Retracing Steps

Photo by Maria Webster

I’m pretty sure my mom was my first love; I’ve always been a momma’s girl. And yet, my grandmother was my favorite. She doesn’t remember me much these days; in fact, she doesn’t even know my name. As hard as I have grieved with her still here on this earth trapped inside her body because of Alzheimer’s, I have realized that it doesn’t matter that she doesn’t know who I am, or that she can’t remember my face, because I will never forget hers. Not ever. Our love and bond remain inside of my heart. As she fades and memories quickly escape her, love lives on and refuses to die inside a remembering heart. She can’t retrace her former steps anymore and reminds me of all the reason why we should.

One of the signs of Alzheimer’s is that you become frustrated because you can no longer retrace steps and figure out where you have been or what you are looking for. You can’t go back because you don’t know where “back” is. I think the process of healing and moving forward is much the same, retracing steps and figuring out what pieces of you are missing. It seems to me that we spend so much of the time looking for the missing pieces and traces of who we are and even more strained effort trying to deny the void exists. It hits me with such force that we have been trapped as well; locked up inside and stuck, with no diagnosis for our soul sickness to help it all make sense. We want a magic pill and quick healing because we are afraid. We want to skip steps, not retrace broken ones.

These inward missing things and retracing steps, what does this mean, this process of going back so that we can move forward?

Can we say, “Lord, I believe but help my unbelief”? Can we let our belief and the sum of our mustard seed sized faith dance together with our unbelief, trusting that our minuscule amount of faith can give way to possibility? Or even deepen our faith in such a way that the believing side of us is much stronger than the unbelieving side.

In Mark 9 we find a desperate father pleading on behalf of his broken boy.

Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth. So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it: “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!” (Mark 9:20-25 NKJV)

Jesus spoke to the deaf and dumb spirit, commanding it to leave and enter the broken boy no more. Once again I am reminded of just how much the enemy wants to silence our voice and the words that God has called us to speak. We accept the enemy of our soul’s accusations that God could never use someone who has walked such dusty, broken roads and our voice becomes muffled, and then mute.

We wallow on the dirty earth, throwing ourselves into the fire and water, trying to destroy the brokenness that has been with us for far too long. We have exhausted all other resources trying to fix and fill up our missing pieces. We have turned to people and pleasures and trifle things hoping to validate the bottomless soul void wrestling with our unbelief while we cling to a fragment of faith wondering if it’s enough. God is not mad that those polar opposites, belief and unbelief dwelling together inside of us. He says, “All things are possible if you believe, let me help you with the things you don’t.” I can fix that broken girl inside, the one that has been there since childhood, and make her whole and fierce with faith.

The goal is not that we would no longer wrestle with belief mingled with disbelief, the goal is that our believing, brave self will win because the God inside of us is greater than the sum of all that we are not. We can be so close to our healing and so afraid of it at the same time. It has always been that invisible, childhood companion disguised a friend. But, it’s not a friend at all; it’s a stronghold. There is no greater baggage than the one that says, “It has always been this way.” And so you make peace with the familiar and welcome it as apart of the makeup of who you are. You accept it as your spiritual and genetic DNA. Perhaps that is part of the problem and our equivalent of throwing ourselves into the fire and into the water.

This ability, the retracing of steps can and will propel us forward if we will let it. When I walk into a room temporarily forgetting what I was actually doing in the first place, which apparently becomes more familiar as we age and mother in a distracted world, I know that eventually I will remember what I was supposed to be doing and I’ll do it. Grandma can’t do that anymore. I close my eyes and I see her scribbles and notes on oversized calendars, you see, she was always trying to keep up with what mattered most, her family. It was her way of remembering and I’m sure she realized this slipping of mind space and her need to retrace steps to go back in hopes of remembering. Post-it notes and scraps of paper with messages littered the area next to her phone. She didn’t want to forget her most important things in life.

So, maybe just maybe, it is hard-wired in each of us to retrace steps as apart of the problem solving process both in the mundane day-to-day routines as well as our emotional state of wellbeing. To own it by remembering it and wrestle with what it taught you, that place where forgiveness takes place and belief and disbelief mingle together. A place where you admit you possess both, believing and disbelief, asking God for the believing side of your heart to be enlarged and greater because of who God says He is, not because of who you are.

