Wait…

When I was small and people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up I would say many things, an astronaut, a fighter pilot, a helicopter pilot, a police officer, a marine, a Kung-Fu master, a doctor, a veterinarian, a surgeon, a paleontologist, or an archaeologist like Indiana Jones. Basically anything that was epic and that would allow me to travel the world having adventure, discovering some lost knowledge, or saving people from danger. I wanted to do something important. I wanted to make a difference. Then someone would ask me to pick just one thing that I wanted to be when I grew up, pick the one thing I wanted most to be. Every single time I would say the most epic thing that I knew of or could imagine; I would reply, “I want to be a wife and raise a family with my husband.”

When I was a girl I would walk around with just about any kind of fabric I could find that was a little see through draped over my face. I would practice walking down the isle all the while singing “Here comes the bride, all dressed in white…” then later I would stuff a pillow or one of my dad’s sweatshirts into my shirt until I looked pregnant and would rub my “belly” the way expectant mother’s do. I would imagine that I could feel the baby kick. I would jump and giggle and everything. Then I would even go so far as pretending to give birth. I would breathe and push and scream like all the women in all the shows that I was too young to watch but I watched anyway when my parents weren’t paying attention. Sorry mom and dad!

I wanted nothing more in all the world than to be a wife and raise babies with the man I loved. Life has a funny way of turning out doesn’t it?

When David was between 12 and 15 the prophet of Israel came and interrupted his day to anoint him king of Israel. What did David do? He went back to his normal life. When Joseph was a young boy he had a dream that he would be in a position to rule and not long after that was sold into slavery by his own brothers where he remained for decades. Hannah prayed and prayed and ached to give her husband a son, she prayed for a son so desperately Eli the priest thought she was drunk! Boaz, Moses, Joshua, Caleb, Noah, Elisha, Jeremiah, Elizabeth, Zachariah, Simeon, Anna, Mary, Martha and the most famous of all Abraham and Sarah, waited. ALL these men and women waited on the Lord. The Bible is chocked full of people who waited, and waited. Some of these didn’t see the things they longed for come to pass at all, yet they never gave up, and they never stopped trusting the Lord.

Psalm 37:34 Wait on the Lord, And keep His way, And He shall exalt you to inherit the land, when the wicked are cut off you shall see it.

Psalm 27:14 Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!

Lamentations 3:26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the Lord.

Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

I have struggled with obesity for most of my life. I have tried everything under the sun to get this body to a healthy state. I have prayed, I have fasted, (once for over two years) I have wept bitterly, I have hated my body, I have learned to accept it, I have dieted, I have exercised, I have spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars on this quest to find myself at a healthy weight. Since I began a new this journey toward a healthy weight I have lost over two hundred pounds and yet after all these years I have never seen the scale where it should be. I was once with in two pounds of reaching my first mile marker towards that ultimate goal. Then I blew out my knees at work about a month apart. I haven’t been able to fully recover form those injuries. It has been three years now and I am not happy to say I have gained a good amount of that weight back. Sometimes I just want to give up. Sometimes I feel like I will never see my dream of not being in constant pain and discomfort come true. Really I mean why? Why must this be so hard? I have been waiting and waiting.

I have also been waiting for my heart’s most sacred dream to come true for ever thirty years. I am still single. I have no children. My hair is turning grey and I am starting to get wrinkles. My joints are starting to ache when the weather changes and I get heart burn more than ever before. I am at the dawn of growing old, and I am here alone. I didn’t want this to be my story. I didn’t want to be at the threshold of my fourth decade on earth childless and single. I never ever dreamed of this. I hate it. It is more than I can bare some days. I look down the long road ahead and think of walking it alone and I think sometimes I would rather not go. The last flicker of hope I held for this dream died with in my heart a long time ago.

By the time my great grandmother, grandmother, and mother were 37 they had all lost their ability to bear children due to cancer popping up in their womb. As you can imagine I am not looking forward to my yearly check up this year at all. Honestly I am a little scared. As far as romance goes I feel like dating leftovers. You know what I mean? It’s like the leftovers in the back of the fridge. No one wanted me when I was fresh and on the table. Now I have been in the fridge so long no one is going to choose me because they aren’t sure if I will give them food poising or not.

