Lisa Arnold's Blog for Women

Christian site for women and about women, especially menopausal years and beyond and How women can gain true contentment through worship

Identity Crisis

Identity Crisis

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            As a little girl I found my identity in my long, golden locks. Time and time again people exclaimed how beautiful my hair was. “Don’t ever cut it,” they said. Of course not; why would I cut my hair when it was my identifying glory? I was proud of my long locks and swooshed them back and forth to make sure everyone noticed them. My hair was me; after all, everyone told me so.

            Just before entering first grade, my mother informed me that I was going for a haircut. Shocked and bewildered, I just stood there and stared at her. A haircut, how could this be possible? My hair was me. Without my hair I was nobody. My individuality would disappear and no one would like me anymore.

            I worked myself into a frenzy. My mother was betraying me. Didn’t she understand what this would do to me? Gone would be her little girl with the long, beautiful hair.

            I screamed and cried but my efforts were useless. I was marched to the neighbor’s house and thrown into her scissor-crazy, life-destroying, identity stealing, hands. As I sat on the stool, huge crocodile tears streamed down my face. She raised the scissors. My life flashed before my eyes. Then it happened! I heard that first cut and let out a death curdling scream. Unheeded, unloved, and mutilated, I sat there deflated as a punctured balloon.

            She continued to slice and hack my hair until my blond tresses that once fell to the middle of my back now only reached to the bottom of my ears. My mother called it a “Pixie” cut.

            No crying left in me; I stepped down from the stool and quietly followed my mother home. I hid in my room, not wanting to see anyone, or let anyone see me. Fear paralyzed me. Who was I now that my hair was gone? Would anyone recognize me? Would they want me as their friend? What would they say now that I was no longer the little girl with the long, beautiful hair? Would they call me names? Would they call me the little girl with the short, ugly hair that looked like a boy?    

            No amount of begging could convince my mother to let me stay home that first day of school. Not wanting anyone to see how much it mattered to me, I held my head high, chin in the air, and walked to school. Insecurity overwhelmed me.       

            Now the test, my friends ran towards me. It was the first they’d seen me since my haircut. At first they just stopped and stared. Then . . . my worst nightmare . . . they burst out laughing. One jokingly said, “Where’s Lisa?”

            “It’s me,” I said, but the damage was done. Truly I was not the me that I used to be. Who was I now? And thus my first major identity crisis began.

            What’s the big deal? How can a haircut change my entire perspective on life? To an adult, secure in their identity, it is no big deal. But to a five-year-old, it was confusing and unbearable. To this day, I think long and hard before getting a haircut.

            Insecurity stemming from so long ago digs its ugly roots deep and it is hard to cast aside. Is my security found in my hair or in the way others think I should look? I would like to say, “Absolutely not.” But I can’t.

            It is still a struggle to keep my eyes focused on where my real identity lies; in the person of Jesus Christ. The onset of menopause ignited those insecurities big time, when, for a few years, my hair fell out by the handful. My mind ran wild with worst case scenarios. I envisioned my self a recluse, lonely and bald the rest of my life! I can laugh about it now, but, for awhile it was quite devastating.

            I know in my mind God is the only One I need to please. My heart fights that battle everyday. I have learned, as my faith matures, that my heart is deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9), and to follow my heart without first lining it up with God’s perfect Word leads to disaster. He only speaks the Truth to me. His Word tells me that “I am his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:10). There is no shame or insecurity in that.

            Your identity crisis may not have started with a haircut. Maybe it was something much more serious. Regardless the initial cause, God’s Truth remains the same for each of His children. “We have been bought with a price,” (1 Corinthians 7:23). That makes me special. That makes you special. In that knowledge we can hold our head high. Our identity is found in Christ alone. We are His! Nobody can take that away!

 

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My Next Fifty Years

My Next Fifty Years

            I remember when I thought fifty was ancient. Not only was everyone over the hill, but I was positive their usefulness in life was limited. Now, on the other side of fifty, I realize my foolishness.

            Don’t get me wrong, things are different, much different than before. Sickness lingers a little longer and bones creak a little louder. I dye my hair more often and exercise fiercely on a regular basis, desperately clinging to my waning youth.

            Other things have changed as well. My “babies” are grown and have babies of their own. My youngest biological daughter (I have 2 adopted), has been alive for more than a quarter of a century. Her wedding was the clincher for me. Yes, I am getting old and there is nothing I can do about it.

            She was a beautiful bride. I remember through the years how she tormented me with her untraditional ideas. She wanted to wear black at her wedding. I threw a fit and warned her I wouldn’t come. I know things are changing, but that was just too much. Fortunately, her sensitive spirit took pity on me and she wore silver instead. Her hopes and dreams for life were just beginning.

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My daughter in her silver dress walking down the aisle with her “daddy.”

            Not so for me, some aspects of my life seem to be winding down and fading out. Many things about my life are uncertain. The future is unpredictable and scary at times.

The children are grown and moving away, even the grandchildren who worshipped the ground I walked on are turning into teens and have new friends and less time. Mortality slaps me in the face as I witness my husband struggling to stay healthy in his tired, uncooperative body.

