Holy Spirit Help Me

So flipping much to say. So little time to say it. Listening to Transformation Church series on the Holy Spirit….leads me to ask for help and knowing the Holy Spirit in a more intimate way….leads me to being embarrassed to share bc I don’t want to offend anyone who holds a different belief system than I…..leads me remember humility and that I’m not here to please or appease others….and there is just SO MUCH LEARNING and change and goodness going on inside of me.


This morning the sermon ended with a directive to ask the Holy Spirit what He is trying to say to me through this message. Cool…I can do that. I asked. I listened and my heart immediately said, “I AM HERE, then, now and always” (what filled my heart for then, now and always is for another time of sharing). Then I recalled a conversation with a client yesterday…more on that coming.


Yesterday, a client that I love dearly who tends to be a little on the super grumpy side…asks me if I am dating anyone. Then asks me if I have taken my test yet (she remembered from a year ago and has been a huge cheerleader for me during grad school and beyond). I tell her the test is next Tuesday and though I’ve been studying like crazy for months, I am terrified. She tells me (she has never ever shared any ‘God’ talk) that I just need to ask the Holy Spirit for help. She tells me that whatever I put in, He will help me extract as needed; both the good and the bad. That struck me deeply.


Today…a very unexpected phone call…

“This is Jane Louise, you helped me a couple of years ago”

“I just want to thank you for your help”,

“I’m doing wonderful, little by little and one day at a time.”

“It’s still a struggle; yet I feel like a child learning to live again.”

“Life gives us just what we are supposed to have.”

“I finally reached the bottom and couldn’t face another day.”

“I finally asked God for help and started praying AND letting Him help me.”

“I am playing piano again and finding the things that give me joy.”

“I think of you often.”

“Sarah, you are the first person I was able to connect with. Knowing you were a phone call away gave me so much hope and strength.”


I listened as hot tears rolled down my cheeks. My heart was exploding with gratitude. I remembered this woman like she was sitting here today. I rarely forget my clients. I might forget their names, I don’t forget their stories.


When she came, she was really considering suicide. She was desperate, hopeless and wishing for death to come upon her (her words).


We connected for a short time and then, she kind of dropped away. Sometimes that happens (too often) in this world. I have wondered countless times what happened to her. I wondered if she had chosen to step out of darkness by stepping into hope or by giving her pain a final rest.


She chose life. God bless her, she chose life.


After thanking her for calling and telling her what that meant to my heart; I told her I thought she was tremendously brave for reaching out. She told me that she was not brave, she was desperate and that it was terrifying to reach out when she did.


“Isn’t it so marvelous that sometimes it takes desperation to make us brave?”, I asked.


My heart is so full. We all matter, don’t ever forget that.


Choose life. Also…special note to self…choose to listen.

What’s done is done, what’s gone is gone….right?

“What’s done is done, what’s gone is gone. One of life’s lessons is always moving on.”

I saw this posted here or somewhere and it pinged my heart deeply. As a result of my divorce; countless beautiful things have happened. I healed things in myself that I didn’t know needed healed. Subsequently, healing things between my children and I is ongoing. I went back to and finished grad school. I moved from the only home I have known for my lifetime.

All of this is beautiful yet I have realized recently the heaviness of things I am holding tightly onto. My ex spouse did not choose me. He did not choose our family over his desires. Four years later; we have a wonderful friendship and co-parent well; still; I have felt so betrayed and abandoned. I am sad and feel that we (not just he) forever changed the trajectory of our children’s lives.

I believe I am right where I am supposed to be. I am not as sure when it comes to my kids. I do know we are still a family and love our children and each other dearly; our family just looks different. It is difficult for me to consolidate the pain and sadness with the healing. It seems strange that the feeling angry and the grief are hitting me now more than before. It’s hard for me to know that even though I choose forgiveness multiple times a day (on most days); I still haven’t forgotten the hurt.

Perhaps it’s because I truly want to move forward. I want to love and be loved by a partner. I find myself consistently choosing relationships with really good men yet they just aren’t quite all the way available in some aspect. Then I wonder if I am doing that on purpose to avoid more hurt and so I can say it’s them, not me. Maybe it’s me who won’t make myself all the way available.

