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

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My Pastor Said, “Timing”.

No matter how Broken You Are,
No matter how low you feel,
No matter how blind you are,
I promise
The God of Heaven sees you.

On the way home I was thinking about when the disciples asked Jesus why a certain man was blind.
It was on my mind because of a conversation I had with my pastor a few weeks ago.

I asked for five minutes.
He gave me five times three.
How many of you know that in the land of the busy, five minutes times three is a very long time?⌚:)

Back to the story,
While driving home I thought of the section where this blind man was healed.
Jesus didn’t leave him like he found him. ♥

Blindness.
The inability to see.

It isn’t just the eyes that can be blind, is it?
We can be blind to our own behavior,
our self-sabotaging ways,
and our flaws.

We can even be blind to a solution when we seek one.
And I was blind to a solution
For a long time.

I didn’t want to be blind,
and looked for a way to receive sight. I needed a mystery to be solved.
I wanted to fix what was broken because I was so tired of the cloud around me,
Like the cloud of dust that Pig Pen kicks up wherever he goes.

The untraceable scent that it produced – It was stubborn – and I couldn’t wash it off.
I couldn’t rinse it down the drain, like I do my make-up.
It was in my pores, and it emanated from me, the way the smell of smoke sticks to a person after they’ve been camping.

But –
God didn’t leave things that way.
He gave me sight.

The pastor was preaching, on a regular Sunday morning, and I was taking notes, when all of a sudden,
“click. click. click.”
Just like that,
Every missing piece slid into place.

I had the answer.
Mystery revealed.
Blind eyes opened.
Solution in my hands,
mixed with ink that was flowing from my pen,
taking solid form as words were spread across the page.

I wrote
quickly, furiously, hurriedly,
Capturing and preserving every word that detailed the answer to a problem that had plagued me
all
my
living
life.

And I wanted to tell the pastor what had happened in his church.

When I did, haltingly and choppily, because I cannot speak as well as I write, I detailed how long I’d searched.
He told me, “It was God’s timing.”.

He didn’t say, “Yeah, I’m anointed like that.”
He didn’t say, “I get that a lot, Alma. Wherever I go, Breakthroughs a-plenty.”
No.
He said, “Timing.”

And I stared at him, (which is what I do when several reactions occur at once).
I stare because when so many things ::can:: be said, I have to select very carefully what I choose to say,
To communicate.

I opened my mouth and said, “Oh.”.
Yeah, I am all about the brilliance.
I said,
“Oh. I thought it was because of this place.”.
And then I asked, “Why would I not find the solution to this issue for more than 40 years? Wasn’t it the anointing, here?”.

I don’t remember his exact response, so I am not going to write anything, I just know he was patient, and that, as I left, the word “Timing” continued to resonate inside of me.

Which brings me back to the original topic.

Jesus healed a blind man and “his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?”.

Jesus basically told them that he was born blind for that day of his healing – because the greatness of the work of God would be shown to all through that situation.

And as I drove, I wept.
I wept and considered a child, an adolescent, a teen, a young adult, learning to live with an impediment in that era.

The son, the mother, the father, friends, family, etc…
All whose lives were touched, affected,
who supported,
who adapted to the situation,
Who gave grace.

I thought about the culture then, in which someone who was blind lived, and I wondered how they supported themselves.
Did he have a girlfriend?
Was there someone he wanted to marry?
Did they try to go to doctors to correct the blindness,
the way I went to counselors looking for my solution?

And were they just as frustrated and discouraged as I when they couldn’t find it?

And then,
What did he think when he found out he was especially chosen by God for that day, that time, at that hour?
So that God could show everybody in the world that he was real…
And Cared.

What was it like for him to know that he was chosen,
Not because God was cruel,
Heavens no.
But because God ::made him:: to be able to withstand that temporary suffering – knowing that he was going to bless him with deliverance later.
What was it like to be chosen?

