31 Days of Growing Up: Day 16

The girl in the rocker that sunny day in 2001 didn’t know about The Process.  She probably wouldn’t have believed in it and she certainly couldn’t have trusted it.

The girl in the rocker had all the answers.  Red Letters she called truth, black ideas she labeled fact.   Declarations. Words that pronounced judgment.

Apart from the Red Letters, she lived in a black and white world. No word escaping scrutiny. A tally sheet for every relationship.  The weight of her marks in her column, like concrete and chains.

The Process doesn’t have a label, but if it did, the fonts wouldn’t match and the colors would be blinding.  Red letter girls like strong black fonts, curly cues and colors are terrifying.

That day in the rocker, this girl peeked out from behind her Red Letters and caught a glimpse of the rainbow.  The journey has been full of tears and questions, so much that I can’t control.  But every tear has been caught by the rainbow Maker and each question has been Held patiently while I sorted it out.  Soft hues of grace laced with curves of mercy.

I’m still in The Process of uncovering new shades of grace, and it’s an exciting journey but sometimes so lonely.  Want to travel a while with me?  What new colors have you discovered  lately?

31 Days of Growing Up: Day 15

I sat in a special-order rocker surrounded by a tiny boutique nursery, knees drawn to my chest, sobbing.

Everything I thought I wanted within my reach. Starter home that we adored with big dreams for the future, beautiful baby that came with the great price of a first  loss, career I loved that followed a dream-squelching degree.

Utterly, desperately, miserable.  Not one bit of justifiable reason.

I’d love to talk to that girl right now, tell her there were thousands of reasons.  That she wasn’t a spoiled brat, demanding, selfish or ungrateful.  Layers of decades of expectations piled high with truth that didn’t substantiate Truth.

Loss to the tenth power without definition. Deep calling from a room of utter blackness. Hope on the other side of yet more decades of loss, lies and turn-your-heart-inside-out pain.

I would tell her not to be afraid that she was ready for this.  That there were darker days ahead but what they say is true,  it’s always darker before dawn. And always might seem  forever and darker might seem dead, but dawn is worth it.

This is the part of the 31 days that’s a game changer for me.  The part where I tell you stories I had no intention of sharing.

But deep is daunting and black is terrifying and when layered with loss, they don’t seem like a recipe for hope.  And Hope Stands in Defiance.

It’s a line in one of my favorite Sara Groves songs.   Honestly – they’re all my favorite, because when the dark turned pitch? Her words held my hand.

Think I’ll start Sara shuffling non-stop on  the i-boxes today.

In The Girl There’s A Room

In the girl there’s a room
In the room there’s a table
On the table there’s a candle
and it won’t burn out

In the woman there’s a song
In the the song there is hope
in the hope revolution

In the boy there’s a voice
in the voice there’s a calling
In the call there’s a promise
and it won’t quiet down

In the man there’s a vision
in the vision is a road
it’s the road to his freedom

oh, Tell me what you know
About God and the world and the human soul
How so much can go wrong
and still there are songs

In the man the man there’s a plan
in the plan is his future
and the future’s for his child
and he won’t slow down

In the girl there’s a faith
and the faith there’s a prayer
in the prayer there’s a promise…

In the boy is a dream
in the dream he is standing
and he stands without falling
and he won’t back down

in the woman there’s a picture
in the picture is a girl
in the girl there’s a room…

Tell me what you know
About God and the world and the human soul
How so much can be wrong
and still there are songs
In their hearts and souls
an unstoppable refrain

Hope stands in defiance
In the girl there’s a room
In the room there’s a table
On the table there’s a candle
and it won’t burn out
it won’t burn out

…this is a song about hope…..this is a song about freedom…..this is a song about the defiance of a prayer….

Tomorrow, well…we’ll see……

You can find this entire series here.  

growing up last

31 Days of Growing Up: Day 14

Life has a natural order.  Ebb & flow.  Balance.  Give & Take.

Trusting the Process is essential.

IMG_3864 

If you’re part of a tightly woven Christian culture, you might have just drawn a  sharp subtle breath in response to Trusting the Process.  The person sitting next to you in Starbucks wouldn’t notice that you sat a little straighter and tipped your head slightly to the left, but girl, I’ve been there and I know.  

