Faith Is An Ampersand — (Fuzzy Math)

My heart walks across the floor
The sound
Mirrors that of the lazy toddler in tow
Going forward he must
Reluctant
Going through the one foot in front of the other
Motions
Because Hope carries on
Moves onward  with remembering
Glory
Past faithfulness plus current trials
To the nth degree of wobbly faith
Equals holy hope
Counting the squared marks
Of the past like
Split-legged, one legged
Child-like faith travels down
Hopscotch chalk framed memories
Stories held in each

Shakily, I add up one thousand and one blessings

Of the  past
In the folds of memory
But right now
I bank solely on Hope
And  remembering alone
I cannot add
Disappointment muddies my math fuzzy
Faint and fadded dots
Seen by a half full  form of measuring
Come up
Less than
Don’t connect

James knew and told
Of storms
And Psalms come from
A dragging heart like lazy toddler steps
Obediently pressing on

But his Kingdom Come is at hand

Brilliantly
All adds up to wonderful
Glory be
Faith is the grace-ful ampersand
Connecting
All to Him
Mercy
Grace is the equalizer
And
Slowly
It
All adds up.
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Joining Emily  for Imperfect Prose and Jennifer for #tellhisstory

These Are The Days, Sacred and Holy

rolled tile roof in oak parkSometimes we just want to cry out loud Mercy at the top of our lungs. Mercy come rain over me. Mercy take me away to some physical and figurative place of peace. Mercy when will it get easier to raise a child. And this boxed in place of not enough, of  at the end of my rope and really, really still and again. It can leave a girl choosing wrongly to place a quantative value on a day. This one is good. This one is very very good. And this one was horrid. There was something to the girl and the curl and the measurement of her behavior. Good was very and bad was horrid.

But these days.  We stumble and name. Give up and give in. Give a grade or an adjective, undeserving of labels,these days. Really, these up and breathing and seeing life beating and blood flowing days. They are sacred and holy. Each one.

Because these are the days of breathing deep and living wide open. And of seeking and creating. These are the moments of loving and building. Of learning and grasping. Of holding and treasuring. Of serving and glorifying. Of offering hope and creating beauty out of the ash.

So the days when we shake a fist at the sky and rail and cry and name the day broken or less than. Well, it just shortens the days of our living, robs self of self.Bleeds them dry with the worry and the tears. Robs them of potential slivers of joy by wrapping them up in the brown-paper wrapping of plain or uninspired. Too filled with pain or sadness to be labeled glorious. Snuffs out the creative and puts a dark mask of blindness on the eyes of the living.

But with the few I have, the ones I am gifted ,granted, don’t I want to maximize the breath and the life in each. How can I put an end to the labels of the days of pain, the desert days, the days of mourning and weeping and wailing. And instead see them each as a perfectly jig-sawed piece to the whole of the puzzle. Each worn and torn frament as a vital and necessary piece of the tapestry of a pulsating life.

How do I wrangle the worn out and worn down and weary and weave them into golden glory. Re-create the mud-pie meals and make them gourmet edible delicacies after all, because its what I have. Recreate the broken and see it as healable redeemable and lovable after all. Because of His life and death. Because of His power.

Because it is life and life is it. This place of in the middle of unknowing and uncertainty, of one day soon it will make more sense and we will see better and clearer and it will be redeemed.

I know about seasons of living. The seasons of pain and the ones of pure joy. But what of the days which can’t be painted with strokes of meaning. Which seem longer than a season and in need of a new naming. The long cycles of questions and not quite clear, the blurry and bleary and tear-stained days.

What of the long periods which feel like they may never end. The repetition of the same recycled hurt and struggle. Where complete healing and total transformation seem to elude this life.

What of making and re-making these days into the best they can be and give, in spite of, despite. What of dropping the measuring sticks of worth and naming all the days as all the days. Each one  the sun up and sun down, moon up and moon down and all the in between. And we do seek extra hard and we squint and we squint some more and strain,on some of these crying out days. The loud mercy days.

I need you to help me reframe the days. To see the beautiful where I can only see hurt. To hold me where my mercies cry out loud and deafening. I need you to be his hands and feet and to catch a tear . To  help me salvage and save what is right here for the living and loving through the pain, inspite of the pain.

Despite the struggle, I need to define the beauty. And the lovely. And the worthy of praise.

When the crying out mercies seem to overshadow the new mercies where does the heart sit and find her rest, the soul her peace. Catch me brother, catch me sister and hold me in the arms of your strong Christ-love.

Catch my tear when the seemingly endless repetition of the wearing down and worn out and numbing pain send me back into the shadows. Pull me out with reminders of light and life with the strength of your Christ-love.

And sister, brother may I do the same for you. Help you frame the pain with a new lens of redemption and healing. Sit with you in the no-matter what’s that come. Hold you in the painful places of grief and loss, of despair and sorrow. Hold you as Christ would, love as Christ does and encourage you to walk forward into the days of healing.

Walk it out when I am weary, be my rod when I am crippled in my place of wandering wondering. And be my strength when I am weak.  Be my peace when I am warring with myself and wrestling with my soul. Be my gentle in my hard places, glimmers of light when hope is dim.

Be Christ for me, brothers and sisters. And teach me how to be Christ for you.

Walk with me into the days, the days of  the holy living, each and every single glorious one.

 Live out the days of breathing, as they are sacred. And as they are holy.

And live out the days, sacred and holy – together – in shared awe and wonder at it all. All. Every. Single. One.

Because these are the days of our lives. These are the days of the holy given.

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joining Laura at Laura Boggess dot com and Jen at finding heaven today and Heather at Just Write.

Shelly and Duane.

