We look to our earthly fathers to tell us the truth of who we are. This is what God calls on fathers to do, and when they don’t, as is too often the case, we are left empty and open to every lie that we are told. We live in a culture that satan has chosen to attack in such a way. An entire culture can be broken generation by generation through weakening the fathers. I’ve witnessed this in my own upbringing by a man who scorned Jesus and gave into his own weak pride on the regular, regardless of how it hurt him, his children or his grandchildren. I wasted years tying my Heavenly Father’s loving hands behind His back, projecting my earthly father’s angry, disappointed face onto His.
I know very few people who honestly revere their fathers for genuine leadership and/or godliness. I know some will read this and think I am seeking perfection. I am looking for men who pursue God and His will for their lives with all they have because they took the time to experience an intimate relationship with Him and have some understanding of how great His love is for them. These men will LEAD in HIS LOVE and that will change our culture generation by generation.
Men who live like this will understand that women have a place beside them and that through this partnership, God will move mountains, change lives and heal our land. There will be no place for degrading women in pornography, disparaging pay, sexual assault, etc. There will be no place for racism. With men and women truly after God’s heart will come the truth that we are all gloriously different, but equal; we will finally celebrate our differences and reparations will occur with a new humility born of seeing one another through His eyes.
The demand for pornography and other sexual immorality comes largely from broken men, who were most likely broken as young boys. We need men who will stand against this sin by coming alongside their brothers who are afflicted with this addiction, and help them bring it out into the light, so that they can be healed, and, in turn, come alongside those who remain in this sinful addiction.
We need to stand shoulder to shoulder with one another in love against those who oppress others, standing up for women, people of color and those who struggle with physical and emotional constraints. This is how we win as a people. We love like Jesus and we stand against sin as He does, without compromise or distraction.
Until there are more men who operate out of their love of and from God instead of their fear of losing money and power, hidden behind a shield of false godliness, we will continue to disintegrate, until we finally are morally bankrupt beyond repair. We must raise sons and daughters who fall into His arms and turn to Him in every circumstance. Knowing the Word is so important, but getting quiet with Him, professing our adoration of Him, and cultivating an intimate relationship with Him is where hearts are transformed and real world change burgeons.
Do you know how much He adores you? He waits for you and me, not just for an hour, or a day, or even just once. He waits for us over and again, with outstretched arms and unending love. He doesn’t turn away as we walk toward our sin. He is in the room with us, heartbroken that we are not choosing life abundant, ready to fight for us, if only we would turn from the sin we are pursuing, once again.
Make a plan to invest in your relationship with Him daily. Spend time pouring over His Word, full of rich wisdom, truth and love. Get quiet before Him. Cry out to Him. Invest in getting to know Our Father intimately. It’s the only way to start and win the Revolution. The alternative is much too grim and coming too quickly. It’s time for action.
There are times when I wish I would’ve used a glue stick instead of chapstick…
Like everyone else, I struggle with having enough time to do the things I need and want to do. Why is keeping up with the laundry such an impossible task when my predecessors had to use a wash board and hang everything up? All I have to do is throw it in with some homemade laundry soap and vinegar, toss it into the dryer and then take it out to fold or hang after about 45 minutes. Somehow I end up with a MOUNTAIN of clothes, towels, etc. every couple of weeks and it’s a chore to get it all put away properly. Cooking is the same.
A few years ago the situation was: I hardly see friends. I hardly see my family. It’s a luxury to write on here. Last week was the first time since forever. I know I have tons of company in this area. I have been struggling with this for years – especially since I’ve return to work full time. I always get caught up in the worldly demands of the here and now, so I work my tail off keeping up with school work (not mine, I’m the teacher!), and spend what’s left of the weekends making food for the week, washing & drying clothes and cleaning the house. The last few weeks I have taken time on Sunday to go to a movie and/or get a massage with my husband and daughter. It was fun, but I still didn’t feel rejuvenated, like I was hoping to feel.
I haven’t been sleeping well. Insomnia has been my unwelcome companion for many years. Some of that is just my nature, some of it is family drama and some of it is my job. I’ve been taking magnesium and melatonin before bed and sprinkling lavender essential oil on my pillow and they’ve all helped immensely. Still I’m not centered and I can tell it is affecting many areas of my life.
