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First blog post

Cathartic: providing psychological relief through the open expression of strong emotions

Fortitude: courage in pain or adversity

The above statements basically sum up the intention of this blog.  I have a deep need for relief… depths of emotions that spill forth and have no place to go.  My hope is this blog will leave me feeling cathartic while at the same time granting me fortitude in my spiritual journey.  Life is never  a cake walk. It never looks how we think it should and it is far from being a perfect fairy tale… free of pain, heartache or distress.  On the contrary, life is messy, heartbreaking, soul searching business that leaves a trail of emotions in its wake.  I can handle having a life that isn’t a fairy tale but I can’t handle living it without knowing who my God is in the process of it. So if I spend my days seeking everything but Him, what am I left with?

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The light I see in you is…

There is a light I see.  One that shines radiant in a lost world of darkness.  It is the light of truth that continues to pour life out where there seems to be nothing left but death.  This light is not always something easily attainable.  Yet it can flicker into life by the very thought of encouragement and believing the best.

This light is both a mixture of truth, hope and faith.  It is speaking out what you might not see in the moment, yet hope or know to be true in the long run.  It is taking the time to look at a person beyond any of their exterior features, worst attributes and your own human emotions.  Seeing them instead.  Seeing life instead.  Believing there is purpose in every life.  Trusting that even the slightest cultivation and love can help bring about  the best version of someone.

It is not easy because far too often we are consumed by our feelings or overwrought by our own troubles.  In the blink of an eye a person can be incriminated beyond repair in our own minds.  The same is true in reverse.  In a moment we can build someone up to their maximum potential and inspire them to live vibrantly… even if we don’t “feel” it in that moment.  Even if they don’t believe it or exhibit it, in that moment.  That moment when we choose to speak life instead of death something shifts in our reality.

I am not trying to imply that this is an end all, fix all, be all solution to the worlds problems.  I am merely challenging us as humans to step out in faith towards other fellow humans.  To assume that God had intention and purpose in creating each of us, even when the numbers don’t add up.  Even when we are heartsick and hurting.  Even when the last thing on our mind towards the person in front of us is love… LOVE.  There is a light that shines in each of us and sometimes it takes another person noticing it for that very light to come into existence.  I, for one, dream of more light and less darkness in the people and world surrounding me.

 

Soul Sickness

I don’t know about you but I know that for me there are periods in life where life itself can only be described as a soul sickness.

An illness that penetrates the very marrow of your being and demands that you pay attention to it.  Demands that you acknowledge the existence of a darkness inside of you, a death of dreams you once had, a defeat of living life fully.  This illness is one you can ignore for long periods but at some point it requires your assessment.  Because if you are not willing to admit the gradual strain that has been weighing you down, very soon, you will find that you are so far down in the pit , that you no longer know the way to get out.

I have never spent too much time thinking about hope.  To me, it has been this semi-distant, elusive thing that sometimes just happens.  It is there and gone, fleeting and futile.  Yet, there is this new awakening arising in me.  A new birth of admitting that hope is born out of a willingness to trust.  Hope in its essence cannot exist without the ability to have faith in something.  And I wonder.  Is this soul sickness also born out of a lack of hope.  A lack of trusting who I am, who I believe in, what I am standing for, breathing for, existing for?

Is this lack of hope why my reality makes my heart ache with a longing and pain I can’t describe; while in the same beat pulling me to my knees with a desire to live my current reality fiercely and faithfully.  If hope in its essence requires faith then the answer I am seeking can only lie in one place.

There is only ONE.  One person has saved me fully, loved me perfectly, gifted me extravagantly, desired me entirely, sought me continually and made a way in me.  If I continue to seek a way to hope that doesn’t include the One way, then I will never find myself exiting this pit of despair and rising into the glorious riches I have been promised.  So today friend, if you find your heart weary, your soul sick, I beckon you to venture with me in drawing near to the God who saves.

pexels-photo-67101

 

One Step from Grace

Grace.  I have heard this word best described as unmerited favor.  It is my favorite definition because it gives light to the fullness of the word.  The completeness of the action.  All. Is. Grace.

