11/13/18

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Day 125

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Father,

I can’t see

What You are doing.

The sky is dark &

Rain is pouring,

But I will not say,

“go away.” because

I know this is blessing:

The eggs & beans, the

way Dad makes tea the only 

Way I will drink it—with lots

Of brown sugar & milk, The

Way I watch him make me 

InLaugh over songs on the radio

Like he did when I was young.

The way he gives me almonds

& cheese curds—the two bowls

Of chili & kit kat bars when I am

Least expecting them. It is somewhere 

Between watching the finale of the Great 

British Baking Show or that Match 74 game

Show that I think about him again, what he 

Said, about dad and I having a relationship

& I think, this is it. I feel You so deeply when

We sit together with olives & cheese & pickles

& watching a show I didn’t think Dad would like

Is where I find Your face, And this is what I wish

I could explain to this guy who keeps stealing

my thoughts—do you ever think about the 

Simplest gift we all miss?—it is not the food &

drink—but Jesus’ presence in every face?

In ever sip of that drink? In ever bite before

The swallow? In the silence of not saying

At all, but soaking up the relationships we are

Given at birth? Presence. It is everything. 

But mostly God, I wonder why he keeps

Coming to mind—snippets of conversations 

When I am still & immersed in something

Else. I wonder if he thinks of these 

talks we had—the way I opened myself

up, Jesus, in a way I never knew I could—

I am grateful for him even if all he did 

Was help me see I can be open & make me 

Grateful for what is front of me. I

Still want to talk to him about You

Because I’ve felt that inner fire burning;

The joy of Your love 

& the connection we had,

Sharing about the day,

but all I can see is a dead

end.

3/13/18

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Day 83

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Jesus,

Thank You for
Bringing the sorrow
To spill so freely & I
Beg You to hold me—
It happens so quickly
How I feel so unworthy,
Only here to do for, not
Be with. Is this how You
Felt when You came to set
Us free? Did not the Pharisees
Ask for miracles? No, they wanted
To clarify what was in the word when
The Word was standing right before them.
But I wouldn’t know (still don’t sometimes)
When love and mercy & faithfulness—You
in all Your glory are in front of me. When
You just want to hug me, ask about my day,
Share a meal with me. Laugh with me. Catch
Salty tears in Your hand—watch them dissolve
Into Your palm, nailed down to set me free. To
Be near me. To touch my face & call me lovely
Though today I see a girl empty. A girl who feels
Pressed in by darkness heavy, seeking the silence
Of me.

Lord, have mercy on me.

Your Tender-haired girl

I don’t need your presents,

just your presence.

I said these words on my birthday. They were to comfort a friend, who told me her gift would be coming later.

Everyone laughed. Or maybe there were a lot of was and smiles.

I can’t remember everything exactly. I wanted that to be the truth though.

In a way, it was. I was grateful for the people standing/sitting around that table with me. My mom, brother, sister, even my bestie for the restie who drove an hour to celebrate with me.

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My heart was still in a state of wanting. At the time, I thought, “God, I’m so overwhelmed. I don’t want to open this card, or finish this cake. I just want to stay in the moment with these people. Please.”

If you’ve read my poetry, you know I have tough time letting things go. Letting them be. When I’m given something, taken somewhere, or around someone, I never want to fully engage.

I’m afraid they will leave. Seriously, when I get a book or letters in the mail, I keep them in the package awhile instead of ripping the package open.

“But Julia, that is crazy. Don’t you want what they took time to send?”

Of course I do. Half the time, I don’t know how to enjoy things, so I put it off. Or, I do enjoy something, like my birthday, and long for stay.

In Emily’s new book, Simply Tuesday, she says, “Presence is what we all need to feel secure.” Presence for me has always been a book, a person, or a cat. I’ve never thought about it in terms of God’s presence.

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I don’t want this be taken like I idolize either of these. Because if you want to know another truth, I’m afraid to get close to people for this reason. I’m afraid I already do.. Which is why I sometimes feel like God has me in long-distance friendships. Because he and I both know I get all, Oh, I have to talk to them!! Their light is so pretty!! We need to besties!