Now, I only work part time and I’m still struggling with slowing down. I spend time with friends, I never bring work home, my children have moved out, so laundry is a fraction of what it used to be. Yet, here I am feeling like I’m chasing my tail, feeling out of balance and too busy at times.
I know what the answer is. I forget sometimes when I get caught up in doing and forget about being, but in my heart of hearts I always know… The sad part is that after a while I avoid the obvious answer because I can’t remember how to begin again. How to REALLY slow down and be in communion with Him becomes so foreign that I just avoid it or step up my B Game and say more quick little prayers during the day… UGH!! Aren’t I too old for this?!
Spending time with Him… Being truly quiet, not just audibly, but in my spirit, is my goal. As I sit here and recall similar times in my life the solution is always the same: Spending time with Him. And He’s always waiting patiently for me. I think because of my very conditional upbringing I have a hard time believing that He’ll be waiting for me in any other way than to tell me how I’ve let Him down and to let me know that He’s done with me, so my B Game seems like the best choice after I’ve fallen off the relationship wagon for a bit. At least then I don’t have to risk His complete rejection…
I just continually and constantly imagine it…
I spent some time with Him yesterday. I’m not gonna lie. It was SO hard to be still and quiet in my spirit. Slowing down was a task! It took me awhile and then I got incredibly sleepy. But I was at the point of brokenness and my memories reminded me of who He is and has always been, so I persevered and He clearly spoke lovingly to my heart. He ALWAYS does. Why would I rely on anything else? Why do I forget who my oxygen mask is?…
I’m so glad He’s not like me. I would grow impatient with a daughter like me. I would take it personally instead of realizing that my daughter is still growing and she has some shortcomings that have nothing to do with me.
Then there’s satan. He’s all over this, doing his best to keep me from my Father. I had the worst night of sleep last night that I have had in a couple of months. I laid in bed for a couple of hours trying to solve everything in my head. I’m still growing and I definitely have several shortcomings. Today I’m spending time with Him. I’m setting my alarm a little earlier tomorrow morning so that I can start my day listening to Him. I have a feeling that I will again struggle with being quiet and simply being with My Father, but I know that He will be there, waiting for me with His incredible love and protection.
So, I will press on. I will do this again and again, as I fall away and stumble through my journey. He will forever be there, because He adores me, His beloved, prodigal daughter and I will pick myself up, dust myself off and stumble into His loving and wide-open arms.
It’s been a month…
10 days of flu for me,
7 days and counting of upper respiratory junk,
4 days of allergy pink eye in my right eye, where I looked a bit like a monster.
My hubby and all of our kiddos had this terrible flu, also.
Our daughter then got bronchitis and I’m following in her footsteps.
Our twins celebrated their 23rd birthday.
I held an IF: Gathering in my home,
I started a new part-time job, while continuing in my present one.
My depression level is soaring.
It’s been a year…
We sold our house and moved to a new city.
I got a new car.
The last of our 5 babies (who are not really babies at all) moved out.
Our Tita was baptized.
It was the BEST year I’ve lived through in a ridiculous number of years.
A blessing to reminisce about the last year to put the past month into perspective. Being sick for most of this past grey month has been a bit of a struggle, but the past year has been amazing. In the whole scheme of things, this month has been trying, but only temporarily, so there’s no need to give into the fleeting darkness because light/joy/health are all just around the corner, waiting for me…
It’s just hard to see right now.
I’ve spent the past six days with the flu. Body aching, tummy churning, head stuffed up and throbbing. The last time I had the flu was in 2009 when I had the H1N1. This has been a walk in the park compared to that! My Honey came down with this flu about a week before me, our daughter started the same day as me and then our twins got it two days after us. Everyone came home to be cared for by me during the day and we all just laid around, while my Honey cared for us in the evenings by making tea, warming ginger ale, Zarbee’s and loads of soup.
Today I feel human…
I also feel like I lost a week and while I should just be thankful, I’m having a quick little pity party. I struggle with wasted time, accomplishing little.
