Sing for the Light

Call me into the deep where you are waiting

I’ve missed the feel of you

My head can hear you and my sensibilities know you but my emotions have fallen out the window.

Who have I become that my emotion is absent?

I was passion now I’m passive and that isn’t enough.

I don’t want to live in a world without feeling

It doesn’t satisfy

Reason is enough in a world of black and white but let’s be real we live in prisms

It isn’t enough for me.

I need the sunshine and the breaking of light over dim

I need to feel it

It’s who I am

And I’m not alone

We need to feel

Emotion carries us through the mundane

A world without feeling is nothing but muted strength struggling to hang on

I want to feel the daybreak

And cry when the light strikes the perfect pose

I’m not alone

I can feel it

So sing with me seekers and cry out for the dawn

It’s coming

Hang on tight

Feminism, Covid, and Reality

I consider myself a strong woman. I do what needs to be done. If I don’t know how, I figure it out. If I can’t figure it out, I figure that out.

I’m in a mood tonight. I’m sure it’s primarily caused by the fact that I tested positive for Covid yesterday. I’m fine. It’s a mild case and will pass in no time, hopefully. Still, it is hard for me, as a mother, to sit in bed and rest and leave the heavy lifting to my husband.

I appreciate his willingness to help. I truly do. Still, one day in, and he seems frustrated. The kids and dinner, and lunch packing, and laundry, are apparently too much for him. He’s complaining and my house is a disaster. Yet, these things are my reality, after I work a full time job.

So I’m stuck between frustration that I can’t do all I do and annoyance that all of these things fall to me everyday and my husband can’t handle it for a day.

So where does my inner feminist stand on this issue? Is it okay with me that I do it all? Is it okay that it’s expected of me yet looked at with sympathy when he has to do it?

Is it okay that I, a strong woman, feel like crap, not because I literally feel like crap, but because, I can’t do it all? Why do I have to do it all? When did feminism become the ideal that women do everything? Why is it okay for me to feel bad because I feel bad?

I realize I may sound ungrateful and I don’t mean it that way. This isn’t even about my husband. It’s about me. I’ve become so ingrained in my role as mom and homemaker that despite the fact that I’m the primary breadwinner in my household, I still feel guilty if it isn’t all perfect.

This week, I cannot make it perfect. I’m isolated to my bedroom to keep from contaminating my family and I feel like my world will end because my kitchen is a mess and I can’t go clean it! It’s torture. Part of me would rather we all catch Covid than allow my kids’ bathroom to go without being cleaned and that is on me.

Or maybe society or whatever ridiculous norms are expected of us mothers and women trying to do it all. Feminism was made for equal rights yet it’s become unequivocal.

Why can’t a man work and scrub the dishes? Why can’t a man work and clean a toilet? Why do I feel so guilty because I’m sick?

I blame Covid for the mood but not entirely…it’s probably been brewing for awhile. Still, this week is testing my patience. But soon, I will feel better and take it all with grace.

Another day, another virus, another annoyance, another reason for me to question the system we’ve created.

It is what it is…

Noise

When did the world stop making noise?

It screams from the rooftops but I don’t think I can hear it anymore

The sound of my head has blocked the overwhelming.

Survival

I am me. I am struggling. I am alive. I will live another day.

There is life when the grass dies.

There is truth, among the pain.

Lean in.

Learn.

Tomorrow is the greatest gift we have.

Don’t waste it.

One foot…keep walking

The wind spins circles around my head

I see the life before me and I wonder if I’m supposed to be who I am

What is life but the continuing of one foot before another?

Every breath, a choice

Every moment, an opportunity for a voice

Yet, I am so often silent.

This is humanity…

A million moments of the mundane, followed by a hundred moments of impact.

But the mundane…the cleaning, the dishes, the listening to my kids talk about their day…the laundry…

In these moments, I become me. The woman I’m called to be.

So I’ll write and create and care for children, and sing, and process invoices, and update databases and go on..one foot in front of the other.

And in that, I will be more than I ever imagined.

Somehow, in the grind, God created destiny and legacy and that is enough for me.

Hello, tomorrow. I’m ready to do my best. We will see what God has in store. It may be great. It may be monotonous, but if it’s for Your glory, it’s entirely worth it.

One foot in front of the other…this is life.

Good night world

Dream a little dream for me

As tomorrow nears

And the night closes its eyes

Or maybe it keeps them open waiting for morning

Or maybe tomorrow is a continuance of today

Or maybe we can sweep it away in solitude for brighter things to come

Whatever the case….

