I Call Bullsh**

I was so ready to leave.

So many times over the last year I thought my time in this town was over. I thought God was going to move me on to something else…somewhere else. I even explored where I wanted to go.  I looked for places where I could just be another face in the crowd. If I’m honest, I looked for places where I didn’t have to take care of anyone…places where I could be the one to be taken care of.  But recently I realized that it truly wasn’t about the people, or their needs…it was all about the belief that this place held all my pain…like the ocean holding a drowning man…surrounded, suffocated, trapped.  I just felt like I couldn’t heal here…like I would forever be stuck in all the things that I had been through in this place.  I struggled with the thought that I would never be free. (Take a peak at More Real Than I’ve Ever Been)  And so I looked for places to move.  I looked into jobs in other towns, in other states. I asked God for the release that I thought was coming, but I was met with silence. Absolute silence. What I didn’t understand is that God was beginning to talk to me about something.  But I wasn’t listening.  Not on purpose. I just couldn’t hear Him yet.  But I think I’m beginning to hear Him now.  I think I’m finally seeing a bigger picture to all I’ve had to go through.  And I have begun to burn.

In navigating the hard places in my relationships, God has been revealing something to me.  My selfishness.  All of this pain and heartache I’ve endured have been about HIS passion for this community. A community of people like my daughter, my son. Your daughter, your son.  Not about me.  I know it all sounds so confusing.  Stick with me.

I was brought up with a very clear idea of how the addicted became addicted..and why they stayed addicted.  I knew all the things I’d been taught growing up…about drugs, alcohol…all of it.  I knew what Christians were supposed to believe about homosexuality and gender issues.  I believed what I was taught about all of the things that seem to set off explosions in culture today.  There was always a cut and dried answer to all of it…even if it was confusing.  Please hear me, I believe that there are absolutes written in the Word of God.  But if you hear that, please, also, hear this.  I am not God.  I don’t get to decide if one kind of person deserves His love over another.  I can’t truly see anyone’s heart unless they choose to show me.  And even then, it’s only a piece of it. What I know, is that that old Mitzie believed that if I committed suicide, I would go to hell. No, really. I did. I was told that.  More than once.  But I tried anyway. After my own suicide attempt in 2002, I began to question that belief and many other perceived truths I had about the character of God.  After several years of agonizing over the idea of it, I gave into the impulse to end my life.  It was awful and ugly and very, very real….but not one time did I ever believe that God wasn’t who He said He was.  I just didn’t feel like I could survive the constant pain and hopelessness that I felt in this world.  I never rejected Him.  I never believed that He didn’t love me.  I just didn’t see a way out of it all…other than death.  But God saved me and used that very thing to begin to highlight and free me from the lies.

You see, the enemy wants us to believe things like I believed.  He wants you to think that you have all the “right” answers…that you’ll go to hell if you commit suicide..that you are beyond hope and unworthy of love if you are an addict…that your sexuality determines your value before God…that conservatives are more “Christian” than liberals…that your community doesn’t care about you. That your worth is about how people see you. That the sin you struggle with is making you unlovable and unforgivable.  I am so tired of the enemy of our souls having the loudest say, so I’m calling him out.

And I call BULLSHIT.

I know that I’m nobody special according to the world standard.  I’m not famous in any kind of way.  I’m just a single, divorced mom who’s been through a lot of hard stuff, works a little insurance job and lives in a small town.  And I’m just a middle aged woman who loves Jesus.  But I still call bullshit.  I’m sure there are educated people of faith, who could argue me into the ground and tell me all the reasons I’m wrong…and also call me out for cursing.  That’s fine. I probably wouldn’t enter that argument anyway. But what I do know is that I am that woman at the well (John 4). I’m that woman who has done unspeakable wrongs.  I’ve lied, I’ve had an unfaithful heart, I’ve attempted to end my life, I have wounded my children, I’ve gotten divorced, I’ve held unforgiveness as a weapon, I’ve been unbelievably selfish, I’ve rejected and enabled and I have been a complete coward.  I have also failed…my children, my husband, myself. Let’s face it, I’ve failed everyone at least once…or a million times  And yet Jesus still chooses to sit with me at the well where culture says we aren’t supposed to be.