            Yes, life is changing and I can do nothing about it.  It is not better or worse than before, just different. It is the path every person must eventually travel.  If I am not careful, these things will make me sad and nostalgic for the yesteryears, but I refuse to give in to depression.

            Instead, I choose to live! I will not go down without a fight. I plan to live my next fifty years (which is possible because two grandmothers lived to over 100), making a difference, serving God, loving outside the box, and accomplishing more than ever before. These are exciting times and I don’t plan on wasting a second. What about you? How are you going to make a difference in your next fifty years?

           

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The Needs of the Many Out way the Needs of the Few (Or the One) (Another Easter Story) Enjoy!

            Never had he experienced such a tumultuous, agonizing night.  The gusting sounds of the wind and the creaking boards of the centurion house magnified the agony the father was experiencing.

            Had it been just twenty-four hours since he had lifted up thanksgiving and praise to his Lord for his good fortune; sealing the deal of a lifetime, procuring financial stability for himself and his loved ones? 

            Millions of lives would be saved.  Working hard and tediously, he was successful in discovering an antidote that would stop this madness running rampant in America; thanks to the efforts of terrorists determined to destroy all infidels.

            If all went as planned, this time next week the immunizations would be complete and the horrendous plague would be defeated. All that remained was a transference of the formula into understandable terms and then it could be handed over for production and distribution to all health facilities.  Then, the phone call!  The bursting of his bubble!  And the bottom fell out of his perfect little world.

             He could still hear the husky voice on the other end informing him that they had his son, and if he did not hand over the formula within twenty-four hours they would kill him.  The terrorists had struck once again.

             They allowed him to speak to his son.  What he heard on the other end of the receiver was not the voice of a fear-ridden young man, but a strong, sure voice, determined that millions of lives must not be lost for the salvation of one.  His last words to his father were, “I love you, Dad!”

            Silence—the phone had gone dead.  His hands trembling, the receiver tumbled to the floor.  He followed, throwing himself on his knees as he lifted a plea to the heavens.  “GOD! GOD!”  But somehow he knew, there would be no intervention, for whatever the purpose, God would allow him to make the choice.

            He was a big, burly man, all of 6’5”, but if any were to see him at this moment, he would have been unrecognizable; frail and worn, his age screaming out through every line now evident on his face.  A strong man, seemingly weak and decrepit to any who might happen upon him; as if he carried the weight of the world on his shoulders.

            There was no question as to what he would do; that was the agony of it.  Given a choice, there was only one choice.  The needs of the many far outweighed the needs of the one.

            He knew his son would never forgive him if in selfishness he was spared only to allow millions to die.  His son would offer up his life willingly.

            The twenty-fourth hour chimed in, sounding to his ears as if the Big Ben sat in his living room, revealing the hour to the entire world.

            The phone rang at the time specified.  When asked his decision, he gave the only humane one possible.  He would not hand over the formula.  Within seconds of his pronouncement, a thunderous sound shot through the receiver.

            It was finished.  The pain of a broken heart searing through his entire being.  But deep amidst the pain and grief there shone that one small glimmer of light, shining through even his darkest hurt to remind him that this separation from his son was only for a season.  One day they would reunite, and they would have all eternity to rejoice.

            The son willingly accepted his fate, a payment for the lives of millions.

            What kind of love is that?

            The Father, sacrificing his only son so that millions may live.  Nothing hurts more deeply then the heart-wrenching agony of a father, turning his back on his only son, deliberately allowing that which is evil to overcome, whereby opening the doors of life for the multitudes.

            What kind of love is that?

In Scripture we are introduced to another Father, our Holy Father, who, because of His love for us, gave His son to die for the entire world.  His Son, perfect in every way.  Only this Father didn’t sacrifice His Son for what we know as this fleeting life of humanity here on earth, but to secure a place in heaven for all who seek Him, love Him, and obey Him.  Together with the Son who suffered and died that we might be reunited with the undeserved but perfect love of the Father for all eternity.

What do you think of this story? Share your thoughts.

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“Precious” A short “Easter” story about a little boy and his precious lamb

Boy & His Lamb

A Short Easter story.

“Precious”

            All eyes were turned to the boy as he slowly progressed forward, cuddling the little lamb lying quietly in his arms. His mother silently watched from afar, her heart broken over a pain in her son’s deepest being that she could never kiss and make go away. His father walked beside him—stone faced. He could not betray his inner emotions, the turmoil welling up inside of him.   How well he remembered his first sacrifice and the conflicting emotions that warred within him.

            For weeks his son had loved and cherished this innocent creature, this spotless lamb.   For weeks this lamb named Precious—for he was truly precious to the boy—grew to love and trust the boy, even curling at his feet during the long cold nights. Surely the boy would do nothing to harm him. This was “his boy” and he was “his Precious.”

     Forward the boy continued, each step as if it weighed a ton, forcibly placing one foot in front of the other. He had known this day would come. He prepared for it as best he could. But how do you prepare for your heart being wrenched from the very depths of your soul?

     Tears welled up in the back of his eyes, but no sound did he make. He was thirteen now. He was a man. He would show no weakness.

