A New Song Called Fearless

There are those years when the clocks strikes midnight, the fireworks explode, and the sense that you’ve lived well, loved well, and grown much settles on your soul, like the tide slowly easing its way toward the shore. 

That’s not how my New Year’s Eve went at all.  We were in a rental car, driving on the opposite side of the road, on the opposite side of the car, in a foreign country. Our plans involved us arriving at our destination in time to see the fireworks flower over the Bristol Channel between England and Wales.

Instead, our Sixt rental agent went home early, leaving us stranded car-less at the airport. (They said he was in the bathroom but we’ve decided otherwise). In any case, it’s 11pm at night (midnight for our Germany-bodies), the buses have shut down, I’m on crutches, and we have no car. Fortunately, Europcar was open next door and rented us a ridiculously over-priced car for the night. 

So, as it was, we were driving down dark country roads on the other side of the street when the clock struck twelve. We saw random splotches of fireworks around homes and tress. It wasn’t all bad, and in fact, nearly mimicked the spirit of the WHOLE year… unexpected, unplanned, out of our control, and adventurous. 

Lest you think I find those descriptors pleasant, I’ll make it clear that except for adventure, I do not love unexpected, unplanned, or out of control anything. 

I had hoped and anticipated a New Song. 

And while I look at the circumstances of the year and try to hear the new song, I realize it wasn’t in the circumstances at all. 

The new song was really more of a spark, an invitation to step into disappointment, fear, insecurity, sadness, loneliness, and the unknown with bravery. With courage.

With fearlessness.

The song wasn’t beautiful. It didn’t quiet my soul or stir up joy. No, it stirred up fear. It stirred up my brokenness. It stirred up anxiety.

It was the song to call out all of the ugly insecurities that lurk in the shadows of my soul.

When I heard “new song” last year, I had a really different idea of how it would sound. 

Nonetheless, the song has woven a note through every moment. Pulling out disappointment and carrying me to the cross. Calling out insecurity and carrying me to His heart. Drawing out fear and carrying me to the shadow of His wings. 

Where I’d imagined a song sung over me, to quiet me with love, I found a crescendo so terrifying that I wanted to hide under my covers, as I did as a child listening to my Mighty Mouse record at its tense climax.

And while bed time songs are still preferred, I’m beginning to see why the new song of 2017 was less about being free of tension or drama or pain, and more about stepping into each of those with courage. Taking it one measure at a time. Trusting Him with the tempo and learning a new dance. 

A dance of courage. 

2018 shows no indicators of lightening up circumstantially. I tripped into it with a torn ACL and crutches, my RADish living untreated, numbered days in our home and SO. MUCH. CHANGE. on the horizon. New roles, new endeavors, new. So much new. New identities. So much unknown. So much opportunity to run in fear and hide. To disconnect, disengage, or, my preference, try to control all of the uncontrollable and burn myself out.

But I hear a whisper of hope. A whisper that began in a new song last year. A call to live brave. Live courageously. 

To live fearlessly. 

To look fear and anxiety and overwhelm in the face and say, “Step aside–I’m with Him.” And then, with love, power, and a sound mind, choose to walk in. 

This year, I’m living fearless. 

Not because I’ll never experience fear, but because I won’t give fear power to determine my steps. My future. My family. My relationships. When I feel fear, I’ll choose forward. When I feel insecure, I’ll choose courage. When I feel disappointment, I’ll choose bravery.

All are choices. Responses. Opportunities. No longer will I hide in my turtle shell until the storm passes, but I’ll face it and wrestle it and make the storm bless me. 

Whew! That’s a tall order. I believe those words. I aim for those words. And I know I’ll need you to remind me of these words. Because when the fear hits, it’s hard. It’s hard to step into dark places and choose courage. 

For example, I distinctly heard God give me 3 steps to take to bring reconciliation to my marriage recently. It took me about 8 hours to complete the steps. Seven of those hours were spent in fear, in pride, and in a secret hope that He’d settle for the first two. 

I know this is the work He’s begun in me this year. A call to facing fear one breath at a time. And because of the times I’ve said “yes” to stepping in, only equipped with His promises of something beautiful on the other side, I’ve witnessed some deeply touching moments this year. 

