Rights All Things

Whirl of images, blurred and unbalanced.

Out of nowhere.

My living room, a spinning funhouse. Walls rocking like sides of a ship, sharp, yet unable to focus and still the swirl.

Then, rubber. Left arm shaking and bucking its control. Loss of feeling, all I could do was watch it move up and down, around, unable to grab hold of anything solid.

The speech. Slow, slurred. My brain knew what it wanted to say, and say at a normal rate, but the words wouldn’t come when called. Stutter, heavy, anchored to another dimension I wasn’t meant to reach.

I am so glad I was sitting on the fold-up chair at my table. If I had been on two legs, I would have found myself buckled by them and on the floor as the world lurched on and I could not catch up. //

How in the world did my brain throw off balance?

How in God’s unfathomable grace, did He still the spin and set me right again?

Monitors blink into the inky night, murmur of nurses muffled down the hall. Here, all begins anew. One breath, one beep, at a time. I hope the needles can come out of my skin soon, but now, they are reminders, along with the leeds strapped along my chest to check my heart, that my life is not my own.

Blinds down, shade the hospital room. The world has righted itself, but still there are pieces of me frightened it will happen again, that I will lose my place in this life and oxygen once more be doused from my brain.

But He is here. In the still, in the holding cell, the sweetness of His presence in a terrifying topsy-turvy turn of events filling me with gratitude more than I could imagine. He is Emmanuel. God with us. Even in the upside down, the out of control.

I rest my mind, my body as best I can with the heart monitor in place and IVs poking my veins. God is near, and He has never removed me from the palm of His caring hand. And so, I believe. Believe in Him who sees me through, whose mercies never cease and watched over my ordeal with careful, unblinking eye. Believe in Him who keeps the stars aligned and time itself in balance. Believe He remains faithful, that there is more left for me to see and love and align with His heart.

He rights all things, our hearts and our heads. Keep believing. Great is His faithfulness.

 

 

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

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Clear To The Bone

It’s come again.

That nagging ache of alone. The built-up dreams ballooning in my belly, the air released and shrunk to nothing. I’ve busied myself, distracted and detached, afraid to feel the latest jolt that rocked my heart’s already easily breakable frame.

It’s heavy, the weight of disappointment.

// What cuts clear to the bone? The hopes that I allowed to linger, only to smash in a thousand pieces at reality, unmet expectations, bitter disappointment and heart collapse. This life I live looks nothing like I thought it would. And I don’t know what to do when I fall into myself over and over, to the depths, dusky void black and blue ink stained sorrow.

I had wanted to much from this life. I thought I had so much to offer, to be, to do. But I am shaken, stuck in the manifold mundane, day in and day out, rote and worn.

To the depths, the soul in me cries. Get to the depths, leave this shallow water that has staled and stalled and turned lukewarm. Get to where you have room to breathe, where you can breathe at all, where you can live alive, ignite.

We are all thisclose from going under in our blank hearts and never resurfacing. I am thisclose from settling into mediocrity because I don’t know what else to do, though the fibers of my being reel and recoil against the notion. But what should one do when all they know is disappointment and new worlds they never wanted? //

Oh, how I have wanted.

And here I am, smack in the heartbreak and backwards. Where do I go from here? How do I submerge amid the deep, the faraway and dimly lit scratch of sun from under the waves?

For now, all I have are questions that are left unanswered. And I’ll content myself with this continual quest among the heavy and deep, swathing myself in unknown. Be still. Embrace what has yet to form.

It is a quiet wait, but I want my heart to heal. I want to see this life with new eyes, to be pulled deeper still into what is just ahead. See the surprise of the unexpected, how it just may be better than I dared to dream before.

Just keep trusting. Keep sight of belief, and choose yet again to not settle. It’s too important for my soul not to. For it must keep beating, must keep hope.

Hope is the echo reverberating in dreams yet awakened.

 

 

 

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

Drizzled Moments

It comes so unexpected, a few light drops at a time.

Steady, certain, a gentle rhythm that pings atop the roof. The softness is quick to slow me down, sink into the cadence. I open my windows to listen better, let in the scent of just-damp pavement, tap of soaking leaves, whisper of wind. For me, there is nothing better than a gray, moody day where the rain glides for hours on end.

There’s room to breathe, a pause from the frenzy and feeling of cozying up with a warm cup of coffee or tea.

It’s in these drizzled moments where I allow myself to pull out memories of dreams when I was younger, to explore what would have been if life matched up with my mind. I allow myself to remember those tender beats within my breast that begged God to let me write, let me be loved. //

The cries of my heart.

