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 ♡

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.”

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

You Have Not Lived….

Until you’ve heard the words,
“Mommmmm! Josiah put hair removal creme all over his hair!”.

Yes.
You read that correctly.
My ten year old son rubbed, not one, but two applications of hair removal creme into his beautiful sandy brown hair.

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Terror in a tube.

When his sister got married, she and her bridesmaids were primping and beautifying every inch of skin, and this tiny tube is the only trace of evidence that my home was “Spa for a Day”, last July.

But I’m not thinking of that happy morning right now.
Right now, I am running toward the bathroom and yelling,
“What?!? What did you just say?!?”
That was my calm, cool, and collected response to the 16 year old, also known as,  “The Informer”, thank goodness.

I rush in, trying to remain calm, picturing clumps of hair falling out of my son’s scalp until he looks like a like a flea-infested mangey stray, while I try to calm down.
But I feel it.
I feel panic rise within me, not for his hair…that stuff grows back, but for his eyes.

I call him into the bathroom.
“Do you know what you’ve done?
Do you understand the gravity of this situation?”
I feel the screamer inside of me begging to be let out of the dungeon I’ve banished her to.
I feel tension in my voice.
I am at war with the old me I left behind so long ago.

Fear and incredulity have joined hands and they are racing through my mind like it’s their amusement park.

Hurry,  Alma, hurry!”, I silently urge.

“Just strip. Strip out of everything.”, I tell my son.

Reach for a washcloth so he can cover his developing body – preserve his dignity,
Turn on the water – get it warm but not hot,
Reach for a towel to cover his eyes…

“Step in. Turn around. Sit. Scootch forward. I have to rinse right away. Lie back. Cover your body. Do. not. open. your. eyes.”
I am in a hurry but I am not yelling and this is a good thing.
I am relaying the danger into which he placed himself.
I am wondering what type of discipline this will merit.
He is ten, after all.
He knew what he was doing.

I rinse and apply shampoo – then repeat,
watching for strands of hair to break free.
None break free.
Silent prayers sent heavenward, “Thank God.”.

We finish and he steps out.
I wrap his body in a towel and tell him he was fortunate. Very.
I make small talk. “You know, when you wash your hair you need to focus right here…” to calm the situation.
All is well.
Healthy eyes.
Healthy hair.
Healthy hearts.

No one lost their temper.
No one was belittled or humiliated.
Every one is okay.

I remember in the Bible when Adam and Eve blew it.
When Cain killed Abel.
I think of God and his reactions.
Calm questions.
“Adam, where are you?”
“Cain, where is your brother?”

The perfect Father did not rant and rave and scream, even when very bad things happened.
I can almost hear the quiet sighs of resignation  and disappointment, though.
And he disciplined.
But he didn’t withhold himself from his creation.

I try to model my parenting after the Lord’s.
Children know when they’ve done wrong.

No lecture necessary, the learning happens in their hearts when the actions have come to light.

My son is okay.
He’s in trouble, but he’s okay.
We’ve lived through another adventure.
And no one is worse for the wear.

Except, perhaps, for my hair.
I may have a few more grays.

Peace to you.

~ leah

To The Man Who Loved Me To Christ

To the man who spoke to me about Jesus when I was so skeptical.
The man who told me to read the book of John first.
The man who sent me the handwritten letter  witnessing to me.
The man who was standing behind me, whose face I saw when I stood up from the altar and turned…
A changed girl, forever,

Thank you.

Wordgirl is quiet.
She has no words to convey the magnitude of her thankfulness.

I remember lying on a carpeted kitchen floor as a bitter, angry 18-year-old,
Talking on the phone with this remarkable handsome man I met and liked,
And there was something about this man,
Something persuaded me to open up about the very private things I kept to myself regarding God.

His soft voice.
His temperate patient way.
His solid responses.
He was a safe place.

The memory returns powerfully and tears stream down my cheeks.
I was lost, then…
I was in trouble…

Now, I am grateful.
I don’t take this for granted.
I don’t take any of this lightly.

This is no misplaced hero worship.
You are human, a living soul of flaws and perfection mixed together,

But you knew the value of my soul before I did.

It was God who straightened what was twisted inside of me.
But it was you who said,
“There’s someone I want to introduce you to.”.

Nothing will ever change that.
Nothing.

