Wildflowers: Knowing vs. Believing

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[this is the post I refer to]

I’ve written about the little girl who still resides within my heart. I’ve written what it felt like to open the door and release her from the prison that I contained her in. I’ve shared what it felt like to have that rusty, heavy cell door scrape along the floor of my heart.

But where did she go after I freed her? Where did she find herself after I told her how worthy she is? How loved she is? How much she is loved by God?

She has had the freedom to walk out of that cell; that prison I built within my heart. She’s had the ability to walk among the wildflowers that grow in the garden of my heart. But why has she still sat there, cowering in the corner of that cold, dingy prison cell?

She hasn’t believed it. She’s known the truth, but she hasn’t believed it. She’s been so conditioned to my hurtful words, that she doesn’t know any different. She’s grown comfortable with the familiarity of that cell. Even though the scent of fresh blooms ride the breeze that flows through from the garden outside the cell, she’s been too fearful to step out into the unknown.

That damp, dark floor of aches seems to have brought her comfort. The chill in the air seems to have become her friend.

So, while the freedom lingers in her view, as the door swings in the breeze— she knows joy. She knows what awaits her, when she finally decides to take that leap of faith— and walk among the wildflowers with Him. O the joys that await her when she finally, completely lets go. And lets God.

Lessons on Being Lost

One of the worst fears of a child is getting lost.

I was eight years old when I found myself standing alone in the middle of a campground in Jasper, BC. The trees towered around me, encouraging my nerves to crawl faster up my lungs as my galloping heart was beginning to sink into my stomach.

Grandpa had told me not to leave the playground on my own. Wait for the others if you want to head back, he’d instructed. But my cousins didn’t want to head back when I found myself bored, and I had decided (rather daringly) that I could find my way, no problem. I didn’t need my cousins anyway. Why did I always have to depend on them, I often begrudged. I was younger. But did that always have to mean I didn’t know what I was doing? In fairness, no one ever insisted that I didn’t know what I was doing. But I was younger. Still, I could find my way, no problem.

Big problem.

I was certain I took the same way we had taken to get to the playground. I was certain I had retraced our path correctly. But everything was starting to look different. That yellow camper I had seen on the way to the playground is no longer where I’d last seen it. They must’ve left, I thought to myself. But when I realized that absolutely nothing was looking familiar, my eyes began to well up, as I felt the blood rushing through my face.

The whistle around my neck that I thought I’d never have to use, suddenly became my most treasured possession. I grasped it tightly, holding it close to my chest, before bringing it up to my lips. My hands shaking. I exhaled every bit of breath I had left within my lungs. And the whistle pierced my ears.

Please work. Please hear my call.

Nothing.

When a stranger would walk by, I’d try my hardest to look “normal.” Be nonchalant, I’d tell myself.

Regret set in.

Then shame followed.

I should have listened to grandpa.

At that point I was in a frantic state, beneath my seemingly calm appearance, I was beginning to lose hope. I had passed that same tree stump four times now.

I blew into the whistle again, for the tenth time, and decided to sit right there, on the side of the loose dirt road, and wait.

Anxious thoughts danced within my mind as I placed my face into my dusty hands.

They’re never going to find me. No….they will find me, stop worrying. They’ll find me, but I’ll be in so much trouble.

My tears streamed mud down my cheeks.

They’re never gonna find me, I thought again. I’ll be lost in this gigantic park, in this giant, unfamiliar province far away from home… forever.

To this day, I still have no idea why I thought it was such a wise idea to not listen to my grandpa and head off on my own. To this day, I still remember the feeling of my heart dropping to my kidneys, and the flush of heat rushing up my cheeks.

This wasn’t the first time I had done something I knew I shouldn’t have. Like that time I decided that it was a brilliant idea to fix up everyone else’s thank you cards in my grade three class. I convinced myself I was just trying to help, while in the back of my mind I knew there was something not right about me essentially wrecking my classmates’ artwork. But still, I carried on, adding colourful borders and extra colour to each one.

That lesson was learned quickly when I had the entire class upset with me. Each pointing finger and burning glare taught me to respect the art of others.

I never touched another piece of art that wasn’t mine again.

Just like I never found myself lost (at least, physically) again, on my own, as a child.

Hearing familiar voices, I raised my head, wiped my nose with my sleeve, and tucked my hair behind my ears as the blurry figures in the distance began coming into focus.

A wave of relief crashed over me as I realized who it was. Relief then morphed into angst again, realizing that I was probably going to be in trouble for going off on my own.

Grandma and my cousins were making their way toward me.

I heard them one after the other, Jenny! Jennnyyyy! Jenny!…

Greeted with arms wide, and smothered in love, I smiled warmly, feeling at home.

Grandpa was disappointed in me, but relieved to have me found. I hated disappointing him.

Just as God guides us through life, sometimes we get lost when we don’t listen to His directions. We can disappoint Him too. But His love is always there. I hate disappointing Him too.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Sincerely + gratefully,

Jen

The Storm

This has, and I believe always will be, one of my favourite poems that I have written. I wrote it in about ten minutes, after feeling a complete writer’s block for quite awhile before. And I’ve learned that the best ones always happen when least expected, and that they just fall out of me, so delicately, yet freely.

I hope you had a lovely Easter weekend with your loved ones.

Here is a little bit of my heart, wide open:

Frozen at a red light: How I Lost and Found Myself

How I lost and found myselfWhen I was sixteen, my grandpa died. It was one of those heart-crushing, soul-devouring moments that brought my entire life to a stop; a red light. And I sat at that red light for as long as I could. I watched cars crossing my path, feeling the freedom of the green light before them. I watched their seemingly easy, smooth drive lead them to their goal destinations. I sat there, at that spot, with my hands at ten and two, my body frozen with grief, and watched the red light above me gently swing in the breeze.

