Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Oh to be a child bride...

Oh to be a child bride.

To have your entire life planned out for you. Whom you will marry, where you will live, even what you will cook, and quite possibly what your children's names will be. I marvel at the submission and trust that living in those confines would take. I wonder at the potential security that may come from knowing your life mate from your earliest memory. I also know myself well, and it's pretty safe to say that I would buck those confines at every turn.
No choice. No voice. Absolute obedience without any thought to what is in your heart, your personal desires, YOU.

I don't doubt that the people who engage in this practice believe that they are doing what is best, honoring a long standing tradition.

As I was pondering this a few weeks back I got to thinking about being a bride. Not just my personal experience, but the experiences I have observed over the years. Young brides, cheeks flushed with anticipation and the glow of fresh dreams. Widows remarrying, preparing to once again love and become vulnerable after pain and loss, learning to open their hearts and lives in a new way. Brides with a past more inky black than the leather of the old Bible that sits in my nightstand drawer, who never even dared dream that they would have someone who would accept them, love them, want them just as they are. Let alone a wedding.

It's an honor to be asked, to have the offer of another person's life laid down for you. It's humbling. The reality of the bowing down, the tears in the eyes, the honesty of heart intertwined in the words, "Will you marry me?"

I love a Love Story. I love a Dream. I Love being asked to be a Bride.

The gracious beauty that fills my life is unending.

That He, the Lord of All Creation who has known me from before my earliest memory, would ask me to be His Bride. It requires profound trust and weighty submission, but the confines are all freedom. Peace, joy, hope, redemption, unfailing love.... everything my heart has ever longed for is found in Him. Obedience to His commands are all blessing. There is nothing He asks of me that He HIMSELF does not give me the strength to do. It is often that I realize I am not doing much more than laying in the palm of His hand, resting in Him as He carries me through a storm high above the waves of fear and doubt.

His offer is precious, stunning, gloriously unique.

I know His hand well now, yet am humbled as if He has asked again for the first time.

Song of Songs 4:7

Monday, August 19, 2013

Maybe I just needed a reminder...

I've always been afraid to write. 

Not to say that the fear has stopped me. It hasn't. Well, not completely.

But it has crippled me often enough that I find myself irritated.

At age 11 I started a novel. I wrote some 40+ hand written pages about a secret child conceived in WWII, who just happened to be my age, and was now accidentally finding out about her true identity through documents she came upon while snooping through her "Uncle's" things.....

I remember finding it after having set it aside for months, I read it... every page... and picked it apart mercilessly. Never good enough. I burned it.

I wrote poetry from 13 to 18 so much that my room looked like a recycling bin... I thought in verse. I even led a poetry group at my community college... and now those things too are lost.

Then I wrote lyrics, more than I can count. They would float to me in dreams, or on warm breezes coming in the window on another long drive, or maybe I would find them in the soapy water of supper dishes while listening to the soothing sounds of my lover (husband) on the piano...


I want so badly to be and say and do what would be good and acceptable, to not misrepresent the Lord who has truly grabbed my undeserving life from that pit of horrific sin and selfishness and utter despair.

It used to be that I wanted to be liked. Liked is nice, sure. But Holy is better. Holy, Wholly, WHOLE. I had more holes in me than swiss cheese, and it took me decades to realize it, but I'm not so interested in 'liked' anymore. 

Also, being accepted was paramount. I always felt rejected and despised on so many fronts. Then one day, well one day all the other days culminated into THIS day, I finally got it. I AM ACCEPTED. Not just by people that are frail and flawed, although I have quite a few of those that really love me, but by the GOD OF THE WHOLE UNIVERSE. 

That pretty much changed the motivation for writing. For doing anything, everything.

I still find myself second guessing my words, my thoughts, the message I'm broadcasting to whoever is listening. But I don't burn stuff anymore. At least there's that....

I think I find myself repeatedly in a state of circumstantial vertigo.... like the consequences of bad choices, mine and others, form into something akin to a tornado. I can see it forming sometimes, and trust me I know what that looks like now, and there's nothing to do but get out of the way, burrow into the soil of Faith, or run into the Arms of the One who is never afraid of the storms, no matter what brought them on.

Often I sit in a fog, a daze, a combination of pain and overwhelming grief. 

Loss is a vacuum... an emotional black hole.
Unfortunately I have a lot of loss in my life, and more is coming.
Loss is as non-negotiable as change. It's just a fact of life.
Jesus knows Loss. He understands grief, and He's always willing to walk me through mine.

I love that.

I said this the other day at my family reunion, and I mean it more now as I'm writing than I did then: There is so much more good than bad in my life.
That's the truth.

It's where I'm at. I'm grieving. I'm walking through fire. I'm in Deep Water. 

And I'm clinging to the sure hope of Isaiah 43:
1But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
    O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
    I have called you by name; you are mine.                            
 2 When you go through deep waters,
    I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
    you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
    you will not be burned up;
    the flames will not consume you.

“Do not be afraid, for I am with you.
    I will gather you and your children from east and west.
I will say to the north and south,
    ‘Bring my sons and daughters back to Israel
    from the distant corners of the earth.
Bring all who claim me as their God,
    for I have made them for my glory.
    It was I who created them.’”

He has proven Himself faithful to me, in situations that I thought I would never get through, without Him I indeed wouldn't have. 

I really have nothing to fear, not writing or anything else. In the end everything always comes back to Jesus and His Love.

Jesus KNOWS me, this I love. He has never left me and never will. He holds all those I love in the palm of His hand and has Grace enough for us all.

Maybe I just needed a reminder...