The Lord is weaving a magnificent tapestry and everyone is a thread.
When it’s finished, we are going to marvel at its beauty and be glad we were involved.

Each one of us has a purpose,
A plan that God designed when he formed us in our mother’s womb.

Each one of us has a struggle that we deal with and some of those things are temporary,
but others cannot be removed unless God supernaturally intervenes.

When he does…
For he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him,
he will do it in such a way that no human will be able to lift their hand and say that they were the one who made it happen.

When God sets a person free,
He does it in such a way but there is no doubt about who was at work in that situation.

And he does those things to show his love for all of Humanity on this planet.

No matter how Broken You Are,
No matter how low you feel,
No matter how blind you are,
I promise
The God of Heaven sees you
And He knows with what you are dealing.

There will come a day when he will remove the thing that makes you less than what you could be.

When he does –
You won’t be blind anymore.

It will be your responsibility
Not to walk forward,
But to run.

To run forward
Looking ahead,
With your two
Good
Blessed
And beautiful
Miracle-seeing eyes.

– leah ♡

Stormy Weather

When I was young, maybe 18, I stood on top of a hill in Manchester, MI, and watched a summer storm come in.

I stood in the rain and wind until my aunt made me come into the house for threat of lightning.

It was thrilling and scary.
I felt so small
And so ALIVE.

After a more recent rainstorm,
I was thinking about how affected the earth was.

The atmosphere was soft with a warm rosy glow.
The leaves on every tree, saturated.
The calm was thick,
And the surface of the world felt clean.

Rinsed,
Helpless to do anything but yield the power of the force that swept over its form.

It reminded me of lovemaking.

The slow beginning,
the softness of the rain’s caress,
Followed by increased intensity,
Thunder, lightning, passionate winds.

The earth, like a woman’s form yielding,
Gladly,
Gratefully,
Receiving,
Much needed attention.
Her body’s thirst, quenched
Every rosebush, lilac, tree.

Then, things grow quiet,
Thunder is distant,
Hushed.

There is peace,
Calm,
And evidence of something having left its mark on the world.
Like a woman’s world.
Now altered,
By her lover.

I wrote this poem of a woman standing in the rain.

The poem does not convey my experience on the day that I stood in the rain as well as I’d like.
Nor does it convey the depth of beauty in being loved by a thoughtful and a giving man.

But it came from the soul.

So I share it here,
Even though it isn’t Poetry Tuesday.
😉

STORM

I can see it coming,
Smell it in the air,
Feel the breeze on my face
Change to wind in my hair.

Soft rain
kisses my arms
Causing goose bumps.
Tenderness.

Wind moving over and around me,
Powerfully,
I welcome
Each caress.

Now thunder,
Darkness,
Lightning,
I endure it all,
Yielding,
The recipient
Of torrential rainfall.

Unafraid.

Storm reaches crescendo
And begins to quiet down.
I linger,
Listening hard,
For the sound
Of Thunder
Rumbling,
Softly now,
Filling distant corners of the sky.

I shiver.
I am drenched.
Sated,
*sigh…

Exhilarating thing,
The way a storm moves in
Captivating one
With power, light, and noise,
Possessing late night hour
With its presence, touch,
And voice.

Leaving the impressions
Of its moments on my form,
Raindrops on my lips, hair, skin.
Establishing its memory
Next to yours
Deep within.

Feet on pavement
turn toward home.
My mind, toward you.
The way you love me –

Exquisitely,
Thoughtfully.
Powerfully,
Thoroughly.

Darling,
You are storm,
too.

ajp
1/2016

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.

image

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.

image

-leah

River

The sunrise was soft this morning, providing a gentle light that didn’t hurt the eyes as one drove toward the east.

I generally take the road that allows my car to move in curvy swervey patterns since it follows the shoreline of the river.

It’s a peaceful commute that changes visually with every season and it contributes beauty to my life.

I’d been on a stretch of road where the river was temporarily blocked from view.
I usually anticipate the moment when I make the curve and it appears again.

