Monday, August 17, 2009


This is big. I'm going to let you have a glimpse into my heart.
The reason it's big is because I don't let others into my heart. I have a problem letting my husband, my best friend, my sisters, mom, you, into the heart of me. I normally put on the "If I was any better, I'd be twins." face to everyone or, "I'm fabulous!" when asked how I'm doing. I've had my moments of depression in the past before I got on the right dosage of the correct medication, but I can really only remember one that effected others; that I couldn't hide. In fact, it almost destroyed my relationship with my BFF because I wouldn't let her in.

So, like I said, I'm going to let you have a small glimpse into my heart. I may not post this, though. I use my blog as a journal of my life and my art and some short humorous stories, but I'm hoping that God lets me just write this and not share it with the world. Okay, maybe not the world. With my six readers.

I have a great sense of humor, I can be sarcastic, I can make you think I'm serious as can be the entire time I'm pranking you with a 'story', I have a passion for rescue animals, children living in poverty, God and my relationship with him, my boys, my family and the few friends that I allow close enough to be real friends, my art, my blog and JOY. I like to think that I'm a kind person because "nice" matters so much to me. I like to think that I can discern your pain and help you, love you and pray for you. I like to think that I look like Barbie and that I'm going to be 24 again on my next birthday. (that was one of those "stories". It's not true.). I like to think that I'm nice.
And, this is really important to me, I hope that you never realize how much physical pain I'm in every day, all day, 24/7; yeah, we're talking chronic pain.
Very few people in my life, maybe four, but I think it's three, before this post, have ever known when I'm experiencing "physical adventures". Of course, it's impossible to keep the hospital stays, near death experiences, surgeries, emergency surgeries, balding head and leg braces a secret! And, all of this has happened in the last six years.

Here's what happened recently that has given me pause. I can't get it off of my mind and I have felt God urging me to journal about it and hopefully that's all it will take for me to get past it and go on.
During a 'heated' discussion where I had questioned someone close to me about their response to something innocent and nice I relayed to them - I felt they were cruel in a comment they made to my message - and we had moved on to pain and how it effects one's outlook on life and I simply said, "I live with pain 24/7 and don't complain about it." The response I got to that comment was, "THAT'S WHY I TOLERATE YOU!!".

My jaw dropped.
I was speechless.
(I'm rarely speechless. I think the last time was when I thought there was a chance Obama's health plan might not make it.)
Their words cut through my heart in such a way that I was simply speechless. I couldn't have talked anyway, I was so choked up.

Is that what I am? Someone to tolerate because you feel sorry for me, you that know me? Is that what I am? .........Not feeling the love, I looked "tolerate" up in the thesaurus. Words that can be substituted are, "stand, bear, put up with, endure, stomach". I won't need therapy for this, but I can't remember the last time I was so hurt, so completely destroyed.

Words. They're so powerful. I can think of people that I know that I could destroy with words. It creeps me out just thinking about how much power my words could have on someone in a damaging way.
It might take me as long to get over those few words as it would to put toothpaste back in the tube once it's squeezed out. It's impossible to take back our words. Words are so powerful.
I know in my heart of hearts that they didn't mean what they said. But, I'm not foolish enough to think that it wasn't somewhere in their subconscious, lurking like some of my readers. I know this person loves me and I'll believe it by the end of the week. It will take some time and prayer for me to get completely past this - my sense of self worth was pretty much destroyed a long time ago by someone else close to me (see why I have issues?) though I've gotten past that for the most part through therapy. I still struggle with abandonment and trust issues.

Geez, I'm tellin' y'all way too much. This is the GET DOWN post. Maybe I'll start a trend and we'll all get real with each other instead of just showing our party faces and our glitter. Who knows?

I know that even I have hurt people's feelings with a sarcastic comment. I rarely, if ever, know it at the time it happens (that would be too easy); I learn about it later from someone else.
Gre-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-t. And when I do learn of it? It tears a new crack in my heart. I would never, ever, say something that would hurt someone; never intentionally. But I'm no different than Tolerate-head or you. We're human.
Perhaps God allowed this to happen so that I would be reminded to use kind words in all of my interactions with every person that crosses my path. Maybe he's arming me for a particular situation where I might be tempted to be anything but kind. Or maybe it's as simple as he wanted me to become more of a person to some of the dearest friends I have - y'all. No party face or glitter in this post, no sirree.

