Tag Archive | grace

An Apology to a Brave Man

My husband is a brave man. He has been reading my blog posts even though he is aware that the words he reads will in all likelihood pierce his heart as he continues to learn of the effects his pornography addiction has had on me and our children.

After reading Hope is Scary, he gently brought to my attention an error that I had made in expressing his feelings in my story. My husband was disappointed to not consummate our marriage on our wedding night. I am grateful for his correction as it has taught me a valuable lesson early in the communicating of my story. I am telling my story, not his, and although the two are closely intertwined as our story, I cannot presume to know his feelings and thoughts on all the situations I may write about.

I wrote in truth my perception and feelings based on my reality and memories. And I will continue to do so because it is the truth and reality of the life I have lived. What I will no longer do is transfer my perceptions onto my husband as being his truth.

I apologize to my husband, my biggest fan and supporter, for this unintentional yet hurtful blunder.

And I apologize to tamarshope and the readers of Tears in a Bottle for the inaccuracy. It is my hope that you will extend grace to me as I stumble and learn to find my voice. It is my hope that you will continue along with me and my husband as we walk hand in hand with each other and God on our healing journey.


Welcome a New Writer!

I have invited a guest writer to my blog and although she will introduce herself in the coming days and weeks and she shares her story and her heart, I would like to take a moment to say a few words about her and to welcome her to Tears in A Bottle. 

A few years ago when my life seemed to unravel I often thought; “I’m so alone! No one else gets it!”

And then God brought Cynthia into my life!! And though our stories may be different there is a common thread that runs through them.


Cynthia is a talented writer, a wife and mom and a dear friend. She sees, not only with her eyes, but with heart and spirit.

She writes about the invisible grit, the soul parts that we feel but can’t see. And she does so with gracefulness, honesty, and whispered words of faith.

She is a gift to me.

Cynthia’s honesty challenges me. Truly. And yet, her honesty shows me grace, not shame.

I am grateful for that about her. Over the last couple of years as I’ve come to know Cynthia and have read what she writes, I kept thinking; “this has got to be shared!”



And so from time to time I would mention this blog and ask if she would consider writing and sharing her story here…..because I know there are many who need her words of encouragement, life and yes, even challenge.

It’s a scary thing to write on a blog, but she was willing to listen to God’s voice…and in His timing move forward in faithful obedience…knowing He’s right there beside her.


Really, for all of us, whether it is with a pencil or a paintbrush or a mixing bowl or a microphone or a dust cloth, an empty page, a blank canvas or a sheet of music.

They are tools….and we are called create.

Friends, for each of us, it’s time to peel back the layers, remove the veil and find the art – the gifts – deep within. Uncover them. Dust them off. They are yours. Unique to you.

And like Cynthia, in His timing, we use them. I encourage each of you, use your gifts to influence those around you. This is your art.

You will find that Cynthia writes with feeling, depth and truth. You will see glimpses of her heart through her words, her writing is her art.



I hope that you will welcome Cynthia and read her words and hear her heart, because through them God will impact your life.

Thank you Cynthia for saying “Yes” to the invitation to share your heart.

Thank you for your obedience Cynthia and the legacy you’re leaving. Thank you for sharing with us your art. 

Our Stories of Brokenness….

Spiritual whitespaceI have been following a blog by author, Bonnie Gray, for some time now and I have also read her book, “Finding Spiritual Whitespace”.

She is a gifted writer, who shares her story and her soul. Her voice is pure, calming and inspiring.

At the end of this post I will share a link to an article she wrote, please take the time to read it. She expresses what is in my heart.

The enemy continues to try and quiet my voice…to not share my journey, especially in the midst of this painful time in my marriage.

I sometimes daily battle the urge to appear to have it all together, to offer only what I think people need, what I think it is they want. To offer a false self to them and even to my husband.


Because I’ve always felt this  pressure to seem unbroken, especially as a good Christian woman.

