brokenness

Whose attractive image do you want to reflect?

Sitting in church on a Sunday morning listening to the message I was stopped by that feeling rising within me. I’m talking with you, my daughter…will you listen?

It’s every little girls dream to have her daddy walk her down the aisle to her waiting fiancé. Right? I’m not alone in this, am I?

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Awwww

I know.

You can tell I am his daughter – right? Daddy’s girl.

Same big brown eyes.

Same head full of thick dark hair.

It doesn’t take much to be able to tell I am his daughter. I reflect many of his characteristics.

My dream came true the day he walked me down the aisle to my waiting fiancé.

The picture doesn’t tell the whole story though. What you can’t see from looking at this photo is that he walked out of my life shortly after the courts took us from his home when I was ten years old. He walked out again after walking me down the aisle.

You can’t see that no matter what I desired, he would not pursue me as his daughter. I’m sure he is a good man. But chose not to pursue a relationship with me.

Why wouldn’t he choose relationship with me? 

I asked – when my daughter was 3 months old. I made a trip to ask him to be involved in her life and in mine. He said his priorities had been messed up. Maybe he wanted to – but didn’t seek me out. About three years later I received a call from him but by then I was angry. Heartache is real and grief has a progression of emotions that takes on a life of its own.

Years later in a handwritten, snail mail delivered note I would ask his forgiveness for my anger and the range of emotions I felt towards him over the years. I unexpectedly got a response from him. “Let’s try again.” Of course I want to try again. It’s the longing of my little girl heart & my big girl heart too.

He never followed through with pursuing a relationship with me…his daughter.

A heartache I have carried most of my life.

I wonder if you have carried that same heartache.

Maybe different circumstances than mine – But your heartache has been very real.

3 things that stood our for me as I sat in the chair – absent from the sermon:

1 – God has not left us fatherless. He himself is a Father to the Fatherless. {Psalm 68:5}

2 – God Knew us before He formed us {Psalm 139}

3 – God Chose us {Ephesians 1:4}

As I leaned in to pay attention to the thoughts flowing through my mind, the words came one by one.

Though I have long desired to be loved by the one whose image I clearly reflect, God has not forgotten me. His love and care for me is as real as my desire for a daddy. He knows me and he has not left me alone or without a father. A daddy. It’s one thing to read these words and quite another thing to let them sink into who I am and how I view myself.

My Father. Who knew me. Who is my strong tower. Who is my safe place. He is the one whose image I want to reflect. I want you to look at me and see a glimpse of the reflection of my father, God. Because I know Him, because I’ve spent time with him, because the more I do, the more I reflect His image – without great effort.

I think of  the photo of JFK – his son playing at his feet in the Oval Office. As the son of the president he had access unearned. I think in pictures like this one.

God knew me before He formed me in my mothers womb. He granted me access unearned.

I was already a Daddy’s Girl.

His Girl Not because of anything I did. And He didn’t leave because of anything I did wrong or could have done better. Nothing brings me more peace than this. Nothing helps me settle my anxious heart more than this.

My Dad – I may have his eyes, I may have his hair. But today I can say I reflect something much more beautiful than my earthly Father.

I hope as you look at me you see a glimpse of the resemblance of my Heavenly Father who has loved me since before I took my first breath.

But more than that, if you have faced heartache from not being chosen, from a father walking out of your life, or maybe a father who had stayed but not been present, there is a Holy God who is as close as your breath who made you in His image and longs for you to know just that. I hope as you stand in front of a mirror after reading my words, YOU see in yourself a glimpse of who God is just by the very fact that He created you.

He is your Father. He knows you better than you could ever imagine, your thoughts, your heartaches, your joys, your desires.

And He is pursuing us, you and I. He has and will continue to. He loves you more than you will ever know. Will you sit with these thoughts for a bit to consider whose attractive image you want to reflect?

THE FIGHT BACK From the Wall

The window closed. The words stopped coming. At least words that I could share publicly with others. Imagine filling a swimming pool with ping pong balls and trying to submerge all of them at the same time. Arms not long enough or wide enough. Body mass not able to cover the expanse.

Two and a half years ago I stopped writing publicly {mostly} in order to deal with the thoughts that came rushing in when my mother died. The thoughts came from every direction in uncontrollable succession. I didn’t know what to do with them when they came. Most days I couldn’t even catch my breath. I’ve written maybe three times on my blog since then. The winter months left me frustrated and overwhelmed, unable to make syllables come to form words. In private the ink pen was ready. Nothing. I was waiting on God to help. Nothing. I showed up and waited. Longed. Did what I had done before hoping it would flip a switch somewhere in me. Silence. Spiritually I hit a wall. Over and over.

FullSizeRenderI had been patient in the first days, weeks and months of waiting. Waiting for the words. When spring came I would go to my quiet place. The place where the breeze blew through the screens and the sun warmed my skin. The words came bit by bit but stopped as quickly as they came. Just a few at first. A few more the next time. Some days none.

While she was still living it was hard for me to find words with my mother. The words I used and the timing – always wrong. Should be no surprise that the words didn’t come. I felt I had no voice with her. As she left this earth I began to wonder if my ability to find the words left too. Ironic. A writer-friend shared with me that perhaps I might consider uncorking the bottle of wine. Not literally, but figuratively. She wondered if I might be able to just let the words spill out at first in my writing and come back after I’d gotten them out to clean them up.

I wonder if you have ever experienced a time like this in your life? I wonder if maybe you’re there now.

Oh how my heart feels for you. I long to walk with you through this time. To let you see in to where I’ve been. To see where I am today. And to help you find hope and courage to keep fighting. Fighting for life. Fighting for words. Fighting for peace. Fighting to believe God is with you even when you aren’t so sure.

