The Mask of “Fine”

Hey #sisterfriends. I’m talkin to you today.

Specifically,
You.
The one who’s “fine.”

“I’m so glad we can be “fine” together.

And by “fine”…

I mean “un-fine”. It’s what our hearts need to hear, I think.

It’s a thing, you know…

this being un-fine.

It’s is a courageous deep breathe to continue on,
among the hard things,
through the unfair things,
in the in-between messy things,
and amidst all the hurtful, betraying things.

Those things.
Those very real, very icky things.

It’s is a nod to the vulnerability that the messiest of messes leave you feeling. Yeah.”I got this”.. when really. You just sorta do.

You recognize it.
Acknowledge it. Are aware of it. Of All the UN “ness” of it.

But,

You refuse to allow that “UN-ness” full access. Full access is shut down, and it’s not where we go when we’re “FINE”.

Instead, it’s a straightening of the will, a beckoning to the spirit, a resonating voice of power that keeps you from succumbing, and a conviction that you are stronger than you realize.

It’s a warrior thing.

It is.

It’s the brave pursuit, when the exhaustion has set in and the weariness is real.

It’s the heroic resolve to weather a storm and walk wounded.

It’s a neatly packaged story, full of very untidy pieces of ourselves that have been tumbled and turned and have been fired in the sacred furnace of “even if”.

It’s often a gaping and bleeding place, raw and seeping, but you can rest assured, no one will see through the perfect covering you’ve adorned.
It’s like an invisibility cloak, and the only ones who can even see the one you wear, are the others, who also, bravely wear one.

I see you my “fine” friend. Our “Un-fine- “ness” is bonding. My cloak has connected with yours and there is no need for conversation beyond that one word speaking volumes with no other uttered syllables…

“Fine.”

I get it.

And I just want you to know …
You’re in “good” company.
In fact, you’re in a safe place,
a sisterhood that embraces all the things NOT SAID with an understanding and compassion of a fellow soldier.

I’m blessed to be “un-fine” with you.

This “un fine” is not weakness… it’s tenacious, steady, determined and unmistakably powerful.

And friends,

I promise you…

When I see your cloak coming off in my presence,

I will always be authentic too.

I will always be present and feel with you, understanding even when I don’t exxxxaccctly understand… and I’ll make you know that you’re valued.
And I promise,
I will not rushed to leave your hurt. So many people do that, don’t they? It’s stripping and leaves me feeling unwanted and undervalued in soo many ways. I’ll make your hurt matter to me. Because it does. And hey… If I miss it? Because lets be real.. I can miss things sometimes…Let me know? K? I’ll humbly say sorry and rush back to help you heal.
But mostly.. I’ll try not to miss it. Promis.

I will be encouraging, not trying to “fix” anything or give you answers,until you want them or need them – but simply enter in to a posture that enlivens you, comforts you, supports you and empowers you, embraces all your “UN – ness” – because I have all those dwelling alcoves my “UN ness” likes to take up residence in too.

Above all…

I will be planted in Christ and help you remember that HE is where your roots are too.

We’re fine. REALLY.
We’re fine.
You know what I mean.
I know what you mean too.

So,
I see you “warrior”.
I hear the hurt.
I recognize the effort. Mannnn , it’s effort. I know.

And Sister…
Let me just say,
I’m proud of you.
I’m proud of you for taking those things you keep inside and let them not become the things that break you , even when they weary you.

Can we just make that “UN-fine” pact right now? The one that says even when our conversations want to halt and we put FINE at the end of them like a period…
even when we usher in all the feelings that feel like the beginning of nothing or
the start of no good thing…
that we at least agree with each other
that we can let each other in.
It can be quietly.
It can be just a toe in the crack of a doorway trying to slam shut… but let it be a toe.
At least.
Let’s keep each other “in”.

We need each other.
Warriors don’t fight alone- we fight side by side.
And if by some chance a sister does start to fade into the background, disappear from the front, get quiet in the fray… we go looking for her.
Let’s not let our fellow warriors go missing.
FINE doesn’t get to do that to us when we pay attention to one another. Keep you a few of those people , those sisters, who find you when you go missing… because those gals? They understand FINE too.

right?

RIGHT?

Let’s re-define FINE!
Let’s give it a medal. Let’s set it on a mantel. Let’s parade it down main street. Let’s not let it become lost in no man’s land of “UN- Fine.”
We earn this in hard ways.
Let’s decide it’s a badge of valor!

Unmask it. Wear it with courage. And #sisterfriend, help “her” wear hers too.

K?

Okra

My heart was hurting

It was plainly obvious she didn’t like me.
Worse…
She couldn’t stand to be around me.

Geesh.
All the rush of all my childhood insignificance, unimportance and unwanted ”nesssss”… flooded my soul again.

