Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Mirror, Mirror

If I were to ask you right this second to grab a mirror and take a long, hard look at yourself what is the first thing you would see?  Be honest here. I'm not asking you to reply to this post with your answer.  Look again.  What do you see now?  If you are anything like me you noticed the imperfection(s) straight away, whether they are actual or perceived.  It's alright, I'm just the disembodied voice on the other side of this computer, I can't see you.  But you want to know what I'd really see?  Beauty.  I'd see the gift God made you to be.  I'd see the beauty that was uniquely bestowed upon you by a Creator that doesn't make mistakes.  I can do that.  I have no problems seeing in others what I cannot see in myself.

In fact, the first thing I see when I look in the mirror is my scar.  I have one.  Its right there in the center of my forehead begging to be noticed and laughed at.  Truly, no one sees it straight off, but I do.  It's the unfortunate reminder that the Chicken Pox were not kind to me.  No, they were brutal and vicious and left many scars, but I've had far more damaging and permanent scars left over the years, both physical and emotional.  Then I see my chin, the one with scars from 2nd degree burns.  Year round it stares at me and I'm reminded that in my youth I was not invincible and tanning was not good for me, but oh the things we all do for beauty.  The things we still do for beauty.

Despite these things, these reminders of imperfection, there are those attributes I was born with - the ones my Creator designed especially for me.  The ones that, no matter what, I cannot truly change.  (Surgery aside) My hair type, the shape of my eyes, the size of my nose, the placement of them all, etc.  Because, simply, this is what I look like.  A truth I've not come to terms with easily.  I see each flaw instead of each gift.  Thin hair, slightly wavy (just enough to frizz at any sign of humidity), hazel eyes (which always look more brown than green - grrr), a prominent nose, I could go on and on and on.  I know, you are probably thinking, "why is she writing about this, why am I still reading this?"  Because you remember my last post?  The one where I was to focus on that one thing each day?  This is what I started with.  The physical attributes God gave me.

I started here because they are the external ones.  The ones that others see first.  The ones that I see second.  One of my favorite quotes of all time is by French poet Jacques Rigaut.  He said, “Don’t forget that I cannot see myself, that my role is limited to being the one who looks in the mirror.”  And that's just it.  I decided to actually LOOK in the mirror.  Not to just look at myself, but to truly SEE myself.  That is when I realized, (please know one thing I'm not trying to be vain, but to express my point) I have pretty eyes. No, really!  I love my cheek bones, I got lucky on this one. Ha! I really like my lips.  I think they are a good shape and they definitely help the last thing I love - my smile.  Praise the Lord he gave me good smile. 

And this is my point.  I think we, as women, tend to look at ourselves without really looking at the person in the mirror.  We see her for who we think she is and not for who she really is.  A masterpiece.  You are a masterpiece.  You are perfect.  You have features and qualities that no other woman on this Earth has.  You were lovingly created and you are radiant.  That person  you see, the one that stares back at you each day, she is amazing.  She is special.  She is unique.  She is you.  So, I'm urging you right now, find that one thing today and embrace it.  Then tomorrow, do it again.  Soon you will see what others see - a precious work of art.

I'm not sure if you saw this Youtube video that Dove created.  It is amazing. Dove Real Beauty Sketches.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

One Thing

Today at church we celebrated Pentecost.  Pastor's message was on Focusing on the Filling. You know, Pentecost...the Holy Spirit came upon them like a mighty wind and flaming tongues above their heads, and they were all filled.  Truly, I can only imagine what a wonder that would have been, how it would have felt.  In fact, there is a part of me that is a wee bit jealous over their experience.  Oh, I know, we all have the opportunity to have that feeling, that experience.  We call it Entire Sanctification.  This is something I could go on about for some time, but it isn't the point of this post.  However, before I do get there, to my point that is, I want to leave you with one thought on this subject - there is no better feeling in the world than to know you are walking hand-in-hand with the Lord.  No better comfort than to know you are working together with the Spirit to be filled by Him while being emptied of your self.  (Not emptied of the good stuff that makes you who you are, but all the ick that prevents you from shining as the you you are!)  Sigh...as Pastor said today, no relationship with God changes because of Him.  Now that is food for thought.

After the message we had open alter.  I haven't gone up there for a while. It isn't that I didn't want to, or rather didn't think I needed to.  Heaven's we all do, but this isn't about anyone else.  This is about me.  I'm not here to judge you.  I'm here to share what I learned.  Today, while sobbing uncontrollably before the Lord.  Yes, my hair was soaked with tears and runny nose offerings and mascara was making its path known down my cheeks as I was telling God how sorry I was.  I am, too.  Sorry.  Sorry for changing our relationship status because I was focusing too much on other relationships.  Other things.  Then wouldn't  you know, he sent some angels to pray with me, for me.  Oh, not angels with wings and white gowns, but some very special women in the church.  I didn't give them the particulars, I couldn't.  I still can't.  Not yet, but pray they did anyway. 