I stepped over each crack in the concrete and rounded the corner. As my eyes lifted I was glancing at this brick wall at this beautiful angle. It pulled me in and reminded me that in much the same way, unexpectedly, I had begun to see beauty again. I was still hitting a wall, but I began to set my sights to give thanks for every circumstance God was allowing me to walk through. Trusting He would work all of it for His good.

As I dare to let my words spill out before you, this messy-real life-writer, please know it is a part of my fight to find my way back. Just showing up. See, I would never have called myself a writer before. I would just share my words and others who knew me well would tell me I was a writer. It’s only as I lost the ability to find the words that I knew what it was to be a writer. A writer with no syllables.

I am a writer. I am back. The cork has been popped. The wine is spilling out and it is messy. This post is the first in my attempt begin to process out loud with you what the fight back has been and still is for me today.

Precious One,
My hope for you today is the same encouragement I received from a dear friend in the middle of the hardest part of the process: O, LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore. {Psalm 131}. May you find the rest you need as you hope in the LORD.

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Girlfriends & Bookends – Unspiritual Community

If you are joining us for the  first time, we are reading through Becoming A True Spiritual Community by Larry Crabb. We would love to have you join us. It’s a very casual time to turn the pages of our book together in an attempt to learn more about community. Feel free to look back over some of the comments from our previous chapters.

Laura sent us a snapshot of her reading all the way from Hawaii. Let’s try NOT to be jealous :-).

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I wish we didn’t have to look at Unspiritual Community in order to understand more clearly Spiritual Community.  In talking with a friend recently about a particular topic, she urged me “un-teach us before you teach us.”

Larry says in Unspiritual Community “we tend to either hide our problems or parade them.  In neither case do we give. There is no reflection of the life of the Trinity.” I wrote a note in the book (I am good for making my marks like that) that reads…evidenced In “giving”.

I’ve spent time on both ends of the extremes he mentions. On neither end did I find peace. I’ve experienced firsthand becoming exhausted with the playing it safe. The relationships I long for now are the ones in which I am invited to unveil my brokenness and yet not rejected. Relationships where admitting brokenness leads to invitation to grow through it. Together. Walking alongside one or a few others.

I love Larry’s description of the spiritual friends we need: “..broken people who will provide safety for us to be broken, caring people who want us to live and believe we can live well, giving people who pour the life they have received from God into us, people of vision, who see the Spirit shaping us into the image of Christ. Without them, we settle for much less.”

Lord, please help me to keep from hiding, self-preserving, seeking only consolation and conforming to moral principles. You are my only hope.

How about you?

Did something speak to you in this chapter about unlearning? We would LOVE to hear.

 

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Girlfriends & Bookends ~ What It Is

Happy Thursday Girlfriends! If you are reading Legacy from the Leather for the first time, we are reading from Becoming A True Spiritual Community by Larry Crabb.

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Today we have a picture of Laura curling up in Hawaii, where she lives. Funny thing is, she didn’t show us her face. Maybe later? ANyway, I am hoping she will be able to jump on here at some point and share what the chapters are speaking to her.

The chapter opens with the first line capturing my attention. “The church is a community of people on a journey to God.” I love it. And Larry says a bit later, speaking of intentional time spent with loved ones, “Like manna, our time spent together was food that nourished us…stirred a hunger for more.”

We are inclined to help answer one another’s problems. It is what comes naturally to us. When we love someone, we want to be able to offer something, anything, to help.

I love how Larry encourages us to really learn to listen to one another. To really hear. To pay attention to where God is leading. Not just leading the other, but first, leading me. When I take the time to prepare my heart before God to enter my relationships and be led by him, only then can I be sensitive to where God is moving.

I will be challenged by his quote of CS Lewis – “Put first things first and second things are thrown in.” If I make hearing God and being led by him and my worship of him my first thing then I will be able to approach the second things, the harder more complex things knowing it is the “first thing” that will carry me through. And it will carry those I do life with and love as well.

He closes the chapter with a question. Asking why this type of community is so rare. He says “I suspect it has to do with the requirement of brokenness. We’d much rather be impressively intact than broken. But only broken people share spiritual community.”

Plain and simple. That’s the kind of community Karen Trigg longs for. A community that is NOT perfect. A place where we accept one another’s brokenness and invite one another to walk toward God together.

How about you?

What spoke to you this week?

 

 

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Fabulous Friday Find – “Safest Place on Earth”

Today’s find is Larry Crabb’s Safest Place On Earth.

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This is one of my favorite books. In his book, Larry shares how to develop a spiritual community.  A community where people walk with one another and support each other through life’s journey.

I think the key we need to see is that spiritual community is not ready-made, rather it is developed over time and with commitment to the process of cultivating community.

Larry’s book encourages me to stay with the process even though it gets tough.

I would love to hear your thoughts after you read it.

A excerpt that sets the stage for the one who holds the book in their hands, speaks to the reader:

“We need each other, never more than when we are most broken. But our brokenness is not a disease, like cancer, that may or may not develop. Brokenness is a condition, one that is always there, inside, beneath the surface, carefully hidden for as long as we can keep a facade in place. We live in brokenness. We just don’t always see it I ourselves or others.”

A central task of community is to create a place safe enough for the walls to be torn down, safe enough for each of us to own and reveal our brokenness. Only then can the power of connecting do its job. Only then can community be used to restore our souls.”

my booksFor other resources you might find helpful or interesting, come on over to Ruth’s Hope Resource Room and browse around a bit.

HIS,

karen