Prayerfully sticky

I pray – a lot.  It is the thing that keeps me going during the day, the way I can care for and serve my friends in the most effective and powerful way, and most importantly it changes things.

I wrote about what I pray for when I pray here.  But recently I was asked by a friend how I remember to pray….so here is my secret.

2×2 sticky notes all around me.

On my computer monitor.

On my bathroom mirror.

Beside my bed.

In my car.

In my Bible.

Just 2×2 sticky notes.

Each with a first name, or two or five.

Image

Simple little sticky notes…with a powerful purpose.

I am the prostitute

It’s been a while. 365 was a great challenge to myself…but after the post on Drowning I realized I had just added another “thing” in my life that I was so desperately trying to simplify.  So I will issue another 365 challenge one day…and it will be awesome! But for now…I’ll just write as it comes.

I had lunch with a friend this week. I love this woman.  She has been with me through so much of what I have written about in the past 5 years, the good, the bad, the ugly…she has been there and she has loved me through it all.  We don’t see each other often actually, but when we do it is always the exact right time.  We trust each other enough to truly spill out the depths of what is going on in the darker corners of our hearts, talk about our hopes, reveal crushed dreams, and share our fears.  Our conversations are raw….and lovely.

This time as our conversation went to current struggles and desires that we are both in this season, we talked about how we are learning to lean in and trust in ways that we have never had to before.  More than that we are learning to lean into Christ in ways we have never seen exemplified before.  Our parent’s had different struggles, they leaned in to trust in different ways…and modeled that well and not so well – depending on the circumstance.  But our journeys as single women look different than our married parents, and we have to trust God in different ways.

While in the midst of this conversation I was reminded of a study I just completed of the book of Hosea. Hosea is this little book in the Old Testament that many simply skip over, but there is so much there.  The basis of the story is this:  Hosea, a prophet, was told by God to marry this prostitute named Gomer.  (let us pause here and have a quick giggle about the name…).  The story goes on to tell us that the prostitute has children with Hosea and then leaves the marriage to go back and become a prostitute again. At which time, Hosea goes searching the city to buy her back. He bought her back…though technically she was already his.

I could spend a month blogging about lessons I learned from this book, however, today this is where I want to take this example.  I find myself as Gomer more times than I care to admit. I am the prostitute, I am the unfaithful. How often do I run back to the life I used to know after grace has pulled me out and given me a loving home? Right now I find that I am a prostitute of trust…. I am good at trusting Him with what is “easy” in my life, and trusting Him with others in my life…but I run right back to the world of panic when the going gets rough or when He does not seem to be fulfilling the desires of my heart in my time table.  I prostitute myself out to trying to solve it on my own or trying to be in control….running to everything and everyone for comfort and hope, except to the only One who can truly give it.

Here is what I am most in awe of about this story.

hosea

This story is not about the prostitute.  It is not even about Hosea.  It is about a God who comes to find me in the city of destruction I have chosen to run back to – every.time.  He gathers me up and says to me over and over – You are MINE! You are MINE! You are MINE!  You are not a prostitute, you are the daughter of a King and the bride of a Prince. YOU are My favorite.  I want you.  Everything I have done for you, I would do again because I love you and you are Mine!

That takes my breath away.

You see, this year my biggest struggle has been my singleness and all that it entails. It has brought on dark days, and lonely nights. I long to be wanted. I want to be someone’s somebody.  And it seems as if so many of my friends are finding it and I am not.  But at the end of the day somewhere in my frenetic search for Mr. Right, or in the trying to become who I think I have to be to capture a man’s attention…in that moment God captures me with this truth again…I am His. He WANTS me.  He would sacrifice the life of His Son again to have me.  He bought me with a price, and I am HIS.


The reality here is that we are all the prostitute.  We all sell our selves out to the hig
hest bidder in hopes that they will bring us the thing we desire most, only to find it is a trap that will hold us in bondage.  But the glorious truth is that just like Hosea went to the darkest street to buy back Gomer, God will come to the darkest parts of our lives to buy us back.  He will hold us tightly in his arms and whisper – You are mine. I desire you. I would do it all again for you.

And that dear friends, is glorious.

23 – Tales from 30K feet

Guy sitting on the plane behind me is telling an amazing story!

Apparently the flight he just came off of a huge guy got on drunk and his drunkenness was not seen by the crew. They take off he downs two jack and cokes on the plane, then starts hitting on the girl next to him till she moved and requested a new seat.

He ordered a 3rd drink and got denied by the flight attendant – at which point he started cussing her out and stood up and told her he was going to kill her!  She went to back and called up to the pilot who decided on an emergency landing in Grand Rapids to get this guy off the plane.

