Thursday, October 29, 2015

Isaiah 61:1-7

It's easy to feel incredibly mundane.

Do you ever have those days where it just feels like your life is just one painful black streak on the massive canvas of humanity?

[I admit, my analogies are odd.]

I can't sleep tonight. My head hurts, my tummy hurts, & the thought of my alarm clock hurts, but my eyes are wide & bright, as if my mental exhaustion from the day means Nothing to them.

I move my laptop & myself to my bed, in futile hopes that I'll wake up to find I was lulled to sleep by words.

Fun Fact: this has Never happened.

Mundane restlessness.

Mundane solutions.

I remember when I used to be the girl that turned her bed into a canvas when she couldn't rest. I would artfully spread notebooks, sketchbooks, brushes, pencils, pens, tea mugs, & odd bits of information across my bed, taking a picture of the beautiful mess after diving in.

I listened to a song tonight about a girl losing a version of herself. "She used to be mine." In a way, the nostalgia in me relates to the lyrics.

But there are parts of that girl that I'm glad are long gone.

& there are parts of this girl that I'm really glad were brought to life.

Sure, she's a lot more mundane.

She's known for having her room in constant order.

She's that one person freaking out over a family dinner, but unconcerned about what she'll eat, herself. [this has always been her way.]

She wants to find the poetry in the rain, but she's more or less offended by the way it makes her dog smell & stops the cycle of some things.

She has a really hard time setting aside her to-do lists, her chores, her studies, & her paperwork to just sit down & sketch.

Her soul has lost some of its free-spiritedness as it's aged.

She's almost to the point of dozing off in her rocking chair, but not quite - she's far too concerned with what will be left undone if she stays still too long.

She's trying to be strong, I guess that's it. She's being strong in all the places she used to just be whimsical.

Let me slip back into first person here & admit that I'm terrified that responsibility will crush my whimsy.

I can't let that happen. That doesn't look like Jesus.

I am burdened, but I am anointed.

I have a lot on my shoulders, but I have good news to proclaim.

I can't let my to-do list overshadow my mission.

He's calling me to minister, right where I am; wherever I am.

To bind up the brokenhearted. With the very Love, & maybe even the very words that were used to bind up my broken heart. It's crazy how He does that. How our healing isn't just for us.

He's called me to testify. To set free.

I think of the dream He's placed heavy on my heart: to speak love & destiny over those who have been told they "can't" since their birth. To be an occupational therapist, yes, but more than that, to be a voice & a channel of hope into the lives of children with disabilities. To me, that looks a lot like the whimsical love of our Jesus. & you can't just stuff that into a box. It cannot be contained!

The opening of the prison to those who are bound.

Freedom, freedom, freedom.

I think of those lives that mine already intersects with, that are just bound by fear & doubt. I'm called to proclaim the opening of the prison!

Oh, the connotations of this. If this is the reality of what I've been called to, what have I been missing in my inactivity? This is a call to War, & I've been stressing over how no one else will clean these bathrooms for me. This isn't just apathy, I've grown stagnant. & it's time I opened my eyes to it all.

My vision is better than it used to be. I just haven't been stepping up to the plate. What I see is like a weight of responsibility, & I've been ignoring it. This calling has been described to me as a triage nurse, & the heaviness sets in when I allow it to; I have been called to stop the hemorrhaging that I see around me, & I've oftentimes done nothing.

I see mourners. I am called to comfort them.

Not just to pat their shoulder, I am called to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes.

To me, that speaks worth. That speaks revived life. Awakening. & I'm supposed to have a role in bringing it about.

Silence is warfare, at times. "When good people do nothing." I've been known to fight for the wrong side of this war.

Since when has my joy been so contagious that it flows over people like the oil of gladness. That it clothes them in praise, lifting up the faint-spirited. To make them into oaks of righteousness. The firm planting of the Lord.

This is speaking about words. Words can do this. They have the power to. I've let mine lay quiet, or worse, spread discontent. But what if I could do This?

The Lord would be glorified.

The broken would be empowered.

Walls would be rebuilt.

Breaches repaired.

Cities restored.

Ruins & devastations, revived.

Generations, healed.

Leaders would rise up.

People once looked down on would have worth & purpose.

My heart thrills as I think of how this would bless the heart of my Lord. Minister to Him. Glorify Him.

These words slow as He whispers over me that I don't have to live in shame anymore. That He honors me. That in Him & His will for my life, I'll find everlasting joy.

& knowing His heart ... even though the dream He's given me is Beautiful to me ... I'd still want it if it were just to be a ditch-digger that was called to speak all of the life & love I just mentioned. His glory would still be worth it. & no matter where He places me, it's still going to be beautiful.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Mark 5:21-45

{a first-person narrative from the perspective of the woman with the discharge of blood}

They call me "the woman". They know my name. I held their babies. I rejoiced at their weddings. My wedding, even. My babies. They know my name.

They know me.

But now? They demean me by simply calling me "the woman." Disconnecting themselves from any former tie to me. Distancing themselves from my fate.

As if it were my fault. As though I am no longer worth it.

Twelve years. An eternity.

And the blood still doesn't stop. I am forever unclean. Hopelessly marred. There is no hiding this. You can even smell me coming. I have no money for perfumes or oils, so the stench of my hemorrhaging clings to me. To say they avoid me like the plague is no overstatement.

Twelve years.

My babies have grown. I hear tell of grandbabies that will never be allowed to know me. I wonder, will they tell them I have died, to spare them the shame of knowing?

I repulse them.

Forced to live in a hovel of a house on the outskirts of town, I scarcely see glimpses of those I know.

But oh, I live to try. Those blissful days that I see my children ... see them smiling at their friends and neighbors as they walk down the street. The times I see those children that I fancy resemble me or those who were once mine.

They don't know that I see them. They can never know. I shiver as I wonder what people would do if they learned of my tendency to still hide among them. There is no leper colony for those who are called cursed. So I glean community with my hungry eyes, watching from the shadows of the street.

From here,  I first saw Him.

The mysterious One. With healing hands and a voice that simultaneously challenges and invites.

I didn't notice Him at first. So plain, this Messiah. I am certain that's Who He is. He has to be. I cling to such hope.

I don't just see it in Him ... you can see it in those surrounding Him, too. His disciples know Him; love, respect, reverence, and a glimmer of the unknown shine from their eyes.

The synagogue ruler (a friend of the priest who declared me unclean), Ja'irus, I think was his name ... he trusts this Jesus. Hoping for the impossible, like me. I hear his daughter's dying.

I don't dare interrupt today's procession. Such a young soul ... not much older than my first grandchild.

