“When the Waves are Crashing…”

Deep Thoughts | Getting Personal (aka a little TMI) No Comments

Hey everybody! Anyone still out there?

Long time, no post…I know.

From Pinterest

From Pinterest

I’m hesitating with how to start this off, because I don’t want it to seem like I am always struggling.  The thing is, when I’m in the midst of a tough internal (and external) struggle, I do a lot of thinking, and when I do a lot of thinking it leads to a lot of feeling.

What I’m realizing today, as I write this, is all that thinking and feeling, that feels like chaos and pain, is really me wrestling and breaking through into a moment of growth.

So, I think I might have to reframe my processing. Instead of referring to it as struggling, from this moment henceforth (I hope you’re using an English accent in your head like I am)….henceforth I shall refer to these moments as times of growing…not struggling.

The gamer in me says I’m gaining XP and leveling up. *nerd alert*

Aaaaaaanyway….

The last few weeks I’ve really been in my head and heart and relying on some old ways of thinking and acting; unhealthy and scary, really.

It’s been pretty isolating; to feel so unworthy that you pull away from most things…and then the isolation and shame begin to poke holes in the life you’ve fought for and spiral into the most critical and demeaning thoughts. I felt very much like I felt 5 years ago before I accepted Christ; and that was pretty low.

Honestly, some of the thoughts I had last night were deep and dark.

I was feeling alone. More and more I have felt like I don’t fit in with my closest friends anymore. A lot of this feeling comes from thinking I’m left out because of this phase of life I’m living.

It used to be that my friends were married, but we would still hang out after I got divorced. Then it progressed to them having kids, like, on purpose…then more than one…on purpose. Their families were building and there were baby showers and births and 1st birthdays; reasons to get together.

And then there’s now…and the families are established and growing up…and I am in my parent’s basement; alone. Forgotten, or at least an afterthought…according to my own thoughts and feelings.

This is how the thoughts start….and they spiral from there; but I want you to know this is truly a hopeful post, so I’m not going to dwell there because it’s not where I am right now.

Image belongs to Suzanne Davis Harden

Image belongs to Suzanne Davis Harden

So while I’ve been “growing” these last few weeks, I’ve been praying to God to come get me out of it. Take me by the hand and pull me out…wash the dirt off me; and let’s move on.

Today, at church, listening to the story of Jesus walking on water toward his disciples, my mind began to shift away from “get me out of this” to something totally different.

When the disciples were in their fishing boat on the stormy waves, they weren’t too shaken up by the conditions. They were used to stormy seas. What got their attention-what made them afraid-was seeing Jesus walking toward them on the waves….like a boss. They’d seen him do amazing things already, but this? I can’t imagine how crazy they must have felt, and in awe at the same time, to know they knew well the man doing that impossible thing…surely he must be who he says he is.

Jesus never told them to quit being wusses. He didn’t try to offer a silver lining to what they were going through, or minimize the situation.

who caresGod’s not looking at me going “Hayden, seriously. I have these people with cancer, and this ISIS thing, and Trump…don’t even get me started….and you feel ‘lonely’?! Cut the crap, girl.”

He’s not watching me waiting for the most meaningful moment, right before my fingertips get submerged, to reach in and pull me out.

While I was feeling unworthy in my relationship with my creator, I was making Jesus into something he isn’t. I know my verb tenses don’t match…just go with it.

Jesus is an “all-in” kind of God. He’s not just gonna stand around and watch while I struggle, and in the moments I look to him give me a half-hearted shrug.

He’s here fighting with me already. He is IN the mess. He’s not a “wait outside until the messy part is over” kind of God.

Jesus doesn’t want me to “give up.” He wants me to surrender. And there’s a big difference between the two.

And so I will.

Because He is “I am.”

And that’s greater than any storm.

john 6 15

Hey everybody! Anyone still out there? Long time, no post…I know. I’m hesitating with how to start this off, because I don’t want it to seem like I am always struggling.  The thing is, when I’m in the midst of a tough internal (and external) struggle, I do a lot of thinking, and when I […]

Untitled

Deep Thoughts | Getting Personal (aka a little TMI) 4 Comments

I’ve never written fully about this experience before. I barely talk about it.
Before I do so now, I want to warn those of you who have been through a sexual assault of any kind, that this post may contain triggers. It will not offend me in any way if you can’t read it. To be honest, my writing this is triggered by hearing that Bill Cosby has finally been charged with one of his numerous crimes.

I’m not even sure I can post all the details; nor that I should, but since a new year is coming, and we like to look at those things as new beginnings, I think I’ll get this done. Please forgive any errors in language. This isn’t something I want to read over and over.

In 2009 I was in the beginning stages of a divorce. Most of you know the end of the marriage included a miscarriage and my ex-husband attempting suicide; then 5 months later we were officially separated. To say I was grieving and bearing a great deal of emotional weight would be an understatement.

I was a lost woman, and I was acting out in ways that were unhealthy and also unknown, so no one could help me.

When I became unattached, married men came out of the woodwork to support me, and much to my own shame, I appreciated the attention. In my testimony of becoming a Christian, you can read that I slept with a married man (once, for the record, and never again), but something happened before that, with another man.

I’d dated him a decade earlier, as a very innocent freshman high school girl (I remember we broke up because I wouldn’t have sex with him), but now he was married with a happy family, and I was headed for divorce. They took me under their wing when my marriage ended. His wife was very kind to me.