Goodnight today

Welcome hope

New mercies

New grace

Newness

Renewal

Light

Life

Another day means we made it

Another day means another chance

Failure doesn’t exist here

In the space of tomorrow

Keep going

Keep fighting

Try another day

And someday you’ll find the reward.

Just never surrender.

365 Days

Today marks 365 days around the sun since you joined us here. I remember the call. You were gone. I miss you more than I can say but I know it’s okay (I swear I didn’t mean for that to rhyme).

In my heart, I see clearly the serenity of the place you last walked. In my head, I want to call you and tell you about my day, my week, the weather, the sound my car is making, the dinner I cooked tonight…the stupid, little things.

I miss you! I wish you were here to run home to. I wish you were here to remind me it’s all okay. But I’ll have to wait until we meet again. “Remember who you are”, comes to mind.

I hope this year has been your best! I hope you’ve done your “special daddy dance” (which I demonstrate for my kids often) around the streets of heaven. I hope you’ve looked down on us and smiled. I smile for you daily!

One year, 365 days and everything has changed and everything is the same. Without you…

A hole in the center filled with light.

I miss you Daddy but I know it’s alright. (Oops with the rhyming again…whatever…I’m leaving it.)

Listening

The dark can be so daunting

The light can seem so dim

Still, from heaven, you are calling.

Can I hear your voice again?

No fear in death or life, though all of hell presses in

Your voice, the roaring lion, shatters mountains and hangs on the wind.

Still small voice, speak to me. I’m listening!



It is Enough!

This post is a little different from my standard posts. I’m sharing with you what I wrote this morning while reading my Bible. Last night was a particularly difficult night for me. This morning, Is brighter because His word brings life and hope. Hopefully, you can glean something from it that will encourage you today. If you’re unfamiliar with the stories I’m referencing, read I Kings chapters 18 & 19.

It is Enough!

God showed Himself mightily through Elijah. In I Kings 18, he proves himself by sending fire to consume the sacrifice and turns the hearts of the people back to the Lord. Then he hears the “sound of abundance of rain” and prays until the clouds form and outruns Ahab’s chariot. Still, he (Elijah) was under a tremendous amount of pressure and adversity. By chapter 19 of I Kings, he’s running for his life from Jezebel, and it finally overwhelms him. He prays in verse 4 that he would die, “It is enough! Now Lord take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” He is tired and feels like a failure.

How many times in my life, have I felt exactly this way? The heaviness of it all gets to me from time to time, no matter how hard I try. I don’t think Elijah was suicidal. He wasn’t trying to hurt himself and if he really wanted to die, he wouldn’t have bothered running from Jezebel. He just needed to rest and find the voice and peace of God in the middle of the pain.

God was there and shows up to sustain him, just like he always does for us. For Elijah, he sent an angel to tap him on the shoulder and feed him. The angel says to him in verse 7, “The journey is too great for you”. God know what we can handle and when it’s too much for us. He doesn’t expect us to do it on our own or in our own strength. He is there with compassion and provision when we don’t have the strength to keep going. His provision strengthens us. Elijah went, “in the strength of that food” all the way to the “mountain of God”.

“What are you doing here Elijah?”

God could have been asking him this because he should have been somewhere else and he was hiding out in a cave instead, but I think God asked him this because He wanted Elijah to see where he was. He wanted Elijah to see his purpose and who he was and who God is.

“Then He said, ‘Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.” I Kings 19:11-12

When Elijah heard the “still small voice”, he wraps his face in his mantle, the symbol of his prophetic authority and “went out and stood”. “What are you doing here Elijah?” It’s then, when Elijah knows why he’s there and recognizes who he is and that he’s not alone, that he goes back and follows the instructions of the Lord and continues the work of the Lord.

Sometimes this life, these trials, are too much for me. I lay down just like Elijah and pray “It is enough!” God is there for me as well. He sees and provides and leads me through. I need to lean in. I need to trust Him. When he says, “Arise and eat.”, for me that means devouring the word of God and letting His word sustain me. I need to realize that though the winds, and earthquakes, and fire, break the rocks into pieces, He is still, unmoving, constant. The seemingly smallest of things contain the most meaning. I need to lean in and steady myself in that! I need to remember who I am.

Elijah wrapped his face in his mantle, his purpose. My purpose is to glorify God in and through everything…to show Him to the world. When I remember why I’m here, I can stand up.

Like, Elijah, I also need to remember I’m not alone. God has placed people around me strategically to fight alongside me. I don’t have to find alone, and I can rest in that. Still, Elijah had to go out and appoint and anoint them. I need to stop being afraid of being vulnerable and be willing to reach out and accept help and support. That’s a tough one for me, but I’m working on it.

