Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Kairos Season

Winds in the east, mist coming in, / Like somethin' is brewin' and bout to begin. / Can't put me finger on what lies in store, / But I fear what's to happen all happened before.
Bert // Mary Poppins
I haven't slept well since Wednesday.
That is to say that I am either sleeping ridiculously hard or not at all.
Hello old friend.
*insert eye roll*
I texted a friend the other day that maybe I DO have the gift of prophecy...I mean how many times have I said, "This is how it works - you pray and pray and pray - worry that God doesn't hear you - then out of nowhere BAM! God shows up and does the thing you need/ask/want him to do - then you whine - Too soon God. Too soon!" We are incredible douches that way. I offer up the Israelites circa Red Sea miracle times as exhibit A, B, and C.
So hear I sit weighing out the delivery of said prayer request and wondering what the bloody hell am I supposed to do now?!?!?! {Siri's voice is now a British accent - thanks Haiti Girls - so I sometimes bounce into the accent.}
First, I keep praying. Praying through the fear, the anxiety, the sleepless/restless nights, and in those prayers of whining, I praise God because he is always good....he always comes through...and he is sovereign (ergo In. Control.).
Second, I make a list...and then another....and then another. I am a list maker. That is who I am. That is what I do. 'Make the plan; work the plan' was an off-shoot of 'Make the list; work the list..' God expects me to use my gifts; especially now.
Third, I write. I am going to write until my fingers bleed because THIS is the story. This is my story. This is the good stuff. I don't know who or if anyone will EVER read any of this hot mess (or the hot mess being saved in journals and hard drives; I know shocker - this is only a snippet, what I share here), but that is not the point. The point is to write. To document. I was here. I lived. I loved. I overcame. I did all of those things from the 'foot of the cross posture' because once life brought me low, I realized I needed to be there not from a point of shame, but one of praise. Documenting this journey has been part of how I have survived (and continue to survive), and how God continues to teach me. I can go through a thousand exercises, but none works more than when I sit down here and just start typing and the Holy Spirit shows up and comes out of my fingertips. I literally 'active write' so, in a nutshell, I am as surprised by what I am reading as you are....LOL
Fourth, I am going to remain faithful and calm even as I step out in faith. The whole point of faith is to have it even when you cannot see or touch or feel or maybe even understand it all. Mine has and will continue to be tested. I plan to honor that. I plan to ask others to hold my hands,  pray for me, encourage me, and push me when I need it. Faith is watered in community.
....that is a start....
Last night my niece wanted to watch "How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days" so aunt that I am, I obliged. I love that movie too. Imagine my surprise as the movie wrapped and this song played, Weight Of The World by Chantal Kreviazuk, and I really heard the lyrics for the first time. Ever do that??? It happens to me...A. Lot. Freaks me out a little....actually.
I digress.
So...I am listening to the words and then have to go search for them. I ended up posting them on Instagram because I like to share the songs that are setting my heart free in this season. The photo though, I loved even more....see below...

