I used to turn off the music when I got into the car.  My pain multiplied when music played.  I used to feel strangely lucky when I heard someone else say that they lost someone important to them.  Now I know that loss changes your life forever.  I used to think that my hope in heaven was enough to let you go.  I now believe that moving mountains is not too little to spend time with the one you love.

Once or twice, I woke up thinking that you are still alive.  My dreams left me thinking there was still time to make the end different.  Time to tell you that I am coming for your birthday even if you are in the hospital.  Time to come when you told me not to.  Time to say I am sorry for a handful of things I am sorry for.

I still think of calling you when I am driving in the car.  Sometimes, I feel your presence as if you were standing in the room.  I see your freedom in the presence of Christ.  I see that there are no boundaries to who you are now.

I still think of the day I watched you walk home to the Lord.  I still think of the day I told you that your death would not be a disappointment to me.  Having experienced the loss of you and the aftermath of your ascent, I could not be more convinced that life, in some ways, begins at death.

It used to be that I would humbly ask God why.  I would propose answers like you finished your life’s accomplishments.  I now believe that a person’s passing has more to do with limitations.  I think that when you have become all that you can be in your human body, God brings you home.  In coming home, what used to be is no longer.  When you are healed and whole, what used to be is no longer.

Welcoming Real

By AbbyA

There are stories both told and untold.  They are in the hearts of all of us.  We often hide them deep; sometimes we wear them on our sleeve; but we rarely reveal them.

There is a reason for Femmefuel.  Much of our purpose is a story both told and untold.  Like yours.  We fuel, we write, because of the stories in our collective hearts.  We write because the story is better told through the eyes of Christ.  We write because sometimes it is too hard to speak what the inner soul is saying.  We write because we yearn for you to be known.  With the yearning that real words will ignite freedom in you to go deeper in your relationship with Christ.

Spooled up in this ball of yarn is Femmefuel’s greatest hope.  That you would be bold enough to be real.  That you would be bold enough to show yourself to your brothers and sisters.  That you would step out on the trapeze line of real.  To live your real story.  Both told and untold.

Our hope for real is knitted up in one core belief.  That your willingness to be real will rock and change your world.  That you would shine bright warming and lighting the hearts of your brothers and sisters.  Solely for the glory of the true and living God.  Fuel with us; it is never a good idea to go at real alone.


Consider Your Destiny

By AbbyA

She did not consider her destiny; Therefore, her collapse was awesome. Lamentations 1:9. Jeremiah is speaking of Israel. But the form of his words causes me to think of the feminine, of woman, of me. She did not consider her destiny; Therefore, her collapse was awesome. It doesn’t even sound like it would apply to a man. Of course it could, but it makes sense in a feminine context to me.

I am thinking of the impulses that cover a woman’s time line. Temptations to choose a career direction without fully consulting God’s plan for your life. The same applies to friendships and boyfriends. There is temptation to miss the relationships that God has handpicked for you in exchange for the convenient relationships that miss God’s mark for your life. There are temptations to become tired or lazy in the pursuit of Godliness as a mother. Temptations to avoid depth in order not to hurt. To cast blame rather than to grow. To be deceived rather to stand for who you are. This is the tendency of the natural woman and her collapse is great.

Jeremiah, I am starting to understand your pain. You have gathered up the desolation of your land and your people as suffering in your heart. You experience the consequences of the adultery of the natural woman as your own. You grieve and weep for the destruction she called upon herself. But your spiritual self recalls that you have hope. You write that Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22.

We all have been both the spiritual and natural woman.  We have succeeded and failed.  But the spiritual woman is not without Comfort when she falls.  Lamentations 1:9.  Before all that you do, consider your destiny.  The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him.  Lamentations 3:25


In the Morning Darkness

By AbbyA

Waking up before the alarm goes off.  Sensing awake.  Searching out the question of what day it is.  What is in store.  And, where are you Lord?  In the morning dark.  Wanting arms wrapped around me.  You are here.  Are you here?

Are we okay God?  Scanning my recent actions.  Condition of my heart.  Lord, are you disappointed in anything?  Where am I?  This is not the quiet stillness of His presence.  In the morning dark.  This is me sensing that I don’t know if you are there.  Wanting arms wrapped around me.  You are here.  Are you here?

