Thursday, September 6, 2012

broken shells


what is this and where can i get some?

i've spent so much of my life trying to mend from one disaster to another. when the lies creep into my brain of whether i can be used to do anything good, i fall into the trap again.

yes,, ummm....yes, well...definitely, decidedly...NO!

you. can't. be. used.

too much bad history.

too much weighty baggage.

too much vulnerable sharing.

y'all know i recently had the privilege of meeting Angie Smith to tell her thank you for saving my life by sharing her precious heavenly daughter's story. i bought a sneak-peak copy of mended and she signed it for me. it's NOW ON one here or here.  it's her 3rd, brand new, shiny book (after 'i will carry you' and 'what women fear.') it's pretty. i can't wait to read it.

i'm sure it will change your life.

for the friends/solitude/writing beach getaway i have the privilege of being on right now, i had to narrow it down to 2 books i was already reading: (jen hatmaker's '7, an experimental mutiny against excess' and meg meeker's '10 habits of happy mothers,' one bible, and my 'Jesus calling' devo for my carry on. i am 4 months postop from back surgery and i have a 1985 HEAVY laptop that makes my backpack sag down to my booty.

not to be confused with my now sagging booty. that's a whole different post for a different day.

so, no room for mended this trip. :( Jesus speaks to me through Angie's writing like no other author i've read. i really wanted to bring it as my 3rd book...

but...and this is FOR REAL.

i did NOT want to repeat the tragic grand canyon fiasco where i packed 7 books and a makeup bag that all had to be divided up amongst 10 other backpackers when i "hurt" my ankle. don't judge. i was 21 and all my friends climbed mountains. i desperately wanted to be loved and to fit into their grungy, twisted, badass-hiking or whatever-you-call-it world.

BUT the reality?

i was the girl who couldn't part with makeup to go on a 6-day hike of the GC. i packed 7 books because the expert hiker in our group did. (she's still my best friend even though we took a couple year hiatus from our friendship after this trip!)

i tried so hard to fit in with them.

for the love of all backpacking atrocities. seriously.

yes, i fully agree with you, after all that drama, it's AMAZING that THOSE friends are STILL my friends. :)

i digress.

this whole mended thing is complicated to me.

i'm a tragic people pleaser.

i am the girl who can't say no.

i am the mama who became so unraveled with burying a child she almost took her own life and missed all the blessings of the past 3+ years...and all those yet to come.

recently i came unraveled again at Ken's long (so far) 10.5 month deployment, the single mom-ness of it all. feeling sorry for myself and angry with God.

missing my son so desperately again and ready to dive back into that pit of self-sorriness and self-centeredness that sometimes comes with grief.

allowing fear to creep back in that i'd be a modern-day Job losing my whole family literally kept me up at night. i had to stop watching the news.

unraveled at my 2-year-old who captures my heart and the very next second makes me want to cut chunks out of my hair while leaving some very long parts, so i can look like a 4-year-old who experimented with scissors for the first time.

why the hair you ask? i have no idea. i am weird.

i gave myself permisssive entitlement to whatever i felt like thinking, saying, and matter how much i hurt others close to me. after all, this single mom, 14 month deployment gig was tough.

do whatever it takes to survive.

a lie that almost pulled me down into a pit.

i desperately want ... be mended.

from Angie's 'mended' back cover, she writes about Jesus speaking to her:

"My dearest Angie. How do you think the world has seen me? If it wasn’t for the cracks, I couldn’t seep out the way I do. I chose the pitcher. I chose you, just as you are."

you'll have to read mended (and/or i will carry you) to find out about the pitcher.

yes, there are holes in my life. HUGE, LARGE, GAPING ones.

i want Him to cover them up, fill them in, and forget about them.

HE ALREADY HAS. on the cross, all those years ago.

did you read that...and get it?

let me remind myself again...


and i don't want anybody, especially you reading this, to see those holes.

but He whispers:

"if they can't see the holes, then they won't be able to see Me working in your big, fat, messy life."

i gave you that life. now go share it.

but so often I, I, I...try to do His job.

like a million times a day.

the good thing about constant conversation with Jesus is you're always checking yourself, your motives, and your thoughts with the only One who can give answers.

the bad thing about constant verbal conversation with Jesus is people might think you're schizophrenic.

so what?

my mending is a leary road of letting go of what others think.

my mending is a finite grasp of the overwhelming love God has for me and others, and what my responsibility is with that kind of love.

my mending is a glimpse understanding of what giving myself Jesus grace looks like.

my mending is an imperfect realization that there have been a lot of broken shells washed ashore.

He's touched every single one of them.


there will ALWAYS be broken shells until we are made perfect.

if not for ALL the broken shells, I would not recognize the joy and beauty of finding the Perfect One...



Anonymous said...

I love you, Cortney!
Your reminiscing had me laughing out loud - I have VERY vivid memories of that Canyon trip! You trudging along in your Chacos, with a walking stick and Joni at your side, singing the Indigo Girls "Joking" and Paul Simon "Slip Sliding Away" at the top of your lungs ... fantastic.
I probably didn't tell you then how proud I was of you, and how I admired your determination. And, I'm still proud of you now for having pressed on in this marathon of life.
Loving your willingness to be used,

Ken Schwalbe said...

You are an extremely talented writer! Keep up the awesome work!
That’s the true meaning of awesome – inspiring awe because it’s been created or touched by the hand of God; not today's common meaning of awesome that you just did a cool trick on your wakeboard.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry about the loss of your precious baby boy. (I don't know if I knew about it. Was out of touch at the time, I guess.) I still think about Ken's brother Philip. I'll bet Philip and Matthew Philip are having a wonderful time together in heaven! Ken and Philip were good friends back in ND. I'm glad to see what a wonderful wife and family Ken has now! He's been through some tough times and so have you! So encouraged and blessed to see the faith that you both hold onto! May God continue to bless and encourage you both! (Oh, a friend of mine who lost her 16-yr-old son in a car accident last summer started a Christian Grief Message board called It might be worth checking out.)

Cort said...

Do I really get to be married to you!?? Yes! Helluva lucky girl. And your wakeboard tricks are not awesome. They are badass.

Tiffany said...

OMG! You are such a strong woman! God has surely brought you through so much, and you should feel so proud of your self for everything you have been through. What an inspiration, I pray you recieve strength and peace in your heart. --Tiffany from May God continue to bless you!

Judi friend of Laura said...

It was a pleasure meeting you. Come back to VA and we can talk writing. God bless your BFML!