Posted in Christmas, Gifts, Living Water

Advent


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Advent.

The Coming.

Love birthed itself in our image as we had been made in Love’s own image at the beginning.

Love that holds us, flows through us, breathes upon us, is ever-present.  Love that we yearn for and seek.  That all the year we cry out to touch.  Love, whose echo in our souls harkens for its origin.  The fiber from which we are made, yet somehow seem to lose in the mundane of our everyday.  In the great struggle for survival, its beacon becomes hidden.

And yet beyond hope, we dream.  We return again to celebrate year after year.  Time slows and a hush falls while the hours rush madly past.  The veil between the material and the divine feels a bit lighter this season.  A bit less definitive.  There is magic in the air and our hearts can begin to remember Love’s voice.  Love so powerful that it was not diminished by human indignity.  Love that draws out the wellspring of itself in all that it graces.

There is hope in these days.  Hope that Love can bring us all together.  To Eden.  To healing and restoration.  That tragedy can find peace if not meaning.  That sorrow can be embraced till it has reached out and kissed joy.  That the pain in every aching soul can bring forth the birth of new life.  That the lost is found and the hungry can be fed.  That war will tire and fall into the arms of community.

We take in the Body of Love.  We drink Love’s lifeblood and remember again for the first time that we are in Love and Love in us.  As Love was born to us and for us and with us, we too are reborn anew with each remembrance of Love.

The mundane begins to take on the glow of sacred.  We see the divine in the face of another.  We feel Love as it resides in our own humanity.  Against all odds we hope.  We dream.  Love does not let us close our hearts.  They are tired hearts.  Weary of pain.  Wary of the next battle.

Yet Love lives on.  In us.  Around us.  Inviting us to take part.  Beckoning us into the dance.  Welcoming the shattered pieces of us that it may make us whole again.

 

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Posted in Gifts, indigo inspiration, Living Water, mental-health

A Piece of Church


I found church last night in Barnes and Noble.

I left my mom self at home and went out to person for a while.  To feed my soul so that I could feed us all.

I used to be a strictly fiction reader, escaping my world for one more exotic, yet predictable.  Since the beginning, books have been my home, my haven, my safe house.

And then I hatched.  I birthed myself afresh from the confining cocoon of uneasy comfort which held me captive.  I found again my love of learning that had gone dormant out of fear.   I found biographies.  Memoirs.  People pouring words out of themselves about their realness.  Humor.  Growth.  Humanity.

So I drink it in.  There’s always a new Amazon box.  Another podcast.  The next Audible book.  It’s exhilarating.  Life-giving.  In a lonely time in my life I have found communion and companionship in the spoken and written hearts of others who have been down paths that look like mine.  Past landmarks that I have seen as well.  Whose growth and evolution inspires me to lean into change.

At first, I held it all close to the vest.  The tender sprouts of my new understanding too frail to be exposed to the harsh elements of the world outside myself.  And then, like Jeremiah, it became a burning in my bones, lighting my soul on fire with epiphanies of life and love.

I drew courage from others who speak.  From the gorgeous souls who bravely bare themselves for connection.  I haltingly said a thing.  And carefully another.  It did not kill me.  I breathed in this realization.  Pondered it.  Gathered it to me like a gift.

I went to Barnes and Noble to wander the aisles looking for more courage.  For the people from whom my book people had gotten their inspiration.  Down the rabbit hole of the next author.  And another.  And the next.  Trusting that my searching, my craving for life is opening my mind and my heart to the more and more and more love and connection and healing that the human soul longs for.

Someone else was looking too.  Another human on a path of learning, expanding, growing.

We had church in the aisle.

All the burning newness.  The soul fire of love and learning.  The unlearned and the relearned.  The gift of letting the words out.  Another portion of courage and vulnerability.

I left in a glow of glory.  I felt alive with the magic of it.

I take wonder in.  I absorb concepts.  I mull ideas.  But they don’t fully become mine until they move from my brain to my mouth.  From my mind to my fingers.  Somehow, the act of passing them out of me catalyzes them.  They are transformed from glowing embers into roaring flames.

This is my church.  This is where my soul is fed.  This is my learning come to life.  This is where I find resurrection.  In Barnes and Noble with a stranger.  Who is really not a stranger at all but a human who is connected to my humanity by hope.  By the courage to be alive.  By the bravery to grow and change and be made new.  By the capacity to live loved.

Posted in Insane in the Brain, Living Water, Thanks for the memories

Otherwise, what is the point?


