Monday, September 30, 2013

{day one} thirty one days of Story-telling permission

{via pinterest}
:: this is a post of deep breathing // this is the start of 31 days of Story-telling permission ::

until last week, i had no idea i would be undertaking this project. i attempted to do 31 days of sacred seeking motherhood this time last year, but faltered very shortly after starting, due to my pure exhaustion + the change of having a newborn.

but now, i'm starting fresh. i read a post by Elora this past week that gutted me, sent me to the floor. and in it, she wrote six powerful words that have thrummed deep in my soul.

let's be writers?  
yes. let's really be. 
:: elora nicole :: 

and then i had a conversation with her, a beautiful meeting of souls. it was her that turned my floundering words into something concrete. she didn't put her words into my mouth, not at all. instead, she took my words and put them back into my mouth in a way that flowed. she laid His words and mine together on my tongue, and said, 

now write them down. 
you have permission. 

{photo by dramaticelegance}
and those words came slipping back in. let's be writers? and there it is, my Story, curled up like a cat at my back i'm finding that i've always had permission. it was waiting, resting at the edges of my soul, holding sacred space and waiting for me to realize that it's been there all along. 

and so i'm exhaling and doing something i'm not sure that i'm brave enough to undertake. i'm starting thirty-one days, barely into my twenty-third year of life, and i'm quivering inside. i know it's going to be messy and i know it's going to be vulnerable and i know there will be times that i simply will not want to do this. 

i am giving myself permission to miss a day. or ten. i am giving myself permission to live, to breathe, to tell my Story in the time and the space i need. 

this is less of a rule book, less of a laundry list of "31 ways to give yourself permission to tell your story." this is a journey, hand-in-hand. and if you want to sit down here and hold space with me at the edge of the water, there's room, right here. 

so this is day one. a messy, wild mishmash of faith and thrashing, of art, of writing, of freedom. expect to see Aslan here, because this is far from safe, but He is good. 

day one :: i have permission to tell my Story. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

twenty-three :: the year of shedding

{photo by dramaticelegance}
it's six'o'clock in the morning. being awake at this hour wasn't exactly my plan today. after all, it's my birthday. but there is something about this year :: this twenty-third year. it cries to be remembered. there's something impending, something important about this year. and i have no idea what it is.

// this is the year of shedding. 

i haven't seen a sunrise in such a long time. i treasure my sleeping. it's a very rare commodity in this house, what with a sweet small one who sets the time clocks with her precious voice. but this morning, i'm awake at six'o'clock. and i'm more than alright with this change of plans.

i've written a lot about thrashing in the past couple weeks :: this concept of letting go of answers and letting questions become acceptable, of having no idea what i'm doing...and it being okay. it's this flailing thing, dipping my arms to the elbow in the paint. it's that trying to dance, the learning, the splashing. and it might be more ridiculously awkward than i care to envision at this point.

i'm learning more about God than i ever did from my fundamental seat. i finding myself more undone by Him than ever before. i'm feeling like i've had a blindfold on, and i'm lifting it up, one inch at a time, and letting the Light in.

it's releasing my inner selkie soul. selkies are seals, magical and ocean-dwelling, emerging from the sea to be all woman, wild and beautiful. and that's what this twenty-third year will be for me. it's an emerging, a releasing. i'm reaching in deep and drawing my wild out. this time last year, i was holding a week-old baby girl in my arms, too overwhelmed and too afraid to mess anything up for any sort of awakening. i was where i needed to be.
{via pinterest}

and now i'm still where i need to be. it's all new and fresh, a one year old daughter curled into the curve of my arm, and my shoes left far behind on the path. it's holy ground, this venturing, even if i have no idea just how holy this space might be.

part of me is still sitting in grief from the loss of my grandmother on Saturday. my soul is still kneeling, sitting in a quiet shiva. but there is that low Voice in my ear ::

grief is great. only you and I know it yet.
let us be good to one another. 

and i feel the breath on my neck, and i know that twenty-three will be a year to remember. i am selkie girl in a year of shedding. and He still holds me there. not safe but good. He's been there for twenty-three years, curled at my back. i don't think He's going to stop now.

i'm right by the window.
and oh, this's luminous.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

do not dare not to dare //

{photo by dramaticelegance}
i feel like the world has been chasing me with this thrashing. honestly, i think it's really comical that this thing that i have been hiding from for so long is now pursuing me, or at least putting itself in my path. i turn twenty-three in little less than a week, and i am just discovering. someone told me that it's because i'm aware of it, in tune with myself now.

but i don't think that's entirely the reason. i think that my eyes are finally open enough that the calling, the pulling, has finally allowed itself to crawl out from the cave and whisper i'm here. i've always been here. can you see me? 

part of me really wants to write about this. i feel like i've been waiting for my entire life to feel this strange warring freedom. but then comes that fear, the familiar flavour that weighs my soul down. it almost makes me want to let go and let the current pull me the safe way, the way that doesn't make my arms ache.

i wrote some time ago about taking off the veil and looking darkness in the eyes. i don't mean evil darkness :: the Lion already holds the key. i mean the strange unknown, the part that lingers in the  shadow when i've been too scared to pull back the curtains and let the light trace over my skin.

