Awakened

We are all meant to be.

Someone.

Something.

A flash of light through thick, syrupy darkness.

We have been fastened together by dreams and shapes and symphonies, formed in the secret spaces of the deep. Intentionally. With fervor.

We are silhouettes made of stardust, given faces and smiles sewn on our porcelain skin. In the moon-speckled night, our deepest longings were whispered delicately into our ear. While we slept, we soared.

And then, slowly, with sensation sweeping from our eyelids, we awoke. To colors drying and chipping from the sky. With our faces, our lineage, our stories, muffled against the exhaust of nameless fumes, toxic and telling us to move along. They invaded our invincibility, our homes that hooked us to our cotton clouds and pulled the string. We slipped and stumbled to the ground, no longer aware of the way we floated. Instead, the sharp realization of reality jabbed us in the jaw, and then we knew how much the fall would hurt once our brittle bones hit the earth.  Huddled around us, voices hissed, full of doubt and fear and cruelty. The voices grappled for the shine in our eyes, tender from the blistering light that led us for so long. They took the glow and hid them in shadows, where we could only hear the faintest whimpers as they wailed at our separation.

 

 

*** Read the rest over at ALTARWORK!

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My Eclipse

My eclipse–

 

You.

All smiles and light, open-hearted to the world. Your hopes, the way you cared so deeply the slightest scratch bled you for days. How vulnerable your voice whispered across the phone, spilling secrets only your shy soul knew.

When you reached for me in the dark the day your sun went out, hands swirling the air, finding no hold. I stood watching the shadow spread, black that took you under to a place I couldn’t follow. I counted the seconds until you’d surface again, eyes blazing, breath full of warmth. Still the space between us stretched, caverns down the underside of our ribcage, ticking time too broken, feeling our way across the crags that kept the sun at bay. The pearl white of your eyes, begging for my light to hold you up as the solar system you fell into welcomed your silhouette, grey… charcoal… ebony.

I could not be the one to save you. To love you back to life. All I could offer in the terrible siege of shadow was a prayer to pull the dark away.

Fold Into The Silence

First swirls of snow weaving through the sky, clear against the evergreen and grass. A quarter way up the giant coniferous sits a cardinal in all his crimson glory. Slowly, the transfer of seasons begins once more.

It’s hard to sit in this new rhythm of life, where the means of what makes my heart beat with purpose keeps shifting and turning. Sometimes, the difficulty of clearing out various voices and plans blocks my soul’s voice. She needs silence. And yet she wears many layers of words from another design.

Give me a silent night, alone, to my thoughts, to my heart. Right now, I’m back with family, and I love them dearly, but I have no space of my own to breathe. Oftentimes, I’m working in my new job until later in the evening, when I fall through the door in desperate reprieve of the bitter sting of Wisconsin wind. ///

Rhythms of rest are hard to come by, though this new cadence flows better to who I am with a moving schedule that is never the same. Between directing a new nonprofit and getting it off the ground, to writing for the local paper and still telling stories for international ministries, I am abounding in opportunities and God’s miraculous provision.

I know He desires me to sit with Him, place my frantic at His feet. Especially as I’m over my head and overwhelmed. But He walks with me, and I cannot hurry His pace. There is still much to learn, much to cultivate.

Such a pure flow of small specks of flakes. They well know the cadence of silence, being still even as they fall.

Softly sings the snow, in quiet whispers reminding me of rest, of trust beyond the borders of seen. For that, I will fold into the silence.

 

***

Continuing my attempt at the Five Minute Friday weekly writing challenge. Five minutes to write on the assigned topic. Raw and unedited. (Yikes!) This week’s topic: Silence.   // symbolizes where five minutes stopped, and then I continued writing.

Heartbeat

A heartbeat.

One thump.

One drum.

Heavy hitting against my lungs. Vibrating lungs into the ribcage. The voice of my soul, echoing in the damp, slick cavern two thousand miles beneath my skin.

Another beat.

Another thump.

Another drum, opening up taut hopes that have only reverberated once before, when I was a child with an innocent gleam of light between my veins, caught up around my fingers.

Collapsing
Again. Again.

