Interruptions…

It’s interesting really, how often I interrupt, when I SO dislike interruptions. I used to be the person who could listen for hours without even the slightest inclination to put in my own two cents. Now I find that I have to throw my two cents in there in an untimely way, interrupting, or that thought that is so relevant, or so important, will be gone like the wind. I find frustration in my memory issues, my Sherri-do lists, my lists that remind me of my Sherri-do lists. I have a lot of safeguards in place–multiple alarm clocks, cell phone reminders, asking friends whose memories aren’t any better than mine to remind me.

It’s ironic how often I interrupt, yet how intolerant I am of interruptions. I’m fully aware of why. I hate interruptions because they interrupt my flow. I am a creature of habit and I find more and more that everything I do has a process. If I do it the same way every time, every day, then I will do it right, I won’t forget to do it, and I won’t have to be in a panic when I realize I’ve forgotten it.

I’ve been really frustrated lately. I’ve missed a lot of work. I’ve had to rearrange my schedule. I’ve had to give up more and more in an attempt to make my life work, be productive, live a slightly normal life–with this stupid disease. There are times I cry when I look back on how it used to be, and how ungrateful I was for the freedom I had, and how I thought things were ‘so bad’ back then before I knew what it was like to live with chronic pain. Today I realize how blessed I was then to have physical freedom, to not have to base my activity, decisions, plans on how I was feeling that day.

I’m a planner. I plan ahead. I do my lesson plans for the following week before half of my current week is over. I start to pack for a trip a week in advance. I like to have things done early so that I don’t have to panic when the time comes. I don’t like to rush. I don’t like to be late. I like to know what is to come. I’ve always been uncomfortable with uncertainty. I’m fully aware that when living a life following Jesus, you have to expect and embrace uncertainty. I’m working on that.

Today I am writing to hopefully alleviate some of my frustration. I’m home ‘sick’ for a second day and I hate the way this feels. I hate that this disease is keeping me from work. I’m irritated that my mobility is being affected. I’m so not okay with my walking every morning having to be momentarily put on hiatus. I don’t like it that others have to leave what they should be doing to cover for what I should be there to do.

I’m reliable. I can be counted on. I’m a woman of my word. Having to be away from work makes me feel like those things are being compromised a little more each time I’m gone. I look forward to how much of the school year is left while I watch my sick/personal leave days dwindling away faster than they should. It’s frustrating.

I’m seeing my schedule, my process, my schedule–being interrupted. I’m not okay with that.

Then, as it always happens when I begin to pray, God shows me ‘on the other hand’. I know that in general I don’t take good care of myself. My doctor is currently not happy with me because my vitamin deficiencies are once again an issue. I have unexplained bruises all over my skin. No matter how much I sleep, I never feel rested. My Sherri-do list is always lengthier than the amount of time I have to complete it. I’ve had to give up some more of the things I love to make time for things that seem to just be a given in other people’s lives–a good night’s sleep, down time, a day off, etc. I have to sacrifice one thing for another and I get very frustrated when I feel like this disease continues to steal from me more and more when there is not much left to give.

I don’t know how to stop. I work all the time. Even if my hands are not active, my brain always is. When I ask God to help me ‘be still’, and then don’t take advantage of the opportunities I have to do so, I think perhaps His only response to that is to make it where I don’t have a choice. I think today and yesterday are a result of no other choice. I won’t stop unless I’m made to do so. I have a lot to think about here.

I guess I can look at it two ways–I’m giving up things to love myself, to nurture myself, to take care of myself –OR– every time I look up this disease forces me to give up more of my life. The truth is it is both–but I’m still hopeful. I will do what I need to do to make things better for myself–to make things more manageable. In the meantime, I pray that the people in my life will be patient with me, will understand this is beyond my control, that I wish it could be different, and that despite it all–I am doing the absolute best I can. As my dear sister keeps reminding me–we were made to do more than just survive–we were made to strive. That’s what I’m aiming for.

Advertisements

Just Write…

Every time I pray about what my next steps are in following Jesus, in trying to live out God’s will for my life, all I hear in my spirit is, “Just write.” My response to that is usually, “Write what?” The past few weeks I have been facing some old demons that are manifesting in my life now–insecurity, my reaction to being rejected, watching people who once held a very significant part in my life move on without me, settling for less than the best that God has for me, feeling defensive over wanting what I want RIGHT NOW instead of being patient and waiting for Him to place in my life what He chooses, which I KNOW is always best for me. I don’t doubt that for a moment–I just wonder what part I play in how this plays out.

