raw dialogue

After working on a blog piece for two days, I lost it. I don’t really want to talk about it further. It makes me angry. I feel robbed.

So…this afternoon, a dear friend, a woman I call pastor, but more importantly friend, came to visit. To say that our conversation was a sincere and timely blessing to me is a gross understatement. It was absolutely life-giving.

Proverbs 11:25 reminds us that when we water (bless, minister to, love, serve, refresh) others, we ourselves will be watered. After losing my writings, spending time with someone who always brings great godly strength to my life, restored my spirit. Then, I had the opportunity to speak into someone else’s life this evening. Isn’t God good??

I thought I would share my part of the dialogue, for even as I typed words of encouragement to her, I realized it was really all the things I needed to hear myself. If you get lost, I apologize, for I don’t want to reveal anything personal about this other person, but I pray that you will see how amazing God is when He gives us opportunities to encourage one another….I’ve inserted a couple of notes and quotes, but these are all my words in response to someone in crisis. Copied and pasted; I just deleted her part of the conversation. (And a couple of things that the world need not be privy to).

I pray that someone out there needed this too…

 

Me: “I wonder how much of your health struggles are triggered by stress. ????
I know from first and second hand knowledge how damaging stress and various forms of PTSD can be to one’s health.
In a way. I have severe triggers that cause anxiety, panic attacks, stomach issues and I blew out my adrenals.
I don’t choose to call it PTSD but there are seemingly benign things that cause me to literally become ill, or freeze up emotionally and even physically.
Triggers send me to anxiety.
They are slowly improving and I am finding a greater level of personal responsibility for my thought life and the way I choose to process information.
I do a lot of self evaluation and am finding an increasingly greater dependency on prayer and worship in my daily life.
I have overcome the suicidal thoughts, and have a greater handle on the anxiety.”
(Yes, this is still me…)
“I also started with GABA for anxiety which helps prevent the slow build when life seasons get a little more challenging.”
  (Insert this person’s shock about what I have revealed).
???? Most people make different assumptions about me.
Most people don’t know how to deal with the heaviness of it.
Mostly because of fear or an inability to grasp their own junk.
Discipline is the key to a life of faith with true authenticity.”
(I need to remind myself of this!) 
Still me… “Yes. Sometimes I don’t appreciate all the work. ????
 
[Where you are…] “It’s not your fault, but, it’s solely up to you to keep moving towards health.
If the triggers are there, it gives you the opportunity to practice controlling the behaviors, to be able to better recognize the type of people who are not healthy for YOU, and to know where your personal strength, boundaries and faith lie.
There is information people bring you, and truth God reveals. Weigh everything against the Word, His truth and His Spirit.
Words that don’t motivate change, and create more fear, are not of Him.
There is a distinct difference being feeling condemned vs convicted.
Conviction inspires and causes us to dig deep. Condemnation paralyzes.
2 Tim 1:7 For God has NOT given you a spirit of fear, but of POWER, LOVE and a SOUND MIND.
 I am not joking when I say I can apply it to literally every aspect of my life.
We function from either fear or faith. In all things.
Oh that’s good!
It’s true.
I am praying!
Please be encouraged I have found a few lumps here and again and it’s always been benign.
Try not to allow any fear or trepidation until you know that’s what you are dealing with!
I know it’s hard. But one day at a time.
I know it’s hard, but to worry won’t help.
A few years ago I had a unusual pap which led to another procedure. My doctor sat me down and told me she was nearly certain it was cervical cancer so we talked protocol.
When the tests came back, she was wrong.
My point is, I was like ok, it’s cancer. So what do we do?
I’ve also gone in for lumps, and for two lesions on my skin I was concerned about…
I just get checked once a year and trust that no matter what comes my way God will walk with me.
His job is to teach me to trust Him regardless of what this broken world throws at me.
He’s never left me yet.
None offense taken.
It’s just life.
Some of us are dealt more challenging cards, but I also believe that’s because the enemy knows we have a higher calling.
The challenge is to overcome.
Sometimes I find it easier to go back to small, insecure, mopey, victim Heather. It kept me out of trouble and out of the way of my dad’s wrath. Part of the time… But at the end, I can’t stay that way forever. I have seen too many people choose to not overcome. Choose to not pursue health and what God originally planned for them, and one day they will die never having found the heaven on earth Jesus talks about.
His presence and power in our daily lives, the opportunity to reveal His light, health, boundaries, beauty, power and grace through our cracks is the only reason I live.
Well, honestly, it’s all I have left. Him.
As contrite and cliche as it sounds.
Still lonely sometimes, ????
But you are absolutely right
No many people get that, do they?
It is, isn’t it??
God gets us.
He gets you. And me. And it’s ok because He works ALL things to good for those who love Him!
Don’t jump ahead. Start where you are. Live in the moment. Let God do what He wants with every day. Tomorrow is not promised, so just step where He wants you in this moment. Tomorrow will come soon enough.”
Chat Conversation End
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equilibrium and boundaries

