Saturday, December 31, 2011

20 Questions for 2011

20 Questions for a New Year’s Eve Reflection

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?

~{RE}discovering God's heart and seeing how His hand has
& continues to redeem the broken pieces in my life

2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?

~Adjusting to life not being in full-time ministry and how I viewed myself

3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?

~2 part-time jobs where I can set my own schedule

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?

~I don't think this would be considered unexpected,
but the fact that I am still dealing with unclear chronic pain
for going on 3 years now has been an ongoing obstacle.

5. Pick three words to describe 2011.

~Redemption. Grace. Rediscovery.

6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2011
(don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you).

~Peace. Rest. Quiet.

7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2011 (again, without asking).

~Relaxation. Rest. Change.

8. What were the best books you read this year?

~Grace for the Good Girl, all of Ted Dekker's 2011 releases

9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?

~Arno, my bffs, Tricia & Alison, my parents, my sister,
my bloggy friends, including Relevant & (in)courage ladies

10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?

~a radical change from heavy brokenness to amazing redemption

11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?

~Last year at this time, my heart was broken, held together with Scotch tape.
This year the beauty HE filled into the cracks is amazing!

12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?

~In the midst of my broken heart last year, I did not know
WHERE God was and often wondered if He had abandoned me.
My relationship with Him has changed into one
that I have never had before although I accepted Him into my heart
as a little girl.

13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?

~I do not know if I have had MUCH change in this area
due to the fact that my life is limited in physical ways,
however, that has helped me emotionally and spiritually
to stop striving so much because I have been forced to slow down.

14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?

~Although I am an extrovert, I had been deeply hurt by "people"
and felt innately sensitive and and angry.
So I often pulled away. Although I am still working on this.
My 31 days of {RE}discovering the Lord in October
culminating in my surprise open door to the Relevant conference,
seemed to open that door wide open.

15. What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?

~Being able to set my own schedule.
Having variety within my job description.
Exercising both my left & right brains
through both organizational skill and creative outlets

16. What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?

~Finding the balance with how to manage my time the best

17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?

~Worry and anxiety when I should have been trusting and resting in Him

18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?

~Growing as a writer. Loving on people.

19. What was biggest thing you learned this past year?

~God is working in the details
even when I think He was forgotten or abandoned me.
His love for me looks, practically, different than what I expected.
And His plans for me are more creative
than the space I had previously given Him to work in me.

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2011 for you.

~Stand and watch in amazement at how God redeems your broken pieces.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Open

What a fun and amazing journey it has been this year, learning and growing through this 5 minute risk-writing!!

It isn't easy. It never is. To put your heart out there in 5 minutes, knowing that your filter is significantly less and that you may reveal something that you normally hide so well. Or that your words will not measure up to the beauty revealed through the other amazing writers joining their morsels on this journey.

Lisa-Jo said this on Twitter yesterday, "I can only write what I know. Not what you know. That's why what we both write matters."

And I remember this mantra that I would remind myself of during my teen years and college days, "Use the talents you possess, for imagine how silent the woods would be if the only birds that sang were the best."

And so I write....
And since I was a part of the first prompt of the year, I am thrilled to be participating in rounding the year off with these 5 minutes.

Topic :: OPEN


Wide open spaces.
Open hearts.
Open minds.

The search for significance

The desire to be held
to be known
to be understood
to be accepted

This journey of life crashing and flowing like the ever present tide filling our broken places and then revealing them again.
In the cracks, somehow.
In the in-between
In the moments where light and dark, death and life, freedom and walls meet.

Open Hands

my pain
my sin
my weakness
my broken heart

And she is there, whispering truth and promise and hope
yielding life and joy with her breath......


If you have always wondered about Five Minute Friday, but never hopped over, won't you do that today? And maybe even join in?? You do not have to even have a blog. You can do 5 minutes in the comments below.

It's fun.
It's freeing.
It's scary.
It's life-changing.

Adventure with me???

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Bloggy Favs

Sharing my year in blog posts
....a favorite post {or two} from each month of 2011.












Thank you so much for letting me share my journey with you in this space. Your presence and comments and interactions are a constant gift to me!

Happy New Year!!

Mama’s Losin’ It

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

{MY} 12 Days of Christmas

Day 12 :: This book has really been changing my life in all kinds of ways.
You can read my journey HERE.

Day 11 :: Mom had laparoscopic gall bladder surgery
and her & my buddy, Morris snuggled up
on the recliner together afterwards.

