These writings are for the imperfect person searching for more of the Perfect God.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Be your own kind of beautiful

Being diagnosed with scoliosis did something to me. 

It changed me. It lied to me. It distorted my confidence, messed with my worth, injured my value.  

I no longer looked into my full length pink glittered edged bedroom mirror at my young twelve year old body and felt pretty.  The reflection I now saw was "You're flawed. You're imperfect.  You're different. You're abnormal.  You're not enough."  It spoke boldly, loudly and directly like a scratched record player in the central control tower of my thoughts.

And the odd thing? I believed this crazy talk. These lies, these half truths, this twisted abusive language.  Yep, everyone of them I clung to as if they were now a part of my body. A piece of who I was.  Regardless of the amount of accolades and truth messages I'd receive from those around me, the lies always buried the truths.

But then there's my daughter. I've been in absolute awe of her since that moment on a cold day in March when my eyes locked with hers for the very first time.  

Gently unwrapping the pink and blue hospital striped cotton blanket tightly fitted around her sweet little body, the tears began to drop, one by one, from my new mama eyes.  The perfection, the beauty, the masterpiece of what God had hand stitched in my womb was too overwhelming for my human heart to handle.  To wrap my head around. 

I was completely mesmerized at the sight of her perfectly made little toes, her delicate ten tiny fingers, her teeny sweet button nose and her crystal clear caribbean blue eyes. I had never laid eyes on such perfection in my entire life and I was fully convinced I had just sampled a taste of heaven.
Each day, each month, each year, each decade which passes by, I'm equally as mesmerized as I was the day she was born.  I find her exceptionally beautiful in every minor to major, and everything in between, way. I'm continually delighted and amazed at God's matchless beauty which He has completed in and through her. 

And so, yesterday, when an x-ray was taken of her spine; and she too was diagnosed with scoliosis, my heart experienced something it had never quite experienced before. Something I never saw coming.  Something that pulled off the final and deepest layer of the lie I believed since twelve years of age.  

Something as wonderfully, perfectly, flawlessly and unequivocally beautiful, as my daughter, also had the stamp of scoliosis.  And as much as God has radically healed my heart over the last number of years; nothing has showed me greater precision into the depth of the enemies twisted lies, quite like yesterday. 

It's as if God wrapped his warm protective hands around my face yesterday, tilted it up, and looked straight into my eyes and whispered  "I see you as you see your daughter." 


"You see me as I see my priceless, delicate, beautiful, flawless, treasured masterpiece of a daughter?" I thought to myself. 

"Can't be. No way. What about my fearful heart? What about my insecurities? What about my self loathing? My scoliosis diagnosis?"

"Yes," He said, "Because it's My beauty in you that far outweighs all your inner weaknesses.  You, precious one, are My masterpiece."

We are indeed His masterpiece, aren't we? Put together with the finest of details. By the worlds most talented Artist.  Nothing left undone. Nothing left unspoken. Nothing by mistake.  We are beautiful, not because of what the latest issue of Cosmopolitan magazine standards claim beauty should be, could be, ought to be, must be; but by the Creator, the Artist, the Author of both heaven and earth who proudly claims who. we. are.  

Every curve, every bump, every shape, every quirk, every color, every size, every difference, every uniqueness in you, in me, in our daughters; are wonderfully, perfectly, spectacularly and delightfully beautiful.  

Friday, June 16, 2017

The blame game

Truth be told, there's an all-too-human part of me that looks for reason. 

For blame. 

For the why behind a horrific car accident, or a terminal illness, or an aching joy-deprivation, or a wayward child, or a fractured marriage, or a heart-wrenching loss, or an unanswered infertility, or a chronic pain. 

The finger of my blaming heart is often found pointed directly inward asking if it's due to my prone to wander past? My poor decisions? My sinful choices? My feeble prayer life? My toxic thinking? 

It appears as if setting my confused and restless emotions on a quest for blame, somehow disengages my heart from the current reality of my circumstances. Yet, more often than not, my investigation for the reason is used as an unconscious counterfeit coping mechanism that either attempts to self-blame or other-blame in order to make some kind of sense of this make-no-sense-ness.

Driving my daughter home from youth group last September I noticed something different, off, puzzling in her temperament.

"You okay sweetie?" I asked as she probingly stared out the passenger side window on our 30 minute ride home.  

"Something Bree said to me tonight, Mom, has my mind spinning, racing and overwhelmed with aweness."  

