Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cosmetics Only Cover So Much

Hi Dear Friends. I guess I kind of fell off the face of the cyber world the last week and a half. It's been a busy, and tiresome 2 weeks. We've been making costumes, visiting family, visiting friends, going to a movie, working, walk a thons, church events, and let me tell you I'm pooped. My illness gives me very little room for activity, and the last 2 weeks I've been running on empty. Which is not good for me. It causes me to sleep entire days away, and I've done that for 3 1/2 days over the last 2 weeks. I've also caught a bit of a cold, which is no good since the average cold takes me around 5 weeks to get over because of my medicines.

So here it is Thursday afternoon, I'm home and I've been going over and over again about the weeks Yes To God study which I normally post on Weds. So we are up to chapter 6 and 7 this week in Lisa's book Behind Those Eyes. Lelia and Lisa thought we should combine them because they work together. So Chapter 6 is Cosmetics for the Soul and Chapter 7 is The Feelings We Conceal. (deep sigh) If you want to read more posts or know more about the study click on the Yes To God icon in my side bar. If you want to know more about the author click on the book in my side bar.

So you may have noticed a slight alteration of the cover in my post. Sorry Lisa had to do it. I actually took this picture for my photo blog, as a picture of one of my favorite books. The picture next to it is me. Yep me at 19 years old in 1983. They were from my modeling days, and it was a shoot for jeans of some sort. Anyway the photographer took this close up for me for my portfolio. I found it while cleaning out my scrapbook room right around the time we started the study. So why included it here, well it was something my daughter Brinn said about the picture when she saw it. She asked me who it was, I said you can't tell. She studied it a bit longer and she said is it you? Yes I said I was 19. She said I don't like it mommy it scares me, you look angry, mean, and a kinda sad. I said you see all that in this picture, she said mommy it's your eyes, your eyes don't look like that anymore, they look happy now. All that from a 9 year old.
I told her that I didn't know Jesus then, and that was a part of my life that was very empty. That's why my eyes look that way. In Chapter 6 Lisa writes, "How may of us are trying to cover up or broken souls? We do this so others will see on the outside what we want them to see." I've been struggling with this lesson, because I keep going back to a place of great sorrow in my life, and when I do I just don't want to go there, but God wouldn't let me quiet the memory this time. That's what usually happens when He wants me to share it.
Cosmetics to the soul is just like putting on your make up before you leave the house. You cover up your flaws and enhance your best features so people will be drawn to see what is your best feature and hopefully not see the flaws. The more experienced you get at applying the makeup the better you get at covering the flaws and scars.
Concealing our souls we guard our hearts not letting anyone get to close to see what's inside or to keep it from being hurt. Impersonating is just pretending to be something to fit where you are at the time, at school your the loving and together mom, work your the super employee, church your Ms. Spirituality, the conversations are surface oriented never letting people past your facade. But at home alone you have to deal with the concealing of the soul, and that for me is done in what I call the dark night of the soul. When your all alone and it's just you and God.
Lisa asked us if we have had our emotional identity robbed, and to tell the story. So here goes. I've shared with you all that my dad died when I was 12. When daddy died my whole world changed. I was closest to my dad I wanted to be around him all the time. Daddy's little girl. I sat at his work bench at the shop we owned, went with him to the dump, sat on his lap at home, I just liked being with my dad.
Dad died of a heart attack while in the hospital for some tests. He was sick but I didn't really understand what that was. He'd gone in on a Thursday to see the doctor, and because of the military hospital visitation restrictions they had to get permission for me to see him because I was under 14. By the time the permission came it was Sunday, and Dad died while we were on our way to the hospital. I remember having a poem I'd written him that told him how much I loved him, but I never got to give it to him. I never saw my dad again. The rest of the night was a blur. It seemed like it went on forever, people coming to the hospital and then getting home people were there. I remember locking myself in my room only letting my cousin Darcy in, she'd lost her dad in 3rd grade. Then late that night after everyone was gone, I heard deep sorrowful cries, I came out of my room and found my older brother he was 23 sobbing while sitting in my dad's chair. I climbed into his lap, and we both sobbed, that's when I knew Daddy wasn't coming home.
After that night I didn't know what to do with the emotion, I was sad, mad, empty, and felt very alone. I went back to school after a week (I was in 7th grade) and kids would ask me where I was. I tell them my dad died so I didn't come to school in a very detached robotic way. No one asked anything more, no teachers asked anything. This was not an after school special with the caring teacher that took you aside, life just continued. My cousin Darcy knew, but how do two 12 year old girls explain it, it was more of this unspoken understanding. How do you talk about something you don't understand.
