wilderness

God often protects His people by leading them into situations of lesser comfort but greater dependence on Himself. Are you in an uncomfortable place you would not choose? Would you rather have a different spouse, live in a different city or pursue a different cause? God’s protection surrounds His people; His wise and good purposes can be trusted What seems like a wilderness to you may be your place of greatest safety.

What seems like a wilderness to you may be your place of greatest safety.

I read my notes from Bible study last week and was stopped in my tracks by this paragraph. I have been in the wilderness before. but somehow this season of my life I had missed the signs of wilderness.

In times before, my wilderness had the look of disease, chaos, destruction. I cannot say that about this wilderness experience.

this time it looks quiet, restful….but the aloneness is real.

so, as the realization dawned on me that THIS too is a wilderness experience, I was stunned. Stunned that I had missed the signs. Stunned that I was missing the blessing in the midst of the experience. because I didn’t realize the reality.

the blessing?? yep. it’s in that last sentence of the paragraph.

What seems like a wilderness to you may be your place of greatest safety.

I cannot deny that I am finally safe. finally free. finally at peace. but also, sweeter, quieter in refrain, is the fact that in being separated from all things family somewhere in that God is saying “THIS is the safest place for me”

I didn’t think it was possible to live in a place of non-communication with my kids. to be a mom with no real relationship. I thought my heart would stop. burst. die. that somehow I was “less than” in oh so many ways.

what I have found is I am still living. still breathing. still thriving and purposeful. my life didn’t stop. I miss them but I can rest assured that THIS place is the safest place for me right now.

I long to create safe, trustworthy, respectful relationships with them. but that is a two person process. a learning. a changing. a growing. we have never experienced healthy engagement with one another. it will take time. need counsel. and lots of practice.

for now, I am safe. I am protected. I am learning all I need for the next season in my life.

I will not always be in this wilderness.

until then I can rest in my Savor’s protection and care in this wilderness. I can look around with eyes that see the daily encouragement along the way. and the knowledge that the wilderness never lasts

 

 

 

 

zekey

I said goodbye to my beloved dog about a month ago. hardest thing I have done in a long time. well, since filing for a divorce.

this sweet dog was my last link to my old life. to family. so saying goodbye to him was bittersweet in so many ways.

this boy was my stalwart champion. constant companion. fierce protector. faithful friend. he had seen me through my breast cancer, the downfall of my marriage, my escape. my journey into being strong and single.

he witnessed my deepest pain. my darkest nights. my fears. my cries. he witnessed the agony of nightly rages and flashbacks. he took many long drives with me when escaping was all I could do. he never left my side when the rage was overwhelming

he had an innate ability to know when you were troubled. feel your pain. take on your sadness. he practiced this on everyone he met. loving them silently and stoically. there were so many nights when instead of coming to bed with me, he would simply look at me and head into my daughter’s room knowing her heart was burdened or hurting and he was needed there.

he had been sick for a long time. in fact, last fall when I moved into my first single home he really battled. he struggled. he was so accustomed to me being his stay at home mom that it was difficult for him to adjust to being home alone while I worked. I spent many nights telling him and God that I was not ready to lose him. that I just couldn’t go it alone yet. and he rallied. for me. and I knew it. and was so grateful.

this summer when we moved in with my sister he got a second wind. he loved having someone home with him again since she worked from home. and he truly loved her pup. he put on weight and seemed at peace.  but we both knew deep down it was just a reprieve.

I will never know what caused his illness but it was there. hiding. waiting. and so when he stopped eating, I knew.

I knew it was time to let him go. that he was letting me go. that he knew I was ready and that his job was truly done.

so I let him go whispering over and over “thank you, zekey. you did good”

and he did. for all those he loved.

he did good.

recognition

it’s no surprise that on new years eve morning I spent time in reflection over the past year. it’s that time of year when most folks do some sort of reflecting. it’s also no surprise that I found myself in tears, in humble adoration of my Lord, this morning as I reflected

its hard in the moment of day to day living to really see your growth. the changes you have made. how each little turn to the right makes HUGE strides in the overall course of your life.

so today I took time to see just that

last year this time I was 6 weeks newly divorced. 10 months out of my home. numb. exhausted. scared. overwhelmed. living alone. working. managing life. really well all things considered.

