Void

When will it stop, make it stop.

All the chaos all the pain, make it stop. My life has become a shit show that spins out of control with every passing moment. Sure, I’m blessed, we’re all blessed but that’s not really the point. Blessings can be painful. Sweet, sweet pain why are you so near? I feel like King David, I love God but I’m so mad. I’m so blessed but I ache for an eternity. This place is not my home but my heart is rooted here. My soul is conflicted. I love the Lord but my daughter, I love her something fierce. Why do some people have to face the loss of losing a loved one that’s still living; meanwhile, others coast through life unscathed and at rest? Many people tell me I’m strong when in reality I’m just forced to be. I have no other option. Many people tell me I’m a fighter but can I ask: what would you do if your child was dying in front of your eyes? I’m at peace with making memories and living in the present with her enjoying each day, please don’t tell me to enjoy every moment. I do, every single one to the fullest. I’m not grieving for the future I’m trying to make it through the next minute. I’m grieving the current pain dwelling in me. Void, why are you so empty? Heart, why are you so big and forthcoming? I’m so weak and yet you, love on. Loving on looks like fighting for appointments, debating with doctors, collecting medical records, humbling myself and applying for assistance, changing the dirty diaper when I just; can’t, corresponding with all the people about meaningless jargon. All the things, opening my heart and pushing through to make it to the very next minute and even then: loving in my weariness…wondering…. Is it worth it, void? Is my pain, is my suffering, is my aching and longing and striving going to be enough to save her? Because, if not I give up now. Call me a quitter but my strength only reaches so far.

I can’t say this out loud, so I’ll type it here: what if I would’ve taken another path? What if I would have married another human? Lived someplace else? Pursued a different career? The “what ifs” keep me up at night. Most people would respond (my heart responds): “then you wouldn’t have your beautiful kids.” Let me ask you, void; is it better to have loved and lost or have never loved at all. That question haunts me. I don’t think I’d prefer one over the other but it’s where I’m at. It’s what we’re dealing with, friends. This question has overtaken me the last few weeks because I think the weight has finally crushed me. My shoulders are only so big but I feel like God keeps requiring things of me, life keeps begging me for more. It’s impossible to keep up. I’m crushed. My spirit, “myself” whoever that is, is lost. Void, you’re for real but you’re not going to destroy me. You won’t take me out. I’m fighting blindly, beaten down, and betrayed but I belong here and I’m not going anywhere. I’ll stand up, I’ll show up, and I’ll press on through the loneliness and emptiness of this space between blessed and crushed. Thank you, void. Thank you for reminding me that even still; I need a savior.

Speak

If you’ve known me for any length of time you’ve probably figured out by now; I’m a talker. Love to talk. I’ve got the gift to gab but with God, lately I’ve been pretty silent. There’s so much to say but no words seem to match the emotions. I try to write them out but even that feels empty. I’m so full of all these thoughts but I’m pretty much done trying to speak to God. If I could say a few things to Him I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t be what He would want to hear. They’d be things like:

Why me? Do you trust me with this, really God? Are you testing me, because that’s not very loving. I don’t see you in this, I’ll never see you in this. I need help, no one gets this, no one is here, I want to scream, I want to be selfish, are you punishing me; God? 

I get so wrapped up in trying to mumble out the words I think God wants to hear instead of dealing with the words in my heart. The problem with these words in my heart is the bitterness, the weight they carry. It’s too much to deal with on top of everything else. I talk a lot but not to God. But just because I don’t talk to him doesn’t mean he stopped talking to me. I see God speaking to me in all kinds of unique ways. I cringe when people say: God told me this, or God spoke this word to me. Did He really? Because, I may be a “lesser” Christian because I don’t hear His voice but I still see Him. I still listen for His presence because He can speak without actually saying anything.

