So Long Insecurity

You many be wondering why I would possibly share such a personal story? Why give the world such access to my core? The answer…. there might be someone else who is hurting in a similar way. Someone else who can finally overcome and finally be the loved person God created. Finally stop hanging onto rational or irrational fears. If I can point even one person in the right direction to get healing, breaking open my heart for all of the world to see will be worth it.

I’m not the woman I was last Friday. And hopefully never will be again. I was lucky enough to attend a Beth Moore simulcast (a live broadcast over satellite) at my church on Saturday. It was a talk based on her new book “So Long Insecurity.” I, like millions of other women struggle with a number of different insecurities. But because of the message God gave Beth to help her overcome it, I get to live differently. I get to raise my daughters differently! So let me back up, and start my story, some of it anyway. I’m just not ready to share the particulars.

Many years ago, I was hurt very deeply and profoundly by some young girls. They gathered in a circle around me on the playground and told me never to speak to them again. I was taunted, told that I was ugly, not welcome, (I had just moved to this town that year), stupid for not liking the music they like and a number of other things. My heart is racing just saying that out loud -so to speak. Now, chances are they are not the hurtful children they were then, today. However, the reprecussions of their actions lasted all the way through middle school, high school and eventually right into my adult years. I couldn’t enter a new classroom all those years, or go to a football game, dance, pep rally without looking around me, ready to have an anxiety attack.

Now, I did have very special friendships with others in middle school and high school. Some of which I still keep in contact with today. But there has not been one moment, of one day that I have ever been secure in a relationship. Any friendship. For the first few years of my marriage I was plagued by nightmares of my husband leaving me for another, more desireable woman. My family and husband have been solid rocks of love. But no person, even family can take that kind of pressure. I’ve learned this last weekend, that no amount of love from them can fill that hole that was so painfully carved out of me like a jackhammer, straight through my heart, so long ago. Only one person can. But I’ll get to that.

Fast forward fifteen years and you will come to a woman who seems to be joyful. Seems to have everything. A gorgeous, loving husband who dotes on me and provides well for us, wonderful healthy children, a house, a nice neighborhood. Lets just say my blessings are abundant. But over the last year I have become that shell of a girl again. I’m not going to go into the details here, because I just can’t. All I can say is that I was looking to friendships for more security than I should have given any human. And no human is infallible. I was not the victim of cruelty again. No one hurt me on purpose. But because I am the product of hurts I never overcame, the damage from lost friendships was extensive this last year. Even recently I became obsessed with this silly blog. I crazily kept track of any visitors or comments several times a day, looking to complete STRANGERS to fill up my cup, to want me, to like me, to desire my friendship. I lived like this every day. Every day until Saturday.

The lessons I learned changed my life. I’m like cake batter that has been finally baked and I’ll never be able to be batter again. Now when someone looks at me and thinks “She’s got it all!” it will be the truth. Its not the “all” they will think it is, they will assume my all is purely material, all that is purely related to my kids and husband, all that is my home. But they will be wrong. I have it all because I finally let God be my all. I’ve been a Christian almost my entire life. I asked Jesus to live in my heart and be my Saviour when I was 6. But I never once let him be- All. I had a lot of “if only’s” in my life.
If only Alex made more money, then I would be happy.
If only I lived near my family, then I would be happy.

