living the story He is writing…

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I finally bought the book
that has frightened me…
and just a few pages in
my pulse quickened,
my eyes filled up.

Brennan Manning starts his intro
with descriptions of himself
that are not his whole story.

He concludes those descriptions
with these words…

I’m Brennan.
I’m a sinner, saved by grace.
That is the larger and more important story.
Only God, in His fury, knows the whole of it.

I closed the cover
and stepped away.

I’ve struggled with the fragments
that make up my life.

Apparently Brennan Manning had fragments too.

I’ve picked the book back up cautiously.

I read some
and ponder some more.

I’ve never read a book this slowly.

Then he talks of a nun,
scarred deeply,
who followed all the rules
and gave up her life
and didn’t know who she was.

Brennan Manning taught us both,
this Sister and I,
to pray,
“Abba, I belong to you.”

Tentatively, I prayed.

My days are slow and cool
while my heart chews
on the weighty meat
of his message.

And, in the chewing and savoring
on cool July days,
I find peace.

Peace that quiets the soul
and hears the songs of the birds…
and even notices the silent doe
while picking the last of
this season’s berries.

Real peace.

Then, today,
I read Ann and her words…

Why is it the hardest of all
to give up on being someone else’s version of perfect
and begin the hard work of becoming yourself?

It’s starting to make sense.

Perhaps the fragments that I’ve loathed
are what truly define me,
just as Brenning Manning admitted his define him.

I’ve only ever viewed these
as less than perfect,
simply less.

But, my story isn’t my story without
the stops and starts,
the bits and pieces,
the fragmented portions that are part of me
but not the whole of me.

Only the One who loves me furiously
knows my everything…
including my story
because He is the One writing it.

I only know that when I try
to live someone’s idea of perfect
I become fragmented and undone.

And, when I live knowing my story is Abba’s
I live in peace.

Only He knows the whole of it.

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