Some military guy happened be on the plane and assisted the crew by going up and staying with the guy…staying super calm and talking the guy down.  Turns out this guy is headed to Florida for rehab and decided to go on a bender on the trip down there.  The military guy kept him calm till they get to GR and he is escorted off the plane by policemen!

They then continued on to Chicago. Never a dull moment in the air ladies and gentlemen…never a dull moment.

Day 22 – Reflections on the past

Tags

7 years ago today….I wrote this poem.  Interesting how cyclical our lives can be….and how the struggle of the past can comfort in the present.  Different struggles, different part of the journey, same faithful God.

Pain finds its way in;
Forgiveness heals.
Worry pushes and hammers at the door;
Faithfulness quiets the noise.
Anger rages;
Gentleness soothes.
Weariness overwhelms;
Strength comes in the shelter of the Rock.
Confusion torments;
Trust fights back.
Sadness comes in waves, threatening to drown,
Peace that passes understanding reaches out and pulls the swimmer into the boat.
Voices scream out for attention, trying to distract the one on the journey;
ONE quiet whisper, “BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.”

The battle is won.

surrender to a beautiful God

Day…eh…who cares – Thank you, an update, & some encouragement

” I won’t say the words. You’ve heard them and know them. I’ll just say that I hear you and I care.” – sweet words from a friend in response to my last post 

life-preserver

Thank You: I feel as though someone – or many someones – have thrown me a life preserver. Last week was rough. My last post was hard to face, hard to write, and even harder to publish. In fact, I even had to be honest with myself and edit the published version and add a fact or two.

Oh the sweet joys of my life and friendships.

Within minutes of hitting publish I had phone calls, emails, and text messages from friends, family and friends-like-family from ALL OVER THE WORLD filling up my life.  Messages full of support, encouragement and a willingness to walk with me through this season.

And that is what it should be all about really – walking with each other through each season.  Saying “this is a good day” and rejoicing, admitting this is a “bad day” and walking it out together.

So sweet friends who reached out, who “liked” my post to let me know they were there, who texted, sent messages, called, and most of those who prayed. Thank you is not enough….your words, deeds, and prayers were life preservers to my soul.

An update: On Thursday I went to my chiropractor/kinesiologist to work out in my body what I already knew in my head.  He helped – a lot!  (side note: I recommend homeopathic remedies to any and all…always!) Not only did he help identify some issues, but he gave me some natural ways to take care of them, as well as some practical advice on how to face some of these things.

I also had some heart to heart conversations with a couple of my closest friends and admitted to fear in my heart about being completely honest with them.  That helped – even more!

Some encouragement: I’m not out of this season yet. An honest blog post, a doctor appointment and a few conversations – no matter how wonderful, do not magically set things right (though they do make it better).  Here, however, is my encouragement to you, should you also be walking in a season of “drowning” (or maybe that should be swimming in a season…eh..let’s just roll with it okay).

  1. BE HONEST!  Tell a friend – a true friend – one who will not take it and tell the world…but rather will take it to the One who created the world. A friend who will hold your hand and cry with you. One who will listen and one who will say “I will sit here with you till you are ready to get up, and then I will walk with you along your journey.”
  2. GET HELP! Get to a doctor, a counselor, a recovery program of any kind. We were not created to fight our battles alone, and it is only in seeking out help that we will find it (and find it you will).
  3. BE OKAY! Be okay with where you are.  This was hard for me. I want to be the one helping others, the one who has it under control so I can “be all things to all people.”  But for now I have to be okay in my weakness and brokenness, so that I can do #1 and #2 above.

At my church we have a beautiful saying ‘It is okay to not be okay – it is just not okay to stay there.’  I have said this to so many friends and walked with them in their season of hardship, but was robbing those same friends of the opportunity to walk with me through mine.

So while I am not out of these turbulent waters yet, I am now in a life preserver, made up of friends, doctors, and prayer…the waters are calming and the boat is within reach…

Day 27 – Drowning

I did not post this yesterday because I didn’t want to be a Debbie Downer.  I didn’t want to publicly tell the world I am exhausted, sad, and struggling to stay afloat.  I don’t want to admit it to myself so why would I publish a blog that tells the world. So I wrote it….hit save draft and tried to wind myself down to sleep….but instead faced another sleepless night.  

This morning I realized that once again the biggest part of the battle was with the pride of admitting to weakness.  So today I’m hitting publish. 

Tonight as I sit here and try to put words on this page I am simply overwhelmed.  Today a friend told me that she enjoyed reading my posts because they encouraged her and she loved my “God loving self”.  Dear friend, (I know you are reading this) I needed those words.

As I read the words of encouragement (we were chatting online at the time), all I could think is “Oh my…I am such a fraud!”  This week I could not feel less like a positive, God loving influence.  Oh, I’ve tried. I’ve put on the smile, and I have have posted the right words on Facebook and twitter.  I have sent encouraging texts and emails to those that I knew needed them. I’ve blogged about happy things. I have done what it takes to be all things to all people. I did all of those things because it is my pleasure and honor to do so.  But I did it from an empty gas tank.  Which is honestly not fair to them or me.

