Thursday, May 4, 2017

That Fire Inside

Deep in the core of my being is a fire...

... Out of that fire life has come, 

.... out of that fire love has come,

...... and into that fire is where I go when pain is hard, when life hurts, when I want to quit. 


This fire did not come from me. 
It is not even of me - the substance is different, yet not incongruent. Yet we mesh, the fire and I. 

I look at the world and it makes me sad. 
I look at my life and sometimes that makes me sad too.... 

You may not see it, 
but I have felt pain. 
I have known hurt - hurt that makes my insides want to come out, that makes my blood scream and my heart bleed. Hurt of body, hurt of heart - I have felt them both. 
Hurts from others, hurts from myself - I have felt these two. 

But I don't give up. 
I haven't, and I won't. 
And I don't think you should either. 

I'll fight for it. 
I'll fight for your life, I'll fight for your hope. 
I'll fight until the fire in me comes to you too. 

Why would I fight for you? Why would I fight you - over your own life? 
Because the fire in me IS life. 
This life is not my own. 
It is not of me - yet it is within me. 
This life calls me to love, it calls me to see. 

And I see you, dear heart, hurting. 
There's pain in you too- and anger, hurt, rage, frustration, despair.... All these things can be there. 
Sometimes it seems like it is too much. 
But life is calling. 

YES. It is HARD. 
It hurts. 
It hurts so much sometimes you wonder if it is worth it. 
BUT IT IS. 

The fire inside of me attests to this. 
The LIFE inside of me.... can be in you. 
Because my LIFE is not my own - it was bought with a price. 
Yet that price freed my soul like nothing else could. 
My darkness became light, and lightness was a feather. 

With fire in my heart and hope in my hands I will fight. 


Out of this fire comes a conviction, and this conviction runs through my veins. 
Life is not done yet.



..... In....

........Out...In....
.....In......
...........Out....In....


Like an athlete after a race, 
like a swimmer coming up for air.... I breathe. 
Dear friends, breathe with me. 
Don't give up on life - not now, not ever. 
Not when the rain comes, not in the hurricanes, not at the very end. 
From start to finish we run, we breathe, we struggle, we love, we cry, we laugh.... 

LIFE.

No - the suffering was not meant to be. The hurt, the pain, the struggle - you are right to say it's unnatural. It is. 
Yet life has still come - it has come hard and fast, or slow and painful, or for some it seems it hasn't come at all, or it was gone too soon.  


But when i struggle, I go back to that fiery place in me. 
Take heart, for there is ONE who has overcome the world


I cannot make you see it. 
For me, Life came at a young age - before the hurts came.  
Life came and asked -- Will you believe, Dear Heart? 

I'll admit. I have at times felt forsaken. I have been hurt - oh so hurt. I have even lost my hope for a bit, like a child wondering through a store, afraid of being abandoned. I have walked away from Life in anger. 

I have raged at Life. Me- the optimist. Believe it, it's true. 

Yet Life has not left me

Like a little child I have raged at God -- "YOU LEFT ME!" "WHY?" "WHERE WERE YOU?"
Weeping, I have asked, looked... 

...at times feeling forsaken.... 

Yet LIFE has never left me

It started when I was a child. Little - trusting, untouched by pain. 
You see, there is life- that which comes and goes, that which hurts and burns and gives you all the feelings you wanted and those you never did, too. 

Then there is LIFE. LIFE that brings hope. LIFE that brings love. LIFE that is a safe place to go when all seems lost. 

But not a place. This second kind of LIFE - a person. 
I met Him when I was a girl. 
I believed He was good. 
I believed He was God. 
I believed He died to save me - and rose again. 

And here's the thing...
That fire? 
It's still there - 
because I chose to walk with God. I keep choosing
And He - He named Himself Emmanuel - God with US. 

So through all that pain, all that "life" (first kind), His LIFE, His Son 
-- Jesus has never left me. 

And I still believe. 
                                                                                                          


.....Want in? Romans 10:9-10 says that if you "declare with your mouth 'Jesus is Lord' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." 
I promise it won't be easy. "In this world you will have trouble" -- He said that. But He also promised this -- "Take heart, for I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). 

And get this -- You don't have to be alone. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Colors of the Storm

Eyes open, tired and heavy. Too tired for a young adult.
Heavy thoughts and Tired Body - feeling old before my time.

The mirror shows dark circles, not enough sleep.
My thoughts are slurred and painful - but I don't drink. I don't do drugs.
Sometimes the lightest person can feel heavy weights.

