FREEDOM

I woke up to my alarm early Saturday morning and immediately thought…
“WHAT have I done?”
I needed to get up and get going fast! I had an hour drive to my third 5K of my life.
“Oh man.. seriously. What have I done?”
My mind started to contend against the excuses:
I’m in no shape to do a 5K… even walking it will set this inflammation “game” I contend against into overdrive!
It’s Saturday… literally my only day ever to sleep in and it’s been a weeeeek.
My head is throbbbbbbing.
I have so much to do anyway; I really need a full day at home.
My husband’s going to be gone all day too; the dogs will need walks.

You see my dilemma? LOL …Bottom line is, I just didn’t want to do it.
Why?
Because it was going to be hard.
(And because my bed was comfy. LOL)
It was going to be hard because I’m in a health journey against autoimmune “dis- ease” and honest, even walking gets challenging at times. My feet swell. My joints inflame. My muscles get attacked. And, well… excuses, excuses, excuses…
The exact thing that would be hard to “walk” through, was also the exact thing my body needed to overcome the hard.
Gah… that’s just like dumb math. LOL I don’t like math either … haha!

I rolled out from under the down comforter and said, “Just get up, Kay. Just get going. You’re doing this to RID your body of these things. You’re doing this to pursue wellness. You’re doing this for “Freedom.”

Truth. I was doing it for those things. In fact, after a good talking to myself and a real heart check with my Spirit a few weeks back, I actually ended up signing up for four 5K’s through the end of the year! LOL …
because “Freedom.”
Walking these 5k’s was something I knew was difficult for me. I had done two others once before, just a year ago… and I struggled with them, not even sure I could finish. The Lord convicted me of that word “Struggle”, tho, and as I looked back at those other two 5K’s, I decided right then and there that I needed to re-frame them. I needed to do another and not claim it as a struggle, but call it out as something I was contending for! I was going to do a walk to contend for FREEDOM.
What I didn’t know my “yes, Lord” was going to be though was the start of something more… the conviction that if I could contend through one more 5K, maybe I should just keep contending for freedom in doing one each month, through the rest of the year…. gulp.

And so I did. I signed up for four.
Four pushes toward moving my body in ways I knew was hard.
Four dates with myself to celebrate what my body CAN do, not get in agreement with what it finds hard to do.
Four events to “contend” for Freedom against this “dis- ease” that wrestles against me.
Four times to show up for myself.
Four times to lean into God for strength.

So, it should come as no shock that the very first one, unbeknownst to me, was actually a 5k being run to respect the first responders, to honor those who had fallen in 9-11; and to remember FREEDOM.
I stood at the starting line while the trumpets played and the flags were being flown and the emcee was reading the names of the ones from our State who had been lost in the line of duty on 9-11.
I bawled.
I mean , ugly cried…
I know people were looking at me, but I didn’t even care. I couldn’t believe that “somehow” this 5k race, that I just signed up for because it was close to home, was for “Freedom”… and I didn’t even know it.
The intention God was using this for in my life, was not lost on me.
I was contending for freedom in my own way, by participating in a race honoring freedom.
Whoa.
It still undoes me.

I wiped my face on my shirt, just as someone handed me something. I thought it was a kleenex because legit.. I was a mess.. lol. I took it and humbly mumbled “thank you.” When I looked at it though, it was not a tissue. It was a small laminated ribbon with the name of one of the first responders who had paid the ultimate price for freedom. I was to pin it to my runners bib and think of him throughout my race.
Cue the tears again.
Where was that dang kleenex? LOL .. My shirt was snotty before it was sweaty!

All through my event, I kept him, and freedom in mind and I became even more grateful with each step. Even when the police car that was supposed to be bringing up the rear of the racers, passed me… lol … I was grateful.
I was out here.
I was doing what my body could do.
I was showing up for myself.
I was walking for freedom… in more ways than one.
It didn’t have to look like anyone else’s “race”.
It was mine. And it was already doing a big work in my heart. In my mind.
Within my Spirit.

