Dancing with the Holy: On Being Broken, Spiritually Mended and Called

Dancing with the Holy

It was holy—it was so intimate, so exquisite and precious, that to put it down in words here for you will diminish it immediately. That is the nature of being Spiritually Mended.

There I was, clinging. I came with a cavernous pain, my need was huge.

I came saying to myself I’m broken into pieces. I’m useless. 

But isn’t that the way we must always come to Him, open?

I’ve been hurting. Life’s been bitter and difficult for a long, long time.  Most recently I thought, I won’t survive this.  But here’s the beauty of what I learned: We are all Broken and the Holy One offers healing.

This weekend was Pulse, a conference for Artists in the Church.  I barely showed up, but there I was breathless and desperate. I sat. I worshiped. I walked amongst other artists and creatives. I sensed the Spirit of God who is always with us, mystically and profoundly, but at times we allow the chaos and rush and performance and pain of life to intervene.  I did.  I had.

I thought this weekend might be intellectually stimulating. In my pride and arrogance, and no small amount of insecurity, I slipped into critique mode where others always come up lacking. Reflexively I began to evaluate and not admit that I was there to receive.

God saw my haughty heart.
God said bring me your broken heart.

And there it was, in tension.

I think I’m too good for this.
I think I’m not good enough.

Both, And. 

Strangely that is the dichotomy of being Spiritual Creatives.

We have to accept our humanity but so many days it is our very humanity that gets in the way of growing spiritually and being able to celebrate – being able to absorb, to revel, to dance and sing with others who are different from us, perhaps even better than us, at least more accomplished and successful and happy.

It is there, in our doubt and weakness, that we must face our brokenness, humbly. And receive from and celebrate others.  And most importantly accept that God has gifted us all in some unique, distinctive way.

I sat, knowing all this and facing that I’ve allowed my broken heart to keep me from Believing, from Creating, from Joy, from Hope. To receive A Holy Call takes brave heart.  We know our brokenness, we’re all too aware of our ugly hearts

God was saying to me—I want to use the way I’ve made you, I want your Story.  It has a purpose.

Say What?

I was imprisoned; the bars surrounding me were of my making.  I had built a cage and painted a bold sign on it: DISQUALIFIED. I believed it too.  I came convinced that my brokenness disqualified me from making anything good, from being useful, from my life holding a Holy Purpose.

Life’s psychotic touch had sucked the breath out of me; it felt as if I might drop dead in a moment from the strain of life’s challenges. I was living a lamentation, I was walking dead with Job, and I was crying and desperate on my knees confessing with David.

I came, fraught and anxious, suspicious, daring God to speak.

But I came.  And that’s really all he asked.  Come to me.  I came, doubting.  Worried that if I surrendered there, admitted my weakness, I was already disqualified to create and I’d get a double crushing from God.  How twisted, fearful, and uncertain I was.

And He called me: Beloved. Chosen. Blessed.  

Like Mary when she learned that she was to be mother of Jesus, as she was being told by the angel that this was her destiny — doubt, disbelief, and dismay all ran through her. And yet she did not question it or seek clarification.  She boldly said, “Yes. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said will be accomplished.”  She believed.

I’m full of doubt, disbelief and dismay. I keep thinking I’m not good enough, I’m too broken. I am certain I of all people am shattered into so many pieces that not even God can glue them, paint them, write them, duct tape them back into something useful,and in that,

I am wrong.

Jesus called to me: Beloved Sister, I love you.

I thought all my pain had made me self-centered in a gross distasteful way, “curved inward on myself” as Tim Keller calls it, “creating a dissatisfaction, irritability, an envy and brooding, a resentment toward others” whose lives aren’t as painful and difficult as mine.

I resented those whose spiritual walk seemed dreamy, whose day-to-day was so much less complex than mine.  Who seem to create so easily, have less troubles, and live full of joy – I disliked them all!

But I heard Him. He called to me, the Holy One breathed in me an awareness this weekend.