Through the tears they held me, prayed for me, encouraged me, and loved me.  All the while NOT knowing why they were doing it.  Then when the praying was done, one of the ladies just looked me in the eye and said, "I know."  This wasn't a flippant comment, this wasn't a comment made to try to make me feel better, but this was an honest understanding of the words that I hadn't spoken due to an unbelievable knowledge of what is going on in my life.  Here was someone who said exactly what I needed to know and hear and  yet didn't divulge anything more than what she had to and with me not sharing a thing either.  She knew.  She understood.  Loneliness drives us to say, think, and do some not normal things.  Her words in a nutshell, my knowledge of that fact.  There will be consequences.  There always is.  But that is another post too!  Her advice...

One thing - a day at a time.  Write one thing each day that is a positive thing about me.  Only one.  And keep it she said.  And think on it through out the day.  That is one thing, good, about me.  And the next day do it again.  And again.  And again.  Then at the end of the week I will have seven positive things about who I am.  About this person that God made special and on purpose.  Not to have loneliness, and sadness, and pain - but to rise above those feelings with the power that can only come from being filled with Him.  And these "one things" aren't to take away feeling, but to help me know that I can be alone.  To learn how to be comfortable being me without another.  Because I have to live with myself before I can ever live with another person.  These "one things" are to help me see the me I really am.  Through my eyes.  Mine.

And that dear friends, is the truth about that!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Only the Lonely

Roy Orbison was on to something when he recorded this song all those years ago.  It's been my theme song for quite some time.  I've worked really hard at keeping it at bay - the loneliness, not the song.  Truly I've had some good days.  Days in which I keep so busy with one thing or another that I don't have time to reflect on it.  Those days really it isn't things and activities, it is conversation with others.  In fact, there are nights, I hate to admit, that I will have multiple conversations going on all at once.  No, it's true and quite possible!  Several are by text and several more by messenger.  I try to fill my time with talk.  With other people.

I know that my Christian friends will be the first to jump in, right now, and say "you should be spending that time with the Lord, in prayer, in meditation, in reading His word."  Truth - they are right.  So completely right.  That's what I really should do.  Because from there I know I will always have someone who is a constant.  Someone who will always speak the real and honest truth to my heart.  Someone who will love me regardless - and so totally NOT feed me a line.  Yet, I wonder still, is that the only answer?

I mean, when do I get past this?  When do I get to the point where "by myself" is the best place to be? When do I finally have that night where I don't cry myself silly and often times to sleep?  Yes, granted, they are fewer and farther between, BUT they still come.  They still sneak in on me and pull the rug out from under my feet.  These nights where I am faced with no one but myself to end the day with.  Where I'm forced to look and search and think of only what I am, who I am.  Where I do not talk away the hours on my phone or computer.  These are hard nights. 

I'll have you know that even in this current state of duress I have not succumbed to one of my weaknesses as of late.  My girl, E, would be so very proud.  In fact, it has been four whole days - in a row. Yes, IN A ROW, that I have NOT had a drop.  Not a one!  Sadly, I have resorted to chocolate. (this is not a laughing matter!)  People, I MUST get me a treadmill.  That is all there is to it.  I HAVE to have one.  Running is what I love.  I love to push myself.  I love the feeling of making my person do what only I can make it do.  And, true bonus material here - it is an internal force, not an external stimulant.  This is the "drug" I want to turn to. 

I know there are many who will read this that have no clue the pain of this, the weaknesses this pain can bring about.  They have no clue the prolonged torture, the constant fight, the embittered battle in my soul and mind.  Sure, every person has lost someone, somewhere and somehow, I cannot negate that fact.  But loss, regardless of that commonality is lost and left right there, for each of us have our story - our own personal version of the loss.  Each of us have all the factors that were and are uniquely ours that make the loneliness so different.  Yet, in that, it is also true, that only the lonely truly understand.

Only The Lonely

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Creating a Story

I'm at a crossroads.  I can feel it.  I can tell that the source of my words is fading, fading with each passing day.  It isn't that I don't have anything to talk about, I do, yet what I have to say hasn't formed itself into the right story yet.  And that is just it.  I am without a story to tell.  I doubt I will ever be one of those authors that can string together words to sentences; sentences to paragraphs; paragraphs to chapters; and chapters to a book - all revolving around fictional characters.  I don't have the creativity.  No, I'm not self effacing here, I just simply don't "feel" it. 

I had the pleasure tonight of meeting a woman, whose name I will keep to myself, that has just recently written a book and sent to a publisher.  Her story is set in the late 1800's and is a romance/suspense novel.  I could have talked to her for hours.  How did she develop the characters?  How did she know what to base her story on?  How did she make them fall in love?  Etc, etc.  I was, and am, quite envious of her ability.  Here's why...

