The “Other” Layer

As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” – Romans 10:11

Guilt… sigh… it’s just another layer, isn’t it? As if this pain, this loss, this change, this discouragement is not enough in and of itself. The guilt piles on, and the weight it adds is suffocating.

I wanted always to be the kind of wife that was attractive to my husband, who kept the home and made it a retreat for him to step into each evening. I wanted our free time to be filled with fun and laughs and adventures.

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I wanted always to be the kind of mommy that dances while she cleans, who was known by name at her children’s school and was available as chauffeur and cheerleader as they grew. I wanted our time together to be something that carried them through the rough times and brings us out of the other end stronger and closer.

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I wanted always to be the kind of daughter that her parents can be proud of, who is eager to come and to give and to share. I wanted to take care of my parents the way they had always taken care of me, relishing that role reversal as we both got older.

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I wanted always to be the kind of sister who could stand as a rock and a shield for her baby sister, who would be there in a blink and bring more laughter than clean underwear with her. I wanted to never hurt, only heal, and to prove that sisters are the best of friends.

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I wanted always to be the kind of friend who is raring to go at a moment’s notice, who answers on the first ring and never waits to be asked for help. I wanted to gain friendships and strengthen old ones as we walked into the future together, ever widening our circle of love.

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I wanted always to be the kind of Christian who is there when the doors are open, who is the first to volunteer and the last to go home again. I wanted to lead and follow and submit and stand strong.

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Some days the weight of all that is lost is stifling.

But do you know what’s really changed since these old photos were taken? Not a single thing. Not a single true thing.

The dross has all been burned away. The paths I thought would get me to the destination are overgrown with brambles, all but invisible now, but I’m realizing that wasn’t the right path after all. Those were just useless distraction paths.

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Oh sure, my hair is shorter now and my smile is a bit crooked. I have at least one more chin, maybe more (I try not to look too closely). But that’s still me. A better me. A slower and more compassionate and less distracted and busy me. A me who is learning that relationships are not based on what I can do for people. They are based on who we are and the connections we make. They’re so much deeper than I realized.

I wanted to remind you today that you are the same, too. Don’t believe the guilt and the lies that the enemy will try to pile on you. Let the dross burn away. Don’t be afraid to stand naked without it. You are beautiful and wonderful, just as you are. And you are oh-so-loved.

Heavenly Father, touch each heart reading this today. Please show them their value and their importance right now. Please show me, too, because I forget so quickly. In Jesus’ Name, Amen…


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May God Bless You,

Shelly

29 Comments on “The “Other” Layer

    • It always puts a smile on my face to see you here, Rita! Heart Hugs, Shelly <3

  1. Shelly – as I was reading through your posting as “all you had hoped to ‘be’ by what you hoped to ‘do”, I kept thinking but you are doing all you hoped; it is simply being done in ways that are different than how your eyes view it all.

    You’ve a loving husband and children who adore YOU. Your home is a retreat and a haven for each of you. and each has grown closer through all the trials that have been faced – even with smiles along the way amidst the tears and surely adventures!

    Your “church” has become all of us who are online who you cheer and pray for and that often seems like 24 hours a day. Wow – that is a commitment few take on.

    None of us who find ourselves in this “unexpected community” could have ever dreamed it; but we never have held the plans for our life – God has and as hard as aspects of his plans are to accept, the letting go of dreams that were good, and honest and true – we end up accepting Him and are grateful to not be on this journey alone.

    Grace ladened paths. I keep trying to focus on them: some days easier than others.
    Lynn+Severance recently posted…Just A Feather Will Do *My Profile

    • Lynn, your words were such a balm to me today. How do you always know exactly what to say and how to say it? What a gift you are in my life.

      This was my favorite part:
      “but we never have held the plans for our life – God has”… such beautiful truth!

      Love you!! Heart Hugs <3

  2. Dear Shelly, we are neighbors again and again as I linked up to various blog link-ups today so surely had to come by and God knew that I needed to read your post. I have put these same burdens upon myself year upon year, decades worth! And they are all lies. I try to see myself the way God sees me, but this human forgets that satan is so good and evil at lying. Thanks, dear sister, for I have been blessed and shall reread the ending again, for I need it.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda
    ~ linda recently posted…He Has Dealt Bountifully With Me (@ Granola Bar Devotional)My Profile

  3. Shelly, it is me again. In the rereading, this stands out so boldly to me:
    “Let the dross burn away. Don’t be afraid to stand naked without it.” Standing naked is so frightful to me most of the time. I feel so unworthy of the natural beauty that I was created to be, to live in this body. Then you add: “You are beautiful and wonderful, just as you are. And you are oh-so-loved.” Thank you, sweet sister. I am and need to remember this again and again. My precious husband tries to remind me often, but satan covers his words up sometimes too.
    May the God of Creation be foremost in our hearts and minds.
    ~ linda
    ~+linda recently posted…He Has Dealt Bountifully With Me (@ Granola Bar Devotional)My Profile

    • It’s frightful to me, too, Linda. I’ll be praying for you and I thank you for praying for me. Love you. Heart Hugs, Shelly <3

  4. Oh Shelly! As I was reading this I was getting all set to tell you that you ARE all those things…but then, you got there in the post anyway! LOL I am so thankful that we have met. You are such an encouragement to me…you are an ambassador for Christ, that’s for sure! The path took a couple of turns that you hadn’t planned for, but God has been and IS using you in such a powerful way! I pray that that gives you joy as you sense His presence in your life!!! I love you, sweet girl, and hope that one day, we can sit together, face to face, so I can tell you that in person while giving you a big hug!!