Where to start when I have been a hermit for so long?  Also, I realize writing a blog post does little to reform my hermit status.  It merely makes me a sporadically blogging hermit.  Which is possibly more disturbing than the sum of its parts.  Life and its myriad hand grenades have me retreating into my suburban cave without my noticing the extent of the retreat.  I was tipped off to the seriousness of my hermitage when an audio book I had purchased on Audible concluded with the author’s thanks to various people who had made her work possible.  And I felt a surge of jealousy.  They were all authors that I love.  I was mad that they had been hanging out without me.

Ahem.

Moving on…

Ok.  Ok.  I see a therapist.  I’ll bring it up.  Like none of you have thought anything so disturbing.

Which brings me to what my heart is bleeding to let out.  What my soul has been learning and my mouth does not know how to say.

There is room for me.  My humanity is not too complicated to be sustained by Love.  The scars I have do not disqualify my belonging.

The vastness of Truth has got to be bigger than my doubts and my questions.  I cannot believe that I can dethrone God by wondering if everything I have believed, been taught to believe, is a fabrication.  I cannot imagine that the One who holds all things together is given to fits of insecurity when I deconstruct, again and again, things I had never thought to question.

It is a lonely road, to be sure, this uneven journey of discovery.  It has little to mark it as a path when the truths that once lit my way have been dulled by disaster, pain, and tragedy.  When the roadmap I hold up for guidance is in tatters and is no longer the sure thing I once took for granted.  When everything outside me is a weight of uncertainty that threatens to suffocate the breath from my lungs.  When, in an attempt to beat the hell out of me, someone else’s proclaimed truths also beat the heaven out of me.

Truth has got to be bigger than that.  Love has got to be stronger than that.  It has to have room for my doubt, my questions, my reality, my humanity.  Otherwise, what good is it?

I am made in the image of Love.  Surely a little messiness doesn’t scare Him.  A lot of messiness doesn’t scare him either.  The truth I need to know isn’t out there, ever in danger of flight.  It’s not an elusive, ethereal something always slipping from my grasp, always on the verge of evacuating my doubting heart.

If I belong to Love, if Love holds all together, if I am made in Love’s image, than Love is not frightened by my growth.  Love welcomes the evolution.  Love cheers in pride for me as I take my first tottering steps of liberation from fear.

My truth in this season is that I miss trusting fear.  Fear protected me from so much.  At least that’s what I’m mostly sure of.

But there is no fear in love.  So I am learning how to step out of fear and take Love’s hand.  Love says, “I am already in you.  You need not fear.”

So what if I mess up?  So what if I get it wrong sometimes?  So what if not being afraid makes me do things that are not what is expected of me?  So what if I don’t color in the lines?

I am made in the image of Love.  Truth is not shaken by doubt.

If the proof that I am in Love are the fruits of Love in my life, than I say bring it on.  Because I see Love in myself.  I am seeing Love in the faces of others.  Joy and peace are more characteristic of my life than before.  I am learning patience and kindness, first with myself, and then others.  And autonomy.  That sense that I belong only to Love and Love to me.

That the masterpiece of me is exactly what Love wants to see.

Posted in Gifts, Insane in the Brain, Living Water, mental-health, Movies, Thanks for the memories

a Date


Personing is hard.  At any given moment an infinite variation of life is coming at you.

Mothering is hard.  It’s complicated.  Consuming.  4 people’s perfect souls are in my care.  They are all 4 so vastly unique.  They each need something different from the others.  And possibly even different than what they needed 3 hours ago.

Being a wife is beautiful.  Amazing.  Rewarding.  And hard.  It demands that your ever evolving humanity hyphenates wholeheartedly with another person’s ever evolving humanity.

PTSD is hard.  Actually, it sucks balls.  It is vicious.  Unpredictable.  Parasitic.  It is about 5 full-time jobs rolled into one that you can’t clock out of.  Your body is constantly picking up the slack for your brain.  Your brain is all, “Bye, Felicia” when you need it most and your body is left to pick up the fragments.  Flashbacks are always at the most inconvenient times and inappropriate situations.  Scratch that.  When is it ever a convenient time for your brain to unload out-of-context horror?

My soul is tired.  My body is exhausted.  My mind is weary.

Yesterday, I threw an adventure/pirate party for my 7-year-old daughter.  Including my 3 oldest, there were 14 kids here.  I think. Lucky for me, my 2-year-old was napping.  A few parents stayed.  A friend and her husband came to help.  My husband’s participation was on fleek.  My house was full.

