FORWARD

Forward. 
Taking every inch of our story with us. Telling the truth about who we are. 
Forward. 
Refusing to betray ourselves. 
Owning every ounce of our truth.
Forward. 
Marching in solidarity. 
Standing in freedom.
Rising in independence. 
Forward. 
Loving our bodies. 
Loving our sisters. 
Speaking with abandon. 
Waking with joy.
Climbing out of the mire. 
Shaking off the dust. 
Dancing. 
Healing. 
Hoping. 
Unlocking our own cages. 
Building our own refuge. 
Growing our own wings. 
Redeeming the story. 
Becoming a sanctuary. 
Wild and free.
Gentle and fierce. 
Bold. 
Befriending the lost. 
Restoring our cities. 
Birthing new life and caring to old wounds.
Forward.

THE SKIN I'M IN

Thank you, God, for skin
Oh this skin I'm in
That furrowed brow
Those lines, every year more defined
Mmmmmm dark circles under my eyes
I'm not tired
My body's not tired
My soul is tired
Because the world tried
To make my body a cage
My body is strong, fierce as ever
These hips, these arms, those calves
Sexy as hell
Capable of anything
God's breath in my lungs
Her strength in my stride
Her spirit in my bones
I fly, I rise, I carry, I nurse, I bleed
My body
Sweet body, all wrapped up in skin
How sweet of God to give me a body
Oh this skin I'm in
How I love my body

SHE IS CALLED

 

She is called by the ancient of days
Beyond the noise of Earthly power
She gets quiet
She listens
She knows what she's been told
The microphone is not for her
She's dangerous
She is to be quiet
She is not to teach
But the whisper
She gets quieter
She stays very still
She knows
With an ancient wisdom
She knows
Quiet is for listening
But quiet is not a way to live
Quiet is not the way to love
She becomes restless in the knowing
Trouble is in the wind
She seeks peace
She seeks to obey despite the ache
She conforms
She disappears
She is undone
A holy disturbance is imminent
She can't make waves
But she is a wave in an ocean of love
She will roar
Crashing against timeworn rules
She is not tame
She's an instigator of holy change
She is fire and water and breath
God's love wrapped in skin
She is called to the ends of the earth
Called by the ancient of days
There is a reckoning
She unravels
She is raw and terrified and unsure
But she knows
She is called

WILD

Oh you blessed wild creatures, you. Let no one tame you. Let nothing reel you in or dial you back. Remain entirely wild. For that is your true self. You were not born into a box. A cage is not your natural habitat. You were born free. Claim it. Own it. Run wild. You were born for it. Every messy piece of you that feels too much or not enough or out of place is actually a part of your freedom. You are wild and free.

YOU ARE LOVED-I PRAY YOU KNOW IT

Even the flowers springing up from the dirt whisper love for you. You are wildly, wholly, unconditionally loved. God is love. And we are created in the image and likeness of God so we are love. Therefore, my friends, you can never fall from the sweet, tender, fierce presence and care and adoration of the creator. Love is in you. The flowers know it. The birds sing it. The trees whistle its tune. You are love and you are loved-absolutely and entirely. Breathe it in and live it out. In through your lungs, out through your heart. Amen.

HER SOUL IS A GARDEN

Her soul is a garden where she must learn to carefully prune. 
She must untangle herself from the weeds of time and worry. 
She must point toward the sun and let gentle showers wash away whatever they must wash away. 
When heavy rains wash away the very ground from under her, only then will she see her roots and rely on their strength. 
And above all else, she must learn that when she is not in bloom or when she withers, she is not to question her inherent worth but to investigate always the health of the soil in which she's planted.

A PSALM 23 MEDITATION

 

The Lord is my shepherd; the lord cares for me in such a way that whatever I might have at any given time, no matter how little or how much, it is somehow made enough for me.  

 

The Lord makes me lie down in green pastures; it is as though I’m rolling around in fields of green, like a child reveling in the cold grass beneath her skin, I smile at the sky and wonder about heaven as though heaven were actually mine in this moment.  

 

The Lord leads me beside still waters and restores my soul; the path is treacherous and the storm is raging but the Lord has shown me the tranquil sea within, the restful stream of my own heart. What was shattered is made brand new.

 

The Lord leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake; The Lord is breaking my heart for what breaks the heart of God. With each passing day I’m seeing this world more and more through the eyes of God and it is changing me.

 

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me, your rod and your staff they comfort me. The worst things have happened to me but I remain. I’ve become more and more aware of how you carry me, God. The more evil I see, the more pain I feel, the more convinced I am that I cannot actually be torn from your hand. You have a mother’s grasp on my soul and you are never letting go.

 

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over; I eat with the sinners and the saints and everyone in between because we belong to each other and the more I dine with the people I can’t stand the more grace for me. I’m so full of your grace it pours from my skin. 

