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Bigger, Taller, Stronger

Although I was tall in stature, taller by a head than most of my classmates, I’d always held the secret of being intimidated by giants. It was rare to be around girls taller than me, and when I was, I was intimidated.

As an adult, I am what many would call average height. So that part of my life came and went. What I never knew, until I grew older, was the non-physical baggage that that intimidation had left behind.

Sounds funny doesn’t it? Carrying baggage about being tall.

When you are bigger or taller than most your age, you are expected to act differently. Act your age. Straighten up, fly right. In my case, I was told to act my age and not my shoe size. Adults around me expected me to behave in a manner that wasn’t appropriate for my actual age.

So basically, what this leads to, is a little one not knowing how they are supposed to act, because they are not intellectually or emotionally to that stage yet. Some will act out, be loud, boisterous behave badly, others will hide away, building a hard shell around themselves for protection.

I’ve always thought myself a little of a split personality in this area. I went back and forth. The two sides of my personality did constant battle. I could act out, or I could hide.

My poor mother. She never knew which one would show up!

Now a days, I recognize that battle more about personality than size.

You see, I’m an introvert. I am not shy.

I am quite capable of taking the lead on things when needed, public speaking, or calling out things I may see as wrong.

The secret of introverts aren’t made up of by the lack of those traits.

The secret of introverts, is that they need much more time than the extrovert to charge up their inner batteries. When they are charged up, they often appear to be extroverts.

I said all this to say this. I don’t have to feel intimidated, and neither do you.

Get proper rest. Have adequate quiet time. (Adequate for you, everyone is different)

Take the time it takes to recharge.

When properly charged, you can be Bigger, Taller, Stronger. Or at least appear that way.

 

Shadows

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“Prophecy – is normally only seen in shadow” – Gary Ellis

Excerpt from “The Dead Zone” – Stephen King

Johnny Smith: I’ve been tutoring this boy named Stuart. In the vision, I saw him drown. But that’s not the point. In the vision, something was missing.
Dr. Sam Weizak: How – how do you mean?
Johnny Smith: It was like… a blank spot, a dead zone.
Dr. Sam Weizak: First of all, tell me, did the boy, in fact, drown?
Johnny Smith: His father wanted him to play hockey. I talked him out of it. The boy’s alive.
Dr. Sam Weizak: Ah. Yes. Don’t you see how clear it is? Not only can you see the future, you can…
Johnny Smith: I can change it.
Dr. Sam Weizak: You can change it, exactly. Here. Yes, John. That is your… your “dead zone.” The possibility of… of altering the outcome of your premonitions. It’s fascinating. Let me make a note.

The thing he couldn’t see, the thing in the shadow, was what thing he could change.

There are many times when God tells us something, perhaps not audibly, but it comes in as a “Knowing in our knower.” (Mark Anderson)

It can come as an encouragement, or a warning as in this example.

If God has given you a prophecy, a word, a knowing; then you can always count on it, no matter what you see with your eyes.

If you have behaviors or thoughts that take you consistently away from that promise, you can change that.

That dead zone is a place where you can change things.

Change them by hanging on, getting stiller, listening longer, and waiting for the answer to come from the shadow. If He has said it, He will do it.

Things will change. Hold on.

And soon;  Isaiah 9:2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.

1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Psalm 17:8 Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings,

 

Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

 

Psalm 36:7 How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.
Even if the days seem dark, we have a promise.
We wait, and walk, and wait some more, with Him, to see His promise fulfilled.

Heartbeat – Show and Tell

 

close up of tree against sky

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I once believed that if I “thought too highly of myself” it was a sign of selfishness.

                I was told I thought more highly of myself than I ought.

I once believed that stating my abilities was bragging about how good I was.

                I was told I was a show off, and that I needed to stop it.

I once even believed that if I tried to show any of these talents, then people would tell me I was wrong, and that I actually had no talent at all.

                Sadly, they told me this, all through my life, and I believed them.

Many times these declarations came from those who were either supposed to look after my well being, or if not them, then from someone I had dared to step out of myself to trust.

I was taught that “I” statements, should be phrased as “we” statements.

Hence, I would not be attracting too much attention to myself.

Even my journals were phrased in this way.

I may not know you, but I do know something about people, and even a little bit about what makes them tick.

May I just start by saying that when we are small, and then even as we grow, we have the ability to be either weak or strong, healthy or sick, bright or dim, positive or negative.

Of course a lot of this comes from our genetic code, but I believe much, much more of it comes from what we are told as we grow.

“Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.” – Henry Ford

 Here is a bit of what I already knew, I knew it because these scriptures said it was so;

                Psalm 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

                2 Corinthians 10:5 says that – We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ.

                The Living Bible translation says that we can capture these rebels (thoughts) and change them into thoughts whose hearts’ desire is obedience to Christ.

By re-working how I think in this way, I can choose God’s thoughts for myself.

I have it on good authority (God’s word) that it is OK for me to declare what God has put in side of me.

