black-and-white-woman-girl-sitting.jpg

When your in the battle, in the battle,

In the raging battles of life

And there seems no end in sight

No rhyme or reason to the madness

The mad, mad battle that just keeps on.

It just rages.

 

Inside. Outside. It goes on.

It rages without mercy,

Without compassion, with no hope.

It just continues on

Killing as it goes unending

Devouring you in its wake.

 

It swallows you whole, and alone you will die,

you’ll be all consumed, but for those

ally or foe who stand

and stand firm in the battles of life.

Those who have learned firmness

To stand erect and stand strong and deep.

 

They will stand strong, strong in your battle.

They stand on your behalf.

On landslides and avalanches

On torrential thundering waters

They stand and remain unmoved

Solid in their mounted states,

 

Solid, as poles dug in the ground, set deep

Deep enough that they cannot be upturned

Not in hurricane winds

Not against tidal waves.

They remain and you remain, clinging

Clinging to life in their deep-set strength.

 

In their iron clad will, unbendable

Unyielding strength, they remain

Erect, firm, unmoved

And you with them,

Though perhaps slightly more

More battered, more bruised, diminished.

 

Yet, none- the- less alive

Alive in your strife, in your pain

Alive in your raging fears.

But still a survivor of that which

Is unsurvivable, that which

Kills, destroys, leeches, diminishes you.

 

And one day you too will learn, learn hard

You will learn how to dig deep,

Spread deep roots that broaden

Into earth’s center and remain.

You too shall grow erect, tall-

Surmountable in your own unmovable state.

 

You will learn the art of standing

And standing firm, firm in your battles.

In your own raging waters and avalanches,

You too will one day remain undevoured,

You too shall become like a steel pole

Bolted and bolted deep into crumbling earth.

 

You too shall remain unmoved, a marker,

A sign, a hope to any who can see

Who stand in the battles of life

Soft and breakable as you once were.

And you shall be their pole,

Their firm and righteous strength.

 

You shall become that which

You never were, never thought to be.

So stand now in the battles of life

Clinging to the hopes that come,

Come steadily before you,

Engrained, unmoved, implanted in the earth.

 

Remain in them, the strong, as you would wish and

Wish deeply for one to remain in you, trust you

Clinging to that which you’ve learned

Holding on to that which you’ve weathered

Cleaving to that which you may become,

Becoming like them: strong unmovable, erect.

 

All in the name of the One who goes,

Goes before us all and stands,

Stands the firmest of all, erect and proud and strong.

God, in His greatness, His hope, His mercy

He goes before and paves the way

Makes provision for our lacks our wants, yet He stands.

In the Battle

The zombie apocalypse… because only what is already full can fill what ails us.

night-camp-vhs-zomibie-8958

We’re waiting.

We’re waiting for the apocalypse, the zombies to arise, but we’ve fail to see that it’s already here. We’re it. We’re the ones to fear, the living but dead. It’s just that we can’t see. The deadness is inside, not out.

We float.

We tote all things behind us like a prized possession, but we are dissentgrating. We’re dragging on looking for life in putrid dead marshes. We crave left and right, this thing and that, but nothing satisfies. Nothing hands can grab onto can fill the deep deep void.

pexels-photo-25927

What can satisfy?

What satisfies a punctured heart thats bleeding out with every beat? What is enough to fill the leaky void we call our souls? Nothing short of something vastly unending. Abysmal in proportion. That would be nothing physical, for the physical will change. It will all pass away. It will be eroded piece by piece, grain by grain, moment by moment.  Nothing short of something all sufficient, omniscient, without limit of power or margin of error can even put a dent in our void- only what is already full can fill what ails us.

We wonder.

We wonder around- a needle in our bag, porn in our pocket, murder under our belts. Booze is in hand while we’re trying to navigate stormy seas and we’re hoping to come out alive and unscathed. It’s unrealistic. It’s idiotic. It’s insane.

blur-old-antique-book

We’re insane.

