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.

 

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

Marathons

I gotta start somewhere.

I’m sitting here just looking at a blank screen and promising myself I’m going to type something.

It’s ridiculous how my brain works when I’m just going throughout my day and thoughts pop in my head left and right and I “imaginary write” this epic response, awesome blog, perfect chapter…  only to sit in front of the computer an hour later when I “have time” … and …

Blank. (Can we insert an eye roll here please? )

Gah.

So . .. I’ve heard- “Just write”. Just sit and just write.  Just type. And get something on the paper and let the thoughts begin to flow anew.  (That’s what I’m doing here by the way… exactly what I’m doing… LOL… you may call it stalling, but seriously #sisterfriends (and some Dudes) , I”m processing… and stick with me. I promise it WILL get better. Pretty sure. This is my first real blog post here, so give me a sec. )

Nope.
Still nothing.

My stomach’s growling. My coffee is cold. My dog is snoring. There are a million things I should be doing… and to top it all off, there is a fly in here that keeps landing on my screen. I’ve named him. Or maybe it’s a her? I don’t know how to tell in flies. LOL But it’s name is Bopsy.  Cuz that’s legit, what I want to do to it.

None of them inspiring thoughts.

My husband is over an ocean right now. And my daughter just texted me her daily “run” log. She’s training for the Chicago marathon and this is the longest she’s done so far. 11.03 miles.  Geez.
I can’t wrap my chubby butt around walking 5! She’s seriously my hero.

Hmmm. Maybe that’s something though…

Marathons. (I’m getting somewhere folks… hang on… this thought is on a train!)

Lord have mercy. Seriously, I don’t understand the drive it takes in your mind to WANT to run 26.1 miles … or do I?

Maybe I don’t’ understand the method marathoners like to use… a.k.a. actual running.. lol … Because. Uhm. NO. But I think I do get the idea of pushing yourself to do something you would see as an achievement. To push yourself to more than you think you have in you. To push yourself to step up to something big and say, “I’m coming for you.”
Yeah, I get that.
I’m kinda doing that right now. Ok. I AM doing that right now. This writing? That’s doing that.
For years, I didn’t get it though. For years, when something got hard, I quit. I don’t like to admit that about myself. It seems “less than”. It’s not the “highlight reel”. But #sisterfriend (and some Dudes) it’s the truth.
In high school, when other girls started showing up in track who were faster and better than I, I didn’t like it. I never had to train. AND nnnever had to put any effort into “extra training”, in order to be the fastest. I could show up to practice and just do that, no after hour running required, and (meep) be “the best.”  That’s not bragging so calm down, Peep. I didn’t have a huge athletic club or population to actually pool from, so … you hear what I’m saying. LOL  I went to a small private academy. Small. But,  I was athletic… and just naturally really good at it. One day though, a girl started passing me. She was new in school and man, she had wheels. Coach pulled me aside and tried to use “her” as motivation… “Kay, if you want to remain the fastest, you have to train outside of practice. You have to push yourself. You have to set aside intentional time to put the work in and do more than you just do here.”  I had my ear toward him, while my eyes were on … let’s just call her “Peach” (I know that’s not a good name, but even now.. thirty some years later… it feels good to give her a nick name that has an edge of sarcasm. #dontjudgeme. LOL I love, “Peach” in Jesus name. But… commmee onnnn….she didn’t have to train extra! Do you hear me?  LOL Her natural ability out “abilitied” mine…and (meep again)  I’m still a tad annoyed.)

Peach could run. I mean… coullllldddd run! She could do longer distances at a faster pace than anyone I had ever seen. (insert reminder of “small academy” here ..LOL) And to top it off… she looked good doing it! Dang Peach! But hey, I could run the longer sprints too. And, I was fast; but dang it… I crossed the finish line looking like I had just run 90 miles an hour, carrying a truck loaded with chickens! GAh…. not pretty.  My sweat would be soaking me, profusely running down my face and into all kinds of crevices. (meep) And my eyes, bulging from my head, would glance frantically around for water and the nearest medivac! Peach? ohhhh….She “gazelled” over the finish line, smiling and then turned gracefully to watch the other runners cross the finish line so she could high five them before casually walking to the water stand to take a delicate sip to just refresh herself. Ugh. I watched all this from behind the 3 rd water bottle I was gulping as the sports trainer wrapped my weak ankles and gave me instructions on how to avoid shin splints.

Oh. “Peach”.