 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever. And ever and ever and ever. Eternity is our gift. Amen.

A CRY FOR REFUGEES

Tell me again about how our safety is number one? Tell me again about keeping strangers out? Tell me again about our plan to protect, protect, protect by closing doors, building walls, saying no? Tell me again about how much danger we're in? Tell me just once more about where the danger lies? In a toddler's bloody forehead, a father's desperate screams, a mother's feeble cries? Is the danger that my house might fall to pieces on my baby's sleeping head? Will I wake in the night to a ceiling on my bed? Tell me, please, will the rubble kill my soul? Because I'd sell my soul to the devil if it meant not one more blast from the sky. From the streets of a nation built on the foundation of a faith in a man who insisted we walk the extra mile, we hear screams of "keep them out" while the screams of the bloody, drowning, blown to bits go by, by, by. Tell me again about how our safety is number one? Tell me again about keeping strangers out? Tell me again about our plan to protect, protect, protect by closing doors, building walls, saying no? There's no room for you in the inn.

I'M WITH HER

I'm with her.

She who wrote the stars into the sky and whispered the waves into the crashing sea.

Her goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our lives.

Her love wraps around us like a Mother's embrace even into the valley of the shadow of death, she never lets go.

Her rage is for the brokenhearted-tossed aside-lonely-weeping-poor-bombed-assaulted-battered-bruised-left out-ignored-weary ones. She battles for them with the fire every Mama feels burning in her bones.

I'm with her whose wisdom is ancient and mercies new every morning.

I'm with her whose song is redemption.

I'm with she who knows the end of the story and writes it into every chapter: resurrection.

I'm with her whose power is sacrifice and offering and tenderness and fierce gentleness.

I'm with her. And I can hear her calling. She whispers but she's relentless. She asks us to rise again and fight for the least of these once more. She begs us to remember that the story isn't over. She calls us her children and she asks us to spread the word.

Breathe on us, Mother of all living things, may your breath fill our lungs. May our fire be your spirit. May we sing your redemption song and rise victoriously all of our days. Amen.

SHE RAGED

She raged and she raged
Why don't they see me
Why don't they offer a hand
She wept from on her knees
She disappeared
That's what girls do
She pleased and she gave
She listened and obeyed

She raged and she raged
Why don't they see me
Why don't they offer a hand
She wept from on her knees

She died and died
A thousand times over she died
On the inside
There was nothing left
From her ashes she rose
This time she stood
She needed no hand
From the mire she climbed

And she took a deep breath
She inhaled freedom and strength
Everything looked new
Even her broken wings

Pain no longer her cage
Now her North Star
Rage no longer her barrier
Now her fire
And she raged and she raged.

WHAT IF LOVE?

What if we love as outlandishly as they hate? 

What if our love was as bold as their crime?

What if our love acted out as fiercely as their intolerance? 

What if love was as loud as condemnation?

What if love spread as quickly as the wildfire of hate-filled slanderous social media gossip? 

What if love healed as rapidly as their weapons destroy?

What if love restored humanity as powerfully as hatred annihilates humanity? 

What if love changed absolutely everything forever as swiftly as terrorism? 

What if we were as committed to love as a terrorist to his destruction? 

What if we were as motivated by love as an extremist to his agenda? 

What if love was as fiery as bigotry? 

What if love captivated us the way violence for entertainment does? 

What if we were as obedient to love as we are to consumerism? 

What if love was all?

A LAMENT

A lament. 

Today I am not a believer. I do not believe you God. I do not believe that you are love. I do not believe that we are love, that they are love. I do not believe that love wins. Not today. Today I do not believe. 

I don't have to. If there's a God, an all powerful, all loving, GOD, then God does not fall off God's throne the second I stop believing. God's fine. I'm not worried about God. 

Today I only grieve. Today I scream, I shout, I act like an ass, I throw things, I cry, I pull the covers over my head. 

Today, I grieve and I grieve and I grieve. And I hold space for every single ridiculous way each other person grieves. It's all grief. Those clinging, those crying, those losing their minds completely. 

If we're not collectively losing our ever loving minds then what in god's name are we doing? 

"If that was my child...." IT IS OUR CHILD!!!!! For god's sake it's our child. Humanity. One. The same. All. For the love. Let us rage like a grieving mother. Let us mourn like a grieving mother. Let us act out like a grieving mother. Let us be moved like a grieving mother. Let us mother our nation. Let us mother our world. 

What the hell are we doing? What in actual, literal, EFFING HELL are we doing? 

God be with us. 

Amen.

A LOVE LETTER TO MY BODY

I love the way you love your sleep so very dearly that you’d choose less time for anything else rather than miss out on a second of it.

