Monday, June 25, 2012

In Love Finally

I am not wondering now if prayers have been answered.  The problem as a human is that we take pleasure in talking to God, having access to His throne.  But as I have said many times before, what will we do when the answer is yes and we are granted what we have asked Him for.  Are we expecting a "No"?  We are not really prepared for yes, I think, and when we get a yes, we don't really always have a clue how to respond.

I am guilty.

I know this now.

God said "Yes" and here is love.  Love bright and brilliant shining in my eyes and blinding me.  I am prepared for gray clouds, for rain, for the deluge of disappointment carrying an umbrella and wearing rain gear on a day that calls for something I have not grown accustomed to - not because I don't ask for realistic things but sometimes I ask too small, too tiny, too minute, and not at all in the midst of specifics.  The bigger picture is much grander when we actually look at it from God's perspective.

I must admit, sadly, that at times I frame myself and try to sabotage my own blessings.  I am guilty of this too.  But for some reason or another, God shakes His head and keeps 'em coming.  He brought love this time.  After prayer for love, love landed in my life. 

The man that embodies God's love holds me close and I do not see him as he supposes that I all the others that weren't me.  He did not believe at first that God would answer in such a precise manner as He has done.  With me.  Crazy that you never realize that you can be an answer to someone's prayer.  I am an answer to a prayer that was prayed when I was not even considering love at all except in R&B terms, ghetto living realities, observations of hood life love.  And here he was praying for me...not knowing that he was praying for me to show up and love him.

That is what you will have missed in the instructions class if you grew up where I grew up.  I have a feeling that it is worse now for the young people coming in the generation behind mine.  It is worse because we didn't know and now they know even less than that, if that is even remotely possible to be ignorant of ignorance.  But then, if you did grow up knowing that love finds you in the most unexpected ways and it doesn't hurt and it doesn't destroy the heart.  It finds you, yes.  It hunts you down with the motivation of fulfilling God's Word not to return void. 

A deep voice on the other end of the phone, assuring love.

A brown-eyed stare with an unspoken inclination for love.

A hug.

A love.

It is love finding me.

It will find you.

There is no wonder that Jesus said to believe you will receive what you ask for.  It is hard to believe because we think we aren't worth getting what we have asked.  We almost can't believe we are able to be loved by the ones that God sends.  God loves us but can the ones we ask to be here right now, healing us through touch, healing us in the physical because God's intangible finger cannot touch our tangible just yet, healing what we cannot know is broken.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Myowne is His Own

On May 22, I wrote this journal entry after my morning devotion and prayer time.  I had been reading a book during that time called Born to Create by Theresa Dedmon.  I also had been thinking about the pending last name change that I have finally decided to go through with within the next month or so.

"The Scripture verse today is Isaiah 43:1 - 4.  The verse that really caught my heart was the first one, and specifically when God says '...I have called you by your name: you are Mine.' When someone calls you by name, they have gotten past the formalities of introductions; they are comfortable with who you are and can call your name with clarity and purpose.  So for God to call me by name means that He knows who I am; I am not a stranger to Him.  I matter.  My presence has a name, just like His has a Name - the Name above every name. 

It is wonderful that I can call Him by name and He heeds my call.  But to me, what is more wonderful to me is that He calls me by my name, and I am able to say like the boy Samuel in 1 Samuel: 'Here I am...I'm listening.' (1 Samuel 3:4 - 10)

The other powerful thing about the Isaiah verse is that the Lord called His people by their forefathers' original name, the one given at birth (creation) and then called them by a new name - the name of their redemption (Israel).  He knows who they could have been; He knows who they will ultimately be.

He knows Myama Boone.
He also knows Myama Myowne.
He knows who I ultimately will be; He knows my destiny.

Myama Myowne means 'Essence of Spirit that is My Own' - the name my mother was inspired to give me, I believe, by God because it does point toward a sure destiny - a sure destiny that says I belong to God.  He says I am His own.

That reminds me of a hymn I loved growing up:

'I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses.  And the voice I hear falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses.  And He walks with me, and He talks with me; And He tells me I am His Own; And the joy we share as we tarry there - None other has ever known.'

God says to me now, 'You are My Own.'"

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Ship in water, slowly-swiftly moving through the deepest waters,
In this we are changed, rearranged, as we recognize that we are made for this...
Formed like the steel floating through what would cause the unprepared to drown...
Formed by the Creator of our lives, shaped through grace, encountering risk...

