You come rolling in on the very first taste of Fall, you know those early September days, when you can feel the first nip of cold on your heels. You wouldn’t know that though, because the first sign of winter for you is rain. It’s been a long coma and an instantaneous blink these past twenty years. Despite the hundreds of thousands of seconds that have been between those sun-kissed and love drenched years that belonged to you and I, your ghost still haunts me, said best by Kenny from Daphne…. These Ghosts, My Hopes, The Sea (Daphne Loves Derby) Sometimes you visit me in the space in-between, making speechless appearances in my dream. It’s like I can feel your distance or nearness depending on how you present yourself to me. Sometimes, you are distant, sitting silently in my dream like a static TV without volume—a beloved Charlie Chaplin in technicolor. Twenty years couldn’t break whatever this imaginary travesty was. Soul ties are real, they say. Maybe I never broke ours. I used to plant tears with glasses of Merlot and long walks down all of Punk Goes Acoustic, Yellowcard and Daphne. Buckets lined up only to be washed down the basin after the rain passed. Years continued to go by, loves coming and going but in all the days my heart has ever beated I have never loved another sweeter. Maybe you get your one chance at a great love. Maybe I was right when I uttered the words that one day so many days long ago 😱 I realized I’ve placed our love, our moment in time, our small, unacknowledged history in a dresser drawer. I’ve compartmentalized you because I couldn’t hold on and move on. I couldn’t celebrate you because I had to let you go, because I couldn’t be okay without cutting myself apart from you. Scissors scissing, cut– cut- cut— And all these years, i’m still healing. I’ve put you where you belong, in my past, in a place that can never be real again. Permanent things have happened. Life has absolutely happened. In moments like this, life feels like a movie. It’s surreal, and the years don’t seem real. They look like previews to movies no longer in theaters. The beautiful thing about memories, like the ones that you gave me, are they are forever. They are like a perfect, cozy sweater, coming apart at the seams—you know, the kind you can’t throw away so you keep them in your drawer. The one you ever-so-often pull out to wear like the perfect fall day, like a kiss from the sun, like a measuring stick for what you want, for what’s best. So even though you come see me on nights that I need to cry so I watch the Notebook, and remember that you were once my one and only Noah Calhoun, or if you are just thinking about me in my dream, that I’ve never loved anybody like I have loved you, since. You are the golden standard and I will know when I see it, because at one point you were that for me and it was so clear and so peaceful and for whatever reason, for all of that and this, I am thankful for the experience.
And if this finds its way to you know I am well. I am better than I have ever been. I am more in love with Jesus, I am exactly where I need to be and I know that you are too.
And to those of you who know what I’m talking about, those bucket of tear-catching moments, it’s okay to have them. Because if you never loved or lost or had your heartbroken or skinned your knee you wouldn’t be human. And that’s a beautiful thing to be.
If I was laying on the operating table, and this was a soul check appointment I imagine the dr would draw dash dash lines down my sternum. The light would shine down on me and as my chest is cut open and my heart lay bare you would see the fleshly ridges of scar tissue of heartbreak and the scar tissue that formed as I was forced to heal. You would see an enlarged heart, beating full, fast and passionately–true to form all the days of my life. The invisible made visible would reveal healing progress in my soul. It’s like all white and purposefully at work in my soul at all times, this slow and burning fire that is cleansing all unrighteousness and dealing with the hardened parts of my heart, broken pieces of my heart, the cracks in my soul and foundation…like a soft glowing fire delicately frolicking over the coals in a hearth. It’s Him, not him. And He’s here. He showed up one day when my head was down low and I was spent, broke on hope and disoriented in the pointlessness of my aimless wandering. I don’t know why I picked up the book again. I guess I do, because I now more deeply know my God. I began to read a chapter a day of the Gospel of Luke. I don’t know how it happened, but it did. I began to walk down a common path or so I thought, but nothing about His