“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! ❤

Rich Mullins – Hold Me Jesus (with Introduction)

Went looking for this song tonight. Really, really needed it.

Actually, I have more than one CD with it on there, but, the phone’s in the hand and the CDs are way over there…😏

Anyway, I stumbled on this version with a short clip ahead of it where Rich explains this beautiful song so… beautifully.

In such a way my heart feels reminded of His truth just when I need it most.

God always, always has a way of meeting us where we are. 🙂

Wherever you are and whatever you are dealing with, know Jesus is here to hold you, friend.

Listen and be blessed. ❤

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! ❤

Wherever the Road

Hey, dear friends. Wanted to be back to some in-depth writing. Didn’t want this to be a prolonged break…but, looks like it will be. I just can’t seem to summon up anything but the dreariness I have been facing…and this space isn’t intended to be about that. It’s in the byline-It’s not about me. It’s about Him.

So…all this to say this honest little bit of poetry is my final piece to you- for a while. I hope to come back down the road a ways.

Thank you for your love, prayers, and concern. Know I hold the same for you in my heart.

I can’t do this anymore…

At least, not for quite a while.

Not packing up exactly,

Not erasing these efforts as in days past

Nor leaving an empty store.

To that determination I’m holding fast.

Just…can’t keep coming here right now

With my dialed-in smile.

Feels like any could spot it as a fake

For half a mile.

Nor can I keep comfortably coming,

Wagging this laundry bag of sorrow

And try to claim it’ll be scrubbed

Bright for the morrow.

Right now…it’s just not.

And I am caught

Without a pretty phrase left to my coffers.

No ready cheer, no heady offers.

So…it’s silence for the time being.

Not sure how long

Nor what this round of solitude will bring.

All I do know is that

I know Jesus is wherever the road takes me.

All I can rest in is that He never forsakes me…

And so He never forsakes any of us.

Until such a time as I feel He’s calling me back to this space…

Thanks for reading. Blessings and prayers to you, dear friends. ❤

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! ❤

Our Job

I could say a lot of things today. There remains so much…unrest. Not the first instance, of course, and certainly won’t be the last.

But, I don’t think this particular bout will leave us anytime soon, sadly. And I believe it grieves the Lord’s heart.

Contrary to popular belief, His intent for us is not to stand on harsh rhetoric and self-righteousness.

Rather, it is truth- in love.

Again, I could say a lot of things. But, I won’t.

That whole truth in love thing…it’s really important.

So….I will be obedient to that.

All He really desires of me today, it seems, is to point out one key thing:

We are all so frail.

So terribly, remarkably…human.

Far too prone to pick up the hammer in our unskilled hands and make a mess trying to fix this broken world ourselves-as if it’s our job!

Far too prone to forget there is One who already came along, gathered our shambles, and did it better -did it completely, in fact-with three nails and two rough planks of wood…😉

And demonstrated to us just why this job is not ours, but His.

So, with a snippet of humor here and a sly dig there (trust me, I feel some elbow in my ribs, too 🙂), plus a fair amount of His amazing grace to soothe it all, let me remind us what our job really is…

We are such carnal beings,

In slouchy suits

And muddy boots,

Everything seeming such vital things,

But how easily we forget all but one is temporary!

And we are ever so wrong

When we flex muscles

And throw about colorful verbiage in a tussle,

Daring to call ourselves strong-

There’s ample evidence to the contrary!😏

And woe to us when we pretend

It is within our puny power

To save the world with all its myriads of trouble!

Let me just gently but decidedly burst

That particular bubble:

It’s not.

Psst.

It’s not even our job. 😮

“But-but, I must!

It’s on us!” comes the sob.

Yes, the price of sin is ours;

No doubt, it’s our degradation the air sours,

But, remember, friend, our salvation’s

Already been bought!

For Jesus Christ paid it all,

With all that is most dear.

With each precious drop of blood

He answered our anguished call,

Taking on our fight

And making it so we might

Face eternity without fear!

If only we’d lay down the unwieldy

Hammers of our fumbled sense

And just accept our job is to accept His love fulfilled!

For, the cross is full of evidence

Of just how agonizingly,

Yet so perfectly it was unfurled!

And, then, the task becomes to go

Share this happy truth with others,

Let His love and joy in every corner of earth spill,

Shining light to both friend and foe,

And, thereby, let Jesus be the One to

Save this broken world…

Remember, Jesus is still Jesus, my dear friends! We may be fallible, but He is mighty to save and that never changes no matter what else does! Let Him be your strength this day and every day! Blessings and prayers! ❤

Watch “Sonicflood – Holiness (feat Wilshire)” on YouTube

Yes, back to share another song.

What, Marisa?

This quickly? You usually space them out…

Ok, yes, I know. But, I was honestly in a soul searching sort of mood this evening.

Everyone else is busy. So, I turned to some music from my early twenties.

And I recalled why this song meant so much to me then and why it is still so significant today.

For holiness, faithfulness, and brokenness are far too absent in us right now.

Seeking His will above our own is missing in action as well.

As a world.

As a nation.

As those who profess the holy name of Jesus.

We have forgotten how to take up this cry for much too long in our brash, shoot-our-mouths-off-as-we-please, push-and-shove-for-our-way society.

May we learn to take it up again, Lord!

Have a listen, dear friends, and feel inspired by the simple words and lovely melody to seek His face.

Blessings and prayers. ❤

The Onus

Hello, there! I had jotted down the first few lines of this one quite some time ago but could not find a finish till now.

It is easy to despair the state of our world and allow these cares to distract us from the mission we all have as His children. I pray we do not abandon His call to share the gospel, especially in this season where hope and healing are so desperately needed. May these few simple lines stir our hearts…

Why should we be surprised

When lost people act lost?

When their blinded eyes

Don’t recognize Calvary’s cost?

It’s dismaying,

The things they’re doing and saying,

There’s no doubt.

Yet, these heartwrenching things

They are displaying?

It’s often the inclination they know

The most about.

Never to excuse, mind you.

God’s truth is in every bit of creation

Calling out to draw and to woo.

But, believers, I feel I must say,

The burden to share Jesus

Is on us;

The onus is on us to point the way.

And, then, it is for us to stay,

Not to neglect to disciple and to pray,

But, rather, with humbleness of heart

To be a willing part,

Of seeing His filling impart,

Springing new life out of the decay.

May we indeed be about His business, sharing the truth of Jesus with those in need! Blessings and prayers, dear friends! Thanks for reading! ❤