Thoughts on The Process have whispered and surrounded this weekend.  Like, 1-million-leaves-gonna-fall-in-my-yard-this-week, surrounded. They fell fast and furious  fanned by the dance of growth.  I’m going to shush my desire to Tell-A-Friend, you of course.  Instead, I’ll sit with my  thoughts and  leaves a while longer enjoying the unrefined beauty.

Sara Groves writes about The Process in her song Eyes Wide Open.

Her words haunt me.

You can find the rest of this series here.

31 Days of Growing Up: Day 11

People usually feel strongly about storms one way or another.  I adore them.   There’s a snug feeling about being  home in the hours  leading up to forceful weather.

This morning though, a soul-storm was brewing, and I wasn’t feeling very safe.  Everything in me wanted to Tell-A-Friend.  There was a short window in my schedule and I really wanted to  puke the upheaval in my soul all over hers.

growing up last

I had a choice.  Frame the flurries, or wait for the blizzard.  

The day hadn’t gone as planned, surprise, surprise.  I badly wanted to escape the emotional pressure I was experiencing and was sure that a  conversation with my girlfriend could accomplish that.

Relief of emotional pressure was  within my grasp.  But I have a life rule for such times.  If the phone rings, I can answer it, but under no circumstances am I to dial. 

So, I parked my car and had a come to Jesus meeting with myself.  A few minutes later I decided  to go ahead and invite Him to the party.  The practice of a palms up lifestyle insures that God is in the middle of  every decision I make  despite whether I specifically ask him about it.  So I dumped my heart shrapnel on him and picked up the book in my bag.

 In the span of 30 minutes, I read five pages of the book I just happened to have, was impressed with one song that shuffled  and came across a meaningful tweet.  All of these bits of information were relevant to the issues that had been agitating and I pulled out of my parking space with a renewed mind and soul.  As a bonus,   these same fragments of wisdom ended up shedding light on an  unrelated situation  later in the day.  God’s cool like that.  

As much as I love my friend, I’m glad she didn’t call. While she might have had great intentions to encourage me,  she doesn’t know every detail of my life.  Assuming that either of us had the time for me to get her up to speed, her thoughts and suggestions would have been filtered through her own brokenness and more than likely I would have hung up feeling just as discouraged.

Growing up is painful.

Remember that even the bible even says so.

For with much wisdom comes much sorrow:  The more knowledge, the more grief.  Ecclesiastes 1:18

But also remember.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.  John 16:33

But when we deny ourselves and seek Him, we find Him.  And when we find him, we unleash strength for our growing pains.

You can find the entire Growing Up series here.

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31 Days of Growing Up: Day 10

Avoiding soul work comes naturally for most of us, but often we don’t recognize our innocuous actions as ways we avoid vulnerability and subsequent growth.  Our response is to do something….anything to avoid feeling exposed.

growing up last

When I feel the flurries of foundational Truth begin to whirl, my first distraction of choice is Tell-A-Friend.  I want to share the intricate details of what God is unfolding to me, but inviting others into those sacred spaces averts this pure process.

I lean more toward introversion, but when it comes to new ideas, I want connection like a suburban mom wants clearance endcaps at Target.

Tell-A-Friend  is about me capturing and framing an individual snowflake of Truth.  If I snatch those first solitary flakes for display, they melt, and I’m left with clammy hands.  But, if instead, I  allow them to disperse, the Holy Spirit  lavishly blows in more Truth-crystals like a blizzard.  As they layer and blanket my soul it becomes easier for me to perceive and understand the voice of God.  When the sacred blizzard has run its course and the season begin to change, the sun shines brightly melting truth into my porous heart resulting in a richly watered soul.

Your diversion may be different than mine, the but the result is the same.

We circumvent the process God uses to cultivate growth in our lives by immersing ourselves in a myriad of  distractions.  

Sitting alone with God can be some challenging work!   I’d much rather have a lively validating conversation with a friend about the incredible attributes about God than actually experience the supernatural ethereal presence of God. Just the truth here girls.  And the truth is that I want something I can measure.

Have you figured out some distractions that muffle the voice of God in your life?  What if you could learn to hear Him with confidence and clarity.  Would it be worth it?

You can find the rest of this series here.