I’m heading to the chiropractor in a bit because lying in bed has wreaked havoc on my back, arms and sciatic nerve.
SO… I’m thankful that I didn’t miss any work, and I have a husband who loves his family and makes a great nurse and I can just get in my car and get Chiro care. Also, I’m thankful for feeling like a living, breathing human being again, instead of some walking dead girl.
If I protest the destruction of the rainforests, does that mean I want all of the other kinds of forests to be destroyed?
If I walk in the Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure, am I opposed to other forms of cancer being cured? – Or am I just opposed to Democrats…
Do all lives matter to the police equally? Do the indictment records reflect this?
Where are all of these blue people? Are they blue all of the time? Do they choose to be blue or are they born that color? Can they take their blue off – for a little while, at least? Or forever, if they choose? What about the black people? Are they born black or did they choose to be black? Can they take their black off, for a little while, at least?
If my pastor is a known philanderer, brags about forcing himself on multiple women in a violent manner on the regular and has children from three different women, but tells his congregation that the offering is more than ever before and he is against abortion, should I continue to follow his leadership and defend him to anyone that speaks against him based on real biblical principles? What if he wants to marry my daughter? Should I give him my blessing? What about if he mocks people who are physically or mentally challenged or people of color? That’s not a big deal, right? He’s not a bully or racist if he says he’s not, right?
Is the best way to defend him to bring up things our pastor from nearly 20 years ago did wrong? Because I remember when I was a child, deflecting to something one of my siblings did wrong often distracted my parents from what I had done wrong, at least for a minute or two, until they realized how childish my behavior was and returned to the real issue at hand…
If a White Evangelical man and woman bring their sick child into the ER, does the lesbian or transgender nurse have the right to refuse care based on a difference of religious beliefs? Say, the nurse believes that White Evangelical Christianity is a hate group based on recent behavior she’s experienced personally… Should we force her to care for these people just because they’re human beings?!
Since I am a woman, is it okay for me to lie about the atrocious behavior of a white man and when a person of color questions me, can I just claim that he’s a bully because I have a v-jay-jay? Can someone help me publicize an aggressive looking picture of the POC so that I can perpetuate the victim role of a white woman instead of owning the lies I’ve participated in and continue covering up the racist remarks of the real bully? I mean, just because I’ve been placed in a leadership role over the entire country does NOT mean that a black person can question me about lying to the people of the country I represent. I am a fragile white woman and shouldn’t be treated like other leaders who behave with complicity.
During the past year (or so), I’ve experienced a regular feeling of living in the “upside down world.” Things that I thought of as ludicrous and only existing in the past have reared their ugly heads in a very public and “normalized” fashion. I’m beyond thankful for people such as Joy Reid, Kathy Khang, and Cory Booker for courageously calling out the folks who continuously try to take us down bunny trails. I’m thankful that they unapologetically demand justice, equality and sanity reign. Listening to them, and others like them, I find myself, saying, “THANK YOU! Finally, someone is standing up to this lunacy.”
May we all have the courage to stand and speak before the damage is beyond repair.
There are so many things I adore about you, but as nearly three decades have come and gone, I find that I much too often take an abundance of your goodness for granted. Part of my resolution is to be a better wife, less critical of you, so that you can walk more fully in the joyful identity God has for you. As I’ve prayed about how I can best become more of who He calls me to be as your wife, I’ve asked Him to see you through His eyes and not my own critical eyes. I believe He’s been bringing to mind some of the many loving qualities and actions of yours that I’ve overlooked recently. This is just a small sampling of the ways you bless me and others who know you.
It doesn’t go un-noticed that you always clean up the food and dishes when our kiddos are over for dinner or almost anytime we have dinner guests, while I visit and relax.
When you share story after story of the people you bless during your work day or at band gigs, my heart sings. You are such a tenderhearted man and I love your generosity with people who cross your path. I love that you have so many homeless friends in Austin, that you don’t simple give money to, but that you invest in them and know about their lives because you choose to spend time and pour into them. When you tell me any of your many stories of special people who ride your duck tour and “drive” on the water, perhaps for the first and/or only time in their lives, and your eyes brim with tears, my heart just leaps in my chest and I thank God you are my husband.
