3/11/17

hard things

You'd think that my heart would be quite sore by now, the way it rises and sinks depending on the day and the moment. It gets lots of good exercise, I can tell you that! If it's not my own emotions causing the upheaval, it's someone around me. And it seems a pretty near constant. *big sigh*

One of the hardest things, I have come to find, is allowing others their own free will. I know I have mine and goodness do I appreciate it most days, yet when it comes to someone else? When you see the choices they make and your heart hurts for the pain you know will come to them? When you see the twisty ways they circle in and around trying to make illogical and unreasonable excuses? When you want to shake them and force them to see how difficult they're making it for themselves?

Ah, my heart!

Life isn't actually that complicated, it's just that we humans tend to make it that way, sadly. And when I look at someone I care about and see the devastating places they are headed, the turmoil that could be nonexistent but for their own refusal to see....it saddens me. Because I can't make them see it. I can tell them and I can show them over and over and over, but until they are willing to break out from behind the walls surrounding them, until they choose to really listen and allow Truth to sink deep in their souls, I can do nothing but love them.

And pray, of course! {Which is the very best I can do anyway, so why do I tend to use it as a last resort? Silly me.}

I have been learning precisely how difficult it is to sit back and watch someone actively choose to the hard way, to make themselves miserable, when help is but a single question away. It's just hard! And figuring out where to plant His seed and where to water and where to leave them alone so His work can be done without me distracting...it's not an easy road, is it? My heart is a tender thing, it loves fairly easily, I can't help it. And when you love someone, it makes you vulnerable to them. Which is not a bad thing at all! It just makes it easy for that someone to hurt you.

Vulnerable is what Jesus made Himself in the garden. (Remember that incredible intercessory prayer from John 17?) He makes Himself vulnerable to us again and again, every single day, so why wouldn't He ask the same of us? Of course He does. He wants us to love others and put ourselves out there. Even when it's hard. Even when it hurts. Even if they do or don't appreciate it, or we feel like they do or don't deserve it.

Love hard and love well, I think that's what He's telling us. And when God reaches down and reminds me that He's got this, that I can trust Him absolutely, oh how my soul sings with comfort!

So I begin again.

Loving anyway.

