A Girl Like Me http://agirlikeme.com Sat, 24 Jan 2015 01:56:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Sorrow for the Soulhttp://agirlikeme.com/sorrow-for-the-soul/ http://agirlikeme.com/sorrow-for-the-soul/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 08:00:02 +0000 http://agirlikeme.com/?p=1795 image1-6

New.

Yes the pains are old, still healing; the trials still need to be faced. But there is new. New chances. New beginnings. New dreams.

 

It has been a year (or 8) of trial after trial. It has been one painful moment after another, feeling like I’m treading water, barely keeping my head up. I’ve often felt like I am screaming for those around me to see that I’m hurt and drowning and instead of reaching out a helping hand I’ve had insults and lies thrown in my face… “You’re being dramatic”, “You need to just move on”, “You are just fine.”

 

I don’t say this to play a victim or seek pity. And it has not been lacking in its little life raft moments and blessings. I look at every step of my story and even the hard times and painful moments brought growth and opened doors to the next step. We’ve had some very key characters play a role in our story.

 

Last year our word of the year was closure. It was one that, at the beginning of the year I was not too excited about. I knew with closure there is often facing pain. Shutting doors that are hard to shut and walking through necessary trials in order to get to the next chapter. When we were given that word I had no idea just how huge it would be throughout the year. I had no idea I would face saying goodbye to our house, saying goodbye to my mom, weeding out unhealthy friendships, living in a foreign country, saying goodbye to my career of 14 year and so much more I cannot even touch on here.

Most nights in 2014 I went to bed crying to my husband feeling like I was alone and crazy. I’ve fought to feel. Fought to process the situations we are in. Knowing in my heart that there are blessings and joys to come, but these moments of pain and sorrow must be faced…wondering why it is so hard for others to step into it. I’ve had dear people in my life base our relationship on our interaction (or lack of) on social media, instead of picking up the phone. I’ve had my relationships weighed out in the number of “likes” I’ve given them, and people tell me that despite my drowning status it was all my responsibility to hold all the responsibility of the relationship.   All I wanted was for those people to acknowledge the pain. Step into the story. And yet on the other hand I have this hope and excitement because of that pain, because of the sorrow we faced.

 

I opened my Streams in the Desert app this morning, praying about how and what I would write today. Feeling the tornado of mixed emotions. Joy and sorrow. Hope and grief.   As I read, it felt as if my whole last year was written on the page (but much more poetic, beautifully worded):

 

“When sorrow comes under the power of Divine grace, it works out a manifold ministry in our lives. Sorrow reveals unknown depths in the soul. And unknown capabilities of experience and service…..Sorrow is God’s plowshare that turns up and subsoils the depths of the soul, that it may yield richer harvests. If we had never fallen, or were in a glorified state, then the strong torrents of Divine joy would be the normal force up all our souls’ capacities; but in a fallen world, sorrow, with despair taken out of it, is the chosen power to reveal ourselves to ourselves. Hence it is sorrow that makes us think deeply, long, and soberly.” ~Streams in the Desert 1/20

 

 

It was definitely a year of soul plowing. We closed the chapter on last year and I took a deep breath. Now that the doors were closed we could only move forward.   We now stand in a year that has promised to be our year of Jubilee. A year we have fought for and pursued for a good 8 years.

A year that without the sorrows of the previous year, would be only another year of blessing taken for granted.

 

Had we not faced the trials, sat in the emotion and pain. The miracles today, the blessings that overwhelm us would not seem like the miracles they are. There would be nothing to contrast them; the deep sigh of relief walking into this year would not have been so great.

Without this last year, my feelings of complete humility and extreme gratitude at what God is placing in front of us would be only a slight fraction of what they are. I would have no victory story, no miracle.

 

We are being promised Jubilee.

