One Of Those Girls…

The first twenty years of my life I thought there were two different types of girls in the world.

The sweet, innocent, loving, feminine, protected, delicate girls. Those girls.

And girls like me.

Tough, cynical, eyes wide open, hurt, damaged, protectors.

I knew too much too young. I saw too much too young. Some because of grown ups in my life, some because of my personality.

I believed the lie into my teens, so I started making self-destructive decisions because of it.

I didn’t deserve happiness. I didn’t deserve to be loved. I didn’t deserve to be forgiven. I didn’t deserve success. I wasn’t one of those nice girls. I was tough. I didn’t need (or deserve) protecting or love.

“nobody loved me, everybody hated me”…

Then at the age of (almost) 19, I encountered God. I was flushing my life down the toilet. Skipping class to get drunk. Alone. Drinking to the point of blackouts. Abusing drugs. Hurting, lying to and pushing away friends. I went from a 3.8 GPA my first semester of college to a .8 GPA second semester. I failed 3 out of 4 classes. The only class I passed was an upper level Psychology Elective (I was a Psych major.) I was the only freshman in the class. I was the only person to get an A. The class? “Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.” The humor is not lost on me :)

I came home from that semester a mess, but through the friendship and  love of a handful of people, I realized that God loved me. Me in all my crazy. I’ll go into more detail some other time, the point I’m wanting to get to, is that God started changing how I saw myself, my future. He healed a lot of hurts and set me free from a destructive life, but I still believed that I wasn’t a girly girl. I was rough and tough. I wanted to prove that I was as strong and as tough as a man could be. I didn’t need chivalry or deserve it. I was still the hippy-punk-feminazi. I also had people (some Christians) in my life who knew me before I was “saved”, and never let me forget what I had come out of. It was like Jesus’ sacrifice wasn’t enough to cover all my sins in their eyes and because I looked up to them, it wasn’t enough in my own eyes.

Fast forward a year. I was a youth leader at the church I went to. We took a group of highschool kids (kids, ha ha.. I was 19 and 20 at this point…But really mature… Or something…) out to Montana. One of the places we went to was Camp Bighorn. It is a Christian Adventure Camp. Boys and girls were separated by gender and we were paired up with leaders from the camp. Us youth leaders were still in charge of our kids, but we were under the authority of the Camp Leaders. We’d do an adventure during the day, white-water rafting, kayaking etc. Then we’d get dropped off in the middle of nowhere in a National Forest with tarps, rope, food and our packs. We had to make our shelter for the night with the tarps and rope. It was awesome.

Our main leader was a young woman around my age. She was so feminine even as an adventure camp leader.  She was very petite and had china doll skin. I couldn’t figure out how she was so fair when she was outside constantly. She was one of those girls: the sweet, sensitive, innocent kind. Never said a naughty word in her life. I really liked her even though I was jealous; of her innocence, her nicely curly hair (mine was always frizzy-although it was only about 1/2 an inch long at this time), her pretty pale skin (My skin was either pasty or lobster).

I had all these ideas about her, how I could never be like her because I just wasn’t born that way. Because of the life I’d lived. She was one of those girls and I was the other kind.

The second night out in the middle of nowhere, we were all settled under our shelter for the night when she started to share her story. As she started sharing, I heard a weird sound from outside our shelter. I was sitting the farthest back, by the opening to our shelter.(All those scary movies I’d seen with a creature pulling someone out of the tent screaming flashed through my mind) Other people started hearing the sound too. I was pretty sure I knew what the sound was… A cougar. Cougars make distinctive sounds that are rather un-catlike. The sounds were circling our shelter. We were being stalked.  She stopped talking and we all prayed. The sounds ceased.. She continued on with her story…

She dated an older man as a young teen. She partied. A lot. She got pregnant as an early teen. Her parents kicked her out. Her baby ended up dying… It went on and on.. One tragedy after another. One sin after another.

This sweet, innocent girl. She was like me. She wasn’t one of them. She hadn’t been protected. She was like me. I was like her. But she was so different from me! She was so free and sweet!

She was free. She had grasped the power of Jesus’ sacrifice. She trusted that He was enough. That her sins truly were removed from her as far as the East is from the West. She truly was a new creature. She trusted that He had forgiven her. Forgiven and forgotten. No guilt. No shame. She believed God. She wasn’t believing the lie anymore.

