bleedingheartsForty years is a long time. It’s the length of time for a whole generation to pass, a new one to begin.

It’s the culmination of the millions of moments I have been alive.

(There’s really a lot of back story to this, I hesitate to even think of opening this “can of worms”, uncertain of how long it will take to get to the bottom. Maybe I’ll just do it for myself, a good, cathartic exercise. It’s a way to process everything, right?)

blurrypathb&wThe road my life was on, before I fell into the extravagant grace and abundant mercy of Jesus Christ, was a dizzying spiral into an unending abyss of darkness. Really. The path I followed was leading me ever faster to a world I made up in my head and wanted so badly to exist I was completely blinded to anything else but reaching the end…of my life.

I saw no other way to stop all the pain.

To stop the ever-maddening, life-consuming, thought-engulfing, will-sucking, constantly-screaming-at-me-can’t-you-make-it-shut-up-already??!!, pain.

I tried everything else. And by “everything”, I mean EVERYTHING.

Any relief was momentary, some moments lasted longer, but all momentary none-the-less. I kept coming back to the same door, over and over and over and over again. The door marked “NO MORE”.

It’s an interesting irony, what delirium-inducing nectar self-inflicted pain releases. It’s a costly high and should make us shudder to think that one could be so hurt as to crave it, tirelessly seek it, live a life needing its fix, lest insanity ensue…pursue.

The thing about suicide is that while it is perceived as an act of cowardice, it is also an act of bravery for those who take their own lives. If you’ve never wanted to die, truly be dead and gone and away from everything and everyone, you could never possibly fathom how brave you have to be to overcome the fear that grips and chokes in the moments before you act. The finality itself is quite sobering, though for some, it’s still not enough to deter. While to others, it seems as though it is a simple act; one flick, one pull, one leap, one _______. It is actually a storm that started long ago and has built up to such a crescendo not even a tidal wave could drown it out.

TwoHarborsLight11It’s a place where the presence of all clamor becomes white. The absence of all else, black. The only way for there to be silence is to quiet the source. Forever.

I hear with my ears, my thoughts come from my mind, I feel with my emotions. The common thread is it’s all about ‘me’. I am the source of all the dark sounds that won’t turn off. The suffering ones are the only ones who can flip the switch. And some try. And some do.

This is so heavy. I know. But can’t we better understand and desire the light if we first fully comprehend how dark the darkness is? (And also come to know that it isn’t really the  end?)

I know for myself, it’s exactly because my darkness was so horridly dark that the Light of Christ is so blindingly bright and magnificent. Sorrow-shattering. Night-nullifying. Darkness-diluting. Hope-bursting. Joy-delivering. New-day-birthing.

sunflowersMy birthday.

(Traci 2.0, hee hee. ;) )

This last Friday was the anniversary of my birthday. That morning, as I woke up, laying under a crowded sleeping bag, huddled next to my husband, surrounded by warm dog bodies, a simple refrain quietly broke through the chilly, summer morning.

In my head and in my heart these words kept repeating themselves, like a skipping record, only I didn’t want to fix it. I searched my mind for the file that was associated with these words and all I could remember was I was certain of it being from a David Crowder song. As my day went on, in every new situation I found myself, all I could hear were the words “I’m alive! I’m alive! I’m alive! I am alive!” It humbled me, gave way to an overwhelming understanding of what God has done in my life.  Reminding me of where I had been and how vastly different that was to where I am now.

Grateful, joy-filled tears wet my cheeks.

It wasn’t until we were back home I had the chance to look it up. And then I remembered. I remembered why it had sunk into my soul. Words, so simple, so profound, so true, so me.

Well, who I am now.

I AM ALIVE!!

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light…” ~Ephesians 5:8

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. ~1 Peter 2:9-10

This isn’t exactly how I would tell you what I was thinking and feeling, if we were able to exchange real words with sounds. One of the things that keeps me from writing more is that I have so much to say and how I say things takes time and you’re only supposed to have so many words in a blog post and blah, blah, blah, all the rules. I can never quite tell if you’re willing to listen that long, if I’m overstepping your generosity of giving my your time and listening ear. Or if I’m sharing in a way that makes you want to linger.