I’ve been really challenged over the past several months with some thoughts and feelings that have been difficult to quantify. While I understand that emotions are not necessarily reality, and should not govern my decisions, it’s also true that they are an indication that something is wrong, a compass of sorts, that either reflect brokenness within myself, or in my environment. Regardless of the source, “disturbances in the force,” as I like to call them, require response. The struggle in restoring my equilibrium is discerning if the break lies within, or demands external boundaries.

Yesterday I posted a rather enigmatic statement about being in transition. While I don’t intend to be mysterious, my heart is to remain transparent in communicating that my life, like everyone else’s, is a struggle sometimes, while still maintaining a safe parameter in not sharing full disclosure with those who may not respond in a manner beneficial to my journey.

Following my post, nearly immediately, I received a text from a dear friend, who oddly enough, hasn’t always been someone with whom I have shared a lot of my free time, but who always seems to be there with a timely word in the exact moment it is needed.

It’s a funny thing, friendship. There are those with whom we minister, some with whom we play, others speak into our lives in the most tangible of moments and those who are here for merely a season. Every relationship finds its place, and each reflects a different facet of the character and nature of God.

Maybe that’s the most valuable lesson we can learn in our journey with others – acceptance for the position they are designed to hold in our lives.

Without expectation.

It is a very easy thing to want more from one another, and oftentimes unmet expectation brings us to a position of disappointment. When we fully trust the process, however, we find ourselves free to walk in more perfect relationship. As we are also allowed to be who we are called to be, we begin to walk in true authenticity.

I’m grateful for those who bring so much to my life. Support. Dissention. Challenge. Anticipation. Loving correction. A quiet ear and a godly perspective. While I have yet to know where this transition is taking me, I am confident I don’t walk alone.

toolbox

I am discovering that this whole grace thing is not a constant in my life anymore. Or perhaps it’s just shifting. It’s actually a bit hard to define because truly, I seem to vacillate more now than not, and I am surprised at how much things can still hurt, even when intellectually it’s quite clear that the reason for another person’s assaults rarely, if ever, actually has anything at all to do with me.

Maybe the defining factor for employing my grace meter, or not, is the level of intentionality. Perceived, at least.

My challenge is, and perhaps some of you have some wisdom in this area, is how to keep loving someone while keeping them far enough away from your heart so as to not once again get burned. How to celebrate special occasions, support, love, without feeling the sting of rejection.

Every. Single. Time.

It’s an odd place to be, really, because I have more patience for so many more things these days. Life has taught me that we are all going through something, and many not only have not been given more effective communication and relationship tools, but most of them aren’t even aware said tools are MIA in the first place! And yet, those into whom I’ve poured my heart, prayers, time, emotions and vulnerability to, can still cut me like a knife.

And I know they’ve at least seen the toolbox.

Relationships are a hard thing, and while I don’t always know the best way to navigate some, I just need to continue being grateful to the ones who ARE there for and with me. Once, long ago, I was told by someone who had rejected me for years, that they greatly appreciated that “no matter what,” I never “moved.” I always “loved her unconditionally” and she knew I was there for her were she to ever allowed me into her life again.

Lovely until you realize that by being reliable, you’ve also managed to become a bit of a door mat.

Whatever tools you may or may not have, I would submit that you need more. I need more. Grace. Patience. Forgiveness. Willingness for resolution over winning. Realistic expectations. Grace and grace again. We are designed for relationship, so I can only imagine its intrinsic value into its capacity for helping us grow into who we are called to be. As iron sharpens iron, so do relationships smooth out our edges, force us to grow, and challenge us to love. The ebb and flow simply must be a part of the plan, even when it’s hard.

Set healthy boundaries, but never give up. Relationships, good and bad, may just be the only constant we have.

glorious ruins

I’m sure I have mentioned it before, but both my son and I am on the worship team at our church. While I sing background vocals, my oldest leads vocally, plays guitar and is a leader for the team in many facets.

One particular song he used to lead is called Glorious Ruins, by Hillsong. On its own, it’s a beautifully written song, but the way that Ayosgi would lead it was so very powerful that I cried each time I heard him sing it. Many a person came up to me during that time to ask if he had recorded it; that they wanted to listen to it over and over. Most of them would be in tears, as the Spirit had moved so freely in my son’s worship.

