Sink or Swim: Christ’s Promised Presence

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Check out my post over on Morning by MorningHere is an excerpt:

“Although Jesus is more than just a lifeguard, what if it feels like he isn’t coming? Maybe like me, you have been in, or are currently in a season, where it feels like he has forgotten you. Maybe it seems that he is off rescuing others or napping on the beach. You’re floundering in the ocean of trials and suffering, and you don’t see him coming. Will Jesus come into the scary diagnosis, failing marriage, difficult parenting season, grievous offense of another? Has he forgotten us?”

Read the rest here.

 

Of Monsters and Heroes

What is it about monsters that brings out the best in us? I’m not being facetious. Think about it. Any action hero movie or epic fantasy novel has them. Take Thor for example. Thor: Ragnarok, in the opening scene, stars a huge, scary monster and the superhero himself. After some pithy dialogue exchanges, Thor extricates himself from a hairy situation and destroys yet another bad guy.
It’s not just in film that there are monsters, either. Middle Earth has them. Narnia has them. Harry Potter has them. The Wheel of Time has them.

Continue reading here.

Ashes

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Rising from the ashes

Tender form of Truth

Don’t be near, don’t be far

Rumbles from my youth

What are you? Vague?

Or fearsome clarity?

Maybe I cannot see

For wisdom disparity

I sit back and think

I must revise your score

But bottled in the ashes

Lies forevermore

Hence you rise again

Stamp the call of pain

You won’t deceive me

Let your justice rain

No More Silence

 

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Silence for months. Where have I been?

Well. Good question. Writers are the worst, right? I mean, we flow outwardly with all this creative genius as if we can’t STOP. And then the writer’s block hits. Or just life in general. I think my problem has been both.

Life = challenge. At least, I think for most of us this is the case. If it isn’t something falling apart in our home, there is something falling apart outside of it. Not a good excuse, I hear you say? Yeah, normally I would agree. But if you count up the things that have fallen apart for me in the last few months I think it would equal 4589320.

But here I make a commitment. No more silence. So come along with me, and I will show you where I’ve been.

 

 

What Happened When I Admitted I Hated Proverbs 31

Proverbs 31. That much-loved and much-hated passage of scripture that has been used countless times to both teach and encourage women. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be like King Lemuel’s mother? She had it all together, right? Even her husband had nothing bad to say about her. Which, considering the time-period she lived in, was quite a feat.

As I matured into adulthood, I was under the impression that I was required to love this passage of scripture. Along with all the other teenagers in my peer group, I aspired to be like her. After all, she was respected, worked diligently, raised well-adjusted children, spoke with wisdom, and feared the Lord.

I didn’t admit at the time that I was intimidated by her. By the time I became a wife and a mom, I pretty much hated that passage of scripture. I felt that I couldn’t live up to that sort of expectation, both from my husband and from the pulpit. The last thing I felt was “clothed with strength and dignity.” I was often weak, frustrated, and anything BUT dignified in my messy hair, pajamas, no-makeup state. Marriage was definitely not what I had thought it was, and neither was motherhood. So the more I read and heard about this amazing woman of God and strived to be like her, the more I seemed to fail. All I wanted was for my lamp to go out at night, to get a full eight hours of sleep (those were the days!) and to not have to wake up and do the unending, monotonous things that I had done every day for years.

Who am I kidding?  I still long for that!

Then I had knee surgery in August 2016, and found myself bed-bound for twelve weeks, with a three-year-old and a two-year-old. I had a lot of time to think and reflect on my uselessness, and one of the things I reflected on was this passage I had come to despise. It took on a new meaning for me. I came to realize that this crazy expectation I had wasn’t placed on me by my husband or the teachings I had heard, but I had assumed was God’s expectation. It was written in His book, by His divine authority, and so surely the root of the issue was that I didn’t like what He had placed there. Suddenly, I had my Maker to contend with, not man.

