In the Shadow of His Wings

Psalm 57 1 Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills [his purpose] for me.

Hey there…yes, there are no recipes just yet. I was bound and determined this week but my brain kind of went whoosh and erased any memory of attempting pictures of my now devoured chocolate chip cookies. So…next time. 🙂

For now, I shall offer another drawing/poem.

This piece is a much older sketch I recently pulled out and reexamined…

I thought of where I was then-a different period of the painful places known all too well to me. The woman’s posture here reflected my own. Prayerful yes, but bowed with quiet grief.

Uncertain, fearful, full of questions.

Contrasting circumstances in some ways then to now, yet so akin to where I find myself still. I could not help but take note.

And I thought of how I could sink down and commiserate with myself in how some sadnesses never seem to change over the years.

Ah, but I heard the answer in His tender voice, posing simple questions and offering needed insights:

“Dear child, where is the sense in that?  And where can growth occur in such a vacuum?

Look not to the shades of sorrow in the woman’s posture. No…look to the strength of what surrounds her.”

Yes…the wings. Even in my raw state then, He reminded me of the security of His shadow and inspired me to sketch the thought to paper.

To remind me to cling to that hope then. And to remind me the same for now.

So…a few lines stirred my heart to accompany that…

In The Shadow of His Wings

In the place where darkness abides,

I so often find myself residing…

Blown in by sorrow,

Aching ever for the morrow.

Where can I go but to You, oh Lord,

To find the courage to confide?

To You alone can I carry this cry!

Be this my steady shadow,

Calm my foolish fears;

Though I am drawn down to depths so low,

Gather Your feathers in; hide me from these my dreaded foes.

Aid me to rest therein;

Teach me that it’s only on Your strength I may depend.

Praise be to the warmth of Your perfect wings;

Thanks be to the Defender and Protector of my every thing!

May we each remember to take every sorrow to Him, to rest in the shadow of His wings alone! Thank you for reading! Blessings and prayers, dear friends! ❤

“To Know You” on youtube

Something that is likely quite easy to guess about me is my love for honest, introspective work. I mean, I don’t try to hide it much, do I? 🙂

So..safe to say, when it comes to music, when I can feel someone’s heart in their voice and their words, I am most generally sold.

Such as it was when I first heard Nichole Nordeman on my WOW CD back in the day….

Loved the rawness. Loved the honest observations.

But, I feel I must freely admit some things:

At the time I discovered her, I had also discovered another female singer/songwriter that was on the rise at the same time that compelled me just a touch more. Maybe it was because she was from my home state. I don’t know. 😏

Anyway…that meant I didn’t rank Nichole as my absolute favorite then, but rather, as just someone I dug her style and a few of her tunes enough to listen to and relate.

One of those tunes was once found worthy to hunt the split-track cassette of (Oy. Showing my age again! 😏) in order to do it for special music one Sunday back when I was less petrified to do such.

But, when that lifetime got pushed aside by divorce, some of those cassettes and CDS also got put away.

Or trashed.

A couple of them smashed, to be honest.

Oh, I had my tried and trues I’d always cling to, yes. My comfort songs. My nights tuned in to the radio so I could get a shred of sleep.

But, others? Well, they were more or less just painful reminders of the hopes and dreams that had vanished, so away they went with old photos and my first wedding dress.

Even that other home state girl? My slightly more beloved singer/songwriter?

Well, she proved to pick up her guitar and vanish from the scene herself, only to come back years later professing a sinful lifestyle in the name of Jesus. I won’t say her name, but the story lays heavy on my heart and my prayer is she will recognize her folly before it’s too late.

But, back to Nichole and why I chose to share this song today.

In my year of introspection, I have begun to revisit many things. Many times, many places, each flavored with its own sound.

This one, this which I once sang with every ounce of emotion I had, came back to me recently.

And I realized more deeply than ever the beauty of it.

That it remained the cry of my heart.

To lay it out so bare as Nichole’s lovely lyrics and voice do. To admit, yes, I struggle. I doubt.

But, above all, I really want to know You, God.

