Wednesday, December 31, 2014


I wasn't entirely sure that I had anything prolific to say on this last morning of 2014.  I got up early this morning, although I am on hiatus for a while from work and other obligations.  The firstfruits of this day had to be given to God before I gave anything to anyone else (husband, dogs, the rest of the world,etc.).  Truly, I couldn't help but think that during these final moments of 2014, there was a lot to consider and revisit mentally and emotionally before embarking on a new year.

I had to recognize that I have had many prayers answered and new encounters with the Divine, even when I wasn't at my best.  That is grace.  I thank God for the times during this year that God overlooked the me that was being presented because He knew the me on the inside.  That too is grace.

I had to also consider that my life could have gone a different path or ended at any point this year.  While I am not considered unhealthy, I have not cared for my body as I knew I should.  When I think of others that transitioned into eternity this year due to health issues they may or may not have known they had, I know that I have been given another chance to change.  This is another form of grace that I cannot take for granted.

This year has been probably one of the least creative for me, despite the urges to move into that vein.  I don't know why I didn't go into the studio more often or why I didn't work on The Esther Process when I was well aware that the writing has to happen in the trenches; there is no better time to put pen to paper.  Perhaps I was discouraged, knowing that after the book is written there may be no platform upon which to build an audience.

This morning after having spent time in the studio with paint on my hands, I realize that I have no excuse.  I was missing out on being creative, despite the desire to go into that place.

After the lessons that I have learned, I realize that entering into a new year has to mean more this time.  I have seen 37 new years; each time, I have made commitments and vows.  This entrance is not the same because of what I experienced this past year: the sacrifices that had to be made, the answered prayers, and the losses that can never be recovered.

I regret some things.  I cannot be so vain and proud to say I regret nothing.  But I also am celebrating the next season of my life, knowing that I must enter it with consecration, creativity, and caution.  This early morning, so cold and full of last things, I know that I am not entering alone.  God is with me.  My husband is with me.  My family is with me.

So I stand and breathe in the cold air.  I pay homage to Wanda and Amie and all the others that entered eternity in 2014.  I renounce the lack of creativity with each click of my camera.  My paintbrushes wait to paint a new picture for the new year.  And this is how it must be on the cusp of a new season and not just a new year....

"Morning Sky"

Friday, December 19, 2014


It has been a week.  She walked past my cubicle, head bent over a piece of paper in her hand and her eyes focused on the words.  She had a purposeful walk, like she was on a mission and had to answer the questions that paper must have raised.  She didn't look at me, but I saw her thick auburn locks and her professional gait out of the corner of my eye. 

I turned my head slightly to watch her walk past, my own work in my hand, and thought:  "God, she is beautiful...such a beautiful woman.  I wonder does she know."

And His voice, not silent but not loud, quietly impressed upon my spirit: "Tell her.  Tell her she is beautiful."

I shook my head and turned back to the work.  Back to the more important work.  Telling someone she is beautiful is not part of my job description.  Anyway, something that simple can wait until a more convenient time.  I turned my head and didn't give it another thought.  She probably didn't need to hear that she mattered and her beauty resonated from within and her life was impacting me from one cubicle down.  She didn't care about that last Thursday.

12/13/14....a strange day in the history of our world.  The numbers lined up in sequence, perfectly.  We would never see a day like that in our generation again.  That day, a day that would never be seen again in my lifetime, held something else that was prolific and powerful.

I would never see my co-worker's beautiful smile and caring spirit again either.  I would never be able to stand outside her cubicle and ask her things about work or hear about her children or listen to her thoughts about the children on her caseload.  I would never see that woman again in my lifetime.  On 12/13/14, two days after I put off telling her that she was a blessing and that she was a beautiful, vibrant person that mattered until a more convenient and not so random time, she took one last breath.  And she left.

I'm still looking for her to walk past my cubicle.  I am still hoping that all that has been experienced and all that I neglected to do (as simple as it sounds) would all be a nightmare; we would all wake up and she would be here.

But she is not going to be here.  She walked into heaven on 12/13/14 and the world will never see a person like her again.

You must never, ever ignore the whisper of God in your spirit.  I don't know why I should have told her any of those things; I don't know what she was going through (if anything).  I don't know if it would have changed the outcome; some things cannot be changed.  But you can tell people that they matter.  You can impact lives as if tomorrow isn't promised - BECAUSE IT ISN'T.

I knew this last Thursday.  I knew this, but I did not think for one moment that this applied to her the last time I saw her.  I did not get the chance to say it the next day.  And then there was Saturday.

When I felt the tug on my heart to say these most simple words to her, I assured God that she didn't need to hear them.  I told him that I could do it some other time.  After all, in February we were supposed to conduct foster parent training together and we would be able to prepare for those two Saturdays together after my vacation.  We would talk and laugh and compare stories and she would still be the beautiful person she always was in February and I had time to tell her then.

It is Friday. 

And I was wrong.

And perhaps caring about someone is not simple.

Perhaps it cannot wait until another day.

