Pride won’t get us where we’re goin’…

I am a true redhead. I possess the traits that redheads are known for and have exercised them many times throughout my 40 years. I did learn in my thirties that peace was greater than being right, my voice could be heard in my own head rather than defend it to people who wouldn’t hear anyway. When I begin to want to defend…I’m stepping into prideful territory.

I felt that territory this morning. I was dealing with something that felt unjust and offensive. I wanted to defend. I had the conversation all planned out in my head. I left it right there. I made boundaries and held them but refused to allow my prideful heart to further engage. Not because I’m really that awesome but because that prideful person scares me.

Pride-Full Amanda is driven by ego. She is driven to prove the accusations false. She is driven to show how capable and intelligent she is to the world. That Amanda becomes obsessed with showing strength and no need. She is…self reliant.

I’ve found there is so much danger in that type of woman. For one, when I begin to rely on my choices and thoughts in a defensive state of mind I often make incorrect decisions that ultimately hurt me and mine in the long run. I fail to see the big picture. I fail to hear my spirit voice. I feel at war on the inside. I don’t like conflict of any kind. Especially within myself.

So…I stepped back. I said to myself “You are no greater. You are no less. You are not self-sufficient. God is telling you that you are stepping into dangerous territory. You have a choice to make.”

I read books to my boy instead…I swept the front porch and watched the rain…I drank water with lemon. I stepped away to step back towards…reliance.

I am not self made. I am not self sufficient in any capacity. I am not whole. I am not completed in my journey. I will always be working towards those things….because that is the point of all this. We are created to be in need. We are created to be in longing with a hole that cannot be filled. When we begin to feel that we have arrived at the destination, or have travelled further down the path than others, we are in serious danger of pride and consequently…a huge fall.

I’ve fallen enough. I’ve tripped on pride enough. I’m not ashamed. I’m not embarrassed. I am who I am. I choose what I choose.

But I certainly don’t want repeats. I want growth. I want to raise children who see a mother in the face of accusation and blame, stop…take inventory…and go drink lemon water. Because defending myself…is not important. Being present is. Furthermore, sometimes we defend ourselves only to realize further down the path we were what they said…we did do what they accused…and then placed in the position to humbly make it right. I’d rather be quiet and search than assume.

Almost eleven years ago, I found myself in a similar spot. I remember the moment like it was yesterday. I was sitting with my mentor and dear friend…lamenting about how unjustly I was being treated. She stopped me and said “Amanda, the truth comes out. It might take five days, five years, fifty years. But it comes out. Stand in yours and don’t defend.” I cannot tell you how many times in the last ten years I’ve used that advice in differing situations. Relational, professionally, spiritually. It has always proven true.

But here’s the catch: Sometimes it proves true in your favor…and sometimes it proves true in your failure.

I learned the first part of that truth. I had to learn the second part in my late thirties.

You have to learn to sit with your choices….your mistakes…your regrets. Else we either become prideful or lost. I’ve been both. Neither is advisable.

Now I find myself learning to sit with the hard stuff. I find myself learning to say “You did that. Own it. Learn. Don’t run from the uncomfortable place you are in. Don’t run from this thorn in your side to another softer spot. Sit with it. Acknowledge your mistakes. LEARN. Lean to the master.”

It’s tough.

It’s necessary.

It’s life.

We are all in this big brutiful life together. We are all marred. We are all wounded. We are all loved. And…it’s ok. It really is. We can stand in painful places and not run. We can do the hard things. We can admit bad choices and bad words and still be loved. We can walk in the muck of change and pain and still be accepted. Because He loves us. He accepts us. He WANTS us when it feels no one else does. Loved. Cherished. Loved whole.

But the only way to do it…is the low road. Don’t mistake me. Doesn’t mean you don’t protect yourself. Doesn’t mean you don’t have boundaries. Doesn’t mean you don’t speak the truth. But you do it in love with as little ammunition as possible given our humanity.

Then…you stand.

Grace and Peace Hippie God Lovin’ Tribe,

A ~

PS> I highly recommend Thad Cockrell’s song “Pride; Won’t Get Us Where We’re Goin’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Community and Introspection

I’m reading and studying a lot these days. Reading is my therapy…and it’s cheap. Not to say I don’t believe in therapy…I do. I submitted my warped thoughts and relational dysfunctions to 2 hour sessions for a year and it forever changed my processes and unloaded my “junk”. But nowadays with 2 littles and 2 teens, 2 hour sessions are not practical or affordable.

So…I read…

I search out the learned psychologists and the real, nuts and bolts people like me who are grappling, wrestling, and vulnerable to lead me to more healthy, enlightened paths.

Paths of boundaries, paths of motherhood, paths of truth, paths of integrity, paths of community, of faith and honesty.

