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Category Archives: Walking in Peace

The Quarry of God

The Quarry of God-2I was sitting across the table from a good friend, sharing what I felt God was doing in my life—and how painful, but healthy, it was.

She’s the wise type, sitting there tuned in as an active listener, simultaneously praying, and waiting on God to speak to her. Sometimes I stare at her for a full two minutes before she responds. I’ll admit it was unnerving the first few times I experienced it.

And do you know why I love this so much?

Because she measures every single word that comes out of her mouth. It’s never flippant, casual, dismissive, arrogant, or half-hearted. She feels the intensity of every spoken word. And as they flow very slowly from her mouth, there is a soothing tone to them. It makes me feel so safe. It’s the exact reason I go to her for wisdom: Because she loves God more than she loves me and listens intently to Him, and because when she speaks, even correction, it has His loving kindness on it. 

“I feel like I’m being scraped from the inside-out right now. This has been one intensely painful year. I feel like God is scraping my insides out.”

She stopped me right there, cocked her head, and said: “What do you mean?”

I replied: “He is digging out old wounds that no longer belong there. He wants to set me free.”

With that, I could see her shoulders relax. She knew what I meant—not that God was hurting me but rather that He was cleansing me. Restoring me. Helping me to let go of junk I was holding onto that was no longer relevant or part of who I am supposed to be.

I wish I could say the process was like a nice micro-abrasion cleanser, you know, the one with the gritty feel to it? But this? This was more significant than that analogy allows.

This was more of a Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Unmasked: The Importance of Being Real

Unmasked_The Importance of Being RealProverbs 24:26, ESV
Whoever gives an honest answer kisses the lips.

In an attempt to encourage a very dear person in my life after a loss causing her complicated grief, I wrote the following:

A thousand times over I admire _______ for facing his demons and working to give back good, however flawed and imperfectly. I prefer this a thousand times over to people who won’t get real with each other and who want to pretend all is well when it is clearly not. Reading the obituary made me admire _______ for things I cannot admire others for in that same generation. I will take “real” any day over faking it. The latter is an exhausting way to live.

Jesus hung out with the humble like  ________ who knew they were messed up and needed Him. Those are my kinds of people.

My entire life I have been surrounded by people who feared being honest with and about themselves. Some of it may have been learned behavior, cultural norms at the time, and generational. The point of this article is not to lay blame.

Some of these people were in my church, my neighborhood, and my family. Some had significant influence over me. Some just passed through my life briefly. And like anyone else, I still meet people like this who, for whatever reason, are trapped inside themselves and hiding behind a façade.

We can argue that at any given point, all of us have a façade. Just look at social media, ha!! And sure, I’m going to be professional with a client and not let her know I just got my act together at 1 in the afternoon because I struggled to focus all day due to a concern over one of my kids. Maybe I showered for the first time in two days, my house is a wreck, and problems are dripping off every family member like a leaky faucet quicker than I can address them—if I even can. Yeah, not the time to share that, but that’s not what I’m referring to.

And, to be fair, at the other end of the spectrum are people like me who wear everything on our sleeves, consequently making more private people uncomfortable with our over-share at times. I get that. I really do. Private people are not wrong to be guarded or true to their nature.

The problem comes in when appearances Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Living Honestly, Part 2

Living Honestly-2In last week’s column about living honestly, I began writing a list of areas where God is calling me to be more truthful in my relationships. 

Part of the reason for self-assessment is that sometimes we avoid speaking clearly and honestly out of fear of rejection, hurting someone’s feelings, or a sense of responsibility toward meeting needs and helping people. Truth-speaking is obviously always a good practice, but when we are confronting any area or issue that might be uncomfortable, it is especially important to be prayerful and to have built relationship. 

My personal buzzwords in this season of my life right now are: 

Is how I am handling this communicating care

In my family life, areas of ministry, and both of my businesses (publishing and essential oils), “communicating care” is where it all breaks down for me. If I can’t do this well, I may as well pack it all up and go home. Even when my answer is “no,” “not now,” or “that is not a way I can help,” it is paramount that I convey kindness. 

Close personal relationships are the polishing ground for the edges in our personalities and ways of interacting. Because we care more on that level, we are more invested. Good boundary-setting and clarity-with-kindness go a long way toward expectations being more realistic on both sides.

As a review, the first three ways of living honestly were:

  • “I can’t help in that way right now, but I can help in this way: ________________.”
  • “I care a lot about you, and because I do, I have some thoughts on this pattern in your life that may be causing you some trouble.”
  • “__________ is an area of my life I would like you to stop speaking to me about because you do not have the experience or authority to weigh in there. However, I would continue to enjoy your thoughts on _____________ area(s) of my life. I find it so helpful to hear from you about that.”

The next three on my list are as follows: Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Living Honestly, Part 1

Living HonestlyWhenever I sit down to write a column, I ask God for guidance where to start. It’s not like He sits on my desk and audibly downloads ideas while I type. But I can tell you without a doubt if you want to know what He has me working on in my character and life, it is usually within these 1,200 words and very current.

So I sat down with a tiny piece of chocolate and my cappuccino and asked for a topic. The response in my heart and soul is usually along the lines of: 

“Well, what am I teaching you right now?”

Me: “Well, patience, self-control, taming my tongue, speaking more gently, being slow to anger…..isn’t that the usual recipe of what needs work in me, Lord?”

“What is your main goal right now: the new level of a healthy spiritual life you are wanting me to bring you to?”

Me: “If I were to reflect on recent weeks, I would say: living honestly. Not people-pleasing. Only God-pleasing. Being true to who I am, what I offer, and what You tell me to do. Not allowing negativity to derail me from Your purposes.”

