Wednesday, August 28, 2013

a question :: selah cottage

{via pinterest}
today is the birthday of my dearheart soul-sister, Beth. she's having a giveaway over at her place for her precious art awakening e-course, MADE, which begins in four days. my own heart cannot bear the excitement of stepping beside amazing artist-souls and merging in community with them. but there, at her place, she asked a question.

:: what question has been pressing on your heart lately?

we closed on our new home on Monday.

we got in the car after the papers were signed and i cried. i still don't know why. there was a lot of emotion in this entire process, more than i could ever hope to sort out into the neat little piles most prefer when it comes to feelings. i'm okay in my jumble right now.

in the jumble, there comes questions. beautiful, wild, frightening questions that i honestly don't know how to answer. but there is one that comes up and holds my hand, nestles in the crook of my neck and whispers softly,

what are you going to do with what you've been given? 

i've been handed a precious gift. a new space, wide and untouched yet by our hands. we've smeared paint on the walls, covering over the cracks and spaces left by previous owners, changing pale blue and white to dark purple and slate grey. we've carried in cardboard boxes with hand-scrawled words like cookbooks and fragile and DVDs and placed them in each room where they belong.

i've been given a canvas of wood and stone and cement and plaster. now what am i going to do with this space i have been given? it comes back to that word i chose for 2013, before i knew what was coming, before i knew the way this road would feel beneath my feet.
{via pinterest}

// release //

every year i pick a word. and every year it changes me, powerfully, in a sweeping strange way that i can only equate to fingers dipped into paint and spread wide to change the very depths of my soul, as though a wall needed repainting. 

and so i'm packing up each thing i own, shaking off the old dust and leaving in this place. i don't want to take it with me to this new place. what am i going to do with what i've been given?

i'm going to release the old. i'm going to smear the new on my canvas, dipped straight from my soul. i'm hanging the portrait of the Dawn Treader on the bedroom wall and whispering close, Aslan, Aslan, Aslan...

we named our new home selah cottage :: the little home of peace. and that's what i want to find there. i want to reach out my hands, open and waiting, and let the Peace beyond all i can know rain down and fill me up. i'm laying down art here. i'm making an altar, a monument to Glory, in the selah of my new space. 

i'm being made new. 

You make me new
You are making me new
You make beautiful things out of us. 
{beautiful things :: gungor}



Thursday, August 22, 2013

the silent moment :: everything

i remember the night i held a gun to my head. and it was the quietest moment of my life.

i was seventeen. the gun was plastic, a $2 knicknack from WalMart, one of maybe twenty just like it, tossed into a plastic bin and carried from one country to another. i was one of close to four thousand other teenagers all pressed closed and gathered in a Peruvian resort, all in pursuit of discipleship and missions. seven of us felt something tug at us. we were performing the Lifehouse Everything Skit.

it's burned into my head. standing on that stage, the music in the background, every step and movement rehearsed to an art. and how can i stand here with You and not be moved by You....and then came the lifting of the pistol to my head.


it was the most profound hush of my entire life. everything else seemed to fade out, a whisper in the background as i met with the Most High for the first time in the most sacred of ways. it was the first time i ever heard Him speak. and i was holding a plastic gun against my temple.

you're about to throw yourself at Me figuratively
darkness is holding death
throw yourself at Me literally 
i will catch You. 
let go of death, grasp tight to Life
i will catch You. 
{photo by Ron Nickel; property of dramaticelegance}

i was supposed to drop the gun to the floor. 
i threw it across the room. 

i was supposed to lean toward my friend playing Jesus, reaching for his hand. 
i flung myself at Him. 

there were other actors there, playing temptation, lust, deception, distractions. they were there to fight me, to keep me from Him. they were acting, and so was i. but there was something deep in me that was not acting. something had broken inside me. and it got loud inside me for a split second. it was a moment of warring, clawing and clutching for the hand of the Holy One.

and then He dove in and held them back. arms stretched out, He held back the flood. 

and the quiet came again. the hush of the Holy overcame me and something inside me settled. i was on my knees, three thousand miles from my American home and comforts, from my familiar church and my well-known faces. 

He met me there, silent in the crowd 
with a plastic pistol to my head. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

unsanitized sanctuary

{via pinterest}
i'm a watcher.

when i go places, i find a corner in which to tuck myself and i start to gaze. not awkward staring, but secret studying from under long, dark lashes. it's an art, studying the world, perhaps the most education of behaviors.

:: because you learn about yourself when you look at the mirror of another's eyes.

this is why community is so important, perhaps more important than this thing of too many words, too much sentiment that trails off and runs into trivialities when we stop paying true attention. i think this is why this concept of {wild}erness appeals to me in such a soul-thudding way. it's more than just a metaphorical landscape. it's a place where the soul wanders and wrestles and clings tight.

it's amazing how many of us are holding hands, taking step after step through the wilderness together, one made of pines and one made of sand and another made of barren stone. but we're all there together.

if you have a deep scar, that is a door.
if you have an old, old story, that is a door.  
if you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door.
:: Clarissa Pinkola Est├ęs

we've crafted a place together, a worn and rugged sanctuary with water for washing and shelter from our individual storms. our mermaid cave with bit of preciousness, our hunting shack in the midst of the mountains. and there in the middle is a burning fire and blankets knitted to fit each of our souls, a perfect match of blue and green and white and cranberry red.