I know *I* like YOUR company. :)

Well, if we ever get a chance to really chat, no matter what I said, I would need to make sure that you perfectly understood how grateful I am to God for saving my life and without His mercy I would not be alive to sing and shout the words:

“I’M ALIVE! I’M ALIVE! I’M ALIVE! I AM ALIVE!!”

whiteheartflowersingle

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oronosunset

I have occupied this space in the vast interwebs since 2006. That was a long time ago.

Over time, as most things do, it has morphed. From being a homeschool/mommy blog to including my knitting and cooking to what is has been more recently, in industry terms, a “Christian lifestyle blog”.

And now, I look to the future.

I’ve been working out what this space should be and will become for a very long time. Wrestling with myself, seeking the Lord and His higher plan. To be honest, it’s mostly been me wrestling with myself.

Most days, when my thoughts wander to this space, I have a hard time containing all the ideas swarming around my ever-busy brain. However, it’s not long before my emotions kick in and I shove it all aside and cringe at the thought of being “chained to my computer” and being “a slave to social media”. Well, it’s actually more that I still can’t wrap my brain around the idea that someone else, anyone else, would want to know that much about me, my life, what I was doing, what my thoughts or opinions are. It really doesn’t make sense in my brain. I’ve never thought I’m that important.

Maybe that’s my problem.

If “I” don’t feel like my life or anything I would have to say is “that important” to share with anyone else, and that no one else would even want to hear or know anyway…why should I bother wasting time coming up with things to say or share? There are a million other things I could be doing, and would want to be doing, that would bear much more fruit. Right?

So, after all these years, I’m starting to see it still all comes down to this: I still struggle with attaching value to myself and everything about me.

“Who am I? That you would think of me?”

You know, it’s hard to find the correct balance of humility. To love oneself, but not too much. To know you are valued, but not “all that”. To believe you were created in the image of God, but you are not Him. That gray line gets fuzzy for me and I err on the side of holding back rather than fully embracing what I’m worth in hopes that when the Lord looks upon me He will see a woman desperately wanting to please Him and Him alone, yet seeing something else.

And then I wonder…

Wouldn’t it please Him the most if I fully embraced the value of myself that is found in Him and THEN repent when I falter? Would it be easier for me, for Him, to have a relationship where reigning in was more pleasurable a task than pushing and coercing out of the nest?

At what point is it ok to fully let go…and jump…and risk…in order to fly into all the Lord has and is for me?

Now that I look, I see it in my daughter as well. She’s always been a “late bloomer”. It has always taken more time for her to come to a place where she is willing to dive into things. And by “dive” I mean “inch forward in trepidation”.  Just like her mother.

We’ve been through a lot. A LOT.

We have very good reasons as to why we are the way we are. Time has passed, but it takes more time than most for us to get back to a place of breathing “normal” again. And apparently, with a lot of things, it has taken even longer than that. For as many chains have been broken from me, I still feel the lingering weight of them, so familiar, that heaviness, even when there’s nothing visible holding me down.

When you’ve hunched over as long as I have, you don’t automatically stand upright all the time. It takes practice, patience, perseverance to learn how to walk with your head up. Softened muscles, atrophied limbs, they don’t heal over night. 

If I were to be honest, I would have to admit that I am still under the invisible weight of invisible chains that I have known all my life. I have come very far from where I once was, so very far, and I know I don’t want to turn back–oh heaven’s no! However, I am feeling as though I can’t keep pushing on, I’m tired. This road is hard. This road has been long. I just want to rest, but it’s not always easy to know for how long.

If you rest too long, you will lose gained ground. I haven’t fought this hard for nothing.

But I have fought hard. And it’s tiring.

Some people find it easy to process things online, in front of others. Besides the fact that it petrifies me, I’ve never really been that kind of person. I’ve always struggled alone (ask my husband), though I’m learning to let others in. I’m not quite at a place where letting everyone see all the bad things in me is comfortable. I’ve only done that when I’ve felt the Lord ask me to, out of obedience, not out of desire.

(I’m afraid people mistake my fears for humility. I’m not completely lacking in humility, but neither is fear wanting in my life.)

