Monday, 18 November 2013

The Ways We Hide

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” ― Oscar Wilde

How do you hide?

Here's the truth.

I have always been an extreme introvert. 
I've shied away from social functions. I've avoided groups of people. I've sat at the back during events. I didn't feel that I had anything to offer. I was petrified that if I said something it would be stupid. 
My biggest goal in most circumstances was to blend in. 
Disappear? Even better.

Marriage didn't magically cure me of my lack of confidence and my aspirations to be invisible. It became my crutch. I didn't need to make friends because I could stay home with my family. I didn't have to take risks with people that I didn't want to take, because I was married and that was going to be forever...so I was set. 
I thought I'd eliminated the risk of getting hurt or embarrassed or singled out. 
I didn't care that I didn't have a very good chance of engaging with people, sharing my gifts and talents, or making any kind of a difference in my world.
I was hiding.

Then one day I woke up...
And I didn't have that title or that relationship or that life to hide behind anymore.
My hiding place was gone.
I was exposed.
I was a grown woman, a mother - with children of my own - and all of my not-enough was staring me in the face... and for every venture I made out into the world on my own I might as well have been a new kid standing alone on the first day of school.
It was like starting from the very beginning.

I've thought many times about how I could possibly share about the good that has come from devastation.
How can an event that rips you wide open and cracks you straight through the middle... have a story of redemption laced through it?

The thing is...God uses everything. 
The beautiful. 
The lovely. 
The noteworthy. 
The sad. 
The untimely. 
The confusing. 
The tragic. 
All of it. 

In fighting to find breath, and strength, and healing, I ended up finding the truth about who God is and what He does. In a season where hiding would've made a LOT of sense...
I learned that hiding isn't actually living. And I really, really wanted to feel what it felt like to...live.

I believe right down to my core that our paths and our twists and our turns, our wanderings and wondering, our hard fought and our sadly lost... and our discoveries and revelations through all of that... are to be shared.
It's what the human experience is about. It's what connects us and draws us closer to each other. The sharing is what spreads hope.

Sometimes that won't be pretty and polished. Sometimes it may reveal unsavoury things, and sometimes it won't land, and sometimes the result may be gritty and uncomfortable. 
But that's okay.
The truth is only scary when it is hidden. Monsters hide in the dark. And for all of the silence that wafts through the air after the real is offered up...there is usually one quiet whisper that says...thank you...or...me too.

There is nothing more comforting and hopeful than finding out that you're not the only one.

All of us have ways that we hide...and we have reasons for our hiding. 
I had my reasons, and I thought they were good reasons.
But here's what I know today...

I am thankful for the ways that my life was laid bare.
I am thankful for the undoing that lead to rebuilding.
I am thankful that the stripping away revealed things I would've never uncovered.
I am thankful for a God who showed up in the darkest of dark shadows and saw my pieces and shards and tatters and immediately said, "I won't leave you here and I don't want you to hide any longer."
In stepping out of the dark, the light can be shone on your worth...the Light is for me and it's for you too...

"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality."

Martin Luther King, Jr.









Sunday, 7 April 2013

Cling


What about when what You ask of me is far greater than what I had expected?
Far more demanding than my strength can withstand....

And not in the...
'This-is-so-huge-and-amazing-I-don't-think-I'm-awesome-enough-for-it'....
It's the...
'I couldn't have known that this many questions and this much undoing and all of this pain could possibly be representative of a girl who is still on the right path.'
Yet, here I am.


Life undone is hard to put in a pretty box.
Life transparent shows a lot of holes ~ a lot of the fraying fabric of my humanity.
There is no timer that rings and signifies that clean up has begun and perfection is slated next on the agenda.
There is no room for pretending or faking it.
In the deep end - you can't 'pretend' you know how to swim.

So the water is deep.
So the waves continue to swirl.
So the peaceful, quiet, shore is a long way off.
And I'm only one. Undone.

I'm kinda done with striving, kinda done with buying into the idea that my own effort is the only thing I can rely on...I've kinda been done with it for a long time.
I'm out of options that begin with the words -
I. 
Me.
My.

I'm choosing one word to start.
It's my only hope.

Cling

There is a choice out here in the deep.
All is not lost - all is not pointless.

Cling - to the One who turns the tides.
Cling - to the One who sees me in my storm. It seems big to me, but He sees everything from beginning to end.
Cling - to the One who promised, I will never leave you or forsake you.

Regardless of who or what stirred up this storm...
Regardless of who or what left me in the dark and never looked back...
There is One who is greater than the winds that blow in and out of my life.
There is One who brings peace to a restless heart.

There is One who will never leave.

Hope is built on this truth.
This lifeline is secure in any length of dark storm.
This promise lies not in the assurance of a life free of hard questions, pain and loss, but that there is an arm that holds on and never, ever lets go.

And I smiled to think God's greatness
Flowed around our incompleteness ~
Round our restlessness, His rest.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning



Friday, 15 March 2013

This is the Story

This is what I'm realizing:
Sometimes the back story in life is actually the main story in God's plans...

and....
The BIG, menacing, dramatic, attention-grabbing, life altering UP FRONT story is really just a catalyst. 

A way to get me to stop. 
To get silent. 
To ponder. 
To seek and to yield.

When I uncomfortably agree to let the life-hole stay vacant until HE fills it.....instead of seeking a temporary band aid so I can move past the pain.... He reveals deep truths to me. 

I am at unrest with the confusion. 
I want OUT of the uncomfortable place. 
I don't want to dwell here. 

In my human heart I want to know Him because of the liberation FROM the pain and I want to FORGO  the experience of His sustaining presence IN the dark places.

When I try to solve things on my own, in my own timing, I interfere with His work ON ME. 
I see every situation with limited vision.
If I push my own agenda, I risk  forfeiting the space for His perfectly timed revelation that grows me, and calms me, and reminds me that He is perfect and He is ALWAYS working. 
He is my teacher and I have much to learn. 

The only way to learn - straight from His heart - is to trust Him when I cannot see, and to seek worldly silence and Spirit whispers, instead of giving into the pressing urge to defend myself.
When I decrease. He increases....

He increases in my life.
In my circumstance.
And in my world. 

Choosing God's way can be humanly painful. 
Waiting upon Him can appear to the masses as foolishness.
Careful examination of the areas He highlights, the behaviours that He puts His finger on, causes me to see that the calamity, the undoing, the confrontations and the riffs - these monumental happenings that bring my days to a halt...
THESE ARE the backstory. 

The BIG UP FRONT story is how he is winding and weaving His higher ways all throughout my life.
He is ever-presenting chances for me to see Him and choose Him and be changed by Him.