But I am finding that in my support groups this isn’t the case. We are all there because we are broken and there is no denying it or hiding it.

But really! Who wants to appear broken, doubtful, uncertain and in pain…..who wants their words to be misunderstood, used against them or wrong assumptions to be made? telling our story

Bonnie Gray encourages me with these words:

“It’s hard to write and put our stories out there, but I passionately believe every part of our journey is soul beautiful with Jesus.

It’s our authentic stories that frees people to see that Jesus real, loving, beautiful and alive. Right now through you and me. As is.

The world longs to know God through real people. Your voice. Your story.

Love the world by letting God love us — through our stories.”

Maybe, just maybe, it’s time for all of us to not give up, to be courageous, to keep trying, to not let our voices be silenced any longer.

Telling your story is really about finding and using your voice. Be kind to yourself and listen to the parts of your story that want to be told.

I love what Bonnie Gray points out in her article-

“I thought about God — how did He decide what to include, given this is His only written book about Himself? Talk about stress and pressure to pick and choose!

But, God didn’t choose to write a book of rules or formulas. God chose to write a book about real people — His favorite stories of those He loved.

These were real people, all journeying through different human experiences.  God did not choose to edit out tragedy, betrayal, and brokenness.  He included it all”

And isn’t it true, it is in the midst of these broken, authentic stories that God shows such grace and beauty!



The Power of our Words….

As you can see I have taken a hiatus from blogging for awhile, not because I haven’t had anything thing to share, not because my heart isn’t still passionate to see women and men find freedom and walk in victory through Jesus, but because it feels like God has taken me through a season of pruning….a season of trusting, of walking by faith not by sight, a season of aloneness…..and I continue trusting Him as He is giving me just enough light for the step I am on.

But I am back now and hope to share more of His heart with you….more of my self with you…..and trusting that He has a purpose for all things.

I’d like to share something different from what I normally do… the following is from author, Holley Gerth, and her words are powerful for us women….words that need to be heard.

Women, I am sure we are all guilty of this at some point in our lives. We need this reminder to support and love each other. We need to take the gentler path and offer grace to each other.
I pray we can stop our critical and dismissive behavior and words because the truth is: God loves us all equally! There is no competition for God’s love!
What she shares is true, beautiful, convicting and real….


From Holley: “I sit at a junior high lunch table feeling self-conscious about my braces and wondering if I will ever have a boyfriend. My thoughts are interrupted by a group of girls behind me. “Oh, she wants to be cool but she’s not,” says one. The others laugh and add similar remarks. My back stiffens and I stare ahead, sure they’re talking about me.

But then someone says, “Shh, here she comes.” A girl slides into a seat next to the rest of the group and they welcome her like they’re all BFFs. She has no idea she’s just been the topic of conversation. Or does she? Somewhere deep inside her, doesn’t she realize that if her group talks about everyone else then of course at some point it’s going to be her turn too?

The only way to make our sisters feel truly, deeply, heart safe is to never talk critically about anyone. No gossip. No condemnation. No judgment. Not even disguised as a prayer request. Is this hard? Oh, honey. But it’s one of the greatest gifts we can offer to each other.

Yes, you will have times when you will have a genuine concern about someone and you will need to process it verbally with someone else in order to help that person, resolve a disagreement, or for another worthy cause. I’m not talking about those times–that’s a whole post on its own. I’m talking about when we tear down our sisters as a type of entertainment. For a moment we feel less insecure, more powerful, included. We suddenly feel more value when we say, “Did you know…?” and follow that phrase with the latest juicy tidbit.

But after the temporary sense of belonging wears off we walk away wondering, “What do they say about me when I’m not there?” Expect that your friends talk about you in the same way they do everyone else in their lives. And expect that they will imagine you do the same. Telling someone, “But I would never say anything like that about you” is little reassurance.

Let’s start a new movement, friends. Instead of women being known for talking behind each other’s backs, what if we were known for having each other’s backs? Jesus said, “By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you love one another” {John 13:35}. That includes our words.

