Bravery in the Midst of the Unknown

Raise your hand if you’ve been facing a lot of unknowns lately.

*raises hand*

Now, raise your other hand if you don’t like it!

Ha.

Do any of us really (really really) embrace the unknown?

Rewind: the first three months of this year (2020) were unknowns for me as I was job searching and following leads and navigating friend situations and spiritual situations (challenging my own heart where it felt off-balance with God) and physical stuff—please note I’m so over antibiotics and steroids aftermath, yo—and aaallllll the stuff that can happen to a marriage in the midst of that (are we okay? are we not?) Oh. And then there was this pandemic thing.

We are in April now, celebrating Easter, the Resurrection Day, and I feel like I’m taking the deepest breath right now of fresh air.

It was really dark and shadowy, and it’s like I’ve come into a clearing, and I can just… rest for a moment.

I want you here with me.

I’ve been praying so much. For you. For us. For me. For clarity amid all the voices that come with being an Enneagram Six.

For the world that is crying so much right now…

It’s no doubt that I fall back on what I know works to calm me when things go crazy. (My relationship with Christ, writing, talking with my husband thoughtfully, and specific music to mourn, to worship, to lament, to rest, to relax, to see past this mess.)

The “unknown” is just plain hard to parse.

Especially when the whole world is extra ugly and people are fighting their hardest to shine light.

I know I can’t help a ton right now. But I got a little, tiny bit I can share. It’s something. 😉

As I’m praying for you, my readers, during my Easter online services where I hear about a Savior that came, bled, and died to fix the human race through relationship of love, I offer the best I could come up with right now: a triad of songs selected from my solacing music lists.

They have helped me. May they be a hug for you, my Friends.

Especially those of you who are facing the ugly unknowns right now. ❤

 

 

Here’s a big hug. *hugs you tight, then looks you in the eye* God sees you and He’s near, no matter what you feel.

Now, talk to me. What are you doing to process this time?

Everyone parses life junk their own way, right?

Tell me.

Tell me in the comments if you want to. I’m listening. 🙂

 

Walls, Toilet Paper, and Encouragement – Part 3 of 3

My new practice has been to put encouragement on the back of the toilet closet door. (What else is that little bathroom room called where the toilet lives? I guess it might technically just be “the restroom”? Someone correct me here.)

Since there’s so much discouragement going round right now, it seemed like a good decision for my household.

Sure, I can tape up words or witty sayings, but to me, the prayers and proofs of God’s blessings and love are way more weighty. So, yeah.

I thought I’d take this last post of the series and share my printouts that reside there on that door. For our captive readers, and yours. 🙂

Prayer From Colossians 1

This is a prayer given to my Husband and I when we were going through a difficult time. We were instructed to pray it over each other daily.

God, fill _____________ with the knowledge of Your will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. I pray this in order that he/she may live a life worthy of You, LORD, and may please You in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of GOD, being strengthened with all power according to your glorious might so that he/she may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully give thanks to the FATHER, who has qualified _____________ to share in the inheritance of the saints in the Kingdom of light.
(This Prayer is adapted from Colossians 1:9-12)

Prayer From Psalm 91

This I copied directly from our Pastor’s Facebook post.

Instructions are thus:

Here is the Psalms 91 prayer that you can pray over yourself and your family. Just put your name(s) in the blank and pray LOUD!

Psalm 91

Family in Italics

Our Declaration

1 We, the ____________, who dwell in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 We will say of the Lord, “He is our refuge and our fortress, our God, in whom we trust.”

3 Surely he will save us from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover us with his feathers, and under his wings we will find refuge; his faithfulness will be our shield and rampart.

5 We, the ____________, will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7 A thousand may fall at our side, ten thousand at our right hand, but it will not come near us. 8 We will only observe with our eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.