i'm not ashamed. i am afraid. but i am pressing my forehead against the stone wall while i seek solace from the din.

sometimes being on the ground // means a new season is coming

{photo by dramaticelegance}
it's autumn. there's a lot of death associated with the falling leaves and fading grass. but there's something resurrecting about this season. it's been hot, pressing, almost suffocating, with air so thick that i almost wanted to push it off myself like a constricting garment. 

and then comes the whispering cool air, taking my hair and floating it across my face. it's like some ethereal veil reminding me, you are seen, if only by He that holds the Wind

and He is not threatened by your questions. 

it's a digging in. it's painful. it's reaching deep into yourself with gently curling fingers and digging into the dirt. and it makes me shudder and gasp. it's gorgeous. 

sometimes He digs in His claws and flays me wide. but that's not what He's doing right now. my soul is whispering, echoing soft Lion-growl :: do not dare not to dare. (lewis) i am humming His name like it's the last melody i know. i am reaching up.

{to learn more about Mandy's book, visit messy canvas. to read all the posts in my personal thrashing journey, visit here}

Sunday, September 15, 2013

a year of Light :: {my girl}

i wanted to write a post about thrashing. it's been on my heart and mind since my post last week since i allowed myself to exhale about my faith journey publicly. but then, i guess i am going to write on thrashing.

because i'm going to write about my girl.

i cannot believe it's been a year since my soul-wailing warrioress made her entrance into the world. i didn't know such a small being could so drastically change my perspective on life. i didn't know i could be this brave for someone else, not just for myself.

in a way, she brought about my gushing. this tiny one brought me intense volume and the most incredible hush, all once. she's a mystery, my Marian.

she held my hand
walked me into my soul
and said
this is where i want you
to write from.
Soul/mate |Tapiwa Mugabe

the poem above made its way into my inbox this morning, so early, on this day, a gift from a soul-sister far away.  and i wept like rainwater with each word. because a year ago, i would have read those words so differently. i would have found something romantic, something sensational in those words. i would have imagined something far away. 

but now it's personal. 

because the she is now both of us :: this tiny little blue-eyed dove daughter that whispers the most luminescent nonsense into my heart. it's been a year of this whispering, and i look back now with impossible awe that i have survived, and what i have done, and what she has pushed me to create with those tiny fingers. 

i didn't understand this feminine roaring, this brave standing, until i held something made of Light in my two hands and trembled, i don't know what i'm doing. 

sometimes she cries. and sometimes i cry. and sometimes, i sit and weep while this tender-souled love touches my cheek and hums some strange infant-turned-toddler song while we rock. sometimes she soothes me. she's radiant and intense and such a jumble. 

in the darkness, while she sleeps with lashes on my cheek and mouth drooping open like it did the night she entered this world, He whispers, she needs you. and you need Me. 

dearheart, it's okay. 

He gave me her in a time when i didn't know who i was, let alone how to mother something so small and innocent. i'm still thrashing {oh, that word. prepare to see more of it around here}, and i'm still growing. but He knew i needed her like she needs me :: a picture, born of blood and love. 

so we'll keep walking. her and i and Him. 

happy birthday, Marian Abigail. 
your momma loves you. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

when thrashing isn't a thumb war

{photo by dramaticelegance]
these past several months have been all about the Story for me. the funny thing is, despite the fact that my entire being is storytelling, it's really never been something that has met the criteria for my focus.

i've heard that phrase "let Him write your story...only you can tell your story" over and over as long as i can remember. i was raised in the Church; it's one of those things that fit in our little dictionary of words we all know. but it faded. and in some respects, my faith began to fade, too. 

writing that phrase made me nervous. i am loathe to write anything about shaky faith because i tend to hear the same things in response. it makes people uncomfortable, edgy, to think about faith being anything but concrete. we talk about it in whispers, as though it's a very dirty secret, casting furtive glances over our shoulders just in case someone might hear. 

my precious friend Mandy {who has written a book about her own personal thrashing which can be found here} wrote these words on her Facebook page ::  I don't have answers. I can't prove a thing. My faith is custom fit. Messy and mysterious. This is all I've got. 

ever since i read them, they've been humming in my soul. there's a strange sort of freedom when someone else speaks that same thing that's been sitting in your heart for a long time, maybe even before you knew they were there. 

part of telling my story is lifting my head up and acknowledging the road i've walked instead of keeping my eyes down to study the cracks in the sidewalk. the thing is, i didn't trip. i faded. Mandy uses the word "thrashing." and that's a good word. it brings up a picture in my head of a man on a mountain in the throes of a wrestling match with the Son of the Most High, from the darkness until the dawn. 

