The path 

“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” -C. S. Lewis

As we come up on the anniversary of our move from Alaska to Indiana I have decided to take the time to reflect on the changes that have happened. Part of my brain does not want to do this. Claiming I do not have the time. The truth is its not easy to face but I’m trusting God is here with me.

I have no doubt that this move was in God’s plan for us. Its amusing to me that often I invision His plan for my life as a beautiful, sunny nature hike through butterflies, birds and flowers. Skipping along with a song on my lips, happiness abounds, hard situations and circumstances are long gone. The reality is a bit different, although there are times in this walk it feels very much like I described often it feels like I’m walking through a dark forest, praying that I am still on the path and trusting that if the wolf I hear approaching gets too close God will swoop in and save me. 

I believe that when God saved me I was so unaware of how emotionally and relationally unhealthy I was. I lived in utter darkness. God used the terrible circumstances to call me to Himself. He showed me the path and as we walk together, out of the darkness, He has been healing my heart. We get to what seems like a tumultuous part, so scary everything tells me to run away and He stands firm. He holds me close and points out the lies and the damage. He offers forgiveness and wholeness. He never forces me to walk, He always invites and there has been times where I refuse to go on, so we gently circle around again until I’m ready. 

These last two years have felt dark and scary more often then not. I have had to confront some relational unwellness with very difficult decisions. Shane and I are separated, with the hopes and prayers of restoration. We have a lot of work to do to have the marriage God intended. I am believing He will get us there. I can not speak for Shane but I can say my work has a lot to do with self worth. I was so fearful of being abandoned I would enter into relationships not face to face with my true self being offered. I would enter under the person, offering whatever I felt they needed, hoping to become such a needed part of their lives that they would never leave me. Which worked well and feels great at first. The other person feels loved and taken care of. I, in turn, feel needed and safe. Then after awhile, when the truth starts to emerge that I can not fix or actually meet that deep need in them, the safety begins to feel more like a weight I can not begin to bear. Heavier and heavier, until I begin to suffocate. 

The healing that is happening is so good at the same time as very painful. Jesus has placed me in a community that is along my side cheering me along when I need it. They always seem to be there to offer a helping hand or a good, long laugh when the time is right. I am about to start school, which has been a huge worth issue for me in the past. God is allowing me and guiding me into reclaiming my life. The life He created and the life He died for. A life that I would once so easily cast into the darkness for an illusion of what I thought love was. A life that I am now learning to operate in His true love as well as the identity He died to give me. I trust Him, He knows what He is doing in my life as well as the life of my family.

    “After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.” -Isaiah 53:11 

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Needing perfect love 

I have a fear of flying. It’s not something that I developed over years. I can’t say I used to enjoy it but it didn’t scare me. Until the last time I flew, it was years ago and many circumstances fell into place that had me panicked and opperating from a place of trauma. When I got home I was so relieved but also developed a peculiar fascination with watching crash investigation shows and listening to stories of airplane crashes. Weirder yet, they comforted me, it would help me relax and was also fascinating to me. My theory is my brain had convinced itself during that last flight that I was experiencing an actual event and when nothing came of it it left me a bit jumbled and open. So hearing how crashes played out somehow closed that open trauma. (I’m not a professional although I should have some sort of honorary degree with all the counseling and processing I’ve done.) 

I did not know how I would react to flying today. I felt a very strong peace-like feeling the days leading up but sometimes I think I resemble an opossum and when my most scared my brain shuts off and plays dead. As I got to the airport I started to feel more nervous, my stomach started to hurt and I felt light headed and although attempting greatly to ignore the fear it wasn’t working. I got on the plane and started to pray and tell God how silly I felt. I know about planes. My Dad is a pilot. I know the risks. I also know above all that God is in control. So shame started to worm its way in along with the fear. 

I noticed no one had sat down next to me, which was a relief for a second until I was corrected. In a split second I knew Jesus was sitting there. I could feel Him, I just knew. He talked to me about how much He loved me and how He has so many plans for me. To teach me things and delight in things with me. He said I had nothing to worry about that it would be smooth. (Which by the way it was the smoothest take off I’ve ever  experienced.) We talked the whole ascent and I cried. Not out of fear but because I was so overwhelmed by His peace and His beauty. Being with Him, the source of joy, is really indescribable. Also I was so grateful with how He treated me. I had felt so stupid, I should not be having this type of fear. I felt ridiculous and ashamed. Not for a second did I get that He wasn’t concerned about any of that. He just loves me. He knew what I would need and He showed up to just comfort me. 

