The ocean in my cup…
And so I got a taste of something so good that my hunger gnawed away at any satisfaction
i may have found in other things.
Such a sweet-tooth for this God-thing that I chased intense experiences,
and when they didn’t fill me up,
I went looking to the experts to see what they knew,
the ones whose faces seemed flush with this light
– wanted to scoot up close to those who seemed to carry his faraway scent
and when I found a cluster of people whose believing seemed to give them joy,
I leaned into the process, drawn in and open.
I did Christianity as I saw it,
did it so hard that I blew out my be –
wanting so bad to fit in that I followed along fearful,
determined to please God big so I wouldn’t be left out again.
Made myself so useful that I’d surely be noticed and not lose again
that something that I’d felt wash over me warm like a living breeze.
I did God the only way I knew – I do for you and you don’t leave me.
But, damn my whoopsy-daisy ways, I could never walk that line tight enough
or check enough boxes off neat or merit the joy that seemed reserved for the naturals.
The best I could manage was the little self-righteous rush that came with a longer than usual
run of good behavior. Or with my spastic dance with good intentions.
My heart hungered for God but I got lost in the hard trying.
Religion can be a smoky haze that way,
how it chokes and bends the music of Love
until you get to thinking that you’re the one
who keeps your whole world spinning –
that you earn this grace
by what you do or give.
It was failure and frustration and an almost frantic striving
and all my hard trying couldn’t pull off a shred of peace
until I dropped down tired from all the don’ts and driven doing
and went palms up and sweet surrender and could you love a girl like me?
And then You flickered on my frozen world like a dancing flame,
a strong shot of light that warmed the cold steel of my pain
until my breath turned to embers and this heart beat strong again
singing love and laughter and longing for me
into my honest mess you came.
Not to punish
or to toy with like some cat and mouse game
but to include,
to welcome real and safe and sane.
You broke the back of try harder
and busted the lie that we’re alone,
offered my heart the friendship that I thought I had to earn.
You didn’t want performance, didn’t have a line to tow,
just wrapped me in your muchness and gave me rest I’d never known.
And now when my world quakes,
when love goes missing or un-returned
or leaves behind a stiff body that once thumped warm affection,
and my strong legs get pulled out from beneath me
and I quiver in storm,
you’re my harbor,
All of my air is because of this.
I think back to those long ago starry nights and the love that bathed me in those branches
and I know now that it was you.
It was always you.
You wanted me first
the way you want us all
with a reckless affection that smashes religion’s bony finger
and draws us tender into your fierce and healing kindness,
lets us breathe safe again
in the being fully known.
To the One whose knowing is only always love.
“I could more easily contain Niagara Falls in a teacup
than I can comprehend the wild, uncontainable love of God.”
– Brennan Manning
This is the third post in a short series I’ve been doing,
a little love story.
I didn’t mean to be gone so long between.
Rogue waves. Sputtering. Catching my breath.
Thanks for coming along for the ride
and a beautiful new year to you and yours.
With love. Just so, so much:)
What a beautiful love storey. Be still and know that I am God, Psalm 46:10 comes to mind. It’s all about surrendering and letting go.
Wishing you Peace, Love, Hope, and Contentment in the New Year. Happy New Year.’Hugs, Julia
I love that, Julia; thanks for sharing that gem. I appreciate:)
Much beauty, and much comfort to your heart, in these days to come,
I am so very glad that you have found peace and love.
And hope you can always remember they are your birthright.
Birthright – God, I love that word. Thanks for sharing your insight here, Sue.
I appreciate so much:)
Thank you so much for sharing your journey. Mine is so similar, yet I have never been able to describe it as perfectly as you have. Wishing you a beautiful New Year!
Love to you and your journey, Barbara, and thanks for sharing here.
Such beautiful writing – and gorgeous photos too.
I appreciate so much your encouragement, Fi….such a sweet inspire:)
Thank you, wise young one.
Thank you for sharing here, Jane; I so appreciate:)
You know how much it means to me:)
There is a filling up, isn’t there? That glorious feeling of realization and of being able to relax. Because really, isn’t there God in all of us? And like so many things, when we stop looking SO HARD and just surrender, we see and find it more easily, it appears? (I’m trying to surrender right now and find a board game and a camera that were put in “safe” places. And I know I am trying too hard. But I can’t seem to stop looking in places I’ve searched before, as though it will magically turn up because in my frantic movements before, I simply overlooked it.)
Your story makes me smile and I’m am grateful for your honesty and sharing. It is quite perfect.
I’m glad for your smile, Jeanie – such a bright shiny light:)
Thanks for sharing your heart here; it means the world.
What an amazingly beautiful Love story. Thank you for sharing this! Happy blessed New Year Jenn! 😘✨
And to you, Kathy. Hope this is your sweetest so far:)
And thanks for coming around to read – it means so much to me.
This series has been so beautiful, because it is uniquely yours and told in such a fullsome way. It is so good to follow your journey in that your voice sounds so true to you? I can hear it in my head. Rich, full of pictures and with such colour and courageous seeking. Thanks for being so brave!!!
fullsome – gosh I love that.
Thanks so much for your encouraging words, Catherine.
I appreciate so 🙂
I can so relate to looking to the experts and “wanting so bad to fit in that I followed along fearful”. I remember years ago having lunch with my pastor and telling him that I just didn’t fit in because I couldn’t quote scripture like the others and that I had to quit the young adult group because they looked at me like I was a rogue. He sweetly confided in me that the other youth that looked down upon me all had their own “issues” and used religion to make themselves feel in control and “normal”. They were all struggling and trying “not to be left out”. Divorce, alcoholism, money problems, etc., the list was long but recognizable. He explained that some people used being able to quote scripture as a way to legitimize their belonging. He advised me to realize that coming into the young adult group was like walking into the first day of typing class. You hear the tap, tap, tap of the keys. It sounds like a flurry of activity as if everyone is typing 100 words per minute. Fear arises and you tell yourself, I can’t do this, I don’t know how or I can’t do what the others are doing. I don’t fit in here. BUT, what you don’t know is that the group of 20 people are all typing at about 30 words a minute. It is just the noise of that many people typing at the same time that overwhelms you. They are no better than you and they are still learning to overcome their world’s, just like you. Please don’t let these struggling young Christians who are in pain, struggling, and working hard, make you feel “less than”. God loves you all and he is working with and through you all. Have empathy for all of the “scripture quoters”, more than likely, they are in terrible pain. I still remember this life changing lesson to this day. I will always love Sandy for his amazing sermons and guidance. God brings us the love, caring, and parenthood that we need through those who love him. Praise be to God.
Love you my dear Sister!
What insightful words, Patty – thanks for sharing. No “less than” about any of us, is there.
Such a lifetime of wisdom there. Thanks for this heartshare, friend. Treasure it I do:)
Those last lines brought tears to my eyes with their truth. I was right there with you, in our trying so hard, doing all the good stuff; that’s probably why those words hit right in my heart. Love this one—and you!
Love you big, Anne.
Thanks for coming by and I love that we share so much,
Wow. Just WOW Jennifer. Every single time I come here I’m blown away. Your words…
Thanks for coming by, Robin:) I love it when we get to share the wind:)