The Team That Screams the Loudest

When I was in school, we would often have pep rallies where teams or grade levels would throw a cheer back and forth, getting louder every time until all the students in that section were screaming at the top of their lungs. There was only one rule, the team that screams the loudest wins.

As I think about all of those poor vocal folds getting cracked and torn (it was a badge of honor to lose your voice because of your intensity) I am also pondering the issues surrounding internet communications. These lines of text are called social media, but I really have a hard time referring to a field of battle as anything approaching social. I’m feeling ranty and today’s my day off, so of course I am blogging about it.

Yesterday in a Facebook group someone shared a screen-shot of an actual conversation between two people who live just over 90 miles from me. The interaction was the worst of the worst of trolling, name-calling, accusations, stereotyping, all that was missing was ALL CAPS! What made matters worse was that one of the people involved in this vicious behavior proudly displays on their public information that they attended a university loosely affiliated with my denomination.

To understand why that even matters, I have to tell you that there aren’t that many Quakers walking around the US these days. We have a good reputation with most people who learned about our involvement with abolition, women’s rights, and the peace movement. Social justice is a pretty big deal to those who cherish our history and look to influence the world today. When a person even tenuously associated with our name gets it wrong, it makes a big splash.

The person posting brought this up. At that point I had a choice to make. I could defend this person’s ridiculous behavior or I could disown them, or I could say that not all Quakers believe the way he does. I suppose the other choice would be to scroll by and say nothing…but we all know you can’t let someone be wrong on Facebook.

I can not even begin to count the number of interactions I have seen in internet communications that leave me shaking my head at the bruised fingertips and cracked nails that fall victim to the ideology planted in our formative years that the team that screams the loudest wins.

Does it? Does it really?

Some days I think so. Those days are depressing. Those are the days that I don’t want to get our of bed or interact with other humans. I can’t stand the thought that so much of our lives, our futures, our children’s futures are being determined by who is shouting the loudest, and often the vulgar-est, and often the hateful-est. It is mob rule at its worst.

There are other days when I have faith in the subversive forms of love and service that hide their glory behind the scenes bringing peace-filled moments into the darkest places. On those first days, I try to duck my head and involve myself in those second day kinds of activities. I’m determined to be part of the solution, and shouting louder is only going to cost me my voice, and maybe my heart, and possibly my soul.

What if we gave up shouting for our teams and starting serving one another in love?

What if we stopped identifying by our ideology or our politics or our class and started living into the faith we profess? (I’m mostly talking to my Christian sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers, cousins and relations–those who claim as master the one who said the absolutely greatest thing is to love God and the second to love the person next to us.)

What if we did choose to scroll by those wrong people on the internet and whisper a prayer for them instead of shouting them down with the greatest insults?

I am all for standing against injustice. I think we ought to speak the truth. I also believe the best way to do so is in person with full accountability for the things we say and do.

If I post about homelessness and do not love the homeless, I am a noisy gong or clanging symbol.
If I post about racial reconciliation and do not love individuals and communities other than those like me & mine, I am accomplishing nothing.
If I post about a cause that matters and am not actually doing anything to make things better myself, personally, on my own time, I am nothing.

Where there are tweets, they will cease.
Where there are posts, they will pass away.
Where there are selfies, they will fade.

But these remain:

Faith

Hope

Love

And the greatest of these enduring forces is Love.

ReFreshing

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An Open Letter to All the Open Letters, Enough, Already!

Just a little preachy…

I am a pastor. I pastor a church that is part of the Evangelical Friends tradition. We are not perfect. We are small. Our average age is higher than ideal. But we are committed to each other.

I have been reading a lot lately about why people are leaving the Church, and conversely about how those leaving the Church are to blame. It is becoming another issue to divide Christ’s followers, and that bugs me. Who says the Church couldn’t re-evaluate and change? Who says it’s ok to walk away rather than stick it out? Both “sides” bring valid points to the table. The trouble I see is that those willing to actually come to the table to talk it out are rare.

Like most issues, we find ourselves defending our position. Those who leave are defending that choice and those who stay are defending the way they do Church. What we end up with are people shouting, using polemics (fighting words, remember?), with everyone convinced they are right and the others are wrong.

