Those cringe-worthy moments

You know those Facebook posts from the past that pop up on your feed prompting you to reshare?

I have some adorable ones- past trips with the grandkids, cute vacation snaps, visits with Mom and Dad…

And I have some “Why did I hate my body THEN?” ones when I realize that even though I might’ve been bigger than I’d ever been; it was, in fact, not the biggest I’d ever be.

But the ones that get me the most are the truly cringe-worthy ones. The ones that make me a little sad for the girl I used to be.

We aren’t talking pre-salvation either. We’re talking someone who let a setback or two (work, health issues) derail her to the point where there was no joy and no peace.

Ten years ago, I posted about being so angry at a television character that I turned my tv off. I wouldn’t admit the “lame program” I was watching at the time. I reposted it today, half-curious about what show it was (my money was on something on Nickelodeon since I wouldn’t name the program) and half-embarrassed that I’d ever posted that. To be honest, I’m not even sure why I REposted it except to chastise myself just a little. And give a little grace too….I genuinely felt bad for 10-years-ago me.

Some “kind soul” found it “necessary” to respond to my original post, so I was able to see what I’d been fussing about. It was a teenage gymnastics drama on what was formerly ABC Family. I remember the show- I liked the show a lot- but I don’t remember the character that made me so angry at all.

Imagine that!

For starters, I let it sink in that I was this mad at a CHARACTER. Okay, okay…maybe I do still get a little invested. Dale has to remind me often, as I’m sobbing into a tissue, that those things didn’t REALLY happen. But she ran after him in the rain and he got hit by a car as she reached out to him… (Okay, I made that one up, but you get my drift…)

It was the anger that bothered me the most. Because I remember that time period well. I had been miserable at work and then had major surgery; I was still not adjusting well to an empty nest; and my entire life revolved around lying in bed watching tv. It was all I had. And I was angry.

I was angry at the failing school system I’d thought I could make a difference in. It was the first district I’d been in that didn’t want innovative teaching; they wanted test questions drilled from Day 1.

I was angry that my son was overseas fighting for our country and we couldn’t hear from him for months at a time. I was angry at my girls for avoiding me (in retrospect, I completely understand. You know that one person you dread talking to because he/she is always miserable and it’s draining just to listen to them? That was me.)

So my anger at this tv character WHO I DON’T EVEN REMEMBER was really more about the anger within me. A deep, deep anger.

But how did it get there? After all, I’d let it all go ten years ago. And I don’t mean I THOUGHT I’d let it go. I had.

So how was there that much anger?

Simple, I let it in a little at a time.

Have you ever done a major closet cleaning? Cleared out stuff you no longer wore, put clothes on hangers facing the same direction, maybe even color-coordinated? The satisfaction of a well-organized closet can run deep. It also comes with a vow to NEVER let it get it piled up again.

Fast forward a year and there you are, finding something to wear from the pile of clothes in a jumbled heap. How did it get so messy? Simple. One garment at a time.

Our spiritual closets are no different. They require effort and a daily maintenance to keep them clean. When we do notice a problem, it’s best to take care of it immediately. Otherwise, you just pile more problems on top of each other until you can’t even identify the real issue anymore.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

Back to the Past…not Back to the Future

One of my favorite Hallmark Christmas movies was on this evening, Journey Back to Christmas with Candace Cameron Bure.

In it, she time travels about 70 years into the future.

Of course, we all know that Marty McFly zip zaps to the future AND the past with Doc in the Back to the Future trilogy.

I’ve made no secret of my desire to go back in time and right some wrongs, from redoing high school to raising my kids with a grandmother’s mindset. (And patience. AND wisdom of just how fleeting their time at home is.)

There are also many things that were GOOD that I’d love to revisit.

Playing board games with my sister, eating dinner with my family on a random weeknight, visiting my grandparents…

(Bending over without pain, running without wheezing, seeing my feet?)

But seriously, I’ve spent more than a minute asking for this miracle of going back in time.

Watching this movie tonight, I realized that not once have I asked the Lord to let me go to the future.

I would be as scared as this girl is.

Probably more so because this world is getting more and more wicked.

I’m terrified to think what it will be like in 70 years.

Will America still be a free country? Will Christianity be outlawed? Will people still be allowed to pray publicly?

If I went to the future and saw where we were (because I know where we are headed), I’m not sure I could come back and lead a productive life. I think I’d be weeping all day.

I think the Lord is already weeping at how we’ve turned from Him.

Last week I talked about how my childhood was rooted in faith. In church.

Now, people stay home and catch up on sleep on Sundays. They refuse to make their kids attend church if they don’t want to. They see God has an archaic figure, an abstract concept.

And we wonder why our country is in such dire straits…

So if you swing by to pick me up in a DeLorean with a flux capacitor, please make sure it’s set to the PAST not the FUTURE!


THE BIG 5-0!

I can’t believe I’m 50.

On this day in 1969, a little hazel-eyed blonde baby was born to APD officer John Ritchie and his teacher wife, Gloria.

I had the quintessential Southern suburban upbringing. School, church, neighborhood parties. Summer vacations, club tennis and swimming. Grandparent visits, piano lessons, community theater.

Sometimes I’m not sure if I look back with rose-colored glasses or I just didn’t appreciate it like I should’ve back then.

Probably a little of both.

My teenage years were tumultuous. Even then, I was stereotypical. Preacher’s kids and cop’s kids, right?

I was a rebel.

But a very naive one, a fact I would later realize in my early 40’s. One whose pragmatism was ironically cloaked in idealism. Still is, to a certain degree. It’s strange when you have two brains simultaneously competing for thought time.

But after 4 decades of life, I have come to appreciate these quirks. I like that I’m a little weird. I think we all are.

If only we could realize that when we’re younger.

I’ve also learned to embrace my past. It’s not delusional to stow away the more unpleasant memories and focus on the good ones. I know they are there; I’m not trying to erase history. But their place is the basement of my mind. The good memories get the window seats.

I like being able to look in the mirror and really like the person I see. Sure, she can lose a few pounds, but she’s no longer lost HERSELF.

I like her because I see the Lord in her.

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16

Now for my next 50 years…