  • Broken doesn’t disqualify. 
  • Honesty and transparency are not shameful when you are living on the way to healing. When there is Grace.
  • God’s work is Restoration; he’s in the work of renewing us.
  • We are made in the image of God for a purpose, to live, to worship, to create beautiful art!

But, all for His Glory not our own.

“Whoever wants to save her life shall lose it, but whoever loses her life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:25)

This is what I see now. We’re all wounded. Some of us admit it.  

In disclosing my story, there is a cost and risk.  Living and creating on the precipice of risk and possibility, that’s petrifying.

But it can also make you gentle and empathetic. It will help you SEE others differently; both their pain and their glorious gifts and you’ll want to dance with them! I don’t naturally dance, literally or euphemistically, so this is a holy uncomfortable realization.

God made me with an inclination to be vulnerable and with a melancholy that aches within me. Many days I resist admitting how much the pain sits on me heavy, thinking it makes me look weak, less than holy, and not good enough to be a spiritual leader.

I’m learning: Confessing our anxious humanity, fraught with our need, perhaps even accepting our brokenness, this living on the edge is accepting the way God put me together.  Have you accepted the way God put you together?

And this is accepting a Holy Call.

She named me—Story Teller.  She didn’t know me or my story but she said it’s important to tell our stories.  To the audience of many, she said our Stories Matter.  As we learn to tell our Stories of Suffering, they become an Offering.  As we set aside fear, we can accept the gifts God has given us.  He didn’t make a mistake.  And this opens a Doorway to a different life.

This song says it all.

Joyful, joyful we adore thee.

God of Glory Lord of Love.

Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee,

Hail the as the sun above.

Melt the clouds of sin, sin and sadness

Drive the dark of doubt away, Drive it away

Giver of immortal gladness

Fill us Fill us with the light of day Light of day!

As Artists we live on the Edge of the Precipice and we have a Choice.  We live between the worlds of What I Am and What is Possible with God.

Because of the Hope we have in Christ, we can lay our inadequacies and fear, our sin, our broken duct taped hearts, whatever it is, we can lay it all down at Jesus feet.

We can accept that we are broken.
We must accept that we are healed, we are useful, our life has a Holy Purpose.

Both. And.

And then, we must listen to Him, with our intelligence and fierce expectation, with our minds and hearts.  This discipline of listening (John 10:3-4) is as important as our confession.

Creatives are you listening? 

How is God shaping your soul?  How did he make you, both the strong and the weak parts?  He wants both. What is he saying to you in your broken places and how is he mending you? That’s your story.  That’s your Purpose and Holy Calling. It is through our Stories that God will renew the world, in the coming together of Us and Him.

The visions are intoxicating and limitless, filling the world with the Light of his Gladness. Frederick Buechner’s challenge is to find “the voice of our own Gladness.”  That’s where we find our Call.

I woke up today, still Broken.  I’ll face this day with my Fears hanging heavy, like most days.  The difference is, today I’m refreshed and relieved to start again.  Mercifully, I’ve found some Gladness.  I’m filled with a little bit of light; the rays are shining through the shuttered places in my heart.  In sharing this I hope, just for a moment that you see it too, as you dance with the Holy that you’ll find your gladness too.

{Apart and Away}

I’m worn-out; tired as I’ve never been before.

Weary in a

not sleepy frantic hungry and hysterically wild frightened,





Apart and away.

Restless and abysmal

[unable to talk because some problems are not for public consumption.]

I lay arrested, in the midnight hours, whispering

Jesus, what are we going to do? 

Some problems are so profound, causing the scary-monster-in-the-closet




that you cannot

cry enough tears.

The universe isn’t large enough to contain these fears. I cannot pray

long and hard enough, for there are no words

for this kind of tired.

Comfort, Jesus

where’s the comfort?  No pithy assurances.

No words.

Except soul weary, bone aching, wretched


I Asked God for Help {Part Two}

477900781_e07c8a69cc_oI asked God to help.

