This is what I do, don't try to understand how I do it; I don't really know either

Archive for December, 2018

The connection between sin and God’s glory

So many things have happened in my life that have been beyond my control. I have felt shame and a lack of self worth as a result. I am still in process but have made great strides in terms of owning my story without letting the things that I had no control over define me.

Brene Brown writes:

We all have shame. We all have good and bad, dark and light, inside of us. But if we don’t come to terms with our shame, our struggles, we start believing that there’s something wrong with us – that we’re bad, flawed, not good enough – and even worse, we start acting on those beliefs. If we want to be fully engaged, to be connected, we have to be vulnerable. In order to be vulnerable, we need to develop resilience to shame. (Daring Grately, 2012. pg 61).

So what about those parts of my story that were within my control and I botched things up bad? I was mean and hurtful or walked in willful disobedience? Do those not count? Are those irredeemable?  They are not good but they also should not allow us to be bound with shame. Look at Jesus with the woman at the well. He knew her story, her jaded past (and present). Devout Jews would never even be caught near her, let alone talking to her. Jesus not only was seen with her and talked to her, but he did not condemn her. It is humans, not Jesus, who want us to wear a scarlett letter. It is Jesus who wants us to wear his magnificent coat of grace.

I believe he saw past her actions and into her heart. He knew the reasons why she made the choices she did and he had compassion for her. He did not want her to continue in sin, but his heart broke for the reasons that enabled her unhealthy choices. He spoke to her so she could be free. Not only did she find freedom but she lead others to it as well.

My pastors are embarking on a journey to work with leaders who are no longer leading. They have discovered that God doesn’t change His call. Doug tells me about a man we knew who was a pastor and gave in to a gambling addiction that cost him his ministry and his family, but that this man would be at a blackjack table leading people to Christ. The call doesn’t change because we have burnt out, fallen, or given up. God doesn’t change His mind and say, woops, I  didn’t know that was how it was going to turn out so I’ll take back my giftings and call. He knew before we were born the mistakes we were going to make and He still said – this child is going to lead.

We need to own our story, every part of it. As I have shared some of my personal failings two separate people have said to me – your an insipration. I shake my head and say, did you hear what I am telling you I have done? This is not an inspiring story! I think what they see as inspiring is that I am owning my story, even the parts I am not proud of. My mistakes are mine and I am working on learning and being better. I have always been hopeful that my story would inspire and bring freedom to others, but I considered that to be the parts that happened which were beyond my control. I am now letting God be the great, big, incredible, redeeming God that he is and letting Him use the parts that I screwed up too.

John 12:27 Right now I am storm-tossed. And what am I going to say? Father get me out of this? No, this is why I came in the first place. I’ll say. Father, put your glory on display.

Father – use my story, ALL OF IT, to put your glory on display.

Doug and Rebecca’s minstry for broken leaders is : Life Long Leading

I highly recommend them!

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Do not go gentle into that good night

I have already spoken of my “yoga” class that is really hotter than hell torture. Today was another good one that covered my tears, but this time was coupled with an anxiety attack in the middle of frickin yoga.  I started hyperventalating but I could just cover my head with my towel and no one new the difference. It’s actually theraputic to lose it in public and no one knows. At least I am hopeful no one notices. Maybe people think I am that crying crazy lady who goes to yoga.

I feel like I repeatedly get kicked in the gut, and the head, and mostly the heart. I was in yoga trying to process the latest roundhouse when I realized that what has happened so far is nothing compared to what is to come in 2019. I spoke a short while ago to my victim services worker and in 2019 I will come face to face with the man who murdered my friend and their kids while I was living with them. Seriously, what can compare to that? The rub on that is that I won’t have by my side who I thought would be there. Some supports have been pulled out from under me.

So Amanda get’s kicked while she is down. I don’t deny I have walked into some situations but I am almost finished writting out my life so far and it’s a doozey. I actually had a short time this past weekend to read everything through and write some more. I have been broken so many times. I have been used and discarded. I have been undervalued but even more importantly, underestimated.

See as the story goes so far, Amanda keeps getting back up. But not only does she get back up but she comes up fighting. There have been several times I have averted death. And so tonight I find my solace in the amazing words of Dylan Thomas because I will never go quietly into that good night. I will rage.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Open the box

So last weekend sucked. It was bad and it’s over.

Now it’s Wednesday. I made it to Wednesday – yeah me! The other days were ok. I could breathe and think. One thing at a time but progress is progess. Today was descent for most of the day, until 3pm. At 3pm I did not get any tragic news. There was no devastation or life altering messages. Just one that made me sad. And I stayed sad.