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It was you who said, "There's someone I want to introduce you to."

Weakness? Or Strength?

Surrendering.
Needing.
Succumbing.

It appears from time to time, in observing behavior patterns,
that some men think doing those things makes them weak.

To acknowledge that they need their woman,
To yield, or fall under that spell of hers,
Is to be “whipped” – they say.

But I’m not talking about a man being beaten down and ordered around.

I’m talking about a man acknowledging his legitimate need to be loved and surrendering that part of himself to his wife, allowing her to meet that need in him.

Is it possible that a man who senses that helplessness – his need for her – and surrenders his heart, is weak?
I don’t think so.

Adam needed Eve very much.
He didn’t say he needed her.
God did.

It is possible that the man who knows his underbelly is showing, will – in his weakness – grasp at control wildly, robbing his wife of her right, her privilege, to see the vulnerability she knows exists in him and depriving her of the opportunity to fill it, thus preventing them both from experiencing deep intimacy.

It is also possible that a different man, who experiences that scary scenario, could allow that sensation of the plummeting free-fall to run its course, and expose his basic need to his mate,  allowing her to quench that thirst with her gifts of nurturing consolation.

That is not a weak man.

He is stronger than most, for he braved rejection by revealing his naked soul to his mate, who – if she had any kind of sense – rewarded him with acceptance and affection.

The wise woman will fill her lover’s cup and do it in such a way that he would never felt emasculated.

She will reward his transparency with the greatest gift he could ask for;
her own vulnerability and her self.

For a woman needs to be needed.
And her fulfillment in being close enough to pour into him will cause so great a joy within her, that it will be her good pleasure to give his self-worth and pride the much needed boost/s he desires.

The weaker man hides himself from his wife.
The stronger man reveals.
The foolish woman scoffs at her mate.
But the wise woman gives life in word and deed.

God bless the union which is intimate in body, spirit, and soul.

They took the risks and are blessed to live out their daily  reward.

– Leah

Rise up and Walk

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It is hard not to adore the first someone who treats you like the valuable thing that you actually are.

The one who sees you sitting on the floor and lowers their own body to the ground so they can speak to you eye to eye.
As equals.

It is easy to gaze at them with stars in your eyes.
So if you find yourself in love with that person, it is okay.
But…
You may have to release them.
Sometimes they are only there for a season.

But be patient with yourself if you do.
Those things don’t come to us overnight, and letting them go won’t happen overnight either.

Sit on the shore.
Watch the ship sail away.
Watch it as it shrinks to the size of a bath toy.
Watch the ship until it is a dot on the horizon.
Until it disappears.
And then get up.

Rise up and turn around, with the sea behind you and new paths before you.
You know who you are now.
What you are.

Rise up,
Turn around,
And walk.

– Leah

Helen and I.

Helen Keller
Helen Keller (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Helen Keller.

A bright child; she had learned to talk a bit before she grew ill with a ruthless fever that plunged her into darkness, isolating her from parents that loved and adored her.
There was no way to reach her or alleviate her suffering.

I cannot imagine what it must have been like to adjust to »nothing«  upon her recovery.

A toddler.
A baby…
Suddenly sightless where there was so much to see before.
Unable to hear, when before, the sound of her mother and father’s voice was security, consolation, music…
Communication.
She was alone.

I read about what happened in her psyche in her own words, when the word “water“, signed into her hand,  slipped into the correct slot within  her comprehension.

She wrote about her joy;
Her reunion, as it were, with understanding and meaning, and finally … That »rest« within her when the world – which was hidden – was no longer withheld from her.

I am experiencing a similar thing tonight;
A similar “awakening”.
I am basking in my new awareness here, sitting on a warm sidewalk, in the dark, the moon above my head looks like a spotlight, it is so bright.
I am outside of a campus where I worshipped during a huge church service, after a long absence from such a corporate gathering.

I don’t know what it was that caused darkness to overshadow my understanding years ago.

I tried to be faithful while I endured it;
Faithful to write what I knew to be true, though my eye could not see, and I was deaf to my Father’s voice.

It had been a long silence.
I walked by faith, a spiritual road map imprinted in my memory, an innate sense within my spirit guiding me while my natural eyes could see nothing.

And something slipped into the correct slot of my comprehension tonight…

Like Helen who recognized water;  that cold liquid coursing over her skin from a hand pump, I recognized the Spirit of God – his peace, his grace coursing over – inside of – me.