You see, Bree is a blonde hair, blue eyed, filled with life sixteen year old who has a smile as ginormous and contagious as her unconditional no-strings attached love for others.  Never without a smile radiating across her precious and delightful face, Bree's confined to a wheelchair.  Bree was born a paraplegic. Bree has never walked, fed or dressed herself.  And yet, blame for Bree and her strong family is not an option.  Oh yes, It's a constant temptation, just not an option.

I could sense almost immediately these words, shared by Bree, would be ones that would alter and change my daughter forever.

"Mom," she shared, as she quickly stroked away the single tear dripping down her cheek, "Bree told me tonight she doesn't know why God made her like He did. But she is certain He made her perfect in His eyes and He will use her life, her wheelchair, her paralyzation to reveal His Glory. To show His love. To tell others Jesus loves them.  And because of this assurance, she is okay with being bound for life to a wheelchair; never knowing why."

With tears now slowly dripping down both our cheeks, my heart raced to the beauty of Bree's purpose, Bree's mission, Bree's calling -- one that already began to manifest itself in the life of both me and my daughter this particular fall evening.

It's candidly similar to a scene in John, isn't it?  Where Jesus' closest companions ask Him why a man, who was standing near by, had been blind since birth.  They specifically asked Jesus for the reason.  The why.  The blame. 

"Was if because of his own sins or his parents' sins?" they asked.  

I can envision the grievous compassion flowing from the tender face of Jesus as He penetratingly looked into his well-meaning, blame-infested friends and shared, "You're asking the wrong question.  You're looking for someone to blame.  There is no such cause-effect here.  Look instead for what God can do.  This happened so the power of God could be seen in him." (John 9:2-3 msg,nlt)

As I walk this adventurous and humble journey along with you, God continually and tenderly peels back layers, one at a time, of revelations into His character, His ways, His love, His grace.  All of which are too enormous, too massive, too grandiose to fully wrap the human brain around.  And yet, through this most recent unraveling-of-layer process, He's undoubtedly revealed, in the depth of my heart, how blame has the potential to keep me stuck, while purpose inevitably keeps me moving. 

How blame keeps me surviving, while purpose keeps me thriving.

I haven't negated the Spiritual truth in which circumstances can be reflective to poor choices and unwise decisions.  Yet, when I've made the fixation of the quest-for-blame more significant than the quest-for-Him, I've lost my sure footing and locked gaze on His sweet and gentle face.

Life's valleys, life's mountains, life's twists and turns are simply a mystery.  And as Daniel 2:47 reminds me, God IS The Revealer of Mysteries.  And so, because of this powerful truth, He is undoubtedly capable of taking this burden, this heart ache, this pain- and releasing us from the position of seeking that which is plaguing the heart with confusion and blame.

The enemy deceitfully catapults the mind and heart into the hamster wheel of seeking blame, obtaining reason, digging for roots-- which, in effect, all produce a natural byproduct of harmful doses of paralyzing fear, deep sadness, corrupting anger, depleting exhaustion and often chronic restlessness.

If you're tired and weary, dear friend, God desires to give you rest.

His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  He is gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest IN Him for your soul. (Matthew 11:29)

He, alone, desires for us to release the blame. Handing it into His strong, powerful, perfectly capable right hand.  If, and only if, He desires to reveal the why behind the circumstance, He will, in His perfect time; in His perfect way.  I'm continually reminded I'm not the detective of my life-- this frail, short, fractured life belongs solely to Him and He will indeed reveal that which He assuredly knows will bring glory from these ashes. 

Whether or not this was our doing, someone else's, or no ones at all; clinging to the character of God is that which He desires above all else.  My mindset must stay on the glorification of Him- & not the glorification of blame.  

For we know it's here in His stable, unwavering, unshakeable, unfailing character,  that He turns our mourning into dancing. He crowns us with a joyous blessing instead of mourning.  A festive praise instead of despair. A crown of beauty instead of ashes --even when we are to blame.  Even when they are to blame. Even when there is no one to blame.  Gods character, Gods mission, Gods desire remains firmly anchored.  

He will, if you let Him, transform your suffering, your heart ache, your pain, your confusion, your bitterness, your anger, your exhaustion, your hopelessness into a masterpiece of generationally impacting raw beauty.

I don't fully comprehend or understand all of Gods ways, but I do know His unwavering goodness, His matchless perfectness, His flawless sufficiency, His unfathomable enoughness for the deepest of horrific painful circumstances--to the smallest--and everything in between.

God has not called us to be detectives, but disciples; captivated by the refreshing truth that God is currently, right this minute, doing something immeasurably, exceedingly, abundantly more than we can think or imagine in this most horrific and frightful storm.  This, and this alone, is where He knows our heart must be centered so that His powerful, life-altering ingredient of hope supersedes that of our current reality. 

Blessings and love,  joy