Maybe God whispers that you should tell people that they matter because they do....TODAY.  They matter right now.  They may matter tomorrow or in three months.  But TODAY they need to hear that they are not invisible and someone sees them for who they are.  TODAY they need to know that you care about them.  TODAY, more importantly, they need to know God cares about them.

Who are you going to love today?  Who are you going to show concern for today?

Monday, December 15, 2014

When God is Enough

The months have truly escaped me with so much life going on that it is hard to stop long enough to write about it.  I apologize for that.  Summer was way too short for my liking and then fall came and went with little fanfare.  It is December now, the season of Advent, and Christmas is already next week.  I am looking forward to a break from the constant movement and working and planning.  I need to be quiet while I am waiting for the Lord to manifest Himself in the midst of the sadness and grief, the pain and the hints of joy.  I am needing a reprieve from the pace.

Everybody needs that.

Everybody's body needs a break.  We need to rest when life gets to be too much.

And for me, lately, it has been.

I'm not complaining.  Please understand that.  I am just aware that I need to stop moving long enough to take it all in.  I need to breathe in the experiences of this season because when I am breathing, I am focusing on how much I need God.  I need Him to walk me through the difficult seasons and the blessed seasons combined.  Very seldom is there a separation between the two.  While I am thanking God for bringing a child into my life that I can impact with all of me, I am also cognizant of all those who will not be entering 2015 with me.  And I take it all in...very seriously.

That is what you do when you are busy living.  Thanking God for His manifest Presence in the rawness of life.  That is the best and the most mature response you can give - even when you don't think that response is enough.  You want to do more but know that unless the Lord gives you the next instruction, there is nothing you can do that will change anything.

I told my mom yesterday that I feel so out of control with everything (the bad and the good) and I honestly thank God for that feeling.  It sounds crazy to say that, but I recognize that I have no control over anything.  But He has the control over everything whether others want to acknowledge that or not.

I thank God that He is big enough and powerful enough and omniscient enough to handle everything that I can't.  I thank God that the atheists are wrong.  I thank God that He is enough in this season when I feel so inadequate. 

For me that is gift enough.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


This morning the Lord impressed on my heart to read 1 Samuel 1 and 2 again.  I have read it many times, treating it as my testimony and my hope and viewing the life of Hannah as I view my own.  Many people are familiar with the unexplained infertility that I and my husband are experiencing right now.  I have told my story briefly on this blog but have kept quiet about the journey from wanting a child so badly to taking fertility treatments to accepting fostering/potentially adopting a child as possibly the only way to expand our family.  I have accepted some things about my body, as bravely as I could, but deep down (like this morning), I felt the Lord spurring more conversation in this area.

Sometimes, He stirs the questions in our souls.  We try to be brave and ignore the fact that we still have questions mixed with our faith.  We don't ask anything for fear that the foundation will crumble.  We don't vocalize the questions, but God will point us toward the asking because He wants to answer.

What I mean is this:  the best teachers in our lives are the ones that want us to ask questions and not just accept the pat answers.  And God is the very best teacher.  He is not afraid of our questions as much as we are afraid to ask the questions.

So...I am reading the first chapter and I am reading about Hannah's desire to be a mother.  In verse 11 of chapter 1, she prays a simple yet deeply profound prayer:  "O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your handmaid and [earnestly] remember, and not forget Your handmaid but will give me a son, I will give him to the Lord all his life; no razor shall touch his head."

Her words:  "I will give him to the Lord all his life..."

These are the words that cause the questions to bubble up like water in a geyser.

Why would she pray this?

Why would she make a vow to give up the very person she was crying out for?

How could an infertile woman give up the son of her prayers to God after not being able to have children?  She didn't spiritually give up her son (as in a spiritual act of commitment); she physically gave him up.  She left him in the Temple with a man that couldn't even spiritually guide his own children in the things of the Lord.  In fact, she left her precious son in the care of a priest that couldn't even discern the place she was in spiritually at the most crucial time in her life.  AND THAT WAS HIS JOB.

She didn't know if she would ever have another child, but she made the vow and kept it anyway.  She didn't know that she would birth five more children later (that she would birth grace)?  Was it enough that God had answered her prayer and given her a son she would ultimately give back to Him?  Was it enough to know she was a mother, even though her son had to go on to fulfill a vow she had made?  Was that simply enough?

Before, when I read these chapters, this seemed like such a beautiful story of  answered prayer, vows, and repayment of those vows.  But the Lord impressed on my heart this morning that it is not so easy to read and comprehend.  The vow she made was not so simple.  She indeed gave up her son for His good intentions.  Yes it was an honorable move and her obedience was blessed as a result.  But Hannah gave up Samuel.  She gave him back to the Lord with a praise and a declaration of who God was and is on her lips.  She gave up the very thing she had prayed for: to be a mother.

We never really know how things will work out. We never know if there will be another to replace what we sacrifice (what we give up).  Hannah didn't loan Samuel to God; she never came back to get him.  She said that he would live there for as long as there was breath in his body.  He would remain there for God's use.  His father didn't override her vow to the Lord and refuse to leave him there.  He agreed to keep this vow too.

I have been guilty of only reading about how God gave her a son after she prayed and received a word of confirmation from the priest.  But the story didn't end there; in fact, that is the very place where the story began.