And yet, I have come so far!!! I’m trying to not let discouragement get the better of me as I look to see how far I have yet to go.

I’ve been clinging (and by “clinging” I mean “had a death grip on”) to scripture and worship these past couple of years, more so than I have in a long time. It has been my light, my bread, my water, my shelter. Everything I have needed to sustain me. I have reached a point in my life where I know I could never survive without Jesus. Such a far cry from the days of shaking my loathing fist at Him. Those days of being convinced I couldn’t live without everything else, other than Him. I shudder to think I was that person.

My everything BUT Jesus has turned into NOTHING but Jesus.

I know I haven’t put anything new in this space for a long time and I honestly don’t know when I will put anything in this space again. I think of you often though. I wonder how you are, what you’re doing…and I pray for you. I truly do.

Right now, things are busy. I’ve been in the process of processing a lot of things in need of processing. It’s just been that kind of season in my life.

Also, I’ll be 40 soon.

I can’t even begin to tell you how happy that makes me(!!) and how I have trouble understanding those that are dreading it. For me, it is another moment, another year, another decade, that the Lord has gifted me. I should be dead, BUT GOD intervened! Maybe that’s what’s been difficult to process as well. The life road I’m traveling right now is completely uncharted, I don’t know where I’m going! I never made plans for my future when I was younger because I was certain I wouldn’t be alive that long. I am now alive and am having a hard time knowing what I’m supposed to be doing with my life! How utterly amazing!

So, know this: Though I am struggling through this time of processing, I’m pressing on. Even if I take some time to sit a while to quietly rest, I know I’ll be ok.

I’ve never had so much hope in my entire life that I will be ok and I will make it through. And it’s all because of the love my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has for me and has shown me and continues to show me as I walk with Him. I pray you will know this deep, abiding, life-transforming love and hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ.

“…“The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.””  ~Romans 10:8-13

And if you do know Him, I pray you make Him not only your Savior but your Lord. I challenge you to relentlessly pursue Him, making the Bible your primary and only source for everything in your life. It will always lead you to the truth that will set you free.

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sunsetoronodam4I pace through the house, on the phone with my sister, making sure we have all the details covered for her family to watch our 3 dogs while we go to the Raising Generations Today conference. The conference that I will be sharing parts of my personal story. It’s the first time where there will be more than a handful of people listening.

It’s the story of how I was abused, abandoned, left to my addicted self to scrape my way through this cold and heartless world. The story I don’t tell to just anyone, if at all. The story that I’ve been trying to escape my entire life. The story that I feel God has been preparing me to share for over 20 years and even more so these last few months.

The story of my life.

My pace quickens as I try to keep the conversation light, even though I’m feeling anxiety climb up my limbs, ready to engulf my heart. We laugh, she sweetly encourages me, I close my eyes in gratitude. I’m finally starting to feel like I have a real relationship with someone in my family, my big sister. It feels as natural as it feels foreign.

We exchange sincere “I love you”‘s as I finish up one last pass through the kitchen. I brush of my emotions, well, stuff them down. I’m such a crier. 

I sit down at my desk for a couple of minutes printing flight and hotel information and somehow, I realize a couple of HOURS later, I got sucked into it being really important to update my Linkedin page??

I’m procrastinating again.

You see, if I ignore it, it’s not there. The fear. The nervousness. The excitement. The reality of this really happening.

My life. It was never supposed to be like this. I had no future, no destiny, no hope for anything beyond scraping by.

Yet here I am.

I’m alive. I’m a wife and mother. A sister, an aunt, a friend. I live in a house where the bills are paid and there’s always food in the fridge. I’ve accomplished a few things in this short amount of time on earth. Even if none of it makes the 10 o’clock news and no one else ever knows but the Lord, I still have done something with my life beyond white-knuckle surviving.

And I still struggle with feeling like God must have the wrong girl.

Even though I know He doesn’t make mistakes and I know HE knows exactly what He’s doing and I’ve been begging and pleading that my life would be used by Him for His glory and that I would one day move beyond always being the broken one, always being the needy one, always being the “special project” one.

All those years of darkness. All those years of crawling and gasping my way through to the Light…have I finally reached the top of the hole?

If I have, please don’t tell me.

