Middle of the Night

I have been waking up in the middle of the night (or more like mid morning, but like 2am morning, not 6am morning) for some reason.

The other day when I woke up I got to thinking about my frustrating friendship with the guy that I’ve mentioned on here a few times. Its a really weird friendship that we have, that seems to be revolving around whether he’s wanting to hangout or even talk that day or not. I am super frustrated by it, and have had many conversations with myself over expectations, etc.

In the middle of my pondering that particular night though, God brought something to mind that hit me across the head. He made me look at my relationship with Him and he prompted my heart to look at it and see that it is much the same. I only seek Him on my terms, when I think the time is right. I’ve very inconsistent and very much all about myself in this relationship. It was a bit of a slap in the face, but needed.

So I’ve been thinking about that. A real life example, while perhaps not a good relationship, gave me a picture of what my relationship with God is looking like right now. He’s always there. He loves me. He wants to be in relationship with me. I’m the one with the finicky heart. I’m the one that does things on my terms. The one that dictates what’s happening in our relationship. That’s not what should be happening.

There should be a longing in my  heart. For Him first and foremost. For His leading. For his love. For a knowledge of who He’s crafted me to be. For the knowledge of the sin riddled heart that He has forgiven and covered in grace. a much needed reminder in the middle of the night.

Unexpected Change

so the thing about all of this is this

I had been contemplating getting a new job.

and then today. i received a text at 11am that said ‘can you meet me before work at the main office’ from the big boss

i’m a pessimist and have an anxiety disorder so right away I was beside myself. what did she want from me? these kind of summons usually don’t bode well for someone.

i messaged a couple of my friends to pray for me. And I am thankful for the prayers they prayed because I don’t think i would have had the strength to walk into that room and walk out of it again as I did.

the tears started falling once I hit the door to the office, but I didn’t turn around and let them see. I went to the front of the cafe and ordered an alcoholic fancy drink as the tears poured down my face and someone who I had discounted as my sworn enemy gave me THREE hugs to try to help me feel better.

Today, I was let go from my job. for the first time in my life. The reasons were many. They don’t have alot of money to pay full time people. they are restructuring. she thought my heart wasn’t in it. etc. that last one devastated me. i’ve been frustrated but i’ve been doing my best and i love my customers and most of my coworkers. I didn’t even get to say goodbye to anyone (though i texted my one coworker).

until that text message, I didn’t have a clue this was coming. I know that God’s got this. Until she said ‘we have bad news for you’…i didn’t believe it might be true. I am looking toward the future. There is hope because perhaps tomorrow, or next week or next month, or sometime there will be something for me. He will guide my way.

But it still hurts. I still had tears streaming down my cheeks so badly I couldn’t see to drive. I went home and was hugged by my mum and dad and snuggled the pup close. and talked some stuff through. And I feel held. There are so many that lifted me up today. They are holding me, He is holding me. I am striving and longing and seeking to trust.

Masquerade

The thing with Masquerade balls is that everyone comes with a mask. And at some point, everyone’s identity is revealed.
In a sense the past couple months feel like the ball. I’ve been holding onto that mask for all I’m worth…and its about to be grabbed from my face and my full identity revealed.
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Because you see…my birthday is on Wednesday. And people will wish me happy birthday. Which in itself is not a bad thing. But there are those who suppose that I’m younger than I am in actuality, and they are in for the shock of their lives. Well…perhaps only one person in particular.
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Its been one of those dances, where you’re in a round and you start off with your partner and then they move to the next person in the round and so forth until you find yourselves on opposite ends of the room, seemingly having a great time with other partners but not quite sure when it is that you’ll be flung together again. But the things is…you only know the person based on the identity you chose when you came to the ball…and your short stint dancing together doesn’t reveal a whole lot about anything deeper than appearances.

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This dance, has been a long one. It seems to go on forever. Or maybe its just the ball that seems to go on forever. I’m not one for a crush of guests, but when I entered and saw you, it was like all the dancing partners that I’ve been bridge burned by showed up in ghost form, or at least haunted me in memories of things left unsaid, and moments that have dug deeply into my heart with bitterness festering. Though you left me reeling and confused, I felt I could be myself…though I’m sure there was still the illusion. You can wear and mask and reveal yourself truly, without ripping all the wounds clear and clean, and revealing who you are beneath what looked like a gaudy painted on face anyway.

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The thing about the masquerade is that everyone can mingle. And most people are there to be someone else for the night. And while you’re not mine, for some reason I’ve taken a shine to you and my eyes follow you around the room. All those ghosts have sat themselves down at my table, and began to regale themselves with tales of what has been and the missteps I’ve taken on the dance floor of life. They mock this enchantment as just another mask to stash away one day in a closet full of dreams hidden behind other facades. And though I’m a lost cause, even to myself, I see my blood boil and my face color with jealousy and betrayal, when neither of these are your weapons but rather the poisoning of my own mind.

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Tomorrow, I’ll wake up with aching heels, my feet sore from the dance floor. And I’ll see my mask sitting on the table next to my bed. And I’ll know that there is a place for this mask next to the others I’ve had stashed away. Reality hurts too much anyway. There should always be something to hide behind. Perhaps my age is where I’ll start.

why are you here?

I am more of a reader than a writer. Perhaps I’m writer too, I just haven’t given myself permission to claim those words yet.

When I was at Festival of Faith and Writing in April, I was asked by several individuals at different publishing houses (as I perused their books) if I was a writer. I answered that I write a little but I’m more of a reader and I see myself as a champion of those who write. I was asked by one person what kinds of things I was reading and I struggled to find an answer because I often have several books on the go. I mentioned that I was still working through Seth Haines’ book ‘Coming Clean’ and really loving it.

