Give up the ghost

I watch him, he’s learned to walk and he has no fear. No fear, I know. I see the brave in him when he lets go of mama’s hand and walks, almost runs on his own. I see brave as he climbs stairs and he climbs chairs and he would climb down them alone if mama would let him. I watch him and I wonder how to get back there, to Eden. He has no fear and he’s there, in Eden. He’s innocent and brave but he looks back at mama while he does these things, like my presence makes him this way. Like it’s okay for brave so long as mama’s with him. And he laughs from the pit of him and it’s pure and sweet  and what is it about a baby’s laugh that does something inside of us?  It changes us for a moment. We don’t think about worry for a moment. For a moment we’re innocent, too. It’s Eden. 

And there’s a ghost that’s been chasing me or maybe I’ve been chasing it. And it’s midnight and He wakes me and He asks me to give it up. I pretend I don’t know what He’s talking about but He knows, I know. Because I’ve eaten the whole apple and I’ve known more than He’s wanted me to and it’s been chasing me, I’ve been chasing it. So many times I’ve closed my eyes and the liar is there. The liar shows me what he said would be forgotten and he lied. It’s there. And there’s plans I’ve been making without Him and I’ve been chasing them until my legs grow weak. He asks if He can come but I know what that means – give up the ghost. And can I? Hand over this box with all of my things? Hand over these plans in my mind for an unknown thing? Can I relearn this life-thing and get back to Eden? Before the apple fell into my lap? The Eden where he is, my trusting boy who’s brave comes from knowing his mama isn’t far behind. Can I find his brave in knowing that He isn’t far behind?

So I’ve invited Him deeper but really He’s probably invited me. He sits with me at the table of my soul and He knows everything I’m about to say. He breaks bread and He offers me some. He knows I don’t find the good in the clouds covering the sun. In the car that finds trouble in the rain. He knows I clench teeth when bank account runs dry and He asks, “Where is your brave?” And He asks, “Where is your trust?” And He asks, “Where is your hope?” And He knows, hope is in the ghost I’ve been chasing. In the plans I’ve been making. The ones I forgot to invite Him to. So He pours wine and He asks me to drink. He asks if I remember the house in the country and Him meeting me there. He asks if I remember slamming the door and telling Him to leave. If I remember the cool mornings on screened in porch where we met over coffee. All He wanted was to lift the heavy from my chest that had been there for years. He asks if I remember and I do. Because He did. It was painful because of the enemy but He was not the enemy. He was cool breeze in the early morning and He never left even when I slammed the door. And I remember. I take a sip and I see dark room and apple juice and I see nails and cross and I’m free. It’s been years, and I’m free. It seems so easy. The Answer. He asks and I remember. 

I open The Book and it’s Eden. It’s my brave child and I’m brave, too. Papa lingers behind me as we walk through the field and I feel brave, for the first time in a long time. And He speaks of thankfulness rolling off tongue but that’s a foreign language to me. It’s all over these pages and I’ve read them before but seeing them now as we walk hand in hand it’s like the first time. Thankful in all of this. Thankful for where we are. Thankful that that door didn’t open and thankful for wisdom to close the next with our own hands, even if it aches me. Thankful for dirt under toes and thankful for little hands to hold. And I can be tired and I can be broken and I question – but its been in these pages all along, waiting for me to give up my ghosts, waiting for me to invite Him in or maybe accept His invitation. For thankful. For His road. For His hand to hold. 

And I’m running in the field and there’s a wild in my soul flamed with a fire from Heaven, and He’s trailing behind fueling my brave. 

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The Long Way Home

For 13 months we lived in a beautiful home in the country. There was a garden in the back with a rose bush that had overgrown. As I began to weed the garden, I would find roots sprouting from one end, that lead me back to this big rose bush. It had grown so strong for so long, without anyone tending to it, that the roots had overtaken this garden. Isn’t that quite like life?

A painful event would happen to me and I would run from it. I would not face it, but let it root deeper. And time would pass and things would pile on my resume of things I majorly failed at, things I did not want to face. The roots were too deep. And my arms were too weak to begin pulling. So I kept running, finding anything to fill the space between me and those roots. Even now right before bed or a random place in time I can get a flashback of some long forgotten stupid night and cringe. Even now I can still fall back into the lie of the enemy that because of my past I am no good. But I am strong enough now to recognize his lie.

