Saturday, June 2, 2018

Be True to Who You Are



Yesterday morning while Dennis painted plein air (a fancy artist's term that simply means painting outdoors), I went for a long walk. The town where we live has paved walking paths surrounded by glorious views.




I like to walk in the morning when the air is fresh and cool. AM is my favorite time of day, and early morning is best.



As I walked I pondered the advantages of being a woman of a certain age. There's something remarkable about finally reaching a stage in life where you are no longer concerned with what others think of you. I think that's a gift God gives to us -- a kind of reward if you will -- for enduring all those earlier years when we struggled to fit in, for whatever reason. 


I grew up on a farm where money was scarce. Mind you, our family wasn't poverty-stricken, although sometimes it felt that way. We three kids each had one pair of shoes to be worn to both school and church, and they were replaced only when they gave out. The old shoes then became our "work shoes" to be worn for chores and play. 



My mother raised chickens for food, as well as for the eggs she sold to local markets. Her "egg money" was used to buy necessities such as school clothes at Montgomery Ward and Sears, and later Kmart when it arrived on the scene.



It didn't occur to me to be ashamed of the source of my clothing until the day when I mentioned to my mom that someone at school had asked me where I got my new outfit and I told them "Kmart". 

"Oh, don't tell them that!" my mother admonished me. "Tell them you don't remember."


But I did remember. 

And in that moment I felt ashamed of my wardrobe and our meager circumstances. I felt less than. Inferior. Because if telling the truth about buying my clothes at a discount store was disgraceful, then obviously I didn't measure up to the other kids.

Sadly, that belief stayed with me for a very long time. 



Years later when I experienced success in my chosen career and could afford to buy more expensive clothing, I felt guilt in spending the money, even though I always paid mark-down prices. I didn't deserve nicer clothes. They were meant to be worn by someone better than me.



My heart breaks to think my mother was so humiliated by her economic condition that she felt more comfortable teaching her child to lie than to teach her that the label on her jeans or the weight of her wallet doesn't give her worth as a person.



Buying your clothes at Neiman Marcus might give you a good feeling, but it doesn't make you a better person. It certainly doesn't make you superior to anyone else.



When we define our worth as humans by the things we wear or possess, the neighborhood we live in or the make of car we drive, we can become very confused about who we really are. 



There's the danger that if we lose all those things to which we attribute our worth we suddenly feel worthless

Less than.




Many years ago I came to accept that my true worth, my value, rests in one place -- the heart of God. Here's what Jesus said in Matthew 6:25-33 about this (quoting from The Message version of the Bible):

“If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to Him than birds.



“Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.



“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think He’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do His best for you? 



"What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way He works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how He works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met."

Do you see it? I have worth because I am loved by God and He values me. So much so that He sent His son to die for me and redeem me (John 3:16). The same goes for you and every other human being on earth. It's up to each of us to grasp hold of this truth and accept it. With that acceptance comes peace and contentment, along with a true sense of worth that we can never lose. A true sense of who we are. Whose we are.



I could go on and on about this. I want to see people live in freedom from inferiority, unshackled by the truth that we are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. (Psalm 139:14-16, Genesis 1:26). When we are firmly established in this truth then we are free to walk away from earthly possessions that so often ensnare us and keep us from living the life God has envisioned for us. We can walk away from a little red cottage and everything inside, if that's what we are called to do, knowing that our worth was never tied to a house in the first place.

We can be true to who we are.

God bless you, my friends. Thank you for all the lovely comments you left on my last post about selling our Oregon cottage and moving to Texas. I appreciate them and you more than you know.





45 comments:

  1. Nancy, what a beautiful message today! It was good to hear you're happy and thriving in your new home and the photos are a delight, but your reminder to steep ourselves in God-reality, the reality of his love and acceptance and cherishing of us brought joy to my heart.