It’s all so much to unwind sometimes.

I know it’s done and gone; it’s still hard not to bring into my now. I know I have to trust the process. Sometimes I just wish the process would hurry the hell up.

Just thinking

One of my dearest friends and I had a very heartfelt conversation this week. She had been triggered by a phone call from someone who brought back many old, traumatic memories. In our sharing, she verbalized that the perpetuator of her trauma actually brought so much healing to her life through the pain he caused.


It’s been on my heart since our conversation….there is an immense amount of personal healing that has come to me only through pain that came into my life and was often perpetuated by someone I deeply loved.


I’m not blowing sunshine up anyone’s butt here; I just want to encourage you. Sometimes the darkest times in life force us into looking at things we didn’t even realize were still hurting us. That doesn’t mean to deny the pain you might be feeling,


It’s just that rainbows really do come after rain; there is treasure among the trash; beauty does come out of ashes; there can be joy in the tragedy; peace can exist amidst the chaos; value can be found in nearly everything. None of that diminishes that sometimes this beautifully hard life just is unfair and sucky.


A quote my dear friend and I cherish…”THE WOUND IS THE PLACE WHERE THE LIGHT ENTERS YOU.”-Rumi


Hold on to hope. Reach out for help. No one needs to travel this journey alone.


XOXO and so much love.

A Tribute to Friendship, Sex, & Milkshakes

Thankful tears flowed from my eyes this morning as I thanked a friend for being the blessing he is in my life.

He is my imperfect friend who has no pressure to live up to anything but being him, because his perfectly imperfect genuine self is a rarity.

Take a big, beautiful heart and add in compassion; understanding; trustworthy; humor; integrity; wisdom;hysterical; God loving; creative man who is well dressed and super fun ..there is my dear friend.  See?  Rare.

He accepts me as is.  He loves me as is.  He might sometimes be disappointed for my choices and how they will affect me; at the same time, he is not disappointed in me.  Big difference.

He encourages me to be the best version of me I can be while never loving me any less as I travel my journey and sometimes behave like a dumbass. (true story) We speak truth to one another; even when truth is ugly feeling.  The thing is…when truth is spoken in love and safety is present…it’s a sacred treasure.  He challenges me when it’s uncomfortable and would be much easier to not.

He knows my everything.  My everything is safe with him.  He has never played judge and jury to me.  That is magical.  We’ve all been in a place that we believed we were truly safe with someone…until a dreaded, unexpected moment illuminates a reality that safety has been an illusion.  There was not acceptance and love of who you are; perhaps there was acceptance and love for who they want you to be.  That is not magical, it sucks.

Laughter, tears, and everything in between are welcome. He is proud of my accomplishments, generous with his encouragements, okay with my sunshine as well as my melancholy and super fun to go to the grocery store with.  He loves sex (not with me), milkshakes, animals, learning and laughter.  The countless endless conversations we have will never have sufficient words to let him know that he is cooler and more than he will ever grasp.

I hope and pray I provide the same for him.  There are perhaps 10 people in my world outside of my family that I have this type of friendship with.  I intend to ensure they always know how deeply I love them.

As I expressed my gratitude to my precious friend this morning, my heart was pinged.  Is this not how our God designed us to be in relation with one another?   We are made in His image, right?  I know God loves me.  He made me.  He knows my heart, he knows the numbers of hairs on my head for goodness sake.  He knows my journey.  God weeps with me, rejoices with me, and loves me in the messy middle (which is where my humanness seems to have me living the majority of the time).

Beloved human connections (could, should, can) mirror our relationship with God.  We are God’s heart, walking outside of His body but still in Him.  Our loves are the same…pieces of our heart walking outside of our body but always in us.

True Friendship…it’s a beautiful form of intimacy.  In our individuality, we are still all reflections of each other.  In our separateness, we are still made to be unified.  How cool is my God?  Not only does he offer me unconditional love and friendship through Him…he gives me that in real live humans.

The reciprocity of real friendship is the ultimate legacy to leave with another.  This type of friendship has impacted my life profoundly for the better.

