Springing Forward

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Therefore we do not give up; even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. 2 Corinthians 4:16-17

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Annabelle has already reached some major milestones in her short life. From the very start, she began moving forward. Progressing. Developing. It began when she first latched on taking in the nourishment of my milk. Soon after, her little eyes caught mine and followed me as I crossed the room. Her gaze fixed upon me. Within a couple of months, she started to use her little hands, grabbing hold to whatever was placed before her. Delighting in her newfound ability. Now, she can sit up a little. And before long, she’ll be able to stand.

See, Annabelle has been exercising her legs… applying pressure to them. Testing her chunky little stumps. She slowly sways back and forth in her Johnny Jump Up only to quickly spring into action by jumping up and down as the spirit moves her. And right now, it’s easy for her. For she has the support of something. It holds her upright. But before long, it’ll be time for her to try standing on her own. Within a matter of months, Annabelle will have to move from the security of her apparatus in favor of her own shaky legs. No doubt, she’ll stumble and fall many, many times. But I know she’ll get right back up. She’ll try and try again until she gets that walking thing right. And in no time, she’ll be ready to spring forward.

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Annabelle just had her six month appointment. Coincidentally, it fell on the two year anniversary of this blog. And as always, I could not help but notice the correlation of Annabelle’s development with mine. Her progression a picture of my own. Hers depicted by a chart, mine by this blog. And though growth will continue for both of us, I believe my progress chart (the blog) has served its purpose. At least for now. Because just over a week ago, it became clear I was to put this aside. For I have work to do. It has to do with raising my kids. And my sitting here in front of this computer screen conflicts with that responsibility. So I chose the better part. My offspring. But I did mourn the loss of this blog Saturday. There were some tears. Because this blog has been a big part of me. But as for today, I give one final performance. I close with my swan song.

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We love because He first loved us… 1 John 4:19

The truth about God & me… it wasn’t love at first sight. Love did not come first. Instead, it began with a taste of His glory. I dared utter a prayer, “Please show me your glory.” And He did. He placed me in the cleft of a rock. He covered me with His hand. He walked by me. God in my midst. Or me in His. And I was astounded that the God of all creation would reveal Himself to me. And so, I wanted to share. I wanted other women to delight in His presence as I did. Thus, the formation of the blog.

And through the progression of blogging, more and more of me diminished. More and more of Him swelled. However, a piece of me remained. Held fast in the deepest recesses of my soul, the little girl I always was stood her ground. In truth, she wanted to share in God’s glory. She wanted a piece of shine for herself. And so, the purity of the writing became tarnished. And because the little girl in me stood fast on the foundation of her pride, she fell. I fell. My wobbly legs unable to sustain my weight. I crumbled under the strain of affliction.

Look, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. Isaiah 43:10

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This is where I’ve been for months now. Affliction. Minimal it may be, but affliction nonetheless. See that little girl up there? Oh, she brings me delight. Such joy. But also, there’s been some pain. Because babies are hard work. The biggest struggle? Sleepless nights. I have been sleep deprived for months and months now. She gets up more times than I can count. She wants to eat but she doesn’t need to. See, I was told at Annabelle’s six month check-up that her weight is average for a seventeen or eighteen month old. And so, in steps the hard part. I have to cut her off…

Trying to wean my baby girl from nighttime feedings is exhausting. It makes for even longer nights. I lose count of my waking moments because I’m up and down so often. They’re so frequent, I’ve been sleeping on the couch. It’s just easier to stumble into the nursery from there. Yes, sleep has been minimal. And under the strain, the clay jar that I am has begun to crack. In steps my most recent revelation. Clay.

You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you. Isaiah 43:2

You know, before clay can be serviceable it has to be fired. In a kiln. And today I know that’s where I’ve been. For a year now, I’ve been under fire. The furnace of affliction. It’s been a trial. A test. And for the most part, I’ve failed. But today, I see light at the end of the tunnel. I find a glimmer of hope through the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They underwent fire, too.

There was a king who made this big gold stature. Of himself. You could say he was a bit of a glory hound. And he wanted everyone to bow down to it. To pay homage to him. For he was a king. But there were these three guys who refused. Reason being, it would not honor God. Despite the threat of being thrown into fire, they stood firm on their faith in God. “If the God we serve exists, then He can rescue us from the power of you, the king. But even if He does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.” The king was blazing hot. He ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter. 

And so they fell, bound, into the furnace of blazing fire. Three men in the raging flames. But then, a miracle happened. The king yelled out, “Look! I see four men, not tied, walking around in the fire unharmed; and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” And then the king said it… “Come out!” The three men who stood firm on their faith in God came out of the fire. Unharmed. Not a hair on their heads was singed, their robes were unaffected, and there was no smell of fire on them. And God received the glory for it.

Take away the dross from the silver and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer. Proverbs 25:4

And there I am… back at glory. You know, something monumental occurred on January 31, 2014. You could say it was a major milestone day. That was the day Jesus met me right where I was. In the sanctuary of my bedroom. That was the day I heard Annabelle’s heartbeat for the first time… hers beating right alongside my own revived spiritual heart. And I lost a bracelet. It was a thin silver band I had worn for the better part of twenty years. At the time, it seemed significant in that my past was over and done with. Gone just like the bracelet that disappeared from my arm. But today, the removal of that bracelet says so much more.

For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things, like silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. 1 Peter 1:18

You see, as a young girl I didn’t have jewelry. Silver and gold was something I didn’t possess. I can count the number of pieces I received on one hand. My friend was another story, though. See, she had tons of silver. And I wanted it. I coveted her full closet and dresser strewn with perfumes and expensive make up. I wanted to adorn myself just as she… rings on my fingers and bells on my toes. But I couldn’t. And then one day, I left home. Within a year I made a new friend and she gave me the slim, silver band. A piece of shine all my own. But it was more than a bracelet to me. It stood for everything I ever wanted in life. Material possessions. Yes, I wanted silver. Glitz. Shine. I wanted glory.