It’s not helping.

The mission Jesus gave his followers was “Go and make disciples.” Fighting about who is right and who is wrong doesn’t help us make disciples. It doesn’t help us serve the poor or lift up the broken. It doesn’t help us shine the light of grace into the darkness of despair.

It’s destructive.

The Church is a human and divine construct. It has been (egregiously) wrong in the past, probably is now, and will continue to be wrong about some things until Christ returns. The Church must listen to the voices of the hurt, broken and outcast from among our ranks. Galatians 6:10 “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

The Church is also a family, a body that ought to work together. No one I know has a perfect family or a perfect body, and yet few of us are willing to cut off the parts that need healing–even the parts that fail to yield to therapy both physical and mental. Neither should those who are in the Church but frustrated decide to walk away for good.

It’s a red herring.

To those in the Church: the Church isn’t going to die, and you can’t kill it. Through the two millennia of its existence, the Church has taken on many forms. When one is no longer serving the mission, the Spirit blows in a new direction. What results may look very different. There weren’t always permanent physical locations for worship meetings. There weren’t always cathedrals either. There have not always been paid clergy, music, instruments, bands, stages, altars, and any number of other things that automatically come to mind when someone says “Church.”

The culture is changing. The Church is changing, too. Dynamically, some changes in the Church are accommodating culture and others are challenging it even more. Not all change is bad. Not all change is good, either. But we have to prayerfully consider change before we judge its merits.

To those who have walked away: do you think they will change now that you are gone? By choosing to disengage you have left the fight. Perhaps you voiced your concerns, perhaps they were rejected. Perhaps you have been offended, perhaps those who hurt you have no idea how to make it right. I can’t tell you to go back to the specific group you left behind. What I can say is that whatever your experience, there are bodies of believers who are completely different. There are those who will listen. There are those who will jump on your bandwagon and fight alongside you to bring the change that you are seeking. If you believe in your heart that the institution is broken and you have the answers, please don’t walk away and leave us in this mess.

We need every point of view. We need every gift. We need every passion for the lost, the broken, those hurt by the church, or the world, or sin. We need you.

Because we are family.

Because we are a body.

Because what makes us the Church is our association with each other. I am not the Church, you are not the Church. WE are the Church. And whatever changes come in the culture around us, within our walls, in the way we worship, the only one that matters is the change in our hearts so that we reflect Christ who said, “Father let them be one as you and I are one.”

Paul expresses it well, too.

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.  If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”  On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,  and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it,  so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.  If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

1Corinthians 12:14-27

 

Boundary Basics

In the previous posts, we’ve covered communication, motivation, and balancing needs & rights. The focus has been about seeking to honor the other in our relationships. Today’s post will shift to drawing lines in the sand. It may seem difficult, but we do not honor the other in our relationship by becoming doormats.

How do we set boundaries without guilt?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe have to begin by recognizing the value of boundaries. We don’t always do well with boundaries in our relationships. We tend to do one of two things, trample the other’s boundaries or fail to set any for ourselves. We honor the other in our relationships when we respect their boundaries, and we honor them just the same by setting our own boundaries.

It can seem easier to go with the flow, letting the other person have their way. Problems arise when we cross lines we are not comfortable with or we allow our identities to become lost. These breed resentment and bitterness. They keep us from truly being able to engage fully in the relationship, offering the gift of ourselves. We cannot add the richness of our perspective and unique gifts to the mix of a relationship if we allow them to be broken down , buried under layers of compromise.

Boundaries are beautiful.

Ask any gardener about the necessity of creating boundaries between planting beds, they will tell you that boundaries allow the plants to flourish. The invasive species are given their own space, but those vulnerable to being overrun are protected.

Photo by emilina

Photo by emilina

Boundaries allow us to retain our beauty, our individuality. This does not mean we don’t grow and change because of our relationships, we do and we must. It does, however, keep us from becoming the creature of the other.

I believe we have a creator, already. As a Quaker, I recognize that each individual bears the image of the creator in a unique and glorious way. To allow another to so shape your person that you cease to be who you are meant to be is a sacrilege. It is a desecration to remake someone in your own image.

