There is Power in Vulnerability

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other

people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

—Marianne Williamson

Our insecurities stem from our sense of self value: Do I belong? Am I worthy? If others knew the real me, would they still like me?

What is the remedy to this fear and shame of being our authentic selves? Vulnerability. 

“To love at all is to be vulnerable.”
― C.S. Lewis

To put yourself out there with arms wide open, ready to embrace the world, is a huge risk because it opens ourselves up to the possibilitiy of disappointment and rejection. But being vulnerable isn’t weak. It is courageous. When we allow ourselves to be seen in our entirety we allow others to accept us and love us for who we truly are. When you let your fear keep you from experiencing vulnerability, you rob yourself of joy and love and depth in your relationships with others.

Being yourself means declaring and affirming who God made you to be and knowing that in Him you are beautiful, precious, and important.

“A woman of beauty is a woman who is not striving to become beautiful or worthy or enough. She knows in her quiet center where God dwells that He finds her beautiful, has deemed her worthy, and in Him, she is enough.”
― Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul

Letting others see us to the full breadth and width of ourselves is to love with our whole heart. There is no guarentee you won’t be hurt or ridiculed or embarressed, but it is the only way to love passionately and fiercely and the only way to live completely alive! The reward is the deepest kind of unconditional love.

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This post was inspired by someone in my life who keeps me on a yo-yo string. He doesn’t know if he wants to date me or not and he’s afraid of letting me into his hidden places because he’s afraid I won’t like what I see. Our on-again-off-again relationship has exhausted me to my core and today I had to tell him, “NO. I can’t even be your friend anymore because I’ve allowed you to put my heart through the wringer for the last time. You need to sit down and figure out exactly what you want and then you need to boldly go after it with your whole heart. Otherwise, you will never find true love.”

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The key to finding what you want is knowing what you want… Be intentional! Set goals! Work hard to reach them! And when you’ve finally received what you were looking for… you VALUE IT. You thank God for it and you never let it go.

It hurts to be vulnerable, but I wouldn’t have it any other way because to be honest with myself and others about my needs and desires is the only way to receive them.

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Embracing Singleness

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I finally gave up on my crush ever returning my feelings. Okay, I’ll admit there is still a little dash of hope lurking somewhere in the dark recesses of my heart. What can I say? I’m the most optimistic person I know.

Alas, I signed up for online dating. Why? Because seriously, how long do I have to wait for you, Honey, before a girl like me can move on?

Apparently more than five months… and I’d literally wait YEARS for him if he gave me even a tattered shred of threadbare hope.

“Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul

And sings the tune without words

And never stops at all”

~Emily Dickinson~

But he is a godly gentleman and he doesn’t lead people on so he hasn’t and won’t ever give false hope. Now I’m just trying to find a man on his level of awesomeness.

 

Less than five minutes after I uploaded a picture to my online dating profile I had 147 messages in my mailbox.   I remember thinking to myself, “Self? Your time of singleness is over.” I was at first excited about this new adventure especially after seeing messages with pick-up lines such as the ones below:

  • “How does it feel to be the most beautiful girl on this site?”
  • “Seriously, how in the world are you not yoked with a man of God?! Are Tucson men just blind to how incredible you are?”
  • “You are GORGEOUS. You must have a million guys after you.”
  • “You are too good to be true. Are you real?”
  • “Your energy is contagious and your love for God shines.”

But I quickly became discouraged when none of the gentlemen in Tucson seemed to be what I was looking for.

Except my crush.

And of course the website flashed it in my face every day that were were 99% compatible and that he was online RIGHT NOW, probably talking to other girls, too.

So my rules were:

1.) No initiating conversation. Never be the first one to suggest exchanging phone numbers or meeting in person. Let the man lead.

2.) Don’t even bother to reply to messages if you’re not initially attracted to the person’s picture. There’s no need to get people’s hopes up if you’re just not attracted physically.

3.) If he doesn’t say God is the most important thing in his life or if his answers to the questions don’t reflect that, again, don’t bother replying.

4.) Don’t even waste your time with men who say “MIGHT want kids.” Our eggs is a-shrivelin’ up, Honey Chile!

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6.) Pray without ceasing. If it doesn’t feel right in your spirit, walk away. 

 7.) Remember that God desires to give me good things. He loves me and WILL provide in His perfect timing. Rest in Him. 

