What if I break?

 

A blanket of sadness has covered our family this year. Our village. Our world. And when sadness comes I want to run.

But this, what has happened recently,could break me. I know this. I am fully aware that this might all be too much.

So I  texted my people and whispered “what if I break? What if this is all too much?”

And them, being the most life giving people I know said, you are not going to break. You are broken. You should be broken. But broken is beautiful. Broken can be put back together stronger than ever before. We will stay with you in the broken. We will stay until it doesn’t hurt anymore.

This is the thing. They know. They know everything. They know how many things hurt. They know all the shit that has gone on and the injustice of it all.

And still. Still they stay. They stay and wait until it doesn’t hurt anymore.

When I was younger, I remember finding my mom crying in the basement while she was ironing clothes. Standing over the ironing board with tears streaming down her face. I remember being so angry. So angry at who or whatever was hurting my mom. I know now. But then I really was more confused by the silent basement suffering.

She and I grew up in different times. Different ways of dealing with life. She grew up as a Dutch missionary kid. You worked hard, you went to church on Sunday and then you worked harder. You always brought the best casserole to the church function and you didn’t interfere with other people’s business. You perhaps had a handkerchief, but that was just to wipe your nose, not to show any public emotion other than happiness and lemon bars.

And then there was me.  I was born with all the feelings all the time. Teachers in my younger years said I was “a lot to handle”. But then life happened and me being a lot to handle turned into too much. And somewhere along the way the girl that felt too much started to believe that she wasn’t enough. She needed to stop feeling.

So I did. If it was bad for you I used it. If it was good for you I used it more. Anything and anyone to make these feelings I didn’t know how to feel go away.

That is what we do when we are scared. We numb.

I made a very conscious decision for my family this summer. We were going to heal. And to heal, you need to feel.

We decided that in order to heal we made the painful decision to bring all the kids home from school. All of them.

Early on, someone asked me what I was going to teach them this year.

Healing. I am going to teach them to heal.

When trauma happens our natural instinct is fight or flight. As an addict I am usually in flight mode. But this time. This time in our lives we are choosing to stay.

To choose healing.

And healing looks different than school.

This does not mean that we are not doing anything but art, therapy, yoga and oils, but that is a huge part of it.
I need to walk beside them as they learn who they are and how all of this brokenness fits into their world. I want to teach the that their is no freedom in basement suffering. I need to breathe life and words of love into them as much as I can.

I need to stay until it doesn’t hurt anymore.

I choose you- what vows look like after 17 years

This week the husband and I renewed our vows. And by renew I mean wrote all new words. Because after seventeen years you need to say new words. The words you say when you are a young bride with no idea how to keep a promise to yourself, much less promises to another person for the rest of your life, well words need to be said again.

When you are walking down the aisle more concerned about the size of your waist and if your nursing bra is leaking more than the person at the end of the aisle it is perhaps not the picture of matrimonial bliss.

Writing vows again after seventeen years looks less like a Pinterest dream and more like a masterpiece of redemption.

It looks like late night arguing and late morning swollen eyes.

It looks like crayon drawings on the wall and Band-Aid covered knees.

It looks like pasta again for dinner with thirty dollars left in the checking account.

It looks like trips to the in-laws and silent anger the way home.

It looks like catching her passed out on the bathroom floor when she promised to stop.

It looks like spending the savings account again on a car they couldn’t afford in the first place.

It looks like soccer families meaning more than ones you left at home.

It looks like littles in pj’s crying behind closed doors as parents open the suitcases of resentment on each other.

It looks like buying your first house in a neighborhood friends never came to.

It looks like sleeping on the couch for nights turned into weeks.

It looks like a Bible opened for the first time.

It looks like you first before me.

It looks like midnight calls to ones you pour your secrets to.

It looks like college funds turned into therapy bills.

It looks like a home with a door revolving to those who need a place to stay.

It looks like forgiveness when she realizes she is the one she needs to forgive.

It looks like catching fireflies with smore’s still on their faces.

It looks like driving to the treatment center because this time has to be the last.

It looks like your knees bruised from pleading with God.