Years ago I wrote the commitment of words above and I still hold tight to it today. I want you to know you are safe with me. You are safe with (in)courage. You are safe with each other. We are not that lunch table in junior high. We never have been and we never will be. Everyone is welcome but words that wound are not allowed. No, ma’am.

So come in, sister, sit down and share your heart. We want to hear. We want to know you. We want to cheer you on. And when you stand up and take a step forward in faith, you can be sure we’ll have your back wherever God asks you to go.


Holley Gerth


Emmanuel~God with us!

God's lightI love Christmas! It is a season to celebrate but all too soon it ends and life goes on…..
I don’t know if you are like me but too often I go into the new year with resolutions and a resolve to do better, to improve myself and to make a difference. However, the road can become long, I grow tired and weary, and all my good intentions seem to fall by the wayside.

Life is a journey… perhaps it is just the anticipation of a new year but I find I get reflective and find myself asking; is God not bigger than the boxes I try to keep Him in…and life not larger than the labels I would paste on it.

I love it when the Holy Spirit gently whispers to my spirit that God is big, and although life is large if I look I will find surprises at every turn, unexpected mercy in times of need, unbridled grace when I surrender and the love of God at the end of every road.
He reminds me that a life of faith is not built on my own strength, but on the
strength and goodness of God.

This Christmas as I lit a solitary candle and took some time to rest in my heavenly Fathers presence, I realized that of all the awesome events in the story of Christ’s birth – the star, the angels, the shepherds, the wise men – the most remarkable is simply the fact that He came!

Emmanuel-God with us….long after the celebration is over, the Christmas tree is taken down and the decorations are put away may we remember that we are no longer alone, the Prince of Peace has come to tell us how much we are loved by the Father.

And as I bundled up on a crisp, winter evening and stepped outside to view the magnificence of the stars in a cloudless, night sky I was reminded that God is guiding all of us just as He did the wise men who sought the child….if we will take the time to listen and to follow.

Emmanuel- God with us. My prayer is that we will always remember that the presence and mercy of our Heavenly Father is with us at all times, that the light of Christ’s love surround us…May grace and gratitude overflow…and may the joy of Christmas live in your heart all year round.

The Lord bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you and give
you peace. Numbers 6:24-26

Safety in the hiding place of grace….

I haven’t written for a while and I admit that I’ve missed being here. In the last couple of months it feels like I’ve been on a journey with God as I faced myself; truly faced some things about myself….my agendas, my weaknesses,  my flaws and my longings.

Working through the book, Grace for the Good Girl: Letting go of the try hard life by Emily P. Freeman, as well as the book, Truefaced: Trusting God and others, with who you really are by Bill Thrall, John Lynch, and Bill McNicol, has certainly not been easy, but it has been healing and freeing as I’ve been throwing off the yoke of pretending, and of learning to forgive myself.
Through these books God once again stripped away something within me….and I believe He is using these authors to strip away something within all of us who long for more……and I also believe that our Father God is blowing upon His children in this hour, with a gentle, yet powerful wind. He is breathing life into us…. and as He blows, the false perceptions concerning our identity, which we have received from the enemy, the church, and even ourselves, will be removed, and we will stand as His mighty servants….His warriors.

As my heavenly Father continues to strip away all that causes me to hide from Him and others, He offers me safety in the hiding place of grace!
And so, in the safety of His grace I have faced my self-protecting ways, my tendency to try and please God rather than trust Him, attempting to live a life of perfection and failing, the fear of making a mistake and looking foolish, and the hiding, not wanting others to see my weaknesses and flaws……but I get so weary of the striving, of beating myself up, of never cutting myself any slack….of paying penance….and I don’t think I am alone in this….God used the authors I mentioned earlier to expose another layer of self-protection and in its place I experienced the wild grace of God….

A friend shared with me a post from the Truefaced blog that was so very timely. With permission from John Lynch I am sharing this very powerful and freeing post.….