And man, for the love of all things yummy (because that’s a big biggg category in my life) … I didn’t know exactly why.
I mean, if I back up the story, it started at the start. Like all stories do…At the beginning of our “relationship”… of our getting to know one another.
It started then.
Back when I hadn’t “done anything” yet.
I say yet, because let’s be honest. I’ve “done” things since.
I’ve gotten mouthy back. I’ve yanked when she pulled. I’ve watered the soil of “comparison”, fertilizing my side more. Grumbling to her moods and letting them set my own.
I’m not proud of this. But it happened.
I responded back with all the ferocity I felt she was giving me… and, I decided it was ok.
It wasn’t.
I mean, it really, really wasn’t. Like, Jesus was very unhappy about it and the Spirit, well , He left me pretty unsettled and the Father? Yeah… He was giving me all the prods.
That kind of “wasn’t”.
And because it wasn’t, I knew what I had to do. I didn’t like it either. I squirmed. I held my breathe. I said I was sorry in prayer. I stomped my proverbial toddler foot and crossed my arms and pouted.
What I had to do, was grow up in this scenario and do the right thing.
That meant, I had to march my prideful self into her presence and humble myself before this woman who I KNEW, would take it and use it as a weapon against me…oh, she was going to revel in my humility. But I had to. I had to tell her I was sorry. To please forgive me because that was not how I should have responded. It wasn’t how Jesus wanted me to respond.
Dang it.
It tasted bad. But not as bad as the grit I felt in my heart.

Ok Jesus.
Let’s do this.
I knew her response wouldn’t be grace.
But I had to do my part anyway. I had to act justly. I had to love mercy. I had to walk humbly with my God. And I had to extend grace.

Truth is, sometimes you have to say you’re sorry to people who don’t care.
Sometimes you have to ask for forgiveness from a person who isn’t even sorry themselves.
Truth is, it sucks to suck it up like that…
Least… until you see it from the perspective of gardening.

What?
Gardening?

Yep. Gardening.

***************
It’s spring and on this homestead, it’s my favorite time of year… except for fall and harvest… LOL… That’s my favorite too! 😊 But Spring… gosh. It’s like shedding winter and putting on something new. It’s shaking off the dreary and the cold and the brittle and the bitter … and it’s getting a warm hug of sunshine, a bloom of life, a fresh wind of … Allergies? LOL … Whatever. It’s new life coming back to the land and with that, also comes the planning and planting the garden.
I adore our garden! Unlike most people, who select a patch of land, out of the way, and off to the side to till up and plot, we tuck our garden right up next to our porch. You have to walk through it to get to our front door and it welcomes you in with all it’s bumbles and pops of color and heirloom “fruits”… and lets be real, as well as with it’s imperfect overgrowth and pesky weeds. It’s a gathering of raised beds, all made from cedar, and surrounded with hardwood mulch paths that we try to tuck herbs and strawberries and marigolds into. I say “we” and “our” because the tending to it is happily split between my husband and I. When he has a moment to steal out of the shop for a breather or a relaxing of his mind from some heavy and weighty task at hand, he can walk out the door of the shop, stroll over to the garden just a few feet away, and spend a few minutes getting out of his head.
I can drive up after a long day at work, park next to it and spend the next 20 minutes slowly moving through it to my front door. Letting go of the office and coming “home”. Pulling a weed here, looking for a tomato horned worm there (the ravenous hateful critters) and gather what ever is ripe for the picking as I go… often planning our evening meals side dish around what I’ve gathered.

It’s a welcome respite. Not a chore. (well. Ok. On 100 degree days, when I’ve let some weeds go wild, it’s a chore… but mostly. It’s not.)
Rather,
It’s a tending.
It’s a caring.
It’s a nursing and a bent towards giving.
It’s a cultivating and a nurturing and a giant… giant.. Hoping.
There are stages of planning and managing and preparing and fertilizing and propagating and plowing and hoeing and laboring and ripening and harvesting and …

ok. It’s work. LOL

But it’s beautiful, worthy and rewarding work. And it grows fruit … not just that I can eat, but “fruit” that mends my soul.

************
Re enter, “her”.

I had to pull some weeds in my own heart, choking out the good fruit that wanted to grow.
I had to do some pruning back of my own retaliation and manage my own mouth.
And I had to fertilize the soil I had let get completely depleted of any nutrients, with my “sorry”.
Let’s be real. Nothing good was going to grow there.

I’ll call her “Okra”. Haha… sorry. It’s funny. I don’t like Okra. It’s yucky. It’s sticky and spiny and slimy and tastes like hay rolled in dirt. (just me?)

She, Okra, has edges too, that are spiny and sticky and she can be downright slimy if not dusted in “flour” and seasoned in all the right ways. Know what I’m saying? But friends…

She’s a part of my garden. And I need to tend to her and propagate and spread good seed around her.

