16 April 2014

migraine

migraine pain moved
in Monday night
a greedy visitor
allowing no room 
for sleep, comfort
creativity, rational
thought shoved aside
left my mind edging
delerium, churned

nights extend long
while the world 
slumbers on without 
you, praying
for morning's light
relief, returning hope
of a new day

today fatigue lingers
headache's shadow
but I am indeed on the mend



walking with Emily and the imperfect redeemed

 

15 April 2014

Spiritual Misfit by Michelle DeRusha

Writing about her book Spiritual Misfit A Memoir of Uneasy Faith, Michelle DeRusha says:
My story is ordinary – it’s not a dramatic conversion story; nothing “big” happened to me along the way. I didn't experience a near-death situation. I didn’t survive a tragedy. But in a lot of ways, that’s what makes my story so accessible. It’s about an ordinary person with ordinary questions, fears and doubts who was transformed in an extraordinary way.
I believe this is exactly why this is a must read book for us all.  We who feel just "ordinary" always need to be reminded of just how extraordinary our God is. How many of us find ourselves naked before our Lord, trembling just a bit, scratching our heads, mumbling "I believe Lord, help my unbelief?"

In this close to the bone memoir Michelle shares with brave openness her doubts, fears and growing reliance on a Lord Who asks us to believe what we can not always see.

Some pages left me giggling, like the story of tossed Cheez-It crumbs; others are stained by tears of recognition, when God shows Himself in quiet glory.  Then there are the pages striped by coloured highlighters, that will beckon me to return to the words again and again, like these:
While faith through grace alone is probably liberating for most people, freeing them from the inescapable burden of sin, it scared the crap out of me because it required that I relinquish control.  It carried me full circle back to the aspects of God I couldn't define, hem in, deconstruct, or rationalize.  It carried me back to the heart, which was a much more difficult realm to navigate than the head.  Honestly, I would much rather have earned my entrance to heaven than take a flying leap onto the slippery slope of faith.  Earning seemed much more predictable, orderly, and measurable, so much less fraught with fear, than leaping.  Leaping into faith required me to trust and surrender to someone I couldn't see.
Those could have been my own words, so closely they struck my spirit.  I believe you will be struck in similar fashion.  You need to read this book.  You need to share this book.  It will speak loudly to everyone, no matter where they find themselves on this wild journey of faith.

I was given an advance reading copy of this book.  The opinions I have shared, as always, are my own.

 

12 April 2014

addicted to still

Silence
It has a sound, a fullness.
It's heavy with sigh of tree,
and space between breaths.
It's ripe with pause between birdsong
and crash of surf. 
It's golden they say.
But no one tells us it's addictive
Angela Long

our land was beginning to show itself
black soil damp from the melting
today the snow returns
a fresh cloak
to silence spring
yet again
I will sit in the quiet of this day
asking patience and peace
to settle with the gray

Sandra Heska King - Still Saturday
seeking the stillness with Sandy

 

11 April 2014

point of view

I find myself, again
living in the inbetween
winter lingers in this
not yet spring
stepping out the door
I turn to my left
to a cloud darkened sky
and it somehow feels right
this heaviness
as I have felt called
to prayer, for needs known
and unknown
I trust the Holy Spirit
to interpret, groans
beyond my understanding

yet, in turning
to my right, the sky 
fills with boldness
of blue, light
beauty, assertion
of life, hope breathes

I can choose where 
I focus, where 
my eyes will rest
I choose life

I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, 
that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; 
therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live,
loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice, and cleaving to him; 
for that means life to you and length of days, 
that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, 
to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them. 

 

10 April 2014

broken

Bonnie asked us to write prompted by the word brokenness.
Here is another slice from my novel-in-progress --
Her mind was a fertile breeding ground for the voices of shame.  With no positive words to contradict them the voices grew, stronger, louder and more convincing.  They were the truth to Linda, the only truth she knew. 
By the time Linda was sixteen she had stopped going to school.  She followed a boy six years older than her to another city.  He treated her roughly, but that felt familiar, and at least he gave her a place to live.  She did whatever he asked of her, paid the price for her imperfections and swallowed the pain with the alcohol he had taught her to drink. 
When he grew tired of her, he passed her on to a friend who treated her just as badly.  She never questioned the abuse convinced it was what she deserved, all she had ever deserved. 
She didn't expect her baby son to love her, or the daughter she birthed four years later.  She didn't expect anything but trouble and trouble always found her.  On her twenty first birthday, with a four year old and an infant she drank herself to sleep after their father walked out for the last time. 
The voices sang a familiar song.  “No one will ever really care for you because you’ll never be good enough to care about.”  Linda believed them, of course.  Theirs was the only song she knew.  They were the songs she sang to her children like an inside out lullaby. 
Linda was broken and alone with both her heart and her body covered with scars.  Going home wasn't an option.  She had closed the door on that pain and couldn't imagine opening it again.  Her children were hungry, the rent would come due soon and she never learned how to do anything that someone would want to pay her for. 
She left the kids home alone at night, asking a neighbor to look in on them if she heard noises. She went to the bars down the street, offering herself to anyone who would buy her a drink, taking them back to her place as payment of sorts.  She thought herself lucky when one of them would choose to hang around for a month, or two. Some stayed longer, but she never expected that.  If they paid the bills she was willing to absorb whatever blows inevitably accompanied the favors.   
Linda was too hurt and too lost to think about what harm living that way was inflicting on her son and daughter.  She was in survival mode, doing whatever she thought she must.  Just like her own mother.  Just like always.  Day followed day, week after week, and the years piled up one after the other.
Brokenness. Shame. Pain.  All these abound in the lives of my main characters, just as they do in our own lives. But...