As I watched the back end of that police car, I thought about first repsonders. They race. Without hesitation…
To the call. To the danger. To the emergency. To the need. To the thing that is trying to take something down.
For freedom.
They show up.

And so will I.

My call to this freedom in my body is not small. It’s for my life. And so I must be a first responder in my own life; actually, FOR my own life. No longer can I let excuse, shame, regret, feelings of insignificance, fear, panic or anxiety be first responders on my behalf.
They are not heros.
I am.
They are not freedom fighters.
I am.

It also wasn’t lost on me that the timing of this FREEDOM race was right in line with the timing of the 21 day sugar fast I had signed up to do with Revelation Wellness. It was starting the next day for me too.
A Fast.
Not a diet.
A prayerful entering into losing what weighs me down.
Not a plan to lose weight.
A calculated step aimed at dislodging the comforts of food that I tend to go to first.
An intentional turn to God instead.
Not a restriction.
An invitation…
To Freedom.

Man, the Lord is doing a work. It’s a hard work, Sis, I’m not gonna lie. And I’m kinda resistant to it… like the drowning person is sometimes resistant to the lifeguard swimming out to save her… kinda like that.
But this I know – in the “end”, it’s going to be worth it, and my “race” toward it should be without hesitation.

What might be set free?

Me.

The Ministry of Presence

I have two very vivid “feeling” memories from childhood. Feeling memories are things tied sooo closely to what your heart needs to hear; They are not a memory of an event or an instance or even a thing. They are a memory of a feeling, and I have two that conflicted and battled for a place …. one born from longing, the other born from fear. I remember them both well, and if I’m honest, in ways even today, they war on. #ButGod

To be seen

and 

To not be seen.

Let me explain. 

All I longed for and was desperate for, was to be loved and wanted; to feel important and significant.

I longed for it; yearned for someone to be with me, see me, show me love; but my home was anything but this type of atmosphere… so, out of fear from the bad things that I knew could happen, I tried not to be seen.

It was conflicting . These were “my people”- the ones who should make me feel safe, loved, and wanted… but instead I feared them and what they did to me.

I’d come home from school and go straight to my room, trying to escape before I was even noticed. If I was out of sight, I was out of mind, and if I was out of mind, bad things couldn’t happen to me. So on one hand, I longed for what I hoped I’d receive, but on the other, I feared what might actually happen, so I tried to become invisible. 

It was tormenting. And I was just a child. I didn’t understand or have any real frame of reference to expect things to be different. This is what I knew. I just also somehow knew there was supposed to be “more.”

 

From the late 60’s to the early 70s, this fear was what I knew. Loneliness was what I knew. Neglect was what I knew. Abuse was what I knew. But even in my child’s mind, I KNEW there must be more… I was sure of it.

“Kevin Hatfield” was proof. He was my next-door neighbor and when his mom got wind of me being home alone every night, she started sending Kevin over to ask me to come play. It was amazing. I loved walking in their house. I can remember so much about it…the dark wood floor in the entry; to the right the golden staircase banister that went up to the second floor; and to the left, a large living room with a fireplace and a big framed picture over it; a round, red braided rug on the floor and cozy pillows on a well-worn brown couch. I remember the bright, cheery kitchen in the back of the house, with wheat stalks on the wall paper, and a huge window that looked over a pretty wooded area and had a sweet dog that loves to play catch. I remember Kevin’s mom always in there getting dinner ready for her family. 
It’s crazy my vivid memory of this home, because if you ask me about my own, there is much I’ve blocked out. There is much I can’t remember. I can tell you the lay out, but nothing personal within. I can tell you the door to the stairway was dark panel and the basement itself always had a smell of something I could only then only describe as damp wood, skunks and flowers that had somehow rotted and developed their own kind of body odor. I now know, that smell was a damp dark basement mingling with pot and patchouli and various whiskeys. And I remember the door because fear struck me every time I had to use it.

