There’s a decision to make

Originally posted on Mudroom.

I can feel the tears

And this time I’m trying really hard to stay near You

But I can feel the water behind my eyes

Sometimes making it hard for me to see You.

 

I can feel the waves of doubt

Hitting me like bullets in a windstorm

And I’m squinting my eyes

Trying to see You although my vision often times feels weary and worn.

 

But I did say that I would seek You

In hope as well as in despair.

I did say that this time I would keep You near

And not push You off like You don’t care.

 

I did say that I would not close off my heart

Like I’ve done so many times before.

I did say that I would try out this new journey of trust

Even if it meant walking while I’m sore.

 

And yes, sometimes I feel like I have a limp,

And yet, I have to walk through my daily routine like nothing’s wrong

But this time, I’m trying to stay near Your heart

So I can hear You as You delight over me with a song.

 

There’s a decision to make.

I can hear an old soundtrack playing a familiar tune.

It invites me to cast off this fight to be strong

And instead recline to a familiar position that doesn’t trust You with this wound.

 

The familiar tune encourages me to shove off assurance

And keep distrust as the forerunner of thought

While passing the baton to victimization and dismay

Oftentimes keeping any opportunity for peace at fault.

 

And I know that tune

I can sing and belt out every word.

It’s the song that I know all too well

Because in some broken places in my heart, it’s the only song I’ve ever heard.

 

But I said I would listen to new lyrics

Ones that emphasized your faithfulness—even in tears

Lyrics that take away my woe and sorrow

Even if that’s all I’ve known for years.

 

I made a vow to my heart

That I would lean back and let You lead.

So this time I’m not letting my own opinions go first.

I really want You to succeed.

 

I know all too well—the feeling of doubt and distrust.

I’ve practiced that life for far too long

And it took me in painful circles

Even though I was the one who let it go on and on.

 

I’d like to try something new,

And I understand new doesn’t mean shiny and pain free.

New does mean Companionship with You, the Comforter,

Who has promised to remain ever so close to me.

 

You will be here

Even though I might cry, and weep, and fall limp with pain,

But this time I’m not by myself.

I can lean my heart up against You who too has endured the same.

 

I’ve found a friend

Someone who is beckoning to journey this path with me

And even though I at times might feel shame and condemnation

You have come to rescue me from that false identity.

 

I can take a deep breath

And not try to be a superhero without a power or a cape

Instead I can actually stand in His shelter

And let Him save my heart, my emotions, and the day.

 

Goodbye eternal misery

Goodbye to the endless trail of no hope and emptiness

Hello Comfort and Life

Hello to the One who has come to give me rest.

 

Sing Your Song over me Jesus!

Push out everything that would prevent me from hearing.

Sing Your Song over me Jesus!

Help me lean back, I let You lead, You are the only one I want steering.

 

Straining for the Light

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For a long time the threat of a new year brought with it an onslaught of more darkness, more enervating melancholy, more long, gray days ahead to suffer through. It was nothing to celebrate.

At the end of one of those especially difficult years I met Alece Ronzino online. She too had experienced a year (or more!) like that, punctuated by loss and betrayal and hopelessness. In 2009 she decided to find one word to focus on in the new year, instead of a list of resolutions that were quickly and quietly abandoned. One Word 365was born.

One word can change everything. Forget New Year’s Resolutions. Scrap the long list of goals that you won’t remember three weeks from now anyway. Choose just one word. One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live or what you want to achieve by the end of 2016. One word. 365 days. A changed life. ~Alece Ronzino

The last four years I’ve participated brought some incredible changes to my life. I became more focused, more hopeful, more inspired to hold fast, keep going, and expect good things. I’ve been challenged to be fearless. I have committed to believing. I have thrown myself into creativity. Most recently, I have spent a year contemplating possibility and what that looks like fleshed out in real life, and right now it looks like The Mudroom. I doubted it was possible a year ago, yet giving space for possibility to bloom made it a reality.

I’ve been brought low and robbed of energy by chronic pain. I’ve spiraled into dark depression. Anxiety has left me dizzy and breathless. I’ve been facing childhood sexual abuse head on and I have the bruises and scars to show for it. I’ve been humbled by my own darkness, my secret sins that cast a shadow over my heart and steal the light from my eyes. I’ve staggered under the weight of loneliness and grief and fear and despaired of ever feeling strong again.

My One Word for 2016 is restore.

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The locusts have ravaged me, leaving me bereft. I hardly know what plenty, abundance, fullness feels like. I find myself returning to that field of devastation, the locusts leaving nothing of worth behind. But there is a promise and I am claiming it.

Joel 2:25-32 (ESV)
25 I will restore to you the years
that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
my great army, which I sent among you.
26 “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
and praise the name of the Lord your God,
who has dealt wondrously with you.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.
27 You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
and that I am the Lord your God and there is none else.