It looks like admitting the ugliness you’ve hid for years.

It looks like Saturday mornings on the porch before anyone else is awake.

It looks like telling the truth that no one wants to hear.

It looks like catching him praying over her before he goes to school.

It looks like finding friends who help you clean up the pieces.

It looks like falling on your face with the brokenness that you have become.

It looks like saying out loud that change needs to happen.

It looks like restoration.

And so we gathered our people.  Our marriage warriors. And we stood in our backyard, in the neighborhood we claimed as our home and put a stake in the ground for the legacy of our family.

View More: http://snohling.pass.us/massie-vow-renewal

One of the most precious moment in the ceremony was when our good friend and pastor gathered us around our children and prayed the blood of Jesus over our family. That the chains of relationships would be broken and for the future spouses and callings of our sweet babes. I may have ugly cried my way through this.

 

View More: http://snohling.pass.us/massie-vow-renewal

And instead of promises. We made choices.

 

I choose to fight for you. To fight for us. I choose to daily lay your life before Jesus and ask that he guard your heart and mind to only His will. I choose to be present. To focus on what makes us a family not what makes others happy. I choose to put you first before our children. Because I know that is what is best for them. I choose to break the cycle of relationships gone before us by choosing healthy over happy. I choose to let you be the spiritual leader in our home and believing that God will equip you to do so. I choose to love you even when I am so unlovable.

But most of all. I choose this. I choose to pursue Jesus with all of my heart and passion. Because if we have learned anything these past 17 years it is this….He is our healer and redeemer.

And only He can restore.

#TELLHISSTORY

View More: http://snohling.pass.us/massie-vow-renewal

( The gorgeous photo’s were taken by Sabrina Nohling and the yard was transformed by Mary Kay from the Homestead in Plano.)

Come to the table- an honest confession about my homosexual sister

A few days ago I sat across from the table with one of my most enduring friends. We have only been friends for a few years but the way we communicate you would have thought it’s been forever. She is the type of person your soul is drawn to expose itself to. A safe place where grace covers the door. Our two youngest are the best of friends. So while they were busy building a fortress for the ants they had found outside and disturbing anyone there to get any work done at the outdoor coffee shop, we sat across from each other and let the conversation take us to hearing/

We talked about the upcoming summer schedule and what that brought for both of us. We talked about Jesus and church and how we both understand they are not the same. We sat and we laughed and we talked and we heard each other. I crave these moments. Both being introverts we both felt like this time we had was sacred and protected. I began to talk to her about my frustrations with the church. How I am feeling the organic part of it never was and never will be. That I am programed to believe that we worship follows a program. That raising my hands can only be ok if everyone else in the room doesn’t feel uncomfortable. How I feel that if others could see behind my eyes and what I am raising my arms to they may see King Jesus on the throne with angels all around. That they could see the King of Glory with my face at his feet. That they could see my raising my hands has nothing to do with them and everything to do with how their own insecurities beckon them to believe that it does. I then opened my mouth and began to cry about how I have been feeling so lonely in a room of so many. Many who have walked our adoption journey. Our marriage roller coaster. And without a doubt these are my people. But how I don’t know how I fit into anymore. I don’t know how I got to the place where I am questioning things. Things that I had never thought about before when I was a new Christian and just eager to be around others who I thought had the same passions as I did. As I grew and learned and listened and asked questions I began to hear. Hear the same unsettled questions in those that were pulling away. And here we sat the two of us with coffee getting colder hearing what I needed to be heard.

I then started talking about my sister and I . A subject I don’t, I haven’t talked about with many.

My sister and I grew up in a home where eight years apart creates memories the other never got to experience. As we grew older though she and I were two peas in a pod. I adored my sister. She was brave and beautiful and said things that I was never brave enough to utter. She stood in the gap for the underdog and was more interested in becoming who she was then like I ,who was running from who I  didn’t want to be. In high school she “came out” and I fully supported her. I rallied around her and was her biggest cheerleader. I was still a baby myself having just left college with a new baby and no degree. I had no idea what I believed or didn’t believe. I just knew that I loved my sister more than anything and wanted her to be set free. As the years went by and I grew in my faith and then became engrossed in the church I started to develop a sense of pride about my faith and thus grew an ignorance wall. A wall around myself where nothing could shake what I believed. Not even love. So my self-righteousness was more important than maintaining my relationship with my sister. Painful years ensued. Things said and not said. Words thrown to keep the walls secure without noticing who they were tearing down.