So here’s the BS.  Showing people Jesus has nothing to do with pointing out other peoples sin as we perceive it. That’s God’s job. We don’t get to decide when it’s time to sit in judgement.  Sometimes God chooses to just sit and be with someone before He ever shows them their “stuff.”  I know this because He’s done it with me.  Over and over again.  But other times he shows it to me quickly…sometimes he rips the bandaid off.  But HE is the one who knows what’s best for me.  At just the right time.  Do we really know or understand the timing of God unless he shows us directly?  Or do we see someones sin and feel the need to shine a spotlight on it as soon as we see it just so that we can save them ourselves?  Like I said, I am that woman at the well.  My sin on his lips has only been one single sentence in a lifetime of affection and kind words from His heart to mine.

So what makes us think that we are drawing people to Jesus by pointing and shouting at them about their  sin?  That’s not our job.  When we show people love, we show people Jesus.  We’ve got to get outside of ourselves.  I know this is in direct opposition to the culture of the world today…which is to sit in our comfy homes and look at the world from a computer screen and form opinions and ideas without ever coming face to face with a real person. But if we continue to crawl further and deeper into our Christian hole, those who need Jesus will ever really know that they need Him.  All they will see is more shame than they already carry on their own.  We have to get over the lie that says we need to look a certain kind of perfect to be a Christian! We have to stop pushing our idea of “appearances” on people.  C’mon my Jesus lovers! We are light bearers!  It’s time to stop expecting someone else to do it!  It’s time to do it ourselves.

My heart is burning for my community.  Burning.  There is so much pain.  There is so much trouble and heartache.  Addiction has exploded.  Gun violence is invading us rapidly.  Human trafficking and childhood sexual abuse are around every corner.  Do we see it or do we ignore it because it’s not in our house?  Do we pay it no mind until it touches our doorstep?  I say all this because I WAS THIS PERSON.  I didn’t see it in my own home until I had to see it.  I was forced to open my eyes.  And I almost caved.  But then I decided to rise up and refuse to be another casualty of apathy.  The enemy doesn’t have to kill you to take you out.  All he has to do is create indifference, blindness.  And right now he is gaining ground in spades.  We close our eyes because we are afraid that it is contagious…that somehow, by looking at it, we will catch the darkness.  I’m telling you…there is only ONE answer. The blood of Jesus.  His very blood is the light and we are light bearers.  Where there is LIGHT there can be no darkness for The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. John 1:5.  It’s time to stop being afraid of the dark!

Are we, finally, going to be willing to sit at the well with the outcast, where culture says we aren’t supposed to be? Will we finally face the darkness that is encroaching and say no more? It’s time to stop looking at it only when we are forced to. It’s time to walk in the authority we carry because the same power that raised Christ from the dead LIVES INSIDE OF US! 

So needless to say, I am no longer entertaining the idea of leaving this community.  I am here for however long I’m supposed to be….and I’m all in.  And I call bullshit on us all.

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You Really Aren’t Enough…

You Really Aren’t Enough…

I’m feeling pretty out of sorts lately and I realized (duh) that I needed to put the chaos in my head down on paper so I can make some sense of it.  Will you bear with me as I trudge through this processing thing that I do?  Maybe something in here will be helpful for you too….

This week has been a really rough one for me.  I’ve had some really (really!!!) hard parenting moments with my grandson and I’m still questioning whether I did things the right way.  Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t.  But I’m trying.

I also saw (good ol’ social media) the end result of my “muchness” for someone I really love and respect.  That was a hard one.  I tried so hard to do things the right way but things were just never the same….and in the end it didn’t really matter….I was set aside anyway.