If only my baby had lived, then I would be happy.
If only I could lose this baby weight, then I would be happy.
If only I had a friendship like theirs, then I would be happy.
If only I had a cute purse like her’s, then I would be happy.
But I’m here to tell you today that none of that ever would have made me feel ok, let alone happy. I was searching for someone to fill up my hole and seal my cracks, searching everywhere. And I had Him all along. The crying puddle my husband had to scrape up off the floor countless times, never had to be there in the first place. I have been telling myself lies my entire life. And my future only holds truth. I’ve been lying to myself about my worth to people and I will lie no longer. If I don’t ever have a storybook relationship, a Donald to my Mickey, a Thelma to my Louise, a Laurel for my Hardy, that will be okay. I will be okay. Because I have the one friend that will last forever. He made me to be a woman of worth when I was born. So without further ado,
Beth Moore’s 6 Characteristics of a Secure Woman: Inspired by Ephesians 4:17-24
*Insecurity is unbelief (Beth)- Unbelief that I am not the woman God created me to be. I will not have unbelief in my heart and mind any longer.
*”You must not live like the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking….22-Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught to put off your old self which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires.”
1. A Secure woman is saved from herself
~our minds have an idolotrous self interest and we have been saved from it. I am in bondage to my own narcissism. I have been saved, cleansed. I do not have to be obsessed with myself and my relationships any longer. I am not in bondage any longer to things from my past that I cannot change.
2. A secure woman is entitled to Truth
~Eph. 4:19- “…so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more” My obsession and insecurity was making me think only of myself. Now picture your mother standing over you waving her finger saying, “You’ve been taught better than that!” I have been taught better. I’ve been studying the Bible my whole life. I have been given Truth. The Truth is my power to quit, be it obsessions with people or food, alcohol, cleanliness, weight, beauty, whatever.
3. A secure woman is clothed with intention
~Proverbs 21 states that we are to be clothed in strength and dignity. I have been clothing myself in anything it takes for someone to like me. I need to be clothed in strength- When I don’t FEEL secure, I need to be strong enough to be secure in my mind first, then take the first step, then I will feel. Mind-Feet-Emotions. “I am not the woman I was yesterday. I am going to put the new me back on and try this again.” -Beth Moore (and my new anthem) .
4. A secure woman is upended by Grace
~Eph. 4:32: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.”
~”Secure women forgive more easily because they are not so easily offended.” Take a second, read that again.
~God made us new by grace and we need to finally be convinced of it. As Beth said “You have not out-sinned me! And I am forgiven!” We have been forgiven by God’s grace and in order to be secure we have to be able to give that grace and forgiveness to others as well as forgive ourselves, then move on!
~Insecurity is a huge, massive monster that overtakes us, it consumes us. And we cannot afford to let it do it any more. I cannot afford for it to be what my three daughters watch in me, learn from me, live because of me. I will no longer let it consume me.
5. A secure woman is Rebounded by Love
~Eph. 5:1-2: “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
~I will not be secure until I live like the loved child I am!
~We are to be imitators of God
~If a heart does not heal and forgive it builds up the scar tissue of bitterness and hardens. I cannot give love to anyone if my heart is hard. This means letting go of hurts caused me by other people. I am not responsible for anyone’s heart but my own.

*********My cup is already full. I do not need anyone to fill it!!! I have been given an all consuming love that fills my hole, seals my cracks and overflows. My overflow is what I can give to other people.***********

6. A secure woman is Exceptional in Life

~”You will stick out like a healthy thumb in this culture” (Beth). I will raise my daughters and son to stick out and be the exception. We will be different. We will be irresistable.

~I want the world to say about us:

“Everyone gossips- except those Marks women”
“Everyone wears skimpy clothes- except those Marks women”
“Every woman feels a need to look after themselves first- except those Marks women.”
“Every woman watches/listens to this-except those Marks women.”
“Everyone gets drunk and parties once in a while- except those Marks women.”
“Everyone is insecure about their looks- except those Marks women.”
“What is it about those Marks women that makes them so happy and kind.”

And if my daughters come to me and give me “except” statements I will respond- “Praise God you are the exception!” “Praise God you are secure enough and loved enough not to do all that.”

I will live differently today than I did last week. I will live differently tomorrow, next week, next year. I am not so naive to think that I will not have hard days, or not ever be hurt again, or slip into old insecurities. But I certainly will respond differently. I won’t wallow any longer. I will put the new me back on and try again. Because God made me. Knew me inside my mother, formed me, planned more love for me than I can ever get from anyone else. Sent His Son to die for me out of his love. I’m not about to let my son die for me or anyone else! Can you imagine that kind of love that made that kind of sacrifice possible? I can at least take the love that has been offered and let that be enough in my life from now on.


He Found It Today

This joyful face
Do you have a toy in your house that when you bought it you said to yourself “this will be so fun!!”?
The toy that you have since hid in various locations around your house because as it turns out, it is the most obnoxious idea you have ever come up with and cannot fathom what you were thinking as you excitedly watched as the cashier beeped it across the scanner, took it home, snuck upstairs past the kids, wrapped it up and hid it for the special day, and waited with much anticipation as the child unwrapped said gift?
The toy that about 5 minutes after opening, your heart sunk into you slippers because you realized that it is going to bring MASSIVE amounts of joy to your child, but MASSIVE amounts of Tylenol to yourself?

I have that toy.
And today Donovan found it….
And it brought the expected joy to his sweet little face.
Seriously, in the history of man there has not been a bigger smile on a 16 month old little boy. This is because my son LOVES to make noise. And I relish most of his noises with glee. His “mom mom mom’s” with his lips sucked in. His cute little tongue sticking out as he blows raspberries. His hysterical laugh. He even makes noise in his sleep, I love how slow and calm his breathing gets. Clapping his hands. Its usually all good. Not this.