By declaring this truth, I am actually strengthening and re-strengthening the fact for my heart to know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, I am choosing an obedient thought instead of a lie.

When I capture all those negative thoughts placed in my mind, I literally take them, and trade them in. I don’t like those thoughts, and like returning a purchase at the store, I’ll choose some other thoughts.

I’ll choose the thoughts that God has thought about me all along.

I’ll choose the ones I was not able to hear for all the untrue ones that were loudly going off in my head!

 

If we choose rightly, the way we think of ourselves,

– The way God thinks of us –

We become His “Show and Tell”.

What day was more exciting than “Show and Tell”?

When we could share our most prized possession with the class!

He is excited to show us off!

He absolutely loves what He has created!

He wants the world to see!

When we reflect HIS image,

People will see and know that we belong to a loving Creator God.

Now you may or may not know much about this God of whom I speak.

Whatever the case, please allow me to give you some of God’s own words to let you know and realize the way He thinks of you, the way He sees you.

Please allow God’s words for you, seep into your heart.

Please allow them to marinate your person with His extreme love for you.

I’ve given you a dozen verses to consider.

Then you may even wish to consider your own.

(Perhaps there is a little private “Show and Tell” between you and God in your near future.)

  • ·         Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship (poem, creation, show and tell), created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

 

  • ·         Romans 8:38-39 (NIV) For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,(nothing!) will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

  • ·         Psalm 139:13-15 (NIV) For you created my inmost being;you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. (You are not a mistake!)

 

  • ·         Isaiah 49:16See, I have written your name on my hand. (He knows your name!)

 

  • ·         Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (His plan is for you to CHOOSE hope by loving Him!)

 

  • ·         Luke 4:18-19 (NIV) The Spirit of the Lord is on me, (If you love Him, this means you!) because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom forthe prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free (That’s you too!), to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (You get to proclaim Him, you are not tied to the negative proclamations that the world believes.)

 

  • ·         1 John 3:1-2 (NIV) See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (Tweet that!) The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.Dear friends, now we arechildren of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.All who have this hope (Yep. You again!) in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

 

  • ·         Psalm 103:17-18 (ESV) The steadfast love of the Lord is fromeverlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments. (Forever for you and your children if you love Him.)

 

  • ·         Psalm 28:7 (NIV) The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him. (Even if my body is weak, He can keep my spirit strong! The joy of the Lord is our strength!))

 

  • ·         2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV) For God has not given us the spirit of fear; (Fear not, listed 365 times in scripture – One for each day!) but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

 

  • ·         Psalm 57:2 (AMP) I will cry to God Most High, Who performs onmy behalf and rewards me [Who brings to pass His purposes for me and surely completes them]!

 

  • ·         John 16:33 (NIV) “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (Trouble is inevitable, but so is His overcoming it!)

 

This is all I have for you today.

It is enough for now.

God so wants to make these truths real to you.

Won’t you give Him a try?

 

*

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

 

Part Three – Growing Up Churched (3/3)

 

The Men People Trusted.

 

In the church I grew up in, and in all churches, military, businesses, families etc, there is a hierarchy.

There is always the boss, followed closely by an assistant. There are scribes, and treasurers, and event planners.

Churches have Pastors, Assistant Pastors, Executive Pastors, Teaching Pastors, along with secretaries, treasurers and then Deacon Boards.

All of that being said, one must know that if you are to hold one of those positions, you have proven yourself to be trustworthy and upstanding, as a child might even think; Holy.

After church service, there was a Sunday school class. Adults went to a different part of the building than the kids. I can still see it in my mind, all the people passing in the hall to go to their respective classes.

There, going the opposite direction as me, was a deacon who locked his eyes on me. I was around 12 or so, so I just thought he was being friendly. Each week, as we passed in the hallway, he would lock eyes on me and began to walk a little closer. I had no vocabulary for it, but I knew it felt weird. It felt scary, even creepy. He then proceeded to touch me where he shouldn’t. Every time a bit more aggressively.

My stomach would roil, and my heart would threaten to come out of my throat when I saw him coming. I knew he was a deacon. Someone the other adults looked up to and even trusted. Who would believe the words of this child, who in her wrongness didn’t fit in anywhere?

I never told a soul. Several months and several incidents passed. I made up some story about not wanting to go to class any more, even though I really did want to.

So I wasn’t in the hallway anymore, the terror and the feeling of even more wrongness stayed with me. I will always wonder if I was the only one. Statistically speaking, there were probably many more..

That was “Back in the day”, when secret things were secret things. The problem with secret things is that they tend to tarnish their container. I was tarnished, through no fault of my own, but acted out tarnished for the next several years.

Until much, much later I found out a few things; it was not my fault, God did not see me as faulty, people are people, whether they be in high places or low, even little girls and boys should talk about any secrets that adults make happen, that make them feel awful and anxious and scared.

In a previous post, The Cartography of Our Scars I addressed the fact that our scars, our landscape, makes us who we are.