When I lost that bracelet a year ago, I thought I was poised to walk forward in love. His love. But here I am. Still writing. Still staring at this computer screen. But today I know why. See, He’s been refining me. I’ve been doing time in the furnace of affliction… dross being burned from my soul. No different than the purification of silver, He’s been purifying me. Me. But see, the time has come. I faintly hear Him calling. Just as the king called to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, my King calls me. He yells, “Come out!” And miraculously, I find I can. I’m ready. My glory becomes a passing fancy. Because it’s no longer silver and gold I desire. For you see, I find that as long as I remain in His hand, I am the silver. A band of shine. But not for my glory. No. In His hands, the jewelry that I am shines and shimmers. But this time around, I shine for Him.

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD shines over you. For look, darkness covers the earth, and total darkness the peoples; but the LORD will shine over you, and His glory will appear over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your radiance. Isaiah 60:1-3

Yep, Annabelle’s reached some major milestones in her short life. And the truth is, so have I. See, from the very start I began moving forward. Progressing. Developing. It began when I first latched on to His word, taking in the nourishment I so desperately needed. Soon after, my eyes caught sight of Him. His glory captivated me and my gaze stayed fixed on Him as He moved. I’m now discovering how to make use of my hands. I grab hold of what He places before me. Today, it’s my children. And I delight in this newfound ability. I am awash with thanksgiving. And before long, I’ll be able to stand.

See, I’ve been exercising my legs. Pressure’s been applied here and there and they’ve proven to be a bit wobbly. In truth, I’ve stumbled more times than I can count. But I get back up again. And with each rise, I gain more strength. I find I’m able to stand not by my own strength, but by His. And before long, He bids me to come forward. He holds His hands out to me like any other Daddy does with His little girl. He beckons me. And I find that I can. I spring forward, lunging toward Him. And He catches me in His embrace.

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Therefore, whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to fall. 1 Corinthians 10:12

You know, I started to write here two years ago. Simply, I wanted to help women stand. Like I thought I was. But before long, I fell. Once. Twice. Again and again. But through the writing, it all became so clear. It’s as if my heavenly Father said to me, “Little girl, if you want to talk the talk, you have to walk the walk.” But the thing is, you have to stand before you can walk. That’s step one right there. Standing on His foundation. Standing on His truth. And then, before you know it, you’ll be ready to spring forward. Walking in love. His love. At least that’s the way it happened for me. Right here at Daylight Savings Time. Springing forward along with the clocks in my home.

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And so today, as I move forward on shaky legs, I walk for them. I begin with my kids. See. Levi just said he wished I were a cook. That I knew recipes and would make desserts. And there I find my first act of love. Perhaps I’ll surprise him with a little something this afternoon. That’s what I have on my agenda today…

And so, with much adieu, I sign off for now. I leave you with my swan song. See, the blog has served its purpose and the time has come. For He said, “Come out!” And so, this venture comes to an end. And all this, the writing and thousands of words spanning two years time, well… it’s been the truth about God & me. My hope was to encourage others to stand. And walk. In His love. Instead, I find that I’m able to. I hope you can, too.

But Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, stand up and walk!.” Acts 3:6

Set Up

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It’s about Levi. Right now, it’s all about him. Let me explain. See that toilet paper roll? This is a pretty common sight in my home. But not because of the men in my life. No, this is something I’ve done on more than one occasion in recent days. It’s because I’m so preoccupied. I think, I’ll get to it later. But I rush from one task to another and forget about it. And so, I set someone up. At least that’s the term used by the usual fall guy. Jason will tell me I set him up. And I just love him. One reason being his great sense of humor. Like the morning I went to the potty and found his precise handwriting in red on the cardboard roll. His message, “Thank you!” My husband made his point very well.

Yes, this is one of my shortcomings lately. I forget to do things. Little things, but important nonetheless. Even yesterday. I thought to myself, put toilet paper in Levi’s bathroom! But I had already walked out the door. I thought, do it when you get home! But time was rushed. And by the end of the night, there was still none in my son’s bathroom. And only a smidge in ours. After feeding my baby at 3:00 a.m. this morning, I hurriedly scrawled a note for my hubby. I left it by the coffee maker “there’s no toilet paper in the bathroom, I didn’t want to set you up.” I guess I could have stumbled downstairs to grab a roll, but the note just seemed easier in my groggy state…

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And so, there’s Levi. I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me to find a little something from him a month or so back. A precious thank you note from my boy. An imitation of his father. Right down to the red ink.

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I couldn’t help but laugh. But today, I wonder if it’s a laughing matter. See, Levi’s a little bit of Jason and a little bit of me. He learns from us. And my sobering realization last week was that I’m not doing so great. In fact, I don’t think I’ve poured myself into my little boy as I should. Because I’ve been so preoccupied.

In the same hour the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Daniel 5:5

Yep, the handwriting’s on the wall. Or on the cardboard roll. And the message is clear. I’ve been weighed in the balances and found wanting. As usual, my pride lies at the heart of it. And dream chasing. And a faulty foundation laid at childhood, cemented in place over years and years. Problem is, I’ve been using the world’s set of scales, not God’s. And by the world’s standards, I’d say my worth is pretty low. And so my entire life I’ve fought this feeling of unworthiness. Shame of who I was and am… a house painter’s daughter. Shame of things I’d done. All along, I’ve been trying to be more than. I wanted to prove I was worthy.

And so, I chased a dream. Because if it came true, I’d then be able to prove to the world I’m really somebody. The dream realized would validate me. It would mean I have value.

…for they loved human praise more than praise from God. John 12:43

In plain speak, this is what chasing the dream looks like in my house. It looks like an empty roll of toilet paper. It looks like me emptying a milk carton yesterday that went out of date on January 27! It looks like me finally getting rid of kale and brussels sprouts that have sat in my fridge for a month! It looks like my husband asking for clean underwear and me looking incredulously in his drawer. I was sure there were more. But no, the drawer was empty. It looks like me telling my son that we can’t play a game because I have work emails to answer. Reason being because I was chasing the dream when I could have worked. It looks like me carving out slots of time for me when I could be carving out slots of time my family. And why? Because I chase a dream that would prove I have a purpose and place in this world. That I have value. Basically, chasing a dream has kept me preoccupied.