this year as i look back I see the ripple effects of learning to extend grace and forgiveness to myself and to really love myself. there have been huge moments of clarity in counseling along the way this year. there have been small turns to the right. but all of them have added up to tremendous growth and change from the inside out for me.

as I have learned to extend understanding, acceptance, grace, forgiveness and love to myself, I have seen others through newly clear, wise, open eyes. I have been able to love others as they are, understanding they too have wounds that i cannot see or even understand. that they too are doing the best they can with the tools they have. I have learned to care for my needs and not look for approval from others. I can take damn good care of myself. because  truly only I know what I need. it is not up to someone else to fix me. I tend my own wounds. and it is good.

I have learned the art and the need for strong boundaries. to hear what others are saying and recognize their actions really are backing their words up…and I have protected myself accordingly. not ending my love for them but keeping my heart safe while they do their own stuff.

I have seen I have courage. big courage. and I intend to practice that a lot more this coming year. I will move again. I will have my own place again. I will hold my head high in the courts knowing I have nothing to hide from, be embarrassed by or run from. knowing I have always carried myself with integrity and honor.

I will engage in new relationships. with grace and respect. I will not tolerate mis-treatment. I will make new friends, find new interests. I will not run from life, nor will I hide from it. life is to be embraced

I will practice embracing new things. trusting my gut. trusting myself because I alone know myself. I alone show others how to treat me.

I will do this knowing I am loved deeply by my Savior. that He never leaves me nor forsakes me. That He always goes before me. and He never leaves my side.

I will do this with grace. and courage. and integrity. and peace.

and in doing so, I will continue to become all that I have been created to be.

on my way

it’s a bittersweet time of year. holidays are tough as a divorcee. things look different. feel different. ARE different.

I have spent too much time recently looking back, wishing for what was. feeling like an Israelite who is looking back to Egypt when I am in the midst of the desert on my way to the Promised Land. I can relate too easily to the Israelites right now. I miss what I thought we had as a family. I miss knowing exactly how my holiday would look like and feel like. life is fluid now. ever-changing. growing.

growing is probably the way to look at this time. growing seems positive. moving forward. not stagnant.

I am more aware of the loss that has occurred this year than I was last year this time. last year things were still so fresh. raw. I was recovering. tired. wanted quiet. this year I am very aware of the loss of family. loss of tradition. loss of what was. I am not exactly seeing the “what is” yet.

what I have come to realize is that i don’t want to go back to what was. I don’t really miss how I felt living in that space. the unspoken expectations. the un-realistic expectations. the anxiety. the fear. the uncertainty. mostly I remember what it felt like to NOT know me. to be so disconnected from self and life. to be so willing to give up me for others. I don’t want to ever be that woman again. I wont ever be that woman again. I have forever chosen a different path. one that has brought me healing and wholeness but has left my kiddos reeling from divorce. i wonder if they will ever see any good that i did, remember any sweet times we shared, remember me in a positive light. and then i hear my Savior  reminding me that none of that is really important. i spent a lifetime seeking to please everyone else, looking for their approval to define me.

and that is where the growing happens. in those moments of quiet awareness. that i am enough as i am. that i did the best i could.

growing in the midst of sadness. growing in spite of sadness. growing to become all that i am called to be

earrings and me

an interesting thing happened yesterday. as I was choosing my earrings for the day..you know, the perfect ones for the outfit I was wearing. I chose a pair of vintage earrings that I have had for decades. I love vintage jewelry. I have for as long as I can remember. its not a love that I have always shared, engaged in, or reveled in but I have always had it. in actuality, I love all vintage..clothing, music, home décor, movies, shoes, jewelry.

