Welcome Back

Profuse apologies.

I’ve been absent.

A beautiful unknown is coming into view.

And handling the shadows that want to tag along has been tough.

But silhouettes always melt away in the Light

Welcoming this next level

Where trust and faith work best unboxed

Without perimeters

Without limits

Without borders

Tis The Season

I’ve been away for a while.

Adapting, 

Folding my life into neater sections.

Amending, 

Transforming block lettered hope into calligraphic reality.

Adjusting, 

Retiring from the snug warmth of what was

To reside in the tingly shiver of what may be…

…and what will be…

…and what is.

The final quarter of 2014 was a dramatic experience. 

A reminder of a few things.

Of God’s love.

His provision.

Most especially, His faithfulness. 

A season is changing.

Preparing for 2015. 


“Look, the winter is past,
    and the rains are over and gone.
The flowers are springing up,
    the season of singing birds has come,
    and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air.
The fig trees are forming young fruit,
    and the fragrant grapevines are blossoming.”

-Song of Solomon 2:11-13

Creak

Weak things creak.

Things like aging cedar stairs

Rusted metal barstools

Flimsy Styrofoam plates.

Certain relationships

They cry out under weight it can’t carry.

They wail from pressure it wasn’t designed to handle.

They whimper because decay has obliterated its strength

Weak things creak.

It’s the first clue of damage.

A sign that something needs inspection.

Weak things creak.

Things like aging cedar stairs

Rusted metal barstools

Flimsy Styrofoam plates.

Certain relationships.

Failure to examine such things can cause collapse.

And the frail notes of strain can become the beginning of an end.

Hourglass

My sand is gray

Cigarette smoke colored and fine as sifted flour

Soft enough to cushion me when I lay down, face up, my pedicured toes pressed against the glass

I tilt my chin up to watch the sand shower

Not slowly

Not quickly

But steadily

All over me

It coats my skin and hair

Falls directly into my pupils and nose

As I lay there

Unmoving

I don’t know how I got inside

The hourglass never seemed to have an opening before

But somehow, I’m here

Reclining on yesteryears and former months as the present dusts my entire being

I collapsed after entering the hourglass

The truth of time’s delicacy and the recognition of what I’d done with it made my knees buckle

How could I stand after wasting so much of it?

And how could I begin to handle however much I have left?

Gratefully, such wisdom comes from the Keeper of the hourglasses

Through Him, we can learn how to shape and mold the sand He gives us

So that after the last grit of sand has fallen, the structures we’ve built from them remain

My sand is gray

Cigarette smoke colored and fine as sifted flour

Dusting myself off and asking the Keeper what to do with it

____________________________________________________________

Teach us to number our days,
    that we may gain a heart of wisdom

-Psalm 90:12 (NIV)

Bitter Batter

“He is no good.”

Freida’s brown eyes narrowed as she folded her arms and leaned back against the couch cushion.

I had said only a few words before she rapidly declared her judgment.

I tried to begin again but was cut off.

“But—“

“He is no good. What do you expect?”

Her voluminous conclusions drowned out my further facts and details.

“He’s trifling.”

“That’s what they all do.”

“He’s needs to be ashamed of himself.”

“I’m so sick of all of them.”

Eventually, I settled into silence as she preached the tainted sermon to her own choir.

As she spoke, I could almost see the words as they exited her mouth.

Each letter blackened with toxins and spiked with pain.

So heavy with hurt that entire sentences crashed into me.

Causing me to inch away from them…and from her.

I think Freida makes her batter each morning.

Her bitter batter.

Furiously stirs it in a large ceramic bowl.

The thick ooze poured into 3×4 muffin tins.

Baked at 500 degrees.

Each morsel slowly eaten until the tongue absorbs the flavor.

The bowl and spoon are licked and washed clean.

Until the next day.

When a fresh batch is made.

The ingredients came into Freida’s life 7 years ago.

She’d been dealt a heavy blow: Her 17-year marriage was ending.

Her ex-husband inarguably was the cause of the demise and had soon remarried.

Which made Freida’s recovery that much tougher.

And though it appeared from all outside appearances that she was rebounding quite nicely, any conversation with her proved that assumption wrong.

This daily dining on bitterness has become dangerous for Freida.

Its aroma repels those around her.

Its flavor colors everything she says and thinks.

And her emotions are gaining weight.

Added pounds that sadly will only make her sink.

We all have or will encounter situations that damage our spirit and make us look at life scornfully.

And left to ourselves, it is an easy opening for satan to convince us to stir the batter.

Bitterness will never let us heal.

But forgiveness does.

It is always difficult to forgive the source of our pain.

And sometimes it’s even harder to forgive ourselves for getting entwined in the first place.