I know how that sounds. It is so awful and sad but that is the truth. That is how I feel. I have missed it. I have been passed over too many times. I have run out of time. I am an old maid. Some days I feel like the loneliness is an ocean that I am drowning in and I want to surrender to it…

I don’t. I fight, and I keep swimming.

I know I am loved. I know God has things for me to do else I wouldn’t be on the earth. I have love to give even of it doesn’t look the way I want it to.

I just keep waiting.

I tell of these shadows in my soul as honestly as they be so you truly grasp the weight of the words I will next share…

Mary and Martha waited. Lazarus was deathly sick and they sent for Jesus to come heal him. They waited, and Lazarus died. They waited expectantly. They waited four days after Lazarus died. They waited until the last ember of hope has grown stone cold. Lazarus was truly dead and beyond hope of rescue, and that is when Jesus came.

Abraham and Sarah were promised to parent a great nation. They were promised a son. They waited until they were nearly one hundred years old and they had not been blessed with that promised child. Their child bearing years were decades behind them. All hope was dust in the wind. That is when God showed up.

Joseph had been sold into slavery. He was a faithful servant and through no fault of his own had been thrown in jail. He remained there for many years. His chance of being in position of authority was beyond zero. That is when God gave Pharaoh king of Egypt a dream only Joseph could interpret.

Those accounts all have epic endings. Jesus raised Lazarus, Abraham and Sarah had a son at nearly one hundred, and Joseph became the second in command of all of Egypt, only the king himself above him.

The God I serve is able to deliver me, but even if He doesn’t I will worship no other. I will serve no other. God is good beyond measuring no matter my circumstances. His word is true, His promises are kept, and He is faithful like gravity. Though He slay me yet will I trust Him. I will go to my grave singing of the goodness of the Lord even if tings don’t turn out perfectly the way I always dreamed. I know that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living even if my heart’s most sacred, treasured dream never comes to pass. God’s goodness is greater than my disappointments.

I will keep waiting. I will keep singing. I will keep trusting.

Not that long ago I began to realize that I am in control of how I experience life. That how I experience life is part of my God given free will. Allow me to explain. I am overweight. I can focus on that and hate everything, or I can be grateful that I have come as far as I have (set backs and all) and that I am not where I was. I a single, I can loathe my existence, or I can choose to embrace all the good parts of my life and find the good about being single and be grateful. I have a job that can be stressful and I don’t make as much money as I need to. I can walk around like a crankasourusrex being annoyed at the world and complain until I cry, (which until recently I definitely did a fair amount), or I can see all the amazing parts of my job. I can see the incredible opportunity that I have to do things that not everyone gets to do. Yeah I don’t get paid enough, but the place I work is truly special and I have learned and grown so much being there. I get to work with amazing people and I get to be a part of something that really matters every single day. Being there is a privilege that I was blind to because I was so focused on all the parts that were hard. There are things about my life that are hard and suck, but there is SO much more that is wonderful. God has hidden treasure all around me. He has blessed me so much and I was oblivious to it all because I was choosing to only see my dreams that had turned to ashes. I wasn’t experiencing the wonder of all those blessings because all I was looking at was all the things I feel badly about. You become what you behold. I have decided to focus on the goodness the Lord has placed in my life and experience the joy of it.

Philippians 4:8  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

When I was in my twenties I didn’t really have any friends. Either they had moved away, or I had alienated them because I was so obsessed with ministry that I had forgotten how to have real human relationships. I used to pray and pray for a group of friends who shared my values and would do life with me. I wanted people who got me and would encourage me to run hard after Jesus and carry out the great commission. I longed for people who would sing the song of my heart to me when I had forgotten the words. I wanted friends who were more like my family. I asked God to bring these people into my life over and over for years, I fasted and I prayed for them until I ran out of words. Eventually I let go and told God I trusted His timing. If I am being honest I had been praying for that group of friends since I was very young. I had seasons where I thought it was happening but things would change and the friendships would fade. I kept praying and waiting. I waited until I gave up hope that it would ever happen. I chose to love people and serve them no matter what I got in return. Then it happened. God connected and reconnected me with the people who would become the exact tribe I had prayed and cried for and dreamed of for all those years. When all hope was gone and waiting was all that remained that is God working became clear. God had been working that whole time. He had been putting things in motion, preparing my heart and teaching me to a good friend. I couldn’t see it, but looking back I can now.

