Sunday, February 18, 2018

Felt Safety

Fear will bully your child into poor behavior - Karyn Purvis

I woke up this morning thinking about felt safety.  Felt safety is a concept used in TBRI or the “parenting with connection” approach.  It’s something you might hear adoptive parents or parents with kids from hard places talk about but in light of the state of the country, it seems like something we should all talk about.  Felt Safety is different than being safe, it is about feeling safe.  You can be safe, but not feel safe.  When we don’t feel safe we are triggered into a fight, flight or freeze mode. It is a pretty simple concept to understand, but a really hard one to put into practice. It requires respectful listening and honest understanding, effective leadership and maybe the hardest of all, shared control.

When my kids don’t feel safe, it is not their responsibility to try to make themselves feel safe. When they take on that responsibility, they usually choose very unhealthy coping mechanisms.  It is my husband and I’s job as the strong safe adults in their lives to help them feel safe.  It’s my job to lay down my rights so that they can feel safe.  I may feel like I have the right to watch a bit of TV or listen to some news, but sometimes/most of the time, screens and noise lead to sensory overload and lack of felt safety.  I may and often do feel like I have the right to connect with people and talk as long as the conversation takes, but if I don't come home when I say I am going to come home, so long felt safety.  I may feel like I have the right to finish reading a chapter in a book or read my Bible but if it pushes past their bedtime, I can kiss felt safety and a calm bedtime goodbye.  But if I give up my rights and we maintain a sense of felt safety in our home, we become more resilient and fear is no longer bullying our children into bad behavior.  

The more I am aware of this in my children, the more I am aware of this in my own life.  When I don’t feel safe, I start responding to life defensively and a little triggered.  As a woman, when a man makes me feel unsafe. I walk a little faster.  I become hypervigilant, my pulse races and I want to flee.  When I feel unsafe in the church, when my ideas or even my existence as a woman feel attacked I start to hide.  I distance myself from what feels unsafe.

This is true of homes, churches, schools, communities, and countries.  The question we should be asking is whose job is it to create felt safety? Well, it is the role of the strong safe adults, the leaders of our country to create felt safety.  It is their job to not argue and fight for their own rights but listen and hear EVERYONE and create a culture where everyone gets to feel safe.  Because we live in a republic democracy where citizens have the right to choose their leaders and have representation, it is not only our leaders' responsibility but it the responsibility of us as citizens.  Creating felt safety is a big task.  It is hard to create felt safety just inside a home because it requires hearing and respecting and actively protecting.  How much bigger is the job outside the home?

What if those of us with privilege stood up and said: “I have some rights that I could lay down so that you can feel safe.”  
  • I don't actually need an AR15, I could give that up so that our children could feel safer.
  • I don’t actually need to give you a hug, I could give that up so that you could feel safer
  • I don’t actually need to post tasteless jokes on social media about guns, race, sexuality, gender, LGBT individuals, and issues, or the generation that is getting the blame for all that is wrong in the world, I could give that up so that you could feel safer
  • I don’t actually need to look like the most woke white person right now, I could give that up and listen to you so that you could feel safer
  • I don’t actually need to argue about whether racism really exists, I could give that up so that you could feel safer.
  • I don’t actually need to be right  I could give that up so that I could listen to you and you could feel safer
If you are a lover and follower of Jesus, isn’t this what he calls us to.  To lay down our rights for the sake of others.  This is what humility is, this is what submission is, this is ultimately what love is to lay down what makes our life ours for others.  Jesus laid down his life so that his sheep could feel safe.