I can't interrupt, but I need Him. My spirit moves with desperation.

What if I just touched Him?

I know how to maneuver and hide in such a swelling crowd. Surely, I could snag a piece of His garment. I would be healed, I know it. And He could continue on His way. He wouldn't even have to spare a look for me. All of His focus reserved for the little girl.

I wouldn't even dare touch His skin; wouldn't make Him unclean ... Could you make a Savior unclean?

I'm stalling and I know it.

I let out a silent breath and reach out my hand. I touch Him, desperately hoping. The coarse garment slips from my fingers, and the pain slips out of my body just as quickly. I can feel it; the clenching ache of the hemorrhaging of twelve years ... it's finally over. He has healed me.

But, wait. He's stopped them. Oh no. He knows. What have I done? The little girl is still waiting, and I have perhaps killed her. Her Savior probes the crowd, looking for me. His disciples question Him: how could He ask who touched Him in a pressing, relentless crowd?

I had hoped He wouldn't bother.

I wanted to preserve my anonymity. Every human instinct tells me to run; retreat to deeper shadows.

But His eyes find mine, and they say something different. He asks something else of me; silently beckons me to lay it all down. To trust Him and forget about what they may think. He invites me to step out of the shadows, once and for all, and as I look into His eyes, I know I am safe.

I step forward slowly, then, trembling, all at once. I lose my breath and find myself on my knees in the dust. The crowd must have parted for me, I dimly perceive, giving me a wide berth. I find I don't care.

I look up at those eyes.

"I'm sorry," I say. My gaze flits to Ja'irus. "I'm so sorry." He looks as though every second is stabbing. But Jesus, His face holds nothing but ... Love.

I haven't been looked at with love in twelve years. Oh, God. My heart could soar. My heart could soar. I know I must tell Him all.

"My name is Ess. I'm unclean, You can see .... I shouldn't even be here, but, I had to be. I have bled without ceasing for twelve years. The doctors could do nothing. I only grew worse, the more I tried. I lost everything I had -- my family, home, money, social standing .... I stood here empty. I knew ... I knew... I knew You could fill me. It was I who touched You, forgive me. I should have waited,"--another glance at Ja'irus--"but I couldn't. Not when I'd seen You. And now You have healed me. The blood has ceased to flow!" I bow my head down in thanks. He lifts it.

A small crowd approaches noisily, but strangely enough, Jesus only has eyes for me.

"Daughter," He calls me, "your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed from your disease."

Then the wailing reaches us. The small crowd ushers in a servant from the synagogue ruler's house. He looks to be in anguish. Oh no. Please, no.

"Your daughter is dead," he says to Ja'irus. "Why bother the Teacher any further?"

My heart threatens to break, but Ja'irus' and my eyes meet once more. We both know He is so much more than a mere teacher. We look expectantly at Jesus, daring to hope once again.

In one look, Jesus assures me that both this little child and I were safe in His hands all along. He tells Ja'irus, "Do not fear, only believe."

I can see the man stand taller. Stronger because of Who he's depending on.

I feel stronger, too.

I know for sure: the little girl is safe. She always was. We both were.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Hey you.

So for once, I was involuntarily quiet on here. It took an unbelievably long time to get wifi at our new house. And even longer for me to get a place to plug in my laptop. Old Bessie (the laptop) had trouble waking up after such a long sleep. I can relate. She's back to her quirky self, though. And I'm back to mine (did I ever stop?).

I just got a glimpse of the kind of adult I'm most likely going to end up being: the kind that goes to bed after dinner and lovvvvves it. I kid you not, I was in bed before 7pm. And awake before 5am. I feel so rested & so ready. A perfect day to write, am I right? (half-hearted pun intended. I get worse, the more awake I am. My apologies to those who could hardly handle exhausted me.)

So, yes. I've moved. To my Haven in the middle of a bustling city. My room is bright, & my corner windows are surrounded by very green leaves from the trees that feed my soul.

I live close to people that are dear to me. Close enough for true spontaneity - "I'm kidnapping you in two minutes" spontaneity. I'm a fan.

It feels like home.

There's a clearing where I can take quiet prayer walks, & pace problems out.

I just set up a bookshelf, so old friends line the shelves beckoningly.

My cherished mugs are in an aesthetic row on my windowsill. My diffuser pumps the room with fresh, healing scents.

My floor is a calming shade of hardwood. My walls are creamy white.

I have already hung up artwork.

Sweater weather is imminent, & I am prepared.

This place is such a good home to my soul.

But my responsibilities are shifting, expanding ... Another reason for my silence. I have to get used to this. My schedule is changing, & I'm having to watch my yeses & noes more carefully than ever. (Did you know that "noes" was the plural of "no"? I read that somewhere this week, & it's revolutionary.) I have so much more freedom for yeses in many ways, but with that freedom comes caution. I have to make sure I am not 1) neglecting my family or my responsibilities or 2) overexerting myself. It's hard for me to learn that not every need is my calling. And nor is every want.

& that's where I'm going to leave you today. No huge breakthrough. Just food for thought. It's where I am.

Xoxo,
The Transplanted Moi

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

"Unspun" {an original poem}

(written August 19th, 2014)

Speak to me
I cannot breathe
Without Your Truth
Or Your mercy

I am undone
Unworthy
Unspun

I'm breathless
Stammering
In the face
Of my King

God, increase
Make less of me
Spend this frail life
For Your glory

It's worth it
Worth all the pain
Worth every tear
And each heartbreak

Grace mingled
With faith and love
Pours over me
And into me

By Your blood
Your sacrifice
You spent Your life
To save my soul

Mind is blown
Heart rent in two
My every breath
Sheer gift from You

Undeserved
I pull away
Cannot accept
Yet You pursue

Your kindness
And Your great Love
They bring me back
And fill my cup

No longer
Am I empty
My self traded
For Your glory

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Sickbed Soul

I confess I still hold within me the spirit of a girl who had secretly not supposed she would live very long. 

Nor supposed herself as one deserving of much happiness. 

Ah, if you could see it ... 

A healed body, with a soul that dares not rise from the sickbed, but for a brief stroll in the gardens. 

I had known this would be the hardest part, but not how hard the hardest truly could be. 

This love goes against my very nature. 

I struggle to wake up. 

I will spend days in full-on battle for the Kingdom, then find myself weeping in bed the following night. 

How can this ever be changed? 

It seems to be my endless battle, this fight for my state of mind. 

I live half in unabashed hope, half in uncontrollable anxiety. 

I am an unending series of inconsistencies. & I startle those who know depths of me to confusion. 

Someone reading my journals might easily think me bipolar. 

