I am grateful for community. Being able to get together with people throughout my week, and even talking things over with people I work with. Visiting my cousins and their families and children just to hang out and do nothing in particular.
People give me a chance to express what God has been doing in my life in ways that I can’t do on my own. Sometimes the act of talking through things with other people helps me untangle what is going on inside of me; it also brings healing to what other people are going through too. Those are the best moments when something I happen to say brings hope or healing to someone else; that can only happen in community. Part of my community is also online through Facebook, Instagram, this blog, etc. And that is okay. So much is said about technology creating a disconnect, but it also connects people who wouldn’t normally be connected.
Recently I feel like my community has even been expanded through reading a fiction book. I read about another culture and now feel a place in my heart open up towards that population – through a fiction book! God can use anything. Maybe I will get to expand that into “real life” with someone from that culture in the future. I hope so. I hope reading the book is just the beginning.
If you are reading this blog I am grateful you are a part of my community and I hope you will drop me a note to say hello!
Jesus grew up in a family community just like we did; he spent time growing up in the local temple (church) just like we do; he spent time ministering to his community at large by preaching, teaching, and healing; he led 12 men as disciples in his role as rabbi; he communed with his father God by spending time alone talking to Father God. I think sometimes we forget that Jesus was very practical and the everyday was just as important to him as “holy moments”. The mundane moments were his holy moments and I am grateful for that. He is God over the mundane and miracles happen in community and in conversations. God created community when he created Adam and Eve to have each other.
As you have probably guessed, I am writing from a coffee shop; Starbucks this time and I am drinking some sort of fruity iced tea. I forget what it is called specifically. I think it is one of their refreshers. I am praying for you today to find your “tribe” of people to do life with. It may not be what you expect or desire right now. Don’t miss what is right in front of you and make the best of what you have! God knows the desires of my heart and your heart for relationships that seem to be lacking or missing. He has given us community in the mean time in order to build us up and to have us build up other people too. Cheers to your tribe and mine!
I am so aware of this emptiness that manifests itself sometimes lately. My tendency is to fill it up with caffeine, sugar, or people. Those are my go-to fillers, I guess. I can tell a lot of times when I start crossing the line from healthy to unhealthy in these areas. I am okay with sugar consumption though I admire people who cut it out completely. But I have to watch and be honest with myself in those three areas of why I am turning to them and if I am trying to replace God with those things.
There is a lot of talk lately about empowerment movements, one of which is for women. I have to be honest in that I struggle to relate to these movements or draw any strength or encouragement from them. Because to be honest, there are days I just feel frail and empty and desperate. I think some of this came after my divorce. Without someone else around all the time, I just get incredibly lonely. It helps to go visit with friends and family, but there is no replacing that constant companionship within a marriage – even a broken marriage. On any given day I just feel LONELY. It sucks. But lately I have had to give this to God more than I have before.
It has finally come to my attention that I wasn’t allowing God to be enough for me even though he is so vast and huge and endless and more than enough. These moments are where I relate to empowerment. To me, the bravest and most empowered thing I can do is surrender my needs to God and have faith the size of a mustard seed that he can be enough to fill up that empty void in me; because on the surface it doesn’t feel like he’ll be enough. I have to dig deep and get vulnerable with him; I have to admit there is a legitimate need there in the first place and then surrender it to him and not turn to other things. I have to put those substitutes on hold and linger in the empty feeling long enough for my attention to turn to God and allow him to come and fill me up because there is more than enough of him for what I need.
God created us for relationship and it is okay to acknowledge that and to desire that and to reach out to people for help and companionship, but God wants to be first in our lives and he wants to prove that he is enough for us so that we aren’t constantly having to turn to fillers.
I love my friends and family but they are not God to me and I would wear them out if I tried to have all my needs met in them. Friend, the bravest thing you can do today is surrender your needs to God. Be willing to sit where it is a little uncomfortable to create space for God to come in and fill you up. He loves us so much and he wants to give us everything we need. This song ministered to me tonight surrounding this idea. He is an endless ocean and a bottomless sea.