Let’s be real tho, I don’t need to welcome Okra onto my plate… but I do need to make sure I’m not leaving that area of my garden untended. I need to be working my garden to the best of my ability, regardless of whether or not I like what’s planted there.

whew.

Let me say that again.
I need to be caring for my garden to the best of my ability, regardless of whether I like what’s planted there, or not.

MY tending, could just help produce , HER fruit.

whoa.

Can you imagine if I just neglected an area so close to my porch, the area others have to walk right up through to get to my front door, all because I was annoyed by something planted there?
It wouldn’t make for a very welcoming entrance or a very pleasing path to my home.

And, it doesn’t make for a very pretty or pleasing entrance to “me” either.

Let me tell you something about “Okra”.
Every time she reacted to me in a negative way, I decided I was going to turn that on her and plant a seed of grace.
She belittled something I did… I congratulated her on something else.
She found a wound to pick at, I let it bleed grace.
She scoffed at a story I shared, I shared one about her that I could find a sweetness too.
I wasn’t always perfect at this… there are days… but I found myself trying more and more, because
she’s in my “garden”.
And I know this…
EVERY time, you partner with Grace, you partner with GOD.
And He walks through my garden too… I need to remember that.

Oh, some days I let the weeds grow up in the “Okra” patch… and I get a little tired of the constant over growth and heavy, sweaty work … but more often now, I’ve found myself looking at it, at her, in a new way.
I’ve decided I may not like the taste of Okra, but friends…
have you ever seen an Okra plant blossom? It’s gorgeous. It’s so lovely.
There is beauty that is beyond the other flowers on my vegetable plants. It’s crazy. That spiny, sticky, pokey, slimy fruit… has beauty that far exceeds many other blooms in the garden.

So, I’m tending the flower. The fruit it produces is not my favorite, but it has a beauty that is unique, and I’m looking at that now and doing that thing that all gardeners do so well…

Hope.

Do you have an “Okra” in your life? Most of us do. There has been or there is someone… so, let me encourage you.
Tend to her like she’s the most beautiful flower in your garden and see what harvests.
I promise, even if “Okra” doesn’t change for you, your view of her
will change you.

The lie of empty.

I don’t like to admit my relationship to food very often, because, well…
It’s a struggle.
Food was always my “go to” for comfort.
It was my “feel good” when life was hard.
The “soother” to my woes.
The “forget it all” to my problems.
The straight shot to the epi center of my brain that released all those “magic” feels that made me feel good for a moment, forget for a while and appease the pain and pull some sort of wool over my own eyes.

It was my “drug of choice.” A sweet, delicious, mostly sugary, usually processed, “drug” of choice.

And when you choose that, something happens in your brain.
Just like with other drugs.
A brain hormone called dopamine is released. It floods you with “feel goods” and creates pathways that make you want to go back to that “hit” over and over.
It feels good. Literally. Because that is dopamine’s job-to make you feel good.
Reward you with pleasure.
Satisfy an addiction.
Fill you with bliss.
And when you seek that “hit” over and over, to FILLLLL you…
You’ve welcomed a pathway to addiction.
And an addiction, always needs more. There is never enough.

For me. It started with food.
And, It started at age 6.

Even at age 6, I felt empty. I felt like there was a void. I felt “less than” and not enough. I felt insignificant, unimportant and unloved. But, that’s to be expected when you are in a home filled with drugs and alcohol abuse. You don’t just “feel” invisible; you often are.
Your people forget you’re there. And the times they don’t forget you’re there,
you wish they had because bad things happen.
And so you begin…
I began…
to look for things to fill me up.

I was 6. And my easy bake oven became a source of “filling”.
For most six year old little girls, an easy bake oven was a toy. For me it was how I ate hot food. My people often forgot to feed me, because- you know- they were not sober and
I was invisible;
so, I’d scour the kitchen looking for things to put through my easy bake oven to warm up!
Somedays I scored bologna! That was huge! Other days, I found graham crackers and put them through to heat up for dinner. For whatever reason, we always had graham crackers and marshmallows. LOL
I don’t know why… Back in the early 70s was that the “munchies” pot heads and alcohol abusers sought? LOL I don’t know… but I do know, I could usually make a dinner out of them and that’s all that mattered really to me. However, I did learn a valuable lesson.
NEVER
I mean, NEVER…
put a marshmallow through an easy bake oven.

It swells and puffs and smells amazing and makes you believe you’re about to have a very mouthwatering treat in about 55 seconds… and then…

it betrays you.