I’ve been reading this morning about community. Specifically, community for those of us raised in religious arenas. The complicated community of sharing our souls with only those like minded. Only those who hold our spiritual space. Sarah Bessey walked away from church for 6 years before returning to fall in love with the institution and God all over again. In “Out of Sorts” she expounds on places she has found community. Neighborhoods, work, church, and organizations. She does explain that not all of these areas of community are the space wherein we share our darkest, scariest, “Do I really feel that way” thoughts…but they all come together to form a whole.

I concur with this thought process. In my transitory period, I am finding that some humans have offered more to me in care, listening, and helping with kid pickups and grunt work than others. Funny thing is, the ones that have helped me most are all “unchurched”. They don’t subscribe to religion or structured spiritual practices. Yet, they have been Jesus in skin to me and mine. I am grateful.

Then there are others who were raised like me…who text and say “Do you need ANYTHING?” 500 miles away from me…completely prepared to fulfill any request. Others that call and say…”Speak it. Get it out.” It’s a beautiful kaleidoscope.

Moral of the story: We need one another. We need sustenance and kindness and help. Don’t be so dogmatic you miss out on new families, new couches of rest, new laughs you formerly would have ignored because these souls don’t subscribe to your process and beliefs.

Dive in.

Give and be given to.

Watch the results.

You will find yourself giving more like these givers do…and you will find them searching you for spiritual revelations and direction…

Don’t miss out on that.

Grace and Peace,

A ~

Current Reading List: (Yes I’m ADD)

Screenshot_20170415-214336Screenshot_20170423-075620.pngScreenshot_20170423-075640.pngScreenshot_20170423-075637Screenshot_20170415-214317

 

Times of transitions

As I sit here, I cannot remember the last time I sat down to write. I feel like I was someone else then…a different time…a different era. I remember that woman but I can no longer connect to her…

I’ve changed. In ways I never thought I would…could…some I never wanted to…

It’s been a fast pace of a life I’ve found myself in…school…babies…solitude…failures…triumphs…more failures…It’s been…difficult…

Transitory is how I would describe my life in this era…moving towards something that I can’t yet define…I can’t yet verbalize or materialize…It’s just movement with intuition and faith…

The faith I thought I possessed…the stoicism, fervency and ideals I thought I held solid and dear have been shaken…uprooted…tilled…questioned…held to the light for understanding and decision…

I’ve awoken to the fact that I am indeed human…capable of falling…failing…tripping…and again rising…

Humbling is not what I would say this is…I’m not ashamed or feel I need to hide.

Illuminating is the more likely description…

As I don’t move towards judgement of other human failings often..I choose not to judge my current state harshly either…I find it more…necessary…

Necessary to become more of myself…necessary to know Jesus tenderly…in a way that shows all my bleeding and bruising…necessary to raise babies to be tenderly authentic disciples of love and Jesus…

Transitory.  My current place in the journey…it’s a time of questioning…a time of stepping back and asking the hard questions of myself, my dreams, my ambitions, my weights, my beliefs, my leanings…

For fundamentals, transitory places and questions are scary. Not allowed.

For lovers of Jesus, transitory places are required. Embraced.

In the transitions, we move without knowing our direction. We walk with no shoes…intent on reaching His side. We rest when tired and breathe slow…steady. We feel alone at times, and surrounded by other travelers at others. It is a place of intense personal scrutiny, illumination, and acceptance. We are what we are. We have chosen what we have chosen. And now…we must measure those choices by the light of love. Grace. Mercy. Truth.

And. We. Must. Keep. Walking.

Transitions are not places to fear. Fear will only cause further fog. Surrender is the necessary traveling constant. Surrendering to the raw truth. Surrendering to not having all the answers. Surrendering to the notion that in time…you will know your truth and it will indeed set you gloriously free. Surrendering to this beautiful solute truth: If I am indeed found in Him…I will soon be found as I doggedly pursue Him again.

Jesus.

I laid in bed last night and whispered his name between babies…I felt the warm breeze of peace that I equate with the Holy Spirit. Calm uncluttered spaces of love. Jesus. My beloved that I have betrayed over and over. Jesus. The man associated with my sufferings. He still comes to dark broken places and abides. Jesus.

Jesus belongs to those in transit. Those who are surrendered enough to say…“I don’t know the way. But I’ve heard you are the way.”

And He always, ALWAYS comes along.

I fear I have made transitions sound dark and murky…depressing…some days they very much are all of these things…

But they are also filled with floodings of joy, calm, and peace. Relief at finally surrendering to the truths you’ve fought against for far too long. They are places of shaping…defining….shedding…

Shedding of unnecessary weights and worries and moving towards a more minimal discipleship and existence…

Eventually the fog will give way to beautiful spaces. It will dissipate and we will see clearly the destination for which we’ve been traveling.

In the meantime…We. Will. Walk.