She went out-of-town around his birthday, and he asked me to celebrate it with him. I agreed to go to dinner with him, his kids, his mother and her friend. I even asked his wife if this was ok, as it was eerily similar to the catalyst that ended my marriage.

I didn’t intend it, but just me asking caused a fight between husband and wife. That should have been a sign.

The day of his birthday approached and the plans for celebrating kept changing. We weren’t going to dinner with his family. His kids were with a sitter. Some friends were coming out for dinner instead. Another sign.

I arrived at his house to watch what now seems like a charade of friends cancelling on him or not answering their phones; so it was just the two of us for dinner. Another sign.

He paid. Another sign.

We picked up alcohol because people were going to join us back at the house. That wasn’t completely true. One more female friend came over. We drank some. I felt very drunk-very quickly. Another sign.

At one point he showed us his guns. He put them on his bed.

We listened to music on YouTube. Music that still triggers me back to this night.

He put his hand on my knee. I assumed it was out of excitement. He was incredibly attractive BUT married; there was no way it was flirting. I was convinced I was a bad person for thinking he would flirt with me. His wife was beautiful and I was fat. More signs.

Eventually I could no longer keep my eyes open. He made me listen to a podcast about binary code, but it was only on his phone which he couldn’t turn up very loud, so we had to sit close together. Another sign.

I’d had a lot of tequila and the podcast was super boring…I knew I couldn’t drive and was going to sleep on the couch.

He insisted I sleep in his bed and he would sleep on the couch. I refused several times. He did not back down. Another sign.

At some point he told me he’d set out things for me to sleep in on the bed. I was thinking shorts and a t-shirt. I was stunned to see 3-4 of his wife’s negligees from which to choose. Another sign.

I vehemently declined; told him I was fine; and got into the bed fully dressed (minus shoes). He insisted on staying to show me how to work the remote for the TV in the bedroom.

I covered my face and asked him to go. He insisted saying it wouldn’t take long. I remember pulling the blankets over my face.

valid sexual assaultAnd all at once we were kissing. For about 17.2 seconds I think I thought it was ok, until he hurt me (there were bruises from this). Although that was scary, the pain jolted me back to reality and I told him to stop. He didn’t.

I shouted for him to stop as I tried to hold my body together like a brick.

He did.

My thought processes were shot. I knew I had just interfered in a marriage, but I didn’t stop to think that I needed to get out of there; that I was in danger.

I just couldn’t think clearly.

I told him “we” should not be doing that.

He begged me to stay and said he would go to the couch.

I laid there and knew I needed to leave, but my shoes were by the couch. It was winter and there were at least 6 inches of snow on the ground.

I went to retrieve my shoes. He apologized and asked me not to tell. It was completely dark. I sat down next to him and asked if he was ok. I asked HIM if HE was ok!!

Suddenly, his hands were on my head pushing my face toward his exposed genitals. I yelled at him to stop and twisted to the floor. His hands were around my neck and head still pushing my face down.

I grabbed his thigh as hard as I could and he let go.

I ran out; leaving my footprints in the deep snow.

Somehow I made it home and called a friend at 3 in the morning.

For the next several days I watched the bruises on my breasts, thighs, and neck change color and fade away.

It took me 8 days to realize I was the victim of a crime. I thought I was a slut who had broken up a family.

When I went to report it to the police, I was made to stand and tell the story in the lobby through a vented window to a male uniformed officer on the other side. Someone else was reporting a car accident next to me.

Once I finished the officer had me wait while he called a detective. After a while he came out and said he was instructed to ask me one question: “Why did you wait so long to report the incident?”

My reply, quite simply, “I thought it was my fault.”

I started having nightmares after that. I had to sleep with my lights on. I would dream that I woke up with him standing above me in my room.

Just as I began to move on, I ran into him, with his whole family. Thankfully my best friend was with me. I was shaking so badly. The nightmares started again, but went away more quickly this time.

What happened to me was minor in comparison to so many other victims, and yet it still had those effects on me.

Twice in the last 5 years the man’s wife has contacted me. Most recently (this year) she asked why I had never showed up to any of the court dates. I replied that I had never been made aware of any court dates. My address has not changed, nor my phone number, for 15 years, yet I was never informed. I even called after the first time she contacted me, yet no one in the department could find information for me.

The man is still a public servant, and is probably quite good at his job, but I will always believe his position kept him safe.

If you read this, then you probably know me, and maybe even feel some kind of warm feelings toward me. Thank you, for that, by the way. But maybe reading the story of someone you know will help you to judge victims of assault less harshly. No matter what I did/wore/said/drank that night, nothing would add up to consent for what happened.

I KNOW I was in the wrong place. I KNOW there were lots of warning signs.

Even though I know those things, NONE of that granted him permission to place his hands upon me once I told him to stop. NONE of it meant I deserved and earned the bruises on my neck, breasts, and thighs; nor the scars to my psyche.

There is so much more I could tell you to make my point so much more clear, but I don’t feel like I can write anymore about it. I’ve said what I needed to say.

I’m still ashamed. I’m still embarrassed. I’m still scared, at times.

I concede I ignored my intuition, and I learned a hard lesson for it.

Do you think he learned his?

