a delicious smell breathed in her face.
-The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

Isn't it amazing how one simple word can just give you that simple push to keep going, literally it can just be one word or sometimes like in the above quote it can be part of a bunch of words and all of it together also can give you that push to keep going or to get up after a sit down or a trip or a fall even a fail. If you read my previous post you know I had a sit down as I like to call it, or set back but during those times I kept seeing some words and such that encouraged me. One of those words was courage. Cause as I stated somewhat in the last post sometimes in life you find yourself surrounded by walls of lies and fears and doubts and it feels like the light is quickly fading like it does on a winter day. I'm learning something or being reminded of it but even in the midst of those times there somehow, some way always seems to be a beacon of hope, be it in a word that seems to show up everywhere you look or someone sending a text, email or just telling you in person something that is the exact thing that you needed reminding of or that you needed to hang on to the truth, to the light. Can I be honest with you? Sometimes during these times that it gets a bit dark I sometimes wonder where God is, now before you do *gasp* I would never how dare someone say that and you say you are a Christian. I know God is always there and He'll never leave nor forsake me but sometimes it's hard to hear or remember those truths or keep a firm grasp on them. In these times I hang on for dear life though and always without fail, it may take longer than I like or it may feel like forever, but always there will come a time when someone will say something or just be there to encourage or even just be like look it's time you get your butt up (because sometimes tough love is what you need too). So in my recent time of Lord help me not to give up some themes seemed to be popping up everywhere. Most of them had to do with courage. I'll list them all at the end that kept showing up, maybe they'll help you too but right now I have to share one that showed up on my FB yesterday because you know how I said sometimes God seems far away and I wonder are you there, am I bothering God, does He care about a little problem such as mine when so much else is going on....well this verse showed up and I think it answered those questions:

Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

Now to continue with the courage thing, I'm a quiet person even when I do talk, and I can talk you just got to pick the right subjects, but when I do talk there's going to be several times you have to say what. With that I sometimes think I get stuck in because I'm quiet and sometimes timid and such that I don't really have any courage and not really much I can do. Kind of a who am I type thing. Had a fairly big epiphany about that earlier this morning. A lot of times I think we get stuck in how many times we roar and even how loud we roar and if you're like me and not good at either one of those well you think you are the cowardly lion. You know the cool thing about the cowardly lion, his legs may have been shaking his roar might have even been a bit shaky and not quite as loud and impressive as one thought it should be but he faced many of his fears. I love this quote from The Wizard of Oz:

 Cowardly Lion: All right, I'll go in there for Dorothy. Wicked Witch or no Wicked Witch, guards or no guards, I'll tear them apart. I may not come out alive, but I'm going in there. There's only one thing I want you fellows to do.
Tin Woodsman, Scarecrow: What's that?
Cowardly Lion: Talk me out of it!

See even though he was scared and shaking and even said talk me out of it he had the courage to do it twitching tail and shaky legs and all. See my a-ha! moment this morning was we think courage is having the most and loudest roar and standing on firm ground without an ounce of shaking in the legs or an ounce of fear. But I think courage is saying alright I'll go, I'll face this and when you stand it might take a minute to get your footing and during the whole time you still might have some shakiness in your legs but your standing. When you go to roar it might come out weak, you might have to clear your throat and might even have to say it again but you have a voice and you're using it. And sometimes we're like Lucy and we hear that small voice that says, Courage, dear heart that little voice that says you aren't alone, most importantly I got you and along the way I've got some people that will be there to help remind you of this too. So today if you feel like the cowardly lion or just think your roar is to weak to make a difference to even be heard can I just say, Courage, dear heart.

  Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:6

 
Psalm 31:24Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.”

And lastly this is a quote/poem that I stumble across from time to time and I just really love it (me and my obsession with quotes and all) but I think it says so much and is just really encouraging.


