Sunday, November 8, 2015

The House


There once was an architect who built a beautiful little house.  The design was flawless and there was no lack in the attention to detail that was put into this house.  The architect saw the house he had created and was pleased.

After a few years some people saw the house and decided to vandalize it.  They tore off the shutters and picked the locks.  They came into the house and did much damage, breaking things and destroying what the architect had designed.  

As the years went by and storms came and went the winds and the rains began to rot the little house from the inside out. It was no longer protected by the architect’s design, because the vandals had ignored its value and used it for their own purposes. 

The little house no longer cared who came inside. Anyone was welcome, because the company was better than the loneliness .

Some of the people who came tried to fix the broken parts.  They put up wall paper over the mold and damages and painted the outside to hide the rotting boards.  

The little house looked better, but inside it was still rotting away behind the fresh paint and pretty papers.  

The architect saw the little house and the damages that had been done to his creation and what others had done to try and cover them.  

He was saddened that his perfect little house was no longer the way he had designed it to be.

He began sending people to the house to pull down the wall paper that hid the mold and to scrape away the paint that covered the rot.

The house thought it was being demolished.  

More people came and stripped the house down.  Tearing out more than the house thought was possible to be removed and still be left standing.

The demolition hurt.  

Standing exposed for all to see felt worse than the rotting had.  The house wished it had never been built.

Slowly though as the old was removed and the new was brought in the house began to feel strong again.  

As the builders built the architect designed.  His original design had been perfect, but this house had seen a lot and stood through a lot of storms, the house needed a fresh design, new ways to protect it from future vandals and to stand as a beacon to others that had been vandalized.  Yes, this house would serve a new purpose.  

The vandals had sought only to destroy what the architect made.

Others thought only to cover the damages, not to repair them.

But the architect knew his home and knew what it needed and what it could do.

The repairs took a long time.  

There were times that no one worked so that what had already been done had time to set. If the time hadn’t been allowed the house would not be as strong and any new work would be built on a weak foundation.

The little house only knew what was happening as it happened, it did not see the architects design. There were days when the house thought it would never be completed.

Finally one day all the work was finished.  The house sat tall and strong.  It learned who to let in and who to keep out and if anyone picked the locks it knew that the architect would come and repair it.

The house had gone from being broken and vulnerable to the storms to now being a refuge during them.  

Friday, November 6, 2015


I have been working on a story that may end up being a novel.  I would like to introduce you all to Ruby.

*A very rough first draft*

Chapter One

Ruby walked out onto the front steps and breathed in deeply.  She watched as her breath formed a cloud in the crisp fall air.  Today was the first day of the rest of her life.  She smiled a little at how hokey that sounded in her head.  The leaves around her were dying.  She took in the bold colors.  It was a beautiful death she thought.  A bright yellow leaf fluttered past her in the wind and landed in a puddle.  She hoped her death of sorts would be as graceful.

She took in another deep breath and walked into her new life, suitcase in hand.  A bright yellow cab drove her to her new home.   As the cab pulled up to the curb she opened the door and saw the reflection of yellow from the midst of the watery sidewalk.  The symbolism between the cab and the the leaf from earlier was not lost on her.  It was her own fluttering in the wind, this ride to her future and now she was near her end; the end of who she was and the way she had learned to be.

She wanted to jump back into the cab and drive away to anywhere but here, but she knew that this death was necessary.  Just as in nature, there has to be a death before new growth can occur and if there was one thing she needed it was new growth.  New life.  A resurrection.  The old had to die so that new could come and she was ready.  At least that is what she told herself.

Once settled into her new room, Ruby pulled out her journal.

November 1

The leaves are all dying.  It seems a fitting farewell.  I am terrified of this next chapter, this shedding that I will be doing, because I know that just like the trees I will be laying myself bare.  There will be nothing left in which to hide myself behind.  
I will be exposed and left naked.  

I must remember that I chose this.  I chose to come here. This process is necessary.  I can do this.  I am ready and I am terrified.

A knock came on the door. Ruby closed her journal and placed it in her drawer underneath her underwear.


“Yes, I am coming.”

Ruby opened the door to a well dressed woman.  She was much younger than Ruby had expected, much prettier, too.

“I am Dr. Mary Robins, are you ready for your first session?”

She gathered up all her courage and gave a nod.  As she followed Dr. Robins down the hallway she noticed her shoes and how much she liked them.  They were stylish, yet sensible, if cute shoes were any indicator of a person’s personality she figured she was going to like this woman just fine.

