Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Unexpressed Beauty: What Happens When I Hide

"You are altogether beautiful my love, there is no flaw in you." Song of Solomon 4:7

At Mercy they teach us about the power of speaking truth, and basing what you speak about yourself on what the Word of God says about you, not what you say about you.

I have replaced many lies with truth in the three years since I graduated from Mercy, but there is one truth I say every day that I can hardly force out of my mouth. It is only one sentence, and yet it literally hurts me to try and verbalize it. All it says is

I am beautiful. 

That's it.

I did the math, 3 years at 365 days a year means that I have read this statement well over 1000 times And yet, I cringe every time I read it.

I was talking to Jesus this week and I asked Him why this one truth was so hard to grasp, why no matter how many times I say this truth I don't  feel beautiful.  Many of the lies I once believed are not even realistic to me anymore, but this one hurts to even write about.

And then He asked me, "Sarah, why do you think you don't feel beautiful?"

And I thought about it, and I told Him,

"Well, I walk funny, I have scars everywhere, I can't put my make up and stay in the lines, I can't use a curling iron or straightener, and I can't work out the way everyone else can. I just want to feel normal."

And He asked me,

"Did it ever occur to you that you don't feel beautiful because you don't allow yourself to express your beauty?

You are so busy trying to stay in the lines and straighten out what I made, when I didn't do anything wrong.

You would feel beautiful if you allowed yourself to be yourself.

So chop off your hair, dye it, put on whatever make up you want to and forget about staying in the lines or using a straightener, I knew you'd want to do that when I made you...

And honestly? I love that about you. You are my favorite version of yourself.

You want to feel beautiful?

Stop trying to be who you think I want you to be, and be who I am absolutely positive I made you to be.

Color outside the lines because it hurts My feelings when you hide.

Friday, July 19, 2013

From Glory To Glory: The Importance of Thank you

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
2 Cor. 3:18
Gen. 35:3
Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone.”

Sometimes I find myself so focused on fighting the next battle  that I forget to say thank you for the battles I have already won. 
Battles like tying my shoes, 
buttoning my jeans,
living on my own. 
And then, the even more important battles,
Learning to SPEAK LIFE, 
learning to choose transformation, 
learning to believe in love, 
Graduating Mercy (photo on left Graduation Day)

Battles like figuring out how to CHOOSE JOY when I have to play different with BerkleyLove. 

Battles like choosing to believe MY FAMILY loves me.

Battles like REMEMBERING I am not an accident, and I have a HOPE that lasts.
From Glory to Glory: Here I build my altar
So sorry Lord for all the moments I forget to come back
and remember to say
thank You.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

When I Talk To Jesus: The Beauty of the Choice

Here are my confessions…

There is so much going on my heart right now. I have so many memories I have tried to stuff down and hide from, because I’m scared. I’m scared because I’m weak. When I'm weak, I go to Jesus and I confess... 

I would do anything to use a curling iron or straightener without it becoming Armageddon in my mind.

I would love to choose an outfit and not have to think “if someone is not home will I be able to dress without help?”

I am tired.

And newsflash, when strangers look at me I ALWAYS notice I just pretend not to because I think maybe if I only talk about the positive aspects of CP, the negative will go away.

When my heart hurts I hide because I don’t want you to know.

When people are meeting me for the first time, the first thing they notice is CP.

It’s not fair. My biggest insecurity is on display.
And I'm scared because I don't know if I can keep choosing to speak life when I'm this exhausted. 

I wish people would STOP pretending like CP isn’t obvious, to do so is foolish and wounding.

I also wish they would stop letting it be the only thing they see.
 But I can't blame them, I know it is usually what I see. 

And when I weep I feel Jesus say "Sarah, you have a choice, and when it comes down to it, it is the only choice you have to make,

Do you trust Me or not? 

If you trust Me, all that matters is that I am making you perfect in weakness. 
If you trust Me, you know that I love you and that I will do above and beyond all you can ask or imagine. 
If you trust Me, you know I make ALL THINGS work together for your good. 
If you trust Me, then 
the reality of CP 
doesn't even matter. 