So, the next time you're tempted to strike out with a cruel word, maybe you'll remember this post and think twice. And, the next time someone crosses your path that you wouldn't necessarily speak to for whatever reason, try a kind word and see what happens. It may be that you say it at just the moment they need to hear it.

and I hope I'm not sorry I spilled my guts tomorrow because I'm feelin' the urgings of "Him" to post,



Sweetina said...

Oh Dear Jan~
I agree words cut like a knife through butter and remain forever.
My heart hurts for you because I too am a compassionate person and hurt when people/ animals hurt.
I'm sure the person who made the comment either didn't mean it or was simply carrying anger about her own life and lashed out by mistake....without even realizing it. Otherwise I am sure she would have appologised on the spot.
If your instinct is that it was a Fruedian Slip then calling him/her on it may be best to either deepen your relationship by learning more about each other or
maybe this person is someone who you don't need as a friend after all.
Wish I could take your pain away~you have been through so much and yet keep marching on.
Remember the beautiful prose:
The Lord will carry you when you feel too weak to get through illness ,heartbreak or depression.
I know from experience.
Smile Jan and sleep well tonight.

Molly Alexander said...

My dear friend -

I know how much courage it must have taken to put this post out there, and I am so very proud of you for writing and sharing it with the world. It is exhausting when we live the two lives - you know what I mean - the inside life and the outside life. That social smile can really wear us out when all we want is to be ourself, without any pretense or showmanship.

This post is a ginormous step in merging those two separate lives into one very real and open life; one where you are transparent; what you see is what you get.

Years of therapy taught me that I cannot be anything but who He made me to be, and (this was really hard to deal with) that everybody isn't going to be wild about me. And that's ok. In fact, the only one who I need to worry about pleasing (yes, I'm a people-pleaser by nature) is God, and He already loves me more than I will ever realize.

And you know what? He loves you the same way. In fact, He knew you before you were born, and He made you the way you are for a reason and a plan. What that reason is, I don't know, but I can guess that it has something to do with your amazing ability to make people feel worthy and loved, even if they have only known you for a short time (like me).

You said that you have a passion for joy and I love that about you. But being joyful doesn't always mean you will be happy. Happiness depends on the actions of others in our lives, and 'others' are human and hurtful sometimes. But joy is a gift that comes from God alone. It is that quiet calm peacefulness that lives in our hearts when we trust Him with all that we are. The most amazing thing is that this joy is even there when we don't trust Him with something or when we act human and hurtful with other people, which is just plain amazing to me. Even when I am not trusting Him, He is still faithful to me. I'm never sure quite what to do with that, but I am so very glad that it is one of life's undeniable Truths.

This is a very long response, but I felt led to tell you that you are loved, and you are so very appreciated in my life. I am sorry that you are in so much pain. I also have some experience with that, and I can tell you that it stinks. Pain can overcome the peace sometimes, and it is very frustrating, because most people don't understand it or what a big role it plays in my day-to-day life. Again, there is a reason for it, and someday I'll understand why. I'm not a patient person, and this is hard for me to be patient about, so I just pray for the joy and peace (and for the pain to go away). And I do my best to trust God and to spend time in His Word every day. He knows what I need, even if I don't like going through it at the time.

One of my favorite songs is by Watermark called "Driven to Humility". The chorus is the current theme of my life, and I thought I'd share a few of the lyrics with you:

I have been chosen
To be driven to humility
to be wholly refined
In Your holy blaze of fire
And even when I'm sturdy
I pray You'll keep my knees dirty
And may the heart of Your will
Be my only heart's desire.

Thank you for your friendship and for sharing this post. You are one of the blessings I hold in my heart.

:-) Molly

Paula Clare said...

Ah, my dear, sweet Jan,
OF COURSE I do not merely TOLERATE you...I choose (instead) unconditional acceptance. ACCEPTANCE...a completely different word than TOLERANCE. I have been on the receiving end of both, and I am here to tell you, girlfriend, ACCEPTANCE trumps TOLERANCE any day of the week! This is a lesson God taught ME long ago when in the drive thru at McDonalds. (No seriously, hang with me a minute)I was feeling rather superior about myself and was dreading seeing an unusually cheerful worker (I cruelly called her "Froggy" because she wore huge glasses and bounced out the drive thru window with such cheer I wanted to pummel her. I digress...)

