Let’s Get Real…

Funny, as I typed in the above title I misspelled “Real” as “Read”.  That could be a whole other post – the books I’ve read that guided me, encouraged me, challenged me, or just let me veg in another person’s (character’s) world.  Having just wrapped up the Harry Potter series with my 10-year-old daughter, I can say that I love living in Harry’s world and love returning to it through my kids. (Who am I kidding… my reading it with The Bean was my fifth or sixth time through the series and I’m on my sixth or seventh trip through now with The Boy, age 6, as we’re halfway through Chamber of Secrets.)

BUT… that’s a post for another time.  Today, let’s get real.

The thought of being real has really struck me this week. A friend, who attends Two Rivers Church in New Bern, NC has been posting a picture of herself immediately after waking up up all this week. It was a challenge from their preacher this past Sunday to post a photo of oneself (quoting her post on FB this morning) “All laid bare. No makeup. No staging. No fixed hair. No filters.” Are you brave enough to participate in such a challenge?  Am I?

On Monday I started #TheLittleWay Challenge. Already, on Friday, I’m failing.  I missed Day 1 all together and made it up on Day 2 while participating in Day 2. However, I haven’t gotten a single physical work out in!  I have upped my water take (some, but not enough to pee too often, so obviously failing at that) and I’ve tried to choose better things to eat (but I’ll admit that the family discovered my stash of reese’s cups miniatures and peanut butter m&ms and I restocked my jar with reese’s eggs last night).
On Monday, the Bible Study group I’ve barely attended for nearly a YEAR (say what?) started Beth Moore’s David study and I met our leader on Tuesday to get the book and still haven’t done a single day’s homework. Every time I sit down to do it I get interrupted by a little one. I used to get up at 5 AM and haven’t been able to get up when the alarm went off. A year ago, I was the substitute if the leader couldn’t be there.

A year ago, I was less than a month away from turning 40, which I celebrated with a 5K Run with a couple friends (and a cool El Patron party hosted by my brother & husband). I ran my first 10K in March 2018 and then fell completely off the running wagon shortly after. I haven’t donned running clothes in over 6 months and, while I miss it, I cannot get up with the alarm to go meet the best running gals a girl could ask for.  They’ve left me in their dust, moving on to a half and (I’ve heard rumor of) a full marathon run this year.  I’m already signed up for the same 10K and desperately need to start training, but just cannot seem to get up. The best solution is to run WITH my kids after they get off the bus… but I’ve only done that one day and then failed at that.

Now, before you go jumping on me for getting down on myself – I promise, I’m not wallowing. And, no, I can’t push off any of these areas of letting myself down on losing my daddy to cancer in November. I’d started slacking off long before his brain cancer diagnosis on 8/4 and his passing on 11/5.

I’m just in a slump of epic proportions and can’t seem to pull myself out of it.
AND. THAT’S. OKAY.  It’s okay to not be okay. It’s the whole reason I named this blog what I did – Ministering Through My Mess. Because life is messy and being a Christian doesn’t make it less so. I fail and Jesus picks me up, dusts me off, and sets me back on the path.
I shared this image on Facebook & Instagram this morning…
jesus compass
It had been posted by Jennifer Dukes Lee from her book, It’s All Under Control: A Journey of Letting Go, Hanging On, and Finding a Peace You Almost Forgot Was Possible.
I ordered the Kindle version of the book and can’t wait to read it after I finish the book I’m currently on.

How many times do we ask for God to lead us, but refuse to follow?
How many times does my 4:15 alarm (running) have to go off or my 5:15 alarm (Bible Study) have to chime before I stop hitting ignore and get my rear end out of bed?
I don’t know that answer yet… but maybe posting this confession here will help with my motivation.

In an effort to live out my #OneWord2019 SHINE, I promise to be REAL – to be AUTHENTIC. I feel like, as a Christian, authenticity is one of the best character traits I can have. Being honest when I fail – or when I’m not okay.
I wouldn’t describe myself as a stellar wife (and darling husband only would to not bring me shame). I wouldn’t describe myself as a stellar mom (ask The Bean about that – our battle this morning could convince you). I am definitely not a stellar house keeper – a reason we rarely host people in our house. So what am I good at? Well, I WANT to be a light for Christ and I hope that as I journey through 2019 that I’ll become more and more a beacon for God to use. I want to shine so brightly that other “wonder what [I’ve] got”.

