Sunday, October 27, 2013

Beauty & Resilience...A Tribe



So I have this tribe thingy...it is strange, growing, diverse. Some of the women know each other...most do not. They blow my mind. They build me up. They hold me accountable...to...My Life.

So....I have this tribe.

*Sigh*

I have had the worst "re-entry" pangs since returning from Colorado. I am spinning. Spinning. I want to go back to Colorado. I needed more time in that fishbowl. I am unhappy that I am having to balance all I experienced (read that as learned) with the crashing reality of my life. A very demanding life. I just want to hit pause for a brief moment. I need more of THAT.

*Sigh*

I am so grateful that God has sent me these wonderful, warrior women who genuinely care about me. They don't necessarily always understand me or what I am going through, but they are such encouragers to me. They genuinely believe in me. They push me down paths that I don't believe I am ready for....read that as PUSH....they are, at times, forcing my growth. I am uncomfortable more than I am comfortable. There are times that they push me into a new space, and it takes me two days on the other side of it to re-gather my bearings. Is this what having a tribe looks like? I believe it is. I also believe that this crazy tribe developing around me is my holy grail.

This girl is growing up.

So much for thinking I had...a long while ago. *Nervous Laughter*

I had a message from one of my "tribe" this morning...a relatively new member of this growing phenomenon I am experiencing, and she was asking me questions, but the final question struck me (and caused me to finally break my writers block post Colorado). They asked, "Is this okay? This bouncing with you?"

Why Holy H*^* YES!! (First. Thought.)

Wow. (Second. Thought.)

She is helping me more than she believes I am helping her. (Shaking Head...Third. Thought.)

We women are strange creatures. We don't want to "bother" anyone. That worry of ours isolates us from each other. Not physically necessarily, but emotionally....in the deep, dark places. Those places we really need to share and be known. Where our deepest healing lies...because our deepest pain is stored there.




There is so much beauty and resilience in a tribe. In being known. It is like coming home. A home you have never known. The funny thing....I am only at the tip of the iceberg of what this could be...

Men "tribe" naturally...beautifully really. Women need to take a lesson from men...here. We need a tribe. We need a diverse, beautiful, pushy, loving, encouraging tribe. The women in my life inspire and amaze me. They give me strength, hope....love.

Our lives begin and end with connection. The key is...we have to allow ourselves to connect with others....and be connected with....and that is the beautiful story that encircles the moments of my life these days. I am SO blessed. Exhausted, making mistakes (I made a specific one last week....a silly one actually that made me cringe...*Ugh*), scared, flawed....etc....BUT blessed....living with greater purpose.

To the women who love me and believe in me...even when I give you no reason. Thank you....you complete me. :))))

To those women who need love and someone to believe in them. Welcome to the Tribe. Show love. Believe in others. It gives others courage to show you love; to believe in you. THAT....is how it works. That is the foundation of a tribe. Love. Belief. Courage. Resilience. Perseverance. Faith. Empowerment. Connection. Love.

The whole world begins and ends with love...with connection...with our hearts. Learning to operate solely from there will, I pray, be the legacy of my life. It is absolutely the CHALLENGE of my life. I am scared....Every. Day. I am also inspired.

I sure hope we all keep asking questions, opening up, and encouraging each other....because true JOY resides in lifting each other up.

Encourage someone today, and you will find your joy...There.

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

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Here I Go Again ~ Kissing the Waves


So....here I go again....:)

I am flying to Colorado tomorrow morning for Captivating...Advanced. ❤️

For those that remember my eight day journey for Captivating last October, this year should equal that intensity times ten. Wowsa!

I feel myself on the edge, arms spread wide open, huge grin on my face, misty-eyed, a joyful heart, and ready....Ready. I need this. I need this time with my heart. I need the long covenants of silence. I need to commune with nature. I need the meditation...the adventure...C7....but mostly....I need Jesus to show up in a big way. I need to cover some old ground with him, some new ground, and I need to listen. I need to L.I.S.T.E.N. in a big, BIG way.

