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mom life

Charisma

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Charisma

Charisma (pl. charismata

I’ve always loved learning the origin and history of words. I’m a nerd! I know it.

What I love about learning how words started, what they meant at the beginning, is how it often challenges the present use of the word. In present english, charisma is a word that we assign to a person or character that we revere; a person that has a certain compelling attractiveness or charm that inspires devotion and admiration. Most often, it’s a word that we attribute to a seemingly divine power or talent. I have used this word within this present definition for the entirety of my life! 

It wasn’t until I was reading a book regarding the markers of a healthy Christian church that I even stopped to think that this word, charisma, may have a history of different meaning. I’ve fallen into the habit lately of using words without forethought; without pausing to really consider if I am using the words I truly intend to say. Words, after all, are just words until we place them in a context that assigns them a tone and a definition. And I must admit that I am often guilty of placing otherwise innocent words within a negative context when it comes to communicating with the people I love most; Namely my husband. Anyone else?

Whether we want to admit it or not, words have power. The words we say, and the tone with which we say them, can either build someone up or tear them down. Words have the power to encourage growth or to inhibit it. And no matter how cliche it is; the tone and manner with which we use words often speaks louder than the words themselves.

Confession: This is the seemingly never ending struggle that I find myself in with my husband.

I never saw my husband coming. I was confident in the calling I believed was on my life: I was going to be single, serving in ministry as a speaker/teacher/mentor. I had finally reached a peace in my heart about not getting married (especially considering I was 25 and had never dated!), believing that the plan for my life was something bigger than I could ever imagine. I was so independent and so used to living my life unattached, that it took me about two hours to realize that my husband had asked me out on a date!

Fast forward to today…

Had someone, anyone, been honest enough with me to tell me then that marrying someone who loves in an entirely different love language than me was going to be the biggest challenge of my life…I may have never done it, and totally missed the blessings God had planned! You see, I love with gifts and quality time. So, buy me a coffee and sit with me chatting for an hour and my tank is full!

I married a words of affirmation and physical touch lover…  My weakest points.

Needless to say, I wake up every day and make the choice to fight for my marriage: to fight for my husband. It has taken me all five years (plus a few months!) of being married to get to the place in my marriage that I don’t beat myself up every day, because I’ve allowed the darkness to convince my heart that my husband loves me SO well and I am terrible at loving him back.

I even went through a season of questioning the “rightness” of my marriage altogether.

I learned in that season that the darkness really is very adept at twisting our reality to fit the narrative that has the greatest potential to defeat us; to push us away from the path of goodness we are struggling to walk on. It was a conversation with my amazing sister-in-law that shook me out of the dark and forced me to see the reality of my life: The reality that I was a new mom, I was physically and emotionally exhausted, I was isolated as a result of losing my church family, I was battling a loneliness that I had never experienced before as a result of the decision to be a “stay-at-home-mom”, and I had stopped chasing after my dreams and my calling as the result of listening more often to the darkness than the light.

BUT SO WAS MY HUSBAND.

A new dad. Physically and emotionally exhausted. Isolated. Lonely. Listening to dark whispers devaluing his efforts to love and provide and support and parent.

As a result of that season, we were stuck in a cycle of absolute miscommunication, that led to lots of hurt feelings. Our words had power and our tone was too often confusing the intended definition of even the simplest of statements. Our marriage had become more about surviving the day with our baby than spending time really talking and dreaming and just being together; growing together toward a common purpose.

We had lost sight of our greatest charisma.

Learning the origin of this commonly used word reminded me this week of that season in my marriage, and also made me extremely thankful that my husband had the wisdom to force the much needed confrontation that has renewed our desire for, trust in and fight for each other and our marriage. My husband has the patience of a saint! Yet, even he can reach the point of frustration with my internal struggle to exert my independence, while at the same time surrendering in respect so that I can truly love him well.

I now understand that what we have been doing in this past season of renewal is reclaiming our charisma.

Charisma (charis, charismata), from Greek origin, was used in reference to spiritual things; more specifically spiritual gifts.

Charisma and charismata are used by the Apostle Paul in the scriptures explaining the Spiritual gifts that God, in his grace, gives to those who truly believe in salvation through his Son. The purpose of these gifts is to build up the church and to be an example of goodness, of righteousness. Therefore, when put into historical context:

CHARISMA is a GRACE GIFT.

Marriage is a charisma. (1 Corinthians 7:7) MY marriage is a grace gift, not only to me and my husband for the purpose of building up our house and our church, but to show others that they too can be built up and encouraged and chase after and receive goodness.

