Archive for ‘my lovely friends’

July 24, 2011

Love

So there’s a Guy. And he loves me. And I love him. His name is Joseph. And he’s amazing and we’re excited. And God is at work for sheezy. And our story is very much in the works. Most girls would probably give you a formal introduction, but I’m not most girls, so you get a love letter from me to him…

Hey Baby,

Remember that day when we went to lunch? Date number… four was it? When I walked in and saw you at the very first table, and you popped up, all six feet eight inches of you. Your face, like you were seeing a very pretty ghost, so excited and kinda scared. You hugged me way too tight and you talked way too loud. And it was wonderful. And then we walked around that stupid shopping center, found the only little nook there was and I surprised you. With a kiss. And apparently you were not suspecting it at all, but it was pretty flippin’ awesome. Remember that? That was fun aye?

Almost as fun as date number one. Remember that?  You asked me to coffee, and one glowing recommendation from a friend later, I obliged. It was a good coffee, if a little hot. Yeah- a little hot and we were both hungry, and so date number one was immediately born. And over some Latin fusion cuisine we discovered how passionate we both were about the Bible and Wu-Tang and rough beats and Freedom and Jesus and sex (and not having it before marriage) and raising our children and reading and writing and people and food. And the whole silly thing was laughably magical.

To hear you tell it, I had you that first day, when I first walked in. You saw me and knew, that’s what you say. Know when you had me? That Thursday. When I was a mess, a very cute, ready for a date mess, but a little shaky  nonetheless. You walked in, eager as ever, ready for sushi and a movie. And I sat a ball of nerves, confused to be feeling so good, unsure if happy was right. And then- you asked me what was going on, and because He told me I could, I told you everything. And you- held me, carefully, like a brother I guess. You held me and I cried a little. And we sat silent. And peace rushed in where all the nerves had been. And then I knew.

But also, you had me the first time you played with my kids. You had me when my boys ran one Lego masterpiece after another to your side and you patiently admired every one. You had me when Emmy fell in love with you and you fell just as hard for her (isn’t she the most lovable girl in the world?). You had me when you had that first firm discussion with Gracie and she liked you even more than before.  

You have me. And you keep honoring that. Every time we are together. And it is so good, so easy to be loved by you.

Baby, also- you are the most eager greeter I have ever met in my life and I love it. Almost like you don’t even expect me to show up at all, and then when I do you are so awash in happy you don’t even know what to do but smile a big dopey smile for the first five minutes I’m there. Gosh you excel at making me feel loved.  

Know what else? I love arguing with you, debating I guess is a better term. I love that I can. I love that I learn, and you do too. I love that you fix my car, and mow the grass, and take naps on the couch while I make dinner. I love that you help with the dishes after dinner, (even if helping is a sly kiss on the neck with your arms around my waist).

I love that boy of yours. Gosh I love him. One day he’ll really let me, I’m sure of it.

I love that you miss me, and you help me, and you show me things, and you give me breaks, and hugs, and you make me laugh, and you get things for me off of the top shelf, and you love John Coltrane and Adele and  Nas, and you’re learning to dance. I love that you make me feel tiny and I love your protests that I am anything but tiny. I love your nerdiness, adore it. I love your bookworm ways, and your willingness to wear boot-cut jeans. I love the way you lead, me and you and our kids, our family.  I love that your height means my head falls on your chest every time you hold me, and I love the contrast of our skin. I love your never-ending, never quiet, never slight talk of the Gospel… I love all of it, all of you. Forever. No matter what. Okay? You know? I do.

Love and love,   
Me

(Much more to come. Promise)

July 23, 2011

Receiving

Here’s something silly I do: beat myself up about beating myself up. I’m terrible at cutting myself slack. And I totally get that having a little grace is pretty crucial, and still, I call myself an idiot when I don’t do it. And then I waste time feeling like an idiot and then I feel dumb for making myself feel like an idiot. It’s a super fun cycle. Also, it’s incredibly distracting.

