unlovable

from 2014. i’m better now. almost.


so, okay. i have this terrible condition that rears its ugly head every so often. i start to feel bad. mentally, internally. then it sort of morphs into something worse. a terrifying feeling of not being loved. then i set about to let everyone in my tiny family know about it. i moan and shout from the next room, “No one loves me!” then my family rushes in and kisses me and reassures me. “We love you!” it’s a fun, silly game, but one that i need sometimes because while i make a joke, i still need that comfort and love to bolster my fragile mentality.

well last night, i finally realized, what i really feel is, “I’m unlovable.” i begin to feel as if no one in the world could possibly love me. that i’m too fat, ugly, annoying and selfish for anyone to love. so i said, from my bedroom last nite, “I’m unlovable!” then my family rushed in, Lilli who is so smart, “I love you! And God loves you!” I said, “No, you don’t. You can’t possibly.” and she made some silly joke to make me laugh about how i was being impossible. and then Guy rushed in, hugging me and kissing me, singing Voice of Truth.

…and the voice of truth tells me a different story,
and the voice of truth says do not be afraid…

which is his subtle-not subtle way of saying, “Shut up! Stop lying to yourself.”

and that’s what i am doing. i’m lying to myself. i’m listening to that tiny, crazy voice that tells me:
i’m worthless.
i’m scared.
i’m not loved.
and that’s not the voice of truth, that’s not the voice of God. that’s the voice of the enemy–my own thoughts OR the twisted up world OR the devil.

i am lovable. i am loved. if for no other reason than God loves me. i am thankful for my family. for my husband, who is the voice of reason. for scooping me up and sparing me from my own terrible thoughts, for giving me undivided attention even when i’m pretty obvious about it. i love you, Guy. thanks for the reminder.

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take me to church

church has begun
it’s not Sunday now
but the bells have rung
we’re attending somehow

church is not
a building or shrine
it’s the body of Christ
it’s the collective mind

church is a place
down in our hearts
alive in our actions
where the Spirit starts

church is a job
church is your wife
church is a neighbor
church is your life

church is happening.
everywhere.

Carve Hearts on the Tree of Life

Proverbs 3:3 NASB

Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.

2 Corinthians 3:3 NASB

being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.


Write God’s words with a Sharpie on your heart.
When you wear a necklace, let it be of LOVE or a HEART or the CROSS.
The cross is a symbol of death, but also of love and sacrifice for the entire human race.
Only God can turn death into life.
Keep the letter of the law.
And if not, the spirit of the law.
And if not, GRACE.
And if for no one else–for your own safety and benefit.
Carve into the center of who you are what God wants.
Write those words.
GRACE.
By forgiveness and kindness, we shall be known.
By bearing God’s image, we shall be loved, saved, and most of all, forgiven.

Christmas

Christmas isn’t special.
Christmas is just a day.
Christ wasn’t born on the 25th
In a lighted ornamental display.

There wasn’t any tinsel.
There was not one flake of snow.
There wasn’t any cocoa.
There was no electric glow.

Mary and Joseph
And a little baby God
Sharing time and space
With travelers abroad.

No one cared who they were.
No one even knew
What on Earth was happening,
Except for a special few.

Shepherds watched.
The stars flew close.
Entertaining angels bowed
And played Heaven’s host.

No food or present can capture joy
No movie or card can free
Tomorrow you’ll find your pretty box
Is empty under the tree

The only thing empty to find
Is one important place–
The tomb in the morning with Jesus’ clothes
Replaced with amazing grace.

Light the tree and sing your songs,
I won’t begrudge your choice.
Just don’t forget the simple birth
Of your freedom to rejoice.

Christmas is Temporary

From 2014:

Christmas is fleeting. All year long, we wait in anticipation of the holidays and then we complain the whole time. It’s too crowded, cold, busy, expensive, gluttonous, hurried. I didn’t get what I wanted. I gave everyone a present and now I’m broke and alone.

The spirit. The spirit of the holidays. The joy of Christmas. What is it? Is it lights? Is it cocoa? Is it candy, presents, cookies? Is it the promise and hope of magic? But it never comes. We wait all year and it never comes. And then the lights fade and the tinsel is taken down.

Christmas is temporary.

