that feeling when you get a gift and it’s awesome

hours curled on the kitchen floor, with each sigh and sniffle willing in sunshine or smiles, a new season, something.

when did life get so frowns and tears?

another tissue box shuffle–full to empty. empty and low. the sidewalks notice me. maybe. that’s how i feel.


flipping through this big, ancient, alive book I find this:

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,

who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

psalm 103:1-5

starving girl, an outward reflection of inner rejection. shredding myself, acidic mantras beaten into brain grooves deep and foreboding… stupid, ugly, never good

enough.

muscles fizz and spasm with unending tension, unable to function. bruised, beaten, distressed.

puffed up mind, torn apart soul

curled like a hedgehog or fallen leaf,

weeping sheepishly on the linoleum tiles

drowning slowly

in shame.


psalm 103:4

:WHO REDEEMS YOUR LIFE FROM THE PIT

how to hope for a saving hand, when already eleven feet under?

this takes Spirit and love beyond the border of stars and dark.

to believe in God though

death steals hearts near yours and

sickness feeds on your very bone marrow.

starving stomach, do you hope for sustenance

deferred heart, do you thump up to beat a melody, still?

dusty drum set

book spine uncracked

how does the lioness mama crouch to pounce after missing potential dinner twenty times

already


the healing came like crocuses and acrobat chickadees after a biting arctic melts under raw sun extract.

the rays of sun, like curls of flame, crackled and licked chilly waves of air. wild and unhindered, the fire consumed old chaff of life. Jesus–my Jesus– purifies my heart, electrifying each notebeat to compose a new rhythm, new land. like a tree gracing the forest ceiling, many take solace in His roots, bark, branches.

 

the healing came slowly then suddenly, and nothing of my own doing.  two cross beams nailed across east and west, Jesus hung there for me. lived and died and lived again. gives me life, too. this i know with all the atoms I’m composed of–He loves me.

dancing with the Author, His hand ever extended, Jesus invites you and me out of the pit. redemption. 

a free gift.

emergency encounter, part 1

Another girl in the basement of the Emergency Room, broken and maimed by life—like me–sobs and quakes in the corner of her room. She steps out. Wails. I step out. Her bloodshot gaze shoots through me like a bullet.

“Hi, my name’s Annabeth,” I say.

“Charolette,” she says, extending her snotty half gloved hand. I shake it. Her body shakes too, racked with withdrawal, shocked at benevolent touch.

She tells me her story–the equivalent of cobwebs and oil spills, cosmic rush then electrocution and detonation. Hot tears drip from my eyelids, mingling our pain. My throat swallows tightly as I look at the wall.

What can I say?

I reach my arms around her crumpled shoulders, pull them near. We stay caved inward for minutes, like birds landing after working hard and long to stay in the air.

“Can I pray for you?” I say.

Her nod is barely noticeable yet monumental, like beavers high-fiving after constructing their first high rise. I offer a short, sincere petition to the Maker of stars. She leans in harder, squeezing my heart pulp. We let go, touch down in hospital world.

She turns and shuffles back into her area, but not without a smile. The gentle upward curve softening her cheeks and eyes says thank you deeper than words ever do.

Turtleback

Poking out slick upside down bowl,

Leathery legs

Mosey towards me

Turtleback time

Twirling

Through swirling clouds

and purple velvet skies

Turtles zoom when their toes

Leave ground

Horizontal wind

Blasts sharp on skin

Birds fly beside

Until leave atmosphere behind

Turtles bounce Elvis beats

On swamp radio 105.3

Turtle rides costs a seashell, a penny, and a hug

Grab shell, I’ll meet you beyond earth

Star treks in twinkling corridors

Ocean skims with dolphin fins

Turtle shell rides explode expectations

Taking anyone anywhere

They last 5.5 hours

Unless you’re 4,

Then you can soar

Till your heart’s content.

The Way

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. Proverbs 16:25

The Bible warns us of going our own way. It even says the way seeming right to us leads to death. Leaving my way and submitting to God’s way has been a long, slow process for me. God Himself has plucked me off the road of destruction and given me a new path. For a long time I thought I knew better than God (most humans think this). Still do think I know better in some ways, if I’m honest. Thank God for grace! And for continually correcting me, pursuing me, loving me.

Psalm 25:4-5a is my jam:

Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me.

The Bible says Jesus is God’s way.

“Let not  your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one come to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on  you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:1-7

Left on our own, we all walk down a road with a cliff at the end. Falling off the cliff means leaning on our own understanding and disobeying God—sin. Sin leads to death (Romans 6:23), hence the cliff drop. Thankfully, God pursues and provides a different road, one that leads to Him. The road is Jesus. The map to that road is God’s Word, the Bible. God’s Holy Spirit is constantly calling wayward sinners to the Way by grace.

If there’s breath in  your lungs, there’s still time to turn from your sin and believe in Jesus. 

Will you trust Him today?

All the ways of a man are pure in their own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. Proverbs 16:2

Lord, thank You for weighing our spirits. Lord, we don’t realize that our ways are impure. Praise You for being merciful. Thank you for loving us and sending Jesus to die in our place. Help us, Father. Search us. Show us the ways we don’t trust you. Show us our offensive ways. Lead us in the Way everlasting—Jesus. Amen!

whoever has ears to hear…

Close your eyes. Listen. 

Till the thoughts spill out your mind onto a blank canvas of quiet.

(this takes time. stillness requires patience…)

Listen. Until time hits the brakes, until tasks fade.

and you simply are.

Busyness melting away, distraction destroyed.

When the fabric of your soul mirrors glassy motionless water and its weaves loosen, allowing things like grace and love to settle in.

Hear God’s whisper beat a song on your eardrum.

See the wind waltz with branches and leaves.

