Who are you, Soul?

Who are you, Soul?

Are you the one never quite at home?  Never quite finding the real belonging place?

You are, aren’t you?

The one who even among the dearest friends sits in self-imposed aloneness, owned by the fear of rejection and equally by the fear of acceptance.

Drawn to darkness, you find more comfort there than in the light you deem undeserved…undesired even sometimes.  Living in a minor key, as notes of comfortable melancholy map out your history, the same chords play over and over on repeat as if to prove that while the depths of your desires may be colored in the beauty of great and mighty things, your mind and your body will always betray you with feet dug in the ground, refusing to go one single step further away from same ol’ same ol’.

Yes, Brokenness is my name and I am broken.

I am the one always seeking and not finding.  The one who resides in a constant place of not enough-ness.  The one who needs desperately to believe that there is more here than meets the eye…because there’s more to me than meets the eye.  Please let there be more to me than meets the eye.  This can’t be all there is.

 Because I’m drowning on a daily basis underneath the doldrums of the day-to-day.  Always falling short takes it toll.  Being broken drains clarity and sometimes I can’t even remember my last coherent thought.

My dreaming mind sees a place where things are slower.  A place where I can breathe. Where all the right words flow clear like water and all the wrong-said things go unsaid. A place where twirling whirling hoop skirts dance and there is laughter and rose gardens and I imagine myself as an artist standing under a shade tree spreading lines of color on canvas.  Or I see a field of flowers bringing solitude and rest as I stare up at the night sky where little stars punch holes of light in the dark…much like the darkness of you, Soul.  Where are the little holes of light punched into the darkness that is you?  Because sometimes they are hard to see.  And sometimes there are no stars at all.

My name is Brokenness and I am broken.  But I hear there is One who changes names.  He gives new names written on white stones and heals up all the hurts.  He is the Light that punches holes in the dark.

Hold onto Him, Soul.  He is good.

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Gratitude and thanksgiving

As the weekend comes to a close, I find myself with a quiet moment.  Everyone is in bed, the Christmas tree glows softly, and there’s a chill in the air outside.  The room smells like pine and I feel serene and at peace for the moment.  And then the dog promptly gags and throws up a little in the floor.

*sigh*

The long weekend was a good one though, dog barf aside.  Dinner with part of the family on Thanksgiving day and lunch with the rest of the family today.  But there was one moment that has sat with me all weekend.

My two cousins and I were seated at one of the adult tables with our spouses.  (I’m sure if you have a large family you know what the adult table is.  The kids got the card tables and the adults sat at the big table.)  And there we all are eating and having adult conversation when it suddenly struck me…where were the adults at the table?  I mean, we can’t be the ones here at the table having grown up conversations about kids and gymnastics and politics, can we?  Where were the real adults?

And the moment when I looked around at the table and realized we WERE the adults, it was like time slowed for just a second.  My cousin sitting across from me, the one who played dress up with me at Grandmother’s house.  Her husband sitting beside her.  Her daughters on the sofa, her son upstairs playing with mine.  My other cousin sitting beside me.  The one who, along with the rest of us, used to play fun games on holidays like this.  And there beside him, his wife, holding one of their three little ones in her lap.  Suddenly the children weren’t at the kids’ table anymore.  They were all grown up.  Now our children were at the kids’ table.  It was quite surreal.

And for that moment, I just wanted time to stop.  To just stay right there, while my parents and my aunt and uncle talked at the other adult table.  While our kids were all still young.  Before our hair goes gray all over and time begins to take its toll.  To just stay.

But stay, we cannot.  Time is not ours to stop.  The older I get, the faster it seems to go by.  And the older I get, the easier it can be to look back and be found wanting.  I think of things I wish I had valued at the time that I had them.  Moments in time that start to fade that I wish I could remember better.  So many things I realized I wanted to do when it was too late to do them.

But time doesn’t go backwards.  Time moves forward.  And we move with it.  And we must live in the moment while it is ours.  To enjoy what we are given as it is received.  To take those surreal moments and breathe them in while we sit in them and have the pleasure of later recalling those moments with joy for having had them.

