Chronicling 40: Day 144 of 365

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Not that long ago, I wrote a series that surrounded the theme of “Never Confuse a Deborah with a Jezebel”.   Today, I want to spend just a moment and add to that thought with:

Never confuse a broken woman with a Jezebel.

When she first appeared on the scene, she was shy and timid.  Gifted.  Talented.  Hard worker.  Quiet.   I figured it would take a bit for her to become comfortable around us and then she’d come out of her shell.

In just a matter of a few encounters later, what I saw was a completely different woman.  Unhinged.  Out of control.  Loud.  Boisterous.  I was so struck by her behavior, that I thought to myself that this woman must have been under the influence of something.

By the end of the evening I thought I had encountered a Jezebel.  Perhaps her reserved nature was simply as way to slink into the group, to get people to like her… before her true nature and intentions would be exposed.

Truth be told, my instincts were right… something was off.  But, my interpretation of those instincts was off the mark as well.  This wasn’t a Jezebel, this was a broken woman.  She was wounded.  She was treading water.  She was trying to keep it all together, and it was falling apart at her feet.  Grasping to maintain a sense of normalcy, building up a wall to keep people from seeing how badly she was hurting.

She was like one of those viral videos you see where the animal is trapped in an icy lake, and even though there is a person trying to rescue the poor beast… it thrashes and flails.  Screeching out in terror, winging its limbs about, and even becoming a danger to the very thing that is trying to rescue it.

This animal is already in a bad situation, fight or flight has set in… there is no logic or reason.  We watch from the outside thinking… “if you would just stop fighting, let yourself be saved”.  We can see the hero coming to the rescue.  We know that even though it’s probably even a bit painful in the way the animal is being round up, it is for it’s own good.  But none the less, the animal is panic stricken.  It doesn’t know.

We don’t always know, when we are in the thick of things, those who are actually trying to help us.   As believers we know that God is with us, but we don’t always have the clear discernment of knowing who He has sent to help and who is out to harm.  Our fight or flight has already been set into motion.  We see threat everywhere, and we respond by fighting… yelling… flailing about… even to the point of making the situation harder for ourselves and those who are trying to help us.

We must be wise.  But that is hard when we lack clarity.

I’ve never been so glad to find out that I was wrong about a person.   Now, instead of seeing a person I needed to be wary of, I saw her differently.  I responded differently. It also served as a lesson to me about being to quick to judge circumstances at a superficial level.  Had I gone to the Lord first, perhaps He would have opened my eyes to her pain and brokenness sooner.

Every day I learn more and more about the wounded people that walk my city streets every day.  I realize that not ever “disgruntled spirit” is someone who is out to hurt or destroy.  They are not all Jezebels.  They are the woman at the well.  They are the woman accused of adultery.  They are the woman who had just two coins to her name.  They are broken women, wounded men.  They need to not be cast aside as Jezebels, but instead introduced to the Savior.  Even, if they are kicking and flailing as He mends their heart.

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Chronicling 40: Day 143

vision

Last night I attended a local event where we made what most people would recognize as a “Vision Board”, but it actually was a bit different.  The Vision Boards we are familiar with are big goals or dreams for our lives and futures.  Instead, this was called a Manifested Board.  The differences between this and a Vision Board is that 1) it has a specific time frame of just twelve months, and 2) you are working in the past tense.  It’s not about what you are “going to do” but rather a declaration of what is already done.

Did you know that statistically you are more likely to achieve your goals by writing them down?  Our event host, Tasha Chen, pointed out that we also make a deeper connection to that goal when we can visualize it.  I’m a big goal setter, always have been.  In preparation for this night, we were supposed to bring things like magazines to cut pictures from, etc.  I had printed a few images from my computer of things that I already have on my 2018 goal list.  This board would create the visual connection.

I was not only claiming for myself that I was going to hit these marks in 2018, but I was also sharing with others in the room what my goals were.  Sharing our goals with at least one another person creates accountability, someone will be asking us about our progress. I’m sure several of us will be sharing our accomplishments as the year progresses.  We will want to celebrate with each other as we reach these goals of health, deeper faith, improved relationships, and so much more.

Something else happened, as I prepared for the event.  I was looking for specific images that I wanted to print out to bring with me.  Something that would represent actually publicly showing some of my art.  Up until this point, while I have given and even sold a few pieces … I’ve never attempted a public showing, entered into a contest, etc. (unless you count when I applied to an art college while in High School, and received a small scholarship to the school as well).  My Uncle has been encouraging me, and I decided 2018 would be the year to do it.

That was what landed me on a few websites, and even before I went to the event… I put in 1 online application and printed out 2 mail in applications for juried art shows.  Not shows late next year, but in just a couple of months.  Which means that I need to get to work.  Nothing like a deadline to motivate someone.