We’re crazy demented, tormented spirits running from the vaccine for our souls as if it were the plague- as if one little book, we fear, could set us ablaze like Chernobyl. Thus, we plunge ourselves deeper into the zombie apocalypse, trying to escape the inevitable, and live the half lived lives we have and call it breathing.

The  zombie apocalypse is already here. We’re it. Awake. Arise. Be set ablaze by the truth you run from.

Frail Body, Death;

 

pexels-photo-7

This work is dedicated to my life long friend Elena- who is the strongest, toughest girl I have ever known and who is now walking the road of cancer taking her mother home. Love you ET. 

This frail body, these fragile organs,

this contained vessel, cell of muti-sytems.

How easy to end, how simple to die.

 

A hundred ways lend it hands-

to end a thing called a human life.

A thousand ways to go.

 

A single hole, ½ inch wide,

A knife slicing flesh ragged

A drink- calm, cool, turned savage.

 

Blazing liquid, fire to consume,

Ragged wiring producing charge,

All hell-bent on bringing hellfire’s end.

 

Cancer eating you alive,

Aches that call to that angel

Longing to go home, yet unwilling still.

 

All things to beckon that dark angel,

the unwelcomed monster, Death,

an enemy turned friend in the end.

 

So many ways to make one’s end.

So many ways destined on sending us

packing from one life into the next.

 

And all will go, one way or another.

This time or some other.

Mortality is as sure as the dawn.

 

What matters is what stands.

That which is true,

what is real survives.

 

God, in all His mercies,

His beauty-

He remains.

 

That blimp on the map

of history upon which all

cosmos’ orbit.

 

Who He is and what He’s done.

He’s bought us,

insignificant people of dust

 

To carry His mark, the everlasting,

bearing His witness,

claiming His cause.

 

Us, ragged people of flesh,

always running into the arms of death,

we are the chosen, His vessels

 

For what long time we have,

or little, we are redeemed,

the chosen bearers of forever.

 

And forever is all too near,

Though it may seem distant.

It’s but a beat, a single breath away.

A year of Battling Deepest Darkest Things

A year ago today I was sitting in a surgical waiting room, in Florida, facing my single greatest fear in life, as my mom was getting her womanhood chopped off her body in an attempt to save her life against breast cancer. Her getting sick was always one of those things that has weighed heavily on me since moving to Texas 5 years ago and leaving her behind in Florida. Particularly cancer. I dreaded the thought of it. I hated to even consider what I would do if ever I got that call. So I avoided it like the plague.

pexels-photo-260046-1

Early January 2016 I did get that call.  My mom called and dropped a bombshell. She was going for a biopsy. That’s never good news. Yeah, I felt sick at that point, but I tried holding it together for her sake. I knew it was a hard thing for her to have to face without me. In February, we got the confirmation that it was breast cancer, though a very early stage and surgery would be needed. In the end, my mom decided for a mastectomy. That way she didn’t have to do chemo or radiation. Then to be extra sure, she decided on a double mastectomy.

So there I was March 1. Sitting in a waiting room filled with people and yet feeling so absolutely utterly alone playing ‘what if’ games in my head, endless scenarios echoing throughout my mind. “What if it spread?” “What if it’s in her lymph nodes?” “What if she needs long term care?” “What if she needs chemo after all?”. I knew i would have to move back and I was ok with that. The scenarios kept coming.

There was no shortage of mind and heart crippling fears to draw from. I went through all the scenarios. I made a game plan for each of them, and waited. I wondered the halls in short bursts, and waited. Eventually some of church friends came and waited with me- a welcomed source of comfort and strength in a trial of limits, my limits. Alas, the surgery went well. None of the scenarios I planned for were needed. I stayed with mom a few weeks, taking care of her. I learned what a surgical drain was and how to empty it and a variety of other medical things. I learned to look at my mom’s beautiful smiling face and aquamarine eyes and not fall to pieces over her missing womanhood when in front of her. Eventually, I returned to San Antonio.

img_3497I returned a hollow shell. I couldn’t even look at the pictures of my mom and me on my mantle that had been taken the month before I had moved away. Those times when she had been whole and never would be again. It hurt volumes just remembering her in my childhood days and then having to remind myself that she would never be the woman I truly knew growing up.

