Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Stepping Forward

"I've been to a lot of airports. But I haven't flown much."

I wrote that nearly four years ago. It's about to be published in my book, From Fortress to Freedom, in a chapter called "Staying Behind." I re-read it today while proofreading the manuscript for the book. In the past two days, I've dropped off my son at an airport and bid farewell to a dear friend headed to another airport. And I still haven't flown much. I realized, though, that I don't feel like I'm staying behind any more.

I want to make some notes now, pile up some stones here on this side of the river, to remind me I've come this far. It took nearly fifty years for God to convince me of the truth that He loves me just as I am, and it's taking nearly thirty (so far) for me to believe that my husband loves me unconditionally as well. Out of fear of rejection, I've stayed behind and hidden behind and deliberately fallen behind for all these years. Now I'm seeing that I don't have to have that fear or that behavior. So at last, I am beginning to take shaky first steps into speaking my mind, asking for help, taking a stand, and charting my course. I'm learning to express who I am. What evidences can I stack up here to celebrate?

- I went on a beach trip with women friends and no family members for the first time in my life.
- I wrote and published The Mom's Guide to Surviving West Point with my friend Lisa Browne Joiner.
- I took three different dance/exercise classes; dancing with strangers: pretty radical.
- I participated in a practical drama class - not drama as history, not stagecraft - actually learning how to act.
- I got over my fear of trying new foods so now a menu looks like an adventure rather than a mine field for me.
- I auditioned publicly for a vocal solo (and got it); I am finding my own singing voice rather than copying others'.
- I took charge of managing my mother-in-law's suddenly complex medical care in her last days.
- I assisted in directing several dramatic performances.
- I substituted as a classroom teacher for the first time, with no advance notice, and I was able to manage the students as well as get some productive activity completed.
- I met several new friends and am now cultivating new relationships.
- I weathered what might be called a mid-life crisis, I guess, that severely challenged my marriage, and together with my husband I am daily learning to have a better marriage.
- I submitted two of my own books to a publisher and one has been accepted!

That's twelve first-times, twelve stones of testimony, as many as the leaders of Israel placed to remind them of crossing the Jordan. It marked their entrance into the Promised Land, and I feel as if I've landed in a promised place, too.

I guess maybe I've flown a bit after all!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

From Fortress to Freedom

In January 2011, God used a simple compliment to change my life. I had long struggled to be good in the eyes of God and man. In my immature, perfectionist way, I had developed strict rules and high standards designed to protect me from harm.  I effectively built a fortress around myself, a safe but increasingly restrictive haven. When God knew my heart was ready, He turned a friend’s words into a powerful tool to demolish my fortress and show me that His plan for me involved more freedom than I had ever imagined.
            The freedom astonished me. I had not realized how much I had been controlled by fear, guilt and shame in what I thought had been a life of faith. The joy of release left me almost speechless with wonder, but the Lord poured words into and through me to help me understand, resulting in healing for me and insight for others who read the material. I wrote almost every morning for many weeks, and the first forty of these writings are collected in From Fortress to Freedom.
            Now, in September 2014, I've just signed a contract with Light Messages to publish From Fortress to Freedom. I am sure there are many people who will be blessed by the messages it holds. Please check in here or on my Facebook page as I post progress reports!