I Hear God Singing to Me: Going Public with my Faith

I Hear God Singing to Me: Going Public with my Faith

This past year has been many things, a full stop, a radical shaking up, and a washing away of a lifetime of grief, disappointments, and shame. It’s been a time of reflection, a celebration, and a setting right of all that was gut and mind wrenchingly wrong.

It’s been God in all His glory answering prayers that have been prayed for decades, in ways that were unimaginable to me. I could only see what I could see, and strive to make it through my eyes. My heart yearned for something, my destiny, for God’s calling on my life, only I kept choosing to grasp and claw my way through a bog of weeds so thick and high and deep that engulfed and suffocated me.

We have available to us a path straight to God’s heart and arms, and yes, his glory, his holy presence. So why do we seek it in all the wrong places and then try to convince ourselves we know it better, and are higher than him?

A new trajectory is before me. I stand on a precipice with a profoundly different perspective of life and living, the past, the present, the future, and while it’s scary there’s another truth prevailing…that if God does have a claim, a calling, a vision for how He wants to use me, then I can be assured he will provide the strength, the courage, and the way.

Whether I succeed or fail, doesn’t even really matter because he will use all of it for His good purpose. Whether or not I see the fruits doesn’t matter either, because if I do my part then I can rest in the trust that my life has not been in vain. Not that it could be anyway, because he simply loves me, and he lets me know it, day after day after day in the silent whispers, as he does with you.

Everything changes when we open our eyes, our hearts, our minds, our everything to let him in.

So many days – a lifetime, and so many ways seeking answers, signs, validation, belonging. A never ending, never fulfilling quest without knowing the language of God. So many illusionists claiming to be the Great I Am, without saturating oneself in the Word, it’s fair game for falling into false promises that pull one further and further away from the truth.

Yet, no matter the distance we travel, no matter the worldly or other-worldly ways that entice us or lull us, no matter in our fog of slumber that we descend into, we are not lost forever. One moment of turning our eyes and hearts up and we’ll find that we’ve not been forsaken, never have.

In a year that has literally that flipped from upside down to downside up, I find myself standing among over a thousand people and marvel in wonderment if it is all real. Shaking my head as if it’s been a dream. We are singing and clapping and moving in praise of the Lord.

My heart is pounding because shortly I’ll be up on that stage speaking to the crowd, sharing my coming to faith story. I haven’t been up on a stage in years and I never imagined that one day I would be talking about how Jesus saved me from a living dead.

Moments of wondering if this was real, if it was really God’s calling. Am I willing and ready to make such a public declaration. How did I get from living entrenched in a new age life to converting to Christianity, it seemed so bizarre.

And while yes, it was surreal beyond imagining, here I was. By the grace of God and only God, the only Living God, had my life been healed, transformed, filled up, and blessed in so many ways that I knew there was only one truth for me.

I prayed fervently, make me worthy of your calling. Give me strength, fill me with calm, may you be seen and heard in and through me.

I had been sick the past week. Knock down, Kleenex, tea, resting to the bone sick. First time in ten years and honestly didn’t think I’d be able to make it to service, much less speak.

Three congregations coming together in one service. Over a thousand people.

Public speaking is something I persevere with great hidden anxiety. My saving grace here was in reminding myself that it was not about me. It was simply me standing up for the God who had revealed himself to me, who has been giving me a new heart, a new mind, and new eyes and ears.

But with each passing moment getting closer to my cue, my throat parched in cracking dryness, I’m reaching for mints, I’m reaching for water, and again. I worried it would have me stumble and cough, desperate for thirst.

The energy, from floor to third tier balcony was high and pulsing. I’m now backstage, waiting in the shadows of light with monitors and technicians. The stage looks huge. The choir and band, three congregations wide and deep.

A shift begins to happen. Now I’m feeling gratitude filling up and ready to pour out. I get to do this.

There is the cue and I walk out behind my sister-in-law Lisa who will introduce me.

I don’t feel my heart pounding anymore. I’m not blindsided by fear, by the lights, by the theatre filled up to the balconies and all eyes upon me. I’m connecting. I’m speaking slowly, calmly, even eloquently, I’m told later. I hear it too. My voice steady, my body still. I’m both speaking and listening. The only sign that I’m present to nerves is a slight tremor in my left hand as I turn a page of my notes.

