Friday Write

I haven’t joined in on one of these for quite a while so I figured today would be a good day!  The Olympics have started, Friday is finally here, the puppy is sleepy, and my fingers are ready to write.  Here’s the deal…I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo (she loves Africa too) and the “rules” include writing for 5 minutes without extreme editing or worrying about being perfect.  The prompt…

Write

One of my aunts recently shared my grandmother’s little journal with my dad.  I quickly asked if I could take the journal first.  This is the grandmother that I really only knew through pictures and stories.  She died when I was 2.  But oh did she go out with a story.  She just happened to die while walking down (or was it up?) some steps of a cathedral in Spain.  She has always intrigued me.  This mother of three who traveled and who now I know wrote.  She even included pictures within her journal, which I absolutely adore.  She was specific and real in the bits and pieces I’ve read.  Her mother died when she was young and she went to live with her aunt and uncle.  Yet, she made a point even in her journal to say that they were both mom and dad and aunt and uncle to her.  I’ve barely dug into this little treasure, but I’m excited to discover the world she lived in and the words she chose.  This little journal makes me wonder what I would think if someone opened up one of the countless journals on my shelf.  Would they find my stories of Africa tucked in the pages or the questions I have for God?  Would they see my heart and hear my hurt?   There’s so much to be found in writing.  So much to be shared.

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15 Minute Sunday (I enjoy…)

I’m taking on my own little variation of the 5 minute Friday…why? Because I enjoy it. I do. I’m pretty sure it’s something that I do enjoy so I’m going with it and carving out this little time to do this.  And why only 15 minutes? Because I’m still on a lovely borrowed computer until mine comes back from the Apple store….hopefully in 5-7 days I will have my computer back with new cords and new casing and all my important files and africa pictures are backed up just in case (yay!).  In fact, until I get my computer back you’ll probably hear a lot less from me or you’ll get these lovely mini prompts. So join in and play along if you’d like.

Okay, here goes. 15 minutes on….

I enjoy…

I didn’t really have an answer to this question earlier when asked what I actually enjoy in life and since I’m pretty sure it’s kind of important and I’m pretty sure that “abundant life” Jesus talks about includes enjoying life…I figured why not spend some time intentionally listing and thinking on it…so here goes.

Moments that I can breathe deep without the heavy weight bearing on my sometimes too logical head.  Driving into the sunset without a destination in mind and taking roads that I don’t always know where I’ll end up..really biking/running/rollerblading anywhere that I can get “lost.”  Seeing God–counting gifts and blessings from God so that I can see Him even in the little things like finding White Chocolate Magnum ice cream bars (they had Magnum bars in South Africa and I absolutely love white chocolate).  Making and baking food…chocolate covered strawberries, banana bread, brownies, anything with white chocolate.  Running—but NOT on a schedule.  Finding cute big earrings, happy wedges that make me tall, bright colors, lovely things on Pinterest, and finding fun things to share. Reading a book that I can’t put down.  Getting lost in the whir of the pottery wheel.  Digging deep into scripture passages. Writing. Putting words to my heart and sharing what I find.  Worship music. I could have music play 24/7 and I’d be a happy girl.  Playing, laughing, and just hanging out with kiddos.  Being able to stop and be totally in the moment with what has so engaged their world. I totally enjoy seeing people express themselves and being fully present to hear it.

There’s a start…I don’t really like being put in a box and enjoy 😉 flexibility in changing the things I enjoy so that’s my list for now.

And so in this hard season of learning to sit. rest. wait. be faithful. embrace the place I’m in right now. not move until He says. be.

I know that I know that I know that He’s good and that He has me here for a purpose. To stop doing what He’s called me to do would be being disobedient. And I so don’t want to be like the Israelites or Jonah.

So, yeah, I’m not doing all that good at being intentional about enjoying life or grabbing whatever peace I can or rejoicing in it. I’m just not {yet}. BUT. I’m learning and I’m going to keep learning.  Even with tear stained cheeks, I’d rather say, “I trust you, God.  Even when I don’t understand and I can’t see You in it and when it feels like You abandoned me and didn’t protect me. I still trust You.”

