Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Even I - A Reflection on Psalm 53

Only fools say in their heart there is no God......

Only fools......

Only them.....



The fool says there is no God, yet I am guilty everyday and in a million little ways of living my life as if this were true. 

I may not deny God's existence, but I do not live in the fullness of the Kingdom, do I?

Photo Credit: http://asharedlens.smugmug.com/Art/Stock-Backgrounds/25086712_pDmNcq#!i=2056025472&k=mrj4Jb5&lb=1&s=XL


In the breaking in and breaking through. 

In Heaven invading earth. 

In God moving through and in our lives on a daily basis. 


The knowledge of God's existence is ever present. The knowledge and understanding of His deity and presence is often overlooked and missed. 

My whispered, "Dear God be with him," when I see someone hurting doesn't acknowledge who God is the same way my hands moving to help, powered by the Spirit, does.

And when weary and discouraged I tell myself things will never change, that there are no more chances or opportunities......



Only fools say in their heart there is no God.....

Only fools......

Only them......

.........even I.







Friday, April 26, 2013

A Circle of Alone



I wrote this last week at Panera. My amazing husband sent me off - God bless him - to get some me time. And there, alone, my mind swirled. The past week or two I've read post after post about friendship and friendship circles.

I've hesitated publishing this. I know there is a difference between the God's honest truth and how we perceive things with our fragile, broken hearts. And my heart is particularly fragile. . . and broken.

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Look, it's been something that I've known, but haven't wanted to admit aloud. But little by little it has been moving closer and closer to the forefront. So here it is.

I don't think I'm a very good friend.

Fun thing to admit, eh?

I've done my best, but my best hasn't been very good. We moved here four years ago, 8 1/2 months pregnant. Had a baby, he started grad school, had another baby, and finally finished school. Every bit of my energy has been spent keeping my tired head above water.

But here in the wake of it all, I realize it wasn't enough. And her I sit, alone. Now we have time but no one to share it with.

No, that's a lie. It's a lie I am telling myself. I do have friends. I do. 

But not only have I not had the time to invest in them, in our relationship, I haven't had the emotional strength to invest. I've guarded this battered, betrayed, hurt heart. I've covered it up. Boarded it up. Guarded it. Hidden it. the hurt it endured was so painful that I shut down. And when another relationship hit a rough spot, I boarded up shop not able to fix it.

So here, in this new place, I've kept my distance. So exhausted. So scared.

And in all this talk of circles, levels of trust, I realize I don't have many to fill most of those spots. The spots where you become vulnerable and open.

There are people I care about and I know they care about me (thank you for being those amazing people who love me despite me). But we aren't sharing life together in the way in the way we could be because I haven't been around, both physically and emotionally. It's on me. I know. But it still aches.

I posted to some online friends this question:

Do you ever wish you could disappear and return as a new and better version of yourself? 
I feel like I am just looking in from the outside. 

And they all said yes. That we go through life thinking Junior High will end. But it keeps coming back.

Then a friend said we should call or Skype.

Crap.

I don't even know how to talk on the phone anymore.

I'm back in Junior High. Feeling so alone. Unpopular. Scared. Awkward. 

I'm at some horrid dance and I can see others having a good time. I know who they are. They say hi, but they came with other friends so I sit there. Frozen. Wishing I were somewhere else.

And can I tell you? I know I'm not alone on this one. I wrote this out a week ago and since then I've heard another half a dozen people I care about compare the blogosphere to Junior High, so I think I'm on to something here.

So there. I've laid it all out. I'm a tired, scared, and crappy friend who wants friendships - the kind where you share the deep, scary, uncertain parts. The kind where you encourage each other. Pray for each other. Kick each other in the butt.

The kind where you stop by for coffee and don't care that the house is messy. The kind where you swap out kids. The kind where you can sit on the couch together and just talk and talk, and don't notice the laundry in the corner, the little girl crawling around, and the loud voices of a gaggle of girls because you are lost in conversation and coffee.

Online friendships where those "ahead" of you take you alongside. Encourage you when you are on to something good. Tell you the truth when something just falls flat. And most importantly, makes you feel like you a part of it all, that you won't be looking in from the outside forever.

But I don't know what to do. I'm just an awkward teen stumbling around. Lost.

Have you found your friendships have changed over the years? Any tips? How do you navigate online friendships in a world where it can feel like one giant clique?




Post Script:
I wrote this on Saturday from a very vulnerable place. Sunday I signed up to go to a women's conference at my church and found some friends to "sit with." Then on Monday I met a friend from the blogging world for a playdate. Over the past few days I have talked to friends who share much of this, even if coming from slightly different angles. It feels good to share this and let it out. I feel like I'm growing. Just a bit.


Friday, April 19, 2013

I Wonder What They Think - Guest Post

I have been reading Alise McCoy's blog almost as long as I have been reading blogs. Here candor, humor, and transparency have sucked me in. She's also an amazing writer. I met her at STORY last year and had a totally embarrassing fan girl moment, so the fact that I get to guest post for her today leaves me blushing.

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I grew up with a small, Evangelical family. With just a few cousins, we weren't close knit. The closest we ever got to an interfaith relationship was a Catholic uncle here and a "backslider" there. Looking back it is almost laughable. It was something that I didn't give a lot of thought to - we were all Christians.

