Mowing Season

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It was just grass.

Fall was upon us and the grass needed mowing. The mower had been broken for a few months and so it was extraordinary long and in need of cutting. Our yard began to look more like an unkempt field rather than a yard in a neighborhood! Add on top of all that, well, it’s Fall.

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The leaves, they fall upon the ground, and although they sure look pretty – if we left them to sit there through the winter – well then, it’s not so pretty! Underneath all that snow melt will be wet, soggy, leaves. We were due, it was way past time, to mow.

So off I went, saddling up our riding lawn mower. Because it was so long, I made more than one pass to cut it down. In fact, I was driving in circles! Round and round, over and over, I passed over the same patch of grass again and again. As I encircled the yard, I found the presence of God began to encircle my heart. Pressing in. Hard.

I was watching that grass and those leaves being cut and shred into smaller pieces. Tossed around, torn up and spit out of that mower. Settling down on top of the freshly cut grass as mulch for the spring. Preparing it for new growth.

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It was then that it hit me.

Like grass and leaves waiting to be cut down and laid out for new soil, so too are our hearts in the hands of our Maker. I can’t speak for your heart, but I sure can for mine. I’ve got grass growing in my heart everywhere, everywhere!

My grass it’s so overgrown in areas – I try to shade the light from getting in there and making it grow longer. Yet do I yield to the source of all light? Where I thought the grass had been cut down – I realize it was my own selfish self not accepting truth and allowing the grass to grow stronger.  Where pockets of growth had been shaved off – new growth was shooting out, rooting and sprouting new life elsewhere.

It was time for my heart to be mowed over.

Cut down. Tossed. Shredded. Torn. Thrown about all over the soil of my heart. Some things, must be cut off and left to rot. Yet others, need to be mowed down and their roots extracted so that they never see the light of day. Ever again.

This, THIS, was my threshing floor. A place where the sheaves of thoughts that scurry around in my head can be laid out bare upon the floor, and beat upon and crushed. Like the lawn mover cutting grass down to it’s roots, so too is the Word of God as it pierces our very thoughts and mind.

God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what.So that piece of truth could emerge. Hebrews 4:12 – 13 

My heart had been thrown open and trampled upon. The Hands of the Almighty picked up my heart and cut it open, laid bare, for the ugly truth to be seen. Like the Master Surgeon He is, He was gentle, He was skilled, but He was truthful. I couldn’t get away from it, it was time to listen and obey. This heart surgery extracted kernels of truth, His truth, which I didn’t know even existed. I was past due, to be mowed over- so that new life, found in Him, could be restored.

No matter what I might doubt, what my defense could be or whatever the explanation. He knows. He knows what’s growing in my heart. He knows what’s growing in your heart too, dear one. That is what’s so beautiful. He knows. Oh, how He knows!

He’s seen your doubts as they drop like freshly fallen leaves. The moment you rake them up, more scurry to the ground anew. He’s seen your overgrown field of fears.  It’s time to saddle up to face them. He’s felt your pain and what you’ve endured. He wants to perform heart surgery so the pain is gone, for good.

He’s seen your precious heart – oh your heart! Will you grant Him access? Will you allow Him to come inside, cut down your grass and lay you bare on the threshing floor?

After all, it’s just grass.

Suffering

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“We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Suffering.  It knows no bounds – people of all ages, all races, all sexes – endure physical pain, undergo emotional trauma and combat spiritual darkness.

I mean, really, let’s be honest. Who wants to admit, or face the fact, that suffering not only happens, but thrives at times? We fight against it with all we are. We exercise our bodies, our minds, our decision making so that we overcome, move on, let go – yet in the end. That which we strive to overcome, can swallow us up.

We tend to think about what  we are suffering, how we are suffering and why we are suffering. Our very focus is on how to end our suffering. To stop the pain, ebb the flow and remove the ache. Our feelings are constant reminders of our failure – guilt, shame, depression, anxiety, anger, insecurities, despair. These keep us grounded in our suffering, they become our friends as we suffer. Friends which don’t challenge us to rethink our minds or walk us through the pain.  Rather than help us lift our eyes off the suffering ~ we become consumed.

