We celebrated Gabriel's 2nd birthday (his very first b-day with his new family) on Sunday and had him dedicated at church the same day. What a testimony of God's divine will. Gabe's story, his joy and just his sheer existence in our lives has touched so many already. There wasn't a dry eye in the church!
I wanted to share this inspiring video I first saw on Emily's blog. I love seeing women across the world using their gifts and talents and being rightly compensated for it. The proceeds go directly to the women who actually made the product! No middle man! No giant corporation getting a cut! Pure, simple FAIR trade. Check Raven + Lily out!
No more bashing of self....it's not healthy. I just thought I needed to share the previous post to begin taking off the mask. Now I would like to change gears and share some of the things that bring me JOY. I hardly ever participate in those questionnaires my friends pass along to find out my favorite color, my favorite food, where my cell phone is right now, etc. etc. I wanted to make up my own list of things I find WONDERFUL. So if you really care, continue reading. (But, I'm really doing this for myself to remind me of how many gifts God has given me and to remember how wonderful life CAN be. I tend to get so bogged down in the atrocities of the world, the ugliness of people, and the pain that comes with life that I forget too easily the beauty all around).
So, here are a few of my favorite things:
big cumulus clouds floating in a sea of blue sky
snow-capped mountains; clean crisp air; spring starting to emerge as baby buds pushing away the cold
new life: a newborn baby, crocus in spring, a soul coming to know her Savior
my child unlocking the world of learning through the gift of reading
a tiny hand grasping my finger
a toddler's hugs around my neck
little fingers combing through my hair
the smell of freshly baked ANYTHING (bread, cookies, donuts...AHHHH, happiness)
listening to a songbird sing to her lover
hearing the trickle of a mountain spring
watching the sky explode with vibrant warmth at sunset
eating a delicious meal with a glass of wine, candlelight and my high-school sweetheart
watching the grace and beauty of dancers on stage who float on air
the drama of a symphony or the whisper of a sole violin
hearing my children play piano and liking it
leaves morphing into blazes of fire in fall
sweats, blanket and a good book to snuggle down to on a cold, rainy, quiet day
speeding down a powdery slope with the sunshine glinting off the diamond-flecked snow
riding a four-wheeler in the lush green mountains of Kauai
skating along on a jet-ski across water smooth as glass
movies that make me think long after the credits have rolled away
the beauty of words on a page that paints like Rembrandt in your mind--richly textured and so lifelike
the smell of freshly ground Ethiopian coffee beans
the healing power of a good swedish massage (body, mind & soul)
the flood of the Holy Spirit washing over me while worshiping in the presence of God
the knowledge that I am a child of God, dearly loved and blessed beyond measure
"The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy". ~Psalm 126:3
I think I need to make this a regular occurrence. I sure do see life a whole lot differently when I take the time to think about and list the things that bring me joy. It's good balm for the soul.... You should try it, too!
Ok. So I recognize that I also become a little preachy at times and STILL do not reveal much detail of myself. I may need to be a little more specific in my "transparency" to effectively speak to others in the same boat. So, although my last post opened the window to my soul just a crack, I may need to open it a little further to the point of PAIN so that others may heal.
i suffer from depression and have to take medication for it. (Failure as a Christian? Not enough Faith? or just a broken person who has the courage to recognize it as a disease/chemical imbalance and get help for it)
NOTE: Thanks to Sheila Walsh, author of I'm Not Wonder Woman But God Made Me Wonderful! and other dear people in my life who have given me the courage to speak up about this disease. It's not something I have control over or can just "gut it up" "get over" or "think positive thoughts" to overcome. God MAY choose to deliver me from it and He MAY NOT. In the meantime, I pray, educate myself (and others) and praise God for modern medicine.
i am a poor communicator when talking to others (Good listener? or just afraid to speak up for fear of showing my flaws)
i hate to clean but do so only when someone is coming over
i hate to cook and plan out meals---way too time consuming
i don't enjoy playing with the kids (Candyland, ugh! Barbies, ugh! Uno-- not so much) but i'll do it if i HAVE to
INSTEAD, i spend way too much time on the computer reading blogs & emails rather than doing housework, meal planning, cooking or playing with the kids
i hate crafts
i get nervous in social settings and would rather just be a fly on the wall, unnoticed but observing
i am scared to fly in airplanes ---ONLY GOD got me to Ethiopia & back without a nervous breakdown
i'm lazy....if i can't do something GREAT or all the way, then i don't even want to try--thus my house is always a mess or I end up spending hours and hours and hours getting every dust speck off--All or Nothing! (symptom of perfectionism)
i'm a homeschool drop-out (taught Sonlight Curriculum from Pre-school to 3rd Grade with first 2 kids and then got too frustrated with toddlers interrupting and kids not focusing. I MAY try again with my next 2 who are approaching pre-school age).
i have a temper (but doing much better with self-control lately)
i desire approval of others more than i would care to admit (Let me elaborate: My husband has a prestigious job, is well-known and well loved for what he does, and i sometimes feel invisible and insignificant, having no identity other than being Dr. Pruitt's wife. i want to stand out in my own way and approved of for who I am, on my OWN merit, but I feel it gets a little self-centered at times).
