{Forgiving is a Miracle: Courageous and Holy. “When Daddy’s Rage”}

We are not too old to take courage.

We are not too late to sacrifice.

We are not too lost to reach out to each other and linger on the rim of time.

– Ann Voskamp

As I read those words this morning I was thinking instantly of my relationship with my Dad — gone since May, 2003. He was a tortured soul in many ways or perhaps I just didn’t understand him.

It was when he was dying that he admitted to me that he often felt righteous in his anger and raging at us.  All this reminded me of something I wrote several years ago. I share it now.

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Forgiveness of grave acts of injustice can feel like an abstract concept to those who have not experienced those acts. (PRISM magazine)

My pastor said yesterday … that anger and the need to retaliate when someone has hurt you is “normal” even as normal as the reflexes a doctor checks when she taps on our knees during a check-up.  Normal.

I hate that word – “Normal”.  I don’t understand the use of it.  It is a bit reckless to say anything is normal these days when people have such diverse experiences and upbringings. But think I understand what he was trying to say, that a wish for vindication when you have been hurt is a healthy response.  But even that doesn’t sound quite right.  It is a human response?

But what response should one have to being hurt or abused or rebuked or shamed or yelled at — retaliation?  No, I think he means a human response to lighter stuff.  If you are being gossiped against it is “human” to want to strike back.

When I think about my childhood, I think the healthy response is to shrink and cower.

One learns to hide, to disappear, and to not be the object of Dad’s attention.  Perhaps this response is not “normal” but it sure was reflexive for me. That’s why it is hard to hear that wanting revenge is a normal, human response.  If that is indeed what my pastor meant.

Then, as I look back, I see that THERE HAVE BEEN TIMES when I wanted a sort of revenge with my father and mother.  I have carried fear of my father for as long as I can remember and an anger at my mom for not protecting us.  And a kind of fury.  I used to have rage dreams all the time. On the really rare occasion I will have them still, but they are thankfully now years in-between.

The powerlessness that comes from having a father who never admitted he was wrong creates that anger and sense of worthlessness.

It is not worth trying to explain yourself.

It is not worth having your own opinion.

It is not worth expending energy because nothing really matters, nothing really matters at all.

I am so glad I am past that.

It’s just too bad my father had to die for me to come to this place.

I carry a huge feeling of loss that I never knew sweetness in my relationship with my dad.  I loved him out of fear and a wish to please him.  I know he loved me.  But he just – couldn’t – help himself? If it is true he couldn’t help himself, I wish he could have let God help him.

I miss him now, as I ponder what could have been.  He really was a dear man, loved by so many around the world who were his friends and never knew the secret rage he carried inside him.  I’m glad that many people didn’t know – in a way – because Dad accomplished many good things, helped many people, was loved by many.  God why did you take him so young?  Sixty-two?

I hope it wasn’t simply so that I could live. No, I don’t really think God works like that.  It was a convergence of events coming together to give him cancer and take him.  And my ability to heal, to forgive — I have to believe that I might have come to it even if my dad was still here.  Perhaps it would have taken longer, but it would have come.  Eventually.

I have forgiven my father and then I think of my mother who still has a story to tell.  I don’t know if anyone would believe her, but she has so much in her life story that could be helpful to others.  Surely we can’t be the only ones in this situation, caught between a person who does good things and has their secrets A Christian leader who means well but whose home life isn’t right, isn’t right at all?  That’s our story

IN THE END what needs to be said is this: Forgiveness is what each Christ follower is asked to do in response to the forgiveness Jesus extends to us.  It is not easy.  It can take a long time.  It often depends on the emotional health of the person doing the forgiving.  It always depends on all the factors surrounding the situation and each person has to sort that out, often with the help of a pastor or a counselor.

I have been in therapy of one sort or another, off and on, for twenty-five years!  Wow, that’s crazy sounding but it’s true.