There are days where a switch just flips, & I am found once more in the depths of depression. There are times when this lasts for an hour.

Times when it lasts for a month. 

Wake me, wake me. 

I am not afraid of the dark. 

But then there are days when I am. 

There are days when I am even afraid to close my eyes & try to sleep, knowing how unpredictable my own head is. Not trusting it. 

How strange, to feel unsafe in one's own mind. 

That toddler-like fear of shadows on such familiar walls. 

My elementary habit of pretending I simply do not see, do not feel. 

I know people who wouldn't know how to read this post. Who'd ask for explanation. For my mind is a riddle, & my heart, a vague poem ... & they struggle to understand. Or they cannot reconcile this image to the one that they see. 

How strange, to know two Lydias. 

I've experienced that confusion myself. 

"I don't know who I am." 

My soul feels as though it is under some feverish stupor ... not knowing what is real, & what is false. The truth seems too good. The lies seem too real. 

I need to wake up. 

Open up. 

Lay my heart bare, once & forever.

Willing to be healed, once more. 

Choosing hope, when fear is easy habit. 

I am fine today, I reason. 

"Fine" is borderline apathy. 

When you lose your empathies, your senses follow shortly. 

I discover that I am on the precipice of a pit. 

I choose to turn away.

Jesus, ever waken me. 

My blind & sickly soul needs Your touch. 

Remove the illusions. 

Heal me wholly. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Polaroid Boy {an original poem}


In an Instagram world You’re a Polaroid; A fresh classic at heart, Full of life and color Undeterred by the norm, You brim with good vibes; Spreading tailor-made rays Of sunlight through the trees Your laugh is outrageous - I strain just to hear The tear-bringing joy sound That bursts forth from your frame Yes, that is the image In you, Polaroid, That the focus is on, To best capture the light Mirth, it forms in your eyes, And now in my mind, As I take mental shots Of you rolling with glee Oh, my Polaroid friend, With your flashing smile, And those belly laugh jokes, You spread love instantly One snapshot of you, child, I share with the world That you expose to me In your own awesome way
{this poem is also an entry to a contest. if you'd like to help me out, find me here & share from that page. you're a beautiful human being, & I'm grateful.}

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"Blind In Darkness" {an original poem}

[maybe the labels cued you in, or maybe you're an old hat at this, & remembered when I told you  of my intent to post these poems. These are pre-healing poems, typed by a post-healing poet, & the perspective is profound & overwhelming to me. This poem, specifically, was so vital at that time. It was a battle. I wept over it. I sketched it. I breathed these words for weeks, & now here they are, & the hope is so much more real to me.]

(written August 14th, 2014)

Can't get to sleep
Cannot wake up
Confused, I weep
With empty cup

Endless cycles
Lost trains of thought
Shame recitals
Battles un-fought

Strength all but gone
Can't move my lips
Hold sketch I've drawn
In fingertips

I know the words to pray
Can't bring myself to say them
How can I feel this way,
Knowing all I'm saved from?

Do You feel rejected
As I do?
Confused and dejected,
I doubt Truth

Why do these things feel real
When they're false?
Were I dead, could I feel
My wrist's pulse?

If all I see is darkness
Should I trust my eyes,
Or dare adjust my focus,
To see past the lies?

Abba, Father
Restore sight
To this beggar
Bring Your light

I blink rapidly
And then squint
A tear falls from the shock
I hold hands before open eyes

Count my fingers
Weak as they are
Poor performers
Can't reach the bar

And so I kneel

Surrounded by demons
And darkness
A sword lies before me
I grasp it

I cannot wield it
I'm far too weak
I hold it for
False security

The darkness seems deeper
I gave up my vision
Enemies lurk, unseen
But I can still feel them

The dark is near
Tangible
Choking
Thick

Lord, there is none besides You to help

He heard my cry
Restored my sight
He took my sword
...
And fought my fight

Friday, July 24, 2015

What's in a Name?

It's almost strange to me, how prominent naming has become in my life.

I never gave it much thought before.

Now, I find myself thinking about someday babies, & rather than trying to come up with the most lovely & unique name (e.g., Mykelti), I ponder names that have significance to me. I used to think that naming babies after people was so out of date ... but, now? It's not so much a thing of heritage (although I definitely want to pass down my middle name), but of deeper meaning. I want my babies to be named after a prayer warrior with a gentle spirit, or a person that always knew how to comfort those around them, & lift them up. I want to name them after artists - give them the name of some human who overcame pain & made Beauty out of their life. I want to pray those things over my children; to bless those qualities in them even before they are born, & every day after. I give them a name that, when spoken, is essentially a prayer. I could call a child Ruth, & my speaking her name would be my prayer that she would love God without boundaries, that she would lift up the cast down, that she would take risks, that she would be a beacon of faith that gives hope to those around her & springs them into action.

There is so much power in a name.

My name, in some places, is said to mean, "beautiful woman of grace."

I almost laugh, because self-image used to be one of my greatest battles, & I have been so much less than gracious in my life, & I still struggle so to receive grace.

& yet, my name.

I hear that meaning behind it when the Lord speaks to me, & when He uses His people to bless me, it's in their voices, too.

I have been called what I was not, & over time, the prayers for the knowledge of who I am to flood me have brought me here.

Here, whispering my own names to myself in the morning.

I have a list of over one hundred.

My eyes scan them when the duties of the day still loom over my head, & I breathe.

I never understood that knowing who I am was so important, until I realized that I didn't. I had no idea.

We return to the image of a petrified girl on her bedroom floor, rocking back & forth, her shoulder blades pounding on the bed frame in rhythm with her murmurings of, "I don't know who I am. I don't know who I am."

I had no notion of my identity in Christ, beyond the classic Sunday school answers, & the lyrics to songs that somehow didn't resonate with me.

I knew how to impress others; how to make them believe I not only had it all together, but could advise them in their lives. & I did know what to say to the hurting, oftentimes. I just couldn't speak it over myself. I couldn't breathe in what I exhaled, & so I ran through my life, breathless & weary.

I have described myself as inhale-deficient.

I never breathe in.

I'm learning that I need to.

I'm slowly learning how to.

Part of it has to do with that growing list of names.

Whenever someone prays a certain identity or quality over me, or whenever I see one that I can rightly claim as mine in Scripture, I write it down.

I am Called.

I am Redeemed.

I am Strong (because He is Strong).

Capable (because He is Capable).

I am a Warrior.

I am an Intercessor.

A Prophetess.

I am one who Hears Jesus.

I am Not Alone.

I am Not Forgotten.

I'm His.

I am Free.

I am Healed.