It grows so large it touches the lightbulb, which is the heat source for your oven, and suddenly it POPS and the burned sugar on the lightbulb becomes a horrendous smell and the plastic housing of the precious oven starts to smell like it too is melting and , well…
your first fear is that someone is going to come looking for that “source” of the smell because legit… you KNOW what burned sugar and melting plastic smells like, right? LOL …but then, even at 6, you realize,
no one is sober enough to even know there is something that smells different than the pot they’re smoking! So, whew… You’re SAFE.
The second fear is that, oh, shoot… you now have to leave your room to go on a search and recover mission for another light bulb! This means sneaking into another room unnoticed and stealing someone’s lamp bulb! This feels “not so safe”… but desperation for hot food and a full tummy wins over fear and let’s just say by age 7,
I was a professional, undercover special op’s “agent”, stealthy in using my powers of invisibility to my advantage! LOL

Goodness…
Age 6.
Food mattered.
It was not a given.
I found myself filling up at school to the point I’d have a tummy ache. I wasn’t sure what dinner would hold, or breakfast even for that matter, so lunch…
became my friend.
I don’t know how the “system” worked back in my day. I was just a kid. I know we weren’t poor, but I don’t know who paid for my lunches or how it worked… I just know, whatever I chose in that school cafeteria hot and cold line, I could put on my tray and go fill myself up to my hearts content.
And it felt good. It felt like contentment and refuge…
And it soothed.
And it comforted.
And it felt like a companion.

And I developed a relationship with that “companion” that lasted in to my adult years.

************************

I’m still in a struggle if I’m honest. There are days that the old pathway feels like an old friend, and I travel down it with a donut in one hand, a sugary coffee in another and the plan for a pizza at the end of the road. I welcome that hit of dopamine like it’s a hug, and I feed that addiction like it was starving.
I just don’t have to put things through my easy bake oven anymore. The pleasure center is much more easily fed these days.

But those are the “somedays”…. Because as I’ve aged. As I’ve grown. As I’ve healed from sooo many hurts… I can see clearer. I can see a food addiction that became a weight problem, and a weight problem that eventually became a health problem and it all …
really just stemmed from
a “filled” problem.

What?
A filled problem?

yep.
See, that food dopamine addiction? I let it “fill” me.
And, I let it take the place of what needed to fill me.

I ate…. NO. I eat, even sometimes still
when I get pulled back into the pathway,
because I’m seeking to be “filled”.
That pleasure center of my brain has a strong pull.
But that’s where I’m taking down strongholds.
That’s where, now,
I see that there is emptiness in that kind of “filling”.

*******
I don’t believe any of us are really “empty.” “Empty”, is perhaps a lie.
I mean, lots of people will say it though, right? They’ll say , “I’m empty”, “I can’t pour from an empty cup”, “I need to fill myself up”.. And while to an extent, that can be true…. I think the real truth is…
We’re all filled,
or filling ourselves with something.

Something.

Either something that will not satisfy- leaving us FEEL as though we are empty…
Or
With something that IS satisfying. Nourishing. Wholesome. Beneficial. Health giving. Life Giving.
Needed.

You do know now, I’ve quit actualllly talking about just eating? About just food? Right?

I’m talking about the filling we need in the depths of us, that we sometimes try to fill with all those dopamine inducing things:
like food…
like drugs….
like alcohol…
like retail therapy…
like working out…
like a job …
like a boyfriend, or a girlfriend or…
like ____________ …
You fill in the blank.

Are you seeking whatever you can find to put through your proverbial easy bake oven to fill yourself up?
It’s never going to be enough, friend.
It’s eventually going to give you the low that comes from the false high. It’s going hit the bottom of your light bulb and start a stink and then an undercover search for a new bulb.
Your dopamine will crash. The sugar will burn to the heat source. The search will come with cost.

************
The only fuel to fill… is found in a relationship with Jesus.
No matter how much we try, or do or, get, there is never going to be enough of anything to fill a void that only Jesus can fill.
We were created to be filled by Him alone.
The woman at the well in John 4 is an example of this.
She knew she was coming to the well every day. Filling and refilling and yet, no matter how many times she came back to that source…
Shortly.
Later.
Eventually.
She would be empty again.
Needing a refill. Needing more. So, she’d trudge back to that well and gather again, refill again, carry it away again. Never having enough. Always using up what she had poured in. Always needing to fill again.
Then Jesus told her she could never thirst again. That He had Living water! Water that would not leave her empty; not leave her needing; not leave her seeking out more, but rather,
satisfy and
instead,
leave her filled!
She had a hard time believing.
She was used to the all the other “means” to fill her up and yeah, I get that.
I do.
Dopamine has played a part in that for me. I just shared how.
But, I’ve also looked to friends and family; sought approval and affirmation;
tried to be un-invisible; filled my closet with clothes, my home with things;
I’ve made my gardens show worthy and my accomplishments shiny;
I’ve piggy backed on victories of others and found importance with my job; and ….
Are there more blanks you can fill in? What does your list of “FILLED UP” look like?

