Anniversary Poem

20131013-212259.jpg

On our wedding day
All hope was new 
Holy magic was in the air
Yellow leaves gently flew

Blessed and witnessed
Signed and sung
Will you? Do you?
I will. And I do.

Bound in love 
and covenant joy
We laughed and danced 
I had found my boy

The first year, we dove right in
Reading books, interviewing kin
Who are you now? 
Who have you been?
Please do the dishes. 
Can my cousin move in?

Year two we lived with 
two ragamuffin men
I crashed the car
You worked so hard 
my suspicions grew 
We waited and wondered 
I worried and cried. 
Year two was a ride.

Year three we adventured a thousand miles east
To see if we could Survive 
If God would provide

We found a haven full of new. 
New questions and new knowings 
of our beginnings and endings. 
We let go of what was and made space for what’s true 
We learned to rest because
He had called us good. 
and Family is the value. 

Year four we returned to Family and home 
with fresh foundations 
and new found hope 

Year five you baked cakes
And I ironed pleats
We made good money 
And longed for friends and family

Year six we settled in 
and you said we’d never move
But it only took four days 
For gravity to shift 
To remember who was home 

And I didn’t know what to do 
When you sobbed bucket sized tears
Into your Kansas City barbecue 

Out of the desert 
Into the river
We’ve soaked 
and started to bloom

Well now it’s year seven
And our love just keeps growing
magic is still in the air
On earth I’ve found heaven
And all hope is new. 

20131013-212324.jpg

What I’ve learned from infertility.

I learned what grief is.
And I learned that as deep as my pain and grief is, God’s Love for me is deeper still. And that you can only trust to the extent that you know you are loved.
And I learned how to be comfortable with others in their pain as I became ok with my own. I learned what the Father must have been feeling when he created me. And why everything in society and life comes back to Family. And all that has taught me to hope.

Six years and we are still in the middle of our story. You know what? I think it’s going to be a great one.

“Don’t Worry You’re Safe!”

I just woke from a dream where I knew that the devil was stealing gifts from people.  
There were two buildings and an alley or street between them. The buildings were lined with doors and my parents lived on the one side and all the new homes , were on the other side of the alley. There was a character in the dream who I knew was the devils dirty work man. And I watched as two others were each devastated and changed and defeated because the gifts that were just given to them in their new homes were put on the street and then stolen.
 I was given my black guitar and when I noticed that my guitar was fixed and re-strung I got nervous that they were fixing it just to take it away. I saw that there was a pattern and got upset and called my parents out into the street and to the man who was helping the devil. He was an older thin man with grey short hair on his round head and he wasn’t tall reminded me of Danko from Heroes that detective. I started saying: “He’s going to steal from me!”  And then I looked at him and felt pity and wondered how he ended up as the devil’s advocate..I asked Danko,“What did he steal from you?” And he looked scared. Fear and hopelessness rolled off of him. I felt like I was comforting a child and as he started to cry I told him, “You’re safe! You’re safe!” And I held him and laid my head on his shoulder. My mom and others were standing around him like we were praying for him.
I knew that he was afraid that it was too late for his “salvation” and when I said “you are safe” I meant you will be in heaven. When I laid my head on his shoulder and closed my eyes I saw light streaming through clouds like heaven. I felt assurance and peace for him. “You are safe from the hopelessness of this age’s idea of the gospel.” is what I meant.
When Jesus said “I am the way the truth and the life and no one enters the kingdom but through me.” I think he was just stating a fact not giving us ways that we can exclude people from that gift and be plagued by the worry, “Will I make it in? What if I’m doing something wrong and the rapture comes?!”  If this is how we think, Jesus no longer becomes radical and the gospel just plain isn’t good news.  We no longer have to live in fear. We are safe in Christ because we already are all in him whether we know it and are transformed by it or not. The two men on the cross next to Jesus are used in the church as a lesson of “this guy just squeaked into heaven and you can too!” If the man who didn’t respond wasn’t there also. It’s just not good news.

I heard this recently:
God isn’t the god OF Love like a greek god is the god of many things..
God IS Love
If God IS Love what Jesus came to “do” must be representative of the truest love we can Imagine. (because he created us for… that’s right. Love. )
Not a “I love you but.., if you don’t do x y z you are out!” Project Runway style values.. that is so exclusive.
We know better! The holy spirit says it to us. And we want to believe it! We just stop listening because the preacher told me so.
We have to have faith that Jesus really Lived and died for All not Some. And that is where the Beauty and transformation happens in our lives. When we begin to understand God’s Love for us. Plain and Simple. I refuse to believe that he asked us to forgive each other 70×7,  but God is a sin record keeper. NO! That is the thing about this dream. I think it speaks to the grand lie we in today’s church have become the devils workers for: that if you do xyz you get into heaven. But you will never really know, so don’t think about it too much. And go get those lost sinners out there with our prepackaged “sinners prayer” because that is the only way into eternal life. Because God put the fate of the world in our hands and he is just way up in heaven and can’t do anything about it.  Sound like good news?  It is not our job to save anyone. How arrogant to think so! 
Also I am convinced that The #1 thing the Devil wants to convince us of is our lack of worth. Our individual spark or gifts are the thumbprint of God on us. And we release healing and freedom when we are simply truly who we are. Personalities and Gifts and all of that Identity stuff is so celebrated by God. But if we are convinced that we really don’t have anything of worth inside of us to contribute and that God made us as a joke and we are alone,  we have lost something so precious! I believed for a long time that if I was truly free in being who I am I would just hurt people all around me because I was told that I am too loud or too much for others to handle in the past. That fear kept me changing faster than a chameleon in every situation. And I had myself convinced that this was the most loving thing to do for other people. I was just accommodating what I thought they wanted me to be.  And it was anxiety ridden and exhausting trying to remember who I thought the person I was with- needed me to be.
 When we start to live out of the acceptance and peace that this Love is giving we can just truly be authentic and take a deep breath and not worry so much! I am so loved! And so are you- so just live and breathe and be.
And love will make you new. 
Joelle-

