What It Means To Be Strong

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #StrengthHasNoGender #CollectiveBias

I grew up in Wyoming, in a family with brothers and a sister, who didn’t feel the need to pigeonhole any of us into stereotypes.

Now as an adult, I’m so thankful for that. It meant that I grew up being equally comfortable playing in the dirt, chasing lizards and snakes, wearing pretty dresses, and aspiring to be a princess. As a teen, I learned how to do makeup, and how to change a tire.

My favorite job ever, outside of the one I’m doing right this second, was a summer hire position at a Trona Mine & Plant in Wyoming. My Dad worked there for eons, and if you worked hard and received great grades you could apply for one of the coveted high paying college summer positions. I was accepted and placed to work in one of the plants. I was the only female in the entire building, but I absolutely loved it. I loved the work and I loved my hilarious co-workers, who were all my Dad’s age or older. This dirt playing girl was thrilled to put on a hard hat, go around into dirty and dangers areas to collect samples, and then after a 12-hour shift to go shower, put on some perfume, and rush off on a date with my sweetheart (now hubby.)

Because, beautifully and thankfully, I always grew up knowing that Strength Has No Gender™.  I pursued the play and work that delighted me, not the paths that I felt forced into. As a result, I was blessed to experience the challenges and rewards of a full time, Trona Plant, male-dominated job.Now I’m also blessed to experience the totally different, yet equally challenging and rewarding career as a part-time work-from-home writer and marketer.

Strength is not just physical. It reaches across boundaries. It’s the emotionally challenging push that gets you through that grueling final in college. It’s the bravery that allows you to tackle a career field that you love but is uncharted territory for you and those around you. It’s getting up with a colicky baby for the 10th time that night. It’s reaching that career goal you’ve been working towards for years. It’s being there for those that you love. It’s reaching out your hands, time, resources, and genuine concern to those in need.

The fact that Strength Has No Gender™  is a beautiful truth. It encourages us to delight in the success stories of others, and be inspired by them.

Which is exactly how I felt when I saw this Strength Has No Gender™ video that was put together by Brawny®. I adore this campaign and their mindset behind it. The Strength Has No Gender™ campaign highlights the inspirational stories of everyday women in cities across America who have been breaking down barriers in traditionally male-dominated industries and changing the world as a result!

We all love Eric Solie, the original Brawny® man, but at the same time, it’s awesome that they’re letting him “step aside” and share the platform with these inspiring women! To do this they’re featuring this fun, exclusive to Walmart, limited-time Strength Has No Gender™ pack. This package is the Brawny® Pick-a-Size 8 Giant Plus, which is perfect since it’s the size we use and love in our family already! Because Brawny® can help tackle giant, strong messes at home, they were inspired to take that same focus and encourage and inspire all their customers to extend it into every area of their lives.

Speaking of family, one of the areas that I need to be strong in the most, right now, is parenting! I’m discovering as we tiptoe into the tween years that while parenting in the early years is physically exhausting, parenting in these years is emotionally exhausting! It takes real strength to allow your children to discover and become who they are meant to be.

I wanted to bless my kids with the same freedom I was given as a child. Last fall Amber had the option to pick an after school program. The writer in me was immediately interested in the storytelling and writing programs. Wanting her to choose for herself, though, I gave her the sheet to look over and to tell me which sounded fun. To my surprise, she chose Chess Puzzle. Not simply just teaching the kids how to play the game, Chess Puzzle makes them learn strategy, memorize terms, and the competition they have is a paper and pencil test that includes a series of chess boards with pieces in particular positions. It is great for developing strengths in the STEM fields!

The first day after practice the door opened and out swarmed our entire city’s 3rd and 4th grade hoard of boys, and a gentle trickle of girls. Amber climbed into the car smiling, and declared she had “lots of fun”. Before the Christmas break they took a test to cut the team down to less than half, and happily Amber made the cut! This time the swarm of kids at pickup was smaller, and now only Amber and two girls remained in the sea of boys.

The final test cut both grades, 4th, and 3rd, down to two tiny teams of just four kids each. These would represent our entire school district in a competition with other cities and their top Chess Puzzle Students. Amber diligently practiced to prepare for the day. The test came, and the next day we waited anxiously for the results. That morning I got the call that she had made the team–the only girl to do so!

She was all smiles and bouncing excitement!

