Thursday, January 12, 2012

Relationship, Relationship, Relationship

Ok, so after my last post, I did a lot of thinking.

Then I read the book 'The Shack.'

And I thought some more.

I had heard about it but I didn't know anything about the author or the message.

If you know me at all, you know that I am an avid reader. I am that geeky girl who read all those classics in school FOR FUN. Yeah. Told you I'm a geek. *smiles*

You alsoknow that I do not enjoy reading to study. I read simple as a way to de-stress. I want my brain to rest, so fiction is my genre of choice - and in the last year or more Christian fiction predominantly.

So back to The Shack. I wanted to read it but I had heard so much about it and I didnt' want to read it to study. But that is exactly what I did.

And I thought that all in all it was a really good book. Nothing spectacular about the writing. He's good, but not mindblowing as an author. But the message I find to be one that all believers need to grasp:

RELATIONSHIP RELATIONSHIP RELATIONSHIP.

It's all about knowing God. Getting personal and asking Him all those tough questions.

Many many very religious people or very conservative people are NOT going to appreciate this book.

They will question it's biblical soundness - and in a couple places I did too.

But I walked away feeling more connected to God than I would ever have expected. It truly is a very fresh perspective on the relationship we share with the Creator and that He wants to share with us.

I would delve deeper on this topic, but I just wanted to suggest that if you are seeking to know God differently this book would be a good start.

Be warned, it will challenge your perspective. It will force you to dig deeply and get 'down&dirty' with the Lord on some points.

Love ya'll

Have a great weekend!





Love Actually

Do you know what love is?
Tell me. How does it look?
Can you taste it?
Touch it?
See it?
Feel it?

Is it warm and fuzzy, or soft and so very cuddly?

Or is it a battlefield?
Ripe with landmines, hard times, ditches and dark long roads...
Full of head-on collisions and uneasy divisions...

Tell me.

When you visualize love, what exactly is is that you see?
Do you see rainbows, or unicorns and gumdrops?
Cotton-candy dreams or one of those really romantic scenes?

Or wait! Are you one of those cynics who only sees tears, pain, and various shades of hurt and shame?

Is love some crazy abstract dream that cannot POSSIBLY come true,
Or is it some long, depressing, self-destroying, never-ending perfect storm that, when it's all said and done, leaves you lonely, empty and forlorn?

Tell me. Which view is true?
Which one is real?
Is either one really righteous?

Let me tell you. Here's what I think.

Love is hope
and hurt
faithfulness
and grace
sweet
sour
Sometimes it's even a little touch-and-go, certainly not something to be done in one's OWN power.

Love is commitment
dedication
surrender
and sacrifice
Sometimes, it's even doing the SAME THING over and over til ya'll FINALLY get it right.

See. Here's what I really believe:

Love looks like God.
Love IS God.

C'mon. We all know the story.
That He sent His one-and-only
Just so we can have eternity.

We didn't deserve it and I'm sure it wasn't easy.
I'm pretty positive it wasn't sugar or spice, or for that matter, anything even close to nice.

But it was patient and kind.
And it did endure all things.
It took our shame.
It bore the pain of our rejection and our whorish affections upon itself.
As though it were his own.

Love bore the burden.
It paid the cost.
Gave up it's rights to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness - you know, all that stuff we're so quick to believe we're due.
And it did it just to prove how deep, how wide, how far-reaching is the Love that has been reserved for me and you.

Paid in Full.
Tetelesti.
It is finished.

That's Love.

Heaven come to earth, with only one agenda.
To save it's people from their own ignorance.
To draw us to itself and to woo us with its unshakeable, unbreakable, undeniable, un-duplicatable dedication.

All for free.
The only cost to us, to live life in its shadow.
To love from Love's heart and with Love's spirt.
To give to eachother was has been so freely given to you and me.

Love.
It looks nothing like we make it out to be.
Not all sweet.
Not all sour.
But always honest.
Always dedicated to the object of it's affection.
Always ready with Truth.
Always full of grace.
Always seeking the Good.
And never remembering the bad.

Accepting the worst, expecting the best.
Knowing that in the end, its worth the cost. Knowing that without Love's truth, we'd be absolutely and utterly lost.

Love.
God.
Jesus Christ.
The cross.
Mirrored in our own lives.
That's Love Actually.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Country Club

My parents have a membership to the country club near their home. And it is a really nice place. We went there a few weeks back for breakfast. Just the three of us.

And as we walked in, I realized that as privileged a life as I have been allowed to enjoy, that privilege also comes with certain costs.

You have probably gathered by reading my previous posts that my family, and my father in particular, are VERY involved in my life. Always have been. And really genuinely in many ways still dont' know how to let go.

All in love, to be sure. But still , they hold on to me in particular very tightly.

As we walked into the country club and I realized how spoiled I must appear on the outside because of the lifestyle my parents have been afforded, I also realized that there must be so many young people who feel painted into a box by their privilege. The expectations are great. The scrutiny is great. And the fear of not living up to the life you've been groomed to attain is even greater. You date the perfect guy. You have the perfect wedding. You buy the perfect home. You raise the perfect kids. And you manage to be poised and graceful at every turn. Always ready and willing to be that person everyone believes you are.

But what happens when your perfect life doesn't look like the country club? How do you respond to the harsh criticism because you date the perfect guy - at least for you. Or because you say 'no' to being the person everyone believes you are, and 'YES' to being authentically who you were created to be?

What do you do, when saying 'yes' to your truth leaves the people you love feeling judged and disrespected?Do you choose your truth? Do you own your life? Or do you go with the status quo? Do you just keep on doin what you've always done? And no matter which choice you make, can you really live with the costs of each? Are you REALLY willing to sacrifice yourself, for your family, or your family for yourself? Is there any way this can be a win/win situation?

All this came to mind as I walked behind my parents, into their country club early on a Sunday morning to have breakfast.

Because I am that privileged kid. And I've had to make that same choice. Had to decide if I was to remain a child, or if I truly wanted to own my life. If I wanted a perfect life, or the life that is perfect for me. I had to count that cost, and in some ways, I'm still paying that cost.

But if you ask me if it's been worth it, I'd say yes. Every bit of it. Yes, a thousand times yes. Every ounce of hurt and every tear. Because when it's all said and done, I am the one who answers for the life I've lived and the choices I've made. No one else can face that day but me. So owning my life wasn't an option. It was (and is) a requirement.

Afterall, this is really what I've been groomed to do. Live life on my terms and make it conform to my desires.

To live life to the fullest, just like the privileged peple do.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Thankful Thursday - Worship




Exodus 4:31 (New International Version)

31 and they believed. And when they heard that the LORD was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.

There is something about worship that just opens my soul up to God and His Will in a whole new way. The way it feels to enter into His presence. The clarity of His Word. And the release that comes from just letting go and freely savoring His sweetness.

I'm thankful for that kinda intimate relationship with the Lord.

Go visit Iris. There is more of this greatness over at her place!

Blessings good people.
Ro

Swimming Lessons

I can't swim.

I know it's easy. I'm not afraid of the water. But there is nothing under my feet, if I actually am gonna swim. No safety net.

For the last couple of weekends, we have all been going to the pool at least once a week. And my dad and brother started trying to teach me. My sib decided I just didn't have a choice but to learn. And so he took the job for himself.

He wanted me to go under water. He wanted me to let go and do this froggy thing and make my way to him. He let me go and told me to come to him.

And because I trust him, I did it. I let go. And I made my way - under water - to him. I discovered it wasn't so bad. I got a little comfortable and ventured out farther away and tried it again. Did pretty good. Felt a little better. My coach was close enough to touch and then he'd start walking back little by little and coaxing me to him. And I'd make it. I'd do just fine til I realized there was nothing there to catch me if something should happen. And then, I'd panic. And THAT'S when something would happen. I'd start sinking.

Then we go this weekend and one of my girlfriends goes with. She has swam competitively and she has taught and also been a lifeguard. We've been buds since we were little girls and I trust her. Implicitly.

