Phragmites

It’s time.

It’s time to start writing again. Or at least start sharing. Tears almost fill my eyes as I set my fingers to the keyboard. It’s been too long. I’m ready now.

Yesterday, a friend of mine posted a video to a song on my Facebook wall, It is Well.  There’s a line that says, “And this mountain that’s in front of me/Will be thrown into the midst of the sea” (Read more: Bethel Music – It Is Well Lyrics | MetroLyrics) It had reminded me of a prompt I had done in a writing class I had taken about three years ago, which in turn prompted me to take out that floral print, spiral-bound notebook. As I flipped through the pages to find that particular prompt, I scanned the countless other prompts I had written, many of which about I had forgotten. And I was taken aback at how, though I had written about entirely different circumstances, that three years later, much of it is applicable to things I’m experiencing now or have experienced in the time since then. I was taken to one particular entry that seemed especially fitting, and felt compelled to share it today. It was a twenty-minute prompt titled, “Phragmites,” that was written some time in the spring of 2012.


“Phragmites”

She’s beautiful.
She stands tall, brave, confident–but not rigid, like she’s bracing herself for a blow, fearful she might be uprooted and topple over if she’s not strong enough.
No, she knows better now.
She knows because she’s tried and failed. Tried to be strong on her own, tried to think if she managed to stay put, stay rooted in the ground, that it was her own doing. But it never was.
And it wasn’t until the fiercest of storms blew through that threatened to destroy her that she knew: phragmites were never designed to be rigid. They’re supple. They bend and they sway, seemingly at the mercy of the waves and the rain. But they’re not. If their roots grow deep, they may be bent to the ground, but not cast off. And turns out, being bent to the ground is one of the most beautiful things. Painful, yes–but it’s then that you know that the only way you can get up again is when He stoops down and gently wraps His fingers around you, pulling you to standing. You’re weak and fragile and bend easily at the slightest breeze, but He’s there to catch you, pull you upright again, and you get stronger.
That’s what she learned after the wind whipped through her hair so hard, it threatened to knock the wind out of her. And the waves, they beckoned her, threatened to pull her away for good.
She lay still, almost lifeless. But her roots, they grew deep, and strong. She was still connected to her foundation.
And as He pulled her up and she looked into His compassionate eyes, rested against His gentle hands, she knew.
She knew the memorizing Bible verses and going to Sunday School weren’t just for being a good little girl and getting a pat on the back. They were for the storms. They were for knowing when you’re knocked on your back, there’s nothing you can do to lift yourself back up. There’s only remembering you lie on a firm foundation, established by the One who extends His hand to you, to offer you life anew.
And for her, it’s never been the same since.

 

I was anxious and trying to control this life, and so concerned with outcomes that weren’t ever in my control to begin with. I was so concerned with how it was all appearing.
And then [I] let go. [I] shifted. [I] gave in.
And while it was hard… It was simple. God was in control. He was real. He saw [me]. And [I was] going to eventually or quickly get to heaven with him. See, [I wasn’t] going to be here very long. And everything [I] did between now and when [I] meet him was up to him.

Jennie Allen, Anything

The Father’s Heart on 9/11–And Everyday

I don’t know where you were when you first heard, saw. I don’t know if someone you loved, or at least someone you knew, was in one of those buildings or planes. I do know that we Americans, to varying degrees, were affected. We were affected by hate driving planes into buildings, by forces set against freedom—the very thing that Christ died to give us.

And today, twelve years later, my heart hurts for children without fathers and husbands without wives and all those who lost loved ones. Time is grace and maybe the pain isn’t as fresh, but it still stings. Nine-eleven now rings in our American ears as the date that hate changed our world. Nine-one-one. Emergency.

Emergency.

Someone, somewhere, is always in a state of emergency. Halfway across the globe, daily, millions mourn and the date rings in the ears as hate.

We cry, twelve years later.

And today, children are raped and starved and handed rebel weapons.

