Sunday, November 16, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Still

*I never time myself for five minute Fridays.  I let the word lead me for however long it leads.*

I find that even with all the strides I have taken this year and how far I have come from where I was I am STILL me.  I STILL have the same under lying issues that I have always had.  I STILL struggle.

Some days, months, seasons even I struggle more than others.  This is that season.  The season when I have to push down even harder on all the things that try and push their way out of me.  All the unknown memories that tease me from the shadows.  The little girl trying to be heard, seen, remembered from behind her prison.  The little girl that has me clinging tight to a teddy bear at night.  

I push down hard on what is pushing up and burrow deeper into blankets and solitude.  Shutting myself off even when surrounded by people.  Closing in.  Walling off.

And the anger is there.  Anger at me. Anger at them (whoever the them is who feels too close to my walls, or let me down, or who makes for a good distraction from all the pushing that is going on inside.)  I don't lash out at most of them I just let it all reverberate inside of me.  Most of the time because I know the anger is petty and more of a me issue than a them issue.  

I STILL do all of this, but I am getting better at knowing and recognizing it.  Seeing it for what it is and acknowledging it.  I am also better at not completely hiding away from the world.  I am planning, and hosting, and not shaming myself for the internal pushing. 

I am working on showing up even when I want to hide away.  I am giving myself grace for when I can't force myself to show up.  I am working on giving others grace for their lack of understanding, and grace for the fact that some things could solely be my perception and not the reality.

I am STILL a work in progress.  Still working, still progressing.  

Still hurting, still wounded, still healing, still learning.

"Be still and know that I am God"
Psalm 46:10

I will sit in stillness and also IN my "STILL-ness" and know that God is God.  He has me in all of my stillness, no matter which meaning of still that I mean.  And I will let Him reign over it all.

Friday, November 7, 2014

An Invitation to Come

Here is the story I promised two days ago.  The story that came to me as I re-read my words here. It is a fictional story, but oh how it is filled with truth.  I pray that you also will come to the table that is set just for you.


I am standing among trees and grass in a manicured garden.  A gentle breeze blows past, "Come."
it whispers again.

I walk towards the breeze and see a table that has been set under the stretching arms of a willow tree. The seats around the table are many. Each place exquisitely set, yet each place setting is distinct.
As I stand there and take in its beauty  my fingertips feel the the softness of the cloth they are set upon and lightly draw across the rich velvet backs of the chairs.

There is a name card set in the center of the table that looks as though it was written by the hand of an artist.  I look closer at the name written in gold, it is my name.  The name, my name, seems to be deeper than the paper.  As I look at it, it is like looking into a window, a window with a moving golden sea behind it.

I am curious now as to the many settings, who will be joining me at this table? I look closer at the plates.  Each plate is painted with an inscription.

"For the one who feels small and weak. There is room here for you."

"For the one who feels alone and lost.  There is room here for you."

"For the one who feels the need to control.  There is room here for you."

"For the one who longs to dance.  There is room here for you."

"For the one who feels dirty.  There is room here for you."

"For the one who builds walls.  There is room here for you."

"For the one who paints.  There is room here for you."

"For the one who runs and hides.  There is room here for you."

"For the one who loves deeply.  There is room here for you."

On and on the plates went, each one claiming room for the intended occupant.

As I made my way around the table reading each one I began to wonder about this table with my name upon it. When I came back around to the first plate the table suddenly shrunk and there was only one plate left.  I looked at the plate in astonishment.

"For you.  There is room here for you." it read.

"I have invited you to My table and I want you to know that there is room here for all of you, for the all of you that makes you, you, both the good and the bad; the gentle and the harsh; the strong and the weak; the brave and the fearful."

I look up to see a man sitting across from me at the table. His voice was that of the whispering breeze that had invited me to "come".

"There is no part of you that is not invited to my table.  I have prepared it just for you,for every part of you. Let me fill the all of you that hungers and thirsts."

Jesus said to them,
 "I am the bread of life; 
he who comes to Me will not hunger,
 and he who believes in Me will never thirst.