The is a God Who loves beyond measure.
The people in my novel learn that.
They teach each other truth as they learn it.
Just as we need to love and teach and encourage each other.
We are His.
Shaped in His image.
Givers of light and love and life.



jamming with Bonnie

 

09 April 2014

Who restores?

The taskbar at the bottom of my laptop screen
flashed, a reminder that updates were waiting
ever obedient, I clicked to download
and busied myself with other things
after the install, I had to reset the computer
and as often happens, things were not quite right
when the screen came back up
nothing I tried corrected the problems

it was time to resort to system restore
taking the computer back
to a time before the offending updates
while this ran, I opened my journal
sensing my Lord has something to share

your technology
has the capacity
to return to an earlier
moment in time
to take changes
errors, problems
and make them disappear
as if they had never happened

and I, yes I, do this
not for machines
but for lives

I Am the Restorer
I Am making all things new
I wipe slates clean
I have already forgotten
what you still cling to

you can let it all go

step into the reset
fresh and clean

walking with Emily in broken redemption

 

07 April 2014

Chatting with Michelle DeRusha - a Spiritual Misfit


I was blessed to meet Michelle DeRusha last November at a High Callings retreat in Texas at Laity Lodge. Her book Spiritual Misfit A Memoir of Uneasy Faith is releasing on April 15th.  She agreed to sit down for a bit in the midst of book launch lunacy to answer a few questions. Grab yourself a cup of your favourite brew and join us!

Michelle, I have always been in love with words and wanted to weave them into poetry and prose.  Did you have dreams of being a writer or did the urge to write surprise you? 

The desire to write very much surprised me! I have a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in English, and I've always worked at jobs that have involved a lot of writing – public relations, advertising, fundraising, communications – but I hadn't ever written anything creatively until this book. That’s how I know this journey is entirely God-ordained. One morning I slipped into my basement office before my kids were up and started to write a story about my childhood religious experiences – a few months and 75 pages later, I realized I might be writing a book. I was as shocked as anyone! 

Did your blogging change as you dove deeper into the writing of Spiritual Misfit?  Did it become easier to share the truth of who Michelle is? 

What’s interesting is that I wrote the entire book long before I became a blogger. In fact, I only started blogging when I learned I needed a “platform” – a means for gathering readers and a following in order to attract the interest of a publisher. But over time I came to love blogging. I never anticipated the possibility that real, genuine friendships could be created and nurtured online, but that’s exactly what has happened with blogging. It’s been one of the greatest and most unexpected gifts of this writing journey so far.  

I think writing the book first later helped me become a more transparent blogger. Even though the book wasn't published when I started blogging, in the back of my own mind, I knew I’d already “put it all out there,” so I didn't have anything to lose by being real and authentic on the blog.  

I know first-hand what it feels like to relocate to a place vastly different from what has been familiar and comfortable.  Has Nebraska become a right place for you? 

Nebraska has become a “right place” for me. We've been here nearly 13 years now, and I absolutely love it. I love the vast sky and the wide-open landscape; I love the warm, generous people; I love that I can go for a run and leave my front door unlocked; I love sitting on my neighbor’s front porch, chatting with her on a hot summer afternoon with a glass of iced tea in hand. Nebraska offers a slower life than New England – less traffic, less “keeping up with the Jones,” and I have grown to appreciate that.  

That said, I still miss my family every day. My parents, my sister, my nephew and all my aunts and uncles still live in New England. It’s hard to be so far from them, to see them only once or twice a year. I won’t ever get used to that.  

Would you rather travel via rail, car, boat or plane?  Is there somewhere you've always dreamed of visiting? 

I’ve always dreamed of visiting Italy – particularly the Cinque Terre region on the coast. I joke with my husband, Brad, that we’ll be 80 by the time we get there. Now that we have young kids, it’s going to be a while! 

I think I'd prefer to travel by magic carpet (though I realize you didn't offer that as an option!). I hate flying (truth be told, I am afraid of it). Boats make me seasick, long car trips make me feel like my head will pop off, and I've never traveled by train (maybe I ought to try that before ordering my custom-designed magic carpet?).   

What's next from the pen of Michelle DeRusha? Have you ever thought about writing fiction? 

No, no – no fiction! The thought of writing fiction terrifies me! I am currently finishing edits of my next book, entitled 50 Women Every Christian Should Know: Learning from Heroines of the Faith, which will be released by Baker Books in September 2014. 50 Women is a compilation of short biographies – very much in the non-fiction category and very different from Spiritual Misfit. It was fascinating to research and write, and I am excited to introduce these amazing women, some of whom I’d never heard of, to others.   

After that, I think I’d like to jump back into memoir. I am a storyteller at heart. I love what Natalie Goldberg says about mining your own life for material: “If you've lived ten years, you have enough writing material for your whole life,” she says in Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir. “If you’re thirty years old, stop everything. You already have too much to capture.” According to Natalie, at 43 I have more than enough for another book, so I’d better get writing!  

While Michelle gets back to work, why don't you order yourself a copy of Spiritual Misfit and come back next week when I'll share my thought about this charming and wonderful new book.



 
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