Friday, January 20, 2012

Sometimes When God Speaks, He Shouts

On the wall above my fireplace, I have a beautiful saying painted. It says "Make time for the quiet moments, because God whispers and the world is loud." I often try to consider this as I feel consumed by the chaos that tends to surround me. Oddly enough, today, I feel as though God was shouting. At first, from afar through the words of a new, dear friend... but then through a megaphone directly in my ear. It caused a resounding shout of praise in my heart - and suddenly it seems as though this is what I've been waiting for all along.

Let me start at the beginning.

I had the opportunity today to talk to one of the most extraordinary people I know. Her grace is palpable. Her sincerity is exceptional. Her inner beauty shines a blindingly bright light. She listens to the nudges of her heart even if they whisper .. and did I mention she is incredibly inspiring? She spoke truths to me in a way that my heart understood. She did this selflessly and with a dollop of affection for good measure. My heart heard her heart and found a spark of hope... a spark that has now been fanned into a flame because of what happened next.

On my ride home, I turned on the radio and heard a song I had never heard before. The lyrics said: "Can't spend my whole life wasting everything I know I've been given...'Cause you've made me for so much more than sittin' on the side lines...I don't wanna look back and wonder if good enough could've been better...Everyday's a day to start over...So, why am I waiting for tomorrow?"

My heart exploded with the pure joy of answered prayer. Right then and there, God revealed to me that this conversation was the primer for me. If you heard the conversation we had, you would know that this song was the validation I needed. I swear, God had this song play at precisely THIS moment to let me know He was with me...and I am confident He was with her, too - guiding and prompting and nudging her to say exactly what was said even though some of it was hard for me to swallow.

When I got home, I came across a scripture in Lamentations. For the record, I use the word 'lament' often - when I need to make an emphatic point about something emotional. This scripture said "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail" 3:22. If you were part of our conversation today, you would know we talked about feeling consumed by feelings - feeling obsessive over things we shouldn't obsess about...but God, our God, revealed to me that I need to place my consumption in HIM, not in these trivial thoughts. He showed me I don't HAVE to be consumed because of His love...He will continue to show me mercy - a mercy that is sometimes hard for me to accept. A mercy that came by way of a conversation of truths today.

AND then - as if God wasn't shouting loud enough - He decides to remind me of other parts of our conversation. I saw this from my dear, dear friend " are you not meant for crawling, so don't. You have wings. Learn to use them and fly. You were born with potential. You were born with goodness and trust. You were born with greatness. You were born with wings." All I could think was 'we talked about this' - not in these words, but her inspiration to me MEANT what these words say (if that even makes sense...). Her words were different. My heart understood them in the same way as my heart understands these.

So I can say.. with certainty.. that sometimes when God speaks, He shouts. When it's this obvious, the easy part is hearing Him. The hard part is trusting Him.

Heavenly Father, thank You for the spark. It seemed that for so long I was trying to rub two sticks together on a stone to try and find one...turns out you had someone with a match who wanted to share. I am grateful. Your goodness shines in the darkest places and sometimes I'd rather cover my eyes than see. I thank You for the answer. I thank You for the unexpected light that blazed through our conversation of truths today. I thank You for the wisdom and guidance You placed in her heart - and I thank You for the courage you gave her to share them with me. Lord, I had climbed my watchtower and was waiting to see what answer you would give to my complaint. I know what You planned does not happen right away. At times, You move slowly, steadily, surely, and You let things come to pass. Nothing You do is overdue a single day (Habakkuk 2:1,3). Today was the day I needed what You gave me. My hope is in You, God. Though I will fail, I am thankful Your compassion is new. Help me remember today so that I can walk the path before me with my head held high and in Your blessed assurance. *Amen*

"If God changes your heart, be willing to change your plans!"
     ~ Joyce Meyer.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

... In Which I Clear The Air ...

I just looked back at my last few blog posts...and I realized a few things.

1. There was a lot of 'woe is me'
2. I guess I'm pretty dramatic...
3. Sharing my heart - even the doldrums - comes easy
4. Some of you care
5. Some of you don't
6. Some of you may feel that my ego drives this (I get *MAYBE* one hit a day to my blog so I ASSURE you, my ego is not involved)
7. Some of you feel a myriad of things that didn't make the top 6 list here... and that's ok. I"m all about understanding what your feelings are.

Truth be told, I use this blog as a place to share hopes and encouragement...and discouragements and frustrations. I realize I'm in a season of discouragement and frustration - but don't mistake my heartache on these pages as the attitude I carry with me every second of every day.

On any given day, if you saw me, you'd see a smile. It's not fake, it's real as they come. You will also hear laughter. It's not fake, it's real as it comes. You will see and hear encouragement to others, my faith in God, and my hope that the victory will ultimately glorify Him - even if I don't win the fight that I bet on winning.

What I'm trying to say is that I know the blog has been 'heavy' lately - and I'm sorry...but sometimes these words to the (web)page help me sort things out. I view this blog as a photographer would their pictures...There is a moment in time I need to 'capture' and by using my own words, I transfer the 'moment' from my heart and to a 'photograph'... this photograph reminds me that in that moment, in that memory, I was feeling or thinking a certain way. I can file that picture away and come back to it any time I want. I can learn from it, study it, but try as I might, I will never be able to re-create that exact same moment.. which is why it's important (to me) to get it down. I am not interested in repeating the same thing over and over (and expecting different results ... which according to my dear, dear friend is the definition of insanity)

So, until the next wave of inspiration strikes, I leave you with a smile and forward progress to whatever is next.

Monday, January 16, 2012

I am a Contradiction...