When it’s done I feel that it’s the best speech I’ve ever given publicly, and I give all credit to God for holding me steady and filling me up. I don’t know how to deflect the accolades after. I’m simply grateful for the calling on me that came close to not being fulfilled at this special service.

I’m in a new world now. It feels like I’m fully in and ready to be fully giving. In a lifetime of adventures of the spirit, never have I felt so supported and so blessed. Though I have to admit, I’m still kind of scratching my head in wonderment by the turn of events, and in the listening to the Word, the voice behind me saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’ ~ Isaiah 30:21

I’m excited for what’s to come because now I know where my strength, and wind, and breath, and the fire in my soul comes from. Through God all things are possible, and He tells us to be bold and courageous because He’s got us. In, around, behind and before. In all ways and in all things. His presence reigns true.

May His face shine upon you,

Kiernan

35 Quotes to Reinvigorate Your Writing Life

35 Quotes to Reinvigorate Your Writing Life

Ahh… writers we have a love of words. They take us on a journey into untold worlds, they fuel our imaginations, they lift us up and make us swoon with desire… that we may be able to write to make others stop everything even if only for a moment. To stop everything and be wholly in the universe of letters we string together… to touch some part of people’s hearts wounded, or aching, or yearning for that moment to be fully present and lost in a dream of what could be all at the same time.

Maybe even just for a chuckle, a smile, a subtle lift at the corners of the mouth and a brief twinkle in the eyes. A sigh, an aha, a respite. A moment when everything shifts into a new perspective. Sweetness. A whisper in the dark. The ground beneath moves. Passion invigorating movement. Stillness.

Writers love to invent, weave, dream, communicate. We write because we need to. It’s something we must do, because not to is death to our soul. But occasionally our muse slips away, and we find our inspiration waning, our mind’s sleepy and lethargic. During times like this a collection of inspirational quotes from other writers who’ve gone before us, who’ve likely experienced the emptiness too could be just the thing we need to get our juices flowing again.

Here are some of my favourite quotes about writing to help put the pen back in your hand, or fingers to the keyboard with renewed passion.

 

“I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.”

—James Michener

 

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”

—Anaïs Nin

 

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”

—William Wordsworth

 

“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”

—Franz Kafka

 

“Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.”

—Rainer Maria Rilke

 

“A good writer possesses not only his own spirit but also the spirit of his friends.”

—Friedrich Nietzsche

 

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

—Maya Angelou

 

“If there’s a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

—Toni Morrison

 

“For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.”

—Catherine Drinker Bowen

 

“The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.”

—Agatha Christie

 

“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”

—Anne Frank

 

“The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.”

—Maya Angelou

 

“If a story is in you, it has to come out.”

—William Faulkner

 

“Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.”

—Ray Bradbury

 

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”

—Stephen King

 

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”

―Louis L’Amour

 

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worse enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”

—Sylvia Plath

 

“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.”

—Natalie Goldberg

 

“That’s the thing about books, they let you travel without moving your feet.”

—Jhumpa Lahiri

 

“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”

—Kurt Vonnegut

 

“I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I am afraid of.”

—Joss Whedon

 

“If it’s still in your mind it is worth taking the risk.”

—Paulo Coelho

 

“The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.”

—Anaïs Nin

 

“If I waited for perfection I would never write a word.”

—Margaret Atwood

 

“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”

—Cyril Connolley

 

“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.”

—William Faulkner

 

“I don’t wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work.”

—Pearl S. Buck

 

“You can’t blame a writer for what the characters say.”

—Truman Capote

 

“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.”

—Joan Didion

 

“There is no denying the wild horse in us.”

—Virginia Woolf

 

“No need to force yourself to do something the “right way” if it’s not your right way. Your job is to honor your process.”

—Andi Cumbo Floyd

 

“Give me books, fruit, French wine, fine weather and a little music.”

—John Keats

 

“There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they’ll take you.”

―Beatrix Potter

 

“If something inside of you is real, we will probably find it interesting, and it will probably be universal. So you must risk placing real emotion at the center of your work. Write straight into the emotional center of things.”

—Anne Lamott

 

“I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.”