 

A promise that sadly, I find myself scared to believe. Scared to believe God would actually fulfill a promise. To think that the dreams we dared to even whisper into the dark last year, the dreams we felt would remain forever just that…dreams. Could be coming true beyond what we could imagine. The big dreams that we put the limits on, the dreams we said “we dream THIS, but we would be perfectly ok with just this fraction of the dream.” Seem to be in the works being fully filled and more. I more naturally want to prepare myself for the next battle. It’s what I have become good at. But I am reminded of the promise long ago that the time is coming. It may take 8 or even more years…but it is coming.

I am here to tell you that God’s promises prevail. It may not be the instant gratification we are so used to in our culture, it may take walking in obedience when things don’t make sense, it may mean facing excruciating pain, we may not understand it all, but if we don’t give up…the promise will come. Throughout the waiting and fighting process He was still fulfilling His promises, He promised to never leave us and He didn’t, He gave us fair warning before every season that something was coming…we had to chose to be aware of the heads-up, we had to chose to cling to that promise.

 

Don’t get so used to the trial, that you are afraid of the blessing. I have to fight the fear so often…when a possible miracle is ahead, a blessing is here…I often become afraid that I’m getting my hopes up only to have them crushed. I love “new”, yet I shy away in fear of being hopeful.

So this year we are stepping into “New”. Stepping into Jubilee. Daring to Dream. Daring to voice those dreams.

They may not turn out how we thought…they may turn out beyond what we thought…

 

If you wait patiently, you may be able to look back and see just how intricately all those pieces had to be put into place first in order for God to go beyond your wildest dreams and make it your reality.

Keep your eyes open, your ears aware, and your hope intact.

 

 

 

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New That Lastshttp://agirlikeme.com/new-that-lasts/ http://agirlikeme.com/new-that-lasts/#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 08:00:29 +0000 http://agirlikeme.com/?p=1788 image

New doesn’t intimidate me.
Or scare me or cause me to question.

I love New Year.
I love clean lines and fresh beginnings.
Blank calendar pages holding promises of opportunity.
Empty “to do” lists meaning anything can happen
and I’m not bound to commitments.

But what happens when I “add new event” on iCal-
Or, as I inevitably will, break a new year’s resolution?
What happens when old habits win out against new attempts?
When the new doesn’t feel very new anymore….

I went on an amazing adventure in 2013.
An eleven month, eleven country mission trip.
New was easy to find.
New was easy to dream with
and set goals with…
and try to do better with…

Then, I came home to the very opposite of new. I came home to the town I went to high school in, I moved into a bedroom with furniture from my childhood. I drive the same way to work every day.

I started the new year with every intention of greatness,
every hope of being different and the energy to fulfill every new resolution…

It’s been two weeks-
and new has been replaced with normal. Radical with rhythm.
And the promises of a new season and all the potential for new habits are forgotten.

Because the feeling of newness doesn’t last.
Did you catch that?
the feeling of new doesn’t last.

In Second Corinthians Saint Paul writes,

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed
away. Behold, all things have become new. – 2 Corinthinans 5:17

If I have a single greatest struggle in my relationship with Christ it is this.
I don’t always feel like a new creation.
I don’t always, in my flesh, act in accordance with my belief that The Cross was enough.
I would rather earn my newness.

Like a child in a proverbial bathtub
I constantly scrub and question and scrub and question
and jump in the mud just to watch the stains swirl around the drain
scrub and question.
and repeat.
Am I shiny and new enough yet?

Paul isn’t writing about personalities, or lists, or hair colors or even our habits.
Yes, there is continual sanctification going on-
and Yes! we desire to look more Christlike each day.

Spiritual disciplines are good and right.
But disciplines and doctrine are not what make us new creations.

Sweet girls, Paul writes of the eternal things.
The things that are unseen.
Our souls and our spirits-
the very things that were paid for once on the cross.
Our most true selves.
We have become new because we are in Christ.
The kind of new that lasts.

Let us not pursue the feeling of newness this year.
Let us not become distracted by imitations of new.