As they entered the room Ruby took inventory of her surroundings.  There was a couch, two chairs, a desk, and some bookcases.  One of the chairs was very definitely meant for  the Doctor, the couch was closest to that chair and the other chair was at the other end of the couch, opposite the Dr’s.  The bookshelves were lined with books and some personal photos.  The walls were painted a cheery shade of tan, the perfect amount of color to give the room a homey feel, and make you forget you were at an institution.  There was a large mirror behind the couch. Ruby caught a glimpse of herself just long enough to regret it.  She may have been good at hiding behind her put together exterior for others, but she could never hide herself from her own reflection and the truth she saw looking back at her.  Yes, those eyes of hers may have been a mirror for others to see what it was they wanted to see, but for her they were always a window and she never liked what she saw inside them. She made a mental note to avoid looking there in the future.

As the door was shut behind her she quickly had to decide where she should sit.  If she sat in the chair farthest away she would seem stand offish, that would not be a good impression.  The spot closest to Dr. Robins seemed too familiar and vulnerable.  The middle of the couch would have to do, safe, but not distant.

Once she was seated the panic began to set in.  What was she doing here?  What had she done?  This was too much, she was in way over her head?  What had she been thinking?  She closed her eyes, slid her hands underneath her legs, and took a deep breath, then another.  She let all the emotions out with each exhale.

“Calm down, Ruby, you can do this.  Today will be simple, she is just going to ask you simple questions.  The hard work will come later, today you will be fine.”

Ruby opened her eyes and let them move from the sight of her own feet over to the pair of cute shoes and then up to Dr. Robins eyes.  Her face was kind and her eyes held a gentle wisdom.

“Let’s start by telling me a little bit about yourself.”

There was a notebook in her lap and a pen in her hand ready to write.

“What would you like to know?”

“Whatever it is you think is important to tell me.”

Her mind raced furiously to think of what it was she should say, what she thought she was supposed to find important. She was here to be brave and her mind wouldn’t let her think.  She said the first safe and relevant thing that came to mind.

“Well, I am sitting here, so that should tell you something.”

“What should that tell me?”

“That I am broken.  A little crazy, maybe.  And weak for needing to even sit here.”

“Okay, let’s break that statement down a bit more.  What is it that makes you broken?”

“Life?  Yes, life, and maybe God.”

“So, those two things made you broken, but what parts of you did they break specifically and how?”

“Life broke my will to continue living most days.  It broke my trust.  Life and God broke my sense of worth.  Life has become this thing that I just have to get through until I can finally die.  Although there are moments of happiness there is always something lurking in the shadows, just waiting to catch me, bring me down.  God, He created me.  He created me knowing full well what life was going to give me and He created me anyways.  He created me in order to be broken, to be used.”

“What happened to break your trust and steal your joy? How were you used?”

Those question went too far.  Before the words could even form an answer in her mind the terror came bubbling up.  A nauseating pit grew deep in her belly and a sharp clawing  feeling scratched at her chest.  Just the thought of speaking the memories out loud had her nails digging into her arms.  She shook her head “No”.  She wasn’t going to answer that. She couldn’t.

Dr. Robins saw her reaction to the question and wrote down a couple of notes.

“It is okay, we can come back to that later.  Why don’t you tell me what you are feeling right now.”

“Panic, terror, it is hard to put into words.”

“That is okay, just take as long as you need and when you are ready can you tell me what makes you say you might be crazy?”

There was much that Ruby could say on that, but not right now, not after all her internal alarms had been set off.  All she wanted to do right now was to sleep, shut this choice of being here off, close her eyes and make everything around her be gone.  That wasn’t an option though. She had come here to battle, to beat the demons that clawed at her thoughts, but she felt as though she was losing.  Talking had always been hard for her.  Writing was always the safer option, but a pen can only slay so much.

She looked down at her feet as she spoke. “Sane people don’t beg God to kill them. Sane people don’t need to check themselves into mental institutions and before you ask, that is what makes me weak.  Being here makes me weak, because I can’t figure out how to continue living on my own.  I need someone else to help me and that makes me weak.  It makes me vulnerable.  In my life vulnerability is never safe.”

“I don’t see weakness when I look  at you.  It took a lot of courage for you to come here.  It is very brave to admit you need help and then to find someone that can help you.  Weakness is nowhere in this room.  How would you describe this desire within you to both want to live and to want to die?”

