When I ran away from my marriage

I was driving to camp this year reflecting on trips to camp in past summers, thankful for how things have changed. I was remembering longing to leave home and taste the freedom that life on the road brought. And what was more free-feeling than travelling with a group of young adults five to ten years younger than myself! I felt youthful and alive! Unlike how I felt at home….Reuben and I hadn’t been married that long when I started taking teams of young adults around British Columbia and Alberta each summer to do camp ministry.
Unfortunately, Reuben and I had a pretty rough go the first eight years of our marriage. We were two stubborn people learning to become self-less. Needless to say, that “learning” was taking longer than expected. I talk about it further in my blog, “And they lived happily ever after”, but to set the stage, let me just briefly mention the disillusion I lived in regarding marriage. I was a dreamer, and in my eyes, Reuben was a dream-squasher (now I see his objections as a gift that save me from a ton of trouble). Our constant failing to see eye to eye spiralled me into a death trap of focusing on furthering my “career”, which happened to be full time ministry.
I didn’t know how to deal with my disappointment in my marriage, so I was determined to pour my heart into work.
Looking back, I wish I would have put that much “heart” into my relationship with Reuben.Summer would come and I would run away from home for sometimes weeks upon weeks of camp ministry. While on the road, I wouldn’t have to be constantly reminded of the anticlimax I had experienced with the romantic notion of marriage I had created in my mind. While away, I lived carefree, spent money like the young adults on my team, and only called home every so often. I was having the time of my life.
I remember one camp in Sorrento, someone said to me; “You have so much love for everyone else, but you need to focus that same love onto your home”. I will never forget those words. Even to this day, when I feel my independence rising, those words echo in my heart. 

I am thankful to say that for the last four years of continuing doing camps each summer, I’m no longer running away from home. In fact, I’m a blubbering mess leaving my hubby – even though I only do one week of camp each summer. I hate being away from him. I want to call home every day to hear his voice and make sure all is well. And instead of bringing along young adults, I’ve opted for a younger model: my son, and as of this summer, baby as well.

 

My heart is full of thankfulness for the change God has worked in my life. For me, I was running way to camp. For other women, it’s a different place they run to; the mall to shop, the job, the hobby, the club, the girls trip, the other man…. All very different, but caused by the same dissatisfaction with what they felt marriage was going to look like.

 

From a former runaway, I want you to hear my plea: stop running. Stop running to whatever it is eases your pain and run back to the man you married. I know it’s painful and hard. Even when you both want to work hard to make it work, its still one of the hardest things you’ll ever push through…. but also the most rewarding.

 

In the words of Switchfoot; “This is your life. Are you who you wanna be?” You get to choose who you become. Are you who you want to be? Are you the wife, the mom you daydreamed about when you were a little girl? Are you “present”? You can be. You can have a marriage that makes it, if your man wants it to work too.  Honestly, I’m shocked ours lasted, but we didn’t give up and because of that, our relationship has a depth it would never have experienced without walking that road.

 

No more running.

Categories: relationships

To my worst enemy

September 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Geesh, just leave me alone!  Stop constantly pointing out my every fault!  You make me question my intentions and second guess myself.   Just when I finally release my fear, you’re behind me feeding it right back into me.  You play on my weaknesses and cause me to question my strength.

I don’t appreciate your advice on friendship.  You make me think the world is against me, tempting me to scrutinize even good relationships.  You force me back into isolation and mistrust.    Your idea for me to raise the bar of people I accept is stupid.  Using others to get ahead isn’t something I want to consider.  I’m not interested in your opinions of those who have used me.  I don’t want to listen to your ideas of pushing them out of my life.

You mock when my fat pants don’t even fit.  You laugh at my constant attempts to focus on “being healthy” rather than being consumed with perfection.  You make me want to eat nothing…. or eat a whole cake, but then I know you’d just torture me all the more.   You’re always pointing out how lame my style is compared to others, making me believe if I just had more clothes, more makeup… and got rid of my buck teeth, I MAY just look ok.

I’m done with you nitpicking at every flaw on my face.   Yes, I have grey hair in my eyebrows.  Yes, I have a discolored tooth I can’t afford to fix yet.  Yes, I have huge front teeth and wrinkles.  STOP making me feel that I have to completely change my appearance to be acceptable!   I can’t even look at a picture of myself without you scoffing over my shoulder.

You betray me.  I’m walking away from you, even though you will stay with me forever.   I will learn to shut your voice out and allow God’s voice to replace you.  It may take me some time, but I will persevere.  When I see you in the mirror, I will choose to see past you and see with heaven’s eyes.  Your voice has become too strong in my life.  You’ve become  a god ruling over me.

It’s time to switch gods.

Categories: a new spirituality

My epic FAIL(S)

September 29, 2011 1 comment

There’s something I love about people who are real and honest about things they’ve totally messed up.  They make me feel right at home.  It’s probably because I just can’t relate to perfection.

I’m a genius at failure.  You name it, I may have tried it…. and failed.   For example, you DO NOT want to see me on a pair of skis….

