Beautiful Monsters

Beautiful Monsters
Beautiful Monsters

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Who do you say that I am?

 I got a new (to me) car. I intended to go buy a barebones, no bells or whistles, will do for the next five years and will haul 6 kids car.  I ended up with a fully loaded, pristine, beyond my dreams, with every button you can think of car.  Seriously, it is a nice car.  It is so nice, I feel kind of guilty having it.  I am seriously outclassed - by an inanimate object.  So I already felt a bit like I had to be extra nice to this car, to make up for being owned by a mess like me.

I should have found an older, less shiny, less fancy vehicle.

EVERYONE wants to let me know that this is a nice car, and I had best live up to it. And I have a whole passel of folks who love me, and have decided to take up the plight of this poor, poor car that has no idea what it has just gotten into.  They love me and know that there are things that I just don't know about cars and want to help me to keep this car for a long time. But I wrestle with it.  I could mention here that I have been kind of depressy lately anyway... it doesn't take much to swing me.

I was telling my friends about my new ride at a dessert gathering, and one of them, a lady who I know loves me very much, and I her, read me the riot act about taking care of this car.  She said to me, "You aren't known for taking good care of vehicles." One of the biggest reasons I love her is that she has a gift for speaking truth without being mean about it. And her statement is mostly true.  I do have a standing appointment with my friend the tire and oil guy once a month to have the fluids and tires checked.  But I don't see the point of keeping them shiny, or fussing too much over them, or anything we own, really.  In my mind, it is stuff.  I don't want to be owned by my stuff.  The furniture is all hand me down, and none of it matches, dust particles are hosting family reunions on my bookshelf, my chair is held together with duct tape, and I am a champion dandelion grower.  I am not saying I don't care at all, and don't make an effort, but I am not going to devote my evenings and weekends to making sure that my stuff looks as nice as other people's stuff, and my lawn passes the neighbors' muster.  I like dandelions.  I like tall grass. (And I think making something grow so someone has to spend an afternoon mowing it back down is stupid.)  I want to do other things, be with other people.  I want to read and sew and play games with my kids and cook for folks, and-and-and.  I am probably just lazy, and justifying it all, but that is how I look at it, at least in my own head.

Her words hit a nerve though, because I did keep regular checkups done on my last few cars.  ( I am telling you.  I have the kiss of death for anything with a motor.)  I  had already resolved to keep the car usually washed and vacuumed.  And my son might have been teasing me a week or so ago about no one liking me.  He doesn't know.  I DO know he was yanking my chain, about one issue in particular, but I internalized all the same. And I started thinking about what else I am known for.

I am not known to be kind to motorized objects.
I am not known to have a nice yard.
I am not known as a good housekeeper.
I am not known to be timely.
I am not known to dress well.
I am not known as a beauty.
I AM known to be able to fully dress a teenage boy, chonies out,  from the contents they have previously left in my car.
I am not known to be organized.
I am not known to be sweet or obedient.
I am not known to be well liked by everyone.
I am not known to be tolerant of kids who treat my kids poorly.
I am not known to worry about the stuff on the porch.
I am not known to be cautious with my opinions.
I am not known to be handy, or sporty or outdoorsy.
I am not  known to know how to do a lot of things that folks who were not raised in the city assume everyone knows.
I am not known to be on the ball, humble or respected.

I could go on.  I am not a perfect person.  I am not even a slightly good person.  I am just me. I am a mess.  In my mind, a good mom meets all of these "standard" criteria, and I meet none of them. I had to think hard on this, or throw in the towel and give up on everything, hide in a closet and eat ice cream until I was too big to fit through the doorway and had to be tow trucked out.

God, being the amazing Father He is, spun it for me real quick.  

Matthew 16:13 - 16  13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 

Jesus asked Peter who other people were saying that He was.  I am fairly sure that, being God and all, He already knew.The story is in what comes next.  He followed that up with BUT, who do YOU say that I am?  I think the point is that there is a difference, a sharp difference, in who other people were saying Jesus was, and who we each individually say that He is.   God showed me that I could turn this around also.  I know who men say that I am.  I know every negative trait I have, and which ones are most obvious to the people in my world.  The real question, the one that needs to be asked after everyone else's opinions have been acknowledged, is to ask God, "WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?"

