Thursday, September 19, 2013

The root of the issue

I've been a terrible communicator in my day. 
I wonder how many times I've said "I just don't know how to say what I'm thinking!" - and then give up. Or simply been too afraid to speak up. I've made a lot of messes that way. And missed a lot of important opportunities. 
I read a book last week about a man with a stutter that went away when he read out loud. He didn't have to come up with the words, He could just read smoothly what was on the page - a voice not his own and the words just poured out.  Then he decided to "join the voices" of all the authors by writing his own book and found his own voice. After years of reading aloud his stuttering went away. 
I see myself in him. 
His childhood was rough - way worse than mine- not comparable really. But life put him (his voice really) in a straight jacket. 
{side note - kinda funny- I had a major cut on top of my head when I was a child. In order to keep me still for the shaving of my head and for stitches, they had to put me in a straight jacket. So I'm familiar with the feeling. (And when my hair started growing back my mom called me "quail")}
For various reasons over time, I stopped speaking. Oh, I was verbal, but so very scared and careful. 
I have known this is an area of my life Jesus has had his finger on for quite a while.
He specifically let me know very clearly a couple of weeks ago that the root issue is simply fear. Fear of not being understood. Fear of not being believed. Afraid that I would hurt with my words and make situations even worse. Afraid that people would not like what I had to say. Fear that my kids won't listen... Again. 
So I put myself in a straight jacket. Bottled most things up and began the quiet process of dying. I couldn't figure out who I was supposed to be because I was so worried about making sure everyone around me stayed happy with me. How can you stand up for yourself if you don't know who you are?
So when I asked Jesus a few weeks ago about this root of fear in my life, He was so kind to reveal this. He wanted to free me from these fears, hold my hand, and walk with me through the scary waters of navigating conversations.
He wants me to have a voice. 
 I want to say what I'm thinking- in a kind way. He wants to help me to address tough issues- with grace and patience.  I want to sit beside people and express the love and kindness to them that God has shown to me - even when they are really wounded, confused, and angry. I want to be ok with not having all the answers, but waiting on the Spirit to help me with the words to say. I want to know when I'm NOT supposed to speak as well!  I just don't want to be afraid anymore. 
Just like the man in the story - it will take time and practice for me to learn my voice. And that's ok. It will still be a little scary sometimes. But despite my ingrained first reactions, I think I can finally say, "I'm ready to talk!" 

One of the primary regrets of the dying is they didn't speak their minds. Let no fear silence you. Speak with kindness, but speak.
-Donald Miller tweet

Friday, September 6, 2013

This week's favorites

Favorite K-love song during carpool :

All of who You are reaches the darkest parts
Lifting the weight and erasing the scars that had a hold on me
Here I am bearing all, tearing down every wall
So amazed by Your grace and the way You're still holding me

My God, You are the unchanging love
My God, Your heart sends hope from above
The great Creator, beautiful Savior
I've been redeemed
There is life now from Your victory
You are my God
You are my God
"My God" - Jeremy Camp

Real life quote of the week:
" I don't care what {insert famous pastor} says! Ask Jesus what HE has to say!" - my counselor :) 

Real life KID quote of the week:
Ben : (while searching Netflix for a movie ) "😟 Is trouble gonna come? Cause I hate trouble! " (worried about scary parts in movies like the fox and the hound!!)

Favorite pics of the week 
Levi with "piggy nose " at the dentist 

My view for Labor Day
Cousins in the mountains 

Prayer breakfast and seeing the "baby" I used to babysit - now an amazing and godly young woman

And finally, if you scroll below, I finally finished my "Living Blind" post :) 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

This week's favorites

So I thought that I would try keeping track of a week by cutting and pasting the words and pictures that have found the deep places in my heart.  Maybe even sometimes I might actually say something original... :)

Slumber party :)

"Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become. "(2 Corinthians 12:7-10 MSG)

Even when the rain falls

Even when the flood starts rising
Even when the storm comes
I am washed by the water

Why in the world was it that she caught her reflection in the smudged window over the sink that evening, right then, and the realization of it caught her in the moment and returned her — that wherever she was, however she was, SomeOne did always long to be with her.  Belonging wasn’t about some club, or cool clique, or country — belonging was about Christ. Who never stopped longing to be with her, who said she always belonged because she was always His beloved. 

No matter how many days she felt lost in her  own skin, no matter how she struggled for breath in her lungs that didn’t hurt, that didn’t make her ache, no matter how she kept looking for a home and a place of her own and to be known and roots that would never let her go —  there was always One who longed to be with her — so she belonged.  