    Even with the knowledge of that, it sometimes can be difficult to move past childhood hurts. Somewhere I wrote down a quote from a book, or movie, where one of the friends says: High school is never over.

    But women of a certain age should be free from it and oh how I wish we could teach our daughters and granddaughters that they can be too.

    I'm going to read this post again, thank you for it and much joy to you in your new homeland,
    Dewena

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  2. I know I speak for others when I say we are looking forward to hearing about your move and where you are settling in. We don't care if it is an apartment or whatever, we just want to hear about your adventure. So exciting!

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  3. This post feels like I was walking with you, as you discussed growing up.
    If I was with you, I would of joined in the conversation and we would of found, that we grew up similarly!

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  4. "Yes" to your reflections on being a woman of a certain age AND the truths of God's Word, personal worth, etc. What a lovely place you have to walk! Very happy for you...

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  5. Beautiful heartfelt post!!! ....and oh so true!!!! I grew up much the same as you. In the middle of three. My mother always said, "You may not have a closet full of beautiful party dresses but good food will take you a lot farther." Hand me downs were just a natural way of life and I never knew any different. Once I was so excited and happy to go to school in a "new to me" dress. I excitedly told a friend that "tomorrow" was the day I would wear my new dress!!! I was proud to show it off. When I met my friend at school, I was beaming!!! She took one look at me and said, "That is NOT new....That's old, I've seen your sister wear that!!!" I was crushed. And I felt it all day long. That stuck with me too, for a long time.
    Fast forward to today....I can more then afford the finer things in life. But I don't desire or spend on them. Donating to wounded vets and DAV and eating organic is much more important to me. AND my biggest thrill and fun is getting a good score at garage and estate sales. I love and drive my 15 year old Toyota.
    Yes, God doesn't care if we wear the latest or the hand me downs....it's our heart that matters most.
    Good post.

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    1. Addie, thank you so much for sharing your own story. You are an inspiration. Your comment about God caring more about our hearts reminds me of 1 Samuel 16:7: "For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” You speak truth. God bless you.

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  6. I am right where you are in your thinking, friend. It's a real blessing when we are freed from all these things. I am at a point where someone could walk into my house and take anything they want. Just give me Jesus. It is so freeing when we finally get it. I loved when my pastor said, "You never see a Uhaul attached to a hearse." It feels wonderful to only care how God sees you. Love you!

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    1. Sue, someone in our Sunday School class made that same U-Haul comment last Sunday. It's a good reminder that earthly possessions have no eternal value. So good to see your comment here. Hugs.

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  7. Oh, my dear friend, you spoke so eloquently! The Scripture passage from The Message spoke deeply to my heart. My sweetheart and I just returned from a short trip to the beautiful countryside of the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Fields were in bloom and meadows displayed the yellow of buttercups. Wildflowers along the back roads captured my heart. And then you shared this that brought it all home. How very much He loves us and when He looks at us it with love that can't be comprehended here on earth. I am so happy for you and your hubby. Following God's call to leave your little red cottage behind is an adventure you will never regret.
    ~Adrienne~

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  8. ❤️ this post: the photos, the words, and the message!

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  9. Reflecting . . .
    In the morning, early light . . . some green too . . .
    Is my best time . . .

    Beautiful post Nancy . . .
    I too . . . am finding this a perfectly wonderful time of my life . . .

    Blessings . . . for you and the painter . . .

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  10. Beautiful message in your post Nancy. Love seeing the pretty photos to go along with your heart felt words.
    So many of us especially women dread getting older where I feel it makes us wiser and more open to who we are and what we have done with our lives. It is freeing to no longer worry about how others judge us. I am hoping my friends, family and the new people I meet each day will see me for who I am and what I have done so far with my life. I hope they do not see me for what I have or do not have. Each day is such a gift given and it is so great when we all can look at each day like that and enjoy it to the fullest and feel the best we can about ourselves. Great message today Nancy. So happy you are loving your new home in Texas.
    xoxo
    Kris

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  11. I agree so much with Dewena and Kris, they echo my thoughts and beliefs. If we can believe in ourselves--our self worth, more than what others think, we will find contentment. It's not always easy to learn, but just one sliver of joy in your heart can make you continue to strive for acceptance of the past and forgiveness of yourself. And then you move on. I love your inspirational words, Nancy.