I love your scarred up knees serving as constant visual reminders of the childhood I spent outdoors never letting my natural clumsiness stop me from enjoying any of the rumpus every kid deserves to partake in.

I love your strong arms that at first sight appear wispy and maybe even frail but truly prove a book cannot be judged by it's cover. With these strong arms I will lift a flailing thirty pound one year old and forty pound four year old simultaneously without a wince while even bending over to retrieve a dropped shoe and then running to catch up with the big boys before they're out of sight. I'll grin when I hear the "woah, you're tougher than you look" comments thrown out by onlookers.

I love your strong calves and your monkey toes that can pick up any item and return them to your fingers without having to bend over.

I love your dark circles under your eyes because they are reminders of heritage, my Mother's, she gave them to me and I wear them proudly. I always know they have nothing to do with a lack of sleep no matter how many strangers and friends alike tell me that I look tired.

I even love your tummy pooch that sticks out further than your breasts because it is both a sign of having carried four babies inside of there and of being a Christensen, both of which I am equally proud.

I love your hands that resemble perfectly that of my Mother's, my favorite part of her body and each time I glance down at mine I remember fondly holding hers.

I love your eyes, dark as night.

I love your crooked smile and how one eye is closed more than the other.

I love those rock star hips that carried and birthed four giant nine plus pound babes.

I even smile at that wretched time of month because I'm learning now not to think of it as wretched at all and certainly with no shame but with honor and dignity and gratitude for all it has given me and all it means about what a woman's body can do.

I love the squint lines and smile lines and every other line showing up on your face these days, I've earned every damn one.

I love your strength and your ability and I honor you for giving me a place to reside through this beautiful life.

I will not fear where we are going but instead I will look forward to all our new adventures.

I pledge to care for you my very best and to never abuse you with degrading insults and comparisons and to never ever believe the garbage that society and media might say about you.

I promise to never take you for granted.

I promise to push you and challenge you no matter what age creeps upon us.

I promise to never think of you as more important than you are or less important than you are.

I love you... or, at least, I'm learning to.

LOVE IS

Love is feisty: it does not settle for just okay and certainly it never settles for shitty.

Love is powerful, ambitious, relentless and audacious.

Love speaks up: it does not cower or run away.

Love pursues and suffers long.

Love is passionate and messy: it is built from the broken pieces of our lives and from the wreckage of our worn out, ragged, broken-hearted selves.

Love is the greatest story ever told and the only tool we ever need.

Love is the cornerstone and the cure and the source and the ache and the prize and the journey and the destination.

Love is the work and the adventure.

Love is the only real thing, all else is falsehood.

WE RISE

We rise.

Slowly. Softly. Fiercely.

Slowly, we shed.

We shed the shaming voices and the screaming voices and the angry voices. We shed our bad theologies. We shed our pictures of how it is supposed to be. We shed our inclination to prove ourselves and our tendency to exclude. We shed the masks we wear to fit in, the masks we wear to hide our real selves, the masks we wear to make someone else happy and the masks we wear to feel safe. We shed our raging fears and our nagging insecurities. Slowly.

Softly, we hold.

We hold space for the broken pieces of our hearts and lives. We hold each other's stories and we hold each other's babies. We hold open hearts and minds. We hold all living things in our tender care. We hold onto grace like it is our life line. Softly.

Fiercely, we keep on.

We keep on disrupting the status quo. We keep on loving the world into wholeness. We keep on demanding grace for all or grace for none. We keep on opening the doors. We keep on showing up. We keep on hoping. We keep on imagining. We keep on creating. We keep on peacemaking. We keep on breathing. We keep on keeping on. Fiercely.

We rise. Slowly. Softly. Fiercely.

SHE RISES

 

 

She rises; slowly, softly, fiercely.

She rises slowly. 

Just like the wind and the sea, she works slow.

Just like the wind and the sea, her forces are unstoppable.

Unrestrained, her quiet resilience crashes against every wall, breaking slowly every stone. 

Tumultuous, her emotion rages war against the cliffs; carving, shaping, moving. 

Just like the wind and the sea, she rises with ancient power in her fist.

Like water she dissolves every rock hard place in every heart.

Like wind she moves pieces of the earth aside forming a cave, 

a soft place for all to hide. 

She rises slowly.

She rises; slowly, softly, fiercely.

LITTLE BOYS ARE MADE OF

Little boys are made of snakes and snails

and puppy dog's tails

So full of kisses and hugs, those little love-bugs

Of course on dragon slaying

 they will spend hours, but also so carefully planting flowers. Always all in

whether helping me cook or reading a book

Gentle and wild and proud, 

             they'll sail away on a cloud

Little boys are made of snakes

     and snails and puppy dog's tails and lots and lots of kisses and hugs, those little love-bugs.