6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Friday, November 14, 2014
Thursday, November 6, 2014
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Monday, October 27, 2014
I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me. Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us. Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places.
Wow. That's a lot of faith right there. And that's what it comes down to then right? That if we believe God is who he says he is, we have to believe that we are also his creation, made in his image, and beloved by Him.
Despite our circumstances and our sadness. Despite the world that tells us we are unimportant or others who disregard us.
The world and people can and may reject us. The word of man can be betrayed and vows revoked. Nothing in this life is certain.
Nothing but the love of God. Despite how unworthy we may feel or how small we are. How much we want to hide or how much we wrestle with the worthiness of our lives.
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.
Defiled. It's such an intimidating word, but important. Because defiled is what your mind becomes when you allow your circumstances and your situation to outshine the knowledge that God is sovereign. That He is awake to all things, even when you are asleep. That when you rage and cry and scream and wail He is still in control.
I lost my way in this. I allowed my life to become bigger than my God. I let my troubles become much much bigger than what I know to be true.
I don't like to give evil a lot of credit. I tend to try to ignore the fact that there is a force other than the One I love and live for in this world. But I can see, step by step, how insidious and easy it is to get a foothold in my thoughts. And once it is there how moment by moment it creeps and finds other thoughts to feed on.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Thursday, August 14, 2014
When I was baptized at 7, I was given a beautiful statue of St Mary. Cream, gold, and light pink, she sat on my dresser and watched me. Her eyes were downcast, her face serene. Sometimes I would take her down and hold her. I would wrap her in a blanket, set her next to me for picnics. She was treasured not just for what she was, but for what she represented- a mother.
I took her on every move, every switch from home to home. She was a tangible reminder of hope and of a home I had lost.
When I was 13, I dropped her. I remember watching in slow motion as she fell, her pieces scattering everywhere on the tile floor. Small daggers rained over my feet, drawing miniscule drops of bright red blood. I could not move for fear of injury. There was no place to go, no movement that would not cause pain.
I feel like I have been living in that very moment for the past several months.
Paralyzed. Held in place by the fear of pain. In suspended motion, waiting for rescue- while the broken pieces of something I held so precious sit around me.
Anger, bitterness, sadness, helplessness. All of these are things we go though. Seasons we live through. These seasons can either make you bitter and turn your back on what you know is true, or they can make you draw closer to God and the truth that no matter what, He is working for your good.
He is sovereign. He knows everthying that is, everything that will be, and everything that has been. Nothing that happens is a surprise to him.
But for us, living down here with our humanity and the dirt and pain that just living can create- this is sometimes such cold comfort.
I have watched, silent and unmoving, as people I have loved for years have turned their faces away from me. I have been quiet as their silence descended on myself and my family like a shroud, weighing us down.
I have listened to the battering ram of words thrown at me. I have sat still in the accusation. Not because I am without guilt or mistakes, but because I cannot defend myself against untruth.
Only God can do that.
I could hurl a million words at this situation. I could wail and weep and cry and wring my hands. I could be loud and bold and angry with those involved.
But in the end, it would get me nowhere. My only defense is my faith.
I have tried to hold tight to the words in Exodus 14:14- "The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."
Please don't mistake me- I have shook my hands at God and begged him to reveal the truth. I have cried and broken down so fully that I was afraid for my own sanity.
This has been pain like none other. To keep quiet. To hide my tears. To hold my head up when all I wanted to do was fall on the ground.
Here's the thing though- pain always hurts. But pain always teaches. Always.
When I have felt like ALL was taken from me- my friendships, my good name, my reputation, my peace... He was still there.
When I felt there would never be any rest ever again...He brought me comfort.
When I cried in front of my children and saw the fear in their eyes, He gave me the words to help them understand.
He led my husband to hold me and pray over me- when I was to angry to pray.
He covered me. In the times when I wept and hid and hurt and agonized, he was there. Covering me with His love.
I still don't understand. I don't think I ever will. And even now, months later, there are still fresh wounds and losses.