<3, Lisa If you or someone you know is the victim of sexual assault and you don't know what to do, please check out these websites: http://mocsa.org/services/24-hour-support http://www.safehorizon.org/ https://rainn.org/get-help/help-a-loved-one https://www.victimsofcrime.org/help-for-crime-victims

I’ve never written fully about this experience before. I barely talk about it. Before I do so now, I want to warn those of you who have been through a sexual assault of any kind, that this post may contain triggers. It will not offend me in any way if you can’t read it. To […]

Apparently I Have a Fan Club

Getting Personal (aka a little TMI) 1 Comment

This is my 8th year as a school counselor, and my 7th year in my current position between two schools. This year some of my “babies” will leave and move on to the rest of their lives. My school is K-6, so we have been together 7 years; since they started Kindergarten. They were new to school when I was new to school.

I’m kinda fond of them.

Here’s the deal; this week was supposed to be awful: Red Ribbon Week, Halloween Week, World Series (for us Royals fans here in KCMO), and a Full Moon smack dab in the middle of all that.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a tiring week, yet something totally wacky happened: I survived and thrived.

And that’s a good thing, because Saturday was a rough day. It was a day where I realized I am the common denominator in a lot of my relationship problems (namely my inability to trust my friends). I cried a lot Saturday, but in the midst of it, I kept having these random words of affirmation ringing in my ears because of something unique that happened Friday.

My mom was off work Friday, so I invited her to come to school for a bit to see our Halloween parade. All of our kids and staff dress up, and I thought she would enjoy it. 🙂

She got there early, so I took her around and introduced her to the different kids in my grade levels—and that’s when all the wackiness began.

Each and every staff member I introduced to my mom said kind things.

proudI took her into a 5th grade classroom and asked the kids to wave to my mom. One boy leapt out of his seat and said “I am a huge fan of your daughter. Great job raising her!”

Um, I’ve known this kid since he was in kindergarten, and I don’t think I would have told you he liked me AT ALL.

Another boy jumped up and said “I have to hug you. It’s tradition.” (His family went through rough times and I worked very closely with them over the years, so he hugs me every time he sees me)

Next I took her to see the 6th graders (my babies she’s heard so much about for 7 years) at their Fall party. There were a few parents in there, and one mom, who has a wonderful daughter with whom I’ve worked over the years, said very kind things to my mother about me. I was just so glad my mom got to hear that I turned out alright (even if some days I’m not so sure…haha!).

We headed for the table where the kids were eating pizza and I introduced her to that group. One of my boys stood up, looked at my mom and said “Ms. Hayden’s mom, you should know she is awesome; like the best.” We got a good chuckle out of him calling her “Ms. Hayden’s mom.”

You see, I’m a girl who appreciates being appreciated. Education is often a thankless job in comparison to the load of work and the emotional toll.

For me, the staff members, parents, and kids who said those things were a straight line from God to my heart. He knows that I’ve been struggling lately, and I bet He knew Saturday was going to be rough, so He sent me these little messages.

It’s a difficult thing to admit that I can’t gain control over my self-doubt and inability to trust others. It’s tough to admit that I can’t do this on my own. It sucks to know I am defeating myself with my own thoughts and feelings (stupid feelings).

I’ve reached out for counseling, and hope to get that started soon; and in the meantime I would appreciate your prayers or well-wishes.

Thanks for reading.

Lisa <3

My dad sent me this video once and it made a big difference. Maybe it will help you, too.

This is my 8th year as a school counselor, and my 7th year in my current position between two schools. This year some of my “babies” will leave and move on to the rest of their lives. My school is K-6, so we have been together 7 years; since they started Kindergarten. They were new to […]

Perhaps a Proctologist Could Help?

Deep Thoughts | Getting Personal (aka a little TMI) 5 Comments

Friends. I’m struggling inside. I’m mostly happy, but I can’t seem to let go of some bitterness and anger, and it’sdont fake beginning to overpower the general “happy” I work with daily.

This morning, on my way to work, I was trying to figure out how to get past these things that I’m letting upset me and something on the radio sparked a thought:
If I’m struggling to feel the peace of Jesus in my heart, then it means I’m relying on something else to make me happy, so what am I letting get in the way?
The answer was easy after a few seconds: my relationships.
I rely on relationships with people in my life to make me happy.

This isn’t all bad because I really like people and I love making them feel loved, but I’ve failed at this lately because I have felt so disappointed with most of my relationships lately. I don’t even have the will to reach out anymore.

When one person lets me down I am bummed, but when it feels like a repeating cycle of friends cancelling plans, or not inviting me to things, then even tiny things like not answering a text or a phone call becomes the biggest insult ever. And even the legitimate reasons for cancelling become “just another excuse” to me.

I’m at the point where I’m isolating myself from my friends because of the hurt I perceive. I’m on the verge of shutting down to most people in my personal life.

I know no one is doing these things intentionally to hurt me, but it certainly feels like I’m not being considered at all.

And it’s not just isolated to one group of friends; It feels like it’s everyone. That’s not realistic, but when it happens so much it feels like everyone.

20 years ago the easy answer would have been “Find new friends.” That’s not an option here; and not because I’m not friendly or capable of making new friends. No; these people who I feel so hurt by are truly my friends who love me and have invested in me. These people mean so much to me, and I know that is part of why I am hurt so much.

give and receive loveOpening your heart up to people and relationships means opening yourself up to the chance of being hurt. What I’m failing to absorb are the wonderful chances I have to feel loved.