Worship isn’t about singing a few songs, but ushering in the very presence of God. Asking His peace, presence, power, healing and revelation to come and marinate our hearts as we pour out our gratefulness to His great and loving nature. It’s a sacred thing; an honor, and absolutely vital to spiritual growth.

The same song came on this morning in my quiet time, and I reflected on these past few years watching my child become this amazing, humble, leader. There is something so powerful when we allow one another to walk in who we are anointed to be. To fall under the leadership of my son, is to honor God and His plan for Ayosgi. And, His plan for me. In the natural, he is my child, and he honors me in that way, but in the spiritual, he leads me. It is a beautiful thing to walk in our anointing, even more beautiful to honor that in someone else.

Knowing  who we are, and recognizing who those in community with us are, frees us to walk in a deeper understanding of God’s nature, and in a greater authority in who we are. When we begin to walk in the fullness of this truth, we are better able to see life and it’s purpose through God’s perspective.

If you are still seeking who you are, longing to discover your specific design and purpose, ask God to show you who those around you are.

Start with your family. Look into your church community. God’s many facets are reflected daily in the lives of those we are blessed to walk with. Like a giant puzzle, we each join fitly with one another when we lay down our expectations and allow God’s plan to unfold in our relationships.

My heart today is that we each would continue to come to a deeper understanding daily, of the intricacy and beauty in God’s design.

Shalom.

 

counting blessings

My first-born son graduated from high school this past week. Insert deep breath.

To be honest, I wasn’t nearly as emotional as I had thought I would be. Perhaps it was the busyness, the joy of seeing long-time friends, or the fact that my past life came crashing into the present, but regardless, I found myself feeling immensely peaceful. In the days following, I have thought quite a bit about when our son was a baby, the seasons we’ve walked through. The loneliness I found in parenting alone. Hours in prayer over his destiny. Prayers that my son would become all God destined him to be. Tears as I begged for the restoration of my marriage when he was only a few years old. Anger when the pain seemed too heavy to carry. Regret when I wasn’t the mom that I wanted to be.

And yet, here today, my son stands before me a man. A young man, but a godly man, just the same. Graduating from high school with a plan for college. A worship leader. A thoughtful son, compassionate brother, generous boyfriend. He is a man of honor and integrity. Not perfect, but open to and pursuing being perfected by His creator. This mama heart is so very proud.

God has been so faithful. Time has not rushed by – I have earned every single year, tear, owie, bad decision, and breakthrough moment. My sweet boy will never again come and snuggle up in my lap, and I now hand him over to the world and the God who created it, trusting that He loves my baby more than I ever could dream.

And forever grateful for more blessings than I can count.

Ayosgi grad

 

do you want to be made well?

This is the question Jesus asked of the man at the pool. Surrounded by others crippled by disability or disease, the man who begged from, and relied upon, total strangers for his very existence, was asked something that on the surface, seems the most absurd. (John 5:1-15) And yet, it is a vital and potentially pivotal question we often need to ask of ourselves.

Those of you who have read my blog for a while are privy to my dark season. Actually seasons. Nearly every time I felt I had had a breakthrough, I would shortly find myself sinking back into the miry clay. It seemed more often than not that I would never be able to fully recover or move forward from the darkness that encased my heart and soul. Many times, I allowed the choices of others, or painful memories, to send me reeling backwards.

Sometimes, my own fear and inner dialogue pulled my heart back to the abyss that had become, oddly enough, safe.

Just like the man at the pool of Bethesda, I had become comfortable in my plight.

In order for Jesus to make ME healed, I had to forgive a lot of junk. I had to let go of things that others told me I had the right to hold on to. To be whole, I had to be willing to change the way I process information, communicate, and view myself. How I defined others. I had to change my entire filter system, and let go of thought patterns that had, over time, become second nature.

I had to authentically ask myself in the midst of my tearful prayers and daily ache, do I want to be made well??

Today, I still sometimes struggle to choose the process of renewal. Nearing my 45th birthday, there are many years of old wounds that have been reopened and scarred over and over again. Familiar spirits have assaulted my relationships and areas that should have been let go of have become strongholds once again. Healing is rarely a one-time miracle, but more often than not a series of decisions and breakthrough moments that over time, give birth to the greater depth of self-knowledge, faith and freedom that God promises in His Word.

Only through process, can our roots of faith truly grow deep and our spiritual purpose be made manifest.

Do YOU want to be made well? It will never be easy, but it will always be worth it.