Shining through…

Posts tagged ‘identity’

Wasillaversary!

You know how you go into things thinking you don’t have any preconceived notions, but then life happens and you catch yourself thinking, “Wait, that didn’t turn out like I planned,” and all of a sudden you realize how very preconceived notion-bound you’ve actually been?  Yeah…that’s been the last 12 months for me.  Which is why I disappeared from the blogosphere, why I spent many, many hours overwhelmed and crying, and why I’m so very glad for the changing of the seasons.  Let me give you some of the highlights (or lowlights, depending on how you look at it).

Exactly one year ago, on a rainy afternoon, Lechuga and I pulled into Wasilla, Alaska, our new hometown.  And right from that very moment, things did not happen as we thought they would.  If you recall from an earlier post, the plan was for her to get an apartment, where I would stay until my boys got here.  Instead, we spent all our money on 2 weeks in a cabin, and then we moved in with a total stranger for a month.  That was July through most of August.

At the end of August, we finally moved into a rental, where we waited 3 more weeks for our stuff to be shipped across the continent.  And that rental — let me tell you about that.  It was a nice, fairly new house.  With a stupid, stupid layout.  In which you could hear virtually everything everyone else did from every room.  I’m not even kidding.  That home was never comfortable for any of us, and I know that was by design because the Lord told me it was a picture of what he was doing in our lives.  He wanted us transparent with each other, out of our comfort zones, and he wanted to expose things that needed to be dealt with. (Later in the year, he told me this was a year of establishment, so the ordeal in this house finally made sense — often, you have to tear down old to establish new.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.)

September:  M started his new school and got really lazy.  All of a sudden, he couldn’t remember to do his chores or homework, or even that he HAD chores and homework.  In retrospect, he was going through his own adjustment period, as well as picking up on the tensions in the house and not knowing how to handle them.  I couldn’t find a job.

October, November, December: More of the same.  Both Lechuga and J were facing (or avoiding, in some cases) their own issues, and there were times I felt like I had 3 children instead of 1.  There were also times I didn’t come out of my room for 2 or 3 days on end because I couldn’t deal with another minute of it all.  I spent much time on my face, seeking God, seeking wisdom.  And God had told me he wasn’t going to talk to me like he normally did for a period of time because he wanted me to learn to hear/see/experience him in new ways.  I, who am perfectly content not to exchange a word with another human for days on end, have never felt so very alone.  I still couldn’t find a job.  On the plus side, no job meant I could go aurora-chasing all night long whenever I wanted — and I did much of that.

January:  One morning, I awoke to the words, “I want a divorce.” (Note: I have full permission from the hubby to share everything in this post.) My husband, whom I love tremendously and look at as one of the greatest gifts in my life, was going through a very dark time of confusion.  In the 10 years we’d been married by this point, there were a few deeeeeep issues that he just didn’t want to see, and God put him on the spot in this house.  And it got horrible.  You know how a wound festers and hurts the most right before it busts open and begins to heal?  That was my marriage.  But I dug my heels in and said, “No, I won’t agree to that,” and God gave me wisdom.  I never, ever want to go through anything like the following 3 months again, but I will say that when the tide finally turned, it was beautiful and recognizable.  I still couldn’t find a job.

February, March:  These were the months where I learned to choose love when faced with an onslaught of bile, indifference, sarcasm, dishonor, and all the other ugliness that comes from not knowing who you truly are.  But the Lord told me he had an anniversary gift for me, and right around the 12th of March, J began to get his breakthrough.  All the yuck was finally torn down, and establishing of the new began.  It was a slow process, and even now is still going on, but there has been measurable progress, and that brings incredible healing.  In February, I had a job interview and then a second one with the State of Alaska.

April:  After a THIRD interview, I finally got the job.  But two days before I was to start, I had some kind of weird allergic reaction, and my face puffed up and turned red like I had sun poisoning, and my skin got flaky and gross and rashy and ITCHY all over…and I had to start the job looking like that.  I’m still not happy about that, and I’m still dealing with the rash, although the swelling went down after 3 weeks or so.  I’m headed to a naturopath next week because I’ve exhausted my knowledge for figuring out what’s going on.  I did a candida cleanse, put myself on a low-histamine diet for a month, took Allegra, slathered myself repeatedly with shea butter/coconut oil/essential oils, drank gallons of bone broth and ate copious amounts of gelatin gummies, and tried to alleviate as much stress as possible (ha!).  I’m out of ideas.

May:  My birthday and Mother’s Day came about, and the beginning of more family time, as people’s priorities began to realign.  The woman who took us into her home when we move up here passed away.

June:  And the establishing continues. We bought a house!  There’s a great story to be told, but this post is already over 1000 words long, so I’ll tell it in another one.  At any rate, the house is perfect for us, and I smile when I think how the Lord put it here 5 years ago, knowing we’d move up and fall in love with it. 🙂  Kudos to J for finding it, by the way.  I would never have even looked at it if he hadn’t expressed interest, and the moral of that little tidbit is that it’s easy to miss a blessing if you don’t look for it.

