Red Vine Spirituality

Taylor K. Arthur balances Bipolar 1 Disorder, marriage, and motherhood with a nitty-gritty faith inspiring a twisted, blissful life.

Abba’s Girl

Because you are his [daughters], God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. Galatians 4:6-7

Every time I step into new, take a risk, stand up, I take a moment when no one’s looking. I hide in the bathroom and look at myself in the mirror. I stare hard, past the quick hair brush and smear-enough-plaster-to-hide-all-the-flaws weekday morning routine. I furrow my eyebrows, purse my lips, put my game face on serious.

I look hard in the mirror at the peach fuzz all over my face that magically appeared when I swelled with my first babe. Why do I have such a hard time remembering to wax it? I think about the arms I know need to be in shape but aren’t. I wonder if I just get serious about a smoothie diet for two more weeks if I’ll finally fit into the smaller size.

I look at Red Vine, how the numbers still are so very small, and how my platform is more like a 2×4 I’m balancing on than a stage from which to profligate. I stare even closer in the mirror, remembering every time I’ve lost my temper with my boys when they’re lolly-gagging over their eggs and playing monster with their clothes half over their heads instead of shipping up so we can ship out.

And I pray, “Lord, are you sure you got the right person?”

Because I’m not exactly together. You might have seen me sitting outside of Nordstrom last week, digging through a mountain of receipts.

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Or maybe you saw me in Starbucks two days later working so furiously on a book proposal that, after two hours, I realized I never ordered a drink.

Maybe you’ve noticed that I see my therapist regularly, because nothing helps keep Bipolar 1 Disorder in check like good, old fashioned talk therapy. Or did you notice me in the Costco Pharmacy paying full tilt for my lithium because I never seem to find the time to order the 90-day supply that my insurance will actually cover.

There are pieces of my life that look like a mess. Relationships that I don’t have the answers for. Brokenness I keep praying for healing over, but haven’t found yet. Wounds that feel more like black holes seething through me, sucking my gravity in with them.

For years, I have looked at my life and told my Father, “This girl is not the one for public display. Look at her: everywhere You look there’s a problem, an issue, a brokenness. Look at her past, Lord! I mean, people might understand the Bipolar, but add in all the rest? This is too much, too much.”

But He keeps loving me. And after several months swimming in the gospel truth of Brennan Mannings’ Ragamuffin Gospel, I’m glimpsing my Abba’s view of me.

she’s little. A child, really. With her hair undone messy, like mine used to be in the mornings when I woke up quiet and came down the hallway in my Hello Kitty night gown. Her cheeks are chubby from gobbling that extra cupcake when Mama wasn’t looking. She’s smiling morning-sweet, breaking dawning, because she knows her Abba adores her. She knows.

She knows who she is: Her Father’s Daughter.
She knows what she’s worth: His Own Son.
She knows where she’s been: He’s been with her the whole time.
She knows where she’s going: Her Father’s House.
She knows what He wants for her: To be wrapped up in His love, to live assured, to not fear.

So that’s what I’m doing: being His little girl, asking in my deepest, fear-filled, curled-up-in-bed afternoons, that He be my Father and Mother and break through my humanness and fill me up with Abba-love, that there be so much love in my heart that past and present don’t matter: because I am his.

And when I stumble ten times a day? I am his.

And when I don’t know what to do next? I am His.

When I am waiting for Him to move, wondering if I heard Him wrong? If all of this is just–excuse the term–a little crazy? I am His.

I’m my Father’s daughter, Abba’s girl. And even if it’s all wrong, all mis-directed? Even if I fall flat a hundred times more?

I’m Abba’s girl. As Brennan Manning says so well on the last page of Ragamuffin Gospel,

“Who am I?” a gracious God has given me the light to see myself as I am. I now have a primary identity and a coherent sense of myself. It affects my intimacy with God, my relationships with others, and my gentleness with myself.”

Following Brennan’s example, I want my life, this site, my tombstone to read:

Taylor Kay-Marie Arthur
“Abba’s Girl”

God bless you. May each of you flood with the reality of His grace, how deep and long and wide and OVERWHELMING God’s love for you is. May you walk in that grace, may your lives be testament to the living reality of a God who longs only for you to come home to His arms.

Amen.

Taylor

P.S. I asked my Facebook friends for pictures of their sweet little girls with messy hair. I received so many beautiful pictures I decided to do a slide show. God bless you all.


Song: He knows My Name by Francesca Batistelli

1 Comment

  1. Heidi Anderson

    23 May, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    Taylor, every time I read your articles, I love you a little more. You bring me a sense of normalcy, peace, and tranquility that is hard to find in such a forum. Thank you for sharing your heart in such a real and redeeming way. None of us is perfect but all of us are His. Thank you for the reminder that that’s more than enough.

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