Still {For the 17 victims of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting}

still, riverby Christina Hubbard

What a rapid ride of confusion, a nation

Thinking we do so much right.

Obviously, we have been oblivious

To the system’s need,

To kids crying out

To be whole,

Guided,

Healed.

Still.

 

We ask tough answers of ourselves,

Solutions to grow from soon-to-be-graves.

Oh, God, by this river of pain
We grieve.

 

Atrocity never offers an explanation,

A reason for animosity’s angry rapids.

It cannot.

It will not.

For hate hurts us all,

Inward, outward, upside down.

The raft is overturned, life jackets bob empty in eddies.

Schools drowning.

A river rages in adolescent veins,
Still.

 

This water does not wash us clean.

Though we may feel desensitized,

Sanitized,

We are not free from disturbance.

 

It is not right to feel nothing.

Ignorance is bliss,

But this death march demands

More than therapy and strategy.

It needs to undo us.

Yes, bring our wet, bleeding hearts to public spaces.

Ask what we are slowly forgetting to ask
In the growing normality of dying kids,

Still.

 

We must not fail our future.

Move us, Lord, to the depths

Where hearts cannot go it alone.

Take us to the suffering so we can dam up this rage.

Our questions will carve caverns,

Desperation will shovel ditches,

For the lake we fill with today’s tears.

Still.

 

This post is linked up with Five Minute Friday. Although I did not directly write on today’s word prompt of WHY, nor did I do it in five minutes, this is my response to the madness of the #Parkland tragedy.

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Five Great Reads for Lent

Lent readsby Christina Hubbard

Lent is an ancient church tradition, but may be new to many of us raised in an evangelical tradition.  Although the origins are a bit scattered (see #3 below), it’s not just about Ash Wednesday and fasting the vice of your choice. Lent can be a deeply meaningful forty-day journey, made more profound by a book to guide you to the pinnacle moment of Easter.

Here are my suggestions for great reads to prepare your heart during the Lenten season.

Check These Out

1. Holey, Wholly, Holy: A Lenten Journey of Refinement by Kris Camealy

The first book I ever read on Lent. A reflective personal journey through sacrifice, grief, and resurrection. Artful and soul-stirring.

2. Pauses for Lent: 40 Words for 40 Days by Trevor Hudson

Carve out time for reflection with one word each day for the 40 days of Lent. I love the prayers and depth in this very accessible read, as well as the idea of Little Easters. This is one I’ll be rereading this year.

3. 40 Days of Decrease: A Different Kind of Hunger. A Different Kind of Fast. by Alicia Britt Chole

This book includes sources and summaries of the origins of Lent, which I found fascinating. What really sets this book apart though is the invitation to a fast, not of eating or drinking, but of decreasing ourselves so Christ can increase.

4. A Way other than Our Own: Devotions for Lent by Walter Brueggemann

Brueggemann’s writing is complex and weighty, but he writes eloquently. In my opinion, one of his strengths is challenging the church as a whole and generations of passivity. If you want a major perspective shift during Lent and don’t mind a bit of heady work, give this one a go.

5. Being Brave: A 40-Day Journey to the Life God Dreams for You by Kelly Johnson

Johnson presents the idea of bravery not as splendor and valor, but of weakness and authenticity. For this reason, it’s an excellent read and very accessible. She’s also offering a 2018 Lenten book club study here.

What books have you found helpful during Lent and Easter?

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How to Agree with God When Plans Fail, a Poem

by Christina Hubbard

Step One

Make plans.

Write them down.

Enact an elaborate scheme to make it happen by XYZ date.

Do it.

Step Two

Interruption incurs.

Child gets sick.

Husband has an unexpected meeting.

Car won’t start.

Sit and sigh.

Step Three

Realize you can’t do #allthethings.

Post about it on social media.

Text a friend to commiserate.

Erase four out of five things from the planner.

Remember God’s plans aren’t our own.Tweet This

Step Four

Ask Him what He thinks.

Embrace this new headspace.

Feel your heart expanding.

