Tag Archives: Faith

His Strength Is Mine

2 Mar

It’s funny how life comes back around in cycles. I often find myself in the same place, learning the same lessons over again which I thought I had conquered years ago.

I guess your own history repeats itself. Nothing really changes, but everything does. The universe is more circular than we realize.

And our inner selves are in a continual cycle of growth. Death to self and rebirth. Everything comes back around.

I find myself on the other side of constantly questioning my faith, back into some kind of simplicity of what it means to be a Christian.

I rejected that title for so many years. Not because I ever stopped believing or loving Jesus, but mostly because of the people, the hurt, the reputation.

I spent years rejecting the religious side of church in order to get free. And I did. But it left a void. Jesus was still there, calling me into grace, but often I let the my own cynical voice drown him out.

Now, I feel like I am kind of starting all over. These are the days of simple songs and words. I can’t stomach another blog post on what’s wrong with the church, the same words I used to feed on and write.

I find myself going back to words I used to reject because of the memories connected to them.

Basics, that I come to see aren’t so basic after all.

Love God, Love People. 

Another freeing mantra that became a cliche. (Like all things do eventually.)

And this one, often:

Your strength is made perfect in my weakness. 

It roams in the back of my head, always, leaving tire tracks in the mud of my understanding.

I say it over and over until I believe it and even then, it’s like I can’t fully comprehend it.

But I know I am so weak. 

I feel this lately. Emotionally and physically exhausted. Just tired of feeling life isn’t going the way I thought it would.

I am so ready for a huge shift, a breakthrough, a big change. Something. 

I feel like I am drifting with no focus or direction. I grasp on to something familiar because that’s all I have.

Jesus. 

(Maybe this is the point.)

I think about how in less than 3 months my body will release my son, and we’ll get to meet him for the first time.

I am excited, terrified, in awe, unprepared.

My mind goes back to those scattered moments of my daughter’s birth nearly three years ago.

The intensity and prayer. The feelings so weak and so strong all at once.

Reaching the point of knowing there is no possible way I can do what I have to do, and then doing it. 

And my daughter suddenly being in my arms.

Knowing I don’t think I could have done it without my husband being there as my comfort and my coach.

He never once doubted my ability or our decision to birth naturally free of any interventions.

I think of his words, his love, the pressure of his hands, and how suddenly,  in the middle of my greatest weakness,

His strength became mine.

Then I remember a few days later in the lowest, darkest moment of our lives sitting on a bench outside of Cook’s Children’s hospital, our perfect, brand-new daughter hooked up to so many machines, drugs running through her body trying to help her breathe.

I remember my husband, this pillar of strength and faith in my life being so broken that it was like a physical punch in the face.

I wasn’t sure how I could hold him up in that moment, but somehow I did.

Somehow God’s strength never left me, and in the middle of a crisis,

I was able to lend him my strength. 

And suddenly, I know this truth and it warms and heals me deep down in a place that’s been left bruised and vulnerable:

When one with someone, you borrow each other’s strength

 

strength

Only I am one with the creator of the universe. One who is yesterday and tomorrow, light and love, power and strength.

And I know, all those words I memorized and whispered as a child that became cliche to me over the years are true.

True enough to shake the foundations of the universe and steady my crazy emotions and become real in every moment of my life.

With God, Nothing Is Impossible.

The Same Power That Defeated Death Lives In Me.

I Can Move Mountains.

His strength is mine. 

 

Translating the Wind

11 Jun

somewhere between where I was and where I am going,

I reside

abandoning all other options

careless to the chaos of choice

the noise ceases and I am still

Oh restless heart, make peace with yourself

a decade ago I wandered from city to small town

overwhelmed by the meaning

in every place, person, and moment

every noun was a sign

nothing my senses experienced was an accident

I wrote like it was the only way I could see where I was going

and even though it tortured me

I knew I could exist in the moment

I knew Purpose

like sun and rain and soil

and it didn’t matter

that I only had if half-right

that I was cowering to fear

rowing against the waves

to an island I could never land on

Oh restless heart, stop for a moment and rest

at last the illusion broke

I screamed in a hotel room in China

I hated what my beliefs had made me

while loving grace for the lies it exposed

I fell apart and came together

I stood on a bridge far above snow covered streets

and knew impossible was nothing

a remaking of self

a transition from winter to spring

I guess I am not done yet

uprooting, planting, blooming

the layers that ultimately become my being

and I’ll keep going

wondering, wandering and questioning

even if I stay still

the Wind speaks and I can finally translate:

Oh restless heart, this is your home

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Where’s Jesus?

