Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I Did What?!






 Last Wednesday I celebrated 35 years of life, thanks Mom!

Now I know some of you think I'm a young chick, but to me 40 is peeking it's ugly head around the corner. I'm thankful for each day I have to be a mom to my kids and wife, sister, daughter, granddaughter etc.And I'm trying really hard to look at age as just a number.

But each year that number keeps getting higher and higher (along with the number on the scale) :(

I told my husband I never really thought about getting old. I knew I would one day, but I didn't give it much thought. In my mind I would always be young :)

So to celebrate my young-ness I got a tattoo! (story behind the tat below)

That's right. I'm growing up to be a bad girl! ;) A bad girl with a name of God on her wrist.

I decided to do something bold and extremely out of character. I've never had the desire to get a tattoo because, a)I've heard it hurt, and even though I have a pretty high tolerance for pain, I didn't want to test it out b)what in the world would I want tattooed on my body for the rest of my life?! I'm pretty wishy washy on things like that, so I knew I would probably change my mind.

A few weeks ago I mentioned to my husband that for my birthday I wanted a tattoo. He looked at me like I had grown an extra head... or two.

He's not against them, but he knows me well enough to know that a tattoo isn't my personality. But I was convinced and knew I wouldn't change my mind. I tried to explain to him and the kids the reasoning for choosing what I did, but I think I just confused them even more. No one really thought I'd go through with it. :)

We went out to dinner and made plans to go the tattoo shop I had finally decided on after spending days searching through Yelp.

On the drive over I was really second guessing myself. "What in the world?!" I kept telling myself, "You're not really going through with this are you?!"

This tattoo shop like most I've seen looked sketchy and downright scary. My kids were there too, and I could tell they just wanted me to say, "OK, just kidding, lets go home!" But no, (call it pride) I walked in shyly behind my husband. There was really loud heavy metal music playing and the smell of cigarettes was thick in the air. The walls were covered top to bottom in different sketches of tattoos.

Heavily tattooed, tattoo artists were busy with their clients and barely looked up at the scared (young) girl and her family that just walked in. I told the guy behind the counter (which was actually the least scary looking person in the joint) what I wanted and showed him a picture on my phone of a pin I had pinned from Pinterest.

He set to work sketching me out something and I waited. And waited and waited. I was starting to wonder if he was giving me time to run. I was getting more and more nervous as the minutes dragged on.

I think for my kids sake, thankfully, they turned the music to something less dreadful. Now they were playing Bon Jovi type-rock music and we could actually make out what they were saying. Plus, my kids knew most of the lyrics thanks to Guitar Hero. My son relaxed by pretending to be actually playing the guitar along with the music...he's pretty sure he got a high score! ;)

I was doubting myself the longer I sat there. But you know what? God saw me in that tattoo parlor.
Yep, He did.

He may have been thinking I was a little wacko, but I think He was smiling. One of my favorite songs by Bon Jovi came on, "Living on  a Prayer."
"Whoa living on a prayer, take my hand and we'll make it I swear, oh oh livin on  prayer, livin on prayer."
Oh, the irony.

When it finally came time to sit in the chair, "Sweet Home Alabama,"by Lynyrd Skynyrd started blaring through the speakers. I'm from Alabama and this song is practically the state song. It's played often at different events and functions.


I smiled. (I was trying not to pass out from the pain)

I know some people have strong opinions about tattoos. And that's OK. I honestly felt like God didn't mind. He was there with me, and the music that was playing was proof enough for me!

(Now if you ever decide you want one, may I deplore you to NOT get it on your wrist? Cause it HURTS. Like really really really bad. Imagine a thousand needles being DRUG through your skin.)

The knowing that God was with me made me feel at feel and made the next minutes bearable.

I'm so proud of myself for being brave and going through with it. My family still can't believe I actually did it...and to be honest neither can I!

And I LOVE it!!


******

The story behind the tat:

 ta da!

There has always been a name for God that has spoken to me more than the others. I'm sure you have one too?

In Genesis 16 we read about Hagar being sent away by Sarai. Sarai was mistreating Hagar for getting pregnant by Abram (which we know was Sarai's own doing). Sarai was being so horrible to Hagar, Hagar fled into the desert. (Gen 16:1-6)

God met her in the desert and told her, "Go back to your mistress and submit to her. I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count."(Gen 16:9)

He went on to tell her she was with child and that the Lord has heard of her misery. She then gave him the name El Roi, which means "You are the God who sees me."(Gen 16:13)

For many years I've felt invisible, like nothing good could come from me. I'm not sure where these feelings came from other than they were planted by the enemy a long time ago.

Last year I was reminded of this story in Genesis 16 and how much I liked this name for God because it felt so personal. I tucked the thought of getting it tattooed on my wrist away and didn't say a word to anyone.

This name speaks to my heart because it reminds me of the One that really does see me in this busy world. There are people who are more outgoing, prettier, fitter, more talented, wiser and yet He still sees me and loves me. ME.
"Every moment you know where I am" Psalms 139:3
Regardless of how many times I mess up or what storm is circling overhead threatening to steal my peace, I am not forgotten. Now I can look down at my wrist and be reminded daily that I AM SEEN by the God of the universe.

And I love that.

******


So, what do you think? Would you ever get one?