So the first guy I talked to seemed perfect on paper… but then when we talked on the phone he said that he was only just married last month… “but don’t worry about that,” he assured me. “I’ve grieved over the loss, my heart is healed, and I’m over her and ready to move on.” I nearly choked on my own tongue. “Thank you for being so honest,” I replied. “That’s honorable of you to mention up front. However, it’s a red flag to me that if you truly are done mourning the death of your marriage so soon after its demise. The only thing I could possibly be to you right now is a rebound. I’m sorry, but this cannot go any further.”

That was the end of that.

Then there was an amazing guy who was even more perfect for me on paper than the one above. He was gorgeous, shared many of my hobbies and interests including salsa dancing,  was intelligent, witty, musically gifted, and made me laugh.

He was very slow to meet me in person and I was growing impatient because everyone else I began talking to had already asked to meet me in person and he was the only one who hadn’t yet and also the only one I really wanted to meet anyway. I MIGHT have nudged him a little bit even though one of my rules was to let the man lead. Mistake number one. It worked though! And he asked me out the very next day.

We went on a date that I thought couldn’t have been more perfect… he actually sat there grilling me with questions and covered all the bases I could ever think of even right down to what my love language was, my communication style, how often I desired to be physically intimate after marriage, how many kids I wanted to have and when I wanted to start having them. It seemed we were compatible on absolutely everything because he kept saying, “Good! Me too,” and high-fiving me. Then at the end of the date when I said it was a pleasure to meet him he said, “Oh no, the pleasure is entirely mine. It was truly an honor to meet you.” I thought we were definitely going to make babies together–bahahahaha just kidding! (But like, maybe a little bit)

Unfortunately, I had to wait with bated breath for a text or email for what seemed like an eternity (which was really only about four days but in online-dating-time that just seems like a lifetime.) In his email he wrote that he could get lost in my “beautiful blue eyes all day long” but that he “didn’t feel God meant for us to be together.”  What a heartbreaking rejection. I wrote back that I respected his sincere honesty and for doing it sooner rather than later. I also asked if he felt comfortable sharing what made him feel that way about us but he never wrote back and so the reason for the death of our romance so quickly kindled and so swiftly doused may haunt my waking thoughts for the foreseeable future.

Then I “met” the most amazing man I may have ever met in my life. We talked on the phone for seven hours our first time speaking to one another and even though he’s from India, a culture so completely different from mine, I felt like we could have grown up together because we were so similar. (Being a devoted disciple of Jesus Christ plays a huge part in that.)  His grandfather is the founder of Hopegivers International, which is an organization that helps rescue orphans and at risk children from abuse, sex trafficking, and abandonment. They provide for all their needs, shower them in love, and introduce them to their heavenly Father. He owns some of the “Hope Homes” in his name and is truly one of the most caring and loving individuals I’ve ever met and I already told him that if it doesn’t work out with him romantically that I’m keeping him in my life forever and ever because he’s my beloved brother in Christ and I feel a deep spiritual connection to him.

I also met this sweet, adorable Asian guy who is incredibly easy to get along with and really fun to be around. I feel like we would have some amazing adventures together and I also feel like he would spoil me rotten if I ever became something more than a friend to him.

Okay so then the next guy I am meeting in less than an hour. I have seen him before a couple times at the gym I used to go to. He’s this super buff guy, 6’1″, green eyes… basically a head-turner. I never talked to him because A.) I just go to the gym to do my thang, I don’t really interact with people all that much and B.) I thought he was way out of my league. Plus C.) this was during the time I was still trying desperately to win my husband’s heart back. I know what you must be thinking, “WHY? He was so AWFUL to you, why would you want him back?” Well…

 

people always do crazy things when they’re in love.

The rest of the relationships I’m juggling are all long distance… there are no other ones in Tucson who have messaged me that I am interested in. I’m just keeping my options open at this point and keeping things really casual and nothing too serious unless the Lord whispers something to my heart.

WISH ME LUCK! *Gets purse*

………………………………………………………………..

I just got back from my date and let me tell you… it literally could not have gone any better. We seem to have all the same goals and priorities and we are attracted to one another. We have ridiculous amounts in common and whether or not this works out romantically I can definitely see him fitting into my friend group as he is someone I’d love to have as a friend for life.

He straight up told me I’m his dream woman and everything he wants. And he told me at the end of the date that he couldn’t wait to see me again. So this is either VERY GOOD if it’s God’s will to let him pursue me or VERY BAD because if it isn’t God’s will, He better tell me quick because I can see it headed in that direction unless God puts a road block in our path.

The number one thing I love about him is his genuineness. He’s extremely open and honest and puts everything out on the table. That is not only refreshing but also extremely attractive. He shared with me many of his flaws and strangely, I was not put off by them. I’m still going to keep my guard up and watch for red flags, but I’m already starting to trust him and feel very comfortable around him.

