Browsing Tag

Written by: Heather

Body Image, Faith, Identity, Relationships, Sex

Dirty Little Secrets- Don’t Touch

May 25, 2016

**DISCLAIMER: The content talked about in this post is of a mature and sexual nature. If you are uncomfortable with this type of material,  a young reader, or my grandma, please consider not reading. Thanks.**

Her name was Mindy. She lived up the street from me and we were in the same fourth grade class together. Her mom was a single parent so Mindy was home alone a lot. Often when I’d go over to play with her we’d be left alone in the house, no one to supervise what kind of trouble we might have been getting into.

Sometimes secrets come to you in obvious ways. Other times, they sneak in the back door. 

It was a typical afternoon at Mindy’s house. We had been playing with some Barbies when she told me she had something to show me.

In her room she had a daybed but not the pull out trundle bed that typically lived underneath. We’d often crawl in there and imagine we were hiding away on some kind of mysterious adventure. You know, kid stuff. However, this day, it became a place where secrets were born.

She began to tell me me she wanted to show me something that feels really good. What followed is a bit foggy still in my memory simply because, at the time, I didn’t have a name for what she showed me. Now I know it to be masturbation. I was nine.

For the next decade I would occasionally engage in masturbation,  knowing somewhere in my heart that it was wrong, feeling confused as to why it felt good, and still not understanding exactly what I was doing. It was a tornado of fear, shame, embarrassment and pleasure.

These kind of things weren’t talked about in the circles I operated in. My youth group would have never thrown around the word masturbation, and if they did, it was behind closed doors in hushed conversations. As I grew, I learned the word and what it meant, but only that it was a foul and horrific act that only the grossest of men ever struggled with. Women don’t lust and we most certainly NEVER ever touched ourselves.

I’m really not sure when all the pieces finally started to fit together and I had my big “ah-ha” moment that what I had been doing all those years was masturbation. Maybe I had known all along but was finally able to actually admit it. I don’t know. I just remember feeling like crap and thinking I had become one of those disgusting people my youth group leaders talked about.

I wish I could tell you the moment that the “ah-ha” came, my desire to masturbate left. But it didn’t. It took time. Lots of false starts and set backs. It was in the tiny everyday choices to desire something better for myself, and changing my thoughts to actually believe I was worth that something better, that finally made me stop altogether. But it was a long road.

The shame, well that one took a bit longer to go away. Honestly, I’m not sure it’s really left me yet. There are still moments I still feel like that scared little girl, hiding under that bed, wondering what just happened to my innocence. I get afraid that people (aka my friends and family) will find out and hate me and think I’m gross. I still struggle to believe that God has even forgiven me for it.

Maybe you’re in the thick of sexual sin right now. Maybe, like me, you’re caught between shame and freedom; longing for one but stuck in the other. Hear me when I say this: YOU ARE NOT TOO BROKEN OR IMPURE OR VILE TO GAIN FREEDOM. These places?  This is where grace is born. These battles? Well, they are the catalysts for growth and joy, and yes, even life.

I’ve been struggling to find a way to end this post well. How to wrap this messy topic up in a bow that will make it all nice and pretty and wonderful. But I got nothing. Because life isn’t like a tv show and things don’t just magically work out in forty five minutes.

So, instead, I am choosing pray a prayer for you. May it meet us both where we need it.

I pray that you will know that you ARE loved and are WORTHY of love.

I pray you know that even in your sin you are treasured and valued.

I pray that you would see that in these dark places, light is shining through, you just have to look for it.

I pray you would seek out the light.

I pray that you would see that there is an army of women, me included, who have walked the path before you and are ready to link arms and go to war for the freedom of your heart.

I pray you’d be brave.

I pray you’d find the courage to tell your secrets and let yourself be known.

I pray that those you tell would receive you with grace and love.

I pray you’d choose more for yourself than immediate and fleeting pleasure.

I pray that you would feel God’s grace, love and mercy, even in the middle of your sin.

I pray for you to give yourself grace. That you’d believe that it’s more about the journey rather than the destination. That you’d know freedom doesn’t come overnight, but that it will come.

And lastly, I pray that you and I would know that these secrets, well they may speak into our past, but they don’t dictate our future.