A Poem, A Prayer

I have a list of what I think I need

And another of what I want

You invite me into your house and cover me with Grace

You ask me to give it all and put it in your hands

And while I wait you break down walls I thought would never fall

Between who I am and your Love

Between what I see and your Truth

Between what I know and your Grace

Between my disappointment and your Hope

I’m tired of this homeless wandering and

I’m ready to come homeland take my place in your Family

And when the road leads through a dark forest of anger and pain

You never shy away

You walk with me all the way

And when I start to see the sun again

I realize that it was your Love

That lifted me out of the depths.

And now I know your love is deeper than my lowest despair

And I had to understand such sorrow to be baffled by this Peace.

I’m so grateful for your tangible Grace

Trust takes experience and a leap of Faith

You can only Trust as much as you know you are Loved

So I put all my hope and dreams firmly in your hands.

You are a Good Father who understands.

And as I look a little closer

I know this now more than ever

Your love carries my pain

And I came from your hands.

So let gratitude pave the way

I’ll sing a song of thanks

Because even now I know you will take care of me

Like you always have.

Thank you God for showing me how deeply you love me

For settling the questions of my worth

For never giving up on me

For the Peace I feel

For the Grace on me

For the Future you’ve planned

And hold in your hand

Help me to Live in the five minutes I have

And keep speaking my name

Make my home in you and yours in me

What I’m Learning

20120211-092515.jpg

Only you can know how long you should keep going on your fertility journey. Give yourself permission to feel what you feel and take time to take care of yourself. It’s ok to not be ok with this tragedy. It truly is a life crisis and even though you can have faith in God you learn how to trust him little by little with experience. I believe He is relational and gives grace for the moment we are in right now. And not an appeasing tolerating grace a warm understanding embracing grace that loves and permissions us to just be and breathe.

I am learning so much about God through this infertility process.

Here are some things that I’ve found ring true to me in this:

You can only trust God to the extent that you know his Love for you. And trust takes a leap of faith at the start. It also isn’t a given thing we should just have automatically. God is relational. Always. On this earth with each other trust takes time and experience. It takes testing and history. The same is true with trusting God. And that doesn’t freak him out at all. He created relationships, He is relational. He isn’t freaked just because we are. His love isn’t insecure either. He doesn’t need anything from me or you, He loves us. It’s not possessive like our relationships and our ideas of love can be. He doesn’t want to control me He loves me. How many times have I tried to change my husband “because I love him”? Ha! When I let go of that and trust and just love him he changes the most anyway. I realize I have been living out a possessive love not an open free true kind of love.

I’m also learning that there isn’t any fear about the future when you are so secure that you are loved. Grounded in Gods love. God help me to understand your love for me. Help me receive it.

You learn so much about love and family through this. By having to face the question
“Do I want a biological child or do I want to parent?”
And for me it wasn’t so clear-cut.
Adoption has been in my heart for a long long time. I just thought I’d experience pregnancy as well. Not being able to become pregnant without Gods help used to seem hopeless, but now that I’m not as focused on what I can’t do for myself. I see it as a huge opportunity for Him to be the one who grows love in my heart for the children he blesses me with. I’m excited to live out the family kingdom come on earth. Love expand and challenge my heart. I’m not afraid of being devastated by love lost anymore. The “what ifs” have calmed and I am exited to love like I was made to love. This is my gift this is my blessing. This is my heritage and will be my legacy: to love,  and invite people into my family. Being that family is how I will live out heaven on earth.
Thy Kingdom Come.

Ready, Steady…

Art.
Not for itself, but for you.
Creator and observer,
its breath hits us all.
It whispers new vision,
so we write our revisions.
Longing to reach some tale of glory,
we risk it all.
But reality likes to replace hope with fear.
Even if your aim is clear
you have to be ready, steady, my dear.
Don’t let it destroy us.
Make way before us!
Never forget that Love is here.