May this be the cry of all our hearts, dear friends. Have a listen and be blessed. Much love and many prayers. ❤

At the Well

It’s been a long while since I really spoke of my hurt.

It occurred to me recently that many of you newer readers may not even know that much about it beyond snippets still given here and there.

A dig through the more distant reaches of my archives would enlighten, of course.

And I can make it more convenient by indicating that you may click here for perhaps the best rundown, if so inclined.

But, overall, there are reasons I resist touching too much on it.

I haven’t wanted to feel as though I am eliciting sympathy or sinking down into the past and staying there.

I also don’t want to dip into any unfair comparisons from past to present.

Insecurity has a way of painting everything in dark, foreboding shades.

What may, in fact, be unintentional on the part of a loved one now looks like the same heart-shattering experience as before when glimpsed through the lens of an oft-wounded soul.

Still, I am nothing if not honest here.

The fact is, though I speak often of “Be still and know that I am God”-something I am truly striving to live in the light of every day-there is a growing melancholy weighing on my heart at present.

A deep-seated sadness settling in that is stealing at my ability to rightly express it.

Depression has long been with me, mind you. We are certainly not strangers.

More than once, it nearly snuffed the life out of me, in fact.

Now, it is something that hovers in the background and makes itself known by turns.

Right now? It’s a “making itself known” season.

I fight to go to sleep with this heaviness these days, reawakening frequently, an unidentifiable fear cloaking me in the midslumber haze.

Where it is coming from, I can cast about a few ambiguous notions, but, where there are some aspects of my life to definitively point to as a source, I can’t necessarily call too much of it concrete.

Is it all rooted in my past, so littered as it is by abuse and abandonment?

Or is it my ever-present anxiety over signs that such pain, real or no, is or is about to revisit me?

Angry shouts do ring in my head long after they have ceased and have an unfortunate tendency to visit me in my dreams.

It’s quite the challenge to rest my soul in any “it is well” feeling, even when life is managing fairly pleasantly, let alone when it is not.

For there is the nearly constant question mark in my head:

“When’s the next time the wounding will come?”

How will it come?”

And-“Will I be able to sustain myself following it?”

Now, there are days I can rightly shove this aside and recall to myself just Who my sustainer is.

Most days, in fact.

But, other days?

Ah, other days, I find myself forgetting.

Perhaps, it is the old recordings in my head getting louder, stating in dismissive tones how try as I might, I’m still just no good.

A loser.

A wimp.

A tramp.

Unwanted.

Unworthy.

Unable.

And I know that I know that that is most emphatically not true-not in God’s eyes!

But…circumstances make my hands slow to switch off the tape sometimes.

So…what do I do?

Dig myself further in one way or another.

Either into deeper wells of sorrow, cranking up that ugly noise and feeding upon the slow death of it.

Not a good thing!

Or…the better part-

I dig in deeper to prayer.

To worship.

To His words-to me and for me.

The far superior well to spend my time in by far!

Full of Living Water ready for the drinking in.

Bread of Life to feed upon.

Brothers and sisters that come alongside and nourish you even further in encouraging words.

And, of course, The One who intimately knows sorrow to carry the burden of it beside me.

It doesn’t mean I don’t still feel what I feel.

There’s a funny little truth about hurt.

It does not disappear in a snap.

Painful memories are long and thoughts often remain reactionary.

Trust is a shaky rope bridge at best.

Time to heal is key and, even then, some scars are prominent.

But, in that gift that is time, wounds can be eased, joys resurrected, trust finds firmer feet, and life continues on…

With all its seasons of delight and grief, smooth planes and blessed bumps alike.

Not absent of hurt by any means.

But, perhaps, richer for it.

Whatever season you find yourself in, dear friends, may you find the well full of the riches of life in the Lord! Blessings and prayers! ❤

Another Day

A bit of pondering on the difficulties in this season to keep the Lord most dear in my heart. It is so easy- far too easy- to get pulled into the anxieties of the day…

Another day You wake my slumbering soul.

Another challenge yet to undertake

That will undoubtedly take some sort of toll.