Lived loved sweet friend. Embracing hope with you. -H

Body Image, Identity, Spiritual Life

Dirty Little Secrets: My Miss-Stache

May 4, 2016

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I was ten the first time I tried to shave my face. I had FINALLY been allowed to shave my legs after many months of pleading and a very convincing letter writing campaign to my mom and dad. I’m not kidding, in another life, I could have been a very successful politician.

After experiencing the joys of silky smooth legs I became addicted to removing any form of hair from my body that I could. Legs, check. Armpits, check. Arms, check. I wanted babies butt smooth skin and dangit, I was gonna get it.

One very foolish night while my parents were out and my irresponsible older brother was brooding in his bedroom, I took to ridding myself of the last remains of hair from my body. I grabbed my lady razor and my brother’s shaving cream and took to my face like crazy woman.

Blood.

Tears.

More blood.

More tears.

Shaving my face was a bad idea.

The trauma from that night kept me from removing hair from my face for a long time, but vanity, that little she-devil, got the best of me and I found myself once again staring down the mirror picking out every little dark scraggly hair that landed on my face.

I began using Nair, wax, and then landed on bleaching my upper lip. Every few weeks you could find me sitting on my couch, a nice little white mustache, working hard to not make it known that those Italian/German roots run real deep. Funny the things we girls do to create a sense of feeling beautiful. Am I right?

A friend recently turned me on to a new trend of face shaving, but this one didn’t involve shaving cream or a bic razor. Praise the Lord. This method was definitely less toxic than all that bleach on my face and a whole heck of a lot easier. I’ve been using it for about three months now and I am IN LOVE. Like, me and this little razor are in a serious relationship. All the heart eye emojis.

Listen, wanting to feel beautiful is not wrong. We all have that thing about our looks that drives us nuts. You might have that demon pimple that shows up every month right in the middle of your face. Maybe it’s a funny shaped toe or the fact that you have one boob bigger than the other (raising my hand on this one) or no boobs at all (also raising my hand on this one). However annoying the physical quirks might be, the amazing thing is that they are YOUR quirks. They are the markings of a creative God who has intentionally crafted within us a unique beauty that is ours and ours alone.

Maybe I’ll never look like Beyonce or TSwift, but you know what? They’ll never look like me either. They’ll never have my scar above my right eye reminding me of an accident that should have taken my life but God saw fit to save me. They won’t have the stretch marks on my stomach that remind me of the two precious lives I was gifted to carry inside of me.  And they’ll never have those horrific black hairs above my lip as an homage to a family legacy rich in culture and a love for Jesus. Nope, those are just for me.

Maybe one day I’ll stop shaving my face and rock my miss-stache. Embrace my weird fully and live out in the open as the hairy woman I was meant to be. But today, I will hold my razor high, and with each stroke to my face thank the good Lord that He loved me enough to make me special…rogue hairs and all.

Redemption, Spiritual Life

Gotta Secret, Gonna Keep It

April 29, 2016

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When I was seven I accidentally pooped in my neighbors pool and tried to blame it on their dog.

In eighth grade I used to pretend I had my period because I was too afraid to admit to the other girls in my class that I hadn’t gotten it yet.

One time in college I snuck into an abandon construction zone so I could make out with my boyfriend and not get caught by our strict Bible college.

I once sent a hate letter to a guys pastor telling him what a liar and bad youth intern he was because I was mad that said guy stole money from me when we were dating. (I totally had a woman scorned moment)

I chipped part of my front tooth from trying to open a nail polish bottle with my mouth.

Secrets. We all have em. As much as I’d like to think of myself as a pretty open book, I still know that there are many things I choose to keep locked away. God forbid if anyone knew because then I would totally be uncovered for the awkward, vindictive, hot mess of a woman that I am. So I keep those nuggets tucked inside, believing that they are best served when never shared.

Secrets have taught me one simple truth in life: The more you have, the less alive you feel. 

Recently I’ve begun to taste life on the other side. A place where secrets go to die and I can fully be me. Where I feel all the feels and breath a bit more deeply than I did before. Let me tell you, this place is awesome. There’s no more hiding, no more shame- just love and hope and grace…and fun.

