Saturday, October 18, 2014

Penetrating

"When I think about courageous people, I am reminded of my friend Caroline, who for a solid year worked through painful memories to emerge victorious from the chains of rejection and low self-esteem.....now embraces life with renewed confidence and self-assurance....The truth is the road to wholeness is filled with bumps, hurdles, and unexpected trials. While I cannot guarantee a journey full of comfort and ease, I can promise you with the right attitude and God-centred plan it can be a successful one." Tracey Mitchell from Downside Up, Transform Rejection Into Your Golden Opportunity.

"I love my..." I stuttered, unable to finish and a sob escaping up from my throat. I can't do this. The eyes, my eyes that looked back at me blurred, then dashed away to look anywhere but at them, at me in the mirror. My hands tugged at the ends of my blonde hair that lay flat on my bare shoulders. It's going to be hard. I had been warned. Any words of love sit on my skin like dew drops on petals, un-penetrating, falling off.

"Stand in front of the mirror naked every morning and tell yourself what you love about you," she had instructed me recently. She who had witnessed a healing in me at a retreat only a week before, and now just heard my tale of sabotage. Sabotage to prove my deep belief true that 'I am bad.'

The most telling though, is that once the sabotage happens, the mistakes made, the hurt results, and the shame penetrating me, I feel peace for being punished, finally. Finally 'seen' that I deserve to be punished as 'I am bad.' And not deserving of love.

This is what needs to change.

Like Caroline, I now embark on a year of learning to love and respect myself to wholeness. Hurting people hurt people, and no longer do I want to hurt myself or others. And I know this road will be hard work, uncomfortable and not easy, but I know God does want to heal me. And in that, be a redeeming light of hope to others.

I took a deep breath and dared to look into my eyes again. "I love my long, painted nails (that not long ago were bitten and bleeding from a lifetime of nail biting). I love how I am a good listener. I love my blue eyes that shimmer with tears."

I stepped away from the mirror. Day one and a first step on the healing, successful journey of loving myself as God wants for me. And for you.

God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.  ~ Augustine


L.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Just Keep Moving Forward

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4

Just keep moving forward, I whispered to myself. Tears of sadness blurred the steering wheel of my Jeep as I turned the ignition key.  I drove away, away from what was and not knowing if I ever would return again. Could I ever return?

And although I have never returned, I do look backwards sometimes into the hope of what could have been. But I do keep moving forward even though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death. And I do not let the enemy defeat me. I walk with God's hand in mine and my head high, because I am His precious princess.

God even knows how many hairs are on your head. So don't be afraid. You are worth much more than many sparrows.
Matthew 10:29-30

And He is faithful on this journey of healing and new beginnings. He is faithful in bringing friends, old and new, to be quiet, to listen, to pray, and to speak truth to me. 

 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

And I choose to trust Him even though the dream dies.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 20:11

And I hear Him whisper to me "It's going to be ok."

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. John 10:27-28

And it has become ok. It is ok.

Sister, brother, I know that pain that leaves you crying out in the dark on your knees; the pain that you think you cannot survive for one more moment.  I pray for you today that no matter what you are going through you will know He is with you, hugging your heart. The tears may still be falling over the void of a loss, over the dream that has died. Please know that He will provide perfectly what you need to keep moving forward.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

Hope is not the closing of our eyes to risk difficulty or failure. It is the trust that if I fail now I will not fail forever; that if I am hurt, I shall be healed; that life is good, and love is powerful, and I shall find myself and others and God.


Love you.

L.


      
 





Monday, November 4, 2013

Surrendering the Lies


 “Are you giving anyone the greater authority over your life than Jesus Christ?” author and speaker Marian Jordan  asked the crowd of 70 plus women. I shifted in my seat, the labels of my identity, the labels that I recognize that have locked me away from what God calls me to do flashing red behind my eyes.

Unwanted

Unworthy

Unnecessary

“We are either walking in truth or the voice of the father of lies,” Marian continued.

The voice of lies.

Unwanted, unloved, unnecessary—all the voice of the father of lies. Often our lies come from outside of us—comments from parents, siblings, teachers that become our ‘truth’. In childhood I began developing the lie that I was ‘unwanted.’ Later this belief transpired to thoughts of unworthiness, showing up in my life through believing there was always someone who would be better in the space I was taking as friend, sister, wife, mother and employee. It is a battle I recognized and a war I constantly fought.

And then came Marian’s transforming words:

When we sit at Jesus feet, we are transformed; the labels are dropped, and we walk in God’s truth.  We do not need to try, to strive to rid of these labels that keep us locked in schemes of the enemy. When we bring them to Him, He sheds them as that is His way, and the truth.

What is the truth?

