These are my stories—my life. I try to write honestly, raw, and from my heart. I try to tell all the parts—the good, the hard, the tough, the hopeful, and the emotional.
But most importantly, I am here to be found by you. I am open-hearted, and I won’t hide.
When I share my story, my words, and my experiences you may see yourself in them.
I make myself vulnerable, hoping that you might learn and heal.
We all need healing. The world can be cruel. Sometimes life can break us.
But there is joy and hope to be found. I pray that I may lead you to the One who can give them to us.
So, who am I?
*I’m an educator at heart–it’s in my blood.
*I’m a highly emotional person–I identify that as “passion”.
*I’m a late-life mom to two amazing and beautiful (adopted) children who have physical, mental, and psychological differences from “typical” children.
*I’m in my “Sensational Sixties”. I’ve lived a lot. I’ve learned a lot. And I’ve healed a lot.
I hope you will join me in my quest to live for God, to live fully, and to spread truth!
Please visit my website http://www.passionistaatlarge.org/ to see more about me, and perhaps invite me to speak for your group!
“No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.” PT Barnum
Humans are inclined to want everyone to be the same. Why are we uncomfortable with people who are “out there” or who don’t fit into a box very easily? Why is it that those people are often the ones under criticism?
We think, “If they would just be less bossy. Less brash. Less weird. And for goodness sake, quit spouting their opinion about EVERYthing!” Right?
It seems that everyone has an opinion these days and many are not afraid to share theirs on social media. Some even get a bit angry when others don’t support them.
In real life, are you able to share your opinion without getting shot down? I’m not talking about your publicized opinions, because social media is a relatively “safe” place to state yours, hiding behind disconnected print.
I want you to consider your partnerships, relationships, and work places.
For me, during my marriage I heard things like, “Why do you even ask my opinion? You are going to do whatever you want anyway.” And I usually ended up “paying” for having an opinion different from my husband’s. Let me tell you, this led to feeling as if I was stupid, and didn’t amount to much in our marriage (come to find out I was very wrong about the first and quite right about the latter). It’s not a very good way to flourish. When we state our opinions—which results in others becoming angry—we have a tendency to stop expressing what we feel, especially if our nature is to avoid conflict.
To many of us, being able to even have an opinion is difficult. For me, because I was not allowed to discuss or argue with my parents (or teachers), I suppressed what I wanted. As an adult, if someone asked me how I felt about something, I would frantically fumble around inside my brain realizing that I couldn’t get in touch with how I felt. I truly didn’t know. “Going with the flow” kind of does that. Yielding my own voice, ideas, and feelings about things had become a deeply entrenched way of life.
Do we allow our children to have a different opinion than we do? I really try to ask mine to tell me their side of an issue. Of course, I’m still the parent, and must do what I feel is safe and profitable for my children. But if there is wiggle room, perhaps we need to allow our youngest members of society to state their case, and learn how to do so without it becoming a fighting match. Sometimes compromise is possible, and when a child (or anyone, really) feels like their voice is heard, it gives them confidence.
And dear one, you need to use your voice. You have every right to how you feel. You are worthy and capable, and the world needs your light. The world wants to experience your heart and what you are passionate about. You have a beautiful brain, so use it. If you don’t know how you feel, begin investigating facts. Read. Study. And form your own opinion about matters that matter.
In personal relationships, help the other person to understand how you feel by saying things like, “When you react with anger as I give you my opinion, it makes me feel as if I don’t matter and that you are trying to bully me into agreeing with you and submitting to your opinion at the cost of who I am.” Yes, that’s a mouthful, but it’s true, isn’t it?
In the work place, when your boss or another employee belittles your opinion on work issues, perhaps you can say (in addition to the above comment), “I’ve been hired here because I am capable. I have an interest in this job. My opinion matters as much as anyone else’s. I’d like for you to listen to what I have to say without becoming angry or acting like I am stupid.”