I am grateful to have even one friend of this caliber in my life; sex and milkshakes too.

Philippians 1:3  “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.”

 

A learning curve

It feels very freeing to say that I do not have respect for President Trump’s character, evidenced by his behavior and actions. I am regretful that I have danced around those words for so long.

Am I still a law abiding, respectful, compassionate and loving citizen. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

I am frustrated every single time I mention Trump, I am met with how I ‘don’t see the good’. I never said he has not done some beneficial things. His character representation makes me sick to my stomach and afraid for what our children are seeing as a demonstration of leadership. I guess it would be more than fair for me to ask why the Trump defenders can’t see the damage.

Do I believe God can even work all things for good in the current state of the world? I 100% believe that, though it is beyond my scope of understanding.

I would love to invite my world to think on these….

Can we be less about ‘you are right and I am wrong’?

What would happen if we moved away from the ‘yes,but’s’ and toward ‘let me truly hear and consider your experiences and heart”?

When disdain for someone’s actions is stated, would it be possible to consider the other lens for a moment before the original statement is personalized and personal attacks or defenses are made? The pause is a powerful thing.

Instead of ‘those Republicans’, ‘the Dems’, ‘the Liberals’ or a certain flavor of religion, sexuality, etc; could we see each other as human beings who all have the same basic needs? Humanity, safety, love and compassion.

Disliking someone’s actions and behaviors doesn’t make me less of a person. It means I have a brain for logic, a heart for feeling and a voice for using.

Instead of saying, ‘I don’t see color’, and softening my voice so I am not seen as a contrarian or fearful that I’m not knowledgeable enough to use my voice, I am working on a change.

I do see color because we ALL see color. What I do with that is the important thing. Let’s have tough conversations, we can do hard things.

Softening my voice for the sake of another’s comfort when it comes to matters that matter is a disservice to myself and to others. Change the world, one heart at a time, right? Starting with my own.

Silent because I don’t know enough? BS. I’m well educated, intelligent and yearning to learn and see so that I can do better.

I believe strongly that diversity is a beautiful gift. I also intensely believe that unity can be found among diversity; just as peace can be found among chaos.

Ouch

We had agreed to be honest with each other.  We had both been hurt by infidelity in our previous marriages and agreed to promote trust and safety with each other as best we could. We hadn’t been dating long; it was actually only our third date.  Our second ‘real’ time together.  The first date, I had come down with a stomach bug.  He was super sweet, bringing me flowers and sprite and hanging out for a visit.  I still am not sure if he brought those flowers to make sure I was being honest about being sick or out of genuine kindness.  Either way, I was impressed.

We seemed to click fairly well, yet we definitely were still in the stage of figuring out if we enjoyed each other.  I had noticed a rapid change in his behavior. Within a week, he had gone from “good morning beautiful”, “your mind is brilliant”, “you are amazing”; to a more formal style of communication minus the flirting.  I obviously noticed this, right?  It’s that gut check that says something is off.

Fast forward to the  third (and final) date.  We were in the middle of a rather intimate moment and involved in a deep conversation.  I had mentioned the change that I noticed.  He was quiet for a moment, I encouraged him to just share what was on his mind.

He hesitated for a brief moment before he said, “you are just bigger than the girls I date”.  His words jolted my heart.  In that moment, it was no longer he and I in the room.  Instead, it was rejection.  It was every single person who had ever said anything ugly about my body.  It was wound upon wound about the very thing I am most sensitive about.

I cried.  He apologized.  I was trying to decipher whether he meant he wasn’t physically attracted to me, or if he was being intentionally unkind or something else.  He assured me, he only wanted to be ‘honest’.  I don’t want to pick and choose honesty, it just seemed like such an intensely vulnerable moment to choose this brand of honesty.  To my own regret, I did not stop the evening there.  We continued down a path I wish we would’ve not traveled down.  The journey was less than remarkable.  Of course it was.

