Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I am still here...

The last post about did me in. Emotionally I mean. I ended up in a place that I thought was long forgotten, at least buried deep enough to not be found. But the hole opened up and I fell right in. It has taken me some time to climb back out...burying it again was not an option.

Add in the two full moons in August, school starting, and other various life took much longer than I expected to find my way back to the surface. There were moments when I thought I really needed to seek professional help, because I have before, and I know those moments are but a shadow away from reality. This time, though, the healing needed to go beyond symptoms and something new needed to fill the hole.

It was a Monday morning, kids were at school, the weather was changing I told my husband that I was going to spend the day at the Arboretum with God. There was laundry to be done, floors to clean, but I was empty and depressed. So that is what I did. And this is what HE had for me...

I stopped at a pond and prayed that HE would meet me there. Just let me know all of this "suffering" was not for nothing. I just needed, wanted to know that I was doing this the way HE wanted.

I left the pond with an open mind and open heart. No agenda, no ipod, nothing and started walking into the woods.
The views HE provided were breathtaking.

Why do we so easily forget what a great artist and creator HE is?
Then I came up a hill and was taken aback by the barrenness of this huge oak tree.
And as if on cue, I turned to by left and there was a maple in full glory.
I am almost ashamed to admit this, but I looked at the oak, then again at the maple and walked towards the maple. The oak mirrored what I was feeling already, and I wanted to escape that empty, dead filling. The maple was full of color and the sun was making the leaves sparkle...I needed color, life, sparkle! Almost instantly as I turned toward the sparkle of the maple, my heart sank. I was struck by the Spirit. I had chosen the "world" over God. Did I immediately run to the oak, no...I continued to walk the path past the maple..but the Spirit would not let me be...I did ask for HIM to join me...
I turned around and went back towards the oak. Its size caught my attention again. That mighty oak, though stripped of the majority of its leaves reminded of home. Its old, craved branches pulled me in to study the depths of its bark. I knew I had to take a picture.

As I was looking for a place to set down my bag, I noticed a bench in the bushes...and this is what I found when I went to place my bag...
I was stunned. Not only had HE met me there, HE saved me there, again.
 (if you can't make out the picture it says: Jesus said, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me to grant to those who mourn, garland instead of ashes, gladness instead of mourning, praises instead of a faint spirit. That they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord.~Isaiah 61:1-3, Luke 4:18-19) 

Was I instantly not depressed or empty, no...but I knew I was healing and that brought me joy, the kind that only HE can give!

 And has the winter starts to show itself here, I am clinging to that joy!

 My friends, no matter how deep the hole is that you may have dug, HE is there and will provide the way out. For even in the coldest of winters, the rose will bloom in the spring!!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Come Follow Me

This week, our prompt from Bonnie was.."God will make a way" Please pull up a chair and join us, because sometimes we all get a little lost and need a reminder that HE really will make a way...

 There is a saying, that within us there is a door waiting to be opened. A hidden place. Maybe a place that needs grace, love and healing. Or just a place where forgotten dreams have been stored.

Either one, there is still a door. And it is probably closed, maybe even locked and the key thrown away!

In the quite, there might be a knock. Is it you knocking to be let out, or is it someone else trying to get in? But there is most definitely a knocking sound. Sometimes, it is easy to ignore and get busy with life...but then, life gets hard and we end up back at the door.

There is a picture of Jesus knocking at a door waiting to be let in. If you have never let HIM into your heart, it is very possible that this your door. And I would so urge you to do so.

However, if you have already let HIM in, then the door maybe somewhere HE has led you.

This is the case for me. I have been wondering around in a room that I had forgotten about and had no desire to visit again. But here I am. And I am not alone. There is healing and grace and love...there is still sadness, but so much more gratefulness than I realized.

