Storm Surge

As I sit on my air matress, snuggled in my warm blanket, the rain steadily falls on my tent. This rain is the end of the big storm that is currently blowing through out campsite. It began as a dark, creeping cloud – with the wind pushing it towards us and the distant thunder warning of its inevitable arrival. . . 

Most people would say this rain ruined the trip, or ruined the day, or just put a damper on things. . . Me? I am thankful for it. Sure, we had to come in off of the water. We scrambled as the wind tore through our sites and our tents and tarps were at its mercy. We laughed as we all pulled together to make sure everyone was safe and dry. Then …….. we moved on. Some went to their tents, some hung out with the food, others played in the rain….. but we were all safe. 

So here I am, listening – with my soul …..

Water is my favorite. It calms me – in an unexplainable way. Even as a child, I was fascinated by it. I was mesmerized by the way it curved up around our boat as we cruised through it. I studied the way it careened around rocks while we played in the creek. I watched many storms come through as we sat on our porch – each rain drop bringing life to so many things. . . 

Water transforms and each transformation is a revelation. 

As I get older, and listen with my soul, I see – and hear – the lessons of water. Today’s lesson?

The storm brings rain, and rain brings life. 

I have been in a life storm, as of late. I was hurried in from my relaxed state into a mind set of preparation by the thunderous voice of negativity and the terrifying winds of self doubt. As I reached for strong lines to tie down my protective coverings, I was practically blown away as the storm progressed closer in to my inner being. I yelled for help, which fell as whispers, due to the overwhelming noise of failure swirling around. When I took a moment to evaluate my surroundings, the desire to leave camp and run was overpowering. 


Then, it came……clarity. 

I called for help again, this time the wind carried it. Even as a whisper, it fell on loving ears. Soon I was surrounded by those who were willing to stand the storm with me. We stood, against the raging negativity and the pouring sadness. Together, we waited it out. When I was weak, they were strong. 

Now, as this present day weather storm is tapering off, I feel this nasty “life storm” tapering off as well. I am surrounded in both storms by family and friends who have fought the winds and stinging rain with me – and loved me through it all. 

Now, comes the life. 

This rain that fell today will carry seeds, will water seedlings, will nourish growning crops, and will replenish dry wells. 

And my storm water? My rain?

It will do the very same – 


John 4:‭l3-14

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Just For You 

It is just a normal morning. I’m tired, as usual. The kids have been dropped off and I’m driving to work. Normally I talk to the hubs for a few, but today he’s at home – gearing himself up for an appointment that may mean life or death for his dad. 

I have been in a pretty bad spot lately. It sounds so selfish when I say that, because there are so many others in my family who are facing sickness, disappointment, and hard times. I wrestle with sounding selfish. I don’t mean to, it’s just I’m at a breaking point today. 

My mind is like a tangled bunch of yarn. There is no beginning or end, no rhyme or reason, just thought after thought after thought. It is so bad that I have to preoccupy my brain with music or an audiobook just to get it to stop. 

This morning, as I was listening to my designated “before I get to work and put on a happy face and attitude so that no one sees me falling apart” music, my brain was in high mode. A friends blog post was foremost in my thoughts, as she has been very honest about some of her inner battles. I thought about how she stated how loving her spouse was and how understanding he was. It made me sad for my own hubs, who just wants to fix it. There is no fixing, I thought. Why? Why do I battle, still? 

I just need a touch from God

I cry out, I pray, I surround myself with every positive verse and song I can find –

And still. Still I drag myself out of the bed every morning to play a role everyday. I hide my pain well, but it is becoming overwhelming…..

Then, while tears streamed down my face as I am pulling down the exit ramp – sweet peas. 

I love sweet pea flowers. Sweet peas and honey suckle make my day. Okay, all flowers, but these two wild flowers just sweep me back to my childhood. Where times were simple. Because even if my cousins were mean to me, or I didn’t get a toy I wanted, my life was soaked in beautiful things. Hayfields, creeks, wild flowers …….and summer breezes. 

