I’ve been reading again.

I’ve felt rather lost and uncertain as of late. I’ve used the word “floundering” to describe how I feel so many times, the word makes my stomach hurt. It’s not that I stopped being Maggie, it’s just that I forgot who Maggie was. I knew bits and pieces. I could repeat the truth of it to myself – you’re Beloved, you’re daughter, you’re important to the Kingdom, you’re a bright, lovely creature because He said so, you are a writer – but when your heart is sick, though you know the truth, your sick heart coughs it up.

When your heart is sick, pieces of you that you thought were so deeply woven they could never come undone, disappear. They slip into the ocean inside of you and kick and splash and they’re gone. And at first, you row around on your makeshift raft and ravenously search the endless waters for the good that slipped into unknown. But time wears, and your raft hits a land you’ve never before encountered, and you count those good things forever lost. You don’t lose hope, though. Not really. You find a way to live on this new land of yours – you make the best of things (the way that you do) and this land that is only somewhat you, is okay. Even if your heart is sick.

Sometimes, sometimes in the night, you wake with a start and the stars seem brighter than usual and the air tastes sweet and ancient and sharp, and you swell. Something glimmers on a distant wave and you don’t dare breathe, because there – just beyond your reach – is the piece of you that you lost. The piece you need so desperately, that without it, you are left to repeat the truth to your fevered heart and watch it be retched up. Again and again.

I kept reading the writing of others – my pastor, my mom, my dad, my friends – and I would ache, deep inside ache, because I know I am I writer. But my writing felt stiff and foreign, an unloved thing. You are a writer – heaved up.

Here’s the profound thing – because I could not believe one truth about myself, I could not believe any of them. Because I could not remember that I really am a writer, I could not see myself as Beloved daughter, I could not see how important I am to the Kingdom. I crumbled. I stopped.

Some days ag0, Mom hid a letter she wrote to me in my bible. It took me until Friday to find it. Her words of love for me reminded me I once wrote from a deep well.  My heart seized. I found her and cried out words that didn’t express what I meant. I cried out words that expressed what I didn’t mean. She hugged me, and set a work of fiction on my desk.

The book swallowed me whole. It ran to my heart, ran right to the sickest part of it, and sank in deep. And my heart kept it. My heart took it in with great gulps. Slowly, slowly, I remembered. I remembered the promise of a book. I remembered how I loved words and loved how words sounded and tasted, and how you can, with the greatest care, caress words into death-taking, life-bringing things. I remembered how precious story is. I remembered how quickly I love people. I remembered how quickly I hate the evil. I remembered the well of story inside of me.

I jumped off the land, jumped off the make-shift raft and drank in sea water with hungry lungs.

Here’s the profound thing – when my heart knew that one truth about myself, it could take in all of them. Because I know I am a writer, I can feel the Father’s pleasure, I can see Kingdom life springing up around me. And I won’t stop.

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The season of singing birds has come

There is a bird singing outside – singing as if it cannot stop.

“Look, the winter is past,and the rains are over and gone,
the flowers are springing up,
the season of singing birds has come!
Their songs fill the air,
and the fragrant grapevines are blossoming.
Rise up, my darling!
Come away with me, my fair one!” — song of solomon 2:11-13

Spring.

It’s not quite here. In fact, the forecast calls for 6-8 inches of snow tomorrow. But, I’ll take the singing birds today. I’ll take the hope they give. There is something about bird songs that make my heart remember resurrection. There is something about bird songs that awaken those tired, run-down parts of me and reminds them that they were made to be alive.

There is promise in a bird song. There is a cry of made new!

My soul swells when I think of all things being made new.

 with every breath you take, I am restoring

New life, real life, being manifested in me and everything around me with every breath I take.

“The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as he raised Christ from the dead, he will give life to your mortal body by this same Spirit living within you.”— Romans 8:11

The very same power that won over death is living in me – recreating me with every breath.

“Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “Now, I have put my words in your mouth.See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.— Jeremiah 1:9-10

I am being made new – and in living into the newness Christ brings, I am bringing the Kingdom (that same recreation) to every person I encounter.

Tearing down lies. Destroying bondage. Overthrowing death – undoing death.
Building Kingdom walls. Planting Eden’s seeds.
Because Jesus lives in me. We move as one.

Bird songs promise spring.

Spring, that call to create. Spring, that call to live out the restoring work of the kingdom. Spring, that life. Spring, those fountains of life again finding their source. Spring, creation’s play of Kingdom come.  Spring that fosters life, fosters life.

Spring lives in me – finds home in me. Spring finds home in you. Spring finds home in everyone.

Redemption, restoration, the undoing of death, the re-writing of life, the hope of glory – lives in you, works in you. You carry it wherever you, to every broken place, to every healing place, to every good place, every hard place, every unknown place – it overcomes, every time.

And that is worth a song.

Dust

I am tired today. Honestly, I would rather be taking a nap I don’t really need than writing right now. Naps are sometimes my escape from dealing with unknown – the same way movies and tv sometimes are. If I am asleep, I don’t have to think, or find answers, or be okay with no answers.

I am choosing to write instead – because I am tired of wasting time.

Yesterday, I swept the floor at work. It is a simple task that I’ve done oh so many times. But yesterday, the sun was setting as I swept and the broom and I wove our way in and out of pure gold. It was gold you could feel, even when you weren’t standing it. The kind of light that makes the room feel still and rich. The kind of light you could drink.