I read these over in the morning hours, sometimes just choosing one to cling to for that day. I remind myself intentionally of my calling, my giftings, my inheritance, & my identity. Who I am to Jesus.

& then I flip to the other side of the book. & I rub who He is to me over my soul like a balm.

He is my Protector.

My Savior.

My Jesus.

My King.

The Lifter of my Head.

The Lover of my Soul.

My Healer.

Sanctifier.

My Lord.

The Good Shepherd.

Friend.

Warrior-King.

I am reminded of what He does for me. How He cares for me. Why I can trust Him, & cease my vain striving. I know who I am, so therefore, I do not have to pretend to be who I am not. I don't have to try to measure up. I don't have to hide from Him, because He knows who I am, too. & I know who He is. So I don't have to save myself. I don't have to panic in the storms. I don't have to feel like I'm alone.

He calls me by name, speaking Truth over me, & reminding me of what He sees in me; who He created me to be, & who I am, in light of His sacrifice.

I call Him by name, reminding myself that in calling Him "Good," I am inviting Him to reveal to me His goodness, even in the things that confuse me & the things that hurt. In calling Him "Savior," I am choosing to believe that He does save. I am Safe.

& the love just keeps flowing. The grace does not run dry.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"Marred Hands (to the devil)" {an original poem}

(written July 23rd, 2014 - almost exactly a year ago)

Ink-smudged hands betray me
Proof that I'm still fighting
My thoughts can be rambunctious
I don't quite know where I am

I'm a finger puppet
Keep forgetting my lines
I can't seem to stop it
Mimicking roles not my own

I want out of the gray
To stark lines of paper
Where I have found a way
To stitch together my thoughts

With a black pen as thread
Here I can find my voice
Preaching inside my head
Odd, how now they all listen

So observe my stained hands
Tremble at what you know
Who you know that I am
"What has her pen done this time?"

I underline the Scriptures
Claiming promises as mine
I pray to the Creator
Writing His words next to my own

I make art through the pain
Writing poems, sketching
Proof that I still remain
You have not defeated me

My God sees the darkness
As I view blank paper
He readies His brushes
And paints with His light and grace

His hands are twice as marred
My name carved on His palm
Near the beautiful scars
From the nails He took for me

You thought you'd won then, too
With the death of our hope
I guess no one warned you
Of strength found in our stained hands

Monday, July 20, 2015

l'artiste

I wanted to be an artist.

I thought the definition of Artist was "one who paints pretty pictures."

& somewhere in that definition, I was sure was the stipulation that the art had to be quick & effortless.

It wasn't supposed to be something you learned, but something you created ... You were full of art, & therefore, you simply made art.

As I grew older, I saw that there was more to art than paintbrushes.

I even admitted that there was art within me.

But I failed to notice what had happened to me ... I became art-oriented.

This is something I'm only now discovering, & I don't fully understand it, nor its connotations. (by the way, I looked "connotations" up, to make sure the full definition was what I wanted to express here {I love looking up words I thought I knew & discovering new depths to them}, & I was thoroughly satisfied with the result. A definitively pleasing definition to read. Add looking it up to today's to-do list. My use of it here implies the philosophical definition.)

So, here is what I am learning about myself: When I appreciate something, I appreciate it based on my perception of its artistic value.

I am very open in my love for art. I will sometimes swoon over a telephone pole when I discover some semblance of art behind it.

I do this with people. I could spend hours listening to a particular voice. Or watching the way they act around children. The way they respect others. The sparkle that comes into their eyes when they get passionate about something. People are artists, as well as artwork, & I am drawn to those, especially, that create art out of their everyday. Those who make dinner like the spoon is their paintbrush. Those who make listening & understanding you their art. Those who take walks, just to walk.

I see art in everything, & I try to make art out of everything.

I have always had this thing about atmospheres. The undercurrent of certain places. Some places can haunt & repel me until I discover art within them. If it is all order & no warmth, I want to curl up & die.

I hate when I have to give up coffee, not just because the flavor is wonderful, but because I find something aesthetic in the making & drinking of it.

Same goes for tea. If it is made with microwave-heated water & a packaged teabag, it is a mere beverage, & not art. If I can put it into a pretty mug & sip it slowly; if something beautiful can be salvaged from the experience, then the cuppa might be redeemed.

I don't mind if there is a mess. I mind if there is only a mess. If my bed is covered with remnants of my day (headphones, apron, novel, pencils, sketchbook, coaster, to-do list, etc.), I do not mind, so long as the mess is arranged in a way that is visually pleasing. Then it becomes an arrangement, & I take a picture. (& then tidy up. Because I'm a clean freak.)

There is beauty & grace in everything, if your eyes are attuned. There are masterful strokes of Christ's hand in every person & in everything ... if  we determine to prove that, how much more joy awaits us?

I guess what I am learning is to become aware of myself, instead of a slave to myself. I could use this orientation of myself to excuse shallowness, snobbishness, & disconnectedness, or I could overcome barriers now that I am aware of them.

Instead of automatically shutting down when in a place that lacks warmth, I could be the one to bring the warmth. I could look more closely, to see the intentional design. To see the beauty that is not just surface-level. Who knows what I could discover?

Instead of avoiding someone who makes me feel small, I could choose to bless them; to see the bigness in them & point it out. To say, "hey, you have a true gift for seeing the bigger picture." Or, "you have a great laugh!" When someone is made aware of the art within them, it lifts them. it bestows value onto them. People who feel valued act accordingly, most times.

Love is always worth the risk.

& in the other places where I find & make art? I can use it to recharge my soul ... & I can do the same for others. I found out this week that a few other people in my circles appreciate the art of a lovingly made cup of tea. Art isn't meant to be hoarded, & the appreciation of art isn't meant to be held back for the ones you deem worthy. Love calls for sacrifice & beckons forward to discovery.

& it's a beautiful thing.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

What if We Were the Voices?

Consider that.

What if we were the voices?

I think back on my life, even just the past few years, & oh, those voices. Those significant voices that may not have had any idea the weight of what they were saying. Or maybe they did, & they were brave & loving & willing to be the hands, feet & voice of Jesus in another's life. Unafraid of the transformation that might occur.

A speaker I heard once said about guys ... that they will become whatever you call them. That if you choose to speak blessing over them, they will rise up to the challenge. They will want to be the man you say you see them as.

I don't think it's just true for men.

I know it isn't.

It may not always be accurate, but, oh, what if it is?

Do we realize the possible impact our words could have on any given person? What if your condescending voice was the one that stood out in the crowd & turned into a landmark of shame in a person's life? Do we comprehend the responsibility that is ours as believers? We have such opportunity for impact. We must steward it.

