In a world of words, I want just one.
Just one that jumps out and claims me.
One that tells a story within a story. One that speaks to the deepest darkest depths… of the heart of this writer’s life… the word that makes sense of the wild and crazy journey I’ve been on.
The word that has compelled me, sent me out into the world to find its meaning, because it existed inside of me before I understood it… and then went into hiding, but always… always it was there.
A word that has taunted me to seek it in the daily grind, in the excruciating pain that consumed me, and in the beauty of fleeting moments that I believed were sacred… but, discovered haunting loneliness instead.
Through ugly loves, choices of spirals that were misguided and flawed, because I believed in the lies that were not real, but acted against everything that on some level I knew was right.
Through beautiful loves too… loves that have given me hope in the seeking of a sustaining truth.
A word that sums it all up and turns it all upside down… inside out… makes it all right in the soul… in the breath… in the wings that hover and protect.
In the loving eye that has always kept me in sight… in the uttering of the word… in the qualities of holy… of the holiest of holies whispering.
In the gentlest of breath uttered by my ear and fluttering along my cheek that it makes me quiver.
A waft of it swirling up into my mind, down into the ventricles of living life pulsing with particles expanding… drawing me somewhere closer to the only known that matters.
There is a book, a second book. A memoir. It’s waiting for me to write it. It’s preparing me. I’m sifting through moments to explore it, to investigate what wants to be rescued, inviting the theme that wants to be revealed.
A word has moved ever so gently in… and onto a Post-it Note where I can gaze upon it, and give it space to shape its essence.
I was visiting my parents this week. It was a good day, a good visit. I brought out their tin of photographs and let their memories come alive. I had mum write names on the back of the old tattered black and white photos.
I listened to tales of long long ago. Eager and attentive to catch glimpses of parts of them I never saw, never knew. Maybe I would learn something that would help in the making of sense.
Then my breath caught and my eyes wettened, not quite spilling over, but close. There in the listening grew a certain amount of anxiety in me, maybe even panic.
Their recollections… their memories… their sagas would soon be lost. Where would they go? What tales would I remember, or not remember, because so often in the grasping to hold near what is dear, it slips away.
Where do all of our lives… just us ordinary folks… the memories of them… where do they go? Generation after generation?
Does it matter? I don’t know.
But, I began to comprehend that there was so much that I didn’t yet know about them. At 92 and 88 time is running out for me to find out.
Short catching breaths.
What happens if our family tree dies off? Who will remember? So many precious moments… where do they go? What meaning do they have… in their having once been… and then no more?
Maybe I should make time for more visits. Maybe I should write these recollections down… capture them somehow. So much to be grateful for that I have been blind to all my life.
Where we hurt. Our trials, our suffering, our rage, our injustices.
What if they are meant to be our gift and our strength. If only we look up and see through the eyes of God’s love. We might see something altogether different.
In a world of words, I want just one. No flashy subtitles. Just one word.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
~ John 1:1
This one sentence, it speaks to me daily. It informs me in ways I do not understand yet. Somehow, I feel it defines my life, or the life that I am in the unfolding.
The Word… the word… it gives itself to me. It chases me. It’s so good to me. It presents itself as a mountain to climb and a living water to swim in. It creates me alive.
In a world of words, I want just one. May it be so.
I wonder… if you had a word that told your story, what would it be?
In abiding love,
It is a happy day because His Love Endures Forever.
Every day is a happy day in this knowing… even in the midst of the mess… in the silence as my soul awaits for God alone to instruct me in His Word.
His Word… how did it come so alive in me?
One day I wanted nothing to do with it… I did try on occasion to read the Holy Book, but the words… they were garbled. I’d read and re-read and re-read because I couldn’t make them out.
What did they say? What were these confusing words? I’d put it all away, shaking my head, wondering what it was all about, and thinking it obviously wasn’t for me.
Something changed all that. Something I can only explain as His time… to call upon me… to say enough.
