Uncategorized

Current Read: Carry On Warrior

I will begin this blog post with the fact that I know very little about Glennon Doyle Melton. Not an avid follower of her blog, in fact I do not believe I have once opened the page. Now that I mention it, I will open it once I am done here. I have read one book of hers previously, LOVE Warrior. I think I liked it. Like many books I read, I soon forget the details after having put it down. The good thing is, I can pick it up and read it again and gain new insight. It does not mean it wasn’t a good book. If it were not a good book (in my opinion), I would not have finished reading it. Those I set aside, return to the library, pass off to a local free library before nearing the middle, let alone the end.

Last week I went to the library with the goal in mind of checking out a book to take with me on a trip to Miami. Visions of reading by the pool danced in my head. Little did I know, I would spend very limited time reading. There was more fun to be had, and I would enjoy it. Now that I am back home, I have opened the book and consumed 19 pages. A bit of Glennon’s story is coming back to me. Which either means, I know more of her than I thought, or she repeats her story in her subsequent books. Maybe both.

I do recall the one thing in particular I liked about her book, the one I previously read. Her honesty. Not honesty as in, I am impressed she is speaking the truth. Honesty, in the sense of baring ones soul in an effort to expose yourself to yourself in an open forum. We can call ourselves out in our own minds and never change, but speaking our truth out loud, holds us accountable for what we have done, what we are saying, and what we will then do. I can appreciate the baring of her soul. I have sat down at my computer many times and began to do the same only to stop myself and delete it.

What would people think? It’s not my friends I worry about. It’s our clients. Our son’s friend’s parents. The soccer moms and dads. Those who would send us business, our current livelihood. One day, when I retire, I will speak (write) my mind freely. And so, with that in mind, I admire the way Glennon shares her thoughts, her truths, her life, as if no one is watching. Or at last as if she does not care who is watching, who is listening. Well done.

My truth for today is this, I am ever a work in process when it comes to my temper. My past aside, I stand up for myself far too quickly. I jump before being jumped on. I trample before being trampled. Words of edification are heard as accusation. Feedback heard as criticism. Suggestions imply I am incapable. Some would say, my reaction is justified or explained by how I was mistreated as a child and a wife. I choose to say, I must hold myself accountable for my actions no matter my past. I must reveal them to myself, own them, learn from them, grow and desire change. I refuse to remain a victim. I must be the change I want to see in the world. It starts with me.

Warrior's Voice

Voice Unleashed – Warrior Uncovered

Oh to be able to speak my mind.

Believe me, one day I will.

I should say, at times right now, I do.

I speak it loud and clear.

And yet, at times I bite my tongue, hold my thoughts, clench my jaw.

Not because I fear what you all may think.

Oh no, I am well beyond looking for approval.

How to win friends and influence people? I’m not looking for friends I have to win.

As far as influencing, well, okay, maybe I do that a wee bit.

Why the spaces between each line? To give pause to each sentence I type tonight.

Tomorrow is a big day for me. One that I want to write freely about. One that I will write freely about.

The Warrior within me is crying out. Not a sad cry. No longer a lonely cry. Not in fear.

No, she is strong. Her resolve is renewed. She has discovered who she is. Her voice is no longer silenced.

She is ready for battle.

Her army surrounds her. They go before her, along side her, and follow behind her.

She is protected on all sides.

Tomorrow is the day the Warrior cries, “That’s NOT Okay!”

It never was. It isn’t. And it never will be.

 

To be continued……

Christianity and People

Living My True Life

I sat in the one place I felt truth was of utmost importance, listening to yet another man of God tell me to hide my sin. It was all I could do to bite my tongue, pressing my lips together holding my voice inside, tight within my throat. A hollow ringing began in my ears, this seemed to happen when my mind battled to believe what it was hearing was in fact real and not a dream. Maybe this is what anxiety felt like. I had yet to experience a panic attack. Those were yet to come.

Image result for thou shalt not lie

“Let me get this straight Pastor Wayne, If Tom sits on one side of the church and I sit all the way across on the other side of the church so people think we are not together, then we can keep attending your church? But, if we are open and honest before God and Man, sit next to each other as the couple we are, then we are not welcome in your church?” I turned to look the Pastor in the eye.

“Well, I mean, we can’t condone a married man coming to church with his girlfriend? So you can either sit apart until he is divorced or go find another church to attend.”

I don’t think he understood what he was in fact saying. Just that morning in worship we had all sung this song together, Come Just as You Are. Having grown up in church I had heard the verses, ‘Cast all your care upon Him, for he careth for you.’ And, ‘There is non righteous, no not one.’ I knew no matter what I said or did, I couldn’t hide it. God already knew. Pretending was only fooling man, not God.

Psalm 139:3-7 “You know where I go and where I lie down. You know everything I do. Lord, even before I say a word, you already know it.”