The competition was the past Saturday, and I’m so excited to share that her 3rd grade team placed 2nd overall, with all the different teams from her school putting them into 1st place for the regional meet!

Throughout this all she’s never stopped to think much about the fact that she was one of the only girls, or had any extra challenges or hurdles to overcome because of it. Like me, in my childhood, right now she’s able to happily accept the fact that Strength Has No Gender™ because it’s just a truth.

A beautiful, wonderful truth.

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5 Hope-Filled Prayers for Your Marriage

by Jennifer O. White

During the difficult days of marriage, there is a very real temptation to focus on what is wrong, why it is wrong, and whose fault it is. This earthly focus can result in a hopeless state of mind. Hopelessness and discouragement makes us even more vulnerable to the enemy’s schemes to divide us.

Throughout the Bible, God offers us hope. He shows us over and over again that nothing is impossible when He is involved. He promises that we will experience peace when we keep our eyes on Him (Isaiah 26:3). Jesus literally spoke the words “Peace! Be still!” to a storm, saving the disciples’ lives while increasing their faith in His life-changing power (Mark 4:39).

Our task is to believe, to ask, and to resist doubting (Mark 11:23).

Praying according to God’s Word has been very effective in my own marriage restoration. Knowing I am asking something in line with God’s will for us gives me confidence and the courage to expect God to move on our behalf.

The following five Bible passages and prayers will help us to humbly refocus on God who is able to do infinitely more to heal sacred marriages than we can imagine.

  1. Remember Me

But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded. Genesis 8:1

God, I trust that You see me and know what I am going through. You saved Noah, his family, and the animals from the flood. You sent a wind over the earth and caused the waters to recede. I am waiting on Your winds of change, Lord.

Change me, Lord. Here is my heart. Cleanse me of impure motives. Reduce me to love. Let Your pure love be the driving force behind my words, my touch, and my tone of voice.

Change my perception. Help me to see myself and my spouse through Your eyes.

Reveal to us where we are making the situation worse by resisting Your leadership and disobeying Your commands.

Help me to wait prayerfully and expectantly for You to move in us and our circumstances.

  1. Encourage Me

Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.” “Selah” But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. To the LORD I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill. “Selah” I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side. Psalm 3:2–6

Forgive me Lord for being discouraged by those who do not believe in Your power. The temptations to give up outnumber the billboards in the city.

But You, O Lord, are my encourager. Shield my heart and mind from discouragement.

Remind me of Your great acts of love for Your people.

You fed five thousand with one boy’s lunch. You transformed Saul from a Christian killer into Paul, a Kingdom builder. You are able to do so much more for our marriage than I have asked of You.

I rest my hopes on Your faithfulness. I will not fear based on what I can see with my eyes. I will trust in You, the unseen God, to shield me and my husband from reacting to the enemy’s schemes to divide us.

  1. Reward My Faith

Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches the birds of the air can perch in its shade.” Mark 4:30–32

God, You have promised that if I offer You a minuscule amount of faith, You will create something so much bigger out of it.

Today, I offer You my faith in Your ability to bring Jesus into this world from a virgin girl. I believe that You breathed life into Adam and made Eve from his rib. You transformed Zacchaeus from a crook into someone who wanted to give back four times what he had stolen.

I believe that You, O Lord, can turn our bitterness into kindness. You can transform our self-focused stubbornness into a “your needs come first” mindset.

You are able to restore us completely and allow our marriage to point others to Your perfect love for imperfect people.

Let my faith become sight, Lord.

  1. Heal Our Marriage

As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied. Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God. Luke 18:35–43

Lord, I want our marriage to be healed.

Let the healing begin with me. Have mercy on me, Lord, a spouse who has failed so often to demonstrate Your love.

I want to love my spouse the way You love me. Help me.

I want to be a vessel of Your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in _____’s life. Use me.

I want to love in such a way that ____ is inspired to praise You. Glorify Yourself in me, Lord.

  1. Make Me Brave

Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the LORD will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.” Joshua 10:25

Lord, I want to be filled with Your courage and strength. I want to live by every word that comes from Your mouth and speak boldly about what You can and will do.

The threats against my marriage are wimpy compared to Your great power.

Joshua put his godless enemies to death. He listened to Your voice and obeyed You.

You gave him authority to accomplish Your will. He commanded the sun to stand still, and You made it happen for the glory of Your name and the protection of Your people. 

