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!

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

 

Limits of My Longing

Go to the Limits of Your Longing  by Rainer Maria Rilke

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.

“Go to the limits of your longing. Embody me.”   If I’m going to go to those limits of my longing, I need to identify my longing.  Those inner invitations that were spoken to me at the beginning of God’s formation of me.  The noise of this life threatens to drown out those heart invitations, the sound of belonging and pure desires of my soul.  My heart is so fickle and the Spirit’s mystical longing seems frightening in this tangible life.  That place where I am sent beyond my recall?  Only in that ultimate release can I best embody the God who made me. 

“Flare up like a flame and make big shadows I can move in.”  At the limits of my longing and in embodying God, my flame can burn tall.  The flame of the Spirit falling upon me and lighting up my heart’s desires to allow God to move.  Am I flaring bright enough for God to be found dancing in the shadows of my flame?  When my Spirit-fire burns low, God can’t move as freely in the shadows of my life, my heart.

“Let everything happen to you…Don’t let yourself lose me.”  In both the beauty and the terror, God is with me.  Can I really keep going? Through the terror of natural disasters, international unrest, social injustices, painful personal sorrows, persistent inner demons, terminal illnesses, to name only a few of life’s cruel realities.  Is it true that “no feeling is final”?  God is in the feelings, no matter how raw they may be.  Jesus knows every feeling experienced by me.  In the promise of victory resurrecting lies the transience of feelings.  In the presence of the Spirit dwelling within, God can never be lost.

“Give me your hand.”  An invitation that makes all the difference in this country called life.

 

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?

Prayer

Image result for prayerIf prayer was more silence than noisy presence

If prayer was more intentional and less hurried

If prayer was more about relationship than conversation

If prayer was more soul-breathing than list-reading

If prayer was more heart and less form

Then what would my heart experience?

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In silent centering first would come the hearing

Two voices vie for attention: one abrasive, the other gentle

As I choose to focus on the gentle voice, my heart opens wide.

I hear the whispered assurance, “You are My Beloved”.

I hear the gentle invitation, “Come and sit with Me”.

I hear the soft query, “Will you trust Me?”

I hear the promise, “I will walk beside you all the way”

I hear the pain in his voice when he says, “I have never left your side”

I hear the longing in his voice when he asks, “Will you just be with me?”

I hear the laughter in his voice at the delight of my company.

And in the hearing, I begin to feel the overwhelming Presence.

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I feel the breath of his love-song blow gently over my wounded heart

I feel the fierceness of his grip on my hands, never letting go

I feel the strength of his grace surround me in the battle

I feel the gentleness of his arms holding my little girl heart

I feel the tears of the Trinity flow together with mine

I feel the touch of scarred hands gently wiping my tears away

I feel the heartbeat of the Trinity as I fall into the open arms of Love

And in the feeling, my heart begins to know.

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I know I am seen.

I know I am heard.

I know I am forgiven.

I know I am loved.

And in that knowing, I live in the Presence of Love.

 

Be Intentional

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In the hustle of my life, I find it difficult to be intentional.

When the alarm clock snoozed over its limit and I woke up late today,

I thought I was behind before my day had even started.

I told myself “It’s okay to skip sitting in communion with my Jesus.”

As I got myself ready for the day physically, I kept hearing this phrase “be intentional”.

I can easily be intentional about brewing my morning cup of coffee.

I am a stickler of being intentional about personal hygiene to start my day.

I don’t hesitate to be intentional about checking the news and browsing social media.

Why, then, do I think that it’s not necessary to be intentional with Jesus?

How can I be intentional with Jesus?

For me, being intentional with Jesus starts with a simple greeting right when I wake up.

I deliberately acknowledge Jesus as soon as my eyes open.

This verbal knowledge of his Presence sends Satan packing early in the day.

Just a moment or two of sitting still in his Presence silently with a heart wide open

This starts my day in a posture of a life open to hearing his voice of direction.

Listening to a worship song or reading an inspirational quote or Scripture

Provides me with a word to center my thoughts on throughout the day.