Wow, how empowering! Scary? You bet it is! Does it take practice? Yes. Stepping out of our comfort zone is always risky. But would you rather go through your life, remain in a relationship, or be stuck in a job where you feel belittled or stupid? Now I don’t want to give you false hope, because there are a lot of difficult people in our world, and you may be working with some or in relationships with some. Voicing your opinion may bring you physical danger or repercussions. You will need to be smart about it.
A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman.
But the search to find that voice can be remarkably difficult.
Your voice really IS important, and being able to speak what you think and feel is empowering. Test it out and see if perhaps your words can make a difference in your life. Best case would be the other person doesn’t know that their words and actions make you feel inferior. And maybe there can be a compromise. We all need respect, but you must respect yourself first. So speak up!
Cheers to you! I am rooting for ya, and I want you to know that I believe you are smart, fabulous, and have a lot to offer our world!
I say I love and follow Jesus with all of my heart. But the true story is that I can only love with the part that’s been healed from its wounding. Feeling abandoned and rejected, looking for love in all the wrong places because of my abuse (can I get an amen?), not loving myself and who I am—these things kept me from fully loving God (and others) and I needed to be healed and my heart restored. And let me tell you—that’s been a process! And not a lot of fun. But being able to live freely as who I am, without the lies haunting me, has been worth it.
Satan—the enemy of our souls whose only intent is to kill, steal, and destroy those whom God created—begins his diabolical wounding of us from birth and never stops until our death. He uses other people, life circumstances, and even natural disasters, to plant seeds of bitterness and despair in our hearts, often crippling our ability to love God wholeheartedly.
For example, if someone you love has fought a disease and you prayed for and believed in their healing but still that person dies, what do you do? Satan wants you to be so angry at God that you turn away from Him and live your life in bitterness and despair. God wants you to turn to Him, lean on Him so He can help you with your pain, can carry you, walk with you, and begin to heal the wounding caused by grief and loss.
God gave us the Holy Spirit, and He gives us the power to overcome in these situations. He helps our brain wrap around the loss and deal with the lack of answers. He helps us see that disease does not come from God’s hand, and that He is not punishing you or your loved one. And most of all He can give us peace, even in the midst of our loss. And a promise. I’m so thankful that I can rest on the promise of seeing my family (every member of my original family, except me, has died) in heaven, a place prepared for those who love God.
So what about the wounding that happens during our lifetime, even as children? When I began to understand that I’d been abused as a young child, which led to behaviors that wounded me even more, I had a choice. I could have been mad that God “let” those things happen. Or I could turn to Him as the Healer of those wounds—the only way I could spend the rest of my life wholly restored.
God’s desire and design is to heal those broken places
and heart issues in us.
As I drew closer to Him and spent time getting to know Him, He revealed to me the areas in my heart that needed healing, that had caused me to build walls around my heart.
As we go deeper with Him, He goes deeper into our hearts to reveal and heal. It takes time and I’ll never say it is easy (think surgery). It takes relinquishing. It takes us giving Him permission.
God wants to heal and renew us. He knew that the enemy of our souls would seek to destroy us and keep us from a relationship with Him. He made a way for us to live healed! Jesus came that we may have life in fullness, but that takes being restored to the glory God created for us.
John Eldredge says it this way,
“Your deepest convictions—the ones that really shape your life—are somewhere in the depths of your heart.
As God restores more of your story and broken heart, you will be able to live in the fullness of God’s promise,
Sometimes we feel as if the world has pulled at us so much that there’s no resemblance to the person we were. And sometimes it’s a good thing, because we needed to change into the glorious creature we are created to be.
The wondrous thing is that as we turn to God, our healer, more and more, and let Him restore us, those bits and pieces become sewn together, intertwined. He takes the broken places of our hearts—the despair, hopelessness, rejection, fear, abandonment, abuse—and infuses us with His love poured completely and thoroughly into our hearts, minds, and spirits. That love has miraculous healing power.
With God’s help and power, as we turn over our wounding and hurts to His touch, we can pick up those raggedy bits and pieces and sew them back together into something glorious. With God’s healing and restoration (if we choose it) we can have wings of freedom above all that wounded us. We can rise above all that has held us down.
