On one of our cross-country road trips, we ended up on a red dirt road in nowhere Arizona without a sign in sight. Why would there be a road sign when what we were driving on barely qualified as a road?
Debby Hudson Posts
For the last 25 years where we live hasn’t been our decision. Our denomination transfers its clergy. They decide when and where. The moving usually takes place in June but which June? This year or next? How long we stay is never a guarantee, never known.
We gave this over to faith that even though the decisions of man are imperfect, God will use it for His good.
We are in our last appointment. Our next move is into retirement. The location has been decided by us, our retirement home purchased and occupied by renters.
I am living in the in-between stages of what is and what is to come. We’re looking at boxes of stuff we’ve moved too many times. We’re remembering people and places, happy and sad. I am trying to choose wisely where I will live mentally and emotionally from now until then.
One place I’ve chosen not to live is in regret. I have plenty. If asked if I’d change anything in my life I’d say yes. There are decisions I’ve made I would readily change if I could. I could use a few “do-overs”. What I can do is decide not to allow space for regret in my life.
Regret is a thief. It steals joy and peace. It hangs heavy like steel gray clouds rumbling full of thunder. When I see storm warnings, I can shift my thoughts to the assurances of God’s grace and forgiveness. I choose to walk in hope.
Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always! Psalm 131:3
Writing on the word prompt: regret with Five-Minute Friday.
“If being ordained meant being set apart from them, then I did not want to be ordained anymore. I wanted to be human. I wanted to spit food and let snot run down my chin. I wanted to confess being as lost and found as anyone else without caring that my underwear showed through my wet clothes.”
Barbara Brown Taylor, Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith
There are things most church folks keep hidden. We pretend our marriages are healthy, our children are making the right choices and that we have quiet time with God every day. We pretend to be part of the right political party for our denomination, to read the right books and know the right bands.
Growing up in the church I have pretended a lot. When my husband and I became ordained and entered full-time ministry I kept pretending. I didn’t talk with church members about the books I read, movies we went to or music I liked. When one talked about their favorite praise and worship band, I didn’t reveal that I don’t like the sameness of Christian music.
There’s nothing wrong the fiction books I read or the movies we see and music I listen to. But I was sure some members of our congregation wouldn’t approve so I kept the charade of piety.
My family is loud with stories and opinions but quiet about things that matter.
When my parents’ marriage was falling apart no one told us. At Christmas break they moved us to a new town, leaving the only life we’d known, not telling us why or what was next. They were experts at hiding what we needed most.
When you’re loud and talkative and laugh a lot, people can be easily fooled into thinking you’re an open book. Loudness is the best thing to hide behind.
The words of Barbara Brown Taylor stopped me cold. I read them again and then one more time. Although she was writing about leaving her calling as an Episcopal priest, I know those words because I live them too.
Even when you show parts of yourself, people think the title, pastor, minister, reverend, etc. takes away marital strife, depression, anxiety, or problems of any kind. Conversely, they think you are a biblical encyclopedia and have deep unwavering faith.
We decide a lot about a person based on their title or outward personality. Dr. gives an elevated status of education. Clerk marks them as ordinary. An introvert can seem awkward but behind the titles and outward signs are stories left untold.
Age is bringing an unwrapping for me. An acknowledgment of who I am without apologies. I don’t need to defend my reading choices or taste in music. Like Taylor, “I want to be human”. I want to be seen as the flawed, searching woman I am, clinging to God’s grace every day.
Perhaps more than an unwrapping it’s bringing an understanding and acceptance. I am Gods beloved. Every piece I think I’ve hidden is known to him and still, his love chases after me all the days of my life.
I’m not sure when this happened.
One minute the image in the mirror staring back at me bore all the marks of youth. Makeup was minimum and moisturizer wasn’t yet needed for a complexion that leaned toward oily for years.
We tanned without the fear of sun damage. SPF was just an odd jumble of letters.
Today I put a lotion on the mysterious red splotches that randomly appear on my face. The dermatologist gave them a name but all I wanted was the remedy.
That’s followed by moisturizer because in the most unexpected turn of events my skin is dry. And there are lines! On my face! And some unattractive, weird squiggles on the inside of my upper arms.
My hair is blonder than it’s ever been but that’s only because the new strands are white. I’m not sure why this surprises me but it does. I’m old. And doing my best not to look it.
Okay. I’m not really doing my best. I don’t exercise like I should and my diet could use a few changes. The reality is I’m trying to camouflage my age. Isn’t that what we do? Hide what’s real for the version we want others to see.
