New Country

This morning—when worry wakes me—fog falls in droplets all over our little valley. I padfoot downstairs, press my forehead to that wooden floor, and wait for our good God’s strength to crowd out my weakness. But thoughts keep scratching it like an itch and the more the day rubs up against the window, the smaller I feel.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life but practice never makes this thing any easier.
I’m mad at myself and the name-calling starts and I slip shame over my head and let it fall down my shoulders, feel its hem gather at my ankles—until I can’t move—all bound up in this heavy skin.
Those words I chew on when my thoughts won’t leave me be start to shimmer—bursting through that hard brick wall of condemnation. I close my eyes and hold on to those nuggets of grace.
We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect…
Well, that’s not me,I think. I’m sure not perfect.
And I wonder how brother James must have writhed under the memory of his words—how once he did not believe. 
Slowly, I wriggle out of that straightjacket of shame—shimmy it down my body and over my hips until I can step right out. My reading from Nouwen today tells me that I must risk a few more steps in this new country.
You know the ways of the old country, its joys and pains, its happy and sad moments, he says. You have spent most of your days there. Even though you know that you have not found there what your heart most desires, you remain quite attached to it. It has become part of your very bones.
I feel the sting of these words as I read them. My morning candle flickers and I still can’t move from the dining room floor. The desire to hide sits heavy in my gut. I stare out the window at the white sky dripping down—fog becomes dew before my eyes and the beauty of the morning makes me want to cry. It looks like another country and I realize that more than anything I want to step out into this other land—step forward in the new.
The grass is wet and I can feel the freedom of it wrap around my ankles. I walk slow, deliberate—measuring each step. The slow, soft stepping uncovers wispy treasures all sparkling in dew.
I feel thin, fragile–as if, untethered, I might blow away. But this slow-stepping? It anchors. My feet find sure ground here. 
And I am learning that this is how one must walk in a new country.
Blogging in community with Michelle and Jen today. Love you girls! 


This week’s memory verse:

To download a copy of James 3:2-3 memory card.
Check previous Tuesday posts for prior verses.

For memory cards of the whole book of James visit this post.


  1. says

    “And I am learning that this is how one must walk in a new country.”

    Your words shed new light on this passage for me. Lovely imagery. Palpable.

  2. says

    You have this way of making me feel better. More specifically, you have this way of making me feel less angry, and that is really saying something because I am so very angry all the time.

  3. says

    I’m sorry you’re feeling thin and fragile. You have so very much going for you, Laura. Perhaps the struggles have given your words the ability to take wings and fly — to express both the fears and self-worthlessness others feel, and the determined proclamations of being immersed in Jesus Christ.

    Love your dew-on-spiderwebs pics! So many beauty-strings of diamonds! Just think how rich you are, acquiring (for the moment, at least), millions of diamonds! Beads to point you to God the Father, Son, and Spirit — a girl’s best friend!

    Love ya!

  4. says

    Of course you feel thin and fragile – that’s the way it is in new country for a while, especially right after we’ve stepped out of a cloak of shame. This is exquisite, Laura. Truly. Praying peace for you.

  5. says

    Hi Laura, I read your heart from time-to-time. Today was one of those that touched a deep place in me where I hurt and wonder and linger before my God. I love that you are willing to write undone and leave things undone not tied tight with a package bow. He’s so real through you. God is detaching me too from that old country…detaching me from what feels looks appears safe success stable. Thank you for wrestling well, dipping your pen in the ink of the Well of the Spirit of God, the Wind blowing over us every which way—and I don’t even know it. Means something to me this night! My Love, Bev

  6. says

    beautiful words, and photos…keep walking into new country and His love for you…I could relate to your earlier post about negative self talk…God has been working with me on that point…blessings, Laura 🙂

  7. says

    How tender and real and compelling. The photos are wonderful companions with that fog and how weak and strong it is all at once. I know that wanting to hide, and I have a beautiful picture mentally of you with a candle on the dining room floor with all this mental and soul movement. New Country, yes. Reading this blessed me.

  8. says

    This image of you, forehead pressed to floor, has stuck with me since I read it yesterday . . . and God has been revealing myself in it. That I am in a season of great need.

    But that maybe finding myself “poor in spirit” is a good place to be. Even if it’s a daily place.

    Blessed here, Laura.
    (Love Nouwen, too.)

  9. says

    OH, GOODNESS. daily small steps of obedience and truth…pick up your feet again. (Holy Spirit had me write about the same sort of thing today. hmmm…)
    but yours–the words are stunning. metaphors in fog and spider webs.


  10. says

    Miss Laura –

    These two lines are my favs. It’s God-grande how they both compliment and contrast one another: “the more the day rubs up against the window, the smaller I feel”


    “I stare out the window at the white sky dripping down—fog becomes dew before my eyes and the beauty of the morning makes me want to cry.”


  11. says

    Stunning. What a beautiful spiderweb! Thank you for slowing long enough to take it all in and for sharing so beautifully and vulnerably. May the grace of Christ cast out those shame lies. His Spirit convicts with a view to correction, never berates with a view to shame.

    (On a totally different topic, Ebony and I are giving away some doggy delights at my place. If your little buddy would be interested, please stop by and comment to enter.)

  12. says

    I’m afraid my words in a comment box just wouldn’t be adequate to describe the beauty of your writing here. Our best work comes from places of greatest need and brokeness. And your loved Laura, deeply loved.

  13. says

    Shelly’s words are mine too. I come here often, but I think I could never find the courage to tread. I fear that words would spoil what your posts are doing to me.

    I am always at awe and blessed by your words. So close to our Maker, you are.

    Blessings and you have blessed me.

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