For the next two months we’re asking you to journey with us to the other side. To live in the land of telling our secrets and experiencing the grace that comes from it. We’ll be sharing some of ours- the embarrassing and the scary- and we’ll be asking you to join us in sharing some secrets of your own. Everybody has a dirty little secret somewhere. I’m just tired of keeping mine.

Community, Faith

Courage, Dear Heart

April 27, 2016

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“Whatever we learn to do, we learn by actually doing it. By doing just acts, we come to be just. By doing self-controlled acts, we come to be self-controlled, and by doing brave acts, we come to be brave.” — Aristotle

I never would have thought of myself as someone who is brave. More accurately, someone who possesses great courage. Sure I’ve done cliff diving or ridden that questionable roller coaster- but that was always accompanied with a heavy dose of fear and the prevailing thought of “What the he– am I doing?” So yeah, big fat wuss over here.

Did you know that the word courage is actually a heart word? Quick school lesson: (just stick with me here people) but the word courage comes from the Latin word which means heart. In its whole, courage actually means: to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.

And isn’t that what we’re trying to do here? Tell our stories: the hopes, fears and everything in between? To gather our courage and become women who aren’t afraid to be real? Women who know that life is better together out in the open and not in the hidden spaces? So I guess you could say we all  have a lot more courage than we think we do.

When I left the blog last year I had no intention of coming back. My time was done and I had made peace with handing your precious hearts over to a new group of women who I knew would treasure you as much as I did. Something I learned last year was that love and care  sometimes can look a lot like letting go.

Over the past several weeks, Allison and I have been having a lot of hard conversations. Better yet, a lot of courageous conversations. We talked about heart and vision and unity and passion and calling. I asked hard questions and Allison gave hard answers. And together, we made a really hard, yet really courageous decision. Allison is leaving AGLM and I am stepping back in.

After serving as leader of this blog it became clear to Allison just how much she loves ministering to young women like yourselves. However, she also realized that the kind of girl and way she wants to reach that girl doesn’t quite fit the vision of AGLM. So, she is taking the bold move to step away from AGLM to better focus on the place in ministry where her heart’s passion truly lies. She’s writing a book, blogging on her own site and counseling/mentoring  women in her community. She’s bravely stepping into serving in the place her heart feels led, and you know what? We couldn’t be more thrilled.

Taking the reins of this blog back over wasn’t exciting for me, let’s be honest. I worked dang hard last year to let it go. To surrender it. What was going to happen if I came back? Would the passion still be there? Would I even have the energy to do it again? Would you guys still want to hear from me or had this thirty-something year old become irrelevant?

I can’t say I have the answers to these questions, but I can say that I’m anxious to find them out and the only way I can do that is by fearlessly jumping back in. So I jumped.

If courage is the telling of who we are with our whole hearts, I wonder what stories you and I have yet to share? Fears that live only in the silent tears we use to cry ourselves to sleep. Hopes and dreams that are only spoken in the hidden pages of journals and desperate prayers.

I wonder what would happen, if together, we all grabbed onto that courage and hand in hand faced the untouched parts of our stories with unguarded grace and guts. I don’t know the answer to that question either, but I’m ready to find out.

** If you’d like to continue to follow Allison on her journey, you can find her on her Instagram or her Blog.**

Community, Relationships

Together We Stand

December 2, 2015

As I sit here on a rainy Nashville day in my favorite coffee shop sipping on the most excellent of all lattes ever made, I am working hard to hold back tears. What do I say to you, my sweet AGLM family, that could ever possibly convey my love and gratitude and every feel I am feeling right now? I realized that unless I typed a bunch of muffled nonsense and tried to stain your computer screens with my tears, no words would really ever get to the depths of how my heart loves you so. But alas, we are a blog and words I must give. So let’s do this….

You’ve changed my life.

I don’t mean that in any cheesy cliche way. Each of you..this ministry…this family and space we’ve created together….it has changed my life.
545073_10151211513911038_979935450_nYou have allowed me to see the beauty that comes from moving out of hiding and into the light. You’ve shown me there is no fear in being known, fully known- the good, bad, shameful ugly pieces. You’ve allowed me to cry and complain and rejoice and get angry and scold you and scold me and grow and learn together.

