Tuesday, September 30, 2014

unarmed toy solider {listen + doctor who}

at the time in which I write this post, a brand-new episode of Doctor Who aired last night. due to the fact that I have a teething two-year-old + was given the chance to escape with the husband for a private night out as an early 24th birthday celebration, I wasn't able to watch it until this afternoon.

the episode's title? Listen. 
the topic? Fear. 

it found me where I was at, sitting on the floor with my toddler climbing over my shoulders like a jungle gym and my husband groggy and headachy from late nights and little sleep. it found me, this fifty minute episode of a supremely wonderful and nerdy British television show. it found me in the wake of personal upheaval and messy {more than slightly broken} community.

so listen. if you listen to anything else, listen to this. 
you’re always gonna be afraid even if you learn to hide it. fear is like a companion, a constant companion, always there. 
but that’s okay because fear can bring us together. 
fear can bring you home
{Doctor Who, Listen}


you don't have to be a fan of this show to wrap your fingers around the truth found in the above quote. fear is an ever-present companion. there is fear of the unknown. fear of the known. fear of failing, fear of succeeding. fear of breaking down. fear of losing what you have. fear of not being good enough. fear of being too good. 

fear of being, maybe. 

the list. oh, it seems to go ever on and on. and right now, I'm finding myself standing in one of those fear-spaces. some might call it a dark night of the soul {or a dark month of the soul, in my case}. some might call it doubt. or questioning. even thrashing. I'm really good at thrashing these days. 

but listen. if you listen to anything else, listen to this. 

in the aforementioned episode, a gun-less toy solider stands watch over a frightened child. and I can't help but reach out and wrap my fingers around this metaphor of plastic until man-made and God-made are practically fused as one. because there is something so holy about this idea of the unarmed solider standing guard. no weapons forged by man, but fierce. 

{a Lion needs no weapons. it is one.} 
do you see?


so listen, beloved. listen well. 

perfect love, the kind that lays down unarmed with arms spread wide, casts out fear. perfect love, the beaten and bloody epitome of Holiness, casts out fear. 

perfect love stands guard. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

born from crushed aluminum

{via flickr :: creative commons}
I crushed a soda can last night. you can see the exact shape of my hand in the aluminum, the swirling white letters bent inward to form something more akin to a prayer than a brand name.

my not-so-tiny girl needed stitches, right on the even of her second birthday. three small black lines, twisted up with flesh. she cut her foot last week. it wasn't so bad. there was blood, but it washed away. there was a scab, but it was closing. and then last night, she tripped. and it opened anew, worse than before. so we bundled into the car, my husband + me + Marian (her in squawking high spirits, us not so much).

and the doctor said "stitches," and something inside me dropped so hard that I thought it might actually come out through my feet. they washed her foot and I cringed, holding her hand. they said "needle" and "Lidocaine" and I  made a hasty and less than dignified retreat. he made me sit, the doctor did, pressing a can of soda into my hand for sugar. I was white, he said.

and I sobbed on one side of a clinic wall while my daughter wailed, clutched tight in my husband's arms as he bear-hugged our fierce fighting child. they were hurting her to help her, and it made my momma-lioness roar vicious. and I crushed that soda can in my fingers until they were white and the can was twisted metal in my grip.

then it was over, and she was drenched in sweat but bandaged, sniffling into my shoulder. I buried my nose in her head as I rocked her, inhaling the scent of tears and sweat and strength and bravery, as much as a little-yet-fierce creature can exude.

this morning, I pondered as she nuzzled into my breast, an eager face at 7:02am beside my bed. it's been two years with this child, nine months before that of her nestled under my skin. motherhood is a funny thing. you can read every book in the world, and still realize that you know absolutely nothing when that child is born. and you have to learn. and they say that you learn from experience and doing and "as you go." but really, it's your child that does the teaching.

cliche? maybe.
true? entirely.

and so, as my Marian-girl begins her second year of life, my heart is swelling full of  holy hopes + wishes for her.

