Simply Sather

surviving shame + sharing about it

It’s so humbling when you come to the place where you realize the only way out is through.

a beautiful view of the goals, but what a rough road it is to get there

I’ve started and ended 6 blogs before this one on various topics knowing that the heart of the matter was the struggles God has brought me through. There have been disappointments in jobs and relationships (ones I’ve brought on and some shared by others) and hurts from misunderstandings, grief and sin. But, I’ve tried to write from a people-pleasing perspective or with a cultural, social bend. Inviting the voices of those I respect or who lead me to overwhelm the voice of God within me.

I have been silent about His work in my life and the good that I’ve hoped could come from telling my stories and it has made sick.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. | Proverbs 13:12

When considering what I have to offer people who follow my Instagram account, this blog or call me their friend, I keep coming back to the realization that they genuinely like to see me smile. Even if they only know a bit of what I went through (being widowed by the Iraqi War then being in a difficult, ungodly marriage, then divorced) they are cheering for me.

And I think that’s what we really want to do in this world.

We want to encourage others through the fire. Or at least we want to be in a place where we see the person overcome tough things, so we can believe that we can too.

Even more than being successful in our careers, owning big homes and driving fancy cars, I believe that every woman (person) is seeking to simply be loved well. To be seen, valued and heard, able to contribute.

When I was facing the death of my first husband all those years ago, I was most devastated by the reality that what we had built together, I would now need to go the rest of the way alone. Which felt cruel.

I’d been fine with my books and quiet, choosing unhealthy dating relationships because being in a relationship with a man who treated me poorly was supposed to better than no relationship and living vicariously through the stories of others.

But, I wasn’t fine.

And God wasn’t content to leave me in that state; hiding His gifts and talents away inside me.

It required a lot of work – and to be candid, it still does – to get me to realize that there was stuff inside – good and not-so-pretty – that needed to come out in order for me to be all that He has created me to be. And He could only do it through relationship and it would include me walking through some very, very, very difficult things.

I don’t know where this blog is going to go, but I think it’s time to get more real about what I’ve been through. To share more vulnerably so when people read about the blessing of my marriage to Mister now, they don’t think it was handed to me by God without strife, difficulty or pain along the way.

My desire is to share about the move from some things I thought I’d never survive to a place where I am growing more and more confident in the woman God is developing me into. This means embracing my blackness no matter how uncomfortable it makes others around me. It also means asking questions to better understand those around me and their hearts in pursuit of God. And finally, it means attempting to be vulnerable and share hard things in the hopes to inspire others that can relate to even a part of my journey to draw closer to God, surround themselves with friends who will say hard things with love and stick by them through the icky parts that cause many to flee.

I am stepping into the fire with this direction, trusting God to lead me through. I am terrified y’all. First it was that no one would read what I have to write in this space, now it’s that I’m not writing freely and authentically what He would have me share. That what I would share here – though it’ll my truth or version of the things have brought me to this place – will be denied, downplayed and disrespected by those who can not or choose not to understand. For those who think it’s too much to share, that I’m too much. I am fearful that I will be judged by women and men and then feel ashamed and just quit.

It’s what I’ve done before. I don’t want to do it again.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. |

Psalm 34:4-5

I meet in quiet times with God in my daily living and invite Him to clear out the cluttered, overwhelmed, wounded places. And invite Him into the spaces I get to occupy (home, work, etc.) and in my mind so that there is margin for hearing what it is He wants me to do. Then getting real about embracing true, godly love and learning to walk confidently with hope and joy in living simply as me.

I hope you’ll follow along – it’s been a wild ride; one that’s only getting better.

Simply Sather

growing in the heat

clockwise starting at the top left: kale, basil, peppers + snow lilies

When I got the seeds for free from the Dallas Public Library (apparently that’s a thing at many libraries, so check yours to be sure) I liked that they were free more than I was excited to actually try to grow anything.

My green thumb has always been more brown – the color of the soil – and keeping things alive has been quite elusive for me. It’s been more work and research and understanding than I’ve really ever wanted to put time and energy into.

But then Mister encouraged me and said we’d do it together, so we did.

And while the time of year isn’t best for growing the things I really want to (mostly pansies), I grabbed items that are supposed to be able to grow in the Texas heat and set about doing my part to make it happen.

It’s not been super difficult, but it has not been totally successful.

the kale withered and died

See the Kale had one great bright leaf and then out of nowhere – probably because I forgot to water it three days in a row – it just withered up and died. It was so pitiful and I was somewhat clueless that I actually watered it one more time before completely throwing in the towel on it. But the other three: basil, snow lilies and peppers are doing well.

Which reminds me…

Things CAN actually grow in heat.

I was not a believer and don’t have a lot of stock in how far we’ll go, but I have seen and can’t help but consider what this means for me and my own journey; my relationship with Jesus, my new job and especially my new marriage.

There have come times already in all of these where my strengths were not the things I needed to tap into – the conditions were hot and uncomfortable, stretching me beyond my comfort zone or what comes easily for me. Instead, I am making margin to simplify what I add to my life in order to experience sustainable, godly growth.

