Thursday, November 21, 2013

Concrete Words: Yield

(Well, this is one I never published. But, I reread it today and decided to put it out there. I never linked it up to Concrete Words. But this is my take on the prompt: Yield.)

It was more an utter and complete collapse into resignation than a gentle yield of my heart. The anger had won again. The rage had swept through our home leaving chaos and torn hearts. I had tried every method, every discipline, every formula, every verse… and failed. Here I was in a familiar state of despair. But this time, on year ago, I gave in. I quit. And that was when I finally did what I should have all along.

I asked for help.

Not the kind of help that hands you another title to pick up at Barnes and Nobles or suggests another verse to memorize. This was the kind of help that looks you in the eyes and sees the pain you’ve pretended wasn’t there; the kind of help that wants to reach out and weep for that grief so buried in your soul. These were the types of hearts that wonder out loud why you feel like you need to suck it up.

They saw my wounds and were amazed I had stood so long.

It wasn’t that I hadn’t ever tried to yield or submit. I spent years yielding to people’s ideas of how to fix my crisis. I yielded to the demands I put on myself to right this sinking ship. I yielded to expectations that I suspected God had of me. But there was always a neglected person left behind.


And people were wondering where she had gone, while I was convinced they were better off not knowing her.  I left her abandoned way back at the intersection of, “Oh, that was dealt with in the past,” and “I’m a new creature in Christ.” It took my failure to slow me down long enough to hear her voice crying, “Wait for me, wait up.”

This was a new kind of yield to me. I risked transparency, and was met with grace. I risked full disclosure and was met with forgiveness and compassion. I allowed myself to be known, my whole self that I still want to tuck out of view from time to time. There in those exposed moments I found the comfort of a warm embrace.

Christ had been there all along. I desperately needed him to step into the fullness of my being. It took surrendering my need to do it by myself and allowing people to be vessels of the love he had reserved for me.

In this season, the Lord led me to lay down my arms, to stop my fight to survive. I’ve surrendered the defenses that veiled my lack. I set aside the weapons I used to push everyone away. I’ve come to a season when my heart is learning that it needs to rest from the internal war that has inflicted a life time of damage upon an already wounded heart and upon those who desired to show me they love me.

I still hide at times. Dark clouds still descend in difficult seasons. I just got through one of those. But I am no longer alone in my pain. I no longer fight those battles without someone at my back. And that is the very good fruit that has been borne out of this surrender. 

Grief Expressions

I have found my heart bleeding grief lately. It is a new wonder, for grief has never found exit from the depth of my woundedness before. Today, the heavens matched the mood within and stirred words and images that I am realizing are part of this grief process. A coloring session with my son became therapy for me. The words that followed brought meaning to what flowed through the crayon wax.


dark day
seeps to meet
soul's dead mass
angry rays of pain
run veined thru
the Womb
of my being

there will be
no quick release
small portions only
spilling forth
     the poison in

Thanks that Rise from the Depth

I worked hard to find the fix.

My life was spent achieving goals and slipping into depression because goals don’t satisfy a soul hungry for comfort.

I spent year after year earning the right, the privilege to be healed. It never came. Never.

I numbed out. I hid in religion. I isolated. And I tried to look like I was ok.

But, my face never lies. It betrayed me daily. Telling a story I never wanted heard.

My anger and rage refused to be bottled. They ravaged everyone around me. Contempt was bent on destroying my soul.

I came to my end a year ago. I read about comfort. Our need for it. And the walls began to crumble. It was a chaotic time. Every ugly brick of my fa├žade began to fall apart. My flimsy walls that I had whitewashed over and over were swept away in a deluge of the messy me that began to spill out.

And in that book I saw something I had not seen before. I cannot do this craziness alone. My life of proving I can cut it was over. Survival of the fittest was never God’s plan for my life. I filled out the application for our prayer ministry. Where at one time I thought I would step into that ministry as part of a prayer team, now I was committing to walk into the church office and admit I was very broken.

For that ten week session and all the months of follow up after, the Lord has dismantled me one defense at a time. Every level of exposure required a deeper level of trust in those loving me back to life. Each layer that was tenderly pulled back revealed more pain and hurt. More bitterness. More anger. The compassion and guidance of those committed to minister to me showed me the path to grief.

Grief. The emotional connection to those events that wounded me. I had always been detached from those dark moment. I recounted the details as if they happened to someone else. To some stranger. Now… grief leaks out of the depth from those wounds. Tears are washing bitterness away. Beauty is beginning to rise from the ashes. Grief is leading me to be human again. Grief is making room for new found empathy.

This Thanksgiving I look back to a year ago. I thought I was going through my season of healing to get fixed. Now, I know I’ll never be “fixed”. I will be loved, I will be comforted and I will not have to experience the pains and joys of my life alone. I was broken in the context of relationship. I will be healed in the context of relationship. I will always need this healing community I’ve become a part of in my church. I will always walk with a limp. And that’s ok. I am learning to do that with as much grace as God puts in my step. 

For that I am so very thankful. 

I'm linking up today at Faith Barista:

Friday, November 15, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Tree

It's Friday. It's a great prompt. I'm going for it. I'm joining Lisa-Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday. You can too right here: Five Minute Friday

Here I go:


I glanced through my emails again. The one from the vice principal reminds me of the trials of middle school. My oldest daughter is forging her path. It doesn’t help that it’s her very first year in public school. She’s actually holding her own, in the classroom. But, I am finding my head shaking over and over. What is up with these boys? 

She tells me her daily account of the interactions she has with that strange species of preteen/newbie teen boy. It’s a running account that has no stop or pause button from the time she gets home until she slips into bed (unless she’s singing, of course). And I am flummoxed. (Isn’t that a great word. Sounds like it’s straight out of Dr. Seuss.)

Oh this boy asked me out. And this boy asked me out. This boy was too shy so his friend did it for him. That boy sent me a note in class. Another boy wanted me to wear his jersey, his friend didn’t have one, so he asked me to wear his hat. (Eeeewwww?)  We’ve had two contacts with the administration when two separate boys refused to respect her "no" for days on end.

And I want to know, what is going on? I ask her if she is being singled out and if so why. She said the boys are swarming because she’s the only one in her group that doesn’t have a boyfriend. This is middle school? Sigh.

We went to plant trees as a service project about a year and a half ago. They told us how you have to be careful not to place the stake too close to the tree or the trunk will not grow to its full strength. It will be susceptible to damage due to high winds and other stressers when it matures.

My daughter asked me about why we don’t want her to date. She figures it’d be so much easier on her social life if she just had a “boyfriend” to fight off the rest of the hungry wolves nipping her heels. And I reminded her of that service project. I shared with her that her identity is in a key growing stage.  Friendships offer great support and are extremely valuable. Romantic relationships, on the other hand, are like the stake that is too close to the trunk. Her identity would not grow in strength if she constantly looks to a boyfriend for affirmation and acceptance. 

I wish I was more convinced she got the lesson. But, I’m thankful the Lord offered us that experience in the his good timing so that I would feel confident when this trial crossed our path.  Now, we just have to wait and see if she’ll learn the lesson of the tree.

Five Minute Friday