Thursday, October 24, 2013

Desert Cries Part 1: The Exodus of Shame

When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well.
Exodus 2:15

In Exodus 2, we learn that Moses’ first trip to the desert was not a groovy vacay, but a means to stay alive.  Pharaoh had a price on his head.  While he had been raised predominately as a prince in the palace, one rash decision changed his entire life. 

He had undoubtedly seen the mistreatment of Hebrew slaves before, but the witnessing of a fellow descendant being beaten on that fateful day was enough.  Anger consumed him, and he killed the offending Egyptian.  His plans to cover up the crime (literally) had been thwarted by witnesses.  Word spread.  He knew this damaged his reputation with both Egypt and his biological line.  In spite of his intent to come to the aid of those oppressed, he had just made their lives harder.  No longer an adopted child of privilege and not accepted by his fellow Israelites, he ran to a place where no one knew him. 

I don’t know about you, but nothing sends panic through me quite like knowing I’ve botched something up badly, and it seems extremely difficult, if not impossible, to repair.  From reckless spending in the name of “cash back rewards” to thoughtless, impulsive words that sever a relationship, I’ve done my share of screwing up.  The moment I begin to realize the magnitude of my actions, the pit in my stomach becomes a gaping hole of fear.  Frantic, shame-laden thoughts swirl through my mind, robbing me of sleep and appetite.  Unable to continue in this maddening state of “if only,” the goal of escaping becomes my number one priority.

When Moses fled to the desert, he truly thought no one would know him there, but he forgot something, or rather Someone.  While in hiding, God kept him safe, brought caring people into his life and, when the time was right, God addressed Moses regarding his purpose. 

Hiding is not new to God.  Adam and Eve did it.  Jonah did it.  I am no surprise to Him.  When I run from responsibilities, relationships or even from God Himself, He does not leave me.  He provides me with material needs, emotional support and, when I am ready to stop running and face my problems, he forgives me, loves me and reminds me of my calling. 

Shame is powerful.  Shame is crippling.  Shame is not God’s will for my life.  Satan knows that the longer he can keep me in a cycle of justification, guilt and self-loathing, the harder it becomes for me to approach the Throne of Grace. 


It’s not easy to come out of the desert and face your past.  God’s forgiveness does not remove all natural consequences.  Healing and moving forward is not instantaneous.  It wasn’t for Moses, either.  But the Same God who did a mighty work in a quick-tempered, conflict-avoiding and anxious dude wants to do the same in us.  He will meet us in our place of guilt and shame, and more importantly, will guide us to a place of restoration and healing, if only we let him.   

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Desert Cries: An Introduction

My sweet auntie has called me "Moset" (think Moses sans beard and perhaps an earth-toned lip gloss in lieu of a staff) for a few years now-- I suppose most people would find that quite curious.  After all, didn't Moses have trouble speaking up?  Clearly, I'm not known for being quiet by anyone who has known me for longer than five minutes.  In fact, when we have group activities at church and split off into numbered teams, my husband has been known to jokingly complain to our pastor, "No fair-- you took my mouthpiece!"

If speech alone were criteria, I'd say the dear matriarch who has known me since the womb was off-base, but girlfriend knows her scripture and she knows me, too.  She knows that "The Big M" and I have both experienced our share of learning, leading, wandering and, at times, hiding, in the desert.  While he trudged through sand dunes by foot, I have found myself traveling through my spiritual Sahara for surprisingly similar reasons.  I know some of you really dig the arid wastelands, but nothing about the desert sounds remotely appealing to me.  Dry.  Hot.  Desolate.  Beige.  Ick!  Add another "S" to the subject matter, and I'm all over it, but I can't even handle stopping in Yakima, Washington, unless I REALLY need coffee!  That said, I know that I've learned far more bumbling through the badlands than anywhere else.  Throughout the next week, with some scriptural help from the book of Exodus, I will unpack some of my wilderness wanderings with you.  When I first began to write this, I thought I could cover it in a single post, but I quickly found the subject matters to be many and the length of just one point to be a potential cause for eye strain!

I hope you'll strap on your sandals and take this walk with me.  Perhaps you'll find there's a fair amount of Moses in you, too!  

