Bonfires and Bluejeans

Randoms from my spot next to the fire

Knee Deep In It…But Not Wanting Out

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     The last few days have been better.  So much better.  Writing has helped me wade through the overwhelming emotions that can be brought on by the simple action of living life…going back and rereading what I both posted and kept private has given me so much insight into what I have been feeling and experiencing.  I can’t be too much different than many people out there…although I could be labeled complicated, at best.  Where the difference becomes apparent is I have the love and support of the most patient, understanding and accepting husband a girl can have and he has helped me work through a variety of issues.  Not saying I’m a complete basket case or anything…but hey.  I am a girl.

Going through the last several months, I have had the notion that deep down, in the dark unseen recesses of my heart, something has been disturbed, in a knock the dust off the antiques kind of way.  Not sure what, but there was a stirring deep in that area that I had long ago shut everyone, including myself, out of.  It is so dark and dreary, and the dumping ground for every hurt, pain, and slight I have ever felt and experienced.  Even though I have told myself that I’m a big girl and I need to let those things go, they are still there.  Collecting dust.  Growing.  It’s a lot like the back corner of my closet…it’s there, we all know it, but nobody dares to venture in to explore.  And, quite frankly, I don’t blame them.

There hasn’t been any light in that area of my heart in many, many, many years.  So many of the hurts began from when I was a child…I still can see the hurtful words and actions of others lining the walls of the cornered off area.  There are tall, thick walls that would take the skill of the best mountain climber to conquer.  Walls built with the negative and defensive thoughts I dwell on mingled with the confirming words of others.  And that’s just to get inside.  Once in, the overgrown areas of doubt, hatred, and pain intermingle with condemnation and the roots of guilt and shame.  Not to be outdone are the ever growing weeds of comparison and jealousy.  Always competing for attention: the vines grown from the seeds of fear, self-loathing, and pity.  Not a pleasant place to be.  Trust me.

This dark recess of my heart is a small fraction of real estate when placed in comparison with the rest of who I am now.  I’ve slowly, with the sure and constant work and guidance of God and those who love and support me, pruned, weeded, and cleaned out so much of this trash that threatened to choke out all of the good in my heart.  And I have no doubts in my mind that it would have…it was well on its way.

Just like in a physical garden, there are seasons where there seems to be constant pruning and working.  You never get a break; it’s as if you don’t ever set foot out of the boundaries of the garden.  Other seasons, though, you see the hard work paying off.  The weeds just aren’t as bad and you get to enjoy the beauty as you work among the flowers and the weeds.  The actual work doesn’t feel as laborious…in fact, knowing that you are making room for more beauty is almost enjoyable in a sense.  Almost.   It is still work.  🙂

I can see this ebb and flow in my own life, and in the process of changing my heart.  However, it’s come time to scale the big, scary wall and tame the vines that still remain a threat to my peace.  Just like many of these vines and weeds took root many, many years ago and took a long time to grow as large as they have, I realize that it will take a period of time and work to fully rid them from my life.  And they will try to come back, season after season, just as the weeds do in a physical garden.  This past few months has really opened my eyes to my need to let go and give up this last corner of my heart that I have been so reluctant to sacrifice.  I don’t know why…with all the pain, suffering, and hurt associated with it, you’d think that would be the first to go!  But, who knows why we do what we do, with me being a prime example.

I must admit, I am becoming exhausted from trying to keep hiding this dark, off limits area of my life.  The charade of protecting this valuable piece of real estate is up…I have to take the attitude of all or nothing.  There can never be an area of a garden devoted to growing detrimental weeds; they will eventually take over the entire area.  Maybe not overnight, but eventually.  And that’s the danger of it all.  It I don’t take action, all of these issues will do just that…take root again and eventually, slowly, and unknowingly to me be the entirety of my heart.  As painful, hurtful and even shameful at times this process has been and even will be well into the future, I know the pain is so worth the reward of allowing God to be the gardener of my heart.

This verse has become my guiding point throughout this process.  It’s pretty self explanatory to see why:

1 John 3:18-21 My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love.  This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality.  It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it.  For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.  And friends, once that’s taken care of and we’re no longer accusing or condemning ourselves, we’re bold and free before God!  We’re able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we’re doing what he said, doing what pleases him.

What better to rely on than a verse that states God is greater than my jacked up heart, knows more about me than I know about myself, and loves me despite my could-be-true issues?  Pretty sure I’m going to have to reference back to this one.  A lot.  This is going to become my go-to verse throughout this process.  And being that this is going to have to be a life long ordeal, I had better get used to pickin’ and prunin’…and doing it right.

