Grown into Grace

 

IMG_3369

 

Caught in a whirlwind or two.
Divinely, my sail caught the winds of you,
and changed my point of view.
Never hopelessly lost, you see.
Spirit wind set its course for me.

And calmed the waters of a troubled soul.
Pulled the anchor from the depths below.
Set a horizon of direction
in this heart of mine.

– Watermark

 

I left organized religion a few years ago. When I say I left religion I do not mean I lost my faith or belief in God. However, the damage that organized religion caused in my own life set me on a path to seek out what faith really means and just how far God’s love and grace actually extends.

I’ll never forget the beginning of my divorce. I remember crying and saying, “This is the worst thing I’ve ever done, this is the worst thing I’ve ever done to someone.” I also remember thinking that this was too big, too big for grace to cover. I was so scared I’d never heal, never be forgiven, never find restoration.

I had no idea that the very grace I doubted could cover me would ultimately be what has carried me through some of the hardest moments of my life.

These years have been hard. I’ve struggled emotionally, physically, financially, and of course spiritually. I lost my house and then my puppy in the same year. I have had my heart broken over and over again. I don’t know if I’ve ever cried so much in my entire life.

But I found a grace so much bigger than I ever imagined in all the little moments that were still beautiful despite the heartache and pain.

I completed my degree and received high honors while parenting, working, and finalizing a divorce.

I gained a village to raise my child with, a friend and an ally in my daughters Step Mother. This is one of the most beautiful gifts. Our family may not be made of blood but it is most definitely made of LOVE.

I found a new passion in Sailing. It has been one of the most therapeutic parts of this journey, both empowering and calming to my soul.

I have met some of the most wonderful people along the way. I would never have had the opportunity to know them if I had not set out on this journey.

I have grown and I have changed in so many ways. I’ve found my voice and comfort in my own skin. I have solidified my core values and learned what it means to stand my ground despite my fear.

I am watching my daughter become an incredible person full of love, tenacity, intuition, and joy. She is brave, she is strong, she is kind.

I am still standing, I still have hope.

All of this … Grace, amazing, overwhelming, unfailing grace. God is not inside the walls of religion. God is not confined by tradition and expectation. He walks beside us, he is in the moments of every day, mundane life.

Grace never gives up, there’s nothing so big that it can not be covered by grace. I know because I live and breathe in it every day and I always have. Now I know. I have finally grown into grace.

In the darkest moments of the soul, I hope you too will find the beauty and the Grace.

Resonate

Resonate
The sound of your laughter
Echoes through my soul
Moments
A gift of time and place
Forever to cherish
Memories
Held for keeps
Woven into my heart
Refrain
Words on paper
Singing through my airwaves
Saltwater
The taste on my lips
The touch on my skin
This
Will remain a part
Of everything, always

 

Artificial Heart

Puppet strings

and shiny things

A shallow attempt to hide

your artificial  heart

Expectations are your puppeteer

as you grin ear to ear

A hallow attempt to be

anything but who you are

You live in this suspended state

Awaiting some different fate

But when will you realize that only you

can sever the ties

That keep your truth locked

deep inside

Ending this robotic dance

of leaving your destiny in someone else hands

 

via Daily Prompt: Artificial

Show Up

ImageI stood in the classroom looking around at all the happiness … it was the end of the year celebration and students were excitedly greeting their family members who were there to see their work.

The classroom I have been working with is a second grade, integrated class. For those of you who need a little clarification, an integrated class incorporates typically developing students and students with disabilities. Students with disabilities receive integrated co-teaching services and are educated with age appropriate peers in a general education classroom. Working in this setting was challenging but so very rewarding. I sat with kids struggling to focus, to read, to control their emotions … so I helped them to focus, I read their problems to them, I rubbed their little backs and helped them reposition themselves in their seats or elsewhere in the classroom to maximise their comfort and ability to successfully complete their work.

Throughout the year, the class as a whole, had been working on a Math project for the local Math Fair. Their project was submitted and they won first place in a district wide competition. The teachers and students were so thrilled that their hard work and creativity had been recognized. The day their award was announced, the Principal came down to visit the class and danced and jumped up and down with them. It was precious to watch – what an incredible and inspirational Principal!

So on the morning of the end of the year celebration the classroom was buzzing with excitement. The students were thrilled to show their families the work they had completed throughout the year, their first place Math Fair project, and simply to have their family there in their classroom. And the teachers were thrilled because every child “had someone show up!” Except for one little guy …

This little guys was one of my buddies, one of the kiddos that I had been working with, a precious boy with the sweetest smile. And my heart kinda broke in that moment as I watched him looking around the class as all the other children excitedly greeted their family members. Some of the children were greeted by parents, others by grandparents or aunts and uncles. This little guy had no one. I did what I could to fill in and had him show me his work, walked around with him and one of the other teachers made sure he had a plate of food. One of the things that touched my heart the most though, was watching another mom fill in the gap in her own way. I don’t know if she knew his back story, I don’t know how she figured out that he was there on his own and needed a little extra love. What I do know is this, she made time for him, she showed up for him,  and sat down to look at all his work, discussing it and commenting on each piece.

In that moment, I was struck by the phrase, “show up,” and I thought of all the ways I questions myself, second guess myself, and judge myself as a parent when really all my daughter needs is for me to show up and to be present in her life. Because if I am showing up, I am saying … “I am invested in you, I am supporting you, and I love you!” We make mistakes, we are not perfect, we all do the best we can with what we have but what matters in every aspect of our lives, is that we choose to show up.

You can not fail … unless you quit! – Abraham Lincoln

So I challenge you, Show Up! In your own life and in the lives of those around you because that’s what really matters. And if you see someone, on their own and in need of some extra love and support, show up for them too. And these words I read this morning seem such a perfecting ending …

“I promise to care – If you are hurting or have been knocked down or are fighting against the monsters of privilege and injustice, I promise to hurt too. This is the only way that I myself can fight with you, but I will be dedicated to the task … I know I am offering up my heart for a task it is not equal to, but I have the First Heart on my side and that’s a foundation worth standing on.” – Hannah Paasch

xo

Leah