Thursday, October 17, 2013

At the Well

Centuries ago, there was a Samaritan woman who would travel to the well to collect her water. During those times, the women of that region would travel together during the cooler parts of the day, gather their water, and travel back to town. The Samaritan woman was in no place emotionally or mentally to travel with these ladies. There were experiences in her life that led her to believe that being surrounded by these other women would only lead to ridicule, judgement, and "looks".  She had been married 5 different times, and her husbands divorced her. During that time, this was often unheard of. Now she was living with a man that was not her even bigger no-no during that time. For a lady to be married this many times and be disowned by her husbands meant that she was unclean, unworthy, and unwanted. It was very much frowned upon by that society. 

The Samaritan woman traveled to the well during the hottest part of the day to avoid the chastising. Who wants to feel like they are unworthy of love and are ridiculed by others?  So to avoid the "heat" from others, she decided to travel alone. Alone--to think about her problems and to replay those negative thoughts of being unworthy of love.

When she arrived to the well, she was surprised to see another person there--a man. Most men during those times were not the ones in charge of going to the well. I believe they left that job for the women. The Samaritan cautiously gathered her water until this man approached her asking for a drink. She asked him how he could be talking to a Samaritan when he was evidently a Jew (Samaritans and Jews NEVER conversed with each other. Not only that, but a man to be openly talking to any woman was also unheard of). This man's boldness and lack of what society would consider okay was shocking. He did not care. This man invited the woman in conversation and would ask her personal questions. He knew she had been married 5 different times, he knew why she was there alone, he knew the pain and ridicule this woman had to confront on a daily basis. He comforted her. He provided answers to how she could be free from the pain of shame. This man was Jesus.

Jesus meets you where you are today. Just like the Samaritan woman was dealing with the shame, fear, and sadness of her life, Jesus met her where she was. He provided her an opportunity to know Him and to show her that He loves her unconditionally. She does not have to live in the bondage of shame and guilt anymore.

While doing the study A Confident Heart by Renee Swope, the story of the woman at the well stood out to me. I have heard this Bible story many times while growing up, but this time it impacted me even more. There are many times when I think that I am alone in my struggles, and there is no one that would understand. These last few months, God has shown me that I am beautifully and wonderfully made and that the more I depend on Him, the more love and acceptance I will feel. I get that from knowing Jesus, and I can rest in the fact that I can accept myself. I don't need to doubt myself anymore.

The author of A Confident Heart shared in the book something that stood out to me: "Oh how I longed for someone to see past the exterior facade and look into the secret places of my heart. I wanted to be known and loved for who I was. Yet if I let my guard down, I was afraid someone would say I was too sensitive or too serious. It had happened before. So I pretended everything was fine. With each attempt to keep others impressed and distant, I stepped further into the shadows of doubt. Even though I was surrounded by people, my insecurities convinced me I was all alone."

Renee Swope talked about her relationship with her father as well, and I could relate oh so well. Many things I do in life are to find acceptance from others because I did not get that from my own father. Throughout my life I have doubted whether I am good enough. I doubt my capabilities. Some of that stems from the relationship I have with my father, while it's also how the world has impacted me. The good news is that God is really showing me what perfect love is right now. There is no need to be inflicted with doubt anymore.


If you would like to join A Confident Heart book study, click on the photo below.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Oh boy! I was gone for a long time...

Hello, Friends!

I took a pretty long break from the blogging world. It's tough to keep up with it on a daily basis, and find motivation to write about interesting topics. I have come to the point now that I will only write about something that touches my heart. Otherwise, it's a struggle to be authentic and the post will come out mediocre. I don't want that.

There has been A LOT of good things happening in my life these last few months. For most of you that have followed my blog or know me personally, you know about my struggle with anxiety and depression. There were a lot of things contributing to my anxiety that I needed to get a handle on. It was starting to become easier to be mad and have a woe-is-me attitude.

Now there is joy in the journey. These last few months I surrounded myself with support groups, counseling, new friends, and people I can trust. My journey is not yet over, and I will continue to better myself. I have learned more about myself these last few months than the 27 years of my life so far.  Today I am thanking God for my pain. If I did not go through the hardships of not having a loving father, of failing at being a first-time teacher,  experiencing having hardly any close friends and feeling lonely, I would not be where I am today. Today I am happy that those things happened because it forced me to reach out. As a result of reaching out and plugging myself into numerous groups, I have made a great group of friends, I have FINALLY figured out that getting approval and acceptance from others is not what matters, and I have worked hard on being positive.  I have been given MORE than I could have ever imagined. I pray to God to allow my hurts and disappointments to not be in vain. To allow my hurts to reach other people. Maybe there is someone struggling with something similar and needs encouragement. To go through all of this is shaping me into the person I was meant to be. When I quit teaching, I felt mediocre. To be a mom made me proud and happy, but I always felt like beyond mommyhood there was something more. I can be a mom, a wife, a friend, and still have more to give. Still not quite sure what the whole plan is or where I am headed, but the journey is exciting now. There is not as much fear taking hold of me and holding me back. Someone once said to me "the puddin' ain't set yet". We cannot see the entire picture right now. Little by little we might notice our calling or niche in life. Sometimes I think as we go through seasons of life our niche can change. I always thought being a teacher was the ONLY thing God wanted me to do. Boy, was I wrong. There is a lot more that fulfills me and gives me purpose. God has a big plan for each of our lives. We just need to be willing to experience the hardships so we can be refined and reach our full potential.

We go through what we go through to help others go thorough what we went through. - Kathe Wunnenburg