Heart full of sadness and a head full of doubt…

Heart full of sadness and a head full of doubt…

Maybe that about sums it up? How do I even approach writing an entry like this one? How do I choose honesty…and search for clarity and not come off sounding like I’m throwing myself a pity party?

Today I walked into a room filled with people…a place I once held dear…a heart home….I have stayed far away for a long time….not due to any bad blood…more because of love. My own love for a place and its people and the deep heart wrench I knew I would feel if I returned…I stayed away because I knew it would break something deep within to enter doors that could no longer be my home…my safe place. In the end, I would have to leave…again…

I was held by so many warm embraces…welcome smiles, tears, laughter….memories…years spent together….working hard….loving well. I miss them. And I felt missed, loved.

Wow! Yep. I felt missed, and then something broke. One of those super real deep kind of things…the twine that holds together vital parts….it snapped, and I realized that after years of plowing hard ground, believing hard things and applying my beliefs to life…when you stand at a door flung wide with arms held open….and no one comes…or those who do look you up and down and move on….a soul can only take so much rejection…

In this moment there is a choice…where do I find my value…where do I look for fulfillment. No one wants to feel rejected or unloved…but this is the reality of our human condition…when we look to be filled by those in this world we come up short…every time. So my head tells me to look to Jesus and my heart cries for the hope that it might grasp the love that is there. Doubt edges every corner! Fear, a razors edge.

And in the moment of breaking I have the opportunity to learn, one more time, that this life is about Jesus. The lessons are deep and they are many…

 

A few moments…stolen away

I have to say that some of my favorite times are in the early morning. We are on a quick family vacation this weekend and we spent the night in a hotel at the half way point last night….

Inevitably this means I don’t sleep in. I was up with a bolt at 6 and there was no going back to sleep. I’ve spent a good hour sipping on quality coffee (Praise the Lord), reading , sending out a few emails for the flower business and now…now just a quick bit of writing while I watch the rest of the world come to life.

I’ve been thinking a lot, A LOT about comparisons. Thinking about all that they steal and rob us of….how often do we look at others and wish we had what they do….want to be doing what they get to joyfully experience? How many times have I gotten onto social media and just seethed on the inside….WHAT?

Take a step back Melissa….just take a breath and look. My life is Amazing! there are moments to be grateful for at every turn….yes, even the seemingly hard ones! How have I missed this super simple practice of giving thanks In the moment? It was modeled to me in my mother’s joy and wonder at life….how did I miss it?

Life has always been a list of dos and don’ts….things to get done or a specific mission or adventure…not the slow walk of admiration for all that I come into contact with. What have I missed?

My dear friend sent me off with loving words and the assurance that she was praying that we would have a weekend full of laughter and joy! Oh, what a great encouragement….thank you friend.

A moment, the look of great wonder and joy within my children…Oh yes, I am thankful! The day is young and the opportunity is great…the lessons are many, and today I will choose to meet them with joy rather then with┬ádespair! So much more to write…but the time is up….I hear little feet padding down the hallway and the giggles of little girls!

Saying good bye….again

This is possibly an inappropriate time to be writing. Sitting in a room filled with chairs…hushed voices and kids entertained with the latest wireless devices….We are taking turns saying good-bye.

We got the call last night. This was it….our chance to say good-bye to grandma. Oh, the hope that we would make it in time for her to still know we were there. W packed our bags and left for the Chicago land at 9 pm….how do you say goodbye to years of love….warm hugs and laughter? When the hands that hugged and baked and clapped with joy….lay still in place. What are the words? Where do they come from? Somehow they make it out….passed tight lips and tearful sobs. Moments of laughter….the sweet taste of joy.

Grandma loved us well! She loved and cared for Mike years before I was around and when I came she was quick to fold me in…welcoming arms…I needed a grandma…mine had all passed away years earlier. We shared a love of food and she would often find a recipe she thought I might like and pass it along. I treasure her hand written note cards that are barely ledgable….maybe one of these days I will do a series on food inspired by those who have loved us well….she will be my inspiration!

As we said good-bye to grandma Mike and I shared all the things that we have been focused on here. Everything from harvesting the garden and canning to butchering our first rabbits. she mumbled something I couldn’t understand at first…hasenpfeffer! This lady wanted to know if we had made hasenpfeffer yet! Oh, I love her! When we returned home the first meal I made with the butchered rabbits was hasenpfeffer and it was wonderful!

