Monday, August 27, 2012

"sticks & stones"

" Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing"~ Proverbs 12:18

We've all heard the little children's rhyme "Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me". I don't think anything could be further from the truth. Words break us, often deeper and harder and longer than sticks and stones ever could. Some words wound so deeply, that without divine intervention you can never heal.

This weekend I attended my daughter's field hockey jamboree. I so looked forward to the day with my hubby, soaking up the sunshine and watching my daughter begin her senior year of high school doing something that brings her joy.

It wasn't long before my "perfect day" was rudely interrupted. A little boy, 7 maybe 8 years old, happily walked along  the edge of the playing field, singing to himself, lost in his own happy little world. Distracted and unaware, he crossed into playing territory. Please understand, the game was actually at the other end of the field at the time. He was in no way interfering with the field hockey game.

Suddenly his little face changed as his  mother began to rant from bleachers. One explative after another, she chastised the poor kid for walking onto the field. A small infraction caused such an extreme reaction. I wondered how she'd react if he'd done something REALLY wrong.

An hour or so later, a different field and a different game later,  I overheard a conversation between  the husband and wife beside us.

"Who is #16?"
"Oh that's Sarah"
"Well, she's not very good. How did SHE make Varsity?!!"

Everything in me began to BOIL. Seriously? This woman was referring to her daughter's team mate! She cleary didn't know who the player was, which also infers she had no idea who the parents were. How did she know this girl's mom wasn't  sitting beside her in the bleachers? How did she know I wasn't this girls mom!?

This has been weighing on my mind ever since. For years I have listened to the opinions and the voices and the words around me. Like a sponge, I have soaked them in, absorbed them and held onto them. My heart and my soul have become stained with the thoughts and opinions of others. I have become infected, like a sponge will if its not properly cleaned and disinfected.

"You're so stupid"

"You're so fat"

"You look, smell, act, like a french whore"

"You'll never amount to anything"

"You disgust me, embarass me"

"You're a bad friend"

"You can't do anything right"

"You're just like your father"

"You can't do THAT! Who do you think  you are?"

I could go on and on with the list. My point is this.....our children, the childen in our sphere of influence,  BELIEVE everything we tell them. If you tell them they are ugly, they'll believe you. If you tell them they're stupid, they'll believe you. If you tell them they're useless, they'll believe.

I have spent 42 years trying to reprogram the recurring soundtrack in my mind. It continues to be a battle I fight every day.

Please please please be careful with your words. They can build up or they can tear down. Not only children but adults as well. Sticks and stone do break bones, but words break souls and spirits.

Dear Lord, help me to choose my words wisely. May I use them to encourage, love, support, celebrate, cheer on the people I come into contact with each day. I pray you will continue to help me discard the lies that no longer serve me. Teach me to be who you say I am, not who others say I am. In your name I pray, Amen <3

Happy Monday Hugs!


Friday, August 3, 2012

Today's Top Ten

If you've been following the blog the past few months, you're aware there have been some major challenges in my life recently. Medical challenges, emotional challenges, spiritual challenges and most recently relational challenges. The latter, shook my faith in God.

I'm not proud of the Doubting Thomas blog. However, I will not remove it, nor will I apologize for it.  It was real and heartfelt and honest. I think a major obstacle of Christianity is that we aren't real....with God, ourselves or others. Frankly, it intimidates others and gives the impression we are perfect. I am FAR from perfect. That is another blog for another day though.

I've spent most of this week trying to recover from the feelings I voiced in Doubting Thomas.  I've tried to forget the words, the hurt feelings, anger that started that whole ball rolling. Although I do forgive, I don't know how to forget. I don't know how to move foward. I don't know if things will ever be the same. I also don't know if I can find my way back to God. I've been asking, looking, waiting. I can't hear, see or feel Him. More than once I have thought "Maybe God left me too?"

This morning I decided to venture out on a run alone. Most of the week I've been running with a friend who is camping with us. Today I needed to go alone. Two miles can seem like a long time when you're alone. As I began I muttered a quick prayer, "I need you God, I can't do this without you". Almost immediately, I glanced down and found a feather lying on the ground. A perfect, untouched, HUGE, feather. Immediately, the verse....

"but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."~Isaiah 40:31

....came to mind. I glanced upward, said "thank you"  and picked up the feather. I don't truly know if its an EAGLES feather. Honestly, I don't my heart it is.  Chances are if I left the feather on the ground it would be there on my way back. I couldn't though. I needed to hold onto that feather.  Despite the inconvenience of carrying it  in one hand and the dog leash in the other, I picked it up and kept running.

Several times I repeated my prayer "I need you God, I can't do this without you".  My legs continued to move. As I reached the first mile mark, I turned around and headed back toward the campground. Knowing I would have a couple of inclines headed back this way,  I wasn't looking forward to this part of the run.

More than once I sensed a whisper "just keep moving foward".  At times I had to slow my pace, sometimes I had to walk. Twice the feather fell out of my hand and I needed to stop, turn and pick it up again. The energy it took to do that was marked. I considered leaving it behind. Was it really a sign from God?  Many times I had to prevent my self from choosing a focal point too far away, just the next step is all that mattered.

As I looked further down the road, I noticed a strange and twisted mass along the center line. It looked like a family of snakes, bathing in the early morning sun. I was startled! ( For the record, so was my pup, Gracie.)  I was afraid to get too close but had to run past them  in order to get back to my campsite. I had no choice but to keep going. I laughed at my  irrational fear as I recognized the tangled mess as a weather worn rope.

At long last I began to  see campers, hear voices and laughter. I pushed up the crest of the hill, huffing and puffing, one footfall at a time. Just as I reached the top, a cheery cluster of sparrows scattered playfully and I heard.....

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny ? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."~Matthew 10:29-31

And so...... here are my closing thoughts for today

1) Sometimes you need to get really really down before you look up!

2) When you ask, with a genuine heart, God shows up. He never lets go, we do.

3) You never know how God will surprise you. It never looks like you expect it to.

4) Never underestimate Gods strength or your own. I'm 100 lbs overweight and I'm RUNNING!

5) Often times the things we are afraid of are just illusions not realities.

6) Be thankful and say so

7) Celebrate the little victories, each turn, each crest, each step.

8) Sometimes you gotta do it alone, with God....  but without a running buddy.

9) Have a back up plan :) My knight in shining armour had instruction to come and find me if I wasn't back in 40 minutes.

10) The only way to forgive AND forget? Keep moving foward, one step at a time.

That's all I got folks. I'm already looking foward to tomorrows run, shin splints and all.