You see cancer takes things away from us. Not just physical parts of ourselves, but mental parts too. Strengths that we once had, love for life and joy that were once full, or at least fuller. Cancer devours us whole and without mercy. Not just those victims of its icy claws but their friends, their families as well.

A few months after my mom’s surgery, I got my own “news”. Abdominal mass, they called it. Well safe to say I had no strength left to fight that battle. None even to process the potential of what the outcome of that news could be. I sure knew where I would not run right away. To my mom. She was already broken. I was shattered, broken even more than I had been before, praying to God for strength, for something supernatural to carry me over this threshold of emotional death.

And He did. He carried me on strong shoulders by the arms, the prayers, the feet of other people who upheld me. Those who grieved with me, and held me close, who prayed with me through the mental battles, the numbness, the despair. There were real friends, who called and checked on me and took me on frozen yogurt dates. My church who asked frequently about updates and held me in constant prayer and battled the demons of fear with me, providing strength in tangible volumes. After my diagnosis was all done and the ‘abdominal mass’ turned out to be an ovarian cyst and not cancerous and new battles arouse like, “would they have to take an ovary with the cyst and would I be able to have children, and who would want to marry half a woman who can’t even guarantee them a child if it came to that?”. Well, my warriors were there too. They still fought for me and never tired. They never strayed from their course of being Jesus and God heard our calls in the darkness and answered.

And when my final pathology report came in and was clear, they also upheld me in my joy, celebrating with me all that God had been faithful in, all that He had done. And my heart is grateful. Grateful to God for giving me them, those warrior hearts whose strength far surpasses my own. In a year filled with despair, despite battling my deepest and darkest fears, it has turned into a year filled with God sized lessons that overflow from a God sized love, which I am only beginning to understand despite having grown up in church. And I am thankful. I am thankful for all God has taught me in this season, despite its hardship. Like learning to lean not just on Him but on His people too.

My heart is grateful. It overflows. It will sing a new song.

pexels-photo-132982

Posted in Creative writing, Faith

Not all who wonder are lost-grace to grace

pexels-photo-5 copy 6
     I find that standing on the precipice of your dreams, of a calling so much greater than yourself, you feel small and insignificant in its wake and you wonder why me? I’ve recently asked that question. “God why me? Why am I called to this? Who am I that you would call ME, of all people?” Why am I called when there are others far more qualified, far stronger, far more talented than me. Yet, why do I want to step into this calling so much, and yet fear it so greatly at the same time?
     I’ve recently wrestled with this idea of being unworthy of the call I have had spoken into me by God. And the truth is I am unworthy. We all are. Who am I that a perfect God would want anything from me? What could my broken shattered self give him that He doesn’t already have, and have a better version of yet? Who am I that he would call ME into the light of his power, equip me and use ME. What could my average gifts yield in a pool of so much greatness?
     Inevitably, fear creeps in. It threatens to strangle them- those things that set our souls ablaze within us, our dreams. My dreams. My dreams, my soul- life itself, what its all about; all those things that God has set inside us. All of who I am and was created to be is threatened in those moments when fear takes over.
pexels-photo-262103
     So what’s the answer? The answer is Isaiah 55: 8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,neither are your ways my ways” … His ways are higher than our ways. They are more noble, intricate, and intentional than we could ever understand or imagine.
     So the only answer to find is : I trust. Trust Him. When the fear comes in, the unworthiness gathers in my heart, I will trust in Him, El Roi the God who sees because HE SEES ME. I will remember that He has never yet let me fall. So I will trust his plan. I will walk out on the open seas, heart in my throat, and I will swim into the calling He has hailed me to. Or die trying. Because I know what God has done for me.
     I know the pits of despair, of anguish, of pain that He has dug me out of and in miraculous ways. I know the hollow nights He heard my screaming into pillows and answered me, even when I stopped asking, even when I stopped singing. Even when I doubted, even when I gave up on Him He never gave up on me. On the contrary. I walked in His favor. His grace, unmerited, going before my feet like a river making a way where there was no way. Carving the path for me out of stone, like water pushing through and eroding rock. And I am stronger for it. I am greater because He chose me, and chooses me everyday despite my meager faith and wonderings.
Instead of death, God offered me life.
It is abundant. It is glorious.
And I will sing…
“How wonderful
How glorious
My Saviour’s scars
Victorious
My chains are gone
My debt is paid
From death to life
And grace to grace”
-“Grace  to Grace” Hillsong-