Yes, time moves forward, but in that moment looking around the table,  my heart was full of gratitude and thanksgiving for what has been.

Greatness and change

Wow.  What an election season this was.  Lord help me, I tried to stay out of it.  I made my very best efforts to keep my opinions to myself on Facebook and to not be quick to jump to conclusions set before me by the media.  Lord help me, I tried.

But I’m telling you, this election stirred up some of the most hateful, ugly, embarrassing behavior I’ve seen in a while.  People are highly opinionated about the things they are passionate about, that’s for sure.  And we should be passionate about things…as long as they are the right things.  It’s when our passions get a little off center that things go to hell in a handbag.  And boy did they.

And I made a few observations.  And here they are.  And they are mine.  I don’t want you to tell me how they are wrong and I’m not looking for you to shout back a bunch of amens either.  Just a few things that I need to get off my chest.

First off, A LOT of people get their dander up over bullshit.  (Sorry.  This election has brought out the very worst in me and sadly I’ve tended to cuss a lot this past month.)  My Facebook feed was full to overflowing with posts about this thing Hillary did or that thing Donald said and you know what?  Half of it was either soundbites that were only meant to stir the pot or either they were bait and click posts.  Now listen, I know they both said and did some awful things.  Both of them.  I won’t deny that.  But I also am smart enough to know sensationalism when I see it.  Friends, please stop posting things that are nothing but sensationalist bullshit, so we can all focus on the real issues here.

Second, BE NICE.  Calling people “snowflake” or “crybaby” really isn’t nice.  And posting “love wins” with a snark in your keystroke really isn’t nice.  Do I think people were over the top ridiculous about Hillary’s loss?  You bet.  BUT are there people out there with reason to be uncomfortable, concerned or frightened even?  You bet.  And the sad thing is, all the ones wallowing around gnashing their teeth are overshadowing the people who might have some legitimate fears and concerns.  And where are those people?  Keeping their mouth shut, laying low.  Because scared people don’t mouth off publicly or make a show.  They hide and keep quiet.  THOSE are the people we need to be seeking out to comfort and put their fears to rest.  But calling them all snowflakes isn’t helping at all.  And for all the “love still wins,” or “love Trumps hate” posts.  Please just stop.  It’s just a passive aggressive way of saying screw you and you know it.

Third, STOP MAKING ASSUMPTIONS.  I heard somebody once say that basically to assume makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me.”  And we have all been behaving like a bunch of asses. All of us.  Lumping everybody into one category based on how they voted is unfair.  Not everybody who voted for Trump is a racist homophobe who wants to send all the Mexicans home.  AND not all Democrats are baby hating terror mongers who want Sharia law.  Just stop.  Seriously.  It’s an asinine way to think.  This whole election was hard on all sides.  And while there are surely those out there that were hardcore for one side or the other, I would present to you that most people voted more against one side than they did for the other.  If they even voted at all.  And for those who did the no namer vote (and I say that because I honestly cannot remember the guy’s name right now who ran Libertarian), please just stop with the “hashtag never” posts.  Many people truly did see that as a throw away vote, so while you may have been convicted to vote that way, it tends to make people feel less than when you’re reminding them of that with your posts.  I mean, it’s honorable that you took a stand for what you believed in, but not everybody was there.  I know, I know.  You’re not judging, but people feel judged just the same.

And fourth?  We are ALL a bunch of HYPOCRITES.  This whole entire nation.  We complain about the things Donald said about women.  He’s degrading to women.  Yet, I look on my TV and here’s a shampoo commercial using what sounds like a woman having an orgasm to advertise their product.  I go shopping and see clothes in the little girl section that no 10 year old girl ought to even consider having on her body.  I look in a magazine and there’s a scantily clad Miley Cyrus with her tongue wrapped around her face holding a blowup penis on stage, Arianna Grande in clothes so tight she looks poured into them, and Beyonce in photoshoots and on TV showing so much skin she’s a breath away from being naked.  TV shows that seem to have a rape scene in every fourth episode.  Music that calls women bitches and all sorts of other things….and I’m talking to you now Hillary standing up there on stage with Jay-Z.  Have you read any of his lyrics?  But holdup…before you jump on that train, it’s not just hip-hop either, although hip-hop is awful for sure.  Look at the top 40 chart and you’ll find song after song about sex.  Since when did it become okay to sing a song about having sex with your woman?  Would you invite me into your bedroom to watch?  Because if not, then why are you inviting me in with your song?  That’s private for crying out loud and yet there you are with your songs on the radio describing all the details for everybody in the world…and here we all are just listening away.