But it’s not. What is it we are waiting for? What is it that we miss every year and chase after time and again? It’s Christ. That’s what we are really looking for and we’re looking in the wrong places. Is it in this tin of cookies? Is it in this neatly-wrapped box? Is it at the bottom of my second cup of cocoa? Is it at my 2nd, 3rd, 7th Christmas karaoke party?

An entire season is dedicated to what started out as a celebration of giving and hope. Hundreds of years have come and gone, each renewing the tradition of Christmas. But each year some family grows further apart. Each year some person grows more jaded, cynical, greedy and Scrooge-like. Each year our eyes grow more narrow and short-sighted. Each year we try to chase our pleasure, fulfillment and that indescribable magic that only caught us as children because we were bright-eyed and open.

Years ago, at the Blue Ridge Mall, they had a display. I don’t remember now if it was all the time or just at Christmas, but I remember it at Christmas. We were in line for Santa and the line snaked by a huge oil fall. It’s a waterfall except they used oil on strings. It’s like a waterfall in slow motion. It was magical, beautiful and a wondrous summation of the holiday experience for me. I lost myself in the endless strings dripping with glowing, hypnotic oil. I felt warm, silly and excited. I drank in the luxury of it all as I waited for Santa. I don’t remember Santa exactly, but I remember the strings. I wanted to reach out and grab them. But instead I swallowed my fingers and excitement over and over again at simply being near them. At that point, it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I remember Mom and Dad close by. I remember my siblings there too. I remember the sounds of cheerful shoppers as they shuffled by and their muffled packages swaying back and forth in their clasped hands. I remember the soft mall lighting and the quiet aromas of furniture, leather shoes, popcorn, clothing, carpet and mall food. I remember feeling safe, happy, joyful. The mood was love. And everyone felt it.

Now, I’ve begun a tradition with my family. We try to see Longview Lake Lights. We’ve been coming off and on for a few years now. And the best part. They have a field full of trees made from lights. Those are my favorite. They remind me of the oil fall. Delicate pearls of light suspended in the darkness, soft purple and blue, hanging on invisible strings melting into the night. For the last couple of years, it’s the most peaceful and the most child-like capture of innocence and wonder I’ve known. I’m five again. I’m eight again. I’m me before all the bad. I’m in Christmas up to my neck and in love with the world.

I wish I could take that with me. I wish I could visit the lights every night. But I can’t. The lights are even closer now that we live here, but even so, I can’t see them every night. But I can look for Christ. I can look for him every day and celebrate his birth. I don’t have to wait for “the day”. And I can try to capture his joy, his love, his intention, his gift every single moment, all year long. I can look for it as I drive, shop, eat and talk. I don’t have to wait all year and miss it. I can look and find it. I just have to be bright-eyed and open. His love is hanging right in front of our faces on an invisible string of light, dripping down and mesmerizing us with the delicate, graceful fall and we just have to reach out and grab it.

Merry Xmas! Happy Holidays! May you find many joys and love.

Christmas Crash

This is a poem I wrote several years ago. I wrote it for the church I was attending. The drama director had doubts about a white woman writing a spoken word poem in a masculine voice. The piece was for a male performer. That made me want to do it all the more. I think I did a good job and the voice is neutral. Men and women can both be strong. Both love God. Both raise their voices to honor Him.

The drama director was surprised at how well the piece came across and apologized for her doubts. She still never fully trusted me, but that’s her loss. This was my first spoken word poem. I still love it. Here’s a link to me, my husband and my daughter performing it from our home in KC. It may be slightly overwrought, but we’re actors. You can’t fight city hall.


Crash.Crashing.Crushing.Crushed.

I stagger here crushed, crashed into by God,
Crushed by the weight of his mercy and grace,
My sin gone without a trace.
And it feels like…heaven.

A flash.
Flashing.
Hit by lightning, the wonder of his coming,
Saved by his dying,
Crying at the moment I see his glory
And he is revealed to me.

This world is full of:
Head-on collisions,
Rear-view visions.
Hurt may appear
Closer in the mirror.

Hitting, hurting, burning,
Scratching, fighting, scarring.
And we don’t even know
Who we’ve struck on the road

With our carelessness. Our thoughtlessness. Our inhumanity.

