More

I am not less, I am more.

More than the depression

More than the anxiety

More than the pain

More than the medications

More than the label.

MORE.

I am not less, I am more.

More than “just” a woman

More than what culture says I am

More than just what I have to offer

More than who others think I am

More than I can even imagine.

MORE.

I am loved

I am seen

I am heard

I am His beloved

I am MORE than I can ever dream.

In light of today being International Women’s Day. Ladies, we are all MORE!

 

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up!

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Lenten Journey

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The days of Lent have arrived on Ash Wednesday. The days that call a person to discipline and awareness of the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness being tempted by Satan. Forty days pointing us to Friday’s anguish of the cross, Holy Saturday’s heavy grief leading to the joy of Easter Sunday.

Ashes of repentance on foreheads signify reflection on one’s mortality and sins.  Ashes from the palm fronds waved triumphantly in the worshipful celebration just three days prior.  Ashes that remind me to reflect on my spiritual journey.

This year I felt a little like Peter – if it’s a good thing to get a little black cross smeared on my forehead then let me just roll around in the black ashes and cover my whole body.  The ashes this year bore stronger tones of grief and darkness than that of repentance. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty in this girl’s life to repent of and reflect on.  But some days all of life feels like a pile of ashes around you.  Ashes of grief and depression. Ashes of dreams that seem to have gone up in flames.  Ashes of uncertainty.  Ashes of dark days when you wonder if the sun will ever shine again.  Ashes.

When life seems like a heap of ashes why should I keep going?  The best answer I have for you is this poem written by Shirley Maya Tan:

The Phoenix

On days we feel like scorched earth,
Like corroded rust or trampled dirt,
All we have to do is turn our faces,
Toward the gentle breeze,
And be sprinkled into the four directions,
Be swept away by the wind’s tender breath.

We are made holy
Through this burning,
Like a phoenix rising from it ashes
To become more powerful
Than it ever thought possible.

The scorching does not destroy us,
Rather, it burns through the chaff
Until our greatness is revealed
And what’s of real value remains.

This is our defining hour,
The moment we are made whole
By what has made through the burning.

So, let us be marked,
Not by sorrow or pain,
Not for false humility,
Or, for thinking we are less than we are.

Let us claim our brilliance within the debris,
Let us dance on the ashes of our previous lesser selves,
Let the stars be engraved into our bones,
And our divine fearless nebula return home.

Ashes to ashes,
Dust to dust,
From the rust,
OUR MASTERPIECE SHALL RISE.

May your beautiful soul rise strong out of the ashes, dear one!

Lent  Ash Wednesday

 

The Dark of Pain

Midnight strikes; pain robs you of sleep

Pain of the past, pain of the present

Pain unspeakable; scars witness to the pain cutting you deep inside

Pain from childhood past; pain from the tumult of youth

Pain from the deep sorrow of grief

Pain from the inner demons present now

Pain that now you try to hand upward, try to invite Jesus into

Pain that friends ask to sit with you in

Pain that invites darkness to swallow you whole.

1:00 AM strikes; darkness shrouds your soul

Darkness invited by your past woundedness

Darkness from the addiction; from the self-harm; from the self-hatred

Darkness that threatens to swallow you whole

Darkness that tries to suck the Presence of Light from your wounded heart

Darkness that tries to suppress your cry

Darkness that no longer has power

Darkness that stands no chance against the prayers of warriors on your behalf

Darkness that stands no chance against the Holy fighting for your soul

Darkness that stands no chance against your cry “Oh God, have mercy”

2:00 AM strikes; Light wraps her embrace around you

Light of the Spirit gently invading your pain

Light of Jesus blinding the evil he came to ward off

Light of God wrapping her arms around you

Light of Peace soothing your soul 

Light of Love rocking your hurting heart into a deep sleep

 

 

Moment

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It only takes one moment:

That one phone call that changes your life.

The phone call that says “Dad’s had an accident.”

That moment when the doctors say, “The prognosis isn’t good.”