    I hope you are enjoying your new home! And I hope I haven't missed too many posts. I'm a month or so past surgery and I have never blogged as little as I have in the past few months. And I miss ya, girl!

    Jane

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  12. Dearest Nancy, it sure is good to see your blog posts again, because what has uplifted me for so long is this community of women I've been so blessed with, through blogging. We can certainly connect and learn that we are not alone in also positive matters, such as "growing up."

    I turned 60 in April, and I am amazed. I feel young, I forget about the number unless I remind myself, "OH, I'm 60 now!" and then I move on. I move on in peace and what I think is a healthy amount of satisfaction and peace that I no longer have to worry about pleasing others. Wisdom is the best gift anyone can receive over the years when on ages, and with this wisdom (given by God), we can release our concerns much easier. Granted, it still takes a lot of strength to develop when new challenges arise daily, but we have the knowledge, the peace and the assurance that there is no greater possession or status than being a child of God.

    HALLELUJAH! And....I grew up in similar circumstances as you.

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  13. Dear, dear Nancy ~ Thank you for this spiritually uplifting & encouraging post. There is no peace in the world that can come close to the peace we have with Jesus our Great God. This was a wonderful read and visually pleasing for me this morning.

    Love, hugs & prayers ~ FlowerLady

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  14. Nancy dear! Thank you so much for this post! I grew up in another country but the story was the same. May the Lord God take care of us humans, we tend to mess things up. Sending a hug and wishes for a lovely Sunday.

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  15. Oh this really touched my heart today, Nancy. We all have so many different struggles both big and small growing up that form our beliefs about ourselves. You've shared so perfectly what is truly important.

    Now, I'm off to read this post about you moving to Texas. I might need to greet you at the state line!

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  16. How timely are your words for me today. I have struugled discerning God's will in regards to my housing situation since February with no clear picture of














    Wonderful and timely post Nancy. I will read and meditate on it throughout today. You are so talented in expressing yourself in words. I do hope you continue blogging regularly. Oh how I envy you having Dennis to help make those big life choices. What a beautiful place to walk and enjoy God's beauty. Looking forward to hearing about your latest adventure. Hugs


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  17. Here, here! As you know, my father died when I was just a child. We had money, and yet it couldn't save him. At that moment I learned how truly unimportant it was. Yes, it's necessary and life is much, much easier with it, but it certainly cannot define your worth or buy you anything that truly matters. Thanks for taking us along on your walk and sharing your thoughts...lovely...Hugs.

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  18. Nancy -- such a great post. So glad to hear you are settling into your new home. Yes, it is so nice to be a woman of a certain age. Too bad it takes most of us so long to learn not to succumb to peer pressure. Looking forward to more posts.

    Carla from Kansas

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  19. In the UK we children of my generation, born during WW2, had very little in the way of material things. Fortunately my mother was a dressmaker and I did have some lovely clothes. My parents never owned a car, and we didn't have a phone in the house until after I emigrated here in 1962! But I had a wonderful childhood, and a brother came along when I was 8 and that was really special.

    Lovely to see you here today Nancy and read your beautiful thoughts put into words. Where are you hanging out in Texas? Love the pic of Dennis painting plein air, and the surroundings do look green and lush.
    Take care - Mary

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  20. This lovely post can also be titled It is Well With My Soul......a sentiment I am working on achieving to 100% in my life. I am not there yet. You seem to have found the contentment you needed in your new home and I am so happy for you. This is such a well written, heartfelt post with the best message of all...the great news of salvation in Christ. Your neighborhood is so pretty!!

