Signs

Last night Craig was sleeping with his head on my shoulder and I just realized I’ve been given a second chance at life. In another generation having diverticulitis and a hole in your intestines would be a death sentence. Your intestines would leak and you would get sepsis and die. But modern medical technology, as gross as this bag is, allows me to have a second chance to live my life and be with my husband. And that’s a beautiful thing because I can’t imagine being without him. And I can’t imagine leaving him alone to spend his days and nights by himself and raise our daughter alone.

Nonetheless I woke up this morning depressed by my bag. As I was sitting on the sofa feeling tired and depressed, Angelica randomly brought me one of my Bible devotionals. It was open to a page about guardian angels and I realized there’s an angel around me. I’m not alone. I have an angel watching over me. It gives me some comfort.  Maybe my guardian angel was convincing me to go to the hospital on the day my intestines opened up. I was in pain, but I couldn’t imagine that anything was seriously wrong so I was on the fence about going to the hospital. I almost didn’t go. If I hadn’t my intestines might have leaked and I would have had sepsis and died. I can’t imagine leaving Angelica motherless.

Later on I opened the devotional myself to a random page and the page landed on was about trials and tribulations. It was about God rewarding you at the end of a trial. This is a trial to me. But if I can get through this I will be rewarded with abundant life when it is over – if I draw closer to God.

It’s funny how these devotionals can really speak to you and just the way you need in times of stress and duress. It’s the workings of God.

Advertisements

Why Me

A week or so before we left for the trip and this whole health fiasco happened with my stomach, my husband put on an old episode of Mother Angelica.  In it she talked about being in a situation where she was asked to do things she didn’t feel capable of doing and she kept wondering why me. So she prayed to Christ and said, “why me?” And he answered her, “why me?”

I remember thinking how profound that was, and that maybe there was a reason I needed to hear that. Then two weeks later I am in the hospital with a hole in my stomach. A week after that, my stomach has been pulled through my skin and I am excreting into a large, uncomfortable bag.

At a time like this, it is easy to ask, “why me?” I have had a hard year with two surgeries and a bone infection and being on PICC line antibiotics for weeks. And now this. And I’m only 28. Why the hard year?

But then why did Christ, who was blameless as a flower, have to suffer on the cross and die. By rights it should have been someone who did such a terrible wrong that they earned it, but He was white as snow and still had to pay with His crimson blood for our sins.

My troubles are so small compared to His suffering. And life is not fair. And our Father takes care of all of us. And why not me? Diverticulitis is going to happen to someone. Why not me?

If I’m smart, I’ll use this trial to draw closer to God. It’s hard to imagine, but it is probably what I need.

How Does God Feel

” When I met my husband, I liked him. As I spent time with him, I got to know him more and more. We talked and laughed and even cried together and I realized my like had turned into love, and I couldn’t get enough of him. When God surveys our love for Him I wonder what He sees. Does He find us being in “like” with Him only? Is He sorrowful for what He knows our relationship could be but isn’t because of the absence of time together? Is He sad when we talk and laugh and cry only with others? Does he weep when we let the fire of our love grow cold?” -Lynda Hunter Bjorklund

Reading this made a light bulb go off in my head. Isn’t it amazing that we have a God who cares? This is a reciprocal relationship. It isn’t just that we as human beings are concerned with drawing close to God and being loved by God, but God wants to draw close to us and He wants us to love Him. He loves us. The almighty creator of the universe cares about us and how we feel about Him. He wants to be in communion with us.

Do I give God enough love and attention? Do I laugh and cry with God? I do not. I pray to thank Him for my many blessings. I pray to Him to help people in need. But when is the last time I poured my heart out to God? Am I close to God?

If I want to be closer to him I need to talk to Him more, and listen to Him more.

Laziness and Sloth

Sometimes I open a random page in my devotionals instead of reading it in order, to see what message might be speaking to me.  It’s the same way I tend to read the Scriptures. Today I just happened to open to an entry about laziness and sloth.

“The path of lazy people is overgrown with briers, the diligent walk down a smooth road.” Proverbs 15:19.

“No matter how much you want, laziness won’t help you a bit. But hard work  will reward you with more than enough.” Proverbs 13:4

I could have opened to any page in the devotional. I had no idea what page was what and could have chosen anything. But my fingers and my eyes alighted on this. And I think there’s a reason.

I have been lazy. I’ve been lazy with the housework and lazy with the yard (I’m afraid of bugs), and lazy with my body. I’ve even been lazy with parenting. Angelica should be in sign language lessons and dance and piano. I take her to speech therapy, but that is it. Dance might have to wait until we move to Colorado and she can start a full year from beginning to end the following fall. Piano and sign language though I need to get started on. I’ve been lazy with my body by being sedentary. I don’t move much. This is not a commentary on my weight, as there are plenty of people as lazy as me who are smaller than me and plenty of people who move more than me who are bigger. But it is a simple truth that I don’t exercise. I should get an exercise bike.

I’ve been lazy with housework. Sometimes I don’t keep up with it because of my mood, sometimes because I’m just not very good at it, but sometimes it is because I am being lazy. I am very fortunate in that God has blessed me with a beautiful house and lots of things in that house. I need to take better care of them.

My devotional says that whatever it is I am doing, menial or great, I should do my  best. I am a homemaker and mother and writer. But am I being the best homemaker I can be? The best mother? The best writer? I’ve been slothful about submitting my work to magazines over the past year. Am I engaged enough with Angelica? How can I give her a leg up on education and self development? Am I being the best wife I can be? What can I do to make my husband’s life easier and more comfortable?