I came on WordPress thinking I wanted to change the theme (the look) of my blog. So I start scrolling through themes… no, no… no, ooh! I like that one. Only to realize it is the theme I already have. Le sigh. I think part of me wants to change the title of the blog too but Broken Bones Rejoicing just fits me. It is where I operate from. Jumping for Joy just isn’t me. I have joy – a deep set joy inside of me. But there is something about the wrestling of life and the “deeper things” that just is who I am. So, there you go. The look stays. The title stays. Psalm 51 is where the title came from. This is the psalm where David is confronted by Nathan about his sin with Bathsheba, he is broken over his sin and comes back to God asking to be cleansed and restored, and then he declares that he will teach others how to walk with God after he has learned from his mistakes. I guess that is where I’m at.
Even in the current job I have, I have not felt fulfilled there in the past but didn’t feel it was time to leave either; so I stayed. Just over the past few days feelings of fulfillment and purpose have come. My feelings were valid before but that doesn’t mean I get to act on them. All that matters to me is a green light or red light from God. I wasn’t getting a green light to leave, so it is time to stay. Broken Bones Rejoicing isn’t always the story I wish I had (not that I relate blow by blow to David’s story nor to his sin) but that is the story that seems to have chosen me. So here we are. I relate to the desire for cleansing and restoration more so than a sense of returning to God after adultery has been committed. I can’t relate to that part of David’s story. Over the past few years, though, I have been learning to trust God more whole-heartedly. Sometimes God seems to be silent though never absent. I think we have to be faithful in those times of silence. Will we follow the last thing he told us until we hear otherwise? Will we jump ship halfway through because things have become too mundane, or less than fulfilling, or not as exciting as if God was speaking at every turn?
Truth be told, I have learned more about what a healthy marriage looks like from going through a divorce and learning to view God as a husband since we are the bride of Christ than I ever learned being married. Just being real. God is so unbelievably faithful even when we are not; he loves when we do not. He is patient and kind. Things that confuse and frustrate me don’t confuse or frustrate him so he sticks around when things get tough. His shoulders are broad enough to handle the tough. I feel known and loved by God and it hasn’t always been that way. I have known ABOUT God most of my life. But it took a season of me being incapacitated and not able to achieve anything I would normally be achieving to convince me of his love that never fails. Don’t get me wrong; I thought I knew and loved God before that, and in some ways I did. However, the depth of love I know now is worth everything I have gone through; getting to experience God in the ways that I have is worth painful seasons of not knowing what comes next and if I will be able to handle what comes next. And my story didn’t turn out how I had hoped it would. That is just the raw truth of it all right now. But I’m okay with it. God can have my story and do what he wants with it.
I believe I am starting a season of being able to help others work through their pain because of what I have gone through. I’ll be going through training at church later this month to be a Care Counselor and get to walk with people through their difficult seasons. That alone lightens the load I feel like I have carried so far. To get to walk through pain with someone else and lock arms while looking into the eyes of Jesus makes everything worth it. So starting now I am praying for the people I will encounter through care counseling and asking God for his grace and wisdom to be on my lips. He is a good father who wants to break through into the lives of the people who will come to see me and I can’t wait to watch him work.
As usual, I am sitting at a coffee shop while typing this – Axum Coffee in Winter Garden this time with an Everything panini and a Coconut Cream Pie latte. Cheers, friends. Here’s a toast to you and me: That God’s words would be on our lips to share with others and breathe fresh life onto their wounded hearts.
God gets excited about you, did you know that? This is a new thing for me. I have pictured God as a lot of things, but not excited, particularly not excited about me. But this is how I feel like he is revealing himself to me, even in this very moment. And not just when I do things right or when I obey him or trust him.
I am not a parent yet. I would imagine as soon as I have children my understanding of this will reach a new level. People get excited about their children, even over the most mundane things. When they experience new things or show their little personalities. I guess another way to say it is that God delights in his children. I hate to say it, but sometimes ideas get stuck in “bible verse” mode in our minds, right? Like, we can’t picture or experience something outside of it just existing as a bible verse. Don’t get me wrong, I love the word of God. But God exists with us in real time and in real life moments.
I am sitting at Starbucks right now and I came here to balance my checkbook. I also called my mom while I was here and spent some time wandering around social media. And of course I am enjoying a coffee – a salted cream cold foam cold brew to be exact. I tried something new this time around. But anyway, I give all those details to say this: that is when it hit me that God gets excited about me. When I am enjoying one of my favorite activities of sitting at Starbucks reflecting and sipping and perusing; not reading my bible or worshiping through music or praying. This is one of the places I get “centered” again and encounter God by “being” and I am discovering that he gets excited about that with me. Now that will mess with your religion. It isn’t necessarily hard for me to believe about God; that isn’t the point. It just happens to be what he is showing me in this moment and I felt like I was supposed to share it.