When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint on the clouds of doubt,
And you can never tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar.
So, stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit
It’s when things go wrong that you mustn’t quit.
Unknown

Monday, November 28, 2016

It Ain't Over Yet

Set backs, or sit downs as I sometimes like to call them because sometimes I just get a bit overwhelmed and 'sit down.' Problem with me sitting down is I can stay there to long and there's not good company at these sit downs. Nope, not at all because fears, lies and doubts are the 'friends' at these sit downs. But you got to give it to them they sure know how to talk the talk. Make a lie sound good and if you ain't careful you're about ready to pay for that ocean front property in Arizona and forget all the truths you have known. I've found myself in a sit down moment. However, I'm getting up scooting that chair I was sitting in back under the table of lies and walking, no I'm running away. These lies, well see some people tell themselves a lie so much they'll believe it's true because it's the only way they can deal with what they did or their part in it and some people have some things happen to them and they believe the lies that they have no worth, that what happened is their fault and they build walls up and push people away. In some ways maybe we all fit in both categories. I'm not here to play the blame game because who did what and why they did what they did, well sometimes you'll never get the true answer of that and that's okay because that's not my whole story, it's not my whole puzzle. Good thing to because it's not my favorite part...hmmm, random thought but you know we all have a part of our puzzle we don't want people to see cause we think it's ugly, a part we just can't understand why it happened, we can't see how it fits. Maybe these are our most important pieces not because you deserved or it was good that you went through the struggle but 1) you made it, you survived that struggle that you thought was going to end you. 2) maybe you'll have a just so happen encounter with someone or several someones that you'll find out are going through something similar to you or have gone through it too and you can help them. And sometimes, because I don't think we fully realize sometimes the effects something we have gone through has had on us, we meet people that will help us. They may or may not have gone through a similar situation, sometimes I think you just need someone that is there to help you see the truth of who you are and help you move forward and sometimes you do need someone to say I understand or even if they don't have the perfect answer just knowing you aren't in this alone is such a huge help. I try to do things alone way to much to be honest, I hide it's what I do, not wise, like seriously please don't do that. I'll tell you why because when you hide that's when those sneaky little lies come out of hiding in the shadows. And if you're not careful you'll hide more and more until you start to believe you'll never get out of the dark that you're so far from the light (just another lie). So I don't know what you have gone through or what you're going through, or even what lies you face because of something that happened to you. I don't have a perfect solution of how to face the lies or that will make it 100% better for the rest of your life at the snap of your fingers. I am figuring some things on how to deal with it. You know I've said it countless times but I firmly believe everything happens for a reason and I think I'm slowly understanding some reasons or getting a clearer view of the truth. Because maybe the why isn't important but knowing and getting the truth of who I am is what is important. Who I am isn't all of in my name and who is in my blood line which is interesting to find out for sure. But for me what is important is knowing that I am a child of God and that He loves me and I am important to Him my imperfections, slip ups, set backs and all. Now if you believe in God and this is also a struggle for you to completely comprehend it is my sincerest prayer and hope that you and I both 100% get the truth of that. If you're still reading I would like to add that though I have no perfect no fail course to get through these things again I have to say please, please don't try to go it alone. I sincerely hope you have at least one person you can confide in and will help you (I'll listen if you don't have anyone) and of course if you have faith believe in God by all means pray too. Speaking from experience I know sometimes it's difficult to pray when the lies get to loud so again I hope you have someone you can go to and ask them to pray for/with you. I know that can be difficult to do, Lord knows I am unbelievably private, several people that know me barely have the surface story of some of my life and there's a couple that probably wish they only knew that much because somehow I have gotten just comfortable enough to let them in and I'll talk to them. As I stated earlier sometimes people lie to themselves so they can deal with what they did but sometimes we hear lies (you're unworthy, you're a terrible person for so and so to leave, God doesn't love you, you'll never get through this just give up...etc.) those lies well I am fairly convinced that those are the lies of someone that is afraid that when you realize the truth watch out because you are worthy, you are a great person that God loves and you will get through this and on the other side of the lies you're gonna fly and oh the things that you will accomplish. Lastly, I just want to share a few things I stumbled across the last couple of days that have showed up at the right time to help me get a glimpse of the lies I had started to surround myself with and that have reminded me that I don't have to ride this ride alone.  So even if it feels like it's over it's not, because you are important and are worth so very much so no matter how quiet the voice of truth may sound right now focus everything you have on that and I don't care how small a step someone may say you have taken and it won't help take that step anyway because the light and truth may be in that very next step.