That moment when all life-giving care is stopped and comfort care begins.

That moment when you feel life leaving the hand you’re holding.

That moment when you say good-bye for the very last time.

That moment when the lid on the casket thuds shut.

That moment when you see your larger than life hero lowered into the grave.

That moment when the first shovelful of dirt echoes loud against the lid of the casket.

It only takes one moment for your heart to fall to pieces.

It only takes one moment for your life to change forever.

RIP Dad. You are forever loved and missed deeply. Love, your baby girl.

 

This post is part of the Five Minute Friday Linkup

 

 

Questions to God

Who are you anyway?

Where are you in all this mess called life?

How long are you going to stay silent?

Why should I trust you and stay?

 

Who are you anyway?

Are you my Abba Father or are you some taskmaster?

Are you my comforting Mother or are you a distant deity?

Are you my gentle Lover or are you an angry judge?

Who are you anyway?

 

Where are you in all this mess called life?

Do you walk next to me or do you walk away?

Do you sit with me or do you leave me all alone?

Do you retreat when I’m prostrate in pain or do you carry me?

Where are you in all this mess called life?

 

How long are you going to stay silent?

Have you heard my cries or have you closed your ears to me?

Have you leaned in to hear my silent pleas or have you turned your back to me?

Have you stopped to listen or have you forgotten me?

How long are you going to stay silent?

 

Why should I trust you and stay?

If I stay, will you tell me who you are?

If I stay, will you show me where you have been all along?

If I stay, will you speak into my heart?

If I stay, will you teach me how to trust you?

Why should I trust you and stay?

Truth for the Broken

Beautifully Broken by Plumb
Every tear, every doubt; Every time you’ve fallen down
When you’re hurting, feeling shame; When you’re numbing all your pain
When you’ve lost your way; And feel so far away
You’re not…

You’re beautifully broken; And You can be whole again
Even a million scars; Doesn’t change whose you are
You’re worthy; Beautifully broken

Every fear of being loved; For who you are no matter what
When you’re stumbling, with each step
And you’re haunted by regret; And the darkness closes in
Just listen…

You’re beautifully broken; And You can be whole again
Even a million scars; Doesn’t change whose you are
You’re worthy; Beautifully broken

Oh, the God who made the stars; Is the God that made your heart
And He’s holding you right now; He can heal the broken parts
And make beauty from the scars, the scars
Beautiful scars!

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To the hurting abused one, you may feel shattered,

But God is holding you, making you beautifully whole again.

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To the shamed addicted one numbing all your pain, you may feel hopelessly broken

But God hasn’t lost you, he’s right beside you making you beautifully whole again.

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To the one with scars so deep, you try to hide your self-inflicted slashes

God loves you beautiful through all the scars – the scars don’t damage his love for you.

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To the one engulfed in darkness so real, you think you will never live thru the sadness

God speaks his worth into you – your tears, your doubts don’t drown his love.

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To the one who feels betrayed by God and church, your anger is fueled by the shaming

But the God who made your heart heals those fractured trusts.

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To all those whose souls lie in shards around them,

The God who made the stars is the One who holds those fragments in his hands;

The Creator of all beauty makes beautiful mosaics from all your broken pieces.

Just like tattoo artists who cover scars with beautiful designs

Your Creator heals your scars and designs your broken into his Beloved Beautiful.

Beautifully Broken by Plumb

 

Photo credits: Google Images

“Do It Again”