Boundaries are not a rejection.

Boundaries preserve sacred elements of your personality and the personality of your loved one. They are not a rejection, but an embrace of everything that makes each of you unique. Boundaries keep you from being consumed and from consuming the other. They can only offend if the intention is to love you like dinner instead of a work of art.

When we set boundaries, then, we must do so in love, with patience and good communication so that our intentions are clear. This keeps the guilt fairies at bay, and reassures the other that we are seeking the health and preservation of our relationship.

Setting boundaries must be intentional. It does not work well to set them in the middle of a conflict. Be pro-active, thoughtfully decide where you are unwilling to bend. Contemplate your words carefully. Warn your loved-one in advance of the content of your conversation. Invite them to consider their own boundaries and set a time to discuss them when neither of you is feeling pressed for time. As much as possible, schedule this conversation when you are not under external pressures. Sometimes it is inevitable, stress does not always follow our timetables, so do your best to focus your attention on the task at hand.

Boundaries set us free.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOddly, there is freedom in knowing where the limits are. No more tiptoeing, feeling for the line, or suffering disappointment or confusion by being vaguely redirected. It is helpful to know what is off the table, and where we can play freely. We are each set at liberty to be ourselves, to rejoice in the individuality of the other. We can have the other’s back and trust that they have ours.

Balancing our needs and desires, communicating clearly, being set free.
How Refreshing!

Don’t Get Spun, Fighting Words

We all have seen them, the stories from different news outlets or bloggers with contradictory stories on the same topic. Sometimes these are simply reporting different perspectives, but other times the facts are coated in a nice thick layer of polemic speech.

Them’s fightin’ words…

Polemics are the language of war. They are arguments that incite people to violent passions. This kind of speech has always been popular in propaganda during times of war. Now these arguments based on emotional manipulation are everywhere, and used in virtually every political argument turning every issue, large or small, into a life-or-death struggle.

This isn’t primarily a right or left issue, polemics can be found on both sides of the political spectrum. Which is why it is so important, for civil discourse, that we can recognize inciting language and not allow it to shape our opinions and actions. How do we sort out what are the facts and what may be skewed by a certain point of view?

Look for inflated language.

Words matter. When someone wants to use emotion to shape your opinion, they will use bigger, inflammatory terms. If someone is covering a group of people gathered to express their disagreement with something, they can use different words to describe that group. Protesters. Crowd. Riot. Demonstrators. Each of those words carries a certain emotional weight. There is a guaranteed right of free speech and assembly in the Constitution. Gathering is not illegal, nor is expressing dissent. You can often find out more about the author’s viewpoints in their choice of language than those gathered to exercise free speech. Sometimes an author will even use different language for two different groups expressing their opinions publicly within the same article.

“The protestors gathered to express concerns over issue A, while across town crowds rioted in reaction to issue B.” (Clearly the author feels more sympathy with issue A.)

Look for crimes being described differently. Shoplifting vs Robbery. Fist fight vs Assault.

Look for action words. Marching. Walking. Gathering. Crowding. Supporting. Protesting.

Look for fallacies like the straw man, setting up a weak version of the opposing view in order to knock it down, or ad hominem attacks, coming against the person instead of facing the issue at hand.

Read different perspectives.

People take different paths when they come face to face with contradictions in the media. It is really easy to subscribe completely to the thoughts and ideas expressed by a particular media outlet and dismiss anything that contradicts those views. That certainly is a simple road to follow, but it may not lead to the truth. Instead, it allows us to insulate ourselves from anything that would challenge what we hold dear.

It is important to read and listen broadly if you want a more complete picture of any issue. This can be uncomfortable. It often means hearing the other side’s polemic which by design counters the polemic we are used to hearing. It puts us on the defensive. It makes us angry sometimes. It is really easy to see their flawed arguments and their inciting language. Sit with the discomfort. Understand that to someone of the opposing viewpoint, this is what it feels like to read articles expressing your side of the issue.

You might, if you can get past the initial reaction, see a little of the other perspective. This is not just important for your personal understanding, but may allow you to self-censor when speaking with others about your point of view. In recognizing the tactics, you can refrain from using them yourself and maybe even have a civil discussion with someone who holds different opinions.