Crazy — a holy epiphany over a sink of dirty dishes and tomato sauce smeared across the counter, her reflection there in the window.
You never belong until you believe you do.       
And it’s only when you believe you belong, that you believe you are beautiful.  
And she stood there looking at her reflection in the window, His presence all around her —
and all the beautiful unfurling on the inside of her like tendrils of roots wrapping round everything and being held.
-Ann Voscamp

A little more Ann...
Breathe. It’s how life works. It’s the way beauty is always born —
Breathe in: Lord, I receive what you give.
Breathe out: Lord, I give thanks for what you give.
That’s it right there.
That’s the prayer for people who can’t remember to breathe, the prayer for when you think you might hyperventilate, the prayer when you can’t remember what comes next — just these 7-8 syllables that perfectly settle into the rhythm of breathing.
It’s the syllables of sanctuary, a surrender to His sovereignty.
It’s the only cycle of sanity:
Breathe in: Lord, I receive what you give.
Breathe out: Lord, I give thanks for what you give.

My oldest is now taller than me... 

Monday, June 24, 2013

From Jesus Calling

June 24

Hold My hand—and trust. So long as you are conscious of My Presence with you, all is well. It is virtually impossible to stumble while walking in the Light with Me. I designed you to enjoy Me above all else. You find the deepest fulfillment of your heart in Me alone.

Fearful, anxious thoughts melt away in the Light of My Presence. When you turn away from Me, you are vulnerable to the darkness that is always at work in the world. Don’t be surprised by how easily you sin when you forget to cling to My hand. In the world, dependency is seen as immaturity. But in My kingdom, dependence on Me is a prime measure of maturity.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
—Isaiah 41:10

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
—Psalm 62:5–6

I am claiming Isaiah 41 as mine these last few months. God has been so kind to me in my weakness.  He has shown himself faithful and strong in the midst of many questions. Trusting and depending on him while i live blindfolded ... More on that to come!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Living Blind

We took a trip to an amazing family-style dude ranch in Colorado.  They had a new feature this year: a rock climbing wall/ zip line combo.
Can I just say I could not WAIT to try it?!
The first time up I was shaking and halfway up thought I probably wouldn't make it. But waiting for me at the top was a zip line - and there was no other way to partake of that amazingness. :) so I kept going. Once I got to the top I was exhilarated. And the zip line did not disappoint. It was like flying -
With a sudden punch at the end as the rope hit the end of the line. 
Well, once was not enough. I probably went back 4 times that day: racing children much smaller than me, and looking super-cool in the required helmet. 
As the time was ending, I looked at the staff and asked "So what are some of the ways you have seen people make this more challenging?" They proceeded to talk about the different sides of the wall that vary in difficulty and trying to use only certain colored rocks. Then one of them looked at me and said, "You could always try it blindfolded."  So very matter-of-factly. 
Me: "Have you seen someone do this?" 
Him: "nope. But we have bandanas over there...."
And the next thing he knew I was tying one over my eyes, pulling it down so I couldn't peek even if/when I wanted too. 
I have to say I didn't even hesitate. I don't know why but I knew this was something super important for me to do. 
I attached myself to the first rocks I could find and began reaching and stretching for the next grip. Whichever hand had the best grip stayed put while the other groped wildly for a secure place. My feet fumbled and knees lifted higher than I thought possible to secure my next step. The girl on belay below me tried to call out hints but it was like I couldn't even hear her. 
I don't know how long it took me. I just know that I felt the top of the wall and almost started crying. I did it. I climbed a wall- blindfolded. 
I thought about my feat for days afterward. 
I realized that climbing without seeing was almost easier than using my eyes. My brain couldn't tell me "That rock is too small! It will never support you! You don't have the grip strength to hold on!"
If I found a rock- I just grabbed it. And held on. I had to. I was not aware of other options. 
On the spiritual side, I realized how similar that experience had been to my life lately. I feel blindfolded. I can only see a day at a time. And when one of your senses is compromised, others take over. But because of that, my sense of hearing has compensated and I can hear The Lord and His voice of love so clearly. Looking at the wall in front of me is too daunting. But listening to His voice and the directions He gives me for each day have been worth the blindness. 
Oh, and they let me keep the bandana :)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Prayer Request and Story from BK

Sometimes I just LOVE how my husband is able to communicate things through his writing. He has a ministry blog, but instead of posting a link, I am going to copy and paste here for you to read. It was a shared experience one afternoon, and a lot of what he feels, I feel too. So here it is...
by: Bryan Kelly

I am at the end of myself.... again. I have been involved in some pretty big interactions lately where things didn't go the way I would have wanted them to go. People I am trying to love don't seem to see eye to eye with other people I am trying to love. I feel a little sorry for myself, sorry about myself... and tired. There seems to be a lot of loose ends, many that I have created, many that I haven't, and some that I can't even imagine what resolution looks like. I say that on this format mainly to try to figure out what's going on inside of me and to solicit any of those reading to pray for me.