But in that question of ‘Are you a writer’ and my answer in the negative, I felt like a bit of interest was lost. I even felt like they were saying, ‘Well, why are you here then?’ those those words were never spoken out loud (but rather in my own head). And in some sense I felt like i was on the periphery, yet another place that I didn’t belong. But there were those who I spent time with at the Festival that helped me to see differently, to know differently. With whom I felt loved, and accepted simply how I was. I am so thankful for those few who were part of that for me.

I am blessed to know of (and have met) many people who are gifted beyond words when it comes to laying down words. There are some perhaps that I compare myself, though I don’t know if I could put names down right off the top of my head. However, there are those who when I see that they have written I know that my heart will sink deep into their words and it will be a vehicle to speak to my soul.

Weather these incredibly gifted individuals become a household name or not, I am so blessed to be able to be on their side, reading their work and cheering them on to use their gifts.

There are many areas of life in which I’ve often felt that I don’t measure up. perhaps claiming the title of writer is one of them. But I do sit down and put my fingers on the keyboard and there are things recorded for future retrieval but I’m not sure that I can claim that as true writing yet.

“I shall not want”

At the retreat I attended the day before I headed to the Festival of Faith and Writing, there were several contemplative sessions that were headed up by Ed.

In one of our last sessions before heading out for the evening, we were given several lines of different verses, and were to choose one to meditate on and to listen to what God wanted to speak to us about.

Previously in the day, we had already repeated and listened to Psalm 23 and it washed over us in lilting melody. Pieces of the verse had reverberated at that point, but this particular time of reflection had me pondering the first verse:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want…

My mind stuck on the term ‘want’. I pondered what it might stand for.

If I ‘shall not want’ then it means that I will not lack, that i have more than enough, there is grace and mercy for my life, and that what is necessary will be taken care of.

I also thought about what ‘wanting’ might look like: to be focused too much on self, to feel a sense of scarcity and to fear.

As I focused on the term ‘want’ it seemed to resonate with me that it was an ‘aching hole’ that could only be filled by the One who alone knew what I needed, and knows what I need.

And then I was reminded that there was a ‘not’ that meant – He will provide, He knows and sees what I need and what I long for.

My heart pondered the idea of MY shepherd, how he hadn’t pawned off my soul and its wants to something/someone else. That he takes care of every one. He does so with everyone.

This is not a task for Him, but rather he does these things with a heart of love, a heart of direction for those he loves and holds dear.

There is also a sense of a heart of sacrifice in what has been given on our behalf, to render this gift available to us, that speaks to that wounded place of want.

As MY shepherd, ‘He joins me in the journey; in the midst of the fray. He is looking too and fro, there is never anything that catches Him unaware. His eyes miss nothing. He hears each voice, and gives of Himself undivided to everyone who calls on His Name.

(reflections from Renew and Refine Retreat, Grand Rapids, Michigan; April 13/2016

 

When others whisper truth

We gathered in  a cement floored room, down two flights of steps, and seated on hard grey plastic chairs. We were seated in what can only be described as a very loose semblance of a circle, with our courageous leader seated to my left. I have a vague recollection of who was seated where, but that doesn’t progress the story.

What I do remember…whispering what had been heavy on my heart for many months. With tears running down my face, with a room full of quasi-strangers, I bared my heart…and knew it was safe. Because no one gave me trite answers. There may have been whispers of me too. But what resonated most was when someone got up at the end of the session, walked across to kneel directly in front of me and speak life into my wounded soul. And another friend, came to my side and embraced with and spoke truth into the places that had long listened to lies.

They came to me. They sat with me. They said ‘me too’ and they gave me a means to fight the lies. Community.

As I left that room, and headed upstairs for another piece of our retreat, a sign posted on the ledge by the stairs caught my eye…it spoke to me of healing, but little did I know that it would speak of so much more as my heart opened wide to listen and learn that day.

recovery

Thru Grace with Faith

not just for sunday

Romans 4:13-25

Notes from today’s sermon on the above passage. Hoping these words follow me through into the moments, hours and days ahead and don’t just convict on Sunday.

A promise is only as good as the character and ability of the One making the promise.

God promised Abraham a multitude of offspring and that he would be an heir of the world to come

We cannot make ourselves acceptable to God, we CANNOT DO anything to save ourselves

Our ONLY hope is GRACE thru FAITH (Eph 2:8-10) ‘By GRACE you have been SAVED thru FAITH’

Our belief is a gift of grace from God to us, received by faith.

Christ did what I could never do for myself, He gave Himself that I might live, He died so that I might be set free.

Your salvation rests on the grace of God and His grace never changes.

My faith often wavers but His grace never changes. Salvation doesn’t depend on how strong our faith is or the amount of faith that we have. It is about what God has done, not what I have done.

‘The core issue of your faith is the object of your faith’ D.A. Carson

We can put our faith in the One who gives life to the dead (Abraham’s body, Sarah’s womb)

God is the One who calls into existence the things that do not exist. He IS the God of the Impossible!

vs 18 ‘in hope he believed against hope’ believed when completely impossible

Will you trust the promises of God not to harm you but to make you holy? 

He is at work for your good and His glory.

Our faith is far from perfect, but our faith is in a perfect God

Heb 11:13 He was ‘fully convinced’ despite never seeing it come to fruition. Not everyone will see the promises given them fulfilled in this lifetime

I am declared holy and righteous because of what HE HAS DONE!