Example:

There was this particular day that was pretty tough. I didn’t have any energy to deal with my anxiety or depression, so it manifested by cleaning and organizing. I found myself rummaging through a very unorganized closet, digging in a very unorganized box. This box made it through every single move since I was eighteen years old. Since then, it’s accumulated a lot of unnecessary stuff I can’t seem to throw away. One thing in particular is a canvas. There was a time in my life where I thought I could have been Picasso, pipe dream. Anyways, this painting was more than just really bad, it meant a lot to me for a lot of years. Everything within me believes that God wanted me to be reminded of those words, in that particular moment. The words consisted of this:

“My dove is hiding behind the rocks, behind an outcrop on the cliff. Let me see your face; let me hear your voice. For your voice is pleasant, and your face is lovely.”
‭‭Song of Songs‬ ‭2:14‬ ‭NLT‬‬

So, I hung it up in my bathroom. I’m reminded that in the times where I want to present a better version of myself to God; He thinks I’m lovely as is. My darkness is lovely. My hope for you is that you’ll know that even when you feel like you can’t talk to God or that He doesn’t hear you, He’s right beside you, talking you through your very next moment. See Him, in you. See His goodness in every small thing. He comes soft and sweet and endearing. He knows your heart, express the rawness and realness of your thoughts it’ll only help you rely on His voice. This season has been so different that what I’ve ever known. Speaking to God has been lifeless and most days I question if He even cares. Then, right in the midst of my anger a ray of hope springs forth from a thought, a conversation, a kind soul, a smile, a hug, a laugh, a song, or like most times: a mess.

Speak, He’s listening. He wants to hear your voice, see your face. Come out of hiding and speak the brave, dark, yet lovely words you’ve been longing to speak. He shows up every single time.

 

Political Weekend.

I asked my husband what was wrong tonight. He made some joke like he always does and laughed it off. There were no warning signs, like he wasn’t crying or anything and we seemed to piece together what was supposed to be crappy weekend but turned out to be pretty terrific. So, why would I think there was anything wrong? It’s just that unsettling, erie, overwhelming feeling. You know? This weekend my newsfeed was filled with those shouting and marching to make a difference and we’re over here just trying to keep our household alive. I love the passion, I love passionate people, and I love causes but sometimes I think we overlook the cause that’s right in front of us. Sometimes, I think we get caught up in these fights for justice and forget to fight for our marriage, our mental health, our kids, our community, our broken relationships, we forget to fight our addictions, the very things placed in front of us, you know? Sometimes, I forget that my husband is a human with feelings and not a robot that does what he’s told. Sometimes, I forget I need a moment away so I can connect with a friend and hear about her world because sometimes it’s way to easy to get caught up in my own little world. I mostly forget that the people in my world have issues and need just as much help as I do. I always forget that people, right next to me need me to march with them to overcome their trials and step into freedom.

My husband and I laughed for a good five minutes like we normally do until he’s comfortable having a serious conversation. He then began to utter phrases like: I’m mad at Sanfilippo, I feel like our life is shit, we’re living in chaos. I then asked him to name five things he was thankful for. His family was one amoungst many others such as: his air compressor. No comment to that. Here’s what I know: if you don’t cultivate the very things God gave you, if you don’t water your own grass you’ll always want your neighbors, if you’re always hiding behind all the good and righteous things instead of tending to the important things in front of you; everything will go wrong. It’s so exhausting to me when I hear Christians say: “God called me to this or that” when the very people God placed in their lives are hurting, broken, in need, when they could make a difference, they could BE there and show up. Why would God call people away when God already provided a calling on their life and provided purpose in their steps? think it’s because of two things really.

1. They’re running. People never want to clean their own house but never mind cleaning other people’s houses. Why? Because it’s not their mess. I think the same is true in this context. People, we don’t want to face our own stuff but we will take up causes and injustices all day, everyday so that we can still feel like decent humans. We want to raise our white flag as we run hard towards the easy things and flashy things and run away from the hard and meaningful things. The people in your life matter, the job your at, the people you see every single day; matter. Their your people. Those are YOUR issues. Don’t run to the next best thing. Be the change in your sphere, not in the world, but in your little community.

 

2. They’re scared. It’s scary to work through your junk whatever that may be. It may be divorce, family feuds, difficult co workers, a sick family member, a difficult roommate, your marriage, a prodigal son, a diagnosis. Don’t be scared to tackle those things head on. You are the difference in the equation. God trusted you with those delicate situations. He’s enabled you to stand up and face these fights head on. We fight for those we love. If you want to see a political change in this world it’ll happen in little circles that’ll create a ripple effect. Be there, be present, show up for someone in your life. They need to see the Jesus in you.

