Preserving Beauty….even unto Death

Preserving Beauty….even unto Death

I know that anyone that knows me and my background thinks I’m about to write about some great beauty tips or tricks! What’s the newest “fountain of youth”? Best cream or preserver? How to preserve your “beauty” until you die. Not this time. This is much closer and deeper to my heart then my quickly fading natural beauty than no cream will ever bring back.

grief-felt-so-like-fearI have found myself walking in a time that quite frankly I have not IDEA how to navigate. Grief. At first I didn’t even know that what it was…I had never really experienced it to this level much less navigated it in a healthy way. I know what your thinking…Who died? Well no one. That’s why it caught me off guard. Grief does not always come with death. Just like you don’t have to experience a death to grieve. I thought I was fearing the change in the relationship, when I am actually finding myself grieving over the loss of a relationship once had, and now trying to handle what it is changing into. I lost what that relationship once looked like to me, and it’s hard to see what it will become. This can be a relationship with a child, family member, or spouse. The relationship you have with your job, your ministry, or your identity. All these are changes. They will change and should….so how do you navigate it?

This last week I have found myself withdrawn, snippy, and irritable. All the things I do not want to be and have worked so hard to change in me when I am hurting or trying to process through things. With that I had to ask, What’s going on God? Why am I withdrawn? or lashing out? These are things that I do when I am hurt….am I hurting? The answer was and is…YES. I am hurting from a relationship that has changed.

How do I handle change? I thrive on change! I love to redecorate, make things look new and good. I roll with change easily, however not this time. I realized that I am hurting because this was not a change I asked for, nor wanted. Life circumstances simply handed it to me. How do I handle it? How do I heal from the loss of a beautiful relationship that was changed unwantingly? unwillingly? How do I sit with this person and not feel the sting of the hurt and relationship lost? DO I simply withdraw and throw it away? or do I just ignore it and hope it will work itself out?(tried that by the way, it doesn’t work!). So as I cried this morning on my daughter’s shoulder apologizing for being short and not the mom she needed after arguing and exploding my emotions on her. You see, she’s is my sensitive soul. As others will simply let me withdrawal and allow my moodiness simply roll off their back until I work through it, she absorbs it.  I told God you’ve got to help me navigate this! I can’t keep doing this to my family or myself. If this relationship were dead I could put it behind me but every time I see them, I am reminded of what I don’t have and want with them; yet can never have again.

IMG_3461Just a walk through the front door and I see the beautiful roses I have chosen to preserve and dry as they die..this said it all….and then He speaks.

Preserve the things beautiful, even unto death.

You see these roses are like my relationship…it is beautiful!

rosesThey were displayed and shown for a time and purpose for all to see! They were carefully taken care of, cut, arranged, and nurtured with food and water for a season. Then that season and time came to an end. For some reason I could not find it in myself to throw these beautiful flowers out! roses 3I mean I bought them for a specific purpose…used them for it….even shared them with others so that they could take some of the beauty home with them but I could not throw them away and I didn’t know why. It seemed like such a waste to me when I knew the potential they carried. roses2So, I carefully emptied them from the vases in which they had spent their short life of display. Shook the excess water off and took them home to preserve. I  took an evening to “prep” each flower. I laid them out and took away the petals that would not let it dry to thier potential best form of beauty.FullSizeRender I meticulously and gently strung them as to not cause damage to the already delicate state of the still beautiful yet changing bud. Now, I wait and watch the change happen. I don’t handle them to much because that will disrupt the process. I simply wait. I know in time, I will handle them again to create them into something new and different, but for now. I wait and look at the beautiful way they change.

rose diedThis is what I am suppose to do with this ever changing relationship….unto death. I remember the beauty of what it once was…what it held. Then I intentionally preserve the beauty of the relationship and watch it change into what it is to become. Will it look the same? No. It will have some remnants and traits of what it was, but it will not remain the fresh new relationship put on display as it was in my youth. However, I am intentionally choosing to take care and delicately preserve it to become a new kind of beautiful…even unto death. Were those roses going to die? yes. Will this relationship eventually die? yes. but How I handle it now in preserving it will determine the beauty of what it is to become. Delicately .. intentionally .. giving it time to change .. warm air to breathe .. develop ..enjoying the beauty in and through the process .. then arranging it and remembering all that it was and appreciating all that it is now.