That is the key, assent;
Letting down.

Holding out and open, my hands. Release.

When everything hurts, when chaos has taken over and I cannot even imagine

That is the key

Letting down, holding out.

When fear of outcomes prevails
I asked God for help,

I ask.
Ask again,

God help us, all.

The answer is in the act of asking.

Parents want, even expect beauty and joy.  As time goes on life becomes
And you face over and over your lack.
Life is sacred, all of it.
The beauty and pain.
The bitter and sweet.
I envy those who don’t seem to suffer, who don’t know this sorrow and sting.

Then, I am drawn in

To Jesus
Who came for

Life is hard.
Life is holy.

I ask God to help.

He is the answer.

Here I am, tethered to soil and grief.
Longing for the eternal, knowing
Holy living isn’t the absence of pain.
It is acknowledging
The pain

With eyes for the kingdom of God.

I asked God for help

For joy.

Here and now

Amongst the living.

This offering up of myself,
This trusting with the hearts and minds and souls of my children,
This becoming someone Good.
This is the answer.

This dark, cold time of year makes me angry.  I have the hardest time believing
In spring.  New life,
Bulbs and buds

The Coming

The forward thrust, this is a Holy Hope.

I asked God for help

And he reminded me

Spring always comes.

I asked God for help

And he promised me this Ache
Doesn’t equal doubt;

Wrestling with him in the darkness of depression
Doesn’t equal sin.

Problems don’t equate punishment.

I asked God for help.
I kept asking.
I shouted, I screamed.
I heralded God with curses,
With my pain and he held me.

WINGS, did you know he has enormous feathered wings and they surrounded me,
As they enfold
They are mighty and comforting.

I asked God for help.

{reflecting on the past year and turning 46}

I have come far. I have run hard. I feel strong.

I am proud of my learning to harness perseverance and need. Twenty seven pounds ago, I hated myself and today I feel lithe and strong.  All this, accomplished with an iron will, though a little obsessively neurotic at times.  I know, I am strong. And this is good, this self-love, for one who loathed herself for most of her life.

But I know there is more — to know, to learn, more to my life.  I am always pressing life for more and this dissatisfaction, while frustrating at times,  is  also who I am.  I accept it.  

I have been running, strong.  But perhaps away from or around, not through Jesus and the community of believers I am a part of these days. Even as I join — leaning into community, giving myself away, so that I see pieces and part of me all over the place.  In words and images, in relationships — all good things, still I have held something important back.

“I am not in love with the church” she said. And as I read this offering, words from a deeply thoughtful writer whom I read trembling with her conviction, every time.  Her words, like good writers do, carve into my heart.  I was undone by them, slayed.  Broken by her words, I had to acknowledge its truth.

In me.

For I have tried so hard to love, prayed for it even.  Known how right it is to love the bride of Christ, the church.

But I avoid her, even as I am the butt of pastors jokes about introverts on a Sunday morning. Oh how I hate the “greet perfect strangers” time of the church week.  Yes, I resent it, but really deep down this isn’t about being shy.  I don’t love the Bride of Christ.

I look down, avoid eye contact, trying not to see her.

I am shaken by my stone cold heart.

He said, love others as you love yourself. And these words fell on a heart that was running, afraid to love.

I’ve come far, run hard and strong toward God– I love Him and He fills me.  He gathers up all my fear, the anxious heart that grips me strong, that is not allowing change to come into me.

I am strong but I am weak.  He longs for me to step closer, sit longer, open up, be.  Allow the eucharist to transform me in the quiet of space that I

don’t fill, don’t control, where I don’t speak.

Let God transform.

“You’re running on your own strength,”  the Holy One whispered to me, over and over this week.  And I know that I am.  Admitting it is a small, sweet release of pressure that has built up as I got strong.  I was even frightened by my strength.

“Lay down ego and pride and the feelings of being not good enough.