Every time I catch myself, God pulls me away. I won’t tell Him I’m doing it, either. Well, that is til I’m crying, Why do I feel so alone, God?!

You aren’t spending time with Me.

He’s the only presence that will make me feel secure. Not the unread (or half read) books. Not the people in my life. Far away. Yes, they may have God’s light inside them, but they aren’t Him.

Writing this shows me I place my hope so far away from Jesus. I’m crying right now typing this,. It could be because it’s easier to see the temporary when so much of my has felt as if I’m waiting to be punished.

I know my guilt. I know the way I buy books, swearing I’ll read them, but I don’t. I know how I hear of a new Starbucks drink and can get one that day, when I know it can be better spent on groceries.

Books and Starbucks drinks are held until they are gone. They aren’t Him.

No matter how many times I turn away from His presence, He turns toward me.

And maybe I saw this on my birthday. Despite the hesitation to receive, He still gave His attention to me. He still gave His word to me:

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Eph 2:10 NASB)

I want to walk in these good works. I want to receive them, knowing he secures me in his love. His presence.

looking down without mo(u)rning

with an infomercial
playing on about
weight loss—I
see you. eating
a peanut butter
& raspberry jelly
sandwich, you
are suddenly
awoken & gazing
in my eyes, before
laying back down.
golden girls comes
on the screen & i want
tears falling, but they
don’t—only sting you
are gone.

i love how Jesus holds me when I go back to a memory. when my grandma was here, she used to watch Golden Girls, or read the paper while I ate a chocolate muffin my grandpa and uncle picked out. sometimes it was healthy… most of the time, chocolate was it. so, i’d be sitting in the chair in the family room, while she’d be on the couch reading. i’d watch some of the show, but I was always struck by how she sat and read. really, being in her presence. i loved the morning quiet where we never had to talk. when we did, she typically told me good morning and i jumped.

she asked me a lot why i never said good morning   was i scared? yes. i don’t know why. i think maybe though it was excitement.. i’d get to sit with her. i don’t know why I miss this so much. or why another person can remind me of so much. unknowingly, too.

leaving presence in place

i hear his anger
in my dream—
what is wrong
with all of you?!
he wants to be
a lone, without
love beside, behind
before & i can’t quit
staring. the desk he is
sitting in, scatters work,
home; life disheveled
his face. i notice the
woman at his right
try holding hands,
but he thwarts away
after a moment. i am
standing a few feet
away with i love you
drumming under breath
i lost for fear’s sake-

my dreams are getting memorable, i feel i’m living every one. i wake up with this feeling i’m still where the dream took place. with this dream, i woke up today & thought: jesus, is that you?  i seriously laid there & thought yes, that’s you in the crack in the shutter (which is white). but i swore i saw a face smiling at me. & i wanted to touch his robe, but i looked on, dumbfounded.

there was comfort among the rain still poring out my pains. God, you really do see me & no matter how my dreams whisper, quite the contrary, your gaze stays precious, honored upon me.

& all i can hear in all these crazy thoughts , you are whispering: you matter to me. heavy as the rain outside, you’ve flooding me (just as i asked yesterday) with this truth. i saw this morning, yesterday, the day before & probably every day before.

you are good, faithful, in my wondering, blindness, God. thank you for carrying me this far, for carding me to your chest as a sheep, for smiling on mr when i don’t think i deserve it, for healing on your wing, and the compassion that never ends.

i know you are fighting the depression with those hands that clothe the lilies, rain, summer sun, & winter my soul has felt left in.

but i know you are God. you’ve collected the tears i’ve cried, heard every sigh & groan, anger i let convince me it’s best to be alone, complain. but still, you haven’t let me go. you have brought me low to lift my head again & again, up,to remind me you haven’t gone anywhere. nor do you plan.

you’ve just been moving the pace love goes.

slow. patient. kind. understanding. hopeful.

i ask that as people come to celebrate me today  (a day after my birth), you hold me with your righteous right hand  & replace this rolling sorrow with a smile that softens me. and i’d like to dance in rain, so if you could make that happen, the tears will probably spill gratitude.

have i mentioned i love you?