God sends people into our lives for many reasons, and in many cases, it is in response to a need we have — whether it’s now, or yet to come. No relationship happens in the Kingdom of God by circumstance or without reason, whether it’s to provide friendship, help us through a season of difficulty, provide wisdom or inspire us to stand strong in our faith when we feel weak and unsure.
- from Proverbs 31 Ministries, Godly Friends, Godly Wisdom devotion

Life is full of disappointments, failures and setbacks. None of those things can permanently stop you. You have the power in you to overcome anything that life throws at you. There is nothing as powerful as a mind made up. Surround yourself with people who remind you that you matter, and support you in the ways that matter most to you. No person, situation, or circumstance can define who you are. Don't give up or stop believing that it's possible. It's not over until you win...whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go, just remember how far you have come.  Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won, and all the fears you have overcome.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Facing My Giants

 I have no idea why I am writing this or what exactly I am even about to write so forgive the randomness and whatever else may follow. This is going to possibly end up like a preview of my now traditional year in review post but enough speculating where this is going to go let's just see where it does go.

This time of year is quite difficult for a lot of people, they miss loved ones that are no longer here with them and/or people just feel especially alone and that they don't matter around the holidays. I have struggled with this time of year since 2002 when my grandma passed away, never quite got over it. I was thinking about that today and I've seen a lot of items with cardinals on them, now usually this will have me almost in tears and just such sorrow and sadness while I think of my grandma. But this year, thank God something has happened and this year I'm facing some giants. The other day I saw a cardinal figurine and I had 'Aww, maw-maw would have loved that.' and normally this is where it would just go downhill but I have peace and I finally know that she's in a better place and one day I will see her again and after 14 years I finally got the goodbye that I didn't get that fateful morning of January 30, 2002. So one stone knocked down the giant of sorrow that I had felt for so many years with that and thank God I was able to have a way to face that giant and conquer it. I'll always miss my grandma and will no doubt catch myself wanting to go tell her something but until the day I get to see her again I have wonderful memories of her and I forever will have the dream I had with her in it after she passed away and she looked so young and healthy and had her voice again and when she turned around and saw me she said, 'Where have you been? I've been waiting for you.' Oh, maw-maw I've been facing some giants and tearing down some walls and have found some great friends that are helping me run this race.

Sticking with the facing giants and running a race theme I don't know if you have ever read this poem called Undo Me (or Lord Undo Me) by Blake Williams, if not you should read the whole thing it is really good. In part of this poem it states: break down these walls that I love so much No, wait don’t, I’m scared I don’t know if I can handle this don’t But I can’t live this way anymore I can’t stand here in this half-life this going through the motions life this not really alive life Father, I need you so come in and do what you must...I heard this read on K-LOVE a little while back and when it got to this part me being apparently ridiculously emotional got teary eyed and said that's me God.At some point this whole poem has been me but this particular time I'm mostly in that part of Lord break these walls down and then freaking out when the walls do start to come down and think No God don't take the walls what will happen I don't know if I can face what is on the other side of the wall. And to be perfectly honest I think these walls are my absolute biggest giants that I have/am facing. Because you see in my house that I built the walls were built, insulated and painted with lies and fears. Some will tell you it doesn't matter what kind of materials you use to build a house, or in this case build your life and what you have in your heart. It does. For a long time in my house I had built the walls, had very few windows and only one door all built on lies and fears and all along thinking I had the best protection from storms of  life and from being hurt but that was wrong. So I've been doing some major remodeling thank God. Now over the years I've thought I've done some remodeling and it was just enough to quiet the lies really but this time, well this time I've really knocked some walls down and have been adding some windows and doors. I have also had moments where I've tried to build the walls back up and block the windows and doors  I added. Now some will read this and say I am a complete failure at one point I would have 100% agreed with that. However, I am learning in this remodeling that it doesn't happen over night especially with how much I have to remodel. Also that is just a major lie and generally in the midst of these lies I have learned and gotten so much better at hearing the still small voice that is whispering the truth. The truth that I will make it, to just take one more step. to remove just one more small piece of that wall because there is no giant on the other side of that wall there is so much more. It was put to me this way by someone recently that when the walls are gone that there can be more good things that can take its place like more of Gods' presence, more love and more friends (and if you happen to be reading this a huge thank you as always because it was something I needed to hear and/or be reminded of). Thankfully I really have been able to knock down a lot of walls and for the most part keep them completely down. I find myself facing the big wall now and part of me really does just want to have a nope this isn't ever coming down moment but I look back and around at what I've been able to do just this year alone and I know that there will be some amazing things that can and will happen when this last wall comes down. And I know for me it can all be a bit overwhelming and quite often I will just go in circles, I've never been part of a real life house model but this kind of remodel sometimes feels like I am over budget and can't even afford to finish tearing the walls down. But I can and I will. I ain't saying it's going to be a pretty or easy remodel but I am saying I've come to far, I have to much to do and I am worthy enough to have the foundation and rooms built of truth.