Agree with God: He knows something you don’t.Tweet This

Step Five

Next time, start at the end.

Five Minute Friday

Today’s Five Minute Friday free writing prompt is AGREE. Join us!

Your Turn

Leave a comment: what helps you hold your plans loosely?

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When Your Faith Is Thin

faith, roseby Christina Hubbard

When your faith is thin,

When your feet feel like they’re barely touching ground,

Hold fast.

 

When rain melts your thoughts

As it pelts your body,

And you’re falling, falling,

Hanging on,

but you’re slipping, slipping,

Hold tight.

 

When your confidence is shaken,

Your will wavers like the dried petal on barren twig,

Remember who holds you still.

 

The thoughts escaping your control?

Leave them.

The worries running the hamster wheel inside your chest,

Comfort them with what you’ve always known.

Remember.

 

You have not forgotten.

This is the faith born into your bones,

The trust a baby born knows at first breath.

We are meant to be held close,

Firmly and forever.

 

Hold fast. Here. He is near.

Hold tight. Now. He is your gravity.

Remember the embrace enveloping you.

What you cannot muster, He gives freely.

He catches you before the fall.

 

Relax into your faith.

Exhale fear into thin air.Tweet This

A meditation on Hebrews 11

The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. Hebrews 11:1-2 (MSG)

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To My Planner (On Being Intentional, yet Flexible)

intentionalby Christina Hubbard

As an ENFP on the Meyers-Briggs personality test, I value whitespace on my calendar. LOTS of it. Please, don’t box me in or schedule every hour of the day. I will most certainly implode. I also value commitment and being intentional, but a force within me fights hardset plans.

As you can imagine, I’ve had an ongoing love-hate relationship with my planner. After using it diligently for two weeks straight, I suddenly toss it in my bottomless purse and forget about it for a month. Years ago a friend told me, “Intention without expectation.” I like that. Recently I’ve tweaked it a little, “Intention, with GOBS of flexibility.” 2018

Since 2018 began, I’ve been getting used to my new planner and coming to terms with its overhelpfulness. Today I thought I would write it a little note.

//Dear Planner,

I have tried my best to love you

Although I secretly desire to throw you across the room 

On occasion.

Your hard-bound gold embossed cover,

Straight-edged, pointing me to turn pages,

Make plans,

And climb goal-setting mountains.

You promise me a sense of accomplishment,

Glorious task-checking satisfaction.

But I love to ignore you,

To have free time,

Uninterrupted adventures

And no plan Fridays.

When I look at your hexagon habit tracking pages,

Gold spiral easy-turn binding,

Weekly goal focus bullet points,

I see your soul, your desire to infuse me with intention.

What’s a free spirit to do?

I bought you because you were beautiful.

Aqua cover, folder pockets,

And blank pages promising a great year.

Trying you on, day after day, I cringed.

I tried so hard to set a mission and

Formulate focused goals.

But I’ve already failed.

And I’m ok with it.

Because in the back of your binding

Are stickers and a pencil tucked away.

No longer do I make plans in black ink,

Like dark ropes binding me to the page. //

Being intentional means writing with an eraser

So my life can breathe.Tweet This

I decorate and customize with pastel stickies,

A gleeful sense

Of making something beautiful wells up within,

Flexible, ever-changing.

Good things are happening

And I’m beginning to like you.

Love,

 

 

 

 

 

This post is linked up at Five Minute Friday, a community of free writing bloggers. (// indicates the start and stop of five minutes.) Happy free day!

P.S. This is my 2018 liveWELL Planner® | Flex Aquamarine from Inkwell Press. Tons of wonderful resources for the free-spirited achiever.

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Top Posts of 2017

by Christina Hubbard

2017 tested my strength. It pushed me to every limit. At the same time, it taught me to trust the courage, compassion, and creativity God has given each one of us. As we step into 2018, remember to dance when you feel like it, speak life into the overwhelm, and enjoy this messy beautiful process of becoming.

Here are the top posts of 2017 on the blog. I hope they inspire you to move forward and celebrate all that you are!

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