Friday, February 13, 2015

Grace That is Greater

I think about it as I sip my first perfectly good cup of decaf coffee (it pays to shop around).  My four year-old playing a musical app on my phone, a cat singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, the littlest still asleep, the husband still resting.  The moon out, since darkness.  It's early.

I think about the blessings.  I think about the estimated two inch incision in my chest and the ache of healing and I’m grateful for health.  No.  My life.  My very life.

Thankful for the kids who push me over the edge during long afternoons and who fill up my heart like no one else can.  The way their cheeks can still feel baby soft, even if it’s been years since they were teeny tiny in my hands.  The way Joel sleepily wakes up and says, “I was dreaming about you and then you are here!”  

I got busy.  We all got busy.  Between work and ministry and preschool and marriage and a home and building a future... it got scrambled.  Maybe the answer was a new calendar.  So I could plan better.  Stay on top of it all with more efficiency.  Fancier.  No, maybe simpler.  More colors; no, none.  Write with a pen; no use a pencil to display flexibility.  Do less?   Do more?  Go to bed later, get up earlier?  Where was the missing piece, the definitive instruction that would get me out of wherever I was and into wherever I was supposed to be?

And then the world stopped and then began spinning backwards.  I swirled like water pulled towards a drain.  What if there was a limit, what if the diagnosis confirmed and matched all of my Googling and my worst fears?  

But then... grace.

Grace that not only allowed me to catch a warning signal early, but grace that allowed me to see.  That pushed back the blinders of busy, of to-do, of the mighty list and the unrest... grace that allowed me to see and feel my children.  Grace that reminded me how I am matched so perfectly with a man who, after 7 years, can still make a kiss feel new.  

We’re not promised everything.  I know that.  I know grief.  I know sudden, shocking, how-can-this-be-happening realities.  I know loss.  I know anxiety and depression and I know all about feeling unworthy, like less and like giving up.  I know panic attacks and how there is no shame in saying you can’t take one step forward or else you’ll fracture into a thousand pieces.  It’s how it feels and in that moment, that’s all that seems real.  

But the truth?  The real truth... grace.

Grace for my humanity.  Grace for my heart that races and panics and is prone to be over anxious when I am overextended.  Grace for my busy, grace for my work, grace for my Pinterest-pretty-failing home.  Grace for all I’ve tried and failed.  Grace for when I open my mouth to worship and I fall off a note.  Grace for what I only see as imperfect, when all He sees is love. 

Grace for the daily grind.  

And grace for the climb.  

The fresh cut in my fragile skin seems to throb with every heartbeat.  Reminding me that life is a gift and pain, also, can be a gift.  That you can write and live and minister out of the thorn, the scar, the history that will never go away.  You can be better for it all.  Because of it all.

And that in the end?  In the end He is our Father and Master and the owner of all on a thousand hills.  It’s all His.  Nothing gets missed or lost.  Just continually found, rescued, loved,... and healed.

Because very grace is Christ.  Grace was the cross, the blood, the cuts in His own body.  It's all gift, because it's all grace.  And it's all grace because it is always all Him.  Always has been.  Will be.  No calendar or app or time management system, vacation or new anything can beat out what resonates, what comes, what calms when grace is the ruler and grace is the measure.

All we ever need is all we've already been given.


"I will not accept a bull from your house
or goats from your folds.
For every beast of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the hills,
and all that moves in the field 
is mine."
~  P s a l m   5 0 : 9 - 1 1 ,   E S V 

Friday, February 6, 2015

When Cancer Cures

I noticed it one day, reflected there for me in the mirror.  A dot.  A speckle.  Something.  I don’t know, but I just stared.  Had that always been there?  Had it always looked like that?  I called myself crazy and dressed and moved on.  

But it kept staring at me. A month, two, (or five) later.  Small but somehow mighty.  Changing.  I started feeling needles of anxiety and wondered, “What if?”  What if that was something that should be checked out?  What if it was... 


So, I asked my husband.  And I had hoped, kind of hinged my expectations on a, “Yeah, that’s always been there, why?” kind of response.  The laid back, easy-going, calm kind of thing I’ve come to know, love (and appreciate) about my husband.  He looked close, long enough to make the fear flare and said, “Yeah. You need to get that checked out.”  

My face crumpled and I turned away fast to unload the dishwasher.  The worst filling my head.

Because... what if?