I sat across from my friend with tears running down my face. I hadn’t realized how raw this memory still was. I asked her if we could still be friends. If I had ruined our relationship because I had just shown her a really ugly part of my heart.

She then said,

“No, you came to the table. You came to the table and brought who you are.”

That is what this is going to take. For all of us. To come to the table with truth. To admit what we believe and don’t believe. And to listen. Not to sit on our self-righteousness and call out the sin of others without looking in the mirror at ourselves. I am admitting that my anger and pride are sins that festered and grew into years of words unsaid. I wasn’t willing to come to the table. I wasn’t willing to hear only to be heard. That is such a lonely place to be. I needed to come to the table.

At the table there is love.

At the table there is grace.

At the table there is listening.

At the table there is peace.

At the table there is healing.

At the table there is forgiveness.

At the table, there I am.

I am at the table with my sister now. I am trying to hear her. I am asking forgiveness for years I should have drawn closer. I am at the table with a heart that is broken with shame. I am wading through the process of truth and hope. I am soaking in the laughter and memories in the moments we are given.

My sister. She is leaving next week. Moving thousands of miles away with her wife. My heart is so sad and tender about the goodbyes to people I love. I keep thinking if I wish it away the moving truck will never show up.

Yet again I know. She and I. We are still at the table. We are figuring it all out. How to rebuild what we fearfully tore apart.

The table is just needs to stretch to Colorado now.

Yellow Ceiling Spots

There is a yellow spot on my ceiling in my living room. No it’s not from smoking. Although that would be a better story. Have you ever seen the episode of Modern family where Phil finds a yellow burn on the couch on Christmas morning? Netflix it now. He cancels Christmas until someone fesses up to smoking on the couch. He literally drags the tree out the sliding door onto the porch, while the kids cry and try to take responsibility, even though none of them did it. It is hilarious and true. (You don’t need to write me and tell me I shouldn’t be watching Modern Family, I watch it to know we are not alone on the crazy train.)

We all see things and assume the worst. I look up at ceiling from my couch and I assume that the yellow mark on the ceiling means that our ceiling is falling in and that one day I will be crushed by a bathtub from the second floor. I know. It’s morbid and crazy. Or perhaps I watch too much Rehab Addict or Modern Family. Either way I assume things that may or may not be true. Or I avoid what I know is true.

And what I know to be true today is that I suck at forgiving. Maybe there is a better word, but the thesaurus wanted me to say slurp. And forgiving doesn’t slurp anything. I am just not good at it. I am better at forgiving someone that did something to someone else. But when I have to forgive someone that hurt me, it feels insurmountable.  I want to dig my first grade heals in the playground and justify why I don’t need to forgive them. I want to shout it from the mountaintops or at least a very tall building, because who am I kidding I have never been to a mountain top and I am in no shape to climb one. Anyways, I want to shout it from a very high elevation the list of things this person did to me. How I was wounded so deeply by things that were said and the “sorry’s” that never came. I want others to turn their backs on this person and join me by digging their heels in the playground with me.

But this unforgiveness is heavy. Not like the “winter weight” I have put on. But more like the weighted blanket that my littlest girl sleeps under very night. Except this doesn’t calm me down, it tears at my bones and makes the most inner parts of me afraid and alone. It makes me brittle and broken.

I was a chaperone a few summers ago for my eldest high school camp. (I know, could I be any more of a helicopter parent?) (Actually, I had no idea where she was 95% of the time, so I am really good at keeping track of kids) I was there and heard this for the first time. Or maybe just HEARD it for the first time- that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Okay, maybe they didn’t say “die” at church camp but that is what my heart heard.

I want the people that have hurt me deeply to feel the humiliation and weight of what I feel. Of what I wake up every day and carry around. I want my pain to be justified. I want freedom. But if I am honest I want it to come by someone else carrying the shame that I carry every morning when I wake up.

