Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Take it off!

Nearing 30 years old is an odd feeling. Not bad-just odd. Passing myself in the mirror is odd. I feel like I am 22, yet the deep wrinkle between my eyebrows and the slightly droopy eye on the left reminds that I am not that girl anymore..and thank goodness in many ways for that! Wiser. More grounded. More likely to feel comfortable in my own skin. Peaceful in the midst of stormy weather...that sort of wise.
Nearing 30 is liberating. The masks of the past aren't fun to wear. They itch and they are uncomfortable and are hard to see through...even more difficult is letting others see through mine clearly. I am slowly taking the mask off. That is a crazy-good feeling. Not being afraid to be real. To show vulnerability, even fear when we need to is okay. To show love when we should, when it hurts, and not even being afraid of what it may cost is okay. It is a good thing to take off this mask of pride and show how badly I am overcompensating..that I am really scared to death.
I can say that because I am nearing 30. I can be me and open up my heart, without being worried about being judged.
My friends are coming to terms with it, too, as we age so oh-so-gracefully. We can laugh together about how life has taken us a million miles away from where we thought we would be at this point. Husbands leave sometimes. Dreams die sometimes. Debt piles up sometimes. Babies don't come sometimes. At 21, life is rosy. 30 is less pink and with a touch of gray and scattered clouds.
I was talking to a sweet sister a few months ago and I saw her begin to take off the mask as she spoke of her longings. I was flattered at first. She said I had it all. Career. Car. Success. As she spoke, she confessed jealousy of my life. I had made something of myself from nothing. She said I had children and she wanted that so badly. The mask was pulling away from her beautiful face. So intently I was listening. Welling up with validation-- wait a minute. I needed to take my mask off too. We sat there in silence and I shared. If you could call sobbing sharing, then, yes..I shared. I told her that things aren't always what they seem. Debt to my eyeballs and thousands of tax dollars owed makes me crazy even though I know God is in control. Guilt for being at work. Heartache trying to balance. My mask was pulling off quite nicely and oh, there it is now- it is off!.I miss my children. The pressure of sales makes my chest ache some nights. I want to be taken care of!
It was a beautiful picture of true sister-hood and what a release- for both of us! How beautiful is humility. He knows our desires. At nearly 30, God is teaching me to not look at someone else's life without compassion.. it is not always cherry bon-bons on the other side of that pretty mask...
Yet in it all, God is still sovereign. What I couldn't see that through my young, bright eyes is getting clearer by the day as I am refined by the Wisdom-giver. May pure intentions and God-given empathy  always allow us to be real.. I can only imagine the lessons I will have learned bt 40- but bring it on!

"I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has wondroursly reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong:By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward-to Jesus. I'm off and running and I am not turning back!" Phililpians 3:12-14 MSG

Monday, December 5, 2011

When my joy is full

I have been struggling with my first blog post. Actually, I have been struggling with the whole darn blog. What is my theme? I have so many ideas. A real estate blog, a balancing life blog, a mom blog, cutesy outfits I have made blog...you know the ones, right? With a handmade shirt for each season? Yeah, not so much on the last one...I took the joke to far. Home Ec was the only "C" I ever got in school, so needless to say, Target does all the sewing around my house! ( Just for the record, my Home Ec pillow wasn't that bad!)
I digress... Back to the blog and my theme. So I was thinking of things that make me joyful. Jesus Culture. Corey and Avery. Lysa TerKeurst. Selling houses. Christy Nockels. My sister-in-law's cupcakes. My mom. And it hit me! Like a ton of bricks. I am one blessed girl. Divinely blessed. Blessed in ways that are so far from what I deserve. Some would call it grace. I call it adundant grace. My joy was half-full for so long, and now through Jesus' persistent calling, I have found fullness of joy.
How is ths possible, you ask? I wonder myself sometimes. I don't deserve this full joy. The things I have done in my past are dirty, are shameful. I knew better...or at least I knew better in my head, not necessarily in my heart. But maybe that is God's specialty. Taking the things, the people, the situations that seem impossible and turning them around just so He can get the credit, the honor, the glory. And that's just what He has done for me in every way. Life isn't perfect, but oh, is it good!
Corey. That little face. He deals with the majority of the consequences of my divorce from his dad. The every-other-weekend-saga. But he could have quickly been put out of exsistence by a bad choice when I was young and scared and nineteen. But I didn't. Corey is here and he is nine years old and he sits in my lap sometimes. My joy is full.
Avery. A symbol of a second chance. A kindred free spirit who looks at life wide-eyed and graciously. She says funny things. She is sarcastic. She is tenderhearted and beautiful. She is my mine. My joy is full.
My family. A praying mother and a stoic, wise father. Granparents who text me to let me know they are praying for me and are proud of me. My sister-in-law Jami who fell in love with Jesus a few years ago is a shining beam of goodness. God redeemed our relationship and used her to show me that love conquers all. She led me to my church family where I sing on Sundays. Where I look out and see people who genuinely love the Lord and want to love Him more everyday. My joy is full.
My friends. So many. From different areas of my life. Friends who pray with me. Friends who don't care if I am bossy. Old ones and new alike. The captivate me and keep me humble. My joy is full.
My Jesus. He went out looking for that bad sheep and He found her. He brought me back. I will spend my days washing His feet with my tears like the immoral woman of His day. I feel her gratitude in that story when I read it. I see the way it could have turned out for me. But it didn't. And old washed out woman, I could have been. A mean, hardened, drug-addicted, chain-smoking, sad woman who knew Jesus from years of Christian school, but never knew what it meant to know Him. But I do now. And I chuckle now when I think about a few years ago when I got to a point where I knew I needed something. Something and Someone more. And when I got that taste of His love, I wanted more. And I still do. Can you feel what the Psalmist felt when he wrote, "My heart bursts its banks,spilling beauty and goodness, I pour it out in a poem to the King!" My joy is full in Him- it is the only way.
So I guess that is what I will blog about. On good days. On bad days. And on those "blah" days.My journey through life and all the places I have yet to go. The mountaintops of good times and the valleys of hard places. I hope you will go with me.