The Lord’s Declaration

9 If you, the ____________, make the Most High your dwelling— even the Lord, who is your refuge — 10 then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. 11 For I will command my angels concerning you, the ____________, to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift up the ____________ in their hands, so that they will not strike their foot against a stone. 13 The ____________ will tread upon the lion and the cobra; the ____________will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because the ____________ love me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue them; I will protect them, for the ____________ acknowledge my name. 15 The ____________ will call upon me, and I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will deliver them and honor them. 16 With long life will I satisfy the ____________ and show them my salvation.” NIV

Letter From Loving Father God

This one is the most encouraging of them all for me, personally. It reminds me how loved I am, and whoosh I need that reminder several times a day. ❤

You can find it here and it’s translated into 70+ languages, too!

Oh, and they have it for FREE download. Yep.

 

I hope these help or give you ideas for encouraging the people in your household.

In light of the suffering and shutdowns this week, I’m doing a little thinking and sharing in three posts. Thanks for joining in.

I’m spending a lot of time praying. My prayers are for the world, so I’m praying for you, too.

 

Walls, Toilet Paper, and Encouragement – Part 2 of 3

Toilet Paper became really important in our house the other day.

Maybe it was prior to COVID-19 causing my fellow citizens to panic. But afterwards, definitely.

Maybe that’s why today, while pondering the dwindling house supply, COVID-19 social pains, and, well, the stuff deep thoughts are made of, it occurred to me:

Toilet Paper Cleans Stank.

I know philosophical waxing here might be unnecessary, but I’m going to drop a big one, if you will.

In the middle of all this chaos, humanity will always need something to clean up their messes.

Sometimes the lowliest piece of paper is all we need. Sometimes, something more substantial is warranted.

There’s an ongoing “stank” of attitudes, actions, and regrets that plague us.

Even in keeping the spiritual side out of this (which for a blog post, I can do, but IRL is not possible yo), it’s just an ongoing waltz of cause-and-effect.

Gross. Amen?

Which leads me to point two:

Toilet Paper Cleans Snot.

There is an ongoing stream of tears being shed by humanity.

I’m not sure about other countries, but here it is normal to use toilet paper as a tissue, acceptable to wipe up tears and snot.

But go deeper and farther.

Realize how many extra tears are being shed out of fear, death, and destruction caused by COVID-19.

I just want to gather up everyone crying around the globe right now and hug them.

Hug them hard.

Because what’s going on right now is horrible. Horrible-heart-broken-disgusting-terribleness.

Every time we even think toilet paper, we should be praying for those hurting.

Heck, leave a prayer in the comments!

But “comments” leads me to my last thought:

Toilet Paper is Like You: Needed.

A lot of people are going to read all the depressing news and pile it on top of the hard things that were already going on in their central world and they are going to go deeper into depression.

Stop it.

Don’t do that.

Get a hold of yourself.

Don’t give in to the negativity.

There was an answer the Great Creator provided all of us long ago by way of His Son. An answer so full of love and goodness, you can see light just by seeking that path, the Way

Wrapped up: you were not a mistake when you were born. He wanted you. He sees you. He has a purpose for your life. That means we must need your purpose, too.

Check on your neighbor.

Pray.

Do long-distance acts of kindness.

Give extra if that’s in your heart.

Do the good thing your heart has been aching to do since this whole COVID-19 thing started.

But, for all our sakes, don’t check out.

Don’t leave us.

There’s only 1 you.

And you can give someone else something needed, something only you can give.

So, yeah.

Be that.

I’m grateful to you for being that.

 

❤ Thanks.

Okay. Now I gotta figure out where our next batch of TP is coming from.

In light of the suffering and shutdowns this week, I’m doing a little thinking and sharing in three posts. Thanks for joining in.

I’m spending a lot of time praying. My prayers are for the world, so I’m praying for you, too.

 

Walls, Toilet Paper, and Encouragement – Part 1 of 3

Walls.

Meant to keep out.

Meant to keep in.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) kept out.

All of us kept in.

Walls divide.

Walls protect.

Is the boundary good?

Is the boundary bad?

If vulnerable and unloved, how can safety be found?

If kept safe and loved, how can free-roaming be practiced?

