I Need You and You Need Me

I have never known life without a safety net.

I was saved at the age of five and raised in a loving, Christian home. My parents were worship pastors so I lived in the front pews of our church. I honestly loved it. I never had a problem with being there early or staying late. In fact I liked it because I was the cool kid who had special access to the building. I knew the secret alarm codes to get me in the back door!

My parents’ friends were like a second set of parents to me. They would come to my school choral concerts and cheer me on. My best friends were from my youth group. They walked through adolescence with me and provided a safe place for me to grow in my faith. They were my people because they understood the tension between living like the world and living like Christ. To this day, I’m grateful for their positive impact on my life.

I say all of this to provide you with a backdrop for my story: I have never known life without a safety net. What is a safety net? Merriam Webster Dictionary says it’s something that provides security against misfortune or difficulty. This is a good thing.

The term actually conjures up a scene of an acrobat walking a tightrope. We’ve all seen this circus act play out whether in person or on television. Will he make it across? What if he falls? How does he do that anyways? The answer is simple: He knows that there is a net to catch him if he loses his balance.

Growing up with the knowledge that there was always someone I could go to when life became hard did not make me less able to handle my problems. It trained me to live from a place of dependency instead of self-sufficiency. We need each other. God made us this way. Some examples that come to mind: Abraham and Sarah. Mary and Martha. David and Jonathan.

The world in all of its self-promoted glory tries to tell those of us who grew up surrounded by love from our family, friends, and church that we need to be independent. The enemy lies to us and says that being cushioned from the blows of this world as a child actually leads to fearful adults. But I am a proud product of a sheltered (GASP!) childhood and I have never been more certain that this is exactly what prepared me for the bumpy road of adulthood. It equipped me for the uncertainty that this world offers.

It is completely un-biblical to believe that you don’t need others walking through life with you. The Bible even says, Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

Are you believing the lie that you have to do everything on your own? Do you have people in your life to help you up when you trip and fall? Are you depending on Christ or on yourself?

God wants us to live the abundant life! But we have to live in the context of community in order to do it.

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I Was Jealous of My Sister in Heaven

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Hey friends! I am being published on Her View From Home today. I would love it if you stopped by and viewed my piece. I wrote about a subject that is very personal to me- my sister’s recent death. I feel so humbled that my first published piece is about a person that is so close to my heart. I opened up about what I’ve learned since she has been gone and honestly, it’s been healing to get the words out. Please take a look when you get the chance, especially if you’re struggling with grief. Thanks! 

Again, here’s the link: Her View From Home

Home Sweet Home

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Home. There’s nothing like it. It can be a feeling that certain memories conjure up. A picture from when you were 5 that takes you right back. Smells from the kitchen during Christmas-time. Whatever home is for you, you know it when you feel it.

My childhood house was sold a few years ago. I was a married adult with 4 kids when this happened. I had been away from the house for 12 years. Yet, it hurt to say goodbye. And everytime I go back to my hometown, I get sad when I pass by this place I called home for so long.

Is it because of the structure,  paint color, or swimming pool out back? Yes and No. I miss that house because of what it represents. 

You see, the structure provided stability to my ever-wandering teenage self. It gave me a foundation to hold on to when boys broke my heart. I may have been a restless soul but I never left without the possibility of return. It never even occurred to me to leave it for good. Yet I did drift away for many years, forgetting how amazing that strong house had been to me. That’s what a good framework does, though. It gives you a solid covering but never forces you to stay under it.

The paint color throughout the house, well, it changed almost as much as my whimsical personality. And I loved that. The more paint that went up, the more freedom I felt to be me. I was, after all, the carefree one with a variety of hairstyles/colors to show for it. Each layer of paint stood for a season in our lives, good or bad. My bedroom was a sunny yellow though, because that had always been my favorite color. The yellow stayed on my walls because, despite the different seasons, I never forgot what made me “me.”

Lastly, the swimming pool in the back yard stands for too much to put into words. Afternoons laying out on a float listening to country music on the radio. Night swims with my high school friends. Deep conversations barely heard above the chirping crickets. Laughing with my sister as we joked about past crushes and how our lives turned out so differently than we thought they would. Mom and dad holding hands on the porch. This pool was an escape, a welcomed time of rest and play, and a distraction from the haunting reality that life would inevitably throw our way a few years down the road.

Home. It’s more than just a word that evokes an emotional response. It’s a way of living that you get to keep in your heart long past the day you move out. A knowing deep down inside that those doors and fences were meant for you to continue to grab hold of even after you leave. They have erected themselves anew in my grown up soul. And no matter where I live, those walls are a part of me. Because those people are a part of me. And no amount of new paint can ever change that.

Some may call this nostalgia or say that I’m just homesick. But I say, forgetting where you come from means you don’t really know where you are going.

photo credit: Wooden door and wooden sleigh via photopin (license)

A Time to Reminisce

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Who doesn’t enjoy a trip down memory lane from time to time?

I have been in a very sentimental mood for the past 2 weeks for reasons that I talk about here and here.  And my ability to care about keeping up appearances has definitely gone in the trash with my mascara streaked tissues.

It’s healing, this looking back and remembering what used to be. It really is. I’ve gone through so many pictures of my childhood and teenage years that my bed has become an enormous scrapbook of cluttered memories.  I cry and cry at the fact that those remembered times will never be the same again because my view is now distorted by major loss.

But after I cry, after I grieve the “never will be the same agains” of my past, I feel like I can breathe just a little bit easier than I could before the tears fell.

Like I can finally take a full breath without falling down from lightheaded-ness. And then I try to be productive for a few hours before the next wave of “what used to be” crashes in on me.

Ya know what I’m learning about the mourning process? It’s okay to be a fragile mess for a while and I don’t have to apologize for it. 

When I give myself permission to be a basket-case and watch sappy chick flicks that I used to watch with my sister and drink hot tea because it was her favorite pastime and listen to our favorite beach trip songs and read old letters just to see her handwriting and relive years past through Homecoming pictures, then I can begin to heal.

I’m not living in denial of the devastating facts involved in my present reality. I’m just choosing to enjoy the heartwarming truths represented in my past reality a little bit longer.

And as I long for what once was, I become more and more grateful for the lifelong affects my sweet childhood memories will have on me. I am eternally grateful for the tangible things that point to happy times.

So I reminisce with purpose, one could say. Tomorrow will come soon enough and I am even better prepared for what may come as I reflect on the joys of yesterday.

“Memory is a way of holding onto

the things you love,

the things you are,

the things you never want to lose.”

The Wonder Years

 

photo credit: SISTERLY. via photopin (license)