What if it was... cancer?  What if those years of tanning in my 20’s was coming back to haunt me?  Every sunburn I had ever experienced (and there have been plenty) flooded  my mind with fear and remorse.  I tucked my kids into bed each night and wanted to bawl my eyes out.  What if there was a time limit that was coming for me?  Fast?

What if the worst?

I headed off to my doctor, sure he’d tell me it was fine and nothing to worry about.  Nope, no such luck.  “We’re going to take that right out.”  Numbed me up, dug around, two stitches later I’m sent home, “A nurse or the doctor will speak to you about your results at your stitch removal appointment.”  


I cried and tried to sing praise music all the way home.  I raised my hands and sang that He was my Rock Who wouldn’t move, but terrified tears still raced down my face.  I didn’t want to think the worst, but how does your mind not go there?  And everywhere I turned there was another story. Another young mother snatched away too soon, leaving babies to grow up without ever knowing her.  A husband gone, just like that.  Blog after blog of seizing the day and making the moments count and how it could all be gone in a flash.

What if my own flash was approaching?  

I smoothed peppermint oil down my spine each night to relieve tension and crawled into bed and cry-prayed myself to sleep.  The tears rolling and dumping into my pillow.  My prayers too messy, too real, too desperate for any words.  I kept thinking, “I have kids!  It can’t be cancer!” but then I know there are no such deals.  I’m not immune.  No one is.  I was scared that this might be a new chapter for me.  And someone else would have to be writing it, because I would never, ever write that.  I had no control and I was free-falling into what felt like the scariest black hole.

I voiced my deepest fear to a best friend as we sat in our shared office one day.  I hadn’t intended to tell anyone or to even ask for prayer.  Surely it was nothing.  There was no sense in blowing things out of proportion.  I finally turned to her and told her I had this little thing that was going to get checked out and would she pray?  I felt desperate and needed for someone to know. The tears I had been shoving down sprang to life and I said, “I’m so scared.  What if...” the words choked, came out softly, as though I was trying to deny they had ever even crossed my mind at all, “What if...I die?”  She slammed the door immediately with her foot, the noise rattling through what felt like the entire building and leaned close and grabbed my hands.  Tight. “No.  Uh uh.  That is not happening.”  

We bent head to head and she prayed strong over me.

I called the doctor after a week for my results. I couldn’t wait any longer to know.  I was told that it was benign, however it had some characteristics to be concerned about and the pathologist was recommending that a larger margin be removed due to the warning signals and my age.  I cried relief.  I poured thankful.

I could put my kids to bed without counting them as though I had a handful left.


Or I could keep counting them.  Protecting them.  Valuing them.

I could let this change me.

I got slammed immediately with a cold that exhausted me.  On the heels of an emotional week, my immunity and physical strength was low and I got beat down.  I missed church.  I missed choir.  I dragged myself into work but could barely form a sentence.  My throat ached on one side and I couldn’t sing.  My head pounded consistently.  I still had stitches that ached and pulled and that needed healing.

And yet... how could I complain? 

It wasn’t cancer.

I didn’t post about my cold on Facebook.  I didn’t Instagram my bloodshot eyes.  I didn’t ask for remedies or solutions or help.  I drank tea with honey and went on with my day.  I hugged and kissed and laughed.  Because... I might not have.  

And now, when I’m tempted to be afraid, I remember how I learned how steady my Rock is.  That even if the earth does give way, He remains.  I remember how scared I was to have everything taken away, and instead, everything remains.  I can take it all back greedily or I can hold it in my hands gingerly and carefully, because it’s all gift.  Someday it will go.  I will go.  But I have today.  I have this moment and this voice and this life.  

I can live it as ordinary... or I can live it as extraordinary.  



Oh,.. thank You.

"Even though I walk 
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for You are with me..."
~  P s a l m   2 3 : 4 a

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I see the work of Your hands...

I pick up on it days later.  

I notice and draw the dots together after I finally upload recent pictures to my Facebook photo album.

And my heart pounded in my ears with gratitude... and regret.

Because it had taken me days to realize.

On Thursday morning I pulled up to a snow-covered stop sign and rolled down my window, allowing bitter and biting 12 degree Northern Indiana air to crawl into my van.  We were headed to the store, to preschool, but I had to stop.  Not for Instagram’s sake.  For my own.  The sunrise was marvelous; other-worldly.  I snapped a picture to the curiosity of my four year old.  

“What are you doing?”  

“I’m taking a picture of this sunrise. Isn’t it amazing?”