So you learn to conceal the emotions and lock away the pain, letting everyone think your okay, your strong. Don't look back, because it's still to painful even 31 years later. The identity of a family whole and complete gone. Over the next couple years life changed dramatically, my mom went from spending all her time at our store and spending the evenings with me to having a boyfriend, and never being home at all. By the time I was 14 I was raising myself, my brother's and sisters all married and living away from home, I was on my own. I felt forgotten and unwanted. Terribly insecure, and jealous of the people who had a dad, and starting to look for ways to fill that missing piece.
My ability to cover my pain and insecurities is lightening fast. I have perfected it as I have learned to apply my makeup, I can cover my flaws and distract people with my positive features so they don't see my negative.
In chapter 7 The Feelings We Conceal, Lisa talks about the feelings of ugly that we hide. Feelings such as insecurity, jealousy, loneliness, and fear, and how they play out in our lives.
Lisa writes "All of us have had moments of insecurity some lasting longer than others and of varying degrees. Women are insecure over our bodies, our abilities, our mothering, our relationships with our husbands, our reputations in the church, and our standings in the community. It is really no small wonder as to why we try to cover up our insecurities. "
So as I went through these two chapters (well actually all the chapters) God kept leading me back to this place in my heart as the beginning of learning to conceal. From that point in my life I learn to I guard my heart and emotions.
From this place I've created loneliness, not letting people to deeply in, and then when having done so I'd find myself hurt, or hurting someone else. I know now that Satan spins these lies over and over in my head, of me not being good enough, smart enough, they have a better life than you, they wouldn't like you. These are the lies that God is now telling me aren't true. But I had to trust and believe in Him and His love for me before I can let others in.
My life and where I am today is a result of the building up and covering up of these emotions for years. The hard part is to start letting them out. So I'm brought to Ephesians once again, the place God always leads me in my deep despair to remind me of his love for me. This verse "But because of his great love for us, God , who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead i transgressions - it is by grace you have bee saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus." Ephesians 2: 4-7
In Chapter 7 Lisa asked us: How much of your life have you spent trying to conceal things from others? I choose Most of it. Then she asked: How has insecurity manifested it self in your life? It has manifested in the starting and never finishing of schooling, jealousy in relationships, lack of trusting friends and others, feeling of being unwanted or a burden to people, and ending relationships to prevent myself from being hurt. Do others see you as insecure, or do you think you hide it well? For the most part people find me to be self confident, but I don't believe they would label me insecure, I do hide it well, I know how to play the game and manipulate situations so I don't come out looking insecure. I can only think of 2 or 3 people that can see past my cover. I'm just tired oh so tire of being that way.
What is the most painful feeling for you to conceal? I am lonely. Why? Not because I have a lonely empty life, I'm lonely for a close girlfriend. Don't get me wrong my husband is wonderful, he's caring, loving, giving, and we are very close. He's not a girlfriend though. Lisa said this: "We tend to wrongly believe that if we could just get married, our significant other can and will be our all and everything. And sadly, many married women treat their husbands as we do an order of bottomless chips at our favorite restaurant, asking him to continue to fill us up when we are empty." It's been a long time since I had a best girl friend, one I can confide and tell things to and not worry about whether she'll still care about me or like me. I miss that and I pray for it.
I'm sorry this has been a long post, and I have to tell you an emotionally draining one. So I'm going to leave you with this prayer that I found when I was in the grips of the feelings of rejection and inferiority after discovering Brett's addiction to pornography. I found this on an Internet forum dealing with spouses of addiction:
Jesus, I acknowledge you as my High Priest. You understand and sympathize with my weaknesses and this excruciating pain of rejection and inferiority that I have tried to bury. In Your name I approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that I may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Father, be merciful unto me and forgive my sins even as I forgive others. I cast down the wrong perceptions, self-talk and mindsets that have exalted themselves above the Word of God. In the name of Jesus, I thank you for your healing grace that dispels the feelings and thoughts of self-rejection that I have carried most of my life. I am tired of suffering because of the false accusations I have brought against myself.
Father, these feelings have been like a cancer in my soul, and I choose to replace self-destructive thoughts with your word, which is able to restore and save my soul. In the face of these feelings of rejection and inferiority I choose being extraordinary and "equal to" others. I choose being accepted, loved and highly favored of the Lord. Whom the Son has set free, is free indeed. I am free to choose being the true self that your created me to be.
Thanks for listening, you all have been such a true blessing in my life.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ms. Spirituality Chapter 5

This week in our Yes to God Study hosted by Lelia, we hit on the stingy subject of Ms. Spirituality. Ms.Spirituality is Chapter 5 in Lisa Whittles book Behind Those Eyes. If you would like to join the study or see what others are discovering in the study head over to Lelia's blog.

