Finding Yourself

When Comparison and Covid Strike

I feel like I’m floundering right now. Not only has our world turned into a germ house of fear but life in general has me wondering what in Creation I’m doing and where I’m headed.

I don’t know what all you’ve been facing personally over the past few weeks but I’m sure it’s not at all what you thought your March would look like.

I’m struggling to make sense of it all just the same as everyone else.

I’m also realizing that as an introvert, my life has not been totally turned upside down AND I have a legitimate excuse for staying home and doing things I love. I also realize how much it means to be included in other’s lives and how we need each other!

At the same time, my family and I are moving into a fixer upper that is not totally finished. One we’ve been working on for months. I feel like I’ve lived in dust and painted hair and hands and work clothes all 2020. Through a series of events, we have had a rather unusual and often crazy past year in life and just this weekend, when everyone was posting pictures of home creations and quality time and toilet paper, I was trying to find my way through piles of boxes, weary to the bone form hauling totes and belongings and keeping up with a two year old, misplacing everything and making sure no one in our small family starved but DID take their probiotics.

It feels so very very good to have a house again after selling ours last spring and living in a camper and house sitting for the past (almost) year. While both those options were valuable experiences and a good fit for the present, there is nothing quite like having your own spaces and rooms and knowing that your kids won’t wake the neighbors at 4:30 AM or spill food on carpets or break things that aren’t yours.

Change can make anybody feel vulnerable and the threat of sickness and financial issues and unknown futures can cause stress to shoot through the roof!

If you are feeling alone or distant or just plain lonely right now, please know that you really truly are not alone no matter how trite that may sound.

You’re value is not based on your performance or how smoothly you’re homeschooling is going or how brave a face you are putting on. Life is just plain HARD sometimes and comparing yourself with others …nope! Don’t go there.

I don’t know if you are anything like me…but I love to surround myself with people who are better at things then I am. Ladies I admire. Powerful strong ladies who know who they are and what they have to share with the world. Ladies who have a voice and use it to build others up and bring awareness and peace and empowerment to others.

Here’s the deal though. I can feel super intimidated by people I admire. I can pull out my comparison cards in two blinks of an eye and before I know it, I’m wallowing in self thoughts that are literally tearing me down.

It’s what I call self sabotaging at its finest.

Part of my journey has been learning to accept my past and present and embracing the fact that I have self worth.

Being flexible is important in life. Being a puppet is not. I have danced to others ideas in so many ways but even more destructive is the inner critic that is my own voice, tearing myself down.

Right now, when there is extra stress and all the world is thrown a bit off balance, it’s even easier to find ourselves, as humans, groping for a normal and questioning everything including who we are and what we are doing right this moment and for what purpose. It’s easy to judge ourselves harshly, judge our kids and those we love most, and allow the whole tide of comparison to rush in and take our breathe away.

Ground yourself friend.

Know that you are an incredible human with incredible strength.

Your life. Your quarantine. Your kids. None of these will look like every one else’s . It may, in fact look like no one you know. But that doesn’t mean you are weak or weird or less then.

Embrace the hard and the easy and know that nothing lasts forever. That change is good. That growth happens and that you don’t have to look or act or do like everyone else in order to have worth or be accepted.

It’s ok to feel confused and a little teary and emotionally off balance. It’s ok to need to sleep a bit more or eat some comfort food and wrap yourself in a big hug.

Stay home and love your family. Love the Divine. But don’t forget to love yourself also. Love who you are becoming. Love that you get to live in this story that will become history. Love that you can make a difference simply in being a good human. Love the YOU that is living and breathing and moving right now. And let that acceptance and love overflow into those right beside you today!

We won’t let coronavirus take our confidence. We are not in control of anything in life except ourselves and that’s the part that we can do well…no matter what comes our way!!

Finding Yourself

Hostage Heart

Sometimes our heart’s held hostage.

Our own brain telling us

We are alone.

Unworthy of the ransom

Of human acceptance

Compassion and love.

Like no one can understand

The depth of our wrestling.

Fear keeps us tethered with

The thought of labels slapped on us.

Less then.

Inefficient.

Unworthy.

A failure.

Too sensitive.

Faithless.

A fraud.

So we cry into the night

Scrub tears furiously in the car

Plaster a smile on our face

And plow on with life.

We slowly die inside.

Morph into an island.

Our inner dialogue

Isolating us from what we need the most.

It’s when we take the plunge.

Reach for the lifeline.

Open our hearts

Let truth filter in.

No matter how fractured the light.

Allow the hug of grace.

The words, “I believe in you.”

The nodding of,”Me too.”

That’s when we realize

that all along

we were our own captors.

Locked in bars of our own making.

We held the key from the beginning.

We just needed to find the courage

And risk the chance of being seen.