'Unstuck: She moves gracefully from one season to the next.' Anyone else see that one above??? Well....that my friends IS a LOFTY goal for me.
I will say this....please pray for me....hang is going to get interesting around here. I promise to share as much as I can, when I can, but a lot will read vague for awhile...BUT the undercurrents of what I am feeling, my decision-making process, and the lessons will be crystal clear. If any of that helps you in your own journey, my heart swells with blessing for you. If not, feel free to laugh along with me as I bumper-car my way through another season of transitions (yes, plural).
Finally, I have never asked people to post comments or enter their email address on my main blog page so that they could be notified of new blog posts when they arrive, but this morning on a writing break for more coffee....I sensed I was supposed to do both of those the hot mess of a life you have (and trust me I know you do), if I could ask this of comments here or on my Facebook writing page - share what you are loving or hating; what you find challenging; what speaks to you OR simply say - 'press on Heather, you are going to be okay.' I anticipate the spiritual attack on me that is coming will be intense. Also, if you go to my main page, there is a place in the upper right-hand corner where you can enter your email address so that every time I publish a post, it goes right to your email. I want you to stay informed of this journey, so please take 30 seconds and enter your email address and join me for the ride. As nervous as I am, I am also giddy. As I said to my friend the other day through laughter and tears, "Only Jesus." So whatever anxiety and nervousness and long road that is ahead of me....I know why I am here and for whom. I am going to honor that with ALL that I am. My arms are no longer wide open for myself, but for others. I want to serve others the rest of my days. In whatever way God wants me to. All for him.
This morning my friend Sherri sent me the word 'Kairos' to which of course I went and looked it up. She is out at Bethel and one of the speakers spoke that we are in a Kairos time. So after reading the meaning, the Biblical references, and looking up to God for a bit with some sass, "Are you kidding me?" I can say here, I could not agree more. I believe we are in a Kairos season globally, and let me be clear....right here in my own little heart and world. So as I read and pray and mull over that word and the lessons there awhile longer this morning, I am praying that whatever season YOU are in, that you realize this morning that seasons come and go...but that God is constant and in control. He loves you. He is for you. There is no better cheerleader. Let me raise both hands and testify.
If you are looking for inspiration or love or hope or joy or rebuke or restoration, let me offer up the entire book of Isaiah (not to mention II Samuel) for your weekend reading pleasure. I could read Isaiah all day every day as it is the most beautiful, convicting words for my heart. Of all the Bible, Isaiah is the book that has been my go-to throughout these past several years. In times of stress or celebration, anxiety at my doorstep, brokenhearted, new adventures, purging of the old, and walking into new freedoms...there it is. Perfectly said. Every. Single. Time.
I don't know what season you find yourself in, but as my heart rate quickens with every next step in my own Kairos Season...I am going to slide up as close to God as I can get...burrow myself under his arm, next to his side, and hold on...because I know to whom I belong and who I want guiding every step, every decision, every move.
One more thing....if you need a soundtrack today, Brian and Jenn Johnson's new album After All These Years is AMAZING, but my song I type is THIS, and the lyrics to Gravity are included on the video. You. Are. Welcome.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Speak To Me

I need a lot of grace on this post....this "thought" is not fully fleshed out, which is really saying something since my writing process IS fleshing out the thought while I type....
*laughing out loud nervously*

I digress.
This one is REALLY not fleshed out.
Maybe the promise is finding it in little moments within the chaos.
I know.
A year and a half ago God gave me what I lovingly call "The Promise" and I have had enough confirmations to know that God is in it, so I continue to dream about it and focus on watching God unfold it in his time. I am so patient....I never get anxious. LOL *insert eye roll*
In the past few months, I have been having these "Spidey Sense" moments where I almost feel like I am....wait for it...."in the promise" experiencing it in real time. How crazy do I sound??? So...the promise is about time and space and place and God (that is all I am going to share right now..."Vague much?" you are thinking). It is VERY personal and frankly, in order for it to happen, some pretty transformational things must occur in my life. Like BIG things. God-sized things.

