This is Me – Jenni D.

The sky was on fire tonight and the warm breeze reminded me of the beach. There were clouds that were dark yet strikingly gorgeous as the setting sun cast a glow around them. There was a woman in the grocery store that was wearing a perfume that a former coworker wore. Why does that throw me into a swarm?

Why I am so keenly aware of every scent, every color, every sound, every feeling that I come in contact with? My mind whirls in a constant state of cognizance. It is never a simple task, my daily living. Each sense registers a deposit on my memory bank. It is hypervigilance in overdrive. There is never a still, quiet, unaromatic moment. At times, I feel like a prisoner at a county fair, unable to escape the persistent overbearing environment.

Even in loneliness I swim the waters of overdrive. My mind pushes itself unwillingly into an ocean of words, thoughts, what if’s, what should have, what may be…..Conversations I should have, but haven’t – things I need to do, should do, want to do – why am I like this? – why can’t I be normal? – WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!?

It never ends.

When peace surrounds my being, my soul rests – but not my thoughts. They tramp through the serenity like soldiers on a mission. The spears of fear and insecurity slice through the blank pristine space of peace, leaving open wounds that are too numerous for me to cover quickly. Words, words, words ….. memories, sights, sounds, odors……why didn’t I, who didn’t I, what didn’t I …… Tranquillity wanes and the tornado picks me up – once again.

Explain what you are feeling, they say. What is on your mind, they ask. How can we help you, they pry.

You can’t. I can’t. God will ….. eventually.

Or maybe he won’t.

“He made me this way!”, I scream to myself; convincing the dead to live takes power. Power my loud voice – my over dramatic voice – my commanding voice – has not the depths of. “He knit me together! My name is written on His palm! I am an heir to the throne!” Every scripture, every perfect Christian proclamation, every thing my momma and daddy ever spoke over me – can’t muscle through the swamp of timidity.

I cry out “God! Where are you?” Once again, I’m keenly aware of the silence and the way it sounds……

It’s not a voice I hear, it’s not a aroma, it’s not a sweetness on my tongue that pulls me out – or back in ….. it is simply a feeling. Warmth that is intrinsic to my soul. It starts in my feet, and soon my face is flushed. I know you, Holy Spirit. I know you.

I once said the Holy Spirit dances over me, around me, with me. Now, it simply sustains me. It is my constant. Unwavering, as I spin in my own self inflicted – in my own matrix. The Holy Spirit simply is.

There is no peace in my mind. There is no complete and total relaxation. Which means, there will not be stagnancy.

Yes, I talk a lot. Yes, I have a story about anything and everything you could throw at me. Yes, I see shadows, and shapes in the clouds, and the colors of the woods, and the insane way that river water makes even the ugliest pebbles beautiful…….. Yes. That is simply who I am. One day, I will be confident enough to say “love me or leave me. I am who I am because He is the great I AM”, and I will stand unwavering in that proclamation. Until then, this is me. Jenni D.

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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 Me and Him