Yet I am learning. Slowly. This isn’t about this person. Or people. It is about me. It is about the sin in my own heart that I can’t let go of. It’s about the years of shame built up in my own lesions that this just reopens like wounds that are still healing.

That is what this is about. It is about taking ownership of your own crap before mulling around in someone else’s. It is about claiming your own baggage at the airport and not trying to make others take their own. They are not ready yet. They are not ready to open up what you are already dealing with. And that it ok. It is ok to begin to heal and to walk away. You don’t. I don’t, need everyone to understand me or like me to be ok. I need to be ok because I know that I am a messy work in progress just trying to figure out my truth.

Bacon Wrapped Jesus.

 

I love bacon. On everything. My love of bacon went to a whole new level when someone introduced me to bacon wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese. Take a moment and let that soak in. Yeah, it’s that good. It is like pork candy in my mouth. If I am invited to any invent this summer that is probably what I will bring. So if you don’t like bacon, don’t invite me.  I think anything can taste better wrapped in bacon. Except maybe jelly beans. Those stand by themselves.

So here I am a forty year old woman who loves bacon and may or may not have an issue with jelly beans. But I am realizing my heart has been wrapped in other things lately besides bacon.

I am struggling. Struggling watching my daughter trying to date. The push and the pull of it all. Trying to figure out who she is and how she relates to the world. And how the world treats her back. It has nothing to do with the guy. Any guy.

It has to do with me. And me and her. And how she is a huge part of me. Part of me made her. And so I am half of her.

And that scares me.

Because I am pulled into the belief that because I was the girl that everyone should have stayed away from for years, that she will make the same mistakes I did. I know. I know. She is not me. She needs to write her own story. Blah. Blah. Blah.

But this this the thing. When fear creeps in, it wraps itself around you. Around your mind and images of your past soak into parts of you that haven’t healed yet. The parts of you that are creative and vulnerable and raw.

I am twisted in memories of a past that would like to keep me there. I am overwhelmed with the fear that the life I lived will be repeated by my daughter. That she will be haunted for years about the choices she may or may not make.

And here I was on a Tuesday feeling it all over coffee with one of my best friends. This friend has a way of reaching inside my soul and drawing out whatever I am concealing. Or maybe I don’t hide it well and she just has the courage to ask. She asked how I was doing. How I was really doing. The space in between the person that you want everyone to see and the one that exists so life can function in a normal manner. That space. She asked how that in between was.

She listened.

She let me be understood.

She didn’t interrupt or offer advice.

She didn’t counter the story so she could be heard.

She waited. She listened.

And then, when the tears started to fall, she reached across the table and touched my hand.

The words she spoke next brought such freedom to my heart.

You know she gets the best version of you right?”

“What?”

Sweet girl, she gets the YOU wrapped in Jesus. She gets the best part of you. The YOU that is fully and completely wrapped in Jesus.”

“She gets to be raised by one who has been forgiven and made new”

So many days I forget who I am.

I have no problem remembering who I was.

I look in the mirror and the scars are still there.

I can find things to wrap myself in every day.

Fear. Control. Anxiety. Shame.Pride. Jealousy. Noise. Busyness. Food.

We need people in our lives to remind us what we are called to be wrapped in.

Fully forgiven. Fully made new. Fully at the feet at the one who pours mercy over me.

Fully wrapped in Jesus.

I want to raise a Hosea not a David in this world.

 

I watched you today.

I watched you, with your day off of school, wandering around the house looking for someone to talk to something to do. I watched you walk into the kitchen and start making lunch.

Laying out your bread. Turkey. Cheese. Sorting the pretzels and starting to count them out.

This used to drive me crazy. You with your counting and sorting and neatness. And then I took a breath and realized this was God’s fingerprint on your heart. You need order and crave sameness.

Your mama hears you. I see you.

I watched as you reached to take your plate from above and noticed that your hands held on to two. Two sandwiches laid out before you with equal amounts of cheese, bread, turkey and pretzels.