Now this brings me to my next to last thought and that is about a race, particularly at the starting line waiting for the sound that it's time to go and start the race. The other day as I was taking a bit of a break and pacing the floor to try to sort through some thoughts something came to mind. I feel like I am at the starting line of a race, what kind of race I don't know but I think it's a big one. Now usually when I feel like this or even when I'm trying to tear those walls down if things go a bit slower than I think they should be or whatever of the many number of scenarios one could write here I'll start having doubts and fears and such. But this race it is different. Sure those things still try to find their way but this just feels different. It's like in the waiting I am being prepared and growing so that when I do hear the sound that gives me the go ahead to run the race I will be prepared to face the obstacles and to finish the race and not saying finish the race in first place because that's not what is important, not to me anyway. What I place in the race is such a small part for me what matters is I finish, I cross that line. And it may not be easy I don't know but while I wait for this race to start I'm going to do some remodeling and face some giants.

Lastly, I'm including a poem I recently wrote and it starts out I have a story to be told and I do and that story will somehow serve a purpose and maybe one day I can feel that it is okay to share more of that story here but until that day, I'll share the bits and pieces that I think is time to share. Whatever giant you are facing, wherever you may be in remodeling, or if you are waiting to start a race of your own may you never give up and always remember that you are worthy and matter and no matter how small a step or piece of wall you take down it's still moving forward and go you for moving forward. 

 Facing My Giants
By: April Donahue
11/13/16

I have a story to be told
But not one I would have chose
Full of twists and turns
Even a lesson or two was learned


Fears tried to turn out the light
While I held on for dear life
Not always quite sure what to do
As lies try to block my view

Telling me I have to many scars
And that I've gone to far
Keeping me from seeing my worth
The truth it didn't want me to unearth

To many, they'll see broken
But to God I am chosen
I wear brand new clothes
Made of forgiveness, peace and hope

Because I will face my giants
Like David did Goliath
Not with a spear or sword
But in the name of the Lord

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Broken But Still Worthy

Bare with me if we're friends on Facebook you've seen part of this but I felt I needed to write more on it. If you've not read any of it yet still bare with me I had it in my head while driving on 68 how I wanted to write it but that's been a few hours ago now. Shall we begin?

This morning I dropped my phone for the who knows what number time now. This morning that fall put a crack on the screen of my phone to go along with the other crack that is in the upper left hand corner and the chips all around the edge of the phone. Yes, I am that clumsy. No worries it's not a fancy schmancy phone but I really do still try to take care of it. Now most would look at my phone and say it's ruined and ask when I was going to get another one. I'm learning a lot from this broken screen. By all accounts this phone shouldn't work it should be discarded but the phone does still work and it serves its purpose. Though it's broken it can definitely still be used. People are like that too. Somehow people will see others and how they are broken and count them out. You know what's bad is when we look at ourselves and see broken and unworthy, believing the lie we can never be used again (loved, whole, free, etc.). I can only speak for myself but maybe you can relate. I have spent most of my life thinking I was broken and unworthy. And I was broken and that's okay because broken pieces can be put back together, broken pieces can still be a masterpiece. What wasn't okay is believing the lie that I was/am unworthy and that I was unworthy because I was broken or not perfect. As I've stated I'm clumsy and growing up I had a little tea set, you guessed it, I broke the little plate the tea set sat on. It was glued back together but there was this little crack you could forever see on that plate. To most it wasn't perfect anymore, it was flawed, broken, unworthy. And to be honest I felt terrible every time I saw that plate (I guess it would be more like the tray) but now thinking about it that tray still served its purpose, it just had an added story to tell thanks to that place where it was put back together. I have some places where I've been put back together again, I have some places that I'm working on and/or still need to work on getting the pieces glued back together again. I spent most of my life either pretending I had the pieces together or putting them back together with lies (that whole unworthy, using fears as the glue, just trying to act perfect) but that glue hides the masterpiece it doesn't let the right light shine out from you or the right light in, it doesn't protect or hold you together like you are meant to be. There's a line from the song Loving My Jesus by Casting Crowns that states, 'sin tries to make you hide whispers that same old lie keep all your pain inside cause no one will understand...' That's the kind of glue I have used most of my life, still do sometimes if I'm honest. Later on in the song it stated, '...truth that has set me free is that I'm just a broken man...' And in the song it talks about showing his scars. It's funny to me that if we fall and get a scar we show it like a badge of honor but the scars we have from our own mistakes or that were caused by others we hide them. We think those make us to broken to ever be fixed, put back together again, usable again, we think we are forever unworthy now but that's a lie. There's a quote that states even a broken crayon can still color. The things that broke you, the things that broke me they may have tried to destroy us, may still be trying to destroy us but it doesn't make us unworthy. It makes us stronger and will help us help others. It's not easy and it takes help (and above all else God) to get the pieces put back together, for some pieces to even be found again. I'm thankful I'm getting my pieces put back together, I'm thankful for what some may see as cracks in my pieces put back together and some may even only see broken but I see so much more. I see someone that held on to hope when I thought for sure I had no hope or faith left. I see someone that tries to hide behind walls but there are people and God that sees someone that matters and tries to help tear the walls down. I see an imperfect person that is loved and forgiven by a perfect God. I see someone that is broken and may have a few scars and cracks but is still worthy. And if you're reading this I hope you know and always remember that no matter how broken you or the world says you are that you matter, you are important and you are worthy.


