Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Living in the Grey

Our counselor of several years, once told us that kids tend to see issues through a black and white lens. It's up to us as parents to encourage our children to not fear the chance that there are more sides to an issue, and that it's alright to think beyond the status quo and come up with a thoughtful perspective.

Ooh, that sounds scary. Having these little minds around who don't accept truth because you say so? Believe me, I completely get that. It was my BIGGEST fear for my children when my husband stepped away from the church.

But, letting go of that fear has been my GREATEST freedom--a freedom that sometimes opens the gates for frustration when I see adults taking the black and white approach on an issue. When I see human brokenness treated as a mis-step from the "right" side of the issue, I cringe at the disregard that the issue might be the outcome of a deeper problem...a deeper wound...even an actual NEED that has yet to be met.

In the face of government fiascos, gender wars, sports figures' choices, sexuality debates, or even doctrinal differences, what if we didn't just choose a side, but saw the issues from all sides, and not just realize the topic, but dig deeper into the reason for the hurt, the need, the sprouting of such an issue?

What if those of us who just say "yes" to the one side of an issue because that's how it has been done, or SHOULD be done, are missing out on the chance to understand humanity deeper, and to realize the ultimate need for a Savior beyond even ourselves (even our "right")?

The only black and white Truth walked among all the grey and understood the brokenness. 

He didn't shame anyone for their weakness, but offered strength in something beyond a yes or no. He cared for the most colorful and diverse entity on Earth--the human heart.

I am not saying to live lukewarm. Or that we become lukewarm. On the contrary, I am suggesting that we stop shouting like clanging cymbals and getting fired up by the symptom, and start offering healing to the hearts that need us--every human, no matter their affiliation, opinion, or side.

I don't want to contribute to the divide on matters that don't matter as much as the people affected by them. I want to be the messy smear of black and white and show how we can step into the grey and find color again.

Find hearts again.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

When Everything is Right...& You are Miserable.

Ever like your social media self better than that person in the mirror?

I am sure you are thinking--wow, did she just say that? Honestly, I try and be as authentic as I can on social media, but we all know, it's a two-dimensional space. I can either put misery on the screen, or happiness. And when I have SO much good going on, HOW in the world can I dump my troubled heart on a FB status? Mixed signals, much? Two-faced? Hypocrite? Ungrateful...ugh. The slander continues in my brain as I assume every ill thing someone can spit at the screen boasting two different messages that are Angie Dicken.

But, believe me, even feeling these deep, dark emotions in light of my giddy steps through the door of publication and the joys of growing my children, makes my sub-conscious scream the same. 

YOU hypocrite.

It's that other dimension, you know? The one you can't see...the one I can't see--but oh, I can feel it more than the droplets of rain on my head this dreary Saturday afternoon. This gloominess is tangling with every fiber within me. I feel it. Too deeply. It eclipses all that is good.

It reminds me that the stuff of this world is just not enough. There IS a spiritual world at war here. No matter what naysayers speak so closely in my ear. No matter the denial I am exposed to day in and day out. There IS a battle going on in my heart and I am afraid I will suffocate by it.

I am exhausted. I am sad. I am heartbroken.

And it's because I let myself think I was okay for so long. And I neglected the condition of my heart. If you've been with me on this past three and half year journey, you know that the first year of that was valley walking. In the valley though, God had drawn close, and I crawled along the floor, ready to climb out. That upward climb was deceiving though, because even though I reached higher ground,  I had expected a lush spiritual revival. What I found was a dry desert, one where even my God decided to remain behind in the valley. Well, that's what it feels like anyway. Maybe He raced ahead? Maybe he's given me this strange time of external successes, only to show me how bankrupt my insides are. I need Him more than ever, and I can hardly see past the mirages on the coarse sand upon which I stand. Hazy fabrications of what I think I need, and no fulfillment in sight.

I need Him. I've always needed Him. And there is nothing in this world that can fill that hole. No matter how hard I focus on what I have, I don't have enough if I don't have Him.

So, I sit here, in constant gratitude for everything that's gone right, but miserable because I had believed it would fix me.

Only He can. And, I'll hold on to that. If there is one place that I've learned this most, it's in my journey as an author. The one place He's showed up time and again is when I gather with my fellow author friends. One external thing that meets my internal turmoil with healing, is my community of writer friends. 

I am holding on, waiting for Him to slow down ahead, and let me catch up. Just a few more days, and I hope the healing will begin.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Release Day: I am PUBLISHED!

