Saturday, July 30, 2016

Intimate with Brokenness

show me who i am and who i could be.
initiate the heart within me

until it opens properly.

slow down, start again from the beginning.

i can’t keep my head from spinning out of control.
is this what being vulnerable feels like?
. . .
i’ll run the risk
of being intimate with brokenness.

—Ryan O'Neal
{Sleeping at Last—Son}

Is this what being vulnerable feels like?

Did I need to be broken in the same way—yet different than before—to initiate, to resuscitate, my heart? Does numbness have a deep wound at its root and as the cause for its flight? So often healing begins with kindness or conviction, never with condemnation. It is condemnation that inflicts some of the deepest scars, the broken places I can't heal myself. But conviction is the breath of the Spirit blowing on me, making my stone heart flesh again—like Aslan breathing a stone creature alive.

Conviction is a tearing apart from what I have conformed to, grown around like a vine about a tree, as flesh around shrapnel. It hurts like hell to unwrap from that lie, that action, that cover I've let become part of myself.

Conviction is a tearing-up over my brokenness, my sin, how I have wounded the Father who loves me. The kindness of conviction comes in humbly seeing anew my Lover, Who does not divorce me—put me away from Him—but Who calls me by His name. . . Who calls me Belovéd, though I have played the whore, chasing other gods.

If the broken things have to be healed at the root—have to be met in the brokenness—then I'll run the risk of being intimate with my brokenness. Growth germinates in the ground of healing, in the soil of holiness. Healing takes time. Holiness is a process. Just when I think I'm finally learning, I find that my brokenness is deeper than I ever knew or suspected. I find the healing just beginning in places where I think I should have healed long ago. I get frustrated at all the tiny shoots popping up where there should be at least slender birch trees—if not a steadily-growing oak or two.

Why have I made so little progress in the span of my thirty-some years? I should be so much farther along by now. But I'm not.

I could stomp and be angry that all I have are these little shoots. . .Certainly I am disappointed that my crop is so immature. But I will choose to be glad, to give thanks that growth is happening at all. I will give thanks and offer up these tender shoots to the LORD as a firstfruits offering. I will let Him do the pruning and the nurturing of these habits that He is reordering to help me image Him. I will take joy in the work He is doing, not dwell on the years the locusts have eaten.

I'll run the risk of being intimate with my brokenness. . .

Monday, July 25, 2016


Enough! I've had enough! 

Much of my life I have felt inadequate because I don't nuance and parse things with the wisdom of my discerning (intuitive) friends. I'm not wise. I lack depth. I try to cover up my shame in that by being intelligent, but my cover is blown after only a few rounds back and forth in a debate. Rather than going any further, which feels futile to me, I just quit. 

I have a bad habit of quitting. Quitting conversations, quitting ideas, quitting when something gets hard and I don't care enough to keep trying. 

Yet I have climbed mountains, when once I swore I'd never again climb even a foothill. By the grace of God (through other people) friendships have grown, even when they have shifted—I want to learn to do that better. All that to say, there is hope. Hope that I will persevere.

Still, I don't nuance—I say what I mean, not thinking how deeply and widely it might be misconstrued by someone who does parse every word a thousand miles down the line. How do I explain that, "Nope, I'm not that deep, I just meant this thing on the surface level as far as my nearsighted eyes could see in all directions?" But I am ashamed to admit my ineptitude. I shudder to know how often I have made others feel inadequate in who they are or how they process—because I despise being treated that way.

Is it wrong not to pursue everything to the last degree? What if something isn't meant to its last degree? Then it would be wrong to chase it there. I take things and ideas and people at whatever depth they are presented to me. I compare their words and actions. Both matter. But I find that actions matter more to me—especially other people's actions. When they don't match, I believe their actions more. But of course, my own actions should matter most to me, because those are the only ones I can change. I have high ideals and I fail to meet them. My own actions tell me that ideals are hard to practice, but still I expect other people to live up to their ideals. Alas for inconsistency!

I want other people to grow, and I want to grow. Yet, sometimes all I can see is my past failure or someone else's behaviour pattern—and I despair of growth for any of us. Is growth impossible? No. In fact, growth is probable. But some obstacles feel insurmountable, some broken things appear irreparable, and some growth requires me dying to my self—and I can't hold those crucifixion nails up to my own hands. . .

. . . How quickly I forget that I don't have to grow of my own power. How rapidly I lose sight of the fact that I am not the one nailing my sin—with its passions and desires—up to the cross. How often do I function like I believe I can save myself or fix myself—or be good enough to measure up to whatever standard I don't meet and think I should? 

I am inadequate. 

I can't live up to my own ideals.

I can't live up to someone else's ideal version of me.  

So I quit trying to live up to a false ideal...even if I feel damned by everyone else who effortlessly processes the way they do because they were created to do it that way. I process the way I do because I was crafted thus, why isn't that enough for me? If that is how God shaped me, shouldn't I seek to process in the way He gave me? Why do I grasp for what I don't have, can't do, as if He gave me the wrong thing? 