I couldn’t figure it out. It wasn’t a terrible message and it just meant re-working some plans. So why did I stay sad? I finished work, made diner and then left for my class. I don’t like to call it yoga class because that is NOT an accurate description. It is a full on fitness class in a sauna that they call yoga. I had a great class but at the end it was like my mind was playing a tape and I started to cry. The cool thing about this “yoga” class is that you all sweat so bad no one can tell that you were crying. I’ve done it many times.

I came home and I made a list. I wrote out all the things that have been very difficult or very hurtful since October 2017. I covered an entire page, line by line with my life that I watched from the tape in my mind. It occured to me, this is why your still sad. It has been one thing after another after another. So when I get sad about one thing I am not just sad about that one thing, I am sad about all of it.

It’s like sadness lives in a box and when I open the sad box it’s all there together because I haven’t been able to fully unpack the box yet. I think it’s the same with all my emotions. Life has not only had difficulty, but it has had incredible joy as well. When I open the happy box it has my kids, my accomplishments, my friends, my school, and my upendo. This is how I can be happy in one minute and sad in another. It depends on which box I have open. Sometimes you can close a box easily (happy often closes easier) and others are more difficult (sad is harder to close – especially with so much stuff in it).

Maybe one day, life will give me some time, and I will take time, to start to go through my sad box. There are some things that will live in that box forever. They are permanant fixtures. But not everything is and I need to work on those things, in my time. They are my boxes and I won’t rush through them. They are part of me now and I choose when to let them go and when to hold them close. Not everyone agrees with me on that, but the one who knows my heart, because He made it, He’s got me and He doesn’t rush.  He would like to slowly unpack with me when I am ready. I love that about Him.

Adjust

Life hardly ever goes as we had planned it. Maybe we screwed it up or maybe things beyond our control altered the course. Either way, the course has altered; but have we?

A year ago I made plans based on where I thought I would be. I took a second job, not because I had to, but because I wanted to. There were perks to it. Later I applied, got accepted and started my Ph.D. I made financial decisions based on where I was at in life.

Life altered. I have been pretending it hasn’t. Pretending it’s still the same and I can continue the same way. I can’t. The supports I thought were going to be there, are not. We fail when we don’t adjust.

A driver has to turn and direct as the road curves or dips. I have been wanting to continue the same way as before because it was what I wanted, but I have to adjust to what is real and not what I wish things to be. I am in deep grief because I have to let go. I can not do it all or be it all. I left my second job and I will not be able to continue with my school. My school was more than just a degree. It was the hope and dream of the change I wanted to make in the world to help others. I have to let all of that go.

I am angry and I am hurt. I like moving forward but right now moving forward means to be here. To face my pain. To readjust to life and find my new path. Sometimes things have to die for new things to begin.We can’t keep pretending things are the same. They died. Nothing will be the same. What I thought I could achieve is not possible. I have to change my goals,  adjust my pace, and breathe. 10 seconds at a time.

How can I take on the world when I can barely get through 10 seconds?

Adjust.

 

Living in Leaps

I have always been a dreamer…big dreams. That’s never changed and never going to. It was built into my genetic code. The problem with big dreams is that they take great leaps and not every time you leap ends with a perfect landing.

I have been able to dream some big dreams and watch them become reality. It is exciting to see it all come together piece by piece and so affirming. Dreaming big is like living vulnerably. You don’t know if you will fall flat on your face. You can’t always take small steps because there would be too much time pass before it would be too late. Leaps are usually what are required.

So what happens when your leaps fail. You get the wind knocked out of you. You lie broken and bleeding on the concrete. Some stand around and scoff at the dreamer. Some want you back on your feet immediately. Get up and get at em!

That’s not possible. You have to tend to your wounds first. You have to examine yourself for where you got hurt and why. That can take time. That can be even more painful but necessary. Sometimes you bandaid your wound because it’s all you can do even though you know at some point it will require sutures.

You become afraid to leap again. Maybe even afraid to get up period. Why try again? It didn’t work last time. Why take another giant leap? Slow and cautious seems smarter. Less people get hurt going slow and cautious. Less people accomplish big things too.

I’ll get up when I decide it’s time. I’ll leap again when I decide it’s time. My calling hasn’t changed. My DNA remains the same.

Just because I’m quiet doesn’t mean I am not calculating. Evaluating and healing is a process. It’s not hardly ever as fast as anyone wants but forward is forward.

This morning I was told about a long time addict with serious crime issues. He overcame his addition and has changed his life. He was asked how he did it and he said “just make the next right decision.” So simple. When your knocked down, all you need to do is make the next right decision. Don’t focus on other peoples expectations, don’t expect more of yourself than you can do at the moment- just make the next right decision. Each one of those will take you to the place where you leap again.