I rounded the bend and there it was, soft and warm with the morning light spreading over its surface.

image
When the sun whispers.

Calm today, no blustery wind to cause ripples on the water,
It was an autumn-colored mirror, allowing the trees to look down and watch themselves change with the passage of time.

image
Take time to reflect.

I pulled over.
I had to capture this moment on the waters of this beloved place which provides this turbulent season of my life with reliable serenity.

image

I didn’t take more than ten steps in any direction, yet the separate views were vastly different.

A lesson in perspective waited for me there, at the river’s edge.

image

How do things look right now?
Do you like the view?
Shift your gaze…
Now, what do you see?

image
Sunlight's warm embrace.

Light adds hope to darkened points of view, lacing the edges of our vision with a near heavenly glow, making ordinary not so ordinary anymore.

The sun rose higher.
The moment was over.
And I was once again nourished by a river which flows through the center of our town, existing to bless us all.

Faithful to touch our lives,
This river,
A picture of God for us,
A visual aid.

“I am here to give light to your shadowy world, and Life, if you want it.
Life abundant.
Come and walk with me.
Know peace.
Deep down, where you need it.
I am living water.
Come and drink,
And be filled.

image
Light and Life and Water.

A soft gentle morning to lend perspective in troubling times.
I needed it.
The reminder.
There is a God, the Creator of all things,
And he is here to give us life
And light for the darker days.

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”

Feather Your Nest

“FEATHER YOUR NEST”
Words I saw painted on an outside wall of a store in Dundee, MI.

I thought about the words.
A gentle command to turn your house into a cozy place.
Not a showcase.
Not a gigantic window display.
But a home.

So many thoughts filled my mind as I drove down country roads to my own nest.
It isn’t feathered very well.

Sure, there’s furniture inside.
Blankets, pillows, some things that I love,
But it isn’t feathered.

Birds build their nests from sticks and mud, but then they look for soft things to make it warm.

God put that instinct inside of them.

And he put it inside of us, too.

I both love and hate where I live.
It is refuge, the place I landed when I had to go.

I had almost nothing yet everything at the same time,
because I had peace.

Why would I hate it?
Because my children aren’t in it.
Before,
I was baker, I was chef,
I was homeschoolMommy.
Mother.

I guess that’s why it isn’t very feathery.

But it’s been three years now.
And God was gently nudging when I read that painted wall in Dundee.

“Feather your nest, Alma. It’s time.”

And I agree with Him.
It’s Time.

image

– leah

Seed time and Harvest, and Patience

When I feel impatient,
I picture a person in the middle of a corn field with the stalks half-grown,
Only waist high,
And the person is
Powerless, pouty, and selfish.
They are petulantly commanding stalks to grow,
To give ears of corn.
Because they want corn-on-the-cob,
and they want it now.

Corn Field Ashley K. Photography
Corn Field
Ashley K. Photography

The scenario is ugly.
It challenges me with a valuable silent message.

Life demands that we develop patience,
and much can be learned by nature’s example of seed time and harvest.

Everything has a season...
Everything has a season…

When it comes to what I want,
The moments when I want,
And cannot have, just yet.
I accept the process of growth,
And relax.

There are legitimate wants and needs in all of us.
But everything takes time.

The dream job,
The child,
The new car,
The cabin in the woods,
The vacation in Italy,
The love of an uncommon man,
and his kiss…

If a person is wise,
They will accept the rule of nature,
And hold the lesson of the corn field in their heart.

"September Morn on the Corn" By: jackalope22
“September Morn on the Corn”
By: jackalope22

I lived in a home for one year that had a very large window in its family room,
And if you looked through the window, you could see a huge field of corn that went back as far as you could see at the edge of the property.
I was privileged to observe this field in every season –
And each one had its own claim to beauty;
The season of winter, when snow sugarcoated the world with a sparkling crystal powder,
The season of springtime, when the furrows of earth were cocoa-colored mounds in perfect rows of narrow,

Cocoa in the spring.
Cocoa in the spring.