“It is a war.”

“Let me ask you this question, how many wars do you know that are won by a single soldier?  You don't  have to answer that, but as we leave here I would like you to think about this, if wars are won by an army, wouldn’t it make sense that a strong soldier would gather other soldiers to help win the battle?”

Ruby let that soak in as she made her way back to her room.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Giving You Permission To Shine

Over the summer I pretty much shut down all creativity.  It is hard for me to create without space to myself.  Whether that space be physical or mental.  In the summer I get very little of either with all of the kids at home.  I did however enjoy a lot of Netflix.  I made it through all the seasons of X-Files, plus both the movies, minus any episodes that dealt with demonic content.  I love a good sci-fi show. I followed up X-files with Fringe, but I have yet to finish it.  Once school started I picked up my creative vibe again and have been spending a lot of my free time painting and drawing.

I thought I would share some of them with you.

These three were all done with acrylic paints.
The first one is my attempt at impressionism. The second one is a fun Autumn tree and a lot of playing around with colors.   What I find most interesting about these is that I did not like them when I first made them. I did not like them even a little tiny bit.  I was tempted to paint right over them, but as a few days went by they began to grow on me and now I actually really like them.  I might even hang them on my wall.

I think I am like that with myself a lot as well. What I originally see in myself as sub par and ugly can change into something worthwhile and charming, it just takes time to allow myself to get there.  Once I can let go of the pre-conceived vision of what I had wanted it (it being the painting, my life, myself, etc. ) to be I can accept the beauty in the reality of what it is.

The third was a request by a friend. It is a portrait of her daughter.  I still have a lot to learn on shading and depth. Her mouth is my favorite part.  She is a beautiful little girl and I hope I have done her justice.

As I was getting my creative spark back I bought a set of 36 water color pencils at AC Moore's.  Can I tell you how much I love these things?!  They are awesome!  For Christmas I am already eyeing a set of over 100 colors on Amazon.

This was my first time ever using them.  A lot of my inspiration comes from real life photos people have taken.  This scene popped up on my facebook feed and here is my attempt at drawing it.  I love the colors.  These pencils are like magic.  It was the first time I drew something and it made me think I could possible illustrate a children's book someday.

A couple of days later I was drawing this little turtle to kill time while I waited for my daughter at her roller skating lessons.  A little girl saw it and asked me if she could buy it from me when I was done for $4.  Her friend that was with her also wanted a painting.  I told them I would just give them to them of course and asked her friend what she would like.  She wanted a cat.

One day when I was at Home Goods they had this giant cow painting.  I took a picture of it to show my friend.  When I came home I attempted to somewhat copy it just for fun.  My youngest wanted to keep it, he is the one in the picture. He is 5, that explains the tongue.

When my youngest daughter heard that the two girls at skating lessons were getting pictures she wanted one too.  She is in love with mermaids.  The submarine in the water is in honor of her Dad.

And of course when I made one for my youngest daughter then my oldest daughter also wanted one.  This fairy is for her.  Both of these have been framed and are waiting to be hung on the wall in the hallway.  My middle daughter also wants a picture, but when I ask her what she wants she tells me she wants an evil unicorn.  I won't draw an evil unicorn and she does not want a regular unicorn, because "the Bible says they are evil." (????? Your guess is as good as mine here.) So, currently we are at an impasse.

When I bought the frames for the girl's pictures at Home Goods I saw a painting of a woman walking down the street in Paris.  I wanted to make one similar only with Seattle in it, because well, SEATTLE! (I am just a tad homesick right now.) The one on the left was my first attempt, the one on the right my second.

 When my friend Karmen invited me to come hear her speak at her church's Women's Retreat she had asked if I could draw her a turtle.  I drew the one on the left for her and had so much fun making him that I went ahead and drew a second one as well.  She and I are talking about making a children's book together.  She will do the writing and I will do the illustrating.  I can't even believe I am saying that.  It boggles my mind.  And to think I used to say I couldn't draw or paint (not that I am the best at either), but the truth is I had never even tried.  I was so afraid that I couldn't that I didn't think to see if I
actually could.  Is there anything like that in your life?  Anything where it is easier in your life to say you can't than it is to see if you actually can? Why would I fear knowing the truth and why would I happily accept thinking that I couldn't?
I am reminded of this quote below and will leave you with these thoughts, what is it you are afraid to unveil in your life?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Maryanne Williamson

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Practice Falling Down

My youngest daughter, who is 10, was asked to go to roller skating lessons with her friend a few months back. She really enjoyed it, so she stuck with it.  A couple months ago my middle daughter, 13, asked to join her.  She took to the skates like fish to water.  She was hooked.  She saved up her babysitting money in order to pay for half of her own pair of skates.  She chose a pair that was a little nicer than basic, but not so nice to break the bank. (Competitive roller skates can run upwards of $1000.)  She then also bought a pair of used skates, fully at her own expense, to practice at home with.

