Author Archives: traci

Fighting My Fears…For All Of Us

I’m a very private person (by “very” I mean “extremely”) and I really dislike talking about myself (by “really” I mean “really-really”). It’s a hard thing for me to get past when trying to cultivate my writing. Even so, I must. I must keep fighting fear. I must persevere. The war that’s raging inside me, between fear and obedience (and really living), must be fought. There must be a victor, and for far too long, it has been my fears. If I am to truly walk in the victory of all that Christ suffered, bleed and died and rose again for, I must keep fighting until all that remains is the person God originally created me to be. For my good, and for His glory.

And I know I’m not alone in this fight.

sunsetoronowall300I can remember being barely a toddler, living in a fluctuating state of fear, abandonment, uncertainty, poverty, and loneliness. Even now, at the age of 42, I’m still able to recall vivid memories of situations that caused and perpetuated these feelings that over the years would grow and grow, to the point that they would become a part of me and my internal identity, as much as the skin on my body defines and shapes my external identity.

Being a natural introvert, and an internal processor, I keep things to myself, internally evaluating, sifting, thinking, sorting, understanding, and the like. I rarely share deep or personal things, but when I do, it’s a big deal to me because I consider the inner workings of people to be sacred, and when the are brought to the external, their value is priceless and should be cherished for the intimate expression of the person sharing the gift of themselves. These gifts must be handled with the utmost care. Whether their value is perceived and understood, or not.

So, in my case, an introvert/internal processor + lifelong abuse = a really messed up person. I’m currently in the process of healing and finding balance between how I’m naturally wired and not living out of pain and fear. Now, keeping that in mind, allow me to illustrate this for you.

darkcloudstrees300Picture a sensitive, little girl who has all of her hopes, dreams, discoveries, and other personal treasures that reflect who she is, in a small, wooden, hand-crafted box. She carries it with her wherever she goes, right next to her heart. Often, she opens it up to make sure all of her special things are safe tucked inside. She takes thoughtful care of each and every possession, lovingly exploring all of their possibilities. She loves to share her treasures with others because she believes it’s a wonderful thing to be able to share the wonderful things life has to offer with those around her. One day, she innocently decides she has found someone who she should be able to safely show her collection to, but they don’t understand the value her trinkets hold. They only see a box containing a child’s trifles. So, they take her gifts and throw them away labeling them as trash. They see her offerings but can’t see their value or where the benefit to them is in these baubles of hers, so they toss them aside and shoo the child away. Then, over time, they get exhausted with it all and tell her to keep her treasures to herself and it’s not worth sharing her junk with anyone because no one wants to see them anyway. They’re worthless. 

What the little girl hears is this, “The sharing of yourself and the things you prize is a waste of time. Because they have no value, no purpose, no meaning, neither do you.” And being an internal processor, she swallows each and every word like a hard pill, with no water to wash it down with. Over time, the little girl learns in order to avoid the pills she needs to suppress her natural tendencies and adapts to the cruel environment around her. In order to survive, she becomes another person, the person that those around her think she should be, the person that, as long as she plays the part they’ve given her to play, she will be accepted. Yet, all the while, who she really is and was made to be dies a slow and agonizing death.

As an adult, my life’s journey has been to find myself, who I am, and who God actually made me to be, outside of all the fear and pain. I became a Christian at the age of 19, which means for all those years (and until recently) it was as if I was living as someone else and didn’t know who on earth I truly was or how to come out of the cage I was trapped in. Like I mentioned earlier, I’m 42 now, and I am only now starting to feel like I’m actually beginning to understand, to realize things, and find myself. It has been a long, grueling journey, and a lot of time was spent struggling to not want to give up and just let it all go.

Even now, the proverbial record player still finds a way to play the scratchy refrain of, “You are nothing. You are worthless. You will never make it through this life and be someone that anyone else could care about. Especially if you keep trying to be anything other than what everyone else has told you you are. No one will like you if you change. No one will want to be around you or even acknowledge you if you’re different than what’s acceptable. No one will like you if you are the true you, which is a broken, stupid, ugly mess, so just STOP THIS NONSENSE, and get back in line.”

roadclouds300This is the harsh, painful reality for people who have lived through various forms of abuse.

I know, trust me, I KNOW, how hard it is to read some of these things. Imagine how difficult it is to WRITE them! However, I’m hoping and praying we can all agree to come to the table of understanding and share our stories without criticism or judgement. That we can come together and listen, and try to understand one another, no matter what has shaped our lives.

Why? BECAUSE WE NEED TO HAVE THIS DIALOGUE. We need to make talking about hard things like this part of “normal” conversation. There are masses of wounded people walking around this planet who feel like they can’t say anything for fear of the stigma and misunderstanding associated with these kinds of things, and unfortunately, they’re right. What a sad, sad, travesty and disservice to humankind!

Something has to change! If it takes me baring the darkness of my soul, then, well, Lord Jesus help me, so be it. There. I did it. I went first.orangelillies300The only way any of us will find healing, acceptance, and understanding is if we lay down what we think we know and are willing to be taught by others things we have never thought of. I am so willing to pull my chair up to the table and listen. And when it’s my turn to speak, I will speak with the sincere love and honest compassion that God has used in my life to bring deep, life-changing healing and restoration.

