Pretty Boxes and Bows

How does one go two months without communicating here? 

How does one go two months undisciplined?

How does one go two months without communicating with their God?

Now…its been less than two months since God and I have talked but…the discipline part?  Yeah…not so good.

So much is happening…its all good but its essential to connect here…with myself…with you.

Im sorry Ive been out of touch..the emails requesting the next entry were so nice and encouraging!!

See…I was pouting.

I went to my small group weeks ago and I was rambling about past addictions, etc and I said “I dont know what my point is..” and the facilitator says…”You like everything in a box with a pretty little bow” 

Back the bus up, sister…What did you say to me?!??!  ME!!

Thats right.  I’m guilty…but I was angry for the exposure, for sure!!! 

After my group was over, I went to my car, steaming, and called my husband…poor guy.  I asked him..”Do I like everything in a pretty little box with a bow?”  There was an extended pause and he says to me…”You know I cant win here, right?”  After I had assurred him there was no consequence to his answer..LOL…he said “Yes.” 

Huh.

So I pouted.  I did nothing.  I found myself asking myself if my whole life was about one single effort to control…things, people, my family, myself, my circumstances…etc…what couldnt I control?  Hmm…what a list….an exhausting list.

See…I could sit here and explain to you all my past hurts…abuse from relationships, rape, rejection, death of those close to me…yeah…its happened…

I could sit here and explain to you all my acting out…promiscuity, addiction, being in relationships I had no business being in….the list could continue…

But as I sit now…weeks after this conversation in my small group…its true.  Whatever the issues were in my past or present…I have done everything I could to control life so that those things wouldnt happen again.  So I wouldnt get hurt again…so I wouldnt get rejected again….So my children wouldnt have to experience any hurt, pain, you name it.  Of course how realistic that is is ridiculous but in my mind…it made sense.  Somewhere in my mind, I had it all worked out…and was exhausting myself in the process.  Still do some days.

I think about the years raising my children without a man in my life…or rather, raising my children without the exposure to the men in my life…hmmm….Let me just stop right here…I knew my sin…and kept my children from the men I dated, etc because I knew they werent the best for them…but I didnt give myself the same value…really.  I would date good men and bad but they could never come to my house, my kids couldnt meet them unless I had dated them for a LONG time first and they never had an exposure to my life outside of them….I KNEW it wasnt the best for them…yet I did it.  I controlled their exposure…in this respect, I think it was good…but I didnt control my exposure..hmmm….value…I sure didnt have much for myself, did I?

So is this rambling about control or value…for the sake of time, lets tackle the control portion but in some respect I think both play into what Im saying about my epiphany…

I have lived my entire life trying to control things.  At times Ive been bossy, manipulative, strong handed…and at times, it was just doing something so it “got done right the first time”.  It doesnt matter if its work, home, ministry, etc…I delegate well…I just always thought it was better done if I did it myself.  People would say “What a great leader you are!!”  and I would know that while the task got done well…my motives werent always a pure as they may have thought.  It was never ill-intended…well, most of the time, anyway…but it certainly was an attempt to control the outcome, final result or consequences.   As a child, I always weighed what I felt the outcome was going to be before I would do something…as an adult, it carried over tremendously.  My husband noted something to me recently and while I wont quote it here, it clearly showed me my pattern of control.  I love him dearly but in love, he can bring the pain!!! Ouch!!! LOL!!! 

I look at the tug-of-war that I have allowed between my servant heart and my need to control and boy, am I tired!! 

I was created to give, serve, love, etc…why am I fighting against this?

I could give you countless examples of control but perhaps this rambling is already resonating within your own heart.  In what areas do you need to share the responsibility?  In what areas can you delegate and leave in someone else’s hands…In what areas can we trust our spouses to handle something, even if it doesnt turn out like we would have done it? 

Something to think about…

I’m sweeping for freedom…and my need for control is in the dust pan….

Is yours?

