Posted in Gifts, Insane in the Brain, Living Water, mental-health, Movies, Thanks for the memories

a Date


Personing is hard.  At any given moment an infinite variation of life is coming at you.

Mothering is hard.  It’s complicated.  Consuming.  4 people’s perfect souls are in my care.  They are all 4 so vastly unique.  They each need something different from the others.  And possibly even different than what they needed 3 hours ago.

Being a wife is beautiful.  Amazing.  Rewarding.  And hard.  It demands that your ever evolving humanity hyphenates wholeheartedly with another person’s ever evolving humanity.

PTSD is hard.  Actually, it sucks balls.  It is vicious.  Unpredictable.  Parasitic.  It is about 5 full-time jobs rolled into one that you can’t clock out of.  Your body is constantly picking up the slack for your brain.  Your brain is all, “Bye, Felicia” when you need it most and your body is left to pick up the fragments.  Flashbacks are always at the most inconvenient times and inappropriate situations.  Scratch that.  When is it ever a convenient time for your brain to unload out-of-context horror?

My soul is tired.  My body is exhausted.  My mind is weary.

Yesterday, I threw an adventure/pirate party for my 7-year-old daughter.  Including my 3 oldest, there were 14 kids here.  I think. Lucky for me, my 2-year-old was napping.  A few parents stayed.  A friend and her husband came to help.  My husband’s participation was on fleek.  My house was full.

I love my children fiercely.  So I asked my anxiety to hold it together while I facilitated the fun.

But I am tired.

I’m getting better at knowing when I’m going to need to recharge.  I’m more mindful of how decimated an interaction is going to leave me.  I’m learning to plan self-care into my life.

A few years ago I read The Shack.  My heart wept with recognition.  When the movie was announced, my heart exploded with anticipation.  As soon as I was able, I purchased a ticket to see it.  For a showing immediately following church.  The day after my daughter’s birthday party.

I need to tell you about church and me.  A majority of the abuse I endured as a child was religious in nature.  Clarification: it wore a Jesus hat.  “Christianity” was the tool that 2 broken and hurting people used on their offspring to make themselves feel less out of control.  They discharged their anguish onto their children in the name of God.

I struggle with church.  I struggle with the Bible.  Hear me out before you burn me at the stake.  The words, the phrases, the settings… Triggers.  A lot of the concepts, though far removed from how I grew up knowing them, look very similar outwardly to their rightful essence.  This is the danger.  While I am rewriting the real version in my heart and mind, there is an incredible amount of scar tissue there.  My mind is rejecting the transplant as it looks eerily familiar.  I’m constantly looking for new versions of the Bible.  Versions that I can read and hear God’s healing love pour over my soul like a soothing balm.  As of now, my all time favorite is The Jesus Storybook Bible.  I am not embarrassed to say that I own it in hardcover and audio forms.  And that when the crazy gets heavy, I hide in my minivan and listen.

So I stayed home by myself this morning.  While the rest of my heart drove away in my van.  They went to church without me because my soul needs some rest.  Church is hard for me.  Church is work.  I pray it is not always this way.  I hope some day to be edified without the complication of very conscious mindfulness exercises throughout the duration.   I long for the day when I can join in with the worship and the teaching without fighting a panic attack.  Someday maybe I will be able to hang after church to fellowship without being acutely aware of the crowd and scanning for exits.

Today is not that day.  Today I am where I am.  Jesus loves this me.  Jesus is fully invested in this me.

So I am going on a date with Jesus to see a movie.  That is my church today.  I am so looking forward to it.

But first I have to find a box of tissues.

Posted in Gifts, indigo inspiration, Insane in the Brain, Living Water, mental-health, Thanks for the memories, The Future

Ashes, ashes. We all fall down.


img_7938
Photo credit: me…

I am a phoenix.

I regularly burst into flame.  And am reborn.

Hurts like hell to burn but I come back fiercer, stronger, more loving every time.  I will burn this mother down as many times as it takes to come out the person that I am, under all of the shit that obscures the beauty of who I was meant to be.

I will burn.  With the fierce passion of knowing that I was made for Love.  I will die a little every time that I may come forth in new and new and new life.  And all of the me that isn’t truly me will burn up little by little as I become.

It is terrifying to stand on a new truth, or a more refined truth.  What if I am wrong?  Well, chances are I am and will be wrong many times and many ways yet to come.  Hence the burning down.  And rising forth.  A baptism of fire.  A rebirth of anguish and glory.

I will burn this mother down.  I will burn this sister down.  This friend.  This wife.  This citizen.  I will be wrong.  And I will be new.

