The Love Dare: Passion, Life, Love (Guest Post by Alise Wright)

Alise on piano

 

I spent two years not touching a piano. And when playing music is where you feel the most like yourself, two years is a long time to go without feeling completely you.

 

I was told that everything I was doing was wrong in the area where I was the most passionate and the most alive. I was told that I could still attend the church, but I could have nothing to do with music. I was told that my passion was self-serving and that what was life-giving was an idol. When you receive that news, it kills passion. It sucks life away.

 

And when passion and life are missing, it can be difficult to love yourself. 

 

I went through a season where this was my existence. A season where the pain of the words that had been spoken to me drowned out the knowledge that I was doing what I had been created to do.

 

For that season, I saw my talents not as a gift from God to be used for God’s glory, but rather as something of a liability to be used for my own glorification. This was not my heart, but because someone in authority had told me that this was so, I began to believe it for myself. The lies became reality and that reality crowded out feelings of self-worth that I had.

 

We are so often afraid to allow ourselves to be identified by what we do. We worry that our value is somehow cheapened by attaching significance to the titles that we have. We worry that if we enjoy the things that we do too much, we will push God out of the picture.

 

But I have found that the more I am fully myself, the more than I fully immerse myself in the passions that God has placed in me, then I am more aware of God’s presence. When I play the piano, and play well, I am more in tune with what God desires for me. When I am fully present with my children, when I choose to be a loving wife, when I write with conviction – these things draw me closer to God.

 

As I am closer to God, I am reminded of my value. I am convinced of the greatness of God’s love for me. And as I gain that confidence, I am able to love myself. Not simply the things that I do, but who I am.

By embracing my passions, I have found life. And by finding life, I have found a deeper Love.

 

Alise is a wife, a mother of four, an eater of soup, and a lover of Oxford commas. She is the editor of Not Alone: Stories of Living with Depression with Civitas Press. You can generally find her sitting behind a keyboard of some kind: playing or teaching the piano, writing at her laptop, or texting her friends a random movie quote. You can connect with Alise on her blog, on Twitter, or on Facebook.

 

Pre-order Emily’s new book, Mom in the Mirror, at 40% off, here.

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A poem for you

Please come home. Please come home.
Find the place where your feet know where to walk
And follow your own trail home.

Please come home. Please come home into your own body,
Your own vessel, your own earth.
Please come home into each and every cell,
And fully into the space that surrounds you.

Please come home. Please come home to trusting yourself,
And your instincts and your ways and your knowings,
And even the particular quirks of your personality.
Please come home. Please come home and once you are
firmly there,
Please stay awhile and come to a deep rest within.
Please treasure your home. Please love and embrace your home.
Please get a deep, deep sense of what it’s like to be truly home.

Please come home. Please come home.
And when you’re really, really ready,
And there’s a detectable urge on the outbreath, then please
come out.
Please come home and please come forward.
Please express who you are to us, and please trust us
To see you and hear you and touch you
And recognize you as best we can.

Please come home. Please come home and let us know
All the nooks and crannies that are calling to be seen.
Please come home, and let us know the More
That is there that wants to come out.

Please come home. Please come home.
For you belong here now. You belong among us.
Please inhabit your place fully so we can learn from you,
From your voice and your ways and your presence.

Please come home. Please come home.
And when you feel yourself home, please welcome us too,
For we too forget that we belong and are welcome,
And that we are called to express fully who we are.

Please come home. Please come home.
You and you and you and me.

Please come home. Please come home.
Thank you, Earth, for welcoming us.
And thank you touch of eyes and ears and skin,
Touch of love for welcoming us.

May we wake up and remember who we truly are.

Please come home.
Please come home.
Please come home.
by Jane Hooper, printed in The Wisdom Way of Knowing, by Cynthia Bourgeault

(check out my NEW book, releasing Mother’s Day 2013: Mom in the Mirror: Body Image, Beauty and Life After Pregnancy, co-written with Dr. Dena Cabrera, HERE.)

A Dare to Love Yourself: When you don’t want to be photographed

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It’s A Love Dare, friends, a dare to love yourselves in all of your rawness. We’ll be doing this link-up every Monday, until Mother’s Day (when I’ll be releasing my new book, Mom in the Mirror). Today I’m welcoming journalist, author and blogger Jennifer Dukes Lee, to tell us how she is learning to let herself be photographed… in a couple of weeks, we’ll also hear from her daughter, Lydia.

On the night I went looking for photographs, I knew something had to change.

I needed a few photos of me with my two young daughters for a video I was creating. So I sat in the blue glow of the computer screen, scrolling through files and folders, looking down deeper and deeper to find photos I was certain were there.
Where had they all gone? I wondered. Where were all the photos of us together?

The sad truth dropped like a weight in my gut: The photos were never taken.

Among the thousands of photographs I had snapped over the years, I found only a handful of me with my daughters.