By the time we reached the clouds I didn’t feel fear, I felt awe. I looked at the clouds and was amazed by how much they looked like mountains, caves and caverns. A beautiful landscape in the sky. 

Yet they moved, and formed into new shapes within minutes. It was so beautiful. I thought about how God controlled it all. So much beauty even in places we will never see. Then I saw the shadow of our plane darting across the clouds and was, once again, overwhelmed by what I saw. A perfect circle with colors like a rainbow that encapsulated the shadow. I had never seen anything like it before and didn’t know if it was common or not. I did know it was another sign God loves me and I am completely secure. 

As soon as we landed I looked it up and it’s called a glory. (Seriously, a glory!) A glory is an optical phenomenon that represents a saints halo. Glories arise due to wave interference of light internally refracted within small droplets of water. The scientific explanation is under much debate and there area few more theories of why they occur. I know why it occurred today. 

 “Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God’s wonders. Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash? Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge? -Job 37:14-16

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Ruffled feathers

I haven’t written a blog in over a year. It’s been an extremely rough year and I have discovered it is difficult for me to write unless I have a positive spin. God has been doing incredible work in my life and loving me so well but it has been rough all the same. He has been gently reminding me of how much I love processing through writing and how much I miss it. So with a glad heart, after over a year, I am writing again! Here we go:

Two days ago I went for a walk. It was a very nice walk. The sun was shining, a sweet smelling breeze blew my hair back as I walked along. I was listening to worship music through my headphones and felt like I was in a perfect little worship filled bubble, just Jesus and me enjoying the morning. 

Then, out of nowhere, I felt a firm THUNK hit the back of my head. My thoughts and conclusion about what had just happened came instantly although the reasons why took a few more seconds. I had no doubt that it was a bird. For an additional second I thought that the poor bird had accidentally ran into me, I then reasoned that my head did not resemble a window so maybe accident wasn’t quite right. Then my mind jumped to the poor bird was probably sick or blind. After sitting on that for another bit of time I came face to face with the truth (as the bird swooped down for a second attack) that she was being intentional! 

Instead of feeling offended I found it humorous that not only was she successfully getting me but that it took me so long to comprehend that anything would intentionally attack me, someone who was so clearly innocent. I was laughing and pointed at her, explaining I was not a danger to her nest. She didn’t believe me but she only used bluffs from that point to chase me away. As I got to a distance she considered safe she landed at the top of a tree and watched me walk away with feathers sticking up all over the place like she had just come from a pretty significant fight. I had a good laugh but also really felt like God had a message in it for me. 

Fast forward to this morning and I decided to go for another walk. I had a feeling I would have a run in with the bird again but I would be on the lookout this time. As I walked up I noticed first that now the little black bird had friends. Secondly, there were many more cars around therefore a much higher potential for embarrassment as they drive by watching me get attacked by five or six small birds. I decided to brave through and kept walking. My plan was to watch the sky and face them as they came at me. Because I have learned up to this point that they are more confident attacking from behind. If the got close I would stick out my hand and tell them no. Which I felt would hinder all follow through and stop the actual contact. Although in the back of my mind I felt like this could look a bit silly as well. 

As I got closer and the first bird swooped down it dawned on me I could see it. Not because I was turning around in quick circles to spot them but I could see her shadow. Clear as day, I could see her maneuver and I could effectively reach my hand up and block her……

And then block them.

I made it through, untouched, with my dignity and quite amused. I was pondering the rest of the trip about shadows. 

“Shadows are produced when light hits an opaque object which prevents the light beams from passing through. When an object blocks the light’s path, then darkness appears on the other side. This darkness is called a shadow. The sun is a source of light that when hits an object causes shawdows.” 

