Write On!

I’ve wrestled with writing for the past few months and thought about not renewing my WordPress account. I haven’t written faithfully in 2016, so I figured it was time to stop blogging.

As I’ve prayed about it last week, several folks told me how much they enjoyed reading my posts. I was humbled by the comments and amazed that some came from folks I hardly know. God continues to bid me to write, and I continue to make excuses not to. I had to laugh when the girls began watching an old Disney show called “Do With a Blog” last week. They love the silly sitcom and so do I. Lillyann asked what a blog was when we started watching the show, so I explained it and told her I had one. She wanted to see it and asked me what I wrote about. I told her I wrote about my feelings. She asked if it was hard to do, and I told her it was very hard. She may only be seven, but she seemed to understand exactly what I meant. I love that about her.

I started writing for Lillyann in 2009 because I wanted her to hear my heart and know me deeply when she was older. Mylah came along in 2011, so I continued to write with both girls in mind. In November, little Kylie will join us on this wonderful journey. I don’t know if any of the girls will read what I’ve written for them, but I do hope they will. I printed over 300 pages of the posts that relate to them so they can read them when they are older. When I showed the notebooks to Lillyann several years ago, she said she was going to read them when she was my age. I smiled and thought of how much I would love to hear my grandmother’s right now.

Writing is a pain filled process, but like the deep tissue massages I’ve been getting over the past few months, it’s pain necessary for healing. The peace I feel after I write makes the pain of sharing bearable. I don’t know how God will use writing to transform me into who He wants me to be, but I do know that sharing the journey through my writing has been a big part of my healing.

When I taught, I urged my students to open their hearts and share their writing with others. I never followed my advice because I was too afraid. The Pollyanna in me preferred a happy face to a healed heart. I didn’t want to burden others with my sadness. God placed a young women in my path yesterday who had the same fear. I met a friend at a small cafe to catch up and reconnect, and this young lady was working there. She knew my friend, and I heard the young women tell her that she was deeply sad but didn’t want to make others sad with her dark feelings. I jumped in and told her she didn’t have to make others happy. I knew not to say anything, but I just couldn’t help myself. She told me sadly that it was her reality, and I understood completely. My plea was meant for me.

Writing is not for the faint of heart, but nothing else gives me the catharsis I find in the transparent honesty that comes when I share my heart with others. So, I’m renewing my WordPress account and trusting God to do what He does best-open my heart in ways that always surprise and heal. Living and loving as God desires isn’t easy because it requires a level of faith I cannot reach on my own. I’m finding that the more I let go of my need to make others happy or be who they expect me to be, the closer I come to being the beloved daughter God created me to be. I have come a very long way since I began writing in 2009 and even further since I decided, in August 2012, to share my journey by blogging. I still have a long way to go, but inviting others to come along as I learn makes the journey a joy.

Thank you all for sharing the journey. You encourage me to keep going. The journey truly is better with company.  That was God’s powerful lesson this week.

 

 

 

 

Looking Back in Love

Looking back is difficult while trying to go forward, so I stopped for a moment this week and let God show me where I’ve been. I took a long, loving look back at my journey and remembered with love and gratitude the events, people and places that shaped my past. I’m reading “Becoming Myself Embracing God’s Dream of You” by Stasi Eldredge, and it’s giving me a new perspective on the influence my past has on my present.

I’ve looked back before, but never in love. Fear filled my glimpses back with shame, hurt, anger, and bitterness. As a result, I’ve tripped, stumbled, and fallen flat on my heart each time I’ve dared to delve into the past. Looking back was frightening, so I learned to let it go, forget about it, and pick up my pace so I could get as far away from it as possible! What a blessing to go from looking over my shoulder in fear to revisiting memories in God’s loving presence.

Letting go is important, but looking back honestly and with love is transforming. Knowing where my journey began and the importance of those sharing it is necessary for complete healing. In her book, Stasi Eldredge tells of a missionary from Ethiopia who works with young girls rescued from human trafficking. He told her that the extent to which the girls are able to tell their stories determines the extent to which they will heal. I cried as I read that powerful truth.