Teach me, Lord, to exercise the authority You have given me. Train me to hear Your voice and respond without hesitation.

Make me brave. Use me to war against the enemies of our marriage in prayer using the Sword of Your Spirit.

I believe You are able, Lord. Please help my unbelief.

With faith in Jesus’ blood and righteousness, I pray.

Amen

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Jennifer O. White is an author, speaker and artist passionately encouraging women to depend on God through prayer and His Word. She is the author of Prayers for New Brides: Putting on God’s Armor After the Wedding Dress. Don’t let the name of the book fool you. Every wife who wants God to do more in her marriage will find it a great devotion and prayer guide.

Jennifer also offers Marriage Armor for the #PrayingBride and Prayer Greeting Cards.  Today she is offering us the opportunity to purchase her cards (which are showcased in the beautiful pictures above), which are prints of her original art with a prayer and Scripture, at 25% off with the coupon: #prayingbride. Start shopping now at jenniferowhite.com/shop.

The Returning by Rachelle Dekker – Book Review

I was given this book by Tyndale Publishing Network with the wonderful opportunity to review it however I wished. All opinions are my own. 

Glorious Summary of “The Returning” by Rachelle Dekker – derived from the back of the book, for who can summarize it better than the book itself? 

“They say the Awakening is coming.
That she’s the key.
But can she find her identity in the light
Before she perishes in the dark?

Twenty years have passed since Carrington and Remko Brant’s baby, Elise, was kidnapped and they were forced to leave her captive in the Authority City. Though they fled with the Seers far from Authority reach, they’ve never given up hope of rescuing their daughter from the man who betrayed them. Now Authority President, he’s ushered the city into a new era of “peace”—one where the Scientist Roth Reynard’s Genesis Serum has eradicated all memory of emotion or rebellion.

But the mysterious Aaron and his Seers are once again on the move, threatening the illusion the Authority has worked so hard to build. As the Seers send seven chosen warriors to rescue Elise and bring restoration to the Authority City, the lines are drawn for a final battle between light and darkness. The key to ultimate victory may rest within the strangely powerful girl who has felt forgotten but was never abandoned—a truth she’ll need to wage war against the powerful forces of evil. ”

My Thoughts:

This book is the third installment of the series.

Upon receiving this book, I wasn’t aware of the previous books at first until I started to read and do some research. I quickly made it my goal to dive in to the series and read all three books before reviewing “The Returning“.

I sped through the books, all whilst trying to do them justice. I found my self-ordained task to be effortless, as these books drew me in, much like her father’s books have always done since I was a little girl. In case you all didn’t realize, Rachelle Dekker is the daughter of the esteemed Ted Dekker, who is also a famous Christian fiction author.

The Returning” came at a perfect time in my life, and I found it to become much more than just an ordinary book. It quickly began re-awakening a lot within my spirit! I even confess that my dreams have become impacted by the words of Truth and Life within these pages written by Rachelle Dekker.  

The words spilled throughout “The Returning” coaxed, soothed, and called to my soul.  Words from the book that cascade over every chapter, and consequently resonates and lingers within the deep cavernous recesses of my weary soul. Words such as, 

“Remember what I call you, beautiful daughter.(pg. 226)”

“Remember who you are. Your identity lies in me alone, and I see you as blameless. Beautiful, perfect daughter. (pg. 226)”

“Remember who you are. You are the light of the world. (pg. 227)”

“Take heart, See beyond what is in front of you. Hear the call; remember who picked you, crafted you, held you through all things. (pg. 230)” 

As a soul who has lived through much abandonment and rejection in earthly terms, and is on a long road of healing and erasing the lies with His truth about who I am, these words were more meaningful to me than I can adequately describe. It was as if Yeshua Himself was speaking directly to me throughout this whole series, and specifically this book, “The Returning“.

I am at a point in my life where I am dealing with a lot of pain and addressing the numerous lies I have believed that have written my personality and self-belief system and fueled my self-hatred and immense feelings of shame.  I have lived as a creature of fear…  but that is NOT who I am!

That is not my identity…

That is not my soul. 

I must call forth the Truth of who I am and REMEMBER.

 

I was leery of this book at first as it seemed almost like a cheesy bible study with a fiction aspect to it, but the more I read and processed, the more I fell in love and realized that I was meant to read this book… and it is anything but cheesy! I resonate a lot with Elise and Carrington in this book, especially with their battles with fear and self-doubt. Elise, even on a deeper level, as she battles with rejection, abandonment and feeling worthless. My adoption and personal life are a testimony of those struggles, as well as His restoration.  