This girl was trouble. I needed a plan that didn’t involve “training more”, like Coach was still speaking into the ear I had turned toward him, but “turned off”. No. I wasn’t going to waste valuable free time and energy, “running more”, eating less, and improving my ability. Nope. I wasn’t interested in “investing”. I wasn’t committed to “becoming more”. I had no desire to go “all in”… that required commitment. That required work. That required …. perseverance. So, even as I watched Peach, got pissed at Peach, pretended to smile at Peach,  handed a baton off in relay to Peach,

I was planning my

“quit.”

I learned very early on to listen to my “voices”. They weren’t wise. They didn’t know best. They didn’t want me to push myself. And they certainly didn’t care if I ever succeeded. But… they DID know,  I wanted easy. I wanted the quickest and fastest route to feeling significant, with the lowest amount of effort. The “voices” (NOTE: I didn’t legitimately hear voices before you think I’m a complete crazy person. Of course, I may be about to prove to you that I am, so keep reading. You decide.)  – any way , the “voices” , liked to throw a “big BUT” around and ,  I liked “big but’s”. (I cannot lie. However, insert: Shame. I didn’t like this about myself, but still… I partnered with big BUT’s for years)
“BUT, Kay. It’s ok to quit. If this is “too hard”… don’t do it. You’ve dealt with enough hard things. You deserve a break.” And so… I’d listen. I’d get in agreement and the big BUT would win, and a plan would develop around it so that it didn’t add to my feelings of insignificance. “So, Coach, I was thinking… Seeing as PEACH is the such FIRE on the track, maybe we should put her as last runner in the relay. I mean, lets face it… you can set her there and place any runner in 1st, 2nd and 3rd relay positions and we’d still win because, let’s face it Coach,  she’s gonna punish herself to close any gap; she’s gonna be like the wind and cover ground no one else can; She’s gonna be the one who can catch and pass anyone else like they’re standing still … there’s no way we can lose!”
But here’s why it was a “quit” for me.

That used to be MY position. I was last. I was “fastest”. I was “wind”. (Keyword : was) But, here’s the rest of my comment to Coach: “IF she’s  in the relay, in my place, that frees me up to run one more short sprint. We need more short sprint placers” . Short sprints were my jam. I could run those like a mouse covering the distance from the cupboard to his hole, when a cat spotted him. And if Peach were running my relay leg, chances were good, she wasn’t going to be in my short sprints. I mean, in the short sprint, I could still beat her, but , I realllly had to work for it (meep) and “the cat” got a little too close for comfort if you know what I’m sayin’.
Yeah, Yeah, yeah… we were a “team”… so if we scored a 1st and 2nd place in our event together, it would be more points for the whole team and that was the goal.. right? Well. Sure. But… It was also my Senior year for track and I was so wounded and broken inside, I just needed to be the best for just one more season and then, my “voices” whispered, I could end my high school “career”, “successful”.

Whoa. Transparency moment. I had all the appearance of confidence but inside… the shattered parts were cutting me.

Coach didn’t buy in.

Whaaat? It was the perfect plan to maintain my significance! It was the best case scenario for me to maintain a facade. It was the ultimate way to allow me to keep allowing myself to “believe” I was the best. I mean, if  her “flame” didn’t get held up to my “candle”… it wouldn’t matter. Right? Right!!! I could just keep pretending my flame was still super bright.  Even… Brighter. Goal for  me. Shine the brightest. Be “seen” . SEEN is valuable. SEEN is worthy.  SEEN was wanted.

Ugh. I was a mess. Truly a jacked up mess.

And now. Because of “Coach”, I needed a new plan.

Enter: Excuse.

It’s “Big BUT’s” best friend.
“Coach, I live an hour away from school. By the time I get home from after school stuff, and do homework and eat and complete chores, I don’t have time to “train”… Peach trains like crazy so she OF COURSE is going to be better at some things. She’s lucky she doesn’t have my life.”

“Coach, I have flat feet.  (Which I do. Hobbit feet to be exact. Hahaha . They are flat and thick and wide and I may or may not have to shave my toes- meep) and Coachhhh, (insert teenage girl whine) they are really beginning to bother me. I can’t even wear spikes because I can’t find them to fit my feet (which I could, BUT, they were really expensive and my family couldn’t afford them. Friends, do you SEEE “Big BUT” and EXCUSE hanging out there together? Jerks. ) So OF COURSE Peach is going to be able to run faster!”

And….so , excuse laden quitting became a thing.

You know who else is a good companion of “Big BUT “ and Excuse?

Comparison.

