Beautiful Scars– And Then the Morning Comes

It’s easy for me to say I was molested for the first time as a nine-year old. It’s not, however, easy to sift through and relive all those years (27 to be exact), since I was visited in the darkness. That was when the safety of my pale pink bedroom shattered into millions of tiny pieces that would later cut deep like glass.

When I first began writing this, I fooled myself into thinking I could whip up an account that has, by the way, blossomed into one of hope and love and forgiveness. The truth is, though, there is no way for me to share the light without first revisiting the dark—the secret, the fear, the loneliness and wild anger. It’s been a long time since I’ve been there, thank God.

Thank you, God. It’s been a long time since I’ve been there.

To continue reading this post written for Leanne Penny’s series, Beautiful Scars, click here.

9 Thoughts About 9 Years

Tomorrow, Brian and I will celebrate our 9th anniversary! We spent our first having a living room picnic of Chinese take-out, while watching the riveting DVD of our wedding. Sounds romantic enough or downright boring. I’m sure that was Brian’s idea. 🙂

We don’t really give one another gifts for the special day (who can keep track anyway? Is it the year of paper, cotton, glass…?). Instead, we do something we both enjoy to mark the event that, yes, we have beaten the odds for another year.

So instead of listing the top ten things that I love about Brian or 10 things that will make marriage great or the hardest things about marriage, this is 9 thoughts about our (almost) 9 years together.

1.  He is never surprised that I can bruise myself by bumping into stationary things like door frames or table corners. I am no longer shocked that he takes a lot of time to decide on which new TV or camera we should buy. The thing is, we always end up with the best TV or camera with the most 5 star reviews. I just end up with a bruise.

2.  He likes golf. I hate it. I like playing Bananagrams. He hates it. That’s okay. Every now and then I think about wandering back to try it again, and so does he. We might even do it. That’s give and take, right?

3.  Neither of us likes yard work, but our yard usually looks fine (thanks to Brian). We have walked past a dead bush in front of our house for at least 3 months. We really should do something about that bush. So, now someone we hired is going to do something about that bush…and our overgrown hedges. Happy anniversary to us!

4. Three words can change the course of our day. After numerous times of using 507235198741 words to argue a point, we have found this to be true and much easier. The way I-am-sorry-period stops craziness shocks both of us. Period.

5. Three months after getting married, we wondered what in the world we were doing. We knew there would be yuck. We just didn’t know we’d be swimming in it. Love and counseling and lots of prayers got us through it.

6. I have learned to just. be. quiet (well, sometimes). Every day, this is a hard thing for someone who craves control and always wants to be right. I’m sure Brian appreciates and might even be stunned by my (occasional) silence.

7. The cooking schedule I wrote up months after our wedding was AWESOME! We each cooked twice a week and went out or had leftovers the other times. But he found it constraining. I tried to change his mind. Now neither of us cooks. We figure it out together, literally, almost every night, or we go to Moe’s.

8.  Job layoffs, location changes, grad school, career moves among numerous other things have all been hard for us. He usually deals well. I tend to cry and stress and resist. Later, I realize it’s all ended up better than I thought it ever would, and I am grateful that he is calm and steady.

9.  The grass is not greener anywhere else. It is greener here because our marriage has been dumped with manure, and the storms have come. In between those times, seeds of grace, joy and peace have been planted. The sun has warmed us, and we have grown to love one another with a fierceness that encourages, supports and protects.

I think this gift might be better than we ever imagined.

That Piercing Light

When was the last time you drove somewhere at sunrise?
                                           Sometimes the morning light is absolutely overwhelming. Piercing.  It’s so bright you can’t help but close your eyes, a scary thing to do when driving. You fumble around blindly for your sunglasses but they’re on the floorboard and out of reach. You feel anxious, worried about getting to  your destination. Then, you pry your eyes open a sliver…just enough to see that amazingly, you are right where you need to be.
                                                                                                                                        We don’t always see where we are going in life. There is uncertainty everywhere we turn–the economy, job security, that doctor’s appointment we put off, even the weather. As hard as it is for all of us to remember from day to day, especially during our loneliest, most heart-wrenching of times, God will keep us on track if we just close our eyes and let Him drive.

5 Minute Friday: Path

I don’t know why I love this so. Maybe it’s the beach, the wind-beaten fence, the narrow road. I fell in love with this place when I was visiting Ireland a couple years ago.

This door hidden in the earth is intriguing. Who knows what one might find on the other side? Treasures of some sort? A whole world of newness and adventure waiting to be discovered?

Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go. He’s the one who will keep you on track. ~ Proverbs 3:6

I believe we can hear God’s voice in the clouds above, a stormy day, standing at the top of a mountain observing the beauty of the landscape. Wherever we are if we listen in the stillness, our path will be made known to us–down a winding road or through a waiting door.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

*Check out thegypsymama, who started this 5 Minute Friday fabulousness.

Truth

Remember being completely happy just being?

Insecurity is a nasty thing that can tear us down piece by tiny piece IF we let it. For me, it comes in the form of tiny annoyances that somehow grow into BIG struggles. It’s a sneaky voice in the back of my mind telling me I’m not good enough. I don’t have a voice. No one cares what I have to say. Whatever lies we are fighting, here is simple, solid TRUTH for all of us from Marianne Williamson (Return to Love). I love this!