“Did you ask God to do that today?”  My eyes feel itchy.  Tears wiggling forward.  

“No, I didn’t.  But that’s what God does.  It’s a gift.”

And we rolled on to our Walmart destination.  Phone tucked away.  

My Thursday was a roll of to-do’s and missions to accomplish.  I had a crock-pot full of mac and cheese to salvage for my son’s preschool Thanksgiving feast and I needed to shower and I had a van load of groceries to drop off at our church for our upcoming Southern gospel concert.  I was feeling a “little” stressed.  

Okay, I was pretty much living on chocolate and coffee.  Don’t judge.

With Daddy on a three day hunting trip and it was just me and the rest of the world.  I briefly thought about giving into the stress and panic and tuck myself in a corner somewhere, but I would have had to schedule that.  There was no time for a nervous breakdown.  Just keep it going.  Roll on family, roll on crew.

The evening comes and Daddy gets home and I’m able to breathe a little easier.  Off I trot to rehearsal and on my way I’m blindsided.  The sunset is from another world, from a Greater hand and I am trying to snap pictures as I drive, which is wildly unadvised. I’m blasting Christian radio and my heart is crying and soaring and begging for more.  I need more space to contain what He is showing me.  My iPhone camera is barely taking it all in. 

I pull over.  I’m sitting there in a big truck, taking pictures of a sunset as though it’s the last one I’ll ever see.  And if it was, wow, what a way to go.  The radio was loud and tuned in to a song I had never heard, one by Big Daddy Weave and it’s so perfect.... too perfect... And it was God in that moment and all I needed.  And I just wanted to hold it.  

I wanted to stay in that glow forever.

And I sing and I come home tired and the day is done.  Friday is a blur.  And tonight, with the boys occupied and playing good, I plug in my phone to download the most recent images.  I sit down with a pot pie, download “Overwhelmed” on iTunes and set to editing.  

As I upload and add dates, I realize... God didn’t just give me an amazing sunset that night.

He’d given me an amazing sunrise, too.

It was all in the same day.

In my busyness, in my rush, in my holy-cow-that’s-a-long-to-do-list,... I missed it.  I was thankful in the moment but then I let it go.  Dropped the ball.  Like a child who tears open a gifts, laughs with glee and then shoves it away, half-unopened, to tear into the next. 

What would my day have been like if I had recognized that my entire day had literally been one well-planned gift after another?

What would future days be like if I started off planning to recognize?

What if I came prepared to give thanks?

Another 5 a.m. morning.  Another cup of coffee.  Another little bit of worship via Pandora as I curl my hair.  And I think about it.  Messy notepad full of to-do’s aside.  What could the potential of this day be if I started off in preparation to be thankful. 

If I prepared to notice.

We know that an attitude of gratitude changes things.  And only for the better.  If you know something to do that is good for you... why don’t you do more of it?  All the time?

I sip my coffee and think.  

And say thank-you into the yet-to-be-sunrised morning.

~ How can you remind yourself to slow and give thanks?
~ What are five things you’re thankful for right now?
~ How do you cultivate an attitude of gratitude in your daily life?

"And whatever you do,
in word or deed,
do everything 
in the name of 
the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to
God the Father
through Him..."
~  C o l o s s i a n s   3 : 1 7 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Shake off these heavy chains...

I’m wondering this morning... what is this search, this pursuit, of happiness?  What does it mean?  What would it look like if we were “really” happy?  Why do we think we “must” be happy?  Is it spiritual?  Cultural?  How we were raised?  

It’s not even 6 a.m. and I’ve been awake for an hour and a half.  The kids both were awake before 4:30 a.m. and by the time I checked on them, settled them back down (i.e. threatened them to go back to sleep or else) and came back downstairs, it was nearing 5 a.m. and my alarm was set to go off then anyway.  So I went ahead and got up.  Folded that load of laundry that I had tossed from the bed to the floor so I could sleep last night.

I thought about it as I stared at my bleary reflection and pulled my hair into a ponytail.  I felt irritated as I patted concealer under my eyes.  Why can’t they just sleep?  Why can’t I catch a break?  Why can’t I set my alarm to wake early to read my Bible of all things and not be interrupted, hassled or awakened even earlier by my children?  

I went through the motions.  Got ready.  Found the shopping list for later.  Made the coffee.  Then I made the extra motions.  Light a candle.  No, two.  Open the window over the sink.  No, open another.  The birds, the fresh air, the pinch of light beginning in the east.  I sit down, the baby monitor on low because you know, at least one is still awake and still calling out.  