So she throws this little weighted stick in the water and says 'go get it.' As in, dive down and pick up the stick. I'm thinking 'whateva, heffa.' But she looks at me, busts out laughin, and says 'go get it.' So like a nut, I go get it. And I think. 'Hmm. ok.' So I start doing it on my own.

And then she says, lets go to the deep end. As in THIRTEEN FEET of water. As in THERE IS NO GROUND UNDER MY FEET-deep water. Hmmm. Not really. But she's done this. She knows what she's doing. How bad can it be? Sit on the edge, and dive in. Come straight back up and tread water. Kick your feet and move you arms. Just push the water out the way.

THE HECK U SAY.

But. She knows what she's doing. I'm safe. It's alright. So I dive and then I come back up and tread water. And I'm good, til I realize I'm far away from the wall and she is not right there. I panic. And I start drowning. But then, my brother is right there and he grabs me. And she is right there and she's helpin too. Between the two of em, I'm alright. And then that girl lost her mind and said. Ok. Do it again.... 'HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND???'

Dude. I almost drowned. I'm not doin that again.

But she insists.So I do it again. And this time, I do better than the first time. Don't even come close to drowning. I'm good. My coaches do their own thing. I am not the only focus anymore, but they are right there, paying attention ready to come if I need. And it turns out just fine. Better, in fact, than I expect.

We leave and head home to shower and hang out until my dad finishes grilling. And in the shower, it dawns on me that my issue with the whole swimming thing boils down to trust.

I'm good when I'm not thinking about. But as soon as I realize that I have to let go and simply go with it, I get nervous. I'm not in control anymore. I dont trust that I have the ability to navigate the depth. I don't trust that I will be saved if I get too far out.

It's like that with our lives. As long as we are in control, we never realize our true potential or ability. It takes being willing to let go if we are to ever discover the depths of the lives we live and steward. It takes trusting that the Creator - the one who made you and me both - KNOWS WHAT HE'S DOING. He's got it. If we would just take His word for it, just follow His lead and do what He says, we'll be fine. And if, by chance, we start to sink, He's there. He'll catch us. Even when we can't feel the bottom, when our circumstances seem to be spinning out of our grasp, just like swimming, if we will relax and simply do it, it all works together and the trip to the shore is much much easier - and shorter.

We have to learn to stop trusting ourselves and start trusting the Coach. We have to know that the Instructor is the one who has all the experience. We can't tell Him what to do; HE tells us. We have got to get over this idea that WE know best and recognize that HE is the one who orchestrated all this to begin with, so we can't possibly know better than He does.

His word says that the student is never greater than the teacher.

We would do well to remember this. To take it to heart and to really just learn the lesson and apply it to our lives.

God's got it. We just need to trust Him and follow His directions. And eventually, instead of just treading the water of our lives, we'll be swimming - experiencing it all: diving, playing, going deeper and deeper, and ok that we can't feel the ground, cuz we know He's there and He's given us the skills to navigate the depths.

He's in control and we don't have to be.

He Was My Hosea...

I guess I'm not done.

I'm convicted now.

I was workin up on really being self-righteous in my last post. Because I've already said that it's grace that it's not me bringing this to bear.

That's the difficulty with something like this. Neither party can typically REALLY be all that mad when u look from God's POV. Becaue if we're honest with ourselves, we've been given unmerrited grace, on at least one occassion when our conduct deserved a lot less.

He's not doing this to hurt me.

I understand that. I really truly do.

And he feels all sorts of things that he'd love to share but that he's too afraid to say for fear of me exploding on him.

And I understand that too.

Frankly though, i'm not so pissed about the situation. I'm more upset with that fact that he didn't give me a chance to have a say in the way it affects he & i...

One of my friends had a great point when I said that to her, that I was mad that he waited so long to tell me about this... 'Everyone has a breaking point.'

She's right. We all do.

And maybe it's wholly irrational to expect that he would trust me so much that he would sit me down and say 'baby i need to tell you something. I dont know what's gonna come next. I dont know if you will forgive me or be willing to work through all this, but...blah blah blah blah.'

But for real, that's what I wanted of him. Honestly. Because at this point I've accepted so many things that he just KNEW i'd never ever work beyond. Surely he had an idea he could take the risk in this one.

Or maybe that's exactly why he didn't want to take the risk. Because there has been so much and he just didn't see how there could be anymore.

Who knows. Maybe he was right at the time. Maybe a couple of months ago when all this came to light for him wasnt the right time to tell me. Because just maybe I would've exploded on him. Just maybe I would've written it all off and washed my hands. Maybe he was right...

This is all such a jumble of emotions and feelings and concepts and  things.

And spiritually it's just such a streching and a testing of my REAL commitment to Christ and to H.

On the one hand, it seems so unfair that I'm convicted in this. Because this situation really does rest with him. It really does...

But then, on the other hand, I all can hear as I type is God countering all my talk of having given up so much with how much I've gained on a personal spiritual level. And much of that is in direct relationship to our relationship.

So how can I really feel justified in my hurt? How can I really feel justified in my displeasure?

Since God has given me the amazing privilege of viewing this w/eyes beyond the natural, how can I really say that I'm over it? That I'm done and not interested in walking it out anymore? How can I say that? Because God is letting me see Him work. He's giving me that.

So how is it right for me to be all mad and what-not?

The answer is that it's probably not right. Not at all...

A few years ago, this was me. My reasons were different, but God's purpose was the same. This was me. And he was the one coming to me saying 'you're taking away half my heart.' I remember that morning. It was before church on a Sunday and I told him I couldn't do it anymore. Just didn't think we could do it. We weren't honoring God and I needed to get myself together. That I loved him but God had to be number one.

I broke his heart that day the way he broke mine a few weeks ago. And mine too.

But I did what I knew was best right then.

And he did what a man in love does. He came back.

Time and again. He came back. He fought for me. He fought ME for me.

He was patient. He was relentless. He kept coming back.

And I struggled,cuz I had some unfinished business. I had to tie those ends up. I had to know beyond a doubt that what was past really was past. I loved H. Had been in love from almost the start. But... there was that loose end. It had to be tied...

He never asked. He bore that pain and he never questioned me on the real reasons why. He simply came back.

'We're just goin thru something. We are what that is, but I'll wait for you to figure that out. I love you so much it scares me.'

He woudln't leave. That's where my heart started turning. Even as I sent him away the last time, told him I needed him to not come back not at all... Even then,  I prayed 'God, he can't come back again. If he does, I can't send him away.'

I broke both our hearts that day the way he broke mine on Monday.

I cried for days. And I'm sure he did too.

But it was in that time, during that last heartbreak that God showed me the truth of the unfinished business. That indeed, it was finished and I was free to move on from it fully.

And as He released me from that old thing, He simultaneously sent me back to H.

He had respected my wishes and he stayed away. I had to go to him this time.

He ignored me at first. The weekend of my 28th birthday. I had a leadership retreat for work that weekend and I called him right before i got to the hotel. And while I was there.

No call back. I was scared to death that just maybe he wouldn't talk to me ever again in life.

A week or so later I tried again. This time he called me back.

He heard me out. But he wasn't convinced.

We talked when I got home... It was a hard conversation. He asked me why. 'Why do you want me to come back now? You sent me away. You asked me to leave. Now all of a sudden you want me back. What's different?'  I answered... 'life isn't right without you. it's just not right. i dont feel safe. it doesnt feel whole or good. i need you. i miss you. i love you. i want you. i'm sorry. i know i hurt you. i'm sorry. Will you come see me? Can we talk about it?'

He agreed. And even in that moment, he had already made up his mind to come back. Spoke with the authority of a man speaking to his woman. But he was conflicted. Just like I am now. He was conflicted.

He showed up. We talked. Got tired and decided to lay down. Just wanted to be close. He was exhausted. Fell asleep as soon as his head found a pillow, with me layin' in his arms wide awake. Thinkin. I guess i must've stirred. Woke him and he tried so hard to be available so we could talk some more - i'm a verbal processor (duh). Told him it wasnt necessary. That we didnt need to talk it out. Just wanted to be there in that moment where I knew I was safe. All i said was 'remember when i asked you one time why u thought u were supposed to be superman for me? why u thought u were supposed to carry the weight of my world on your shoulders? you said to me because that's my job. i'm supposed to do that....' his answer... 'i remember that...'  my answer... 'i finally believe you can'...

