Imperfection is beautiful.  There I said it, and I believe it.  Almost fifty years old and I am just now starting to realize that I have bought into some crappy frame of mind that made me always strive for perfection.  Just a little skinnier, just a little prettier, just a little smarter, just a little more spiritual, just a little more of everything.... was making me miss my present joy.

Present joy.  Living happy in the present.  Scripture teaches us about living in the moment, don't look back, don't worry about the future.  Live in the now.  Live full and satisfied, not scared and hungry for life.  Always aching for the more instead of filling up on the now.  This was part of my story.  The caterpillar always trying to be the butterfly.

Crawling back into a cocoon trying to remake myself...good enough.  When your world get's rocked by sorrow, when your faith gets challenged to its very core, when desperation seems to be your constant companion you discover that you will never be enough, but He is.  When all else fails, you come to this has always been HIS to accomplish. My job is just to let love in without fear and allow it to do it's work.

The struggle is over, it was never mine to accomplish.  He is the perfector, I always fail but He never fails. I can trust Him today to gently give me wings to fly.  I can believe that I am enough.  No more striving and struggling....well at least that is my hope.  That's my more striving.  I choose to live in the present joy.  Thankful for what I do have.  Hopeful for whats to come but focused on what is, right now.  So this imperfect butterfly is going to fly.

Won't you join me.  Quit trying to earn love and acceptance.  Find the beauty in the imperfect, live in the now and let the creator lavish His love on you.  You are more than enough, you are perfect in His sight.  Let's do this.  Let's be brave, authentic and vulnerable together.  Let's shed all the layers and fly in the present, live in the joy of NOW!

Love you people.

Not too spiritual, just honest. I hate running.

So this morning I got up and went for a run.  Well, that's a bit of an exaggeration.  I ran through about three minutes of Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger".  You know the song...don't act all weird like you never listen to anything but Christian music.  After all God created music, I like good music.  Christian or not I like a good beat, a good lyric and a great voice.  But I digress.

I ran for three minutes.  I was winded, my legs were burning and by the way there were hurricane gust winds blowing.  My doggie ran circles around my legs and I almost fell and all I could think was.... this is a bad idea.  I ran a little ways downhill.  Downhill is easier but eventually you have to run back uphill.  This is a bad idea.

You ever have a bad idea?  It seemed like a good idea, until three minutes in and Kelly Clarksons voice singing out....what doesn't kill you makes you stronger....uuuummmm well, I was thinking this running thing might kill me.  Bad idea.

If only I hadn't gotten all inspired yesterday and opened my big fat mouth.  Together in His Arms is having their 5K to raise money for families that are dealing with funeral expenses for their child. That is the simplified version, they do so much more but for the sake of this writing I will leave it at that and encourage you to go to their website or facebook for more info.  I just got excited and thought it would be great to help raise money in honor of Justin.  Sometimes my big ideas get me in trouble.

Anyway so I started thinking about the 5K, started thinking about Justin, started thinking about that eleven years ago I ran a marathon, so what is three and a half miles?  Should have just quit thinking. Should have kept it to myself.  OOHHH NOOOO I couldn't keep the idea to myself.   I started telling people they should run with me.    I can do it, we can do it, I tell them.  If you can train for a marathon in four months than surely we can train for a 5K in 6 weeks.  RIDICULOUS!!!

Yesterday all sorts of positive thoughts were racing through my mind.  I can do this.  So what if I am having some health problems?  My body is not the boss of me...I am the boss of me.  I need to have something to focus on, running will be good for me. I should quit talking about getting healthy and start doing something about it.  And by doing something about it I mean....don't just watch exercise videos and browse through instagram healthy eating sites.  And by watching exercise videos I mean the only thing I am exercising is my eyes and by following healthy eating instagram sites I do not mean I am following them in any other sense of the word.  I am not cooking their food only following and occasionally "liking" their food.  I am deeply saddened to admit all of this but not as saddened as I am when I realize I don't have all the ingredients to make chocolate chip cookies.  Anyway, yesterday I thought I could do it.

This morning I gave myself a pep talk, I said to myself as I took off running....I can do anything I want to do!   And therein lies the problem.....Three minutes into Kelly Clarksons ode to the power of women, I did not want to run anymore.  