Regardless.

~~~~~~

My heart is tender
It cares
& sitting there
listening to the
Miserableness
Despair
Worry
it hurts
it wrenches my soul
They choose this
day after day after day
they make Simple, Complicated instead
they are blinded
they are deaf
& I am tired
Fighting for someone is painful
So I pray
Long & Hard
then
Longer & Harder still
Only His Power & Strength are able
not mine
His Still, Small Voice
gently whispers
I want them to Hear
they believe lies, not Truth
Yet
Complicated can become Simple again
If I let go
Trust Him
The battle is His
not mine
He's got this
& it turns out
putting them in His care
is the easiest thing in the world

kara
3.11.17

the edge of Okay

There are days
when Okay feels like the edge of a cliff
I'm clinging hard
arms wrapped tight
yet hovering a vastness incomprehensible
Fog's wispy fingers surround
& Peace is but an arm length away
So close
So far
Determination tightens my fingers
yet my strength feels inadequate
Crying out
tears dripping
"Daddy!"
and He's there
just waiting for me to call
Scooping me up
He becomes my strength
cradles my tired body
wipes my tears
Burying my face in His warmth
I cling
Okay will happen
as long as He's there

kara
3.6.17

1/31/17

truths

My last post was slightly dismal, wasn't it? It had been a foggy and hard few weeks prior to that and my words reflect it. My thoughts couldn't seem to see beyond the fog, to the Light. But! I am well pleased to say that I'm in a much better place today. Yay! :)

God is just so, so good, isn't He? 

He knew my pain and my uncertainty, took them and carried them, and reminded me of a couple truths I needed to realize.

Firstly, I had a friend come to me with a hurting heart recently and I wanted to do all I could do ease that pain for her. Grieving makes me selfish, yet focusing on her heart put my own in perspective. It allowed me to stop looking at the fog surrounding me and instead look up. Look up at Jesus and focus on His Light, which then laser beamed through that fog and zeroed in on the person I was praying for. Once I stopped only looking at myself, it wasn't long before I felt energized again! The fog isn't completely gone away, I have to be honest about that. I think that grief-fog is going to be around for a good long while. But it's not so dense anymore. It's more wispy and floaty, not the heavy thickness of prior. And even more amazingly, it was only a matter of minutes for my feelings to turn around. I only had to have one, small (yet huge) conversation, wherein my focus immediately stopped looking at me. As I drove home a little bit later, I could tell a difference. It was small, but definitely there. 

And secondly, I was reading a new fiction book the other night and I reached almost to the end when I, literally, felt a blip in my heart and was forced to stop reading because the tears started. I was so unprepared for that! But in a good way. :) The particular passage I had been reading referenced the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. And these are the innocent words which struck me in that moment: 
"Before Jesus performed His big fancy miracle, He met those sisters in the middle of their pain, and He wept alongside 'em."
I had forgotten this one, gloriously beautiful thought. Jesus knows my pain. He has felt my pain. He knows it so much better than anyone else here could ever possibly understand! And He's weeping with me. 

Ah, the flutters of my heart when I read that again. Jesus doesn't expect us to carry any of this alone! In fact, He's right there beside us long before we ever even ask. He wipes our tears, cradling each one, and knows exactly what we're feeling. He's been there. (I mean, do any of us think He didn't feel pain when He went to the cross? Of course not. I think both the Father and the Son were heart-broken that day.) He has a fix for our pain, absolutely! (Himself.) But before He moves in any big way, He always, always first gathers us in, acknowledges our hurt, and guides us to remember that He is big enough to handle it. He is big enough to carry these holes in our hearts. He. Is. Big. Enough. For every bit of it! 

That hugely comforting thought slipped down into a crack in the wall of fog around my heart and split it wide open! And my tears...ah, my tears. 

God is good, friends. He never gives up on us. 

And I am grateful beyond words.

1/18/17

yuck

December was good! But December was hard. It felt so much like I was going through the motions of Christmas, but my heart wasn't feeling it. I got rather good at faking it though. (Some days I feel like that's all I'm doing, faking it.) And then you add in family dynamics to all that emotional mess and....well....my heart felt chaotic to say the least.

Grief is just the oddest, did you know? It complicates everything. It makes every emotional moment feel gigantic and more. As if I didn't already struggle to understand myself, now it feels twenty gazillion times worse!

It's like I've been under a fog, so to speak. I struggled with this sort of feeling back during my first year after moving back to my home state again. Which makes me realize that I must have been grieving my old life in CA and all my friends there. It's sort of funny how we can grieve so much more than just people, isn't it? Yet this time is still different than back then. It's just very strange and I don't rightly know how to work my way through it!

I feel off.

I feel like I'm not myself, but I don't know how to become myself again.

I want my old normal back! Which, I know, is never possible again. :( I want to stop tearing up when real conversations happen. I want to stop feeling grumpy and accidentally snapping at someone because of it. I feel like I might be fighting some anger? But I don't know who or what I'm angry at. I'm so tired of feeling happy one minute and then grumpy the next! I want my emotions to settle. At least a little bit!

I want, I want, I feel, I wish...

*big sigh*

Grief just stinks, you know that? Pray for me friends, if anyone's out there. I could really use it.

Thanks.

12/23/16

cling to Hope

While seeking out post ideas on other blogs that I rarely, if ever, visit, one link led to another which led to another (we've all done this, right? the wildness of the internet leads one all sorts of places, some good, some not so, and some awesome!), which gave me these quotes that I wanted to share today:

"Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.

What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale."

...and...

"In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for."

{Read the whole short essay right here. It's worth it.}