I’m relieved he didn’t try to kiss me at the end of the date. I was sort of worried he might but he probably did his homework by reading the questions in which I had answered  that I didn’t like to kiss until we were in an established, exclusive relationship. Or maybe he’s a lot like me in that mentality. 🙂

Anyway, I just wanted to encourage you that if you are still single and really want to find the love of your life, this verse may be of some comfort to you:

“Godliness with contentment is great gain.” -1 Timothy 6:6

Contentment is peace and joy in your current circumstances. It is the freedom from worry, fear, anxiety, and greed. It is wholeness. It is accepting your situation and being satisfied with what God has given you. Maybe you desire more, but you’re truly happy with where you are in this time even if you don’t receive more.

As my sister told me before I started this online dating process: “Are you really trusting God to use the internet as a vehicle for bringing the one He has for you or are you trusting yourself for it to work out?

She reminded me that I have a tendency to be controlling because I like everything to go my way. I tend to plan things out and live in the future and get extremely disappointed when things don’t turn out as I had hoped. She told me to be extra careful because I wear my heart on my sleeve and get carried away by my emotions when I fall for someone.

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Doubt and fear are a direct mistrust in God’s provision and goodness and faithfulness.  There is no fear in love. If you’re worrying about being single and not finding the one you want to spend the rest of your life loving, then you are not trusting God’s sovereignty and omnipotence. If you’re looking online for handsome men you feel a connection with but you’re not bathing every second of your interactions with prayer, then you’re trying to “fix your singleness” yourself apart from God and without God, nothing can go right.


Oh, and the disappointment? Yeah. There is going to be a lot of that if you are anything like me and get rejected by someone you start having feelings for. I assure you, though, God knows best and if someone is not the BEST life teammate for you then God is going to withhold that from you because He has someone even better in mind for you than you could ever imagine for yourself.

I Traded My Business Suit for a Pair of “Mom Jeans”

The title of this blog entry was my facebook status update on May 14th. It received 56 likes (my new record I think).

I stepped into this new full-time role with only four days to prepare myself spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. I had no idea that I would have to make such important decisions so quickly like, “am I going to play ‘the tooth fairy’ tomorrow morning?” This is actually very important to me because I don’t want to deceive the children or confuse reality and fantasy, but I also don’t want to dash their hopes and spoil the magic that their parents wanted for them. Another small dilema is that my two girls asked if they could call me “Mom” today. I’ve only been their parent for four days and already they’ve wiggled deep into my heart. If you would have told me one week ago I’d be caring this much for four little munchkins, I might not have believed you. Who knew there was a Mama Bear inside me all these years just waiting to come out? Moms-Night-Out-Quote-400x400

Being a parent is hard work and stressful at times but I feel blessed and honored to have this job. God placed me here for such a time as this. These kids needed a parent and I happened to be in a season of my life where I’m all alone and don’t really have much else going on… so why not? I felt led to ask for the opportunity and the Lord granted me my desire. Psalms 68:5-6 says, “Our God, from Your sacred home You take care of orphans and protect and defend widows. You find families for those who are lonely.” He truly uses broken people to serve other broken people This job was a match made in Heaven for me. I love serving these kids and they’ve touched me in ways I can’t describe and gave my life new purpose and meaning. To think that one year ago I was crying myself to sleep every night and thinking my life was pretty much over.

“They that sow in tears shall reap with songs of joy. They that go forth weeping bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” Psalm 126:5-6

ordinaryI have to play the “bag guy” sometimes to get the children to bed on time and I have to be firm but I’m new at this and I’m so thankful for tons of co-workers who live near me with their own house of kids. The campus is like a big family who’s always there for you. I hope I may emulate those who seem to run their households so smoothly.

I have been graced with respectful, obedient children (most of the time) and they all have big, bright personalities. I wish I could post pictures but since they are wards of the state, I’m unable to but here’s a little bit about them:

My tweleve-year-old boy is full of laughter and is very helpful with the little ones. He is on task and listens well and has a smile that lights up the room.

My nine-year-old girl can be a little down on herself with low self-esteem but she’s fun-loving, energetic, patient, and just wants to be accepted for who she is. I tell her every night that God made her special and everything about her is exactly as He planned and that she is dearly loved by Him.

