My Heart's Home

November 29, 2010

The Master Weaver

Filed under: Healing — My Heart's Home @ 2:35 pm

Looking back on my life, I view a beautiful tapestry.

I do now; I didn’t then.

It took time to weave.

The time when my heart was hanging by a thread; God held the spool securely in His hands.

The time when my life was unraveling before my eyes; God was replacing old, broken thread with new.

The time when all I could see were frayed edges and flaws; God was refining His design.

The time when all I saw were black braids; He added bursts of color.

The time when I didn’t understand the bigger picture; His intricate pattern was unfolding before His eyes.

The time when I didn’t think the pieces fit; He stitched them together perfectly.

The time of dry patches; God was sitting back admiring His handiwork.

Now I can, too.

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November 19, 2010

Someone Like Me

Filed under: Freedom,Healing — My Heart's Home @ 11:10 pm

If it were up to me, I’d never leave my protective shell. After all, I’ve spent a lifetime building it. One shame-laden, mortar-filled, crimson-stained brick at a time. I’ve grown rather comfortable behind cocooned walls. The outside world can be a scary place for someone like me.

I prefer the dark.

Call me crazy, but lately I’ve been hearing voices. One screams, “You’re not good enough, smart enough, rich enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, Christian enough!” Another shouts, “Will I ever feel whole?” And the last one whispers:

“I want to use you.”

The third voice is the most disturbing. “No thanks. Not interested. Been-there-done-that. Was chewed up like a wad of gum, ’till all the flavor’s spent and I am spit upon the floor.”

That’s how it feels to be used, only it’s a million times worse, and I don’t ever want to feel that way again.

But the voice keeps whispering; I can’t ignore it any longer. It’s relentless. It behooves me to obey or risk winding up in the belly of a whale—a little too dark a cavern, even for someone like me.

So I crack open the shades, my Bible, my journal, my heart and wait for God to speak. But this time He’s no longer whispering. His voice is loud and clear:

“I’m calling you to write; I’m going to use you.”

My heart leaps for joy!

“But it’s not going to be easy.”

And then plummets to the floor.

Nothing in my life ever is.

“In fact, it’s going to be downright painful at times, maybe even get a little messy.”

I know what that means: cue scalpel; I’m going to bleed.

Amazing writer, Ann Voskamp, stated on a recent blog: Words for write in the Anglo-Saxon language originally mean to carve, scratch, cut.

Carve

Scratch

Cut

No matter how you slice it, equals: BLEED

Yep, it’s gonna get messy, alright. Like a sacrificial lamb, messy. Hook up the IV.

“Do we have to go there? Can’t we just skip a few chapters and segue instead to the exciting, joyful and pain-free moments, like when the knight in shining armor arrives and the princess trots off into the sunset and lives happily ever after?”

“I want you to go there.

But I’ve spent my whole life running as fast as I can FROM thereThe Land of the Living Dead. I plead, “Not that road again.” It’s teeming with cobras, scorpions, tarantulas. I’ve been stricken with venom and it stings. My caterpillar heart catapults into cardiac arrest.

Maybe it’s time for open heart surgery.

Maybe it’s time to stop lurking in shadows.

Maybe it’s time to help a girl break free.

Someone like me.

Check out Ann Voskamp’s book: “One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are,” by Ann Voskamp

November 18, 2010

No Nunsense Pantyhose For Me! (teaser)

Filed under: Prayer — My Heart's Home @ 11:40 pm

I move out at 19. I can’t wait to be on my own, do whatever I want, be the captain of my ship.

God has other plans.

In my upstairs room, I unpack my suitcase in a duplex I share with eight Christian strangers. It’s called The Lighthouse.

Living only a few miles from my parents’ home in Kaanapali, Maui, the apron strings aren’t totally severed. I’m confident my mom will kill that fatted calf if my ribs start to poke and the glowing vacancy sign won’t dim if my Pizza Hut waitressing tips don’t cut it. But, technically, I’m on my own. (I have the broken piggy banks to prove it.)

