Dearly Loved Daughters

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:2

The lens of Childhood Sexual Abuse affected my life and my vision. It distorted my perceptions and impacted my decisions. It filled me with fear and paranoia. It absolutely covered me from head to toe with shame. When I looked through that lens of brokenness, it affected how I saw God and how I saw myself.

But when I began looking through the truth of God’s Word, I could see. The truth set me free. Looking through the truth of God’s word will set you free.

The truth is I am a dearly loved daughter. Do you long to live as a dearly loved daughter?

Last weekend, I shared my story at the Boundless Sisterhood Conference. Click below to watch “Dearly Loved Daughters.”

You are His dearly loved daughter. Hold your head high, straighten your crown and walk in that love.

This was a song that I kept #onrepeat last year: “Dearly Loved” by Shaylee Simeone. I pray it blesses you.

Getting Unstuck

Journey Pink

I’ve been stuck. 

I haven’t posted much this year and I feel like I am so behind. I don’t even know where to start. I haven’t shared much here because I wanted to focus on writing my story. 

I came to a defining moment in my story and I struggled to write it.  

There were all of these emotions and personalities, and I was trying to write without saying too much. I always feel like I have said too much, as if I’ve already said it all.

But, when I look back at my blog posts I see they are all written in code.  If you can relate, “code” language means I haven’t really said much.  I say just enough to safely pull back if needed.

I am fluent in the language of code. It was my survival.  

When I reached this defining moment in my story, I found myself writing in code again.  I was trying to say just enough but not too much.  

And, I couldn’t do it.  

I closed my laptop on that chapter, and didn’t want to pick it up again.  I didn’t pick it up again.  

In the stewing, I came to realize that I can’t tell that moment in code.  It has to be real, even if it is messy.  

I couldn’t understand why I would write so many words, and then suddenly feel this overwhelming burden to be real.  Really real.  

God, really? 

Really. 

So, I am writing it with this new perspective and it is challenging. 

Writing (or speaking) in code shields my own heart from delving into the emotional sea of betrayal and pain. If I can keep it as flowery as possible, then I can smile as I type as if I am dissociating from the words on the screen. 

But, when I deep dive I usually end up in tears and I struggle to pick it up again.  Why go there, when you can watch Netflix and eat ice cream? 

It’s a vicious cycle.  

So today, on my walk I was listening to a sermon and when the verse in Hebrews 12:2 was mentioned, I thought … “Fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith.”   Jesus, the author.  

Let Him be the author. I want to be in control, but what if I let Him write it and be obedient to what He is asking me to do? God, be my author. Help me to write it. Write through me and help me to keep my eyes fixed on you and not on fretting.

As I snapped some pictures along the way, these images spoke to my heart and my struggle.   

Journey Pink

I was in bondage. Hidden. Afraid. Tangled in lies, fear, shame, and secrets. It was so dark. Remember what it was like? 

Journey Pink

I dared to believe that there was hope. I realized I was not alone. There were others like me. I wanted to get to the other side. I wanted to be free. 

IMG_2827

He rescued me. He brought me out of the darkness and into His light. I Am Loved.   

Journey Pink

He set me free, and I am clinging to Him.  I am no longer hidden, but out in the open air of freedom.  

Journey Pink

Obedience makes a difference. Am I willing to obey? Imagine the impact of obedience. What does that look like?  

The other voice in my head smirked, “Who do you think you are? No one cares and it’s already been said. There’s too much risk.  Are you crazy?” It’s loud, but just as I round the corner there’s more beauty.

Journey Pink

The harvest is plenty… but the workers are few. Don’t believe the lies. Do the work.

Are you feeling stuck? We all get stuck at times, but we don’t have to stay there. The first thing I tend to do when I am stuck is isolate myself, but that is not helpful at all. What helps me the most is to admit that I am stuck. This last time, I went to small group and it was just the leader and I. She started asking questions that led me to share what I was going through with her. She prayed for me and continues to encourage me. She also continues to check in with me and it has helped me tremendously. We were never meant to run the race alone.  

What about you?  What helps you to get unstuck?

 Scripture: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3 New International Version (NIV)

Prayer: Lord, thank you for delivering me from the pit. You are the author of my story. Help me to keep my eyes fixed on you and to give you my all. My heart is encouraged when I imagine running across the finish line and jumping into your arms. Your love amazes me.  