Current Reading:

 

Screenshot_20170415-214336Screenshot_20170415-214317

Blog has moved!!!! Ck me out at amandasmithrunner.blogger.com

In Praise of Women…

Oh Women…you lovely…strong…sacrificing…lively…breathtaking…humble…broken…pure…amazing…souls…

I honor your journeys today…

The weight loss…the weight gain…

The stretched wombs from 8 pound babes…

The stretched rear ends from 8 pound babes…

The laughter you share with your most intimate over coffee…

The tears you cry together because well…let’s face it…men could never get “that”… 🙂

The hours you give up making children’s favorite foods and school costumes…

The bathroom breaks you never get to receive alone because ALL the children must come and talk to you while you are in there…

The pets…

The moments you get into the shower only to be alone to cry so no one will know…

The pure joy you receive from seeing your babies smile and love…

The dreams you put on hold in order to establish dreams in the next generation of little women…

Humility about your beauty…

Endurance when the world embraces physical perfection over character and moral minds…

The tiger that lies dormant but is ready to pounce at any time given the right situation involving your offspring…

The words you whisper to the God that sustains you and your heavy heart throughout the years…

Women…you do it…and you do it right…

I’m proud to be one of you..

Here’s some rockin’ quotes that pretty much sum it for all of you beauties!!

“I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashion.” Lillian Helman

“You grow up the first day you have your first real laugh – at yourself.” Ethel Barrymore

“Love is the only thing we carry with us when we go…and it makes the end so easy.” Louisa May Alcott

“And not to forget that when life knocks you on your knees- well, that’s the best position in which to pray isn’t it? On your knees, that’s where I learned.” Ethel Barrymore (I’m lovin’ this wonderful woman!)

“My friends are my estate.” Emily Dickenson

“A Mother is not a person to lean on, but to make leaning unnecessary.” Dorothy Canfield Fisher

“When you are a mother, you are never really alone with your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.” Sophia Loren

“Like all parents my husband and I just do the best we can, hold our breath, and hope we’ve set enough money aside for our kid’s therapy.” Michelle Pfeiffer

“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.” Mother Theresa

“Mothers are really the true spiritual leaders.” Oprah Winfrey

“I married beneath me. All women do.” Lady Nancy Astor

“I refuse to think of them as chin hairs. I think of them as stray eyebrows.” Janette Barber

“Whatever wrinkles I got…I enjoyed getting them.” Ava Gardner

“It’s the plain women who know about love. The beautiful women are too busy being fascinating.” Audrey Hepburn

“Men are not looking for the hottest girl in the room. They are looking for the most interesting.” Bethany Frankel

“My idea of a superwoman is one who scrubs her own floor.” Bette Midler

“Whenever I date a guy, I think ‘Is this a man I want my children to spend their weekends with?'” Rita Rudner

“Charm is the ability to make someone else think that both of you are pretty wonderful.” Kathleen Winsor

“I have learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

“Walk the street with us into history. Get off the sidewalk.” Dolores Huerta

“People call me a feminist whenever I say things that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.” Rebecca West

“If a woman just tries to stay toned and beautiful looking on the outside but hasn’t developed anything of value on the inside, there’s not much to talk about.” Debbie Allen

“You never find yourself until you tell the truth.” Pearl Bailey

“Long tresses down to the floor can be beautiful if you have that, but learn to love what you have.” Anita Baker

“It’s sad to grow old, but nice to ripen.” Bridgette Bardot

“A woman is beautiful when she thinks she is.” Ethel Barrymore

“People are uncertain because they don’t have the self-confidence to make decisions.” Julia Child

“Only you can determine your own worth, your own self-esteem, and how much happiness to expect in life.” Jinger Heath

“Surviving means being born over and over again.” Erica Jong

“Being solitary is being alone well: Being alone luxuriously immersed in doing your own choice, aware of the fulness of your own presence rather than the absence of others. Because solitude is an achievement.” Alice Koller

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor.” Anne Lamontt

“If didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” Audre Lorde

“Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinions of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.” Katherine Mansfield

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt

“It’s our choices that show who we are, far more than our abilities.” J K Rowling

“Whatever we believe about ourselves and our abilities comes true for us.” Susan L Taylor

“It doesn’t happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time.” Margery Williams

WASN’T THAT EVER SO FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I LOVE YOU!!!