rescue plan was common. Today I bow in reverence, worshiping Him as I lift my head to let Him knowing that it would never be enough. I could never in this lifetime or the next praise Him enough. These days I lay myself upon the table, doing my best to let my beloved examine me, heal me and reveal His plans and purposes for my life. It could have been scary, but I look up at His careful hands and look into His eyes of love. I feel cared for and supported, while deeply vulnerable. I see myself changing, I look at these hands and see my eyes stare back at me in the mirror and I don’t recognize myself anymore. I’m becoming more of the woman I am meant to be, and the clarity and health in my soul pour forth out of my eyes like high beams. I feel I’ve just begun to scratch the surface of this massive iceberg. I’ve fought and clawed my way for decades to just the dream of something like this, to reach this precipice, but it came to me when I wasn’t looking. I was at the end of my rope. I can’t tell you why God’s ways and timing are the way they are, but I can testify that they are true, real, faithful, trustworthy, powerful and unlike anything I’ve experienced in my lifetime. He says I am hidden. He has put me into a cocoon. I am shedding dead things. I am being healed and made whole. I can’t wait for you to see me and my butterfly wings. God can do in an instant what would take a lifetime. I don’t have the answer for you but I know who does. I can’t tell you how to fix your fears, how to solve the things that weigh you down, I don’t have the wisdom to answer life’s most complicated matters, but I know who DOES. I know who CAN. And when I tell you He can handle everything, help with everything, heal everything, restore everything, redeem everything, and be with you through everything–I mean it. Not because it’s cute, but because I’ve lived through it. I am living proof of God’s goodness to the most undeserving. And this millionth of a chance, I am not taking lightly. Thank you Jesus for everything, for saving me, for forgiving me and for never giving up on me even when I gave up on us because of all my anger, frustration, doubt, fear. You have rescued me, saved me truly, and have given me not only new life but true and deep healing that I never was able to achieve on my own. I’m grateful for the whole person I am becoming. I am grateful for the deepest purest level of healing I have ever felt in my entire life. I am so grateful for you, even for the challenge that comes with going deeper. I may not be ready for all you have for me, but I know I am being prepared and although it is truly a journey and a process, I am doing my best. And I thank you for the grace that you have for me when I fall short, or delay my obedience, or deal with the battlefield that is the mind. Thank you for your will which will be done in my life, amen.
Psalm 18:20-24 God made my life complete
when I placed all the pieces before him.
When I got my act together,
He gave me a fresh start.
Now I’m alert to God’s ways;
I don’t take God for granted.
Every day I review the ways he works;
I try not to miss a trick.
I feel put back together,
and I’m watching my step.
God rewrote the text of my life
when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.
** I would be remiss if I didn’t share the way to begin a relationship with God.
For one, He has been with you all your life, and He is here now. He loves you with an everlasting and unconditional love, trust me I KNOW THIS, I do not deserve the love that He has shown me when I have wandered from Him and the truth. But He has been patient to pursue me and accept me back. Every. Single. Time. All you have to do is turn to Him, and He will meet you exactly where you are at. No matter WHAT you have done, what you struggle with, where you are at in life…. Doesn’t matter. He died for you. Just to get to know you. You are His precious child. When we come to Jesus, we are broken, imperfect and sinful–we are human. He knew this when He died for you! Just turn back to Him and share your heart with Him. It’s that simple. Ask Him to come into your life, to help you, tell Him what’s been on your heart, what’s hurting, broken, and been bothering you. He will hear you. He will be there. Ask Him to show up in your life, to fill you with His Holy Spirit, and to help you live your life for Him. It’s the best prayer you could ever pray and not only does God show up and become a part of your life, but you have a friend, advocate and FORGIVER for all of your sin and eternal life. The best free gift ever given to all of humanity. The purest love you could ever have in this life and the life to come.
