Angelic Star over Bethlehem

The tears ran freely down my cheeks. A woman sat across from me in visible mental anguish. Her aching body bearing the violent struggle within as she cried out, “Can’t you glue me together? I have to know this darkness will end!”

This Christmas season, I have found myself disrupted by nativity scenes aglow with candlelight and a rosy-cheeked baby peacefully sleeping in a manger. Yes – it is true Jesus, the Light of the World, was born that holy night. He is most worthy of devotion and his birth was a sacred moment.  I too would have fallen to my knees in quiet awe and adoration.  And yes, I do long for peace on earth goodwill toward men.  But I think the night of Jesus’ birth might have been a far cry from a peaceful, silent night.

The angel was joined by a vast host of others – the armies of heaven – praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”  ~ Luke 2:13-14, New Living Translation

Why would an army attend a birth? In terms of faith, the Light born had pierced the darkness with violent repercussions. Chaos broke out in the spiritual realm as the babe pushed forth from Mary’s womb. Perhaps the disruption began at conception… but Jesus birth signals the beginning of a great battle where He is victorious over the kingdom of darkness through His birth, death, resurrection, and ascension!

The resistance is born! And the darkness quakes…

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us… ~ John 1:14, New King James

For me, this has been a year of much joy. It has also been a long season of outcries for rescue – for me and for others. There have been moments of feeling a profound, unraveling of the world around me. The darkness seemed to press against my body. And I cannot explain it, but even within my doubting and no apparent answers – I have felt Jesus’ presence.

So, I need the nativity to be about more than candlelight and a sleeping baby. My heart needs for it to include the Warrior to come.  The Jesus of Revelation 19 – with fire in his eyes who rescues humanity once and for all from the darkness!  Yes, I need it all, white horse, sword, and King of Kings and Lord of Lords tattooed on his thigh.

I need the baby, the man, the Savior, the resurrected Lord, the ascended and coming King, who is named Faithful and True.

My tears for the woman I mentioned were empathic but also personal. I have seen and experienced the dark side of the ravages of sin, addiction, neglect, and abuse. If Jesus’ birth is not about invading this darkness, then there will be no peace on earth.  But we seldom talk about that part of Jesus’ birth.  Perhaps we think it might ruin Christmas.  Yet, it is the very hope that she and countless others trapped in darkness need to have included in the joy of the season.

And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.  ~ Matthew 1:2, New King James

Of course, I don’t know the facts of Jesus’ birth, but my spirit knows, and my body feels the significance of his birth. My heart aches for the hope of Jesus and his kingdom. It is the glue that keeps me together. And I do believe that one day… the darkness will end.

Oh, Jesus, may the hope, peace, and glory of your rescue come quickly to this unraveling world!

 

 

 

Retro old desk mirror frame. Vintage style sepia photo

My heart pounded as her hands ran gently over each fabric draped curve, lovingly coming to rest on her hips. With each dress, she joyfully turned and twirled, looking at her body in the mirror with such ease. I smiled at the familiar toss of her hair, sparkling eyes, and playful grin, so reminiscent of a two-year-old I once knew playing dress-up.

It was glorious and disruptive to watch. Where and when had the woman standing before me come to love her body? Sadly, I knew where and when I began hating mine.

Woefully unprepared for puberty, I was sure that I had cancer and tried to twist off the nickel-sized lumps under my nipples. It was a stressful and confusing time for an almost 10-year-old girl who would not hear the facts of life until school started again that fall. Oh, I knew women got breasts; I just didn’t know how you got breasts. Finally, a friend, who had read her sister’s copy of Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret., told me what was going on with my chest. At least I wasn’t dying, but my fear turned to anger. I did not want breasts, and often in tears, I would hit my chest with my fist.

I wanted to stay a little girl.

By this age, I was already acquainted with the physical violence that others could do to your body.  I knew that kind of abuse and how to survive. Perhaps I sensed that the changes in my body would also change the violations. And they did. My breasts, my female body, was made fun of and sexually abused.  My body got me into trouble. I hated it.

Sadly, there would come a time I no longer needed an abuser to harm my body. I was quite capable of cursing it, starving it, pushing it, and generally being unkind.

