Tuesday, March 31, 2009



Oh it hurt; it hurt so much I didn’t know what to do. It made me want to crawl into a dark safe place where no one could ever hurt me again. But life necessitated that I go on. That I had to go out and do the day to day. Even though I was hurt, no one could know about it. It was my pain to deal with. So, a layer went around my soul to protect myself. Another hurt, another layer. Don’t tell anyone. A cruel word necessitated a layer. Keep it inside. Don’t share the burden. What would everyone think? A devastating event, I put on a few more layers. I had so many layers; my soul resembled a toddler wrapped up for his first outing into the snow.

There is nothing wrong with layers. Sometimes it’s necessary for us to have a layer. Just like when we get a cut and out skin scabs over, so it can heal itself, sometimes our spirits need a thicker protection so they can heal. But what happens when a wound won’t scab over? When it stays open and continues to leak fluid? The wound festers, and begins to smell. It doesn’t heal. In the same way, if we don’t properly attend to wounds on our spirit, they also will fester. Maybe they won’t stink physically, but they will affect how we interact with others. They can make our attitudes pretty stinky.

In my own case, it made me really angry. I was so wrapped up in NOT dealing with my wounds that I would get mad at anything that distracted me from that. I was short with my kids. I would close myself off from my husband. I lied to people. I was so focused on keeping up the appearance that I was fine, that everything in my life had been perfect that I wasn’t real with people. I threw myself into any activity that would distract me from my mind. I kept this up for years.

I knew in my heart I had to change. But how could I change? I had held onto the hurt so long, it was like a friend. One day it was time. Through a series of events that had occurred over about 6 months, I was done. God had been slowly removing my outer layers. It was so humbling to see how my festering spirit had been hurting not only myself, but also the people I loved most. The layers were stuck together and just like a physical bandage that was encrusted with goop, it couldn’t be done quickly. Eventually, God and I were down to the last layer. Oh I held on tightly. It was time though. I no longer had the energy to hold onto the hurt. We had moved to our latest home and had been living there for about six months. Our church was hosting a retreat. And through the speaker’s words and the Holy Spirit, that last layer was taken from me.

It felt wonderful for my spirit to breathe again. To realize that it wasn’t my job to protect myself. God showed me that my protection was so weak and feeble next to His. I could be safe in Him, just as I always had been.

I am still tempted from time to time to go back to my old ways. To start wrapping myself back up. But then I hear that still small voice telling me to run to Him. It reminds me that I need to let God wrap His arms around me and take the hurt onto Him.

He’ll do the same for you if you’ll only let Him.

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him and by his wounds we are healed.” Isa. 53:5, NIV

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Delighting in Anonymity

This past week, I took my car in for an oil change. I took it to a rather well known retail store that also has an automotive department. As I was going in, another member of the mommy league was leaving. She also had two or maybe three little boys. And she had brown hair. When I came up to the counter, after I threatened my two darlings into submission, the attendant asked me what else I needed. As in, weren’t you just here? But then he realized that I was in fact someone else. A tiny, ok large, part of my pride wanted to point out the various differences between myself and the previous customer but I kept my ego in check and politely smiled instead.

As we went on with the transactions, I was thinking about why I was offended with being mistaken for someone else. It was a legitimate mistake. We both had two kids, the same hair color and probably were using a lot of the same words. Like don’t touch that, get off the shelf. Please stand here quietly or else. You understand, the usual phrases that accompany a trip to a store without proper constraints for children. I digress. So I was thinking about the mistaken identity. Why did that bother me?

I think it was because every part of my self, that is my sinful nature, wants so badly to be noticed for me. To be recognized for my importance in this world. I mean really, is that hard for everyone to see how magnificent I am? Obviously the store clerk didn't see it. And he wasn't the first to miss it. But I’d like to go back to the part where I politely smiled. I think the Lord restrained my tongue. Because as I walked away I thought, “It’s ok that he mistook me for that other woman. I’m not here to be noticed, I am here so others will notice Christ in me.”

And maybe it’s not my turn to stand out. Maybe it will never be my turn. But that’s ok too. I think a large part of my role right now is to make it easier for other people in my family to shine. To be the helpmate my husband needs so that he can be his own boss some day. To steer my children towards Jesus so they can be an example of a godly life from a young age. I want to be the cheerleader for my kids and husband.

I’m not saying that I need to be a wallflower and put all my needs and desires in the garbage. But I am saying that sometimes I need to put aside my dreams for those of others. And trust that one day, God will fulfill the dreams He has laid out for me.

I hope this encourages you! Let me know if it does. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Conversion

Recently, the husband and I bought a new house. This has led to the necessity of cleaning out our former rental property. I am not a lover of cleaning. I do not find great joy in having spotless floors and counters. I do not take pride in having a place for everything and everything in its place. On the contrary, I would rather leave the dishes and read a book or play with the boys. But, in order to get the deposit back on our rental property, the rental needed to be cleaned out. Floors swept and mopped, the bath tub scoured, cupboards wiped out; in short, my idea of a root canal. Thankfully, I had some great friends come along side me and help out. The house was done in about two hours. What I discovered is that I really really really really really really really do not tolerate the smell of bleach or ammonia well. It gives me an immediate headache. I know, I know it’s the most powerful disinfectant there is. But it’s also corrosive and smelly. I have found an alternative.

Now before you start calling me a hippy and dismissing me as one of those Martha Stewart, make everything from scratch types, please hear me out. I recently committed to the husband that I would do better about keeping up the house. We, ok I, like to entertain and we want our new investment to look nice. That requires some extra effort on my part. But I don’t like ammonia or bleach smells. What was I to do? I went on the internet! Novel I know, and found some recipes for home based cleaners. I was a little skeptical, but open to change. The clincher to try out the cleaners was that I had everything on hand so I wouldn’t have to spend any money on the experiment. I went to Google, typed in home based cleaners and was directed to the site www.eartheasy.com. On there I found cleaning solutions for everything, from carpet cleaners and air fresheners to a dish washing and laundry soaps. I made up the recipe for a multi-purpose cleaner and began cleaning the walls in my kitchen, and boy did it work! Extra bonus, the paint didn’t come off either! So, now I am in love with my new cleaner. It works great, is cheap and my kids can help me clean too! I no longer have to worry about the boys getting into harsh chemicals and burning their eyes out. Go check it out and let me know what you think!

If you want to start with just the general cleaner, here is the recipe:
Mix ½ cup vinegar and ¼ cup baking soda into ½ gallon water. Store and keep.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Breaking the Rules

While playing pick up sticks with the younger child, I gained some insights. Ok, so they are not new or earth shattering, but they pricked my heart and so I wanted to share them with you. In hindsight, I think God was trying to tell me these things for a few weeks and I finally got it through a child.

As I said, the younger and I were playing a game together. Now, he doesn’t really get the concept of rules or turns, but we are working on it. I love rules and structure and relish the opportunity to make these truths in the little hearts of my children. But, it’s still a little early to expect the younger to grasp these concepts. What he does get, is that some one does need to explain the game, and that should be him. But the rules don’t need to be the same or the game limited to one way of winning. And that, my friends, is hard for me to grasp.

But, God is working on me. He showed me during that time with my younger son, that He also can’t be confined to one outcome. That God reveals Himself to us in different ways. If I would open my imagination up a little, God could show me something really great. It’s when I get so hung up on the way I think things should be that I miss the opportunity to hear His message to me.

So I encourage you to open your mind up. Pray that God would give you His eyes, so you hear or see what He has in store for you.

Please share with me what He reveals to you.