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Friday, May 4, 2018

ReMade

Twenty-two years. Last May it had been almost 22 years since I had seen my attacker. I was out on a date with my husband. We were dining outside and he had gone back in to get our food when I saw him. I have never felt anything so sickening before. It felt like carnal fear and the death of hope. Tears poured from my face and I shook. I bolted to the car.

I had been praying about speaking to a counselor for a few weeks prior. Prom season was a yearly reminder as I would see the dresses and the decked-out teens popping up. I asked my God, should I speak to someone after all this time? Will it just dredge up feelings best left alone? And then, that night at the restaurant, God had given me my answer.

I never felt responsible for what my attacker did to me. I did hold shame over the abusive relationship that I had continued in, even as it escalated from insults to vile, wicked words and then physical harm towards me. I never expected the violence would escalate as it did that night. There were two others present who could have helped me, who saw and heard my begging and pleading, but they turned and walked out. No call, no help would come for me. It was horrific. Violent. I feared for my life. Mercifully, there is much I do not remember. And he brought roses to school and delivered them to me in my portable classroom the next Monday. The girls in 6th period swooned. I threw them in the trash. The sight of roses would make me sick for years after.

I asked my God why had He forsaken me? And my identity grew in bitterness and shame as I felt like a vessel that had been broken, smashed and crudely glued back together. And for years I after I would hurt others with my acting out. Twenty-two years of shoving down shame and blame, holding my disgrace so tight in my hands, hoarding it away like a precious jewel, though it rotted me. Refusing to bring any of it before my God, who had allowed it.

But my God is strong. He has the final say about me

What I thought I wanted in my healing was a story about ME. About MY healing and MY pain and MY transformation. What I discovered, after months of deep counseling and praying and digging in, is that this is a story about GOD. My journey was one of realizing that I had so tightly held onto so much pain because beginning to release it to Jesus felt like my saying that what happened didn't matter. Didn't crush me. What God has shown me is that it did matter. It does matter. And that His power, His rescue, His triumph over death, it also played out in shame. In suffering, in so much disgrace. But ultimately in victory. In re-creation. In resurrection.

"Behold I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:19

My suffering, turned inward, was rotting me. Christ's suffering, turned OUTWARD, was redeeming me. Re-creating me. But this also required me to look beyond myself and turn to Him. To look to His disgrace that gave me grace. His shame and death took the sin committed against me, my own sin, and even the shame of it all. Covered it, wiped it, carried it away. Letting it go was the hardest. Choosing to look at Jesus when I want to turn inward, when I desire to be God of my own broken kingdom more than I desire freedom and rescue and resting in His finished work.

Jesus, not me, is the fullness of God's plan. HIS work, HIS obedience, HIS record accomplishes salvation and rescue for me. When I am struggling, run-down, fearful, anxious, stuck in a dark place of remembering, I can turn to Him, without shame.

And He asks me how I want to be known. By my brokenness, my past? Or do I want to be know by His saving, re-creating, unrelenting, ever-pursuing love? Do I want to be seen FOR my scars or THROUGH my scars as I am the re-made, rescued, {and through my suffering closer to Christ}, Image Bearer?

My prayer, my declaration, is what my Father says: That I will stand in the shelter of the Most High God. That I will radiate Jesus.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Standing in Shalom

Fullness of peace.

Standing in the wholeness of God when there are so many opportunities for conflict.

So much injustice in the world.

So much pride and ignorance.

The desire to share what we are all AGAINST more than what we are FOR.

To hear any rebuke as an attack instead of [perhaps] wisdom coming from The Father.

God has taken me on a journey so far this year. Showing me that standing in shalom is more than just sitting in a yoga pose and wanting everything to be comfortable. More than minimalism and simple living philosophies.

Shalom is rooting my wholeness in the finished work of Christ.
And standing in shalom is a lot like living out light.

It is loving my neighbor. Checking my intentions and ego.

Going back to God's word over and over and over again.

Surrendering my will to His plan and praying all the live-long day!

Seeing the holy and divine in different places and within me.

I was listening to a sermon from The Village Church about the Beatitudes and kinds of people Jesus said are blessed:

The poor in spirit (those who know they need a savior)
Those who mourn
The meek (strength under obedience)
Those who hunger for righteousness
The merciful
The pure in heart
The peacemakers
Those persecuted and reviled in Jesus' name

These are the people God names as blessed. These are the receivers of shalom.

I am really excited to take some time to pray over and explore these different traits. To learn what they are [and aren't]. And wrestling with The Father over my own heart as He re-makes me into the image of Christ.

I want to stand for the fullness of the love of Jesus more than I stand for anything else.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Our Life in pics! 5/7/17



Spring Dance!


Dreamy coffee and discussing dreams with a friend @ The Village Grind

Eden's Journal entry about why ants deserve to live. This girl is empathetic.

Some places I love in our home: The retro room divider in our living and dining area, air plant, herbs, and the side lot.

Fried up some sopapillas and remembered my sweet Mema.

Our Saturday looked like overflowing dishes, furniture piled up in the front room to let our shiny floors finish drying, and water bottles filled up for a morning with H.O.G. working in the Butterfly Garden at the Kids' school.

Date Night. Panang Curry. YUM!