We complain about racism and how the church needs to put its glorious foot down.  We are hypocrites!  Churches are the most segregated places in America.  Think about your church, if you go.  Look around at who is sitting beside you.  I’m betting for the most part, they all look a lot like you.  My church has gotten a lot more diverse than it used to be, but it’s still pretty white.  And black churches are no different.  We like to tell everybody else what’s wrong with them, but when it comes time to get the log out of our own eyes, well…

And racism.  Ah, racism.  It’s the same as the fear issue.  There are so many real true incidents of racism that are hidden underneath the pile of cries of wolf.  Racism is very real ya’ll.  There are black people everyday that are looked at sideways in a store because of the color of their skin.  There are Hispanics (from lots of other places besides Mexico) that are here quite legally, but people make assumptions about their status because they speak Spanish.  Racism is a real true awful hurtful thing.  But what’s sad is that it’s become such a buzzword, a common and sometimes false accusation, that people don’t want to hear it anymore.  In fact, you can add some words to that list…homophobe, islamaphobe, bigot…just check your newspaper headlines or Facebook feed.  All those words have been so overused that nobody is listening anymore.  You want to end a conversation real quick?  Say homophobic to somebody who believes homosexuality is a sin.  You want to shut somebody down in a heartbeat?  Say islamaphobic to somebody who truly fears terrorism.  And on the other hand?  You want to cut somebody to the core?  Tell a black man racism is dead while he’s being stopped by cops in a white neighborhood.

You want change?  Me too.  So then we’ve got to get out there and have some face to face conversations that involve a lot of efforts to understand why people feel like they do.  Brow beating people with buzzwords and sound bites has made people stop listening.  I want to have a conversation with you, not the Huffington Post or Fox News.  However, ignoring strife and pretending there aren’t problems just makes people more hurt and more angry.  We need to have conversations.  We have to.  Nothing will ever change unless we do.  You won’t change people with Facebook posts.  You can’t change people by holding a sign up on a street corner.  You can’t justify your stance when you don’t really know what all you’re standing up against.  And you won’t change your own opinions until you start listening to somebody who’s different than you.

Ya’ll I’m tired.  Right down to the very depths of my soul, I am tired.  Donald Trump didn’t start any of this.  Obama didn’t either for that matter.  But it’s gone on long enough.  We have been at each other’s throats long enough.  I’ve realized some things about myself in this election.  Some things I need to change.  Some attitudes I need to rethink.  Some assumptions I need to let go of.  And I hope that will be the case for a lot of folks.  Lord knows we can’t keep on like we are.

spread out brokenness

The sea is a peculiar thing. The ebb and flow of it. How it brings up beauty from its depths and then batters it in the surf until all that is left are broken pieces of what once was a whole. It spits out ragged bits of shells and such, only to steal them back, toss them about, and lay them out again. A continued cycle of breaking and brokenness.DSC01615

As I stand with feet planted, the foamy water comes and swirls and I sink in and lose my firm foundation and have to adjust myself. Such is life too, I suppose, with its harsh push and pull, like waves that sweep over and over, tossing and churning, brokenness tumbling over itself, sand sucking down leaving me unsteady on my feet.

Even still, in the midst of the corners and colors and edges, there are rare treasures – worn out, but fully intact as if to say, “Look at me! I survived the beating.”

And while those complete treasures usually find their way into pockets and buckets to be taken from the sea as tokens, it is the broken ones that lay unclaimed that draw my eye today. The ones with the stories of change and loss and tearing away and wonder. Pieces that once were together – split, shattered, and scattered – finding themselves spread here and there, telling their harrowing tale to this passerby in one place and that one in another. Their spread out brokenness touches many all at once.