This I dare share..this is the best description of this room:

 "Uh... I don't know. It was like... falling into a hole.
 It was like falling into a hole,and it keeps getting bigger and
 bigger, ..and you can't get out,and then, ...all of a sudden, it's
 inside...and you're the hole, and you're trapped, and it's all
 over. Something like that. And it's not really scary, except it
 is when you think back on it.'Cause you know what you were
 feeling strange and new..." ~ Conrad, Ordinary People
 I was a junior in high school. And sitting in the dark auditorium, the person on stage was describing me. I sat there and knew I could so easily end up where he did...attempted suicide. However, I didn't try, not would be seven years later.

Nothing messy, or see I am a wimp and a scaredy cat!!

It was after my divorce, in a bubble bath and I thought...if I could just slip under the bubbles....and I did. Then, I will never forget it, my soul cried out and God pulled me out of the water.

I have NEVER shared this with anyone,  until 3 days ago when I told my husband. (and now you)

There are places, moments, that change your life forever. This is one of mine.

We like to travel as a family and I love taking pictures of paths we walk. Maybe it is because I know where I have been, and I like to have a reminder as to where HE has taken me.

Some of the paths are straight and lead into pure beauty and wonder.

Some are mysterious and not well lit.

Some are rocky and slippery.

But all of them, I have heard Jesus say...Come follow ME.

So, I am back in the auditorium, but this time I KNOW that I am not alone with my secret...and HE shows me love, grace and healing. HE holds out his hand and says...Come, this way, there is still so much to see. 

You will still have dark days, but I am here. I will be your light. I will be your hiding place. 

Come, follow Me.

And I do, even on my dark days...


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Battle Scars

I am joining in the Faith Jam that Bonnie hosts on is safe here, and she is an inspiration to try and write broken. This weeks prompt is a letter to God.

Dear God,

I am bruised and weary. I am angry and afraid. I want and need to scream, cry, wail...but I don't, I can't.

The emotions are too strong and raw.

The voice in my head tells me it is just a waste of time and energy.

So I push on, another day done...but not really lived.

I need YOU!!

I know that YOU are with me. YOU have proven it so many times before.

Something has died inside of me and I am left with incredible emptiness.

I know that for something to truly live, it has to die to self...but how long, LORD GOD, will this darkness last before life starts again?

I almost didn't write this letter, because it is not what people want to hear...I am good at portraying what people "want" and "expect"..this, this vulnerablity is hard to do..even on a computer. ~smile~

YOU are giving me strength as I write these words...LIFE is real and DEATH has been conquered!!

     "If you'll hold on to me for dear life, " says God,
     "I'll get you out of any trouble.
      I'll give you the best care if you'll only get to know ME and TRUST ME." ~ Psalms 91:14-15

Help me hold on, help me hold on...

Always and only YOURS


Thursday, August 16, 2012

What I know now...

I am participating in an exercise over here because it is her encouragement that has lead me back to writing. However, I will not be posting a picture of myself...that takes more bravery than I have right now!!

 Dear younger self...

This is not the first time I have written you, and more than likely won't be the last.

This letter is more confirmation than realization of who you are and who you are becoming.

There are a couple of themes in our life that I need to remind you of and clarify for you.

First and foremost, God loves gardening. That might sound trite, however...we don't love gardening, we don't even like gardening!! Love taking walks in gardens though. Love taking pictures of gardens. But. Do. NOT. like working in the yard. It is sweaty, dirty and causes us to itch!

But, in case you missed it, God LOVES, LOVES to garden and will use every aspect of gardening to teach you about HIS ways. Hence the struggle we have. HE loves it and we, not so much!

The planting, the weeding, the all plays out in your life. And it is not a one time deal...God tends to His garden, which is you by the way, everyday. Right now we are in the midst of some serious work, we have become root bound. I have found out that fixing this is very uncomfortable and costly.

A plant that is root bound needs to uprooted; the root ball, gently but firmly, TORN APART; replanted in new soil and goes into a state of shock for a time. Only the strong parts of the plant survive. Parts that looked healthy, but really aren't, do not survive the replanting. It takes time and patience and great care for the plant to regain its full strength. When it does, the blooms are bigger and more abundant than before.

