HOPE

Seems so evasive

Feels illusive

Suspect of disappointment

Sounds just too good to be true

 

But what if hope is better than doubt

What if hope is survival

Not hoping is not protecting oneself

It’s missing out, it’s avoiding fullness

 

Hope is like the blue sky

Sometimes it’s cloudy with fog

Sometimes it’s dark and starlit

Sometimes it’s full of smoke

 

Hope is like the sound of a stream

Maybe you can’t see it, but know it’s near

It’s like a roaring lion, charging one moment

And then sleeping and purring the next

 

Hope is full of conflicting emotions

Hope can feel slippery, tricky, pointless

But hope can be empowering, strengthening

Hope is fighting, wanting, wishing, and knowing

 

Is hope a paradox

An imaginary idealistic dream

Is hope a fairy tale

Or a childish fantasy

 

Is hope grounding

Is it believing, inspiring

Is hope foundational

Motivational, enabling

 

Hope is human but it’s more

It brings us up out of dust

It’s more than menial

It’s conquering, sustaining

 

Hope is keeping on, breathing still

It’s pushing through

Keep hope alive

And it sustains more than you know

 

Hope brings us higher than we are

Hold onto hope, cling to it mightily

Let it fade but not disappear

Make hope your companion

 

Don’t let the critic stifle hope

Don’t let the cynic suffocate it

Hope is God-given and freeing

Hope is life-giving and life-changing

 

Hope may wax and wane like the moon

But it’s still a treasure

Hope is what we thrive on and surrounds us like the warm light we crave

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Thanksgivings past

I used to feel guilty for not being thankful

I used to feel obligated to have grateful lists

I used to try to pray, thanking God for all I should

But all those things are not because I was not grateful

I was simply too tired, exhausted, torn up to thank more

Maybe it’s okay to not be proactively thankful sometimes

When you’re genuinely feeling too many other things

If your heart is overflowing with so many other emotions

You are only human and cannot force the emotion out of you

Sometimes thanksgiving is just showing up

Sometimes gratefulness is being present

Sometimes being thankful is carrying yourself forward

Sometimes being grateful is pressing on

Religical

Do we love or do we tie up burdens

Do we cherish or do we push down

Do we fight for or do we run away from

Do we embrace or do we judge

Do we humble ourselves or do we condemn

Do we adore or do we abhor

Do we accept or do we squabble

Do we affirm or do we cast stones

Do we bind up wounds or do we tear apart

Do we pursue people or do we weaponize Scripture

Do we forgive or do we criticize

Do we extend grace or do we hate

Do we enliven, embolden, and empower, or do we kill

Where is God in the midst of our religion?

When the world gets a little bit too dark

When it gets darker, the church’s light is supposed to be brighter

But all children of God and God-children-to-be are imperfect beings of time

In this world broken of shattering we are not perfect

We beat each other up and we we’re not busy doing that

We beat up up our very selves

 

Since when was religion supposed to be perfectionism?

Since when was the church supposed to be a straight jacket?

Since when did Christianity become the business of only caring what other people think?

 

When people hurt from within and without

That’s when You shine in slivers of hope and shafts of light around and through us all

Reminding us that You are never far away, never gone away from us

 

You never cease to exhibit Yourself among the gray

In between the black and white where creativity and color exude

Glory of Your grandness among us like a spectrum of belonging home

My prayer for the church

Dear Sovereign God

Would you work a miracle

In hearts and minds

Would you create anew

 

Would you unblind the eyes that cannot see

Melt the chains around the feet

Change the motives, move the emotions

Empower drastic love

 

Would you unbind hands that are bound

And untie arms that tie up others

Would you enlarge hearts of weakness

And expand narrow thinking

 

Would you humble and break

Would you heal and draw near

Would you comfort and seek

And would you start with even me

 

Would you bandage up broken bones

Soothe the cuts and bruises

Help the church, which is Your church

To stop all the wounding and the hurting

 

Enable unconditional love

Convict radical reconciliation

Pursue us even in our failures

Push us into forgiveness that embraces

 

Fill us with grace and mercy

Be our soul of peace and rest

Fight for us to be the light and life

That You are to us

In every way always

 

Written to my younger self

Today, October 11, 2017, is the International Day of the Girl Child, or as I would like to call it, International Girl Day!

This post was inspired by fellow blogger, Kevin Garcia of http://www.thekevingarcia.com/ and his blog post http://www.thekevingarcia.com/a-letter-to-a-younger-me/.

 
Dearest Laura,

You are so unashamedly adorable. You are so priceless and valuable. You are worthy and deserving. Don’t ever believe the inferiority that you feel from others. Stop listening to the condescending “Tom Boy” that people throw in your direction. Don’t fit into their box of who they think you should be or what they think you should look like. You’re so much more gorgeous as your true, unhindered self.

You have a name that is as beautiful as you are. Your name means victorious. And you will live up to the meaning of your name, in ways that you can’t even imagine right now. You will conquer so much. You will fight so many battles. And you will learn the meaning of being a miracle.

You are such an independent and creative thinker. You are so hard-working and confident. You are thoughtful and purposeful. You are going to go through some hard times when you get older. You are going to fear and doubt, question and struggle. You may even think that you’ve lost your independence, creativity, hard work ethic, confidence, thoughtfulness, and purpose. But you won’t. They will surface again. In fact, you will never be without them.

You are resilient. You will find out just how much you’re capable of. You are going to become your own hero. Who knew how much you would learn to carry before you collapse under the weight? Please don’t worry. You will be sad, and mad, and angry, and furious. But this doesn’t make you bad. You are human. You were never meant to be perfect. You were made to feel and be.

Whenever you don’t understand something, it’s all right. The journey is more than the destination. Maybe that frustrates you right now, but it will make sense some day. You will grow and change and heal and become. And you will survive what overwhelms you. You will reach and try and sometimes give up. But you will never lose yourself. You’re only on the path of being more fully who your parent God created you to abundantly be.

Discouragement, deprogramming, and trial will come. But they will not destroy you. You will be stronger than ever because of all of this. You are not going to be forgotten. You will be able to thrive. I can tell you that you will find grace, freedom, safety, and love from the very One who exudes those free gifts to you, child of God.

You will hurt. But it’s not your fault. The pain is because our world is broken. It’s going to be hard. But you’re never going to be abandoned. You’re never left alone. It may seem like it sometimes. It may even feel impossible. But you will get through it. You will. I know it. I believe in you. I watched you grow up. I saw you in your silence, your confusion, your tears. You were never a waste. You were never a failure.

Here’s my hug for you and some words to build you up: don’t forget how special you are. Be brave and remember, you may not ever have all the answers and that is okay. I am here for you. We’ll weather the storms together. There is a way. God made the way. And He is with you.

So much love,

Laura

When you’re too hard on yourself

Posted on October 10, 2017 in recognition of World Mental Health Day.

 

Slow down

Take it easy

Deep breath

Feel

Exhale

Inhale again

And breathe out

You’re doing the best you can

You’re doing fine

You’re going to be okay

You are brightness

You can’t be replaced

Stop fighting yourself

Stop fearing yourself

Love

You can

And you will

You are all right

Push through

And don’t push yourself anymore

Battle the urge to battle yourself

 

Please say this

Especially when you need to hear it

Because you are the one who’s too hard on yourself