I lay there a little bit longer but couldnt sleep. Slipped out to sit and talk with God. Didn't even know he realized why I'd do that. I had started doing it months before. Went to the living room, found my corner on the couch and prayed. Asked God to order our steps and let us do it His way this time and not our own. Went back to bed; he was awake. Asked me what was wrong, if i was ok, could i just not sleep?... told him i was fine. Asked me if i was praying. Told him yeah. Found my spot in his arms and finally fell asleep...

Still conflicted. Because he was hurt. Called him one day at work. no big deal. Just left a message @ the front desk. All it said was 'I love you'... he knew it was me. Showed up a few days later. All he said was ' I got your message where you said you love me.'

I knew in that moment that we were gonna be ok. I knew then that he wasn't conflicted anymore. And he did too. We never talked about it. It just was. Because it was right. It was us and it was right.

He didnt' know it, but he took the same risk with me then that he's asking me to take with him now... God guided me then. I have to trust that God is guiding him now.

He didnt' withdraw his heart, his love, or his affection from me then. Nor did he take his friendship. He simply held on to what his heart said was right. Love didn't fail then.

I need to trust that it wont fail now. I need to give him the same respect and the same commitment now that he gave me then. He bore his pain alone. He dealt with his hurt outside our situation and he made himself available to me, even at the risk of rejection.

He doesn't know it, but the refusal to let me go is what won me over. His persistent pursuit of me. His vulnerable tender heart is what ultimately made me say yes and go back.

And maybe it's time I tell him some of this. Maybe it's time i let him know that rather than being mad, i understand... Because really, i do understand.

He's already one up on me. In his way, he asked me to stay...

He was my Hosea first.

Now it's my turn...

Maybe I need to take a page from his book and love him relentlessly.

It worked once... it'll work this time too.

Lord,
You gave me grace and he received me back with open arms. Make the grace of my heart true. Take the pride Lord. Take the burdensome pain and let me see this the way he saw me then. Help him to remember like You're helping me to remember. Love won then. Please let it win now. Put the words that bring life on my lips, Father. Remove the wall in my heart and my spirit.Open  it up wide. Leave it open wide for him. Let him come face to face with You as I learn to love him relentlessly, even as I came face to face with You when the roles were reversed. Our love is Your love. And Your word says that what You do cannot be undone. Lord let it not be undone. Let him be won not be bold speech but by steady trust and commitment and genuine friendship.  Lord please meet me in privae. Help me to deal with me outside our situation so that when we're together it's not uneasy and it's not full of things that make genuine relationship impossible. Uncommon friendship God. We need it. And we both want it. Be our bridge. Live for him like You lived for me. Thank you for the peace of remembering. And the grace of forgiveness. I love You Lord.  Please forgive me.

In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Let's Just Have Some Hilarity, Shall We?

So, has anybody ever done something you were told they'd do, but didn't really expect them to follow-through with?

And then when they did it, did they do it big?

And when it happens you are so shocked, you just don't know what to do?

Yeah?

Glad I'm not alone. I'm so tickled I can barely stand it. Good grief, Project Ack-Right is availing much! Well, that and a WHOLE BUNCHA prayin.

Good grief!

byeee!
Ro

More On This Thing of Falling...

Unfettered relationship.

God gives it to us.

There are no restrictions from Him or with Him that are not of our own doing... Meaning that although we may displease Him, His forgiveness is full and immediate and infinite. There may be consequences and all, because of what we choose, but relationally, there is never a time where God withholds His love from us.

Not even when, by all rights, He should...

Which is an absolutely convicting thought for me. Since for the last couple of days I have been given wisdom that I know is of God and that I know I should not  (and apparently CANNOT ignore).

Because the thing with falling is this: falling means letting go.

And in some twisted human way, i've not been quite ready to do that.

I'd like to nurse my wounds, so to speak.  But here's the thing. I cant nurse my wounds and walk in love. The two are mutually exclusive... And the former is not God-honoring or God-pleasing.

It dawned on me a few days ago that I'm grieving. And I think that's made harder because the grief isn't one where I leave a tangible thing behind. My grief is for desires, hopes, dreams, personal expecations. And the fact that I grieved so many of those things not so long ago for such a long period of time doesn't make it any easier in this place.

But, with that being said, just like the letting go I had to do as I grieved the transition of some of my favorite people from time to eternity, I have to do that same letting go now. I have to trust God now like I trusted Him then. Even though I didnt understand why I had to lose my grandparents, I knew that God was sovereign. I knew that His Will could never be wrong and that there was never anything better. I knew, whether or not I understood, that God's way was the safest, best, wisest way there was. And I learned to live in a new normal. I learned to walk in their home and not expect to see their faces or hear their voices. I learned that life didn't stop and that it wouldn't always hurt to be without the only 'normal' I had ever really known...

Them leaving set all our lives on totally different courses. It brought pain, true enough. And challenge. But it also brought change and freedom and growth. In many many ways, it allowed us to live.

And this is the same for me. This changes everything I hoped for. I had already realigned my hopes once based on the package not fitting and the plan not being anything like my plan... I made the adjustment. Because I trusted God. It has not been the easiest road or even a desireable one in most respects. But I believed God when I chose to follow Him instead of me...

I had hoped that all the price had been paid, that the last death of my own hopes had come to pass. But this situation. It showed me different. Not only had the last death not come to pass, there was to be more than one more death in my heart as a result of what God in His Absoluteness saw fit to allow. There have been things that I held dear, values and such, that have been shattered in this. I had gotten over not having any real 'firsts' ... but I longed for and looked forward to the 'next times' being ours... And that isnt how it's workin'.  The things that most women look forward to in relationships, the times where it legitimately gets to be all yours and it's not selfish to want those moments... for me, for us, that's not what it is. It will be more sacrifice and more crucifixtion and more hurt. The moments that really are reserved as 'ours' now become some sort of faith statement, as opposed to the times to be shared and enjoyed by the people who love us and who we love the most.

The life that was to be lived relatively unfettered by anymore of either of our pasts.. Well.. that's not happenin. It is now fettered. And that's a grief for me. Because the sort of ties that H brings, I dont bring. The sort of history. It's not my history. And it brings questions to me... All the things that are firsts for me, that are NOT firsts for him... will he be excited with me or will he think my excitement foolish? The thing I want most in the world, will he not want that because well he's been there and done that... three times over?

Everything's changed. Everything's somethin I had not prepared for and dont want to prepare for now. Everything is different.

Everything I had finally allowed myself to hope for and look toward as reward for letting so much die so long ago has become something more or less than I desired. And of all that I feel, that's the part that hurts the worst.

Those desires and hopes are the reasons I dont want to fall. Because falling means letting go of the last of the things I have held dear.

And if i fall... if i let go... I have to accept the changes and challenges and growth this is meant to bring. And I have to be willing to walk in unfettered relationship with H - even though his choices leave us unable to live our life without the fetters of some far-reaching consequences.

Quite frankly, the side of me that is oh-so-human has no interest in making such a sacrifice. Or risking a new journey down a harder road than the one we've walked so far....

I'm grieving because the Father is requiring me to allow the last of what I hold in my heart to die.

But I want to heal, so the new normal that death brings needs to be allowed to live.

I want us to survive, and more than that I want us to thrive. So the fetters... I need to see them as opportunity and beauty instead of constant reminders of his betrayal, dishonesty, and disrespect.

and I know that I have a choice. But I really dont. I chose long ago to follow the Lord. I chose long ago to love Him with my life. So. I'm choosing to let my self die. Because other things need desperately to be allowed to live.

That being said, it's time to let my grief rest. It's time to fall and love. It's time to take the risk and accept the consequences. It's time to find the blessing in the hurricane and to allow my man to emerge as a MAN in my sight. It really is time to open the door back and welcome him to find his way in.