Grandpa was once beside me. He was once in the driver’s seat, leading me through life’s struggles, and pointing out at the road signs of wisdom that would pass us by.

He told me to always stay focused on what’s in front of me; that if I looked too long to the left or the right, I would naturally start steering the car slightly in that direction. I think about that often, even now. I think about how it applies to life too. My goals are in front of me. I am driving toward them, but if I get distracted, and start focusing too long on other things, I’ll end up steering toward them instead. What you focus on leads you in that direction. So if you focus on your goal, you are more likely to get there, and not steer off in another direction.

What you focus on leads you in that direction

For years after he passed away, I sat frozen at that red light. I felt lost without his direction, or the stability of his presence. I had abandoned my broken heart. I left it bleeding, laying on the cold hospital room floor, where he took his last breath. I left it there for far longer than I should have. And I made choices that led me far away from where I ultimately wanted to be in life. Uncertainty had become my best friend. And I basked in it, in a self-loathing kind of way.

After some time, people began getting impatient and annoyed with me. I was still not moving after the red light changed to green. The honking and the yelling became overwhelming. And when I was finally ready to drive ahead, my car stalled.

I left the comfort of my own car of life, and began walking through an unknown territory of darkness. I got into the cars of others who led me down roads that weren’t meant for me. I looked to the wrong people, trying to fill the void left within my rib-cage after my grandpa went away. I was losing myself in the process. I was stuffing who I was, deeper and deeper inside me. And on the day that I realized that I was so far from my own car and from the light of day, I didn’t know how to find my way back.

I met God when I was seven. I asked him into my heart in the way that I was taught, and was told that I was born again. I had no idea what that truly meant. But I do know that I genuinely believed—and then as the years passed by– I genuinely drifted away from Him. I tucked God away in the back of my mind, until I felt broken beyond repair.

In the midst of my rock bottom pain, I was drawn back to Him.

To be continued…

Part II coming soon.

Vulnerability: How I freed My Heart + Found Myself

It’s a strange thing, vulnerability. Like shedding a layer of your skin off, and exposing the world inside of you, it is both refreshing and uncomfortable. The perfect mix of confidence and insecurity. We think that we are alone in the fact that we have a dark, maybe even ‘strange’ world beneath our surface. We think that we should never let that part of us see the light of day. Suppress it. Neglect it. You keep pushing away that piece of you that you believe is so unworthy.  There’s that piece that might’ve even been haunting you for a large portion of your life, because you’re so ashamed of it. You think if you keep it to yourself, it’s not true.  It’s easier to just ignore the tough emotions that we’ve dealt with in our lives, and try to forget them.

But vulnerability is so much more than any of this. It can be healing. It can be healing for not only you- but for others as well. We’re all fighting battles. Most of them, we are completely unaware of. Have you felt worthless for years because you didn’t get the support you so desperately needed as a child? Have you been blaming yourself for something, and it has been devouring you? We all have something. Most of us have a version of ourselves that we are not proud of.

We have all been a small child, and that little girl or boy still lives within our hearts.  For most of my life, I locked mine away. And every so often, she would cry to be let out; to be set free. Every time she tried to get out, or screamed in agony, I’d yell back. I would push her arms back through the bars of the prison cell that I had built inside my heart. And I’d add another lock on the door. Again and again, I would turn away from her, and give her my back. I’d walk away from that cold, empty cell in the corner of my heart– that cell that holds the girl I once was. And I’d cry for her. With every piece of me that had fallen away, I would cry for her. Then she would be quiet and I would ignore her again, until the next time that she wept and cried out in agony.

I spent much of my teens and twenties resisting everything I was. I created this mask that covered my foundation; everything that made me who I was as a child. With everything I had, I pushed that little girl far back inside of me. I hid her so well that even I had a hard time finding her on the day I decided that I missed her. Whatever it took to be friends with certain people, I devoted to becoming. I suppressed so many aspects of myself.  I suppressed them so well, that they created a pool of sadness within my heart. And I was drowning.

I have graduated highschool, and been to college, while having grown up in an unstable, alcoholic atmosphere. I have loved and been married. I gave birth to a child. I have been divorced. And I have loved again. Of all of the experiences I have been through, the toughest, by far, would be in loving myself. It has been tough, mainly because I haven’t felt worthy. I could say that I wish I had known this piece of information years earlier, but then I wouldn’t be who I am today. And now that I’ve discovered more of whom that is—I quite like her.

Imagine what doors would open, if we were sincere about who we are. Imagine how inspiring you could be to someone who feels lost, or alone. Imagine the lives that could change for the good of this world.

I have never felt more freedom than when I unlocked that cell. I will never forget the sound of the rusty door scraping along the floor of my heart as I swung it open and walked across to the corner on the other side, where I saw the shadow of a little girl, curled up on the floor. With whispers of past hurts, regrets, and tears, echoing all around me, I held out my hand, as the frail little girl slowly lifted her head to look at me. I felt her icy fingers in mine, and helped her to her feet. Brushing her hair away from her face, I looked into her deep, beautiful, innocent eyes. And I told her that she was amazing. I told her that she would be worthy of anything that she would want out of this world. I told her that she is loved- so unconditionally loved- by Him.

If we’re blessed with a safe place to share, maybe it is good once in a while. Maybe what we need is to console and love our inner child; our inner self.

Sincerely + Gratefully,

Jen