This Lent season I am giving up debilitating anger towards those who aren’t providing felt safety and I am going let my passion move me to stand in the gaps I see...  
  • I stand with children, they should be safe and protected in schools.  I am a Wyoming girl, but I stand for some serious gun reform.
  • I stand for racial justice, could we (the privileged and children of the many generations of oppressors) stop fighting over whether it exists or not and just move towards each other.    
  • I stand with women, our bodies are not free for taking, free for the grabbing, free for the looking.
  • I stand with anyone who feels like an other in the church, may you know that you are welcome at the table, that Jesus came to you just as you are.  He will transform you, you will change because He will change you.  But may the church not get in the way of you knowing Jesus.
That is my felt safety manifesto.  I wonder, will I be safe when I hit publish. Probably not, but that is a right some of us will have to give up if anything is going to change.  I wonder what would happen if we gave up our right to help someone else feel safe.  My voice is one of millions crying out, maybe there is something you could give up and stand with me too.

Friday, November 11, 2016

I used to write

I used to write.  I wrote a lot about what I loved, what I did, what I believed and then I stopped.  I stopped to advocate for two boys.  I stopped because I only had one thing to say, "bring my boys home".  I stopped because pushing the keys on the keyboard caused my heart to bleed and it felt just a little less vulnerable to stop the bleed and stop the writing.  Today I am writing, because I have more to say.  I have things to say about parenting and marriage and adoption and spirituality and books and *gasp* politics. 

Where do I start with a heart that is overflowing with words? 

How about politics, how it has invaded our lives and taken over in the most obstructive way?  How we are swimming in a sea of toxic rhetoric?  How we blame the media for writing the narrative but we just as quickly write our own narrative around the election, a narrative that supports our own ideas?  How do you stop the narrative spinning, the black-hole falling, the deep sea diving fall from reality?

Stop and listen.  Speak less and listen more.  Post less and listen more.  Stop blaming the media and starting asking yourself, "what is my role in this circus?"  Hear the stories of the people around you, take a deep breath and hear their heart not their rhetoric.   Hear their pain and don't try to fix-it or explain it or tell them why it shouldn't exist.  Consider your speech and your posting, will it bring life to the people around me?

Love extravagantly.  Love your neighbor as you would love yourself, whether they are old, young, grumpy, happy, White, Black, Latino, Muslim, LGBTQ, alcoholic, or a serious coffee lover (maybe even bring them a cup of coffee and a chocolate croissant).   And don't forget to love the Trump voters, the Hilary voters and the Third Party voters.

Laugh.  Laugh lots.  Laugh at comb-overs and pant suits.  Laugh at yourself for the weird words you say (or maybe that's just me).  Laugh at funny jokes and kids antics.  Laugh at yourself, when you'd rather criticize yourself.  Just laugh!

Abide.  Abide deeply.  Change can't be muscled through, it must flow out of a deep abiding relationship with Christ (this is something I learned this from yoga).  To-do lists and rants and beating ourselves up won't change us or anybody else.  There is a work that only Jesus can do.  Take time to listen for his voice, ask him what he wants you say, what he wants you to believe about the world, ask him how he wants you to love. 

There are more words tucked inside my heart, but this is where I'm starting post-election 2016.

Books I am reading, because I know you are curious:
Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikaibu (earliest novel written, 11c. Japan)
Iliad by Homer (my newest favorite, why had I never read this in its entirety before?!?!)
No-Drama Discipline by Dan Siegel and Tina Bryson (because I have 5 kids at home and no-drama is a good thing)
Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
Univited by Lysa TerKeurst

Have a campfire dance party on me.....

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Saturday, The Art of Celebration

lyrics from "Boldly I Approach" by Rend Collective

Boldly I Approach Your Throne

Blameless now I'm running home

By your blood I come

Welcomed as your own

Into the arms of Majesty

This is the ART of CELEBRATION

Knowing we're free from condemnation

Oh praise the One, praise the One

who made an end to all my sin

This is the ART of CELEBRATION

knowing we're free from condemnation

Oh praise the one, praise the one
Who made an end to all my sin

This song has been the soundtrack to my day.  A reminder of what we are celebrating this weekend.  A reminder that there is an art to celebration.  It's not just a party, it's bright orange yolks and clean laundry.  It's clean dishes and colorful eggs.  It's the smell of lemon and the laughter of kids.  This right here is my YOLO,  It's my living life intentionally and giving it everything I've got.  It's knowing that this all means something because "the goodness and kindness of God appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy." (Titus 3:4-5).  I can now boldly approach the throne. 