I dont have the answers…and Im still asking questions…but my dialogue with God is changing…and I am listening and seeking His direction in healing my need for pretty boxes and bows.

I’m praying for you.

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8 thoughts on “Pretty Boxes and Bows

  1. wow….(I say with tears in my eyes)….
    Not only have I seen and experienced this…I have clearly made very similar choices. Some of my reasoning was the same…I would protect myself and my son from different things no matter what it cost myself or my child…
    My approach was a little different than yours…at least for the first 13 years of my life….
    I dated noone. Literally, I dated not one man after being blessed with an amazing son. not one for almost 13 years.
    There I sat. Single. Alone.Overwhelmed with emotions. I had been blessed with this lovely, precious little baby. He seemed so little and small and helpless. So weet. So trusting. His love so unconditional and complete. How could I protect him? Raise him? Teach him? In my own eyes I had deemed myself as not “strong, educated, or intelligent” enough to handle it. Thankfully, I was wrong. My son will be 16 next montha dn I could not be prouder. Yes it has good days and bad days. Living with a teenager is never easy,but brings so much to your life. I look back and I am so greatful to have had the opportunity to raise him. No longer scared. No longer alone. What a priviledge and a joy it has been to raise him. Now the struggle is to guide him to adulthood as I slowly pull back and redefine myself. watching him transform into a young man who surpasses what I thought he would be. He is so much more.
    Like many single women, who find themselves raising a child alone, I was bruised and broken. Sadly I was not even aware of it for a very long time…
    Ironically it was somewhere in the midst of my healing process and searching through my past that the Lord brought you back into my life. Boy, Did THAT really awaken some things! Wow! LOL!! Very needed my friend. Its unlikely that anyone else could have walked through the last part of the path of pain with me. Specifically the pain of my past. You were by my side when I was making a lot of those decisions. You saw so much of it. Your ability to see through me then as well as now. You know me well. No matter how painful, I will always seek the truth. You are one person, who will always answer my questions with truth. Even when you know its not what I want to hear. At times knowing I was not ready to hear. Still listerning and digesting the information with God.
    Its interesting, how in the midst of fear and insecurity, the front we put up for others to see. The blame we place. The blame I placed on others.Yes I had my own issues with abuse. I was victimized by many people in my life, but as an adult I could no longer blame the past that had brought me there.
    Oh, I had plenty of what I thought were reasons for excusing my poor choices and behavior. In reality they were merely excuses.
    As a parent, I battle. The fear of parenting like my mother so strong, it keeps me from doing what I know I need to do. Not wanting to be as hard on my son as my mother was on me..not wanting him to turn out like my brother. In reality, I am realizing as with everything else all I can do is try. All of us are someones child. From our parent’s to God’s. We have the same DNA, really how much can I do different? Yes, there is a lot I can do different. This poses the question as to whether or not I give myself the space for growth I desire so strongly to give others. I really dont cut myself the slack I do everyone else. Always desiring to believe the best in them. I realize, at times I have seen only the worst in myself. Going the extreme in the other direction. Instead of placing blame on others, I accept the full blame.
    I can say for me specifically this topic hits to my core. Sends me looking back up for answers. Solutions. Things I clearly have not even begun to tackle. That process of letting go and letting god sounds so incredibly simple. Its a constant never ending struggle. It keeps us humbled. It keeps me looking up. One thing I do know, apart from God there is very little I can do.

    • Thank you for sharing your heart, Liz..really…Your transparency is so beautiful!! I have been honored to watch you grow and surrender yourself to the healing process, no matter how difficult its been and wow, girl..awesome stuff! I believe in you, keep sweeping!!

