Thursday, August 28, 2008

My son

Today my son told me that he scored the highest math score in the 8th grade class for the NWEA testing!! My kid! I know...gasp! I look at this boy in true amazement that he has turned out to be the person he is because well, I was less than ready to be his mom.

At the age of 18 I discovered I was pregnant. One month after I started college. Nine months later, one month after I turned 19, he was born. I remember when the nurse handed him to me I just looked at him, waiting for that overwhelming feeling of love to pour out of me that everyone said happened. It didn't. I cried instead. I had no clue how to be his mom. Life as I knew it was gone and a new life was plunked in my lap and I was told "good luck". Good luck? Seriously? He came with no directions and that was not good for a person like me. He would cry for no reason, puke for no reason, and laugh for no reason. He had me completely baffled. I was more scared than I'd ever been and wished every night I could change that one act, that one moment in my life back. But day after day he and I learned how to blend and I learned to be comfortable with the title Mom; but I made one gigantic mistake after another.

In his short 13 years on this earth my son has endured the addition of two sisters, two marriages and then two divorces, the addition of step siblings and then the deletion of step siblings, nine moves and several broken up relationships with very unhealthy men. Yet today my son scored the highest score in math, tells me his favorite subject in school is a tie between math, science and history, rubs my back every time I ask, can carry an intelligent conversation about events going on around the world, and brings me countless compliments from people who know him. Everyone loves him. My son!

For many, many years I insisted he had to be perfect because I feared if he wasn't people would be quick to declare me an unfit mother. I have matured in that thinking, somewhat. I'm still working on that. It's hard for me to let my kids make mistakes and not see it as a reflection on me. But having a relationship with God does things to your view of people, it softens you in ways you never imagined. Two years ago my son asked me to pray with him to ask Jesus to forgive his sins and to live in his heart. ME!!! He didn't want our youth pastor who lived down the street from us, he wanted me. Then last summer he was baptized during our church picnic and when asked why he wanted to do it he said "because I saw the change God has had on my mom and on our life."

Apparently my mistakes aren't too big to keep God out of our hearts. I've often wondered why God allowed me to be a mom and I'm beginning to see's not about me at all. God needs my son and my girls as a part of His plan and I'm just the vehicle used to bring them here. I can't begin to tell you how honored that makes me feel.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Congrats! Here's your award...

At the end of my senior year we gave our awards for things like "most likely to succeed" and "best attitude" as well as one that I won..."most talkative". I talk. Alot. More than I listen because even when I'm not talking, I'm thinking of what to say.

I set out on a quest nearly three years ago to discover what it means to be a woman and why God created me the way He did. My journey has been anything but smooth, but I've learned more than I ever expected in areas I didn't even think about in relation to being a woman; like patience and talking. Growing up I think I talked so much because I wanted so desperately to be liked. I wasn't the pretty one, the smart one, or the athletic one. But I found that I, at times, was the funny one so I ran with it. Funny isn't always appropriate. But inside I was the one who feared if I shut up I'd become invisible. So, I talked. That award hurt me because I knew it wasn't something to be proud of. I just didn't know how to turn me off.

Fast forward to today, I read the verse from Proverbs 18:2 that says "A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions" and must say I smiled because right there is the answer I sought. If verses make you squirm let me put it to you this is better to understand than to be understood. Ahhhh. Many times I can be heard saying things like "I'm working on that" or "I've worked really hard to over come that" and that very phrase falls under the "I'm working on that" phrase. I think I'm getting better, my heart is in the right place now. But I still have moments I reflect on and think I really should have just stayed quiet because I totally made that about me.

My reason for talking,I think, has changed. I no longer feel the insecurity I felt for so long because I know who I am now and I know the direction of my destination. I no longer feel the need to impress because my value comes from God alone. I do however want desperately to help those who are hurting in whatever way I can; and let's face it I'm still me...talking and all.


I titled this blog vulnerability for one reason, it's the one word in our language that frightens me more than any other word. Even more than failure. I gave it that title because it's a word I need to overcome, a word I need to find peace in. My goal, my prayer, is that I will find healing in being vulnerable enough to write; understanding not everyone will like my words or even respect them. The truth is though, it's not really about my writing, I'm seeking the ability to be vulnerable in my friendships with those I love and I'm seeking to know how to instill healthy boundaries with everyone, even those I love.

Growing up boundaries wasn't a word used in my house. Nor was failure or vulnerability. Success, strong, endure...those are words I know. The concept of healthy boundaries was totally foreign to me and truthfully a concept I ignored for many years. God has a way of getting our attention though. I was stripped of my life as I knew and left empty handed, literally. The words I knew and depended on, success and strong and endure were words I couldn't even remember how to say because I was on the other side of the fence. But in that time I was still a Christian and through His love I began to climb the fence first standing upright on it, balancing if you will because I was unsure if I really wanted to be on the other side. The whole time God just kept talking to me, whispering, calling my name over and over. He was patient with me, gentle with me, but the whole time never letting me sit back down on the fence so I could put my feet one on each side. Soon it became too much to balance on the fence and I cried louder than I've ever cried, begging him to just pick me up...make the decision for me or let me go back to where I was. Where I was might have been painful, but I knew it. I understood it. All the while He was patient with me, gentle with me, but the whole time whispering my name. Finally I fell to the other side of the fence, the fall was unbearable. And then...I felt His arms around my whole body. All the time He was whispering my name.

