Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Define or Refine

I was caught off guard this morning by an overwhelming sense of denial.  It was a moment of clarity that I found in reading a book by Mark Batterson entitled Soul Print.  My community group and I at church are studying and working through Soul Print right now and it couldn't have come at a better time in my life.  The premise of the book is basically finding your freedom in who God created you to be and who you are not... finding that your uniqueness is not just God's gift to you, but your gift to Him as well.  As I was reading the chapter we are to study this week I realized that it's been several times in my life and most recently over the last year that I've spent in denial of what God has refined in me He wants to use to redefine me.  This post might be a rambler, but I hope you'll stick with me and follow my train of thought to the end.

I'm very vocal about my past and the disease that held me captive for 8 years, that of Anorexia Nervosa.  From the age of 12 to the age of 19 I was abusive towards my body.  Denying it food, pushing it past normal limits of exercise, all to be a "perfect" size and shape.  The whole time not willing to admit that it was so much more than about food and body image.  There was a bigger, more deep rooted issue going on.  But that's not what I write about today, today I suddenly remember how many times I've allowed others to squash my voice about it.  I've lived through the shame I felt in having an eating disorder, I am well aware the guilt and shame that comes with walking out this disease... I won't forget that.  But now, nearly 11 years into recovery that shame is no longer an issue, or at least it shouldn't be.  God used an unfortunate circumstance, a bad choice on my part to REDEFINE me.  This is what I had framed several years ago soon after it was published....

This is an article published in my hometown newspaper back in April 2005 when I held a community event to raise awareness about eating disorders.  Soon after publication I had it framed with my hospital bracelet and wherever I lived it hung somewhere on a wall in my home or apartment.  That was the case up until about a year ago... a year ago it was removed from the frame and placed in a filing cabinet for safe keeping.  Why?  I was asked when hanging stuff in my apartment if I really wanted to publicize this, after all it seemed like such a private issue.  In my desire to please someone else I reluctantly placed it hidden away.  To be honest I had forgotten all about that day until today.  The part of the book I'm reading discusses Life Symbols and how the author keeps momentos that represent significant life changes for him and his family.  This article is a life symbol for me.  It reminds me of where I've been and how far I've come and how God is using my life experience to help others.  Is this a private issue? Absolutely.  But at the same time I've seen how this disease is slowly taking over our culture.  It seems very subtle, but I believe it is more prevalent and dangerous than most realize.  So no, I won't be silent about my experience and if you come to my home and ask to see the article, I will gladly show it to you.  In fact, I'll probably go buy a new frame for it today.  It took me years to overcome the shame and guilt I held from this disease and I won't forget the day I finally found freedom from those feelings.  It was while praying that God spoke softly and reminded me that it was all for a greater purpose, that He would use what I intended to harm myself to minister to others.

My beauty lies in the creator, the day He created me out of His image I believe it was flawless.  Somewhere along the way I second guessed what He created, walked away from what He called beautiful.  Focused more on what was outside rather than continuing to sharpen what was inside to bleed out.  Now I live my life to get back to that point where I am purely beautiful in His eyes... 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Let Me Introduce Myself To You...

"I'm not trying to hide anything
I wear it on my sleeve
I wear it on my sleeve
I'm not trying to be something I'm not
This is all I've got
This is all I've got"*

Not perfect, but perfectable.  Dancing Queen.  Karaoke Shining Star.  Counselor.  Friend.  Aunt.  Daughter.  Sister.  Niece.  Cousin.  Granddaughter.  Confidant.  Beautiful Creation.  Coffee consumer.  Half marathon trainee.  Southern Methodist University Alum.  Amberton University Alum.  Lake enthusiast.  Mountain enthusiast.  Beginner Kayaker.  Writer.  Loving.  Compassionate.  Lovely.  Passionate.  Fighter.  Head Cheerleader for the Under Dog.  Tom Hanks enthusiast. Romantic Comedy/Drama/Action Packed Movie Connaisseur.  Cherry Coca-Cola Consumer.  Ballpark Hot Dog Lover.  Texas Rangers Fan.  Beginner College Football Fan.  Jesus Freak.  Rule Follower.  Peacemaker.  Believer of all things "impossible."  Wine enthusiast.  Carnivore.  Disciple.  Prayer warrior.  Animated.  Captivating.  Dutiful.  Dreamer.