Day 10 :: Arno & I shared a Christmas tree
posing moment at his office party dinner.

Day 9 :: Ever since I was a teenager, we would all go together
to pick out a REAL live tree. It is truly a highlight of the year for me.
This year was no different. I promise....we DID help out my dad
eventually....after we snapped our pics! ;-)

Day 8 :: I felt such a joy in celebrating Christmas at church the Sunday before.
Reminded that NEVER ONCE did I ever
walk alone through every heartache and trial

Day 7 :: My boss' {and friend's} son LOVES photo shoots.
THIS is one of his many self portraits with my camera.
He's 5. ;-)

Day 6 :: I haven't talked about it much online, but we are hoping to close
on a house mid-January. Here is a sneak peek into the Great Room.

Day 5 :: Lunch with my parents {grandmother was there too}
Loved capturing this moment filled with loads of laughter!

Day 4 :: This pic is kind of a miracle pic -- my grandfather
with ALL of his children and grandchildren. Years of shame & secrecy
transformed into healing and restored relationships!!

Day 3 :: While shopping with my Dad and Sis for my mom, we stopped
at my friend, Jamie's, who designs hand made jewelry pieces.
While there, I made a new friend.

Day 2 :: Watching one of my all time favorites {and annual Christmas tradition}
It's a Wonderful Life

Day 1 :: Christmas Day spent with family doing one of my
all-time favorite activities -- BOARD GAMES!!

Those are my 12 Days of Christmas.
Thanks for letting me share them with you!

What were some of your highlights??
Hope yours were special and dare-I-say-it.....relaxing???

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

When the Magic Dies

The magic of Christmas has inspired and wow-ed me ever since I was a little girl.

Anticipating Santa.
Singing Christmas carols.
Counting the days until we would fly from our balmy island home to the chilly winter winds, where our Maryland family would be waiting with open arms.

And then of course, the picking out, cutting down, & trimming of our REAL, live tree, the playing of the newest gifted board game with our cousins on Christmas day, exchanging gifts like socks & underwear, which you had to show to all, aunts, uncles, and grandparents alike because, well, it's tradition; and so much more.

The wonder.
The awe.
The beauty.
It never seemed to wane for me, year after year, and while it changed as I grew into adulthood, my eyes still sparkled with this -- my favorite time of the year.

Until last year.
Last year, when I found myself childless {for another year}; on an indefinite sabbatical from 10 years of full time ministry; dealing with over 3 years of increasing chronic pain with no end or solution in sight; in the wake of recovering from the fear of almost losing my parents in the Haiti earthquake; and isolated from friends and family because of distance in miles, in some cases, and because of distance in hearts with others.

My parents returned back from Haiti for the holidays, and my mom and I traveled to our traditional shopping haunts, and all of the feelings that I had been holding at bay, like a dam on the brink of bursting, slammed through my carefully guarded walls and I sobbed to my mother.

I told her that I did not feel needed.
I spoke about how I felt insignificant and how I had no purpose.
I shared how empty my arms and heart felt with no little one to share my usual, boundless, IMMEASURABLE joy of Christmas with and how I wondered if I could ever feel the same again.

I cried, "I want to WANT to give up!! Why is God so cruel to give me this strong will to fight in spite of myself, but with no answers, no solutions, no change, no tangible appearance of His precious promises."

To say that I was undone would have been an understatement.
My mother grieved along with me as tears ran down her face, lined with worry and stress at seeing her sensitive little girl all grown up and struggling through these real life heart breaks.

I hated hurting her with my emotional outburst.
I wanted to protect her. She wanted to protect me.
I could only imagine what she felt as a mother seeing her child suffer with nothing she could do...and as hard and difficult as this may sound, I felt even angry at being denied the opportunity to sit and to cry and to love and to lift up in prayer, my own children.

I truly felt dead inside, like I had found the bottom of my heart -- the deep, dark, hidden place that no one likes to go because the pain there is lonely and without tangible words.

Gradually, the Lord lifted me.
Like He does.
And carried me through Christmas.
Like only He could.

And now it is Christmas again.
Just a few days away, in fact.

My longing mother heart is still longing.
My arms still feel the weight of emptiness with a palpable strain.

And yet, something is different.
This year has been a year of healing, a year of soothing broken places,
A year of the REDEEMED.

Do not get me wrong.
The ache never goes away.
Not quite.
Moments that others take for granted.
Words spoken without a thought.
Memories made simply as part of tradition.
Hearing and seeing them still sting....

