The Circles We Live In

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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.

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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

Grieving the high chair.

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I bought the high chair at a rummage sale. It was wooden with chipped, white paint flaking the sides. I had known from the moment I saw it that I wanted it to be mine. It reminded me of high chairs I would see in vintage black and white photos. It had no safety precautions, yet I am sure it had stories it could tell. Stories of the families and children it had served.

At the time that I purchased it for ten dollars,  I was not even pregnant. We had just started the process of filling out the paperwork for our adoption. And as we all know that high chair did not get used for a very long time. What we expected to take months took years. Years of waiting. Years of praying. Years of hoping. Years of anxiety, anger, frustration, signatures, home studies, finger prints, and did I mention paper work?

Yet after three years we were sitting across from our sweet little boy.

That high chair became the place where my little one ate his first meal as a family of seven.

It became the place where he clearly showed us that broccoli was never going to be one of his foods.

It became the place where he fell asleep when days were just too long for him and he couldn’t make it through dinner.

It became the place where he discovered pasta for the first time and decided the walls needed it too.

It became the place where his personality began to emerge and he entertained us all.

What I didn’t expect is that it would become a symbol of grief for me.

After little one clearly could not fit in the high chair any longer I scrubbed it all down and left it in the corner of the room for months. I would walk by it and think about what was next for our family. I would dream of my belly expanding and getting to wear cute maternity jeans. I would rationalize that I was keeping it for my grandchildren some day. Knowing full well that any mother would not let their infant sit in a chair with zero safety features.

And breathing in that I knew why I was really keeping it.

I was keeping it because I wasn’t ready to face my truth.

My truth, that I would never carry another child in my belly again.

Seven years before I lay on a hospital bed, sobbing as I signed on the dotted line. I wanted someone to save me. To save me from the choice. I needed someone else to make the decision for me.

I knew that the level of depression that I had suffered after each of the four children I birthed, had only gotten worse. I knew that I needed to make a permanent decision that I later would come to grieve. I knew at the time that I was scared of who I was after each child. And although I firmly believe in medication and that God created Prozac on the eighth day,  I could not function as a human.I knew that depression would swallow me if I chose to continue to grow our family through childbirth.

I remember the day I sold that white high chair in the corner. It went to a woman who loved to refurbish furniture. To make things new.

My truth, is that I grieve every moment when a friend or loved one is struggling with infertility or a miscarriage. The truth is, that I feel like I was so selfish to take that choice away from my family.

But I know this.

I know God uses everything. He opened my eyes to adoption, to safe families, to foster care and to taking in those around me. He shows me daily how I am that high chair. Chipped, tired, and covered with messes. But in His grace and mercy He is making me new. He is filling me with joy and wonderment. He is letting me heal and rest in in Him.

Where ever you are sweet one. Worn. Tired. Lonely. Grieving. Searching. Empty. Anxious. Fearful.

He is there.

He is binding Himself to you.

Making you new.

 

“Let us then approach God’s Throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

 

Eggs and Rice- living the truth of who you are

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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.

The loneliest marriage- when the sin of making your children happy has stolen the gift of your covenant. .

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Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.

Psalm 25:16

It’s not anything to be proud of. If anything its embarrassing. To sit before your best friend with tears and say you have never been lonelier.

My life is full. Full of children. Full of friends. Full of schedules. Full of running. Full of activities. Full of noise. Full of appointments.

It’s full. But I am empty.

And if I’m being honest. It’s not me. It’s not him.

It’s us. We.

We are empty. We are lonely.

Relieve the troubles of my heart     and free me from my anguish.

Psalm 25:17

We stay busy. With school. With soccer. With swimming. With basketball. With volleyball. With doctors. With therapists. With coaching. With volunteering.

We become busy. We become lonely.

And my heart is empty in the fullest schedules.

Look on my affliction and my distress     and take away all my sins.

Psalm 25:18

So we become who we were.

Two parents living parallel lives. Working for the five little ones we love instead of loving for the five little ones to thrive.

Until the silence is too thick to hear the faint crying against my pillow.

When I believe that the only way to feel heard is to let myself become sick again.

When one or both decide that we need help.

We need to crawl back again to those that speak truth over us.

When late night phone calls are made to say ….”please”

Guard my life and rescue me;do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. Psalm 25:20

The moment we realize again we are doing what we know instead of what we’d hoped.

