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Metamorphosis

I’ve meandered through life, up rocky paths and down smooth ones, winding through meadows full of buttercups and cool, dim forests, up hills, down valleys and through a stream now and again. I’ve felt joy and pain. I’ve seen vibrant colors and shades of grey. I’ve experienced darkness and sunshine, laughter and tears. I’ve been given beautiful gifts and experienced tragic losses.

Every little thing that’s touched my life has been part of my metamorphosis. A changing from a child to an adult; from a hearer to a doer; from a childish entitled attitude to what I hope is an attitude of service and love.

Today I’m reminded of one of my favorite scriptures. I’ve recited this so many times over the years that I’ve memorized it. It goes like this:

At one time, we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.
I was. I’ve done many foolish things and many downright disobedient things. Several years ago, I got my nose pierced and when I told my grandma about it, her response was “You’ve never done a foolish thing in your life. I guess I can forgive you for this one foolishness.” But I had done foolish things. Eating too much. Holding selfishly to things that weren’t meant for me. Spending money on foolish things. Saying the wrong thing at the wrong time for the wrong reason. Foolishness has many faces. I’ve been deceived and held captive by the things that I thought would make me happy and free. It didn’t work. In fact….
We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.
As long as I focused on keeping me happy, I was in conflict with almost everybody around me. We all want to be the center of the universe. We all want to be #1 and each and every other person in the world is someone who keeps us from being King of the Universe. Every other person in the universe is another person who comes in the way of us having one thing or another that we think will make us happy. We live in malice and envy. Think of two girls who like the same boy. Think of a girl who is in a romantic relationship with a boy that her friend likes. We hate those who keep us from having what we want. We are hated when we have what other people want.

We’re a pretty rotten bunch of grapes.

But! When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs, having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. (Titus 3:3-8)

Grace.

It’s grace that lifts us from our lowly places of self-centeredness and allows us to soar on the wings of compassion, love, service and generosity.

I’m so grateful for the grace that has picked me up out of dark places and transformed every part of my life.

I’m not perfect. He’s still working on me and that’s ok. The best is yet to come.

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Being in Love is Horrible

I started seeing a guy last fall. I only kept it going because I’ve loved his brain from the first time I spoke with him. I didn’t expect anything to come from it. In fact, I felt a little weird about it because I was so not attracted to anything else about him. I didn’t find any part of him repulsive. I just wasn’t drawn to anything about him aside from the intellectual conversation.

I got the flu and couldn’t get out of bed for 4 days followed by horrible sinus/ear pain, coughing and just feeling yucky. As soon as that was over, I got shingles and had to stay home for a week.

And he kept coming around. And he’d ask how I was feeling. And he’d listen and not say a whole lot. But after I started feeling better, I realized that during that whole 6 week period, he was there and he was willing to help and he cared about how I felt and if I was getting enough sleep and food and medicine. And that’s just amazing, as far as I’m concerned.

But he’s so not my type…. I go for the goofy guys. They always make me feel good, and that’s just great. My friend isn’t goofy. He’s serious, he plans things in advance and if he has any spontaneity in him, I haven’t found it yet. He is basically the opposite of everything I ever thought I wanted in a guy.

But…. I began to realize about 6 weeks ago that while he’s the opposite of what I thought I wanted, he’s exactly what I need. He’s steady. I’m prone to just do stuff and think about it later. I start things and then get halfway through and realize that ooops. I have everything I need for that recipe, except for the brown sugar. He’s not like that at all. He is so sensitive about other people’s needs — physical, emotional, spiritual, pretty much everything — and with the trauma I’ve experienced, I need someone like that. I realized that given the proper circumstances, I could fall in love with him.

Ten days ago, a switch flipped in my brain. I don’t know how or why. It was I am open to the idea of ‘us’ and I can see it happening one day.

And then it was I’m in love. I’m crazy in love.

And then, Tuesday.

I am horrible in the kitchen. I know nothing about cooking. I watched my mom cook when I was little, but I never helped, and I never learned because my mom and I clashed a lot and the stuff required by the state was enough for both of us.

But I’ve found that when you have someone to cook for and someone (else) to give you pointers on how to cook, cooking is fun. On Tuesday, I cooked up a beef roast in true country style (and it was tasty too!) and he came over and shared it with me.