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  21. Nancy, this is beautify written and so true and enlightening. You have touched my heart and made me cry.
    I have an almost teenage granddaughter that I have been praying for God to give me the perfect words to share with her this summer when she comes to visit. She has reached that time in life where she lets herself be drawn into what other kids think and say. Until now, she has always been so clear on who she is, so grandma needs to be sensitive while helping her get back on track. This has been an awesome and I know God inspired read.
    Thank you,
    Connie :)

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  22. Oh Nancy this resonates with me. Reaching a certain age and being happy with who we are. Growing up I mostly had hand-me-down clothes and my mum knitted cardigans and jumpers. I was always aware that we were working class. I did have new shoes though. People don’t have things for best and things for working in nowadays, we’re all a bit more affluent! Your neighbourhood looks beautiful, it felt like I was walking and talking with you. I like early morning too, out with the dogs, all I hear is silence and the birds singing :-) x

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  23. You have written so many true words here. I am reminded to two comments. This comment from my mom: "When I was twenty, I worried about what people thought of me. When I was forty, I quit caring what people thought of me. When I was sixty, I realized no one was thinking of me anyway." (as in, they were so worried about themselves!)
    Then a friend told me yesterday that a God moment in her life was when she realized that God just wants her to be His daughter and that's enough!
    I am on a road trip right now and enjoying the beauty all around me--seeing God's handiwork in the world everywhere!

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  24. Loved the photos. I awaken everyday amazed that I exist. Out of all the planets that we know of, I live on one that can sustain human life. I find that phenomenal. I don't spend a lot of time pondering my value or who made me. The point is I exist, the rest is speculation. If I want my life to have had meaningand worth,I must seek ways to make life easier for those who are having a dfficult time. I must be kind. I must right wrongs I didn't commit. I must try to leave a better world for those who'll follow me.

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  25. Nancy, This has to be my very favorite post on your blog. The JOY you are experiencing now comes across so much more than in the posts you shared while planning, building and fluffing up your little cottage. I agree that it is so much more important to know who you are and especially who's you or(we) are than what we have. I feel that we often hunt for treasures to fix and fluff our homes, but don't the take time to know or understand the real treasure of salvation that is so much more than the cozy feeling we have when our nests are fixed up so nice. What a wonderful feeling being free of possessions and nick knacks and the cottage. I can tell your heart is singing. God bless you.

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  26. I am so envious of you Nancy, in many ways! I too have been a "wanderer" my entire life! I get tired of being in one place too long. I can nest while I'm there, but once my nest is complete, I'm ready to move on to another adventure! I've talked to hubby many times about "downsizing" to a smaller house, or even living in a big RV so that we could move around. I think I would like being in one place for awhile though.. I don't want to always be on the move! He'll have nothing of it though.. he likes his "stuff" and no one is going to talk him out of it! I love my stuff too, but am willing to put some crafting things in one tub, another for fabric and have my sewing machine... and I'd be happy. I hope you've found the prefect place for good weather year round. We both get that SAD too.. so are always talking about "is there anywhere to live that doesn't have the long gray cold winters?"... and can't come up with much as it's too far away from our children (who are already 5 hours away and that's almost too far for me!). I looked up San Antonio and it looks gorgeous! and I LOVE all the waterways there. I'm a water girl.. I need water.. but where I live now is very dry and the nearest water is 10 miles away. Anyway.... good for you guys for following your hearts and where you are being taken for your next journey. I'll be anxious for your next posts as to where you've landed as far as a home... a place to rest your heads... and what adventures you'll be undertaking there! Take care! Marilyn