Here was a patch. Out of no where. Literally in the middle of green – just one sprig. 

Just for you.”  I heard Papa say. 

Now, I’m not saying my day is gonna be fabulous, or that all will be well with my soul just because there were wild flowers on the exit ramp. What I am saying, is that, I will smile a little more honestly today. He still loves me, in all my nastiness, in all my undoneness, in all my ugliness – He still adores me. Even if this whole world destroys me today, I will go down thinking of those flowers. . . 

 A Pretty Coffin

I have seen many of my loved ones “laid to rest”. Some were old, some were young. 

Today the pastor spoke of death, and how it is part of life. It is the only part of life we all will experience, yet few of us have actually witnessed the transition.

I have not been so lucky. I have been present, bedside, of two very dear persons as they have passed. I have also held the lifeless body of an infant. These are all moments that stick in my mind like honey in a honeycomb. 

As an aesthetic person sights, smells, and sounds permeate my memory bank. I am a creature drawn to beauty, in every aspect that it may inhabit. You may be thinking I am crazy right now…….how can death be beautiful?

I stood, crying, as my 40 year old uncle died in the hospital of organ failure. I have used his story often as I speak of sin and addiction. An alcoholic druggie, his life was not easy. Yet, we loved him. We prayed for him numerous times as he stared death in the face. He was actually clean when he passed. Yet, the damage he had induced on his organs was irrevocable…….My grandmother stood, as the matriarch of our family, believing Gods will would be done. As he took his last breath, I looked out of the window of the hospital room. It was a warm day, with no winds. Yet at that moment, the wind blew – trees bowed – and I knew. I knew that the peace that passes all understanding was there, and my uncle – with all his fears and all his failures – was standing in the presence of the most forgiving God…..

Years later, I was standing with my husband in a Hospice center, loving on our Mamaw. I say OUR because what is mine is his and what is his is mine. She loved me like I was her own. I adored her. I quote her often when I am making gravy …… “It is easier to add than to take away…..add the flour slowly, mixing constantly, don’t give up on it. You will know when it’s ready.” It was her time though. She was ready……had been for years. She was saved, loved her family, and had lived a long life. As she passed, and we cried, once again there was a wind. . . This time though, there were singing birds. She loved nature – it was a fitting welcoming………

My saddest death experience, however, was the infant I held in my arms. As a mom of three, I still struggle with this. My best friend since second grade – she was practically my sister. . . A late term death by cord strangulation……I prayed, my family prayed – even my addict uncles, for a miracle. No one should ever have to go through this kind of loss. Yet, there we sat in the waiting room. There were many families there as well, awaiting the arrival of a new family member. We sat, praying it was a mistake. Praying that as soon as she was examined, all would be well, the baby would be fine. One by one, we were called back. The baby had been delivered, and we had the opportunity to visit with the new parents…….The new parents who would, days later, bury the tiny baby that I would soon be holding. He was perfect. He had his daddy’s nose and his momma’s lips. But the longer we had him with us, the more he decomposed. I burned the shirt that I had worn that night. It is a smell I will never forget…….

At the funeral of this tiny babe, a friend broke down and asked the mourning mother how she could be so calm, so at peace. Her answer is one I will never forget….

[This child} is the greatest gift I could ever give to Christ. In his short lifespan, he caused so many to fall to their knees and cry out to God. How awesome is that? For a child who never breathed air to cause that? He served a purpose, and now he is with God, and I am okay with that.”

SHOULDN’T ALL OF OUR LIVES SHOUT THAT?

Our LIVES should be beautiful coffins. Only containing a shell that brought joy, beauty, and Jesus to the world. Just like sea shellls, what we leave behind should make people smile, and search for more ……. more joy, more peace, more GOD………..

So today as you celebrate Easter………..

REMEBER ——

LIVE YOUR LIFE AS IF IT IS THE LAST THING THOSE WHO ENCOUTER YOU WILL SEE YOU IN.