The beauty regimen I’m leaning toward today is one of wholeness and acceptance. Accepting the lines and squiggles as marks of a life well lived. Living in wholeness as I allow God to continue to reshape who I am.
This is a more challenging beauty routine than finding the perfect shade of lipstick. This one requires honesty, not hiding behind a shade called ripe raspberry.
I’m not laying down my mascara wand. I’m not going to stop using the color that looks oh so natural on my head. But I am not going to allow numbers to determine my beauty.
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God. Proverbs 31:31 the Message
I was on my own when navigating what being a teenager in the 70s looked like. Well, not exactly on my own. I had Seventeen magazine to guide me. It was my primer for hairstyles, makeup, and teenage fashion. I didn’t have an older sister to teach me how to fix my hair or apply mascara.
The ‘70s was the generation of cool. Cool was defined in television shows like the Monkees and The Partridge Family, and in the pages of the few teen magazines available. In those early days of adolescence, being a cool teenage girl meant wearing skirts a few inches above the knee, bell bottom jeans, and platform shoes. Cool was anything denim. It was the natural look with long hair, brown shades of eyeshadow, and a few sweeps of mascara.
What we didn’t want was to look like our parents. Moms wore knee-length dresses, low heeled pumps, and a scant amount of makeup. Not cool.
My mama’s style was never going to be mine. She chose comfort over fashion where I tried to combine the two—and still do. She had baby fine hair that barely sustained her weekly set from the beauty salon. My hair was thick and coarse and defied her ability to control it. Noxzema kept her skin clear and smooth but did nothing to help my oily complexion. I never saw Mama wear earrings or makeup; everything about her look was minimal. We were alike in spirit but nothing was the same about our preferences in fashion and beauty.
Change brought new styles of fashion and beauty, and the magazines were there to continue guiding my way. When I outgrew Seventeen magazine, Glamour took over with its hair and makeup tips and my favorite “Do’s & Don’ts” column. We had Farrah Fawcett bangs and “feathers” in the ‘70s; Dorothy Hamill’s bob in the ‘80s; and Jennifer Anniston’s haircut from “Friends” in the ‘90s.
I modeled my outward appearance on these go-to guides from my teen years through the early years of motherhood. My jeans were always the right wash, and my skirts were the right length.
What I couldn’t find was the confidence in which to wear me. I could wear the right clothes; my hair could be a fashionable cut. And sometimes that was enough to be the armor needed to cover my insecurities and fears.
Even today, I measure my insufficiencies rather than honoring who God made me. The sag at my jawline bothers me, and perhaps I wouldn’t be opposed to a little “tucking” if I had the resources.
Today’s cover models fool me with their natural looks. I’ve been tricked into patterning myself after them only to discover the moisturizer the ads tout aren’t miracle creams.
I’ve found a better pattern from which to cut my own cloth.
To continue reading, please hop over to The Perennial Gen. Thank you!
We know why.
We live in a broken world, a fallen world.
Our gun laws are too lenient, not enforced enough.
Mental health care is lacking.
Money going to gun lobbyist and not mental health care.
We put individual rights over rights of our children.
Tell me anything you want as to the why but what remains is once AGAIN we are mourning the loss of children.
This time it is playing out in our backyard, in a community considered the safest in our county, in an A-rated school. Collectively, all of these schools are in our community, our country.
I watched the local coverage of breaking news with a numbness of disbelief. The tears came a day later and now my anger is at the surface. Does the why even matter anymore when it takes more than two hands to count the numbers of our children being shot down in their schools?
It’s the what that we argue and fight about. It’s in doing something more than ‘thoughts and prayers’ that will make a difference but we’d rather have a debate. We’d rather wave our amendment while our children are waiving their lives.
Yes, I’m angry. Yes, I don’t understand our fascination with guns. What I really don’t understand is that, again, we seem to be choosing guns over children and teachers, over sons and daughters and fathers and coaches and friends.
We know the why. What are we willing to change? What are we going to do?
I have two vivid images of Granny’s bible. The first is of her sitting in the worn upholstered swivel rocker on the bare wood floors in her small living room. I could see her from the only bedroom in the duplex that had once been a large old home. I could see Granny sitting with the bible on the arm of the chair as she read from that bible morning after morning.
an indoor bathroom
not one but two
hot water at the turn of the tap
grocery shelves lined with 6 kinds of bread
3 kinds of pears
5 kinds of apples
bagged to fill our pantry
Privilege to fail
to win and to lose
Privilege to forgive and be forgiven
Privilege to be loved unconditionally
by a Savior who gave up his
on a cross
All of us
Privileged to be part of his Kingdom.