Have you ever thought about how close you are to grace?  That one breath, one missed accident, one sure footed step is all it takes to reach grace.  There are so many of these palpable moments in my life.  The ones where I was spared the devastation that would have followed if grace had not been present.  Devastation of an accident.  Devastation of a life lost.  Devastation of my world crumbling around me.  You see, this world, our world is crumbling.  Falling into devastation constantly.   And the only thing saving us from living that total destruction in every moment of our life is God’s grace.  His unmerited favor.

I know it doesn’t seem like this.  In fact, all too often HE is the first to be blamed and thrown away.  He is the one we throw our rage and pain and hurt at.  He is the one that receives all the blame for what is really just the existing destruction of this world.  Thankfully, He is big enough to handle it.  He is great enough to take our pain and accusations.  He is loving enough to continue meeting us with grace even when it is the last thing we see.

I can’t say that grace is an easy thing to see but to me it is an essential thing to see if we desire to live and live fully.  Without it we will continue to believe we are deserving of everything and in turn see nothing.  Without it we will note all of the ways life fails us and none of the beautiful ways it meets us.  That breath that keeps us moving one more minute.  That step that saved us from perishing on the spot.  That torment that destroyed us for awhile but raised us higher in the end.  Grace you see, is not always easy to receive but essential to have.

The voice that beckons

Each day there is a question set before us.  One that will be answered whether we take the time to consciously address it or not.

“What voice are you listening to today?”

What I have learned is there will always be voices battling for my attention.  Whether they are duties to be completed, unfinished tasks plaguing me, unmet expectations lingering, false truths leading me off the path of life.  I find myself in a world of constant words.  Expectations and directives that lead me to a litany of complaints.  Complaints that will consume my soul if I don’t know where to turn.

Yet, there is one voice that speaks stronger than the others.  A name that is beyond all others.  Someone who has the last words.  His words finish all and lead to victory.  So when I find myself wavering in the desert, alone and full of hopelessness, there is a voice that will shatter the darkness if I will only take a moment to listen.

Sometimes this voice comes through the loveliness of worship or the wind on a breeze, the sweet laughter of children.  Today, may you find the voice that brings you life and fullness, the voice of Jesus- the one calling out to us in the desert… beckoning us onward into the fullness of victorious life.

 

 

Pursuit

When I examine the past, sit in the reality of all I have experienced in life, there is one thing that is undeniable… I have been pursued, fiercely, every step of the way.  There has not been a moment when my life existed solely for me.  Rather, I would say that every step of the journey has been a preparation for the fullness He has in store for me.  This has not meant an easy walk, perfect and exemplary, something desirable from the outside.  It has meant beauty, ashes, fullness, desolation, reality and dreaming.  More than anything it has been so much more than me.

My life.  Meant for me.  This is the message we are processing each day.  Told over and over again that life is meant to live and it is meant to live exactly how I want to live it.  To fulfill all my own desires and hopes.  What I have found though is God’s desires, His hopes, His plans for me are always, always, so much greater than the ones I have planned.  They are often mysterious, infuriatingly so sometimes… but that doesn’t diminish the depth or beauty of them.  If I can sit with His Spirit and find the faith to trust He is moving, He changes my reality, even when my circumstances remain the same.

The sitting with Jesus is the hardest part for me.  I want to move.  It makes me feel in control.  It gives me the illusion that I can change anything as long as I keep moving.  The reality though, is that I am just running.  I am running ahead, away, astray and HE is relentlessly pursuing me.  To sit with Jesus can be a challenging place but when I sit with Him I see HIM.  I allow the Spirit of the Living God to fill me up and His relentless pursuit is revealed.  A revelation that moves mountains… because the Creator of the Universe thought I was worthy enough to pursue.  There is no love more vibrant than this.

 

lonely

 

Have you ever noticed how lonely life can be? Like the light drizzle of a Spring rain that fills your soul with a quiet keening you can’t quite place. The depth of all you keep bottled up in the recesses of your mind, suddenly wailing at you in the most unexpected fashion.

Life is like that sometimes, a quiet, bitter emptiness that can’t seem to be filled. I think it is the longing that leaves us lonely. Longing for answers, longing for peace, longing for more, longing to fill and be filled.