Find the facts.

Skimming the articles for the facts and bypassing the descriptive language all together helps us form our own opinions. If you can read articles from 3 different news agencies, a conservative, a liberal, and an international, and find the common ground, you will most likely have the facts.

Facts are important. If we can focus on the facts in any story, we can often begin to see that it is possible to interpret them in different ways, to spin them to fit a certain political or philosophical framework.

Facts: people gathered to express their views, police gathered in response to perceived threat, looting occurred, police presence escalated, the people felt threatened, there were clashes between police and gathered people, many were arrested

This scenario may bring to mind specific situations, but truly describes a myriad of protests and demonstrations dating back to the French Revolution. It is a common enough set of facts. What you will read or hear in the media will rarely present just the facts. You will have pro-demonstrator media decrying police overreaction. You will have pro-police media decrying protestors wreaking havoc. You will have pro-business media outraged that no one protects their interests. You will have as many perspectives as you have players in the game.

Expect it, and look for this kind of spin in everything you read and hear from media outlets. It is no longer a tactic used for wartime, or even for campaign season, but has become standard operating procedure.

The use of polemics is undermining our ability to have civil discourse on virtually any topic today. Unless we can recognize and sidestep the invitation to allow emotionally manipulative language to shape our views, we will find ourselves immobilized and unable to accomplish anything except lobbing verbal bombs at the other side. This is already happening in much of our government at State and Federal levels. Politicians are so busy fighting each other that they have let the good of the nation go by the wayside.

You do not have to buy in. You can choose to be a fact-finding sleuth and form your own opinions on the issues of the day. You might even be able to sort out a solution that would benefit everyone.

Sidestepping polemics to become part of the solution.

Now that’s ReFreshing!

 

Things we learned along the way

This week, we celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary. Our marriage is now old enough to drive a car, though thankfully none of our children are. Wise words of wisdom, here are Sixteen things we learned on our way to sixteen years of marriage.

1. Give each other the benefit of the doubt. Not everything that annoys or hurts us is intentional. Think misunderstanding or ignorance before deciding that they have bad intentions.

2. Communication is seriously a key. You have to communicate your needs, your dreams, your hurts. Communication is not always fun, sometimes it is hard, but it is worth the struggle. The good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful are all important to share.

3. Speak the truth in love. How you communicate is just as important as the transmission of information. Don’t hide how you feel or what you think, but don’t use your words to inflict pain.

Mvc-057s4. Pursue their good as well as your own. Listen to their dreams, help them develop their skills and pursue what they love. AND share your dreams, ask for them to participate in pursuing what you love. You might have to take turns, but you are both valuable people who deserve to have your day.

5. Do not intentionally wound them. Just don’t. Not with words, not with actions, not by cutting them off emotionally, or by withholding sex.

6. Spend time together. Play together. Hang out. Even if you just sit in the same room, you are forging bonds that make it easier to trust.

7. Live in the present. Don’t drag up the past, and don’t wish for someday when things will be different. If there is something that needs addressing, fix it now so you have a someday to look forward to. If they did something last week or two years ago, let it go, especially if you have offered forgiveness. If something happened that you didn’t already discuss and it continues to be a problem, go ahead and address it. Then move forward.

RIch and Charity Hep Cats8. Have their back. Be a team. Don’t undermine them with the kids, your family, their friends, etc. This does not mean pretending like they are perfect, but a little discretion goes a long way.

9. Brag about them to whoever will listen. Again, this does not mean pretending your spouse is something they are not, but saying the actual positive things about them out loud to another human being helps to remind us and reinforce the notion that we made a good choice.

10. Keep the checkbook open. Be honest and take the time to communicate about the state of your finances. It doesn’t matter who keeps the books as long as both parties know what is in them. Decide together how to set your priorities, and don’t make big purchases without discussing it first.

11. Touch each other. Hold hands, sit with your thighs touching on the couch, put your arm around them and snuggle in. Physical touch helps build intimacy, even when you aren’t being sexual. And it might help stir up some sexy feelings later.

