When New England Cabin Fever Smacks You Upside The Head

You are going along in your life minding your own business when WHAM! you get smacked upside the head.

A good old fashioned New England Cabin Fever back-handed cuff.

It feels more like a sucker punch because you don’t see it coming.

You are a christian. A Jesus follower. You are supposed to be the happiest person on the planet.

After all…if you’ve said yes to Jesus you are going to heaven.

And not some ethereal, pie in the sky (but, please, let there be pie in heaven) sort of place either….this place is going to rock!

Music never before heard by any human, joy never before experienced in any lifetime, love never before known to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

And Jesus will be your sun, shining ALL THE LIVE LONG DAY.

No one will need a band-aid or an aspirin or a transplant.

No one will need to dress for a funeral .

No one will need Zoloft or Ritalin or caffeine.

You should be dancing a jig right now.

So why aren’t you?

Is it that seasonal disorder thing where you need more light?

Is it the snowbank that keeps encroaching toward your house?

Is it the mud splashed everything?IMG_7247

Perhaps you are telling yourself that you love New England and that you’re okay with misty mountains and blowing winds. Perhaps you are appreciating the four seasons that speak so much of God’s new life and maturing in faith and harvest abundance and winter’s hidden treasures. Yet in the telling and the appreciating you are covering up the fact that azure waters and pink sands and trees that fan soft breezes are filling your imagination for the first time ever.

So.

What do you do when you stare at the line of shovels against the garage wondering which one do you sling into the heavenlies first?

What do you do when you hear the forecast for more snow and there is no place to put it and you let sarcasm scream, “Really?”

What do you when you long for something, anything, green?

What do you do when cabin fever strikes?

Get out of the cabin.

Get out into the cold and the mud and the dirty snow and breathe because sometimes that is all you need to do to recognize that you are still alive.  You are not bound by the elements or circumstances or bad attitudes or mocking shovels because there is promise that surrounds your life…it is THE PROMISE: Life here and now and Life to come.

Jesus said it plain.

I came that they might have life and life abundantly.

Abundant spring eternal. Seedlings buried deep under snow and rot beginning their eruption, birthing and pushing in the hidden, obscure places, are, right now, doing the hard work of just being alive. And nobody can see it.

Life worth living is lived by faith…believing that the Truth is no less real although it may be nailed to a tree.

Or like Spring, hidden under fifteen inches of hard-packed snow.

Get out of the cabin and live your life of faith.

Look past winter’s last hurrah, past her last gasping fury and Rejoice!

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Be assured and convicted that Jesus is for you.

Breathe it and know it.

Like you know that daffodils are coming.

Take your medicine for cabin fever and get out. Go look for some green.001

Lucy Buys Her Underwear At The Fair

She slides oh so quiet into the seat and her stack of books and bent papers and chewed pencils slide oh so quiet onto the table.  A serious girl of olive skin face and brown hair plain, with killer wide eyes that will drop some boy’s heart to his knees someday.

She smile twitches.

She likes me but she is a teenager now so she doesn’t hug me like she did when she hall skipped to her kindergarten room.

She is forgetting the ease of modest affection.

She is learning the art of hesitation.

Her voice is low and husky and teachers are always asking her to speak up. To really hear what she has to say one must lean into her space.

To really see her one must want to see.  And wanting is a percolating business. It takes time.

It’s easy to miss seeing people and all their color.

Like when I miss the sunset as everything goes awe quiet because of the creation brilliance and I’m acting all ordinary and busy.

Suddenly she speaks. A whisper rasp.

“I hate it when people make fun of you because of what you wear.”IMG_7233

I lean in.

“I don’t like it when people do that, either.” I pencil tap on my palm.

Her lips twitch a smile a second time, then go thin.

“I know people are talking about me. I’m not going to tell you who but…” her eyes do a quick scan around the classroom and she keeps them from lingering on any one person.  She looks at me again.

“I went to Label Shopper with my mom the other day and we were able to get a whole bunch of nice things…so…yeah.  We can’t afford Abercrombie and Aeropostle,  you know, places like the Gap.”

I know.

I know about girls being all sixteen and then it being my turn and me giggle opening a gift to find nestled in the white flurry of tissue paper a pair of yellow lace panties all perfect and grown up and… expensive.

I know how they felt perfect and now I was perfect and for one day out of seven I wasn’t wearing underwear from The Fair. Everything else I had on could be cast-off, thrift-stored and hand-me-downed, but for one day I was all lace and good stitching next my skin and worth something.

The Fair Department Store was a precursor to the discount box store complete with hard-edged lighting and broken-wheeled carts and anyone shopping there probably lived in the ghetto and got their food from a government issued can.

Or so said the girl the day she handed me her gift containing yellow and lace.

Which is why not one friend  ever saw my closet or my cupboards.

I was clothed in poor quality and fed from a box hand-out.

Ahh, the pride and prejudice of my own heart.

The ugly sin of comparison tries to take up residence in this once teenage girl’s heart all because she listened to the voice that whispered:

“You got nothin’ so you are nothin. ‘”

I find out some time later Jesus, who comes with all of heaven wrapped up in Himself, comes bearing clothes.

Clothes that make me whole.

Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are very great, You are clothed with splendor and majesty, covering Yourself with light as a cloak.

Oh, the lovely clothes God brings:

Animal skinned clothes in a Garden.