Yet, this year, as I unwrap Jesus, and His heart for me and Arno, for our parents, for the world, I ask Him to help me see with His eyes, to be gracious like His heart, to give generously from my own need.

There is a strange sense of hope that I have
In spite of the reality
In spite of the circumstances in front of me
In spite of the voice of fear inside of me -- "What if you get hurt again?"
In spite of ME...

I see Him.

And maybe, just maybe...seeing Him is the real magic of Christmas for me this year.

Life: Unmasked

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Acquired Taste

Jen Price was one of the first true and REAL connections that I made after I began blogging. We were at the decision point of "to-sabbatical" or "not-to-sabbatical" and I stumbled across her blog. She and her husband, Jeremy, were in the midst of their sabbatical time after having pioneered Ten Thousand Homes, a non-profit ministry in South Africa for over 10 years. I reached out and her reception, understanding, and open heart endeared me to her immediately. Although we have never met (IRL), I feel that she is a TRUE friend, and I cannot wait to hug her and talk to our hearts content one day!

God has taken Jen & Jeremy on a dreaming journey over the past two years, developing in their creative gifts and talents as artists. Jen is an amazing photographer {you can find her oh-so-awesome work HERE}, and Jeremy just finished up work on his debut EP project, Acquired Taste

When Jen asked me to be a part of the blog tour, I was psyched to be a small part of their journey.

There is a richness in Jeremy's music that reminds me of nothing else, and I love that. There is an honest transparency that touches that nerve of raw uncomfortability and soulish candor all at the same time that draws you more and more upon every playback.

Another amazing friend, Alece, who also spent a decade in South Africa, asked Jeremy about his heart and journey with this project, and how his work in Africa ties in with it all.

I wanted to share Jeremy's own words with you—
I have been writing songs for over 15 years and spent much of my early adult life playing music all over the world. The last few years I have set it aside while building Ten Thousand Homes. But now is the time.

Ten Thousand Homes is a movement of ordinary people actively building HOPE and creating HOMES for Africa’s orphans and vulnerable children.

In creating home for these children we try to inspire them to pursue joy. In the midst of great tragedy and loss, we desire for them to pursue their dreams, that which gives them joy.

My pursuit in joy has always led me to music. And one day I realized that to really help these guys I must all out pursue that which gives me joy. So for the first time, freaked out and completely blessed, I am releasing my first EP, Acquired Taste.

I chose songs that were not all written recently. One was written this year, while others go back as far as 8 years ago. The title track Acquired Taste was written while in the bush of Africa. I really wanted to represent a journey, and while this is a simple recording, I am extremely proud of it! What I know now is that this is only the beginning!

I continue to work in Africa, and while Ten Thousand Homes has no paid staff, the sale of these albums does help the work continue. Thank you for listening. Thank you for investing in dreams. Now, go pursue that which brings you joy!

So why don't you go check out Jeremy's album? You can download it for as little as $3! What a great Christmas gift for the music-lover in your life or for YOU!!

Listen to and Download Acquired Taste.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Never Once

As I think back on this year -- the year of the once-broken, now {redeemed} places, the season of walking through the valley and the desert, this song resounds fully in my heart. I pray that it encourages you as you listen and read these words today.....

Never Once

Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we’ve come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us

Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
Carried by Your constant grace
Held within Your perfect peace
Never once, no, we never walk alone

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Every step we are breathing in Your grace
Evermore we’ll be breathing out Your praise
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

~Matt Redman

Friday, December 16, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Connected

Every Friday I join with Lisa-Jo, The Gypsy Mama, so we can share our stories in just 5 minutes.

Here are her words....

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Most important: visit, comment, encourage the person before you.
OK, are you ready?

Give me your best five minutes on Connected.


I take my hand, interlocking fingers into his.
I feel....connected.

I look across the table and she laughs at that same silly story I've told a hundred times.
I feel....connected.

I sit next to her hospital bed, the woman who gave my life from her body, and I take care of her for this momentary need.
I feel....connected.

I sit with my baby sister, who is not so much a baby anymore, and we watch a video with that famous person that reminds us of an old friend. We laugh and...
I feel....connected.

Words. Moments. Glances.
Memories encapsulated in time.
Hearts that no longer beat the same alone.
Lives that no more travel in solitary motion.


Won't you join me or maybe visit some of these other brave souls putting their words out their with no restraint??

