Tag Archive | fear

Rest in Your Story….

“So my prayer is that your story will have involved some leaving

and some coming home, some summer and some winter.”

 Donald Millerwk13_heart_mission-270x200

This morning I felt rather weepy, not sure exactly why. Was it hormones? Was it being in the midst of uncertainty? Was it the feeling of aloneness? Fear? Anxiety?

Was it one thing, or all of them? When I permitted myself a moment to dig a bit deeper, allowing myself to sit with my pain and face the fears, I heard His voice calling….I sensed Him walking towards me….and instead of running from all the uncertainty and unanswered questions which exposed the discomfort, it was in that moment when I chose to move towards them.

And then I checked my emails. What a gift when I received this post from one of my favorite authors, Bonnie Grey….she is a woman who speaks my language, who shares from an honest heart, a place where few dare to go. Her book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace helped to me to heal and learn how to take time to rest.

I am sharing a link at the bottom of this post, I hope you take the time to read it….let it encourage your heart today as it did mine.

As Bonnie says: “Our stories can rest in the open with him. Jesus doesn’t tell us to fix it. Get over it. He accepts our pain. He honors our brokenness. He says—

I want that. What nobody else wants. What nobody values.

Your story.

I love the real you.

I have called you by name. You are mine (Isa. 43:1).

I will carry you (46:4).

different from the voices that have hurt and deserted us.”

writing

To know that our stories are safe with Him…that He wants to hear them…. and that He accepts us just as we are, brings peace, comfort and even joy amidst the pain of our story.

http://www.faithbarista.com/2015/04/let-go-of-your-script-follow-gods-voice-instead/

No longer alone….

timeI love God’s timing! I love how He reveals truth when we are ready to hear it,  when we are ready to receive it and when we are at that place where we can invite the Holy Spirit to bring healing into our lives.

Yet, it doesn’t always come without a struggle beforehand. Sometimes it involves wading through the muddy waters of ungodly beliefs and lies lived for far too long. Such is what happened to me over the last couple of weeks.

I went to see my spiritual counselor because I have felt a stirring in my spirit that I needed someone to walk through some issues with me that have been coming to the surface regarding “resting in God” and what that looks like or even means.

I was a little surprised when two comments were said in our meeting that went in a direction that I hadn’t anticipated, but two statements stuck with me and I knew that God was shining His spotlight on them asking me to dig a little deeper.

My counselor made the observation that I have felt “alone” all of my life.

How could one little word, “alone”, begin to unravel long held beliefs and pain.

alone

I realized that I have been using that word a lot lately~ especially more so in the last couple of years. My husband is a owner/operator truck driver. Not only does he drive but we own other trucks and hire drivers. Needless to say that as a driver he is gone a lot, plus in winter he is gone for a couple of months at a time as he works in the north on the ice roads.

And although I usually don’t mind being alone the last couple of years have been very difficult. And I wasn’t sure why….until now.

Alone, that is how I felt growing up. And although I was around people, I felt alone.

Having lost my mother at 6 months of age and my daddy then giving me to an aunt and uncle to raise, I was an infant who was abandoned and lost the connection with her biological parents and siblings. This does something to a child.

I was raised in a home of abuse but also a home where I had to fend for myself a lot of the times. It was a home where at a very young age I learned to survive. alone

Loneliness crept into my life at a very tender, vulnerable age. In later years after I was married another uncle mentioned to my husband that as a child he watched me and how for 7 years  I never smiled.  Instead, loneliness like a thick cloud of fog seemed to envelop me. I learned how to be alone….it was how I survived.

And until now I have been comfortable with being alone, after-all it’s how I survived the years of abuse and pain…being alone made me strong and safe.

When a child lives with secrets and is not allowed to express her heart, when they are not permitted to reveal hidden abuse or attacks, then a child learns to walk through life feeling alone. When we are not allowed to ask questions, or to need answers to our questions, it isn’t only our questions, needs and voice that becomes invisible but we become invisible.

When tears are cried silently because crying out loud would bring punishment a child soon learns to cover her pain and withdraw to that place of aloneness in order to feel safe.

Yet we all long for connection, that is how God created us. Even though I am surrounded by family, friends and co-workers, I still often feel alone.

And this is where Jesus wants to meet me….where He longs to meet us.

For so long I viewed getting away by myself, withdrawing from social media etc as a way to spend time with God in order to purge any feelings of loneliness- a time to put on the shelf my questions, concerns and doubts thinking that would bring me closer to God….and don’t get me wrong, getting away by ourselves and having some quiet, uninterrupted time with the Lord is good and needed.

But I am beginning to understand that my desire to spend time alone is not really about getting away from all the noise at all, but simply it is a deep desire to trust God with my aloneness.

