Friday, September 20, 2013

ripe for freedom


You, my friend, are amazing. Completely, and utterly amazing. 
How do I know? Because you keep showing up here. And you keep coming back, even when I pull back the curtain a little bit further than Emily Post would like and show you some of the yuck hiding in my heart.
And sometimes you share a little bit of your heart and your story with me as well. 
And that is magic. 
The magic of freedom, born of grace.

These little green tomatoes are the only things that I have ever planted that have grown. 
Have I mentioned that instead of a green thumb I have a black thumb? Not what you would expect from someone who wants to live on a farm someday is it? 
But it's true. I kill plants. Like ferns. 
Who kills ferns?? Me. That's who.

These funny little Green Zebra tomatoes were grown from seeds my parents gave all of us for Christmas. My grandmother started them in egg containers, and then I transferred them to peet pots, which I then watered until Sweet Man could get them in the ground. 
Later on, after they were all sprawled out and wild, I helped Nathan put the cages around them, and occasionally I even go out and weed a bit around the plants or water them.
It's not much, but for someone with a black thumb, this is VICTORY my friend!



The truth is, I am better with things that have blood, or breath, or wings, or at least two out of three. 
Mammals. Fowl. Fish. 
Maybe bees? 
Animals and people. 
That I can do.
Nurturing them is easy. Its intuitive. I know things.
Plants are a whole other story.
I have no instinct there, no intuition.

And therefore I have never really tried much to garden. I don't really like to do things I stink at. In fact, I work really hard at avoiding situations where I will look dumb, or clueless, or where I might fail, badly.
Which itself is really dumb and clueless on my part.
Because how else am I going to learn?

But these little ripe tomatoes are a little glimmer of hope that I can learn. 
That I can be taught. That I can muster the courage to risk failure. 
That if I just step out a little bit, and go slow, and ask for help, I can learn how to grow things from the earth. If I watch those who have experience in gardening. If I take the time to slow down and watch the way they handle the seeds, pat the moist dirt around them, tend to them with patience and care, I might just gleam a bit of knowledge from those who have gone before, learning themselves through trial, error, and advice.
And it helps if I am aware of how little I really know. 
I tend to be a better student if I can get honest with myself about my ignorance and inexperience.

When I wrote the Jen Hatmaker post (as it shall be always known, apologies to Jen) I suspected a few things would happen.
First, that somebody would remind me that I am on their list.
Secondly, that somebody would not be able to identify with my struggle.
Thirdly that my mother or my grandmother (or both) would worry about me.
And finally that some of you might have an inkling of what I was talking about.
I have proof of the first two, the third one I just suspect, and the last one, well, that one y'all blew out of the water.
Writing that post I struggled with how many qualifiers to put in. How many reasons to give for things I felt or things that I thought. Or things to clarify so that you wouldn't think that I had completely lost my marbles.

In the end, I decided to assume that if you have been around here for long enough you would probably understand where I was coming from. And you would know me well enough to hear my heart through my words. And of course, because you are AMAZING, you did. You totally and completely got it.  

But there are two things that I still feel the need to say. Things I want to have on permanent record for all time.

First, I want you to know that every blogger I named in that post I love. 
I respect them, I cheer for them, I am genuinely happy for all of their successes. Truly.
I also know that what we see is just a sliver of their lives and there is so much more mess and beauty in their worlds than we will ever know. 
Which is how it should be.
I chose each of those gals carefully because not only do I occasionally get trapped into wishing I had their lives/looks/houses/words/tattoos/kids but because  I do honestly love and respect them.
Some of them I would even call friends.
Friends with whom I talk via email and twitter and Instagram. Friends who cheer for me, love me, and counsel me whenever needed.
But then there are other gals that I named, who couldn't pick me out of blog line-up if they tried.  I am just another reader, peering in and gleaming wisdom and being challenged by their words and their hearts like so many of you.
 And that is okay too.
 Despite my crazy dreams,  I very much aware that the whole internet cannot be best friends.  
But regardless of whether I know them or not, I respect and honor each of those gals.because they are honest about so many of their struggles, even the struggles surrounding the enviable parts. And because I am pretty sure that at least a few of them, like me, from time to time, suffer from GGS (aka Greener Grass Syndrome.) 

The second thing that I want to say is that being on your list is incredibly humbling. And a gut check. 

I wrote about my struggles with GGS because I believe strongly in shining the big fat blinding, bone warming, light of grace and mercy on even the tiniest speck of darkness. 
And I believe that what that light brings is the opposite of what we fear it will bring. 
We fear shame and condemnation. And instead what it brings us is freedom. 
The kind of freedom that comes from realizing that we are not alone in our brokenness, and that forgiveness and mercy are ours for the receiving. All the time. Anytime.  
I wrote that post because I hoped it would do for someone what others have done for me, time and time again,  (Jen, Glennon, Meg, Shannen, Ann, Sarah, - just to name a few. )
Telling our stories is vital to erasing the aloneness we all feel, and light filtering through the cracks of our brokenness is how we find our way out of the dark and into freedom from shame.

 I am guessing, that all of us, in some area of our lives, are on someones list. Whether it is a neighbor, or a coworker, or a family member, or a blog reader, or a customer, or the lady who walks her dogs past your adorable front yard everyday, or the check-out girl at Hancock's, someone is looking at you and thinking that you have the exact ____ (fill in the blank) that they wish they could have, or be, or do.
And the more we all tell our stories - to each other, on our blogs, in our church small groups, during our girls-nights-out  - the more we can shine that grace light through the cracks, the less we all will feel alone. And the easier it will be to find freedom from GGS.

So, thank you for saying that I am your list. Really. I am not going to pretend that you saying that didn't give me a boost. Because it did. How could it not?
But it also challenges me. To keep being authentic every way I know how.
To continue to be a student of how to shed light on the darkness.
To continue to work towards being humble and vulnerable and willing to be taught.
To keep pushing little seeds into the earth, to continue pulling out the weeds, and pouring out water on dry ground. 
To continue to learn from those who have walked the road ahead of me, following the light that seeps in through all the cracks.



Thank you again my friend.
For listening. 
For sharing your heart.
For loving on me.
For showing up time and time again.
For shining the light when I am having trouble finding my way.

love and peace-
J




1 comment:

  1. You are awesome. Yea for shining that light on shame and fear. I love how the parts of ourselves we think are the ugliest and scariest are often the parts that connect us to others in our humanness.

    ReplyDelete

ok, really. tell me the truth... do these comments make me look fat?

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