But suffering is suffering. Everywhere. And blessed are those who mourn (Matthew 5:4). To mourn for what we’ve lost isn’t to take away from the injustice happening around the world. And to let the weight of all the world’s suffering sink heavy into our chests isn’t to lessen the pain of the wound inflicted by the losses incurred in America on 9/11. This morning, I mourn for it all. My heart is heavy and I don’t know what to do with it, so I pray. And it’s then I remember I’m not meant to carry it, so I take it to the One who can carry it all, and calls me to cast it on Him.

When you’re heavy with the weight of the world—today, and every other day—hand it to Him?

When you’re weighed by the weariness of evil’s toll on earth, lay it at His feet?

The Father is not blind to the suffering of this world He created. And His Father’s heart mourns when we, His children, mourn. We, those who have accepted the sacrifice of His Son, have the heart of a Father who knows loss. Who saw His Son suffer at the hands of injustice. And had the power to stop it all, but did not spare His own Son so that He could give us—freely—all things (Romans 8:32). And offers this heart of a Father to any who will call on the name of the Son He didn’t spare, for all of us orphans and rebels who didn’t deserve, but desperately needed, His grace. Where sin abounds, grace all the more (Romans 5:20). The evil that pervades, and promotes suffering? God’s grace reaches and touches and heals—deeper. More abundant. Let it? Let Him? He’ll take your sin and forgive it, take your shame and erase it, take your pain and carry it. And one day He will take this world He created and make it all new. Eradicate the evil that kills, and steals loved ones and dignity, and remove it, once and for all.

Emergency days will be no more.

Until then, He promises to be our Lifeline, to rescue us when we call, to carry the weight of the pain that threatens to crush us. Cast it on Him. Let Him take it. All of it. He can handle it. He’s big enough to handle all of your emergencies—and loves You enough to want to. Let the days you remember where you were standing, and when the world changed, be the days You remember He carried You through.

Psalm 121

http://bible.us/59/PSA121.1.ESV I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord , who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.
Bible.com/app

Update

Hey, everyone. I wanted to take a moment to break from my typical post format, and give you all a little update on what’s going on these days.

First, I am thrilled that Anna of Here Am I has invited me to be a guest blogger on her site this week. You can check out my post on her site here.

If you read the post, you’ll find that I’ve revealed an upcoming change: I’m going to Peaks Island, ME for the summer! That means less access to a computer, which in turn means posting less frequently. But be assured that I will be writing, and will be posting, so keep your eyes peeled this summer for sporadic posts. I’m hoping to take this time to do a little brainstorming, and have a more organized approach to how often, and what, I post. You may even see other bloggers like Anna as guests on here as well! I’m hoping to also incorporate an online store where I’ll be selling various craft items, from fabric flowers to cards to whatever else I may come up with, in order to raise funds for a missions trip to Sierra Leone this December (Yes, it still hasn’t happened yet–but here’s to hoping this year will be the year!).

Anyway, in light of my nearing departure, I’d like to share a poem I wrote on the ferry ride over to Peaks Island when I visited earlier this month:

Peaks Island

See the glamor
that isn’t so glamorous.
See the grit and the grime
that isn’t mine.
Feel the wind that they feel,
the wind that invigorates
me–
the wind that chills them
to the bone,
day in,
day out.

Do not romanticize,
but do not stop
seeing their ordinary
as extraordinary–
because my ordinary,
that they see as glamorous,
is extraordinary.

Human beings,
wherever they breathe breath,
are nothing short of miracles.

——————-
Looks like their ordinary is about to become my ordinary, at least for a little while. 😉 Perhaps in that time the sense of glamor may wear off, but I’m hopeful it doesn’t. I’m hopeful that the overwhelming sense of God’s love, that washes over me when I realize He gave me the opportunity to live and work on a beautiful island with an amazing friend (who also loves me enough to extend the invitation), never wears off.

I’m sure I’ll be learning lots there, and I’ll be sure to share as often as I can! This week will be filled with packing and tying up loose ends, so look for another post some time next week after I’ve arrived and have gotten settled in!

Check out Ann‘s blog today. The first example given reminded me: the best way to rid anxiety? Be thankful.

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:6-7 ESV)

When there’s so much to be thankful for, what’s there to be anxious about? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

I needed that reminder today. Thank you, Ann. Thank You, Jesus.