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Join me at Alise's where I share what happened as that whole dynamic was turned upside down when I married into my husband's beautiful family!




Wednesday, April 10, 2013

God of My Children - The God of This City Series

If you have not come across Emily Miller, make yourself acquainted. Yes, she is a talented writer, but her heart for hospitality and her spirit of encouragement are out of this world. Seriously. She is a gift.

Emily is hosting a series on her blog, God of This City. Be sure to catch up on all the goodness she has going on there.

I am so grateful for this opportunity, and for Emily's grace. I had planned to write something entirely different, but over the past few weeks God has been softening my heart, and reigniting a passion to live here in the city, despite the difficulties that come from it. So just hours before it was due, I rewrote the piece. This is a much more accurate reflection of my heart and thought process. Thanks for reading!


I am writing this from a dear friend's house in Florida. The window is open, and I can smell the wet, fresh earth meeting a rising sun. I hear the birds and crickets calling each other across the marsh as the smell of jasmine wafts in through the open door. It is less than three hours from airport to airport, but i might as well be worlds away.

When my husband and I were first married, we lived in London. That was the first time I experienced city living, and I quickly fell in love. I had grown up ensconced in the suburbs and always imagined raising my future children in a two-story home with a good fence, a swingset, and room for upward mobility.

Yet despite our similar upbringings, we found ourselves with a dream to live intentionally, so we packed up our raised ranch and left the suburbs of Connecticut for the city of Chicago while eight months pregnant with a toddler in tow.


Click here to keep reading.......



Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Bounce Back

But those that trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

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The sun has been shining and we've even cracked open the windows. It doesn't matter that without the sun the breeze is still too cold. We just wear our socks and sweaters and breathe deep. In my dining room, where I type out words on my laptop is a vase filled with daffodils that I bought Easter morning and a gorgeous vase of multicolored tulips - a gift from a friend at Easter dinner. And all I smell is Spring. 

We wore jackets today without hats and mittens, and we drove home with the sun roof open as we sang Paul Simon at the top of our lungs. 


We listen to a lot of Paul Simon around here. When I think about it, he is probably one of my favorite writers. The way he strings his words together in such a way that you know in your soul what the song means, but if someone were to ask, you would be at a loss. 

Today the rhythm of the drums in "Obvious Child" spoke to my heart reminding me with each beat that we weren't made for a "regular" life, whatever that means. I know my home isn't in a house, but somewhere we have yet to be.


And at a stoplight my Katie spied a tree with buds on it and said, "Look, spring is coming. It's waking up. I'm undone." (I think she has been secretly reading my blog at night, because really, what 5 year old says "I'm undone"?)

Today I realized how very long this winter has been; it has been here for years. But now the sun is breaking through. Not just bits and pieces here and there, but I can feel it press through the atmosphere over and over and over and with it comes redemption. 

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Outside our window are telephone wires and we often find birds will come here to sit. And I've watched them longingly, wishing  I could soar like they do. It's my One Word, you know, but the past two months I have felt like anything other than soaring. The weight of the world has been unrelenting and I feel a push that leaves me gasping for air. So I watch those birds, just wonder-struck at the ease at which they fly.

Photo: http://asharedlens.smugmug.com/Nature

And then I see it. I see the birds fly. And they don't leave that wire the way I think they do. It's not just the majestic opening of wings as they step out and trust that their body and the wind will take them where they need to go. For just a moment I see it. They crouch down, press their bodies down, pushing against the wire, and then go up. They are pressed down before soaring out.

In that moment, I feel that weight lift off of me and I can feel myself prepare to soar. There's a bounce back. My heart opens up. I feel the breeze and I still hear those drums. 

I've been waking up at sunrise
I've been following the light across my room
I watch the night receive the room of my day
Some people say the sky is just the sky
But I say
Why deny the obvious child?
Why deny the obvious child?




Linking up for my monthly One Word update with Kristin, Jen, Sonny, Katie, and Kari with more to come. Be sure to check out their journeys as well.


And check out the Imperfect Prose community as we find redemption even in the messiness of life.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

In the Middle - A Guest Post


If you asked me if I was poor growing up, I’d probably have said yes. There was always food on the table and a roof over our heads, but things were “tight.” Uncomfortably so. There were no second glasses of milk and a ridiculous amount of generic boxed pasta. Our clothing budget was based upon gifts from relatives and the kindness of strangers. And our car frequently ran on fumes. I didn't get my license until out of college, because our cars could never pass the safety and emissions tests necessary to get my license.
In my early twenties, my church taught that it wasn't okay to say you were poor. Broke? Yes. But poor? No. Poor was a state of mind, and as Christians we should be “positive,” or something like that. Jesus wanted us to have life and have it more abundantly, which obviously meant financially, especially if you tithed. Poverty became something akin to sin.
I knew that when I had kids, I would do whatever I had to in order to shield them from the pain that I went through as a result of our financial difficulties.
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Today I am guest posting at Love Is What You Do for the amazingly articulate and giving J.R. Goudeau. She's amazing. Follow her blog. Now.