Retrace steps to remember where you have been, not to cripple who you are becoming.

Retrace steps to acknowledge the baggage so you can disown it and unpack it. Let it go for good, so you can walk uncharted territories. Beautiful steps are waiting.

Much love,

Jennifer

photo credit: Maria Webster

Margar & Me

Margar & Me

A Disgrace To All Housewives

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I got a text yesterday about a family that needed a meal and I volunteered to do it. By volunteering, I mean, I offered to buy them a meal. Why? Because I’m not a good cook. I’ve mastered about five really good meals and I can rotate and fake it. I can buy pre-made things and figure out another way to make chicken, add a few sides and call it good. A decade ago I would have stressed, planned, and flipped through cookbooks. I would have wasted an entire day of doing something I didn’t enjoy and that I wasn’t good at. The Lord knows I’m not proud of this, but I probably would have cried about it too.

I wonder why we feel like we have to be well-rounded and good at everything? Why can’t we just be good at what God has entrusted to us and pursue the joy of living artfully?

I can’t tell you how much time I wasted trying to be well-rounded, desperately spinning my wheels to be good at everything. I’m not sure where we have picked up that idea, but maybe we aren’t supposed to be good at everything. In the parable of the talents the master was handing out talents, a bag of gold, to each according to his ability. And it breaks my heart to read about the man who was too afraid of that one thing he was given and so he buried it.

To the other he gave five, to the other he gave two, and to he timid man he gave one. The one with two doubled what he was given. The one with five doubled what he was given. And the man with one started to dig deep, racked with fear of not knowing what to do and what value that one talent meant, he hid it and refused to figure out what to do with it. (Matt 25:14-30 NIV)

In my early twenties I couldn’t relax because I was too busy comparing myself to others. I was looking at what God had given others to work with and I measured myself according to what He handed someone else, instead of looking inside at the bag of gold God had given me. I was the girl holding something of value in my hands and heart, but I didn’t have the slightest clue what to do with and so I hid it. I buried it. I compared it. I wasted it.

To compare gifts is to bury gifts and make them unusable. To covet gifts is to throw away what God has entrusted to you in reckless pursuit of traits and gifts you were not meant to have. It is such a waste of time, this chase to be something we are not.

Don’t make it your goal to be well-rounded, ask God to take the gifts He has placed inside of you and smooth the edges to take on a different, glorious shape. A shape that fits you and your gifts. I wasted so much time trying to be well-rounded, trying so hard to master things that I was never meant to be good at. I’m a firm believer in trying things for the first time, I have loved exploring my gifts and my calling. I have watched it take on shapes and change with each season. But, I have also set aside things that I am passionate about to tackle things that I hate because I thought I had to be good at everything. I thought I had to say yes to everything. I was exhausted, spent, and discontented.

I don’t want to be good at everything, I want to spend and multiply what God has given me to work with and invest in the hearts of others. That is where I see the gifts of God double, grow, and bloom. I want to use up every ounce of what God has given me and not worry about the things He hasn’t.

If He gives to each according to his or her own ability, why on earth would we look at it and say it’s not enough to work with? God can teach us the ability to multiply what we have, not based on what someone else has. We can do amazing things by thanking God for what He has given us to work with because it’s stinking amazing. I can change my corner of the world with the things He has placed inside of me. I don’t have to hide or be afraid, and I’m sure not going to bury my gifts by minimizing them.

I believe that we should take risks and try new things, I think we should step outside of our comfort zone and grow. But, I don’t think for one second that this means we have to morph into something that we are not. We have one glorious life to live and some pretty spectacular things waiting for us when we stop wasting our time with things that are completely outside of the landscape of who we are.

There is nothing wrong with you, but maybe you are trying to fit a certain mold? Maybe you are hiding and digging in the dirty ground scared to use up and spend the beauty of who you are. Cultivate a heart that learns to listen to His voice and stop comparing and crippling yourself. Figure out who you are and be really good at that.

Much love from a disgrace to all housewives,

Jennifer

Photo by Seattle Municipal Archices Seattle Municipal
Quote by: Jennifer Watson

Permission to Run

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A three-hour drive would be enough time to tell him everything, my plan was to end with this: Run.