Lay down your mind that swirls, a windstorm of thoughts that never stop, making you feel slightly crazy all the time. 

Lay down the hopes, the dreams, the plans.

Lay down control, learn from me. 

Lay down desire for powerful influence.

Lay down comparison that kills joy and everything good, that makes your mouth taste bitter.

Lay down fear that frequently cripples.

Lay down the need to be seen as smart.

Lay down,


acknowledge the ugliness inside you.”



running on your own strength.  

Let me be your refuge and strength.

Surrender to the Cross

ever and always being in a state of


And so, I am learning this.  I’ll admit the thought of letting go frightens me but I long to truly love God, myself and my neighbor, as we’re commanded, so much so that this becomes a sweet surrender.

And it is to be daily.

{faith is waiting, leaning in. a lump in the throat}

It is the prolific writer and theologian, Frederick Buechner, who said:

“Faith is different from theology because theology is reasoned, systematic, and orderly, whereas faith is disorderly, intermittent, and full of surprises…. Faith is homesickness. Faith is a lump in the throat. Faith is less a position on than a movement toward, less a sure thing than a hunch. Faith is waiting.”

A poem that came to me this morning.


a mother wakes in the darkness.

shivers, the room is cold. there is a sacrifice,  rising

before them all.  it is also her survival.

the sky inky blue black, she stumbles down the stairs.

these moment, early

are thick

with her worries, cloying.  she sits

physically surrendering to the Holy One’s presence.

Let me be your life.  

Let me fill the crevices of your heart where you still fret and worry.  Trust in me and surrender your doubts about ephemeral things like destiny, talents and purpose.

Your fears about the children, and their walk in faith.

Your anxious heart can be full today if you open your sweaty grasping hands.

Surrender Child. Trust me.

Why is it so daily, this laying down of self?  Letting go of control?  This giving in, this


again, today.


“That we may come to be one spirit with God and be found under grace, may God help us all! Amen.” — Meister Eckhart, a modern translation.

{I am a Hoarder: A Confession}

I clutch at my stuff, even my money, as if it were mine. I live as if I cannot imagine losing it and yet fearful that I will.  

For many years I have wrestled with God’s promises about money, wishing to be more faithful but living as if I must take care of myself. I realized these things reading the book “Enough” by Will Davis Jr. over the fourth of July week.  And that I have an easy life, even what some would call a life of abundance not because I am overly spiritual, devoted or even worthy of this wealth, rather that I was born into a white, middle class family, in the United States of America. (I wrote about that in A 4th of July Ode to Power & Privilege.)

This begs the question of what I do with all that I have?  And pushing that self-knowledge further, how do I trust God to provide if I think that all that I have has been acquired by my privilege and is preserved by my hoarding?  And most importantly, can I continue to live in this way?

I suppose a part of accepting the idea of ENOUGH is acknowledging that I am a spiritual hoarder.  It’s an attitude, a heart issue, and a matter of trusting God (or not.)

The American Dream is the antitheses of ENOUGH.

The idea of having enough is unsatisfactory, perceived as weak and yet that is the challenge of this simple little book.  It asks, as followers of Christ how do we live counter to the American dream of providing “the very best of everything” for our children — home, education, trips, clothes, electronics, all this is striving after something empty.   And if we do continue to live in this way aren’t we living just like everyone else?  What is distinctive about being a follower of Christ, what should be, when it comes to our possessions and money?

Jesus promises that if we live to bless others we will find joy and hope. Davis suggests that our money isn’t ours, we’re entrusted to manage it, and if we look at our abundance as enough then we can be generous with our excess. Jesus taught, as does all of scripture, that we are to help the poor, widows and orphans. Why do my eyes glaze over when I read these words found hundreds of times in scripture?  I live like I believe that I don’t have enough to be more generous than I already am.

Reality check.