Right now, I feel really unseen.  I feel like people have this perception of me that says, “She doesn’t need anything.  She goes through stuff but her and Jesus, they always work it out.  She doesn’t need anybody.”  And in that perception of me, I get left alone.  It’s true, Jesus and I do have a real thing.  We work through it whenever things come up.  Sometimes I see what He is trying to tell me pretty quickly.  Other times, it takes foreverrrr! Usually because of me!  But to be totally honest with you, people still need people.  They need to be seen and loved and known.  We (yes, me) are so good at focusing on our own selves, and our own pain, that we forget to look up and walk along with the people next to us.  Here’s the thing though…You don’t have to fix it.  You don’t even have to make it better!   What???  How can I say this?  Don’t we all feel like we can’t step in with someone else’s struggle unless we can fix it, or make it better somehow??  The real honest truth is that your kindness is what makes it betterChoosing to love and be present is what makes it better.  Your undistracted eyes are what make it better.  And then there’s this…..God didn’t design you to fix it anyway!  Nope.  No fixing for you.  Or me.  That’s His job.

Ok.  Deep breath. (Am I really about to admit this?) Here’s the big one….

I have been battling with feeling used…on a major scale.  I feel as if my heart to love and help and do the right thing is seen…and I’m being taken advantage of because of that.  Some days, it seems as if I have the designation of the Fall Guy  “When it all falls apart, I’ll give it to Mitzie.  When it’s too much for me to handle, I’ll give it to Mitzie.  She’ll push through and make it work. She’ll keep it all together.  I don’t have to hold up my end of the relationship cuz she’ll be good with it…eventually.”  I feel like I have a sign on my forehead that says, “Kick me, I’ll just take it.”  Right now, I am that person who hears the promises but is not seeing the actions to those promises.  And I’m losing it a bit.

So now my enormously overthinking brain asks questions like this.  “Am I reading too much into all of this?  What about grace for these people?  Everybody is broken in some way or another…maybe this is just the way they’re broken?  Hurt people, hurt people, right?”  So now (as I always do), I’m in the process of excusing all of these feelings away…I’m invalidating what is inside me.  In the scheme of things, are they even going to matter in a few days or weeks or months?  Probably not.  But maybe they’re still valid….and I need to purge them out so I don’t go to this place over and over and over again.

This whole post so far (let’s be honest), sounds like a pity party.  Maybe it is….but maybe it’s not. You can decide.  But let me suggest something to you.  Maybe it’s the process (at least for me) by which ugly things that grow in the darkness, get pushed into the light so they can be flushed out.  Soooo here’s a question for you (or a few)….does any of this sound anything like what you’ve said in your own head from time to time?  Are they things that you know you’d be judged or condemned for, so you never say them out loud?  Are they things that you have cuddled up to like a warm, fuzzy blanket and accepted as truth?  Has the lie that you are unseen become such a part of you that you just accept it?  Do you own the belief that you are all alone in the world and that no one cares?  Do you believe that you are too much and no one will love you because of your “muchness?”  Do you believe all of the darkness that runs through your thoughts?  Guess what my friends!  No darkness can reside where there is light!  Maybe it’s time to bring it into the light.  Just sayin’

And on a final note….as I’ve just thrown up (figuratively) all over the keyboard….I just had a revelation.  I may be about to offend lots of you, but here it is anyway…

We, especially women, keep saying to each other “You are enough.” May I suggest that, actually, you aren’t. Yep. I said that.  But seriously, let’s get real…..there is always someone who won’t like how you dress or do your hair, how you work outside the home or not, feed your baby formula or not, give them solid food too early or too late…How you shouldn’t be married to the one you’re married to…or god forbid, be single….How you don’t have the right taste in friends or furniture…How you don’t spend your money right, or make enough, or that you flaunt the money you have or live too “high”….That you don’t clean the right way or say the right thing or do the right thing or have the right job.  How you don’t feel things the right way or love the way they think you should or talk quiet enough or loud enough or even talk enough. You’ll talk too much or too fast or too slow or…..or…..or.  You fill in the blank.  There is always a plethora of not-enough-ness.  Let me just be clear.

You. Are. Not. Enough.  Only Jesus is.  So when you talk too much or love too much or run too much or breathe too much, let Jesus be the one who is enough for you……and for the one who judges you. 