If I’m wasting time in this cycle, there’s no way I’m going to have the energy to get to the root of the actual problem.  An issue has come up in the last few months that has totally thrown me for a loop- This Amazing Guy, my Amazing Friend’s hubs, he has become my friend. And for some reason that made me want to curl up in a ball and stare at the ground. And he is truly one of the greatest guys I’ve ever known, so curling up in a ball and staring at the ground made me feel- you guessed it- like an idiot.

In an effort to break out of the cycle I decided to try and explore the reason behind the freaking out. At first I only got as far as figuring out what I didn’t believe, even that was helpful though, working through the list of lies that I thought I might be thinking and checking off the ones that didn’t apply. I gave myself a little pat on the back and a break. And then I talked to Jesus about it, and before He helped me figure out the lie, He offered me a little grace. And I took it.

I’m not awesome at receiving grace (or love, really). (Working on it.) Fancy Nancy used to applaud me for being normal and it annoyed the crud out of me. “Please don’t congratulate my normalcy.” She was pretty insistent though, “Honey, you should not be normal. Your childhood, your marriage, should not have produced a normal person- and look at you! You’re doing so good!” Like my own personal grace dealer, she pushed kindness, affirmation and mercy on me every time I saw her, there was no refusing.  She taught me how to swallow the pill. And I learned to like it. It still isn’t my default though. (I really am working on it.)

Last week though, I went to Jesus and He offered me grace because I didn’t have any for myself, and I took it, stopped beating myself up for long enough to get to the root of the lie. And it. was. awesome. Maybe someday I’ll write about that whole process, but it’s way too dear to me right now.

I will say this- So much time was spent being anxious about being around this Amazing Guy and his Amazing Wife, and hunched over studying the floor when he was around, and then punishing myself for acting like a fool when I got home. So much energy was spent pushing through that anxiety and guilt to figure out what was wrong. And then so much grace, the best medicine I’ve ever swallowed, remedied the whole thing. And we had dinner last week, and grace gulped, and that lie disbelieved- I sat across from one of the best men I know, saw him and was seen, laughed, talked and sighed, and received buckets of knowledge, a hug, and loads of healing.

You guys- grace: Really good stuff. The best.

July 18, 2011

changed

i think i thought the first man i ever knew
wrote dark words all over me with his dark hands
and i think i thought that anyone with the right
(or wrong i guess) set of eyes could read me
i think i thought i was what he wrote
thought he, all of them, loved me, that was Love

funny thing to find out how wrong you are about
something you’ve held onto your whole life
funny when being right seems so important
but the thing you think you’re right about is a lie, is death
and finding out you’re wrong means Life

maybe it’s not funny at all
being wrong
but it makes you laugh nonetheless
to see all those words washed away
to be wrong about yourself

to be Loved
and Know it
and Write it
and Read it
have it Shown to you
and Said to you
to Hear it
and See it

Changed.

June 21, 2011

Them

(Went to bed and woke up with this in my head, just a little piece of the story God’s given me. Maybe not the most insightful, profound thing I’ve ever written, but indulge me please.)

Every morning I woke early, with the sun, and sat at that big round kitchen table in front of that grand window. And I pulled out the books. I opened them all with such intention, Bible, dictionary, thesaurus, my then new but already well loved and much highlighted copy of Abbas Child, her well loved, faded and worn copy of Practicing the Presence. And I studied and I prayed and I wrote and I cried and I sat and I watched and I listened. All in an effort to fix… everything.

Through my separation and divorce I stayed with them. Oh them, how I treasure them. My Debby, so wise and so… full of more grace than she knows. And my Paul, the man I will forever and always credit with showing me more clearly than anyone else I have ever known- the strength, kindness and devotion that is fathering. They had some extra room and I didn’t want my children’s lives to be completely disrupted and so, instead of having the kids go elsewhere to spend time with their dad, I went to the Tedesco’s and they stayed home.

