An Invitation

Hi Friends!

I have something new for you today…an invitation.

Your kids are headed back to school. Most of your life is narrowing into a straighter line, a tighter tunnel. Not so much less busy as it is just more focused: classes, ball games, practices, lessons, homework. Monday through Friday – wash, rinse, repeat.

So, I’m wondering, are you headed into deeper study of Jesus? While your kids are learning the fundamentals of arithmetic, literature and history, are you studying the one and only thing that will fundamentally prepare you to face each next chaotic day, each next difficult relationship, each new phase of parenting or married life?

Several months ago, a very dear friend introduced me to Good Morning Girls, a groud-breaking group of women who have harnessed the Internet in order to internationally declare Jesus and to bring to women everywhere a feeling of community as they study God’s Word.

I am finishing up the training to become a leader/facilitator for the next Good Morning Girls Bible study that starts on September 2. We will be studying in the book of Luke, following the theme, “Loving Like Jesus.” I’m inviting you to join me in this study!

The simplest of explanations: The study is conducted on Facebook. We will have a secret group once all of our participants have joined. Each day you will individually “SOAP” (Scripture, Observe, Apply, Pray) a passage of Scripture. Then, beneath a heading on the Facebook page, everyone will leave their comments about that day’s lesson. There will supplemental, short reading from Good Morning Girls and the authors of the study. The FB group will become interactive as we read each others’ insights, talk on a personal level and share our lives. I’ve done four studies like this now and I love it!

Again, the study starts on September 2, and enrollment, which will allow you to have access to the materials (reading guide and printable book) is from August 19 -September 1. Please let me know here by a comment or email that you would like to participate in my group and I’ll keep you informed with the details.

In the meantime, I wrote this poem today, an overflow of my study in Good Morning Girls, “Women of Influence.”

Faith is an unlikely thing,
In the trembling hands of a prostitute, a crimson cord.
Faith, unlikely in an ancient man to wait another year,
nine months, youthful years.
Faith, unlikely in a puny army,
To route the enemy at the hand of a woman.
Faith, unlikely in the sands of Egypt, the hungry woods,
After nine plagues, after forty years.
Faith unlikely, is an untimely thing.
Forever tardy, slipping in on the last cool breeze,
The dying breath of hope.
Faith untimely after 400 years of Heaven’s stony silence.
Through generations of sunrise, sunset.
Waiting on. Baited breath.
Past a wish. After hope. Often after life.
Faith slips in on the last cool breeze,
Hope’s dying breath.
And grips with one last talon,
The shred of light remaining.
Faith clings till sunrise, one more time,
And sees just a little farther, over the horizon,
And waits…

Amongst My Peers

I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. I never asked for anything. I attended thousands of softball games, sweating on the sidelines, playing Tricky-Fingers in the car or re-reading novels during the long drives to traveling tournaments. So when my parents offered to let me attend Trinity Christian School in Stillwater, half an hour from our home, I didn’t even contemplate the inconvenience it would pose for my family.

Years later, I asked my sister, Jennifer, about her mental snapshots of that time in our lives. How had she experienced my eating disorder?

“One of the most aggravating things to me was how much Mom and Dad catered to you. They were grasping at anything to make you happy, anything to bribe to you eat. They were so worried about you. Specifically, the two daily round trips to Stillwater to drop you off and pick you up at school. I couldn’t understand why suddenly all of their efforts to teach us at home weren’t good enough for you.”

Even after a handful of doctor’s visits and the threat of being forced to see a therapist, my weight continued to decline. The number on the scale wasn’t so much of a big deal to me, but the daily numbers of fewer calories and more minutes moving were the gauge of my success.

I was gaining fast in my personal, anorexic challenge of disciplining myself, courting my parents’ concern and drawing the attention of others. But home was such a small playing field. I needed to be among my peers, I needed to see if I was impressive enough, pretty enough, smart enough to compete with them.

Trinity Christian School was a puny school, housed in Hillcrest Baptist Church. I started there my sophomore year. My class was a grand total of 8 students, 5 girls and three boys. Surely among such a small crowd I could make my mark, establish myself as someone worth knowing.

Every church building that I remember from my youth was a labyrinth. Long hallways with dozens of doors on each side made for great hide-and-seek, when my heart was carefree enough to play such games. Anymore, I only engaged in such activities because they burned more calories than sitting in on adult conversations.

