I can’t. You can’t. We can’t.

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I am fighting discouragement right now, as I know many others probably are too.

I spend five hours a week writing and making graphics for social media about immigration reform and the people it effects. In the last four months I have read half a dozen books, countless articles, and various positions. All the reading I do in my own time, because I want to understand. Then I draw out and create and share, and hope. I really hope… for change and for others to be moved.

 

In every message we share, words we speak and actions we take some are received and some are not. There is a lot competing for our attention. I understand that so much. There is a lot of disagreement, a lot of untruth, a lot of history.

Sometimes it feels like making a difference is too hard.

 

That verse:

Acts 17:26 He determined the times set for them and the exact places they should live.

It was the little breath that I needed to keep going this weekend.

If God sets people before us… how can we turn away, just because its hard?

 

To every story that we hear, every person we know there is so much more…

not just immigration reform, everything…. and everybody; the single Mom in the grocery story line with her Bridge card, the same-sex couple trying to find a church home, the newly released felon with no place to go. It’s hard.

I know its hard. I’m writing this slung over the couch in the dark of summer. I just ate six cookies. Sometimes I want to give up.

I can’t.

You can’t.

We can’t.

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I think it is what God created us for. I pray we can rise up and live into that calling.

How can I encourage you this week to keep going? What are you struggling to stick with? I know you all do beautiful things from advocating for human trafficking to changing diapers. 

 

 

have all of me.

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I read an old journal from my camp counseling days. I was weary, dragging, discouraged, defeated after ten weeks of constant… my third summer running.

 

I swam with the girls for night swim.

In the glow of their flashlights they shared about cancer, popularity, God when they went home and into their schools.

They feel asleep as I read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. 

And three years of 7B ends with Imogene Herdman crying in her crookedly veil broken by God’s love. It is the proximity that makes life worth everything. I knew I would do it all over again, and in different forms I have.

 

My last journal entry from the porch of 7B: I want you to have all of me Jesus.

 

Being available to God,

Being in proximity,

Being bent by his love,

Offering that without reserve,

is the hardest you will do.

 

For months I have felt that bone-weary tired, used-up, defeated, discouraged, my heart like stone.

Then it comes quietly, by picking up old writing. It is because I am deep in proximity right now. I would do well to be gentle with myself.

He wants us to offer everything, but he is love in taking it.

 

Be gentle with yourself.

I know all you do in your work, in your home, in your relationships, in proximity.

You are more than enough, even when it doesn’t feel like it.

That allows me to say have all of me, Jesus. All of me.

 

 

 

a whole world of people hoping

globeOn Mondays, I try to write personal posts. People say they like them best, although I’m not completely sure. They are hard for me. It was never what I intended, but it is intertwined with proximity. Sometimes… the biggest thing that prevents us from moving into closeness to renewal is ourselves.

 

I fell in a mud puddle at school last Friday. My pant legs were brown, like poop a kid pointed out, and I had to sit like that the last one and half hours of the day.

The month of March clings stubbornly to winter, the glimpses of spring small. Honestly, that is what I feel like, and it is often what I feel like. It isn’t pretty. I feel gray and cold and hard, with brown pant legs.

It’s a frozen that hurts. Like sitting in church feels like torture, because I don’t want to sing. And getting up feels impossible sometimes. There is a lot tedium in my life and lot of movement in the people around me. Being faithful feels impossible.

 

I read my old journals sometimes, I have never felt such persistent doubt and insecurity enfold me. They choke the life out of me. Sometimes I feel like I am battling so deeply with satan. He keeps pulling me, pulling me down. Then a little crack of sun pours in and I detect joy, but soon the gray seeps again. That is what my mind and my heart do. And it is a fight every day.

I know I have to get up. I have people that are counting on me, little people. Not getting up, is not an option, it never will be.

 

I realize that I have forgotten to ask God for help, because really I’m kind of mad at him, for leaving me like this so often. Even though I know it is not his fault. I crack open the tiniest piece of my heart…

it is there so clear. That is why we have to do the proximity thing. It makes us get up. It is the purpose, however small and insignificant. I know not only little people are counting on me, but there is a whole world of people hoping.

 

There is always a need we can meet.

I understand that is why I write proximity. It is what has kept me breathing.

All I am left to pray is scratched in my journal from a decade ago…

Summon out what I should be, somehow God. 

 

I want to hold this close, but it is too much a part of me right now. It’s a sensitive thing… and I wonder if others struggle with one thing that seems to continually bring them down. What is that thing that helps that gray clear for you?

 

Disappointment

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Your stomach sinks.

Your shoulders give over the the weight of discouragement.

