Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Skin on skin
Breath on skin
Your words like porcelain,
Instantly creating a chasm.
Slow motion
I saw you fumble to catch your last syllable
But it was too late.
They hit my ears like a tidal wave
burning, careening
Until they found their rightful place
In the middle of my chest.
I pushed each ah, ee, and ew
Deeper and deeper inside until I could no longer feel the pain
And my breath returned to me.
Time after time, again and again
Simple words.
Nothing more, nothing less,
Began to clog my insides.
Your voice - once my sanctuary
Now ran like shards of glass down a blackboard.
In guilt and love, you came to me.
And I grasped each affirmation, a tiny stent, to replace the damage
Hoping blood might flow and my heart might beat again.
I looked to you, oh my surgeon, for bandaid-sized repair.
When, perhaps what I needed, was transplantation.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Finding My Destiny and the Stone

So, I attended Destiny Project, a Christian retreat for women a couple of years ago, where most of us there were trying to figure out why on Earth we were on this planet, and what are destinies were to be. I was sure God was going to talk with me about my journey as a creative artist in the world. A bit of naive narcissism crept in as I thought about moving from theatre arts and entering a full time career in film.

Toward the beginning of the first night we were all given a gift bag with a stone with a single word etched in it to help in this weekend-on this journey toward self discovery. We were told that the bags had been prayed over and they felt that the bag and stone we received was meant exactly for us. No pressure there : / It seemed like most of the ladies were excited about the stone they received, believing it was meant for them. Quite honestly it was as if some of these women were having major epiphanies in the moment over a simple word inscribed on their rock. I looked down at my stone and saw the word "Welcome". "Welcome"? What the heck was that supposed to mean? I could find that word on my door mat in front of my house. Seriously?! I looked over to my friend's stone, who had the word "Creative" etched into it, and had a short, indignant thought of striking the "Creative" stone that was so rightfully mine out of her hand with my "Welcome" stone. That would set God straight. "Creative"! That's the stone I should have gotten. It suited me. Not that my friend wasn't creative, but God and I had talked about this. It was why I was here, right? To find my purpose in the field of creative arts! I was pretty sure I got the wrong stone.

So, when we went around in a circle, describing what epiphany our stone had given us, I dug deep and came up with some plausible answer about fearing what other women in the group might think of me, and that maybe God was telling me I was welcome here. Meanwhile, I must admit, I had thoughts of sneaking into my friend's gift bag, late at night and stealing the "Creative" stone, but quickly realized, she was one of the one's who had a joyous epiphany over that word, and I could never steal that smile from her face. And besides, if I really wanted to, I'm sure I could have found out where they bought the darn things, and go purchase my own "Creative" rock if I wanted. Ok, so maybe this wasn't the healthiest way to start out a women's retreat. It's not that I didn't try to glean philosophical meaning from this 2" paper weight that I could easily skim across the water. But, everything that crossed my mind, didn't seem to quite make sense.

The weekend was amazing, and God did talk to me about my purpose in the creative art's field - that I was to help create stories that impacted the world in a positive light and connect people to the love of God. But what about this pesky rock? What about the unanswered question - why did this thing land in my hands? And why couldn't I just let it go?

Fast forward a couple of years, to today, where I'm in probably in one of the most broken places of my life. A place where the marriage, the things, and the patterns that I held so dear for the past 11 years were crumbling and slipping through my hands, and I didn't know how to fix any of it. I simply knew that I didn't want to live this way anymore. I wanted to become this new creation, so often mentioned throughout the Bible. I was exhausted with the way we had been living and the old patterns of avoidance we created to help numb the pain, but also kept us hidden from life. So, I set out on this adventure to find the phoenix hiding in my soul, hoping my husband would, at some point, join me in the fight for our marriage (which he since, has).

The first step in my journey was to create safe boundaries for myself and provide space for healing.

I had always prided myself on having a "healthy" marriage and didn't want anyone close to me or in my community to know it was an area in which I was now failing, for fear of judgment.