Grace n Peace,

A ~

Bright and Beautiful…

Laine is just fine bathing once a week. She couldn’t care less about black feet, black nails and a dirty face. She “feels” clean. She often says “I took a bath YESTERDAY.” She honestly believes in her heart that she’s clean enough…that she “passes”…

I do this too. ALL THE TIME. Don’t get me wrong I bathe every day! But in a spiritual sense…I do this all the time. I go to God…spend time…repent…come out shiny and new ready to face the world and it’s challenges. I go out, go to school, deal with bills, worry about money and life, come back in dirty…but I don’t FEEL dirty. I don’t see the dirt under my fingernails. So I skip the bath…I skip the restoration…because hey…I’m BUSY…I’m WORKING for him…One day won’t hurt…

I wake up the next day…covered in dirt…face splattered…hair tangled..and I go out…into a world desperate with sin, perversion, hurt, angst…and I LOOK just like THEM…so I blend in…completely….no one gives me a second glance…why should they? They are covered in filth as I am there is no reason to look twice as I do not have anything to offer that they don’t already possess…and herein lies my sin…

I know it is my mandate to love all people…it is my mandate to establish community with His children and shine…but my sin often lies in the fact that I’m so dirty myself that I cannot shine…I cannot be seen as anything different that what they already possess…worry…doubt…fear…anxiety…anger…loss…superiority…judgement…

I will NEVER be any better than any other human being. But GOD is. And when I submit to Him my failings and struggles…I empty me and fill with HIM…

If I were clean from the spiritual practice of relationship and repentance…I would offer peace for worry…I would offer security for doubt…I would offer power for fear…I would offer love for anxiety…I would offer calm for anger…I would offer offerings for loss…I would offer acceptance for superiority…I would offer community for judgement…

These are the signs of a well bathed God Lover…

Colossians 1:10-12 says

“We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.”

God does not intend for us to walk through the world dirty…with gritted teeth…He intends for us to SPILL with joy…

Spill interprets to me to “get everything wet that it touches”… With JOY.

No one should come in contact with me (including my children and family) that does not leave more infused with joy.

Here’s the really interesting part…”thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.”

I often think that “taking part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for me” should be joyous…it should be free…it should be EASY…

But I find Paul asking God to give us strength to take part…interesting…
Could it be that Paul knew that living in a messed up, human, sinful world would make it difficult to SEE the “bright and beautiful” things He has for us?

Could it be that Paul knew that God Lovers would need to be STRONG and empowered to LOOK for the “bright and beautiful” of the world? Because so much of what we encounter around is us dismal and dirty? ALL of us…believers and NON-believers…

Wow…

So back to the bath…I find for myself that if I do not take my body, heart, mind and soul to the bath of God every morning, I will not lead my day in the “bright and beautiful.” I am more prone to anger. I am more prone to pride. I am more prone to judgement. I am more prone to “busyness”.

The ONLY way for me to live a beautiful life is to bathe daily in the Word and wash my heart in His love and mercy.

This bathing…this ritual…it is yes…first for me and my saving…but then second it makes me a disciple…because it washes the filth that the others around us are trying to escape…it shows them there IS a way to live unfettered. There is a way to live free. And they are made STRONG and empowered to look for their OWN “bright and beautiful”.

Let’s wash behind our ears friends…I want for all of us to dwell in the “bright and beautiful”…

Grace n Peace,

A ~

Granola with God…

I drink my coffee and fight the gut reaction to…ahem…puke…

I am having a lay it all out there, here it is, conversation with my Lord…

It’s hard for me…there are certain things in my life I do not trust Him with…

Specific areas that I have consistently proven unable to master or even correctly decision within my life…and yet…I KEEP TRYING…

My pattern is to hold it to the side…because if I hold it in my backpack He won’t know that I’m holding that idol for myself right?

Then I start hiking up the mountain to the summit and the backpack zipper breaks…out spills my hidden idol and I think (how dumb of me) that He sees it for the first time…

All the while He’s watched me hiding from Him like a mere child…He’s got to be saying “Really? AGAIN?!!”

So today…I chose to take a different path and just SAY it to Him…Lay it on the line…and honestly…even as I type this I feel like I have acid reflux…my heart is pounding…total anxiety…

Because I don’t like giving it up…the reality is…I’m afraid if I submit my backpack to Him then I won’t get to keep my granola inside…

I WANT THE BLASTED GRANOLA!!!!

But then I’m reminded as I turn the next corner up the mountain…His backpack is so much better…

Where I have water…He has ARTESIAN water…Where I have granola…He has BAGUETTE…Where I have peanuts…He has ROASTED PECANS WITH GLAZE…

Stupid analogy I know…but the moral of my convoluted story is this:

I’m surrendering…and surrendering is hard for type A, idol holding, “I can do it” chicks like myself…

So like anything else…the first few times are very uncomfortable…but when I hand over the backpack, several things happen:

1. I am so much lighter! I don’t have to carry all that junk and it makes my trek so much more enjoyable
2. His snacks are WAY better than mine! When I let him lead and pass out the “snacks”…they are so much tastier and enjoyable…WHO WOULDA THOUGHT?!!?
3. I get to the summit whole…healthy…not exhausted but refreshed by the journey…

Hrmmmmm….I likes it!

Grace n Peace,

A ~

Previous Older Entries