Please be sure and visit their blog….you will be blessed and experience much freedom as you journey into the room of grace.( www.truefaced.com/blog)

The Haunting Question

We’ve been spending the last few times together talking about forgiveness. But before we get to the good news-the way home, let me first address this haunting question being asked by many of you:

“What about the forgiveness I can’t give myself? How do I forgive myself?”

Bill and Bruce would do this much better, but they’re probably on some Polynesian island with friends, drinking fun concoctions from the shells of coconuts. So, today I’m all you’ve got.


To forgive myself demands I not only trust the shed blood of Jesus to completely purchase my salvation with God in heaven. I must be absolutely convinced it allows Him to never be disgusted with me while I am maturing into who He says I now am. He says I am righteous even though I often don’t yet behave like it. He says I am holy though I surprise even myself with the outlandishness of my selfishness. He says I am absolutely and completely beloved. He is actually unable to love me more and refuses to allow anything I do to cause Him to love me less.

It is stunningly and overwhelming shattering to face that He saw every single betrayal, obsessive repetition of failure, and my repeated hurting of those I most love long before I performed them. And having seen even the degradation I’ve not had a chance to yet act out, He said, “Yes, that one. That’s the one I want to bestow all my love upon. All of it. Uniquely, particularly and with as much unbridled love as I have for my only begotten Son.”

And now, what delights Him most is that I’d just believe it. Not perform penance for Him. Not beat myself up to prove I mean business. Not take the all-forgiving nature of that love as a reason to carry disgust for myself when I fail. Not degrade myself before Him under the self-disdaining groan of “What’s wrong with me? I should be better by now. What a loser!” Those words no longer fit; not for one now literally fused in nature with the God of the universe.

It’s hard to conceive that the very power over the next failure you will not want to not forgive yourself for, is found completely in trusting the power of this scandalous, outlandish, stunning love. Trusting God with my sin, allowing His solution, is the entire basis for releasing the redemptive power of the Cross. Period.

The only thing I might want to be upset at myself for is refusing to take this gift. For me to somehow imagine that I “should be…if I were any kind of Christian”, diminishes the sacred purpose of the cross and thinks far too highly of myself.

It is a choice of humility that says, “I’ve played judge and jury far too long. I’m weary of it. You alone have authority to judge and prosecute. I’ve been dragging around what has never been mine to carry. I’m done fighting this one by myself, foolishly imagining You don’t care enough or have the power to redeem every one of these failures. Either You are God and can fully vindicate, validate, redeem, protect, exonerate, defend, make me blameless, or this whole thing has been a cheap carnival magic show. I’m done with the trite contention that I’m just too failed to be forgiven by You or myself. I’m done demeaning what you did for me. Forgive me for this arrogance most of all my dear God.”

When Paul says in Romans 8 that no one gets to bring a charge, condemn, or separate us from every fiber of His unfathomable love, included in that “no one” is us!!

This all sounds good and well-until you do the one thing you thought you’d never do. The really big one. The one God lovers don’t do. That’s when we may have to go through that dark night of the soul to discover whether we’re convinced the shed blood was that powerful.

No, this does not excuse my sin. Yes, I will need to make things right with those I’ve wronged. Yes, I will need face the reality of what I’ve done, along with the consequences. But there are two things I must not do:

*Refuse His complete, absolute forgiveness and unchanging assessment, love and affection.

*Refuse to accept His complete acceptance, fellowship and delight after what I’ve done.


For these, as noble or pious as they might sound, actually deny the efficacy of what Christ did for us.

He has no need of such rehearsal of shame. That day is over. You are free. You are right on time. You are deeply, always precious and front row with Him. And this new life within you will never want to take advantage of it, given the chance to live in it. This magical, all encompassing love, when risked and trusted, forms the basis for real, beautiful, stunned worship.

The Cross was that powerful, your God that incredible.