And what does this mean for me today, as an infertile woman?  I could easily say I should pray Hannah's prayer and see what will happen.  But I do not think that is what the Lord would have me to do.  There is more within this woman's story for me.

Hannah was at peace with birthing a child to give back to God.  This was her prayer and motivation.  And at the end of the matter, she was able to know God in a much more personal way.  Chapter 2, verses 1 - 10 proves this.  Would she have known God in this way if the sacrifice had not been made?  Would she be able to declare His beauty and His attributes and His actions if she had not made a vow and He met her at the place of her vow?

Hannah was without child when she left Samuel at the Temple at age 4.  She was not able to mother her child.  So what was the difference between the Hannah that was barren and the Hannah that left her child to grow up without her?  Her vow and her sacrifice had drawn God closer to her.  She was no longer afflicted, though in both instances she was childless.  The Hannah in despair was not able to see God as holy, as a Rock, as a God of knowledge.  She was not able to declare that "the adversaries of the Lord shall be broken in pieces" because she saw herself as a woman broken in pieces, as if the Lord had made her his enemy or his adversary.

But after the vow and the sacrifice, Hannah was able to see God from a different viewpoint.  Leaving her son at Shiloh after she had prayed for his arrival made no sense to anyone else; it would make no sense today.  And yet, her relationship with God was deepened because of what she had so freely given up.  She hadn't just given up her child; she had given up her right to mother him - not knowing if another child would come. 

And the reality for me is that God met her there, at the place of revelation, where she was able to see Him as more than the One that could answer her prayer.  He was the One that could honor her sacrifice.  He was the One that would reveal His power and His presence to her in a way that she was not able to see before because she was blinded by her barrenness.

And now what she did makes sense.

It makes sense, even though there are tears falling down my face right now.

It all makes sense, even though I wonder what my testimony and my song will be after all this.

It makes sense because God met her at the place where she kept her vow to Him - to give her child back to Him.  If no one else appreciated the sacrifice, God certainly did.  He understood better than anyone.  And He met her there - so much so that her words changed, her song changed, and her perspective was forever changed.

Hannah knew God better after she freely gave up what she had prayed for than when she actually prayed for that child in the beginning.  He honored her request to give her a child, but when the vow was kept, she was fulfilled in the intimate knowledge of His Presence.  Her child was fulfilled in the intimate knowledge of His Presence.

And for me...that is more important than anything - despite the pain that I go through right now.  I'm not saying that when you go through difficult places like infertility you automatically have a closer relationship with God - as if you give up one desire for another.  But what I am saying is what if God sees your sacrifice and the hurt and the tears with the intent to bless you through the sacrifices?  What if your ability to draw closer to God is heightened when you see Him as more important than the prayers that you pray or the answers that you seek?

What if that is the moral of Hannah's story?

Thursday, June 26, 2014


I cannot believe it has been almost a month since I wrote a post.  I don't know if it was laziness that kept me away from the computer this long or just being in a creative slump.  I believe it was more the latter concern that had me holding the couch down on my days off instead of taking my laptop to my neighborhood coffee shop or Barnes and Noble to finish my latest project.  I mustered up enough creativity to help my pastor finish another chapbook project and then back into the slumps I went.

The question I often ask myself is this: For me to be someone that loves to be creative - loves to draw, paint, and write - why is procrastination always my nemesis?  Why do I wrestle with it so?  I know it's not because I'm lazy.  My work output in my 9 to 5 (or rather, 7 - 6) is proof of that.  Why is the demon of procrastination harassing me when I know I am capable of being a creative person everyday.

When I was a girl, I spent countless hours writing stories and poems, drawing pictures, and daydreaming.  The urge to create was not a once a month venture; it happened everyday.  EVERYDAY.  It was like eating, sleeping, and breathing.  It was second nature.  My family saw my projects as part of who I was as a person.  For some reason, as I grew older everything else in life got in the way of that second nature.  I retrained myself to be a hard worker in other areas (namely other areas that pay the bills) and lost the ability to produce something everyday.

I hate that I allowed myself to turn into that person.  I had always promised myself that I would be the same creative person I was as a child because it kept me sane; being the same inventive person was necessary to my survival.

And now, I am not that person - not really.  I  mean, on the inside, yes.  I feel the urgency to be innovative and unique and eccentric.  That is something that cannot be systematically changed.  I think that is because I am built to be this person.  By nature, I am designed by God to be "a creative".  But one lesson I think we are all subject to learn in life is that the minute you get away from what you are designed to do, you begin to lose the essence of who you are.

So what is the resolution?

A few weeks ago I was praying about this very issue...this issue of me getting so far away from the real me.  I was sad because I felt totally isolated.  This has been a very real concern of mine for years because I was not connected to the world of creative people (creatives) and that too has been the reason for so much substantial growth as a child in the pursuit of being who I was born to be.  I had connections in that world of artists, writers, poets, and innovators; this is what keeps you vibrant too when you are surrounded by members of your own tribe.

