Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Late to Lent: Days 35-36

I'm almost at the end of this journey.  If you want to see if I've changed at all you could read here.

Day Thirty-five

some days I feel so empty I'm afraid of being swallowed whole

it's not the food I'm forgoing in the evenings

it is the dwindling bank account

it is the unfulfilled giving commitments

it is the abandoned dog crate outside the kitchen window

it is the blank in the fill in the blank Profession:__________

it is the silence in ears that ache to be called mommy

it is the arms tightly wrapped around a cold pillow in an empty bed each night

some days I feel so empty I'm afraid of being swallowed whole

and then I see the mountains


so impossibly green in my arid land


with dusky sunlight and shadows frolicking in the crevices, playing tag


my heart opens hungrily

drawing the beauty in with ragged breaths

exhaling praise with parched lips


I swell with the bounty You have prepared for my eyes

the words You tenderly hand feed my soul


and for today,

for today it is enough




329. It is always today and You will always be enough.


Day Thirty-Six
Do you know of any writers who soften your heart? The ones who wielding words disrobe their souls so plainly that you would blush but for the awe and the kinship it engenders. Intimacy, openness and searching, always seeking to glimpse His face; these are rare and precious gifts. I have a few who do that for me and tonight I am so appreciative. Thankful that to really fulfill my Lenten task, to not only give up anger against God but to follow Christ, I can not walk alone. Alone my heart empties, dries up and hardens. I get worn out by the doing and the waiting and the thinking and the feeling and the life. But then I halt, reach out, open a book, pull up a blog, pick up the phone and I bathe in the love, truth, seeking: refreshed by the mere company of my fellow sojourners.

That may be a reason for this journal, to remind me that this walk is not alone. I am accountable to you who take the time to read. My commitment to meet with you every day has kept me real and present in this walk. If I took a day off, decided to let Lent go, what could I tell you? There is not a whole lot of room to fake it. And yet on those days when I think, “What on earth am I going to write about?” you are there: in your own blogs, in the pages of books long and lovingly labored over, sitting across in a meeting, side by side in a service, in an email, in a comment.

One of the joys of dying and coming to life again in Christ is that the resurrection involves becoming family. His Spirit, now living in me and in you, binds us heart to heart. That family, locking arms and walking, seeking to worship and give and love and share and expand, that’s the Church. And today I see that I can not follow alone. I have to do Lent, this journal and life with the Church, or I will not be able to do it all.

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NLT
Blog Med Sig 4

locking arms with Em' and friends today

29 comments:

happygirl said...

Oh Joybird. Please eat. My heart aches with yours. I pray your prayers are answered YES.

David N. said...

That first section broke my heart. We want those things for you; we want good things for all those we care about. Your line about God always being enough is true, but doesn't always feel true, I know. Peace of Christ to you, friend.

Tamara @ Living Palm said...

thank you for your faithfulness to share your Lent journey with us. your diligence has encouraged me. the first part of this post allows me to suffer with you but also to hope with you. Grace and peace to you, dear one...

Cathy said...

Heartbreaking, in its way....

Brian Miller said...

i think day 35 is my fa v one yet...just came down from the mount getting my fresh breath and it hit the spot...

Craig said...

A chord of three – and two to fight the fight. It is not good for humans to be alone. I never had a bride. The longest of stories. And I am alone – I have Laska the love kitty who is material company – and Our Lord always – for spiritual company – but I hear your words. I hear them. You are not alone. You are never alone. God bless and keep you

LauraX said...

beautiful!

Cindy said...

I have been following along, not always commenting...the juxtaposition of each of these posts...the emptiness, then the acknowledgment that we are really all linked together...this IS the stuff of life, of Lent...

Blessings on your journey!

Laura said...

Oh, this is just beauty. Your words feed me tonight and I am grateful. Oh, yes. He will always be enough. This alone makes my breath ragged and my heart go pitty-pat. Thank you, Joybird.

Michelle DeRusha@Graceful said...

Joybird, I just read a bunch of your Late to Lent journal, and am so amazed and touched by your real, raw presence. You are honest, even when it's really, really tough -- I appreciate that.