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Night of the Living Dead Christian {Review & Giveaway}

When I heard about this Christian fiction book all about monsters, I was intrigued. Growing up with sci fi as a fictional staple in our home, gave me an appreciation for all things strange, weird, and extraordinary. Matt Mikalatos' book, Night of the Living Dead Christian, surprised me in the parallels that it draws from the "monster" world into the lives of Christians across the globe. From werewolves, vampires, zombies, and more, Matt challenges us to discover the "monster" inside of each of us through his funny wit, unexpected charm, and blatant honesty.

Relevant Magazine praised Matt as "Monty Python meets C.S. Lewis," which totally grabbed my attention, and I was not disappointed. While the randomness of the story confused me and caused me to struggle to enter in to the storyline for the first couple of chapters, as I carried on, I was impressed by the depth of theological understanding juxtaposed with the open transparency of today's culture.

Additionally, as a blogger, finding word treasures sprinkled throughout the book found me highlighting to savor again and again like "bone-white moon," "attractive brains," and "the pain tears like glass in the intestines."

And today one of YOU will get to win a FREE copy of this book! Isn't that great??

Here's how you can enter ::

1) Leave a comment telling me what the scariest monster is to you.

2) Become a follower on either Google Friend Connect or Networked Blogs. If you already are that's fine, too!

3) Tweet and/or share on Facebook the following...

@MattMikalatos #NightOf the Living Dead from @TyndaleHouse challenges you to find the monster in you via @lindseyfoj

4) Follow @lindseyfoj on Twitter.

That is 4 ways to enter!! Giveaway ends Tuesday, December 20th at Midnight EST when random number generator will choose one winner. Certificate will be mailed to the winner just in time for Christmas -- to keep or to give away!!

Check out more of Matt Mikalatos at ::
Order Night of the Living Dead Christian and other great books at ::

Still not convinced...check out this video from the author :
{subscribers click here to see video}

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Because Sometimes We Forget

"Adam and Eve were birthed, or created, in the image of God.
But they didn't remember."
~Emily P. Freeman

This journey through understanding my good girl tendencies has peeled back layers deep inside of me like an ripe onion, causing cringing and tears that surprised even me.

I mean, when you have loved Jesus since you were a little girl and tried to live a "good" life and be a "good" Christian, you think you have this "relationship-with-Jesus-thing" basically down. Not only have I grown up having a REAL relationship with Jesus since I was four years old, but also, my parents are missionaries, so He was a part of our lives in every way.

At 18, I went to a Christian university, started serving in campus ministry and never looked back. 10 years of full time ministry later; hundreds of messages and personal revelations on His grace, His blood, and The cross under my belt, thousands of encouraging words spoken from my own lips to others about His amazing love for them, and then...I begin reading Emily's book, Grace for the Good Girl and suddenly here I am discovering masks I have hidden behind for years in spite of all that I "know."

And that brings us to Adam and Eve.
They walked with God.
They talked with God.
I mean they PHYSICALLY SAW Him with their OWN eyes.
How amazing is that!!

And then.
Enter the serpent.
Bringing lies and deceit.
Planting seeds of doubt about the One she knew so well.

Oh my goodness!
Is this familiar to you?

The doubts, the fears, the mantras of insecurity resound in your mind.
Your spirit cries inside of you testifying of the One who you know so well, who knows YOU so intricately.
And yet....anxiety, suspicion, and uncertainty weigh heavily inside of you.
and like with Eve where "love dislodged itself from her heart, sending her spiraling down into despair and doubt and death," you feel that same disconnect.

It is to me.
Familiar, that is.

I did not ever realize just HOW independent and in-control I needed to be until this past year.
My best friend took my silence in my struggles as me needing my space because I act "together."
My husband did not realize when thing overwhelmed me because I do not tell him.
My mom, I pushed away, emotionally because her heartfelt love threatened to break through my carefully constructed walls.

I put up walls, masks, and an air of "I-am-in-control. No worries!"
So, I found myself alone, angry, desperate, wondering why people around me were not actively loving and reaching out to me, the way I felt that I had always done for them. I thought, "Don't they see that I am dying inside? Why don't they break through my walls? Surely I am not THAT intimidating....right??"

About a year ago, when my life first radically changed with my husband and I taking an indefinite time-out from full time ministry, I sat down with a long time friend who has known me since junior high. As we started talking, I opened up about the fact that I really did not have the answers to the whys and whats and where-to-next questions that other people wanted to know, let alone to appease that voice in my head that needed order and control.