Cling to Hope, friends! Even in the hard, the bewildering, the unknown, God is still working. He is in control and that is HOPE. He doeth all things well and I, for one, am determined to trust Him.

Will you?

11/12/16

this moment

Sometimes I write things down that are inside
& tuck it away
in the quiet
pen & ink
black & white
These scratches staining my heart
my fingers flow with words
hard
tearful
questioning
It all rains down
shadowing the pages
fear & pain canvassing my story
page after page
these thoughts that circle my brain
Out of my head they hurt less
make more sense
(kind of)
Yet still I doubt
Does anyone care?
and then
AND THEN
Fearfully I share them
so sure they won't be understood
Only to find a heart like mine!
How does God do that?
Give me someone before I even ask
plan the steps
set the actions
leading me to this moment
where my heart-cry is heard
pointing the Light
cradling my fragile-ness
arms wrapped tight
Pure
Blissful
Relief
& I rest

kara
11.8.16

dark places to Light

Dark places. We all have them, don’t we? It seems so often that they come, especially when we most don’t want them to. Yet that’s exactly how the enemy works. He targets his darts for our most tender spots and boy does he have great aim.

That’s precisely what happened to me the other day.

I had an arrow hit a place that I’d forgotten was fragile and when it struck, all I could do was react. I had no time to think or plan, I simply reacted. And my go to response? Was to run and hide.

I’m not proud of that. I wish I could’ve stayed and laughed at myself and moved on. But when push came to shove, as God’s still working on reminding me to trust Him, all I could do was remove myself from the situation and try and work through my emotions alone. Long story short, I ended up crying as I drove home.

I’m sure you’re terribly curious what happened, and I don’t want to give every detail away. But suffice it to say that I had a really awkward situation happen earlier that day, a situation that I had no idea how to handle. A situation that I had no idea what I should even do or think about it. I got through it, thank goodness. But then… There was someone with me when the awkward happened and out of simply a heart of fun, with no desire to hurt, teasing me about the situation started. It was totally meant in good fun, I know that. There was absolutely no malicious intent at all. But my tender spot? It got scratched just a tiny bit. And even tiny scratches hurt, despite being unintentional. Hence my tears.

Oh, but there’s a really awesome yet to come!

A text message and one phone call later, two friends found out about my feelings. And they hurt for me. They prayed for me and then one reached out to me. That’s when I was reminded that the dark places, those horrible shadows that feel so very, very lonely, are not actually places only I have to handle. Those dark places are felt by so many! Yet even if they’re only felt by two, when those two communicate and realize there’s even one other person who understands? Ah, my heart! It’s a beautiful thing, empathy. I’d never really put that word to it, but that’s precisely what it is and what is so glorious. When we can empathize with one another!
 “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” 2 Cor 1:3-4 
Is that not a glorious thought? The mere fact that God comforts us daily is wonderful (and I’m so very, very grateful!), but add to that the fact that we can take that comfort and help others around us just adds so much more depth. Because when you’re right there in the thick of things? When your dark place is surrounding you and you’re struggling to find the light? That’s a place where we desperately need someone to give us a hand! To reach out and grasp a hand and realize that we’re not alone. That someone understands us. Someone cares. Someone had felt the same, someone has been there, and someone has gotten through to the other side. It gives us HOPE. Hope that we, too, can make it. That we can survive intact and end up so much stronger on the other side.

This dearest of friends, who I’ve only known a year or so, reached out and eased my heart that night. There are no words to describe what she did for me in that moment. It was simply the fact that she empathized and knew my heart so clearly. She made me understand that as embarrassed as I was feeling (mostly embarrassment that I was embarrassed and unable to handle it, I think by that point), my feelings were not stupid or ridiculous. She ever so gently wrapped her words of love around my bleeding tenderness and reminded me that God’s got this. I knew that, but I needed to hear it again. (Isn’t it funny how forgetful we humans are?)

Once I knew how not-silly I was, once I could breathe clear again, once God had settled my heart, I began to think about how amazing that experience was. I mean, here was a woman who I’d known for only a matter of months, yet she was able to see beyond the shallow into the deep things and realize that my darkness needed Light. A Light that she could reflect because she’d been there before herself. A Light that only she could reflect in that particular moment. A Light and a moment that God had been preparing for a long time because He knew that awkward would happen and that I was going to need someone to remind me. (He so often uses us, doesn’t He? I think He does way more often that we’re probably even aware.)

He knew all that and prepared long ago! I am constantly in amazement over how God works for us. How He plans and loves us so fully! How can I not be when I think about all the steps that had to happen in order for that particular friend to be there in that particular moment to ease that particular hurt?

Think about it. Each occurrence in our life has a purpose, yes? And we know that in order for this step to happen, this other step has to happen first. He has a plan and each step of that plan is crucial. So think about all the things that had to fall into place for that moment to arrive and happen just like it did! The people I had to know who had a less than stellar circumstance happen in their lives, which led to meeting this couple, which led to them introducing this couple to me, which then led to me spending a great deal more time with them, which then led to that awkward and embarrassing day. And that perfectly wondrous, God-breathed moment.

 (Are you still with me? Hopefully so.)

Isn’t that so simple, yet so profound? I love how God works!! The fact remains that each of those steps had to happen in that order. Had one failed in any way, then the next ones wouldn’t have happened. But they didn’t.

Because God.

Obviously.

That’s just crazy-awesome, friends! God is so good. Every single moment of every single day. He never gives up! Our dark places don’t stand a chance.

Ever.