Friday Prayer: Spent

Cross-posted over at RevGalBlogPals:

JMaple1

 

Divine One,
I sing an “Alleluia!”
to the frailty
the glory
the richness of color
in a gasp of glory.
O Holy One,
in these leaves we see
your Divine creative spark,
and a reminder that we are frail and failing.

In seasons of drabness,
in moments of weakness,
in longing for warmth
and hope
and peace,
may we see you,
may we know you,
may we renew our hearts and minds
and prepare to bud forth
with an “Alleluia!”
again and again.

Amen.

Friday Prayer: We are here (cross-posted)

Published over at RevGals this morning:


We are here, Holy One.

We are here as witnesses
To those who hurt
Who cry
Who rage
Who have been abused
Who have died
Who have been treated unjustly…

We are here, Holy One.
We lift up to You
Our Maker and Redeemer
The silent tears
The raging fears
The pain of years…

We are here, Holy One.

How much we need
Your soothing balm
Your winds of change
Your waves of justice
Your powerful grace
Your love encircling us and our weary world…

Amen
and Amen. 

Holding in the brokenness

By request: Trigger warnings for sexual assault and harassment.

2013-09-09 12.46.13

It happens in an instant. The moment gets replayed, again and again. You learn to shut off the cycle, to get help to process the anger and embarrassment, to feel safe.

But the bottom line is that it never should have happened. Never. You did not deserve it. You did not cause it to happen. 

There are ways to re-glue your brokenness. There are ways to disguise the cracks, the signs of repair. But you will always know they are there. You will forget them for longer and longer periods of time. You will still have a kick in the gut when you remember.

It’s OK. It will be OK. 

You tell people you trust. Really trust. It’s hard. And you learn you can trust people to support you.

But then… You tell people you shouldn’t have trusted. And they accuse or shift blame to you. Sometimes, without your permission, they tell other people. And you feel the cracks again. And you grit your teeth and pursue healing. Again.

Sexual assault is real.

Sexual harassment is real.

Sexual microagressions are real. 

If you are reading this and have a burden of brokenness too big to carry on your own, please find support, get an ally, or look for help. You are worth it. You are loved. You are lovable always, forever, completely, as you are, as you will be.

There are many pastors, counselors and friends who will stand with you. They will listen. They will believe you. They will provide tissues (when you need them) and a strong shoulder (when you need that, too). I am one of them, or I will try to be. But there are many, many more…

It’s OK to be broken, by the way. It’s OK to have “a history” that makes others sad or uncomfortable. It’s more than OK to not have things all figured out (the “why me” moments are raw and real.) It’s also OK to have that brokenness out there, untended, wild and raw. It’s OK not to have your hurt “fixed” or “held in.” I’m not suggesting that’s your goal. And people will try to shush you. Don’t. Speak up. 

One last thing. You do not have to tell your story to everyone who asks. You can simply say #MeToo (full stop).

Please take care of you. You’re the only You we’ve got.

LINKS and HELPS

There are many, MANY links out there. Too many. Here’s four sites that I trust, and I think that you can, too.

 

Ashes Again

Reposted from RevGalBlogPals Friday Prayer:

ashes

I saw the wildfires, Lord.
The flames licking at houses, scorching trees.
The stuff of homes and families and memories…
GONE.
I am undone.
The raging power of the flames scared me,
their passion was so all-consuming.
but unlike the fires,
You are not capricious.
You are not destructive.

I searched my heart…

In the haze of my busy-ness, do I sense You?
Do I know the heat of Your love?
Do I feel Your unbridled power?
Do I feel at all?
What is burning? What is glowing?
What inspiration burns inside me?

In the past,
I have longed, burned for You…
But now,
I am tired and distracted,
Brittle with anger
instead of supple with your Grace.

Rekindle my joy
Rebuild my heart
Remind me of the transforming power
of Your love
again and again.

Amen.
and Amen.

O Joy?

oJoy

There is this strange idea in some strands of Christianity that we will never have problems or have “bad things happen” if we are truly Jesus-loving people. As if.

From the first fig leaf, humanity has seen and known pain, discouragement and doubt. But that’s not what sells, is it?

The kiddie Bible my kids had growing up reinforced this. All the characters (who were remarkably Caucasian looking… which is another essay…) were all smiling and content. There were a few pictures of the Israelites frowning about manna burgers, I guess. And maybe a few tears at the tombs of Lazarus and Jesus, but the Christian faith was, for the most part, this “in-right-out-right-up-right-down-right-happy-all-the-time” religion. (That song still makes me shudder. And bonus points to you if you don’t know it. If I just gave you an ear worm, I’m sorry!)

I’m not suggesting we teach children “life sucks and then you die” either (just to be clear). But there needs to be a balance. Enough of a balance that when the hard times come, there is a reserve of faith that says, “I will get through this… with the help of God and God’s people.”

We live in disturbing times. Frustrating times. Fear-mongering times. Hate speech fills the airwaves.

This should not surprise us. It is as much a part of our Christian lives as walking in joy and seeing glory! A full-rounded faith does celebrate, but it also mourns. We are called to  embracing pain. Accepting change. Finding hope in the unknown. Making sense out of nonsense.

When I was thinking about the world’s events over the last few months, the old hymn by Robert Matheson came to mind. How often do I remember that God is made real in our lives is many ways?

A Love that will not let me go…
A Light that follows my way…
A Joy that seeks me through pain…
The cross that lifts up my head…
(Full lyrics here.)

Yes, it’s a schmaltzy old hymn. But the thread of faith through the verses brings me some comfort and courage. Perhaps you, as well.

O Joy? Yes. Joy. One frustrated, tired, hoping, yearning step at a time. There’s joy.

From my journal recently:

I’d like to know why, God.
I really would.
I could go through the whole alphabet of whys…
And I can say trite words and cheap phrases
to make myself feel better…
But that’s not how faith works.

And every time I think I might understand
A little more
Another piece of insight into Your world,
Some tsunami of stupid knocks me flat.
And here I am
Again.
Asking why.

So there’s doubts.
O God, so many doubts.
And there’s pain.
I’m tired of pain.
But then… There’s beauty and grace and love
And laughter and hope and joy,
so much joy!!
And the Spirit winging me upward
for just a glimpse
for just a taste of Glory.

And it’s enough.
It’s enough to say one more day,
I love you.
Thank you.
Let’s do this thing called “life”
one more day.

SDG

Sept 2017

Another?

Psalm1021

Another?
Another shooting?

Whatever the reason…
Whoever has done this…
I do not understand.
I feel helpless…
The loss of lives, the stunned survivors…

I cannot make excuses or place blame.
(But, God, how I want to!)
My anger rises at the impotent lawmakers,
The greed of the gun lobbyists…

My heart can only cry out,
“Another?”

How many votives will I light?
How long will it take to light them?
And then… to watch them flicker out,
one by one by one…
life by life by life…

My heart can only cry out,
“Another?”