What lessons we learn,

What answers we get,

We are doing it together.

 

In light of the suffering and shutdowns this week, I’m doing a little thinking and sharing in three posts. Thanks for joining in.

I’m spending a lot of time praying. My prayers are for the world, so I’m praying for you, too.

 

Faithful

2019.

Reeling, I entered it being a funeral coffin.

That’s what I called myself for months, because that’s what I felt like after I miscarried our fourth baby.

I hated myself, my life, my enemy, my world, and my God.

Everything felt like death surrounding me.

I laid in bed, day after day, night after night, crying.
Hating.
Wishing.
Struggling.

I personally knew God’s goodness. His faithfulness. But at that point, I wrestled with why we’d lost another baby. Why He’d let this one die when I cried out for Him to save.

Enter God.

From January 10th until January 19th, He took me, His highly-visual Daughter, on a series of imaginings. Through a whirl of fictional situations, so vivid in my mind I had to write them down. He whispered to me a title and encouraged me to add names. He showed me a place in outer space and asked me to share in the conflict. Who was good, who was bad. And at the end of ten days, I knew.

I had a story perfectly etched of 40 days in the life of an orphan.

I started writing.
In the middle of the miscarriage pain.
In the throes of hormonal angst.
In the vastness of confusion.

I became focused on writing only, and I hated anything that got in the way of it. (Especially the sleepless nights that meant I wouldn’t be able to write well the following day.)

Then, something amazing happened.

Midway through the first 50,000 words, my review of what I’d written came to a halt in realization. I was my main character, and God was the father-figure. He was holding me in it all and helping me heal. Same as the father-figure helped my orphan chara.

Everything shifted for me.

From hate to understanding.

God stood with me in my pain.
So intimately and carefully, He’d helped craft a story to lovingly draw me into my healing.
Healing—not just from the miscarriage—but from my insecurities.
I cried more.

I’d been seen.

And I was held.
Loved.
Kept.
Known.

It was beautiful in a way only a loving God could give.

Speed up to December 31st of 2019. Here’s where I ended the year:

  • The hormonal-crazy of the miscarriage completely gone – yay!
  • God expanded the story from 40 days to 40 years
  • God brought me a bosom friend to co-write
  • Co-writer and I wrote 431,073+ words in one year

Y’all.

God met me that January where I lay, angry, bitter, sorrowful, and lost, and gave me what I needed, and stayed.

It’s so like Him to love like that.

So very like Him to meet me.

So very like Him to meet you.

So very like Him.

“I entrust my spirit into your hand.
Rescue me, Lord, for you are a faithful God.
” Psalms 31:5 (NLT*)

endkevianaelliot

 

*Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Wanter Poem

My wanter is busted, or maybe it’s fine

But it pushes my feelers to so far behind

My wanter sees problems it desires to fix

Often my soul doesn’t want into that mix

The absurd and the costly, my wanter demands

I cringe at its focus, I drown in these lands

My wanter is busted, surely needs saving

Pushed along by it, my heart is done raving

God, please change my wanter to line up with You

Because it’s stuck with me, and You’re stuck with me, too

When Shattered – Phones and Other Things

Phone – My I.T. Girl opinion? I was stupid. I loved how the iPhone felt outside of its case. So that’s how I carried it around. One day, I have it on the dryer while I’m messing with laundry. Then I bumped it. Down to the tile it crashes. As soon as it hit: glass crackage. Right around the camera on the back. My soul let out a scream. I knew better and yet I shattered my phone. The only thing I could do was put it in an Otter Box to cover the glass splinters.

Strawberry Jam – My grasp on the small strawberry jam jar slipped. It may not seem like a big deal, but I love strawberry jam. And we were about out of its goodness. Almost out. (Like, all the household toast is about to cry.) BANG! The jar hit the tile on the bottom corner and then… Shatter shards allllll over the kitchen floor. At that point, you can’t eat it, even though part of the jar is sticking together thanks to the last bit of jam. No, no, no, it’s gone. Done. Sorry, toast, you’re left with butter alone.