I trace the rough edges with my finger and marvel at the colors and lines etched in. And I see that while the whole is only now a part, there is still beauty in what remains and I am astounded by grace as the water gives and takes and the sand covers my feet.

Dark nights and mornings

Hey.  It’s me again.  Just wanted to stop by and check in.  It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post.  So many of you have reached out, sent prayers, well wishes, and expressed deep concern and for all that, I am so very grateful.

It feels good to be loved.  Not to just assume you’re loved, but to know it in the moment when you need to know it most.  To have had your heart just kind of explode out of your chest…and then to look down and see your friends scrambling around gathering up all the pieces off the ground.  You guys.  I love you all dearly.  Every single one of you.

I’ve learned a couple of things in the last couple weeks.  One is that when I need help, I just have to ask.  Two days before I wrote that last post, I felt lower than I think I may have ever been.  So low that I scared myself a little.  The amazing thing though is that when I shared what was happening with me and people reached out…many with stories of their own struggles with depression and anxiety…suddenly the pit didn’t seem as deep as it had been and I knew for sure that I wasn’t alone.  Not even a little bit.  It was a jarring realization, but in a good way.  It’s like all the sadness lost a little bit of its power.

Also?  Sometimes good days stay good and sometimes they go crappy.  And sometimes crappy days stay crappy, but sometimes they go good.  Either way though, until tomorrows run out, every dark night will have a morning.  And each morning brings a new day.  Maybe it’s a crappy day.  Maybe it’s a good one.  But it’s still a new one.  And if you got to the new day, it means you got through the yesterday and well, even just getting through is still progress.  Every tomorrow morning that closes out the night is a victory.

So anyhow, while I’m in a better frame of mind than I was two weeks ago, I still have a lot to work through and a lot of changes that need to be made, but wow.  How blessed I am to have such an incredible group of people to walk along with me in the mess.  xo

 

Dear all my friends to whom I have said, “Let’s get together soon,” but never followed through and actually got together with you…

I need to get this out there.  Partly because I want you to know why I maybe haven’t called you to schedule a date to get together.  Or why when you ask me how things are going, I say fine even though I know good and well I’m not even close to fine.  Or why when you call or text me, sometimes I don’t answer or respond right away…or ever.

I’m not fine.  And I haven’t been for a while, but it’s been especially hard this past few weeks.  Some of you probably know this already, but I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression for a long time.  For several years, it’s been manageable.  I mean, I’d have a rough day or two here and there and the rare panic attack, but I could work my way through it.

But for the last few weeks, I’ve felt like it was going to crush the life out of me.  The weight of it has been nearly unbearable some days and I spend most of those days in the bed or on the sofa.  I’ve cried a lot.  I’ve ignored a lot of phone calls.  I’ve avoided people.  The milk in the fridge has run out more than once because I just could not make myself go to the store.

And if I’m honest, I’ve pulled away from Jesus a lot too.  I went under the water spiritually dead at 12 years old and came back up and was called alive in Him, but of late I wonder if maybe I never really came back up and have walked around empty all these years.  Sometimes it all feels like a lie.  How can a person be free and still live in the same bondage they’ve always been in?  I’ve heard people say, “Jesus unlocked the chains and we still walk around carrying them like we’re still held captive in them.”  Believe me, if I thought all I had to do was put them down then I’d gladly do it to be rid of them, but I feel just as locked in and chained up as I always have been.  I think lately I’m just coming to the conclusion that I’m not free and never have been and I’m beginning to think I never will be and that makes it hard to breathe.  Or think.  Or be.

And I’ve been living in this pit for a while and frankly I’m tired of trying to claw my way out. Or pray my way out.  Or “be still and know” my way out.  And I’m tired of talking about it.  And I’m tired of trying to work through it.

I’m. Just. Tired.

And I don’t know what to say about it much other than that.  I just wanted you to know.

 

Starting Fresh

So how’s those New Year’s resolutions coming along?  Mine are doing great in case you were wondering.  You know why?  Because I didn’t make any.  Ha!  Resolutions are to me just the beginnings of failure mainly because I put these expectations on myself and I likely will not follow through.  It’s like I make this big list of all my flaws and think I can all of a sudden completely change everything I dislike about myself because today is January and yesterday was December.