When I write, I cry. When I write, I am deeply saddened by what comes out of my heart. When I write, I’m facing things that I have stuffed down for the majority of my adult life. When I write, the way those things are affecting my life right now becomes very clear. When I write, my heart is poured out on the page. When I write, I’m forced to bare the innermost part of my soul. That is scary and that is painful.

When I started writing this blog years ago, I knew I wouldn’t be consistent in writing here daily. I think my writing has to come in stages because I have to go through the process of just getting it written down, digesting and processing what is there, and then moving on from it. A lot of times I sit down to write and I just let it all flow without much thought or apprehension. I want what goes onto the page to be raw and real. When I come back later to read it, I scarcely recognize a word on the page.There has never been any intention at all to share it with other people because it is for me, but then I wonder if what I’m writing might help someone else to not feel so alone. To let someone else know that they aren’t the only one who is struggling, or who can’t get their restless brain to shut up, just like me.

The first time I wrote here, it unbeknownst to me, also posted on Facebook. I must have set it that way when I first created this blog years ago, but that also happened to be the day that I had left my phone at school. I ordinarily check things from my phone, so that post had been on Facebook for a long time before I realized it was there. I was sure people read it, and I had a minor freak out. What if people see? What if they see what is really here, instead of just the prettier things I want them to see? Then I realized that what is happening here–in my heart, soul, and spirit–isn’t something to be ashamed of. God is molding me. He is sanctifying me. He’s smoothing out the rough edges, making stronger my gifts, helping me to overcome my weaknesses, and in the process, helping other people through my pain.

So as desperately as I have tried to keep this door shut, and not open the book of my life to other people in this way, I really feel like I’m being led to put this out there, and He’ll make sure whomever needs to see it will, and whomever shouldn’t see it won’t. In the meantime, I’m going to keep praying about what my next steps are, and when God tells me to, “Just write,”–I will.

It’s Not My Time…

As I watch the people on television tonight, pursuing their goals, realizing their dreams–I get lost in the passion of their pursuit, and before I know it, the story is over and there are tears on my face. I cry when the dreams of others come true. Every.time.

My heart has always had room to celebrate the success of others, but is it because that is the only way I can experience it? Feel it? Am I destined to only live vicariously through someone else’s dream come true? I’ve gone to the extent of telling someone that it, “is just not in the cards for me,” and 99% of the time, just based on my prior experience, I believe that to be true.

I’ve been known to ask, “When is it my turn?” and, “When will it be my time?” My response to those questions is usually to push it, rush it, pursue it hot and heavy, relentlessly, compulsively, dive in head first, with no holds barred, and the like. I want it now, even if it’s not my time.

There is such danger in that kind of behavior though, because I have the tendency to put all my eggs in one basket. When someone steps on the basket, or if it is just carelessly tossed away, I’m left with empty hands, and an even more empty heart. I’ve always tried to find balance–in life, in love, and I’ve never once found it. I guess I’m just an ‘all or nothing’ kind of girl.

So tonight, while I watch other people’s dreams coming true, I’m taken back to the times I tried, the times I failed, and the question of whether I have it in me to try again. Do I sit still and be ‘somewhat’ satisfied with what I’ve been given? Or do I pick up my own basket and run with it? Will the fear of losing all I have again, and I’m talking about my heart, keep me from risking it just once more?

Perhaps so. Perhaps not. Perhaps it is still not my time.

Someday When I Stop Loving You…

So I knew what I was getting myself into, going to see a movie based on a Nicholas Sparks book. Those kinds of movies mixed up with a broken heart are just a really tough thing to stomach. Those kinds of movies would make the coldest of hearts believe in love again. Unfortunately, through it all, there is still a fire in my heart that just can’t be extinguished. No matter how many times in my life that reality has shown me otherwise, I still believe in forever, I still believe in true love, I still believe in there being one person who completes your soul. I ask myself all the time if I really believe that fantasy and the answer is an astonishing, “Yes.”

Every ending, every heartbreak, every knowing better, all the things that make you say that, “Hindsight is 20.20,” all go out the window when you are in love. It doesn’t make sense–it doesn’t have to. I sometimes think it’s not meant to make sense, and that we aren’t meant to know it in our brains, but to feel it in our hearts. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else if you feel love.

When we left, we talked, and we shed some tears. I hated that after all this time, when faced with what inevitably comes with a ‘Chick Flick’, that it was your face I saw in my mind’s eye when I considered all I was experiencing while watching it. I hated that no matter how much I try to think I’m ‘over it’, I’m not. It made me angry but it also made me wonder if I’m even supposed to. I was angry because you talked the talk, but you didn’t walk the walk. I was angry because the words you said weren’t followed with action. That made them just words, and that hurt just knowing they were just words. I’m angry that I can’t let you go. I can’t wrap my mind around that because I so don’t want to continue to walk around with this hole in my heart.