This summer, a friend of mine wrote a stunning tribute to her husband on their anniversary. She sat in front of the mirror and observed her body. She thought about what it would feel like if he was no longer there. She said it was a sad thought, but it came as she saw and named all the life written on her body. A life they have shared together, which he has invited her to love her body and her stories.

I thought she was brave.  Not for publicly sharing her words (although so good), but for the act of kindly observing her body.

We live in a culture where we are not always taught to love our bodies or name them as good.  Often, as women, we are taught through spoken or unspoken words and deeds to hold our female bodies in contempt.  And for the most part, the church certainly does not teach a woman to love her body.  Self-deprecation is more widely accepted, whereas a woman loving and naming her body as good is deemed prideful.

Honestly, I also thought…  “She is young, and there is no way I’m going to sit in front of a mirror and observe this fifty-something body and all the life it has lived.” Yet, I too, have been invited into loving my body and naming it good. Something I resisted far too long.

As I looked in the mirror, there were no huge revelations about the outward appearance of my aging body.  Really entirely predictable, and whatever I focused on became more prominent.  That was a little disappointing.  So, I began to observe how the visible and the less discernable details interconnected.  Stories of joy and sorrow flooded my consciousness.  I could feel them in my body and see them written all over my body as if holding me together.

Loving my body continues to be a journey.  Nevertheless, I am grateful for a body that has sustained me and held so much for me in this life.  I truly love being a woman and name my body as good.

Even more, I am grateful to have witnessed my daughter celebrating her body.  It wasn’t prideful.  It was stunning!

 

colorful butterfly flying free in the middle of nature“Choosing to respond to hope takes courage, vision, and patience.”

Jan Meyers Proett, The Allure of Hope

As a little girl, I had a lot of imagination that life would work out.  Even though my world was filled with confusing and harmful experiences, I believed that if people knew the truth that it would turn everything right-side up.  After all, that is how it is supposed to work.

That younger me held on to the barest thread of hope.  I was undaunted by the lure of the adults in my world to be realistic, practical, or refute hope.  My young heart was determined to call others to what could be and expose the true reality of the present.  My young voice offered freedom.

However, as time passed, I grew weary of being seen as odd and began to hide my hopeful creativity. I exchanged it for anger and indifference, which brought me a new power.  Bottom line, the risk of hope just wasn’t worth it anymore.

Gratefully, God is healing my wounded heart.  Along the way, He has called me to live in the tension of the ‘not yet.’ Once again, He has ignited my imagination for the future, beauty, and glory.  With this, I once again offer freedom to myself and others.

 Recently, this has been most true in my relationship with my father.  So, for years, my father has managed the status quo of our wounded relationship with conversations about the weather.  He has sat comfortably while I waited and imagined the sweetness of restoration. To more fully uncover the fiery hope within my heart meant the very real possibility of piercing disappointment.

I am created to be restored in relationship.  Dan Allender writes in his book Healing the Wounded Heart that the movement of restoration can only be entered through the doorway of disruptive beauty. “All over the world, beauty has disrupted the status quo of a cruel and heartless world.”

Several years ago, I mustered the courage to disrupt my father’s status quo.  Occasionally, I would send him a photo of my family and me. His response was always polite, but nothing that my heart yearned to hear.  Then one day I sent a grainy black and white photo of the two of us. I am an infant, and he holds me gently on his lap at his beloved piano.

Something changed.  My father began to ask me questions about who I was – not merely shallow facts.  I also cautiously asked about more personal matters.  We rarely talked about the weather.  While friends cautioned, my body took in the goodness of this beauty.  I felt the fire of hope run through my veins.  Once again, I imagined so much more for my father and me.  I could feel this part of my world begin to rotate!

Part of the courage of hope is dealing with piercing disappointment.

Perhaps he got scared… my father seemed to guard secrets buried from his past with harsh words.  He has not changed.  Thus, more intimate father-daughter conversations ceased.  And I felt foolish.  I should have known better – me of all people.  My brain screamed a familiar refrain, “Robyn, you are so stupid!” “You blew it!”  Except I could fix this by resolving to never speak to him again. “It’s just not worth it anymore.”

Without hope, I would not be where I am today.

Hope is messy and rarely an orderly experience.  At times the vision I have for my father and me drives me crazy.  I am confused about why his angry words intensified my thirst for our restoration.  I cannot seem to push it away this time.  I am hungry for what could be!  Yes, even if hope seems impractical, unrealistic, or if it means deeper heartache.