What if we were the voices that souls remember as leading them out of darkness? As inspiring them to dream of greater things?

I have been blessed.

I have had so many voices in my life.

How am I stewarding the wealth of blessing that has been bestowed upon me? What can I be doing with my sphere of influence?

I could be the voice.

I think of those that I remember ... the ones I see as plainly foundational to my life. Even if they were a little silly sounding.

My father, who commented on my piano fingers, & takes me with him to prayer meetings. Who always errs on the side of over-estimating me.

My mama, who has been speaking blessing over my ministry for years, before it even was the sprout it is now. Who always dared me to shoot for the big things I thought were unattainable.

The friend who saved the first chapter of a failed fiction novel I had tried to write when I was so small & full of stories of castles. She told me she was saving it for whenever I became a famous writer, because she knew it would be worth something. She didn't think my writing was worthless. How small those words were, but oh, how they have stuck with me.

The one who always reminds me of how the children flocked to me in the Dominican Republic, & tells me that she believes I can do whatever I set my mind to, & it's going to have an impact. That she knows I can get through this & do this big thing, but she loves me even if my path goes elsewhere.

The librarian who thought I would be great at her job.

The women's ministry leader that entrusted her group to me for one evening.

That whole group ... how they welcomed in their youngest member ever, I'm sure, with open arms. Invited me back. Adopted me, but as an equal. How crazy is that?

That pastor's wife who always nudges me when she thinks I need to speak up already. She always stands as a reminder that there are people who are for me & believe in me.

The mamas of the littles I watch. They trust their babies into my care & they lavish love on me. They inspire me & lift me up. They take such good care of this heart that's been placed in their midst.

Then there's this one woman who speaks nothing but big things over me when I feel so small. Dared me to pick up a guitar when my hands were feeble & fragile ... not to mention pain-filled. There is blessing in her eyes whenever she looks at me.

Those people who still say they want to see me whenever I get on a stage.

The one who dares think I'll be Speaking from it.

So many voices, so many ...

& they've stuck with me for years. These are the voices I remember when I feel I can't go on. When I'm struggling, I am reminded of my sister who said, "You can do it. I know you can." These people saw something in me that I didn't see, & they spoke into it. They blessed it. They believed in it. They believed in me. Relentlessly. & I am forever changed. Some of those voices led me down paths I wouldn't have tread otherwise.

What if we decided to be those voices? To speak light whenever we see the faintest glimmer. Let's no longer be the ones who tell others what is impossible. Let's remind them how far they've come already. Let's dare them to press on. Let's remind them of what beauty we see in their souls.

One word could have the power to change a life. So let's make our words ones of blessing.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Small One

(photo by Caleb Hart)

I'd be understating if I didn't say ... I'm a little bit undone right now.

Maybe it's still an understatement.

Forgive me, but I must speak. How could one contain such a thing?

As you might have read in my last post, I've been doing a lot of self-exploration.

I realized recently that if I don't know who I am, I probably won't be able to grow very much. I need to be self-aware, but even more so aware of who I am in Christ.

I oscillate between extremes, & I have to admit, the idea of following these trains of thought scared me. They made me freeze with fear & eventually turn passive. I guess you could say that, knowing what I knew of myself & my nature, I didn't want to know more. I feared either being crushed by the weight of my sin & shame, or choosing pride instead. The former tends to be my response. Shame. Shame everywhere. I paint my walls with shame, & I would probably tattoo shame all over myself if that was my thing. I drink shame smoothies for breakfast.

You get the picture.

I'm not exactly Miss Confidence. But I try to be. & then am ashamed of That. Ugh. Vicious cycles, vicious cycles.

There are some who know this about me, & they've spoken Love so much over me that it has become another voice in my head, competing with the lies Satan feeds me, & the lies I feed myself.

In the midst of my sin, they would drown out the darkness, aware of the goriest details of who I am, & hush me with words like, "you are loved."
To which I respond, "But, you have no idea, I've ruined everything & I keep on falling down, & --"
"You are loved."

Sometimes I don't want to listen. Sometimes it hurts to listen.
Sometimes I am so grace-deficient that my ability to receive is just broken, & I doubt that I could ever believe such things.

She told me I was strong. Strong with a capital "S," even.

Silly one, have you seen me? I'd have thought it was a joke, but I know her too well for that.

She would repeat, every time I was faced with obstacles, doubts, fears, or such things, "you are So big."

I laughed, feeling at times that she was encouraging me in potty training, & at times, feeling like she was lying ... like I was a tot in my mama's high heels.

It felt wrong.

It felt so contrary to everything I had ever felt or told myself.

I am the youngest. In my family. I was the youngest in my grade. Most of my friends are older than me. Most people have done bigger things than me.

I feel small, all the time.

Like I could never fill the shoes set before me.

So I always duck beneath gazes & look for smaller, more realistic shoes.

I avoid talking to people for long if I think they're too "big" to want me around. I hate to impose on their precious time. They deserve better.

That's just how I think. I get passive at times, forgetting to pray, because what good can anything from such a wee one be? I panic when asked to speak up. I may make myself seem big on paper, but the me in my mind is very, very small.

So these words didn't exactly hit home.

I had elevated my lies to a platform disguised as truth, & told myself that it was a part of me decreasing, so Jesus could increase.

Let me let you in on a secret that I recently learned:

HUMILITY LOOKS NOTHING LIKE THAT.

I minimized the power birthed within me by the Spirit when I benched myself, time & time again, when I should have been fighting.

My friend told me that I segregated His power outside of myself ... that I would never realize how massive I am until I allowed for the unity of Spirit & self.

I got a little upset.

Because my heart felt the truth of that, while at the same time, my entire being rejected it. I told her as much.

So she was kind & Pounded It Into My Brain.

Every other day or so.

"You are so Strong. You've got this."

"You are so big."

"You are massive."

Until I nigh went insane.

She persisted in love anyway.

& then Sunday happened. &, my brain being in tune to the "you are strong" wavelength, the pastor completely had my attention at, "in Jesus, you are stronger than you realize."

Um, have you been spying on our text conversations? Crazy. The Holy Spirit freaks me out when He does stuff like that sometimes.

The sermon was on Jesus' temptation.

I had fallen into an old sin & temptation habit in the past weeks, & basically every word that was preached, I so needed. It was uncanny. I cried, because that's what I do.

It made perfect sense.

What a field day the devil had been having with me.

I let all the stress, busyness, trials, & frustrations make me panicked, & then the fear led to my passivity ... Trying not to feel, & eventually becoming so good at it (for a bit) that I completely failed to actively respond when a battle raged. & found myself bleeding in the trenches. Again & again. & I kind of fell apart. I was horrified. & ashamed. I couldn't believe I had let that happen, yet was still blind as to why it had.