I said yes to life and health and all of the magic and pain that will bring me alive.  I will face the difficult.  I will trod forward in weariness.  I will triumph over the victories and so often weep for the failures.  Because all these things ignite me.  They consume the false and reveal the authentic.  The genuine.  The truly precious.  My soul.

I will burn this mother down.

I am a phoenix.

I feel the fire coming on.

Posted in Gifts, indigo inspiration, mental-health, Thanks for the memories

I see me.


I was invisible.

To the world.  But most importantly, to myself.

I was raised in an environment that eroded the knowledge that I had value.  My therapist said once that the last place I probably felt safe was the womb.  I think we come into the world demanding to be cared for because we have an innate sense that we are helpless and that it’s our right as living, breathing, precious humans to be nurtured by the people who brought us here.  The fact of being alive comes with it the appraised value of immeasurable worth.  And then life…  Usually it is the simple fact of living that erodes our known value incrementally.  In my case, and in the cases of so many who have been treated as less than, the increments are staggering and crippling.  The once secure infant, squalling for acknowledgment, becomes a shrinking, ever-fading wisp of apologetic humanity, becomes a hustling, boundary handicapped adult.

So I became equal parts hidden and flaunting.  Validation was nectar of life to my soul.  I couldn’t move to the right or left without a strong sense that my decision would be met with acceptance.  I was crippled by having only the possibilities that I could see in my immediate now.  I struggled to see beyond.  To imagine more.  I wore a flashy disguise to cover the shame of my stunted resilience.

I couldn’t see me.  No one else could see me.  So I yelled and screamed above the crowd, hoping, praying, dying for a shred of recognition.

Until I was recognized falsely.  Having worked to the bone to put my heart on display in an aching need to be known, how was I so unknown?  How had no one heard me?  Did I even know me?  What if I wasn’t?  What if I didn’t?  What if I couldn’t?

The questions drove me to retreat into myself.

Shockingly, what I saw in there was me.  The real me.  The valuable me.  The worthy, precious, wildly loved me.  The me that hadn’t been seen in decades.  The me that was screaming and weeping and dancing invisibly with little hope of notice.

My world got quieter.  Because I didn’t have to shout to be heard.  Because I didn’t need to be heard.  I could hear me.  I could see me.  I made it quieter so I could hear myself be.

The superfluous had to go so that the genuine could shine.  The excess was shed so the authentic had space to flourish.

I’m thriving on less these days.  I’m giving myself space to see so that I’m not consumed with the need to be seen.  I listen so that I am heard by my own self.  I’m getting acquainted with me.  I like her.  I’m not so worried about other people’s acceptance of me.  I’m not perfect but I don’t require myself to be so that’s ok.  It’s messy.  It makes very little sense some days.  But it is so much more peaceful here in my new existence of acceptance.  So much happier.  So much less fearful.  And so many more possibilities ahead.  Once I’m ready for them.  I don’t need to have it all.

I am.  I am loved.  That is all.

 

Posted in Gifts, indigo inspiration, Living Water, Winter

Waking Up To Love


I had to hibernate for a while.

Winter came suddenly to my soul.  Not a death, per say, but a necessity to hide away in quiet in order to be reborn and transformed.  It was brutally cold and dark and the only way to survive was to withdraw and conserve my resources.  I didn’t know it was coming.  Rather, I may have known in a way, but didn’t yet have the instinct to nourish myself in preparation.  I wasn’t entirely sure I was going to survive the season.

In hibernation, I shed a skin, a former life, as a fresh me began to come together.  As the ground thaws and the stirrings of new life whisper in the breeze, I’m seeing a new world around me as I, myself, am changed.

I’m opening my heart to Love and health.  I’m opening my mind to pursue new branches of wisdom and inspiration.

It’s terrifying.  As hell.  But so brilliant.  Like beams of warm, healing light breaking through the forest canopy to kiss the needle covered ground below.

The shedding made room for new.  For beauty.  For depth.  For uncertainty.  For adventure.

In slowly, carefully, emerging from my cocoon, and reconnecting more fully with the loves in my life, I am coming to see a new facet of Love’s glorious wholeness.

Love is not linear.

It is a window into eternity.  It is the finest wisp of understanding of the Love of our Creator for us, outside of time.

When someone comes into your life, when you let them in, when you love them, you love all the someones they have ever been.  All the someones that have made them who they are today.  Love doesn’t simply begin at one point and move forward.  It is born in the center of a moment and expands to flow out in all directions.  To the past that made you who you are.  To the future and all the promise of who you can be.  To the depths of experience and the heights of emotion.

