It’s In the Knowing

We all know loss
We all know pain
We all know hurt
All are soaked by the rain

God knows loss
God knows pain
God knows hurt
God gave all for All’s gain

If you know hurt, loss, pain? Love?
Then you know sacrifice.

If you know sacrifice?
Then you know God.

From the moment God created, he knew.
We were known.

He knew what he would have to do.
And created us anyway.

To be known is to hurt.
And also to be loved.

No one lives anonymously. Thank God.

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The Rock

Psalm 91:1
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow
of the Almighty.


If I am the immobile mountain, move me.
If your love is the mountain, then I shall be the one to climb.
If your summit is unknowable, then let me dangle from your shadows and shelter.
Let me live at the foot of your love.

Christmas is Temporary

From 2014:

Christmas is fleeting. All year long, we wait in anticipation of the holidays and then we complain the whole time. It’s too crowded, cold, busy, expensive, gluttonous, hurried. I didn’t get what I wanted. I gave everyone a present and now I’m broke and alone.

The spirit. The spirit of the holidays. The joy of Christmas. What is it? Is it lights? Is it cocoa? Is it candy, presents, cookies? Is it the promise and hope of magic? But it never comes. We wait all year and it never comes. And then the lights fade and the tinsel is taken down.

Christmas is temporary.

But it’s not. What is it we are waiting for? What is it that we miss every year and chase after time and again? It’s Christ. That’s what we are really looking for and we’re looking in the wrong places. Is it in this tin of cookies? Is it in this neatly-wrapped box? Is it at the bottom of my second cup of cocoa? Is it at my 2nd, 3rd, 7th Christmas karaoke party?

An entire season is dedicated to what started out as a celebration of giving and hope. Hundreds of years have come and gone, each renewing the tradition of Christmas. But each year some family grows further apart. Each year some person grows more jaded, cynical, greedy and Scrooge-like. Each year our eyes grow more narrow and short-sighted. Each year we try to chase our pleasure, fulfillment and that indescribable magic that only caught us as children because we were bright-eyed and open.

Years ago, at the Blue Ridge Mall, they had a display. I don’t remember now if it was all the time or just at Christmas, but I remember it at Christmas. We were in line for Santa and the line snaked by a huge oil fall. It’s a waterfall except they used oil on strings. It’s like a waterfall in slow motion. It was magical, beautiful and a wondrous summation of the holiday experience for me. I lost myself in the endless strings dripping with glowing, hypnotic oil. I felt warm, silly and excited. I drank in the luxury of it all as I waited for Santa. I don’t remember Santa exactly, but I remember the strings. I wanted to reach out and grab them. But instead I swallowed my fingers and excitement over and over again at simply being near them. At that point, it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I remember Mom and Dad close by. I remember my siblings there too. I remember the sounds of cheerful shoppers as they shuffled by and their muffled packages swaying back and forth in their clasped hands. I remember the soft mall lighting and the quiet aromas of furniture, leather shoes, popcorn, clothing, carpet and mall food. I remember feeling safe, happy, joyful. The mood was love. And everyone felt it.

Now, I’ve begun a tradition with my family. We try to see Longview Lake Lights. We’ve been coming off and on for a few years now. And the best part. They have a field full of trees made from lights. Those are my favorite. They remind me of the oil fall. Delicate pearls of light suspended in the darkness, soft purple and blue, hanging on invisible strings melting into the night. For the last couple of years, it’s the most peaceful and the most child-like capture of innocence and wonder I’ve known. I’m five again. I’m eight again. I’m me before all the bad. I’m in Christmas up to my neck and in love with the world.

I wish I could take that with me. I wish I could visit the lights every night. But I can’t. The lights are even closer now that we live here, but even so, I can’t see them every night. But I can look for Christ. I can look for him every day and celebrate his birth. I don’t have to wait for “the day”. And I can try to capture his joy, his love, his intention, his gift every single moment, all year long. I can look for it as I drive, shop, eat and talk. I don’t have to wait all year and miss it. I can look and find it. I just have to be bright-eyed and open. His love is hanging right in front of our faces on an invisible string of light, dripping down and mesmerizing us with the delicate, graceful fall and we just have to reach out and grab it.

Merry Xmas! Happy Holidays! May you find many joys and love.

Wild

from 2013:

when Brain and Heart are not in agreement, the stress is immense.

worry and fear take over. completely.

God and his word tell us not to worry. let tomorrow worry for itself.

how do you make the heart run like the mind? or mind like heart?

or make either run after/for God?

my answer would be, for myself, to myself, pray.

pray for the desire of God’s will. always. until his will is my desire automatically.

Buddhism-4 noble truths-suffering is universal, desire is suffering, stop wanting things, suffering will end

stop putting things in the place where God should go.

train your brain, Martha. and your heart.

the heart is wild, but so can our desire be for God.