I walk with with Him-I am a daughter of light and not of darkness.
 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 1 Thessalonians 5:5

I am Wanted-I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption in sonship (daughtership) through Jesus Christ, in accordance to his pleasure and will- Ephesians 1:4-5

 I am Worthy-I have been fearfully and wonderfully made.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.[a]
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.

Psalm 139:14

I am Necessary-I am God’s workmanship-His handiwork born anew in Christ to do His work.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
 
Are you holding on to lies that keeps you locked from God’s destiny for you?

You can find out more about Marian Jordan's speaking engagements and purchase her books at Redeemed Girls Ministries.

 

 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Importance of Community and Support for Writers by Laurel Garver


                              I have the priviledge today of hosting author Laurel Garver!

Laurel Garver is the author of a  Never Gone, a young adult novel about a grieving teen who believes her dead father has returned as a ghost to help her reconcile with her estranged mother. View the trailer. Add it on Goodreads. It is available as an ebook and a paperback at Amazon.com, Amazon Canada, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, CreateSpace.

The importance of community and support for writers

 
by Laurel Garver, author of Never Gone

 In my novel Never Gone, my protagonist Danielle loses a parent, yet has more support available to her than she recognizes at first. Some of it feels periphery, like the funeral flowers and “influx of condolence cakes and casseroles.” She has a hard time being real with the caring adults at her church, like her youth pastor and confirmation sponsor (someone who is a mentor in your teen years). Danielle focuses on her close friends’ absence (out of town for the December holidays) rather than how they try to be present for her over the phone and Internet. She misreads her mother’s attempts to be strong as cold-heartedness. Danielle’s British relatives aren’t nearly as stoic and “keep a stiff upper lip” about the loss as she believes, either.

 A big piece of Danielle’s struggle is losing the person she relied on most for support, her dad. Over the course of the story, she awakens to the fact that not only has God not abandoned her, but he’s also placed her in the midst of a web of relationships that offer abundant support if she’ll only accept it.

 Community has been essential to me as a creative person. I never would have written a novel if it weren’t for a good friend challenging me to take up writing again when I was becoming fidgety and bored as a stay at home mom. She kept me accountable by asking to see pages each month of “anything you want to write.” In those early years of developing craft and taking up and abandoning ideas, another friend gave very practical support by babysitting or taking my daughter on outings “so you can write,” she said. I finished my first draft of the novel largely because my Bible study group asked week after week how progress was coming, how they could pray, and how they could help with research.

 And research! Well, I relied on a network of knowledgeable people to answer all kinds of questions: medical diagnoses and treatments, the sociology of various New York neighborhoods, how Anglican clergy live, therapeutic techniques for grieving kids, and much more. Anything I found in a book or online, I liked to double check with an expert.

 When I finished the second draft, my “beta readers” were church friends who read avidly. They gave great feedback that helped strengthen the story so much. My support network expanded when I began thinking about pursuing publication. I joined two critique groups--one focused on children’s literature and the other made up of writers I knew through church connections. They gave me helpful advice on revision and encouragement to keep a steady pace of production.

 A few constant encouragers were my husband, my neighbor friend Kate, and one of my Sunday school students (now in college), who called herself my #1 fan and wanted to see drafts as I wrote.

 Writing itself is a solitary activity that eventually becomes communal. But staying plugged in can be a challenge for writers because of the time demands.

 Here are a few ways to offer support to writers:

 1. Take an interest. Ask what they’re working on, what they like about it, where they’re struggling.

 2. Offer resources. Research can be a major challenge--offer helpful Internet links, books, and access to experts the writer could interview.

 3. Provide practical helps. Babysit or invite the writer’s kids for a playdate with your kids. Offer to drop off their dry cleaning when you’re planning an errand run. Carpool. Take the family an occasional meal.

 4. Encourage. More than anything, writers need voices of hope in their world. Writing is labor intensive and filled with rejection and disappointment. Writers need to hear that stories matter, that using a God-given gift brings more light into the world.

 5. Advise only if invited. Well-meaning folks often tell me what they think I should be writing. But I can only give my heart to a story that captures MY imagination. On the other hand, I’ve really appreciated friends who let me bounce ideas off them very informally, and given me a sense of what might or might not work in a story.

 6. Celebrate. When a writer publishes something, even if it’s in an online literary magazine, praise them and celebrate with them. Share links on social media sites. Purchase copies of their work for yourself or as gifts if it’s a genre that might appeal to others more than to you.
 
What community support helps you acheive your goals?
 
 
"From the sky-scrapers of New York, to the hills of England, Garver brings you on a lyrical journey that rolls with highs and lows, full of valleys of tenderness. I highly recommend this book to both adults and teens!" Lynn J Simpson

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A new day



Well hello again. It has been awhile since I have posted here. Where have I been? Reflecting on this, I am not sure actually! But I did make the choice of not writing and, instead, used my time elsewhere, mainly to cultivate relationships with new and old friends, reading, reflecting, letting go of old dreams, grieving, and creating new visions with the help of my friend, HOPE

Merriam-Webster defines HOPE as to cherish a desire with anticipation.

