Monday, June 30, 2014

Bone to bone, flesh to flesh, Breath life into me,

       There is this valley filled with bones. and I can feel them across my feet as I shuffle through. This valley filled with dry bones, bones cut off from everything, they echo against each other in the shadows. I ache from this journey through the bone-filled valley...
   And I've been walking through this for quite some time. You could chisel the shape of it into my heart and fill it with all these dry bones. cut off from everything, cut off from hope.  But I think I see something, think I hear something, think I feel something.
   Take a deep breath.
   The wind is coming.

And I wish I could put into words what these last couple months have been like. Like roller coasters, like rainy days, like mountaintops, like valleys.
   And I've been searching and learning what it looks like to follow after Jesus, been trying to dig deep into what that looks like. and I'm seeing that much of my learning to follow Jesus is unlearning to follow myself.
    Which is a hard lesson to learn by a selfish person. One who likes to think she deserves more than what she has. One who likes to believe she has everything figured out. One that too often looks nothing like Jesus and much like a valley of dry bones. Cut off from everything, cut off from hope, cut off from life. And I do it to myself, then turn around and blame someone else, something else. But only I can ask for this wind to blow through these dry bones, only I can ask for the tendons and the flesh and the skin to cover me. and only I can look to Him and ask for His breath, His wind of life to breathe through me. No one else can do it for me, only me.
    I think it's easier to be in this valley and be dry, to be able to have excuses and complaints about things, rather than be walking through this valley filled by the wind and the breath of the spirit. It's easier to walk through a place when we don't stand out, when we blend in, when we are all bone and no life.
    But that's not how I am called to live. I'm not called to walk through this valley of bones, dried up and hopeless. I'm called to walk through with breath, with life, and hope and let God speak through me like He did with Ezekiel and bring these other dry bones back to life!
     Because without the breath of life, we will never really live. I mean we can even have the tendons, and the flesh, the skin, we can have everything but breath and look like we're alive, but without that breath, without that wind deep within us, deep within our lungs we're still just dry bones covered in skin, lying in a valley going nowhere.
    We need this wind. We need this breath. We need life. We need HIM.
 And I believe that life is made up of more valley's than anything and yet we constantly mope around in these, through most of our lives we wait to feel the wind once we get to the mountaintops, when what we should be doing is calling to the wind from down in the valley.
   So I think I realize what I've been doing. I see that I've been like a pile of bones laying in a valley waiting to feel tendons in me, waiting to feel flesh over me, waiting to feel breath through me. waiting to live.
     And I'm like the house of Israel in Ezekiel, who kept saying their bones were dried up, that they had no hope, that they were cut off in the valley.
   But God is calling to me, He's pulling me out of the grave I've dug for myself. He's put tendons on my dry bones, and has given me skin to cover them. and He's breathing His life, His spirit into me. And now I must walk.
    Because I really do believe that it is easier to cut ourselves off in the valleys of life. It's easier to lay down like a pile of dry bones, then to continue to let breath fill our tired lungs and walk on through. to let God bring us forth from the graves we so easily dig for ourselves and guide us, and push us through.
    We can't walk through these valleys and scale their walls to the mountaintops without breath, without God. We'll never survive this life we'll never survive the valleys.
   It's been a crazy couple of months. And the valley's have been so long lately, and i'm exhausted and yet I am still moving, I can still feel His breath in my lungs. There are big changes coming, big goodbyes that I'm nowhere near ready for. this is one of the toughest valleys I think I've ever had to go through. And in the beginning I wanted to lay down, defeated, like a pile of dry bones. But He kept pulling me, pushing me through. His wind rushing through me in these moments in the valley.
   And i've seen so much dependence, so much grace and so much love in all of it.
    No it has not been easy, and I don't think it's going to get any easier. I'm standing on a bridge between valleys and I'm on my knees. I'm not going back to that grave, I'm not going back to dry bones. I'm moving forward through the valley, with Him.

Listen... do you hear that. the rattling sound of bones coming together, bone to bone. do see that. the tendons, the flesh covering bones. do you feel that. the rush of wind, the breath of life moving through?
     He's given us life, so what are we doing with it? We have to get out of the grave and step into life.

   Can these bones live?
    HE alone knows.
    HE alone can give them life.

Bone to bone, flesh to flesh, Breath life into me,

HIS and yours,


Sunday, June 8, 2014

To the people that will live in my house after I move out,

 Welcome. welcome to this house. to this home. a home that is more than a home. it is a life. the walls within the home you’ve just begun to call your own have seen much life and much more love. they hold memories deep inside them and if you are quiet long enough, if you listen to the silence they’ll share their stories. 

and i don’t think you realize what you’ve just purchased, what you are walking into. This may look like a seemingly old farm house, but it’s so much more than that. You are walking into life. You are walking into love. You are walking into memories. 

The bottoms steps creak when you walk up them. You probably won’t notice, I never did until trying to sneak up the stairs at two am when I was suppose to be home at midnight. those three creaks were more severe then my punishment. I never forgot about them afterward. And now I can remember an exact path to avoid the creaks in the stairs. This house will give you away, but it will also hold your secrets once you learn to maneuver it.