If you are a coffee drinker, I hope you enjoy a cup of your favorite something-or-other in the near future and find yourself surprised by what God is showing you about himself. He is the best. Be loved, friends. You are loved; be in that state today.
I have been learning a lot about waiting over the past few years, and waiting has taught me about seasons. If you are like me, you don’t pay attention anymore when someone brings up the verses in Ecclesiastes 3 about a season for everything because we’ve heard them so many times. But reading and living something out are two different things; I would rather gain knowledge by experience as opposed to just reading words on a page. There truly is a season for everything, not just generally, but specifically.
Kairos time is an exact opportune moment for something, whereas chronos time is just the sequential passing of time. If we want our lives to be lived out in kairos timing, we have to learn to wait. I like to imagine passageways for us to hop through that pass by us to where we must jump through them at just the right time or we will miss them.
There are a number of reasons for this, I believe. 1) Isaiah 40:31 says, “they that WAIT upon the Lord will renew their strength…” So many things in life threaten to sap us of our human strength, but if we wait on God’s timing for things we will be given strength to sustain us both in the waiting and in the completion of the tasks. 2) I believe God’s ultimate goal is to have us close to him and totally dependent on him. This gets into splitting hairs, but I believe God wants us close to him more than he wants us to bear fruit, and that the RESULT of us being close to God happens to be fruit. We get it backwards and want to bear fruit and accomplish things, quickly taking our eyes off of Jesus and putting them on ourselves and our accomplishments, even if we are attempting to accomplish things for God.
We all have dreams, goals, and desires, and I think they are placed there by God and that he delights in us fulfilling our God-given destinies. I think we underestimate just how much we can rely on God to direct our path whether that be in day to day errand-running around town, starting a business, applying for a job, having conversations with people or keeping our mouths shut sometimes, how to parent children individually as opposed to using the same methods for every member of the family, what movies we watch and books we read – I think God wants to be involved in it all and that we would experience much less stress and anxiety over decision-making if we would come to him even with the little things.
Decision-making could seem to be a side-step away from waiting, but I have found over the past few years that waiting is an integral part of decision-making if we want to be able to hop through those imaginary passageways God creates for us in order to experience the pure joy of kairos timing with him. For instance, you may feel the pressure of needing to run 5 errands in the course of the day, rushing out the door to try to get all of it done so that you can move on to whatever comes next on your list. What if God wants you to wait on an item or two because he knows there is a traffic jam? Maybe you need a job and the bills are piling up. God has the perfect job out there but what if the person holding the position right now hasn’t given two weeks notice yet?
Again, more than anything God wants us to remain close to him and dependent on him. For whatever reason, oftentimes he chooses to accomplish this through waiting so that our focus remains on him instead of our problems or to-do lists, knowing that staying focused on him will renew our strength. Plus, the more we remain focused on him the sharper our hearing becomes so when he says, “Okay! Now is the time to jump!” we can be confident we are hearing him and respond accordingly. He is a good father and he finds ways to speak to each of his children in a way that they begin to recognize it is him doing the talking and directing.
It never gets old recognizing how God speaks to me whether that is the understanding that I need to wait, or the nudge that it is time to act, and he offers little reassurances along the way to let me know I am on the right path. Sometimes these are just between me and him through nature or a “knowing” inside of me, other times it comes from something someone says to me or something I may read somewhere. So, as much as we are talking about waiting and seasons it is just as much about cultivating intimacy with God. That is always and will always be the bottom line between us and God.
Father God, thank you for anyone who reads this and I pray that they will recognize your gentle nudges, whispers, and encouragements throughout their day today.
I sit down indian-style in the middle of the floor and scribble in the carpet with my finger. I have resisted coming here lately. I feel naked and distracted. I am tense and resistant. I am too composed. I need to do things so I feel productive. I can’t smile. Everything feels cold and stiff but I know something in me wants to be here.