She said something to me that kind of amazed me.
"Lindsey, do you know how many people would not only be accepting but actually grateful that you 'don't know,' that you don't have all the answers for 'what's next?' I think you would be surprised that they would actually be thinking, 'Wow! She is actually like the rest of us.' Because you have always seemed so sure, so confident, so in control, and most people really feel like they have no clue, on a daily basis."

Her words just kind of blew me away.
People really LIVE like that!?!?
And they think...those things....about ME?!?!?!

But I wanted them to, did I not?
So they were giving me what I wanted
Or at least what I was communicating that I wanted.

I know now that the good girl inside of me never wanted to be weak, never wanted to look needy. If other people are, that is okay, but somehow I must be never let them see you sweat....right?


"I hide behind my mask of performance so people will think I am smart, capable, and put together. I hide behind the reputation I have established rather than risk trusting an unpredictable Jesus. I hide behind my positive emotions rather than let you see my reality. I hide behind my list of rules so I can check off each one, as if I'm another step closer to God because I've followed them. I hide behind my mask of strength because I'm ashamed of my weakness....I have to come out of hiding in order to be found. To be healed. To be whole."

Oh! And this is where the revelation is just beautiful.

"The Bible calls the masks we depend on flesh....the Spirit and the flesh are in opposition. It doesn't matter if your flesh looks bad or good: it opposes the Spirit within you, and these struggles can rob us from living out of our true, Jesus-made identity."

The part that really speaks to me is how it does not matter if your flesh looks bad or good. When it is fighting against His Spirit inside of you, THAT is the real issue!

So what does God give us?

Mercy and Grace.
An escape that we do not deserve.

"Mercy protects. Grace provides....In the person of Jesus, mercy and grace show up perfect and pour out all over us."

We have to make a choice....I must make a choice to come out of the hiding place of shame, where I must DO and EARN and PROVE my own salvation; and to walk into the hiding place of grace where I not only receive the price He paid FOR me but I take that identity UPON me.

For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
(Colossians 3:3)

"This is the different kind of hiding than the one we have practiced as good girls. When we realize the safe place where we dwell, there is new hope for the entire human race to breathe a collective sigh of sweet relief. God has provided a better way and because of that, there is a new way to live."

Momma Day By Day

I am reading and writing through Emily P. Freeman's book Grace For the Good Girl with Momma Day by Day and some other brave recovering good girls as we delve into our "good girl" tendencies and share our journeys in {RE}discovering His grace, His heart. This post is a reflection of chapter 10.

Read more about my journey through Grace for the Good Girl....

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My Broken Pieces :: Redeemed

It was about a year ago that I first heard about the One Word community -- a gathering of people prayerfully asking the Father to give them one word to individually guide their lives for the year.

And I wanted in.
To simplify.
To slow down.
To listen better
Without all the words
and timelines
and goals
and noise
because for me, I was too caught up in my own perfectionistic world
so One Word
was....perfect....for me.

So the Lord dropped the word REDEEMED into my heart, my spirit.
And I set off on a journey to discover what that meant for me, what He was speaking to me, and what would happen inside of me.

I realized that if I were to highlight a word for 2010 in hindsight, it would be GRACE. And as this year progressed, it seemed that the majority of the lessons were still centered around grace. In fact, you will find twice as many tags for grace in my history than redeemed. So I wondered if I had chosen the wrong word, if I had not heard Him correctly, but I pressed on determined to walk the path and complete the road of discovery He had been guiding me through.

And then last month, I was talking to a friend, sharing bits and pieces of my journey, my struggles, my fears, my pain, my ugly, and I revealed how I had finally seen God's hand and heart after several years of mistrust and hurt and how through my tears, laughter and thankfulness came.

I, then, heard myself saying,

"It's amazing how in the midst of the biggest hurt of my life. In the midst of the trials and pain, I am finding joy. And nothing has really changed, but the brokenness makes more sense now. And I realize that He is REDEEM-ing everything for His glory, for my future, for a treasure to give to the world."

And the words caught in my throat.
And I gasped in that incredible moment of realization....

He has redeemed my broken pieces.

He is using the hard.
He has plans even in my mess.
He is good even when sorrow is like my own skin.
Everything is being redeemed
by the One who knows me better than I could ever know myself.

Nothing is left spilled and wasted on the ground.
Even the chaff has purpose with Him.

My life is Redeemed.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

It's Just NOT Fair!

