Once

hardened by hatred
weighed down by salt.
the splendor of stillness
once foreign to me
now runs through my veins.

words will cleanse
ink will detoxify what’s left
of lives lost to the doubts of having nothing to say.

out of fear of imperfection,
I didn’t write a word
not even a single letter.
these pages are messy now,
no longer blank.

this surface isn’t meant to be silent
out of fear of ruining it.
this must be colorful and real and messy and true.

have only a fear of never beginning.
enter the cracks on the surface
and burst through
all that tells you that you can’t
all who says that you have nothing to say.

the first letter
dances
barefoot on summer soil.

your mind is a lovely place,
your body filled with wisdom.
just once
tell your story true
no matter how messy it looks.

–E

“He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights.” – Psalm 18:33

Your hand fingers for the hold above and just out of your reach, wiggling higher, searching for something better to rest on. Your right foot is too low to really use. Your left foot, weighted on a tiny quartz crystal, pushes you only slightly upward. There might be enough purchase on these holds, but you’re out of balance, and the good holds seem so far. Your forearms are pumping. Your legs start to shake. You want to give up…

The Psalm is a reminder of God’s promise. It’s not a promise of “I will give you bomber footholds and make everything easy.” It is instead a promise that we can be confident in what we do have—strength in Jesus. No matter the difficulty of the crux (which comes from the same root-word as “crucifixion”), we can have faith in our God-given abilities to overcome trials and reach the magnificent heights He has prepared.

When the way gets difficult and fear paralyzes us, it may seem easier to step down from the progress we’ve made than to continue climbing. We’re challenged most when we feel weak and our steps seem uncertain, however, it’s in these times when we grow closer to God. When we have faith, we can still reach mountain heights—even when we’re feeling weak.

Having faith isn’t avoiding falling, coming down when things get a little bit uncomfortable. Faith also isn’t blindly going for something when our decisions may be a detriment to ourselves or others. Faith is a calculated risk, knowing we’ve done all we can in our ability, and knowing we could fall—but if we do, we’ll be safe.

We’re only human. Falling is inevitable when we’re outside of our comfort zone. It can be terrifying, it may hurt, but we will make it through.

It’s similar to having faith in Jesus—when we pick up our crosses and follow him, it can be so scary to let go of our plans and expectations. And it may hurt sometimes to do the right thing. But when our hearts are centered on eternity, we can move beyond any crux and into His loving arms. Just remember to check your knots.

-E