Drenched in the Chase

So I broke a rule today.

You know that rule about not running with scissors?  Yeah, I broke that one.

You see, I was inspired by beautiful prose and just had to go find some wildflowers.

Even in the rain.

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Sometimes you stumble upon beauty and sometimes you have to go chase it.

So off I went mismatched in pink running pants, a teal rain jacket and armed with scissors

The rabbits scampered away in surprise.  They weren’t expecting company in the drizzling grey.

I was a girl on a mission.  A mission to let whimsy be my guide.

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Sometimes gifts are placed in your hands and sometimes you are compelled to throw on some running shoes to run into gifts.

Friend, your mission should you choose to accept it, is to daily, intentionally chase gifts.  Because if you are armed with thankfulness, bitterness can drip off you like little raindrops.

Eternity is soaked in moments like these.  You start chasing wildflowers under sprinkling skies and moments later you’re knee deep in grace.

Grace, because who are you to hold a gift as fragile, yet resilient as beauty?

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You are tangled up in a field of whimsy and you wonder if it’s just for you.

Step by step you shake off shame, breathe out anxiety and lay down fear.

Then you pick up beauty, pluck some wildness, clip off some joy and grasp it gently.

One foot and then another on the path of peace.

You hunker down on holy ground and inspect a delicate piece of sunshine.

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It’s a natural rhythm of receiving and thanking, like breathing in and breathing out.

Serenity soothes an aching soul and you breathe deep draughts of delight.

Each is a gift that gives back.  And the greatest gift?  His face.  A living gift with the sweet breath of heaven aimed straight for you.

Standing there you catch a glimpse of His face in wide open spaces.  A place where you find yourself already known, desired and delighted in.

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This is home out in sopping fields of tender flowers and brilliant color playing in pockets of light.

Saturated with wonder.  Lost in a moment so humble in its simple hopefulness.

Sometimes whimsy takes practice, but don’t hesitate.

Always embrace the chase.

 

Breaking Enigma or Embracing It?

419622_10200430372023974_1308410213_n - CopyIt’s been one year.  It’s been a year of walking, talking, growing, sharing, laughing, crying and praying with three amazing women.  We call it a mentor group, but it’s so much more.  People use words like “awesome, great and amazing” so often, but these are understatements when describing the gift of this year.  It’s rare to find people you trust enough to lean into the mystery of faith and life and share your ugliest and brightest, and know with certainty they won’t run from either.  They won’t run from your darkness and they won’t be intimated by your light.  Instead they’ll embrace you and celebrate you and hold up your arms when you grow weary.

Have I sold you on mentoring? Great! (Totally not my point.) Instead, I make a case for mystery.

Life is full of mystery – the fear of the unknown can hold us back so often.  However, Jesus embodies mystery.  This can be beautiful and let’s face it; this can be frustrating.  We like order, known-ness and clarity.  But can we freefall into mystery and become friends with ambiguity?  Do we have a choice?  Of course we do, but perhaps we’ll breathe a little easier when we shake hands with the enigmatic.

Have you ever stood before a mountain range more powerful and more magnificent than you?  Do you seek to understand it’s greatness or do you embrace the climb?  Have you stood on a stretch of sand breathing in the salty breeze?  Do you dare to understand the ocean’s pull on your soul or do you marvel at the gentle calm and raging power of the sea?

Is the mystery of Christ in me any different?  Mystery and victory go together, just ask Jesus.  There is no time for sleep in the ocean of mystery for transformation is but a wink away.  To resist mystery is a prison of our own making.

Lean into the mystery
Jump in

In the depths of the unknown
We find ourselves intimately known
We are named
Again and again Grace calls out

Who am I to dance in delight and tinker with desire?
Beckoned into a vast sea stirring with power
Mercy on the surface and strength below
Stillness covers a raging war

Mystery wreaks havoc within
It’s the kindest act of mercy
Lonely soul jolted with truth
Smooth out wrinkles in my twisted breath

Boundless tenderness and strength
Tug and pull this heart of mine
Awaken and jump, Dearest One
The mystery flirts and flits before you.

Soaked full
I press deeper into the mystery

And then I asked Him, “Lord, what do you want me to learn about you and your mystery?”

My heart already knew the answer while my head was catching up. He reminded me of truths I learned in a little prayer room warmed by the sun and by the love of a woman after God’s own heart.

