October 16, 2015

The Mirror

Part one of this piece was more like the framework of the struggles I encounter with little personal detail. Perhaps I was expecting people to read between the lines in some way as the paragraphs kinda jumped around and lacked cohesion. Now I realize that if you don’t live in my brain you may not have the slightest clue about what I’m talking about or why I’m talking about it. So much has changed since I was last a regular here, I feel the need to recap.

Let me first beat around the bush by saying coping mechanisms are nothing new in my life. They are in fact apparent in most everyone’s life. Coping mechanisms are a means of self-preservation (aka: a very deceptive form of pride). Better defined as justifications and rationalizations we feed ourselves to ignore, devalue, and/or oppose God’s offer of redemption. Deliberate or oblivious, we delve into pleasure seeking, guilt-reducing behaviors that do nothing for us but further separate us from God. Facing the mirror to behold our exposed reflection through His superlens can be strikingly painful. We all long to believe that somehow we are good people. It’s more comfortable to place our mirrors side by side one another’s, to dim the lights, use cover up, project our best side, manipulate our focus, or look away entirely.

This is just another way of attempting to redeem ourselves. Our human nature will forever tell us that we’d make better gods than God Himself. So we give heed to this false sense of redemtpion and devote our freedoms to: get noticed, do good works, try harder, accomplish more, seek acceptance, use others, enable others, compare sins, gossip/judge, spend money, indulge our senses, overeat, over-exercise, clean incessantly, stay busy, escape responsibility, drink too much, consume drugs, consign blame, foster anger, defend our hurts, carry out revenge, harbor unforgiveness, etc, etc. etc. Coping mechanisms are as old as the earth we were formed from. Just pick your poison to feel that momentary rush and mask the dull ache in your heart. Except, except it doesn’t last because we were created for REAL redemption. By remaining unaware of our cracks and holes we remain blind, seeking to fill our defective pots from a defective source. Sadly, our human ego supersedes our thirst at times. Though we are ever striving to fill our pots and satisfy our thirst, we are but too prideful to perceive our total internal reflection through our Creator’s perfect mirror.

God knows without our excuses we are instantly subjected to witness our nakedness through the honesty of the mirror. Could we bear to open our eyes? Could we stand up straight?  The image we see stares back with awkward silence either too arrogant to notice the gaping holes and unsightly cracks or too hopeless to fix them. Denial keeps us dignified while despair keeps us in steady decline. So we truck along as cracked pots, ever caulking and ever seeking to fill them, but never to stay full.

Sigh. I’ll be done beating around the bush now.

My story is about my own cracked pot. Although I knew it was full of holes and cracks, I never examined the pot in its rawest form. I failed to look in the mirror long enough to see the root cause of such shoddy craftsmanship. The origin of my cracks? My clay is contaminated to begin with! In all my efforts to keep my pot full, new cracks were forming, defeating my purpose. If it’s the clay that’s marred it doesn’t matter how I many times I try, there will always be cracks and holes until I see without blinders the person I am. 

Cracked. Broken. No good.

Unfortunately I never chose to look deep and long into that mirror. Rather through sheer humiliation I was forced to come face to face with my nothingness. It was just this past summer when my eyes were finally pried opened. The consequences of my coping mechanisms finally reached a temperature I could no longer bear. I couldn’t run any further from God. I had made so many messes at this point; I needed help cleaning them up. And so I cried out. How did I get here?! What could I really have been doing so wrong anyway?!

It’s everyone else’s fault! Unwilling to come to the mirror, it became second nature to cast blame, (i.e. defend my self worth). How else would I justify a divorce? I learned how to nurture the roots of bitterness and nurse any lie that crossed my mind. The more I partook in the gossip of others’ lives, the easier it became to gossip about the people in mine. The more I drank alcohol (even in moderate amounts), the less I could hear the Spirit of God, the more I drowned myself in worldly music with its seductions and feelings of empowerment, the more I lusted after seduction and power. The more attention and praise I received from others, the harder it was to live humbly. You see, Satan knew my greatest weakness. I sought redemption through people. Though fleeting, the commending pat on the back was addictive. One small step at a time my need for acceptance had outgrown my desire for God. And as that need commandeered my every decision, it inevitably became my ultimate demise.

