Saturday, April 19, 2014

When God Sends A Tribe To Restore Me


Sometimes I lose my way.

Life gets too hard. I feel beaten down. Two by fours upside my heart...my head. Sometimes I hibernate. Sometimes I strike out. Sometimes I offer grace to all but myself. Life wins. Heather loses.

Last weekend I wrote about how difficult the past few weeks had been.
Trials and tribulations that were breaking my spirit...and my will.

Easter weekend is a painful one after the loss of a family member Easter morning several years ago. My Sis and I are always a little "off" in the week leading up...as everyone is joyful and excited over Easter celebrations...our souls are disheleved and it takes awhile (every year) for us to make the connection...at least me...to what is bothering us.

I write all of this to note, that as I pushed against my own natural instincts to hibernate away this week (still reeling after a tough several weeks)...having dinner with friends, making weekend Easter plans with family, looking for alternate ways to overcome some recent disappointments and setbacks, moving (literally) forward in faith, doing for others, and even pushing through on some expansion plans for our company. God rewarded me (and showed me over coffee this morning) with restoration. 

I slept last night harder and longer than I have in weeks (thank you Jenn for the oils). I felt heard and loved in my pain (thank you Tom for the joint tears and words). I felt remembered (thank you Sis). I felt joy (thank you Sam/funniest guy I know). I felt cheered on (and without judgement or expectation) and re-inspired (thank you Lesley). I felt missed and loved (thank you Mark). I felt needed (thank you Lee). I felt excitement and joy and help (thank you Holly). I felt....Love. 

God delivers angels exactly when and where we need them. He sends them to our hearts and to us in person. God sent me dozens this week, and as I started coming out of the weighty fog of a disappointing world that asks too much of all of us...Every. Day. A world that has asked too much of me as of late. I was reminded that I am not of this world. I am simply a guest here. I am a child of a God who loves me. A God who needs me. A God who waits patiently while I try and Do. It. All. on my own more often than I should....even now...even after all I have learned...because I can't do this alone. I was made for a tribe. We were all made for a tribe. 


This Saturday morning I am hitting my knees in thanks and gratitude that I am not alone in this walk. I am blessed beyond measure to have a tribe of men and women who love me...who KNOW me....who believe in my better self (even and especially when I am far from showing it).

Jesus' resurrection is not simply a testament to his conquering of death for himself, but of his conquering of death for US. I am humbled this morning as I am gently reminded through love he sent to me through earthly angels, that he conquered death, the grave, this world for little old me. I am not of this world. 

Ugly crying now.

What is God conquering for you in your life? What have you yet to give to him to conquer? 

My own list increased ten fold in the past five weeks. He has revealed yokes I didn't realize I had...ones I thought long sense removed...he is healing me in all of those new and old places.

I lay it all down...once again...at the foot of his cross. All for him. Trusting only him. 

What do you need to lay down this Easter weekend? 

Tomorrow I am celebrating not only Jesus' resurrection and conquering of the grave, but his resurrection in and of me.

This world is difficult, but it will not break me. It will not change me. It was never meant to. 

Happy Easter! Whatever your beliefs and wherever you are in your walk or space....I send you blessings and love! ❤️☀️

Saturday, April 12, 2014

I Was Not Born For Easy

Life is hard.

I wish God would let me end this post there, but after a long, early morning drive through the Delta this morning....as I crossed the majestic Mississippi River...God revealed to me what he had held hostage from me for the past few weeks. 

Life is hard. You, my child, were not born for easy.

Well...damn.

{insert nervous laughter here}

The past three weeks have come each with their own emotional, gut-wrenching two-by-four(s) upside my head and heart.  I have barely escaped into each of the last three weekends with my mind and heart dangling, barely hanging on. Whiplashed by life. This week alone saw me crumble into a mess of ugly tears...at. my. desk....to which I have not yet fully recovered. 