These verses and this passage in my devotional have convicted me today. I think I’m going to go fold laundry and organize the bathroom. Now. Right now.

The Excitement of Christianity

Being a Christian is exciting. I got brand new devotionals on Saturday, the first devotionals I have ever had. We went to Books a Million and I found so many I loved that I just couldn’t stop. One of them even talks about headcovering. That spoke to me immediately. But all sorts of topics are covered, and they are designed for women. One focuses on women of the Bible and verses addressed to women. Another has morning and evening reflections for each day based on scripture. Another is a Biblical meditation on finding beauty.

If you like self improvement, living creatively, creativity and art, studying, reading, and anything timeless then Christianity is a thrill. Personally, I love always having something I’m working on, and my faith always gives me new goals to accomplish. Whether it’s delving deeper into the Bible, working on my personal relationships, or practicing submission, the quest to follow my Savior always means I’m a work in progress. I like that feeling.

Worship creates so many opportunities for creative people because there are so many ways to worship God. Singing, writing, painting, crafting, graphic design, photography,carpentry, and so many other things can be used to worship God.

If you like reading, the Bible is an amazing book because no matter how many times you read it you will stumble across verses that feel brand new because you are seeing them in a new light. I recently read one page of the Bible ten times in a row and it was so thought provoking that I’m going back to that page. As I get older and have new life experiences, verses speak to me in ways they didn’t used to. One verse can apply to numerous subjects and situations. I love education and discovery, and I feel like I get an education every time I open the Bible.

Maybe one of the most exciting things about Christianity for me is that it isn’t fashionable. It’s not cool. It’s timeless and unchanging. It’s more vintage than vintage. And yet, like a dancer, my faith is flexible, pirouetting gracefully from era to era, just as full of energy and vitality today as it was at its birth.

Christ is electric ecstasy.

Happiness and Love and Light

I feel at peace, like nothing can touch me. I am happy with my husband, happy as a mother. I’ve found God. I am creatively fulfilled with my writing. I have images and visions in my head all the time, and I get to spend my life trying to capture them on paper. I can explore other dimensions through writing poetry.

I am joyful under my veil, ecstatic looking out my window. I am a writer, which I always wanted to be. I’m a housewife, which is the opposite of what I used to want to be, but I have found a lot of tranquility and freedom in it.

I love poetry. I am passionate about all the colors of the rainbow. I adore my daughter’s voice. I’m in awe of my husband’s love. I am complete.

List of things I love:

-My husband

-my baby girl

-my family

-my poetry

-my library

-silence

-film scores

-songs in minor key

-color

-God

-the Bible

-my veils

-the ocean

-scrapbooking

Iconography of a Sinner

This digital creation reminds me in feel and in color scheme of old iconography of saints, only this icon is of a sinner. The more we try to be like God the closer we will be to Him, though He is never far away.

The text is about how I connect to God. I believe in worshiping through artistic creations, loving out loud in color, and communing with God through creativity. Of course, actual communion is important too, and I’m not proud to admit how long it has been since I received communion.

The way God made me, I feel most alive when I am writing and creating. I worship through my creative endeavors, and I long to use my writing and art to bring myself and others closer to God.

Sometimes I question myself based on the verse in Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, where He says, “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others.” Is blogging about my faith journey and submission and headcovering practicing righteousness in front of others?  I hope not. I don’t feel more righteous than anyone else because of my headcovering, and I write about that and my faith and submission because they make me joyful, and because by writing about them I can process my feelings. I am not more righteous than the next person. I am not a good Christian, and I certainly am not trying to project a different image of myself. But I write about my faith because it is important to me, and because I would love to connect with other Christians, and especially with people who might become Christian. You never know who is reading your words and how you might affect them. Sometimes I need to remember that. I would love it if this blog was part of my ministry, if at some point it touched even one person’s life or made them closer to God. If it sends someone searching I’ll be glad. I don’t know that it ever will, but by being as open and authentic as I can and by being willing to talk about God here I think it could potentially have that effect. We aren’t supposed to do good things for the sake of public recognition, but as Christians we won’t have much of a witness if we aren’t openly Christian in public.

One thing I’ve been really struck by are the number of Muslim poetry and faith blogs. I know the Christian ones must be out there, indeed I read some of them. But so many are so commercialized and seem so impersonal. Very few are even vaguely creative or interested in creativity. Whereas one of my favorite poetry blogs I follow is Hijabii in the Rain, a blog by a Muslim girl who writes out poems, dreams, and visions. I haven’t found anything comparable on a Christian website (if you have, please, please pass it along!) and I figure sometimes you need to be the change you wish to see. So to that end I’m going to publish more poetry on here in addition to writing about my daily life and faith. I want it to be a personal and creative space.

If I ever seem self righteous, please tell me and let me know what I could have said or done differently. I just want this blog to be an extension of myself and my life, and I can’t express myself without talking about my faith at least some of the time.

God Like a Spider

The devil is in the trees feeding off

birds and butterflies,

his grim business shattering in silver teeth.

 

God is in the trees spinning webs

Soft, silky, and verdant like a blanket of grass.

 

Spiders fear him.

 

He longs to draw me to Him,

to slip his gentle fangs in my hurt and anesthetize me,

suck out my misery and take it into Him

bleeding for me.