That’s not to say that I didn’t start anything new.  In fact I did.  A new year is a great time to start a new thing.  So I’m going to read the Bible all the way through this year.  I got a really cool (really on-sale) Bible with my Christmas money that is set up in chronological order and the readings are marked by the day.  It’s definitely different because the prophets are all sprinkled in where they actually happened on the timeline instead of clumped together in the middle and at the end of the Old Testament.  I’m guessing that Paul’s letters are probably inserted here and there in the middle of Acts based on where he was.  Anyhow, I just thought maybe it would all make sense and stay in my brain better if it flowed based on when it happened.  It just seems to tie everything together for me.

Right now I’m about midway through Genesis (with a little Chronicles ancestry inserted in here and there).  Because this is not my first undertaking of reading the Bible, I have read Genesis probably more than any other book.  In fact, Genesis is literally falling out of my Bible.

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So I’m rereading again about Abraham (was originally was called Abram until God changed his name) and the rest of the patriarchs.  But in reading one of the passages the other day, I was struck again by the wording of one particular verse.

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. – Genesis 12:1

At first glance, that might seem a little redundant.  Go from your country, go from your kindred, go from your father’s house.  Okay, we got it.  You want Abram leave where he is and go.  But read back over that again and take note to how each time it’s a little more personal.

Go from your country.  Leave this place that you’ve called home and are comfortable with.

Go from your kindred.  Leave this way of thinking that you been taught and this way of doing things that’s been passed down to you.

Go from your father’s house.  Leave behind who you thought you were…this old identity.

God wasn’t just calling him to leave a place a go to another place.  God was going birth a new nation from his offspring.  God was going to give him a new way of doing things, change the way he thought.  And God was going to give him a new identity.

Abram wasn’t just going away from something…he was going toward something else.

And verse 4 says?  “So Abram went…”

Just like that.  And he didn’t even know where he was going.  All he knew what that he was following God, and in faith he went.  And God didn’t tell Abram to just go and find a new place.  No, God said to leave and go “to the land I will show you.”  So the change that was coming wasn’t with Abram leading, but with God leading.  I wonder if maybe that’s where I always messed up with my resolutions.  Making that list of things I wanted to change and then trying to do it myself instead of asking God where I needed to leave and where I needed to go from there.

Sometimes God calls us to walk away from things.  Maybe it’s something that has become an idol and we have to lay it down and walk away.  Maybe it’s an old way of thinking and God is saying, “It’s time to put that to rest and let Me birth something new in you.”  Or maybe for the very first time, you’re hearing God calling you out of sin and He’s got a new name and a new identity He wants to give you through Jesus.

And look, the things that He asks us to let go of don’t always necessary have to be bad things.  Sometimes they may be things that are consuming too much of our time.  Maybe you’re involved in too many activities and God is saying, “Hey, let’s say no to a few things so you can focus on this one thing.”  It might be that the thing God is calling you to right now is simply a season of rest.

No matter where you find yourself right now, I can promise you with all confidence that whatever God is calling you to is worth leaving behind what he’s calling you from.  And the blessing that is waiting there?  It’s gonna be a good one ya’ll.

 

 

 

The God of now

As entertaining as movies and television are, I think sometimes that Hollywood has really messed us up.  I mean, I know it’s all about entertainment and part of that means making people feel good, but I tell ya, it really gives us a skewed vision of what life is supposed to be like.

Romantic comedies where the guy always gets the girl or military movies where one Rambo type takes on a whole army.  Cop movies where stuff gets blown up and it’s cool, or cowboy stories where the good guy always wins.

Because we know in real life the guy doesn’t always get the girl…for that matter sometimes the guy doesn’t even know the girl exists.  When one Rambo type tries to take on an army, he’s not cool, he’s crazy.  A cop can barely write a ticket anymore where he’s not being scrutinized by the public and I highly doubt the Wild West was called that because the good guys always won.