We know the patterns that we grew up with. We know how devastating that story ends. We know the schedules of the families around us. We know that we justify by saying they are just like us. We know that it comes every fall and spring. We know that we don’t know any better.

Until knowing better has to be better than this.

So we make the late night phone calls and bear our soul. We admit again that we’ve stumbled. That the sin of making our children happy has stolen the gift of our covenant. That we would rather watch our children succeed than face the silence that has become our pain.

We reach out knowing that we will hear things we don’t want to hear. We reach out knowing that things will need to change. That yes’s will have to become no’s. That our children will learn to sacrifice in order for us to thrive.

May integrity and uprightness protect me,  because my hope, Lord, is in you Psalm 25:21

We admit that the world that we portray is the world of our activities, not of our life. Our pictures and accomplishments do not show the loneliness and pain that are stealing our marriage.

We admit that we cannot. Should not. Will not do this alone.

That we will fight. We will be still. We will pray. We will cry. We will dig. We will admit. We will be honest. We will ask for help. We will try.

For the sake of the covenant we made.

 

 

Do you have a story of fighting for freedom that you’d like to share? I’d love to have you on the blog sharing your fight, your beginning, your road to freedom. Whatever your struggle is you are not alone. -sheli

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

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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

Dear Moms, Do you know what beautiful is?

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Dear Moms, Do you know what beautiful is?

Earlier this week I wrote a post to my daughters about what beautiful is.

This got me to thinking. Do WE  actually know what beautiful is?

Someone had asked me recently to do a photo session with the hubs. I would love to say that I was excited and elated to have our pictures taken by an amazing photographer. But the first thing that went through my mind was give me a month until I can lose a few more pounds….and then I’ll be ready.

How many of our beautiful moments are wasted on waiting? On being ready….

And if we are waiting than what are we teaching our daughters? What are we teaching ourselves?

I will be beautiful when I find the man to love me.

I will be beautiful when I can walk down the aisle in a gorgeous white gown.

I will be beautiful when I lose all of this baby weight.

I will be beautiful when I am a size 8 again. ( who am I kidding I’d like a size 10 these days)

I will be beautiful when I cover the grey in my hair.

I will be beautiful when I can wear a bathing suit.

I will be beautiful when I spend hundreds of dollars to drink shakes.

I will be beautiful when I stop trying so hard.

I will be beautiful when I can fit into last summer’s clothes.

I will be beautiful when I have a chest like hers.

I will be beautiful when my hips don’t stick out so far.

I will be beautiful when my arms don’t sag.

I will be beautiful when he notices me.

I will be beautiful when I have the job I worked for.

I will be beautiful when my husband pays attention to me.

I will be beautiful when my stomach is hard.

I will be beautiful when I have all my makeup on.

I will be beautiful when someone notices me.

I will be beautiful when I am loved.

I will be beautiful when I my life looks like yours.

I will be beautiful when I am as thin as I was in college.

I will be beautiful when someone wants me.

 I will be beautiful when I see my reflection and not be repulsed.

I will be beautiful when others tell me I am.

So we wait. You wait. I wait. We waste our lives waiting. Waiting to beautiful.

All the while trying to raise daughters to know that they are beautiful.

They are beautiful now.

YOU are beautiful now.

YOU are beautiful now because you have stood up for a friend. YOU are beautiful now because you fought for your marriage. YOU are beautiful now because you walked away from toxic relationships. YOU are beautiful now because you forgave. YOU are beautiful now because you received grace. YOU are beautiful now because you fed those around your table. YOU are beautiful now because you chose the harder road. YOU are beautiful now because you so said no. YOU are beautiful now because you survived. YOU are beautiful now because you were a voice for those who could not speak. YOU are beautiful now because you chose children over chores. YOU are beautiful now because you gave when no else would. YOU are beautiful now because you stayed when others walked away. YOU are beautiful now because you live in truth. YOU are beautiful now because you are using your gifts. YOU are beautiful now because you put down your phone and paid attention to what you were missing. YOU are beautiful now because you are stronger today than yesterday.

It’s time to stop waiting my friends. Waiting to take the pictures.

Today. In this moment. YOU are beautiful.

 

Are you a marriage warrior? A story of a marriage that shouldn’t have lasted.

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I feel like every day I hear of another marriage ending. When I was in Uganda two years ago my best friend called to tell me that someone that I had put on a pedestal for so long had left her kids and marriage. I was overwhelmed. I remember falling to my knees in heaping mess. I needed her to stay on the pedestal I had her on. I needed her to be a constant. I needed her example of gentle selfless love to be true. But it wasn’t. It was ugly. It was going to get even uglier and I was stuck on the other side of the world. Feeling helpless and sad. And if I told the truth, I saw the end coming for a long time. But did nothing. I stood by and said “it’s none of my business”.