The season of late summer when the corn grew green and tall and was the perfect place for games,
Or hide-aways for lovers to embrace, surrounded by green sweet-smelling life.

corn field 2

It was a good year.
I never tired of the view through the window.

If a person allows themselves to stop fixating on a desire,
And starts paying attention to the miracle that is happening right in front of them,
Albeit, in slow motion,
They will learn one of the keys to happiness.
To be content in whichever state they find themselves.

My favorite field of corn is imagined.
I am walking through its rows.

Just enjoy the process.
Just enjoy the process.

Enveloped in sunshine, I hear a rustling whisper
My jeans, with the help of a lazy summer breeze, wakens leaves from their quiet sleepy state.

They brush against my legs
Tickling my hands,
And my heart rests inside,
taking pleasure in the fact
that something I planted is growing.

One day it will bear fruit.
But where it is today is enough,
Because it is part of the process.

Can you see me walking there,
in vibrant rows of green?
That is where I go
In my mind,
To remind myself
That something is growing,
That I cannot rush the process,
That Love is long-suffering,
And always always hopes.

And while love hopes it watches
The slow-motion miracle
Knowing
Fruit will come.

I will one day hold it in my hands
Like the perfect ear of corn.
It will be amazingly sweet,
Wholesome,
And Delicious.
I will savor it on my tongue,
And it will be
worth
every moment of the wait.

– leah

Root Them Out

Today’s thoughts. 

I face painted a twin boy, once, whose twin had died.
He was four or five.
His mother told me in whispers that the brother died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head.
His father in prison.
He hit the child too hard in anger.

It is difficult to convey the turmoil and struggle for control as I painted the boy whose brother was killed,
trying to smile and be light-hearted while mom whispered a nightmarish story into my ear.

What they asked me to paint was the brother’s name on his arm. 
I did my job,
Compartmentalizing the horror, jamming my reaction into a box and shoving it down to contemplate later while I smiled and talked to the child whose arm was cradled in my hand.
The child condemned to a life without his twin by one angry man who blew it.

Ask Yourself, about the people in your charge…
– What type of person removes the blossom of a flower from its stem to crush the petals?
– What person cultivates a garden only to destroy it in a fit of temper?
Mommies?
Daddies?
When you are angry, how do you behave?
Husbands?
Wives?
How do you cultivate your garden?

God gave Adam a garden and he told him to care for it.
God has given one to you, too.
It is full of roses in bloom, dogwood trees with flowering branches, tulips and snapdragons and hardy mums…
How do you treat your loved ones when you’re angry?

Do you assault them?
With hands?
With words?
With shouting?

Consider the hard things today.
Look at yourself today.
Do not hide from You.

And remove the weeds you uncover.
Ruthlessly pull them out of the soil that is yours to care for. 
The health of your garden depends on it.

Seek the Master Gardener for assistance. 
Then rise up and walk.

Only a fool would turn to the most precious items in their life and destroy them in a fit of temper.

Let’s not be that fool.

The hard things.
The ugly things.
Face them.
Acknowledge them.
And Root. Them. Out.

– Leah

Flaws…

It does not happen all the time, but sometimes a person can love someone else so much, that the natural tendency to notice and be annoyed by flaws is outweighed by the strong affection residing deep inside.

We all notice flaws in people that we care about.

But when people love one another,
With the love that says, “Not My Will”
They discover an ingredient.
Rare, priceless, this ingredient facilitates their ability to tolerate what others would not.

And that is why some say love is blind.
But I say that true love is not blind.
I say true love sees, all too clearly.

And accepts their beloved as they are –
At face value –
Knowing
That just like rivers,
And even the face of a mountain,
The human heart can change
over time.

If I did not believe that,
I would simply despair of life.
I would even despair over my self.

– leah