  • A new picture book, According to Corban, which won a The Gittle List award in December. 
  • A chance to read my books to children at my elementary school in San Marcos in October. 
  • Being a guest author at Cologne International School for World Book Day last May where they decided I was “very famous.”
  • An accepted invitation to be one of ten guests invited to a publishing intensive with the CEO and staff of Self Publishing School last October. 
  • Starting a coaching business for children’s writers and getting students! 
  • My reunion with Israel after 16 years, sharing that immense joy with my husband for his first time.
  • An incredible trip back to Israel and Palestine, sharing our love for this land and these peoples with our children.
  • Provision for our every need… a car to borrow through July when ours broke down, finances to continue our work here, a role at BFA that Jeremy loves, insurance to pay for my medical needs, on and on.
  • Reconnection with friends and family this summer in CA. 

There are many more gifts behind each fear that threatens to keep me limited and unconfident. Instead, I choose to step behind the curtain and trust that only because of God’s gift of freedom, can I live fearless. 

Won’t you join me this year? Join me in believing more about your value, your worth, your security, your protection, your offering than you’ve ever dared believe. 

Step into those places that threaten you with fickle lies and believe that you can live fearlessly, courageously, and daringly because He equips you and has so much more for you and for me than the enemy would have us believe. 

Freedom to Walk the Hard Stuff – Thanks to {Dad}

My husband shared with me that one of his students had skipped a grade.

I chuckled as I recounted the time my principal had offered to let me skip a grade as well.

Fourth grade.

I remember talking about it with my dad… and concluding that I would not skip fourth grade… in order to stay with my friends.

And stay smart.

I mean, if I skipped an entire grade… wouldn’t I miss important information that would help me do well in fifth grade? Were they trying to set me up to fail?

Well, maybe not, but as a little ‘ol third grader, I had some good rationale (if I don’t say so myself). I continued on as normal.

What struck me for the first time last night was this:

Fourth grade was one of the most difficult grades of my entire life… because of relationships (not academics).

It was the year that all the girls in my class chanted “Nark, nark, Nark!” at me on the softball field.

It was the year I stopped being girly.

It was the year I stopped hanging out with the girls.

It was the year the boys took me in…

And it stayed that way for the next TWENTY years!

A year that affected twenty years of my life… in really deep and meaningful ways.

Who knew?

If only my dad would’ve said, “Marcy… you are going to skip a grade,” instead of giving me a choice.

If only, in his experience and wisdom, he’d said, “Darling, I’m going to spare you the travesties of bullies, humiliation, and a life of misunderstanding female relationships. Let’s skip this year.”

But he didn’t.

In His tender love… he allowed me to walk through a fourth grade valley.

Because it was also in this year that I learned to be a voice for the voiceless. An advocate for the underdog.

It’s probably why I’m a professional Counselor today.

Because he let me suffer. He let me experience pain. Turmoil. Hurt.

To understand, through experience, the suffering of others.

To offer them the comfort that he embraced me with during that year… to say, “I know how you feel… I’ll be your friend.”

Because he didn’t just let me walk it alone… like some cruel, heartless dad.

He walked it with me. Holding my hand. Knowing that the wounds of this year would become the fertilizer for something beautiful.

Friendships with women that I appreciate all the more because of the years that found it lacking.

A soul connection with other sufferers of injustice.

A healthy sense of what I want in women friends… and the knowledge that it does exist, even if it must be searched out.

And it’s worth it.

My dad taught me that love is, sometimes, to let someone walk through the hard stuff.

Not to rescue them from it for our own comfort. Only to cause them to miss some of the most beautiful lessons of life.

Lessons that don’t easily fade with time, distractions, or new endeavors.

But lessons that stick all the while… shaping us into better people, better humans because of them.

That fourth grade year was hard. It’s not a year I’d like to repeat.

But it’s a year I refuse to un-do.

Thank you, dad! For loving me so much that you let me experience the heart of other sufferers! With my hand in yours, your eyes on mine, guiding me through the sorrows and aches… to become a lover of the unloved because of my own journey!

May I be this same kind of mother… a mom who allows my children to experience the fullness of life, sorrows and all… not quenching it because of my own heart-pain on their behalves. But that love would win out and we would be a better planet for it. That with tenderness, affection, and comfort I could journey those paths with them, hand in hand, us and my dad…

And may you know that hand of dad too… as you walk through pain and suffering… to know that it’s love that leads you there, guides you through it, lets the hard stuff matter, un-wasted. Un-alone.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my  head with oil, my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalms 23:4-6

To learn more about 31 Days in 2012 or view other 31 Dayers blogs, click here.