When I got in the jeep early this morning...I turned on my IPod and selected my Haiti playlist which is a collection of songs that have been sent to me by friends, or God, on my different trips to Haiti. After this last one, I thought I should put them all on their own playlist so that when I felt Haiti slipping, or me slipping, I could turn it on. Be brought back. Be brought whole. Once. Again.


This morning as I had "Haiti" church in my jeep. I let the highs and lows of the past few weeks wash over my heart. I dropped the load heavily at the alter. I begged God to take it. I begged. 

As the miles of Delta farmland swept by and the sun rose in front of me...I sang. I prayed. I wept. 

As "I Stand Before Almighty God Alone" played (for the fifth or tenth time...who knows), I thought of my own death...how I would love for this song to be played at my funeral...how I hope my friends and family would take comfort that I was standing before God...alone...and suddenly I hoped that they believed and remembered me as having lived that way too. Then I asked why I couldn't come home now (this is not a suicide rant people)...there where I would be free to love and be loved...All. The. Time. I am ready God I said...this life is too hard. I am so tired.

As suddenly as I had the thought, I heard him say, "Heaven is home. Heaven is easy. Everyone there is already free and safe and loved."

Tears.

"I need you where you are. I need you to love the unlovable. I need you to do the hard stuff."

More tears.

Sometimes I do not love like Jesus. Ungrateful employees. Ridiculous rulings. Bureaucracy. Red tape. Bad decisions. Poor planning. Insensitive partners. 

Strikingly...much like me in my worst moments on my worst days.

Deep. Sigh.

I was not born for easy.

A few years ago, I deeply embraced "easy" and gave it my all to live and be in that space. It nearly strangled the life right out of me, but only when it was ripped from me did I realize that the yoke had been too tight. The loss of that "lifel ill-fitting as it was, still wrecks my heart on the bad days. 

I know that I am not made for easy. I. Know. That., but Sweet Jesus help me...oh how I want it some days. So very much.

Sigh.

My yoke is easy. My burden is light. 

Which yoke? Which burden? 

Ugh.

This is a hard post to write. This will be an even harder post to let go of...

What judgement awaits me on the other side of the "publish" button? 

I am so tired of people thinking my life is easy or perfect or under my control.  

My life is hard (though there are easy moments). My life is not perfect. Period. My life is NOT under my control. I am a ship being tossed against the waves....just like YOU.

What I am is...Blessed. Forgiven. Loved. 

Life is hard. It is not for the faint of heart. Each of us have our battles. Our challenges. 

Today I am resting my heart. She has taken a beating as of late. Living heart exposed is beyond any explanation I can give in words. My heart feels raw, vulnerable, broken, and beaten. God is restoring her though...a sunrise drive through the Delta, the Mississippi River, and a day in Memphis with the very beats of my heart (family). 

I am looking for restoration this weekend. The battles (wins and losses) of my life are not over. I have another day in me. A heart, with arms, wide open.




Saturday, March 29, 2014

The List: Books Wrecking Me (A Snippet)

 
This is a post I have been promising people to write for about six months. People ask me a lot what I am reading, book recommendations, etc. They, and I, like to call it the "books that have wrecked me"...:)))

As I continue through my giant purge (I really need to get a name for it.), I am reminded that I need to get this post written (sooner rather than later). Don't worry....I am not purging any of my books. ;)

So....I am working on a draft now, but I wanted to give everyone a snippet for those who want to get started checking some of them out.  When I look back, there were three books that started the beautiful spiral...John Eldredge's "Beautiful Outlaw," Brene Brown's "Daring Greatly," and Katie Davis' "Kisses From Katie."  These three books are highlighted, dog-eared, marked up, and banged up. It actually looks like I didn't read them as much as I might have devoured them. To me though, that is the most beautiful sign of a well-loved book.

For me, books have always been a source of new ideas, a time machine, thought-provoking, eye-opening, and a source of laughter, smiles, tears, and hope. Some books I struggle to get through...the ideas so breathtaking (good and bad) that my mind (and heart often) need time to let it all sink in, but eventually I do go back and dive in again. These first three books were difficult reads for me....both due to where I was in my life at the time I read them AND because they forced me to look at myself through a new lens. I have since read all of these, in part, again, and I gain something new each time. To me, that is always the sign of not only a good book, but a book that will stand the test of time.