My youngest daughter, though she enjoys skating does not take to it with the same exuberance or natural athletic ability.  This has been hard for her.  Currently she has decided she doesn't want to go for now, at least not until she gets new skates. Her skates seem to pull and they can't fix them from doing that.  Now whether that pull is her skates or her feet I am not sure. I offered to rent skates until new ones can be purchased, but that won't cut it for her.  

The rink where they skate has a Club feature, for $60 a month you can have unlimited access to the rink when it is open, you get Saturday morning group lessons, and you get access to the rink during club skate times.  Along with this you get a private lesson once a week with a separate fee for the instructor.  All together it comes out to around $120 a month with a 1 year commitment (or until we move).  Kalen was super excited about all the skate times she could use as our house has limited skating room.  The deal was that she had to pay for half of it same as with the skates.  She was willing and excited to do it.

Today is her first private lesson and of being a part of the club.  

Watching the group lessons I noticed something interesting. The instructors have the children practice falling down.  The reason for this is three fold: first, so that they learn the safest possible way to fall to limit injuries; secondly, so that they learn how to get up; and thirdly to take the fear out of falling, because falls are inevitable.

They practice falling down.

That just resonates in my soul.  

Practice falling down 

The practice takes the shame and the fear out of the falling.

Falls in life are inevitable, but what if we could practice falling down in a way that is safe and shameless?  

What if we were taught how to minimize the impact of our falls and then the best way to get back up from them?

What would that look like worked out in my own life, in my children's lives, in all of our lives?  I don't really know, but it is worth thinking about.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

What a Day of Rejoicing That Will Be

Room full of women, all hearts and kindness, praising and worshiping God and I felt it.  

I felt what Heaven is going to feel like.  It is going to feel like love, love incarnate sitting next to me, just loving me and I could hardly stay standing for the realization of it.  Close my eyes, breathe in deep, let the tears escape past the eyelids.  I was standing in love and on Holy ground and it was overwhelming and amazing.

As worship was over and we sat down I felt surrounded and filled by the hope and promise of who God made me to be.  It was like God was saying, "This is who I made you to be, do you feel it, little one?  Go and be all I made you to be."  

In a room full of love and acceptance being who God made you to be feels possible.  It is like a big Ole "OOHRAH" of Jesus's love and grace and you just feel empowered.

Before worship started I read a verse that had been placed on our table.  It said, "GOD holds me head and shoulders above ALL who try to pull me down.  I'm headed for HIS place to offer anthems of praise that will raise the roof!"  Psalm 27:6 MSG 

Before we started singing I had written that verse down and started doodling an image of a father lifting up his daughter into the air, her arms stretched out onto the paper table liners. 

After we sat back down I was a woman on a mission.  I colored in the Dad and daughter, then I just kept adding more and more to it.  I would think I was done, but then a voice said, "Keep going." So I did.  Then when I thought I was done, He said, "Add more."  So I wrote words into the sand.  "These words are for somebody, baby, so listen well."

Okay, now I am finished with it.  "Nope. See that sun, it needs a verse.  Look up on google for a verse about light. and see the water, you need one there too, might as well get both sides.  And see that sky, do one there. This is going to be good."  

Okay, now I am done. This feels good.

"Hey, baby, why don't you put a verse on the girl about being God's child and one on the Dad about how I am the Father."  

Okay, okay, I can do that. Now I am done, right?

"You are so cute! Add a little baby turtle climbing into the water in that corner, just so it will all tie into the message I had Karmen give this weekend......Alright! Now it is done.  Thanks, baby girl."

And then I walked away from it and just let it be after the lesson.

A little later a woman came up to me and asked if she could have that drawing.  She told me those were all the verses that she has been given over the last few weeks to help her through a rough patch. God works in such amazing and mysterious ways.  He empowered me and then used me to reach someone else.  It was not about my talent, it was just a crayon drawing after all, but it was about His speaking into our hearts and us listening.  He used a 40 year old stay at home Mom to reach a woman I had never met and He did it through crayons and a Google search.  (God uses Google, let that one soak in for a minute!)