We’re not empty. We just feel empty.
We’ve filled ourselves so full of the wrong, unsatisfying, momentary things… that we are not empty. We’re just fueled and filled wrong… And it is never going to be enough.

************
Only Jesus.

He is the only
“enough”.

*******

Like a deer pants for the water, so my soul, pants for You. My soul thirsts for the living God.
Psalm 42:1-2

The Freak Out Dance

It was August 2012.

Weird that I remember that.
I mean. I can’t remember where I left my car keys most days, or my glasses each morning, or even what I had for dinner two nights ago… Ok. Just Kidding. I remember that one. LOL . I always remember food! But seriously. My mind is a weird mess of what sticks and what goes, and this story.. lol … Well, it’s a prime example.
Some would believe that this is nutso, that I remember this particiular “event” was in August of 2012… but I swear to you, for whatever reason, I do.

Well. Actually I know the reason.

It was a spider.
A big black hairy spider that tried to suck the life out of me.

You don’t forget those things. You just don’t.
They stick with you and become the stories in your life that you tell your grandchildren. They tend to get a little more grandiose with time, hahaha, soooo.. let’s see…
It’s 2019 … seven years. “Grandiose” shoouuld be amped up pretty good by now.
🙂

********************************

It was hot.
Dang hot.
Sweating before you get out of bed, take a cool shower because you’re going to spend the rest of your day in 100 degree weather kind of hot.

We’re homesteaders. And well, that means parts of the homestead aren’t quite finished. And back in 2012, even more of those “parts” weren’t finished… Including decent air conditioning.
So many mornings started with a cool shower.
This one did.

I had already exited the shower on this day, feeling quite refreshed and ready to start my day, when the “incident of August 2012”, happened.
That’s what I like to call it now.
The Incident.

Of August.

2012.

Remember, I said it was a scorcher of a day, so I had chosen a pair of white crop pants for my day. I slid them on, just as I always do, one leg at a time…
I was in mid balance – one leg on floor, one leg lifting to begin the entry process into the first pant leg.
You know this balancing act. I know you do. It’s that precarious state you find yourself when you’re just a littttle bit chubby and the shifting of weight sometimes enacts gravity’s pull and you weeble and wobble and pray you don’t fall down!
That was me at this point.
Trying to resist gravity, stay upright, and shoot my chubby leg through a pant leg hole all at the same time.

That’s when I saw “it”.
A glimpse of darkness on the shin of my “non shooting through the pant leg, leg”. LOL Let’s call it the foundational leg, because.. well, at this point, all my weight was on this leg and it was the only thing keeping me grounded in my struggle to remain upright in this weebling balancing act.

I’m sure you can picture it.
If not. Take a minute, because it’s hilarious.

In a split second, nine hundred and one thoughts ran thru my head:
Is that a spider? It IS a spider! How did I not feel it on my leg???
HOW did it GET on my leg?? Where did it come from???
OMGOSHHHHH…WHERE has it already BEEN?
Did it just BITE Me?
It JUST BIT me!!!! OH my gosh. It bit me! (Crying now) It bitttttt meeee…
Is it poisonous? OMGOOOSHHHH my heart rate is going to race it’s poison through my body!!! My eyes are bulging.
OMGOSSH Do eyes bulge when poisonous spiders bite you? How fast do you die from a poisonous spider bite!?
Am I sweating? Dang it… I’m SWEATING.
Is that a poisonous spider bite reaction?
Oh, no. I’m falling. Gravity and spider are winning… I’m going to crack my head on something and die from a head injury and be found as a swollen unidentifiable body ….

legit.
Nine hundred and one thoughts. (I’m an enneagram 6. Some of you will know what that means. LOL)

What ensues is a crazy one legged dance and tangling of pant legs, followed by shrieks of horror, wounded tears of perpetuating death and doom, ripping of cloth, swatting at the intruder while trying to continue to hold pants, and a freak out scramble to stay upright …
alllllll while keeping an eye on the deadly beast so he doesn’t run off to some area of the house to wait in prey for another member of my family.

Finally falling to the floor, in my final moments on earth, I panicked about one last thing. What if this thing was caught in the folds of my pant leg? And as I fall, I trap it, and in it’s own freak out dance to escape, it bites me a bajillon more times, leaving only a blown up, swollen, mess for my husband to find.
I mean. Could happen.

And with that finally thought, I hit the floor…
and realize…

This deadly spider that has now just cost me my life, is actually a giant clump of husky/shepherd hair, courtesy of Molly, my sweet giant furbaby, who sheds like it’s nobody’s business.

Today, she made it my business.

Laying on the floor in a crumpled, sweaty, weakened mess…

I’m pretttty confident…

I’ve had a stroke.

**************************

See why I remember this day?