– Ernest Hermingway

 

Do you have any favourites you’d like to add? Please comment and share!

Kiernan

My 40 days and nights of wandering and wondering

My 40 days and nights of wandering and wondering

I’ve wandered the desert for my forty days and forty nights. It seemed like a breeze for the most part. Then again, I had no idea what to expect.

Maybe some big epiphanies… Maybe I would feel closer to God than ever before… Maybe God would work more miracles in my life… Maybe He would establish my plans…

It turned out to be a subtle changing or growing, with some steps backward and needing correction. One that I am just now beginning to see how it was at work. One that I was blind to in the process.

It’s been a time to discover and explore my own walk with God.

A few times I felt like I was drifting, then I realized I needed to put on the suit of armour and reignite my own personal fervour to the Word, the scriptures, the Holiest of Holy Books.

“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

~ Ephesians 6:14-17

I was in the midst of redesigning my website, trying to figure out how to tie together my art and the new emphasis on writing to uplift aching lonely hearts and encourage others to stay the course. All the while, I felt a pressure building inside to get my Canada Series of paintings completed. Only four more to go, I need to get them done, right?

Let me back up for just a minute. Painting the series of Canada paintings had been such an intriguing and interesting experience. I was learning so much about Canada, but in the midst of these paintings I was called by God, by Jesus into his fold. Painting started to dry up inside me, and my first passion of writing reignited… in a big way. It burned brighter and brighter. It burned inside me in a powerful way.

God wanted me to write. That’s what I knew.

As He worked in me, breaking me open here and here and here, I reviewed my intentions behind the Canada Series and realized that I needed to shift my approach from focusing on the spirit of the lands and its native peoples, to giving the glory to its rightful owner; God the creator of everything.

Yet I still struggled to get to the canvas. I still struggled at the canvas.

I prayed and prayed to understand His plans for me, while still pressing forward.

I had the opportunity to visit Nova Scotia at the beginning of August, and get back in touch with my childhood, and my father’s roots. It was such a lovely visit and I felt certain it would inspire me to paint the Nova Scotia piece. But, in my return it still hasn’t happened. I’ve spent countless frustrating hours trying to paint.

Mess upon mess upon mess… scraping back and beginning again… and again… and again.

Honestly, I am in the midst of feeling like I’ve forgotten how to paint. My honey might wince at my admitting this, but I’m okay with it right now, though I wasn’t in the trying.

All the while, new Words began to speak to me…

Draw me near, LORD.

I walked and I prayed.

Draw me near, LORD.

“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”

~ Hebrews 10:22

Words come alive in the seeking of God.

I’ve longed for this living. All my life.

But it wasn’t the worldly way. I didn’t fit in and oh did I try to fit in, even when it was impossible… I tried…. Conforming to the acceptable sent me into oblivion, the darkness, the emptiness of the trying.

There’s been circles and circles of change… interconnecting change taking place in the midst of God’s refining me.

Another all the while I will add… the topic of the Meyers Brigg’s personality testing coming up in conversations in our household… again and again. I took it… again, sure it would be different than the last number of times from years ago. It wasn’t.

I’m an INFJ and when I read it through a few times, it blew me away with its accuracy. I’d forgotten. It explained this pressing need that I felt to advocate… for God, why certain things haven’t worked out, and what’s been missing in my life and works. Oh, I think I can write a whole other post on this topic alone.

It’s the rarest of personality types – only 1-2% of the population are INFJ’s.

We are the advocates, the counselors, the spiritual teachers, and a great many of us are called to write.

INFJ Strengths include:

“Creative – combining a vivid imagination with a strong sense of compassion, Advocates use their creativity to resolve not technical challenges, but human ones. They enjoy finding the perfect solution for someone they care about, a strength that makes them excellent counselors and advisors.

Insightful – seeing through dishonesty and disingenuous motives, Advocates step past manipulation and sales tactics and into a more honest discussion. Advocates see how people and events are connected, and are able to use that insight to get to the heart of the matter.

Inspiring and Convincing – speaking in human terms, not technical, Advocates have a fluid, inspiration writing style that appeals to the inner idealist in their audience. Advocates can even be astonishingly good orators, speaking with warmth and passion about causes that matter to them.