I read in an old book from my church’s library, a book that hasn’t been checked out or picked up in over twenty years.  I feel enthralled pulling a book like that off a shelf.  It feels “meant to be” in some way.  Ironically, funnily, I pick up a book entitled, “Serendipity”.  I know it as a word meaning, “a fortunate accident”, coined more popular because of a John Cusack chick flick.  

The book is just about that.  How we are trudging down one path and bam, lightening strikes and we find genius or meaning or a cure for smallpox.  Our aim is to seek first the kingdom of God.  That’s our grand focus.  Our big idea.  But along the way, we find all sorts of “happy accidents”.  But happiness itself was never to be our one true pursuit.  

But we live like it is.

I see it all the time.  In myself.  I see it on Facebook and Pinterest and I hear it in the chats I have with my best friend.  We’re not unhappy.  At least not all the time.  But we feel we should be happier.  Are supposed to be happier.  We think something is wrong with us because we’re not balls of birthday party, caked-up joy 24/7.  We’re tired and we’re trying to fake it until we make it.  We have little kids and jobs and to-do lists and husbands.  We have parents and family members with trails and struggles and church groups with busted stories and broken dreams.  But we’re supposed to be happy, right?  We have Jesus.  We should be the happiest people on earth.  Joy, joy, joy, joy, down in our hearts.

I do believe happiness happens.  I do believe we all possess a deep, abiding joy in our souls, knowing we are God’s and God’s alone.  I don’t believe this means you never have hard things to go through.  I don’t believe this means you never feel broken down.  I do believe, though, that it means we have a very useful tool for mining through those times.

More and more research and more and more mainstream and popular authors are showing that gratitude is the key to a deeper joy.  But not just any gratitude.  You can be a thankful person and note how good the sun feels on your shoulders after an icy and dry winter.  You can take notice of nature or the delicate creation of a newborn baby.  But gratitude that changes things is in noting all the ways that God blesses.  All the ways He loves us.  It’s His love that changes us and His love that sets us straight and His love that keeps us going... and makes us happy.

I’m a very grateful person.  I have the gratitude journal and an abundance of Facebook statuses to prove it.  But simply “being happy” is not my goal and it’s not my aim.  It’s impossible.  I can’t physically be boundless energy all day, every day.  I’m human and I get tired.  I get up through the night and wake early.  Sometimes I’m convinced only Starbucks will “make me happy” and so we trudge there with an excuse to buy groceries while we’re in town, but let’s be honest, I’m really just driving all that way for a treat.  A pick-me-up.  Something I feel I both “deserve” and “need”.  Neither of which is truly true.

But I’m going after it because heck, I’m supposed to be happy.  Right?  So do what you can, do what you have to, pull yourself up and order a Venti.  It’s the only way to survive the day.  The only want inject some “joy”, when really it’s entitlement that has me in that drive-thru (well, that and a little teeny bit of addiction).  I should be happy.  I have a right to be happy.  Give me a latte for now and an iced coffee for later and warm up that breakfast sandwich stat.

I don’t have to be happy.  But I do have to be thankful.  

And happiness, a different kind that is settled in, even when I’m tired and I find it hard for my smile to reach my eyes... that’s a different kind of joy and it comes from knowing all the little ways God is saying, “I love you” throughout my day.  My life.  This very morning.  

Confession: I can get irritated when my plans are interrupted.  This morning I dropped into my chair, coffee close by and that baby monitor turned down because Travis was still calling for me.  I had my Bible in my lap and was not feeling like being spiritual or being taught or being faithful.  I didn’t want to go back to bed (I was awake now!) but my day felt wrecked.  “Come on, God, seriously?  I can’t even have one morning to sit here and do my devotions?!” 

I felt Him sincere and soft.  Quick on the heels of my sassy attitude.

“When did I tell you that you had to meet Me only this way?” 

I sputter.  Well... well.  Come on!  Of course I’m supposed to get up early and seek God and read my Bible and make petitions and throw some grain on the counter and create bread.  I mean, that would be very Proverbs 31 of me and isn’t that what I’m supposed to be striving after?  Modeling?  Excelling in?

When I go to get Joel out of bed this morning, he’s laying in bed, his blankets over his head.  “There’s a present for you, Mommy!”  I could be all agenda-mom.  Come on, get-up, quit messing around, we need to get Travis to grandma’s.  I could be tired mom.  Come on, Joel, let’s go get breakfast already.  But I’m not.  I’m in the moment, trying, trying to be grateful mom.  And as I pull the full bag from the diaper pail (hey, it’s trash day!) I go, “Oh, really? A present for me?” 