I fell because I was so blind. I didn't see myself as big enough to stand up, so I sat back down. I didn't think I was strong enough to win the battle, so I lost. I took the blows in a battle already won on the cross, instead of just releasing it to Jesus.

It is not my job to wrestle down every temptation, every shame, every demon.

It is my responsibility to dismiss them, & let them pass into the grace won for me on the cross.

I am free. It's time I stepped out of the prison.

I  have been redeemed. It's time I shook off the shame.

I have a new name. It's time I claimed it.

I have a new identity. It's time I walked in it.

I have the power of the Spirit invested in my very heart. It's time I released control to Him, & in that power, stepped up as the warrior I am.

I am filled with my Lord's love & His Spirit.

& in Him ...

I  am So big.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Way I Am

Warning: dear Reader, the post you are about to read is incredibly Lydia. If you are the least bit weirded out by Lydia (as she herself is), you may not like it. Don't say I didn't warn you.

(photo by Caleb Hart)
I'm forever grateful to those who know my name. Those who have reminded me of it when I have forgotten or denied it. Those who stood in firm opposition when I called myself hopeless & unwanted. On days like those, it must have been difficult even to choke out the name my parents gave me, but these warriors did. They whispered out "Lydia," in such a tone that it made me feel like the very meaning of my name was "beloved." & then they went so far as to call me that, too. Laugh if you like, but when given such names, I tend to weep.

I weep a lot.

A friend once told me (after I'd admitted I had cried over something), "Oh honey ... You're you. I would have been worried if you Hadn't cried."

Alas, such am I. A crier. Another dear soul gifted me with a handkerchief for those tears, & I laughed when I realized I have never received a more fitting gift. My tombstone might one day read, "Lydia ... The girl who cried a lot." An awful lot.

I'm learning so much about myself lately ... Learning to accept what will not (& should not) change, & to protest & change what Must.

Maybe this is a part of growing. Deciding to see beauty in what was once perceived as ugly, & standing against those things that have no place in the life of the redeemed.

I learned today that I really love kiwis ... & that burst of flavor somehow inspires me. I will not apologize for this oddity.

I have discovered that I have some deeply rooted introverted tendencies (who knew, right?), & in accepting this, I am learning how to take better care of  myself. As an ENFP/J, my feelings are fully engaged when I'm around people ... constantly wondering what they're thinking ... trying to figure out exactly what they need from me in every situation. I only just learned that I fail to process my own feelings & thoughts fully when I do this. Huh. Turns out I need copious alone time to sort out myself or I get completely & utterly lost. If I wait too long to do this, & then am alone for Too long, I basically break. Having that many emotions to process without any link to someone who understands me is self-destructive.

I'm reminded how amazing it is that Jesus is never too busy or overwhelmed by my problems. What a constant. Every day I see more & more of my utter need for Him.

Springtime is magical, & I hate how short it is. I love the profound truths displayed in the renewal process. I love that beauty springs up from dirt. I love that an onslaught of water makes things grow. I love daffodils.

Fun fact: I hunt out yellow. My eyes seem never to stop searching for it. It's not my favorite color in the traditional sense (hello, I'm very offended by the way it makes my skin appear), but I always search it out. I love yellow flowers. I love yellow objects. Just because something is yellow, I might love it 78% more than I would have were it any other color. It speaks to me. It speaks of light & hope. Newness. Beauty. Sunshine that doesn't hurt my sensitive eyes. & lemons, man.

I've learned that some music just makes me feel good, & that is something to cherish. (Also, Jacob Montague basically should just soundtrack my someday wedding. Already decided.)

I discovered that cheese no longer hurts my stomach. Hello, pepperjack. I've missed you. Come hang out with me & my eggs.

I'm not very good at sitting like a lady.

I'm learning that the faults I tend to notice & despise in others are often the ones that are prevalent in my own life. How seeing my own pet sins in others disgusts me, yet I cannot seem to admit to its existence in myself. I justify. I ignore. I judge. Even in reading the oracles & judgement passages in Scriptures, it takes a dozen times of me reading & thinking, "Man, were they messed up," before the conviction hits & it dawns on me that I do these selfsame things. Basically, I am further understanding my utter depravity & need for Jesus.

I am noticing genetics. How I mirror my father when I speak out in public ... rocking back in forth a little in some sort of post-nervousness twitch. How my mama & I are alike in the ways we get overwhelmed. I hug like my Grandma Hart. My youngest older brother & I both ramble when we're exhausted. I have Mama's eyes & Daddy's prominent veins, & a nose somewhere between the two.


I love how my Jesus sees me. All of me. All my quirks, faults, strengths, & sins. & still He loves me, wants me, chooses me. He speaks blessing over the light in me, & He reveals the darkness, & by His grace, He overcomes it. Oh, for the day when all that is Self in me is consumed ... when all that remains is my Christ.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Onward


I am learning to love things I once despised. To embrace things I once rejected.

It's funny the things you can discover when you just let go of the belief that you have always been, & will always be, right.

Today, I am so glad I've been proved wrong.

There's a sting in that discovery, but the sweetness far outweighs it.

I never expected the death of something to be so beautiful.

The things you can find yourself holding when you finally let go of the worthlessness of your old opinions.

I never wanted to move.

I never, ever, ever, ever, EVER, no, not in a million years ever wanted to move.

It terrified me.

You could witness the greatest of my panic attacks just by mentioning the idea. Some found that game funny, but it was horrific.

You mentioned such a change & I found it hard to breathe.

It wasn't a logical fear, but that didn't make it any less real. It wasn't that I was particularly attached to my house, but it was all I had ever known. & the fear of losing it gripped me tighter when we left my church home of eight years, & more people moved, & this house became a symbol of all that is familiar, & I couldn't imagine leaving without ceasing to be.

Some might confuse my shifting from this place of panicked darkness as the result of having forged new relationships in my new church home. You might think I'm fine with moving just because this city is more like a home to me now, & I must stop such thoughts here & now.

If such was the case, this would only be a setup for more pain. More fear.

A new place & new people to dread losing. I came to that point before I got Here, & I know.

That is not freedom. That is not healing. That is not peace.

The Lord is restoring what was taken from me, abundantly, & many times over. But this peace comes from knowing & being satisfied in the Giver, not just the gift.

This is why that girl that was afraid of going anywhere ... she's looking to the future with a boldness & a passion that is not her own.

I'm excited. I'm uncertain as to what the next, say, 80 days or 80 years of my life will look like, but I know the heart of the One that numbers my days, & my delight is found in trusting Him.