I love music. Period. I can hear a song and it sets off memories of years long gone. There are songs that mark specific times in my life. I literally feel like I could make a soundtrack for my life as it has been so far.
My daddy was certainly instrumental in my love for music. My momma loved music too, however, it was daddy who played it loud. We had multiple genres at our house. Daddy liked them all. I remember dancing with daddy as we listened to Alabama and Bob Seger. As I got older, he and I would listen to the music on the radio. Some of it he liked. Some of it he didn’t. When I went through my phases of pop, rap, country and rock he listened with me. Shaking his head sometimes and other times just smiling. He introduced me to Bruce Springsteen and Prince. Along with Huey Lewis and Def Leopard. Thinking about it makes me laugh. So many different styles, yet it was something we both loved. Now a days, he is Internet savvy. It never fails that he has a song for me to hear when I come over. Lately, it has been older Christian artists. “Think you could sing this?” he asks. “Listen to this next part. Are you listening? . . . You should hear the story behind this song.”
I am grown, raising children of my own, but each day I ask myself if my daddy would be proud of me. When we listen to music and connect, I know that’s when he most certainly is. He and momma always encouraged us to sing. Though I’m not exclusively his little girl anymore, when we are enjoying a song together it just seems that way. That’s our time. Our moment. Our connection.
Recently I have been in a whirlwind of change. I started school for the first time ever. We moved. I have a new job. We started attending a new church. This last move was probably the hardest thing I have ever done. We new God was in it. We knew we were being called. So that sealed the deal.
After six months of simply being fed and filled, I reached out to be part of the worship team. This was not a new process for me, just a new place and new people. Sunday was the first time I participated on stage with the team. Oh, how God showed up!!! As we were singing “It’s just you and me here now. It’s only you and me here now . . .” I felt the arms of my Poppa wrap around me. It was our time. I was lost but found all at the same time. I was lost to reality but found in the glory if his presence. At that moment he whispered “Thank you for dancing with me.” My heart soared! Just like my earthly daddy yearns for that connection, my heavenly Poppa yearns for a connection. A connection where nothing else matters. Just me and him.
Life never slows down. Ever. Three kids, a husband, school, work, church, family . . . I’m not sure if I will be able to catch a break anytime soon. But, I know this to be certain: no matter how busy my life is, just like my daddy waits to share a song with me, my Poppa has time to dance with me. And he is waiting, smiling, ready to sweep me (and you!) off our feet!!

You have turned my sorrow into joyful dancing. No longer am I sad and wearing sackcloth. I thank you from my heart, and I will never stop singing your praises, my Lord and my God. (Psalms 30:11, 12 CEV)

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The End Result

Journey : An act of traveling from one place to another.

Currently, the opportunity for me to attend college for the first time has arisen. Yes, I am 30 something and I have never been to college, save some certification classes. This will be be a journey for me. A journey from insecure to empowered. A journey from lack to provision. A journey to prove myself. A journey to prove The Lord.

I have always been honest in my posts and this one will be no different. I am scared. Scared and excited. This is a HUGE step for me. This is a HUGE step for my family as well. The hubby is a constant cheerleader, reminding me every day that we are in this together.
As I have sat praying, asking for confirmation and peace, The Lord reminded me of another couple who were in it together.

Mary heard from the angel first. How excited she must have been. Being a woman, I can imagine the thoughts and emotions that surged through her. On top of her personal emotions, she would have to face others emotions and opinions. She was willing, however, knowing this was God sent.

Joseph,I’m sure, was just as overwhelmed. Which is why God sent an angel to him. After that, however, he could have still walked away. But he didn’t. Maybe his attitude was simply a hell or high water attitude. He loved Mary. This was an angel talking to him. It must be God, and everything would be fine simply because if the last statement. I wonder if he was a determined man? If he was a “I don’t care what everyone else thinks” kind of guy? What if, oh my! What IF Mary was chosen – not only because of her willing heart – but because of her betrothed’s attitude? (I have never thought of that before!) We all know the implications Mary would have faced if Joseph had not married her. God knew. He knew this couple could and would face this journey.

You may be facing a journey that seems . . . scary or uncertain. I challenge you to look at others in the bible who took journeys. Noah built a boat in the desert. Moses had grumbling people on his journey with him! Then there’s Jonah, who took the long way. The bible shows us so many who were on journeys. Mary and Joseph were the beginning of a new kind of traveler. Their journeys were separate but whole. When the savior was born, the entourage became whole. The purpose was set, the map laid out. Much like The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit – while they each had their own entity – the end result was, and still is – a relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Journeys take us from one place to another. When our journey is God determined and led, we will always travel to somewhere (or something) better.
“For no word from God will ever fail” Mark 1:37

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I am the Little Drummer

I imagine myself to be like the little drummer boy. Yes, this is a fictional character, although truly, it is meant to represent us. If you will, allow yourself to view this song in a parallel. . .

What do I have to lay before a king? Nothing. A wretched self. An abused self. A wondering mind. A damaged heart. None of these things worthy for a king. I do not possess riches of any kind. There is no gold. No frankincense. No myrrh.