And, as I go about

Seeking in the quiet sort of way

Of the shy and the meek,

The quest is posed, the answers yet to speak-

Will I indeed leap into the fray past my door,

Determine to seek Your face once more?

Or will I hang back upon my trusty fringe,

Hooking my hat to that which I consider the safer place

Than that which might be in store?

Oh, Lord, I want nothing more than to

Want YOU and nothing more!

Yet, the mind’s eye drags me aside,

The world’s various pains

Encroach and collide.

And I find the quickening of anxiety,

The surprising sickness of pride

Too often keeps me at arm’s length

From Your ever willing side.

Oh, that sort of social distancing

Should never apply

To You, my God, my chief ally!

I must draw near, come what may,

Hold You more than ever dear,

No matter what the world offers this day!

Oh, Father, so many fears has this season fraught!

But, help me to keep You placed as I ought!

May we each be prayerful to seek Him first. Thanks for reading, dear friends! Blessings and prayers! ❤

When Joy Gets Lost in the Gray

Hey, friends. I always try to come to you with raw honesty yet hope.

Not rah-rah-false-cheer, mind you.

That is just implausible.

Plus, it unhealthily glosses over troubles.

Of which, yes, I do admit to many.

But, I strive ever for that underlying joy of the Lord that rests in the heart despite hard times.

Yet…lately, I have to say I am having major struggles tapping into it.

Yes, between covid fears, grievious tension in our country, and grief striking agonizingly close to our church home, it’s not unfathomable to have reasons why.

Yet, all that I have been enduring and still finding reasons to praise.

No, the source of this growing grayness inside feels much more selfish.

However, I can no longer deny it’s there.

So, I will do what He has put inside me to do.

I will write about it and pray by the end the joy kicks in…

Eight years into my second marriage-that which I have counted despite every struggle a gift from a gracious God-I am lately feeling more and more broken.

Oh, I have had bouts of this before.

Coming together from our respective, extremely wounded pasts has not been the proverbial picnic.

Unless you count one with ants carrying your cake away. 😏

But, this. This feels deeper.

Differing ideas, differing parental tactics, differing opinions, differing desires…

Things I should be mature and wise enough to figure out how to dovetail by now!

Yet, I am finding myself at an impasse to be able to do so.

And, I can see on the other side, my husband does, too.

Perhaps, it is the sheer weariness of the deadlock.

The idea that this is indeed how it will always be.

But, really, I also think part of why this is so hard is I have been here before. The eight year mark was my last the first time.

The last and then, he was gone to another.

Eight years of hopes and dreams crumbled-though I know the crumbling began long before I could recognize it.

Long before I could acknowledge my place in it, though I no longer blame myself entirely.

At any rate, it is always such an incredibly painful place to be.

And to be abandoned in

Alone with two tiny boys and a daughter still on the way.

I admit, fifteen years down the road, there are days the scars still twinge mightily!

Oh, but, we are not looking at that exact situation this time, I must remind myself!

Infidelity, frankly, is sometimes feared by me in my tendency to apply ugly past to present circumstances. But, it has not manifested in reality.

Divorce has not really cropped up in our conversations, though I do have disconcerting thoughts of wanting to be the one to run this time.

Not to escape so much but to provide escape to him, he who I view, rightly or wrongly, as too honorable to do so.

You see, due to my limitations-some of which we really didn’t know he was signing up for at the time-I can feel like a millstone around his neck at times.

He will usually flatly deny this verbally, but actions sometimes-honestly, more and more-say otherwise.

And, in the heat of anger, his verbal will even sometimes slip and remind me of all I seem unable to fulfill.

I can feel like a shell of a partner in those times.

Even like he got a raw deal.

But that’s not a Godly way to think of oneself, Marisa!!

Yes, I know. I also am aware after counseling galore that my abusive past from childhood on points to deep-seated self-esteem quarrels.

It’s all in my book, even.

Meaning what, exactly?

That I should be better at all this?

Yeah, I think that sometimes.

Ok. Lots of times.

And, yet, I am reminded of my humanity.

Fragile. World-worn. Just not there in the well-muscled spirituality department, though I ever long to be.