My heart pumps a time dictated by eternity not marked on earth. I listen to its breathing, sure and sacred and miraculous.

There is something deeper than I can claim. I am transparent in the glow and guided by the beat.

A heartbeat.

Mine.

Pulsing beneath the soft silk of skin.

Thrumming boldly.

Speaking to discover.

Worked Over by the Breath and Touch of God

The rain slides quietly down the window today, trees dropping their burnt-yellow leaves in the upturned breeze. October in Wisconsin is always a kaleidoscope, each day unknown—will the sky sprout bright blue with glow of sun? Or will it roll in with wind that slices to the bone?

I am three weeks in to calling this place home once again after never imagining I would. But the way God weaves my journey is much like this breathtaking month: open-ended question marks, never quite knowing what’s around the bend, rife with vibrantly changing color.

 

***

I’m HONORED and thrilled to be over at my friend and fellow Redbud Ingrid Lochamire’s blog today, talking about my season of life that has taken me to unexpected places. Ingrid has a tender heart of gold, and her passion to cultivate community through real and connective stories is an inspiration. Stop by her space today for a slice of real life and encouragement.

 

 

Slow Breath, Sting of Soul

I take a slow, steady breath. Close my eyes, lean in to the stillness. Open them again to a soft coat of clouds covering a gentle blue sky. I sit on the front porch in my blue-painted chair with brightly colored cushion, potted plants of mums and bluebells at my feet along the walkway. Songs of sparrows surround the air, pale coolness of autumn touching my skin, turning maple leaves to coral and amber.

It is a quiet morning, and all is still on my sleepy street.

But the horrified cries of terror and grief of a people in pain rings in my ears.

Brothers, sisters, fathers, sons, struck down in front of family. Burned alive, beheaded, callous execution by cruel evil. Howls for pardon, knees sunk low in the grass to be set free.

I cannot get away from their suffering, even when the scene in which I sit now looks completely opposite of their reality.

For weeks, I had been hearing of the refugees flooding into Bangladesh seeking asylum from the horrors at home. The persecuted Rohingya, a Muslim minority in Buddhist-filled Myanmar, are often described as the “the world’s most persecuted minority” (Aljazeera.com). They’ve been targeted, tortured and slaughtered by government soldiers in Myanmar. But I only listened with half understanding.

Until I came across an article in The New York Times that ran on Wednesday, regaling the unimaginable atrocities up close. Now, it was personal. Now, there were names.

Rajuma, the woman who told her tale without tears, so traumatized her body would no longer recognize the pain in self-protection. Her baby, ripped from her arms and tossed in a fire.

Jesus Christ.

The plea in my voice for Him who holds the world when no other prayer will do.

This is reality. Hard to hear as I watch the American flag hooked to my front porch pillar rustle smooth in the light breeze, its fabric soft casting smooth sound, such freedom in the stripes and stars. I pray I never take for granted. I pray I could make my way to this woman and simply sit with her hand in mine, human touch that tells she is not alone.

We who clutch our lattes close and gripe when the wait gets too long, do we realize the hurting hearts that cry for comfort? Those who have left all they’ve known and wander cramped camps where children grapple for a pair of jeans?

My heart can’t take the hurt, the atrocities without answers. But bleed it must, for we are not called to comfort, but compassion. I pause and let the wails of the Rohingya bowl me over. I weep, and I plead to God. And I take their lives as my own and own up to where I have fallen complacent. The weight of the world is burden no one can handle. It is reserved for God to handle. There are no words, only deep howls of injustice and raw longing for this world to be made right.

Rohingya women waiting for food. Photo courtesy from SERGEY PONOMAREV FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES

Though Rajuma and others like her arrive in Bangladesh with nothing but the clothes on their skin and perhaps a small bag of belongings, they do not go alone. I may be far across oceans, but I hold them in my heart and do what little I can to make their voices heard, share their stories. We need to remember that we are not meant to walk through this life without one another.

 

But bleed it must, for we are not called to comfort, but compassion.  @SRennAwake http://bit.ly/2gbjxvZ

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The songbirds whistle their melodies from the crabapple tree at the edge of my hard, its leaves turning gold at the edges. Another slow breath, sting of soul. God Almighty, this world is beautiful. Even in the broken, the strained, the dank pockets of pain, there is room enough for light to stream through. There is hope again at crossing borders to lend a hand to one that’s been waiting for this offering, been waiting to grab hold.