New normal or not, consequences or not, shaky legs or not... this can be a blessing if I let it.

And I want to let it.

Lord,
I'm willing to fall. I just need You to renew my heart and my mind. I need You to transform my thoughts and make them Yours. And God, I need to see You do the same in H. I need to see his love for me live and breathe and prevail. I need to see him walk in courage and wrestle with You like Jacob instead of continuing to take the easy road and sacrificing my heart in the process.  I need to see him fight, Lord. I'm fighting with everything in me to stand and trust. I need to see him pick up his bed and walk. He wants healing. He wants more. But he lays like an invalid on a stretcher and waits for someone to carry him to his blessing. Father I'm begging You. Command him to pick up his bed and walk. You say he will answer You as you call his name. Lord, call his name. You say i need to see us live as much as him. Lord show me. Let me see. PROVE IT. Let me see him get up and walk. Let me see him be more than anybody - including me - has ever given him credit for being. I know that I cant bargain with You; I dont want to bargain... Friend to friend... You've asked me to give up every desire of my heart and to allow the start of our future to be a statement of faith. I'm giving You that. I'm surrendering. Because I trust You. And I'm asking You to require him to do the same. Require him to make a statement of faith by leaving what everybody else thinks is a marvelous life because You've spoken to him that his life is with me. God, You have asked a tremendous price of me. And I've paid it. Love has led me to pay it. I need to see him sacrifice. I need to see him work. I need to see him take the risk of maturity that is necessary if he is ever to experience full life with You - and with me. And if he will not be this man, I am asking You, begging You, to release me from him and from us. Heal my heart dear Lord. Heal my pain. Lay my grief to rest. Allow me to fall. And allow him to fall with me.

In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ten Things - And I Need This Today

XBOX Wife Ten Things Tuesday

With no ado:

  1. Thanks Lord for Worship. You give me that when I have nothing else.
  2. Thanks for Music. If I did not have music, much of the time I would probably not have the words to pray.
  3. Faithfulness. You alone are God and that is enough.
  4. Your Patience. Because having me for a daughter is, I'm sure, a very trying thing.
  5. Peace. You do wonders in this area for a very high-strung person.
  6. Gentleness. So many times I deserve harsh correction. Most often I do not receive it.
  7. Favor. You have always given me so much in relation to situations and outcomes. I'm grateful.
  8. Passion. It makes me chase You harder.
  9. A heart to know You well. It allows me to discern more clearly than I would ever have been able to do otherwise
  10. Who You are. 'I AM that I AM.' And that is enough for me.

Go visit Jill and have some linky fun with us, k?

Ro

My Relationship With Christ

Lest anybody think that I am a saint, I figure maybe I should just share openly that I am such a sinner...

I talk so openly about my walk with the Lord because He has done such a life-changing work in me these last few years.

I know that a lot of people get the impression that me and God have some sort of unique closeness and that it can be a little off-putting, but really... well... we're just really good friends. There's nothing so different about my relationship with the Lord than about my relationship with my best friend - except that He's perfect. He and I talk and just really spend time together. That's all.

The question I'm most frequently asked is how to hear the Lord. How do you discern His voice? How do you know you're hearing Him and not you? And honestly, all I can tell you is: get to know Him. The best way to learn to hear Him is to get to know Him.

I can't pinpoint anytime where I finally just started hearing Him. I can mention the first time I remember hearing Him, but I'm sure I heard before and I just didn't count it as the Lord's voice. I have always been sensitive spiritually. Just the heart He's given me. And unknowingly, my grandmother cultivated that recognition in me. The Lord called me as a child. I've always been different, not quite with the crowd but much more a leader and recognized that I cared to be (or to acknowledge). People seem to be drawn to me and I seem to just naturally be able to meet some need in/for them. As I've matured, I understand that the Lord is the one meeting the need; He's just using me.

If anything makes my relationship with Abba unique, it is simply that I seek Him. Fully. I have experienced enough of doing it my own way to know that it's a waste of my time and an invitation for destruction internally. When I finally got that, I started just talking to Him, trusting Him to hear me. And one day, He started talking back. But not until I was really ready to start getting to know Him. And then, He started talking consistently - at first through others mostly, then more and more to me directly. The more I sought, the more He spoke. Jeremiah 29:13 lived for me. Still does.

I'm all or none, so committing to Him was just that. A full-fledged all of myself commitment. And then He started changing me. And because I'm a practical learner, for me, He has been a practical teacher. He gives a direction. I follow it. Once I obey, He shows me how it all lines up. If it doesn't sound right, I ask Him to confirm it. And He does. And then I obey.

Just like a rebellious kid, I have those times when I'm not feeling it. And I act like the kid I am. I talk back, I question, I fight and try to avoid - but my heart belongs to Him and He always waits me out and draws me back. He reminds me of the emptiness of my own way and the futileness of fighting His Will.

I've learned that He's sovereign. I've learned that He's smarter than me and wiser, too. And I know that He loves me. So I made the choice to answer His call and let Him do His thing. Once I started running TO Him instead of FROM Him, He started revealing Himself in all kinds of ways. He truly became my passion and my life. He became my Father, my Master, and my Friend. When I gave myself to Him, He met me where I was.

He started talking and He hasn't stopped. And all I really did for that to happen was to start listening.

So I guess my advice to anybody who would ask me how to hear God more clearly is simple: LISTEN.


At This Moment

I just wanna be in his arms... at this moment.... i just want to rest there and know that it's safe...

I'm just ready to be done with this road. Ready to be finished and free of this part of the journey at least...

And that's all I got for the day... that's really all...

Counting The Cost

All morning long, me and the Voice... knowing there's something that I need to be working thru... But not wanting to. And it's making me not want to be near people...

'God. I'm trying. I'm really trying to be here and present. Really I am. And I know that I've taken him down this same road and all, but when I did this, it wasn't because of... I wasn't.... not then anyway... and I certainly didn't... '

"So because your sin was hidden, that makes it different?'

"God I'm not saying that... and I know I needed to be sure of some things too, but I didn't do it like this... I'm just sayin'... how checked in can I be when I can't trust that the earth isn't gonna shatter again. I'm trying, I promise... I just... I'm strugglin' to get there because I feel like.... and .... "

"So because the things you did weren't made known to him at the time, the reason you pulled away, his hurt then was less than your hurt now?"

"So not fair God.... Even with that, even if he knew, it's not just this... and my reasons for checkin out then, the reasons for my distance... if ...."

"Have you considered that he may have had similar reason?"

At which point, I just stopped talking. Because that still, small voice was relentless and I was losing. And this was just today. Mid-day, when I finally let myself settle down enough to really connect.

And irony of all irony? Mid... whatever this was... he calls me for some randomness... and wants to take a long lunch... to hang out... was planning to just duck outta work and come get me so that i could go with him to take care of some business.

.... is all I have to say about that....

And that voice again.... 'it is not what it appears. you do not have all the details. he wants you to see him stand up. he's being a husband. he's making an effort. he wants you to see him take ownership of his choices and do the work of rectifiying them.'

At that point, i really was just done.

I'll just be honest. At the heart of it is this: i just dont wanna do this.

How bout that.

I know he's trying. I see the effort. I recognize the work and the chance he's taking by opening himself up to my rejection. Really I do. But. Um.You know... well.. when I'm alone and can sit and think. I just dont want to.

But then i hear his voice or see his face and at least for that stretch of time, i think that mabye i'm getting over this. That just maybe I DO want to...

Except for that pesky desire to run away.

Yeah. It's still here.

What I realized sometime during this day is that what I feel has so little to do with H. This situation was just the fastest way to highlight what's really happenin' in me.

The real unmitigated truth is that I want to be carefree.

I dont want the responsibility of a husband and children. I knew up front that I was walking into a ready-made family. And I didn't expect it to change -obviously. In fact, I fully expected it to become a greater responsibility... And I was ok with that... Until now.