The other day I was talking with a dear friend and she told me that I deserved all the good things in life. I said “Yes, but that doesn’t mean I am going to get them.” Does that kinda suck? Yes, yes it does but that doesn’t make it any less true. Life is not fair and you know what? God is still good, and the life I experience with Him is still SO good. His words are still true. His promises are still kept. He is still faithful. He is still worthy.

Though He slay me yet will I trust Him.

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©Rachel Anne Redfield 2019

Is God Speaking?

Do you ever hear people say “Then God told me…” and wonder what the heck they are talking about? I did. When I first began to go to church I didn’t know anything about the Bible, Christianity or Christians. Whenever I heard Christians saying that they heard GOd speak I thought to myself; “Self, either these people have shared schizophrenia or something else is going on.” Imagine my dismay when I found out there is a compilation of 66 books written by 35 different authors over many hundreds of years filled with people who heard God speaking, each page written by each author hearing God speak themselves.

The Bible is a truly remarkable thing. I have read many books, and it is the only book I have read over and over and over again. I have studied about it, studied from it, designed a tattoo with it, journal-ed  it, put it into art I have made and even made play dough art with it at work. Scripture has become a part of my soul and is written on my heart and my arm. I love the word of God. If you are wanting to hear the voice of the Lord the Bible is a good place to start.

When I was 14 years old I was introduced to the presence of the Lord. To say that it was an overwhelming experience is an understatement. One of the most overwhelming parts of that experience was realizing that God had always been present, I just hadn’t know it. He had always been with me in every moment of my life and I had always sensed Him but I didn’t know who He was. So I began to wonder, was He speaking that whole time and I couldn’t hear Him? Was he speaking now and I still couldn’t hear Him? I had heard so many people at church of all ages saying that God said things to them and I had read in the Bible many tales of God speaking to people. I decided that what all these people were talking about and experiencing as crazy as it seemed MUST BE REAL. If it was real then I wanted it.

I tried for a long time to hear the voice of God but all I heard was radio silence. I began to wonder if God like my mother was giving me the silent treatment because I had done something wrong and He was angry with me. I started to repent from every wrong thing I had ever done in my entire 14 years on earth. I can be a bit melodramatic… I was up at the front of the church every Sunday and Wednesday crying my eyes out asking for God’s forgiveness and and begging Him to talk to me. I talked to my youth pastor who advised me to read the Bible and listen to worship music. He encouraged me not to give up, but I was starting to get really frustrated. I thought maybe I was broken. Maybe I was not good enough for God to speak to me. I tried and strained and still nothing. One night in November when I was 15 about a month after I had fully given my life to Jesus (for those of you counting I was a year older than at the beginning of this tale) I took a giant blanket outside on the balcony of my friend’s apartment to get away and pray. I began to shed soft tears as I said “God I have tried and tried. I have done everything and I still can’t hear you. I give up. I know you are here. I can feel you. I want to hear your voice more tan anything on earth. Please speak to me. I am not going to do anything, or say anything, I am just going to sit here. I am not going to move from this spot even if I am here til I die. I am going to wait and listen until you talk to me.” I was SO mad. I closed my eyes and did something I hadn’t ever done before. I listened with me whole being. I became still and listened. I set aside my rage, insecurity and questions and became still. Within moments it happened. A still small voice from inside me and all around me spoke. I won’t share what the first thing I heard God say to me because it is too sacred to share, but I will say that it was wonderful and perfect. I began to laugh and cry and hyperventilate a little.

I replied “Wow! That is not what I was expecting! Your voice came from everywhere even inside me. I don’t understand.”

He replied, “You invited me to make a home in your heart remember? I am always here all around you and within you. I love you and I will never leave you. Now that you have stopped doing and started listening you heard me. I have been talking this whole time but you were so busy trying to hear me that you forgot to be still and listen.”

Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God…

This was one of many, many times I learned that God doesn’t over complicate things like I do.

It is like playing hide and seek with a toddler. You want them to seek you and FIND you so you hide where you can be found. Imagine a grown man hiding behind a lamp post, or a very thin tree. You get the idea. It is like that with God, He wants you to seek Him so that you experience the thrill and joy of FINDING Him the way He found you.

