Pounding Fists and Dancing Feet

So, my birthday came and went. I turned 45. Just throwing the number out there…not because it means anything but so you have a point of reference.  I have never really cared about age.  Ever since I was 28, I just kind of stayed 28 in my mind.  To help this perpetual 28 year old-ness, I try not to look in the mirror too much.  I’m just saying, it can be shocking to your 28 year old insides to see your 45 year old outsides.

I felt a little sad this year.  I’m not going to lie. I felt a little, shall we say, melancholy.  I looked up melancholy in the dictionary because I’ve always loved that word.  It says:  soberly thoughtful; pensive and it also says sad and mournful and depressed which is not what I was feeling.  I’ve always appreciated the word because to me, it described the feeling we sometimes have of being  a mixture of happy and sad. I was feeling that mixture of happy and sad.  Like when I used to swing on my swing in the backyard and I would lay on my stomach to feel that feeling you get when you are excited but yet feel like crying.  I would do this on purpose.  I’ve always sort of enjoyed the melancholy.

I guess the thing that really got to me this year is that it was a year of transformation for me.  A year of freedom and joy and renewed passion and purpose.

And what this says to me is that GOD CAN DO ANYTHING AT ANY TIME NO MATTER HOW OLD YOU ARE.

Amen?

On Good Friday, I taught a Holy Yoga class.  It was my regular Holy Yoga class time but it was Good Friday so that changes everything.  I woke up and I felt God calling me to PREACH IT.  I felt this overwhelming need to get on my knees and thank Him for His sacrifice.  I couldn’t even stand it people.  I was bawling reading scripture that morning.  I was newly taken with the story I have known forever.  I was nearer and closer to Jesus because I LET HIM IN this year.

He didn’t change.  But He changed me.

So, little beknownst to me (is that a word?) my awesome friend and owner of the home where I teach Holy Yoga, Eileen,  planned a surprise for me by making sure a lot of people could make it to class and stay for coffee afterwards to celebrate my birthday and my one year Holy Yoga anniversary.  I mean. Oh my gosh. Each person that came into the room just blew me away.  There was this keen awareness of how blessedly important every person in my life is.  How each one of these lovely women has ministered to me, has fed my soul, has nourished me and supported me and given me strength.  I mean, it was almost too much.  My spidey senses were up and I already told you I felt like preaching and tears were flowing freely so you know what happened next.  What happened next had nothing to do with me…it was like we rolled out our mats and created space and let God do His thing and…

Holy yoga was HOLY.

I was pounding the floor talking about IT IS FINISHED.  We were LAYING IT DOWN AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS.

You know, I don’t really give a hoot about denomination.  I think God weeps at the way we separate ourselves along man made lines and judge each other.  I think it’s nuts.  But I have to bring it up in this regard.  It’s funny because every single person in the room – I’d say there were about 16 or 17 people- every one of us was raised Catholic.  Now I only mention this because there are a few things the Catholics do like nobody else in my opinion.

One: Funerals.  Two: Good Friday.

I mean, we can mourn and weep and feel loss and regret like nobody’s business.

We can SUFFER.

Now usually, I like to focus on the happy and the positive and the hopeful.  My mom, who was not raised Catholic used to ask not so subtly, “Why all of this emphasis on the crucifixion? It’s all about the Resurrection.” And I get that, I do.  I’m a resurrection girl for sure. But we can’t have Sunday without Friday.  Amen?

I have no idea what I said during that Holy Yoga class but I know it was from my heart and my heart was feeling the Holy Spirit that day.  It was the end of the birthday week, the melancholy, the pensiveness. I was laying it down.

When I think about it, it makes perfect sense.  I had an AHA moment.  His Death and Resurrection reminded me of my own.  Of my many.

This is a holy practice, right?  To not rush to Easter Sunday.  To sit on Friday in the pain and pound our fists and weep and mourn and remember.  And then to sit on Saturday and wait.  To have nothing happen.  To be bored and wander around not knowing what’s coming.  To wonder.

Our need to rush to Sunday kind of stunts us.  It denies us the feeling we need to feel…that death and birth are painful.  They are transformational…but we have to let ourselves experience them in their entirety without sugar coating or rushing it along.

