The story of tattoo #2

Since yesterday was the 6 year anniversary of getting my first tattoo I decided it was finally time to share the story of tattoo number 2. I have multiple blog drafts saved about this topic and haven’t been able to finish any of them… Why you ask? Well because the story of this tattoo involves a lot of hurt, and I just haven’t been able to share that hurt honestly and in a way that is edifying. But I think I can do it now… So here goes
11102625_10100562751508571_5011736061697326537_nThis tattoo is about five years in the making. I knew I wanted a tattoo on my left wrist but I couldn’t ever find a design that fit. I searched and searched, then would let go of the idea of getting one. Only to start searching again a few months later. I wanted it to encompass the two ways I try to live my life for the Lord. Love Deeply and Take Big Risks. Last November I finally found a picture of a tattoo I could get on board with. I sent it to Lydia and asked if she could draw it out with the changes I wanted. She did! So then started my waiting period. I always wait a few months after finding a design to see if I really want it. And this one stuck through those few months. So in March while I was in California for Normy’s bridal shower I got it.

Now you may be thinking man there isn’t any hurt in that story, minus the pain of getting the tattoo… And I would say you are right… But the story of this tattoo doesn’t end there. Where the hurt comes in is when I got back to Texas and the months that followed….

Many of you know I work at a Christian group home for kids from families in crisis. I am one of many teaching parents. We all love Jesus, but have different convictions, traditions, and things like that. Totally fine, the Holy Spirit guides us in our own. But we are to remain one as a body as it says in most of Paul’s Epistles. That idea is where the issue arose.

The night before I got my tattoo one of the married couple teaching parents that I worked closely with sent me a text stating their conviction against tattoos. I did not have a problem with receiving that text or the conversation we had following it about our different convictions. It was good dialog and stayed edifying for the most part. Having that conversation didn’t change my mind about getting the tattoo. I figured we would be able to stay unified as a body in Christ through our different convictions.

When I got back to Texas with my tattoo, there was major tension between this couple and I. And I wasn’t sure how to fix it. They did not approve of the decision I had made and it caused a rift in our team. I wanted to stay unified, but I wasn’t sure what that looked like, or how to do it on my part.

I had gotten called into managements office to discuss my tattoo, which was not against policy, but that had caused a rift in our team. They wanted to find a way to keep our team together for the kids in the cottages sake. And while this is what I wanted, I felt like I was the one being made to do everything to get rid of the rift. Granted I was the one who got the tattoo, but short of getting it removed I wasn’t sure how I could change the feelings of other people. So why was I the only one being asked to change anything?

I began to feel very hurt, and very bitter at the entire situation. I started to question whether I should have gotten the tattoo when I did. Maybe I should have waited. I found it hard to love my tattoo when it caused all this drama. I let bitterness have a foothold in my heart, and it took over. Especially when I realized I wasn’t going to be able to stay in the cottage. I threw a major fit in my heart. I didn’t want to leave that cottage, and I was mad at not getting my way. And I sat in this for way longer than I’d like to admit.

In the midst of my inner tantrum I chose to change cottages. Because despite what I felt I knew the Lord was working and leading. He was closing the door to being in the cottage whether I liked it or not and opening the door to work in the other cottage. I followed His leading, even though I was kicking and screaming the whole way.

Since switching cottages I’ve been trying to work on my attitude, on letting go of bitterness, on forgiving, and on trusting in the Lord’s plan. You see I am 100% sure that even if I hadn’t of gotten my tattoo I still wouldn’t be working in that cottage anymore. There were other issues within our team that would have torn it apart.

More importantly I know the Lord was leading me to this other cottage. I have seen traces of this throughout the summer working in there. None more clear than through the text I got two days ago stating that the couple who works in there is leaving. This cottage has been through so much change in staff in the past year that it breaks my heart. But I am so humbled that the Lord led me to that cottage to walk with these kids through yet another abandonment and to love them through it.