I had a thing about fairness when I was a kid.
I guess a lot of kids do, but mine was sort of ultra.
If my sister and I did something wrong, we had to be punished THE SAME.
If there was candy to be divided you could count on me to be equal.
Even now as an adult, this mantra of "Fair. Fair.....fair, fair, fair." constantly resounds in my head. I can see it in how I relate to my husband.
"I picked the restaurant last time so now it's your turn." or even when I am unfair, "Sorry that I am being unfair, I'm a're a boy...that's the way that it is." {Amazing that THAT one actually works at times!}

But seriously.....

I think, as a good girl, I truly believed in my heart that if I did the right things, if I spoke the right words, if I loved the right way.....well....hard work, good manners, right thinking, kind words should be given more merit, more rewards, more accolades than those who do NOT do "the right thing," right?

And I know that God's grace is the answer.
I know that it is by faith alone that we are saved.

"It is a gift of God, not by works so that no one can boast."
Ephesians 2:9

I know these things. I believe them. I have taught them to others. I have prayed them over my life and over my disciples, family, friends. But somehow, when I am honest, I want my "goodness" to count for something.

"In the safety of isolation, I take off that mask of good performance, hang it up for the night, and dare to ask the Lord why the rebels and the renegades get the parties. Why do the prodigal daughters get the glory? Where is my fattened calf? I begin to question if I can ever experience the full measure of God's grace since my stores are so straight laced. Then, Shame chooses that moment to walk in and reintroduce herself, smiling as she sits on the corner of my bed with her I told you so and her sarcastic You're not so good after all. I am forced to agree with her. I'm not so good after all. I have issues. I still believe the crazy lie that God's acceptance of me is based on my performance. I'm still living in a small story that is all about me. That is the raw of it, straight from my ugly." ~Emily P. Freeman

Emily goes on to describe the story in the Bible of the prodigal son, the father, and the older brother and how as the good girl, she relates to and feels for the older brother.

"Good girls think there should be consequences for the actions of the prodigal, not a party."

A husband and a happy ending for the girl who saved herself for marriage, not the promiscuous girl.
The fulfilling dream job for the woman who has labored in tough positions for years, not the one who just got there by a fluke.
And here's the one that really hit home for me:

"There should be a baby for the couple who have faithfully prayed to get pregnant, not for the sixteen-year-old girl who had miserable sex one time with her boyfriend."

Ouch. I have felt that way.
Looked Over.
Cast Aside.

"We hide behind this mask of indifference, pretending it doesn't bother us, because the only alternative is to face the source of the anger and what we are afraid to admit we believe: How can he choose to reward them and ignore me?"

The fairness quality in me rose up with a mighty vengeance about a year and a half into the journey of trying to conceive. Teenage girls were getting pregnant. Women who were unmarried and living life the way they pleased were getting pregnant. Friends were on their second and third pregnancies. Women who had barely been Christians for two minutes were getting pregnant. And even today, almost 4 years later, it is still hard.

It seems so easy for some people.
No waiting. No trials. No testing. No "character" growth.
Just badda-bing-badda-boom.

Something that the Lord has begun to reveal to the little, LIFE-MUST-BE-FAIR, good girl inside of me is this -- we all struggle with something. Life is never just "easy," without experiences that stretch our hearts, our sanity, our faith.

Maybe it is being single well into adulthood, lack of finances, issues with health, strain in relationships, marital problems, or infertility. Either way, we all battle with the loss of dreams or feel frustrated in God's timing or wondering why our "good works" are not paying off.

And the bottom line is whether you relate to the prodigal's journey or the older brother's frustration, they both had one thing in common: the love of the father AND the NEED for that love.

Because even the older brother needed to see himself as the prodigal....
"If he had come to his father in the same way the prodigal had, he would have experienced the same love and acceptance every time. The beautiful, redemptive truth is, I am free to identify with the Father, the one who offered unconditional love and acceptance to both sons."

His strength is perfect when our strength is gone;
He’ll carry us when we can’t carry on.
Raised in His power, the weak become strong;
His strength is perfect, His strength is perfect.
~Steven Curtis Chapman

Momma Day By Day

I am reading and writing through Emily P. Freeman's book Grace For the Good Girl with Momma Day by Day and some other brave recovering good girls as we delve into our "good girl" tendencies and share our journeys in {RE}discovering His grace, His heart. This post is a reflection of chapters 8 and 9, mostly chapter nine.

Read more about my journey through Grace for the Good Girl....

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