About Easter

The more I have come to live, the more I have come to realize that in waves of doubt or despair – literally equal in that moment – are hope and celebration.

The church has failed so many people and Easter really is simply undoubtedly a celebration of spring, light after darkness, new life and the mystery of creation… the joy you feel when the green of your hostas or ferns, the yellow of your tulips or lillies straight up usher in the first real day of winter being over.

These are undebatable truths. These can be communally celebrated, witnessed and experienced.

But about Easter.

I am an Easter person. And it’s not because I was raised on lyrics like “veiled in flesh the Godhead see” or “Christ the Lord has RISEN TODAY – ALLELUIA”. Which built an understanding of a savior and my need to be saved.

And though I am suspicious to believe I am Easter person because I have experienced ruach – spirit – pranayama in the humbly low brass tones of // crown him with many crowns – the lamb upon the throne // and how (even in this very moment) I am moved to tears thinking of how love is bigger than me, love requires faith, and so LOVE must be DIVINE. Holy. Recognition worthy. Eyes closed feel it worthy, divine. I know it’s not just that.

No. I think deep in my bones I am an Easter person because I know moments in my life where I have experienced a different, more peaceful or positive, emotion after a terribly anxious, fearful one have been moments where I have sacrificed, let the bad guys have their way while keeping my belief, or where I held the hand of a dying woman to then witness the peace of her dead body; her spirit obviously not there.

Maybe religious Easter coincided with seeing Christ energy in the sun, the green, the grass. Or feeling the open hearts of those experiencing beautify after thunder, darkness and silence. Maybe we should all scale it back out of headlined beliefs and generational religion and feel what we know to be true: the natural cycle of new life coming after death.

I am an Easter person. A finder and lover of the silver lining. A collector of rocks, an exchanger of peace, an encourager of hope.

A lover of green ferns.

A celebrator of the faithfulness of the rising sun and moon.

May Current. My Tide of Wondering.

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Waiting for a flow waiting for a flow

(Three Days Later)

I wonder sometimes if I will always remember this season of my life. Mugs of coffee, walking Ranger in my North Webster neighborhood where there is both litter and progress on the streets, family and friends nearby.

I wonder if the feeling I have in my heart when I contemplate where I go to church, feel gratitude to who helps and prays for my family and scan my life for new paths I have to help and pray for others will stay or if the feeling (it feels like newness and curiosity mixed with patience and acknowledgement) will evolve into maybe some wise old woman type heart.

You know – like the kind of woman who knows how to cut and trim the herbs just right and what kind of Psalm to sing to her roses to keep them from getting brittle.

Is that a stretch?

I wonder, of all the friends in my active circle, who is the one with the next thing to teach me.

I wonder, of all the people I haven’t met yet but will meet in the future, who will validate the choices I am making now. In my near 37 years, there is always the validating stranger who comes in and says “yeah – that’s great – that’s like what they do in <name region of the world> to <name thing that I was also trying to get to>” and then they usually add something “you should read” or “you might like” or offer a deeper reason for said thing they are validating which helps me understand how a prayer was answered in my decision to do something.

The Pastor at AME Blackwell Church said “Don’t look for what you think the thing you asked God for looks like, look for the thing you asked God for – period.”

“Don’t look for what you think the thing you asked God for looks like, look for the thing you asked God for – period.”

Like the people that will come in and validate, there will be the storms that come in and expose me. My vulnerabilities, what is unhealthy about the things I do. I wonder when that next storm will be. And then I wonder and survey my life and see if there is any obvious place to reinforce, any obvious tool I need, any obvious gaps to close.

I wonder that about my emotional and spiritual life like I do about my house, my land, my motherhood.

I wonder how many times I will be afraid for the lives of my children and pray for a shield over them and how many times I will still – even after experiencing relief from this fear – I will be hit in the head with the practical wisdom of Proverbs and prayers of Psalms to remind me how much more power good has over evil. How my words matter. How my time matters. How the stories I tell my daughters matter. How the food I cook them matters. How the way I filter guilt and shame and speak in clear language matters. How my listening to them matters. How my hugs matter, my patience matters, my certainty and servant heart matter.

I saw the mint expanding today in its golden yellow pot (which I will likely have to move once it gets taller than the roses) and thought “I’m not going to move the pot yet”. This awareness of timing is something that has matured in my heart. The patience. The willingness to see how it goes but the proximity to be the right kind of proactive; there when the next step is ripe.

I offer all of this – a journal of today – in hopes and in prayer that we all recognize the seasons of our life, the way the day feels – and get some power from knowing it is all a part of the process.