Grief… It is different for everyone and we all experience it sooner or later. We can grieve over the loss of people, pets, things, and experiences. We can grieve the loss of relationship changes, from what they were to what they are becoming. phil 4-8Grief is a part of changing. You have to allow yourself to grieve the loss of the old, regardless of what it looks like in your minds. We must choose to embrace and intentional preserve the beauty of what it was by taking the time to see it what is now and preserve it. We have to draw out those things that are beautiful. We must then allow ourselves to take those things in and bring a different kind of preserved beauty and view to what they are and look forward to what they can become. We could throw it out and not mess with it but then we would miss the beauty in the process. We would stop at what it was and not allow what is to develop in to what it can be.

Do I know what this relationship will look like in the end? No. Just like I don’t know what those roses I have drying will look like in the end. But I do know, I have set the process up for them to dry as beautifully as they can. I will let them develop and dry as gently as I can. Just as I will this this relationship. I will handle it gently and show the beauty of it and not the loss of what it once was. I will look for the things that were and are honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise in this ever changing relationship. I will think on the new beauty of what it will become and can be….even in it’s death of what it was.

When you want to withdraw into yourself…

When you want to withdraw into yourself…

isolation1I remember a time when I was withdrawn and separated from people, including those closest to me. I literally was unapproachable. I was hurt, had been hurt, and had NO intentions of getting hurt again! If you can’t get to me you can’t hurt me, right? OH if that were only the truth. It’s a great theory but it is also a lie.

You see, by withdrawing we are choosing to relish in the hurt and pain already inflicted. We are allowing the wound to remain open and if we are lucky it won’t fester into an infected emotional case of gangrene. However more often then not, it does fester and we do lose parts of our heart, minds and souls because we isolated ourselves from healing.

Since my M.O. was to withdraw from people, church, and even God at difficult times I had to find a way…a truth..that would help keep me connected and push through. In my reading time this morning I found just that…prov 18-1

It was interesting because as I studied the origin Greek and Hebrew meaning to the key words in this scripture, a new insight came about.

Isolates- (parad) here translates to break through, separate, be separated

….pretty much what we all thought huh

Seeks-(baqas) To search out by any method, specifically in worship or prayer. To strive after, desire, request, desire, demand. 

Desire-(ta awa)-to wish for, longing of ones heart, lust

WHOA! Hold the boat there! In essence this is saying, that those of us who choose to be separated, who break ourselves apart from God, from his body(church), and others strive, desire, and demand what our heart is longing for…our lusts. So, hear me…if your heart is hurt and broken and you separate yourself from the others and from God because of that, you are in essence seeking after the hurt that is there. You are feeding the pain with isolation which in turn will create an infection. 

Anytime you pull apart, pull away from someone or something that has hurt you or scares you,  you are requesting that it become your focus and desire. You may not realize that this is what your view of isolation for protection is doing, but it is. IN doing this, the next part of the verse solidifies that translation.

…..He breaks out against all sound judgement. When most of us see the word judgement we see it as a bad thing. If you really look into the true definition of judgement, it is so much more than that. In the context and definition of this verse I found it was nothing I thought it was.

Judgement(tushiyah) meaning to substantiate, support, direct help, sound wisdom, abiding success, 

So, if you so choose to withdraw and isolate yourself when hurt comes…and it will I promise, it’s a part of living….then you can pretty much know that you have separated yourself… hidden yourself away from… direct help and success in overcoming your circumstances. 

help a sisterI don’ know about you but Lord knows I need ALL THE HELP I can get! For real! Help a sister out here!

So what’s the lie here? That being around people will hurt us? or that isolating ourselves from them will protect us?

 

When life happens, hurt happens, fear creeps in, we have to be rooted in a place we can find direct help for successfully overcoming those hindrances.

The enemy would like nothing more than to hinder your abiding success in life. Self isolation is a direct tool he uses to do this. It’s not a new tactic for him just an effective one. However, by exposing his plans and his lies we can overcome…

So plug in, stay in relation with God, the word, and others to see how your wounds can heal, heart is lifted and how sound wisdom starts to flourish in your life!