Some of this book confused me at times. Questions such as, who is Aaron supposed to represent? (This is answered below in an interview with Rachelle Dekker by Tyndale Publishers).  Where do these powers exactly come from and how do they manifest?

These were answered more as I read deeper into the book and had self-reflection.

I definitely encourage readers to not be afraid to challenge and ask questions when they read!

A true author will answer your secret questions as you go deeper, or at least guide you on the path to find the answers within yourself… I found this to be very much true in the affirmative with Rachelle Dekker. She is a truly gifted author, in my honest opinion. 

It is intense how palpable the light and darkness (darkness specifically) is in this book, but it speaks to me because I love to see the world with an allegorical eye and it helps redshift my focus back to the reality of our world… peel back the mask of lies and numbness and face the spiritual battle and awakening right before me every moment of my life. 

I just LOVE the quote at the beginning of the book about the mask, which I’m not sure if my reader’s remember, but I have been going through a lot of soul work in being genuine, vulnerable and removing “the mask” in which I find myself hiding behind way too often in a false hope of achieving the veneer of “perfection”, which just leads to living a lie. 

This Quote by Kara Dekker goes as follows – pulled from the beginning pages of the book “The Returning“:

Do you know who I see behind this thick glass?

A distorted image I call me.

But do I really know the person behind the bask, the body, the facade?

For you see, all I’ve ever known is how to attempt to be perfect

And when I fail, my mirror gets darker until all I see is filth. 

Disappointment.

We all live in tainted glass that consumes us.

But do we have to?

What if I decided to wipe my mirror clean?

Pull a lamp string to bring in light.

Forgive myself for my mistakes…what happens then? 

What if I chose to shatter my mirror altogether,

Believe in my beauty and worth and step beyond the 

Fragmented glass

I’d have to live in a world with flawless glass,

Where I never hated myself, never hated others.

Wouldn’t that be a world? 

-Kara Dekker

Interview Questions for Rachelle Dekker by Tyndale Publishers:

Rachelle Dekker -Dreamer, Writer, Child of the Light
  • What themes are explored in this book? Identity is something I am always exploring, so that’s no different in The Returning. But in this novel, I took a really hard look at forgiveness and how that relates to our journey of discovering who we really are.
  • You talk about the power of belief in the book. What is the purpose of faith, and what makes faith so powerful in people’s lives? Belief and faith are everything. We form our own realities. We make judgments based on the past and what we think the future will bring; then we shape our idea of what we are capable of around those beliefs. Imagine if we truly believed we were infinite sons and daughters of the creator. How different would the world look then? When we believe and have faith in who the Father calls us, then the world looks pretty different.
  • Aaron is a somewhat mysterious character throughout the series. What is he supposed to represent and what kind of spiritual leader is he? I like to leave this one open, which I know isn’t really the answer you want. I want the reader to decide who he is to them. For me he’s a guiding light, an angel maybe, a representation of the spirit who communicates with us and leads us. He can be many things—mostly, though, he’s a great way to hear truth.
  • How do you hope this book will resonate with your readers? I hope, as with both of the other books, that the reader sees themselves in the characters and that the story causes them to look inward. To ask hard questions like, Who am I? What am I capable of? Do I see myself the way the Father does? Can I? I hope it challenges their idea of identity and then gives them hope to see themselves and others more clearly. Because that’s how these stories have impacted me, and we are all really just the same.

 

I mean really… NOTHING beats curling up on a couch, in front of a blazing fireplace and reading a book that captures the imagination and soothes the soul. *swoon*

Summary: 

If you are looking for a Christian fiction book that will take you on an adventure of the imagination as well as a self-reflection and growth journey of the soul… then I highly recommend this book! It is just marvelous! I can’t wait to read more from Rachelle Dekker. I am so glad she answered her calling to be a writer, as I am sure she has already touched many lives. I know for sure, her writing has indeed touched my life.

At the very least, I encourage you all to check out her book at this link for more information! You won’t regret it!

Amazon Link (hardcopy and kindle formats available): “The Returning” by Author: Rachelle Dekker.

As always, my kindred spirits,

May you be awakened and renewed by His love for you every morning,

Rebekah Clark

New Year’s Revolution

Hi friends! Happy New Year!

