Runnin’ Ain’t the Answer

Pain is deep

Emotions run amok

Sobs surface guttural and raw

Tears trace rivers of sadness down your cheeks.

Runnin’ from life’s betrayals beckons as survival.

Driving on the highway and the song “Daddy’s Hands” starts playing on the radio

Bringing on the waves of pain, sadness, and grief.

Grief that you keep hoping would stop feeling so raw at moments when least expected.

Sadness and feelings of debilitating loss hit me in the pit of my stomach

And suddenly I want to push the speedometer to the max

Then maybe, just maybe, I could outrun missing my dad.

Sitting across from the therapist

Finding the voice of who I was meant to be.

Speaking out of who I’ve been all along

That person who’s been kept under lock and key

The hurts rising out of the depths of my heart and shown the light of truth.

The lies tell me if only I would run back to my addiction

Then maybe, just maybe, I could numb the pain; the emotions wouldn’t hurt.

But runnin’ away from the pain ain’t the answer.

It’s never been and never will be.

Running’s only an answer when I run the right direction.

Run toward the open arms of Jesus.

Run toward him even if I’m dubious of his love, his intent.

Run toward him even if he seems too far away; he comes to meet me where I am.

Run toward him; he’s the only hope and strength I’ve got left.

 

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In the Waiting

Take Courage by Kristene DiMarco

Take courage my heart, stay steadfast my soul
He’s in the waiting, He’s in the waiting
Hold onto your hope, as your triumph unfolds
He’s never failing, He’s never failing

“Stay steadfast my soul. He’s in the waiting”

But what if the soul is on shaky ground?

How does one stand strong when He’s not around?

Stay: “remain in position”

Even in the position of vulnerability? in the position of wearying battle?

Remain when doubts wipe away my faith?

Remain in the position of steadfast when surrounded by loneliness?

Steadfast: “resolutely firm, unwavering”

Resolute in the face of strong temptation?

Unwavering though the questions are a whirlwind of persuasion?

The meaning of steadfast is lost when in the heavy despair of waiting.

Waiting: “the action of staying where one is…until a particular time”

How can it be an action when it seems I am stuck?

How can I stay where I am when the in-between seems uncomfortable?

How can I know when the particular time has arrived?

Is He really here in the heavy silence of waiting?

Is He really sitting with me in the murky depths of doubt?

Is He really beside me in the battle?

Does He really surround me dispelling the loneliness?

“Hold onto your hope, as your triumph unfolds”

Hold on when your last shred of hope is slipping from your grasp.

Hold on when you’re too weak to believe.

Hold on to His promises when He seems to have forgotten you.

Hold on to hope when you forget all else.

Hold on to the promise of presence when you feel as though you can’t go on.

The triumph of His presence unfolds in the hope you clutch in your grasp.

He unfolds your triumph in the waiting.

The waiting you soldiered through

In hope

In triumph

In the waiting

He is here.

Jesus, our Shepherd, has been here beside us all along.

Comfort: (FMF Link-Up)

This post is part of Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday Link-Up community:

Image result for comfort in grief

Comfort in the wake of a loss that rocked my world,

Comfort not through words but actions,

Hold my hand in this journey through grief.

Please just sit in silence with me; cry with me.

Words aren’t needed to comfort my weeping heart.

Your presence is comfort to my soul.

Comfort in the soft nuzzle of my horse and the kisses of my dog.

Comfort in the routine of life when grief claims the joy of a new day.

Comfort in the memories of the loved one I lost.

Comfort in the arms of Abba Father:

“I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you.”

Comfort in the midst of my grief.

 

The Day of Waiting

His friends had just witnessed his brutal death.

Their visions of greatness in his earthly kingdom sealed in a tomb of stone.

Three years of faithful discipleship and they’re all alone.

They left the comforts of family and business

And for what?  To get ridiculed in the end?

Against the majority, they believed in his cause.

They all agreed he was the Messiah.

But that was then.

It was easy to declare sworn allegiance to the cause

When he was walking on the water and visiting with celebrities on the mountain.

Now in the emptiness of grief and loss

The life of before beckoned as comfortable and predictable.

Even though it meant eking out a living on smelly fish.

But anything was better than sitting and waiting on stirrings of the heart.

