Chasing Joy

"I am guiding you on the way of wisdom and I am leading you on the right path." Proverbs 4:11

Author: mel (page 1 of 25)

unexpected

the swat team camped outside our house yesterday along with all that went with them; ems, fire, bomb squad, and multiple police cars.  they rolled in around 8, and finally rolled out around 5.  it didn’t end well for the person who’d barricaded themselves with a rifle in their apartment.

the first to arrive were the fire trucks.  when they pulled up in front of my house my first thought was concern for my next door neighbor.  thoughts of how long it’d been since we’d had a conversation over the fence.  why hadn’t i shared my latest homemade jam or invited him over for some iced tea?  partly it’s because i haven’t made jam in a while, the freezer is still holding last years crop.  partly it’s the demands of life in the current season we are in.  mostly because i’m not spending the time in the yard i used to in the spring/summers.  this makes me sad.

once we realized the fire trucks weren’t for a neighbor who was ill, as police car after police car rolled in, and men got out and put on helmets and vests and grabbed their big guns.  when the swat truck rolled by and then all the others.  we knew it was going to be an interesting morning.  i decided to wait at home till it all cleared up, expecting it’d be a couple of hours or so.  the last time the person ran around thru the neighborhood-i don’t recall how that turned out but do remember it didn’t take too long.  this time was different, it took all day.  after the first round of tear gas shots, a couple cops pulled up with pizza, water, and snacks.  we realized it might be a while.

the point of all this isn’t so much about the event, but about the thinking after.

i love living here.

i love knowing the grocery checkers by name.  knowing my neighbors by name.  i love the old houses and quirky landscapes.  walking to the library or downtown-tho we don’t do that near enough these days.

this sort of thing could happen in any neighborhood really.  this doesn’t make me feel unsafe, but it does remind me of what matters and emboldens me to be a bit more diligent to make the most of the opportunities given to connect with the people around me.  the police tried hard for a different outcome, for hours and hours we were inconvenienced to save a mans life.  i’m sad that it didn’t end well.

as we move along back to ‘regularly scheduled programming’ may we continue to grow in flexing and rolling with what each day holds in spite of the plans and agendas we seek to honor.

#10yearchallenge

seeing this #10yearchallenge come up around the interwebs got me to thinking back. where was i 10 years ago? how old were my kids? what were we in the midst of?

~~~**~~~

man, that was a rough time

  • an investment that had gone south, ushering in a financial mess
  • early stages of journeying with children w/ sensory needs, needing OT, ST, GT, HT, ET*
  • feeling alone navigating a new way of living

all with 10 years younger kids (3, 5, 9) and self (36)

man, it was a rough time

~~~**~~~

however, from this place of looking back, i have a different view of it all:

all the fissures and gaping wounds, places of seemingly deprivation, lack, and impossible circumstances the 10 years ago me faced;
have been the very vessels
of opening my heart to joy
and equipping us to navigate life with less fear.

with this new perspective, there are some things i would tell my 10 years ago self:

  •  don’t fight so hard to hold onto the things being taken
  • trust your God, trust yourself and the way He’s leading
  • don’t be afraid to embrace where He has you and how He leads you tho no one else understands it, believes it, supports it.
  • hang in there, help is on its way: a new OT, a new church, a title-1 public school.
  • enjoy walking to the library-even if your children are the only ones who can enjoy it too.
  • In 10 years you will snap a photo and not realize in the foreground is the very location so much came literally crashing down, but you’ll have forgotten that having been captivated by the beauty of the fog.  (see above)