I’m spending 31 days writing about my confessions and the lessons {Dad} has taught me. This is day 23 of 31 Days in 2012.

Sisters… Thanks to My {Dad}

“Nark, Nark, Nark!” chanted all the girls in my fourth grade class.

Ears blushed red.

Tear-stung eyes.

Head bowed low.

Disgraced.

An innocent attempt at finding my place in the soft-ball line up led to this awful moment.

The moment when I decided girls were not good friends… and never to have any again.

The moment when all of the boys took pity on me… ushered me into the shadow of their wings and offered all that the brothers I’d always wished for (but never had) could…

And I became one of them.

Sorta.

For the next ten years (at least) guys were my best friends. Then in college, my dad began encouraging me to find a girl-friend. I was ready to try it again… and did! I ended up with all best guy-friends… and one girl-friend. It was a start!

Life carried on… and for the sake of not appearing “boy crazy” (I’d never dated one of my best friends… or any friend for that matter)… I began to spend more time with girls.

Then I got married.

Then I needed women.

In a way I’d never experienced before.

This man… my husband… just couldn’t relate with me on every level… and I needed a woman’s heart to confide in.

Well, beautifully enough, my dad has adopted LOTS of children… and I have a great number of sisters. He began to introduce me to them… and, well,  I love them.

Drama and all.

Well, I don’t love the drama… but I love the women behind the drama. Because my dad has taught me how to love in spite of discomfort, pain, frustration, personality differences… and to hope for the same from others when I’m the one being difficult to love.

Confession: Because I took the risk (it sure felt like a risk when my dad asked me to get to know and love women)… I have some of the best relationships with my sisters I could ever ask for.

And they are all over the world.

Some I see daily, some on Skype, some only on Facebook… but I love them as much as I did during the seasons of life when I lived with them.

[slideshow]

Joanna and Christine in Canada.

Sofia in Sweden.

Liz in Paraguay.

Hava, Christina, Kara, Laura, Heather, Brittani, Dawnette… in various states around the U.S.

Sisters 🙂 Dorina, Chris, Heather, Maari, Lisa, Jamie, Debbie, Bethany, Amy, Cori, Bergann, Stacie, Leslie, Jessica, Lisa, Sarah, Regina, Katie, Beth, Trae, Allison, Mindy, Rachel, Niki, Raquel, Devon, Colleen, Jill…

My little sisters: Laura, Wendy, Promise, Stephanie…

My big sisters: Michelle, Serena, Caroline, Kim, Lucie, Susan, Kathryn, Chris, Gail…

Newest sisters: Susan, Kara, Debbie, Cammy, Melissa, Nina, Lesley, Staci, Melody, Jennifer, Allison, Ashley, Elva, Elena, Brandi, Viane, Lara, Valerie…

This list is by no means exhaustive… and it’s late so I’m probably missing some of the most obvious ones… but the point is… I have the most amazing circle of sisters because my dad knew I needed them in my life.

And I took the risk.

The risk of being shamed, slandered, abandoned, betrayed, separated (by distance), deceived, hurt…

And found love.

And love sometimes hurts. But if it’s true… then it doesn’t depend on being in the same place at the same time.

And it can love through pain.

Until healing comes.

And it’s worth it.

I would do it all over again. Because they make me smile. And cry. They hug me when it’s hard. They trust me with their deep places. They let me help when I can. And they are generous with their time, resources, and energy when I need it too. They love my children like only aunts can do… and have provided “sisters” for my own daughters… delightful little friendships that make my heart smile deeply.

They invite me in.

And it’s a precious trust. To be handed the key to one’s deepest fears… and not use it.

This is the joy I have.

And one I hope for you.

That as a woman who has felt the searing pain of a broken friendship, the betrayal of another woman’s unfaithfulness to friendship and the thing that makes it sacred, the deep loss and grief of goodbye…

I pray you find the strength to try again. To love relentlessly. Laugh contagiously. Soak the shoulder with your tears when you need to.

Take the risk. Choose well.

Sisters make our time on life bearable.

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.

-C.S. Lewis

To learn more about 31 Days in 2012 or view other 31 Dayers blogs, click here.

I’m spending 31 days writing about my confessions and the lessons {Dad} has taught me. This is day 13 of 31 Days in 2012.