If I have, I want to realize it slowly. Slowly, so that nothing will make me prideful. Slowly, that I may not lose hold of humility as I reach for wholeness.

I don’t want to be whole if the price is losing my humility. I’d rather have a forever thorn than have any more of me believe it can live without God. I don’t ever want to give up being desperate for Jesus. Not for anything.

I close my eyes, lay my head in my hands and I begin to weep.

I weep because I feel inadequate. I weep because I can’t believe God feels I’m “ready” enough to be used by Him. I weep because I’m not sure if I can convey all that I want to. I weep because I want to see God heal broken hearts. I weep because I know how special these women are to the Lord and that makes them special to me. I weep because I love my Savior. I weep because I’m not sure I can do this. I weep because I want to honor my family and not cause pain. I weep because Jesus has already gone before me and has prepared the way and is on my side. I weep because I can’t find my favorite nail polish. I weep because I can’t decide which shoes to bring. I weep because we don’t have as much money as I was hoping to have. I weep because I was hoping to have lost more weight by now. I weep….

My husband walks over to me, gently placing his strong hands on my shoulders, whispers comfort to me. My shoulders heave. I still can’t believe I have a husband. And a very good one for me at that. And in this strange place of gratitude and awe, I find calm again.

I turn the volume up on Pandora and Christy Nockels’ voice invades me: “Your face is beautiful, and Your eyes are like the stars…Your gentle hands have healing, there, inside the scars…Your loving arms they draw me near and Your smile, it brings me peace…Draw me closer, Oh my Lord, draw me closer, Lord, to Thee…”

…and I worship.

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I’m rummaging around in my bedroom closet for something, as I write this, I can’t remember what it was.

I can’t find it so I try the small storage space under the basement stairs.

As I tear the place apart move stuff around, I still don’t find it, but as I look up I see something else. My strong box. The one I’ve had since I was a really little kid. The one my sweet great grandma gave to me, to store all my most prized possessions.

I grab for the scuffed, brass handle and tug the box into my chest, the metal contracting, making that sound only metal can, like artificial thunder.

I get a kind of grin on my face, my heart lightens and I promptly forget what I was doing (Oh, shiny!) and hurry upstairs to take a trip down memory lane. As I climb the stairs, I search my brain, trying to make a mental inventory of what I remember being in there. I can name a few things, but the rest isn’t coming back to me as quickly. It’s been a long while since I’ve visited my past and I usually only do it intentionally, when I feel I can face whatever I may find.

strongboxI set it on the kitchen table, the sunlight is beaming through the light green sheers, almost illuminating it. I slide the lever to the right, the lid sticks for a second, but I yank the handle a bit harder and it flies open.

So many memories.

They come at me like unrelenting waves, rolling over me as if I were the seashore on a windy day. One after another, after another, after another…

I go through a cycle of emotions faster than the spokes can spin on a tire (with a card attached by a clothespin ticket-y ticking as fast as it can).

I giggle, sigh, I strain my memory for images, sights and sounds, people who were once connected to me and wonder “where are they now?”.

I remember.

michaeljacksonfolder2As I get closer to the bottom of my box of memories I come across my Michael Jackson folder, complete with graffiti and scratch-n-sniff stickers exclaiming, “Plum Good!” and “Ba-nanza!” (Yes, I DID scratch them. Yes, they DO still smell! Can you believe it?!) I open it, and right next to the “Vital Statistics” paper my 5th grade teacher had us fill out (where I note my personal hero as being “Indiana Jones”) I see it. And I remember.

michaeljacksonfolderopen I silently gasp and hold my breath as I read these words:

“Weekly Reader, Special Commemorative Supplement, February 21, 1986″

I stare at the faces. One by one. More words, “‘We Mourn Seven Heroes’” and “‘The future belongs to the brave.’”, taken from President Ronald Reagan’s speech, stare back at me. I gently turn the pages as if I’ve uncovered an ancient manuscript, lost to the ages, just like Indiana Jones.