(note: a day or two after this original post, I have added a word or two more. writing evolves and changes, sometimes, as the heart of the writer hears and sees more, different, and new)

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Airing Out The Soul

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Airing Out The Soul

The first warm breeze
It thaws the crusty lingering on
The hangers on of a deep winter of
A soul
Ice  cold  frozen tundra patches, folded over, held over,
Hidden in their fear and trembling
All the working parts and pieces
Leaves them high and dry, ice cold
In desperate need of a team of doctors
Remove the dead, breathe new life
Send them out regenerated, heavy with hope
Surgically implanted
Cleaning crews called in to raise the broom
Do some heaving lifting
Break down the  corner cobb webs
Lower the boom
Hang those blooming hanging pots
Make it look like Spring, feign a vain attempt
Extract every dust bunny, grab them by the tail
Send them packing
The temple needs the tables turned over
And over again

Re-arrange the furniture
And redecorate the soul

Start by cracking a window

Air out the smell of death

Grab a rag which smells of Pledge

And promise

Throw open the portals to the merciful new

And breathe a breath of birth

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Joining the team at Tweetspeak Poetry today with a Billy Collins prompt. We are spreading some wordcandy sweetness around this Eastertime. Visit wordcandy.me and dip into their box of goodies. You will fill your sweet meeter to the rim with all the offerings. The newest are the freshest for spring.

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Oh Me Of Little Faith

She tells me this is where Faith comes in.

If God had limited patience instead of limiteless patience, I would have worn Him out yesterday.

It was a hand wringing day. And I know better.

I am surrounded by nativity scenes. Hemmed in by mangers. One to my left, one to my right and one behind my doubting Thomas head.

The Trinity symbolized I see now, by my three scenes of His birth. And  I still wring the hands though He wrought a life of pain and sacrifice for me.

And even with the physical reminders of my Savior I still need to be told….and this is where Faith comes in.

She knows my deep struggle. She is what I needed God to bring my way months ago as my struggle as a parent of a child who learns like we all do, uniquely. Who is wired like we all are, by Father God, individually, with strengths and gifts. Who is growing, as we all are on this journey, at his pace marked by his beautifully and wonderfully made intricacies.

But a mother wrings her hands and a heart has been know to skip a beat or double up on beats. And she has come along to hold my hand in the dark nights of the soul.

And there is another too. Who writes a beautiful letter. He is patient and strong and godly. And he tells me things that make me cry, too busy in my doubt and worry to see on my own. Too close and too doubled over in confusion to see or own or know, truly. Words of confidence and hope. Words of affirmation and decisiveness.

The two come along side and bolster my spirits and I know they are life savers wearing flesh and blood and bones to a mother of waning faith.

And at the end of the night, when the black curtain pulls over a day marked with fatigue and anxiety she speaks into my soul. Words I don’t read until His new mercy morning arrives.

And she write these words “He is a great kid…we just all need to help him learn how to access his strengths and use them…it will come with time, patience, and persistence! HAVE FAITH!

And like the perfect storms of life, she is talking and texting and emailing me with a diligence and committment to shoring up my child’s struggles with a tender and firm spirit. And the calm before the storm comes in fact after the storm has passed.

She knows the language which sounds like Greek to my ears of misunderstanding and misinterpretation.  I am learning daily the language of ADHD. And it is Russian and Chinese and Hebrew all rolled into one. I need a translator. I need help.

It comes in the form of co-pilgrims and co-laborers.

I wrote a letter yesterday to my church  which was hard to explain to a questioning child. She looks on me with doubt and lack of understanding. I tell her, if you read my letter you will understand why I feel lead to step back for a season from serving.Because I know in the letter I have said I feel like this is an act of obedience. And there is confusion and fatigue from schism and division and I need a season of quiet and contemplation and prayer and clarity.

A pause in my serving to steady a wobbly spirit.

But I can see I have let her down. She worries that it means we are leaving the church. We are not. I am taking a pause in my service in several different capacities.

And the quiet sets in. And the last thing I want to do is disappoint a child.

But she is questioning and maybe confused. And who can read a sixteen year old girl’s mind.

So I look at the managers that hem me in. There are three. Some days I need one hundred and  three. Days like my yesterday.

I thank Him for His new Mercies, for the rain and for tears.

My husband walked in from Fishermen men’s ministry, last night.

Our friend spoke. He has months to live. He has cancer.

And when you have been in the midst of one so full of faith and full of life you radiate the Glory and the Hope that come beaming from the face of a man at perfect peace. From our friend Pete.

You bring all that home with you from a night in the presence of living, breathing, Hope.

He tells me pieces of  stories that Pete told the men. Some of it I grabbed and some of it my weary hand wringing self let fall to the ground.

A weary soul doesn’t hold tight to Hope.

But you long  to brush up against Hope like this and pray that the remnants and particules like dust fall on you and stay. Fall on a weary dusty soul. Dirty with doubt.

And I pray my daughter can wrap understanding around my walking away for a season of pause. That I didn’t throw in the towel , its only in the wash for a season of renewal. And to gain clarity of mind and heart and spirit. That in obedience to Him He will give me a language of love to explain to her rightly my decision.

Just like the language of understanding I need to learn to speak with my son in his struggles that are uniquely his own.

Its raining outside, the day weeps as I weep.

And I think that today I will play as I did when I was a child. With the manager scene. Didn’t we all. Move the pieces around and marvel. Look on the Mary and Joseph and the animals and the moveable baby Jesus.

I think I’ll move in a little closer to the manager today and the baby who bears the weight of the world and the weight of my sin.

And today, the weight of a mother’s pain as she seeks an increase in faith.

This rainy December day, I know anew, His mercies are new everyday.

And that I can proclaim Alleluia Anyway.

ESM and Stella

Linking with Emily, Jennifer, and Duane today. Joining Joy at joy in this journey dot com for Life Unmasked.

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