I have added to my collection of vintage jewelry by the boatloads this past year. its been a hunt and a joy. I celebrated my divorce with a nice collection of vintage jewelry. my gift to myself. it makes me smile. brings joy to my heart because the more I celebrate me and my unique-ness, the more I learn to embrace, love and accept who I am and who I have always been.

so I pick out this pair of earrings that I have had for years.20151218_201204_resized [288717] a pair that were seemingly unusual and big when I bought them. ones that made my ex uncomfortable when I would wear them, they were too unusual for his liking. so he would make sure I knew this. but this really isn’t about him. this is a story about me and my becoming..more me. back then, I would swallow “me” down, shut down my voice to keep the peace. make him happy. I was not comfortable with me. I didn’t love me. accept me. it was easier to be the person he wanted me to be because I didn’t know who I was, didn’t value who I was, didn’t accept who I was.

so as I put on these earrings and realized that I don’t wear them much anymore because to me they are not unique enough for my liking I realized how much I have grown. become. accepted.

I like me these days. I appreciate my unique flair for clothes and especially jewelry. I have pretty funky vintage jewelry.20151218_201231_resized [288716] some that seriously only work with one, maybe two, outfits. but that’s the fun part. finding the right outfit to go with the right earrings. its the joy of the hunt. the fun of dressing. the me being true to me.

I have come a LONG way. I am truly settling into being me. I like who I am. I am enough. i have a voice and i wont silence it again for another person.

so a simple pair of earrings showed me a big change that has occurred. and i love that. i love seeing truth in the simple things.

been a long time

isn’t it odd how the strangest things, things that are seemingly inconsequential to life, can cause you to remember something you hold incredibly dear?

facebook has a “memory” tab that reminds you daily of your posts from years ago on that same date. some days they are funny, sweet or even sa. I don’t always share my memories on my up page but I always read thru my memories.

lately I have been re-visiting my blog posts that I wrote during my breast cancer. its been insightful for me to re-read them. its been bittersweet to recall the struggle. to see thru eyes that now are 5 years into healing.

but what it has done is remind me how therapeutic writing is for me. it helps me process. helps me make sense of life. helps me settle things and put them to rest. it helps me remember. to celebrate. to grieve even.

it makes me remember me. celebrate me.

it connects me to…well, me. I write. I reflect. I question.

I write.

and so I will begin writing again.

its time. its needed. for my health. to connect with my soul.

I am a writer

masterpiece

i love this song. i kinda love Andy Grammer right now. happy music, up tempo. fun. carefree. it’s what i need right now.

the words of this particular song have made me stop. reflect. deeply

the chorus says:

One, you get one heartbeat so, take it seriously
This is your masterpiece, don’t forget to dream
And taste the colors in the air you breathe
It’s your masterpiece, go ahead and feel it all
Don’t stop till it is beautiful
(Oh whoa)
Don’t stop till it is beautiful
(Oh whoa)
Don’t stop till it is beautiful

wow. deep stuff in a up beat song. deep stuff for life in general.

its’ been difficult for me to see the beauty in the life i have left behind because its been so ugly breaking free. moving forward. letting go. what i had hoped would be a hard yet mature break up became ugly beyond words. it has made me question everything of the life i had. and i mean everything. as i reflect back, life as i knew has lost its color. the sweetness. the magic. the beauty. i have had to determine events that i will always choose to recall as good memories. sweet moments. life giving moments.

so the words of this chorus:

This is your masterpiece, don’t forget to dream
And taste the colors in the air you breathe

made me stop. what does the air i breathe taste like. how is it colored. how has it been colored?

the birth of my son tasted fresh. full of newness. adventure. expectancy. completeness. the air i breathed was filled with the sweet smell of a newborn. i see his new face, his eyes taking in the great big world around him, i feel his fingers grasping my own. i feel my heart beat with his. beat with a recognition of responsibility. my heart expands to fit in even more love. as my masterpiece of life is filling in i tasted the bright hue of green as it represents newness of life

the first moment i held my daughter i felt whole. i felt loved by God that He had chosen me to be her mom. my heart expanded even more within me to fit this gift. my heart didn’t know the difference between giving birth and adoption. my heart only knew love. love of a mother. desperately needing a daughter. i see her long eyelashes fluttering halfway down her little face and i feel the rush of angels wings pass over me knowing this was a holy moment prepared so long ago. i am humbled and in awe. as my masterpiece grew in that moment i tasted the colors of purple as God’s majesty is revealed, i see red as my heart grows to receive this bundle of joy.

experiencing Disney World as a family brought the tastes and hues of joy. laughter. fun. adventure. togetherness. i tasted the colors of yellow and orange, bright blue and green. primary colors reflected in the kid-like wonder that comes at Disney.