Lisa (quotes in purple) starts out first by talking about the bleeding woman who touched Jesus' robe and was healed in Luke 8:42-48. This woman is one I have related to over and over again. How many times have I come crawling to Jesus to heal me, love me, help me and forgive me. She came to Jesus completely vulnerable , why, and why must we be completely vulnerable? With out exposing our vulnerability we hide our struggles, fears and pains. These build up and slowly eat away at us, like bleeding slowly we will die from it. Our spirits will become shriveled, bitter, resentful, and disconnected from God.

Paul writes in Romans 8:6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.

When the bleeding woman opened up to Jesus and exposed her vulnerabilities Jesus healed her. She was free from it. That's what we do when we unlock that dark part of our soul, the things we don't want people to know about or we don't want to see ourselves. When we give it to Jesus, truly in faith knowing that He is our last hope (he already knew it was there anyway) He will heal it and stop the bleeding and free us from it. That step must come from our faith in knowing that Jesus is the one who can stop the bleeding and death of our soul, and give us peace. Lisa writes of the bleeding woman, I can only guess what the highly spiritual people in the crowd that day thought of this woman, so clearly in need of a touch from God. She was totally going against type when she reached out to Jesus only a person worthy of His touch would should seek Him in most peoples eyes. Yet Jesus attaches a highly spiritual word to her - faith.

Spiritual is really a word I never really connected myself with. It's like a buzz word now, people are on spiritual journey's, they are seeking to be more spiritual and one with the universe. It's connected to many religions, and trains of thoughts. It speaks of a force in the universe that has no real depth or is incapable of a real caring and loving relationship.

So admitting that I've walked hand in hand with Ms. Spirituality is a bitter pill, but it's true. I found that I like I'm sure many others of us have many items checked off on the Ms. Spirituality's check list from page 78 and I could probably add a few more, in place of the ones I haven't checked. The list made me laugh because almost immediately in my head I could hear Steven Curtis Chapman singing in my head "What about the Change, What about the difference, What about the grace, What about forgiveness, What about a life worth showing that I'm under going a Change" He lists off many items on the list, Christian tshirts, refrigerator magnets, bumper stickers, necklaces, just to name a few. Lisa list included Attends Church/Sunday School/or small group every week. Speaking "Christianize" fluently, attending mission trips, women's retreats, journaling, blogs, writing our own devotionals, and attending midweek activities. The list goes on. No these are not bad things but as Lisa put it. "The point is not that Ms. Spirituality does these things, rather, why she does these things. Remember, it's all in the performance, not in the act itself. It's a role that is played when it is deemed necessary to impress someone, yet it holds not real depth whatsoever.

There is a huge danger in not being spiritually transparent we loose out on a personal relationship with Jesus. It could easily cause us to slip and fall into sin, and now we have mastered the way to cover it up. There are many people who go to church and church events even small groups who aren't in a relationship with Jesus. My husband as I've shared before sat in church for 4 years and didn't truly understand God's saving and loving grace. If you asked him though if he believed in God and Jesus he would have told you yes. For many that's just what you do. I remember a quote from the book Left Behind "There's a big difference between knowing and believing." I've always remembered that line, because the character who said it was a pastor who'd been left behind after the rapture. Lisa writes The problem comes when our performance of these characteristics takes precedence over the actual condition of our hearts.

The thing that I realized in this chapter is that when I'm in the Ms. Spirituality mode it's because I'm hiding from God. So I start adding more "Spiritual Work" so no one will know that I've veered off and am no longer communicating with God.

When I first met my husband I was active in bible study. I did share but asked more questions because I was so new to studying the bible, and I didn't understand how the references from the Old Testament fit in with the New Testament. I would get easily lost, luckily they were patient, and my pastor was the leader. I also did the nursery care rotation, and the high light of my weeks were to be at church or small group. I wanted to learn and I needed to be around other believers. I always felt so filled up, after Sunday and Wednesday, and I was growing in my faith.

