Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Less like scars...more like character..."

"It's been a hard year,
but I'm climbing out of the rubble.
These lessons are hard
Healing changes are subtle
But every day it's...

Less like tearing, more like building
Less like captive, more like willing
Less like breakdown, more like surrender
Less like haunting, more like remember

And I feel You here
And You're picking up the pieces
Forever faithful

It seemed out of my hands,
a bad situation
But You are able,
and in Your hands the pain and hurt
look less like scars and more like...

-Sara Groves

I couldn't help but think of Sara Groves'
"Less Like Scars" tonight...I think you will see why...

The following post, from this blog, was written and published originally in June of 2007.  A dear friend sent me a link to it, because it had been meaningful to her.  To be honest, I had forgotten writing it, so it was a wonderful gift to receive.  Just as wonderful, was the realization that it still rings
as true for me today, as it did almost three years ago.  My purpose has not changed.  I still contribute posts to this blog for the very same reason.

My friend sent me this gift of love...tonight I am re-gifting it to you as a re-declaration of purpose.  It is my truth, and it is more precious than gold, frankincense, or myrrh.  It is a purpose statement that has not bit.  I like that.  I like knowing that it is through my purpose...a holy, Love-inspired sense of purpose, that I find a contiguous thread of authenticity in my being.  It is helping me to see that I am becoming what I long to be...really, truly, genuinely
be...a woman of my word.  I have trusted God's hand in designing my purpose statement, and am discovering that He has set His seal upon it, and impressed it firmly on my heart. What a gift to give someone.

As this decades comes to a close, and a new one is given birth, I promise to keep this spiritual purpose clearly, distinctly, precisely in focus. 

Here is the original post with the addition of this audio clip of
"You are Not Alone":

"…you are not alone
_ I am here with you
_Though we're far apart
_You're always in my heart
_you are not alone…"
- Michael Jackson

Someone asked me the other day why I write these posts twice every week.  Was I trying to teach readers something new about spirituality…no, the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker well as countless other inspirational books, magazine articles, blogs and websites are lovingly dedicated to this kind of pedagogy.  Was I trying to get my writing seen by blog surfing publishers….no.  Did I have an irrepressible urge to write…yes, but this is not the reason I blog. 

I have been writing and journaling (at least two hours a day) daily for many, many years…I write a lot.  I didn't
need another focus for my writing life. 

So, as I sat in front of this computer screen pondering that question: "Why do you blog?" the AOL icon at the bottom of my screen started bouncing to alert me that a new message was in my mailbox.  I shook myself from the reverie of self-examination to check the message in case there was an urgent need for attention.  This is the email that greeted me (shared with permission…all personal and identifying information deleted):

Dear Kate,

I had a difficult day and then read your web-log (
"Sunrise, Sunset") and nearly burst into tears. Of all the many things I have wanted to ask you is how you bear this very thing … this changing and growing and going. I feel it as sadness and loss. I can't seem to find joy there.

My little girl, the world's very best baby, is turning (age deleted). I love to see what she is becoming, but I miss the girl she was even last year.

I have more birthday preparations and it's late. I want to thank you again for your writing and the healings on your website. I turn to it so frequently during the day.

Love, ______

In reading her message I remembered with such clarity why I post on this blog each Tuesday and Thursday…it is
not to share my insights or inspirations, it is not to see my words self-published on the internet, it is not to receive notes of praise…it is for one reason…and for me, there is just one message:

"You are not alone."

Just before I sit down at my computer,  to write a piece for posting, I try to become very quiet and listen for a silent cry that speaks to my heart….I am listening for the tears of those who feel -  that in the darkness of their own private sadness or confusion - they are alone.  That somehow, they are the only ones who have ever felt this frightened, angry, hurt, hungry for compassion or kindness. 

And then I listen for my own heart.  What in me is reaching out from the posture of "experience?" What is it that might bring them honest comfort and be a beacon of faint light in their darkness?  What story can I offer?  What can I share that will assure them that someone else has been there and that there is a way out? 

I am, in each posting,  trying to say…"I will sing loudly so that you can know that you are not alone in the darkness.  I will sing to remind you that God is there…right there in your own heart… impelling you forward.

"...Just the other night
I thought I heard you cry
Asking me to come
And hold you in my arms
I can hear your prayers
Your burdens I will bear
But first I need your hand..."

To know that we are not alone...that God is there at every turn, every juncture, to take our hand and lead us into our own a message so powerful that it brings me to my knees.  To know, also, that God has appointed angels of kindness in our lives...friends, sisters, mothers, be the hand we feel, the song we listen for...this makes me weep with gratitude.

Here is my reply to my friend's email (with some minor editing):


I burst into tears sometimes, too, when I later read the raw nakedness of what I have felt about something and have fearlessly (or naively) posted to this blog. 

These issues of motherhood, and this journey in discovering my ever-evolving indentity as a spiritual woman, living in a world that constantly invites us to want, want, want...more, more, more...are such powerful catalysts for my own spiritual development (de-envelop-ment).  They strip me clean, day-after-day, of all pride and ambition, and leave me childlike in my need for a divine Parent's embrace and care.