What is the toy from the depths of Hades you wonder?

A set of real maraccas.

Yep. You read right. This reasonably intelligent woman, and her husband (if we are placing blame fairly) decided once upon a time that since our kids love music so much we could have a seriously kickin’ family band! The new generation Partridge Family! Take a step back Osmonds, because here comes the Marks Family! Von Trapps, you’ve got nothing on us! This is what we were thinking standing in front of a plethera of instruments shortly before Christmas.

The first 3 minutes Alex and I were the proud parents of our newest band member, 4 minutes a little less, 5 minutes we looked across the sea of crumpled wrapping paper with identical looks of horror. As our vulcan mind connection turned on we realized then what we got ourselves into. Simultaneously I distracted the child with another fun gift while he stealthily snuck the maraccas out of the room.

Today, Donovan found them. And as anticipated he LOVED them. And I smiled hugely at the joy the fantastic noise brought to his face. Then I remembered, how not fun they are after a few minutes. For me. How nothing like these maraccas has ever brought on a headache as fast.

Then he hit me on the head with it….. and it was time for the maraccas to make a mysterious disappearance once again.

Do you have a toy like this?

To Tell the Truth….

*I bring disinfectant gel everywhere, however if I’m dealing with a day where Donovan doesn’t want to stop yelling at me and he drops his skittle on the ground, I pretend I didn’t see it happen as he pops it back in his mouth.

*I don’t buy organic, but I also don’t buy canned. Fresh or frozen is good enough for me.*I don’t use cloth diapers or wipes, but I did breastfeed my babies and I recycle all of our plastic, aluminum, glass and paper

*I’m the mom at the park another blogger described this week that made me chuckle. The reason? I have daughters who don’t care if they don’t match or have their hair brushed, I rarely remember kleenex, and sometimes have to use the kid in question’s shirt, I’m the one constantly doing a roll-call to make sure no one has run off with my runny nosed, screechy, giggling, gorgeous, hilarious, mismatchedkids

*I drag them out of the park because they can’t possibly leave before all the fun has been had.

*I’m not crafty, but I love to buy others’ crafty items

*My family photos are all on my computer, not printed, not organized and certainly not in a scrapbook. Scrapbooking terrifies me. I would pay someone to scrapbook for me.

*My son rarely wears matching socks, I just can’t find his matching, clean socks.

*This morning I pretended to be asleep as my 7 year old daughter got her baby brother out of his crib, carried him downstairs, put him in his highchair and gave him a bottle. When I didn’t hear any crying, I went back to sleep all the way.

I have my moments of Mom Greatness and Perfection. We made it to storytime at the library, I got up and was Happy and I Knew It, as the other moms sat in their chairs. I found my Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes and Addison and Donovan may have loved my participation or may have had their first ever moments of mommy humiliation. But at the time, they had huge grins, giggled and clapped for more and that is the best reward I could ever receive. While I needed ubsurd amounts of coffee to make it through the week, I was able to ooh and ahh over every new tulip bloom with them, stare transfixed at a tiny window to the ballet studio as my little ladies danced and wiggled to “Mr. Postman,.” I got countless hugs and kisses this week, and consoled a daughter who got one wrong math problem. I pretended to chase my baby boy for the sheer, innocent, unbridled laugh that can only come from one so young and carefree, who thinks I am ridiculously funny. I have my moments. Moments of mommy perfection. Not because I achieve perfection, but because BEING a mommy IS perfection.

Then Alex came home, dipped me for a kiss in the kitchen and I achieved wife perfection. Its been a horrendously hard week. But it was a good week.

Life, and other messy pursuits Part 1

Climbing lilac trees with Popsicle in hand, that takes talent

Popsicles that drip down faces, arms and shirts… ahh Spring time at last!

First Hair cuts: Before

…with a bottle for the “holding still” bribe. He looks very unsure doesn’t he?
A shoe that spent an entire Winter in a tree…. I’ve no idea how Layla got it there, she says she didn’t do it.

Quotes From Spring Break

~Izzy who is my early, early riser and usually wakes up at 6 a.m.:

“Mom, you will never believe what happened to me this morning! I woke up at 7:23!!”

~Layla as we are driving to Sam’s Club, waving her arms over her head to a song:

“Mom, I just can’t make my smile go down!” (as she is using her fingers to push her smile down)

~Addison, 3 years old, at dinner:
“May I be acoosed? Do you mind I give dis noodle to Donovan?” (as she holds out her pointer finger with a spaghetti noodle stuck to it)