The refusal to believe my worth comes not from man, but from God alone lead me onto a very destructive path where I would be blindsided by sin. For almost two years I had parked myself in a place of captivity purposely separating myself from God. Soon enough my mind had me convinced there was no return. Pain or shame. Pick one and you can be free. Living without peace was like being on a roller coaster I didn’t know how to get off. I topped one coping mechanism upon another upon another, each one more pervasive than the previous. Out of control, I would do just about anything to numb the pain I had inflicted… even get married again.

However, wouldn’t you believe it only took four month of marriage for the bottom to fall out and I was ready to file for another divorce? You see, big or small sin will always catch up to you. The problem was not my outward circumstances. The problem was my unrepentant heart.  Who had I become?! This wasn’t me! I am a child of God but I couldn’t even recognize myself anymore. It was time. At that point something had to give.  

I went to my church to seek biblical counsel. I needed help. After the first week I was still so hard hearted. Still stuck. It wasn't until I got to reading through the book of James that God spoke. 
One simple word: "Repent." And then He beckoned me to look deep and long into the mirror.  I won't lie, what I saw was pretty UGLY! 

But it's quite a paradox that mirror. Our reflection may be hideous, but the mirror itself is rather beautiful. It’s truth and grace when we are expecting truth and justice. When we think it will condemn us, it sets us free. When we think we’re past forgiveness it offers more grace.

We are all afraid of what might we see or what we might have to change, give up, or repent of. But once we get to the place where we can see our true reflections - cracked and broken, with no good in us, we can also see the nail pierced hands who formed the clay we are. We can see and feel His perfect love and know why and how to submit to Him. We can finally rest. Because only His hands can reshape our pots from the inside out, only He can fill us and keep us filled. That is grace. We are redeemed.

All we have to do is look in the mirror and repent.

October 13, 2015

Coping Mechanisms Part 1

Last we spoke I was rambling on about coping mechanisms and fake smiles. Little did I know that soon after my declaration of victory over sin (my not so public coping mechanisms/addictions -as if I had truly stamped them out) I would be put through fire for even proclaiming something so silly. So that’s where I’ve been the past 6 months… in the furnace.

And it’s inevitable in this space. If I say one thing here, I’m instantaneously tested and tried by action. Words may be pretty and make for nice sentiment, but in God’s eyes sheer intention is never enough. Why else would he allow the trials? Fire begets action, and pain is a great motivator. So although the content in ‘Goodbye Fake Smiles and Coping Mechanisms’ was a grand concept, it was an unchartered concept.

Let’s talk coping mechanisms. You know those things we do to comfort ourselves, to dodge the underlying sense of discontentment and distress we all feel in this life. The things we seek after to fill the void, numb the pain, or make ourselves feel okay about ourselves at the end of the day. Some of us use them as needed, others of us use them regularly. The problem with all of them is that they are the beginning of a downward spiral.

Through my field of view, the decline, or shall I say repercussions for such coping mechanisms, were deviously unpredictable as I continued in my moderate use of them. Inch by inch they began to form shadows in my life, places I could no longer bear light. Consequence for disobedience is for real, yo. It wasn’t until I found myself seeking total isolation, smoking, drinking, and taking excessive doses of anti-anxiety drugs that I knew something was off in my life. The cycle of grief, shame, confusion, doubt, escapism behavior (the list goes on) was unrelenting. Why couldn’t I just live NEW, like the gospel declares. : “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, the old is gone, the new has come.” 2 Cor. 5:17. I could never forget that verse or stop proclaiming it. It’s become my life verse, there with me even before all my great mistakes. It’s about the metamorphosis that takes place in a believer, the transforming work of the Spirit, the becoming of a new person. Ironic, I chose Becoming Butterflies as the name for my preschool business. While the name holds deep meaning in the realm of my work, it has become mockingly prophetic and meaningful to my personal life. Who knew? Becoming is a progressive tense verb… meaning the action had been, has been, and will be. Continuous. In essence, we are never completely new, we are merely in the process. We are becoming.

