Tender

So I’m writing to you here, from my sofa, as a girl in slow motion, praying for her coffee to kick in. The week has caught up with me, and I’m not sure what to do, because for me, the week is far from over….

So I will try to keep my disciplines and I will start by writing today, even if the thoughts are running slower than ever.

Today is Five Minute Friday, where The Gypsy Mama invites us to stop, drop, and write for 5 minutes without over-thinking or editing or backtracking. Today, this could be interesting :).

So here it goes:

Tender

Sometimes life causes us to callous. It causes us to crack and bruise and grow hard shells. It causes us to build walls triple our size and manufacture sentences so when people ask the “how are you” questions, we don’t really have to tell. There are events that can change us, that when paired next to the grand, beautiful moments of life, these hard ones take more stalk in our spirit. Why is that? Why is it that I look at the lovely parts of life and they matter, but the hard ones make weight? Why is it that when my dreams take over in the middle of the night, the regrets play out again and again, not the cherished moments that I wish I could relive? Why is it that the vulnerable, bruised parts of my soul, need protection and covered, so that I don’t feel I will break at any moment?

And he sees this, the man I have committed my life to. I’m not sure he realizes, but he’s the one who gets the brunt of it. The defensive mechanisms, the angry reactions, the parts of me that don’t want to let him all in. But it’s not because of him. He is wonderful and he loves me, and I don’t tell him enough. I blame him for not fighting for me, for not breaking down my walls, for not trying to be my hero. But how can he when I just build more? How can he when he doesn’t know they are there?

And it’s not his job to do these things, it’s his job to love and its my job to nurture and if I’m waiting around for him to do his part then I never get to doing mine.

And so I must open, I must grow. I must crack and show these bruises, these heartaches, so that we can live life, so that we can live whole.

I must learn tenderness, and I must overcome my defenses. I must grow softer, and more gentle, because in that I will find fulfillment and in that he will rise up. These are the hard parts. These are the parts they don’t tell you.

Oh tenderness, rise up in me. I want to learn what this grace means.

Am I willing to worship without my voice?

The past few days, I have been sick– gross sick. One of the casualties from this sickness was that of my voice and it got me thinking…

Many of those who know me would know that my voice is the way I convey myself, sometimes more effectively than others. I convey my passion through my volume, and most days go by when I wish I had talked less, thought more, listened better, and had more control of the fire that can sometimes be this tongue of mine. On the other hand, my absolute favorite way to worship my Creator has been through my voice– through writing and singing and leading. I love the sincerity of our hearts when singing pure and true words to our Maker and Savior. I love the redemption that I am reminded of when I relive the very human moments of my week where my tongue has said things I would never articulate in the presence of Christ himself.

But what’s funny is that during this time of not being able to sing and vocalize, I have felt disconnected from God. And so I wonder, do I like hearing my own voice more than I crave hearing His? Why could I not truly savor the quiet that came from less speaking and more listening? Why couldn’t I relish in the slow-down and accept what my heart needs most– restoration?  Because I do believe that some of my most effective prayers are the ones where I stop talking and that my heart is most aligned in Him when I am truly living listening.

And isn’t that worship? Isn’t it that we allow God Himself to pour into us, so that we in response can give all we are to Him. Why don’t I recognize this in the daily life? That if I lived more quietly, I would learn to receive the grace that is His presence, that is His rest. Why don’t I understand that if I truly trust Him, then I would let Him do more speaking and I wouldn’t have to speak nearly as much? That I convey distrust to my redeemer every time I let my words get out of control.

The Lord will fight for you, and you need only be still… Exodus 14:14

Do I trust that He will fight my battles, and I don’t even need to raise an arm or speak a word off of my tongue? I believe this truth with all of my heart, but I, daily, forget who is fighting my battles for me. And don’t we all just like to fight for ourselves sometimes for the sake of fighting. But that gets exhausting.

Lord, let my words be few.


Vivid

It’s Friday again, and that means I join many other bloggers and write for five minutes without editing or over-thinking on a topic The Gypsy Mama selects.

Vivid…

Oh, I see it.

Our life unfolding.

With the colors of walls and paint splattered souls.

And I see us changing.

I see us not being two separate colors anymore,

But learning to become one shade, one tone.

And maybe sometimes we mix the wrong way

and the color comes out ugly.

But soon, I do hope, that the color we create will be

more vivid than we can know.

more colorful than we dream.

That the blur of who we were and are and will be

will mingle together.

I hope this color will be painted on canvases all over this earth.

And I secretly hope that this world will make us richer, deeper,

like the jewel tones.

So that we may be precious, and valuable, and all together lovely.

And so husband, walk with me. And let’s mold together.

I promise and I yearn that my color will learn match yours.

And that we will be pure and beautiful, and unstained.

That we will be a shade of peace,

and a tone of hope.

