Wicked Little Wisp

Last night I had a dream

that has begun to haunt my day

a visit from a little wisp

with claim that she was here to stay.

The little wretch was cute

in the way small things can be

but the closer that you looked

the clearer you could see

that the little thing was darkness

and her wings were tattered skin

she smelled like burning evil

and her words were full of sin.

She flew around my fingers

and up around my face

saying “get used to me lass

because your life is my place.”

Try as I might to shake her

I couldn’t make myself free

but she flew up to my fighting shoulder

and stung me like a bee.

I slapped her and defied her

as her fluttering wings from hell

tore up the air around me

and rose a stormy spell.

I prayed God get me loose

from this awful little witch,

get her out of my head

and let me dream without a glitch.

Sleep would not return

and so I rising sat

and saw my dogs had gone to town

and pooped all over the mat.

I came downstairs and found

another awesome mess and more

of soap dribbled through a grocery bag

to puddle on the floor.

As I bent to clean the messes

my dog raised his leg again

and honest to goodness it took all of me

to not murder and skin him.

As I wiped and cleaned and corrected

the pain up in my shoulder

throbbed and ached and gave a sense

of muscles getting older.

But then it came to mind

that right in that spot I’d had

a fairy sting the night before

by the wisp that I’d made mad.

The morning rolled on forward

and other matters shown

to be broken, spilled or not quite right

as I plodded on alone.

When finally I bewildered sat

with coffee to a chair

I drew a line upon the day

and made it very clear.

“Little malevolent spirit

my life is not your home

but my day belongs to me

and to my Lord alone.

To save your rotten wings

I suggest you fly away

before he rises with the sun

and burns you into yesterday.”

Singular Truth

This blog began as an experiment, to record a story as it unfolded.  It began with a heartbreak and a haircut and was intended to track the journey to healing and a full flowing mane.  I have discovered many things along the way – bits and pieces of myself, my struggles, my beauty and my strength have to come to my conscious understanding.  A lot of lessons and experiences have made writing an interesting passtime.  But recent days have brought to the forefront a purpose.  A purpose to be TRUTH.

Truth is a difficult thing to face.  Particularly if facing it and speaking it could bring repurcussions and judgement from those around us.  It is a particularly difficult when the effects of it could land unsolicited on the lives of loved ones like husbands and children.  This is where I have found a major purpose and the advantage of singleness.  And what a discovery this has been!

I’M WIDE AWAKE!  I have a new understanding of what Paul had to say about singleness:

An unmarried woman is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband.

1 Corinthians 7:34

What is the work of God?  Truth.  Truth is God’s business.  If I am unconcerned with the needs of a husband, I am free to speak and be truth.  If I am free of fear of what my husband will think or of any harm that might come to him from what I do or say or challenge in truth, I am able to make change happen.

It is our responsibility to live authentic lives.  Fear is what gives birth to falsehood.  Survival mechanisms and alter egos are designed to protect us from the side effects of being true.  But once we get to the place of fearlessness the sky is the limit and change is clay in our hands.

For the single this is a much easier journey.  Fear for ourselves is all we have to surpass.  And each of us has a calling to get past that fear and break out with some truth.

What is your purpose?  What is the truth that you are called to be?

Flashback III: For My Daughter

This is part of an old and complicated story… a place in my life that I was taken from with some amount of pain.  Maybe one day I will tell it… but for now this is the message I had for a daughter who was once and briefly mine.

Even though I had no part in bringing you to life and didn’t give your little body a home, I am the woman honoured with shepherding you at this moment, the end of your girlhood. I see all my habits and flaws in the stark light of Truth. I see how much of me needs to change, and how much has changed by Grace, for me to be worthy of being your example.

I also see the innocence, the unbruised hope, and pray that it lasts throughout your life. I watch you battle next to me as I battle through the challenges of my life, practicing for your own womanhood in the shadow of my example. I see you grieve for me as I grieve, learn as I learn, and grow as I grow. And sometimes more.

I long for you to love yourself as I love you. You are a unique being created to reflect a beautiful part of God’s image that no other being has ever done or ever will do. So BIG and AMAZING is our God that each person, a prism to reflect a part of the image of who He is, is unique. Your piece, your unique image, is one that cannot be replicated and is beautiful and strong.