The empty tomb

24 Very early in the morning on the first day of the week, the women went to the tomb, bringing the fragrant spices they had prepared. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in, they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 They didn’t know what to make of this. Suddenly, two men were standing beside them in gleaming bright clothing. 5 The women were frightened and bowed their faces toward the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He isn’t here, but has been raised. Remember what he told you while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Human One[a] must be handed over to sinners, be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” 8 Then they remembered his words. 9 When they returned from the tomb, they reported all these things to the eleven and all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles. 11 Their words struck the apostles as nonsense, and they didn’t believe the women. 12 But Peter ran to the tomb. When he bent over to look inside, he saw only the linen cloth. Then he returned home, wondering what had happened.

 

Nostalia

I recently turned 38, I find my memory is not as fabulous as it used to be. It seems that, at times, my brain doesn’t have room for the old stuff, because there is so much new stuff being added.  It’s as if my memory bank has run out of room.

Names escape me, faces are familiar – yet distant, dates get mixed up ………..

Then, there is a moment where it seems as if every wonderful memory comes flooding back. Usually, the flow begins with something familiar. Something nostalgic.

Tonight ……… it was the air.

As I was trying to meet my daily step goal (much harder now that I feel old), my earbuds were in, the music was cranked, and I was determined. Working in a busy medical office, my walking is my relief – my diffuser. I put on my music and suddenly – I am a character in Footloose! (It really does take an insane amount of self control for me to not bust out in a dance!) I am sweating away the craziness of the day, taking in nature, and  not thinking about one. single. serious. issue.

Then …… without warning…….. a breeze. It was warm, and steady. Suddenly, I was transported back to the beach. I closed my eyes and just relished the feeling. It was as if my soul was being washed, the same way I feel when I walk the beach at night. Every care, very concern, every negative feeling sloughed off by air and whirled off into oblivion. I am not going to lie. It was fabulous.

Once I regained myself, the push was on – once again. I came down into “the dip” of our drive and – BAM! Dense, cold air permeated me. I giggled. Seriously. It was that night time mountain air. The air, that as I child, I ran through until my cheeks burned with cold. There was the faint scent of grass and water and soil. Giggles again. Oh! How I ADORE that feeling! My childhood was amazing. I WISH my kiddos knew those scents, and had memories that entangled themselves in them. Hayfields, gardens, the woods, fresh mowed grass sticking to your legs, freezing creek water, Kool Aid, and naps on hand made quilts…… like roots of a tree, these memories snake through my brain and pulse in my heart with that crisp, cool, damp air. 

Then, without prompting, music.

“This is the air I breathe

This is the air I breathe

Your holy presence living in me

This is my daily bread
This is my daily bread

Your very word spoken to me
And I, I’m desperate for you

And I, I’m lost without you……”

Truthfully, truthfully, I know what those words mean. God is all we need. Air. Bread. Life.

Yet today, there was new meaning.

He is our warm breeze, our cold air……. washing over us, swirling away our depression, calming our fears, envigorating our soul, wrapping around our hearts, envoking life. He is our aesthetic. He is our dreams. Our memories. Our visions. And HE IS GOOD.

HE is our nostalgia. Our past. 

Even better – He is our eternity.

 

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.””

‭‭Acts‬ ‭4:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Just A Little Soapbox Sounding

I was once told that one should not preach their pet peeves. But I’m going to. Right now. 
We are in a terrible time. A time where parents are clueless about what their kids are doing, saying, and acting. Kids go to school and literally tear each other apart, and then come home satisfied that their parents would “never believe they would do something like that”. Truth of the matter is – PARENTS NEED TO PAY ATTENTION. 
Your child may be involved in BULLYING. 
AND YOU PROBABLY DO NOT EVEN KNOW IT!
Please, talk to your children. Skin color, family heritage, social standings, clothes, shoes, language, interests – all of these make us unique – NOT WRONG. There is NEVER a time that it is appropriate for ANYONE to judge another, and make them feel less of a person. Teach your children now that differences should be embraced, not poked fun of. 
I am taking a STAND AGAINST BULLYING. I won’t stop until I’m heard. For every kid who feels deep, loves heavy, and is old beyond their time….. They seem to encounter the nastiness of others more so than anyone else. Too many are impacted, and not enough are defended. 
PARENTS – ADULTS – TAKE A STAND
STOP BULLYING

Whispers

My giant whispers.