Hasenpfeffer

Hasenpfeffer in memory of Grandma

We have had our fill of saying goodbye this year. We lost both of Mike’s grandmothers within a few months of each other. One of them, we have been saying good-bye to for years while the other…well…Penny grandma, we just didn’t see this coming. I am so blessed to have married into a family with loving grandparents that I could get to know! I am thankful for every conversation, kiss of the cheek and knowing look! Rest well with Jesus as you see him face to face now! Pass our love onto those who welcome you home!

Finding peace in the ash

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photo credit goes to Robert Lofgren….thanks as always friend!

Robert blogs at www.thegaypostevangelical.com

Well, we’ve done it again. Pulled a little farther away from the cultural norm…. who it tells us we should be, what we should do. The reaction of people outside of the immediate family tells a lot. I’ve been watching & listening….so many times before I’ve been the reactor…the judge. Now…now, it is my turn to be on the ‘outside’….let me tell ya it feels good! There is a bit of freedom here…space to learn anew.

I’ve been surprised at each turn of this journey. The Lord has placed unique people in our path at each step! Some stay a long time while others drift in and out….all with a unique and important purpose. A deep and rich blessing. Touch points…’the hands and feet’…it has been truly beautiful. They never seem to be who or what I expect…and often in my humanity they would be those I overlook….there is a deep and soulful humbling in this place. I am thankful.

I struggle to keep my head above water most days. There is a reason why this blog has three sections…I post a lot of happy photos and try to keep up on all we are working on with the homestead….but at the same time there are deep truths I am working out….there needs to be space to write about it all.

Our lives are changing…we are making hard choices to accommodate. I’ve started homeschooling for preschool. Amazing. Hard. Exhausting. Just wow! Winter is fast approaching and we are working hard to wrap up all of the projects before the snow flies and In a few weeks we hope to start up soup nights again! All of this on top of the normal life stuff we do…So much to look forward to!

Here’s the thing (just one that I’m learning) in it all there is a gift and a joy to be treasured…..a romance to enter into. Sometimes, it needs space to be enjoyed and walked out and our lives are too full….too busy to enter in. As an introvert married to an extrovert this is a challenging dance, but we are learning a few new steps! I’m learning flexibility and had no idea how rigid I’ve been! wow…..so much to learn. So, so much!

September

Well…this isn’t my normal time for writing, but the house is quiet and I’ve got the itch! The real problem is that I’m not sure what I’m trying to process…I’ve been in a ‘funk’ all week and I feel like I’m on the edge of something, but I’m just not sure what it is yet.

Maybe it’s just the fact that we are almost to September again, and I can’t believe that a year ago I sat in a chair…in a building…with a group of people that I thought knew me….and found myself screaming on the inside. Like….I was just waking up to the sound of my own screams that had been going on for an untold length of time and I had just then start to hear.

So I ran away and met up with a friend I love in a town I hate. We had a night (or was it two) away from the daily grind of kids in need, the expectations of others, meal planning, house cleaning, and church meetings….it was NOT enough time. I felt like I was just starting to scratch at a scab…(and so I was)

The time was filled doing a few of my favorite things, with one of my favorite people…one of those people who pushes and challenges…with love and grace….that soul friend who knows your heart so well because she has done the time in the fire with you….yeah…there is never enough time with ‘that friend!’

If that in itself wasn’t enough there were the old friends…people once known….the ones who’s path went another way….but in the deep places, where things really matter, a knowing…like a fire deep and bright…something….some treasure left covered in the woods until the next adventure…and in a moment there they were, with arms flug wide and a mug of good coffee! These dear ones…who spoke salve to a wounded soul…..a balm I didn’t know I needed. These love talkers…these three treasures….I sat with eyes large as they shared…opened wide, their hurt clear and etched and free….the gift of something was offered and excepted…little did I know. Little did I know! Little did I know, how much I would draw on those moments in the months to come.

This year has been pain. I stand in a place marked by time….I have knowledge that days, weeks and months have passed, but I’m not sure of much anymore. The things we hold so tightly to….my fingers have been pried from…oh, Lord…oh, Lord….here comes September once again.

It’s been like breathing again….

