Apr 022013
 

I forget things all too quickly.  Sometimes it’s easy for me to focus on my current struggles, challenges and pains.  And focusing on them can make my struggles feel big and untamed.

Struggling with body image, food, self-acceptance and shame has been a part of my story for over 13 years now.  When I get stuck in thinking I am the sum total of my old struggles, habits and choices… defeat, doubt and hopelessness are allowed to take up residency in my spirit.

But I am so thankful my story does not end with a constant, unchanging struggle.  And neither does yours.

This past weekend we celebrated Easter.  As I went to church with my family, I was expecting to hear about Jesus’ death and resurrection and how He gave us life.  But I was struck with something different from our Pastor’s sermon.  I was reminded how powerful the story of Jesus really is.  His life, death and resurrection IS the power of the gospel.  And it is through His power, we are changed.

Instead of sitting and stewing in our past or our old habits, it’s good to simply remember.  To remember who we were before we let Jesus in and see how His power has transformed us.

I am no longer my past.  I am no longer defined by my greatest fears of who I used to be.  I am no longer stuck in my mistakes or my weaknesses.  I am free from shame.  I am not sentenced to emptiness, hopelessness or wondering.  I am accepted.  I am transformed.  I am made new.

My shackles are gone.  My fears have been won.  My life has beauty.

I have hope, grace and redemption through the power of Jesus’ story.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 1 Corinthians 5:17

There is a song I just can’t get enough of as of late.  It’s called New Man by a group called All Things New.  I loved it before I heard Sunday’s sermon, and love it even more now.  God is giving me some powerful reminders that I have been made new through Him.  Maybe you need this reminder today too.

“God, You have made me new
You’ve restored my heart and
Turned these ashes into life
Oh God, You have pulled me through
And everything I was is gone
And washed away for good
I’m a new man in You.”

Are you defining yourself by your past or allowing it to keep you shackled?  Think back to who you used to be… how has Jesus’ story changed you?

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© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Nov 082012
 

It was after I bought the purple skinny jeans.

I started noticing purple everywhere. It wasn’t just Maisy’s favorite color anymore; purple had taken on a life of its own.

There was Maisy in her purple outfits, entreating me to join her in her delight with being a girl. But there was more—for Maisy, all of life involves this kind of delight. Her only priority is play. She is fully present to each new moment, utterly free and spontaneous, immersed in simple joy.

Perhaps there is no gift more precious than the gift of spontaneity, the ability of certain [people] and animals to act straight and fresh and self-forgettingly out of the living center of who they are.” (Frederick Buechner)

For Maisy, purple was on the inside too…and she was drawing it out of me…out from under the grown up layers of preoccupation, plans, and perfectionism.

And then there was my therapist in his sometimes purple sweater, listening me along the precipice of my own depths. We peered over the edge, and there was purple…shimmering under layers of anxiety and worn out coping mechanisms.

Purple became a poignant symbol for me of the place inside where blue and red come together, where a well of deep feeling and deep power sloshes and gurgles. The reservoir of our truest energy.

I began to wonder, what would it look like to live all of life from these rich depths, with passion splashing?

It scared me some, because it’s wild and unpredictable down there. And somehow along the way I’ve gotten the message that it can’t be trusted.

The refining of what’s inside us is a necessary part of maturing into

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adulthood and growing in our spiritual journey. Unfortunately, this process can leave many of us pretty disconnected from our purple.

It’s easy to live from a more surface place where responsibility, expectations, and tired striving prevail. Sometimes we’re more comfortable there anyway because our deep feelings can be too tender and our own power scares us.

As mothers overwhelmed with duties and the needs of others, how can we afford to make room for what’s deep inside us?

Yet how can we afford not to? To live otherwise is like trying to drive with the engine turned off.

All the heart, strength, and instincts we really need for life and mothering are in the purple well. So is the lovely energy of our own inner three year old—the straight and fresh vulnerability and trust, the self-forgetting confidence and joy. How desperately we need that!

“You must become like little children…” (Matthew 18:3)

No doubt, accessing

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and living from this place inside will be messy and painful at times. But all the best of who we are is in there. And I believe this is the very place in us where the love and strength of God reside as well.

What is in your purple well? What feelings and longings? What impulses and gifts?

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© 2012 Standing on Peace

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