But rather, let this new year-
with all of it’s excitement and potential and symbolic newness-
remind us of the full restoration of all things to come and the sure fulfillment of God’s promises for his daughters. Promises not bound by our understandings of new, or our feelings, or our timeframes or lists. As the calendar fills up, and the rhythm sets in, and the excitement fades may we rest in this truth…

Your newness is full, complete, lacking in nothing, because of Christ.

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New Beginnings or A New Perspectivehttp://agirlikeme.com/new-beginnings-or-a-new-perspective/ http://agirlikeme.com/new-beginnings-or-a-new-perspective/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 09:00:59 +0000 http://agirlikeme.com/?p=1773 Female Hipster Taking Photo With Retro Camera

I hated 2014. I’m not talking about hate in the sense of “I hate when it rains” or “I hate when I get stuck in traffic” like I was annoyed by the past year. I mean I loathed 2014 with every fiber of being. As in when December 31st cam and I knew this year was coming to a close, I gave 2014 my middle finger and told it that I hope to never see it again. Yes, I hated 2014 that much.

You see 2014 is what I like to call my Year of Tears. I think sometime around July I asked myself how it was possible that my tear ducts hadn’t imploded from all of the crying I had done. 2014 was the year I became a grown up. It was the year where I learned of my sexual abuse, faced days and even weeks apart from my husband, and where God stripped me of everything I thought made me who I was only to create a clean slate in my heart and start over. I saw a lot of my ugly this past year, and let me tell you, it was NOT fun.

So yeah, I was really glad for the year to be over.

As 2014 kept drawing to a close, I kept saying to myself, “I can’t wait for 2015.” I think somewhere in my mind I thought that once that clock struck midnight that all of the hardships from this last year would magically disappear and I’d get this do-over. So I kept pushing, waiting and hoping for 2015 to arrive. Funny thing is, I woke up on January 1st to find that nothing had in fact changed at all.

The brokenness I came face to face with last year was more healed than before, but it was still present. Jeff’s job was still going to take him away from me, and I would still be the girl who had been molested twelve years ago. My past, my pains, they were still there. So how on earth was 2015  going to be any different?

At the top of every year I like to give myself a word or phrase to be my motto/theme for the year. A goal of what I hope the year to look like. Last years word was surrender…how ironic, I know. So as I sat with my Bible and the Lord and began to ask myself what I wanted 2015 to be for me, my word hit me like a punch to the face.

Perspective

Like I said, just because it was a new year, it didn’t mean I got a new life. In fact, there are still more tears to cry, more wounds to mend and more growth to be had. But what could change, was my perspective on each of the bumps in the road that lay ahead. Yes, Jeff will still be gone away at work BUT His work is helping to draw people to the feet of Jesus and keep a roof over our heads and make a way for me to stay home with our kids. Yes, I still have wounds to mend and more ugly to be stripped from my heart. But what joy to know that this breaking and mending will make me stronger, pushing me to the cross where I get to feel the loving embrace of my God so much more deeply. And yes, there will be tears, but maybe not just tears of sorrow this time. Maybe they will be tears of joy. Tears that allow me to weep with others, to love people well.

Psalm 119: 18 “Open my eyes that I might see the wonderful truths of your instructions.”

Oh to be a woman who sees!!

“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

This year, I hope to have the outlook to fix my eyes on the things unseen. To trust more and worry less. To laugh at the awkward and weep for the broken. I want to move my gaze off of myself and onto the face of Christ so that when the chaos that 2015 will inevitably bring comes, I’ll have my mindset in a place that is joyfully ready to take on whatever lay ahead.

Maybe you are hoping for 2015 to be that new beginning. Maybe, like me, you just need change your point of view.

You know, looking back on 2014, maybe it wasn’t so bad after all. I guess I just needed a new perspective.

