Building the Butterfly

“The caterpillar is a necessary stage but becomes unsustainable once it’s job is done. There is no point in being angry with it and there is no need to worry about defeating it. The task is to focus on building the butterfly, the success of which depends on powerful positive and creative efforts in all aspects….” Elizabet Sahtouris 

butterfly (1)

I’ve been thinking a lot about butterflies lately. Like there aren’t far more important things, right? I know it’s weird but whenever something sticks in my mind like this I usually know that God has something for me to share. So stick with me on this one even if it gets a bit ‘science-y’ okay? It’s fascinating. Truly.

It started when I went to see my dear friend and business partner, Patti, in the hospital after she suffered a horrible car accident. This was not the type of accident where you have a few broken bones and some whiplash. This was a stay in the hospital three weeks, wheelchair, home care nurse,six month rehab, let’s hope you heal normally type of an accident. LIFE Altering!

One of the first things she said to me in the hospital was, “I just want to hurry up and get this (recovery) over with!” Well, yeah! I mean, who wouldn’t ?! As I looked around her room at the cards and children’s drawings meant to cheer her up I noticed how many butterflies were on them. Patti. Loves. Butterflies. They are all over her house. And I thought, how funny that we always see the beautiful butterflies but not the cocoon.

As a culture we are obsessed with the pretty. Me included. #shinysyndrome .We love the ‘before and after’ photos of people who’ve gone from obese to gym beast. We can relate to a Before photo and we  desire to be the After, but we ignore the getting there part. Why do we celebrate the butterfly and despise the chrysalis? It’s in the butterflies getting there stage that all the magic happens. That’s when I realized how much we have in common with these little winged creatures.

Butterfly 2

Although we can’t see it, I’d imagine that being stuffed in a cocoon is  cramped , uncomfortable, and dark. Isn’t this pretty much how we feel when going through a transformation? I know I do!  The stretching , molding, breaking down and building up again into a new creation generally sucks when it’s happening. It’s painful. Caterpillars can totally relate to this.  (Get ready! Science-y part coming!) Inside the cocoon, they go through a stage called histolysis which is defined as “the breaking down [of tissues] during the process of metamorphosis.”  Ok, first off , Eewwww!!! Secondly, Holy wow! have I been there! The last 15 years of fully turning my life over to God I’ve changed in a million ways. Every habit , attitude, or belief I hold now required the tearing down of one I held before. Old dreams perished and new ones were fashioned. Goals I’d had, no longer seemed worthy of pursuing. Huge parts of me had to disintegrate and die in order for new ones to be born. People knew something was going on WITH me but they couldn’t see what was going on IN me. And, just like Patti, I wanted to hurry up the ‘getting there ‘ process and reach my ‘After’.

Ok, here’s my last ‘science-y’ butterfly fact. When I read it, it blew my mind. Inside of these insects are structures called Imaginal Discs.These discs are responsible for the caterpillar turning into a butterfly. They are what actually becomes the wings. AND they are only activated once they are in the cocoon!  Why does a caterpillar even form a cocoon? I’m so glad you asked…. Because they run out of something called juvenile hormone. Basically, their carefree days of living off the tree and eating free leaves are over and they have to get out and get a job.Seriously, I’m not making this up. Can’t you see how this is so much like us?

At some point, being juvenile doesn’t serve us -it stunts our growth. God knows the potential He’s placed in us and He loves us too much to let us stay as children in our faith. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like He loves us because the whole ‘getting mature’ thing is even More painful than staying immature. For me,I wanted IMMEDIATE change, not months or years of angsty self examination. I reached out to God looking for light and freedom and it felt like He put me into a dark crampy cocoon. Then He made me stay there. Well, I really made myself stay in the dark. I remained until all the lies I’d believed about myself were crushed and my mind was renewed with God’s truth of who I really am. I am made in God’s image and everything I needed to be a butterfly was already in me.

Because here’s the thing about us humans, we will happily walk around consuming things of this world until something forces us to seek God and the change that comes with that. We don’t just wake up one day and think, ‘Today I want to question all my motives, goals, and relationships. Then I’ll reexamine my dreams and where I put my finances. Yeah! This is gonna be awesome!” #no  . It takes the cocoon; the journey through the dark, to find your wings. When your time comes to go through transformation, embrace it. It’s in the dark that we find the power of Christ that is in us. It’s that power that will give you your wings.


9 Things I’ve Learned Through Blogging

Blogging is much more difficult than I expected. It’s not only attempting to write content that’s engaging. There’s grammar, punctuation, spelling, wording…and then there’s the self discovery. This one I was not prepared for.