My father taught me to read before I even entered Kindergarten. I still have two of the books he taught me with, and I will treasure them always; I will always love him for triggering my deep love of books and reading. I still treasure those original books not because of what they say, but because of what they represent. Reading gives us freedom...both inside our own minds...and in this great big world.

While in Haiti recently, I had the privilege of touring Papillon Enterprise founded and run by Shelley Clay. I have a whole post I am working on where I hope to share more of the photos and stories I learned that visit about this remarkable company that is, quite literally, changing lives in Haiti. Rich, the boutique manager, gave our team a tour of the operations, we got to meet the workers, see how they do the amazing and beautiful pieces they create, and I saw something else that brought tears to my eyes...a library. Rich told me that Papillon has the largest library (of books in English) in Haiti. The room was 20x10 if it was a foot, and it was the most beautiful library I have ever seen (and yes, I know that I have walked up and down the library at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland). Papillon's library represents...Hope. Effort. Work.
 

In the poorest orphanage I have ever visited (and went to this last trip to Haiti), I read a Mickey Mouse book, in English, with full facial animation, and those kids were putty in my hands. They were laughing and smiling...and it was a reminder that words matter EVEN when you don't understand them because you can feel the love (or the hate) behind them.

...and I have digressed...

I love books. I love words. I love books that I don't agree with or even like. Books matter. Words matter. These three books have made me think, challenged me, made me laugh, brought tears, changed me, grown me, and helped me heal. I hope that you will check them out. For those of you waiting for the more exhaustive list, I promise it is coming....the purge is helping me to pile them all up in a special place so that I can list them all out...they are also bringing up a sweet reminder of the growth along the path I have trod these past few years. I am grateful for all of these words that have been delivered to my heart, soul, and mind...the sweetest gift.

I so want to go read right now, but I have more purging to do. Somebody out there read a book for me today. :))))

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

My Life Compared to Playground Equipment

I am hurting.

I have been grasping for my big girl panties since returning from Haiti last Friday, and they are clearly misplaced, out of reach, too small....gone.

One of my friends called me last night to check in with me after getting a text message from me checking on them (a sure sign the apocalypse is upon us all...I am making a dent in voice mails, e-mails, and text messages). Their first, "How are you?" was like someone had dropped the atom bomb on the Hoover Dam. The slow wait for the bomb to strike, explosion, and then water everywhere...I was a hot mess of tears and emotions. I am confident that they instantly regretted making the call. Bless their hearts. Truly.

This afternoon I am sitting in the lobby of my favorite doctor's waiting room for my six month check-up appointment. I am struck looking around this packed space at how blessed I am to be healthy (barring any surprises from my blood work today) and that I have access to heath care. I can't help thinking of this little boy named Wood who I met in Haiti at a school we visited on the coast. He was obviously sick and too weak even to feed himself. He crawled into my arms, and I proceeded to get water and snacks into him. One bite at a time. One drink at a time. It broke my heart.

When I said good-bye, I found myself trying to be brave as I packed his sister's backpack with water and snacks. I then gave extra hugs and kisses. As I watched them walk down the dusty path towards their home, I fell apart, and bless my friend who just let me cry. I am still haunted by thoughts of did someone tuck him into bed that night, tend to his fever, is he okay??? I don't know that I will ever forget his face. I pray not.


This girl is struggling. I am struggling to digest and understand all that I witnessed. I am struggling to grasp even a teeny tiny bit of control over my emotions. I am struggling to not bore my friends and family with stories from my trip....worried I will talk too much, start blubbering uncontrollably (already happened three times), or wear out the patience of people who love me and have patiently walked with me this past year as Haiti has broken me again and again, and now a third time. Will I wear out their patience with me? I worry.