As my little bird enemy attacked, the sun was so bright that her shadow was easy to see. I felt like God was saying it’s the same with my spiritual enemy. If I fill my life with His light, His Love and His word then as the enemy attacks I will clearly see the darkness coming. I didn’t have to turn around, I didn’t have to fear I could respond without even missing a step.  
Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

-John 8:12

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The exoticly common birds of Indiana

Today has been a hard one. Lots of emotions and feeling misunderstood, I feel tired and looking forward to bed. Faced with a few more hours of awake time I decided instead of eating for comfort or mindlessly scanning Facebook I would write about good things. In particular, the awesome walk I had this morning. We’ve been in Fort Wayne now for 8 months (although up until now I have been saying six because I hadn’t actually counted) and it has been such an amazing time of transition.  It’s been exciting discovering new things, and also a time of building and strengthening my marriage. When I say building I mean it, it’s just like a construction site: messy, loud, and sometimes like God driving nails into us but I know that these times are foundational to the years we have ahead. I have loved every minute of this adventure, even the ones I’ve hated.

  In the mornings this last week  I have been taking about an hour to walk by myself and listen to worship music. It’s springtime here and I have been so elated to realize that there is so many more new things to experience. The trees here are so different. They don’t all turn green at the same time. In Alaska we have a lot of Evergreens, Birch, and Cottonwood. When the leaves start to bud it takes about one week and it goes from no buds to everything green. Which I have always loved and appreciate ever year without knowing it would be different in other places. Here is doesn’t do that at all. Certain trees and shrubs are turning and others look like they aren’t even close and even others are white!  The air is really different as well. I don’t know if I will ever get used to it although I love it. You can smell moisture, it’s reminds me of Alaska when it’s warm and raining, but all the time here.

  Oh, and the birds! They are so numerous and loud here. We saw Blue jays at the school and the same day I was so excited to see a bird I had never seen before. He was black with red shoulder pads. As soon as I got home I looked him up and he is called the Red-winged Blackbird. I also found out that it is one of the most abundant birds across North America. I had a good laugh thinking about how exotic he looked to me, I even took a picture. I can’t even imagine what it will be like when bugs, frogs and snakes start to show up.

  There are so many new things to this move that are still really scary. Buying a house, and trying to find a job for the first time in 17 years are both very scary to me.  It is taking so much faith that God is in control and His plans will be good. Sometimes it feels like things that seem so simple to others are so foreign to me. Thankfully God is there with me, every second. Showing me even though things are new and seem foreign or exotic to me, and it’s true they might not be that way to everyone else, I am blessed because I get to delight in them in ways someone who has seen again and again might not get to.

God really speaks through His creation. I know that I will probably have many years of seeing the exotic and abundant Red-winged Blackbird and it will remind me over and over of God’s involvement in my life. Just like the enjoyment I get taking my little Arlie by the hand and watching her discover the world God has taken mine and He ohhhh’s and ahhhh’s over the things I discover and share with Him.

‘Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.’ -Psalm 37: 3-6

 

 

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my book of life: journal entry 

The beautiful book that is my life has opened it’s pages to a new day. Excitement and gratitude explode from my heart as I begin to uncover and experience what today has to offer. What genre will today be? A drama, or mystery, or even a romance…..more often then not a comedy or satire.

 Whatever it is, my sweet and brilliant Author, You are trustworthy. If today is the most tragic day of my life I trust you to write and work it towards the greatest ending of all time. If the rest of the book becomes terribly painful and difficult to live I pray you fill each day with more peace and praise coming forth from my lips. I ask you, Author and Creator, for two things. First; to incorporate and environment conducive to deep surrender of my whole being to You. And the second; that the stage will be set in Your secret place, that I may dwell in Your house forever. Remaining in your love til the last page is closed and the book has ended. Your love is where I belong. Your story is the greatest story, of the greatest Love, and most beautiful sacrifice. It is the beginning and the end of my own story. 

 As a branch graphed into a tree my story is into Yours. Without You I would wither away and die. But with You? With You I am able to grow and blossom, help bring forth new seeds and life, becoming the creation I was meant to be. The beauty and kindness of You, my Savior, Jesus, can not be matched. Thank you Jesus for Your story and mine.   

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So much in one year. 