Then I met Brett and we had our first date set up. I had just spent a weekend at a women's retreat and he was coming over for dinner to my house. I was determined to just be his friend. I also figured once he saw what dating a single mom of a 2 1/2 year old would be that he'd be done with any romantic ideas. Brett tells part of this story in his testimony about our conversation at dinner. He was telling me about his NA meeting and all about how they picked a higher power. It could be anything that they connected with as a higher power that was greater than ones self. Some people had the ocean, music, their parents, or just a "force" out there. I must have had a funny look on my face, because he asked me if I had a higher power. I looked him straight in the eye and said Jesus Christ there is no other Higher Power. I wish I could tell you that we got into this deep theological conversation, or that I led him to Jesus right then and there, but you know that's not true. No after that strong statement of faith, that my friends was the end of my witness that night.

Brett was everything I wasn't looking for. Well actually I wasn't really looking at all it took me a while to figure out he'd been trying to ask me out. Anyway first off I wanted someone older than me - Brett is 14 years younger than me (that's a whole different post). I wanted someone who was a Christian - Brett hadn't been in church since he was like 4 years old. I was hopping that I would meet some one grounded financially and independent - Brett wasn't either in fact he still lived with his mom and only made $12 hour (in the Silicon Valley doesn't go very far). But boy did he make me laugh, and was sweet with Brinn. So I was hooked.

So the next thing I knew we are dating, I've walked right back into a worldly relationship. Yep he spent the nights - eventually he stopped going home. I remember asking him do you live here now? I kept going to church even got Brett to go. The I got him to join the small group which totally intimidated him, bought him a Bible, got him to watch Christian Videos, and told everyone he was seeking. I was going to convert him. Yeah right.

In the mean time I was Ms. Spirituality to my friends and family. My daughter went to a Christian preschool, we went to church every Sunday, we went to our Bible study, and all the church activities. At one point Brett did pray for salvation with The Jesus movie, but that's about as committed as his heart was, and any changes would come and then quickly go. Then we got engaged. We went to the pastor for premarital counseling, and he set us up in Alpha course - where you learn what Christianity is. We got married and continued on.

After we got married, I knew in my heart that things weren't right. We made choices that were against what I knew God would want, we didn't rely on God we relied on ourselves, and I didn't tell a single person. Especially God, I never went to God and let him stop the bleeding. Brett and I drifted from our small group. The more I drifted away from God the more Ms. Spiritual came out. I volunteered for two teams at church, even signed Brett up for another. (Brett sunk deeper in his addictions) I convinced Brett we need to be a part of the young families group we even gave our story as a couple. I would tell people how Brett was growing in his faith(lie) because I needed him to be Mr. Spiritual even if it wasn't true. I would tell people I'll pray for you, never tell them that I needed prayer. I would go on women's retreat take notes and they'd end up in the trash. This went on from March of 2002 until March of 2006 when at a women's retreat God finally broke through and I started to pray again asking God to help me I was spiritually bankrupt. He answered that prayer when He exposed Brett's addiction and forced us to our knees in late August 2006. (for more on this see post Witnessing Transformation & Redemption)

Ms. Spirituality in not a woman I want to be again. She is a dangerous mask, because she tricks you into thinking you have a deep relationship with God, but it's not the one God wants. God wants you all dirty and bleeding he wants us to come to Him fully vulnerable so He can love us, and heal us. Then and only then can others see Jesus in me. Lisa writes True spirituality is about the awesome power of God showing up in a person's life to the point that people around her notice a difference.

Does this mean I can't listen my Christian Music or have my NOTW window decal in my car, or any of the other things that are on that check list. No it just means that having those and doing certain things does not make me a Christian, or spiritual. As Paul writes in Ephesians 2:8-9For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. It's my faith and living out that faith transparently that shows that I love Jesus shows my spirituality, by letting the Holy Spirit lead me and guide me. It's my open dialogue that I run throughout the day with Jesus, it's knowing that even though times are scary, moneys tight, or my health is in a crazy mode that these battles belong to God, and I don't have to fight them on my own. It also means that when these things happen it's okay to go to my friends and family and especially Jesus and say this hurts, I'm scared, and I need help.

One last thought to share with you all. Lisa talked about her group, and the lady that came to visit who's husband was an alcaholic. She shared that this lady was afraid her husband might not be comfortable because of this. Praise God for the man who shared his battle with her. Brett and I have experienced difficulty in this area when we meet other people. When we first shared Brett's addiction at church with a group, they just didn't know what to say. So they didn't say anything. It was hurtful and sad. They didn't mean to hurt us, we know that now, but at the time we just needed someone to come up and pray with us. We did find those people later down the road, but not then. So now I just wanted to share if God presents you a family broken and hurting, even if you don't know a thing about what they might be battling, just say something even if it's just to walk up and ask if you can pray with them. Just as another Casting Crown's song says "Love them like Jesus"

Be Blessed.



Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chapter 4 Ms. Happiness

First off I have to say THANK YOU to all my new friends for all the encouragement you've given me on my comments. I'm really new to the blog world and I'm not quite sure how you go back and forth on the comment thing. (Any tips or advice is appreciated) Also for those of you who have never seen or heard of a 2 story Target, well it's true we've got one, and give me a couple days, and I'll post some pictures for you.

So now back to my regularly scheduled (but usually a day late) Say Yes to God study hosted by Lelia on the book Behind Those Eyes. We are working through looking at our different masks and this week it was Ms. Happiness. Come on you know her she's the one we pull out when we meet up with someone we don't particularly want to see that day, the one that we bring to work with us, or the one that gets us to do and buy things because it's what we "need" to make us happy. Frankly she has gotten me in all kinds of trouble. Quotes from the author are in purple.

Lisa describes Ms. Happiness this way, " She is the outward personification of a jovial girl, even though she is still searching for its inward source. Though able to act happy, since she never truly found the root of happiness, she is forced to continue looking for it in places it will likely never appear." Been there done that.

"Happiness is not always what it seems, and someone can easily impersonate happiness with out actually having it." At work I have the ability to show the surface condition of happiness at the flip of a switch. I can be extremely annoyed or frustrated with an employee situation or just finished a heated discussion with a resident, when the phone rings flip the switch I'm the happiest person in the room. I've even been able to pull it off when a person walks in my office. That ability is just a facade and it doesn't change the way I'm feeling inside.

"A lot of things can make us feel happy for a time. But a lot of them can also let us down almost as quickly as they perked us up." Lisa asked why we think of happiness as the Holy Grail, and if our standards for happiness are low. The world tells us that if we have everything we want we should be happy. If we own the right stuff, look the right way, or are with the right people we'll be happy, we won't feel empty anymore. That's a BIG FAT LIE. When we listen to that lie we look for our happiness in temporary feelings of excitement, thrills, and then those feelings wear off, and we are left empty again. We are sill unhappy sometimes even worse off then when we started.

Ms. Happiness has 3 tactics she uses. "You can make yourself happy. Someone you love can make you happy. Something you have or do can make you happy." I've tried them all and guess what they didn't work.

Make yourself happy. "Often the more we invest in ourselves the emptier we feel. .... The more time you spend thinking about you, the less satisfied you are with yourself or anything else If we look to ourselves to provide the happiness we need in life we are barking up the wrong tree." This has never worked for me. I've done the "power of positive thinking stuff" but I couldn't hide or forgive myself for my own baggage. I know where I fall short and I didn't like myself enough to be positive. No it's tactics 2 & 3 that got me.

Someone you love can make you happy. "Seeking an outside source to make us happy will never do the trick in the long term. ... Finding happiness from a relationship with another will make you happy until it doesn't. At which point, it will take another relationship, adrenaline rush, or emotional high to keep you there." Have I played this game. I had some kind of romantic or sexual relationship from the time I was 16 until I was 34. I was never without a boyfriend/date/or husband that entire time. Sometimes I would literally go from one to the next one with hardly a day in between. Well this just doesn't work, after 3 failed marriages and a numerous amount of relationships, happiness was never where I ended up. They never filled the void in my life. The relationships ended and I added more pain, shame, and guilt into my own life, and the same into other peoples life.

Something we have or do can make you happy. "The world's mantra insists that the personal perfection can make you happy. Spend more, indulge more, and have more are seen as the golden tickets to happiness and contentment, and women are buying into them right and left. Yet for all our indulgences, we are still severely unhappy." I have done this for years, always trying to fill my unhappiness void with stuff. I learned this from my mom. My father died when I was 12, and that first year mom and I would eat out and then go shop at the mall. I think it was just to hard to be at home for mom, I know it was for me. This is an area that God has been teaching me obedience in. It's the one I've held onto the longest, up until the last year when God has forced me to my knees over it. Sadly it's one my husband struggled with too, and we've got the credit card debt to prove it. When Brett went into recovery I covered my pain with a new fall wardrobe to the tune of $4000. (yes that's the right amount of zeros) and a lot of scrapbook stuff, but I still hurt.
That's when God showed me only He can fill my heart with joy. He said seek Him deeper, love Him, and I will fill your void. When I'm not seeking the joy of having Jesus, life drains me and when I start seeking for my happiness outside of Jesus then I feel empty and sad. I get moody, disconnected from the people in my life, aggravated and resentful. I don't like that Carol.