I struggle to find words. How do I properly paint the picture of the beauty beyond words coupled by heartbreak that took my breath? How do I do all of that justice? I want to be fair to the gift I received in being allowed access to so much...experiencing so much. I also need to tell more of Tacura's story. A story that is showing me yet another layer of the complicatedness that is Haiti. Solving the problems there is not as simple as throwing more money at the problems, adoption, more people helping, etc. Haiti needs to be addressed with a scalpel not a machete. I problem-solve for a living. I am struggling with not only how to discern all of that knowledge, but how I can be of use...am I to be of use? Where is God in it? Where is God in my own story? What does God want me to learn and discern in all of this?

Questions? Questions? Questions?

Where are the answers???

In time. Get ready. Stop worrying. The whispers of my soul...

I think this post is about me asking for grace from all of you. This is also a post where I ask for prayers.

When I was a little kid, there was this spinning disc thing at the park. It had bars on it that someone or many would hold onto, run as fast as we could, and then jump on, and then lay down while the whole world spun above us. It was exhilarating, and I loved it. The faster the better. A couple of times, I got sick, but it never stopped me from jumping back on and doing it again.

My life feels a lot like that spinning disc. I ran hard, jumped on, and it is moving super fast, the whole world is above and around me, and it is thrilling....but I am feeling a little nauseous. I don't want it to stop, but I do want to throw up every once and awhile to make the ache in my belly go away. Then, I will be good to go again.

Let me be clear. My life is JUST like that spinning disc thingy right now.

*Sigh*

In an hour, or three, the doctor will call me back to give me my blood work results. He will kiss me on the forehead. Yell at me about going to Haiti (not a fan of overseas travel). Give me a grade (A+ - F) for my results. Hug on me. Send me on my way.

I don't want to love on these adults and children in Haiti, hug them, encourage them, and then move on with my life. I want to be a part of the solution, move the needle, make a real difference...what does that look like for me? my life?

James 4. #mindblown

Sometimes when God reveals to you a new passion, buried passions, dreams, etc...he goes slowly, peeling it all back one layer at a time. To show us everything would scare us silly and...Take. Us. Out. Jen Hatmaker refers to it as pulling the string. My string has been pulled. Clearly. ��

My challenge to each of you is to pull on the string in your own life. What is the dream you have always held close? What scares you to death? Who has been pestering you to go somewhere...try something? Take a deep breath. Acknowledge that these are hints. Jump out there. One ticket. Push that disc thing, run hard, then jump on, and ride. Arms wide open, spinning, gut churning...Live. ❤️☀️ 

*By the way, I went to Google and the disc thing is called a roundabout. ��


Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)

Friday, March 14, 2014

My Heart Exposed

I am a big believer in signs and wonders. I don't believe that heart rocks, heart clouds, heart-shaped potato chips just happen to cross my path (sometimes literally) for no reason. So when I turn my IPod on and hit shuffle as I leave on a trip, arrive from a trip, or when I am simply going through something...I see it as words and music being given to me for a special purpose...and I am compelled to listen. Repeatedly.

Today upon saying good-byes to Hilde as she headed home after our seven day vision trip in Haiti, I turned on my IPod and hit shuffle, and this was the first song to play I Stand Before Almighty God Alone. I posted a link to a YouTube video in case you want to take a listen. Consider yourself warned. In the best ways.

The words took me out...and then the line "...my heart is now exposed..." to which began the first of many post-Haiti meltdowns.

I hear you. Crystal. Clear.

There is so much to download and process from this third (unbelievably) trip (in less than a year) to Haiti...that I am overwhelmed simply by that small to do (downloading and processing and dealing with the aftershocks (aka re-entry)) that must be done...yet as I sit here tonight on my deck listening to the noises of the city, feeling the cool breeze, sipping a glass of wine, listening to this song on repeat-hitting shuffle again-then coming back to hear it again, wiping away tears, laughing at funny memories, and missing my Sis who I have been with in lock-step for the past eight days...I am struck...

It really is just me and him.

My God and I (as the old gospel hymn goes).

