It is no secret that I love story and find my most comfortable place in storytelling. To wrap flesh and bone around hope and let it walk in the harshest landscape is the thing that feels like home to me. I love to tell the stories of others. But what about my story? People ask when I’ll write my memoir – and I laugh.
Because I am not just my memory.
My story is still being written. The words rise – or is it fall – to marry present moment with distant past. The ones that don’t simply say who I was or who I am but who I am destined to be. God’s holy words mingle with my limited vocabulary – rhema meets logos – and He transforms and keeps transforming each and every piece of my life – even the raped and ravaged seasons. There is redemption. There is always redemption.
This was originally posted in StorySessions. Today, I feel the need to post it again. Because I need to be reminded one more time of His transforming power in our lives – yours and mine. No matter what our stories may be. Because we are not just our memory. We are still being written.
There you are. I see you, hand extended as you speak over me. You allow me to freefall into your image and likeness, beckoning me to a reality that is richer than the day I see. Your DNA flows through my feeble and weary veins, making note of every move I make. You transform each one as You see fit, offering sanctuary where your creativity corrects the vision and moves the heart and causes the rhema to flow to the logos of this girl.
I awaken and You are there, in the quiet and in the Word and in the coffee. Morning teases through the shutters, but I wave her away. I breathe in eternity as I write my heart’s conversation with You. You speak and I feel my foundation being laid. Your love builds the walls that protect my heart. Your mercy provides the chair on which I sit. Your grace shines in through beautiful picture windows. Your voice will speak in and through my voice as I am greeted by welcome friends and unwelcome strangers. And my voice will be captivated by Your love.
The best of today, and the worst of today, will find place and purpose in this moment. Every path will lead me back here.
Rhema becomes logos, Write, girl.
I sit by the water, arms wrapped around legs to brace against the chill of the breeze that makes the leaves sing like wind chimes above me. I am fixed on the collective debris just below the surface in the shallows. I want to reach down and rescue.
Always, to rescue.
And then my gaze moves beyond – to the darkness far from shore. And I freeze, breath catching in fear.
I quake at the thought of the bottom.
It’s not the water. It’s not the depths. It’s not the darkness. It’s what might be waiting underneath it all. I feel my feet sink into the mire – wreckage tearing at flesh – as the breath is squeezed from my lungs. The darkness is a vile one who surely finds its satisfaction in sticky fingers wrapped around underwater legs.
The bottom mocks. Lost cause, it says.
And then You come, lifting my head to kiss me with grace and whisper the words, “That’s what My love looks like – it goes to the depths of the pain and the fear and the most vile – and it rescues to the uttermost. I shred and shatter and shine light. Speak now, girl. Reach in now, girl.”
Rhema becomes logos. Encourage, girl.
Dates on the calendar feel like crevasses below me, eager to benefit from my misstep. Seasons ebb and flow like tidewaters. Spring and fall are sensual feasts, and creation abounds. Words pour like praises and it’s easy to fly.
But Summer. She is wicked in her dark and painful oppression, with her own stories of Henry Mancini growing louder as the drinks are poured into an insatiable break in my father – the music and the booze dancing a crazy two-step as he spewed threats against all who would try to heal him. Summer sneers at the activity in the backseat of a Cadillac at the family fish-fry and the little girl pressed under the weight of a teenager she is told to trust because he Is family.
Summer mocks. Dirty always, it says.
And You come, Your finger writing over old stories with new ones – redeeming time and season. And You say, “Behold, I really do make all things – all things new. Speak now, girl. Redeem now, girl.”
Rhema becomes logos. Shepherd, girl.
There is a season that’s the sound of the echo of emptiness – the twisted cords of DNA’s damage. A mother’s family tree, bearing bruised fruit. There are the men – always with names like Hezekiah -the ones who died before their time. There is the auntie who started screaming and never stopped. The brother – Zankler – who crawled in the hollow of a tree and never emerged. The ones who simply let the blood flow and flow.
And there was the day in winter when I crashed through the locked door to find the body and the pills and the wish for it all to go away. She saw it all – her past and her present and her girl – as her brokenness. All-consuming brokenness.
She didn’t die that day.
There was the day in winter I became the body and the pills and the wish.
I didn’t die that day.
Death mocks. No hope, it says.
Because You come. Again, You come. You invite me to sit with you and eat as you say “My body, my blood, my DNA – true brokenness to heal your brokenness. Speak now, girl. Life now, girl.”
Rhema becomes logos. Wise, girl.
Image and likeness. You offer sanctuary. You breathe my creativity. You transform my vision. Rhema becomes logos. “Write, girl. Write. Let the stories come now.”
This year, “redeem” is my word. And daily, I am reminded of its importance. Do you have a word this year? How is it being used in your life? What story in your life is being redeemed right now by God’s holy words?