Oh my, I do love the tenacious little girl who embraced her imagination for hope.  Her willingness to arouse desire, expose realities with truth and imagine a different future.  That is who I want to be going forward – a woman who responds to the gentle strength of hope. I want to live my life believing in hope’s alluring promise that good is yet to come and incite that in others.

That’s not foolish.  I believe there is a Hope who will one day turn this crazy world right-side up.  And that my friends is a hope that is worth the risk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

flying dandelion seeds on a blue background

It can feel rather tenuous to sit in a circle of women.  Especially those you do not know well. Then add that after only 3 previous weekends with these women you will share an artifact that represents who you have been created to be for the kingdom of God. And if that isn’t enough vulnerability, you will then bless each woman with words and receicve words of blessing from these women on the last day.

Needless to say, after a personally tumultuous year, I was feeling rather vulnerable and very protective of my artifact and my heart.  I wasn’t sure how they would hold either one and I felt anxious and a bit fearful. Then it dawned on me…  I longed for the blessing of the women around this circle.  I could taste the desire.  And if I wasn’t afraid before – I sure was now.  It all felt pretty risky.

I have also ached for the blessing of my mother.  Words that consecrated not only her love for me but that she knew me.  Really knew me.  I waited to receive words and actions that told my soul that she knew places of my heart like no one else.  A kind of knowing where you live life fuller and breathe deeper.

Now, let me clarify. My mother’s blessing did not have to be perfect.  That is not what I’ve yearned for at all.  Confession is also a blessing. Owning how you have wounded the heart, mind, body, and soul of another.  But not to bless, in any way, leaves you with only one option.  To curse.  Perhaps that seems harsh, but it is true.  Think about it.  There is no in between.

My mother died late last year.  This Mother’s Day season leaves me with ambivalent feelings.

Sadly, we had been estranged for many years and with her death a relief has slowly settled.  The angst of the years has departed.  Now, there may be those who say I did not love her well.  It is a fact that I did not do everything right, but I continued to invite restoration and offer forgiveness even when I believed she could not engage or perhaps better stated – would not.  My heart was for her to live fuller and breathe deeper.  So, in that I believed I loved her really well and blessed her life as a woman and as a mother.  I truly wanted so much more for her.  And for me.

Then there is a deep grief for the lost hope of creating a new kind of fellowship with her on this earth. From a tiny girl I was truly for my mother like no other.  She could not see it.  Actually, I believe that she did and used it for her sole benefit.  A piece of my heart feels bare; for there will be no mother’s blessing over my life.  Although I lost her in many ways decades ago, this grief comes as a bit of a surprise.  And, I welcome it.  For I know, in the end, it will bring healing and life.

So the time came to share my artifact and eventually be blessed by the circle of women.  Seven women’s words spoken over my aching and fearful heart.  Will they see me?  Will they speak to who it is I truly am?  Will it be authentic and not just an assignment created for the program?

I am sure I wasn’t the only one feeling and thinking these things.  I felt like a little girl – maybe five-years-old, longing for a woman, motherly women, to see me.

All I will say is that in my heart I felt known.  Never have I had words spoken over me that brought a continuous stream of tears.  And.  I breathed a little deeper.  Thank you, thank you, good women!

And a thank you to the many others in my life who have filled the gap of my mother’s blessing.  Women who have blessed me well.  They have brought me closer to my God who loves me completely and knows me fully.

Oh my, our hearts long for a blessing.  I wonder, who is it that yearns for your blessing?  I urge you, take the risk.  Regardless of the response – for it will be well with your heart and soul.

butterfly-1518060_1280

Over my years of healing, I have had the privilege of having the best Story Sages in the world hear and engage my story. Although the story has always been mine, there are times when I was not able to see the truth by myself – as I was just too close to the pain.

Most of us grew up knowing a bit about the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly. We know about the ravenous consumption that brings the caterpillar to find a perch to form a chrysalis, and the end result is the emergence of a butterfly. Yet, the truly amazing part of this transformation is there is no structural similarity at all between a caterpillar and a butterfly.

