Music Monday, er… Tuesday: Just Be Me

just be meLaura StoryJust Be Me

(listen on Spotify or Godtube)

I’ve been doing all that I can
To hold it all together, piece by piece
I’ve been feeling like a failure
Trying to be braver
Than I could ever be
It’s just not me

So be my hero, be my comfort
Be my peace
Cause I can be broken
I can be needy, Lord I need you now
To be, be my God
So I can just believe

I’ve been living like an orphan
Trying to belong here
But it’s just not my home
I’ve been holding on so tightly
To all the things that I think
Will satisfy my soul
But I’m letting go

So be my father, my mighty warrior
Be my king
Cause I can be scattered, forever shattered
Lord I need you now to be
Be my God so I can just be me

Cause I was lost
In this dark world
Till I was finally found in you
So now I’m needing, desperately pleading
Oh Lord be all to me

So be my Savior, be my lifeline
Won’t you be my everything?
Cause I’m so tired
Of trying to be someone
I was never meant to be
Be my God, please
Be my God so I can just be me
So I can just be me
I can just be me

 

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” And so we try. We try to be strong. We try to be brave. We try to find a solution. We try to work the plan. We try to smile. We try not to be needy.

And we fail. We stumble. We fall. We crumble under it all.

“I just can’t do it anymore, God!”

“You were never meant to, my Love. I am your God. Let me be strong and brave. Let me work out my plan. Let me be God. And you just be you – who I created you to be. Trust. Rest.”

When life gives you lemons, hand them to God.

Give the lemons to God

“Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” (I Peter 5:6,7).

________________________________________________________________

In the conservative circle in which I grew up, contemporary Christian music was not allowed. After marrying, I began to listen to a CCM radio station. Much of my spiritual growth since then can be attributed to the many CCM artists and the songs they write. There is truth in those words and power in their music.

If music means as much to you as it does to me, you might want to check out Spotify. This music program allows you to search for particular songs and save them to playlists, allowing you to listen to your music whenever you wish. Best yet, it’s free. (It will require you to download their music program to your computer, but I promise it will not download any junk.) You can find all the songs highlighted in Music Mondays at the Recovered Identity Spotify playlist.

 

*photo credits: savannah, lemons

Two Powerful Stories of Freedom

freedom from the church and depressionEvery once in a while, I come across an article or story that just sticks with me, and I just can’t get it out of my head. I find myself pondering on it as I go through my day. Here are a couple of that I can’t help but share.

 

I can across this personal story by Maren Stephenson over a year ago, and I haven’t forgotten it since…. A story of a religious Mormon couple who dared to question their faith… a story of their journey out of a pointless religion.

“I don’t believe in God,” my husband whispered in the darkness of our bedroom.

Before I could process what I was saying, forbidden words slipped off my tongue. “You are more important to me than the Church,” I said.

I wondered what my pioneer ancestors would say if they could hear me…. (Read More)

I hope that one day they ask the question, “What if the church is a fraud, but God is not?” I hope they begin a journey to finding out who God really is and who they are because of Him. But for now, I’m glad they found their way, and I am proud of their courage to defy religion.

 

I came across this brave story this weekend. You’ve probably heard of Ruth’s blog Living Well, Spending Less, but you may not have known her background. She is not your “ho-hum, always had a perfect life” blogger. Her story is one of tremendous trials and black, black days. But with the help of her earthly father and her Heavenly Father, she made it through. She tells her story on her blog.

Eleven and a half years ago, I woke up in a panic, unable to breathe, with  some unknown object blocking my airway.  The only thing that mattered was  getting it out as quickly as possible.

I soon found out—as the alarms began sounding and my ICU hospital room  instantly filled with a half-dozen stunned doctors–that the thing I had just  pulled out of my throat was the ventilator keeping me alive…. (Read More)

What a story of the sweet amazing grace of an all-sovereign God!

 

*photo credits: temple, prescription

Three Benefits of a Recovered Identity

Our idnetity is something we investigate.“To thine own self be true,” said Polonius in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

But why? Why should we know and embrace who we are?

Why not just follow the masses? It’s more popular that way.

Why not just live the average Joe life with a white picket fence and money in the bank? Is the American dream, after all.

A knowledge of our identity is not something we’re born with. It’s also not something we just know by the time we’re grown up. It’s something that must be learned, in the same way that we learn how to walk, how to read, how to add, how to tie out shoes, how to cook, and how to drive.