woman-happiness-sunrise-silhouette-40192

There is a light dawning in the darkness

A bonfire igniting in my soul

It rages through my veins

Bringing me to life.

 

A light that’s not dawned

In many years is coming to life

In the recesses of a dark soul,

A defeated heart, strength abides.

 

It’s an overflow, a whirlwind of

Raw power from the Source

It’s being poured out

It’s being gathered in me.

 

This desertland inside

It is coming to life.

It’s blossoming into a canopy

Where rest and fullness reside.

 

And I am becoming a tower

A pillar of strongholds.

So when you become weak

You can grab on and draw from me.

 

I will be strong enough.

I will pour out what’s been given me

I will be who I was made to be

Light in darkness so your road may be lighter.

 

 

Dawning in the Darkness

Posted in Faith, Inspiration

Texas is my Narnia part 2…


I have always loved Narnia. Though, I admit I was a late bloomer to the Narnian world of wonders. I only really found out about it when I was about 15 just before the first movie hit. Still, I have loved the books. Devoured the movies. Most of the time I find that I either like the movie version or the book version of a story better, but there was something about Narnia that drew me to both of the versions interchangeably. Still yet, I have loved the soundtracks to the films as well. Some 10 years later after the fact, I still listen to them and they still bring me goose bumps, and let me soar on their wings of majesty.

It wasn’t until recently I ran across the “Prince Caspian” soundtrack in my car that I put it on. It was probably the first time I’d listened to it since moving to Texas. I had it blaring in my car as I coasted on a drive through the country side.

The song “This is Home” by Switchfoot came on and it seemed as if I was hearing the words anew, as if for the first time. Thus, I realized something. The song was actually describing me. I remember having listened to it years ago and loved the music but the word never truly made sense to me. I guess it was because I’d never had that experience or nothing to relate it to. But the song is describing someone being called home to a foreign place that we were made for, where we belong, and are perfectly fitted for it. All the spiritual aspects of that aside, I realized that Texas has been to me what Narnia was to the Pevensie children. This song, though I’ve known and have sung it for many years, is now my own and I can sing it and mean it and understand it because I’ve lived it. 

“I’ve got my memories

Always inside of me

But I can’t go back

Back to how it was

 I believe you now

I’ve come too far

No I can’t go back

Back to how it was

Created for a place I’ve

never known; This is home

Now I’m finally back to where I belong”

-Switchfoot-

While I loved growing up in South Florida, smack in the middle between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, the epitome of urban city, I cannot go back. I cannot be who I used to be. I cannot fitin the places I once fit. I am different. I have grown. I cannot fit there again because I am not the same person anymore. I never felt in my heart that Florida was me, that it was home. I used to long for quiet, curvy roads in woodlands of adventure, not high traffic city high-rises or street racing competitions. I remember taking long drives out into the marshlands of the Florida Everglades. It was a 45-minute drive just to make it out of the city and onto I-27 driving into nowhere. I loved driving out there. Few cars, lots of open space (which is a vast commodity in S. FL), and giant electric landlines. It was passive and quiet. And every now and again you’d have to stop for the giant alligator crossing the road (no joke).