John-one of the three amigos, part of the ever-growing tribe of grace

Fellow strugglers, thank you for journeying with me….. He is calling us deeper, and invites us to journey with Him and experience His wild grace…..and His gentle voice to us today says this:
“Arise my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me, See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me. (Song of Sol. 2:10-13)


What’s your name?


מחול = forgiven

חנינה = pardoned

לחוס = spared

מכוסה = covered


This morning during my quiet time with the Lord I came across this verse in Revelation 2:17 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.”

This verse really spoke to me about my identity; what do I believe about myself, and do I believe what God says about me, and to me…..what is my name….. All too often I am still held captive and bound to the lies I have believed.

 Our enemy, the devil, is the accuser and he often uses others to generate his alias identities over us. Maybe like me you were called names at home by those who were supposed to protect you and care for you, or maybe you were teased or bullied at school, or maybe you are in a relationship and the person who professes to love you continually puts you down, calling you names…no matter where or by whom we’ve been labeled, all too often we take on the names we were given….maybe we even find ourselves repeating these very names to ourselves. Many of these labels where placed on us through deep wounds from our own wrong choices in life, and  the wrong choices inflicted upon us from others

We don’t do this intentionally but names can be prophetic declarations that can define a person’s identity. Why, because we can act according to who we believe we are, we can eventually act out these lies in our behavior.

It has been said that we respond to our environment according to the way we see ourselves. Words spoken to us and over us become the names we carry in our hearts, often painting a photograph of ourselves in our imagination and becoming the lens with which we view our world.

The enemy gives us names in order to disempower us. How many of us have spent too much of our lives playing by his rules because we have believed the wrong name? How many of us have acted out of who we believed we were.

I grew up in a home where fierce jealousy and anger were displayed openly. Yet the very one who was jealous of his wife was the one who lusted after other women and flirted openly in front of his family. It sent mixed messages to me and the other women in the family….as a young girl if I painted my fingernails I was considered trash…yet when I would see the women he flirted with they most always had painted fingernails. Too many women, who are called a whore for no reason as young girls, simply because they are female, can quite often spend their lives struggling with immorality.

Throughout Scripture you will find many people who were insignificant until their names were changed. Simon wasn’t an apostle until his name was changed to Peter. Saul wasn’t an apostle until his name was changed to Paul. I like the story of Jacob in Genesis 32 where we find him wrestling with an angel of the Lord. The name Jacob meant deceiver and we see that indeed he acted out his name. But when he encountered the angel his name was changed to “Israel” which means “a prince of God”. The new name released him into his prophetic destiny.

I read once that “grace as well as disgrace is released by name calling. Grace is the operational power of God…grace is the God-given ability to become what we couldn’t become before we received the declaration. Whereas disgrace, also has the power to release curses from the dark side.”

And this brings me back to the verse in Revelation. It is very important that we all hear the name the Lord has given to us and allow that name to define our identities. When we get to heaven we will be given a new name written on a white stone that only we will know!! This name will be birthed from a foundation of purity (white stone) and intimacy (no one will know it but you and Jesus). We will need a new identity that is fitting with our new calling.

As I’ve continued through this study on Grace for the Good Girl; letting go of the try hard life, I am finally coming to know the truth in my heart that I am good because I have received a new heart and a new mind. (Ezekiel 36:26; 1 Cor. 2:16)

When I received Christ as my Lord no longer am I a sinner….no longer do I need to struggle with being good enough, or trying to always do the right thing, because then I am still putting my faith in my ability to fail instead of His work on the cross.

I could spend the rest of my life living under the curse of my old name or names, or I like “Israel”, can receive my new name that has the power to alter my very DNA.

When I fail or make a mistake I don’t need to beat myself up because I am just not good enough, I can quit striving to get it right, and I don’t need to run and withdraw from life because it is just too hard….because this is where God’s grace and mercy come in. No longer do we need to remain trapped by the names imposed on us by others, the names we  take on ourselves, no longer do we need to feel at a loss for identity.