Those of us that have been married for a while we all know that divorce doesn’t just happen. We don’t just wake up one day and decide to “uncouple” or walk away on a Tuesday. Well maybe some do, but I know this is not true of myself or those around me.

Sixteen years ago I walked down the aisle as a scared little girl. We were young, stupid, selfish, scared and had no idea what we were headed into. We started off with a three month old as cute as a button but that sure was not enough to keep the regret from smothering us. I was naïve enough to think that marriage would be a lot like registering for your wedding gifts. Sure there would be a few disagreements as to how many servings of silverware you needed, but eventually all was ended with a kiss and a great list from Crate and Barrel.

Our marriage from the beginning was lacking. In support. In truth. We had lost all of our friends at the time. They were in med school or grad school hundreds of miles away and here we were trying to just make it through the day. And the only truth I was seeing was the daytime shows that filled my day. Those around me were trying their best to “give us space”. We didn’t need space. We needed help. So everything we were just manifested in socially acceptable behaviors.

I was jealous that he got to go to work. He was resentful that he was no longer the soccer star. I was angry that we had to move so far away from my family. He was confused as to why family was even important to me. I was frustrated that I had lost who I was. He was pushing to reclaim what he had lost. I was bitter that he got to go back to grad school. He was exhausted working and going to school. I was lonely and filled my world with friends and causes that gave me value. He was lonely and the silence had become deafening. We were both trying to make ourselves feel better, look better, be better but in the process were lost as to who we were really supposed to be.

Eleven years ago and we found our way into a church that would turn our “it’s all about my happiness” world upside. There we met people who called out truth in us. Who got in our face, sometimes with grace and sometimes with reality to call out the ugliness. We had people who prayed fervently for our marriage. That our pride, anger, resentment, and fear would be washed away. We had people that showed up on our doorstep without being asked. We had people who were not watching from the outside but entering in and pealing back the layers. We had people who when we fell, just picked us up. We had people that told us that divorce was not an option. We had people that we were not called to be happy, we were called to be holy. We had people that were not afraid to get messy with our filth but just looked for the next mess to dig through.

To those of you that are “our people” you know who you are. We are. I am. He is. Eternally grateful. I am crying as I am writing this. I see your faces and can’t imagine our lives without you. Some have been with us for years and a few just in this past year.
Thank you. Thank you for not just talking about us behind our backs or putting us on a prayer chain but for entering in and telling the truth. Thank you to those that didn’t just stand by and watch it happen. Thank you for never claiming “well it’s none of my business” as your excuse. Thank you to those that knew it was your business. That when someone around you is hurting you don’t politely stay quiet. You got loud. You showed up. You listened. You cried with us. You encouraged us. You laughed with us. You called out the good in us. You let us see that it wasn’t about us, it was all about God. You were gentle with us. You were grace filled. You told us your stories of pain and defeat. You showed us that authenticity is healing. And healing will make us whole.

Thank you. Thank you for not giving up on us. Thank you for believing that God could wreck us only to piece us back together.

Thank you for not being done with us. For knowing that we still need help. For calling us out when you see old patterns emerge. For wanting us to be better. For knowing that we can be. Thank you.

So on this anniversary of 16 years I wish I could hug each of you. Each of you for being marriage warriors. Truth tellers. Grace givers. God seekers.

Thank you….all my love…..Sheli

The Clothes I Wear Say Who I Am #SheSharesTruth

The clothes I wear say who I am.

When I was younger I imagined that early on I wore clothes that said
Adventurous spirit
Tree climber with skinned knees
Roller-skater who was afraid to fall
Dare devil that loved the challenge
Imaginative storyteller
Creative with space
Quiet thinker

I’m not sure of the exact age, but I can speculate, when I started noticing these clothes disappear.
They would get shoved under my pillow. Or in the corner. Maybe they got left under the picnic table that fateful summer.

Whatever happened, I seem to find new shirts to wear. Ones that spoke for me.

Quiet spirit
Confused
Sad storyteller
Fearful thinker
Afraid
Imaginative girl who never knew the difference between the stories she told and what was real.