He left in the morning.  I spent two days looking at myself in the mirror; seeing not a beautiful woman but a little head with a huge, outrageously large body.  I didn’t eat much that weekend, because ‘bigger girls’ don’t deserve to eat. I punished myself with disdain and a refusal to acknowledge any of the progress I have made in the past few years.  I spoke of this only to a very small group of friends that know my heart more than I know it myself sometimes.  I was devastated, disgusted and ashamed of me.  I took myself to a place I haven’t traveled in an extraordinarily long time.  His apologies were texted through out the weekend.  I remained the nice girl and said I understood.  In the moment, I did understand because I myself, agreed with him.  I was more than I should be and less than enough.

The more I thought about it and received ‘medicine’ from the people who love me, the more I came to a different conclusion.  Today, nearly a week later, I am acknowledging that it’s okay to think he was incredibly shallow and wrong in that moment. I am going inside of myself and asking why I skimmed right over the pain when it happened and continued with a path I didn’t really want to go down. I am horribly sad that my size determined my value to him.  I am even more sad that I have spent any time of this precious life aching to be who he wished I was.

As I mentioned, we are each entitled and encouraged to have preferences and know what we are attracted to. What I cannot fathom is why someone would in essence, attack someone in a most vulnerable situation.  What is the ‘reward’ of that kind of honesty?

He withdrew, going from several conversations  a day to perhaps a goodnight or “how are you?” text.  I had no idea what was going on in his head.  Was he feeling so bad he didn’t know how to recover this?  Was he trying to ghost me?  I don’t know.  I finally just told him that his behavior was extremely confusing to me.  I received a quick response, “I am sorry, we are still friends, right?”

I explained that I was happy to explore a friendship but didn’t need a pen pal.  I sent him a video with my very real perspective.  He’s missing out.  His opinion does not determine my value…though it took me a while to get there and I’m still working on it.  I am the unique kind of beautiful that I love.  My heart is pure, my mind is inquisitive, my spirit is genuine and real, I am compassionate, funny, smart and though I am not Ms. Universe, I am the kind of beautiful only I can be.  He doesn’t see and that’s okay…he is not for me.  My last text to him was to let him know that I had his really cool wine tumblers if he wanted them back.

Truly, I don’t think this is a bad guy. I think he has parts of him that are super cool. He is intelligent, attractive on the outside and a great conversationalist. I do believe he is sorry for hurting me. I am sorry he hurt me too, yet I’m thankful that I was forced through this ugliness to face some feelings I’ve been burying for too long.

Since my ex- husband left our home, it was my prayer and my desire to learn to love and accept myself.  Fully.  Always.  I will continue to strive to be the best version of me, and I am lovely right where I am…not just when I arrive.

The pursuit of health and healthy living is of the upmost importance. I have worked my ass off the past two years to get to a healthy place…inside and out. I’m still a work in progress and hope to God I always will be.

I wonder about our world. I wonder what it would be like if the pursuit of kindness, character development, compassion, humor and gentleness were more important than the pursuit of a hot body. Maybe they are; I just haven’t found that person in my dating life.

If someone had to choose to love my mind and heart or my appearance, I would choose my heart and mind; no contest.  I know that while I have my physical preferences, heart, mind, compassion and character are my ultimate deciders.  I hope and pray that there is someone who loves ALL of me, not in spite of my uniqueness, but because of it.

Also…I am keeping the wine tumblers.

 

 

 

My heart’s response…what’s yours?

My version in response to this…

“I am praying for you.”

Translation: You matter and I am concerned. Practicing the art of surrender and trust is so hard for me whether it’s to, “trust the process”, “trust the universe”, “trust the pole”, or anything else. This includes surrendering you and your outcome. I personally choose to pray to God because my past experiences, my faith, and my heart make me believe this is the most loving and viable option.

“If you don’t get COVID-19, we will claim God shielded.”

Translation: I won’t. I will struggle with why some people did and some people didn’t. I might wonder why a person ignores every request to social distance. I might wonder why they still got it even if they seemed to do everything right. I likely will never understand. Whether I believe in God or not, I will resolve that no human ever has all the answers….so we create our own. This gives us an illusion of control where we truly have none. But humanly, we believe an answer will make us feel better. In the meantime, I will continue to wrestle w God and human reasoning, just as I always do. The answers will be my own, for this is my journey.