It’s a process (I do hate that word) of restoration and only our Creator can do that. But, again, we must choose to let Him. To turn to Him in our despair and allow Him to heal, restore, and help us sew.
There is no glory in staying broken. However, I do believe that the wounds we experience are quite valuable—they give us such wisdom and the experiences can be used to help others. You know, dear one, we were created for His glory and that comes as we are fully free and have victory over the wounds.
Ironically, a patched area can be stronger than the rest of the fabric because it has been reinforced. And that is how I regard my own patched-up life—reinforced by God’s holy “thread” I am much, much stronger now!
So what do you think about this idea? Do you have a few patches of your own? Are you stronger because of them? Do you now have wings?
I hope you enjoy this most precious video of my speech-and-language-impaired son. I printed out what he is saying (with a little interpretation). I don’t want you to miss a bit of it.
Here is the whole story. M loves Pokemon. He likes to look them up and find videos and information about them. He loves the fact that there are lots of characters. He’s been telling me about them for a long time now, what kind they are, what they do when they get mad, what powers they have and how they can help. While I’m not especially happy about some of them, he is so innocent that their influence hasn’t been detrimental (believe me, I keep close tabs). However, there is a type that I don’t like very much, so I told him one day as he was playing with his two new ones that he should tell them about Jesus. Then they could be Jesus followers. He said, “Yeah. Let’s do it.”
Thus the video.
M: Jesus Christ is the Lord, because He died a long time ago. And I wasn’t born.
Me: so what did Jesus do when He died?
M: People (God) healed Him.
Mom: Yep, He came back again didn’t He?
Me: That’s what makes Him our God and totally different.
M: And, God made the foods to eat. They can help us to stay healthy.
And Noah did an ark, on the boat. *
Me: tell me more about God. Tell them more about Jesus so they know.
M: Hmm, anything? Hmmm, like if the bully kids are hurting you, you can tell God to help.
Me: does He love us?
M: Yes, He loves us with all His heart! And did you know that God knows your names?
Me: He knows all about us doesn’t He?
M: Yep. And you will never be alone. God will take care of you wherever you go. You got to pray to Him.
And if you have nightmares, say, “Be gone in Jesus’ name.” **
This is how God made you that way.
—After the video was finished, he said to the two toys, “So what do you think?”
He told me, “They’re all in!!” so we changed their names to Angel and Helper, because they left their old behaviors behind. And now they are always helping to rescue.
*M is totally enamored with Noah’s ark. We talk about heaven a lot, and he is determined that Noah is going to give him a ride on his “boat”!
**Also, M used to have nightmares a lot (caused by, I’m sure, his horrible beginning). Once he began talking (not until around age 4) and I could understand what he was seeing when he would wake up, I taught him about our authority in Jesus’ name. And He TOOK that authority and told the “dirty faced man in the corner” to leave! We prayed this every night at bedtime for a while. “No more nightmares.” So this resonates deeply with him.
I hope you were as blessed by this man-child’s heart as I often am. God told us when he was tiny that he would touch people’s lives, and I pray that for him all the time.
Without Christ in me I can do nothing. Well I can do things but if I want what I do to be effective and worthwhile, I need to be guided by his Holy Spirit—Him living in me.
I’m a pretty independent sort. Even as a preschooler I would take care of myself without “bothering” my parents in the night when I’d get sick or have an accident. Unfortunately this (afraid of being a problem) began while I was still in the womb (but that’s for another time). So I was programmed since birth to “do it myself” and have striven all my life to get it right.
It is so refreshing to know that I don’t have to live (and feel) like this as one of God’s children. Did you know we were created to be dependent? Yes, you really did read that correctly! We were meant to depend on God and have union with Him. “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, you will bear much fruit. Separated, you can’t produce a thing.” John 15:5
God takes responsibility for telling me what direction my life should take. Through His Holy Spirit, He is the one who speaks to my heart to assure me of steps, actions, words. To those who aren’t followers of Jesus, it most likely seems like a cop-out, a lazy way to live–taking no responsibility. Of course, that’s not the way it is. I do have a huge responsibility. I must stay in tune with my heavenly father, asking for guidance, giving permission for Him to change and direct my life.