We research. We investigate. We experiment. We review. We repeat the truths over and over again until it is mastered.

Quite frankly, it’s a lot of work, and we’re constantly bombarded by things that try to distract us or confuse us or outright lie to us. But it’s worth every minute of effort.

Three Benefits of a Recovered Identity

1. It gives clarity and purpose to your days. From our first breath, the average human being possesses 28,835 days on this earth. Days to be spent.

Like money, these days can be spent on anything from “cheap crap” to investing in great riches.

You can buy a cheap plastic toy from the dollar store and it’s only a dollar, but it will break by the end of the week. True. it was only a dollar, but it’s a dollar you will never get back. In the same way, you can give a day to a mediocre life (or even a life of “hell”). But chances are, it will break down or dissatisfy you. And while it may only be a day, you’ll never get it back. The more days you spend this way, the fewer you have left.

Would you not rather spend every day you have on a life lived to its fullest, embracing your place in this world…in history.. in this thing we call life?

Be sure to check out Robert D.’s video for a visual of our days.

2. It proves that we own nothing and are owned by nothing. When we realize we have a reason to live, it gives us a sense of purpose, and only one thing becomes important… that purpose.

There are beautiful gifts that we enjoy along the way, such as family, a roof over our heads, a bed to sleep on. And while they may enhance or compliment our purpose, they are only gifts. We do not own them. They are not part of who we are. And they could be taken away at anytime without any warning.

In the same way, nothing owns us. Not our possessions. Not our money (or lack of it). Not any other person. Not any difficult circumstance or situation. If we are here for a purpose, than we belong solely to that purpose and nothing or no one can keep us from that.

3. It gives both confidence and humility. Like super heroes just discovering their secret powers, we see our abilities and strengths in a brand new way. We see them as assets to success… ways to reach our goals and to accomplish our purpose in life.

At the same time, it opens our eyes to the individuality of those around us… our spouse, our children, our brothers, sisters, co-workers, friends, the common stranger. And we realize we’re all super heroes. We all have abilities.

And suddenly we’re consumed with a confident, humble desire to somehow convince the earth’s inhabitants just how incredible they are.

Nothing you’ve learned in life came without some amount of effort. Most of us have never completely mastered a skill overnight. You will bleed, sweat, and cry your way through this journey to finding yourself, but I promise it will be worth every drop of blood, every drop of perspiration, and every tear.

 

*photo credit

The Post I Secretly Hope No One Notices

Fix It

In the five months this blog has been alive, I’ve had two goals. Inspire others to overcome everything that holds them back from living out who they are. And don’t make anyone mad.

Unfortunately, that’s not the way human nature works. We stay stagnant until someone is brave enough to slap us in the face and wake us up from our stupor.

So, here’s to making people mad. If it inspires even just one person, I’m ok with the rotten tomato brigade.

Today, I will stop trying to live by the popular Pinterest saying: “Be brave enough to tell your story, but polite enough not to tell the story of others.” Our lives as humans are so tightly twisted and mangled together, that that’s just simply impossible. You can’t tell a story of triumph without speaking of the darkness. But you can’t tell of the darkness without speaking of the person who caused it.

I’m on a journey to break through the darkness of a hostage identity. The one holding it hostage was my mother. She really messed me up.

“Yeah, well none of us had perfect parents,” you say. “At least you had a mom. At least she wasn’t a druggie prostitute living on the streets.”

Both of these statements are true, but there’s fallacy in the thinking.

If we’re honest, we don’t shrug our shoulders at our parents’ mistakes out of kindness, but out of fear. Fear of confrontation. Fear of drama. Fear of rejection. But mostly, fear of responsibility.

If we acknowledge their parenting failures, we’re forced to act upon that acknowledgement. We’re forced to confront the “messed up” parts of our life and fix them. We’re forced to take action to prevent making the same mistakes they made.

But here’s the rock solid truth: If you don’t stand up and acknowledge how your parents messed you up, no one else will. If you don’t fix what’s messed up, no one else will. Your parents cannot do that for you, no matter how many times they anguish, “I’m so sorry. Forgive me. I only did the best I could.”

So today, I’m taking my stand. I’m standing up on the wooden soap box in the park to say…

My mother made mistakes. These mistakes messed me up. It doesn’t matter if the mistakes were huge or small. What matters is I’ve spent the last 9 1/2 years trying to fix what’s messed up, and I’m not done yet. That’s huge.