Stuff grows in Arizona and Mexico and even here in Texas summer. Well, that must mean that I can grow in the situations that turn up the heat on me too. Rather than running from things that make me uncomfortable, reveal my insecurities or areas of growth or situations that dig at the core of who God says I am – I’m running into more of these types of things.

Not in quantity but in the quality of the things I’ve committed myself to and believe that I’ve been called to.

That statement alone makes me flap the collar on my shirt…

If the heat is being turned up on me – which I think it is – then those around me should be warned that this will be coming their way too.

Look.

I really do ask God to check my motives (which most often reveal how selfish and self-focused I am) and then plead with Him to redirect my motives and really want to love people well by being real and authentic with them. It is not my intention to be mean or hurtful or just to make a point – though I realize it may, at times, come across this way.

As God continues to bless me with with time, it is cemented in my heart how precious it really is. How little of it I have permission or reason to waste.

So I want to use the time to do my best to keep things healthy when they’re under the heat and pressure of a tough season. This means watering my marriage when the attacks of disunity, illness and miscommunication come upon us. Or believing the best about my young adult son when it seems his focus is truly only on what makes sense and works best for him and his schedule (does he get that from me?!?). And lovingly receiving from friends and trusted advisors when I’ve gotten away from what I said was most important to me.

Too hot? Maybe just for a season, but I am faithful that God can grow things – even in the heat. And I’m hopeful. We’ve purchased three new, bigger planters and will re-pot them in anticipation of more growth in the hot summer Texas heat.

Simply Sather

getting set for summer

June is the start of summer for me!

It’s still an adjustment to not have to squeeze all of the summer-related activities into three months since we don’t live in Wisconsin anymore, so this summer I’m taking a different approach.

I’m considering what I’ve put inside “my life pie” and asking myself whether I’ve added too many ingredients.

Do you recall those life pie charts that were designed to help you feel bad about focus on your work-life balance? Some even referred to them as “life balance wheels” – you can take a look here. I see why they’ve turned into memes (oh google them, there are actually some pretty funny ones out there). Instead of helping folks consider how best to prioritize the most important things, it became about making everything fit perfectly. Or maybe that was just me.

I don’t think it’s important that I bring back the life pie chart, but I do want to share what I’ve been working through and why it’s a tool that keeps coming to mind for me as we enter into the summer season.

June, July and August are months I’m eager to delve into this year because I’m expectant about what may come. Nothing magical about the months in and of themselves, but I know we have some exciting adventures planned (can you say The Sathers take on the Metroplex???) together in summer for the first time as husband and wife. I’m incredibly pumped about that.

But mostly, I am feeling some kind of way about this summer and what I think it may bring and I find myself…

Expectant. Hopeful. A little dreamy even.

It is my hope that when August ends, I’ll have a rhythm in my life that strengthens, stretches and grows me while creating margin for me to encourage, inspire and cheer others on in where they’re heading. I want to be closer to that thing I believe God is planning to reveal to/for me – leading me closer to purpose in service.

I’m not rushing summer though.

I really do want to enjoy it – even with the 100 plus degree temperatures – and rest in it. I want to prioritize rest + reading and quality time in my Bible. I want to keep learning my husband and coaching my son (while he still lives with us). I long to connect with and deepen relationships with women who let me carry weight for them but also willingly pick up and carry weight for me.

You may already have a sense, but the biggest things going into MY life pie are:

  • quality time with God in the Bible – know and live the Word daily
  • prayer + connect + travel + adventure + make memories + laugh with Mister
  • supporting my son as he navigates moving out on his own for the first time
  • reading (fun #reginareviews are over @readwithregina on Instagram – come see!)
  • taking good care of myself (hair, face, home, finances)
  • serving other people really, really, really well
  • savoring my gifts – gratitude, gratitude, gratitude

None of these deviate from my big goals for the year; here. My dreams are still big (and becoming more clear) but I do recognize that this is a season for slowing down. A season for me to enjoy the opportunity to relax and become even better at resting with the Lord.

There are also a few things that have come to light that may need to be removed from my life pie. Things I thought needed to be in my space, but no longer fit. In fact, they’re such a bad fit that they’re threatening to force the most important things away and are making a big ole mess.

I want to encourage you to join me.

Consider taking some time to re-evaluate what you’ve “always” been doing and see if it (or a part of it) needs to be removed and set to the side for this season. Ask yourself the hard questions. Or if your life is incredibly busy, ask about just one the things currently in your life pie. Turn it over and over and see what you hear about making room for rest, creating margin in your life in eager anticipation of what’s to come. Not sure where to start or which thing to prioritize, ask that one girlfriend who loves you fiercely but doesn’t play around with the truth, she’ll help you.

I for one am incredibly excited about this summer! I hope one of the things you’ll make time for is reading my posts because I’ll be sharing about many of the adventures, lessons and opportunities along the way.