To turn the lock.

The freedom waiting for us.

It was there all along.

We were not made to live our story alone.

Grief

When Miracles Don’t Happen

I’ve been Rumbling around

With thoughts on God

And miracles and healing.

It feels that too often in life

I’ve operate under the expectation

That when we have our priorities straight

When we have our life full

Of church and giving and prayer

Then God will hear us.

FOR SURE.

I’ve been more and more uncomfortable

With this mindset and I’ve been digging

Deeper in search of clarity.

I always knew that we can’t save ourselves in our own power. However, for years I felt a desperation deep in my core that went beyond that knowledge. It told me that I was never good enough and never powerful enough to be considered a good Christian. I was always aware of my brokenness and my humanness and imperfections.

So I begged

I pleaded.

I made promises in hopes of becoming more powerful and feeling more committed.

I forced a lot.

I was desperate for God to help me.

I was treating God like a vending machine.

Here’s the deal though. Ten quarters won’t buy you more favor then one. They might buy you more soda but they don’t buy you more favor with God.

He’s not a vending machine.

He will not be manipulated.

He will not be patronized.

He will not be prioritized.

It feels like in a crazy way sometimes,

I have tried to manipulate

The Creator into blessing me.

Then when things go down hill

I check my life for sin.

Like I can control the outcome in

circumstances by DOING.

Now before I get all technical

and you think I’m throwing out prayer

and the power of the Holy Spirit and our own

human nature and repentance,

let me tell you what started me on my

Quest for truth and meaning.

When a loved one escapes death,

We say things like

” We are so blessed!”

“It is a miracle!”

“We are So grateful!”

That’s all good and true and fine!

But here’s the part that hasn’t sat well with me.

What happens if death comes?

Or something worse then death?

Are we still just as blessed?

Are we still SO grateful?

And did we still receive a miracle?

It leaves a wide open feeling of betrayal and is downright uncomfortable when one person is ‘blessed’ because the diagnosis was negative but someone else’s was positive.

When death takes one child and the other child is healed.

When one child disappears forever and the other one is found.

It feels like cruel, ill humored fate. We face grief or we face survivor’s guilt.

And we wonder where God is.

He said He gives to those who ask.

He answers to those who knock.

He says you’ll find if you search.

So how come it feels like He’s not keeping His end of the deal?

Here’s the kicker.

There is no ‘deal’ with God.

Not the kind of deal that we envision anyway.

He already Created us plus the whole entire world so He is already light years ahead of us!

He is my Saviour so having him as a priority feels a bit … dusty and lame. I mean ….really!

Our kids don’t become more or less our children by prioritizing our relationship. They simply ARE ours. In a similar way, I am God’s child and that is a fact that I cannot change by trying to love Him more in hopes that I will become more His. I AM ALREADY! (Thanks to Rhonda Schrock for setting my mind along these thoughts)

He will automatically be a priority when I am in a good relationship with Him. That’s what it all comes down to with Him.

Relationship.

Bad things are going to happen in life.

Heartbreak will come. Unfair, horrible, cruel life wreaks havoc every single day and loving God does not always shield us from it.

We will hurt. We will bleed. We will likely rather die then face life at times.

But our relationship with God can still be sacred and steady and powerful. Deeply calming.

Begging, pleading, trying to change minds, or manipulating never works well in any relationship.

Why do we try it with the Divine?

We don’t have to try to figure God out.

He doesn’t need to be defended or explained.

Taking responsibility for other people’s actions, or the ‘fate’ in life, is not our duty or our right. There’s a lot of truth to that with God as well.

While I firmly believe God WANTS to hear our hearts and wishes and dreams and deep longings that ‘cannot be uttered’, I also believe that we need to step off the pedestal of trying to get it all right, have enough faith, read our Bible enough, pray enough, or be a ‘better Christian’.

God is way more interested in having a relationship with us then having us perform our hearts out in hidden fear and desperation.

He has been waiting for a deep, trusting relationship with us since the day He breathed life into our bodies. He is deeply invested in our lives, whether we feel it or not, and He has incredible comfort, insights, blessings and adventures to share with us.

We are living, moving miracles every single day. We may not get the miracle we were praying or hoping for, but we are actually LIVING a miracle Right Now. That’s worth celebrating!

This whole SAFE relationship with God -even when life is anything but SAFE may feel like the beginning of a relationship to us, or the ending of life as we know it but in all reality, He has known us since forever.

He loves us incredibly beyond our imagination.

Trust Him.

He is still the God of miracles! There is still beauty in January.

Healing Heart

Alive

It’s the twelfth day of 2020.

It’s taken me 12 days to put words to the thoughts in my head.

And even now, they come out stumbly and awkward.