     Very gently he placed his Precious on the altar before the priest. Lovingly, the boy placed his hand atop his Precious’ head. Precious looked up with sweet inquiring eyes, as if to say, “I trust you,” then obediently laid his head upon the altar.

     In the flash of an instant, down slashed the knife through the throat of Precious. The boy was sure he saw that look of love in Precious’ eyes even as his life force seeped out and ebbed away.

     The boy stood very still. “Good-bye my Precious,” he whispered.

     Precious had willingly given up his life for the boy.   The boy had willingly sacrificed his Precious, the one nearest and dearest to his heart, for his God.

Thus, did the boy experience his first true act of worship! In sacrificing that which was precious to him, he consecrated his allegiance to Him that is most precious of all!

            Worship in its truest form: Total disregard for oneself, coupled with total regard for “He” who is most precious of all. In this story we come face to face with outward worship, the act of complete submission. We are also confronted with inward worship which comes from a heart wholly devoted to its God, even in the midst of pain.

            From the very beginning man was created to exhibit both forms of worship.   But man’s outward worship became nothing more than a show, not of submission, but of piousness and legalism. Transforming it from an act of devotion and submission into nothing more than cold-hearted selfishness. Proof to all around, including himself, that he was religious and God must accept him. This was never meant to be.

            Animal sacrifice is no longer required.   Christ’ death fulfilled the need for blood to be shed. His blood was sufficient for all. Yet, sacrifice was to remain an integral part of worship. What is the difference between then and now? Instead of lying an animal on the altar, we are to present ourselves as the sacrifice. A “living sacrifice,” (Romans 12:1) totally submitted to God.

            Still, for many of us, we prefer to offer the animal sacrifice. A deed completed, easily forgotten, not to be remembered until the next day of sacrifice.   Animal sacrifice was never intended to turn worship into a cold, mechanical act. It was meant to pierce deep into the soul. An act of love, bringing the eyes of all who participated to the Messiah—the one true Lamb who shed His blood for all.

 

Author’s note: I hope you enjoyed this this little story about worship. What did you think? 

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There IS life during Menopause!

There is life during menopause. In the midst of sporadic crying, uncontrollable screaming, or sweating like a momma combating intense labor pains, it is good to know that there is a sparkling spring at the end of the murky water.

Each day begins with a freshness never before experienced. Lamentations 3:23 offers that sweet, affirming promise that God’s mercies are new everyday.” God does not carry the mistakes of today into the newness of tomorrow. Great is His faithfulness!

Join me as we struggle, cry, sweat, and hopefully, in God’s strength, regain control of our lives. With a determination on our part and a whole lot of help on the Holy Spirit’s part, this can be the best time of your life. It is my prayer that through blood (Jesus’ of course), sweat (ours, of course), and tears (ours and probably everyone else’s) we can make it to the other side of menopause, that is, and step into a bigger, better, more abundant life.

With help from women in Scripture, significant women from the past and present, my own personal experiences, and the agonizing tales of friends and acquaintances, it is my hope that you come to a comforting realization that: You Are Not Alone! A massive army of women fight this battle every day. As you persevere through each battle and ultimately win the war, it will be your turn to share the vast wisdom you have accumulated to the next generation of poor, anxious (and I mean really anxious) souls just starting the climb. Here’s to a merry menopause! God Bless.

(Taken from Introduction in soon-to-be released For Sanity Sake.)

 

 

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Welcome to my Blog!

Hello, and Welcome to my blog. My name is Lisa Arnold and I am here for you! This site is for women and about women and the many struggles and challenges life shoots our way. Our talks will take us in many directions, but my focus is going to be mainly on two central areas: Menopausal women and their struggles, as well as life beyond menopause, and Women, worship and contentment.

 

Before I continue, I am happy to announce my soon-to-be published book “For Sanity’s Sake: 365 Devotions for the Menopausal Woman.” I am excited about this book and its potential to help so many struggling women.

 

“For Sanity’s Sake” is daily sustenance for the struggling menopausal woman, striving to remain godly and in control one day at a time. It confronts issues of menopause with humor, clarity and unwavering Christian faith. These devotions encourage women to live life to the fullest, develop new interests and serve God with more gusto than ever before. Their purpose is to help women come to the realization that that do not walk this journey alone—and the best years of their lives are yet to come.

 

Look for this book to be out September or October (I will update when I know exact date).

 

I do not want to walk this blogger’s road alone. I welcome your input and questions. I plan to add new material four to five days a week. If you would like to add an article or some material, please contact me and submit the article for my preview.

 

As a Pastor’s wife, mother of 3 biological children, 3 adopted children, and 2 step-children, as well as, many foster children, I keep very busy. I also homeschool my adopted children as well as my thirteen-year-old grandson. My grown children were homeschooled as well. Because of this I may on occasion write about homeschooling, adoption, and foster care.

 

My greatest desire for this site is to help women as they struggle in their daily lives. Maybe along the way, you can help me as well. After all, we are in this together.

 

Please take time to register and become a member. You will get updates in your e-mail every time a new post is added.

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