Sunday, December 31, 2017

Am I Enough?

It was the end of 2016 when I heard the whisper for the first time. It was a whisper that began to be repeated and confirmed in the days leading up to January 1st 2017. I had once again been given my word for the year: TRANSFORMATION.

To be honest, I thought for sure the transformation was going to be physical. I mean, how many years have I made that same New Year’s resolution to lose the weight?! I was starting the year with an injury that had reappeared in mid-2016, but I now had a great physical therapist and felt like healing was inevitable. Perhaps this was the year?’s December 31st 2017 and I’m here to say…nope! I still have quite a ways to go for my weight loss transformation.

It wasn’t the transformation I thought it would be, but it was the transformation I needed.

Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

I remember one morning this year I was getting ready and God spoke so clearly to me. He tends to do that in the bathroom. It might seem like TMI, but honestly, it’s a time that the world seems still, I’m alone, and I’m having my first conversation of the day.  I think He just knows His girl so well…He knows that I’m having a million thoughts of what I need to do most days, and as I go through those thoughts, I’m usually asking Him, “What about this?” or “I should pray for that, huh?”

Anyway, this was on a Monday and I woke up from a dream that left me in tears. You know those dreams that take your breath away. Feel so real that the emotion is still there even after you open your eyes? Well, it was one of those bad boys and I quickly went into a temper-tantrum with Him. “Why God?” “When God?” “How much longer, God?” I mean, it was every “Are we there yet?” back-and-forth between a parent and a child you’ve ever heard.

Then I heard: “Am I enough?”

My first inclination was “Get behind me Satan! That is not my thought! Of course I’m enough! I’m the daughter of a King! The apple of His eye! I am wonderfully and fearfully…”

Oh. Wait. Hello, conviction.

“Am I enough?” It wasn’t a thought I needed to take captive about myself.  It was a question FROM Him to me. It felt like the record scratched.

“Am I enough? Am I enough while you’re single and waiting? Am I enough in your 2-hour drive? Am I enough in that car that is one rain from becoming a convertible? Am I enough when you have many around? Am I enough when you are so lonely, it physically hurts? Am I enough if you are never someone’s biological mom? Am I enough if your last day on the job is today? Am I enough when you’re betrayed? Am I enough when you have plenty? I know you have questions, Gena, but in this place of obscurity you are going to fully come to understand that I am enough. Not everyone gets to understand it in that way.”

I knew instantly that this was part of the transformation. To fully understand and take hold of the fact that my entire purpose here on Earth is to “get” that. To really, really get that. God is enough. He’s enough in my valley and He’s enough on my mountaintop. He’s enough while I’m single, and He’s going to be enough when I’m married. He’s enough if I never have a biological child of my own. In a world where most people are trying to fill the great big gap, “what-is-my-life-for” question with anything or anybody…I get to answer, “God is enough.”

And bam. Transformation. It doesn’t mean I’m not ever going to question again. Or feel sad again. Or feel disappointed again. Nope, I’m sure those times will continue because shoot…life is rough sometimes. It just means that I have this safe harbor to pull into when the seas get rough. A place where I go when the world gets too much and I’m gently reminded I have everything I need. The simple fact is that when emotions subside and circumstances are what they are: Yes God, You are enough.

Today’s Forecast: Reflecting on my year of transformation.

Silver Lining: God is enough.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

What I Learned About Scary Santa

I came across this picture and laughed to myself as I made a connection I’m not sure I had ever made before. You see, I grew up deathly afraid of Santa Clause. I’m not sure if it came from some scary Santa story my brother told me, or maybe it was just the creepiness of a dude showing up in our house in the middle of the night. I would not even walk on the same floor of the mall as Santa! And the one year my Dad borrowed the company Santa suit to surprise me Christmas morning…well, I guess he had to tear the beard off because I lost my mind when I answered the door only to find Satan…I mean Santa…standing in front of our house. I loved the one special gift Santa left each year that was wrapped in some different paper or had my initial painted on it with glitter (because surely it was from him and not my parents…Mom would NEVER glitter paint our packages!) But anytime he made an appearance…forget it…I was not having it!

This is literally the only picture I have of myself as a kid with “Scary” Santa. Looks like I’m nervous…but I’m not crying. And why you may ask? Well, what I do remember about this picture that even my Mom doesn’t remember is what happened before it was taken. That blue overall set with the matching  turtleneck was a little snug. So snug that my pants ripped the moment I jumped on his lap! Now thankfully, nobody else noticed that this happened, and it was close to the end of the day so I’m sure I just tied my jacket around my waist. But perhaps THIS is where my fear of Santa began!

It’s interesting to think that there was fear associated with the first Christmas. I mean, how could the birth of our Savior elicit fear? But a few years ago I watched The Nativity Story, and it was one of the first times I really connected with what Mary and Joseph went through. I mean if anyone had a reason to be fearful, it was Mary, who found herself pregnant as a virgin in a time where her fiancĂ© could execute her for being so. And could you even imagine the amount of emotions that Joseph must have gone through at that time? Both had to believe that they were visited by angels and instructed on what their next steps would be and they had to choose to obey. I am sure that they had heard, or maybe even been witness to, a woman executed for cheating on their betrothed. Yet, instead of connecting that past experience with their current one, they chose to have faith and believe that they did not have to fear. They had to believe they heard from heaven and they had to have faith to endure. What I also love is that heaven knew how they were going to feel…and they weren’t shamed for it. Instead, messengers were sent to remind them, “don’t be afraid.”

The connection I made with my “Scary” Santa incident is that one instance could have been the reason I never wanted anything to do with him. Maybe I wasn’t really afraid of him. Maybe it was just the memory of him and, what could have been, a very humiliating day. Maybe I was more afraid that I’d jump up on his lap again and possibly rip my pants in a way that everyone would notice.

It made me think: Are there areas in my life that I am letting one past experience create fear in a present one? Do I let fear keep me from experiencing life because of that past experience? Have I “walked-the-top-floor-of-the-mall” in hopes that I would not have to face the fear head on?

If I’m honest: yes, yes and all-the-way yes.

Many have said that “fear not” is written 365 times in the Bible. I’m not sure if that’s true (I’ve never counted), but what I do know is that it was said a lot. And it was said by Jesus. And if it was said a lot in the Bible, and said by Jesus, then I know that it’s somewhere I want to be. A place where fear does not paralyze me from living my best life. A place where fear doesn’t stop me from opening up to new people or new situations. A place where fear does not control my decisions based on past heartbreaks or disappointments.

Today’s forecast: Memories tell me, " Don't do it, you  might split your pants again."

Silver Lining: Heaven tells me “Fear not! We know a pretty good Seamstress.”