So, this morning after church I am listening to THE most beautiful song (I am currently obsessed with (listen to it HERE)) and though I have heard it a dozen times already over the weekend, while it is playing this time I am thinking about The Promise and hoping for it sooner rather than later - just a small moment to HOPE. Then I feel it, BAM! I am in it....yesterday as I rested and today in church... I am in it. I am in the feeling of The Promise. What I mean by that, is that I can feel what my spirit will feel then - Good Grief - I sound insane!!!! *face in my hands*
Then I realize...maybe part of The Promise is the ability to find it in the little moments of the chaos of the now BEFORE I fully experience it. Maybe God is trying to teach me something here and now about the bigger story he will show me then. Maybe, just maybe, I am losing it. LOL
I have a lot of "secret" writing going on right now (no need to get excited), and I was working on a piece before church this morning from some notes in my journal and this line popped out, "finding and loving God in both the beautiful and the brutal" and I felt suddenly dizzy.
My Sis is worried about me right now. I am going through some pretty heady stuff in counseling and it is taking me back to people and places I would rather leave neatly packaged up on the shelf. I worry about me too when I think about it too long, but that is the deal you make when you reach out and claim the baton of healing. You walk boldly into the backyard where you buried all the dead bodies and you dig them all back up. You face them, you forgive them, you forgive yourself, and then you bury them properly (with all of the pop and circumstance), and then you move on - one step in front of the other - in full healing. In my case, you also document this hot mess because God told you it would help you 'get over yourself' and maybe help someone else too. I'm super duper happy about all of that too (that is sass - hear my tone as you read it). In all seriousness, if this helps someone avoid three decades of self-hatred, I say read on and claim healing for yourself. God didn't mean for you to live like that...not ever.
Boy....what a digression.
My point is that I crested a few waves this past week, instead of being crushed by them, and so even sick as a dog like I was, it was a great week for Heather's heart and soul. Yay ME! I also needed the "wins" as I am anxious to finish the work in the backyard so I can focus on the front, so to speak. Actually the analogy looks more like finish the backyard and step into a whole new neighborhood; there is a lot of open road out there. I am anxious to explore it.
Back to The Promise.
I hear you God. I see you God. Keep speaking to me. I am listening. I hang on every word you say.
God is right here with us in the every day, every moment. In the sick days stuck in bed. In the crazy times at work. In the sermon that breathes fresh life into your lungs. In the thank you notes written. In the journal pages filled with dreams, to dos, and doodles. In the song you found by accident and played over and over. In the laundry you finally got caught up on. The orange juice you are enjoying like you just discovered it for the first time. In the denim shirt you finally ordered (took four years) so you could finally throw away the one you have had for 25+ years. It is in the photos you finally went through and packed away. It is in the to do lists you finally conquered, and the trash you finally emptied. The words you finally wrote. The letter you finally sent. The sin you finally forgave yourself for committing. The friend you finally called. The person you finally forgave. The check you finally mailed. The gift you ordered. The flowers you sent. The loss you grieved. The bed you made. The food you tried. The words you gave life to. The conversation you finally had with someone you love. The dream you finally allowed yourself to have.....and on and on.
God is in it....all.
Speak to me.