I can love people rather easily, but allowing myself to feel loved is so much more challenging-Nearly impossible, in fact.

So how do I let it go?
Pray more? Read the Bible (admittedly, I struggle with the Bible, in general)? Quit everything?
I’d love 5 practical steps to get on over this, but I don’t really think that’s gonna happen.

Have you gone through something like this before? If so, do you have any words of wisdom or other advice for healing?

Realistically, I know I need to pray, and I am and will continue, but that makes me feel like I am asking God to solve my problem instead of working on it myself.

In 4 days I celebrate 4 years of knowing Jesus as my savior. As you can see, that doesn’t make everything hunky-dory, but I have no doubts about that decision.

This is just part of my journey for now.

Thanks for reading.

Would you pray for me or send positive vibes my way?

Lisa

fix my attitude

Friends. I’m struggling inside. I’m mostly happy, but I can’t seem to let go of some bitterness and anger, and it’s beginning to overpower the general “happy” I work with daily. This morning, on my way to work, I was trying to figure out how to get past these things that I’m letting upset me […]

One is the Loneliest Number….

Getting Personal (aka a little TMI) No Comments

aloneThis is a hard thing to write about. It feels shameful. It’s a word, that when you get asked if you feel it or described with it you feel terrible. You feel pitiful and gross and wholly judged.

Lonely.

It’s hard to admit this because although I am lonely I am also happy.

I have felt pressure within myself not to admit that I’m lonely because I have so many genuine friends and kind acquaintances and because I am so involved at my church.

When I went to sit down at church today I had no one to sit with. I was in an entire row that was empty for the first 1/2 of the service. I knew someone in every row in front of or behind me, but there wasn’t a seat for me next to anyone I knew.

That’s not anyone’s fault. I know so many great people at my church. In fact, it often gives me goosebumps that I know so many incredible people who are so loved by God and show His love to others — I still sometimes think I’ve tricked everyone into thinking I’m cool or something. Ha! Me? Cool? Noooooo.

I wonder if this is the plight of the single woman or the divorced woman…

To feel so deeply the lack of someone to sit with; someone to wonder about your day; someone with whom to have physical contact.space

Does anyone else feel this way? Like you’re an A-hole for not just being simply grateful for all the wonderful people in your life? Like you’re not allowed to admit that you’re lonely because that would be admitting weakness or admitting that sometimes you’re sad about being alone no matter how surrounded you are by people?

It certainly doesn’t help that everyone calls me a cat lady because of my one cat that I’ve had for 11 years.

Lonely + Cat Lady = Disgusting

Anyway, that’s really all I had to say. And I’m saying it because I bet there’s someone else out there who feels this way and feels like they can’t acknowledge it; at least not to anyone but him or herself.

When I typed “Lonely” up there (and again when I typed it just now) I actually mis-typed it. Both times I typed this word:

Lovely.

I’m that word, too.

And so are you.

<3,

Lisa

move back

This is a hard thing to write about. It feels shameful. It’s a word, that when you get asked if you feel it or described with it you feel terrible. You feel pitiful and gross and wholly judged. Lonely. It’s hard to admit this because although I am lonely I am also happy. I have […]

Fix My Eyes

Deep Thoughts | Getting Personal (aka a little TMI) No Comments

I woke up this morning immediately thinking about an unresolved issue in my life. I don’t know if I can call it a “conflict” because attempts at reconciliation have been made, but not accepted.

Not having the power to make the resolution happen is truly challenging me. Waiting on someone else to decide if I am worthy of having in his dont forgetor her life is causing me a lot of distress.

Now listen, I love you guys, and you are going to want to jump in here and tell me all kinds of empowering things like “You’re Awesome!” and “Anyone who doesn’t want you around or doesn’t value you doesn’t deserve to have you.”

I get where you’re coming from (because I am totes awesome), but that just isn’t the truth in this case.

I’m a counselor. I work with kids. I am all about loving yourself and personal empowerment, but sometimes we have conflicts in our lives with people we love very much. In my life, if I have a conflict that is truly bothering me then it is always with someone whom I love and care for deeply.

I cannot deny that unresolved issues with those I love makes me physically ill and disrupts most areas of my life (spiritually, professionally, personally, etc).

This is what I am experiencing right now.

Yes, it sucks.

Yes, it is risky to write about it in a public forum.

The difference here is I am not really telling you any details. I am not trying to air any dirty laundry.

In the two years I’ve been writing this blog I have had so many wonderful people tell me that something I wrote made them laugh, made them think, or helped them in some way.

That’s why I’m writing this today. I am attempting to get my thinking straight so I can maintain my focus, and perhaps it will help someone else.

eternal struggleI said I’m a fan of empowerment, but as a counselor I am also about personal accountability, so what I think I can share without offending the other party in this matter is that I am aware that I caused hurt feelings on at least 3 separate occasions.

My experience with conflict in any relationship is that no matter our legitimate justifications and rational reasons for something happening (choices we make) it doesn’t counterbalance that someone’s feelings were hurt. This is always true.

As I am known to say “Logic and Emotion do not go hand in hand.”

So, even though we can understand why something happened it doesn’t take the hurt out of it. It might make it hurt less and it might make it less personal, but it almost never takes 100% of the pain away.