Not that I ever thought I had “arrived”, pffft. I just knew I couldn’t know less or be less than what I was. Ha! I failed to take into consideration that pride comes before a fall and that pride is equally blinding. In all my puffed-upness, I could easily say I knew my worth. However, words always seem to get ahead of themselves. I lived redeemed merely in word, not in deed. The truth I proclaimed versus the one I acted upon from my heart conflicted. Sure, I had no qualms admitting I was a nothing saved by grace, but did I truly believe I was a nothing saved by grace? Not quite, because I was still looking for love, for acceptance, and for redemption elsewhere.

I didn’t know it at the time but if I were to get right with God I’d have to understand redemption at its core. I’d have to learn my worth the hard way- not by word, but by action. True confession does not use words like “if” and “but.” True confession looks in the mirror. It stops every thought that seeks to find some good and instead testifies of the heart’s most accurate reflection. It simply says, “I am nothing.” Period. Confession like that can be painful. We desperately want to think ourselves good. Thus we find our own alternatives to avoid the mirror.

For starters, I managed my self’s despicable reflection through comparison, judgement, and self-pity. I complained, I blame shifted, I gossiped, held grudges, lived resentful, grew bitter and became swollen with pride and, AND I still assumed to love God and know God’s love for me. Women are good at these things, ya know. Because it’s perfectly normal and accepted to slather on the self-deprecation and the "woe is me story', to blame our spouses or finger point at that friend or family member who is wayyyyy worse of a human being than we could ever be. GOD FORBID! In many cases, talking about others and how their problems affect us is how we relate to each other. We compare that wretched sin of theirs to the least offensive of ours. It’s a fact, misery loves company, and so we sympathize or we let our tongues run wild. Then to justify our actions we sugar coat the sin, “oh but I’m just venting my frustrations…”.

This particular coping mechanism bit me in the butt some several months later. After bathing myself in animosity and cynicism, I couldn’t help but feel irritable, self important, and justified by my anger. Over time that bitterness damaged my relationships the most as I began reducing people and friendships to, ‘who can help me in my quest to avoid the mirror?’ I learned through much pain and heartache that true friends stab you in the front. Through many friendships gained and lost I have found women have a lot in common. We are a bunch of overly nurturing, non-confrontational, co-dependents. And now I know why.

We don’t believe in the ONE aspect of our faith that stands apart from every other faith known to man. That one ridiculously imperative aspect being GRACE. If you're like me, you aren't disciplined enough to apply the significance of what grace can mean to living out the moments/days/months/years of your life. By default, I tend to minimize grace and maximize my abilities, my talents, and my strengths all the while comparing myself. I could never accept the notion of "only by grace i am saved" because accepting it means we first must stand to feel our worth… in the mirror. Oh the horror.

To be continued…. with grace.

April 30, 2015

goodbye fake smiles and coping mechanisms

so my story has changed just a wee bit since we last spoke.

ya think?!

i went back and forth in my mind about whether to drop this blog all together and start a new one, but being that the name IS, "Crack(ed) Pot Life" i decided to just keep going with the major overall theme:


were i to write details from this past year, i would indeed need the time and space it takes to write an entire book, with multiple volumes no less. maybe one day i might decide to go back through the gory details and share my guts- God knows it might save a few from the daily pain and torment i face as a result of stepping away from Him- but for now, i feel the need to stand in the present, the here and now of today. really, i just want to get my (writing) feet wet again. i have missed this place of discovery and solitude, of baring my soul and keeping it accountable. it’s therapy.

here goes nothing….

having arrived from an unknown destination (fast forward one year) i will simply reiterate something from my last post, something that will rock a few of my readers’ boats: everything has changed.

i am divorced. and, AND…. remarried. you might be stunned, bewildered, in shock. why? how? what happened? but you painted such a beautiful family picture here! how could you? didn’t you just adopt a baby?! that’s so unchristian of you! trust me, i’ve gotten them all. just please take note before you go finger pointing on me, it takes two to nurture a marriage and two to destroy it. a lot was kept hidden behind the scenes, a lot. dirty laundry may have been aired in this place here and there but it was always done ever so tactfully and gracefully. the brokenness of our individual lives could never fully be exposed, due to, well… overexposure. sadly.