challengerarticle1challengerarticle2challengerarticle3I feel for a chair and slowly lower myself as I feel my heart ache and my eyes go blurry from the tears welling up. It was long ago, 28 years actually, and I start to realize how much it had impacted me. My nose starts running and I grab a kleenex, clearing my throat, attempting to shrug off the ridiculous feelings this finding has invoked. I brush away escaped tears, moving the article aside and there it is. I sit there, stunned. A yellowing piece of paper with my handwriting, the rough draft of an essay for a class assignment on one side, the finished paper on the other. The cleverly obvious working title, “My Space shuttle feelings”.

challengeressay1challengeressay2Under my breath, I read my own 28 year old words:

“It was January 28, 1986, the beginning of the new year. It was around 11:24 and I was in my Math class. Mary had just announced that at Cape Canaveral, where Kennedy space center is located, the space shuttle Challenger had blown up, one minute and fif-teen seconds af-ter its launch, killing all seven on board. The astronauts were: Sharon Christa Mc Auliffe, a Social Studies teacher in Concord, New Hampshire, Gregory Jar-vis, Ronald Mc Nair, Francis Scobee, Judith Resnik, Mike Smith, and Ellison Onizuka. When I heard that I held my breath and tried to believe that it happened but I couldn’t. It was so shocking that whenever I hear about it I start to shiver and remember the videotape I saw that night on the news. When it was over I started feeling sorry for the family’s they had left behind. It must have been scary seeing your reletive die like that. I hope it never happens again because it hurt so many peoples lives.”

Bits of images flash in my mind, Mr. Clayton standing in front of the class, our timed Math speed test being interrupted (I can still hear the “bing” of the intercom, Mary’s choked up voice), tv’s on carts wheeled into hallways, teachers whispering and some brushing tears away, walking to the media center where Mrs. Trapp had the news on, kids feeling scared, uncertain, looking to the adults for direction as to what to think, to feel, how to process it all. All the whispers in the hallways. I knew something serious has happened, something that would change all of our lives.

challengeressay3I was 11.

I just sat there. Remembering that say. Then, I took a deep breath, let out a big sigh, gently folded everything back up and carefully put it all back in its place. My mind was racing a mile a minute and took a while to slow down. I wondered if I hadn’t been taught how to or allowed the proper time to process everything all those years ago.I don’t know.

I remember a teacher, a civilian like me, a mom, like mine, and how she died, her children and family, a whole nation watching as she and her colleagues flew to their death. How a facet of the definition of being brave was etched into my mind. I wondered how I should process this as a Christian, in light of scripture, and as an adult. I’m still not quite sure, but, I do know the Lord knows what He’s doing and we can trust His plans for all of us.

Today, as I write this, I am remembering again. I look back and see how much life DID change after that. How many years it took for NASA to try again, how things are really quiet on that front now, unless you like space stuff, which, I do. I’m glad that hasn’t changed. I still look up at the night sky, trying to comprehend the universe, our place in it. Meteor showers, solar eclipses, lunar phases, sun dogs, planets, eclipsing binary stars, telescopes, constellations, satellites streaking across a blanket of stars…still make me giddy. (For the record, Pluto IS a planet, AHEM.)

Life has gone on, though it looks and sometimes feels a little different.

President Ronald Reagan’s Challenger Memorial Speech:

Soli Deo Gloria

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I’ve been writing in this space for almost 8 years. Part of me feels like I’ve shared so much of myself while the other part of me, knows I haven’t really shared much of anything. I’m good at that. Too good. My life is marked by the ability to only let others see what I want them to see, what I’m willing to let them see. I have mastered the art of hiding in plain sight.

Well, I’d like to let you know that from now on, Lord willing, I am taking my own advice and stepping out of the shadows.

As you may recall, in one of my last posts, I gave a glimpse into some of what I experienced growing up. There are many, many reasons that explain why I act the way I do and they are all valid. HOWEVER, I am choosing to NOT let them be EXCUSES any more. God has not brought me this far for nothing. He has not healed and changed my life to the extent that He has only for me to sit back and mock Him with laziness and apathy. No, I was made for something so much more than that.

So much more!

And I plan on growing in this area. I mean really growing.

I want to come out of the woodwork. I want to share all that my life has been and all that it has become. I’d even like to share with you some of my hopes and dreams. Especially now that I’m not afraid to hope or dream anymore.

Everything starts with a step.

