Michael W Smith Missing Person

Hi, friends. I don’t really have too many pithy phrases to offer today except I really, really miss sharing my old tunes with you. πŸ™‚

Dozens of Smitty songs have moved me from teen years on, but this one hit my heart hard from the first listen and has never left.

And it just felt right for where I have been this last little while. For it reminds me of the importance of deep, honest reflection before the Father’s throne. Only then can we find what we are searching for. Even ourselves.

I don’t know where you are in your walk with Christ or even if you have one at this point (If you have questions on this, feel free to reach out via my about page.), but I pray this touches your soul in whatever way God intends.

Have a listen and be blessed ❀

Spending

Hello, friends. This is not quite the first poem I’d pictured sharing in coming back, but it comes of one of those little grains of a thought that grew into a full-grown ponder before I knew it. So…as ever, I must surrender any personal agendas and give in to His…

Spending, spending…

Everybody seems always busy spending

Something.

Granted, sometimes necessary in the state of living,

Or, one hopes, in the fond act of giving.

But, other times?

Ah, naught but a careless fling!

Cold hard cash water-spouting out

First comes to mind,

But not this alone, oh no…

So many other gleeful sprees

Consumers cavort in so free…

So many mindless fritterings we can find!

Some of us stupidly spend away our given talent;

Some pitch on the wind their precious time.

For others, principles are too easily sent

Only to come back oily and bent,

And perhaps, most tragic of all

Are those whose bodies, whose very hearts are cast

Aside to be nickled and dimed…

And what by these misguided attempts

Do any of us stand to gain?

For, in the end, none are exempt

From answering to how we spent our days.

That is why it is imperative

All He allows us to possess

From our moments to our gifts

We must rightly lift

Up to the cross and nothing less.

For all other seed-scattered pursuits

Produce none but rotten fruits.

Such poison it is to the foolish soul!

Ah, Lord, over all that is spent we need You in control!

Yes, indeed, here are the purse-strings of my very being,

Every second of my time,

Take and assist,

Teach me to wisely budget, cautiously resist

Spending wily-nily this God-given life of mine…

May we be ever prayerful in how we spend our lives! Thanks for reading! Blessings and prayers!

Here

Well, hello there to anyone still hanging around these incredibly silent halls.

Don’t adjust your dial (oy, does that ever date me….😏)

Yes, it’s me.

I am here….

And I’m not.

Huh? What now? πŸ€”

Well, I don’t want this to be misconstrued.

This is not the umpteenth “Welcome Back, Kotter” moment in my life.

Expect no sudden, prolific flow from this pitiful scribe’s brain.

Those things which I wrestled with when I closed this door continue to press in on all sides. My ability to articulate as well as just the sheer drive to do so remain largely seized up inside.

Seriously. You should see how my fingers stutter over the keys right now, trying their darndest to summon up the right phrasing.

But such is the land of living. Questions dangle, obligations loom, but still, we put one foot in front of the other.

Or one finger after another on homerow….😏

So….if this is so much like a dental visit ( the yanking teeth kind), the biggest question might be why do it at all?

Well, nothing profound really.

For there are no big “wows” in my world to report.

The family is in the thick of what it always is right now…school, music, and scraping together a livelihood.

My pain goes on, too, but, hey, there is breath in my lungs, so that’s good.

But, overall, it’s such a nothingness to share I hesitated long and hard whether I even should.

Still, something in my gut just had a longing to come and be here.

Just for a few moments.

To say hello. To say I miss you, friends.

To say I think about and pray for you often.

And to remind myself vulnerability isn’t the same as weakness.

That derision isn’t always a forgone conclusion to opening my troubled soul.

That I can still form a few paltry words here and maybe find a friend genuinely glad to see me on the other end.

For there is worth in that simple thing, I suppose.

In this all-too-often harsh, cold-shouldered world, we have need of one another.

