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  • How to Have What all Our Breaking Hearts Want Most this Father’s Day

    On Friday, June 13 th, 2014
    I sat with a man once – who told me about falling in love with a woman who was most alluring not in satin but in sweats, her hair undone and falling, laughing about something long ago, her head thrown back and her neck arching bare and lovely. That he couldn’t take his eyes off her when she was like that, vulnerable and unmasked, and maybe that’s what beauty is, the brokenness of bare exposure. He said that’s all he ever wanted. He wanted her and he wanted to live unafraid because what does it matter what people think of you when you know that you’re known by God? Let people have their bloated opinions — he’d take God’s bottom-line approval any old day. Thing was, every time he went to ask for her hand, to commit to a taking and holding gently a life like that, to daily daring to lay down for a life like that, some voice in the back of his rattling mind mocked him for thinking he was a man. That he wasn’t man enough for a woman like her, that he wasn’t man enough for a brave life where souls lived unashamed and uncovered to each other, that he wasn’t man enough to live unmasked in a world of stiff suits and swaggering loud certainty. So he’d gone to his dad. He’d knew where to go and it was back to his father. Because a Father is the seed of your beginning, he is
  • When You’re Praying for Boston

    On Monday, April 15 th, 2013
  • Letters to the Wounded {#1}

    On Friday, March 08 th, 2013
    And after sharing Letters to the Wound {#2} this week? …. I went back in the archives and pulled out Letters to the Wounded {#1}. D ear Wounded, You were bleeding quiet in my inbox. I read your letter slow, line by line, the way one follows the trail of smearing salty red back to find the gash, to the place where the skin weeps blood. I read your words, the ones about doubting God and I felt along your questions, and I see it, where you hurt. I read how ones who claim  Christ’s name thrust the sharp point and inflicted the injury and I winced and I read of the silence when you pounded heaven’s gate and something inside me twisted tight and broke, and I read your story, again, again. I have your blood on my hands. I am wounded with you. I’ve got your bloodied story on my hands and I’ve got my own messy, gory past and I too live wounded — wounded by life and this aching strangle of sickness and dying dreams; wounded by the church and the licks of thoughtless tongues, infighting, and hard, indifferent hearts. Wounded by God. There. I said it. I don’t know if I could have if you hadn’t been brave enough to say it first. You wrote me —- well, a collective you, several in one day, all with different scenes in that one play ending with the same last line, “How to believe?” —- and you didn’t
  • Letters to the Wounded {#2}

    On Monday, March 04 th, 2013
    Dear Thriver, You didn’t just survive, so let’s toss that myth right at the outset. I’ve seen you living chin brave through the hurt and how you keep taking one step out of bed and one through the door and how you scale mountains by relentlessly taking steps forward. The way you keep walking? You’re no victim. You’re a Thriver. You may bleed but you rise. I’ve seen your wounds. Not that you badge-flash your scars. Or try to hide them, ashamed. It’s just sometimes I see a passing flicker in your eyes, old pain shooting white right through. But mostly, quietly, the scars just become you, who you are, they just become the way your skin pulls mottled and raised over your soul and this is how you fit. How you can look healed and thickened and still feel so thin? If someone brushed by you just a certain way? You’d blue tender and sore all over again or just spill without a sound. Inside, the warrior is small. The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. I just — I just wanted to reach out and — just touch, glance, your wounds. You don’t have to say anything. Explain anything, excuse anything. I just wanted to touch them — you– acknowledge them. You. Bless them, you, without a sound. Because Wounded Warriors win. There is no remission of sins or the crossing of finish lines without things getting bloody. You are so brave to keep facing the
  • 3 Things to Hold on to When Life Hurts {Cherry Blossoms in Rain}

    On Wednesday, April 25 th, 2012
    S he learned it haltingly in early spring, when the rain fell. When the edge of Japan washed away. When the sky slid down all the window panes. And a Sunday in spring, when a tornado sky rips up the earth, leaving this fury of questions, she plays on, the same song. Now surer, steadier. I stand at the windowsill. It still rains. The tomatoes plants try to stand in west winds, strong and straight. It’s true of all the windowed eyes we look into: Everyone carries their own inner rain. Her notes, they start low, an accepting slow, a bass. Then her fingers, then, they reach high, valleys calling to heights. There’s an ache, a haunting echo, and the notes feel like the far oriental east, as far as He has removed all that inflicts and breaks ties and sins. She plays the notes like a winging, like a long leaving, like standing at the edge of what once was and witnessing the losing of something pure and prayed for. It is like Asia weeping, like a sky crying. Apple trees blossom brave in the orchard, white clouds come down in the storm. “This one,” I turn to her at the piano, “ — it always makes me hurt just a bit, Hope.” Is it the the beauty of the song? The exquisite simplicity and delicate perfection of every river of notes, of every soaring? Or is it the longing of it, the loss and lostness of it? This
  • What Your Scars Can Really Be …