July:  It’s our housemate’s turn to come face to face with stuff that needs to go.  And because I didn’t get permission from her to share, I’m not going to say much, except that things are a little awkward right now, but it’s a necessary part of the process, and this, too, shall pass… M told me Alaska feels like home now.  And J told me, just two days ago, “Come hell or high water, I’m in this with you.”  He has never said such a thing to me before, and I felt something significant shift and click into place when he uttered those words.  Moreover, I believe him: we ARE in this together.

So regarding those preconceived notions I had?  Since it was such a BIG move, a BIG life change, I guess I thought we were going to get here and immediately start doing BIG things for God — big, GLORIOUS things.  The reality is that it’s been a very, VERY difficult year, and you can’t begin to imagine how happy I am to have it behind me.  I will state for the record that I still wake up every morning profoundly grateful to be here.  I still ooh and ahh over the mountains that ring 3 sides of this valley, for they look different and ever more beautiful each day.  I still dream and hope and offer myself for this lovely state and her people.  I still call this little town home.  And I’m glad to be established. 🙂

Hello Again!

Hi, strangers!

To everything there is a season, right?  It seems that 2013 was NOT a season of blog-writing for yours truly.  Or much writing of any kind, actually.  Hopefully, 2014 will prove to be different.

What 2013 was was a season of intensely going after some big things like dreams, like identity.  It was a season of laying down old ideas and defenses.  It was a season of defining boundaries – some needed to be erased, some needed to be modified, and some needed to be constructed.  It was a season of picking up paintbrushes and learning how to take joy in the act of creating, rather than worrying about whether the creation would be “good enough.”  (That one was tough, let me tell ya, because I believed in doing all things in what I thought was excellence.  What I learned was that excellence just might have more to do with attitude than with skill.  Skill can be learned.  Attitude must be chosen.)

I think last year was tough on just about every person I know.  Some of the stories I’ve heard, well, let’s just say a bunch of people are glad to put 2013 behind them and not look back.  But those same people are also feeling pretty positive about the new year.  I, myself, sense some big, big things getting ready to happen in my life.  And where 2013 was a season of a sort of turning inward, dealing with very personal things in a very private way, 2014 feels like it needs to be lived out loud.  If 2013 was a greyscale pencil sketch, 2014, in contrast, seems to be a canvas begging to be splashed with every hue, tint, tone, and shade known to man, and maybe a few that aren’t!

I’m hoping to share all that color with y’all through this blog again.  Part of me really missed writing it, but the rest of me was just so overwhelmed and tired out by everything going on that pellucere ceased to be a priority.  But I think I’m b-a-a-a-a-a-c-k!  And I’d love to hear from you, as well.  What’s been going on in your life?  What do you see this year holding for you?  What would you like to see me write about?  Does the rain in Spain stay mainly in the plain? 😉

Here’s to 2014!!

In Which the City Mouse IS the Country Mouse, and Vice Versa

Having been born smack in the middle of the 4th largest city in America, and having grown up in its suburbs, I’ve definitely always considered myself a city girl.  I’ve spent time marooned (I felt)  in very small Midwestern towns and chafed at the lack of culture, museums, ethnic diversity.   I’ve freaked out at the fact that cow poop is green when fresh.  The words, “You actually SWIM in the river??” have come out of my mouth.  And when I got to move back to the big city from those small Midwestern towns, it was as though the heavens opened up and a chorus of  angels escorted me home, all the while singing the Hallelujah Chorus…

But about a month ago, the Lord and I were having a conversation about dreams.  It went something like this:

God:  Hey, I want you to start visualizing your dreams.  Really see them.

Me:  What?  I’m a seer.  Of course I visualize my dreams.

God:  Not the nighttime ones.  The dreams that are in your heart, things you long for.

Crickets…

Me:  Oh.  Um.  Yeah, I don’t think I have any of those. (Dawning realization). I think I’ve spent my life more or less in survival mode, even after I didn’t need to…hard habit to break, that.  You’re gonna have to help me on that one, God, ’cause I can’t think of a single thing I’ve wanted so badly that I’ve wanted it with everything in me.

God:  What about J and M?

Me:  Uh, no, that was YOUR idea.  I certainly wasn’t chasing after J.  Didn’t you read my post, “Honor Among Weirdos?”

God: You know full well that J and M are redemption of your past on many levels.  C’mon, daughter, work with me here.  See your dreams.

I pause.  I look around.

Me:  I can’t SEE any of them.  Help!

God: (grinning) Watch!

Suddenly, this city girl is remembering a time in 2003 that she walked into a model house and announced before she realized what she was saying, “This is my house.  I will build this and live in it one day.”  Suddenly, this city girl is remembering that she saw that house built on a couple of acres of land.  She saw a garden, a few chickens, maybe a cow or two, a creek or shallow river running through the land, and no lawn to mow.   Suddenly, this city girl is realizing she has – and has had – a VERY strong desire to simplify her life for a good while now.  And apparently, simplifying, in her mind, doesn’t equate to city life.

