Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Girl Named Little, Part 3 - The Shame That Grows

To read "A Girl Named Little, Part 1"- click here
To read "A Girl Named Little, Part 2"- click here

A Bit About Little
Little was sitting on his lap again.  “Why don’t I just say no?  Why do I sit on his lap when he says to?  This is all my fault.”  They were on the back patio, sitting on an old, faded blue metal patio chair.  Grandma was inside cooking or sewing or cleaning.  Little didn’t know which, but she wished Grandma would come outside.  Grandpa had one hand on her breast and one hand on her pants, as if these were just norm­­al places to rest his hands.  He was talking about something, but Little wasn’t listening.   She was distracted by her discomfort…her fear…her self-berating. 

Suddenly there was a sound from the back door. Grandma was coming!  Little jumped up and sprinted to the door to greet her!   
“Hi Grandma!”  Little was almost breathless from her excitement. 
“Hi Little,” Grandma answered.  “I just wanted you to know that we’ll have dinner in about a half hour.”
“Okay Grandma, “ Little said through the screen door.   “Are you coming outside?”
“No sweetie.  I have to cook dinner now.”
“Okay.”  Little felt defeated…her excitement faded. 

She walked back to Grandpa.  She didn’t know why she went back to him, but somehow she just knew that he would expect her to…and that she had to.

“Come sit back down, Little.” Grandpa said.  So she did.  His hands went back into position, and he whispered in her ear, “Don’t jump up like that when Grandma comes, or she’ll figure out our secret.” 

‘Our little secret,’ Little thought to herself, ‘this is all my fault.’
A Bit of Inspiration
Shame.  It’s the fungus that grows in the darkness of our secrets. 

It’s one of the things that makes me really angry with Adam and Eve (another is the whole “pain in childbirth” thing…could’ve done without that, thank you Eve).  Before the whole fruit incident, Adam and Eve didn’t feel any shame.  They experienced total freedom…nakedness.   

“Adam and his wife were naked and felt no shame.”  Gen. 2:25 

Naked.  The thought of it makes middle-schoolers giggle and newlyweds smile.  And although Adam and Eve were physically naked, there was much more to this word than simply not wearing any clothes.  No, this was more…something much deeper and more intimate than physical nakedness.  This was true freedom.  Complete vulnerability…complete openness…complete knowing…complete sharing…with no shame…no guilt…no hiding…no secrets.  This characterized their relationship with each other and with the Lord. 

Then came the aforementioned fruit incident.  And now they hid.  First they hid their bodies, Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”  (Gen 3:7, NIV)  The first secret…born out of shame.  Then, to top it off, they tried to hide from God.  Okay, seriously, they hid behind a bush in the garden that God had created…did they really think He wouldn’t find them?  Probably not.  But their shame drove them into hiding. 

There is an interesting dichotomy that exists between shame and secrets.  We keep a secret because we are ashamed of something, and our shame grows in the darkness of our secret.  As long as we bury that secret…deep into the soil of our soul…the shame grows.   

But there is a way to break this cycle, and although it is not easy, it is necessary.  The only way to get rid of the shame is to cut it off at its source…the secret.   Whether our secret is born of our own sin or of someone else’s sin (as it was for Little) we must bring that secret into the light…we must tell the truth. 

Little does eventually tell the truth…but that is still much further along in our story.   I hope you’ll keep coming back to hear more about her journey.  But for now, I’ll leave you with this….

Are you holding a secret, born out of shame, that is now breeding more and more shame in your soul?  Is it heavy?  If so, please…I beg of you…consider telling the truth…consider shining light on those hidden places. 

If you have no one you can tell, then tell me.  Leave it here as an anonymous post, or email me at  I can’t solve your problem…but I can listen, and I can pray for you. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Girl Named Little, Part 2 - A Childlike Faith

If you haven't read Part 1 of "A Girl Named Little," you can find it here.

A bit about Little
“One in every three females will be sexually abused in some manner in their lifetime.”  Little was in the car with her mom when she heard this on the radio.  It had been at least a year since that fateful night when her grandfather offered to stay home from a family trip to the movies to babysit her.  At least a year since the first time he touched her and forced her to touch him. 

Over that year, Little had grown numb to the weight of the secret she was carrying.  She had made a choice not to tell; not to risk upsetting her family; and although she was terrified, she was going to stick to that decision. 

Little couldn’t stop thinking about what she had just heard.  “One in every three,” the radio announcer had said.

‘Okay,’ thought Little, ‘if it’s one in every three, and I am one, then I can pick two other girls to never have to go through this.”  Little was only 7 years old.  She didn’t understand statistics.  So she said a prayer, right there in the car, in silence of course, for her two best friends.  “God, I pick Tanya and Jenny.  I’ll be the one for the three of us.  Now they will be safe.  Now they will never be abused.”  Little wasn’t really asking, she was telling.  It gave her a good feeling to be able to save her friends, since it was too late for anyone to save her.  Not many things gave her a really good feeling anymore, but protecting her friends…that was worth feeling good about!