I love my children fiercely.  So I asked my anxiety to hold it together while I facilitated the fun.

But I am tired.

I’m getting better at knowing when I’m going to need to recharge.  I’m more mindful of how decimated an interaction is going to leave me.  I’m learning to plan self-care into my life.

A few years ago I read The Shack.  My heart wept with recognition.  When the movie was announced, my heart exploded with anticipation.  As soon as I was able, I purchased a ticket to see it.  For a showing immediately following church.  The day after my daughter’s birthday party.

I need to tell you about church and me.  A majority of the abuse I endured as a child was religious in nature.  Clarification: it wore a Jesus hat.  “Christianity” was the tool that 2 broken and hurting people used on their offspring to make themselves feel less out of control.  They discharged their anguish onto their children in the name of God.

I struggle with church.  I struggle with the Bible.  Hear me out before you burn me at the stake.  The words, the phrases, the settings… Triggers.  A lot of the concepts, though far removed from how I grew up knowing them, look very similar outwardly to their rightful essence.  This is the danger.  While I am rewriting the real version in my heart and mind, there is an incredible amount of scar tissue there.  My mind is rejecting the transplant as it looks eerily familiar.  I’m constantly looking for new versions of the Bible.  Versions that I can read and hear God’s healing love pour over my soul like a soothing balm.  As of now, my all time favorite is The Jesus Storybook Bible.  I am not embarrassed to say that I own it in hardcover and audio forms.  And that when the crazy gets heavy, I hide in my minivan and listen.

So I stayed home by myself this morning.  While the rest of my heart drove away in my van.  They went to church without me because my soul needs some rest.  Church is hard for me.  Church is work.  I pray it is not always this way.  I hope some day to be edified without the complication of very conscious mindfulness exercises throughout the duration.   I long for the day when I can join in with the worship and the teaching without fighting a panic attack.  Someday maybe I will be able to hang after church to fellowship without being acutely aware of the crowd and scanning for exits.

Today is not that day.  Today I am where I am.  Jesus loves this me.  Jesus is fully invested in this me.

So I am going on a date with Jesus to see a movie.  That is my church today.  I am so looking forward to it.

But first I have to find a box of tissues.

Posted in Gifts, indigo inspiration, Insane in the Brain, Living Water, mental-health, Thanks for the memories, The Future

Ashes, ashes. We all fall down.


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Photo credit: me…

I am a phoenix.

I regularly burst into flame.  And am reborn.

Hurts like hell to burn but I come back fiercer, stronger, more loving every time.  I will burn this mother down as many times as it takes to come out the person that I am, under all of the shit that obscures the beauty of who I was meant to be.

I will burn.  With the fierce passion of knowing that I was made for Love.  I will die a little every time that I may come forth in new and new and new life.  And all of the me that isn’t truly me will burn up little by little as I become.

It is terrifying to stand on a new truth, or a more refined truth.  What if I am wrong?  Well, chances are I am and will be wrong many times and many ways yet to come.  Hence the burning down.  And rising forth.  A baptism of fire.  A rebirth of anguish and glory.

I will burn this mother down.  I will burn this sister down.  This friend.  This wife.  This citizen.  I will be wrong.  And I will be new.

I said yes to life and health and all of the magic and pain that will bring me alive.  I will face the difficult.  I will trod forward in weariness.  I will triumph over the victories and so often weep for the failures.  Because all these things ignite me.  They consume the false and reveal the authentic.  The genuine.  The truly precious.  My soul.

I will burn this mother down.

I am a phoenix.

I feel the fire coming on.

Posted in Gifts, indigo inspiration, Living Water, Winter

Waking Up To Love


I had to hibernate for a while.

Winter came suddenly to my soul.  Not a death, per say, but a necessity to hide away in quiet in order to be reborn and transformed.  It was brutally cold and dark and the only way to survive was to withdraw and conserve my resources.  I didn’t know it was coming.  Rather, I may have known in a way, but didn’t yet have the instinct to nourish myself in preparation.  I wasn’t entirely sure I was going to survive the season.

In hibernation, I shed a skin, a former life, as a fresh me began to come together.  As the ground thaws and the stirrings of new life whisper in the breeze, I’m seeing a new world around me as I, myself, am changed.

I’m opening my heart to Love and health.  I’m opening my mind to pursue new branches of wisdom and inspiration.

It’s terrifying.  As hell.  But so brilliant.  Like beams of warm, healing light breaking through the forest canopy to kiss the needle covered ground below.

The shedding made room for new.  For beauty.  For depth.  For uncertainty.  For adventure.

