A Dance in the Mess

I’m struggling to break free from my perfectionism, my unrealistic expectations, my stringent, legalistic ideals. What should my life be? A list of do’s and don’ts? A schedule to be followed? A perfectly regimented march? Keep in line, Jen, or face the consequences!! Hmmmmm, I’m beginning to wonder what those consequences are. Pain, disappointments, failure! I bet, yes. Laughter, joys, success. I bet too! What should my life be? Freedom to choose? A spontaneous adventure? The twirling dance of a free, creative spirit? A full breath of fresh air.

When I make a cake, I try to do so in the cleanest way possible. I avoid a mess. When my boys make a cake, it’s one big, swirling, laughing mess! The messy process is fun, something to be savored. Something to be embraced.

I wanna live like that!

What about you?


Off the Track

My youngest son loves trains. Literally whenever he sees one, his whole body responds. Eyes and mouth wide with amazement, shudders of excitement, arms and legs waving and kicking with joy, tiny fingers pointed, followed by sweet shouts of “Choooooo Chooooooo!” Even presented with only the remote possibility of getting a glimpse of one of these power movers, he will wait patiently, as near to the empty track that Mommy or Daddy will allow, for just that chance to experience that rush again. I would love to take him on a train. He hasn’t yet seen a train from the inside perspective, only as the standby observer, from a safe distance, off the track. He sees the train for one brief moment on its journey, never knowing where it came from,  where its going, or what its main purpose is.

I suppose life is like that. We are all traveling on a track toward something. Lately though, I’ve been wondering, is it ever possible that you can step off the track, maybe even get derailed, and become the observer….the one patiently waiting at the side of the track for that glimpse of another train steaming forward, full of power and purpose and focus….only to see it pass and disappear around the bend, leaving a sense of emptiness and longing. Longing to be on the track.

I’ll be honest, that’s me. I feel like wherever I turn there are people energetically focused, aware of purpose, filled with a dream, steaming toward a destination. If I work hard enough at it, I can remember when I had that much drive. What is easy, is remembering when I lost it. Sitting rather awkwardly across from a therapist, my eighteen year old self expressing fear of the possibility of dying young. Why? Because the focus and purpose for my life that I had built up in my still developing, inexperienced mind was crumbling before my very eyes. Only a couple of months into film school, a huge financial commitment, a mountain of expectations I could not live up to, physical and emotional exhaustion, confusion, and an overbearing desire to run. Run I did. Whether or not that dream was one God placed on my heart or not, my leaving, left a huge portion of me empty, lost, listless, off the track.

My desire to create stifled by fear and insecurity, I excelled in studying the creations of others. Artworks of the ancients became my passion. Perhaps the only time I felt focused on something so deeply, were those years earning my degree in Art History and Religious Studies. But, I could never see beyond that, never sum up a driving force to plow forward toward a goal. I studied for the sheer joy of learning, with no intentions.

I had taken on a “let life happen to me” attitude. Fast forward several years, my days are spent home, with our two little ones. Enduring tantrums, and the humdrum of housekeeping. I have experienced my small, private victories and accomplishments within our walls. Laughed and delighted in our boys and their silliness and zest for life. I have experienced the powerful fellowship of women who chose the same. Seen their passion for that choice. I’ve tried desperately to share in that feast with as much fervor, not even bothering to ask why I would.

But….yet still…as I see those around me moving forward in their lives, those working toward something, a focused point and passion, those living out their dreams….I can’t help but feel, I am off the track. My focus, purpose, dreams, were lost a long time ago I am afraid. I don’t know how to get them back.

Where are you? On the track or off?


I Am a Writer

I am a writer. No wait…I AM A WRITER! What does this mean? Does it mean I write for a living, that I’m a published author, a reporter…what? I am none of those things today. Does it mean I write because I want to, I love to, I can’t help it? Quite possibly.

For the next 15 days I am taking the Great Writer Challenge at Today, I face the challenge of declaring that I am a writer. This is no simple declaration. Who am I? My goodness, I haven’t even updated this blog in forever! Does that disqualify me from being a writer? Perhaps, if I allow it to.

In my mix of thoughts and emotions as I write this, fear and pride are my biggest walls to hurdle. Fear of criticism, ridicule, rejection and failure. Fear that I’m not good enough, that I am not what I declare. Fear that I am! Prideful in that I want to hide my inner self from the world, not allow others to see and assess or judge who I am. To hold on to some amount of dignity.

Despite it all, today I step forward in faith…as weak as it may be…I AM A WRITER.

What do you need to declare today?


Deep Water

Put out into deep water. Luke 5:4

“The Lord did not say how deep. The depth of the water into which we sail depends upon how completely we have cut our ties to the shore, the greatness of our need, and the anxieties about the future. Yet the fish were to be found in the deep, not the shallow, water.”  (From Streams in the Desert, L.B Cowman)

Words from my favorite devotional book, lovingly handed over to me by a friend three years ago when I was in the midst of a seemingly unending depression. This same friend was one that I called from time to time, with nothing to say, instead only anticipating some kind of instruction: “Jen, go eat an apple. Drink a glass of water. Walk outside. Take a shower.” All monumental, nearly impossible tasks at the time. I remember slowly biting into an apple, feeling all the physical strength sapped from me from the simple action, and yet with that bite, the slow momentum upward toward the sunlight peering through the opening of the deep hole I huddled in.

A deep hole, deep waters, whatever it be, oxygen was scarce to non existent. Need for my Savior took on a whole new meaning. It was not water nor food that He provided, my soul unable to assimilate, but His life giving breath. The bare essential for life. My Constant Companion, as I searched His Word for answers and hope, or as I lay on the couch watching the changing sky outside.

Into the deep. The sweetest times I have had with the Lord have been my darkest times. In the dark, there is no “light” in this world that can distract me from the True Light.

Maybe you can relate?