Do It Again by Elevation Worship
Walking around these walls; I thought by now they’d fall
But You have never failed me yet
Waiting for change to come; Knowing the battle’s won
For You have never failed me yet
I know the night won’t last; Your Word will come to pass
My heart will sing Your praise again
Jesus, You’re still enough; Keep me within Your love
My heart will sing Your praise again
I’ve seen You move, come move the mountains
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again
You made a way, where there was no way
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again
Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed me yet
Listening to this song, my heart argued with the writer’s believing confidence:
What do you do when you’re tired of walking
And there’s no strength for belief in the Strength of all time? 
How do you stay in the waiting when there seems to only be silence from above? 
When the battle seems to be winning instead of being won,
What is there left to do but fall on your face? 
How do you see the Light promised
When the dark of the night is so thick you can feel it pressing on you? 
Don’t give me this crap about it always being darkest before the dawn
When the morning of a new day with new mercies feels like it’s never coming for me.
History proves Jesus can move mountains
So why isn’t he beside me showing his muscle?
Will he really make a way where there seems to be no way?
How do I believe I’m still his hands when I can’t seem to feel him near? 
How do I sing his praise when I have no voice left from crying out to a silent God? 
Is Jesus really still enough? 
Enough to lift me up from a battle weary kneeling? 
Enough to stand firm and take my angry beating fists against his chest?
Enough to speak gently through my screaming accusations?
Enough to love me through the murky doubts and fears?
Enough to “keep me within [His] love”?
“Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed me yet”

Psalm of the Heart

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Abba, I’m down on my knees reaching my hands to you.

Hands that once were fists clenched against my chest

Holding fiercely to my anger and stubborn rebellion,

Not willing to release my grief, distrusts, fears, doubts, and dreams.

I’ve raged at you for past betrayals.

I’ve pummeled your chest for taking my dad away from me.

I’ve labeled you abusive and controlling just like other “spiritual” authorities in my life.

Where were you when I was hurting and lonely?

Do you still look the other way when those feelings wash over me?

Sometimes you feel so distant and cold; I cry out your name but only dead silence answers.

Do you really care when grief drowns me and anger squeezes the breath right out of me?

How can you possibly love a bedraggled, wary stray like me?

But Abba, you love me, you dream wild for me, you long for me.

You never walked away; you never turned your back on me.

You sat down beside me in the numbing, addictive muck of sin where I wallowed

Your arms of grace open wide waiting for me to turn to you.

No matter what I do, no matter what I say, you never stop loving me.

Thank you for always being here with me.

Abba, please forgive me for hurting you, for not trusting you.

I fall into your arms of mercy, resting in your love.

I hear your heart beat delight in me; I hear your whispered longings for me.

And without a doubt I know I am Abba’s daughter and I am loved.

 

Provide

Isaac walking with Abraham to the altar for a time of worship

He says, “Father, we have the wood and the fire but where is the ram for sacrifice?”

Abraham says, “God himself will provide the ram.”

Isaac had no clue that his father was prepared to sacrifice his only son;

Isaac thought God would provide.

Abraham thought the provision of a promise was going to go up in smoke in front of his eyes.

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When it looks like we’re giving all we’ve got

And we’re putting our very heart’s desire on the altar

Where’s our statement that God will provide?

We want only good things provided for us

But what if God’s good provisions don’t make sense to us?

What if it looks like God only provides tough trials, strong temptation, difficult decisions, and hard choices?

What if God says my heart is to provide with your inherent good in mind but first you need to trust me?

What is God asking you to trust him to provide on your walk to the altar of worship?

(This post is part of the Five Minute Friday Link-up with Kate Motaung)

Conflict in the Calling

The conflict inside of me:

Conflict of beliefs, of calling, of invitation.

Conflict of stay or go

Conflict of doubt or believe

Conflict of question or trust

Conflict of safety or adventure

Conflict of tradition or reckless faith

Conflict of family or true belonging

Conflict of logical understandings or heart yearnings

Conflict of the old me or Abba’s dream for me.

The calling within me:

Whispers of calling, of the Gentle Voice of invitation.

Whispers of outrageous love

Whispers of gentle wooing

Whispers of brave courage

Whispers of relentless grace

Whispers of eternal redemption

Whispers of greater purpose

Whispers of reckless passion

Whispers of fierce peace

Whispers of “Come to Me”

Whispers of “Stay with Me”

Whispers of “Walk beside Me”

Whispers of a calling beyond my wildest dreams

A song of intimate invitation

A song of delight breathed over me by my Abba

Abba surrounding me with his whispered love song.