So, how about it? Can we bring the dark things into the light? Can we talk about the hard things while being kind and compassionate? My hope and prayer is that these questions will be answered with a resounding, “YES!”. (Even if it’s on the inside.)

Soli Deo Gloria,

Traci xoxo

Shall We Begin…Again?

One of the hardest things I’ve dealt with while trying to start this new blog is this: Where do I begin? To me, our conversation has already begun. It started over 10 years ago when I hit publish on my very first blog post. It has continued this whole time, even though there has been time and space between exchanging words. You see, to me, that’s how relationships work. It’s impossible to be constantly involved in someone else’s life, even if you love them, so, it’s more of a frequency of encounters. Some people you meet with very frequently, others not as much, and some even once in a blue moon. All are valuable. All are worthy of some form of upkeep. But, this is a new chapter, a new story. How do I bridge the two?

People in our lives come and go. Even family. We need to be flexible to the ever changing variables in each of our relationships, willing to ebb and flow with them, wherever they may lead us. Whether it’s to new heights or even if it’s to a dead end (which is a really real reality). I think both are normal, though the dead end side of things isn’t very pleasant, it does happen. So, I must be realistic as to what kind of friend will come across my musings. New friends, old friends, lurkers, hecklers…trolls? Being able to welcome newcomers while not boring or rehashing things old friends already know is a skill worth honing. This is my challenge.

I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out how and to decide what my first post should be. Do I “go big”, and make a statement? Do I quietly reintroduce myself? Do I pick up where I left off, hoping new friends would be able to follow along? There are so many things to consider! So many people to be aware of! ALL. THE. VARIABLES!! (insert “deer in headlights” emoji here)

Honestly, it makes me shut down. I completely lose my “even”. It overwhelms me to the point of meltdown and I become paralyzed and I walk away. The inner record begins to play that same old melody: “See? I told you you can’t handle this. This is too big of a responsibility. Too big of a thing to let you go messing around with and ruin and be a failure at. Besides, you aren’t even talented enough to write all the things you keep thinking you should write. All your dreams are delusions of grandeur. No one wants to hear about all of your troubles and simplistic, uneducated ways. You are not qualified, so just sit down, be quiet and keep your head down. Your only job is to keep trying to make it through each day without messing anything up…”, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…

EXCEPT TODAY.

Today, I am choosing to sit down at my computer and plunk out these words for you. For us. For our relationship. The one that continues because we have learned to survive the ebbs and flows of our lives. When our paths cross, we choose to connect and enjoy one another for a time. To sit awhile and be a part of each other’s life journey. Oh, how the mere thought of it makes my heart soar!

I choose to hush the lies, silence the accusations, the nonsense really, and quietly find myself, and what I would do. This is what I came up with:

house2016To my old friends: “Hello, my dear friend. It has been awhile, hasn’t it? Yes, I know. And I’m sorry. BUT, you must know, and I must tell you, even in the silence, you have been in my thoughts. Indeed, you have. You see, when I’m quiet it doesn’t mean I’m idle. Oh no, in fact, it means I’m thinking of you, praying for you, wondering about you and caring about you. I just happen to do it from a distance sometimes. That’s just how I am made. Although, despite that, you can rest assured and always trust that you are precious to me, very valuable actually, and that there is always someone thinking of you. And it’s me. Because we’re friends. And friendship to me includes unwavering loyalty and gripping commitment, even though it may not always look like it on my part. I have things about me that interfere sometimes, things that hinder me from being the perfect friend that you deserve. But know this: I will always, always try my hardest to honor our relationship. Ok? Now then, how are you doing? Tell me everything!”

To my new friends: “Hello! Are you new here? Well, WELCOME!! Please, come in, have a seat, there are plenty! I always have room for one more. Always! Yes, yes, it’s quite alright. No trouble at all. I am so excited you stopped by! There are so many things we can talk about and I am so curious to find out more about you and how I can be a friend to you. Here, take my spot, I’ll just scoot over a bit, it’s really my pleasure. So, how are you doing? Tell me everything!”

To my lurkers: “Hi. I do see you. I understand and respect your space. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by and I’m ok if you don’t come in. I completely understand. Please know, I am honored to have you here, even if it’s outside my window. I am a window lurker, too. It can be scary to actually come to the door, let alone knock and enter! Yikes! I want you to feel free to do whatever you need to to feel safe. You are always, ALWAYS welcome to this space. Whether you ever come to the door or not. Thank you for trusting me enough to come to my window. I will try to make sure there is a soft spot for you to sit and that the window is clean enough for you to see into. I hope you are doing well, and in time, maybe we can share some things, together? I’d sure like that. Whenever you’re ready, I’m here.”

To any hecklers/trolls: “Hi! Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your visit however, I must tell you, this is not a place for any of that kind of stuff or behavior. As protector of this domain I simply must enforce the boundaries here, and while I am up for a calm, sensible, mature debate, this isn’t the place for hate, cruelty, bullying, bigotry, insensitivity, or the like. There are plenty of other spaces that are ok with that so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a spot to be mean. I kindly and firmly ask you to please, go away, and show the respect to me that you wish me to bestow upon you, which I will gladly do. Ok, thanks, BYE!”

How’s that for a start? 😉