My eight-year-old girl is a ball of liveliness! Life is a musical in which she is the star who sings and dances through the day. I wish I could just remember everything she says and write it down in a book to make me laugh later because it’s just so funny. She’s also a bit of a flirt and I’ve got to keep eagle eyes on her when she’s around the boys. She keeps telling me she needs deodorant and a razer… she can’t wait to grow up.

My youngest is a six-year-old boy who has night terrors every night about an hour or two after he’s gone to sleep. He’s very sweet and good-natured and extremely helpful with chores. He always wants to pray at mealtime and is a joy to watch at play. Everything seems exciting to him, and he likes to jump up and down at even the simple little pleasures of life like getting to eat popcorn or going for a ride in the van to the store.

When my husband abandoned me, I was left shattered. However, what the enemy intended for evil, the Lord has used for good. I feel so much freedom- like a huge burden has been lifted off my shoulders. I think I finally know what God’s plan for my life is and I’m in just the right place now to take on this adventure.

10313042_685191368208431_6674958256683601713_nBeing abandoned broke me. I felt like a zombie going through the motions of day-to-day living. But I still knew God was good and worthy of praise. I praised Him as though the healing might never come. (But of course it did… it always does. God promises that in His Word: Psalm 147:3).  I prayed and prayed for my husband to come home but the Lord chose not to answer my prayer. And you know what? His worthiness is not dependent upon the outcome of my prayer. He is good and His faithfulness stretches across the skies. If you’re going through a crisis like I have been, I promise you there is Hope after devastation. There is hope even when our prayers aren’t being answered. Maybe it’s because God has something even better for you in store than you could ever have imagined for yourself!

So let go of all your fears, insecurities, and self-doubt and place them into the capable, loving hands of the Heavenly Father. Worrying is just a big waste of time and keeps you busy doing nothing productive. Don’t let anything stop you from doing what you want to do and being who God called you to be. Every good and perfect gift is from above and God wants to give you good things! Keep asking Him to bless you and He will not only bless you but use you to bless those around you!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Walking around today in the beautiful weather with my new cowgirl boots and haircut… I felt like a new woman. Today was absolutely splendid spectacular and I am feeling so blessed and loved.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and I have some friends who are definitely going to find out just how much their friendship has meant to me, especially during the most difficult year of my life.

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Happy Valentine’s Day to all the people who stood by me and helped me through this difficult time of my life. I love love love you sooooooooooooo much!

Speaking of my friends, I am friends with three married couples who are going through the worst kind of trial imaginable right now. In all three cases there are young children involved and in all three cases it was the wife that cheated on the husband. I feel as though the Lord is using my heartache to reach out to these young couples and encourage them in any way I am able. I am much better at expressing my thoughts through writing and I never truly know just what to say when they call, but sometimes I think the Lord speaks through me. I find myself saying things like, “You can either go through this or grow through this.” // “Stop. Breathe. Be still and know that He is LORD.” // “Remember that He is in complete control of this situation and He will not let you experience more than you can handle.” // “You cannot change the past but you can forgive and forget. Forgiving doesn’t mean you’re okay with what happened, but that you will no longer harbor anger, resentment, and bitterness in your heart. Live in the present, taking it one day at a time. Focus on the small tasks at hand that need to get done and dwell on positive, praiseworthy things.”

I wasn’t always able to shell out advice so easily. Only a few months ago I was a complete train wreck myself experiencing mental breakdowns at least once a week. I didn’t feel whole without my husband’s love and commitment. I was in utter shock, incapable of thinking clearly or doing much of anything productive. I refused to accept the reality of what was happening, choosing to believe that it would all eventually go away like waking up from a bad dream. I kept feeling like I was this shameful failure at life. A loser. A leper. The worst kind of sinner… a woman headed towards the long, lonely road of divorce. Oh, “if only, if only,” I cried so many nights. (Which is SO unhealthy by the way!) No matter how relieved I was to be extricated from my intolerable state of affairs, I was still utterly heartbroken and kept reliving all my lovely memories and the beautiful hopes of what was supposed to someday be.

I felt massive insecurity, helplessness, and instability. I was in tremendous upheaval calling up my loved ones and family so much when I was crying hysterically that a few of them needed breaks and asked me to stop calling so much. I felt like something was wrong with me because I wasn’t getting better and I was distancing my friends in the process. Everything in my life was topsy-turvy. I was getting sick and was freaking out about the bills that had to be paid. But the Lord provided and I was able to keep going… even though at times it felt like I was going one step forward and two steps back.