Relationships – My INFJ ways are to let things sit while they are good. Then, once they aren’t, decide what to remedy and what to let fail. Unfortunately, I’ve always done this with people (and to this day fight to freaking. stop. it.) It starts with a friend going silent. Sometimes maybe I caused that. Then something doesn’t feel right, good, or nice about the relationship. Too late, I see the shattering, between them and I. A delayed gut-punch. All that’s left to wonder is, will friendship glue fix it, or am I too late? Usually, yes. I’m too late.

Feelings – Life happens. Someone dies. Hurt flares. Expectations are dashed. Pain of an argument that goes on and on, stretching the heart pain on for longer than a month. Peace is hard to hold within, because the “owie” overrides everything. Shattered insides much? All have been there. You might be reading this pointing at your own shatteredness in solidarity.

I get you.

A shattering can happen with anything, anytime. Job expectations. Kid expectations. Marriage expectations. Life expectations.

No one gets away unscathed.

My question is:

Who do we take our shattered parts to? Who really cares?

Does anyone really care?

I’m going to whisper this next part, because sometimes blog voices can get tart and snappish, and I’m not wanting that.

*whispers* 

I looked for answers. I really did. But I only found one who really cares.

Also is the only one can fix it: Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

Over and over I take the busted stuff in my life to Him, because I am surrendered to Him being the “fixer” in my life. He stood next to me when it happened, and He isn’t upset or mad.* He just wants to be trusted to help. He wants to be trusted to soothe. And He wants to be trusted as the One who never leaves.

He’s never been unfaithful to me. Because, yeah. Stuff shatters.

 

 

*Theologically, Jesus is in heaven after ascending to the Father and the Holy Spirit replaced Him on the earth, so God can still be lovingly with us, for those that care to invite Him in. Triune God = 3 in 1. If you have questions, first read the Book of John and the Book of Acts. Forgive the people that wear the name “Christian”… we are all busted and need our Savior. But He isn’t human. We mess up this Christian walk. He didn’t fail us. He’s perfect, so yeah. He “stood” next to me by the Holy Spirit within me; the Holy Spirit is my direct line to Jesus and God the Father, so artistic liberties on how I displayed it.

endkevianaelliot

Gratitude Series 04

The focus of this Gratitude Series is simple. I’m turning gratefulness and thankfulness over in my mind and heart, seeing what shakes loose. If you start a Gratitude Series, please let me know on my Facebook Author Page so I can visit it. Carry on.

Thoughts have brought me to the starting and ending places I find myself staring at.

I have lived through a lot…

My sisters being born. My Abuela’s death. A college friend taking his life. The aging of respected elders. The death of a writer friend, who left behind books unpublished. Miscarriages, amid a sea friends having children and raising children…

The cycle of life and death never ends. And it shan’t, until the Great Creator deems it will.

But I see it now. I can be grateful and thankful for this cycle.

I express gratitude over life on Earth.

I express gratitude over death portals. (Death portals is just a nice way to say the spirit departing a person, as is the order of things now until the next age.)

I express gratitude that Yeshua* took the keys of Death and Hell in fair exchange.

When I saw him, I fell at his feet like a dead man. He laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid. I am the First and the Last, and the Living One. I was dead, but look ​— ​I am alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and Hades.

Revelation 1:17-18 (Bible reference in the Christian Standard Bible version)

I express gratitude that Yeshua* is the Path to Life.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live.

John 11:25 (Bible reference in the Christian Standard Bible version)

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 14:6 (Bible reference in the Christian Standard Bible version)

I express gratitude that in these things, I can rest, I can be at peace. One bigger than myself, bigger than all this, handles these things that I can’t control.

And for that, I can smile and say thank you.

 

 

*Yeshua is Christ Jesus’ Hebrew name.

 

Gratitude Series 02

The focus of this Gratitude Series is simple. I’m turning gratefulness and thankfulness over in my mind and heart, seeing what shakes loose. If you start a Gratitude Series, please let me know on my Facebook Author Page so I can visit it. Carry on.