Pulling back the layers of pain,

the years of stagnation and lack of healthy growth as a human being,

the crazy mixed up ideas,

the strange perspectives and opinions picked up over the years.

The times of resisting God.  Or not being willing to obey God.

And finally, I came to a point of decision, for myself – without the guilt, or fear or coercion of others, but in complete obedience to God.

Forgiveness, it’s messy.  It’s damn difficult. But it is so sweet, when finally healing, forgiveness and the mercy of Jesus come down.

And you begin anew. And your story continues…

I am still left with where rage comes from? What makes a daddy hurt us so bad?

I have pondered my father’s strange rage for many years.  I cannot pretend to have answers and obviously I cannot ask him.  But I have a friend who works with incest survivors.  She has a very special ministry. My father always said that he was sexually abused as a child, by a minister in his church.  I never believed him.  But I asked my friend about this and she said:  “When a person admits to this as an adult, they are telling the truth.  They have no reason to lie.”

No reason to lie.  She also said very often anger like that comes from abuse in the past.

I don’t know if it is true but I cannot ignore this about forgiveness, about following Jesus into radical loving.

Paula Huston says: “Regarding the tender souls of children, Jesus says in a passage that can be read as referring either to young human beings or to “baby” Christians: ‘Things that cause people to sin will inevitably occur.  It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.’ (Luke 17:1-3)  The roots of our adult sin patterns are often to be found in the still-gaping wounds of childhood.”

So perhaps my father was hurt as a child.  And I was a child, crushed by his pain and hurt, as he took it out on his family in his rage and anger.

At some point we are each responsible to work through our experiences and get to a point of healing.

Again, from Huston:

“Then, and only then (after the process to be sure) we can see the other person as “a human being, no matter how degraded, a fellow soul made in the image and likeness of the God we adore.”

“God causes his sun to fall on both the good and the evil, and his rain to fall on both the righteous and unrighteous.” (Phooey, I can’t remember the reference.)

The longer we shut up our heart against the one that has hurt us the closer we come

to losing our own heart,

our humanity,

even our life.

And for some even our minds.

These things happened to me in the form of depression, alcoholism, and self-loathing and disgust; a misery of life, abject poverty of soul. I was a dead man walking.

There is hope, found in Jesus at the cross.  Laying those things down, the heavy burden of pain, of picturing yourself putting your pain at Jesus’ feet.  If you truly give it to God, release it when you can and

be ready for miracles!

MELODY

** Some people have a hard time picturing things in their mind’s eye.  If that is true for you I would urge you to watch the movie THE MISSION.  That movie changed my life.  I believe it will give you a picture of your pain and lack of forgiveness as those heavy pieces of armor that the priest dragged up a water fall as penance.  Whenever I begin to forget what my bitterness and anger, lack of forgiveness are doing to me, I can see in my mind’s eye that sack of armor.  No one can live that way.  No one should live that way.  No one needs to live that way.  I did for so long.

{When Did you First Believe that God is Male?} #mutuality2012

Where do we form our ideas about God?  And more importantly when?  How young does it begin to register in your head and heart, your idea of God as a masculine figure and that your daddy is also male? How did they become so mixed together, mingled and intertwined?

And I asked myself today.  How do you pull them apart, which you must for a variety of reasons but most of all because you don’t know how to pray to that God. You don’t know that God.

What if you grew up feeling that you will never measure up, never have a day in your small, inconsequential life of being good enough, no matter what you do.  What if you grew up believing that your life, whatever you become, whatever you might

Hope for, dream or wish, whatever you might be today isn’t enough? 

What if you have believed since you were a very young girl, that all your striving will make Daddy love you more and yet it doesn’t work? Did not work.  What then?

What if you learned that God isn’t male What if God isn’t just a daddy or a father but a mother, a healer, even a lover?  God is something beyond our comprehension, wild and incredible, beyond imagination.

How are we to pull those ideas apart, with their

Deep Roots that have grown up all over us, entangled

with one another, clinching our chest tighter year after year – strangling,

smothering,

killing you.