He must have been smiling designing this woman on His heavenly drawing table, delighted in her intricate mind and the mystery of each cell of her body. Late into the night I imagine that he drew, as the angels sang in the background. He put you in a welcoming womb and laughed with you as you first smiled up at your adoring mother as she counted ten perfect fingers and ten perfect toes in awe. He grieved with you and sheltered you under his feathers when she was untimely ripped from your tender life. He sheltered you from blows and led you to a place of safety over very rocky ground and slippery slopes. Of COURSE He loves you!

You are special and dear to him and to me.

And so my dear one, never let any man, woman, pastor, friend, teacher or enemy change the way you look at you. YOU are beautiful for a reason – He decided you should be and delighted when He made it so. YOU are strong for a reason – He decided you would be and He made you so. YOU have your own mind for a reason – He wanted you to know Him for yourself and He made it so. YOU are right here right now for a reason – His plan for you is perfect and He will make it so.

Do you baby. Only you can do you. He made it so. And so, in thanks to Him, do you WELL.

To see the other Flashbacks in this series, visit the links below:

Flashback II: Julius

At the time he was little more than a pup.  But even then Julius was a gift to a lonely day.  This, my dear Reader, is Flashback number 2.

The alarm clock went off and Julius went on standby. Stood up stock straight and still, his eyes followed my hand to the bedside table half-hidden beneath shaggy doggy brows. Snooze – ten minutes. He watched me roll over and slid back down to a crouch, resting his chin between his paws.

Ten minutes of gentle breathing FLEW by. As usual. Off it went again and Julius was back on standby. Attention! His head just below bed level. I looked the little beast in the face with his little pink tong peeking past his teeth as he panted quietly.

OK… up we go. As the feet swung over the side, Julius jumped up in celebration, tail wagging and a flurry of kisses on his hind legs. Front paws pausing in the air before bouncing off the side of the bed.

She’s up! She’s up! Come… lets get moving. He runs to the door and runs back, all excited about the walk that is sure to follow.

It’ is an honour and a privilege to have someone rejoice in the fact that you got out of bed this morning.

I imagine the angels tugging you out of sleep. OK… she’s drifting back… let the alarm go off. Ok… 10 minutes snooze? No problem. Hold the ceiling fan up… beat off that disaster. Keep the tree outside the window standing straight… another danger averted. The car that just passed the front gate… keep them headed straight and safe. Just can’t be too late – she has a full day of God’s work to do. Counting down again… 10, 9, 8… 3,2,1. UP PIECES UP. TIME TO GET UP. Legs swing over to meet Julius and there they are… trumpets sounding silently around me with the confetti – a job well done. Kept alive through a night’s sleep. How many didn’t make it this morning?

Thank you Father for getting me up, keeping me safe, providing food and shelter, and giving me a list of things to do today. And thank you Father, most of all…
for Julius.

To see the other Flashbacks in this series, visit the links below:

Flashback I: Truth and the Shell

It has been a hard day of grief and pain. This time he is heeding my request to please stay clear and allow me to do my growing and grieving alone. But oh does it hurt!

“What hurts?” I have asked myself. It is the sucking drain of the disappointment drawing back the wave of joy that flooded over me at the realization that “I have found someone who I can love for the rest of my life!” It is a pain that tells of the stripping bare of the garden that bloomed in my heart, watered by that wave of joy. New leaves and fresh blooms all viciously uprooted in their youth, torn from my bosom. Holes that once held clutching roots and ground that was not so long ago shaded by trees are now dry and cracked and gaping, assaulted by a burning sun of Truth.

Truth that reveals every weakness in blinding, sweltering brightness. Truth that cuts through the beautiful words and whispered dreams passed lips-to-ear by the seaside. Cuts through the mirage of lies and folly-happy belief. Truth that burns away chaff. Leaving grief. Grief that the leafy ferns and tender orchids were not real but a bedtime story that needed to be grown out of. Grief at the loss of the cool, damp earth and fragrance of jasmine under a bright full moon all lost to truth.

Even when you tried you lied. Your lies covered my days with painted colours, a full garden of imaginings. Now all swirled and sucked into the vortex of the drain. If only I had not believed. If only I had not allowed you, time and again, to deceive. Truth tugged at me, peaking through the sky-flung Poinciana branches and so I slipped to the side to a greater comfort, deeper in your fanciful creation each time. Until the midday of my heart came and truth, right over my head, burned the matrix away. I am the one. The one who has to see and now must live in TRUTH.

And now… in the glaring light of the Truth that destroys all lies, I sit on a real stump of a real old tree – solid, dry, dead wood with the reprieve of Certainty that comes in the presence of Truth and the sound of the sea. Julius keeps coming back to check on me, walking only so far with the girls before coming back.

