Monday, February 28, 2011

when do we step in? DO we step in?

I was sitting at McDonald's earlier eating my lunch when a grandmother and her granddaughter,  no more than 10 years old, sat behind me. I was looking at Twitter on my phone and the older woman's words drift into my ears.

"Why did you wear that? That shirt looks terrible. Why didn't you wear a headband. You're going to have to wear a headband every day for your hair to look good." and so on and so forth. A full 10 minutes of that.


I wanted to turn around and scream at that lady saying "DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING TO THIS POOR GIRL?!?!?!"

She just sat there and took every single bit of it.  She timidly spoke up once to offer an excuse as to why she wasn't wearing a headband.

She didn't have one to match that outfit.

I like to listen to what's going on around me. Something I've been more focused on since reading the 'ears' chapter in Annie's book. But I really wish I hadn't heard this. Mostly because what do you do? As a Christian? As another woman? As  a granddaughter that has felt the sting of words from someone you thought loved you?

I can't remember a nice thing my paternal grandmother said about me. Or to me. For at least the first 17 years of my life.

Now, don't worry, this story has a happy ending. {Maybe?}

I never remember feeling 'enough' with her. 

Not smart enough.
Not skinny enough.
Not talented enough.

I remember my 13th birthday. I opened a present from her. It was a black velvet maternity shirt. I never had the courage to ask her, "It was just a mistake, right? You didn't mean to get me a maternity shirt? Right?"

I never wore that shirt. I couldn't. It was a beautiful shirt, but it served as a constant reminder in my closet of what I wasn't.

When we moved from Dallas to Mississippi (and away from her), a month after my 13th birthday. I did. not. miss. her. at. all. I didn't want to talk to her. I didn't want to see her. At the time, I think I would have been just fine if I never saw her again in my life. She was a person, that while we had happy memories, I don't remember a fondness for her at all for the first 13 years of my life.

Her words stuck with me. The cutting-to-the-heart kind. The lies that I always believed in deepest darkest parts of my mind.

She came to Mississippi 5 years later for my high school graduation. She got to hear her granddaughter address her classmates as someone that had succeeded. That was voted the 'best' 'all-around' student by her teachers. Now I don't exactly remember what she said, or even if she said anything. But for the first time, I saw someone that loved me, but that just didn't know any better than to take their words out on someone that was helpless to defend themselves.

Funny how the smallest things take you back, heh? I love my grandmother now. Is she perfect? By no means. But I do genuinely love her. I enjoy talking to her on the phone these days. I hurt when she hurts. But I also realize that the stuff I heard all those years were lies. That I "don't need to become anything but His."

What would you have done if you were me in McDonald's today? Do we have a responsibility to say something? I FIRMLY believe in honoring your father and mother (and in turn, grandparents).  But really...what do you do? I'd be interested in hearing your opinion.

I'm so thankful God brings healing.

That we don't have to live with lies.

That He brings truth.

That He IS truth.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

when God doesn't feel 'close'

I may not have blogged much about it, but last year, God just blew. my socks. off. Looking back, I wish I had recorded His faithfulness to me. I mean, I have it in my head, but there are crazy tiny little things that He did that even 3 or 4 months later, I don't remember. 

I was having a discussion with one of my friends about how much I felt like God was showing me. I began to wonder, why is He teaching me this? He wants me to apply it, but I felt like there was something big coming. Basically, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I didn't like that I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. For my world to come crashing down around me. But, I just knew eventually it would. Eventually I wouldn't be in my Bible every day. Eventually, God would feel distant. Eventually I would wonder where He went. Why He went. 

I can't say exactly when it happened, but right around the beginning of the year, the shoe dropped. I was working my way through 'Experiencing God' and was on a roll. I can still tell you the first three weeks worth of memory verses. But suddenly, I didn't have time to actually get the homework done in a week. I hate to admit that halfway through February and I think I'm mid-way through the 5th week. Think. How sad. I don't even know. It sits by my bed. I pick it and my Bible up when I head out the door some mornings planning to do it on my lunch break, but then it just lays in my passenger's seat. It moves from place to place, unopened. 
I think back to over a year ago when I decided I was going to stop living in the flesh and really 'walking' in the Spirit. I had tried and tried and tried again to be a 'good Christian' but after two weeks would put my Bible down not to be picked up again (outside of Sunday's and Wednesday's) for months on end. I was wondering why every time I tried to live for God, it felt like I was spinning my wheels and was more tired than I was to begin with. Then I heard a sermon on John 15 and 'abiding'. Suddenly I realized what my problem was. 

Well, a year later and it's the same old story. I've gotten awfully good at living in the flesh and doing things in my power. Like, really. I'm an expert. {Sadly}.

So, I sit here and wait and pray and ask for God to take over me. Help me realize that I'm nothing and He's everything. That "apart from Me you can do nothing." To let it sink in and remember.




There's a live video from Passion that came out yesterday of Christy Nockel's singing a song "Waiting Here for You" and it has been on repeat on my computer all day today. The words are below and I just keep praying them. I think they're a pretty good prayer. 