The kaleidoscope of our natures,

a vived re-creation of two stained-glass hearts.

Formed into a glorious picture that lasts forever.

Dreaming.

Today, we celebrated a man who has changed the course of our history, who changed the perception of human minds and challenged the ideas of society, who spoke truth and wisdom with peace and love, who lived what he spoke and was full of integrity. He loved. He served. He dreamed.

And this day hits me in a number of ways. I am so grateful, because my family is made up of a multitude of colors and ethnicities, and I love it. I love the variety of it, the beauty it portrays, the questions it causes people to ask, the Jesus that it shows. I love that our world is not made up of people who look the same and I love that God is so unique and interesting that He chooses to make us mimic this in the portraits of ourselves. And I love that because people of courage and people of peace chose to recognize injustice and speak for the misunderstood. I love that these acts of bravery have changed the course of many friends and families that I know, and that there are people like this in the world to admire. I love that he is recognized as a hero. I love that he lived Jesus.

And so I wonder, did he find himself so significant, or did he just speak the words he knew were right? Did he ever think that his words would ignite a movement that has changed the course of our nation? I think he knew there was power in what he spoke, but I don’t know if he understood that his dream would be a reality.

It makes me question myself and the things I am so willing to talk about in the confines of my friendships, of my safe places. Am I willing to say them publicly? Am I willing to stand for the injustices that I see and have the courage to speak words? Would I do it in humility? Would I do it with grace? Would people even listen? Is that the only reason I would start talking?

These world changers, these peacemakers, these people of courage have challenged me. They have shown me character and humility and how to follow what is right. I hope that I can dream the big things, the hard things, and be willing to stand for truth. I wish that I could look these people in the eye and say thank you for the difference they have made in my life, thank them for the courage they portrayed, because the people who make a difference often don’t get to see the fruits of their labor. I am so grateful for these people that we can show to our children, and teach them the truths that can so often get lost in the shuffle– that good can win, and love does work, truth is the answer, and Jesus makes all the difference.

Awake

So today is Five Minute Friday again with The Gypsy Mama. Today is the day where I join fellow bloggers to write unedited for 5 minutes and give it to you, nervously, because it’s my raw thoughts, my bare heart… Be gracious.

 

Awake

 

I want to live my life awake. I want each day to be made up of moments that I remember, that I soaked in. I want them to breathe through me, and create me to be a new person. I want to these moments of my life to be what makes my legacy whole, what gives me wisdom to speak. And though, not all of the moments will be precious and they might not be things everyone would want to remember, I pray that I do. Because living all of life, even the not so lovely, will give us pages to write at the end of our life, and that makes it worth the noticing, the remembering.

Just like the patient I have been taking care of the past few nights. His life has been long and he has loved. He has been steadfast and humble and he now attests that his joys were in the noticing. When I asked how he remembers so many details, he says, “because they were all sparkling moments.” He loves well, and has loved long, and how many of us see the sparkling in the midst of the chaos? How many of us choose to remember the things that are forming us? That are giving us a name?

And so I want to be awake. To notice. To have my senses be fully alive in the moment. To soak it all in. Because the breaths of life are fleeting, and there is too much joy that could be missed… too much Jesus that could be forgotten.

Remaking day…

Today is a day of remaking. Of taking the life that I have lost a bit of control of this week, and hitting the pause button, recreating our spaces, and connecting again, before more life hits, and more emotions roll, and before my sins feel so real, I could break. Renewing our world, refreshing our perspective, because life is hard and we are fallen. And so the things that have slipped out of my hands, the water that has gone rushing through, the drips that I can’t seem to catch, I am allowing to drip into His hands. I am asking Him to pour them into me, gently, slowly. So I open His word, and sometimes it hurts, because it shows me exactly who I am and exactly where I fall short. Always. But I need this. I need his waterfall to flow into me, because I can’t experience the mercy, without craving the changes, and the changes are so hard. But I must receive. I must make a habit of receiving, of opening my hands and accepting the transformation, because I don’t want my life to be the same. I don’t want to not change. I just wish the changes were easy to handle, that they were simple, and painless, and more or less… convenient. But I know, I know, that is not the case. That if my goal is to be more like Christ, the perfect one who was murdered and bled so that change could come, for me, then why would I even want painless? Why would I desire easy, meaningless, change. Because isn’t that just it? Something that matters, doesn’t normally come without work, hurt, pain. It’s the labor of growth and it takes years, when I want it to come in just days.

And those moments when my reaction and what I know of meaningful love just aren’t the same, I want to crawl under my rock, because I feel like change never comes. And I open His word, and pray that it soaks deep, that His desires are mine. Why, then, do my actions not align? Because practice is hard, and selfishness is easy. Because “let your words be few” is not a thing I always want to do. Because sometimes, I really don’t trust that God is doing the working, even when I’m not doing the talking. But my immaturity comes through, and my expectations roar, and everything I want to be, seems fleeting in that moment. Because graciousness and understanding are not present in the selfish heart, why do I expect them to coincide. Why do I want to do for myself, to make sure my bases are covered, when I know deep down, that I am sewing seeds that are hard to recover.

