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

A letter to 12 year old me.

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Dear Twelve,

I’ve not forgotten you, do not worry.

I remember that day you chose to wear that t-shirt. You know— the one with the giant head of a pig on the front, wearing a straw hat and chewing on a strand of hay.

You wore it without thinking anything of it. You liked it. You liked the way it fell just past your bottom. It was comfortable. And it fit just right.

But you didn’t like that comment. This age can be so tough, dear Twelve. I know you know that. And I know you remember those words, because they’re burned into your memory— the memory that we share.

Thirteen didn’t forget it either, nor Fourteen, Fifteen, and Sixteen definitely didn’t. Sixteen couldn’t handle it. She let it break her.

Can you blame it all on that one comment? Of course not. I know it was a combination of things. A mix of words, actions, looks, and events. But this one comment is an example that certain memories can stick with you, and can have a huge effect on your life…if you let them.

Those words were something like, hey Jennifer, you wore yourself on your shirt today. Followed by a chuckle.

Lovely.

Now, Twelve, I know I didn’t have to remind you of those seemingly simple words. You remember them well. In fact you laughed along with them. You kept yourself safe with the shield of your laughter. But behind the shield, another little piece of your self esteem crumbled.

I need to remind you that they are only words. And the person who said them had no intention for you to hold them close for years.

You are more than the negative thoughts and words of others. Let yourself shine. Let yourself be you. You are beautiful, not based on others. You are beautiful because of your heart, and the beauty you see in everything. Take care of you, Twelve, and everything else will fall into place.

The flame

I had the first few lines of this poem written and tucked away for quite a while now. I picked up on it again this morning and finished it in about fifteen minutes. It’s interesting how quickly certain words come to me when I least expect it, and how those ones turn out to be my favourites.

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.