I don't want the weight of what God has called me to as a woman, nor do I want the weight of what He's called me to as a the other 1/2 of this couple. I don't know all the details, but I know enough to know that the responsibility is huge.

And I just dont' want it.

And I felt this way even before H was on the scene. Which is why I consulted God in the following way: "God, I wnt to do xyz. This looks good to me. Is this ok?", and then withouth waiting for an answer proceeded to do what MUST HAVE BEEN RIGHT, because afterall... It looked perfect!

I wont even lie and say I didnt' know. I knew. In my spirit, I knew. I just didn't know what was gonna happen if I took the risk of surrendering. So I didn't. And I didn't rest not one day during that period of time between defiance and God yankin' my chain. Not one day.

Which, in and of itself, should be reason enough now to not flatly defy God. Because this time, I know. I know full well. I wasnt' quite able to count the costs the first time I said no. But this time... I can count it. I AM counting it. Which is exactly why all I wanna say is NO.

Had the last four years of seriously encountering God not happened, I might feel differently. But that first yes has cost so freakin much, on so many levels... I just don't know that knowing what I know now, I can give this one a yes. The individual pieces of this next season? Maybe.But as a whole. I'm not sure about that.

I think i said in my post from the other day that I don't want the freedom to choose right now, because I truly don't know what my choice will be. I'd love to be the 'Godly' woman so many people think I am and say without a doubt that I'm in it 100% as God reveals more and more to me.... but I can't. Because I just genuinely don't know if I want to give up anymore of me to this process of sanctification in my spirit.

Better than anybody - no matter what people have said or what they think and no matter what judgements have been made on my life - better than anybody else, i KNOW what this has cost me. I KNOW on every level how difficult and how frightening and draining and humiliating and unending all this has been for me. I KNOW. And because I know, I don't know that I'm willing to say 'ok God. Even in light of the pain of this current process, I'm gonna say yes and sign on for the extended ride on the surrender train.' I just am not sure I can do that and mean it.

I'm only 32 and I feel far older. Which is exactly how I felt when God asked me at 25 to stop doing my own thing and let Him work. I wanted so much to just be able to be a normal 20-something and not have to be the responsible one or the wise one or the one everybody looks to for everything. I just wanted for once in my life to be carefree...

At 32, I'm mature enough to know that at this point in life, carefree looks a LOT different than it did at 25. For sure. But I also know that what God is doing in me is not common - which is something I DIDN'T know before. Not at all.

I wouldn't trade it for anything. But I dunno about continuing it either.

After all this. Right now what I see plainly is the COST of this next season. The things I've been praying over my children - the ones who are here already and the ones who are not. The things I've prayed over H. The things I've prayed for me.

I SEE the result of my praying in my life and in H. I know in a way that H doesn't just how much prayer has to do with how hard life has been for him. Do I regret it? Nope. Do I wanna commit to doing this with him or a lifetime? Not sure about that one. 

 Do I know it's good for my kids for me to give them to God that way? Yep. Do I WANT to give them to God this way? In my heart of hearts, yes... But do I want them to pay the price we're paying? Nope.

In His word, God says to count the cost and then take up our crosses and follow Him.

Well... I'm counting... and hopefully I'll be following too...

but... i just dont know about this...  I just really dont know...


Friday, January 6, 2012

1 Corinthians 13



I was not going to participate today, because I'm not really all that excited some things right now.

But as I've sat here, I realize that I have something to be thankful for. I might be sulking right now spiritually but the fact is that He loves me. In my mad moment yesterday, He proved that He is 1Corinthians13. He loves me. Imperfect, unsure, struggling me. He loves me.

I'm thankful.

Because I need that.

Go check out Iris.


The Next Phase - Embracing The Kid

I found myself praying last night, asking God to open my heart to this new little boy.

I've prayed for him before; I've prayed that I'd be able to love him and that I'd accept him as my own. I've prayed that I wouldn't look at him and always be angry, hurt, or resentful toward him for a circumstance that isn't even remotely his fault. And I really meant it...

But now it's different.

Maybe it's because my hurt isn't quite so raw and what was complete fury has dulled down into an occassional wave of sheer irritation (and anger). Maybe the fact that I'm not quite so raw emotionally is allowing me to really 'feel' the challenge of asking God to help me love this kid like he's my kid.

As I prayed last night, I felt the resistance that wants to take root and that wants me to NOT pray for this son or his life.... I gotta be honest about that... i didn't really think it would be so tough, loving this kid. I mean.. It's who I am inside. Kids is my thing. Loving them is easy. It's what I do, what I've always done...

But this time... I cant say that my natural bent toward children is enough. I cant even fake it. I dont want this baby to be part of my family. Not that I'm not sure he's a lovely kid. Not that I'm not positive he'd be easy to love and that I'd eat him up under different circumstances. I get all that and I'm sure that if he had been on the scene like the other two (the youngest of which turns 9 today!!!), I'd be as in love with him as I am with them.

But that's not real life. And that's not how it went down. So....

That leaves me to pray real hard and beg God to do something in me so that this baby never feels the sting of my pain. I dont want that for him. I dont want it for his daddy. I dont want it for his brothers or myself. I dont want to treat him badly - or even indifferently. Like it or not, baby boy is now part of my life and my future...

(LOL, I'm sitting here typing, listening to Donnie McClurkin. And the only thought I had as I typed that last line is: 'WHAT PART OF THE GAME IS THIS?!' That's a mess! )

His daddy is looking for the way to fix it. I saw it the other night. Things were different. He was different. Trying to feel it out to see just how open the door is and just how much of this I've told other people. Bless his heart; if only he understood God has been on his side the whole time in all this. Because, save for the few women that I trust the most, noone knows exactly what's happening with us. Not a soul. I've maintained that privacy because I knew in my heart we weren't done and hadn't really made a final choice.... Guess it's a good thing...

But now, now that he's wanting to fix it... that means I need to start the work of accepting and embracing. The Lord spoke to me months ago to 'leave room in my heart for C'... my thought was, he's a kid. a baby. why would it be THAT hard? ... yeah....

The Lord has also reassured me that I will be able to love him, that I will love him as my own son and that I wont always see his daddy's betrayal and his mother's.... all that I see her as.... Again, my bottom-line thought was 'push come to shove, one look and a few minutes - one hint of toddler sweetness - and i'll be a goner. Because well. He's a kid. And if he's as loveable as his brother was at that age, it'll be instant.' ... but... maybe not.

This apparently is gonna take some work on my part - and some work IN me on God's part.

I've never believed that relationships can't recover from infidelity. I've never believed that that one thing should necessarily be a deal-breaker. And I've always believed that if there were a child as a result and a couple had a fighting chance of making it, the child had to be embraced not just as the betrayer's kid, but as THEIR kid.

I still believe that. Even more so now. For a couple reasons: 1)No kid should be deprived of a parent intentionally. It's not the baby's fault that whichever of his parents didn't choose to honor their relationship and grown ups should never make a kid pay the price for their failuers. 2) I don't believe any real healing takes place if you DON'T accept the kid. It's not healthy to live in that land of make believe. Outta sight, outta mind is not always a true thing. And emotionally it just allows you to stay broken inside.

Not to mention the fact that I'd have no respect for him at all if he didn't care for his son. ESPECIALLY since he already has one kid w/this chick. It would be the height of triflin' to be a father to one and ignore the other, just for the sake of peace with me. And it would be the height of triflin' on my part to be ok with such a foolish way of dealing with a LIFE - an innocent one at that.

All that said, it's either embrace baby boy or be triflin' by my own standard.

My struggle is not so much him. It's what his presence represents. I'm really having to ask God to allow me to see him as a blessing and as a gift. Because he really, in a lot of ways, does represent beauty from ashes. But a constant reminder of a period in our relationship where there was a constant, calculated betrayal... he also is representative of that.

Not to mention that I now have to put up with five EXTRA years of his mama's concentrated presence in my life.

