On Display

I recently found myself walking the paths of a local flea market. I was in search of a table or bar or something for the kitchen. While I could envision it in my mind, I could not find the words to describe it well enough to do an internet search, explain to my husband or search online groups. So, to the local flea market we went.

Up and down the paths I strolled. Each booth was as unique as the one before. Many were crammed so full of content that I could not make out one sale from another. In one booth clocks would be stacked on top of toys and home decor from the ’80s was tucked in the corners with a few VHS tapes sticking out from underneath tattered books. But, the very next booth would be well laid out and a delight to browse. Everything considered wall decor was neatly placed on the lattice walls and the furniture was displayed in a way that I could almost envision it in my house.

I found myself taking a right into a room with glass cases. Some were filled with knives and manly type things and others were filled with Batman cars or Star Wars memorabilia. The thing that struck me was that no two booths were the same. Even the cluttered booths had a uniqueness about them. My husband looked at me and said “Man, you sure can tell a lot about a person by what they display.” Literally, I stopped dead in my tracks. His words begin to ring in my ears louder and louder. And, naturally, it’s got me to thinking. What do people see when they walk past the display that is my life?

Y’all, my display is sort of an ever-changing collage. One day it is neatly organized and full of love, patience, kindness, joy, faith, determination, sacrifice and humility. Other days it is scattered with anger, hatred, frustration, humiliation, pride, self-centeredness, cattiness, negativity and any other self-loathing, world-hating description you can insert.

In the past I used to fuss at my inner self to get it together, do better, stand up, straighten up, bite that lip, put on the pretty display that I think others want to see. But recently I’m finding myself searching for a little more grace and patience with myself. That anger…it’s there because I’ve been hurt and the more I keep it open to the perfect air that God creates the more he can heal it. That insecurity that you see in the corner…it’s on full display because I am learning that I am never alone and the only one that I yearn for their approval is my Jesus who accepted me so much that he died for me. And, let’s not forget that regret that is thrown around on the floor. It’s a reminder to me of what Jesus has carried me through.

As a woman we have a lot riding on our displays. But, can we just give each other the grace and safe space to be a mess? When motorcyclists pass each other they throw their arms down towards the ground and hold out two fingers. It’s their way of saying “stay safe” or “praying for you” or “I see you, man.” So, here I am… a display that is a beautiful cluttered mess throwing my arm out, pointing my two fingers to my fellow sisters shouting “I see you and I accept your chaotic mess!” ❤️

God is so good. He reminds me of His promises in the coolest ways possible, and I share them all on my personal blog Twenty-Nine Thirteen. I would love for you to join the journey! You can find me at http://www.twentyninethirteen.com and on Facebook @twentynine13.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

Missed It All

My husband is a biker dude. He’s a leather chap wearing, tattoo loving, motorcycle driving biker dude. His love for Jesus is strong and wide and his love for bikes runs a close second. He has three bikes. I once caught him in the garage measuring and when questioned he informed me there is just enough room for “one more bike!”

He tried to teach me to ride. He bought me a scooter. I had THE BEST time in the church parking lot. I would toodle by him blowing my horn and waving while he sat on the curb watching me. I could take those turns and weave in and out of the parking lots, but every single time I took my scooter out on the road with real cars and real people I became hysterical. The amount of screaming that occurred. The near misses where an angel literally had to push me out of the way of another car are more than I can count. My guy finally sat me down and explained that my fear was just as dangerous as if I were a dare devil, so the scooter had to go. I choose to miss the part where he called out my fear and instead focus on the part where he compared me to a dare devil! 😊

Being a passenger on a bike where I have zero control has been a learning curve for me but I am adapting. We went on a trip with some other bikers and took a fairly curvy road. To hear the others talk it was a normal road, but to this girl IT WAS CURVY! Left and then right and then hair pin and then left again and as soon as I caught my breath we were leaning right. I kept breathing and before I knew it tears were streaming down my face. I dared not cry out loud because who wants a bunch of bikers to know I’m crying! My guy kept patting my leg and doing his best to comfort me, but I just couldn’t calm down. I kept wiping my tears with my leather glove and doing my best to let the wind take any redness out of my face.

I noticed the biker and his wife in front of us and she was taking pictures at every curve. She was twisting left and right and forwards and backwards and had not a care in the world. WHAT IS WRONG WITH HER? I thought to myself. The ride ended at a cute little pizza place and the woman started sharing the photos she had taken. They were breathtaking. The views she was able to capture were nothing short of God’s art work. Fog hugged the tops of the hills and the valleys were full of the upcoming freshness of Spring. My heart fell. I had missed it all. My fear had held me back.