I began to pray about who I should be connected to, not just what projects I should find myself working on and books to finish writing.  Those endeavors are great, but what if you don't have anyone to connect with to help you slog through the processes that those projects require?  What if no one reads what you write?  What if no one looks at your pictures and paintings and asks the right questions to help you add that one missing element that will make those visual displays of artistry complete?

God just answered that prayer in an amazing way.  I am now connected to people that are also working through the creative process in their own worlds.  I am not alone.  And now, honestly, I have a reason to keep pursuing new avenues of creativity, belonging somewhere with people of my own tribe.

This is more important than simply doing things and having all these projects.  This is ideal for a person like me, who longs daily for a place to belong.

Does this solve the battle with procrastination or lack of fulfillment?  No.  No, it does not.  But what it does now is it gives me accountability with others that understand me and understands why it is so important to be who God made me to be.

With that being said, I have now decided to move forward with some creative ventures that my readers and those perusing my blog may find interesting.

I will be starting a new blog which is fully devoted to poetry, art, and photography.  I will not write on that blog as I do on this one because it will not be designed for that purpose.  This blog will remain the place it has always been for the past 6 years or so: a place for me to flesh out some thoughts through the written word.

Next, I have a Facebook Page separate from my regular page that is devoted to Myowneworld creativity and spirituality through art and photography.  This is the place where people can follow me in a more "real time" method as I begin this new journey.  I have no idea how to move with this page but at least it keeps me connected everyday in "real time" in ways having a more detailed blog will not.

And I will continue to fight the battle against the very thing that tried to silence who I really am.  Nothing is more important than being the person God made you to be.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

In Elegy: In Remembrance of Maya

I remember the exact moment when I received this book.  I was 18 years old; it was a gift - passed from the hands of Jacqueline Neal on December 17, 1995 to my hands.  We were exchanging gifts at a Women's Ministry Christmas event at Nehemiah Baptist Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  My 18-year-old mind had not yet been formed into the ways of womanhood, in terms of my own independence; yet, there I was amongst many women from all walks of life. 
Jacqueline wrote these words inside the cover: 
"I've heard and read some of your poems and they are great.  Somehow, I thought you would enjoy this book.  God bless you."
She did not know that Maya Angelou was my favorite writer, poet, sage of all time (even at that age).  I had already read many of her books and was just beginning to build my library.  But this book, all Maya's collected poems, was the prized jewel of them all.  This beautiful woman, an example of Christian faith in my world, had thought of me when she selected my name for the secret Santa activity, and she had allowed Holy Spirit to lead her.  I really believed that then as I looked at the book in awe and met her eyes with tears in my own.
Today I still believe God led her to give me that book.
My heart dropped to the pit of my stomach when I turned my computer on this morning to do some work.  My writer, my poetess, my sage had entered Heaven just before 8 this morning.  She slipped silently into the Eternal Presence of our Lord.  The tears began to fall.  I reached for the phone to call my mother, whom had already called me twice.  We were both saddened by the news of her departure, but I knew this day would come.  I often wondered how my heart would handle it when she, of all my favorite writers, would leave for the halls of Heaven. 
I reached for the gift I had been given at 18 years old.  Surprisingly, the book and it's cover are still in rather pristine condition for the many times I have pulled it from the shelf to read a poem or two.  This book has traveled with me from place to place, never lost or left in a box.  I take it out to join me in each house I have lived in.  And today, it is even more prized because the woman that wrote the poems within has left this world and left me here to write evermore. 
I opened the book, noticing a sticky note sticking out of the very back of it.  The neon green slip of paper was attached to an essay.  I opened three stapled pages.  I knew immediately what it was and when I had written the words on those pages.  I stopped my tears and began to read the words of a 19 year old girl whom had owned the book for a year.  I had written these words.  Now they are a landmark and a comfort on this day of all days.  The title of the essay was "Maya and Me".
"My favorite writer in the known world is an extraordinary woman by name of Maya.  She is much like me in her style just as I am like her.  Her mentality in writing and her creative use and play with words are things I truly admire.
I often wonder about the realm of her creativity, if is indeed much more remarkable than that which she expresses to this outward world.  Perhaps, her more definite spiritual self is just as hidden as mine.
The majesty with which she writes can only truly express that which she understands about herself and the world around her.  The mystery which causes writers to undertake the task of expression is desired to be discerned.  This is why the words we so easily toy with down on paper seem to intrigue us so much.  There is an underlying element of suspense that causes us to search for deeper spiritual truths that, although may not be able to be voiced, could perhaps be written down.
We as writers, Maya and I, try earnestly to speak from the soul what human beings in our inadequacies cannot even fathom.  Perhaps the soul does not speak in a language discernible; perhaps it speaks as softly and simply that our search for depth is much too complex.  I believe, as I would think that Maya would hasten to agree, that life is built around the emblem of simplicity - rare and treasured.  (Just as Richard Foster.)
Maya's simplistic words, deep and frank, cause me to love her all the more.  I have found a portion of myself in her, in sync with her outlook.  Yet, my unique self is like no one else, not even her.
Her devotion to simplicity in life, her reflections on the past cause us all to recollect on what embraces us as human beings.  In this we do well to be like her in action and thinking, if nothing else.
The other quirk about our relationship through writing is the fact that Maya is in love with words.  I feel like in order to be a true writer one must establish an adoration of language and the words in language.  Written words put into expression human feelings and emotions.  If Maya did not even resolutely love words, she could never tell the world how it feels to fall in love with someone or how it feels to be abused or misused.
I guess when I read her poetry and her collections of thoughts, I see images of myself in her play of words.  Her life, though not identical to mine, explores the deep caverns of existence and the pains of existence.
Sorrow runs deep, and misery hates to be alone.  Every word so eloquently spoken in the quiet of her books' pages expresses perhaps a little sorrow, pain, and even joy within her as it is within me.
I feel like her; when I write, I can speak much more openly and clearly than physically uttering one word.  There is no such thing as foolishness in the mind of a writer, in a writer's world.  The words I speak in poetry, in discovery of self through novel-writing, can never be turned away as uselessness.
The most important thing to us, in this world, is the freedom and liberty of expression we find in writing.  There is a liberation in being able to speak one's mind, to share what is sometimes difficult for others to say.
For example, the best way for me to reach others for Christ, to come at them from their level is through poetry and through real-to-life depictions in storytelling.  In them, I unlock doors that even I have never been through.  I discover more to the extremes of human rationale than life has revealed to me in this short time.
Maya and I...we are unique in our ability to stand on top of the world and look down, with pen and notebook in hand, ready to write down the words of the silent voice of human experience.
I found this today when I needed to read it.  She is gone on.  Her words, as many have said, live on because they are still needed.  The beauty and the mystery exist in the way that words transcend time and space.  I believe God meant for them to be that way because when our lives are over, the words we have written will tell the world around us that we were here and we mattered.
Maya mattered to me.  I would not be Mya if she had not been here - if she had not been the Maya we all needed.  Her legacy has reached to Heaven, and I wonder at her entrance there.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Spring Looks Like This

