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)

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thorns and thistles

The earth is in me.

Though my soil is deep, rich and fertile, the warmth of its dark grounds seemingly affectionate and cultivated, in it lie thorns and thistles.

The gardener scattered the seeds of His word in my fields.  My heart had been worked by the till of contrition and I was ready to receive the seeds of life.

As these seeds took root their young shoots pushed though the surface, reaching for the righteousness of the Son and seeking to drink in the refreshing rains of His grace.

The dormant thorns and thistles were aroused.

Thorny creeping tendrils of cares and fears, worries and anxiety began to twist, tangle and distort. And while I worked diligently to remove the noxious weeds, it seemed that with each one I removed, three more sprouted up in its place. Prickly and seemingly evolving in defense, they were painful to uproot.

The thistles of my doubt and skepticism were even more adept at pressing down words of life.  They were quick to choke every expectant bud as too lofty to take root and too risky to cultivate.

Soon my treasure of seed was fruitless.  Hope looked just vain. The promise of increase, harvest and bounty in the Word was consumed until the vital shoots and buds of my faith shriveled, withered and came to nothing.

I was overcome.  

In my despair the serpent slithered:

The earth is cursed.  “..thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you”

Scripture warns me of these thistles and thorns.  They are the bitter herbs that took root when along with Eve I rejected God’s provision and questioned his motives.

They are the weeds of discontent and distrust.

They are the root of all sin that continues to distance us further and further from the certainty of the gardener’s love and intentions for us .  They spiny stalks are the cause of pain, suffering and death that we experience in our lives.

God saw all of this.

We were overrun by thorn bushes, suffocating and seemingly defeated.

Then God, in His unfailing love and never-ending compassion, sent His son to free us all.  Christ gathered up each thorn of sin and He laid them on his head.  He bore my shame and endured my pain and sorrowed all of my failings.

He succumbed to my death.

Reaching down into the depths of all sin, he paid the price of the curse.   And in rising again, he defeated it.  Breathing life into his lungs he breathed life into all humankind.

He made all things new.

And through Him, and with Him, I can hope again.

I can believe that those seeds of promise in me will one day birth fruit to perfection.