In the Light

Hello, there, dear friends! I have been continuing on, digging deep into my heart, searching the Word, searching my soul.

Listening to a lot of tunes, one of which I will share below when I am done rambling. πŸ˜‰

Anyway….really, essentially, I am working a lot on who I am in Him and what He has for me…

I turned 43 last month…and I feel it-if not significantly more.

No…you didn’t miss it.

I purposefully did not disclose the day here or with many in my offline world. No offense, but I just didn’t feel like it. πŸ™‚

It’s not a tragedy or anything. It’s a testament to how far He has brought me, really.

Yet…I have found myself less than thrilled with it.😏

Now, I hestitate to deem this a typical “midlife” crisis though it has many of the earmarks.

I find myself wondering often if I’m enough.

Am I doing enough?

Am I being enough?

Despite my rep for cooking for and hanging out with our little youth group, I am also famously reclusive here in my little town.

A big part of that is due to the physical limitations…

And other parts?

Mentally, emotionally, socially?

It’s just…who I am.

I dearly, dearly love people. I care from the depths of my soul.

Empathy is a major component He has placed on my heart, as is intercessory prayer.

Yet…I really intensely struggle to be around many people for very long. Some folks I feel downright uncharitable about. And it’s getting more profound the more years I add.

And that is just being around them. Forget engaging in conversation!

It’s disconcerting. I waffle between feeling the need to apologize for myself and to defend my oft-noted, very introverted territory.

And, sadly, I am just as well known for the list of “I can’ts” or “can’t anymores”, as the case may be.

Driving.

Traditional employment.

Being on my feet too long or on any uncertain terrain.

Climbing.

Running.

Dancing.

Lifting things of any significant weight.

Opening jars.

Sit-ups.

Being in a crowd.

Holding an infant in my arms.

Wrangling toddlers.

Selling books.

Selling myself. πŸ™„

And that is but a partial list.

I’d write more, but that’d belabor the point.

It can be a tad depressing to read, to be sure.

And, yet…lately, I have begun to ask myself: do I use it as a crutch?

Oof.

Dare I admit it can become an… excuse?

A way to not have to push myself beyond comfortable bounds?

I don’t know.

Perhaps.

Can lingering on my fears and tucking myself in tight to my limitations become an actual…sin?

Oh, dangerous territory indeed, especially to an ex-charismaniac!

So much of the belief system prescribed in the name-it-and-claim-it crowd depends on only talking positivity over oneself and calling all sorts of things that are not as though they are. As if the power rests alone in my little, feeble hands!

I don’t want to go back to those places in my mind that displace a sovereign God. Ever.

Too often did I browbeat myself for not “stepping out” in some things-certain it proved a severe “lack of faith” not to believe I was going to be absolutely in divine health and prosperity because God told me to declare it so.

Never mind some thorns in our sides are not necessarily meant to be removed.😏

But, in that, Paul still went out and did what God had for him to do.

So…it stands to reason God asks me to do so, too.

But exactly what?

There were times in my life I thought I knew.Now? Everything, every wheel turning in my brain, every joint in my body feels…rusty.

So…the search for the what goes on, if a bit slowly. I have ideas in baby form, but are they mine or are they God’s?

Well…

I guess I’ll know it when I land on it.

But, to land on it, I will have to keep venturing, even with the protest choir crying in the back of my head.😏

Because if there is one thing I want, it’s to pull away from these hinderances that bog me down in sin and self-loathing.

I want to be in the light, as He is in the light.

And I have to learn to accept the thorn in my side at the same time as I seek the ways He has for me to live in His light.

And this introduces to the promised song, straight from another beloved 90’s Christian Band, DC Talk.

Oh, how many days did they inspire my soul!

Would that I could just share their entire catalog.

So, so many of their songs resonate from The Hard Way to Jesus Freak, from What if I Stumble? (That long, long ago in a galaxy far away I sang as a duet at churchπŸ™‚) to Consume Me.

But, this week, In the Light and its raw, powerful lyrics stir me in particular. This is my heart’s cry, in fact. May it be all of ours. Have a listen and draw near to His light. Blessings and prayers. And I thank you for yours. ❀

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! ❀

The Monsters Are Still Due on Maple Street

Hello, dear friends!

