Friday, February 26, 2010

Awaiting Spring ~~~~~~~ Stirrings of Hope

Today I saw a beautiful, fat, red-breasted robin
perched on my backyard fence
when I opened my back door.

I opened the door quickly
to let my best dog Bella burst outside
for her first early morning jaunt.
I started to close the door quickly
as the February winter windchill
still sent such cold shivers through me.

And then I saw it.
A red-breasted robin
sitting calmly
atop my redwood fence.
Looking around.
Checking things out.

Obviously well-fed
despite the harsh winter cold
and seemingly endless snow
and days of desolate grayness.

A red-breasted robin.
On February 26, 2010.

And I smiled.
I smiled and watched quietly.
My smile grew bigger.

The first robin sighting.

There is hope.
Spring is coming.
Spring is really coming.
Hope rests in my heart again.

There was no time
to run inside and grab a camera.
There was only time
to let the beautiful sight
of the first red-breasted robin
Soak slowly into
My brain and my heart
Stirring my soul
to remember

So I stood there
Looking out my back door

There is hope.
Spring is coming.
Spring is really coming.
Hope rests in my heart again.

Still and quiet.
Awaiting spring.

*Copyright/Janet Lyn/Feb. 26, 2010.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Finding Faith in Hard Places

I hate the hard places in life. Completely hate them. Can’t stand them. Cry over them. Stamp my feet and throw my arms in the air and holler into the night at them. Rage with angry tears streaming down my face at the hard places in life, the ones where life is completely unfair and injustice continues unchecked.

The times when a child dies. The times when anyone dies “too young” whether they are 2 or 40 or 75.

The times when someone takes advantage of another human being ~~ and gets away with it.

The times when someone hurts another person ~~ physically, verbally, emotionally and/or spiritually.

The times when anyone abuses another person, child or adult, or a defenseless animal.

The times when someone violates someone else’s trust in any way.

The times when someone uses the power of their words to hurt someone else, especially behind their back.

The times when guilt or shame or fear threatens to shut you down. Or someone you love.

The times when a friend or loved one is hurting very badly but there’s absolutely nothing you can do but love them.

The times when your heart hurts so badly you can’t breathe.

The times when someone has to wait and wait and wait for test results that could change a life one way or another.

The times when you do everything you know to do and life still throws you a tragic curve.

The times when you don’t get to tell someone you love how you feel. Or even tell them goodbye.

The times when you lose someone so dear that you have to try to remind yourself to breathe.

I absolutely HATE those times in life.

I do NOT, at those moments, listen to or say the horrible words, “Well, this must be God’s will.” How harmful that lie is!! God’s will is NEVER EVER to harm His children. NEVER EVER. God’s heart breaks even more than ours at life’s tragedies.

I do NOT, at those moments, smile sweetly and count my blessings and say, “Well this must all be for the best.” Are you KIDDING me?

If anyone around you ever utters those lies or misrepresentations, run as fast as you can. Especially if you hear anyone ever tell you, “Don’t ever question God.”

Are you KIDDING me?

God made me who I am. He is not going to fall off His throne because I am hurting and ask him questions. He knows me and loves me.

The God I know and love wants, more than anything, for me to be real with Him. To be honest and truthful with Him.

God knows what I’m feeling anyway. Why would I lie to myself or Him and pretend otherwise?

I’m in good company. Some of the people who loved God most asked Him the most questions.

News Flash: I’m human. All too human.

That’s why one of my heroes of the Bible is David.

David screwed up over and over and over again. He lost his temper. He raged. He sinned. He ~~gasp!!!~~ questioned God.

Just like I do. Just like you all do, if you’re honest with yourselves.

Yet time and time again, even ~~ and actually, especially ~~ when he had absolutely no satisfactory answers to any of his questions to God, David still ended up each and every time declaring his unyielding trust in God. It’s there in every Psalm.

And in the end, despite his many flaws, David was called by God himself “a man after God’s own heart.”

In return, even though David didn’t have the answers, he worshipped God with love and passion and reckless abandon and a stubborn faith that seemed absolutely crazy to everyone around him.

The Divine and ultimate paradox. One I know too well.

A loving God does not expect us to see injustice or experience tragedy and blindly accept it. He certainly does not expect us to never ask questions.

All He asks is that we trust Him in the end. All He asks is that we have faith.

Faith to believe He loves us.

Faith to hold on no matter what.

Faith to struggle and still believe.

Faith even if we can’t see anything happening.

Faith to wait with expectant hope.

It’s hard as hell. But I’m trying to learn.

I hate waiting. Really hate it.

I’m holding onto hope with everything in me.

Because sometimes, more often than not, it takes everything in me, simply to hold onto hope.

Yet I still believe.

David may have said it in more flowery poetic phrases.

Here’s my modern-day version, as real as it gets:

Some days, life just kicks the crap out of you. But you go on anyway. That’s faith.