The unspoken heresy…

The unspoken heresy…

When I was younger it was unheard of and completely taboo to ever and I do mean EVER admit or say that you were mad at God! Seriously! I grew up in church and never would a church going, God fearing “Christian” speak such heresy! angry-godAs a matter of fact, we all thought HE was MAD at us! We would read scriptures from the old testament that talked about God’s wrath on Israel and His anger towards them and just internalize that as to each and every circumstance gone wrong in our life! Car broke down. viagra generique pfizer. God’s mad at me. Come down sick….He struck me with a disease. Someone dies…wheweeee they REALLY pissed HIM off! Wonder what sin they were doing for all that to happen?!

That sounds so utterly ridiculous to me now, but it was a real mindset I had. So, let’s just talk about all that, can we? First off, God in the Old testament was angry at Israel because they came out of communion with Him, they rebelled. They kept WORSHIPPING OTHER GODS. I mean how would you feel if your mate kept having other women or men? and then chose the most intimate time, sacred time…or heck all their time with them. Not trying to hide it, but publicly flaunted it? And then still expected you to comfort, protect and give them all the privileges you had been giving them before?! Would YOU be angry? Nuff said! 

However when Christ came and died He remedied that! He opened the pathway for constant communion with God. No, longer do we have to jump through the hoops of a blood sacrifice, or have a priest do it for us. Christ has given us open access because He loves us so much! Does God still get mad? Yes, but not at us! He gets mad at the sin that draws us away from Him because He only long for us to be with Him. 

whySo, why are YOU mad at God? You may …gasp! Im not! I would NEVER do such a thing! Well, you may never SAY such a thing but I promise you, you have done it! You see when we cannot control the things that are happening around us, when we have hurts pains, life circumstances that we do not understand, we tend to get angry. If we aren’t directly blaming a physical person we are usually blaming God, whether we admit it or not! When we can’t find the source of the pain or frustration physically, we will internally. Can I let you off the hook?…it’s normal and it’s ok. Seriously it is. 

Don’t tell me you haven’t ever thought, “God why is this happening?!”… “God, take this away!”…”What did I do to deserve this?”…”What did that innocent child do to deserve that?!”… ” Why are all these things happening?” You see, in our normal human nature, when we can’t understand or change what’s happening we deflect it elsewhere. When we feel helpless and have no power in the situation, yet we know God does have the power to change it, we become angry. We may have never said it, we may have pushed it down and “just gotten over it”, or maybe at some point we have? It’s ok. He’s not afraid or intimidated by your anger. He already knows it’s there! He sees and feels your frustration so why not just admit it and tell Him?!
It’s ok to admit you have been angry with God, even if you haven’t realized it before. You just can’t stay angry at Him. Being in a relationship with Him requires you to talk to Him about how you feel. You can be angry at a person and them have done nothing wrong…it’s your issue. You can be frustrated with someone because they didn’t meet YOUR expectations, that is your issue. Just like addressing it with them is also yours to do! You see confronting it is for YOU not Him! For You to be free, God’s already free. For you to draw closer to Him, He’s just waiting.

So how do we do that with God? I mean really?

god im angryGod, I’m mad that you didn’t step in here…. I’m hurt that I am having to go through this…. I’m frustrated that this promise you gave me isn’t coming to pass… Why am I STILL going through this… it could go on and on for your personal issue and circumstance. Well, that’s IS how you say it. It’s that simple, however you may want to add…Lord, forgive me for being mad at you because of….( you fill in the blank). 

We become angry when we don’t really realize that His grace is sufficient for us. All we have to do is ask for it to help us walk through our life circumstances. It’s when we don’t see the big picture plan that He has laid out or realize God’s timing in it, we get impatient and frustrated. And sometime, just sometimes, it is our own immaturities and humanity that causes some our life circumstances that we then want to blame on God. He’s ok with that, for a short while, but as soon as you realize what you are doing, it is then time to repent.

So, being angry with God is not the heresy I thought it was, it’s actually very normal, as it is in all relationships. But just like in any relationship, you must disclose it, bring it to the surface, and deal with it. Not for Himto make Him happy, but for you. You need to know He is always there, He is not angry, frustrated, or disappointed in you for being human. He made you human, He just wants to be with you…flaws and all! Now doesn’t that make you feel warm and fuzzy! 🙂

When you have EVERY RIGHT to be angry…

When you have EVERY RIGHT to be angry…

Life hurts! It’s just THAT plain, and THAT simple. People are flawed, selfish, and they hurt you. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. You can’t live life without experience some level of hurt and pain, but what do you do with that? When you have every right to be angry, then what?