I suppose there have been clues.  About 3 years ago, the hubby and son and I moved to a smaller town outside Austin, and I realized very quickly that I like being NEAR a bigger city but not necessarily living IN it – I can get to it when I need to, but then I can come home to a slower pace of life and far less traffic.   And then there is my ongoing love affair with wide-open spaces: last summer, driving through the mountains of West Texas, I felt like I just belonged there.  Last weekend, we drove all over the Texas Hill Country, and again, I was captivated.  I kept looking for land-for-sale signs. And finally, there’s the fact that no matter how cute the shoes might be, I’d rather be barefoot and digging my toes into the dirt.  Like, the stuff plants grow in, not the grime of a city sidewalk (grooooosss).  I want the sun shining down on my face and the breeze blowing my hair every which way.  I want butterflies and dragonflies and wildflowers in my yard.  I want to lie outside on the driveway at night and actually be able to count the stars…

I don’t know how it will all come to pass.  What I do know is that if the Lord shows it to me, it eventually happens in His timing, so I don’t need to try and figure it all out.  And I’m realizing, too, that when we remember forgotten dreams, we might just see aspects of ourselves, our identities, that we didn’t know were there.  In my case, since I’ve asked the Lord to show me who HE says I am, I’ve been a bit surprised at some of the things He’s said, but they aren’t offensive or cumbersome to me.  They fit…like missing puzzle pieces.

What about you?  Do you need to visualize your dreams?  What would the Lord show you if you allowed Him to help?  What puzzle pieces would you discover?

Occupy…YOU

The hubby and I hosted a rather nontraditional New Year’s Eve gathering last night.   We had started planning this thing several months ago as I began to feel a significant prompting to cover the upcoming year in prayer.  We sensed it was to be a strategic gathering, in that all of the invited guests were feeling the same thing.  Unity, being what it is, begets great accomplishments, so why not get all these people who were already on the same page into the same room for a bit?  Throw a little food, a little fellowship into the mix, and you’ve got the makings of a great time.  Thus, our proposed gathering became reality.  To be precise, it was officially known as the Prayer, Praise, and Potluck New Year’s Eve Throwdown! (exclamation point included).

For the first several hours, the emphasis was on food and fellowship.  My house rang with laughter.  People made new friends and reconnected with older ones.  One Indiana transplant became an official Texan after she managed to eat my (admittedly toned-down) genuine Texas Red Chili and proclaim it delicious, if spicy.  (I decided to give her grace as she asked for a glass of milk because honestly, I didn’t expect her to eat a whole bowl, much less taste it!)

Then around 11, we segued into a time of worship and prophetic declarations, leading up to communion at the stroke of midnight.  As we gathered in my living room to praise the Most High God and proclaim His plans for 2012, I took a good look at the people around me.  And it hit me anew that unity does not equal similarity.  My friends, all deeply in love with God,  are SO different from one another.  And even though I felt like a bit of an eavesdropper or Peeping Tom, I also realized that as they were completely immersed in their own personal moments with Him, they were being their truest selves most truthfully.  No artifice, no walls, no rules – it was such a beautiful thing.  I watched my husband improvise on the cello and marveled at the expression of love he offered to his Lord.  I saw a friend lie down on the floor, place his djembe on his chest, and commence to playing along with God’s heartbeat.  There were people with their heads bowed, people with their hands in the air, people pacing back and forth, people dancing, people smiling blissfully.  All such different expressions, all reflections of who they are in Christ.  None better than others, or more “right.”  Just a bunch of people in love, being themselves.

The theme that seemed to emerge through the words given was one of alignment and realignment, promises come to fruition, and fully stepping into one’s identity.  God is being quite intentional as He responds to our cries to “make things right,” and the interesting thing is that as we choose to allow Him to align us with His purposes, we will see the long-awaited promises come true.  And we will be able to BE the people He created us to be.  We will inhabit, occupy, BE those people, rather than just occasionally put on our true identity like an unfamiliar coat.  And when we occupy our true selves full-time, each and every individual/quirky/unique one of us will, JUST by being whom He made us to be, bring glory to Him in a way we never imagined and see crazy-miraculous things happen wherever we go.  Having tasted a little bit of this and having seen that He is truly good, I can’t begin to tell you how happy the thought of it makes me. 🙂

I wrote in a previous post that there is something significant, even pivotal, about 2012.  I definitely believe this to be true on a global or societal level, but I also see it to be quite pertinent on a personal level.  My challenge to you for this year is to find out who He says you are.  Receive His answer and refuse to entertain any condemnation or lies from anyone else; I promise you that His perception of who you are blows anything out of the water that you could come up with yourself, and it also completely steals the enemy’s thunder.  Just be yourself – the Lord’s version of “yourself” – and you cannot help but effect change on a global or societal level.  How amazing is that?

 

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