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Jeremiah 29:13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

God can speak through the words of scripture, the beauty of the sunrise and sunset, through the lyrics of a song, the vast expanse of the stars, the lines of a poem, the power of the ocean, a painting, the flavor of foods, the colors in a flower, the caress of the breeze, the hug of a loved one, the words of a stranger, the scent of  home, the laugh of a child, a smile, a story, or a scene in a TV show or movie. There are countless ways the Lord speaks to you of His love, and His goodness. Be still and know that He is God. He is so good. Listen.

-R.

 

©Rachel Anne Redfield 2019

Dear Penny,

I cried today. As hard as I ever have. No matter what people say time does not heal all wounds. There are some things that happen that will never be okay. Ever.

Twenty years.

Twenty.

Twenty years without your laugh. Twenty years without your words. Twenty years without your spunk. Twenty years without your warmth. Twenty years without the radiant smile you always hid from cameras because you didn’t like your teeth. Twenty years without your hugs. Twenty years with the empty place you left on the earth.

Your arms were always safe. Your words were always firm but kind. You were steady through all the unsteady seasons of my tender years. You were there as I learned to eat with forks and spoons instead of my hands. You were there as I learned to use a toilet. You helped me to not be afraid it was going to suck me in. You were there as I learned to use my words to express my feelings and not to throw and break things. You taught me to count to ten and breathe when I felt angry. You were there as I learned to ride a bike, to talk to my peers… and to BOYS! You were there after my first day of High School. You were there the first time I got dumped by a boy. You were there when my mom and I went shopping for my middle school promotion dress. You were at so many soccer, softball, and volley ball games.

You were my harbor through my parents divorce. You were there when I gave my heart to Jesus and my family did not know who I was anymore. You would let me stumble my way through explaining what had so transformed me. You were there in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep. You always listened and I learned how to listen from you. You were there when migraines splintered my world. You were there when my mom couldn’t be. You were always there. You helped build me. You had a hand in raising me. It will never sit well with me that now you are missing.

It was a day very like today when the world stopped turning. It was warm and breezy. It was Friday and the whole day felt off. I remember exactly where I was when the phone rang. I felt sick. I heard my dad answer and my blood went cold when he said my name. I knew. I could feel it. As my mom said the words that shattered my heart through her violent gasping sobs all I could think about were your babies. My best friends, the kids I was growing up with. We all still needed you. What now? I went to them as fast as possible. I had no words. There were none that could ever make any of it better. I looked into their eyes. I hugged them. I cried with them. There was nothing else to be done.

You were gone. It wasn’t fair. It was unbearable and yet you were gone still.

Today I sit here the same age you were when you left this earth. My heart is still breaking. It has been breaking for twenty years. It will keep breaking as long as I draw breath. I will miss you for the rest of my life. This is grief.

I wonder what you would think of me. Would you be proud of who I have become? Would we still be close? How different would this pocket of the world be if you had continued to live and love so well as you did?

I know you are with Jesus. I know you are at peace. Your kids are magnificent. You smile down on them I am sure. We miss you Penn. Happy angelversary.

©️Rachel Anne Redfield 2019

The Best

Many years ago someone told me that I wasn’t a musician. This message has been echoed by others throughout my years of figuring out what it means to be an adult. There were times when a musician friend would say out of the blue, completely unsolicited that I just wasn’t meant to be musician, but I was a good singer and should just focus on that. Sometimes some random person would tell me something similar and they would usually follow up with “… and if you could just sing a little quieter you would really be something.”

The truth is I am not an amazing singer nor am I an amazing musician. I can sing well, but I am not a special talent. Even after years of practice I am a poor musician, mediocre at best. I know that I am not a master nor will I ever be. In my twenties and most of my thirties I pushed for greatness. Perfection even. I was obsessed. I wanted to be the best! I wanted to be one of those people that could play everything in a band and know all the musical things. I wanted to be amazing and I wasn’t. So I did the logical thing. I studied and practiced and perfected my craft… except none of that actually happened. I actually gave up. I quit playing. I quit singing… well I sang less. I decided that if I couldn’t be the best then I didn’t see the point. I will never be great or even good so I will just stop.

I am not amazing. No matter how hard I work at it I will never be beyond that reality. Even if I was tremendously more skilled than I am there would still be someone out there more skilled and talented than me.

For many years I played for the Lord in secret most of the time. I would sing songs to the Lord with my guitar, or keyboard and at first it was just my voice, all alone. I didn’t care how well I played or sang. It didn’t matter how perfect it was or wasn’t it was just about being with Him. It was about pouring out my affection for My Maker, the Lover of my soul, my Master, my King. I couldn’t wait to be alone with God. It was everything. He was everything and all that mattered was bringing Him my best no matter what it looked like.

