Saturday, February 19, 2011

Hello, World

"Sometimes I feel cold as steel
Broken like I'm never gonna heal..."
(from lyric to "Hello World" by Lady Antebellum)

I've promised not to hog my journey. And I meant it.

After my first husband made his exit, I saw a counselor for a while. I loved her and she helped me and the kids immenseley! One of the things she shared with me was about what she called "sneaker waves." Another friend of mine calls them "grief bursts." These are sudden moments of grief and pain that creep up on a person, many times at unexpected moments. I'm glad she warned me about them.

Here's the bottom line: A girl doesn't emerge from 13 years of repeated incidents of infidelity unscathed. That type of repeated emotional damage actually creates some deep and abiding wounds.

Most days I'm ok. Most days I'm great, actually. But every once in a while a symptom emerges that I can't deny. There are voices in my head that tell me terrible lies. Every so often a situation will arise and I am simply unable to cope with it in a healthy way. The voices of self-derision intensify in volume and I feel an all-too-familiar pain in my chest. "You're unwanted, unloved, unattractive. You can't keep a man's interest. Your first husband couldn't be faithful to you and somehow it was your fault. You are talented and smart but that's not enough. You are too damaged. You will not be healthy again."

I'm cornered by the voices and I collapse.

Such a collapse occurred again a few days ago. But this time I did something different. This time I ran TO someone who loves me (two someones, actually. Namely, God and my husband) instead of away. This time I stopped denying the existence of my wounds. I showed them to God. I let my husband see too. Then I asked God to heal them somehow.

"I see a little light, a little faith unfurls....
Hello, world."

Friday, February 11, 2011

Twin Skin

I have "twin skin." I've actually had it for years, even though I didn't learn the term until last week when I ran across the site Shape of a Mother. It's interesting to me that I'm nearly 35, and still sometimes struggling with issues pertaining to the general size and shape of my body. Although, it shouldn't surprise me since I work daily with women over the age of 80 who still struggle with the same issues.

I'm thankful for beauty. I see it all over, in the gorgeous hydrangeas my husband bought me for valentine's day, in the eyes of my children, the sky when its blue shouts too loudly to be ignored, in the ocean, all OVER my husband and yes... sometimes I see it in me.

I daily encounter the effects of aging on the body, and in doing so I see that a beautiful person needs much more than physical beauty to remain truly beautiful.

I must remember the fact that my body is merely a vessel. It's a container that houses me and carries me through my time here in the world. Perhaps while I'm in this body, God will use it (and lots of other things) to create a more beautiful me. But the truth is, I'll leave this body behind one day, and whether or not it was beautiful won't matter at all.

In my observation, one can be very beautiful and completely untouchable. I don't think I'd go for that. I'd rather be... ahem... fluffy, and wrinkled and stretch marked, with laugh lines and all... as long as I have people to wrap my flabby arms around! What good is a perfect face without something to smile about? What good is a flat stomach without babies to throw their arms around you?

I've found my body's stretch marks are evidence that my heart can stretch too. The extra padding on my hips is evidence of chocolate fondue nights with my best girlfriends. Those occasional gray hairs that pop up are the result of sorrows and stresses that "season" me.

May my imperfections only serve to welcome someone in. May my "less beautiful" physical qualities be the very thing that draws someone to me when they need a shoulder to cry on, a good homemade molasses cookie, or a flabby-armed hug on a rough day. May the shape of this mother be something that constantly communicates love. Husband-wife love, mommy-baby love, sister-sister love, and most of all, the endless love that flows from a heart that has known the love of God Himself.

Twin skin... I'll take it!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Journey Hog

I have nowhere near enough time to say everything going on in my head. For now, however, I simply HAVE to bust out these words that have been inspiring me over the past couple of days. I read them in Hoda Kotb's new book.

"Don't hog your journey. It's not just for you... You can take your business, shove it deep in your pockets, and take it to your grave. Or you can help someone. It's your choice."

OK, so if you've been reading this blog for a long time, or if you've known me a long time, you know that the last couple of years I've been a TOTAL journey hog. Perhaps out of a need for privacy, perhaps out of a need to have control over SOMETHING, ANYTHING. For whatever reason, the well of words that is my heart has been covered over and hidden.

I read these words and God said: "You HEAR THAT??? Are you listening to Me?? It's time to stop hogging your journey."

That's what He said. So I don't know how exactly, but I will loosen my grip. I will uncover the well and let whatever's in there spill out. I've definitely backed away from the edge... which I suppose is ok for a time. But I can't continue to live that way.

Here goes...

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Bubbly Flowery Cure

So lately I've been thinking about dealing with stress. Specifically my own need to strategize in that area. Last night I discovered something I already knew but had completely forgotten:

A few moments alone, spent purposely on regrouping and refocusing, are a GREAT cure for stress for me.

My awesome husband handed me the opportunity last night, in the form of a bubble bath (rose petals included) and half an hour alone. I soaked and wrote in my journal. Picking up the journaling habit again is my number one new year's resolution. I had had a particularly stressful day, and I was surprised by how much difference it made to spend some quiet moments and purposely refocus. Of course you might think "Who wouldn't feel better after a rose petal bubble bath?" And you're right. However, normally I might lie there and let my mind do what my mama would call "stew" over the stressors in my life. But not last night. I grabbed my journal, and purposely spent the quiet time alone reorganizing my thoughts, reminding myself of what's important, and recognizing my blessings.

So... I'm thinking this should be something I begin to practice daily. Perhaps not ALWAYS with the bubbles and roses, but even without those, I can still have some focused quiet. This I need. I always have, but I forgot. Do you ever do that? Somehow think you magically no longer need something even when it helps you immensely? I suppose in the busy-ness of life, we are forced to cut corners, and often the first things to go should have been saved and preserved as the last things to ever abandon.

Just some thoughts...