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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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. ❤

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!!! 😀

Jesus is a Beaver

Hear me out. Er, read me out, I guess.

Jesus is a beaver.

If u wanna know what I’m talking about, you should watch “Leave It To Beavers” on Netflix. Great documentary. If you like animals.

Beavers come into really dry areas and restore the landscape. They bring water. Well, they don’t bring it, they save it.

Little by little, over time, they build their dams. Higher and higher, they build to keep the water in and make the beaver pond deeper and deeper. They churn up the bottom and drag the dirt, silt and sludge from the bottom and seal up the dam to make it tighter and tighter. Waterproof. So no water gets out. This also makes the pond deeper by scooping up the bottom. The deeper the pond, the less evaporation, so the water stays. More water brings more life. More vegetation, more fish, more food, more neighbors…MORE! The bigger the pond, the more neighbors, human and animal alike, can enjoy the benefits and fruits of the pond.

This is what Jesus does.

Doesn’t he?

He brings us more.

Piece by piece, we can build a strong place with Jesus. We can keep his life-giving water in (he says he is the eternal spring) and keep from running dry. He can scoop up the bottom of our lives and use it for good. All the muck and dirt that we accumulate over time, he can churn that up and use it.

And the deeper we go in Jesus? The greener our valley for others. Other people may benefit from the deep pond we have built with Jesus. We can share the fruits of our labor with our neighbors. We can share what we have built in Christ. We can save the landscape.

Beavers don’t even know they are helping. This is just what they are born to do. Build, build, build.

We can be beavers. We can engineer our lives so that we help others. We can be born to do that or become beavers over time. Little by little.

I wanna be a beaver.

manna

i prayed that God put in my mind those things that he wants me to write about and every morning, like manna, the words are waiting to find me or be found.

it is my job to gather. sometimes, i don’t have enough hours in the day or a basket big enough for his providence. my hands, fingers, pens, keys, screens, pages runneth over.

thoughts float down like sweet sticky buns from heaven. proficiency and abundance are divine.

Fragility of Choice

Beautiful weakness.

Question: If God created us, why didn’t he make us stronger, better, less susceptible to weakness and evil?

Answer (in the form of a question lol): If we can’t be tempted, how can we choose? If everything is easy, is that really a choice?

I think it’s beautiful to be weak. To struggle. To choose good, even though it’s hard. To fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12). Even to fall. Because there is grace.

Question: If God created us, why did He have to save us?

Answer (maybe): God gave us a choice so that we may love Him freely and honor Him of our own choosing. Come to Him with freedom. Love Him because we want to. He knew that to give us choice, He would have to make us fragile. Capable of falling. But He gave us Christ because:
1. He loved us
2. He knew we would need help

So. We can stand on Christ alone if we fall. That’s gorgeous.

We are fragile. We are weak. We are beautiful.
We are wonderfully and fearfully made.
We are free. We are loved. We are saved.

Thoughts? Opinions? Insight?

Uncharted Sea

2 Timothy 1:7

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.

Find what it is, or where it is, that you should be and live with fervor for God Almighty. There’s no time to do less than that.


If God is the wave
And we are the ocean
Let Him move us along
With faithful devotion

Water is deep and still until
It is acted upon by wind
It doesn’t fear, but simply responds
And that’s where living begins

You may be carried far
Be brave and take the blows
Hold on for the ride of your life
Allow the highs and lows

If you can’t raise your anchor and sails
If you can’t submit to Force
You can’t gain new ground
Without trusting the course

If you have faith in God
Look to the stars for hope and relief
You’ll be amazed at the treasures you’ll find
In sailing beyond the reef.