Things Are Changing

Things Are Changing September 22, 2015

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Things are changing. I’m so grateful, Good Lawd, God Almighty in heaven, I am so grateful. So. So. Grateful.

I’m in reinvention: the absolute necessity to start again, the demand for change before rock-bottom meets certain death, the soul crying out for hope begging you to not to give up on your life type of reinvention. I’m in the latter half I believe. I’m through the hardest part. I’m peeking out now at the horizon seeing it’s beauty, awestruck.

The valley part, the low part, it’s still dark there. I’ve had more than one ugly cry over the scariness of reinvention and the losses that crystallize. My job, for example, is the first career-oriented position in for-profit work I’ve had in 15 years. Career-wise, I had no choice but to reinvent.

What is 2nd marriage if NOT the opportunity to reinvent the asshattery you brought to the 1st one? If I do nothing different in my 2nd marriage I have not evolved I’ve merely added a new spinning plate.  And my new husband is anything but a new shiny plate to spin. He’s the beautifully ornate banquet hall I was led into wearing a Vera Wang gown with Christian Louboutins where I was seated next to his fine a$$ in a sharp tuxedo and was served a plate of hot delicious gourmet food by Wolfgang Puck. He’s the hall, the hot date and the feast I don’t deserve but was graciously given any way. And it is with tremendous thoughtfulness that I care for him as I have never done any man before.  The entire process demands reinvention.

In the span of a few years I lost a marriage, close ‘friends,’ a church, our 3 major & my only life-sustaining communities (work, church & mutual friends), a significant chunk of change, a house & faced an unexpected battle to parent my kids amidst divorce and the loss of so much more…what else on earth demanded my attention more than reinvention? Not much, y’all.

I could call it reinvention, or I could call a spade and a spade and acknowledge I’ve been working to put it all back together. Victories in reinvention come from deep wells of inner strength alongside huge shows of bravery. I’ve held very tight to the strength of God amidst my utter weakness to survive life’s curve balls.

That is my huge show of bravery: holding tight enough to God’s strength.  Just tight enough. Mustard seed tight. Holding tight to hope is bravery, don’t let any one tell you otherwise. It is with this scrappy holding tight mentality coupled with gratitude that keeps me in my arena where I fight, dig and claw my way up and out of the ashes for marvelous, soul-lifting reinvention. Not merely for me.  I demand a reinvention for myself that restores my ability to serve, to invest in others and to do what I do best: advocacy. My reinvention is not just for me. It never was.

I feel it happening slowly, surely. I feel it in my stomach, odd as that may sound. I notice what happens when I’m confronted by certain people and circumstances, my mind and body registering almost superhero levels of forgiveness, hope, peace, gratitude, love, patience, kindness.  Fruits of the Spirit are reinventing in my womb where only pain could register before. I am coming alive to myself and it is not separate from God’s careful, watchful, long-suffering, merciful, gracious Fatherhood.

Though it never was. The hard truth is that God’s careful, watchful, long-suffering, merciful, gracious Fatherhood allows us to make our own choices. He allows us to  hurt and wound ourselves and others. He allows others to hurt and wound us. He allows baby cancer and tragic car accidents and he allows to us to sit vulnerably on the receiving end of pain, year after year, moment after moment. I am coming alive to myself tethered to Him every bit as much as He tethered Himself to me as I came undone. I’m falling into my daughterhood as I never have before, and in ways I was never able to comprehend.

You’ll have to forgive me, but I’d never been a fathered daughter. Post-trauma, there are some things I had to learn, at 38, for the first time. My birth father took the precious father-daughter bond and the holy gift of his fatherhood and made it entirely sexual. After that, for me to operate as a beloved fathered daughter? There were so many lessons for me to learn.  So many. Maybe too many for my lifetime.  And who knows how to do that anyway? I didn’t.  I had an idea and for many years, I did the very best I could. I white-knuckled. But some things had to die. For life, for hope, for reinvention, for me…death was necessary.

Look, it’s never going to be pretty. Embracing reality often means tearing down facade’s and ugly truths. Not a lot of people are strong enough to see you through the complexity, the shame, the ugliness, the healing PROCESS.  I’ve finally accepted this: people don’t want to watch you kill your darlings even if it means you will later survive. It’s confusing. It’s scary. I killed my darlings and from the ashes, reinvention.

My reinvention catalyst was significant pain. So much loss. Grief. Gripping depression. Anxiety. Panic. A nightmare marriage. Feeling trapped. Coming undone. Explosions. Betrayal. Multiple scary whip-lash like transitions. Any reinvention work I’ve done is fruit growing from a hard, dry ground watered daily by fat, bitter tears. And I’ve paid my debt in daily, fat bitter tears triple-fold.

Don’t ask “WHAT happened?” “but WHY did it happen?” & “most importantly WHOSE fault was it?”  My reinvention means I don’t entertain shamers-for-sport, and have nothing but crickets for shame-based questions. I love to share with people who are truly going through the work of surviving themselves and others; the ones longing for hope, for restoration.  Those people, they can ask.

The best part of reinvention?

Education. Growth. School of hard knocks. Tools for health. Learning to silence the shame demons in myself and in others. All that is a gift to me, wrapped in a pretty red bow, present at every twist and turn.

The hard part of reinvention?

Clarity of the Uncertain. I thought I would never lose my primary non-profit work, friends who were like family, my first marriage or ministry, or house or whatever. I thought all of that was certain, when in fact, none of it was.  All of that, it’s all gone. I’ve mourned it. I will mourn it more, I’m sure.

Yet, don’t cry for me, Argentina.  I’m alive to myself. I’m alive to hope. I’m alive to reinvention. I’m alive to awareness. I’m alive to joy. I’m alive to perspective.  I’m alive to love. I’m alive to belonging. I’m alive to my sisterhood. I’m alive to my daughterhood.

When my Certainty Ship sailed it took along the foolish, choppy waters I’d anchored my hope to.  Thank God for wisdom after failure, insight after loss, healthy defense mechanisms that protect.

The only thing I’m now one hundred percent certain of is: The Uncertainty of Life. I am now most certain of my inability to control people and outcomes and especially myself. I’m anchored much less in things, people or even happy circumstances and much more in my faith in God as Abba Father, as completer. He is the ship, the captain, the anchor and the chain that keeps me bound to this restoration process.

By God’s grace & mercy I am reinventing, surviving, thriving. I am alive. I am even *gasp* happy.

Because, hope.

What once was lost…

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  • Alise

    Oh friend, I feel you. There has been so major reinvention here, and some simple discovery of who I have always been, but didn’t really have the permission, either from others or from me, to BE. It’s been scary, but so good. And I’m finally learning to put the shame voices out to pasture. Not always – last week they were soooooo loud – but more often.

    Be happy. Be free. It’s good.

    • Just now seeing this…sorry I’m so late! It’s interesting this re-discovery process isn’t it? And is some ways SO SAD how much we have to go through to learn some painful but necessary lessons.. but like you said, I’m finally learning as well, to silence my own shame. Mostly, I’m learning that I need to keep doing it, a lot.