And do you see what can happen when we allow ourselves to get allll worked up over something that never really “was”, to begin with? ( that’s a horrible sentence structure, but go with me. You know what I”m saying )

We perceive something to be true, when we don’t have all the details.
We allow ourselves to get all worked up, when we don’t have the facts.
We think we know what’s going to happen, when we don’t even have the whole story.

And so, we fret, worry, become anxious, and do this whole freak out dance, when really, #sisterfriend…
We’ve conjured a lot of the problem up ourselves!

Whoa.

Can we just take a step back from that pant leg dance for a minute?

1. Our freak out … puts us in a place where we do no one any good. Not you. Not the spider. Not the husband who is gonna find you. No one wins.
And we want to be in the Kingdom business of making sure we’re pointing people in the direction of the Kingdom, right? LOL .. and no one is going to believe your own pursuit is real, if you’re constantly in freak out mode. Just sayin #notetoself
And
2. Our freak out … shows we don’t believe that God is in control. We (ok, I) just gave waaaaay to much credit to a spider.. aka: hairy clump of dog floof.
It was going to make me die. I went from refreshed, cool shower, to
I’m dead and dying on my bathroom floor by way of swelling till I pop.
Or something like that…

Instantly… from peace to death in a pant leg dance.
Boy, that makes our enemy rejoice. When something drops into our life unexpectedly and we go from zero to sixty on the freak out peg, he knows, we just bypassed our exit ramp to Trusting Jesus.

I don’t want to pass that ramp anymore kids. I don’t. Freaking out is exhausting. Isn’t there just so much more peace when we look at things, in the FIRST PLACE, through God’s lens?
When we don’t misconstrue.
When we don’t disfigure through perception.
When we don’t guess at what might be.
But instead…
When we trust. When we know. When we take the ramp to Trusting Jesus, our freak out dance turns to a worship dance.
And what others see in us, is Him.

And
what we know,

is that He is in control.

Freak out derailed. Peace pursuit intact. Kingdom building on point.

No spider in sight.

Shame OFF ME!

If there is one thing we all need to learn how to do more – it’s let go of Shame.

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I don’t like to talk about “it”.  You know; You have one too.

“It”.

That one thing that Shame tries to tell me I’ll never get to re do,
and therefore, there’s only wreckage.
It’s that thing, I’ll never get right, so why keep trying. Failure is my story.
It’s that thing of which I should always remain ashamed, so Regret comes in to park and take up space
And gosh… if I let myself get too deep into the waters with “it”,
even still,
even now,
even with my Spirit’s growth and my #Jesusgirl heart, “it” tries to drown me. “It” tries to coax me into troubled waters, where I am in over my head and where I believe the next wave of regret that hits me, will be the one that tows me under; undoing me.

Ohhh, but then,

mercy.

Blessed Mercy.

And Jesus ushers in grace, and reminds me of all the ways He loves me, who He calls me, and then tells me from the midst of storm tossed waves, that with my eyes on Him, I can walk on water. I have the SAME Power in me, that raised Christ from the dead (Rom 8:11) and “Shame” has no anchor tied to my soul that has power mightier than the Power I have thru Him.
Oh, “Sister Shame” will try her best to make me believe she can drag me under, make me believe the cause is lost; but let’s remember friend, she’s also “sister” to the Deceiver, so she knows his game well. She can play that deck with the skill of a crooked card shark.

#notetoself:
I can walk on water.
Jesus. Let’s keep our eyes on Him, hearts tuned to the sound of His voice over the crashing waves.

That’s where our peace is.

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Back to “It”, though. Because, let’s be real.  “It’s” real too.

“It’s” still a thing.
“It” is even still truth.
“It” happened. And if I listen to Shame, she likes me to identify with it and use words like “Broken”, “Wrecked” and “Ruined”. Shame takes a truth and then plants lies all around it! Those lies grow up and build this hedge around it, trying to prevent any other truths to penetrate like light.

The roots of Shame’s hedge run deep and the lies become so firm they can seemingly withstand any approach of mercy that tries to uproot them, as well as any weed killer of compassion that tries to kill them. Shame knows how to tend her garden of lies. She walks among the hedges with her sisters “Comparison” and “Fear” and together they make allies with “Regret” and “Unworthiness”. Then they dance, swaying and swinging to the wind’s whispers of that song they adore: Broken.

That sad song becomes a chant and pretty soon it plays like a jingle saying, “Like a good neighbor, Shame Farm is there…” (You just sang that didn’t you? Lol. See… jingles know their game too)

Broken. My “it” defined me that way.  That was the whisper that became a chant that became a jingle in my head. But, “it”, that horrible thing that had some truth, but was surrounded with lies, was no longer the thing.
I was the thing. I was broken. I was irreparable. I was wrecked and ruined and no good, all because of my no good thing.
Broken no longer felt like truth. In reality, it became my “safe word”… the one I used to mask the real damage I believed, that I was “shattered”. Irreparable.
I was defined.
It felt cemented, but mostly it felt permanent. And with its permanency came more whispers on the swirling wind and the crashing waves. Whispers. Chants… of discarded, unwanted, useless, pointless, unlovable and most definitely- unforgivable.