And my mission while I was there was to fix… me and my marriage, my husband and then eventually it became to save the whole entire world. But we’ll save that story for another time.  I sat every morning waiting for the self-timed coffee maker to brew enough for me to pour my cup. And I worked on understanding why my life was such a disaster. And sometimes I had very good epiphanies. And many times He spoke to me. And sometimes I rediscovered things I already knew, like John 3:16. And sometimes I just crawled deeper into the darkness that was trying to overtake me.

And this poor, wonderful couple did humor me through it all. Waking every morning to find me exuberant, placid, ready to talk, ready to cry, it was anybody’s guess really. But one morning, one very hard morning after very little sleep, (as happens when your marriage is falling apart and you are forced to leave your four children, including your six month old baby with a man you harbor much hatred for), I woke with what I thought was a very good idea. I thought it was a brilliant plan as a matter of fact. I thought it was perfect, maybe even from God. Debby woke up, came into the kitchen, poured herself a cup of coffee and sat across the table. As she took her first sip, before I said “Good morning” even, I said “I just won’t love people anymore.” And I was dead serious and stoic.

Do you know what I almost never am, never have been? Dead serious and stoic. I was twenty seven at the time and life had honestly just beaten me down. Not a little, a lot. Not over the past year, over the past twenty seven years. And not loving people anymore seemed like a wonderful remedy for all the pain I had. Not that I had worked out an elaborate plan or anything. It was just a conclusion I had come to. One that many people come to.

Debby is Debby though. Debby is the one who helped me perfect my debating skills. Boy did I get sharpened over the year or so that I stayed with them.  And she’s not even really a debater per se. She’s just always so right.  So I let her know what was going on. No more love. That’s it. I’m done. And she sat back, unflinching, crossed her arms and looked out the window, and then back at me and said “I don’t think you can do it.”

But I had studied all morning. I had read and written and thought and worked and calculated and it was the only logical conclusion I could come up with. “I’m not going to get hurt like this again. I can’t” She sipped her coffee and leaned forward, elbows on the table and steadied her gaze “There might be people who could do that; you’re not one of them. I know you.” I sat back, looked out at the enormous Bradford Pear across the fence in the neighbor’s yard, “Well then I’m just not going to love as much.” Like a ten year old, I tried to argue my way out of it. “You can’t not love big. It’s what you do. It’s who you are.” And without giving pause to the fact that I might have another argument, she got up and went to her room to get ready for her day.

And I went outside because on the other side of that window that I spent so many mornings looking out, there was fresh, cool green grass in the shade of that tree I adored. And I spent the rest of the morning, arguing with Him and railing against Him and begging Him and not speaking to Him. And then I spent the afternoon, quiet, listening to birds and breeze and airplanes and the children playing on the other side of the fence. And finally I sat with Him and I listened to Him. And I would not tell you now if I could the sweet, intimate things He spoke to my heart. And when Debby came home at the end of her day she opened the patio door and asked if I was ok. And I was- sprawled out in the grass, a little bit sunburned and totally high on Love.

I stayed that way for months it seems, like a school girl in love. I wrote poems and daydreamed and talked all high and giddy about Him. I’m guessing it was kind of sickening for everyone around me, but oh well. It was good for me. And I have at least a hundred other wonderful stories from my time with them and there were many days very similar to this one. So many times I wanted to give up or in and quit. And so many times they, my Debby and Paul wouldn’t let me.  And so many times He met me there and pursued me and loved me and showed me. And I don’t know where I’d be now if it weren’t for all of them.

So, thanks I guess is what I’m trying to say. And Love and love.

June 18, 2011

Fathers

Father’s Day falls pretty low on my favorite holiday list. And I almost didn’t write anything at all because there are so many beautiful things being written about fathers and dads and papas, and nothing in me wants to take away the joy that people feel when they think about the men who raised them.

My dad skipped out around age two and flitted in and out of my life, mostly drunk until I was seven. Big happy celebratory fireworks do not go off in my heart when this holiday rolls around.  It has been a mostly empty holiday for me most of my life, save one year when I was about ten. I bought my mom a Father’s Day card and wrote a note of appreciation for the ways she had tried to fill in the dad gap in our lives. I saved it until late in the day, almost bed time, because I knew she’d cry. And she did and I brushed off her thank you’s and hugs and went to bed.

