Maybe, Just Maybe

Four years. 

At first I thought that my actions insured the consequence of my having to rely solely on myself to survive. I believed that getting a divorce meant God could (or would) not bless me, support me, or assist me, but then he caused things to fall into place (behind the scenes) when I would run into obstacles, enabling me to overcome and move forward.
Because of these occurrences, I adjusted my thinking to accept that God allowed the rain to fall on the just and the unjust – But there was something else. 

He was carrying me. 
I was blinded by pain and I knew it. 

I couldn’t see where I was going. I was stumbling on the path, yet He was there for those blind years, leading, guiding, showing me which way to turn when I came up against a wall. 
Little by little, God has continued to draw me closer, and I have learned that He still wants relationship with this broken woman, which blows me away. I’m still smudged with soot on the inside of me, like a fireplace chimney.

When I first found the Lord, my life changed dramatically. I wanted to do great things for Him, big big things, but I didn’t do great things at all, in fact, my life was something I was often ashamed of.

What if…

What if I, like Sarah, tried to make things happen in my own strength due to my own natural reasoning, instead of simply living and obeying God while allowing Him to do what He has always done,

Bring it to pass –
In His way

In His Time

By His Spirit.

Do I understand God’s grace spilling onto my life?

No, nor do I advise going through a divorce to learn about His unconditional love, and faithfulness,

But I marvel as He continues to call me even still.

It causes flickers of hope to ignite within my depths that maybe, just maybe, God’s original plan for my life will be realized just yet.

– leah

Win their heart.

When I compare the woman I am today with the woman I was when I was young, I grieve.
Young me was downright mean at times.
I’m sorry for those days.
Life has a way of teaching us what matters.
Who matters.

You sit on the couch, involved in a heated argument, and your mouth is full of words that are just as effective as bullets.
You know they will destroy.
Rip, tear, wound the psyche of your opponent.
Make them bleed.
No, not bleed, hemorrhage.

In the past I would open my mouth.
Today, I swallow the words and respond slowly.

98% of the time. ♡

Young women today…
I caution you.
Choose words carefully,
Use them rarely,
And choose silence frequently,
Rather than blurt out a sharp retort.

You may win a battle,
But the bloody aftermath you find yourself mopping up,
Removes the thrill of victory.

The only victory,
The true triumph,
Is to win, not an argument,
But the very heart of the one with whom you are arguing.

– Leah

I am no bird. No net ensnares me.

This may be one of my favorite quotes in the world.
And it’s so hard to choose just one.

Being in a very authoritarian marriage, where our church preached something called “Spiritual Authority”, a concept backed up by many biblical scriptures,
A woman was to submit to her husband whenever there was an impasse in decision making.

Example, (a benign one)
Man wants to spend 100$ on item A.
Woman wants to spend 100$ on item B.
Conflict.
Man pulls submission card.
The end.

Maybe the woman’s choice was for the family instead of herself.
Maybe it was the wiser choice.

If a man is not humble enough to consider the intelligence of his wife…

If a man is selfish and has lost sight of his mission to be a servant to his family, to follow the example of Christ, who washed the feet of all twelve of his disciples,
Who died for them and for us,

If a man is short-tempered, and full of himself, loving himself before his wife and children,
He could snap at his wife right away, pulling the “I’m the boss around here.” reminder card out of his pocket, and silencing her.

I didn’t do many things I wanted to do because I obeyed.
I didn’t work,
Attend college,
Or Pursue a career.

Grow as a human.
As an intellectual.

I educated myself with Readers Digest Classics and other books I’d check out or purchase.

Mi mente tenia hambre.
My mind was hungry.

What a revelation, to read _Jane Eyre_.
To read of a girl, lost and rejected, mistreated,
Then placed in an orphanage to be mistreated further, but to find a friend who taught her about God.

There, Jane and Helen learned what true godliness was, even as religion in its unyielding granite-like hardness oppressed them.

They created a warm nucleus of friendship and learning of Christ and they existed that way until Helen died.

Jane is plain.
And poor.
But her spirit found expression in her resolve to survive and in her sketches.

And a very strong and stern man fell in love with her.

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He was married, though, to a mentally-infirmed woman watched over night and day by nurses he hired.
He fell in love with Jane and asked her to run away with him as man and wife where no one would know them.

