The Heart of the Unseen

Yesterday, someone connected to us died.
In his car.
In a park.
Surrounded by joyful play. Exuberant runners. And the fullness of God’s playground.
He died. Alone.
Oblivious to the joy outside his window.
Untouched by the souls of men
Invisible to the sight of joy
He died.
But what if?
Death preceded him
The death of hope
The death of joy
The death of peace
preceded the death of his body
That maybe he had abandoned life before it abandoned him
Sub zero despair.
I’ve been there.
The place where the irrational eclipses the rational
Where loss overshadows gain
When emptiness consumes a full tank.
Hidden from the purview of men
Insulated from the grasp of concern
A soul is groaning
Right before your eyes
Is it me you’re looking for?
Absence of response
We walk away
Saying…he didn’t tell me
But he did
With the emptiness of his eyes
With the frailty of his voice
With the flush of his face
He said everything
By saying nothing at all
Slow down and see me
Sit down and hug me
Hang up and tell me
I am not alone
And connected
A heart may be filled
A soul may be touched
And life may be restored
Alone. He died.
But death may have preceded him.

The Wave

Accepting the reality of “what is” is often one of the hardest things we as Christians are asked to do…
The disappointment of a change never coming, can be a knee-breaking experience from which a recovery feels beyond reproach…
Accepting the person that was chosen to love and protect you can change, but probably won’t…
Accepting a “bad” doctor’s report can change, but probably won’t…
This reluctant acceptance can circumcise the heart in a way that approaches a dimension of hurt that feels almost unrecoverable.
So what do you do when you’ve invested all your heart and soul in a situation that could change, but probably won’t?
You cry…
In fact…you cry a lot…
pexels-photo-405131.jpegYou open the floodgates of your soul and allow the depths of your pain to overtake you like the waves of the ocean…
And you fall…
And you’re reminded…
Just how vulnerable you are…
That no matter how deluded we are…
we are yet often one wave away from a complete smack down..
And it hurts…
and that hurt unsettles all the sand of insecurity and hurt on which you stood…
And then…
you wipe the smack of the wave that submerged you from your face…
And you keep blinking until the burn from the salt-soaked surf releases it grip.
You test your footing. ..
And tell yourself. ..
I’m ok…
I survived…
I may be knocked down, but I’m ok. ..
And you remind yourself a little saltwater never killed nobody…
And the next time…
You decide…
This time…
I’m just gonna channel my inner surfer girl and ride the heck out of that wave…
And not fight it…
And know…
like the last wave…
I’m gonna be…ok.
And you pray…
Oh Lord…
this smackdown hurts…
In fact, it stings…
but I ask You to remind me oh Lord,
this is not my first wave, and it likely won’t be my last.
Remind me of the waves of my childhood. The ones that knocked me down, and at times overtook me…
but never unsettled my resolve to get up…and ride on…
May I take this knocked down time to: “feed on Your faithfulness,” and sip on “Your lovingkindness before my eyes,”
so that I can ride this wave right past the eyes of my horizon…
into Your loving arms…
yet again.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
“Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.”
Psalms 37:3 NKJV
“For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes, And I have walked in Your truth.”
Psalms 26:3 NKJV

Thoughts Gone Wild

So often we find ourselves frustrated by the fruit of our harvest asking ourselves why have the promises of God fallen short? I am regularly guilty of asking why me…again.
But, as I read Psalms 1 today… again, a feeling of pure bliss came over me as I visualized   this scripture.    He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water,That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper (Psalms 1:3 NKJV).        Blooming Tree           That tree is like the ultimate dream to me. How wonderful it would be to be planted by rivers of water where I can hear the water ripple and the birds chirp and cold water seep into my roots as I drink from this place of refreshing. How awesome it would be if I land in a place where I exude confident strength while being planted in a place of serenity, strength and fruitfulness. Oh how I wish this could be for me. But, for the first time, this morning,  it clicked for me… this could be me…and truth be told it could be you.

As I write the very words, “this could be me,” I feel the wheels of resistance pushing forth within my soul.  I feel my soul remind me that a place of confident, refreshing rest has never been my reality, so how could it be now. My soul says it can barely remember a time when I didn’t feel run down, forgotten and overrun by life. My life couldn’t be more busy with four kids in 3 different schools, one long distance preparing for college, while I’m still trying to figure out how to pursue my passion, satisfy my husband, and not get lost in the process. Really Lord? What kind of practical joke is this?
And then it clicked…as I read Psalms 1,
One word literally hit me…
ok, stop, pause.
I know your immediate reaction might go something like this, “ain’t nobody got time to be pulling out a yoga mat in the carpool line chanting Namaste.” Or, “if I had free time like that, I wouldn’t be busy.”
But that’s not what He’s talking about here. And, honestly, what he’s talking about, you already spend time doing all day…
The question isn’t do you have time to think…
But rather what do you use your time to think about.
Literally. .. what are you thinking about all day.
Most times I’m thinking about how am I going to do this and be there. How can I be here and be there at the same dang time. So, if my thoughts are here and there, then how can they be on Him.  Look, I’m not about to go super spiritual when really I know all you need is the super practical.
So here it is…
You are never going to experience that tree sitting by the river being refreshed all day.  There I said it. You’re not.
Not doing things the way you’ve been doing them expecting a different result.
You want something different, but often we are not willing and committed to doing something different.
The key to the refreshing as this scripture illustrates is your thoughts. Ask yourself what thoughts are you basking in… because what you are thinking about is running your life.
You have given your thoughts, which never earned a license, the keys to drive.  And the only place those same thoughts are driving you is…CRAZY. And don’t ask me how I know. Lol
So, today, I declare I’m taking my keys back.  Busyness, anxiety, fear, worry ain’t driving no more. Take your keys back and drive your thoughts to Jesus.
Here are some steps I have taken in 2018 that might help you shape what this might practically look like.
Step One: Erase one thing off your things to do list this week. Just one. It needs to be a thing that you’ve allocated at least an hour for. For me, it was NOT going to one of my kid’s basketball games.
Step Two: Sit in that feeling of guilt.  The feeling of fearing letting people down. That you’re being selfish. Because the Truth is you may let someone down, and you are being selfish.  My question to you is how has not behaving that way worked out for you. Busy, worn down and weary are not paths God ever speaks of desiring for us.  Caring for the temple of God positions us to pursue His purpose, and trumps guilt and other people. Remember, it is impossible to please God and people.
Step Three:  During that hour, take that time you committed to be somewhere else and sit down with one Chapter in the Book of Psalms, any are great, but I found a great deal of wisdom in Psalms 37. Read it slowly, like at the pace you read it when you were just learning how to read.
Step Four: As you read it slowly, see which word or phrase (usually no more than 3) jumps out at you.
Step Five: Ask the Lord, why that specific word(s) jumped out at you specifically.
Step Six:  Be deliberate about creating more quiet space to reflect and think. For me, since I spend soooo much time in the car driving from one activity to the next. On the car ride where I have no kids, I turn off the radio, put the cell phone out of reach or on airplane mode, and reflect on the word or phrase that jumped out at me in Psalms. It’s much easier to remember a word or two than a whole verse. As your thoughts race back to the things you have to do, pop those words from Psalms into your mind.
If you change your thought…you can change your life…