12. Sleep on it. Don’t make big decisions impulsively. Consider the pros and cons of big moves, career changes, child-rearing, etc. Talk about it. Find a way toward consensus if you disagree. Remember these things affect both of your lives.

DSC0016313. Make new friends, but keep the old… You need mutual friends as well as friends that are only yours. Spend time hanging out together, but leave room for a ladies night or a guys night out.

14. Remember your spouse is your best friend. Don’t share things with anyone that you won’t share with your spouse. This is a dangerous road that can lead to secrets, lies, and in some cases affairs of the heart and more. Even a platonic friend shouldn’t be privy to concerns and dreams you won’t reveal to your spouse.

15. Be careful who you invite into your disputes. Don’t rope others in to fighting your battles for you. Keep your kids out of any argument. Don’t call your mom or his/her mom. At the end of the day, your enemy is this challenge you need to face together, not your spouse.

16. Be fair, but walk in grace. I know, seems contradictory. As far as it is possible, divide responsibilities and rewards evenly. Work out a balance, write it down if you have to
(2 toilets scrubbed = taking out the trash and recyclables, etc.). Try to bring fairness to the forefront, knowing that not everything can be evenly divided. (Except ice cream sandwiches, which can always be divided fairly and over which the fairness rule must always preside.)DSC00927

This is not, cannot be, an exhaustive list. One thing we did not include, because it has been there from the beginning, is that we built our marriage on the common ground of faith. We have committed to follow God above all else, and to love each other with the love that Jesus modeled. We are imperfect, but through the years we have learned that Divine Love lived out in our marriage looks like the practices above. I hope you find refreshment in them as well.

Sixteen years of marriage, working life out together.

That’s refreshing!

The Talk (Yep That One, Use Discretion)

I have read a lot of blogs lately from women who grew up in the Conservative Evangelical culture. They express feelings of betrayal and point out some really destructive trends in the way sex was discussed and chastity was promoted. As someone who also came up in that culture, I can identify with their laments about how efforts to engage kids in talking about sex and abstinence actually produced false fantasies about what sex after marriage would be like (always wonderful, totally worth the wait, a real melding of souls). Combine youth meetings that said, “I know sex is the most awesome thing since sliced bread, but save that sex for marriage” with the sultry scenes of Christian romance novels that always ended right before they enjoyed their marital bliss and teenage hormones, and sex suddenly becomes an obsession.

The message was clear as well about what would happen if we crossed that line too early. Youth group activities like passing around a wrapped candy bar having everyone put it in their pocket, sit, stand, remove the candy bar and pass it on until you just knew it was mushy and melted and gross inside. Then the moral: if you have sex before marriage you will end up a mess that no one wants and frankly isn’t worth unwrapping before tossing in the trash.

Boils down to:
Save Yourself = Awesome Endless Marital Sex
Give It Up = Lose All Value & Chances of Future Marital Bliss
Future Marital Bliss and Awesome Endless Marital Sex= Everything Important In Adulthood

I cringe when I think of how much I bought into the party line, hurling it at others, and then falling into a deep depression when I fell short myself.

I have no trouble admitting that the message was devoid of Grace and full of incomplete truth. But here is where I diverge from the blogs I mentioned earlier. They recognized the problems with the way the message was presented and threw out the message with the method.

I still think sex is best kept in marriage. Here’s why.

For millennia, human culture around the world has recognized that sex is sacred and mystical. That holds true whether the culture had strict sexual morals or encouraged visiting the temple prostitutes to commune with the gods. Sex holds power and has been used to bond soldiers together before battle and as a weapon to destroy one’s enemy completely.

I don’t endorse those practices, but they all demonstrate a recognition that seems to be lacking in our current culture. In reaction to those who would lock sex away in a cabinet, western culture has sought to deny it’s power; turning grandma’s china into disposable Chinet.

Sex has power. And with great power comes great responsibility. (Cheesy, I know, but I needed to lighten the tone.)

Sex has the power to change your life. It can bond you to another person. It can create another human being. It can leave your body riddled with disease. It can kill you. So we should take it seriously.