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and famous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God,

Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others.


5 Minute Friday: Expectations

Expectations can get us into trouble. How many times have you expected some situation/ person/ thing to be/ say/ turn out in a certain way and then been disappointed?

Someone once told me to not get excited about things because then you’ll just be disappointed if they don’t all fall perfectly into place. I’ve expected a lot out of myself and others all my life. I have been excited because that’s the journey!

I want to be at peace with what comes my way. God is God and not me, and He knows better than me about today, tomorrow and next year.

So, when I expect that I’ll have:

  • a healthy life
  • a long future
  • a growing family
  • another day

I’ll look forward to those things. But I am learning to rest in the fact that He knows the future He’s planned out for me.


I love the idea of 5 Minute Fridays! SO perfect for a recovering perfectionist like me! 🙂

Check out the blog below for more fun from thegypsymama.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

Get in Line!

“Get in line!”

About a decade of teaching elementary school reminds me of the no less than hundreds of times I’ve said this to my students. I expected a quiet line, straight and orderly–I guess because I was supposed to show I had things under control (in education, that’s called effective classroom management). Well, all that changed the year I had #8, who acted as if he thought he was Michael Jackson in more ways than one–dancing. attempting to moonwalk, grabbing…himself. Now that I think of it, he might have even tried the one glove (mitten) look. That year I had the student, who every teacher passed by me with a WHAT is he doing?!?!? look on her face. By the end of the year, I couldn’t care less if #8 was out of line. As long as he wasn’t doing anything horribly inappropriate, all was well in my book.

That year, as much as I yearned for quiet, peace and relaxation, things didn’t seem to work the way I wanted them to. I definitely have the tendency to always want things just right, to have my ducks in a row. It’s great to have a plan, work hard toward goals and to be organized. I like my house to be clean, be happy with my hair/ makeup and feel like I’m put together. In fact, I was the high school kid who had to have her bed made before she could begin typing papers or studying for tests. I also remember my brothers, sister, mom and I running around, cleaning, like crazy fools before someone was coming over to visit. Oh, and I used to put on full makeup before going to the gym. The bottom line is: being OCD about appearing to be put together just to cover up the fact that we are swimming in a sea of all things opposite is just not authentic.

My plans are challenged on a daily basis; it’s just part of life. Whose aren’t? At times, I don’t even feel as if my ducks have their feathers in place, so I fall into a fog of complacency and just quit trying. Don’t get me wrong–I’m all about looking fear in the face and doing what I thought I couldn’t do; however, I can be perplexed about these web-footed creatures when I’m struggling under that heavy fog. If they’re not where I want them, waiting a while for things fall into place might be the answer. Sometimes, though, there is so much waiting (to do things that I am in control of) that waiting = missing out. It’s as if putting things off repeatedly is somehow better than even trying because there’s the possibility of gasp!…failing. I’ve learned something through every failure, so why do I fear it?

Happily, I am becoming more and more comfortable with the dust bunnies mixed with dog hair around my house, essentially, I am becoming calm(er). I feel more at peace with who I am and where I am in life, too, so there is less of a desire to make everything perfect.  I’m planning ahead for when the ducks are scattered and going off in their own directions, to stand back and smile and then take the tiniest of steps forward out of the fog.

Photo courtesy of http://www.free-pet-wallpapers.com

You There?

Where is God when bad things happen? He’s on His throne.

This was hammered into me at a certain summer camp I went to as a teenager. In fact, it was the theme of the week, and we wore the slogan on our camp t-shirts. I actually had a great time there, but I don’t remember leaving those summer days of fun and sun with it settled in my mind. Really, if God was there, then why didn’t I feel different? In fact, I’m pretty sure I thought something more like this: Sure. This all powerful God is hanging out upstairs while I am in the midst of my own “bad things” happening at home.

It’s easy to feel like we are all alone when we are going through the tragedies of this life. We long to reach out and connect with those who might be be feeling just as devastated, scared, confused or angry as we are. We long for that, yet we don’t always push ourselves to reach out. Sometimes, it takes so much courage and… effort… to open up and tell someone. We want to find some solace and hope that someone will just get it.

This month held two funerals in two weeks’ time, talking with a stranger about her friend’s husband dying last week in a horrific accident (after he and his wife finally, finally got pregnant), hearing the pain in a friend’s voice after the anniversary of her mother’s death, and then a woman with a young family, who lost her battle with cancer. It’s unbearable sometimes, this life. I do not understand why bad things happen to good people every, single day.

But here’s what I do know. I used to think God WAS simply out there somewhere, far away from me–aloof, uncaring, and untouchable. In my 36 years, I have finally learned that He has been feeling my laughter and my pain through all my high points, the lowest of the low points and everything in between. I never felt Him because I refused to let Him close enough to me. I found that telling God exactly how I feel is cathartic, and you know what? He can handle it, all of it.

So, today the sky opened up–turned dark and windy with heavy showers, as someone special to me mourned the loss of her husband. I imagine the weather perfectly mirrored the turbulence in her heart. Maybe, just maybe that is a glimpse that He is there, and He does get it.