 :: I wish for her bravery to be acknowledged. she is not fearless, she is brave. 
:: I wish for Holiness. 
 :: I wish for delight in small things and joy in big things
:: I wish for her pain to be allowed. I do not want her to hurt, but when she does, I want her aching to be FELT instead of being brushed over or dismissed. 
:: I wish for a drawing near to Grace and the Throne upon which it sits. 
:: I wish for might. not power or fame or glory, but might. 
:: I wish for laughter (have you heard this child laugh? music.)
:: I wish for Kleenex and ice cream and shoulders and companions and light and Glory abundant. 
:: I wish for LIFE.

happy second birthday, my beautiful girl. 
I love you. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

drop your coat

{via pinterest}
dear you,

you wanderer through the Valley of the Shadow
drop your coat.

you who haven't figured out how to process the change or the ache or the new or the rejection
drop your coat.

you who are finding yourself in the season of "no" or the season of leaving or the season of lots of taking and very very little giving back
drop your coat. 

// 

do you know what that looks like, to drop your coat and leave it there?

there is unspoken courtesy, ingrained in us from the very beginning. you do not just drop your bag, your coat, your shoes on the floor. not in another's house, not even in your own house. you pick it up. you find the hook or drawer or little nook. you hang it up. tidy, organized, everything appropriately tucked away.

even when the fabric is so heavy that it almost seems unbearable, this idea of crossing another twelve steps to the closet. even when the smile is pasted on, and the "let me take your coat" feels falsely cloying because you would just rather not lean into the pity (even though it's nothing more than your host being polite).

so I want to tell you something. I want you to look me in the eye.

I want you to rest. drop your coat. right there, in the hallway. shoes too. kick them off. let them thud against the wall.

I want you to find freedom. leave it there, on the floor, in a crumpled pile of soft fabric and silken lining. leave it there.

because it's not just a coat, is it, love? it's grief and heaviness and weight and confusion and a lack of knowing which direction to step next. and there may not be answers there between the hardwood slats. but there is a solid surface on which to rest. and sometimes that works better than answers. at least for now.

so drop your coat. leave it there. the world won't end while it lays on the hardwood.

dust washes off. you can use my machine.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

the blessing of more

{via pinterest}
"can you show me the sign?"

my own words hit me in the face as I asked my toddler daughter to recreate the ASL word for "more," tapping her tiny fingertips against one another. she was asking for another cracker, another drink of water. we've been teaching her these simple little signs since she was barely old enough to hold up her head on her own. and now here, as we approach the second year of her life in a matter of weeks, she still knows every gesture.

please. thank you. milk. more. 

that last one still takes my breath away.
let me tell you why.

::

I remember seeing her, sitting casually on a too-tall barstool, her tattoos clearly visible, her blonde hair fresh with pink and purple streaks. she looked like a vision of everything I wanted to be. there was about fifteen of us gathered around her, listening to her speak over us.

her words caught me off-guard.

I want you all to see me as more than just the founder, more than your coach, more than a published author. I want you to see me as more than just that. see me as me, okay? 

the concept was so foreign. it didn't feel right. surely she misspoke. because how could any of us do that? she was all these amazing things, this powerhouse badass of a woman who had come up gasping from grief + destruction + hardship. she was a phoenix. how could I see her as "just her"? that was a disservice to her greatness.

wasn't it?

and this thing of her -- just her -- being more. I didn't understand it.

except then I sat down on the couch with her and looked into her eyes.

// how are you? 
// how are you? 
// how are you?

and then it started to click.

::

"can you show me the sign?"

that simple little phrase knocked me back. as I watched my daughter's baby fingers form that word in the chaos of my lunchtime kitchen, I found myself breathing a blessing over her.

you are more, Daughter of Eve. 
you are allowed to ask for more
and that more is you. 
you are Lion-breathed, filled with wild Holy breath from the lungs of the Most High
what more does anyone need but 
just simply you? 
dwell in your muchness, your more-ness. 
oh my daughter, accept the blessing of more. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

for when there aren't many words left {#Furgeson}

{via pinterest}
as far as Ferguson goes, I've been silent. 
I mean that as literally as you can get. nothing on social media. not my Facebook or my Twitter or my Instagram or my blog. nothing. period. 

silence. 

and that, for me, is odd. there are very few social issues that leave me at a loss for words. this one, however, has done exactly that. 