I must then choose to follow. Yep, very independent me. Give over the reins. Trust. (Ugh, that word).
Ask for help,
All I can say is that God has proven He is faithful during the many years of my life and experiences. By now these things are not as difficult to do. Don’t get me wrong, my independent spirit stands up a LOT! I am no wimp. In fact, I’m a Warrior Woman, with a strong personality! (Which I now know is not a curse and that God can handle me.)
When my heart is right, full of love, and seeking Him, He will accomplish His desire through me. And there is no other way I want to live.
And by the way, even Jesus said that He couldn’t do anything without God telling him to.
“I tell you this, even the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what he sees His Father doing.” John 5:19
“I (Jesus) did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.” John 12:49
Jesus chose humanity and received His power from God. We can live as He did.
How about you? Do you struggle with this concept? Or do you understand it and try to live wholly connected to God? I’d love to know!
You ARE amazing!! I finally began to believe that about myself after a few days of saying it out loud in front of the mirror. The year was 2008. For most of my life I’d felt “less-than” so it took a bit of making a firm choice and perseverance to follow this program.
I’d sit in front of my empty journal page, pull those truths from my spirit, and begin writing them down in bulleted format. I’d walk around my house, saying, “I’m intelligent. I’m capable. I can do this. I’m creative. I’m a great problem-solver.”
Granted, I was almost afraid that I’d be struck by lightning because I’d been raised not to “toot my own horn” or brag about myself. However, I am here to STOMP that lie in the ground! Stating your awesomeness and joy in your uniqueness and abilities, your gifts and wonderful heart, is NOT bragging. It’s just proclaiming truth.
We need to both hear and say those truths to ourselves because the world would have us believing that we are stupid, useless, and incapable (to just name a few). Well, dear Passionista, THAT is a bunch of hog wash! Lies, every bit of it!
If you have trouble finding the truth about yourself, there are many, many resources even on Facebook that will help you. (I am one of those). But honestly, your spirit KNOWS. Give yourself time to reflect. Probably just choose the opposite of what you most likely believe about yourself, if it is degrading or detrimental to your emotional and psychological health and growth.
To be the very best YOU possible, you need to invest in yourself. Take the time. Even on the way to work if it’s your only alone time. (Ummm, reminding yourself that you are amazing after you swear at that driver might not be the best way, but hey, if it works for you go for it!) Or while you are in the shower—IF you happen to enjoy that by yourself–but getting upset with your body while you are stating your incredible amazing -ness is quite counteractive. Our bodies do NOT determine our awesomeness!
I just want to encourage you to feed your own soul. As women we take care of everyone else, which can sure lead to resentment and exhaustion. Doing this is a small, but huge and important, way to nourish yourself.
So what do you say? Let me know some of your “truths” in the comment below. I’d love to hear from you! ❤
Love and hugs, Passionista
PS Hey, I have created some visuals (cards etc.) for you to place where you will see them to help remind you to state your truths daily. I sell them on Etsy if you are interested. They help, they really do, and I created them with YOU in mind. Luv ya.
Jesus’ disciples had just been through the worst time of their lives. Jesus, their teacher and friend, had been killed and placed in a tomb. Three days later when some of the disciples told Thomas they had seen Jesus as the risen Lord, Thomas told them he had to see it to believe it. He wanted proof that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead. Jesus, being, well, Jesus, and loving Thomas deeply, appeared again to the disciples when Thomas was present. When Jesus showed Thomas the scars from his crucifixion, Thomas immediately believed that He was the Lord and had returned from the dead.
Are we like Thomas? Do we have to be shown something that is written in God’s word (for example His faithfulness or His promises) to believe it’s true? But what happens to us when we haven’t seen yet? What happens when we are still struggling and God hasn’t provided a solution? Do we begin to doubt if He will? Do we doubt His love for us and His faithfulness? Or even if He can provide what we need?