And just as James says, I feel as though my tongue speaks both good and evil, my mouth utters thoughts I would never want to say, and I just want to become like those who are truly wise.

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” (James 3:17-18)

So I soak it in and pray that it penetrates deep, to the days when I get so caught up in the stuff of this life, because I don’t want to waver. Because there is hope and there is mercy and I am so grateful.

Roar

Today is Friday. Today is the day where The Gypsy Mama challenges us to write for 5 minutes without over thinking or editing. Today’s word: Roar.

There is a sense in me that all the waiting, all the praying, all of the searching, it’s leading to something. And I don’t want to jump, and I don’t want to move, because I’m so afraid that it is me getting ahead of myself. I want to  follow, I want God to lead, and yes, I want him to lead me gently, and pleasantly, and orderly. But right now, I’m sensing in myself, that He is not going to do any of those things. When His timing is right I believe He is going to show me loud and clear, with the roar of a lion, and all I can do is brace myself, prepare myself, for what that might mean. The part I am asking for, is that the call, the dream, the question is so loud, so audible, that we just can’t miss it, we can’t mistaken His voice for anyone else and we can’t mistaken anyone else’s voice for His.

Just like He spoke a whisper and all of the earth was formed, and everything we know as constant was made. And I know I can trust Him, I know I will follow, but sometimes it is the whisper I desire, and the roar I fear.

The Gypsy Mama: Be careful which mirrors you choose to believe

Yesterday, The Gypsy Mama, one of my absolute favorite bloggers to follow, wrote a post that I can’t seem to get out my head. “Be careful which mirrors you choose to believe”, is so true to my life. I feel as though I am constantly comparing myself to what others, without truly knowing what is going on in their minds or in their homes. I have expected to be really good at what I do, every time, right away. Like being a wife, I thought it would come so naturally, but it hasn’t. It has been a learning experience and quite a struggle. And being a musician: I just know that those who write beautiful songs just have them flow without struggle and without question, but I just can’t seem to get my songs on paper so fluidly. And so, this blog has spoken to me about whom I truly compare myself to, and what the standard really is. It encourages a quite freeing perspective, of not looking around and feeling what we are or are not measuring up to, but instead taking the time to just rest and wait and be still in what we know of God and how He sees us. And when we do this, we will see so much more clearly…

So please take a minute to read this beautifully encouraging post… Let me know how it speaks to you…

 

Craving grace

Today, this Monday of the new year, signifies a day of beginnings. And I am here, at the starting line waiting for the gun to blow and I want to take off running. But somehow, in this moment with coffee and notepad beside, I sense that I am meant to walk. To rest before running, even though I feel ready. I feel the whisper saying “breathe”, telling me again that there is something to learn from the waiting, from the peace. That resting in His arms, is as fulfilling, if not more fulfilling than anything else I could be doing in this moment. That grace is something I will not learn when I am speeding through life, breaking glasses and slamming doors, in order to do the next “good” thing, the next “important” thing. And I know this to be true, in my heart of hearts, but oh, I just want to feel useful, to feel productive, and honestly, to be noticed. This is the vanity with which my choices stem from. This is the superficiality that I hope we all experience, think, or feel, because it would make me feel a little more real and a little less childish.

But deeper, there is the desire, the craving, the need to learn  more, to rest more, to trust more. For grace to be my mantra, I must slow the expectations, the striving. For grace to be my gift, I must learn it from the inside first. That grace has been given, so I must receive it. I must allow myself to have open hands of acceptance to transform the hard, running parts of me, into those of Spirit and peace. I must stop talking and start seeing that hope is found only in grace, and if I want to see change, to find fulfillment, then grace must be allowed to penetrate the cracks of who I want to be.

I need to understand the things I read last year, but are now just coming back and reminding me that those words were golden, and the thoughts now must be transformed into action. That, “a life so full it can seem empty”, is how I feel like many of my days are lived, even though there is beauty and joy and wonder to be found in the days I have been given. I need to remember the words that say, “The only place we need see before we die is this place of seeing God, here and now.” I  need to remember that “when I’m present, I meet I AM, the very presence of a present God. In His embrace, time loses all sense of speed and stress and space and stands so still and… holy.”

This is the essence. This is what our lives our meant for. Stillness, knowing God. Holiness. And I can’t be led to this, if I don’t slow down. And I will miss so much if I stop receiving grace. And I must open my eyes to the here and now, so I can see God really in this place, and watch what He is going to do next.

All quotes are from Ann Voskamp’s incredibly life-changing book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.