Oh, wait. We’re over three weeks into the new year. (How’d that even happen?) This is the point when resolutions are starting to waver…or just flat out crash and burn, right? Unless, of course, you’re like me, in which case you haven’t even made resolutions yet.

I’ve been planning on making some good new year’s decisions, I really have. But with family visits, a month-long sickness (no joke), work at the newspaper going crazy, and Netflix binge-watching with the best friend on the weekends, coming up with resolutions hasn’t happened. Part of the problem is also that I’m an idealistic perfectionist, so I can’t just make resolutions on the fly. I have to sit down and think them up and probably write about them and feel that I’ve made them. If I can’t, it doesn’t happen.

But here’s the other part of being an idealistic perfectionist–I’m terrible with resolutions. I have grandiose ideas of what I want to do. I’ll tell myself that I’m going to read so many books, write everything I want to write, do so many Bible studies, practice my Spanish, lose weight, eat better, exercise more, get enough sleep…you get the idea. But I never do much of anything to break those big goals into small or realistic steps. So if I can’t accomplish them in huge leaps and bounds, I don’t do them at all. When I make resolutions, they crash and burn almost immediately.

One of my resolutions is always to write more. Each of these notebooks represents one or several writing projects that I want to be working on…

Still, I do try to make some resolutions or at least have a few ideas to remind myself of the things I want to accomplish and work on through the year. One thing I did last year was an idea I took from Nicole—pick a word of the year. My word last year was “follow.” I knew that I’d be graduating from college, going back home, and trying to find a job. I knew that things would be more uncertain than anything I’d dealt with in the past. And I knew I would have to trust God and follow His will, His plan, His adventure for my life. That simple word was a huge challenge, inspiration, and encouragement to me throughout the year.

So I thought: “why not choose a word for 2017?” The problem was, I couldn’t choose! “Follow” still seemed so appropriate in so many ways, since I’m pretty up in the air about any long-term future plans. “Discipline,” “adventure,” “submit,” “content,” “abide”…all good words, all with lots of meaning for me, but nothing seemed to be clicking as the right word.

I’ve been trying to make the perfect resolutions, trying to find the perfect word…then it hit me. That’s not ultimately what I need.

I don’t just need resolutions. I need a revolution. And I don’t just need a word. I need the Word.

Let me explain. My best friend, Marissa, has this habit of referring to resolutions as “revolutions.” (It’s not because she doesn’t know the right word, it’s just a funny family quirk.) At first I just thought it was fun–then I realized how important and awesome it is.

A “resolution” is “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” We make resolutions because we want to make changes, and by George, we are going to make them. Until about three weeks later, when our motivation and dedication tend to falter, anyway…

A “revolution” is “a forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favor of a new system.” (It’s absurdly ironic that I’m listening to “You’ll Be Back” from Hamilton as I type this. I’m also very tempted to turn on Les Mis. Do you hear the people sing… Oh goodness I’m such a Broadway nerd. Getting back on track…) So, what does that have to do with anything?

Here’s the point: A resolution is me gritting my teeth and saying “I am going to do this!” A revolution is a change of who’s in control.

We can make decisions, but we usually don’t have enough strength to carry them out. We mess up. A lot. Especially when trying to better ourselves. Especially when trying to sin less or serve God better. Want to know why? Because we’re trying to muscle our way through and make it happen in our own strength. Just ask Paul how that works out (Romans 7:18-25). We simply don’t have the strength to do it on our own.

That’s why we need a revolution. When I’m trying to do everything in my strength, I’m letting my sinful self be in charge. There needs to be a “forceful overthrow” of our inner “social order in favor of a new system.” We need to execute our proud, teeth-gritting, self-dependent sinful nature (Romans 8:13; Colossians 3:5). We’re not sufficient, we’re not good enough, we’re not able, in and of ourselves…“but our sufficiency is of God” (2 Corinthians 3:5). We need a new system–one where the King is in charge (Ephesians 5:18; Galatians 5:16-18). That way, He can be our strength, and in His power, we have all we need to live as we should (2 Peter 1:3). This is the revolution through the power of the Word (John 1:1-5).

We can make resolutions, but without the revolution of letting God throw down our sinful self and take control, those resolutions won’t get us far. We can pick a word for the year, but without the Word of God–Jesus Himself and His written Word–controlling our lives, it won’t accomplish anything worthwhile.