I can rest in His mystery and be at ease in the unknown. I can rejoice in uncertainty because He holds my heart close. I can delight and be delighted in—that is the measure of joy in embracing the risk of mystery. There is no end to the unknown – it’s the only thing that’s certain.  When did we become obsessed with safety? There is no celebration in risk-less living. The call is to step out, to jump into the mystery of daring to be known in certain unknown-ness.

When was the last time you jumped? 

Light Always Fights

My words, His response.
A tug and pull of Spirit, Father and Friend.
A response to a gift that’s one of a kind
A painting, a story, a promise.

A canvas so innocent.  Truth so striking.

A gift of hope from a true friend
A gift of vision for what is to come
A gift of remembrance for battles past

A girl at a big grey wall once again. Oh how He loves her.

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A gift to keep fighting, growing, loving, healing and thanking
To keep pressing forward in gentle days, rugged days and boring days
To maintain a posture of heaven and pause with the sacred

A battle fought, a battle won.  A battle wound surfaces again.

Hope is rising
Hope is waiting
Hope is multiplying
Hope is.

A hesitant brush on a canvas page.

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Hope is me and hope is you
Relax into my Presence, He says
Soak your soul in my truth
Let me love you closer to me

I paint determined to break light out of dark.

An expectant gift, but one with no pressure, no strings attached
Just a wish and a promise to love as you find colors dancing in your soul

I paint desperate to see color rush through.

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So, awake.
Awaken to color and beauty and rest
Your trust in God is sweet and deep
Trust in yourself is shaky and uncertain

Now.  Paint now.  Paint with your heart and soul until you bleed thanks.

Be brave dear heart and take a chance
Stumble, limp, dance and sing
Be not afraid of the strength in you
Be not afraid of the tenderness in you

Warmth.  Peace floods.

Fear not the waves for they listen to His name
Waves of doubt crash around your soul threaten to pull you under
Peace, be still, He says, She is mine

Transformation, my good old friend.

Piece by piece the wall comes down
Peace by peace until light breaks through

To speak the tongue of heaven.  The language of life.

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So dance my soul
Sing out with joy
Heart be brave and take flight

Soul piercing, mind captivating, heart transforming.

Oh to hear you beyond myself
There is a time to rest and a time to be brave
Now be brave in your rest and restful in your brave

Safe, wild and free.  Come to me.

So dare to hope
And may stone wall break
Color is waiting to come rushing through
Color and light dizzy with expectation for you

Come to me and breathe in wide open spaces.

Are you ready?
Be brave.
It’s time to let go

I am hereI am good.

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Chasing Rainbows

Driving home from work one evening, I was blown away by the incredible sky.  It was one of those slow, summer sunsets that fills the sky and takes its time to travel across the horizon.  I pulled over to snap a few pictures while it was still light enough.  My car was parked on a rocky outlet on a side street, I left the car running and the door open as I jumped out to capture the last light on my trusty smart phone.  I was literally pursuing the light and chasing the beauty.  When was the last time you chased beauty?

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This reminded me of when I was a young high school student and my sister was in middle school.  At the time, our family lived in a house that backed up to a field and beyond that was a golf course.  One summer, a brilliant rainbow stretched across the sky and looked as if it was actually touching the ground in the field.  Colorful light filled a grassy area that appeared just a short distance away from our house.  My sister and I threw on our shoes, rushed out the back door and ran to find that rainbow.  I was sure we could touch it.

So we ran and ran.  We ran through the field and across the bridge that led to the golf course.  The farther we ran, the farther the rainbow went.  We ran on for a while pausing to catch our breath.  It’s not easy chasing rainbows in Colorado’s high altitude.  I put logic aside and was convinced I really could touch the rainbow if we ran faster.  We ran a little further, but alas, we didn’t touch the rainbow.  It was always just beyond our reach, and we knew that, yet we delightfully pursued anyway.  I love this little memory and I still hold in my heart a faith that says you can catch rainbows if you chase them hard enough.

Sometimes in the chaos of life we forget to chase rainbows.  We forget to look up and notice a summer sunset claiming the sky.  I turn my eyes inward and get stuck.  I put the emphasis on myself, not on He who is greater.  Suddenly, I forget rainbows and chasing beauty because I get lost in myself.  When will I wake up from this toxic sleep of self-obsession?  When will I be brave enough to be free, unbound in endless salvation, resting in quiet hallelujahs?

