1314. Learn to use the lightening (in the storms of life) as fiery fuel to further propel you to all that encourages your own aliveness. ~Victoria Erickson

Use your internal strength and willpower
to rise above the thoughts pulling you down
and watch your world rise alongside you…
~Victoria Erickson

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I crave the ones who’ve seen confusion and known struggle; who have pulled themselves up from the shackles of heartache and strife, disappointment and darkness, exhaustion and drain, and have risen with a heart as open and unwaveringly wide as the ocean itself. Give me those people. The brave, the vulnerable, the wise, the ones who care for a world, and how to better it along with themselves. To know their ability in making waves, in shifting patterns with tides and in creating change. Let us become that open ocean. And make it rise. ~Victoria Erickson

Tonight, you may be empty, silent, sorrowful or alone,
but you have the moon and you have your breath,
and in inhaling the wonder of those alone, may you
be wrapped in the soft shawl of gentle relief that this
moment is beautiful and more than worthy…
~Victoria Erickson

For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief. ~Ecclesiastes 1:18  ✝

**Image found on Pinterest

883. Remember what you’ve seen is oftentimes only what that person has chosen to show you. ~Author Unknown

 **This opening statement is true of me and I suspect many others. And so because of some troubling thoughts and comments made by others who are hurting, I’ve decided share a few things about myself and afterwards make an open offer.

Rain falls because the sky can no longer handle its heaviness.
In the same way tears fall because a person’s heart
can no longer handle its pain or heartache.
~Edited quote by
Dinesh Kumar Biran

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There is a poem by Saint John of the Cross, and in it he narrates the journey of the soul from its bodily home to its union with God. And I believe that everyone who has ever lived has experienced dark nights of the soul even if they’ve never connected with God. Life is hard, and as I approach my 73rd birthday, I can vouch that it’s not getting any easier. In fact a doctor asked me recently when was the last time I remembered having a pain free day, and I quickly replied, “when I was 25.” He was noticeably taken aback despite his years of experience, and although he asked me to explain all the details, I’m not going to take time to do that here. Let me just say that chronic, physical pain and loss of dearly beloved ones have created for me many a dark night of the soul. However, I’m as determined as ever not to let it define me nor keep me from enjoying life as much as I can. Now before you tell yourself it’s because my faith is so strong that I can say that, let me add that it was in my twenties that I also severed my ties to any church or religion and wandered long and far from the Lord.

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Okay now look at the photos above. They are of the Dark Hedges in Ireland which is an avenue of beech trees that was planted as an entrance to a home in the 18th century. However, they represent for me the seasons I’ve traveled through on my own life’s journey. As in the differing photos some seasons have been dark, some dark and cold, others hazy and unclear but not as dark, in some light started to shine but the richness of life still had not greened up, then there were periods of greenness but not much light, and finally there have been times when I’ve experienced both greenness and light. My point in sharing this is that I want to let anyone who reads this know that I’m here, that my email address is on my about page, that I’m a good listener, that I’m not easily shocked, that I will not judge you, that I will try to answer any questions you might have about how I cope, that I won’t expect anything in return, and that when it’s all said and done, I’ll put you on my prayer list regardless of whatever your faith in God is or is not. It’s not that I feel that I’m smarter than anyone else or that I have all the answers because I surely am not and do not, but after what I’ve lived through for nearly a half a century and with what I continue to endure, I have garnered at least a small amount of wisdom and gained a few insights along the way.

PS. I know that I am only here as a direct result of God’s amazing grace, and should anyone ask, I would love to talk with you about Christ’s living water and His offer of salvation. 

As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise You more and more. ~Psalm 71:14  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie

753. And then something invisible snapped inside her, and that which had come together commenced to fall apart. ~John Green

Drop the last year of your life
into the silent limbo of the past.
Let it go, for it was imperfect,
and thank God that it can go.
~Brooks Atkinson

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Have you ever had one of those stagnant years where the lackluster of life seems to have dulled and you are stuck in a kind of limbo? Well that’s the way life seemed during my Sophomore year in college. Not only had my father’s death at the end of the previous year dashed me against the hard rocks of an excruciating reality for the first time in my life, but my faith had been shaken, deeply shaken by events in and around his funeral. Not only had I to contend with his death and hypocrisy in the church but also the reality that some anger “business” between Dad and I was now never to be resolved and forgiven. That combined with some deplorable actions by the clergy and leaders in the church lead to what would become a decades-long derailment in my walk with the Lord. So indeed something had snapped inside me. I was barely 19 years old and I had commenced to fall apart which became clearly reflected in my first semester grades that year.  By midterm I found myself on scholastic probation both for the University as well as for my sorority.  Even my dreams of living in Paris had paled under the duress of my heartache and befuddlement. And for months and months nothing changed; lines had been blurred, dreams had faded, and hope had grown dim. I was stuck, stuck in limbo, stuck in unfamiliar waters of being, and all the while suffering, hurting alone since I’d been told by elders I should put my grieving aside and be strong for my mom and two younger sisters. But life has a way of moving on whether one feels its progression or not, and by the end of the second semester, my grades had come back up and a tiny ray of light began to break through the gloomy cloud cover that had been shrouding my world. To be continued… (2 weeks, 6 days and counting)

A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. ~Proverbs 15:13  ✝