i am ALIVE again!

It’s been far too long.

I’ve missed this.

You know how when you don’t do something for a really long time, you feel a sense of paralysis to tackle it again?!

That’s been me.

Why is that? We shy away from the very thing that helps make a better us.

For me, it’s been fear- fear that I have nothing valuable or clever to say, fear that I will present a post that is boring or grammatically incorrect (for shame, you know), fear that the FEARS I am currently facing in my life would bleed through to my writing and readers would play on their tiny violin when reading my failures. I am so often constrained by expectations still (need to work on this more)!

But then it hit me: I write because I love it. I write because it frees my mind. I write because if one person can resonate with my thoughts or feelings and it encourages or helps them, my heart is HAPPY!

My blog means something to me and I have neglected it. I intend to change that starting today. You may find an occasional syntax error and I might just type some offensively strong language at times, but I am OK with that.

I strive towards integrity in all things and this can be done only through candor and without fear.

To that end I will write. Hang on. It might be crazy!

 

Plainly,

Jane

 

 

 

 

 

 

why?

You know how toddlers cutely, inquisitively and annoyingly ask, “Why?” one hundred fifty times everyday? Yeah. Well, sometimes my inner toddler just won’t quit. It queries all day long like a song on repeat.

Fortunately for you, dear readers, these questions have a bit more depth than a 3 year-old but can be equally perplexing (if not even unanswerable).

Here’s what’s been bobbling around my head (and this is just today)! {Do you ever wonder these things? Or am I the only one with this intense toddler like curiosity?}

– Why is it that when a celebrity succumbs to reckless or naughty behavior, we fiendishly mock, ridicule and scoff at their downfall? Stupid people do stupid arrest worthy things everyday. Shame on us for delighting in it. It shows what man worshippers we can be.

– Why do those over shared “you’re gonna bawl your eyes out”, “watch this with a box of tissues”, “I dare you to get through this without crying” videos NEVER even make me tear up? Am I some cold hearted, non-emotional creature that feels no connection to cute babies, animals or sappy love stories? My heart strings are not easily tugged apparently.

– Why do some of my friends continue to have Mount Everest amounts of crap happening in their lives right now? Again and again. Over and over, dealing with pain, suffering, sadness, disappointment. I wish I could take a Mount McKinley sized piece of it from them. Lighten their load. Make them breathe easier. Find an easy cure or magical potion to make it all better.

– Why do things really break in triplicate? Or why do car repair places always find additional repairs to recommend while fixing the original issue- as if the costs were not already making you bleed out?

– Why are teenagers walking oxymorons whose ideas wax and wane more than the phases of the moon; whose emotions yin and yang more than all the 80’s surf shirts still in existence? And WHY oh why do do they eat so strangely, have such filthy mouths and sleep either like a hibernating bear or like an always prowling cat?

– Why are some days just ethereal in nature and I find myself subconsciously saying: La Vita y Bella, smiling at the silliness of my children’s antics, fondly recalling the dashing bravery of my husband to go out and face the world for us everyday? When, why on other days (and for no apparent reason at’all), I feel a dark force hanging like a rain cloud around me, weighing down the very core of my being and making me mope around like Eeyore?

– Why do people seem to weave in and out of my life for different seasons? Or why does it seem so hard to make lasting friendships at this age, when as a kid, you could make a best friend in 5 minutes?

What bobbles around your head? Do tell.

To Need or Not To Need (that is the question)

I am just going to come out and say it:

Women are needy folks. (So are men, btw, just in totally different ways).

Lately, with all the hubbub surrounding my own life, I have seen a pattern emerge. It’s something I have remarked on for years to my husband: Women often look for someone to commiserate with, to share all their nitty-gritty-down-and-dirty details, when what they should be doing is leaning into the arms of Jesus.

Before you tune me out, throw your hands up in the air and think, “Humph, I need my BFF’s like plants need water. Without them I’d feel lost, alone, and have that ‘stranded on a desert island’ kind of feeling.”

I get it. I am a woman. I am needy just like you.

In fact, these past few months in particular have solidified that fact. My few closest friends have proven to be more precious than ever, like cool refreshing water for my parched dry soul. I have been wading through some serious excrement over here and they have been right there plodding with me, holding my hand at times, listening to me cry, pointing me to the way of the “crap-free” path! For that, I am truly thankful!

