Five Minute Friday – Afraid

I’m doing this 5 minute writing challenge again..and late. Again.  Same old song and dance, just sort of new move in the dance each week.  Today, posting on Saturday evening.  And you know what? That’s ok.  I take Five Minute Friday as a suggestion to start thinking about writing.  Still. Only takes me a day (or so) to react.  Yes, I’m aware of the irony, and the name Five Minute Friday.  But, regadless-I’m still giving myself grace and yet also a pat on a back for doing it.

A reminder in case you’ve missed it, this is the Friday Five Minute writing challenge, and the details are below in case  you want to play sometime…

This is a weekly writing “game”  from my bloggy friend Lisa-Jo Baker, who blogs (and writes heart-breakingly, beautiful words and stories) at http://lisajobaker.com/

So, here’s the challenge, should you accept it: you write for 5 minutes with freedom like you have no fear or shame.  And then you have to be brave (or at least pretend to be) and link up to her blog. Encouraging the writer who links up before you is part of the deal, too.  This last rule is crucial, as we all need to encourage others. Why encourage another writer? Because at one point or another in our lives, we all need encouraging too.

Each week is a new word, a new thought starter, and you have 5 minutes to write….and are you ready? go-

Afraid

Thanks to ponsulak for the image.
Thanks to ponsulak for the image.

I don’t really want to write about this topic, I’ve been putting it off, if I’m truly honest with myself.

Afraid.

Who wants to write about that?

All the thoughts in my mind go to the scary things, afraid of the dark, afraid of getting hurt, afraid of what bad could potentially come upon me or my family.

Afraid.

What a not-so-strong feeling it inspires in me.

And honestly, afraid, some days, is what my faith is.  Fear-based.  Looks a lot more like a bargain plea, a prayer of insurance with God-prayers for safety and well-being and my ability to handle it all because I’m afraid.  Afraid I can’t do it all on my own.

Which, in reality, is the first step in faith.  Prayers.  Faith so small you wonder if you even possess it at all.

The other? Loving and trusting God, and remembering to do that, even when I am afraid. To remember He’s got this even if the afraid things happen.  And in that, He has me too.

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Girl friendships

thanks to Stuart Miles for the image.
thanks to Stuart Miles for the image.

It’s been a long, bumpy ride with me and girlfriends.  The kind of girlfriends that Romy and Michelle are (if you are of a certain age, hopefully you get the reference)the type of best friends that are girls.  Girl relationships.

They are hard, to say the least.  But they are lovely, necessary, and add a whole depth to your life that you never knew about before.  They are like a hidden spice that once you discover it, you feel the need to use it in all your recipes and when you leave it out, maybe others can’t tell, but you can.  Something is missing. The recipe just doesn’t taste as good and certainly isn’t as satisfying and there’s a depth that just isn’t there.

These girl relationships have always been a bumpy ride for me.  Bumpy in that, I strap on a seatbelt in hoping for a convertible type ride of a relationship, only to discover it’s not enough, and we are in a jeep with no shocks and wandering through dessert or deluges of rain with no top.  I usually end up feeling overexposed, painfully vulnerable and shy, expecting to have had a nice drive maybe through a forest or somewhere safe only to discover that it’s a ride I’m not so sure I should have signed up for, as  it was rugged, extreme and not at all what I expected.  And  in the end of some of these best friend-like relationships, I’m not so sure whose fault the bad ride is, mine or my former friend’s.

So, needless to say I’ve been hurt many times by these relationships.  They hurt deep, where it’s a mix of anger, vulnerability, pride and the feeling like maybe I’m just not the right person. And though I tell myself it’s maybe not you, I can’t help but think it’s all me, that I simply wasn’t  good enough to be a part of a pack, part of a gang of the girlfriends, a la Romy and Michelle or The Ya-Ya Sisterhood clan.