There is a place waiting to be filled inside each of us. For some it manifests as a soft distant cry; for others, the loud blaring sirens of destruction.  In the process of filling we either find the answer to the longing or the reality of the emptiness.

Christ is full, deep, palpable love. He is rich and majestic… Filling in the very contents of existence.  Yet it is in the context of creation that we often see Him the least, credit Him the lowest and esteem Him for not. In this comes the lonely darkness. For if  I see Him in nothing then I will find longing in everything… In Christ alone comes all things, even the tender place of being known.

Lord, let me be known.

Finding “here”

I am burning with passion, love, desire, hope in the Lord.  I am empty, dry, overwhelmed, and devoid of the Lord.  Everything seems to contradict and spin itself around when I find myself here.  On one hand there is nothing I want more than Him… on the other, my reality shows how low He is on my list of wants.

The passion is real though.  This deep, vibrant, soul defining passion has never left me.  I can remember the most tender moments I have shared with Jesus and miss them so keenly but He is not calling me there.  He is calling me HERE, to the here and now and all that is in front of me.  He is not asking me to atone for my previous sins, nor is he expecting me to just sit around waiting in longing for His Kingdom to come.  Rather, His desire and hope and call for me is to find Him now.  For if I walk my life sitting in the past or waiting for the future then all that He has chosen for me in this moment is wasted.  HE is wasted…

So as I journey here, confused and broken… seeking answers and hoping for peace.  I am reminded that the journey doesn’t begin in the past or start in the future, it is new each day as I choose to walk alongside my Creator.

Climbing the Stairway

There are so many moments in life that you wish you could take away.  So much pain and hurt and heartache you can’t possibly begin to fathom or explain.  These are the things that break us and make us stronger.  The splintering of our being that leads to the composition of something more refined than what existed before.  There is something to be said about the period that follows devastation.  It is earth shattering.  Both in the realm of current and future existence.  It tears you down every ladder you have ever climbed… deteriorating the things you have built your life upon and drawing you deeper into the pit than you have ever been.  Yet at the bottom of the pit there is something new that arises.  A stairwell leading you higher than you ever dreamed or imagined you could climb.

This stairwell is rugged and carved from the stone of your soul-filled struggle.  Unlike the preformed, desirable, “perfect” staircase we dreamed of walking, this path leads us through the roughest patches of life we have ever trudged.  It is also a staircase that continues onward, never seeming to reach the summit and give us relief.  However, it is this stairway that produces endurance in us.  That place we walk that will inevitably solidify the strength and fortitude of our character.  Have you ever found that the struggles are the areas you see growth?  That the devastation of life is the place that lays you out but never leaves you stagnant?

It is a choice to walk this stairway… perhaps the most challenging decision that a person makes in life.  It requires the sacrifice of letting go; the humility of admitting you don’t know what is up ahead; the faith to trust God is moving you… even when all you see is the pit you are trying to climb out of.

The best and hardest part about this staircase is that every day you choose whether or not you will take another step up it.  It is not your staircase of worldly victory but your staircase to spiritual fortitude.  Our race is not won by reaching the top but by being brave enough to follow Him each step of the way.

 

 

Filling by Grace

There are times in life where the only words you can use to describe your state of being is empty.  As though every ounce of you has been poured out into others, your patience running thin and your spirit running low.  This is that week and also the moment of realization that I am seeking something to fill my empty.  Delicious treats, praise from others, time with friends, peace and quiet… the list goes on and on. The reality however, is that there will be no filling by these things.  No permanent filling at least.  For the more I seek worldly things to fill my empty, the deeper the black hole will go.

Only in the face of my Savior, in the presence of the only One who knows what I truly need can I find filling.  Only when I come to Him admitting my weakness and seeking His grace will my empty start to be filled.  Admittedly, even this process never fills me as quickly or fully as I desire.  I want it to be a simple exchange.  A moment in His presence to make up for the hundreds of hours out of His presence that drain me.  Today though, I am going to try to meet Him all throughout my empty.  To thank Him in the face of my ingratitude and hurt.  To praise Him when the furthest thing from my heart is praise… to let the truth of His grace become the filling of my empty.  All is grace

 

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