It seems to me, no matter how much money we make, we never have enough by the end of the month.  The more we make the more we spend.  The more we spend the less we have.  We’re caught in this trap of the deceitfulness of wealth, the idea that we always need more and the lie that we’d give more away if we only made more!  Although we pay our debts and other obligations, we save for retirement, we provide for our children, we give to the church and to missions, at the end of the month I am always left worrying about the next month’s debts, obligations,  and needs, … it is an endless cycle of stress and lack of trusting God. 

I wonder why Jesus prayed “give us this day our daily bread?” And why the Israelites only received Manna for the day with no left overs, no saving, no hoarding, why? And John said in 1 John 2:15-17 that “you cannot love the world and God at the same time.”

This book, Enough, poked holes in any fragile peace I have made with our money.  It shone the light of Jesus’ words through all my fragile lies, saying what you have is actually enough.  And if you trust God for today, you will find you have excess.

Your excess is a possible solution to someone else problem.  

My more than enough just might be someone else’s enough?! 

And living with more than enough, makes me believe that somehow that I acquired it, that I’m entitled to it, gives me a false sense of security in it, it distracts me, makes me hungry for more (Ecclesiastes 5:10), and makes me unappreciative of what I already have.  Somehow I did something to get all this.

Davis challenges us to see that if we see that we have enough, even more than enough, then we can ask how we can bless others.  This requires acknowledgment first, then slowing down, listening to God, asking what to do with all this abundance, praying for courage and wisdom and trusting that God is good.  God will always give us enough.

Jesus talked about the perils of wealth, not that it is wicked to be wealthy but that it is dangerous and difficult to sustain our faith and devotion.  Davis argues that we develop a false sense of security and entitlement, a stinginess, even a busyness with maintaining our stuff, which is alluring but dangerous.

As I read the words of scripture with new eyes, asking “what is enough?” I realized that not only do I have more than enough, but I am a hoarder in my heart of hearts.

This hit home the other day in a simple way.  I saw our neighbor’s daughter out on my trampoline, on the 107 degree day, with a friend. They had dragged a sprinkler over and were enjoying jumping in the cool air and water and I was angry.  I wanted her off my trampoline! As I examined my silly response, with this new lens of enough, I realized with a start that I was hoarding.  I cannot express exactly why it bothered me so much, because we’ve told her she’s welcome to use it.  I had this visceral MINE response and I realized in that moment that this is how I look at all my stuff. Protect at all costs as if it belongs to me.

  • A person that knows she has more than enough of everything would have been delighted that her trampoline was being enjoyed and her lawn watered at the same time.
  • A person that knows she has enough doesn’t need to buy things for entertainment or security or out of boredom.
  • A person that knows she has enough gives ten percent to the church at the beginning of the month and trusts, then lives carefully, even frugally knowing that all she has isn’t hers at all.
  • She looks for ways to be generous with her things, time and energy.
  • A person that knows she has more than enough trusts that is she has enough for today, to eat and wear, and that God will give for tomorrow.

This he has promised. This is the life of one who has enough, even more than enough, and knows it!

I challenge you to read this book with open hands and heart.  Be ready for many simple, practical ideas and scriptural proofs that all of us have more than enough.  The question is how will we respond?  Do we trust God to give us enough?  Do we hoard our things and our money as if we have to take care of ourselves?   Or can we accept that we have MORE THAN ENOUGH for the very reason that we might be someone else’s ENOUGH?

This little book is a fast read but if you take it in, if you scour scripture for the truth it contains, you will find that your heart is struck with its conviction.  I pray it is so.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or `What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’ 

For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

A part of the Patheos Book Club on the book “ENOUGH: Finding More By Living with Less” by Will Davis Jr.

It doesn’t end there.  Enough, Continued.

{On Listening for God in the Midst of the Din}

I’ve lived with what I’ll call spiritual insecurity for most of my life, a fear that I don’t know how to hear God.  At some points my younger self thought that I didn’t know God.  Hadn’t given my heart, surrendered fully, perhaps I didn’t even know this creator God, this Jesus who died — for me, and you, who lives.  It was a grave spiritual insecurity you see, as I have wrestled with idea that this faith walk I’m on

isn’t real.