So many times in life I am gripped with fear. I make decisions based on the safest bet and sadly, I often miss opportunities God is laying out before me because I am afraid. My guy took me to the motorcycle store and hooked me up with some protective gear. He explained that in the event of a mistake and my body hits the road the gear is gonna literally save my hide. I was gearing up recently and as I slid my pants on I thought about the belt of truth being buckled around my waist. As each arm slid into my jacket I thought about the breastplate of righteousness. And as I slid my helmet over my head I thought of the helmet of salvation. Y’all, God always prepares the way. He’s got it all worked out. All we gotta do is armor up and trust him!

So, here’s to not being the biker girl who cries during the ride. Here’s to letting go of the chrome bars and holding up my arms towards heaven enjoying the ride that God has me on. Here’s to gearing up and letting go! ❤️

God is so good. He reminds me of His promises in the coolest ways possible, and I share them all on my personal blog Twenty-Nine Thirteen. I would love for you to join the journey! You can find me at http://www.twentyninethirteen.com and on Facebook @twentynine13.

The Wrong Rug

It was 2014. There were protests in the Ukraine. There were bombings in Russia ahead of the Olympics. A chemical spill in West Virginia caused a water ban and President Obama was in office. While the world was raging with chaos my little part of the world seemed to humming right along. My daughter was getting married! The house was full of wedding chatter and every conversation was consumed with the details. My father, who was a pastor, was going to be marrying her just as he did my sister and me and the legacy seemed pretty well set. But, as the wedding date approached we realized that something just wasn’t right. Daddy didn’t seem well. The wedding went off without a hitch and my daughter and her new husband started their lives. And, then the world changed.

Daddy’s doctor appointments were numerous and long and as the year progressed we learned he had cancer. There wasn’t anything anyone could do and it was just a matter of time. Everyone’s minds shifted to making the most out of the days we had left and while I would love to sit here and say I remember every single moment and every single detail I can’t. It’s all a blur. But, I do remember him laughing and enjoying all the attention. I remember his words of wisdom that he tried to pour out on every person he saw. And, then, October came. It was his time and he was ushered from this world to heaven in the most precious, sweetest, beautiful way possible. The chaos stopped for one brief moment.

The next day my sister and I noticed Momma didn’t seem right. She seemed to struggle to breathe. I called the doctor, made an appointment and sat completely stunned as I heard the doctor tell me her lungs were full of fluid.

One massive decision after the other led us to a long hospital stay with no answers and many procedures. The chaos was worse than before and seemed to be never ending. Someone told me that when you’re grieving you shouldn’t make life changing decisions but it seemed those were the only decisions I was being forced to make. Wind and rain, lightening and thunder roared every way we turned.

And, then, we sat in yet another doctor’s office to only be told Momma too had cancer. However, there was a chance, a small one, and we took it. And, God, in his divine wisdom, saw fit to heal my Momma this side of heaven.

I wish I could tell you how strong my faith was during that tornado of a year. I wish I could tell you that I walked so closely with Jesus in 2014 that my face shone with his glory. But, I can’t. I struggled. I struggled to get out of bed every day. I struggled to make sense of the chaos around me. I was angry. My son was a senior in high school and I was missing those milestone events. My daughter was a newlywed who needed her momma to lean on and I was absent.

A friend saw me drowning and took me to dinner. We sat there while I cried and poured out the deep, dark, ugly truths of my heart. I told her that my life had never been easy, but it had never been like this. I tried to paint a picture for her of the ache that was within me and I said “The rug…it was just pulled out from under me and I am falling.” She patiently listened, never interrupting. She handed me napkins for my tears and reached across the table a few times. And, when I finally took a breath and she knew I had reached the end of all of my words she said, “Lori, you’ve been standing on the wrong rug.” Y’all, I felt like the air had been sucked out of the room as she continued to explain to me that all this time, all these years, I had been standing on the comfort of things I could see. Everything I held so tightly was tangible. I had never trusted God enough to say that no matter what happened, no matter what storm brewed in my life I would know that I was firmly planted on the solid rock. I knew my salvation was secure, but in that moment I also knew that I had built my house on the sand and had built my life standing on the wrong rug.

It’s 2022 now and life has been a little challenging, but nothing like 2014. Life has thrown me some curve balls and some days I’ve stared in the mirror and asked myself which rug I’m standing on. I’ve had to pick myself up, dust myself off and remind myself who I belong to many times over. Each time I stand back up I’m reminded that God is the best foundation. He’s a foundation that never cracks and one that can never be pulled out from under me. So, sister, if you’re feeling a little shaky, stand up! Dust those feet off and plant them firmly on the rug that never moves!

God is so good. He reminds me of His promises in the coolest ways possible, and I share them all on my personal blog Twenty-Nine Thirteen. I would love for you to join the journey! You can find me at http://www.twentyninethirteen.com and on Facebook @twentynine13.