big girl pantiesI use to use the phrase, just out your big girl panties on and deal with it! Awesome phrase, yet completely unhelpful! Just saying. There was a time in my life that I was broken and very hurt by sexual abuse that had happened to me as a small child. It plagued me with frustration, anger, fear, and warped view of sexuality. I did not really start to feel the effects of this until I was a teenager. I didn’t know how to handle it or what to even do so I just did whatever I could to make myself “feel better”. By the time I was in my 20’s I was VERY angry! VERY! My perpetrator was living fun and free, enjoying his life. I felt he owed me something for what he had taken from me…even if that was as simple as an apology. I mean how hard is it to say, Im sorry?

forgive-them-2I had EVERY right to be angry! I had every right to demand an apology! I had every right to confront, expose, and make him pay. I did. However, it , would not have soothed the anger and hurt inside. He was not thinking twice about what happened to me, yet I was living my life solely around him and his actions. I then learned that true freedom from the things that bind you is a choice. I had to choose to forgive him. The forgiveness was for me, not him. It was to set me free, not him. I don’t think he even realizes the effects of what he did or that it caused me any issues. So I needed freedom, for me, not him. You see, my mind, my emotions, my heart was bound by the destruction of that incident. It kept me from healing and moving forward into a the fullness of life. Therefore, I had to CHOOSE to forgive. It was not earned. Forgiveness can never be earned, it must given.

forgiveness1How did that happen? Well, IT WAS a choice, however, I did have to have help from the Father. One day while I was kinda throwing a temper tantrum and telling God how unfair it was, I heard a small voice..or a thought cross my mind…either way it was the Holy Spirit. I heard it say, Well, I know what YOU went through, but what do you think HE went through to make him do that? People (kids in my case) don’t just up and one day decide to do that? What do you think could have happened to HIM. Well, then I really thought about it. The Holy Spirit has a way of bringing us through a process to get us to a place to where we CAN forgive, if we just ask him to. 

WIth the help of the Holy Spirit, I was not only able to forgive, but I also then had compassion for him, knowing that he must have experienced something somewhat close, if not far more traumatizing then me. Children in spring fieldMy heart only hopes now that he has been able to forgive. I know that I need much forgiveness, so I am must give much. I may not have done the same things, but I have done MANY things that require forgiveness.

I hope today you can look at those deep wounds that you have hidden in the dark, and expose them to the light of forgiveness. Not for anyone else, other than yourself. 

When your heart aches like never before…..

When your heart aches like never before…..

why godWhen you heart aches like never before, when in that one moment, it drops into your stomach and begins to be destroyed by all that encompasses you. You don’t know what to say, but want to scream at the world. You don’t know how to feel, yet you feel every emotion imaginable. Shock sets in, and life becomes surreal.

We have ALL had those moments, whether it be the discovery of infidelity and betrayal by the one we love or the moment you realize young innocence has been altered. Whether it happens to you or to the ones you love, the pain is real, the hurt is real, and the ANGER is OH SO REAL! In these moments you want nothing more then justice. You want to lash out and inflict the pain you have inside on to someone…anyone! You want to make right what was made wrong. You want to pretend it never happened. I understand this, oh so well.

life hurtsThere have been many circumstances that have set me in this place before. I am not going to try and say I was “Oh so Holy” and handled it correctly. I merely was only able to handle it, barely. I did learn however, that when these things happen, you need a place to fall. I use to have my husband, until he was the one inflicting the pain. I had my mom, until she was the inflicting the pain. Now I have MY GOD, because HE NEVER inflicts the pain! He is that place, that PERSON I can go, yell, cry, scream, and curse at.  (Yes I said curse, I don’t do it often but in those times sometimes I just don’t have the “right” words and let’e be real, Im REALLY hurt and REALLY pissed and I really need Him to hear me in all my broken flawed humanity!) and it’s ok! He doesn’t judge, He merely comforts. He doesn’t laugh, He solely loves. He doesn’t leave, He is always there.

brokenAfter you have done all you can do, prepared all you can prepare, and you still fall short, It’s ok. That is why we need God’d grace. He IS your place of comfort!

He understands your betrayal, He was betrayed. He understand your pain, he was wounded. He understands your need to forgive, because He forgave.

If you feel desperate, angry, frustrated, and hurt….and probably rightly so, remember He is there. Take it to Him.