I hold dear a philosophy of chasing rainbows.  A little whimsy and faith can go a long way.  Maybe you can’t touch rainbows; maybe science says it’s impossible.  I don’t care.   I will keep chasing rainbows anyway.

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Alive and awake
Sky speak to me
I chase your brilliance
I catch sun’s last light

Quickly fading
My last glimpse is another’s first taste
Morphing color make your brilliance known to me
Great big sky encircle me like a warm embrace

Sweet kisses of pink, blue and gold
Heaven in the wisps of every cloud
Your vastness in miles of big open sky

Your creative canvas
Your most holy playground
A love letter of highest form
A kaleidoscope of light

Heaven softly calling from up above
Surrounded by love’s perfect touch
Clouds surrendered to their maker
Lighthearted they rest in splendid suspension

A place of fearless awe and wonder
Overwhelmed you would paint skies for me
In a world torn, hurting and afraid
You pause to create such beauty

Who am I to deserve such art?
A gift I’m most undeserving
But I’ll stand still and wait and watch 

A moment in time is mine for the taking
If only I’ll look up
Inward eyes I do despise
Yet I’m so easily swayed

Emphasis on you is joy
Roots of faith grow down deep
Taking hope from wondrous skies

Sunflower Song

5099691_origUsually I like running, but today was not that day. I squeaked out the miles in new shoes that were no bueno for my feet. But this sight stopped me in my tracks.

We’ve had drizzling grey weather the past week, unusual for Colorado especially this time of year.  The stark contrast of the grey horizon and the bold sunflower reminded me of my own story.

It was a long process of awakening from a world of grey, and I was and will always be so thankful for the sunflowers in my life that beckoned me to more.  Those sunflowers have names and faces.  My amazing mom who listened to me with profound patience and endlessly spoke life and vision into a weary soul, Joanie who sat on the floor before me in a little prayer room and held my feet to ground me while she prayed over me, even a favorite author, who at the time I hadn’t met before, whose writings spoke to me at a new and deep level.  God reached me through each of these people in ways unique and beautiful.

I’m thankful for these people.  I’m even thankful for the grey.  For where there was no awareness of grey, there would have been no sight to see the color of freedom.  I am forever thankful for you, my sunflowers, my heroes.

A drop of color in a world of tasteless grey
A burst of light to chase desperate gloom away

In your honor, you beseech me
And draw me toward worlds anew

Poison creeps in and suffocates the soul
But a power awaits beyond all control

I draw strength from your great beauty
Courage from wonder once lost

Poised to defeat by strength of light
Reckless in every act of love’s bold might

Little sunflower formed of gold
You were not made to fight alone

Your sense of self sways with every gust
With your face to sun you know to trust

Unpretentious little flower
What secrets you must know

Gentle petals of valiant hue
Seeps all that is good, wonderful and true

To the sun and wind, you may bend
Yet grow bright in tender strength

A poetic bloom of mystery
Captivating in raw honesty

A little hope of color
Most gracious dash of life

A priceless beauty to be sure
A warrior of freedom’s great valor

Striking passion in field of earth’s hot breath
You sing a different song

For you stand your ground
In a world tragically grey bound

A song of hallelujahs
Some broken but made whole

So simple and so true
You stand firm as true you

So stand your ground and sing your song
Driving twisted grey away

Friendly Shadow

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As I was walking through Old Colorado City on this warm summer evening, I came across a mysteriously happy blue door.  Turns out this door had a friend.

Dear bouncing little shadow
Will you come with me?
Play in the brightest light
To chase away darkest day

Ever changing little shadow
Keep dancing all around
Follow the rhythm of radiance
To engage sun’s passion song

Little shadow with softly twisted edges
Skip through life’s worst roadblocks
Morph sweetly onto living canvas
To cast art across beaten paths

Shy and secret little shadow
Be bold in your gentle way.
No fear of desperate darkness
To catch the seeking rays

Dearest silhouette of hope
Capture sun’s last magic!
Play with eclipsed companion
To taste brilliance before it slips away

Pink Mountains

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I took this picture and wrote this on a long early morning run.  Turns out 8 miles is rough on the knees,
but easy on the heart.

