Friday, September 18, 2009

Cardboard Harbor

So I wrote this song. Well, I wrote the lyrics to a potential song. It is currently melody-less…and might remain so forever depending on the depth of my creativity in the days to come. (Which considering the date on my last blog post--we’re not even going there—might remain pretty shallow.) Regardless, I was thinking of this unfinished ‘thing’, if you will, recently and it sort of took on a new dimension for me in relation to my spiritual life.

Lets be honest, the words were actually written in response to my emotions concerning a certain “person” --another subject we will not be getting into. Ha. The basic gist of my infrequently and annoyingly unpredictable emotions is that no matter where the blame may lie, at the conclusion of my interaction with this person, I was awakened to a reality I thought would never exist, and when it in fact did, it temporarily suffocated my every hope and thought. I found I had allowed myself to be in a place that once (and for some time) seemed so completely stable, trustworthy, and safe, that to question it at the time would have been to deny the existence of one of the greatest blessings of fellowship my heart had ever known; yet in the end, the tangible absence of such was now slowly descending and deteriorating around me, within me, and as I was humbled I found-partially because of me. I had not the eyes to recognize any part of its harmful or destructive (not abusive in any way, but more of a suppressing of myself) nature until I found myself sitting in an empty space where human arms had once held me up. I was alone. And I was quite aware of it. I am literally shuddering at the memory of those moments of realization, of what I knew I had lost, and how I thought I couldn’t survive without it.

I remember thinking my tear ducts were hooked up to some imaginary water fountain and someone really mean had turned it on “high”. I remember thinking “oh THATs what all the lyrics to those songs I always thought were so cheesy actually meant” (“how am I supposed to breathe with no air” ….hahahaha KIDDING…I did feel that way sometimes, but I’m currently just being dramatic. ☺ Humor me.) I remember not wanting to get out of bed because I thought there was no way I could be happy, void of someone who held such significance in my heart and in my ability to believe in myself and the person I wanted to become. Being an introvert, I tend to thrive on quiet moments by myself-but not when they are (or seemingly so) my only option. And despite my love for those pockets of peaceful reflection, I found myself drowning in the silence of a million words and stanzas; only, I could find not one to fully describe the depth to which I felt my foundation was sinking. How did I become SO lost within what I had found, that when it was over, I found I had in fact lost myself? Never in my life had I had issues knowing who I was. (Now, insecurity and self esteem are another story, but for this particular moment I’m not talking about my actual identity in Christ.)

I never understood certain parts of the movie Runaway Bride until I realized that it now was I who didn’t know how I liked my “eggs” cooked. And I totally got it. I was in a complete frenzy of wordless speeches and halting dreams. I was humbled. Flattened. Stripped of every safety net within my reach. Left with so many questions I didn’t know how or where to begin. Sent into a desert place. AGAIN. And I was NOT happy about it. And so I began a sort of rebirth/reinventing/re-establishing of who I was, and what my purpose was. And I started taking mental notes: I DO like banana popsicles. I do NOT like Indian food. I am a jeans and a white t-shirt kind of girl. But I have cool boots and sometimes I like to wear those too. And so it began. Trivial at first, but at the heart of what was happening, I was being drawn back in to the source of my very existence. The quiet presence that gave me the strength to get up in the morning and promised me I’d have what I needed to get through THAT day. The One that promised me if I’d trust the handfuls of the broken pieces, even the secret ones I tried to put back together myself, that HE would create something, and birth something I wouldn’t believe even if HE told me (Hab. 1:5).

In the so called “chorus” of this melodically unfinished song, I talk about life as living in a harbor, and how we create (or think we are creating) a space of comfort. A place that feels homey, that we decorate with memories and pack tightly with the trust of those who have led us to such a haven of existence. But this harbor, this space that I allowed to be created in my heart and mind, and what I clung to so dearly as my security and well-being, I discovered was actually made of cardboard. A structure that appears completely capable of holding valuables and keeping them intact in their original form. But have you ever seen what happens to cardboard when it gets wet? (It stinks for one thing.) Immediately the very fibers of strength that hold together such a transportable mass become incapacitated, and depending on the weight of that which it holds, will weaken in structure—more than likely causing it’s contents to fall into a deranged mess. A cardboard harbor. (Oxymoron anyone?)

I actually looked up the word harbor before writing this post, and thanks to “” this is what I found:

HARBOR: “a part of a body of water along the shore deep enough for anchoring a ship….any place of SHELTER or REFUGE…(v) to conceal…hide…maintain”

Bingo. Red Flags everywhere. What exactly was I anchoring my trust, my love, my time, my energy, my thoughts, my efforts, my dreams and desires to? Something, someone who, at the end of the day, was no more secure than me. Whose character shined so bright for a time that it overshadowed a looming frailty and imperfections within that I had not the ability to heal.