To allow Him to be enough, to be more than enough….to know that I am never truly alone when the Jesus lives in my heart. alone

God has been redefining quiet in my life. He is uncovering desire in my heart where there has been so much building of walls, so much fear of the unknown, so much anxiety of needing to be strong, so much grieving of what was and what isn’t.

I am beginning to sense glimpses of the intimacy that Jesus desires to have with me. No longer do I need to feel like the orphan who is alone, instead Jesus is the companion who walks with me through the alone times, the brother who holds my hand when I feel lonely, the friend who carries me when I haven’t the strength to face another trial. I don’t have to be strong all the time in order to survive now.

I think for so long I viewed time alone, a time of rest, a time unplugged from social media as a means to run from the very things that I longed for, connection, a deep connection with Jesus.  Yes, I wanted Him to fix what felt broken, to fill the voids, the deep longings and needs I had, but I was also was afraid of what I would hear , fearing His answer. Trust was elusive sometimes. Would He be enough?

Yes, I was desperate for Jesus to show up, and He did….and does…. but I also didn’t fully understand what it meant for Him to “stay”.

As God continues to redefine quiet for me He is transforming my aloneness, as well as my loneliest and messiest times into something that is beautiful and intimate.

As author, Bonnie Gray states:

“Quiet isn’t that absence of stress. Quiet signifies intimate confidence in your importance to Jesus.”

And we are important to Him….He is enough….and we are never truly alone when we have Jesus. Alone-Yet-Not-Alone

And the second observation that was said while I was with my counselor I will share in the next post, stay tuned!!

No Longer Victims of Fear

Women, especially those have been sexually abused, oftentimes carry deep fears. Men can as well, it just looks different for men then it does for women.

While fear is normal and valuable because it can keep a person from dangerous situations and mobilize a person to flee when danger approaches, it can also be an enemy, wearing a person down, robbing one of health and keep us from enjoying positive relationships.

One area I have had to deal with specifically in my life is that of changing my expectations and not viewing everything through the lens of fear.

expect-great-things

People tend to both see and experience what they expect. How do you feel about that statement?

None of us entered life expecting to be abused, and although there are exceptions to the rule regarding the statement,  generally speaking, I think it is pretty accurate.

Let me use the following story to illustrate.

A King wanted to find out whether his kingdom contained more weeds or flowers. He called two men into his court. To the first he gave the assignment of cataloging all the weeks in his kingdom. The second man was given the assignment of cataloging all the flowers. They were given two months to complete their assignment.

At the end of the two months they returned to the king. The first said, “O mighty king, your kingdom is covered in weeds! It’s a horrible sight! You must do something about it. It’s sad to have so many weeds invading your kingdom.”

The second man said, “O mighty king, our kingdom is absolutely overrun with flowers of every kind and color. They are glorious. They make your kingdom fresh and alive. It is a joy to be part of your kingdom.”

Talk about two very different perspectives.

What we expect to see colors what we do see in life!! 

believe

Because I have been talking a lot lately about “words” I’d like to share something I have discovered over the years.

While it’s true that although words can be thrown at us carelessly and sometimes they can be hurled with the intent to injure, I can’t help but wonder how often we filter situations or words from others through our already gaping wounds….words from friends, family, co-workers, Christian brothers and sisters…..how often are words spoken and we assume they are insinuating something when it was really the farthest thing from their minds?

Yet their words can pierce deeply because we are hearing them through words and wounds long ago spoken that have left a fracture in our spirits and we tend to filter everything through that.

And so we react, we turn away, we put up a wall, we take offence, we write that person off, we withdraw deeper into ourselves instead of taking the wound or the assumption or the questions to Jesus. How often do we find the courage to go to the person and ask what they really meant, asking them to elaborate, or to risk telling them the effect their words had on us.

I am not saying this to heap more guilt or shame, I am not suggesting that it didn’t hurt, I am never denying the pain….but perhaps it is time to honestly look at our reactions through the lens of Jesus rather than our fears.

Please understand that I am not talking about words that are abusive, insulting , harmful or offensive, words used to control, wound or manipulate us. I am talking about our everyday relationships with friends, co-workers, those with whom we are in community.

Isaiah

 

In dealing with fear, changing my expectations has been a part of my healing process. I was hurt many times as a child, but there are flowers in the kingdom, I had to make the choice to look for them. I had to realize that my life was not totally ruined because of the weeds unless I decided to quit on myself.

 

Our fears are frequently tied to our pasts….maybe it’s time to look at the present for what it is.

 

Because if we live our lives expecting to be hurt, expecting to see weeds wherever we look, expecting others to always let us down, wrong us or think the worst of us….then our abuser wins again.