The boats with their tangled nets beckoned.

The call to the safe comfort in the mundane of daily action

Action that would squelch the holy call to follow the heart of the Father.

Monotonous work that he had called them away from,

Called them to a higher cause, filled them with a burning desire.

But that was then.

Here in the now, in the dark of the waiting

The questions quench the fiery zeal of mission.

The doubts drown out the call of their Master.

The hours drag on, the day grows long and still they wait.

They sit in their grief and the pain of hopes dashed.

The sun sets on their tear-stained faces.

The dark sorrow of the night shows no promise of joy in the new day.

This day of waiting, day of abandonment, it visits us all.

And in the in-between space we wait with heavy hearts.

The questions, the doubts, the tears hang low over our souls.

The loneliness of sorrow erases the Presence of our Master.

The day of dark sorrow leaves us feeling betrayed.

We thought we knew the plan of the Kingdom

But suddenly our Master is gone from our presence.

God is silent and we have nowhere to go.

We left another life behind to follow his call

But the call goes silent and the former life beckons.

The life that was predictable and comfortable, it seems like the only recourse.

In the waiting, our hearts yearn for the silence to cease.

In the waiting, our tears course hot down our cheeks.

Tears of confusion, grief, possibly even tears of the anger of abandonment.

In the waiting, the heart is haunted by the doubts.

Doubts of is God really who he says he is?

Doubts of have we really been following the real Messiah?

In the waiting, the questions threaten our hope.

In the waiting, the questions drown out the still small voice.

The voice of our Master.

The voice we thought we knew.

The voice that used to bring us comfort and direction.

In the waiting, our souls despair

And yet the darkness of the night brings the promise of the dawn.

The dawn of a new day.

A day in which we hear his voice once again.

A day in which he reveals himself once again to us.

A day in which he calls us to an even deeper discipleship.

In the waiting, may our souls find peace.

In the waiting, may our hearts grasp onto hope.

And in the waiting, may we sense the Presence of the Master.

 

Wholeness for All

brokenness

“I cry to the Source of all life, to the Eternal One whose Plan is Wholeness for all…Help me to live the Oneness we are eternally with Love Consciousness.”  –from Psalm 57 in Psalms for Praying by Nan C. Merrill.

Wholeness when brokenness is all I feel;

When shards of regret cut to the quick;

When bad choices of the past shatter the good intentions of the present.

Wholeness, when who I thought I am is in pieces all around me.

Broken walls of the soul scattered on the ground

Exposing the brokenness of a life being worked over by God.

How long until the pieces are crafted into a beautiful mosaic?

How long will I sit here holding the fragments left by surrender?

How long until I feel this wholeness promised by the Master Artisan?

How long, O Love Eternal, till the wounds of brokenness become beautiful scars of the warrior?

How does the soul in shards live the Oneness of Love Eternal?

Who around me will display their brokenness being made whole?

Who will offer to hold the pieces of my brokenness?

Where is the community of broken souls being pieced together into one with the Trinity?

In the midst of grieving the broken pieces can I sense Love Consciousness?

Can I welcome the promises of wholeness even though I don’t understand?

Can I welcome the Presence of the Healer even through the fog of pain?

Through my tears of pain I see the broken body of Jesus embodying wholeness.

I see my broken soul, he sees my beauty.

I feel the sharp pain of the pieces, he feels the pliancy of surrender.

I sense the silent cries for relief, he hears the desire for healing, the longing for wholeness.

Surrounded by the pieces, I invite isolation but he offers the invitation of Oneness.

Love Consciousness pushes away the dust of the pieces to reveal the beautiful mosaic of a broken soul being made whole.

“Help me to live the Oneness we are eternally with Love Consciousness.”

 

 

Where is Heaven?

On days when heaven seems too far to find,

On days when grief shrouds the sun

On days when not even the clouds will cry for you,

Where is God?

On days when the battle is too hard,

On days when lust overpowers love,

On days when doubt crowds out belief,

Where is Freedom?

On days when exhaustion rules over zeal,

On days when the soul aches,

On days when loneliness floods the heart,

Where is the Comforter?

On days when addiction sucks you dry,

On days when your drug of choice seems the only way to cope,

On days when temptation surrounds the way of escape,

Where is the Savior?