So take courage, we are being looked after by the greatest gardener of them all...God, himself is holding our root ball gently and firmly in his hands. And in due time, we will know our full potential...that is, until the process starts over again. Which it will, it has too...that is how gardening works, that is how God works..He wants our full potential and will not leave us alone until we reach it in Christ Jesus.

Which leads me to the second theme...knowledge.

Reading has always played a huge part in our life. It is our escape. It is our safe place. Our tastes have changed over the years as we have grown. For a while now it has been about growing closer to God and all the ways that is possible.

However, since we have been in this season of root bound, even reading offers no escape...I think it is because we are to be silent and words get noisy sometimes.

There are bible verses that bring rest and restoration to our weariness, so hold them tight and let them soak in, deep into our veins. They will bring insight and hope, but not before they bring truth and humility.

Matthew 6:22-24, this will bring you face to face with lies you have believed for so long, you thought they were truth..there is freedom from the just takes time.

Matthew 22:37, this is our journey...knowledge from head to heart to soul. Most people will tell you about making head knowledge to heart knowledge. And we have great experience here. But no one really talks about the heart to soul part. Maybe they have and we just haven't made that connection. But there is where we are now...heart knowledge to soul knowledge. This is hard work.

So let me encourage you, enter into it fully...stop trying so hard to make it work out for the good or what you think it should look like...just let God do the work and be still and know who HE is.

Wait. Trust. Be.

You have a great life ahead of you, more than you can imagine...

Still waiting, still trusting and trying to just be.


Sunday, July 29, 2012


This is how I feel.
This is why I have not written in over a year.

No one wants to read about being broken, at least that is what the voice in my head has been saying. And then I read what Bonnie wrote. She had courage to write about being broken, and I was encouraged and challenged to do the same.

Though, I still would rather keep hiding and waiting for the brokenness to heal.
You see, I am really good at hiding, I have done it all my life.

I have hidden behind a smile when I really wanted to scream and cry. I have hidden my disappointments with "it's okay, it really didn't mean that much to me anyway". I have hidden my sins in deep dark caverns. I have hidden my dreams in those same caverns because, really, most of my dreams are broken too. I have gotten lost a time or two in my caverns. Lost, not really, hiding there, yes. But being in the dark for too long makes you feel lost. And things getting twisted and turned around. Lies start to sound like truth. And, well, sometimes I am not sure anyone cares, really. So I stay hidden.

When life demands it, I pull out a small mirror and show a reflection of light...a smile, a kind word, a "can do" attitude.

But lately, even my mirror is showing cracks...

And I am feeling exposed. My hiding places aren't safe anymore.

This is what some call the working of the Holy Spirit. The refining fire. The Dark Night of The awareness of being completely vulnerable and alone.

When all falseness is being torn away and sin and shame are put in their rightful place.

It sounds great, but the reality is harsh, glaring and uncomfortable.

Not many travel here, some seek it, some start but turn away when it gets hard, and others, like myself, are lead here unknowingly until they are in the thick of it and there is no turning around, because they are in the middle of darkness and there is no forward or backward. And this is all that you can do:

Be still and KNOW that I am GOD. ~ Psalm 46:10

Some days, a light shines and you are shown how far you have come and how much you have been blessed.
Some days, it is like it is starting all again with the darkness, and God whispers...

Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. ~ Deuteronomy 30:11

And you hold on to TRUTH. I have this verse in my kitchen and I read every morning, noon and night. It has kept me going. Some days all I am asked to do is get out of bed, shower and get dressed...and that can be really hard to do.

Because, you see, the enemy wants to keep me in the dark, hidden, afraid, ashamed. And he knows my default mode...

So does God.

God is pulling me ever so gently out of the dark, breaking down my hiding places, and bringing in fresh dirt, light and water...growing me, refining me, strengthening me.

HIS reflection is starting to fill in my cracks,and I am learning to trust the broken places to HIM. HIS designs are always so much more than we can imagine. There are many words forming in my heart and mind...I pray that more will make it here, and not stay hidden.