*Deep Breath*

His love has never changed. He knows me. I yield my need to cast the blame or stone. I have given up, my heart is now exposed. All the rights I've called my own. Everything I have believed. All of my hope is with thee. There's mourning breaking on a hill. The quiet dawn with peace and still. My restless heart is now at home. (THOSE. Words.)

One of my friends re-posted a video I made of a little girl in Haiti and it struck me that they referenced Haiti as "my church"...and there is a lot of truth to that. Haiti is teaching me deeper and more profound lessons about Jesus than a church or pastor ever has (and that is not intended to insult some of the fantastic pastors I have had in my nearly 43 years), but the hard, difficult truth is that you cannot go to Haiti and then read your Bible and then interpret the scripture the same. Let me be clear. I cannot. Cannot. Will. Not.

I truly didn't believe God could/would allow my heart to be wrecked more, but he has. He. Has. I am clueless to what the lessons are...the changes that are coming (small or large)...the after shocks that I will endure, but I know this...I stand before almighty God...alone. Alone.

The past few years have been wrenching (in lots of ways). In some ways, a roller coaster that I neither was prepared, or wanted a ticket, for...*Sigh.* The day I flew to Haiti, another chapter of my old life closed...ever so softly, with no fan-fare, or thank you very much, or even a whimper. Nothing. Like an empty boat slipping off to sea...until the horizon absorbed it stem-to-stern. The timing was breathtaking. I told only Hilde..quietly...on the plane to Haiti, wept a little, and then I turned my eyes forward...knowing that God has me and my heart in his strong arms...and he knows the course, not I.

Fast forward....

Day 5 of our trip, our bus finally (FINALLY!) pulls into Source de la Grace...the orphanage where Tacura lives. Fear washes over me like a wave crashing...suddenly aware that he might have forgotten me, be gone, etc. I take a deep breath. My heart is bursting for Hilde to meet this little child who has wrecked her sister's heart and turned all of her beliefs, thoughts, plans, etc. upside down. I hit the first step of the bus, look out to all of the beautiful children gathering to greet us (waiting to be hugged and loved on...if even for a little while), and I hear "Tacura!!" and look to see a boy I recognize pointing at me, it is Kaleb who I remember from my previous visits. Kaleb grabs my hand and pulls me off the bus and starts walking me towards the area where the boys rooms are...and I am staring at him in disbelief as he continues to say, "Tacura! Tacura!" as he points at me while also shouting it out as if he is calling out to Tacura to come to him. We get to the entrance of one of the buildings, and I look up/in, and there is Tacura walking towards the doorway. Our eyes meet, and I swear time went in slow motion, and he ran to me, arms wide open, huge grin on his face, and jumped into my arms. I proceeded to black out for a moment. Then started laughing and crying as Kaleb beamed at what he had brought together, and we are all three grinning like three cats full of canaries. And then...as if there was nothing that could ever touch my heart more, I look at Kaleb and asked the obvious question (and note that Kaleb knows some English), "How did you know? Why? What the what the (okay...not the last part)???"

...and Breathe....

Kaleb says without a single moment of hesitation, "He loves only you."

Insert here whatever you think my reaction external or internal was....I blacked out again.

Kaleb, Me & Tacura, March 2014

I may not be a woman who is loved in all of the traditional senses, a great love, children of my own, or a list of other deficiencies and labels this world (and too often the church) puts on women like me, but let me clear...there are children, and specifically a child, who I offered nothing but a big smile, arms to be wrapped up in, a journal to write and draw in, and ridiculously horrible Haitian Creole...and they, he, made/makes me feel loved, worthy, needed, and necessary.

A note/gift from Tacura to me, "Jesus loves you...Tacura, Ardo
(that is how he pronounces Heather), and Kaleb (his best friend).
March 2014

Now...ugly (heaving) crying...

Deep. Breath.

We are commanded to take care of the least of these, but let my life of late be a testimony...it is in taking care of the least of these that you gain your very LIFE.

I have given up, my heart is now exposed.