*rollin my eyes*

I'm not even gonna lie. I'm nowhere NEAR ready to be all holy on this one. The best I got right now is that I'm asking God to work it out so that I can make my peace with this part of this road, cuz well... Just let me keep it real. H is forgiven for the lack of integrity and the total betrayal of all this. For lots of reasons, it was expected, and for even more reasons, it probably NEEDED to happen. I can accept that.  But this baby... well... i dunno just how forgiven he is for that just yet...

One thing's for sure. God's gonna have to remove the pain of all this pretty completely for me to be able to look at this kid on a regular and see anything but ... grown-up mess...

For crying out loud, where is that Love Dare book? That lesson on forgiveness, I think I need to revisit. *geez*. Matter of fact, I think I might need to print it, frame it, and put it up on my wall. Cuz apparently, I'm gonna need a reminder, for a minute. A good, LONG minute.

Lord, You've done all the rest. I'm trusting You to do this too....

Thursday, January 5, 2012

It Has To Matter...

there are so many ways this post could start. But the truth is, there are so many thoughts in my head, there is no telling what will actually end up on this page by the time I'm done typing.

Friday night was ... akward ... and incredibly difficult. But now, I can most vividly recall only two things: how he looked as he was leaving and how he kissed me goodnight.

And all I can think about is that there is so much of our communication that is unspoken... how, whether or not we speak what we feel, we run the risk of being misunderstood... how there is no perfect way to communicate; but how there are some things we can't fake. There are some feelings we can't hide or supress or resist. Love, fear, doubt, pain, desire, weariness. In the most intimte of relationships, there are just some feelings you can't hide or fake or resist. They just spill out. Beause some bonds won't let them stay locked away...

I think that sometimes maybe what we DON'T say is more important than what we DO say. Sometimes it has to matter more the things that are strong enough to tether us together, rather than the things that are uncomfortable enough to tear us apart.

Sometimes... Sometimes we need to not talk.

Sometimes we need to recognize and behave with the clear knowledge and intimate wisdom to know that the words in our heads and hearts need not always make it past our lips. Because sometimes, those words cant be taken back and the damage cant be undone.

Sometimes the intangibles are the only things that matter.

The expression on his face... it needs to matter to me... the way he kissed me good night... it needs to matter to me.

They've gotta matter - or we are not gonna survive.

And when the fog is clear, in the moments after the hurricane... I want us to survive.

I genuinely want us to survive.

I look foolish. That's a given right now. That I'm not speaking my  mind to him on some really deep, in your face, you need to know how I feel, this is your fault kinda way - although it would probably be extremely theraputic for me - also looks foolish. I"m clear on that... but I guess that at this stage in the game, it's par for the course.

But more than looking foolish, in my spirit I believe that holding my tongue in this place is probably the wisest thing I can do, and the greatest grace I can extend. Because really. There is no need for me to rub salt in the wound... not his and not mine. It just doesn't serve any purpose...

God has recently challenged me to assign responsiblity for this challenge properly so that I can begin to feel some measure of compassion toward Beloved... And Im coming to realize that the only way that's gonna happen is if i allow the intangibles to matter more than his failure to articulate the words I'd like to hear at this point.

So... I'm gonna let them matter. I'm gonna let my guard down and love him to the best of my ability. The intangibles matter. As of right now. They matter.  His love for me matters. His pain matters. His need of grace and security... those things matter. His need to be desired by me, it matters. His need to know that he can come back. It matters.

God, I"m letting it matter. Allow me to feel compassion. Allow me the grace to extend grace. Give us another chance to get Friday right. This is the place in our relationship where he's always been better at it than me. Better at taking the risk when it really matters. Something in him just comes alive. He's a fighter and I love that about him. He's passionate and bullheaded and determined when he wants something. He goes for it and it doesnt matter the cost. And that's not always a bad thing. Not when it comes to love. I want to be that way right now. I want to give him that same fight. As much as Friday hurt, he at least took the risk. I missed the mark. And I'm sorry. Please give me a chance to just take the risk. Please break down the wall around my desire for him and my willingness to let him in beyond just the surface. Let our friendship and our love live.  Lord let there be a crazy syncronicity between the two. And let it override every thing that wants to see us fail. Restore what we've lost God. Allow us to forget how we've failed eachother and to remember the things that really matter. Help me be brave enough to walk this new road. Help me to trust myself enough to forgive and to trust him enough to respect the forgiveness he receives. I choose You. Give me the grace to be the woman You are requiring right now. I love you Lord and I choose You. Amen.

Worth Noting

A friend posted this on my f/b wall. I find it extremely comforting to me... because God has been telling me to wrestle with the angel thru this whole thing. Her words are so on time... Just had to post here to re-read.. because I think it's definitely worth remembering...

"Those who trust God are those whose faith permits them to risk wrestling with Him over the deepest questions of life. Good hearts are captured in a divine wrestling match; fearful, doubting hearts st...ay clear of the mat. The commitment to wrestle will be honored by a God who will not only break but bless. Jacob's commitment to wrestle with God resulted in the wounding of his thigh. He would never again walk without a limp. But the freedom in his heart was worth the price of his shattered limb."

Dan Allender

Sweet... Really Really Sweet

Yesterday.... well... I dont even know if I have all the words. Church was as powerful as I hoped it would be - more so actually. I NEEDED a worship experience. And that's exactly what God gave, times 2. He spoke to me during that time in a way I haven't experienced in months. His Spirit led me to words and passages of scripture that I had been given before and took me beyond them to reveal a new place in our situation in light of the fuller understanding. He addressed prayers in those passages that nobody has ever known I've prayed. And He gave me confidence in where things stand now and what my responsibility is toward things.

Finally. I know that I'm free to just go with the flow and relax. I have felt this feeling only one other time before. And it was after a lengthy battle in a friendship. I woke up one morning and I just knew by the atmosphere and in my spirit that I had been given victory and that all I had to do from that day was walk out the revelation... I just needed to live and all the rest would come. No more crazy praying and that place of intense battle. God had answered and all that was left was the spiritual making its way to the natural.

Between Saturday rehearsal and Sunday worship (and not to mention the sermon - because THAT was taken from a story in scripture that a friend had shared with me that God had revealed to her a few days ago for H... can i just say WOW?!)... anyway, between those two events, the feeling above is EXACTLY how i feel now.

It took a minute to sink in, though... Me and H had made plans to spend the afternoon together and well... I wasn't so keen on it - not because I didnt want to see him, but because part of me (ok, lemme tell the truth, NONE OF ME) sees the wisdom in making myself so available to him, seeing as how in my mind that is me telling him it's ok to straddle the fence and do this back and forth thing... Natural feeling, right? Well, I verbalized it to God and for the first time in a while, what He spoke to me wasn't something that soothed me. It was something that held me accountable to the fact that I'm not God so I can't possibly know best..

"I haven't asked you to understand My way. It doesn't matter that it doesn't make sense to you. What matters is that I've said it's best. All you need to know at this point is that My way is always right. Your only responsibility here is to obey."

That pretty much did it for me. It meant, know your place little girl... and that is exactly what I figured I needed to do.

So I did.

And we had a great time.

And the things that God had shared with me about how that time would be spent very plainly came to pass.

It was... sweet... really really sweet...

We're being given something very new and it isn't lost on me that we BOTH are resting in and on that newness between us... It's this really amazing blend of the season of relationship when  you have gotten past like, and even deep affection, to the place where you know you truly are experiencing love for one another combined with the security and the comfort, in many ways, of a relationship that has been seasoned and where first love has turned into something abiding and strong and spirit-deep between you...

Nothing short of amazing. Seriously.

I left him yesterday saying , Lord I want to want to again. Please make me want to again.

It would seem that restoration is starting - in both his heart and mine.

That makes me happy inside.

Truly truly happy inside.

Before and After

I can't believe it took only TWO hours to totally, irrevocably change FIVE YEARS of growth!

I got my first relaxer at 9 and i have no clue how that felt. But at 32, it somehow feels... well... i dunno. Kinda like the rest of my life right now.... Good bad or otherwise, there's no goin back. It is a drastic change, just like everything else. And it will take work to make sure it's a positive change - just like everything else.

