Friday, September 27, 2013

Size 6 Fancy Shoes

I have this one pair of shoes.  They are brown with a pretty gold buckle type think on the front.  They have this little kitten heel on them and make my legs look really long. I love them. They match with anything (I suppose anything but a black dress - being brown and all). They are a perfect size 6 shoe that I bought on clearance at some department store for I think 5 dollars.  They are even more perfect now, huh?

I am a size 8.  Yes, I slip my too big, three babies later size 8 feet into these tiny little shoes and to the naked eye, I am pulling it off. If someone comments on these shoes - someone always does - I say "and I got them on clearance," proudly.

Truth?  Yeah...I can barely feel my toes, sister!  They are not a "little uncomfortable". They are "someone could chop off my toe with a machete they are so numb" uncomfortable. They hurt my feet so much, but I wear them a lot.  No. One. Ever. Knows.

I walk around in these shoes, looking fabulous, hurting so badly I need frequent secret breaks.

This is funny to me.  I'm giggling in the quiet of my living room while I write this, because this Sunday I am planning to wear this brown skirt that I have been waiting all summer to wear, and NOW people may ask about those shoes because - yeah, I'm wearing them again.

This shoe dilemma has made me consider the condition of my threadbare heart.

How often do I walk around with my heart raw in my chest, aching all over, beating loudly to be heard, or crying out for Jesus to intervene?

How often do I stomp around with pretty feet and a smiling face with an aching secret place that has become so painful I wince in secret?

How often, sweet sisters, do we walk around in our own personal communities nervous that at any moment our aching heart is going to burst right out of our chests, bare for all to see?

What if, dear ones, we - for once -  let that happen?

Jo Ann Fore

Today, I'm linking up at Jo Ann Fore's site in promotion of her new book, "When A Woman Finds her Voice". This masterpiece is really speaking to me. Jo Ann Fore is a gifted life coach and author who, within this book, has incorporated stories from women who have found their voices through the redeeming love of Christ Jesus and also shared tried and true methods of healing from the heart out.  Join me?  Join us?  Link up or come on over just to hang and delve into the beautiful stories of these gifted women.  Stories that express how they lost their voices or found their voices in the realms of community

Community for me is a difficult topic to discuss. I have a wonderful church family, an amazing group of friends and a family that really IS the coolest group of 5 people on the planet. ;) I know I am loved - loved by - above all - my God, and also my family, friends, neighbors, and the like.  However, something within screams disconnectedness. My heart (a lot like my feet in those brown fancy shoes) is crying out for mercy. There is a constant ache in my heart to feel fully connected. I am hungry for authentic relationships. Relationships that go beyond 'Hi, I like your shoes'. Relationships where I can bare my aching heart and just receive a hug.  Relationships where silent moments in the same room don't feel uncomfortable. Relationships where I feel wanted, not needed. Relationships that give, not just take.  

Community is tough for the pastor's wife.  Because I AM human. Because I HAVE feelings. Because I would easily lay my life down for my family - a lot like YOU. Attacks on my husband's spirituality, ability, and behavior feel like a daggers in my heart.  There really isn't a lot of time that flows by where someone in my beloved community is not upset about something or with the man I love the most. In my community, the soul deep connection I made with someone could be challenged by the color of the carpet or the lack of an available program to meet a need within minutes. Getting too close with a fellow momma who I have everything in common with creates feelings for others of unfairness. In my community, my reality is that if someone gets upset, they may not say hello when I so desperately need a smile on a morning where I had to fight with every one of my children and wield them across the ally to church while sweating profusely in the dead of winter without the help of my husband. A vote swayed in an undesirable direction may mean that I need to tread a bit more lightly with someone I felt was really beginning to connect with me.  I rarely know what to expect and always feel overwhelmed by my Pastor's wife calling.  I am an introvert. I could collapse on Sunday afternoon from exhaustion and from trying to be social...or trying to pull it off, at least.  

I have been caught off guard in my early thirties at how much like high school adult life feels like at times.  I think of 16 year old me, always on the outskirts of that crowd everyone wanted to be a part of. I think back to people within the surrounding community that stole my voice through power moves and revenge - Theater directors, coaches, teachers, and family that felt it necessary to abuse the heart of a young girl by 'keeping her out' - convincing her vulnerable heart that she was never or never will be 'good enough'. 

These are reflections, but how often are we confronted with these same negative feelings? It is frightening how close they actually are.  High school is over, but the sin that entangles us as young girls - as young immature torturers of each other - is still very much a part of community now.   

Gossiping mean girls, judgmental glances and jealousy plague our adult communities and send us reeling back to the 16 year old versions of ourselves - threatening to take all of what God has restored. 

For me, these feelings surface so easily. Too easily.  Simple things send me back to 'you will never be good enough'.  It is so much easier in my role as a pastor's wife to continue to serve others without trying to find those meaningful connections.  So much easier to paint on the smile and stand tall, in those fancy brown shoes of course, knowing in solitude that I can fall apart with no one knowing.  But, God does not want this from me. When I retreat to solitude, I hear Him calling to me - come to ME, daughter, heal in ME, daughter, grow in ME, daughter.  "When we stifle the need for connection, we sacrifice a healing intimacy and companionship, forfeiting the opportunity to unfold that which cannot be discovered in solitude" (Jo Ann Fore, When A Woman Finds Her Voice).  

Truth is, my fear of connecting because I will get hurt again cannot keep me or us from the very important practice of connecting.  The truth that I will never meet everyone's needs and meet everyone's expectations, and will always make someone mad and hurt someone's feelings unknowingly should not keep me from seeking genuine community with those around me. 

The enemy would have me believe that what God has restored in my heart these past 15 years is a lie.  The enemy wants me to stay in solitude and keep my heart pain as a secret. Satan would have me focus on the pain that community has caused my heart pain, and stay away....and I could. I actually think it's easier to hide - to try to forget.  Thinking about piling on more hurt, more reasons to distrust, make me afraid to join, but hiding is an illusion.  Hiding won't heal us - it hurts us more.   

As I try to navigate through the pain of being hurt, I am using Jo Ann's new book as a tool in my healing. I took a pledge with my fellow launch team members, and REALLY, REALLY want you to take it too. Together we can create authentic communities where genuine connections are made and kept and satan is sent away as the deceptive force he is. 

Directions for pledge:

1. Click on the picture below.
2. Follow the prompts on the pledge page.
3. Submit.
4. Go to your e-mail and confirm.
5. Go back to page and see your name! (You must 'confirm' on the e-mail if you want your name to show up)




  1. Wow, that was powerful. I'm not a pastor's wife but I always feel for them. What an isolating role you all have. I always feel 16 and worried about being left out, gossiped about, etc. I want to outgrow it. But I haven't. I get my feelings hurt easily and worry too much! People pleaser to the maximum. Thank you for sharing your heart and being so open. I really enjoyed your words.

  2. Dear Michelle,
    Hello! Thank you for your post and you honesty and vulnerability. I can really relate to what you describe about all the complicated fears and complexities of trying to form close relationships in a church community. I really like what you are saying about dwelling in God and not letting fear of upsetting people make us hold back. I think you are quite right. I will be praying for you and I and all of us to be courageous and be vulnerable and love. Thank you for what you have written. Bless you, Susan