A Saturday Before Christmas Visit from the Spirit of Revelation

I have one million and one things to do (including cleaning up a sequin tornado that ripped through my apartment yesterday) and here I am writing something out.. It’s on my heart. I can feel it.

Last night I made this master plan to how I was going to manage the oompa out of each minute in order to rest peacefully ready for Sunday’s events. Yet, I slept in two hours and the plan went out the window.

As I started the revision of the master plan, I noticed the one piece I wrote first: “coffee – Bible – pray” for 8a. And eeeeeeven though the coffee finished up in the pot at 9 (missing the original start time), my inclination to head out to Walgreens and run other quick errands subsided to the fact that I told myself yesterday I needed to sit still and wake up with God.

** Plus – I mean – it just wouldn’t make sense to go to Walgreens now when I have to go back later to pick up pictures. :)

So there I was, praying on an Ephesians verse and perusing a folder on my computer titled “Trip to Love” from my 3500 mile road trip with Ellen and Lucy, picking out pictures to print. And in the sub folder of that folder titled “Bon Voyage, Amarillo, ABQ”, I stumbled on a gorgeous pic of my “9-year-old woman” – post lavender tub soak – with a vintage towel passed down from my Grandmother wrapped around her head and in an oversized white bathrobe against her tan skin.

My heart pumped so hard in seeing this picture as a gift for my mom that nothing else seemed to matter. I realized how much bullshit my mind had made Christmas and the inspiration I felt started to calm me…

The towel was her mother’s, the girl in it is her daughter’s and this as a bookmark for her Bible with a note of the strongest appreciation of her love that I can possibly put into words is so much better than running to Chesterfield for brunch gift certificates. Yes – We’ll go there and we’ll eat and we’ll gush about the picture of Ellen that made us both cry.

My plan doesn’t really matter to me anymore. And really – this doesn’t surprise me. As type-A as I am, I haven’t made a to do list for my personal life in so long as this year brought me to a new level of living so intentionally that I always had what I needed. And living faithfully in this manner, resisting panic and marketing prompts, consistently allowed me the awareness of the one next step needed to move forward.

Yet, it was four days before Christmas Eve and the pressure of “Christmas” actually put my brain in a mode of operation that I forgot that I am already ready simply because I am alive. I have what I need. And I know my one next step to enhance, express, and evolve.

I pray that all of you trust your hearts this Christmas. If there is a moment you would rather stay home immersed in sequins than run out and do one more thing, stay home. If on Christmas Eve, sitting at home by your tree sounds better than passing time with too much wine – care for yourself.

The way the world works is tricky business. And we as people have gotten really good at thinking and planning and making really super huge lists. We think we are doing the right thing because we are meeting (or at least trying to meet) expectations. But where did they come from? Whose expectations are they, really?

I know this about myself: whenever I feel overwhelmed, it’s usually because I am trying to do something right by way of some other definition. I am praying through a smile and semi-teary eyes right now because I have a way out of this now. It’s time-tested, even. Simply put – the way out is to listen to myself – to my heart – and do that thing that seems counter-productive. The next step from this unconventional place always makes more sense than the first one I thought of because “I had to”:

Each time I do this, I end up aligned more with my heart and therefore able to be a more loving, peaceful presence in this heart-sick world.

Let the spirit guide you in these final days to Christmas. namaste xo

Yes, I’m Divorced.

With a wizard nightap on, she drew hearts in the air and across my skin, she held my hand tightly and with a squeeze, told me she loves me.
With a wizard nightcap on, she drew hearts in the air and across my skin, she held my hand tightly and with a squeeze, told me she loves me.

I’m feeling a little impulsive at the moment. My daughters are sleeping tucked in and warm and I have an equally warm feeling in my heart.

When I was married, I would feel this when the night was complete: dishes done from a home-cooked meal, girls bathed, house straightened, candle lit. I would feel like I was doing something right. One time I even remember making a cinnamon zucchini bread late in the night and thinking I may very well be feeding the girls’ dreams with extra love and sweetness. I believe in the power of the home.

And being divorced can make this really tricky business.

Yet this is not a post about empowerment to the single mother – although if you are and you feel empowered by the end, God bless it. Nor is this a post justifying my decision to remit to the dead end in which my ex-husband and I found ourselves back two years ago. This post’s full intention is to explore the over-whelming feeling I am experiencing in this very moment as I equally process both the joy of the first day of “mom week” and the immense feeling of longing I feel on behalf of my children.

What is it like for them? How do they do this?

** I take a deep inhale and oddly I hear Lucy sigh in her sleep

What do they want? From me..? from life..?

.. to have explained to them. ?

I have these moments when they are with me of such surreal and powerful love. I go into their rooms over and over again and kiss them, tuck them tightly, brush my hand on their hair. I feel so beyond full with their presence and our laughter. We cook together and have dance parties. We have amazing weekends and write songs about things like love and animal tantrums. And this is when being divorced becomes especially tricky business, you see, because in these moments where I relish the fullness of who they are and how they complete my life; I instantly can’t believe I can go without seeing them for an entire week at a time.

