“You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They trusted God and accepted the authority of their husbands.” 1 Peter 3:4-5
1. smoldering summer sunset from front porch
2. busy bee and flowers stretching towards the sun
3. zach’s crows feet
4. sailor lying on front porch
i have been thinking a lot about my insides lately. not the intestines, liver, and spleen. the heart, the head, the soul; those things have captured my attention. how to make my inside radiate outward from within. how to show myself truly to myself, the world, and ultimately the Lord (although, He already sees me). there is something rotten in the denmark of my soul. i’m seeing green. the jealous beast has awoken within me and i cannot see to silence him.
although, i am grasping gifts daily and thanking aloud, i cannot seem to shake this awful feeling. is it selfishness? righteous anger, or just plain anger? is it some drive towards social justice, or am i just feeling sorry for myself? you see, it’s been quite an internal struggle lately and i cannot seem to pull myself completely from the pit.
don’t misunderstand. the days have been lovely. almost every day this week, i have taken sailor to the park to run like a wild indian and play to her heart’s content. in those moments, my heart is still and my eyes are open. i feel like i can finally slow down long enough to breathe and whisper thanks. and this morning, zach and sailor are out to lunch with some friends and the house is tiptoe quiet, and i am basking. well, basking and writing. but it is glorious and i relish it.
99. house that is tiptoe quiet
100. the smell of pipe tobacco on clean skin
and so, in this solitude that we are sharing, i have hit 100 things i am thankful for! it is a milestone. i almost can’t believe that i have made it 1/10 of the way through. then again, self-discipline is not one of my sore spots these days (it’s been 8 months and still no hair cut). it’s the jealousy. the dark heart. i cannot help but look around at what others have, and somewhere within me, ask why them? why not me? why not the guy with stolen bicycle and torn pants? why not the prostitute on the corner? why do we suffer, when others live with plenty? and then my selfish heart turns slowly and my head catches up to remind me that i have indoor plumbing, and cool, clean bath water, and rice and beans to eat. i am reminded that my daughter and husband are healthy. that we have a roof over our heads. and yet, this nagging feeling continues to creep into my heart and tarnish my soul. i hate myself in these moments. actually, it is closer to loathing. i keep thinking that God is breaking my family down so that we may climb closer towards him. descend to ascend. descend to ascend. this has become my mantra. that in giving, and seeking to be the gift, instead of only counting gifts and blessing from God may in fact be the bandage to heal my soul. the vine with which to climb out of this heart of darkness.
so as i am preparing to hop on my bicycle and meet a lady to share sno-balls with this afternoon, i hope to pedal my way to a cleaner heart. a right spirit. more hopefulness. to share. to laugh. seeking honesty along the way. maybe get my hands dirty. really, i just want some inner peace and direction….and not just to get me around the corner, but to guide my way towards becoming a light.
Lord, please help to cleanse my spirit of this darkness that seeps in at the edges without me even noticing. I pray that you take this rotten core from within me and turn it to something golden, something that overextends itself until it spills out onto others. Help me to understand what your plan is and how i am to get there. Help me to seek your guidance and comfort when i feel ugly and unclothed. help me to reclaim the beauty of Ruth and Mary. Create in me a drive to seek your will, quiet my spirit, and follow where you lead. Amen.
Striving towards beauty,