One by one I meet my roommates from all walks of life: a woman who boarded a stranger’s sailboat, once upon a time, and was kidnapped; a middle-aged divorcee with tattoo-lined arms that once held needle tracks; a one-eyed, ex-prostitute. (“I’m sorry, what’s this place called again? The Halfway House?”) These strangers are STRANGErs indeed. Interesting folks, to say the least. Then there are a few boring ones. Like me. Who don’t have any eye-popping life stories to tell.

Not yet.

(Wanna read more? Stay tuned for my book…)

November 15, 2010

Speechless (a teaser)

Filed under: Healing — My Heart's Home @ 3:56 pm

I’m speechless. Literally.

Laryngitis, my unwelcome bedmate, kicked me all night in the larynx. I expected a gigantic gabfest at this women’s retreat, not awakening the next day with my vocal chords in a straightjacket. It’s like standing smack dab in the middle of a playful fists-flying food fight, with more than 100 women, and not being able to fling a single grape. If this is God’s idea of a joke, I’m not wheezing.

The Scripture, “Be slow to speak, quick to listen” resonates in my brain. “OK, God, I get it.” I grumble to the only one who can hear me.

The day before, however, my voice is unconstrained. While waiting for the first session to begin, I make myself as comfortable as I can on a wooden bench in a drafty chapel filled with strangers. A gray-haired woman extends her hand. “I don’t think I know you.” My eyes dart to her name tag: Reova Meredith. I introduce myself and ask about her unique name. We chat awhile before she graces the podium and begins speaking about the morning’s topic: “Imparting Christ to others.”

I realize later, without this amazing woman,

I wouldn’t be sitting here.

Reova Meredith, founder of the Center for Women's Ministires, flanked by CWM volunteers.

(Wanna read more? Stay tuned for my book!)

November 10, 2010

New Guinea

Filed under: Contentment,Prayer — My Heart's Home @ 12:33 am

It is time to get my kindergartener a pet. I search my local animal shelter, online, for a furry friend to adopt. Since my son’s classroom displays guinea pigs–which he feeds before, during and after school–I want to buy him one. A 10-month-old, black and white guinea named Lady Oreo catches my eye. She is the only cavy advertised among a flurry of fluffy felines and canines, so I figure it’s fate her four legs join our six-legged family. Being Abyssinian, curses her with many cowlicks causing bad hair days every day, which endears her all the more to me.

Mind you, I know nothing about these peculiar pets, so I search the Information Highway:

  • Guinea pigs often ‘popcorn’–twitch or jerk suddenly when happy or excited. (Googled that query in a panic after I thought she was having a seizure!)
  • Their claws need clipping, but I must be careful not to cut to the quick. (That common phrase now makes sense etymologically.)
  • They are skittish little creatures.

Skittish is an understatement. A simple sneeze sends her hotfooting into her igloo faster than a centipede running a marathon. Whenever I try to grab her from her cage’s confines for extra-curricular activity, she frantically darts here, there and anywhere away from my grasp.

But once in my lap she purrs like she hasn’t a care in the world as I stroke her rosette-curled coat.

Contentment.

The next day the pattern repeats:

I reach, she darts.

She darts, I reach.

I win.

This occurs week after week. “When is she going to trust me?” I lament. After all, I am no threat. I offer her two solid meals a day of vitamin-filled veggies, an all-you-can-eat buffet of hay and keep her bottle brim-filled with fresh H2o. I set the thermostat’s temperature neither too hot nor too cold. I give her undivided attention and let her frolic, prance and play on our carpet. I even buy her a cage mate to ward off loneliness, after discovering cavies are social critters.

I spoil her with Yogies!—peach-colored, cheese-flavored, itsy-bitsy treats she devours twice a day.

(Any human would envy such pampering!)

Yet she runs like the dickens every time my hand draws near. The youngest swiftly follows.

But be-still-my-heart when one rests in my lap and lets me pet her.

We both purr.