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Introducing Chelsea!http://agirlikeme.com/introducing-chelsea/ http://agirlikeme.com/introducing-chelsea/#comments Tue, 23 Dec 2014 14:26:54 +0000 http://agirlikeme.com/?p=1765 It took a lot of technology to make this interview happen. We hope you enjoy it!

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Introducing Stephanie!http://agirlikeme.com/introducing-stephanie/ http://agirlikeme.com/introducing-stephanie/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 09:00:05 +0000 http://agirlikeme.com/?p=1758 ***ATENTION!!! Due to our lack of tech savvy…and the stupidity of the internets, this video is the same interview posted back to back. So once you get to the end of the first interview, stop watching!!! Man…we promise to get smarter in 2015 ;) ***

 

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Introducing Nina!http://agirlikeme.com/introducing-nina/ http://agirlikeme.com/introducing-nina/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 16:24:18 +0000 http://agirlikeme.com/?p=1739

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Introducing Allison!http://agirlikeme.com/introducing-allison/ http://agirlikeme.com/introducing-allison/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 15:46:46 +0000 http://agirlikeme.com/?p=1723

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Q&A: Missing The Miraclehttp://agirlikeme.com/qa-missing-the-miracle/ http://agirlikeme.com/qa-missing-the-miracle/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 15:10:16 +0000 http://agirlikeme.com/?p=1676 **I apologize for the poor video quality. Ahhhh Iphones.**

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Q&A: Changing Who God Created You to Behttp://agirlikeme.com/qa-changing-who-god-created-you-to-be/ http://agirlikeme.com/qa-changing-who-god-created-you-to-be/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 14:51:17 +0000 http://agirlikeme.com/?p=1670 Please give grace as there were many technical difficulties trying to do this video, resulting in me being very flustered and scattered. It fits the theme of “wanting to change things about myself that God created”…

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNclpuv0pkw&w=560&h=315]

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Monday’s Truthhttp://agirlikeme.com/mondays-truth/ http://agirlikeme.com/mondays-truth/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 13:12:07 +0000 http://agirlikeme.com/?p=1664 I’ve read it over ten times. Day five. This post in my devotional book is one I go back to. One that no matter how many times I’ve read it, it somehow always brings me to tears. It’s a message my soul needs repeated. It’s a message I feel you need to hear.

So I’m sharing it with you today. Day five. My breath of grace. My hope for today. I hope you are blessed.

 

kels (9 of 165)

DAY 5: CURED AND CLEAN

Taken by: Comforts From the Cross (by: Elyse Fitzpatrick)

“His disciples said to him,
“You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say,
‘Who touched me?’”

MARK 5 : 3 1

“Excluded. Unclean. Defiled. For twelve desperate years she had struggled against her body. Blood poured from her, and that blood not only brought about personal distress but also made her a societal outcast. If she was a married woman, she would have been unable to have sexual relations with her husband. Even if she was precious to him, he could not take her into his arms. Married or single, she was excluded from participation in normal family life. If she had children, she was excluded from participation in normal family life. If she had children, she couldn’t lie in bed and play with them. Anyone who sat on a chair on which she had sat would be unclean and would have to wash ceremonially and then offer a sacrifice at the temple. When the family went to the temple on a holy day, she had to stay home.

To live in such isolation after childbirth was expected in those days, but the new mother was surrounded by a loving family, all waiting the day when the priest finally declared the mother clean.

But the isolation experienced by the bleeding woman wasn’t the usual week or two; it was twelve years. Twelve years without access to worship. Twelve years of gossip whispered behind her back. Mothers would have warned their daughters: “Don’t go near; she’s unclean.” Twelve years without a caress, a touch, an inviting smile. Twelve years of desperate exclusion, loneliness, and shame.

That she was desperate is clear. She “had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had” (Mark 5:26). We can imagine that year after year she heard about women in other villages who were cured, so she rushed to uncover their secret, scraping up the necessary payments, yet she “was no better but rather grew worse.” Every penny she could get her hands on went to doctors who only exacerbated her condition.