 

 

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Portland Pt 1. Good For My Soul

So most of you know I took a trip to Portland a couple of weeks ago. I started thinking about it over the summer, and had been talking to friends there about it. I found cheap tickets and decided to just do it.

If y’all remember when I posted last year about my trip to P-town for Katie’s wedding you remember that the Lord started redeeming the place for me. So much of what I have to say about this trip revolves around that same work. You see the Lord continued that redeeming work this trip. So much so that if you saw my last picture from the trip on instagram I hashtagged “if your weather was better I might move back.” Before this these last two trips that was not something I would ever dream to think about again. Even if I knew the Lord was calling me back there, before these two trips I probably would not have listened.

This trip was so good for my soul. It wasn’t that we went out here or there, did this or that, because we didn’t do much. I was simply content to just sit with my friends and talk, and have deep conversations about life, the Lord, and whatever else. And those conversations and time were what was good for my soul.

Most of you know I’m not the biggest talker on the block. I prefer to let other people do the talking and interject little bits and pieces. There are times when I can talk a lot, but that’s not the norm. So yes it may seem a little weird that a trip where the bulk of the time was spent having conversations was a good time for me. But let me explain…

So the entire 3 years I lived in Portland, I was plagued with insecurities, and believed so many lies from the enemy. These insecurities and lies I was believing affected (effected? I.d.k. the right one to use) the way I viewed my friendships there. So much so that when I moved away it still changed the way I viewed the friendships.

But these last 4 years in Texas have been a time of major growth for me in moving past my insecurities, and in not believing the same lies from the enemy. Not that I don’t still have insecurities, and don’t still believe lies from the enemy at times. But I have grown a ton.

And so when the Lord started redeeming Portland for me last year I was able to see the truth about the friendships that I had there. That they were real, that they were deep, and they were good. So when it came to this trip the Lord completely blew me away with the truth. And so just sitting around talking and having deep conversations was good. I didn’t need an event or activity to help take up some of the time, or be a buffer when hanging out with friends. I could just sit, relax, and enjoy talking with friends. I got to share about my life here in Texas, and about my work, and I got to hear about their lives in Portland, how they’ve changed since I lived there, about their new jobs, whatever.

In my next post I’ll do a trip recap and share some pictures. I just needed to document, mostly to be able to thank Him, the work the Lord has done in my life, and the blessing from him of this trip being so good for my soul.

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The Lord Redeems

pano park hillSince moving to Texas almost 3 years ago I have been back to P-town 4 times (including this past weekend). The first three trips back, good times were had, but there were also some really rough patches. Which might be news to some since I probably never mentioned the rough patches. Mostly I wanted to ignore them, pretend they didn’t exist, forget about them.  I wasn’t very successful at doing any of those three things. Couple that with the fact that the 3 years I lived in P-town were the hardest years of my life. Not school wise, but just emotionally and life wise. I was dealing with a lot, working through a lot. So when it came time for this trip back, I was a little apprehensive. I was a little unsure how it was going to go. It put a damper on my excitement. Which was a bummer. Because I really was excited to go to Bryan and Katie’s wedding. I really was excited to see my friends and hang out with them. I really was excited to be back in Portland.

plane mountainsAs my plane descended into the Portland area, the Lord simply stripped away all my worries, all my fears, all my apprehensions about the weekend. He calmed my heart, and gave me a sense of peace about the weekend. I just knew it was going to be a different kind of trip. And it was. While I was there I didn’t know why or how, I just knew it was. But as I’m reflecting back on it I’m seeing just how much the Lord was at work.

I serve a God of redemption, and this weekend was all about redemption. All the things I thought I’d lost or missed out on from my time living there and my trips back there. All the lies that the enemy had been tossing my way recently about my time in Portland that I had started believing. All the hurt and pain I had been associating with the place rather than the reason. The Lord stripped it all away and showered me with the truth throughout the weekend. He redeemed it all.

It was oh so fitting that I came back just in time for “Awaken.” Which was a time of worship at my church on Sunday night. Oh so fitting to come back and praise the God who loves, loves enough to redeem the hard times in our life for His glory!

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:3-9