Here’s the thing… sometimes the biggest dreams and goals we have (for today, tomorrow, or down the road) don’t require much more than writing it down, sharing it with someone else, and then putting your intentions in motion.   Thankful for the people in my life who give me the nudge… the encouragement… who stand in agreement… and the women who help me walk in confidence and victory.

I realized when I worked on this board, that so many of the things I wanted for 2018 were related to my creative talents.  What was holding me back all of these years was the vulnerability of doing so, it is scary to put out something you created.  I’ve always encouraged my kids to be brave and do big things… but me?  Who would listen to me?  Who would read what I wrote?  Who would want something I made?

Over 100 times in Scripture are we told not to be afraid.  Why should I be afraid to share a gift that the Lord has blessed me with?  And if I do it for Him, honoring the gift He has given me… that is sufficient.

So, when Tasha Chen asked us what word would represent our board and intentions… I said FEARLESS.

2018 will be the year that I am absolutely fearless about pursuing the course the Lord has set for me, using all that He has given me, and standing in victory that His promises for my life are already fulfilled.  I’m just waiting in eager anticipation for the moment I can see what He has already set in motion.

Chronicling 40: Days 134-142

leadership

It’s quite a few days since I sliced my finger open, and I’m just getting back to typing anything of real significance.  Even though the wound is almost healed, it is very tender and frankly feels a bit weird… I hoping it’s just temporary and not long term nerve damage.  Time will tell.

I wanted to share how grateful I am for the women the Lord has been bringing into my life over the last couple of years.  When I sliced my finger open, I had just begun writing for a series on the Women’s Ministry Council website on Godly Leadership Characteristics.  I had written only one piece at the time of the injury.

I reached out to several women that I trusted, asking if they would step up and cover about two weeks worth of pieces to continue the series.  This is a big deal for me, because I was raised with the notion that to do anything right I must do it myself.  Even as I got into management, I could trust other people with THEIR job… but it was hard to ask anyone to handle MY JOB for me.  What if they didn’t do it right, well, expediently?  What if they didn’t do it my way?

The Lord has been working on me, over the years, about relinquishing control and learning to trust people to work on my behalf.  I realized that in many occasions it wasn’t that I just didn’t trust the person.  Rather, I didn’t trust that God would take care of it.  Perhaps someone might not do it my way, but instead God’s way?  What if I was being removed from the equation because God had another route to go? What if He needed someone else to speak, write, or convey His direction than myself?  I learned to be ok with it, and now embrace it.

In addition to recognizing my own growth, I realized how wonderfully blessed I am by the women that God set in place to answer my call for help.  These are women who I consider very wise, and I am thankful for their input and different perspectives on things.  These are godly women who encourage others to rise to the occasion as well, teaching and leading others toward godliness.  These are women who lead with a servants heart.  I am ever thankful for them!

Chronicling 40: Days 130-133

finger

What is the 1 thing that can keep a person from blogging?  Slicing her finger open.  The picture is just an illustration, you all don’t need to see what I did.  I’ve probably got another week before I can type with out the good old “hunt and peck” style.

I’ve been reading vs. writing, so expect some thoughts on some books and the world in general in the coming days.

Chronicling 40: Day 128 & 129

brokenangel A few years ago, I had considered doing a piece called “Broken Angels”, and the premise was going to be about how some of the very things we can hold the most dear break down and hurt us.  At the time, I wanted to talk to women who had experienced this and put together a think piece or maybe even a series.  Finding women willing to talk wasn’t as easy as I thought.

Now I find myself reviewing this topic among a sea of women who are coming out in droves… shedding public light on private sins committed against them.  Finding the courage, some after decades, to speak to their pain and call out the person(s) responsible.

There were some names that have splashed across the news headlines that I wasn’t all that surprised to hear.  Perhaps it was because that person was always surrounded in rumors of misbehavior, or had always had an air of misogyny about them.  It could have been just something instinctually that made me distrust the person, even I couldn’t put my finger on it.  On the other hand, some have been flat out shocking and I didn’t want to be true.

When you are a person who has experienced sexual assault, sexual trauma, or sexual harassment… you want to believe that not all people are guilty of it.  That some men (and women) are capable of being honorable, respectful, and trustworthy.  It was so easy to nod in agreement when the names of people I had suspected were being tossed about, a bit harder when it was someone who I respected.  Instantly, I didn’t want it to be true.  If this person could be guilty, anyone could be guilty.

Victims & survivors cling to the hope that these people do exist.  They are comforted when people of influence speak out against those who would marginalize, disrespect, abuse, and harass others by force, threat, or wielding of power.  When one of our outspoken defenders becomes one of the accused, it hurts.  When the number of those types of accusations increase, it really hurts.

Our angels are broken and it can be hard to reconcile that.