Observing my new guineas’ behavior mirrors my relationship with God. Sometimes my busyness and frantic pace keep me hotfooting here, there and anywhere except where I should be: in my Father’s lap, resting. I often flinch, flight and flee when His pruning shears snip at my selfish, spoiled, sinful heart. Instead of trusting He’s enough, I worry, fret and complain, wallowing in my poopy mess until the stench overwhelms me and I beg for His grace, peace and mercy to deliver me.

He blesses me so much, yet I take so much for granted. I have oodles to be grateful for: a roof overhead; a stocked fridge; a full stomach; a warm bed, a clothed back; a soft couch; a healthy heart; running water; dependable cars; a green lawn; a steady income; a church community.

Friends who are generous, gracious and good to me.

A husband who is faithful, forgiving and my best friend.

A neighbor who brings me newspapers, peaches and presents.

Yet one trip to the mall, a visit to Hearst Castle, an episode of Oprah’s Favorite Things annual giveaway show and my heart plummets to Discontentville, the land of the wants vs. needs, the haves vs. have-nots, the gimme mores vs. the could care lesses. Where every corner store has a Bigger, Better, Best window display yanking at my purse strings. A town where money talks, grows on trees and foots the bill. Where The Jones’ grass is always greener as my eyes grow green with envy.

Oh, what a pathetic little creature I become.

While somewhere in the world:

…a little boy my son’s age wonders when, or if, he will eat again.

…a little girl sleeps on a stained, flea-infested single mattress she shares with two siblings.

..a helpless wife watches her husband exhale one last time as cancer’s claws clutch another victim.

Oh, Lord, help me curl in contentment’s lap and be thankful, always, for the little–and big things–I take for granted each day.

♥ What 10 things are you grateful for right now? ♥

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Phil. 4:11-12

November 9, 2010

The Dance

Filed under: Faith,faithfulness,Journaling — My Heart's Home @ 3:22 am

Through the years I’ve collected journals. Bound pages that are light, dark, lined, blank, spiraled, initialed, gold-edged, round cornered, flowered, Scriptured—all unique and distinct, yearning for ink to tango upon their open dance floor.

Yet, their dance card is unfilled.

“I’m tired of blank pages,” I say after a brief fisticuffs with myself. I pen these exact words in my newest journal—a hard covered, burgundy, gold trimmed, initialed, 9” x 6” booklet—that is almost too pretty to mar. It screams of calligraphy pedigree, not chicken scratch. I force my pen against its will.

Aha! Progress. One graceful pen stroke at a time I waltz across the page. I stain it with my tears, Starbucks, marmalade, drool. (Sorry, fell asleep.)

And when I open my journal the next day, I no longer see emptiness.

I see myself—my dance card full.

I have tap danced across the pages.

Alas…

I am a dancer.

———————————————————————–

God gives us blank pages to write upon. He places the quill in our hands, but it’s up to us to dip into His never-ending ink well and breathe life onto each page. Are we going to be wallflowers or glue our palm to His and waltz? Will we initiate that first step despite wobbly knees, wet palms and rosy cheeks, knowing others will be watching our every move? Will we brave the unknown, the unfamiliar and the awkward? Will we risk that nosedive? Will we twirl into His arms or spin out of control? If our routine is forgotten or we misstep, will we trust His lead? Will we kick up our heels or dig them in? Will we stumble upon His toes or match His stride? Will we pirouette to our own melody or sway to His symphony?

It’s our choice.

What kind of dancer will we be?

Lesson From A Bug House

Filed under: Faith,Freedom — My Heart's Home @ 12:00 am

Acceptance: favorable reception; approval; favor.

It’s that warm fuzzy, toe-tickling goodness that’s comforts more than my camel-colored, sheepskin boots.

That’s exactly how I felt that winter day, not long ago, when I received an email from (in)Courage, stating they wanted me to be a guest writer.  (I emailed a sample of my writing a few weeks prior, all the while praying, hoping and biting my nails since.)

And I wasn’t rejected.