“If you do get it and recover, we’ll claim God healed.”

Translation: if you get it and recover, I will be eternally grateful. I will again struggle with why some people got it and recovered while some didn’t. I will choose to believe that, “Jesus wept“ while we wept. I will remember that life and breath are precious and none of us know when our first or last days will be… This matters if a big semi hits us, if we take our own lives, if there is cancer or heart disease, if there is just no reason…Not one human makes it out alive. We can choose gratitude or we can choose constant struggle. Personally, I usually choose a little of both. I don’t know how to do different than that, I myself am human.

“If you die, we’ll explain that God had a reason..”

Translation: this is the biggest copout religious people ever use. I don’t believe God controls us like checker pieces, but I used to. I believed that we were like goldfish swimming around in his tank. Now I believe the saying that I’ve heard so many times. “We are not humans having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings, having a human experience.” This life is not permanent, no matter your belief system.

It is possible that the same results are possible by praying to a telephone pole. Again, my life has led me to this place and I believe the deep joy I experience in the midst of shit is the result.

I recently read that we don’t pray to change God, we pray to change ourselves.

If the same happens by praying to a telephone pole, you change….then good for you or whomever.

I’ve tried endless options as far as beliefs and religion go.

I don’t like religion and I don’t like rules around it. I do like relationship and relationship with God has gotten me through so very much in my life.

Some people can call that a crutch and others say “God is good”.

I believe the latter and I believe that I serve a God who loves us more than I could ever imagine.

None of that changes the fact that I am human and I am infallible. Whether I’m a believer or not, I never get all the answers.

I wonder if life is less about the outcome and more about the journey.

That said, I respect the journey..your’s, mine, and everyone else’s.  I’m only walking in my shoes.

 

Cha-Ching

Those credit cards that are offered with no interest for a year…then if you don’t pay, the interest has accrued the entire time and CHA-CHING….everything is due.  #life

All the emotions, desires, regrets, grief and stuff that I have managed to keep nicely boxed seems to be screaming….”BALANCE PAST DUE!”

In honor of this reconciliation; Spotify gifts me with ” my most loved songs of 2019″. Songs of life, love and love lost permeate the air.

I dream up all the things that life is not but ‘should be’ and try to fit those things nicely with the reality life is offering. My thoughts are intertwined with a hurting heart and I’m desperately fighting to simply ‘sit with “It”; “It” being the unpleasantness.

The wind is strong, the night is dark.  I imagine the leaves dancing and fluttering their way to new locations; far from the safety of the now barren trees they once were attached to.

If the leaves could talk, I feel we would have much in common.  I, too, am fluttering about; unsure of where I will land next.

I see that someone else is living in the life that was once mine.  I want to latch onto the notion that this is not how things ‘should’ be.  I want to take back what is ‘mine’.  That thought makes me laugh.  It also makes me cry.  I own nothing and nothing is mine.

I am.  That is sufficient.

The home I have known my entire 47 years is for sale.  My heart is broken yet I know these  broken pieces still make a whole and my home is truly where my heart is.

My oldest kiddo is driving.  My youngest kiddo just got rid of her braces. I got a “new to me” car.

I have completed a Master’s program and am simultaneously thrilled and terrified.  I followed through with a really hard task, and I struggle to not allow the worry of the unknowns steal the joy of now.

Three years later, it has dawned on me that it’s perfectly good and okay to move on from the marriage I once had.  I just have to figure out how.  I want my own version of a fairy tale.  Before that, I have to surrender my all to the God I (kind of) trust.

Stretching.  Trusting.  (Trying hard).

A fluttering, sputtering leaf who desperately wants to safely land.

Please God, just let me land.