Whether I heal you, whether I gave you CP, whether you never know why you have CP or you know all the reasons tomorrow 
 None of that matters
if you make the choice
because I love you
with an everlasting love. 
But never forget love, 
you have a choice. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Butterfly Circus: The Beautiful Pain of Being Different

Sometimes I feel like I am sitting in a display window,
with a million labels covering every square inch.
Disabled, different, weak, not enough,

Everyone looks in
some with pity
some gawking
and others wanting me to see more
see different.

Someone told me,
"Different is distinctive,
people who blend in get ignored."
And I am, if anything, different.

So, if I am going to be noticed
I may as well take advantage of it.
When people label me
I will choose to take only those labels which are true.

Distinctive, unique, original
His, joyful, child
until all that remains
is me.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Few Good Men: The Power of Men in Teaching Girls to Wait

All Christian girls are taught that purity is important because the Bible says so. But we live in a culture that pervasively teaches that quick is better. The old adage "good things come to those who wait" has lost power in a society of fast food, self-checkouts, and movies with one-night stands that turn into love. At younger and younger ages girls are faced with the issue of how to handle all the emotions that come with dating.  I love that the Church wants girls to see their value, but if you want them to wait, please, show them what they are waiting for.

Waiting and marriage are  under hardcore attack in our country, but teaching your girls the value of both of these things does not begin in the church. It begins at home. It begins with "a few good men."

I'm 24 years old and single. I walk in purity. I walk in waiting.  I am content in who I am.
But, I don't make this choice because I was basically born into church. Shockingly, I don't even mainly make this choice because the Bible says so....I make this choice because I know who I am waiting on....
I make this choice because the men in my life have shown me who I am waiting on. They have shown me that waiting is worth it.

This is my daddy. He is incredible. He seeks Jesus like no one else I know. But he has shown me that waiting is worth it because he is so obviously in love with my mama :). He tells me that he loves me and he shows me that real men will wait on the right girl. Real men love their wives like Christ loves the Church. Real men are worth waiting on. 
This is my older brother. If you want proof that real men exist, look no further. He has shown me that wise women wait because he pursues his wife still, and always lets her know how crazy blessed he is to have her in his life. He shows me why I am waiting because he never lets me doubt that I am worthy of love. His over protective side kicks in too often sometimes, but every girl needs that once in awhile :), because the real men in her life know she is worth protecting. 

So girls. when the world makes you wonder what you are waiting on, when you are saying no while all your friends say yes, 
just remember that "a few good men" do exist, 
and those men...
They are who you're waiting on...
because you are more than worth it,
and real men want a woman who waits on them. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

So, You've Got Questions: A Post for the Different

Jesus and me have been on a journey that hurts more than anything I've experienced in my whole life. I have tried everything to just run away from this but I can't. I'm a little mad at Him. But before you get out your Bible's or smack me with a scripture reference I just want to explain what I have realized about myself.
I want to trust Him, and I usually do but there is a reality to pain that I feel like Christians too often ignore. Yesterday was the 4th of July which means celebrating the freedom America has. In light of celebrating such fantastic freedom, it made me come face to face with some areas I am not yet free from. I heard a sweet little girl with no idea who I was ask a question, THE question, the one I have heard almost daily for my whole life.

"Mama, what is wrong with that girl's leg?"

Oh, sweet girl I wish I knew how to answer that question. But that is a circle with no end.

I was born this way. You want to know why? Me too. But I don't.

As I sit here I cry, because I wish I had the answer.

But here's what I do know, there are other people out there just like me. People who feel different, people who have lost some essence of what makes "normal" normal. And, more than any question I have that one breaks my heart.

Because each time I face that question, I remember a little girl,
who would have given anything
to be just like everybody else,
when she didn't need to be
anyone but herself.

Here is what I wish I had known when I was younger, here I talk to the different.

 Hear me little girl with glasses, and little boy with the hand that won't hold the football
I stand for you.
I know that you want to be out there playing just like everyone else.
I know that it's not fair that you fight
harder and longer than anyone else
to fit in.

I remember picking up pennies in occupational therapy,
and walking, walking, walking,
falling, falling, falling,
and crying because
just once I wanted
something to feel normal.