I don’t have to make it “all good” all the time.  Not for me, not for my friends, not for my kids.  It is what it is.  Happy and sad.  New and old.  28 and 45.  Death and Resurrection.  Sorrow and Joy. Pounding fists and dancing feet.  There is love in both and all and every.

 

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©2014 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

Receiving and Giving

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Three is the magic number.

My son asked me the other day why three is the magic number and I said  “Because of the trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”  The rest of my family came up with a bunch of other reasons so we decided it’s the magic number because Schoolhouse Rock said it is.   

I have three things I’m celebrating in the next couple weeks.

1. It’s my Birthday

2. It’s Easter

3. It’s my one year anniversary of becoming a Holy Yoga instructor

Now alone…each of these things is amazing and exciting.  But together…I mean…I’m giddy over here.  And also, it’s Spring and sunny and warm today and my kids (and me and the dog) will hopefully get out of the house.  Yay!

I am so grateful for all of the things on the list.  I want to do something special to celebrate!

What are we celebrating?  Let’s think about each of the things on the list above:

1.  The gift of LIFE

2. The gift of JESUS and His saving GRACE

3. OH MY GOSH LET ME TELL YOU!

So we are born, right?  And then we live and we struggle and we grow and we learn and somewhere along the way, someone tells us about God and Jesus and HOW MUCH WE ARE LOVED.  That we are His BELOVED. Which is incredible because we don’t have to do anything accept allow ourselves to BE – LOVED.  Which is the best news ever! And sometimes we remember and other times we toss it all aside and we make mistakes and we reject God and we doubt and we fear and we struggle.

And then, God willing, we get a “shot in the arm” when God brings us someone new, something different, a new way of seeing to renew our  faith and our hope and our dreams and our KNOWING HOW MUCH WE ARE LOVED.  He reminds us that we can BE-LOVED and He asks us to  open our hearts to Receive. He reignites our passion for goodness and truth and He shows us the way.  Again. And Again. And again.

Because it’s not a straight line…it’s curvy and bumpy and it has stop signs and detour signs and we get lost.  Sometimes we are good and happy and healthy and we are strolling along easily.  Other times, we get lonely, we get scared, we suffer, we get angry.  But He never leaves us.

And that my friends is a gift I can never repay.

Holy Yoga was a major “shot in the arm” for me last year.  Holy Yoga has reignited my passion to SHARE GOD’S GRACE AND LOVE WITH OTHERS.  I have no idea what that looks like because I don’t know the way.  But Jesus is the way so I’ve decided I will just follow Him.

I am currently in Holy Yoga Leadership training and I am beyond excited to see what great plans God has for this ministry.  Hundreds of people are being trained to share the Gospel with the world through the vehicle of yoga.

The Gospel.  Shared with the World.  Through Holy Yoga.

GREAT.  BIG.  YES!

So, to celebrate, I have three ideas I’d like to share with you.

1.  For the next two weeks, I will be donating all of my class proceeds to the Holy Yoga ministry.  This money will help with the costs of ongoing training and leadership development of Holy Yoga instructors.  Please come to a Class!  The cost is $10.  If you have been wanting to experience Holy Yoga, now is the time.  All are welcome! Even if you have never experienced yoga before, please join us!

2. Please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry.  If you would like to donate and you can’t come to class, you can visit www.holyyoga.net:  Go to the DONATE tab.  In notes please include: T3 FUNDRAISING, Instructor name: Sue Bidstrup.  (Holy Yoga is a 501c3 non-profit organization.  All donations qualify as a charitable tax deductible contribution.)

3. Please PRAY for Holy Yoga! The mission of Holy Yoga is to spread the truth of God’s Word and God’s love throughout the entire world. We are a global ministry based on the truth that there is no boundary to what God can do. We believe that He wants Holy Yoga to minister to every tongue, every nation, and every tribe.  We appreciate your prayers.

Thank you! I really hope to see you at class in the next couple weeks.  The schedule is here on the blog under the Holy Yoga Class Schedule tab.   Let’s celebrate together!