Breath inflating then deflating chest,

lungs no longer vacuum bags full of stress and soot,

but hopeful clouds with rain cascading down, evaporating up—a refreshing cycle.

Look up, heart.

and listen.

Pause the music. stop the tv chatter. listen.

Quiet’s uncomfortable…

(but do comfortable people grow?)

Quiet like a cave. like planets gliding through deep dark space.

Quiet like the forest, save for birds and trees.

Listen—hear the earth’s cry.

Stop long enough to be woken up.

World broken. world bleeding.

In our innermost chambers, we all know

we weren’t made to drown

but to soar!

Look at this dirty and disgraced, sad and out of place bluegreen marble.

Broken homes, broken bones, tear drops, break ups, death.

Suicide, flooding, miscarriage, abortion, murder.

Divorce, cancer, disease, loss.

House fires, gossip, lies, overdoses, pain, scars.

Look at the news, at a  young child’s tantrum, inside you.

The fact that dust collects on ledges

and shelves proves

this world’s fallen.

Since the the first human sinned, all inherit infection.

That minor chord creating discord in each human

longs to be restored.

Some look to sex. others, a bottle. others, a cigarette.

Some cut, some shop, others eat or go to people.

Regardless of how you deal, we’re all seeking a filling for the black hole in our soul.

I’ve looked to ideals, I strove for perfection.

Created me-centered dreams that—if they only happened—would solve my being’s puzzle.

I idolized marriage and a husband.

“he’ll fulfill me,” I thought. “I know it!”

After 26 years of looking to people and grades, dreams and ideals, perfection and travel… I sit next to you on this 5 second bench called life, testifying: it’s all empty. Whatever your “numb”-er of choice is (alcohol, food, drugs, sex, tv, busyness, social media), it’s all the same and it’s not working. when you slow down and listen, you’ll see… empty.

And if you try to stop sending your hungry heart down that same dead end road, it’ll only go down another. Transferring heart throb from one idol to another is a maddening hamster wheel of meaningless unrest.

The Bible says our hearts are deceitful above all things and desperately sick (Jeremiah 17:9). The answer is not behavior modification, we need intervention to be saved from self destruction! And we’re completely incapable of doing so ourselves. We are born disobedient. Since the garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve chose to disobey God, death entered the human race and we’re infected with this sickness called sin.

Here’s where the hope comes in.

A Saviour is necessary—someone who saves those who cannot save themselves (everyone). This is accomplished through grace. God’s holy. He cannot be in the presence of sin. Because He loves us, He sent His only Son, Jesus, to be the bridge between us and Him.

God is also just. As a just judge, He cannot allow our sin to go unpunished. When Jesus died and rose again, He bore God’s wrath for our sin. Like the animal sacrifices in the Old Testament that foreshadowed Him, Jesus is the spotless lamb. The once and for all sacrifice, Jesus bore the punishment for all who believe in Him. Now each person, if they choose Jesus as their Lord, are invited into His very near presence—what every heart longs for. This isn’t a light matter… to have a Lord means total submission, every thought taken captive to scripture, each moment surrendered, life. laid. down.

Ultimately, it’s all about God. Everything. Even the cross is for His glory.

Close your eyes. Listen. Do you hear?

Listen.

I’m thankful for:

Jesus,
plums,
exercise,
laughter,
candles,
rain,
eyebrows,
my fleece cat bathrobe,
bird songs,
tears,
God’s goodness,
wind,
art,
kindness,
answered prayer,
deep sea creatures,
light,
butter,
God sees me,
God’s love,
my husband,
vulnerability,
coffee,
Chris & Melissa,
rocks,
emus,
children,
the cross,
dishwashers,
bon fires,
chocolate,
Kelley,
tulips,
lungs,
board games,
repentance,
community,
the Bible,
God’s grace,
rest,
indoor plumbing,
dawn,
rugs,
dancing,
sunsets,
ferns,
God’s compassion towards sinners,
toilet paper,
talking with the security guard who found our stolen car..he should’ve been dead between military bullet wounds and putting the barrel of his own gun in his mouth to commit suicide but it misfired for the first time ever now he lives for Jesus. Whackamolewow! God is good.
hot showers,
towels,
my sister,
whales,
grace,
second, third, thousandth chances,
the person reading this!
life.

Rockbottom: The Place to Be

I was 18 when I fell off the cliff. Dark ate my soul’s hole–empty, alone, afraid. Sadness dripped from my eyes and nose. Shattered to the core. Always night.

Broken on the kitchen floor, sobbing, screaming, dying. Jesus walked into my life.

And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples,for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it,he said to them, “those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Mark 2:15-17

Jesus hung out with broken people–prostitutes, tax collectors, sinners, those aware of their need. He condemned the so called put together, the religious people.

But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.
Matthew 23:13

The leper, the bleeding, the dirty, the sinner, the least of these–the ones the world rejected–Jesus called beloved.

Good news for those who’ve fallen! Rockbottom is better than “having it all together”! For those who think they’re good on their own, don’t see their need for a Savior.. they perish.

I was once a Pharisee, blind and deceived. Like Saul become Paul, Jesus had mercy on me. He let me slam rockbottom! Humbled, grateful, saved from my sin through God’s free gift of grace in Christ Jesus, I sing a love song to my Savior. For redeeming all the pain, healing all the hurt, covering all rebellion, atoning all the dirty, washing me clean, softening my heart, opening my eyes to see the truth, loving me at my darkest.

Rockbottom.
Seems like end,
But is beginning

Rockbottom: the best thing that ever happened to me.

I hope God gives you a wake up call. I hope He shows you Himself.
I hope you hit rockbottom, too❤

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:18,24-25a

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians2:8-9

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16