39

Creating the woman

Today is the first day of the last year in my thirties. I’m not really as freaked out by that as I thought I would be about 15 years ago. I see it more as an empowerment. I am alive. I am well. I am loved. 39 is the year that I will finally thrive.

What have I been doing all the rest of the time, you ask? Valid question. I guess the best word to describe me over my life as long as I can remember is striving. Striving to be what everyone wanted me to be. Striving to be less of what they didn’t want me to be. Striving to earn love. Striving to earn acceptance. Saying yes when I most definitely should’ve said no, over and over and over. Working as hard as I could to be the person everyone wanted me to be, less of this, more of that, doing this, doing that… losing myself and demolishing myself in the process.

Being totally frank about all this, I am damn tired. I know where all this started and I was very very young. So I’ve been essentially trying to earn acceptance for a good 30 years. I’m calling early retirement on my striving and it’s going to cost a lot of things. I’ve spent the last 6 months counting the cost of those things, and I’ve decided that I’m willing to pay.

God has instilled in me a very, very specific dream. It’s a starter dream of sorts. One that will lead to others. I’ve put it off.  I’ve been SUPER understanding with the people in my life. I’ve done everything anybody ever asked me to do (up until about 6 months ago when all these things started coming up). I rearranged and made things happen. I picked up where they left off. I took their responsibilities. I put all these things in a backpack, threw it over my shoulders and trudged along, smile on my face, unknowingly, slowly crushing myself beneath that weight. There’s so much more that I’ve carried, but I think that’s a pretty good summary.

The cost…

It’s going to cost people. I’ve actually held off because of this. There will be people not happy with who God is changing me into. There will be people who will not be happy when I say no. There will be people who will not understand what’s happening. That’s OK. I’ve come to terms with that. The one’s who stay are the one’s who truly love and support me and aren’t those the one’s I should want around anyway?

It’s going to cost time. This won’t be an overnight change. It will take patience. But, God hasn’t given up on me yet and I know that He will see me through to complete the good work He is doing in me.

It will cost me comfort. This will hurt the most. I’ve created this comfy little shell of protection around myself because I’ve become accustomed to not being able to trust people and being hurt by those that come into my life. Breaking down those walls will be super hard. Stepping out of the things that make me comfy will suck. But I gotta.

It is going to cost me effort. These things in me are DEEPLY rooted. The seeds were planted decades ago, and the experiences in my life since have reinforced that horrible plant. The roots are deep and wide and truly encompass me at times. Not all will be able to be undone, but all will be overcome with focus and with the help of the Holy Spirit.

All this sounds kinda negative and maybe icky… but I’ve never felt freer than I do right this second. I’ve never felt more excited than I do right now. The longing I have to be unstuck is so overwhelming. There’s so many things I want to do. There’s so many things God wants me to do. Now is the time.

Here’s to a year (or more) of healing.

Grace not Perfection

This is what I asked Lyle to get me for my birthday gift. It was lovely when I received it from because I thought maybe he’d forgotten (as he does at times). Putting one foot in front of the other, walking out this path. God is good. I’m looking forward to good things.

The Spark of a Dream

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Most kids start talking about what they want to be when they grow up as preschoolers. My Paulie never did. It probably shouldn’t have burdened me so, but it did. With a special needs kid, I am very careful not to look into the future too far. For good and bad reasons. I can find myself mourning losses that aren’t lost yet and as he grows Paul continues to burst out of any expectations that people have ever placed on him. Praise God for that! When Paul wouldn’t talk about what he wanted to be, it felt like maybe the future truly was bleak, whether I decided to look into it or not. He’s awkward with his peers, has some social struggles, and had speech problems as a child… but the one thing that loomed over me was that he didn’t want to be anything when he grew up.

There’s something tangible about behaviors. They are something you can put your finger on. They are something you can set goals toward and work on. What goes on in my child’s mind, isn’t any of those things. Knowing that Paulie has different thought processes than me made it even more difficult to bear.

Every night we have snuggle time.  It’s where everyone gets to pick an uplifting song on YouTube, we all state what our favorite part of the day was, and choose 5 things we’re thankful for, and then take turns praying. At snuggle time this evening, when it was Paul’s turn to tell us what his favorite part of the day was, I fully expected it to be our trip to Costco as he loves samples and we had ice cream. Instead, he said school work and he threw in “and I really mean it” because he knew I would question it. Lol! He shared with us that he worked on science and social studies today (we home school and have a self-paced program, as long as they complete their goals each week they get to pick what they work on each day). I knew that he had zoomed through his work, as he usually does with those two books. He told me that he loves science.