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Lipstick-Stained Smiles

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I really hate days like today. Days where the weather is beyond perfect…fall is in the air yet it’s still warm and sunshiny. Days where the kids are full of energy and running and playing and healthy and happy with their friends. Days where church is extra meaningful, on target and what you really need. On the outside, today is perfect. On the inside, not so much.
Today is miserable on the inside. Today is one of those days where my patience is being tested, literally at every turn. Where each one of my decisions, no matter how minor, is being put into question. Words are being said with an intensity that are usually not said, or better yet all the words that are said between the long, drawn out silences could be summed up as huge improvisions of effort. Funny how the emotions can be so much more intense when the words are absent.
Today is a day where my confidence had decided to up and walk out the door. Every one around me is taller (that’s a given), thinner, has a prettier smile, and much more manageable hair. Their outfits are straight out of the catalogs and they never say anything stupid or irritating to other people. They don’t drip their coffee on their pants or have lipstick on their tooth. No, today it’s my turn to embody all that’s wrong with the female population. Seems I’ve taken it all on my shoulders. Funny how one little innocent comment can cause me to nosedive into a tailspin of emotional vulnerability like that. Honestly, I hate myself for allowing that kind of reaction to a simple comment, but when it comes from somebody you love and respect so much, what else is there but to internalize it and count it as truth? There is so much perfection to live up to out there.
I’ve tried to smile, keep an upbeat attitude. Cause truth be told, when it comes down to it I’ll just say it’s no big deal if anyone even asks what’s going on. I know I’m guilty of this, but we all get so wrapped up in out own drama shows called lives that we fail to notice the pain and hurt that even those closest to us are experiencing. Or that we could even be the cause of all the pain. Most of the time, we just walk on by, or just pass in the hallway, convinced that we are just not involved, or that we are right, or oblivious.
No, today is not as great day. Many would just brush it off as me being a girl. As if that would explain every emotion and feeling I’ve ever had. No, there’s a whole lot more to me than a raging ball of hormones and outbursts that can be timed to the cycles of the moon. No, I do have feelings. I do have emotions. And all of these function completely independent of any biological influence that my physical nature may provide. That being said, I am sensitive to comments, innuendos, and attacks. Personal jabs that are cloaked in jokes and innocent appearing comments do hurt. No matter how hard I try to hide it.
Like any natural process of damming water, it will eventually break. And like a dam, I will be able to hold back the emotions, pain, and hurt until that one last comment or slight, then I will break. And usually without warning. And tadaa…I will have a bad day. Like today. What could have been an amazingly perfect day wasn’t.
On the outside, the conversations were fine, the lipstick-on-the-teeth smiles where fine, and I went through the motions. But I wanted to crawl up into a ball and cry. Just cry. Then eat ice cream and chocolate. Cause that’s what any self respecting girl with apparent body issues should do, right? Nah…I’ll just pick myself up, start my diet again tomorrow and face life. Wearing this goofy, crooked, lipstick-smeared smile so that nobody will be able to tell the difference.

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What I Can’t Live Without Wednesday…just a day late

Well What I love Wednesday came and went with nary a post from this chick.  Trust me, I’m aware that I have failed miserably on the blogging front, especially since it’s a themed day and all.  Ah well…what can ya do?  To be honest with you, it’s been a week of riding the struggle bus, and I’ve hopped off long enough to pen this ditty so I don’t feel so bad.  And…let’s be honest…y’all have been sitting around your computers just waiting with baited breath for an update, right?  RIGHT??  Don’t answer that.  So to get this ball rolling, better late than never, I will start the grand listing…

  • Happy Wives Club This website has seriously been a wealth of information for being an awesome wife.  And it’s working, too! 🙂  It has so many ideas, thought provoking articles, and is just a reliable resource of information for good, sound advice.  Lord knows…not everything you read about marriage these days is advice you should follow!  You can look it up HERE!
  • Ghost Nights One thing my husband and I have in common is our need to get the adrenaline pumping every now and then.  When we first started dating, we implemented what we call “Ghost Night”…Wednesdays are typically when all the scary shows like ghost hunting stuff is on TV.  Being the inquisitive types that we are, it is so much fun to watch the shows with him and try and come up with our own theories.  All week long we talk about Ghost Night and count down the days.  It’s a great pause in the middle of the week to spend time together snuggling on the couch as well as having something to look forward to together.  If something happens and we don’t get to have Ghost Night together, it really leaves a noticeable hole in the week for us.
  • Quotes This trend on social media of posting photos with quotes is right up my alley.  I absolutely love positive and funny quotes…especially when I see one and think of somebody specifically.  It’s a great way to see little reminders about a variety of subjects…all while you scroll through your news feeds.  Can’t beat the free pump up session!  One of my faves of the moment is this one:

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     I would love to think that wherever I go I leave my mark and won’t soon be forgotten.  Eh.  Sounds cheesy, I know, but I guess is boils down to the whole wanting to make a difference in the world need that so many of us possess.  This is a nice reminder to always leave a positive mark on whoever you encounter and wherever you go.  Off to go save the world…one day at a time!  Have a wonderfully blessed day full of your favorites and of making your mark!

Yours,

Jennifer

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