I know that I cannot separate these things.  In my human effort it’s impossible to make my shouting, critical, mean-spirited, controlling, effortlessly (it seemed) horrible and cruel daddy to stop.

I have to throw that idea away.  I have to toss that idea of human daddy being God or or God being like my daddy, toss it far into the ocean with all the other idols I have collected in my life.  I’ve got a few, but this one is a huge Monster of an idol and in my power I cannot even lift it, to toss it away into the vast murky universal ocean.

I cannot.

So I sit here, on the beach.  My feet sandy, my toes getting wet just a little, I pick up a pebble and fling it as far as I can.  I do not see how far flies, but I know that it is gone.

My hand is empty.

I imagine that I hear it fall, then swirl down into the waves, the tide pulling it out, further and further away

from me.

That’s how far I toss the idol of my human daddy being my God.

Out of my mind.

out of my heart,

out of my life,

daddy’s gone.  Human-daddy-formed-god, to be replaced with …

Something New, that I do not know yet.

“God is not limited by gender because God is Spirit.” – Mimi Haddad

I want to know that God.

So I am going to stay here on the beach a little while longer waiting, hoping, dreaming, believing that this God, who I cannot even comprehend yet, wants to know me.

Melody

“The point of the incarnation was that Christ represents your flesh and mine. Perhaps for this reason, Christ’s self-appointed name was most frequently Son of Man (anthropos—humankind) not Son of Male (aner). Gendered deities were part of the Greek dualistic system, which Jesus, as your flesh and mine, stands against.”  – Mimi Haddad, CBE

I’ve Been Quiet

I’ve been quiet, because the world is so loud. So many days I just cannot do anything more than put my hands over my ears and shut it all out.

This world where exegesis and hermeneutic and “being right “are more important than generosity and love.

A world where the decision of the Church or the Government feeding the hungry becomes intellectual and spiritual sport.

A world critical of mystical devotion of Henri Nouwen whom I revere.

A world where conviction over sexuality and what is or is not love makes people hate one another, aren’t we all God’s creatures?

A world where your or my “place” and opportunities depend on being born a boy or a girl; where little boys refuse to let a little girl play ball. just because she’s a girl.

The world, even the Church that cannot agree on much of anything.  And sometimes I think how Jesus must just weep over us all.

This world is upside down, crazy and it just makes me sad, even deeply wounded by it. 

I’ve been quiet because I have been writing. And I find that blogging makes me want more clicks, and comments, and there is never enough attention.  It feeds the part of my soul is ugly, that longs for significance.  Blogging doesn’t suit this heart .

Empty, shaken, longing for solitude, then I know.  I need more of Jesus.

I’ve been quiet because I’ve been writing and when I write I doubt.  I doubt my Call.  I doubt my talent.  I doubt that these things that tug on my heart, these words that seem so clear, that wake me up from a dead sleep, that dance around me like pixies while I mow the straight lines of the lawn, that chatter inside me telling me I’m stupid.

Yes, I’ve been quiet because when I write I doubt myself, and

this too is a challenge of a person who finds herself committed to words — to creating and giving them away.

I don’t know enough.

I don’t have a big enough audience.

I don’t say things that matter.

I don’t know much of anything.

Seeing a theme here, I, I, I, …

I get even more so — I need deep quiet.  And I know again that I need to drink from the spigot that is of forgiveness and true purpose and  being transformed.  When Jesus said “I have come” he meant  come to stay.  He’s here with us.  He’s here by my side, as I tap-tap-tap on the laptop.

More of him,

less of me.

That means deep quiet.

Where are you From? (A not so whimsical look back…)

I am from…..

I am from the smells of good coffee, books scattered everywhere

and music always playing in the next room.

I am from the slightly worn leather and hard wood floors.  Used cars paid for in cash and furniture that needs replacing.

From dust bunnies chasing  us, while the dog and cats complain of inattention.