And then he said… “Mom, I think I want to be a chemist.”

He’s 14, so I tried really hard to play it cool. I suck at that. But, I told him that I love science too and that I was so excited and happy for him and told him what a great chemist that he would be. I told him of a chemistry major that goes to our church. His eyes lit up as he spoke.

Ya’ll, I can’t even type this without crying.

I often find myself catching up with God. I share that a lot with people I speak to. I pray for things and God does them, and I’m often so taken aback or so oblivious that it takes me months to catch on. But this time, there was none of that. This was an explosion of an answer to prayer and I am ready.

I finally got the opportunity to witness evidence that Paulie is dreaming of his future, and in that I am SO VERY SATISFIED.

I’ve Been Marginalized (and it’s not what you think)

 

happy-sadI have been marginalized. It’s not my sex. It’s not the color of my skin. It’s not how much we make (another day…). It’s how I’ve marginalized myself.

It’s my weight. (big girl panties up, big ole’ gulp of fizzy stick, here we go…) As much as it pains me to throw that out there, it hurts more to hold it. This was an epiphany I had while I was doing my dishes today (which is when most of my epiphanies occur).

I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life. Literally for as long as I can remember, it’s been an issue. I don’t know what caused it to be an issue. I remember a comment here and there from people I was related to or kids at school. But, I can’t pinpoint that one moment that made me so aware of my weight and what people thought of it. Even in high school, when I was playing sports pretty much every single day and I was a lovely size 10, I absolutely hated my body.

I’m fully aware that I’m not telling a story that is unique to me. Especially as women, this is a struggle for most of us at certain points in our lives. But, I allowed it to get deep into those private, molding places that change everything in us. Maybe you did too. I hope you didn’t.

I allow myself to be marginalized in my own mind, by none other than me, myself, and I. I assume people are judging me because of what I weigh. I’m sure some are. But I’m also not sure of anything. I belittle myself. I don’t allow myself to wear things that I would love to wear. I don’t go to certain things because I know that I’ll feel uncomfortable and out-of-place. I don’t spend time with certain people because something they do or say makes me vividly aware (by no fault of their own) of my girth.

I have allowed my weight to define me and my world. I’ve always had a Christian world view… but maybe I have a fat Christian world view? I see the people who love me and I am often amazed that they do. My two best friends of almost 20 years are amazing, incredible, and talented people who love me so deeply, and show me so. But, I often have found myself thinking, and sometimes saying, “I don’t understand why they love me so much.” Because in my life, fat has meant that I’m not lovable.

There’s a lot of wounds and psychology behind that from my childhood and my first marriage. But, the gist of it, whenever I was treated badly or unfairly, instead of saying “What’s wrong with that jerk for treating me that way?” I’ve said, “they’re treating me this way because I’m fat.”

I’ve recently started following a few plus-size models on Instagram. It started because one followed me, and when you’re trying to build your Insta-following when someone follows, you follow back. It’s a thing. Anyway, when I first saw her pictures, I thought “who does she think she is to flaunt this!” I wasn’t upset. I truly didn’t understand. Not that I found anything wrong with her at all, in fact it was like looking in a mirror. But, I didn’t understand why she was OK with it? She proudly stood there in amazing makeup and a seriously booty kicking dress, and she didn’t try to cover her “troubled areas.” She didn’t try to hide a roll with her arms or strategically placed objects or people. I don’t even think she was wearing Spanx!!! She just stood there. She was gorgeous, confident, and damn proud. I’m not gonna lie, it took me MONTHS to even grasp this mind frame. I don’t have it yet. But it took me months to even identify it.

Why now with all this? Well, I honestly don’t know. I definitely know that God put it there today for a reason. I’m also starting a big journey, and weight is a factor. Perhaps this is a part of that journey (more on that soon). I’m excited and terrified to dive into this and stand up for myself to myself!

My identity is clearly not my weight or my body-type. It’s not the color of my hair or its style. It’s not my outfits and shoes. It’s not my make-up or jewelry. I am valuable ONLY because God says so. I’m created in His image. I’m an image-bearer of a King! Of the Creator of the universe! God thought of me and knew all the damage I would do in this life and LOVED that thought SO much anyway, that He made me. I AM VALUABLE and I know it in my mind. This is a journey to get it into my heart and my belief. Time to bust outta my own margins…

Anyone else out there need to bust out of their own shell?