A New Day, Broken, life making, The Mucky Stuff, The Vulnerable Side, When It Gets Dark

Coming Home

I let go. I let go of the writing. I let go of the processing. I let go of the feelings in an effort to stop The Terrible Awful I couldn’t seem to get away from. Because to write is to feel and to feel The Terrible Awful? To feel the grief, the pain, the death…So much death. So much loss. No, I could not feel it anymore. Because that pain was too great, and so in my effort to survive, I turned it off. I went numb. But in the going numb, I didn’t just numb the pain. I numbed the joy. I numbed the beauty. I numbed the technicolor rainbow pushing itself out from under the rain clouds. I messed up that day I put pen down. The day I no longer let ink bleed black into notepads, desperately hoping my heart would stop bleeding as well.

Little did I know the avenue I’d be walking a year ago when I started writing again. And now, seven journals later I have more than just words brimming. I have thoughts. I have feelings. I have tears. I have so many tears. But I have laughter. And I have smiles. And I have memories. Memories that do more than just dance around the grief I so much want to ignore. I have memories of joy, and love, and beauty. I have moments forever tucked away in this mind of mine. Moments I cherish. Moments I would sacrifice for a thousand times over. Moments I will never get back, and so I tuck them deep into this soul of mine and I hold them oh the more closer to me. And I have truth. I have so much truth. Truth that shines so much brighter than those lies ever could. Truth that reminds me that there is wonderful joy ahead. Truth that speaks to my soul that this story, this story with so much pain and death and ache and brokenness is not over. That there is a plan and a purpose, and that I am loved with everlasting love. A love that reaches into the fathoms of depths and widths and heights and breadths, more so than any of my imaginations could invent or build. Yes, I have truth. And I have spirit. Spirit made manifest from He who creates. Spirit that will never wither away. Spirit that is fed from the life breath of a God who sees more in me than I will ever know. Spirit from the bread of life, He who feeds me. Yes, I have spirit. And I have truth.

I still have so much to work through. Questions I do not understand. Why my dad died so young, and why he will never walk me down the aisle, or see my children, or have another talk with me. Why my brother at 34 was taken all the more too early. And why he could not be rescued from his disease of addiction, of pain and trauma. Why his healing had to be a heavenly versus earthly. Why this disease ravages my body, and keeps me from the career I’ve always wanted, keeps me at the grace and generosity of others instead of allowing me to support myself. Yes, I have so many questions. And I have anger. I have so much anger, and confusion, and I speak it out to Him daily. “Why won’t you take this thorn from me? And why won’t you change my life, and bring the prosperity you promised? And where are those plans to prosper and not to harm me? Where are they?!”  Yes, I have questions. And they may never be answered in this wilderness of life I walk through. But I will not  be afraid to do the feeling. Because perfect Love casts out fear. And God is Love. And Love is in me, because He is in me. And manna will still fall. And the seas will still part. And the rock will still bring forth life giving water. Even in the question, even in the feeling, even in the grief. That technicolor rainbow will still speaks to the promise even with the rain clouds. But He will not flood the earth again. And He will not flood this soul. And death will not bear a sting.

So here’s to starting over, to the writing I love, to new seasons, to feeling all the feelings, to life abundant even with the chance of The Terrible Awful, to technicolor rainbows and promises they bring. And most of all, to spirit and truth. Beautiful, confusing at times, yet ever so consistent and life giving Spirit and Truth.

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Dear Love, Love Story, When It Gets Dark

My Romance

I dreamed last night. And in that dream, there I stood: alone. In the middle of a makeshift gym court turned dance floor. I was there all alone as Tony Bennett crooned his romance through old speakers that crackled in rhythm to his song. And I wanted to dance. I wanted so much to dance. But I was alone and broken and weary. And with that broken spirit, all I could muster was a slight sway. Back and forth, off to one side, and then to the other. There, in the middle of an unnamed high school basketball court. All alone on thick glossed floors, alone in the spotlight. But as I swayed, suddenly He was there. Walking towards me, with hands held out- for me and only me. Nail scarred hands, open and inviting and seeking me. Tony Bennett sang about his romance and all the while I experienced my own as my greatest love walked up to me, took my hand in His and suddenly we were dancing.  

He and I. The One who loves me more than I could ever know. My Greatest and Oldest love twirled me on the dance floor, all the while inviting me to more.

“I have not forsaken you.” He said.

“It feels like you have.” I whispered back.

His hands held mine just a little bit tighter.