I’m messed up because I spent every waking hour of my first 25 years of life doing exactly what she wanted, when she wanted, and how she wanted because it was my job to make her happy. It took me 9 years to even realize that this emotional control had polluted my thinking.

I’m messed up because my mom taught me that every.single.man had only one thing in mind: sex. And that they will take every opportunity to get it from any female body. She would stop our homeschool afternoon and drag us with her to my dad’s job site to make sure he wasn’t messing around. I struggle with trusting my husband a lot… I mean like beyond the normal trust things that come up in a marriage.

I’m messed up because my mom decided our family should join ATI. My dad went along with it to make her happy. She gave herself to following Bill Gothard and conservative family Christianity. She set up “standards” we had to follow so we could be Gothardy. I resisted, then fell for it, then resisted, then fell for it. Funny thing was, the only time I resisted was when I was away from my mother. The only time I began to fall for the legalism and strict authority focus was when I was home with my mom. Even in my 20’s, I submitted like a child to her rules and wishes, because Mr. G said that’s what a godly daughter does.

I’m messed up because my mom abused me physically and psychologically. She became the dictator, in the name of parenting. It’s made me so confused in my own parenting. I hate the concept of authority because of it. The recent realization that I am a teacher, and have no reason to even try to be a dictator, has been the most freeing thing to me as a parent. I’m so relieved. ‘Cause if being a mom means being a dictator, I can’t do it.

There’s many more ways I’m messed up, but that’s enough to get the point across.

woodcrates

I can’t just shrug my shoulders and excuse her with “she did the best she knew how” and “she was probably messed up by her parents too”. Excusing it doesn’t address the problem; it simply shrugs off responsibility.

Now don’t get me wrong. It’s not a blame game. I’m not throwing mud. I’m not lashing out. I’m just being honest and shouldering the responsibility to do something about it.

Now that I’ve realized it, stated it, and believe it, I have the power to change it. I see where I’m messed up. I realize why. Now, I can take the action to fix what’s broken and do my darnedest to mess up my kids a little less than the previous generation.

So stand up on your soap box. Admit how your parents messed you up, so you can fix it.

 

*photo credit

Two Blog Posts You absolutely MUST Read

balloons

Lately, while I’ve been loving the process of discovering my own “youness”, I’ve also been feeling a bit lacking. I can’t seem to manage to do everything that “everyone else” seems to be able to do. I’m not as skinny and in shape as other moms. I’m not as social as other moms manage to be. I’m not as on top of this blogging thing as other bloggers seem to be.

Today, an email from a blog I subscribe to set me back on track, reminding me that I’m not them. I’m not perfect. And that’s the beauty of it all. I’m me, and comparing myself to others only steals my you-ness.

Crystal from Money Saving Mom told the story of her envy of another blogger, only to find out that same woman envied her. At the end of her story, she also linked to a great post by Amy about not comparing everyone else’s outsides with your insides.

Read them both. You’ll be glad you did.

 

*photo credit

 

Snatch Up the Nuggets

goldnuggetMoving on… As if we simply turn our back on it and walk away. And yet that’s impossible.

The hurts, the mistakes, the wrongs, the struggles… We strive to move on and get past them in an effort to keep them from defining who we are.

But what if we’re going about it all wrong? What if, instead of trying to forget it and erase it’s effects, we embrace it… the pain and the mistakes… the tragedies we face in life?

It’s in the midst of hardship that we find the sweetness of life. It’s then that we dig the deepest, search the hardest, and rejoice the loudest over the tiniest glimmer of hope. These are precious, precious things. It’s this digging, searching, and finding that chisels away the “un-us” to reveal more of our true selves.

This reminds me of something I heard once. I don’t remember who said it. Probably someone from my ATI days that I’d rather not quote, but it’s true, none the less.

“Good and bad run on parallel tracks, and they often arrive at the same time.”

I’m not talking about a Pollyanna theology here, where if you just find the silver lining, the sadness will just go away. I’m talking about letting the hurt sink in. Letting the struggle take its course. And finding the good in the midst of it.

I read an excellent article this week over at Grace for Moms that speaks of this very thing. Donald Miller shares a very practical way of digging for the good in the midst of tragedy. I highly recommend reading what he has to say about finding a redemptive perspective.

So, don’t try to run away. Don’t waste your time with the giant eraser. It doesn’t work anyway. Embrace the tragedy. Find the gold nugget buried inside and let it bring out the best of who you really are.

 

*photo credit