I am from things growing in the yard.

I am from a place of strangers always welcome.

I am from explosion of colors, herbs growing and losing myself in the garden.

I am from full stomachs, the yeasty smell of home made bread and pressure to be something lingering in the air.

I am from homemade cherry pie.  And lilac blossoms shocking in the spring.

I am from trees.

I am from vacations nowhere doing nothing.

I’m from holding hands when we pray and strong opinions and sarcasm.

I am from missionaries always working and  a waking up early, kind of reverent Bible believing.

I am from gratitude.

I’m from hugs, often and long.  And loud harsh ideas exchanged.

I am from shouting.

I am from doubting love.

I’m from children being seen but not heard and being told to “shut up” in Tibetan,
and Jesus loves the little children, and the Lord takes care of those that take care of themselves.

I am from the place where work is everything.

I’m from sharing what you are thankful for even when you are not thankful.

I’m from Papua New Guinea and Texas and Tibet, California and Wisconsin.

I am from Chinese food and Mexican, but not together.

I am from telling stories well and often.

I am from public shame and public affirmation.

I am from a long, carved alligator wooden table, with shells in its eyes. And a coveted conch shell.

I am from the place where secret memories are hidden deep.

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I really tried hard not to try too hard on this.  One could rewrite such a poem forever.

Adapted by Levi Romero. Inspired by “Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyon. Inspired by this idea from Ann Voskamp.  This was the template.

Lent: My Agenda or God’s?

I am looking to Lent as a way to make space. In our cluttered congested lives we have no space for God. Then we act almost indignant that he won’t speak (I’m talking to myself here.)  So often I have an agenda with God and even in the practicing of Lent.  I can’t hear what he wants to say.

What if Lent was a way of creating more space for God?  While knowing he is preparing us for his death and for his resurrection.

Instead of being ruled by social media.  I could read all the day long the blogs and whatnot of people I like and respect.  But what if I could make space for God?

Because at the end of the day, if I don’t make space for the Holy One, I will be empty. Bereft.  Spiritually limp and disbelieving. I will not have done the simple profound work of inquiring of God what he wants to say. Can it be that simple?  That so often I don’t pray.  I don’t ask.  I stay too busy.

And it feels then, like he’s silent.

But I have a feeling it is simply that I was too distracted to be still enough to listen.  To recognize him.

So the giving up of things is good if we allow the Holy One to fill our spaces of fear, regret, pain, selfishness, anger, pride, shame.  He wants to take them.  He is leading us, to the cross.

There is no room for his Voice. The way I create space is likely giving things up.

Stop looking to others to fill me, inspire me, motivate me.

I want to hear from my maker, so I should let go of all the other voices. If I can bravely crack open that space in my day.

Let the things of this world fall away so the soul can fall in love with God. God only comes to fill the empty places and kenosis is necessary – to empty the soul to know the filling of God.”   ––  Ann Voskamp

It isn’t really anything I do, or don’t do, that matters.  Not really.

It’s making space for the Holy One.   Waiting for his filling up.  Asking for his agenda with me.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”  — Ephesians 2:8,9

Developing a Habit of Abundance

I am sometimes wrecked by my unbelief.  “Lord I believe.  Help my unbelief.” scripture says Mark 9:24.  I am coming to see.

Must I always put on habits?  It seems that I must choose daily, sometimes moment to moment.  I have to wear my belief like an new sweater or twist the rubber band on my wrist  to remind myself of what I want, what I know, what I need.  I am so full of need, so empty.

Like the havoc of the wind, I am wrecked by my unbelief.  The slang definition of the word wrecked is to be drunk or intoxicated.  I have always gotten high on all the wrong things – shopping, my own panic, books and other “things”, easily addicted even to the lack in my core, in my soul.  I am even hooked on my own sadness. In this I know what I need.  As I come to depend on all these highs that I choose for myself – my inner core isn’t worthy of my own trust.