And then there’s Levi. See, his foundation is being laid now. And my actions will cement into place feelings he will carry with him the rest of his life. What I do now, and how I interact with him is crucial. And me telling him I have other things to do sends the message that he’s not as important as my work. Or as my writing. Or whatever else it is I’m doing. Me saying I’m too tired to read a story tells him I don’t care enough… Me putting everything else first tells him he’s second. Less than. And without even knowing I’m doing it, I’m minimizing his worth. Devaluing him by my careless actions. Before I know it, he’s absorbed what I don’t want him to. Evidenced by a cardboard roll. Evidenced by sucking in his tummy as much as he can while staring in the mirror. “I want to be this skinny,” he said. Yes, a little bit of Jason. A little bit of me. Well, quite a bit of me. But the little bit I’ve poured into him seems to be faulty. The foundation shaky. For he’s using the wrong set of scales… the world’s.

Good news is, God opened my eyes. It was Saturday at 4:00 a.m. when Levi began vomiting. It was pretty bad. All he wanted to do was lay on the bathroom floor. I asked if he wanted me to lay beside him. And so, amidst blankets and pillows and a cold tile floor, I lay by my son’s side. I held him. And it was there I found my purpose. My value. For I. Am. A. Mother. No greater responsibility do I hold.

God’s blessed me with children. They’re not a chore, they’re a gift. A privilege.  And if I simply do what I’m supposed to by training up my child, by teaching him to love the Lord God with all his heart and soul, by teaching Him to be like Christ, then I am doing everything I need to. This is my place in the world. This. See, it’s not about me, it’s about Levi. My children. And I have the opportunity to give them the right foundation. Valued because they are God’s. Not because the world says so.

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Yep, it’s about Levi. See, I fear I’ve set him up. Because as I said, he’s a little bit of me and a little bit of Jason. And my foundation has been unstable. And inadvertently, I’ve been pouring the wrong foundation into my boy. Funny thing, though. Several times this year I’ve had a thought. There are moments I feel like God set me up for a fall. That sounds terrible, I know, but He knows my heart. He knows where I’m coming from. And that’s the point. Where I’m coming from. My humble beginnings. It’s because of where I began. In my eyes, from a low station. It’s a place I feel I should rise above. And so, pride set up in my heart. And so goes the story… a fall.

Esther 4:14 is stirring to me. See, it’s about purpose. For such a time as this… In passing, I’d think, Yes! God has this grand plan for me. Something big in His kingdom. But now I know. The biggest thing I can do is my kids. My for such a time moment is here. In my home. And yes, on my bathroom floor. Because in truth, charity begins at home. Ministry within my walls. Church here. Building up the little people He gave me.

Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

You know, I feel I started from a low position. Humble origins. But coming full circle, I see this is right where I should be. Humility my garment and a servant’s heart instead of pride. Like Christ. Because here, from my lowly position I can see Him. I can look up to my Father. And there, in my Daddy’s eyes, I realize I am valuable. That He has great purpose for me. I fulfill it when I’m crouched down. On my knees. Bringing myself to Levi’s level. Looking him in the eye. For when I give my son all of me, I find I give him value. Worth. Importance. And in my eyes, he’ll see it.

Yes, today, I have hope for my boy. See, the cement of Levi’s foundation hasn’t been set up yet. It’s still pliable. There’s time to instill truth into him. God’s truth. This is what will set him up for success. And just because the world’s set of faulty scales has been mine, it doesn’t mean they have to be Levi’s. So that’s the job that lies before me today. Setting up my boy’s foundation. There’s my purpose.

Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:8

A Corpse Bride

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Will the fast I choose be like this:
A day for a person to deny himself,
to bow his head like a reed,
and to spread out sackcloth and ashes?
Will you call this a fast
and a day acceptable to the Lord? Isaiah 58:5

I just couldn’t sell it… the thousands of words that poured forth from my heart and soul in the Fall of 2011. No, something wasn’t quite right. So I revised the whole thing in the Summer of 2012. I gave it a new title… My True Deliverance. However, the story remained the same. And the truth is the title was a lie. Because my story was a lie. For at that point in my life, I hadn’t been delivered. From anything. The words put forth were false… only what I wanted to be true.

However, my eyes were opened in September of 2012. The frank words of my husband jolted me. “Can you do me a favor? Can you go just one day without telling a lie? Because when you say you’re fine and you’re not, it’s a lie.” This came on the heels of his flowery description of me. An animated corpse. Oh, don’t think too harshly of him. He was just concerned. He wanted his wife back. The one from earlier days. And had he not spoken truth, perhaps I wouldn’t be where I am today. Perhaps I’d still be his corpse bride.

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After this lovely conversation with my husband, my eyes were opened wider within days. For I heard a Bible teacher speak. She said He wants us to have our own story. With Him. She talked of riding other people’s coattails. And though I didn’t realize it then, today I know that’s just what I had been doing. Riding the coattails of other people’s faith. Living off other people’s stories. Trying to breathe the breath of resurrected lives all around me. Having no spiritual breath of my own.

Funny thing is I just knew that book was going to get published. The untrue one. It seemed to be His will. Like the very hand of God directed me to write it. And I believe He did. However, I know it to be a stepping stone today. Because the story written over three years ago was the wrong one. It was the story of a good girl who worked hard. And because she did all the right things, something good happened. For God gave her what she desired most… her homeland. The promised land. But the reality is God didn’t bring me home as a reward. No, He brought me home to die. And that first book, my story, proved to lead to my fall.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13

I’ve been pondering the story lately. For months actually and just in general. And in watching a few great movies, I realize the best part is the fall. Because if there isn’t a fall, the hero or heroine can’t rise from the ashes. And isn’t that the most hopeful part of someone’s story? Don’t we find resurrected lives to be inspirational? I do. And so, it’s with awe that I find myself on the cusp of Easter today. In this season of my life, as I ponder the story, I find we’re about to celebrate the greatest story. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In a nutshell, this is what my story lacked for so long. My life was missing Easter. My life was missing Him. Thus, my life contained no life. I was a corpse bride. Just as my husband described. And every single day, I died a little more. For I was chasing a dream. Holding to my life. My rights. My glory. I just didn’t know what was causing my death. See, when I came home I thought it to be my triumphant entry. I rode in on my high horse and came back ready to overcome the world. And when I began to write, I just knew it was going to give me the life I so desired. My passion burned within. In truth, it consumed me till there was nothing left. Life snuffed out. Thus, I walked around in sackcloth and ashes not comprehending that’s what I was doing. My demeanor was my mourning robe. A dim spirit shrouded me. Ashes on the ground.