“I made a promise to God after I left my husband. One promise, to live my life honestly. No more lying. No more pretending I am something I am not. No more walking into the house of God in my Sunday best, painted on smile, prim and proper, eyes looking down upon others as though I had it all together when they did not. If I was going to walk into His house, it was going to be on one condition, I come as I am. My sins, my brokenness, my past, my present, my sadness, my flaws, my pain, my fear, all together, me.” He sat looking at me without comment.

I was done lying. I was done pretending. I was done being who I was not. I had spent over a decade living a facade of the perfect Christian life, all the while my marriage was anything but perfect. Lying, fighting, over our heads in debt, pornography, cheating people we owed money to, our employers, sin so great I was in depth of dispair and wanted nothing more than to die. I nearly got my wish. But God had spared my life. Sin and all.

And so, here I was, in His house facing the one thing I had promised to leave behind. Lying. To God and to man. The thing is, you can’t lie to God. He knows your heart, your thoughts, your actions and your deeds. You can hide, but even Adam and Eve, will tell you, He will find you, every time. What’s the point? If I lie to man, He still knows. And so, I had determined I would not lie. I would come to his house, in my sin and listen. Listen to His word. Listen to His spirit. Listen to my heart breaking, melting and re-shaping. In His time, in His way.

“I’m sorry, I can’t do that. I won’t lie. Not to you, and not for you.” I sat next to this Pastor, my hands gently folded in my lap, my eyes cast down at the carpet before me. My feet resting on the carpet. It led to the altar, where people could come and confess their sins to God. It also led up the aisle and out the door. Away from the House of God.

“I’ll have to ask you to leave then.” His face lacked emotion, he looked tired. I wondered the number of times he had asked people to lie or leave. To give up there stronghold or get out. To confess or walk away.

“You know, I can’t help but think, if you were to stand up there next Sunday, behind that pulpit and ask for every person here who has had pre marital sex, who has lived in sin not having been married to the person they were sleeping with at night, who had cheated or were cheating at that moment, any person who had feasted their eyes upon pornography and had yet to confess it, to stand up and leave. I wonder how many would remain?” Silence.

And these were just the sins based on sex, what about all the other sins? The ones nobody knows about, but so many are living in? It’s easy to live in sin and hide it. It’s much harder to come before God, honest, broken, sin and all, and not be changed.

I walked away from the church that day.

 

I had long talks with God while out for a walk or in the silence of my home over the years. Seven years to be exact. It took nearly six years for me to step through doors to a church again. My belief in my creator never changed. It may have waivered as I asked questions of God and myself. As answers trickled in, I found it wasn’t my faith in God that I was questioning. It was my faith and trust in man. In Christians.

I stuck to my commitment. I would live my life out in truth. Not perfectly, not without sin, not without mistakes, but in them. Messing up, trying again. Accepting responsibility and apologizing for my screw ups, time and again. Realizing some mistakes hold a longer reaping than others. Still walking in my truth, the good and the bad. Still believing in and talking to God. He listens.

 

Christianity and People, Life After Cancer

Live Out Loud

My post yesterday has been running through my head. I am in the process of writing a memoir. Part of that process is reading other people’s memoirs and articles about memoirs. One interesting point that has stuck out to me in my reading went something like this:

“If a family consisted of four siblings and all four siblings wrote a memoir about their childhood, you would most likely end up with four very different books. ”

That leads to the question, Who is lying? The article went on to say that quite possibly, none of them are in fact lying. They each have their recollection of what their upbringing was. Each have cherished or not so cherished memories, a different perspective or point of view of holidays celebrated, family vacations and daily life. Who’s to say that one’s perception or memory is more right than another?

Over the years I have shared different parts of my story. Sometimes in private conversations with friends, or with strangers when the opportunity arose, or in a group setting such as a teen girls group or women’s group. Each time I have shared the response has been positive and taken me by surprise. More than once a woman has come to me after to share her story or tell me that what I ha to say has inspired her to move forward in a direction in her life that she had been contemplating but lacked confidence or the strength to go ahead, take a risk on herself. Often I have been asked, why haven’t you written a book?

Years ago, I contemplated writing a book and even began the first few pages. As the words hit the paper shame clouded my view and covered my head. The heaviness overwhelmed me. Through much counseling, soul-searching and heart healing I came to a place where my past no longer brought on shame, nor did it bring on anger, instead it filled me with confidence. As powerful as that felt it was also intimidating. Where had this inner strength come from? Was it there all along, only stifled, pressed down, hidden under the pain and shame? Or was it new? A result of overcoming all that had suppressed and oppressed me over the years of my life. Whatever it was, and however it came to be, I welcomed it with open, albeit reserved arms.

No sooner had I come to grips with who I was and who I was becoming to be when I found my body had succumbed to cancer. Just as I had welcomed this new-found strength I welcomed the cancer within my body. That may sound strange to you. For me, it seemed right. Cancer was a way of slowing myself down. After an abusive childhood, I entered an abusive marriage at the young age of 17 1/2 years old. It took just over 10 years to admit, come to grips with and then find a way out of that relationship, not only for me, but for the small innocent child we had brought into the world. Then it took years of living life, going to therapy, and plenty of conversations with myself and God to bring to the point of self forgiveness and empowerment to use my past to help others if at all possible.