As time went on other people’s opinions began go influence me much more than they should have because I had no idea what boundaries were. Because of this I would let the words of those who hadn’t earned the right to speak into my life in the doorway of my heart.

I have always been insecure about my abilities as a musician. I am self taught and that has left me feeling like I don’t know what I am doing most of the time. Also I actually don’t so there is that. Furthermore I don’t practice enough which doesn’t help.

Then it happens. A skilled musician who was a friend told me that my guitar playing was not his favorite. He said my style was hard for a band to follow and that he would rather me just play keys and sing. So I put my guitar in the case and left it there for years. YEARS. Four of them.

Even after getting it out I would only play it once in while. My friend Eric played my guitar more than I did in 2018 and 2017 for that matter.

I felt incapable of playing good enough so I just stopped. The thing is though that is relly stupid. Who cares if I suck?! Who cares if I suck for the rest of ever?! It doesn’t actually matter if I suck or not if it is something I enjoy. And you know what? I do. I really enjoy it. Music is like oxygen to my soul. Creating and playing music gives me life. Playing my guitar alone in my room for the Lord was one of the first ways that I was able to deeply connect to God. That is something precious. That is not something to just throw by the wayside just because someone said that I technically suck.

The reality is I am not nor will I ever be an extraordinary musician or vocalist. I will not nor will I ever be an amazing artist but that doesn’t mean that I should stop creating. Creating is something that I am moved to do, it calls to me and is in me. I can’t stop playing musical instruments, drawing, painting, writing or singing any more than I can stop breathing.

The thing I have realized is that God is the only one who is capable of true perfection. That is part of His holiness. As for the rest us perfection is relative. That is right folks perfection is relative. I can strive for perfection but if I compare myself to someone else’s perfection than I will never get there and all I will ever do is cause myself to become insane. I can never really be perfect by your perspective but I can be perfect for me. I can find perfection that I am capable of. I can strive to improve my skills and be better than I was before. But I will never be better than you… well I mean I am sure I will be better than someone but that isn’t really my point.

My point is that I shouldn’t let someone else determine what I do with my own skills, or lack there of. I shouldn’t allow some eles’s opinion of my level of skill rob me of joy. I can’t allow anything to breach the conduits of my connection with the Lord. It doesn’t matter if I am “good enough” or if anyone else ever sees or hears what I do. It’s not about that. God put these things inside of me, and He wants me to let my light shine. The Bible doesn’t say make to make a perfect sound to the Lord it says to make a joyful one. God wants us to give Him our all, to bring Him the best of what we have with a joyful heart. Perfection is relative. My perfect offering will be different than yours and that is more than okay. It is enough. Your best is enough. My best is enough.

So if you like me have put your guitar, or whatever away because someone else caused you to feel like you don’t have what it takes shake that crap off! Who cares?! If it is how you connect with the Lord and it brings you joy do it anyway!

If you need me I will be playing my guitar (poorly) with a bunch of amazing tiny humans worshipping the Lord. We will be connecting with the Maker of all things having the time of our lives. ❤️

(C) Rachel Anne Redfield 2019

Do It Anyway

Life can be crazy and exhausting. For MANY years I was depressed and hated literally everything about myself and my life. I felt helpless and trapped. I wasn’t though. I wished, longed even — for death. Then I was faced with the possibility of cancer destroying my body and claiming my life. Strangely (considering I wanted to die) I did not rejoice.

I ended up dodging the bullet of cancer as the mass was benign. It was removed and I was declared cancer free. Thank the Lord. You would think that would be the worst thing and there is nothing good about it, however something like that is a great lens. Like the lens of a telescope it brings things into sharp focus. I began to realize some things. For one I did not in fact actually want to cease living. It became clear I just hated many aspects of my life and felt as though they would never change. Being faced with the possibility of death caused me to see that none of that was real.

The second thing I realized was that I wanted to live. That may sound like the first thing but it is not. Not wanting to die and wanting to live are different. I wanted to live. I wanted to go places and do things. I wanted to have friends. I wanted to leave my house and have adventures. I wanted to explore. I had lived in the same town my whole life and hadn’t even set foot in most of the parks. I had never explored Portland (the big city) at all. I had never driven myself to the beach even though it was only two hours away. I hadn’t been camping as an adult. I wanted to fly in an air plane. I wanted to go to Disneyland. I wanted watch the sun rise and set in the same day. I wanted to taste things that I wouldn’t normally taste. I wanted to live, to laugh, to love, to taste, to see, to breathe deep. I wanted to live.