A bit of Inspiration
One question that I’m sure Little will want to ask in Heaven is, “God, did you protect Tanya and Jenny… Did you honor that innocent yet profound prayer spoken from the heart of a young child?”  She’ll ask that question only because she has now grown up, and as a ‘grown-up’ she wonders.

But if Little had gone to Heaven while she was still ‘little,’ she wouldn’t have thought to ask…she would have simply assumed it had been done.

Somewhere in the process of growing up…in the midst of all of our learning, growing and maturing, we lose something important…childlike faith.  

Mark 10:14-15 says, “…Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”  (NIV)   The Message version of verse 15 says, “Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in."

Little saw God with simplicity.  She asked fully expecting to receive, and it brought her a joy that nothing else in her life could bring her.  If she couldn’t trust that God would answer her prayer, there would have been nothing to feel good about. 

As an adult, I don’t just accept God’s faithfulness so easily.  I question, I explain, I analyze.  I put God in a “logic box,” so that I can maybe grasp some sort of understanding of what is happening around me.  If I learn to really trust His faithfulness and if I expect Him to fulfill His promises, I might have a lot more to feel good about as well!

What does a ‘childlike faith’ look like to you?  Do you know any adults who have one?  Do you have one?

(Keep checking back for more about Little's story...there're so many secrets to uncover.)

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Weight of Our Secrets and the Freedom of Letting Go (or, A Girl Named “Little”).

This post is the first in a series.  Each post will begin with a bit of Little’s story (Little is a fictional name, but a real girl), and end with a bit of inspiration.  I hope you enjoy it…I hope it speaks to you….and I hope you add a comment to let me know.

Part 1 - A Secret is Born..The First Weight

A bit of Little's story...It was 1977, and the girl named “Little” was 6 years old. 

“We’re going to a movie,” Little’s mom said.  “It’s called Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind.”

“That sounds really scary mom.  I don’t want to go,” said Little.

Mom sighed, “Honey there’s no one to stay home with you.  We’re all going.”

Little looked up at her family members all standing in the kitchen of her grandparents’ house.  Her dad, mom, two brothers, grandma and grandpa looked back at her with awaiting looks.  ‘So, let’s go,’ is what she read on their faces. 

Little’s grandpa spoke up, “Oh, I don’t care so much about that movie.  I’ll stay home with Little. You all go ahead.”  Little’s mom started to object, “She’ll be fine…just come wi…”  but Grandpa interrupted, “No, really.  I’m happy to stay home with her.” 

‘Whew,’ Little thought, ‘saved by Grandpa!  Now I can stay here, read books, watch TV and eat ice cream, with no scary alien movie!’

But Little didn’t know that the events of this night would change her life forever…would change her forever.  It was on this night that a 6 year old girl named “Little” would lose her innocence…lose her trust…lose her safe place. 

This was also the night that Little picked up a heavy weight… the weight of a secret….a weight she would carry alone for 14 years. 
A bit of Inspiration...
If you’ve ever worked out at a gym, you’ve probably watched the following scene play out at some point…
A guy decides to saunter into one of the group exercise classes (usually 95% populated by women) just to see what it’s about.  Or maybe to meet a girl…or maybe just to show off…or maybe to actually get a good work out.  After some stretching and warming-up, the class members are instructed to get a pair of weights for the next set of exercises.  “Remember, start light,” the trainer says. 

The guy watches the ladies choosing weights labeled 2lbs and 3lbs.  He looks at these slim ladies…looks at his toned biceps…and chooses the 5lbs.   He doesn’t want to look like a show-off by choosing the 10lbs weights, but he has to choose heavier weights than the ladies.  Plus, 5lbs is nothing…they almost fly off the weight rack as he picks them up.

As the workout begins, all is going well for our guy.  The exercises are mostly yoga-type poses…calm…slow.  In most of them, the class members are instructed to hold their weights out to the side, or in front.  No multiple reps…just steady, continual weight bearing. 

At first this is easy, but about 15 minutes into this class, our guy starts to sense that the weights are feeling a bit heavier.   Ten more minutes go by, and he’s wondering if they are mislabeled…these no longer feel like the airy 5 pounders anymore.  Or maybe someone switched his 5lbs weights with 15lbs weights when he wasn’t looking.  These things are heavy, and getting heavier by the moment. 
As hard as our guy tries, he eventually has to give up.  These small 5lbs weights are now too heavy to bear…his muscles are too tired to hold them any longer.  He sets his weights down, pretends that he sees someone he knows across the gym, and leaves the room. 
Little carries the weight of a secret.  She thinks she can carry it alone.  She thinks that if she just keeps carrying it…trying to pretend that it doesn’t exist…it will eventually go away.  The truth is, though, that the weight of a secret grows heavier, and heavier, and heavier the longer we carry it…until we can carry it no longer.  Then what do we do?  The answer isn't easy...but it is simple.  And it brings freedom beyond compare.  (But that's a few posts down the road, so stick with me!)