A friend told me that she loves who I was because that person birthed who I am now.  That awkward jean skirt wearing teen me is in her heart just as I am now.  It was a deeply healing moment.  Teen me smiled through crippling pain.  Teen me was not worthy.  She was, as Brené Brown so aptly words it in her speaking and writing, “hustling for her worthiness.”  In that moment, my friend gave now me, as well as teen me, an exquisitely perfect gift.  Love reached through time and gave unloved, awkward, unfriended teen me a friend.  A long-aching part of me felt healing.

It was eerily similar to a conversation I had with another friend the night before.  We discussed an exercise that my therapist sometimes asks me to do.

“What would 31-year-old you like to say the little girl you that feels in pain and terrified and uncared for?”

“What does 6-year-old you need from adult you?”

It is always an incredibly vulnerable moment.  The best moments are.

There is very little chance that I will ever have my childhood pain acknowledged by the ones who inflicted it.  But that doesn’t mean the wound has to remain open and weeping forever.  In learning the eternalness of Love, I have gained a new ability to give myself the acceptance that every child deserves.  The more I learn of Love, of connection, I can more readily acknowledge the trauma I lived through, the pain I carry, and the utter worthlessness that suffocates healing Love.

I am retroactively valued.  I can give myself acceptance.  All of my selves and evolutions.  All of the me’s that felt rejection.  Abuse.  Denial.  Worthlessness.  Because I still am and will always be me.  In the same way that Love is, has been, and will be.

And winter will come again.  That is the nature of life.

But this time I will take a layer of nourishment into the cold with me.  I’m feeding my soul with Love and beauty and acceptance.  I’m letting the nonlinear, wildly eternal, all-encompassing, divine nature of Love reach into the dark, sleeping parts of me and assure them, assure me, that I am Loved.  I am worth.  I am accepted.  All of me.

Which brings connection.  And more Love.

Posted in Gifts, indigo inspiration, mental-health

It’s OK…


It’s ok to be broken.

It’s okay to be incomplete.

It’s ok to not be there yet.

It’s really ok to look and be and feel and everything with you-ness.  Your worth is not wrapped up in meeting some invisible, arbitrary standard set by the nebulous ‘them’.  Often insults come in the form of “you’re so _____!”  Fill in the blank with anything that isn’t your strength.  Or some quality you are working on improving but have as yet not attained.  Or something you’re good at that doesn’t appear acceptable to the populace.  Take the power out of it by agreeing.

Yes!

I am messy.  And sensitive.  And contradictory.  I have trouble with any number of things.

And?

I already know that about myself.

But guess what?

I am a lot of other things too.  I am creative.  And sensitive.  And open to so many things.

I used to think that I could achieve perfection.  I used to think I should achieve perfection.  That until I made it, until I made the bell ring at the top by swinging the mallet with enough strength, I could not claim the love and acceptance from the ‘them’ and from myself that I so desperately crave.  I long for connection, but connection comes with so many rules, it seems.  And I am not in the box.  The rules don’t make sense to me.  The box dims my gifts and abilities and me-ness.

No one person possesses the elusive perfection that so many of us believe to be the goal.  Find out you.  You were perfectly and wonderfully crafted.  That truth can coexist with the flaws and imperfections you also contain.

Embrace your individually scarred body.

Befriend your one-of-a-kind mind.

Cherish your beautiful weird heart.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

See that hook?  Let yourself off.  You are not letting yourself down.

Simplify your perfection.

Because broken isn’t trash.

Incomplete isn’t worth less.

Not there yet means you’re on your way.  You’re in the middle of the process.  You’re living.  Being.  Experiencing.  Loving.  Growing.

Welcome 2017 with your beautiful, wonderful, exquisitely mosaic you.

Posted in Family, Gifts, indigo inspiration, Insane in the Brain, Living Water, Thanks for the memories

It’s weird being well.


It’s weird being well.

I cry a lot.  About other people.  And when I’m happy.  Come to think of it, I may weep every other day, but it’s less and less because my heart is too mangled to speak.  It hurts being tender and feeling other people’s pain, but it beats being brittle.  I’m in awe of the healing that’s taken place in my life and my heart.  My mind is clear and my emotions are capable of reaching out beyond my own disasters.  I have been able to weep with those who weep and laugh with their laughter.

I also feel I have lost time to make up for.  I see myself as being the emotional age of a much younger person who grew up in a stable, nurturing environment.  But that’s ludicrous.  Because the cracks in my being have been filled in with something much more beautiful, and I am His masterpiece being fashioned from the fragments.

Every day is a fresh start since I am yet again faced with the newness of the work He is doing.  Oh, that I would be the poem of love that He reads to me and to the world around me!

