Thursday, November 10, 2011

living gratefully :: honesty

I offer up a confession: I'm scared of myself.

Tomorrow is my birthday and I'm trying to live joyfully. 
But, I'm so dang betwixed with myself. 
I might wake up and be *in a mood*. 

For those who've followed my writing, authentic is what they comment about me. Many people express how they are so captivated by how I can put myself out there. 

Here's the kicker--I still live in shame for who I am.

Being *authentic* is hard.

I know Truth and Love, and Grace and Peace, and Freedom, too! 
At least enough to know what they taste like. 

I've felt them and basked in them. Snuggled up and abandoned all self for their truth (at least for a moment or two). 

What I write about so often, I believe

[Though, admittedly for you much more than for me.] 

Yet, Fear never goes away. Shame, either. 

Both can be minimized and dissipate for awhile, but never completely gone as long as I'm living this side of Heaven.

To expect any different is to expect perfection 
     ...and to not need Him. 

It shouldn't surprise me that I still struggle. 

Truth brings me to my knees in gratitude--I do still need Him.

I'm just blessedly tired of being so...

     Imperfect, is that it? 

This year my birthday is a fun day on the calendar: 11/11/11. 
Twice it will be 11:11. 

And so, I invited 11 friends to celebrate with me. 

I am excited to throw myself a party. 

I plan to get balloons and make my own cake. 
I might even buy myself flowers. (And I just might pull out the nail polish.) 

We'll have pizza. On paper plates. 
(Cause I'm choosing easy over pleasy, and that's a *big deal* for me.)


The closer I get to my blessed day, the more nervous I am. 

And though it feels a little sad to admit this truth, it's freeing to get it out there in the wide open. 

So, there--now you know, honestly I'm nervous about my own birthday. 

For one thing, my birthday has been an awkward time in my life, ever since I was a freshman in college. The day after the {fake} celebration of my own life, I chose to end the life of another teeny-tiny-one. 

I've received the fullness of forgiveness over that. 

The memory remains and I believe for purpose. For gratitude over His mercies and amazing grace. I say that simply, yet it's not without acknowledging the incredibly long journey it took to really believe this. 

The first year I was a mom when it was my birthday, I was lonely. Still on maternity leave, my groom went to work and I was struggling with admitting how hard it was to admit how hard it was. (yes, you read that right.) 

I remember going downstairs to find a picture frame. Unwrapped. Standing upright on the table. It was a simple gift. A picture of my baby-Boy and his daddy-Man-Boy, and a small card to say he was Hoping I would feel differently about my birthday now. Affirming a reason for my life.

The picture still moves me--how the gentleness of my groom is so evident.

But it's the tiny card that means the most. 
The words were few, but the Truth so big. 

My life does have purpose. Deep meaning. 

I cling to that. Again and again.
(Because sometimes I struggle to believe it.)

I wrap it around me like the blanket my son grabbed when I tucked him in last night. Snuggling up all peace and sound. 

Father, your healing--let it rain. 

One of my closest, most dearest, truly best, friends is coming to visit me. 
I'm so excited. But, I'm nervous, too. 

Our communication with each other is primarily through the written word. We savor the words we share and squeeze the life out of them. I love this friend. So. Much. I'm so grateful for what God has done in our friendship. 

Still, though, shame tells me that I'm too much and maybe we will be disappointed in our weekend together. I'm nervous, though I promised not to let fear have a foothold. 

My other best friend is like a thousand miles away and I miss her like stinkin' crazy. (that's a tone she'd use, and so in her honor I toast to the word stinkin'--love ya, Kate!) 

I invited this friend to come to my party and I was nervous to do that because I know that she can't afford to fly up here. 

Shame told me how dare you even invite her. How could you point out to her that she can't?! 

I'm nervous that I might not hear from my father. It's been months since he's written, and even longer since it's been anything feeling of love and closeness. Out of sight, out of mind, right? It's a bit true as the days *whirl and twirl*.

Yet, I'm nervous that I will hear from him, too. I don't even know what I want. 

I'm afraid of remembering the pain that's tucked in deep. Still not gone. Feelings still raw. 

Why does this happen? 

I wish I was a girl who got over herself. 
I wish I was completely healed. 
I wish I didn't expect anything from anyone. 
I wish God was my only god. 
I wish I could embrace true friends.
I wish I could envelop myself in their real love for me.
I wish I believed it when I say friend
I wish I wasn't finding myself making excuses to cancel the party

There's purpose in this. I have to believe. And I chose to. 

*Purpose* in the doubt. 

*Purpose* in the fear. 

*Purpose* in the stepping out and even trying to {fake} a party.

Just saying it's my birthday is totally not me. Totally. Not. Me. 

Truth is, a few years ago I hid my birth-date on Facebook and whenever anyone wished me a happy birthday that way, I'd delete it. 
(Even from my best friend.)

Last year's birthday was kind of lonely. And I discovered that I hurt myself by not giving others an opportunity to affirm me, even if Facebook feels somewhat totally impersonal. 

And so, this year I'm throwing it all out there. In this space, on Facebook, on Twitter. I'm actually telling colleagues. I'm screaming it to the roof tops that it's my birthday on 11/11/11. 

{At least for this year. Cause, 11/11/11 is my fun excuse.}

So, if you're led to, I'd totally appreciate your prayers
     For my Joy, Peace, Freedom. 
     For my acceptance of who I am right now.

I've me another true, good friend who I just learned a lot about in the past few days. I learned that she knows me way better than I ever gave her credit for. She's a friend who I feel the most shame around because I know she accepts me as I am, yet I know she notices me, and it makes me nervous because she never says much of anything to me about what she sees

This friend called me out yesterday on my indecisiveness. 
She celebrated how this is who I am
I made her feel badly for stating the truth...
     because the truth made me feel shame. 

She'll be at my party tomorrow. 
And I'm thrilled, because Truth tells me she accepts me
     --as wishy-washy-indecisive as I am, 
        she still accepts me *justthewayIam.* 

Honesty is my gratefulness, and this is my worship. 

Follow A {Grace} full *life* on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. Amy~ What amazing words.... look at this, how God is moving! I celebrate you, the fact that God created you and redeems you, in spite of yourself. I share the feelings of shame over other issues, and fear, Oh I live in that cocoon and it suffocates often, binds the wings God has given me... I pray your party is affirming and beautiful, taht God shows up as the guest of honor and blesses you in mighty ways, with his healing and grace... Happy Birthday a day early, just in case I don't make it back over here tomorrow...

  2. Dear Amy,
    This is beautiful -- just beautiful how you reach for truth, reach for healing, reach for His arms to hold you through this adventure tomorrow. I understand what it means to be wounded by past choices. It took me 20 years to even begin to receive the healing He had for me. I am so grateful for your powerful transparency here. I am praying for you and for your heart as you celebrate, with Him, this joyous occasion of Life!
    Love to you,

  3. Dear Amy,
    Celebrating you and all God is doing in you and your life! May your birthday celebration be filled with joy and hugs! Thanks for sharing.....your words and your story are filled with God's sweet grace.....a blessing to us all.
    Happy 11/11/11.....your birthday (yes that is cool!)
    Love from across the cyber-space miles,