I cried out to God and He showed up in so many ways. First with a mutual friend - a place where I felt safe to air my current problems and ask for help. I felt completely welcome, without judgment or reservation. She asked if I was willing to reach out for help from people I knew at that time, and my pride got in the way, initially shooting down the idea. But God was gentle, and He blessed me with a couple, who I knew a little better than the mutual friend, but still felt distant enough to let them in; and, they walked beside me, welcoming me.

Then, I felt safe enough to share this area of my life with someone from Destiny Project who I trusted deeply and with whom I had shared very personal things in the past. In all honesty, she helped get me to this place of wanting more for my life and helped me to understand the role of boundaries in relationships. I was welcome there.

And then one morning, I heard God telling me I needed to share this with someone who was a little closer to home, someone who ran in the same circles, someone with whom I attended Destiny Project. I cried as the fear of rejection spilled from my veins. In this release, there was so much freedom - as I knew God was the only person I could hold onto now, and He would never reject me. When, I finally spoke with her about my current circumstance, she did nothing but welcome me with open arms.

And now, I'm sharing this with you - my Destiny Project sisters. Because relationships aren't easy, and marriage isn't easy. But we serve a God of new creations, of new covenants. A God we can look to for our value, instead of finding it in our partner, our friends, our work, or the rest of the world. A God who is willing to take us and love us right where we are at. A God who welcomes and deals remarkably with imperfections.

So, I'm still not perfect. My marriage is not perfect, though I can feel God's handprint in it, working and moving-healing the past and creating a future for us. It's painful to let the familiarity of the past go, even though it may not have served us in any way or been a part of the blessing God wanted to bestow on us.

I was listening to a Mumford and Sons song the other night, after the thought occurred to me that as hard as I had been trying to "fix" our marriage, I had no power to fix anything or any other person. Trying just left me resentful and exhausted. New creation could occur, but only if I surrendered myself and this marriage to God.

The song is entitled "Roll Away Your Stone". The whole songs speaks heavily to my heart right now. But the most poignant lyrics for me are:

"It seems that all my bridges have been burned,
But, you say that's exactly how this grace thing works
It’s not the long walk home
that will change this heart,
But the welcome I receive with the restart."

There it was...my epiphany, two years later. The stone was now screaming at me -- WELCOME! And my mind shot instantly back to Destiny Project. Set in a song called Roll Away Your Stone, were lyrics that welcomed me to an experience with the God of Grace, and beckoned me to an opportunity to start again.

This time with Him in the driver's seat.

Perhaps God didn't give me the stone I wanted, but the stone I needed. I knew God designed me to be creative. I didn't need some affirmation on a rock to prove this. I did however, need the word "welcome", planted in my heart at the precise moment, sitting there, germinating until the one day when God would decide to use it at a turning point in my life.

Through a simple word, he humbly reminded me that there is an amazing group of women who have been a part of this experience who will lovingly step up and welcome those in need. I don't need to fear condemnation. And if I do happen to come across that, I pray that God will use it as a tool to allow me to find my value in Him.

In this new journey God has welcomed me to rise out of the ashes of a self destructive past, into the light of brilliant future. Out of the ashes of a stale and sometimes destructive marriage, and into what I pray, will be a new covenant.

Both my husband and I have a long way to go toward healing, but here's to another step in letting people in, and letting the fear of what others may think, go.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


God. . .
Give me wings to fly to the sun
Without incineration.
Incineration got me to this place
So entangled in you
I was no longer myself
Only fragments remained.
Now I'm busy picking up pieces
Of brittle bones and loose skin.
Your healing breath - once a salve to my imperfections
Holds a bitter odor, today.
And I can't help but to want more than broken-
Being loved because I was broken.
There is so much more here than your fragile thing
With arms tightly woven into every affirmation or condemnation
You lavished on me.
I am no longer that woman.
My shoulders start to ache, an unfamiliar searing
A new anticipation sets in and I instinctively keep your tired arms at a distance
Where they cannot save me.
Knowing this is my journey.
Muscles and tendons stretch and flesh begins to rip.
A gift emerges through these two quickly healing lacerations.
I feel their span, as they beat rhythmically in new found strength and freedom.
Perhaps God has been listening all along.