I take a walk everyday around our backyard looking to see new beauty. We moved here in the late fall so everything was nearly past it's prime,  preparing for winter. But now that it's spring I can see flowers and plants and smell scents that I didn't before. Isn't it amazing when you can experience life all over again for the first time?

The tiny Locke dogs,  like me,  love exploring our home. But they also love the warm sun that was hidden for a while. In the winter the rays shine through the windows,  deceiving us into believing we can be embraced by them.  As the seasons have changed,  so  we change with them -  deceived no more. We can embrace warmth; it will hug us back.

I travel to the far reaches of our little piece of property and love it all, looking through eyes of wonder like a child. The purple flowers on the bush next to the blue shed,  the greenery that weeks ago didn't exist in my eyesight,  and the ferns sprouting along the fence... they all came alive when I thought there was nothing underneath the ground or inside the tree trunks or within the bushes.

Isn't that like all of us?  We go through wintry seasons and everything appears dead. But then resurrection comes and  we must rethink how we view the potential that sleeps inside.

This is how  we awaken. This is  we spring forth and bud,  producing life again. This is how spring looks.

Good morning, new person not the same.

Hello new season. 

Monday, May 5, 2014


My husband and I sang and danced our way through bagging leaves this afternoon. Honestly,  it felt awesome to be taking care of our little area of the world. The sun started shining and we worked hard to continue making our house a home. I'm sure it sounds silly but when I think of how much I have wanted a home, it felt beautiful to work on the yard. It felt beautiful to share the work with my husband,  knowing that one day we will host barbeques and birthday parties and graduation parties.  We will sit out here on warm summer nights with a Redd's in hand,  relishing the stars and the firepit and conversation without a television for distraction. For me that's home.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Truth Is...

I can't believe it has taken me nearly two months to sit down and post on here.  I would say I have been busy, but the truth is...I have been pretty self-absorbed and even a little afraid to post what I need to say.  I am not afraid to tell my truth.  It's just that sometimes when you tell it, the words are hot, searing, raw.  But I can't get away from where I am right now and  what has been on my mind and heart.  Lots of good things have been happening (I met one of my favorite bloggers at the Festival of Faith and Writing in Grand Rapids last week, but that is a post for next time).  But there have been some things going on in my life that have caused me to take pause.

My husband and I, now married a year and four months, have an empty house still.  By now there should have been children's voices and laughter and even cries.  I should be holding our child in my arms and waxing poetic how my husband's namesake takes a nap with him every Saturday afternoon.  I posted about how our house really was made for children to live in, our backyard was made for romping and playing and discovering.

But there is only the silence.

The silence is what kills my passion sometimes.  I hate to say it like that.  But it is my truth.  It is a hard truth, but mine nonetheless.

I have what the doctors say in all the medical blogs and books about reproduction; I have "unexplained infertility".  People have tried to tell me that a baby will come at some point.  Just relax.  Just chill out.  Just do this.  Just do that.  I don't get mad anymore at the well meaning suggestions.  I just get quiet and stop telling people because quite frankly all the people telling me that have at least one child clamoring for their attention.  They don't know what it feels like to be in my position.  And I don't expect them to understand.  I just expect them to listen.