One step forward, toward the goal, no matter what it is you are striving for, there must be that first step.

So here I am.

For me, this is taking that first step. Writing these words to you, telling you what’s really going on with me, opening my heart up to you.

As I think of all the people who have visited this place, shared their hearts and prayers with me, my thoughts turn toward honor and respect. I want to honor you, your time, your heart. By continuing to write, I hope you will see that honor and feel as though I am respecting you, your words, hearts and your time.

I don’t say it nearly enough, but please know you are important to me. You are very important and special to me. I may not say it enough, but I think it and feel it all the time. Even the days no one gets a chance to stop by, I still pray for and think of you. I hope you can see that the reason why I do this is because that’s what God does. He thinks of us all the time and Jesus intercedes on our behalf to the Father for us, night and day. You are a treasured gift to me because you are a treasured gift to our heavenly Father. I hope you know that, believe that and reach out with that love to others.

I can hardly believe it’s not only been another year, but it’s also 2014!!!

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited and disappointed at the same time. I’m excited for all the possibilities a new year holds, and I’m disappointed because I was under the impression we would have some sort of flying car by now. Although, I am glad the earth hasn’t been taken over by robots that has forced the remaining humans to live underground. For the record, if that happens, I’d totally be part of the resistance. Just sayin’.

Ok, I think I’m getting a wee bit off the trail here…

{Psst. If you also mostly grew up in the 80′s and know where I was going with that tangent, please leave a comment sharing your thoughts about the lack of advancement in technology. Thanks.}

Ok, so, on that note…(’cause I’m totally giggling now…and I hope you thought that was as funny as I did… ;) )

In conclusion, I’m really looking forward to getting to know you more, in this space, where I hope God will be glorified and you and I can be friends.

~traci

xoxo

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The sun peaks around the corner of the drapes where I didn’t pull it over far enough before I went to bed. It’s warmth and glow draw a line on my bed as I try to convince myself it’s time to get up, as in actually out of the bed.

I roll over and somehow my feet are faithful to hold me up this time. Whew, over that hurdle. I shuffle over to my dresser and pull out something to wear, from the clothes pile that’s still sitting there, I manage to get my shirt on not only right side out, but right side in front. This could be a good day!

I shuffle-yawn my way out to the living room where I find “my spot” on the couch, pull on my favorite quilt and try to settle in while I warm up again. As I reach for my Bible, my arm coming out of its warmness, I realize I’m wearing what I wore yesterday. Again.

At first, I do the eye roll thing and think of how lazy I am. Then, as quickly as that thought appeared a new ones emerge to replace it, “Who cares, no one can see me. I like this outfit, it’s comfy and I want to be comfortable.”

Now, normally this would be fine, and it totally cuts down on laundry, but in light of what I posted recently on Facebook, this takes on a whole new meaning. A much, much deeper one. It makes me think of the spiritual parallel about what we wear. How we put on things that are comfortable and familiar to us with the same ease of meeting up with old friends. We let our guard down and rest in knowing what to expect. Well, just like all sizes of clothing aren’t equal (ahem, so bummed about that shirt I thought would fit!) all friendships aren’t equal. Some of them, we should really examine and honestly evaluate to see if they really are true and healthy friendships at all, especially the ones on the spiritual side of things.

seagull1You see, while I’ve claimed to have mostly grown up very alone and very unknown, it’s actually only mostly true. Which means, slightly false. The false part being that I actually did have constant “companions”. Some of their names were Shame, Loneliness, Forgotten, Unloved and Ugly. They would invite their friends Anger, Bitterness, Rage, Unworthiness and Rejection over to play. My most constant friend though, the one who always showed up, never missed an event and was the most loyal to me, that friend, I have always called that friend Fear.

Fear and I? Yeah, we go waaaaaaaaay back. I mean, we’re talking as far back as I can remember, which is like, the 70′s. Fear was my first friend in the whole, wide world and has always been there for me. Whenever I wanted to do something, Fear was right their to talk me out of it. Always the protector, that faithful Fear. Whenever I wanted to trust, to be myself, to say something, to show emotion or to care for someone (or to let someone care for me), Fear was right there to help me realize I was being foolish. Wow, what would I have done all those years without Fear?!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t always do what Fear said I should do. In fact, there were times where I stepped out, did things without Fear and it wasn’t all bad. There were also the times when I didn’t listen, did my own thing, and I ended up kicking myself for thinking I could be right instead of Fear. Those were the times I was glad I had Fear around, you know, to protect me. Ahhhh, the comfort of the good ol’ days. Right, Fear? Right?