Now what am I going to do?  I guess I will try again tomorrow but today I am too tired to get off the couch and I want to eat cookie dough while I scratch my eyes out because apparently I am allergic to something that is blowing in the hurricane force winds today.

Wish I would have just kept my mouth shut and if you see me walking at the 5K, don't judge me.

Love you people,


Imitation Armor

                                                No make up, no filters, no kidding...brave.

I was talking with a sweet friend today.  Talking about pain and heartache.  Talking about all the stuff that we talk about with friends.  She is beautiful and courageous and I admire her.  As we talked we began to peel back the layers of authentic emotion.  We talked about our truth and how difficult it is to share that truth, to be vulnerable.

We talked about how easy it is to say everything is okay.  How we wear imitation armor.  Instead of the armor of God or maybe we wear it along with the armor of God.  I dunno.  Wearing the wrong armor or two types of armor, is bound to get heavy.  It is exhausting actually. You know what I am talking about....all that striving to protect yourself...

We cover our hearts, our needs, our desires with armor of our own design.  We claim we don't need anything, we push others away before they can abandon or hurt us, we refuse to have expectation lest we be disappointed, we cover our true selves with the intention of protecting ourselves.

Imitation Armor.  Counterfeit.  

Satan always perverts what God offers.  God offers armor, Satan offers imitation armor.  God says, trust me.  Satan says, trust no one.  God says, I will protect you.  Satan whispers, you better protect yourself. We all can slide insidiously into this pit.  Trading the authentic for the counterfeit.  We have had years of practice....we don't even recognize how faulty our thinking is, how isolated we have become from others and from our authentic self.

Satan longs to keep our needs unmet, our character untapped, our relationships shallow, our fears alive, our hopes set low, our suspicions high.  This is how he keeps us isolated, we think we are protected but in reality we have isolated ourselves from truth and love, grace and freedom.  The counterfeit keeps us bound individually while authentic, brave, heart baring love keeps us bound together.

It's a rare moment when you have an inkling of maybe there is more.

There is....There is so much more.  There is a tidal wave of love waiting just beyond the dam of self protection.  Or should I say that damn self protection?

I am learning to recognize where I let the counterfeit in....
Where in the past I would talk with a friend and in the background of my mind fear is rumbling like thunder but my words are sweet and happy, even sometimes sappy.  All the while fear is pounding and my heart feels like it will explode.  Now, well now I risk it.  I admit I am scared, I talk about the real concerns that are happening and in the middle of that I find freedom and hope and suddenly the scary when exposed to the light of truth isn't so scary.

I still talk about the sweet and sappy but it's genuine.  There is sweet and sappy happening in my life because I am daring to be real and happy.  I am exchanging the counterfeit for the authentic and turns out it's a really great thing.  Turns out I can trust people with my heart, turns out you people really are great, and you do really love me.  It feels good to be loved for who I really am....warts and all.  Let's be brave God to protect our hearts and love with abandon!  Let's do this!  Let's change the world with authentic love and help others walk in that same love by example.

Love you people!


How hard it was....

8 We don't want you in the dark, friends, about how hard it was when all this came down on us in Asia province. It was so bad we didn't think we were going to make it. 9 We felt like we'd been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he's the God who raises the dead! 10 And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he'll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing. 11 You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation—I don't want you in the dark about that either. I can see your faces even now, lifted in praise for God's deliverance of us, a rescue in which your prayers played such a crucial part.
2 Cor 1:8-11 (MSG)

Love this passage....How hard it was.  How hard it is. Days where you feel like you will surely not be able to go on.  Darkness that feels deafening, light that barely shines. Flickering and fading hope.  Desperation, crazy panic desperation that causes you to be hysterical for the only answer.  Jesus.  At the end of my rope, He is always the answer.  At the end of your rope, He is the only answer.  And oh yeah, you play a part too.  You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation. Thanks for that....and me and my prayers get to be a part of your rescue operation.

There is always a rescue plan.  You are never lost, I am never lost.  It is never hopeless.  No matter what we are walking through, it will be redeemed.  Purpose revealed, depth experienced, hope restored it is all part of the journey....and He will do it again...over and over, until that day that we are perfected!

