Counted The Cost

 

I gave up my dreams for You.

 

Look—see them spilling into the yard, how light their faces, easy their smiles, twinkle in their eyes! The wind chimes of their laughter rising into the air.

Aren’t they precious?

Full of life, pulsing with wonder.

Breathing in amazement and impossibility.

There is no shore that keeps them from exploring, venturing into the wide world to expand it even more.

 

I was proud to call them my own.

 

Still they walk among the earth, dew-eyed and brilliant. I watch them from afar now, smile at how they’ve grown. With twisted heart I know they’ll go to someone else, who will nurture them with care and guidance until they mature and fully embrace their calling and are released to do what they’ve been created to do.

They will belong to another who will dance joyously in their success.

No longer are they mine.

 

See what I have given for You?

 

I am like another woman, living in another time. As if those soul-birthed dreams had never existed for my life, at most, a whisper of a thought quivering on the breeze of my mind.

 

So do not say I have not counted the cost, to let You lead me as You do.

 

 

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Forgotten No More

Soft waves lap the shore. Beyond into the open water, it is calm, hardly a ripple. Clear blue across the sky, light wisps of clouds swirl above.

There is the tiny whisper of wind across my skin, teasing my shirt. And the serene slide of wave to sand. Other than that, mostly silence.

Here is the quiet, solitude and line of trees angled on the bluff. Beautiful, restful. I walk and walk, correcting my breathing to slow to the cadence of the tranquil morning.

But they follow me, these stories of forgotten children.

Hop into my heart and come along for the ride. The cries, screams of sorrow, haunted eyes and lips refusing to speak of inhumane tragedies they’ve been forced to witness. Walking eight miles a day to flee the horror of home and find respite in an unfamiliar town for the night, away from the fighting and mutilation and the fear-infested streets where many are forced to make their bed. Their young years have lived far too much unimaginable pain.

This should not be.

Unrest and sleepless nights shaken in fear and sorrow. This should not be anyone’s reality. And yet they still hope. Hope, the elusive and mysterious element that buoys the heart and gets them through one more day.

 

I remember the poem by e.e. cummings and hoist it like a flag across my mantra:

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in

my heart)i am never without it(anywhere

i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done

by only me is your doing,my darling)

 

I carry you with my, my darlings, I carry your hearts with me in my own. Wherever I go. Tucked in the safe pocket of my heart.

At work, in my air-conditioned café, frothing milk for a latte, stringing words upon a page, piling lettuce, cheese and carrots in my salad container at the grocery store—they are always there. Close. Beating within my heart. Their smiles are my own.

It feels good to be so connected.

I cannot forget their faces, their stories, their heart’s cries and desire for love. Can a mother forget her child? Even closer, the LORD God remembers, engraves on the palm of His hands. They are not forgotten. Not for one moment.

And not for a moment must we forget, either. It is our heart’s charge to break and wring for the ones the world overlooks and disdains, does not understand with eyes aglow with agape. Once we have been bathed in love, we see the tired and undeserved who have been waiting for us. Waiting to know their lives have value and they have a creator God who loves them and embraces them into His family.

Break my heart for what breaks Yours. Pour me out to the hurting and displaced, for whom hopelessness hangs heavy upon their hearts. Let me lift the yoke from their shoulders, or, at least allow me to slip the yoke to mine and shift the weight so they won’t carry the burden alone.

 

It is a beautiful morning. Clean air, clear sky. It is a good day to go about my Father’s business.

I am coming, little ones, I am coming. You may already be with me now, but there is so much more that I will bring for you. Do not be afraid. Dawn is here. Light has come. You are forgotten no more.  Love always makes a way.

 

**

Want to help make a way with me for these forgotten children? More to come in the months ahead (hopefully!), but for the time being, consider partnering with Saving Grace Children’s Village to give street children a place to live and heal and grow.

 

 

Recluse

I started out lonely, a fern among flowers. I hid deep in the shadows’ underside of woods, where the fingers of the sun never stroked my face. I craved corners, deep crevices where I huddled in the underbelly of obscurity. I was a recluse. I bathed in new moons where my face was sheltered in an enveloping ink of black velvet. I was far away from life. I was far away from you.

Life Out Loud

I came to live this life out loud.

 

I came to speak the song of my heart—It is here, wonder, magic, immeasurably more. Look up. Look around. The world is ablaze with an eternal hue that swipes its brush against the sky.

Yet I feel stifled by my environment, by people, by circumstances. There is a box and order to things, a line one must not step over.

Were not worlds unrolled from the swirling tides?

My feet are well across the border, moving to more.

 

I do not want a tame faith. I want to give it space to spread wild and relentless.

I came with a hunger and zealous burn to bring the fire of God to hearts grown cold. This world needs to know the impossible is possible, that miraculous things can happen from a God who sees them wholly and pursues with ardor.

We cannot raise our voices with urgency and expectancy unless we shake the status quo and raise a ripple in the water.

We cannot go through the motions listless and drool pooling from our mouth from falling asleep. We must live wide awake. Wild and free. Enough is never enough and we must refuse to settle for anything but the very best. I want to run into the storm, not away. I want that wind to lash against my face, rain water to wash over my skin. I want to feel the Spirit breathe through my marrow.

 

Wild and free. With abandon. Discover just how deep we can dig to reach the reckless way we live and love. Live this life out loud.

If We Are

Here it is, a day drenched in humidity and scorch of sun. Summer has arrived, taking its time appearing to our northern town.