*sigh*

seagull2Funny thing though, since I’ve been a Christian and try to live the way a Christian would, I’ve come to realize a few things about my so-called-friend. Fear doesn’t like it very much when I talk about it either. But that’s ok. Let’s make this time one of the times we don’t listen and step outside of Fear.

Here’s a list of 5 things about Fear:

1. Fear is NOT from God. As a Christian, I am called to walk  in faith, love, hope, grace. Not once am I called to walk in fear. The Bible actually tells us the exact opposite. Say what?! Yep, in 1 John 4:18 the Bible clearly states the God is love and that His perfect love, Jesus, casts out all fear. We are supposed to run away from anything that’s not from God and to cling to that which is good and of God (Romans 12:9).

2. Fear is an idol. Anything we bow our knee to, give ourselves to, give a place of authority or priority to; physically and/or spiritually; knowingly or unknowingly, is an idol (or at the very least has the potential of becoming and idol). Every time I allow or give in to choosing fear, it is a “sacrifice” to my idol of fear. The very first commandment (as in the 10 Commandments) God gives us in Exodus 20 & Deuteronomy 5 is: “You shall have no other gods before Me.” This is not easy to do, but when we see it, we must deal with it through repentance.

3. Fear is NOT my identity. All throughout scripture we read about who, and Whose, we are. Not once does it say our identity, who we are and who we were created to be, is that of fear. NOT. ONCE. It does say our identity is found in Christ and Who He is. God is peace, joy, hope, forgiving, gentle, loving, and truth. All throughout the Bible God is constantly referring to us like this: beloved, cherished, chosen, wonderfully made, sought after. Imagine if we truly believed this and walked in this truth daily.

4. Fear is NOT truth. I heard once that you could look at the word “fear” as an acronym: False Evidence Appearing Real. Fear is based in lies. The Bible tells us in John 8 that the devil is behind lies. Since we know that the devil is evil and is out to destroy us (1 Peter 5:8) we can safely assume that we shouldn’t listen to lies and that we should then saturate our minds, thoughts and lives with God’s truth. Our focus needs to be on what’s true and real and not on what is untrue but is trying to appear real. We can do this by reading the Bible and replacing our lies with its truth.

5. FEAR IS NOT MY FRIEND. Period. The End.

seagull3When I was a child, I didn’t know Fear was not my friend. I was blinded, deceived, and it was all I had, all I knew. Over the years I have come to realize just how much damage Fear has actually caused in my life, how much it has stolen from me, how much I have given to it, fed it, helped it grow. By the time I was an adult I couldn’t see past the facade of Fear, I only saw what I thought I saw, what I wanted to see. Who wants to realize, and then admit, that they were betrayed, by a friend?

Well, today, I am willing to admit it. For all to see and hear.

As I choke back tears and pain and fears, with trembling fingers I would like to make a public announcement.

FEAR IS NOT MY FRIEND.

And I’m ok if no one else is my friend. It doesn’t change who I am. And I’m ok with that. It doesn’t change Whose I am. And I’m totally ok with that. I don’t need people to validate the validity of my existence.

People will hurt me, I will hurt people and not everyone will like me. I’m still valuable to the God of the universe and Jesus showed me I was worth dying for. That’s enough for me.

I’m not going to be afraid anymore.

Well, at least, that’s my goal. Baby steps, right? Well, ok, this is more of a humongous leap, but after this? Baby steps. :)

Wanna come with me?

seagull4

Soli Deo Gloria,

Traci xoxo

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When God Whispers Your Name, With Thunder

30 October 2013

Once upon a time, there was a small girl, who lived in a small world. It may have been a small world but it was also a busy world with noisy, polluted darkness. And all the noise and all the darkness made her sad and lonely and very afraid. Even so, every day she would […]

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