When I look to Jesus for my happiness he fills me with joy. I find myself being patient and forgiving. I don't walk around resenting the things I don't have but praising God for my life and the many blessings He's given me. I'm not a bubbly person, but many people have told me that they like being around me that I make them feel calm. I believe that's from the peace and joy that knowing and loving Jesus gives me, and they sense that. That Carol I do like, in fact I'm learning to love her.

My verse that I chose from Lisa's list on page 72 and 73 is Psalm 19:8 The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord radiant, giving light to the eyes. I love this verse the idea of the Lords joy radiating out of me is what I want people to see. Not a grumpy sour puss, or a phony smile, but true joy.

Lisa asked us if we have pure joy, and if we don't what stands in our way. I can honestly say I do have true joy now and I know where it comes from that's my relationship with Jesus. The only thing that stands in my way of true joy is me!. So I'm just going to step over here and get out of the way.
If you want to read more on our study you can head over to Lelia's blog Write From The Heart and read her and link to what some or our ladies in the group are sharing.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Realization on the Target Escalator

Yesterday was errands day. Brett and I have been letting things slide lately on the shopping area, and the laundry, so we decided to divide and conquer. Brett says he likes to clean the house, who am I to complain, so I chose the errands. We needed food, and the usual household supplies, you know it's time to shop when you feed your dog a can of chicken noodle soup for dinner, because your out of dog food.

Now as you read from my blog, I'm learning a lot about being who God made me to be and not who the world says I should be. I'm also coming close to my 44th birthday, and so one of the things I struggled with was still wishing I looked 20 something. Okay so I've come to accept that that's just not possible. No matter what cream I buy or what clothes I wear I just don't look like a 20 something.

So while I was in Target by myself (which is rare) I noticed the people around me. I was buying cereal (now you know of my cereal addiction from my previous post) and getting some other items, and a young couple came through both very tattooed, and I smiled and thought I could never pull off a tattoo. Then I heard a couple of girls in the next isle talking about making brownies for all their friends that were coming over to the apartment. Then I saw them, they were little thin girls, and were super excited about having friends over. They were dressed already up real cute, but one said she needed to go home and change out of her grubbies she needed to put on something cute. I thought wow if that's what she looks like in her grubbies, I don't want to think what she looks like all dressed for the party.

Then as I was riding down the escalator, and I saw 3 more girls headed to the make up department. They were wearing I say more of that alternative rebellious look. You know the patches and pins on the purse, and the 2 toned hair blond on top, dark on the bottom. Just watching them was exhausting. I thought that hair style looks so cute on those girls, but it would look strange on me.

I suddenly felt very free in my 40 something mom mode. I was in a sweater, a pair of jeans, and my tennies. I had toilet paper, laundry soap, cereal ;), dog food, and few other items. I wasn't concerned about if my hair was perfect. In fact I recently cut it short because I was so tired of having to make it just perfect every time I walk out the door. Don't get me wrong I'm not planning to become one of those women who just gives up on wearing make up and getting my hair done, I love that stuff. I just felt free knowing that I didn't need to look like something I'm not.

So for the first time as I came down in escalator at Target, I thought to myself I'm so glad I'm not in my 20's anymore. It just looks to tiring, and I don't think I could keep up with all the fashion trends. I love being a wife, and a mom. I love that when get home my family is happy to see me, and my hubby says why don't you go put your cozy's on so you'll be comfortable. I love that my daughter tells me that she thinks I'm beautiful, and that I'm the best mom ever. Most of all I love that I'm finally realizing that God looks at my beauty from the inside out and to Him I'm beautiful.

Have a great Monday.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tagged by Connie

My friend Connie taged me, so I thought I'd play along, something a little light hearted after my recent posts.

So here are the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you. Connie that would be you.
2. Post these Rules.
3. Tell 6 Unspectacular Things About Yourself.
4. Tag 6 fellow bloggers.

So here are my 6 unspectacular things about me.

1. I love HGTV decorating shows, but hate the fact that I don't have a carpenter to build me all that furniture to stay in there ever low budget.

