Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I am a Turtle

I am a turtle.  No matter what happens to this shell (my body), it does NOT effect my spirit unless I allow it too.  True, my wounds occurred as a child before I had that realization. So for many years, I believed that I was irreparably damaged.  As the turtle, I didn’t realize that I had pulled my vulnerable parts tightly inside my shell and continued to live wounded.  Long after the wounds stopped, long into adulthood, I still lived wounded.  To be within my shell, I was safe.  I couldn’t be harmed.  I was comfortable and happy there.  I had survived my ordeal. 

What I didn’t realize, was that even as an adult, I was only surviving. I still allowed my wounds to effect my spirit.  By choosing to stay inside my shell (walls or whatever other analogy used to describe protective measures), I was still choosing to live wounded.   As long as I continued in that choice, I’d never heal or grow.  After all, a turtle tightly tucked in his shell, doesn’t move.  I wasn’t moving, spiritually, emotionally or physically until I decided to brave the vulnerability of exposing my turtle legs…then my turtle arms and eventually my turtle head. 

With the confidence of not having any appendages ravaged by a predator, I gained the confidence to take a step, then two.  And just like the apprehensive turtle, at any sign of danger, I suck right back into my shell.  Having seen the world, I’m no longer content to stay inside.  So, I venture out of the safety of my shell again and again, still retreating back in at times but with growing courage and confidence to continue moving.  Moving toward life.  The life I want to live.  A life of love and trust instead of fear and suspicion.  A life of joy and hope instead of complacency and disappointment.  A life of beauty and wonder instead of dark clouds and pessimism.  A life being lived instead of survived.

I have become very fond of the turtle as symbolic to my emotional healing.  Truly, it is as slow as the turtle and really does happen by building on one baby step at a time.  But this journey all began with the realization that I wasn’t living, I was still “surviving” and purposefully choosing to muster the courage to be vulnerable so I could heal and grow and live.  One day this turtle will have the confidence to cast off that shell, completely free of the damage that was inflicted upon it.  Showing the world my spirit, my essence, the real me.  But today is not that day.  Today, my head is peeking out to see this beautiful world, wondering if it is indeed safe.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Unexpected

When we decided to go full timing in an RV, I expected to be closer as a family, I expected to get to know Jesus better, I expected less housework and more time: time for knitting, reading, and taking a family herbalist course.  I expected to be immersed in the beauty of nature and have my breath taken away by the artistry of God.  I expected to have more time to cook and play with Kylee.  My expectations have seen their fulfillment.

What I DID NOT expect was to learn so much about myself…not all good I might add.  I didn’t foresee having the time to contemplate deeper things, like what happens to all of the trash my family contributes to landfills, what is “healthy living”, and what is “church” really supposed to look like? 

Many positive changes have come about from these contemplations, from recycling, to natural/organic household products and remedies to more local, fresh and whole foods.  I’m practically a hippie in the making!  I would not have considered that a compliment several years ago, but this is a new day.  A day in which I no longer view people with a broad, stereotypical blanket, but as individuals.  Choosing to focus on what we have in common instead of what we don’t.  This alone has renewed my faith in people; freeing me to see the beauty and richness in each life instead of judging them by our differences and my opinions.  Freeing me to see the good heart God created in each of them.

My own good heart is what I’m now embracing; to see my heart healed.  I’ve been free from religion’s rules and traditions for a few years now and physically free for 7 months as we roam this beautiful land.  Months which have provided time for Jesus to reveal my inner brokenness and need for healing and emotional freedom.  This will be the most challenging, frightening, and rewarding experience of this journey thus far.  Facing ones childhood traumas is daunting.  It’s challenging to tear down the walls I’ve so diligently built around my heart and allow it to be vulnerable, frightening to be willing to endure the pain that will surely come as I purposely expose each layer of brokenness and to trust Jesus Christ to step in and heal each wound revealed as well as the ones that will surely come.  Luckily for me, I witness the emotional freedom I seek in my beautiful girl: unbridled, full of life, and completely unafraid, secure in the knowledge that she is loved unconditionally, secure in her ability to make us smile and adore her, secure in who she is. 

And so, with a trust that Jesus will meet me in every dark corner of my heart, propelled by the curiosity of what an unbridled me will look like, and with the love, strength and support of my husband, I set out on the path to emotional freedom.