“Trust in me with all your heart. Don’t lean on your feelings.

I couldn’t speak. Too much grief in my throat choked any words I could speak. But even in my grief, we danced. His hands held me as if I was His most precious possession. And in His presence I was perfect, complete, and lacking nothing. Even in all my insecurities, I felt secure. In the entirety of all my doubt nothing hung in the balance. I laid my head on His shoulder. I pressed my burdens onto Him, and let everything blur into redemption. We swayed. Back and forth, back and forth, relaxing into our steady rhythm, and there was no one or no thing but us. And I don’t even know how long we stayed like that rocking together as He soothed my anxious heart. Minutes. Hours. Days. We rocked. Back and forth, back and forth, until a splash stole my attention. And as I looked down at our feet I watched as ocean water pooled below us. I don’t even know where it came from or how it got there. And just like every other thing I seemed to be coming up against, it made no sense. Water on a dance floor? It wasn’t even an inch deep, but there it was, whooshing its sea foam around us, our own little riptide.

And I remembered. I remembered that time I stood there on the shore watching the tide come in. Watching the sunset. Watching the beauty, completely entranced. I remembered how He was next to me then. “Stop worrying about the details, just focus on the beauty of what I am doing, Beloved.” That’s what He told me way back then, and it was what I was reminded of in that dream. That dream that seemed all too real. 

“Deeper waters, Beloved. I am taking you to deeper waters. Don’t lean into your own understanding. Trust in me with all your heart.”


My eyes opened and suddenly I was no longer in that gym but awake in the darkness of my bedroom.  But even in the darkness of midnight, He was still there. And I could see with refreshed eyes all that lay before me. Even in the darkness, even in the confusion, there was light. Because despite my circumstances, despite all my questions about the unknown, despite every frustrations and every sigh, He is there. He is directing and creating, building and writing every detail into existence. And He does it all for my good, for my benefit, to create a better story for me. And all the while, He woos. He romances. He reminds me who I am and why I matter. He is never too busy for me.  And despite the million things that need His attention, it is never so much that His attention is diverted. He is my greatest and oldest love. He is ever and always for me. And His romance is my romance. He holds me. He protects me. He works for me. All the while twirling me in steps of beauty. And in the safety of His arms, while He continues that good work He is completing in me, we dance. He and I. Back and forth, back and forth. We dance. And I remember the greatest romance my heart could never have imagined. And my anxious heart is anxious no more. Because He loves me. And His romance is my romance.

 

Hebrews 13:5 | Proverbs 3:5 | James 1:4

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Praise Songs, When It Gets Dark

So Much More Than Rain

I woke up today to rain. More rain. Heavy thick drops. Falling on my roof. Falling on my windows. Falling everywhere. I went to the window, putting my finger on the blind and pushing it down to see for myself. There is was, all laid wet before me. Rain fell from every corner of the sky, painting the world with cold and gray. I am so tired of the rain. It is cold. It is wet. It is uncomfortable. More rain. So much more than rain.

As I looked out that open blind, I looked to see the damage of the weather. But rather than noticing damage,  I could only see the bush. The bush I had looked at a thousand times before but never seen. The bush I had taught myself to look through rather than to look at. The bush that never before held significance, and yet now held all the significance of the world.  It wasn’t just a bush. Or maybe to me it was. But for those birds, it was so much more. It was a haven, a home, a safe place. And there they sat. Inside. Some huddled, some on their own, pulling their wings in as close as they could, settling down inside that bush, away from the storm and enduring the rain. Beautiful birds of all sorts of varieties. Faded ones, gray ones, red ones, blue ones. Some were beautiful, some not so much. But they all sat in the same beared down squat, waiting out the storm, taking the drops as they came, and when they needed to, shaking off the water. No fear, no anxiety, no frustration. They sat and endured. They waited and shook off. And the drops came, and sometimes it fell soft, and sometimes it didn’t. But the birds didn’t move. Because in that bush they were sheltered, and that was all they needed.

And I sat there, much too long than I had time for. I sat and I sat. I watched the birds and as I watched I saw a lesson unfold in my mind. Look at the birds. Are you not of more value than they? He sheltered them. It doesn’t mean they didn’t feel the rain. It doesn’t mean they didn’t get the blow of the wind. But they had no need to fear. They endured. They withstood the blows. They shook off the rain. Because in that Bush, that all branches and no leaf bush, they were protected. They were safe. They were encompassed, enveloped, held. And nothing was so strong it was going to knock them out of the bush. It wasn’t always comfortable, and it wasn’t always enjoyable, but it was always safe. Always, always safe. So they took the drops, and when they got too wet, they shook it off. And they endured the wind, and when the wind got too strong, they beared down into the branches, and let the bush take the brunt of it.