Still gathering my thoughts lately and leaning on His presence all the while.

Hope you are feeling Him near to you as well.

It occurred to me this morning that this piece from a few months ago remains very apt for where we are right now. As such, while I am still in the gathering thoughts phase, I figured it was worth a reshare.

Thanks for reading. May it remind us of He who holds the truth and the salvation we all need. Blessings and prayers! ❀

https://alwaysajesusgirl.wordpress.com/2020/09/29/the-monsters-are-still-due-on-maple-street/

The Monsters Are Still Due on Maple Street

Ok. So… in writing the following poem, my fondness for black and white TV will make itself known. In particular today, my love for The Twilight Zone (The original, that is. Accept no substitutes! πŸ˜‰).

I wasn’t sure about sharing this, not knowing if any would get it, but I feel God giving me the old nudge. 😏

First, though, to give you the (somewhat) shortened idea for my inspiration here:

“The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” is an episode of the show that came at a time when the space race was king, the concept of alien invasions was a major part of comics and films, and the Cold War and its uncertainties loomed. No doubt Rod Serling utilized all these things to tell his tale of an average American street descending into chaos and turning on each other after some strange phenomena befalls their peaceful existence, manipulated by an unknown hand.

Now, Serling used science fiction, but, from that, he made the much more universal point of how easily we as humans fall into the blame game and destroy each other-and, thereby, ourselves, rarely recognizing the manipulation of satan we are allowing in.

Oh, friends, that episode is around sixty years old!😳

But there is still so much of the evil it presents I can see today in the state of our nation, our world, and, especially, our hearts!

In fact, if anything, it looks that much worse!

Yet, unlike the more cryptic ending so often found on my beloved show, including this episode, I find I must ever make the plea to reach for Christ and the hope He holds out to make beauty out of this present ugliness.

And, I am also hopeful that whether or not you have any knowledge of The Twilight Zone and its often chilling wisdom that you will understand and get something out of this ramble of mine. And, so, on with it…πŸ™‚

The Monsters Are Still Due On Maple Street

Courtesy IMDB.

The scene first unfolds unremarkably.

Just a simple burg in simple times.

People about their business quietly,

Even pleasantly…

And then, comes the foreboding flash.

Uncertainty gives rise,

Through the peace cutting a

Considerable gash.

Questions beget questions,

Suspicions their suspicions.

Before the dust can settle down low,

Mistrust festers and grows,

Flows a curdling cry

To split the tranquil lie

With heightened panic,

And drive for answers edges into

A state of the manic.

Is friend really friend?

Or do they only pretend?

How to know what is truth really?

Is there any,

Or has all dissolved to mere

Conspiracy?

In gathering dark,

Frightened feet begin to race,

Seemingly without aim,

Yet tightened grips on stones

Speak more purposeful tones

As with angered heft they’re hurled,

Caring not anymore on who they heap

Blame,

As long as it isn’t they

That bear any accountability for this

Sin-soaked world…

Instead, looking wildly here and there

For the Monsters due on Maple Street,

Caught in the chaos

Of a fear-mongering heartbeat,

Never recognizing what has silently

Crept in

Is the hideous reflection of our own

Sin.

For we are the real monsters of Maple Street,

Destroying each other and all we

Could be…

No one else bears that responsibility

But we,

Though we cannot seem to see…

As the man in the book of James,

We’ve glanced in the glass

And remembrance of our desperate

Need

Has faded all too fast!

Oh, Lord, I look at our current

Landscape,

And pray from us this unsightly

Ugliness You will scrape.

Painful though the process is sure to

Be,

Train our eyes to recognize

Only You can take the monstrous

And make something of beauty…

Oh, may we leave behind the fear mongering! May we ever recognize the truth of our own corruption and our desperate need for Him! Blessings and prayers, dear friends! Thanks for reading! ❀

If you find yourself interested, here is the full episode:

These Are Big Days

Hello, my friends! It’s been a few again, hasn’t it?

I confess I have had somewhat a lack of inspiration lately-at least for my favorite deep, poetic word-painting.

Sigh.

It’ll return, I know. It always does.

But, just now, my mind is too stuffed to do more than simply unload.

