Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Paint from the Ashes

I know a master painter.  He dips His brush into all the broken and creates pure masterpiece.  I live it.  I watch it unfold in my life.  I pick up pen, with joyful abandon, attempting to capture my story.  His story, beauty from ashes, written in my life.  

This picture, this woman I barely recognize from who I was.  it's me.  A life redeemed.  A heart restored.  A wife filled with joy that only my Abba could pour in my heart.  into my everyday.  

To know the joy, one must peek into the pain.  For the season of ashes allows the beauty to blossom.  To share my story is never to forget where He found me, but refused to let me stay.  Sharing.  Believing.  Someone needs to hear.  To grab onto hope.  To cling to His promises.  And refuse to let go.

From the ash heap.  Abandoned.  Divorced.  Forgotten.  Insert your own words, your own pain seared into your you.  My God found me, drenched me in His love.  He does the same for all of us.  My story is yours.  

a heart abandoned, searching for value when her world splintered into shards.  My Abba sheltered my heart, washed it in His Word, healed it through his unconditional love.

the curled up woman on the floor of the closet, exhausted from the tears, grieving a marriage and a man I adored.  My God held me, reminding me through His promises who I really am, refusing to ever let me go.  

a single mom, never wanting or dreaming of this life, weary from the daily and the stress.  My God wrapped me in rest and held me when I couldn't stand on my own.  even when I fought him.  hard.  

All that the enemy stole, my God restored.  All the painful broken, my Abba healed.  Not in my way, but His.    His way ...

"to bestow on them a crown of beauty, instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead a spirit of despair."  - Isaiah 61:3

Master painter, paint from the ashes.  Your kind of beauty.  

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Splintered Joy

My apologies in advance.  Dear friend, if you are hunting for a wrapped up in sparkling paper post, please skip my words.  Real.  Raw.  Unedited.  My syllables today.

This picture, 5 years ago today popped up on my Facebook feed.  Just moments before, tears trickled down my cheeks as I dropped off my children to spend some time with their dad on Christmas.   Everywhere, as I drove home alone, I watched as families gathered, giggled.  Reminders of my shattered family.

Whispering the hard, daring to ask the tough.  Can joy exist in the midst of the pain?  Isn't that what Christmas whispers to us?   Wrapped up in random blankets, God gave us His Son.  Joy abounding.  Angels singing.  Shepherds coming to worship.  All because God loved us so crazy much and he knew we would need him.

The manger pointing to the cross.  He knew the pain Jesus would endure.  He knows the pain we endure.  Abandonment.  Betrayal.  Sickness.  Disease.  Divorce.  Death.  and the list goes on.  Jesus was the answer for all of the pain and heartbreak and anguish.  Joy came to infiltrate our pain.  Even when we didn't ask or understand.

When life hits hard, he holds your hand.  When all you can do is fall to your knees, he wraps his arms around you.  When you have no strength to even breathe, he lets you sob in his arms while he carries you.  My testimony.  My life.

Sometimes, this life sucks.  There is a real enemy that roars around like a lion just waiting to devour.  We all have felt his teeth.  On our families, our children, our self esteem, our (insert your own word).   But it must be possible in the midst of the teeth and tears, to cling to joy.

A single mom can stay up late wrapping presents on her own, cling to joy and wrap his present too.  A driver can hand a crisp $5 bill to a homeless stranger, whether they deserve it or not, cling to joy and slip away.  A cancer patient can vomit with a daunting round of chemo, cling to joy and snuggle with her baby boy.

Maybe Joy never fades.  Maybe in the midst of the hard.  the horrible.  the horrendous.  Joy splinters with you.  And the shards spread out to others, each little piece infecting in a beautiful glorious way.

"You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent." Psalm 30:11

Maybe Joy invades when we need it most, just like baby Jesus all snuggled in the manger.   Maybe it's not a feeling, but rather the fingerprint of God on our lives.  Maybe joy is how we face the hard, trusting Him, and take one more step.

"The Lord is my strength and my shield: my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.  My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song."  Psalm 28:7

Maybe Joy.  In the midst of the happy or the hard, may your Christmas be drenched in it.  Splintered joy and all.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Hope Carried

Today, I stood.  In a room that could have been dark sorrowful dreary.  Instead, hope flickered and fanned into a brilliant blaze.