In The Weight of Our Secrets and the Freedom of Letting Go – Part 2, we’ll hear more about Little, and we’ll hear what happens to her under the weight of her secret.  But for now, I ask you this…is there a secret that you carry?  It could be something that happened to you, something that you’ve done, or something that you are still doing.  Are you carrying it alone?  Do you feel it getting heavier? 
If yes, ask God to begin to prepare you to tell your secret.  Then keep reading this series, and lets just see where God takes us…you, me and Little…together. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Poem...or Really Odd Prose.

It's late...I'm tired...I'm trying to be disciplined (yes, Ken inspired me) to get up early for a workout and quiet time.  But as I was getting ready for bed (brushing my teeth to be exact) this poem came over me...I don't know where it came from (hopefully from God), or why it came at such an odd time...but it did.  And it doesn't even rhyme (which makes my husband doubt if it is 'legitimate').  So whether it's really a poem, or just really odd it is...I hope it touches your heart...I think God means it for at least one of you...and for me.

Life with you is a dichotomy
Beyond what our logic can resolve
We try to put you in a box
Make you who we want you to be
Make you into something…someone
Who we can understand

Living in the gray is too difficult for us
We want black…we want white
We want wrong…we want right
We want to control
And others…
And you

We can’t live in the in-between
For too long
We need to get somewhere…
Do something…
Get the answer we’ve been looking for
But then the question changes

We must die
In order to live
We must be last
In order to be first
We must give
In order to receive
We must be humble
In order to be raised up

We must sacrifice
In order to gain
We must be weak
In order to be strong
We must be poor
In order to be rich
We must be less
In order to be more

We get lost in the confusion
We try to figure it all out
While you whisper…
Child, follow Me

But, how, Oh Lord…exactly
How do we follow you?
We want a plan…a to-do list
A sure-fire system
That will work…
Whatever that really means

Again you whisper…
Just a whisper…
See what I did?
Do it…
See who I loved?
Love them…
Hear what I said?
Speak it…
See where I went?
Go there…

And rest, sweet child
In my freedom
In my peace
In my joy

You will not always know
But that is not the point
That is not faith
I have not called you to understand
I have called you to trust

Now trust me…

Sunday, April 10, 2011

On Work, Discipline, and Being Fully Alive

Discipline…it’s always been one of my least favorite words.  The sound of it conjures up the image of a thin, well-toned woman, eating a salad after her 2 hour workout.  After lunch she’ll clean the house, clip the coupons, weed the garden, and do the laundry (including actually putting the clean clothes away) before the kids get home from school.  She’ll then help them with their homework and sit with them to play a game before cooking a 3-course healthy, balanced meal for the family.  She’ll go to bed at night feeling “good tired” and wake up early the next day to have her 1 hour quiet time before beginning her day.  

I don’t dislike this woman personally…she’s probably a wonderful friend.  She’ll never forget your birthday, she’ll always fulfill her promises to you, and she’ll never have halitosis because she brushes and flosses after every meal and snack. 

What I don’t like is…
  • how this woman’s life reminds me of my own lack of discipline.  I thought about exercising today…I actually think about it every day…does that count for nothing??
  • the “less-than” feeling that comes over me when I see someone who lives a life of discipline.
  • the sense of “ugh” that I feel when I think about how I should be more disciplined
Last week on the Re:create cruise, Michael Hyatt and Ken Davis each talked about the value of work and discipline in creativity and in life.  (Click on their names to link to their blogs, where you can read more from each of them on these subjects)  While listening to these men talk about those two words…work and discipline…one of which actually is a four-letter word and another one that should be…I unexpectedly felt something change inside of me. 

Instead of the “ugh” of laziness, I felt the movement of motivation. 
Instead of the pressure of “I have to,” I felt the excitement of “I get to”.

Instead of focusing on the act of disciplined work, I began to feel motivated by the results of disciplined work.  The words are still the same, but my focus has shifted.
  • Rather than dreading the act of exercise (because it usually isn’t great fun), I can be motivated by the results of exercise…physically living life more fully alive!
  • Rather than putting off the act of writing (because I don’t know what to say, or I don’t feel like really thinking, or I don’t think I’m good enough), I can be motivated by the results of writing…emotionally and mentally living life more fully alive!
  • Rather than prioritizing sleep over the act of waking up for a morning quiet time (because, like Ken Davis, I do not do well on less than 8 hours of sleep), I can be motivated by the results of the quiet time…spiritually living life more fully alive!
John 10:10 says, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”. 