 

 

 

 

A reckoning

In the moment
his affection will make you feel wanted,
his words will make you feel heard,
his eyes will make you feel seen,
his hand will make you feel held,
but until you are able to see yourself
as made whole by your Savior
and no one else, 
you will constantly go
from moment to moment
and person to person
in search of a Love
that is only ever felt
in the arms of the One
who knows you better than you know yourself,
and loves you more than anyone else.
                                               -Morgan Harper Nichols
Truth…I am a tiny bit jaded and freaked out.
I’ve had some people really hurt me in my dating (loosely used for sure) experiences.  It’s not all their fault, I have made some poor choices and there is  a consequence for everything we create…currently, it’s an emotional state of empty sadness.
I’m reflecting (read: ruminating) on the people I’ve been trying to impress by giving things that don’t belong to them…specifically man people.  Giving beyond depletion. Giving what I didn’t have to give and yearning for more than they were able to give in return. I have erased that fifty billion times and re-written it because I fear being judged or shamed.  So.  Treat with care.  It would be difficult for one  to judge me more harshly than I judge myself anyway.
I desperately want to feel cherished, not rejected.  I want to be understood, seen, accepted and appreciated for who I am.  I want to be held in the arms that embrace me with protection, respect and deep love.  I want to trust wholeheartedly and without fear of the future.
In the case that I never have those things, I accept the arms that are not equipped to keep me safe and the heart that isn’t healed to love me well.
I want to believe the truth…the stroke didn’t break me, the divorce didn’t break me, my childhood didn’t make me broken, my struggling finances and home in need of repair do not define me.  My mistakes are my fertilizer, my life is a miracle that I don’t need to ‘earn’….the list goes on…I want to believe that I am not broken, I am whole.
Because..you see…if I believe the truth that defines me as whole rather than the lie that I am deficient or broken;  perhaps I will stop accepting casual when casual is not what I want.  Perhaps I will seek out those who appreciate my quirkiness and my intelligence.  Perhaps I will seek out someone who thinks the things I consider broken in myself are the same things that make me beautiful.  Perhaps I will cease justifying when someone essentially dumps me on my ass without warning.  Perhaps I will cease my hateful self talk when I tell myself that this one dumped me because I wasn’t as pretty/thin/wealthy/fun/etc as his new focus and when he treats me less than, I will peacefully walk away.  Because…I will believe that I am worth.so.much.more.
Recently, I was awestruck by the picture I have here of Jesus holding the little girl…I looked at this in a moment of tearful frustration. I treasure this picture.  I have felt held like that before…but it seems like a lifetime ago since I felt that connected to God.  Even longer since I did a trust fall with God.
The deepest part of my heart was pinged.  “Sarah, if you want to be loved fully, you have to let me love you fully first.”  So reminiscent of something a dear friend said to me a few months ago but it wasn’t my friends voice I heard.
Why don’t I let God love me like only He can, preferring to keep him always at a slight distance?  I know the why’s…I’ve analyzed this forever but they aren’t nearly as important as what I’m going to choose now.
Going from moment to moment; person to person, in search of this Love I am intensely afraid of never experiencing…there is loneliness.  Not one moment nor one person is filling me up with this love I am longing for.  I get sad at the end of these ‘moments’, especially when I have earnestly cared for someone and honestly believed they were different.  Again, I can’t expect someone to give me something they don’t have.  I guess I can thank them for helping me see that my focus belongs elsewhere.
The embrace I long for is the same embrace I continue to push away.  I want to be fully known.  I want to know that I am fully loved, even though or maybe because I am fully and truly known. It’s maybe my deepest desire within myself.
So here we are, my God and I.  Together we face some unpleasant situations of my own making.  Together, we deal with those things.

Reckoning. Reconciling.  Learning to trust again.

 

 

Oh life…

It is so strange how our life experiences serve to teach us…I think they do anyway.

I read a quote, “Instead of asking why is this happening to me, ask what is this teaching me?” Instant shift.

It really is an instant shift. I begin to ask myself what my accountability in the experience is, how it is familiar to choices I have made before, and I can explore what is at the root of my choice. Hopefully, even if I can’t clarify the lesson, I can find value in the journey.

Goodness sometimes life surprises me. People surprise me. Sometimes in ways that make my heart sting, other times in ways that make my heart soar…and everything in between. Trying to remember that in many cases, the hurt someone caused is so much more about them than me but my mind has a much easier time grasping this than my silly heart.

So, my questions of the day…what am I learning right in this moment and dear God, where do I go from here?

Happy Tuesday my loves. Enjoy your journey today (and every day)!