It took a small country, and an even smaller little boy, to teach my heart what no book or lecture or mentor or pastor had ever come close...my life is not about me, expectations put on me (sometimes by me), or worldly concerns or labels, everything is going to be okay, and someone out there really does needs me and loves me in a way that time and distance can NEVER change...and sometimes that someone comes in the body of an eight year old boy in Haiti.

My heart is exposed.

Pray for me. I sit here stronger yet more deeply shattered than I can find words for...missing so much...

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Heather Might Be "Idling A Little High" :)



Let me tell you something. I steal other's words. All. The. Time.

Last weekend at Jen Hatmaker, she told a story and used the phrase, "I was already idling a little high that day..." in it, and I ugly laughed (my extremely obnoxious, loud laugh...not pretty) because frankly, I was a little nervous of how much she had just...well, Nailed. Me. with that statement. I mean...I probably "idle a little high"...Ummm....Every. Day. So after the nervous laughter subsided, I noted it in my journal...knowing that I would be using that one...Ummm....A. Lot. in the future. :)))

Well, it didn't take long.

I was idling a little high yesterday. And by "a little" I so mean A. Lot.

When you run a company that you have ownership in (okay I am an entrepreneur though I grin like a five year old still when someone describes me as such...because...well, that is my father...that is NOT me....right?!).

I digress....

So...when you run a company that you have a stake in...and say your employees screw up (read that as colossal failure of gargantuan proportions...complete #moralfail)....and your partner looks at you terrified because he knows you are #beyondmad because you have gone silent. There is a great John Wayne movie called McClintock and in it John Wayne loses it...and they describe how they know it is different this time by the look of his face (not his words)...all I am saying is that when I stop talking...you need to back up the bus...because I have peaked into silent mode...and that is a much more dangerous land to be in (for me and you).

So....#moralfail yesterday. Heather silent. You are pretty much caught up.

So...then I get a phone call reminding me of a conversation earlier last week where someone basically took it upon themselves to tell our firm "how many and what for" not knowing anything about us...in a nut shell...I got shook down like I was sitting in front of the godfather (and I haven't even seen those films...not a one...not my thing), but I knew enough to know what I was experiencing...(Please note that the caller was trying to help...had no idea of my morning...loves me dearly and the feeling is mutual).

So #moralfail, I have gone silent, and reminder of earlier shake-down....

Yup...I was "idling high"...to say the absolute very least.

Fast forward from the day from H.E.L.L. (read that as hell). I end up at my friend's house for a pre-scheduled homemade dinner with her family. I picked up a nice bottle of wine. Checked my directions, and headed over. Let me describe my look...I looked like H.E.L.L. (read that as hell). I had on...well, it is pretty embarrassing....yoga pants under running pants with converse sneakers, a sweatshirt, and my hair may or may not have been up in a messy bun (but not that sexy kind you see on Pinterest). I arrive....and as I crossed the threshold my shoulders dropped...for I know that was the first time I had relaxed...All. Day. My friend greeted me with a big hug, and the kids were running around and welcoming me with, "Hi Miss Heather" spoken only as a child can that makes you feel like a million bucks. The food was fantastic. The laughter and ease was fantastic. The conversation was fantastic. The best part though....just being able to BE. Be.

I had a message from someone this morning asking me about my tribe, and their own journey trying to build one after watching me talk about mine so much...and I smiled and got a little teary-eyed as I responded to them with the story (cliff notes) of how mine came to be, what they have meant to me, and how I would not live my life without them. Period. It was amazing to me to recall where I have been and where I am now. Those that have always been with me, the new ones, the ones lost, and my own growth in simply being brave enough to let people in...behind the curtain...flaming imperfections and all.  It was a reminder once again to hit my knees and let the gratitude wash over me like rain...because I am blessed...Blessed.

Let me tell you...whatever path I am on, and I am clearly on one, self-awareness, deep joy, self-acceptance, a closer relationship with Jesus, work that truly matters (to me), a tribe....all of that...none of that comes with the absence of anymore of the bad stuff. There are still plenty of times and days and seasons of "idling high"....the difference is that you have a tribe that knows you, loves you, and allows you to be you....in and on your best days....and your worst too.