Though–we are saved.
Without reason or cause.
Captured and raptured.
In spite of our flaws.

Made by his hands,
Made for his plans,
Made just like him.

Built for relationship.
Desiring fellowship,
Asking for love and loyalty–
Our trust in His royalty.

Our undivided attention.

And when he crashes into us,
It doesn’t hurt.
But you know that you’ve been hit.

Crash.

He crashes into us.
He leaves a mark.
Stunned mind, ears ring.
A mark made by the one, true king.

Crash.

He came on a star.
He left on a cloud.
Here but a brief second.
A drop in the bucket.

But he changed man’s heart forever.

Hit and run.
Hit and stun.
Crash.

Crash.Crashing.Crushing.Crushed.

Crushed by his glory, stick around for the story,
The story of Love.
A story of grace.
God came to earth and showed us his face.
The face of a child in such a lowly place.

Eternal spirit become flesh.
Forever and finite, in a sense,
Wisdom clothed in innocence.

Power in weakness,
Eternity from meekness,
He does nothing but seek us.

He came here to this dangerous space.
A tiny member of the human race
To save.  The.  World.

He crashed into history.
He flashed into being.
Everything changes,
Believing is seeing.

The story gets better.
The story is a letter.
A letter from me to you
By Him.

Read it from beginning to end.
And read it again.
And again.
And again.

Brace for impact.


I feel so lucky that God came down for Christmas. Happy holidays. ❤

Gratitude

November has officially become a month-long thankful pack of sticky notes on Facebook. That’s great. Truly. But what about the other 11 months? 🙂

So I hesitate to join, but. I will.

I am thankful for so much. But this Thanksgiving, I am deep-down, toes-to-tassel thankful for my life.

Since 2012, and really before that, I have been sick. Heart failure. Twice. Thyroid cancer. Gastric bypass. Gallbladder failure.

And now, 226 lbs lighter, I feel better than I’ve ever felt in my entire life. Even when I was young. Mainly because I also feel emotionally better. It feels like all the sickness is finally gone. I can just tell.

For years I struggled with a failing GB. Probably a decade, in hindsight. Also, I probably had a thyroid issue my entire life because I have been overweight from a young age.

Mom always said, “You were born hungry.” A mother knows. Just wish she could have told or shown the doctors where to look. Nonetheless, this was my destiny.

I am thankful for my trouble. It has taught me endurance.

James 1:2-4 NASB

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

(Perhaps missing/lacking a few organs, but otherwise, lacking in nothing. LOL)

It has also taught me humility. Patience. Joy. Peace. Understanding. Wisdom. Tolerance. So many things.

Under any other circumstances, would I be the person I have finally come to love entirely? I don’t know. God didn’t do this to me. But he knew how far I could go. He knew the traps. He knew the joys. He knew how strong I could be with him.

I truly did not think it was possible. To see 287.6 lbs again. That’s what I was yesterday afternoon, on the scale. I did not think it was possible to live past the age of 50. I did not think it was possible to ever feel right again. Out of pain. Able to walk. Able to work.

One year ago, I was preparing for surgery. High-protein diet to shrink my liver. Thanksgiving was the last day I could eat. I savored it. Thinking it might be my last tasty morsel before a lifetime of bland, tiny meals. Or worse. My last meal before operation table disaster. Dying.

But I made it. I made it to the next Thanksgiving. How wonderful to be on the other side. Maybe that’s what it’s like to go to Heaven. Thankful to be done and home at last.

Home again, home again, jiggity jig.

Maybe this is what I needed for this ultra-thick head. Maybe this was my come-to-Jesus moment. Maybe this was my “fall on my knees because I have nothing left.”

I’m by no means done. I am just beginning again. And I am so thankful just to be alive. And 287. 🙂


Only 87 lbs to goal!!! 😀

Jesus is a Beaver

Hear me out. Er, read me out, I guess.

Jesus is a beaver.

If u wanna know what I’m talking about, you should watch “Leave It To Beavers” on Netflix. Great documentary. If you like animals.

Beavers come into really dry areas and restore the landscape. They bring water. Well, they don’t bring it, they save it.

