Unpacking The Happy

Last night I couldn’t sleep so I found myself scrolling Facebook. (Is it just me or do you do the same in the wee hours of the morning?) I landed on a video of a childhood friend, her sister and mom all in the kitchen making cookies. My friend’s sister was doing the taping, asking her mom to tell the story of when her family came over from Italy. It was a pretty long video and I watched every moment, feeling like I was right there in the kitchen with them. The three ladies laughed together, reminisced and had a very special moment together. Although, I suspect for them, they were just having a typical afternoon.

For me, it was anything but a “typical” moment. I found myself asking God alot of questions. Questions like, “We grew up together, went to the same church, attended the same youth group. We both came from Italian families. Why do they have such a close relationship and get to have such “normal” moments and what I got was a broken family and exclusion?”

Watching them both drew me in and made me smile and at the same time made my heart sad and homesick for normalsy. That’s my typical response to things that remind me of my past. It’s like when I hear the song “Because He Lives” that my mom would sing all the time in our home. On one hand it feels comforting like home. On the other I want to push it out of my mind because I feel the sadness that my adult life was robbed of the family I grew up with.

God does not want me to reframe my past to be just the trauma, hurt and rejection…but to allow myself to remember and talk about the good moments.

BUT last night God (there’s always a ‘BUT GOD’) used the moment to reveal something about myself. When I look at my life growing up and as an adult in regards to my (birth)family relationships I have a huge tendency to shut out any good memories and only remember the struggles. I make my focus when I look back on my life on what I’ve survived and overcome. When I speak to groups and share my testimony (as many do) I share my story of how I’ve overcome, how God carried me through, and allowed me to thrive and use it for His glory. And that’s all ok. After all we overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony.

What God reminded me of last night was that the good moments of my life are just as responsible for making me who I am today as the hard stuff. I did have many moments in my grandma’s kitchen baking cookies and listening to her stories. I had moments with my mom talking about all kinds of things and seasons when we were close. There were many Saturdays doing puzzles or playing Monopoly with my dad. I realized I’ve packed up and boxed away so many of my good memories because to rememer the good makes me long for what was taken away.

God does not want me to reframe my past to be just the trauma, hurt and rejection I experienced but to allow myself to remeber and talk about the good moments. The hard part for me is remembering the special moments without feeling the loss. After all, I want my kids to hear all the happy, fun things about my life, what being part of an Italian family was like, and what being part of a wonderful church was like for me. It’s not just part of my life, it’s part of my children’s heritage.

Photo by fauxels on Pexels.com

Listen, none of us have arrived. I am pretty grateful that I have lived through what I’ve lived through and have joy, peace and know what being loved by my God feels like. But just maybe this is my next step in the healing process, embracing all of what my life has been, the good, the bad and the silly.

And I hope some day my kids will look back fondly on the moments when we sat around my table eating pasta, laughing and enjoying moments together.

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God created you just the way you are. Whether you are tall, short, shy, outgoing, funny or serious, He knew His plan for you and put into you the qualities you would need to live out your destiny. And after He put His hand on you to shape you into the person He wanted you to be He said, “It is good!”

No matter how anyone else sees you, in spite of how friends and family look at you, in spite of how people at work see you, in spite of how you see you, He said, “IT IS GOOD!” You are unique and beautiful to Him.

My desire for you is that you see yourself as Jesus see you. That means laying down and surrendering other people’s opinions. That means surrendering your own opinion of yourself so that you can see yourself as He sees you.

How do I know the truth about how He views you? After all, I don’t even know you. Everything we believe, whether it be our worldview, our religious beliefs, or our opinion of ourselves must be filtered through the truth of His Word. The world will not always tell us the truth. People around us are imperfect so their opinions will be imperfect. We have been affected by our past, our current circumstances and have emotions that constantly change and skew our opinion of ourselves.

BUT HIS WORD IS PERFECT!!! It is the meausuring rod we can hold everything up to for clarity. So read on and find out what he thinks of you.

PSALMS 139:1-5, 13-18

You have searched me, Lord you know me.

You know when I sit and when I rise;

You perceive my thoughts from afar.

You discern my going out and my lying down;

You are familiar with all my ways.

Before a word is on my tongue You, Lord, know it completely.

You hem me in behind and before,


“For you created my inmost being;

You knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.

When I was woven together in the depths of the earth

your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me were written in your book

before one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts,

God how vast is the sum of them!

Were I to count them they would outnumber the grains of sand.

When I awake I am still with you.”

Don’t be limited by what others think of you. Don’t be held back by your opinion of yourself. I pray that when you look at yourself in the mirror you would begin to see yourself as your Creator intended you to be.

You are beautiful. You are loved. You are created for a purpose.

Who Are You Living For?

I am who I am.

I am who You created me to be.

Who You created me to be is all You require of me.

As You sculpted this body with your hands,

You knew every day, every step, every breathe I would take.

It is You who set in motion the direction of my life and pre-ordained my purpose.

So then as I live each day it is by the standard of Your perfect will that I compare the outcome.

I do not need to look to the left or to the right.

I do not need to tune my ear to the endless input from both well-wishers and those who would criticize.

I look to You, the author and perfector of my faith.

For it is in You that I live and move and have my being.

It is You who works in me to will and to do Your good pleasure.

And it is in You that I find all I need for life and godliness.

It is in You, it is through You, and it is for You that I live.