He whispers that who I am, gives permission to others to act negatively towards me. The wind carries his vioce as he mumbles that my decisions allow others to stand in judgement and throw stones. Moments pass as I process what I hear. It is low frequency, similar to a buzzing bee…. He laughs as I begin to believe that being me is ultimately the green light for the world to destroy me.

It is my fault. I laugh too loud, I talk too much. My life does not match that of my giant and his camp. He is bigger than me – in everything, and I am a mere speck…..I am my worst enemy…….

It is nothing new…..I see it every day. I voted differently than you – I am going to hell. I have a LGBT friend, and I love them – I am NOT normal. I have a friend who decided being a stay at home mom was best for her family – and I see NOTHING wrong with it – I am blind to the truth. My beliefs, my thoughts, my actions, my LIFE does not match yours – I AM WRONG and I WILL PAY. 

How easily it is now to put your options out for the world to see. We hide behind a keyboard and a screen, throwing our hate like slop to the pigs. And we believe it is okay. . . Even more so, some of us ACT on that hate. We stand in corners, whispering about others…..we ostracize, we degrade, we laugh at, we make OUR opinions known – one way or the other. 

But, that is the world. I DO NOT live by the world’s standards. My Papa says to love others. To “judge not, lest ye be judged”. He says to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us, and to help the helpless. Does that mean I can’t disagree with their choices? NO! But, just because I disagree, does not grant me permission to punish. 

The enemy will do their best to convince you – US – that differences are WRONG. The truth is, our differences make us Wonderful. The rose and the wild flower are both have blooms. One has thorns, the other may carry chiggers…… BOTH are beautiful. BOTH can be harmful. BOTH are admired by many. NEITHER are wrong for the world.

  LET THAT SINK IN. 

So when you have an “unction” to spew, just think of the world and ALL of it’s blooms. Each were made to be beautiful in it’s own right. Just as each and every person in this world was. 

Dear giant, who whispers lies, I will live as my Papa has made me to live. . . FULL of life, FULL of love, and FULL of HIM!

And so it goes…..

I made up my mind when I started writing again that I would be honest. 

So here I am…..devastated. 

I wanted something. REALLY wanted this. REALLY needed this. All of my hopes, all of my heart, was dedicated to this. one. thing. I prayed for it. I spoke in faith over it. I did everything I was supposed to do. 

I DIDN’T GET IT. . .

I have cried. I have yelled. I have been angry at everyone – myself, the people involved, GOD. I have been miserable today. I just do not understand why. WHY????? This would change my life. It would change my family’s lives. It would be a TRUE answer to prayers. And it didn’t happen. Those who know the situation tell me everything I have told others – “we only see a sliver of the picture – there’s a reason”, “trust there is something better coming”, “God has a plan, trust it”…… 

So I sit, and cry. And write. Then…..This:

When I was little, I would tell everyone I met I wanted to be a truck driver. Just like my daddy. I loved those HUGE trucks, and my daddy was amazing at driving them. As a matter of fact, I still love seeing them at night, all lit up, sitting high above everything…….

But my daddy would tell me “Jennifer, you need to get an education. Be more than I am. Be your own boss….”

It was my dream, and my daddy thought it wasn’t good enough for me…..

He knew it wasn’t good enough for me. 

And if my earthly daddy loves me this much, how much more does my Heavenly Daddy love me? 

Heartbroken I sit. My eyes hurt from crying. My head hurts from thinking. My heart – just hurts. But – BUT – I love my daddy. Even more so, I love my Papa. My momma told me today to be the light. I am only a flicker, He is the flame. 

And as much as it hurts, as the tears still come, as the thoughts still invade – I will stand. I will dream again. I will triumph……..Eventually……

(Side note: I do know it is not grammatically correct to begin a sentence with “and”. Sometimes, life is messy – writing can be as well!)