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But Jesus? When He made His triumphant entry, He rode into town on a donkey. And He knew what He came to do. For He came to die. He came as a living sacrifice for us. But He knew the truth. That before He could be resurrected into glory, His death was required. Because only by His death, and life, can we hope for the same. This is Easter. This is the greatest story ever told. And until this becomes reality in our own hearts, we remain dead in our tracks. Lifeless. Animated corpses.

Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. John 12:23-25

God never, ever ceases to amaze me. Over four years ago I thought He was rewarding me for good behavior. That He brought me home as a pat on the back. That was my story. But today I know truth. See, He brought me home to die. Here is where my self-awareness was birthed, and here is where my self-seeking must die. For self-seeking brought nothing but heartache. And spiritual death. It caused me to fall. Hard. Nothing left of me but a heap of ashes on the ground. But today, I choose sacrifice instead. I willingly give my life for the lives of my children. So they may have abundant life. And this act revives me. For I find I’m able to rise from the ashes. Because His word is true… in losing your life, you’ll find it. This is the very thing God brought me home for. Easter becomes real in my heart.

Isn’t the fast I choose:
To break the chains of wickedness,
to untie the ropes of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free,
and to tear off every yoke? Isaiah 58:6

Last week was a week of epiphanies. One having to do with me losing my life in order to gain my life. It had to do with putting my dream on the back-burner while I tended to what’s most important… my children. My family. And I’m good with that. I really am. I realized my need to sacrifice something I greatly desire so that I could be a better mother to them. And a better wife to my husband. Because this dream of mine burns me up. When I hold to it, it causes me to die. A little bit each day. Before I know it, I’m like the walking dead. No life within me. A corpse bride. So, I release it. At least for now. I give it up…

Funny thing is, I find this act coincides with Lent. And Ash Wednesday. Though I’ve never practiced these traditions knowingly, I find I am this year. Unwittingly. This is where God has led me. Through my limited knowledge, I understand Lent to be a time when God’s people sacrifice something for a number of days. Me? I’m led to sacrifice my life. The revelation is heightened by Ash Wednesday… a time when ashes are ceremonially placed on heads of Christians usually accompanied by the words, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Me? From experience I’ve surely known what it’s like to have ashes in my life. But not just on my head, all over. The whole of me being burned up by overwhelming desire of something greater. But this will prove to be the best part of my story. For from the ashes, I rise. Resurrected life. Easter in my heart. A replica of the greatest story ever told. His. A corpse bride rises from the grave…

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He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives
and freedom to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of our God’s vengeance;
to comfort all who mourn,
to provide for those who mourn in Zion;
to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
festive oil instead of mourning,
and splendid clothes instead of despair. Isaiah 61:1-3

Funny how God works. Amazing how He puts it all together. See, I began writing my story in 2011. Thing is, my words simply weren’t true. I wrote what I wanted to be. My True Deliverance. But now… deliverance is mine. He delivered me from my tomb. And most recently, He delivers me from myself. For it was my heart that held me captive. And my flesh has been my prison. But He led me to lay down my life. And thus, I find life. And as Easter rises in my heart, I find that I do, too. And in truth, this is the part of my story that’s truly great. Christ. In me. Finally, I don’t have to ride another’s coattails. For I have my own story. In Him. And to me, this is the essence of Easter. From death to life. And till death do us part. A corpse bride no more.

Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Genesis 2:7

A Corpse Bride

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Will the fast I choose be like this:
A day for a person to deny himself,
to bow his head like a reed,
and to spread out sackcloth and ashes?
Will you call this a fast
and a day acceptable to the Lord? Isaiah 58:5

I just couldn’t sell it… the thousands of words that poured forth from my heart and soul in the Fall of 2011. No, something wasn’t quite right. So I revised the whole thing in the Summer of 2012. I gave it a new title… My True Deliverance. However, the story remained the same. And the truth is the title was a lie. Because my story was a lie. For at that point in my life, I hadn’t been delivered. From anything. The words put forth were false… only what I wanted to be true.

However, my eyes were opened in September of 2012. The frank words of my husband jolted me. “Can you do me a favor? Can you go just one day without telling a lie? Because when you say you’re fine and you’re not, it’s a lie.” This came on the heels of his flowery description of me. An animated corpse. Oh, don’t think too harshly of him. He was just concerned. He wanted his wife back. The one from earlier days. And had he not spoken truth, perhaps I wouldn’t be where I am today. Perhaps I’d still be his corpse bride.

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After this lovely conversation with my husband, my eyes were opened wider within days. For I heard a Bible teacher speak. She said He wants us to have our own story. With Him. She talked of riding other people’s coattails. And though I didn’t realize it then, today I know that’s just what I had been doing. Riding the coattails of other people’s faith. Living off other people’s stories. Trying to breathe the breath of resurrected lives all around me. Having no spiritual breath of my own.

Funny thing is I just knew that book was going to get published. The untrue one. It seemed to be His will. Like the very hand of God directed me to write it. And I believe He did. However, I know it to be a stepping stone today. Because the story written over three years ago was the wrong one. It was the story of a good girl who worked hard. And because she did all the right things, something good happened. For God gave her what she desired most… her homeland. The promised land. But the reality is God didn’t bring me home as a reward. No, He brought me home to die. And that first book, my story, proved to lead to my fall.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13

I’ve been pondering the story lately. For months actually and just in general. And in watching a few great movies, I realize the best part is the fall. Because if there isn’t a fall, the hero or heroine can’t rise from the ashes. And isn’t that the most hopeful part of someone’s story? Don’t we find resurrected lives to be inspirational? I do. And so, it’s with awe that I find myself on the cusp of Easter today. In this season of my life, as I ponder the story, I find we’re about to celebrate the greatest story. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In a nutshell, this is what my story lacked for so long. My life was missing Easter. My life was missing Him. Thus, my life contained no life. I was a corpse bride. Just as my husband described. And every single day, I died a little more. For I was chasing a dream. Holding to my life. My rights. My glory. I just didn’t know what was causing my death. See, when I came home I thought it to be my triumphant entry. I rode in on my high horse and came back ready to overcome the world. And when I began to write, I just knew it was going to give me the life I so desired. My passion burned within. In truth, it consumed me till there was nothing left. Life snuffed out. Thus, I walked around in sackcloth and ashes not comprehending that’s what I was doing. My demeanor was my mourning robe. A dim spirit shrouded me. Ashes on the ground.