Have I always been a vessel in ruin?  Shipwrecked.  Does that mean that I cannot be trusted?  That is what some believe and say that 1 Peter 3:7 means : that women cannot trust themselves. That man cannot trust woman who are the weaker vessel. What does that mean?  Others say that “Both Peter and Paul wrote about mutual, reciprocal submission in Christian relationships.”  If I believe I cannot be trusted, I’ll never learn to trust myself.  I’ll never trust anyone.  Can I then learn to trust God?

Growing up in the narcissistic family that I did, it is no wonder I do not trust myself.  Everyone in my family fluttered around one person, my father.  We existed to ensure his happiness and help him succeed at all costs.  The costs were many.  The price was high.   All my life I was told what to do by him.  I learned to always seek my father’s approval.  He was my universe.  What do you become when your “god” is cruel, selfish and destructive?  You cower.  You play the supporting role.  Never learn how to live your own.  Did he really become my god?  I don’t believe that is what he really wanted.  How did it happen?

I’ve been physically “free” of my father for eight years.  I am only learning how to breathe on my own.  Jesus is reshaping my view of the world and myself.  I am starting to see that I may be wrecked, like a ship cast to pieces against the shore and torn to pieces, but I did not create the storm.  And I am slowly being healed by the Jesus who healed, he healed women as much as men.  He empowers me.  He trusts me.  He is teaching me.

I have been fighting him, Jesus, and God, the Father.  As I fight, I am wounded like Jacob who wrestled with God and I am afraid.

I am afraid of my life.  I have been fighting and demanding.

I read and wonder if it is true:

“The Lord has to break us down at the strongest place of ourselves before he can have his own way of blessing with us. “ (James H. McConkey, Life Talks)

As I have healed, I have slowly demanded a purpose for myself, a big dream, a significant place to contribute, and God has been quiet.  At least it seems to be so.

“This is the work (service) that God asks of you: that you believe in the one whom he has sent. ”  That means cling to Jesus, trust Jesus, rely on Jesus, and have faith in Jesus.

“God created the world out of nothing.  As long as we are nothing, He can make something out of us.” [Martin Luther]

Really?

I cannot lose this ever present need and instead of making me feel strong, it shames me.  I feel my lack of belief, my frequent anger and pain, absence of joy or gratitude; I feel powerfully this emaciated, hollow life.  Is this what I am known for?  I pray not.  I pray that I can surrender, even now.  Even today give up every part of me, the resilient and the faint fragments , to him.

I tell myself I do not fear my own flaws.  But I fear that it will be used against me to prove that women are weak.   I fear my own power too.

Jesus says, “Lay it all down.”   Let it all go again.  As I am developing the habit of abundance, I doubt that have never responded like Mary did.  “Let this happen,” she said, when told that she would mother the king of kings (Luke 1:38)

Whatever it is, “this life” for I do not know what it is yet.  For I cannot even imagine.   I am learning to respond.

Let this happen.

Melody

P.S. I am inspired by reading Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts.

A Dare to Name all the Ways that God Loves Me

For He is always speaking, if only I could hear Him, see Him, receive Him.

I’ve been reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. To honor the intent of the book, I’ve begun my own list I titled a Dare to Name all the Ways that God Loves Me.   

I had to rename this list because even if I lost every single thing listed here I know that God still loves me.

I’m Thankful For:

  1. Health insurance.
  2. A husband’s love.
  3. A home.
  4. The truth of scriptures.
  5. That Daniel gave thanks.
  6. For children’s laughter.
  7. For children’s questions.
  8. For childlike faith.
  9. Imaginations of children.
  10. The sound of LEGOs pieced together, clicks and clinks as the youngest boy digs.
  11. The click of computer keyboard, as ideas fall onto the screen.
  12. The tinkling of guitar chords, rising from the basement.
  13. Skinny boy legs.
  14. Coffee, warm and soothing.
  15. Enthusiasm of children.
  16. Emma’s laughter.
  17. A loyal pup.
  18. Ginger tea’s reminder of  many things shared with Tom.
  19. A warm, heated home.
  20. A trusty car.
  21. The prayers of friends, new and old.
  22. The hope of Cross Stitch.
  23. Full tummies.
  24. Silly belly laughing at dinner.
  25. Frost on the fall morning’s grass.
  26. The stories of Ho-Chunk people “People of the Big Voice” which I heard about on the radio.
  27. Public radio.
  28. Public teachers and leaders, truly humble people.
  29. The New Yorker magazine.
  30. Books. Books piled up in corners.
  31. Used book store smell.
  32. The sounds of the heater kerchunking in the winter.  (It still works!)
  33. A husband who does laundry.
  34. Drinking Jasmine tea with a friend.
  35. Feeling understood.
  36. the Bible plain and simple, that anyone can open, read and try to understand.
  37. that the Bible doesn’t have to make complete and total “sense.”
  38. my depression.
  39. my alcoholism.   Being sober three years and four months.
  40. Handel‘s Messiah!
  41. Tears, being able to cry again.
  42. Tom.
  43. Tom’s job.
  44. God’s abundant provision!
  45. Good health (so far) for our children.
  46. Molly living at home.
  47. The CIVA project to work on.
  48. The illogic of faith.
  49. My sisters, strong resilient women each one.
  50. That I was able to travel twice to Russia and Ukraine.
  51. The hope that I will one day travel overseas again.
  52. So many talented, creative friends who make music and art!
  53. For pecan pie. 11/28/2011
  54. For the ability to express myself in writing.
  55. A child who tells me when she’s afraid.
  56. A grown up daughter that still listens and grows.
  57. And her big, open heart!
  58. the smell of rice cooking.
  59. the dog growling at baby Jesus and the reindeer in my neighbor’s yard.
  60. Turkey curry with coconut milk.
  61. Vietnamese Noodles with a good friend.
  62. Home made hot cocoa for a sick girl.
  63. sunlight in the window.
  64. Chai warm and sweet goodness.
  65. Mosaics.
  66. Clouds in the blue sky.
  67. Ice on early morning windows.
  68. boy drinking broth with a straw.
  69. the agility and ability of children to sleep in any place or position.
  70. home-made corn bread cooking sweet in the oven.
  71. the grass sparkling with frost. 11/30/2011
  72. Learning humility from a dear friend who is constantly insulted by others’ insensitivity to her beautiful Japanese culture & heritage.
  73. Vanilla Ice Cream!
  74. A night out with Tom and no kids.
  75. Dinner with friends.
  76. Fires in the fireplace.12/5
  77. Classical music.
  78. Jacob’s “graduating” from help at school after eight years of speech and language help!
  79. Sunsets, the color and majesty.
  80. Heat, as in sand and palm trees and sun!
  81. That Junia was a woman and that I know it.
  82. The honor of serving on the board of Lilada’s Livingroom.
  83. Historians, like Doris Kearns Goodwin.
  84. Blackhawk church downtown!
  85. That “public servants” is not a misnomer.
  86. For the teachers, aids, doctors, speech therapists, tutors and interns that have worked with J for the last eight years, giving him language, and speech and the discovery of his own intelligence.
  87. Men who aren’t sexist.

There is a Woman: Reflections on Motherhood

There is a woman who makes raising up children and being at-home seem the most gratifying and beautiful tasks in the whole world. I want to believe it is a noble task and I read her blog, if a bit unfaithfully.  When I remember again, I go there and I seem to gorge on her simple, profound theological insights and humble, breathtaking photography.  She reminded me today of Henri Nouwen’s words suggesting that:

“[t]he word patience means willingness to stay where we are and live out the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.”

How can I be so frustrated and impatient in my circumstances?