If faith can move the mountains
Let the mountains move
We come with expectation
Waiting here for You
Waiting here for You.
You’re the Lord of all creation, and still you know my heart
The Author of salvation, You’ve loved us from the start
Waiting here for You
With our hands lifted high in praise.
And it’s You we adore
Singing alleluia

You are everything You promised, Your faithfulness is true
We’re desperate for Your presence
All we need is You.
Singing alleluia
Singing alleluia
{chorus 3x}
Singing alleluia

"We're desperate for Your presence. All we need is You."
Oh Lord, make it true. 

{This post prompted by Toya's post today about remaining, and the fact that we're studying "walking in the Spirit" tonight. It's hard to teach college students to walk in the Spirit when you're doing a poor job yourself. Thankfully, there's grace.}

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Update and half of my heart...

First off, thanks for all of your sweet words about yesterday's post. I really am blessed with some of the most encouraging and awesome friends and family on the planet. And if you're thinking, Rebekah, there are two comments on that post...I'll just let you know that I received many comments on the link I posted on Facebook.  Not that it matters. 

And just to clarify, after I re-read that post (numerous times) I really sound like I'm tooting my own horn. But, I hope you understand that was not the spirit behind it. This blog is much more stream-of-consciousness writing than anything and that's what came out.  Although, there are some times where I edit my thoughts a little bit to make them funnier.  Ha. What worries me is that I try to make them funnier, and they still aren't that funny.  Oh wells.

So, some people asked for an update on how yesterday evening went and can I just say, those women were absolutely tickled pink when I walked in their rooms. I gave Mawmaw, her roommate, and Ms. Mary Ruth all a little pottery planter thingy, some lotion, a balloon and a cute little card from Lifeway. I just searched online for like...5 minutes for the card I got Mawmaw because it was absolutely so flippin' adorable, but I couldn't find it.  But the gist of it, on the front it said something to the affect of my grandparents are the BESTEST and on the inside something about me being the BLESSEDEST (I was REALLY hoping when I opened it yesterday in the store that it said the grandchildren were the BESTEST too because...that would be funny, because I'm one 8 grandchildren, so...anyway).

Ms. Mary Ruth gave me a hug. She had already changed in to her nightgown. At 5:40. So...that was kinda strange, hugging this little old lady in her nightgown, but it was sweet nonetheless.  She won Valentine's Queen for their little hall.  The same honor that she had said last Friday she was going to nominate Mawmaw for, but said Mawmaw wouldn't have it.  Mawmaw replied back with 'Oh yes I would!'. That was so funny.  Ms. Mary Ruth totally deserves it though. And it's nice that she the recognition.

The sad news is, I don't think she remembered who I was. :( I'd tell you why I think that, but, it's just sad, so...let's move on.

As I was walking out of Ms. Mary Ruth and her roommate's room they asked me if I was going out to dinner all dressed up like I was, which, I had on exactly what I wore to work, a black dress with pink and white flowers all over it over some tights and some black flats, and I had to tell them no. That I was going to go home and read and go to sleep. Ha. But they were just so complimentary (I really am going to go there any time I need a self-esteem boost!) ;)

As I was leaving MawMaw and Ms. Maxine's room, they complimented how nice I looked as well. I told them what their friends across the hall had said and Ms. Maxine says, 'Ohhhhhhhh, honey, I have a man for you!'

This is where I should have run out.  Her grandson, who I met the first time I visited Mawmaw, is available and apparently my age. She went on for 2 or 3 minutes telling me all about his great qualities.

So...evidently I should go to the nursing home for a self-esteem boost and to get set up on dates.



Last night as I got home, John Mayer's song, 'Half of My Heart' was stuck. in. my. head.  I like the song.  It's nice to listen to. Mellow. I had never really listened to the words before I don't guess. Well, I woke up this morning with the song stuck in my head and I swear I have 'listened' to the YouTube video about 20 times today. No. Joke.

I love John Mayer.  But I've noticed a pattern (thanks to Annie Downs' book!) that when I listen to him, I feel melancholy and boyfriend-needy and it's probably not a good thing. SO...maybe I shouldn't listen to him as much because...that who wants to feel melancholy and boyfriend-needy? :S Not me. But...for your listening pleasure and since I've listened to it a million times. Here's the "Half of My Heart" video.  It's sad. Sad song.

Is it just me or does he look really good in this video? 

Later y'all.

Monday, February 14, 2011

{LOVE} lessons learned

Today is the day that most singletons the world over absolutely dread. 

And for the first time in as long as I can remember, I'm not one of them.

No, no. I haven't gone and found myself a man {yet} but for some reason, this Valentine's day is different from the past 26. 

