Grace Wins

Veins that were once full of poison are now full of grace. I never share my story anymore. I share where I came from, but never the details. These veins have seen things. They are broken and scarred. They’re ugly….But, Grace wins. Grace wins every time.

“Words can’t describe the way it feels
When mercy floods an empty soul
A broken side begins to heal
And grace returns what guilt has stole.”


We all have stories. I have the courage to share.

“No more lying down in deaths defeat
Now I’m rising up in victory
Singing hallelujah
Grace wins every time”


The song was written by Matthew West. The tattoo is in memory of Matthew Wesley. Similar names, because God is funny and loves details. Grace saves us all and all in different ways. #gracewins

What is your story?

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Stagnate

:cease to flow or move; become stagnant.

Something crazy happened last night.

I felt deep embedded shame. I experienced this moment of pain. The roots I buried deep underground and covered with layers upon layers of busyness and activities came alive. They sprouted a little seedling that silently crept up to the surface. This was a seed I didn’t realize I had even planted, watered and were sunning until BAM “here I am!” it appeared. It burst from my heart and scared the hell out of me!

I choked. The words came out to a group of friends in a moment. In a moment I spoke it into existence.

Now people know my secret. Now I realize it’s there! My skeletons are now dancing freely on a table in front of me and they are laughing. Fear has enabled them to taunt, harass, and multiply my shame.

I said, “It’s been 5 months since my son lost his father from an overdose. This father wasn’t a dad, he became a guy we barely recognized. And I still don’t have my shit together. I am sitting on paperwork that needs to be dealt with and handled. And I sit and stare at it. I keep us so busy and running so I can say that I don’t have the time. This has caused bruises in my relationships. It’s raised feelings that I thought were dead. It’s embarrassing. This needs to be done. But I don’t like the messy. So I sit and stagnate”

I’m watering this stupid ugly seed with my smelly stagnate water….

Now my words are out there and my skeletons are entwined in a waltz of dirty dancing for others to see. I am now accountable.

It’s the little things that trip us up and make us feel dirty and unworthy. This “thing” is so small and silly, and yet, I hold it. I take it to bed with me, I shower with it, I feed it….and why? And now it rests in my hands. It wraps around my wrist like a bracelet for all to see with a shake of my hand.

I fall to the cross. God help me face this. Be with me. Walk with me. Show me what to do. Love me. Help me be free of this bondage.

Keep Coming Back

We would sing the birthday song for sober birthdays every week. Years of sobriety, months, days, even hours…we weren’t picky or concerned with the details. We would just sing. At the end of the song we added our own little line, “keep coming baaacckkk!” Keep showing up.

Courage is letting myself be seen. It is to fierce-fully love people. It is standing in my vulnerability and walking into my gooey sticky feelings.

Self,

Don’t be numb. When feelings come, soak them in. Chew on them, sit with them, stare at them, cry with them. They all get lonely and need to pay their visits on their own time. Don’t be numb. Don’t be afraid of the unannounced visitors. When guilt/anger/compassion show up invite them in. Feed them and let them rest. They are gifts from God that are there to tell you to love harder, give deeper and to be patient. Keep living loud. Keep singing praise of key. You are not perfect, you are beautifully imperfect and are so worthy of love and belonging in your creator’s hands. Keep pressing on. Do not be afraid.

I love how Paul says it:

 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Phillipians 3:13-15

Just keep showing up. Harness that fear, grab it and stand on it. Over power it and show up.

Esther and the Lorax

When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” -Bible, Book of Esther

And….

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” -Dr. Suess

I live with my in-laws. Humbling to say the least. Daily it is a challenge raising 2 boys and a marriage. Yes, I am raising a marriage as well. We are baby newlyweds, and my marriage takes more attention and love than my children require. Kids are easy, but adults….oh man. Not my domain. My in-laws are from Vietnam. When everyone comes home from work my older son and I are often in our own little world, softly speaking English at the end of the table. We are the foreigners in a strange land. It is not a bad thing. I love and adore them and the culture immensely. But this brings challenges, lots of challenges, mostly to my pride.

I believe whole heartedly that God guides you to it to bring you through it. Cheesy and cliché I know! I have no idea what His purpose is for keeping me here, but I know it’s something. I have learned more patience, humility and more about love in the 2.5 years I have lived here. I have learned to put God first, to live for Him and not for others or even for myself. I have learned what it really means to love…haha sort of, only on my good days.

As I read through Esther (again) I see God’s hand in EVERYTHING! Just as I do as I look through my life. Interestingly enough, this is 1 of 2 books in the bible where God is not mentioned, but His presence and hand is clearly felt. I have a need to control EVERYTHING. This book is a constant reminder that I am not in control, HE IS! Although I may not feel Him, or understand what He is doing, I have to breath, trust and keep trudging the road to my happy destiny. God works and prepares other’s hearts as well as my own. I have no idea what He is doing around me or in me. If you have not read Esther I urge you too. It is so so good.

This is to be the year we FINALLY will purchase our own home. This will FINALLY be the year I enter full adulthood because in my warped mind it is a home that makes me an adult…?

Until then and probably even then,  I am and will be clinging to Esther and to the Lorax. They give me hope. Well, God gives me their stories….at least Esther’s anyway, and in their stories I find hope.They keep me focused.

If I don’t do ____, someone else will get to participate in God’s story there. Someone will do what I don’t. I have the privilege and the honor to be where I am and to do what I am doing thanks to God grace and His hand placing me into His will, His story.

Love is an unspoken language. Human compassion is universal and breaks boundaries created by our fears.