I need to be still. Stop fidgeting. My finger stops. I close my eyes and hold my breath. I want you here but I don’t want to let go. I listen. I wait. I am trying to squint my way to you. I am grimacing like I’m in pain. I am anxious. I have it together. If I am not composed and in control then I will feel ashamed. If I let go I will feel like I need to apologize. I don’t want to show emotion and make you uncomfortable, Father. I need to relax.
Too much of me is still exposed to the openness. I bend my upper body toward the ground. I curl into a ball on my side and hug my knees to chest. I still feel unsettled trying to shelter myself. I need to relax my eyes and stop squinting. I breathe slowly and try to calm myself. I wait for the cocoon to come. The warmth.
Sometimes I like being a caterpillar. I return over and over. I stay there a little too long at times. But I sense the hunger. I vaguely remember what the wings feel like. And then I remember the process of building the cocoon and I cringe a little. Was it worth it last time? I think I just want to stay here. I still know you’re there somewhere, you just don’t feel as close as you could. No, it is always worth it when you change me. The metamorphosis. The cocoon is warm. Climbing out feels invigorating. The wings carry me effortlessly. I just don’t want to build that damn cocoon…
I listen. I want to close my ears but I also want them wide open. I know if I concentrate enough I can shut out the world. No, that isn’t quite right. I need to stop trying and forcing. The world will stay. I need to quiet myself and open my heart ears. I need to let go. The chaos is real. The chaos is what brings me to you. I don’t need you to take it away. Thank you, Jesus. I want to be with you. Thank you, Jesus. There are many things I don’t understand. I am scared. Can I trust you, Father?
You have been refining me lately and it hurts. I have been resisting building the cocoon. But it brings me to you. I allow my lips to smile. I relax more. I do not have it all together. I am not strong. I am a mess. I am poor in spirit. I am hungry for you, Abba. Not by might. Not by power. By your Spirit. Thank you for grace that covers.
The warmth is coming. The tears come. I know you will catch me once I let go. The fire is stirring. You know everything about me and you love me. Thank you, Abba. I don’t want to hold on. You teach me not to condemn myself. It is okay to laugh. It is okay to cry. It is okay to smile. It is okay to relax. It is okay to dance. You know me. Thank you, Jesus. You can have me.
I am bare but I do not feel naked or ashamed because the cocoon is forming. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Daddy. I know you hold me. Thank you, Jesus. I relax and my heart urgently reaches for you. I don’t know anything except you. I am not scared. I finally let go and my heart is dancing. The fire is growing. Tears continue. I am coming back home. Breathe out. Thank you, Jesus.
You are a consuming fire. The flames are roaring. The tears are pouring out. A rush. Unwrap my arms and stretch out my legs because the cocoon is here now. I am not my shelter.
Quiet. The flames crackle and hum. You hold me in your lap. You are gentle. You knock. You do not barge. We stay here for a while.
You whisper to me. You quiet my soul. You teach me to forgive. You heal me. You make me whole again. You give me desires. You let me create like you create. You remind me how to dance. You make me carefree. You make me jubilant. Thank you, Jesus.
I am your beloved. I am your child. You delight in me. Thank you, Jesus.
It is almost time to go. I can feel them on my back.
I am back from a great time at my Grandma’s cabin in Newland, NC! The plan was for me to leave Friday morning at 8am and get there by 10:30am. Well, for some reason I could NOT sleep Thursday night. I’m still not exactly sure why. Some combination of what we ate for dinner, the fact that our room stunk from painting the walls, Aaron snoring, and I might have drank coffee too late in the day I really can’t remember. All I know is I got out of bed around 3am and took some blankets and my pillow and moved into the living room to see if that would help. I finally fell asleep around 3:30 and woke up around 6 or 6:30. I went back to bed for a little bit after Aaron left. The point is, I didn’t leave on time. I left at 9. My cousin, Jena, called that morning to talk about me going to the cabin and to catch up on “stuff”. She was always my NC buddy when our Grandma would take pairs of grandkids to the cabin each summer when we were growing up.
So anyway, I got to the cabin around 11:15am. My grandma was out finishing up some errands so I talked to Grandpa Bob for a while as he worked on the fire and shared some wisdom with me. He always has something to share! Some of the family rolls their eyes at this but I like it. I figure he has lived a lot more life than me so maybe I’ll learn something.