12273082_933469433387067_418981352_nTogetherness. That’s what we created. We created a place where we didn’t have to be afraid to be who we are. We made a place where pain and doubt were welcome. We made a place where hope could live and more importantly, there was a friend who would walk with you as you figured it all out. We may have never hugged or had coffee, but we became a family that loved better and deeper than some families we are given by birth. THAT girls, is something to be grateful for.

IMG_222411098425_839468939479183_859726445_nunnamedSince we made such a safe place, our family grew. We reached across oceans and continents, ages and races. Because togetherness has no boundary. Everyone is welcome. Everyone is loved. 10860150_892323810786769_1737473777_n10429467_936072763072076_3395842115171841754_n

I have been blown away by the way you girls have stood by each other through comments or community board posts. How you’ve prayed for each other, encouraged each other, and loved well. You’ve gifted life and grace to one another and in turn shown me and the other writers just how beautiful and big our God is. Me, Kelly, or the other AGLM writers…we didn’t make AGLM what it is….YOU did. We’ve just had the honor of sitting back and watching it all unfold into this tightly woven tapestry of true community. 10801707_978893398790012_2678656561386762067_nDSC_7057

As we face a new year filled with new changes, you might be asking yourself, “What’s next?” For me, well I won’t be going far. My eyes are now set on pouring into the AGLM writers. I’ll be mentoring, advising and guiding them so that they can, in turn, better serve you. I’ll still be posting on the blog here and there, and I’ll always be close by if you ever need to reach me.

We are family. No matter how far apart family may be, we are still always there for each other.

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For you? Well, the choice is yours. Our hope is that you stay. That you stay  to keep fighting for our family. That you keep helping us grow and change and love bigger and better than we have. That you call us on our crap when we’re crappy and let us do the same for you. We hope that you stick with us and continue to try and figure out how to be a girl in this screwed up world.

Together we stand. Because as scripture tells us, “A chord of three strands cannot be easily broken.”

We are better together. Stronger. Hope-filled. So let’s keep doing life together then. IMG_2791IMG_5557IMG_2600

All my love and then some to you my AGLMers. Here’s to many more years of life together and finding out we aren’t so alone after all.

-Heather

Relationships

Big Fake Boobs Are My Signature Look

November 4, 2015

So, we’ve been at this whole community thing for a while now. We’ve shared the good, the bad, the ugly…but what about the fun? I mean, what’s the good of having friends if you can’t laugh with/at them amiright?!?!?! If I’ve learned anything over my thirty three years of life it’s that the best of friends are the ones that make you giggle so hard you pee yourself and then turn right around and giggle at you for peeing yourself.

I think it’s appropriate that in the middle of this great and important topic of community we take a moment to remember the moments that make community awesome. So, I thought it would only be fitting for me to bless you with some of the all star moments in my friendships history. I’ll start with…boobs.

1. Boobs Are Best: Being built like a middle school boy in the chest department always gave me a bit of an obsession with large breasts. You know, grass is greener on the other side kind of thing. Luckily in high school I had friends just as flat as me and just as willing to explore and exploit the humor in taking a girl with no boobs and making her have gigantic breasts by any means possible. I can’t tell you the great variety of things I shoved up my shirt for a good “Hey, check out my humungous boobies” joke. Fruit, balls, balloons, pillows….you name it, I stuffed my bra with it. Amongst my friend group, especially in my youth group, it became a kind of a thing. So much of a thing that on our youth mission trip and even at my 18th birthday party, somehow we found a way to get a group or all of us girls piled together with shirts stuffed full and prance around like the double D goddesses we dreamt of being. I have since come to embrace the small bounty I call my bosom, but man, it sure was great to pretend.

My 18th birthday party big boob karaoke serenade.

My 18th birthday party big boob karaoke serenade.

 

 

My sophomore mission trip. Check out my knockers!

My sophomore mission trip. Check out my knockers!

 

2. Baby Giraffe Legs: I’ve told you this before, but I can’t dance. I have too much limb and too little rhythm to be any good…ever. However, that did not stop me from using my lack of danceability to choreograph countless dance routines which I performed in a variety of arenas with my friends. Birthday parties, special events, talent shows….we had some stupid routine that no matter how bad we were, we still looked totes amazing. There is nothing sweeter than getting around your girls, turning the music up and dancing like you just don’t care.

One of my many dance pieces I co-created with friends. Check out my face. I rock.

