Conversations with an Old Friend.

“Hey, less of the old, if you don’t mind!?”  The shout echoes across the pond.

This holiday season brought me a beautiful gift in the form of 10,000 steps a day with my oldest and dearest friend.  When the Best Friend Ever™ comes to stay and is on a health kick, you walk.  And when friends who live 6,000 miles apart walk, they talk.

Oh, what a balm to my soul those conversations are!

The sweetness of conversation with one who has known me long and hard, through marriages (both), divorce (hers), children (mine) and continental faith shifts (both), is a treasure to me.  There is penetrating insight in that long look that is unmatched by even the deepest friendships of this restless immigrant.  There is weight to words spoken over me in loving compassion by this one who has known me for so long.

Seeing myself through her eyes is Revelation. Her words exhort me to grace and compassion. If you’ve been around me for long, you’ll have noticed that I am long on passion and short on grace – for myself at least; that I am the harshest critic of myself, my inner voice is a cruel, insatiable perfectionist whose standards are stratospheric, and who rarely listens to encouraging words, because “they don’t really know me”.

So, this year instead of New Year’s Resolutions, I am committing to a year of Revelations.  I am digging in. Digging deep. A curiosity has awakened within me to know, to examine, to root out.  I cannot explain how odd this is, I am, by nature, an adventurer, always on the hunt for the new, exciting, and exotic. I am easily bored, and generally not given to introspection. I am a classic extrovert, I gain so much energy and joy from people that the thought of spending time, alone, with my inner self (or selves) is, on the surface, unappealing.  However, framed another way, this is an adventure, this is the ultimate challenge, to discover the depths of my self, to stretch my intellect, to be able to serve greatly without fear of being “found out”.

There are many areas I have begun to dip my toe into;

  • Reflecting on the programming I internalised as a child is more relevant than ever as I guide my sons from adolescence to adulthood.
  • Acknowledging and purging the cultural mores I have picked up from 10 years of life in the Evangelical Church of the American South become heartbreakingly urgent as I navigate this new landscape of #metoo and #timesup.
  • Dealing with the codependency and psychic armour I developed to survive boarding school, but which has sown bad seeds and reaped a worse harvest in my life as an adult.

 

“Because this business of becoming conscious, of being a writer, is ultimately about asking yourself, How alive am I willing to be?”
― Anne LamottBird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

I hope you will come on this journey with me, not just as a spectator but as a participant in your own year of discovery.  If there is one thing universally true, it is that change starts within.  If we want to be agents of restoration to a broken, divided and hurting world, must we not first be those very agents to our own broken, divided and hurting hearts.

Let’s go!  Joy awaits!

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Let us be a family…

I am so weary.

Weary of heartbreak coming at me from all sides, of the late night messages from friends harassed by ex husbands, of a mother who is in fear for her sanity, for her life, for her very soul, trying to keep it together for children with nowhere else to turn. Weary of the “widows and orphans” of our age being shunned for being victims of abuse or neglect, for being brave enough to believe that no man is better than an abusive one, or just simply for being single. Shattered to my very core by the grief my friends are forced to carry alone because of the insecurity of others.

I am angry.

This heartbreak will not go away, it will not be squashed, comforted into a mere inconvenience. It will not be ignored.  The One I turn to in heartbreak, exhaustion and sorrow is angry too!  His Grief will not be denied, and He demands we do better. The Jesus who revealed Himself to the Samaritan woman at the well demands we do better than this.  The Spirit, grieved and grieving, demands the church be a place of family for those without.

Will you sit with the pain? Will you allow it to change you, to galvanize a resolve to do better in you?  Will you love well, and constantly, not for recognition or applause, but because if you don’t, who will?

Will you say, “No More!”

No more distracting, no more demurring for a peaceful life, no more crossing to the other side.  The women on the edges of our communities deserve fullness of life, all of them; the divorced, the widowed, the single. The ones we would rather not see because they reveal our fears writ large and painful. They deserve the same loud, rambunctious and messy family we long for; an interfering, bossy, nosy band of sisters and brothers who will stand in the gap with them. A family who will walk all the way with them, be a place of healing and joy and growth. They deserve a family who will fight for them.

Our family needs them.  I need them. I need to be reminded to depend more fully on Jesus, and to be grateful for small lovely moments so easily missed as I rush to yet another game/meeting/dinner.

The Church needs them. The Church, the beautiful living expression of Jesus’ body on earth that is called to transform the earth, needs the wounded Warrior Women to lead, to share, to disciple us in the Broken Way.  We need their voices and their tears.  Because in them we see Jesus. A Jesus who always sought out and loved the broken and the lost over the put-together and in-charge.

Will you invite our sisters to belong first? Will you invite those who have no money, to come, buy and eat?

Dear Sisters,

We need you!  You are not a burden or an inconvenience, you are our family and without you, we are Less Than, we are incomplete. 

Forgive us who have flitted into your lives, when it was convenient, and out of them again when we got “busy”.  Forgive us for allowing a culture of insecurity, lust and pride to determine who we “let” our husbands care for.  Forgive us for abandoning you to pass holidays, school plays, football games and recitals alone.  Forgive us for not sitting with you when it is unbearably hard and lonely. Please hold us to account. Please reach out, and please forgive our faltering attempts to love those whose daily lives expose our idolatry of safety and security.

Let us be a family curated by The Master for one another. 

Your Sister,

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Because #MeToo is more than a hashtag

I don’t usually reblog the work of friends. I don’t usually blog about my personal experiences of abuse, either. But the “week that broke me” has stretched into two and the conviction grows that we can not and must not be silent.
The power of #MeToo cannot be allowed to diminish, we must look full in the face of this cultural societal epidemic, own our part and change. Together we can change the world that our children grow into. Together we can raise the next generation of men to treat women as equal in both value and agency. Together we must come out of the #MeToo season better, kinder and more forthright in our opposition to the cultural norms that have landed us here.

Welcome Normandy! Thank you for your vulnerability and strength.

Shoes and Shortcakes

Sometimes it feels like everyone is against me and no one is doing anything about it.

Sometimes it feels like society cares more about protecting others’ reputations than protecting my safety.

Sometimes it feels like ugly and manipulative lies are believed and valued above fearful and vulnerable truths.

Sometimes it feels like people in authority care more about abusers than survivors.

Sometimes it feels like well-wishers are only willing to engage in visible slacktivism and not invisible activism and support.

Sometimes it feels like I am alone. Weak. Helpless. Exposed.

The recent accusations against Harvey Weinstein and the subsequent social media explosion of opinions surrounding that topic, in addition to the overwhelming response to the #MeToo campaign, have weighed heavier on my soul than I expected. These events have left me feeling these sometimes feelings constantly instead of once or twice a week. My triggers have been more prevalent this past week. My…

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