And, maybe, just maybe, that is the place to begin in.

Admittance I am just not there.

That weakness needs a Savior.

That marriage needs more than two googly-eyed people who like all the same things and do things the same way.

That marriage is not doomed to impasses even when it involves two people marked up by hurtful, hair-raising pasts.

Not if we keep remembering this key thing:

1 Peter 5:7, NIV: “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”

It is not an automatic grayness-lifter, to be sure.

But, as I keep casting, He keeps listening.

And as He keeps listening, I do feel less alone in these gray times.

So…am I feeling that joy that abides just yet? Has it kicked in?

Perhaps a smidge more than when I began this ramble.

Rest assured, I will be all right in His hands.

Thanks for listening today, friends. Blessings and prayers to you!

Still King

Hi, there, dear friends! On this Palm Sunday, I felt the urge to carve out at least a little time on here for  one of my dearest loves-poetry.

I admit I haven’t been able to tinker around with it near as much as I’d like lately. But, it’s okay. It’s necessary. And life on the homeschool front does have its joys! Really does!

Yet, the fact is, life looks so…different right now. So simple yet somehow more complex-on a whole different plane.

We are all well in my household, praise God. Still, there is much upheaval, much uncertainty-that which I know most all of us are facing in one way or another.

But, now more than ever,  my heart must declare- this truth remains. Jesus is still Jesus…

 

 

Still King

Walls rise between.

Isolation becomes the theme.

At a time when we most crave the comfort

Of another human soul,

Sickness steals the effort;

Hands must still, relinquish all the control…

Oh, uncertainty!

That which lurks unrestfully in the morning breeze…

So easy it would be

To simply sink into this haunting anxiety,

Or numb ourselves to hopeless apathy.

As the news scrolls

The seemingly unending tolls

Where lies our heartsong?

Is it lost in the desperate, teeming throngs?

Where is that which in our utter weakness

Can make us ever strong?

Oh, not in ourselves by any means,

Despite the empty promises to which we cling…

No…those sort of actions are none but a smoke screen…

Here’s the real thing.

Jesus is for once, for only, and still  The King of Kings!

Not a wall can hold the truth

Of hosannas loudly echoing-

“Save us now! ” we cry.

And when we believe that He can,

This humble, this righteous King-

That He has 

For all time,

That is where we will find comfort

That can ever withstand.

And strength where distance exists not

As He holds us each in His capable hand….

 

Know that today and always, dear friends! Blessings and prayers to you! Appreciate the read! 🙂❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are We There Yet?

Now, on first glance, this picture feels like nothing but scribbles. Primarily, it was approached as such. 🙂 However, the more I looked, the more it seemed to represent a never-ending stream of chaos fairly well, the cross at the center, as it should be.

Both this and the following poem are inspired by my own foolish tendency to worry, especially regarding the wild unknown. The tizzy the world can get us in can be overwhelming, but, thankfully, we can know He who has overcome the world…🙂

Are We There Yet?

Lord, what about this?

God, what about that?

Questions shouted ceaselessly in

The deepening mist,

Answers clouded almost teasingly,

Both present and past…

Brain keeps stacking, never

Slacking

Train on the track keeps clacking,

Never backing;

Steam puffs surgingly

Whistle blows rough, urgingly

What about this over here?

What to do with that over there?

Oh, Lord, what can be done with

All this blasted fear?

Daddy God, how do I even

Proceed

With all these nasty anxieties

Laid bare?!

At the same time, this engine

Never quits,

Never quiets…

The end? I squint through the

Screaming streams, but, still I

Struggle to spy it!

Daddy God, please tell me, oh,

Are we there yet?

I whine like a restless child,

I know…

But, so very weary of this endless

Fret!

Help me see beyond the worry,

The hurry,

And the flurry;

Bring the cross into relief amid the chaos;

Calm my ever-rushing mind!

Lord, grow in me belief beyond the cost,

As only in You all the answers

Will come in their time…

May we indeed lean on Him alone to calm our worries and await His perfect answers! Blessings and prayers, dear friends! Appreciate the read! 😊