There were men in my life while I was growing up to be certain, plenty of them. There was Papaw, he was around, steady and quiet, gardening and playing checkers. He was most certainly a Papaw though, and not a dad.  There were uncles, two of them, big and strong and funny.  Caring- yes. Fathers- no, at least not mine.  And then there were the guys, so many guys, in and out of my life, all around my mom and her friends. I still shiver at the thought; they were not good guys.

And then about ten years ago I had this baby boy. And then there was a dad to celebrate. And he was a pretty good dad. And I loved him dearly, and he loved his boy and the rest that followed as best he could. And then he dropped out for the most part. “I really like not having all that responsibility” is what he said when he’d been gone a week. And so if I am quite honest, the last couple of years I’ve filled it with bitterness.

All of this to say- as an adult there are plenty of absolutely wonderful men who have come into my life. There are outstanding fathers and amazing dads all around me. And some of them have even reached out a time or two to father me.  And when fathering is missing from your childhood it looks and feels strange and awkward and warm and fantastic.

When you are twenty-seven the first time you really feel fathered by a man, it is quite gripping, and foreign, and moving. I still remember clearly, this great man that I love more than words was protective of me, and it silenced me and brought me to tears (no small feat since I am terrible at being quiet and even worse at crying). It made me realize that my past is my past though.  I am not living in it anymore. And though there is much to grieve about my childhood, I can choose not to let it determine how I spend my present.

When you are twenty nine the first time you realize there is plenty to celebrate on Father’s Day and you are free to do with it what you will, it’s pretty sweet. I have pseudo-families galore. I am loved well by Amazing Friends. And my job, photographing life, allows so many great peeks into the beauty of fatherhood.  Also, I’ve been adopted by one Great Dad, the realest Father I know. And the sweet thing is, He allows me to choose how I spend my time. If I took the day to grieve He would love me no less. If I spent the time doing nothing at all, He would smile upon me still. I get to choose what I focus on. 

My life is full of Love and spending a day dwelling on what I don’t have or didn’t have seems like a waste of time. I have grieved those losses time and again.  An opportunity to celebrate is honestly, quite welcomed. So- Happy Father’s Day to all of the truly outstanding men that I know. To the ones who have directly impacted me with compassion and love and to the ones that I learn from as I watch them live such great lives- The world is no doubt a better place because of you.

June 9, 2011

Lesson Learned

This I know- and this I am trying to teach my children: People fail. I fail. And also- I am a lot. And I am too much. For any living, breathing human.

I want my Loves to know- I am doing my best.  I am striving to be a good reflection of Him, oh but I am imperfect, and as obvious as that might seem- I was once a child, and I remember my childish tendency to see perfection, want perfection, need perfection from the adults around me. I have looked too often at my Perfect Father through the blurry lens that some well-meaning grownup made for me.

Nothing in me wants to be the specs of dirt, the warped glass that changes their view of the Greatest Love there is. And so I tell them, in case they don’t catch the hint in moments when my flaws are all too obvious- “I lovelovelove you, as best I can, most all of the time. But He is better, a thousand times. Where I fail you, He won’t, I promise.” And I hope and pray, that they will know, now and forever, my love for them, reflection though it may be, is merely a shadow of the Amazing Love He is.

This lesson was hard learned for me. If I have regret it is in this: Expecting perfection. It has ruined too many, (and only one would be too many), a friendship. My heart has been broken more than once because my hope was that a person would be my All in All. My expectation for so long, and my request, unspoken only sometimes, (oh hindsight you are so twenty-twenty), was that some flesh and bone person would take all of my wrongs and make them right, with words and hugs and kisses and tears and laughter. My hope was cast on people time and again- to redeem me.  I threw out a lifeline to wrong place and wrong arms, begging for something no human could ever give me. And I almost drowned. Almost.