We romanticize these things because it gives us an escape from our daily life.  It’s part of the reason I love to read.  Reading allows me to drift away into another place for a bit.  Nothing wrong with that.  We all need downtime.

It’s when I start looking at these things and comparing them to my own life that I run into a problem.  Comparison is a dangerous thing.  Especially when what I’m comparing myself to is an unattainable reality.

We all have hopes and dreams and expectations for our lives.  We want this or that.  We have our 5 year or 10 year goals or we envision where we see ourselves this time next month or next year.  And then that time arrives and maybe it’s not what we expected.  I’m guessing it seldom is.  We look around at others’ lives and want what they have without fully understanding what it took for then to get it.

And all the while?  We are missing what’s right in front of us.  The beautiful reality that is us.  The perfect moment of now.

Maybe that now for you comes with pain and seems like anything but perfect.  Maybe your now is filled with agony of disease or loss, sadness or discontent.  Your now seems like the longest now you’ve ever experienced and you want nothing more than this now to be then.

Or maybe your now is overcome with joy, celebration and pure unadulterated glee.  Maybe your now has new life, a long awaited change, or hard fought for victory.  You look around at your now and everything seems to be glorious.  Oh, that this now could last forever.

Either way…this now is your now.  Don’t miss your now.  Because God is doing something in your now, whether you can see it or not.  God is not one to sit on His holy hands.  He is not an idle God.  He is a God of plans and creation and beautiful new things that spring forth from once hard dry ground that’s been soaked with Living Water.  He is the God of your now.  And today’s now will lead into tomorrow’s now like building blocks in this story that He is writing just for you.

So while you might find yourself entertained by the imagined now on the big screen, or admire the now of your neighbor, don’t forget to live YOUR now.  It’s yours…and there is beauty to be found in it.

What’s your now look like?  Is it a joyful now or a painful now?  Take a moment to offer up praise to God in your now, whatever it may be, knowing that He is there in it with you.  Depending on where you are in your now, spend some time today offering up thanksgiving or maybe seeking solace in His presence.   

Happy 2016!

Happy 2016 to you!  These first few days have been great.  While I haven’t come up with my “one word” for the year or laid out a plan for my new eating habits, I have managed to pack up two boxes worth of books from my bookshelves to give away and cleared out several boxes of miscellaneous whatevers sitting around the house.  The kitchen junk drawer and my desk junk drawer is unjunked.  The hubs cleaned out his closet and the boys both went through their rooms and got rid of excess and got organized.  I tackled my closet yesterday and got rid of a few pairs of shoes, two piles of clothes and a bunch of old purses.  The house feels lighter and less cluttered already and let me tell you, it makes my day!

I’ll get around to the word and the food thing here shortly, but for now, I’m thrilled to pieces with the reduction of stuff.  I told my other half day before yesterday that as far as I was concerned he could back the truck up to the front door and just haul everything out and we could just sit on pillows on the floor for all I care.  I’m telling you, I’m about over it, ya’ll.  We just have too much stuff.  And the more stuff we have have, the more stuff I have to dust and keep clean.

Why do we do that?  Just keep on having all this stuff.  I’ve got like 20 t-shirts in my drawer and I probably wear two of them.  I probably have 10 Pyrex dishes and look, I’ve only got the one oven.  How many casseroles can a person cook at one time for crying out loud?  And do not even get me started on the number of towels sitting in my linen closet.

Why do we hang onto stuff?  I mean I guess partly it’s because I suspect as soon as I sell it at a yard sale or give it away, I’ll need it five minutes later.  That and I suppose the sentimental value of a lot of it is what keeps it sitting on my shelves.  I just hate to part with some of those things that belonged to grandparents, or things my kids made, or things that are pretty, or old things, or things someone gave me, or…well, shoot.  I could come with just about any reason to keep any of it I guess.  I save all these little things, but if the truth be told, with some of it, I couldn’t tell you where it came from or why I keep it.  I just know I’ve had it for a long time so it must be special, right?