Monday, October 31, 2016

Looking out the Window

Forgive me because I'm sure this has been an analogy I've used countless times but I have a terrible memory and it takes me a long time to get things sometimes. It still should be different enough from any other time I've wrote this so there is that at least. Picture it if you will you're in a room looking at what just seems like a wall but there is one area that is just a different enough color to make you wonder what that spot is, could it be part of the wall or something else? As you get closer you see just a big enough spot of something shining through this spot? What is this, is it a hole in the wall? So you wipe your hand across this and suddenly light shines through because this wasn't part of the wall at all there has been a window there this whole time. Now in my weird way of thinking I picture this room as how I see things, how I even see myself, actually perhaps even mostly how I see myself. At some point this window was very much visible and for whatever reason(s) it slowly got covered up with grime and dirt. I think of this grime and dirt as lies. Lies to keep out the truth, to keep out the light and to keep your light from shining out. Everyone has a story and in ways that story will be different of how the grime and dirt started piling up but each story is important and matters. I won't tell you how or why mine started building up but at some point I started believing the lie that I had to be perfect to earn people's love or for them to like me. That was one of the many things that has added layers upon layers of my window. If I was just perfect enough they won't leave (yet here's a kicker I also built up walls to keep people out, actually to help make that maybe make a bit more sense I built the walls up so I'd have a bit more control of how close you got to me and I got to you to protect me or what I thought was protecting me but I also thought I had to be perfect in everything I did in part for previously stated reasons and other reasons as well, I'd list them but some to be honest I'm still just figuring out myself and some I'm just about to open the door to see why.). Anyway I think a lot of people fall in the perfectionism category. We think we need the perfect house, perfect car, have to be the perfect size and have the perfect hair to find someone to love us, perfect job to make the perfect amount of money. Perfect, perfect perfect.....Lies, lies, lies. I saw a quote today from Steven Furtick today that stated, 'Perfectionism is the enemy of progress.' And I can believe that. There's other things that can build up the dirt too but I'm just going to leave it at this and move on to getting to see that little speck of light shining through. Short version of this is sometimes we may hear voices on the other side and curiosity gets the best of us so we wipe at this grimed up window and see what's on the other side, sometimes we need other people to help us see and wipe away the lies that have built up. And yes it is ultimately up to you but sometimes you have to have help. Also an area I struggle with but I'm getting a bit better with that, I think...okay I hope. I am getting a better understanding of my room and this window that has been blocking my view from the truth of who I am most of my life. Am I saying oh look I've typed this scenario and I'm who I want to be and everything is just fine now? No, no I am not I still have so many struggles and some days I feel like I'm getting a clear picture and view out of the window and some days I can barely see out. For example I have times where I get unbelievably anxious and my mind races with to many things to even list. I've learned there are certain things I do when this hits and sometimes it means hiding from people and sometimes I end up messaging a couple of people a lot (so sorry) with stuff that probably makes no sense cause I think so fast that it probably sounds like messed up ramblings. And sometimes I think I do both. Now when I struggle with this I should go to someone and just be honest with what's going on and see if they can help me but these moments are when the grime gets built up big time on my window and it's more difficult for me to be honest with myself and others of what's going on. I just say I'm fine because I believe the lie of what will people say and think if they knew well they'd leave or laugh or whatever. But that's all it is, is a lie. I'll never be perfect this side of heaven and I'll never be the person some people think I should be. I'll always be to much of something or not enough of this. Here's something else I sometimes deal with when trying to wipe away those lies...you are making some progress in getting through these lies to the truth but you slip up, fall back down on another area. A lot of times this is when I would think well I messed up again I'm not good enough, never going to make it and lies upon lies. However recently I've discovered what I decide to put after the conjunction (where as before it would be yeah but negative thought after negative condemnation about myself) now if I mess up or whatever and those lies try to attack I think Yeah I did mess up but look at how far I have made it, there was a time I wouldn't have tried that or Yeah I did but let's take the time to look at all of the bad habits or lies I'm not doing). I had a moment one day where the negative thoughts were trying to come after that conjunction and I though no not today I'm sorry conjunction junction is closed I ain't going there today. And again no one is going to have a lifetime of that window being perfectly clean, mine is getting cleaner and clearer than it has been for awhile, possibly ever but I have days when it gets blocked. And when this happens to you I hope you have people you can go to that will help you or as is sometimes the case with me when I try to hide people that will make sure you don't hide from them. Because there's nothing wrong with not having a perfectly clean window all of the time. And in the end it is important for that light and truth to get in so you can grow not to be perfect but to be who you really are and it's important that the light inside of you can get out so others can see it so you can help others.