My prayer for you, no matter what kind of season you find yourself in, whether in marriage or in some other context of life, is that you will remember and reclaim your charisma! If you’re not a Christ follower and do not believe in such gifts being given by God, then I pray that you will make the decision (especially in your marriage relationship!) to chase after the love that you started with always! May we all reclaim our grace gifts in this new year, and may God be glorified all the more for it.

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New Years Redemption

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New Years Redemption

I have a chair.

It’s just a chair. An accent chair. A chair that didn’t cost much, isn’t worth much and is rarely required to actually perform the function for which it was built.

This chair usually sits to the side in my homes’ more formal living space. It’s a milky cream color with black scripted letters written in French. Its’ script pattern speaking to the parts of my heart that are drawn to writing and reading. The stamps pictured speaking to places I hope to someday travel to. The birds interwoven in the design reminding me that flight, exceeding boundaries, is possible for even the most average person as long as they keep dreaming.

This sweet chair is the first “splurge” piece that my husband and I ever purchased. I was pregnant; after almost two years of medical professionals questioning whether it was possible. We had experienced a season of financial blessing. So, we did what lots of adults do: We took advantage of a holiday furniture sale. (Boring, I know!) 

Little did I know that this chair, the chair that whispered to my hearts dreams every day, would end up being used to refresh and confirm the greatest lesson of my life.

A few days before Christmas, in the middle of preparing our sweet little house to host both sides of our crazy, wonderful family, this chair came face to face with my toddler. You see, I got so lost in the preparation that I somehow forgot that my beautiful, intelligent, independent, strong willed, quality time needing two-and-a-half year old daughter…is, in fact, only two-and-a-half. I forgot that, no matter how well she seems to be handling time on her own; too much time without her momma results in often irredeemable toddler behavior.

This time: My baby took a brown sharpie and three different colored highlighters, that she had to use some ingenuity to get ahold of, and made a masterpiece on the seat of my sweet chair.

I wish from the depths of my soul that I could say I handled the situation with grace and unconditional love… I did not. There was quite a bit of yelling, a lot of angry tears on my part, a lot of confused tears on her part and some relationship repair that needed to happen before I could bring myself to face my poor, sentimentally valued chair. 

After two days, three methods of cleaning and four times washing every white towel in the linen closet (16!)…my sweet chair still bears the marks of my beautiful baby’s masterpiece. Although most of the marks came out, no amount of cleaner and no amount of cleaning pressure can remove them entirely. I went to bed that second day defeated; praying that something magical would happen overnight.

When I faced the chair on that third day…two days before Christmas…no magic had happened. On the verge of frustrated tears, my entire body aware of the soreness in my muscles from two days bent over scrubbing the chair… That’s when I heard it. A whisper that seemed to come from deep within my soul.

Remember.

Remember…? Remember what?!

Redemption.

Redemption. The purpose of Christ. The means by which I have found my salvation. The thing that I am absolutely incapable of providing for myself. The reason for this holiday I have spent so much time and energy planning for my family.

Remember.

And that’s when it hit me. The chair…my chair…is me.

To redeem means “to buy back”, “to free from what distresses or harms”, “to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental”, “to free from the consequences of sin”, “to change for the better”, “to atone for an error”… No matter which definition you choose to assign, it is an action that you perform on behalf of another. None of the definitions for redeem allow for an action performed by you on behalf of yourself.

The chair was not able to protect itself against my daughters’ decision to harm it. It is also not able to redeem itself from the consequences of her actions. The chair cannot change itself for the better, it cannot free itself from the stains that it now bears and it certainly cannot atone for the egregious error it has fallen victim to.

The chair cannot redeem itself; nor can I redeem it. No matter how long or how hard I tried, no matter what tools I used, I was not able to redeem my sweet little chair. I am unable to save it.

That’s the lesson I needed to remember. My sweet little script chair now sits with a covering, a blanket, over its’ side to cover the stains. It sits reminding me of the two most undeniable truths at the foundation of everything I believe: There is nothing I can do to protect myself from the consequences of the human nature I was born into and there is nothing I will ever be able to do to redeem myself from it.

What I can do…what I have been forgetting to do in the midst of a hard year for my family…is to live redeemed. I allowed my circumstances in 2017 to shift my focus away from the fact that I have been redeemed, that I am free to live the dreams in my heart and that I can now live under a covering of grace and unconditional love. That is the assurance that my chosen faith affords me.

Thank God I have a chair!

I am excited to see what 2018 brings for me, my family and my business. I am thankful to every client that sat in my chair in 2017. It was an honor and a true privilege to serve you! I look forward to more opportunities to serve you this year; whether creating custom makeup applications for you or providing skin care and/or treatments. There are some amazing changes coming this year, and I cannot wait to share the upcoming journey with you! So, stayed tuned to find out how you can become a part of My Images’ story in 2018.

Praying you have a blessed and joyful new year!

 

 

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