My life is a circus, and I am still trying to be the ring leader. I need wisdom on how to give that up. I have made progress; I am not satisfied with it.

I need a reminder of the joy in my every day life, and I need to fill up my joy tank. I need a reminder that every day I am given the opportunity to put in and to take out....of my own and of other's...and I need a reminder of how to do just that. 

I need more joy and less striving in my life.

Joy! :)))

More Joy = Less Striving*

*I suspect.

"You show me the path to life." ~ Psalm 16:11 

Every. Time. ❤️

I am proud of the lessons learned and survived this past year. My heart has been healed. I am probably at my healthiest (physically) in three years. Prayer is a part of my work, as well as my life. I have cultivated a tribe of women who love me, who know me (or I am working to be known by/learning bravery in vulnerability). God has given me answers to some of the biggest, burning questions of my life, and though I  haven't agreed with all of them, I am blessed to be hearing him in a new way....as I learn a new and deeper way to walk with him. I have work in my life that matters (as well as pays the bills)...a blend of my gifts, my heart, and my passion to be a helper. I also have new adventures with women, children, orphans, Haiti, connections, mentoring, scholarships, and writing....that I could not have imagined 22 months ago...or even 12 months ago. I have family and friends and mentors. I am blessed. God has blessed my heart. He has shown me joy. He has healed me. And yet...

I want more. I need more. 

More JOY.

They say the more you give away, the more you get back...and that is so true...yet too...the more you feel joy...oh how much more you want...and you have the urge to get it, feel it, and share it.  Joy is the cat's meow (so to speak).

So....I am off to pray, to learn, to mediate, to journal, to praise, to push myself in an adventure(s), to give hugs, to listen, to love others, and to fill up my joy tank....and to help others fill theirs.

"I have learned to kiss the wave that slams me into the rock of ages." ~ Charles Spurgeon

Yes...Yes I have....❤️☀️

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Tapestry of Grace



I know it has been awhile...

I am sorry.

I have been working through some stuff...and sometimes writing isn't always how I do that...oddly enough.

Friday night I wrote a post on a private blog that my C7 women have together. I was raw, open, embarrassed, troubled, searching, and spent.

They responded.

I am here today to write that I am a woman who is becoming truly known...

I started writing more and deleted it. I want to let that statement simmer in me...and in whatever readers I have....

*Pause*

I literally just laughed, smiled, cried, and relaxed my shoulders...all at the same time.

You know when you think you know how much something means to you, and then you learn how very much something means to you...and it is MORE?!

Yup.

Let me just say that the family that I have....the friends that I have....the church that I have (and that does NOT mean a building)....the community that I have (and that is not geography)....the tribe that has been created around me (that means tribe ;) ).....the work that I feel a calling for (never, ever, EVER had that before).....the causes I feel drawn to and the "community" they each bring with them....the people, strangers, that are becoming my allies (and that means champions of my heart)....all of these....All.....are helping me to let go and allow myself to be known. Known.

We are all such frauds in our lives. I put myself out there as having been a huge one. We hide from who we are, what we believe, who we love, who we don't love, our standards, our sins, our strengths, our wins, our gifts, and on and on. We are frauds because we don't want to get hurt....because we have already been hurt, and we don't want to feel that EVER again. We are frauds because we have built marriages, families, careers, and social media profiles around who we believe we are supposed to be. Who are parents told us to be. Who are church told us to be. Who are friends told us to be. Who are employers told us to be. Who do we think we are supposed to be???

I lied to myself for years that everything in my life was completely dependent upon me. I was then consistently surprised when things did not work out. I was also consistently surprised when they did. Hmmmm....

I had this encounter Friday night that shook me to my core. Who I once was met who I am becoming, and I felt shame. Had I done anything wrong? No. Sinned? No. Lied? No. Changed. Yes.

Huh?!

We are not allowed to change.

*Whoa.*

....and now it just got real....

We don't give ourselves the permission to change.

