A Case of Mis(Taken) Identity by Cara Gabrielse

Does this make me look fat?
The voice in my head says, “Yes.”

https://saltandgrace.wordpress.com/

Cara Gabrielse, Salt & Grace

The voice in my head says,
“I am fat, and
I am soft, and
I am ugly.”

So it doesn’t really matter
What you say –
My mind is made up.

My mind is made up about
My floppy arms and my squishy belly,
My dimpled thighs that jiggle and wiggle like
Jelly.
And while we’re on the subject,
What happened to my neck?
What’s with the ruts in my face,
Freckles on my skin
Legs
Crawling with veins?

I’m a clay pot arguing with its Maker,
Telling The One who shaped me
He did it wrong!

I’ve lost my way,
Forgotten who I am,
Who I was created to be.
I’m Suffering
From a Case of Mis(Taken) Identity,

Covering up instead of stepping out,
Letting Fear rob me of my destiny,
Letting the world determine my worth.

The world perpetuates
The myth of better,
The myth of more.
Forcing its false dream upon us,
The talking box screams:
Keep up!
Don’t you want to be an Idol?
Don’t you want to be A Real Housewife?

We’re ensnared by snake oil salesman
Who promise a quick fix to whatever ails.
Surely you won’t die.
Take, eat,
You’ll be like God.

We nip and tuck our brokenness,
Photoshop, and chemically peel away our imperfections.
We numb, binge, purge, cut it off
And we call it
Courage.

Courage is
Beating our wings against the chrysalis
Until we become, until we fly.
But the world says, ‘Chill butterfly,
Life ain’t meant to be a struggle.
You do You Bro.’

The world is a liar.

We were knit together in our mother’s womb.
The Maker did not drop a stitch, yet
We cry.
Why?
Why did you make us this way?
Why not prettier, blonder, thinner,
Whiter, blacker, richer, smarter?
A little more here,
A little less there,
A little more…
In our derriere?

We’ve lost our way,
Forgotten who we are,
Who we were created to be.
All of us, Suffering
from a Case of Mis(Taken) Identity

The poor and needy search for water
Tongues parched from thirst,
Starving for acceptance.
Fearing the worst,
They crawl over the worn out welcome mat,
Take a seat in the pew,
And see white male privilege in the pulpit.
While the ladies in the church basement
With their felt boards and their felt hats
Are asking each other,
Does this make me look fat?

Church: you’ve lost your way,
Forgotten whose you are:
You are
People of THE Way,
People of THE Power,
Aliens, born not to be comfortable
In this skin because this world is not your home.

But you’ve sold out.

You’ve sold out to The Platform,
You’ve sold out to The Couch,
You’ve sold out
To the World’s definition of beauty,
To the World’s definition of success
To the World’s definition of truth.

It’s time to stop posing,
Time to stop comparing,
Stop rolling our eyes,
And Pointing our fingers,
Managing our image,
Afraid to love, afraid to accept
Building a moat instead of a bridge,
Showing up on Sunday to be fed
Toast and Tea,
Thank you,
Nothing too spicy for me.

Jesus didn’t come to draw a line
On a frosted cake,
He came to put an end to our fake.
He didn’t come to make bad people good,
He came to raise us from the dead,
To silence the voices in our head.
He came to pardon the prisoners,
Heal the heartbroken,
He came to show us the way,
To show us who we were created to be,
Jesus came, and lived, and died to give us our
Identity.

Let’s behave like we believe that, shall we?
Let’s raise our floppy arms in praise,
Worship like no one is watching,
Let’s swim in the river of grace,
In our bathing suits,
At the beach!
In front of people!
Let’s show off our necks and our scars and our wrinkles
Wear them like badges of honor,
The timeline of our story,
A map to our soul

Let’s stop listening to the talking heads and
Start talking to each other.
Let’s keep our face out of the mirror and
Be about the business that matters.

Show me the way,
Help me be who I was created to be,
Jesus, restore my identity.
© 2014 Cara Gabrielse, used by permission

For more insightful writing, visit Cara’s blog: Salt & Grace

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Every Breath I Take

Nothing makes me appreciate my health more than being sick. In our home we don’t do things half-way, including getting sick. When illness strikes, we are completely shut down. This round my husband had full-blown pneumonia and I was following closely behind. Then I coughed up something so nasty I could’ve sworn it flipped me off before swirling down the drain. Until this week, I took breathing for granted.

