.rainfall.

I am watching rain fall.

It’s not a gentle rain, yet it’s not quite a downpour either. It’s a steady rain- beads of water dropping to the ground in a steady, saturating sort of way. All is wet. Even the ground beneath trees where the protection of the leaves usually creates a few small damp, yet dry spots is wet.

It’s the kind of rain where people pause before exiting the coffee shop they were just frequenting. The pause to consider the shortest path to their car, to briefly deliberate upon how much water will fall upon them, to tuck belongings underneath arms and jackets, and to inhale and prepare the skin to receive the first wash of rainfall. It’s the run to the car kind of rain- the dash to avoid the drops from the sky, somehow every step splashing into the puddles the drops from the sky have formed.

I am watching rain fall and I am watching people do their best to dodge it.

The irony is that they can’t.

Why are we so distrustful of rain? Why are we are so reluctant to embrace the raindrops?

Is it because we don’t like being wet? We don’t like to appear disheveled, messy, unkempt? Is it just about our appearance?

Children embrace rain. Puddles and raindrops exhilarate them. They love the remnants of rainfall- squishy grass, dirt turned to mud, water gushing through ditches, earthworms appearing above ground.

And adults reject it. We tend to think rain ruins plans. We’re terrified of a downpour on our perfectly planned outdoor wedding. We pray against the clouds appearing, that might make watching the game more cold, more windy, that might cause mud to cake our shoes, that might create more cleanup of our kids.

It’s about mess, isn’t it? It’s always about mess.
It’s about the feelings mess brings.
It’s about vulnerability. It’s about rawness.

I am watching rain fall and I am reminded again of the wild beauty of embracing vulnerability and rawness.

I want to be a woman of vulnerability and rawness. I want to be a woman who boldly stands embracing where I am now, all the while proclaiming the grace of the Lord over every area of my life. I want to be a woman who unashamedly bares her questions, her fears, her emotions, and her brokenness that the world around her would see the healing work of God in her.

I want to be a woman who may appear disheveled, messy, unkempt, but whose roots go down deep because I have soaked up every drop of rain that has fallen upon me.

And so, right now, I’m going to get up, walk outside to stand and embrace the rain. A physical representation of the spiritual posture I long to embody.

.i am weary.

I am staring at the blank page.

This page. The one you are currently reading.

It has been months since I have shared any of my writings publicly.

It’s not that I haven’t been writing. No, I have a journal full of messy ink proving otherwise. It’s not that I haven’t had the time. No, because even with my weekly plantings and uprootings this summer, I could have posted.

I haven’t shared my writings publicly, because I don’t know what I am writing about.

My thoughts, my words have been like a Rubik’s Cube—something I used to understand and know how to solve, but now, if you were to hand me a cube, the solution would tauntingly dance around the fringe of my memory. I would stare at it willing my brain to recollect the proper twists and turns, but nothing would come except faint impressions. The movement of the colored sides would appear familiar and foreign, like the city to which I just returned.

I sit and I write. But all I end up with are faint impressions and foreign feeling sentences.

I acknowledge what I am feeling [my felt truth], but once I see it on the page in front of me, the disconnect appears. I read the words and I don’t feel them. For many, that is not concerning. For me, that confuses and terrifies me.

Because I am a woman who deeply feels. I dwell in the heights and in the depths. Words move me.

I don’t feel as if I have been living in the middle, numbing my heart in order to make it through. And yet…

And yet…something has been slipping, for I am weary. Physically, mentally, and emotionally.

I am weary.

Maybe it is because of my constant physical relocations around the world that prevent me from growing roots in one place, that tear my heart open because of the continual farewells, that imprint my brain with new impressions every moment. Or maybe it is because of the tears I shed every day for the broken, the oppressed, the lost. Or maybe it is because I am still learning how to surrender and rest in the Lord, to draw comfort and strength from Him rather than to rely on myself.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” [Ephesians 6:12]

We live at war. We have to be constantly alert (Ephesians 6:18b). Every day and night we must carry the full armor of God so that we can stand (Ephesians 6:11,13).

I am in the midst of the battle and I have been slipping. I have been letting my guard down. I have been dropping my hands while facing my opponent in the middle of the ring. I have become flat-footed instead of remaining loose and nimble. It’s no wonder I’ve taken a spinning wheel kick to the head, spiritually speaking.

It’s no wonder I feel dazed and disoriented—disconnected. I have been hit hard and I am reeling.

Awareness, acknowledgement, and confession bring healing. So, here I am, acknowledging and confessing my weariness, acknowledging and confessing my recent lack of reliance upon the Lord, acknowledging and confessing my desperate need of healing, rest, and encouragement.

I am clinging to the promise:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

[Matthew 11:28]

.running angry.

Feet pounding the pavement—right, left, right, left, right, left– a steady cadence. Breath flowing quickly in and out of my lungs- jagged and uneven. Music blaring from the headphones in my ears. Eyes fixated forward, staring at the farthest point I could, willing my feet to move faster, my body to cover more distance.

I was running angry.

You could also call it throwing a temper tantrum.

Usually, when that mood begins to strike, I retreat into a time of reflection. I sit at the feet of God and allow His presence to transform my attitude, to renew my mind. Not this day.