All I have is what is in my hands. Or in my case, my mouth. My song. My worship. My praise. Although at times, it may be off beat, off key, or just plain horrid – it is the only thing I have that has not been tainted. It is the only thing that is purely me. It has not been swayed by others, it is unique, it is precious to me. It is, indeed, my only perfect gift to give. Only because it is, indeed, the only untainted piece of me.

Why did he ask, “shall I play for you?” I imagined myself having previously said “my king, I have nothing but this.” I imagine that my heart would be exclaiming “Yes! It’s more than enough!!” I imagine my mind would be saying “It won’t be good enough. It’s never been good enough for anyone else.” So I would ask – “may I?”

In the song it is Mary who answers. Mary, who is the protector. She has carried the Christ child for 40 days. She has felt each move – every kick, turn, hiccup. It was her womb that nourished. She was second in command!

I believe the parallel is this: we come before God with nothing more than ratty human bodies, damaged hearts and speculating minds. We carry with us few “gifts” that are fit for our King. The few gifts we have, we offer them. It is Jesus who clears us. It is Jesus who nods his head, approvingly. He knows our struggles. He knows this is our one precious gift. His nod makes it fit for our King.

Then, we play. Whatever we have, we play. We know the truth as well. This is our one gift and it has been validated by the one who is our protector, who nourishes us, who has felt us grow.

Currently, I sit beside a campfire, gazing at a thousand stars. My heart is heavy and my mind is full. Yet, there is a melody. A melody that before anything, I lay before my King. I am the little drummer.

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Evanescent

There’s a peace that overwhelms me when I look at the evening sky. When the last of the suns rays are fading behind the mountains. The colors produced are ones that can’t be imitated. The darkness of the mountains is stark against the vibrant colors. The stars have yet to make their majestic entrance. It’s the moment where transition seems almost frightening. Will it be a starlit night or will the clouds roll in masking their grandeur? The fleeting moments of daylight illuminate peaks of high mountains that could be viewed as ominous. That transition where you are trying to figure out what will happen next. But when I look at that thin line of beauty, I am at peace. All the questions of the day are far from me and my soul settles. I am not pondering the vastness of space or the stars. I’m not contemplating the mountain ridges. I am thanking God for that last ray. That last stroke of color on his painting of the day. Thanking him for the air, my family, my friends. Thanking him that no matter where I am, physically, mentally or emotionally, he is there. His creation is my reminder. My ongoing souvenir. He is always with me. Always.

In life there are moments of transition where we may lose all of our peace. Where the evanescent rays of what lit our lives are sinking behind dark and ill lit mountains. Where uncertainty looms and the stars are not capturing our gaze and making us look upward. That moment we have a choice. We can abandon hope. We can count it all as lost. Or, we can realize that the sliver left is our memory and that God has bigger and better things waiting at the dawn of the next journey.

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Laid Out

Can’t I just lose myself here? In the music. Not the words, not the beat, or the rhythm, but the spirit. The spirit that moves with each chord. The spirit that is stirred as our hearts perk up and come into alignment. There is no place I’d rather be then in your presence. No place I’d rather be than moved into your midst by the rhythm, pushed into your arms by the words that automatically flow, falling on my knees as my heart softens before you. All I am is all I have. It’s not much. It’s not pretty. It’s scarred, ruined by words of others, and quite pitiful. But even still, you desire me. The King of Kings desires me. Nasty, disgusting, beaten up, undesirable me. But not in your eyes. You see straight through. You find me wrapped in your spirit. Because your spirit makes me clean. Makes me white. Makes me pure and gorgeous. Of all the things I want to think of myself, your spirit makes true. But here, in the music, none of that matters. Just your face. Your arms. Your love. Your peace. Your joy. Your grace. That matters. As it flows down from my head to my toes, all I can think of is returning the same love to you. On my knees I pour it out. In words, in rhythms, in beats. From my heart it pours out. Like incense. Oh! If only it was endless!! Endless incense poured on my King! Yet, my inadequacy becomes your abundance. How I love you! How I need you!! At your feet I bow my knee, in your presence I lay my life. All to you. Lord, I give it all to you.

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