Living honestly. Hmmm. What does that look like?

Well, what first comes to mind is integrity. Keeping promises. Not promising what we can’t provide. Making good on our word. 

Proverbs 10:9, ESV
Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.

1 Chronicles 29:17, ESV
I know, my God, that you test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. In the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you.

Not stealing or short-cutting to take from someone else. Any time we so much as take a box of pencils from the office closet or a pack of gauze from the medical bin at work, we are costing someone else something for our own gain. We don’t have to be shoplifting to be dishonest. We can cheat on taxes or fudge our payroll hours.

I find it also dishonest to live with priorities out of whack. Want to know what I mean by that? If we live hand-to-mouth, and that paycheck needs to pay for our transportation and food, yet we have the latest iPhone but have to regularly ask our friends to help pay bills, we may have some dishonest representation of finances going on. 

And what about misspeaking when we recount a situation that happened, stretching or altering the truth? In court, false testimony can dismiss an important case! Our words matter!

Proverbs 14:5, ESV
A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness breathes out lies.

But living honestly can also mean Read the rest of this entry »

 

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10 Ways Time Together Can Bring Healing

10 Ways Time Together Can Bring HealingI actually wrote this right after Christmas 2018, but I recently revisited because in New England we have a delightful weeklong break in mid-February. You see, if I’m not intentional about the disruptions of everyone being home on break, our time off together can be an epic fail. Know what I mean?

Whether it’s a vacation you have planned, a school break, too many snow days in a row, or a holiday, time together does not have to be chaotic and tense. For our family, we actually needed it to go so far as to be restorative and healing. It was a huge prayer on my heart. If this is you, read on. Our holiday break a few months ago brought peace and refreshing in only ways God could have orchestrated.

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I’m back—I think—for now. My Advent season went off the rails. In short: We are still troubleshooting causation of a significant health decline in one of my children, and we have seen more specialists than I have money for copays—but that’s a story for another day. We may be talking about parasites. Still waiting on that result. Why parasites? Because we spent two years on a tiny island in the South Pacific Third World a decade ago. And my child is not absorbing proteins—which pretty much screws up health on several counts.

We had a good Christmas. I hope you did, too. We are trying some new supplements while we wait out answers, and there was stability and peace. Even so, I simultaneously slapped the back end of 2018 goodbye with a firm “Harrumph!” (Thank you, Urban Dictionary!) while fearing that the New Year would drop us back where we fell around Thanksgiving: fearful, despairing, shaken.

So, as the high schooler and middle schooler went back to school, I found  the quiet to reflect on what worked for us this holiday break. I do this in the hopes that next year, or any year where we need healing, we remember what to do, with any necessary adjustments.

I was going to give this column the title: The Healing Power of Family, but I could not bring myself to do it. It’s not that I don’t find time with my kids and husband to be healing, because I absolutely do. But I also remember times when Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Finding Normal: Recalibrating During and After Crisis

Finding Normal: Recalibrating During and After CrisisThe text came in from a concerned friend:

What are you doing?

Me:

I’m standing in Five Below trying to find normal again.

But the truth is I wasn’t sure if normal would be a thing ever again. It had been a week of scare, upset, worry, and concern that ended in an unexpected diagnosis for one of my children. One medication trial had gone very wrong…the kind of wrong where you stay awake all night staring at God’s created work from your gene pool and wonder: How did we get here? What happened?

Then I remember: Oh that’s right. My genetics slammed us around one more time. Oh, goody. All that stuff I didn’t want to know was in there in the first place was coming back to say: “Hey, Bonnie! I’m ba—ack!”

It almost doesn’t matter what the diagnosis is at this point in my story, does it? For any one of us, it could be cancer, diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune disease, skin conditions, or any one of assorted mental health disorders. When everything we have fought so hard to understand, be proactive about, and work around comes spitting into our faces, it’s awfully hard to take at times, am I right?

So I stood there in the store of a thousand teen girl room décor items, cheap candy, and toys, and I texted my friend back. The gist of what was going through my mind, although I don’t recall if I typed all of this was: Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2019 in Finding Wellness, Walking in Peace

 

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The Biggest Lie: “You Are Alone”

The Biggles Lie_You Are Alone.jpgI was sitting on the lawn chair hearing him crowd out my thoughts. He wanted me to look down at my feet and see how limited they were, how clumsy, how immovable.

He wanted me to stay stuck, frozen, unable to advance an inch—if even to make dinner. Because he loves to tell me this:

“You can’t do this. How on earth will you pull it off? You couldn’t even rescue yourself. You can’t manage this. This family member’s illness is greater than you. It will swallow you whole. And, by the way, you are always worth abandoning. Nobody will be there for you.” 

Over and over again. The whispers. The racing of my mind.

I couldn’t move. Everything felt like an epic fail. As much practice as I’ve had advocating for people in my life with various struggles to get the help that they need, I had hit a brick wall.

All my knowledge. All my connections. All my training. All my experience.

BRICK WALL.

Over the course of many months of trying to troubleshoot a medical problem in our lives, all related side dishes of comorbid conditions piled up like unfinished moldy fare at a banquet. The heavier the pile, the harder to see the real issue. Know the feeling?

This could really be about anything physical, mental, spiritual, or emotional in our lives, right? That great overwhelm?

And when we stare at that pile-up of complications and other nonsense, the face walking across the water toward us, reaching out a hand, calling us to trust is hard to see, right?

Then along comes the Read the rest of this entry »

 

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