Christmas Crash

This is a poem I wrote several years ago. I wrote it for the church I was attending. The drama director had doubts about a white woman writing a spoken word poem in a masculine voice. The piece was for a male performer. That made me want to do it all the more. I think I did a good job and the voice is neutral. Men and women can both be strong. Both love God. Both raise their voices to honor Him.

The drama director was surprised at how well the piece came across and apologized for her doubts. She still never fully trusted me, but that’s her loss. This was my first spoken word poem. I still love it. Here’s a link to me, my husband and my daughter performing it from our home in KC. It may be slightly overwrought, but we’re actors. You can’t fight city hall.


Crash.Crashing.Crushing.Crushed.

I stagger here crushed, crashed into by God,
Crushed by the weight of his mercy and grace,
My sin gone without a trace.
And it feels like…heaven.

A flash.
Flashing.
Hit by lightning, the wonder of his coming,
Saved by his dying,
Crying at the moment I see his glory
And he is revealed to me.

This world is full of:
Head-on collisions,
Rear-view visions.
Hurt may appear
Closer in the mirror.

Hitting, hurting, burning,
Scratching, fighting, scarring.
And we don’t even know
Who we’ve struck on the road

With our carelessness. Our thoughtlessness. Our inhumanity.

Though–we are saved.
Without reason or cause.
Captured and raptured.
In spite of our flaws.

Made by his hands,
Made for his plans,
Made just like him.

Built for relationship.
Desiring fellowship,
Asking for love and loyalty–
Our trust in His royalty.

Our undivided attention.

And when he crashes into us,
It doesn’t hurt.
But you know that you’ve been hit.

Crash.

He crashes into us.
He leaves a mark.
Stunned mind, ears ring.
A mark made by the one, true king.

Crash.

He came on a star.
He left on a cloud.
Here but a brief second.
A drop in the bucket.

But he changed man’s heart forever.

Hit and run.
Hit and stun.
Crash.

Crash.Crashing.Crushing.Crushed.

Crushed by his glory, stick around for the story,
The story of Love.
A story of grace.
God came to earth and showed us his face.
The face of a child in such a lowly place.

Eternal spirit become flesh.
Forever and finite, in a sense,
Wisdom clothed in innocence.

Power in weakness,
Eternity from meekness,
He does nothing but seek us.

He came here to this dangerous space.
A tiny member of the human race
To save.  The.  World.

He crashed into history.
He flashed into being.
Everything changes,
Believing is seeing.

The story gets better.
The story is a letter.
A letter from me to you
By Him.

Read it from beginning to end.
And read it again.
And again.
And again.

Brace for impact.


I feel so lucky that God came down for Christmas. Happy holidays. ❤

Walking in Darkness

For my friend, Laurey. Love you, Doll.


Night has come and we walk in dark
Because we have not made it home.
But in the black, hand in hand,
We do not go alone.

The light will come again.
We know that now for sure.
For lightless earth and dimming path
Love is the only cure.


Isaiah 9 ESV

But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish…but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea… The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.


Laurey lost her mom over Thanksgiving. Anytime is not a good time to lose your mom, but it was unexpected and on holiday break. If you would like to help, they have funeral costs. You can give here. Ellen Johnson Please do not feel obligated. I’m sharing to try and help.

From the Ghost of Thanksgiving Past

from Thanksgiving 2013:

it would be very tempting to go buy a TV on black friday. there is a 50″ flat screen on Target for the holiday sales for only $229. walmart has one for $178-40″. this is cheaper than even their 32″, usually over $200. we don’t have a flat screen, we’ve got an old school tube tv and it is crazy heavy. but it’s 32″, in good condition and perfectly good enough.
i won’t support the holiday shopping that has become insane. i won’t support people being away from their families on thanksgiving. i won’t support the ever-increasing need to have more and more shit. i won’t support buying gifts for myself when others are in need. i won’t buy gifts for other people who don’t need anything. i have the money to buy a TV finally, at a good price, but i won’t expose my child to the ridiculous crowds assembled to fight each other for things. i won’t stand in line for hours upon hours to save a few dollars. i won’t buy into the hype.
what i will do is…stock a local food pantry that we had to use this year. be thankful for God’s providence. be thankful i’m not in jail becuz i just filed bankruptcy and in this beautiful country, just becuz i owe money i can’t pay, the gov’t. will allow me to have my debt forgiven even if we have had hard times, been sick or just plain reckless. i will be thankful that even tho i don’t have alot of money i have been able to stay at home with my child and be here for her. i don’t have to give up my child becuz i made a mistake. i can eat a thanksgiving meal with my family w/o sitting in jail for owing money.
i am not going to take for granted every single blessing i have including a TV that works. thankful that i don’t have to stand for hours in the cold to buy a TV i don’t need. thankful that i can spend the holiday with my family, enjoying each other’s company instead of fighting strangers over things and money. i wish more people would not shop on thanksgiving. you are supporting an entire industry that is only focused on getting more and more of your dollars.
i’m going to save my money this year becuz i might lose my house. i’m going to save my money for the move we might have to make. i’m going to do the responsible thing for once and live like Dave Ramsey says. i’m going to live with eternity in mind, not focus on what i can shove in my face, cram in my eyes and muddle up in my mind. i’m not going to focus on material possessions this year. i’m going to focus on God’s ever-present benevolence and grace on my poor, undeserving soul.


who woulda thought i would be in florida in 4 years time?? with a flat screen. 😀 still saving and pinching those pennies.