    Love, Joan
    Joan recently posted…Sharing His Beauty Blog Link UpMy Profile

    • Joan, I would be so excited for that day!!! I love you, too, Sister!!! Heart Hugs, Shelly <3

  5. Oh my sweet, sweet Shelly, what I was going to write has already been written by the others who commented.
    As I read what you wrote, of course, I could definitely relate and I so needed to hear what God laid upon your heart to write for today!
    You are loved beyond words and a cherished friend of my heart

    • Everything you said, Barb, I hope you can hear me saying right back to you! In your ear as I hug you, of course! 🙂 Love you! Heart Hugs <3

  6. Oh Shelly tears are running down my faceYou are an amazing women. Your words and pictures are so healing! You are so strong it just helps me think about things in a positive way! Bless you Shelly!

    • Kelly, your friendship is a sweet blessing in my life. I love you. Heart Hugs, Shelly <3

  7. I loved what Lynn Severance said and others too 🙂
    I loved seeing all the family pics…a glimpse of your journey…lovely!

    I agree, that you are all those things just not in the way you might have expected…love being part of your church family with Lynn Joan and others too…what a blessed community of believers meet here at your place where the hostess with the mostess is gracious, charming, warm and welcoming.

    It’s a pleasure to know you, Shelly.
    xx

  8. As I read your words, I couldn’t help but think that as my exterior is becoming less attractive with age, my spiritual self is becoming more like Christ. What a wonderful gift He has given us. We just need to focus on how He is growing us rather than the things we think are important. Isn’t it wonderful to trust our lives, dreams, and bodies to Him rather than to our own? Thank you for yet another encouraging post! Blessings to you and yours – love the pics!
    Heather+@+My+Overflowing+Cup recently posted…Locks of Love…A Story of My Aunts & UnclesMy Profile

  9. You are so beautiful, friend. I don’t think I could come close to properly expressing all the ways I love you. You have this amazing heart . . . it touches me, and I’m sure it touches others, beyond ways you may see or know. I just love you. And I feel I should say more, but I just love you. 🙂 And I miss our chats too. Sending many hugs your way. xoxo
    Beth+S. recently posted…Messy and Beautiful LoveMy Profile

    • Tears, Beth. Sweet tears at your words. Thank you for your love and your precious friendship. I love you so. Heart Hugs <3

  10. When I consider how my light is spent
    Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
    And that one talent which is death to hide
    Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent
    To serve therewith my Maker, and present
    My true account, lest he returning chide,
    “Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
    I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
    That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need
    Either man’s work or his own gifts: who best
    Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
    Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed
    And post o’er land and ocean without rest:
    They also serve who only stand and wait.”
    ~ John Milton

    I am sure your husband feels just like the man in this song…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRFD8g2q3JM&feature=youtu.be

    Beautifully written, Shelly, and something everyone with chronic illness can relate to, unfortunately. It is SO HARD to live in this culture and know…really KNOW that just BEING is enough. God wants US, as do those who love us.

    • Beautiful words from Milton. 🙂 Love the song, too! Can’t wait to show it to Brian. I’m so glad to know you both. Love you!! Heart Hugs, Shelly <3

  11. Shelly, thanks. I also forgot to mention that, like your other readers, I really enjoyed seeing the family pictures!!! You have so many friends here in this online community. Too bad we can’t all get together in person, but there’s Heaven…ONE DAY, hopefully SOON, but altogether…I don’t like this “one at a time” business. 🙂

    • I look SO forward to hugging your sweet neck in person some day, Sarah! Love you. Heart Hugs, Shelly <3

  12. Somehow this seems to tie into advent for me, Shelly. The way our longing, waiting, maturing readies us by revealing and removing the “dross” as you say. And it’s a cycle that continues again and again. I’m grateful for the new/old you that is being revealed. Thanks for linking with Unforced Rhythms

    • It is a bit like Advent, Kelly! I love that! Thank you for always being such an encouragement to me! Heart Hugs, Shelly <3

  13. Thanks for this wonderful, truth filled post, Shelly. Everything you say is so true and a great thing to reflect upon. Thanks for sharing….God bless!

    • Thank you for dropping by and encouraging me, Christine! <3 Heart Hugs, Shelly

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