After the food was put away and the dishes done, we sat down to chat.

And he told me that he’s thinking of packing up his life and going on a mission with YWAM for 9+ months.

Inside, my heart was crying NOOOOO! DON’T GO!!!!

But from somewhere — I don’t know where — the thing that came out of my mouth was, I trust you.

And I do. I know that he doesn’t just willy-nilly do stuff, like I do.

And then it was And I trust God.

And, I do. God wrote a story about each of us before anybody else ever thought of us. He knows every last detail on every last page of that book, and He delights in seeing us flourish and seeing us happy and seeing us living out that story.

I trust that God’s story is a good one, and I trust that it’s the best one. And I trust my friend to find out what’s written in that book before he turns the page, because that’s the kind of guy he is.

And there’s grace. If the story isn’t the story I want, there’s grace. There’s peace and comfort. He will sustain through disappointment and pain. I believe that with everything that I am.

I asked my friend what he needed to hear from me about this. He said, “You already said it.”

After he was gone, I was angry.

I wasn’t angry because he was contemplating leaving me for a year to have adventures in Darkest Peru (or wherever he ended up). I was sad about that. But not angry.

I wasn’t angry because God was — again! — dangling a diamond in front of my face and snatching it away as soon as I began to be caught up in sparkling dreams and rainbow possibilities. I was frustrated and sad, but not angry.

I was angry because again, as I have hundreds of times in the past, I left my heart out of the equation. It makes me angry because I can’t convince myself that I matter enough to bring it up, but something deep inside is choking and drowning and suffocating and being reduced to a pathetic little pile of ashes because my heart has been forgotten.

Being in love is horrible when you feel like you have to figure out a way to un-fall-in-love.

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Continued from April 2013

I started this blog to tell my story. I stopped abruptly in April 2013 and just never got back to it. Well…. here is the continuation of the story….

In the last two installments, I passed the GED test and got a car! A lot happened in a short period of time.

After finding out I’d passed, I took a celebratory trip to Minnesota to visit my cousins. I was just so happy that I wasn’t stupid after all and I needed to find someone to share my joy.

While I was in Minnesota, my aunt took me to visit the local university campus. I thought it was awesome that once you entered an academic building, you didn’t have to go outside again until you were ready to leave campus. All the buildings were connected to each other. It was really convenient once you figured out where everything was (especially once it got to be winter!), but it was very confusing at first. They showed me the most recently updated dorms (and not the ones that hadn’t been updated — which was about 85% of the dorms), and I could see myself being very happy there. (And maybe I would have been if they had put me in an updated dorm — but that’s another story for another day.)

I told the enrollment counselor that I was interested in attending, and I was informed that since I didn’t have a high school transcript, I had to take the ACT and get at least 21 on it to be accepted. (I’m not sure what you have to get to get into other colleges, but someone who had a high school transcript told me that they had been accepted with an ACT score of 13. I was up against some stiff competition!)

They arranged for me to take the ACT the next morning.

I had no clue what the ACT was. I hadn’t been in school in 14 months. And I showed up very sleep-deprived. I took the test and didn’t understand what several of the questions meant.

I waited about 20 minutes after finishing the test for my scores. The testing guy handed me a sealed envelope and turned and walked away.

I opened the envelope as we drove away. My score was circled and next to it, the testing guy had written “congratulations!”

I had scored exactly 21.

From there, my aunt and I filled out applications and requested my GED information be sent to the school.

I went home and waited.

At some point in there, my older brother and I sat together on our front step and talked about how unhealthy our home environment was for me. He said, “you have to get out of here! If you don’t, you’re going to die.” He was the only one in my immediate family I told about my plans to attend college.

I was elated when the acceptance letter finally arrived. I (wisely) did not expect an overly positive response from my parents. I opened the envelope to confirm that it said “accepted” and then handed it to my mom, who asked “what is this?

I let my family know that I was definitely going and I wasn’t planning on changing my mind.

The summer was a blur of talking in hushed tones with supportive friends and family and not talking at all with my parents.