Sharing with Soli deo Gloria, #TellHisStory, ThreeWordWed, Winsome Wed, and Imperfect Prose, Thought-Provoking Thurs

Friday, May 16, 2014

Your Grace Abounds In Deepest Waters



Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

When I was young I stood at the sink washing dishes when suddenly the drinking glass I was cleaning shattered in my hand. As I was pulling my hand out of the water, a jagged piece of glass caught my right hand and sliced it wide open, just underneath my thumb.
I’ll never forget that day, because at the first sight of blood I passed out cold.
The sight of that gash in my hand was more than my mind…or my heart…could take.
And dreaming? It feels just like being cut right in two. We have the choice to live life God’s way or the world’s.
It’s living a life that has meaning and purpose ordained by God in a “me-first” world that values material success and fame at all costs more than the individual person.

I’ve had dreams and plans fail when I was certain they were from God. (<====Tweet This)
I'm writing over at God-sized Dreams today as part of the Oceans series, will you join me over there to read the rest?



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

It's A Co-Op (Part 3)




I have a 13 yr. old daughter and this year of school has been a tough one. New attitudes, new beliefs,new friends, new everything…she’s growing up. (Aren't you glad you aren't in junior high? )

One day after school she came home and she said, “I would rather be friends with boys than girls. Girls are so much drama and too much trouble.” I laughingly agreed. And I remembered thinking the very same thing when I was her age and most of my life until I became married and needed other women to relate to with when it came to motherhood and marriage.

For the first time in my life I realized I needed other women.

Comparison, jealousy, insecurity are wedges that have always drive women and their friendships apart. Sure, it’d be easier to live life alone rather than deal with the messiness of it, but that’s not how God created us.

(Oh, how I wish it were though sometimes (hey, I'm being honest ;))

I like how Lisa Jo Baker says, "It's not a competition, it's a co-op."

It really puts how we should view relationships with other women into perspective.

Comparison is like poison to our souls. It takes away from who we are and what we have because we will feel like what we have and who we are, are never enough.

I’ll never be as successful as she is so why should I try?

I’ll never be as skinny and fit as she is so why bother working out?

Why is she so lucky? Why is she so pretty? Look at her hair, I wish mine were that curly, straight, thick, long...

Sound familiar?

Maybe that’s why it was always easier for me to get along with boys, I didn't compare myself with them so I was freely able to give my friendship and be myself.

But God.

He got a hold of my heart when I read "A Confident Heart," by Renee Swope. In the book she says:

“Comparison leaves us insecure, confused, and discontent…We compare how we feel inadequate on the inside with someone who looks like they have it all together on the outside. Then we try to polish our outsides, hoping that will make us feel better on the inside, but it never does…God never intended us to compete with each other; He wants us to complete one another, celebrating and encouraging each other’s strengths while discovering who He created us to be.”

Reading this was like my soul took a big deep refreshing breath of fresh air. For once in my life, I felt like I was reading truth about the lie of comparison that has kept me in bondage for so long.

It really was OK for me to be ME, warts and all!!

God was trying to set me free from the trap I had put myself in.

But it’s not a web that is easily shaken off.

Even though it’s been a couple of years since I've read those words by Renee, I still struggle and have to realign my perspective to remind myself that I am good enough the way I am and that God has good plans for my life too.

My life, my struggles, my victories are mine and yours are yours.  Our paths may be different but in the end we are all working for one team, God’s.

I believe there is no better joy than knowing that the plan for your life is different and good from everyone else’s and being  ok with it.

One of my deepest desires is to truly love and embrace other women and see them as my sisters and not my competition. 

When we can learn to embrace and love who God made us to be, then we are set free to love and cheer on others in their race… and mean it.




And the best part about life? We GET to do it together!




Your turn!! How do you deal with comparison? Read the first two in the series ===> Post 1 and Post 2

Linking with Soli deo Gloria, #TellHisStory, Three Word WedWinsome Wed, Imperfect Prose, Thought-Provoking Thurs

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Comparing, Insecurity, & Fear


I wrote a post for Laura Rath.

And as I wrote I felt like God was telling me so much more to say, so I decided to write a second post...and a third.

I bring my perspective from that of a woman.  I think comparing is the one thing that trips us up time and time and time again.

We feel insecure for many reasons.

We feel there are so many different ways we don't measure up. And keep falling short.

Our house isn't clean enough

We don't cook enough, or well enough, or healthy enough

Our clothes aren't designer...or new...

Breast fed vs bottle 

Cloth diapers vs regular

Stay at home vs working mom

We compete when we don't feel good enough. We look at others who seem to have it all together or not and think  "What's WRONG with ME?!" "What's WRONG with THEM?!

Our enough is not enough so we throw fiery word darts at each other to make others feel like they aren't enough either.

There!

Take that, you well put together woman with your perfect husband and kids!

We sit in the mud and muck. Dirty with our own judging and yuck. Why?

Isn't who we are are and what we have good enough? We are enough.

Say it with me,"I am enough!"

When we accept and BELIEVE this truth then it will be so.

Our so-called competition, insecurity, and fear....GONE.

Here's the rub: We love ourselves and then we are free to truly love others (easier said than done, I know).

Love doesn't return void. Ever.

The comparing and competing will always divide. I may not be like my well put-together friends, but I can recognize that and it's OK. I'm not made like them nor them like me. We all struggle in some way, no one is good at everything, we all have weaknesses.

The important thing is to be vulnerable and share those weak spots. Admit where you're weak and others will too.


Love and vulnerability is the only way we can break down the walls of them and us.





Linking with Soli deo Gloria, #TellHisStory, Three Word Wed, Winsome Wed, Imperfect Prose, Thought-Provoking Thursday

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