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But Jesus? When He made His triumphant entry, He rode into town on a donkey. And He knew what He came to do. For He came to die. He came as a living sacrifice for us. But He knew the truth. That before He could be resurrected into glory, His death was required. Because only by His death, and life, can we hope for the same. This is Easter. This is the greatest story ever told. And until this becomes reality in our own hearts, we remain dead in our tracks. Lifeless. Animated corpses.

Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. John 12:23-25

God never, ever ceases to amaze me. Over four years ago I thought He was rewarding me for good behavior. That He brought me home as a pat on the back. That was my story. But today I know truth. See, He brought me home to die. Here is where my self-awareness was birthed, and here is where my self-seeking must die. For self-seeking brought nothing but heartache. And spiritual death. It caused me to fall. Hard. Nothing left of me but a heap of ashes on the ground. But today, I choose sacrifice instead. I willingly give my life for the lives of my children. So they may have abundant life. And this act revives me. For I find I’m able to rise from the ashes. Because His word is true… in losing your life, you’ll find it. This is the very thing God brought me home for. Easter becomes real in my heart.

Isn’t the fast I choose:
To break the chains of wickedness,
to untie the ropes of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free,
and to tear off every yoke? Isaiah 58:6

Last week was a week of epiphanies. One having to do with me losing my life in order to gain my life. It had to do with putting my dream on the back-burner while I tended to what’s most important… my children. My family. And I’m good with that. I really am. I realized my need to sacrifice something I greatly desire so that I could be a better mother to them. And a better wife to my husband. Because this dream of mine burns me up. When I hold to it, it causes me to die. A little bit each day. Before I know it, I’m like the walking dead. No life within me. A corpse bride. So, I release it. At least for now. I give it up…

Funny thing is, I find this act coincides with Lent. And Ash Wednesday. Though I’ve never practiced these traditions knowingly, I find I am this year. Unwittingly. This is where God has led me. Through my limited knowledge, I understand Lent to be a time when God’s people sacrifice something for a number of days. Me? I’m led to sacrifice my life. The revelation is heightened by Ash Wednesday… a time when ashes are ceremonially placed on heads of Christians usually accompanied by the words, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Me? From experience I’ve surely known what it’s like to have ashes in my life. But not just on my head, all over. The whole of me being burned up by overwhelming desire of something greater. But this will prove to be the best part of my story. For from the ashes, I rise. Resurrected life. Easter in my heart. A replica of the greatest story ever told. His. A corpse bride rises from the grave…

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He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives
and freedom to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of our God’s vengeance;
to comfort all who mourn,
to provide for those who mourn in Zion;
to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
festive oil instead of mourning,
and splendid clothes instead of despair. Isaiah 61:1-3

Funny how God works. Amazing how He puts it all together. See, I began writing my story in 2011. Thing is, my words simply weren’t true. I wrote what I wanted to be. My True Deliverance. But now… deliverance is mine. He delivered me from my tomb. And most recently, He delivers me from myself. For it was my heart that held me captive. And my flesh has been my prison. But He led me to lay down my life. And thus, I find life. And as Easter rises in my heart, I find that I do, too. And in truth, this is the part of my story that’s truly great. Christ. In me. Finally, I don’t have to ride another’s coattails. For I have my own story. In Him. And to me, this is the essence of Easter. From death to life. And till death do us part. A corpse bride no more.

Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Genesis 2:7

The Wisdom of Cathy

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Sons are indeed a heritage from the LORD, children, a reward. Psalm 127:3

Is there anything more deadly than a dream? Because a dream can eat someone alive. Especially an unrealized one. And I should know since it proves to be a pattern in my life. See, I want something really bad. There are moments it totally consumes me. So much so I can’t think of anything else. I can physically be in the room with someone, but be completely absent. Because in my head, I’m just dreaming my life away. Fixating on the one thing I want but don’t have. And how I can get it. It’s exhausting.

Yes, I’m a dreamer for sure but in more ways than one. See, occasionally I dream Scripture. And when I do, it seems pertinent to my life. The most recent was a year ago. Last February, I heard God’s word fall on my ear… “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth.” And so, I was excited. I heard from God and in my mind, it had everything to do with my newest dream. The one thing I want desperately, but don’t have.

But tonight happened to be one of those nights. And I see how very wrong I was. Because I had a revelation. As a matter of fact, it was kind of like the mother of all revelations. And it had to do with that Bible verse from one year ago. See, I watched some random video on Facebook tonight … a man’s wedding vows. Levi saw and asked about my own wedding. He wanted to know if we ran under sparklers, too. I decided to show instead of tell, so I pulled out my wedding album. And the following picture stopped me in my tracks.

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There it is. It’s the Scripture I dreamt. Go and be fruitful. And tonight, I realize God wasn’t confirming my newest dream. Instead, he was reminding me of my old dream. The original one. The one that’s already been realized. It goes all the way back to my foundation. To the little girl I was before I even left home. At the very core, I simply wanted to be loved. And my dream came true through a boy named Jason.

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I was so happy here. Our wedding just weeks away, the dream was within my grasp. In truth, I thought no further ahead than the day of our union… the future just a fuzzy notion. Something I didn’t dwell on for at that time, I had no other dreams. Essentially, all I wanted was to be loved. And so, it came to pass…

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Two became one. And for a while, I was content. Newlyweds. A new town. A fresh start. Life seemed exciting. But before long, I said how about a baby? And so, my husband brought me a kitty. He said, here’s your baby. And again, contentment. At least for a while.

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However, it wasn’t long before I began to yearn anew. This time, I wanted to return to my hometown. But alas, that didn’t happen for at least ten years. But midway, I became pregnant. And holding to the pattern, I was content. For a while.