There we are, caught in the mire of our suffering. We shake our very fists as we are awash again in anxiety. We lift up our feet to step out of the muck of depression and anger. We twist and turn, trying to get the shackles of guilt and shame off our backs.  Hurting, aching, longing to end this constant suffering.  All these ways we hope, we plead and we want ~ to overcome. Yet, here we are.

Again…

All we desire is to be free! We seek out forgiveness, we search out hope and we want redemption.  How many times do we yearn for a taste of freedom but our hearts remain darkened? So, we suffer.

Freedom.

Ah, just the sound of it. Freedom!  The shackles on our back become unbound,  our feet are firmly planted on the ground and our fists loosen their grip on our hearts. Rather than shaking in despair, they open in anticipation. Rather than held tight in anger, they fold in prayer. Somehow the act of contrition on our physical body transforms our emotional and spiritual self.

We yield.

See, suffering will not cease. Yes, I should repeat that. Suffering will not cease. But our hope is not in what we do, how we behave or how others treat us. Oh no. Far from it! Our hope, is freedom. Freedom is found as we face our suffering. Freedom is found in walking through the suffering. Freedom is found opening our hearts to love.

Love.

“There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.” 1John 4:18

See that, love – it casts out our fear. It lightens our steps as we walk. It gives us eyes of compassion. It envelopes us in calmness. Grants us hearts growing in mercy. Allows us to see others as someone who suffers. Oh love!

I can’t promise your suffering will ever cease. No, I don’t think it will. But I can certainly acclaim that love conquers fear. Do not fear your suffering, welcome it, invite it in.

As you do, you invite love to reign.

Ah, freedom!

Happy Anniversary!

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It was two years ago today. I heard the doctor tell me that I had a blood clot in my lungs. At first I wasn’t sure I heard him right. But make no mistake, it was a pulmonary embolism. The first of two I would suffer that week. Three total since that fateful day. There are some things in life you are just not prepared for. Here’s was one of mine.

Family immediately poured into my hospital room and support was all around me. Yet, there was no greater presence in my life than my husband, my girls, and Sam. They were there with me, in victories and in struggles. I meandered slowly around the hospital floor, they’d cheer from the waiting room.  They’d cluster on the window, giggling, taking photos on the laptop and hanging out.  Patiently waiting on me, and loving me in a hard time.

I remember feeling like a patient on “House” as they deliberated to figure out why this was happening. No matter the reason, there was nothing to change. They tell you how lucky you to be alive, yet rarely prepare you for the journey that lies ahead.

Recovery.

They say it’s hard to understand another’s journey unless you walk in your shoes. I dare say I wouldn’t want you to.

I can’t even begin to explain the changes this life experience has brought about. Much of it necessary and needed in my life. But you know what? I don’t need to explain. That is a wonderful byproduct of this difficult road. Learning to let go.

Freedom.

So much of my life I clung to what I knew, what I could do, what I believed in and what I accomplished to determine who I was. It was this deliberate, yet immediate, shutting down of my life as I knew it that caused this shift to my experiences and eventually to my heart.

Change is a part of life. We all have it. Circumstances that cause us to stop and ponder the view. To take stock of where we are at and  by chance where we are headed. Even with all the physical problems that have cropped up dealing with the pulmonary embolisms, I am thankful.

For it’s in these intense difficult moments that small nuggets emerge which crystalize your view. That scrape away the scales of doubt and fear from your eyes. Perhaps for the first time in yoru life, you really see.

Would I desire to change how things have developed and evolved? Sure, there’s plenty I would want to handle differently.  But since it allowed me to get to this place today, I embrace it. I grab ahold of it fiercely like never before. For what is emerging is truly a resurrection. Not of who I was, but who I am truly am, and who I truly need in my life. God.I am, a survivor, yes. Yet, I am His!

So, I close with His words, not my own.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Cor. 4:16-18

Rebirth

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It’s a new day! I look at this photograph and reflect.

I remember the anticipation waiting for the sun to rise and a new day to be born. As the sun crest over the horizon, bursting forth with color and light, I was reminded of the majesty that surrounds a freshly formed day. The newness of it. The sky awakening with ever changing color and light. The clouds as they roll on by. The birds as they speak their song. Each moment sacred. The time that lies before you will be like none you have had before. Or will have again.

I dare say, it’s a rebirth.

A time to start again. To rethink what has happened before this moment and per chance marvel at what may lie ahead. A time to replenish your soul and be filled with the beauty of a new day and the hope that lies within it. A time to recommit and focus your life in the direction you are called.