But God. Oh yes. And patient friends, unwilling to be my savior, did show me the truth– If some willing soul were able to rescue me, be my savior- where would that leave me? With an unnecessary God. With an unwanted Savior. With a Jesus who died for no reason at all. With an even more confusing desire to be saved again. With a heart full of the wrong thing, fleshly desires fulfilled and a crushing yearning for an unexplainable more. With a friend weighted down with all my stuff. And heartbreak certain time and again.  Lesson learned the hard way maybe, but I am grateful to have learned it nonetheless.

This I know- He will not fail. Ever. He can’t. And I am not too much for Him. And He is all I need. And Love. And Love.

May 26, 2011

This Decision

Because nobody talks about this. Because I wish I had been here two years ago. Because I wish I had known more people who were.

And because I have been asked more than a few times since this new relationship started, one way or another, if I am sticking to my “goal”. (And for those of you who aren’t interested in clicking on that link, the “goal” is to not have sex outside of marriage.) I guess some people thought my mind would change once there was a guy around. This is the thing though- It is not a goal. It is a decision.To be very Yoda about it, it is not something I am trying not to do. It is something I am not doing. And I’m not going to tell you that it’s easy. It isn’t. But also, it’s not not doable. (And for those of you who knew me a year ago, you can go ahead and chuckle. Laugh it up. I was wrong. Whatdoyaknow? )

So it is certainly not the easiest decision ever. But I am quite certain it is right.

One night I was discussing this issue with a friend, well we were mostly just complaining and venting about the practicalities. But at one point, this story got told and it was in fact very helpful…

The other night as I went to kiss my amazing ten year old son who is very much like a fifty year old man on the forehead, I noticed a tiny little red pimple.  And I said “Ohmygosh Griff! How cute! You have your first zit! You’re growing up!!” And my very old ten year old grunted and sighed. “Ugghh. It’s so hard being extra mature!”

And that’s pretty much where I’m at. This is part of being a grown up. This will be worth it. And I am not going to go all preachy about the “why’s” (right now) and I am certainly not going to talk about the “how’s”.  I will give you no philosophical nor theological things to chew on. I’m not gonna wax poetic about how difficult and rewarding it is.

Just wanted to let you know- Yes. I am not. And ugghh. It’s so hard being extra mature.

Oh and stay tuned for the scoop on the New Guy…  For now I will just say- He’s gooooooood.

May 5, 2011

Okay

Alright guys, can we chat about that hypothetical girl again?  Let’s do.

She had kind of a rough go as a kid.  Maybe not the roughest go ever, but it certainly wasn’t awesome.  There was some abuse and some manipulation.  And she was a pretty perceptive kid.   And something that happens sometimes (I think, I mean I don’t know for sure, maybe) to pretty perceptive kids who get asked to do things they don’t want to do and then forced or abused is- they learn to figure out what people want and give it to them before they get hurt.  Sometimes they guess what a person wants before that person even knows what they want.  Sometimes they spend lots of their life trying not to get hurt and giving out things they shouldn’t because that’s how they’ve survived.  Sometimes they guess wrong about people and sometimes they don’t, but mostly these pretty perceptive people pleasers are running around exhausting themselves with big giant smiles on their faces because they’re just glad they’re not getting abused.

And sometimes- people come along who don’t want anything from them and flip their world upside down.  I’m not saying at all that she’s, ah forget it, I’ve never had anyone like me for me.  I have plenty of Amazing Friends who have helped me grow in this area, even a few men.  It has certainly been helpful to have awesome, caring, loving people encircle me and not only not ask anything of me, but give Love to me.  But then That Awful Thing and a few other Terrible Things happened a few months ago, and along with a few of my basic human functions, like eating, breathing and speaking, my trust in men went down the drain.