I've never been a huge fan of the holiday. I woudn't say I was a V-Day 'hater' but there was some definite, 'let's just get through this day' mentality going on. Sappiness makes me sick. {That hasn't changed.  I'm not a big fan of sappy}. To attest to this, I was telling Leah and Mom at lunch yesterday how Dollar Tree had real live red roses on sale for $1 each and I was just amazed. That led to a discussion on roses and how I absolutely do. not. like. them.  I just don't.  Yeah, they smell nice, but I'd much rather receive some daisies or...I don't know, something other than roses. Leah looked at me like I was crazy. Like I had just said I hate babies and little puppies and other things that  most people love. I think she went so far as to even say that I'm not really a girl. I assured her, I was. 

Moving on.

So...what have we established.  I'm not a fan of sappy.  The scrawling cursive script on V-day cards with the fake flowers and all the hearts just makes me want to throw up (design wise, they're just...not...pretty.) Please tell me I'm not alone on this. 

So, after all these years of dreading the holiday, imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning and thought, It's Valentine's. {and a Monday, talk about kicking someone while they're down!} and then thought...I'm so lucky to be here on this planet living my little life.  

Game.  Changer.

I don't exactly know what it is that brought about the change.  It could be that spiritually, I'm in a totally different place than I was all those years past. I now realize that God loves me, whether I'm single, married, fat, skinny, loud, quiet, if I read my Bible today, if I didn't read my Bible today.  Regardless...



And realizing that truth. That God loves you even when you feel nobody else does. It's something. It changed my life. 
I'm kind of getting off subject, but I remember sitting in Bible Study last spring. We were studying Beth Moore's Believing God {AWESOME...seriously, you should do it.} and on one of the videos...the week we were discussing the 3rd statement in the pledge of faith {I am who God says I am} I totally. lost. it. in the discussion after the video. Beth said something to the affect of, God doesn't just love you.  He likes you. And I can't exactly say why, but it's like the flip switched in my head and I realized who God really was. Does that make sense? 

He loved me.

He loves me. 

He will love me. 

No holds barred. For. Ev. Er. {imagine that said, 'The Sandlot' style}
So...maybe that's the first reason. And the second reason is kind of tied up in that. I'm not currently reading Ann Voskamp's 1000 Gifts {I know, I know, I feel like I'm the only person in the world that isn't} but I do read her blog and I've begun to realize that we are blessed beyond what we could ever need every day just by being alive and having the chance to show God's love and grace to others. Every day is a gift.

Follow me for a second. 

Last Friday night I went to visit Mawmaw at the nursing home. I usually go see her on Monday nights but last Monday I was still getting over the gallbladder surgery so, you didn't need to know that, but that's why I was there on a Friday night.  {Looking back at that sentence, I was at a nursing home on a Friday night.  That sounds so lame.} So I walked in at dinner time for most of the residents and there sat Mawmaw at the little table with these two other ladies.  I don't remember one of their names, but the other one was Ms. Mary Ruth.  I had never met either woman before, but I hadn't been sitting there 5 minutes when Mary Ruth said something to the affect of, 'You have the prettiest teeth.'

I looked at her and thought...what in THE world is this woman saying? I had been told I had a nice smile before, but never, pretty teeth. 
Then, 5 minutes later, the other woman, who was very {VERY} hard of hearing looks at Ms. Mary Ruth and says, 'Doesn't she {me} have the prettiest teeth?' and I thought, 'WHAT is up with these women and teeth?!?! I,personally, don't like my teeth, I have one in the front that is so super crooked and overlaps the other one and that's always annoyed me. hear these two women say that I had pretty teeth (some of the prettiest actually) just floored me. And made me laugh hysterically. And awkwardly. Because...what do you say to that apart from thank you? We sat there for 15 more minutes or so and I just had a GRAND OLE TIME with them. And then Mawmaw and I went back to her room and watched the 6 o'clock news and Wheel of Fortune and the beginnings of that show where celebrities see who their ancestors are {it was Tim McGraw last week}.

So...all of that to tell you that as I was sitting there with those little old ladies I thought...they need to be shown love. I mean, my Mawmaw knows I love her, but those other little ladies? They don't have visitors as much. And you would have thought I had given them a million dollars when I actually asked them their names and talked with them, not to them. My eyes were opened.  Mawmaw talked about how she had some lotions but it's no-scent and what good is lotion unless one of the benefits is smelling good? So, I decided I was going to get those ladies some lotion. and a card. and a balloon (because, Dollar Tree had mylar V-Day balloons for a dollar too!). 

I CAN. NOT. WAIT to see their faces tonight when I go visit them. They may hate the lotion. They may not like balloons. But I know they'll love the love. 

We humans were wired for it.  We were wired for love. To love and be love in returned. 

I'm quite sure that this post is all over the place and some people would say, 'You really need to learn how to edit.' but, I just had to share all this with you.  Because...I just had to. 


All this does not mean that I don't ever struggle or long to have a significant other. Just ask some of my closest friends and they can tell you about the texts they get begging them to pray for me because that day is a rough day. I've also learned it's super hard {for me} when you're crushing on someone and they don't seem to be crushing back. {As I currently am.  Will I regret saying that? Perhaps, but...I'm all for honesty}. 

But Jesus, y'all, He can do the impossible.  Including teach someone as screwed up and silly as me to learn to love like He has. Even if it's a little bit at a time.


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