Forget about how much you love me. Forget about asking for my hand in marriage and getting your first job to pay for my engagement ring. Don’t think about the fact that I’m the first woman you ever said, “I love you” to in a car parked at your daddy’s church with the rain falling so hard it sang us a love song. Just drive me home and I’ll tell you everything and all the reasons why you should run.

But, he didn’t run. As my words spilled out, I watched him grip the steering wheel so tight I thought it would snap. I watched creases and frown lines etched from pain from hearing my story. I found myself comforting him, but I tried not to reach for his hand, for his anything.

I wasn’t raised in a pastor’s home like he was. I didn’t have the view of marriage that he did. Marriage scared me to death. I knew marriage was supposed to mean forever, but I also knew I never, ever wanted my parents back together. Sometimes people come together and become toxic. When one person wants Jesus and the other wants a bottle and to chase women, marriage is a trap and toxic. That wasn’t the way Jesus meant for it to be. In my young mind I thought if you stayed in that you became broken down, trapped, and flailing. Everyday is about survival and brutal. You watch your little girls become different people when a man and fear walks through the door. Your strong self, becomes a scared self. You think about taking your life, you think about running, and you pray with groans, not words. You pray with tears and one-worded-prayers…Help.

And I didn’t want that, not for me. Not ever. I wanted the fairy tale, but fairy tales were a lie and somehow fairy tales saved my life at the same time. I had reason to hope, to dream, and I started that process of escape when I was too little to know what a dreamer was. If it got loud, if I heard raised voices, I could slip away to another place that I created in my head, my La la land, and I liked it there because it was safe. My dad called it having my head up my a**, but I called it wonderful. I felt Jesus there, that heavenly Daddy. And every time I went somewhere else in my mind, I found Jesus waiting for me in my secret space.

If you yell at me, I will check out. I will put my head up my a** and only come back to you when you stop the yelling and scaring me and scarring me.

That was when I learned how to build walls and go somewhere else, an isolated fortress of protection. That’s when I learned how to run, even if it was only in my mind. A running dreamer.

I could emotionally run away until I learned that I didn’t have to anymore. I could stand. I could pray one-worded-prayers. I could hold on. I could let go. And I could ask God to teach me how to let someone love me even if I thought running would be a better, smarter idea.

Sometimes we have baggage that we picked up from other people, our family history, and the ones we love. We wonder if genetics and bloodlines will be stronger than the new creation that God is building in us. But, with all my heart I believe that the old has gone and the new has come when we become followers of Christ and we must be brave enough to believe that the Word will cut and be sharper than all the wrong things we picked up along the way. Sometimes we have to wrestle with the truth for a little while because we have believed lies for so long.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor 5:17 NIV)

The old self carried around baggage that we thought belonged to us, the new “us” is not tethered to the past, bloodlines, and bruised knees from falling so hard. When our past life is more like a poorly written country song instead of a fairy tale, we can take God up on His word and ask for a little bit of “new” and a little more of letting go. We can add to our one-word-prayers and add five more words.

Help me let go of yesterday.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” (Is 43:18 NIV)

The NLT version says it this way, “But forget all that–it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.”

I love that. Forget about all that, all of the mess, and the things you would rather not replay in your mind, and watch what I am about to do because it’s going to blow your mind.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ez 36:26 NIV)

I know what it’s like to have a heart of stone. I know what it is like to shut people out and runaway to my emotional hiding place. And I know what it is like to let the former things remain in their proper place, out of my way and a thing of the past. And you can too, you don’t have to carry around the former, broken things and beat-up baggage from bloodlines and bad mistakes. If all you can utter right now is “Help” that’s okay. But, if you can and you mean it, add the five other words, “Help me let go of yesterday.”

Much love to you,

Jennifer

Costume Change

I bought a new shirt last week. I know, buying a new shirt is not really blog-worthy; but sometimes it is. You see, six months ago I wouldn’t have bought the shirt. Why? Because “they” might not like it. Who are “they”? Glad you asked.

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I’m a theatre junkie. I’ve been known to say on more than one occasion that I wish life were like a musical. I spent my high school years on the stage. I’ve been cast in many parts. It’s fun assuming the personality of a fictional character, getting into costume, grabbing your props and standing beneath the spotlight. There’s nothing like the rush that comes from playing to a full house.

What I didn’t realize until just recently was that I wasn’t just a good actor on the stage, but I was a good actor off the stage as well. And my acting started way before high school.

