give it up

There is a general unwillingness to give up.

In our culture giving up is considered failure. Giving up is for losers, those that can’t cut it.  Attached with shame, embarrassment and weakness, it is unthinkable.

So we fight against it at all cost.

At all cost.

In other words, whatever needs to suffer, be compromised or given up in the process, we do.

We fight.
We sacrifice.
We tolerate.

Inevitably, at some point the cost ends up exceeding the value of what we are fighting for and yet we dig deeper, we get stubborn and then purely unreasonable in our strife.

There is nothing and no one that can convince us otherwise.

And when we’re deep down, we hit the vein.  We feel the pain.  It is the knowing.  It is the confession that wants to erupt because we see the folly in our efforts. We know the struggle is fruitless. We know that what we are giving, we can never recover or redeem. And yet, we press on, until the question we refuse to ask slowly begins to rise up.

When is it ok to give up?

When you have begun to discount yourself.

Give it up.

When you hold the “thing” greater than your worth and well-being.

Give it up.

When it becomes more valuable than your marriage, your family, your relationships, people in general.

Give it up.

Giving something up for the redemption of a person is always the greater good.  It is always the greater choice.

Even when the person is you.

Christ gave it up for people.  On the cross He bowed His head and gave up His spirit to the Father in heaven.

His shame.
His burden.
His sorrow.
Your pain.
Your sin.
Your shame.

It was not expected. Not how we would have thought he would go about it. Dying on a cross did not appear to be the actions of a Savior. It did not seem like he had saved or redeemed them.  It looked a lot like defeat.

But it wasn’t the end.

In John 10:18 Jesus said “I have the power to lay it down.”

The power.

He obtained a victory greater than what we could even fathom. Accomplishing more for eternity than any earthly toiling, struggle or battle could have obtained.  Not because he was weak or defeated, but because he had the power to lay it down and give it up.

He gave it up, and He won.

In many cases, giving takes more strength than fighting. What seemed to be weakness was strength unbridled and everlasting.

A voluntary surrender can be the threshold to redemption.

Give it up.

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a safe place

Their kindness unraveled me.

There were no expectations.  There were no admonitions.  There was no condemnation.

They listened with calm patience and peaceful understanding in their eyes.  They encouraged with loving words of counsel and wisdom for every aching sigh and wretched confession.

Without judgement or correction, they drew near and waited for this unwilling flower to open.  They were not appalled when a long wilted petal fell to the ground.  The stench of long neglected wounds did not make them flinch.  Nor were they scandalized to see that what remained was lacking.

And when the tears fell and the dam broke and my speech became slurred and incomprehensible, they laid solemn hands over me and called on the Comforter to minister where they could not.

Over and again, another blemish would be revealed as we addressed the last.  I was appalled that the breaking was cyclical, there seemed to be no end.  The healing a wrestling of persistence and stamina.

But these mothers, these Titans, she that had walked in the ways that I was entering, created a holy haven with their Being.

They provided for me what no other had attempted or had fathomed was needed.

These women of faith surrounded me with a shield of anointed protection.  Rescuing me from the harsh elements of this earth, they created a safe place.  They sustained a covering in which I finally felt the confidence to heal. A gentle gathering where truth could be spoken and received.  Where the poignancy of honesty was delivered in the sanctuary of acceptance.

There is a resistant protection built up in every broken person.  When there has been a shattering, the frantic makeshift triage has left a thick scar. Only in a harbor, a place of refuge can we even entertain a thorough repair.

We all need a cove, where our hearts and minds find soothing balm, a place we feel content.  It’s where the violent waves meet the breakers far from the shore.  A shelter where there is love and calm waters and we don’t fret the tides. Tears well up in our eyes from just the thought of being there and our longing to return overwhelms us until the breath in our lungs presses against our heart and all we hear is the deafening beat in our ears.

That is where the layers begin to fall away and  the walls start to crumble.  When we stop trying to pick up the broken pieces with dust-covered hands and press them back into the walls that imprison us.

It’s where the tears begin to wash away the soot and our stories start to fall like vibrant petals from our tongues.

This is the space that every broken girl needs.  It is a gift of grace and love.  It is a place of  beauty and courage where brokeness, weakness, flaws and fragility are not uncomfortable but unconditionally accepted.  It is where you are called blessed because of them.

Beautiful alabaster box, pouring out your sin and hurt and shame at the feet of Christ.

Oh mighty women of valor!  We need you to pass on your knowledge, your intentional acceptance and willingness to serve and save.  So many of us need you.

So many need us to take up that mantle of rescue.  To lift our hands in service and call on the Comforter to abide in the spaces we keep.  To restore warrior princesses and high priestesses to their rightful, whole and fortified selves.

And show your own self in all respects to be a pattern and a model of good deeds and works, teaching what is unadulterated, showing gravity [having the strictest regard for truth and purity of motive], with dignity and seriousness.And let your instruction be sound and fit and wise and wholesome, vigorous and [a]irrefutable and above censure, so that the opponent may be put to shame, finding nothing discrediting or evil to say about us.  Titus 2:7-8 (AMP)

let’s cross over

He calls me out to cross the waters.

But I am hesitant.

The harbor is safe. The docks overflow with provision. I am held in high esteem. My position is secure and my name is known at the gates.

Oh but his voice dances on the wind. I am drawn by his invitation though reason keeps my feet planted in the sand.

The water is perilous and unpredictable. Struggles and temptations are the litany of the water. It is murky with the unknown. Hostile is its nature.

There are storms at sea.

Monsters rise up out of its dark deep and rush waves upon waves of doubt and fear onto the shore. They threaten to capsize and send me adrift should I dare attempt a crossing. Should they engulf me, overwhelm and consume me, I could perish!

But still he calls.
Let’s crossover.

What is on the other side?
Why does he beckon?
I must know.
I cannot resist.
Across the waters I will go.

Quickly all is black of ink and foamy white and shades of gray.

The waters are merciless.

Tempests rise, squalls abuse, hurricanes churn, the waves are icy cold and heavy. They batter and bruise.

The sea is unrelenting.

Run down, I am sinking beneath the waves. Gasping for air, I am at the brink of surrender when I hear that same sweet voice now speak with authority into the chaos.

Then peace.
All is haltingly still.
I will cross over.

What is on the other side?
On the other side is victory.
On the other side is potential.
On the other side is hope.

When I cross over to the other side, the storm surge rolls and withdraws and rushes back into the sea. My adversaries are swept into the very waters that threatened and tried to intimidate me. Doubt and fear are dragged through the sand and into the dark undertow.

Yes.
Let’s crossover.
Let’s walk on water.
Let’s go and know Him
and all He is,
and all He will do,
on the other side.