Anyway, as I said, I woke up this morning thinking about the person who is upset with me and wanting to cry (I successfully didn’t cry this time, but that’s not always the case). I feel so frustrated because I don’t know what else to do.

Here are some things upon which I reflected this morning:

I have spent a lot of time wondering, being angry, being hurt, being jealous, feeling petty, imagining passive-aggressive facebook posts (yes, really), losing sleep, getting sick, questioning, doubting, seething, hurting, inventing conversations that have never happened, assuming a long list of other people hate me too, and generally being very negative and mean to myself.

In fact, last week those thoughts really boiled over and reached a breaking point. One day last week, after feeling the hurt so strongly from this familial conflict, I walked around work really absorbing some non-verbal communication. While trying to talk to some of the staff at my school, I decided their body language was letting me know that they did not give even one single sh*t about what I had to say. I really nice selfinternalized all of it and was saying some very harsh things to myself (which is really not typical for me).

Here is the incident and the specific thought that caught my attention:
I changed my profile picture on facebook and someone gave me an incredible compliment. I always suck at accepting those, but I caught myself saying: “Yeah. Right. So pretty I can’t even keep a boyfriend.” And friends, the tone with which I said it in my head was so hateful and filled with such loathing. It made me take a step back and ask “Where is THAT coming from?”

That thought wasn’t even related to the things bothering me, but it was a thought that was incredibly hurtful.

*** WARNING: Now, I’m gonna go someplace that used to seem crazy to me, and I’ll be honest, if you aren’t a spiritual person then this thought may be “far out” to you. Three years ago I would have looked at someone like they should be institutionalized if this had been said to me, so I get it. WARNING ***

So I had this thought about my inability to “keep” a boyfriend (all while convincing myself that everyone thought I was stupid and didn’t matter). It was then that I knew the sudden onset of these insecure thoughts was not coincidental.

I realized, in that moment, that if good exists then so does evil.

Every time I make a bold statement in favor of God and glorifying Him I am immediately hit with interpersonal conflict (sometimes even of my own doing). Just before this all started to really bother me I stepped forward at church and confidently joined the team of people who will be planting new churches in the KC Metro area. I have no doubts in my heart about this. I am ready. I am willing. Let’s do it.

And so the enemy began to use the areas of my life in which I tend to feel the most insecure to bring me down and make me doubt: My relationships (or lack thereof).

While I have been struggling with these relationships I have spent less time growing in my relationship with Christ; less time talking to Him, thinking about Him, learning about Him, seeking Him.

So back to this morning and my frame of mind…

Here were some of the questions I asked myself while I got ready (this gal does a lot of thinking before she even walks out the door for the day):

graceCan I acknowledge that there is nothing more I can do to gain this person’s good graces again? Ugh, yes. I really hate that I have no control over that, but truly, I can do no more. It is no longer up to me. That is hard. I want the control. I hate the uncertainty of the unknown.

If I believe my God is powerful and that He fights for me, Can I be weak enough (and also at the same time strong enough) to give this battle up to Him? Yes. That answer was the easiest, and it was still a struggle.

The next question was this: If I can’t resolve this on my own timeframe, can I give it to God and trust that He will see it through? Ok, I can do that. I don’t like it, but I can do it because I trust God and I know He can restore.

Ooooh…that was it. That was actually the crux of this whole process. Do I believe that God has the power to restore this relationship even if the other person isn’t willing?

What if the other person doesn’t realize that their resistance to talk to me, to forgive me, to reach out to me is because they’re being used as an instrument of the enemy even if their hurt is legitimate? (Yep. More of that crazy talk, I know).

And that’s where I am folks: Logically, I do believe God can restore things, but do I feel the truth in my heart yet? I don’t think I do yet, because I am afraid, but I want to feel it. I want to trust.

So I’m praying for it, and I’m seeking, and I’m talking, and I have questions so I still want to learn… (like where did the serpent come from if it was already in the garden at the beginning of time according to Genesis???)

And ultimately, I want to love.

So instead of focusing on the conflict and all its details I’m gonna fix my eyes on the one who will see me through it.

Thanks for reading (even if you thought it was wacky).

<3
Lisa

may god bless

I woke up this morning immediately thinking about an unresolved issue in my life. I don’t know if I can call it a “conflict” because attempts at reconciliation have been made, but not accepted. Not having the power to make the resolution happen is truly challenging me. Waiting on someone else to decide if I […]

“When You Walk On By, Will You Call My Name?”

Deep Thoughts | Getting Personal (aka a little TMI) No Comments

Last night I dreamt I was a mom. I was breastfeeding the most adorable child with my mother-in-law and my husband sitting on food babyeither side of me. It only lasted a minute or so, but I was talking to them as if I knew what I was doing and as though they were very familiar to me.

About once a month I dream that I’m a mom in some form or fashion. Sometimes it’s adoption. Sometimes it’s kids I know at work. A lot of times it’s kids I don’t know, yet I do know them so well in my dreams.

I hate these dreams.

I hate them because they’re so real in that one moment, and when I wake up it’s all gone.

In high school I dreamt I was impregnated by a computer; like an actual desktop in the computer lab.

So that’s how much weight we should put into my subconscious. I also had a fever last night what with the strep throat I have right now.

cat picsI was at the Women of Faith conference this last weekend and the last speaker, Lisa Harper, shared some videos and stories of her daughter she recently adopted. Her entire demeanor changed when she shared her experiences with her new daughter. Ms. Harper is a single mother; never married, and is now 51 years old. She said she met her daughter in Africa and she knew the moment she saw her that she was hers. It made me consider adopting on my own for a heartbeat.