Sources indicate that inside the caterpillar are “imaginal cells” that have remained dormant during most of the caterpillar lifecycle. These cells represent the blueprint of a flying creature. Initially, each imaginal cell operates independently. The immune system of the caterpillar identifies them as a threat and goes on the attack. Yet the imaginal cells persist, multiply, and connect to one another forming clusters. These clusters begin to resonate at the same frequency and communicate in the same language. Eventually, a caterpillar must surrender to the imaginal cells to be born a butterfly… to become what it was created to be!

In my life, each Story Sage has helped me to identify many individual truths in my childhood trauma narrative. I have felt these truths within my body. However, as truth was named, my old survival defenses often attacked the truth. Yet as I continued to hear from these dear sages, the truth has persisted and multiplied. And I am so very grateful.

Yet, sometimes I believe one must find and speak the truth for themselves. After all, the decision to surrender is all mine.

Recently my body has recognized that my “imaginal cells” have clustered and are speaking the same language. “Robyn, it is time. Release the old. It is not what you were created to be!” Ironically, “release” was the word I reluctantly chose for this year. At the time I had no idea what that could even mean.

So, I have known on a dormant level that I was not complicit to the sexual abuse that occurred during my childhood. And, I have ravenously endured shame to sustain control and some semblance of life. If I believed I was complicit, then I could do something about me. Yet, I have felt full and heavy with a sense there was more.

In March, profound truths were revealed about my complicity as a thirteen-year-old. I went back to the bedroom in my mind and watched the scene. In the dark of my twin bed, I saw the light of three truths that had never been named in all the years of my healing process. I was not complicit! And it was no longer just head knowledge.

I began to feel this cluster of truth and others resonate within my body at the same frequency. As if new information was passing back and forth in the same language until there was a tipping point. My immune system was failing. I could no longer just eat the leaves of shame – I knew that I couldn’t stay the same.

I cannot fully explain, but something shifted in my body and brain. Somewhere along the line, I ceased acting in protective mode and surrendered to my “imaginal cells” to become more fully Robyn. Sure, I could feel the writhing struggle to release the old and then the soupy mess of change. Eventually, there has been a rest. Yet, don’t be fooled by the stillness, it is where the real transformation is happening.

So, I am grateful for every Story Sage that has engaged my childhood trauma. You have seen me and named truth well. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I would not be emerging if it were not for your kindness over my life. And, it has provided a space for me to name deeper truth that others have not.

I just believe sometimes, a person must find and speak the truth for themselves. After all, the decision to surrender is all mine.

It was my time.

 

Music background design.Musical writing and Christmas carol

I was not disappointed to open the Christmas gift and find inside my requested wireless headphones. Attached was an envelope from his stationery. The ones I sometimes find upon my pillow. So, I was going to wait until later, but my husband insisted that I open it in front of everyone.

As a child, piano music filled my home. It was our lifeblood, putting food on the table. We traveled from city to city chasing my father’s dream to become famous. He was headlined as “The Young King of Ragtime” singing and playing top pops from the Gay ’90s to the fabulous ’50s.

I remember singing songs like “Five Foot Two” and “Red Roses for a Blue Lady” by his side at the top of my lungs. A few years ago he told me a story about one of his gigs. I was two years old standing on the bar doing the twist to one of his songs. People loved it, and apparently, I did too.

The entertainment business was a hard life for a young family. And the temptations too great for my handsome and talented father. So, the piano music left with my father. Never to be heard in my home again.

My mother remarried, and it was as if our previous life never existed. I still loved to sing and listen to music. Yes, even dance. As a teenager, I’d practice behind the closed doors of my bedroom. Watching my moves reflected in the mirror of my dresser.

I yearned to go to a concert. It seemed everyone my age was going to Foghat, KISS, Styx, or Queen concerts. I was not allowed to go. Apparently, concerts were from the devil. I heard my youth leader at church say that only burn-outs went to rock and roll concerts.

So back to the Christmas envelope… I opened the flap and unfolded the contents. Inside was a printed website receipt for tickets arriving by mail. My response was something like, “No way!” He replied something like, “Yes way!” I was going to a Fleetwood Mac concert in February!!

Waiting was actually good for my heart – something fun to anticipate that kept me going in this busy season. But as the time got closer, I found my heart starting to doubt my desire. I had talked about this for years.  What if I didn’t even like concerts? What if I wouldn’t like Fleetwood Mac – my bucket list band? Bottom line… what if I was disappointed? I felt the walls of my heart begin to rise.  It was a struggle to keep my heart open.