It’s not unlike dating from what I remember, I’ll say that.  And I’ll also say I’m not sure which is harder on my heart, and I’m not sure I’ve got that all figured out either.

Not sure if you’re like me, but the kind of girl relationship that I’ve longed for is a friend who knows me so well, that they use the back door.  We of course, don’t have a back door (or one of those half-doors that all of the houses in the 50’s sitcoms were seemingly equipped with) but, we do have a garage door that takes you through the scenic, messy garage to scenic, messy laundry room into the kitchen.  One of those friends is what I long for: one who knows the back entrance, and uses it, and accepts you and your mess along the way to finding where you are.  And the friend that you are not afraid to share your mess with or let them see, either.

And I’m here to tell you that those friends yes really, do exist.

First, yes you, if you are in this boat with me too, you will recover and will move on.  There are others who long (yes, long) to be friends with you.  And you will find them one day.  Promise. And yes, you are good enough. Double promise that one.

And second there is this in the case you are like me, and still searching a bit.  Here’s a good and safe place to start-

The in(RL) conference in April.

(in)RL.  Totally worth it.
(in)RL. Totally worth it.

I know it’s wonderful, because I’ve tried it, I did the whole conference thing last year, you know what?  Blew my socks off.

Everyone who is in this conference is vulnerable, honest, kind, and also: broken.  Some of them have been hurt too, and that’s what this is all about: sharing the hurt and the scars and the broken places in our lives, but still dancing.  Still trying, testing the waters, and knowing that if we break, there are others there to help up glue things back together, to pray, and to most importantly: laugh.  Where there could be potentially a lot of sorrow, there is also laughter too, as in you only crack when you don’t laugh.

We talk about the things that matter most, of course: honest pain, high heels, casseroles, good friendships, God, Nutella, chocolate, pedicures,when the kids annoy you the most, jokes, date nights and how a good cup of coffee can save you, we talk about all of it.  Anything you would talk about with a true-blue girlfriend, is what has been (or probably will be) talked about here.

I invite you to join in the conversation.  Only requirement is you bring your authentic, vulnerable self, including that middle school one that is all nose and height and has no idea how to wear eyeliner.  Bring her too, because she will be among confidantes and equal-footed friends.  Oh, and other requirement is that you be a girl.  Sorry boys, but this is all girly-girl stuff, all nail polish and pink and swirls and all sorts of stuff that I imagine give you boys nightmares to even think about.

And hey-if you have a family, sounds like a good idea for a Girl Day for Mama and maybe a Guy Day for Dad, don’t you think? Call up the grandparents and or baby-sitters, I’m sure they would be more than happy to help and watch the little ones while you take a little time for yourself.  And remember this especially if you’re a mom: this isn’t selfish.  To be a good mom, you need time for you, too.

And again, promise this won’t be a bad time, it’s one of the best experiences I’ve had with other women, and it is community, it is home.  Truly.

For all the details, check it out here: http://www.incourage.me/inrl

Five Minute Friday – Quiet

Hi There-

I’m doing this 5 minute writing challenge again..and late-ish. Again.  Friday is a great day, but for my writing and posting, it is sort of crammed, to-the-edges-of-the-day-sort-of-crammed.   But it’s worth it.  This weekly challenge alone has grown my writing skills in spades more than any other exercise I’ve done, so it’s well worth the time and the crazy for  me.  And oh yes, there is crazy scheduling chaos getting to writing this post.  But it’s worth it-the wonderful friends I’ve met along the way and their kind  encouragement as I go, and the gift of encouraging them.  Priceless that is, really.

So, moving on-

So, a reminder in case you’ve missed it, this is the Friday Five Minute writing challenge, just in case, you know, you want to play sometime too-

This is a weekly writing “game”  from my bloggy friend Lisa-Jo Baker, who blogs (and writes heart-breakingly, beautiful words and stories) at http://lisajobaker.com/

So, here’s the challenge, should you accept it: you write for 5 minutes with freedom like you have no fear or shame.  And then you have to be brave (or pretend to be) and link up to her blog. Encouraging the writer who links up before you is part of the deal, too.  This last rule is crucial, as we all need to encourage others. Why encourage another writer? Because at one point or another in our lives, we all need encouraging too.