31 Days of Growing Up: Day 9

When my soul churns and I recognize that there’s growth occurring  in my life, I desperately just want the process to be over.

growing up last

Have you ever traveled with a friend who believes that one of the best parts of  vacation is the journey?  Meandering gives me hives.

Hands down the most frequent question I ask my husband is what’s the plan.  I want Chick-Fil-A in the van, 5 minute potty stops and pedal to the metal.  Get-where-I-am-going-thank-you-very-much.  After my two stints in Geometry, Mr Younce would be very happy to know that I remember  the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.

I don’t do zig-zags, and so I’ve learned the hard way that our souls were made for attentive responsiveness.  There’s a progression of growth in each of us and if we don’t cultivate it, we erase the wonder, the majesty and the sovereignty of God in our every day lives.

Vital choices are made  during the recess between soul agitation and actual growth, and these choices determine how clearly I can hear God.

Preparation for hearing from God, always happens in the middle of soul turbulence.

We  each  have inclinations for avoiding the disturbance.  Over-scheduling, under-performing, eating, exercising, entertainment, community involvement, kids sports, even bible studies can all be narratives for  avoiding moments that are uncomfortable and uncertain.

It’s important to understand what we use to escape introspection either intentionally or inadvertently.  Even admirable activities can mute the voice of God in our souls and the growth that accompanies hearing His voice.

Do you have any pursuits or habits that you could add to the list?  Thank you for inviting me into your space today, tomorrow I’ll share my MO for avoiding soul turbulence.

You can find the rest of this series here.

31 Days of Growing Up: Day 7

growing up last

My soul has been simmering. There aren’t words yet, just ideas, concepts and the occasional anonymous feeling.  I’ve learned that when there’s soul work going on, my threshold for agitation is at ground level.

Last week, I had a day when I roved and routed through the day expecting that the next activity or song or food would dam my leaking composure and nothing worked.

Not checking items off my list  or going for a walk, taking a nap  or browsing my favorite websites. Not  affirmative feedback on a project, or even a positive report regarding a child, A good cup of coffee, dinner on the stove, clean laundry, a clean dishwasher I mean nothing brought the calm my soul was craving. .

And so I did what any reasonable woman would have done under the circumstances, I quit trying.    

I’m learning to recognize that agitation disproportionate to the day is one of my indicators that growth is taking place.   Don’t you wish that recognition of an issue would magically make it disappear?   You can’t short-circuit growth.   I hate that.  

The next level of understanding that God wants us to reach is just on the other side of the disturbance.

God-whispers, and Truth blankets the collision of Life and Emotions, incubating Growth.  

Last week I finally chucked the to-do list in favor of to-be.  I decided to quit trying to circumvent the process of growth via busy.  Being, in the the middle of the soul-stirring agitation, is hard work, but so worth it when you can hear the whisper.

What are your indicators that your soul is learning something?  Would you consider sharing them with us?

You can find the rest of this series here.

31 Days of Growing Up: Day 5

ee cummings

Weeks of days filled with hours of engagement have emptied me out.

The staring just might bore a hole clear through the fireplace brick.

Questions go unanswered circling in a holding pattern with no place to land.

15, 30, 60 seconds, I realize that someone is waiting……for me……to answer.         What was the question?

Brokenness, plenty to go around.

Empty.

I’m choosing to live today out of the place where growth meets grace.  The lists and laundry can keep each other company.

   

Music minus words,

Books over internet,

 August Rush. 

 

And Sara Groves – for when there’s just not much left.  

You’ll find the entire series here.

31 Days of Growing Up: Day 2

I’d been married for a couple of years when I stuck a toe over the edge of  adulthood. I started to eat around the outside of my grilled cheese sandwich to get to the good part? (rule followers unite!)

me and lou

Lou and Me circa: Grilled Cheese Epiphany

After I realized that I wasn’t hungry enough to eat the whole thing, I actually contemplated my options. To continue eating around the outside of the sandwich and be full by the time I got to the gooey good stuff, or throw caution to the wind, rip off the remaining crusts and dig in.

Kind of trivial now, but I remember how liberating it felt to throw out those nasty dry crusts and  go for the cheese.  I guess it could be a little risky if you’re surrounded by hungry wolves, but generally, this is not a big deal.