In the meantime...we live authentically, sharing our struggles, encouraging one another with our stories of victory, comforting those who need comfort because we ourselves have experienced comfort, loving the broken right where they are, sharing the suffering, loving the weak, etc.

Yay!  We get to be Jesus with skin on.  Love well my friends, for you have been loved well by the King of the Universe.

Oh yeah, will you pray for me?  Today I am practicing trusting God and His rescue plan, will you join me.  Trying not to wait till the end of my rope.

Love you people!!

The Hard Places and Graceless Spaces

Lord speak to the hard places, the graceless spaces in my heart.
The hopeless places, that stubbornly refuse to make room for hope.
Lord speak to the hard places, the graceless spaces in my heart;
the hidden, fear driven spaces.

Lord speak to the hard places, the graceless spaces in my heart.
The grief driven train tracks that criss cross the landscape of my heart.
Derail the train of pain, excavate the tracks.

Lord speak to the hard places, the graceless spaces in my heart.
Turn these wounds into scars of glory,
pour your grace into every space.
Heal these holes and close the gaps.

Lord, turn the hard places into mountain tops.
Lead me from the valley of despair into your Holy presence.
Let my praise be magnified in this barren place,
let me find your grace in this uphill race.

Lord turn the hard places, the hidden spaces into streaming rivers.
Rushing, teaming, living waters, rising,
flooding and filling every space with your grace.

Lord turn the hard places into redeemed Kingdom spaces,
plant your hope there in those wide open places.
Let hope eclipse pain and love drive out fear.

Lord turn the hard places, into Holy spaces,
into your Holy home, decorate it with your love.
And let me simply be,
                     the backdrop of your glorious story.

Marriage is the hardest thing

Marriage is the hardest thing (well, maybe not the hardest but up there in the top 5 for sure)

Marriage Vows.  Serious Vows.  We recently did a vow ceremony at church. Oh sure we had lot's of fun that night(it was Valentines after all) but it got real serious, real fast... even if for just a few minutes when we said the vows.  

I,  take you, (name), to be my  lawfully wedded (husband/wife), my constant friend, my faithful partner and my love from this day forward. In the presence of God, our family and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live. 

Marriage is hard.  I think anyone that says otherwise is a liar, or freak of nature.  I am pretty sure marriage is meant to change us and let's just be honest most of us don't want to change.  

The color on my screen at work in Quick books just changed from green to blue and honestly it makes me angry every time I open it up.   

I know, I know....I am a mess.  Everything changes, I have to learn to live with that.  Since life is ever-evolving you would think I would be used to that by now.  

Okay, so back to the whole marriage thing.  Some of us, not saying who...are just not that great at it.  Some of us(mainly myself), we love but have trouble with the whole laying your life down for one another.  
Which in my ever-changing world means watching my words, loving intentionally, it means being faithful not just in a "no adultery" way.  
Being really faithful is about being faithful to every vow I have made...Being faithful to honor and love in every way and in every season.  

It is not always easy.  My marriage provides fertile ground for all my selfishness to be revealed.  Not that he is ferilizer...hahaha.
Just that it pops up like ugly weeds in a yard. If I take inventory I realize how much work I still have to do,how incomplete my love really is.  How unfaithful I am at times to love and honor.  

We are changing, ever evolving.  My messy mind unravels and he is the one who has the compassion and unconditional love to listen and give me the freedom to be honest.  He is what I have always needed, unfortunately I worked very hard to never need anyone.  

I am changing, we are changing.  Marriage is vulnerable work.  It is scary to love someone so completely. 

Unconditional is hard because life gives you lots of conditions to love through.  

It's worth every bit of the work.  
It's worth being vulnerable.  

We were made for this type of connection but we have to fight for it. Not fight each other, but fight our flesh.  Fight against the, "I want it my way" and the "I have to protect myself" mindset and learn to live in the fluidity of ever changing authentic connection. 

I am choosing to be me, but better....much better.  To trust and hope and love the man that is my soul mate, the love of my life.  

He makes me better and along the way, we are better partners.  

Life ebbs and flows....don't give up.  

Change, that is what marriage calls for... change.  Allow the friction and the fear to change you and then crack your heart open in the most vulnerable way and love, love anyway. 

Don't give up sweet friends...Love wins!



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