—-

Your turn! What do you enjoy?

a crack

i feel like i let open a little crack and

now i’m just waiting for the floodgates

to open up and overwhelm me

a crack in the door that leads to

finding words to the parts

of my story

that i don’t share

with anyone

those parts of the story

that scare me

that i don’t want to even

acknowledge

let alone feel

yet they are the parts

that leave the gaping open wounds

still on my battered and bruised body

with these wounds

i don’t want your words

i don’t want you to shove me under the rug

i don’t want you to suffocate me by silencing my words

or parade me as a spectacle

or put me on display like the adulterous woman

i want you to sit with me

cry with me

grieve with me

carry me to Jesus

and care just a little

the icee that you can’t get open…

I’m the first grader with a juice icee in my hands.  Now, my Papa has already asked me if He could open it for me and reminded me to “not go out in haste.”  But…I see that the little side says, “tear here.” So, of course, I try to tear it and open it.  I try to do it by myself and make things work out how I think they should go.

After a few failures and a painful wound on my hand from trying to work it out, I give up.  I finally lift my head and realize instead of disappointment He is SO excited that I’ve turned back to Him to let Him work it out.  With a lot of hope and a smile I can’t keep back, I see that He is opening the icee.  I gleefully grab the deliciousness back and start to taste of its awesome, amazing goodness.

Only to realize that…wait. I can’t push the icee up all the way.  Part of the wrapper is still stubbornly holding together.  This good gift seemingly is taken away and with it goes my excitement, joy, and hope.  Instead of realizing that oh hey there’s just more work to be done in me and in this good gift, I stubbornly hold tightly to it and pout about how this sure isn’t the life I want.  I didn’t want a taste and then a rude snatching away.  I didn’t want a gift that hurt me.  I half try to throw the icee on the table because I don’t even know if I want it anymore. I don’t know if I even want to hope for it anymore.  But it sits there. Staring at me, taunting me.  Not to mention that it sure seems everywhere I look the other kids are happily eating their icees.  I throw my little fit and get mad that He would do this to me.

He listens. He catches my tears. He asks for the icee back and eventually…I’m good at throwing fits….I throw my hands up in the air and let go of the icee exlaiming, “Okay, I trust you. Whether I get that icee or I get cheesecake from the Cheesecake factory or I get oreos or I get water. I don’t deserve anything and even the air I breathe is a gift.  I trust that you know what I need, when I need it, and that You are for me. You give only good gifts and You give abundantly.  Plus, You know the perfect timing. But, please, help me keep giving it back when I try to pick it up again…”

With my hands empty of nothing but Him, I find it’s a little easier to receive, to hope, to embrace my place, to smile even in the rain…

Next time…I just need to let go a little sooner.

my boys

I’m not a mom yet…but I have boys. Specifically a boy in Africa that stole my heart away and he’s always on my mind as I’m whispering prayers to God and trusting God to take care of him while I’m three thousands miles away for now.  Not to mention all the other babies in Africa that hold my prayers.  I have boys I’m coming alongside and helping train up as I lead the Children’s Ministry and these boys steal my heart and breath as they are that beautiful mixture of loyal, fierce, and sensitive warriors.  And I have other boys that are hurting yet bold that I see every day as I work in the schools. These are the boys that I pray for now.  Yet, I must say He’s definitely given me a tender spot in my heart for these little warriors and who knows maybe He’ll even bless me with a grown one to walk beside me and little ones from there.

–Sometimes an off the cuff quickly written response to a blog post about praying for boys shows me that somewhere lodged in my heart there is still hope and trust and mostly that even now God’s filled my life with these little warriors I love. Not to mention that this came after I had just gone out to buy presents to send to my little man in Africa. love him. love them. whispering prayers to Him.