God didn't make a mistake. 

He didn't make a why do I treat Him as if He did? Why do I treat myself as if God made a mistake and I just need to try harder to be like all of my intuitive friends? Most of them don't actually mind if I don't process the way they do—so why do I mind? Because I've been led to believe that processing like a sensor is somehow lesser. It is how "simple" people, dumb people, process. And God forbid that I fall into those categories, because I fear them. I desperately fear them like the pit of sheol. 

But doesn't God take the foolish things of this world and show His wisdom through them? Doesn't God confound the wise through the simple? Why am I so afraid of being the very thing God says He uses? Why am I afraid to be less than enough? 

After all, I will never be enough. I can never save myself...or fix myself. I am not adequate. I want to grow, but I will never be the ideal thinker, the ideal Christian, the ideal woman.

If I only ever think on the surface, then may it be whatever glimmer of God's thoughts I can learn to think after Him. If I must expose the fact that I am simple and foolish, then please, God, show Your wisdom through me.

LORD, I am a vessel—the ignoble one. Let me serve Your purpose well. Help me to stop saying, Why? Why have You made me thus?

You don't make mistakes.

You made me Yours.

And being Yours... enough,

and much


Saturday, July 23, 2016

"Daddy, watch!"

"Hey, Daddy, watch this!"
Persistently, "Daddy, watch!"
Then a satisfying splash, a grin,
the pleasure of having attention
and approval from her father.

"Watch me, watch me, Daddy!"
Cries out a smaller voice,
legs thrashing, arms splashing,
secure in her father's love,
she swims the shallow pool.

How many others cry,
"Daddy watch!" with no reply
or no approval, only mocking
or disgust—they feel like they're
never enough, coming undone.

"Daddy, watch me! See!
Look what I've done with my life,
with my time, see how I succeed?"
But it feels like it's still not enough
to catch their father's eye.


Why do we wonder when
someone walks away from God?
They are told He is a good Father,
but how do you please a perfect God
when you cannot please an imperfect man?

When the heart cries out,
"Daddy watch this! See how
I've succeeded, done all this good,
don't You approve? Won't You reward?"
And when He does not, the heart turns stone.

God is not a man to please,
He does not bestow approval
because one is successful or good,
He loves us because we are His creation,
His children in whom He delights, we are His.

We are like children in the pool,
who want their father to watch—
God wants us simply to trust and love Him,
He approves of us, not because of our efforts,
but because we are His, one in whom He delights.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Through the Cracks

Violence cracks our world,
leaves lives black and blue
emptier than when day broke,
leaves lives numb and days grey

Shadows crawl stealthily,
silently blotting the beauty
our eyes can only see
by the sun's bright rays

Darkness is like a shroud,
clothing our dying senses
too poisoned to see value
in life or how gaping death is

Hope seems like a dream
in the inky night, intangible,
unreal, a delusive phantom we're
weary of being told is substance

Faster and swifter, now,
the shadows come, thrusting
our world into the chaos of darkness,
we are unable to feel, unable to heal

Lives are bleeding out,
much faster and swifter, now,
running across thirsty ground,
fracturing families and dividing men

Swifter and faster than
eye can see, light shoots across
the night, like a bullet's flash—
light dispels darkness in an instant

It comes unexpectedly,
like hope revived, alive and
real to hold to, no longer a ghost,
but now an Anchor for battered souls

Light shines in the night,
and the darkness cannot cover it,
cannot understand, cannot hold out,
so the shadows flee, like paper-thin dreams

Slowly, slowly, now,
men begin to understand, to see,
to apprehend truth—they are set free,
and they begin to heal, begin again to feel

Cracks allow the light
to shine through—lives black
and blue are healed, made new,
as Light and Hope overflow thirsty souls

Saturday, July 9, 2016

A Slow Heal

Sometimes I catch myself smiling wide,
catch myself laughing at my sister's puns,
being glad to greet family and friends,
sometimes I catch myself not
thinking of you. . .

Then the smile freezes, the laugh cuts short—
Gladness still wells up over loved ones,
but there is an undercurrent of sorrow—pain
slices my heart all over—I bleed—
thinking of you. . .

The aching loss burns at my blue-green eyes,
eyes you looked into my soul through—
this is the Fall, this searing streaming that runs
heart-deep when I catch myself
thinking of you. . .

Sometimes I catch my breath over Beauty,
catch myself missing so much of you—
but sometimes I find that Beauty begins to heal,
I learn to live life, even when
thinking of you. . .

Friday, July 1, 2016

What is Love?

To love is to give—
to give yourself,
your heart
a door flung wide

    to give another
    power over you
    to wound
    . . . or to heal

If God is Love,
then think of
the power He gave us
over Himself,

    how He gave Himself
    so fully to us,
    Wounded for
    our healing

    to love is to give. . .