Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Rise and Fall of a Modern Day Pollyanna

I am working on some new stuff that I am being a little covert about right now....and so the revelation in counseling this afternoon gave me pause.

am I still a Pollyanna?

or

maybe the term "Modern Day Pollyanna" fits me better now than before?

Today I framed something and used the term "...being a pollyanna..." to which my counselor rather quickly injected, "No." stating that wasn't what I was doing at all...she then proceeded to define "being pollyanna" for me, and then what I was doing....(she saw it as growth BTW)...

I was facing something and naming it...as it truly was...no whitewashing, excusing, or explaining.

Ummm....

What?

I had to have it broke down for me.

Bless. My. Heart.

#facepalm

I would like to offer myself up as Exhibit A that grades, degrees, awards, accolades, etc. do not a single strong brain make. *Eye Roll*

I tease. Myself. Kinda.

I mean sometimes.

In 1750 Benjamin Franklin, in his Poor Richard's Almanack, observed the great difficulty of knowing one's self, with: "There are three Things extremely hard, Steel, a Diamond, and to know one's self."

I believe Ole' Ben was onto something.

Some days I climb into bed at the end of a day, slap my own forehead, clasp my hands and say a prayer to God, and simply go to bed. Sometimes that all happens in a very fluid motion...read that as flurry of activity at bedtime.

I just can't even. Myself. I can't even over myself.

My counselor is proud of me.

Right now...and most days, that is the most I can ask for...and all I hope for...because I need the millimeter of progress her affirmation can confirm for my disrupted spirit.

The lessons are just coming so very fast.

As such, the lessons are coming ALMOST as fast as the blessings. Lest I lead the reader astray that this season is joyless, it is NOT. There are many many blessings.

My Very First Sunrise in Haiti, June 2013

Do you ever as an adult watch a movie you saw first as a child and think....I wondered what would have happened to those characters if they kept filming?

Yup...me too.

I wonder what happened to Pollyanna on that train, after surgery, as she grew up. Did she hold any lingering wounds or bitterness? Did she find love? A counselor? What happened to her family? Her relationships? Did she have a career?

Then I think....how many times does a person have to be knocked down before they simply don't get back up? How many times wounded? Heart broken by someone? Abandoned?

How many licks does it take to get to the center of the tootsie roll pop?

Did I just age myself?

I digress.

There is a beautiful song by Lauren Daigle entitled How Can It Be (click on title for link to You Tube lyric video), and this line...
 
Though I fall, You can make me new
From this death I will rise with You

I have been writing a lot about this concept of "rising" and so tonight I am struck...is it...

...the number of times you fall?

...the number of times you rise?

...who you fall with?

...or could it be who you rise WITH?

Hmmmm....

The book of James in the Bible will rock your world.

This week I was supposed to read a chapter a day or the entire book every day. I was ambitious and thought the whole thing every day...then LIFE happened along with 15+ hour days (Monday and Tuesday)...and I did not. :/ So now here I sit on Wednesday reading through the whole thing...Like. A. Boss. and remembering why I love it so.

The best experience I have EVER had reading and studying James was on a trip in Haiti with a team and my dear friend IV. Read James in Haiti. Talk about having your head spun.

I digress.

Again.

James is rich with words about wisdom, humility, serving, rising, and falling.

After the past two days, I know why the enemy wanted me distracted from re-reading James daily. Yet another reminder to hold fast to what God puts on my heart.

So here I am wrestling with myself...wrestling to know myself....wrestling to heal...wrestling to persevere...to rise...to live...to love.

Maybe even Pollyanna grows up.

Maybe even Pollyanna must allow perseverance "...to finish its work..." so that she can be "mature and complete..."

God loves us.

God is doing a good work in each of us.

Let go and let God...do. that. work.

...and with that I lay it all down once again at the foot of the cross.

*It is emotional to include this photo, but even more so to the share the backstory. I took this photo my first morning (ever) in Haiti. It was at Jumecourt, overlooking the orphanage next door (Source de la Grace) and where I would meet Tacura (the next day). I remember walking up there with my coffee, watching the sunrise, and hearing the children next door rising for the day....and singing. I was entranced. Completely. That might have been the moment everything changed for me. Nonetheless, when I started counseling and specifically the EMDR, the counselor asked me to come up with a "happy place" and without hesitation, I said the rooftop at Jumecourt at sunrise...and I cried. Today, for the first time in a long time, the counselor had to invoke the happy place and I instantly (through tears that were already falling) smiled...and she asked what I felt...and I said, "Happy." followed by, "I miss Haiti."...and I do. I miss everything about it...especially the children...and I miss the me I am when I am there. In some ways, I think I am more me in Haiti than anywhere on earth. *Ugly Crying* So...here is to each of us figuring out our happy place...and finding the truest parts of who we are...along the way. Healing, true healing, is found there.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

All The Four Letter Words

The truth is that I love Jesus, but I cuss a little.

YET....I have found that as I am finding more inner peace (#counseling) my potty mouth (insert litany of excuses here) and idling high tendencies have subsided greatly, and I do mean GREATLY.

So...wonder of wonders when in the past two days I have nearly come unwound over (to some degree) trivial stuff by comparison with all of the very BIG stuff God is shuffling in my tiny corner of the world. I am perplexed and frustrated that I cannot get it under control. I mean what about all of this newfound healthy coping mechanisms?!?!?

So one of my dearest friends sent me this photo today via text....


"...chosen for this moment that is at once great and terrible."

Oh yes....yes, I get that....completely.

Here is what happens when you start changing....other people Freak. Out.