I think we can be like that spiritually and emotionally too though.  We hold to all these beliefs about ourselves that we have because either somebody said it to us or its just been an attitude we’ve accepted about ourselves.  We believe lies about who we are and those lies just become reinforced over time by habit or low self-esteem.  We allow our spiritual lives to get cluttered up with half-truths or outright deceptions about who God is and what His word says and we never actually go and check it out for ourselves.  We just take somebody else’s interpretation and sit it on our shelf without ever seeking the validity of it.  And so instead of stopping and really taking inventory of all these beliefs we have, we just keep dusting them off and allowing them to sit around inside our heads and hearts.

And so while with the new year often comes a cleaning out of closets and cabinets and pantries, maybe we can also remember to take stock of what we have sitting around in our hearts and minds.  If we’re gonna get a fresh start, lets start from the inside out!

Let’s take inventory!  Are there lies you are believing about yourself that you need to clear out?  Are there things about God and His Word that you have accepted as truth that aren’t?  Maybe spend some time over the next day or two seeking answers to those questions.  

My feral cat and God’s wild kids

So not long ago, this cat took up residence under our storage barn in our backyard and proceeded to have kittens under there.  There are four of them and they are adorable.  And apparently they have all decided they live here now.  Of course the fact that I have been feeding them for weeks may possibly have something to do with why they are still here lounging around on my patio.

The momma cat is evidently feral (which I recently discovered basically means wild) and will have nothing at all to do with me.  In fact, if I start to walk towards her to put food in the dish, she’ll hiss at me like she’s going to tear my head entirely off my shoulders.  And then I scream and jump and she runs under the barn.  This is how we roll.  Hiss, scream, jump, run.

But what’s cracked me up in the last few days is that I’ve noticed that the momma and the kittens (which aren’t all that little anymore) seemed to have realized that we’ve developed a little routine here, and so at about the same time each morning and each evening, they start coming out from under the barn and meandering around the patio.  It’s like they know it’s time for food.  And yesterday, at about feeding time, I happened to glance out the window and the momma cat was sitting there, looking back at me.  If cats could tap their foot, I imagine she would have been tapping hers as she waited impatiently for me to come out with her dinner.  But then, guess what.  Same routine.  I come out, walk to the food dish, she hisses, I scream and jump, and she runs under the barn.  Good grief, how long have we been doing this thing for crying out loud?  So I dump the food in the dish and sit in the patio chair and eventually she comes out and eats and we’re good.  Good, of course, meaning that I sit as still as possible, no sudden movements, I don’t dare even think about trying to pet her and she eats while taking side glances at me between bites to make sure I’m not looking at her.  All this time of feeding her and not even trying to touch her or the kittens, and she still doesn’t trust me.

And it occurred to me today how much that can be like my relationship with God sometimes.  All this time we’ve been doing this thing and I still act like I don’t trust Him half the time.  Never once has He withheld His blessings, never once has He been anything other than good to me and I still bristle at His hand.  All this time that I have seen His goodness and His outpouring of grace, all this time that He has called me His and welcomed me into His holy family and I still act feral, operating in my own instincts and lashing out at Him like He’s some stranger I just met.  And I wonder if sometimes, God just looks at me and says, “Girl, how long have we been doing this thing and you still don’t trust me?

The Bible gives a description of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.

It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

The Bible also tells us that God, Himself, is love (1 John 4:8).  And when I read that description of what love is, knowing that God is Himself all those things, I can’t help but wonder what synapse in my brain is misfiring for me to think that God wouldn’t be trustworthy or that He wouldn’t always without a doubt have only good intentions towards me.

So I’m reminding myself of this, as I remind you, too, friend.  That God is good.  He is all good, through and through, all the time, and there is no darkness in Him.  His love for His children is unmeasurable and His blessings flow like a beautiful river that has no beginning and no end.  He sought us out, loved us before we even knew what love was.  He is faithful even when we are not and He is kind even when we are wild and self-serving.

Have you been fighting Him?  Always on your guard in His presence, afraid to leave your wilderness behind and completely surrender yourself to Him?  He can be trusted, sister.  He is for you, brother.  Do it…give Him your fears, your doubts, your worries, your shortcomings.  Come in from the wild, ya’ll and feast at His table.  There’s plenty of goodness to go around.