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There are moments now when I just sit and listen to myself breathe….mostly before my children get up and after my husband goes to work. It’s a simple, natural act….air in, air out. For months of my life I cannot remember this sustaining function. For endless weeks I felt like I held my breath and I watched one monument after another crumble. They are still falling and I continue to stand in the wasteland…sometimes with my mouth hanging wide…could anything more come down?

Standing in the dust and ash it is easy to think the prior years have been wasted. I watch money go down the drain and yet another long held belief fall away…and the bitterness edges every corner…holding out for the moment it can rush in…the moment I reach for what is familiar once again. A moment of comfort in sorrow. A wallowing in things lost….anger at having been played the fool.

And I realize I’m holding my breath again….

My child, hear my voice, and give no heed to the voice of the stranger. My paths are straight, and they are narrow, but you shall have no difficulty in finding them if you watch Me. I am guiding you. You need not look to people for direction. You may learn much by fellowship with the saints, but never allow any to take the role that is rightfully Mine….to direct your steps. As it is written, “The steps of a good man are ordered by The Lord. ” ~not by the preacher, not by some Christian worker, but buy The Lord.

Trust Me to do it, and give Me the time and the opportunity to do it. Be not hasty, and lean not upon your own intelligence. Rest in Me. I shall bring to pass My perfect will in your life as you believe and live in faith.

{Come Away My Beloved}
~Frances J. Roberts

And I remember to breathe…and listen. Air in. Air out.

A post on the ‘situation’….how easily we miss the people

This morning while drinking coffee and reading Facebook posts…yes, I’m still there….I ran into yet another boiled down, simplified video of the Palestinian / Israeli conflict. The poster? A friend….must we agree? No. However, as broken hearted as I am over this ongoing life of conflict in the Middle East my heart churns, a new every time the Western Christian culture supports another simplified version of Israeli support!

Had I married the man I loved 12 years ago I would be living this conflict. Its depths and meanings would hold personal weight in my life….I would have skin in the game….it would be my children who screamed in fear…..my home invaded….my rights taken. It would be my husbands life I feared for every day he went to work.

These are not the things I was going to process and write about today….I was not going to enter Into the fray…I was going to continue to keep quiet….as I do at family gatherings….church encounters and the endless other places where I do not conveniently fit into the prescribed ‘christian’ culture.

Today I live a life of freedom….I have the luxury of making a choice to engage or not. Today I reach out and lovingly hold my blissfully ignorant children and my deepest fear when Mike leaves the house for work is that he may cut himself badly enough to need stitches.

Amidst the angry talking heads, simplified videos and ignorant catch phrases can we try to remember that this ‘conflict’ (it’s really war) affects families, children, mothers, fathers, grandparents! The people of Gaza have no place to go! A million and a half people who can’t run and hide. They are fish in a barrel. Try as we might to understand, we are ignorant….our freedom and our rights are a blessing but they also keep us ignorant of the vary real hardships that others live day in and day out.

So when we (outsiders) ‘hold a view’ or ‘pick a side’ it is always from a half understanding when placed next to those who live it. There are countless ways out for us! I keep silent when I should speak, some put their heads in the sand, while others choose to listen to the loudest argument or pick up whatever their church / religious group or politician tells them to believe.

My heart breaks and I continue to sit on my hands and clamp my mouth shut…if I’ve learned anything it’s this….waving fists and pointing fingers…screaming insults….they all land dead on arrival. We argue about root issues and ‘rights’….how easy it is for an American to point a finger and give and answer. I hear the same arguments over and over…Israel uses it’s weapons to protect people while Hamas uses people to protect weapons…how simple? How clear…I wish someone had thought of that before…we could have saved so many if only we had known sooner.

This world is a sad and dark place. With all of its beauty and joy there are unspeakable pains and suffering that, as an American, I will never understand….never come face to face with….never pay for with my own body or that of a family members….

The shame that I will own is that the taxes I pay contribute to wars and deaths and things that I can not control. The ‘church’ I desperately love, often turns a blind eye and at worst supports this conflict for some obscure belief that we can control when Christ will return to earth. While children scream and the outside world rages…where is the church? Where is our love for the down trodden….for the broken? And, please, what does that even look like?