it’s true, He makes beautiful things out of ruin…out of perceived ruin

~~~**~~~

this has me thinking about story.  the story we attempt to write for our lives, for our children’s lives.  i think we’ve bought into a false representation about what makes a good story.  we think having enough money, time, friends, and a little extra for travel makes for a good life.  what really is good?  when i look back, i see how Jesus has redefined that in me.  and as is so many things in HIs Kingdom, it is the opposite of what my upbringing and culture declare.

one last thing i would tell that 36 year old;

all those who seem to be against you?  who seem to misunderstand you, who think you’ve lost your mind to live as you do?
they aren’t against you. they want good things for you.  it’s just a different definition of good than the One who knows you best and loves you most.

The Author and Perfector of your faith,

it is He who writes the best stories

and He who holds you in the palm of His hand

it’s true, He makes beautiful things out of ruin….out of perceived ruin.

but He knows the way that i take
when He has tested me, i will come forth as gold


 

*speech therapy, occupational therapy, gymnastice therapy, horse therapy, basically everything therapy

to draw further in; job 23:10 (quoted above), isaiah 35; isaiah 30:15-18; luke 1:46-55

pathways

i’ve heard it said; “obedience is the pathway to blessing.”

“blessing” is a tired word, as my children’s 4th grade english teacher would describe it;  “a word that has become so overused, it’s lost it’s meaning.  it is tired.  it needs a rest.  we need to find alternative words to use, so that our audience will actually know what we are trying to say. “

i do believe obedience is a pathway, just to something else.

over the years, He’s reveled to me all the ways my obedience has been a pathway to knowing:

knowing the nearness of a Savior whose love does not fail.
knowing the help of a Shepherd who gently leads those with young.
knowing the grip of a Father who never lets go.
knowing the comfort of a Creator whose knowlege knows no bounds.
knowing the safety of a King whose throne is approachable.
knowing the rest of a Spirit who guides.

He’s been inviting me deeper now, the pathway is opening in a way.

///

i want to see.

full of doubt much of the time these days, i have been asking my Shepherd to open my eyes, that i might see Him.  it’s a different plea than to know Him.

i want to see miracles
i want to see a generation finally waking up inside *
i want to see evidence of God’s grace**
i want to see the Spirit moving, creating revival
in my church, in my community, in my world
but mostly in my home.

~~~

and He whispers;  return to Isaiah, and remember.
and then continue on in obedience, regardless of what outcomes you immediately see
you will know Me there, yes, but you will also see Me there.

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn darkness into light before them
and make rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
I will not forsake them.

….

Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of His servant?
Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light,
trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.

////

 i want to feel.

in my reading of the work of the Spirit, i long for the evidence of His work to be felt in my innerman, enabling my obedience when afraid, unsure.  continually, i cry out; “i believe you Lord, help me overcome my unbelief.”  i think what i’m really saying is; “i want to feel You.”

i want that peace that passes understanding; that comes from complete trust in a Father who holds my tender heart in His hands. regardless of the outcome of being misunderstood.  of being rejected. of something painful.

i want that hope that anchors; assuring that my obedience isn’t a waste,  accomplishing nothing, isn’t too tainted by my doubts and unbeliefs to really count.