Worship: This song has been my jam, especially the remix.  God Only Knows [Timbaland Remix] by for King & Country…

Embracing Christmas …when it’s less than perfect

IMG_8181

I am all about traditions, routine, order, and knowing what to expect.  When plans change, it can be very triggering for me. Even something as lovely as a vacation can set me on edge and make me feel vulnerable. As much as I smile and delight in the fun on the outside, on the inside I am fighting anxiety and panic with both fists. It is a weary battle.  

Bring on the holidays, and that is a recipe for pure angst. 

There are:

  • Fewer lights on the tree than the many strands I envisioned.
  • Explosions of emotion and memory from opening the boxes of ornaments.
  • Eleven destroyed ornaments so far from our sweet puppy, Maisy Jane.
  • Professional family photos that haven’t been scheduled.
  • Christmas cards that haven’t been created or ordered.
  • No pictures on Santa’s lap.
  • No long lists of oh so fun to find “hot toys” – instead, “just get me this one big item”.
  • Fewer gifts, which means less hiding, less wrapping, and less opening.
  • Painful aches for those who are absent.
  • Tears for the friend who received the awful diagnosis.
  • Sleepless nights tossing and turning in prayer for the heart of a child.
  • Changes in friendships, relationships, and traditions.  

In all of the dazzling merriment, there are disappointments, frustrations, and unmet expectations. 

How should we respond?

Mary was pregnant and traveling on a donkey with swollen feet and an aching back. She did not have a reservation at the Hilton. There was no guest room available for her.  She was going to give birth in a stable without an epidural. 

But in the smelly, messy, and painful circumstances surrounding Mary, light burst forth as she delivered a Love like no other.  

That same Love exists today in your smelly, messy, painful circumstances.
Do you see Him?  Can you find Him there? 

Just this week, I found Him in a powerful therapy session, a gentle rebuke, and an encouraging lunch.

He is with us always. We are never alone.
Like Mary, we can sit in the mess and hold onto to Jesus. 

Whatever this season brings, take the time to embrace Jesus especially when its messy, disappointing and even confusing. Be still in His presence and embrace His Love.  

Embrace Emmanuel, God with us.  

Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Matthew 1:23 KJ21

Remember His Words

IMG_8079

Then they remembered his words.  Luke 24:8

When I finished the last post for Baby Steps, my plan was to continue writing my story.  Instead, I took a break and I have barely opened my laptop.

Sometimes, when I put it down it is hard to pick it back up. 

Truth be told, there are times when I would prefer to just live in the “now” and never look back.  

But God.

When I was writing the Baby Steps series, I saw His faithfulness intertwined with my tears. Yes, I would remember the pain. But, I would also remember the promises He brought to fruition.  

You see, looking back helped me to remember His words. 

In Luke 24, when the women went to the tomb they found it empty.  It wasn’t what they expected and at first they were shocked and confused. The angels appeared to them and said, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:  ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ”
Then they remembered His words.  
They went back to the share it with the disciples, but they were not believed.  Their words seemed like nonsense to the disciples.  

Jesus is always speaking.  

His still small voice causes my heart to burn inside of me. 

Am I listening?  

Life is loud, and the noise can drown out His voice. My best time to listen is in the morning under the safe hum of the shower and hairdryer. My eyes are closed and my mind is quiet enough to hear. Speak Lord, your servant is listening.  

Then in the noise of life, the lies grow louder and take me under.  Suddenly, I feel sad. Defeated. Discouraged. Hopeless.

It will never happen for you. 
It is impossible.
Did God really say?
Who do you think you are? 
You are crazy.
You are worthless. 

It is an old mean voice that spouts the same lies that have taunted me for years behind my smile. Instead of delighting in the hum of the shower, I am now drowning in the pit of despair.  

The Word is Alive.  

As I was reading in Luke, I came across those five words: Then they remembered His words.  

It was as if that sentence was a neon sign on that page and suddenly His truth overpowered every single lie, one by one.    

Do you remember my Words? 

It’s going to happen.
I really said it. 
You are my child. 
You have a sound mind.
You are worth more than many sparrows. 

His truth ushers in hope.  

Do you remember His Words? 

What has He whispered to your heart? 

Was it about healing? Your marriage? Your child? Your job? Your calling?

Maybe right now the circumstances look bleak. In the weariness, the lies begin to fill your tank with doubt.  The old mean voices start to pound in your head. 

What did He say?  What does His Word say? 

Write out that truth. 
Say it out loud. 
Write it on a notecard and carry it with you.
Sing it.  

Look back and remember His words. 

Believe.