In a week where tragedy rocked our tight knit community, hope held tighter.  Glimpses all around.   As young people spontaneously gather to pray, uplift, cry and hold one another.   As friends call and reach out and stand together.  Even when we don't understand, hope surfaces.

Hope is the sweetest of incense that permeates death's nasty stench.  

In my own walk, down the dusty road that brought me to my knees.  Hope came.  A hug.  A prayer for my family.  Flowers delivered to my door.  The list goes on.

In all honesty, we all hit times where hope hibernates.  Alluding our grasp as we focus all our strength to cling. Because hope was never meant to be held alone.  Hope was meant to be carried.  

Carried into the hospitals of those sick with pain.  Carried into prisons where the world of sin has seemingly won.  Carried to a friends house with sticky cinnamon rolls.  Carried into a memorial where no one understands.  Hope was meant to be carried.

I witnessed it today.  The tears came for all of us.  At one point, my tears burst fast and furious.  Hope was there in the arms of a friend and a hug.  One that has walked my path.   One of my hope carriers.  

Hope carriers.  Find them.  Your life craves them.  You need them.  The ones that infuse hope into any situation.  The ones who can listen and understand and breath hope with a simple sigh.  

Hope carriers.  Be one.  The lives around you crave them.  They need you.  The ones that carry hope into a dark situation regardless of the ick that may splatter on you.  The ones who refuse to stay in the safe place and march into the battle side by side with you.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick ... but hope carried brings life like no other. 

"Oh, may the God of hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!" (Romans 14:13 the message)

Brim over with hope.  Splash it.  Spill it.  Slosh it.  All over everyone's lives, regardless of the circumstances that swirl.  Because hope was meant to be carried, together.  
I have been silent this week.  But today as hope filled my heart, I put pen to words and wrote.  That the lives of these precious ones would spill hope into all of ours.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Tattered capes

Dear Single Brave Mom,

I love you.  I looked up to you as you raised your children alone.  In heart wrenching honesty,  I never wanted to be you.  

I prayed for you.  I admired your strength and courage.  In my worst nightmares, I never dreamed of walking in your footsteps.

You were my hero, but I didn't want to wear your tattered cape.

I scribble tonight.  Pen on paper.  My heart spilling all over the place.  Trying to catch every drop with syllables.  

Brave moms, we talked together and prayed.  We barbecued in my backyard and our children played.  You held me as my heart ached and the tears refused to stop.  You took my hand as I began the same journey.  You were there.  Holding me up.  

We talk about heroes and legends in our society.  But you never stand in the spotlight.  Silently, day by day, you raise your children in a less than ideal world.  You pull the all nighters, every night.  You wipe little tears and hide your own.

Thank you.  Thank you for loving me when I had no idea what you walked through on a daily basis.  Thank you for forgiving my ignorance.  Thank you for opening your hearts and homes when I needed tears.  Thank you for being you in the midst of the ridiculous expectations hurled at you. every.  single.  day.  

Your strength encourages me.  I can.  
Your grit nudges me forward.  I can do this.  
Your hope infuses me.  I can do this with joy.

To all single brave moms, including my own that raised me seated in a wheelchair.  thank you.  Because of you, I can walk this road bravely with my head held high.  Tattered cape and all.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Tears of Splash

I sit here.  No words.

This place is where I have come to splash joy.  To share the goodness of my God.

From the mission field as a family, I began this journey.  Wading into this blog to give Him the glory.  Back home in the United States.  Fostering our little princesses.  Raising our little precious family.

Splashing His glory.  Proclaiming His goodness.

Tonight, I have to splash.  You see, sometimes life hits hard. But in the hard, bring to your knees times, I will stand and proclaim that He is good.

I don't understand.  I don't have to.

Maybe that is where the real joy comes from.  The real glory.  When your heart is shattered and you wake up with the unthinkable becoming your reality.  When your worst nightmare unfolds before your eyes.  To refuse to bow to the storm.  To refuse to let go of the promises God has given you.  To refuse to walk in anything but victory.

In the midst of it all, I choose to shout it loud.  My God is good.  He is faithful through all generations.  His love never fails.

I dip in this place again, not for you sweet reader.  But for me.  And maybe just maybe, tears can make splashes of their own.