Let us be wise and loving. Oh, that we would see more clearly and speak more kindly…that we would pray for and love those who hate us and those we love. Take a moment….listen to those on the ‘other side’…hear the fear in their voices when they share their story…choose not to allow your interactions on such topics to speak only in general….only a regurgitation of what you have heard. This world is full of people just like you….just like me. So when we choose to boil down a topic to address only the points we believe are relevant we miss the life, we miss the hurt, we miss the people.

Leaving Facebook? (Part 2)

The time has come…..I’m realizing that my world is just too loud, and a tool that was once wonderful is now a burden. The joy of keeping up with old friends, seeing photos of families grow and the off handed jokes that involve chickens are no longer strong enough to hold me to a space.

For weeks I’ve been drowning in one angry post after another. How is it that people I talk with in person sound so foreign to me online? People, our words hold weight! Why do we insist on dumbing our ideas down with insightful language? In a letter I recently posted to a dear friend I expressed it this way.

I wrestle with an honest desire to see and understand both sides of an issue, but there is just endless amounts of crap to sort out before you can even really ‘hear’ what someone is saying.

What does this look like? How will I stay in touch with people? Can’t I just unfriend some? Who knows!

What I do know is that my heart hurts and if people want to stay in touch I’m not going anywhere….I’m just changing where my voice can be heard. As well as how much I have to listen to.

As things stand today I am trying an experiment. I have worked the first step of purging most of my friend list, and I will likely do another purge in the coming weeks. I have also changed who I follow. If these steps don’t help then leaving will….but we’ll see. I am desperate to change some of the norms I have build into my life….they just don’t fit right so I don’t see the value in staying confined to them.

A call for civility…leaving Facebook behind (Part 1)

It has been a few days and I feel like I can now begin to process some of my thoughts more openly. Social media has gone nuts lately! At what point did it become ok for grown adults to belittle and dehumanize those who are not like them? These were not the lessons I was taught as a child….oh, hold on….maybe they were…

In my youth when my questions and thoughts were outside of the prescribed ideal there were plenty of nonverbal signals that informed me I was out of line…as I grew older the pressure of those around me was enough to solidify those early nonverbals. For a child like my brother, lines meant little more then that there was something beyond to be explored, and that it was likely interesting….but for me…the girl who desired to please parents, teachers and bosses…the girl with endless questions on the inside….this was a world of shackles.

I learned young that my opinions had little value…thoughts stifled. Questions always had a specific answer and I knew when my questions were the wrong kind. Tone speaks so loudly when you are young. Now, I am grown a woman of 34 and I look at the world around me with its endless bickering and ragging and I think….this is what I was taught….

Those with power have voice.
Those with a voice keep it by being louder then those around them.
Teach your children the black and white so they know and will do good.
Asking questions = questioning authority.
Learning means that a person can recite what they have been told NOT understand and own what they believe.

It is no wonder to me that this current culture is filled with those who yell…..with people who say horrible things about the ‘others’ that surround them. This is not ‘rag on my childhood hour’ but there were seeds planted years ago that are now coming to fruit. Cultures and generations clashing that don’t even have the vocabulary to speak the same language.

I’m learning and owning a few things

To my Christian friends and community

It is rare that I am in 100% agreement with you, and unlike I grew up believing, that is ok. I respect you. I love you. I want to know you and how God has moved in your life. I do not have the corner of the market on truth, and the body of Christ is diverse for good reason….I can see parts of my savior reflected in you that I would miss if I didn’t know you.

I will do you wrong. I will hurt you. I will speak without thinking, and act on impulse. I will put myself before you…time and again. I am sorry…and I will be sorry. I will do my best to except your correction and criticism with grace and humility. I will trust that you are looking out for my good.

To those I love who do not walk this faith with me

You are a jewel and a treasure, a blessing to me in ways that you can’t even imagine. Thank you for sharing your story with me. It is my earnest desire to create a space that allows for you to share who you are, what you think and why….even if it is drastically different then where I stand. You bring color to my life. Thank you.

I will do my best to respect how we are different and continue to invite you into this life I live. I will not hold you to my convictions and I hope to learn from yours. This doesn’t mean I won’t tell you what I think….sometimes when you ask….sometimes when you don’t, but I trust that if you know me you already know that

There is more to be said….I am confident that it will make its way out in fits and starts….