My family was all in a tizzy to prepare me for going out into the Big Bad World.  My brothers (and their girlfriends), grandparents and aunts and uncles made sure I had practicalities like printer paper, socks, toiletries, a few dishes and bedding. My parents’ preparation was to hand me a book by Mary Pride. The only thing I remember about the book was that it stated in no uncertain terms that women should never attend college because of they do, they will turn into feminists and will want to have sex for recreational purposes. I had no idea what “sex” meant and as far as I knew, “feminists” protested the destruction of forests — topless. There was no chance that I’d ever (willingly) do something like that, so I figured I’d be fine.

Every person who knew about my plans was elated — with the exception of my parents, whom I did not discuss it with after letting them know I was going. I’m grateful for every person who supported me. Through this experience, I learned that Mrs. Clinton was right when she said “it takes a village.” No two parents can provide absolutely everything a child needs, and in my case, the deficits were definitely filled, and I am truly grateful.

The day finally arrived. I packed my car. I stopped in the kitchen on my way out and said I was leaving. I drove myself to Minnesota and my aunt and I moved all my belongings into my dorm in three arm loads each.

I was officially a college student.

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Psalm 22

My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why  are  You  so far from helping Me, And  from the words of My groaning? O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; And in the night season, and am not silent. ~Psalm 22:1-2

Not long ago, whenever I read a mournful psalm, such as this one, I would be reminded of all the times that I felt like even God had turned away from me.

And there were a lot of those memories.

I’d read the psalm and weep as the feelings of abandonment and rejection washed over me.

But something has happened in the past several weeks.

Somehow…. at some point in recent history, this has ceased to be the case.

We read Psalm 22 in church on Sunday and I felt nothing but joy. Because even at the darkest time in my personal history, I know that I wasn’t actually abandoned.

The pain of abandonment and rejection has dissipated.

And even when nothing goes right, I’m still ok. Because I’m tucked safely in a little corner of His hand and He’s watching over me with care.

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

People Who Matter

“Be who you are and say what you mean. Because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” ~Dr. Seuss

You find out (in a hurry!) who really matters and who really doesn’t when you decide it’s time to stop being what other people think you should be and start being you.

Figuring out who matters and who doesn’t is so freeing.

Yesterday, I had a conversation with a friend about realizing — just yesterday! — that I had been living for several months in a place where nobody cares.

I’m not saying that no one cares about me. I’m saying that no one cares about what I do.

I’m surrounded by people who matter.

And I’m surprisingly not surrounded by people who don’t.

In other words, my whole world is surprisingly chill right now.

And it’s awesome.

I went to church yesterday, and…. no one cared that I didn’t raise my hands in worship! No one cared that I didn’t clap my hands. No one cared that I wore jeans. No one jabbed me in the ribs and told me to “dance, dammit!” (because you don’t love Jesus if you refuse to dance like David danced.) No one told me to yell and then heaped on the guilt when I didn’t. No one said I had to pray in the Spirit whether I wanted to or not. No one watched me to see that I behaved exactly like I was supposed to.

And no one cared.

After church, I bought a used violin. Because I wanted to. (I’ve always wanted to learn violin but never had a chance til now.)

And nobody cared. I didn’t have to ask permission from the pastor (or anybody else, for that matter) because…. the pastor doesn’t care. (And I think he realizes that it’s none of his dang business.) I didn’t have to ask the pastor if I was “called” to play violin — because it’s ok to do something simply because you want to. I didn’t have to ask for permission to spend the money. Because the pastor doesn’t care.

I can do whatever I dang please and…. nobody…. cares….

It’s amazing.

I didn’t read my Bible yesterday and even forgot to bring it to church. And nobody cares.

I had coffee with a man. We talked at length about deep things. Some dark things. Some personal things. And nobody cares. No one has tried to sabotage the friendship and no one has tried to tell me that it’s impossible for a man and a woman to have coffee without somehow ending up between the sheets in a fit of passion.

Oh, yes, the people around here are so chill.

So chill, in fact, that no one cares that I’m buying a house. They’ve even volunteered to help me move.

And so chill…. so chill that when I told my favorite 6-year old that I’ve started the process to become a foster parent, she said, “you’re going to need boy toys and girl toys. Can I bring you some toys I don’t play with anymore?”

I’m so, so incredibly blessed in this place.

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Miracles Happen Every Day

I take care of a little boy whose parents were told that he would only live a maximum of 2 months and probably significantly less than that.

He’s now 5 years old.