Beyond just clumsiness, much of my failure status comes naturally by taking the bull by the horns and running free with whatever comes to my mind.  It’s funny to look back on the last 10 years of my life and realize I’ve failed more than I’ve succeeded.  Humbling, yes, but I can tell you honestly, I’ve learned much more from my mistakes than I have from my successes.

Here’s the deal; the real and candid deal.  It sucks to fail, especially with others watching.   I don’t know if there’s anything much worse than putting your heart out on a limb, taking a huge risk, investing a huge amount of time and money only to see it all crumble before your eyes.  And if you’re “perfection-driven”, this could really make you crazy.  All of a sudden your incognito perfection has fallen to pieces in front of everyone, leaving your humanity completely exposed.  That sucks.

But you wanna know the good news?  That’s the worst thing that can happen.   In hind-sight, that isn’t so bad.   If you ask me if I’d do it all again, the answer would be, “Yes, yes and YES”.  I’d rather try and fail than sit and do nothing.  The people I most admire are those who have failed time and time again.  I admire their tenacity.  Do I care that they’re not perfect?  Hardly.

A mistake at least proves that somebody stopped talking long enough to do something. – Ian Green

John Maxwell wrote a great book called, “Failing Forward”.  In his book he says when you fail, fail FORWARD….. and when you find yourself on the ground, pick something up while you’re down there!  Love it.

Many are catching on to the idea of “failing”.  Did you know that there are innovative companies that give prizes to ideas that fail the most?  Where do I put in my resume?!   You know why they do this?   They want to create an environment of safe risk-taking.  (isn’t that an oxymoron?)  These companies don’t want the status quo.  They know in order to achieve extraordinary results they will fail a few times before they hit it.

They say a person who steps out to risk makes around two big mistakes a year on average.   They also say that a person who doesn’t step out to risk makes around two big mistakes a year as well…

If you’re not ever failing you’re probably not dreaming big enough… Take a risk!  If its not you then WHO?  If it’s not now, then WHEN?   Failure brings timidity – where we become afraid of stepping out again.   Foolishness.  We need to get over ourselves.   WHO is the one empowering us?  WHO is the one who calls?  WHO equips?   Is it our great ability?   Does it all rest on our charisma and talent?

Hebrews 13:21 says that God Himself equips us with every good thing to do His will.  HE is the one who works in and through us for His purpose to be accomplished.   We could look at that verse and think that’s our ticket out of ever failing!  After all, if the God of the universe is equipping us, should we ever fail?   Yes.

…… because God knows that failure is a very effective teacher.   It teaches us more about character, perseverance, and leaning on God’s grace, more than success could ever instruct.   My heart is full of gratitude for every time failure knocked on my door, because it reminded me; “I’m good…. but I’m not that good”.  It has brought a much-needed humility back to my centre, and a desperate dependance on God.

Will we ever succeed then?  Yes of course!  But I wonder if it will show itself the way we expect it to?   Will we see the fruit of our labour?   Will we be able to see how our efforts tangibly have had an impact on society?  Or will we leave this earth wondering?  We can’t view the lack of “visual fruit” as “failure”.   When you’re doing what God has asked you to do: keep on keeping on.  Don’t grow weary in doing good.  Stay the course until He says otherwise.

Sometimes, He leaves us in this very place because….. well….. I don’t know why He does that.  I can say all the “right sounding” answers like character-building stuff (etc), but the truth is my limited mind will never fully comprehend the reason.  But He does…. and He can… because He’s God.  Maybe it’s only to remind us of that?…   Perhaps He needs us to keep living for something greater than ourselves?  Perhaps empowering  grace would not be at its full use if we didn’t live in this constant dependance?

Perfect failure.  Another oxymoron?  Or a chance to see God move us from our counterfeit perfection to His extraordinary….

Part of spiritual maturity is caring LESS about what people think and MORE about what God thinks. – Mark Hawkes


Categories: Getting missional

I never thought I could….

September 27, 2011 1 comment

I had many thoughts when I ran the 10K race on the weekend.  So many things that spoke to my heart.  Here’s one that gave me a good laugh… and a good “think”.

At about the 7 kilometre mark, there was a girl with a sign that said; “This parade sucks”.  I got a good chuckle out of that which took my mind off the grueling pain I was feeling for a moment….. then that moment ended and it was back to the 45 minute  push-through-the-pain-mark I always get on a run.

 

As witty as it was, I thought about what it would be like to wait for the ONE family member to pass by.  It could seem pretty long seeing the same scene pass by over and over.  “Oh look!  Another runner!”  I’m sure we were all starting to blend in the eyes of the sidelines.

 

But seriously, how boring to be on the sidelines of a race.   I guess if you had some fun people to hang with it could be do-able, but if I had a choice, I’d certainly choose to run rather than watch.