Fast forward almost nine months and I’m getting better, free-er and all that jazz.  But still, guys kinda freak me out.  Seriously, like- I’m super good at playing cool but internally I get nauseous when males look at or stand near me.  And I’m not even talking about aggressive guys hitting on me, I mean like, men at church, friends, husbands of friends- tie my stomach in knots when they get within two feet or require eye contact.  But going through life with a stomach ache whenever some perfectly kind man is trying to be nice to me seems unnecessary, so I pray and I ask for prayer and I sit still with my queasy stomach and make myself make eye contact.  And I laugh. A lot. Because I feel so ridiculous for being nervous about nothing.  And all of that is pretty helpful until…  (and crap, now I’m crying)

All of that is pretty helpful until there are a couple of guys, men I guess, who want to talk more than just in passing, they care.  Well, one of them is the husband of one of my New Friends and he likes me and he cares.  And one is not anyone’s husband and he really likes me and really cares.   And they don’t want anything from me.  Nothing.  And not knowing what they want starts to suffocate me.  And it turns my stomach and gives me headaches.  Because if I can’t figure it out, I might get hurt.

But then these men keep not wanting anything and not hurting me.  And I talk to a couple of friends and they don’t coddle me like they have before, like I hoped they might. They tell me to push past it and they pray for me.  Because God is doing something.  And just because it’s uncomfortable,(hell, it’s not uncomfortable, it’s really freaking painful at times), doesn’t mean it’s bad.  So I do push past it over and over, (though not without whining).  And I start laughing to laugh instead of laughing at how awful I feel.

And the sweetest thing happens- God starts dropping little promises in my ear like breadcrumbs down a path to healing.  He starts telling me secrets about me and about what’s going to happen.  And His promises, little though they might be, keep on coming true.  And I keep trusting and it’s all gravy for the most part.  But then the one guy, the one who really likes me, he wants to love me.  And it makes me want to run the opposite direction on that path.

My little-girl/teenage/twenty-eight-year-old self is SCREAMING at me “Nothing good has ever happened when a man loved you”  And though part of me knows that is not the truth, it shakes me to the core.  But God.  Right? Yeah.  But God and a couple of my Amazing Friends assure me that it would be an even worse idea to not silence it.  Goodness.  I struggle to get out of my own head for a day and it’s completely exhausting.  I can’t even begin to explain how hard I fight myself, and God sometimes.  I might be tiny, but I wrestle like nobody’s business.

Ugh, the struggle, I hate it but I know it, and sometimes I love it.  So I spend an entire day and night struggling with my little-girl/teenage/twenty-eight-year-old self and God.  And at the end of that twenty-four hour period, God asks me to stop fighting.  He says He loves me and that I can fight Him about other things, but He wants me to stop fighting Him about this and start to trust.  And I ask Him what the hell I’m supposed to do with all of my fear about Guy Who Wants to Love Me and God says to tell him.  Yeah.  This is how that went “Umm, no. He is the one I’m scared of, I’m not giving him all of this. Don’t you get that that’s the deal, I’m not giving the person that I am scared of all of my fears.” And then God was like “Kid, trust me. Look at all the promises I have kept so far.”

So I did, trust and tell. And then Guy Who Wants to Love Me listened carefully and asked what I needed, and quietly held me for a little while.  And it was good.  Because it was one more Promise come true.  So I am still on this path, skipping here and there, smiling a lot more,  and pretty excited about where it’s leading me.

Annnnd Big! Enormous! Giant! Huge! shout-out to the lovely, wonderful, insightful, wise, caring and understanding friends who have not coddled me but gently pushed me, held my hands and prayed.  And Uber- Big! Enormous! Giant! Huge! shout-out to New Friends Husband Who Cares.

Annnnd Guy Who Wants to Love Me- Okay.

April 25, 2011

Normalizing Normal

‘Normalize those awkward feelings that are about normal things’   That’s what I’ve been told to do. You must know by now that I am a little bit feisty and somewhat argumentative. And holy cow there is a lot of (really great!) stuff going on. But well, I’m not used to really great. And as a matter of fact, I am not used to normal. And so, there is some wrestling going on over here as I try to calm my nerves and be at peace with normal. Also going on over here, these 3 stories on replay:

A few months ago, I had a little conversation with Nancy that went something like this:
Nancy: I love you.
Me: Why?
Nancy: Because you’re special.
Me: Aww, I bet you say that to all the girls you take to the ER
Nancy: You’re especially special. He told me so.
And for some reason I just stopped arguing and received it.  She’s pretty convincing I guess, so that’s good.