You are loved
“She confidently trusts the Lord to take care of her, Psalm 112:7” says a piece of decor on my desk, but does she really though? I’m grateful and I’ll tell you why, because although I’ve loved the Lord all my life, I haven’t always trusted Him. It’s crazy because God is so good towards us, you would think it would be a natural response to that, but I’ve wandered so much in my walk. But you see, only God has known my heart throughout the years. So many years I wasted chasing and running, rushing and wasting. I was driven by my emotions and couldn’t stomach loving myself let alone know how. It took some hard humbling and seasons lost in the tempest of the most treacherous seas. I felt the feeling of drowning and I stood by watching helplessly. I was so broken nobody could fix me. My priorities were out of alignment. I was so starving for love and affection that I was heart sick. It’s sickening when your vision is restored and you see the truth of how you handled your hurts, wounds and traumas–because when you are famished every bitter thing can taste sweet. You will accept things into your soul that you never would if you were healed and whole. For a long time, I was angry at God. There was a lot I didn’t understand yet (and honestly, still don’t) Honestly I didn’t see the point of my life. Why would I be born–what good was my life if I was this broken without any resolution. In the Bible it says that God’s people perish for lack of vision. If we don’t have hope, a part of our soul dies. All I want to say is I never thought I would see the day where I loved my life again. I didn’t know if or when I’d ever be healthy again. I never thought I’d be restored back to Jesus and I feared I would never become the woman of God that I knew He had called me to be. I think it took building my trust again to bring me to the place of genuine surrender. That is all it took. To be honest, I am learning daily to trust confidently in my Lord, to walk with the Lord like Enoch (look him up, he’s cool. How cool would it be if your name was mentioned once in the Bible and you were known forever for walking with God?!) I digress.
All I can tell you for certain right now, is that if you’re breathing and you have questions, hang tight because God DOES love you, and it’s not over yet! He is faithful to bring things full circle. If you are believing for a miracle or a healing, do not become weary in doing good, and don’t go running off doing bad either. Obedience can be hard, it’s a discipline just as much as it’s a response. It may not be easy, but it will always be worth it. Holiness is a WORTHY pursuit.
Remember, you are adored above.
First of all Merry Christmas, 2019! I often find myself gushing about how amazing you are as people and parents to everyone I meet–but in life the things we affectionately think aren’t always communicated. This year, in addition to your gifts (which I really wanted to be meaningful) I decided to write this piece and eternalize it on my blog but also for it to be read to you. So here goes, hoping it’s every bit as lovely as you both are.
When I think of my Mother I think of incredible grace and strength. Life is never easy and we are all dealt cards that can be difficult to navigate through, but I feel that when my Mom has had no choice but to be strong, she rose to the occasion and did whatever needed to be done–whether that’s work several jobs to keep food on the table and her kids cared for or if that meant sacrifices to keep our house a home–my Mother did it. I often admire and find myself in awe of her strength to just handle whatever life throws her way without complaining or giving in to defeat. As strong as my Mom is, she is also sensitive and tender hearted. My Mother is one of the most generous, giving and servant hearted people I know. I have never met someone who relentlessly and selflessly gave to other people the way my Mom does. She truly does not think of herself when she helps others and I think she doesn’t even realize how beautiful this makes her. My Mom is a tough cookie. She never complains, is always grateful and is content regardless of what life throws her way. She rides the waves of life so well and I often draw my strength from her. Her ability to withstand the storm joyfully creates awe in me. Mom, I am grateful for the gentle way you’ve loved me as your daughter–you were a hands on Mother, always creating opportunities to develop and grow my intellect. You actually read to me and fostered the hunger I had for education which reaped dividends for me later in life. You took the time to make our lunches, pack our bags, take time to teach me things that a lot of parents today don’t anymore. I feel incredibly rich and incredibly fortunate. I take pride in the fact that I come from good stock and that my parents are such an amazing example for myself, my family and others. You are my confidant, my best friend, the person I call for every recipe and expiration question–you are greater than the infamous WebMD, and you give me the best life and relationship advice. You’re one of my favorite persons to call and I love our quick daily catch ups.