In those times, I’d bundle under a blanket and pull a notebook to my lap and close my eyes and move my mind, my heart, between worlds—reality and words, feelings, images—and weave what I could together. Poetry, my love, mingled with rain—both make my spirit come alive. And I imagined that what I wrote would rock the world in the best of ways.

Gray goes right through to my bones.

It is my strength, these strands of rain that fall to the earth, the brooding melancholy laced with unreasonable hope. I write away, bring out those dreams once more and let them take me to another place, another time, another future in which I can live both worlds—the world that is, and the world for which I long.

 

 

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

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.

 

 

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.

Bring Forth To Become

Summer’s swinging in after a long and barren spring, which wasn’t much of a season in Wisconsin, like always.

There is a warmer sun that can border on hot on a given day, breeze off the lake that stalls the scorch. Beds of lilac bushes burst in fragrance and color, the routine bloom that comes around my birthday.

I am finishing my move into the lower flat in a neighborhood atop a hill in my favorite harbor town. A space I never imagined, I have carefully constructed the insides to bring color and comfort—National Anthem and Free Sky blues in the living room, buttercream honey yellow across the kitchen.

When I cross the threshold, slip to my porch in the early morning, my eyes migrate immediately to the sprawl of Lake Michigan gleaming like one majestic jewel against the sky.

This is my view.

Every day.

Who am I to receive such a gift?

Kansas City and its jazz, barbeque and battle remnants of growth within me still reside in my rearview mirror. It’s hard to believe it has been seven months since my tires rolled through Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois to find their way back to Wisconsin, to the house of my childhood, to family, to a new season, new job, new life to forge, including a new home to call my own.

I still cannot believe this is the direction of my life.

Back where I fought so hard to stay away.

Back to the moments, ways and prayers that made me part of who I am today.

Back with burst dreams and difficult beginnings.

Back home.

// Though you return to a place, a memory, people, have you ever really gone away?

The senses, words spoken, emotions spread through your bloodstream, it’s all still there, swirling in your past, pointing to your present.

Though I have traveled thousands of miles, dug my faith deeper and cracked open the skin of new soul, I have found my way back to land familiar, lanes shaded with crab apple trees and dips of gravel and pavement broken from years of wear. Though I am back to my hometown, after fighting to free myself from its constriction as I forged a life in Kansas City, here at the edge of the water I realize I never truly had rid it from my body, from my history. It was always still a part of me, even in learning the ways of a city smack dab in the middle of the country, it sat dormant, this quiet call for simple, as I pushed it to the farthest pieces of my mind.

I tried to be free of the town and people that raised me up, to be my own person. And I am, in gentle and needed ways. But I am also still tethered to the small towns with young and old lined up along the street for Memorial Day parades, for walking through the grocery store and someone calling my name. //

How I’ve missed the sound of my name from the tongue of someone familiar.

Listen to the way they speak, to the way they welcome you again.

I cannot go back, but I can bring forth what I have become. In ways I was too stubborn to recall, maybe a part of me is returning that has long been forgotten. The girl who ran through fields and marveled at the beauty of long grass billowing in the breeze. The girl who held wonder in her hands, believed the best in everyone and was not afraid to imagine incredible things. Who hoped with heart wide open, and refused to let the world and its troubles beat her down.

I am glad for the salt on my skin, tan arms and light that has come back to my eyes. I am glad to roll the windows down while I drive the highway, let the air course through the car, ruffle my hair. Feel that what has already happened may just be a precursor for what is to come.

Sometimes we need to return to where we came to remember where we will go.

 

 

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

Elements of Silence

Today’s the kind of day where the damp goes straight to your bones.

Where the wind laughs wildly and slaps the waves of Lake Michigan and makes them jump ten feet in the air.

Where rain and snow merge amidst the clouds and storm to earth as slick and sharp sleet. Like your skin’s stitched with daggers.

The boards of this house creak and rock like a ship sloshing through the mass of water. Cold filters through the windows as if there are no panes at all.

I keep the lights off and let the muted gray move its way through the halls; pace the room and collect the silence, save the howl.

Howl.

Is that what this noise in me is doing?

Looking for you in all the wrong places and lashes out in frustration when you’re nowhere to be found? When the truth slips my feet from under me and turns me upside down?

Wind rolls sideways, upturning the tree branches. The sky is turning slate quicker than I would have thought. Can I light a candle not in remembrance, but to forget?

Let the elements roll in. Limbs become submerged in ice and face turns to the tide. At breakwater’s edge atop this hill that holds these howls for what has been, I drink the mist into my eyes, translucent fuse of fog and dusk, become a myth, the silence.