The Story of Love

It takes a while, but we discover how we fit, and we become effortless, magical.

With each layer exposed, a bit more beauty emerges. With each secret shared, there is a quiet shift to deeper preciousness.

In that sacred space of commitment, words enable hearts to soar, and backs bent under the pressure of physical labor. The hands bring about passion, yet scrub greasy pans. We make room for minds to dream while breathing in the routine of everyday life.

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The ordinary and the extraordinarty, they all braid together.

And when the uglies come to the surface, the commitment locks us safely in.

It’s like a dance, you know.

It’s like an ever evolving painting.

The plain rhythm of the habitual becomes the canvas, and we purpose varied colors and shapes. It takes on a life of its own, this painting of who we become.

And even though we tremble and bleed profusely. its strength keeps our footing steady when deadly explosions blow right within the circle of who we are.

This mystery of love all wrapped up in the plain, it makes us stunningly beautiful.

This choice to believe in each other, it makes us powerful.

This commitment, it makes us more like Him.

 

 

“Delight Yourself in the Lord,” he said.

For years I have been saying that our feelings don’t just appear out of thin air. They are the direct result of your thoughts. If you think hateful, dark thoughts about someone, chances are you won’t “feel” like loving that person very much. If you think happy, sunny, productive thoughts about your upcoming day, you more than likely will “feel” happy and productive, even if issues arise.

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Further more, I am convinced that after those thoughts produce feelings, your feelings will move you to action.  If you don’t “feel” like loving that person very much, you more than likely aren’t going to get out of your way to be kind to them. If you “feel” happy and productive, you probably will handle productive tasks and enjoy the process.

But I haven’t had too many people agreeing with me at a soul-level.

“Yeah, sure,” they say, and nothing changes. Mental assent doesn’t yield much fruit.

“Delight yourself in the Lord,” I heard the preacher say on the podcast that I was listening to on my way home the other day. It had been a rough day, and I couldn’t wait to just get my PJs on, sip on a glass of wine and forget all about how unsensitive people are, how nasty this place is, and how tired I was of it all.

“Delight yourself in the Lord,” he said.

“Yeah, sure,” I answered mentally.  Mental assent doesn’t yield much fruit.

I got home and into my cozy PJs, poured myself a glass of wine and sat down.

“Delight yourself in the Lord,” I heard Him whisper.

“Yes, I know… Easier said than done,” I answered.

And deep within my spirit, I heard my own voice explaining for the hundredth time that feelings are the result of our thoughts. Any once can feel on purpose by choosing my thoughts.

Including feeling rotten about one’s day. Or delighting oneself in the Lord.

I started to laugh outloud at God’s sense of humor–I love it when God proves me right and wrong all within the same moment.

I got up off of my chair and purposefully chose to be involved with how amazing He is, this God of mine who knows how to speak to my heart. And my feelings, they just followed.

“Delight yourself in the Lord,” He said.

Mental assent doesn’t yield much fruit.  If we however agree at a soul and heart level, it changes us from the inside out .

 

We are a small group of women who help each other own our lives with joy. You are welcome to join us here.

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings,Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

 

 

 

 

Ten Things I know to be True

I have changed so much over the years.

At one point, I was absolutely convinced of one thing, and years later, I wondered how I could have ever have thought that way.

Thoughts evolve, opinions mature, experiences soften us.

But some things just are.

Absolute. Never changing.

And on those things, I can rest my soul.

In no particular order:

1. God is.

He always is. He is before this world ever was, and He is long after it will be dissolved. God is. Oh, what an amazing comfort exists in this revelation.

2. Love always makes a way.

Love may not always look the same, but it somehow  always makes a way.

3. Innocent laughter is good for the soul. 

Not the sarcastic ones, nor those that come  at the expense of others, but simple, real, gut honest laughter is one of the best medicines I know.

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4. Words are powerful. 

Powerful to kill, powerful to heal, powerful to tear down and powerful to lift up. Every time I have been freed from a situation, it was with words first.

5. All that is alive must grow.

Life is never ever stagnant. It is forever characterized by growth. If we do not grow, we are slowly dying.

6. Listening is most often the key in disagreements. 

We percieve things differently, and when we practice listening intently, we begin to understand the other person, and the argument loses its steam.

7. Kindness conquers hatred.

Even when not recieved,  for the giver’s heart is safe and protected.

8. Humans are made for community.

Temporary solitude may be healthy and needed at times, but we are wired for being with each other.

 

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9. The harvest will not be denied.

All of life truly starts with seeds, and seeds produce after their own kind. Good or bad, whatever is sown will be harvested. Just wait for it!