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When I look at that photo, I see a joyful woman. And my baby boy did make me happy. However, I wanted something. Badly. At times, it’s all I could think about. I dreamed of Virginia. Going home. That’s what I pined away for. And so, despite having the love of a man and a beautiful baby boy in my arms, I still withered away inside. Simply because I wanted what I didn’t have.

Levi was four when my dream of Virginia came true. But damage had already been done. See, he knew the difference between happy and sad by the time he was two. That’s because he learned it from me. And here we are today… four years later. Truth is, Levi’s learned more stuff from me. But not good stuff. See, another dream has set up in my heart. And just like every other dream of mine, it consumes me. Like a fire. It causes me to be impatient. Hurried. And distracted. All because of a dream. All because of wanting what I haven’t got.

God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth…” Genesis 1:28

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I previously mentioned February is a big month in my life. Specifically last February. A lot of it having to do with the baby girl growing inside my womb. And there was the dream. God’s words. He said to be fruitful. Multiply. Silly me thinking it had to do with my newest dream. And foolish me for not realizing the truth for an entire year. See, it has to do with something my aunt Cathy has said to me more than once. She tells me I’m blessed.

Funny thing is, there I sat last February with a group of women and opened up to them. I spoke of my struggles (shallow at best). Of knowing in my head I’m blessed, but just not feeling blessed. And there I was with a baby growing inside me. And the truth is, children are a blessing of the Lord. They are a gift. How was it that I could sit there with a baby growing inside me and not know how blessed I was? And am? How can that be?

You know, Cathy knows exactly how blessed I am. That’s because she lost one daughter much too soon. And the other won’t have any children. Not now. Cathy will never have grandchildren of her own. And so, she knows very well what a blessing babies are. Me? I’ve been coddled. Spoiled. I’ve had it too good. God’s ungrateful child never, ever relishing the day before me. God’s child forever looking to the next thing. The unfulfilled dream. The promised land around the bend. That’s been my life. Looking to one unrealized dream to the next. Not comprehending what dreams I have right before me. Around me. And in me.

Yes, this is the wisdom of Cathy. She says I’m blessed. And tonight, I’m starting to realize it…

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This is the hard truth. Children are indeed a blessing from God. And my mother of all realizations came tonight when I realized that He filled my womb before Jason was even a thought in my mind. Once and once again. Though I was making huge mistakes and living wild, He still tried to fill me. Remember? My original dream? I simply wanted to be loved. And God? He placed love inside me. He was trying to give me my heart’s desire. Someone to love me unconditionally. But both times, I threw my babies away. Forever gone. All because I was selfish. Inwardly I cried, “It’s my life, my right…”

And so here I am tonight. And I wonder what’s different? Because I have a dream. I hold tightly to it. I don’t want to let go. No different than the twenty-something girl I was, I find myself inwardly crying… “It’s my life. It’s my right.” And because my newest dream looms in front of me, I can barely see anything else. But they’re there… an eight year old and a six month old. And truth is, if I don’t release the hold on my dream, and on my life, I’ll end up snuffing the life right out of them. Just like I did with my unborn babies. Because holding to what’s mine makes me rigid. And impatient. And so much more. The ugliness inside inevitably makes its way to the surface. And my outbursts can dim their sweet spirits. Yes, I really believe I can diminish them. Just as I did my other two… only difference being Levi and Annabelle survived my womb.

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But you know what… tonight’s different. Because God reminded me of my original dream. Children. He said be fruitful. And the dream’s been realized. Right in front of me are two little dreams come true I’ve taken for granted much too long. And tonight, I think I’ll finally be released of the inward battle cry that’s held me so long. “My body. My life. My right.” Tonight, I say no more. For I’ll gladly give my life up for theirs. And laying aside the false dream I’ve been chasing, I’ll hold tight to what God has given me already. Their names are Levi and Annabelle and they’re living dreams. Through them, I’ve been blessed. This is what I believe my aunt wanted me to see. For she’s told me on more than one occasion, “You are so blessed.” And she would know… for this is the wisdom of Cathy.

For my friend…

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I love this calendar. Bright and inspirational. I gave one to my friend for Christmas but for some reason, I didn’t buy one for myself. But God knows what he’s doing. He inspired my cousin to give me the very same. It was this weekend when I was moved to take pictures of it. See, I had a blog forming in my head. In fact, I typed it all up only to find myself typing over every word tonight. See, it wasn’t a good blog. In fact, it was more of a blah, blah, blaahhg. Me running my mouth via keyboard.

But the thing is, God really does know what He’s doing. Unbeknownst to me, He knew I’d use the photos for this blog. The one I’m writing now. It’s for my friend. See, on the heels of me writing about my struggle (a shallow one), I learned tonight that my friend is truly struggling. It’s her dad. And my heart breaks for her.

“It’s going to be ok. And if its not….it’s STILL going to be ok.” once said by my friend’s Great Uncle Reid

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Let me tell you how I met my friend. It was the fall of 2013 and I just had to do something. I didn’t know what, but something. God had gotten me all fired up and I was ready to move. So, I volunteered to help with the backpack program in our county. And let me tell you, this was completely out of the norm for me. I’d never stepped out of my comfort zone like that. And it was there I met my new friend. We were the only two newbies and didn’t really know what we were doing. And so, we did what we could. Afterward, the person in charge thanked everyone and said he’d no longer need any of us. Apparently, the high schoolers were going to take over the stuffing of backpack bags.

Well, I was shocked. I’d just stepped out to do something. For God no less. And I was halted in my tracks. My eyes caught the other newbies as I looked her way and I could tell she was thinking something close to what I was thinking. Stepping out to do something and after one time, it being nipped in the bud. What in the world? And more importantly, what next?

We walked outside dejectedly, our venture out into the community getting quashed and all. But that’s when we began to talk. Before I knew it, at least twenty minutes had passed. There was so much to say. Within moments, we were sharing dreams. Ideas. Mine was beyond my walls. Hers was in our own backyard. It morphed into a leg up, not a handout. That’s where we began, my new friend and I. Our friendship built on hopes and dreams.