I can tell you where the Christmas tree always stood because I actually met Santa at that tree one year. Late one Christmas eve I heard this horn , like that of an ahooga horn on an old time car. I ran to the window to look at the driveway, and sitting there was this old fashioned car, complete with a large red bag in the rumble seat and a large “red” man with a huge white beard sitting in the front. He waved and I ran to the front door and threw it open! Yes. It was in the dead of a Michigan winter and it was freezing, but folks, I was home alone on Christmas eve and SANTA just arrived!!!!  He came in and brought MEEE cookies, and then proceeded to place all kinds of gifts under the tree for just MEEEE !  I got hugged by the man in the red suit and I remember him crying…. And for a split second… I felt seen.  And very very loved.

I still don’t’ know who that man was. My Mom was in the hospital and who knows where dear ol’ step dad and the boys were, but this man… He somehow knew I was alone and he told me he had to drive his car this Christmas and not bring his reindeer because reindeer could only fly if it was snowing. It wasn’t snowing, so in my child’s mind it all made sense and I believed him. He told me to wait for morning and then open all my gifts. I did… and while I’m sure someone was there to have Christmas with me, I can’t remember them, I only remember getting the best gift ever: My Easy Bake oven. I didn’t even know it was a toy. I just know it is what I used to make dinners for myself. A lot of bologna went through that oven! Lol… And sometimes Graham crackers. Sometimes white bread and mayo sandwiches…. Whatever I could find to feed myself. This I know, Santa… real life Santa himself…saw me. Knew me. Knew what I needed and gave it to me. And I felt loved. 

Back to Kevin’s house. I can even remember the worn path in the grass of my back yard where I walked to his house, crossed the dead end street, and joined the sidewalk that led up to the “Hatfield’s” porch. I remember a black lantern post at the edge of the sidewalk and I knew if that lantern was coming on, I needed to be getting home to grab what I could find in the kitchen and get to my own room before anyone who lived at my house came home. Remember, I needed to be unseen.

Here’s where I’m going with all this. 

PRESENCE

There is ministry in presence. 

Santa ministered to me.

Kevin’s mom ministered to me.

Both ministered to me, just by making me feel seen and by entering into my aloneness and make me matter. Oh my goodness… those two people alone, in fleeting moments, were what I drew hope from, strength from, good from, in many times during those young years. 

Santa’s presence made a difference in less than an hour. He knew just a moment in my life, mattered. He saw a once in a lifetime difference making opportunity, and he took it. I’m sure it was inconvenient. I mean, the man went to sommmme lengths to pull off this “moment.” But because he did, for a good few years, I got to eat “hot” meals. I got to remember “that one time” Santa came just for me. I got to recall feeling seen and loved and like I mattered . I mean, let’s be real, Santa can’t stop and bring cookies and show little girls how to use an easy bake oven at every stop! Right? That meant I was special! And I hung on to that with my life.

Kevin’s mom’s presence made a difference every couple of days. Just by seeing a little girl with a need, and inviting her in to her own everyday she changed the fear of aloneness in my week. She didn’t have to talk to me or feed me or do anything for me… she just let me be with her… and that was enough.

She entered in; “Santa” entered in; and I’m telling you friends, it gave me strength for all the in-between times. It gave me hope for all the other “unseen” times. It instilled in me a spark of hope and it created a space in my heart for down the road when “faith” would make an appearance. 

Wow. 

Read that again. “It created a space in my heart for down the road when ‘faith’ would make an appearance.” 

The ministry of presence. 

Just “being there”… sometimes with a gift, a conversation, an act of kindness, or even, moments of silence… your presence into someone’s hard space, is more of a gift than you’ll ever know.

The ministry of presence.
It’s seed planting. 

I didn’t know faith. I didn’t know God. I didn’t even have a good example of people in my life that I wanted to grow up to be like someday. I only knew what I knew…a desperate longing and a paralyzing fear: to be seen and unseen. It was torment. 

Enter, two humans who were kind. Who came into my space and made a place, if even for a moment. 