I’ve handled higher temperatures, but this drape of muggy hangs heavy on my body. I am pulsing with the rays of the sun. But the light feels good on my skin, my face I lift to meet the sky.

Here I am, beginning to arrive.

Sunlight strikes my eyes and skin and I shiver, jolt awake, seeing the trees and grass before me, and the season that has been stretching me, readying me for what is coming. It, too, will arrive before I know it.

I wonder about possibility, for questions both breathed and unsaid. For the becoming who I am created to be, and how just a few fractions of light can create a whole garden.

 

If I am waiting, am I really in motion?

If we are wanting, are we already full?

//If we lose hope, how do we survive?

If we forget to see the beauty around, won’t our eyes grow dim?

If we close off our hearts, how will love ever begin to bloom again?

 

So many mountains waiting to push up into the valleys of our souls, hinging on such a small word.

And always, there is more to come, if we are ready to wonder, to delve into that fascinating and slightly terrible question of, “What if?”

What if God just may have wonderful things in stored for us, His beloved children?
What if the dreams that have died and suffocated could be brought to life in new and even more perfect ways?
What if we had the courage to stand in the face of a crusted culture and soften the soil with kindness?

Where can we go in the world to leave a trail of possibility behind us?

Slowly, the clock blinks across the hour, chimes to let me know this moment is marked.

Everything is marked.

Every moment holds more mystery than I usually allow.

If I would open up my mind to see beyond what is in front of me. If I would choose to trust the One who knit me together, listened for His voice and dared to follow where He beckoned… where could I end up?

Where could we all end up if we threw away inhibition and simply leaped in faith?

Where could the road less traveled lead when we step forward and explore.//

 

 

 

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: If.   // symbolizes where five minutes started and/or stopped.

Repay the Barren Fields

First day of summer but it feels more like fall. Waves move rough in my harbor town, out on the open water. Sky crouches to the earth, tries to make room for sunlight but the clouds will have none of that. I dress how I feel—oversized gray hoodie and frayed jeans. I drive in to town dissatisfied with the options on the radio, change to my CD, which still does not settle me.

It’s taken months for me to catch my breath in the shedding of an old skin, old home, old job and way of life, and dip both feet into these new streams. I am unsure what this will become.

I am healing, but there is so much that still bleeds out, leaves me empty.

There is a blackboard on my wall where I scrawl reminders to myself in chalk. I kept words from a prophet of old on my last days in Kansas City, let them travel with me to Wisconsin:

“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.”   -Joel 2:25

What is there to repay when I have given everything and continually come up short? Sometimes it feels like all I ever do is swim upstream but never reach where I need to go.

But here’s a certainty in blinking lights if I would just open my heart and receive it. A chasm in the cosmos in such few words.

What will it take to repair my heart, so battered and bruised as it is? To restore my past, where I wandered off path and found myself surrounded by thorns and thistles? What is there to repay the barren fields?

My breath spills out a bigger exhale than anticipated. It’s been a long, arduous five years. I’ve had my share of the dark, the unexplainable, the restlessness and sharp jabs of aloneness I couldn’t kick. Dreams, delicately cultivated, only to shatter when reality struck. And I would cry my tears, brush myself off, and work on assembling another dream, only to have that one burst with even greater impact.

I wrestled with where I was, grappled with an inner emptiness that latched on and held tight. I was alone without ever quite finding my place in an unknown.

To stand on the precipice of another world, a promise of lighter chest and brighter eyes, appears as a mountain before me. What is my life that I should hope? That I should begin again to hoist my heart into my faith and attempt to try once more, look for the sweet among the sour?

He will restore to me the years that the locusts have eaten. My promise, He tells me.

//This resounds around my head, soft and sweet, like a velvet pillow when I lay down. For years, the storms of alone and dark evenings that grabbed hold of my soul made every day a struggle, and strain on energy and faith as I fought to piece those fractured fragments of a life beyond my understanding together.

Storm clouds gather, but so does sun, somewhere behind the rain.

After years of barrenness and wilderness wandering, I have come out of the clearing, without fully recognizing the new area of rest. God redirected my steps back home and to a house by the harbor, where wind and waves could wrap me in their medicinal embrace and I could hold still, and know that He is good.

Again, my heart fastens to Joel’s words, this promise from the Promise Keeper. He who was with me through the long stretch of years when I was beyond myself, did not know anything but how to suffer and serve in a life I never asked for, then reshuffled yet again into a new experience I never expected. One cannot go so long with insect bites along their past without looking to God to bring forth growth and harvest.  //

One good turn can turn everything around. What was once broken can be restored again. Believe this, my heart pleads. Will I?

What will it take for the Lord to restore the years the locusts have eaten?

Whatever He deems for it to take.

That I can trust and tuck in with my faith to keep plowing and planting.

Repay, I pray.

Repay the barren fields and bring the quenching rain.

 

 

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: Restore.   // symbolizes where five minutes started and/or stopped.

Insatiable

I am the long, spindly shadow of beach grass
coming alive in the wind.
I am the spread of white foam washing to shore
on the last breath of a wave.
I am the horizon that has no distant land,
always leading farther.
I am the rise and dip of sand moved
by feet and storm and age.
I am the limber limb, lush leaves of trees
spreading arms in praise.
I am the eternal pull from a pulse of beginning,
there as you formed within the womb,
expanding, always curious for an insatiable
longing you cannot name.