Grace is God’s ability at work within me, not my own strength or ability. I am a daughter of the King and when our Heavenly Father looks at me and looks at you, He sees the image of the Son he loves!! That is Amazing Grace!!

I hope that you will take a moment to watch this video short clip from Kary Oberbrunner based on his book Your Secret Name; discovering who God created you to be.

Your Secret name

Finding rest and freedom in following my Father’s leading…..

Continuing on from the previous post, Coloring inside the lines  regarding the topic of mask wearing, of hiding and of striving, God is choosing to minister to this “recovering perfectionist” through an intimate women’s study that I am involved in. We are reading the book: Grace for the Good Girl; letting go of the try hard life, by Emily P. Freeman.

  Following is something Carolyn, one of the women from our group, shared during one of our bible study times….it is shared from the heart of a woman who is also on a journey, a beautiful sister in Christ and a cherished friend, whose heart our heavenly Father is pursuing….she is getting a taste of the freedom He offers and what it means to walk in the confidence of God’s grace, and I am so thankful that I am on this journey with her…..And as I share it with you today it will give you a glimpse into not only her heart, but also a glimpse of our Father’s heart, His heart for you….

These are her words:

I’m currently studying a book with a few ladies, “Grace for the Good Girl” by Emily P. Freeman. In it she talks about being free of the need/drive to do and say the things we believe will please others. She speaks about taking off the masks that we so carefully put on before we step outside our door every day because we are afraid of people seeing the “real” us. She talks about being free of striving to be the person we believe others are expecting us to be. As I take the information in and mull it around I struggle with knowing how to do that? What will people think of me? Will people still like me? What would that look like? Won’t people think I’m rude, lazy, a failure? How do I balance out this letting go of perfection?

Dec 10th – 3am.

The Holy Spirit spoke clearly to me and very lovingly and gently addressed my questions. He spoke to me about balance. I was struggling to figure out how to find balance between the perfectionist/good girl and who I would be if I were free from the need to try and please others. My question of “what would that look like” was based on my fear of what others would think of me if I was not always pleasant, happy, agreeable, and available to help.

But God showed me I need to change the center “pivotal point” of my balance scale. I should not be focused on trying to please people. My focus needs to be my Father.

When Jesus was on earth was he always smiling? I’m sure he was not. Did he always answer people that he was fine? Again, not. Did he heal everyone? No. Was he kind to every person he met? No. There were those he rebuked. Was he always pleasant? No. Did he always do the things others though he should be doing? Absolutely NOT! So to sum it up he was unpleasant at times, unhappy, angry. He left some people dissatisfied (according to their worldly wants/desires)……yet he was doing the will of his Father. YES!

That is how my focus has to change. As Emily mentions so many times in her book I need to follow my Father. Then do not feel guilty that I am not pleasing people.

I was created to worship God and I am here at this time to draw close to Him and do the things that please him.
If that does not please “man” that is where the word “fine” fits.

And as I give myself permission to stop trying to please “man” and desire to please God I know that also frees me from judging others. I can allow them to be free to do the Father’s will in their lives and not require them to do what I think God’s will might be for them.

I need to change the fulcrum in my scale from man to God. When I do that I no longer need to know what it will look like. I will be free in following my Father’s leading.

Coloring inside the lines….

My grade 4 elementary school year held such promise for me. My new teacher was from England and she spoke with a delightful accent. She was also pretty and it wasn’t long before I adored her.

I was a quiet, compliant student and very attentive, especially when my teacher talked. I could have sat for hours listening to her voice, soaking it in. I was enamored by her and wanted to please her and wanted to be special to her.

Looking back, I think in the mind of a 9 year old I envisioned my mom through her.  I knew that my mom had been from England and therefore she had an English accent even though I had never known her or heard her voice. She died when I was 6 months old and I was being raised by my aunt and uncle.  Back then there were no video cameras so she was never recorded and I was left to only imagine her voice.  All I had of her were a couple of blurry, black and white photos.