He says I am loved.
He says I am forgiven.
He says I am free.
He says I am created to be uniquely me.
He says I am redeemed, I am perfect, because I am seen through the light of Christ's sacrifice.
He says I am enough.
He says I am loveable.
He says I am important.
He says I am useful.
He says I am worthy.

I am not the Christ, but I am Kimberly, the daughter of the living God. And that is enough.  And whenever I get all hung up over what "men say that I am" , I am going to try to remember who  God says that I am. And if I forget, I will just ask Him.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Beautiful Scars

Growing up, when it was time to get out the old, plastic tube or woven canvas tri-folded lawn chairs, my dad would come show us his finger.  EVERY TIME.  Because when he was a kid, a chair JUST LIKE THAT snapped it off.  Even though the doctors were able to reattach it, it was a little crooked, and the nail grew funny.  So, we were super careful with those lawn chairs when I was young.  No one wants to grow up into the dotty old lady running around waving her slightly crooked finger at neighborhood kids every time the sun comes out.

And, yet, I am that slightly dotty, (not-so) old lady showing off her scars.  They are ugly, and in raw, vulnerable places, but I haul them out regularly to show people.  Life has been rough, and I learned a long time ago that it is okay NOT to pretend like it hasn't.  To be honest about where I have been, and what effects that has caused and where I am (honestly) at with things now.  I have a friend who has been processing a divorce.  Recently, when it became final, she was able to turn to me when she wasn't sure what divorce was supposed to feel like.  I went through it, excruciatingly, and it is one of those scars I show off.  Been there.  Done that.  And nowadays, I laugh about the "perks of being single" when my married friends are swapping war stories, but that is like making a happy face out of my c-section scar with sharpie.  Finding the bright side, the flowers growing on the manure pile.

So, I thought I might share.  She wanted to know that, even in circumstances like mine, did it still hurt when the divorce went through?  Did I still mourn a loss?  Yes.  It hurt. It hurt like crazy.  I mourned.  I mourned the loss of what should have been, what was supposed to be, the promises that were made, and not kept.  I grieved for the perversion of God's plan for our marriage and for our family.  I cried over the loss of what we would never have - anniversaries and shared grand-kid times and holidays as a large extended family.  I ached over the ministry I still believe God had for us, that would never be.  And I wept for our kids, for what they would lose, what they would never know, and all of the additional obstacles that they would face.  One flesh was being torn back into two, and it hurt.  It is supposed to.  Because it isn't God's plan.

Then, as time goes on, those hurts heal.  God repairs the cuts and bruises, and starts to rebuild what is broken inside.  It takes time.  Those open, gaping, oozing wounds that are tender and sore and seem to tear open every time someone gets engaged, or married, or has an anniversary, or even walks by looking slightly less than abjectly miserable start to close up, bit by bit.  And one day, they heal into scars.  As time goes on, those scars shrink, and fade.

They are still there.  Occasionally, they ache a bit, and you are reminded of how far you have come, and that a part of you will always be scarred.  But it is okay.  God has healed.  You are whole. And you survived.

So, I show off my scars.  It is life, and it is mine.  Because I have these scars, I can look at a life-wound that someone else is covering up, passing off as no big deal, and see the reality and the hurt underneath the pretty band-aids.  These scars let me speak into the lives of people who are now hurting, or confused or scared.  I can show them my scars, and remind them that I have been there, and lived to tell about it.  I can walk with them, and have made it through.  I could pretty up my past, and only talk about the wonderful, pink, fluffy things ... but my scars are beautiful.  They help tell my story, and help me help other people work through theirs.

So my point is, I guess, to feel what you feel.  If it hurts, feel it, and remember it, and let it be what it is.  Someday, someone will be hurting just like that, and you will be uniquely equipped to minister to them.  And, please, don't cover up your scars. We are all travelers on this harsh and demanding road.  Don't miss the chance to serve God through someone else because you were more interested in appearing to have it all together than in the sometimes harsh realities of life.  You are a beautiful and beloved child of God, so the things that make you up are beautiful and beloved too.  Scars and all.