You showing me what thinking of others looks like. You making lunch for the sister that made you feel less than just hours before. And in your quiet eleven year old way you poured mercy over her.

Setting the two plates on the table to begin to eat waiting for her to join you. Not leaving it on the counter but placed right beside you. Two plates where they should be side by side showing me where grace should be placed.

Next to us. Inviting those to the table to join us who have hurt us. Who have bruised our hearts. Inviting them to the table to hear who they are. Where they are. To forgive and rebuild.

I capture my breath and realize that this moment is to be breathed in. This is a Hosea moment.

Again on the couch. Watching you watch a movie that your younger sister has watched a thousand times. Laying your head on your dads shoulder who is sleeping off a cold caught this weekend. I see you reach for your dads hand and quietly hold on. You think no one is watching so you continue to hold close. I snap a photo knowing that this moment is fleeting and needs to be remembered. This is a Hosea moment.

I was scared when I found that there was a boy in my swelling belly. You coming after two of your sisters, who were just a ball of hormones wrapped in a bow, I had no idea how to handle what you would bring my way. You brought soccer balls and scuffed knees. Frogs in the pockets and angel kissed cheeks. Your torn overalls and dinosaur songs. You brought life that I was missing.

The emotions that you stirred in me all I could do was fall in love. I fell in love with your sun kissed cheeks that carry angel kisses every summer. Eyes with lashes that brush the sky. And a heart that sees deeply what others miss.

I pray to raise you not as a man who gets what he wants. But man who leads with forgiveness. I don’t want you to grow thinking that if you work hard you will get what you deserve. But a man who leads with confidence filtered only through the lens of grace. I want to teach you to show mercy to everyone you meet. And those that you don’t even more. I want to learn to be a servant to your wife, your children your community. And serve them even abundantly when they don’t deserve it. I pray you to stand up for justice in your actions and not your prideful words. I want you to know the face of God because you have served the least of these. And if the least of these happens to be your wife I want you to lavishly pour grace over her like your father has done to me

. I want you to be a Hosea and not a David.

We have enough David’s in this world.

Sweet boy be brave enough to be a Hosea.

The Circles We Live In

love

We live in circles. Circles of friends. Circles of family. Circles of status.

Circles, whether we believe it or not can control us.

A wise friend pointed out something to me not too long ago. Not so much pointed out to me more like drew it out for me. Because I am a visual learner and I have the attention span of a third grader after recess.

I was telling her that I was feeling anxious and overwhelmed. That my body felt like it was on edge and I found myself so critical of everything.

She quietly drew a circle on the paper in front of me with the words “love and forgiveness” in the middle.

She then explained that when I am in the circle of “love and forgiveness” there I am also with Christ.  There I am in alignment.

So simple. But so profound to me.

Any thought that continued to go into my head I had to run through the filter of “love and forgiveness”.

And that is when I realized I am constantly living in other circles.

The circle of anxiety and fear. This is where I read too many tragic stories or hear the news and it becomes paralyzing in my every thought and action. Where I react to someone out of fear rather than love.

The circle of judgment. This one at times is pretty big. I become very smart about every subject and don’t need to know the whole story because obviously I know the right answer. This is a very pious and forthright circle.

The circle of busyness. Here I have no time for anyone and time for everything. I fill my schedule and find that I am irritable and quick to snap because I haven’t bothered to take care of myself or those that are under my own roof. I find that my house is out of control and the kids soak that in.

The circle of resentment. This one I choose to use when I am feeling less then. I jump into my circle of resentment and carry around the heaviness of expectations that I had for myself that have not yet come to completion.

The circle of safety. When this circle gets too big I panic. I have to keep this circle small. For my own healing. When too many are let in I feel exposed and the safety goes away.

The circle of jealousy. Here I feel small. I feel like who I am will never be enough. Here I feel insecure.

I am sure I will identify many other circles as I learn to use this filter of identifying what I am feeling and why. Of becoming aware more than reactionary.

But I am craving the circle of love and forgiveness. In there I feel freedom. In there I see growth. In there I see acceptance. In there I embrace change. In there I feel like the weight has been lifted. In there I see clear. In there I am open and filled with hope and joy. In there is alignment with Christ.