Horn alerting to the presence of ship en route to next assignment, reminds my ears
Of the shofar blown in tabernacle as the God of Omnipresence enters in...
Alerting the God-lovers and God-worshippers that stand still knowing God,
Not afraid that He will reach into their lives bringing life, love to begin....

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The new book...memento of love...

Monday, June 11, 2012


The love of a near stranger makes him no longer unknown.

He looks into my eyes, reaches forward, truly listens, makes me talk. I haven't always done this, but I don't know that this matters anymore. All he knows is that I have something to say and he wants to engage me, my mind being his treasure box. He makes me wonder if God is like this, leaning forward, as I move closer to put my ear closer to hear His sweet voice, telling me secrets, not thinking of yesterday. And I am grateful that this man, made by this same God, can listen with the deepest part of him. I have long waited for this.

Long loneliness makes us excited to speak words that are no longer merely thoughts rehearsed in quiet rooms where we live. I find myself wanting to touch his soul with my words. How often have women wanted to do just this? We, the breathing sensitive to the muscled strength, are just profound people simply wanting love. Simple. Wanting love to wrap us up in the physical as God (if we are opened to our Creator) wraps us in His arms. Wanting to be listened to. There is always silence when only the physical body, that one day will return to dust, is the only desired thing. The people must search deeper, the Holy God whispers. The deep calleth unto the deep. The box the deep is treasured in must be opened and laid aside. Then love.

We talk and my soul breathes a sigh of relief. I am not alone. He is not a figment of imagination as he speaks words I have long imagined would be spoken. I have written of moments like this. And he is fulfilling it.

Does friendship turn to love turn to the demand for an eternal response? The desire sparks the romance of the infinitesmal...words spoken in a bookstore a gold water's edge...all turn my heart from stone to flesh. This is what God promised. He said that He would change my heart of stone to a heart of flesh. He did not imply that it would be the unseen spiritual only. He can use what and who he will to push the blood through this temporary body, housing spirit ("a spiritual being having a natural experience," the man sitting across from me sings in his beautiful, jazz voice declaring what I have long believed). It happened this way: I felt it beating inside my chest again, once stilled when death stole. Here, I am awaking from loneliness' hibernation, because he - the sent one, apostle of my heart - has learned to listen when he was not heard.

I cannot believe that he does not want to lift that voice in front of others, but I do believe that there is no need for the diamond sitting before me to be broken in pieces and sold. He has been broken enough. He wants only to write. To write the new song of the Lord. To give those vocalized harmonies of Heaven away so others can tap into the unseen spiritual and be healed; I want him to. I desperately need him to write worship with a pen of iron drilling the words eternal into stone - the Ten Commandments, the King's Decree, Jesus finger writing in the dirt as prideful men try to kill sin's victim. I am desperate for his song. He only sings briefly, this song not his, and I close my eyes - forgetting where I am - pretending that he is crooning his own worship.

How beautiful the thought is that his healed heart would sing gratitude to his Healer.

My spirit reaches for his, saying softly feminine: "Write here." Take this moment and write down what you hear for you do hear. You do.

Maybe that is why I am here...sitting here...finding friendship as it finds me, as God finds me, loves me through this experience too. I think of him who I lost, this time last year, weeping for his return that will never happen here. I wonder if he prayed for this when he stared into my eyes before saying goodbye. I felt him praying, hoping for me that I will never be alone again after those final tears were shed. I feel him talking about me in Heaven as I mention his name on earth. Did he pray that I would be found?

You learn more than you think you do when your heart is broken. You learn each part of it, as it is gently put back together by the Creator's hands. Each part is taken gently in universe-holding hands and delicately reformed, transformed. The glue He uses to seal my heart is the revelationd (the light revealing light) that I, once invisible, am seen in illumination, and that quanitfyingly brings me to a place of wanted inspection. I am standing here, nothing to hide, not hidden, revealed again. God uncovers my position to the one sent to find me. And since the last time, I let eyes stare into my soul without turning away from the gaze looking deeper, I want to be found.