2 Jun

Every night, I pray with Aurelia. Sometimes it feels special and even sacred. Mostly it feels like routine, and occasionally just meaningless words.

Lately, she’s been talking and communicating and understanding more than I could have imagines for someone who is not even 2 yet.

The past week or so, when we pray she asks a question, and innocent question that stops me in my tracks and pulls me out of the mundane into something more.

“Where’s Jesus?”

“….He’s here, baby. In our hearts.”

“I don’t see him.”

I swallow, choking on some invisible fear, a memory, a doubt.

“He’s here, baby. Whenever we feel love, or happy or full of joy, that’s Jesus. Whenever we see anything good and beautiful.”

I struggle to form the words.

I’ve never had a problem believing God is real.

I don’t remember a moment in my life ever doubting his existence.

I’ve always made my home in ethereal places that don’t count on the tangible and logical to exist.

I don’t have a problem believing what I cannot see.

I don’t even necessarily struggle with the fact that He loves us.

I know he’s a good father.

It’s how good, how joyful, the “bigness” of His grace and love I think I know deep down, yet somehow I don’t apply to every day moments when I need it the most.

“I don’t see him…”

When my prayers feel like they are hitting the ceiling, when my feelings seems too loud, to real to make sense of the Truth.

When I just want my way, my timing.

When I let those old voices in.

When I believe fear instead of love.

When it feels too hard for too long.

When I am about to give up on my dreams.

When I am tired from struggling to believe how good.

How big.

I pause.


Last night I had a vivid dream.

I was hiking in a dense, dark jungle with my husband. We were trying to get somewhere important, somewhere where people were expecting us.

Somewhere we were meant to be.

To get to this place, we needed to cross this terrifying chasm on a swaying, frayed rope bridge. My heart in my chest, I followed my husband across. It was so high up I couldn’t see the ground. I panicked, half-way across.

I can’t do it. It’s too hard. It’s not worth it…

I don’t see him. 

Somehow I kept going.

Somehow we made it across.

On the other side was our destination. A beautiful hotel, more majestic than anything I had ever seen. When we walked inside, we found out that someone had anonymously paid for us to stay there. We walked into the beautifully decorated, enormous suite and looked around laughing with pure joy.

It was a gift. We could rest.

I woke up with a jolt.

It’s a risk, stepping out. But there is an enormous blessing waiting on the other side. 

 


I don’t have trouble seeing Him in the small things, in my daughter’s eyes and in the little ways he provides our daily needs.

Sometimes it’s the big-ness I struggle with.

“He’s here baby. Everywhere. He never leaves us.”

She looks at me, innocent and whole, with more wisdom in her little-enourmous heart than I can understand, and says,

“He’s in the stars.”

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Sparrows and Eagles

10 Apr

bird

I’ve got to get off the ground somehow
If the wind would only create enough lift
For this tattered thinking
Facing destruction
I need a resurrection

I am tired of these rocks in my shoes
Broken views
Hardened by a misuse
Of my mind
Always looking for things I can’t find

But you
You said wait and you’ll renew
My strength
My ability to see
You’ll heighten my view

I am tortured and plagued by this feeling of dread
I’ll never be there
I’ll never be her

But you
You feed all the small birds
And count every missing feather
You know when the snow makes them shiver
How far they roam
Every stick that makes up the nest
They call home
How much more

When I can’t take one more step
When I feel shriveled and used up
When I don’t know what I believe anymore
I am knocked to the floor
Breath gone
Fear seems like it won
My heart feels like rocks
And my chest caves in
And as stones crumble
Light seeps through an open door
How much more

My daughter laughs
And it’s like a crack in heaven’s door
Like love burst forth
A breaking dam
Overflowing, powering cities with joy
How much more

A hand stretched out
Offers bread, a smile, a cup of wine, a song
Conversation that makes you feel you belong
Warmth, connection, pure affection
How much more

Love is here
Complete light
Total hope
Unending flights

I wait
I soar

When I am Feeling Lost

14 Jun

Sometimes I feel lost.  Lost in my head. Lost in worry.

I forget I am not doing life alone.

Photo Credit: …bmd… via Compfight cc

I tend to try to go at it by myself, and I know that isn’t healthy.

Sometimes I forget simple child-like faith is all I really need.

I’ve done a pretty good job rejecting religion, but I don’t want to get stuck there.

I don’t want to stay at the “what’s wrong with Christianity” party.

Trust me, it’s not worth it.