We are a society of gratification—the quicker the better! But God is not interested in our societal expectations. He loves us and wants us to grow in Him. He knows that adversity can bring us closer to Him, to His heart of love, to closer communion with Him. Even if that communion consists only of, “Oh God! Oh God!” (The Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows the cry of our hearts.)
How can our faith grow if it is never tested? It’s often through these hard times of testing that God is able to prove His unfailing love and attention to our needs. Don’t you know that Thomas was at the end of any faith he might have had in his dear friend, Jesus, who claimed to be the Messiah. That “Messiah” had been killed, and in the worst, most agonizing and humiliating way possible. Thomas was in deep, deep grief, and perhaps feeling a bit of anger too. “This is not how it was supposed to go. Where is the kingdom, the reign, the wonderful life I thought Jesus was talking about? I saw him die. You say he’s risen, but buddy, I gotta see it to believe it. I believed once and now I’m paying for it.”
You gotta love Thomas. He said what a lot of us think, really. Jesus commended those who believed without seeing him first (verse 29). But we can ask God if He will prove to us that He exists and give us the faith we need to believe in Him.
By now in my life, I have firm convictions and believe in God—period. During some intensely difficult times I began seeing items in stores with the word “believe” on them. I picked up a few and it became my “word” for the season. I embraced this word, not because I lacked belief in God’s ability to take care of my problems, but because I chose tobelieve He would. Those words were affirmations of what my heart chose and reminders for my brain. Around the house whenever I’d see one, I’d breathe the prayer, “Oh yes, God, I believe You will provide.”
I grew up in an environment of belief. (Many times, my parents had to believe for food on the dinner table that night. And God, being the faithful one He is, provided for our family of five.) I’m very thankful for the foundation that belief provided me. AND the gift of faith that God has given me. Did you know that you can ask God for the very thing He requires from us? That blows my mind. It’s like He says, “Child, I want you to give me your faith, lots of faith. I want you to fill this big box with your faith in me. But first, let me give you a warehouse full of faith so you can give me a box full of it back.”
I know this is very elementary, and probably not exactly scripturally accurate, but faith is a gift from God. And the more we are in difficult situations where our faith in God is tested, the more we choose to believe in His ability and desire to help us, the stronger our faith becomes. Because He will always come through for us.
Lest you think that I’ve had an easy life so it’s easy to talk about God’s faithfulness, I’ll share some of the most dramatic ways God has proven His faithfulness. (Believe me, there’s more!)
Shortly after marriage when our total income for the year was minimal to say the least, the refrigerator broke, my husband’s contact (which was necessary for him to see since he was legally blind) tore, and our car was stolen and joy-ridden until it was totaled (two cars were necessary because I drove 45 minutes one way to work). We had no money in reserve and no way of getting any. But, God came through and provided not only a car, but for our financial needs as well.
When my husband was attacked and chemicals thrown in his face and eyes, not once but twice, God came through and healed his eyes.
When I was left totally alone, betrayed by most of those I’d been closest to, God came through and not only healed my heart toward them, but as a result of that emotionally bereft time, came into my grief with more and more of Himself. I wouldn’t trade those times for anything because He drew me even closer to Him than I’d have ever known. I didn’t much care for the excruciating barrenness and alone-ness at the time, but I say now that the experience was worth knowing deeply, and personally, of God’s faithfulness and love in a way I’d never experienced before.
When I went through another devastating time–this one ended in divorce, God came through and provided a place of safety for my children and me to stay. He provided for all of our physical needs, and also healed my broken heart, helping me to parent my two very hurt and confused seven-year-olds. He knitted us together in a stronger bond, making a sweet, loving family from the three of us. My children were content, even in the midst of their grief.
After a period of years during which I was stripped of all my “identities”—wife, daughter, sister, teacher, pastor’s wife, worship leader, home owner, person with good credit—through the deaths of my family members, my divorce, my retirement, and bankruptcy, I had no idea what to do next. I didn’t have a clue “who” I was anymore, had lost most of my support system, was adrift in emotions, and felt weighed down. Over a period of about two years God and I did a lot of work on me. He came through with direction, provision, and so much love to flood my grieving heart. He set me on a new path that brings fulfillment and allows me freedom to be the person He created me to be.