One of my many dance pieces I co-created with friends. Check out my face. I rock.

 

3. Costumes Are Always Appropriate:  I cannot stress how much I love costumes. If there is an excuse to dress in costume, I go all out. I’ve had costumed themed birthday parties, tv premiere costume parties, ugly sweater parties, and murder mystery parties. If I can costume theme it, I’ll do it. The great thing about friends is that the good ones are just as willing to go there with you. To take the extra step to look a fool and be the eccentric one in the group. To wear the outfit in public that makes other people stare and think you’re odd. A true friend isn’t afraid to look dumb alongside. In fact, a true friend encourages it.

 

The mustache themed birthday party my roommate and I had.

The mustache themed birthday party my roommate and I had.

At a LOST season ender viewing party where I and my then friend Jeff dressed as the plane wreckage. Yes, I made the whole costume myself. BAM.

At a LOST season ender viewing party where I and my then friend Jeff dressed as the plane wreckage. Yes, I made the whole costume myself. BAM.

At a murder mystery dinner where I played a crazy cat lady. I won an award that night for best character because, yeah, I am just that good.

At a murder mystery dinner where I played a crazy cat lady. I won an award that night for best character because, yeah, I am just that good.

 

Friendships may come and go. When they are bad, they can be real bad. But when they are good, man, can community be awesome. So let’s celebrate the amazingness that is community. Remember the moments when you laughed so hard you couldn’t breathe and felt that in that moment, life couldn’t get anymore amazing than it already had. And now that I’ve told you some of my favorite friend moments, tell me yours. Because the next best thing to awesome memories with your squad is getting to share them with others.

Community, Faith, Forgiveness, Identity, Redemption, Relationships

Unfriendable

October 14, 2015

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It may come as a shocker to you, but I am a hard friend to love. I’ll let you all take a moment to gasp a little at that thought. 😉 But seriously, I’m not always the easy friend in a group of people.

Naturally a little stand-offish and pretty opinionated, oftentimes I can come across as rude and unapproachable. My filter isn’t always very strong and sometimes even my most loving and gracious “encouragement” can come across as more of a lecture than a pep-talk. Know the type? Yeah, that’s me.

We’ve all got someone in our lives who’s “that friend.” The exhausting one. The Debbie-downer. The one who it feels more like work than a joy to to be around. The one who if you didn’t think it would be a total jerk move to do, you’d totally unfriend and unfollow them on social media. We all have them, and in truth, we might even be that friend ourselves.

What do we do when someone is difficult to love? Is every friendship worth the work? I know we don’t have to be friends with everyone, but how do we handle relationships with people who God has put in our path? Are some people just a lost cause?

About three years ago I would’ve said that some people just aren’t worth the work. Phrases like, “This is about as close as we’ll ever get” and “They just don’t want to know me or be friends with me” or “Forget them, I have other friends anyway” were common coming out of my mouth. I was very quick to dismiss anyone who wasn’t willing to put forth the effort I was and wrote it off as them just being stand offish and not friend material. Then I came out of the “I’ve been sexually abused” closet and everything changed.

For the first time in my life, I hungered for people to know me. I wanted people to see my pain and not only stand with me in it, but walk with me to see beyond it and find a new way of living. At the same time I was dealing with my crap, one of my dear friends was walking through the loss of a child. Her pain was far worse than my own, but her desire of being known was the same. Together we discovered something amazing.

To love well and to be loved well in return means to pursue the heart of another.

You see, I wanted so bad for people to see how I was hurting on the inside, but I was never going to show it on the outside. I needed to know that they were safe enough to entrust my fragile heart to. I needed to know that they cared for me not just when it was easy, but when I was at my most difficult to love. The only way I could know that was by them seeking out to know me and meet me where I was at.

Friends, we all carry secrets that create fortresses in our hearts. Wounds that build steel doors, keeping anyone at bay who may come too close. Yet it’s those very places that we want people most. Because those places of weakness, the places we hurt most, those are the places we need others. We just need someone willing to fight through.

That friend, the difficult one, she’s fighting a battle too. Her pain may run so deep that she has no idea just how fortified her heart has really become, and sadly, no one has ever tried to get in. So she keeps herself guarded, mean, and unapproachable not because she doesn’t want you as a friend, but because she doesn’t know how.