To the FULL…don’t miss that…to the FULL!  But that takes work and discipline…no one who just sits around all day is taking full advantage of the life he has been given. 

So my challenge to you (and to myself) is this…go…work…be disciplined…and live life fully alive!

Question:  What "fully alive" experiences are you missing out on because don't want to do the disciplined work that it takes to get there?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I'm STILL a Creative: 8 Hours Later

How quickly I forget.  How quickly I move from assurance to doubt.  How quickly I shift from confidence to insecurity. 

Yesterday morning I wrote a poem pronouncing “I am a Creative”!     Then, only 8 hours later, after reading some of the absolutely brilliant blog posts written by fellow re:create cruise travelers, I sat there thinking that I don’t even come close.  As I shared my thoughts with my husband he smiled and simply said, “Honey, just be you.”

At one of our sessions on the cruise this week, the fabulous Ken Davis (and not just fabulously funny, by the way, but also fabulously humble, passionate, honest and wise) was talking about just being yourself, and he said something like, “If I don’t do ‘me’ then ‘me’ don’t get done.”  I think he was actually quoting someone else (and that I’ve, in turn, misquoted him), but you get the point.

“If I don’t do ‘me’ then ‘me’ don’t get done.”  What if I don’t like ‘me’?  What if I spend my time wanting ‘me’ to be ‘her’ or ‘him’ or some crazy combination of ‘them’? 

The Bible says that I’m created in the image of God, but am I the only one that sometimes feels like the red-headed step-child in God’s family tree?  (and it doesn’t help that my natural hair color is red!)   Am I the only one that feels like the best parts of God’s image were handed out while I was on a potty break? 

My new friend Idelette is beautiful, fun, confident and creative.  Not to mention that she can pull off wearing big rings on her fingers, and big flowers in her hair!  I only met her a week ago (which is a story in and of itself) yet I know she will forever be in my life.  Idelette was definitely in line with the “good stuff” got handed out, and I want to be more like her! 

I also got to know Sam (now known as Vancouver Sam), a 24 year old Canadian creative with big ideas and the guts to make them happen!  When God handed out the “I have something important to say” gene, Sam was first in line.  He’s got ambition, faith, a strong will, and a creative gift.  He’s going to go far.  I wish I’d had his confidence when I was 24…heck, I wish I had his confidence now!

Then there’s Ben, who happens to be Sam’s brother.  At the age of 22, Ben is already a war veteran.  He has seen things that no one should have to see, yet he approaches life with a smile on his face.  He has dreams of opening a camp for teen boys, to teach them what it really means to be a Godly man.  I believe his dream will come true, and there will be an entire generation of Canadian men who are more respectful, kind, hopeful and adventurous because Ben is in God’s family tree. 

I could go on and on about the people with whom I spent my time this week, and I will share more about them in future posts.  But the point here is…if any of these new friends of mine decide not to be themselves, not to fully embrace the ‘me’ that they are, the world will be worse for it.  And I will be worse for it, because I adore them, and I want them to be all that God made them to be. 

And as hard as it is for me to imagine, I think maybe they want the same for me.  So no matter how I feel, the truth is the truth…I am God’s child…valued and valuable…created and creative, and “if I don’t do ‘me’ then ‘me’ don’t get done.” 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Inspiration from Re:Create...a defining moment

Today is a defining day for me.  Today is the day I stop saying that I’m a “wanna-be”.  Today is the day I stop saying that “I just like to write”. 

Today is the day that I claim the label “creative”.  I am a creative.  I AM a creative.  Let me say it again, I am a CREATIVE. 

So, I wrote a poem about it…

Today I Call Myself a Creative
Today is a day of definition!
A day to make a choice
The turning toward a new direction
The birth of a new voice

Today is a day of battle!
The war that rages inside of me
“NO YOU CAN’T” is yelled by the oppressor
While the Truth whispers, “this is who you were made to be”
Today is a day of imagination!
Of allowing my eyes to see
The potential of where He is leading
The movement of Him inside of me

Today is a day of conquering!
The fear that has tied my hands
That has kept me from the fullest life
Already written for me in His plans

Today is a day of momentum!
No more waiting for the ideas to come
It is time now to work, to focus, to move
To risk…to create…to become.

                                                “In the beginning God created…” Genesis 1:1
**To Michael Hyatt, Ken Davis, Pete Wilson and Randy Elrod…thank you for giving me the courage, through your examples and your words this week, to finally claim this truth and step into it.  The Re:Create cruise will always stand out as a defining moment in my life.