It’s Sunday evening and it’s black dark outside and the temperature is plummeting below zero.

It’s January and 6 years ago, on this very day I was bringing our three year old daughter home from another hospital stay with no idea that in a few short weeks, she would physically leave us for the rest of our earthly lives.

I wept as I drove home in the gathering dusk earlier tonight, after picking up Vitamin C and Echinacea and Throat Coat tea for my son.

I wept because I wanted to spend another day or month or year or forever with our daughter ALIVE.

I wept because I miss the feminine, sweet, little girlishness she brought into our lives.

Sometimes death feels so dead.

I know there is always Life somewhere.

I just need to choose to see it.

This year, I chose the word ALIVE as my focus.

Not because I wanted to hide the pain of death. Not because I want to live every day in a flurry of activity or growth.

I chose it because I want to remind myself of LIFE.

I want to remind myself that no matter how my heart and emotions feel, I am vitally ALIVE.

I have been making a running record in my journal of proof that I am ALIVE.

Some may think it a gratitude list if they saw it.

It’s more then that to me. While I’m grateful for everyone of those things I list, it’s also proof to me that LIFE is still happening. Right this minute.

Dirt under fingernails.

Homes for crickets.

Green in Winter.

I stand with myself and weep in the death of our daughter. It’s a healthy thing to grieve. But death can be so much more then physical death.

Death can be lived in the heart and the mind and this is where I stand my ground and come ALIVE.

I refuse to be soul stuck in the clutches of shame and fear and selfish thinking. I refuse to ruminate on things I cannot change. I refuse to believe my self worth is based on my emotions and thoughts and others opinion of me. I refuse to manipulate myself and others by doing and saying things in a passive aggressive manner. I refuse to allow other people’s issues to control my own personal mental and physical health.

I will fall down flat often this year. I know I will. But I also known that I am not the sum total of my mistakes.

Falling does not mean I am dead. It means I am human and it means I have an opportunity to grow.

I am reminding myself of my own humanity and my own power …through the wonderful grace of my Creator.

I am reminding myself by writing lists about being ALIVE.

Steamed cream in my coffee. So frothy and smooth on my tongue.

The ache in my shoulders after a day of work.

Fractured morning light on the living room wall.

The smell of icy winter.

The way my son lies, breathing in and out.

Sleep music wafting through the room.

Footsteps of my husband downstairs.

Writing down the present makes me more aware. It reminds me of the important things happening all around me and keeps me from getting stuck on things I cannot change. Things in the past. Things in the future. Things in the present that are out of my control.

I want to be ALIVE this year.

To listen without judgment.

To give true empathy without patronizing or trying to fix things.

I want to feel my heart healing.

I want to watch the woman inside of me blossoming.

I want to own my story and live my present.

I want to feel the joy and the hard and the mundane.

I want to remind myself that ALIVE is what my soul is. That no death will take that from me.

Death is conquered already. My Divine Creator is the essence of ALIVE and He has invited me into His presence.

ALIVE .

EMBRACE IT. THIS ONE WONDERFUL MIRACULOUS LIFE.

Nature Awakens You

When You Feel Frozen

Hold space.

Let the deep stillness

Of December frozen over.

Move you to realms where

streams of clear

Still find their way

Beneath the stark reflection

Of reality.

The ice that spreads it’s face

Mirrors what is above it.

But light reflects from greater heights.

Shadows are mere mirages of

What surrounds you.

There is no shame in that.

For life flows true

Beneath the surface.

Do not forget that who you are

Is waiting for the spring time.

The stirring and the breakup

With the cold.

And always, truth emerges from your core

Grief

Glory In the Hurt

234

The leaf is dressed in glory.

As it dies.

I wonder if It likes the different ‘Me.’

If leaves could think.

I do believe they would agree,

the dying to their former color

041

brings out the golden glory.

248

And beautifies the dying.

200

It is nearly 9 months since our daughter took her first steps in heaven. Since I have begun getting to know what life is like without her. Since I have been introduced to a different ‘Me.’

073#2

The following song has spoken to me so very often. Sometimes its a bit hard to put words to my deep feelings but following the lyrics below is a bit of my own struggle to accept and embrace this new life that is ‘Me.’

“The Hurt & The Healer”

Why?
The question that is never far away
The healing doesn’t come from being explained
Jesus please don’t let this go in vain
You’re all I have
All that remains

So here I am
What’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I fall into Your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

Breathe
Sometimes I feel it’s all that I can do
Pain so deep that I can hardly move
Just keep my eyes completely fixed on You
Lord take hold and pull me through

So here I am
What’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I fall into your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

It’s the moment when humanity
Is overcome by majesty
When grace is ushered in for good
And all our scars are understood
When mercy takes it’s rightful place
And all these questions fade away
When out of the weakness we must bow
And hear You say “It’s over now”

I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take this heart and breathe it back to life
I fall into your arms open wide
When The hurt and the healer collide

[x2:]
Jesus come and break my fear
Wake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here
When the hurt and the healer collide

Jesus come and break my fear
Wake my heart and take my tears
And find Your glory even here

Thanks to Jessie for adding these lyrics.
Thanks to Mike Benkert, Jim Mahan for correcting these lyrics.