    On Monday, April 23 rd, 2012
    In the kitchen, after supper, while we stack the plates, she pulls up her sleeve to shows me her scars. “Did you see this one here on my arm?” When she bends, a tendril falls across her face, and her finger traces this whorl and I can see how the skin pulls, how pain is embroidered right into her. She is six and she is marked. And there is still so much road ahead. How many decades will she wear these scars? How will she stretch the memory of these things right around her? And when will the hard, risen edge of the wound fade away? “And this one’s from a burn.” I’m scraping wilted lettuce leaves, soggy with dressing, off the plate and she’s pointing her index finger straight up like a signpost, so the pale white line of the heat that branded her can catch the light from the window. She’s holding her scarred finger straight up in the light — and she looks just like Patsy, when Patsy had turned, that’s what I think. When Patsy had turned and held her index finger straight up and then pointed to herself. “I had agoraphobia too.” That’s what Patsy had said to me, her chair next to mine in a room of women, her red glasses slipping down the bridge of her nose, her eyes not leaving mine. She had pointed her finger up, like a raising of a hand, like a joining of this sorority of suffering. “So I
  • regardless of the temperature of your heart…

    On Wednesday, August 17 th, 2011
    …so slipping in here late, the internet blinking out on the farm since last weekend… and today all went still as the service provider replaced internet equipment out on the tower… and way out here in the country, we really try not to take that little internet signal for granted ~smile~ All is Grace… so just snippets of thoughts I’m thinking about today… The call to follow Christ always means a call to share the work of forgiving men their sins. Forgiveness is the Christlike suffering which it is the Christian’s duty to bear. ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer … in The Cost of Discipleship from Corrie ten Boom in Tramp for the Lord ‘I t was in a church in Munich that I saw him—a balding, heavyset man in a gray overcoat, a brown felt hat clutched between his hands. People were filing out of the basement room where I had just spoken, moving along the rows of wooden chairs to the door at the rear. It was 1947 and I had come from Holland to defeated Germany with the message that God forgives. It was the truth they needed most to hear in that bitter, bombed-out land, and I gave them my favorite mental picture. Maybe because the sea is never far from a Hollander’s mind, I liked to think that that’s where forgiven sins were thrown. ‘When we confess our sins,’ I said, ‘God casts them into the deepest ocean, gone forever. …’ The solemn faces stared back at me,
  • How Hurting Women Can Help Each other Heal…

    On Tuesday, April 26 th, 2011
    At the gate, flying to Portland today, to speak at the Q conference (oh, if He leads, if you’d  lend this girl holding on to Jesus’ hand a few prayers, I’d be mighty grateful!) … and I’m sitting here remembering these words, and giving thanks for  friends like you:  my beautiful mama loving me deep & loving on our kids while I quietly share His message of eucharisteo, for the radiant women at the other end of this flight — and for the gift of time with one of the women in this post, a true heart friend in Him who simply, powerfully lives the Gospel of Jesus Christ… Want to Listen to Today’s Post?  My very real thanks to you, friend, for your very real friendship. Click Here When Lissa Turscott slid down her bus window and whipped that baseball hard, I felt the thud in my back and the smash of my heart. I hunched over to catch the pieces all shattering. I heard her friends all slapping her on the back in congratulations as the bus moaned away. Some bruises break the vessels skin deep and others just break souls and Lissa and Judith and Alexa and all the girls with the teased bangs, they were the ones sashaying to the latest Madonna songs. I was the mocked girl wearing polyester pants from the Sally Ann.   I’ve been rejected and I’ve skirted wide circles around women and maybe you know something about wide berths and big circles?
  • Why We Can Trust God with our Prayers

    On Thursday, January 13 th, 2011
    She was born under breath prayers on a Friday and under blankets on a Wednesday the breaths all left her and she turned blue, the color of heaven. Her mama held her high and cried to the heights and YHWH whispered breathe…. In a pediatric critical care unit on a Thursday, the doctors treat our bundle of pink for meningitis, waiting on cultures for Group B strep. Her mama leans over her, stroking her cheek, whispering prayers. And we take hands in a circle here and pray, pray to YHWH — the One whose very name sounds like our breathing, the One with the name YHWH that means Y = yod — Hand H = heh — window of breath, Behold W = vav — Nail H = heh — window of breath, Behold We pray to YHWH whose name embodies suffering, Who takes our hand with His nail scarred one and we behold the Wounded Healer, the One in Whom is our window of breath in a world suffocating with pain and ache. We come up for Breath… We Behold… and The Nailed Hand holds our prayers. :: :: :: Related: Jennifer Lee’s “The Y Scar”
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