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Category Archives: Prayer

#Empowered

A few lifetimes ago, I gave away my power.  Not intentionally, not all in one swift blow, but slowly, bits of me broke away like an iceberg, trying to find out who everyone wanted me to be.  Too Loud?  Ok… I’ll be quiet.  Too quirky?  Ok… Boring is easy.  Too Smart? I can play dumb REAL good.  Relationships, Friends, even family in their own unaware way.  Instead of struggling to find our who I was, I was struggling to be who “they” wanted me to be.  It became very easy to transform, to easier to tuck away the real me and become who I thought I was supposed to be. Before I knew it, there was very little of the real me left.  Instead, I was a chameleon.  One way for one set of friends, for coworkers.

I come from a strong line of women (and men for that matter).  Chipping away at the real me like that, it ate at me. And as it ate at me, I ate at everything in sight. I grew up with hopes, dreams, plans for an incredible future.  At 21 I had a job I loved, an apartment of my own, living in my favorite city and suddenly…. I was moving back into my parents’ house, pregnant, alone, battered and bruised.  I felt powerless.  I had lost control, if I had ever had it in the first place.

I was scared.  I ate.  I was lonely.  I ate.  I was ashamed. I ate.  And for brief moments, I felt in control. I could control what I ate.  (You know the pattern, right?)  I was suddenly responsible for this little life, and I couldn’t even tell you who I was, let alone who I wanted to be for this baby.  I felt powerless.

Fast forward 6 years.  Not a lot had changed.  I was in a relationship with someone I knew wasn’t faithful to me, who took every opportunity to make himself seem smarter at my expense, but my friends seemed to like him and most of all he enabled me.  Want to eat junk food and lay around on the couch doing nothing? He was your guy.  Want to stay inside and hide from the world? No problem.  I knew how this game of “Who Am I” went, and I was going nowhere fast.  The numbers on my scale however were flying through the roof.  One night, talking to my best friend oceans away, he heard something in what I said that I hadn’t even heard myself say.  He said to me “If you’re happy, tell me and I’ll drop it” and for the first time in a long time, someone was asking me… the real me… how I felt.  He saved my life that night.

It’s been 5 years and I’m still trying to figure out who I am exactly.  That same best friend who saved my life that night 5 years ago is now lovingly known as “The Hubs” and unfortunately for him, he’s left trying to help me put the “Sharon Puzzle” together.  The good news is he’ll call me on my crap, pardon my French.  When he hears “I don’t know, what do YOU want to do” or “I don’t care, whatever you want” he doesn’t take it as an answer. But as great as he is, as supportive as he is, this problem, it’s all mine.

I crave food.  It gives me comfort.  When I’m lost, not sure which Sharon is supposed to be “On”, food never tells me I’ve made the wrong choice.  When my heart is aching for a dream long gone, food soothes the hurt.  When I’m nervous, food offers me a distraction.  When I’m bored, food offers something to focus on.  One of the women in our small group personified her craving as a lover.  Seductive.  Calling to me.  Offering me the world.  I get it.

But this week… something was different.  I couldn’t tell you if it was the knowledge that 40,000+ women were walking this walk with me, if it was the sudden realization that I was turning to food instead of God when I was at my weakest, if it was a recent reminder of how food affects our health, or if it was a combination of all of the above.  Whatever it is, this week I feel #Empowered.  I can do this. or to be more exact, through God, I can do this…

 

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Posted by on January 23, 2014 in Babies, Blogging, McHubby, Prayer, Relationship

 

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2014

It’s the time of year where I say “I don’t make resolutions” and then proceed to come up with some other way to phrase my “hopes and dreams list” or some other silliness. I don’t know why I have such an aversion to the idea of resolutions. Maybe it’s because I know so many people end up breaking theirs that it seems like a recipe for disaster. Maybe it’s my deep rooted fear of not succeeding. You’d think, with my OCD being what it is, I’d embrace the chance to plan out my year 365 days in advance.

This year, I’m looking at it as my to do list. I work well with lists. In fact so well, that I may try on at least a weekly basis to convert The Hubs into a list person. I’d say it’s a work in progress.

So… In no particular order, and for the accountability of the 4 of you out there that read this, is my to do list for 2014;

– Take better care of the body God has blessed me with. How’s that for an outlook change? I’m not in the shape I want to be, very far away from it, in fact. But 2013 reminded me over and over to be thankful, and I cannot start anywhere else but being thankful for being alive, for having the full function of my body. What I’ve done to it… That’s all on me. I own it, I know it, I can change it. And I plan to.

