“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. ❤

What’s it All About?

Hey, there, dear friends. More stops on the midlife crisis express. Buckle up. 🙂

The above is the last page from my memoir. Can’t believe I actually dug it out after all this time, opened it up, and actually gave you a glimpse. But, it’s kind of significant to this present circumstance, so…

Anyway…

I wrote that bit about 5 years ago. Ok. Probably closer to 6 or so, when you add the year of shuffling my ambitious thoughts one publisher to the next.

I read it now and it’s just…wow. There was a nice little pocket of hope back there. I forgot I had it in me.

Like this:

Greater things have yet to come. Greater things are still to be done. This is only the beginning.”

And:

“Be well and be blessed right where you are for who you are.

Oh, pithy phrases, yes. Somewhere within is still a touch of delight in the flow of the words, honestly.

And, really, it’s nothing I don’t still believe, deep down.

Yet…I look at them now and, frankly, feel a little foolish for all I have to admit I was dreaming then versus where I now sit…

Which is on a secondhand couch with a cover that doesn’t fit quite right in a house yet unfinished.😏

Countless heartaches yet unfinished.

A life…yet…unfinished.

There was a lot more I wanted to be doing now, if I am being honest.

I wanted to be that polished, well-heeled author/speaker, going from one place to the next sharing all the knowledge He’d given me.

Advocating for my autistic beauties.

Reminding others of His truth, His grace, His providence.

(Not to be crass, but seeking a chunk of that providence and, perhaps, even that oft-elusive thing called financial security through fees and sells.)

I had been on the stage for years, after all. I could kind of, sort of public speak.

I’d played everything from a busybody mom (Father of the Bride) to an early 1900’s murderess (A Rose for Emily).

I even got our high school’s version of an Oscar ( coined the Larrys) for supporting actress once.

It was exhilirating and freeing to be up there playing pretend, particularly for one whose confidence had been so diminished over the years by abuse.

( And, yes, part of me wishes I had pictures to show you, too. But, there are a lot of things on the road to divorce from your high school sweetheart/acting partner- one of which is the disposal of artifacts related to your time together. )

At any rate, with that resume, I could potentially sell myself accomplished, right?

Even if, even if…I didn’t feel it all the time?

Or, really, hardly ever? 😏

Ummm…it turns out, no.

For, I discovered the hard way, as most things with me have had to be discovered, that playing a little old lady exposed for poisoning her lover’s lemonade and exposing my own vulnerabilities are much, much different.

For one is a performance and the other is just…not.

The other is life.

My life.

A life, granted, I can call redeemed in Jesus.

Hallelujah for that!

But, still a life I felt protective over.

Still feel protective over.

With kids and events and hurts and joys I felt and still feel protective over.

Things….not for sale.

I quickly found I just could not get up there and share it with anybody.

Nor could I sit smiling behind a tower of fresh books and “hawk my wares”.

Literal agony!

So, as is my tendency when faced with agony, I shut down and dashed away, flinging aside any regrets for the sake of safety.

There weren’t a ton of offers, or something, but I did beg off some opportunities and sure didn’t go pursuing any new ones after I realized how out of my wheelhouse it all was.

It was not long till the faint buzz calmed in this little town and beyond.

And not much after that that it went silent altogether.

So…now, 5 years later, here I am.

Still facing down the same pack of insecurities, if not more.

I have my things I do, my cookies I bake, my youth I talk with and counsel a bit.

Yet, overall, I find myself in further retreat than ever.

And maybe, just maybe, nursing some regrets that got imbedded in spite of my cross-country run away from expectations.

I hate to pull out the word “failure”.

It gives me such an unpleasant, sour feeling in the pit of my stomach.

And people invariably chide me for using it.

But, for all intents and purposes, according to a lot of standards, that is the word that suits me just now.

For, I ventured out in something big, picturing one thing, and it did not, in fact, become that at all.

It failed.

I failed.

Oh, it’s all right. I need no comfort as I put those words out there.

It’s just an unfortunate necessity as I ponder my life.

Where it’s been, where He wants to take it.

And, in all this midlife crisisy mumbo jumbo I have been serving up so often lately, I have to keep asking myself one key question:

“What’s it all about?”

Writing, sharing, life….

It’s a weighty question, but a worthy one.

For, if my end aim is only to make myself feel good for a while about myself, then it’s all for naught.

A flash-in-the-pan sensation at best.

Such a feeling will never satisfy. Not even worth messing with.

But, if this pursuit is truly about honoring Him with what He has given me alone to honor Him with, then…. it’s invaluable.

For, despite how I let the world and my own massive doubts rail against me some days-too many days,

It really, truly matters not what others think of my offering or what becomes of it.

After all, no deficiencies-real or imagined- can remain where one gives purely of one’s heart to the Father.

The past cannot truly define, the present cannot truly disappoint, and the future cannot truly discourage where His truth exists…

Now, I have to chuckle at myself a bit here as I just looked back on that page once more.

A few sentences above the other quotes I shared, I also said this:

“For the message isn’t how to be a success way down the road or how to be a success at all.”