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  27. Oh Nancy, I can feel the joy in your heart at being in this place in your life where there is acceptance and peace in your heart with who you are and your hope in the Lord. Such a beautifully written post my friend, eloquent and powerful! It is amazing the power of words and how they can do so much damage. It is wonderful to reach that place in life where you are comfortable with who you are in Christ! And I am so happy you are enjoying Texas! It is home to my family, and I know the area you are living in well, so beautiful. May the Lord continue to bless you and your husband on this new adventure HE has you on :)

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  28. This was wonderful, Nancy. I went on an early morning with you (I'm an early riser as well), enjoyed some gorgeous scenery and very good conversation. A perfect start to the day, my friend.
    Amalia
    xo

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  29. Hello Nancy,
    This was so well said. And so true. I too have struggled with the same things that you shared. It all started because of something someone said to me in 5th grade.
    Thank you, thank you for this message.
    Love to you,
    Carla

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  30. Thank you for your wise words, they are so true!

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    1. You're welcome, Delaine. Thank you for joining in the conversation. :)

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  31. This is an interesting translation for that bible passage and I'm not familiar with it. I'm going to look into that further.

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  32. Nancy, I think I will reload your blog to my favorites...because when I click on the spot I have for you it is from 2015. LOL Hope you and Dennis are loving your new home. You will this winter for sure. Blessings, and Happy Fathers Day to Dennis.xoxo, Susie

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  33. Dear Nancy ... Such beautiful and heartwarming words. In my Home Journal, I have a few writings that go along with your post. 'It is not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy' ... 'Be yourself, because an original is worth more than a copy' ... 'The secret to having it all, is believing you already do' ... just a few words to ponder. Thank you for sharing. Homespun Hugs ♥ Teri

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  34. What a beautiful post, Nancy. I can completely relate. I remember being embarrassed by my Kmart clothes as a child. Today it seems so silly to me that anything like that mattered, but it did.

    What a lovely area you're living in now. Congratulations on your move! (Somehow I missed that!). I hope you're fully settled in now.

    Wishing you joy,
    Anne

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  35. Nancy, I just came looking for you because, not blogging as often as I used to, I don't always see posts on my side bar. This is a fantastic post Nancy! So very true! I grew up on a farm and my mother made my clothes out of the fabric (calicoes) that chicken mash came in. We always had plenty to eat and were warm and safe but my mother never felt she had to store buy clothes that she could make. It never bothered me until I went to the 'big school' (7th grade) and realized how different I was from everyone else. I felt "less than" for many, many years--even when I was successful and was quite well known in the south for my commercials, etc. I always thought--they don't see the 'real me'-they see me through the eyes of a camera.

    You are right- getting to be a certain age allows us to "let go and let God" and not care so much what others think. It is a hard lesson to learn sometimes and, the sad thing is, some people never learn-they are ashamed of themselves until they leave this earth.

    Blessings to you this beautiful Sunday. I hope you have a great afternoon and evening! xo Diana

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  36. Best message I have received in a very long time. Thank you for putting forth such inspiration for thought. Grace and peace to you in your new location and home.

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  37. I just happened upon your site and I think it was meant to be because I so needed to hear this today. The other day I was in Walmart with my 25 yr old daughter. As we were walking through I spotted some lounge pants and said, "Oh, those are my favorite lounge pants. I need to remember to come back and get a couple more." To which she responded, "UGH! Mom, don't ever tell anyone some clothing from Walmart is your favorite thing!" I turned to her, "Why? What do I care if anyone knows I like Walmart lounge pants ... and t-shirts too?" She still doesn't get it. Your post confirmed that it's ok be happy with what I like and not concerned about the label.

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    1. Hurrah Munchkinlady! Kudos for living free! I was in Walmart today and saw the cutest lounge pants. I wonder if they're the ones you like. It's funny because I needed a sweater to slip on at work (when the A/C is cranked up it gets really cold). I was walking through Walmart and saw a cardigan that was just what I was looking for so I bought it for under $17. Last week I received a compliment on that cardigan from a very well-dressed, chic woman. It made me smile. I hope you're smiling, too. Cheers!

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