I often find that the ideas I have shared are actually still very new to me when I finally read them myself. It is almost as if I wrote the words, without even thinking of if they poured out of my fingertips without passing through the medium of this false mind that would like to call itself sovereign in my life….memory, speculation, imagination. 

I am learning that they come from a more silent space - the heart.

But as for your question:  "how do you bear this very thing … this changing and growing and going?"

I really don't know, other than to say that I try to use each day as a Love-impelled search for God...whether it looks like a triumph, or is filled with doesn't matter.  As a mother, I realize that the best thing I can give my daughters is HONESTY about the journey.  Allowing them to think that I have it even
one bit more "figured out" than I really do, is cruel, and sets them up for failure by comparison. 

So...I am staying focused on integrity in parenting my children...integrity of heart, mind, spirit, actions, words...emotions.  It is sometimes very messy and organic...but it is true...and I like truth...

with love,  Kate

This is my truth.  I really don't write from a longing to be heard, I don't write from a need to say something profound or pithy....but I do write from the deep desire answer the call of  someone crying in the dark, to let them know that they are not alone.  Yes, this is my truth, and I try to follow the wise counsel, and example, of my favorite author when she says:

"I speak from experience."
- Mary Baker Eddy

Back to December 31, 2009...

What a lovely year this has been.  What a gift it has been to see, as Sara sings in
"Less Like Scars" that in God's hands my life looks, and feels:

"...Less like tearing, more like building
Less like captive, more like willing
Less like breakdown, more like surrender
Less like haunting, more like remember

And I feel You here
And You're picking up the pieces
Forever faithful
It seemed out of my hands, a bad situation
But You are able
And in Your hands the pain and hurt
Look less like scars and more like

Less like a prison, more like my room
It's less like a casket, more like a womb
Less like dying, more like transcending
Less like fear, less like an ending

And I feel You here
And You're picking up the pieces
Forever faithful
It seemed out of my hands, a bad situation
But You are able
And in Your hands the pain and hurt
Look less like scars

Just a little while ago
I couldn't feel the power or the hope
I couldn't cope, I couldn't feel a thing
Just a little while back
I was desperate, broken, laid out, hoping
You would come

And I need You
And I want You here
And I feel You

And I know You're here
And You're picking up the pieces
Forever faithful
It seemed out of my hands, a bad, bad situation
But You are able

And in Your hands the pain and hurt
Look less like scars
And more like character..."

Yes, less like scars...more like character.  I hope that in His hands, your life feels that way too.  On to a new decade, a new year, a new day, the next moment - with hope...

in His hands,
Kate Robertson, CS

[photo credit: Colleen Johnston Campbell]


  1. Anonymous7:23 PM

    Funny. That was my email. We barely know each other but you feel like such a good friend. I come here and feel companioned. Thank you dear Kate for the blessing you are to me and to so many others. c

  2. Happy New Year C.
    I thought of you tonight as I was reading/writing this post. I remember how generous you were in letting me use your comment as the springboard for that piece. Did you know that part of my response to you became the epigraph for the bio in my book "Water Like a Stone" have been a companion all along this journey...much much love C. Kate

  3. Anonymous3:36 PM

    You write with deep passion and conviction. I was drawn to your blog by your reference to Sara Groves. I recently had a unique opportunity involving Sara’s recent Christmas Tour. About a month ago I spoke to our church about people in prison. A tape was made and I sent it to some folks who had been prison volunteers for close to 40 years. They also happened to be Sara’s grandparents, Lloyd and Nita. When Sara heard it she invited me to participate on her tour. She would call me each night of the tour and ask me to share the story of how her great-grandmother had told me 37 years ago that God had a plan for my life. A prison school teacher told me later that God could change my life…He did. Sara’s grandparents and others nurtured my faith over the next 5 years. This was the basic story I told over 18 days in 14 cities, what a blessing to share God’s love in such a unique way. Oh yes, by the providence of God, 2 years after my release some 32 years ago I married the prison school teacher. Almost 30 years, 3 children and 2 grandchildren later we are still together. Keep writing I enjoy your work. J. Thomson

  4. Dear John…I am so honored that you would write….your story touches me deeply. I have another blog on blogspot (it is a mirror to this one, but goes back five years) and there are quite a number of Sara Groves songs I have written about there…the address is:
    if you go to the index on the right and scroll down past the titles in quotes to the alpha index you will find her name under the Ss. I believe there might be as many as 5 or 6 of her songs highlighted there. She is an inspiration to me…I have never met her, but love her dearly. We share a sense of mission about Africa (my daughter is South African and I have returned a number of times…both for personal, and deeply spiritual reasons. Less Like Scars, Painting Pictures of Egypt, I Saw What I Saw, etc. are anthems in my life.

    dearest love to you and your precious family, Kate (from Wordpress)