This is the art of celebration
knowing we're free from condemnation
Oh praise the One, praise the One
Who made an end to all my sin

GOOD Friday!

GOOD Friday, you always sneak up on me.  We talk, we plan, we pray but when it comes, I'm surprised.  I'm surprised by the GOOD friends.  Friends coming over to hang out.  Friends coming over to create.  Friends coming over to work.

I'm surprised by a GOOD service and a GOOD church family!  Coming together to remember what Jesus did for us.  Coming together to enjoy a meal.  Coming together to serve each other and our community.

See Ya Thursday

See Ya Thursday!

See Ya Gas, hello Cheyenne!  
You didn't let me down. You got me to Cheyenne with plenty left. 
I could have at least made it to the state-line.

See Ya Braces, hello Beautiful Smile!  
It was fun while it lasted, but off you go.  
We are thankful for the job you did, but not the pain you caused.

See ya Daylight, hello music! My lullabies are now played by my daughter.  
It's her music that fills the house.  Her creativity, her artistry, and her passion that flow freely in this space.

Hello, Wednesday

Hello, Wednesday!  
Sunny, Beautiful Wednesday!

Hello Family Focus!  Love our time together.  Reading the Bible.  Eating Donuts.  
And maybe an activity or two.

Some eagerly put their feet in the water and others say, "You won't wash my feet." 
Just like Peter to Jesus.  

This is His body broken for you.  This is His blood poured out for you

"Jesus Messiah, Name Above All Names, Blessed Redeemer"

Hello Mr. Funny Man! 
You brighten my life and make me laugh!

 Hello Whiteboard!  
I'm distracted by your blank space and colorful markers.  
You make spelling tests just a little bit more fun! 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

What up Tuesday?

What up Tuesday? I heard you wanted a blog about you.  Heard you were getting a little jealous of Monday, so What up Tuesday?!?

What up Laundry?  Boys pants and shorts hanging in the sun, soaking up the vitamin D for us.  I wonder often why you can't do yourself and then something crazy happens while I'm hanging you on the line.  I get time to think and time to soak up the sun and time to pray for the wearers of all those clothes.  

What up Green Thing?  You've returned my long lost friend.  I was beginning to think you might stay away forever and then there you are peaking out.  Welcome back Green Thing, we've missed you!

What up Algebra?  Oh, simultaneous equations, how you have baffled brains everywhere, but not in this house. We will toil and work until we have mastered your nuance and harnessed your power.  X and Y have nothing on us.

What up Iced Coffee? Nope I'm not addicted to you, I could leave you behind anytime, just not this week.  How about we break up at the end of school, but then there will be camps and trips and late summer nights and then fall and school starts again.  Yep, we won't be breaking up anytime soon

What up Time?  You keep moving on, I beg you to stop or slow down and let me cherish this moment a  little longer, but Time you keep on.  Time you remind me to pray, to be intentional, to seize the moment.  You, Time, who were established by our Creator and obey only Him.  You who are governed by the sun.  The same sun that worships the Creator. Time, do you also whisper Jesus name?  Maybe your ticking is not so daunting if instead I hear, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.

What up Pens?  You make me happy, pink, teal, burgundy just begging to color my life.  Planning just gets a little bit more fun with you in my hand.  What color will I feel like today?  I"m thinking its an orange kinda day.

What up Blue Chair?  You beg me to come sit and rest awhile.  Read and recharge.  Think and ponder. Here I am ready to hear, ready to listen, ready for perspective.  Thank you for greeting me with joy and letting me rest the weight of my soul.

What up Tuesday?  You are a miracle.  Another 24 hours to live and breathe and learn.  Thank you for your many gifts, the laughter of friends, the warmth of the sun, the prayers of team mates, the hugs of kids and the beauty of creation.  See ya next week!  Can't wait to see what other surprises you have for me.