Decisive – their creativity, insight and inspiration are able to have a real impact on the world, as Advocates are able to follow through on their ideas with conviction, willpower, and the planning necessary to see complex projects through to the end.

Determined and Passionate – when Advocates come to believe that something is important, they pursue that goal with a conviction and energy that can catch even their friends and loved ones off guard – Advocates will rock the boat if they have to. Not everyone will appreciate their passion, but fighting for their chosen cause is an inseparable part of Advocates’ personality.

Altruistic – these strengths are used for good. Advocates have strong beliefs, and they strive to follow them – not to advance themselves, but to advance ideas they truly believe will make the world a better place.”

~ Joseph Chris

With all these changes in my life this year, taking stock has been naturally essential, and seeing myself in the INFJ descriptions has made me realize the cause, passion, and connections (feeling like I am making a difference in people’s lives and in the world) that was missing… that which I can be… that which I must be.

It not only aligned with what I knew God was asking of me, it made me realize how compelled I was to act on it.

Now, back to my unsuccessful attempts to paint… it saddened me… it frustrated me… and I felt pressure.

These feelings did not feel of The Light, The Way or the Truth.

Draw me near, LORD. You’re all I need.

Somehow my plea, led me to Proverbs 3:5-6

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Again. Again. Again.

I let the Words work.

I began to learn to say YES and AMEN to God’s promises.

Here’s what I do know… from yesterday to today…

God wants me to write.

I have a story to tell… quite an unusual one. I’m going to write a book about it… I’ll share bits here and there in the writing of it.

I also know this…

My story has brought me to a place of leaning more and more into my voice in the written word… my poetic artist’s voice. It’s quirky. It’s not grammatically correct, but perfectly expresses the words in my innermost being and my great love for a deep relationship with God. I’m told it uplifts and it inspires, and it offers some teaching.

So, I’ll write about how love can break us open here on this blog. I’ll write to create a refuge for soulful living… to help fill the empty aching place inside, for me, for you, and for those who aren’t even aware it’s there. I’ll be real too, because life is not all peaches and cream and therein lies our humanity; our compassion in suffering, mercy and grace.

I need to write. I’ll write even if no one reads it, but if you do and it speaks to you somehow, please let me know… write a comment, share it… help me spread the word and the love.

“May these words of my mouth and this meditation

of my heart

be pleasing in your sight,

LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

~ Psalm 19:14

In love and faith,

Kiernan

Love Broke Open: Part Three

Love Broke Open: Part Three

I cannot… I absolutely cannot… even after months… get through this song without His Grace and Glory coming up in me from the depths of my soul.

And all the earth will shout Your praise
Our hearts will cry, these bones will sing
Great are You, Lord

In Part One I announce that something life changing was happening to me this year. In Part Two I plunged forward and revealed that I answered the call from God and was given new life in Christ through baptism.

There was so much more than I can comprehend taking place in between. But, these massive in-between bits led this former new-ager who struggled with guilt, shame, indecision and insecurities, into becoming a Christian woman of substance, deep conviction and fully ready to commit to the Lord and my beloved.

Always I found faults and looked for cracks… anything to excuse why I could not commit… to my heart, my passions, my relationships. Always keeping doors open in case I needed an exit, which I usually did.

Studying the Bible changed everything. It made me get real with myself and it made me get right with God.

The Word came alive in me. How is it possible for a book to come alive and know me so personally? Know my every thought and deed? Know where I’ve struggled, where I’ve fallen, how I’ve been broken, and the emptiness… the aching emptiness longing to be filled?

As I opened the pages to my first study assignment:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

~ John 1:1-5 NIV

I took slow deep breaths reading again… ‘In the beginning was the Word’…

My eyes drifted closed… my hands touched the pages… smoothing across… feeling something happening in the paper… ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God’…

My fingers caressed the Word… the silky, smooth skin of paper… my eyes sparkling grabbed hold and this book… it began to feel so very Holy… ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’

I watched my hands bring this Holy Book up to my heart to rest there.

How did it know that Words were one of my most favourite thing, my most prized, delighted and coveted thing to behold?

And the poetic nature of it? What did it mean? What was it really saying?

So much more than what I was interpreting in those moments, I would discover over the months of continuing studies.