As I looked at my pics, the few where you see my full face, I look like a little girl w/my natual hair. With it straightened, all I see is 'woman'. And maybe that was the reason this change feels so right and so true to me right now.

I was not grown at 25. I may have been an adult. But certainly, life had not done the work it has done now. I was mature enough to do grown-up things. But there was another component of that that I just had not grasped. But God... and life has never been the same.

The last six months has sent me reeling, but it's also pulled me fully into my own as a woman.

Months ago, when I first felt the start of change, I said to God that I wasnt sure I was ready, I didn't feel ready. He said to me that one collaborative set of events would happen that would prove just how ready I am to move into this new season.

Lo and behold, between all this madness with H and my grandparents being ill and this thing of work and all that the last few months has dumped in my lap, somehow (grace), I've stood back up and I feel a confidence and a strength that I didn't know was inside me.

God told the truth. I'm ready.

And somehow that inward change ties w/the outward ones...

sooooo... so that I can have picture proof that I actually WAS natural for a few years, here we go:

BEFORE:

the only style I could do, forever! my ponytail!


ponytail from the front. i have no idea what I was smirking at.

not a great pic, but my twistout from this past weekend! my LAST twistout!

sideview of my twistout. cant tell her, but the definition was GORGEOUS!


AFTER:


first pic of my first relaxer in 5 years! (ignore the clothes and such. seriously)


Tierany did a GREAT job!

Ok. So. Now that I have my photo documentation, we can get bck to regularly scheduled blogging!

I haven't told or shown my family yet. I'm just gonna show up. My parents will jump for joy - especially my dad. He'll feel like his kid is back, in some very real way. And that's ok. Because the stuff on the inside, the things I most wanted him to embrace and accept, he has and he does. He had even made his peace with the hair. And although I didn't do this for anyone but me, I totally get how such a physical switch coupled with all the other shifting coulda thrown him off, so now maybe it wont feel like we're such strangers anymore.

And if we get that back, then that blessing alone is worth this surprisingly bittersweet way I feel inside....



Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Finally

I dont need 'pen to paper' to process this whole situation...

After having a conversation with my person, it sparked a conversation with my Jesus. After which I began to give in a little more to this 'yes' action.

Then today I had a conversation with another of the four that is my innermost circle, where we both concluded that I need to get over myself and get over being angry at God and H so that life can move forward, however that's supposed to look.

So. I'm throwing myself a 'BYE BYE ANGRY GIRL' party.

A little at a time. However long it takes. I'm going to face these feelings with myself. I'm going to give them to God and face them with Him. Then I'm going to give myself permission to let them go and trust God like I know I should.

I have 12 balloons. Lord knows I hope it will only take the twelve that I have. Each feeling gets its own balloon and date. I write it on the balloon and send it off to nevernever land.

I'm starting tonight. And I know it's late. But since me and H are apparently seeing eachother tonight, I need to start now...

*sigh*

BALLOON ONE: 'BYE BYE ANGRY GIRL' 4-16-10

I have a right to feel however I feel in this. But I do not have the right to allow my feelings to become self-righteous unjust anger. I've been headed that direction and that isn't acceptable. No person or circumstance gets to dictate my behavior or response to it/them. So. I have been angry and it has been justified. Now it's time to let go of the anger so that God can continue the healing process that He has already begun in me.

I have honored my feelings. I have honored my heart. It is safe to release this angry chick that has taken up residence in my body. She can leave and the real me can emerge. Because the real me is strong enough to stand up and face her life, such that it is, head-on and with God's guidance and comfort. I've worked hard not to be this person. And I dont have to accept her. So I wont.

BYE BYE ANGRY GIRL. You are no longer welcome to take up residence in my spirit.

Lord, do with this as You will. I will trust You and I will allow You to work this out.

Amen.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Truth

I JUST WANT A NORMAL LIFE.

that is all.

<=============== ro exits stage left.

Monday, January 2, 2012

My Random Thanks for Today

XBOX Wife Ten Things Tuesday

Ok. I almost forgot, but I'm on it now!

  1. Sunshine and sping. It makes me all happy
  2. Growth - it feels like I can finally fit my shoes! :0)
  3. Birthday cake - and the fact that one piece was enough.
  4. The privilege of doing things for my grandparents. I get to serve my momma's parents like I served my dady's and that is precious to me.
  5. Yard work! This is helping a sista's efforts to get fine.
  6. Start of a new season in my own little world. It really is just a sweet little dose of greatness
  7. My uncle is going into the military. I'm proud of his maturity and thankful for his confidence in the way he's choosing to live his life.
  8. Kaki, our Boxer - she is just a big ball of doggie love.
  9. My silly friend who has a birthday today and is pouting because I didn't wish him happy b-day at dark o'clock. HA! I know he cares. :0) (ok, so it was apparently LAST THURSDAY, but what's a few days between friends???)
  10. LOL I'm thankful that today is Tuesday and I'm not rejoicing because it's one day closer to Friday. I'm feeling better in general and it's just pretty freakin' excellent!

Now. Go visit Jill and share, good people!

Thank God He's Patient




Patience.

This is not a character trait that comes naturally to me.

It is infact, a very difficult, very constant lesson in my life.

In this season of learning God in a new way, one of the things He keeps re-iterating to me is that I need to be patient, both with Him and with my favorite man.

This weekend, I failed. I was not patient. With either one. In fact, I was a brat and made some pretty *far from right* assumptions. Then I had the NERVE to want to be offended when I was called on it.

As I was walking into my office this morning, it clicked clear as a bell just how patient He is with me and all of my foolishness and finger-pointing, and 'but, Lord's...

Poor God. His head really should hurt some days after dealing with me. But He just waits. Beause He knows that He's gonna get what He wants out of me, no matter what. He's gonna have His way. So He can wait.

And what that translates as to me is this: I know His word. I know His promises to me. One of them is that I will have the desires of my heart. And since that's the case, I really can just wait. Because I know I'm gonna get what I want, no matter what. I'm gonna have it, His way. So I might as well just relax. I can wait.

I'm thankful that He's patient. Because if He responded to me like I respond to other people... I can only imagine.

Iris has more of this goodness. Pop over and visit.



Sunday, January 1, 2012

Relationships & Other Things

It is now 1:17am on Sundy morning and I'm wide awake, having just hung up with Jenn. Even before we started talking, I had been thinking about her and relationships I have with other people too. I spent time reading her blog tonight and reflecting on what we've experienced together.

I did the same thing with Chu last night.

I have done the same thing with my relationships with my immediate people. Mom, Dad, Brother. I've done the reflecting thing.

And what I've come to realize is that we are tied to eachother in ways that we can't begin to understand. Oh, we think we make decisions that are good for us.We think we are the only ones who bear the consequences of some of the things we do, or don't do. But that isn't true. We are all so connected that we will ALWAYS impact eachother, no matter what choices we make.

It touches me in a way that I can't even begin to express that there is someone who loves enough to ask the Lord that they be able to love me right, better, differently, more than they already do. Because that's a lot of lovin'. That I'm so loved that the only adequated description is SISTER. For us both. Because well, anything less, just doesn't do what we have any sort of justice.

It touches me deeply that a man I only just met, sees something in me that makes him love me. He doesn't see it that way, but the way that he has championed me and required things of Chu, on my behalf - having just met me - that is love. He loves what is truly good for his cousin, and because he loves him, he also loves me.

It heals old hurts and wounds that my brother is so in love with me that he has finally learned that real love takes risks. He was willing to risk our relationship if it meant speaking up and telling me his heart for me. And although I wasn't so thrilled about some things, it does me good to know that I have a relationship with my brother that is drowned in a love and a understanding that can only exist between siblings.

It gives me confidence to know that Chu loves me so much that he's willing to learn me. Willing to step back from all the other things that come up and to step up, however clumsy it is sometimes. He loves me enough that he's willing to take the correction from another man, to protect the investment he's made in me.