To be like Jesus to those around us means to press in, push harder, and love stronger even when there is never any return of the affection.

I’ve had a friend I’ve known for several years. She’s quiet and guarded. She’s so private with her emotions that I’ve only seen her cry once in the entire time I’ve known her. For many years I thought we’d never be more than casual friends, only discussing things like our kids and marriage. She was impenetrable and the only way we’d become closer was for her to change, or so I thought.

Last year I began to implement this idea of pursuing the hearts of my friends. She was my particular goal. I started slowly, just a simple text here and there letting her know I was thinking of her and praying for her. When we were together in groups, I’d make sure to invite her places and then let her know she was missed when she didn’t come. All the while on my own I kept asking God for an opportunity to let her know I loved her and wanted to love her well. He granted that prayer six months later over a cup of coffee.

While talking about a recent mission trip she had been on, I felt God give me a nudge to say something. I began by telling her how much I valued her as a friend. How I really was wanting God to use me to love my friends well and she was one of those. I told her how each of my friends needed love differently and so I asked her how I could love her better. What happened next was amazing.

We began to talk, I mean really talk, for the first time. She told me how I could love her better and what ways of approaching her or helping her would embarrass or make her uncomfortable and which ways would help. Then she said something that floored me. She said, “Heather, I really want to be known by people, I’m just not good at it. I need someone to help me.”

Ladies, that girl you find so frustrating, she wants to be known. That girl who you feel sucks the life out of you or never returns your kindness, she aches for friendship too. But maybe, like my friend, these girls aren’t good at it and they need someone who is willing to walk with them and help them break down those barriers to let someone in.

If Jesus Christ was willing to walk right into the depths of hell to claim our hearts, don’t you think we should be willing to do a fraction of the same for another?

Loving the unlovable is hard. It means loving simply because and not out of our desire to be loved back. It’s remembering that sometimes love means fighting for the heart of another, even if it doesn’t look like they want you to. It means drawing close when your instincts tell you to walk away. It means laying down your life, your needs, your wants, and loving simply because we are called to. I can say with full honesty that what comes out of that kind of love is something so wonderful and pure and holy that it is mind blowing. But you have to be willing to change yourself first.

How about today you put on those boxing gloves and go fight for the hearts of the unlovable. In time, you’ll set both your hearts free and discover the beauty of redeeming love.

God, Redemption, Relationships, Spiritual Life

NO MAN IS AN ISLAND

September 2, 2015

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“The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community.” 

           -Dietrich Bonhoeffer

If you know me by now, you know one thing to be true: I love relationship and community. I love the life that comes from broken people coming together in their brokenness and standing with one another right where they are at. There is nothing more life-giving nor more humbling than the act of friendship.

For some of you community and relationships come easy. You’ve always been THE friend-the one getting asked to hang out and never the one sitting alone binge watching Netflix on a Friday night. Then there are those of you who are like me where building community is work. You’re not a difficult friend necessarily but you often feel like no one would hang out with you if you didn’t ask them to. Then there are others of you who feel like you have no community at all and you’re left wondering if God and society has decided your just not friend material. Whoever you are and where ever you land on the spectrum, this series is for you.

In looking back through scripture we can see that the overarching theme God weaves is one of relationship. God with Jesus and the Holy Spirit, God with us, and us with one another. We were made to be in relationship. It is essential to our lives and no matter how stubborn or resilient you think you are, everyone needs friends. The issue that we often find ourselves in, is that when it comes to nurturing or developing a relationship, we often fall short or mishandle it.

There is a great irony about living in community. To live in true community is to allow ourselves to be known by another. Being known is something that each of us desperately wants, yet something we are also incredibly terrified of. There is where our problem exists. How do we free ourselves from the fear of being known so that we can embrace the joy of being known. This is something that we hope the next few months will help to clear up for you.

So how about we make a deal with one another, ok? Let’s promise right now that we are going to toss out the playbook we’ve made on friendship and start fresh. That means casting aside our expectations, our past hurts, our pride and what we think we know it means to love others well. Instead, how about we open our hearts and minds to a new way of thinking. A way that’s going to mean dying to our selfish entitlements and need for rightness or validation and humbling ourselves to the idea that just like most things, we have no clue what we are doing.