I go to the edge of his bed and bend low, he’s standing in bed, his favorite blanket, the one I bought when I was pregnant with him, over his head.  “Unwrap your present!”  I peek under the corner, reveal that sweet little boy face and exclaim, “A Joel!  I always wanted a Joel!”  He laughs and hugs me and goes, “Did you wish for me, Mommy?”

Did I wish.  For you.  

Oh, honey.

Sweet boy, I prayed for you and I wanted you and even when I wasn’t sure I wanted to become a mommy quite yet, I wanted you.  And somehow with the potty training and the tantrums and the not sharing and the endless wrestling and squealing and running through the house half-naked... somehow that can all overtake what a gift a child is.  What a wished for, hoped for, please, please gift both of my boys are to me.

And I remember the gift.  I’m grateful.  And I feel joy bubbling over the fact that my day started at 4:21 a.m.  I don’t have to watch the sunrise and simultaneously be in deep prayer and scriptural reflection. Is it amazing and beneficial when I am?  Yes!  But is God demonizing my rest when I get to miraculously sleep until after 5 a.m.?  No.  I don’t believe that.  When we live that way, with our lists and our musts and our “I can’t be really worthy unless...” talk, then we’re back under the thumb of the law.  

We’re back in shackles.  Just like that. 

The Bible says we are free.  And that we should not be yoked “again” to slavery.  (Galatians 5:1)  I love that.  The first time I read it slow, I caught the “again”.  Sometimes we can read quick and just think yeah yeah, Jesus set me free and I shouldn’t be a slave to fear or sin or whatever.  No, no.  It’s not just that.  It’s being knotted down “again”.  That’s how we were.  We can easily morph back into that thinking pattern, but it’s not authentic.  We are free.  If we are in Christ, we are free.  We have His Spirit and we have every power and every possibility.  

Do you feel it?  Don’t you wish for it? That feeling that only freedom gives? 

It’s right there.  In His open hands.  Always.

"Seems like all I could see
was the struggle...
Bound up in shackles
of all my failures...
Wondering how long 
is this gonna last?
Then You look at this prisoner
and say to me,...
"Stop fighting a battle
that's already been won."
~  B i g   D a d d y   W e a v e ,   " R e d e e m e d "

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

For all who were condemned...

It’s amazing, scary even, how the little moments can be strung together.

How they can create a streaming story.  A somehow continual truth. Separate shadows, all mixed together and suddenly, so you think: the real truth.  Every deeply rooted fear, confirmed.  No myths busted here.

He comes like a thief.  Just like that.  In the night. 

He robs us so blind.  Heart and soul and body and strength.  Traitor.



I’m not more than eleven.  Standing in my parent’s master bathroom, playing in makeup and playing dress-up with my younger sister.  We take turns applying a wildly red lip.  I catch my reflection and feel my heart shrivel.  My mismatched eyes and my too-large-for-my-mouth front teeth break my tender dreams.  I stand by the sink, transfixed at my sister’s reflection.  Her naturally curly blonde hair, wild and beautiful around her eight-year old face.  Her perfect rose-bud lips, bringing out the bright, almost other-worldly blue of her eyes.  My hair hangs limp and dark and I’m only a little girl.

A lumpy bead on a necklace that begins to choke.

And then my baby sister is married at nineteen and I stand up with her on that June day and pin her bustle and hold her flowers.  Later I hear how someone commented, “I always thought Leah was prettier, but I couldn’t take my eyes off Laura during the wedding.”

My heart jumped.  Someone thought I was pretty!  But then.... they had also thought I wasn’t.

The beads slide together.  Clink loud.  I swallow hard and feel the truth against my throat.

In my mid-twenties, another bead on the strand, words from a man, a good friend.  He looks me full in the eyes, in the dimness of the moon and a street lamp and he says so tenderly, like he knew I must have been broken inside for so long, “I never could understand why they always said Leah was the pretty one.”

My heart thrilled.  Hoped.  And then drooped just a little... because even though a compliment was nice, the truth was that someone, multiple someones, had this thought.  And felt free to share it.  They didn’t see me as “the pretty one”.  

Wow.  Thanks for sharing that with me.  I guess I am thankful I have my musical talent and good humor to fall back on.