Monday, October 17, 2016

Hello Old Friend

Habits are a tricky thing aren't they? I mean they can become something to help and make you have  better life or it can end up being something on the flip side and hindering you. Some habits you may not even realize you have until maybe it's pointed out or one day you just catch it yourself and realize just how much you do said habit. Me personally I have a lot of mostly nervous fidgets and habits. I don't know how long it takes to break a bad habit or create a new habit but I think (hope and pray may be more accurate) that I'm at least  somewhere in the middle of breaking the old and creating new and better habits. You know what's funny, sometimes frustrating ,about trying to break bad habit or just move forward in general? It can be difficult at times to see how much progress you are truly making, many times it can feel like you aren't making progress or am I the only one that does that? I have this sneaky little voice that likes to point out how much farther I still have to go and tries to quiet the voice that says how far I have made it. Fear and lies all it is. I've written about this before but it's like that book 'The Monster at the End of This Book: Starring Lovable, Furry Old Grover' (still one of my favorite books along with Horton Hears a Who and some more). In the book Grover keeps trying to get you to not turn the page because someone said there was a monster at the end of the book and the closer you get to the end the more Grover panics because he doesn't want to see the monster. At the end there is no scary monster it's just lovable, furry old Grover nothing to be afraid of at all. I am like Grover and I haven't quite got to end of the book to realize that there is nothing to be afraid of but I think I have an advantage over Grover cause I don't have to wait until I get to the end of the book to realize that. I'm somewhere between yay, I've made it three weeks without biting or picking my fingernails and oh no I'm trying to push people away again. So I find myself at in interesting place in my book. Do I do like I normally would at this part of my book (actually to be honest I've never gotten this far in my book due to what I'm about to write) and do I close the book and hide it away or do I turn the page? I think it's time to turn the page because what is behind all of these doors or what will be on the next page will not necessarily be scary or bad it could be good. And the good thing is I don't have to finish the book by myself (if I haven't pushed people away to many times, so sorry to those I do that too, momentarily listen to the fear and lie that I can't get close to people and I freak out when I realize how close I am getting. I'll turn the page from that lie too.). Maybe you are in the beginning, middle or really close to seeing that monster at the end of your book. Maybe you're like me and are stuck on a page afraid to read on debating closing the book. I think I got this part of the story memorized and it's time to read on and see what the next page has in store because I may not know what all will unfold in the rest of the story but I know that whatever it is will be worth it because there are some good things that are going to happen on the pages I haven't gotten to yet and well I'll never get to my happy ending if I don't turn the page, because in the end I do believe it will be a happy ending, but I got some reading to do before I get there.