Honestly, the longer I am single the more I wonder if I even want kids. I don’t know if I would have the energy to do it. It scares the crap out of me. I see so many happy relationships get so strained after kids enter into the equation.

I also see how enriched my friends lives have become as their children grow and learn.

Ultimately, I feel very left behind. Every first day of school, every birthday, every Halloween. Even less life-stage driven events, crazy auntlike the invite to the zoo or the park or the movies; those don’t get extended to the girl who isn’t a parent. I don’t fit that schema so they don’t think to invite me.

I want kids, but first I’d like the relationship. That will take time if it ever even happens. The longer it takes, the further behind I get in life stages.

Basically, what I’m saying is this: I want kids, but short of adopting while living in my parent’s basement…well, that ain’t happening. So invite me to do stuff with you and your kids. I can be a helper. I like being “Aunt Lisa” (or even better just getting to be their friend). I like being someone they know. More so, my parents love it when you bring them around. With Halloween in a couple months you should know our neighborhood is very safe to Trick or Treat in. We’ll even buy the kind of candy YOU like. :p We are not ashamed of bribery.

So, maybe one of these days one of these dreams will be real (hopefully not the computer one). Until then, don’t forget about your girl.

Last night I dreamt I was a mom. I was breastfeeding the most adorable child with my mother-in-law and my husband sitting on either side of me. It only lasted a minute or so, but I was talking to them as if I knew what I was doing and as though they were very familiar […]

I Get it From my Brother.

Deep Thoughts | Getting Personal (aka a little TMI) 1 Comment

I love U2. I have ever since “Rattle and Hum.” Bono. The Edge. Adam. Larry.
rattle and hum

Some of the Sonic commercials with those two guys were filmed in KC.

R.E.M.’s “Monster” album blared from my discman in 1994 or 95. Crush with Eyeliner and I Don’t Sleep, I Dream were my favorite tracks.

Tilapia have eyes on the top and bottom of their bodies.

I can quote every line from The Breakfast Club and I was probably 19 years old before I realized the group passed around a joint. I had only seen the censored version on TV till then. I harbored (and still do) a significant crush on Judd Nelson and I can probably blame this movie for my attraction to what Katie calls “alternative guys.” There’s also a really embarrassingly true story about me trying to give a boy a diamond earring in 5th grade that I blame on this movie….Let’s talk about something else.

Johnny Rzeznik and Robby Takic are apparently pretty cool guys in person.

Michael Jackson. If you know me you know I love him (and also that I’m deeply conflicted about this now). 

“You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant.” That’s by Arlo Guthrie.alice

I’ve been backstage at Starlight Theater. I also saw LiverPool play there when I was under 10 years old.

I can’t help but yell “Skate or Die dude!” whenever I pass the skate park in Gladstone.

I was the only kindergartner in my class at Linden West who got to sit in the back of the bus all year long.

I saw Dirty Dancing before I was 13 years old.

I have a 2 inch scar on my left knee.

I’ve tasted 3 different types of gin while listening to some of the best jazz musicians in the country in an old speak easy.

“I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.”
I <3 Lloyd Dobler.

All of those statements seem incredibly random.

They are all true and they are all connected by one thing.

That unifying factor is my big brother, David.

clearly hateI was born when he was 5.5 years old. I’ve formed the theory that I ruined his life at that time because he was used to being an only child and the first grandchild on both sides of the family. Then I came along.

I’ve lived the last 32 years (yes, almost 33 ) pretty convinced my brother didn’t like me an awful lot. He has to love me, and I have long-sought his approval over my lifetime, but he can probably tell you I have gone about it in the strangest of ways.

My brother and I are incredibly different people; or so I’ve always thought.

In fact, December 13. 2013 I had a disagreement with my brother. It might seem like a bad day because it happened to be Friday the 13th, but in reality, it was the night we were going out as a family for his birthday dinner.

I cried my eyes out over my complicated and frustrating relationship with my brother, again, before joining the rest of the family at dinner where I was most likely not really wanted. This wasn’t the first time I had been the “bad guy” and it was, yet again, a disagreement that happened at the complete wrong time. My timing ain’t always grand.

I spent the next nearly 4 months refusing to make the first move. I always “give” first. Not this time. No way.

Then I learned something new about my brother.

For the last few months I have also been working with my dad. Part of the “training” my dad offers is to have everyone complete a personality inventory. There are 4 different “categories:”
A) Relationships and Feelings
B) Fairness and Justice
C) Knowledge and Understanding
D) Freedom and Skillfulness

It should come as no surprise to you that I scored highest in that first category. 🙂

The cool thing about this inventory is that it also delves into how people whose strengths rest in other categories may perceive each other and how they can communicate with each other more effectively.

I asked my dad which one my brother was knowing full well it was the “Knowledge and Understanding” category.

But I was wrong.

My dad told me my brother rated highest in that first category; possibly higher than me, and I was only 1-2 points away from maxing out in that category.

I don’t know if my dad’s memory is correct, but what I know is this: In that moment I knew I had wounded my brother deeply, and that he wasn’t ignoring me out of anger and self-righteousness; he was hurt.

And I had hurt him.