It means the world to me that when I work my 11 hour day once a week, you have dinner all ready when I walk through the door. Exhaustion and a yummy home-cooked meal are fast friends.
I love how much you love our children. Even though they are all grown and out of the house, you still work so hard everyday because you want to provide things for your babies (and me). Your dedication to all of us makes my heart sing. You are truly the hardest working person I’ve ever known, but you are not a workaholic. You work to live and enjoy life with your family and I’m thankful for the example you are to our children.
One of my favorite things about this more “mature” version of us is that you are happy to stay home with me, watching a movie and cuddling is a treat. When we were younger, you wanted to be on-the-go all of the time, being the extrovert of our union, and I would go along, but it was almost always a stretch for me. I’m thankful that I have fun with you whether we are out on a date or hanging at home. You are my favorite person to spend time with.
Thank you for always telling me that you think I’m beautiful and meaning it. Thank you for encouraging me to discover my calling. Thank you for being so patient with me as I wallow around in the muck trying to leave my grumpy self behind. Thank you for valuing my opinion. Thank you for putting up with me. I know it’s not always easy, but your love has brought me a peace that I had never known. Thank you for reacting to (almost) every meal I make as though I am Martha Stewart. Thank you for cheerfully trying all of my organic, paleo, keto, gluten-free, vegetarian, etc. etc. recipes.
Thank you for loving me.
Yesterday, as we prepared to leave for the truly lovely birthday party my husband planned for me, he asked, “So, are we both 54?” To which I replied, “I am 53. You are 54.”
Alas, today, and for the next 3 months, we are both 54.
For the past 2 years I have been adjusting to the fact that I am in my 50’s. Because of a very traumatic event and then a few more that were almost as traumatic, about 8 years ago, I was in survival mode for the most part of seven years. I found myself growing a smidge bitter that I had mostly missed the better part of a decade getting through and not savoring much of the present.
In the past year and a half, I quit a job that I rocked, but grew to hate because the human element was slowly being taken away from what I always considered my calling, moved out of a rather large home in a small town that was very connected to aforementioned very traumatic event, and moved to my favorite city in the world (thus far). Also, my last residing child moved out, creating an empty nest, a broken/thrilled divided mama’s heart, and throwing my everything into readjustment mode.
I am moving forward in expectation. I am thankful for 54 years of life –
and even the traumatic.
I am thankful for my life.
They aren’t what they used to be. When I was younger, I never really loved that my birthday was so close to Christmas, or that it was during the freezing Michigan month of January. I remember hoping that we’d be back in school after the Christmas break, so that I could celebrate with my friends and then hoping just the opposite as I envisioned being sung to by everyone and being the center of attention. I have fond memories of cherry chip cake with pink frosting on a crystal cake plate that my mother would make for me as a child. As a teen I started requesting banana cream pie and feeling very rebellious in my choice.
Tomorrow I will be 54 years old. This evening my husband has invited quite a few folks out to celebrate my day of birth and I am having the same anxiety as I always have. This is probably the only thing about my birthday that hasn’t changed. Being the center of attention is not really my cup of tea. I don’t mean to say that I don’t feel incredibly loved by people who are willing to make time for me. That is my love language. The flip side of this is that I also secretly (well, not secretly anymore!) dread having almost no one show up and the humiliation of that…
Now, the lovely part of being on this side of 50 is that as my January birthday approaches, I find that it is a great time to reflect on my life, where I’ve been and where I’m headed. I find that I am so much more at peace with myself than I was just a few years ago. I am blessed with a husband who sees me and encourages my growth and expression. We have journeyed through almost 30 years together. We’ve walked through grief, great joy and everything in-between and he’s still my favorite person to spend the day with. My daughter is one of my dearest friends and watching her stepping into who she was made to be is one of my greatest joys. Her younger brothers are also beginning to walk in their true identities and this mama’s heart is singing over them. This, coupled with the strong bond that they share with one another, is a dream come true for me.
I have friends who are willing to walk through the deep stuff alongside me and me with them. That is something I’ve always longed for and will not take for granted now that I’m blessed with it. Honorable women are the rare, good stuff and worth waiting for!