I have spent a lifetime consumed with shame, guilt, and self-imposed expectations...Me and every other person reading this....because we do that. We take on all that was never meant to be yoked to us. The secret isn't simply in getting un-yoked....it is in surrounding yourself with people who will love you just as you are...yoked, un-yoked, messy, glorious, and everywhere in between. They will love you in and through EVERY season of your life.

My tribe...the whole diverse mess of them...heals me Every. Day. by doing just that, and I am better for them.

My prayers these days are longer and more convoluted than at any other point in my life...and let me be honest here...the daily prayer that always gets made is...God please don't ask me to live a day of life without my tribe...Ever. Again. This girl knows how blessed she is...Truly.

So let me encourage you here...go find your tribe...don't wade into it...JUMP. It was the most terrifying thing I have ever done, and yet it has brought the greatest joy.

It is also great for those days when you are idling a little high...;)

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :) 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Interrupted (Read that as Unwound)


I have a confession to make.

I am afraid.

A. Lot.

If there is one thing that I have learned about myself these past few years (and certainly not admitted before now) it is that I have bluffed my way through most of my life. You heard me. Bluffed.

Deep. Breath.

I have spent the past 33 years and 2 months (not that I am counting) trying to ascend out of the mess I felt left in by my parents' divorce countered by a deeply-rooted knowledge that whatever I accomplished (from my personal salvation to a college degree to a promotion) I was deeply unworthy of and therefore at risk that at any given moment I would be found out a fraud and sent back to the fringe of poverty with which I came...I say fringe now because once you see Haiti, you wonder if food stamps is really a sign of poverty because you still have well....FOOD. Plus, I am never going to be one to complain about cheese...in any form...especially that free cheese we got as kids...which I must confess...was DELICOUS.

I digress...

So, I am sitting here in shock and awe having spent five hours reading straight through Jen Hatmaker's Interrupted, and I am not quite sure of anything anymore except for the fact that I have, not to oversimplify, gotten it completely WRONG for the past 33 years and 2 months because I should have not looked at my driven quest for ascension (that surely started at age 9) or all of the fears that came with it as anything other than a race from fear...which made me a very angry person....which I did a pretty bang-up job of stuffing down (most...okay...some of the time)....because when you feel forced to ascend because of fear and then unworthy once you get there, also because of fear, and then terrified to lose it (yup! fear again). Well, you either get angry or cuckoo (to which I am not fully denying in this moment either), and I am not justifying it...but I am pretty blessed to not have lost my mind somewhere along the twisted path that is my family dynamic wrapped up in the enigma that was my childhood. Tied with the red bow that is "don't let everyone know you come from crazy because they might just think you are crazy" everything is OKAY. My life has been exhausting. I am taking full responsibility for that in this very moment. Whatever mistakes my parents and extended family made and make...they didn't make me respond with I am going to be "hell on wheels" whether it is church, work, school, or play. I mean. Have opinion; know how to use it. That's me.

As I am sitting here confessing this...it strikes me that I am already feeling nervous about my confession because I don't want to be misunderstood as some angry, middle-aged woman. Well, I am...in fact....angry...most of the time (though less and less through this season of life I am in...restoration in Jesus is good that way), and I am in fact middle-aged. And well...a Woman. I have never been angry 100% of the time at any point in my life, but I have in fact try to stuff down a good deal of anger...most of the time.

I am also not saying anger, in all senses, is bad. It is not. Jesus got angry. It happens.

I am simply saying that when our lives are motivated by what scares us instead of what we love...it brews into a concoction of anger...no one needs or wants in their lives. No. One. Especially when they feel it is unsafe to talk about...with anyone. I do mean ANY. ONE.

I have been in, and of, the church since I was in the womb. YET only when I had to openly (read that publicly humiliated) justify (and subsequently could not) my deeply held religious beliefs (read that as rules (aka legalism))...did I (read that as God made me) go on a quest for more (read that as MORE).