This is not bleeding or desperation.  This is not brokenness or streaming tears.  This is not fear or anxiety.  This is me in the morning darkness wanting Your arms wrapped around me.  You are here.  Are you here?

In the darkness.  I have not been able to answer these questions of where you are or how we are.  Neither have you.  I am seeking your security.  In the darkness.  I am checking to see if we are okay before I reach out to seek you.  You have not sought me first.  It is like I have gone to the kitchen to make coffee but I cannot find the filters.  I can’t begin.  I want you to show yourself to me.  This is me in the morning darkness wanting arms wrapped around me.

I do not know how old I will be in age or spiritual maturity before I learn your purity and faithfulness.  You do not hide.  You do not have better things to do.  You do not cease to know that it is me grasping for you in the morning darkness.  You are there in the lack of stillness and stirring of my heart.  You are there even while I open doors to find you.  The maze that I turn through in the stillness of morning is to lead me to you.  There is insecurity in living without you and security in finding your peacefulness.

Lord, I pray for all of the restless hearts that wake up searching for you.  You called me friend, but sometimes I have to knock on your door.  You chose me first, but sometimes I have to invite you for coffee.  Unlike a friend who will inevitably be late or forget or go through her own tough time.  This is never you.  You always show up on time.  Never forget a date or become preoccupied with your own important matters.  You always have time for me.  Probably more than my little mind can comprehend.

For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You in a time when You may be found; Surely in a flood of great waters They shall not come near him.  You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.  Psalm 32:6-7.

Full Indeed

By AbbyA

We are eight children, six adults, many bags of little toys, crafts, snacks and a willingness to do some good.  Twelve empty shoeboxes being filled for delivery to children throughout the world.  We run out of shoeboxes before we run out of little toys and crafts.  Two parents drive to the shoe store up the corner to get more boxes.  Sixteen shoeboxes full.  Full indeed.

I am taking the week off with my kids.  Sitting on couch watching C.S. Lewis’ Prince Caspian.  I get up to get my feverish daughter something to eat.  Cleaning up along the way.  Picking up the media package that reminds me each year to fill shoeboxes, and the tears begin to stream down my cheeks.  I am partly sad because of the world we have delivered to our creator.  Partly sad because of my heart’s cry to do more to change our world.  Partly sad that we are so broken as a people.

I am overwhelmed in the kitchen.  Pouring into my kids this morning.  Attempting to pour into the world with the causes we support and volunteer work we do.  Thinking how both are intentional and sacrificial, but miniscule in comparison to the need.  Overwhelmed by the work to be done for His glory.  As His hands and feet.  He meets me there in the kitchen.  The big and small work together for My good.  Calm your aching heart for I have overcome the world.  Part of me stops there.  For I have overcome the world.  I have never understood this remedy to the human struggle.  We are burdened to do His work and should.  But He has already overcome the world.  He has won the battles of this world and taken my human struggles with Him to the cross where He declared victory for me.  I am full indeed.

The burden I am experiencing falls off my shoulders.  He gives me zeal to continue to pour into my kids.  Zeal to continue to pour into the world.  There is not one lost effort to save or love in His name.  There is not one empty or void act when done for His glory.  Small acts are not welcomed in and of themselves.  They are received in cargo containers to be worked together for His good.

In His hands, small acts are yeasted up to rise like dough – – double and triple their original size.  Small acts become full acts when worked in His hands.  The movie ends and my tears continue to fall for the love of my children.  I look into my older boy’s eyes and tell him No matter what happens in your life, do not be afraid because you have Jesus in your heart.  I pause.  And when you get to the very end of your life, do not be afraid.  Take Christ’s hand and let him lead you into eternity.  He stares back and wraps his sweetie-boy arms around me.  Full indeed.

Rich in Many Ways

By AbbyA

Every now and then I like to share with you something that I didn’t conjure up in my thoughts.  Something I didn’t write, but something that has touched me deeply.  Ching Yeung Russell has written a poetic book for children (and adults alike) called Tofu Quilt about growing up poor in a village in China.  I cannot tell you much more because my little boy only allowed me to read the first twenty-five pages to him.  (He wanted to read the rest on his own).  Twenty-five pages is all I needed to be profoundly touched by one of God’s truths pounding through Russell’s words.  Take a look at the excerpt below.