God never contradicts Himself. He never gives up and moves on. He always shows up for those He loves, that includes you. If this world is ever going to have a chance at peace you MUST do the same. No matter where you’re called to or what you do if you don’t do it in love, it won’t even matter.

Love your people. Be strong in your faith. Stand up for the unjust issues right in front of your eyes. Please don’t be silent, your small world needs you. Get up, show up, love hard, and keep marching.

Shipwrecked

Church.

Relationship with God.

The Bible.

It all seems too much. Really, really hard.

Never in my life have I struggled to get myself into a church building. Ever since I was a little girl I begged my parents to take me to the little country building with the steeple and stained glass windows. Something about that sacred place made me feel safe, free, closer to Jesus, and comforted. I didn’t understand it all as a little girl, I just knew that God lived there. It wasn’t until I was nearing my twelfth year in this life did I figure out God could live in my heart. That revelation transformed me. I revolved my life around this principal: God is the center and everything else will fall into place. I would have considered myself as a good Christian. I tithed, read my Bible, went to Bible studies, surrounded myself with christians alike, but even more than that; I knew God’s love for myself. Christianity never meant riding on the coat tails of my parents faith because let’s face it they were broken humans, it was this amazing covenant between Him and I. I’m not saying it was always a cakewalk, it wasn’t. I’m not saying I was always faithful, I failed. There was one thing I always knew to be true: God was ALWAYS with me, providing, walking through the desert times, and ever so near during the mountain top times.

I won’t mince words here, I don’t feel the nearness. I don’t feel the presence. I don’t even feel His love most days. I feel incredible sadness, loss, and hopelessness. I feel like it’s all for nothing. I honored God and lived my life for Him for the majority of it and then this happens, this diagnosis; God…really? It’s hard to even type or say out loud because I can hear, I can feel the judgement of those knee deep in Christianity. They’re doing all the right things just like I used to do but how did I get here when my faith was seemingly so strong?

I’m shipwrecked. I’m a mess. I don’t want to be just another person who fell off the bandwagon. I want to be real with you, I don’t know how to navigate this and I’m drowning in all the pain of what I thought a Christian looked like and what it actually is. I’ve been hurt by Christians in the season but I know it wasn’t intentional. I know it’s because I’m in the midst of this storm and they’re view is mountains and magnificence. I know everyone has their “hard places” they endure but this God, well it’s unbearable. It’s even more unbearable walking through it with people that say things like: “just trust God.” This sounds like a nice Christian thing to say to get people to realize He’s bigger than this and believe me, I know He is but it’s extremely unloving. In the midst of my shipwreck where I can’t see God, I can no longer feel Him, I need to learn how to trust him with this. I’ve always just had to trust God with finances, with my job, with passing tests, in my marriage, in friendships, but trusting Him with losing a child…that’s easier said than done.

I know I’ll get there, though. Don’t worry. It’s a learning curve for all of us. Someday’s, I’ll count my blessings and other days I’ll curse the world. God is still in my heart, He still abides within me and through me. Shipwrecked is a new thing for me and it requires me to be real. I go to church but I’m not sure if I believe it all. I worship God but sometimes my arms are far to weak to raise. I read my Bible but often times I don’t. I’m in the midst of this storm and the only thing I know is it’s not going to take me out.

What’s the thing in your life? Know that God is gracious and has endless amounts of patience for you. Know that within the storm and wild waves of life God is loving and sovereign. His love far outweighs the pains of this life but that doesn’t mean they aren’t real. The suffering is earthly, His love is eternal. Leaning into God and God alone will carry you from wave to wave and through storm after storm.

Sail on, dear friends.

Diamond

you’re gold,

everything about you is different but lovely and unique but necessary.

For years I lived thinking I was a fake. Fake it till you make it. Don’t rock the boat, just go with the flow. Even though, “the flow” gave me anxiety it was who I was. It was the definition of my personality. I’ll tell you this, it isn’t me. It isn’t how God intended me to be. It’s not my makeup, it kept me from giving my heart to people, it in exchange gave me anxiety instead of the freedom it seemingly promised.

Its not worth it.

Don’t label yourself, don’t limit yourself. You have dimensions, you luster, you have SO much to give this world. This season isn’t it for you. Open your heart to shine and stand amoung the weary. And always, always be brave enough to live free.