Sunday, June 19

The frostbite of my winter

Thank you God for church today.
I needed it so much.
I have been in a funk Lord and I know that you know
(before I say a word it as if it is already written within You,
and this is incredibly comforting to me.)

I expressed how I was feeling to Marvin, A man in a wheel chair that comes to the Pantry on Tuesdays and loves to challenge us, and question us to build us up....and then in a loving way he shares scripture that speaks to whatever comes up.
This Tuesday I am telling him about the funk I am in,
this quiet place where I feel complacent and discouraged.
"Sounds like you are in a winter." He says, "God tells us there is a time to reap and a time to sow...but there is also a time to rest, a quiet time, where it feels like nothing is happening to us, even though there is always something happening with God."

This was so comforting to me, to know that even though I was feeling this way,
bound in someway,
that it is not necessary to struggle.
I can sit there and process it, and wait upon my spring.
It is ok to hurt, it is ok to feel sad, it is ok even...to not smile.
I think because I am a cheerful person, I feel pressured to always be this way.
I cannot afford a winter because people need me to be spring to them....but there are times I need to rest, that I need encouragement....times when just a loving hug makes me want to crumble into a heap of sorrow and weariness, despite the great and endless Hope that is nesting in my spirit, I too feel the heaviness of being human.
I doubt and I fear.
I have screwed up and I have fallen...

I heard a song once where the woman just kept repeating that all that matters is that we get back up
that we try again
it is not how well we do anything....(although the world would disagree with that)
this world is hard
we do not all have to try & be the rabbits of the world
God would rather us be turtles and keep plugging away step by step, reaching the destination He planned for us, no matter how long it takes,
no matter how laborious it seems on the way.

So Marvin talks to me about my winter and I find peace with my discord somehow
although my life still seems very quiet and I walk on, awaiting another clue...

then a week later, I arrive at Sunday school and Roland is talking about prayer, and specifically the answers to prayer. What do we do when we ask for healing and it doesn't come? I have had this happen...
I have cried out from the depths of my very guts and begged God to heal my Mom of Cancer.
We talk about how we pray out of our own wishes and how we don't always seek God's wisdom....we do not stop and ask what God wants, before we plunge ahead with what seems right and just to us. There is pride in that, thinking we know better, EVEN if it is in the name of love. and at the same time we cannot be passive and say "Well God, you are going to do what ever you are going to do anyway, so just go ahead and do it". By saying that, it takes us out of the equation, and God needs us to partner Him. He is in as us, but if we are closed.....If we are unwilling....He is disabled to help through us.
(It is either lets get 2 guys together to agree on what we want and then we will include God Let's both ask God what HE wants to do and then follow HIS lead.) God knows best....Father knows best.

flash forward to outside church and Taylor meets me to sell me a shabby chic shower curtain...and we are talking about life, and I tell her that I feel like sometimes I am closed and she uses an analogy of a clam to tell me that that is how she is too sometimes. She takes her hands and forms a clam shape and says "and then as soon as someone tries to get close SNAP! I close tight" and as she is doing this God shows me the clam, (like a picture in my head)...He shows me a brilliant pearl inside, and then He adds to Taylor's analogy...."I am the pearl, shining inside each of you, but if you are closed tight, I cannot shine through, only when you are open....open to the possibilities of things that you cannot even create for yourself or on your own....open to receive....open to giving....THAT is when I come through, THAT is when it works.

Flash back to church and right when worship starts , a man I got to know in prayer training, Richard, comes up to me, hugs me hello, and discreetly tells me that God woke him up at 3AM the other night to pray for me. God asked him to pray against depression taking a hold of me on my behalf.
WOW.

and Richard does not know about my funk, the frost bite of my winter....
but here's the thing...GOD knows
and Richard knows GOD
so God can speak to Richards heart to contest on my behalf
and then Richard can tell me what God said to him
and then I can know
GOD SEES ME

so I am in awe of this & then I start to sing during worship...
and then Barbara comes down the isle to me and hugs me, like my own Mama would, and she tells me she loves me, and then walks back down the isle....
I want to burst into tears because I really needed that hug and it spoke volumes to my heart, but I struggle to remain composed instead, and I keep singing.

Then Adam's sermon is amazing....He is using the analogy of Extreme Makeover Home Edition, to convey how God builds us a new life. I love analogies, they so speak to me and I feel as if this sermon was tailored to me.
My favorite question that he asks us is "What if all the people said MOVE THAT BUS! MOVE THAT BUS!, and when the bus was moved, it was the same old house?"
He talked about how our transformed lives should CONVEY transformation.
We should WALK God's talk...shine with His promises.
If we truly believed what God says, If we chose our attitude and our steps according to His teachings, it should reek of Glory!
I so needed to hear this...

and then toward the end of the sermon, Adam is talking about praying for healing, and how if the prayer is not answered on earth then it will be answered in heaven, the moment they get there....
He is saying some of the exact things that were brought up in bible study! He was not in the room, so he couldn't have known....but God was there, and God is with Adam as he is preaching his sermon, and God is with me inside my mind showing me the dots that he is connecting in my own life....encouraging me that He sees, and He knows, and He CARES....

and then I come home and write on the walls of all the Dad's I know on facebook, and one of those Dad's is my Pastor, and I pour out my heart in telling him what a wonderful father figure he is to me, and when he responds, part of what he writes is "I love you as my own"
and that wrecks me and I cry.