But nowhere do I read in the New Testament that sex is the unforgivable sin. One of the most poignant conversations that we read in the Gospels is between Jesus and the Samaritan Woman at the well. She doesn’t have a name, but is the first person to whom Jesus reveals his identity as Messiah. She was living with a man who wasn’t her husband after having had 5 previous husbands. Jesus looks her in the eye, knowing all of this, and asks her for a drink of water so that he could bring redemption and healing into her life.

There are some practical reasons why sex is better within a committed and loving marriage based on mutuality and trust (different post for a different day). Sex is something that must be learned. You have to spend time getting to know your body and your partner’s body. Not every man and woman enjoy the same things. Experience is not necessarily transferable. Who better to learn, make mistakes, laugh, and enjoy the process with than a person you love and trust? But you have to choose a spouse who cares about your satisfaction as well as their own, who will listen and fully participate, while not pressuring, belittling, or criticizing.

The earlier you become sexually active the more likely you are to develop cervical cancer, contract an STI, or experience unwanted pregnancy, mostly due to the fact that the younger a person is when they first have sex the less likely they are to use and understand contraception. With those results, added consequences of abortion, difficult pregnancies, absentee fathers, and long-term physical health complications abound. For more on trends and statistics, visit the Guttmacher Institute.

I know this is turning into a really long post, and pretty heavy compared to some of my other posts, but this is a topic that is important to me. I have children. One of whom is about to enter her teenage years. It is vital that I teach her about sex in a way that is full of both Grace and Truth.

I want her to see herself and others as more than just objects of lust. I want her to know the positive power of sex in a committed relationship. I want her to avoid STI’s and find sexual fulfillment. I want her to escape the mistakes of her parents, and the mistakes of her grandparents.

I want these things for her, not because I am afraid she will become spoiled and worthless for future marriage partners, or damn herself to hell by committing an unforgivable sin. I want her to live the most full and abundant life possible, and I believe that comes best by practicing abstinence before marriage and faithfulness within it if she gets married.

All of these things will be her choices to make. I will love and accept her no matter what paths she takes. But before she gets to those turning points, I will tell her about my past and encourage her to ask any questions she has. I want her to be prepared to make her own choices knowing the facts and pitfalls and possibilities that adulthood brings. This includes, but isn’t limited to sexual intimacy.

Pondering a better future for my kids, definitely ReFreshing.

 

**Don’t be a hater. It is fine to disagree, but if you are insulting/bullying, I will delete and ban you.

 

 

Baby Steps

I was pondering recently how different I am today than I was 10, 15, or 20 years ago. (Alas, the peril of birthdays!)

I don’t know if the me then would like the me now. I am not sure the me now would like the me then, either. (Sometimes I shake my head, but I love her dearly. Honestly.) We certainly would not agree on many things.

We wouldn’t like the same clothing, although our fashion would be the least of our differences. We would have different views on what makes a body healthy, a marriage satisfying, and children happy.

We would certainly have different views on politics, religion, and world affairs. We would both claim to love God and follow Jesus, but the way that faith expresses itself in our lives would stand in stark contrast.

Some things have not changed, or I should say some things began there in the form of seedling decisions and have grown bigger and stronger.

My choice to love instead of respond in hate, the seeds of non-violence.

My choice to love others who are different from me, the seeds of broad acceptance of people as they are–expressing the image of God in them, instead of trying to remake them in my own image.

My choice to allow the Holy Spirit to shape me, the seeds of so much growth and change in how I read scripture and see my life in light of its truths.

Like looking back in snapshots, I can clearly see who I was in those moments, but the path between them gets blurred. I don’t remember when I decided that while there were things I would die for, there is perhaps only one for which I would kill–my children. I don’t remember when I decided that I would rather be healthy than wear a certain size. I don’t know when I decided it was ok for me to speak my mind and trust my husband to listen and love me anyway (and he does in surprising ways as the years of marriage continue to stack up).

Maybe I don’t remember because all of those changes came slowly. Testing the waters. Going a little deeper.

Baby steps toward being the fully-formed person who will probably look back on this post in 10 years or so and shake her head at all the growth that still needs to come.

Taking that journey one step at a time and trusting the Way to lead me,
How Refreshing!