Each week is a new word, a new thought starter, and you have 5 minutes to write….and are you ready? go-

Quiet

 In the quiet dreams are born, legends made, stories told.
In the quiet, no one has to shout it from the rafters, from the billboards, no one has to turn up the radio or blast the TV to hear it.
In a quiet moment, the quiet is a space, a pause, a whole lifetime sometimes lies within the quiet.
In quiet we think, we digest, we plan, we pray, we re-assess, we feel, we listen.
In the quiet we check in with God and ourselves but without the world’s cellphones, stadium lights, noises, and opinions intruding in and begging for a show, a dance, and spectacle for our diverted attention to behold.
In the quiet, we don’t have to be strong anymore, we can cry tears of tiredness, frustration and weight, the heavy weight of the price of living in this world into our wine glasses, Bibles, pillows.
In the quiet we don’t have to be strong anymore.  In the quiet we listen and we hear.
And perhaps that is exactly why we are scared of it.

Five Minute Friday – Wide

Hi There-

I’m doing this 5 minute writing challenge again…and again. Seems I’m sort of a fan of this weekly writing game, you think?

And a reminder in case you’ve here’s what this challenge is all about…in case maybe you want to play too, some time-

This is a weekly writing “game”  from my bloggy friend Lisa-Jo Baker, who blogs (and writes heart-breakingly, beautiful words and stories) at http://lisajobaker.com/

So, here’s the challenge, should you accept it: you write for 5 minutes, free, like you have no fear or shame or no editor inside your head (both are hard for me)…and then you link up to her blog, and encourage the writer who links up before you.  This last piece is crucial, as we need to encourage others.

Each week is a new word, a new thought starter, and you have 5 minutes to write….and are you ready? go-

Wide

Lord how I want to follow you wide.

Into the wide open spaces,

Into the wide expanse of my family’s outstretched arms,

Into the wide belief that your love is not scare, it’s not atonement, into the hope that your love is not conditional.

I want to follow you into the wild blue yonder, in an adventure so deep and powerful my sparrow sized mind fails to comprehend it.

You tell us to open our tents, pull back wide our stakes, all through Isaiah you say this, you tell us this.

Do not be afraid, you whisper.  Yes, be bold, you whisper.

And you call us to follow the narrow path, the small over-grown-with-weeds path, but you lead us. You clear the path of weeds with a machete of love and  we look up; and we see wide–we see a world of full of wide big sky, opportunities and growth, blessings that we have to look up to see.

Maybe that is the lesson:follow the narrow path, the one, maybe with weeds or that is long and winds around, but look up.  Up, where the sky is open, round and  holds the fullness, 9 months-pregnant-fullness with the great possibility of a day. Fullness of open-ended endless love that we only think, we only assume…

is small.

is scare.

is limited.

It is limitless.  Your sky and your blessings and your love. Your wide, wide, wide  love.

Five Minute Friday – Focus

Hi Everyone-

I’m doing this 5 minute writing challenge again…and again.

As just a reminder, here’s what this challenge is all about-

This is a weekly writing “game”  from my bloggy friend Lisa-Jo Baker, who blogs (and writes heart-breakingly, beautiful words and stories) at http://lisajobaker.com/

So, here’s the challenge: you write for 5 minutes, free, like you have no fear or shame or no editor inside your head (that’s last one’s a hard one for me)…and then you link up to her blog, and encourage the writer who links up before you.  This last piece is crucial, as we need to encourage others.

Each week is a new word, a new thought starter, and you have 5 minutes to write….and are you ready? go-

Focus-

So often I see out of focus; so often I am not able to concentrate on the small joys in front of me.

