Thistles and Thorns

>> Thursday, February 16, 2012

This is the place I find myself.

The place smack dab in the middle of a rock and a hard place.

Life here is unkind and unwavering in its hardness.

Hard angles.

Hard surfaces.

Hard movement.

Hardness at every turn.

The place where life seems to cease...


But it is here that He has me.

This is where the fire is.

This is where refinement happens.

This is the place where all hope seems lost

and breathing isn't easy.

The death rattle rises in my chest.

Death is imminent.

This is the way it has to be.

This flesh is going down...

but my spirit will rise (in Him).

I often feel like Jacob wrestling the Almighty.

I, too, walk with a (spiritual) limp.

This is where healing comes.



On Motherhood...

>> Thursday, January 19, 2012

 I look at his tiny face and the way his hair is swooped just so. 

 I allow my eyes to examine the contours of his face

praying that they find a safe hiding place in my memory banks.

I touch his hands and curl his little fingers around mine.

I am not one to turn them down when they come to me in the night.

I know these moments are fleeting.

I know that  they won't last.

Even though there are moments when I wish to be left alone,

one day I will be just that.


I remember the feeling I had when I gave birth to my first child.

For nine months he was literally attached to me.

Just like that...he was out of me.

This was the beginning of letting go.

It hurt deep.

As each year passes I have to let go a little more

until the day comes when I am a left woman.

This is the rub of motherhood.

These beautiful little people will grow up to be big people someday.

This home that I share with them now will one day just be a memory.

They will find a new home.

I pray that if nothing else, I can point them to streams of Living Water...

and I pray that they drink.


It could have been anyone...

>> Saturday, August 6, 2011

It isn't normal for a twelve year old girl to decorate her room with pictures from the Holocaust that she tore out of TIME Magazine. The images of emaciated corpses piled upon one another are still burned in my mind. It's not as if I enjoyed those images or got some sick pleasure from them. In hindsight, I can see that I was trying to deal with death.

I was now occupying my newly deceased brother's room. I would dream about him and wake up with the stench of death still in my nose. My youth ended with the abrupt death of my brother. I would no longer do things that kids do. From that point on, my life would be filled with skipping school, drugs, alcohol and unfortunate encounters with growing boys and groping hands that didn't have the decency to ask permission. For the record, I would have said no.

I could read fluently at a very young age. I was reading Stephen King, Clive Barker and books about true crime and the Son of Sam with graphic pictures at the age of six. These were the kinds of books that were in my house, so this is what I read. I smoked pot for the first time when I was seven. My friend's dad smoked a lot of weed and would always have ash trays filled with roaches. We decided to smoke them one day. I just remember being tired and hungry.

I was exposed to death and evil and all forms of ugliness when other little kids were still playing GI-Joe and Barbie. What this did was provide a familiarity with brokenness and depravity. That is what I knew best. I knew it and lived it, but desired for better. Even though I knew that the world was not what it should be, I still gravitated towards the broken things. They had a magnetic pull that I could not resist.

Sometimes I feel sorry for myself because of the horrific things I encountered. Things that even those closest to me have no idea about. I feel sorry that I never fit and never felt as if I belonged, and yet those are the very things that God used to draw me to Himself.

Some people are surprised by their own sin. They know that horrible crimes are committed by other people, but they never seem to be able to grasp that they have sinned as well. Maybe had my life played out a little differently, I would have been surprised, too, but God has always brought me back to my own brokenness and need for Him.

This doesn't mean that I am always aware. I suffer from a horrible form of spiritual amnesia...but for some reason, I have been redeemed. I don't quite understand it, either. I was always the underdog, always the weirdo, always the misfit. I never did anything right. In the midst of all of my sin, folly and aimless wandering, He found me. For this, I am thankful. According to the world, I am the least likely candidate for redemption. I certainly didn't earn it or deserve it, but I needed it and recognized my need for Him. The amazing thing is that this is the only requirement.


In the thick of it...

>> Sunday, June 26, 2011

 I remember the day he kissed me on the way home from day camp.

He was tall and skinny and pasty white.

I don't even remember what we talked about.

But we kind of got each other.

There's this unspoken thing between sensitive types.

We operate at a different frequency.

You can see it in the eyes if you pay attention.

Many years later I ran into him.

At church.

He was married and had a beautiful baby boy.

His eyes were still the same.

Yet different.

We didn't talk much.

But that shared look was still there.

It's not a look of the romantic kind.

Anyone who has ever felt the weight of existing...

or the way that sometimes just thinking and feeling is too much...

you know the look.

The one that says, "I am in the trenches, too. I see you."

Many years after that, he hung himself.

It has haunted me.

Maybe not in the way that it has haunted those closer to him...

but I am haunted just the same.

Whenever I am in the trenches,

I think of him.

I pray that he has found peace in the arms of Jesus.

Be kind to those who are suffering.

That is a heavy weight to carry alone.


Tree House Dwellers...

>> Sunday, March 27, 2011

You have to be crazy to move your family across the country to live 35 feet up in a tree.

But, hey! It comes with an amazing art studio!!!


Run, Mandie, run!

>> Monday, January 17, 2011

I am not sure what to do with this here space.

This here season.

This here life.

So, like Forrest Gump,

I just keep running.

And running.

Eventually, I will get there...


The Christian Hater...

>> Monday, January 3, 2011

You know those people...

Those people

(the ones who are forever finding fault in the lives of others).

They are the people with the extra pointy fingers

and spiritual hearts that hardly ever bleed for the lost and broken.

Those people hurt people

and they hurt them in the name of the Lord.

I notice those people

and get angry with those people

and then I hear that small voice

reminding me that I am not so different

than those people.

Sometimes I find myself looking at other people

and thinking

how I would never


act like them.

And then usually

(shortly thereafter)

the same characteristic or behavior trait manifests in my life

flowing from my spirit.

I am humbled


and again

by His Spirit.

I am thankful for the reminder

that this little heart hasn't arrived yet either.

It is becoming...

and it is happy.


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