My parents. They love me. Good, bad, right, wrong or indifferent. They love me. For all our disagreeing. For all the animosity. For all the walls we've got between us right now, they love me.

The one thing all these relationships have in common is that they each directly impact my life. In many ways most of them will never know. Their words, their actions, their support, their understanding, their opposition. It all leaves an indelible impression...

Soul ties... Spirit ties... We are all bound to each other. What we speak, what we do, attitudes we perpetuate. We affect each other.

'What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.'

Whether we are married, siblings, parents, children, friends, blood, or might-as-well-be-blood, we are obligated to treat the soul ties we are given with respect. We are instructed not to tear apart what the Lord sees fit to join. We have responsiblity to handle eachother lovingly and with the respect of the cross in mind.

We are called to honor each other as the body. I think that in our humanity, sometimes we manage to skew the concept of 'honoring'. For parents, honor means that their children obey. No matter what. At all costs. When what they should really be seeking is to see their children be obedient to the Holy One. For siblings, honor means that we tolerate eachother's life choices no matter what - when what we really should be doing is holding eachother accountable to reaching for God's best. For friends, honor seems to mean supporting even the most foolish of things, in the name of loyalty - when what honor should REALLY look like, is saying 'I know this is tough. I'm on your side. But what does the Lord say? I don't have an opinion. What does the Lord say?'

We have misunderstood and grossly misused the term 'honor'; We have lost sight of what 'respect' truly is.

As I consider my relationships, I can honestly say that the decisions I have made over the course of the last stretch of time have been ones that have honored those that I love. I have truly learned respect to and for those with whom I have soul ties. I have had to work hard at times to keep my focus and to really give the sort of honor to them that I believe glorifies the Lord. And I have had to regroup and repent along the way. But I have come to know that honor is the code among the Family. We just have to choose God's perspective and not our own - becuase the concepts of honor we hold vs. God's view are totally opposing perspectives.

My challenge to you is that you really consider what 'honor' and 'respect' mean to you. Then seek God on what it means in His eyes. Compare your answers. And then repent of any wrongdoing and allow Daddy to begin to change in you what doesn't reflect a heavenly perspective.

It's worth the work and the breaking. And your relationships will be better for it.

Ro

Do I Really Have to Give Them Up Too?

I've got a great circle of friends. And within that circle, there is an even smaller circle of absolute confidants. These women love me and they know me. Very well. They are the ones who can think of my name and know there's something wrong. They are the ones who can feel it when they need to call me. They are the ones who know when I say I'm ok, but I'm not really ok.

These are the women I tell my secrets. They are the ones that I run to and that I rest with and cry with and pray with when I cant do it alone. They literally are the bests of the bests. One I've had since high school, one since college, one for a couple years now and one for only about a year - maybe less (and she's one of the two that I truly know I can tell anything to.)

Except. This secret is different.

My instinct is to protect H at all costs in this. He needs it. He's asked me for it. And seriously. I'm givin' it.

My friends... they love me. They know me. They trust me. But this is a bit much for most, if not all, of them to understand or accept. They may (or may not) see God in this. But that doesnt change that I'm not made of steel and I'm in need of the love they have for me.

I was leary at first, but these women are the ones that I cant hide my heart or hurts from. And they dont get it.

I sure wish they did.

I finally told the last one today. And that was just the straw that broke the small emotional grip that I have had. I had been able to to not tell her any of it until today. But today. I had to tell her... Me and her, we've been thru some things. And our friendship has endured a lot of things. College was fun because of her friendship. We've grown differently, separately, and spiritually at a significantly different rate. But she's my girl. She knows my heart. She knows my caution. She knows my love. How hard and deep it runs when I finally give it room to breathe. She KNOWS.

And today, she wants to protect me. She wants to beat him down. And she wants me to run far far away. And it's only natural that I do just that.

But I can't. Two nights before this happened, God told me thru someone 'do what's right, not what's natural.' What's right is to love him. What's natural is to leave him to himself.

Enough said.

I had to tell my friend that I'm not walking away, not now and not unless God shows me something different.

And I had to realize that maybe in this I've lost some respect in her sight. Maybe, just maybe, I'm sacrificing her confidence in my judgment...

This coming on the heels of yesterday. Where there was a conversation with my girl from high school. Where she gave me her honest heartfelt, not meant to be hurtful opinion. Not 'so much about him' but 'about the situation'. Well. Since him and the situation can't be separated at this point, that really was a not really believeable attempt at making it gentler to rebuke me. And I found myself at a loss for words. All I could say for the life of me is 'i appreciate that'. Meaning, I appreciate the concern. But then I had to share more. Then I had to reveal my heart more. Then I had to give a little more insight. And hope against hope that she doesn't write me off as a foolish woman.

"God is not the author of chaos. If it's right it should be smooth. I know you know this waaaaay way way way deep down. I just think you're having a hard time letting go and I'm not sure why."

Now. I know that wasn't meant to hurt me. It was meant to give me pause. But it felt like a very cold dose of water in the face. Because she knows me. She should know me. I dont give my heart easily, freely, or foolishly. I am not now, nor have I ever been a fan of unnecessary emotional pain. I think waaaay too far ahead to purposely set myself up to get hurt. She should know these things. She should know that if I'm doing this, then it is not without consideration or guidance.

But apparently not. And that makes me sad. Because, at the end of the day, when this is all said and done, can I really hold her so close without wondering for the rest of forever how she really feels about me and my H? Does this mean we lose the relationship ultimately, because she can't see God at work in this - because God hasn't called her to know Him in this particular way & situation?

The other two. I know they love me. We've known eachother for a lot shorter time but they know me best. They understand my relationship with God a little better. One is walking a very similar road, so she has a real good idea what 'stay' really truly looks like - even when everything and everybody says go. The other. She just knows God. She loves Him. And she knows that I love Him. She knows that I'm looking for Him and seeking Him and trying with all my might to hold on to Him in the middle of something I cannot begin to explain. They might not really get it, but they definitely get me.They know that my first impulse was to be done, but that my next action was to talk to God and truly seek Him in this. They know this.

Of the four, I'm not worried that I'll lose the last two. But I am a little worried that they think i'm foolish. Because before me and God got so well acquainted, I woulda thought a woman who told me this was foolish. Not for lack of compassion. But for lack of understanding. I love them. So that frightens me and makes me sad.

God has taken me down a road that I never wanted to walk. He has asked me to do things I never wanted to do. He has made scripture live for me in ways I never imagined He would. And I see that as beautiful. Even in this, I see it and it is beautiful.

I just wish they could see it too. I just wish I could know that they dont think less of me. I just wish that I wasnt so afraid of losing the 4 women who's love I need the most in the world right now.

And if two of the four are reacting with open disapproval now, and this is the circle that knows me best, what happens when this thing has to be shown outside just the small circle? What happens in the larger circle? What happens in the family circle? Because it will have to come out eventually.

We've our whole relationship been unders this shadow of disapproval - and for some valid reasons. But God called me to stay and to trust Him. And just when things are finally settling down and some heart change is finally happening, we have this thing that can just blow that right out the water...

My prayer last night, i meant it. That this hurts, but that I'm not gonna close my heart because I fear the judgement and the rejection. I'm choosing life. And I'm choosing us.

But I still desperately desire not to have to sacrifice my circle.
 
I still in my heart of hearts, want their confidence in me and their respect.
 
And none of this is to say that they're not Godly women. They most definitely are. None of this is to say that I'm more Godly than them. I'm not certainly not. Our roads are just different. God has just called me to walk a different road. A very different one. One that's very difficult to observe and really truly understand.
 
I hope I'm not souding self-righteous. I certainly don't mean to.
 
I just wish that they got it. I wish they understood it better. I wish they could see what I see...
 
I wish this season didnt cost so damn much and I wish I didn't have to pay such a high price for the life God's promised.
 
I wish a whole lotta things, but I guess at the end of the day, all that really matters is that my ultimate desire is to honor God and serve Him with my life and my all and my best.
 
My greatest wish in life is to reflect Christ.
 
And I guess that if that means losing people's respect, then I wished for that too...