“Glory, I have known you my whole life
In the morning, you come in gentle as a golden vine
Through my window, you fill up the valleys in my sheets. Glory”
— Byran John Appleby, glory

Glory. I was a being consumed in glory as dust on the floor swirled and glistened in the gold. Dust, unwanted, dirty, burdensome to the floor, was brought up into and through the gold, and was made beautiful.

Ashes to ashes dust to dust,
This flesh is not forever,
Spirit to Spirit,
Life to Life –
All that you are,
Is all I will be;
Soon, Lord, in You forever.

— hymn from the Morning Office this week

In being swept into the glory of that gold, the dust became more than it ever dreamed of being before. I delighted in the dust, it was breath-taking.

Spirit to Spirit. Life to Life. All that you are, is all I will be.

I am dust.

When I am sitting in the glory of the Creator, that glory – his glory – defines me. And I am breath-taking.

Fiction – because I don’t write it enough

Her sure fingers wove their way in and out of her hair, expertly untangling the knot that had spun itself in the wild of the wind and the day. She bit her lip. His question lingered in the settling air – romped about her, tempted.

Will you come with me?”

The knot came loose and her fingers found her pocket, slipped in and out of the loose threads there as if she could untangle that as well, as if the answer was hidden in unweaving.

Sun cast bronze about the room as a last cry of “I am resplendent!” before it journeyed beyond her eyes – his eyes. And it was running fast to keep away from the moon, yellow and wise, coming after that bold sun with steady determination – coming so. very. close. to catching it. Through the cracked window that brash light of a being that knows it is glorious, burst forth – a joyous laugh in the midst of the chase.

Her eyes found the golden caught in a jar of honey on the shelf and she could nearly taste it. Her fingers found an end to their restless search and her eyes found his. The question rang again,

Will you? Will you come with me?”

His eyes were a laugh in the midst of the chase. And she wanted it – to know that joy, that risk.

“Yes.”

And they laughed. He opened the door, waited for her to follow. And she walked to him. Stepped outside with him. Put her hand on the creaking knob, and looked back. The egg-shell-white walls, chipping, tired, certain, greeted her – the dishes from dinner rested on the stove and table beckoned – and the comfort of known tore at her. Her fingers relaxed on the door knob. And in her other hand, another call enticed; he pulled gently, strongly, purely – victoriously. The door shut and they ran, joining the moon in its pursuit of the sun.

On and on. Down the mountainside and along the rocky shores of the ocean until the sky was ink and the moon paused to rest. They stopped – breathless, tired, alive. Their faces ruddy, their lungs aching, full of crisp, unquenching air. The moon kept going – determined to capture the sun – but she and he sat on the rocks and took in the sea.

They didn’t talk – too busy breathing, too busy watching – but they communed. They shared the deep knowledge that both of them were present there, fully present there. And breathing, and watching, and alive.

The ocean spoke though – sighed over and over, “I am constant, unpredictable, mighty, and sweet – fear me, take me, behold me – I am good. I am good. I am good.”

She heard. And turned to him, wondering if he heard too. He was searching the stars – clear and cold above.

“Do you hear it?” she asked.

“The stars?”

“No, the ocean. What of the stars?”

“They speak of other worlds. Of simple light. They sing almost. Like flutes and violins and voice. They long for us to know there’s more. What of the ocean?”

“It’s strong. And good. Very good.”

They fell to silence again. And in the dark, and in the unknown, she rested. Until she thought of the dark, the unknown – and how far she was from home. Then the ocean’s call was altered. Water lapped at her feet and fear lapped with it – crawling, consuming, stifling. She looked over to him again, her mind racing, her heart claiming.

He searched the ocean now, and she wondered if he heard its true cry – the one she heard now, “I am mighty, unpredictable, fear me. I’ll take you. Fear me. Fear me. Fear me.” She drew in her feet and the calls resounded further, deeper – until she could not think, could not move and she longed for the home she knew – even with its patched-up roof.  Why did she leave? How could she leave?

Him.

He brought her here to ruin her. And the night encroached and whispered. The stars wailed and moaned. The ocean roared, always roared. She hated him. But he was the only thing she knew, the only refuge in the distance and the night. So she cried out – no words. His hand was on her instantly, his eyes found hers and she saw again that laugh in the midst of the chase. And she was warm again. The ocean stilled bawled.

“It’s okay. It’s me – you know me. I wouldn’t ever take you to a place that would harm you. I know you. I love you.”

And the roaring again refrained, “fear me. I am good. I am good. I am good.”

“We can go… back that is.”

“No.”

And they laughed.

The moon disappeared around the bend and the sun ran faster away, and she drifted to sleep and she dreamed of the stars – and the kingdoms they longed to show the earth. And she and he ran to them. On and on. Higher up and further in – until she tasted the sunlight, and looking at herself in a mirror, she saw that her eyes were a laugh in the midst of the chase.

Untitled the eighth.

Four o’clock hits
and the world turns golden.

The sun has traveled far enough
that we can talk as friends,
instead of shouting through blue distance,
and words turn golden.

Every barren tree.
Every dead-grass field.
Every ill-paved,
or well-paved,
still paved,
road –
golden.

Air becomes heady,
drunk with light,
yet clear to breathe –
because it’s golden.

And birds sail,
drink in the veiled air,
send messengers to run,
tell Creation that it’s come –
to taste, delight rejoice,
this gift is golden.

I in my car, clutch the wheel,
clutch my heart,
let music torrent flood,
wash deep down,
bring up dust, life, and blood,
listen to you call it golden.

Hazy light,
flooded air,
you jar,
and you tear,
send messengers to run,
tell my soul that it’s come,
to taste, delight, rejoice,
this gift is golden.