In these verses God is not telling his people to buck up, man up, cowgirl up, grow up, deal with it, get over it, or pull yourself together. He is acknowledging that this is a straight-up disaster, a full-on calamity. He sees and validates the wreckage and the ruin that has devastated his people, who have been left desolate. He tells them that it was his great army, obeying his command, meting out justice, which caused this cataclysm.

But God.

God is a God of restoration, redemption, healing, and deliverance. He is a God of double portions and spacious places. He removes shame and exchanges it for radiance.

Jeremiah 30:17
For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord
Isaiah 61:7
Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion
Hosea 6:1
“Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.”

He will not leave us as orphans. He will not treat us as our sins deserve. He will not ignore our cries for mercy. There is no shadow of turning in him.

In Life Together, Dietrich Bohoeffer penned a paragraph that all of us should write on our mirrors. He was referring to the morning, but I have replaced day with year.

For Christians the beginning of the [year] should not be burdened and oppressed by besetting concerns for the [year’s] work. At the threshold of the new [year] stands the Lord who made it. All the darkness and distraction of the dreams of night retreat before the clear light of Jesus Christ and his wakening Word. All unrest, all impurity, all care and anxiety flee before him. Therefore, at the beginning of the [year] let all distraction and empty talk be silenced and let the first thought and the first word belong to him whom our whole life belongs.

My proclamation for 2016 is to not be oppressed by the besetting concerns for this year’s work, but to face it with excitement and expectation. I will remember that God stands at the threshold of this year, like a sentry, offering protection but also reminding me that every day is a battle, but one I don’t fight in vain or alone. Darkness and distraction are no match for the light of Jesus and his wakening Word. Restlessness, impurity, worry, and fear have no place in this year. My first thought and first word of this year, and every morning in it, belong to God who has “destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

The onset of a new year isn’t a threat to me anymore. It doesn’t hold the same bleakness and grim prospects as it did previously. I’m determined to wrestle until I’m limping. I’m done with ashes and mourning and shadows and death. I’ve had enough of despondency and gloom. I’m aching for the light.

Who’s aching with me?

Tammy Perlmutter

Writer at Raggle-Taggle
Tammy Perlmutter writes about unabridged life, fragmented faith, and investing in the mess at her blogRaggle-Taggle. She founded The Mudroom to make room in the mess and create a space for people to beheard. Tammy guest posts a bit, writes flash memoir, personal essay, and poetry, leads writing groups, and preaches on occasion. She is also an advocate for women and mental health, an alum of the Voices and Faces Project testimonial writing workshop, The Stories We Tell, for survivors of sexual assault, abuse, and trafficking, as well as the Social Media Director for Threads of Compassion, an organization offering comfort to recent victims of sexual trauma. She will have an essay included in the book Soul Bare: Raw Reflections on Human Redemption, being published by InterVarsity Press in 2016.
 . . . reblogged from Mudroom

Look at yourself through His eyes

This is for all of you who struggle with a positive image of yourselves, finding it hard to believe that God could love you.

When you have an inferiority complex–and who of us hasn’t–you say things like, “I just don’t believe that what God made is good.  Look at me.  I’m a louse.”  Don’t dare to challenge God like this.  Everything he made is good, including yourself.  Don’t listen to that serpent who is giving you apples that look red on the outside and are full of inferiority complexes on the inside.  Don’t eat that apple, or else you are going to go down into a pit prepared by Satan for you for your whole life.

How can you have a wrong image of something or someone that God touched?  God touched you and he created you.  You passed through his mind and you were begotten.  Anyone of us that passes through God’s mind, anyone of us that God touched, cannot be this horrible person we think we are.  No!  Each one of us is beautiful–we’re beautiful because he touched us.

Sometimes this is very difficult for us to accept.  We look at ourselves and say, “He made us in his image, equal to himself in a manner of speaking, heir to his Son?  This just can’t be.  He hasn’t looked into my heart.  he doesn’t know what I’m made of!”  We say those silly things because our evaluation of ourselves is very poor.  We haven’t looked at ourselves with the merciful, tender, compassionate eyes of God.  So we walk in despair half the time.  As a result, the ability to realize that God is both in our midst and in us–a realization that is the fruit of faith–fades and disappears.

This is the main reason, it seems to me, why the Father sent his Son to us, why the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us as one of us.  The Father, having given us the fantastic gift of faith, wanted to help us accept this awesome gift.  He sent his Son Jesus Christ so that we, unbelieving, might believe.  We are like children; we need to touch.

Every human being is a mystery.  The mystery of man enters into the mystery of God, and bursting forth with great joy, comes faith and understanding.  When faith is there, all is clear, and a love relation with God enters into your heart.  When you have faith, it is such a simple thing to accept his love, even if you do not understand why he loves you.  (Catherine de Hueck Doherty)

Praying for you that you have faith in His love for you.