The solace I find in this is that Scripture reminds me repeatedly that man is fallible, but God is not.  He is our refuge, our strength, our fortress, our shield, our protector, and our defender.  Justice will be His, and in that I can find rest.

And, as I am reminded that man is fallible… I’m also reminded that I am among mankind.  I am not ready to cast my stones because I am free of sin, but instead as their sins are laid bare… I become keenly aware of my own.  The Bible says that was is done is secret will be revealed.  (Luke 8:17)   There is a reckoning happening.  And none of us should be so confident as to think there couldn’t be a reckoning of our sins.

I shared with a friend that I would have had far more respect for some of these people, who spoke out against abuse and ultimately were accused, had they owned before someone accused them.  Had they come to terms on their own that they wronged someone, made an effort to make amends with that person, or even admitted publicly what they once were and how they came to change their position.

I need to speak those words to myself.  Who do I need to make amends with?  What do I need to own and apologize for?  Lord, examine my heart and show me my iniquity!  Show me the plank in my own eye.  Guide me on who to right my wrongs, seek forgiveness, and reconcile relationships.  Let me make these things right, now, because it is the honorable thing to do.

Chronicling 40: Day 127 of 365

Cyber+Monday+Sale

I’ve been a loyal customer for 14+ years… and a consultant too.  My love for these products and this company has never wavered.

Today, I was invited as a guest to share my top 10 favorite products with a great group of women.  I decided to carry that top 10 list over here:

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  1.  The Lotion Bar:  This is exactly what it sounds like, a bar of lotion.  It’s great for dry hands, elbows, knees, and heels.  Over time, it blends with the natural oils of your hands and becomes even softer and easier to use.  I’ve been using lotion bars for over 14 years.  This was the original product that won me over as a customer.  Fragrance Pictured:  Guavaberry & Goji (mild, sweet, fruity)
  2. Salt Scrub:  This is a fine salt exfoliant, available in several fragrances as well as unscented.  A blend of salts and oils helps exfoliate your skin and soften the new skin that is revealed.   Fragrance Pictured:  Coconut Lime (hint of coconut, with a splash of lime).
  3. Shea Body Butter: A thick, luxurious, shea butter lotion that is great for all over use… as well as for extremely dry skin.  If you are looking for a face lotion, there are several other varieties to consider.  I love using this after shaving my legs.  Fragrance Pictured:  Oatmeal Milk & Honey (this is a great option for gifting, when you don’t know what kind of scents people like… simple, clean, refreshing scent… slightly sweet, reminds me of almonds).
  4. Skin Relief:  For the weather worn hands… wind burn, sunburn, chapped, cracked skin will love this product.  Made of Shea Butter, Aloe, Green Tea, Vitamin E, Seaweed, and Chamomile… soothing, anti-inflammatory, and helps with skin repair.  Unscented.
  5. Spa Polish:  I’ve been using this product on my face for years and it’s one of my staple items.  A gentle cleanser mixed with crushed black walnut shell, Spa Polish can be used not only on your body but your face as well.  Make sure to follow with toner and facial moisturize to replenish your face after exfoliating.
  6.  Lip Exfoliant and Butter Duo:  Dip a cloth into the exfoliant and apply in small circles buffing away dead skin from chapped lips.  Wipe away with a warm wet cloth, then seal and protect fresh lips with the Shea Cherry Lip Butter.
  7. Time Rewind Eye Gel:  A little dab will do, and this bottle will last you quite some time.  This serum is something I’ve more recently added to my routine, as I approached (and now passed) forty.  I’ve noticed that the dark circles under my eyes are softening… which is a win for fair skinned girls.
  8. Foaming Hand Soap:  I keep a bottle of this by my kitchen sink and in the bathroom.  It’s a nice thick foam, that not only cleanses but softens as well.  I love it, my kids do too.   Fragrance Pictured:  Coconut Lime (it’s probably my favorite fragrance).
  9. Essential Oil Headache Blend Roll On:  This has become my go to for trying to hold off headaches and migraines.  Apply to temples, behind ears, at the back of the neck at base of your head.  Once you have applied, while the oil blend is still fresh on the roller ball, take a nice deep inhale.
  10. Magnesium Line:  This line includes unscented or peppermint infused lotion, dead sea salt soak, and balm stick.  Magnesium is great with sore muscles, and this line is a favorite among athletes.  I love it because Magnesium is recommended for people with Hashimotos.  When I’m feel the more physical wear down, the soak is amazing (plus it helps reduce stress).  The infused peppermint salts actually perk me up, so instead of leaving the soak ready for bed… I’m ready to get back to life.  This is probably due to the cooling sensation from the peppermint oil infused into the salts.  Daily use of the lotion is actually part of my care routine for Hashimotos.

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