...Even the optimist appreciates the gloom of rainy days sometimes. Especially if it matches the pain in heart, pain in mind.

One night of heavy sleep doesn't make up for dozens with almost none.
Hard to read, hard to work, hard to think.

Ah, but it isn't just the gloom of rainy days that attracts.
There's something wonderful about wet trees, wet green, wet world.
New colors come up in storms, like deeper character popping out right when it is hardest.
You see the character... and the future. The future of the tree, the grass, the world... bright with color, vivid in life.

Hammers pound in the back of my head, trying to block out the world.
Light hurts, the world hurts, memories hurt.

But birdsong comes through the storm. I see them flitting through the trees.
Silent minutes before, now happily pulling up worms and singing away.

Only moments before the sky sent down buckets of rain.
Now the pines show their deep dark roots on their bark sleeves.
The Junipers wear an Irish green, brighter than their usual.
All the colors contrast with water and shadow.
There's a steady drip drip, coming from a leak in the wall.

My thoughts stray, I shudder.
Some things are better left unthought.
I hide from my thoughts, the world.
Small people always are better at hiding...

Ah, but I will be like a bird.
I won't drown.
The pain will be absorbed, or wash away, like water in a storm.
I'll hide from the storm, in the shadow of the sheltering tree, the Great Refuge of my heart.
Maybe soon the storm will stop.
Maybe new colors will show.
Maybe soon, I'll sing again.

It stirs in my heart already....


From the Psalmist....
I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
    and I have been saved from my enemies.
The cords of death entangled me;
    the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me;
    the snares of death confronted me.
In my distress I called to the Lord;
    I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
    my cry came before him, into his ears.
The earth trembled and quaked,
    and the foundations of the mountains shook;
    they trembled because he was angry.
Smoke rose from his nostrils;
    consuming fire came from his mouth,
    burning coals blazed out of it.
He parted the heavens and came down;
    dark clouds were under his feet.
10 He mounted the cherubim and flew;
    he soared on the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—
    the dark rain clouds of the sky.
12 Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced,
    with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
13 The Lord thundered from heaven;
    the voice of the Most High resounded.[d]
14 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
    with great bolts of lightning he routed them.
15 The valleys of the sea were exposed
    and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at your rebuke, Lord,
    at the blast of breath from your nostrils.

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.[c]

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”









Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Late night Puzzles

Sometimes I lay in bed and can't sleep. It just happens, no reason.

So I flip on my light and find something productive to do until I can sleep. Sometimes I read- a book, my bible. But lately I've taken to trying to make my own puzzles.

Sudoku puzzles, to be exact.
Despite being an "expert level" sudoku player, I'm terrible at making the puzzle.

See, the key in creating is to start by making the solution.
This, I soon found, is a puzzle in itself.
Creating a solution is no simple task- at least not for mybrain.
You can't sporadically place numbers and call it good.
...and I'm trying to use my own brain and pen to do this, not a computer formula.

Ive now tried five times without success.
Every time, I get close to the end of the solution, and I find that I have three 4s in one box, and no place for my 9, or that I mixed up the placement of all the 2s.

Then I think- I'll just fix those numbers and it will work.
But to fix those numbers, I usually have to change Another number. Yikes.

Without fail, this puts me to sleep after a while. My brain gets tired from all that work!

....but then I wake up thinking about puzzles. And I find myself thinking about puzzles, thoughts about them flitting around my head like stray flies in the middle of the day...

How can you start with a solution?
Surely, you have to have an end goal in mind, an overarching picture of where you want to go. But to be successful, you have to be able to see all the pieces fit together.

I've always thought God was a great puzzle maker. I've always loved puzzles of any and every kind, so I've also loved the picture of God being able to see the final solution before we can. It was nice imagery for me, I suppose.

My problem is, I always slap these labels -"PuzzleMaker"- on God without really understanding them. Now I think I'm starting to get it.

God started with the solution.
He didn't make the test then say, let me make the key, like some of our professors do on multiple choice tests. He didn't say this is my goal, so let me think about how I'll get there.

The goal and the solution were one and the same.
The puzzle fell apart when we tried to handle it- but it was always intended to come back together, because it STARTED as a solution.

I hope I'm making sense, and not just "puzzling" you to death.
Personally, this whole thing makes so much sense and yet none at all to me.
It's that.... wonderful mystery of God...

Maybe the best thing for you to do is try it.
Try to make a puzzle today.

Start with the solution.
Then test it.
If there is more than one solution, it's an invalid puzzle.

Makes you think, doesn't it?