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You know what I think? She was a gift from God. See, I returned home three years earlier but life carried on while I was away. And in my absence, everyone else’s lives just moved on. And so upon my return, I wasn’t sure where I fit anymore. Most of my old friends were gone and so much had changed. And so, just when I needed one the most, God blessed me with her. A friend of my very own.

Over a matter of months, we met several times exchanging ideas and dreams. We also began volunteering at the food pantry. It was great. Afterward, we’d grab a coffee and dream some more. What I remember most about our early days is that we were both on fire. Alas, I became pregnant within months of our meeting. That kind of slowed me down. But not my friend. She kept right on moving. See, she’s a mover and a shaker.

By the time Annabelle was born, I discovered my friend had started this new thing in the community. While I was tucked away in seclusion, she actually got out there and did something she was passionate about. I must confess, I was a little jealous. But also, inspired. By her. See, I admire so much about her. She is a go-getter. She’s interested in what’s happening around her. And she wants to make a difference. 

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Look at her. I think she’s beautiful. And in looking at this picture, the Rolling Stones melody falls on my ear… She comes in colors everywhere… she’s like a rainbow. Yes, she’s like a rainbow. A force of nature. But tonight, she struggles. And in hearing the news, I wanted to go to her. I wanted to put my arms around her and squeeze. But she’s miles and miles away. And so, I do the only thing I can for tonight. I write. It’s what I do.

Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light. Micah 7:8 

Tonight, my friend’s dad struggles. And so does she. And for once, words fail me. My mind is blank. Unlike yesterday when I pounded away at this keyboard and wrote and wrote. Remember… my blah, blah, blaahhg. Funny thing is, I didn’t know which song I wanted to use. I called out to Jason, “Gut feeling… Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash or I will Rise by Chris Tomlin.” Jason said knowing me, Johnny Cash. And that’s the one I had in this blog originally. Even though I will Rise was a better fit, I manipulated my words to make Johnny’s song work. But now I know it was the wrong choice.

See, God knows what He’s doing. He inspired me to take photos of a calendar yesterday. But it wasn’t for me, it was for her. My friend. He also knew which song I’d need. Because since I have no words I can offer my dear friend, all I can do is offer a song. It kind of echoes what Uncle Reid said. Because believe it or not, in the face of such darkness, it really is going to be ok. And even if it’s not, it’s STILL going to be ok.

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And though it seems positively unthinkable right now, I want to encourage my friend. That despite what the circumstances are today, the best is yet to come. It really is. And not just for her… but for her dad, too. Really, the best is yet to come for all of us.

 

Riding Coattails

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I watched the story of Johnny Cash recently. Walk the Line. And I was mesmerized by a conversation between Johnny (nick-named JR) and his brother, Jack, when they were children:

“Jack”

“Um-hmm?”

“How come you’re so good?”

“I ain’t”

“You pick 5 times more than me.”

“Well, I’m bigger than you.”

“You know every story in Scripture.”

“You know every song in Mama’s hymnal.”

“Songs are easy.”

“Not for me.”

“There’s more words in the Bible than Heavenly Highway Hymns.”

“Look, JR. If I’m going to be a preacher one day, I gotta know the Bible front to back. I mean, you can’t help nobody if you can’t tell em the right story.”

It was that line right there… “you can’t help nobody if you can’t tell em the right story.” And of course, that led me to thinking of my own story and what Jack said. About one being helpful. See, supposing my story is shallow… would it be worth telling anyway? Just suppose the biggest hurdle I’ve had to clear in life is simply myself. That being the case, would it even be worth the breath required to utter the tale? Because in light of the very real struggles, tragedies and pain so many undergo, my minor upheavals in life seem inconsequential. Trivial and small. So then, does my story have any redeeming value? Could it possibly be helpful? And so again, I ponder, is it worth the telling…

Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; Isaiah 51:1

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Look at that little girl. Oh, I can recall how she felt all too well. Awkward. Shy. A wall-flower that blended into the background. I was scared of my own shadow. And I just knew everyone was talking about me. Negatively, of course. And why wouldn’t they be. My clothing was usually second-hand. My home was the back-side of a store. My front yard? Mainly a cow-pasture while the back consisted of a parking lot complete with gas pumps. The grey pavement of highway stretching out beyond. This was my playground. I ran free through the fields like a wild thing. But when forced to interact with civilization, I turned inside myself.

Early on, I developed an inferiority complex. I just didn’t think I measured up. Materially, physically, or intellectually. Through the duration of my youth and early adulthood, I felt minimal. Small. And forever second best. It seemed as if I were destined to stand in the shadows cast by the bright light of my friends. Perhaps those substandard feelings I housed went all the way back to my infancy…  

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See, Mom tells of a time I slipped through the crack of the bed and the wall. Maybe it was the very bed in the photo above. I was laying there as she walked down to the mailbox. However upon her return, she found I was crying out… trapped between bed and wall. And my infant cousin? He was being bounced upon my grandma’s lap. Oh, an aunt was there trying to get me out. But just maybe it started there. The root of insignificance birthed when I literally slipped through the crack unnoticed by the one I wanted to notice me. And ultimately, that fear has chased me my whole life. Scared I’d slip through the cracks unnoticed. And those that mattered the most caring the least. In essence, me mattering naught.

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I wanted to be noticed. And so, early on it was the material that mattered to me. The tangible. The outer. In my eyes, things would make me special and image was of utmost importance. Like in the photo above. I was pleased and it’s obvious. For I felt pretty here. Can’t you see it on my face? Mama (that’s what I called her then) had fixed my hair. And because I liked the way my hair looked, I liked me. If only for a day. As I said, image mattered. And in truth, I thought clothing would fix me right up. If I just had nicer clothes. New clothes. And perhaps a new coat?

And therein lies my foundation. I was a little girl who felt ugly most of the time. And small. Plain and dumb. And unimportant. And what happens when this type of foundation gets laid, is a girl begins to ride coattails without even knowing that’s what she’s doing. Like me. See, my thoughts just weren’t that important. So I began to absorb my friends’ thoughts. Their mindsets became my mindset. And what they liked was better than what I liked. And what they wore was better than what I wore. And so, I tried to be like them. Before I knew it, I didn’t have an original thought. Or idea. Or opinion. And while they stood in the spotlight, I hid in the shadows. Trying my best to be just like them. Living vicariously through them.