A few months ago, I didn't have a problem with my blog.  Everything I posted poured through me.  The words spilled out faster than my fingers could type them.  Even with many, many proofreads I still couldn't get the sentences to come out, but I knew the message was there.  But now, now, I'm struggling and, sadly, I know why.  I know what is different between then and now.  I know the exact thing that is causing this word drought in my writing, my life.  That change?  Me.  I've changed.  I'm a different person than I was just three short months ago.  I'm not the same girl.  I'm never going to be that girl again.  Yet...

Truth is, I don't know if this is a good thing.  I don't know if the changes in me are the right changes, the best changes.  I have made some good choices and some poor choices.  I have listened to some good advice and regrettably followed some bad too.  I've taken the easy road all the while longing for the hard one.  After all, isn't the hard road the one we learn the most on?  It's the road where our character is built and our faith is tested and made complete.  Yeah, that road.  I bypassed it when I took a wrong turn at Albuquerque.  Ha!  Now I find myself longing for  a U-turn.  A do-over.  That thing that will bring the words back to my story.

I desperately want to tell my story.  I have so much to share.  I have a plot. Characters.  Highs and lows.  Suspense.  Intrigue.  Love.  Sadness.  Hope.  I have a story worth sharing.  But the source, the thing that brings these simple things to life, the key ingredient if you will, is missing.  I left it somewhere between February 13th and yesterday.  It's there.  In those months.  I've tapped into it a time or two, when I've needed the words to come out.  There was enough power there to fuel them, the right ones, that is. 

I'm searching again for it.  That source.  I know where it is.  I know how to make the words come back and the story to unfold.  It's on that road, the one I stopped traveling because I wanted to take it my way.  So, bare with me as my words trickle in.  As they stumble around on these virtual pages.  It's a struggle here.  A hard fought battle.  One for the right words and the perfect story.  One for my life and the way I should live it.  Who knows, perhaps this piece, the U-turn, will become a chapter.

Time can only tell - especially when creating a story.

Monday, May 6, 2013

One Giant Step

I did it!  I finished one of my goals.  I took a giant step towards the first day of the rest of my life.  I finished my degree.  What started with small steps, one to two classes at a time, at a traditional college, ended with a runner's sprint to the finish line at a school with a program geared towards working adults/professionals.  All I can say is - where was this school all those years ago?!  Despite the time it took to finish this goal, I can say one thing with certainty; it came at the exact time it needed to, at a precise moment in time.  I knew this was going to be a year of many firsts.  Truth, I've already experienced a lot of them.  So far, this is my favorite!  And it isn't so much the completion of this goal that makes it so.  No, it is all the love and encouragement that I received for accomplishing this goal.  You really need to know - I am so blessed.  I have the most amazing group of people I get the honor of calling friends and family.  Because of them, and their unending love and thoughtfulness I am writing this post.  This post is for them and them alone. 

I am where I am today because of their love and support.  Plain and simple.  I know people keep telling me I'm strong, I'm focused, I'm blah, blah, blah.  But, truth, I am none of this without all of them.  First, my family.  Yes, I have a quirky family tree with some broken branches, but in all honesty, as they say, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.  Essentially what I'm trying to say is...we are some pretty cool people.  I'm kind of fond of them all and think I will hold on to them - despite my total desire to run screaming from most family events, while simultaneously yanking at my hair, and yelling at the top of my lungs "Why me?  Why did I come from these people?!"  Ha!  Second, my church. I wouldn't be standing today if it weren't for their unconditional love and support.  Their desire to lift me up and hold me there.  Their unyielding faith and belief that God's truth is the only truth in life; that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  My church is an amazing church.  God is an amazing God.  I am blessed by both.  Last, and most definitely NOT LEAST.  My friends.  I could write an entire blog just on my friends.  I want to give my friends to you.  Not because I don't want them, but because they are so wonderful I want to share them.  I want all of you to know them and see how magnificent they are.  I love each and every one of them for different reasons and the same reason.  My friends ROCK!

As I depart this train of thought for the evening, I have one thing left to share.  One thing that means so much to me.  One thing that I hope will give you pause and a reason to think.

Life is full of so much.  Each day is a compilation of moments.  Moments which become potential memory makers.  These moments in and of themselves seem so fleeting to us. After all, they are but a small amount of time.  We yearn for some in the future, reminisce over ones in the past, yet it is the one we are in that creates the most vivid memory.  Live for it.  Embrace it.  Share it with those you love, with those who will love you back.   My day, my moment, my giant step, was but a series of moments, but I shared it with those I love.  My memory is complete.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away. - Hilary Cooper