Watching both of my kids graduate high school brought joy.  pride. bittersweet sadness as i see them growing up and moving on. i tasted the colors of tears. mom’s know that color well. it is a mixture of the rainbow, the joys. the sadness. the reality that a new season is arriving. one where you are needed less. for a moment you see everything so clearly as you view them thru your tears. you are letting go even though you want to hold on so tightly. this is a sweet color. this air is holy. reflective. life giving. it is a color filled with gratitude.

when i was diagnosed with Hodgkins my masterpiece seemed to turn upside down. the colors of my life were gray. dark. scary. if alone is a color, i lived it. i breathed it. i tasted it. it is life sucking. without hue. quiet. a blue gray white.

when breast cancer came, life went the darkest of grays. soul sucking dark. deafeningly quiet. sink to the pit dark. the air i breathed tasted empty. abandoned. forsaken. there was no deep breathing. it was foul. dank.

that was the beginning of the very darkest of times for me. culminating in my divorce 5 years later. the air i breathed was stark. cold. grief-stricken.

and yet, as i journeyed through my counseling, i began to see color again. to taste the air i breath. to feel. to breathe deeply. to believe. to love. to grow.

and with that came colors of green again as i tasted the newness of loving myself. of being healed.  regaining self. i tasted reds as i learned to love myself for the first time. to release my kids from making me feel worthy. i tasted yellows as i danced in the sun. in the rain. in my heart. joy is a color unto itself. full of contentment. peace is my favorite color. it is represented in blue skies with white fluffy clouds. it smells like the ocean. clean. fresh. inviting. it is soft and strong at the same time. it is healing on a level that cannot be explained. my masterpiece these days is filled with this. peace permeates my being.

my life is colored in stark narratives. bright hues that are specific. true. pure.

i look forward to tasting pastels. to me they represent a softness. a lighter carefree life. gentler. kinder. moving with the ebb and flow of life rather than reacting to what life gives you. i have lived a reactionary life. full of contrasts. black and white.i see myself more embracing muted tones.

muted because i know myself. i know my God. i trust my God. muted because i am not reacting to the drama around me but instead living in the space of peace within me. muted because that’s is what my masterpiece is truly supposed to be filled with. muted because it is in those softer places that i can live and breathe and taste more fully.

neglect

He who neglects discipline despises himself, But he who listens to reproof acquires understanding.

i read this today during my quiet time and was stopped dead in my tracks. did you catch the nugget of wisdom that slaps you in the face?

He who neglects discipline despises himself

what?? when i neglect discipline i despise myself? i have pondered that for hours now. how opposite to the worlds wisdom. we like to think we know what’s best for us…and so begins the fall into neglecting discipline. how could someone else, or God, know better than we do, what is best for us? if i neglect correction its only because i know best, i cannot be wrong…and i certainly do NOT despise myself.

or do i?

could this nugget of gold be true. could it be that when i neglect discipline i truly do despise myself? first i love that it says “he who neglects” we know right from wrong, we know what we need to do, we choose to neglect truth in the search for happiness. so what does the neglect truly say about me?

the more i sit with this truth, the more i find myself agreeing with its infinite wisdom. when i choose to neglect discipline, correction, truth, it really does show i despise myself. i like to think it shows i know best, that i am so wise, that i know myself better than another. but in the end, it shows i despise myself enough to want hardship, hurt, heartache, hard consequences. if i truly loved myself, deep down, love of me, then why would i ever choose pain, discomfort, disciplining, why would i ignore truth and right and instead choose self?

why indeed..

too many excuses to that question. too many reasons i choose harm. but ultimately its because i despise myself enough to think i deserve the harm that comes with selfish unwise decisions. the world wants us to believe we have all the answers inside, that a higher being is not only ridiculous, a figment of our imagination, a tool of the stupid.

but the more i read the Word. the more i am convinced that the wisdom of old is true and right. it is for my good. always.

it leads me to see myself thru God’s eyes. to love myself enough to do whats right. to love my God enough to trust His ways over my own desires.

i have been on a journey of self discovery thru the divorce process (and before) and i can for the first time ever say i really love myself. that i like who i am. that i have much to offer.