But still… the words… the Word…

How was it possible that I had been so critical and skeptical of this Holy Book that could reach down into the depths of my life and turn it into something new, without even having read it?

It quickened me.

It gave me hope.

It made me see.

It made me feel.

It provided me with a refuge to pour out my heart and take a good honest look at my life. I know that’s not an easy thing for many, because it’s so much easier to blame everything and everyone else for our circumstances, rather than take responsibility.

But the truth came a knocking and something deep deep deep inside told me that this was the Way… The Truth… The Light.

I prayed… hard… every day… to get right with God… to get right with my life and to get right with the people in my life.

Tangled difficult relationships with my beloved’s daughters, “Lord help me! Please help me create peace and harmony!”

And… I knew when the moments came… Holy Holy Holy answered my prayers, ‘I’m so sorry for all the pain I’ve caused’ was what it took to soften, broken hardened hearts. Letting go of all my grievances brought me closer to Love and to God.

“Why, oh why Lord can I not be the daughter my parents need me to be towards the end of their lives? The daughter your Word tells me I must be in your house?”

Hmmm… Ah… I see anger… I see fear… I see… resentment. They are going to leave me one day… soon. I might as well put up walls and live behind them instead of love them well in the here and now.

The things that started becoming clear, one-by-one… a roadmap for living beautifully alive in the Word.

Looking into my heart, no stones unturned, but one. The scariest one. It shook me, rattled me, ravaged me.

In one breath… one realization… my heart revealed the depth of my feelings of unworthiness of love.

Love Broke Me Open… it spit me out and demanded that I know the truth… that God loved me and He will not forsake me… but I had a choice to make.

Could I commit… Would I commit… to LOVE… to Love… to love?

And so, the love story goes…

The music cued, and Josh Groban’s ‘When You Say You Love Me’ floated out on the breeze. As my son walked me to the alter, every emotion… every shade of love heaved in my chest, and threatened to spill over.

 

Then I saw him.

Standing there looking so handsome.

Waiting for me.

I witnessed us taking each other in, then our eyes locked, and the only thing I heard from that moment on was the song that was written in our hearts.

I saw nothing else but him… and the love and adoration in his eyes.

As God is my witness, the joy on this day is without question, without hesitation the result of His Word, His compelling, alive words, at work breaking me open to know love… all kinds of love.

Honestly, there’s no way prior to a few short weeks ago that I could possibly dream… or imagine… that this joy would be possible.

Yes, I feel deeply, as my favourite minister says. I wear my heart and my truth inside out… for all to see.

God has instilled me with a yen… a yearning… for the written word… how to describe?? Ah… here it is;

“Gracious words are a honeycomb,

sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”

~ Proverbs 16:24

And, they seem to want to come pouring out now more than ever. More willfully than ever. That’s why my work and this website is undergoing changes. To make room for the Words, for the works that are waiting to come to this refuge to fill the empty aching place inside… for all those who need inspiration, encouragement, hope… for those hearts who are seeking and ready to be quickened.

May you be blessed by Love,

Kiernan

“LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup;

You make my lot secure.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;

Surely I have a delightful inheritance.

I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;

Even at night my heart instructs me.

I will keep my eyes always on the LORD.

With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

~ Psalm 16:5-8 NIV

 

Love Broke Open: Part Two

Love Broke Open: Part Two

Without the LOVE I wrote about in Love Broken Open: Part One, what are we… really? Where are we? What kind of life is that? Is it living? Really living fully?

The Beautiful World Project came about last year because I was looking for ways to create deeper meaning to my life. I also began asking bigger questions seeking to understand why I was holding back; why I couldn’t seem to give freely to those I loved most in my life, and what prevented me from fully showing up to my life’s work. I wanted to matter in the world, and obviously I was feeling like I was falling short in that department. Way short.

I wasn’t who I wanted to be and maybe part of that was because I couldn’t seem to find my community… you know… the ones who get you, who see you, who embrace you, who make you feel appreciated just as you are. The ones who lift you up and shine a light on all your goodness, enough that you begin to take notice, and live as you were meant to, as you really are and even more. The ones who gather together and will move mountains in their hearts and hands to see you through whatever storms come.

So many paths and beliefs I explored and even adopted for periods of time. Trying to make them fit, when they didn’t. Believing they lifted me up and made me more, but in reality, left me drained… oh so drained and unfulfilled.