Every day is a miracle and every minute, a gift.

They don’t make little boys any more perfect than him.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Why I Don’t Need a Man (And some things I do need)

I’ve been working a lot the past few weeks.

Why yes, I love my job. Thanks for asking.

Getting to and from work is the most difficult part of my job — because I live about 30 minutes from work (26 miles with nothing but fields to look at), and sometimes, I work until late and then I have to go back to work early the next morning.

It could be worse. It really could be a whole lot worse.

But last night, I found myself having worked two days in a row, getting back to town at about 11:45 pm, and needing to fill the gas tank before leaving for work again at 7:30 this morning.

And the windchill was -26* F.

As I drove through the 26 miles of nothingness (and blowing snow), I found myself dreading having to get out in the cold. I thought to myself, “At times like these, I need a man.”

And then I realized that I really don’t need a man.

I haven’t needed a man.

I thought I needed a man at times.

But my track record, when it comes to everyday life, is impeccable.

I’ve paid every bill — on time.
I’ve never forgotten to go to work.
I check the oil in my car on a regular basis — and I know when and how to add oil.
I haven’t had an overdraft in over 10 years.
I know how to make/keep medical appointments.
I take out my own trash.
I know how to get myself out if my car is stuck in snow.
I keep my personal space uncluttered as much as possible. (This is a work in progress….)
I know when and how to add antifreeze to my car.
I have more tools than most men — and I know how to use (most of) them.
I know how to check the “service engine” code on my car, how to turn off the light and how to find out what the code means.
I do my own laundry.
I can change the brake and blinker lightbulbs on my car.
I hang pictures.
I can change the battery in my car.
I move furniture by myself when I’m rearranging my living space.
I do all my own shopping (under protest — but I get ‘er done).
I can change a tire (although my attempt may be futile if the tire was bolted on with an air compressor thingy).
I’m a pro at unclogging toilets and drains.I know how to drive safely in all types of road conditions.
I keep several quarts of oil, a gallon of premixed antifreeze and a bottle of Heet in my car at all times, just in case.

Like…. who really needs a man?

I have plenty of other things that I really need. Like:

I need to eat healthier.
I need to cultivate friendships.
I need to save money.
I need to pay off loans.
I need a newer car.
I need to get my teeth straightened.
I need new shoes. (I’m not just being girly. I promise.)
I need to organize my home.
You know how Rush Limbaugh boasts that he can do his radio show with half his brain tied behind his back? Well, I need to get the other half of my brain untied, because if I can rock life with only half of my brain, just think what I could do with the whole thing!

The past several years, I’ve felt like I was functioning with only half of my brain. Or maybe it was only 1/3. The percentage doesn’t really matter — the point is that I struggled. Life felt like too much of a burden and I felt like I was drowning under the weight of it all. I felt like I was failing at everything and nothing was going the way it was supposed to. I didn’t feel like I was living in a desert. I felt like I was a desert. There was nothing about me that even hinted at life and beauty.

During those years, I often heard my own silent screams for mercy. For someone to throw me a life preserver as the desert-that-I-was struggled to keep it all together in the ocean of people and responsibilities and trying to figure out what’s real and what’s not and which church and pastor were “safe” and which people were really my friends.

How does a desert — a conglomeration of sand and heat and dryness (and plants and animals that thrive in dry climates) — remain intact if it’s sinking in an ocean?

Maybe the ocean’s purpose is simply to deconstruct and destroy the desert.

Maybe the pressures of life are simply for the purpose of washing away the lifeless bits of sand, the prickly spines of cactus and the mirages that have been part of me for so long.

I’ve learned along the way that a lot of the things I’ve been taught (ideas which felt dry, dead and ugly) weren’t actually true, right or good. Things about who I am. Things about what I’m supposed to do. Things about the world and things about God and church and pastors. Things about emotions and love and…..

You have to know when to let go of things.

And I’ve learned to let go of the idea that I need a man — because I’ve done quite well without one, even though half my brain has been tied behind my back.

For the record, just because I don’t need a man doesn’t mean that I don’t want one. Because it would sure be nice to be able to delegate the gas pumping on -26* days to someone else.

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

 
 
The Eighth and Final Square

with courage face the thing you fear so the pawn becomes the queen

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Mindy Peltier

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