Telling my story is important, but telling it truthfully with love is essential if I am to heal as God desires. I felt His transforming healing this week when I stopped seeing myself as a victim. I am a traveler. I didn’t determine my direction as a child, so the path wasn’t really mine. I was caught up in my parent’s journey, and they were doing what they believed was best for me and for themselves. I learned to make decisions that reflected theirs, and that kept me stuck in the past.

God helped me see that choices are mine now, and letting Him help with those choices is making a big difference in my journey. He always has been and will always be with me. That gives me the courage to go where He leads.

This picture was taken in October, 2007. I was on the Blue Ridge Parkway with a friend who delighted in showing me God’s handiwork. It’s wonderful to have loving companions who hear my heart because they make the journey a joy.  A friend once told me that people come into my heart for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. I’m beginning to understand that truth, and it’s causing me to love in a new way. Love is about the freedom to be who I am and the courage to allow others to be the same. That understanding allows me travel with or without company. I know God will be always there to help me see the love and beauty around me. He will also help me look back in love and forward with sweet anticipation of what He has in store.

Fall 2007

A Beautiful Thing!

As I was eating gelato with friends yesterday, I said very seriously, “Toasted pistachios are a beautiful thing!!” We all laughed out loud, and I’m sure those walking by must have thought we were a little nutty 🙂 I looked at the ladies surrounding me and realized friendship is a beautiful thing. I am blessed with more than my share of dear friends, and I pray I never take any of them for granted. I also have three amazing sisters who are my dearest and oldest friends. God manifests His love in the laughter and tears of friends who share my path.

I had lunch on the river today with my dear friend Robbie. As we shared gelato afterward, I told her I felt nineteen again. I explained that God took my heart back to a time of innocence that renewed my faith and reminded me that I am still who I was at nineteen and always will be. It may seem an odd analogy, but I feel as though God picked me right up off the path and put me back down right before the intersection where I took a terrible turn away from Him.

I’m very thankful for the lessons I’ve learned over the past four decades, and I’m thankful for the lessons this week that reminded me that friends who hear my heart and love me with an honest openness are as good as it gets. My path has been overflowing this week. The connections and reconnections God placed in my path were just what my wounded heart needed. There is nothing better than having friends who share the pain and the joy of the journey. It is a beautiful thing indeed!

With Robbie on the River

What If?

Do you ever catch yourself wondering how your life might have been different if you had made different decisions. I found myself doing just that as I reconnected with a dear friend this morning. I heard once that the biggest mistake we can make when it comes to the past is thinking it could have turned out any differently. It destroys the present when I wander into my past or future with a wondering attitude. It’s best to thank God for all the beautiful experiences He’s placed in my path, is placing in my path, and will continue to place in my path. That way, I can enjoy the beautiful present He gives me each day.

Movies about slipping back in time or fast forwarding to the future all have the same theme-enjoy the present! I allowed myself to pine for a while today, but my thoughts quickly turned to my son and his beautiful family. I am so grateful to be able to share this special time of connection with them. The lessons over the past eight months have been about loving and living together, and I thank God for each and every one of them.

It’s was wonderful to go back to a very special time in my life, and I’m grateful for the sweet memories God brought to the surface today. My heart needed the nudge. While special moments can never be recreated, they can be revisited in a way that renews and revives the spirit. Renewing past connections is as important as making new ones. As my friend reminded me today, we are all connected. We just don’t always know it:)

We are all one, and it was nice to feel that sweet oneness today. Christ said, “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;” John 17:22 (NASB) 

I’m learning that being connected is what life is all about. It is what Christ wanted, wants, and will always want for us. I was reminded today of a time when I was as close to God as I ever remember being. I veered off the path for a very long time after that, but I found my way back. I’ve always taken the circuitous route, but that works out well because I come full circle a lot. The trick, as another friend told me, is to spiral upward with each of those circles. I did that today, and it felt wonderful!

Spiraling Upward :)