The darkness I battled with threatens to return and my mouth calls out for numbing rum. Things of the past. Tears come at awkward times, tugging on my composure and pealing the edges of my theater mask, my warrior mask, my happy mask. No mask sticks to a slick pair of cheeks! I sit with myself, in myself, smothered under myself and vomit onto the page every bilious thought that steals my quiet. And I glance down and see a piece of something shiny and pink. Shining through tear-chafed eyes. A gift, simple and rugged. A full and pink conch shell! If I had not sat there with my tears I would not have seen it.

After seeing the shell I put my book down and stooped to get it. But it was stuck. I dug around it with my fingers clearing the sand away between the roots of the old dead stump. The points at the top of the old conch shell were buried in the dead roots, cured by salt and covered with sand and thoroughly stuck. Stuck so fast that no amount of wiggling made it give. And so I searched for a piece of stick and dug with the stick. My right hand had already gone raw by now and threatened to bleed. I lost track of time in my focus and dug furiously. Hand and stick, hand and stick, wiggle here, tug there, still no give.

And so I called to the girls down to beach to come and help me.

Thus the shell had become my only focus, a symbol of happiness. I dug in relentless pursuit of it, the dig itself a fierce determination not to give up my hope. A struggle that brought blood to my hands and tears to my eyes.

The girls didn’t hear me and I began to get frustrated. Why didn’t they pay attention? The sky was darkening and the fireball to the west had begun a low, dripping, over-ripe mango-sticky descent through the clouds. I called out again and they began to walk ever so slowly to me. It angered me that they weren’t there and didn’t care, that they couldn’t hear my calling out. Didn’t they know how important this was to me? Couldn’t they see me and my gestures and waves saying hurry?

And plain as day I got it. THE POINT. Like a dream that gives such aching clarity to a situation obscured by daylight wakenings I saw. This is the purpose of my pain.

To bring me to call on Him, the Most High. The One who can answer all my questions, cure all my ailments, and dig out all of my shells. And right there I looked up and said to him Father, the girls aren’t going to hear me. They aren’t here where I am right now. And they probably couldn’t help me anyway – I am stronger than they are. Please help me get this shell out.

And so I bent over again and began to dig. It wiggled more and I dug some more. I stepped on one side to turn it loose and dug some more. I took my hands and scooped under the shell with sand cutting into my raw flesh. By this time the girls had strolled over to me. One came and reached down to help as I straightened up.

It came loose in her hands. First try. No struggle – out it popped.

MADNESS

But it was my struggle. There was a reason.

Later at home I took that shell into my bath tub. There it will always stay pink and fresh with constant watering. It will also remind me at least twice a day, at my most naked and exposed moments, that my God is with me in every struggle and will be my armour when I feel exposed.

And so I prayed into my little book. Father, please put that gem and hide it in my heart like that shell. Stick it in there and never let it wiggle free I pray. Please remind me that You are never going to leave me and that You are so much better than anything else I could ever find. Help me remember to call to You first because You are always right here, right now, where I am. Help me remember that when my friends are far away, or when they are up close – it doesn’t matter! They don’t have Your power.

Please also use these struggles of mine, these battles I face, to strengthen the people around me. Help my struggle to allow them to find their own shell loose and ready for them to just pick it up. Take my writing and use it to Your honour and glory I pray.

Amen

It seems I knew once how to deal with pain.  I knew once how to reconnect to the core of me and commune from that core with the Source of all things good.  I am so blessed to be reminded of that knowledge today.

Mothers Day for Childless Women

Today can be hard for many people across the world remembering Mothers Day.  The first Mothers Day after mom has passed on is usually one of pain and tears.  The Mothers Day when you and your mom are not on speaking terms is also a very difficult one.  Not to mention the day for the terminally ill mom who might not make it to her next Mothers Day.  Fortunately my mom is alive and relatively well but this year I have glimpsed the fear of losing her twice.  This year I was very grateful for her presence.

One set of mourners on Mothers Day that are often forgotten are women who have always wanted children but have yet to see that stage of life begin.  I imagine it is particularly painful for those ladies well past the age where they can have children without going against everything in science.

There is a couple in my church who have been loving guides to many young people over the course of the years.  They are about the age of my parents and generous with their time and understanding.  They have never been able to have children.  Every Mothers Day my heart goes out to the lady who has been such a gracious mother-figure to me.  Today she turned out brave and beautiful – she’s actually still a stunner despite her years – because not only was she found childless on Mothers Day but this was also her first Mothers Day without her mom.