So yes, I do have resolutions for the year. I want to write: posting on this blog weekly, working on two books, and keeping up with/trying to publish smaller projects. I want to be healthier: eat smaller portions and less junk, maybe find time to exercise more, hopefully lose some weight. I want to be faithful in studying my Bible each day.

But more than those resolutions, I want the revolution of God being in control so that my writing is for Him, my health is for Him, and especially the time I spend in His Word each day is to know Him better.

And yes, I do have a word for the year. Kadima. It’s Hebrew for “forward.” (I got it from a cool scene in the TV series The Flash, not from the liberal Israeli political party of the same name. Just throwing that out there…)

Forward. Forward in my writing, forward in my still up-in-the-air life, forward in my relationship with God. Forward in the revolution.

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14).

So, friends, have you made any resolutions? Do you have a word for the year or anything similar? How’s 2017 starting for you? And how will you move forward with those ideas in terms of this revolution? Give me your feedback in the comments!

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How I am Learning to Be Genuine and Vulnerable

title-for-blog-genuine-and-vulnerable

One of my recent self-discoveries and adventures has been about learning to be genuine and vulnerable as a person. It has been humorous to me because I didn’t even realize that I was being fake as a person in general. Do you ever have those self-realizations that leave you stunned and puzzled at how you came so far without realizing said epiphany?

Well, when my lovely and honest counselor pointed it out to me, it was like my whole world just crumbled.

ME…Fake?! I scoffed at the very concept.

I am the girl who always boasts about being personally grieved by fakeness; and yet, by a bizarre twist of fate, I was the very thing I claimed to detest.

Humbling moment… let me tell you.

You see, I’m not shallow. I can still hold true to that claim, BUT I am fake.

I hide.

I wear a mask.

Ironically, one of my favorite poems ever since high school, which I suppose was a self-fulfilling prophecy I didn’t want to acknowledge, has been the one entitled “We Wear the Mask” by Paul Laurence Dunbar.

 The poem goes as follows:

We Wear the Mask

We wear the mask that grins and lies,

It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,

This debt we pay to human guile;

With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,

And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be over-wise,

In counting all our tears and sighs?

Nay, let them only see us, while

We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries

To thee from tortured souls arise.

We sing, but oh the clay is vile

Beneath our feet, and long the mile;

But let the world dream otherwise,

We wear the mask!

-Paul Laurence Dunbar

 

There is so much depth and truth to that poem. It is one that has indeed stuck with me throughout all these years. So that leaves me now with the following questions:

  • How do I become a genuine person?
  • How do I shed this mask of perfection and pained happiness, and let people see the real me? How do I open myself up to being vulnerable?
  • How do I shed my idealism of needing to be perfect and strong for everyone else, and let myself be ministered to as well?
  • Why am I the girl that LOVES to encourage others, but runs away when people try to encourage and pour into my life?

I’m still seeking the answers.

brene-brown-quote

Therapy is definitely helping me peel back the layers of my mask and exposing my deepest hurts and insecurities and refining those ashes into beauty. I won’t lie, it is a painful journey, but it is worth it! I am aware. I am VERY aware of my shortcomings, but within those shortcomings, I am learning to see HOPE and opportunities for growth, instead of just a bleak fog of despair at my inadequacies.

I think the hardest lesson I am learning is…

I am ENOUGH.

Who I am, where I am RIGHT NOW…

is enough!

Not my ideal perfect self that I long and strive to be that is but a dream… no…

Rebekah Clark, the human soul born back in 1991, is ENOUGH.

i-am-enough-brene-brown-quote

I have to believe that in my core. I have to embrace it. I have to allow myself to be the REAL me, the present me, THIS me.

me

I want to leave you all with this amazing Ted Talk from Brené Brown. She is such a personal hero and inspiration to me. She pretty much embodies vulnerability and becoming genuine, even when it hurts.

I believe a big part of becoming genuine is laying down of pride. Letting the layers slip away and being exposed. Vulnerability isn’t weakness. Vulnerability is STRENGTH. That concept is really hard for me to grasp though as someone who always likes to ease the burdens of others and ignore my own – which is not healthy at all (Enneagram 2w1).

Let me know your thoughts on this Ted Talk. It is definitely worth the watch.

 

 

So, dear reader, what is vulnerability to YOU?

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

With great affection and vulnerability,

Rebekah Clark

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