My desire is to Encourage and Uplift others through my words and actions. I don't always acheive this especially when I react from a place of hurt instead of love. However, whenever we fall we always have the HOPE of doing better in the next moment, or the next day. Every moment is new.

Recently I received my Christian Life Coaching Certification. After a few coaching calls, one of my first clients commented how she now felt HOPEFUL again.

And my heart leaped for her.

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”

Emily Dickinson

What hopeful tune are you singing today?







 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

An Invitation

Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.


Rocky Mountains touch crystal blue skies. Rocks, shimmering like glass, peer from the lakes that hug the mountain highway. My hands gently steer the wheel. As the hours go on, the mountains and lakes will soon be replaced by mountain ash trees and prairie grass. I slow, my eyes drifting to a deer grazing on the highway edge. Beautiful. My tires grind on rivets. I've crossed the line. The deer jumps, and gracefully disappears in the nestle of trees. I steer left, aligning myself right on the road again, glancing beside me and in my rear view mirror. My passengers still rest, eyes closed. I let out a breath, content that I did not disturb them. My traveling companions, these three ladies, are counting on me to get them home safely. And with all my heart, I am going to try my best to make sure I do.

We call ourselves the 'Tailgate Girls', Kerry, Laurel, Marilisa and I; a name derived from a planned outing of hanging out on the tail gate of my Jeep on the banks of a river only accessible by a 4-wheel drive. Although a rained out road de-railed our picnic to a spot just off the highway, the name stuck. Since then the four us have hiked the trails of Jasper, dined together on pizza and steak, and danced to the wee hours of the morning. And we have shared our stories, and hopes, and dreams. But what I appreciate most about these ladies is how they have lifted me up in my faith journey. And it all started from an invitation.

An invitation that saved my life.

In a time of brokenness and shame, I searched out healing. Led to a small group at my church, I met Mike, who invited me to attend an event for other singles within the church community. This one invitation led to me meeting the 'tailgate girls', and such an abundance of new friends and other events that there are too many to write in a blog post! But know, that one invitation did touch my life deeply. And I am forever grateful.

One invitation. A life saved.

As the radio plays softly through my car stereo. I tap my fingers to the beat. I think about the single dad on my block who recently had hip surgery. I think about the mom across the street with three young children and a husband who works out of town. I think about the widower next door. I think about the foster home with three teens around the corner. Just around the corner and when have I extended an invitation? Would they be interested in the youth swim party coming up? Or how about the newly divorced woman, Jackie, I see every week at bible study. Would she be interested in the singles volley ball on Friday nights? I let a hand off the wheel. I run my hand through my hair. What if they say no?

Kerry stirs beside me, stretches out her arms in front of her. "I feel better," she says. "How about you? Do you need a rest? I can take over the driving."

I shake my head, smile. "No, I feel good actually. Go back to sleep. You ran at 4am this morning! You deserve your rest." But I am glad for her concern, for her caring.

Kerry fluffs up her pillow. "You're a gem. But if you do get tired, just wake me and I'll say yes to driving." She leans back and I watch her close her eyes before I turn my eyes back to the road, both hands on the wheel.

Maybe Jackie would like to join us for games night? I make a mental note to invite her.

Is there someone you can extend an invitation to today? You just might save a life.

Tailgate Girls

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Costs of Discipline

                                                            Photo Credit

"Discipline always yields results…in time. You’ll need to remind yourself the pain of discipline costs far less than the pain of regret."
Pastor Kevin Beehner, Sherwood Park Alliance Church, Sherwood Park, Aberta, Canada


Each year I choose a word and use that word as a guide for my decisions. Last year my word was Connections. So every opportunity that arose, I'd ask myself, "Will this decision create connections that move me forward toward my end goals?" So when it came to social activity, I almost always said yes. And, wow, did God bless me by deepening friendships I had, and by creating new relationships. The outcome was much more then I imagined when I began 2011. 


The only shortfall...some of the the areas in my life, like finances and heath stayed stagnent or fell below the goals I had set. But I am okay with this. Although balance in all areas of life is a key goal coached by life-consultants, business gurus, and even our mom's,  I think God puts us in seasons where He wants us to grow in areas more than others.


So this year, the word I have chosen is Focus. To stay present and disciplined, completing projects I have started such as my teen novel.  And, as Pastor Kevin explains, discipline, although painful, leads to results of gain in the disciplined areas of your life.  And regret, that is painful too...well, generally leads us to more pain.


We always have a choice.  Discipline or regret? What will be your choice today?