I think about that sandwich often.  A simplistic, yet essential threshold that I crossed into a  new world of choices.

We begin life with every last detail being administrated by someone else.  When we sleep, what we eat, how we’re dressed, where we go, everything, determined by other people.

If we are intentionally guided into making these choices for ourselves, it’s possible we aren’t even aware of the process.  But I’m going to make an assumption that most of us had a fairly jagged journey.  And the level to which we’re aware of that journey determines the way we respond when we begin to make real decisions that affect our choices, our beliefs and the direction our lives.

When I say Growing Up, it’s that process of awareness  that I’m referring to.  That grilled cheese did a lot more than add to my calorie intake, it awakened my recognition of the choices that I made every single day.

We make copious amounts of decisions in a day, let alone a lifetime.  There is a thought process behind each and every decision whether we’re aware of it or not. You’ve probably heard it said that not making a decision, is still a decision.  Where we grocery shop, the clothing we wear, what time we go to bed, each of these seemingly insignificant decisions is based on some kind of belief system.  Not belief about how you worship or practice spirituality, but belief about how you view yourself, who you believe yourself to be, and what course the journey of your life is taking.   It’s when you stack   up all of those decisions, that you end up with the direction of your life.

You should know that I’ve been aware of this process for a long time.  I could tell you about decisions and beliefs and the idea that not making a choice is making a choice long before I began to see how those streams of thought played out in my own life.   I had knowledge of the processes, but not understanding of them and as a result, I lived a long time in some very difficult places.  As I begin to embrace who I was created to be, which is markedly different from what anyone, and I mean a-ny-one,  wants me to be, I am discovering the joy and peace that I used to talk about.  I had a lot of chatter in my head and out my mouth about those  things, and very little actually reaching the puddles of insecurity in my own soul.

These are the ideas I plan on exploring this month, along with plenty of other fun stuff along the way.  What about you?  Can you see remember a decision you made that marked the beginning of adulthood for you?  Got any pieces of the puzzle that you think might unlock something for the rest of us?

Would you consider sharing any of those moments or ideas?

 

You can find all the posts from this series here.  Thanks for stopping by!

31 Days of Growing Up: Day 1

This is it!

I’m linking up with The Nester’s 31 Day challenge this month.  For the month of October, hundreds of bloggers choose a topic and commit to live and write about it every day for a month. You should check it out.

If my topic takes on zombie form threatening bodily harm, I will still be posting every day in October.  If all I can muster is hello or blubbbbb as I wipe away the drool,  I’ll be here every day.  Misspellings, grammar from the dark ages, empty txt bubbles, I’ll.Be.Here.Every.Day.  

31 days in a row of  anything makes me a little hivey.  Bring on the Benedryl.

The perfectionist in me, let’s call her Piper,  keeps nipping that I need to have an outline for the month.  A riveting introduction and 29 points supported with three sub-points each to be torn apart daily with a conclusion that would waken C.S. Lewis.   Piper also says I need to share just enough to be engaging while still appearing that I have life all together, which undoubtedly a lie.   One of my goals for the month is to shut that girl up.

Just Who On Earth Do I Think I Am.

I’ll share some ideas that are changing my thinking and also quotes, pictures and music that reaches the space between words. Old stories that I can’t wait to break out, new insights as I continue to live out of the truest me, from the hysterical to the holy, I’ll post every day and I’m really hoping that you’ll join me and share what moves you too!

I’m writing out of the place I’m learning the most right now.  I’ve  gathered thoughts over the last few months like a bird snatches remnants for a nest.  Mostly it’s a jumbled up mess with bits of straw, yarn and used up dental floss, but there’s the occasional strand of tinsel and the rare sparkle of an emerald hair flair.

I believe in palms up living.  Opening my hands, heart and mind to the ideas that God wants to speak into my soul.  That means that while I have some thoughts about what I’m currently learning, I can say with certainty that I have no idea where we’ll end up by the end of this month.

So, it’s with great pride and in my big girl panties that I announce 31 days of………..

growing up last

Consider signing up for my daily posts this month?  They’ll come straight to your inbox and you can un-sign, de-sign, re-sign (none of them sound right) at any time.

See you tomorrow!