I know I’m not the only one who feels this way sometimes.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

You Are Truly Loved

How would your life be different

If you believed ~really believed~

In your heart of hearts
In the depth of your soul
In the innermost part of your being

That you are truly and unconditionally loved
With a love
that will never leave you or forsake you~~~~

If you really believed you are loved like this~
How would it change you?

A love that will always hold onto you
A love that will never let go of you

A love so amazing
A love so magnificent
A love neverending
A love truly limitless

A love that looks deep
Into the heart of you
And still reaches out
To embrace every part of you

A love that sees everything
You’ve ever done
Yet a love that believes
In what you will become

A love that will hold you
Until you feel whole again
A love that will stay with you
While you find your strength again

A love full of mercy
A love full of grace
A love that makes sure
Your mistakes are erased

A love that knows suffering
Sorrow and pain
A love that will shelter you
Bring you in from the rain

A love that in spite of everything you have done
Pursues you, embraces you
Till your heart’s come undone

A love that reaches for your hand to hold
A love full of warmth when the world is so cold

A love that sees everything
No one else sees
A love that heals wounds
That run way too deep.

A love that runs toward you
With outstretched arms open wide
A love that holds you so close
Hand in hand, side by side.

A love like no other you’ve ever known
A love that somehow feels like you’re home.
~By Janet Lyn
*copyright February 14, 2010*

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Leap of Faith ~Diving Deep Into Love ~And Life~

 Written on my birthday February 4, 2010.~jl.

I have so far to go in learning to love unselfishly.

I am finding that the more I go on with God, the more I realize that the less I know.

Especially about love.

God’s kind of love is so very different than the world’s kind of love.

The world says to protect your rights. Insist on your rights.

God says we should prefer one another in love. I want so much to learn how to do that more.

I have dear friends who are happily married and have been for a long, long time. They rarely fight. They still hold hands a lot. They still can’t wait to be together. She told me once that it’s because fights start because one person insists on having things their way. We’re supposed to do the opposite. We’re supposed to prefer one another in love. To try to bless the other person.

Real love wants the best for someone else and is willing to sacrifice for that person.

I wish I was at that point. I really want to be. I am learning.

I feel like I’m on a high dive walking to the edge. Below is a pool so deep you can’t even see the bottom. That’s real love. Unconditional love. Deep, deep love.

But the distance between the edge of the diving board and the leap of faith off the diving board into the deep waters below takes real courage.

And more than a little bit of daring.

It reminds me of when a bunch of friends and I were at a lake with really high cliffs. Some brave ~and yes, maybe crazy~ souls started jumping off the cliff into the inviting lake waters below. Others walked backward, afraid to even try. Afraid to even walk to the cliff’s edge and look down. Too afraid to even see what they were missing.

I love the water. I love to swim. I’m a really strong swimmer so I’m not afraid of the water. But I was afraid of jumping off that cliff. At first.

Still, I walked to the edge of the cliff and looked down. My friends who had decided to literally take the plunge were laughing and giddy with joy and splashing in the deep water. They kept encouraging me to try it and see how exciting it could be.

Finally, at a certain point, my desire to dive in and see for myself how fun it really was and my desire to be swimming in the deep waters of the lake overcame my fear.

I was still afraid. But my desire to take that leap of faith and experience the joy became greater than the fear.

So I walked to the water’s edge, looked down below at the water, looked at where the rocks in the cliff were so I could dive away from the danger ~~ and then I did it.

I walked. I looked. And I jumped. I wanted to be in the deep waters. I wanted to swim with my friends. I wanted to experience all the joy I could. I didn’t want to miss it or wonder what could have been.

So I jumped off the cliff and dove into the water. I went down, down, down into the deep water and slowly surfaced. With a big grin from ear to ear. Laughing out loud. Delirious with pure joy.

I think of love that way.

Real love can seem scary to some people or too deep for some to even look into. It’s even scarier if you’ve learned the dangers the hard way. Most of us have bruised ourselves a bit along the rockier cliff sides of love.

But at some point in your life, you have to decide if you want to take the plunge. You have to decide if you want the love more than the fear. You have to decide if you’re ready to face the deep waters of love even with the risk involved.

And then you realize what joy awaits you if you choose love. Until finally you find yourself at the edge of the cliff, looking truthfully at what you have to do to dive deep into love’s waters and finding that your desire for love is far greater than any fear. And far more inviting.

I have to believe that real love is worth the risk. I have to believe learning to really love the way God intends us to love is worth walking away from the fear and leaping in faith deep, deep, deep until you’re surrounded by love. Unconditional love. Amazing love.

I’m still scared. But I’m about to leap headfirst and heartfirst. What waits for me looks worth the risk. What waits for me looks like real love. What waits for me looks like pure joy.

Extravagant love. Unrestrained joy. Delirious joy.

So now I’m diving deep into love with reckless abandon. Singing with all of my heart. Dancing for joy.

Taking the first step. I’m trusting you, God.

I want the love more than I want the fear. And that’s where I feel You most, God. Where Your perfect love casts out all fear.