When the knees stopped being skinned and my pigtails were gone, I started letting others put clothes on me.
Or take them off.
And at the end all I was left with was clothes that said

Empty

As a teenager I wore empty like it owned me.

It did. It owned me.

Empty love. Empty food. Empty exercise. Empty puking. Empty drugs. Empty attention. Empty feelings. Empty touch. Empty alcohol. Empty lying. Empty school. Empty fear. Empty friends. Empty security. Empty soul. Empty faith.

Empty.

I continued to wake up every day for years and decide that this was what I was going to wear. I deserved to wear it. There were days or moments when I wanted to find another shirt to wear. To borrow someone else’s shirt. To see if what they were wearing would fit me. I was convinced that I could feel better in what they carried on their backs then the years of weighted clothes I carried on my shoulders.

Years later I knew it was safe to start taking the shirts of lies off. I had begun to surround myself with souls who breathed life into me. Who called out truth. Who saw the truth and leaned in even closer.

When I began to explore the thought that there was a God who wanted to slowly come to me with palms open I was timidly skeptical. Was I willing to take the layers of clothes I had worn off? Was I willing to throw them away? Was I willing to lay them ALL at his feet? Was I brave enough to let others see the scars that I had been covering for years?

I was.

I am.

Naked.

Exposed for the world to see.
For Christ to wash me.
For my husband to understand me.
For my friends to receive me.
For the mirror to reveal me.
Who I was years ago. Who I am today.

Enough.

The shirt He asks me to wear.

He asks you to wear everyday
says
Enough.

You are not what happened to you. You are not who cheated on you. You are not your child’s illness. You are not your pain. You are not your divorce. You are not your weight. You are not the food you eat. You are not the alcohol that devours you. You are not your addiction. You are not your husband’s rage. You are not the fear that drowns you. You are not the loss you ache for. You are not the girl who didn’t know better. You are not the countless times you gave yourself away. You are not the porn that calls you back to feast. You are not the secrets that hold you captive. You are not your job that engrosses you. You are not your child’s behaviors. You are not the girl you used to be.

You.Are.Enough.

You are brave enough.
You are courageous enough.
You are enough.

Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” Ruth 2:10

It’s time. It’s time to take off the layers of lies you’ve been wearing. It’s time to stop letting others put filth on you. It’s time to be brave enough to wear the truth Christ has been holding in his arms for you.
The truth that says

Enough.

Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, Ruth 4:14

#SheSharesTruth
#SheReadsTruth

He did the best he could.- SheReadsTruth

He did the best he could.

That is what she said, in her brown cushioned chair, noise machine by the door.

He sat. Sat next to me in her office.

Months of pain unspoken hung between us.

I am not opposed to counseling. Not at all.
Not this one. This one was finally good.
She wasn’t telling us all the bull crap that many had told us before.

“Everyone makes mistakes, you obviously did”
“Walk away while you only have two kids, the damage will be minimal”
“Please think about having any more children”

I had stopped wearing my wedding ring by the time we walked into the first counselor and decided that I wouldn’t wear one again.
I believed I didn’t deserve to wear one.

We sat there sedentary. Watching the clock crawl, both fidgeting. He bites the inside of his hand when he is nervous. In between his thumb and first finger. I pick. My nails, hair, skin.

She asked,
how we were doing,
I started crying. Knowing that I was the reason we were here. I was the reason things were falling apart.

She sat there and said. He did the best he could.

He did the best he could, with what he had. With what I had never given him. Though I had given him every reason to leave. Biblically he had every reason. And no reason to stay.

You see the troubles we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Nehemiah 2:17

That was seven years ago.

But here is the thing. With me and him.

Although more him, if we are telling the truth.

He believes.

Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace. Nehemiah 2:17b

He believes in covenants.

He believes in keeping his word.

He believes in God, more than he believes in me. More than my addictions. More than my past. More than my mistakes. More than my mess.

I also told them about the gracious hand of God upon me and what the King had said to me. Nehemiah 2:18

More than he believes in our marriage.

He believes that God will bring redemption.

That God has a different plan for my life, for his life and he just needs to trust. He believes that the power that raised Christ from the dead is the same power that is fighting for our marriage.

The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding….Nehemiah 2:20

He believes that even if he never sees deliverance come in our marriage that he isn’t leaving. Because God will make something out of this mess. It isn’t his right to say that it needs to happen in his lifetime. He believes that he can teach me to trust more in the restoration than the struggle.

He does the best he can.

And his best is exactly what I need.
#SheReadsTruth