I wax sappy and ridiculous.

Ugh.

A side effect I am not entirely ok with experiencing.  Happy emotions are more difficult for me to process, perhaps since I spent the majority of my life treading water in a mud bog.

I have experienced varying degrees of loss and uncertainty in the last several months.  Not all of it in my immediate sphere of influence, but close enough that my newly mended heart feels the searing pain of it.  I know I have abandonment issues.  That’s what happens when your birth mother sits across the table from you and signs you away.  Having embraced the spectacularly wonderful family God transitioned me into, I failed to realize I carry scars.  Scars are fine.  If you know you have them and recognize their effect on your mended life.  I retreated a bit from my social circle to shield myself from the reminders of this world’s finiteness and the devastation of those left behind.  The empathy was too much.  I too clearly could put myself in the shoes of the loved ones.  “It means you’re well,” a wise friend told me.  A friend who’s known me since before the overhaul.  “It means that you’re healed enough to reach out beyond yourself.”

I was afraid of going back into the shell I once inhabited.  I can’t go back there.  It’s cold.  And dark.  And very small.

But He tells us to weep with the brokenhearted.  And be joyful with those weeping for joy.  So all the crying is ok.

I’m crying over my own loss.  I’m crying with the loss of friends.  I’m crying because I can’t handle how happy being well is making me.  I’m crying because people I love are being blessed.

Maybe I have overactive tear ducts.  I should have that checked out.

But the prodigal son is home and the big brother is asking for his party too.  And the Father is embracing both sides of me and healing me with His Love.

I’m buy stock in Kleenex, though.

Don’t judge.

Posted in Gifts, iLove, Insane in the Brain, Living Water, Thanks for the memories

hephzibah


I write and don’t write for the same reason.  There’s too much to say and I have no idea where to start, or middle, or end.  And these days, I speak little besides the toddler dialect.

The Breaking Free study I participated in came to a close.  I feel a little out to sea.  Before you lob the “Jesus is your best friend” bombs at me, please understand that going through this study has opened my heart to knowing Christ in a way I’ve never been able before.  The noise in my head has been quieted by the voice of God.  This is new.  This is exhilarating.  And terrifying.  I’ve been embracing a fallacy for most of my adult-ish life.  With arms and legs wrapped tightly around it as my identity.  With an extended family full of emotional and mental turmoil, and the self-propagating cycles of abuse and religious oppression very real factors in my existence, I was paralyzed by both the knowledge of them and the inability to change anything.

I fully believed my mind and heart had been irreversibly compromised by the things said and done to us as children and into the teenage years.  That my mind was damaged.  That I was unable to love God.  To know His love in a life-changing capacity.  To experience the boundless joy of genuinely believing He delights in me.

‘Never again will you be called “The Forsaken City” or “The Desolate Land.”  Your new name will be “The City of God’s Delight” and “The Bride of God,” for the Lord delights in you and will claim you as his bride.’  (is 62 2)

I embraced forsaken.  I identified with desolate.  There would be moments of delight.  Brief windows into His adoration, but so fleeting I was convinced I’d all but imagined them.  Every time I opened His Word, I heard echoes of the voices I’d grown up hearing, of the negative God we have.  Of judgment.  And punishment.  And withholding to teach a lesson.

I call “Bullshit!”

His goodness leads to repentance.

We love because He first loved us.

The pain that permeates our lives comes from sin.  Comes from untruth.  From pride, which, simply put, is seeing ourselves in any light contrary to the light of Truth.

Yes, there are consequences to being outside of Him.  To living at odds with His perfection.  But they are mostly the natural results of said disconnect.  In fact, more often than not, His vast mercy spares us from the full decimation our desperate humanity would have wreaked upon ourselves.  And at times, when He allows this cause-and-effect to knock us down, it is His perfect longing for us pleading with us to return to the safety and wholeness of His sheltering wings.

Anything that dims the truth of God’s boundless, obliterating, restoring LOVE is not from Him but from the enemy of my soul.  It is a lie that could derail me yet again should I choose to reach out and take hold of it.  The thoughts of despair, of less worth, of crippling fear: they may occur to me.  They may pause in my mind.  They may scream in my face.  But oh glory!  I now know what they are!  They are not for me.  They give Him another opportunity to remind me that self-doubt is not humility but the sin of unbelief.

I am a new creation.

I am a branch of the Vine.  The pruning of the Gardener causes pain to the Vine.  Because I am attached.  Because my roots are in something much bigger and stronger than me.  Because I am part of a living, nourishing Life.

So call me Hephzibah.

Because He delights in me.

“God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.”  (ps 68 6)