During this moment of decision, she finds strength to rise up from within, to remain true to her values despite her desperate desire to say yes, and she protects her individuality, preserving her freedom.

Charlotte Brontê, alias Currer Bell,
In the 1800s,
Was setting women free in their hearts through her writing.

She sets people free today.
She lies in a grave but her words remain full of life,
Full of deliverance.

Exhortation to stand.
To not deny one’s self.
To allow the soul to branch out into greatness.
Despite what others, even those loved most, say.

I look back at the history of intermittent  violence in my marriage with a bit of shame.

My cousin (who survived cancer) asked me one night,
She and I were lying in bed together last August, for she’d come up from the Carolinas for a family reunion after her strength returned,
and we slept in the same room…
She asked me, “Why did you stay?”

How do I explain to my cousin, a fighter of, and victor over the invisible clutches of cancer, why I would stay in such a union, when I could have simply got into a car and driven away from it?

I had many answers and zero answers.

There ::is:: a helpless remorse that accompanies regret, and if I allowed it to, it would destroy me.
Like a thick gray cloud of smoke invades the lungs, remorse would invade any man’s senses until they ceased to try anymore.
It’s an ugly emotion and must be taken by the horns and forced to do good in a mind.

Become fuel that drives a body to rise up from ashes and live better.
Stronger.

No net of guilt.
No net of anguish.

Instead,
A Strong-Hearted human being who is NOT a trembling bird,
But a human with…
An independent will
That won’t be bent or twisted into a warped thing ever again.

The only chains I will ever have,
will be the chains that bind my heart to the heart of God,
who loved me ,
who designed me ,
who gave himself for me,
and who saw each tear when they fell.

Golden bonds of love we have,
Holding us together.

And it is He who works in me still,
Both to desire,
And do,
His will.
Even as he’s given me my own,
And the freedom that goes with it.

God Bless Currer Bell.
And Jane.
And Helen Burns who died prematurely,
But not before she shone the light of true Christianity in the freezing corridors where religion cast its shadow.

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-leah

The Lesson

I fell for someone once.

Hard, fast, tumbletumbletumble
Head over heels
The swoon you read about in books,
I fell for him.

He was a writer.
That was half of it right there.
I had read something he had written and was moved powerfully.

So I wrote him a small letter,
And he wrote back.
And I wrote back.
And it began.

His eyes – in nearly every photo –
Were full of mischief.
Impish things, holding the promise of
One. More. Prank.
You could see the child in the man,
And I could see the man who once was child.
And I fell for him
As he fell for me.

Phone calls, letters, conversations,
He was not as funny as he was intellectual,
And my appetite was never sated for his words, his writing, his take on things,
Life, politics, religion…
Even when I diagreed most vehemently,
His thoughts were fascinating.
Intriguing.

“More.
More, please.
No, don’t stop sharing,
More still…
I’m hungry for your thoughts.
You’re brilliant!”

That classic feeling of mutual understanding
Was there almost from the very beginning…

His words poured into me
Honey, lava, silk.
He said the things I’d always wanted to hear but never told anyone.

He was horrible and scary
in his understanding of me,
Yet wonderful and intoxicating
In his understanding of me.

And it was over as quickly as it had begun.

The most fantastic fireworks display I had ever seen.
One burst of light and color and I was captivated.
Another and another,
And my mouth dropped open.
“Can it get any better?”
Oh, yes. It can. Just wait…

Explosions of light,
Vibrant, hot, and sexy
Filled my darkened sky,
And it got brighter,
And Brighter,
And BRIGHTER…
Then darkness.

The finale.

It was the finale
And I didn’t realize,
So I wasn’t prepared
For goodbye.

We never spoke again.

The show was over
And all I had from the experience
Were ashes fluttering through the air,
Smoke
Lingering
In the sky,
Gray dust
At my feet.

I reached down into my soul,
Into the ashes lying there,
And found a tiny stone.

I named it.
“Lesson Learned”

The poets and the authors write about this thing.
This passion,
This blind blind love that does not think.

I never thought I’d experience the story,
But sometimes,
The ingredients are there,
And the pitfall presents itself.

You stumble in,
And you call it love,
But it isn’t love.

It’s something else.

I don’t know its name.