The kind words meant to keep you going and offer encouragement are wonderful, but they still sting.

You were good, but not good enough.

 

We have all been there.

I was last week, I wanted nothing more than to lie down and cover myself up to the world.

Instead I let it simmer on the surface while trying desperately to push the disappointment down.

When I’m with my friends and share something that disappointments me, I always extend a qualifier, but it’s OK. Then they say to me, it’s OK to be disappointed and sad. I forget that sometimes. I feel like I have to be perfect, upbeat and full of faith.

I trust, but that doesn’t mean I always feel that. It doesn’t mean you actually feel it every moment of every day either.

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A couple of weekends ago, I watched the film The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I immediately grabbed the novel from the library, both were written by Stephen Chbosky.  The characters were so real and broken, but beautiful.

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Sad comes. 

Happy comes.

Hope is always with us though. There is always hope.

For me, that hope comes from my God, I know he’s not leaving me.

One Word: Kneel

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One Word Three Sixty Five’s tagline:

One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live.

One word that you can focus on every day, all year long.

Visit the One Word Three Sixty Five site here.

 

Through many of my writing friends, I discovered this fresh take on New Year’s Resolutions. I really loved reading about how they grew from focusing on one word throughout the course of a year. There has also been some beautiful art and scrapbook creativity going on with One Word.

 

My one word for 2013: Kneel.

This fall has been difficult for me. With both my kids in school, I have re-entered the workforce. I choose to follow my dream of being a writer. Honestly, for each step forward I’ve been met with about seven steps backwards.

Some days I have really wanted to quit. I’m weary of the rejection, of ‘being so out there’, of trying so hard. I know deep down I can’t quit. This is who I am, it is like breathing to me. I might not still be  here without the gift of writing my heart. I want very much to honor God with my writing.

I thought a lot about my one word for this year. When I was thinking I felt the weight of my discouragement. So, I imagined what makes me happiest. Then the word kneel pressed into my heart.

 

To Kneel in Prayer.

To Kneel before God as a broken person.

To Kneel before others with my heart wide open.

To Kneel in service to those in need of a touch of love and kindness.

To Kneel before my writing to encourage others and encourage justice.

To me, that is hope. Kneel: is my One Word for 2013.

 

The beautiful Melanie Moore of Only A Breath made buttons for our blogs. I will keep my one word on the sidebar for the course of this year. I will be linking up with her and others on the 15th of each month to talk about what we are learning.

Visit: the oneword365.com community page for links to other blog’s one-word for inspiration.

Scrapbook extraordinaire Ali Edwards is offering a monthly class (for the 2013 year) all about One Word.

 

I hope you will prayerfully consider one word for 2013 too! We can talk about our words in the comment section! I’d love to pray for you and your heart this coming year! What One Word did you choose? 

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We Are Not Consumed

During summer camp I write:

Today waiting for songs and skit a little boy, whose name tag read Eric, walked circles around me for minutes on end. Then he looked up with his forward facing front teeth and round glasses, “Are you dizzy yet?” 

No, I am not dizzy, because I am standing in one place.

 

A journal entry:

If I keep still it’s almost as if there is a pseudo peace. 

If I keep myself contained and quiet, no one will see all my rough edges. 

If I cover over myself I will stay hidden from other’s eyes, no one can hurt me hidden. 

 

Josiah called out to me as I was opening up his bedroom window on a warm fall day. As I ran to him, my foot stepped into a lego box and my ankle twisted me to the floor, I lay in a pile of sharp legos. Ellie arrived, laughing hysterically at me. Tears pressed against my eyelids, but I crawled to Josiah. He had crashed onto the floor during some bed jumping. I held him on my lap realizing how hurt my ankle felt. I would have done it again, to be there to wipe his tears.

Moving forward can be painful. 

I held close a manuscript for nearly a decade. If eyes saw the words, maybe my inadequacy would be revealed and my dream would disappear. I trusted a handful of close friends to critique. The paper bleed with red.

I was also head hopping,  (being in the head of more than one character at a time), doesn’t that sound scandalous? The old me wanted to crawl into my bed and die a quiet death.

Then, something surfaced, a strange hope. I was moving forward, I implemented the ideas, and I loved what emerged.

 

Standing in the same place helps insulate hurt and sometimes attains pseudo peace.

Moving forward brings hope and draws you into the person God created you to be.

 

Lamentations 3:22

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassion never fails.

 

His compassion will never fail us.

We can take courage to move forward, we will not be consumed.

 

What do you need to stop standing still about? How do you gather courage to move forward? 

Check in Wednesday: A Guest Post about where the sidewalk ends…