Instead of hyperventilating as I consider worst-case scenarios, I am breathing deep, dreaming dreams so big that the only way they will come to fruition is if they are completely & recklessly abandoned to the will of Christ.

& that's a beautiful place to be.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Safe in Surrender

My future is secure.

This truth has been resounding through the halls of my mind lately.

A reminder to release my clenched fists ... this was never in my hands anyway. When I try to make it such, that is when things begin to go awry.

My tendency has often been to react to situations with a white-knuckled grip on my illusion of total control.

This striving got me nowhere, fast.

Circumstances always change. If I base my every emotion & action upon them, I will be shaken. I will be swayed.

I am in the ocean. I can choose to look down at the waves & panic; securing my quick & fatal submergence into fear & anxiety. Or I can choose to admit that the only thing keeping me up is Not Myself. I am not my own savior. I am not able to swim on my own. I can choose to respond to the One who is holding me. Sustaining my breath. Controlling the waves. Fear has no place in such arms.

This ocean seems so vast. The coordinates of my various destinations are as yet unknown to me.

I decide to release my grip.

I do not have a five-year plan to heed & rely on.

And so I rely on the One who holds eternity.

My future is secure.

I ponder that & cling to it.

It becomes clear that my future was never in jeopardy. As I hold fast to Christ & listen for His voice, I can know for sure that He will not lead me astray. Even in my wandering, He is true. He still works out His good purposes for me. He is unhindered by my failings, no matter how vast. He knows the plans He has for me. Plans for a hope & a future.

He promises such things from this place of unfathomable abundance. I need not fear.

I laugh, realizing that I can't even mourn the loss of my own will & plans. There is nothing to grieve, for He is so much better.

I shout that out:

MY. GOD. IS. BETTER.

In realizing this; in proclaiming this, I simultaneously release my hold on all else. Because when you cling to an infinite God, there is no space for anything else. All must be released to Him. Consumed by Him. Transformed by Him.

All my days, no longer mine. They lie in His hands.

My finances & every concern regarding them are no longer primarily my concern, nor are they my primary concern. I now know where to take both my abundance & my lack. I leave them both with Him.

I give Him my perspective, & He transforms me from the inside out.

As I release every person in my life to Him, the symphony that occurs is almost overwhelming. My love for Jesus transforms the way I see people, & in turn, as I look at them, my understanding of Him deepens. No longer is there need for a war over the throne of my heart. He is God & we are not. As He reveals Himself in us, we cannot help but love Him more, & love others more, through Him.

Oh, the foolish notion that I could love anyone in my own strength.

I release my dreams & plans ... watch Him shape them into something more beautiful than I would have allowed myself to dream of. This economy of His kingdom ... as I lay my life down before Him, He lifts my life up. I never would have chosen such a life for myself ... not because of a lack of desire or passion, mind you ... I simply didn't think I deserved it, or was up for it. I dreamed small, me-sized dreams, that required no faith whatsoever. Such is not the life of a warrior.

& a warrior is what He calls me.

So I lay down my life, take up my armor, & hold fast to my Savior.

For it is His battle. I am not alone in this fight.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

peace, like a river

(taken by moi)
I'm feeling incredibly quiet right now. & it's not in the "absence of noise" sort of way. It would be best described as peace, I would think.

Peace so beautiful, I could cry.

I might cry.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to cry.

I have a head cold, but I was able to get an amazing chunk of sleep last night, so I'm feeling more like myself.

I'm thinking about things, studying things, & preparing for things that would stress nigh anyone out. They would especially stress out the Lydia I know.

But I don't feel anxious, worried, or stressed.

This feeling of calmness as I recognize that everything has been placed in Jesus' hands, & I am completely satisfied in knowing that. I am safe.

I have soft music playing ... oh, how I love my soft music.

The words brim & spill through my fingertips, & it isn't a panicked rush ... it feels more like the rhythm of a symphony.

The makeup & facades are off, & I find myself unconcerned with what people think.

Everything is changing. This day is a precipice on which I stand, & the view ahead is one of the next season in our lives, a new beginning. Much rides upon today, & my heart is involved, for sure. But I am not agonizing over what will happen, for once. It doesn't depend on me, at all. So I do what's in front of me & I wait, & I trust. Because I know Whose hand this day rests in.

& I choose to rest in Him, too. No matter what happens.

Because, if we're honest here, the truth is, He knows what will happen.

How comforting is that?

He administers peace to my soul, & as I wait on Him, soaking in the sheer wonder of Him, I know: where He goes, that's where I want to go. Wherever He leads. In His timing. He is worthy of my trust, & I will follow. Surely, this work-in-progress shall fall. But I know that no matter how hard, far, & often I do so, His hand never lets go of my heart, & He never gives up on my future; His plan for me. He never gives up, no matter how I fail ... So why should I have cause to give up, even for a second, on the One who fails not?

He is worthy of my utter allegiance, & so I commit my soul to Him. I commit my today to Him, my future, & every moment in the between time. He holds me. & I rest.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Unexpected

I wasn't planning on writing today.

Writing takes effort, & to make something beautiful, you must find something beautiful. & it takes effort to find something beautiful in the midst of a heap of mud.

Maybe not my best choice of words.

I am not in a mud pile.

It would be better described as a valley.

A low, dark place between mountains.

These aren't the places one likes to write about. I stubbornly don't want to admit that there is good in this. I'm too lazy. I feel too defeated to discuss that thing called hope.

My prayer journal pages are filled with question marks.

A valley between mountains.

I've already come so far.

I remember the pain & the sweat of every step of the last mountain. The sweat wasn't from succeeding in & of myself, no. It was from striving to. Fighting the gentle leading of my Lord. The pain was found in the suffering & refining that transformed me.

I stubbornly want to be done transforming. To not have to deal with this pain any more.

But I know better.

I know I cannot become Christ-like if I do not suffer & die to myself for His sake.

I also know better than to think that battles come one at a time, in easy-to-manage doses. How I wish this was manageable.

But, lo & behold, my pride.

If I could do this on my own, I would.

I know myself too well.

I dare not try to paint myself in flattering hues here, because I know the reality, & there's no use pretending I've made it. That I'm perfect. That I don't battle my flesh daily, & countless times a day, I lose that battle & I fail.

& my response to failure is defeat. Depression. Passivity. Isolation.

If you think the devil preys upon that, you're right.

So many lies from him are floating around in my head these days. & I'm sick of them.

I'm sick of the panic that comes whenever a pain that hints vaguely of Lyme touches my body. I'm tired of doubting my Healer for those instants before I stand back up.

I hate when it takes longer than that.