But what I am learning most of all is this: I can allow this to make me hard. I could let it drain me of the kindness and the love I have worked really hard to be able to show the world. I could let it turn me back into the closed off hurting woman I once was. Or I could use it to propel me even deeper into faith and love than I have ever been before.
Some days I truly don't know which way it will go. Let's just be really honest- if you don't put yourself out there you arent rejected. If you don't reach out, you wont be rebuffed. If you don't give of yourself nobody will tell you you aren't good enough. You won't ever be betrayed if you don't allow anybody close enough to betray you.
But you will be alone.
I don't think God wants us to be alone. I think he wants us to be discerning, and to be careful of our company. But I think surely he wants us to have joy. And I don't know about you, but most of my joy comes from loving others and my interactions with them. Much of my joy comes from being KNOWN and from knowing others and trying to serve them.
It's a hard battle being fought in my heart. From day to day I cannot tell you which way it will go. All I know is God knows. And that enough for me right now.
I remember when I broke my statue. I stood for what seemed like hours, crying and wishing it had not happened. I called out for help, but nobody came.
So I had to move my feet- step down on the glass. I had to kneel among the fragments of what I loved and pick them up. I had to bleed.
I bled and wept as I put her back together, piece by small piece. My hands are still scarred, to this day.
She was never the same, but she was still precious. She was still treasured, although she was not whole. And she was loved even through the brokenness.
Monday, February 10, 2014
She was damaged by a lineage of mental illness, and by abuse at the hands of her own mother.
Damaged. Ruined. Beyond repair.
By the time she died, her body showed signs of a life lived on the edge of death. Lungs riddled with cancer, body broken by a life of neglect. Rotten teeth, a face that looked 60 at 46.
She damaged herself on the outside to try to match the inside. She riddled herself with cancer, filled her body with poison, and invited any and all abuse she could find into her life.
And I loved her. Because daughters love their mother. I still love her. I hate what she did to me, and I hate her for leaving me. But I love her.
She damaged me. I am damaged. I am the damaged child of a damaged dead woman.
I own this. I own my past. I own the legacy of abuse. I hold the memory of things nobody should. I carry it every single blessed day of my life.
I carry it, here, in this damaged mind.
But damaged does not mean broken.
I am not broken.
I will never be broken.
Because my life has been filled, from beginning to end, with God's enduring grace.
Every footstep I have ever taken has been dogged by a God that loves me. And every single action that has been taken against me- every wound, every burn, every word, has been redeemed. Every time I was left, abandoned, and betrayed, I may have felt alone, but I was NEVER ALONE.
Damage is ugly. It hurts. In inflicts pain. And long past the point the damage is healed, it can still be felt.
But damage is also beautiful. Because in the silence of being left behind by all of those who were supposed to love me, I reached for His voice. I reached beyond my circumstance. I reached through tears, past wounds, and beyond myself. I pushed past all I have ever known and pressed on until I found grace.
That can never be taken away from me. Ever.
I am damaged. But my damage is a thing of beauty. It is beautiful and holy and sacred. It is pain and it is crushing. It is what happened to me, BUT IT IS NOT ME.
Because what I am is a child of God. Saved. Lifted from circumstance of birth into a life I could never have imagined.
Lifted into motherhood. Given into a role I was terrified of.
I'm scared every single day. Scared of not getting this right. Of passing on the damamge. Of showing the damamge.
I'm scared. But I refuse to be pulled down. I refuse to sink into what I was shown, and instead I walk a path lit by the One who has always guided my steps.
I don't know how to be a mother. I was never mothered. But I know how to love God. And I know how to love my children. And I know how to give them what I wasn't.
Scars are proof you have lived. Damage is proof of life.
It's how you utilize that damamge. To create beauty or to inflict pain. The choice is ultimately up to me.
I choose to love. I choose to use the pain to teach me how to love.
I may not always get it right. And I may struggle with memory and trauma. But I will always choose to love. Nobody can take that from me.
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.