Also a few months ago at the end of Kairos, I was standing at the back amidst a crowd of peeps waiting to talk to Bob Hamp, after a minute or so I decided to give up and head out. And then. He grabbed my arm right above the elbow and said “Hold on. Don’t move.” And. I. Froze. And internally all kinds of alarms went off. Because, you guys- Nothing good has ever happened when a guy grabbed me and said don’t move. But this time. He just looked me in the eye, all tall and Gandalf-y and said nice, encouraging things. And I breathed a giant sigh of relief that flipped a little switch in me. And now, I freak out a little bit less when men talk to me. Well, I don’t run at least. So that’s good.

Annnd, a few weeks ago, I did a photo session with One of My Favorite Families.
And an extremely large and very threatening, maybe even malicious butterfly flew at me. And I kinda freaked out. I mean, I ducked and maybe squealed. At a butterfly.

And that’s what I feel like I’m doing now. There is actually nothing threatening or malicious. This (really great!) stuff is like a butterfly.

And so I’m working on receiving Love, and not being terrified of men, or butterflies.

::deep breath big sigh::

To be continued…

April 15, 2011

Writing Anyway

This writing thing, much like photography has become a have-to for me.  Some days words are my air and writing is my breath.  And so I write.  And then I struggle because I feel so absolutely and completely unqualified to be writing.  Something in me says “Put it out there. Contribute.  Share.” And then something, someone, says “Haha.”

Perfectionism is a sneaky devil, a brand new enemy for me.  I’ve only recently encountered the extreme displeasure of worrying about measuring up to my own expectations.  “This piece is not half as good as the last thing you wrote.” Oh and “Why even put more junk out on the internet when there are so many people, wiser, braver, more articulate, more mature, more educated, more spiritual than you.” And “Nothing you’re saying is new.  Your words are of no consequence; you’re wasting your time and everyone else’s”.  I wrestle against these thoughts, worry about calling them lies for fear that they might be true.

And I think maybe it is even more sneaky and evil than I originally thought.  It’s not just a ploy to make me question myself and feel like crap.  It’s a scheme against a gift that God has given me that could be used to help people understand more about His Love.  Because the thing is, God has been surrounding me with all kinds of amazing people.  He has connected me with some incredible new friends and some outstanding teachers.  And I think maybe in doing this He is pushing me to grow, stretching me.  Sure, stretching can be uncomfortable.  But this sneaky liar keeps telling me that the discomfort I feel is my not-good-enough-ness.  What a jerk right?  Indeed.

I was asking Jesus about this the other day, and as He does, He answered my question with a question.  I asked, “Is this you?  Should I just let go of this writing thing until I’m done with school, know more scripture, until I’m more mature and insightful and qualified?  Am I a fool for even trying to contribute?”  He replied “Do any of those words sound like mine?  Have I ever mocked you?  Would I scold you for stretching and growing in a gift I gave you?  Does that sound like me?”  Oh, um, well, no, I guess not.

Certainly, I want to grow in this gift.  And sure, stretching hurts a little sometimes.  And yes, there are plenty of other voices out there that are more creative, enlightened, and knowledgeable.  But that is no excuse for me to quit.  So I keep putting this stuff out there and wrestling with the jerk that tells me my viewpoint is not unique, my grammar is not perfect, my words carry no insight and my story is of no value.  And now, some days I don’t even wrestle with him, I just tell him to go away.  I string these letters together and toss them out into the world, catch my breath and laugh right back.

And a little note to all the kind souls who been have so graciously encouraging me~ It means more than I can say that you would take the time to read my words and give me some of your own.  My heart is happier and my spirit brighter for the Love you’ve shown me in big and small ways.  It’s not even just the words you’ve given me, (though no doubt, I do love words the most), it’s the time, the smiles, pats on the back and the glimmers of affirmation I catch in your eyes.  In all kinds of ways, you’ve given me peace, joy and strength and I am ever so grateful.    

Love, love.

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