PHEWW!! There, now I REALLY feel exposed, RAW & REAL!
I'm sure there are many more things I can pull out of my "Vulnerability Closet", but my palms are sweaty and I'm not sure if I'll have the courage to press "Publish" if I don't just do it now.
Just know that I am praising God for giving me His Word so that I can put off the old self and put on the new....ever changing, ever growing as I learn to be a Christ-imitator. I'll leave you with this verse & quote that Sheila Walsh highlighted in her book (mentioned above) "So if we say we have fellowship with God, but we continue living in darkness, we are liars and do not follow the truth. But if we live in the light, as God is in the light, we can share fellowship with each other. Then the blood of Jesus, God's Son, cleanses us from every sin." 1 John 1:6-7 (NCV)
"When the pain of remaining the same becomes greater than the pain of change, then you will change." --Anonymous
If you follow this blog at all, you know I don't share much about myself. I am usually promoting someone else's words of wisdom, words of encouragement, words of conviction, etc. I have been challenged by the blogger at Storing Up Treasures to stop "faking it," or as I am calling it "getting real". I am only doing this in the hopes that it encourages someone else out there who, like me, feels insignificant, unimportant, inadequate at times. I am not writing this so that I can sound eloquent (which I'm not) or to promote myself or my words (far from it) OR even to be "bashing" myself. I am just trying to show a vulnerable side of myself that you haven't seen because I haven't let you in. The desire to hide is a result of my disease called "perfectionism". I don't want to show my flaws or have you really "see" me and then not like me. What I have been learning over the years as a believer in Christ is that PRAISE GOD I don't have to be perfect! I don't have to have it all together. I don't have to be the Super Mom I strive to be but fail at miserably. I struggle with patience like every one else...I struggle with the weight of responsibility that comes with being a good parent like everyone else. I often wonder if what I'm teaching my children is going to be helpful or harmful in their lives down the road? Is my example going to be a good one or a bad one? Sometimes the answer is yes, and sometimes it's no. And it's OK because "...love covers a multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8)
What I do know is that I am called to live my life for Christ. That means I am called to die to self, to recognize that I AM NOT PERFECT, never will be and need a savior who is. He covers all my sins, all my flaws, all my imperfections. I just need to walk in obedience to what He has called me to do, and let Him take care of the "how it's going to all turn out" part. (Taking Beth Moore's study called Esther--It's Tough Being a Woman" where we just talked about this concept).
I sometimes gain more insight, comfort and encouragement from those blogger moms (and in-person moms) who are willing to "put it all out there", be vulnerable and REAL. Why can't I be that for someone else? Well, here is a small attempt at doing just that....so that someone else can benefit and revel in the fact that "when we are weak, He is strong!" Paul says this in 1 Corinthians 12: 7-10. He is talking about "the thorn in his side" which he pleaded with the Lord to remove. But Jesus replied, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
What is MY thorn? My thorn is self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy & insecurity. Perfectionism creates "accomplishment- driven" thinking, and when I don't feel I have accomplished anything, I don't feel adequate, like I don't measure up to my own standards. The TRUTH is, God is pleased with me no matter what I do. He LOVES me in spite of my imperfections, in spite of my failures, in spite of my self-centered pride. "While we were STILL SINNERS, He died for us." (Romans 5:8) Go here for more elaboration on the depth of Christ's love for us in spite of our weaknesses. I have written in the back of my bible this quote from Chuck Swindoll so that I would never forget it. He said, "Not until we come to the end of our own strength does God do His best work." Amen!
I hope that this post in some way helps someone else out there who may be struggling with these issues. If so, I encourage you to step out of hiding, be vulnerable, and share your thoughts. It is very therapeutic and freeing! Join the revolution!
Dr. Purvis is an expert on attachment and sensory processing methods, and she wrote a wonderful book called The Connected Child. All you Gladney adoptive families (and many of you other adoptive families) are probably very familiar with her from the required education videos &/or conferences, or from reading her book. Here is a short video about how we, as THE CHURCH, are called to minister and to create a culture of adoption in our communities. I love how she emphasizes creating a culture of healing, a culture of acceptance, and a culture of unconditional love--as God loves us. Thanks to Amy at Building the Blocks for this video post.