"I hope you stare just long enough to see
The heart that's beating here inside of me
Beyond all of the things you may think you know
I'm just a kid trying to make it home, that's it"*

*MercyMe; No More, No Less 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


This little light of mine... I'm gonna let it shine
This little light of mine... I'm gonna let it shine
Let it shine
Let it shine

Oh how I wish I was living the above song lyrics.  My desire is to live a life that is honoring to God and exudes compassion, love, trust, goodwill... etc.  However, right now, my flesh says my heart can't do that right now.  And maybe there's some truth to that, maybe there comes seasons in our lives where our hearts are best left to ourselves and God... that no man can come in and break what the Lord is trying so desperately to repair/build up.

What got me thinking this was not recent life occurrences, but rather a comment from a stranger at church this past Sunday.  The Bible says to make a joyful noise unto the Lord... not necessarily an "in tune" one or a "right on pitch" one.  When I came to accept this verse many years ago, I stopped wondering who was listening around me... I didn't care, I was there to worship the Lord, not perform.  I've loved to sing since I can remember... I was constantly making joyful noises around my house growing up.  In fact, when I was real sick my parents noticed that the music had stopped, the singing and dancing had all stopped... they knew something was wrong with their daughter.  When I picked it up again in college, I never looked back.  I found the courage, not once, but twice to try out for the worship team at the church I was attending at the time... rejection found it's way to me both times.  I was crushed, I had been complimented on my singing voice and although I've never had voice lessons I thought that maybe I could pull it off and be on stage :)  I think that maybe God knew where my heart was in all of it and that's why I came to find a peace sitting in the crowd each Sunday, passionately singing to Him and being a part of His grand choir.  I've never looked back, I've never thought about who might be able to hear me or how I sounded or if they too thought I had a good voice.  In fact, when someone does compliment me I tend to blush and give a sheepish "thanks."  I don't know why, but I suddenly can't find the words to express gratitude when compliments are given to me.

What is the point of my "I like to sing and think I do it well" tangent?  Well, this last Sunday a stranger during meet and greet time told me he thought I had a beautiful voice and he proceeded to tell me it was a gift.  No one has ever said that to me... at least about the gift part.  I was completely caught off guard.  God used a random stranger to encourage me in an area that I honestly don't even pay that much attention to, much less believe that it is a gift.  I sing because I love it, not to be heard... and it's been a long time since I've done it.  I realized I've silenced myself over the last year and not really realizing it.  On occasion I would sing or have music on in my house or car, but not nearly as much as I have the last 6 weeks.  God is breaking me down simply to build me anew.... He is taking that which was never mine, revealing Himself in a mighty way (in unexpected ways), and renewing my heart and passion for that which I've lost sight of.

I will no longer allow myself to be silenced.  Will I try out for a worship team a third time?  No, probably not.... I kinda like just being in the crowd and singing a joyful noise unto the Lord.  After all, it's meant for Him is it not?

Monday, September 12, 2011


But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. ~ 1 Peter 2:9

It's interesting to me how in the 11 years that I've known the Lord, that I've come to walk into a relationship with Him that there is so much scripture for me yet to discover.  I love this verse because it reminds me that God chose me!  What amazing revelation and comfort.  We live our lives waiting and hoping to be a chosen people... chosen for the best sports team in grade school, chosen to attend our number one choice of college, chosen for that job in the real world, the one with the corner office with a view and assistant who brings you coffee every morning, for girls our hearts wait to be chosen by the "perfect" guy all while being told not to chase him, but to be patient.  We live our lives longing and hoping to be chosen by man... but what about God?  Why not wait, hope for, and long to be chosen by the only one who can fulfill the deepest desires of your heart?  He has called us out of the darkness of waiting and hoping and longing to be chosen by man.  We are called to live in His light, a light that will always choose us first.

