In Remembrance

The gunshots faintly echo in my ears.

My punched lip is still tender.

I remember it well.

My hands are rough from the bitter wild.

My head has a dull ache from the lie hangover.

I remember it well.

My heart still beats erratically from the overdose on fear.

I remember it well.

Very well.

2013 was traumatic and left marks that have not yet faded.

But along with the scars came unexpected strength.

Sudden focus.

Unanticipated faith.

So I remember it well.

And will continue to run.

With my crown on my head.

And the King helping me along.

I remember it well

And will continue to run

With purpose

in every single step. 

___________________________

-Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 

I Corinthians 9:24-26

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Princess

As they trek through the forest.

The King continues to hold up the princess.

The daughter who forgot she once wore a crown.

He has many like her.

The daughters with circumstances that challenge their position.

The daughters with impressionable minds that lead to poor choices.

The daughters who are completely unaware of their royal birth.

These daughters may be angry, weary, or damaged.

But they all have the King for a Father.

Grow

“…When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow…”

I had a dream recently where I was standing alone in a dark room.

I was praising God while being beaten by an unseen force.

I was slapped in the face while saying “Hallelujah.”

Someone sucker punched me when my face was turned up toward heaven.

It was when something pinned me against a wall that I could no longer hear my voice.

But my lips were still moving so I knew I was still praising.

I’m entering the third quarter of a year that’s proving to be a trying one.

My faith is stretching like chewed bubble gum. 

My spirit feels like a old snow shovel that’s seen one too many blizzards. 

It is tough.

It is uncomfortable.

It is a place I’d never dreamed I’d see.

But I know God doesn’t bring difficulty without development. 

Something is brewing.

Something is evolving. 

So in spite of the pain … it has to grow. 

So let it grow.

________________________________________________________

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”

-James 1:2-4

Amnesia

Hailey’s laugh sounded like ice cubes rattling in a glass.

During a recent phone conversation, I expressed a concern about a heart matter to which she responded with a dismissive chuckle.

 “You’ll be all right,” she said flippantly. “It’s nothing.”

Over the past few years, Hailey and I shared countless conversations about dating, love, and solid relationships.

I encouraged her as she lamented, soothed her as she mourned, and laughed with giddiness as she celebrated.

But recently, she fell in love and gotten married.

And had taken a shot of amnesia.

Amnesia is a heady drink.

Part pride, part apathy.

A frothy spirit served in oversized martini glasses.

Brown sugar pebbles surround the rim while a maraschino cherry bobs back and forth on a wooden toothpick.

The sweet flavor delights the senses while its heavy composition is ingested.

And then memory… becomes a memory.

I think we begin to sip on amnesia after we’ve accomplished a goal.

Passed a test.

Been released.

Jumped a broom.

Gotten a raise.

Our history before that point suddenly becomes alien.

We become estranged from those who are not yet where we are.

We forget how complication feels.

We don’t remember what insomnia is.

The former struggle, tears, pain, and trouble are no longer things we can or want to relate to.

Instead, we lift a glass of amnesia in the air as a toast to the present tense.

I shrugged off the slight, knowing that the hurt was unintentional.

But it hurt all the same.

It is very easy to soak in present pleasure, current peace, and existing joy.

But remembering the battles from yesterday, the sores from last week, and the sadness from 2 years ago keep us grounded,

keep us connected,

And keep us grateful.

Praying that my memory has staying power. 

Playing with hope

About once a year, I play with my hopes. 

Hopes. Dreams. Future plans.

Everyone’s hopes are born differently.

Mine always begin as long feathery wisps that swirl and whisk into solid balls of light.

Glowing pearls that I can handle.

Press my fingers into their surface.

Bounce them against walls.

Toss them into the air and catch.

I play with my hopes once a year.

Cupping each one in my hands. 

Rolling each one between my fingers.

Sighing at their incandescence.

At  how beautiful they are.

But only in divine Hands can they be truly realized.

My hands are not the place for them. 

His are.

So in the calendar squares before I turn another year, I collect each of my hopes, dreams, and plans…

And drop them…

Permanently…

Into God’s hands…

Where they belong.

For He is more than fit to take care of them.

More than capable to mold them into His will.

More than able to turn them from the toys I play with into a life I walk into.

~In your heart, you plan your life. But the Lord decides where your steps will take you.

~Proverbs 16:9

Role

 I didn’t know that I was stepping into a role.

I stood in my aunt’s bathroom, smiling at myself.

My lips were covered in cocoa glass.

My eyelids shimmered with desert clay.

My lashes plumped from threads to ropes.

I was 13 and in preteen girl heaven.

My aunt, a make-up fiend, had bins full of cosmetics…

…that I helped myself to…

…every morning.

Since my aunt left early for work, my morning duty was to get her daughter, 4-year-old Cheyenne, ready for preschool.

I’d help her brush her teeth, pick out her overalls and put a few ponytails in her hair.

But once Cheyenne was ready, I’d turn on the television and sneak into the bathroom.

I thought I was slick.

Surely Blue’s Clues was more than enough to keep a little girl occupied and still.

But as I watched myself in the mirror, Cheyenne was peeking…and watching me.

As she grew older, she went from watching me to asking me.

“Can I wear your shirt?”

“Can I go with you there?”

“When are you coming back?”

And now at age 19, from asking me to seeking from me.

“What do you think about that? I know you’ve done that.”

“That really encourages me because you went there.”

“I don’t know what God wants. What should I do?”

I didn’t know that I was stepping into a position.

Rose was always the cute little girl on the pew, 3rd from the back.

A couple of years younger than me, Rose’s sparkling chatter during the sermon was always a happy distraction.

Now at 22, her vivaciousness was still there.

One Sunday afternoon, as we lingered in the church parking lot, Rose looked to the left.

A woman had just passed by, walking cuddle close with a man.

When Rose turned back to me, her expression was sad and familiar. 

“Has a guy ever told you that you were different?”

The question came from a spot I knew well, my hometown and my present address.

Our conversation became an ocean, deepening with each sentence.

Every sore she exposed, I found myself trying to soothe.

The hour grew late so I left her with a few final words.

She sent me an email days later, marveling about our conversation and saying that she  had always looked up to me.

 Look up to me?

Really?

I didn’t know that I had an audience.

I didn’t know that I was locked in a pose.

I didn’t know that my role as me, in good weather or in bad light, would be used as an example or cited as a source.

 I’ll strive to play my role the best way I can.

————————————————————

“Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”

-1 Timothy 4:12

Love You

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”

I came across this quote some days ago. It’s rather old, first written more than a hundred years ago.

But it was the first time I’d ever heard it. 

Such an elegant way to describe such a necessary act. 

Can’t say that my romance has been lifelong.

But I can say that I am currently head over heels. 

Officially loving me.