Intentionally acknowledging the beauty of nature during the day leads me to worship.

Pausing to take notice of my breathing and thanking God for the gift of life right now.

As I learn to practice intentionality in the Presence of the Holy Trinity

I learn to JUST BE with Love, in Love, and through Love.

 

Stay True to Yourself

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Sitting in the dark of the holy chapel in the middle of the night

Wrestling with the inner turmoil of questions and fears

Begging Jesus to pray for me because no words would come

Pleading for Abba to show up and speak to me

Feeling the presence of Sophia the Holy Spirit

The desires of my heart flooding over me.

I stayed with the silence looking up at the picture of Jesus on the Cross

Believing that he cared about me deeply.

Trusting that Abba would come through for me just like he did then

Even though for a time it seemed as though he had forsaken his beloved.

I wished for a clinical answer that wouldn’t require letting go of control.

I wished for a clear-cut answer written across the ceiling of the chapel.

But instead as I sat there, I felt the breath of the Holy washing gently over me.

And in the silence, Abba spoke to me from the inner chambers of my heart.

In the gentle voice of Sophia came the soft invitation “Stay True to Yourself”

I doubted that it came from the Holy but again came the whispered invitation,

“Stay True to Yourself”

As I relaxed into the Holy Presence of the Trinity, I knew.

I knew right now all that was being asked of me was to stay true to myself.

Trust the Presence in the journey of discovering who I am in Love

And in that trusting to always stay true to myself.

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Abandon Myself

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“I shall sing praises and blessings to your Name, as I abandon myself into your Heart moment by moment.” (emphasis mine) For You are the Love and Mind of our galaxy! –Psalms for Praying by Nan C. Merrill

Abandon:  According to the dictionary, the verb tense means “to give up completely (a course of action, a practice, or a way of thinking)”.  The noun tense means a “complete lack of inhibition or restraint”.

I read this phrase “abandon myself” and I recoil.

This abandoning myself…let go of all control?

You have got to be kidding me, right, Abba?

Okay fine, but don’t be expecting happy songs here!

This abandoning myself…talk about overwhelming fear.

All the what ifs relentlessly attack me:

“There is no way you can trust Abba’s heart

There is no way he has your best in mind

Don’t let go of control, you’ll only get hurt in the end.

Don’t trust him, you’ll never be able to please him.

Whatever you do, don’t abandon yourself into his heart.”

But then I look at Abba God sitting next to me waiting patiently.

And in my heart I know what I’ve known all along.

To abandon myself into His heart is a beautiful thing.

Abba is Love and Presence.

Abba is not able to feel malice when I abandon myself into His heart.

He only longs for me to know His heart of love moment by moment

I don’t need to work hard to please Abba.

There is nothing that I can do to make him love me more.

Abba doesn’t want me to just give myself to Him;

Abba invites me to abandon myself into His heart.

Enter into a Heart that beats with intense Love for me.

Moment by moment the invitation is always there.

I cannot escape Abba’s Love or His Presence.

can choose, however, to abandon myself into His heart moment by moment.

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Photo credits: Google images

 

 

 

 

The Holy Pause

I wrote this poem while at a silent retreat with the theme of “breathe

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It’s in the still of the night

And the trail of the shooting star.

It’s in the roar of the wind

And the kiss of the sun.

It’s in the echo of the train

And the sad lullaby of the dove.

It’s in the breath of the breeze

And the sigh of the pines.

It’s in the embrace of the tree

And the soft caress of the grass.

It’s in the chime of the church bell

And the slowing of time.

It’s in the scent of the lilacs

And the smell of the spring rain.

It’s in the song of the mockingbird

And the buzz of the bee.

It’s in the music of the brook

And the rustle of wildlife.

It’s in the longing of the soul

And the holy silence of the chapel.

The Holy dwells around us and in us

And the pause waits within.

The stillness of the pause rests gently upon us

And the Holy breathes over us a blessing of peace.

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Photo credits: Google Images