I'm sick of trying to learn new things that I should have known by now & feeling downright illiterate as I fail again & again. Yes. Illiterate. There is this shame & humiliation that creeps over me as I struggle with the simplest things & I feel alone in the wrestling.

I listen to fancy instrumental music, as if it will turn this darkness into poetry.

New health problems inhabit me, & I'm terrified.

Back at the beginning with that uncertain word plaguing my mind: undiagnosed.

I thought I had already climbed this mountain. I never wanted to do so again.

But perfect health is the promise of heaven ... & in this world, we will have trouble.

Why do I always act as though this world is my home? I get sucked in so easily. To the must-do's, the must-haves, the must-be's, the must-buy's.

I give into the performance anxiety that is the lifeblood of this society.

I forget that I am a warrior & that I was born to fight the beautiful fight.

The fight feels less beautiful when my tasks are mindless chores. When my biggest battles seem futile & embarrassing. When I am uncertain about the future in some ways. When I am sure about some things, but few others seem to be.

When my team seems not to have showed up for game day. When my cheer squad is one very enthusiastic person, one that yells: "pull it together!", & one sitting bored on the sidelines, giving a half-hearted "yay," every few hours.

I thought this was a race.

One where we all run alongside each other, encouraging one another to press on towards the goal.

I feel so small.

My allergies add insult to injury.

I'm exhausted from the effort of it all.

I hate that I keep on forgetting where to turn to in this mess until I'm already so far gone.

I let apathy control me. Looked to humans desperately, & mourned when the phone didn't vibrate, or when their words rung of truth, but did not help my aching soul in the least. There comes a point where truth registers, but it does not invade.

When did I close myself to it?

& how do I open myself back up?

I look at my gaping wounds, & I wonder if that makes me broken open enough.

Is there enough of an opening, Jesus, for You to invade? Even now? Even through these bloody doors of my tattered soul?

I long for an awakening. A revival within me. Let life stir again in my heart. Awake, my soul, & sing.

The grief & pain that surround me & flood me are overwhelming.

I yearn to see the good in this. The light.

I'm tired of giving up.

Of slamming books & laptops shut.

Of crying when the lights go out.

Of having to sit down, lay down, when my body fails me & the day is too much to take.

Tired of feeling like the case against me ever making it is growing stronger.

Where is the stream in this valley? I long for some refreshment. I want a voice to say that I'm not alone, & I want the actions attached to that voice to prove it. I want to know what this battle is for. I want to know that it's worth it. I want to know that I'm not mistaken. I had once been so sure.

I was so sure.

I stepped out of the boat to walk towards my Savior.

For a bit there, I forgot all else but Him.

I didn't think about what those in the boat would think of me.

I only wanted to be where He was.

I didn't recall the fact that I couldn't swim.

An irrelevant fact when I fully intended to walk upon the waves.

I intended.

My feet slipped as soon as I began to put my faith in myself, & not in my Savior.

I fall.

On my own, I always do.

Oh, but my Jesus. He lifts me. It seems wrong that He should even see me in this state, but He goes further. He cradles me. My wounds collide with His heart. He takes my burdens upon Himself & He tenderly lifts my head.

The intimate love of my Father leaves me undone.

"God is not disillusioned with us. He never had any illusions to begin with." -- Luis Palau

It's not as though my failings & flaws come as a surprise to Him. He chose me, even in this sorry state. He doesn't leave me as I am, though. Thank God. He makes me new.

& somehow, He worked it all into His plan.

Somehow where I was broken, & how I was healed, collide together to make me who I am. The mistakes I've made & have yet to make all play a part in this daily self-death ... somehow making me more like Him. & it doesn't make sense, & in myself, I want Him to give up on me. I feel like a lost cause.

But He kneels next to me in my valley. Beckons me to look at where I've come from, where I've been ... how He's already changed me. He reminds me that He is making me new. That in the shadow of the valley, He is with me, & goes before me. & nothing takes Him by surprise. These mountains set before me; those I can see, & those as yet hidden from me, are mountains I must climb to become who He wants me to be. But never alone. No. Never alone.

I am reminded that He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it.

This is the journey He has for me. & each step brings me closer to who He wants me to become. Even the painful ones.

Maybe especially the painful ones.

Because His love & light do break through my wounds ... He invades me, & by the grace of God, shines through me.

So I journey on.

Monday, March 16, 2015

lamenting, revealed to.

I feel frozen at times. 

Torn between revelation & lamentation.
 
The darkness of one becomes so much more painful in contrast to the brightness of the other.

& yet, the light is revealed as all the more glorious through the perspective of the black that surrounds it. 

Surrounded, but not overcome. 

Spring Song

This time of the year is one of my favorites. I love the feeling of a fresh start ... the damp ground, the hazy skies. Autumn is the season I love best, but there is something about spring that just embraces me like an old friend (despite the choke-hold of seasonal allergies). I slip on my running shoes & step out the door, feeling a kinship to the birds singing, the earth gently giving beneath my feet, the sky that almost un-magnificent shade of grey-white. I appreciate that color more than most, with my sensitive eyes. It's one of the few daytime skies I can openly gaze at unscathed. It reminds me of blank canvasses, & rainstorms that bring life to dirt.

I'm reminded of Someone who makes life out of dust.

How I am dust.

I am the dry ground in need of refreshing streams of water to pour down from heaven.

I need the lush green in my life to break forth.

I ponder on how the birds do not wait for a prettier day to break into song. Spring is here, & they must welcome it. They must.

I join them in the reckoning. Because how can I stay silent? The kingdom of God is shining forth in this world, & His glory is so beautiful. His grace, so overwhelming. I cannot keep from song.

"I sing because I'm happy,
I sing because I'm free,
His eye is on the sparrow,
& I know He watches me."

So bring the storm clouds & the rain. Bring the toil, bring the mud. Let the night come - I will not back down. I will not pretend that my worship is anything less than a warring protest against the power of darkness in this world. I will fight. I will sing.

Because I know Him.

& how else could I respond?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

small thoughts of larger relevance

I love how in the Kingdom, things can become redefined.

I listen to a song about fear.

I realize it is an anthem.

Where else can we find such a hope? Such life?

One of the darkest vises this world can threaten us with ... one of my greatest battles ... now transformed into a joyful cry:

We are no longer slaves to it.

Fear doesn't have to control us anymore.

What we see is not the only reality.

The darkness has tried to trick us into believing it is unquenchable, but we know better.

We have seen the light.

We have felt His love.

& the darkness has not overcome it.

He is more powerful than the dark.

His love closer than our fear.


{1 John 4:18. John 1:5, Closer by Tenth Avenue North}