As the first granddaughter I was adored. My grandmother insisted that I do all things girlie. There was much curling-of-the-hair, painting-of-the-nails and shopping for little frilly things. Then there was dance. I hated dance. Grace and poise were not traits I was born with. My feet and my brain share no connection and dance was a humiliating challenge for me. But I looked cute in my little tutu and when I stood on that stage grandma beamed. Winning her approval was worth any sacrifice. So I laced up my tap shoes and followed the spot light across the stage.

Manners mattered to her. Little girls should be dainty and pretty and poised. They should sit still, speak softly, hold their fork just so. They should say please and thank you and look you in the eye. They shouldn’t run or jump or be loud indoors. And so I performed for her. I became the sweet sophisticated little girl she desired.

As a child we lived pay check to pay check. Everyone who knows my mom would describe her as a hard worker. The oldest of six she started working to help put food on the table for her family at a very young age. As a mom she continued to work hard to provide for our family. She wanted more for her kids then working long hours at dead end jobs to just barely get by. She wanted us to be successful. To go to college. To achieve something with our lives.

So I became a diligent student. Advanced classes and high grades became the focus of my life. Science fair projects, essays, research, studying; they defined me as an older child into my teenage years. If there was a hoop, I would jump through it in attempt to please her.

I became “the smart one”. Teacher’s pet, nose in a book, asking for extra credit assignments… I played the part to the best of my ability. I graduated near the top of my class, earning many academic awards and a full scholarship to college. Mom was proud and I felt empty.

In junior high my circle of friends became solidified. I was the shy, quiet one, but the girls weren’t happy about my lack of social skills. They wanted to laugh and have fun and be silly. So I became the life of the party. I went to dances and sleepovers. Played spin the bottle and toilet papered houses. I took the classes they took. Ate what they ate. Wore what they wore. Conforming on the outside and cringing on the inside. It was worth it though, I was accepted, part of the group. I belonged.

Then there were the boys. With each new boyfriend I became a new me. Changing my personality and preferences to match whoever I was dating at the time. I seemed to be wearing a neon sign attracting boys who’s favorite line was “if you really love me you’ll…” I didn’t really love them, but I was desperate to be loved. Just like Maggie didn’t know how she liked her eggs in Runaway Bride, I didn’t know who I was in a relationship. So I became a chameleon girlfriend, and wife.

As a teenager I found God, and church, and new opportunities to perform. I learned the lingo, wore the t-shirt, and assumed the role of a good Christian girl. I conformed to the expectations of the church. I volunteered. Joined the choir. Read the latest Christian books. Amened whoever stood in the pulpit. And it worked. I was valued. I was accepted. I was approved.

With each new circumstance, each new relationship I walked out onto a stage and played a part, picking up cues as to how I should perform based on the characters sharing the stage with me. Always longing for approval, hungry for applause, I lived my life as if I were cast in a role desperate to delight the crowd.

Somewhere between the 5 year old little girl in tap shoes and tights and the 40 year old woman in a cardigan and heels I realized that my life doesn’t fit anymore. That’s the thing with costumes, unless you’re the leading lady of a hit Broadway production, costumes rarely fit right. They are generally random articles pulled and pieced together for the actor and the role at hand. Quiet often costumes are held together with safety pins and clips. Why? Because they were never meant for you. The same skirt for Anne of Green Gables to wear in the funeral scene will be used next season for the Wicked Witch of the West’s costume.

Costumes aren’t clothes. And characters aren’t real. And acting isn’t living.

The scariest, and most liberating, thing we will ever do is to walk out onto the stage of our lives as ourselves. Not pretending. Not faking. Not acting. Just being who we are. Flaws, and quirks and all.

“By God’s grace I am what I am, and His grace towards me was not ineffective.” 1 Corinthians 15:10

By God’s grace I am what I am. God’s unique creation. My life planned and formed by Him to be a reflection of His glory and grace. Why would I wear a costume created for someone else and assume the role of someone else when the Creator has already scripted a role for me to fill?

So… I bought a new shirt. Because my life doesn’t fit anymore. And I’m tired of wearing things picked out for me by other people just in hopes that they will be pleased with me. Because there is one who loves me just as I am. And His applause is enough for me.