I want to say, "If you love me...just listen.  Don't try to resolve what a doctor couldn't.  Don't try to tell me what I should be doing when you have never been here before.  Don't give me a list of dos and don'ts because I've done all that.  You aren't telling me something new."

As I thought about this "unexplained fertility" and what that means for my empty house and empty arms a year after all the tests and procedures started, I realized something that I haven't heard anyone say.  I realized that for now there is a truth that I am embracing that will make all these people that mean well quite uncomfortable.

I read a book recently called The Rise, written by Sarah Lewis.  In her book she explores the topic of failure in creativity.  This intrigues me as an artist, a writer, a creator.  And as a woman that longs to be a mom.

I am wrestling with the idea of loss or what could be defined as the near win (as she talks about in the book).  In terms of my life right now, The near win signifies the failure wrapped inside of infertility.  This has been a difficult and embarrassing process - this process of disappointment.  I thought that pregnancy would just happen.  I mean, point blank, I have my job because a whole bunch of pregnancies just happened (not all but a goodly number of them) and we are trying to figure out what to do about the children.

The truth is, at least for me right now, we live in fallible bodies, and where we think we will be physically successful, we may not be.  I didn't take into consideration that there aren't any guarantees in this body.  There are no guarantees that we won't get sick or have abnormalities or unexplained deficiencies.  We can't control these bodies; we have the responsibilities to take care of them and treat them right.  But there are no guarantees that they will operate as they were intended to in God's mind and heart when He made human beings.  There is no guarantee that our bodies won't fail.

We can live with a supernatural awareness that we can be healed and whole.  But we can also have bodies that go their own way.  We don't like to look at it that way.  I believe that is why a lot of people that mean well in my life won't like this post.  They don't want to hear that I accept whatever is going on in my body right now and what hasn't happened and what didn't work.  They don't want to hear this: infertility is a failure to reproduce.  Infertility is a failure of the body.

In this realization, I am not focused on the perceived failure.  I am not looking for pity or quick answers.  I am running to God at a breakneck speed.  Why?  Because this unexplained infertility explains my need for God - more than ever now.  It shows my physical need for God.

I need Him to fill in the gaps - whether than means to heal what appears to be fragmented or fractured or broken or  whether that means to change my perspective.  That change is difficult - more than anyone can imagine.  When you think you will accomplish the very thing you have always dreamed to accomplish (even something as seemingly base as birthing a child) and you don't, it rocks you.  You can get knocked off your proverbial square right on your ass.  And the question becomes not whether you can do that one more fertility treatment or lose weight or pray and fast about it; it becomes whether you can love God despite the disappointment.  Whether you can still look Him in the eyes and not look away, holding His gaze, and letting the tears fall.

A lot of people look away from God when they are disappointed.  Or they try religion on for size when real faith is too raw.

The change of perception is difficult, but it prepares you for what God really means to happen.

When I read this woman's book, my faith was solidified even in this.  I can still grow from this.  I can be made better.  I can take in the failure and then redirect the energy of it into a more healthy and creative space.  I appreciate people's attempts at cushioning the blow of infertility.  I love the testimonies from other women that have overcome it (one way or another).  I know that when they try to talk me out of seeing the infertility issue as a failure of the body (which is actually the proof that this body is fallible in need of an infallible God), they are really uncomfortable with nature of this and want to make me feel better.  It's hard seeing the person you love hurting and depressed and disappointed (like I was).

But body is fallible. IT IS.  Yours is; everybody's is in one way or another.  My body is supposed to fail sometimes because I live in it, and it lives on this earth.  Whether we like it or not, this is the truth.

But it's not ALL the truth.

God is on the other side of our fallibility.

This is not a negative self-view.  For me this is a form of grace - not punishment - to see that this body needs God as much as my mind and heart and spirit does.  The creative part of my feminine body has the potential to fail.  And when I see that, I don't see me as bad or unworthy.

I see myself in a place of vulnerability and in need of God Himself.  Right here.  Right in this space where it hurts and I am bleeding and raw on the inside.  Right here where my arms ache to hold our baby.  He is right here.

"Improbable foundations lead to iconic rises," Sarah Lewis says.

So now the question is no longer, how in the world am I expected to get through this?  It becomes, whose life will rise from my body's failure?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Plow, Sow, Plant, Harvest

"Does he who plows for sowing plow continually?  Does he continue to plow and harrow ground after it is smooth?"  Isaiah 28:24

Sometimes I find myself doing the same repetitive thing over and over again, knowing that I should move forward in the decision to sow, to plant, to grow in the area that God has intended, but because of fear I do the same safe motion.  It is easier to re-plow an already plowed ground because that is safe.  It is easier to prepare the ground rather than plant the seed; in planting we are trusting that the conditions outside of our control will come into alignment.  We are trusting that the God Whom brings the increase will indeed do just that without our assistance and control.  We are trusting that there will be a harvest after we have done everything that is humanly possible in the most impossible of situations.  I do this repetitive plowing, this silly motion that does nothing and assumes no risk in the bringing forth of a harvest in my life.  What about you?