I loved my life growing up. I cherish the memories with the Romanian community I grew up with there, and the friends and memories cultivated there. Beach life was awesome. Always hot, always ready for a swim, or at the very least, a walk on the 68 degree “frozen” beach in winter.

I do miss the condominium I called home for 20 years, overlooking the Intracoastal watching speedboats and day cruises fly by leaving green churning waters behind in their wake. It was breath-taking beauty and I’ve realized its something many people would give their right arm for. But it was not what I yearned for.

Coming to San Antonio, the big city with a country feel, has been the adventure of my life. I left everyone and everything I’d ever known behind to follow what I felt God calling me to do, move away. I’ve grown so much from the Lilly that I used to be in the almost 5 years that l left. Its been an adventure, no doubt. I’ve grown in my faith, having to solely depend on God for a lot of things. I’ve grown as a person, as a writer, and even as a crafter.


About Texas. Well… It’s large, it vast, it’s wild. Literally. I have driven on the road with a peacock almost as tall as my car staring back at me while I’m stopped at a light on a major access road. I’ve narrowly missed colliding into wild boar as they come out of the trees and cross the roads. I’ve had to drive 2o miles slower than the limit at night because unlike S. FL. there are not a lot of lights and deer are always about. I’ve hiked along paths shared alongside Buzzards with wingspans the size of my two arms and then some. I’ve met a fox or two. I’ve been greeted by a flock of Turkeys (mind you the flock is really called a rafter). I’ve watcher Heron take off from tree, its wings audible from 50-100 meters away. Oh- and lets not forget I’ve found about 17 species of wild mushroom.


There is a wild, sentimental natural beauty in Texas that was never or could never be a part of my life there. I’ve seen beauty impossible in FL. I’ve grown in unimaginable ways. I am braver because of Texas (and its ginormous bugs), stronger because of the amazing people that just “happen” to drop onto my path who carry me through remarkably unsurvivable things and in remarkable ways. Of course coming to a place I’d never really known, save the few visits I had as a kid and knowing enough people to count on one hand leaves a lot of room for God to fill. And He has. With people, places, experiences… so many good things. Sure, trials too, but even in those God has proven Himself faithful.


For me, I am beginning to trust more. Trust God and even people. I am beginning to blossom into the lily of the field that God is providing for, without my scheming, without my worrying. My journey has just begun and I can say for the first time in a long time that I feel a light brimming inside my soul that has not seen a dawning in many a fort-night, but it is churning. The inside is turning outward and all that was will be remade within, like a caterpillar regurgitating itself from the inside out.

 

 

 

A Meaning Beyond

IMG_1732

If you don’t know what the White Rose Society was then you may miss the overall power of the message written by Sophie Scholl, one of the members. It was a peaceful band of resistance to the ideals of Nazi Germany. Most of its members were college students. A portion of them were caught with leaflets on campus and executed for treason. Sophie write these words soon before her death. She knew that she wanted so much more and believed in deeper things than what Hitler and his Nazi agenda threw out for all to swallow whole.

All the Nazi issues aside, the deeper issue remains here. Truth. It resounds deep within us. We all know it when we see it. We feel our souls turn over in their graves. The the graves of mass produced artificial lives, plastic lives. They are lives filled to the brim with activities that society tells us (and we tell ourselves) that mean something. They represent status, where we are in life. As if we have somewhere to go every night of the week it means we are deeply connected. Connected to friendships, to people, to places, to what we do. But the truth is, for most of us we are not.

We are running our race on empty looking beside us instead of within. We pretend what we have and what we do can fill the leaky void in or souls, but really nothing but truth can do that. And truth is really a measurable, quantifiable thing.

Ultimately, God is truth and his truth brings us to all the deeper meanings we seek so badly and yet fall short of.