Little by little, over time, they build their dams. Higher and higher, they build to keep the water in and make the beaver pond deeper and deeper. They churn up the bottom and drag the dirt, silt and sludge from the bottom and seal up the dam to make it tighter and tighter. Waterproof. So no water gets out. This also makes the pond deeper by scooping up the bottom. The deeper the pond, the less evaporation, so the water stays. More water brings more life. More vegetation, more fish, more food, more neighbors…MORE! The bigger the pond, the more neighbors, human and animal alike, can enjoy the benefits and fruits of the pond.

This is what Jesus does.

Doesn’t he?

He brings us more.

Piece by piece, we can build a strong place with Jesus. We can keep his life-giving water in (he says he is the eternal spring) and keep from running dry. He can scoop up the bottom of our lives and use it for good. All the muck and dirt that we accumulate over time, he can churn that up and use it.

And the deeper we go in Jesus? The greener our valley for others. Other people may benefit from the deep pond we have built with Jesus. We can share the fruits of our labor with our neighbors. We can share what we have built in Christ. We can save the landscape.

Beavers don’t even know they are helping. This is just what they are born to do. Build, build, build.

We can be beavers. We can engineer our lives so that we help others. We can be born to do that or become beavers over time. Little by little.

I wanna be a beaver.

Sad-urday

Yesterday was a sad day for me. Really tough. But fascinating.

I was a mock juror yesterday for a local mock trial firm in the Tampa area. I can’t say who I was working for or what case we were hearing. But I can say it was for a car accident working towards a civil settlement.

I should explain. Real case. Real accident. Not a real judgment or decision we were offering. It was a test before trial. The two parties involved were trying to reach a settlement and determine how a jury might find.

Needless to say, the occupants of the car had their lives changed forever oh-so many nights ago. It was hard to hear and hard to evaluate/judge. Who’s right, who’s wrong, who’s responsible and for how much.

It was a grueling almost-12-hour day for me, but a drop in the bucket compared to the families affected by the incident. Negligence was at play, on the part of the driver, along with recklessness. Many other jurors agreed.

I think we all assume too little when we undertake the responsibility of driving. We often take for granted the luxury of driving and allow ourselves to be distracted. Easily. How often do you rummage through your purse while driving one-handed? How often do your children ask about the mysteries of the universe or where their favorite toys are or if they can have some treat from the backseat while you’re navigating from Google Maps while negotiating a multi-ton vehicle on a 70 mph highway? How often are you looking for the perfect driving music on your phone or radio or CD player? Instead of 10 and 2 and using your peripheral vision to spot surprised deer, raccoons, rabbits and other cars and people!

I am a freak about my driving. I rarely let others drive me. I’m a defensive driver. Overly cautious. Sometimes too much to the frustration of my husband. I have driven professionally and pay close attention to the road. I often drive with two hands, white-knuckled! But even I make mistakes. Big mistakes.

The driver from yesterday made a big mistake. The biggest mistake a person can make. And he blamed everyone else.

That was tough.

Ever made a big mistake and instantly wanted to take it back? Ever made a big mistake and blamed the world around you, immediately, because you couldn’t accept the weight of your own idiocy? Ever made a big mistake and no one noticed, but the guilt inside ate away at you silently? For years? Ever made a big mistake and lied about it and no one ever knew?

We all fall short. We all sin. Small and big. And we all get grace. That’s tough. The rain falls on the just and unjust alike. None of us deserve grace. But we’re all made in the image of God. That’s tough. Because to find God’s face in someone so evil or ugly or un-remorseful is almost impossible. Almost.

So I’m going to pray today. For that young man. For this country. For myself. For those who died. For those that will live with their mistakes and consequences. Pray for God’s will and perfect plan.

That’s tough.

Love

Love is letting go

Of who you used to be

To fit inside the hope

Of becoming a better we.

True love is never found

Inside of someone else.

It’s a gift you give

When you sacrifice yourself.

If love is an altar

Where we bring our gifts to offer,

Then carve out that place

And make me so much softer.

I’m harsh and angry.

I’m hard and mean.

And I blame it all

On where I’ve been–what I’ve seen.

Erase that hurt.

Make me over, God.

Give me something real.

Replace this hateful fraud.

I want to love you.

I want to know you.

I want to love people.

I want to show you.

It’s hard to be vulnerable

And offer up my heart.

But asking you for help

Is a wonderful place to start.