I know this in the depths of my being but, sometimes, depression can hem in on all sides and give a pretty convincing argument to just stay in that isolated place for safety’s sake.

Admitting to it can be the challenge of a lifetime.

But, perhaps, well worth trying…

Again, where this isn’t to say I am returning to penning a lot of profound thought, there is a lovely something in being here I cannot deny.

Now, I don’t really know what awaits me following the press of the ol’ send button, of course.

And, again, no idea what the future of my work here holds.

Yet, I know I must follow the Godly hand guiding it…

So, for the first time in months, let me say thanks for reading, dear friends. Blessings and prayers. ❀

Bogged

Hey there, dear friends. I have had a lot going lately from VBS skits to welcoming a new pastor, facing renewed and new frustrations…

And I find myself…weary. Whereas there should be joy in some of those things, I find it there, but only for the moment it takes for raindrops to fleck and fade on glass.

And the frustrations are just…a lot of unwanted visitors who return again and again. I could voice my thoughts on such, and yet…

It begins to feel without any real use. I hate to term it “jaded”, but, it’s certainly edging into that territory.

And so…I go quiet.

Tight-lipped over how I really feel.

Stop all the confiding, any attempts at exhorting others, since it feels disingenuous, or seeking encouragement, since I can’t seem to allow it in the way I should.

Until…

It all bursts forth in poem eventually.😏

Now, I don’t think of this as my best attempt, and, please don’t take offense, but I am beginning to feel even this place, my beloved WordPress, is not necessarily the help it once was.

Not due to any of you, of course. This is all me.

My quiet spells and lack of concentration to keep up with everyone here are increasing, which does give me a pang of regret, as I care sincerely for each of you.

Not to mention fatigue. Realllly tired of arriving at this mindset again and again.πŸ™„

The determination not to wipe out my work here remains strong.

But the desire to write and participate is…waning.

And I don’t really want it to.

Yet…I feel it slipping out of my hands this time.

Anyway…enough spiel. Here is my latest thoughts in poem. Thanks for reading. Blessings and prayers as ever.❀

So many things to write in my brain…

Big beginnings without an end….

They rise up only to be sent

Down the proverbial drain…

Had some triumphs in these weeks,

Some lovely things of which I feel I ought rightly to speak.

Had a few mighty blows, too,

Disappointment and unsettling discoveries anew,

But sadness from such has only burrowed on through,

Tunneling in deep.

Smiles I cannot seem to keep,

But nor can I summon up theΒ  strength to weep…

No…instead, my eyes only dim with need of sleep.

I guess you could safely say

That I am trapped in once again by

This indescribable malaise,

This tiring, bogged-in-the-reeds sensation,

Like the African Queen, only without yet a summation.

It isn’t as if love is not there,

Nor joy-

In fact, I have lately had a good share.

And, of course, I know that God is always, always there.

Yet, I face some unhappy truths

Of pain, loss of energy, loss of youth.

I find despite all efforts to push on

I just don’t feel like much from dawn to dawn.

I still pick up my Bible and read with a prayerful heart,

Of more things I have pressed myself to take part,

Yet all I gain seems to fade before I can even start.

Hurt aplenty piles in,

Poor feelings I fear I nurse.

I have to ask-is this mire just my own sin,

And lack of ability to bravely take on the worse?

I don’t know.

I don’t know, and I tire of asking myself…

Perhaps it’s time all these ponderings

Be laid upon the shelf…

Please take them, Lord

And draw us into better accord…

Dangerous Deconstruction

Hello, friends. Something on my brain I can’t leave alone.

Didn’t plan a post today but, hey, I don’t really plan them anymore, anyway. 😏

No. Instead, I find it best I wait on God to tug at my shirt sleeve a few (Ok. Sometimes several, depending on how stubborn I feel.πŸ™‚) times.

Ok. So…I have been reading an awful lot in recent times about an awful lot of well-known people who once claimed or still make attempts at a claim to Christ using the word “deconstruction” in regards to their faith, the latest being Kevin Max, formerly of my beloved mainstay, DC Talk.