And a few phrases down, just before the “be blessed” bit:

“Don’t look too far back and don’t strain too far ahead”.

Ahem. Well, then, Lord. Using my own words to set me right, huh?

He has a real way with that….🙂

You know, all this, and I still have not a notion really what He has for me next, but I am learning, with His patient reminders, not to fret on it.

Ok. So, thanks for riding along with me a ways, dear friends. I pray wherever you find yourselves at, you are feeling His presence guiding you into all He has for you. Blessings! ❤

Winepresses We Hide In

This is sort of a reworking of a poem from about 14 years ago. I originally wrote it after picking through some of the Bible stories of the unlikeliest He called, including Gideon. I wrestled much with doubt then. My faith has been mightily stretched, of course, but I can admit thoughts written long ago still echo through the here and now

Sometimes, I feel like Gideon,

Crouched down in the winepress,

Hiding out,

Quaking with anxiety.

I’ve never seen an angelic guest,

I confess,

Nor do I ever find myself with

Much wheat to thresh, 😏

Yet, there is a something in the

Story there

That sounds such a

Recognizable ring

Through the air…

Perhaps it’s his utter smallness,

From birth order to clan,

That meets me where I live,

Connects to where I am.

Perhaps it’s the “Who, me?”

Manner,

An imagined incredulity at the

Idea of “valor”

Which tends to give to my soul

A nod of familiarity.

Between us lies years and

Obvious difference in

Circumstance,

Yet, in feelings?

I suspect there ‘s very little

Disparity.

For, I can well picture

My questioning heart here,

My begging for just one more

Fleece, please,

To alleviate my fear.

I can feel the wonder

As the odd proceedings

Prove might is not in man

And it’s His truth which sends

Doubts and enemies asunder.

I can only pray my faith keeps on

Gathering

And my growth in Him becomes

More than a mere smattering.

For though my battle be

Not with a Midian horde,

Nor my weapons broken jars,

Torches, or ram’s horns,

That which I march into

Is a trust walk nonetheless,

Numbers with me modest,

And my tendency is to the flesh.

Yet, I know that I know

He meets us

In every winepress we hide in.

And, oh-so-patiently,

He lifts us beyond cowering dust

To call out a depth of courage

We didn’t know was within….

May we step out of our respective winepresses and approach each battle with faith and courage in the Lord, especially as a new year prepares to unfold! Blessings and prayers to you, dear friends! ☺

Be Excited, Be Still

Audio Adrenaline had a great tune way back when I was just graduating high school called “Man of God”. The lyrics were completely stripped of any sort of pretension, appealing to that starkly honest side of me.

The song as a whole is wonderful. So much to say about remaining humble and bound by grace. Highly recommend it. ☺

But there’s a particular small snippet of it that resonates with me to this day:

Sometimes, I don’t feel good. It’s hard to start the day.

It’s hard to climb the obstacles that sometimes come my way.

If I make it, I’m a good man.

Am I a bad man if I fail?

Yeah, I know… a really positive section, right? 😏 Why would I leave off there, of all places?

Not exactly uplifting, to be sure- that part comes in the chorus-but I highlight this piece for a couple of reasons today:

1. I feel the Lord told me to. And, well, obedience to Him should be a given, right?

2. It’s exactly where I am at many a morning. And I venture to guess I am not alone in that less- than-enthused/pain-free rise to greet the day. 😏

You see, I long to be excited in the Lord at the opening of my day. My body and my brain are often a bit more sluggish, however. The question is one I ask a lot, too-

Am I bad if I fail?

But, rather than hold that in as if the doubts and the draggy feet don’t exist, I find just being open with it all gives me untold strength.

For there is surprising power in the truthfulness of our struggle.

As long as we don’t just sink down and stay there!

Psalm 46:10-11 AMP says:

Be still and know (recognize, understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!

The Lord of Hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold (our refuge, our tower).

That is one amazing declaration right there!

The Lord of Hosts is with us.

With us.

Puny little, joint-crackling, bedheaded, grumbling us. 😊

Our stronghold. Our refuge.

All He asks of us is to be still and know it.

Now, be excited because of it, yes!

But, not a phony, put-on-a-happy-face, grit-your-teeth-privately sort of excitement.

That is just a recipe for a crash-and-burn.

Rather, it’s an in-spite-of-it-all joy from these tired bones that simply spills over wherever you are.

That rubber-meets-the-road, genuine faith is what the world needs to see, more than anything.

Because that tested and tried comes of knowing Him. Really knowing Him.

And the stillness?

That’s not about being inert, huddled down in your pillows, giving yourself permission not to greet the day period.

God doesn’t pat your head and then just let you bury it.

Nope.

Rather, that stillness is the peace found in residing in the tower of God, recognizing that, yes, we cannot do it in our own pitiful strength.

That we need to take it all to Him.

Doubts, draggy feet and all.

Desperately.

And then, trusting Him to do what He will with it all.

Staying in that level of truthfulness is what lends to us the ability to scale one obstacle after the next.

And, best of all, the chance to direct the downtrodden to the Source. ☺

Prayers and blessings, dear friends. May we take it all, both the good and not-so-good, to The Lord of Hosts, every day.