SOoooooooooo, I no sooner had that thought til God spoke to me and said, "YOU couldn't do this." Feeling incredulous that God would tell ME (ME! With a masters degree!) that *I* could NOT "do this?" WHAT?!?! And then it hit me...I COULDN'T do it. She gets up at 4 a.m. everyday, to go to a "dead end" job and yet is always cheerful and friendly to we "superior types" who come in for a morning drink. I had a paradigm shift...yes ma'm. Right there in the McDonald's drive thru.

I drove up and said, "You're here all the time...don't you EVER get a day off?" She said, "I have 2 kids to feed...I work whenever they call me in." I told her, "I appreciate your being here...and always being cheerful. I know *I* couldn't do it."

I moved from Tolerance to Acceptance in the course of about 1 1/2 minutes. A well placed statement from God and my "superior attitude" was out the window.

I said all that to say, keep accepting folks, dear one. Jesus NEVER tolerated...He always UNCONDITIONAL accepted. It is my goal to do likewise.

Hugs and prayers for you,
Paula Clare said...

Hello,you don't know me, but you just accepted my friend request on facebook. Sometimes when we hold all our feelings in and maybe don't show them, others can forget we have them!
I too am like you, I am always cheery and even when things have been really bad in my life, I rarely show it. So I suppose people think I am so strong and 'ok'. I have had times im my life when I have been cut to the core with words, it hurts!!!
That is why I love smiling and being nice to people. I don't want anyone to hurt like that!
I love animals, got 3 dogs and I have adopted children from poor backgrounds too, I think we should all give out love as much as we can. I am following you!.Please pop to my blog sometime! Suzie X

summersundays-jw said...

Maybe today will be a new day since you decided to let the words come out. So sorry you have to live in pain. I'm also sorry you were hurt by someone's words. I, too, had someone hurt me with words. Not that I hadn't been hurt before by words but these especially hurt me and although it was several years ago, it stays with me. I pray that today we can both let go of it & just accept that other people deal with pain and hurt & low self-esteem that allows them to say things without knowing how it affects others. In my experience, it's much easier to forgive then forget. Stay strong & thanks for being "real". The Other Jan

the wild raspberry said...

keep HIM in your heart and one day will there will no longer be any pain...physical or emotional!
hope you find peace within

luckygirlgifts said...

I think it's fantastic that you followed your heart and posted what you felt you needed to post.

That's very brave.
I wish I were that brave.

Yesterday was not a good day for me and I wished I was brave enough to post about it. I thought I would be brining everyone down. Your post has shown me that the contrary is true.
It just brings people together.
Thank you.

I'm sorry that you have to live in pain. Nobody should have to.

Thanks again,
Be strong (as if we have a choice, right!!)
Cari B.

common ground said...

God is Good, and He loves us so much. So many times I have had to just let Him sort through all the hurt and junk in my life. The Bible and a notebook and pen have been "my therapy". Journaling everday for the last ten years, reading God's Word, and listening for His voice keep me sane.
Thank you for having the inspiration to share your heart.

Diva Kreszl said...

Jan, You were so courageous to share your feelings so openly and your followers are grateful I'm sure...I know I am! I think we have all been on both sides of hurtful words at one time or another, Often times unintentional but still hurtful. I know that I have lost some dear relationships because of 'words'. Although the pain may subside the heart bears their scars. I pray that God helps you to heal from this recent assault or perhaps as He did in my case, he is closing a door to something unhealthy. My prayers are with you!

Lynn Richards said...

dearest new friend,
Thank you. Thank you for being real. Not many people are. Especially in the church, I think there are many who feel a need to keep up a facade of being "blessed" and that just ain't true. We are up to our ears in this life, waiting for the new creation. And so, we live in yuck, with grace along the way. I love you because you are real-like the velveteen rabbit-you have loved much and some of the fur has been rubbed off of your nose, but that's what endears you to us, your readers.

I too, put on a "fine" face. I hold so much in I had an 11 day hospital stay for ulcerative colitis. I too, have had a painful past. Lots of therapy, prozac, some friends and grace are what get me through this crazy, crazy life.

Let me leave you with this scripture. It was shared by a friend whose "church" family turned away any help whatsoever when they gave birth to a disabled child. It has held her up many a time:

Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves (you) rests between his shoulders.
Deut. 31:11-13


I'm sorry said...