As a result, the past two and half years have been some of the more jaw-dropping of my life. I have lost friends, but I have gained a tribe. I have had to grapple with my own selfishness and pride. I have failed...on many levels, at many things, and I have (often tragically) owned it. There have been some not pretty days over the past 30 months. Not. Pretty.

I really thought going to Haiti last year was somehow the culmination of the drudgery of work God had been putting me through...What. An. Idiot. I. Am.

So...you come through the wilderness...feeling battered, bruised, but joyful...you have conquered the dragon. You are winning...Winning. Then, you have a culmination of events (read as challenging days and weeks in every.single.facet.of.your.life.) that lands you in the audience of a two-day Jen Hatmaker conference that you follow-up with by reading the book (you ironically ordered weeks ago...to read...oh, someday) that is still in the box...in five hours the day after the conference wraps because you can't get her words (and all of the ugly crying you did) out of your head...and as you read (and talk out loud to yourself...alone....in your living room) you realize that the past 30 months may in fact have been leading you to something very different and you drop the book, 80 pages in, like it is on fire. Read that as ON. FIRE.

After another cup of coffee, a blueberry muffin (with real butter), you bravely dive back in...and when you finish...When. You. Finish....You have to go for a walk because only immersing yourself in nature, God's nature, will soothe you...and then it doesn't. You walk to the office, to work, because that is what you know...that is what you are good at...and somehow this all starts coming out.

What the What the...

Jen Hatmaker says, and writes, that when it (read the book to see what your "it" is) hit her and Brandon, they didn't talk about it for two days. Two days. I don't want to talk about it EVER...don't think I can...and who the hay-who am I going to tell this to?? Then I remember my tribe...and the anger dissipates...I am not the only one out here alone without a partner to get wrecked with...and all of us need a voice, a tribe, and the thoughts are forming, and I am too scared to keep writing. It. Is. Just. Too. Terrifying.

I leave for Haiti again in two weeks. This trip will be different (for a number of reasons).

I am not ready, and I don't mean just for Haiti. I am not ready for all of this. My voice is not ready.

...and therein lies the point.

I have spent my whole life trying to be ready....to be right...to be together....to be respected.

I should have spent that time marinating in the messy, happy to be wrong, unglued, and worrying about the respect (read as love) of only one.

I thought learning to be radically obedient was my Achilles Heel. Who knew that was only a precursor to the deeper issue...I am pissed at God....and as a result at me/myself/I.

Ouch.

Isaiah 58 just popped in my head...I went in search of it. My face went crimson red reading it...I was going to pick out a section, but why?! The entire chapter is just...breathtaking....and I know I was not meant to dice it up...

I know some of you who read this blog are like...confused. Some of you are probably saying...it is about time. Others still are wondering where is she going with all of this?

All fair points.

Where I am is open to whatever is next. I feel like I have come so far personally and professionally and spiritually the past few years, but clearly (Duh!) I have many miles to go before I sleep...

I am simply no longer satisfied with the life that this world tells me I should have...that I should want...that I should need.

I am done.

While my life, in many ways, looks very different today than even 16 months ago...there are more changes to come. I know that. I feel that.

I am terrified and clearly ill-equipped.

I am learning...that is okay. I don't need to be perfect (I never really was very good at trying to be anyway). I think I like me better here in this world of uncertainty, unhinged, and unwound. My truth is here. Grace is here. Love is here.

If you want to get off this ride of reading these crazy posts of mine...I understand. Now would be a good time. It will only get "crazier" (by somebody's standards) from here. I also have NO idea what I just wrote means...it just typed itself. I did pause for a moment, but I am going to leave it in....just like the rest of this unwound post...because my truth is blissfully here in all of its messy-goodness.

I once was a girl looking to build up a life. Protective walls, security, and all.

I don't even know that girl anymore.

Living from your heart is terrifying, but true strength lies...There.


The Stand (Live) by Hillsong United (The I Heart Revolution)

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)