Ready

Cracked and dry, broken and weary.  Ready to receive.

Like the first few drops of rain falling on parched land, words from another who sees Your Face and knows Your Love and walks in Your Daily Grace, seep into my spirit.  Drops disappearing from the surface almost as fast as they fall, but going to work deep within.

Where seeds of hidden truth lie in wait, and hope shriveled into dormant slumber dreams of what used to be.   Where echos of a life of laughter and all things possible once existed, now lie the leftovers of what happens when more wind blows than water falls.

I was once called by a name.  I was once told of a great and mighty gift I was formed to posses.  I once reached timid hand outstretched to receive and be blessed.

Then my surroundings changed as my footsteps directed in a different path.  And words from disheartened and soul-hungry, beat down and oppressed, who scoffed at things felt, and upheld things thought as best, words that pierced my heart, shook my faith and caught me at the knee.

And when you forget how to find that falling water, to refresh and refill, those words can kill the life right out of things tender and growing within.

But You never left me to completely wither.  You sustained me in the innermost places.  And calling to me, You pursue me as relentlessly as the sun rises each morning.  You have sent rain.  A trickle and a taste of what is yet to come.

   “For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”

Isaiah 43:19

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Picking Up The Pieces

Today was not what it was meant to be.  Though carefully planned and penned and drafted, posted on the clip board hanging near the kitchen table.  Discouragement set in.

I was not who I wanted to be.  My children were not who I wanted them to be.  My husband was not home to help any of us.

My toddler screaming, my son arguing, my daughter defying… me sinking lower.

Our choices reflecting our states of minds, and the reflections echoing off one another like those short melodies you cannot forget once they are sung.

Our home in tatters by bed time, with two in tears and one confined to bed, with the fourth and final player in a heart-to-heart with Dad.  We fell apart today.

And here, in the quiet aftermath, I am left.  Alone in the wake of my choices, heart heavy and eyes still blurring with tears.  Grateful there is One I can pour my heart out to, ugly and messy and riddled with mistakes.  Just grateful to let the tears flow.  Humbled and laid low, desiring His cleansing grace.

We’ve been here before, He and I.  I know His compassion and His kindness breaks my heart for good.  He sees how undeserving I am, and He receives me still.  Whole and full is His acceptance of my pitiful and pathetic offering.

It is He who picks up the pieces.  Gently and evenly putting me back to working self.  The shattered bits of me, laying at His feet, the fear and soul-fatigue, the unforgiveness and the shame.  He picks them up and dusts them off and fits their shapes back on, renewed as courage, refinement, humility and compassion.

Tomorrow we start again.  Fresh with apologies made and forgiveness applied.  Rebuilt, and refined.

 “I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel. Again you will take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful.” ~Jeremiah 31:4

To Hear, To See, To Know

It is said that from the womb we hear.  Loud rushing, thumping, thrumming.  Distant, vague, and mysterious.

As we grow we gain understanding, learn languages, distinguish voices, attune to melodies, and recognize written words.

The beat of a heart no longer present in our ears.  The mystery vanishing with knowledge.

Is it that we learn too much?  Or that we simply forget.

Though we are old we are very very small.  Though we learn we are very very ignorant.

Though we line up our accomplishments, we cannot stop the floods and quakes that shatter lives and tear the earth open.

Though we study we cannot keep the dying alive.

We cannot stop the wind, and though we have learned to harness it, with one mighty breath it can tear our brilliance to shreds.   That which cannot be seen destroying what is.

Even with our great knowledge, we cannot undo the terrible hurt that mankind inflicts on mankind.

We spend all our years running after knowledge, to see what we have yet to see so that we might explain what has yet been explained, to know what we cannot know in all our lifetime.

Yet, all we need to know is right where we started from.  In the quiet, deafening sound of a heart beating.   In the vague and mysterious wonder of eternity.  Of resting, suspended in warmth and comfort and being safely hidden.  Because of one life given.

It is not in knowledge that we will find answers.  And it is not is sight that we will know.  It is in hearing that which we can only discern with ears attuned to what is within.  Creator calling to creation.  Heart beating, love yearning, voice a rushing, trembling, mighty whisper; calling to the hurting, the broken, the crushed and inflicted.  Naming the underserving by name, tenderly calling the unlovely, the weary and the forgotten.  Those who are unlearned.

These, who have yet to know, will see first the mysteries unveiled.  To these, who have no goodness or understanding to prop themselves up with, will the vague be made known.  Those who have no accomplishments to offer, no wisdom more to gain, just life to survive through, will understand what hearing really means.

And then, having heard, having seen, will truly know what life is.

Boldness

Boldness, I pray.  For words and courages and enough to express.

There are people hurting and needing to hear of love and hope and grace.  Thing I have.

Boldness to speak, please.  I pray for courage and words, for ways to express what I have to offer, not I but someone perfect.

Courage; doing something despite fear.  Boldness; the willingness to risk

What do I have to loose?

Boldness I pray, please dear Lord, boldness to speak and to pray.

Hope

I remember the light.

The way it illuminated that part of the porch.  All golden and bright.  Hope.

Every morning it would rise just as I would; we’d watch it grow up the post and into the trees, rising for the day ahead.  Basking together in it’s gift of warm delight.  A glimpse of the Promise of God’s good works to come, present in this moment together.

Now morning is wet.  Dark.  White and cold.  Light comes later.