XO, Erin

 

Faith in Faithfulness

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I think it is easiest to look at a situation we are in, identify what we want to see in our life, come up with a couple of options for how it will play out / what that chapter could look like, and then figure the future will hold one or the other.

This makes sense.

We have seen a lot of lives take on new chapters. In other people’s lives. In our own lives. In movies. We pretty much know the ways typical story lines end. People with cancer get chemo and either get skinny and lose hair and survive or they don’t. People in bad marriages either get counseling and experience change or they get divorced. Rebellious teenagers get a come to Jesus wake up call or grow out of it. People waiting for a baby either have fertility treatment and end up twins or adopt (or maybe even adopt and then get pregnant.) These are examples of big things that happen in life for which we predict the next chapters.

Then there are small ones: people longing to live without clutter either never organize that closet and take that on as a part of their identity or spend a Saturday and finally purge. People wanting to change their body either lose weight and tone up with some kind of cross fit hi-jinx or maybe find the right pair of yoga pants and jeans and smile and accept their body.

The bottom line: I think we should want our chapters to change. We should want growth. Even if we are in a good place, we should be excited for possibility – newness – connection. It is important to know that next chapter is out there. Especially so if you are in a current season you would like to see change.

I love the idea of being really honest about what that next version of your self looks like in order to be aware of ways to get there.

It’s empowering, really.

But then what happens when you’ve drummed up that vision and then you’re stuck in the middle of September: you’re super tired, you haven’t woken up early like you have planned, the paper you subscribed to has been stacking up, you paid your car payment twice, your face doesn’t look right and you throw away the brussels sprouts you were really really excited to broil when you ran into them on a beautifully calm evening at a farmer’s market? You feel wasteful, unintentional, and a little bit confused.

What happens when you are on a very odd tangent of what you want your life to look like?

When you know the outcome you want but seriously have a hard time aligning with it?

What do you even pray for? Why do you pray? How do you pray? You’re close. You can sense change but it isn’t there yet so HOW DO YOU GET THE PAGE TO TURN?

In preparation for a presentation to my yoga peers towards my certification (I graduate in NOVEMBER), I pulled out a bag I keep close to me: in it are all of the prayers from the past three women’s retreats I have attended. I have made it a part of my experience to pull them down at the end of the retreat and pray over them, pack them up, and visit with them (in reverence) every once in awhile.

The weight we carry in our lives never ceases to amaze me. The healing we crave, the baby we want to meet, the iteration of ourselves we want to operate from, the clarity – the peace – the love, the relationship, the satisfaction, the confidence. These are real things.

The human experience is legit heavy.

But – I think I stumbled into a lightness. Seriously – I think I had a breakthrough coming into October.

If there is one thing I know in my 35 years, it is that there is *always* something revealed to us. There is. I am going to avoid a whole tangent on suffering right now. Because I want to focus you in on considering the difference here between these two statements:

“Staying determined on what you want from God for your next chapter”

“Being faithful to God’s faithfulness”

Truly, they should *feel* different from each other when you read them. Read them again. On the next inhalation, read them again.

These are wildly different statements though they are both rooted in the same perspective: you are one place, yet you see something different for your life.

The other night, I sat with a string of mala beads and just rolled through them. My meditation: “I am faithful to God’s faithfulness”.

Meaning? I will serve, I will pray, I will share with others, I will love, I will work hard, I will honor my parents, I will do my dishes, I will be accountable, I will eat well, I will give, I will get rest, I will read scripture, I will study spiritual text, I will listen, I will learn *all while knowing* that next version of my life (whatever it may be) will occur.

Growth does happen.

Change happens.

God does reveal.

Like the morning sun, God is faithful. (Hosea 6:3)

This switch in thinking makes our relationship with God less like the one we have with a restaurant server at a restaurant with no menu and more like the one we have with the waves on an ocean shore where you can sit, allow what comes, play, dig, relax, refresh, walk, move, pick up, and let the elements change you.

I know it’s abstract. But I feel, when I look at the prayers of these women – when I look at my journal from September – that I can’t help but see some low hanging peace fruit available to us if we commit to being faithful to God’s faithfulness without ordering up our future.

And for those of you thinking as you read this that it is total horse shit because you are in the middle of a rough hand dealt or because you had a rough hand dealt and it has not changed. I just challenge you to say in your prayers tonight, “God, I am faithful to your faithfulness.” And let it rest. Take out all the other variables.

Focus on the rising sun.

May we have ears to hear and eyes to see. XO, erin