John 6:35

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

An Invitation to Trust

*This post was originally shared on 10/2/13.  I was reading it again tonight and it sparked a fictional story that I am writing out and hopefully will be able to finish and share with you tomorrow. I am sharing it again as a pre-cursor to that story.*

When I was 9 years old I had a tea party for Jesus and my stuffed animals.  I set the places, laid the crackers and cheese, poured the water, and we all sat around in a circle; except for Jesus, His spot was empty.  I didn't expect Him to join us really, I hoped, I asked, I kept eyeing the crackers and cheese to see if He was eating some while I was unaware.  The plate stayed full and the spot empty.

I was 9 years old and incredibly lonely.  My parents worked 14 hour days, we lived in a business district with no friends in which to play with, and I desperately wanted Jesus to come and sit with me.  I knew He was in my heart, but I wanted to see Him, to know I really mattered enough that He would show up for a child's tea party and eat crackers and cheese.

Last week in church Pastor told us how in Jewish tradition they would pray with their arms held out like someone waiting for them to be filled.  It is an invitation for God to fill your empty arms. 

An invitation.   

An invitation to trust that God will show up, that He will fill that which is empty.  It is a figurative letting go of that which you are holding in order to make room for the filling. 

It is an invitation of trust.  You are trusting God and not yourself. 

I have held onto much.  Too much.  I have filled myself up and have been afraid to let it go.  I have been afraid that my life would be that empty chair, that I would make space and He wouldn't come.  (I am not talking about salvation, that I was sure of.)  Figuratively, I would always be that lonely girl eating cheese and crackers on her own.

At church when the Pastor suggested that we hold our arms out as we prayed I realized just how hard of an action this was for me.  It seems so simple, "Just open your arms up, woman!" I told myself.  "Just do it, why is this so hard?".  I didn't know why it was hard, just that it was, but I did it anyways.  I opened my arms up and they were filled with a quieting peace.  I let go of that tiny bit of control and He filled.

That was on Wednesday.

On Friday, I went to talk to the Pastor about things I have been holding onto and that hold onto me.  The last time I talked to him he suggested that I read a book by Neil T. Anderson called "Victory Over Darkness".  I had read it and figured we would talk about that, but the conversation went another way.  Pastor brought up great points that made me think.  When I came home I had forgotten to say some things that I had wanted to say, so I emailed them to him.

A big theme of the book is that we are a new Creation in Christ.  I have never understood that statement.  I mean I understand it conceptually, but not experientially.  I have been a Christian since 3 and so this is what I wrote that afternoon: "... in the book he mentioned a lot about the before you knew Christ and the after you knew Christ...that whole new creation concept.....  well, I have ALWAYS known Christ, so not only is there not that feeling of difference, but everything that has happened to me or by me has always been done while in Christ, so it almost makes me angry when he brings that up so much in the book and I am not sure why anger is the emotion that comes up in it but it is."

This was his reply to that: "What I want you to discover is that though you have made mistakes since being in Christ, THAT is who you ARE.  When things happen when we are young, it shifts how we see ourselves moving us into deception about who we really are.  Even when one becomes a Christian young, if how they see themselves becomes contorted by the lies of the enemy, they will still act in ways that do not reflect who they really are.  It is like if a prince is kidnapped and is raised by paupers, he IS a prince but he lives like/acts like a pauper and does not access the riches due his true place in life.  THAT is what has happened to you.  More than anything I want you to get (I mean REALLY GET) who you are REGARDLESS of what you did or what was done to you.  How do you think you can do that?"

Honestly, I had no idea just how I was going to do that.  I gnawed on it in the back of my mind all afternoon.  Then that evening the prompt for that week's Five Minute Friday was truth.  I had no idea what was going to come out in it, I just sat and wrote.  As I wrote the answer to his question came.  I need to stop holding onto all the how's, the why's, and the lies and just walk in that truth that was staring me in the face.  The ones I had read about in the book, the ones I have heard about all my life but have never been able to feel, see, or believe for myself. 

I need to realize that the spot at my table might have been left empty, but the reality is that Christ has set a spot for me at His table with so much more than crackers, cheese, and water. I need to be the one to show up.  It is showing up at His table, not mine, that feeds a hungry heart and comforts a lonely little girl.

It is His truths I need to follow.  They are what will lead me to the table not the lies that left me  torn and bleeding in the brambles .  I need to turn and walk in who I am in Him.  I don't want fear to keep me sitting at my own little table staring at an empty chair just because I am afraid that His invitation somehow wasn't really meant for me.