I don’t know this new me yet.

She surprises me

confuses me

amazes me

angers me

hurts me.

She IS me.

And I don’t know what to do with her.

I can’t get away from her.

Just as I think she has morphed into a tidy bit of womanly,

she throws out a new curve and leaves me

dazed

lonely

confused

scared.

I can’t out think her

out sleep her

out smart her

or out last her.

So I must embrace her.

And learn to know her.

I must be gentle

and real

(not live in a dream of who I think she should be)

and honest.

Forgive her

(that’s myself I’m talking about)

Accept her.

Even if I do not understand her.

( my poor husband 🙂

Because God has brought her on a journey.

He has plans for her that I can only trace the very fringes of.

So I will lay out the pieces of yesterday

on my own familiar kitchen table

and give them to her Creator.

(He is a Master Chef at creating beauty and completion from messes)

The new and the old and the not understood all laid out before God.

Her loving heavenly Father who knows more about her then she can imagine.Who understands the deepest part of her that is beyond her reach to know.

Someday, she will see clearly.

“I shall know and understand fully and clearly even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood [by God].”

1 Corinthians 13:12 Amplified Bible

Did you get that? It doesn’t say we will BE UNDERSTOOD then. It says we ARE UNDERSTOOD now. I think that means In our present moment. With our present mess of ourselves.

Rest assured today, Dear Soul!

God understands you. You may lay it all out to Him. He won’t be surprised or confused or shocked at you. He knows you already.

He understands.

He is longing to help you.

To simply love you.

To give you rest and peace in Him.

The joy of His presence.

And the hope of truly knowing and finding His fullness filling our being in heaven some glorious day!

just give it to Him.

Grief

When I don’t Understand God

“Where does understanding dwell? It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing.” Book of Job

That’s how I’ve been feeling the last while. Like God is silent. Life is cruel. Present is suffocating. And Future uncertain. I wanted to beat something up. Take a wrecking ball to a building. As if that would make me feel better. After the clatter and crash and settling dust, what would be left? Everything would still be exactly the same. Except for a pile of ruin.

But ruin feels good sometimes. Sitting among the ashes of your dreams and longings has a drawing power. It’s just so familiar. It’s all your mind wants to turn to. It feels like home even though it wreaks of utter desolation. Sometimes, the effort it takes to get up just isn’t worth it.

Acceptance seems like betrayal. Forgiveness seems like denial. Smiles seem frivolous. And joy seems like a giant lie.
So I sit a bit longer among the ruins, sifting them through my fingers.

God’s been working on this girl’s heart. I am hopeless and helpless without Him. The moments of my life that surround this sadness in my heart will always stay with me. The pain and total NOT understanding. The NOT FAIR and the WHAT IF. It has all been woven into the essence of who I am. God knew that when He created me.

Listen to what else Job has to say about understanding, this ancient man who lost everything except His life and his wife.

“God understands the way to it
And He alone knows where it dwells.
for He views the ends of the earth
And sees everything under the heavens.

(So He’s looking at the big picture. At the details.)

When He established the force of the wind
(Maybe our trials and pain?)
And measured out the waters
When He made a decree for rain,
And a path for the thunderstorm…

He looked at wisdom
And appraised it
He confirmed it.
And tested it.

(Guess what? Unlike my mind likes to think, God isn’t up there whipping up a storm, unleashing pain and horror over His children, without a thought of where the pieces will fall. He is appraising. Confirming. Testing. He knows what He’s doing. He created us. And He honestly has the BEST for us turning in His ‘Great Brain’. He delights in us. He will never leave us broken alone. Ruined for good. Because He is stronger then our circumstances. Look at what the last verse says.)

The fear (reverence, respect) of The Lord is
WISDOM
And to shun evil is
UNDERSTANDING.”

Just like Alex Marini shared on Sunday…
To have fullness of joy is actually not complicated.
“Obey God
Abide. In. Him.”

Our God is so big. Look at another quote from Job…

“And these are but the outer fringe
Of His works.
How faint the whisper we hear of Him!
Who then can understand
the thunder of His power?”

Today, I’m choosing to trust God. He knows what He’s doing. I’m just convinced. I feel like I’m along for the ride…. I think that’s just OK:)

Right now…the ride consists of reading Kobe’s favorite book…I can handle that!

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