We live in Austin, so winter lasts approximately a month and isn’t nearly as bitter as the ones I experienced in the Mitten. Today is sunny with a high in the 60’s. Moving here has been a major game changer for this girl. I adore my city and the life I am living here!
I have several broken relationships that have been this way for several years. While I am sad about this, I am mostly at peace and confident that my Father will grow all of us through this time. I’m continuing to do the hard work on myself and that’s all I can do. In the meantime, I am well aware of the fact that we are not promised tomorrow, so I will live each day in that mindset. Knowing who I am with all of my wounds and faults, and embracing myself fully. Being confident of my character and my calling, I am as ready as ever to walk through the door to a new year of life.
I suppose that since it’s a brand new year, I should write the proverbial New Year’s Resolution blog post. I’m one of those middle of the road peeps. I see some value in setting a public goal because then we’re accountable to ourselves and others. I also understand thinking that NY resolutions are silly because almost NO ONE follows through, despite wonderful and sincere intentions. I’m kind of a “make the vow to myself quietly’ kind of girl, not saying it out loud until I’ve research this life-changing goal and worked it consistently for a short time, mostly. If I’m afraid I won’t follow through because my flesh can be SO weak, and I really want to in my spirit, then I’ll share one-on-one with someone in my inner circle, being sure to mention how unlikely it is that I will accomplish my task.
I have all of these ideas of ways I want my life to change for the better, like most people do. As I was pondering this recently and throughout the past year, I’ve noticed I feel scattered and a bit overwhelmed, so I’ve broken it down into categories in order to see my goals more clearly and in a less complicated fashion.
I want to have healthy boundaries with some people who have hurt me on the regular over the years. This is tough because I am a 2 (enneagram), a hard 2, and I just want to meet everyone right where they are and love them with all that I am. When I don’t do this I feel like I’m letting God down, even though I know in my head that boundaries are healthy and I’ve spent WAY too much time standing in His way in the name of love. In addition to this, I would love to stop caring about the opinions of people who have misrepresented or misjudged my character. While entering my 50’s has helped dissipate much of this, occasionally, it still gets the best of me and I fantasize about the truth coming to light and having peace with those people. I’m SO ready to be an Elsa and completely “let it go!”
THIS is the tough one for me right now. My husband is such a lovely man. Of course, he has stuff like every human being, but because of our very opposite dispositions, my pessimistic McDowell part has bit-by-bit squelched the optimistic and joyful Honey I fell in love with. I find myself often overcompensating for my trespasses when I should simply ask for forgiveness, owning my junk and doing better because of it. It’s awful how something can be ingrained in you from birth and decades later still wreak havoc in adult relationships. It’s time to do better because I am capable of better, my husband deserves SO much better and my children deserve a better example.
This is the embarrassing one. I want to figure out why I continue to gain weight even though I am eating less food and more healthily than I ever have. I’m exercising regularly and getting enough rest (usually), so it’s discouraging that I’m seemingly getting less healthy day-by-day. I’ve spent an abundance of time and money on the pursuit of physical health, and while I am almost never sick and I am quite healthy, this weight gain, sudden onset of hot flashes, and lack of energy are disheartening. My hope is that I’ll figure out what is wrong with my adrenals and/or my thyroid and I can begin a plan that will bring them back to health – and that I can do this without breaking the bank…
This is a subject that is very near and dear to my Jesus-loving heart. There is little else that brings out my passionate side like racial injustice. However, I’ve got to confess that I am intimidated to step into this full throttle for a number of reasons. I feel like I have little to offer as a privileged white woman. This causes me to be terrified to say or do the wrong thing because of my ignorance or any scrap of prejudice that remains. I don’t want to appear to think I am some kind of savior or anything obnoxious. I want to stand by my brothers and sisters and use my voice so that we can start moving through repentance, then restitution and finally reconciliation. I’m not sure what that looks like, yet. I have an entire bookshelf of every suggestion my BtB group has ever mentioned and then some. I’ve read several of them, but I need to be more intentional. I need to stop taking advantage of my white privilege by doing the inconvenient and hard stuff even though it may seem I don’t have to. I am His daughter, which means I do, so I will.