I HID within the tangible feeling of someone holding me, instead of hiding in the shadow of the Almighty (Psalm 91:1).
My insecurity found HOPE in a vanishing opinion instead of resting in the knowledge that I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).
I sought SECURITY for my future in a shelter made of temporary things instead of remembering that I am completely HEMMED IN to a plan made just for me (Psalm 139:5).
I tested the waters of purity and gave my whole heart to something unsure instead of sinking in to a reality that I have access to EVERY PROMISE God offers me in Christ(Psalm 145:13, 2 Corinthians 1:20, 2 Corinthians 7:1).

Being humbled HURTS. It’s embarrassing, even if only between you and the Lord your God. Initially it makes you want to hang your head. But you know what? It can also be the biggest blessing of your life. And on top of that, we are called to be humble (Ephesians 4:2), to seek humility (Zeph 2:3), and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8). God esteems the humble and blesses them with grace (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5; Isaiah 66:2).

This has been a hard season of life for me—to accept that God has allowed a gift to be given to me, and then taken away. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I would much rather learn to stay humbled before Him, completely aware of, and dependent upon his grace and goodness in my life so that He gets every stinkin’ ounce of the GLORY, and EVERY accolade for the accomplishments in my life (Isaiah 26:12).

I don’t know what the future holds, but I know WHO holds my future. (Jer 29:11)
I don’t know what circumstances I will face tomorrow, but when they come HE will give me wisdom. (Psalm 51:6; Proverbs 2:6)
I am completely incapable of living in purity and doing everything in this life “correctly”, but I know where my help comes from and the heart from which grace flows. (Psalm 121:2)
I can choose bitterness or I can daily choose to delight in my Jesus and learn to savor knowledge and understanding from Him. (Proverbs 2:6)

I pray for us all that we will choose to rely on our good God to sustain, maintain, and protect our hearts, for HE is our only TRUE source of security, and the PUREST form of LOVE we could experience. He is the only one whose heart is completely FOR us and whose work in us doesn’t just keep us intact, but if we allow it, makes us better. He who is completely capable takes our mess, and turns our worth and significance into something eternal and everlasting.
I pray that we all love Him a little more with the arrival of every sunrise.

And just for the record, I like my eggs scrambled.


NikkiPoppins said...

Girl. Wow. I'm proud of you for posting this and sharing all that has been going on in your life the last few months. I know it's not been a fun ride, definitely not one that anyone would choose, but as you say, often times, those things that we think will be the worst thing, will actually be the best thing ever to have happened to us. I must admit your honesty brought some tears to my eyes because I feel I have sort of watched this happen. You have handled the whole situation with a grace and maturity that not many would have in the same situation. You are an example of letting God be THE reason for living...not another person or a group of people. An example of letting Him be THE one that we have to have to make it through the day. You, my dear, are someone that young girls can look up to and model their lives after. Heck, I'm in that group!(And we know I'm nowhere near young! but we're not getting into that...) You definitely inspire me and challenge me to look at my life and my relationship with God.

I loved your mention of Runaway Bride...the "eggs" were the message of the movie. I just watched it the other day...can't go wrong with that movie!!

Glad you're writing again and I can't wait for more!

Love you dearie!

PS My word verification is abbints...kinda got your name in

The Farns said...

Wow. You are a gifted writer and your ability to be transparent is a rare quality these days. Next time we are on the road together do I have a story to share with you. Thanks for sharing your life's journey I know God will use it in mighty ways.

connorcolesmom said...

You are such a remarkable person and honestly I think you have walked through this pain with such
grace and love
You have reflected God's light to those around you even amidst your pain and sorrow
I know your journey through this has brought you such insight and I can see what God is doing through you :)
I am so proud of you!
You are fantastic and I love you much!!

beckyjomama said...

Wow. Beautiful - your transparency is so sweet. I am so sorry that you were hurt. We all know that life cannot be all mountaintops ... because it is in the valleys where the most growth happens and our relationship with the One who IS a safe harbor is forged.

Prayin for you!

Little Steps Of Faith said...

