grateful amazement

finding wonder…everywhere.

You’re Not Alone: Coffee for Your Heart

{Week Four of Holley Gerth’s Encouragement Challenge…already! When you’re done here, please be sure to click through here to find even more words that will lift you up.}

Maybe you know the loneliness of sitting in a darkened room, waiting for a wayward loved one to find his way back.

Maybe you know the loneliness of pain, as your heart and soul crumble, waiting for an apology that is slow (or maybe never) coming.

Maybe you know the loneliness of being just on the outside of new community, waiting for some big-hearted neighbor to reach out with a warm Hello.

Maybe you know the loneliness of laying in wait in pre-op, waiting for the surgery that will change your Life As You Know It.

Maybe you know the loneliness of betrayal in one (or more) of its varied forms, waiting for the wrongs to be made right.

Maybe you know the loneliness of feeling unknown, misunderstood, unseen, waiting for someone – anyone – to let you know you are known, understood, seen.

Maybe you know the loneliness of being the Black Sheep, waiting for the acceptance and welcome that would signal to your spirit that you do really belong.

Maybe you know the loneliness of laying back in the recliner, hooked up to the IV pole that holds the chemo that drips into your veins, waiting (hoping) for the medicine to do its work.

Maybe you know the loneliness of a too-quiet, empty home, waiting for it to be filled with the happy sounds of babies, whether brand-new ones just arriving or grown-up ones returning for a visit.

Maybe you know the loneliness of a crowded room, waiting for your heart to find a connecting point with another.

Sweet friend, there are all kinds of loneliness that threaten to pervade – or walk brazenly into – your life.

Some of it you unwittingly choose. Some of it just finds you…no matter how fast you try to run from it. And, no matter how it arrives — or how long it stays — there is one truth that can trump any source or experience of loneliness your tender heart may encounter…

YOU ARE NEVER ALONE.
EVER.

Even when it feels like you are, you aren’t.
Even when it looks like you are, you aren’t.
Even when it reads like you are, you aren’t

YOU ARE NEVER ALONE.
EVER.

Today, let your fragile, gentle, hopeful, beautiful heart be wrapped tight in the true Truth that the Creator of the universe- the Creator of that heart of yours – knows your loneliness. Intimately knows it.

And He answers it with this –
I AM WITH YOU.
NEVER WILL I LEAVE YOU.
YOU ARE NEVER ALONE.
EVER.

Embrace that, dear sister. Breathe it in deeply. Walk in the miraculous knowledge of its truth.
Coffee for Your Heart 150

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You Are Beautiful: Coffee for Your Heart

{Welcome to Week 3 of Holley Gerth‘s Encouragement Challenge.}

Sweet friend, there’s something I want you to know.
Something you need to know.
And not just ‘head’ know…I mean, really, truly ‘heart’ know.

Are you ready for it?
Here it is…

You are beautiful…just as you are.

Yes, YOU are beautiful.

YOU, with the hair that may not be doing what you want it to today…or yesterday…or ever.
YOU, with the eyes that you are convinced are ‘loppy’…or ‘baggy’…or ‘not the right shade’.
YOU, with the nose that tilts up…or down…or is ‘too crooked’…or ‘too straight’.
YOU, with the lips that are ‘much-too-thin’…or ‘much-too-full’.

Yes, YOU.

But I want you to know, before we get any farther into this…it’s not about appearances.
Not. At. All.

Beauty is IN you.
Yes, YOU.
It was placed there by the Lover of your soul, before you were even born.
It radiates from your heart.
It bursts from your smile.
It’s Real Beauty.
Your beauty.

And even though you may not believe it…even though it may scare you to think it…we need YOUR beauty.
The world needs your beauty.
After all, there is no beauty like yours.
It is totally, completely, unrepeatably, miraculously unique.
Without YOUR beauty, we will all be poorer.
With YOUR beauty, we will all be blessed.

If this is hard for you to believe, hard for you to grasp, please don’t worry.
Don’t panic.
Because it’s already there…within you…so all the potions and creams society tries to tell you are ‘necessary’ to perfect your beauty really aren’t.
It’s already there…within you…so all the nips and tucks (you know, the things life does to your soul…the name-calling, the messages, the not-measuring-up, the wounds, the scars you’ve braved) are really beauty marks, angel kisses of proof that you’ve survived.
It’s already there…within you…so all you have to do is decide to accept it…to acknowledge it…to release it into this world that needs it…needs YOU…so badly.

Sweet friend, your beauty was created and planted in you for a reason.
A purpose that can only be fulfilled in the sharing.
So please, my most beautiful friend, know from the the top of your head to the tips of your toes…
you are beautiful.

And let that beauty…YOUR beauty…shine.
Coffee for Your Heart 150

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You’re Loved: Coffee for Your Heart

{It’s week Two of Holley Gerth’s Coffee for Your Heart Enouragement Challenge.}

After almost caving to the fear of vulnerability that writing (and linking!) a post for this challenge stirred in me last week, I made a {somewhat feeble} promise to myself that I would not leave fleshing out this week’s prompt till the last minute. (After all, I am the mom who readily and firmly works to impress on each of my kids the importance first, second, and third drafts – that the practice of starting early so you can go back and edit and refine is what makes your writing better.)