I won’t let you see my hurt anymore. Why should I want you to suffer? There are probably many times that I should feel this way, but no matter how many people hurt me, I don’t want to hurt them back. I don’t wish the way I feel on someone else. I’ll let you believe that I’m okay. I’ll make small talk while I try desperately to separate my heart from you. If we are really soul-connected, then you should see through the smoke, and I believe you probably do, but what good would it do for you to ask if I’m telling you the truth? It would hurt, and it would not change anything, therefore it is unnecessary. I’ll take this one on my own.

I’ll hide the tears. I’ll turn my face away. I’ll continue to try to understand why things went down this way. I’ll smile and reassure when someone might begin to see through to my heart, but I’ll never again confirm the hurt I’m feeling. Again, what good would that do? I can’t get past the fact that I truly believed with everything in me that you were the one who wouldn’t break my heart. I bet everything on that, and I lost.

So now I fill the emptiness with work, I soothe the raw places with music, I place the pieces of my heart in God’s hands. I make very poor choices and stupid, reckless decisions over and over again. I’m trying to find in someone else what I’ll never have again and it’s just so very unwise. Luckily, they take what they can get and don’t expect more. They know that it’s no longer mine to give.

So I wipe the tears away and hang it up for the night. The one line from a Carrie Underwood song continues to ring in my head. I’ll move on baby just like you…when the desert floods and the grass turns blue…when a sailing ship don’t need her moon…it’ll break my heart but I’ll get through. Someday when I stop loving you…

I’m Lovesick Somewhere Tonight…

It’s simply not my time. I’ve been trying to push it, to rush it, to make things happen in my way and in my timing. That obviously is not working out well for me. At any given moment tears could start falling because of the depth of sorrow, disappointment, and regret that I feel in my heart right now. I’ve made such a mess of things. I’ve made stupid decisions–the biggest mistake being feeling safe enough to risk my heart.

I was doing so well and keeping the majority at an arm’s length and for the most part I have been successful, but there are a select few who made it through my fences and walls. Lord knows how they got through. Perhaps they crawled under…by reminding me of an earlier time in my life where things were so much easier, where I was carefree (yeah right), without obligation and responsibility, and just discovering the world. I was untarnished. I was not scorned. I was not broken beyond repair. I still had hope that things would work out well for me. I absolutely darted back to that time because even though I wasn’t comfortable there, in the least my ignorance kept me from knowing my ultimate destination.

Perhaps they went over, by making me believe that there was something to offer me that I’d never known before. Perhaps they were so witty, or charming, or promising, or intelligent, or even that much of a geek that I fell for it, I believed it, I put my guard down because I was so hopeful that it could possibly be real. I fell for it and I fell hard. I did believe it was real. If I didn’t believe it was real, I wouldn’t have put my heart on the line the way I have.

I’m so aware of things that I just do not want to know tonight. Relationships are being formed, people are moving on and ahead, love is being tangibly felt–and here I am in the same place I’ve always been–feeling inadequate, broken, and with a broken heart. How in the world did I get here again? How could this have happened when I was so diligent about protecting myself?

I’ve always prided myself on being transparent–an open book, so to speak, but I can’t even slightly begin to explain the way the book has been slammed shut now. The chains have returned, the pages can’t be turned, the tunnel cannot be entered–no matter how bright the light might look to me. There is a deep skepticism that I don’t think will ever leave. My biggest mistake in life is putting my trust in human beings instead of God. Maybe this is just a lesson I have to learn the hard way–again, again, again, AGAIN. WHEN WILL I LEARN? When will I stop breaking my own heart?

Of course I don’t desire to live a life of in hiding, of never showing anyone what is truly in my heart, of not even trying to form authentic relationships with people–but I can’t take this kind of pain anymore. I keep thinking that I’ve worked through it, I’ve gotten around it, I’ve buried it, I’ve resolved it, I’ve forgiven it -but- all it takes is a few words, a revelation, a misstep, a slip-up, a glance, a realization, and sometimes JUST a breath…and it all just floods back in and I can’t keep my head above water anymore. I keep telling myself that I won’t put myself out there again, but it is so against my nature, and it feels so wrong–but it still feels better than right now.