Dad, there will never be enough words to describe how much I love, respect, admire and honor you. Your life story is such a beautiful picture of God’s redemption. I love your honesty. You are so real and you have the funniest stories of your young adult times like all your Coast Guard stories. I love how you have always taken a no fuss no muss approach to life. I’ve never met a more decorated and successful man who is as humble and servant hearted as you, Dad! You are such a man after God’s own heart and you have such a compassionate heart for people. Dad you are one of the greatest leaders I know. I love to sit and talk with you and get wisdom from you. You are truly one of my favorite persons to sit and talk about anything with because I feel like no matter what we talk about, I will learn something new. It has been a blessing to watch you grow in your faith and see you take on more and more responsibility and leadership. I truly believe that every role you have stepped into is a direct result of your obedience. Thank you for being a patient, loving, kind, consistent, loyal father to your daughters, husband to your wife, and a leader to God’s very own people. Thank you for working so hard for our family and laying down your life in service of your career in order to provide for us. You gave your life to give us a good life filled with experiences we will carry with us through out our lives. I appreciate you praying for all of us to find amazing men who love God and will love us and take care of us. It’s been an indescribable joy to watch your and Mom’s love and marriage grow and strengthen over time. I’m ridiculously lucky to have a family as loving, supportive and close knit as we are.
Mom & Dad, my life hasn’t been easy. We all know that it hasn’t been without it’s challenges. But I want you to know, everything I need in this life I have found in God and in you and I am ETERNALLY grateful for the treasure that is in you. I feel like I can do anything as long as I have you, both. With love, your daughter Alicia.
“If you’re going through hell, keep on going, don’t slow down if you’re scared don’t show it, you might get out before the devil even knows you’re there.” -Rodney Atkins
I’ve seen the way you handle life, how you delicately and sometimes dangerously teeter the line of great joy and deep depression. If I could look you in the eyes, I would tell you that you are infinitely stronger than anything you’ve yet to see. Yes, even the most excruciatingly painful days were just challenges you’ve overcome. These mountains ahead of you are entirely scalable and the great strength you will receive from them will be for you a crown of glory. You have eyes on you; So, on those days you want to cover your head and drown out the pain in sleep, I want you to breathe deeply and know that I am there with you. I don’t want you to lie down and make your home in the trenches. I want to display my royal beauty upon you, so wake up those tired eyes. You, yes YOU, are a royal diadem in the palm of my hand. You wear a crown of beauty where ashes have been. Stop looking at your circumstances to dictate your life, you will never get anywhere by doing that. Start, and start now. Begin by dreaming again. I want your dreams to be so big they scare you. Your days of playing small are over with. Those things do not bring glory to my Name. I am a wide, expansive God. The galaxies and universes are like drops in the bucket to me. Do you not think I can’t hold your life in my hand and handle all the worries you carry with you? You can drop them at my Feet. I’m more than capable of leading you through your life. Your biggest heart breaks are being mended by true love. Perfect love casts out all fear. Just hold on, wait and watch, see that I am doing a new thing. Do you not perceive it? Your best days are ahead of you. You look back into the past with forlorn, but darling those were just bursting of hints at what I have for you. You haven’t even hit your prime, baby! You must change your perspective and believe again in the BIG GOD that you love so dearly. Draw near to me and sit in the throne room of grace. Look up in awe at the majesty of your God. I will tenderly speak to you and tell you of great and hidden things, too wonderful for you to imagine. I began a good work in you and I WILL finish it to completion. The time is now. Enough sleeping, enough wringing of the hands, seek the Lord while He may be found.
I love you,
I’ve wasted more time dreaming than living- Daphne Loves Derby e
I gaze upon your true beauty in sheer awe and amazement, at whom I’ve created. My radiant love is all I’ve ever wanted for you and it’s wider than all the galaxies in the sky and deeper than the greatest depths of the ocean. You are perfect to me even on what you think are your darkest days. There is nowhere you can go that I can’t be with you. At your highest highs, I’m celebrating with you—in the depths of your lowest lows I am there with you. I cover you with my love and sing over you with songs of deliverance. You are already free. Your chains are gone. I paid it all for you already. All I want is for you to sing, my precious beautiful daughter. Tell me what troubles you and sing of your freedom. Watch as my hand moves over the storms in your life. You are victorious, Daughter. Sing, and stand from that place of victory and watch as my salvation covers you like a blanket. Fix your eyes on me. Find your identity in me. I long to be your all in all. I love you with all my heart, my love is enough. You are enough. You are perfectly loved. Loved with an everlasting love.