The next thing that became clear was that I wanted to become a wife and a mother. I wanted to fall in love, to have someone fall in love with me and for us to be in love with each other at the same time together. I wanted to create a home for the man I loved. I wanted to craft a sanctuary filled with warmth and peace. I wanted deeply in my heart to raise children with my love that would always know the love of Jesus and how much they matter.

I wanted to change.

I have been working on that change for about eight years and I have to say I am pretty darn happy now. My life is by no means perfect. There are still things I am working on improving. There are still areas that I wish were farther along and “better”, but I kinda like my life and myself.

I have friends and have done a lot of the things I wanted to do that I thought were impossible. I lost over 200 pounds. I gained some back and then lost it… and then gained some back but hey two steps forward and one step back is still one step forward! 🎉 I went to Hawaii and zip lined across a valley 100 feet high! I have become quite familiar with all the parks around my residence. I even gave internet dating a try and acquired a crazy ex! (If aforementioned ex is reading this please don’t comment. I will delete it without reading it. No one knows who you are, and this is not about you.) I also went to Disneyland and many other amazing things I wanted to do. God is so good. He has blessed me with the best tribe of friends on the planet. NONE of the best things I have experienced since that life changing scare would have happened without the people who are in my life: I am not worthy. 😭 ❤️🙏🏼

As for the rest of it the real game changer was learning to do something even when I didn’t want to. NIKE was on to something all those years ago. The house is a mess and I feel like dodo and I don’t want to clean it. Do it anyway. I was a jerk and I don’t want to admit it and apologize. Do it anyway. I don’t want to go to work. Do it anyway. I don’t want to go for a walk. Do it anyway. I don’t want to eat salad again. DO IT ANYWAY! I don’t want to finish my laundry. Do it anyway. I don’t want to get out of bed. Do it anyway. I don’t want to read my bible. DO IT ANYWAY! I don’t want to turn off Netflix and go outside. Do it anyway.

No matter what it is if I need to do it, if it is good for me, if it is important – wanting is irrelevant. I must choose to just do it. Get up and do it anyway. Even if I am tired, even if I am sore, even if I don’t want to, even when I would rather not, I do it anyway.

Am I perfect in this? Heck to the no. Did I just consume and entire day’s worth of calories in one meal? Yes. Yes I did. I am not perfect. I am still figuring it out and fighting against the lazy parts of my personality. I am a work in progress. I still have weight to loose, adventures to have and a whole lot of other things. I still have a life to live.

I will be really honest. Sometimes I get stuck. I think about the things I have yet to do , and things that seem not to be, and I feel like giving up. If I let it, that ocean of depression I once called home will crash over me. Before I realize where my mind is headed I find myself entertaining those thoughts form the dark days when I just wanted to close my eyes and have it all be over. It is annoying how fast I can be there again. After all the things I have done to move past it — 💥bam.

The thing is I can’t dwell on it. Dwelling on it makes it worse. I cannot beat myself up. I have to just change my focus to all the things I have to be grateful for. I have to let go of those thoughts. I have to stand in the sun, breathe deep and choose gratitude. I have to pick up the phone and call my momma and tell her she is important to me. I have to get up and tell one of my friends how much they matter.

I may never have children. I may never be able to build a life with someone, and that home I dream of creating may never exist. I may always be over weight and have pain in my knees. I may always be living on a shoestring and never be able to go running again. If I don’t want to be filled with despair and hate my existence I have to learn to be content. The way to do that is to be grateful. Things aren’t the way the ‘should’ be, and I don’t see how I can be grateful. Do it anyway.

Life is fragile and short. I may not be here tomorrow so I am going to make sure that everyone knows that they matter to me and I am grateful for them. I don’t want to leave any doubt. Also I am going to choose to be grateful everyday. No matter how bad it is there is always something. Most of the time I could trip over the heap of things to be be grateful for. All I have to do is to have eyes to see the blessings in my life. One of them just interrupted me as I was writing this just to call and see how my week was. 😭❤️ I am so blessed.