I have many experiences of my own to prove God’s faithfulness and love to me. I know He has our best interests in mind. Do I ever get willful and try to do things my own way? Of course I do. But I’m better at relinquishing the reins these days.
I choose to believe. I choose to seek Him. There is no room for doubt in my life because to doubt God means that I’m believing the lie that God is not able. And I have learned and know, deeply in my “knower” that:
And you can know it too. Carry this verse with you, say it throughout the day and ask God to help you believe it. In a culture that glorifies the self-made person, it’s reassuring to know that it is GOD in us that is carrying out His purpose and satisfying the desires of our heart—way more than we could imagine.
Be blessed beyond measure, my friends, and thank you for stopping by.
January. Ugh. People are like, “Oh I love the beginning of a new year! I’m setting my intentions. I’m writing my goals. I’m picking a new theme or word of the year”. And I’m like, “Nope, just let me crawl back into bed.”
In Michigan where I live it’s one of the grayest, dreariest months of the year. Holidays and fun are over. Now it’s just the tasks of every day in front of me. Don’t get me wrong. I love my life. I’m very blessed and I’m so full of gratitude. To be honest, though, by January I’m usually pretty tired.
I make a trip to Kentucky every Thanksgiving (eight hours on the busiest travel day of the year—and this year I was battling 40-60 mph winds!). And then for Christmas I drive eleven hours to Missouri. I take these trips willingly and with joy because I am visiting my closest family members (the rest are even further away) and I love being with them. But I am the only driver so it is a bit exhausting for me.
The months of November and December are full of activities, of course. By the time January comes around, every bone in my body hurts. Did I mention that I’ve lived a few decades? (Ha!) But again, I’m so very grateful I’m able to do these things.
Back to wanting to crawl into bed. Honestly, it’s the best thing for me. After my son is on the bus and my daughter is dropped off, because I work from home I’m able to take a few days in the beginning of January to replenish. For me that means going back to bed or taking several hours to sit and read so my body and mind relax, or just puttering around the house with my plants or cleaning a bit. I try to keep my calendar as empty as possible, giving myself time to rejuvenate.
I spend time in prayer, seeking. My most earnest desire is that others see Jesus in me. So I seek direction on what that looks like. I want to be used of God. Effectively. But I know my ideas are not usually His so I need to hear His voice. I order to do that, I need to be still, and quiet.
Lately, in blogs across the internet-o-sphere, there is much talk about self-care. Taking care of myself has been a work-in-process through the years, and I’ve only begun to give myself permission to sleep when needed and read when I can without feeling guilty. Isn’t that wild? I’ve been a serious go-getter for most of my sixty-seven years, and “deserve” to take breaks now and then. But that old mindset of “I need to be doing something” wants to re-surface constantly. I am a warrior woman, and I’ve done battle with that lie, but it dies hard.
In January I am exhausted enough to put that lie, and myself, to rest. And that is I what I do.
Does this resonate with any of you? Are you like me and kind of detest the “let’s set goals” emphasis in January? Are you also too exhausted for the mental and emotional work that it actually takes? I’d love to hear from you! Let me know I’m not alone in this, or if you have any suggestions for me. This year, if I feel the need to set goals, I think I’ll do it in October! 🙂
My aunt shared this quote with me and it resonated within me.
God touched humanity with Jesus—the greatest gift of all. Love came down at His birth. He provided a way to live with HOPE in the midst of despair. To have a FRIEND when everyone turns away. To have STRENGTH in the midst of fear. To have LOVE in the midst of hate. To have FAITH in the midst of turmoil.
HE alone is my Rock, the One who has sustained me through some really, really rough times. He has anchored me when I’ve been adrift and floundering.
I am forever grateful for this Savior who came humbly to walk among us and make a way for us to have lives of fullness and joy, regardless of our circumstances. My heart belong to the One who loves me.