My Honey and I would love to go away for a real vacation. It has been 16 years since we’ve gone away alone together for more than a night or two – and that was in September of 2001 during the week of 9/11, as well as experiencing a hurricane on Sanibel where we were vacationing, and returning to find out one of our children had gotten into some pretty serious trouble while we were away. We’re dreaming of a full week, all alone, somewhere we have to fly to. If we can’t do it this year, then next year is the goal. There are actually several other financial goals we have, but this is not our strong suit, so we’ll just leave it like this for now.
I’ve been praying about my word for this year. I’ve intentionally avoided words like “love,” “help,” “inspire,” because that’s what I’m naturally drawn to and one or two of those have been my word in past years. Yesterday, the word “Simplify” came to me. This is a good goal for me. It’s one I feel I’ve been working on for many years. It’s one of the things I tried to instill into my own children. I have successfully simplified many areas of my life, but I can see that in my desire to accomplish some of the above goals, I have complicated my life unnecessarily. While I believe it’s wise to read and educate oneself about God, health, finances, relationships, ultimately, I know the first place I need to turn is to Him.
I think this looks like taking each of my areas of growth and choosing ONE simple goal, just one baby step and following through. Breaking it down based on His leading and my strengths will produce a simplicity that will bring blessings into my life and those I serve and love.
In my marriage this looks like confessing to my husband first. The next step is unclear for me. I think we’ll need some kind of accountability, so asking him to join me in that is a definite possibility.
Emotionally, in my relationships I will continue to pray before I put myself out there. I will do my best to check my motives and remember that He is so much better at loving people than I could ever be. When He sends me, I will go, but I am finally ready to stop sending myself out of guilt or my icky savior complex, no matter how uncomfortable it may feel at times.
My Honey and I have been researching the KETO diet and we are going to give it a whirl. A couple of months ago I bought a planner that keeps me on schedule with my magnesium protocol and that has been helping me stay on track and get back on track when I fall off now and then. My hope is that following these plans will jumpstart my adrenals and thyroid so that my body can start taking better care of itself naturally.
My goal is to read 2 books each month about racial reconciliation. I have started to collect children’s book by authors of color about people of color for the grandchildren I hope to have someday. I am going to purchase 1 book every 2 months and my hope is that I will have a library that will help another generation of my family to love and appreciate all of God’s people. I have other goals, but in the name of simplifying and succeeding, I am going to make this the first step. I am going to bathe each book in prayer and ask Him to show me what steps I take next.
Financially… Yep, not my strong suit. I’ll have to get back with you about this one.
Spiritually, I am going to keep spending time with Jesus. His Word speaks to me in life-changing ways and quiet time with Him is the best way for me to stay centered. I made a commitment to read my Bible daily a few months ago (again) and it’s going well. Sometimes I find myself checking the box, but more often I am slowing down and taking His Word in. I have decided to work through the 12 steps again, joining a group at my church that will keep me accountable and help me grow where He shows me I need to this time around. I bought myself a Christmas present from Cageless Birds that was a stretch for me. Cultivate is a series of 4 volumes that are full of writing prompts, contemplative thoughts, and encouragement for artists of all kinds – because we are ALL artists in one way or another. I bought all 4 of them and gave one to each our 3 youngest and gave myself volume 4, “Creativity Unlocked.” I’m intimidated and excited to see how God works through the pages to help me walk more fully in the identity He has for me.
So, I started this post a few days ago and then as I prayed and journaled I was able to simplify my proposed journey for this next year. I feel centered and hopeful. I’m also seasoned enough to be okay if the end doesn’t look exactly like I’m imagining at the beginning. New Year’s Resolutions are meant to help us move forward in hope, not to discourage us because we aren’t perfect. I pray you find your rhythm in this new year. I pray you find grace for yourself and others. I pray you find yourself walking in your full identity more and more as the days unfold. It’s okay to straight up fail or stumble to any degree, and it’s okay to get up and start again in February or July or December. It’s not okay to let perceived failure defeat you for too long. You’re worth a lot of effort and persistence is noble. Quitting, not so much.
Happy New Year!