When cancer hit, I thought, “Okay, this is the perfect opportunity for me to take some time to rest, reflect and write.” Little did I know that there would be much rest, a great deal of reflection and little to no writing. The writing I did do, centered around cancer and how I was doing. There were days that this brought me down. I battled with my brain as I wanted to use every minute of this ‘down time’ to the best of my ability. I’d love to say I learned quickly, but honestly it took a good portion of my treatment to get through my thick skull that this was to be a time of rest and reflection, a time to soak up the love and affection of friends and family, something I always had a hard time doing. That alone was therapy for me.

As my treatment ended and I saw the light at the end of rest tunnel, I became afraid. Had I really wasted the time that had been given to me? It seemed as though I had. I had nothing to show for it in the way of evidence of having used the time wisely. Thankfully, many good friends, my husband and my daughter told me over and over again, I had done with the time as I should have. I had cherished every moment with them, allowed my body to rest, spent time with friends new and old, near and far, sitting, chatting, listening and soaking in their love and affection through word, food and deed. I have come to accept that my time of cancer, treatment, surgeries and healing was for more than physical healing, it has also attributed to my mental and emotional well-being as well.

As I have returned to the ‘real world’ or life post cancer, of work and family activities, I do so with a renewed heart and an even greater balance of life. I love my work in real estate, I love my time with family and friends, and I love my time writing. As I write I wonder at times what life would be like if we were more real, more honest with who we are. If you know me well, you have heard me say, “Did I just think that out loud?” The idea that my honesty, my truth would come out of my mouth and not be held in, in order to keep the peace or be politically correct. I am not referring to saying things that are hurtful to others without filter or compassion. I am speaking of saying the things that are held back when they should be said, seek justice, love mercy, walk humbly. Stand up for what is right. Speak up when an injustice is occurring rather than watching silently, shaking your head as you walk away. Or sharing your mistakes, your past, your failures as a parent, or wife, mother or father, sister or daughter in order to help another realize they are not alone.

And so it is with that heart, that I write and I share. Not to shame anyone, but to help others, whether that be to help them find an answer, or help them realize they are not alone. I am here. Real. Raw. Living. Thinking. Writing.

Family and Pets

I Don’t Want to Be Like Him

A hard reality I have had to face, I am more like my father than I would like to be. Many times I have told myself in one of the many conversations I have had with myself over the years, I will not be like my father. I will parent differently. I will show compassion, unconditional love, patience, forgiveness, empathy, tenderness in the most difficult of moments, and so on. And while I have parented in a very different way than my father, I have at times been just like him. So much so, that as I stood there looking into my child’s eyes consumed with rage I have seen myself, the little girl I once was, looking back at me.

It happened today. My son stood there looking back at me, his nostrils flaring open and then closed as he sucked in the oxygen around him. I was fuming, standing there towering over him, daring him to not listen to me. His eyes locked with mine. Click. I saw myself looking back at me, and yet I knew it was my son. In that moment I knew exactly how he was feeling. Part of me, the part enveloped in anger, the part that felt all-powerful, wanted to keep going. It wanted to turn up the faucet of over flowing verbal sewage that was blasting down on his head. The other part of me, the little girl who knew what this felt like, the part that knew he had done nothing wrong, nothing more than any child might do, and knew that this struggle was over control and power. That part of me inhaled the oxygen that would flood my brain with common sense, compassion, patience, and clear the stupidity that was clouding my judgment.

Our eyes still locked, I exhaled. My body moved towards my son as my arms wrapped around him and drew him in for a hug. Tenderness from my body spread to his and he melted against me. His arms encircled my body as his head rest on my chest. We two became one. I held him there for many moments allowing what had transpired to be healed and washed away.

“I love you buddy. I’m sorry I was angry. It’s really no big deal, you just need to go back outside and ask your friend nicely not to do to you what you did to him. How would you feel if he had thrown show at your head? Go out there and talk to him. I’ll watch and if it doesn’t go well, I’ll come out and help you. I think you can take care of it.”

“Love you too, mom. I’ll go try.”

His hands released me as I gave him one more squeeze. I watched as he headed back outside. The door closed behind him. Cautiously he walked towards his friend, “Hey, I’m sorry I hit you on the head with that snow. I didn’t mean to. Are you okay?”

“It’s okay and yeah, I’m fine.”

“You want to play lazer tag instead?”

“Yeah, let’s go!”

Off they went, problem solved, friendship reunited.

I turned back to what I was working on breathing a sigh of relief. For a few moments I had been him, just like him. Zero to 100 on the anger scale, with no room for compassion. This time, like others in the past, something came in and took over bringing me back to reality. As much as I don’t want to be like him, I need to remember him and how I was when he was like that to me, to help me be the person I wished he had been. One day, one moment at a time.