Dang.

When Shame has done all she can to get you to the point where you believe the hedge is impenetrable, the roots immovable, the truth unreachable and your worth intolerable…she comes in with the final lie of
you are unbearable.
She wants you to believe that “one thing”, that IT, that she started this whole mess with, was just the tip of an iceberg, but really now… it’s about allll the thangggs. Shame’s tiny ripple effect of that “one thing”, builds a wave, that changes a tide, that floods your mind and grows to such proportions it can threaten your heart and soul like a Tsunami threatens an ocean side city.

See how powerful She thinks she is?

#Sisterfriend.

You can walk on water.

I can walk on water.

WE have the SAME Power, in us that raised Christ from the dead! Why do we let her have so much power over us? Why? When we can plant tiny little mustard seeds of faith, all around the hedges and lies that Shame planted!
Guess what?
Our “tiny seeds” hold more power and they can choke those lies out! They are gonna uproot them! OUR seeds of FAITH will THRIVE and draw in the SONlight that Shame tried to hide! New companions, of Truth, Faith, Hope and Love move in and make room for alliances with “Wanted” and “Worth” and “Enough”, and give them room to grow! Now when Shame tries to erupt and bloom, because she will, we can yell, “Shame OFF ME!” and allow Truth to usher in that grace and mercy that squashes her lies.

I still hate thinking about all the wreckage “IT” caused me. Shame tried to convince me I was ruined, and if I’m honest, the battle ground is still real. I get on it daily. The difference now is, I’m “armed”. I’m wise to her ways. And now, I know my Power. I know I can stand! I know I can plant seeds of faith and grow trees in oceans and
Shoot,
I can walk on water!

I found this ability to say “shame off me” and quit giving her power, by hanging out with my friend Jesus. I meet with Him every morning. I start with HIM before anything else can form in my morning brain. I have to . My battles start early. If I don’t get up and get with Jesus, I’ve seriously allowed room for old thoughts and ingrained pathways in my brain to take the wheel. Those ruts are deep and easy to fall in to and if I don’t put Jesus at the wheel right away, Shame and Fear and I take off on a road trip like we’re the 3 Musketeers- inseparable and on our way to trouble!  LOL But, that’s just me… Maybe you get it, though?

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Jesus has been teaching me to let go of Shame. To let go of all I am not. To all the ways I feel “less than”. Of all I cannot keep up with. Of all I regret and of all I have let down. Of all the failure.
All of it.

Shame tells me, “I am bad, unacceptable, never enough, flawed and beyond fixing.”
But Jesus has been telling me in my mornings with Him, that:
1) I am not condemned.
Romans 8:1- There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
That’s me. I’m “in” Him. So, nana nana boo boo, SHAME !
SHAME OFF ME!

2) I am redeemed!
Psalm 34:22 says that the Lord redeems the life of His servants!
That’s me! I’m His servant… so nana nana boo boo, SHAME ! SHAME OFF ME!

3) I am FREE.
2 Corinthians 3:17 tells me that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
He’s in ME, so… yep. You guessed it. I’m FREE. SHAME OFF ME, Shame! You hold no power to chain me!

4) I am protected!
Romans 10:11 says that everyone who believes in Him, will not be put to shame! THAT’S MEeeeee… LOL  I believe in HIM!

Are you seeing a pattern here? Are you grabbing my excitement over this?
Sit back , friend. It’s about to amp up even more with this final point that my friend Jesus has sown in my heart during our time together.
Whoa.
It blew my mind.
… so here you go:

5) Because of Him, I win.
Hebrews 12:2 tells me to look to Jesus, the founder and the perfector of the Faith, who, for the JOY that was set before Him, endured the cross, DESPISED THE SHAME, and now, sits at the right hand of God!

Can we just unpack that for a minute?
Jesus endured the cross for us. There was so much He had to endure. We’ve seen the movies, heard the Easter plays, read the Word..we know the awfulness that He went through for US…  But shame was included as an agony of the cross. Shame.

And He despised it.

Despise means to have great contempt for, to have a deep repugnance for, detest, loathe, hate, abhor, be repelled by and find intolerable. That’s what He thought of Shame.

See, she tried to come after Jesus too.
Shame said, “I’ll strip you of all you have and take it away!”
But Jesus despised it. He detested it.  And from the place Shame could not touch, He rebuked her and found her intolerable.

Shame will tell us the same; that it can take away everything of importance and that at the bottom line, you do not matter.
REBUKE her, detest her and find her intolerable. Despise the Shame.

