Check out the next photo. See how the paint was peeling? (Or, actually, how my daughter was peeling it off...) The following photo doesn't even show what the dresser became...it was a monstrosity of peeled paint. To fix it, I planned to strip the drawers and then stain them. Today was beautiful, so I set to work.
This is what I uncovered:
A whole lot of fake.
That wood grain is a cheap imitation of the real thing.
And I got to thinking. That's humanity without God.
Like the "wood" on this dresser, I can be functional without God. I can make decisions without God. I can survive without God. But the finish just isn't beautiful. It's going through the motions. It's a cheap imitation.
Without Elohim...LORD over everything...God ABOVE everything...I can only hope for another coat of paint to cover the tawdry.
But, with Him, redemption comes. And all the while, "He makes all things beautiful in His time." He is the only way for me to be genuine! Through HIM I become a showstopping piece, reflecting HIS glory.
And how do I know? I've been the cheap imitation. The stuff that looks real, but just...isn't. But I am a witness to God's promises...to His work!
Here is a small piece of the beauty God is bringing as He works to redeem my story (Originally printed as my Lipstick & Pearls column in the Hillsboro Free Press, 2.17.16 edition):
Daring to dream audaciously
“Mommy, can I have a brownie for breakfast?”
Accompanying those words was a face trying hard to portray a serious nature. But a grin kept poking through.
Audacious (as in definition No. 1 - showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks).
She very well knew what the answer would be, yet she asked anyway.
Albeit not such a dangerous scale, this particular child seems to have many Esther-moments. This daughter is not afraid to ask. She’s not afraid to imagine. And she’s not afraid to dream.
But I am.
For a long time, I’ve lived fear. Fear of rejection, of being wrong, of waiting for the other shoe to drop. I can trace this back to several defining moments in my life. But that fact alone doesn’t erase the paralysis.
What has started to change things is utilizing the power that comes with knowledge. It’s changing the way I think.
It’s one thing to use the past as a crutch. To look back and see a poor-poor-pitiful-me and shrivel up and die. To resort to words I uttered to a table of high-schoolers as a 15-year-old: “What do I have to be thankful for? My own dad didn’t want me.”
It was the first and last time I said those words. That cry for help landed on the deaf ears of some, the lack of understanding of others and fueled hatred of still others. And me? The proverb, “so she thinks in her heart, so she is” rang true.
It took a long time and a lot of slow obedience--as in knowing I needed help, yet coming up with excuses--to start finding my inner-Esther.
But she IS there. A boldness is surfacing. Understanding is being connected. A dream is forming.
And it’s the dream I am excited about.
Dreams have always seemed to be a luxury to me. In my experience, you get what you get, you buck up and pretend you’re OK. You don’t dream because it ends in disappointment. Or because you are at the mercy of everyone else.
But this dream? It is written into my “for such a time as this” story.
I’m ready to be audacious.
For a few weeks, I’ve been learning about garments. Seriously? Who even uses that word?
The Ultimate Garment Maker, that’s Who. And when something pops out to me in scripture, I’ve learned to pray, listen and watch because newfound freedom is coming.
And the “popped” garment scripture was in preparation for a testimony I heard during the recent IF Gathering. My adrenal fatigue has been in a serious flare ever since school resumed after Christmas break. I’ve been exhausted. And honestly, even thinking about attending the large Hillsboro IF: Local gathering sounded impossible to my bone-weary state.
But then I found out I could stream it into my own living room. Yes!
Mid-way through Saturday, a beautiful woman dressed in a Sari stepped behind the podium. With quiet dignity, she draped another Sari across the podium and stepped behind the microphone to tell her story of abuse, fear, running and redemption. My weariness faded as I sat up straighter.
To end her testimony, she told a story of rescue. As she stood there in her beautiful new garments...ones she had made herself...she referenced the other Sari. The other Sari was one of the only personal items she escaped her nightmare with. This woman currently works with International Justice Mission to rescue others trapped in abuse, slavery and fear. During one rescue, there was a girl with a deep leg wound. The girl was trying to pretend the wound wasn’t hurting, but it was terribly infected and festering. The woman used her old Sari to bind the wound. And the stain remains. An impactful story with a bold witness.
Using the past to bind up the wounded.
That’s my dream. It’s still unfolding, but I have a starting point with my oldest daughter.
Childhood trauma is real, yet not really recognized. I’ve lived my whole life in it, yet I’m only now understanding it.
Childhood trauma takes many different forms. My trauma’s root was being abandoned by a man who should have been my protector. My daughter’s was 1.5 years of medical trauma including endless testing, blood draws, blood transfusions, hospitalizations and surgery.
Like me, the trauma was out of her control and happened before her memory really started to take shape. But the signs of struggle are there for her. And I am thankful I have eyes to see AND memories to help me understand. We are being proactive for her, and hopefully it will change her thinking before “so she is.”
I’m taking off my old garments and using them to bind up the wounded.
It’s my dream that this will go beyond my daughter.