Friday, April 24, 2015

{Covered}: When Shame Hits You in the Gut

When summer comes around, our gargantuan kitty, Smokey gets sheared like a sheep. Being partly Maine Coon leaves him with a winter coat that is wholly inappropriate for Florida weather. Add to that hairballs (sorry for the visual) and the constant need to be combed, it's easier to just shave it off.

This year, we shaved him a little early. At first, he seemed, well, embarrassedsuch a regal kitty reduced to the likeness of a shivering chihuahua. 

But after awhile he must have gotten used to lightness of it and weaved himself in and out of my legs, begging to be petted. I think he rather liked being free of an extra few pounds of fur.

Don't we all have that "sheared" feeling sometimes? We hold onto those positive labels people give us and when they're stripped away, we feel bare, embarrassed and struck with shame.




These are only a few compliments that can boost our self-esteem. Then, boom! One negative remark and we don't know what to believe anymore.

There's that time I wore a blue jumper and a white shirt with puffed sleeves underneath. And, I get compared to Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz . Mind you, I was a grown woman on her way inside of church, not roaming the neighborhood trick-or-treating with my kids. I'm sure the person didn't mean any harm in his poorly chosen joke, but for the rest of the service I wanted to rush back home and change.

But, this week, when I'd returned from a women's retreat for my church, something must have changed. I was reminded of who I am in Christ and having this perspective made a world of difference. 

"Are you pregnant?" a young woman asked me as I was hunched over a table, trying to read something.

Shaking my head, I instinctively covered my belly. "No. I have four children, but I'm all done having kids." I didn't know who was more embarrassed. Her or me. She excused herself and left me there. Shame had punched me right in the gut. True, my abs were not what they used to be, but did I look pregnant to other people? I slumped down in my chair.

It didn't take long for me to realize what I was doing. Wallowing. I sat up straight. That 's not me. No matter what I look like to others, my confidence does not come from the outside. It comes from the inside.

Placing my hands on the table, I smiled. The curious young lady meant no harm. And, I didn't need to cover myself, because I was already covered.

We cover ourselves when we feel weak, vulnerable, bare. But, when we trust in Christ's unfailing love for us, we can remember, we're already covered. And ultimately, free. We no longer have to be bound by others' compliments or critiques. Because that does not define who we are.

We are the bride of Christ, wrapped in His robe of righteousness.

While on the cross, He was covered with our sin. Because of His sacrifice, we are covered with His righteousness.

There is no need to hold onto shame. Because, isn't that what we do sometimes? We agree with the initial feeling and wallow in it. But, we don't have to.

We can rest in confidence that we are a new creation in Christ Jesus. 

No matter what is said about us that fact will never change.

"For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us
that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." 
(2 Corinthians 5:21)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Three Days...

Christ came

 That we might have life.

He died that we might live

Not for ourselves

Any longer

But that we would give

Our lives back to Him

As an offering

A pleasing sacrifice

Made holy and pure

By the blood of the lamb

Who came to take

The sins of the world

Upon Himself

On the cross.

His resurrection power

Breaks through

The hardest

Stone heart.

The light of His glory

Shines in the darkness

Of the world

And His light 

Shines bright in us.

"In him was life,and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."
John 1:4,5

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Embracing Autism: A Poem

Hidden away
Unable to connect.
Expression hindered
and self oppressed.

Arms flapping wildly
To sense the body.
Faulty wiring
Gone awry.

Trapped in a maze
Of twisted vines
No beginning 
And no end.

Sticky cobwebs
Never swept away.
Unused branches
Never pruned.
Muted senses

Blocked the process
Of new connections
And old removed.

This tangled mess
Axons misfired
Dendrites misplaced
Encompassing the soul
Cocooned within.

Once upon a time,
On the right track
Cooing, babbling
Speaking child
Set off course.

An injury
Of some sort.
From without
Triggered within.

The immune system
Engaged war
With the one
It was sworn
To protect.

And sensitivities
The hurt.

White matter
And grey
Forced to survive
The wrong way.

The result: autism.

But for this child
Given to me
A bright highlight 
Following grief

My baby.

Read to
 In the mirror

How can I free you?

When I am trapped?

Love is the key
To open the way
In my own soul

To embrace
A new dream
And let
 The old one go.