Trinity Christian held high school classes in every room on the bottom floor of the south wing of the church. I think younger grades held classes upstairs in the same wing. We dined in the church cafeteria and used the sanctuary for drama classes.

One year, I played Jo when our class chose to perform Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I have no idea how I memorized my lines. Perhaps memorizing the caloric value of every food exercised my memory.

Only a handful of moments wedged themselves into my memory of that time. I recall lunch time. How I loathed cafeteria food. Given that our meals were prepared by plump, cheery church ladies, they probably trumped public high school lunches. By that time, I would have rather died than eat a sloppy joe, spaghetti or grilled cheese. So I packed my lunch of half a sandwich and carrot sticks. I always sat on the end of the bench.

One morning I ran out of time to pack my lunch.

“Abby, we’ve got to go. You can eat in the cafeteria just this once.”

“No, Mom. I can’t. Please, please, just let me take an apple and some Snackwell cookies.”

“That’s not lunch, Abby. Either I’m going to start packing your lunches, or you’re going to have to eat there. I’m pretty sure you haven’t been eating enough.”

I sealed my lips and marched to the garage. The drive to school was wet and seasonably cold for January. I hated these long winter days. Fatless, my muscles clenched against the cold all day long.

I fretted through Oklahoma history, Algebra and Spanish. Lunch was coming. What was on the menu? What was I going to do?

Ms. Wilson, the lunch lady, looked at me with surprise as I pushed my yellow tray down the line.

“So you decided to try my cooking? I’m glad, Honey. Tell you what, you look like you could use some meat on your bones. How about an extra spoon of tots?”

I chomped my tongue to keep from screaming at her, “I don’t eat tots! I don’t want to try your food and you can’t make me eat!” Defiant, I kept the rage inside, smiled hollowly and drifted to my usual table.

Suddenly an idea presented itself between my anxious thoughts.

“Hey Anna, don’t we have a biology quiz next period?”

“Yeah.”

“I completely forgot until just now. I’m going to head on to class and try to study just a bit.”

“Aren’t you going to eat anything?” Anna was small all the way around. At least three inches shorter than me, she had shiny, light brown hair and dimples. She kept Brandon, the cutest of the three boys in our class, dangling by a thread, pining for her. Anna’s breasts always pushed the buttons of her regulations blouse. Trinity’s dress code seemed ridiculously strict. I had lost every curve and cushion that had begun to blossom in my adolescent body a mere three years before.

“I’m not hungry really. I forgot to pack my lunch too, and I’m not a fan of tater-tots.”

“Pass it this way,” Brandon suggested.

“Sure.” That was less obvious than throwing it all away.

 

 

Eating Disorders and Domestic Violence

This began as one post and grew to much more than you would be willing to read in one sitting. That said, permit me to post three times this week. Don’t miss a day, truth has a long story. 

I had no idea that October was such a popular month. My sister, Rachelle, of WeavingSunshine, informed me that it is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I remembered that it’s Pastor Appreciation Month. I also just learned that it’s National Book Month.

Rachelle, has a broken heart for the lost, hurting and broken in our world. Since she was little, she talked about growing up and teaching in an inner city school. In middle school, she transferred to a school on the poorer “side of the tracks” because she wanted to be a brighter light than she felt she could be going to a Christian school. She has talked about starting an orphanage called Our Father’s House. So when my little sister told me that she was going to donate part of her profits from the sale of her hemp jewelry, it warmed my heart but didn’t surprise me.

I started thinking about domestic violence. I didn’t think that I had any experience with such nightmares. I’m sure I have met a few people with those skeletons in their closets, but I was unaware at the time. However, over half of my life was mauled by E.D. (eating disorder’s) violence. And in treatment, I learned that many of the girls’ stories included years of abuse which led them into E.D.’s arms.

Part 2 tomorrow.

Life by the seasons

Days of ink pens and spirals past.

Blue books, tuition rates, lectures and halls.

For 10 long Septembers, a study-less fall.

Fall makes demands, the crisp of the air.

“What are you doing with your life?”

Will you brighten up lives – like leaves to the floor?

Or comfort sad souls like soups and wreathed doors?

Will you be consistent like the turning of tides?

Winsome, patient and quiet as the moon?

Pleasing and warm as a fleshy, plump pumpkin?

Will you bring freshness to lives, like the chill in the air?

What will the season evoke?

Find a change.

Turn the season.

Drop your cloak,

And live brighter, fuller, clearer, closer.