YOU are my people!

Thank you, Glennon Doyle Melton for this great truth put to paper!

I am a crazy, loud, wonderful(that is the Jesus part) mess.  Full of faith and hope, laughter and joy, with a mind that won't quit.  Every part of my life that can be planned, is planned. It is just all those unexpected things that make me wildly unstable for a few terrifying minutes (okay hours maybe even days).   I am often afraid of the reckless passion I feel and try desperately to be rational.  Not my strong suit, I am fiercely devoted to those I love and wildly in love with most human beings which makes me vulnerable and unpredictable.  I told someone recently that I want to dress like a gypsy and dress professional(you can see the conflict here).  I am evolving and changing.  It is so weird. I am fifty one and feel like I am shedding my cocoon and becoming someone new.  

The essence of who I am remains the same but somehow the "old me" and the "church me" have collided and perhaps they should have been "one life" all along, but this "new me" I like her a lot better. Yep, I think I can love this "new me".  I still want you to love me, but if you don't that's okay.  I realize that some people are just not going to be my people.  I want to surround myself with the people that celebrate my particular personality of laughter and life.  You don't have to be like me (I appreciate diversity), but you do have to enjoy the "new me".   Yes, I can be quiet and sweet but I can also be loud and teeter on the edge of wild.  Don't dare me to do something, you will be sorry.  I could say I am brave but I am not sure that is the right word, I just do things afraid.  I thought I was brave, until I realized I am not. To quote a song, "I'm brave but I'm chicken sh*t".

Sometimes I am embarrassed to tell the story of how I ended up here, in Lubbock, Texas. Reconnecting with beautiful old friends requires some sort of synapses.   Talk about mortifying.  I just look people in the face and for shock value speak it totally straight.  Sure we laugh about it, because I can't miss an opportunity to crack some type of joke about it.  I think one day it could be a weird comedy routine.  

Turns out I am not the only woman to be cheated on and lied to for most of their marriage.  I am in some amazing company, wonderful women that are struggling through the after affects of broken dreams and broken vows.  It's not just marriages, my friends have had real struggles.  They laugh about it and we share our stories and we believe in redemption for that really crappy stuff and we have hope.  We each have stories and my tribe, my women friends well, we stare into the face of adversity and scream...."I will be better, my life will be better, I am beautiful and strong and nothing will beat me for very long"  Resilient, that is what we are.  We struggle and we fight for our health, our children, a new life, whatever the struggle happens to be and we bounce back.  Sometimes when necessary we help one another bounce back. 

Often in the middle of explaining my crazy story I find someone with the sweetest heart and the kindest face and I think I am looking into the face of God.  Seriously, I see God in people, encouraging  and empathetic people.  I refuse to be shamed out of sharing my story, I will not be denied these special encounters with people that love well and demonstrate the kindness of God to me.  

Now as the old collides with the new, as fresh faith(less religion, more freedom) and tons of grace are poured out on me by the loveliest people, I realize I am not defined by what happened to me but rather refined by it.  Not in a perfection way, that ship has sailed on without me. By refined I mean that I am better than before. 

I am not perfect, actually the hard work of seeming perfect is really over.  I give up, I quit, I throw in the towel.  I am beautifully imperfect.  I make mistakes and own them.  I say too much, I say too little, I am too loud, I want to eat cookie dough all the time, no joke; breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I am not the best at anything I do, I am not even sure I am second in anything.  I fail all the time, as a mother, a friend, even as an employee.  I am trying really, but sometimes my own stuff gets in the way.  Like someone just dropped a mountain in front of me to climb.  (I think I can, I think I can)I try not to let condemnation come on me(practice, practice, practice).  Chant with me these freeing words, "I am not perfect!" I blatantly share my flaws and try to limit expectations. 

Turns out I love Jesus more now..... I think, because I am not trying to prove I am worthy of His love.  I am just trying to live in a place of grace and space to be as authentic as I possibly can.   Not trying to make others happy, fix anyone just trying to find the true, new me and love others well.  By the way, I wear a bikini now and on occasion throw down a curse word.  This freedom feels pretty good.  

And that's the story of how it all collided one day(okay it was a year) from "old me" mixed with "church me" to "new me" with a little help from my friends(tribe).

You brave friends make me long for the best me, the most authentic me and to just pour out love on you like you have done for me.  In you I see hope.  Keep up the good work!
Debbie xoxo

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