What circles do you live in?

I sold myself…..and now I know why.

red

I started selling myself when I was 14. Not the on the corner selling. Not online selling. But the please pay attention to me and love me kind of selling. Please tell me I am enough selling. My mother did not drop me at a brothel in order for my siblings to survive. I did it to myself. Some choices I made. Some were made for me.

Me in my skin tight jeans. Me in my overalls. Me in my long skirts. Me in my short skirts. It had nothing to do with what I was wearing or who I was. It had to do with who I wasn’t. I don’t ever dare compare myself to the millions of children each year that are forced into sex work. Or the girls who are walking the red light districts in their villages to survive. Never. I would never even think that the horror that they experience every day is in any way comparable to my mid- western choices. But one thing I thing I can relate to is the shell of the person that I became. When you give yourself away and are left with just a shell of disconnect.

I turn forty next month. If I think about it long enough I can get anxious and start thinking of all of the things I have yet to accomplish and the things I never became or missed. Having lived forty years I have to say that the last five have been the hardest and yet produced most growth. Through being stuck in Uganda and not knowing when I would see my whole family again. To suffering from PTSD, depression, anxiety, and attachment issues when I returned. And then to be hit with more news of another child who had been suffering all along. And to watch as she went through years of testing and evaluation in order to receive a diagnosis that is lifelong. I have walked through grief and relief all on the same breathe.

But nothing can compare to knowing that I more fully myself than I have ever been. I am confident that I am stronger and braver than I ever thought I could be. I am more confident that my experiences in the past are ONLY used for good. And thank you Jesus that he is letting me see the fruit of that pain today.

But me taking off my clothes for years did more damage than anyone could see. It left me lonely for the next 25. I know that others argue when you give yourself away it won’t affect you. God forgives you and you are fully redeemed. Yes. Yes to all of that. But it does not take away the reality that you are not all of you were supposed to be. There was so much of me missing. So many parts of me still lay in backseats, parks, beaches, hotels, and beds. So much of me lingered there for years waiting for my soul to collect me. Waiting for me to forgive.

And I think all the time of the sweet angels all over the world tonight that are asking others to love them. To buy them. To sell them. I want to scream and plead. I want to hold them and love them and tell them “you are already enough. “

I want to tell them it will take years for the pieces of you to fully return to a new healed soul. But this is not my job. My job is to be there voice. I can. You can. I now work for an organization called Trades of Hope. We partner with marginalized women all over the world. We sell jewelry that is ethically produced by using Fair Trade principle. By marketing their creations we offer artisans a way to provide for their families without entering into slavery, a way to keep their children rather than giving them to orphanages or to the sex trade. I love everything about this company. But the thing I love the most is that 25 years ago God saw the mess that I was making of my life and continued to make for years and whispered gently “I will make all things new.”

Yet it wasn’t until now I that I hear Him.

But he said to me , “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

2Cor 12:9

Eggs and Rice- living the truth of who you are

images (3)

When I was younger I remember my mom making scrambled eggs and rice with cinnamon on it a few times a month. It was usually when my dad was late at work or out of town. At least that is what I told myself. Yet as I have gotten older and become a mom to five hungry mouths every night I realize that may have not been the truth. The truth of which I believed is not the truth at that dinner table. The truth was more likely that these items were all that was left in the cupboards by the end of the pay period. The truth was is that it was easy to make and quite filling for a table full of athletes. The truth was is that she may have been so exhausted from working third shift as a nurse, driving all of us to school, sleeping a few hours every day and then picking us all up from school and to our events later that this was the best she could do. The truth was is that we were excited when it was “eggs and rice night” because we thought it was a treat.

Lately I have had this memory in my head and continually poking at my heart. What is my eggs and rice? What is my truth?

When is the moment when we decide to live truth filled lives? To embrace and stand in who or what we are?

I can count many times that I was asked out for coffee or a meal with someone and the whole time there my stomach would be turning because I couldn’t afford to be there. I had no right to even except the invitation. I knew that I would have to make the last fifty dollars in our bank account last until the end of the week not knowing how that was going to happen. Yet I was more concerned about saying no and looking foolish then living the truth of where I was financially.