To quote a Newsboys song… “Shine. Make ’em wonder what you’ve got. Make ’em wish that they were not on the outside looking bored. Shine. Let it shine before all men. Let’em see good works, and then let ’em glorify the Lord.”

Now… Time to get real – Where are your pictures just waking up?
(Just kidding)

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One Word – 2019

SHINE

Matthew 5:16 (NASB)
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

I have struggled to come up with my #OneWord2019. For 2017 and 2018, my word was Pause. I have a pretty good temper and I often don’t pause before reacting. This happens mostly at home, and I haven’t perfected it, but after two years, I’ve definitely gotten better and I wanted a new word for 2019.
In my funk yesterday, a friend suggested I claim the word “Grace”. She said, “Grace to allow yourself to grieve, love, hurt, hope, and find new joy.” It was an excellent suggestion!
But, as my funk started yesterday, the word SHINE crossed my mind. I scowled at myself and told myself I didn’t feel like shining just then… but the word grew on me.

Daddy’s calendar on 12/26/18 said,
“We are all broken. That’s how the light gets in.”
I called mama and read it to her and she said, “That’s also how God’s light gets out of us.” (Woman is brilliant, by the way.)

Whoa! The idea of my own brokenness being the best way I minister as been a theme in my life for years. My blog (which I’d love to be my career, but I don’t take the time to do create in a way to get paid sponsors) is called “Ministering Through My Mess”.

WE ARE ALL BROKEN! Eve and Adam broke us and we’ve been broken ever since, but God uses our brokenness to reach other broken people. Our healing and survival through our brokenness is what makes us stronger…

I have loved Kintsugi for YEARS (though I don’t own any yet). Kintsugi (金継ぎ, “golden joinery”), also known as Kintsukuroi (金繕い, “golden repair”), is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-e technique.

I am a broken person – I’ve made bad decisions. I’ve been hurt and I’ve hurt other people. But My God isn’t broken and he uses my experiences to help others. While many Christian churches (and ministers) refer to Jesus’ broken body, only the King James Version uses the word “broken” in reference to Jesus’ physical body. The KJV words 1 Corinthians 11:24 “And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.”
The KJV was used for so long that the idea of Jesus’ body being broken has held on. Even I thought the scripture was worded that way in each translation until I started really looking into the wording. In every other translation I checked, Jesus is quoted saying that His body is given for us.
It is important in scripture to know that not a single bone in Jesus’ body was every broken. This is crucial because he was the PERFECT sacrifice for us – for our sins.
But he did suffer great cruelty and physical abuse as he made his way to the cross. From the moment that the people called for him to die and Barabbas to be released, he was beaten and mocked.

Anyway – as usual, I’ve digressed. God uses MY brokenness to minister to others. God doesn’t look for perfection. One of my favorite lists is that of the other broken people God used in the Bible…
Jacob was a cheater, Peter had a temper, David had an affair, Noah got drunk, Jonah ran from God, Paul was a murderer, Gideon was insecure, Miriam was a gossip, Martha was a worrier, Sarah was impatient, Moses stuttered (we believe), Rahab was a prostitute, and Lazarus was dead.
If God can use the list above for his glory, then God can certainly use my boy-crazy teenage self, my rush into marriage at 21, my subsequent divorce, my temper, my occasional bad word, my struggle as a parent, and so on, and so on…
I want to use 2019 to SHINE God’s light out of myself so that others will want God in themself, too. Standing on a box and shouting about end times will not bring someone to Christ, but my life reflecting HIM just may.
May God, shining INTO my brokenness and filling my cracks – repairing my brokenness with HIM, make me a vessel to be used by Him for His Glory. MAY HIS GLORY SHINE OUT OF ME.

Matthew 5:16 (NASB)
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

shine - kintsugi lamps