A coat of many colors in a desert.

Priest clothes saturated in perfume.

Swaddling clothes manger dusted.

One hem- of -garment cloak fisted in a desperate yank.

Tomb cloak-shroud folded and finished.

All these because  Jesus lets us into His closet.IMG_7232

We are Lucy in the Wardrobe.

The White Witch sees us in the fur coats we’ve been provided and then she sees our friendship with the Lion.

She sees and seethes fury.

Fury that we will understand that it is not what we wear, but Who we wear.

For all of you who were baptized into Christ Jesus have clothed yourself with Christ.

I know that I am not alone in this.

Girls becoming women, especially, continue to battle the old fight of unworthiness based on the outside of things.

Girls counting how many likes they receive on their Facebook page after they’ve posted the next model-esque photo of themselves and, oh, what a can of bubblestuff this can be.

Girls checking labels.

Girls bragging sizes. Girls denying sizes.

Pop pop pop.

Vanity and comparison….bubbles of nothin’.

I know.

An all  too skinny, crooked toothed, stringy haired, prominent nosed, funnel chested me knows.

I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with garland, and as a bride adorns herself with jewels.

I lean into the girl with the olive skin face and the brown hair just plain.

I look into those killer wide eyes.  I whisper choke.

“You know what? I think you always look nice.” Besides,” and I point to my heart place, “it’s what’s in here that makes the girl.”

She smiles open, perfect teeth flashing for a second. She leans into me.

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“I think you look nice, too, Mrs. McKellick.”

We are Lucys finding our way through the wardrobe.IMG_7235

We are seeing our color.

Hearts and Ashes

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Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?

And who may stand in His holy place?

He who has clean hands and a pure heart…

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Hand- grabbed nails that pierce love stained hands that clean.

All the dirt in my mouth, on my face, in my heart

Washed Hard.

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I can ascend to where He is.

I can stand where He is because of all that’s Finished.

Even when ashes cling and hearts deceiveIMG_7194

I can call on my One True Love IMG_7195

If you have an ash-smeared forehead to remind you of the dust you’ve come from and the dirt you’ve been pulled out of, then let today’s heart gifts remind you of the all that was poured out red for you so that you can come up up up to where He is.

Rejoice on this heart day

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You get to stand with Him..

 

 

Nine Things To Do When A Blizzard Comes Calling

When you get sidetracked, sidelined, snowed in or snowbound,

make the day the best day.

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When the driveway and your boots are filled with snow

let the day be filled with things that refresh.

 

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Nine Things To Do When A Blizzard Comes Calling:

1. Rally the troops and call all hands on deck.

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Share the load and brace the winds together.

2. Wear a bright scarf and be brave.

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3.Drink chocolate.

Make sure it sticks to the inside of the cup so it will stick to the inside of you.IMG_7167

4. Make a really good sandwich.

Blizzards and the words “fat-free” should never co-exist.

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5. Create something.

Let the hours go lazily by with the slow stroke of a paintbrush.

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6. Have a flower dream. Get some colorful perspective.

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7. Keep the welcome sign up.

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Everyone’s house is a mess during a blizzard.

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8.Remember that His eye is on you through every storm.

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All your sins have been made whiter than snow because of Jesus

 

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9. Remember that Winter is a friend.

It is the hidden place where we can believe in what what cannot yet see.IMG_7177

“Have you entered the storehouses of the snow…?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Am Right Hidden

The scar is still there, a circle shape pressed deep into the knee.

Dark pinpoints mark where gravel hit hard, tiny razor stones plucked later with tweezers once the blood stopped pooling.

Eyes brimmed hot blurring the sidewalk when I walked my bicycle up Cottage Street. My almost teenaged self burned anger, embarrrassment, and flesh- opened pain.

My bicycle betrayed me that day behind Flagg’s Pharmacy.

Or was that me?

Me looking down down down to where I was and not to where I wanted to be.

Me twisting the handle bars wrong, steering toward the falling down place,  because of the looking down down down.

Mission : Not Accomplished.

The stumblings, the trippings, the falling downs.

The sinkings that leave the mission of living wholly, even holy, compromised.

Peter, the rash one, the daring one, the confident one, became the sinking one because he wasn’t watching where he was going.

It’s not enough to just look at Jesus, to watch Him from a distance.

It is when we look at Him and move toward Him that we are able to live wholly,  holy before the Lord God Almighty.

But there are so many skinned knees, so many road-rashed hearts.

So much falling down in this life.

Yet, there it is. His Word.

Jesus, the explanation of God, it declares.

‘tho a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again….

In another place it says there is none righteous; not. even. one.

Not even one who is good or noble or merciful or forgiving or trustworthy or just plain ” on the level,” as my father would say.

A carpenter’s words.

Jesus, another carpenter, says that I am on the level because He is on the level and He stands with me.

His standing, His right standing with His Father makes Him my Father, too.

I am right, righteous, full of right because all that’s right belongs to Jesus and He says I belong to Him. I am hidden in Him. My falling downs are not held against me, because I am hidden. His righteousness covers it all.

I have been made right. I can steer straight. I can look forward and not fear when I am airborne over the gravel places.

I just need to watch where I am going.

And if, no, when there is a falling down, I will rise again because I am hidden in what is full of right.

Hidden in one with the scars pressed deep.

Mission: Accomplished.