On days when loss of a loved one cuts to the core,

On days when the honest truth exposes the heart for all to see,

On days when past mistakes slice open the wounds once hidden,

Where is the Healer?

When heaven seems to far away to find,

When God seems to have hidden his face,

When Freedom seems to slip your grasp,

When the Comforter seems to disappear,

When the Savior seems to forget how to rescue,

When the Healer seems to have lost his healing touch,

Lift up your head; raise your eyes to see Love.

Open your clenched fists; reach for Hope.

Find your voice; cry out for Peace.

Get up off those knees and stand to your feet.

Stand to receive Grace and Mercy.

Step from the arena of hell into the chapel of heaven,

The Savior and the Comforter illuminating the path to the presence of God.

 

Kept Taut by Hope

tight-rope-e1446469328270

I was reading from Colossians 1 in the Message yesterday when these words gripped me:  “The lines of purpose in your lives never grow slack, tightly tied as they are to your future in heaven, kept taut by hope.”

Am I alone in feeling like sometimes those lines of purpose in my life are so taut I’m holding my breath waiting for them to snap, the ends zinging past my ear?

Am I alone in feeling like sometimes they are taut and yet I feel like I’m walking a tightrope that’s about to go slack preceding the inevitable fatal plunge?

What does it mean to believe that the lines of purpose never go slack, but they stay just the right amount of taut measured by hope?  I don’t know about you but I have to go back a step further.

To look at the words “lines of purpose in your lives”.  When I think of lines, I think of order, of boundaries, of clear linear definitions.  When I think of taut ropes, I think of the thick ropes tying a boat fast to the dock, the cable pulled taut when the anchor reaches the bottom, or the belay rope as a tight safety mechanism for the mountain climber.

But what do I do with the dichotomy in my life?  To be told I have lines of purpose in my life that don’t grow slack and yet to feel tangled and chaotic.  To feel as though the rope slipped off the dock tie, leaving me unmoored at sea.  To feel as though the anchor never reached bottom.  To feel as though my belay buddy has left go of my safety rope as a I climb my way up this cliff called life.

How do you follow the boundaries of lines guiding you when all you see is the chaotic tangle of doubts?  How do you follow the clear definitions of purpose when you’re wandering in the darkness of doubts?

How do you believe in the safety of heaven’s belay rope when you don’t feel the tightly tied future?  How do you moor yourself with the anchor of hope when you don’t see the cable you tossed out grow taut?

How do I abandon my fears to walk the tightrope of Purpose kept taut by the Hope of my future in heaven?

Silence Louder than Chaos

be-still

There’s a quote that hangs in my sunroom:

“Let us be silent that we may hear the whisper of God”.

But what of those times when you are silent and yet there is no whisper of God to be heard? What of the sense of betrayal your heart feels?  What of the desperation and despair your heart is left to sink into?  What of the awful inner voices unleashed in the presence of the silence?  What of the turmoil that knocks you off your feet while you’re standing on holy ground?  What of the heaviness of your sins that weighs you down, pressing your knees even further into the floor as you gaze up at the figure of Jesus hanging there on the cross in the pain that you inflicted on him?  What of the silence that cuts your heart open more than the chaos of daily living?

I attended a silent retreat last weekend.  I went with great anticipation of a peaceful rejuvenating experience.  But as I left, peace eluded me and yet gratefulness for the experience washed over my soul.

I entered the hushed halls of the spiritual retreat and my soul breathed a sigh of relief on that Friday night.  Peace was there to be found but not an ocean of peace like I had expected.  Instead peace came in fragments, just enough to keep me searching, keep me present in the silence.

I pleaded with God for just a breath of His presence to enfold me if even for a brief moment.  When my heart woke me at 0400 each morning, was it my inner restlessness or was it the invitation of the Spirit moving over me in my room?  When leaves danced in front of me as I walked in silence, might it have been the passing of the breath of God?  When the wind sighed through the pines, was it God moving through nature telling me he was here?  When the sun shone bright on my face, was it the presence of God inviting my soul into his warmth?