– Not be afraid to ask for what I need. Have you seen the commercial of the woman who can’t sleep? She’s flopping all over the bed and at one point (In her mind) yells at her husband “How can you be sleeping?” That’s me. That was me a lot of 2013. And 2012. I get so caught up in a certain way I expect things to go that I will be stubborn enough to wallow in the way it “Should be”. An example of this? I have caught myself sitting next to To Hubs thinking ” I wish he’d reach out and hold my hand” or ” I could use a hug. I wish The Hubs could sense that and hug me” and then the me who spent too many years in bad relationships will sit there, wondering if I sigh long enough, or look doe eyed at him, he’ll read my mind and know what I need, and if he doesn’t, that poor little girl with baggage that I carry around, she will go without rather then ask. You see there are some days, the poor guy can’t win, and he doesn’t even know there’s anything going on. I know expecting him to psychically know what I need is irrational, but you’d be surprised the number of arguments that have broken out because I needed something and didn’t ask. So this year, if I need something I will ask. Or better yet, I will give. If I need a comforting hug, why not go and give him one? I know I will get one in return. (I know you just read that and uttered an eloquent “Duh, Sharon!” But this honestly is a new revelation for me.

– Speak More. When The Hubs and I were dating, and found ourselves in uncomfortable situations, we’d often remind the other to be “Loud and Proud”. I am a woman who’s faced adversity. A woman who’s stood between a pimp and “his girl”. A woman who’s sat at the bedside of women who’ve lost family, friends, everything they’ve owned, and vowed to protect them. I’ve literally jumped in the middle of fights to break them up. Stood strong while staring down the barrel of a gun. Attended too many funerals for people when it’s been just a few of us shelter workers and the funeral director. I’ve designed programs that change lives. I’ve helped negotiate a union contract (Some of you will know the fortitude THAT takes). I am a strong, smart woman, and it is time to start remembering who I really am. 2014 will see me … Or rather hear me Loud and Proud.

-Talk less. Yes, there is a difference. The hubs and I were in bed not 30 min after watching the ball drop in Time Square. While settling down, and for no reason I can think of, I made a biting comment about someone we both know. Not 30 min into a new year! As soon as the words left my mouth, I looked at him and said “wow!” I knew it wasn’t nice. I knew if they had heard it, it would halve been hurtful to them. I could tell you that this person and I don’t see eye to eye. That I’d been on the stinging end of some of her remarks. But does that matter? Does that excuse my behavior? I cannot say that it will not happen again, but I can say that right now I am making a commitment to stop talking just for the sake of talking. To take seriously gravity of the words I use.

There are other things. Re-focus my daily Devotional time. Read the Bible cover to cover. Unplug more. Drink more water. Laugh more. Be spontaneous. Love harder. Skype more. Be a better friend. Trust. Focus. Change.

Hold on… It’s going to be a bumpy ride!

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Al La Peanut Butter Sandwiches…

I remember as a kid, my mom and dad reading me a book about Mumford the Magnificent, one of my favorite sesame street characters.  In the book, he tries to remember the magic words to make his trick works. Ever feel like you’re doing that when you pray? Trying to find the right words to convey your message to God, as if he didn’t already know your heart?

My dad and I were watching a program one night, and the preacher was talking about “Stupid Prayers”.  He said they start with “Lord, Aunt Mary is in the Hospital”… Duh!! God knows that she’s in the hospital!! I know that it isn’t actually a “Stupid Prayer”, but at the time, it sure gave us a chuckle.  Now, whenever I pray, I find myself thinking about that. And about 1,001 other things. Have you ever To-Do list prayed? Sadly, this happens to me more then I’d like to admit. If you don’t know what a “To-Do List” prayer is, let me give you an example.

In the beginning of September, The Hubs and I set out to give our thrift store a make over.  This thrift store actually funds our winter emergency shelter, and the funds weren’t exactly where we needed them to be.  The night before we started, I was very specific in my prayers, praying for each of the volunteers and staff, knowing that change is hard for some people, and praying for specific changes we needed to make.  This reminded me of something I needed to pick up for the makeover.  THAT reminded me that I had a movie that needed to be returned in the same mall.  Then I wondered when I’d find time to do that, and wondered what the Hubs’ schedule was like, and if he could pick it up. But maybe he has a Dr’s appointment. I have to pick up some meds, I wonder if when Walmart opens here, their prescription prices will be cheaper. I hope it opens before Christmas because I need to do some Christmas shopping. Oh wait!! I was praying!!!

Or how about the “Barter” prayer? My soul, my flaws, my mistakes, my hurts my hang ups can all be Yours, Lord, for the low low price of getting me out of this jam.  I’m guilty of this one too.  Especially over the last 2 years while The Hubs has been in and out of the hospital, surgery, stress tests, scary words like heart attack floating around.  I’ve bartered. I’ve begged!

Do you know this one? Or the “Genie” prayer? Lord, I want _______. I’ve been good, I’ve followed Your path for my life, I want _____ and infinity other wishes.

One of my biggest fears is being asked to pray in public.  Its a pretty commonly known fact.  When I was working in Toronto, my boss and I had a code.  I would tap her shoe with my foot and she would pray.  The hubs and I have a deal that I probably shouldn’t admit on here lest it blow my cover.  Because our names are so similar, the deal is if someone asks me to pray, he’ll do it, and then later on we’ll play it off as if we just misheard.  Don’t hear what I’m not saying (not bad, right my southern peeps?) If a person came to me and said “I need you to pray with me”, I’m there.  All over it.  But in front of everyone?  No dice.