10 Our attitude determines our experience.

In every way that matters, we choose our experience by the attitude with which we show up in life. The worst situation is not a sentence for despair, and the best circumstances do not determine joy.

We are a group of women who help each other “own” our money and time God’s way. Feel free to join us!

Sometimes, I link up with any of these: Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday, WFMW, Tell His Story, Testimony Tuesday, ThreeWords Wednesday

 

Exploding Heart

“Yes,” she says, tears in her eyes. “Yes, it’s true!”

There is finally a life to love and be amazed by growing in her womb after so many years of bareness–a true mourning turned into dancing. We hug, we dance, we giggle and celebrate the new beginning; and my heart, it explodes with more joy that it can hold.

She leaves, a skip in her step, after telling me her secret.

I close the door with a smile all the way down to my toes and I settle at my computer to check my email. I see a longish email from someone so dear to my heart her imprint is on my soul. She is is the depth of despair, this soul-sister of mine, beaten by life, and she has given up the fight. She now faces the end she did not want. Her words bring me to tears; and my heart, it explodes with her raw wound that it cannot bear.

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Torn apart by pulling joy and despair, my heart pounds  loudly.

 

Be still, my heart, be still.

I close my eyes and try to inhale deeply. But my breathing is shallow and my lungs, they are so very tight, and they don’t seem to remember how to let the air in.

I feel pain in my head as blood pulses fiercely.

And then, as a flash of lighting, understanding enters my soul–blood is key.

His blood spells Bold-Loving-Omnipotent-Overpowering-Death Life.

His blood for the good and the ugly, for the pretty and the plain, for the joy and the pain, for the beginning and the end.

Because every where His blood rushes, life enters. Whether it’s a beginning or an end, or any middle at all.

His blood speaks. And His blood will speak over the new life that turned morning into dancing, and His blood will speak over the unbearable end that tastes like a sword.

My breath returns to me.

Be still, my heart, be still. God is still on the throne.

 

We are a group of women who help each other “own” our money and time God’s way. Feel free to join us!

Sometimes, I link up with any of these: Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday, WFMW, Tell His Story, Testimony Tuesday, ThreeWords Wednesday

 

 

All Grown Up with lots of Scars

Despite my genuine desrie to let them go, many layers of my childhood have hung on to me like an uncomfortable coat, hindering rather than protecting.

Even though the sting might have been removed, the scars remained, staring me in the face day in and day out. I simply could not let go the pain.

One of my very first memories is of the day I went to my first costume party. I vividly recall my conversation I had with another other little girl, while sitting on a carpeted staircase in the hallway.

“What are you disguised at?” she asked innocently.

I instantly shriveled all the way down to nothing on the inside.

She could not tell what I was disguised at. She could not tell who I was.

I wasn’t anyone real.

I was a nobody.

This happened over fifty years ago, yet I can still feel my cheeks turning hot and the shame filling me; I wished  the stairs could swallow me up.

 

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For twelve long years, I held on to the shame.

Childish? Yep.  Yet as real as can be.

It took the Lord Jesus giving me a new identity for me to let go the humiliation.

It took His love convincing me that I was not a nobody.

The message of the costume party lost its power.

No more power to make me feel inferior, no more power to make me feel powerless and immaterial.

And so it was with many, many childhood experiences and memories. Layer by layer, Jesus caused them to lose their power over me.

My mom, she raised me the best she knew how, amidst her own insecurities and skewed perceptions.

My dad, he loved me the best he knew how, amidst his own limiting beliefs and hindered potential.

And Jesus became my knight in shining armor, powerfully rescuing me from it all.

But this wonderful, kind Jesus, He did not remove the scars.

And at first, these scars, they still had a loud voice.

They spoke of how my future would be tough. They said that I wasn’t going to make it. I might not be a nobody anymore, but I still wasn’t all that and a bag of chips, you know?

And as the years went on, I let Jesus work with my mind and my heart.

I changed, I became softer, I became stronger.

I became confident in Him.

And this  wonderful, kind Jesus, He never removed the scars.

And for that, I am eternally grateful.

Because these scars, they no longer feel like a heavy chain that I tote around with me wherever I go. They simply serve to remind me where I came from.

These scars, they are part of the fabric of who I am.

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These scars, they keep me humble.

These scars, they tell the story of rescue.

These scars, they say that I was worth rescuing.

When I was a child, I thought like a child, and the scars meant that I was a nobody.

Today, the very same scars empower me to be filtered by love. I am no longer quick to pass judgment on people’s actions.