I am asking the Lord to rescue me from many things. I need Him to rescue me from the place of shame and insecurity that I tend to stumble into. Also, I want Him to rescue me from the place of me playing the martyr... where i seek affirmation and people on 'my side' to the point of me not being honest about my addiction to and contribution towards the chaos around me and in me. I need to be rescued from my 'fix it yourself' mentality and my 'shut down and act paralyzed' mentality all at the same time!

Pray for me that I would find my affirmation in God, that I would trust Him, and that I would find true direction, take healthy responsibility, and live out of real repentance right now!

Now for an anecdotal story... I offer a situation I faced last week that seems to define how things are going.

I returned home the other day to see a lady resting on our porch and talking with my wife, Delta. We have had many interactions with her over the last 4 years. She is mentally ill and is the butt of many jokes as well as mistreatment in our neighborhood. She is highly emotional and suffers from many severe mood swings, often in the middle of the same conversation. We have never had any disagreements with her. We thought we had always treated her kind and with dignity.

The conversation started nice enough. We caught up a bit, Delta responded to her requests for food and some finger nail polish (don't ask, I couldn't do the scene justice!) then she looked at me and yelled, "Give me some money for a whopper!" It was kind of funny. I told her she was welcome to eat with us but that I didn't have any money on me for a whopper. She then said, "You never give out money!" That is actually kind of true. That's a long conversation on what actually helps and what doesn't. She then said, "You are supposed to give from the heart!" What a loaded accusation.... And according to who said it, what they meant, who received it, and what one might be thinking it is challenging! It's like throwing out a political talking point, or a racially charged statement that lands hard.

What can you do with a tough accusation like this? "You never give out money... And you are supposed to give from the heart?" It is connecting two truths... Yet can be true or not according to the day, the person, the motive, the situation, etc. It is complicated! As she made the accusation, I began to justify myself in my head, recounting all the things we had done for her, especially when all of her own family had not done so. I then thought about the people that I refuse money to EVERY day that ask for it up and down our community streets.

She then dropped her second bomb: " What you think I am going to do, smoke it up or drink it up?" That's exactly what I thought, honestly. There was good reason to think it. I had seen her at the crack houses on many occasions. It all comes flooding in... stereotypes, real life history, odds, prejudices, pride, confusion, frustration, inability to know what's right in the moment, more pride, selfishness, inconvenience, did I mention pride?

She then began to spew out rants as she made her way up the block. "y'all just think you can move into our neighborhood and post up on our block! Y'all wouldn't stand for us to come live in your neighborhoods! You are either a drug dealer or the police! We don't want y'all here. White people! Who you think you are?!?!"

In hindsight... it hit me.

I hate being accused of anything. I hate not knowing what to do. I hate defaulting into not doing anything while justifications flood my mind. I hate the feelings of frustration and insecurity. In those moments I really want to be sure, and to be affirmed. I often forget that God did not call me to Himself and here to feed off the reactions and opinions of others whether positive or negative. Events like this and the ones I have been going through lately really flush out my motives.

Frustration, for me, comes when things don't get fixed... when I don't get fixed. I have had to trust the Lord in the middle if my neighbors rants, in the middle of conflict among my brothers and sisters, and in the middle of my failures and tensions.

God must really love me to use these things to bring me back to this point: What does He really think about me, and why am I doing what I do?"

Am I his son, and am I doing this for the glory of God and for the love of people, or do I have other motives? I smiled yesterday and the weight lifted as I was enabled to remember the truth.

God is good!

(here is his blog address :

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Annex

Our latest initiative as a ministry has been to create a very unique space with a building we acquired across the street from our current facility.
It will be an place with several functions, this is quoted from the sponsors press release:

"The Annex was created by renovating an existing 4,300-square-foot building adjacent to the CGM's main facility on Mobile Street in West Montgomery. The Annex will house the Urban SEED Xchange, a program that will provide entrepreneurial training for youngsters in grades 7-12, and space for the House 2 House program, which helps families achieve the dream of home ownership. The renovation project lasted 30 days and Beasley Allen donated $60,000 and many hours of sweat equity to help bring it to fruition."

Our ribbon cutting ceremony was very special and meaningful. I can't wait to report the ways God uses this building to extend His reign in our neighborhood!