When I was a little girl....
I loved Jesus and people. I loved singing and writing and reading. I loved playing house, church, and school. I loved snuggling and bear hugs. I loved being loved well, and I loved loving others BIG - big hugs, homemade cards and gifts, over-the-top, stand at the window for hours waiting, sign-making - ways.
Most of all of I typed....come with pop-up memories from the age of 3-9.
My "before" years.
Before I knew real pain, real loss, and abandonment.
Before the enemy took my family out behind the woodshed and whipped us...but good.
On my bad days, even now at 45, the "before" years mark me. They mark my doubts, my emotions, my reactions, and the real crap-fest -- they mark how I see myself, how I see my very heart.
The core truth is though....I still love of all those things, and dammit, I want them back!!  I want my six year old heart back in my 46 year old body (46 is just a few months away)....and I want to LOVE from that sweet place of "integration" (counseling term) which comes from a place of healing and wholeness I don't have a lot of experience with....but I want it....I am fighting for it...Every. Single. Day. I want The Promise and part of that promise is no longer wandering in the desert as a brokenhearted nine year old wondering what the hell happened to my life, my family, and God forgive own heart. I know what happened. Life happened. The enemy happened. Humans happened. I was collateral damage in the third act of a play I didn't sign up for....and neither I, at the age of nine, nor anyone around me, was equipped to deal with what happened to us....or what would continue to happen to us as the waves crashed on top of our family again, and again, and again, and again.....and again.
I met a nine year old girl at the children's home last week. I was there to help. Funny how that works, you go to help someone in "need" and they help you MORE. I was waiting on someone at the swing set, so I started swinging alone when a little girl walks up and sits in the swing next to me. We start talking. She is nine. Nine. I look up and take a long, slow deep breath. The kind of slow breath you take right before, and full-on knowing, God is about to teach you something. I am taking a deep breath now just trying to type this out. My heart is still raw from the encounter. This girl tells me about her dreams, what she loves to do, and about her 'hot mess of a family' story. She is as matter-of-fact and calm, cool, and collected as an 80 year old man who went to war, came back, and lived a full life. She is fully present. I am....undone and in awe. What is the difference between her and me? Ponder that because I have for a week and am still working it out.
Here is what I know to be true. Today.
Healing comes from community....with others.
That means I have to be open and honest with others...about and with my life while also giving others the time and space to be open and honest with their lives. Daily.
Holy Spirit Come.
Speak to me.
Healing comes when I finally get tired enough of being broken, that I allow God to be God....In. Me.
Speak to me.
Healing comes when I believe in The Promise...every day....more than I believe in the lies I have swallowed as gospel....for years....about myself, my life, my calling, my future.
Speak to me.
Healing comes when I choose the best of me over the worst of me, and I operate from that place. Daily.
Speak to me.
Healing comes when I am no longer the Israelite needing God to part the Red Sea in order to believe, but faithfully and obediently put my foot in the Jordan River BEFORE and while the water is still rushing along, ready to sweep me along, because I KNOW God will MOVE.
Speak to me.
Healing comes when I stand before God and say, "I am 46! I am still as strong today as the day you sent me out; I'm just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that you promised me that day." {I usurped Joshua 14:10-12.}
Speak to me.
The voices in my own head and heart have been YELLING at me for over three decades. Quieting those voices, those lies, the pain that came from a result of them, and even the pain that started the difficult. Maybe, just maybe the hardest battle yet. Maybe it is really has been the core battle all along....these past several years. Quieting them so I could hear God, and now trying to kill them so there is only God. So, imagine my surprise when a nine year old girl demonstrates for me that the trick isn't killing them, it is knowing WHAT they are and simply not letting them DEFINE me.
I just sat backwards and looked up...there it is...the lesson.
Speak to me.
Those things that hurt me. They really hurt. I didn't imagine them. They didn't happen to someone else. They hurt me. They happened to me. They defined me.
BUT...they don't have to define me...still.
Speak to me.
I wish heaven were here. I wish that people didn't get hurt. No one got sick. Injustice was not a word, much less a reality. I wish pain were no more and death an old wive's tale.
Someday it will be.
Heaven is real. It simply isn't
What is here is this odd space continuum where pain and joy coexist. Where we live at war and fight for Eden. Where love and hate are spoken in the same sentence. Where God is real, but so is the enemy. Where we are challenged daily to overcome and then throw our hand back to help our neighbor do the same.
Speak to me.
I am grateful. I am siting here utterly and ridiculously grateful that God is sitting right here with me cheering me through this hot mess of healing.  I am grateful that I have a tribe, a community, a family, and strangers everywhere being used by God to hold my hand and walk with me a bit before handing me off to another "angel unaware" to go along together on the next bit of road. {I see the visual in my is breathtaking. Suddenly I see that dirt road in Haiti I wrote about HERE.}
We are all out here...together....fighting for our own healing, fighting for other's healing, loving, learning, and grabbing joy with both hands. I hope that you are letting God speak to your heart....maybe even to the parts wrapped up on a shelf or buried in the backyard. I won't lie to you and say that it easy, but it is worth it. For real. The Promise, whatever your promise might be, is real too. God has something for each of us, but no friend or foe can unearth that for you; only time with God - listening for/to him, reading the Bible, meditating and prayer, and mostly (maybe this is just me) learning to walk with him....Every. Day.
When I was a little girl....
I loved the song "My God and I" goes "My God and I go in the fields together...We walk and talk, as good friends should and do. We clasp our hands, our voices ring with laughter...."
I found a video of it - listen HERE....Beautiful.
Praying for you a beautiful Sunday full of rest, walking, talking, and listening....with God. Where is God? Right there next to you....waiting.
Speak to me.