There is so much goodness and light and life when people just embrace Jesus. 

When they truly love God and love others.

I want to focus on that.

I know the old phrase,

It’s not religion it’s relationship.

I know it has meaning, but what does it mean to me?

Today, I sat in church and thought about it.

Often, it means not doing things “by the book.”

It means figuring out what works for me and throwing myself into it.

It may mean doing the opposite of the crowd. It may mean looking heretical to others.

It means having nothing to prove to anyone, because I am secure in our relationship.

Sometimes It looks like fights. Like any relationship. Hard questions. Moments of anger, followed by intimacy.

It doesn’t always look like feelings. Sometimes it looks like believing I am loved even when I feel hideous and unlovable. It’s constantly remembering the commitment that has been made.

(You know, the one between God and Jesus. The one I have nothing to do with but still get to partake in.)

It means keeping my heart open when I just want to crawl into a corner and be left alone.

But it also means when I chose to do so, I am never alone in that corner.

It often looks like struggle, because it seems “easier” to fall back into a lifeless routine.

But it also looks like rest, because fundamentally, it is.

It looks like a breath of energy when I am worn out and piling burdens on top of my self.

It looks like that calm, certain thought in the middle of confusion, in the midst of worrying about the future:

“This is exactly where I need to be…”

It looks like comfort in pain.

Joy in uncertainty.

Creativity in the midst of a dry spell.

And love. 

Always love.

Divine Unknowns

2 Sep

In the stillness of the morning
I close my eyes
and feel covered by a peace
that warms the sensitive
skin of my soul
fragile and yearning for comfort
a warm cup of obsoletes
in a room of shivering uncertainties

I don’t have a clue
but I’ll stay inside the mystery
this land of unknowns
it’s wild and open and free

I’d rather be here then the bleak, cold bus station
thinking I know my destination
riding in circles to fake conclusions
living half-awake with no anticipation
drifting into a monotonous drive
where everything looks the same
all is safe and colorless

I’ve forgotten how to be alive:

be here
where I don’t have a clue
inside the mystery
the land of unknowns
where it’s wild and open and free

I’ve been down this road before
a clear map in my imagination
pale faces line the highways
and I don’t turn to see
I am too focused on my destination
I forget the point of the journey

there’s no time for ignoring humanity
no room to fall for the same old spiel
lies to fake what’s inside of me
fear is a traffic jam in my head
and the noise is unprecedented

but love is the driving force
love makes room
for the swirling apprehensions
and the deafening doubts
love doesn’t fear them
love resists forcing a hand
or controlling a plan
loves steers off the wide road
and brings me home

so right now
I don’t have a clue
but I’ll stay inside the mystery
this land of divine unknowns
where It’s open and wild and free

Men & Rocks (A Parable)

30 Aug

Two men were walking down an old dusty road called life carrying sacks.

One stopped along the way and picked up a stone called “Addiction,” and put it in his sack. The second man picked up a stone called “Evangelism.”

They walked a little further, when the first man found a rock called “Sexual Sin.” He put it in his sack. Nearby, the second man realized he must be missing something so he found a rock called “Feeding the Poor,” and did the same.

The two men walked on, a little slower this time because of the weight. The first man stopped by a tree and found a large boulder called “Self-Hatred” which he carefully squeezed into his bag. The second man found one just as big called “My Reputation,” and fit it in his bag.

They continued along the road. The first man acquired several more over the miles of travel: “Abuse,” “Dishonesty,” and “Drunkenness.”

The second man also picked up more to add to his load. They were big shiny rocks with long fancy names such as: “Memorizing Scripture,” “Attending Church,” and “Protesting Abortion.”

By this time, both men could barely walk under the load.

Out of nowhere, along came a man with a smile on his face. He stopped and looked at the men, both sweating and straining under their heavy sacks.

“Let me carry them.” He offered, firmly but gently. The first man put down his sack and looked inside. He recognized the rocks were no good. They were jagged and dirty and making his back ache. He closed the sack and handed it to the smiling man, grateful for the relief.

The second man put down his sack and looked in. All his rocks seemed were smooth and shiny, even though they were just as heavy.

“I can’t just let him carry them,” he thought to himself,  “They are my responsibility. Besides, they are not all dirty and jagged like the other man’s rocks.”

So the second man said “No thank you.” He closed his bag, and hoisted it back onto his own aching back. He continued to shuffle down the road, miserable and sweaty, but filled with a sense of self-pride.

The first man joyfully skipped down the road, following his savior, free from all things that had weighed him down.

 

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