To be completely honest and transparent. I am running on empty in all sorts of ways.

Stress at work has me feeling like I am drinking from a fire hose. I know that I am drowning. But I cannot seem to find the off switch.

Being behind in grad school has me feeling like a complete failure.  Yes, life has happened, but I have used a lot of that life as an excuse and I feel less than successful. 

My house is a mess.  I wrote about that this week.  And nothing I do or time I spend on cleaning things seems to change that.

I am single and that doesn’t seem to have an end in sight. 

My friend is sick and I am scared.

My friend died and I am sad.

All of the above combined with stress eating (that I didn’t realize I did) has me at a weight I never wanted to be at. 

Every part of my life feels like a failure right now.  And I know it is not true, and I know that if I said these words to friends, they would speak back well meaning phrases and give me hugs, and do their best to insert truth into my life. But even that thought seems overwhelming.

drowning

There is a very real fear in my heart that I will fall back into co-dependent tendencies.  I am so scared to be the one sucking life out of someone else, that some days (most days) I lean too far in the other direction.  I put on the mask of “I’m fine,” and I take care of everyone else, rather than reach out to friends and say “I am drowning, going down for the 3rd time, help!”  I hide behind a facade.

But there is hope and truth that my heart knows to be true.  I have written about it on this blog for years.  And I believe in that Hope and that Truth.  I know that I have community that loves me, and who want to walk with me in sorrow as well as joy.  However, they cannot walk with me in sorrow, if I do not tell them that I am mourning.

So today – I finally reached out.  I finally said help!  I need prayer.  I need help. I need more than just a party with a bunch of friends on the weekend where I have to put on a smile and hide behind all of my mask of happy, with encouraging words and phrases.  I do not need motivation and “you are so great” or “look at all you have” cheer me up phrases. I need people who will rise up and go to the battle front with me.  I need those who will go to the Lord on my behalf I need those  who will walk with me in this season, when I don’t look or feel so pretty. I need those who will sit and cry with me without trying to cheer me up, and who will love me for who I am right now.

Mostly I need to be honest with them and myself that I need these things.  I have to let go of the fear that what I was I will not become again. I know that co-dependent Amanda is dead and gone and my confessing to being in need is not going to bring her back.

So here is my confession. I’m tired. I’m wounded. I’m in need.

Day 26 – I did it

Tags

Today I did something I haven’t done in 6 years. I put on my competitive weight taekwondo uniform, tied on my black belt and went back to class.

IT.WAS.AMAZING!

I am so thankful for the heritage that got me as far as I am today. I miss my TKD family from the Woodlands. Walking into that school brought so many happy memories and amazing times. I cannot imagine my life with Mr. Andy Moreno and the time that he invested into my life and my training. I also cannot imagine my life with the incredible families that I got to know and be a part of while there.  I love each and every one of them and am thankful for that season of my life.

Today, starts a new chapter. A new school. A new instructor. New goals. New forms to learn.

Today I did it. I started over…and it feels so good!

20130513-220222.jpg

Day 25 – Paper writing

Tags

After a ridiculous hiatus due to life happenings and random excuses that shouldn’t be – I’m back concentrating on my grad school work!

As I often say – the beauty and blessing of an adult learning program is the flexibility it allows. However, the curse of an adult learning program is the flexibility it allows.

Today I have spent the day working on a paper for a class called the Process of Change. This particular paper is about the cultural transitional experience of a young polish girl born just after World War 2 – who immigrated to Canada with her parents when she was 13. As you can imagine any transition from a war torn country to a country with seeming affluence in comparison is life changing.

There is much more to be written here – but I’ve been writing all day. I’m out folks….night!

Day 23 – A mess

Tags

Mess

If one’s home is a reflection of one’s heart….I should be worried.

Some days trying to keep up with work, dogs, school, friends, and life in general the house is what gets left till last.

Some days when trying to keep up with work, dogs, school, friends and life in general the heart is what gets left till last.

But when my house is in order my life is in order. I know where things are. I don’t spend 10 minutes searching for keys that are right on the hook where I left them. Things smell good. Things look good. I don’t worry if friends unexpectedly drop in.
A clean house is welcoming to the other parts of life.

But when my heart is in order my life is in order. I know how to handle things. I don’t spend 10 minutes searching my heart for answers that I already know. Things feel right. Things look good. I don’t worry if a friend unexpectedly asks my state of mind or where I am in my walk. A clean heart is welcoming to other parts of my life.

Off to find the dust rag and broom – I’ve got some work to do.

Off to find my Bible and spend some time in prayer – I’ve got some work to do.