Now sometimes others don't either, but the shock for me Friday night??? Was that I hadn't allowed myself permission to change. I struggle desperately to be comfortable in my own skin. It is a huge failing in my own eyes. So when someone says something to me that is an observation (positive or negative) on something that is distinctly "Heather"...I tell you....I freak. Don't worry...only on the inside. ;)  I am so...SO....much better today than I have probably ever been (ask my Sis...even she has noticed), but I have miles....I tell you honestly...miles before I am where I need to be. It is a battle for me. Truly.

So.....to be "known" for someone like me....is beyond difficult. The difference today is that I realize that I have to fix my own issues with being comfortable in my own skin before I will ever be in a place where I can be truly known by others. That has been a year's journey in the making...I am actually coming up on my anniversary of that a-ha moment. (just realized that as I was writing :)).

So what caused me to start writing this....well it has taken me two days to become brave enough to sit down and write in my "regular" blog...this is me being BRAVE. Writing has saved me these past few years, and it is here, writing, that I sort out the rumblings in my head, my heart, and my spirit. I also know that I am not the only one out here battling....not the world, not God, not society....but battling ourselves. The demon within.

....and *Sigh*....

I fly to Colorado this Thursday for a four day Advanced Captivating Women's Ministry Retreat. It is the "advanced" version of the one I went to last October. This is the first "advanced" one Ransomed Heart has done...I know, I know...First Edition. ;) :)  I am equal parts terrified and beyond ecstatic. Five of my C7 will be there, and just the thought of the hugs we will share, the connection, the joy, the safety of being with five people who "know" me and love me and encourage me and allow me to do and be all of that for them....Well, it is breathtaking.

In just one year, my whole life has changed....from the inside out.

It hasn't, and isn't, always comfortable for me. It isn't easy. It has been lonely at times. It is a journey that I don't want to ever repeat. I don't see that I ever will...my tribe would not allow that. ;)

Allowing ourselves to be real, to be known...is to be vulnerable, to stand up to shame and regret...it is SO worth confronting all of that ick. The journey is worth it. The work is worth it.

I am not where I want or need to be...I am a work-in-process if ever there was one, but I am putting in the work. Change is not for the faint of heart...

I'm just Heather. Nothing more. Nothing less. I am a crazy, jigsaw quilt, a beautiful tapestry.

Friday night I was searching for something to soothe my spirit. I was rattled. I tripped over (read that as God sent) this song Tapestry by Hillsong United, and it did just that...as it rocked me...because in letting go of what I believe other's expect of me...in work, in life, in church, in friendships....it means I have to stop striving....and I can't give up one type of striving for another....because then I am just switching out addictions. My name is Heather, and I am a striver. Bless my heart. I want to be good. I want to be liked. I want to be loved. I want to be the best at my job. The best friend. The best daughter. The best sister. The best aunt. The best Christian. The best organizer. The best at sculling. The best facilitator. The best board member. The best partner. The best at being vulnerable (dang you Brene Brown). The best...the best...the best.

I am exhausted.

Friday night the women I have allowed in my dark places met me there when I cried out....I am not the best. Sh*t. Now what do I do??

Now...now, you live.



I am a recovering striver.

I battle it every day. Every. Day.

What would our day look like if we weren't all "striving"....if our churches didn't strive, our businesses, our government, our world...what if we just lived? Relaxing in the goodness of a moment, a day, a lifetime? What would that look like?

I have no idea. {Laughing here. Nervously.} I really don't, but I know that I want to know what my life would like if I wasn't striving to be so stinking (not really the word in my head) perfect all the damn time.

Our lives are tapestries of grace...Grace. No matter your beliefs, lives, shortcomings, or a multitude of other caveats...it doesn't matter. Your life...my life....our lives are tapestries of grace. We have to learn how to show it to each other more and ever more each day, but my lesson...THE lesson....is that if you don't learn to show grace to yourself...in the moments, in the days, in the years of your life. You will not...you will not EVER be able to show grace to others. You cannot offer others what you do not offer yourself.

....and now I need to lay down....because that just took me out.

*Sigh*

Maybe I am growing...maybe I am learning to believe in grace for myself...Whoa.


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