I started the day in thanksgiving, then I sank into anger. By the time evening came, I was in a full-fledged war. Sometimes, it hits me. Sometimes, I choose to harden my heart, to give my sinful nature free range. It’s horrendous—the rage of the flesh that welled up within me. I was angry at it all—tired of practicing patience, humility, and love. I was done with sacrificing my selfish desires for the Lord. I was mad at God and I wanted Him to know it.

I did not want to sit at His feet. And, I couldn’t seem to escape Him. So, I decided to run. Yes, just like Jonah, I ran.

I ran until my legs gave out. I ran until the knotted muscles in my calves, the blisters on my toes, and my rolled right ankle would not allow me to take another step further. I ran—trying to outrun God. Trying to escape Him, for in that moment, I wanted nothing to do with Him. Funny what I do sometimes, because running from Him ended up being me running straight into His arms.

Body broken—my heart softened. And, I hobbled home—literally and figuratively.

I am so grateful for how He has bound my wayward heart to Him. The words of Psalm 73 paraded through my head as I limped my way down the street in the fading sunlight. “I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before You. YET, I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand.”

Praise be to God!

When, in my sin, I turn from the Lord, He stays. He stays.

Do you really understand this? He stays!

He stays, nails piercing His hands and feet. He stays, weight of horrors past, present, future upon His shoulders. He stays, mocking voices clamoring in the air. He stays.

“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” [Romans 7:24-25]

He stays. He sees through our bodies of death and sees His beloved sons and daughters. When our flesh and hearts fail Him, He is our strength and our portion (Psalm 73:26). He stays. And, I am forever grateful.

[Humorous side note: I could barely walk the rest of the weekend. It took me five minutes to get down a flight of fifteen stairs. And, I used so much tiger balm that people could smell it before I entered a room.]

.Juan Carlos.

We sat on a side street, right down on the grimy sidewalk. His back rested against the concrete wall, mine pointed towards the street. He had a large, black trash bag next to him, full of old plastic bottles and scraps of paper.  On his other side rested a worn duffel bag and a small plastic bag in which he stuffed the bread we brought him.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

My broken understanding of Spanish could barely keep up with the fast flow of his words. They were tumbling out of his mouth, shaping the telling of his story. Eight years on the street. A family who abandoned him. One meal a day at a local church. Collecting recyclables for money. Feeling alone, unseen, and hopeless.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

His words stopped abruptly and his gaze went behind me, then dropped to the ground, eyes full of sorrow. I turned and caught the derisive, questioning look of a passerby. Tears filled my eyes. I turned back and waited for his gaze to rise.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”

When he bravely raised his head, I told him I had a Bible verse I wished to share with him. Eyes brightening, he began rummaging in the plastic sack near his feet. After several seconds, he triumphantly lifted a worn New Testament from the bag. He had rescued it from a trash bin some years ago.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

We turned to the book of Matthew and I read the Beatitudes with him. I shared with him the words placed upon my heart for him from the Lord. Living Water flowed over him, and he thirstily received.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”

He began to read the rest of the chapter. Then, he read the next. And, the next. He read out loud from the book of Matthew for the next thirty minutes. Living Water flowed over me, and I thirstily received.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

You see, Juan Carlos and I, we are the same. We are both children of God desperately in need of the Living Water.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”

I might have missed this moment. I might have never conversed with my brother, Juan Carlos. It would have been so easy to keep walking. It would have been so easy to stay away—attributing distance to the language barrier, the difference in life situation, the business of a schedule, the perception of others.

I am so thankful to have sat on that cold pavement. My friends and I visited Juan Carlos every day for several days. Then, he disappeared. I never got to tell him good-bye. I never got to give him a pair of warm, woolen socks. But, I did get to share in the goodness of God with him, and that is a moment I treasure.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:3-10

.the page is my battleground.

I sit, propped up against pillows, feet covered in wool socks, sunlight streaming through the window. I sit, relishing the end of my favorite kind of morning – a morning spent reading, writing, and praying. I sit, thoughts swirling through my head, but all remaining elusive.

I love placing words upon a page.

I don’t love it because it is fun, or pleasurable, or easy. I love it because, oftentimes, it is the opposite.

Writing is not my escape.

No, it is a – take a deep breath, turn around, look at what faces me, stand my ground, be cut to the core, bleed out, fight.

When I write, sometimes I spend the entire time with tears blinding my eyes, so that I can barely see the blurry words I have placed down. When I write, sometimes all I want to do is stop because my emotions and beliefs on paper make me feel most vulnerable. When I write, sometimes I am confronted by the very thing from which I am trying to hide. When I write, I can no longer run, nor ignore, nor pretend but, rather, I am forced to press through.

Writing is not my escape, for the page is my battleground.

It is a medium through which I can listen, can grow, can encourage and be encouraged, can challenge and be challenged. It is a medium through which I bring my experiences, place them at the feet of my Lord, and watch Him make beautiful things out of the dusty offering.

It is difficult because it is humbling. It is difficult because it is refining. And I find it, oh so beautiful, for through simple words on a page, the Lord demonstrates His great love – by meeting me exactly where I am, but loving me too much to leave me there.

I love placing words upon a page, for the page is my battleground, and the Lord is the One who fights for me.