Sure, I can wish it never happened, but it did, and so much more. But now I have only to use that rutted road to hold on to someone else’s hand, to help them find the way out.

Remember when that woman I barely knew said it wasn’t my fault?

The truth that she spoke to me set me on the twisty road to freedom.

Part Two – Growing Up Churched (2/3)

Thou Shalt Not

There was one thing I heard clearer than anything else during those early morning church services.

Thou shalt not.

I heard the words the Pastor was reading from the Holy Bible kept on the pulpit. I heard the Thou shalt nots, and that the payment for sin is death. I believed those words.

I still do. But he was telling me the thou shalt nots, without a word about how not to. Basically, he was telling me what to think, without teaching me how to think. What I never heard was just how to not do the Thou shalt nots, or how to receive forgiveness for my ill doing.

Surely, God didn’t punish little girls with the death penalty, right? But how could I know? Since they never told me (or I never heard) I only knew for sure that I was a wrong-doer.

I heard the words God so loved the world, but to me they were overshadowed by all of my wrongness. How could He love someone who was just so wrong?

Fast forward again, to when I was that young mother, going to that different church with my children, without their daddy.

It was there that I began to understand my Father’s (God’s) love for me. How it extended much farther than I could have ever believed.

The story of my earthly father is for another day. Suffice to say that our relationship made it very difficult for me to understand that “love” could be any other way.

John 1:12 (ESV) but to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. All God wanted was for me to receive Him.

The wrongness of my childhood was nothing in His eyes. It only mattered that I look to Him for guidance.

The choice was mine. Wait. I get to choose? I had never even known that there were options. My wrongness, just was. It was what it was.

I had an encounter with a woman at this time, which I barely knew.

Here is what she said;

“When I see you, I see a chalkboard. This chalkboard says that 2 + 2 = 5. No matter what you do, or how many times you erase it, you cannot get the answer to come out correctly.”

What she told me next, totally floored me.

“God wants you to know that it wasn’t your fault.”

What? I knew at that moment that all my wrongness, was not my fault, I just had not been given all the facts.

On that day I received three things; Freedom from wrongness, choices, and a Father who loved me regardless.

It was then I realized that I would be in a totally different “classroom” being taught in a way that I could learn.

Oh what a glorious day!

 

Part One – Growing Up Churched (1/3)

 

Where Do I Fit In?

When I was growing up, we always attended one of the Lutheran churches in town.

Now I have no problem with the Lutheran church, per se. There are different kinds of people with different preferences, I get that.

But as a small child, I only knew that I would be required to sit, for an hour, and not talk. If I could not maintain stillness, I was sure to receive a painful pinch on the shoulder, or an elbow in my side. Even as an adult this sitting “still” is difficult for me. I can always sit, just not still, and I get to choose whether I speak or not.

Back in the day, every one really dressed up for church, but there was nothing finer than attending on a cool Easter morning, men in their suits and women and girls in all their finery. Springy dresses, bonnets, white gloves and the ever present white patent leather shoes.

None of which we had.

We wore the cleanest, not worn out clothing that we owned. I could feel the heat of the stares on my back as we walked up the aisle to our seats. It always seemed that we were less than, imperfect, those without.

Our dad never attended, even on those special days of Christmas or Easter. Often we would be dropped off, and picked up later. His absence was yet another thing that was my fault. My little mind imagined that in my wrongness.

I was often wrong at home. Every day I was wrong at school. Now here at the one place I should be right, I was wrong as well.

My hair was wrong, my clothes were wrong, our family minus our dad was wrong. Every church service simply proved more to me about my wrongness.

Fast forward, to when I was a young mother, going to a different church with my children, but not with my husband, where I felt the same burning heat on my back as we entered into a room with all the “perfect” people, all the “perfect” families all sitting perfectly still, in “perfect” little rows.

What on earth was wrong with me?

Was there anywhere I (and now my children) could fit in?

The Cartography of Our Scars

Last week, a word on “Word of the Day” was cartography.

If you don’t know, cartography is the science or practice of drawing maps.

Hold that thought.

Then in one of my online communities, the topic was “Embracing my scars”.

I took about five minutes to write about it. Here is why they go together;

Our scars are like a road map. One laid out by a expert cartographer.

Our scars show us not only who we are, but where we came from.

The hills, the bumps, the ridges, the pleasant peaceful waters, as well as the water hazards. Straight and curvy roads. Smooth roads, and roads with ruts. All of these make our lives more valuable.

We see that we have come farther than we ever imagined we could, and like a new, snowy landscape, we have before us a place to make a new trail. Fresh new tracks.

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What will your map look like? Will the cartographer use straight lines? Or will it be a more adventurous undertaking?

We need both the straight and adventurous to make our lives interesting, and inconceivably valuable.

Valuable in that we can show others that they are not alone in their wanderings. We can show them the way we took to reach where we are now, or, we can help others to find a whole new way of making it all make sense.

Either way, the beauty of that map, will be strictly owned by you.

As Mr. Rogers was fond of saying, “There is no one like you.”