Grace & Gravity

I believe that I was put on this earth to chase my destiny.

I believe that you were put on this earth for a great purpose.

I believe that there is grace unleashed around us when we let someone change their mind (without missing a beat).

I believe there is power in acceptance & unconditional love.

I believe that from our darkest pain comes our deepest passions.

I accept my favorite parts of my story as well as the parts that wreck me.

I believe in an eternal force of goodness that is changing my stars & will never stop setting me free.

I accept the heavy care in my heart for the dozens of people who I claim as eternal family (love that pierces thread through me & ties my figure-eight soul to this planet).

I believe that I won’t regret giving myself time & space to transcend the daily “grind” & to nurture the soul I’ve been given.

I won’t regret taking the time to hear my heartbeat & to think long & hard about the human experience.

I won’t regret begging the dark & mysterious universe for space within me to adopt the unforced rhythms of grace & to weather waves of light & truth, the ones keeping sun & moon drawing circles around earth.

I won’t wish I had forgiven less, dreamed less, hoped less, smiled less, cried less, laughed less, fought for my neighbors & family less, believed less.

By grace I see, I dare to think: this life is a sacred gift & I want to live each extraordinary moment.

May the child within you be set free.

May you greet every growing experience with grit.

May love be gravity tethering you to the present moment.

May you fight for another.

May you confront the darkness within.

May you fly, my friend.

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Audacity to Ask

54 days ago:

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom~Psalm 90:12

The last journal started in struggle and ended in burn out. A lot was accomplished in between. But no amount of productivity is worth the forfeit of my soul’s health. I want this journal to be full of all the joy and health that comes from living Coram Deo [in the presence of God]. I hope it is peppered with instances in which I put down what I am doing at the slightest urging, and readily join God in whatever He is up to. I want to follow Him in all things, everyday submitting myself to His great self. Every day an expedition into grace and He is my Captain. Where will we go, Lord? What will happen? Only You know, and that is what is best. I hope to be renewed by deeper connection to the Fount of Living Water. You can make these dreams come true in my life, Lord, and I pray that You will, knowing that even as I pray You have already answered. 

On the last page of the same journal I wrote:

My God overwhelms the giants. He slays dragons. He gives us what it takes to lift trembling sword in the fact of monsters unimaginable. He puts the war cry for justice deep in our throats. He sets fire in our belly so we can stand appalled and indignant in the way of abuse and terror. It’s His breath in our lungs anyway. Let’s praise Him with it.

Amazing that He answered my prayers even before the journal was spent.

Receiving God’s gifts is a gentle, simple movement of stooping lower.~Ann Voskamp

This Year

This year, so full. The action, unending. Now that I have suffered, suffered in a multitude of ways, I can enjoy-happily-all that there is to love about life. Late nights with friends, hearts on sleeves. Sweet, grassy smells. Incense, burning. Hammock, hanging. Boys and the way they taste-different, each. God and His majesty, revealed in a rainbow of ways. Thrift stores and NO HOMEWORK! Time to paint fingernails, toes. Maps Arts Gifts Waffle Fries. The library, the constant motion. Depositing checks $, going to concerts. Networking, knowing people and a place-exploring the depth of both. Frustrations with family, feet, feelings, sure. All the awesome cannot erase the awful. Yet, what joy is mine! In spite of surgery…and struggles, there is such sweetness to living.

This, my appreciation of it all.

Good jobs, great bosses, gracious friends. Outreach, outdoors. Long drives, lakes. People. People. People. Pulsation in my fingertips-I feel the veins against your skin. Being, growing, stretching. Life in all its’ wonder. Me, in all my imperfection. Pain, poignant, presses its’ finger on my everything. It wills me to snap. It encourages anger and abandonment of all that is lively and lovely. Happiness holds it at arms’ length for now. Fear(you dog!), today is not for you. This day is for nice, earthy, companionship…worship. Today is real. Pain, an illusion of yesterday and tomorrow.

Lab Rats

Anticipation, slightly fearful. It creeps up me like moss climbing an oak tree. But moss is on the outside. This feeling, it starts to coat my insides. My emotions become choked: cut short by the tightness in my breast.

Be calm.

This too shall pass.

Look forward, beyond this. Let your internals breathe. Allow air, thick and nutritious, to feed your panicked mind. Oxygen seeps in and bathes me in clarity. Healthy, wholesome; it can happen.

Perhaps it will.

I went in, not sure whether I should be accepting this as a big deal, or playing it off. The piercings had to come out, minimal blood loss required.

I disrobed and sat on my gurney. The nurse had fled. The woman next to me was learning  how to keep the bladder wall from being irritated by her cathiter.  Nothing between me and the cold air but a napkin-thin hospital gown.

Naked, I thought. Exposed. Fragile.

And then I thought of all the children, grown or young, who go through this time and again. They are poked and prodded, and treated like lab rats. Their hair comes off along with their clothes. Not just once, but as many times as they can count IV pricks in the crook of their arms. I cried for them. Tears for the battered ones. Tears for this sick, sick world. Tears because of how easy it is to ignore the stench of death that surrounds us.

And I wanted to cry more but it seemed childish to do so. Tears can’t change a thing.

 

This Continual Conversation

And I entreat Him again using countless cliche complaints:

When will the pain float on?

Will there be another day without the groaning, aching, and ripping plaguing my every posture?

Please take it away; will you not take this cup from me soon?

You have promised to end the hurting; when will that day come?

He answers with characteristic immutability:

I won’t say when, but the day will come. I promise. It is the same day that I have promised to the young mothers in Uganda, Brazil, Brooklyn. You’ll share that day with the sufferers in Syria. That is the day when prisoners will be released and returned to their families. That’s the day when the needs of children with bellies bloated from hunger will finally be met. The kids who sniff glue, the men who worked day and night just to watch their first born commit suicide, the women whose hair was stolen by cancer; all await that day. The planet earth groans in its’ impatience for the time to come.

You are selfish in thinking that you alone know pain.

 

Hallelujah, there is hope.

My heart overflows with gladness.

Even so:

Come, Lord Jesus.

 

Exhale Gold Dust

“…Depth beneath depth and subtlety within subtlety, there remains some lingering idea of our own, our very own, attractiveness.”-The Four Loves, by C.S. Lewis

I know that I am a piece of clay in my Father’s hand

To Him I have offered up

Myself.

“Mold me,” I bid Him.

“Make me what you wish.”

But I didn’t realize-

I could not have foretold:

The grating,

The sanding-down,

The chipping away.

I expected it to hurt for a while,

And then get better.

I thought my heart was maleable,

Warm.

Wrong.

It is not a massage

Or a gentle forming.

It is scraping and thus

I am reduced to a heap of dust;

So hard was my heart.

Blind eyes deceived me.

The wretched soul holds onto lies,

Looks for good in itself.

Mistaken creature that I am,

He holds me dear.

His whisper I await,

I know it will come.

Even when I least expect it:

“Take heart”

“You are beautfiul”

“I will renew your strength”

“Give you wings”

Hallelujah, God Strong Tower

Make my dust

Golden.

Breathe me in,

Never exhale.