Not that this sort of thing is new. I must recognize this has been the sort of statement he has been edging forward in more and more over the years, especially following the DC Talk years.

But, this most recent was perhaps the most discouraging yet. To say I am sad is an understatement.

Now, this sort of thing isn’t exactly new in any faction of society-just read Paul’s epistles if you think it is-but the recent rash of it seems to be becoming more and more inflamed.

Perhaps the 24 hour social media barrage does it.

Perhaps it’s the innate hunger of humanity to be heard on every last thought, or should I say to renounce every last thought that does not fit the cancel culture du jour…πŸ™„

At any rate, it can dismay the soul to the point of weariness when each news cycle seems to spring up with another in the body of Christ extracting themselves from the fold either blatantly or through the subtle lies of “progression”.

Especially when several of these folks are dear to me, either through music I was uplifted by, sermons once preached, or wisdom once imparted in the written word.

To hear that all that has gone before is now being shrugged off in the name of deconstruction?

It’s extremely deflating.

Now, I am no stranger to deconstruction-literal or spiritual.

As to literal, in his business, I have seen my husband take sledgehammers to walls, saw an ancient tub in two to unwedge it from a miniscule bathroom, gut entire kitchens, bring down (carefully) whole ceilings.

All in the name of making something new.

But, what he never does in remodeling is rip out the solid foundation.

Similarly, when it comes to faith, I have had to participate in my share of knocking out faulty walls and yanking out poor plumbing, for sure.

Growing up in the false doctrine of the charismatic church, there was a lot of stuff built up that had no business there!

And once I found those faults, took them to the Master Contractor, and questioned them, really questioned them, there was no turning back from total gutting of the mess made.

Deconstruction. No. Rather, reconstruction.

Complete rebuild of faith. It happens. It should happen-when it needs to happen.

But, the one thing He never said must be done away with is the solid foundation of Christ and Him crucified.

The core of faith, the Word and the truth there must remain for Him to rebuild upon. No compromises.

Because, you know what a compromise in construction is? Something that endangers the stability and durability of the whole structure!

And I think in there lies the difference between what the Lord did for me and what is happening with so many public figures in Christianity.

I will never ever regret taking those doubts to the Lord and letting Him have His way. I shudder to think what I might still be in the grips of  otherwise.

So…we all have doubts. I will never knock someone for admitting to them.

But-it’s what we then do with them that counts!

For, what is happening to so many of these folks, as well as many not in the media, is a removal from the  foundation the Lord intended for us.

It brings to mind 1 Cor. 3:11: “For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

Sometimes, it is an abrupt shift away following a period of relative obscurity, at least in our eyes, as we stumble on yet another article we thought we’d never read.

Other times, it is a very willful, in-your-face statement. Those often include not only the word “deconstruction”, but the word that I cringe at every time-“progressive”.

(Read: moral ambiguity, approval of all manners of sin, sexual and otherwise. Iffy on scripture. Path to salvation. Whether we should even talk about one way to heaven or the reality of hell.)

Oh, friends, this should not be! Progressing in that manner is not progressing at all!

In fact, whatever is built on such a foundation is doomed to fall!

So…what do we do? What is our part?

Well, firstly, a firm renouncing of such a “Christian” walk. That is a given, even if you thought this person was cool or taught you something valuable at one time.

Let people know that that “progressive” version of “following” Christ is not the Biblical version.

That following that “cool” person in the media down that path will only lead to a deconstruction that will devastate them in the end.

But, as you navigate that, you better make sure you don’t do it from a high horse or neglect recognizing your own failings or desperate need for a savior.

We must, even as we disavow certain things, do it humbly and prayerfully.

And keep these who have shifted from the foundation fast in our hearts, in hopes that they will find their way back.