Forgive me. πŸ™‚

A major part of that, I guess, is the busyness that has steadily crept up in my family of late.

These are big days in our corner of the world. Big days indeed.

Beautifully, dauntingly BIG.

For starters, our middle boy turned 16 late last month and the youngest turned 8 the other day.

Our fanfare may’ve been somewhat more limited than usual due to our country’s current circumstances, but both celebrations had their share of joy, pizza, and giant birthday cookie sugar rushes.😊

Now, we are poised for our only daughter’s 8th grade promotion-a tradition in our community that was delayed along with so much else, but, now, allowed to continue as a safe, masked affair. Grateful for creative minds making something important still possible for our kiddos.

And, perhaps the biggest of all, we recently got to have a safe, socially distanced high school graduation for my oldest.

He will be off to college this very weekend, as it’s rather pertinent his engineering studies remain actually hands-on in classroom.

I am certainly feeling the emotions of this poem I shared earlier this year, let me tell you!

We have actually seen shifts in venue, shifts in decisions, shifts in circumstances even since then, but with equal measures nerves and excitement, ready he is to walk through the doors God has opened.

Ready are they all for various launches and changes.

And my husband and I?

Ah, jury’s still out, honestly! πŸ˜‰

Hard to believe so much is happening so swiftly!

My adorable bonus baby born of my second chance is now only two short years from double digits!

My sweet consolation prize autistic beauty is heading for high school!

My middle boy, my astonishingly mature little rock, is two short years from a graduation of his own!

And my eldest-this brilliant, oft-baffling one who started this whole crazy, amazing journey into motherhood in general and on the autism spectrum specifically, is fully adult and preparing to fly. 😒

It takes the breath and any attempt at adequate words, my friends.

I am by turns proud and terrified.

The wheels in my brain roll to this concern and that thrill.

This hope and that fear.

This coming into their owns in this turbulent season alone is enough to set the mind reeling. 😳

At times, it even momentarily paralyzes me with a dozen tasks yet in hand!

But, then, in the midst of that comes the gentle reminder from the Father to place my reliance on Him.

He who wraps us all in His hands.

And I can push forward with that knowledge, then, keeping my step in time with His, trusting that He who began a good work in each of my dear ones will be faithful to complete it…

He can do no less, after all. He’s God. πŸ™‚

And, so He will do the same for us all, friends, when we rest in Him. Thanks for letting me unload a bit about our big days. Blessings and prayers! ❀

Thought I’d share a few photos for a change…

P.S. Something else big- I noted I have made it past the one year mark with this particular blogging effort and have yet to want to close up shop and run. 😊 Believe me when I say that is HUGE for me! Thank you so much for being an integral reason I have had this breakthrough, dear friends! I pray we can continue to have many years of fellowship to come!❀❀❀

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! ❀

God Is In Control

I have never really done this sort of post, but this song has been on repeat in my brain for so long now I feel His tug to share it with you, dear friends.

Along with a couple of others I will likely look up and share with you down the road, this particular song has shored me up time and again with its simple reminder that no matter what comes our way-be it illness, heartbreak, civil unrest, -ahem-election results, GOD is in control!

To forget this truth is to forget what a mighty God we serve, which is not only a tremendous shame but cheats us of the peace that ought to reside in our hearts!

So, that said, listen, be encouraged, and be blessed! Much love and many prayers!

DO NOT FEAR!

Still somewhat on sabbatical, so to speak, but I can’t neglect an opportunity to add a word in these stressful, fearful days.

One of my favorite Christian groups, Apologetix, sends out awesome, encouraging newsletters.

Their lead singer, J. Jackson, had a few great scriptures I thought suited the situation more than any words I could come up with.

God always says it best, after all! πŸ˜‰

So, without further ado…

Psalm 37:8b
Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.

1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

John 14:27
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Philippians 4:6-7
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

So, essentially, don’t panic, my friends! God’s got this! Let your hearts rest in these truths.

Blessings and prayers! β€οΈπŸ™‚

Are We There Yet?

Now, on first glance, this picture feels like nothing but scribbles. Primarily, it was approached as such. πŸ™‚ 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…πŸ™‚

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! 😊