Enough of the seeking in all the wrong places. Enough of the years going by in circles, repeating patterns.
Enough of a lifetime of never feeling enough… of doubts… and aloneness, an aching aloneness even where love was everywhere… because worldly love is not the same as His Love.
One day a tap on the shoulder came… a whisper of hope, of love, of peace in the darkness.
He made Himself known to me. He encouraged me to call upon Him in my times of need. He said He was here to help us… in this world. There seemed to be an urgency about it.
He told me to draw Him close and not let go. He walked with me and somehow, He filled me up with hope… with teachings on a new way to live, in the knowing that He loved me.
He loved me?
He. Loved. Me.
My heart quickened. It softened. It opened. Calling upon Him… talking to Him… sharing all that tormented me in my brokenness.
And the Holy Book began coming alive in me…. In my fingertips as I turned the pages… in my eyes that thirsted for the Light coming off the Words… in my heart that filled up with a need to spill over… up, up, up the rivers flowed.
Now, the Words… they are the air I breathe. They live in me. Every. Day. They are my daily bread.
His very Word spoken to me.
“For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.”
~ 1 Thessalonians 1:4-6
What means this? How is it possible?
There were times in my dark hours, when I’d think of Him and His hand extended… my head bowed… my breathing hilting and labored… pain ruling my body… my ache for the ways I could not make me feel love for myself, and for all the ways this ache hit upon others as surely as a tongue lashing or a beating with fists.
And, I asked myself, “What have I got to lose?” in the reaching out and accepting the hand tendered.
This Way. This Truth. This Light. Stretching out from fingers to air to me. I took His hand, and He became my strength.
I didn’t understand it all. Surely, I didn’t.
I could never understand all the talk about Jesus having died for our sins. I could not wrap my head around that one. It made no sense to me.
I acknowledged Jesus existed. I acknowledged that he died on the cross. But, what sins? How could his death over 2,000 years ago have anything to do with me?
It took months of studying the scriptures and watching movies about the Bible and Jesus… it took me having to recite the events of His life time and again… it took my own life review, praying and making amends… understanding that sin was really anything that kept me from experiencing God’s Love (God’s Love is always there and always endures but that doesn’t mean we EXPERIENCE it, does it?) to make sense of it.
Then one day, as surely as the Holy Book claimed me… it came. I could look into His heart, as He could look into mine. His breath became the air I breathed. His Presence… the Living Waters of which I drank, and it felled me.
It felled me.
Love filled the aching emptiness and broke everything wide open… the mind… the heart… the soul. Wide. Deep. High. Open.
And, I understood the grace of his death was my saving. Does that make sense? I’m reading these words just written, and I don’t know… do they convey what it is for an anguished pounding heart delivered into a new life? From numbness, empty living to everlasting… ever eternal peace and joy?
His death for Love. His death for kindnesses. His death for peace. His death for Truth. His death for All.
Rises in each one of us who is ready and called to believe in the power of Love.
I can see the Love in His eyes. I can feel the Love in His walk with me… in His talk with me… in His heart that finds mine.
What is it like to surrender my ways, my will for the Holy?
I am found. I am new. I have new life.
I am defined by His promises, which are many… and, shaped by His Word.
So yes, oh happy day. Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. To live, with all that comes with life, the loves and losses… in the knowing that His Love Endures Forever.
In the knowing that He Loves Me… and He Loves You, even if you’ve never heard His name… He Loves you too.
So yes, oh happy day. As brush to paint in the making of this piece ‘His Love Endures Forever’ – a little something to celebrate Him in glory. I’ve got a frame in mind to affix this (heavy textured paper) piece to… please pray I don’t wreck it in the process.
His Love Endures Forever | 18 x 24″ Acrylic on Paper
Heart to heart, love to love, may His face shine upon you,
How to live with arms wide open? Can I really do this?