It is miraculous what God can do in the hearts of us and others when we come together in love with open arms for each other and for Him.  That is church.  When we just lavish each other in acceptance and grace and welcome, God can work through that and it is a small glimpse of what Heaven will be like.  

Oh what a day of rejoicing that will be.

Ladies of Christian Fellowship Church in Columbus, Ohio, you are doing it right! Thank you.

1. Sing the wondrous love of Jesus; 
sing his mercy and his grace. 
In the mansions bright and blessed 
he'll prepare for us a place. 

When we all get to heaven, 
what a day of rejoicing that will be! 
When we all see Jesus, 
we'll sing and shout the victory! 

2. While we walk the pilgrim pathway, 
clouds will overspread the sky; 
but when traveling days are over, 
not a shadow, not a sigh. 

3. Let us then be true and faithful, 
trusting, serving every day; 
just one glimpse of him in glory 
will the toils of life repay. 

4. Onward to the prize before us! 
Soon his beauty we'll behold; 
soon the pearly gates will open; 
we shall tread the streets of gold. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

God's unfailing love

table top doodle

Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the heavens; YOUR faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
Psalm 36:5

I am the Light of the world; he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
John 8:12

See what kind of love the FATHER has given to us that we should be called the children of God.
1 John 3:1

When you go through DEEP waters, I will be with you.  When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will NOT drown.
Isaiah 43:2a

If I take to the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there YOUR hand shall lead me, and YOUR right hand shall hold me. 
Psalm 139:9-10

Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him!
Matthew 6:8

GOD holds me head and shoulders above ALL who try to pull me down.  I'm headed for HIS place to offer anthems of praise that will raise the roof!
Psalm 27:6

Strength, Faithful, Seen, Valued, Love, Unending, True, Hope, Lifted, Shine, Open, Adopted, Protected, Accepted, Grace, Promise, Faith, Joy, Raised, Treasured, Honored, Trust, Special

A Little Glimpse of Heaven

I saw a little glimpse of Heaven last night in small town in Ohio called Danville. I had a taste of it last year in Columbus, but this year I got a full glimpse.

I am at a women's retreat where my friend, Karmen is the speaker.  From the moment I stepped foot in front of the women who were setting the retreat up I felt at home and that feeling hasn't stopped yet. Every woman who stepped through the door opened their arms to me and took me in as though we were long lost relatives, because honestly that is exactly what we are.  We are family, because each of us has the same Father.  These women embody that notion so very well. They are showing me what Heaven will be like; a big old family reunion with lots of hugging (Sorry if you are not a hugger, I think God will "fix" that once you walk through the Pearly Gates.*)

Karmen spoke on AWE last night and when she was done the floor was opened up for women to give examples of small or big awe moments that we had during that day.  I raised my hand and spoke right up about how the women sitting around me were my "awe moment", they were my glimpse of Heaven.
My table doodles during the night.

I need to tell you, I had not one bit of anxiety in raising my hand or speaking up.  That in itself is an "awe moment".  It is also another glimpse of Heaven.  When we are surrounded by love anxiety flees.  I didn't even hesitate to speak.  There was no tightness in my throat or numbness in my legs.  I was free to just be myself.  I was accepted and loved with no strings attached.

As I sat in this room full of women or all ages, sizes, and races I said, "Jesus, I need to find this where I live.  I need to find my community, my little slice of Heaven on this side of eternity wherever I live.  Help me find it, help me create that atmosphere for others."

*I am saying that tongue in cheek, it is totally okay if you are not a hugger, God still loves you. ;)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Deal: A fictional piece

I haven't written anything for a long while, but as we were driving home from NH the other day a couple of characters spent a good couple of hours occupying my mind as we drove.  Tonight I sat down and put them to paper.  I don't have much yet and I am not sure if it will go any farther than this, but I thought I would share them with you.  It is different than my usual writing, I hope you won't mind.  I hope to get back to writing more frequently soon.


The Deal

I like to watch people.  Momma says watchin' people is the best way to learn about them.  She always tells me, "You can learn a lot about a person when you listen with your eyes.  Everybody is telling a story if you watch 'em long enough to hear it."

