#PreApproved Writer of the Week: Rhonda Quaney
#PreApproved Sisterhood Series
Welcome to a new series, hosted here on the blog. Every Tuesday night, one of our PreApproved sisters will share her story on letting go of a love idol.
Together, we’re giving up our love idols, and we’re not taking them back.
We are already approved; we have nothing to prove. In Christ, we are #preapproved.
When I Started Living As if God Is Enough
By Rhonda Quaney
With the kind of beautiful abandon, only a girl-child is able to embody, she leans back in the swing and presses her bare heels straight up into the powdery blue heavens. Cotton-like clouds appear to be hanging off the tips of trees, which seem to swirl like the mobile over her baby brother’s crib. She imagines these wispy puffs to be the shape of a bunny, another one is a boat with its sail flapping and still another cloud seems to rise like an angel with feathery wings spread wide.
The sweet scent of cottonwood trees lace the air that rustles the lace on her cotton dress. Warm summer air rushes across her flushed cheeks, as it forces blonde ringlets to sweep back. The thick rope that holds the wooden seat creaks lightly with each pendulum like motion. Surging momentum, inspires her to lean in, pushing to go higher still.
That’s how I imagine it was that day, for my friend Cherri. We were at the Jumping Tandem retreat, sitting in a small break-out session, led by Emily Wierenga. Emily had posed this question: “What are some of your little girl dreams?” After being prompted to share her response, Cherri turned to face the room of women, swallowed hard and in her tender voice she shared this precious childhood memory. “When I was a little girl, I would swing. I would swing as high as I could and I would tell God that I wanted to swing so high ….that I could reach out and touch Him.”
Her words were so simple, yet they swept in and shook up my grown-up girl heart.
Unexpectedly, my glossed-over outer layer of self-definition cracked. I wondered when I had lost the uncomplicated child-like wonder of God and how He designed me. The more I considered what that looked like for me, the lines blurred of who I had become and who I longed to be.
Months passed, and these thoughts persisted. What were the dreams of this blonde-headed girl who was raised just a little north of one small town? Before mean girls whispered behind my back and taunted me to my face, before family became hard or the gaze of boys became too important? Who was I before the walk to the edge of a grave that held all of my dreams, along with my young husband? Before children broke my heart, cancer mangled my body and religion left me empty?
Who was I before I longed for the approval of all those who withheld it?
And more importantly, how can a woman get a fresh start in the right now of life and stop living as if her God isn’t enough to answer all of those questions and more?
What has emerged this last year is a season of tender desire to reclaim some child-like wonder in my grown-up heart. A deeper sense of my purpose has been reclaimed, that was buried under layers of life. And Love came in, wrapping His strong arms around me, bringing a fresh believing that the eternal strands of my DNA are wrapped securely around the One who designed me.
The little girl who became the woman I am, could not have arrived at this point, apart from the pathway that has been traveled. Jesus never missed a thing along the way. He was always there, moving toward me, even when I was running away. He uses the pieces of past experiences, failures, and successes to write my story. Seeing myself in the purity and beauty that exists in every little girl has given me new wings of freedom.
Jesus was within reach the whole time.
Now, I just want to live this one life with abandon, like my God is really enough.
My name is Rhonda Quaney and I ……am preapproved!
About Rhonda: I share stories to bring God glory. I write about the journey of faith, shared with family and friends, which often involves food. I’m crazy in love with my husband and the season of life we are in. What I know, is that God is a lavish Giver of great gifts.
You can find me at rhondaquaney.com
THE LOVE IDOL MOVEMENT
Click here to find out more about the Love Idol movement.
Click here to purchase the book that inspired the movement.
Click here to join us on Facebook as we lay down our Love Idols and declare our #preapproved status in Christ.
Click here to print the black and white preapproved cutouts.
Place these where ever your Love Idols have lurked!
A pink PreApproved printable: to frame, to put on your refrigerator, to give to a friend.
Click here to print. My gift to you, brave soul!
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Oh Rhonda – I remember that moment at Jumping Tandem, and Cheri’s reply and the way my heart leapt for joy when I heard Cheri’s response, to swing so high as to touch the hand of God. I was set to dreaming too. You write so beautifully. I always feel so welcomed by you to be real because you bare your heart with tender bravery. Jennifer – thanks for this love idol series and making room for all of us to share a part of our hearts with you. You always make us feel loved.
I could just squeeze you Kelly. Cherri Putz’s had deep words to share that heal, bring peace and yes, help women dream God’s dreams for their lives. Love you both and thankful for Diedra Riggs and Jumping Tandem Retreat!
Beautiful…this second half living truly can be full of hope and freedom in Christ…may we continue to let Him set us free to run this race with abandonment !!!
This really is a season of hope and freedom in Christ isn’t it Ro? I love that you bring that voice to the on-line world too. Women of all ages need us of all people, to shed light on the season after the children are raised, when the grandchildren are scampering around making our hearts swell, and when deep beauty come radiating from our very souls. The world needs to hear and see that in us.
This post makes me love you even more and makes so glad and proud to call you friend, Rhonda!
Oh Elizabeth. I love how we are finding that we are preapproved together. I truly think of you as a sister.
Rhonda, I don’t know what to say. This might be one of the most beautiful posts I’ve read…ever. I love this “…could not have arrived at this point, apart from the pathway that has been traveled. Jesus never missed a thing along the way.” That is so very true – of all of our stories, mine, yours and hers…every valley, every mountaintop, every detour…designed by Him and he was there all the time. Truly a lovely post. Thank you for sharing your story.
Now, about Jumping Tandem. I was there too. So sorry I missed meeting you.
Mary. This is true of every single life-lived story. No one else can write the words you do, because it is the story God is writing in your soul for eternity. I remember seeing you at Jumping Tandem and thinking, “Isn’t she beautiful.”
Rhonda, this is beautiful! “The little girl who became the woman I am, could not have arrived at this point, apart from the pathway that has been traveled.”
Yes, if we could all embrace this and rejoice in the life Christ guides us through.
Are you going to JT again in 2015?
Thank you for sharing, Rhonda!
Isn’t that just deep truth. And wouldn’t we just be shallow souls without those things that God is redeeming? Yes. I definitely want to be there at JT this year. And you too I hope? They may need a bigger venue.
Such hope and beauty rising from your words: “The little girl who became the woman I am, could not have arrived at
this point, apart from the pathway that has been traveled. Jesus never
missed a thing along the way. He was always there, moving toward me,
even when I was running away.” Thank you 🙂
Have you found this to be true as well? That Jesus is always moving toward us, in love. That is a beautiful truth. Thank you for taking time to leave a note. Sincerely blessed me.