Shame told Jesus, “You are abandoned by your friends. Alone.” She tells us that we are not worthy of meaningful relationships and friendships too; but that we ARE worthy of abandonment.
Friend, despise the shame!

Shame told Jesus His reputation was ruined. And she mocked Him. Shame will tell you that other people’s opinions of you define you, and that you are less than if you are not the popular girl.

Jesus was stripped naked, and Shame made a joke of His decency and mocked Him in an utterly undignified parade. Shame will strip you bare and tell you a story of humiliation, dishonor and disrepute and make you believe it’s all on parade for the world to see.

Despise.

Shame took Jesus’ torture, and tried to create a display of brokenness, painting a picture of a powerless, fragile, incapable man thru weakness and ragged breathes of pain. Shame will torture you; making you believe that you are frail and powerless and incapable too.

Rebuke.

Jesus saw the lies, and despised them. All that Shame tried to make of Him, he rebuked because he saw the JOY that was set before Him.
You do know who that JOY is , right?
Sisterfriend, it’s you. It’s me.

He saw us.
So He:

Endured

Despised

And then, having taken His stand, won, and took up His rightful place in victory.

He’s waiting for us to do that too! He already won it for us! It’s time we start despising our shame too! Let’s rebuke the lies that bad “chick” tries to call out over us and take OUR Stand, and claim our place.

Romans 8:38-39 says:
FOR I AM PERSUADED that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I need to ask… are we?
Are we Persuaded? Are we Sure? Do we have no doubt? Are we Convinced… that there is NOTHING shame can do to separate us from Gods Love?

It’s time to despise her, friends.

It’s time. So below, I want you to take that same verse and insert the things that try to stand in your way of Gods love for yourself. Insert personal things. All those things Shame has been trying to whisper to you and take your stand.
For me, one was my “it”… my divorce.

Rebuke the lies.
Despise the shame and say, SHAME OFF ME!
Fill in the blanks.

It’s a powerful exercise and I hope you see it’s significance.

FOR I AM PERSUADED …

that neither __________nor ___________, nor ___________nor _________ nor ___________, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

NOTHING.
No thing.

Shame is a liar. Call her out with me! I’m done giving her space in my life.

Who’s with me? #whatdoesyourheartneedtohear? Shame off ME!

New Year; Letting go of Fear

Don’t you dare say you can’t do hard things.

#notetoself.

That’s totally me, talking to myself. Totally.

I stood in Chicago, in October, at the Marathon my daughter was running and as I waited to catch a glimpse and cheer for her,  I  watched every size, every shape, condition, age, disease, “excuse” and “fear”, run by me.

I cried. I watched amazing humans overcoming more than I could imagine. And it convicted me. I saw what believing, and showing up afraid, and just getting out of their own heads and comfort zones and fears… and just givng it a shot, trying…could look like. And it was so moving. So inspirational! Did I mention I cried?

That was October, 2018 and it’s taken me four months to type another blog post here. Because I get scared. I wonder. I over think. I fear.  If you’re into the Enneagram.. I’m a 6. (nuff said)
Here I am tho…showing up afraid. And believing more of this “marathon minded” kind of empowerment for myself. My daughter is flanked by two bestie’s in this picture and they are all #warriors. Running for a cure for Huntington’s disease. ( another story. another day. another post.)

If they can do that… If my daughter, who was never a runner, can train and enter as her very first marathon, the Chicago Marathon… then I… can start to train myself at the hard things too. I can make new habits. I can create time to show up for myself, do the work, type the words, push “publish”…

Even if I’m not sure it’s going to be great. Even if I’m not sure anyone will read it. Even if it makes my tummy hurt.

New year. No more excuse.

It’s in these small ways, we begin to change our world. I stood on the sidewalk watching thousands of people run for their “lives”… but in doing it, they changed mine. The powerful images of those amazing humans are pressed into my memory permanently.  I hope someday, you get to watch a Marathon like this one. And I pray, someday… you realize, like me, that the marathon you’re running in life… needs you to show up for it too. Courageous.  Afraid. But doing it anyway.

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Perhaps,

Dear Lord, this little blog can be a place for that kind of difference too. Help me show up courageous.  Help me do the work. Help me let go of Fear and in all that… Help me show “them”, YOU.

Updated Page

Happy Monday #sisterfriends, and some Dudes!

Just popping on here real quick like, to let you know that I’ve updated the jBloom page!
Click on Menu from your cell phone ( that’s those three little horizontal lines near the cover photo) and you can select from all the pages.

If you’re on a computer, just look at the Titles under that cover photo and click on them.

cool?

Cool.

Thanks for visiting!  I’m looking forward to sharing another “real” post, later this week! If you have a minute, go check out the “Marathoners” post… and share it! Plus, I’d love some feedback. New blogger jitters and all , ya know!