I remember the assignment vividly. We were to use our imagination and design and draw our own line of clothing. I was excited; finally I could do what I loved to do the most, which was draw. I would spend hours at home drawing, mostly horses and people….I could do this project!!

I eagerly began to design a girl wearing western wear. As a little girl who grew up on a farm surrounded by horses, my dream was to be a cowgirl and so this was perfect, I would design a cowgirl outfit, complete with cowboy boots and hat.

But I didn’t stop there!  Along with the girl I drew a horse beside her….I was on a role! I thought why not, when I saw ads in the magazines I always noticed the extra props and images used, so why not add a horse to my design.

I colored very carefully both the model and the horse, outlining and filling in the best I could. I very proudly took it to her and placed it on her desk along with the other drawings from my classmates.

Later that day as we sat on the floor encircling our teacher I eagerly awaited her compliments on my drawing, thinking she would be impressed with my imagination and my talent.

But instead of the expected grand compliment she held up my picture for the class to see and proceeded to scoff at the fact that I had a horse included.

“Who puts a horse in the picture”, she said, “it doesn’t belong”. The class laughed and I was humiliated. I thought that adding the horse was complementary to the western wear I’d designed, but I was wrong, and I was embarrassed and humiliated and I was a failure.

That day as a little girl I vowed to never, ever, do anything that would bring attention to myself again.

I would always color inside the lines….I would always do exactly whatever was asked of me. Who did I think I was…..

Author David Seamands once wrote, “Children are the best recorders, but the worst interpreters.” I find this to be so true. As children we can often vividly remember smells, colors, moments, feelings and conversations…our memories may be clear but the meanings from those memories may or may not be.

That day in the classroom I “recorded” what happened. But the deep hurt and rejection I felt and the voice that spoke in my head telling me to hide and never bring attention to myself was a bad “interpreter”.

As a child, who wasn’t capable of reason as I am today, allowed my teachers words (as well as the words of others) to shape what I thought of myself and how I lived….. And if I am honest, although I can rationalize my teacher’s reaction as thoughtless or tactless, if I am honest I admit that I still struggle at times to not live in hiding, to color only inside the lines, to never bring attention to myself.

Some of you may wonder why one incident would make such an impact, but to the little girl who believed so many lies already, it was simply one more rejection…one more hope dashed, one more humiliation, one more negative response in a long line of abandonment and dismissals.

The little girl in grade 4 had already formed an image of herself….she saw herself as unwanted…she believed she was the little girl that nobody wanted. She believed the lie she was worthless. She lived as one at such a tender young age who already knew what striving meant. What performance looked like in order to gain approval.

 As a little girl, I learned very early that I had to be perfect because when I wasn’t I paid for it. I learned to color inside the lines….And now years later as an adult, I am a woman who still wrestles at times to color outside the lines….to not want to hide, to let go of the striving to be the good girl, to be accepted and approved of. Even now there are times of not wanting to be known, fearing that people will think of me as stupid or wrong, that I am a poser after all.

 Although my past has been sordid my present is predictable. It is a place that I feel safe…..hiding from the things I fear.

 And though the drive to “color inside the lines” serves me well at times, it can sometimes be an obstacle to enjoying God’s grace and love.

Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”


 The beautiful gift of Jesus is that he longs to call us out from behind the masks we wear, the lives of hiding and the lies we believe and into the hiding place of grace….

God created you and me to be something special, unlike anyone else who has or will ever live.

If you are a follower of my blog I do hope that you will join me as I unpack this whole area of hiding…of mask wearing…as I continue in my journey of shedding the heavy cloak of striving and running into the arms of Jesus, the ONE who offers me freedom…as He offers it to all of us…..

My friends…..

Don’t be afraid to dance when others sit on the sidelines.

Don’t be afraid to sing when the world tells you to be quiet.

Don’t be afraid to offer your voice when others demand silence.

Don’t be afraid to zig when others zag.

Don’t be afraid to color the world with your presence.

Don’t be afraid to color outside the lines.