~Keri

Photo by arcticpenguin Licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Rediscovering Me

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Keri and I sat across the table from one another tucked away in a booth sharing chips and salsa, sorrows and dreams. It was raining outside so we let the contents of our heart spill out too. We have been doing this sort of thing for years, since the first time we had Mexican food together and confessed that we were broken girls. It’s how this whole thing started, this process of becoming unbroken and pieced back together, this journey of finding other girls and taking them with us.

We seem to always have a sacred moment where I find a paper napkin and my favorite pen and start writing a thought, something God-inspired, something that causes our eyes to light up because we know our paper napkin dreams aren’t just for us, they are for you.

Keri told me about a recent conversation with one of our favorites, a woman we both look up to, about her season of singleness, dealing with the mess of divorce, and discovering who she was. It went something like this:

“You asked to be hidden, right? You have to be hidden until you figure out who the real you is. Or else, he will fall in love with the fake you, and you will have to be that for the rest of your life.”

I had one of those whiplash moments where I was completely taken back by that thought. The fake us. The one who was hiding behind a facade, a mask of what we thought whoever standing in front of us wanted to see…the fake us.

I had to ask myself a really hard, crappy, question.

Did the “fake me” walk down the aisle almost sixteen years ago, the twenty-two-year-old version of me, stretch mark-free and wearing sparkling white?

I remember the fake me vaguely, but I remember how uptight and insecure she was…especially around the people she didn’t think accepted her. I like this version of me more- the stretch mark, Spanx wearing one with laugh-lines, and a story to tell. She is flawed and fierce. She is a work in progress who loves Jesus, and people, and the mess that comes with them.

She is free.

That girl, the fake you, is a puppet on a string, she’s not free. She lives in a fake, powerful cage, and is scared to walk in freedom.

That is why we are starting this new series, Rediscovering Me, because we are wondering if you are hiding behind the fake you.

The real version is better. The real you is stunning and it’s scary being her, but it’s the most beautiful thing ever because it fits. We want you to find the girl you’ve forgotten, the joys that used to thrill you- the moments that made you feel alive and whole and worth it.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Gal 5:1 NIV)

The free, non-fake version of us can’t return to the things that held us captive anymore. We have to walk uncharted places and let God lead us. Sometimes we feel trapped because we continually stay in the same place, our invisible cage.

The fake you simply won’t do. Not anymore. So, are you in? Will you take this journey to walk in freedom?

We would love for you to blog about your experience, your “fake you” story, and linkup with us!

Much love,

Jennifer

A Braveheart Moment & Subtraction

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I’ve said this a million times…I only like numbers when they are working in my favor. The act of subtracting gives me mild heart palpitations, or maybe it’s the coffee. Either way, I just want to know that I have something to work with, something to hold in my hands and trusted friends by side. There are times when we just want more. And then God reveals a better, scarier picture of us standing there with infinitely less. And we whispered, “You have got to be kidding me?”

How many times have we watched people gather their army in the battle? We want a “Braveheart” moment with fists pumping in the air, instead we find ourselves standing with the group of scrawny kids no one wants on their kickball team. I’ve always been the scrawny kid that gets pummeled. In Junior High the rationale was that the more people you have rallied in your corner, the greater the chances were for victory. The numbers said you were right and if you were wrong you still had a crowd of people being wrong with you. At least you weren’t alone and wrong. Last night I was reminded of Gideon. As he was gathering his army the word from God told him to subtract from the mighty army…not add. (Judges 7) In the end it was about God receiving the glory for the victory, not man. I can’t imagine how scary it was for him to say, “Send all those big boys home and end with three hundred, not thousands like you had intended.”

If you want victory…you have to subtract. And I guess that’s where I am right now, subtracting all the things that I think will make me feel better or make me feel like I’m winning. God keeps stripping me of what I think I need to be successful and removing the fear from saying “no” to things that aren’t on His list for me right now. Somehow we must allow the numbers be against us, not in our favor.

One by one, as Gideon’s vast army looked less mighty and more like a recipe for disaster, God promised the victory. It didn’t have to make sense or have to be in the play-books of how to conquer the enemy. In the end it was all about obedience. God was asking some pretty big things of someone who wrestled with fear. (Like we all do.) God never saw Gideon as someone who was afraid and cowered, He spoke into that heart and called him a mighty warrior. He spoke to the man he would become and called that into being. And when he was afraid, God spoke peace into his timid heart.