Yet sometimes, in our effort to unload our dump truck of feelings, spill the beans on every juicy detail or even (yes, I am going to say the “g” word) gossip about the ones who’ve hurt, offended or just plain bugged us, we are missing our greater need.

What we should do is to run like a child, vulnerable, hurt, broken, empty, into the arms of our Father God and our God-Man Jesus Himself, who has been tempted in every way, just like us and yet did not sin.

He waits and beckons us. Arms open. Comfort promised. Fears assuaging. Mercy abounding. Help offering. Unconditional-love giving.

But we are busy running to someone or something else: our husband, our friends, our children, our books, our blogs, our Facebook, our Twitter feed, our retail therapy, or our local Starbucks even 🙂 .

I have run to all these things. And they never quite satisfy. It is like putting a band- aid on something that really required a cast. What we want is full envelopment of our weary beaten down souls. We need Jesus to wrap us in the beauty of His perfect love. We need to cry out, “Abba, Father!” , pouring out our details to the ONE who can actually fix what’s broken.

Yes, we need each other. We need friends whose arms can wrap around us in a hug or a husband who will listen to us blubber. Outlets for emotions are good, necessary, helpful, tangible, keeping us from the unpleasant alternative of bottling it up (only one day to come uncorked completely). But let’s never forego the life giving water our thirsty souls must drink in order to find the truest comfort from our Perfect Friend.

Meet Karen

Broken and hurting, she sat week after week. At greeting time, she turned and shook hands, smiling weakly. What else could she do? Stand there pouring out her pain, confessing her struggles, laying her soul bare? “I’m Karen,” she managed. “Welcome to our church.”

 After the casual greeting, came the tears. They welled up hot and stinging in her eyes. She blinked them away quickly. No one knew. “No one would know”, she thought.  Her eyes dried and anger replaced the sadness.

This place was touted to be a solace. Here, people were supposed to find unconditional love- no matter what they were going through. But the shallowness of most, drove her mad. Karen clung to her faith like a thread but frayed and thinning. It was the only thing that kept her from the self-destructive thoughts that forcibly pervaded her mind lately. Who could she turn to? All she did was pretend to be happy outwardly, while inwardly she felt afraid and broken.

Karen really exists. She is the lovely wife to a hard-working husband, a sweet mother to her  children and a woman who wants more than anything to follow after God. Yet at the moment, her world is crashing down. Her marriage has morphed into a scene of disillusionment and violated expectations. Even though she loves her children passionately, they are not turning out the way she’d hoped and her energy is sapped by the demands of a toddler who never, ever quits. Add to that the stress of financial woes and economic bleakness and it seems without hope.

There are so many “Karens”, sadly, sitting next to us or a couple rows over at church. I know. I was her once; terrified to be transparent for fear that I might find wagging fingers in my face or “How to be a better wife, mother, Christian” books unhelpfully shoved at me. I felt hollow inside; guilty for not having it all together, shameful for not being able to pull out of my slump, deceptive for not allowing anyone to see the real me.

This should not be happening in our churches. The very love and grace poured out to us through Jesus, is being withheld from those who most desperately need it.  There should not be hurting people hiding behind a façade, afraid of the malicious words from someone who refuses to love in every season- good or bad or downright ugly.

We must choose to be the hands and feet of Christ, reaching out with the balm of healing in our hands, the soothing words of grace and peace on our tongues and the loving actions that do good to those who need it- always.

 

Super Glue Connections

Dizzying.  Astounding. Bewildering.

 The choices we have to stay connected with friends new and old, family near and distant, and (even) almost strangers are practically limitless.

But sometimes, every now and then, step back and consider what it all means. All the notifications, likes, comments, loves, shares, subscriptions, shout outs, upvotes, et al . What value do we feel or worth do we derive from it all?

Are we like a drug addict that needs a fix? Are we like the athlete that needs a medal? Perhaps we need applause, award, recognition or accolades to make us feel accepted.

I fight it, yet sometimes I am over taken. Pride creeps in. Self gets the best of me. I’ve abused the very tool that was meant to help connections, facilitate relationships, bridge communication, and share news.  Instead I have used it to feed my ego, waste my time, squander opportunities, miscommunicate thoughts, dwell on unsavory images, etc.

This video says it masterfully. Hoping you and I will thoughtfully pause to listen to what David Bowden articulates.  

David Bowden- “The Inner Net”