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

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 ♡

The Strongest House

When you want to run away,
But you don’t,
Because you know when you get
Wherever it is you are going,
You will still be there,

That is when you are growing.

When you look around
And evaluate the actions of others
Without allowing emotion,
Need,
Or desperation
To cloud your vision,

That is when the scales are falling from your eyes.

When you realize
That some will always choose themselves first,
And consider your heart last,
And when you allow your disbelieving mind
The permission to accept this sorrowful truth,
To absorb it into your psyche
Until it is as much a part of you
As the cells which carry life’s blood
Into your heart,

That is when you will find true discernment.

And when you choose solitude
Over a companion

who does not value your gifts
Your heart
Your soul,
Or the Midas Touch within your fingers
To turn dull things to gold,

You will have found it.
You will have found the solid rock
Upon which to build your house.

And it won’t matter
How many wolves come
To huff
And to puff
And to blow your house down.

It
will
not
budge. ♡

Because you used the best materials
The thickest mortar
The sturdiest bricks
And no one
Will ever
Be able
To
Hurt you
(Like the others did)
Again.

You discovered
The value
Of
Your self.

– leah

The 5th Wave – A book review.

I read _The Fifth Wave_ this week;
A book I wanted to complete before seeing the movie.
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It was prose and science fiction in one book.
I’ve never read a book quite like it.

The characters are developed well and I bonded with a couple of them even while waiting to get a good grasp on a couple of others.

Because it was science-fiction, I struggled to comprehend some facets of the plot,
Necessary facets for space travel and an alien invasion.
So I’d read those spots over again until I caught on.

My mind has always had a hard time comprehending science.
It’s a gift I lament not possessing.

To continue –
Wrapped up in this battle for survival, involving very real gunfire sequences, and wars fought in the mind as one attempts to ascertain who is enemy and who is not,
Is this magical, lyrical, poetic style of writing that soothes your soul,
Even as you allow yourself to think about the unthinkable.

And Rick Yancey is genius;
Mixing terrible with beautiful in one prosey sentence,
slipping past barriers we naturally construct in our minds.

He enters our hearts with this story and life-lessons, and he touches those hearts with love in between necessarily gruesome incidents.

A love story hides within the pages.

It is quiet and soft and surprising, and you accept it,
even as you accept the reality of shrapnel being dug out of bodies with military issued knives,
and heads being blown off by artillery,
And killing in cold blood to live one more day,
Or to preserve the human race against insurmountable odds,
To preserve your own life,
Or what is left of it.

You accept this quiet love story woven in the bloody tapestry because you need to find beauty in the willingness to kill in order to survive,
Or to protect
Someone you love.

Do I recommend the book?
Yes.
Yes.
And Yes, again.
I will read it once more, highlighting the quotes that rung true in my spirit.

Do I recommend it for children?
No.

For teens, and adults,
Yes.

It is beautifully written;
Intelligent and harsh,
ghastly, and magical and wonderful,
All at once.

An adventure
And some lessons
Inhabit its pages
For those who are willing
To find them.

– 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.

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

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

Faithfully

It occurs to me,
As I rest my body but allow my mind to labor,
That the three words used quite carelessly in our society
Have not been whispered into my ear.

Gifts find their way into my hands,
Time together blossoms quietly, patiently,
As days go by.
Laughter comes to every meeting,
Inserting itself into every conversation,
Somehow aware that it needs no invitation,
Is always welcome to join us,
And is never out of place.

Butterfly kisses land on my lips,
And gentle embraces hold me softly,
Carefully.
So carefully.

But the words are not slipped into my ear,
And I think I know why,
Even as I know that I am loved,
As I love.
Faithfully

It wasn’t the candle that told me,
Even though I can inhale the affection that brought her here whenever she gives light.

image
Candles have voices. You just have to hear them with your eyes, and listen as you inhale.

And it wasn’t the coffee that told me,
Though it too is aromatic,
Warming Soul as quickly as it warms her tummy.

No one had to tell me.
For I heard it in the silence of his expression.
He spoke to me when he allowed my fingers to touch his face.
(His beautiful face.)

I can hear him in the quiet.
His isn’t an anemic affection,
It is powerful,
With strong roots
That go down deep
And care for others
Before himself.
(He contains the richest soil.)

It is his love that looks forward into uncertain ‘morrows which promise us nothing,
Not even their arrival.
That steadies itself to brace the winds
Of stormy weather
Or maybe change.

It is his love that protects the most tender of hearts.
It will not bestow something so…
Big, on a Soul
Only to yank it away
He simply isn’t capable…

His love walks slowly,
In careful measured steps –
Observantly,
In order to ensure the best outcome
For all.

He is the tour guide on the unfamiliar path,
Responsible for others
As well as himself,
Turning ’round a corner,
Making sure there’s solid ground
Beneath the traveler’s feet
Before he waves her on.

It is love of sacrifice and safety.
Precaution and bravery.
And Boldness.
For it did not shrink back from the journey,
Though it was clear it would not be easy.

His love hopes,
For it understands the rarity of mutual regard,
And it hungers,
As all loves hunger,
(And thirst).
And it waits,
For there is no hurry.

His is the love I trust.

All of those words, and more, are in the quiet.

I hear them.
Saying,
“By not acting prematurely now,
I am giving to the woman you will be,
one year from now.”

Those are the words in his penetrating gaze,
In the lightest brush of his lips against mine,
In the firm grasp around my waist that bids me wait,
When I would pull him closer,
Hold him longer.
Wrap myself around him.

They bear the message,
“Patience.
Let the fullness of time come to pass in its own way.”

And he is right.
It rings true within me.
“There is no hurry.”

So I let the candle shine her brightest,
I let the coffee fill my cup,
I touch the presents with my fingers,
And soak silent affection up

In the quiet place.
In the hopeful place.
The patient place.
The wisest and the best place.

Because I know,
As I rest my body while allowing my mind to work,
That I am loved.
Even as I love.

Faithfully.

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~ leah