I spend lots of afternoons sitting right here on this bench, just watching. Today is one of those days.  Most of the people walk by too quick for me to hear much more than just a glimpse of their story, but that man over across the street has caught my eye.  I can't quite figure him out.  He is leaned up against an old brick building, his fingers feeling that brick like a blind man feels something in order to see it, but I can tell he's not blind. Another thing that is odd, today is Saturday but he is wearing what looks like most folks Sunday best.  His are pretty well worn, I am guessing those spit polished shoes and baggy dress pants have seen more than a decades worth of Sundays.  It looks like he also used to eat a fair bit more than he does now the way his belt is cinched almost all the way up.

Typically, I just watch the people, but my curiosity of what he is doing gets the best of me.  I cross the street to where he is leaning.

"Excuse me, Sir, why are you rubbing that wall like a blind man reads braille?"

He chuckles deep and happy.

"Now isn't that quite the observation!  What is your name?"

"Sarah.  Sarah Montgomery."

"Well, Sarah Montgomery,"  His words come out like hot fudge pouring over vanilla ice cream, "let me tell you a little secret; every building you see has a story to tell and this building is telling me its story."

I ponder this for a moment.

"Are you a writer?" I ask.

"More of a listener.  Everything has something to say, but not everybody takes the time to hear it."

I tilt my head and squint my eye at him.

"You sound like my Momma.  All good writers are good listeners, at least that is what she tells me.  My Daddy was a writer and some day I am going to be a writer, too.   Momma's mostly just interested in the people who are doing the talking though, she ain't never told me to listen to buildings, maybe she doesn't know they are talking.   She and I, we are watchers.  We watch and hear what stories people are telling. Kinda like how you are listening to the building I guess."

"Your Momma sounds like a real wise woman. How about I make you a deal.  What if we sit down a spell and you tell me the stories that you see people telling and I will tell you the stories that the building told me."


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Rahab Waiting

I wrote a letter to my Pastor today.  He had asked how I was doing and wanted an in depth answer.  I will share part of it with you.


*long sigh*

And so it begins, the bearing of my soul.

*insert waning smile here*

I am good, tired, happy, sad, and all that falls in between. Frustrated mainly.  Mentally I just want to ignore the barrel.  God isn't letting me.  He isn't telling me what needs to be done to enter it either. The more I try and let myself step up to that barrel the more guarded, more broken I become.  Entering the barrel means becoming a child. I can't "adult" and be child.  I can't be strong while being weak.  I can't heal while drowning in hurt.

Can't/won't/don't-know-how to be both/and for those things. Be both adult and child, both strong and weak, both healing and hurting.

I am not depressed, shamed, or self hating any longer.  That is progress that is notable, remarkable really.  I have lost shame, hate, and depression over the last almost two years of living here.  There is forward momentum happening, but now we are at my wall and it isn't coming down.

A big part of me feels like Rahab.   Sitting in her house waiting for God to tear down the wall, so that she could be free of her past and the sins of her own and of others upon her.  Rahab with her scarlet cord.  Rahab with nothing more than her belief in the God of the Jews and her trust that He would spare her.  Rahab just waiting to be free while sitting behind a wall that she could not take down on her own.  Rahab the harlot that sat waiting for God to tear down a wall.

Waiting is hard.

I wonder if Rahab scratched at her side of the wall as she waited, maybe even a fingernail at a time, in passing.  I wonder if she ran her fingers over it, feeling the sheer depth of it, the hardness of that rock that stood between her and freedom.   Rock dust under her nails.

So I wait and I scratch and I wrap a crimson cord around me tight.

"See this cord, Lord.  This crimson cord. The cord of my past.  The cord the color of Your blood.  Both crimson, both calling;  'Forget me not.'  I am waiting Lord, waiting for these walls to crumble away at your bidding, but remember your promise and don't let me crumble with them. "

That is where I am spiritually.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

I just walked away *FMF:Open*

*as always I never time myself for Five Minute Friday.  I let the word speak to me for as long as it speaks.*

Manhattan, New York

The city has a feel all it's own, or maybe that is just the feel that all big cities have to them.  An energy that is palpable.  Almost a vibration.

I walked up the streets.  My eyes open.  Taking in all the sights, the buildings, the people. Eye contact, a genuine smile, seeing more than my destination.