As a writer that’s HUGE, since rejection slips fly faster than a hummingbird on steroids.

Acceptance.

Oh, what succulent nectar.

HERE IT IS: “Lesson From A Bug House”

Who knew a bug would teach me a lesson.

My son, Austin, captured a cool insect recently for his kindergarten bug museum—a wasp! (Well, his brave daddy did.) Secured in its cage with a bit of foliage and a soaked cotton ball, it made itself right at home aside the other creepy crawlies in my son’s class: a praying mantis, a spider, a caterpillar, a cricket. Most of the bugs were ceremoniously freed a few days later, but Austin is terrified his pet might retaliate with a sting, so no pardoning. Two days after arriving home sweet home, that poor wasp’s wings wiggled no more in the confines of its 4″ x 6″ screened Bug House and our cold garage.

A few days later a froglet suffered the same fate. Austin refused to release it. No, mommy didn’t forget to bring it in overnight so it wouldn’t freeze to death. I just figured it would appreciate the fresh air! Whoever’s to blame, we found it motionless on that wet, cold cotton pillow.

Next we caught a centipede in Austin’s tub. (Well, brave daddy did.) Did you know they can live a six-year lifespan? Wow! Unfortunately, destiny wasn’t on its side. Yep, not a single one of those 100 legs was going to tickle the wooden floor of that Bug House again. Mr. (or Ms.) Centipede joined the bug morgue. I must admit, that froglet tugged at my heartstrings a bit, but that centipede didn’t pluck one string.  I hate those buggers! Besides, anything with that many legs has no business trespassing in our home.

Before you wave your PETA finger, can you blame an only child for wanting to keep these critters? Maybe it’s time to buy our son a pet. But given our track record, the salesperson might deem us unfit guardians if we decide to adopt a REAL pet! We can’t even manage to keep a centipede alive for a few days; can you imagine the sorry fate of that dog, cat or guinea pig we bring home? (And just picture us trying to squeeze one of them into that miniscule Bug House. It would be absolute torture.)

After these fiascos you’d think our bug-capturing days were over. Not so fast. How could we let that cute little grasshopper hop along its merry way? This time, however, we refused to let history repeat itself. We made a pact that after we’d examined this bug under the magnifying glass for a day or two, we would set it free. So 24-hours later, despite my son’s protests, I placed the cage on a patch of grass, slid open the trap door and said, “Hop little grasshopper, hop, be FREE!” Then we waited and waited and waited, but it didn’t move. Not one single hop. I beckoned, “Freedom awaits you, it’s just one little hop away!” But that silly grasshopper wouldn’t budge. Austin grew impatient, so he retreated inside to guffaw at SpongeBob cartoons instead. I soon followed.

The next day we gathered again at that grass patch, expecting to find an empty cage. Much to our dismay, the grasshopper was still visible. (But to our relief, its antennae still wiggled.) So I checked the trap door. Still ajar like I left it. “What the heck? Why doesn’t that dumb grasshopper realize freedom is just a hop, skip, jump away. It’s no longer trapped. It’s no longer a prisoner. It’s FREE!”

Another day passes and that foolish grasshopper is still there. With palms flanking hips, I ask myself, “Does it like this cage? Has it grown comfortable? Can’t it smell death in its wake? Maybe it’s blind and can’t see the open door. Or maybe it can’t smell the fresh blades of grass inches away. Perhaps it’s deaf and can’t hear its daddy calling it home.”

ZOOM!

God focuses a magnifying lens on my life and captures a 4″ x 6″ snapshot. I am that blind, anosmic, deaf grasshopper! I’ve been imprisoned—behind walls of self-sufficiency, pride, fear, insecurity, anger, self-righteousness, guilt, shame, unforgiveness—when God’s redemption is just a hop, skip, jump away. Will I stretch my complacent legs and take that leap of faith, once and for all, and trust Him totally, completely, wholly?

The next day the cage is empty. The grasshopper is free.

But am I?

“If the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed.”
John 8:36


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