"When he has leveled its surface, does he not cast abroad [the seed of] dill or fennel and scatter cummin [a seasoning], and put wheat in rows, and barley in its intended place, and spelt [an inferior kind of wheat] as the border.  [And he trains each of them correctly] for his God instructs him correctly and teaches him."  Isaiah 28:25-26

God brings increase and change and opportunity into our lives to grow.  When we follow his instruction, it means that we are learning to trust the One that controls the outcome of the risk we plant into the Universe.  We cast the seed in the intended places in just the manner that is necessary for those seeds to grow into something great.  We train the plants to grow.  We take the risk to wait for the harvest.

"For dill is not threshed with a sharp threshing instrument, nor is a cartwheel rolled over cummin; but dill is beaten off with a staff, and cummin with a rod [by hand].  Does one crush bread grain?  No, he does not thresh it continuously.  But when he has driven his cartwheel and his horses over it, he scatters it [tossing it up to the wind] without having crushed it."  Isaiah 28:27-28

There is a pattern that we must follow depending on what is to come forth in our lives.  We have planted and sown certain seeds in our lives and the harvest that comes has to come forth by strategy.  This takes an element of risk as well and risk takes strategy. The risk to bring forth greatness has to come forth with some measure of obedience to the process.  And it is all on purpose, even when it makes no sense.

I am learning this.  Everything can't come to fruition the same way.  But it is up to me to learn how to bring the intended results into my life.

"This also comes from the Lord of hosts, Who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom and effectual working."  Isaiah 28:29

God has a plan.  Period.  It may mean taking a risk in bringing that plan to life, but He knows the best way to bring it forth.  He knows what works and what doesn't work.  He knows how best to get us where we should be.  It makes no sense to re-plow already plowed ground when we are supposed to plant the seeds God gives us to plant.  It makes no sense to bring in the harvest with faulty methods when there is already a divine plan to do so.

I am learning that today. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


One thing I know for sure....I can be all in for this moment but I probably won't retire from this place that I call a job.  I could be in the building for 26 more years and get my little certificate and fight with the state over my well-deserved benefits.  But I know and anyone that knows me knows I won't.  I will be here for the time I am able to make a difference in the families and children I come into contact with, but at the end of the day, I won't be spending my life here.

It's not the same as it was in my parents' or my grandparents' day when you endured whatever you had to endure for the sake of a 30-plus year paycheck just to retire with half the money you thought you were owed.  This is not even my testimony, though it could be if I just pretended that this is all I ever really want.

But I really have my heart set on holding babies for the next 30-plus years, whether they are mine or not.  I really have my heart set on writing books and helping other people write books and reading books others have written because I love words.  I really have my heart set on using what I have in my creative and business mind to support my household.

Being an entrepreneur is in my blood.  It is my bread and butter.  It is what keeps me up at night.  But it is also the thing that reminds me that the job I go to everyday doesn't have the right to give me high blood pressure or anxiety or any form of angst.  I figure if that is the reciprocation of all the hard work and passion, it is time to find another place to pour out my energies.

This morning, I am up early thinking and reading and writing and making lists in my head about how to get to the place where my visions come to life.  It is not enough to have a dream only have one life, you know?  So why spend life wishing and dreaming and then driving to a building where you know where your best efforts are whittled down to what others think about you?

I know better than that.

I know that there is more to life than this.

I know I am not going to retire from this job in 26 years.  There would be no point in wasting time doing something that on any given day gives me heart palpitations and frustrating thoughts instead of vision and creativity in doing something new.

Before I moved to Port Huron, I had a home daycare that I was just starting.  I was so excited about impacting kids in my own way, loving someone else's babies like I love my own, and I have kept that feeling in my heart even through the journey of working at other jobs since that move.  That dream has not died, and lately, it has become a persistent echo in my ear.

I was a freelance writer and worked on various projects for companies and individuals, including myself.  I was brave and fearless and God was opening more doors than I could count because I believed that the sky was the limit.

Now?  I feel like a fearful little girl.  I am afraid to start these businesses again because what if they don't pan out?  What if I have to network far more than I did when I lived in my hometown?  What if this requires even more faith than I had 8 years ago?  What if this isn't the right thing to do?

Faced with the option to stay somewhere for 30 years or forge my own path, what if the path is much more rugged than I thought?  What if it requires more of me than 30 years fulfilling governmental requirements in a job that makes me question myself everyday?

But...the thought invades my heart and mind that I need to have faith that God has a much bigger plan than I could ever make on my own.  It sounds simple but I have never been a person that could live in a box.  I have never been a person that could live inside the safe zone.  That doesn't mean that I live in the realm of stupidity.  However, if it was done before, can't it be done again?

I know more now.

I have lived a little more now.

I was happier then.

Can't I be happy now?

What if I take a risk?

And life opens up when I take the risk to have faith that God will use me when I open these gifts and callings to Him.

What happens when you know the place where you are doesn't want what you have to offer but the place of faith God is calling you to does?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


I just finished writing the short of their life story, telling how he got in trouble in his youth, and how his wife has always been there for him and his boys.  I just wrote about how her sons know that she loves them because she puts up with their crap and loves them fiercely anyway.  I just wrote it and was planning to send it all in so they could finish the legalization of what they have done since day one - caring for just one more grandchild and keeping their family together as only they know how to do.

