Lids heavy from sleep, the deep dark of the house beginning its wakeful glow, I reach for my tortoise shell glasses, slide my slippered feet across the cool tiled floor, and make for the quiet of the couch. Across from where I sit, are the large windows that reveal the red bird perched upon green tree, the over-ripe fruit that litters the ground with deer nibbles, the complete stillness of an otherwise restless world.
The morning is slow and silent. Pre-kid silent. The only real time I have to sit and listen to the soft hum of nothingness hanging in the air. An invitation to entertain my own uninterrupted thoughts; my muse. Though brief, I am invited to exist only as Creator. Not wife or mother or woman. Cross-legged, sleepy-eyed, vulnerable and new. I awake tranquil, and I remain so during these moments when the house has not yet come alive. When I have yet to be five kids deep, and there’s pulling at pant legs and cries and dirty dishes and hurts that I’m supposed to heal. This time is a sanctuary that nourishes my soul to day’s end.
I pause. I breathe. With journal on lap, pen in hand, I listen. I cling to the imaginations and fiction that are just as tangible as the tea cupped between my palms. There are times when inspiration comes and goes, but I have dedicated myself to my work. So even when the sky of creativity turns and grows dark, I create my own light, I write. I practice presence. I let patience and beauty pulse through me and birth them with ink. These moments may outwardly be strung sparsely in time, but I collect and connect them throughout the day, turning random rays of words into entire constellations.
Reflection: Whatever you've been seeing in others, is what you can work on in yourself.
Expansion: Let's be deeply honest with ourselves. We have moments - in the course of ordinary interactions - where we find ourselves overwhelmed with emotion (good or bad). These emotions rise because we find something relatable to our own experience. We act as mirrors to one another. Insecurities create sensitivity to any remark made in the same vein of our own tenderness. We draw these unintentional blasphemies into our hearts, often risking offense. Words and emotions are powerful motivators, which is why we need to make sure that we aren't being led by toxic ones.
Application: Honor yourself by being committed to truth. When offenses cling like static, it is because we have (on some level) come into agreement with them. With the swell of these emotions, ask where they are really rooted. You will find the answer if you seek honestly. Sit with this a moment, until you feel you can move forward in truth and light.
Scripture: Galations 6:4 advises "But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another."
Haggai 1 has the theme "Consider your ways."
The life of a disciple is a beautiful embodiment - a holy place, an open invitation. To come and rest. To take up peace, and to walk in love. It is breath-taking and magical and incredibly simple, yet devastatingly difficult to live. We are both broken and benevolent beings, and it is so easy to want to do good, and still to fall into the very things we despise. We are a breeding ground of self-inflation and ego.
The corruption of the bride of Christ - as an entity - discourages my heart. We were given permission to do as we want. However, our choices are not all viable ones. The true test of liberation is if our choices bring us closer to freedom.
When I look at the church, I see the injustices, the snakes that are said to be saviors, the intentioned celibacy of the church infecting everyone with her STD's. I see it all and I grieve and I have to be careful not to point my own bloodied finger at the atrocities, when I have so very many of them housed within my own heart. There's truth, and then there's love.
The grace of love is that it changes us. It covers us, and it inspires us out of sin and into beauty and generosity. It is entirely supernatural to overcome the ego - to starve the body of emotional bread and want. To love wholly and fully. Truth matters, but love is what makes the truth heard.
It is okay to be honest and to admit that I am unhappy and grossly dissatisfied with the collective body of Christ, but I have to be careful not to outgrow myself as a daughter and illegitimately promote myself to be The Judge. I'm allowed to feel the injustice of the modern church, but my emotions must have a boundary. Everything that I feel, I must dismantle by turning inwardly. I need to question my motives. Understand the dark parts of my own humanity and release all bargaining power. I must exchange self for others, powerlessness for power, serving over ruling, and Spirit over ego. I have to confront my pride with the discipline of humility. Simply put, I must listen and surrender.
The only way to constructively dismantle the broken bride, is to become the healthy bride; to start with my own disfigured heart. I can do this with each seemingly insignificant moment. I must consciously choose for the Spirit to usurp my soul - to surrender in order for my will to be broken. I have to let love and healing into the cracks of my being. My anger then transforms to passion, and I am able to spur others on by lighting up their life with love, instead of torching them with fire.
There's something about standing on the edge of a new season that rouses my creativity. The dark mustard of Goldenrod, the corn browning and bending humbly to the ground from which it came - it inspires my heart and enlivens my senses.
I creep into this season with my heart still full from the beautiful bounty of summer - the ripe Georgia peaches, the sun's warmth on heirloom tomatoes, their juice dripping from my fingertips all the way down to my elbow. The long and hungry nights of wanting to be awake just a little longer. My full-belly competes with my overflowing hands.
This transition when the heat begins to taper, and the toil lessens, we are given permission to rest. By the very grace of the darkness, the minutes seem to slow and give pause long enough to bow in thankfulness; to usher in contemplation, to think more clearly, speak more slowly, and for words to build homes inside of my bones, waiting for a life of their own.
I love this in-between time. It nurtures me in all of the ways I need before a dark and barren winter.