Friday, February 17, 2017

A Moment of Reflection

This morning I am just minding my own business scrolling through Twitter and come across someone's repost of Brene Brown TED Talk on Shame, and so I go and grab another cup of coffee and settle in to watch....again. The truth is that I have not watched it in a couple of years, but this morning all I could think of (after yesterday) was the first time I watched it in early 2013. Back then, coming across Brene (who was unknown to me) and watching her (two) TED Talks was like some surreal, out of body experience. I was undone and giddy simultaneously. Now, four years later I have devoured four of her books, written and spoken on my own journey with shame and vulnerability, and after three years of that....cannonballed into counseling last year.
So....I am sitting here listening to this accepting how far I have come and realizing areas I still need to work on.
When she gets to this quote and reads it aloud.....

The Man in the Arena
 It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. 
....I am undone.
So I started listening even more mind working through the visual memories of the last few I am incorporated her words into my daily life....and then...
"If we’re going to find our way back to each other, vulnerability is going to be that path. And I know it’s seductive to stand outside the arena, because I think I did it my whole life, and think to myself, I’m going to go in there and kick some ass when I’m bulletproof and when I’m perfect. And that is seductive. But the truth is that never happens. And even if you got as perfect as you could and as bulletproof as you could possibly muster when you got in there, that’s not what we want to see. We want you to go in. We want to be with you and across from you. And we just want, for ourselves and the people we care about and the people we work with, to dare greatly."
...that was me, and honestly, on my worst days (now), that still is me. It IS seductive.
Here is the ballgame....
Are you willing to leave everything at the door (or alter) and cross the threshold into unchartered territory and peel yourself layer by layer until you find your true center....and then, gasping for air, sit a spell and start operating from the very center, the heart, of Who. You. Are. ???
Who you REALLY are.
I have barreled through my life like a yesterday morning in a meeting when I caught my own posture - relaxed in the chair, softness in my face, normal breathing, fully present - while in the middle of frankly a crap storm, I smiled all the way to my insides. When I recognize these moments in myself, they leave me breathless...even now. I know they are more frequent and some probably think it is silly to take stock of them at this point, but the truth is I hope I never ever get over the thrill of feeling peaceful. My pastor says all the time, "I hope I never ever get over being saved." Me too, but I also hope I never ever get over being healthy.
Yesterday someone spoke some good old fashioned truth into me about what they had seen in me over the past year; this is someone who sees me five days a week, but doesn't know my "story" (per se) so their words had an authenticity that your heart believes on a different level because they "don't have to love you" - LOL. Their encouragement on the heels of yesterday morning was refreshing to my soul.
Which leads me to this point....
We need to spend more time encouraging each other.
We need to encourage the person who looks like they have it all together....the one obviously struggling....the person who we see trying to do better....the person we love....the person we struggle stranger across from us at Starbucks....the person taking our money in the parking garage....anywhere, with everyone, All. The. Time.
We need to be encouragers.
We need it.
They need it.
Sure I am better. Sure I was having a decent day. Sure I am getting over a respiratory infection so healing is coming. Sure, sure, sure.
I still needed those encouraging words. They still pierced my heart.
The enemy wants me to believe I am not improving OR when I do acknowledge improvement, the enemy whispers to me about how long it is taking and "are we not there yet?" kind of nonsense. Imagine a person who never admitted weakness turning into me - writing about all of their weaknesses. There is, in essence, a bulls-eye on my back for the enemy. Sometimes his lies are deafening as they ring in my ears.
So....don't let the time it takes scare you....or the mountains still ahead deter you. Accept the encouragement when it is offered. Sit a spell, catch your breath, and then...keep moving forward. One step at a time.
Growth is hard....the waves crashing against and over you so when you crest one - savor it.
Savor. It.
Yesterday I crested the waves so I threw open my arms, leaned back, looked up, felt the sunshine on my face, and whispered "Holy Spirit come".....if even for a moment. It was the best.
Now...who can I encourage today???
Who can you???

Holy Spirit come. Again and again and again. Come.