Mornings are hurry and scurry of shivers, breakfast, books and out the door.  Not until the baby is yawning for his nap do we see, if we are gifted by the sky, that brilliant golden light. And no longer on our porch, but out mid-grass, creeping, shivering, up the hill.  At a distance.

It is effort to remember warmth, to remember hope being near.

To take delight in present circumstances.

When life turns cold and expectedly unexpected.  When insides reflect the seasons instead of steadfast purpose.  And heart feels sluggish and shivers at the wintery view.

I read it.

“And yet if so small a portion of God’s work ought to ravish us and amaze us, what ought all his works do when we come to the full numbering of them?” ~ John Calvin 
 

In the shivering morning’s silver cold, I remember that golden light.  The hope of warmth in that day.

I see it.  “So small a portion of God’s work…”  And it does amaze me.

Just the memory of hope.

And in memory’s light, edging away the darkening cold, I glimpse the edge of the full numbering of all His works for me…

Including these done here. Now. In winter’s chill, the season and the heart of life. The hope that is present still.

 
 
 
 
“…and God squanders nothing.” ~ Ann Voskamp
 

Home in Heaven

Many homes I have left behind, many people too. My heart is splintered and slivers left in many hands.  I still hear the sounds of home, feel the breezes and smell the rich stark aromas of beaches, mountains, rolling hills, stormy winters, balmy summers, crisp falls, fresh springs, arid dry seasons, dense build-ups, lush tropic rains and foggy chill.

I see the people.  Deep brown eyes of strangers, kind and welcoming, offering tea.  Brown leathered skin, worn calloused bare feet and a fire out back.  Sarongs and long black hair.  Language was not a barrier here. Children clinging, shy and curious and bold.  Thrilled and in awe.  Adults guarded and abashed, welcoming and warm. To be welcomed for differences alone is an experience apart from any other.

I see rich warmth, a kindred soul, kind-hearted and accepting eyes.  Long conversations under dark skies thick with stars.  Dreaming minds engaged and bodies wrapped in languid balmy heat.  Hearts bound in prayer for those we love and those we were yet to know.

I see her hurting and angry eyes.  I remember the call to prayer.  Daily.  For a long, long while.  For blessings to flow over her, for strength to love.  I remember the courage it took for a humbling heart to ask, courage I to this day admire.  The return to friendship lasting years to come.

I see two friends of the same mind, “iron sharpens iron” said one.  And so it was.  The three of us connected for a time, united still in love for God.

I see their faces, many many faces, smiling, sad, open and welcoming, familiar and loving,  I hear voices, laughter, long aching talks and comforting reassurances.  I hear wisdom and truth, and I hear the hurt and anger too.  I know the road of restoring relationships, it’s been traveled many times over.  Each rock and pit still present, each time I’ve learned, a little more, to thank Him for their navigation.  I know their children, love their friendships, long for the presence of their fellowship.

In all I know of then, and in all I love of now, I have yet to be called Home.

And in the hallow of night, the midst of heart-crushing struggle and on the highs of glorious joy, my heart in it’s many pieces longs to be made whole.  Aches for reunification;  For my thens to blend with my nows, for each place and person I have called home to come in under one roof.

For when I am reunited with all those I have left parts of me behind in, I will finally be the whole of each part that each person drew out of me, the best, the timeless, the person my God created.  A fraction of the reflection of Him we each hold, together with each other, fractions in glorious reflection.  Then home truly will be Heaven.

What Love Is That Love Does…

Love bears all things 

 Believes all things                                                                     

          Endures all things.

                                                                                      Hopes all things.

                                                                                                                                                                  Love never fails.

When love is patient and kind, and when it is not rude or self-seeking or boastful it is beautiful and a thing to behold.

When love does more… bears all, endures all, believes and hopes all… it takes on a whole different depth.

When patience no longer meets the needs of those around us, and bearing up under becomes the option to running or pushing away, it becomes something like a helium balloon turning into a water balloon, swelling deep and heavy instead of floating high above.

When applying self-control to easily rising anger, or guarding against long lists of grudges, and the hurts pile up fast and hard and ugly, enduring all can be like replacing handcuffs with iron shackles and lead chains.

I struggle with this part of what love is.  I struggle with who this applies to and when.  I struggle with how this is often interpreted and expected.  I struggle with what our broken selves have twisted these words into meaning.   I struggle with the beauty of those who reach these depths with grace, and with those who have been mutilated by unrealistic expectations our theologies can create.

Then, I look into my mirror and I speak lovely words of truth over my reflection;

Your worth is in the eyes of a Creator who loves you.  A Creator of universes, who comes close just for the chance, the hope, that you hear Him.  That you might want His love. Your value is in your Maker’s passion for you, that without any promise, without any commitment, and before you even knew your own name, He gave up His life for yours.  Just for the chance that you’d say, yes. 

And I realize something.  A small button that opens a pocket of understanding.

God is love. And God bears all things even before we were born and on our behalf.  God believes all things, He is all knowing and all present.  God endures all things, for our sakes and despite ourselves and even without our knowing or acknowledging.  God hopes all things, He is all powerful.  God never fails.

We can do nothing without Him.  And even still, anything we do resembling love is Him in us, leaking out of the cracks in our self-protective armor.  And all God ever wants from us is our captivation by His love, that we would simply look at Him, become consumed by Him, that we might be loved.