i did do a pretty good job of thinking i was doing everything right and he was doing everything wrong. i did do a good job of pretending all was well, to prove to myself that ALL WOULD BE WELL. some call it denial.

truth be told, i have always defined myself as a total failure, a broken mess of a person, and yet i never really dealt with my feelings on the matter. instead i got good at denying the root of my real problems by coming here to expose the surface ones – the relatable ones we all talk about and have in common. i always wrote just within the margins and in some sense blogging publicly became some sort of alternate reality i used to cope. i created an identity i looked on and liked. when I felt accepted, admired, looked up to, i felt okay.

now don't get me wrong, not everything i said was a lie -quite the opposite since truth does not return void- rather, it was the motive to please, to be praised, and honored among men that i most regret. it was the prideful spirit. it was the chasing after the wind. the striving.

it seemed i needed to know my worth, so i sought after it.
ultimately, i found it... by being humbled.

in the midst of one hell of a broken road i found myself running away from people. i hid from family and friends, i refused to pick up my phone or put myself out there, i stopped letting people in. that’s just what you do when your worth is tied to other people’s opinions, their moods, their possible assumptions about you… you stop living life when all you were living for was a feeling of accomplishment. checking your motives gets tossed out the window while fear threatens to destroy you. fear is the most powerful emotion aside from love. once we allow it to take possession of our mind it grows like a cancer, eating up the very person we were made to be.

now because my previous identity was so wrapped up in my role playing, of who i portrayed myself to be to make myself okay, i felt complete and utter fear –of everything- when it imploded once and for all. over the past year that fear took up so much space in my head. i only had enough emotional juice to grieve, cope, help my kids cope, and make a living. i lived in survival mode and plastered on a fake smile.

but im sick of fake smiles and coping mechanisms. it's time.

i finally have the courage and strength to say no more. God has been showing me my heart, healing my heart, drawing me to Him, changing me, humbling me. He’s rebuilding my entire identity and this time all i can see is Him.

as some of you know the butterfly has long been a symbol of transformation for me. thus my obsession. what's funny is its relevance in this season. born a wretched worm, then carefully remodeled into a thing of beauty, freedom, and life.

im still a work in progress, that’s for sure. still morphing, discovering myself, forgiving myself, taking care of my self. im coming out to live because where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  

i miss this place. i miss you all too.
more to come.

April 10, 2014

everything has changed

if anyone is still out there... surely you've given up on me by now.
i kinda dropped the blog roll ball. broke a bunch of rules. lost most my friends.
it's cool tho.

life is still livable. it's the usual frenetic pace, you know.
... except 1000 times worse!
change is upon us.
change you couldn't wrap your brain around if you've read this blog for any length of time.
4 kids under 6 with that crazy schedule i posted way back when just about put me away with a 51/50 on my record.

and don't say you didn't see it coming. i have all kinds of people ask me how how the hell i do it all.      
wouldn't it have been better to ask me why i do it at all?

well, you might say my appetite for approval was insatiable.

yup, i finally cracked.
the pressure had become so much to keep up with, the ever-increasing pace drenched in a lie. i couldn't even cope with the coping mechanism i created here as a diversion to survive.

i had no other choice but to drown in my own failed efforts for acceptance.
nope, i couldn't do it all.
so i stopped doing it.
and when i finally threw my hands in the air, i realized i wasn't drowning after all.
in fact, i was floating.

in a let-it-all-hang-out kind of mentality
i found ME. the real one!
the christine with no fear.
the christine who crushes eggshells.
the christine who gave up on mounting the horse bigger than her house and instead deflated him.
so.... messes abound.
guess what? it's okay. i'm human.
my flaws are merely quirks
my failures nothing more than an incentive to succeed.

once i was able to simply be who i am- and with no remorse,
i felt released from the need to constantly fluff up my identity in order to feel my worth.
we all know worth isn't tied to accomplishment (but do we believe it?)

i am. therefore i am loved.
period. that's all folks.
shall i repeat?
i am (effed up and all).
and i am loved as is.

it's amazing. i can finally live, and love, and suck down air without ever needing to do more and more and more to feel good enough.

i found my voice in that freedom.
i found my freedom in that voice.

so here i am....

everything has changed.
(recaps to follow.)