 

Wells and Faucets

pexels-photo-29534

“There is a current stirring deep inside

It’s overflowing from the heart of God

The flood of heaven crashing over us

The tide is rising, rising…

We come alive in the river.

We come alive in the river.

   -Jesusculture-

Though we all have God’s power available to us, our forgiveness ready for the taking, we do not all have the same strength to fight those battles we need to in order to walk in fullness instead of defeat. For some, they are fighting too many battles already, some of which are not theirs to fight but they have to fight them anyway. They are hurting, dragging on in the life they live. They can’t walk in the same kind of victory as others, at least not yet. There needs to be healing first and that takes time. Sometimes it takes years even for healing to begin. For some of us, it’s a longer and harder process of finding that victory in Christ. Things like depression, anxiety disorder, past hurts, abuse, etc- all come into play in holding us back. We don’t trust easy. We want to but we can’t.

This is how I think of it. If God is the river running through town, all have access to its pure life-giving waters. We all need water to live and can drink whenever we want as much as we want. However, for some of us, all we have to do is to turn on the faucet. Others have to walk a few blocks to the well, dip a big jar into its waters, and haul up the heavy load of life-preserving goodness inch by inch. Then we have to walk home with it on our shoulders and do it all again tomorrow.

Those at the well are the ones battling. We are the ones scared beyond reckoning. Our ability to gain that necessary living water is there, it just takes so much more of our life force in the time and even the effort it takes to get it. We battle and we do it hard, but we cannot be equal to those who have not had those deep, radiating wounds that only heal an inch at a time, those brutal assaults on our minds and hearts.

pexels-photo-5 copy 5 So be kind, remember everyone is fighting a different battle, some for far longer than you and they are tired. They are running at the pace of turtles but they keep going. The last thing they need is for one more person to tell them they aren’t good enough. So do not look down on them and say they should be where you are, offer them a cup of water, instead, and a hand. Fight with them when they can’t fight anymore. Encourage them, cheer them on.

You’ll be amazed at how far they can go when others stand with them.

It’s 2017. A new year has begun, a fresh page in the story of our lives has come. On this first day of the year, the sun was out shining though it was pleasantly cool. Just a perfect dawning for a new year.

I couldn’t resist the urge ,so I took a drive. Windows half rolled down, music blaring- I drove through one of my most favorites local spots. It’s a tiny town nearby dubbed Gray Forest. There’s nothing gray about it, despite the name.

As I was driving at snails pace through the tiny one laned “streets” of Grey Forest, I heard the birds sweetly singing  their songs. Squirrels danced in the hollows of trees, bouncing every which way. Cars lined the driveways of each house I passed. Life was happening as usual on a Sunday afternoon.

Then it struck me. It’s a new year. But life is still going on. Life doesn’t stop. Not for us to take in its delights, not to hold still so we could mourn our losses. Time runs. Life just is. I spent a lot of time missing the “old days” this past year. I’ve wondered why I came to Texas. Why God sent me to this place where it seemed life ran fast leaving me without roots to sink into the rock solid ground. As soon as I’d plant, everything changed. I was running to try to catch up and all in unfamiliar untilled soil. And all I wanted was what I had before. Strange enough when I left Florida 5 years ago now, I was so ready. I was ready to have no semblance of what I had known until then. I was ready to traverse the path without glancing back. Yet here I am, yearning for those times that no longer exist. Just like this tiny town. Life was speeding by and I was trying to hold it still.

Houses were being built, hope of future kindling under their wings. Some were selling, their signs desperately displayed out front begging for a taker, wanting a new beginning elsewhere.

Life. As plain and simple as it could be, yet filled to the brim with beauty. The beauty God has put in it. He’s gifted us a life. Only one. We can’t go back and do it again. So let’s look forward to making the rest of it what we desire.

This one is mine and I have discovered that Texas is my NARNIA, but more on that in part 2 of this post due on Sunday. Here are some pics from my drive…

Texas is my Narnia part 1