I am at a loss for words. 

let me be very clear here :: I have not been silent because I am white. I have not been silent because I have an unpopular opinion. I have not been silent because I am afraid. 

I have been silent because it has been one of those moments where you are confronted with something so overwhelming that it leaves nothing behind. there have been so many amazing words shared already. {you can find a couple fantastic and powerfully gentle posts here and here.} there have been arguments on both sides, strong words flung and feet planted into the dirt. the Internet is good at controversy, after all. 

what could I possibly say? wouldn't I only be adding to the noise?
because let's be honest :: there's been a lot of noise. madness. tumult. 

all I can do is pray. 
and that's pretty much exactly what I'm going to do here. 

:: 

oh God. 
bring peace. 

oh Lord,
bring comfort. 

oh Jesus. oh sweet Jesus. 
bring clarity. 

Spirit of the living God,
fall fresh. 

oh Lion, 
breathe. 

oh mighty Father, 
sustain. 

selah. selah. selah. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

the one where I talk about sex {again}

{via pinterest}
let's talk about sex.
I'm serious.

it's everywhere.
I'm serious about that too.

but you know something else?
it's also a really big secret.
{especially in church}

I grew up in a world where gateway drugs weren't seven-leafed plants held rolled and drooping between teenage fingers. it was the fingers themselves that were the problem. because if skin touched skin, that was the start of a slippery slope...

...a slope that led to bodies and skin and nakedness and words that were alluded to, but rarely spoken aloud. just in case there was someone listening. and the idea of it being mentioned in church? never. just in case God might overhear.

we talked about purity, of course. about guarded hearts and the mystery of a man with a woman and the way it should be for marriage. but what, exactly, should be for marriage? we were never sure. not really.

it was all a mystery. until churches and white dresses and rings slipped onto sweaty fingers and hotel rooms where the door shut with a heavy thump...

...and then it was still a mystery.

because it was a secret until that minute, except that everyone seemed to have forgotten the "sex kitten" potion that was to transform a blushing new bride and a nervously fidgeting groom  into ravenous sexual creatures. they forgot about what happened when the door closed and we stood there with shuffling feet and the acute awareness that there was nakedness under our clothes.

this is the part where I am supposed to present a solution.
the only one I have is for us to talk.

we have to stop making little words that start with "p" and "v" and "s" into dirty unrepeatables that linger like forbidden fruit squashed into pulp on tongues. we have to find that line and realize that it's written in the dirt, not carved into rock.

we need to talk.
with words, not euphemisms and "when you're married, you'll understand."

because it doesn't work that way.

we need to talk.
about sex.
about penises and vaginas and hormones and sex. hear me say it. sex.

because the most important thing is a heart.
not a hymen.

Friday, August 8, 2014

broken benches

{photo taken via VSCOCam :: by Rachel Haas}
writing is hard when you're writing.
you become a broken bench, in a way.

there are slats falling down
side
ways.
you're still a bench.
but there are holes and sitting


it's complicated.

writing a book is hard, period.
it's one of those things where you could jump up and down and pat your head and rub your tummy and walk across hot coals to bring back rubies clutched in your teeth

...and it would still be easier than getting those words down.
and yet we do it because we are it.
we are writers who write things.

writers who don't write things are benches made of fog.
you can see us
we just go away when you breathe a little too hard.

writing is complicated
with a lot of parts and pieces and bits and bobs
and upside down handstands.
and coffee.

and you can feel like a broken bench.
but you're still a bench.
when people fall on you, their hands connect with solid wood and scrappy frame.
you're plucky, you are.

they can rest there.
because broken benches are still benches.