If there was a sub-theme to my blog it would be that!  If there was a lesson (and there have been so many) I feel I have been supposed to learn from the last decade of life at home it has been to believe that I am where God wants me.  Also, that who I am is more important than what I am doing.  For more than a year, I sought God’s will; I cried and prayed and wanted to know if I should quit my job.  I sought insight from wise people.  I asked myself in my heart of hearts what I should do and then finally made a decision. This is his desire for me right now until he clearly presents the next thing. (And I think he has, but that’s another post.)

I need to ask what is God manifesting today and be humbled by the knowledge of God’s sovereignty.  But even as I do, I can celebrate all that I have learned.  And continue to be a good mother, as best I can. (Now the best homemaker, not so much.)

What makes a good mother is a question all mothers ask ourselves.  Only you can sort that out for yourself.  Every circumstance, each child, individual women and men, make each experience of parenting different.

These are a few things I have learned along the way … about being a Good Mother.   A good mother …

  • Loves always and in everything.  (I cling to 1 Corinthians 13.)
  • Tells her children often and in specific ways how they are unique.
  • Thinks before she speaks and if necessary gives herself a time out.  (I have been told it takes ten positive remarks to “do away” with one negative comment.  Teachers should also realize this.)
  • Admits when she is wrong.  Just do it.  The #1 best thing you could do for your kids.
  • Is accountable to others in her parenting.  I laugh because when heat of summer comes along and the windows are thrown open, the neighbors can hear you yelling at your kids.  That’s accountability.
  • Should be less lazy in keeping kids accountable to their commitments.  (I’m preaching to myself here.)
  • Speaks biblical truth into her kids lives. We are all theologians.
  • Forgives herself for being imperfect.
  • Forgives her kids for being imperfect little beings.
  • Lets her kids see her affection for her spouse.  (I am not a touchy-feely type, but it’s no matter.  My husband and my kids need me to hug my husband more often!)
  • Has her own goals.  (Woops.  But this is important and I’ll have to put aside a whole blog post to it sometime soon.  You cannot set aside all of your personal goals for your kids.  Think of your intellectual and career needs.)
  • And from Ann, “even when you sin and fall, cling to grace.”  And I would add, let your kids see it.

What are you learning? Who are you learning from?  Who inspires you today?

And thank you Ann. Below is a link to her blog.

holy experience

gratitude

Though I haven’t read her book One Thousand Gifts, I do read Ann Voskamp’s blog.   She so poignantly questions our incapacity to be amazed and grateful.

“Why do I spend so much time struggling to see it?  Do I need to see the world, visit the exquisite, before I face eternity? Or isn’t it here? Can’t I find it here? Isn’t it here? The wonder? Why do I spend so much of my living hours struggling to see it?”


I so relate to that sentiment.  For me it is a struggle to be positive and grateful; to see the wonder in my life here and now.  And so much that I have is wondrous!

Last week in a group we attend we were asked to express some things that we are grateful for and I was absolutely mute.

I felt so ashamed of myself, but I just couldn’t come up with anything.  I was stuck in a limbo.   I have many blessings and things to feel thankful for but

I
just
sat there.

I was

unable (or unwilling) to express them.  Unwilling to open my mouth.  It all seemed too risky somehow.

I felt a fragile sense that if I opened up my mouth I have no idea what might happen.  What if it wasn’t words of gratitude that came out?

I don’t know about you but sometimes I am just stuck in my head — too heart and head heavy
to let go and allow myself the space —

to b r e a t h e.  Deeply.  (Do it right now.  In and out.  It feels incredible.)

Why is it so difficult to allow my pulse to slow down and feel

(even just a little)

grateful.

“God turns you from one feeling to another and teaches you by means of opposites, so that you will have two wings to fly – not one.”  — Rumi

Don’t you think that is true?  From hatred to love.  From dissatisfaction to peace.  From fear or anxiety to hope and trust.

I want to fly!   Some days, I do.

b r e a t h e.  Deeply.  (Do it right now.  In and out.  It feels incredible.)