December 22, 2013

a looooong december.

well hello there! crazy me, vanished again.
i guess this time it was for purpose.
i needed some air... still do.

this place can sometimes make me feel smothered.. too many words escape my mouth too freely and i lose my sense of direction. truth is, the minute i step foot from here i fail. a lot.
i'm good at setting my bar, not so good at keeping it. repeat, repeat, repeat >>>>>>>>

december has been loooooonnnggg.
feels strange to say that.
decembers prior ive used every antonym in the book for long.
my head is still spinning so that's not changed much.
but it's been sort of an awakening to put it lightly.
all these failed attempts at striving for perfection lock me in a cage.
make me want to just say:
fine. i failed, i'm done. can't change. can't keep pretending to be who i'm not and hiding from the world. can't fake the smiling good girl look. it's too exhausting. it's more exhausting here.

i woke up from a week of straight decomposing in bed with pneumonia to being whacked over the head with (holy freaking crap this is my) life?! what did i do? how did i get here? how am i gonna get back on that horse that looks bigger than my house. i asked myself why ever did i attempt to juggle this many balls? i got answers i didn't want to hear. or face. and i still can't mount this thing.

but maybe, just maybe there is a part of me that doesn't want to. there is so much freedom in owning your failures. in saying life goes on...pfft. actually the stress level is shockingly low in giving in to messes once in a while. it's enjoyable sometimes too.

i have no resolve or proper conclusion. just here to say my thoughts, nothing else.
(OMG. i ended a post with no ending. so wrong. shoot me now.)
nope, owning it.

November 26, 2013

where did i go?

this blog has seen better days, ya think?
it’s sad. i lost my voice… sorta.
damn that thing we call time. it mocks me.
and i think i gave up on my dreams.

it’s been a steady season of chaos over here..
the out of control kind
the kind where even if you begged for everything to simply stop for two seconds,
you couldn't.
cuz you’d be late to gymnastics.

well at least not until you come down with pneumonia.
then, time just waves like a fool from the deck, martini in hand.
and there you are stranded on insanity island (aka: your bed)
for 6 days!

never been this sick.
never had this much time to kill staring at the ceiling & at patrick my ceiling fan 
never felt so bored and/or repulsed by netflix’s poor movie selections.

i’ll knock on wood but tonight i think im finally coming back to the land of the living,
still can’t walk too far without gasping for air or turn my head/chest certain ways,
but im feeling on the mends. the fever is down. 
and thank GOD because i was so afraid to miss out on my favorite holiday. 
Adam is going nuts again, as usual. three turkeys! really?!

back to all that spare time i was talking about on insanity island.
i got to reminiscing, you know, clicking through old photos on fb and all..
and oddly, it dawned on me… i cannot remember a lot of it.
i mean i remember being there, but not sure i was actually there there.

multitasking has had the best of me.. which really boils down to half-ass slivers.
mind not fully in the moment. 
i'm feeding the baby a bottle, texting, and yelling at my three year old for pouring–once again–SAND into the bathroom sink.
and when does the juggling stop?
someone tell me it stops, and not just here on this god-forsaken death bed.

looking back on this year i was realizing how much we put off.
some of our favorite traditions took a back seat. no apples, no pumpkin patch.
and maybe for good reason with a new baby, therapy sessions, social worker craziness, and two in school..
life must be maintained, i guess it’s the nature of the beast,
papers signed, children bathed, emails sent, dinner made, husband hung out with.

but when do i get to savor it?

my eyes are open and the switch is off.
im ready to step off the carousel and take a stroll. 
im ready to dream again. 
and i'm just in time..

for NOW.
(oh december please don’t kill me. sigh.)

do you ever struggle with being in the moment? 