Sunday was the sweetest day. Our kids were baptized at our church. Jason got to Baptize them. Had family and friends there. God is so good.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

When I Invited God Into My Pain


I was a Psych major in college, but I hate talking about feelings, and over the years I have tended towards stuffing them way down deep. I struggle with ebbs and flows of mild depression. Not the "I can't get out of bed" kind, but more of the mind-numbing, soul-sucking kind. I came to follow Christ about 5 years ago. I know Jesus, and I love Him.
Growing with God has transformed my life, my marriage, and our family.

At 38 years old, I began counseling at my church a few weeks ago. I was excited to see what God would do, but frankly I didn't really see any big breakthroughs coming for me. Well, once again, God shows me that I know nothing and He sees so much more than me. And for that I am very thankful. One of the first things my counselor asked me after I shared my story with her was if I had ever invited God into my pain. Had I ever talked to Him about it, asked questions to Him, cried out to Him? And the answer is NO. I never had. And I had no good reason not to. So I did. I took all my ugly feelings and sad things, pain and tragedies and set them before God. I sat and wrote them down, and asked God "Lord were you there when...?" "Did you love me when...?" "What do you think about...?" "Why?" And I sat with God with my past, and my pain, and my anger and confusion, my doubts about His goodness. And this is what He gave me:

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name,
you are mine.
When you pass through the water, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Isaiah 43:1-3

He loves me. I am chosen. I am his beautiful daughter. He wept with me when I hurt. But He could see where I would be going. He does not promise that our lives will be without pain, but He does promise to carry us through it. When we are faithless He remains faithful. His goodness doesn't always look like goodness to my eyes, but He sees the rest of the story, and His story is GOOD. In attempting to hide my pain from Him, I was holding myself captive to the past, I was willfully choosing not to let Jesus into the ugly places, places where only He can bring light.

I may still have sad days, soul-sucking days, but now I know I have a good father who wants to sit with me in my pain. And I have found Him to be the One who gives me comfort.

https://youtu.be/_ZAzvxsDOUU

Monday, August 18, 2014

Letting Go

So last night we spilled the beans to Isaac about Santa not being real. It had come up several times this summer, different friends telling him Santa was fake, and Isaac arguing that NO WAY, Santa is TOTALLY REAL!! And then he had asked us a few times, "He is real, right?" So on the eve of the First day of Third grade I tell Jay, "We need to tell him, and I can't because I will start crying." So this is Jay's story, but I'm sharing it because he wouldn't and it just reminds me why I love him so.

After getting Isaac into bed, Jay lays down next to him and says
"Buddy you are getting older, and there are some things other kids are going to say to you, and you will wonder about the things they say, and I want you to know you can always come to me and Mom and we will tell you the truth. So, there's something you need to know. There is a really cool special secret that many moms and dads have for their kids. Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, they are not real. They are moms and dads. Moms and dads pretend and give their kids everything from them. I know some of your friends have told you that Santa isn't real, and when you asked us we wanted to tell you the truth so you would hear it from us."
So Isaac's eyes get HUGE and he says "So, all that stuff I got from Santa all those years, it was from YOU GUYS?? You bought all that stuff?"
Jay: "Yep"
Isaac, "And the 10 bucks I got from the Tooth Fairy for my first tooth, you guys gave me that? Why would you do that for me?"
Jay, "Because it's fun, and we love you, and our mom's and dad's did it for us when we were little. It's a tradition and one day you will do it for your kids"
Isaac: "YOU got me that LEGO Batcave?? WOW!! And, wait a minute, we could have touched that Elf all along."

It was so cute. He knows Saint Nicholas was real and the backstory, so we told him about how the Santa part was just a fun pretend thing that many parents did generations ago in rememberance of him and it had carried on. That it was important to let his sister enjoy believing in Santa for a few years, and not to ever spoil it for anyone because he had really loved believing.

It was sweet. It was sad. Another piece of childhood gone, and sooner than we would have liked, but we really knew it was time to tell him.

This parenthood, this holding close and letting go of little ones, it is the sweetest, happiest, saddest dance I've ever danced. It is everyday knitting me together and breaking me apart.

This summer Eden learned to swim without floaties, and in the deep-end. These pink floaties sitting here in the toybox by the door, another phase over, another baby thing forgotten. Isaac learned to ride without training wheels (finally), and how to dive, and how to flip and backflip into the pool. But he wants me to walk him into school tomorrow. Eden still has a baby face and her sweet little baby voice, but she is getting tall and leaner. I am thankful for every day, every phase, and every moment with them. Thankful that God has shown me what is is to love my children and how He can love us even more than I love my own. Thankful that He will give me wisdom and grace to let them go when it is time, and hold them close when they need me.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What Is Love?

"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things"
1 Cor 13:4-7

These are beautiful words, probably my favorite set of verses. But in my daily life, these words often bring me to despair. Living in community is hard. Doing life with other broken people is not easy. Bitterness creeps in. Friendships ebb and flow. Sometimes, people just get on your nerves, or disappoint you. Sometimes you ache for them. I see myself on both sides of all of these examples. I love the verses above because they root me back to the truth. I read them and think "I can't do this, no one can!" And I can't. The truth is, I need Jesus. If He is not where I am centering my identity, then I will surely put my identity in people or things that will always fail me, and I them. If I do not put Jesus first, what use will I be to my community? How can my heart be soft? How can I love others?

Discipleship isn't just the drawing of people to Jesus, it is the sticking around afterwards and growing together, even when it is hard. Even when we are unlovable, never giving up on each other, remembering the Perfect One who died for all of us, and the Great Love that He loved us with.

Today I pray that we remember The Perfect One, and the debt He paid. That we love each other with even a fraction of the love that he poured over us who would crush Him.