I’ve spent a large part of my life (my whole life?) feeling insecure.  Compared.  Coming up short.  I wasn’t brave and I wasn’t bold.  I was skittish and anxiety-prone and beautifully introverted.  I could write stories and draw pictures for days.  If my heart was broken or confused or if I was battling anything, you would find me at the piano.  Pounding it all out until it was gone.  A prayer sent from my fingers to the keys and beyond.  My Mom always said she knew when I was in need of time alone in the piano room.  And I would come out changed.  I would start out beating those keys to a loud, forceful death and eventually a sweetness, a gratitude almost, would emerge.

Words matter.  Words become thoughts.  Thoughts become beliefs about ourselves, about others.  They propel actions, build up our own self-imposed righteousness.  They define us.  Good or bad, them or us, truth or lies, they wrap tight.  Words can keep you bound forever.  If you listen enough to the wrong song, you’ll grow up believing you’re lacking.  That you’re weak.  That you’re less.  That people talk about you, that people compare you, that they tear you up one side and down the other, deciding what you’re worth.  

Based on a face, a life, that God designed. 

I think of all of this nearly every time I’m getting dolled up.  When I apply a bright lip, I’m suddenly eleven and I never leave the house with that color on.  It feels forced and scary and all I see is little-girl-Laura with her straight, straight hair and her awkward teeth and her not-quite-right-since birth green eyes.  When I have a good hair day, I feel better.  Bolder.  Like I did on those days when I was told, “Actually, I think you’re the fairest one of all.”

Mirror, mirror.  

But what do you do when the mirrors are people who are supposed to just love you?

We’ve probably all had moments in our life where we were made to feel wanting somehow.  We didn’t get picked for the team.  We couldn’t learn the coordinated moves for cheerleading fast enough.  We never got off the bench.  We were never allowed to swing the bat.  We audition but don’t get the chance.  We live fearful and small, convinced that’s all we are.  We may bolster ourselves, “Well, at least I have a good career.” or “At least I graduated from a good school.” or “At least I know how to make a killer apple pie.”  

At least.

If not... then, well, at the very least, I have this to show.  This crummy medal.  But it's something.

Our worth was never, ever meant to be based on our abs or lack thereof.  Your ability to mother well has nothing to do with how fast (or even if) you drop the baby-weight.  Your gifts may have nothing to do with what you actually know to do.  Who can teach someone to be hospitable?  To be heartfelt and encouraging?  I might be able to make a mean meatloaf, but is that it?  Am I really going to reduce myself down to a set list of talents?  

Are we only about what we do?  Is that how we define who we are?

Is that how we live?

No wonder we are scared and nervous.  No wonder we aren’t courageous at all.  You can’t live powerfully from a house of lies.  You can’t pull from your looks (which fade) or your awesome pitching arm or your computer skills.  You can’t dig roots deep into hairspray and makeup.  You can’t build your house upon something so shifty and so fleeting as whatever the world cries is, “So NOW.”  

But I know I know my source of clear and good and true: is found in Christ.
Everywhere I aim to dig, let it be near You, Lord.  Let me pull out a weed and drown my spade into earth that is rich with soil that will nourish me.  That will make me grow.  That will give me a new life.  Let me struggle, if that’s what has to be done, so that my wild root can twirl and twine down into the earth You carved with Your mighty finger.  Bury me so far down and so firm that it won’t ever matter what they say.  That it won’t matter how mismatched my history, my story, the compliments may be.  They can swing from one end of the spectrum to the other, but I will not be moved.  

My truth, every dripping, sopping, bucket-over-my-head ounce of cold truth is that all my fountains... all my blessings, all my deepest bruises, all of my longings, every tiny twig of a dream: comes from You.  And You alone can sustain it.  Blossom it.  Prune it back so that I’ll be ready for the next season.  And the one after that.

I stake my claim right here.  I’m not moving.  I’m not perfect and airbrushed and I don’t have to be.  Wasn’t made to be.  I was made to be and do so much more than pull together a great outfit, stand still and look pretty.  I won’t live another day not draining the life out of that ever-fountain.  I will live thankful and brave.  I won’t run scared.

I will grow strong and I will grow deep.  Free indeed.

It's going to be something.  And every kind of wild beautiful.

“She who reconciles the ill-matched
threads of her life, and weaves them
gratefully into a single cloth...
it’s she who drives the loudmouths 
from the hall and clears it for a
different celebration where the one
guest is You.” 

~ Rainer Marie Rilke