Oh girl I love you for writing that!
Wish you were at Deeper Still today!
You almost repeated their words!
Anyway, I have a ring on my finger, that isn't a purity ring, cause like I'm 28yrs old, and need more then just a ring of purity, but I need a ring of loyalty, to myself and God.
And girl just hold on, because He has a plan for us, if you look back somewhere on the lpm blog you'll see beth put me in my place about that LOL:)
No seriously though, Just hold on, because I am a siesta who is holding on to, and I need the help to hold on too:) So we will together:) Love you!

Sarah A. Conley said...

Abby. Abby. Abby.

You are truly an inspiration and encourager, in every sense of the word. I can't wait to share this with others women. You have SO much insight to share and I absolutely CANNOT wait for you to be writing, speaking, traveling, worshipping, etc. Please let me be on the sidelines!

I love you dearly. I'm so glad that our lives the most comical way. :)

Natalie said...

How could you be a part of our family for the last 18 months and not know THIS is in you?! what a writer...what a i'm totally speechless. and i'm so sorry it has taken me so long to start discovering the real abby. not only do you like your eggs scrambled, but you eat fish! who knew? ;-)

you're awesome.


ocean mommy said...

Sweet girl. I'm so proud of you. Nikkie is absolutely correct, you are someone young girls can look up to.

What a time God has had you in, but oh my goodness...He must have something so special planned for you. Can't wait to see Him complete it!


Mel @ Studio MCA Designs said...

I love your honesty and vulnerability. Most of what I'd like to say has already been said in the comments above. I feel blessed to have you in my life and thank God for allowing us to travel this path.

I love you!

Teri~Facedown said...

Abby girl-
You are remarkable! Such compassion rose in me as I read your words. I'm so sorry you've had to experience despair to the depth you have. Your words are those of LIFE, though, and I am so proud of the hope that shines through.

Romans 8:18--For our present sufferings are nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed in us.

Girl, there is some glory shining through, and it's stunning on you. Keep pointing people to the Healer.

Much love,

Shelly said...

Cardboard Harbors are stinky....this might be my favorite thought here....and a keeper :)

twinkle said...

I am so glad your "WORTH" is in Christ Jesus. Not one man. Not THE future Mr. Abby. Not even your beautiful, future children. Your worth can only be found in Christ.
Always guard your heart and notice how Christ did the same in John 2:24. He knew men. And women.
We are on the "ascent," Abby. Every step we take is a testimony of His faithfulness towards us and our total dependency on Him.
Cardboard harbors may seem safe, but the depth of security doesn't come close to what you have discovered through this storm in your life. Isn't Jesus just the BEST?!? Let Him shelter you through this as you take refuge in His peaceful presence.
<3 you...

Heather C said...


You have no idea how this spoke to me today. The Lord must have sent you to my blog so I would come here and read this. I'm currently going through a place where the carpet of everything I had believed in and put my trust in (aside from the Lord) has been ripped out from under me and found that I had been relying in my own "cardboard shelter". Now my hope is in my Savior alone, and He is teaching me that He alone is the One who keeps me safe, who guards my heart, who protects me. It's time to stop trusting in Him AND other things. I know all too well the humility you're speaking of here... and I can so relate to the fact that while it's HARD, it is so freeing!

Thank you for a beautiful post, Abby. I'm adding you to my blog list... like NOW. :)

twinkle said...

You are so welcome. Can't wait to hear your song!

Lindsee Lou said...

You rock, my friend. Absolutely rock.

Oh, how I would give anything to be jumping on a hotel bed with you, or even a starbucks date. I wish.

Love you.

Holly said...

This is where I have been lately...realizing that I had gotten so tied into identity with a "group" that I had lost my identity in Christ (well, not my salvation or relationship), but as you say, I was in the wrong harbor! :0)

You are a wise woman of God, Abby. And I think the world of you. May God bring Himself fully into your spaces...and give you the desires of your heart...and a melody to that new song!!

Lisa @ The Preacher's Wife said...


If this is what a breakup can do for a girl then heaven bring one upon every young girl ages 15-25. That sounds mean but you know I don't intend it as such.

I pray my girl has every quality you possess when she gets older. Thank you for being someone to whom I can point her..

Love you!


Pat said...

I pray for us all that we will choose to rely on our good God to sustain, maintain, and protect our hearts, for HE is our only TRUE source of security, and the PUREST form of LOVE we could experience.

Great words!

Bekah said...

Dear Abby,
I know you don't know me, and I know very little about you. I stumbled across you through twitter by reading Natalie Grant's tweets. I just wanted to encourage you. God has definitely given you a way with words. I have recently felt that same horrible feeling from a particular person. Thanks for letting me know your thoughts about it.
In Christ,
(P.S.- I really do wish to hear that song sometime!)

live3054 said...