And contend I did. Besides the mounting frustrations with being immobile, I found myself angry at God for his unrealistic expectations that I should be somehow perfect and able to manage my household like the King’s mother did. That my husband would be held in high esteem because of me, that I should be consistently giving to the poor and needy…the list goes on.

I don’t know when it happened, but as I lay on my back staring at me ceiling for weeks on end, the passage turned itself inside out. And I wondered… “Was she always like that?  Day after day?  Month after month?  Year after year?  Or was this just how her son viewed her, because of her trust in the Lord?”

I’m no biblical scholar, so you would need to ask one of them. But what I do know is that if she was a woman (which she was) and if she was a wife and mother (which she was) then she must have been like the rest of us who are labelled that way, too. She must have struggled with her marriage and children. She must have struggled with weakness, exhaustion, and feeling overwhelmed. She must have been just as surprised by Lemuel’s observations of her as I would be if one of my sons were to write something like that about me.

Friends, whatever the case is with you, whether your sufferings and strivings are done with joy or with exhaustion and heartache, Proverbs 31 should encourage us. Because, if my rambling thoughts are anywhere even close to being true, behind the scenes of Provers 31 was a tired, overwhelmed wife and mom who clung to the grace of God with a fighter’s tenacity. Yet her son didn’t see the struggles as being worth mentioning, because what stuck out to him was all the ways she was getting it right. 

Now, I read that passage with a grin on my face. Her son’s words came from a man who respected and loved a woman who undoubtedly was flawed, yet unswervingly devoted herself to the things of the Lord. May it be so with us. Whatever season you find yourself in, and in whatever capacity, the expectation isn’t that you will be perfect. Christ already did that for you. The beauty of Proverbs 31 is that Christ will transform our half-hearted, weakened moments into something noble and strengthened by grace.

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Pillar By the Night

Frozen is this heart of stone, plastered to the sphere

Where is my solitude?  Where is my fear?

Fortune’s telling seems afar, nigh for truth and light

Contraband to silence, taken in the night

Chains that bind by depth and blood, fixed to ships at sea

Floating in the ceaseless pain, soul’s first noiseless plea

Fortress floats towards land’s swift shore, buttressed in the flight

Cloud by the light of day, pillar by the night

Glinting eyes of silent shouts demand my acquiescence

What is the safest way to claim my soft defiance?

You don’t hold my freedom song, wrought in tears and toil

Standard flies in rippling wind, planted in the soil

Cast aside your ardent lies, they have no hold on me

Burn your demanding subterfuge and persistent trickery

Fling my prose into the wind, leap for battles won

Shadows lay to wasteland’s floor, step into the sun

fire by nightExodus 13:21, “And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light.”

Worlds Yet Explored

I’m pretty much losing my mind.  Maybe you feel the same…between my day job (haha! Day job!  As if being a stay at home mom stops when 6pm hits!  I’m cracking myself up…), between sickness, cooking, cleaning, running my kids around to appointments, trying to find time for my husband…sometimes I wonder if I really am cut out for this whole “writing” thing.

But then the itch starts.  That “must-write-or-go-insane” feeling creeps, and then grows stronger, until the characters are shouting at me to get their story on paper.  It’s both wonderful and tiring.  Beauty with the mayhem.

Go with it, fellow writers.  Ride the storm where it takes you.  Nothing is quite as invigorating at the end of the day then knowing you got the words out.  That you have your characters their voice.  That your thoughts escaped the confines of your mind.  Who would benefit, otherwise?  Try to imagine a world without “Gone With the Wind” or “Aesop’s Fables.”  What if we didn’t have classics like “Huckleberry Finn” or “Jane Eyre”?  What if CS Lewis never dazzled our young minds with Narnia, or J.K. Rowling never gave Harry Potter his chance to fly?

Maybe your, or my, story is not the next Middle Earth or Wheel of Time.  But there are thousands of worlds still to be explored, millions of characters who wait to be given life, and you and I might be their only way of coming forth from obscurity to the written page.

So stop reading this, and get writing.

fantasy world