October 27, 2013

right now:

i really don't feel like i have anything exciting enough to share these days.
not that my days are suddenly unexciting.. but blogging seems more foreign to me lately..
even within the 'share your story' concept

i guess the real truth is, i have zero time for social media.

since this new season has begun, life is busier than ever.
it's a good busy, an intentional full busy, if there was ever a thing.

i'll be quick.
right now:

*im reading:  Humility by Andrew Murray. i got the hankering for a new read so one day i decided to search amazon for a book... on humility. {gulp.} oddly enough there aren't a ton of great books on the topic... and yet, the foundation of our faith is based on this very virtue? this one is eye opening, deep and a bit painful. suffice to say, i've learned my lesson. never ask for humilty. why you ask?  ummm.. humiliation is sure to follow... your humanness surfaces and flaws somehow emerge to the forefront of not only the secret crevices of your heart, but in your actions and circumstances.. it's ugly and brutal. and yet, i can rejoice. (agh! if only i could apply that part.) for in my weakness, He is strong. 

*im enjoying: more face to face community. seeing people and interacting more. putting myself out there in ways i've always feared.. trying to genuinely care about people. and finding there are so many who need caring for, it's overwhelming.

*im listening to: Dustin Kensrue's new album, the Water & the Blood. and loving the camaraderie evoked through the lyrics. it's singing what feels like fight songs. 

*im thinking about: this week and praying i survive it. lined up i got
-monday=cleaning&laundry day/photoshoot
-tuesday=6 hrs of preschool (did i mention i have two classes now?)/photoshoot/company for dinner
-wednesday=prep for Preschool Fall party,
-thursday=helping at Evan and Rachel's class parties/Preschool Fall Party!!!/halloween night
-saturday=knotts for Rachel's b-day/mini surprise party at g-ma and papa's
-sunday=teaching sunday school/buddy walk where we'll meet up with Alli's birth mum (she is officially out) and her entire fam.
FUN FUN! need serious prayer.. all of these things are sort of huge in my mind right now and i feel small (maybe that's the point.)

*im snacking on: fancy cheeses from TJs. this week's? chocolate cheddar.

*im drinking: green fin. its a red. super cheap and mild. TJs

*im making: lists and more lists. think robert irvine's dinner impossible. that is my life. i'm that anxious (right now).

*im wearing: long cardigans and skinny jeans. my hair is a wreck and so is pretty much everything else about my appearance. i should really prioritize plucking my brows and shaving more. tmi?

*im feeling: worn. im still cranking out most evenings solo. i miss adam terribly. and im sick of complaining about his crappy hours. i had hoped by adding the new preschool class that he could take off one extra day, but then his car took a dump on him and it's always something. sigh.

*im in love with: lightroom. i can't believe i did without for so long. it's a little daunting to learn a whole new program, but its lightning speed will make it well worth it.

*i can't stand: Seamus. not joking. i now understand why he's been taken back to the shelter by previous owners-more than once. he's gets into everything! tonight he managed to sneak into the diaper pail and smear the gel-like substance of a soiled diaper across my hall and all the way down the stairs. now i have gel balls of pee imbedded in my carpet giving off a lovely pee fragrance.  he also chews up our couch pillows and bites holes in Alli's blankets. apparently he thrives off spit up and pee. uhhhg! just annoyed. i throw my hands up. 

*im praying for: my 'tude. life is so full and rich ..and last week i was fine. now i'm whining and i'm missing out.

*im feeling proud: of my kids. each of them so unique, they amaze me. and i feel blessed to be their mama. the older two had their school conferences last week and i was quite surprised to hear such good reports from their teachers.

*im loving all things: pumpkin. 

*im excited about: thanksgiving. it's totally my favorite holiday. no hype. no rush. just family and full hearts -and bellies.

*im missing: blogging. beyond the busyness, im tongue tied in this space. i have draft upon draft of now wasted thoughts.. and energy. it's all so quiet. it seems when Reader left so did the readers.

happy week ahead, y'all. and hopefully i'll have happier things to share. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...