...but my heart got stuck anyway.
Better to be STILL than to be STUCK.
Thursday, April 07, 2016 | | 0 Comments
I have to confess I feel queasy in a Books-A-Million. Well, any bookstore to be honest.
It's the smell. It wafts through the air the moment I tug open a heavy glass door.
I smell crisp pages of fresh faced hopefuls standing shoulder to shoulder with fellow comrades of unbroken spines.
I smell spineless paperbacks dying in a mass grave called a "Bargain Bin"
But there's one peculiarly odious scent that reeks every time I walk in a bookstore.
The smell of Fear.
Unfortunately, it's something I produce when I walk over the threshold. It's embarrassing.
I've done my best to control it, but I just haven't found a deodorant that can mask this odor, much less get rid of it all together.
...books can smell Fear.
As I walk by - trailing that nasty smell behind me - a book screams, "You associate with Tree Killers!"
Another one howls, "You're too late. It's all been written before!"
A chorus of sticker-shocked Reduced Price Books pick up on the agitation. "Away with you!" they shout. "Save yourself from this carnage of cheap priced clutter!!"
"Goes aways! Goes aways!" wail a group of baby board books.
I try to calm them all down the best I can, but then my smell of Fear turns to sweat and starts running down my spine, arousing even more books to wail.
The din is deafening.
Why do I even come here and put us all through this torture? The books are right. If it was worth writing, it's already written - and what's left become a wreckage of unwritten reads.
Why should I kill one more tree - just so I can add to the forest of words already on these shelves?
If I did publish a book and it was lucky enough to be deemed worthy of shelf space, I imagine other books slowly inching away so they couldn't brush their covers against mine.
"Guilt by association," one of them whispers. "We haven't got a chance if we touch her. Move over."
I snap out of my reverie when I feel the paperbacks in their en-masse glass coffin sneer at me.
"Who's the spineless one now?" they jeer.
Disheartened and defeated, I slump out of the store.
This is my life.
At least, it is now.
I never had this problem until the day I held a pen aloft like Mufassa lifted up Simba in the "Lion King". With a mighty voice, I cried out, "I am a writer!" upon which elephants trumpeted, lions roared and zebras bent their kn....
That's not right.
I remember now.
As I lifted my pen to proclaim myself a writer, it slipped out of my hand and poked me in the corner of my eye.
"Oh well," I consoled myself as I rubbed my eye. "This pain won't last forever..."
Little did I know.
Bookstores which once fueled my determination became my nullification.
*It's already been written.
* You don't have a platform.
* You don't even have the floor.
* You live on a dirt floor
* Why try
* Why bother
* Why worry
But then I hear a whisper.
And therein lies the stupidity of being a writer. That dang smidgen of a mustard seed called "hope".
Hope sends me to bookstores to face my fear. Hope sets me down and has me typing aimlessly till something starts forming and convicts my heart. Hope tells me that someone needs to laugh; to cry; to reminisce. Hope tells me that many other people can do these same things for the same readers.
But then Hope snuggles up to my heart and whispers, "But only you have your unique voice and perspective. Someone needs to hear your voice.
Don't neglect the one in hopes for the masses."
You know what?
I don't have a platform or a following or a crowd or so many people who wanna be Facebook friends that I'm forced to make a Page instead. I'm not a Promoter, Publicist or a Progenitor.
I'm a Period.
I write in order to write.
Let the books keep cryin'.
Monday, February 15, 2016 | | 5 Comments
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, [f] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16
Saturday, December 26, 2015 | | 0 Comments
Learning to love myself...
I wrote the following in response to another's web-blog, and then realized, I didn't want to lose what I had written. So am re-posting my reply here. I need it for myself. Sometimes I forget so easily even deep lessons God has taught me...
In her blog, the writer was talking about how God loves us and how we should look at ourselves in love ("fully-dressed of course") and tell ourselves the same thing as we look in a mirror.
This was my reply...
I know you said to look at yourself fully clothed- but I wanted to share how God changed me totally - when I looked at myself fully UNDRESSED in a FULL LENGHT mirror at home.
I've fought all my life with self-image (who hasn't among women, right? lol) And I was sad because my marriage was falling apart, esp. in the bedroom. I blamed myself - mainly. Told myself that I wasn't as pretty and sexy as women on TV, movies, and even ones described in books!
One day as I was crying out to the Lord about the state of what was happening physically (or really - not happening) with my husband...I felt a still small voice say, "Holly - do you know how to make love to yourself?"
Well, THAT's a strange question!