Is this mine? No. Is this mine? No. Is this mine? No… again and again.

Where was mine? This call went out from my heart again and again.

Where are we without our people? Who are we without our people?

I was the lone wolf seeking its pack, wandering the desolate mountains for so long that I nearly gave up HOPE. But, where would this leave me… in this giving up HOPE?

Under the crushing weight of this, something glimmered. It was like my heart was picking up signals of some kind, leading me somewhere I knew not. I began to take notice of something so close to home, it was in my back yard and front yard. It was before me and it was behind me.

Something I watched from afar, but never considered for myself as I had relegated it to my NOT FOR ME part of my brain, because it was so contrary to the beliefs I had adopted for over 20 years. But I began to ask myself, “Where have these beliefs got me?”

All the self-help books in the world, workshops, studies… all temporary fixes. None of them could make me feel REAL… or fill me with any sustaining strength or confidence. If anything, they weakened me and they betrayed real LOVE.

Because somewhere inside I knew that nothing I had explored so far brought me closer to knowing, breathing, living and being that THING, that LOVE that was marked in me before I was born. I was closest to it in the unlikeliest (in my mind) of places. As a young girl I felt it, but could not comprehend it… could not see it… until recently.

As the dear man who put me under said in recounting the night my life changed… forever, “It was a snowy night, on Christmas Eve…and Kiernan came… and never left.”

Family together for dinner. I knew what they had planned later, and I waited. Having spent much time contemplating their lives and our lives, I wondered if there was something to it. Something that explained why they were happier, shined brightly, and were living lives of deep meaning, purpose and fulfillment.

So, I HOPED for a moment, an opening.

Never give up HOPE. Please never give up HOPE. For miracles do happen for those who SEEK.

The moment did come; “We have to leave soon for Christmas Eve Service…”

Something in my eyes must have traveled into her heart and mind, and she asked tentatively, “Do you guys want to come?”

GOD bless her. GOD bless her. GOD blessed me.

Smiling shyly, I said looking at my beloved, “Well, I’d kind of like to go.”

To my utter amazement he replied, “Sure, let’s go.”

My heart jumped in delight. I didn’t know that night would change everything… or did I?

A service they had never done before… a lovely woman spoke, an angel with a message, with conviction of her prayers answered years and years ago. It was her story that I understood, because somehow, she was speaking about THAT place inside of me, and I knew that this was where I could be, would be understood. If she felt this way, then others must too… for I had seen it in all of them that night.

The gleem in their eyes. The genuine caring and warmth. The light that radiated out from within… and the strength… oh my word the strength I felt… and I thought, ‘That’s what I’ve been seeking!’ I was being shown IT was possible, this THING that had been calling to me, it was real and it grew bigger… wider… deeper… it took up more space inside of me that night.

Person after person, pulled me in for an embrace… a genuine real embrace. Who are these crazy people who seem to be really alive, really living, really lit up from something indestructible and eternal?

It and they were like no other church I had ever been to, not that there were many as I was raised to figure it out on my own. I danced to the glory of the music and though I tried to sing, my voice could not rise above the swell of emotions in my chest.

It was the same feeling that I had when I was a little girl, on rare occasions in a church. SOMETHING inside me would make me FEEL that LOVE…and now I’ve come to believe it was the Cross, for what else could it be? I knew nothing of any of it, but it was already inside of me…. Waiting patiently for the day I would come to seek it out… To seek Him out.

Despite all this pull, it took two more months of daily, and I mean daily because this would not leave my heart and my mind alone for a moment; contemplation… consideration… pondering… before I would reach out to voice my interest in learning more about the Toronto Church of Christ.

This community who I had been hearing about for years with stories of people uniting in fellowship as a family, caring, supporting, encouraging and uplifting each other in hours of need. Missions… outreach… LOVE in action.

This year everything I think and believe has radically changed… because God has taken my life; my mind, my heart, my lungs, my blood, my bones and my relationships… all of me and made it new.

He has blessed me in countless extraordinary ways because I have devoted myself to living his teachings, his Word… His roadmap for living well and fully. Okay, perhaps not because of this, but rather maybe because he put His mark in me, to answer his call when the time was right. For I tell you, it was nothing short of a call my heart and soul absolutely could not turn away from and ignore.