Helen’s first word was “water”.
She knew the word as a baby … and she finally understood the word for what it was as a girl, when she felt it, then had it repetitively, and physically impressed into her hand  by her teacher; W A T E R.
Faint recognition from years past stirred in her memory and the connection was made in a life-changing, world changing moment.

BREAKTHROUGH.

I sat tonight, during the quiet hush that can only be experienced after a powerful time of worship, my head down as I quietly savored what I was feeling.  My torso gently shook, tears were pouring down my cheeks as I experienced stirrings within my belly and  in the recesses of my mind, a memory stirred… as currents, ebbs, and flows from rivers of peace swirled through me, over me, around me.

Like Helen strained for recollection while she stood at that pump getting wet, I could feel something in my intellect, like the breath of a whisper, as God re-familiarized me with that supernatural flow of living water.
He was in charge of the pump and generous with the “water” that gushed freely over the skin of my inner man, saturating me with the things that I love most;
His Grace.
 His Presence.
His peace.

I did not suffer like Helen, though I »was« blind.
I did not live in anguish like Helen, though I think I understand a fraction of her pain, as she touched and felt her father’s body, knowing that he was there while being yet unable to communicate with him.

He was there,
but He was NOT There!

“I know you are here, Daddy, but I cannot hear you!”, must have been her heart’s cry until it became as much a part of her existence as breathing.

But…
In one instant the barrier was broken;
Her inner turmoil and her Father’s daily anguish at her suffering – finally over.
She collapses in his arms, both of them ecstatic that she will now “hear” Him.
He rejoices at the fact that he will never have to see that particular expression of frustration and loneliness on her face again while being unable to alleviate it because he was shut out of her world.

And I am talking about both myself and Helen, now;

For we were both consumed with our own plight and blinded – unaware – of the depth of our Father’s love for us, or his hurting heart, while He exhausted attempt after attempt to break through, no doubt weeping bitterly at his daughter’s blind eyes and deaf ears and inner struggle.

I am not Helen.

I will never know the depth of her sorrow, which means I will never truly experience the power of her elation,
But we were both separated from our Fathers, (her earthly, my heavenly) by a barrier.
A barrier that kept us from him, though we »knew« he was there all the while.

God be praised…
It was nothing lasting.

A paper wall, only.
A paper wall, rent in two.
Rent in two and removed forever.
Disintegrated by refreshing streams of Living Water.

~Leah

Faded Beauty Is Still Beautiful

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I sat here tonight, next to these flowers, and lamented their fading and wilting.
I reached for my camera and began preserving the beauty before it ALL faded away.

As camera clicked, many thoughts impressed themselves upon me.
I was photographing age with youth.
Faded petals nestled within vibrant white,
each contributing to the other’s loveliness.
Both necessary to achieve full impact on the senses.

As I browsed the photographs,
Special thoughts bloomed in my heart…
They are for my family.
Written in love.

Faded Beauty.
This rose is almost completely lifeless.
Her petals, dry, fragile, delicate…
Yet she retains her beauty.
Her fragrance lingers…

Surrounded by youth,
She is happy.
Content.
And curiously, not out of place.

She belongs in this setting;
adding color to the arrangement,
even while her beauty fades.

But it is time…

She radiated color, vibrance, and perfume that sweetened the room,
But her purpose, now, is finished.
She existed;
living the life she was created to live.

How could she have been anything but what she was created to be?
How can any of us?

Marian fulfilled her purpose and has passed the baton to us to fulfill ours.
Let us do so in her honor.

She was generous.
Let us, then, be generous;
Giving where needs must be met.

She loved faithfully,
expending no extra energy.
It radiated from her like fragrance naturally emanates from roses.
Let Us, then, Love.
Steadily,
unconditionally,
and without hesitation.

Just as she did.

As we carry the baton with pride,
she will continue to exist through us.

We will be what she taught us to be by her example,
and when our beauty fades,
she will live on even still in our children. They too, will run with that same baton that we will pass on to them.

Beauty shall beget Beauty.
It is God’s will.
It is His plan.
And we cannot help but be what He created us to be.

In Loving Memory of:
Marian Louise Bernier
1925~2013
Rejoice in Christ until we join you.

~Leah