Spirit-Imposed Aloneness

I haven’t written much lately because I’ve been unable to cull lessons from my own life. In the past, a single day might lend me a hundred ideas to share, and a dozen little things that God taught me and I felt compelled to ask if he was sharing them with you too. But lately, maybe it’s pregnancy brain, I feel stuffed with cotton–writer’s block at its absolute worst–almost unidentifiable. Just plain, “I got nothing.”

But this morning I recognized myself in an anecdote Lysa TerKeurst shared on Focus on the Family.  She had been invited to share the crux of her new book, Uninvited. (Pun intended.) And I decided that if I saw myself in her story, I might find some deeper meaning, some richer lesson by writing about it and, hopefully, you might find yourself there too.

Lysa was attending a banquet for leaders. Dozens of tables were spread for numerous guests of high calling–to lead, teach and mentor others. She looked forward to hobnobbing with them, sharing stories, gleaning ideas and mingling with others of the same ilk. The facility had gone all out, there were name cards for every seat.

For a while, she milled about uncomfortably looking for her name. It had to be there! Finally, she found it on a table in the very back of the room but to her disappointment, she didn’t recognize a single other name at her table. No matter, she’d meet new people. But no one showed up. There she sat by herself at a lovely, decorated table set for 10, in a room full of influential people–alone.

Please finish reading this article at My Daily Armor …

 

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Pain’s Proudest Moments

Pain is worst when it shouldn’t be here

When it arrives on days decked with garland

When faces around glow with cheer and

Carols, well wishes all you hear.

 

Pain is most debilitating

When it’s a foreign thing

When it invades off limits relationships

My imagined world on its axis tips.

 

Wide swings pain with a blackened swath

Bathes home, and dreams and past.

When it colors over prisms of love

Reflections of joy, dreams of comfort.

 

Pain stings most when it has been lurking in shadows

When it strikes at everything that should be its antibody.

When hurt overcomes last bastions of resolve

And slings my soul upon the floor.

 

Pain hurts most when it’s slow.

A seeping chill from inside out

Damaging tender tissue, so touch’s sensation

Is blunted for the rest of time.

 

And sometimes there is nowhere to turn.

Sometimes, it leaks under walls and doors of protection.

Sometimes it invades safe haven and sanctuary.

Sometimes pain is unavoidable, healing a mirage,

And hope disguised.

 

And sometimes, courage musters its strength only

Through sharing pain

With a two-dimensional page

Drinking in the ink, swallowing, memorializing pain.

 

What Will I Do If I Ever Grow Up?

Kylie trudges along on her back, scooting her bald spot across the carpet, rubbing away the downy baby fuzz. Her mom watches carefully, shielding the corner of the hearth with her body.

For six months, every day has been a new beginning. From the first breach of the womb, to the first explosive diaper, the first bath, the first trip to the nursery. What will she be when she grows up? Glimpses backwards at photos of Mom and Dad spur expectations for the future.

But I make no plans. I’m still wondering what I will be when I grow up. What will I do with the rest of my life?

My husband is in the Army. When I pledged myself to him, ten years ago, I could only see two years down our timeline. Those same two years have traced a loop five times. And I still wonder, what will I be when I grow up?

I have unpacked a new home in four states. Each time it felt like getting my own room for the very first time; childhood swept over me from behind.

Barely tall enough to ride a roller coaster, I wanted to be brave. Four plain walls to paint any color I wished. The first night in my new room, I woke up fumbling for the bathroom and walked straight into the closet. I lay awake for hours, keenly aware of new creaks and groans exhaled by the walls. I am still that way, grown up.

In state number three, unpacking felt like Christmas. Excitement buzzed between my husband and me as we pulled brown paper packages from crudely labeled boxes. With each subsequent move, there was even a “first Christmas” ornament.

Pulling out of my driveway and yielding at an unfamiliar intersection was learning to walk all over again. Round-abouts posed threats similar to trying to roller skate the day after my first baby step. I got lost and confused, cars buzzed by me at grownup speeds. Every landmark looked the same, like being surrounded by dozens of adult knees, all clad in denim.

My heart cringes with sympathy for those poor families sent overseas. I struggle to simply learn my new city’s slang. Once, I ventured a comment about the civil war in a coffee shop in southern Georgia. I was nearly run out of town on a rail, unaware that it was really “the war of northern aggression.” I do my best to mimic the vernacular of the natives; I am often rewarded by chuckles and a lesson in diction.

Crossing the stage at my alma mater, I believed I was done with new school jitters. Now, bi-annually, I subject myself to that same drama as I search for a new church and gym. I try to walk confidently down crowded halls, pretending I know where I’m going. I don’t want to be singled out as the new girl and introduced to the women’s ministry leader or the locally famous personal trainer.

I stalk bulletin boards, scanning them for post-its about groups, clubs and classes where I can show up anonymously and make friends on my own terms. I wonder how I should dress for the worship service? Is this a casual khaki environment or your mother’s Sunday best?

Perhaps the greatest challenge of each new home, is finding a new hairdresser. That decision alone has the power to effect every first impression. A highlighting mistake or failed permanent out weighs the worst “baby’s first haircut.” Even a bowl cut or months of unexplained baldness pale in comparison to green hair. The effects of my worst experience lingered through the next move.

My life feels like a broken record. No steady career lengthens my resume. Few accolades for community service can be garnered in 24 months. By the time I’ve mastered these rudimentary skills it’s time to leave again.

Kylie is almost walking now. Things that were once experiments are now old habits. Soon she will say, “Momma,” and then graduate to big-girl words like, “dog,” and, “Mississippi.” That is the way life is supposed to be: you scale the step ladder, climb the tree, and one day the corporate ladder.

Me? I am still wondering what I will do when I grow up.

A Mind Is A Dangerous Place

A mind is a dangerous place.

We tisk when one goes to waste.

But rare we chide one over-wrought

For lo, it might per chance

By excess spinning

Random cast the dice –

And create a universe.

Surely by our heady power

Of worry, intelligence or education

We can extend a tiny fist

Past future’s protective womb

And prevent the cancer, pinch the flame,

Erase the pain.

If we’re aware of frailty, of the finite

We whisper, “All I have is God.”

Heresy! As if by last resort we

Skeptical approach, ask Him to blow upon our dice.

Lest we rightly evoke His wrath

Let us change our sore refain.

copyright 2012, Glenn Patterson

I have God, I have everything!

What is this that He chose me?

Confused, small-minded, ineffectual.

Until I believed – I have God!

I have everything.

Left and Lost

You left me years ago.

My heart tried to tell me so.

Cruelly you lied and told me no.

I wondered why we failed to grow.

Like a withered flower still in the ground,

An ancient stump, its circles round.

Counting the years it tried to survive,

Counting the years it looked alive.

But yielded no fruit,

Nothing to show.

I know now why we failed to grow.

Because you left me years ago.

My heart, it tried to tell me so.

But you just lied and told me no.

Now, I’m wondering where to go.