The time came… and I am answering His call with all of me… how can I not? What He has done in my life in seven short months is nothing short of miraculous and I am in awe and gratitude with every breath I take, with every morning my eyes open and every day I get to live so alive because of His grace.

Right now… in mid-sentence here when the phone rang and it was my Aunt; one of my relationships healed and restored by his Grace. She was calling to find out how my baptism went… LOVE in all things and tears flow.

Kiernan’s Baptism from Toronto Church on Vimeo.

Nothing in this world has restored, filled and completed me like the power of the Holy Spirit. I feel like a different person in so many ways, and not a day goes by when I feel anything less than I’m living more fully alive than I thought myself possible.

“I love the LORD, for he heard my voice;

he heard my cry for mercy.

Because he turned his ear to me,

I will call on him as long as I live.

 

The cords of death entangled me,

the anguish of the grave come over me;

I was overcome by distress and sorrow.

Then I called on the name of the LORD:

“LORD, save me!”

 

The LORD is gracious and righteous;

our God is full of compassion.

The LORD protects the unwary;

when I was brought low, he saved me.

 

Return to your rest my soul,

for the LORD has been good to you.

 

For you, LORD, have delivered me from death,

my eyes from tears,

my feet from stumbling,

that I may walk before the LORD

in the land of the living.”

~ Psalm 16: 1-9

 

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Love Broke Open: Part One

Love Broke Open: Part One

I know sorrow. I know hurt. I know pain.

I know suffering and I know unforgiveness.

I know what it’s like to live wondering… is this it? Is this what life’s about?

I know what it’s like to want to believe there’s more to life than just going through the motions every day. To battle depression, pretending that’s not what it is, with a fake smile that doesn’t reach the eyes… the windows to our soul.

Do you?

I’ve tried, oh how I’ve tried to live with love as the focus. I’ve tasted it… I’ve seen it… I’ve experienced it. But, oh so fleetingly it touched upon me, just as a butterfly swirls around tantalizingly, barely landing before it takes off again.

Have you?

And gratitude. All the talk about having gratitude. Have you been like me… plying for it? Trying to tease it out, stretch it out, will it out, beckon it out? Why, oh why is it so hard to live with gratitude, to find it… to see it everywhere, and to live it every day? It shouldn’t be so hard, should it?

Fleeting moments of happiness, love, and meaning. Only to witness them slinking off into the distance as I wave longingly, ‘see you again’ (hopefully). Replaced with trying to will them back, and plagued by doubts and insecurities.

Is this it? This life of mine… it this it?

The Sufi way. The Buddhist way. The mystical way. The New Age way. The Goddess way.

Something was in me, maybe from before birth, maybe as I was being stitched together in the womb… to want to seek and be found… a LOVE that endures…

A LOVE that builds up and strengthens…

A LOVE that heals everything… absolutely everything that ever splintered, fractured, tainted, betrayed, or even broke this little heart of mine.

A LOVE that fills me up and overflows, without grasping for it in desperation, but that shines within and outward, as if powered by a creator, a generator of epic proportions that never dies. That endures the ages and tests of time, distance, and even resistance.

Wait. Is it even… ETERNAL?

A LOVE that is JOY at its simplest, pared down, most bare element.

A LOVE that is JOY that moves me to tears in humble GRATITUDE with every breath, in every day that is given to me. Do you feel them now… these tears that come up from somewhere deep inside and spill up and over, and down my cheeks?

Over the past number of years, I had thought that painting was saving me… was my healing grace. And, in many ways it was, yet it could not touch THAT place inside that I needed. THAT place that would forever transform me. That would turn me inside and out and radiate strength. I knew this because there were things in my outward life that no matter how hard I tried, I could not fix. I could not heal. I could not repair. It tormented me. It tortured me. It caused others pain.

After a time, I began to find myself wondering again… Is this it? Then the Beautiful World Project was being borne… it gave me a new sense of purpose… and it began to work in me… nudging, guiding, calling… the intention behind it was beckoning… wanting to be the story, live the story… I knew could be told… I wanted to be told… even though I couldn’t imagine what it was or what would happen next.

 

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