180

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

-Ephesians 2:10

As a young child, I never stopped smiling. My parents described me as a happy child that people were drawn to, always lighting up a room. I was a tomboy and a free spirit. I liked dolls, and pink, and self-made ribbon hair barrettes, but I was just as content to be outside with my brothers hunting for horny toads and playing Star Wars in our makeshift barn loft/spaceship. (Yes, I rocked the Princess Leia braided buns.) It never occurred to me that I should question anything about myself. I had a family who loved me, a simple but beautiful life, and my future was so bright (I had to wear shades.)

I never would have imagined that one statement could change that. “What is wrong with you?” She stated as she stood above me, looking down at me with a look of disgust and contempt. I remember feeling embarrassed and ashamed. Those were first-time emotions for me, and this was the first time I ever examined myself and noticed anything unpleasing. Unfortunately, this simple statement shaped the person I became. Inadequate, not good enough, embarrassing, shameful, “What is wrong with you?”

Those words resonated and bounced like an unrelenting ping pong ball in my mind through what remained of my childhood, my adolescence, all the way through into adulthood. The constant state of uncertainty, thoughts of what people were thinking of me, self-consciousness dictated my life and were considered in every decision I made. I began to employ my newly-found defense mechanism—HIDING. If I pretend, if I don’t talk, if I don’t make eye contact then people won’t know how unacceptable I am.

These feelings led to many bad decisions. A woman who doesn’t value herself doesn’t understand that letting certain people into her life will change the course of her future. I didn’t understand how my relationships with men would cause certain circumstances to arise that I would pay for for the rest of my life. I didn’t know that they were after what I had instead of who I was, and I was too weak, and too ashamed to expect better treatment. My circumstances merely mirrored what I already believed about myself. “I should be happy somebody wants me,” and I accepted the unacceptable.

It is a beautiful thing, knowing who you are in Christ. Knowing that you were made in His image as a beautiful, unique, precious, and beloved child. One thing alone makes you irreplaceable—you are His. I think I am most thankful for the shift that God made inside of me in this regard. I often describe it as God doing a 180 degree turn in my soul. I now love who I am, feel comfortable in my own skin, and choose who I want in my life based on their character, not just simply who would accept me. I now know I am a one-of-a-kind, and that I that was created by Him for a purpose that only I could fulfill. He placed me in this moment, at this point in history, to be right here right now—and to do what He created me to do.

Does any of this ring true? Then I’ve done what He prepared in advance for me to do. Help you to remember WHO and WHOSE you are. You are made in His image and that makes you beautiful. He looks on you as a mother holding her newborn child—with unconditional love, unmatched mercy, and all-sufficient grace. You might not feel like you are good enough, and the truth is, you aren’t, but Jesus is, and He died for you, because you are that precious to Him. Do you see your value now? You are God’s workmanship, His handiwork, HIS MASTERPIECE. Live like it.

This entry was posted on August 10, 2013. 1 Comment

Baptism

Baptism Collage
I was baptized on February 7, 2009 at LifeChurch.tv’s “Baptism Bash”. My friend ‘T’ put a video from Elevation Church on Facebook today and it just brought back so many memories.

I thought I’d be nervous. I wasn’t. I thought I’d be embarrassed and worried about everyone looking, but again, I wasn’t.

This is a person who never liked being in the public eye and was never comfortable with being the center of attention. I was always content to just blend into the background and any time I contributed to anything, it was always behind the scenes.

That’s what makes what happened that day even more significant. I hadn’t even started going to the Saturday experience at that point, but I chose that day, thinking that there wouldn’t be as many people there. I was wrong, there were record numbers there that night, and when I arrived and climbed into the pool, there were five hundred people witnessing my baptism.

I remember the worship band playing and the tears beginning to flow. “He reigns. Glory in the highest He reigns. Let creation testify by His name. Every knee will bow and every tongue proclaim, that Jesus reigns.” I had never felt such a peace or calm wash over me before. I had never been physically taken out of my surroundings as I was right then. It was just me and Jesus, and all I could do was cry and smile.

One of our campus pastors, Jeff Moore, asked me if I was publicly proclaiming that Jesus Christ was my Lord and Savior. I couldn’t even get the word ‘Yes’ out. I just nodded and cried and then down we went. When I came up, joy–inexplicable, overwhelming, awesome–JOY.

One wouldn’t think that you could be one person, be immersed in water for 5 seconds, and then come up a brand new person, but that’s exactly what happened that day. A NEW creation in Christ Jesus rose up from that water.

Those few seconds under the water cleansed me so deeply that I will never ever be the same. I was able to leave my past behind me, and march forward as a child of God.

I’ll never be the same.