Remember…..today and tomorrow have no writing on them yet……. 

My hope is that your story will be about changing your expectations, about allowing God to birth something beautiful inside of you, that you will trust Him, and  that you will learn to love without fear.

writing

 

 

 

Hope does not put us to shame.

“You are not wanted!!” Have you heard those words?

Whether flung carelessly or with intent, the impact those words had on your heart left an imprint.sad

No one wants to hear those words…..in our workplace, in our job interviews, in our relationships, in our community, or from someone we love deeply and trust.

No matter where the words come from they can influence our decisions and often drive us to be more, to do more, all in order to never hear those words again.
They can cause us to live our lives in fear. When we live fearing to never hear those words again we can find ourselves living as someone who strives to be loved and cherished, not for who we are but for what we can do or who we can become in order to accepted.

words hurt
And we fear failing….therefore we strive all the harder…..in our parenting, in our friendships that seem to always end up as one way relationships, in our giving more then our 100% in our work place, in seeking approval from those in authority…..why, because we fear not being enough….we fear failing….we fear stopping the roller coaster because our worth is based on what we can do and not who we are.

What would happen to us if we stopped doing and simply offered our authentic, plain selves?
What would happen if we allowed ourselves the grace to be simply who we are instead of offering ourselves to others from that place of wounding- letting the words of not being wanted, or good enough, or pretty enough, or strong enough, or successful enough, or smart enough, or having what it takes define us….what then….

free or hiding

The power of words.
Words that have the power to wound us still….. often making us feel smaller then we already are feeling. Or maybe they make us feel coerced into getting over what we just can’t seem to get over. Words that make us feel more alone…..standing on the outside…..not feeling loved, understood or accepted.

Take a moment to look into the soul of that small child within you who felt the full power of words that wounded. The small child who felt crushed. Lonely. Abandoned. Forgotten. Beat Up. Broken. Humiliated. Take a moment to allow Jesus to speak His WORDS into that tender soul.
What might you hear Him say….

He sees you
He hears you
He knows you
He gathers you to Him
He holds you
He understands you
He is with you always
He is preparing a place for you, just for you
He knows you
He comforts you
He is that place of safety for you
He lifts your head
He looks into your eyes with a love that goes deeper and transcends all words and wounds
He wants you to be real, because He is real
He doesn’t give up on you
And He asks you to not give up on that small child either……

He asks you to risk, risk trusting Him…..trust Him when you find yourself wanting to be yourself yet you are afraid to be loved and known. He asks you let Him love the child within you….will you let Him?

god-whispers

Romans 5:5 (ESV)
And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Little girl hiding….

come-to-me Isaiah 55: 1-2
“Is anyone thirsty?
Come and drink—even if you have no money!
Come, take your choice of wine or milk—it’s all free!
Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food.

Rest- an intimate movement to receive.

It has been said that spiritual rest is a journey of awakening our hearts to fully receive…..it’s easy to talk about rest, it sounds so easy doesn’t it?

But in all honesty rest, true, deep, soulful rest doesn’t come easy for me. Sure I have had peaceful moments, yet I really haven’t held onto them long enough to make rest my soul’s everyday home.

David in the Psalms talks about his need for deep, soulful rest:
You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom. (Psalm 51:6)

In my innermost being, in those hidden places inside, rest has eluded me…. because in truth I have always worked so hard to rest.
Yet God desires that in our innermost places we find rest in Him, but I find it scary, because I prefer safety over intimacy.

This morning God brought to mind a memory of my father, my birth father.
I didn’t know what to do-my birth dad, along with my siblings, were visiting. I knew they had come to see me but as my father and my aunt and uncle sat at the table enjoying steaming mugs of coffee and my siblings enjoying my aunts baking, I stood off to the side. Uncertain. Tentative. Hesitant. Cautious. Timid.
Do I go and enter into their conversation, becoming a part of their family? I could see the longing and the sadness in my father’s eyes as he watched his daughter from a distance…..his little girl whom he longed to hold and cherish…..but I didn’t know what to do….and so I remained at a distance, watching.

I knew my “adopted” family-my aunt and uncle whom I called mom and dad- were torn as well….they were raising me as their daughter and yet they knew that this man before me was my birth father….and so I stood there torn, undecided, unsure of what to do……do I please them or do I please my father…..do I do what I want to do…..instead I did what came natural to me…..I ran, I hid….shielding myself from disappointment and from pain.
The little girl within me at such a young age felt so conflicted…..what began then has continued into my adulthood. The conflict between what I want and what I ought to do has conflicted within my innermost being….the deep place where God says He desires truth….the hidden part where He desires to bring freedom. little-girl-hiding

In hiding, the little girl found her place of rest…..because the unknown was too frightening, the pain was too great, the fear too daunting and the emotions too overwhelming……trust became ever increasingly difficult for me….all those feelings locked inside my heart that day. And every time my father came to visit after that day I would find myself torn once again. And I didn’t realize until now that those feelings froze inside me that day.