What I've learned from that fence moment was that I had to be vulnerable enough to stand and then to fall. I had to trust Him. Many times I've tested God and EVERY time He's caught me. I've also learned that mankind is not the same. Many times I've tested and MANY times I've been let down. With God vulnerability is actually safe and trusting God is actually amazing. With people it gets a little complicated and that's where boundaries comes in. Fence walking is painful and scary, but being vulnerable to let God bring you to the other side of the fence...that is strong and success and true endurance.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Saying Thank You

The other day I was told "I can really tell you've lost weight", my response "whatever, shut up." Nice right! But that's how it goes, someone says something nice to me and I either say oh it's no big deal or make some sarcastic remark to cover up my insecurities. When did that happen? When did I become unable to simply say thank you and believe they are telling the truth. Honestly, that's what the problem is...I don't really believe someone could genuinely be nice to me just for the sake of being nice. I think there must be some hidden agenda...maybe they will follow the compliment with a laugh, or maybe they are only saying it because they want something in return. You know, like when someone says "nice hair" is it because they want you to say "oh thanks, you look really cute today too"? Ugh.

I'm currently going through a bible study with some fabulous women involving a book called Do You Think I'm Beautiful? Let me just tell you, not a book I would have chosen. But I'm doing it and dare I say I'm learning from it and I believe they would tell you the same thing. Each Wednesday night we get together and search to find out why God says we are beautiful. After they left this last time I got to thinking that maybe God is trying to tell me I'm beautiful and in ways not so beautiful I'm replying "whatever, shut up." I know, gasp! But don't we all the time say that God works through people and circumstances? Maybe all those times someone has said something nice to me, it was really God dropping love notes for me. Maybe each time I look in the mirror and shake my head in disgust what I'm doing is dropping notes that tell God I don't like the creation he made.

The world fills our head with images, voices, clothes that say one size but mean another. The world is fallen. If for one minute we lose sight of that, take our eyes off the Truth, then yes we begin to see ourselves as anything but beautiful. What I'm beginning to learn is that beauty, in God's eyes, doesn't mean physical at all. The physical will be taken care of, the Bible says that when we die we will receive a body just like Christ...that means we can do the happy dance because our bodies will be perfect! woohoo! For now though we need to view ourselves, our whole selves, not as wee see, but as Christ sees us. So how do we do that?

By taking compliments, saying Thank You, looking in the mirror and seeing the person God thought so highly of to create. He could have changed his mind you know. He could have thought of you and then said "Whoa! Lets not do that!" But he didn't. He made you and He made me. And the Bible is clear that he sees us as beautiful. They say you can see a person's soul through the gateway of their eyes. Instead of wondering what God sees when He looks into your eyes, what do you see when you look into His? That my friend is where the beauty lies.

So, my hope for us is that we will begin to say "thank you" without reading into the compliment, we will begin to say good things about ourselves without the need to put us down, and we will begin to look into His eyes searching for His soul not ours.

Till next time...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

and we're off

Well hello! I must say that as I begin to type these words my hands are beginning to sweat. It's very scary for me to think of sharing my writing with people I've never met, people that may not understand my heart and misunderstand my words. But I also know that this is the next step God has been calling out to me.

For sometime I've felt Him saying it's time for your next step. For sometime I've answered by simply saying I don't know what that is; and it's the truth. I've been torn over what exactly that next step should be. I got so worked up over trying to figure out what it was He wanted me to do that I lost sight of the very concept that the One who said move would also be the One to provide the light for the direction. All I had to do was be patient and willing.

And here I am. The next step I'm learning doesn't mean God will tell me the next hundered steps that will happen over the next six months. It doesn't mean God will send me a letter in the mail and it will say "DO THIS" in red bold letters. It also doesn't mean the next step will be totally clear. Then one night while journaling I began to pour out my fear that I will make the wrong decisions, go in the wrong directions and screw the whole thing up. I also realized that I am still trying to control what that next step should be. I have my own ideas, my own adgendas, and my own dreams. I ended that journaling with this sentence.. "God, please tell me what to do. Please show up in a way that I know it's you, giving me peace in the decision and leaving no room for question."

I've come to see once again that when I finally lay it at His feet, surrender my desires and regain focus on what truly matters it is then that He shows up. Blogging is one of those ways. It is my prayer that each of the eyes that read these words will not see me but will see God's light shining brightly. I hope that over time you will begin to hear my heart and remember that my deepest desire is to get out of the way just enough that I am merely a vehicle through which the Creator shines.

So, this is my next step..what is yours? I'll be praying He shows up clearly and loudly!

I look forward to learning about you, hearing your stories, and hope that together we will grow towards the men and women God intended us to be.

Till next time my friend...