Empty earthquakes.

Do you ever want to hold your hands over your ears and make the noise go away?

Or maybe you prefer the loud beat of drums and the tremble of the ground as guitars and harmonies blend towards the heavens.

But lately I can’t find Him there.

In the noise.

And so I seek a whisper

Soft and warm on my

weary

ears.

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What’s it like to be a writer with a day job? On healing, nursing, and words.

I brushed a clump of gray, wiry hair back from Mary’s warm forehead.

We’d been strangers at 7 a.m. that morning, when my nursing shift began. And now I was sharing her most intimate moment with her and her daughter as Mary took her last breath. I placed my stethoscope on her still chest and listened for a few moments, nodded to her daughter, offered a rote line of sympathy, then left the room…

See what happens next over at Christian Fiction Online Magazine, where I’m grateful to be writing today about being an author by night, and a nurse by day.

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Potholes and promises

Yesterday I woke up, my belly churning, head swirling and eyes burning with a lot of unhealthy emotions. Fighting the urge to crawl back into bed, I decided to take two of our three dogs on a walk.  (I took two, because it defies logic and exceeds my physical capabilities to walk three at once. The other one got his own walk later.)

On my walk, I cried, I lamented to God, and tried to dig deep inside me to see where all the turmoil was coming from, because honestly, I just didn’t know.

Do you ever have days like that? Weeks? Months, perhaps? When nothing you seem to do makes much sense, the direction you’re going seems dim and foggy, and you treat those you should be nicest to with the most disdain?

It was an Elizabeth-Gilbert-snotting-on-the-floor-feeling-sorry-for-myself sort of moment. I sheepishly admit I wasn’t in a snit about anything spectacularly tragic–just a culmination of a hard, hot summer of unexpected, unresolved conflicts.

I walked along, gaping at corn rows alongside me instead of at the road in front of me, and I fell flat on my face–and I do mean flat and on my face–after my foot caught in a pothole. It took  a minute to figure out which way up was, until my puppy licked a bit of feeling into my numb, plastered-to-the-pavement body. 

As I sat on that hot country road, the burn of two skinned knees, an awfully sore ankle, and two skinned palms broke through my daze, and I felt pretty darn broken. For a moment, I wondered if I’d be able to walk home. Not a soul was in sight. The road is not frequently traveled. And I didn’t have my phone with me.

After 1/2 dozen steps, I was just fine, except for the tears which had morphed into full-blown blubbering.

“I’m scared to death, Lord,” I cried. “That’s what’s wrong with me. I’m just plain scared.”  

I’m scared of the journey of life. Scared I’m not enough–for my husband, for my kids, for my extended family. Scared of the when’s-the-other-shoe-gonna-drop feeling that hangs with me,  a frustrating remnant of abuse and post-traumatic stress recovery. 

Yet there in the middle of that lonely country road–like the kind and gracious Father He is–I heard God say, “You’re right. You’re not enough. But I am. You do trip over silly things and into big holes. But I pull you up and out of them. You have and will continue to have days you fall flat on your face. But the thing about falling on your face is the only place to look is up.” 

Which is exactly as it should be.

So much awaits us in the moment we choose to direct our gaze toward the One who lifts people up; who pulls Josephs out of wells (Genesis 42:6) and who raises dead men from their slumber (John 11:42-44).

But You, O LORD, are a shield about me,

My glory, and the One who lifts my head.

~Psalm 3:3~