I could have never imagined the life I have now eight years ago when I was pushing 500lbs basically had no friends and discovered a tumor in my right breast. I faced that trail (save for my momma and the Lord) alone. I have faced trails since and had support all the way through. It is much better that way. I have a completely different life now.

I just want to say to my tribe (you know who you are): you are everything. I am nothing with the Lord and you. All of you. I love you. Thank you for lighting up my life. You mean the world to me. ❤️

So if you are reading this and you want to change but you don’t think you can, do it anyway.

Remember you cal do ALL things through Christ.

❤️

-R.

©️Rachel Anne Redfield 2018

Believe The Truth Challenge (day 9)

A few weeks ago a dear friend began a challenge. She called it: #believethetruthchallenge

This challenge requires her to daily admit a negative thing, lie, or a self-critical belief she held, and then attack it with the opposite truth, and to share this on social media.

Sometimes we Christ followers refer to such thoughts or beliefs such as ‘I’m lazy’ as lies. Rightly so, as they are lies or at least misplaced perspective towards oneself.

I decided to join her on this challenge. I became aware very early on that this was not going to be an easy thing. Hence the word challenge. 🙃 I knew it would stretch me but I had no idea all that would be stirred. I quickly became overwhelmed and considered throwing in the towel but I have decided to follow through.

I recently realized some of these things would require a bit more than a quick Instagram post, and that brings me to where I am today.

It is no secret to anyone with fully functioning eyes that I could stand to lose more than a few pounds. My roommate’s daughter told me just yesterday in fact “Rachel you should lose weight.”

*warning side rant*

Why on earth do thinner people think it is okay to say that to a chubby person? Like losing weight is just some easy thing to do like they are just saying ‘Go to the store.’ Or ‘Walk the dog.’ Seriously do you have ANY idea how incredibly difficult it is to lose weight? You are talking about a many-year commitment and an entirely new way of doing EVERYTHING. Losing weight is not an easy thing, so shut up! 🔥🔥💥 Unless you are my momma or my doctor, shut your cotton picking pie-hole and mind your own business. 😤  Thanks. 👌🏼

Any way…

I am by all sense of the definition fat. I am fat. I am a fat person. It’s okay, don’t cry. Oddly enough I also feel like a fat person. Being fat is not only a physical state of being, it is also (as every woman knows) a feeling. I imagine the feeling is a bit worse when you actually are fat, but I digress.

I struggle with this daily, sometimes hourly. I feel as though I am not a human person. I rail against my body. I even have on many occasions and levels hated it. I have been disgusted by my body, revolted even.

The thing is though that’s not fair. My body didn’t force me to eat all those calories. My body didn’t force me to eat double quarter-pounders with cheese, buckets of fries, six chocolate chip cookies, and a milkshake on the regular. My body didn’t force me to lay around the house for 8 to 10 hours a day watching movies. I did all those things to my body. If hating should happen my body should be hating me.

God gave me this beautiful gift and I cookie by cheeseburger desecrated it. Are there extenuating circumstances as to why I became so morbidly obese? Yes. Are there biological factors at play here? Yes. Did I lose over 200 pounds? Yes. However that is not an excuse and it does not negate the fact that I made hundreds of extremely unhealthy, poor decisions. I treated my body like the nations treat our oceans. I repent.

Without my body I would have no home for my spirit and soul. I would not be me. My body has afforded me the privilege of experiencing the earth in all its wonder. My body (even in its broken down state) is a marvel. My body is a God-designed masterpiece, despite my efforts to ruin it. It is strong and resilient. My body is a miracle in many ways.

I have decided to stop hating it. I have decided to be grateful for it now. I have decided to see the beauty and glory God has deposited in it now the way it is, and not wait until it is in “better shape” to love and appreciate my body. My body is not perfect but it is a gift and I am grateful.

©Rachel Anne Redfield 2017

Gossip

Gossip… it is such a small word… six letters, yet it can destroy the world. It may not literally cause the earth to explode in flaming doom but it sure can feel like the end of the world and it can lead to the end of a relationship.

I have struggled for many years to define gossip. I am inclined to understand things and usually the way I begin that process is to grasp completely the definition of something. I have not found this to be an easy task when it comes to gossip. The bible teaches that gossip is evil and not to be done. It is pretty clear that the Big Nacho Eater in the sky finds gossip to be a deplorable practice. Because I am a person who cares about doing things that make God’s heart happy I want to make sure not to be participating in gossip. I fail at this goal all the time. All. The. Time.