She’s just as mean. She steps right up to your face and calls out all you are not, if you let her. Mean girls suck. And yet, we give them POWER and call them Truth when we allow them to become some of those voices that speak in our own heads.
I learned to partner with “big BUT” and Excuse and Comparison and they all led me to the school of Quit…which is totally in the land of “Not Enough” and has a commuter system of “Regret”.”

Know what else is Truth? “But’s also have a father. His name is LIES. And he taught “baby girl” well.
He whispers, “Daughter, if you can get her to use you… she will deceive herself and we will be able to keep her from living her best life, a life that speaks REAL TRUTHS and becomes powerful for things like Good and Hope and Faith and Love. WE can’t have THAT!  NO… She must form a habit of believing the LIE that she is not enough and that she is NOT made for more. Daughter, keep after her. Lead her to partner with BUT’s in her life that park her in despair and comparison and leave her ineffectual for Kingdom work. Let’s form a system of Regret that she can’t get off! Let’s get little sister “EXCUSE” a presiding roll here too. With a BUT in one hand and an EXCUSE in the other, she will be ours to manipulate and destroy. Ineffective for any good thing.”

Seem like I took that scenario too far? Just a thousand words ago, I didn’t even know what to write!

#Sisterfriend. (And some Dudes) I didn’t.  I promise. I didn’t.

See, we have an enemy, roaming about seeking to devour us. He plants seeds of insignificance that he tries to grow into sprouts of “not enough”, in hopes that they become a forest of despair, thick with briers and hard to find your way through. He wants to keep us stuck and wounded and useless. He deceives and lies and sets BUTS and EXCUSES before us like low hanging fruit that we pick because it’s EASY. He knows  that low hanging fruit didn’t demand a climb. It didn’t’ require effort. It didn’t ask you to believe for MORE and see the worth of high fruit. It didn’t need you to look around for the better tools to reach that top fruit nor develop in you things like persistence, determination, goals, stamina, consistency, endurance and grit. You remaining grounded by shame and cemented in self ridicule is critical to his mission of making sure… Evil wins.  Well guess the freak what? Evil doesn’t win. It’s not a marathoner. It’s a short sprint to no where and all it wants is miserable company.

Get up #sisterfriend! and some Dudes! You GET to be MORE because You ARE MORE! You are beautiful and a masterpiece and this world needs YOU..just as you are!

Unlike the marathon, the short distance is easy. The walk through the park is easy. The stroll to the corner to hail a cab is easy.
But Marathoners know, you push yourself because there is an achievement that is worth the effort. Marathoners also know… you don’t have to be first. You just have to finish. You don’t have to be the best, you just have to show up as your best self.  Marathoners know, the finish line is not the greatest achievement… the belief you had in yourself the entire race , is!  POUND the pavement of your LIFE with THAT!!!  Who do you partner with in that race? Here’s the thing… YOU get to choose! You totalllly get to choose your “teammates” in this race.  Choose the ones who will help you run it well. Choose Faith. Choose Hope. Choose Love. Choose Persistence, Consistency and Grit! Side up to Grace and Charity and Compassion and make best friends with “Flawsome”… that chick knows her race!

And here’s the thing #sisterfriends, and some Dudes…
This blog. This place. This space…  you’re gonna meet some of those “folks” here. Promise.
So….

Welcome to my “marathon”.

Blogging.

Life.

“I’m coming for you.” I may not be running as fast as others, but my Partners are rockstars!

*Pictured: My girls. One by birth, one by heart. “Marathoners” for each other – in LIFE

marathoners

More Page Updates

Hey #sisterfriends.  Maybe some Dudes…

JUST letting you know that more pages are updated!
Now you can look under the menu tab and select from:
Homesteader Kay
Hope*Writers and
Dogs and Disclosures

remember… “work in progress”, people… “work in progress” 🙂

PROMISE… the real body of the blog will start soooon 🙂  And I can’t wait to dig in to it.

person woman apple hotel
Photo by Stokpic on Pexels.com

Let me know what you think so far! I love a good “atta girl!”  LOL

More about me… and my “why”

Hey Friends!

So, this blog is a work in progress and I just want to pop in here from time to time to let you know where some of that “progress” has taken place!  lol

Go check out the Homesteader Kay Tab…

Yayyyy!!!!  I’ve got that loaded with a slide show and a written glimpse into a little bit more about me, and why,  #whatdoesyourheartneedtohear holds such importance for me!

And before you go.. let me leave you with this thought , because…
Sometimes we’ve lived so long in a rugged land of wilderness, we forget…
it’s really a land of HOPE.
Tumbling, (you’ll learn why that will become my closing each time, later… #staytuned:)

Homesteader Kay

 

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