I hold the stone and I remember,
A man once found me as brilliant as I found him,
As captivating
As I found him,
Who couldn’t stay away,
And I couldn’t either,

Though we never even held each other’s hands,
Or kissed,
Or embraced.

But it was not the thing that life is made of,
It was the thing that was a tragedy before it had begun.

Mindless,
Thoughtless,
Intoxicating
Passion.

The stuff of Romeo and Juliet
Whose emotion paved the way to death.

Pyrotechnics.
Fireworks.
Bursts of light and color
As dangerous as they are spectacular.

That coat your soul in ash.
Your heart left cold.

Passion
Can never hold
The steering wheel.

I will keep the tiny stone
As a reminder.

When I am tempted to believe otherwise,
I will slip it into my mouth,
And roll it around on my tongue,
And savor the
Hard
Cold
Bitterness
Of memory.

It is better to tend to warm coals on the ground,
Than to reach for fireworks in the sky.

-leah ♡

Build Your Life

The things that matter take time.

I love instant happy.
Who doesn’t love instant happy?

But lives take time to build.
They aren’t instantly successful.

Friendships take time to build.
The real ones.

And merging lives?
That is like getting up every day and going to work.
You must pour into that project on a daily basis.

Like bricks forming a wall,
we lay one decision upon another upon another.
Uh-oh…a bad decision, now there’s a crack in the wall.
Take some bricks down, fix the problem, lay a new layer of mortar, start over.

Merge many objects into one solid and secure edifice  that becomes the haven wherein souls find shelter, safety, and rest.

Think of a tapestry, blue and white.
One ball of white thread, one ball of blue, both on the floor at the designer’s feet.

The weaver sits, adding white when white is needed, adding blue where it belongs, and after a while, two colors merge to form one beautiful design as they are woven tightly together.

Knots are tied.
Tangles are unraveled.
Clack…clack…the weaver’s frame makes a rythmic sound as two seperate items become one lovely thing.

If they yield themselves to the hands of the weaver, that is.

Time.
Nothing that matters happens quickly.
Set your face like a flint, and put your hands on the plow.
And walk
With your eye
On the prize.

The things that truly matter take time.

-Leah

Leadership

There were times, I am sure, when Fletcher Christian regretted his decision.
Captain Bligh must have made things so miserable, that Christian felt he had no other recourse.
He is remembered and quoted as saying, “I am in hell. I am in hell.”  on that mutinous night.

The diverse outcomes were ruinous for many.

It reminds me of one of the ropes you would find on a great ship like the Bounty.
A gigantic thing made of many cords tightly wound together.
Braided into eachother…
Bonded.

Let them begin to fray.
Allow outside forces to break them down.
Do not care for the crucial tool properly, and as it begins to come apart from itself – As strands are loosed from one another – you will be left with a useless tangled mess.

Good leaders know how to keep each crucial piece connected to its brother.

Other leaders….
They may seem equipped for the job, but if you listen closely, you may hear one or more who serve beneath them crying in the night,
“I am in hell. I am in hell.”

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Unity. Many pieces wound together to create an item of substantial utility.

~ When you are in the Wilderness ~

 

We can find beauty in the most barren of surroundings.

Today during a blessed conversation with a person whom I consider to be a true friend, I remembered Jacob from the Bible, and how the Lord visited him in the wilderness even though he had just deceived his father and “stolen” his brother’s birthright.

He bargained for it, we all know, but we also know that Esau would never have given it up.

He went hunting when his dad told him to get ready to receive his blessing, remember?

It occurred to me; We humans screw up so often. We, like Jacob, make so many mistakes when we act on our own “wisdom”, but God is greater.  His ways really aren’t our ways, for He visited a frightened thief in the wilderness when that thief was at his lowest.

I detest being in the wilderness, but I always discover a new facet of God’s personality there.
A new depth to His Grace; 

A more faithful love than the one I knew before.

So I am sharing with you. 
Maybe you really blew it.
Maybe you are definitely in the wrong, and are suffering for it.

Be Encouraged, dear one.
God is able to meet you where you are at.

He is the God of all the earth; Yes, even the wilderness.
And He is the God of those who find themselves wandering therein.


I hope this song ministers to you.
Clint Brown – Mercy and Grace ♫