Some of the stories I have viewed as childhood memories are actually still “live events” hidden behind the wall in my heart….the wall that I thought was gone but some of it still remains.
As I looked back at the memory this morning asking God what He desires to speak into my heart from it….I hear Him whisper “come”. Such a simple word….and yet…..

Too often instead of trusting God, allowing my brokenness to bring me to Him, a battle ensues and I find myself running away from the things that break me….not willing to look at the parts of my life that are not at rest…..my appeasing, my fear of speaking truth, my caring too much of what people think, my desires to please people, my fear of letting people wrestle with their own pain knowing I can’t make it better, not being good enough, not being enough period……and just like I did as a young girl I feel trapped at times.
What should I do? What will happen if I do one thing or the other? What will happen to my father, what will happen to me?

A part of me that day wanted to run and jump into my father’s arms, nestling into that place of safety with the man who desperately wanted to love his little girl, to wipe away the tears that glistened in his eyes as he watched me from a distance as he longed to be my daddy….but we both felt awkward that day, both of us uncertain of our places, we both had hearts breaking for the other and ourselves…..and so we remained at a distance, neither of us willing to step into that sacred space, both reacting from our wounds and adding fresh wounds to our already fragmented hearts…..
spiritual-runaway-image

As I look back my mind goes to the “what if’s”…..what if neither of us cared about the world around us, what if neither of us cared about what was right or wrong but of relationship….what if we shook off the fear and embraced truth…. the “what if” lingers still….

I can’t go back, how I wish I could….how I wish my father had been a braver man, how I wish I hadn’t been a fearful child…..
But life doesn’t always turn out like the movies or a fairy tale does it….instead two people that day, one an adult and one a child, had their hearts split apart that day…..we both ran, it may have looked different for each of us, but we both ran….to our place of safety.

All this running is exhausting…..

Whenever I stop and face the silence I have to face the truth….I am suspicious of a restful life. My heart learned very early that it is safer to hide than to stay open long enough to receive…..divided between what I desire and what I fear.

If my aunt and uncle would have given me permission and freedom to fully receive from my father the heart of that little girl would not have been fragmented that day….but it didn’t turn out that way.

So where does that leave me today-it leads me to the place where God is inviting me to come, to stop my running, to allow Him to enfold me in His arms, to find soul rest~ that intimate place of rest where I’ve ever dared to believe is possible…..a place of comfort…..abundance……delight……of truth……
in his arms

Do you find it hard to rest? To receive? When do you find your soul at rest?

The Journey Begins…..

There I was, sitting on the floor with my face nuzzled into my big, black puppy’s neck, sobbing…..pain from somewhere deep within finding its way to the surface….

My big puppy stoically allowed me to let it all out…finally turning to me when the tears were spent and gave me a big, sloppy lick on my face as if to say, I’m here and it’s going to be okay, we will play again when you are ready. I couldn’t help but smile…yes; I want to play again….
balance

An imbalanced life….that’s how I felt that day…..but it is risky to stop and investigate the whys and how did I get here? Why do I feel so stressed? No one wants to feel this way; no one wants to feel alone and desolate….

Desolate- now there is a word that you don’t want to identify yourself with. How can you find rest for your soul in a place such as this? But this was the place within me that I hid from, ran from even…..the places where stress, anxiety and fear overtake….robbing me of my moments….and yet, it is to a desolate place where Jesus went to meet with God. It’s the place he retreated too….it is where he found his quiet time.
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely [desolate] places and prayed. Luke 15: 16”

In that moment of vulnerability with my head buried in the soft fur of my puppy, God showed me where He wanted to take me…..He was asking me to “follow” Him to this place of discovery~to “quit” being afraid of what others think! Ouch….do I want to go there…umm, no, but I know I should, I know I must, in order to find soul rest.

My need to be what other people wanted, needed and expected me to be was far too great to actually allow me to stand up for myself. How is it after all these years I can still find myself defined not by God’s love but by what others think of me?

QuitBeingAfraid600

And so….

follow Him….

I must…..

Psalm 27:7-10
The Message (MSG)
7-9 Listen, God, I’m calling at the top of my lungs:
“Be good to me! Answer me!”
When my heart whispered, “Seek God,”
my whole being replied,
“I’m seeking him!”
Don’t hide from me now!
9-10 You’ve always been right there for me;
don’t turn your back on me now.
Don’t throw me out, don’t abandon me;
you’ve always kept the door open.
My father and mother walked out and left me,
but God took me in.