The hubs asked me a few weeks back what it was that made me anxious of it.  The truth?  I’m worried I wont say the right thing.  That I will have missed an important part of what was said and pray for the wrong thing, or that my prayer wont measure up to someone else’s prayer. That I’ll flip into To-Do prayer mode, right there in front of everyone!  What if I forget something that I was supposed to pray for?

Growing up as a pastors kid, spending roughly 1,664 Days at Church, not including special occasions, meetings, kids groups etc. etc. etc.  I’ve heard people pray.  I’ve heard some incredible prayers.  But when it comes down to me, sharing my heart like that… the words just don’t come.

I carry a notebook in my bag, put it on my nightstand at bedtime, keep it next to me while sitting on the couch watching TV.  In it I write down peoples prayer requests as they share them. During Prayer time on Sunday mornings, while scrolling through Facebook, talking to friends… as they mention it, I jot it down and then when I find quite space, quite time, I take out my notebook and pray.

I start each day, each prayer, each task asking God to help me focus, to give me the attention to detail needed for what I’m facing.

I’m learning to be comfortable with not having the words. God knows my heart. My fears, my joys, my thankful moments, He knows them.  When I pray , when I don’t know what to say, He knows what’s in my heart when I can’t find the words.

Its a work in progress.

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Posted by on September 20, 2013 in Prayer, Relationship

 

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Inspired by Obedience (a day early even!)

I’ve always been a bit of a different character.  I think that’s the polite way to say it.  As far back as I can remember, I’ve balked at authority, pushed the limits with rules, and generally made my own “Normal”.  Rules make me roll my eyes, and I’ve been known to say “Well, that’s just too bad, it needs to be done my way!” WAY more than is healthy for someone who’s spent their life in ministry. Don’t get me wrong, The Hubs can be just as head strong as me, but he manages it better. M-U-C-H better (Most of the time)!

So, what do you get when you mix 2 very head strong people with some serious baggage and “Church Hurts”?  What we got was 6-8 months where the thought of entering a church door caused anguish.  It was NOT a good time for us, for our relationship, for our souls.  Thankfully a friend invited us to her church (pastors kids…. we’re always looking out for each other), and not really knowing why, we said yes.  We went… we had a plan… in, be seen, out.  EASY.  Or so we thought.

We walked into that church and it literally changed our lives.  In all honesty, it probably saved our relationship with our families and with each other.  A church full of hurting people awaited us in those pews, and told us it was ok to be hurt, it was ok to be mad, but it wasn’t ok to turn our backs on the only source of True Peace.  The Hubs, having spent 9 years previous as a pastor, was “home”.  Where he needed to be at that time.  Me, I was better… not great, but better. Life went on.  We had bumps, hiccups, even a couple road blocks, but life… as far as I knew… didn’t get much better than this.

Then we hit that fateful night.  The conversation that brought us here.  You’ve read how it went for me, (If not, click here to check it out… I’ll wait… go ahead… 🙂 how the Hubs telling me he wanted to go back to ministry as a pastor ripped my world apart.

Up until now I never looked at it from HIS side.  Imagine struggling with “putting off” God’s calling. (Not hard to imagine for those of us who are doing it right now).  Hubs knew, by telling me, that he was opening a door he couldn’t close.

The courage it must have taken, knowing how long and how hard we had tried to grow our family.  The struggles of fertility issues, of miscarriages. The nights he spent trying to console me as my heart cried out for a baby that seemed like it was never coming. And even though he knew it would mean that our adoption plans went on hold, he knew what he HAD to do.

He knew that a 75% pay cut would be hard to swallow.  He knew that I had sworn long ago that my kids wouldn’t grow up as I had, moving from city to city, never having a “childhood friend” for more then a couple years before it was time to go on to the next place.  He knew that asking me to go and be a pastors wife would stretch me beyond my wildest dreams.  He knew that with my history of “running” that he could tell me and I’d say “Nope, this isn’t what I signed up for” and leave.

He knew all those things, but more than that…. he knew he had no choice.  He knew that his obedience to Gods calling outweighed all those things, and he knew he had to take the chance.  I can’t imagine the stress, the anxiety he would have felt in those days leading up to his breaking point.

His willingness, his NEED to put himself out there, and say “This is what I have to do” inspires, challenges and confronts me every day.  I may not always remember to tell him, or to act like it, but not a moment goes by without me knowing how Blessed I am to have him as my husband and best friend.

As I work through the struggle of my own life in ministry, however that may look, it is because of The Hubs support that I have the courage to look at MY options in all of this.

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Posted by on September 4, 2013 in Adoption, Babies, Bible Study, McHubby, Mess, Move, Prayer

 

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