I have always thought of him as impenetrable.

But I was wrong.

And I told him so.

I didn’t hear from him after that, and I was afraid I had done too much damage.

About 2 weeks later he came by the house. I had about 15 people over and was hosting a baby shower, but even over all that noise my ears caught the sound of his voice in the garage so I went to say hi. I still wasn’t sure where we stood.

Later, we were both standing in the kitchen with his wonderful girlfriend while my guests chatted in the living room. He reached his arm out and I settled under it and we hugged.

My brother is one of the smartest people I have ever met. He has a story about anything and everything…and they’re all true.

He’s hard-working and self-made. He’s loyal.

He’s picked me up at times in my life when I have been very very down.

If he’s like me he doesn’t forgive himself easily and he overthinks a lot.

There are parts of who I am that are undoubtedly because I am his kid sister. There are parts of me that couldn’t exist if he didn’t exist and have an influence on me.

Those are probably the only parts of me that are cool.

IMAG0744I love you, brother.

I love U2. I have ever since “Rattle and Hum.” Bono. The Edge. Adam. Larry. Some of the Sonic commercials with those two guys were filmed in KC. R.E.M.’s “Monster” album blared from my discman in 1994 or 95. Crush with Eyeliner and I Don’t Sleep, I Dream were my favorite tracks. Tilapia have eyes […]

I’d Probably have been the Fat Amy of the Resurrection…

Deep Thoughts | Getting Personal (aka a little TMI) No Comments

Last Sunday, during Pastor Merle’s message at church, he said something that has stayed with me all week. It wasn’t even the main point of the message but it has not left my mind and heart.

He said “Jesus appeared to Peter after the resurrection.”

I looked over at my BFF Corrie and pointed to my journal where I had written that sentence and said, “That’s a big deal.” I wanted to cry just thinking about it.

Seriously, all I can bring to mind about Peter is that he denied his buddy, his savior, his Lord THREE times before the crucifixion.

AND JESUS STILL WENT TO HIM?!?!

aca awkward

Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson in Pitch Perfect)

What was THAT like? #AWKWARD

I mean, did Jesus just stand there with his arms crossed, head tilted to the side with an expression saying “Well?” on his face?

As the week progressed and snow days piled up for all our local school districts I stayed up late one night playing some Borderlands 2 with my friend Luke. Luke is married to another BFF of mine, Laura (Yes…they are Luke and Laura), and he has played a not so insignificant role in teaching me about Jesus over the last few years. Ironically, a lot of our talks about God and Jesus come during our times playing over xBox Live (so take that all of you who think video games are so bad…we shoot robots and talk about Jesus).

Anyway, so I’m telling Luke about how it’s been blowing my mind that Jesus still appeared to Peter-that he didn’t “excommunicate” him, so to speak. Luke asked if I knew what Jesus said to Peter, and I think he didn’t really believe me when I said I didn’t know. I think it’s hard for a lot of people to believe I don’t know the most basic things. I think because Luke didn’t believe me he continued by asking if I wanted to know what happened and I very excitedly said “YES! TELL ME!” I still suspect he thought I was faking this excitement but I was not at all. My heart was beating fast in anticipation and he was taking way too long to deliver the goods.

I agree with Luke that it had to be on Peter’s mind that Jesus might be a little miffed at Peter because he denied Him. Peter was with Jesus when he was taken into custody after praying in the garden (after Judas Iscariot’s betrayal) so he was brought along to the location of the High Priest with Jesus. This is where Peter denies him three times (then the rooster crows-all as Jesus predicted)…They ask him three times if he is a follower of or knows Jesus even after he apparently cuts off the ear of one of the guards defending Jesus from arrest, so these guys may not have been too bright (I picture Kronk from “The Emperor’s New Groove” who was voiced by Patrick Warburton).

So Luke tells me that not only does Jesus appear to Peter after his torturous crucifixion and miraculous resurrection but He DOESN’T even shun him. He asks Peter if he loves him. When Luke told me this I thought “awww. that’s sweet.” No, then Jesus asks him a second time…and then I understood what he was doing and I wanted to cry again. Jesus asks Peter THREE times if he loves him and each time Peter affirms that he does, indeed, love Jesus.

I think anyone of us would have immediately launched into a litany of questions starting with “Then why in the WORLD did you say you didn’t know me? Why were you all like ‘Jesus who?’ when the guards asked you about me? Why didn’t you have my back?”

BUT JESUS DOESN’T DO THAT.

Instead he commands Peter to take care of his sheep. In fact, he says it three different times in three different ways.

Incredible.

Even though Peter denied Jesus when he could have used his help the most (although it wouldn’t have changed a thing) Jesus doesn’t deny him in return.

Instead, he charges him to care for his people; to lead his people; to share the gospel.

I wanna live like that. For real, I wanna love like that.

Peter denied Jesus three times and Jesus allows Peter to affirm his love for Him three times.

Jesus is the great equalizer in the battle of good and evil over our hearts.

My dad was raised Catholic and is now just plain ol’ Christian. He has shared this image he has in his mind with me and I sure hope someone with more talent than me can make it come to life, but I will describe it for you as best I can. Some Christians (and non-Christians) believe it is your good works that get you into Heaven. That as long as the good you do outweighs the bad then you are all set. It’s just not the way it works. Another thing that defies logic, I know.
Ok, so picture a set of scales and they are going back and forth weighing your good and bad deeds. Now picture a cross holding each plate of the scale. Now that wily Jesus comes along and gets up on that cross, breaking the chains of the scale and the plates go crashing to their equal resting place on the ground.