I am a contradiction.

I am content and wanting. I am luminous and dim. I am shadow and bright. I am foggy and unveiled. I am litigious and calm. I am the sea and the mountains - setting boundaries but also testing them through waves and falling rocks.

I am protected and exposed. I am obscure and known. I am hopeful and full of despair - not knowing when either will overtake my spirit.

I am ambitious and lazy. I am jealous and satisfied. I am looking out and looking in. I am wary and sure. I am the sun and the moon - eclipsing every once in a while to prove...

I am a contradiction.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Hope Floats

The term 'hope floats' has been sailing in and out of my heart as of late...enough to where I've spent a few moments reflecting on what exactly it means. What exactly DOES hope floats mean? Of course, it's all relative - what it means to me is probably not what it means to you... but I have to wonder where it came from.

Does hope float because you can't see it? Is it similar to the air around you...because while you can't see that, you know it exists. You can see how air affects things  - like the leaves on trees or the waves in the sea. You can smell air - like the salt and sand by the ocean. You can FEEL air - as it warmly caresses your face  or as it lashes out in a raging cold. If the air we can't see can still cause our other senses to understand it's existence, than surely the hope we can't see should prove to do the same. Is that why hope floats?

At times, it feels as though I am under water; stuck in a sunken ship of lost dreams, tangled and trapped by seaweed that is my fears and failures. It is in the warped peace that this offers me that I realize that hope does, in fact, float. In this case, it floats away from me. I get consumed by the roaring silence of the mystery that is the ocean floor. I feel comforted by the seaweed that binds me because it allows me to falsely surrender to the 'support' it gives...the sunken ship keeps the fear of predators away because they are all too big to fit through the port hole I swam through to find refuge there.  It is here that my hope floats away from me to the surface. Hope is light. Hope is buoyant. Hope perseveres. And while I might no be these things when I am wrapped up in fears and failures, hope remains the same.

Hope rises to the surface. Even in the most dire circumstances, hope will rise. During loss, pain, indecision, misdirection, wrong turns... hope rises. Hope is what can drag you from the depth of the sea to the just need to believe that it floats.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

MuDdy THOugHtS

Something has to give. Something. Lately, I seem to be wandering along and it seems that I am in a gully of I stare around at my confusion and doubt swirling about me like bees to nectar, I realize I've stopped moving. I look down and see that my feet are sinking, not-so-slowly but surely in the eroded landscape. I realize I need to act quickly, but the fog that is my confusion and doubt is sort-of attractive, in a way. It lulls me to complacency. It sings a sweet lullaby of ease and contentedness. My ears hear the melody of a sound that is so familiar, it is understood by my heart from before music overtook my soul. My eyes, clouded, do not cause worry - in an odd way, it causes relief because I will not have to see clearly or perhaps see anything at all. But its my heart that urges me to truly listen to whats around. Its my heart that implores me to see the reality of my circumstances. It is my heart that reaches down to my suffocated and submerged parts and pleads for them to find one last push, one last way to be put on a firm rock, a solid place to stand.

As I lift my filthy, earth laden legs; putting one foot in front of the other; making progress, but losing ground because the slower I move the further I sink. By now, it has started to rain. I had heard the thunder in the distance. I had seen the sky's definitive line that divides the sun's light from the cloud's cover. The stormless lullaby that almost engulfed me has now turned to a symphony of turbulent sounds. My legs are tired and weak from carrying the burden that is battle of my head versus my heart. Suddenly, I'm stuck. Up to my waist now. There is no branch above me. There is no rock below me. No words can escape my lips - which doesn't matter because no one hears me anyway even when I do speak with sound.

So what now?

I don't know. The weight of the drenched soil is unbearable. The rain roars like a lion when faced with his enemy. The raindrops wear away my resolve. The color of the sky matches the rising dread in my heart. I search for anything but darkness - one single star to prove hope...and as the clay around me seems to harden even though the onslaught of rain will not cease, I am still searching.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Dear Fear,

Dear fear,

Know what? I'm sick of you. I'm sick of you invading my heart. I'm sick of the chaos you cause in my mind. I'm sick of the way you stifle my words and twist them up. Know what else? I'm done with you. Hope wins, every time. I hope you enjoy losing - because that's exactly what is going to happen. Fear reigns for only so long...and then it is dethroned and replaced with resolve and determination.

Know what, fear? I'm resolved and determined. And if you know me? You know that I. DON'T. LOSE. EVER. Ever. This girl finds a way to move mountains when mountains don't move. This girl is on the prowl to lessen the burden. This girl is committed to chasing a dream...and try as you might, you will NOT stop me. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not any day.

'Cause guess what, fear? I've turned you into courage. I've turned you into motivation. I've turned you - my biggest enemy - into my biggest ally. My intention is unwavering - God first. Family second. Everything else next. If I let you win, fear, you will replace God and family ... and at this point that is not going to happen.

I am steadfast in my commitment to ditch you, fear. I am also going to WIN the fight to turn you to courage. In a strange and twisted way, you motivate me. You push me to dig deeper, run faster, push harder, search longer, and reach higher than my complacency. While it would be polite to say thank you, it would also go against my being because I wish you never existed. I said it. No backsies.

So today, fear, you have officially been put on notice that I no longer FEAR you. You lose. I win. I vow to step out courageously even when you attempt to take over. My heart knows that as long as I keep God first, put my family second, and leave the rest for last, I will always be taken care of and all will be 'right.' You are no match for me, fear - especially now.

With smugness,

P.S. Don't forget your coat- it's cold out.
P. P. S. Don't let the door hit you in the you-know-what on the way out.