And this makes my heart ache very badly, you see. This is the argument so many people put at my plate when the divorce began: “what about the girls?” and I would have to muddle through the moment somehow portraying trust it was for the best. And then when mothers would say “I could never do that!” about 50/50 custody, I would smile as graciously as possible and think “don’t make me a hero”.

Though I once asked my ex if he ever felt embarrassed that we were divorced, I have never felt like a failure. (Truth is, I do feel embarrassed sometimes.) To that same end, though I know I actively give my daughters good, solid experience; I have never felt such crippling panic-stricken moments of how I might fail as I do now as I begin my house hunt, dream of our next trip, and think of how I might teach relationship lessons that will promote strong self assertiveness, love, and compassion.

And so here’s what I come to – in these dear moments when I am so thankful the spirit intercedes through low breaths and sighs, Adele-toned groaning while I cut up celery to pack into lunches – that

A) failure only comes with the thoughts of success

and

B) God really is still (always and forever) here.

It’s not light in the darkness type presence (though it is, but the point here is different). It’s not about “all I’m doing” and how “good of a mom” I am type thoughts to make me feel like I’m “on track” and that things are “all working out for a reason”. Rather, it is about real love for Jesus presence – real true faith in Christ’s grace type presence (I am crying now) because it is because of this, there is freedom in my here and now.

I am no longer a slave to the right way, the modern thought, the parental code. I am only human and if I am not trying to be right, then – quite frankly – I can’t actually be wrong. Rather, I stay present. Because of the relief I am offered from my inadequacies in my past relationship decisions, I can accept the fact that I am divorced and I live on. I trust my ability to explain things to my daughters. I take heed the advice from the stories of great people of faith and meditate – pray in every moment – that the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable. Always knowing that change will occur. Always preparing for impending loss. And readily opening my heart to the life ahead of me as I stay ever mindful of not the thoughts of the house and the trip and the parenting prose – but to the spirit that was put in my body and the person God has designed me to be.

What does Jesus look like anyway?

I think we do a major disservice if we raise our children to “type” need. In considering Matthew 25: 31-46, where Jesus basically breaks it down like so: don’t just do it for Jesus, do it for the “least” of these; it’s easy to walk way looking for the ragged and wondering if behind the smell of urine is Jesus.

After years of praying for God to soften my heart, I have found my heart has led me into a number of experiences with others.  I found myself feeling a sense of sadness for a really adorably dressed, well-groomed, “pop-culture pretty” 23 year old “chick”. Similarly, I felt compelled to reach out, aware of the fact that a 40+ year old woman I met was experiencing a deep hunger for the freedom offered through grace. Then I met and prayed with this guy who I realized was suffering in his relationships because of a lack of faith. Then I massaged oil into my Grandmother’s skin the night she died because I could tell… I could just tell.

And so my point: we are all the “least of people”

Really. I think my whole life until a few years back, I took this verse and started to do that thing where everytime I saw a homeless person I thought “What if it’s Jesus??” And give him all my cash in my pocket. (True story: I did this at the ball game then didn’t have $$ to get out of the parking lot at the Courthouse and had to ask the car behind me to spot me..) :-/ #humility

Anyway. I think it’s easy to do this! I think you can get in this mode where people who look poorer than you, act hungrier than you, seem thirstier than you,  are on your radar and you feel some great mission to find them based on what you think they look like and treat them all as good as you would if it was Christ himself asking for a bite of your Jimmy John’s.

But here’s the deal:

Have you ever bought yourself a great oufit and looked down to see your kid’s jeans are completely high watered?

Have you ever talked to your boss about workplace politics and realized he was totally frightened?

Have you ever met with a 90 year old woman and felt compelled to touch their hand and kiss them on their cheek like you would a cuddly 6 month old baby?

We are all in that place – never too mighty to be cared for, never too fortunate to be experiencing a deep need for love and grace..

I think this Matthew verse is especially challenging because in it I feel God calls us to truly open our hearts and connect within the human experience. The first time I spent time at a woman’s shelter, I recall praying to God the most concrete prayer walking in: “Open my heart, please.” I was almost begging him to help me. And in my time with the women found myself realizing, “Erin, these women know you know they’re homeless . Don’t see their need – it’s no different than your own need – connect and laugh, relax and hangout.”

The needs Jesus lists are our most common needs and I consider this initial charge to be “Being a Reasonably Good Human Being 101″. I believe starting from an awareness of these needs, you allow caring to settle into your heart – it takes root – and you begin to grow to deeper places of insight.. you are able to move into performing acts of justice. You have a hieghtened awareness and are drawn to things you believe should change. You become more aware of levels deep within people – into a more specific part of the human condition. All of this unique to the eyes of YOUR heart, seeing things that you are especially equipped to notice BECAUSE of the person you are divinely designed to be.

God gave our heart eyes to see spiritual needs in others and by attempting acts of mercy, I feel you obtain some necessary level of humility that allows you to move forward -(aware both in how to care for others and how to accept care) in meeting others in their moments and act towards justice. Always true to your calling. And ultimately able to make a really profound difference in the world.

We are all the least of these.

Click here to watch this week’s message: “Breaking Up With Yourself: Part 2″

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