Sunday, January 20, 2013

Messy Beginnings

I am still quite a bit of a mess. 18 days into the new year and I feel so much more undone than I did in 2012. And in a way quite uncomfortable in heart and spirit. I feel less "holy" (set apart) and more aware of the holes.

I suppose this is all part of the process- not just coming to terms with the fact that I am flawed, but looking into the gaping eyes of my imperfections. I am more aware of when I hear God's voice and I really do not want to listen. I am definitely more aware of the times when he asks me to be present and I simply want to run- to flee fast and hard, or hide under the covers from the messiness in my life, in my very soul. My soapbox has crashed and the pedestal has broken. I do not want to be the how-to "Pinterest Perfection" blogger that only shares from the highlight reel. I want to be authentic, to get down and dirty, but I fear the cost may be a little more honesty than the world wide community is prepared for.

A recent discussion with friends involved the many ways that we are "marked". I am most certainly marked by Christian culture. I want to throw off the burden of people-pleasing, step away from words that are only known in religious circles. Like the other day when the words "unwed mother" were whispered and I sat silenced, fragmented by censure in that tone of voice- it was someone I respect who was passing judgement on a very young, horribly broken life. I wanted to speak truth, but I hid my voice. At home, Roger remarked, "Unwed mother? Who says that any more?" My answer, in a pained voice, "Those are church words..." I trailed off into sadness. When did being set apart become a license to segregate? I want to move away from that disjointed, "Us and Them" theology. "I am right and you are wrong" was not what Jesus taught. The God-man lived love, and I want to live like that! In years past I spent much time pursuing purity, but I am hearing that it is time to pursue the heart of God.

This journey seems to me much like building endurance before a marathon. And, when embarking on a long distance race, the training involves pain. The preparation is not a little like 'Couch to 5k', which in and of itself is a good starter plan. But what do I do when I don't want to get up from the couch? It's not that I lack the strength, or even the desire. It's that I am afraid. Afraid to be seen, judged, flaws exposed to the world. This God following is not for the faint of heart.

And so I linger at the starting line, though I suspect the shot has already been fired. I want to incubate a little longer. I pray that when my path is directed, I will have strength press forward, like a baby chick pushing out of it's protective shell. Breaking free is messy buisiness, but I want to emerge, weak and damp, yet trusting that God does have a plan and a purpose. Believing that He can use this broken vessel to pour out hope even through the pain of authenticity.  Praying that somehow, through all my imperfectness, souls will see not judgement, not church-y words and aspirations, but the heart of God and his great love.

~Just Me 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Living Forward

I read the words and my heart welled up, pushing wetness out of ducts meant to convey toxins out and healing in. What struck me most was the guilt, the loss of hope.

And I wanted to say: Oh, honey- don't spend one more day looking at lists of everything you thought you should have done. From "Don't should on yourself" to the "tyranny of the shoulds", phrases flit through my mind. But when hope seems lost, humor can ring hollow.

The truth is- the truth is that we are all flawed. And fighting through discouragement is a very real battle. It is that time of year when many aspire to "do better". To throw off the cloak of human frailty and soar, despite these feet of clay. Sorrow, sadness over what I did not accomplish won't really help me change. Will it? No, but I do think that prayer and determination will.

Don't get me wrong- there are plenty of mourning places in this life. But failings- in this imperfect world, they are part of our learning process. How can I live the secret to pushing past guilt? For I desire push past, as a child emphatically pushes the unwanted off a plate, into the napkin, and heads for the trash bin. Sometimes I push hard with arms forced to lift past the mired mind. And sometimes I walk out on that crushing would-be master, and find I can, indeed soar. Even with feet of clay. For the One that holds and carries, His name is Hope.

Living past my failings, this takes work. And discipline to look past where I want to be and accept where I have been placed NOW.  Surrender frees me. Frees me up to be who I was made to be- even if it looks different than everybody else. For I am not everyone else, am I? I am me. Despite every loss, despite every failure, despite every time I did not "get it right", the truth is I do not have to. Because there is One who already did.

I have been ransomed, set free. The prison of blame and reproach can only hold me if choose to stay. Really. Once I was told that I made it sound "so easy". Let me not mislead- exertion, commitment, discipline of mind and actions- this is key in navigating the course. Prayer is the conduit, the strength to push through. Every time- every single time the enemy brings the past, the imperfectness of my life and throws it in my face. Every time I long for something different, something that I had before- every moment when life seems inadequate and my strength fails, Prayer is the key. Crying out to God and praying that most powerful of all prayers- "Help!" I cannot do this on my own. It is a choice. A conscious, hard fought battle to claim peace and choose to trust.To press in, to live out of the depths, and to seize Hope. Easy? No, but worth it. My soul sings a resounding yes!
 Resolutions, these are not for me. What I choose is to walk authentically where I am, and leave the rest to Jesus.

~Just Me

Friday, January 4, 2013

Slipping Back

It wasn't a date. It really wasn't. Sure, we had talked about maybe going together to join a gym. But it slipped his mind. He didn't do it out of meanness. He simply forgot. And I forget things, too. But I was angry. So angry. And I didn't really even know why. It's not like before, when he was struggling simply to live. It's not like when he hated life, God, everything- even me and the kids. It wasn't like the years that simply being in a room with him tore at my soul. This time, it was simply a mistake. But I felt so very wounded. I went back, back to the year when he loved nothing and no one- not even me.

And I tried to tell myself that this was not then. That things are better now. That he really does love me, and he is a good husband and father, and that he shows his love for me in so many ways. But all I could feel was the hurt. And I felt guilty for feeling hurt. It made absolutely no sense- and perfect sense all at once.

You see, so much of what wounds in this life is not about what is happening now, but about what came before. We have come out of a place where living with my husband was incredibly traumatic. Even before he was actually diagnosed with PTSD. Once the symptoms had a label, I tried to understand. God showed me that leaving would tear apart the fabric of our lives- for both of us, and so I stayed.  But sometimes, obedience hurts. And sometimes love is not reciprocated. And sometimes people are ill and truly can not help it. But all these reasons, all these truths do not take away the hurt.

The only balm for a broken life is forgiveness.

Once I realized what was happening, it was time. Time to walk down the well worn path to the altar. God, I cannot do this.  But that's precisely the point, isn't it? I cannot, in my own strength, forgive. But God, through me, can. Divine electricity coursing through this deeply flawed vessel can change a life. Even the lives of those closest to me. Even the lives of those who have hurt me deepest. And what do I get out of it? I get to walk free.

Father God,

Thank you for loving me despite my many, many flaws.I admit to you that I am broken, that I have been hurt, specifically by this happening. I feel guilt, ashamed for being wounded. I would really like to make excuses for him. But excuses won't set me free. The truth is- the truth is that forgiveness cuts the chains. And I do not want to be bound any longer to the woundedness. I want to be free. Show me what you want to heal in me, pour your unconditional acceptance and love through me. I choose to be a vessel of forgiveness, and I choose to claim healing in my body, soul and spirit.

In the name of Jesus I ask you to set the order. To show me what needs to be forgiven, that every chain would be removed, link, by link, until I am truly, wholly free.

In the strong and holy name of Jesus I pray.


~Just me