I hear others say things like ‘I am woman so I like to gossip.’ ‘It is just so hard not to!’ ‘I like it, it’s fun.’ Okay that last one nearly made me gag, but honestly I have heard people say it. Men and women by the way. Ladies get a bad wrap for tongue wagging but I have known men to be among some of the worst gossips on the planet. I would dare say that it is a even split. I think that I might be able to write a book on this topic and perhaps one day I will, but that day is not today.

I shall return to the beginning. What is gossip?

When I was a teen in youth group it was explained as talking about other people in a way that is not true. Spreading rumors in other words. So I tucked that away and made sure not to do that. I didn’t spread, or continue to spread rumors. If I heard something about someone I would go to that person and ask them about it. That is where the trouble started. I thought I was not gossiping. I didn’t think I was doing wrong yet I found myself hurting people that I cared about. I have come to learn though that, that is not a true or correct definition of gossip. In fact that is a definition of yet another no no from the bible, (man so many rules!) and it is slander. Spreading rumors and lies about someone is slander. It is also very poisonous and destructive, but not gossip.

So then what in the world is gossip and how do I not participate? Where is the line between talking with friends about life and gossip?

Websters defines it this way:

noun

idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others

Hmm. Well that wasn’t much help. Thanks for nothing you useless reptile. 😉

As I have traveled through life there have been many times that I have been talking with friends and as we were catching up the conversation would go to the topic of others and I began to feel unsettled in myself. For many years I ignored it as I did with all of my feelings. In the last few years I have been intentional about not ignoring my heart. I have not encountered this scenario very many times in the last few years but there are two times that stand out.

One of the times was about three years ago at the beginning of my non heart ignoring lifestyle. A friend was sharing with me some concern she had for a family situation and shared with me her thoughts and opinions and conversations surrounding it. Later I was talking with another close friend and member of the same family and the topic came up. This person was sharing their hurt and frustration and I told them something my other friend had told me and boy did it cause a problem. Not only did it make an already bad situation worse but it deeply hurt my friend. I was not thinking. I was trying to help. I didn’t think that what I had done was gossip but it was. I could have destroyed a precious friendship. My friend forgave me and chose to still trust me after that debacle. When I think of the risk that she took I am amazed at her strength and grace. I don’t know that I would have been able to give the gift she gave to me to someone who hurt me that way. I don’t deserve her.

Another happened recently and after many restless nights I am still licking my wounds. A while ago I was in a situation where I was catching up with a friend and the conversation went towards a mutual friend. She began to tell me things so and so had told so and so and I listened for much longer than I should have. I began to feel a little sick in my heart and I steered the conversation away from that topic. Later I wondered why I had felt that way. Was it because that was gossip? Recently the person whom the information concerned shared with me the same thing and when I respond with the words ‘I know.’  the pain it caused him was palpable. I might as well have stabbed him in the heart with a flaming sword. It took him a couple of days to let me know how much that hurt him, and what he thought of it all. His words were… painful to hear. In fact they burned through me and my entire body grew cold. He was not unkind, and what he said was truth. Still it sucks to hurt a friend and to know that they have lost respect for you.

I never thought how either of my friends would feel about what I listened to and what I said. I never thought about how any of the people I have listened to other people talk about would feel.

 I have come to realize that gossip is discussing anything about another person that does not edify, honor, or support them. True or not true is irrelevant. Talking about another persons failure, indiscretion, ruin, health, or personal business is gossip. The only person’s failure, indiscretion, ruin, health, or personal business you should be talking about is your own.

If you are about to talk about someone put yourself in their place. Ask yourself if I were them how would I feel about this topic being talked about? Would it hurt you? Would it make you feel uncomfortable, or bad? Don’t say it. Also ask your self if it edifies, honors, or supports the person. If it doesn’t then don’t say it. When someone asks you how a mutual acquaintance is doing make sure you only share things that honor the person. If you can’t think of anything then say ‘You should call them up and ask yourself.’ These questions would have helped me to avoid both of these situations and countless others that came before them.

I wish I could take back the hurt that I caused by my ignorance, I wish I had not failed my friends, but I have learned form both of those failures. I hope that I can be more sensitive in the future and live as a better friend.

©Rachel Anne Redfield 2017