i want that  joy that cannot be taken; that exists right alongside every other emotion that lingers while traversing this earth. that gives endurance, even anticipation of what a mighty God can do when powerless and weak vessels avail themselves to His call.

~~~

and He whispers: come to Me and find rest.
and then continue on in obedience, regardless of what the outcomes cause you to immediately feel.
you will know Me there, yes, and you will see Me, but you will also experience Me.

Come unto Me all who are weary and heavy laden.
and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon thee and and learn from Me
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls

…..

The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.

///

He gives sight to the blind, i am convinced of that….in general.
He gives joy that cannot be taken.  i am conviced of that too….in general.
He makes Himself known, to unworthy followers.  again, i am convinced.
but it gets personal, the convincing.   appropriated, i am learning,
through my obedience.


to draw further up and further in:   *Switchfoot where i belong;  **Acts 11 esp verse 23
Mark 8; Isaiah 30: 15-18; 41:16-17; 50:10-11, Matthew 11; Isaiah 58

 

the invitation

she stands alone, on the outside looking in.  the crowd mingles as crowds do, like with like, familiar with familiar.

she catches a whisper deep within, carried on a tune.  a portion of a song heard ages ago:

i don’t belong here*

///

gathered around the table, there are people here who have hurt.  some wounds fresh, others long since scabbed over.

as the conversation grows uncomfortable, she catches the whisper again;

i don’t belong here*

aware of the choice; to connect or compare.  to focus on differences-of which there seem to be so many-a chasm that appears to widen over time.

or

zero in on where, in their shared humanity, they are the same.

she rehearses the latter; shared fears of loosing control, rejection, loneliness.  shared desires to be heard, listened to, loved.  to have significance, a place to belong.

a place to belong.

but i don’t belong here*

it’s painful this not belonging.  tho there is that shared humanity, the offer is one sided.  she knows this.  she might offer love and recieve in return hate.  she might offer listening and recieve in return invisiibility.

but the whisper of that song won’t leave.  in the quiet when alone, she searches it out.  and the One who gave it all for His enemies invites:

In a world full of bitter pain and bitter doubt
I was trying so hard to fit in, fit in,
Until I found out
I don’t belong here
I don’t belong here
I will carry a cross and a song where I don’t belong*

road and sky

a cross and a song

the implications seep into her consciousness.
she get’s it.  the cost.
she gets it.  the call
not just to show up, but show up exposed, vulnerable, offering herself as art.

really, who would do this?

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor (fellow man) and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may [show yourselves to] be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on those who are evil and on those who are good, and makes the rain fall on the righteous and the unrighteous [the unrepentant, those who oppose Him]. For if you love [only] those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do that?  And if you greet only your brothers [wishing them God’s blessing and peace], what more [than others] are you doing? Do not even the Gentiles [who do not know the Lord] do that? You, therefore, will be perfect [growing into spiritual maturity both in mind and character, actively integrating godly values into your daily life], as your heavenly Father is perfect.

there is so much to lose here.

but this one thing  she knows: her Faithful Father has never steared her wrong.  every place of obedience brings a harmony to the song that is her life that only could come in that particular way.

there is so much to gain.

it’s a place of fellowship with the One who bled and died.
a place of intimacy with the One who never grows tired or weary
a place of power from the One who raises the dead.
a place of growth in both mind and charactor.

This air feels strange to me
Feeling like a tragedy
I take a deep breath and close my eyes
…..
Storms on the wasteland
Dark clouds on the plains again
We were born into the fight
But I’m not sentimental
This skin and bones is a rental
And no one makes it out alive
….
I wanna see the earth start shaking
I wanna see a generation
Finally waking up inside
Until I die I’ll sing these songs
On the shores of Babylon
Still looking for a home
In a world where I belong
Where the weak are finally strong
Where the righteous right the wrongs
Still looking for a home
In a world where I belong
And on that final day I die
I want to hold my head up high
I want to tell you that I tried
To live here like a song
And when I reach the other side
I want to look you in the eye
And know that I’ve arrived
In a world where I belong
In a world where I belong**
for the joy set before me, Your Kingdom come.

To draw further in:  Matthew 5 (esp 43-48); Hebrews 12; (quoted above) Switchfoot’s: *Beautiful Letdown and **Where I Belong.

stuck

the words, they begin to form  coheasive, clear, deep.

placing the last dish on the rack, i reach for the towel, dry off and grab my laptop.

it takes time for it to boot up, time to sit.

such a short amount of time, really.

and yet.  the words they have left.  gone.

staring at the blinking cursor.

i have no idea where to begin.

why?

sigh.

ok.

i hear the birds.  through these old windows, i hear them.

this sabbath day, calling me out.

to sit.

quiet.

am i willing

to shut it all down again

and wait on the Word made flesh?

i guess, for now

while it’s quiet here

i can be found outside listening to the birds

waiting.

insecure

come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…

we are standing on the shore, my boy and i.  watching his brother and dad out in the water….struggling, struggling, struggling.  time has slowed and we fear help will not come in time.

we are staring death in the face and it is terrifying.

we are powerless.

some teenagers in their fishing boat arrive first.  then the firemen, paramedics, rescue/dive team.   they carry my youngest boy onto the stretcher and into the ambulance, then my husband.  Their bodies so weakened by hypothermia, they are  shaking shaking, my boy looses consciousness, then comes back talking gibberish, crying out in pain.  my older boy and i, we watch, we speak strengthening words to them, we pray.  we make decisions-will we ride in the ambulance with them or follow in the car?  which hospital?

we are all well cared for, the doctors do their jobs.  the boys all begin to recover, both the ones in the water and the one standing powerless on the shore.