It’s what God really wants for us… to live… to love… to be free… it’s what I’ve committed to do.
Here I am God, with arms wide open. Pouring out my life for you.
Draw me near, Lord… draw me near… and teach me.
I lift my hands up to you and I offer to you, my heart… to keep cleansing it… to keep breaking it open… to keep bringing to light the darkness… where the hurt is still too great… the worry… and the fear.
It’s easy to say I trust in you, God. But, holy holy holy it’s sometimes not so easy to actually live.
The seasons change, life changes. I know this. From the moment we are born… the moment we take our first breath, we begin the process of dying. We don’t live this way, of course. We don’t think of dying as we grow into the toddler, the child, the youth, the teenager… the young woman or man.
Not even as we have our own children… do we see… really see the changes… the inevitability of it all.
Our parents, they always seem old… it looks only the teensy bit different from year to year. We’re busy. We’re raising our own family. And mostly, we’re just busy at keeping busy. Striving to achieve our dreams, prove our worth, and make our mark in the world.
Then one day, suddenly they’re crippled… ailing… at least it seems that way… it certainly has for me.
My heart breaks in the wondering how it happened, so fast. Where has my living been that I hardened my soft heart. That I would resent them in their time of need, just when I thought I was finally getting my life together. Oh Lord, help me!
How backwards I’ve lived. What rocky ground have I been standing on? What lies have I believed… that would make me and my life more important than… what?
“We love because he first loved us.”
~ 1 John 4:19
But, you’ve called me to the alter. You’ve been showing me what it is to be filled to the measure of all the fullness of you, God… to drop to my knees in hallelujah of your grace.
My heart wide open now… feels their pain… their suffering… their ailing… as if it were my own. Oh, the aching torment of it… so real. The inevitable is drawing nearer and nearer. And, to them you’ve called me.
But, oh Lord, it’s hard… again, you can find me praying… hard.
When my father tells me he’s lonely.
When my mother sobs in torment of her physical and spiritual pain.
When they stumble and fall. When dad’s got massive bruises on his body, blood vessels breaking so easily.
When my brother, sister-in-law and I take them to appointments, and they inch along, hunched, bent over, grayed with life ebbing out of them.
When I take my mother’s hand in mind… her crooked, weak fingers… and I caress them praying love into her, praying for comfort to flow through me. She’s afraid… she’s so afraid… of the unforgiveness she hasn’t been able to surrender.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of my parents! Please grant me wisdom and strength to care for them in a way that honors them, and honors You. Help me show godliness to them, returning to them a portion of all they’ve done for me. Help them see You, in me and through me, and give them a heart for you. In you comes my strength, for on my own it’s an empty well. Imprint in my heart Philippians 4:13, ‘I can do everything through him who gives me strength.’ In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen
Two Sunday’s ago, in church, in the midst of feeling full of aching sadness, and near overwhelm with my empathic heart, I reached out in fellowship and found in a sister, one who understood as she lives in a similar journey.
It felt so good to share our stories, to support and encourage each other… to hold each other’s hand when the sermon spoke to us about LEANING IN to the seasons of change. Instead of fighting it, as we are apt to do, lean into it.
Lean into it…
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak.
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Lean into it… lean into it…
Lean into loving… lean into caring… lean into the ache… lean into the unknown… lean into living all of it.
I am called into this leaning.
Resistance is futile. It is not of The Way, The Truth or The Light.
Resistance is a sign of where we are called to dive into… with hearts wide open… to experience the fullness of it… to be tested… to grow our character and strength… and our faith.
Do you know of which I speak? Are you faced with any changing seasons in your family or life that you are struggling with? Can I pray for you? Please share in a comment below, or send me an email.
What if we turn our eyes upwards together, open our hands and asked God to show us the way. He promises to listen and make our paths straight when we turn to him.
“Call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”
~ Jeremiah 29:12-13
May our prayers be heard and may we be filled to the measure,