I listen, nod, watch his eyes, and see the fire as he says what he has only told God in the quiet. He knows me, though he just learned my name. I am his friend first. I am his friend. How often can this be said?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Looking for Grace

In the midst of starting over, from a place I've been but haven't appreciated, I realized that there is still a lot I don't know. When you close your eyes and mind and soul down because you think you already have all the answers you keep yourself from what God desires for you to have. I have lived many years in this same location, seven to be exact, with my eyes closed and my heart disillusioned to what life really is and what it has to be in order for me to move forward. To live life fully in a place you did not plan to be is only difficult when you refuse to be pliable, to change, to bend with what God is saying for your life.

One of my favorite Christian Declarative songs is by the David Crowder Band. A line in "How He Loves" says this: "And He is jealous for me...Loves like a hurricane and I am a tree...Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy...When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions...Eclipsed by glory and I realize just how beautiful You are...And how great are Your affections for me..."

This song has been an anthem of grace for I have been steadily looking for grace in the place where I am...this most unconventional place. You have to change your perspective to truly understand why you are in any given place at any given moment. There is no happenstance; there is no irony in God. He does not perform the miraculous in a haphazard way. Everything He does is deliberate and on purpose. I am learning every day that I too must take every step, appreciate every opportunity to grow, and look into the eyes of the people that cross my path with a God-smile on purpose, purposefully. As I am learning that grace is dangerous and delicious at the same time, that it is not a way to tie a bow on top of the gift that life is, I realize that like the words in this song, these words that are speaking of epiphany and discovery, my life is not meant to be lived in an aura of dissatisfaction with what God has given.

Like a little girl that receives something for Christmas she does not realize is something infinitely more valuable than the candy or toy or temporary distraction she had hoped for, I can hear the voice of my grandmother (whom believed in giving thanks no matter what) insisting: "Say thank you, MyMy."

God has given me His love in a way that says I either must surrender to it or be snapped in half at the weight of it. I have to not only bask in it for my own delight and be changed by it, but in order to get the full effect of it, I must take it in and then pour it out into the life of another. The ready ones have their hands cupped, waiting for me to give uniquely from me what God has prepared. I am learning this in a place God never said I would have to stay in to get the eternal necessities I was missing. He did not tell me all of the story; He just tolerated my anxiety when I realized the bottom was dropping out from under my plans. He did not warn me ahead of time that I better get confortable because my life would be starting over here - not because the life I had back home was so horrible, but because in the place of conformity and comfort I was the all sufficient one in my own mind and God Himself was an afterthought. He had other plans and I had the ones I thought were better.

But I bend and sway to His will and open my eyes to His reality and Who He is, receiving and giving my all now instead of holding back, I know that there is nothing better than NOW and HERE and THIS.

Today is all that there is for me and that is simply enough. My hands do not have the capability to get all I need to have. I was not and will never be the One that blesses me with all these good things that come from the Father of Lights. The ability for an "ex nihilo" creation rests solely in Him. This jealous God who refuses to let me be a victim of my own sinfulness and selfishness and sadness loves me right out of myself. That is grace...real grace that reaches into the monuments I have built out of temporary moments and temporary people and temporary situations, as if He could never meet me here.. as if He could never wrap Himself in flesh again, incarnationally showing up. This too is grace...unconventional and freeing in an unexpected way: finally knowing that He can and He will and He does bless, create out of nothing, rescues, and then finally wraps Himself inside the answers to my needs.

Sometimes you realize this on the way, on the journey, when life reinvents itself and grace transforms your eyesight and not the thing you are looking at. I have taken the road less traveled this time. I am made new. I am learning to look for the grace in the eyes of others.

I saw grace yesterday. He had the most beautiful eyes and a Southern accent and a peace that drew me in. I saw grace yesterday when he told me about the life he was living, the way it was enough and the way it couldn't be enough forever because he feels the desire for more driving him closer to God. I saw grace when this beautiful man tried to cover up his beauty, until he was comfortable enough to reveal what others do not ordinarily see - his poetic soul. He had the most beautiful smile and the God shining through it reached out and removed the scales from my eyes. I am not caring about the way life can be shaped by the tangible when the intangible is so much more valuable; I am no longer disillusioned by the flesh that we exist in. It's just the fabric the treasure is wrapped in. Yesterday, I saw the diamond shining from within this one God had graced me to meet. God showed me His grace in this one that did not even recognize that the glory of God inside him was blinding me.