It’s hard to look at life out of focus; it seems as if I am on the endless teeter totter of emotions and perspective that make me look at life with blinders-unaware of others, binoculars-way too zoomed in on others and their flaws, or with a near-sighted vision, not able to see close enough that allows me to trip over details and little speed bumps I should have been able to see coming.

So often I lose it.  And I think, so often we lose it too, as people–we focus on money, on jobs, on our satisfaction with life and miss the little ones tugging at our hems, asking for just one more piggy back ride.

Focus-goodness, it’s hard to grasp; elusive, like the Loch Ness monster.

But there is one special tool we have, one magic fairy wand, as it were that helps me see what I really need to, a magic looking-glass that refines it all for me, daily.

And that is God.  Thank God for God.

Recovery Room

Here’s a thought: life is one big recovery room.

I see this as a truth, as aren’t we all recovering from life to some degree?

Some of us are recovering from internal bleeding and bruising of the heart.

Some of us are recovering from the constant and continual paper cuts of life’s little problems.

And some of us have been so hurt by others, so abused by life that we are almost injured beyond recognition.

Yet here we are; all stuck together in this giant recovery room we call life.

We are not separated by degree of injury, type of injury, or health care plans;

We are not separated by how we deal with anger, loneliness or lack of love;

We are all stuck with one another, whether we love it or loathe it.

And yet, knowing this, we still stare at each other down as if we were on a lifeboat together.

We are constantly assessing whether or not that other person is good enough, healed enough or strong enough to be worthy of a seat on the lifeboat.

We scrutinize each other.  We judge.

But, we seldom realize that, along with God, we are all that we’ve got.

And ironically, that we are all we need.

If only we remembered this.

About me…

Hi, I’m Liz, the author of deep fragile grace.

Why deep fragile grace, you ask? Why not my name, you ask?

First, I’m a private (ish, private-ish) person. I like to still think I have some veil of privacy although I write a blog.  Ha! Privacy.  I’m even kidding myself some days.

Anyways, so that’s why I don’t have my whole name as a website address.

Two, I like the words deep, fragile and grace, and think they are words that describe both me and my outlook on life…and they are such beautiful words, too.

In regards to me personally, I prefer the word ‘deep’ to words, ahem, ‘too intense’.

That and I find that my life (and my faith) is full of deep, fragile grace.

Deep, as in, not shallow faith or appreciation of life; deep as in that feeling that travels way deep, into your very marrow.

Fragile, as in who I am, who you are, how the world is.  One day our world seems solid and steady, and we’re firmly planted in it; we know how much God loves me. Fragile, as in it changes in a heartbeat and it seems that sometimes the world is so shaky, delicate, and balancing on a thumb tack instead of resting steadily in God’s hands. You know what I mean, friend? That life is uncertain, and some days scary, and some days we remember God’s in control and some days we don’t. Some days we don’t at all.

But grace. Grace helps me remember that there is always more than enough mercy (and grace) from God for all of us, the whole lot of us, despite all of our sins, problems, insecurities and fragilities.

So does that help? Clear as mud?

This blog obviously has a Christian bend, and I will be honest, most of the posts will be about God, Christ, things that either anger me or delight me about Christianity. I’m a Christian and these subjects fascinate me, so it bleeds into my writing.  But don’t hold me to that subject exclusively, as I am also human, so writing a funny post about children, pets, my dislike of laundry, jean shorts and horseradish is totally within reason. And up for grabs, I might add. Who wouldn’t want to read a post about horseradish?

Anyways–all that to say this: enjoy. Hope you get as much enjoyment reading this as I do writing this blog.

If you’d like to drop me a line, please do–but don’t hold me to getting back to you quickly, as well, there is laundry to avoid and children to feed. Email me at deepfragilegrace at gmail dot com. And I’ll work on getting back to you when I can.

And thanks for taking the time to read–I so appreciate you stopping by. Truly.

Liz