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.

 

The Imago Dei of Storytelling

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you teach someone something? Often, we use illustrations or metaphors to prove a point. Take the fables, for instance. These were used to teach a moral, such as a warning against laziness (“The Grasshopper and the Ant”), or the dangers of ease over hard work (“The Three Little Pigs”).
Stories have been used since the beginning of time itself. Moses was the first to use this method when he depicted the beginning of creation with prose: “In the beginning, God created…” We learned of the downfall of Lucifer from heaven through story (Ezekiel 28). We learn of the great heroes of the faith through story. Jesus even taught through parable.

Continue reading my piece here.

Silent Call

shipwreck

Gone are the days of fearless joy

Sinking ship afloat

Flounder in the deepening void

Cling to drifting boat

See the sailor, see the sky!

Frightened singing, day gone by

Lift a fleeting hand for help

No one comes, drifting kelp

 

Constant ringing in my ears

Can the silence whisper?

Do the Heavens hear my fears?

Hear my fading whimper?

See the sun, see the rain!

Fading guilt! Fading shame!

One last grasp at wooden door

Sink, float, to the shore

 

One will answer screaming call

If he deigns to help me

Lift the shadow’s hope enthrall

Ocean tide so faintly

Radiant beam, radiant face!

Cold slumber, warm embrace

One so silent lifts the veil

Calm within the gale

 

 

 

 

 

My Year Part 1

“Do you think you have ADD?”

The feeling of relief that washed over me was palpable. A living thing. “You think that, too?”

Eric nodded. “I’ve thought so for a while now.”

We were sitting in Chuy’s on a date night, and as soon as he said the words, I felt a release of emotions. Relief. Affirmation. Dread. For years I had wondered and kept silent, fearful that I was imagining it all. Afraid of the ramifications of a diagnosis, and all the stuff that comes with it. Mostly, afraid it was somehow my fault. That I should try harder. Do better. Force myself to pay attention. Not be so anxious all the time.

This opened up a floodgate, and I opened up about my anxiety, as well. We decided I should pursue a clinical approach along with the counseling approach I had been taking. Counseling had been incredibly helpful, for sure. But if the issue was in my brain wiring, it would take more than just wishing it away.

Why was I so hesitant, you would probably ask. Anyone who has what would be termed “mental health issues” would laugh. The stigma follows you, but not only that, your own fears and stigmas do as well. We are our worst critics.

I’ve already addressed here about finding freedom in the midst of mental illness. It doesn’t define me, or you, if you have similar struggles. But how do we wrestle with the fact that there is an element of who we are that could be rejected by our society? A society that tells us we need to keep ourselves bottled up, and only show what it deems beautiful? Being real and genuine requires opening up parts of ourselves that others might despise. That is the fear that haunts most of us who have diagnosable mental problems.

So when my husband asked me that question, a Pandora’s box exploded open. And we both walked through it together. He wasn’t going to reject me, or despise me, for something that was a part of me that couldn’t be medicated away. And as I took baby steps to talking about it, seeking help, and embracing how I was made, that Pandora’s box became insignificant. Not in the way most people would think: it was still a big learning curve. It’s still a struggle to talk about. But to the people who matter most to me, they love me not just in spite of my ADD and anxiety, but because of it. And THAT is what makes the difference.

If you, too, struggle with mental health problems, let me beg you to surround yourself with people who will embrace you. Get medical and counseling help. Find a community, church, or organization that will walk through it with you. There is freedom to be who you were made to be.

 

The Process of Trust

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The hard work of regeneration doesn’t happen over night. Even a caterpillar is trapped in a cocoon sometimes for weeks before he emerges as a butterfly. Sometimes it feels that I’ve been in that state of “washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit” forever. And often asking, “What is the point of all this hard work if the end result must be perfection?” And then justify not “working out my salvation with fear and trembling” because, after all, heaven is the only place I’ll be completely renewed.

Change is a fact of life, is it not? We don’t just see it spiritually. It happens on all levels: economical change as the dollar dips or rises in value. Or physically, as our bodies decay. In evolutionary changes, as species adapt to changing temperatures, or to avoid predators. I see it in my son, as he battles to learn what it means to adapt to his environment that he can’t control. Part of living life is adjusting to change, adapting, going with the flow, learning, growing…being transformed. It never stops.

So why should we give ourselves a pass when it comes to our spirituality? Being made in the image of God means that we reflect someone who doesn’t change. Yet in our imperfections, we cannot ever fully understand exactly what that looks like. So what do we do?

Trust the one who made us in that image. “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” And trust doesn’t just come: like some magical pill we can take and then poof! Trusting God is easy. Sometimes I think it might practically look more like sanctification…a process.

Do I think trusting God can be easy at times? Yes, for sure. But it doesn’t always look that way. And for the longest time, I thought it had to be easy or it wasn’t trust. But isn’t that what processes are all about? It’s a process for the caterpillar to become a butterfly. It’s a process for us to image Christ more and more. And it’s a process to trust God in the day to day challenges that life offers. So part of this journey I eluded to has been to come to grips with the fact that just because hard things come my way, God doesn’t expect me to react or behave a certain way. As if the prescription must be followed to specific instructions or it means I have failed. No. He wants me to come to Him even when I’m still a caterpillar trying to become a butterfly but I haven’t made it yet. He beckons when I’m a mess, just like He beckons when I’m “put together”. So can you.

 

 

 

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

Unmarred

rose

Where is Fortune’s sweet surrender? Not in telling gaze afar

Working now for freedom’s mention, wrought in battles raging mar

Fighting for the right to live here, standing firm on hallowed ground

When all else falls into darkness, reach for loving light abound

Clasping tight to memories fondly, meeting grace within the stars

Fortune tells me in remembrance, there we find the truth unmarred

Throw the shackles from the compost, binding heat from shadow’s gloom

Rising from the ashes glowing, stands the Rose of Sharon’s bloom

See the reck’ning kingdom coming, Fortune knows not time nor place

Hasten now to touch the petals, find the golden truth effaced