Some might call it lack of faith and that is what I feared for many years.  But that is not the case. I know that now.  I fully believe that God is, was and always will be.  (Except for those day trips into disbelief, no they don’t help.  But mostly they are kept at bay.)

This spiritual insecurity is something else entirely.  I fear that I cannot hear God, that most of my spiritual nudging are at worst something I’ve imagined and at best me being smart.  Or even if I am inspired in some spiritual way, I fear that it is not the Holy One speaking.  Simply something I’ve conjured up to comfort myself.

It has been a cry of my heart, for as long as I can remember — I want to know (for sure) that I hear God.

I recently found a spiritual director.  I am amazed by what I have learned already from this woman. Firstly being with her, I have felt affirmed.

She said: “You are “different” and this is okay.”  Pieces of myself clicked into place in my soul when she said that.  “Some people are a Stradivarius and others are banjos.”  We had only just met, so I surely didn’t have the courage to ask?

Which one am I? Though I wondered.

I’m okay with being a Banjo.  Who’s judging?  But I think I know what she meant.

(I only think you see, because that’s one thing about spiritual directors. They do not spell out the answers. Answers must be discovered yourself, that’s kind of the point you see. Learn to listen, to trust yourself.  Discover it all for yourself.  Sheesh, this isn’t easy let me tell you.  But I believe it will be worth it.)

Anyway, she meant you are not like most people.

I don’t face my days in the same way — for me, life is a frequent drumming lament, a heart crying.

I am an artist, I think hard and long about the oddest things. All of which cause me to agonize over every aspect of life, its meaning and importance.  With this new understanding, all of a sudden more forgiving of myself for all the time that dissipates and is “lost”, that seems to vaporize from my day

as I sit  pondering the imponderable. And I seem to

imagine, absorb and ache, contemplating everything.  And this, this way that I am, that God made me to be,

is good.

It can be strange for others that I’m so intense but it needs to be okay with me, being this way.  Firstly, I accept it.  Secondly, I learn to love myself.  Thirdly, I learn to listen.  This is where I will find myself and find my God, ruminating late into the night, and losing sleep.

Living a sigh.

I am undone by many things, even

a poem such as this.  For I am a listener and I long to listen well.  I am learning that the din doesn’t have to undo me, but when it does I must listen.

And so, for today I’ll just leave you to this…

The Din Undoes Us by Walter Brueggemann.

Our lives are occupied territory…
occupied by a cacophony of voices,
and the din outdoes us.

In the daytime we have no time to listen,
beset as we are by anxiety and goals
and assignments and work,
and in the night the voices are so confusing
we can hardly sort out what could possibly be your voice
from the voice of our mothers and our fathers
our best friends and our pet projects,
because they all sound so much like you.

We are people over whom that word shema has been written.
We are listeners, but we do not listen well.

So we bid you, by the time the sun goes down today
or by the time the sun comes up tomorrow,
by night or by day,
that you will speak to us in ways that we can hear
out beyond ourselves.

It is your speech to us that carries us where we have never been,
and it is your speech to us that is our only hope.
So give us ears.


Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: Prayers of Walter Brueggemann.

{Listening for God}

I listen for you.

But I am no good at hearing.

For you, my God speak quietly; a whisper.

Hints of your love

blow in the grasses,

the bird’s song,

the wind wafting in the trees,

in children’s laughter.

I listen for you.

Help me to hear.

{This Kind of Week}

You must descend from

your head into your heart.

At present your thoughts of God

are in your head. And God Himself is,

as it were, outside you, and

so your prayer and other spiritual


remain exterior. Whilst you are still

in your head,

thoughts will not easily be subdued but

will always be whirling about, like snow

in winter or

clouds of mosquitoes in summer.