The buildings, oh, the buildings.  Most of them old, ornate.  I wanted to run my hands across their bricks and stones.  I wanted to linger close to them, lean my ear up by them and listen for the whispers of the stories they have to share.  The tales that they could tell.  They have stood long, seen much, held much.  If they could speak what would they tell me?  I could only imagine.  I didn't have time to listen though, I was too caught up in the people around me.  The ones walking by fast, almost all of them looking at their phones, or speaking on a blue tooth.  A city of people talking to the air, not seeing the beauty.  Everyone was in a hurry.  Everyone except the ones without phones or blue tooths.  They were the ones who sat and asked from their concrete corners and cardboard beds.  Asked to be fed, to be heard, to be seen.  I tried my best to see them as I walked by.  To look in their eyes and say "Good morning." I wanted to remind them they were visible, seen, human, even if just for a moment.

Two of them stood out to me.  Made me pause.  Made me hurt. Well, they all made me hurt, but these two, these two made me ache.  One was a young man.  Younger than me, young enough to make me think of him as somebodies baby boy turned man, but still her baby.  He held up a sign that he was hungry.  Something about when he had eaten last.  It hurt too much to read the signs all the way, reading them all the way made me a part of their story. A block away from him I stopped and pulled the stroller over.  I dug through my backpack, hoping the snacks that I had packed in it the day before were still in there.  I dug looking for those two granola bars I remembered tucking away, but I came up empty handed.  They had been left in the cooler bag that sat in the hotel room.  I kept walking. I wish that I had walked into a store and bought him some food.

The second one haunts me more.

He was huddled on his flat cardboard home, wrapped in a sleeping bag.  His sign spoke of being cold.  He was one of the dozens of homeless I had seen that day, but I saw him the deepest.  I met his eyes when I couldn't bear to read his whole sign.  "I am cold." He had slept out in the freezing temps for days.  I only picked up the words my brain could catch in the few seconds I could bear to look. He held a can out with his shaking hand.  Shaking, shivering with cold.  A cold so deep that it found its way into my own body just by a glance at him.  I shivered in his cold as our eyes met.  Hungry, thirsty, freezing deep brown eyes.  We saw each other.  I broke the gaze before I broke.  He didn't need my pity or my ache.  He needed warmth and I had none to give.

"There are so many Lord, God help them.  There are too many for me to touch.  What am I supposed to do?! I am sorry.  Forgive me for walking away."

Now that I am home, I wonder what warmth I could have given. I could have given him the warmth of human compassion.  I could have sat and felt the cold with him.  I could have bought him something warm to fill his belly with.  I could have held his hand, had he let me. I could have done more than just a look, just enough to see him and then to walk away.

Matthew 25

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 

36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 

38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 

39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40“ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Except I didn't. I just walked away.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Barrel I Can't Ignore

I had a dream two nights ago.  It was an intense dream.  I spent yesterday mentally trying to unpack it while simultaneously trying to ignore it. My brain fights itself like that often.

In my dream I was back in my early childhood home.  The first one that I can remember living in.  It really was nothing like that first home, but in my dream that is where I was.  I was an adult in the dream. I was in my bedroom trying to make it nicer.  There was a large barrel like a rain barrel in there.  It was filled with mucky water, smelly water.

I emptied the barrel and moved it over to a corner of the room.  The room already felt better.  Then I decided that I should move that barrel out completely so I put it out back in a shed.

When I looked out the window towards the shed the barrel was glowing and lighting up the whole shed.

Someone told me that I needed to go out there and deal with that barrel, see what was in it.

I told them, "No way! Out of sight out of mind, I am not going to deal with that. It can just stay in that old shed."

The next thing I knew the barrel had moved into my living room where it could no longer be avoided.

A mist was rising from it and it had a glow coming from within it.

It's presence was not welcoming.  It was an evil presence.

I stood across the room from it. I stood there casting out the presence inside that barrel in the name of Jesus and by the blood of the Lamb.  It wasn't working.  I was too far away.

I walked up closer to it. I looked inside and it was swirling, like a portal.  I put my hand inside and the presence above it grabbed me, trying to pull me in.

My sister was there with me.  I called for her to help me.  She walked towards me and then froze, face down unable to help.

I was telling her to say the words, cast it out.  As I was speaking my words were unable to come out well.  My speech slowed, my mouth would not work right, everything was slurred and took extreme effort to say. She was frozen and I could not speak.

Then I woke up.


I know what the barrel is.  I know what the dream is telling me, but
I really just want to leave that barrel in the shed. Out of sight out of mind. I really don't want to have to enter the barrel and deal with it.