For me, it’s that time. A rebirth.

I began this blog as a place to combine some thoughts and explore a journey that has evolved for me. As with each new day that unfolds, sometimes clouds form blocking your view, a constant fog as you see the next step on your journey.

Today, this is my step. A recommitment to me. Not in this wow look at the canvas of my life and see how amazing I am. I venture not. I ever so meekly thinks it might be more a wow, look at my life and how much I need the Maker who makes each day new!

He created me, this person, with all my ambiances and quirks, for this moment in time. To live.  Regardless of the blood clots. To live. Regardless of what has happened in your past. To live. Regardless of what you know of where you are headed this very day. To live.

To look out over the horizon of a new day, and making your choice.

It is in those precious times of reflection, like the birth of a new day, that those sacred truths of who we are, and hope to become, etch ever deeper in our hearts. Like the sun reflecting across the each stone on this beach, is the handprints of my God calling me to come.

It’s a new day, a rebirth, an ever moving journey.

I am eager to walk. Join me.

Transformation

Transition

Transformation, a time when things move from one state of being to another. It’s a part of life and moreso, it’s a choice we make. We can choose to be transformed and to bravely charter a new direction. Yet often we stand still in this mess called, life.

How we choose to change and be transformed, or what we desire to move into in our life, it’s just not set into stone. We have choices. It’s not predetermined what I will do today or how I will use my time. That’s up to me. I hold the power in some sense of how my life will be lived, in trying or in giving up. All with the thought of transformation lurking in the scenes.

Each year fall arrives and the colors of leaves begin their changing process. Cold nights, rain, wind and other weather conditions contribute to the effect of how brilliant, or not so brilliant, the colors become. Sometimes the sun is shining down and their colors radiant through brightly and other times it’s dark, cold, and they are muted. Regardless of how they look, or what we see, change is taking place.

The same is true in our hearts. Change comes from the elements of life pressing in on us. We have times of brightness and joy and other times the darkness just doesn’t lift.

I look at this leaf and wonder, could it have total and complete control on how it changes color? Does it change the same way each year? Perhaps the color tones are richer one year and more subtle the next.
No matter the color, or choice, there is this small truth subtly whispering underneath. Just look at this leaf, sitting there on the branch, connected, rested and quiet, waiting.

One day, the colors will totally drain, the time will come when that leaf will totally let go. No matter what the rain or the sun did, the end result will eventually be full release of the elements surrounding them and tumble to the ground. Those fresh fall leaves will turn into crunchy brown dead ones. Can you hear them?

Does this mean this leaf had no life? Absolutely not. What it reveals to me is that it trusted in the transformation process. In order to be fully transformed to have a new, different life – it needed to die so it could live. Emerging refreshed and fully green once again in the spring. It was time to release itself to the transformation process.

Trusting and knowing that even when it let’s go, rebirth comes.

So let’s stop holding on.

And so it begins…

It’s been a long time coming for this blog.

At one point years ago I had one that was very active. It was a place for theological discussion and musings. I ended up deleting it as it was started as a discussion blog but ended up being one voice, mine.

Well, here I am again, but this time, my plan is to use my voice more freely. To explore thoughts more openly and to ponder the things which are on my heart.

So, here’s how it’ll go. If you want to visit and share your thoughts, by all means, share. The more the conversation flows, the greater our hearts can expand, or the flip side, contract. This may at times be a place where thoughts are poured upon the page, and you may just not agree. That’s okay. All things done in love is what I desire.

Things you may wanna know:

First,  I am a Christian. My faith doesn’t define me in a specific way in what I can or can’t do. Rather it’s part of who I am, what I desire in life and how I persue the things He calls me to. One day at a time. So, there will be times of faith, times of doubt and perhaps times of fear too.

Second, I struggle with health problems. Persistent, long term and at times serious issues. They tug at my heart as well as my body to redefine my thoughts and challenge me to engage life in a new, and hopfully, more purposeful way.

Finally, I kinda like art. I explore various mediums to express myself. It’s part of finding my voice and becoming a stronger person. As I reconnect with that part of me, I may explore richer thoughts, or deepen long standing convictions. I am okay with that, it’s a journey. And I am more than ready.

Are you?

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