I can’t imagine what terrible indignities she suffered at their hands. This wasn’t modern medicine with its tidy gynecological offices housing highly trained physicians who write prescriptions for hormonal therapies and perform sanitary procedures. No, ancient medicine consisted of the most base herbal preparations, poultices, and methods that not only failed to cure her but made her suffering worse. She was unclean and her uncleanness had bankrupted her. And still she bled. Days and months of disappointment followed by months and years of shame and isolation. She could touch no one; no one wanted her touch. And now, all hope was gone. She had no money left, so even if a cure could be found, she couldn’t afford it.

Then she heard reports about a holy man who loved unclean women and welcomed them as followers. Many had been ill like her. Some had been possessed by devils; others had been notoriously wicked, but he had healed and welcomed them all. Amazingly, hope began grow within her breast again. Perhaps she thought, I have no money to pay him. I can’t touch him because I’m unclean. But even so, she believed, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well” (v. 28). So she waited until his followers and the crowds were passing by, and she slipped into the press. Keeping her head down and her shawl up, she furtively pushed her way ever closer to the One. There he is. If I can just stretch out my hand past these others! I’m almost there; please don’t let me be discovered. There! With my fingertips I brushed his cloak. Immediately, she felt her body change. The blood stopped. She was healed. The crowd moved on, but she stood still—a whole, clean, honorable woman at last. She had finally received all that she hoped for, but she was soon to learn that her expectation had been far too small.

From the midst of her reverie she noticed the crowd halt. The Master was speaking, “Who touched my garments?” (v. 30). An icy shard of fear pierced her heart. What if this holy man finds out what I did and takes my healing from me? What if he is angry because I’ve made him unclean by my touch? Will this simply end in more shame, more separation? While his disciples pointed out the size of the crowd, the woman bravely made her way to him. In fear and trembling she “fell down before him and told him the whole truth” (v. 33).

How did he respond? He called her “Daughter.” This is the only time that Jesus actually called a woman by this name; it was a sweet acknowledgment of relationship and endearment. Instead of pushing her away, he drew her close. Daughter-Don’t be confused. Jesus wasn’t stumped about who had touched him. He knew this woman’s name (even though we don’t). It had been written on his heart for twelve times twelve million years—yes, forever. This woman would have been satisfied with physical healing, but her Savior would not. He forced her to come to him and be in relationship with him, to fall down before him, to come out of the shadows and into the full light of day. Our Savior loves to give us gifts, but the best gift of all is himself, and he won’t let us slink off, back into darkness and isolation. No, his love will pull us out of our shame, defilement, and fears, and then he’ll speak gently and lovingly to us. “Daughter, be at peace.”

Because Jesus is completely pure, he isn’t concerned about becoming defiled by touching us. He’s not afraid that our uncleanness will contaminate him. Instead he draws us near; he speaks to us in love. He sees our desperation, our bankruptcy, and our uncleanness, and he calls us “Daughter.” If you’re like me, it’s easy to find a measure of satisfaction and peace in knowing that our sins are forgiven and we’ve been cleansed. But our Savior wants more than that. He’s taken us for his bride, and he isn’t satisfied when we hide from him or try to use him for our own purposes. Yes, we want to be clean, and he wants that for us too; but clean strangers aren’t what he’s after. He means to have a wife. And so he continually brings us to points of desperation when we have to fall before him, broken and bankrupt, and then he speaks lovingly to our hearts and draws us up into his presence.

Don’t be afraid to go to him now. He isn’t fazed by your sin; he isn’t afraid that you will contaminate him. In fact, as you get close to him, his holiness will infect you. Go ahead, daughter; press in through the crowd of all that threatens to block access to him—your shame, pride, destitution, and uncleanness. Touch him out of your desperation and find him patiently loving and awaiting your arrival.”

Excerpt From: Elyse M. Fitzpatrick. “Comforts from the Cross.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/5Nkjx.l

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