For women like myself who are still in childbearing years and unmarried, we get kind handshakes saying “soon enough” or “don’t worry, it will come.”  Consolations that feel a bit like Valentines Day to the newly-jilted.  For those who have never wanted to be mothers this is a source of annoyance.  Why should we feel less of a woman because we’ve DECIDED not to go forth and multiply?  But for those who have always wanted to be moms and seen year after year go by and no answer to this prayer, it is particularly painful.

This Mothers Day I had a kindness paid to me that brought tears to my eyes.  I paid no attention to the accidental Happy Mothers Day greetings and I steeled myself against the “oh honey, one day”s.  But a friend came over during the chaotic time of greeting in our church service and said “Happy Mothers Day my love”.  I started the standard protest line and he shut me down – “You’ve got two dogs to mother don’t you?”  I felt myself flush, grateful for being understood and appreciated for who I am and remembered with such gentleness.  “Happy Mothers Day to Juju’s mom”.

I’ve come home just now after having spent much of the day lounging with my mom in her sofa (she didn’t want to leave the house – I tried!) to grateful jumps and a crate full of poop to clean up.  Lola was given some ham yesterday and it hasn’t sat well with her.  She doesn’t get a lot of pork in our house.  As I bent unquestioningly to the task I reckoned, hell, I guess I am a mom.

RELATE: Knowing, loving and forgiving the people in your life.

Knowing, loving, and forgiving the people in your life

We began in January.  Four women met together with their pastor and asked for his support to begin a Bible Study for young adults.  It grew from there into the YAG, a movement of people getting to know eachother and themselves in Christ. The study was RELATE, knowing, loving and forgiving the people in your life.  It was to be a 5 session study but one session would take two meetings.  The sessions were profound and pregnant with meaning, leaving thoughts on how to do this life thing better together bouncing around in us through the week.  I recommend this study to everyone – not just young adults.  It is an excellent first study for a group and a theme that is relevant to everyone. Throughout the weeks of the study we came to know eachother as a group.  We would average 30 people at any giving meeting on a Friday night in The Cave, a warehouse loft we were generously given to use by a couple in our church.  We shared very deep hurts and precious victories, updates on our practices of the things we have learned and hurdles that we would have to overcome.  Out of this study came a community of people who have begun to live with eachother and share with eachother and love eachother. There were some amazing things that I learned in these sessions that have stayed with me and I pray will stay with me as I grow beyond this step.  Right now, in a reflective mood and seeking comfort in the memories of all my God has done for me, I have decided to share a few of these.

  • Every person has a predominant need when it comes to relationships – either significance or security.
  • Relationships are NOT ABOUT ME.  They are not designed to serve me.  They are designed to be the place where I am able to be more like Christ.  To be patient, kind, not envious, not boastful, not conceited, selfless, compassionate, and forgiving we must have someone in our lives with which we are able to practice these Christ-like ways.
  • Fear is a big impediment to relationships.  But when we turn to the purpose of relationships (above) we can learn to love someone for THEIR sake.  Not for ours.
  • Relationships are the place where sanctification happens.
  • God is the source of all the things we need to make our relationships work.  We are invited to “remain in Him”.  We are the branches on his vine and without the vine the branches will die… and will destroy the relationships in their life by being drained and withered without the love connection to the vine of the source of all love – God himself.
  • “Friends who enjoy soul intimacy never settle for gossip or simple information exchange.  Instead they use the data of events as spring-boards for the sharing of feelings, perceptions, values, ideas and opinions.”
  • Being loving is more important that being right.  Relationship is more important than victory.
  • Dealing with conflict there are three ways in which we react – move away, move against, or move towards.  Moving towards can be easily confused with moving against – but the purpose is different.  Moving against is defensive, self-protective, and offensive.  Moving toward involves an open mind and bravery, clear communication, accountability, accommodation, collaboration and compromise.
  • The grass is not greener on the other side – it is greener where you water it.
  • It is important to search yourself for wrongdoing with humility.  There are three BEs to employ as we deal with our own weaknesses.  Be aware, Be in tune with the Spirit as it guides you, and Be willing to accept the guidance and instruction of the Spirit so that work can be done in your life.
  • Forgiveness IS: Moral. Goodwill.  Paradoxical. Beyond duty.
  • Forgiveness is NOT: Forgetting or denying.  Condoning.  Excusing.  Condemning.  Seeking justice or compensation.

As for me… I learned that I have a lot to learn.  And a lot of practicing to do.  That is another subject for another post.  Another time.