Sometimes that "other people" is YOU.

I am just going to #micdrop myself right there.

Let me tell you....growth is HARD. If it wasn't, everyone would be doing it....and trust me, they are NOT (says someone who resisted growth for a few decades under the guise of "I got this....and this...and this too. (insert eye roll here)).

So....for all of us out here busting our behinds trying to grow and do better and be better....for all of the prayer warriors that are on their knees daily praying for us (and praying for the herd of angels charged with watching over us)....for those that work with us, live with us, befriend us during these sticky-icky-tricky seasons - lets give ourselves an "all the four letter words" day pass because some day(s) growth just gets the best of us or someone near us and those do not count as a #bestdayever and that is A-Okay. Promise.

Promise.

How do I know that?

Because you are a daughter...a son...loved by a Father without rival. It is a love that is MORE than all you could need on your worst day. Yes, that worst day.

I am the first to admit, I am L O A T H I N G this personal growth season I find myself in, but I would also be the first to tell you I have more HOPE than ever before that God is bringing me through this to something more true, more fulfilling, more authentic to my specific soul imprint...than I have ever known before...I guess you could say I "believe outrageously."

So I am not going to let my heart be discouraged because there are those around me freaking out...or because I am freaking out. I have hope in them....and in me...because I have hope in God.

Also, as I shared elsewhere today....emotional growth should be an Olympic sport. Just sayin'. ;)

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

Monday, August 8, 2016

Rise & Restoration

If you could see my bed, or the floor, or the side table, or my bag, or any number of other places in my home....you would LAUGH out loud. Books, notes, more books, more notes, pens, highlighters, and used water bottles....EVERYWHERE.

I am writing...and prepping...and writing some more.

Okay...there are also dirty clothes, my yoga mat, two suitcases (not fully unpacked), tennis shoes, and Birkenstocks.

I am living in a pig pen.

I cancelled the house cleaner this month because I didn't have enough energy to clean it up before she got here.

Yup. I just wrote that sentence.

I bet I have listened to a half dozen podcasts, taken over 100 photos of things I need to remember, written dozens of notes in my iPhone app, saved a few voice recordings of "ideas," and have a ton of songs on repeat....

Because. Writing.

All of this.

I have all of this, but the single email I need to send I have not...I cannot send.

I know that once sent, I can't put that genie back in the bottle. I know my life changes. My heart changes. One single email signifies the further unclenching of my fists, of the control I have cherished like a new puppy for more than three decades. It means nothing and yet everything.

Back in 2012, I was in the single hardest year of my life and I have often joked that it was Josh Garrels' song Rise that helped me survive that year. I would listen to it on repeat over and over and over again during hours upon hours of windshield time that had me running between cities, offices, homes, and lives. I wrestled God like an alley cat that year which seems strange since the only reason I remained upright was because God propped me up. I was on fumes. Nothing but fumes.

I wanted to finish well the many tasks I had in my hands...a specific job, a relationship, a family, volunteer tasks, homes, boards. I knew I had too much. I was dropping balls. I just wanted to sit them down...ever so gently...and walk away with a pure heart, a clean heart...with everyone knowing I did my very best. No regrets.

I was precious (insert sarcasm font).

It never goes that way. Well, at least not when this particular lesson is happening to a control freak.

It took me a long time to heal from many of those balls, and some I am still healing from....to this day.

One thing that hasn't changed...ahem, healed...is my innate need to "finish well" whatever "it" might be. So imagine me in Sunday School yesterday as we study I Samuel 12 and we get to verse 20:
 
"...Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart."

Finish well.

I think so many of us never step into our calling, our dreams, or any number of good good things God has for us because we are afraid of all we have done before...every misstep, every mistake, every sin, every shortcoming. Everything we have ever messed up is flashing in front of us on a neon sign. It is daunting. Overwhelming.

*Deep Breath*

In 2012, I could not have imagined all that God would bring me through - the bad, the good, the heartbreak, the health issues, travel, new friends, old friends, work, joy, family, words read, words written, experiences, and yet...

I sit here cross-legged on the edge of my bed....and I have to turn on Rise again. Click HERE to listen.

Rise

I hung my head, for the last time
In surrender and despair
Before I’m dead, I’ll take the last climb
Up the mountain, face my fears
The time has come, to make a choice
Use my voice for the love of every man
My minds made up, never again
Never again, will I turn round

Though they may surround me like lions
And crush me on all sides
I may fall, but I will rise
Not by my might, or my power, or by the strength of swords
Only through, your love, my lord
All we’ve lost, will be, restored

Take courage sons, for we must go under
The heart of darkness, and set them free
But don’t lose heart when you see the numbers
There’s no measure for, the faith we bring
It’s given us, to overcome
If we run, where the spirit calls us on
The greatest things, have yet to come
With the dawn, we will rise

Though they may surround us like lions
And crush us on all sides
we may fall, but we will rise
Not by my might, or my power, or by the strength of swords
Only through, your love, my lord
All we’ve lost, will be, restored

Restoration has been a beautiful theme that has flowed through the past four years like a gentle stream. Coming to me in the perfect times and in the most unique of ways. God has loved me so well that it takes my breath when I will sit still long enough to allow him to wash over me.

"...Never again, will I turn round..."

Those are powerful words for me.

There are doors we walk through.

There are doors we tiptoe through.

Then...there are doors we must rise to meet.

Lord, I pray for strength to rise to meet the door in front of me. Your love brought me to here and only your love will get me through...I lay it all down...trusting you only.

The story lies in the Rise & Restoration.