The world is wide enough for us all to lean in close.

 

***

Read The New York Times article on the Rohingya refugees here.

 

Please consider helping the Rohingya refugees, providing food, shelter, medicine, or just meeting immediate needs. #SaveTheRohingya

“I Have Lost My Bearings”

I have become the lake I love so dearly. Eyes swimming with shimmering blue, white crystal sparkle along the edges. Hands flush with reeds, wild bouquet of branches bending towards the shore. Ears lazy voice of the wind, breeze blowing cool and confident. Heart entangled between the rocks, soft underbelly of flesh that slides smooth in delicate places. And my soul, reflection of the sky, right-side up or upside down in puffs of clouds crawling languidly to a point unknown, vast exploration.

Something Out Of Nothing

I am falling on God and trusting Him to support my weight.

Put my faith in Him and His ability to make something out of nothing. To depend on Him as I walk blindly in the dark, believe when He says to rest and be still when everything in me pulls toward wondering and worry.

He is on the throne. I am not. He sees beyond time; I can’t see past a foot from my face. To depend on Him to be my Deliverer, my Helper, Provider and Sustainer—bear these names as truth and bend to belief that He will come through on His promises. It is my job to rest in Him, hope confident that He will come through.//

Hope to God He will come through.

What is faith, after all, without walking without firm footing? A crazy trust in what is unseen, assurance of what lay just beyond the explainable.

Rustle of wind. Movement of the Spirit. Going wherever He pleases, beyond barely moving clouds. Dance of sunlight dappled through the dance of trees. My eyes blink, drink in late afternoon. A cardinal crests upon the curved arm of the maple tree in the front yard; as the branch bends with the wind and his weight, soft trust strengthens within. And I wonder: can my dreams be caught up in God’s?

Blue sky brushes high altitude; higher still, sits God. But He bends close to breathe in me, walks in matching stride with mine. He is here and makes me whole, and here I hope for what is yet to come. Depend against the grain in what is greater, the assurance that God indeed will create the miracle I need, indeed bring something from nothing.

Here I hope. Words unfamiliar, but with this soft rest, gentle trust, I again build belief to depend on Him to hold and guide.

 

 

***

Continuing my attempt at the Five Minute Friday weekly writing challenge. Five minutes to write on the assigned topic. Raw and unedited. (Yikes!) This week’s topic: Depend.   // symbolizes where five minutes stopped, and then I continued writing.

Strength and Wisdom

When FCA South Asia leader Adam* and his wife first married six years ago, they began to pray for a child. They prayed and waited, and prayed some more, yet no baby year after year. In the fifth year, God answered with a little girl. It was all, Adam acknowledges, God’s ways in His timing.

So, he knows a thing or two about patience, prayer, and perseverance, traits that serve him well in sports ministry. Adam carries himself with gentle strength and wisdom shaped by experience, attention and humility. He is dedicated to transforming lives and has a heart for the coaches and athletes in his region.

Adam, who joined FCA in 2012, first realized the potential for spiritual impact through athletics at an in-country sports conference. He met coaches whose lifestyles and hearts were different than of those he usually saw in the athletic arena and this piqued his curiosity.

Influenced and intrigued by these leaders, Adam then locally attended the Sports Leadership School in 2008, followed by a 3-month training in Africa, and began volunteering in sports ministry. He pieced together a blueprint for his own developing ministry within soccer.

 

 

Read more over at FCA.org.

Come To You

You tell me to come to You.

Me, worn and weary, fall into You, and You will give me rest.

Just come to You.

Simple.

Straightforward.

Just come.

 

Am I that brave?

Do I trust You enough to just come?

Leave my worries at Your feet?

Give You my troubles? The uncertainties of my life? Not knowing which way to turn, job elusive, a permanent place or residence aloof, my fears for settling and giving in to mediocrity?

Can I simply let my burdens fall from my heart and take Your yoke, which You promise is light?

 

 

Read the rest at ALTARWORK.