In writing a blog about my life experiences I’ve been  forced to examine what I think, feel, and believe about everything. Since I’m a storyteller and not a fiction writer (there is a difference) I cannot, in good conscience, write lies to my readers.Truth be told (pun intended) I’m a horrible liar Period! Zero poker face.Gambling is not in my future.cannot tell a lie

I can sense a post straying from authenticity when I lose my ‘flow’. If I am completely at peace with my story the words tumble out so quickly that I can scarcely type fast enough to catch them on paper. The moment I dig up and Un Truth my words become forced. That’s when I know something about the subject hasn’t been settled. There’s anger or pain still lingering. Or the really fun discovery of how far away my perceptions were from reality. Man , I Hate that one!

perception vs reality

This truth telling endeavor has uncovered more self deception than I anticipated. Here are some examples of my most frequently used :

It’s not that bad

It didn’t really bother me

I’m fine

I should have known better

It’s my fault

When the truth is:

It WAS that bad

It more than bothered my. It was devastating

I was so Not fine

I  couldn’t see a better way

It wasn’t my fault

The thing about this Archaelogical Truth Excavation is that instead of being IN the situations I can now look AT them. When you’re IN something you can’t see all aspects of it. When you’re looking AT something you can take it all in , walk around it, away from it, observe it from afar. The distance allows me to assess the past more objectively and come to terms with it’s impact on my life both good and bad.

Another thing about a personal blog is that it’s so, well…..PERSONAL. I don’t get to look you in the eye while I narrate my life and discern whether or not I should censor something based on your smile or your recoil.I have No idea whose reading this, what their reaction is, or how they’re judging me. Imagine reading your diary out loud in front of a full auditorium wearing a bikini. *shudder*

Writing this blog has also been a test of my faith in God. I never would have begun this journey if He hadn’t nagged me relentlessly for about a year. Seriously, it was like a toddler saying “mama.mama.mama.mama.” Except it sounded like, “you gonna write it? How about now? Now? How about now? Now is good do it now”…To which my very mature response was,’FINE! If it gets you off my back I’ll do it!” I’ll bet God loves my obedient nature.

I really didn’t know who I was writing for or what the purpose was. I still don’t know who I might be helping or even if I am .Not worrying about that takes an incredible amount of trust in God. I want to write content that people will like. I’m a people pleaser. This is my thing. The minute I start obsessing over whether or not you guys will like it – I lose the flow. I have to give up control over it and let God do what He will with what He inspires me to write.

So here is the list of the Top 9 Things I’ve Discovered about Myself while Blogging:

  1. I’m impatient and impulsive. (Those of you who are already saying, ‘Duh!’ , Stop it.) This one is evidenced in how quickly I mash the Publish button before proofreading/improving a post.
  2. I’m still healing.  I’ve moved from Hot Mess to Lukewarm.
  3. I’m more confident than I realized. depends on the day.
  4. I’m more insecure than I realized. depends on the day.
  5. I still hate my ex husband. Like, a lot. I’ve tried so many times to write about him and my marriage. I can’t.It would just be hate mail. This ones a work in progress.
  6. My motives are not always where they should be I have to check my self on who I’m writing for. Me & you or God.
  7. I care too much what other people think. #peoplepleaser
  8. I don’t give a rip what other people think #recoveringpeoplepleaser
  9. Giving up control isn’t the same as losing control holding on tightly crushes things. Loosening your grip lets them expand.

There you have it. We’ve covered squashing self deception, being transparent, giving up control, and obedience. See how Fun this is?!! You can’t wait to start your blog now, can you?

In all honesty, (no pun intended) I love every minute of it. It’s challenging. It forces me to do something I’ve never done and to move ahead into unknown territory. This is exactly the kind of project that Thrills me! I thank all of you who stop by for sharing this journey with me. My deepest desire is that you find treasures that make you giggle or give you hope or maybe dislodge you from being stuck somewhere. It’s not easy in the least, but I can genuinely say – it’s worth it.

trust in the Lord

                                                    A Certain Kind of Courage

Courage is found in unlikely places;

in shattered dreams and tear stained faces.

Raising your hand in front of the class when you’re so afraid they are going to laugh.

Proclaiming the truth and exposing the lie.

Whispering secrets you’d locked inside.

Choosing to live when your loved one is dead and finding the will to get out of bed.

It’s seeking forgiveness

and asking for help.

It’s forcing a smile and facing yourself.

It’s shaky legs that stand up for the weak and the timid voice

that bravely squeaks.

It’s finding your dark and choosing the Light.

Loving yourself;

being able to cry.

