Monday, August 29, 2016

Opposites


To feel the stretch of opposites,
the bitterness of death,
and the joy of life,
I came here.

But in this place
I make mistakes.
I don't write for three weeks straight,
lock myself out of things
and forget appointments.

My body,
the very thing I wanted more than anything,
sometimes cannot carry a baby past five weeks.

My soul touches things so bitter,
cold and lonely
It cannot help but bare a scar.

Depression is my shadowed companion,
Anxiety, my inner mind.
I've descended from a place on high,
and lost myself here in the dark.

So when I think of that,
how unsave-able, unfix-able my weaknesses are,
I finally start to understand in part,
how utterly unmatch-able His rescue is.

He, unlost, unfallen, Divine,
comes through filth, crosses chasms,
descends into this dark
baring scars upon His palms.

To find me.

So I can have this.
The hurt, the pain, the sorrow.
But also that.
Saving, light, redemption.

The sound of songs, and voice, and rushing water.
The touch of child fingers in my own.
The smell of strawberry jam simmering on the stove.
A paint brush on a canvas.
My fingers on the keyboard.

The warm encircling embrace
of my forever
reflected in my husband's arms.

And the pains of life turn into victories
every loss is treasure to my soul.

This I take for that.
Ever and ever chosen again.
Death and sorrow for life and joy.
Opposites as teacher.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Politics of Fear and a Culture of Heroes


Imagine my hesitation when I realized I was gearing up to write a political post. Me. A thirty-year-old woman in a tiny rental house with no credentials to my name. My job is stay-at-home-mom. I write books as a hobby. I teach 3 and 4-year-old kids every other Sunday and walk the same trail most mornings in a never ending loop.
I've never traveled outside of the US.
I've only been on a plane once.
I haven't even got a degree yet. There's no reason to listen to me.
But.
None of that invalidates me. I may be small in the way of worldly sizing, but maybe, just maybe, that's what this post is going to be about. Size. Perhaps this little blog is where it needs to be said.

The heroes in our culture all started out small.
Luke Skywalker pit himself against the entire Empire with nothing on his side but a few rebels, an old spaceship, a smuggler, and a wookie.
Frodo set out to save Middle Earth with a group of nine that slowly dwindled down to two.
Harry Potter ultimately walked out to meet Lord Voldemort all alone.

We revere the courage of our heroes, admire their faith in the idea that good will prevail, and cheer them when they get back up after falling and keep going.
Is this only a thing of stories?

Maybe.

But the founding fathers were small in numbers when they wrote The Declaration of Independence.
Rosa Parks was just one woman on a bus.
And Miep Gies along with a few others who hid Anne Franks and her family weren't safe from the German government when they decided to do it anyway.

Every time I look, in stories everywhere, God is saving people, healing nations and making change in small ways with small numbers and small people. What a wonderful thing to be small!

When Israel was freed from Egypt, God sent one man with a staff.
When Haman conspired to have all the Jews killed, God sent a single woman before the king.
When our Heavenly Father wanted to save all His children, He sent a baby in a manger.

Do you believe in God's power? Do you believe in good? Do you really, really believe?
Do I?

One thing our heroes often have in common is courage in the face of fear. They do the right thing despite being afraid. If this is the common thread among our heroes, isn't it strange that I'm seeing the opposite preached in so many places?  There are voices telling me that being small and out numbered are a good enough reasons to abandon truth, honesty, kindness, humanity, and my own integrity.

Since when did the founding fathers add to the constitution "The President of the United States is first and foremost to serve their party and all who vote are really voting for a party not the man or woman?" My loyalty isn't to the party. Why can't my loyalty be to America? And the principles of compromise, logical discussion, and courage that our forefathers exemplified?

Our heroes often faced great evils but they didn't become heroes by becoming like their enemies, refusing to talk or understand each other, or by never compromising. We need to start listening to each other. We need to stop being afraid of each other.

I grew up on heroes.
My teachers, my parents, my friends, maybe even you, fed me stories of one hero pitted against thousands.
But when the time comes to stand up.
When it's time to be that hero.
I'm told by some to fall in line.
Comply with the best chance numbers.
Act on fear.

No.
I won't do it.
I don't care if who I do vote for ends up losing. I don't care if the dreaded "other" party takes over as a result. I'm not going to fail prey to fear.

Why?

Because I want to look in my children's eyes and tell them I didn't back down when things got murky, confusing and hard. I want them to know I stood for kindness, compassion, honesty, and accountability and I did my best to find someone like that to vote for, even if it meant learning to compromise in healthy ways or understand another's view point.

I never want them ask me why I voted for someone I didn't believe in or feel good about and have to say it was because I was afraid, outnumbered, or that I simply gave up and joined the crowd.

I'm raising my children on heroes.
And I'm not going to be the person that lets them down. I won't be the hero that gave up, walked out or cowered in fear.

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7)

Do you remember singing this song?

"We will not retreat, though our numbers may be few 
when compared with the opposite host in view; 
But an unseen pow'r will aid me and you 
in the glorious cause of truth. 
Fear not though the enemy deride; 
courage, for the Lord is on our side. 
We will heed not what the wicked may say, 
but the Lord alone we will obey." 
(Let Us All Press On, Hymns, 243)

Do you believe that? I do!

No matter who you or I vote for, I hope you don't pick out of fear. Pick because you felt in your heart that it was the best choice. Do it with hope in a better tomorrow. Do it with gratitude for the founding fathers and for America.

And then. No matter who wins, no matter how dark things get, keep being the sort of hero that you want your children to admire. Still be kind. Still seek for truth before believing a rumor. Think and wait before passing judgment. Still stand for love, kindness, and humanity.

Think of this as our time to rise, our time to be heroes, to face our own incredible odds. Think of God and refuse to be guided by fear. To Him, numbers don't matter. Ever. Ask any bible hero; Daniel, Deborah, David. Ask the Nephites form the Book of Mormon. Ask Alma, Ammon, and Moroni.

And then go and be the your own sort of Luke, Frodo, or Harry. Because it's the right thing to do. Not because you'll always win, but because you are the sort of hero that believes in good and reaching for something better. Do it because you know that God will prevail in the end and that is the side you must know in your heart that you are on. Always.