The voice continued, "Can you stand to look at yourself absolutely bare and say, 'I am lovely in the LORD's eyes AND mine.'"
I'm not sure I believed either statement.
After all I've got cottage cheese thighs, sagging c-section belly, double chin - you name it. If it can droop off my body, it will.
"Try," the small voice said.
If a tortious wore clothes, I think he'd get his clothes off faster than me. I trembled as I took off each part of my garments. After all, one more bare part meant one step closer to seeing myself with eyes wide open. Could I stand up to my own scrutiny?
At last the deed was done, and there I was in all my glory.
The voice said, "Do you love you?"
"Do you love seeing you like this?"
"I said NO."
"If you cannot make love to yourself, Holly - if you cannot stand to see yourself naked - then why do you expect your husband to love what you cannot?"
I stood there stunned.
"You need to love YOU, Holly. Whether your marriage survives or not - you can only take care of you. This issue you have with your body is only the symptom of the greater problem. You don't love yourself. Not inside - not outside. No part of you is pleased with what you see or think or feel. You're always saying, "I can do this better," or "If I would just do ____ then things would be better."
"You need to learn to bare your soul to YOU, Holly. Bare your heart to YOU. Bare your body in LOVE to YOU. Otherwise, you cannot obtain the intimacy you crave, no matter how hard you try. If you cannot come naked and unashamed whether it's a naked heart or a naked soul...in the relationships you love and trust - intimacy is not going to happen.
So - the first thing you need to do is stand here and say, 'I love myself.'"
"That sounds narcissistic."
"I know it sounds foreign. Say it anyway. 'I love myself.'"
"I know You love me."
"You know that in your head, Holly. You need to know it -feel it- from your HEART. And the only way you're going to get there for both of us is to choose to believe that you are lovely, precious, and beloved in my sight. Just as you are. Cottage cheese thighs and all."
That made me smile. What a goofy God we have.
"Say it. Say, 'I love myself'.'"
"But I don't believe it."
"Your heart doesn't believe it...yet. But sometimes it takes repetition from the Knowing in the mind to sink down deep into the heart. The more you say it, the more it's reality will deepen."
"But aren't I suppose to say, "God loves me...and then, I love..."
"You automatically discredit 'God loves me' right now. You say it as in "He has to love me. He's God." You know that I love you. You tell yourself this often. But because of your own disbelief in yourself and even in your own loveliness in my eyes- you dismiss every compliment that comes your way. You reject it by telling yourself that he or she is just being polite. If you cannot accept the compliments of other flawed fallen humans - you should see how you cower in front of Me - the absolute Perfection of Love.
You say what you know - the Sunday School\Church answer. But you reject it out of your heart as soon as you say it.
We need to get to the root of this problem, and the only way to do it is to tackle it at its source.
So say it. Say, 'I love myself.'
(mumbling) "I love myself."
"Say it again."
"I feel stupid. OK?"
"I love myself."
"I hope you do this every day. Not dressed - but undressed. Love every single part of you - just as you are for that day."
It was the strangest conversation\prayer I've ever had. Certainly not a typical "church dialog" type of prayer!
But I did it.
I stood in front of the mirror each day and mumbled that I loved myself.
A few weeks later I was saying it a little louder, and a little more confident.
And the strangest things started happening.
I gave myself grace to be human.
I stood up for myself.
I stopped letting others take advantage of me.
I lost weight. And not because I stood in front of the mirror each morning like this - (although it helped) - but just because I wasn't EATING my depression about myself and my circumstances. I didn't need that comfort like I used to.
OK - a little comfort. But just the same, I wasn't eating a huge helping of Comfort. My portions got smaller...just because. That alone was weird.
I stopped running into bed with the lights completely off. One time, I didn't even turn OFF the lights. My husband was shocked.
Really, really pleased.
I opened up my heart to my friends more. Learned that it's okay being messy me.
I also learned that they assumed that I was a 'goody two shoes' because I didn't share my struggles and troubles with them. They thought that *I thought* I was good with life and lovin it. Lord have mercy - it was just the opposite! I had felt alone, isolated and ashamed.
Now with my heart bare before trusted friends, my little cup of acceptance was filling up.
"I love myself."
While life isn't a bed of roses, and I'm still in marriage counseling...I've come a long way from the former me I was four years ago when I gulped down the words, "I love myself."
Now it's: "God loves me for who I am. I don't have to do anything to earn His love or anyone else's for that matter. If someone wants me to do something for them in order to gain their love or approval - that's not love. That's abuse. I reject that. God loves me...and you know what?
I love myself."