I am heartened by the photos here -- so gloriously vibrant and green. They are lush...and you, too, will find verdant green pastures again.

nic said...

oh yes, those impossibly green mountains. brings to mind psalm 121.

i loved this: 'it is always today and You will always be enough.' amen.

and you? you are the sort of writer who softens my heart. i'm grateful for you, jb.

Anna said...

Loved, loved your post and your open and honest words. "He is enough"...Yes. You are not alone.

elizabeth said...

Praying that you will find Him MORE than enough, that the longings of your spirit would be met super abundantly. Praying for you right now...

Lora said...

wow. really beautiful and raw. I don't know your story. This is my first visit here, but I will know as much as you have shared. I'm looking forward to reading you, past and future... and I'm already praying for all your dreams to come true.
Through Him all things are possible.
With Love,
In Him,
Lora

Sheila Moore said...

Wonderful and so full of hope. I often try to do it on my own which quickly becomes quite a miserable experience. Thanks for the reminder.

Melissa@one thing said...

Wow...sister...this is amazing. I loved this:
"The ones who wielding words disrobe their souls so plainly that you would blush but for the awe and the kinship it engenders."
I need those ones too.
Praying for you friend...that tomorrow and each day HE is ENOUGH.
BLESS YOU!

Leslie said...

you broke my heart with the first part, and then this:

"It is always today and You will always be enough."

by faith. by faith, yes, and amen. may you have manna in your wilderness... may you be blessed, beautiful one.

Elaine said...

Green... it is the colour of hope. I pray that God will surround you with beautiful shades of green and colour you with hope.
Have a blessed Easter.

Connie@raise your eyes said...

In the midst of heart break, you see it..."dusky sunlight and shadows frolicking in the crevices, playing tag"...one of His many gifts for your eyes...blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see GOD...praying...

Lisa notes... said...

"One of the joys of dying and coming to life again in Christ is that the resurrection involves becoming family. His Spirit, now living in me and in you, binds us heart to heart."

I've not thought of it exactly in those terms before, but you are so right. And I think I was trying to express that thought earlier today in an e-mail to a friend. Thank you for putting it into words for me now!

emily wierenga said...

It is always today and You will always be enough.

Joy... as with many, the first section broke me too... I felt what God must feel, so much love for you, and a deep longing to bless you... he will always be enough. And may you know this deep, dear friend. xo

Old Ollie said...

Thanks for your encouragement JB.

Jen said...

Your realness in Day 35 leaves me aching, but the strength you find to see the beauty amidst the tears leaves me with utter hope.

Southern Gal said...

He is enough. Amen. When I forget that He draws me back. May He draw you into His loving arms today.

Rachel said...

I find relief and comfort in the beauty of Gods creation as well and I find it easier to hear his voice and shut out the noise in my head by looking at all the beauty around me. Lifting you up and praying for daily bread, and for comfort for your soul. The true Jesus in our mess he is enough, and he promises to finish the good work that he began in us. God bless your Easter week!

Bethany Ann said...

wow and ouch and i love your heart.

Janis@Open My Ears Lord said...

So true that He alone can fill your heart, your desires, your empty arms. And He is faithful to do so. He is the Father of Compassion who knows your every ache and every longing.
Continue to drink of Him. His plan and purpose for your life is full of hope and will be fulfilled.
So grateful for the fellowship here among Christian writers. It buoys my spirit as well on dreary days.
Will be praying for you.

Janis

Tiffini said...

Alone my heart empties, dries up and hardens. I get worn out by the doing and the waiting and the thinking and the feeling and the life....me too! I imagine us walking arm in arm carrying baskets of the most lovely flowers from walking on those beautiful mountains. Just sharing our dreams and hurts and allowing His love oil to press out and soften the wounds. You are most assuredly not alone...xo

alittlebitograce said...

One of the joys of dying and coming to life again in Christ is that the resurrection involves becoming family.

What a blessing to know that we are linked, brothers and sisters to those we've never met and yet are instant kinship with.

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