Because I have to pray that Kevin, in all his introspection, will remember the words he once sang: “there ain’t no disguisin’ the truth”.

May we all remember this truth-of Jesus Christ and Him crucified, the only path to salvation, the only covering for our sins, and the only way to live FREE of those sins.

With this our foundation and God our Master Contractor, what is built in us will stand the test of time. No deconstruction necessary. πŸ™‚

Thanks for reading, dear friends! Blessings and prayers!

“The Message – 4Him

Firstly, let me thank you, dear friends, for the prayers and support after I shared my struggles here last time we met.

There are things yet to sort through and only time will tell how my situation will progress, but I am seeing breakthroughs and finding avenues to express my concerns while keeping in mind the desire to minister.

Ok. So…onto what my title refers to. Here comes yet another group that anchored me in my teens and twenties…

Safe to say, if you haven’t figured it out already, I have always listened to a LOT of music-each with its own flavor. πŸ™‚

4Him captured my attention from the first time a cassette tape of “The Basics of Life” was played for me by a high school acquaintance. I just had to have my own copy, along with everything they produced thereafter.

The authenticity and passion combined with these four beautiful voices inspired my hunger for more of Christ. Every tune seemed to point the way and I eagerly followed.

I can well recall being up to wee hours devouring one book of my Bible after another while their music played in the background.

Sometimes, I could even be caught singing along. 😏

I still remember a time my dad was home from the road one night and embarrassed me to no end knocking on my door to tell me how neat it was to hear me singing along with those guys. Maybe it was also a kind hint I might dial down on volume, but, at any rate, I think it was the compliment that threw me. πŸ™‚

Oh, it’s a nice memory, to be sure.

I think it just felt like a very private session between me and God exposed for a minute there. My relationship with my folks was beginning to mend by then, but was still often uncertain, almost awkward.

Anyway…we did wind up having a brief but good chat about where my faith was heading. And I turned back to my music further bolstered ( and turned down the volume a touch.πŸ˜‰).

And so, I continued on. Grew up. Sort of….

And, over the years, through the numerous hills I climbed and valleys I found myself in, there were my many 4Him cassettes and CDs to hold onto, usually put in and cranked over the uglier noises in my world to stir my heart on (Maybe that accounted for my fixation with the volume…😏).

Now…when it comes to choice of song to best represent my love of 4Him to you, I am once again in such a quandary.

So many of their songs speak so much to me.

In the end, I went with what convicts my heart most at present.

For, in the end, whatever I am dealing with now and whatever comes down the pike later on, my heart is to live a message.

One of faith.

One of truth.

To make my life stand as this group’s name testifies to…

For Him.

Listen, be stirred, be inspired to live such a message.

Blessings and prayers, dear friends! ❀

What’s it All About?

Hey, there, dear friends. More stops on the midlife crisis express. Buckle up. πŸ™‚

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….πŸ™‚

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! ❀

Fight for Praise

Hey,, there. Just some thoughts born this week. Sunday, I was feeling rather adrift in social anxiety visiting a church group not my own. I will be frank-I really didn’t feel very much inclined to be there. 😏

Actually, I desperately longed for escape, but, being as I was there for my husband’s sake, I took a deep breath and prayed hard I could stay the course.

And then, there came praise and worship…. No magical cure by any means, but as I quietly pushed on word by word, I was reminded of and bolstered by His ever-steady presence.

Today as the struggle and the ponder continues, I am having to remind myself He is there…

God, sometimes, the connection

Between You and me comes

Flowing like clean and cloudless

Sunshine-

Sweet and easy and free.

And sometimes, there rolls a storm

Across the skies,

Causing in me a need

To fight for praise,

Through pensive night and drudge of

Day,

A tooth and nail session,

In order to gain possession of all

That You have granted is mine

And all that You desire for me to be.

Ah, I know it’s not You, Lord

That shifts away the sunlight in these

Times.