after a few days, when everyone is back to school and work, i sit in the quiet….

….and wail.

men are not angered by mere misfortune but by misfortune conceived as injury.  and the sense of injury depends on the feeling that a legitimate claim has been denied.  the more claims on life, therefore, that your patient can be induced to make, the more often he will feel injured…

screwtape to wormwood -cs lewis

it is not strange these painful things that happen.  i know, i know.  the injury on this particular day was pointed, specific, cutting deep into a desire and felt legitimate claim.

and so i lament.

lament would provide a bridge back to the safe presence of God….only someone engaged in life can lament.

a sacred sorrow -michael card

gravity is a law of nature, a reality of life.  it cannot be thwarted, controlled, denied.

i am lamenting many things, but the main thing is; the absence of security.  like the presence of gravity exists, so does the absence of security.  i have no power or control over the outcome of a planned day.  i cannot lay claim to any expectation of smooth waters, joy-filled experiences, or long days with the ones i love.  in an instant it all can be taken.  all. of. it.

+++

for the past 3 years i’ve been memorizing Romans chapter 8.  it’s taking a long time.

i think i’m reciting to myself to help get thru these days following tragedy, where the rug has been pulled out from under me and i’ve discovered there is no floor.  i think i’m behind because it’s taking so many years to memorize this one chapter.  i think lots of things that are merely a shadow of the reality of a God that is near.

…hope that is seen is no hope at all.  who hopes for what he already has?  but if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

i weep and wail at these words.  i confess that i no longer know how to pray.  standing on that shore, i cried for help only, reasoning that my boy and husband in heaven with their savior was to their gain and my loss.  wondering how to move forward with a heart of flesh instead of stone.  knowing that i can plan and dream and create, but i cannot control and am given no guarantee that fun or rest or simple monotony will follow.  i am promised trouble, and joy.  i don’t know how to expect both.  i don’t know how to pray.

…in the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  we do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express…

Michael Card is on to something.  as i lament, as i weep and wail and honestly express all the things i’m thinking and feeling, the One who translates it all crosses over the bridge and engulfs me with His very safe presence.

Young gives the meaning of rest as “rest again, cease from, rest thoroughly.”  Rest again is the word for today.  We are not promised smooth roads, but rough.  When things are smooth we should look up in delight and thanksgiving, thinking of them as breathing spaces rather than as the normal condition of things. Rough roads make it certain that we shall often come to our Lord for rest.   Our dear Lord will never be surprised by our frequent coming.  He will never tire of resting us, and in the rest He gives His strength.  His invitation stands sure:  Come unto Me and I will give you rest, rest again.

-Amy Carmichael

He is in me.  He is for me.  He is with me.  He is my hope.  it is enough.


to draw further in:  a playlist for times of lament.  Stars by Skillet.  Never let go by David Crowder.  Fierce by Jesus Culture.  I won’t let you go by Switchfoot.  It is well by Bethel Music.

again running

and so she woke up
woke up from where she was
lying still
said i gotta do something
about where we’re going.

-U2

been running again.

december 26th found us at our local rec center purchasing the family pass.

december 26th also found us beginning what would be our new daily routine.  everyone goes, like it or not.

+++

Children tie the mother’s feet, the Tamils say….We knew we could not be too careful of our children’s earliest years.  So we let our feet be tied for love of Him whose feet were pierced.

-Amy Carmichael

she’s leaving, my beloved oldest girl.  for 3 months overseas.  knowing this time would come….should come, i set aside some things to have more time her last semester of high school.

the end of this season begins in 2 days.  changes ahead for sure-changes in her, changes in us here back at home.

i’ve fielded lots of questions about how i’m feeling.

everyone has been home for Christmas break-boys went back to school only this week.  and the days have been filled with holiday engagements, those trips to the gym, errands upon errands to help our girl prepare for this trip.

so i let my feet be tied.

+++

every time i run my mind writes.  the trouble is that putting pen to paper is impossible while running.  so i make cryptic notes in my phone.  there are 16 ideas there fleshed out a bit while my heart rate beats fast, recorded in hope that an hour or two will one day come to craft an essay or two that matters.

it’s 30 minutes of untied feet.

something else is happening in this running.

peace, clarity, perspective.  right there in the crowded gym, this one who spends so much time in her head is able to release a bit.

which ushers in a stillness.  a connection with the One acquainted with all the ways i’m feeling.

and my gaze shifts up.  as my thoughts tumble out there is  room for Him to speak.

+++

how am i feeling?

well, it’s hard to say really.  overwhelmed with all there is to do.  carrying a sense of urgency to make the most of this time.  tired from the early morning routine yanking us away from the restfulness of slow days.  amazed and delighted at who my daughter has become and is becoming.  excited for this gift the Lord is handing her.  aware of and grieving my daily failures; the little ones like handing my son a still frozen breakfast sandwich…in the car…on the way to school.  it’s ok mom, he says, and attempts to eat it anyway.  and the big ones that leave me in tears for hours when i should be sleeping. cause sometimes repentance is a long process.  wondering what the latest letter home from my oldest’s school means.  apologizing to my younger boy again that his violin string broke because of my idea, sorry son, maybe you won’t play any G notes today????  discussing late into the night with my man about whether we should replace our windows, how the budget shaped over the course of last year, and how we feel about where we’re all going. which is what led to the daily visits to the rec center.

these are the laces tying up my days.

but there is also the running.

singing ha, ah la la la de day…
ha la la la de day
ha la la de day
she’s running to stand still

-U2


so, friend, what is it that quiets your head and heart?  may you persevere in the finding of it, the executing of it, the embracing of it.  and in the process, the finding of Him, the embracing of Him, the being stilled by Him.