{photo by dramaticelegance}
and damn, that's powerful. the thrashing, the wrestling, the happens in the night. that dark night of the soul. and then comes the dawn with Light shining down on the flattened grass and the bruises and bumps and bleeding places. thrashing isn't a thumb war. it's a guttural cry as you charge into the complete darkness. and sometimes you run into a tree. but you pick yourself back up and snap off a walking stick and pull yourself along.

sometimes pruning leaves you messy // right there on the inside //
and it's that moment in the shower // when you're crying to match the water 
// but then you come out // and the steam pours off //
and you're coffee and tea and warm blankets from the drier 
// fragrant and steaming and clean
words by me :: #mypoetryseptember

:: and it's all part of my story. 

it all comes back to the Lion. it's in that dark place where you have no idea what might come skulking out of those darkened doorways that He curls up quietly at your back. and sometimes, when you need him the most, when fear threatens to consume you and has crawled down your throat

He roars. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

the elephant in the room

{via pinterest}
i want to talk about elephants.

there's something about them {as anyone who follows me on instagram will notice} that captivates me. i've started to notice this metaphorical parade of these creatures following me, never too far behind. people ask me all the time, why elephants? what do they mean? and my answer has shyly, sheepishly been :: i don't know.

i hate not knowing. really, it's one of those things that i struggle with the most. my favourite question is "why?" and i ask it perhaps more than i should. i want to know why, i want to know what. i just want to know. and so when these elephants began to appear in my life, stepping into my path one at a time, i wanted to know why.

and then i found a secret message, tucked in-between words gifted to my heart from my dearheart friend Teresa. and the rest came in a Lion's-breath whisper straight into my very soul.

:: it's okay to quiver. baby {elephant} steps count. 

fear. oh fear. it's the elephant in the room, to use the cliche. it's the thing we aren't supposed to do, but the one with the deepest-sinking claws. and it buries itself in and snarls and refuses to let go. and i'm holding out my hand, begging and pleading for Him to take it away, but then He reaches out and i jerk back my hand. i'm afraid to let go of the fear.

{from my own art journal. photo by dramaticelegance}
and those elephants, so big and bold and strong enough to even take on a lion in the wild, quiver in fear at the sight of something whiskered-small. they have fear too, these mighty things.

i've started to realize more and more, as i reach in and take hold of the story deep within me, that there are fear-chains wrapped around each word. it's being held down, tight, doing its level best to keep the Story stiffled. it tried to do it once already. have i forgotten that it failed? the Story ends with broken chains.

and so these elephants follow me, a sweet gentle parade, trunks swaying and nudging my back. and the Lion leads the way, a strange and beautiful party. we're walking, and inside we're quivering a little, because our Guide isn't safe. but oh, is He ever good.

and something is churning deep inside with each light barefoot step of mine, and each plodding waltz of the elephant feet.

i can hear the chains snapping.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

rejection of the Story

{via pinterest}
there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you :: maya angelou 

i haven't started a blog post with a quote in a long while. but this, this one, i felt was all too appropriate for my soul-season right now. 

i have a lot of emails sitting in my inbox right now. one of them is one that has been sitting there since February of 2011. i can't bring myself to delete it, even though i really really really really want to, more than even i realize. 

it's my very first novel rejection letter.

frankly, it wasn't all that surprising. the publisher had asked for my first fifty pages of my {still} unfinished fantasy novel, and i had sent it along with a small shred of trepidation in my heart. and i heard back. they thought it was wonderful. they used words like "brilliant" and "beautiful imagery" and "radiant." 

but it just wasn't for them. 

and i cried. it was the strangest most painful compliment i'd ever received. it was as though they were saying :: your work is good, great even. it's just not good enough. 

i never finished the novel. it's still sitting in my WORD file, completely untouched since that rejection letter arrived in my inbox more than two years ago. 

part of me wonders if it's because i needed to let it die, like a stone-pile monument to the moment i realized that i was officially a rejected writer {rejected as in, a right of passage to have your words turned down}. but then, maybe it was because i got scared. maybe the idea of a monument, a reminder, was romantic in a strange sort of way, and i was okay with leaving it like that instead of facing that fact that rejection sucks and i wasn't looking forward to dealing with it ever again. 

which, as a writer, is laughable. 

which, as a human, is laughable. 

rejection comes, like brutal hammers or like shards of glass in your shoe. it's there, banging down your door, right in your face. it's there, whispering quiet doubts that borrow deep into your soul and lodge there, eating you up into nothing until your story shrivels away into broken twisted stems. 

no light, no air, no water :: the story dies. 

{via pinterest}
and so i'm writing again. it's September. there's a thousand things happening this month, so many challenges laid out on the road in front of me like Turkish Delight, tempting and covered in powdered sweetness. it's a luring concept to take them as excuses to just not write, to just let the story lay "one more day." 

but there's a table laid out before me, gleaming and right, brimming with love and light by the Hand of the Lion with enemies and rejection pressing at the edges. but He growls so low into my soul. 

courage, dearheart
I have known you long. 

and i dine for strength. and my laptop perches gently on His broad back. i write, and He leaps over the kingdom of darkness until we rest on a beach with the gently cresting waves giving me glimpses into His Country across the sea. and i dip my toes into the Light-Water. 

and the Story puts out leaves. 

{want to enter a community of Story, of grace, of Jesus, of growth? Jesus found me in story 101. are you ready to take the leap? you won't regret it.}