Rather, these moments are just

Evidence

Of the human frailty through which I

Currently ford…

Some days are darker,

Harder to find the spark for.

Then, it becomes a seeking,

A beseeching thing,

Knowing when to press ferociously

Into the fray

Or when to simply lay aside my

Sword

And rest my heart in whispered

Remembrance of

What it is to humbly pray…

Oh, how I love when the praise just

Comes

Bubbling up,

And I joyfully raise my already

Overflowing cup…

So uncomplicated by care!

Yet, I find I treasure the praise that

Much more

When it is the fiercely fought for,

And I find again Your hand to help me

Bear….

Blessings and prayers, dear friends. Thanks for the read. ❀

The Better Ground

Hey, dear friends! Last night was another Wednesday, another gathering with our youth.

We managed a little pizza making, a bit of fun, a precious piece of worship, and a life-giving morsel of challenge to persevere in walking upright and in gratitude with the Lord.

And, for myself, I even experienced a slight expansion of tolerance for some of the situations weighing so heavily on me.

It’s not major shifts in my world or circumstances, but, rather, a step by step sort of journey, as I highly suspected it would be. In other words, God is beginning to move as I begin to allow His hand on me in this season of rebirth. A few words of pondering on the process…

The Better Ground

It’s a tough and a tender surrender,

A slow ache in the soul

Of the careful pretender.

Yet, there is a deeper goodness to be

Found

As I learn my Keeper always guides to

The better ground.

Not to say there is a sudden absence

Of pain in the climb

Nor that I don’t weary of

Drumming rain and the dull drag of

Time.

But, as He ministers lifebread along

The way,

Calling out both rest’s sweet

Deliverance

And the urge to seek the crest

With feet of forebearance,

I am gratefully discovering

I am sustained yet another day….

May we each allow the Lord to keep us and guide us in the climb. And may we seek both the perseverance and the gratitude needed. Blessings and prayers, dear friends! Thanks for reading! ❀

Wrestling

Still abiding in His wings, though I do rather chafe as this current circumstance in my writing goes on. I find myself wrestling for every word and fighting the shadow that saves me. Not to mention weary of posting here on depression. 😏 Some for myself, but also, yes, because the old fear of wearying someone else too much for them to stick around lurks within me yet. But, then, there are the other depressed souls that might just need to recognize themselves here. At any rate, He called me to honesty, so better that I remain in it…

Here I run to His river again,

In my hand my trusty pen.

And I turn my gaze to watery

Inspiration,

Seeking in my reflection therein

Some sort of summation,

Something that feels of worth,

Stirs of my spiritual rebirth.

Yet…full expression remains a

Struggle, my friends.

I keep scribbling thoughts and

Striving as I know I ought

Only to sweep them to the trash bin.

For I don’t want to just make this

Venture all

A mere means to a hollow end…

So…I keep trying to stretch these

Kinked muscles

Of my literary prowess

But in the midst of the world’s mad

Hustle,

I find thoughts dissipate and myself

Bowing to the infinite less.

I know that I know that I know

God is yet on His throne.

And I come there and cry out for Him

To show

What He has for me alone…

“God,” I whine, “I thought I was

Inching back.

I thought ‘on we go’,

And the words would flow

And I would be done with

This present lack!”

Yet…truth, friends?

These rubbery limbs of mine

Are only fumbling to now and again

Have the former knack.

So…do I just fling the pen aside?

I have thought of it, I confide.

For the last thing I want to become

Is just a sorry case of a writer’s sore

Pride.

Yet…I know the Lord’s tender,

Whispered voice

Cautions me to

Just. Lie. Still.

And further reminds me there is yet

Another, better choice,

A more lasting way to fulfill….

To let go and let Him take the words’

Often unwieldy reins.

For, honestly, it is nothing less than

Absurd

To wrestle the heavenly shadow

Meant only to heal and to sustain…

Blessings and prayers, dear friends! Struggling or not so much, may you find comfort in His shadow. ❀