(yeah that’s a foam sword in hand…we had a sweet sword fight that day and played soccer and sang Hakuna Matata and he painted my face and lots of hugs and ke a o rata whispers…what a beautiful good-bye/see you in His timing)

lingering in the breaking

you’re breaking me apart

tearing me down the middle

jagged and uneven

my heart

stripped

all because i made you

too small

shoved you in my box

so i wouldn’t have to face

the walls that tell the stories

of pain

that i would rather leave

untouched

ignored

but you’re drawing me closer

you won’t let me ignore

me

so the tears fall

ripping my seams

breath held

crushing me

yet there you are

in the midst of the breaking

inviting me

to linger

as you paint the sky

for me to remember

there is a purpose in the breaking

sometimes to be whole

you have to break

grasping

still

i grasp at the tangible

the number on the scale

throw in another workout

write down some food

finishing a few more books

add to my ever-growing to do list

all in vain attempts

to figure out

why

searching to find where i went wrong

wanting a reason

an answer

to the heart cry

why not me

so

wanting

more than a it’s me

not you

wanting to fix it

fix me

grasping

striving

while all He keeps saying is

rest

shalom, talitha koum, hephzibah

there’s nothing missing nothing broken, little girl arise, my delight is in you

 

the good things and the hardships

Exodus 18:7-9

So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law and bowed down and kissed him. They greeted each other and then went into the tent. Moses told his father-in-law about everything the LORD had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for Israel’s sake and about all the hardships they had met along the way and how the LORD had saved them. Jethro was delighted to hear about all the good things the LORD had done for Israel in rescuing them from the hand of the Egyptians.

Moses shared with integrity.  He shared the hard parts along with the good.  He showed how the Lord had worked things out even though the circumstances were hard.  He didn’t gloss over the hard parts or intentionally leave them out.  God gets glory through it all.  By sharing those parts of our stories, we show how God meets us there and is still working even when things look pretty bleak.

Stories being written and walked out are those with the substance.  I love hearing how God got someone to the other side, but in that I love hearing too how there are still parts left to be written.  Stories yet to be twisted into God working ALL things out for good.  Those are the times that show character and trust in a trustworthy God.

This is the story I want to share.  A story filled with the substance of all that God has done even as hardships are met along the way.  A God who saves.

And so I write…in a little white space hidden away from this space to capture the stories.  I write because God has given me words to be crafted together to share His story.  To steward this gift, I’m intentionally setting aside time to bring to life this vision.  A vision of a book completed.

What vision do you want to see realized? Do you have a goal you’re working toward? Are you sharing both the hard and the good?

Knight in Shattered Armor

He stands in the distance.

I see him but the edges are blurred.

his form melds and blends together.

Walking closer.

my big eyes look up.

pause.

wonder.

a tentative hand reaching out to touch the shards

the armor that should have protected him is broken.

shattered. jagged. ruff. battle-weary.

a knight in shattered armor

all this is taken into my heart

i hold it tenderly in my own scarred hands

intimacy born

because i know

i know what it feels like to have shattered armor

to be torn apart

broken

but

more importantly

i know what it feels like to see the light

filling in and filling up the cracks

overtaking the armor

showing Himself victorious in all things

an overcoming warrior

living in me and shining through

and when i see him i see Him

and that

is my knight in shattered armor

so full of Him

lost and found

Some things are meant for losing.  Traveling along toward sunny skies and shedding yourself of that extra layer–a coat flung haphazardly against a peeling white fence.  Ridding yourself of your shoes so your toes can be graced with the grass.  Hearts stripped open without pretense before a friend as you lazily let dip your feet in the rushing water while chattering away to the same cadence.

Some things are meant for keeping safe.  A story carried throughout the day only to be whispered into his ear between the covers.  An “I love you” written on a note tucked in a lunch box.  A kiss on the forehead when tears stain cheeks.  A heart.

Some things are meant for being found.  Redemption.  The sunrise across the sky hidden in the depths of the wood.  A second chance or a third.  Broken things made new.  Trust. Answers to prayers and questions.  Hope. A cross written in the clouds.