Because we all have scars, you know.

And many of these beautiful people, they haven’t yet met with their k\Knight in shining armour.

 

We are a group of women who help each other stay accountable as we learn to #ownourlives. You are welcomed to join us here.

Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

 

Story

Cozily laying in bed with my four year old little girl after her nap, I started the story like this: “So this little boy had a big dog that no one liked because it was ugly in everybody’s eyes.  But the little boy did not see him like that.  All he saw every time he looked at his dog was how much fun they had together every day. So…”

She picked up the story and told us about the games they played in the back yard, and the ball that he popped, and his tongue licking water. And then it was my turn again.

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Our story lasted about 20 minutes, and our little boy and his dog wound up facing a bear, and a fairy princess, and a castle and a river, and a football, Africa and China.  We giggled and almost cried and made the world big and tall and scary and beautiful and exciting. And her eyes, they were twinkling with pleasure. And my heart, it was bursting with joy.

And now she is all grown-up, my little girl. Over the years, life taught her that the world is big and tall and scary and beautiful and exciting. And she grew up strong, filled with grace and courage and dreams.

At times, in the early evening, we sit together in our sun room and I begin a story.  “So, there was this tree, and…”

 

We are a group of women who help each other stay accountable as we learn to #ownourlives. You are welcomed to join us here.

Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

 

Only One Foot

We had peanut butter and nutella sandwiches with cucumber slices for lunch, and we made a fort in which she whispered to me, “Grand’ma, I’m so glad we get to spend time together.”

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We went on a scavenger hunt during which we found 5 acorns, one stone, one stick with mushrooms on it and a bird house with bird poop inside.

We took a long walk uphill to go look at a carved owl and we touched its eyes and beak. Then we turned around and she started to run down the hill, but her little three year old legs kind of felt like they were going a little too fast with the momentum.

“Grand’ma, please, carry me, ’cause I’m scared to fall.”

I tightened my grip on her little hand.

“We aren’t going to fall if we don’t rush, Emmaline,” I said. “If we just put one foot in front of the other and don’t rush, we are going to get there safely.”

“Okay, Grand-ma.” She held on to my hand for dear life. “Okay, Grand-ma.” she said again. “One foot in front of the other and we don’t rush.”

“Yeah, and we can have some hot cocoa when we get home!”

She relaxed her little hand in mine. “And put some cream on our hands to make them oh-so-soft?”

We put one foot in front of the other, my Emmaline and I, and we made it home in one piece.

And I keep replaying in my mind the picture of her little legs carefully walking down the steep hill one foot at a time. And how easy it really was to get home safely.

Tomorrow, when life’s momentum feels a bit too fast and scary, I am going to hear her voice in my head, “Okay Grand-ma. One foot in front of the other and we don’t rush.”

I am going to trust my Father because He says that I am going to get home safely. And I am going to relax my hand in His, and just put one foot in front of the other.

Blood Work

“We better get some blood work done to figure this out,” Dr. Bassmen said. “The timing of all of this might be coincidental since you responded well to the meds.”

So to the lab I went.

I never get sick. My mind just doesn’t think in sickness. I joke and tell people they can catch my health. Well, it’s only half a joke–I really think they can… health can be contagious, you know.

So when I woke up with red patches all over my chest one day, I kind of ignored them. Until they covered my entire body a few days later. Turns out it was Lyme disease. Nasty stuff.

And then, I just did not feel right after the antibiotics were done. Thus the blood work.

Sitting in the lab, I watched my blood filling the little vials, one by one. And I marveled at the fact that the answer to my symptoms was hidden within this blood that runs through my veins. In a few hours, tests performed on this blood will reveal what’s up with my body.

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“The answer is in the blood,” I heard Him whisper in my spirit.

I love how God speaks to me about deep stuff in the most ordinary of moments.

My blood will show the doctors what my body needs. His blood has shown the way for the healing of man. From the inside out–Spirit, Soul and Body.

My blood will make a way for me to get better. His blood has made a way for the world to be free. From the inside out–Spirit, Soul and Body.

The blood, it holds the answer to all of mankind’s questions.

The man in the lab labels my vials and puts a band-aid on my arm.

“All done,” he said. “You are free to go now.”

I roll my sleeve back down and thank him. And I leave with a skip in my step.

My blood will disclose what I need. But one thing I know: I am all done indeed. The blood has set me free. From the inside out.

 

We are a small group of women who help each other own our lives with joy. You are welcome to join us here.