In slowly, carefully, emerging from my cocoon, and reconnecting more fully with the loves in my life, I am coming to see a new facet of Love’s glorious wholeness.

Love is not linear.

It is a window into eternity.  It is the finest wisp of understanding of the Love of our Creator for us, outside of time.

When someone comes into your life, when you let them in, when you love them, you love all the someones they have ever been.  All the someones that have made them who they are today.  Love doesn’t simply begin at one point and move forward.  It is born in the center of a moment and expands to flow out in all directions.  To the past that made you who you are.  To the future and all the promise of who you can be.  To the depths of experience and the heights of emotion.

A friend told me that she loves who I was because that person birthed who I am now.  That awkward jean skirt wearing teen me is in her heart just as I am now.  It was a deeply healing moment.  Teen me smiled through crippling pain.  Teen me was not worthy.  She was, as Brené Brown so aptly words it in her speaking and writing, “hustling for her worthiness.”  In that moment, my friend gave now me, as well as teen me, an exquisitely perfect gift.  Love reached through time and gave unloved, awkward, unfriended teen me a friend.  A long-aching part of me felt healing.

It was eerily similar to a conversation I had with another friend the night before.  We discussed an exercise that my therapist sometimes asks me to do.

“What would 31-year-old you like to say the little girl you that feels in pain and terrified and uncared for?”

“What does 6-year-old you need from adult you?”

It is always an incredibly vulnerable moment.  The best moments are.

There is very little chance that I will ever have my childhood pain acknowledged by the ones who inflicted it.  But that doesn’t mean the wound has to remain open and weeping forever.  In learning the eternalness of Love, I have gained a new ability to give myself the acceptance that every child deserves.  The more I learn of Love, of connection, I can more readily acknowledge the trauma I lived through, the pain I carry, and the utter worthlessness that suffocates healing Love.

I am retroactively valued.  I can give myself acceptance.  All of my selves and evolutions.  All of the me’s that felt rejection.  Abuse.  Denial.  Worthlessness.  Because I still am and will always be me.  In the same way that Love is, has been, and will be.

And winter will come again.  That is the nature of life.

But this time I will take a layer of nourishment into the cold with me.  I’m feeding my soul with Love and beauty and acceptance.  I’m letting the nonlinear, wildly eternal, all-encompassing, divine nature of Love reach into the dark, sleeping parts of me and assure them, assure me, that I am Loved.  I am worth.  I am accepted.  All of me.

Which brings connection.  And more Love.

Posted in indigo inspiration, Living Water, Thanks for the memories

Jesus was lost in the forest.


He knew where He was.  But I didn’t.

I would fault myself for that but I’m not doing that anymore.  What good comes of my present self disparaging my past self for not having grown to my current-ness?  I deserve to be treated better than that.  Especially from myself.  I am treasured by Divinity.

Growth is the desire.  Perfection is not.  The pursuit of perfection hunts down growth and locks it in a tower.  The need for perfection trapped me in its incomplete clutches.  I couldn’t see the forest through the trees.  I had to be perfect.  I had to win life.  I had to be enough for everyone and everything that perfection had required in my life.

But guess what?  That’s not sustainable.  That’s not real.  That’s not even good.

And since the trees were blocking Jesus in the forest, I was lost too.  He doesn’t want my perfection.  He wants my sidling up next to Him.  He wants the little children scrambling onto His lap.  Where’s the perfection in that?  It’s clumsy.  And awkward.  And ungraceful.

And exactly what it’s supposed to be.  Indescribably beautiful.  Real.  And unaffected.  Artlessly primed for organic growth.  For becoming less scaffolding and more architecture.  For shedding expectations in favor of substance.  Not a vague assumed substance dictated by some culture and my imperfect heart, but the unshakeable confidence that I am loved.  The strength of knowing that I am securely wanted.  That all my ungrown imperfection is on a discovery expedition.  Rather than taking a perpetual exam.  I proctored that test for years. The manual kept getting fatter and more unwieldy.  The requirements began to contradict each other.  I suffocated under the weight of the roles of both defendant and judge.

Meanwhile, Jesus is in the forest, among the trees, telling me to climb into His lap with my grubby fingers and tangled hair.  He is not lost in the Scriptures behind the verses.  We are playing Marco Polo these days.  The sunlight filters between the boughs and shadows dance on our faces.  The shadows scare me sometimes but He squeezes my hand, tells me I’m safe, and shows me the transient beauty of the moment.

And if I lose Him again in the trees, He has not lost me.