It’s laying it all at your Saviour’s feet;

all of the messy and none of the neat.

Trusting His strength and His sovereign hand.

Having Peace in your journey without knowing the plans.

-C.Pay 2015

Everything I Know about Fighting I Learned from my Son

If you fell down yesterday stand up todayIf you met me today, you would say that I was a fighter. A strong woman who won’t take sass from anyone. Such was not always the case. I suppose I have always been competitive. In fact, I’m Sure I’ve always been competitive both with myself and others. We may be friends, but if you play a card game with me the gloves come off! 😉 Fighting however is a different matter altogether.  Being sexually abused stunted my growth in so many ways.I didn’t get the chance to learn to fight small skirmishes and build my stamina over the years. I lost the first battle. A huge battle. And the scars went to the core. Instead of coming out of it with my fists raised to the sky I learned to contract into myself. Curl into a little roly poly until the danger passes. If fighting and losing was going to hurt that badly then why do it at all.

Then I had my son. There’s something about holding a tiny defenseless baby that smells like heaven.Instinct and love tell you that you must do whatever it takes to protect this child. That’s what ‘good’ parents do, right? What if you don’t know how to fight? What if the idea of it grips you with terror? If my son asked me how I learned to fight, I’d tell him this:

From the time I was pregnant I fought the nausea, the weight gain, the labor pains. When they let me take you home, I fought the panic that I had no idea what I was doing.

I warred against insecurity, ignorance, and impatience.

Croup, ear infections,and teething became my world and I fought for sleep.I wrestled to comfort you, quiet you, soothe you to no avail.In the morning I went to work and fought to stay awake.

I fought to maintain your home in the face of my divorce and when your father threatened to abduct you, I fought to hide you and keep you safe in my arms.

As a single mom I struggled to support us, to find time with you between jobs, to make sure you felt loved and not left.

School was hard for you and I campaigned for your education, to understand you, to support you.

They diagnosed you soon with ADD and then with Bipolar disorder and I rose up against dread. I battled to get appointments, good doctors, the right medications. I pushed against their assumptions of your bleak future and counter argued with hope.I devoured every piece of information on mental illness and armed myself with knowledge.

As you slept at night and I sat by your bed and cried. I fought the fear that I could never be worthy of being the parent you needed. I cried out to God for the strength to be your champion.

I waged war with  broken school systems and burned out teachers. I stood strong during IEP meetings and counseling sessions. I became the parent who wouldn’t take back down because of bureaucracy.

I fought bad influences and bullies. Internet filth and video game overload.

In the most challenging combat I put myself as a barrier between you and your stepfather’s cruelty. Some battles I won, but too many were lost.  Paralyzing fear attempted to keep me down but with each encounter I slowly learned to stand for us.

I endeavored  to discipline you, teach you , love you, protect you. Sometimes; many times; from yourself.

I fought my own demons and dark.

I went to war on my knees in fervent prayer. Over and over and over.

I fought against you. You fought against me. And sometimes, we fought together.

When you became my prodigal son I fought to teach you responsibility, accountability, consequences. I fought to be a good parent (whatever that is)

You pulled away and I fought to be part of your world, to let you go without losing you, to accept your differences, and to make you know that my love was eternal.

Fighting for you gave me strength. Praying for you deepened my faith. With every blow I landed for you another one of my own demons went down and I found my armor, piece by piece. My son, I know I gave you life, but you gave me back mine.


Never say Never

“Come on now, who do you, who do you, who do you think you are? Ha ha ha bless your soul. You really think you’re in control? Well I think you’re crazy, I think you’re crazy. Just like me.” – Gnarls Barkley ‘Crazy’

Someone says, ‘I’ll never have kids/get married/move from this town/go back to school….’. We laugh and reply, ‘Never say never!’ Sage advice that we’ve all spoken and eaten when we broke our own ‘Never’ vows. Time and circumstances change rapidly and unexpectedly. What was once inconceivable now enters the realm of possibility and probability. We see our lives differently so we make different choices. This is the operative word. CHOICE. ‘Never’ was a CHOICE we were making. Our destination seemed logical, planned, thought out. We believe we have a modicum of control.

Then out of the blue events happen that make you a victim. The rug gets ripped out from under you and panic mode sets in. How many of us have been in this situation? Life is going along just fine and Wham! Unexpected, unwanted, unimaginable changes occur. How we make decisions in those moments is based on our level of fear . No one. I repeat, NO one, knows how they will react when fear sets in . Fear paralyzes. It grips you and guts you leaving you void of reason. .

“I’d never tolerate my husband having an affair! I’d be out of there!” . But he did. And you didn’t.