I've spent the last 5 weeks drowning in worship music and time with the Lord.  I've loved every single moment of it, and then I decided to step away for a weekend.  This past weekend I filled my schedule to overflowing and while I loved the time I had with friends and getting stuff done around my house, it didn't take long for me to realize there was a distance that had grown between me and God.  Just like that, in the blink of an eye I suddenly became dependent upon myself to heal my grieving heart.  I woke up this morning feeling numb, broken, and unable to move.  I was caring the weight of the world while I slept.  The weight of waiting to be chosen by man.  So tonight I went back to where I've been these last 5 weeks... I went back to the white chair in the corner of my living room, worship music playing softly in the background, Bible open, heart open, and words of gratitude to the one who always has and always will choose me... no matter what I do or where I go... there He is.

Heavenly Father, 
I come before you tonight with an open heart, full of gratitude and grief.  While my heart may still ache for what could have been, I praise you for what will be.  You've promised that what I sow in tears I will reap in joy.  You also promised that you would never leave or forsake me.  Although life looks so much different than I thought it would at this stage of my life, I thank you that I'm right where I should be, right where you planned for and expected me to be.  I lift up my friends, family, co-workers, and strangers that they too would find peace and gratitude in the love and life you've planned for them.  That they too would be a chosen people, on fire for you... not waiting to be chosen by man.  Thank you for this season of loss and darkness that I may not forget where I've been, where you want to take me, and everything in between.  Thank you that you've lead me and continue to lead me into your wonderful light!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Rushing River God (aka kayaking)

Rolling River God
Little stones are smooth
Only once the water passes through
So I am a stone
rough and grainy still
Trying to reconcile this river's chill

I went on an adventure this morning, or at least that's what it ended up being.  I decided in the last few weeks that there were things that I've been wanting to do, things that I kept putting off and reasoning that one day, someday I would do them.  As silly as it sounds, kayaking at White Rock was one of those things.  I had it on my list to do all summer since I now live by the lake.  With the long labor day weekend I decided that today was a good day to finally embark on the adventure.  It was finally going to be cooler in the morning and I so wanted to go out there and be alone with God, to pray and seek His face with all the questions stirring in my heart.  Fifteen minutes into my paddling and the wind picked up so I decided to turn back.  I knew right away when I turned around that it would be a battle against the wind.  Oh how much of a battle it was.  At first it seemed humorous, like I knew God was trying to teach me something.  After 30 minutes of paddling against the wind, against the current I was in tears.  Scared that I would be out there all day, no one was around.  The only people I could see were runners and bikers along the trails and I knew they wouldn't hear me, I was too far in the middle of the lake.  I cried more and more and prayed with all my heart that God would calm the wind, that He would somehow miraculously send help.  A boater, someone in a canoe or kayak...heck, I was even hoping someone from the shore would see my struggle and find help.  With each force that I put into paddling against the wind, it blew me that much further away from my destination.

Sometimes raging wild
sometimes swollen high
never have I known this river dry
The deepest part of you
is where I want to stay
and feel the sharpest edges wash away

I found myself paddling toward the shore, I figured if I could get out of the water, I could walk back to the beginning.  Part of me was scared that I was stranded for who knows how long and the other part of me was scared that the company I rented from would charge me more than an hour since I was out longer than the planned time.  It seems silly, but this was what was going through my head this whole time.  I finally made it to the shore and there was a fisherman kind enough to drive me back to where I started.  He saw me struggling as I got closer to the shore, help came in a very unexpected way today.  It wasn't by another boater coming by and finding me, it wasn't by helicopter or the rental company coming out to get me...it was by a fisherman who served in the army for 10 years and now works as a Sears washer/dryer mechanic, it came in the form of a man named Jeff.  On top of that when I got back to the rental company they were so kind and only charged me for the original hour I set.  I had been out for a total of one and a half hours, but it seemed like eternity.  Their only concern was that I was okay...and I was, I am, I will be.

This morning I set out for a peaceful morning with God, and it started out that way and ultimately proved to remind me that things don't always feel peaceful.  It's the ability to find peace in the midst of chaos, confusion, and questions that may never be answered.  It's finding a source...THE source of love and comfort in Christ Jesus.  There is nothing else, no person, no thing, no place that will fill the gapping hole in my heart that only God can fill.

But when I close my eyes
and feel you rushing by
I know that time brings change 
and change takes time
And when the sunset comes
my prayer would be just this one
that you might pick me up
and notice that I am
just a little smoother in your hand*

*River God by Nichole Nordeman