But here I am, Tuesday night, plunking away at these keys for the first time since late last Tuesday night. Holley’s words to me in the comments on her blog after linking up seven days ago buoy my spirit and draw me to press on, to do it even if I have to do it afraid. (She is truly encouragement personified, isn’t she? Here is her response to my admission to being scared spitless, for those inquiring minds among you:  I’m cheering wildly for you as you take this step of faith in spite of your fear. People who are scared spitless and do it anyway are my favorite kind {I think God is fond of them too}. Thank you, Holley!) So, here I sit…

As I pray for words to give wings to this week’s prompt (You’re Loved), it seems God is nudging me toward sharing the words He gave me at 5am Sunday when I woke up anxious and hurting because of…well, because of how life can be sometimes. You know, the way it has of being nothing like you imagined, the way it has of being so much harder than you counted on, the way it has of knocking the wind out of you while simultaneously blowing you away.

When I originally wrote the words I’m going to share here, in my dimly lit bedroom, in the first notebook my weary eyes could find, with a pink highlighter, two things felt clear to me: #1 – they were directly from Him, definitely not of my own creation; and #2 – they were not for public consumption…at least not any time soon. Guess I was not-so-right about #2.

That early morning three days ago, my part of the conversation with Him went something like this:
It feels like every tear I never cried is pounding to get out of my chest, choking me.
Can a person drown in the keeping of tears like that?
Does the release come in allowing the dam to break?
How does the holding – the holding of those tears – make you feel like the only answer is to empty the meager contents of your stomach – the meager contents of your soul.
I think it is possible to drown on held-back tears.

He replied:
I will catch your tears, love. They are precious to me – beautiful in their vulnerability.
I will redeem the lie that you are ugly when you cry.
Because you are, in fact, beautiful when you let them fall.
For it is then when your heart, your true self, your inescapable beauty – that part of you truly created in My image – is visible.

Your tears – the held back ones – are your River Jordan.
That which you have to cross, to navigate, to wade through, to get to the Promised Land – your Promised Land.

I know the thought makes you tremble.
Helps you understand how my precious children could choose 40 years in the wilderness over dipping a toe into what looked to them to be raging waters, white-capping rushing rapids.
That’s what it feels like, right? Inside of you?
Like an untamed River of Tears?
Like you definitely need a life jacket AND a river guide to even think about stepping into it.

Dear one, I am that Life Jacket, that experienced River Guide.

You only have to release, relax, then relate your pain to me – all of it.
Then, and only then, can you know the rush of the wind of freedom through your hair…the splash of Living Water in your face, glistening rainbows in the Light of My Presence.

Your Jordan must be crossed.
The dam opened – broken, if need be.
The pent-up waters released.

They can threaten to drown you – to obliterate you – but they won’t.

Trust Me in that.
I am here.
Secure around you.
Guiding you through the jagged places where you fear injury.

Sweet child, you do not need to fear injury already endured.
It happened.
You survived it.
I was with you then.
I am with you now.
I remain with you always.
So then, you need not fear future injury either.

Release the held-back water to make room for the Living Water.
Cross your Jordan.
And then enter into the fullness of all I have for you.
Joy abundant.
Peace eternal.
Love unconditional.

You see, friend. I know now these words are not just for me.
They are for you, too.
So that you can know that it’s true…

You’re loved.

Coffee for Your Heart 150

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2014 : Coffee for Your Heart

{This post is me taking a deep breath, closing my eyes, and diving in to Holley Gerth’s Coffee for Your Heart: 2014 Encouragement Challenge, an exciting invitation to share a weekly dose of encouragement from my little corner of the interweb. I hope that by stopping by, you’ll find your spirit lifted and your steps lightened a bit.}

2014.

My breath catches as I type it. You, too?
My knees knock a bit as I think about it. Yours, too?
My eyes mist over as I try to wrap my mind around it. Should I pass the tissues now?

How has it arrived so quickly?
So quietly and, yet, with such a clamor?
Where did all the days of 2013 even go? Do you wonder, too?

And now, already a week into this brand-spankin’-new year, I want to steady my breath, calm my knocking knees, and…look up. Did you know they say that that posture – looking up – stops the tears? I mean, physically stops them. Huh. Maybe spiritually, too?

This year, I want you to look up.

{And not only to stop the tears…but, if they’re trembling on your bottom lashes, it may help.}

I want you to look up.

When you’re standing at the sink, brushing your teeth.
Look up.

When you’re staring into the mirror, perfecting your best look.
Look up.

When you’re sitting, running your pen dry listing the tasks competing for your precious time.
Look up.

When you’re shifting from one gear to the other, racing to get there on time.
Look up.

When you’re scanning the aisles, determined to get the best deal, the best gift.
Look up.

When you’re scrambling, trying to get it all done before the clock strikes twelve.
Look up.

When you’re settling in for the night, wishing for restful sleep, wondering if it will come.
Look up.

I want you to look up.

And, when you do, I want you know – to really, really know – that you are right where you are supposed to be, that you have been filled with exactly what you need (and even emptied of what no longer serves you), that you are not alone.

Not by a long shot.

You see, when you look up, I know without a doubt you will find that you are loved beyond measure, that you were created to be precisely who you are becoming, that you are safely held and greatly treasured.

Because, dear one, when you look up, your gaze is met – gently, tenderly, fiercely – by the One who set your feet on this year’s path, who straightens your way even as you timidly step out in faith, who knows where those steps of yours will lead.

So, look up.

When you’re standing, staring, sitting, shifting, scanning, scrambling, or settling.
When it makes perfect sense at any given moment, or it’s as clear as mud.
When you feel brave, courageous, and bold, or fearful, nervous, and worried.
And, especially, when you don’t think you have the strength to lift your head.

Look up, precious friend.

And know…

You are loved.
Mightily, deeply, madly.

You are a masterpiece.
Beautiful, creative, wonderful.

You are held.
Lovingly, perfectly, eternally.

2014.
Let’s do this thing.

Coffee for Your Heart 150

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