God’s love is meteoric, His loyalty astronomic, His purpose titanic, His verdicts oceanic. Yet in His largeness nothing gets lost; not a man, not a mouse, slips through the cracks. Psalm 36:5-6
I am the great comforter and I speak tenderly to you. I’ve seen your struggle and today is your day of victory, IN ME. I’ve paid the ultimate price for all your sins—the choices, thoughts and actions that have all separated you from your God. What the enemy meant for evil, I have, in great mercy turned around for your good. Prepare for me to enter your heart. Make a way for me to rule and reign in your heart. I’m in the business of setting things right. Deep and dark valleys shall be raised up to great peaks and high, unscalable mountains will be leveled for you to walk through. My glory will be revealed for all to see. I give life with my breath and all of mankind is fragile. Life is temporary, but I am eternal, and I endure forever. You who know me, proclaim my goodness. Don’t just speak but let your lives be visible worship and praise to the darkened world around you. Be bold witnesses of your God without fear. Tell the world about me plainly. I am a sovereign and powerful God and I save. I care tenderly to the lost and to the found. I leave the 99 to find and carry back the 1. I lead my loved ones gently. I breathed and galaxies and life came into being. I’ve weighed mountains and held oceans in my hands. I am powerful and have an answer to every question. Knowledge and understanding are my creation and specialty. The nations are mere dust, minute in the scope of everything I’ve created. How can you even begin to compare me? I am infinite. I am inexhaustible and you can spend your entire lives trying to explain me, yet words will never suffice. Many have come in the name of a god, but those empty idols can’t hold a flame to my awesome power. I sit in heaven and I spread out space like a canopy. I give and take authority away. Kings are humbled by my power. Who will you say is my equal? I blow and storms pick up and speak and all is calm. Who do you suppose created all of what you see? I bring each star and being before me and call them each by name. Every detail is before me and I don’t miss a thing. I hear the complaints and cries of my people who feel abandoned by their God. Those who feel hidden I say to you this…
I am Father God.
I am the creator of all the earth.
Nothing gets past me. I don’t get tired nor do I fall asleep on the job.
Nobody can fathom the extent of my wisdom and understanding. I strengthen those who need hope.
I am strong on behalf of the weak. Not even the strength of young men or the weariness of old intimidates me. Those who put their whole heart in me will not faint but will be overwhelmed with new strength—God strength. They will pursue life with supernatural ability.
Before you were born, I called you—while you were in your Mother’s womb—I was there, with you. I long to reveal my brilliancy through your life. All the amazing works of your bright and blazing future are held in the palm of my hand. I am your greatest satisfaction. I have a great work for you to do. I want to use you as my servant to bring back many to the heartbeat of God. So many lives live in darkness, as though the lights have been turned off for as long as they can remember. Like you, they have a place in my heart and I desperately want to light up the sky in their lives. I make things shine like new again. I can restore anything. I want to make a light out of you. Your future will be one of influence, for you can reach those around you uniquely. I am faithful and I have chosen you for special purposes. I want you to know that not only do I hear your prayers, but I answer them. I’m as near as your very breath. I want to use your life, your story, to bring the broken to me. Your life and story can be used to set so many free, in my Name. I can make dead places alive. I can provide something out of nothing. I can and do meet your every need. Every mountain you face, I can turn to level ground and lead you out, if you only allow me to take you by the hand. I want to be your comforter. I know at times it feels I am far away, but can a creator abandon His creation? Never. I will never abandon you. I have your name engraved on the palm of my Hand. Anything set up against you is not from me. No weapon formed against you shall prosper. The blessings I give are as beautiful jewelry—forever I have crowned you in beauty. I bestow upon you grace and mercy, with your every heartbeat. I want to make your life fruitful and flourishing like a beautiful garden. There is such a bright future for you. You will look back on your difficult days as blessings in disguise. You are worth more than silver and gold. Your influence will stretch to the nations. I will make even your enemies to be at peace with you. These will be ways you will know that I, the Lord, am God.