1 Forward, 2 Back

One step forward and two steps back…

In the early stages of marital separation, it is imperative that you lean on your support group for balance, otherwise you may not be able to stand on your own two feet. It’s so easy to curl up in a ball and shut out the world. Depression can be a comforting friend that we cradle and embrace and drink tea with on the porch. It’s all we know and it’s easier than pulling ourselves out of it and trying to feel something else. But there comes a time that you’ve got to woman-up and reassert yourself as a functioning, responsible adult who can take care of herself. There were times that my own sister was so worried for me because I could not act in a rational manner and seemed completely unable to cope emotionally. When she called me all excited to tell me her wedding date I just panicked because I thought she was getting married too soon and I guess I just projected my own fears and insecurity onto her upcoming nuptials. Instead of showering my affection on her and displaying my overwhelming joy for her engagement, I pushed her away a little bit. That day was the wake up call that showed me I have a lot of growing to do in the area of emotional healing and I better start lickity split. I HATE being in pain! (Especially when those close to me are rejoicing.) “There is a time to mourn and a time to dance,” the wise king says in Ecclesiastes 3. If I couldn’t celebrate with my beloved sister when it was time to rejoice, then I had serious issues. I decided I needed a spiritual makeover. I had to rebuild my self-confidence and remind myself who I am in Christ. I am a Princess of the One, true King and I am precious in His sight. He is mine and I am His.

I had a song in my heart as I walked in the sunshine to the bus stop today to get from my first job to my second job. I was so cheerful that even the attitude of one particular co-worker did not get me down. (For some reason, she has always enjoyed picking on me since day one and we simply don’t get along.) This is the song I was singing:

Who can cheer the heart like Jesus
By His presence all divine?
True and tender, pure and precious
O, how blest to call Him mine!

All that thrills my soul is Jesus
He is more than life to me
And the fairest of ten thousand
In my blessed Lord I see

For passels of days, I can feel exactly the same. Not any more sad than yesterday but not any more content today. It’s as though healing came by for a visit but didn’t stay long enough for a cup of tea. There is no timetable for grief. There are some weeks where all I can think about is my husband and how much I still love him so dearly. My faithfulness can be a curse because it will not let me let him go so I can finish grieving and move on. Separation feels worse than death because there is no finality and closure as when someone dies. At least if he died I could have a funeral and all my friends and family could come and we’d grieve his loss together and then bury the coffin and walk away. Yes, I am still mourning him and it happens whenever I think of a fond memory- something he said or did that was so precious and endearing that I just cradle that memory and rock it for a moment too long and it breaks me up inside. For instance, just the other day, I was remembering this one time that he baked me up some wicked pistachio whoopie pies. I loved when it was his turn to cook for us; he was always making such yummy things to fill me up with.

Pistachio Whoopie Pies

Pistachio Whoopie Pies

There’s nothing wrong with cherishing old memories but when I dwell on them too long it breaks me down and I miss him so bad. I want to call him and talk to him and tell him how much I miss him, but I have to remind myself that the person who picks up the phone when I call won’t be my husband, it will be the stranger he has become.

There are so many things I miss about him but one thing I really miss is being the most beautiful woman in the world to one special someone. I REALLY miss that. I miss being absolutely perfectly beautiful in the eyes of one man. For some reason I’ve been extra conscious about my looks lately. Someone once said that a woman thinks about her looks every seven seconds. I don’t think that’s necessarily true (at least not for me, but it’s crazy to think about if it is true for someone out there!) I know I have been more self-conscious than I’ve ever been about my pimples and skinniness and small chest etc. I literally believed my husband was the most handsome man in the world. I COULD NOT see the attractiveness of any other man no matter what anyone said about “that hot guy over there.” I simply only had eyes for MY man. When I saw him for the first time in 8 months a few weeks ago…. I was surprised to find myself looking into the eyes of a stranger. This was not my husband! Who was this thin Kurt Cobain doppelganger? I had to sit on my hands so as not to run my hand through his sexy hair… but other than that, I no longer felt he was the most handsome man in the world and that scared me. It really, really scared me. What does this mean?

Okay, so I have this cavernous wound that I can’t seem to get over. When will I truly surrender my pain to Christ? Oh Jesus, fill my emptiness and make me whole. Teach me to fully rely on You alone. I want to know You as my Husband, my Best Friend, and my One True Love. Jesus, You are everything I need and You were madly in love with me before I even knew You. Be my Valentine tomorrow and fill my heart with Your unfailing love. I feel like a little vulnerable girl who wants to crawl into Your lap and cry. Fill me, Jesus. You are the only One who knows and sees and fully understands. You are my Healer. Help me to remember when I feel rejected that no one else knows better than You just how I feel.

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“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

-Galations 6:9