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.

 

 

**

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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Bear The Burden

Sometimes I feel like I carry the burden of a thousand others, of the weight of humanity, the fall of man, the groaning and abuse of the earth. Cries of children caught in slavery, the weak and overlooked passed by with begging eyes no one sees. The violence, the hatred, the insincerity and refusal to hear another. We are all screaming but our voices go nowhere.

How is it a blessing to hold a burden? The hard, the heartbreak, the rending of spirits through disappointment after disappointment beats down the heart to hope?

I watch the sky grow dark early in this new time change, how the gray turns charcoal, deep blue and purple until the air is punctured with tiny stars in the cold black night. It feels like the day is done, when there is still so much time to live. How to pick up the urge to press on, to give it one more day when you’re tired of trying, when the effort is too much and your soul is battle weary?

Lay your burdens down, the old adage goes. Lay them down at the feet of Jesus and He will lighten your load.

It’s all well and good, but what of when you’ve read the words a thousand times but they don’t resonate like they used to? When you’ve become numb from hurting, from caring for the world when it doesn’t seem to offer the same? //

What of your groans that get trapped in the rumblings of injustice, of suffering and abuse and cloistering fears that gnaw on your faith like dogs to a bone? What then? Take that step on water and walk out to Him who holds the sea at bay? Multiply the loaves when the crowd is starving and all you’ve got left is a meager offering in your hands?

Peace. Be still.

It’s hard to be still when the whole of you wants to run from a heart that bleeds and spills for the sorrow of upturned dreams, displaced refugees, closed doors and callous unforgiveness.

When life seems a burden, you do what is best: choose to believe. Again and again. Even if the heart restricts and hoists a wall and guards itself with well placed defenses. Choose to believe that you are blessed when you bear the burdens of another. Remember One who hung with the burden of eternity, who didn’t balk at the sting of suffering.

The room glows yellow with candlelight and low lamps that are on the edge of burning out. We are all just on the edge of burning out.

Hold the Light. Lean in and let it rest soothing in the wounds. Do not shy away from what is sharp. Do not fear the dark. Rest in what you cannot understand. Be at peace and stay still in the burden. Bear the burden. Bear it well, with honesty and reflective truth. Blessed is she who perseveres, who keeps a softened heart to cushion the fallen.

 

 

 

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: Burden.   // 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.

Live Languid

Here comes September.

Can the year be beginning its last stretch already?

Trees are turning, and the mornings host cooler air. It doesn’t seem to be time for this, the shift of seasons.

And yet, there is always time for everything. Faithfully, change begins and ends and cycles through. I take my time getting ready for the day, linger longer than I should on my cool down walk after my run is finished. I watch the boats waver in the wind heading back towards the marina after an early start to find the fish. I listen to the whoosh of waves folding into themselves as they surge to shore. I watch the yellow wildflowers wave their arms on thin and nimble stalks between wild grass. In these moments, with sweat condensed from humidity and breath returning regular to my lungs, all is as it should be.

There is no need for speed.

//What’s the rush?
Slow. Such cadence in the quiet, serene. No time passes at all.

Rain pours down the pane. We haven’t seen skies like this in years. Or maybe I just don’t remember it. This is, after all, the first time I’ve been home to stay in four years. The world here knows rain; perhaps it is just I who has forgotten.

Thunder rolls, not angry or vicious. It just makes its presence known.

What’s the line in the that Elvis song? Only fools rush in…

Frantic rushing washes away thought, intention, calculation that releases best laid plans.

In the way of life, it’s best to take it slow. Unfettered, open to unlearning what has tied me up mind and spirit in unhealthy ways. Relax. Rest, embrace.

I am a caterpillar weaving my chrysalis, snug and steady in subtle transformation. I am not the same person as I was just one year ago. I look back and see the anxiety that plagued, threatened to destroy. But I held fast in release to the ways of Him who had my best in store.//

Live languid. Enjoy the longer time around the harbor. See the small things and note fine details. Detach, revel in newly given freedom of heart. Do not close your eyes. There’s so much that may be missed. Do not wish away this life on thoughts that may never come to pass.

See the mist turn color and be amazed.

 

 

 

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: Rush.   // 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.

 

 

**

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.

Release. Breathe. Open.

Spring wants to come. The cardinals are hopping among the branches. Other birds are calling down the sun, kindly asking to come a little closer and bring the warmth that these months bring. The air is still brittle cold among the blue, false premonition of an underlying warmth that may not come for a little longer.

I remind myself for this month and forever: keep hold of hope. Suddenly, the sun will come and smile upon my face.

Keep hold of hope and let go of all that restrains me from the full life that waits with patience.

I tell my head to clear itself of all the preconceived notions of what I thought this life would bring in time, loosen my expectations and shake them from my way of living, giving it all over to God. Everything—my exact geographic location, how I thought my professional career would pan out, my singleness, my impact on the world—cup them in my hands and offer to God. Offer from the very base of me. Of the decades through my life, the little girl with wide-eyed dreams, the teenager aching to be loved, the young professional carving her way in the world. And now the woman in her 30s, seasoned and tempered by life, still easing her bones into understanding that life isn’t meant to be figured out.

Show me how my heart should beat, how to merge its cadence along with this life.

Show me how to feel the wind upon my skin again, like the first time I experienced the sense of touch.

 

/// Why is it such a hard thing to swallow my pride and give up my life and let God Almighty take me where I’m meant to go?

I want to wipe my mind’s slate clean, with no memory of all I dreamed and hoped and longed for, the paths that I would take to go to the life I’ve been dying to live. Set away my expectations and release them into the heart of Him who holds me safe, knows my name and calls me chosen.

What can I do to take away the plans of my life that have been branded on my heart? How do I just surrender what I’ve worked and groaned for years for and simply follow like a child? To fall, trusting, into the arms of a Father who is good and loving and true.

I always seem to try to take the world back into my hands. But try as I may to let the wind blow where it pleases, a piece of me still wants to push the wind’s direction, even if it’s a subtle shift. ///

 

Now to Him who is able to do abundantly more than we can ask or imagine…

 

Why bother imagining at all if He’s going to blow the roof off my reality? If He’s going to sweep in like a summer shower and drench me with surprises in the best possible ways?

Let go, dear heart. Leave the page unwritten and look for the ink to imprint upon the line. Let His heart surprise you, and dare again to allow the sun of spring to move across your days.

Release. Breathe. Open.

Watch the wonder amaze even you.

 

 

 

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