365 days ago I wrote a blog about my quest for health in 2015. I had no idea what I was asking for. I naively laid out catagories of health:spiritual, mental, physical, relational, and self-worth. I asked God for healing in these areas, I was excited and eager to pursue such high ideals. Honestly, I’m excited to look back and be reminded I actually WANTED to work in the area of health because quite a few times this past year I have been pretty ticked that God would ever ask me to do some of the things He has. It’s a nice reminder that it was something I wanted. 

This year has been one of the most painful and exciting years of my life. Through therapy and processing a lot of old heart damage I have realized that I was pretty unhealthy in almost all of the catagories. Also what it takes to be healthy is no walk in the park. It’s very hard, exhausting, and vulnerable work. I have cried more, yelled more and been more raw this last year then I ever knew was possible. Although I like to pretend at times that all of these negative emotions are just wrong, that I am just a bit crazy or maybe even early onset menopause, I know it’s not. I know that to be in real relationships you need to be real. As sinners we get hurt and we hurt people,  also I know now that those hurts matter. Life isn’t always pretty or neat.  I think for years I tried to sweep pain under the rug. If I got hurt I would just “forgive” and sweep it away and then forget. So I can present myself in a lovely, little box. That no one would find a reason to reject or point out as anything bad.  I hid my rug in the other room because in my head people don’t like messiness. Well I have learned this year I am one giant mess and that’s okay. I am a giant mess but I have a huge  Savior.

 I don’t have things together but He does. Even when I am angry at Him for life being what it is. Even when I’m not on speaking terms, He doesn’t leave me, He doesn’t doubt His love for me. He answers prayers He knows we don’t really want answered because it will be painful. He always does what is best for us. 

On this pursuit of health I have found one common theme: I know so much less then I ever thought I knew. I am so much more in need of Jesus but at the same time incapable of being the good daughter that He deserves. I am clueless and clothed in the filthiest of rags. 

I’d like to say that I am glad that this year has been like it has but I’m not there yet, which is just fine. Healing takes time, and everyone is different. I have learned many things about myself and past abuses. There was a wall in place before that kept me protected, it kept a lot of anger and hurt at bay but at the same time it kept passion and vulnerability back too. 

Being healthier has surprised me and looks the opposite of what I was expecting. Messy, raw, real emotions was not part of what I wanted in my idea of health. I trust Jesus. I tell myself most days I trust Jesus. I believe it almost most days. 

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A name is important 

My son, Greyson, has some speech issues. He didn’t start talking much at all until he was three and has been in speech classes off and on since he was two and a half. He is now five years old. After our move we really noticed how his speech issues effect his social skills. When meeting new people at church or even new family members he puts up a hard exterior and won’t say much at all. It comes across as quite rude and it’s been sad because we know it’s not because he is being mean, he is just protecting himself. 

At the park the other day his dad was giving him a little lesson in making friends. Another young lad about his age was playing closely and acting interested in Greyson. Greyson began to get uncomfortable and ran over to us. He mentioned how he came to the park to play by himself and after some encouragement we suggested it might be fun to play with another kid he ran back out. After a few more minutes he comes back and asks his dad what he should do if he wants to make a friend. Dad explains he could just start playing with him. 

It worked! A short while later Greyson, once again, comes running back and exclaims “Dad, now I know how to make friends! You just start playing with them!” His dad agreed and then also added “or you could say, Hey do you want to play or even tell them your name.”

At that Greyson said “Dad, I can’t tell them my name. I can’t say it. They always think my name is , Dayson.” So his dad walked him over and formally introduced Greyson to his new friend. We, of course, were heartbroken for our son. We had no idea that this was an issue for him. We knew he had speech issues and we could see it had an effect but man, this was just sad. So we prayed and cried and prayed some more. I thought a lot about how this would effect him growing up. It was something I just took for granted, being able to tell someone who I was. 

The sound the letter g makes was something he had never said before…..well that is until today. Our amazing speech teacher, Mr Nelson, brought Greyson out of speech today and said he wanted to show us something and our boy said his name for the very first time. It was an awesome day. 

I know the Bible talks a lot about the importance of the names. I have a new perspective on the importance of names in identity and boldness. I’m grateful that I can call on the name of Jesus. And I am thankful that Jesus answers prayers and heals us.  

  I’m super proud of my very brave son and excited to meet many of his new friends. 

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