I was wrecked. I was believing the lie. The lie that I was still a marked woman. That I’d be paying for my sin, my bad choices for the rest of my life. The lie that there were two kinds of women.

This truth revealed from a brave girl’s testimony changed my life. It took time for me to accept it. To trust. To believe God. To believe that His promises were for me. To reclaim my femininity. My identity as a Woman of God. Redeemed through Jesus. My sins washed away. Hard to believe and trust that I didn’t need to do anything. That Jesus was and is enough.

Friend, it doesn’t matter where you’ve been. Where you are. God loves you. He. loves. YOU.

Sweet one, you are the Daughter of the King of Kings…

You know what a King’s daughter is:

A Princess.

You are a Princess. Even if you’ve been hurt, abused, rejected, forgotten or discarded. Filled with self hatred. None of that alters the truth. You are the Daughter of the Most High King.

I pray that when you look in a mirror you will see what God sees.  A child of His heart. A child who is wanted and loved.

I am a beautiful, sweet Princess.

You are a beautiful, sweet Princess.

I am one of those girls.

You are one of those girls.

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

 

Psalm 103:12
as far as the East is from the West,  so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

 

Revelation 12:11
They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
 
Luke 7:36-50
When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

 

 

 

I Knew My Brain Would Come In Handy Some Day!

This photo will be explained in this post. I promise you.

The first years of marriage,  Noel and I were on a very tight budget. When we went out for supper, cost was the main determining factor in our food choices. We would split an entree or just get the cheapest items on the menu. We would only drink water instead of paying for soda. We’d skip dessert (sigh). All you people in the restaurant business can relax, we always tipped well.

Our wedding anniversary is February 5th. Since it is so close to Valentine’s Day, we go out for our anniversary and cook a special meal at home for Valentine’s Day. I hate the busyness and craziness on Valentine’s Day and end up stressed out so our plan works great.

So, on our third anniversary we went out to a restaurant. We were perusing the menu trying to decide on (cheap) entrees. It was a weeknight so they weren’t very busy. One couple sat a few tables away from us. Part of this restaurant is an old train car and that was where we were sitting. It’s fun, if narrow. It definitely gives a more intimate feel than a regular room. There is always music playing over speakers, usually jazz or big band music. As we sat there stressing over cost, I felt like we should just order what we want. Within reason. We weren’t going to order the King Crab (Ask for Price) or anything. I told Noel that we should splurge. We had the money, it was a one time thing, let’s just order what we really want. So we did. I think we both ordered soda, and we had our own entrees. It was fun and freeing to do it and not feel guilty.

Towards the end of our meal, the music changed. It was very noticeable to me because it went from a jazz song to a Yanni song. I was obsessed with Yanni from Junior High into High School. Obsessed. I owned Cds and Videos of his concerts. Those synthesizers! That hair! That moustache! Those pirate shirts! It had been a long time since I’d heard Yanni- I threw him over for punk, ska and Jewel in High School. I started laughing that Yanni was playing and said something to Noel, who had never heard of Yanni and thought I was saying yawny. He pretended to yawn really big and we were both cracking up. Not too long after our Yanni inspired laughter (Yanni still playing because all of his songs are at least 10 minutes long) the man of the couple sitting a few tables away started talking to us. The couple was in their late 30’s or early 40’s. Just normal people. Anyway, the man said “I’ll pay for your meal if you can tell me who’s singing right now.” I assumed they had overheard our conversation and thought it was funny too, so I said, “I know, Yanni, right? Isn’t it funny?” Then we laughed and turned back to our meals.

When it was time to leave we had to walk past the couple to get out of the train car. As we walked past, the guy grabbed Noel’s hand that had our bill in it. He then took our bill saying, “I told you I’d pay your bill if you knew who was singing and you did.” We both protested, but he insisted and wouldn’t give our bill back. We kept arguing about it, but eventually gave up. We visited with them for a while and learned they were also celebrating an anniversary. We eventually left and it was very awkward. We were half scared that he wouldn’t pay our tab and we’d be in trouble! “Call the cops on that couple!” Eventually we just started laughing. Seriously. The first time we decided to just let our hair down and splurge and someone else pays our tab; because I could identify a Yanni song. Priceless! And random!

I still bring it up to Noel that he’s lucky to have married such a music aficionado who is great at retaining useless facts. Who knows what other great things could happen with my random knowledge? I need to get on a game show…