Jesus is the equalizer. It ain’t about being more good than bad. It’s about the love of Jesus; knowing and understanding what His sacrifice meant for us…for you.

When I was learning about Jesus a few years ago, before I was a Christian, it was important to me to know what I was getting into. I’d always been somewhat of an agnostic. I believed in a higher power and even believed that Jesus actually lived; I just didn’t believe he was the son of God and born of man. Mary was a virgin? Walked on water? Changed water into wine? Healed the lame and the blind?

Yeah, right! Sounds just like a cult to me…and I know because I have multiple pysch degrees so I learned all about cults in one of my undergrad classes.

None of those things are possible and if you have any kind of brain at all then you know that.

Correct. None of those things are possible APART from the divine.

We can’t fathom it because we discount anything at all supernatural in our times.

I wanna tell you that I have been “saved” many times in my life; and yes, I mean hands up in church HALLELUJAH saved! I did it once at Full Faith with my Grandma and Aunt when I was maybe 7. They told me to go up front and pray so I did and they were happy…even though I had no clue why. Again on New Year’s Eve with best friends around me I prayed at a youth group event and some weird older lady took me to a room and talked with me…but I made my friends sit on the steps because she creeped me out. In high school I went through two years of Catechism; one year with the high school kids who I didn’t fit in with and a year with the adults who I also didn’t fit in with. My Grama Hayden was so happy when I did that, and I loved to make her happy. And finally, I was saved again as an adult after I was married and looked into my dad’s best friend’s eyes at church as he asked for us to look up if we wanted to be saved and he would pray for us. I looked up and I know he saw me.

All of those times I expected something magical to happen. I thought life would suddenly become easier and happier and shiny and pretty and great.

It never did.

I used to hold a little bit of bitterness about the things that happened to me as a kid with adults who forced me into something to please them without truly knowing what I was doing, so I know that none of those instances of being saved were “real.” Some of those things contributed to making me so angry at Christians for so long. They were forcing me to be “good” when I knew I wasn’t and they were forcing religion and rules on me when I didn’t want them. I didn’t know anything about what I was really doing other than saying I was saved so I could go to Heaven.

It was purely a means to an end or a “Get Out of Jail Free” card.

An Easter story – Lisa from TrueLight Productions on Vimeo.

When I began learning about Jesus a few years ago and considering becoming a Christian it was important to me that I wasn’t doing it because I had all of a sudden committed a sin big enough that I actually “needed” Salvation. I didn’t want it to be a decision I made because “Now I’d really messed up.” It was important to me that this was a decision I was making with all of my intelligence. It was important that I could do it and still be ME. I am not a rule-follower. In fact, I took an assessment about my spiritual gifts and learned I am “non-compliant.”

I know there are some who argue that Christians are super dumb. I actually understand that. We sound so stupid sometimes. I sound stupid saying that “apart from the divine” all those miracles were impossible. I KNOW that.

Most people I know who claim they don’t believe in a higher power and base it off intellect, well, they’re totally right. Most of them are incredibly intelligent people, and also very wonderful people whom I admire.

The thing is, faith has very little to do with “brain” intelligence, in my book (I’m cringing at how dumb even that sounds). I know I am smart, yet what I know about my Savior I know with my heart. I can’t quantify it because it is not quantifiable. I refuse to break love down into numbers and data. The same goes for forgiveness and the mystery of grace. You cannot break down divinity into data and operational definitions therefore it does not make sense to your brains. I get that.

It “don’t maka no sense” to my brain either.

So approach it from a different angle sometime and see what you “know” then.

Ok, anyway, I was really not trying to convert anyone with this, and I am sure I didn’t, but the real point I was trying to make was this:

If Peter, who denied Jesus no LESS than three times, was still loved and trusted by Jesus to lead his people even though Jesus KNEW he did those things;

THEN

None of us can really ever be too far gone. You can’t make Jesus (God) love you less because He doesn’t know how to love you less and He can’t love you more because he already loves you and wants you with everything He was and is and will be.

He wants you and He is always in pursuit of you even when you deny Him. He’s the king…of stalkers.

Even when I fought Him and denied His divinity He was seeking me.

And he was a sneaky SOB about it…(sorry God).

No really. I went through some incredibly difficult times (quick summary: miscarriage, spouse’s suicide attempt, long divorce, attempted sexual assault, my own big mistakes) and all along there were these wonderful people all around me caring for me, praying for me, helping me, believing in me.

Loving me. Not once did I question whether or not I was loved when all of that awfulness was happening to me.

Jesus’s sneaky butt showed his love to me through my friends and family and their friends and family.

“God put a million, million doors in the world for his love to walk through.”

“One of those doors is you” (whether you know it or not or even like it).

As for me, I’m not sure anyone could say any of the “changes” in my life since being caught have been bad or awful…

So maybe, just maybe…

If you’ve been running your whole life then maybe just see what getting caught is like.

Last Sunday, during Pastor Merle’s message at church, he said something that has stayed with me all week. It wasn’t even the main point of the message but it has not left my mind and heart. He said “Jesus appeared to Peter after the resurrection.” I looked over at my BFF Corrie and pointed to […]