Pack Sunscreen!
~Amy 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

For Miriam Project: My PPMD Story

Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief.
Psalm 31:9

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Walk With Me

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Galations 6:2

Even at a gathering with like-minded colleagues, we still stuck out a bit, my quirky compadre and me.  In an attempt to keep my appetizer of nothing but meats from coming in contact with gluten or dairy, the plate was placed in very close proximity to my beloved friend, who happens to be a devout vegetarian.  As we all scrambled to find a spot that wouldn’t put meat near her, or gluten on my carnivorous antipasto, my friend winked at me and took the plate.  “Leave it here,” she insisted, “It’s fine.  Unless, of course, anyone else would like some dead animal before I put it down?”  Humor with an unexpected twist and understanding, the foundations of our friendship, were visible once more.  With hummus and edamame on her plate and “dead animal” on mine, my friend came along side me, so I wouldn’t feel alone.

            When other people in the birth community find out she and I know one another, they are somewhat surprised.  I live in the country, she lives in Los Angeles.  I have mom hair, she rocks a faux hawk.  While we both taught earlier in our lives, we were on opposing ends of the spectrum there, as well.  While I was playing “Ring around the rosie” with my class of preschoolers, my buddy was a prominent dance instructor.  While my students were barely potty trained, hers could drive!  I’m an extrovert, she’s an introvert.  I’m barely a year into birth work, she has her PHD and writes for major perinatal publications.  I drink almond milk, she drinks soy.  To say that we’re different has a bit of a “duh factor” involved.  But what brings us together?  More opposites …

            We “met” on a fellow friend’s Facebook page, cracking one another up with our shared love of zany humor.  We stayed in contact to share and discuss some hardships we had both shared surrounding our births and our battles with Postpartum Depression.  Our stories were different, even in these areas, but we both had a burning desire to support and help women.  Through our laughter and tears, a kinship grew. 

            As we grew to learn more about one another, we shared more pieces of our lives.  Some we both had experienced in one way or another, some we could not relate to, but support was always there.  One phrase I heard from her during a particularly challenging season with Wyatt gave me unexpected support from a friend who had never walked that path.  It literally changed how I view any person in crisis, whether I believe I have had similar experiences or not.  I’m sure she probably doesn’t even remember saying it.  It was so simple, but so powerful: “Wow, I don’t know anything about your life experience.”

            While you might think that made me feel alone, it actually made me feel validated.  My feelings, my situation, my struggles were unique.  Following that statement, she encouraged me by telling me that I was a strong, caring, and competent mom.   She told me she had no advice to offer, but she would listen.  She would care.  She would walk with me. 


            I am blessed with some very special friends who also have some of the same struggles I do, but none of my friends share all my struggles, and I don’t need them to.  I always assumed that “bearing one another’s burdens” required personal experience, extensive knowledge or both to be truly effective.  I no longer believe that.  You don’t need to have lost a spouse, battled cancer or experienced the sting of unemployment to be a good friend; you need to be willing to hear their stories, to see their pain and to bow your head with them as they wrestle with God, waiting for Him to lay words of encouragement on your heart.  There is something to be said for solidarity and camaraderie, but at the end of the day, if you want to be Jesus to a hurting person, leave the wisdom to the experts, the healing to The Great Physician, and simply walk with them.  

Followers

About Me

I'm not your average housewife; but then, neither is any other housewife I've met! My life is a constant blur of kids, animals, hunting down and testing allergy-friendly recipes, shopping, LOTS of coffee, yarn crafting, nannying, singing and writing. I married my highschool sweetheart (the introvert who is a type-A, shy, organized, loves hunting, hiking and mountain climbing. He lives for pizza, burgers and cookies and doesn't like coffee). We are polar opposites, but Love, grace and a whole lotta Jesus can overcome anything! :) We have two boys who fill this house with lots of excitement, love, laughter and lunacy! Alan (9) is a happy-go-lucky, inventive, dramatic, eager-to-please kid who loves being dad's shadow and mom's shopping companion. He's the snuggliest kid I've ever met! Wyatt is extremely bright, inquisitive, entertaining and endearing. He lives for routine, Wii games, pixar films and writing stories. Alan is typically-developing, Wyatt has high-functioning autism. We live on an acre in the Pacific Northwest with our two aussies and 5 chickens. It's not the Waltons, but it works! :)