We’ve seen our doctor more than family these last few weeks. However, I believe we made our final trek today. Much as we love our doctor, four visits in two weeks makes me question the status of our relationship.

While we’re not quite well, I’m thankful the worse is over. After our bi-weekly visit with Doc, I put away most of the sick paraphernalia. I hope we won’t need the nebulizer for at least a few more years. I’ll put it in the very back of the storage room just to be sure.Gratefull

Today I’m dressed and on my way to recovery. I’m breathing in hope and I’m filled with gratitude for something I’ve taken for granted – breathing. I know I will likely fall into complacency again and forget to thank God for the basics. But for now, in this moment I am filled with gratitude for every breath I take.

Reflection: Take a moment to consider what you are taking for granted. Appreciate what God has given you, even something as basic as breathing. You never know what you have until it is taken away.

Meditation: “…For it is He Himself who gives life and breath and all things to all people.” Acts 17:25b

Life Saving Surgery part 2

Still fighting for life
During this life-threatening situation, I received true clarity of thought. In that moment, my priorities fell into place and I focused on what really mattered. My worries about our bills, my job or the house became less significant. My only concern was for my family.

I must have dozed off because the next time I opened my eyes, most of my family was in the room. Supported by their love, I was incredibly comforted. I grabbed hold of these feelings and carried them with me into surgery. 

I knew in my heart, I was going to be fine and I wanted to reassure them. I didn’t believe God would send me to the hospital to die. After all, I could have died at home for free. But the pain and drugs kept me from voicing my thoughts.  

My pain had greatly diminished the next time I awoke. I was so relieved; I gave little thought to all the tubes and devices that were keeping me comfortable. I felt great peace from the prayers of believers all over the world.

My surgeon removed over a foot of dead intestine and thoroughly rinsed the peritoneal cavity. He also documented the diseased bowel so we could see just how bad it was. I couldn’t believe what was inside me. It looked like burnt brats (Incidentally, brats are a food I no longer eat.). No wonder I was in so much pain.

Thirty years ago, when I had my appendectomy, the surgeon remarked that I had three extra feet of colon. God knew that I would need it now. Because of His infinite wisdom, I didn’t need a colostomy bag.

Though the surgery was over, my life still hung in the balance as I battled a serious blood infection

Stay tuned for part three! Read part one HERE.

Praying for a Miracle

Heavenly Father, we boldly come before your throne to ask for a miracle. We ask not because we have earned it, but because we are your children, heirs to your kingdom. While we do not understand the circumstances we find ourselves in, we continually look to you for our sustenance and provision.

Since you own the cattle on a thousand hills, meeting our bills this month is not too great for you. You can pull a home out of foreclosure at the eleventh hour and at the same time supply a car for another family in need. You inspire your people to leave groceries on a struggling family’s porch or anonymously mail them gift cards. We believe that you can provide clients and favor at work in spite of a lagging economy. Nothing is overwhelming or impossible for you. Nothing.

Bring peace and comfort to those who are out of work. Open doors that only you can open, so that your name will be glorified.

Help us to be strong and courageous. Keep us from fear and doubt. Thank you that you go before us to pave the way and thank you that you will never leave us or forsake us. We thank you for the miracles you are about to perform and for the ones you have already performed.

In Your Holy Name,
Amen

“No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Joshua 1:5 (NIV)

Groanings too Deep for Words

Double Rainbow (c) Jan Parrish 2010
In the same way, the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. –  Romans 8:26-27 (NASV)
Have you experienced such extreme grief that sorrow seems to permeate your entire being? Words can never express the depth of your heartache and uttering a prayer feels like a herculean effort.
Thankfully, God in his infinite mercy sent the Holy Spirit. He understands your anguish and groans to the Father on your behalf.  Whatever your circumstances, the loss of a loved one, financial devastation, a severed relationship or broken dreams; you are never fully alone in your suffering. What a beautiful, soothing promise.
Thank you Father, for sending your Holy Spirit to minister to us when we are heartbroken and feel alone. Thank you that you never leave us or forsake us.