Grandma Bonnie arrived within 15 minutes or so and asked Grandpa if he had lunch ready yet. Har har har. Then she gave everyone the game plan. She would put lunch in the oven and we would go down to the garden to dig up some potatoes. They saved their potato digging until after I got there so I could help. Haha. I didn’t mind. I like being in the garden. OH! One of the first things my Grandma announced when she arrived and after saying hello was that it was going to snow tomorrow. Uh, what?! I was not prepared for that. Oh well. Needless to say, it was pretty chilly. So we all bundled up to head to the garden. Then we piled into the golf cart (Dinah the dog, too) and bee-bopped down to the garden.
(I just have to pause and say writing this post is making me laugh because anytime Jena and I would go to the cabin with Grandma and Grandpa when we were younger, Grandma would always tell us to make sure we keep a journal! Haha. I thought to myself as I was leaving the cabin this time around that I better hurry up and write or type everything that happened so I don’t forget!)
We spent an hour to an hour and a half in the garden I think. We dug up a row of potatoes. Grandpa gathered some corn. We got some green beans, too, and then right before we left we grabbed some collard greens. As we were digging potatoes Grandma and I talked about anything and everything. I think the conversation really got going when I asked my Grandma what she would say some of her best decisions or investments of time or money were and then what her regrets were or things she wished would have happened differently. That just snowballed into all kinds of conversations that continued the whole time I was there. faith, politics, our family, our country, etc.
(Pause to take the dogs out!)
Honestly, I was hungry when I arrived at the cabin so I was starving at this point. We were about done anyway but I told my Grandma I was dying and needed food haha. So we hopped back on the golf cart with our boxes and buckets of produce and headed back up to the cabin. On the way back (and the way to the garden, now that I think about it.) Grandma pointed out little landmarks in the creek that we all named as kids; places like Picnic Rock! I remember going there to write in my journal. Once we got back to the cabin we ate lunch. Acorn squash, potatoes, and cornbread, I think. The potatoes were from the garden but they were the ones we had just picked. We talked some more over lunch.
Then Grandma and I headed out to thrift stores after lunch. Oh, that got started because soon after I arrived that morning I realized I totally forgot to pack any jeans so I was going to ask my Grandma about finding something cheap at a thrift store. She said she wanted to go to a few anyway so we could make a trip. We asked Grandpa if he wanted to stay or go. Not surprisingly, he chose to stay so we said goodbye and headed out. I think it stayed in the 40s all day Friday, somewhere around there. The main store Grandma wanted to take me to, a thrift store in Crossnore, was closed, so we moved on to another one. I can’t remember the name of that one. Grandma gave me some money to spend. I really appreciated that and it made me smile because my mom tells me every now and then how Grandma likes to slip her and my aunt a little spending money sometimes when they go shopping.
So at this second store I eventually found some jeans I liked that were long enough. I also ended up finding some boots and a skirt. All for 11.50, I think. I was trying things on for quite a while and kept finding more and more to try on so Grandma had finished her browsing and was waiting on me. We moved onto the next store she wanted to visit, Ram’s Rack, and they were closed too. We decided to try again the next day. We ran into the grocery store, Ingles, really quick to get some soda and ice cream.
When we got back home we got our stuff inside and then headed out to a different little garden closer to the cabin. We were hunting for green tomatoes because we were going to do fried green tomatoes for dinner! We also picked up some apples that had already fallen off the tree on the way into the cabin.
So, that night I made fried green tomatoes for us for dinner. That was my first time cooking them and eating them. They were actually pretty good. We had cornbread and we might have had one other thing with dinner but I can’t remember. We talked about all kinds of things over dinner again and moved into doing dishes and turning on the tv to listen to O’Reilly in the background. We got to talking about something and Grandma busted out her Bible dictionary and Interlinear Greek Bible and a guide to the Old Testament. Eventually we made some rootbeer floats and settled in front of the tv. Everybody but me fell asleep watching tv and reading books. Hmm…
I slept really well that night but I woke up in the morning sick. My throat was killing me but I still had energy at that point so luckily it didn’t ruin the trip. I had been fighting off getting sick for what seems like two or three weeks leading up to this trip so I think I was finally relaxed enough that my body thought it could be sick without slowing me down in the middle of all my busyness. At least that’s what my mom says about when we would get sick on school breaks! Our bodies were just waiting for us to slow down so they could have time to be sick without messing up our schedules.