Thank you for following my blog! I really appreciate your support!
Look forward to popping into your blog many times!
Suzie. X


The Lord knows best.


Anonymous said...

Bless you Jan! Remember they are just words. There are bigger plans for you! It is sad in this day and age that "nice" doesn't get us very far but I still think that is the way people should be treated. Kill them with kindness as my Mom always says. You are the best. We chat on emails and share a love of arts and crafts and you have gladly invited me to stay with you next time I am in Texas. We have never met but I know it would be like going home to a sister. I know we will meet one day and it will be like I have known you my whole life! You are the best! Lots of love! Amy :)

Counting Your Blessings said...

This was a beautiful post and it was a confirmation to me yet again... a reminder of how God can work through us when we hold our tongue and speak His words.

Thanks for sharing with us. Blessings... Polly

Anonymous said...

I'm not very good with word in this kind of situation. All I can think of is to give you a great big cyber HUG! You can redeem it in person in September! Here's another to tide you over until then...


LiLi M. said...

Hi Jan, I promised you to be a faithful commenter, mmm a stubborn one if I remember well.
It took me about a day to comment on this post and still I just don't know what to say. I have known you not long enough to judge whether it's wise or not to reveal so much about yourself, good or bad, and that is not interesting either. Apparantly you had the urge to do so, and this way a lot of bloggers before me felt the need to support you and I think that is what counts. I want you to know that I am thinking of you, looking for words of comfort too. I can read that you are hurt so much, but I am not able to explain why, nor to say what the best reaction is. Life is a journey and we take lessons all along. I do hope that somewhere in the near future you yourself can explain this to you, in the mean time I am thinking of you and hoping that this post and all comments are a relief and comfort to you. Take care.

Diva Kreszl said...

Hi Jan, I just wanted to thank you for visiting my blog...I assumed my email was visible in my blog ( about that!I hope that today has been a better day for you!

Kathie said...

I have never read your blog before today so I am feeling some devine direction on leading me here. Your story could have been about me. Instead of being "tolerated" I was told I was "scary" and someone feared me. I was so crushed. I work with babies and puppies, I am a could I be scary?? "our" sense of humor is not always appreciated. I try to watch myself and my joking a little more now. I too wear the perfect mask but it feels good to know that maybe taking it off a little more often I could touch someone as you have touch me today. Thank you. said...

Hello Jan! Di you send me a message asking for my email? I think I left it on here as a subscriber?? Not sure though. If you want to send me a message through face book and I will talk about it with you! Suzie X :)

Lisa said...

This was in one of my prayer books this past week and it needs to be my mantra:
Set, O Lord, a guard over my mouth; keep watch at the door of my lips!
Thank you for the reminder that our words can be lethal weapons and thank you for your honesty. I hope to have such truth in my blog from now on. Life is more then pretty snapshots - and showing all of it, the good and bad, will make us all better children of God.
Peace to you,

Pam Warden Art said...

I wanted to call you again after reading this, but can't find your phone number. Just use this as a chance to grow, by forgiving her and by moving on as you grow in your walk with the Lord. It's His opinion of you that is the most important...
Since she didn't, I will tell you, I am sorry dear friend for the wound.
Love you,

Bellamere Cottage said...

Way to's good to let go of all the hurtful stuff. Maybe the blogworld is the perfect place to do it too. I think that people often say things without even thinking about how hurtful they could be. I too have pain 24/7...horrible, debilitating pain. A longtime friend asked me if it would be better if I just had my legs amputated and used a wheelchair instead of living with the pain. Whew.......that one was hard to take. It's my nature to run from a comment like that, but I eventually addressed it with her. She felt horrible, apologized profusely, said she didn't realize how hurtful the comment had been and we're still friends years and years later. She actually saw it as a solution. I'm so sorry you're living with pain. It really stinks, doesn't it? I'll be praying for you....God Changes Things....

Hugs to you!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jan,
Thank you so much for this post. Your post could be my post as so many times I feel the same way.I guard my heart because I told myself I will not let uncaring people continue to hurt me.

Also alot of people don't realize how hard it is to struggle daily with chronic pain. I try to keep upbeat but some days it is hard just to get out of bed & go to work.

I want to wish you a very happy birthday coming up & I hope things will get better for you.

I just turned 55 this spring & I am hoping maybe the second half of the 50's will be better than the first half of the 50's have been.

Love & Pink hugs to you Jan!


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