On Hopeful Resistance

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
~ Emily Dickinson

I am not sure that I have ever before read a poem that I adore so fully and disagree with so heartily all at once. I am not sure if that is even an entirely possible state of mind, but it certainly seems to be the one I am in as I read Dickinson’s rhythmic words.

I did not used to feel this way about this poem. Not long ago, I found it to be only beautiful, merely soothing, simply grace. “The thing with feathers” — what a gentle, calming thought. The idea that hope could swoop down, land within me, beat its little wings and fill me with hope, why would I want to do anything but wrap my arms around that idea, embrace it wholeheartedly, maybe set up a few directional signs for the little hope-bird so it would arrive faster? Come to me, hope. Fill me up.

While I haven’t abandoned this little imaginative figment entirely, I no longer find it to be enough. I never did, I suppose, since I am one who believes her ultimate hope is in Christ, that He is the only hope in life and death. But I did find that repeating those little mantras to myself, words of Scripture, of creeds, even of Dickinson, was enough to reinvigorate the little bird’s wings, sending him flapping back into my presence, into my soul.

Keep reading at Upwrite Magazine.

2014: the beginning.

it’s the first monday of 2014, the first full week of the year lingering close. i feel somewhat poetic and reflective in response to this reality, but mostly i’m just ready to get my game face on, ready to run toward the newness.

i see you 2014
 i see you, 2014. i’m coming for you.

my sister and her fiance will marry on Saturday, a joyous beginning to the new year. these upcoming days will be filled with guests and greetings and plans and promises and i could go on for pages with my thoughts on covenant and union and jubilee but there are seating charts and silverware and celebration to attend to for now, so the philosophizing will just have to wait.

i’m starting a new job this year as the program & communication coordinator for His Grace Foundation, serving the patients and families on the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit of Texas Children’s Hospital. our family’s best friends founded the organization and my mom runs it now.  it’s a perfect fit, completely meshing with my lifestyle as a stay at home mom. this opportunity was just about the only thing that could have taken me away from my previous position, from which i leave grateful, better, bittersweet. the new beckons, so onward i go.

i’m dreaming big dreams for the blog this year. big dreams that involve goal-setting (via Lara Casey’s PowerSheets!), stretching, inching my toes a bit closer to the edge, fully aware that falling off is all the more possible the closer i get. it’s just can’t imagine that playing it safe with this space is going to lead to anything good, anything that matters. i’m risking, believing, anchoring, hoping, wild & free-ing in many areas and praying this is the place i can make some sense of all of it.

i’m dead set on intentional motherhood this year. always have been, pray i always will be, but this season demands instinct, focus, drive, vision like i’ve never had or needed before now.  Owen is 17 months old, a charming, curious, friendly, engaging little boy whose baby days have slipped away and we’re marching into the thick of character, personality, foundation. these moments matter. now.

there’s so much more. there’s foster care and a husband abroad at least twice before the year is half over and new home projects and friends and church and somewhere in there i’m claiming 2014 as the year i submit to God’s commands to rest, sabbath, be. those i know who accomplish the most, who remain the most humble, whose mouths’ drip with words of life prioritize rest. i’m taking this year to investigate the theory that lists and goals and hopes and dreams won’t be negated by rest, they’ll be enhanced by it. i’ll take a little of that win-win situation, please.

this week, i’ll pop back in with a few more pieces of my 2014 plan – a book list, a few goals, maybe another thought or two. i’m inspired by the creation account in Genesis as I pray my basic hope for this site in the next few months – may it take form to then be filled. i need structure here, the freedom that comes from boundaries. once those are in place, i don’t know what will come from them, but it could be something really beautiful.

we’ll see.

it’s a new year; anything could happen.

a reactionary quartet.

i’m working on making my way back into this space. somehow, two weeks so all-encompassing and unexpected made the posts i wrote before that time seem months and miles away.

according to my [wonderful] neurologist, i have “complicated migraines.” this diagnosis evokes four simultaneous responses from me, a reactionary quartet seeking harmony despite the tension within.