“Peace be with you, do not fear, you will not die.” (Judges 6:23)

Gideon had moments where he asked God for confirmation, asking for a sign, anything to let him know the instructions were from God and not him. (Judges 6:36)

You are a mighty warrior, a man or woman of valor. God calls to us in our seasons of wanting to add so much more to our list than we can actually handle and asks us to subtract. I know this season for me, the painful act of removing things that have become a security blanket, is essential to real and lasting victory in many different areas in my life.

Sometimes more is just more.

I have felt this prayer rising up in my heart as I feel God subtracting and removing the things that I think are powerful and mighty, nothing can compare to what the power of God brings in our lives.

God,
Be mighty in us. Whatever you have to subtract in us and in our “army” to help bring about true victory, subtract it and release us for real kingdom battle where you win. We don’t need more, we just need you.

Amen

Much love,

Jennifer

My Broken Girl Story- My Messy Beautiful

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My daughter came to me wearing a frown as she carried her favorite stuffed animal, Chickie. When you love something hard it’s bound to tear, sometimes in the same place where the first wound originated. Chickie has required multiple surgeries and so have I. What I have been through physically is nothing compared to what others have faced. I started writing seriously seven years ago, before then I was just playing. Prayer journals and angry poetry placed at my bedside as I dealt with miscarriages, surgeries, and tests that hurt so badly that I would fold in the elevator only to stand when the door opened. I never wanted anyone to see me folded, weak, and messy.

Six years ago I was recovering from an emergency surgery. I had two weeks to prepare beforehand and I was trying my best to figure out another option other than what my doctor strongly suggested.

“It’s now or later…how long do you want to suffer? I would never recommend this surgery to a thirty-one-year-old unless it was needed.” I nodded, still scared to death as he set the date and I emotionally ran away.

With several staged interventions of loved ones and friends, I folded again and surrendered to the cutting of surgery and process of healing afterwards. But I wasn’t ready for the fear that was surfacing and the nightmares that happened as I drifted off to sleep. This peaceful sleeper began to fight and scream with terrors. My husband would rush to my side and one time had to physically pick me up and put me back in the bed. We were both terrified and knew this was not normal for me; I was running scared even in my sleep. I was a rag doll who needed to be fixed with torn places no one could see, both on my heart and in body.

I’ve always been the girl who never liked to slow down, especially if it was forced. Yet being forced to slow down was the best thing for my health and my heart. Now I make rest and taking care of myself a priority. I stopped running, I asked those really hard questions like…how old was I when my mom placed two brown-eyed-girls in a car and drove off to find the three of us a safe place? Where was our family in all of this? Where was God?

I acknowledged that what happened to her and to us was not okay as I forgave again and rejected bitterness. Again. God was always right there leading my mom, carrying her as she cried and fought for her girls. It seems like there has to be a good reason for running and hiding and pauses for healing both physically and spiritually. And so I did all of that really well and gave myself room to go retrace broken places in my past. I kept a few people at arms length until I healed. I gave myself permission to not be okay until one day I really was okay and better than ever. And as I sit here with the sun on my face and joy in my heart, I can tell you with confidence that God heals your broken past and gives you a stronger, clearer voice with beautiful things to say if you let Him. Sometimes our messy is the most beautiful thing that could ever happen to us. Our messy gives way to the beautiful and the miraculous.

It’s okay to run from the things that hurt you as long as you always find yourself running to God who makes forgiveness actually attainable instead of a nice thought. God can mend broken homes and hearts and sometimes He gives you an open door and a trusted friend to wrap their arms around you and help you cry a little, or a lot, as you come up for air before you lace up your running shoes. One day the running stops and the messy, beautiful dance starts because you are free. Not perfect. Not free from battle wounds, but in a place where mending begins.

Ask those hard questions, let God mend your torn places. I’m convinced that we travel back and forth from broken places and seasons, we are never really exempt from hard, tattered places…and so we run like rag dolls and let God do His surgery. We let Him unfold our fetal position posture and we stand stronger and there we find Him waiting with healing in His wings. Your messy is beautiful and exactly what this world needs. Let the messy mingle with the miraculous…wild, free, and fiercely beautiful.

Much love,

Jennifer Renee

This post is part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior project- to learn more and join us, click here ! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback!

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