This is an issue that comes up many times for me. I have friends who are let’s say a “bit better off in their bank accounts” than we are. My pride seems to creep in when I see them asking how they should decorate their houses on Facebook when all I can think about it how we are ever going to pay the heating bill or put food on the table next week. Yet when I choose to live and claim my “eggs and rice” and am honest with God. He shows up. In countless stories of “this could only be God” in our lives.

My “eggs and rice” weaves its way into every area of my life. For example my kids conferences at school were not Facebook worthy. In fact they were hard. To sit across from the teacher trying to figure out how we can intervene and help my sweet girls. I left in tears and called my best friend feeling defeated. My truth is that my child is not perfect and will never measure up to yours. My “ eggs and rice “ is that my teenagers are hard. I mess up with them all the time. I have given them more reasons to go to therapy than not to. My truth is that marriage is more than I can handle most days. I like to be alone and hate to be touched. My truth is that I made the mistake of loving my friends more and better than my husband for years. My truth is that I have an ugly jealous heart that needs to apologize regularly for not leading with grace. My truth is that I feared my father more than God in my life. My truth is that I went for years not apologizing to my sister and lost so many moments of memories because of my justified self- righteous attitude. My truth is that asking for forgiveness is so hard for me. My truth is that my PTSD kept me in bondage of fears that I could never utter out loud. My truth is that I feel overwhelmed with my daughter’s future. My truth is that I have a difficult time forgiving myself for my past that plays in my head all the time. My truth is that I sometimes hide when my kids come home from school because it’s just so hard. My truth is that I live in fear of my eating disorder rearing its ugly head again. My truth is that I don’t talk about international adoption because of the horrible things that I saw. My truth is I grieve daily that I can’t have any more kids because of my post-partum depression.

My truth is that my “eggs and rice” are messy. Yet I know this. God can take my “eggs and rice” and weave them into something beautiful and redemptive. He always does.

A broken Gomer-I chose pleasure over protection . #shereadstruth

imagesI06C8MA7

 

For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers,

who give me my bread and my water,

my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’ Hosea 2:5

 

Write a number.

What?

Write a number.

Write the number.

Write the number of men.

Write the number that you know.

The true number.

I can’t.

No.

Give me the number. On this paper write the number.

She knelt at my feet.

Years of guilt and shame poured down my cheek.

I wanted to vomit. I wanted to run. I wanted to look at her and say no.

Instead I wrote the number.

  And I will punish her for the feast days of the Baals

when she burned offerings to them

and adorned herself with her ring and jewelry,

and went after her lovers

and forgot me, declares the Lord. Hosea 2:13

 

The number of lives that I destroyed. The number of innocent moments I had taken from another woman’s wedding night. The number of times I denied that God’s plan was better for my life. The number of times I choose pleasure over protection. The number of times I craved acceptance over wholeness. The number of times I willingly and unwillingly gave a piece of who I was to another.

And here I was twenty years later finally pushing towards freedom.

Satan holds me. Held me. To the number.

Tried for years to tattoo it to my vision. To remind me that who I was is who I am.

I was done. I am done letting sins twisted in sheets control me.

  For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. Hosea 2:17

The chains of lies that held me then still controlled me now. Believing that I was used up, I was of no use. I had had my fair share of lovers. And to never be touched again would be too soon.

The shame that I let clothe me felt too heavy to carry alone. I was ready.

To find freedom. To see freedom. To crawl towards it.

And the first step was truth. To be honest with myself. To be honest with my husband. And to find someone to tell my truth to. Someone safe that would guide me, walk with me, pray for me, and lead me to the One who would ultimately bind up the wounds I had left gaping for years.

 And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord. Hosea 2:19

Where you are. Whoever you are. Whatever you’ve done or didn’t do. He is there waiting. Crying seeing you carry your chains around. Lay them down. He is waiting. Calling you home.

Its time.

Time to return.

He is gentle and safe.

He is justice and mercy.

He faithful and true.

With arms open

Calling you to freedom.

#shesharestruth