Offense

My heart hurts….

I had a realization this morning.  My heart hurting is not necessarily a bad thing.  It means I love, deeply, the one that I am missing or am burdened over.  It means that I am not closed off to my emotions, that I feel the realness of raw moments, good and bad.  When it becomes bad is when I dwell with the bad feeling, when I make my bed with it,when I become best friends with it, when I wallow in it.  When I do not turn that emotion into prayer, I am sinning.  It is sin for me because God has shown me what I need to do with it…that I need to bring them to Him first.  When I don’t do this, I am choosing to discount the emotion that God placed in my heart., to turn away from what He has shown me, what He divinely placed inside of me.  I am choosing MY way of dealing with things, not HIS.

For many years I viewed my emotions as a curse.  Maybe I have said this before but I thought I was a freak because my emotions were so all-consuming.  The process of learning that it was something that God gifted me with has been many years in the making.  He placed this thing in me to accomplish His purpose in my life.  He created me for intercession and is constantly teaching me and showing me how to pray.  I wish I could convey to you the depth of His passion about this, but I only have a tiny glimpse of what that is.  What I am realizing is that the only time that my emotions overtake me is when I am not taking them to the Lord, asking Him how to pray.  I had a revelation about a month ago that was the beginning to what I am realizing today.  It is okay to be overwhelmed because real life can be like that…things happen…but be overwhelmed, don’t be overtaken.

For the sake of transparency, however, I have been somewhat overtaken recently.  I have allowed my circumstances to become bigger than what God intended to do through them.  I have forgotten to step back, to breathe, to pray.  In His grace, though, He keeps giving me pieces to this puzzle of mine.  He keeps peeling back the layers and exposing me to myself.  I may not like looking in the mirror, but I will take that any day over the chaos of living outside of Him.  I am facing some things this summer that I know are going to be difficult for me, but He is already showing me how He intends to surround me when circumstances try to overtake me.  He is reminding me to pray.  He is reminding me that He loves me.  Deeply.  Without reservation.  I am not deserving of such mercy, but He gives it to me anyway.

Seasons

I am in a season of strangeness…somewhere in between where I am not quite sure what is going on or how I feel, but I know that God is working and the moment He chooses to reveal the mystery I will be here, waiting.

There have been some unexpected things that I didn’t see coming…hurtful words, omissions that I have had to fight tooth and nail to fend off the offense that wells up in my heart.  I want so much to entertain the hurt, to cozy up to it, to hang out with it and make it my best friend, to wallow in it…but that is not who God has grown me up to be.  If I want to go forward and deeper with Him, I cannot walk backwards.

I am also living in the land of the unknown….and the scope of that keeps growing.  Pretty much all of you know that my son Tyler is now in the Marine Corps and he is about to start the school portion of his training.  For over a year we thought that he would be in Pensacola for that, but literally at the last moment, he was assigned to a school that is located in North Carolina….AND the school that we thought was going to be a year is now only 12 weeks.  He was able to bypass all the preliminary portions of school that we all expected in Pensacola that would determine what aircraft he would be assigned to.  He has been assigned to an aircraft and will be starting school for that in April.  Needless to say, I am learning that there are LOTS of unknowns.

There other unknown is Brad’s work.  He has started working out of town and there is no set schedule to it.  It’s not a job where he works 3 weeks on and has a week off.  He just works until they are done or are waiting for another delivery truck or things like that.  Please hear me…I am NOT complaining at all.  I am so grateful that he has work in this rough economy.  I am just finding that I don’t like the “not knowing”.  I don’t know when I will see him, I don’t know when I will see Tyler and I just get so tired of telling my friends I don’t know.

Even though it isn’t very long, this post has taken me several days to write.  When I started it, I was just feeling really alone but now I am feeling God working…I am just not to the end of this learning stage yet.  I just want to get to the other side of it, having learned everything I am supposed to learn, so that I don’t keep going around the same tree over and over again.  I want those days to be over.  I want seasons to be seasons one after the other, not repeat winter after winter after winter.  Until next time…