these were not always things i could say or believe about myself. it has been a journey. one of unpacking and truly looking at all that i have believed up until now and the reasons for those beliefs.

and i see the truth in the nugget of gold, He who neglects discipline despises himself. 

i have lived it out. paid the consequences. and i am now learning the joy of obedience. the joy of loving myself. accepting myself.

may i always accept, and not neglect, discipline.

because i love myself. and my God

driving

i was reminded today as i drove to church how easy it is to make a mistake. turn to left rather than going to the right. compromise truth. how easy it is to give into impatience. pride. frustration. anger. and how once that first mistake is made how easy it becomes to give into more selfishness. to not turn back to the right path.

i drive to monument at least 4 times a week. i know the road. i know the exits. this is a well traveled, well known path for me. quite honestly, i love monument, so i feel joy and excitement as i drive there.

and yet today i miscalculated something. i gave into impatience because i was running late and didn’t want to miss church worship. so instead of staying behind a trailer, going the speed limit, i chose to pass him…..or attempt to pass him, in order to arrive more closely to the start time of church. i was going to be late no matter what. it was just a matter of how many worship songs would i miss or would i arrive in the middle of the first song.

instead of paying attention to where i was on the road, how close i was to the exit, the very act of arriving, i shot over a lane and found myself stuck behind another vehicle, unable to return to the right lane, unable to  make my exit. driving north, away from my destination.

i cursed. its always a first reaction. then i momentarily considered just giving up on the entire idea of going to church and instead just go for a drive. do you see how quickly one bad decision almost led to another..and then another? it immediately became not about missing worship but about missing church, teaching, time with God.

and isn’t that how it is in life? one bad choice, one selfish choice, prideful choice, reactionary choice can lead us down a path of more selfishness, pride, reactions. we quickly forget to do what is best and right in order to attempt to make the path we now find ourselves on make sense. rather than admit fault, change course to right our actions, we make the wrong choice seem right. we do our best to make one wrong become an avalanche of right when we know, we know, we are on the wrong path.

pride is an ugly thing. it holds us hostage. it changes who we are at our core.

i could have easily stayed in the middle lane, drove past the next exit and spent the day driving around Colorado. i could have even made it sound like it was God’s choice for me. i could have come up with a zillion, no exaggeration, excuses, why i didn’t make it to church today. why i chose to disobey God’s call on my heart. and that’s the crux of it all. deliberately choose to disobey God’s call upon my heart.

i didn’t. not that i haven’t so many times before. today i was attune to the Spirit. today i obeyed rather than justified. i took the next exit. righted my course. made it to church 6 minutes late. heard a message that challenged me, challenged my actions and reactions to sin, challenged me to become more like Christ.

i am grateful that i heard and obeyed. i am more thankful for the lesson.

apples of gold #1

this book was recommended to me:Apples of Gold. wise sayings throughout the ages on different topics. wisdom. to be sought after. treasured. lived out. personally i believe all truth comes from God. truth can be found anywhere. truth reflects truth. truth is unchanging

i guess that’s one of the ways you can recognize truth. is it reflected over and over in life. or is it just spoken for the moment because it justifies an action otherwise seen as wrong? lots of fake truth is out there. fake truth may feel good in the moment but it doesn’t stand the test of time. the test of real wisdom.

so today’s nugget of gold:

Resiliency is an important factor in living. The winds of life may bend us, but if we have resilience of spirit, they cannot break us. To courageously straighten again after our heads have been bowed by defeat, disappointment and suffering is the supreme test of character.

i am learning to live this. i seek character that is righteous and honorable in all areas. i have learned the act of forgiving myself, offering grace to my broken heart. i am learning to ask forgiveness of those i have wronged, whether on purpose or by act of unknowing. i have learned it takes great courage to say “i am sorry” and to name my offense. it takes humility. but never have i regretted asking. i have not always received the outcome i desired but the freedom of spirit i experienced in doing the apologizing is well worth that. i see it as being right with God. having a clear conscience. confessing makes the heart open to more truth, more healing, more grace, more mercy, more peace.

i cannot change the past. i can only change how i respond to today. but it is that act of obedience that i am set free.