Sunday, August 31, 2014

reach


















he reached down to me
i tried to reach up

that didn't work

what makes more sense...
him lowering himself
reaching
for me

or for me to actually reach him?

my arms are too short

yet still i reach
swatting away his arm
more times than i care to admit

i can do it own my own, i think
my reach is pretty strong

i am pretty strong

nope

this reach
is grace
undeserved
unaccomplished by me

this reach is joy
forgiveness
love
mercy
the ultimate compassion
for a dead-in-sins soul

his reach is long enough
wide enough
strong enough

he reached for me
grabbed me out of slimy pit
the mire and clay

he gave me a place to stand

it's on his grace
it's on his love
it's with him


http://katemotaung.com/five-minute-friday/


Monday, August 25, 2014

change



I looked down at my phone and sighed the biggest sigh in the history of the world.

Yeah, ok. I might be exaggerating. But that’s how I felt this morning.

They say that habits form with repetitive choices and positive reinforcement. Well, I was used to getting a text message from a friend. Nearly every morning for the past few years I would get some hilarious or crazy text from a friend. Usually about nothing important. Something stupid that happened at Starbucks or at work. Something on the internet that was crazy. A song that made them feel. Something that would make me laugh.

That changed a few weeks ago. Thus my sigh. Old habits die hard.

I miss the texts. The stories. The laughter. The conversation. And now I have to start my day boring. Boo.

It’s amazing how a person can come into your life and crawl right into your heart and come to mean something so much to you in a short period of time. It’s amazing the hole they leave when they go.

I don’t like change like this. So much change is good. So much. But not this. The words of Jesus are in my brain right now, John 15, “any vine that does not produce good fruit must be pruned…” I imagine this might be a pruning. And God’s pruning is always a beautiful and right and good thing.

But it still hurts.

I like all my vines, thank you very much. That’s why I put them there.

INFJs cling tightly to those we connect with, because that connection is so very rare. We don’t want them to leave, so God has to resort to extreme measures to prune from me (that’s been his m.o. in the past). 

I hate it. 

http://katemotaung.com/five-minute-friday/

Friday, August 15, 2014

five minute friday - tell


Today’s post is for Five Minute Friday for my VERY FIRST TIME EVER, and the urging of my friend Karen. Five Minute Friday is where whoever loves and writes is urged shut down their critical voice and and write on a prompt word for five minutes straight. No editing (hahahahaha is happening in my head right now, by the way.) Today's prompt is the word "tell".

____________


She sat across from me in my office and I hear her say the words that will not let me go. The words I keep hearing from people. The words that resonate and by now, simply hurt,

“I don’t feel like I belong here anymore.”

What is my job, now, at this point?” I’m asking myself inside. Wondering how to respond. My heart is tearing and I close my eyes for a long while as we sit together. I almost feel my heart cave in, that familiar feeling of heartache. But this time it’s not about a boy or a friend or family member or a loss. This time it’s caving in dread.

To tell me that you don’t feel like you belong anymore immediately sets me into problem-solving mode. I guess because I know that we could talk and talk and talk about what I know the balcony issue is and know that we will never get to the dance floor and figure this out. It’s as if this telling is yet another way I’m feeling the shovel slam into the dirt and dig the hole bigger and deeper, to make room for yet another body of someone who wants to leave.

I refuse to throw a handful of dirt on this grave. But I don’t know what to do instead.

I am fearful for how many more times people will tell me this.




Wednesday, August 13, 2014

a lament - - - selah

This spring I did a series on expectations – what it actually would look like if we tried to live our lives without them. If you go back and read the series, you’ll see I never come to any kind of solid thesis (that wasn’t the point). But I did come out of it realizing that as great as it sounds to avoid hurt in life, it just didn’t seem possible to truly live without expectations of some form. It seemed like regularly the logical part of my brain collided with my heart. And I let my heart win.

Here’s what’s funny.

I think that I hoped deep down that I would, through the writing, stop having expectations of the people in my life. That somehow I would have learned this powerful lesson through all those painstaking words I wrote and felt… that somehow I would be free of what often hurts me.  Disappointment.

Yeah. That didn’t happen.

Surely goodness will follow me.

I don’t know why I wanted that, other than the obvious reason of it seems like such a great way to live your life. But I did, because I grow weary. Because never expecting anything means never getting hurt or disappointed.

And when it comes to people, that’s when I really, really love this idea.

But when it comes to people, that’s when I just can’t accept t his idea.

But I still want it that way. And as I briefly write about in the series, I know people who do live their lives this way. And these people have hurt me. This is probably why I just can’t believe in living my life this way.

That didn’t keep me from wanting it, though.

Selah

The human heart is a funny thing.

Mine is made up of tiny little pieces. Each with their own rooms. Rooms in which I place things like memories, feelings, pictures of those I love, and maybe even the people themselves. And sometimes when the people leave they take a piece with them. And my heart aches when I can’t feel them in there.

He pierced my heart
    with arrows from his quiver.

I’ve carefully placed each of these people inside the rooms of my heart. There’s not a lot of real estate there, so I choose carefully. I think that people must know that, right? So shouldn’t they view that place as something special, a privilege? Something to not be afraid of, but something to even cherish?

I am poured out like water,
    and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
    it has melted within me.

They probably should cherish this real estate. And they probably shouldn’t take a piece of it with them when they leave. Greedy little bastards.

But not all of them want to be there. And this is what hurts. Because if you are in my life it’s because you’ve inspired me and challenged me at some point. There is little I value more in a relationship.

Selah

I think that our expectations of others rise the more we care about them. Because when we begin to care more about a person it comes with the realization that you need them in your life, and that is exactly why you care more about them. I guess you could even call this selfish, because I hear some wise people say that if our expectations are high that means we aren’t grateful for what we receive. Ugh. It’s pretty hard to refute this argument.

But I also know it’s pretty hard to refute some of my arguments, too.

Because aren’t expectations just a way we communicate what we need and want from each other? I know that God created us to need people, because Genesis 2:18 was before the Fall. Dealing with this need and what it looks like is the struggle, because we are living post-Fall. But because disappointment is a result of lost expectations, how does that mean we should stop having them altogether? Just to make life easier? To let each other off the hook? To live this life making sure no one holds us back, rather than working to help each other become better versions of ourselves?

I am restless in my complaint and I moan,
because of the noise of the enemy

Are we not to live our lives helping each other be the best version of ourselves possible, despite our sin? Or, in other words, living to push back the Fall?

This happens every single time I write about this. I find an argument for living life without expectations that I can actually get behind, but when I seek to work it out with my words, I end up here.

Perhaps because it’s simply not in my nature.

One of my friends who lives life without expectations, I realized, is also getting a pretty sweet deal out of this. Because I know he believes in living his life this way, I cannot have any expectations of him. Which means he never has to come through for me and I will accept that. (If I drink his kool-aid.) He never has to fulfill a commitment and I do not have the right to be angry when he disappoints me.

And it’s worked, because over the years, I've asked certain things of him. But I've learned not to expect him to come through. Now that we live in different states, we mostly just text or talk on the phone. If I ask for his opinion on something or have a question for him, I might text him, knowing I will likely not get a response. I still want one, all the while thinking I won’t get one because most of the time he doesn’t respond. And he doesn’t "have" to respond because I stopped a long time ago because it was easier than continuing to be hurt by him.

I’ve known him for 15 years. He’s bared his soul with me. I’ve bared mine with him. We gone through life together. The death of a parent, the changing of careers, lost and found faith. And I don't feel close to him anymore. Maybe I never really was.

Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
    my eye is wasted from grief;
    my soul and my body also.


Selah.