Anyway, back to the trip. Everyone grabbed their own breakfast that morning. I had a banana and an oatmeal cream pie. I think Grandpa had donuts. Grandma said she usually tries to have granola bars and fruit these days. We decided we would get ready and do our thrift store shopping first and then come back and have my sewing lesson for the last few hours I was there. Oh yeah, I brought a sewing machine my grandma gave me to have her teach me. My mom has sat down with me a few times over my life but I’ve had a slow start with sewing so I decided to bring one of my sewing machines with me for this trip and get some more experience.
So we all finished our breakfasts and I got myself ready to go. We said goodbye to Grandpa Bob again and headed back out to Crossnore. Grandpa Bob was born in a hospital out there. I ended up spending the most time looking at furniture because Aaron and I have been looking for a few things. I found this really cool enclosed desk cabinet thing. Really technical, I know. I don’t know what to call those things. From the outside it looks like it could be a wardrobe or entertainment center but when you open it up it has a desk set up inside. Anyway, I really liked it so I told Aaron about it and took some pictures. I was coming back to Newland the very next Wednesday to pick my Grandma up and I was thinking I could come back in the Jeep instead of the Honda and bring it home! Me and my crazy ideas. But Aaron was good with it so I think that’s what we’ll do. We just need to check to make sure one part of it isn’t broken first. I tried on some clothes there but nothing worked out. My grandma and I were supposed to meet at the books at the end so we headed over there and I found a book Aaron and I had been wanting and a few others for me. We checked out and headed to our next stop: I guess it was the Ram’s Rack. This was a nice little thrift store too. The one at Crossnore was really nice. At Ram’s Rack we looked around for a while and I ended up finding 3 skirts and a few books. My Grandma found where they had free magazines to take so I picked out some. Then we checked out and headed back to the cabin! Well we stopped at the grocery store first to get some barbecue chicken for lunch.
When we got home Grandpa had the greens cooked. The chicken we picked up was already warm so we sat down and had greens, chicken, and cornbread. Oh, I forgot about this earlier but I told my grandparents about having honey on the cornbread at our first meal and they liked it. That idea was from Aaron so I’ll have to let him know.
After lunch we set up our sewing machines. Grandma showed me how to get the thread set up. Then I had to pick out fabric because she was going to teach me how to do a 9-square piece. I guess it is basically quilting in a sense but you can repeat the squares to make different things like place mats, table runners, etc. So anyway, I took forever to pick my fabrics. Hey, that was a difficult decision! Even thinking about it now there were still different color combinations I could have picked that I liked. Hmm…
We worked on my project until I had to leave (about two hours). It was a lot of fun. I am slowly getting more comfortable with everything that goes into sewing – all the measuring and cutting and planning it out and then actually sewing the stuff. I got a blister from the scissors I was using. Bummer. They were right-handed and pretty stubborn as far as movement goes. You wouldn’t think the right-hand left-hand thing would make a difference but it hurt pretty bad. I was close to tears. Not to complain, but I wouldn’t have expected it to hurt so bad either. Anyway, I left everything set up there and I’m going to work on it more when I bring my Grandma back after my mom’s wedding, then take it all home with me.
I already had my car packed at that point and Grandma Bonnie and Grandpa Bob had loaded my car up with potatoes, canned green beans, and canned jam. We said goodbye and I headed by the Crossnore thrift store on my way out to have them hold the desk for me. Once I was headed for home I drove through a Wendy’s for dinner and was on my way. I was pretty tired at that point and feeling pretty sick!
I got home and Aaron was out finishing grocery shopping. He did it this week since I was gone over payday and he also made a big dent in our apartment painting. He got through most of a to-do list I left him and that was all with him finding out he would have to work some on Saturday. Once he got back we unloaded both the cars and spent the rest of the night swapping all of our stories from our two days apart, haha. There was a lot to tell!
I am really glad I got to make this trip to the cabin. It was a much-needed escape and it reminded me how grateful I am for all my family and how much I love them. I was glad Jena called me, too. Now I’ll get to see everyone in less than a week for my mom’s wedding!
See you guys soon. Oh, and it did flurry a little bit Saturday morning! It was pretty.