2. We have no bedroom funiture except for our bed. Explains why I watch HGTV and get bitter.

3. I'm always searching for the perfect purse, but have never found it.

4. I have an addiction to cereal, I could eat it 3 meals a day.

5. I hate folding laundry, and hate even more putting it away.

6. I love to scrapbook, but have never scrapbooked my wedding, it intimidates me.

That's it. So now I'll tag 6 fellow bloggers.... Victoria , Paula in Aussie, Paula Sweet Pea, Liz's Letters, Naomi, Tammy Leave me a comment if you come and play.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Chapter 3 Ms. Confidence **sigh**

Well it's not Tuesday it's Wednesday, and this was another heart cleansing chapter from this amazing book Behind Those Eyes. I'm enjoying this study so much, and meeting all of you ladies, I can't tell you how much it has impacted my life. I'm so glad I've become a part of the Yes to God Family. Lisa's quotes are in purple.
So when I first read the chapter it hurt me. I only saw and heard condemnation and the lies of the enemy. This is you - your just like those women all show no strength, no real substance; and I almost believed it. Because it was once true. Lisa described this Ms. Confidence like this "Ms. Confidence can be wearing a business suit, a jogging suit, or a bathing suit, but you will definitely know her when you see her. She will be the one who has no problem carrying on a conversation, running the show, or letting you know how confident she is."

I thought that how it was suppose to be. I was completely sold out on the worlds view of the confident woman. Lisa describes it this way, "The idea of making one's own decisions about her body and what to do with it is an idea Ms. Confidence highly esteems. Making decisions about your own body seems like the epitome of confidence. It has become a gender-empowering thing in or society to own our sexuality and form a kind of identity around doing what we want to do." This is what I thought confidence was, and this is where I placed mine.

You see I was always told I was beautiful, I modeled as a teen and in my early 20's (not a world I would ever recommend for a girl) and could get pretty much anything I wanted with the right smile. I relished in the fact that I could walk through a public place and make heads turn. I had the right clothes the right smile and the right body. And by the time I was in my 20's I had it down pact. This is where I placed my confidence, it was lonely and destructive. I thought in order to be loved this was what was expected of me, and when I couldn't hold the attention of my current boyfriend or husband I hated myself. With this behavior I pushed away my close friends as I slowly alienated them so they could not see the real me anymore. This pattern went on for years. When I read this chapter this is what I saw, and honestly I didn't want to do the questions at the end of this chapter.

I sat in my comfy spot, and Brett asked me what was wrong. I told him I was having trouble with the chapter, I don't like what I'm seeing in myself. He then asked me with one of his favorite quotes are you listening to Mt. Sinai - the voice of you shall not or you'll be condemned- or are you listening to Calvary the voice of grace and mercy. So I read the chapter again.
This time I heard something different. I heard yes this is who your once were - but not anymore, I am now your strength, I am now your provider, I am now where you find love and acceptance. I am your Father and you are my child.

True Confidence "is not something merely worn...confidence can't be layered on with our clothes for the day, and it can't be taken off or removed by anyone else when it is truly present." For me true confidence means that people sense a strength in you and are drawn to it, yet there is humility and vulnerability. A willingness to let people see that you are in need but the strength and love you find are in God, and he gives you the ability to reach out to the people he puts in your life to help carry the burden.

God reminded me of a conversation I had right after I gave Him control of my life. I won't give the whole story here but a bit of background. When I was in my 7th month of pregnancy with Brinn, my now ex-husband (her bio-father) came to me and said he no longer wanted to be married, after 7 years. He had met someone else. I felt my world completely fall apart. I lived at the time 3 hours from my family, but I called my sister (she's a believer and had been praying for me for years) and she encouraged me to seek council through a church. So I did, I met a Pastor name Roy Pope who shared why Jesus came, how that could change my life and that my baby and I would be okay, because God would be my husband and her father. I finally heard what so many had told me before and understood that God loved me despite who I'd been and what I'd done, and that day at the age of 34 and 7 months pregnant I gave my life to Jesus. I had immediate peace, and things started changing from that day forward.

Now back to the conversation that God reminded me of. It was a couple weeks or so, and my ex would come by and talk at me. He was very confused, very self centered, and had no idea of what boundaries were. He was going on about how he and his new girlfriend were going to get a place, and then about how bad his job was, all kinds of things. He then said to me "I feel like my life is in complete cayos." I looked at him and said "It is, because you are seeking fulfilment in the wrong places." He stopped completely silent which was amazing for him, and looked at me. He said, "How come you seem so different, you are so calm, aren't you scared about what's going to happen, how your going to live." I just looked at him and said, "Right now we are both standing on the edge of the same cliff about to fall, the difference between you and me is that I know if I fall Jesus is going to catch me, and if you fall you have no one there to save you. I know that the baby and I will be fine that God will provide all we need, I have confidence in the Lord and that's all I need." Of course looking back now I know that was the Holy Spirit giving me those words.