—Theophan the Recluse

{When You’re Not Qualified to be Alive}

So I’m trying something new.  Picking a subject at random that I seem to obsess about or fixate on, something that grips my imagination in compulsive and ugly ways, (I started with one of my secret obsessions.) I’ll write honestly without  a lot self-editing or controlling “the message” to see what comes out.  No answers. No over spiritualizing.  Just the real, gritty, sometimes awkward me. I’m trying to push myself in my style to loosen up a little. Have you noticed that I take myself a bit too seriously? This is my second excursion into a different kind of real. 

Parenting surely is the most difficult job I’ve ever had.  Many times in a day I think “I am not qualified.” But it’s too late, for those regrets.

No one is qualified to be a parent, not really. 

Yesterday, I was reflecting on our exceptionally verbal, strong as steel, at times tyrannical daughter  who is so like my father!  I just wanted to fall down on my knees, humbled by my own lack.  Again, as if a prayer, whispering this time as a lament: I am not qualified to be a mother.

I went through most of my life in some strange, surreal auto pilot. 

I went through forty years utterly afraid of life.  I sometimes think back, strange as it sounds and wonder aloud how I even survived the catastrophes of living in our home.  My father’s spirit and soul crushing rage destroyed me, my personality and I spent many years just grieving who I might be, might have been.  That sort of grief is debilitating.

Oh there were moments, especially outside of home, where I found  parts of myself.  I loved my youth pastor; he listened to me and allowed for my incessant questions about the Bible. He listened to my ideas and fears.  He never once yelled at me, or told me my sarcasm or sense of humor or quick thinking and verbal sparring was bad.  He somehow validated me and I loved him.

But for the most part I went through my tens and twenties and thirties heart-sick, depressed, and afraid.

So when my daughter rages at me (I told you she is like my dad) or the world, or she stands up to me, or questions … every little thing, a small part of me is cheering inside!!

She is alive.

She is breathing, kicking and screaming, going into the world believing that her thoughts, her questions, her jokes, her ideas matter and for that I am so pleased.

She is alive and I am slowly coming alive too.  I believe my father had to die for me to begin living.  A new friend, after hearing about the childhood that I had said to me yesterday “It’s a wonder that I have any faith at all.”

I am simply grateful I am alive.  Yes, this life of believing is really hard; harder for me than it seems to be for many people I know.  I’ve come to accept and understand this to be a part of what makes me, me.  And yes, this is something I embrace.

I may not be qualified, but I am grateful to be alive.

{When God is Silent}

Why is God silent so long? Why is faith bitter? … but then, little by little, I begin to understand as never before, that he is present in the emptiness, in the waiting,” –  Carlo Caretto

Why is God sometimes silent, while evil and sorrow hang on, clutching to us all.  Why?

I cannot hear him.

I carry my father’s raging.  Inside, like a ghostly spirit, speaking soft deceits; his rage came from his internal sense of failure, a fear.  He thought he never measured up, to some ideal taunting him.  His head, in his heart he had no peace. He was not whatever it was he thought he should be.  His rage came from his lack.

I carry his lack; it has become my own.

It is the truest sense of the absence of Truth, yes my empty spaces where fear, comparison, greed, envy, the need to be brilliant, for credit, to be better than others … or even just to be good enough, just for once to a Good Mother, to raise achievers, successors.  To have children whose lives somehow prove that I am something – children to reflect my achievements.  Just like my father did; had me, made me into who I am.

All this is me playing god.

Do I seek him, so that I will be something? Motivated by self-interest, because I have nothing else?

Do I seek him so that my pleasure or happiness will be satisfied?

Do I seek such a shallow, easy love?

The Holy One is a jealous God – so unlike us, that we cannot even comprehend him. So unlike me.

No, God is not silent, but so much greater.

We love his creation, his riches, his gifts, the joy he offers, the peace he conveys, and truth.

My worship, my life, my offering must come

out of

because of

his infinite and splendid greatness.

He is all. He is not silent.

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.