I am so tired of the rain. It is wet. It is cold. It is uncomfortable. More rain. It is so much more than rain. Because the drops that fall from life can be hard. They can be thick and loaded. They can be uncomfortable. And the wind that blows can be strong. Knock us off our feet strong. And it is always more. More rain. It is always so much more than rain. But those birds. Those birds He loves. They teach us so much. In all of their varieties, all nestled together in the same holding place. Because they are we and we should be there. Nestled in, ready to endure, but holding no fear. Holding no anxiety. Holding no frustration. Because yes the drops will fall, and yes the wind will blow, but in the end, we were never meant to take the brunt of it. For surely he took our pain, and bore our suffering, yet we considered Him punished by God, stricken by Him and afflicted. He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him. It was on Him. Our punishment, the punishment that brought us peace was on Him. And by His wounds we were healed. By His wounds we are healed. Not by ours, but by His.

I am not safe because I have the power to endure the rain, I have the power to endure the rain because I am safe. I am not strong because I can withstand the wind. I can withstand the wind because He is strong. He took my punishment. He takes my pain. And no matter how thick the drops become, the punishment that brought us peace was on Him. Always and forever. Just like that bush took the brunt of the storm, so does He for me.

Therefore, I will give Him a portion among the great. And He will divide the spoils with the strong. Because He poured out His life, He poured out His life! He poured out His life unto death and was numbered with the transgressors. For He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

All for me. All for you. All to give us hope, a home, a safe place.

The drops are thick and in their fullness they fall heavy. But we have no need for fear. We have no need for pain. We have no need for anything but Him. For nestled in Him we are safe. Nestled in Him we are saved.


Settle in, Beloved. Settle in deep. And let Him to whom all praise is due, let Him keep you.

Matthew 6:26 | Isaiah 53: 4-5| Isaiah 53:12

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When It Gets Dark

After the Pause

I should have written. I tried. I promise I did. But every time I put pen to paper the words just wouldn’t flow. Thoughts refused to organize. Instead they all just slurred together until all I was left with were big messy clumps of anger and I wanted no part of the anger. All I wanted was to get as far away from it as I could. And as much and as often as I tried to scrape it off of me I could never get close enough to make it all be gone.

It was a new thing for me- being angry with God. I’ve been frustrated, I’ve been confused, I’ve been sad, and I’ve been hurt. But i’ve never been angry. not like this. Not with an emotion that rose up, so swollen inside of me that it could only release through hot tears and hot words. I’ve never been so clouded in anger that all I could make sense of was what I’ve felt. I learned the lesson long ago that feelings are not always truth. But the angrier I got the more I  heard myself say “I know you said…. but I don’t feel it. In fact it feels quite the opposite.” And that lesson, that is another post for another time. For now I just want to talk about this anger. And I’m warning you that I am treading new waters. My hope is not that you will take this for truth but that you will see this as just a girl thinking through thoughts and maybe exploring a new topic with you. A girl trying to get back into the waters. A girl trying to write again.

I don’t know if I was right in my anger. Or rather, I don’t know if it is wrong to be angry with God. I have talked to many people about the topic with many different opinions. John Piper says on his website it is wrong. And I can see why. Because with anger comes things like mistrust, tempers, and telling God what is right-something we with myopic sight and human thoughts have no right to do-especially when dealing with God’s thoughts. But then I come to the fact that even in my anger I tried and tried to defuse it but to no avail. I could not with any control of my own make it go away. And then on a non specific day thinking about how hard it was to make the anger flee, I realized that He  did it again. In His wisdom he took evil and used it for good. My anger, my mistrust, my doubting, He used for good. Because whether Anger is something we can control or not, it is quite prevalent among the human heart. And it is real. It is as painful as any physical wound I’ve suffered through. And prior to being angry I didn’t get it. I was blind to that pain. That pain I watched so many walk through. I had no clue. No understanding of how to respond, what words to give them. And I may not have the right words now, but at least I I have words. I have words that get the pain. Words that remember the feeling. And I still don’t get entirely where it came from or how to get rid of it. In fact because of this anger I have more questions than I have answers. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have answers. and so questions may abound confusion may linger but for now i’m thankful for what I do have.

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