 

Yet, there was a day not so long ago I thought I could NEVER run a 10K, let alone 2K!   I was the chubby girl all my life and the slowest runner in school.  I guess I let that continue to define me even after losing my weight.   I remember in school the fastest runner in my class asked me to race him across the field.  He thought it would be fun to completely humiliate me.  If you know me, you know exactly how I responded; with a big “BRING IT” – even though I knew how ridiculous it was.  I was somehow oblivious to the humiliation I was about to experience… wish I still had that innocence…

 

We started our “race” with him shooting off leaving me in the dust.   All of a sudden, my friend called out; “Connie!  There’s a wasp on you!!”   I was petrified of wasps so off I bolted catching up to my opponent faster than anyone expected.  I had caught up and came in a very close second, much to his (and my) surprise.

 

Perhaps I had it in me?   Maybe all I need is a wasp?…

 

At 30 I trained hard for my first 10K, determined to strip the limitation off of myself.  I became pregnant deterring me from my goal of running the whole race.  With a slight disappointment,  I walked it instead.   A few years later, I would run my first 10K, and it wouldn’t be the last.

 

I wonder what would have happened if I would have stayed on the sidelines?  I would have never known I COULD indeed run a 10K.

 

I wonder how many on the sidelines of the race watch with desire to run as well, but don’t feel they can?

 

What are you watching from the sidelines, wishing you could get involved with?

 

Maybe a 10K is not on your radar, but something is.   Aren’t you tired of watching from the sidelines?   Doesn’t that parade suck?   Why not give it a go?!

 

You’ll never know till you try…..

Categories: Getting missional

When I was told, “Dream big”… and it didn’t work out…

September 23, 2011 1 comment

“Dream big!”, I was told.  I was wild, free, full of life, energy and ambition.   Thinking of all that could become fueled my imagination and zest!  Visualizing  possibilities fed my soul.   Life was mine for the taking.  I was riding a wave of favor, seeing everything I touched turn to gold.

You can imagine what happened when everything I dreamed and built came crashing down, leaving in me in nothing but ruins.   My world was shattered.   The blue sky was now dark, leaving me in a world of confusion.   “But I was told to dream big?!!”.   My heart, soul and passion was poured out, only to be returned to me crushed and broken.

What had gone wrong?…..

It’s now a few years after, and perspective has become brighter.   Do I still dream?   Yes, I’m an entrepreneur, a maverick in spirit….  placed there by God inside me.   BUT, here’s a little gift I never realized God had given me until chatting with my mentor yesterday.

When my dreams came crashing down, along with it came what felt like a cage.  A cage that would restrain my actions, keeping me under control.  It deprived me of my freedom, forcing me into “constraint”.   This word, “constraint”, was brought to my attention by my mentor who had read a blog by Seth Godin about that very word.  Very intriguing thoughts.   Seth’s blog started with stating: “Every project worth doing comes with constraints.  Our natural inclination is to fight them”.   YES!  I was experiencing this constrain and fighting it head-on.

I never realized, till yesterday, that this constraint that had come into my life was a gift to focus me.  When you’re in a box, you only have so much you can do with your arms and legs.  They can only go so far, causing the moves to be focused.  You could call gravity a constraint, keeping us grounded so we don’t literally get blown by the wind here, there and everywhere.

Could I dare present the idea that the constraint we feel in our lives is actually giving us the power to focus?  Could it be directing us to God’s preferred future for us?  I can see this true for my life looking back to where constraint has led me.

“Where there is no vision, people cast off restraint” (Proverbs 29:10).    “Restraint” in the Hebrew meaning; “getting out of hand, running wild, undisciplined….. to let loose”.

May I present this idea then: Where there is constraint, there is vision.   What these uncontrolled people described in Proverbs needed was a little limitation to give them the vision they needed?

Could this be true?  Could it be that what was taken away was actually this gift of constraint wanting to give you fresh vision?  Could it be what seemed unjust to you was actually just what you needed?   Is it possible that the confusion you felt was actually going to lead to a clarity like you’ve never experienced?

I’m still a dreamer….. but thanks to constraint, one with a bit more focus.

Categories: a broken journey

When God disappointed me… (via Connie Thoughts)

September 22, 2011 Leave a comment

When God disappointed me... Before my dad passed away six years ago, God led him to this scripture:  “You will see your children’s children…” (Psalm 128:6) When my dad was given this verse, he had a one in three chance to live with the cancer he had.   I suppose he decided to share this with me to give me hope and comfort that he would live.  A month later, he died. As you can imagine, I questioned God about this.   Why give my dad this scripture only to have his life end? … Read More

via Connie Thoughts

My anorexia

September 21, 2011 Leave a comment

My anorexia There was a period of time where I hated church.  Didn’t wanna go or have anything to do with it.  I was hurt by it and so I left….. and I left with my middle finger up on the way out (so to speak) After I left, I decided to live my life the way I wanted.  In this season I can never say I did anything we’d consider“bad”, like cheat on my husband, become a drunk or end up in jail….. but I sure joined the ranks of the mediocre.  I lived my life ind … Read More

via Connie Thoughts