  2. I don’t pretend to be the most insightful man on the planet; far from it. We only had one missions trip together, and other than a few internet exchanges since then, all I’ve had to go by are the perceptions I’ve carried around since.
    The person I met there, and the one I’ve been communicating with from time to time since then is the beautiful servant of God, and not the control person you have described in your post. I suppose in ways we all box ourselves up for others. Men don’t use pretty boxes and colorful bows. We tend to package ourselves inside of our triumphs, and mask over our failures. It’s the same dance, just choreographed differently.
    If you don’t mind my saying, the control person you described fit my late wife to a tee. She was the consummate servant outside the home, and viewed by most of her friends at church as the greatest servant they had ever met. After her death, I wasn’t able to count the number of women who came up to me saying, “Your wife was my best friend”; “What a beautiful servant she was” etc., etc.; ad infinitum. Most of my experience was living with a woman who was truly driven by the pain of many hurts from early childhood, sexual abuse as a teenager, and a horrible first marriage.
    One of my greatest satisfactions, however, is the fact that she had her own epiphany, and was truly able to find out who she was in God, within the last year of her life, and that last year proved to be one of the best years of our twenty two year marriage. (I’m not in any way being prophetic here.) 😉
    This may be an oversimplification, but I believe our ultimate peace in this life is to know that “Jesus loves me this I know, for the bible tells me so”. Really, what else is there? You’re a beautiful woman, and I’m richer for having met you. I feel honored to have a window into your “rantings”, which are no rantings at all.

    • George, Youve left me speechless. God is so good and I consider myself amongst the luckieest of people to have traveled to Swaziland and met you. I learned much from your example in the weeks we were there and continue to learn now through the kindness of your words.

      Pastor Troy says sometimes, I am one beggar showing anothing beggar food….and through your comment, Ive been fed. Thank you.

  3. You are such an open, strong, and beautiful woman. I think, during life, when we have gone through numerous heartaches it is easy to become hurt by criticism from people we respect. As I get older, other’s criticism of me, is really irrelevent. Perhaps, this person had good intentions. Perhaps, they assisted you with noticiing something about yourself that you had not noticed before. Scientifically, people usually point out in others what is usually going on within them.

    Either way, I am very sensitive too to certain things…..as YOU well know.

    I’m coming to learn that it’s not about the decisions that we’ve made and whether or not they were right or wrong. All of those events happened for a reason and shaped us into the beautiful people we are. There was an old saying in my family “If you’re perfect you’re dead”.

    I kept Abby from people that I dated. Not because they were shady or that I should not have been going out with them but because I was protecting her. I think that’s a healthy way to handle dating as a single parent! I don’t see that as fault I see it as you being a GOOD mom.

    It sounds like you are your worst critic. It sounds like you have let people tell you that you are less than you are. I’m just guessing because I know when people said hurtful things to me – I believed them and still have to double back and tell myself they were wrong. I don’t want to put in my $.02 as if I know everything. But, I wanted to send my thoughts on the situation. I don’t think ANY of us can live up to someone else’s expectation of us. If you like things in boxes with pretty little bows…then that is you….and it shouldn’t be criticized it should be seen as a character trait to love about you. I think it’s just all in our mind set. You know? The glass is either half full or half empty. I don’t know……..this sums it up for me:

    Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    • I tell you, Kristen…its an effort at times to change the tape and the words that play in our heads and I look forward to the day that the voices arent so loud. Your input is of such value to me and I appreciate your throughfulness and care in the words you share. I love quotes and the ones you share here are so applicable to what I write about and I just want to say thank you.

  4. Well Wow. Good for you Brenda! I know this writing is a part of your healing and letting go of the past. It sure has been for me – to live in freedom of authenticity – not always an easy route – much easier to live behind the facade of “no problems” and keep up appearances – but after a while – if you are like me – it gets too heavy to carry it. It took a major event in my life to “wake me up” – but wake me up it did! And I won’t go back. I’ve learned who my friends are – and those that make me doubt myself – or feel bad – I don’t have in my life anymore – end of story. I’m proud of you! ♥

    • Cindy, Your words mean more than I could convey…so often I look to you and your amazing way of dealing with or responding to a situation and pray that I could be consistently as graceful under pressure. Im a work in progress for sure but look forward to whats to come when freedom comes..Thank you!!

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