But when I walked into the venue and saw the Fleetwood Mac sign…there was no doubt my heart was all in. I began to cry. Not for the band, but for the redemption I could feel swelling within my soul.

Oh my… I danced, I sang every song at the top of my lungs, I cried, and I laughed. I felt 2 years old and 5, 7, 13, 17, 20, 30, 40, and a woman in her 50’s. I was me! And, I worshipped. That’s right, I worshipped. Not the band, but God. Yes, He was there. And how could He not be when I was surrounded by 1000’s of people created in His image.

Even though I am getting older, I felt the child in my heart rise above.  And I know that He will be with me in the changing tides, helping me handle the seasons of my life.

 

Pinus taeda seen from below

I watched the tall loblolly pine sway with ease in the blustery morning.  This tree presides over others of its kind and the hardwoods behind my house.  Yet, I look on with concern. In its youth this member of creation experienced trauma. I can clearly see its wound as it curves severely and gradually straightens.

And I cannot help but wonder if one day it will fall.  Wreaking havoc and trauma for me.  After all, whatever happened years ago has undoubtedly left it in a weakened state.  Yet, looking closer, I see the struggle to recover and survive.  It seems to have fought for its life.  I like that.

The loblolly is an aromatic tree that has a tendency to take over abandoned spaces.  It provides shelter and food for many southern animals. Squirrels make their home in the forks of its branches.  Woodpeckers feed upon the insects it attracts.  Many birds and small animals consume its seeds.

So this day, I watch. It seems to embrace the wind – gently swaying as its canopy is tousled – as if somehow stronger, more flexible, because of its trauma.  Standing in all of its 100+ foot glory within the chaos of the wind with its crown facing the sun – living into what it was created to be.

I see it with new eyes this day.  Wounded, resilient, strong, and giver of life.  I want to be like this tree.

2019

We are a people wired to live by the rhythms of the calendar. Appointments, schedules, celebrations, and seasons mark the days of our lives. There is no greater honoring of the calendar than the New Year with its invitation to look back, look inward, and look forward.

As a child, I was confident that New Year’s Eve was magical. I believed life-changing events happened with a kiss and the stroke of midnight. It brought such hope to my aching heart. Things would be different in the New Year. Out with the old and in with the new. It’s how it was supposed to work.

And I was a little girl that needed a miracle. I waited with great expectations that when my eyes opened to the New Year, all would be well in my world. But it didn’t come. No matter how many resolutions I made or determinations that the New Year would be different – there was no magic. I couldn’t say, “good riddance”, to a year that only followed me into the next.

My child-like heart found reasons as to why this was not happening for me. “There must be something wrong with me”.  “I must not be good enough – yet.”  So I doubled down with the resolutions and swallowed the bad – determining to press through as if things were indeed different. Of course, nothing had changed, but it helped me survive.  And those resolutions and determinations didn’t last much longer than February.

When things did become different, I was more than ready to ditch the bad years as if they had never happened. My heart already tangled around a black and white/all or nothing approach to life that squeezed more tightly each year.  I would discover almost a decade later that I hadn’t really hidden the wounds of the past so well after all.  There would be no magic, but a journey that required an honest look at the past. A struggle which miraculously revealed a way forward to my healing.

New Year’s Eve 2018 found my husband and me outside sitting by the fire, glass of wine, and smoking a cigar (one of three in my lifetime which I tasted for days).  He asked our sacramental New Year’s Eve questions.  “What were the highlights and low points of the year?”  Then, “Where did you find Jesus in the midst?” And lastly, “What do you hope for in the New Year?”

For me, I now know why the “good riddance” to the old year never really worked.  A turn of a page, a kiss at midnight, or a resolution do not change my world. There will always be things from the past that will follow me into the future. If I am not intentional about looking back, understanding what the experiences have meant in my life or who they may say that I am, then there is no real way forward.

These days I long to hold life’s moments with the reverence they deserve.  To intentionally mark the seasons of my life with kindness – instead of “good riddance”.  Which ironically has increased my capacity to give and receive.  My heart is no longer tangled!