it's comforting when the world is trying to twist and turn and wipe every germ of "unclean, unclean" from the surface of faith.

why is the world obsessed with taming faith? even in the ruggedness of the mountain wilderness, somehow we always seem to pack hand sanitizer to spray all over everything, including the body of the Most High. 
{via pinterest}

we wouldn't want to get blood on the sofa. 

but He was the One that bent with a towel around His waist to wash our feet with a soft murmur of follow Me. 

there's a painted wooden sign that sits on the wooded island across the river from my sacred hideaway. i can't ever see what it says, but i like to imagine :: warning, wildness beyond this point. and outside this special sanctuary, i see a sign just like that one. 

caution :: wildness ahead

it seems to fit. He's not a tame Lion, and i want to be like Him.

so i'm curled around the fire with sisters all around in our church in the wild, a sanctuary together. and the Lion is singing a wild song to the stars.

Monday, August 12, 2013

:: in which i'm Tangled up in Brave-ry

{via pinterest}
{over the next several weeks, maybe even months, i will be writing here and there from elora's thirty days of prompts. this is something that i have never done before, something raw and fresh and gorgeous and potentially painful. so please, be gentle with me. you can find all posts i have written from these prompts here}

every time i breathe, i am reminded what is like to be a woman in this day. every time i put my toes outside my own little circle, i find myself attempting to be swallowed by this creature that is confusion.

it's why i have so deeply adopted release as my precious word for 2013, and why it has been so hard to live the words i speak. or, in this case, type. more often than not, i feel like my soul competes for a place against the modern definition of "sense." in faith, in life, in motherhood, in the very essence of womanhood itself.

i found a poem someone anonymous had left with magnets on the bookshelf at the library today, as i sat and pondered being a woman, being a mother to a little dove-daughter who has woman brewing at her core. it fit, deeply, like a puzzle piece locking in a secret sacred place within my heart ::

worship Light through enormous shadow
rain, mist, storm will be
swim above
never beneath
dream
drive on
smoothly
luscious life can shine
:: author unknown, and they want it that way :: 

i sat with my little one today and watched Tangled. and sometimes we watch Brave and sometimes it's Beauty and the Beast. they're tales of princesses and true love and beautiful dresses, and people beat down my soul-doors and cry, how can you stand strong as woman but embrace fluffy dresses and princes on white horses?

did you know it's possible to acknowledge love and still embrace myself? because we all need someone, after all, and it's okay to have a bow and arrow in your back pocket but still look out the window and whisper, someday...

warrioresses have two hands, one for the bow and one for the Words.
{via pinterest}

:: but needing a warmth to curl against when the nights are cold doesn't make you a traitor to strength or a backstabber to progress. it makes you created with God-breath in your lungs.

because we all know He spoke truth when He murmured like breeze among Eden's leaves, it is not good that {s}he should be alone. 

and sometimes we just need to sketch the solar system on our palms and look down and realize that we are held in more than ink and skin but in Light and Breath from the lungs of Glory.

it's okay to release what you think you know and turn your neck so that you look behind you just to make sure that the Breath will carry you when you take that step off the cliff. and maybe you have to build your wings on the way down using the string from your bow and the feathers from your arrows.

but you're still warrioress.



Friday, August 2, 2013

vespers in the wild :: uncensoring glory

{photo property of dramaticelegance}
my soul and i had vespers in the rain tonight beside the river with the Most High. the funny thing is that i didn't even know what to call the moment. and then came the word into my soul, gentle but strange.

vespers. an evening prayer service. 

and we hummed a gentle song to the splash of water-drops on the surface of the water, a song i've whispered familiar since the day i first dared to touch, even before i knew what it was. we had church together, me nestled at His feet, the rain tapping out the hymn-rhythm

what wondrous love is this
oh my soul, oh my soul

all i wanted to do was press my face into the sandy soil. even now, sitting here in my space, sky darkening and stars rising on the other side of the windowpane, i yearn to lean up and brush my cheek against His palm. 

why do we only think that God is in a building, tucked among supposed "sacredness," confined in a neat-pressed suit in the front row? He isn't a tame Lion. what is our obsession with caging God? 

the sky is big, but He's bigger, and He made it string by string. the Lord of Heaven was humble enough to spin threads into skeins, weaving chords into fabric, tossed out wide and streaked with His own brand of love-paint. 

:: why must we make Him fit our tiny space? 

{via pinterest}
we debate heatedly between unforseen and sloppy wet, back and forth as though all salvation depended upon words in a song that mean nothing when we should be in wondrous soul-gasping at oh, how He loves us, oh...

we shut the door on His story and tie a muzzle around the mouth of the Lion of Judah because the words He speaks aren't the ones that sit smooth. milk is cool and simple, nothing complex, nothing wild. and so we pour out the Blood behind the bushes and pass the milk-filled chalice around. it's easier to swallow. 

we censor glory to fit our mouths and shut the lid on Light when it's just too bright without sunglasses, and we left ours at home. He is Light without a spotlight or a pulpit or a podium to make His space appropriate. 

He is where His are.

and so i'm going to have vespers in the wild, tucked in the moments between His every breath. i'm diving into His space, the ocean of His glory, and letting Him shed away my snakeskin for a sacred-Lioness mane and a mermaid tail.

what do i know of You who spoke me into motion? 
where have i even stood but the shore along Your ocean? 
what do i know of holy // addison road