1. curious.
“why’d ya have to go and make things so complicated?” [avril].  it tastes a bit like bitter irony to have a diagnosis that includes the word complicated. this word has the potential to trigger a lot of self-pity and questioning inside of me. why cancer at 22? why a high-risk pregnancy? why do we have to meet our medical deductible [and then some] every. single. year.? why does the straight and narrow have so many bleeping bumps in the road?

2. annoyed. 
ain’t nobody got time for this headache currently burrowing into my left temple, and for sure ain’t nobody got time for the two weeks i just spent completely out of commissioni’m a wife. i’m a mom. i’m a sister and a daughter and an employee.  i’m a potential foster parent and i’m a friend and i’m closing on a house in 12 days. i’m an independent soul who hates the ramifications my weaknesses have on everyone else. life is crazy enough without these never-ending curveballs. i’m human and prideful and i have things to do.

3. grateful.  
we were talking about multiple sclerosis. we were talking about lupus. we were talking about brain tumors and spinal leaks and what if there are no more babies and what if what i have is degenerative and we can’t become foster parents? for now, the Lord has seemingly seen fit to spare me from any of that and is walking me down a road that will only help me empathize with others more. thyroid problems a few years ago, migraines now. common, and commonly misunderstood. i love to learn and share and grow and discuss. i’m thankful for a manageable diagnosis, for family and friends who stood in the gap when i couldn’t stand at all and for the opportunity to relate more to others.

4. resolved.
this junk isn’t about to get the best of me. if God sees fit for trials to occur in my life [which, by the way, He promised they would], then that’s enough reason for me to endure with hope and patience. it’s also enough reason for me to praise His name in the suffering and praise His name in the relief and forge ahead when strength and ability are graciously bestowed on me again. i’m not going to spend my time wondering why the low point happened, or why the residual effects are happening now. i’m resolved to keep moving forward, resolved not to let any momentary affliction take me out of the game. His hope and strength and peace run deeper than my broken body or unrealized dreams or thwarted plans. life is short and He is good and i press on because He is the One who guides and protects, hemming me in behind and before, laying His hand upon me. i take heart, for He has overcome the world. He prays for me. He is an anchor amidst my tumult.

take heart
i hope to get back to regular posts in the next few weeks. i hope you’ll all stick around.

happy weekend.

hope in the midst.

the little one awakens at 4:45am and the coffee can’t flow fast enough and the daylight can’t break through quickly enough. i can feel the shaky ground beneath and sense the roaring clouds above and my muscles tense as the clouds crash. collide. pour our their contents and could it be that i am jealous that they have found a way to empty themselves upon being filled to the brim?

there were seasons that made more sense to me. the words to say fell like rain and trickled out like a brook and (could this have been?) i knew what my heart was hoping to say before my mouth said itbut five years of filled to overflowing in all the ways good and some of the ways bad put my mind, heart, soul into overload and i think my mouth is still searching for the words three years past in relevance. i’m trying to catch up. i’m trying to empty myself yet remain full,  keep up yet be content lagging behind. is it possible?

“just give yourself grace,” she said.

i pondered not long enough to conjure up a prettier answer and the truth spilled forth,

that’s the hardest part.”

transition. it’s where we are right now. somewhere between the season gone and the one to come and i’m painting pictures of Egypt and stalling for just a few more seconds and looking into the eyes around me for a rope to grasp. i’m barreling ahead yet analyzing the implications of the moments gone by until my mind is panting and my heart wilts beneath the pressure of what could have been, what should have been, and what i can do to make it be so.

what was that Jesus said about rest? healing? making things right?

i’m in the already but not yet, aren’t we all, and He tells me that as I anticipate what I do not see, He’ll provide the strength to wait for it with patience.  there’s the waiting to be fulfilled in this shadow of reality and the waiting to be fulfilled beyond and He’s the one who breathes life into both and grants the peace between.

He brings hope in the midst.
He has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has put eternity into my heart.
He will complete all that He has begun.
He who promised is faithful.
He is good.