And when a girl feels less than, if she discovers there’s something she’s actually good at, she clings to it. She tries to excel in the one thing that makes her feel the tiniest bit special. And she begins to crave the words of affirmation it can bring her. This one area is where she finds her value. And she feasts on the praise it brings her way.

Naturally, I became one who strives. I’d say since the fourth grade. I think that’s when I decided deep down that I wanted to be the best. The greatest. I know for certain that’s when I wanted to be famous because of a little notebook I saved all these years. My name scribbled all over it where I practiced my autograph. That little lime green memo pad is quite telling in that it’s also filled with pictures of women drawn by me. Complete with notes and poems of what I wanted to look like when I was all grown up.

And these were my beginnings. Like I said, my story is shallow. For I was shallow. Because image ruled and appearances mattered the most. The outside was all I cared about. And so, I became an adult. At least that’s what my age indicated. And because I had no ambition of my own other than to be pretty, to be known, and to be liked, I ended up doing what my friend’s mother suggested we do. I joined the U.S. Air Force. And I was excited. Hopeful even. For I thought in leaving my hometown behind, I’d leave the little girl I was behind, too. I thought in leaving, I’d actually become someone new. And exciting. And worthwhile. Maybe for once, I’d be able to grab a little light of my own… And so I tied on my Air Force Blue Raincoat and hoped for the best.

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But as for you, do you seek great things for yourself? Stop seeking! Jeremiah 45:5

At nineteen, I left home. And in four short years, I made some of the biggest mistakes of my life. I tried to be everything I thought I always wanted to be. I thought I’d be happy. I shed riding others’ coattails in favor of trying on my own coat. And while donning my new attire, I worked at being pretty. I tried my best to be likeable. And popular. And fun. It was exhausting. And truth is, trying to have a coat of my own led to my demise. Because I’ll tell you, if a young woman sets out to get known, she will be noticed. And when she hears someone call out her name followed by “You’re famous!” Well, that’s really not such a good thing. Oh, I at last found myself in the spotlight I always sought. It’s just that once I was there, I found it wasn’t such a nice place to be after all. And ironically, once I was there, I really just wanted to be elsewhere. I wanted to be seen in a different light.

Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. Daniel 12:3

Today, I think about JR and Jack and their conversation about stories. You know, had Jack lived and I ran into him, I think he would have used the story of Joseph with me. That’s because of his coat of many colors. See, I think it’s quite possible that Joseph wanted to be the best, too. See, he was one of the youngest and I think he wanted to prove himself to his big brothers. For whenever he had a God given dream, he’d tell it. And he was a tattle-tale, eager to cast himself in a better light. And because Daddy gave him this great colorful coat, he’d wear it for everyday. Like the time he was told to go out and check on his brothers. Why, they must have seen him coming from a mile away. And they hated him for his showy coat. Because truth is, it was proof that Joseph was the favored child.

So there was Joseph with his colorful coat. But what good did it do him? In fact, his coat may have hastened his demise. Because first, he was thrown into a pit. And then, he was thrown into a prison. His outerwear couldn’t keep him from harm. Being the best in Daddy’s eyes didn’t soften his fall. But ultimately, Joseph learned a lesson. For he was humbled. And he learned how to lead. In the end, he became great. Truly great.

Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death— even to death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8

You’d think I’d learn from Joseph’s story. That his fall would serve as warning to me. Because doesn’t pride come before the fall? Like with Joseph. Well, actually, he was thrown down, but it was a fall nonetheless. But every now and then, rather than heed the caution of Joseph’s saga, I throw caution to the wind instead. Because deep, deep, deep down, I still want it. Honestly, I want glory. My glory. Deep, deep, deep down there’s a piece of that little girl inside who grew up feeling small. And she wants to feel big. Larger than life. So she constructs her tower and hopes it will reach the sky. For she wants to be the best. The greatest. At everything. And not only that, she wants everyone in sight to know she’s the best. God help me, this is the truth. Despite how far I’ve come and all I’ve learned, I still struggle with the inferiority complex.

As God’s child, this is what I’ve been cutting my teeth on. See, what I’ve strived so hard for sets me up in direct opposition to Christ. For His teaching is totally opposite of what I’ve been trying to accomplish my whole life. I find we’re at cross purposes. A war within my heart. Me wanting to be more. His wanting me to be less. Me wanting to hold to my life. And His telling me to lose mine. Me wanting it to be all about me. His proclamation that it be all about Him. It’s been a standoff. Right here in my hometown.

See, God brought me back here as a grown woman. He wanted me to see the truth. That despite everything, I was still the little girl I was. My foundation hadn’t changed.  The material still mattered to me. The tangible. The outer. In my eyes, things would make me special and image was of utmost importance. And despite a closet full of clothes, I was still seeking a new coat. One that says I’m special. Favored. Valuable. And yes, full of color. Perhaps like Joseph’s…

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Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty. The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment; Psalm 104:1-2

So what do I do now? Well, what else can I do but shed my tired old coat. Because really, it’s time for a new one. But before donning a new frock of my own, maybe it would be okay if I just rode someone else’s coattails for a while. See, I’m tired. So tired. As such, maybe God would just let me ride His. And you know the great thing about His cloak, right? It’s light. And when light is refracted through a prism, well, you can see all the colors of a rainbow. In essence, God’s light is made up of all the colors. And so, it seems to me that if I simply ride His coattails for a while, well, I’ll find myself surrounded by a coat of many colors, after all. And isn’t that what I’ve been striving for my entire life anyway?

Yes, I think I’ll start there. I’ll ride God’s coattails. And in doing so, I’ll begin to see myself in a new light. His light. Red and yellow, blue and green. It’ll be like a rainbow…

I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another… Isaiah 42:8

Back to Jack. Had he lived, I wonder if he’d have thought my story was worth the telling? Could it actually help someone? Well, I think that will have to do with how my saga ends. Whether it turns out being all about His glory. Or about mine. See, if I let it become about His glory, and His light, it may well be worth the breath required to utter it after all.