And then...

The co-worker with the long blond hair and the sweet disposition came into my cube, holding her cell phone - looking down at it and not at me.  My first thought when she said their names was to sigh.  I didn't have what I needed to send it all in - the story and the forms and the legal paperwork.  She interrupted me.  At 8 this morning, she interrupted me.

Why do our hands flutter up to cover our mouths when we get bad news?  Why do the tears spring so suddenly to the eyes and the cheeks get hot?  Why does the breath suck back into our lungs with such force, keeping us from screaming?

I met this family a few years ago when I started working here, working with families that were in disrepair and needed the truth to set them free.  Their family was one.  They were caring grandparents then too, and I fell in love with how they loved their sons but didn't, not one time, accept their bad choices.  I loved how they hugged their grandchildren close and held them until they could go home again.  And three years later, when they had to do it all over again, I jumped at the chance to work alongside them again.

And then...

This morning, my co-worker stood in my cube and told me the unthinkable.

A woman that has loved her man for 40 years had to watch him leave her for heaven this morning.

Why THIS morning?  Why now, when they were doing it all again?  Why, when they were better together than apart?

I tried not to cry the messy tears I am known to cry.  I tried to keep them all in, but I ran.  I ran for a safe place to cry astonished tears as I thought of her - the wife and mother left holding onto the pieces.  And I cried, thinking of him...gone.  He would have never left if he had a choice.  But he had no choice this morning and no one knows why.

I am a strong woman, yes.  I love my job because I love the people - like this beautiful couple.  But I have no answers, and while I know I need to show up at the door of their home at 5:00 this evening to hug her, I don't have answers.  And I so desperately want to have answers.



I don't want to have answers.

I want to have him back in that house with her (the woman he has loved for forty-plus years).  I want my godfather back from heaven so my godmother isn't without him anymore.  I want my friend's daughter back from the arms of Jesus so she can be the princess in her family again - wearing her crown.

I don't want death surprising families anymore.  I don't want the grief and pain that it causes.  I don't want to answer why this has to happen now, as it does everyday somewhere.

This morning, I came in with no idea that this woman said goodbye to her husband while I laid next to mine in bed well before a new day could be embraced.  I had no idea the rock of that family would leave so suddenly.  And as I type this, I am speechless.  I am rendered silent with a prayer burning in my heart.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

This New Year's Life

We think we are barren when the seed that we hoped would be planted inside at the time we hoped does not come to fruition.  I thought the issue I struggled with was barrenness and infertility - both naturally and spiritually.  But it never was.  That has never been the issue.  My body is ready.  I am ready.

There is so much to living a new life in a new year that we don't often understand.  It is not about plans or resolutions or goals.  I do not have any this year, in terms of what I will do different or better.  I have realizations and revelations this year.  The first is that my life is not my own.  My time is not my own.  A new life within is Christ and His Presence and not simply this baby I am longing to hold.  His life is exchanged for my life.  When I accepted Him as Lord and Savior, His life replaced my own (Myowne) and whatever happens (no matter when) is up to His divine timing.  Whether the timing demands that I fight or stand or be strong in faith with reliance on Word, it is determined by Him and not by me.

Yes, we can speak things.  Yes, we can believe and hope for things.  That is the result of the new life beating and pulsing within.  But the truth is, the life we now live is not our own and He does what He will according to His own divine timing.  Our responsibility is to be aware of it and to live out the reality of it.

I have not been doing that; I have accepted the whisper from the enemy that says I will never give birth to my own child.  I have believed him because the melodramatic side of me believes that I have done so much wrong in my past that something as big as being a mother to God-graced children is not destined for my future.  How could I be a good mother when I am such a damaged woman - a woman with scars? I am not talking about simply carrying and birthing another human being.  Where I spend 40 hours a week of my time, I am all too familiar with the human nature of conception and birth and bad parenting.  I am talking about mothering a member of the next generation and doing it well.  Doing it so well that the child grows up and declares freedom to enslaved nations or changes the trajectory of life with the power of God.  That child. One of the many meant to make a difference even in the smallest of ways.

Secretly, I thought I must be barren - that my womb cannot be the place where life can develop.  What I was reminded of this morning is that there is life within me - a life that is not my own.  And He lives.  And if He can live there, how can another human NOT?  How can a baby not, if the Creator and King of the Universe chooses to make his abode with me in the highest of dimensions?  If He can live here and develop His life in me, then the path has been made clear and I am fruitful.

My life is not Myowne.

It belongs wholly to Him.

And everything that must come forth from it must come from Him, in His timing.  It is not up to me or my husband or a doctor at a fertility clinic or all the wishes in the world that will bring new life into being this year.  It is up to the Jesus that gave His life for me and now has decided to allow His Spirit to live through me.

I did not think of this while I was accepting a closed womb.  But I know now that my womb isn't closed.  My ability to bring forth is not denied.

I am not barren.

And His timing is perfect.