As the turmoil increased in the wake of the silence I entered into, my instinct response was anger with God.  How dare he be silent when I had intentionally put aside time wherein to seek his face?  Where was he now that I was sitting in silence asking him to reveal himself to me?  Was he not interested in me and the desires of my heart?  Didn’t his heart ache for me and the pain I was feeling ever increasingly while in the silence?  If he couldn’t honor my silence, would he react to my anger that dared him to reveal himself to me?  Where was his promise to remember me as a mother remembers her child?

The question was asked, “what is it that you are so afraid of?”.  And in that moment I heard a voice say, “Come”.  “Come sit with Me.  Come and learn of my grace.  Come and be, just be in My presence.”

I recoiled in fear. “I can’t come and sit in Your presence, Jesus.  I am too unworthy.  I am too unlovable.  I have rejected You too often; You can’t possibly want to get to know me!”

At the close of the weekend, I sat in silence and listened to the prayer of Psalm 46 be read over me in blessing, in Lectio Divina.  And once again, the word “Come” gripped me and something within my reluctant heart broke in response to the gentle, relentless invitation.

Again another question was asked of me, “If you were in a season of being able to pray and converse with God, what is that you most desire of him; what is it that you would ask of him?”  My answer from the heart was instant – “Peace even amid this turmoil, this season of pain I am in presently”.  The peace that comes of knowing that he is patient with me. He won’t disown me in this time of my anger at him, my reluctance to draw near to him in intimacy.  The kind of peace that invades the questions and doubts ripping my soul wide open.  Peace that flows through me like a river in this desert time of wandering.  Peace that enfolds me tenderly in the struggle.

The silence of the weekend seemed to unleash the turmoil of the soul typically kept at bay through the chaos of daily living.  And in the shouts of that silence, I felt betrayed by the One whose face I seek.  But yet in gratitude I look upon that time of silence as a way of awakening within me a need to practice the spiritual discipline of expectant silence in the Presence of God.  For the Intimate One of my soul cannot break his promise of being found by those who are sincere in seeking his Presence.

To Know and Be Known

“Know me and you’ll know the Father,” Jesus said.

“Know the truth and the truth will set you free”

“My sheep know My voice and they follow Me.”

What does it mean to know in my heart, not just in my head???

Like the woman at the well, all my sins and secrets Jesus can tell.

Like the woman dragged to Him, Jesus says my soul He doesn’t condemn.

My jaded heart, it says I dare not trust. “Keep your guard up,” it insists.

I don’t know how to just be;

I think I need to do, do, do but it’s never enough for my Father to love me.

He’s so holy and perfect and just,

I can never be enough.

Image result for leaning on jesus

“Come to Me and I will give you rest,” Jesus says.

But I don’t know how to lean on Him and rest.

On high alert I’m always ready to run

“Protect yourself,” my head demands.

But my heart way down deep yearns

To stay and rest.  Learn to love and be loved.

To talk to my Father, not in stilted fear

But freely speak as best of friends.

Like a Lover, my God pursues.

His Mercy, His Love, they never run out.

My name is engraved on the palm of His hands.

With compassionate arms open wide He stands

Ready to delight in me, to sing His love song over me.

PEACE – that’s what it means to KNOW in my HEART, not just in my head.

Photo credits: Google Images

A Modern Day Psalm of Lament

I’m down on my knees

Trying to believe God sees

Past the clenched fists to the sobbing heart

Past the clenched jaw to the words that tear me apart

Words that won’t let go.

They dig their claws into the sides of my throat

Stacking up on each other till I’m sure I’m going to blow.

Feelings all locked up with unspoken words on guard

Making the softening heart turn hard.

The mocking voices hissing in my head

Telling me to give it up.

God doesn’t want to hear me so just STOP –

Stop trying to get close to God.

He’s never going to want me too near.

He’s not interested in my tears.

Silent sobs drowning out the words

Words that finally come but sound so empty.

God, why do You look away from me?

Where are You, God?

I’m sinking fast don’t You see?

I’m lost and all alone

Screams trapped inside me

Satan’s minions circling

Teeth bared, eyes gleaming

Ready to tie me up and carry me off

Off to a hell of my own making

Off to a place so dark I’ll never see the light of day

Off to a place so far from You I fear I’ll never find my voice.

God I need You now more than ever, can’t You tell?

My soul’s weary of being Satan’s easy sell.

God, please stoop down and make Yourself known.

Reach Your hand into mine and tell me You’ve heard my heart all along.