Today, I am reminiscing friends. Realizing how grateful I am for buddies.

To all those who are close to me and see me for who I am and love me just as:
I’m so thankful for each of you. I’m even thankful for how we grate on each other. 🙂

For each of you who have been with me for over two years, extra special thanks for your patience with my apparent inability to listen well: you taught me to shut my mouth and drink you in.

My world is so much better for it.

Thank you.

Friend, I Listen

Friend
Come close
Enter this quiet abode
Kneel on this mat with me
Let me make you green tea

Friend
Breathe deep
Let me hear and let me stir
Dissolve the facade free
Our eyes delicately see

Share
Speak all
Empty your heart so I hear
Cry and sip and swallow
Pain poured out makes us hollow

Here
Right here
I listen to what you say
The galaxy of you
I dare not disturb the view

Time
Like tea
I give because you matter
I shan’t hurry us on
Even if we sit ’til dawn

Breathe
And smile
For tea doesn’t stain hearts
It is okay to spill
Be with me and please be real

Friend
Come close
Enter this quiet abode
Kneel on this mat with me
Let me make you green tea

by Keviana Elliot 3/26/19

endkevianaelliot

Gratitude Series 01

The focus of this Gratitude Series is simple. I’m turning gratefulness and thankfulness over in my mind and heart, seeing what shakes loose. If you start a Gratitude Series, please let me know on my Facebook Author Page so I can visit it. Carry on.

 

Steps plodded into unwavering gratitude start with the realization of a 30,000-ft view.

A flyover.

Stare down into the tiny dots that make up memories and backstory and see what’s there.

If I were a commercial airliner, soaring over my life, what would the terrain be made of?

Black dirt. Green trees. White snow. A little further on, endless blue oceans and island-dots. Then finally, land filled with flowers and endless miles of flowering trees. (I think they’re cherry and plum trees… But it’s hard to tell from up here.)

Let’s divide it up.

black dirt.

The nitty-gritty on my life story.

The pain.
The sorrow.
The hard.
The stuff I wish each flood of rain would wash away.

Can I be truly grateful for all of it? #unsure

green trees.

Life.

The places God was gracious to grow it in me.

Through parenting poured out on me by my Mother and Father, and expounded in me through my Heavenly Pappa.

white snow.

Where I started.

With nothing.

Getting to choose nothing.

My life, placed in the hands of others at my birth, innocent brown eyes taking everything in as I aged into a girl.

endless blue oceans.

Chased by the fathomless, ravishing love of my Creator.
Wooed by His worlds.
Drowned by His goodness.
Wowed by Him. Wowed by Jesus/Yeshua. Wowed by what He shares with me.

island-dots.

Worlds for He and I to uncover, discover, and form.

Working together. This is what’s mine to steward under His supervision.

land of flowers and flowering trees.

Blessings I didn’t work for.

Gifts I don’t deserve.

Delightful beauty that is given to me to watch, touch, play in.

 

This is the overview.
This is where I start.

 

endkevianaelliot

Journal Entry Stardate 082818

What do I write on a night like tonight? On the eve on adventure— again— after a retreat like it’s been? For You, O Lord, know the heart, know the gains and the shorts of it all. My folly and tears, joys and pains, sorrows and it all. None is hidden from You. Your act of love is accepting me then, bringing me here, and showing me grace upon mercy— I don’t deserve it, at all. But You say “abide.” You say to stay connected to Love— the love You are, given to me.

Why do I hide, therefore?

Why do I panic new adventures?

Where is faith in all this for Your magnitude?

“Over all” is Jesus’ status. In me, is His Spirit. I don’t have to know it or see it, yet believe it is true— He’s true— He’s truth— there’s no other.

Confusion is in the World’s Way— sin to death again and again, tumbling to misery and Satan’s whims. Is this a game to him? For he plays for keeps of a different kind. And of his game, I am opposed.

What do I write? Words that lead me to Love.

 

endkevianaelliot