Optimism

I don’t want to be here. This place, my soul hates, this void of existence….but here I am. People talk from the outside about who I should be, who I am, the next moves I should make in this existence that is my life. What do they know?

This place is a place of pain, of heartache and grief. No one else knows the ache. Similar stories are of no relevance here. This moment is mine and I am alone in it.

So a word of advice from the depths of a bleeding soul…don’t say you understand. Don’t say it’s okay. Don’t try to minimize or trivialize. Just be there. A person with skin on who actually cares is all that’s required.

Grief takes many forms and actualizes for many reasons. You probably can’t fully understand so be someone to lean on. Empathy takes many forms. At the end of the day, we’re all different. We’ve had different histories, different struggles. What feels one way to you may feel entirely different to me.

Embrace the difference. Hold in your hand the willingness to not understand but care anyway. Humanity brings its own version of struggle and wholeness. Don’t try to assess mine based on yours. Just be there.

Tomorrow will be better and even if it’s not, life goes on. We grow. We learn. We change. Tonight I’m not settling. Tomorrow I may be a pool of self loathing. The next day, I might be a warrior. We are human.

God sees. He knows. He heals. He helps us grow. Don’t shirk from the hard things. Don’t minimize them in others. Be kind. Bring truth. Love without abandon. And just like that the world is a better place.

Sincerely, a broken hearted optimist.

The Squeeze

Skinny Girl Squeeze beginning

All I can seem to think about the last few days is what it is to be squeezed. Maybe you can relate. You know that feeling when the walls, the ceiling, the air above, and the floor beneath you, seem to be closing in. It’s that sensation of not knowing if you’ll make it out…not knowing if that elusive light at the end of the tunnel will bring warmth to your face. It is the season of the uncertainty, the uneasiness of tight places, the wondering in the wandering.

When my husband and I were on our honeymoon, we spent some time among the rocks and trees in the Northern Alabama. The wonderful man from whom we’d rented the cabin we stayed in took us out on his land one afternoon to explore, hike, and get lost in the majesty of it all. In the spirit of adventure he talked us into going through a few tight places where the rocks barely gave access. First, we wriggled our way through what he called, “Fat man’s squeeze”. It was a little tricky for my husband to maneuver, but my scrawny frame didn’t object so much.

A little further down the path, we came to an opening in the rocks that he informed us was “skinny girl’s squeeze”. He didn’t fit so he’d never been that way, but one gentlemen who worked for him had made it through and told of the gorgeous view from the other side. Maybe the wonder and majesty of the journey had awakened a bravery and sense of adventure in me that had been dormant for a while, but I thought, “I’m a skinny girl…bring it!” and decided to give it a shot.

Everything was fine until about halfway through. The walls of stone around me had narrowed a bit and I wasn’t sure if I was as skinny as I thought I was. Size zero or not, it was getting tight in there. Then my shoe got stuck. By this time, my feet had to be turned sideways, as if I was ready to plié my way through. There was no room to turn in any way. In an effort to free my foot from its prison, I leaned a bit toward the end of the crevice until I was almost lying down. I heard my guide from behind yelling for me not to lie down or I’d never make it. They wouldn’t be able to go in after me either and help wasn’t a possibility. I HAD to keep going, upright; there was no other option.

I’m not quite sure how I did it, but I eventually got free and made it to the other side, an inch and wiggle at a time. It was beautiful there. There was something magical about knowing I was one of very few who’d been where I was standing. I felt alive in a new way standing there in the open, knowing I’d made it through the squeeze. I drank in the beauty surrounded by stone that had kept so many out. There, in the openness, where the sun shone free, I was a conqueror, a warrior who’d fought through the obstacles and made it to freedom.

Lately, I’ve been in a place that reminds me of the rock. I’ve been squeezed, hard-pressed on every side as scripture describes it. I know now, just as I did then, that God will never put me somewhere without providing a way out. There is a light on the other side. But, I have to keep moving forward to reach it. If I lie down, I’ll end up stuck. Even when my feet seem wedged into the rock, there’s a rock that’s higher than I that is faithful to bring me to freedom if I just keep on standing. I have to keep moving forward, there is no other option. He, my guide and comfort, is faithful, and He calls to me words of instruction and encouragement even when I’m beginning to panic.

On the other side, there is a beauty I’ve never known. On the other side, I am stronger. On the other side, the sun is shining and I am wiser and more prepared for the next obstacle. I will never forget the squeeze. I will always keep moving forward. The other side is so worth the journey.

squeeze