Hear me sweet ones,
You are strong,
strong enough
to be different.

You are fun
because you don't have to be
like everyone else.

Your defeats will be hard,
but your victories
will be sweeter
than anyone else will EVER understand.

Your questions may not have answers,
and they may never go away,
but if you know the Jesus that I know
He's okay if you get a little mad at Him.

Because when He looks at you,
He sees someone special,
someone strong enough
to fight.
You are His front line warrior,
and if you grab a hold of that while you're young,
then nothing else matters...
because all warriors have weapons,
and all soldiers have battles

Your weapon is determination,
determination to button that button
climb those stairs,
pick up that penny.

Your weapon is your smile.
You smile at that girl next to you who asked the question you don't want to answer.
You smile at your therapist because they are trying to help,
you smile at the next battle
because that means you won the last one.

Your weapon is your hug.
You hug your parents (because they are fighting just as hard as you are).
You hug the girl next to you in therapy
because every warrior knows
they don't fight alone.

Your weapon is your playfulness.
When you can't play like everyone else,
play different.
Cheer from your chair,
because play
is all about strategy.

Your weapon is your "thank you."
Thank your teachers for working with you,
Thank your therapists for putting up with you :)
Thank your friends for letting you be your awesome self :) (Because let's be real, you are,)
Thank your family for teaching you how to fight.

And when you need a reminder that
the world needs you,
just you,
with your body broken
just the way it is,
Remember, He and I stand for you,
and when you want to be normal,
that's over rated anyways.

Monday, July 1, 2013

What I Learned from "Mission of Mercy"

Everyone who knows me knows that I am a reader. Thanks to this, I have to be careful when I recommend a book because not everyone loves the written word the way that I do. Hear me when I tell you that I believe in the message of the book I am about to mention to you with my whole heart.  If you never read another book I recommend, read this one.  Nancy Alcorn's new book Mission of Mercy  challenged my spiritual perceptions the way few things do. If you want to see evidence of the very real spiritual world we are fighting in, read this book.

People who read my blog know that I am a very proud Mercy girl. I grew so much during that time in my life, and thanks to the tools that I was given there, the growth has only continued. Now, here comes the vulnerable part, the spiritual battles only increased when I left Mercy. Since some of Satan's old lies weren't working on me, he tweaked them a little bit.

I returned to counseling shortly after Mercy, so that I could have the strength to walk out my new life. I felt very ashamed that I had not "changed" enough to walk out my healing alone.  In Nancy's new book she reveals that she felt that same strange sense of guilt Satan likes to use when she went to counseling. What a relief to realize all Christians need help sometimes.

Also, shortly after Mercy, I began to have some very weird thought patterns about death. You see, I had spoken death for so long, wanted to die for so long that Satan convinced me that I was going to die because I had not been grateful for life for such a long time. I began to have moments where I just knew something bad was going to happen to me. Nancy describes just such a moment in Mission of Mercy. She writes about dropping a friend off at the airport when all of the sudden she just knew her friend was going to die. She even watched the news, waiting to hear something. As I read this book I literally had to put it down and THANK GOD because I knew I was not the only one who struggled with this destructive thought pattern.

Her counselor called it "catastrophic thinking." Her counselor said that she was "re experiencing trauma with flashbacks and flash forwards" and Satan was using these memories to torment her. As I read this, I realized that that was EXACTLY what was happening to me. It was very hard to be honest with people about this particular struggle because my pride told me that I should already be healed from all the traumatic memories of my past desire for death. As I read about Nancy's own struggle, it gave me the courage to be real about mine. As I read about why Satan was using this particular lie with her, it helped me get to the root of why he thought this lie would work on me, and in seeing that, my own struggles have lessened in both intensity and frequency.

I also learned that just because you have your own areas of struggle, it does not negate your power to make a difference in the lives of others. Jesus wants to use you exactly where you are. It is so sweet to know that you do not have to do anything in order for Him to want you, and to use you to bless others even as you are being blessed. If you are searching for purpose, or wondering how to grow in your relationship with Christ, read this book. You won't regret the investment of your time.