I rest my chin in my hand,

my elbow on the train’s windowsill.

I am sad

and happy at the same time,

like eating a bowl of sweet and sour soup.

Ma breaks the silence

by saying,

“I know you had fun

just by looking at your suntan;

you’re as dark as charcoal.

“Tell me what you liked the most.”

“Dan lai!” I burst out,

“I wish Uncle Five

would have let me eat more than one bowl.

I didn’t have enough.”

“It’s very expensive,” Ma says.

“Why?” I ask.  “It’s just a small bowl.”

“Dan lai is the specialty of the town,” she says.

“And it is only made from one family’s secret recipe.”

“Have you tried it?”  I ask Ma.

“Yes,” she says.  “A long time ago.”

I promise Ma,

“When I grow up,

after I get rich,

I will buy you a bowl of dan lai!”

Ma smiles.

After you start going to school,

you will learn many things.

And you will be rich in many ways.”

The last phrase sliced through my spirit.  I could barely read that line out loud.  Sort of like a particular line of my dad’s eulogy.  My spirit acknowledged in a loud, internal way that I have learned that I have become rich in many ways.  Somewhat like the thousands of grains of sands that JMathis wrote about last week.  Thousands of sands rubbing against one another.  Smoothing edges, providing support.   The value of the experience of being a grain of sand in the Lord’s worthy hands makes you rich in many ways.

As this month pushes toward the third Thursday of November.  Ponder over how God has made you rich in many ways.  His omniscience measures in a manner unlike the world.  While we all are thankful for our livelihood and similar things.  See if you can go deeper for the secret value He has spun in your heart.  I don’t know what you will find.  But I have found through Russell’s poetry that there is great thankfulness in acknowledging that I, through Him, have become rich in many ways.

A Year to Remember, Or Not

By AbbyA

The question that Bindu proposed this week is What if we see our problems in life as the means by which we develop a closer walk with God?  JMathis answers by turning over a new leaf and waking up with joy.  My response to this question brings me to tell about a year of my mom’s life.

In one season, she unexpectedly lost a true love . . . almost lost my brother as a result of a stabbing . . . lost her business, her home and barely had enough to eat . . . suffered while my second brother spent time in jail . . . she lost her dog and then her cat . . .  She spent a lot of time alone.  Often lonely.  Coming to the point where, if not for few ties to planet earth, she was ready to come home to her heavenly space.

Bindu talks about the truth that sorrows and troubles bring us to the throne room of God.  While my mother suffered in her earthly circumstances, she spent most of her time in His throne room.  Much of her loneliness led her to seek the Lord day and night.  She wrote her troubles and God’s response to them in her notebooks.  She let Him feed her rather than rely on all the world failed to offer.  She interceded for her boys who, while different circumstances, suffered deeply.  She interceded for the hungry, lost and homeless.  She made plans to come back and give back.  And, she did just that under the wings of her God.

It is a deep place to be when one acknowledges God’s greater purposes in allowing pain and suffering.  It is yet an even deeper place to be when a tiny seed of thankfulness grows in your heart as a result of pain and suffering.  As your spirit acknowledges the ways of God, you become thankful. To Him.  Not to the loss or the pain or the suffering, but thankful for His wiser plan and greater purposes.  For His blessings in your life.

While His plan is expansive and surpasses our own understanding, it is also strikingly personal.  For there is not a moment that goes by that He ceases to minister to you in your suffering.  My mom knows that.  Any one who has lost big knows that.  I know that.

Sometimes it is A Year to Remember for spiritual growth and a year to forget earthly circumstances.  Somehow I think this is the regular practice of those already in heaven.  The temporal is flip-flopped.  The spiritual reigns and the invisible becomes seen.  The pain and suffering have been burned out by the Refiner’s Fire. What’s left is pure joy and genuine thankfulness. Oh, thank you God for a heart of thankfulness toward you, My Maker.