“I’d never get raped. I just wouldn’t put myself into that kind of situation”.  But you didn’t think it would be someone you trusted. And you didn’t think they’d convince you that it was your fault and people would hate you if you told.

“I’d never even think of killing myself. ” Maybe you haven’t felt that depressed yet.

“I’d never stay with an abusive man.” But you did hoping he would change and love you like he promised.

I’ve met women and been a woman who’s been dealt some of these cards. You know why we always say ‘Never’. Because it hasn’t happened yet! We believe we are invulnerable because we have to . In order to feel safe, we imagine that if we act differently , are stronger, more outspoken, more discerning than those poor souls, then somehow we’ll avoid those tragedies. As a survivor of abuse I can tell you that hearing how you would have done things differently only serves to make me feel blamed. We are already so good at blaming ourselves for screwing up and breaking those ‘Never’ vows that the last thing we need is for someone to pass judgement on our behaviour. All of us have lofty ideas of what we’ll do when (insert bad thing here) happens. The problem is that we construct those lofty ideas sitting in cushy chairs and not from a place of shock and fear.

Blame doesn’t promote healing it promotes hiding. Most of us have been hiding in the dark for a long time.Healing starts in the light. Let us talk and vent and say the disagreeable ugly things that make you feel uncomfortable about your own safety. But mostly, create a safe place of light for us to come to. Love and listen and then love and listen some more.For a victim to tell you their story is a courageous leap of trust and a great honor. Match that with your own bravery. The bravery to look into the things you are most frightened of to help another heal. I can’t think of a more noble position than that.

“But everything exposed by the light becomes visible. And everything that is illuminated becomes a light”. 

                                                                                                                                             Ephesians 5:13

The Most Powerful Words

Let’s talk about the big white elephant in the room….I’m scared. Yep. Scared as hell that I am about to put some of my life stories on the internet. Scared of being transparent (not my favorite thing) and scared of being judged. But here’s what I’m even more afraid of…Not doing it. The words need to be written. Words that form instant bonds between unlikely souls. Words that make you feel loved, accepted, and understood. Sometimes shouted and often times whispered tearfully there are two words that can change lives. “Me too.”

“Me too” builds alliances and friendships. It creates hope that ‘this too shall pass’ and I will someday be on the other side of the pain like You are. “Me too” is real and raw and inclusive. When you hear those words you know you’re not alone.

‘I discovered my husband had an affair’ – “Me too”. ‘My kid is going off the rails’- “Me too”. ‘My business is going under’- “Me too”. ‘ I was molested’- “Me too”. ‘I’m so lonely sometimes it’s physically painful’- “Me too”. ‘My second marriage failed and I feel like a Jerry Springer episode.’- “Me too” . ‘I had an abortion and I’m scared God hates me’- “Me too”. ‘Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever get ‘it’ right’- “Me too”.  ‘I got fired’- “Me too”. Oh yeah,,, I’ve been through them all and so have you. I know you have because I’ve been a hairdresser for 28 years and you’ve told me. Whole lotta TMI in 28 years. 😉     (Had to inject a little humor. It was gettin’ a bit heavy)

The brilliant thing about those two little words isn’t just in what they build but also in what they destroy. They destroy isolation.  They interrupt the condemning self talk of, ‘ no one could be as messed up as I am’. They shatter the darkness by shining a ray of hope. And they break open your heart to let a little light in. As I struggled to birth a meaningful name for this blog, God reminded me of a moment when He let some light in to my shattered heart. At the age of 15, my parents discovered that I’d been molested for three years by some family members. Because of their desire to see these men brought to justice I found myself sitting in the Florida State’s Attorney’s office telling every sordid detail. Fun times. There is no classy sophisticated way to recount being molested. It leaves you feeling worthless , degraded, and dark. But God knew I needed a “Me too” moment to show I wasn’t alone. The attorney who had taken my case got very quiet as I wound down and he looked at me. Really looked at me. Then he put his hand on a massive stack of paperwork that had been sitting beside him and said, ” I see girls all day who have been put through the same things you have. (I’m not alone!) Not all of them come out of this intact. But you; you’re different. You still have light in your eyes. You’re gonna be ok.”  And I am. (It took many years, therapy, and bad decisions. Lots of bad decisions)

So that’s why I will be writing this blog. To let you know that there is a ‘Me Too’ out there for you. Someone who’s been through the enormous and the ridiculous things of life. I believe in you because I believe in the One who created you. When you look at me and say, ‘yeah she Does still have light in her eyes.’ I want you to look at yourself and say,”Me too.”