It might be because it is Father's Day....because I have struggled with the loss of an involved Dad in my life. That I have made peace with what my Dad CAN offer me. But to have a man I look up to and admire calls me his own....to convey ownership, in a loving way to a child who has felt an fatherly void much of her life....(even if she is a capable woman now)....
to me that is just beautiful.
It says that no matter who you are, you are mine.
This is the message of God, the love of God conveyed.

Being alone, drifting away on a chunk of an iceberg, not knowing where you fit in....
those are all lies meant to steal from a life God meant to be rich with connection, filled with people who love you like a family member even if you aren't of blood relation to them,
people who love you like themselves,
with an unconditional love that was first conveyed by a man that loved you so very dearly that he died for you.

Such a beautiful love,
such a love worthy of awe and respect,
of amazing value
and we get glimpses of it every day
if we are looking
if we ask to be given God's eyes to see
this amazing adventure
and the loving people in it
who give us the clues,
that God within them gives us
to connect us
for our amazing GOOD.

Happy Father's Day to the most amazing Father that ever was.
A Father that will never leave me or forsake me.
A Father to whom I am His very own.


~C





Tuesday, June 14

womans intuition

I know that I know
I don't have to ask
and it makes me feel sad
as if my heart is in a cast
with stifling walls
that cause me short breaths
these limited surroundings
closing in
feels like drowning
or what I'd imagine...
my soul floundering
please heart!!
stop caring!!
let go....let go....or be dragged
kicking and screaming
or maybe I feel nothing
being carried away
to an ending
mourning
but no more crying
definitely a sort of dying
what is it going to take?
what will be my final straw?
am I waiting for something to break?
does it all require a fall?
or will it happen while I am sleeping
an awakening as I am dreaming...
a slipping away in the night
while I cradle my pillow tight?
or will it happen like I least expect it to
a band-aid ripped off
or the drop of a shoe?
or a gasp with a cry,
can I ask myself why
it is taking so long...
instead I'll ask God
"Why is it taking so long?"

~C




Friday, June 10

This is how He does it

I am in Chamberlin Book Mine
Rows and rows of books to the ceiling
a "candy" store for those who love to read
Oh and I do
and Hayden and Sky are running down the isles
and then resisting the urge to keep running
once I have asked them to please walk
and then Hayden runs down a short isle anyway
an isle that ends with a wall
and he likes to do this lately
slam into the wall all dramatically
only this time when he does,
he knocks over a pile of magazines
stacked close to the floor
on a bottom shelf
and like a lot of messes he makes
it seems to demand more energy to clean it up than it did to make
so I walk down the isle and tell him I will help him
and as I am helping him re stack the magazines
I glance to my left
and lying there on the bottom shelf on top of one other book
is a book called "The hidden Life"
I pick it up and read the back cover
intrigued, I flip to the middle and read a passage
{this is how I test a book...flip to the middle and start reading the style of the writer
it is how I know I will like it}
and I like this one instantly
it is saying things I know but in a way that has me nodding my head
things my heart may know, but my mind needed to hear
and it is a personal story
of a woman who has deep depression and then finds God's peace
and I love personal redemptive stories
(and this one claims to be brutally honest & candid)
I love to hear what someone learned in this life
I love to hear what forced them to grow
I love to hear how God took the hurt in their lives and worked it into good
personal testimony is riveting
but you have to value the human spirit
you have to value people and see them through God's eyes
you have to realize how profound one personal story can be
how each of us to God, is a celebrity
tracked & documented & important

by now I know we all have a story to tell
if you've lived long enough
and even if you haven't
you have a perspective that no one else has
effected by a string of events that compares to no one else's
and even if your walk is similar
you will process it in your own way
and choose the path that only you could chose
for reasons that feel right to only you at the time

It is so exciting to me
to hear these stories
to hear what people say
to see in words how they picture their lives
and know what they grabbed from their experiences
and what they have discarded
and what they are wrestling, questioning
and what has meant the most to them

there is no greater,
more personal quest
then to listen to another human being
to let them share
to honor their transparency
to celebrate their individuality
to learn from their mistakes
to marvel
at their journey

we all have a story.....
what's yours?
I'd love to listen. :)

~C

and P.S. The whole point I was trying to make is that Hayden making a mess at the end
of an isle led me to find the next book I will read. If you allow yourself to become too
annoyed by anything seemingly inconvenient to you, you may be too distracted to
participate in the adventure God has for you. He connects the dots, we just have to
keep our eyes open to see them, to find them. This is how He does it.
This is how it works.

My kid + a mess + awareness = a new read

Remember there are no coincidences...no happen chance. It's all God showing us the way.
All we have to do is look, listen & leap!
XOX