That was it the day that God showed me where my true confidence should be. As Lisa wrote, "True confidence comes from only one source-and inside Source- and it cannot be bought, sold, put on or manufactured." That source in Jesus.
Now obviously, I forget and I sometimes try to put on that outside confidence. Then I remember I'm not a 20 something size 5 with the models body anymore, and thanks to the reminder in this chapter I don't have to be. My looks are not who I am, they've changed over the years up and down in weight, gravity, effects of medicine on my skin, not to mention those lines of experience around the eyes. I definitely don't have the wardrobe anymore, and I've had one husband leave for another woman. So so much for exterior confidence.

The Apostle Paul tells us "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." Ephesians 4:22-24

When I met my husband Brett, I didn't consider myself much to look at, and I was so engrossed in being a single mom, that I didn't even realize that he'd asked me out, until a couple of days had gone by. Brett tells me that he originally noticed me because he thought I was pretty, but what really drew him towards me was that every time he saw me I was always smiling, and laughing. He knew I'd been through a devastating illness, and he knew I was a single mom, yet he said I was always happy, and he could see a light in me he'd never seen before in anyone before, and he wanted to know more about me and what made me so happy. Confidence in having God as the center of my world it's what Brett saw, and what I want to always show.

As far as be vulnerable, well God has worked on me about that. As a newly divorcing mother of an infant I had to ask for help to get by and to find healing from the divorce. Then 18 months later when my liver failed, I had to ask for help, I couldn't take care of myself, or my daughter. There have been so many area's where God has opened me up and put me in a vulnerable spot. I believe it's his way of teaching me to be confident in Him. Recently it was being able to share about the struggles of our marriage. God started me with a small group of women in a bible study at church, after a few sessions God gave me the nudge I needed to share the pain I was in, and they surrounded me and loved me and covered our family in prayer. They made me feel safe and supported.

Now God has opened up this blog for me, a place to let others see my vulnerability, and my confidence in God. That He can take a broken and hurting life, and make it something beautiful, and now I live for this promise from Jesus.
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.
Revelation 21:4-5 NIV

So I share with you the prayer that Lisa shared in the end of the study questions for this chapter:
Dear Lord, we admit that as capable as we may be, we can not be truly confident without the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. . . leading us and directing us in our everyday circumstances. Our desire is that we begin to be transparent before You and those around us, admitting our vulnerabilities and helping others feel the freedom to, in turn, get real.
In Jesus' name. Amen

If you would like to read more about this chapter or the study head over to Lelia's Blog she's leading our study, and you can also read what others are sharing on their blogs. It's also not to late to join us. Also make sure you stop by the authors site Lisa Whittle's blog she's part of our study, and gives us great encouragement and more insight each week.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A few of my scrapbook pages

One of my blog buddies (Naomi) asked if I ever posted some of my scrapbook pages. I've done a couple on here but that's it. I've done a ton of pages, but I thought I'd post a few of my favorites. This first page is of you guessed it Third Day. They are my favorite band. There songs have ministered to me at every step of my journey with Jesus. They always seem to come out with a new song that fits my life or my question at the time. This was from the concert when they came to the Flint Center in Cupertino. I was so excited they were coming to our area, we don't get to many Christian Concerts here in the Silicon Valley. Then to top it off one of my other favorites opened for them the David Crowder Band

This is a journal I made for my husband, he wanted something special to write his thoughts on. The picture of Jesus is from a post card for the movie "The Passion" . This is one of my favorite pictures of Brinn, running on the beach. Just the joy in her face, I love how simple things make her smile. She has such a sweet spirit, she's one of those kids will just out of no where say hey mom I love you. No reason, no expectation of getting something, just came to her and she has to tell you.
This is our sweet Brinn and our sweet Nikita (Brinn's furry sister). It's hard to take a picture of Nakita, she has a strange fear of the camera. She's a very quirky dog.
Anyway, I'll post some more on another day. I do love to scrapbook, but haven't taken the time recently. I can feel the urge coming on. The 3 pages I believe are pagemaps one of my my favorite sketch sights. I use a lot of sketches and then tweek them to fit my need, but I'm terrible at keeping track of what products I used and where I got my sketch from if I used one.

Off to bed now. Hope everyone has a blessed day.