Who invited me to their table.

Who made room to have room for me. 

Who saw a need and filled it. 

Who did a little thing that changed my whole world.  

Who tucked into a cranny of my heart, the possibility of hope and a seed that would nestle down into the depths of me to be remembered when the time came, that I first heard about a God who loved me. 

The Ministry of Presence. “We will never be able to effectively tell them a God story, if we are not leaning with compassion into their human story.”  (~Homesteader Kay)

It’s a lesson well learned. 

When we take time to hear, to listen, to dwell, to reach out, to minister, to feed, to have compassion, to understand, to meet a need, to sit with in silence, to hold a hand, deliver a meal, send a handwritten letter, call with a real life voice… to seeeeeee with unbridled compassion the human story people are living, we open doors to plant seeds for a God story so much bigger than we ever dreamed!

I WISH I knew “SANTA” now. I WISH I knew Kevin’s mom’s name. I wish I could find these two “presence Minsters” and tell them:

“LOOK!”  LOOK where lil Kay landed in life! LOOK at her happy! LOOK at her SEEN. LOOK at  her loved. LOOK at her in this GOD STORY she never imagined possible! 

A seed.

A ministry of presence. 

Made a way. 

Friends. Don’t discount the value in seeing humankind, and then

being “Human Kind”.

It may promote you to “Minister of Presence.”

It may mean more than you ever dreamed to the one longing and fearing in the same breath.

Above all, it may just be the beginning of someone’s God story.

Difference making doesn’t have to be extravagant… it just has to be intentional and from a heart of love.

The ministry of presence. A small seed with a mighty purpose.

 

It’s ok to grow “quietly”

I have a favorite tree.

I call it the Sentinel.
It’s huge and towering , stationed at the very end of our property, up a rolling field and at the top of a hill; standing guard; watching; observing; challenging any who might stray on to the property or any who may try to harm the land.
I love that tree.
In fact, I love it so much, I almost always just look at it. When I come out of my home my eyes go straight to it. When I pull up the drive, my eyes are drawn to it. Floating around the pool, mowing the yard, tending the chickens, walking the dogs, giving treats to the horses, sitting on my porch… I always look at it. And love it. It’s in the center of every sunset, it’s dark silhouette striking; unwavering; formidable’ strong; demanding to be seen.

Have I mentioned I love this tree?
LOL
I do. I love watching it in all the seasons. Glorious is all of them.

But recently, I noticed another tree. It’s next to the Sentinel. And now that I’ve seen it, I can’t believe I never saw it till now!  When did that tree grow? How did it get to be so big and yet remain unnoticed for so long? Obviously it’s been there growing for some time. Obviously… but man, how’d I miss it?

And it made me think… in some seasons, it’s ok to grow “quietly”.
All this time it’s been there. And I haven’t noticed. The Sentinel “spoke” loudly. The Sentinel demanded attention. The Sentinel captured my eye and my heart and my love.

And all the while, “Little Tree” was there.
Silent in her growth. A whisper of a sprout , maturing and progressing quietly.
She went unnoticed. Unseen. Undetected.
And she went through seasons just the same … quietly, softly, unassumingly.
Gaining her ground, firming her roots; standing taller and straighter and more purposeful herself … just quietly,
flourishing.
Until one day, the Sentinel’s shadow was outgrown.. and she made her debut. 

She can’t be unseen now.
She used her season of silence to become a beauty all her own.
She used her quiet growth to mature herself, firm herself and root herself.
She used her time unseen, to develop a beauty all her own,

and now that I’ve seen her.
I can’t unsee her
And while she is not a Sentinel… it’s not her job; Her position or Her purpose…
She is a queen.

And I love her.

Hey Friend.
Let your unseen season… grow you. Go deeper. Root further. Stand firmer.
RISE taller.

You’re a Daughter of the King. You’re a Queen. Your silent season is not for naught.

 

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

Shame OFF ME!

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

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

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.

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

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?

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

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.

**********

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!