Have a blessed Holy Week!

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Keeping it Real – My Messy Beautiful

This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!

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 When someone asks you how you are, what do you say?

I think it’s easier to tell people you are a mess.  People like to hear that.  It’s more difficult to say you feel beautiful.  Or  your life is beautiful.  Can you imagine if we walked around saying everything was beautiful?  Everything. All the time. People would be like Whatever. You are annoying. Just to remind us.

The good thing is that you can say you are both, a mess and beautiful.  It’s not a one or the other.  It’s a “Yes, I’m messy AND I’m beautiful”.  If we posted the truth on Facebook, it might look like this:  Hey my kids are dirty and stinky and sassy and right now I’m pretty sure they will never amount to anything good but I still love them.  Or:  My husband and I had a rip roaring argument last night and I think I actually hate him right now but marriage can be a beautiful thing and I know I’m learning and growing and we love each other a whole lot.  Or:  I have no idea what I’m going to do with my life.  I really am lost and afraid and I feel alone and I think I may be going crazy but I’m sure I will look back at this as a really beautiful time of searching for me.  The truth is, you may be having a terrible moment but your whole life is not rotten.

We get so used to complaining and commiserating that we tend to choke on the positive words.  Have you ever asked someone how they are doing and they answer, “I’m fantastic! Never been better!”  I love that.  Are they really fantastic?  Are they just trying to convince themselves?  Who cares!  It always makes me smile and I feel pretty fantastic just being around them.  Perception is everything.

AND Marianne Williamson said (so I believe), “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” By this I think she means we should say we are fantastic when we are feeling it and we can say we are a mess when we are feeling that and there will be no shame in either.  Because we all know we are both.  Messy and Beautiful.

I’ve been spending a lot of time with Jesus lately and I’ve noticed something.  When I tell Him I feel messy and confused and lost, He tells me I’m beautiful.  When I go to him all puffed up and full of myself and how I’ve totally got this whole life thing together, He immediately shows me my mess.

It’s like with my kids.  If they come to me needy and feeling insecure and they’ve really messed something up, I encourage them and love on them and tell them they are beautiful and wonderful.  But if they come to me all bossy pants telling me how great they are and demanding a bunch of stuff I tell them they are actually really just okay and and then I tell them to go clean their room.  Just to keep it real.

It’s called balance.

So I’ve gotten comfortable with my messiness since it’s the thing that’s gotten me closer to Jesus.  He wants my mess.  I go to Him like a child and crawl up on His lap for a rest, for Him to tell me I’m beautiful.  It’s so comforting I’ve started doing it every day.  You know, checking in to get some love.  Sometimes many times a day.  Like, Hey…are you still there?  I need some love.  And He’s always there.

All those secrets we keep in the darkness, all the messy stuff we hide…Jesus wants that.  He’s like…seriously, bring it.  You don’t scare me.  So we tell Him our secrets and our fears.  We may think they are dark and ominous and scary but when we tell Him, He shines His beautiful light on them and they are transformed.  Maybe not right away transformed but just by the telling…just by saying the bad stuff out loud…we enter into a new freedom.  We receive His grace and we are not scared anymore.  He makes beauty from ashes.   It says so in the Bible which is my absolute favorite book of all books ever.  It’s THE Love letter for all time and all people.  Beauty from ashes. 

I ask Him to help me be brave when I am messy or having a bad day/week/month/year/decade. I ask Him to help me see the beautiful.  And you know what He does?  He gives me brand new eyes.  I start seeing things I never even noticed before. So now I can see the gorgeous shiny light in other people.  All the people.  It’s fun!  Life becomes a big giant party for all the awesome people which is obviously everyone.  It’s the kind of party where you are having so much fun with the music and the dancing and the laughter and the sharing that you don’t even notice the mess (yours or anyone else’s).  And when you wake up the next day you don’t care about the mess because the love is so much bigger.  You are exhausted and sore in a good way from laughing and dancing and telling your stories and being accepted and loved.  You feel safe.

Safe enough to answer the question, “How are you?” with the truth…whatever that may be.

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©2014 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big YES™ All Rights Reserved