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings,Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What this Homeless Man taught my Heart

My entire life, I have avoided confrontations with the “homeless”, the “mentally deranged”, the “wierdos”–you know, those who are not like me. I judged them as having made their own misery in many ways. On the other hand, their pain and needs were such a raw bottomless pit that it scared me out of my mind.

I refused to be involved, to be associated with “them.” I pretended they did not exist. Or at least I pretended that I did not see them.

So when I noticed him moving towards us, with his unshaven face and rumpled clothes, I walked a bit closer to my husband and kept my eyes glued to the sidewalk.

“Do you have some spare change for me?” he said.

“Sorry, Bud,” my husband said. “I don’t.” I instincitvely grabbed my husband’s hand and quickened my step. But I felt the man’s eyes staring at me, and I finally lifted my face.

“Do you think I’m gonna hurt you or something?” he asked. “You go grabbing your man’s hand for dear life like that…  I’m not gonna hurt you.”

“Oh no, that’s not it,” I fumbled.  “It’s just… you know, I wanted to hold his hand.”

He smiled a toohtless smile.

“Well, you two have a good day now,” he said. And he walked away.

I never even thought to ask him his name. Or how he was. Or why he needed some change. All I wanted was to put as much distance between him and I as possible. Pretend he wasn’t there. Pretend he didn’t ask.  Forget I blew him off.

My stomach lurched with guilt.

And thus my heart began a brand new journey.

So maybe human misery is a bottomless pit, but it does not excuse me from valuing each life. So maybe human misery is the consequences of choices, but it does not excuse me from treating people with respect.

This man in the heart of the city, he needed to be recognized as a person, just as I do. Valued as a human being, just as I do.  Bur I did not even give him that dignity–I acted as though he was an inconvenience. A threat.

How would I feel if someone let me know they thought I was an inconvenience?

This homeless man in the heart of the city and I, we aren’t much different. We share the same struggles, hopes and joys. The same longings, hungers and sorrow. We have a shared humanity.

The difference between him and I is that he knew he needed help, and I did not–until he showed me I did.

So maybe I cannot help the bottomless pain of poverty, but I can look at those less fortunate in the eye and let them know they matter. And maybe I can make a sandwich or two if I am afraid that my change will be spent on alcohol.

And if nothing else, I can smile.

The homeless man did.

Shared humanity indeed.

 

Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday, WFMW, Tell His Story, Testimony Tuesday, ThreeWords Wednesday

 

 

 

Keys for Courage

More often than not, I don’t feel very courageous. I feel more like running and hiding under my pillow in my warm and comfortable bed.

Facing life head on is scary.

Courage takes courage.

Yet in His word, God commands me to be courageous. That’s a pretty strong word, “command,” don’t you think? But I can’t change the words right there, in black and white in front of me: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

If courage is commanded, courage must be possible.

Over the last fifty-seven years, I have failed at courage many times, taking a huge detour so I did not have to be. But I also have won at courage. When I have, it’s mostly been very quietly, one little step at a time, until I found a new boldness rising up inside of me, and I did “it” filled with fear, but I did it. God never belittles me for my lack of courage in the little and the big. But He always encourages me to go deeper, and deeper, and deeper in Him. Because He knows that when I see Him clearly, I will be fine–no matter what I am facing.

Like when I got in my car and drove in horrible weather shaking in my boots. No amount of deep breathing got the shaking stopping, but I did it.

And when I stood up to speak in front of 300 people and my voice refused to obey me. But I pressed through and did it anyways.

And when I forgave someone who turned my life upside down and wounded me in the deepest part of my being, letting go of the righteous gut-wrenching pain of unfairness.

And in all of these, here are the two secrets I discovered:

  1. There is no courage available in me. Courage does not come from the inside. True courage is found when I remember who God is, when I remember that He goes with me. 

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Shaking in my car and in front of all those people, I knew that God Himself was with me. Forgiving the unforgiveable, I knew that I was being graced to mirror my Savior who was leading me.

You can’ fake His presence. You can’t fake courage.

2.Give thanks

I have no courage when I look at what I do not have, my inabilities, inadequacies and short-comings. Because in those moments, I completely forget what I actually do have going for me.

When I remember that God is with me, I begin to see that with Him comes all provision necessary. And as I begin to give thanks for these realities, I sense my very spirits becoming filled with confidence. I stop thinking out of a place of lack and begin to think in view of what I do have.

Filling my mind with the awareness of what is for me puts strength inside of me, and this strength turns into the courage to do what I have to do, whether it is driving in the snow or forgiving the unforgiveable.

 

We are a group of women who help each other stay accountable as we learn to #ownourlives. You are welcomed to join us here.

Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story