I don’t believe that God is angry with me for not choosing life. I believe He was deeply, deeply saddened that I didn’t know His Truth well enough to know that this was life. I believe He heavily wept over the fact that I was deceived into darkness. I believed in the lie – this was not life. The lie that I would feel relief, and this was something I would soon move on from as if it never happened. But this was my wildly unkept rosebush, overtaking the beautiful garden within me. I believe God felt sorrow towards me when I felt so alone. I believe God my Father deeply mourned for my loss, when I hardened my heart to avoid feeling anything. But greatest of all, I believe He welcomed my baby Home and that I will see my baby face to face in Heaven.

And that is just it: we’ve become so numb to what we don’t want to come to terms with. With what we would rather avoid. We want the easiest route and the easiest way out. But I’ve learned going the distance produces perseverance. I want to take the long way Home to Heaven, I want to stop at every detour. Walk up every steep mountain. To walk through pain and remember what it felt like. I want to take my time, to be completely raw in truth. I’ve grown to desperately love truth. To love on everyone lost. Everyone going through affliction. I choose the long way home. Facing our roots and pulling them out from within the deep produces an inner strength we never thought possible. Our past has no control over us unless we choose to let it. Because past things are passed things. Our past cannot harm us any longer if we choose to use it for good – in the helping of others.

Up until recently I would pray for God to break me away from my past. To let me forget. The memories. The pain. The embarrassment I still feel. But God did not. So finally I thanked Him for not allowing me to forget, because if I forget how can I be there for anyone else with similar roots? How can I help someone avoid growing these same roots? If I forget then there will never be a lesson learned. If I forget I will once again have taken the easy route out. Instead I’ve chosen to walk through it, root by root, room by room, with God holding my hand. Facing things I’ve been avoiding. Facing things I’ve been praying would just disappear. Decisions I have made. Forgiveness I have been withholding. Guilt I have bagged away. And it’s only then have I realized that the burden seems to grow lighter. I imagine my heart with these rooms full of filth, and God walking with me hand in hand, power washing the walls clean with each one we face.

So what roots have you been avoiding? What shortcuts have you been taking? If you’re wondering if the burden will ever get lighter the answer is yes. If you have been trying to work up the courage to face the painful fear of the past I challenge you to pull that first root. Take that first small detour. Walking through pain is not easy, but it is worth the Light. It is worth the freedom. Your face shines all the more beautiful in the freedom. I know you yearn for the freedom. And in your wild heart of hearts you were created to run in the freedom of the day. Choose today.

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Misery Has No Hold On Me

Your alarm goes off and you hit the snooze button, but today is different. You don’t fall back asleep for a half hour longer, risk running late and having to go 10 miles over the speed limit. You get out of bed (you might even make the bed) with a little pep in your step. “Today is going to be different.” You tell yourself. 

You make yourself what you believe will be the best pot of coffee you will ever make, and you smile at the rising sun and the way the light is beaming through your window. Usually you would push your cat away as she snuggles on your lap while you try to read the morning paper, but today is different. And the way your cat is purring over your now crinkled paper brings you back to being a small child. The way you would sit on your mothers lap as she read her favorite magazine. Her breath smelled like morning coffee as you lay your head on her chest and hear her heart beating. Yes, this is a memory of joy. 

Now you go outside, thermos in hand, and face the world. You’re singing to every song on the radio and you smile at strangers at the gas station. You give change to the homeless on the corner of the street and you don’t think twice about what they will do with the money. “Today misery will not overcome me.” You tell yourself. “Today I choose joy.” Because the routine of getting caught in rush hour has finally outrun itself and allowing others thoughts and opinions and allowing others problems affect you severely has run it’s toll. 

And even when your boss asks you, “Can’t you do better?” And even when your friends would rather not be by your side. Even when you can’t afford that beautiful coat I’m sure you deserve. Even when for once your spouse lovingly tells you “No.” Even when things just aren’t going your way. Yes, even when you aren’t treated with respect. And even when the entire universe feels as though it is laying all of itself on your shoulders. You choose to sing. You choose to skip through the grocery store with your small child. You choose to kiss your mate in public because you are shamelessly in love. 

When you spill your morning coffee all over your pants while you’re already running late you choose to laugh instead of cry. You choose to dance in church because you finally let the glory of The Lord permeate your entire soul. And instead of always venting about your problems you choose to put effort in changing them. You choose to be the best friend, mother, father, sister, brother, lover, that you could ever possibly be. Not because you want something in return but because today you decided to choose joy. You decided that no matter what disappointments came your way today you would choose to be happy. That you will not react out of anger. And today you choose to not let emotions control you. 

  You choose to seek wisdom and answers. You stop wondering why things aren’t in your favor or why you haven’t found a husband or wife yet. You stop worrying about money and you stop posting all of your dilemmas on Facebook. You break the bondage of misery because it has no hold on you. You have that choice. Yes, today you choose joy.