But by praying for that person and asking Jesus to help us to release the grudge, the flow of bitterness will begin to slow and eventually cease.

Jesus, the Ultimate and Constant Forgiver, can completely heal the broken heart.

And only He can make the broken heart forgive.

Praying for Freida and for all who have bitter batter in a bowl.

____________________

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

Colossians 3:13

 

Performance

“At this point many of His disciples turned away and deserted Him. Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?”

 Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know You are the Holy One of God.”

I was searching for this Scripture from John 6 when I came across this piece. As a struggling legalism survivor, I can relate to losing sight of God behind the curtain of performance.

Excellent reminder that His love eliminated the law.

http://www.gracefortheheart.org/whereelsecouldwego.html

War of Words

Coral’s nails rapidly pounded against the ceramic mug.

 The thin taps pinged in the air as I tried to reassure her.

Coral was worried.

In her lap was her performance review and she was terrified of reading it.

Still frantically tapping her fingers, Coral breathed a shuddering sigh.

“I am so worried about he’s going to say.”

Looking at ourselves through the lens of someone else can be crippling.

When another describes who you are, bombastically in a crowd, whispered in a half empty room, or written in a confidential email, we take it with absolute legitimacy.

Because if they are able to give voice to it, then it must not be made up.

It must be true; I am that.  

And as a result, our strides regress to crawls.

Stutters start to distort our speech.

And the heart becomes a hostage of hesitancy.

We become afraid to move.

Which is why God wants us to trust Him.

Jesus put value, esteem, and purpose in every single one of us.

We are not just His children or His creation.

We are His masterpiece.

Works of beauty that are cherished more than we will ever know.

Important souls who have much to offer, much to enjoy, and much to do.

Too much joy is found in the existence that God gives.

Which is why the devil uses man’s opinions to keep us from fully living.  

You are not that.

You are not what they say.

You are who He says.

The words of people can be louder than the Word of God.

But the Word of God lasts longer and is stronger than the words of people.

In the war of words, the truth always wins out.

Trust the truth; toss the opinion.

__________________________________

The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that.

-Proverbs 29:25

Tune out

What happens when optimism fizzles like flat soda?

When encouragement coos turn into resigning buzzes?

When prayers for your ache to end seem to cease altogether?

When conversations are shaded with sympathy for something that hasn’t died?

What happens when the one who was always in your corner doesn’t believe anymore?

Should I join the mourning?

Throw in the towel?

Should I mask the pain?

Soak my responses in simple syrup to ease awkward askers?

Or should I continue to believe for myself?

Yes, I think I’ll do just that.

Tuning out the world and tuning in God is the greatest choice. 

_____________

“This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing. Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever He promises. 

-Romans 4:17-20

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

The King

I can’t.

I can’t go on.

The words, weak and soft, were barely heard to her own ears.

She was so weary.

Her journey was long and rough.

Rough enough to lead her to a forest of broken trees and dead soil.

But she was so weary.

She walked a couple of steps more to a tree stump, where she eagerly collapsed.

She closed her eyes and breathed in deeply.

Unwanted tears spilled down her face but she didn’t wipe them away.

She just took a deep breath.

And exhaled.

Deep breath

And exhaled.

She lay there for a while in the quiet of night.

Too weary to move.

Too weary to speak.

Too weary to care.

Until a question came from behind her.

“What’s wrong?”

Without turning around, she exhaled,“I’m so tired. I don’t know what to do. I’m not good enough. I’m not doing enough of the right things.  I’m just…not.”

“Who told you that you’re not?”

Silence returned to the air as she thought.

She finally answered in a shy voice,“No one. I just feel like I am.”

“Don’t you remember who you are?”

She felt something suddenly placed on her head.

She sat up and took it off to discover it was a crown. A gold one. Her name engraved on it in script.

“My daughters are forever redeemed, eternally safe, and loved forevermore. So says the King.”

She examined the crown.

Smooth solid gold.

Every precious stone imaginable surrounding the rim.

“But,” she sighed. “I don’t even know what’s what anymore. I don’t even know what the plan is.”

“You don’t have to know what it is. You just have to follow Me.”

She looked at the crown again, enjoying its beauty.

It truly was a gorgeous sight.

And she was amazed that it could even fit her.

Balancing the crown between her hands, she hesitated and looked at the King.

“ Remember who you are. Walk in confidence for every word I say is true.”

She placed the crown back on her head.

Slid it right.

Slid it left.

Til it was right in the center.

It fit her perfectly for it was custom-made.

“But what are You even doing here?” the princess asked. “This is no place for a King.”

The King smiled at her question.

Wherever My children go, I go.”

“Even to a place like this?”

“Even to a place like this.”

The princess felt peace as the King helped her up from the ground.

He held her up as they walked.

Slowly out of the forest.