I will sing of the lovingkindness of the Lord forever.  To all generations I will make known Your faithfulness with my mouth. …Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound!  They walk, O LORD in the light of Your countenance.  psalm 89:1, 15

 

pondering with Mary

141228_0001

 

And coming to her, the angel said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”  But she was greatly perplexed at what he said, and kept carefully considering what kind of greeting this was….The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.

Highly favored, that’s what the angel told her; she had found favor with God.

“While they were [in Bethlehem] the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.  She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

i’ve been pondering Gabriel’s words, coupled with all that lie ahead for Mary; all the loneliness, the misunderstandings, the rejections…. it would have been a long and exhausting 9 months.  then they arrive in Bethlehem to discover no room for them.  As Mary set up camp in that barn, did she grumble and stomp;

is this the way the Lord favors?

how many days did they stay there before the ‘time came for the baby to be born?’  a week, two?  uncomfortable and very pregnant, was she able to sleep?  did she snap at Joseph-had he tried-really tried- to find them somewhere else to stay?  the baby would be coming soon-were they to have him here?  Had God completely abandoned them?  were they so very alone?

He was despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and pain and acquainted with grief; And like One from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or esteem Him.

as the ones chosen to carry this Savior to term, to then love and parent him….did Mary and Joseph bear this same fate?

as a follower of this Savior-as one in whom He dwells….is this my story too?  when loneliness, fatigue and rejection set in, when the condition of my home is frustrating me, when the contrasts of this world seem to weigh heavier on the dark side…. will i grumble and stomp;

it this what it means to be highly favored?

nativity2

And if we are His children, then we are His heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His spiritual blessing and inheritance], if indeed we share in His suffering so that we may also share in His glory.

maybe for Mary, when she began to set up camp in that barn it went this way instead;

huh…this is not what i thought it’d be like in Bethlehem.  thank you Joseph for trying your best to make my bed of hay comfortable.  the baby will be coming soon.  let us pray for the strength we need.  Gabriel said i am highly favored.  God will be present here.  He will provide help.  we are not alone.

 

maybe for me too,  setting up camp in this life, it can go this way instead:  “He has said he is enthralled with my beauty, He keeps track of the stars, He dearly loves me.  God will be present here.  He will provide help.  i am not alone.

For I consider [from the standpoint of faith] that the sufferings of the present life are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us!

 

20161223_121208

Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth Peace to men
on whom His favor rests

May you experience His assurance of His delight and deep deep love for you this Christmas season.  


To draw further in: Luke 1:28-38; Luke 2; Romans 8: 17-18 amp; Philippians 3:9-11; Isaiah 53:3; Isaiah 9:6; Psalm 45:11

 

a study in contrasts

children-supergirl

the pictures scroll through randomly as my screen saver.  a boy with a stick and a tire amongst the red dirt of Uganda.  my two boys hugging tigger at disney world.  snow on mountain peaks.  the sunrise over the train tracks near my house.  it stops me sometimes as i walk past-these are all photos taken by me, grouped randomly by my computer-a study in the contrasts of my existence.

+++

i sat to think about the intensity of the last 24 hours.  pausing for quiet, to recover, to be restored, redeemed.  my mind moves back a day, back a day, back a day.  the intensity of the last month….year….5 years….

i breath.  in.  out.  pray prayers without words.

“if you are tired, learn to rest, not to quit.”

+++

Alleppo has fallen

refugees are making sleeping bags for refugees. 

the grey house with the green door on the corner of 7th boasts flashing lights “porn!” “Live girls”  a marajuana leaf, a car missing it’s window

my neighbor is remodeling.
her house looks beautiful,
i so appreciate it’s beauty.

one of my neighbors’ house caught fire on election night.
it was in the attic.  now there are keep out posters on the doors
due to asbestos

i stood and watched the firemen do their thing.
with smoke pouring in next door, a neighbor steps away
to close her windows
and get a cup of cold water for the one who was in the house
when it caught fire

this little house of ours is overflowing with art projects,
christmas projects, school papers, children fighting,
a broken dryer, piles of dishes,

 the heat and plumbing are working,
children are also laughing,
scheming surprises for one another.
christmas lights will soon shine their joy
into the dark of night.

one minute i lament,

the next i praise

+++

i’ve been praying,
and these are what my prayers look like;
dear god
i come from two countries
one is thirsty
the other is on fire
both need water

.later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?

it answered
everywhere
everywhere
everywhere

-Warsan Shire

+++

i’ve been praying too.
prayers that look messy
full of stuttering, absent of many words.

i walk through these days
gazing at the world travelers
i whisper
where is the beauty?

worldsbeauty

they answer

everywhere
everywhere
everywhere


instagram: fingerprintofgod; theexodusroad; natgeo; solehope; tiinautti;theexodusroad;
there are many more expressions of beauty i’ve found on instagram.  my list is  here.

to draw further in: Isaiah 40, 58; Psalm 91, Romans 8, Matthew 4:12-17; O Come O Come Immanuel

remembering while we wait

christmaslights

we are waiting…
we have not forgotten.

-Christmas Canon

it’s been cold these last couple weeks.  following an unseasonably warm fall, we’ve leaped off a cliff from 60 degrees down to 2.  wind whips while this mother and her son run across the parking lot dashing into the warmth of the auditorium.  shortly i’ll watch my boy dutifully put on his band concert-yawning and looking around as his stick keeps time on the cymbal.  he’s frustrated and bummed that his favorite teacher of all time took another job this year, leaving him behind to yawn his way through with one who yells at him if he attempts to jazz things up a bit.   “maybe things will be better next year in high school,” i offer-the only consolation i can think of-wondering if it sounds as lame to him as it does to me?