1st Amendment or: Why I Celebrate Thanksgiving

US Constitution, Bill of Rights, Amendment 1
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.


Plain-talk pilgrims punished for passion
Simple ways and modest fashion
Boiling it down to what’s important
All things under Heaven subordinate

Lost forever to their motherland
Radical devotion to the Father’s right hand
Known for their annoying zeal
But, oh, to have an ounce of the fervor they feel

Concerned for the future, they left for the wild
Believing to be the obedient child
They lost half, nothing but an epitaph
Yielding to Divination and the Shepherd’s staff

And yet they endured.

On to 1776, our fathers feared for rights
Fought fiercely for freedom beneath the rampart lights
By 1787, we agreed to the essential list
No government should ever rule by sword, or gun, or fist

We may speak and worship how we choose
Humbly honor each other’s views
Gather where we will and please
Carry the jangling links of Liberty’s keys

So today I celebrate the birth of religious choice
I am thankful to live in a country where I can raise my singular voice
I will honor that by being kind and listening to others sing
And rejoice with Thanksgiving at the sound of Freedom’s ring

And yet we endure.

I acknowledge the bloody history of the past, the almost-elimination of the Native American, the withholding of rights for minorities, but on this foundation, we can strive for something better. Uphold the spirit of the law, if not the letter. And the spirit is to offer freedom to everyone, the way in which Christ offers freedom to me. Amen.


Happy Thanksgiving from sunny Florida! Enjoy.

Gratitude

November has officially become a month-long thankful pack of sticky notes on Facebook. That’s great. Truly. But what about the other 11 months? 🙂

So I hesitate to join, but. I will.

I am thankful for so much. But this Thanksgiving, I am deep-down, toes-to-tassel thankful for my life.

Since 2012, and really before that, I have been sick. Heart failure. Twice. Thyroid cancer. Gastric bypass. Gallbladder failure.

And now, 226 lbs lighter, I feel better than I’ve ever felt in my entire life. Even when I was young. Mainly because I also feel emotionally better. It feels like all the sickness is finally gone. I can just tell.

For years I struggled with a failing GB. Probably a decade, in hindsight. Also, I probably had a thyroid issue my entire life because I have been overweight from a young age.

Mom always said, “You were born hungry.” A mother knows. Just wish she could have told or shown the doctors where to look. Nonetheless, this was my destiny.

I am thankful for my trouble. It has taught me endurance.

James 1:2-4 NASB

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

(Perhaps missing/lacking a few organs, but otherwise, lacking in nothing. LOL)

It has also taught me humility. Patience. Joy. Peace. Understanding. Wisdom. Tolerance. So many things.

Under any other circumstances, would I be the person I have finally come to love entirely? I don’t know. God didn’t do this to me. But he knew how far I could go. He knew the traps. He knew the joys. He knew how strong I could be with him.

I truly did not think it was possible. To see 287.6 lbs again. That’s what I was yesterday afternoon, on the scale. I did not think it was possible to live past the age of 50. I did not think it was possible to ever feel right again. Out of pain. Able to walk. Able to work.

One year ago, I was preparing for surgery. High-protein diet to shrink my liver. Thanksgiving was the last day I could eat. I savored it. Thinking it might be my last tasty morsel before a lifetime of bland, tiny meals. Or worse. My last meal before operation table disaster. Dying.

But I made it. I made it to the next Thanksgiving. How wonderful to be on the other side. Maybe that’s what it’s like to go to Heaven. Thankful to be done and home at last.

Home again, home again, jiggity jig.

Maybe this is what I needed for this ultra-thick head. Maybe this was my come-to-Jesus moment. Maybe this was my “fall on my knees because I have nothing left.”

I’m by no means done. I am just beginning again. And I am so thankful just to be alive. And 287. 🙂


Only 87 lbs to goal!!! 😀

God Did This

Hitting
Hurting
Burning
Scratching
Fighting
Scarring

Dad did this.

Spitting
Teasing
Twisting
Lying
Strangling
Harming

The world did this.

Eating
Cutting
Crying
Choking
Drowning
Dying

I did this.

Healing. Teaching. Helping.
Holding. Waiting. Loving.

Resurrecting.

God did this.

Thank God.