Oh how true this is....and oh how long it took for me to figure out what mine was...
Okay...I haven't figured it all out yet, but I am getting closer. Breathtakingly closer...:)))
It has been a long winding road to get to this day....this moment....this season of my life. I am so grateful to finally be HERE. It feels so lovely. So good. So meaningful. So frightening. So purposeful. So vulnerable.
I am SO happy...to be Right. Where. I. Am.
I nearly allowed myself to get taken out...with career, family, lies, heartbreak, disappointments, goals that were not aligned with my heart, rules....I nearly "controlled" my life right over a cliff. I lost my voice. I lost my way. I lost my purpose. I lost myself.
I sit here today....with less of what the world values....but with a joy and soul tank overflowing...on the brink of explosion. I am happy....In. My. Own. Skin.
I just let out the deepest exhale....that came from somewhere...cavernous in my soul. *Tears*
This weekend I spoke at a campus student ministry's girl's weekend retreat. I headed up there Friday with two bags of materials that have CHANGED MY LIFE these past couple of years, a prayer in my heart, and a whole lot of trust that Jesus would show up and give me the right words....heck...any words...so that I might be of value to these amazing young women.
Having picked up Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey (a book just released that I have had on pre-order for some seven months from Barnes & Noble), I have to admit I was a little concerned that I would spew "Heatherisms" and not "Jesus" if left to my own devices. Not only did I not have anything to fear, but I ended up reading a bit of the book to the young women...because it fit so beautifully. Beautifully.
See....we are all women....women with large hearts....lots of love and emotions. Women searching. Searching for more. Searching for meaning....for purpose...for direction....for love. Love to give and love to receive....and love in all forms.
We are women.
....and Jesus loves every last one of us.....
....and Jesus loves me. Little ole' me. Screwed up, flawed, beautiful, driven, big hearted, potty mouth, sinner, lovely, striving, tenderhearted, orphaned, control freak, loving, heartbroken, lonely, hugger me. Me.
If someone had only told me that at 18, 19, 20, 21, or 22.
Becoming myself isn't about me. It is about releasing Me. Allowing my life to be led by my heart, by trust, by love, by giving, by being....instead of being the perfect this or that....the perfect friend, daughter, Christian, volunteer, worker, Aunt, etc....
In order to release myself, I have had to embrace my shame....embrace my vulnerability. It has been difficult, terrifying, and humbling. I am extremely vulnerable....guess what, I am okay with that...and admitting that I am not strong as an ox emotionally is not life-ending. *Shocking*
Being the "strong one" sucks and I am moving closer and closer to a day where the urge to BE that....doesn't motivate my daily life.
Life. Life...with all of its glorious ick...is not ALL of MY responsibility. *Sigh*
I have taken the long, hard, winding road to Becoming Myself, and it has been an arduous journey (one that is far from over) this past couple of years, but I know every moment of the journey has been necessary....Necessary. *Sigh*
I am grateful to the women in my life....with their arms wide open, their hearts wide open, their beliefs ALL over the map....who have LOVED me through this....Who are loving me through this even now. I am grateful to every man and woman who has believed in me, encouraged me, loved me....EVEN as I was searching...even as I continue to search now. Being loved...by a tribe of women, of men, of people who "get" you is the greatest gift. A gift I have never experienced prior to the past few years....and it has been breathtaking and lovely and the gift of my life.
What I love most...the VERY most is those in my life whose beliefs about Jesus, God, religion differ dramatically from my own....and yet who have LOVED me with a love unlike any other....been my friend...my cheerleader....my warrior....to say, "I don't get this, but I love you, and I love to watch what is happening in your life." What LOVE that is....what unconditional, accepting, beautiful love that is....and I have NEVER been worthy of it, but I am immensely grateful. They read this crazy blog, and they know who they are, and I love you. Each of you. With my WHOLE heart.
Life is a journey my friends and tribe...it is a journey that takes us down winding roads with twists and turns. There are enemies (seen and unseen). There are friends, and some of them in the most unusual of places. There are lessons. Oh MY! There are lessons. There is love. There is redemption. There is healing. There is joy. There is LOVE.
If I die tonight, I die with a heart full of love and joy....knowing that what two years ago I thought impossible has happened...my heart is healed...renewed...full. It comes not from anything this world has to offer or has given to me, but instead it comes from Jesus....not the Jesus of my childhood, but the one who was there on that cold pine floor that day I thought my life was over....when I fell to my knees and said, "I am done. Everything I believed true is a lie. I am done."
In my early 20s I wrote songs (don't laugh), and in one I wrote the lyrics, "...sometimes God has to break us to build us up again...". Those words were prophetic. Because he did and he did.
My life has been one of control, goals, protection.
I sit here now...having willingly given up control, different goals, and no protection. It is a world, a "Heather World" gone mad.
I have NEVER been happier. Sitting here alone in an Irish pub with a bun-less burger (dipping my toe into Paleo (Thank.You.My.Liver.)), a laptop, tears in my eyes, and a happy heart...I swear I have never been happier.
....and that is how Jesus works...In. My. Life.
Perspective; it is nice to see you. Welcome.
*I just re-read this post, and I am bawling. In my booth. In a pub. Well played God. Well played.
Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)