I could wish you much goodness for the New Year – and I do.  Moreso, my hope is that you and I will bring our presence and participate fully in what this New Year has to offer.  For we are a people wired to engage the pain and beauty of our lives.

PC: Bing images; hnewyea.com

 

 

 

 

Five Red Christmas Stockings

Almost every afternoon a ray of sunshine falls upon our family picture. It highlights what I care about most on this earth. I would do nearly anything for the four people sitting with me.

The gathering begins today. This Christmas season we are breaking from many of our long-held traditions. And there has been disappointment before we’ve even gathered.

I was 10 the first Christmas at my stepfather’s childhood home. It was a large gathering of his family with a living room packed with presents. I was not happy.  The reality of the transition was slowly making its way into my little girl heart.

Walking into the living room my eye landed on the biggest gift under the tree. A red and green package at least 3’X3’ nestled in the back. The only one without a name.  With childish wonder, I asked, “Who is that present for?” The reply, “It’s for you.” As all eyes fell upon me, comments rounded the room about how lucky I was to have the biggest gift under the tree.  Sure I was being teased, I dismissed that the package was mine. Yet, come Christmas morning the package was presented to me.

I was thrilled!  Why would I get the biggest gift? I had no idea what was inside but was certain it would be a 10-year old’s greatest delight. I let my heart go to full-out desire. Everyone seemed to be watching in joyful anticipation as I tore off the wrapping.

I opened the box to find it filled with tightly wadded up newspaper. In the background, I heard a snicker and a hushing. Undeterred, I continued to search – certain a wonderful surprise still lay within the inked paper. Finally at the bottom was a football. My face must have shown my hearts confusion. And laughter erupted around the room. It was not the first time of disappointment nor of my desire feeling dangerous.  But the laughter stabbed my heart that day and I began to shut down more pieces of my heart.

As I anticipate the present day family reunion, my heart is raw and achy from this past year. My heart seems to fluctuate between grief and relief.  I hear the call to fortify! To guard and distance my heart.

But I’ve also tasted much goodness this past year, and it is sweet. So, I’m trying to hold the tension of great desire and disappointment. I hope to release my heart to feel all things. Yep, even if it gets messy.

There will be disruption and harmony in our time together. And bottom line… we would do almost anything for one other. For we are family.

 

christmas christmas ball decoration frost

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Tis the season of family gatherings.  Photographs full of extended family flood social media. I missed having all of my daughters here for Thanksgiving and cannot wait to have them home for Christmas!

It seems this time of year we glorify family as a place of nurture and care as if being born in a family is synonymous with healthy love.  It is simply not true for all of us.  There are those of us who grew up in abusive families that have remained abusive. Often, if you try to speak the truth about your family it is met with skepticism, criticism, and really bad advice from well-meaning relatives and friends.  Some of you know exactly what I am talking about.

People with reasonably healthy families have a difficult time understanding that your family might not be like theirs.  Other people don’t see what you see.  They may even blame you when you seek out empathy for your pain.  Which often results in feelings of shame by the attempt to face the truth about your family and overcome your history.  But you cannot experience healing and restoration from your deepest wounds unless the truth is spoken about your story of abuse.

Now I am not talking about blaming your family for everything that has gone wrong in your life. That would be untrue.  We all have a responsibility in how we respond relationally in this world.  Yet the fact remains that there are unloving abusive families out there – they might even share a pew with you on Sunday.

Some of you will be navigating this season with a “grin and bear it” status.  All the messages you have gotten whenever you tried, to tell the truth, will come flying back at your mind and heart; disloyal, shame, too sensitive, it’s your fault, you’re wrong, etc.  And you will keep the peace while emotional fissures quake right below the surface.

I don’t blame you.  Perhaps keeping the peace is the kindest thing to do for yourself right now.  It often seems taboo to speak the truth.  But a problem cannot be resolved until it is faced. This does not always equal confrontation.  However, love does not minimize the past. Nor does it seek revenge.

Our family of 5 is not perfect but we love one another well.  Even when it gets messy.  My heart is full knowing that we will be together soon.  I cannot wait to hear the stories and the laughter as we gather. And, yes, there will be tears for things that have been lost – as we have created safety for our love to grow.

So grateful for this season of celebrating the babe who came to make restoration possible.  Thank you, Jesus!