I once was blind to my surroundings and what is here that God wants to use to impact me and change me...and also those people and places and things that are to be impacted by me and changed by me, by these hands newly anointed to be like God's but are not God's. I once was blind to grace, but now I see. Now I see more than I ever could before, with God's glory blinding every part of the vision and overtaking it. I looked for grace, not love - as it has always been here. I am no longer looking for the love I think I want and have designed in my own mind as an unholy conglomeration of hodge-podge memories that have nothiong to do with God at all. And really God really is all I am seeking for...looking for...grasping for...and it doesn't matter where I land. I'll still be looking for Him, seeking Him out, delirious for His grace-touch again.

Grace is a discovery that can be found over and over again. There is never enough of it...and the places we think God does not exist or has given up on are most likely overflowing with grace. I cup my hands and try to hold on to it, even as it overflows me. I open my eyes and look for it...and all of a sudden, I am unaware of the afflictions I once believed existed here in this place. I am unaware of anything but the gorgeous freedom of living life with eyes wide open now.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Lessons From Unlikely Places

It is colder outside than it has been in awhile. It is really unbelievable how strange it is to see the weather flip so drastically from 90 degrees Monday, May's Memorial Day, to 60 (maybe) five days later. I am a girl that pays attention to what is going on in the physical and spiritual atmosphere around me, and I really miss very little when change is in the air - even down to the drastic nuances of sky, air, temperature, rain. These nuances and annoyances are in the atmosphere today.

This year has taught me how important it is to pay attention, not to live a blind life,not to live one day without learning the lesson for that day, not to let the people He has brought into our lives pass us by unaffected by us - us, unaffected by them. I can't think I have all the answers; but one of the people that walks quietly past me does, and it is my responsibilty to dig into their hearts, minds, souls until I get from them what I need for my spirit. Then I can give it back. I have to seek out the answers to questions my heart continues to ask from different sources and get out of my own head - even if those answers come from the most unlikely of sources.

Tonight I am going to grab my pen and notebook, asking "life questions" of two of the most phenomenal individuals I have ever met. The one I met at five years old, brilliant and beautiful and briefly confused about what family meant. She knows now, I think, that sometimes (most times) family is built from the brick and mortar of hard, cemented love chiseled open with consistent and deliberate hammering. She also knows that building a life is equally as difficult sometimes, when you don't know what acceptance will do to you or lack of acceptance will do to the other person. But she is building something, and for just tonight I want her to take her hardhat off, turn the jackhammer off, slow her pace for a moment, and show me the blueprint of who she is now - now that she is not 5 anymore and is living every bit of a 19-year-old life.

The second is every bit the baby boy I saw lying on his maternal grandmother's couch, covered in a thin hospital blanket, a week after he entered our world and turned it upside down. But he is also more. It is amazing to me that he can be both a newborn, a three year old, a ten year old, and now...a 17 year old, all at the same time. His perfection lies in his imperfections - the recognition of them, the internal work it takes to see them and use them as life lessons, the maturity it takes to acknowledge need for God when the imperfections threaten to mar one's intrinsic view of self. God never intended that we see ourselves as anything other than loved by Him, so he is learning this, and I want to know how he feels about it so I will know how I should feel about it, too. He has an amazing mind, full of questions and answers, thoughts and ideas about what his manhood will be (is already). I look up to him, in more ways than one. As one of a handful of men in my life, I want to hear his masculine opinion about my feminine reality. It is no matter that I changed his diapers; that he slept many nights as an infant and toddler on my chest listening to heartbeat as the life in my veins coursed through to a peaceful rhythym - a lullaby for him to dream sweet baby dreams to; that his dance, gorgeous toothless smile,and conversation was sadly oft misunderstood. Until I really learned to watch his movements hands lifted and tears streaming down in reckless abandon to God, learned to open my soul and smile in freedom when his face beamed sunshine in my direction, and learned to listen closer to the words that he was learning to speak into the atmosphere of his world so I could speak words of newness into mine).

I got up this morning, at first worried about the weather outside, so cold and gloomy for the drive I must take this afternoon; at first worried that my income tax had not hit my bank account and knowing that I needed to provide these dear ones a good time away for this weekend where money would be no object. I awoke concerned that my dog wouldn't go to the bathroom outside because he hates being cold and wet, both of which were more than likely to happen - as silly as that sounds. I was fretting about whether I should take the little buddy with me today, not thinking that on the way back from picking up my teachers this weekend, none of that will matter. My prince and princess will be riding in that with us car...these ones that will lighten the heaviness of being alone, of having so many questions and no answers, of wishing life were different and I was loved just a little bit more in a tangible way.