On the all seasons porch, I swear if you inhale deep enough you can still smell Christmas in that room. 9 years of christmas, with ribbons and wrapping paper and early morning stockings. Little feet dancing to the gifts receiving. my brother, my sisters, and me. that room didn’t see much, not until Christmas…  like cinnamon rolls and evergreen trees and bits of laughter and arguments over who would open their presents first. I hope you decide to have Christmas in this room, the windows let the lights twinkle through perfectly. 

Oh, out there, by the propane tank. It holds significance for me. Of course because it’s the source of heat and warm showers, but there’s a spot there, when the tank was once a royal blue painted color, and the mulberry juice covers bare feet, on a chilly october evening where I had my first kiss. 13, young and thinking i knew what love was. he was beautiful, with eyes as blue as a mid-afternoon sky. I wouldn’t trade that moment for anything, a game of capture the flag had never been more appealing. I’m hoping there will be moments like that for you in this house, moments of pure joy. 

You see those trees there, yeah the ones lining the fence. Us kids, with our parents, planted every one of those trees. With lots of grumbling to our parents of course, but that’s when I learned how to use a shovel, and what it means to work hard. and looking at those trees now, tall, branches entangled in one another, i have pride in knowing i had a hand in making something beautiful. I know, I know this house is yours now, but please, make it beautiful. 

There used to be a tree house out back. okay i use the term tree house lightly. it was a floor and one wall with a ladder up the trunk. but the tree’s been long gone for years now, struck down by lightening on a stormy evening, and the tree house just another project that was never finished. but my dad taught my sister and i how to work with our hands that summer, and i wouldn’t trade that make-shift tree house and the hours spent with our dad for anything. 

Somewhere in the overgrown grass there’s remnants of a trampoline. oh that trampoline. my sister and i used to practice our gymnastics to country music for hours on end. we would put together skits and make our parents watch. and if you look close enough you can see a baseball diamond worn into the grass. from years of family baseball games. where everyone wanted to be on dad's team because we all knew that's how you win. before we actually were sucked into the world of tv and internet. in the days of carefree childhood, that was this house, carefree childhood. it’s still here, the carefree days, and i hope you find them here in this house. this house that is now your home.

and I know, i  know that garage looks like it’s on its last leg. but the garage has seen good days. It saw my first slow dance ever. it’s seen many feet of kids on birthday parties and housed dogs on sunny days when no one is home. It held my cars safe in it’s old walls during rain and snow storms. It’s where i was taught how to change a tire and check my oil. the garage may not look like much to you, but to me it’s a lot more than a garage. but i know, it’s yours now, so do with it what you will. 

you’ve gotten a deal with the basement. when we moved in my sister and i used to rollerblade around in circles down there, with the dogs on leashes leading us. it was just and empty room with a cement floor where we did laundry. but now it’s finished and ready for you to make memories of your own down there. do me a favor… pull up the carpet and roller blade around for a bit. You’ll love it. 

the kitchen, it’s where everyone entered the house. it has seen everyone who has ever come and gone in this house. we didn’t use the front door, we never did. it’s too formal, and our family has never been one for formalities. we like everyone to feel like family, you come in through the kitchen, it’s where family is at. it’s where I would see my parents laughing and dancing in the early morning making us kids breakfast. it's seen almost 14 thanksgiving turkeys and christmas hams. it's where family gathers. it's where my family gathered and i hope yours does too.

let me apologize for my closet. you won’t actually know which one is mine. but i just need to tell you that if you sometimes smell a faint scent of roses i am sorry. if you look close enough at the cracks in the floorboard you can see dried rose petals there. It’s where I threw the flowers he gave me after he broke my heart. i tried to get them all out but some are left behind. there are stains on those floorboards too. i can’t tell you whether or not there from tears or something else. this house holds so much happiness, but it also holds much sadness. 

and the living room. i can’t forget the place where all the living is done. that room has seen many late night conversations about life and love and God. that room holds the whole house together. it’s where family meetings took place. where we shared movies and music and meals. it's where things got heated over long games of monopoly. it’s where we talked about everything from school to sports to heartbreak and the future of our lives. It was the first room to be filled and the last one to be emptied. I hope your living is done here. deep conscious lovely living. this is your house now, but I just wanted you to know. 

I used to count the years i’d been in this house, i lost track after the first three and then i stopped looking at everything else. I began to memorize where each light switch was so that i could turn them on in the darkness. the number of stairs and the path to ascend and descend without waking anyone from sleep. the way it sounded when someone pulled into the driveway to visit, the gravel rocks crackling under tires. But eventually you forget the minutes you’ve been here and the days you’ve spent and the years racked up and you tend to remember the moments. 

The moments are the most important. Soak in the moments. This house has seen many. And I think this old home is ready for new memories to take within it’s walls and old deep. I think this house is ready to be your home. and I know, I know it’s your home now. live wildly. laugh loudly, live deeply within these walls. enjoy it. 

Welcome Home.

-with love 

 the previous tenant.