~~~~

she turns the  6 month chip around and around between thumb and finger, “i don’t understand why i would be tempted now?  i KNOW there is no life there, so why these urges to use again?”  this friend of hers fumbles through a prayer, hoping beyond hope that the One who hears will tend His little lamb as the Shepherd that He is.

~~~~

one of them sits comfortable and warm, in her fancy house with her fancy car and faithful servants to come and care for her child and clean her house.  another sits in a church, homeless and alone, but a warm bed and a home cooked meal greet her each evening as she and her toddler enter.  their lives seem so vastly different…..yet so very much the same. they battle their guilt and shame, deflecting off on to any inanimate object, seeking absolution from a statue made of wood.  her mind says it’s working, but her heart knows no release from the misery of living under shame’s heavy hand.  i wonder if there is any hope?  the only remedy i have to offer is left behind with the dinner as they each leave their respective table.  “thank you for coming.” says one as i gather my coat.  “thank you for giving me a comfortable place to rest.” says the other as i make the rounds to lock up for the night. tonight one will lay her head on an air mattress, the other a feather pillow.  tonight both will sleep with their souls crushed under a weight they cannot lift.

~~~~

type, delete, type delete.  i struggle to pray.  struggle to find words.  my tounge feels tied.  fatigue weighs heavy, thoughts swim around and around and around.  i had words yesterday when worship overwhelmed me.  i come faithfully to meet with the Object of yesterday’s worship, to draw on His strength, to find my words again.  just as i cannot force Him to appear in a way that i can grab hold of, so i cannot force words to flow in a way i can grab hold of either.  this advent i longed to offer more here.  but this is all i’ve got.

~~~~

we are all waiting.  my boy who is finding the class he used to love the most to be the one he likes the least.  my friend longing for the day when the urge to use is truly forever gone, never to catch her off guard again.  the two ladies i shared separate meals with, one homeless, the other affluent, both needing release from themselves.  and me, fighting for words to come, waiting for them to flow when i am able to receive them, pin them down, and share them here.  we are all waiting…..

rejoice! rejoice!
Immanuel
will come to you
o Israel.

in the wait…..i

have

not forgotten.

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