These two have been royalty in my eyes for nearly two decades - great big gifts from a great big God, remarkable that He would love me that much to bless me to know them. I have adored them forever, or at least, since the evidence was verified. And today, instead of trying to teach them a little bit more about life, I want what they came here to give me.

The wise men came to Bethlehem to honor baby Jesus at His birth; the great intellectual and spiritual giants in the temple sat at Jesus' 12-year-old feet. When He became an adult, after all that, He told the disciples (us) that when we show compassion and love to the least of these we show that to Him. Sometimes, as I have learned lately, showing love and compassion is not just providing physical provisions, but giving others the permission to be themselves and then honoring them, treating them as experts in the lives they know, in the things they feel most passionate about, and in the lessons they are learning and need to teach others in order to get through completely the dark places, the hard times, the pain that is unescapable.

Jesus expressed that if we accept and open ourselves to the Kingdom of God like a little child, like these that are not often asked opinions about life but actually do have ideas that could be the answers we adults are searching for, we will be ourselves accepted in the Beloved deeply. He blessed and divided the lunch of a child with thousands of people gathered to hear Him; He fed them as He fed others when He was considered insignificant and in need of tutelage. He fed them from the lunch pail of a child that had the sense enough to bring something to eat physically while being fed spiritually. The people, hungry and needing nourishment, did not reject what healed them. When you need to eat, it doesn't matter whose lunch pail your next meal comes from. I would say it is even more delicious when that meal comes from the most unlikely of sources.

How much more, if we read of His impact in that world, will we learn to value the lives of these younger ones - like the two that will grace my home this weekend? The deeper lesson that Jesus was teaching, I think, is the one I learned this morning, as I wrestled with adult issues and trying to figure out how things were going to run smoothly, worried that things would go wrong in my striving to make everything perfect (a fruitless endeavor).

Of course, the people in Jesus' day could legitimately hope to sit at His feet when He was an adult and learn the lessons of life. He had the Bread of Life; He was that Bread, that Wine, that Healing. But there were some who came before it was socially acceptable or expected for the people to learn there - to sit and kneel and learn at His feet when those feet could fit neatly in the palms of worn and long-lived adult hands. He was that fulfillment for men's bodies and souls wrapped in a package that could be easily overlooked because of the unexpected presentation. There were many learned men gathered in the temple sitting at Jesus' 12-year-old feet some years later answering His questions, yes, but learning and listening too. (This would be similar to a child being in the White House or in front of Congressmen today, asking questions and teaching all these learned policymakers and adults holding sway over governmental authority, since the temple was the place of religious and political decision-making for the Jews).

The Lord's sweet epiphany this morning, even as I considered the whys of life during my time with Him, gave revelation that I will need to sit and learn from the ones that have been gifts to my world. He gave them to me, as His Father gave Him to us. I can learn from them, even as in my young adulthood I desired to learn from those older than me in places of leadership and authority that should have given me what was needed and what I was sometimes silently begging for since I knew that period wouldn't last forever. I was and am ultimately left me wanting. This too was one of my wrestlings this morning. Why couldn't those I respected as mentors really and truly mentor me? Why did I feel like I had been cheated, when those lessons needed to be learned, had to be learned, before I had to be the one being asked for direction and now cannot ever be retaught in the same format with the same people? Who was to help me now?

This afternoon, I will be going to pick up those assigned to teach me, the ones that I thought I had taught about life. I must treat them like the professionals, the intellectuals, the skilled ones that they are; yes, they will learn more as life goes on. Yes, I will help them navigate the terrain of adulthood. We will build each other up toward destiny's fulfillment. The problem is, I thought my job was only to teach, lead, guide, direct them so that they will be successful as adults. I thought their only job was to listen to me.

I was so wrong. Thank God that He can change my pliable heart.

But realize that there are times when I have questions, and I need to listen to them, too. They are already successful, despite the messy, crazy world they have been born into. They have knowledge of this world that I did not have to know at their age. This is their world, their time, their generation, and I need them to show me how to live in a place, a time, a season made more for them than for me. I want to know how they feel about life now.

I will learn this weekend..."Auntie Mom" fed by her babies...