Friday, August 21, 2015 | | 0 Comments
It's been a while since I've written publically, but this has been on my heart for a while. Even now, I'm not sure if it's correct theologically but I thought I would write it down anyway. Maybe someone will read this and either question or clarify for me, what I've been thinking about recently.
I start with this scripture after Jesus has washed the feet of the disciples:
13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
Verse 15 caught my eye one day because I was pondering an entirely different subject - and as I did, I remembered this verse: "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you."
Why is this scripture so important to me?
Because of this verse:
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said,“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”First of all - you might think I'm weird, but I like the scripture that says in verse 17 the disciples worshiped - "...but some doubted". Pretty interesting to think you can still doubt and worship God at the same time. I'm sure there would be those who would argue that it's not "true worship", but what the heck is? Let's be honest. How many people can truly worship God with absolutely NOTHING ELSE trying to crowd into the mind at the same time? Worry, doubt, fear, boredom, feeling aloof, depressed, etc. It's a constant battle to discipline the mind to quiet these and concentrate on the goodness of God. So I like this verse because it's a HUMAN thing to do -worship and have some conflicting emotion that is opposite of worship.
And the other cool thing is Jesus didn't point it out. In past scriptures we can read things like: "Knowing what they were thinking, he [Jesus] said..." But this time - He didn't point out the doubt or question their hearts or give one last parable.
Instead, He told them something greater - something that would eventually turn doubt into belief; He could already see the Day of Pentecost, where the disciples doubts taken away, as well as all those who heard their testimonies and believed in Jesus Christ - resurrected - Son of God - their Savior.
He tells them something that so many of us can quote with our eyes closed:
"Go and make disciples of all nations..."
I'm going to stop there because this is the true crux of what I'm thinking about right now. As I've reflected on these scriptures and the following thoughts, it took a lot of shame and guilt away.
The scripture says: "Go and make disciples..." not "Go and make converts..."
What's the difference?
It's a HUGE difference.
I don't know how you were raised in your upbringing, but I was raised to believe that I needed to tell everyone about Jesus and His saving power. Only, it wasn't in a way that supported long-term relationship building, but more like "Smack a stranger in the head and dog him into becoming a Christian, otherwise he's going to hell and you helped him go there."
I never understood this theology and as time went on I was afraid for those who became "Christians" by such means, because the one who lead the other "to the Lord" goes away proud and a little less guilt ridden because he or she accomplished the "task" that needed to be done (according to their denomination's practices) and the new "convert" has no clue what happened, or how to be discipled . He or she was lead in the "sinners prayer" - then watched the other one walk away.
Creating spiritual orphans was never Jesus idea of following Him.
I didn't get it. Why "lead someone to Christ", and then walk away?
My denomination heavily touted bringing people to Christ, and then glossed over what to do after that.
"Invite them to church!" they'd say. Well, that 's a first step, but even then it's not promising. Nothing like having a total stranger say, "Hey, where do you live? I'll come pick you up!"
Ummm...no thank you, stranger. I barely know you, and right now, I barely know Jesus.
[Think about it. No matter how grateful you might be to the man or woman who stops your child and leads him or her to Christ, would you be cool if this same person asks for an address and a phone number where he or she could be reached? Sadly enough, there's enough wolves in sheep(s) clothing to look like a saint but act like a devil. Stranger danger is still stranger danger.]
So what in the world am I suppose to do? I don't want to abandon anyone - I don't want to make them feel uncomfortable by offering to bring them to church - and I'm not sure they'd come any way by themselves...
It wasn't till I read the above verses back to back, did I finally get it.
I started pondering, "What examples did Jesus do that I need to follow in His footsteps with?"
And I came up with the following:
- First - Jesus never chased anyone
There are NO shortcuts to making disciples. Making and keeping disciples is HARD. It means that someone or several have to see you day in and day out. Messy hair, bad breath, days when you are tempted to blow your gasket, days when you get a deep revelation, days when you feel like a fool.
The original disciples had the best Teacher and Lord, because even though he was tempted - he didn't sin. (I have no clue about the bad breath or bad hair day. Maybe he always looked groomed and smelled like daisies.)
- He spent so much time with His disciples that they got to know Him pretty well.
- Jesus and His disciples were in it for the long haul
- Jesus didn't have one lone disciple.
Tuesday, May 06, 2014 | | 2 Comments
Where you can buy my CD "Never Abandoned"
I like to read...
Author shares struggle with hearing loss in new book - CrossRiver releases ‘Confessions of a Lip Reading Mom’ this week As Shanna Groves held her newborn son, she should have reveled in the joys of motherhood....3 years ago