No man is an island girls. Good or bad, life is meant to be lived with one another. So let’s do just that. My hope is that by the end of this series you’ll know not only just how loved you are by us and others, but just how much Jesus loves you as well. Strap on your seat belts girlfriends, it’s about to get crazy up in here.

Faith, Identity, Redemption, Spiritual Life, Suffering

He Picked The Wrong House

August 19, 2015

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Ever since I was a little girl I always fantasized about one day living in a red brick house with a fireplace and a staircase. Coming from Arizona where every house was brown and stucco and the seventy degree winters made fireplaces seem irrelevant, my little heart longed for the cozy homes I saw on TV.

The day I saw the house is one I’ll never forget it. We pulled up into the driveway, a beautiful summer day, and there it was. Strong, proud, and a brilliant shade of red brick. My heart was already racing at what we would find once we opened the door and looked inside. I was overjoyed as I walked through this beauty to see a perfect staircase and a glistening fireplace. It was my dream home. It was perfect. It was mine.

After we bought the house and moved in, we were rifling through a bunch of paperwork the previous owners had left behind when we found them. Pictures.

You see, our house was built in 1938 and we were only the fourth people to ever live there. The people who we bought it from had purchased the house from a woman who had called it home for over twenty years. But when they bought it, the house was, well, let’s say, in need of a facelift.

We flipped through the pictures, seeing the house as it once was, and were overcome. We couldn’t believe that the beautiful home we were standing in had once been so hideous….so hopeless looking. But here it was today, remade and so stunning.

As I sat in my counselor Al’s office last year, tears spilling out of my eyes, I kept telling him how I felt so hopeless…so broken. I couldn’t see how the abuse I had suffered and all the horrible life events that came from that could make me anything less than a mess of a lost cause. Sure, maybe I’d find a way to cope with the pain. Maybe I’d even find a way to forgive and heal a little. But I’d always be broken. I’d always be the girl who was molested.

He told me of a book called The Prince Of Tides. The book was the story of a man who had suffered terrible abuse in his youth and how as a man he was finally able to start dealing with the pain. In one particularly graphic part of the book there is a scene where the main character is getting raped by his abusers inside of his home. As it’s happening, he looks out the window to see his older brother standing outside with their pet tiger. He goes on to say, “In that moment, I knew that they had picked the wrong house.” The older brother then proceeds to bust into the house with tiger and kill all the abusers. End scene.

Maybe like I did, you’re feeling a little bit like an old, broke-down house. Time and pain has worn you down, and you feel like merely a shell of the person you once knew. You want so badly to be remade. To feel beautiful, hope-filled, loved, and even useful again. But the scars are too deep and you cant imagine how you’d ever arrive at that place.

When heartache comes to us, the enemy, he thinks he’s won. He thinks he’s finally found the thing that beat you. But listen in real close sweet friends because I have something to tell you:

He picked the wrong house.

Hearing those words, for me, was like taking breath for the first time in forever. He picked the wrong house. I was not the defeated one, he was.

Ladies, I know the days can seem dark. I know and have felt the consuming feeling that our sin and shame and hurt can have over us. I know how it clouds everything we see, making day seem impossible and night our constant. But I also know this: you and I, we are not lost causes.

Much like my house, we are empty and broken shells in need of someone to come in, clean us up and make us beautiful again. Yes, there will be work to be done. Walls will be knocked down, things will be cut and removed, but there will also be rebuilding. Because we have Christ, and if He is with us then no amount of chaos or harm or abuse the enemy could ever throw our way will knock us down. We are a house on a firm foundation.

My lovely friends, you are not hopeless. Do you hear me? That weight you’re carrying that seems so heavy will not take you down. That light at the end of the tunnel that feels dimmer and dimmer….it WILL come. Because you, yes YOU, are a daughter of God and that means no abuser or mistake or death or break up or self-harm or addiction can ever defeat you.

THEY PICKED THE WRONG HOUSE

“Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s…You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of theLord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out to face them, for the Lord is with you.” 2 Chronicles 20:16-17

My house, much like myself, was once a lost cause. A place of desolation. But today, we both stand tall, stronger than we were before. The scars of the past still remain, but only as faded remnants against a colorful canvas. Do not give up dear sister. The Lord is with you and you will overcome.