Pink light bathes granite mountain top
Towering in strength
Beckoning with its intensity

A gentle call washed in early morning light
Come and live fully
A hard heart turned flesh
A song of true home

One step then another
Always climbing
Always seeking
Will I reach the top?

My name whispered in the breeze
Hope mingles with peace in a perfect pirouette
Chasing shadows to find smiling light
And tangle my fingers in its grateful glimmer

Gentleness splayed across strength in playful pink
Weightless in its wonder
I feel the impact full force
Stillness seeps deep into my soul

An inspired climb higher still
To touch the painted peak
And breathe in kiss of heaven so sweet

Cheap Chaos & Tantalizing Grace

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Trapped.  My mind a cave.
Thoughts like floodwater, rushing in.

Heart racing, body tense, mind ablaze.
Paralyzed by my striving efforts.

Blatant silence.
Prayers ricocheting off an invisible ceiling.

Desire to control and to know tantalizes and tempts.
Darkness creeping in quietly beckons and sickly woos.

Questions, dreams, and ‘what ifs’ vie for attention.
Romancing the dark, I stay in a place of cheap chaos.

Running.  Running in my mind.
This way.  That way.  Running into walls on all four sides.

I’m a slave to my thoughts.
Self-obsession the bolt to my self-made prison.

A sinister dead end in every way.
Still I wrestle.

I lie down to rest, but I am awake.
Running, rushing, thinking, grasping.

A pinprick of light.
So small I nearly miss it.

Light.  Focus on the light.
Slowly, as slowly as ice melting in winter’s sun it grows.

My mind begins to clear.  Thoughts still.
I breathe in the light, I breathe out the darkness.

My heart slows to a steady rhythm.  Peace stirs.
I breathe in light, I breathe out darkness.

My body calms.  Striving energy turned to stillness charged with joy.
I breathe in light, I breathe out darkness.

Another light.  Brighter.
I reach out to it.

A feeling of love sweeps through like a warm gust of wind.
Spiraling toward me and into my soul.

It steadily grows.  Stronger and stronger.
Wind so warm and strong. I close my eyes and breathe it in.

Love like a faithful companion, I know I am not alone.
Love that delights in me, I know I am seen and known.

The wind strengthens.  I can feel it stir inside.
I surrender to this wind.  Light now radiates within.

My mind awake with its reality.
My heart at rest in its certainty.

My body resonating in its presence.
My soul pierced with freedom.

Love.
Pure, sweet love.

Wrecked by grace through winds of mercy.
Undone by love through purest light.

I am His and He is mine.

Mary

5058706As Christmas rapidly approaches, my thoughts turn toward a humble hero of that blessed night.  A teenage girl who spoke to an angel and believed without question.  A young Jewish girl who leaned in to the promise of God and said yes.  A young mother whose cries, sweat and tears brought Life into the world.  Let’s step back into history and walk in Mary’s worn sandals.

Daughter of Nazareth, will you be the one?
Will you carry life both now and for kingdom come?
My Son will be yours to love and to hold,
My trust in you is complete and twofold.

Will you say yes to trials, confusion and heartache?
At times you will feel lonely, but daughter you will be awake!
Will you say yes to joy, love and grace abound?
In you my presence will always be found.

Precious Mary, so pure and strong, will you be the one?
Will you nurture love both now and for kingdom come?
Will you carry my Son in your arms and heart,
Even when His body is laid down in the dark?

Honored Mary, so young and sweet,
Did you give up dreams to be made complete?
Soft baby hands grasped your finger and called you mother,
You watched him share, play and explore with others.

A little boy’s scraped knee meant tearful eyes pleading for your kiss.
You watched him learn, work and grow with bliss,
He crafted wood and looked into his father’s eyes for advice.
Did you know he would one day pay the ultimate price?

Lovely Mary, so true and brave,
You stood near as your Son was laid in a grave.
You suffered at the foot of His cross, His pain was your pain,
Heartache in your deepest soul, love flowing through every vein.

Imagine your feelings when seeing him risen,
His body bright and healed, no longer crimson.
Once more you held him in your arms so near,
His loving eyes looked into yours with joy and a tear.

Faithful Mary so obedient and blessed,
Mother of our Savior is no gentle quest.
The vessel of all greatness and our redemption,
Mary, chosen woman of love and truest gumption.