At first, I blamed the lack of mother-daughter footage on the fact that I’m usually the one behind the camera. But that’s only partially true. The bigger truth is this: I have not wanted to be photographed….
(For the rest of this post, and a link-up, please join us over at my personal blog here.)

the curtain is torn (guest post by holly grantham)

I take my shower in a bathroom small
there is no vent so
the steam
it billows and rolls
about the space
the hot water
pricks
my skin
and it is at once
pain
and
pleasure
Here
in this private space
I practice
once again
the dance of
love
and
hate
I try
desperately
to scrub away the proof
of my erring ways
the fact that
I have lived on sugar and chocolate
for the last
seven days
And it is confusing
because the act of putting
hand to mouth
is supposed to be
sacred
but I seem to always
ruin it
It is the nakedness
I think
that hollers loud
The baring
wide open and needy
that
renders me
undone
And I murmur prayer words
but they get lost
in the rushing
and I can’t escape
my skin
ever
The water
it washes over
my shell
this casing that
houses my
soul
and
I know that it
is a temple
but I
don’t believe it
I shut off
the flowing cataract
stand silent
and
brooding
I step out
of that
confessional
the one
that sometimes
spins dizzy
and it happens
In that moment
the curtain
is
torn
in
two
and I stand
foot bare
on
holy ground
For
John baptized
in the desert places
and
even if there is still
sand between my toes
I can now speak
the tongue of
saints
(my beautiful poet-friend, Holly Grantham blogs at a lifetime of days)
*Chasing Silhouettes now only $10 at Amazon.com; also available at Amazon.ca, ChristianBook.com and Barnes and Noble.

on learning to love ourselves as women

…we’re in bed, and my husband leans in, and i ask him to tell me, just one more time. “but why?” he says, this farm-boy that walked me through my relapse when i was 23. “don’t you know it by now?” he says.

i shake my head. “tell me again,” i say.

“i love you.” he pulls me close. “i’ve never stopped loving you,” he says. “and i never will.”

i let him kiss me then.

and i’m learning to stand up for myself this way, to treat my body with kindness. and i know it has nothing to do with me. i know it has everything to do with me being a product of God’s genius. his hands molding dust into skin into breath.

he’s the one who makes me beautiful. so i sit boldly at the kitchen table in the afternoon light and eat a bowl of ice cream, my sons beside me, eating theirs, because we need to do this together, this life. this learning to eat, this learning to be gentle with ourselves and others.

(so delighted to be over HERE at (in)courage today where Chasing Silhouettes is being featured as a Fall Recommended Read… won’t you join me?)

ALSO, She Loves Magazine is doing a book study on Chasing Silhouettes HERE through the month of November, so purchase the book for only $10 at Amazon, and join the study group! we’re considering these questions together, today:

1. What was your view of God like when you were young, and what factors influenced this view of him?
2. How has your view of God changed since then, and why?
3. What was your view of food like when you were a child, and how has that changed? What factors have influenced how you view eating and mealtimes in general?
4. How do you talk about God and food within your homes, with your children? Do they/you associate God and food with love, or fear?
5. How do you seek to affirm your children, and to speak their love language to them?
6. Is being skinny important to you? If so, why?
7. How do you talk about yourself around your children and husband?
8. How does your husband talk about himself, and others, around you and your children?
9. What are some efforts that can be made by yourself and your husband to foster a more affirming,positive environment when it comes to food, faith and self-confidence?
10. Do you suspect yourself, your husband, your children, or any other loved one of having an eating disorder, and if so, why?

about a skinny girl who wrote an eating disorder book

Maybe it’s one of the reasons I whisper hallelujah each time I find a boy in my womb growing long and limber, although I know eating disorders are just as real for them, 25 per cent real in fact, and we just don’t realize it…

That men sometimes hide in toilet bowls and candy wrappers and weigh scales, but 75 % of women struggle with disordered eating and I never really wanted to have a girl. I never really liked the color pink, and I still struggle with OCD and I joke that it’s like ADD only different acronyms but when the stress becomes high it’s truly debilitating.

Prayer is the only antidote and if I did have a girl, I fear I’d always be adjusting her pink ribbons….

(for the rest of this post, and a chance to win a copy of Chasing Silhouettes, won’t you join me at my friend Amber’s place tonight? love to you all…)

the boy who wanted to kill his brother


(guest post by duane scott)

He’s not a tall boy, I notice, and so thin.

Almost sickly. His arms look like a boy half his age.

We’re in Canada at a boy’s retreat and my heart goes out to him so I look him square with empathy because I’m ready to hear his story, whatever it might be. Because there is healing in the telling, in the opening of one’s heart and mouth to give voice to the fears residing there.

Fear exposed is fear crippled, so he opened his mouth and began.

“It started a year ago… and it nearly ended one night in the emergency room five months after.”

Twenty boys sit quiet, listening.

“I have a twin brother. He’s the popular one. He’s more accomplished. Girls liked him better. I think my parents did too. And I hated him for it.” …

(for the rest of this post, and a giveaway, follow me to Duane Scott’s place HERE?)