New Year New Beginnings

I’m in a play and there are performances every weekend this month. It is really empowering and encouraging to be a part of  local community theater. It has been four years since I’ve been in any sort of production and the first time I’ve done anything without knowing everyone before..  and it’s like picking up a plant you thought was dead and finding it quite alive and ready to flower with a little love.

You can’t forget who you are. You can try, but you will just feel dead inside.

backdrop mural

 

"But when people die, they are supposed to stay dead!"

We also have two fertility oriented appointments this month. One was last week where tom had an ultrasound to hopefully give us some answers. People in the fertility world talk about “the two week wait” before they can know if they are pregnant. Well, we are halfway through our own two week wait to know the ultrasound results. Our follow up is next Monday. Hopefully there is something they can tell us. So far, we haven’t had to pay out of pocket for anything related to this. And that is a Miracle! We have been so blessed by family and friends who have given so generously to us for these extra expenses. It gives me further proof that anything is possible and we are so grateful for the support. But for now, we wait.

the waiting is the hardest part.

  I heard something about the stages of emotions as you face infertility. They said that what comes out as anger is usually just a cover for fear. And that feeling overwhelmed is better than being out of control. It’s true. when we had no plan and hadn’t seen a doctor yet I felt so out of control and it was easy to despair. The day we went to the doctor i had a major meltdown because I was brought into the reality that there is something wrong. And all the information and cost and black and white of it was extremely overwhelming.

Hearing about these stages gives me perspective that I am normal and there are others that go through this too. I must remember that this process IS moving forward emotionally, and by asking more questions and seeing a doctor.

someday this will all make such a great story…. I just know it.

joelle-

Defining Priorities

To be a happy whole Joelle I need:

To be loved and to love
-family, friends, community, world
To create new art and sing
To learn and grow and give as I go.

jesus potion

We’re in Kansas City and it is our first trip down to this city. Seeing my family is so nice. Tom and I were happy to find that the neighborhood where mom and dad live is great. There are funky spots to the city as there are any big city, but the areas we biked, walked, and wandered have been so quaint and pretty. There is a bike trail that people are regularly using and they say hello back if you greet them. Which of course I did- that was cool.

Friday night Dad and Tom and I went out for coffee and talked about heaven and Jesus and the blessing of being in him – “All of humanity is in him-presently” he said. And it was so confirming and less isolating and weird than the classic finger pointing “you’re in and sorry, you are going to hell” approach to the gospel. That is just not good news. Mom said that the worst customers at her paper store are the evengelical christians who really think they are being bold for God by badgering the workers about their lack of religious christian christmas cards. They are so grumpy and rude and bothered that a coworker of hers said that she hoped no more born again christians came into the store. She said it made her embarrassed that this was what Christians were known for. If you don’t have love…(1 Cor. 13)
There is something about how the modern churchgoing majority feel they are being persecuted, when in fact they are just focusing on the wrong things. And they dont know the first thing about being persecuted for their faith- let alone what Jesus would hold important. Jesus didnt come to condemn but to give a new view to the God we thought we had down. A small shriveled God must be judging all that I think do say or almost say all the time so be careful little ears what you hear! or else! this is so small indeed. today at the boiler room church Adam Cox talked about how God makes his home inside of us. And how he understands why we do and say things. That he knows who we are from the inside, every intention and thought. That he is a loving understanding Father who gets us. And then I had the thought as he was talking, what if Jesus really was God’s son. (I know that sounds obvious but I’m still bringing back real meaning to the words that were used at church all growing up. They get this plastic food feel and sometimes I have to remember what it was supposed to mean.) And that in a family sense when he came to the earth he was the father’s representative and that when jesus said he was going to send something better than himself- the holy spirit, maybe that holy spirit is the father’s inner spirit, his inner thoughts and presence. His heart. I can’t wait to see the Father. If he can be seen. Maybe he will be known and not seen. But just be. But man, I’d like to see him. To see what the Trinity really means. To see what Jesus meant with all that he said, to hear the parts that were lost or just misunderstood, clarified. To know how to trust my inner truth barometer more. I have always tried to convince myself that the things preached from so many pulpits about what the real reason for Jesus coming was, were it. That justification by grace transactioned the salvation of a soul. And that it took this time space moment to make Jesus’s forgiving potion to work. there definitely is a moment when you become aware of the love of God, and have to reorder things, and you begin to heal- but that wasn’t salvation. Salvation was already done for me. In Christ. Dad says that we have a hard time understanding in our categorical western minds what that really means. I guess it will take a while for our culture to unlearn centuries of dogma. But I want to learn more. My dad recommended looking up N.T. Wright on these things and I found he has a new book called “Simply Jesus”. I’ll let you know what I learn.

Whoo! Thanks for staying with me- what do you think?
How do you understand Jesus?
Joelle-

Give Thanks

Give Thanks cuz you can

Say what you feel as soon as you know it

Live with all the life inside you

Bring all you have to give

Be who you are

Not more Not less

This is where happiness lies

This is where truth is free

This is where love can be

You are your greatest resource

Don’t cut yourself down

Don’t cut yourself short

Take a Deep Breath

and Just Be.