My Pic

My Pic

Welcome to my little Corner

I am Barbara.

An introvert masquerading as an extrovert, a backyard gardener with a farmer's heart, a nurse by day and a dreamer by night. I am passionate about Jesus, spicy food, puppy dogs, words, compost and the aroma of desert rain. Music is chocolate to my soul but solitude feeds the deepest part of me.

And you need to know:

I have been rescued.

Several times actually. Right out of the mud and mire. My writing began as whispers between me and my God and it will always be rooted in that soil. So the plan is simple: I write. Out of the overflow of my heart, the place He has so generously chosen to dwell.

Though I am all grown up, I feel as if the handsome Prince has finally found me and the glass slipper fits. And a living breathing fairy tale has ensued.

So pull up a chair and "sit a spell", as we would say from my West Virginia roots. I hope you find His Footprints here.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Trusting the Mystery

He was just an average twenty-something guy with glasses - the one who left me for dead at 23. Neither of us realized our paths would cross that day. Tragedy rarely gives warning.

The pool across from the apartment was littered with those enjoying the Atlanta sunshine, its celebrants unaware that evil lurked nearby.  No one knows how long the stranger had been behind my bedroom door.  Yet at some point he could conceal his compulsions no longer.  There was the violent struggle.  The plea for breath.  And then darkness.

In an odd sort of way I felt pity for my perpetrator. The will to forgive was not difficult to forge.  Only a troubled soul could have done what he did to me. Still, I saw him in every unknown face that crossed my path.  The most difficult aspects of the attack went far deeper.  Why life and not death?  Where was God in my suffering?  How would I ever live beyond this?  The answer to my questioning was met with silence.  And then more silence.  But God's silence in my pain only served to drive me to my knees.  It was there that I discovered answers were not what were needed.  What I needed was Him.

God is not obligated to give explanation but He is always faithful to give revelation - of Himself and His ways.  I have learned over the years that He is always, always good.  And often His goodness is heard most clearly in our pain because that is when we lean into Him.  I inwardly cringe when we speak of God's goodness in blessing but never in suffering.  God was just as good when that stranger had his calloused hands around my throat as He was in my miraculous survival.

And again this week at the Boston Marathon.

And at the cross when He gave up His Son for me.

I don't profess to understand.  But in knowing God, I have learned to trust the mystery.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Easy Living

Stale winds blew through my writing this morning.  My inner two year old clutched the day to my chest as if it were mine to keep and grabbed a quick "dose of Jesus".  It was a snack, to be sure.  Tasty and delicious but nonsustaining.

Admittedly, to carve out time to sit at His feet isn't always easy.  I heard a weight loss commercial this week that said I should sign up because "it's easy and it works".  Our culture hungers for easy - the easy to swallow, an easy fix, easy money and even an easy button.  But easy is not part of a Kingdom vocabulary that speaks of dying, sacrifice and unconditional love.  Here the only ease is the ease of the yoke.

Scripture teaches that God's mercies are new every morning.  But what if today's mercies were to be mined with a pick axe, not sampled from an appetizer tray?  What if He wanted to break up the hardened soil of my rocky heart rather than fill my belly with warm milk?  This can't be caught on the run.

When the Israelites tried to squirrel away their manna it rotted.  It was only meant for the day it was supplied.  In the same way, the sweetness of my yesterdays with the Lord can be precious but never present tense.  I must linger in His presence on a regular basis to keep it fresh and living.

So tomorrow I will settle my fluffy self down for the work that needs to be done in my heart.  It's His day anyway.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Out of the Closet

It happened Friday instead of Saturday.  Company came when the house was in a mess and I was still in my PJ's.   Well, not exactly, but that's how it felt.  As the featured writer for our story circle, my secretive writings were "outed" earlier than I had planned and I was unprepared.  Typically I can be found sitting cross legged on the floor of our walk-in closet, pen hovering over lined notepads, my only audience the clothes and shoes that line the walls.  No visitors here.

I had been striving all week to put together that first official post.  Well written English compositions and clever Christmas letters hardly qualified me for this exposure.  What had I been thinking?  Suddenly everything I had ever written sounded sappy and flawed.

It's all rather silly, this fear of vulnerability.  What I think I want - the praise of fellow pilgrims - can become a road block to something beautiful and life giving.  The authors I love are the ones who let me into their struggles but bathe them in His light.  Their honesty and messiness allow me to safely enter in and catch a glimpse of majesty.  Why would I want to offer anything less?  Ironically, all my striving this past week ended in complete helplessness.  And isn't that what we are without Him anyway?

So if you don't mind an untidy place where God is a work, you are welcome here.  It's a place where we can be ourselves.  I may still be on the closet floor but I'm making it an Open House.