Today is the day! My debut novel, The Outlaw's Second Chance, debuts today! If you haven't checked out my Facebook author page, please do! Lots of good stuff and my online launch will be there!

It's been a long journey, and I just have to's ALL ABOUT the journey. I have learned sooooo much, and I know there is so much more to learn. This is an amazing step along the way, but I don't want to quit walkin' this walk any time soon (actually, my next book comes out in November)!

Thank you for reading my blogs of unrequited publishing desires and inspirational writing pep talks!

If you would like to check out my newsletter, I have all sorts of info on my debut (it's a dance card in a least the all the dates of where I will be online these next few weeks)!

Have a wonderful week! Hoping to start blogging again soon! 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Mama's Pre-Reflection

What I will miss most when they're all grown up...
(I know that grandparents will tell me to just wait...but these babies are the only babies I am guaranteed)

The rummaging of legos in the basement

The surprise of waking up next to a child who crawled in my bed in the middle of the night without waking me.

The hundreds of papers with drawings of stick figures, L-I-B-B-Y, trees, flowers, scribbles...strewn all over the table tops, living room floor, dining room floor, bookshelves...oh my.

The sound of sweet children's t.v. while I cook.

Two brothers playing catch in the front yard.

Two brothers giggling in the late hours of the night.

The clipity-clop of my high heels being worn by little feet, and the swish of my knee high dress brushing the floor as it's modeled by the little mama holding her American Girl.

And I am sure there is more...but lastly for now...

I'll miss giggle boxes turned upside down, when all four of my children get along...for those brief moments...everything is right in our home.

That's what I'm going to miss. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Is it well with my soul?

There are times when I just want to crawl out of my skin. Times when, I look back on what just happened and see this totally different person in me than I ever expected to be.

It might happen when I've been careless, or quick to judge--or speak--or act on a whim of opinion. My brain is tiresome. My heart is heavy. And I just want a do-over. Peace can be fleeting or, let's get real--non-existent in these moments of reflection. I don't even remember the taste of calm, I can't recall the last breath of contentment. Moments like these are a storm of regret, and I find myself being mauled over by a tidal wave of shame.

My throat is thick and my heart is swimming in the bottom of my belly.

My soul is not well.

Sometimes, I am being foolish to think I need to wallow so severely. There's this gene in my family called Worry, and too often it dominates every other cell of my mind. Yes, too often, I trade life for this shackle.

But then, there are times when regret is valid, when it becomes this sharp pinch in my conscience and I realize I messed up.

My spaghetti brain (you know, the cutesy term for the female thought process) starts slithering about and knotting with all the circumstances I can recall in the near past--and sometimes the far past--and I am seriously bound for destruction...


In all my hopelessness, I crawl away from the jumble, and think outside myself. I reach for that untarnished place and it shines bright. It never fails me. The Truth of it suddenly shuts down every bit of activity--it freezes the storm and hollows me out.

Suddenly, I am not a vessel of regret. I am just a vessel. And I need filling. Only when I look to that untarnished place, and I pause, do I wonder in its fullness. I am emptied of every last thing, and realize I just want what that untarnished place has to fill me with.

That untarnished place ebbs and flows in size along my timeline. That untarnished place named Faith, is often cast out with the storm and left to sink deep in the sand, only to be discovered again when I am crawling on my hands and knees with the weight of the storm on my back. My desperate fingers graze the shell of that untarnished place and I wipe away just enough for a glimpse.

Sometimes, Faith is bobbing on the horizon, and I smile, nod, and rest assured that it's there--when I need it.

But, oh, I am quick to realize that it's not just a back-pocket kind of tool. I am knocked out of my senses way to quickly and severely to even reach for it in those moments.

Yet, it is faithfully waiting, even so.

How can just a look, or a listen, or a taste be so powerful to shutdown such a massive storm? Or was it even massive to begin with? In the light of that untarnished place, what is large seems so small--and insignificant.

There's just so much Greater next to my lesser. And that makes the storm seem like a splash. Sure, it leaves droplets of reminder--and I must wipe them away diligently--but, in the end, I can find a renewed calm that is not one bit like me, but all for me.

I made a mess outside me and inside me.

Even so, in light of the fullness, all is well with my soul.

Time and again, I lose my grip on all that is good and find myself stuck in the mire of consequence.

Even so, in Grace and forgiveness, my soul is renewed again.

Even so.