Humbled: Lamentations 3

I am a woman who has known trouble
Felt the wrath of God for sin
He has driven and propelled me
Into the abyss of darkness
His hand turns, blocking my sinful way
Over again as I flee Him in moments daily
My DNA is corrupt. My muscles weaken
Inflammation flares and destroys
He has come against me in every turn
I live in a dark room
Like being buried alive
I’m in His pit, high walls and chains around my ankles
I scream for mercy
I wonder if He hears
Walls spring up in my way
Switchbacks turning me backward
He sets traps for me
And every thing I set above Him He tears apart
He drove a knife into the idols of my heart
I have nothing to propel me
And people laugh as I flounder between idolatry and obedience
My stomach churns and my thoughts race
I clench my jaw and bear the marks of poverty
I fail to see trying because happiness is elusive
I want to give up
Even in my jaded desperation, hear me!
I remember hope
Your love is all encompassing and doesn’t end
Your merciful commitment to me is renewed
You will do what You have said
You will redeem, so I trust You
You are good
You meet me as I wait for You to return
I can be quiet in my pleas because You hear the whispers of desperation
Trials of all kinds produce character
They bring desperation for the only One who rescues us from death.
The person who knows that Jesus is returning will persevere even in the face of injustice. Continue reading
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Blessed are the Deeply Rooted

I figured myself to be a wanderer. I had no expectations that I would stay in one place for very long. I took Paul’s words that we are aliens in this world to mean that no matter where I went, I would never find a home; I would long for but never find a home for my heart.

I lived most of my adult life this way.

I have the relationship history to prove it.

Rapidly I approach 30 and I agonize over the loss of friendships that I valued during different seasons of my wanderings. I have burned more bridges than I care to count. I never intended to do so, but once I moved on, rarely did I give the energy to the maintenance of those fledgling relationships.

I wanted to believe these friendships were deep and lasting but at the moment I do not believe that I have a single, on-going relationship with someone I considered an intimate friend from a past season.

The heartache is devastating.

My personality type tends me to be slow to trust. And I will admit that I killed off some of my most treasured friendships because I didn’t trust them to continue to be there for me after one or the both of us moved on. Or they broke my trust.

I will take on the blame for the loss most often. I don’t want to blame someone else when I see that I had some role to play in how things turned out. But I can think of a couple friendships specifically that I cannot reconcile where things are with the promises that have been made. They let go of the rope.

Blessed are the deeply rooted. Those who have friends and family that know their history. Those who have people who know their song.

 

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Vulnerability Means Pain

God has a way of bringing things around again. Life ends up more like a spiral than a linear path. I told my therapist that I’ve come back to a place emotionally and mentally that I’ve been before. But this place is one I wasn’t able to forge ahead through. Instead, the intensity fed existing fears and I chose the path of least resistance. I chose mild comfort over experiencing loss and pain. Even though I cognitively know that if I let myself feel it, I will also be able to own that part of my story, and in owning my story, I will be able to love more deeply and experience greater joy.

The stages of grief would indicate that I cannot accept parts of my own story unless I move past denial.

Moments have come and gone where I begin to feel the full weight of emotions. Again and again, I’ve retreated. It is easier to deny for that others have hurt me than to actually just be hurt and move on. What I can’t move past is that owning that part of my story, will serve as a permanent accusation against those who hurt me, and that in acceptance I would be defined forever as a victim.

Vulnerability terrifies me.

Vulnerability is willingly exposing myself to others. I’ve had the pattern of being hurt and then just cutting myself off from relationships rather than expressing disappointment, hurt or just how deeply I’ve let myself care for another.

Vulnerability is the key in coming around to this place in my life again. Vulnerability won’t allow me to be merely a victim or an accuser. I cannot put up a shield of bitterness or lay down to be trampled. When I am vulnerable, I stand exposed but strong. Tender and courageous.

God help me do this.

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Love and Stewardship

Do we honor what God is investing in us? Do we see ourselves as accountable to God and to the church to stand in the grace and love of God and be transformed?

Mosquitos buzzing around, wind blowing through the top of the trees, while the hot humid air tried to suffocate me as I hiked in silence.  Pure, sweet silence.  (You know besides nature).

It was my attempt to calm the chaos that was my brain.  To stop the noise and the constant stress dreams.  To listen to God and simple walk with Him.  No continuous stream of questions from young children.  No pressure to make fast decisions; decisions that affect the care of said young children.  Just exist as the daughter of God.  Breathing heavy and straining muscles, I listened.

I had a question: What do I have that I can offer these young ones, to help them, to love them?

Peace.

It is peace, He said.  When I make it a priority to meet with Him in silence, to still my own chaotic mind and soul, I can offer them peace.  If I live merely reacting to their constant cries and questions, I will literally drive myself crazy.  I felt the edge of that place.  The overwhelming desire to not be an adult anymore.  To walk away and forget that I have any responsibility.

Here I am, sitting and staring out over tree tops and understanding that I am a daughter of God and that I possess an authority to bring the peace of the kingdom into lives in their early stages.  I feel the confidence that I have His love backing up steps and efforts to love and to guide.

I steward the gift of God in me and the authority of God over me.  I am accountable to God to change the way I live so that I can best live out this call.  I learn the disciplines of silence and solitude to better understand and know the voice of God, to obey, but also to find that greater trust and rest.  I learn the discipline of self-care, not narcissism, but learning ways to abide and seek out life in Christ.

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Finding My Voice

There is nothing more awkward and terrifying to me than speaking my mind. I can be on the verge of raging or curling up in the fetal position sobbing and yet the thought of speaking out the reasons why silences me.

I know that this is partly the effect of long-term, darkside, co-dependent relationships. I can’t express my own thoughts and feelings, because I’m too bound up in making sure that I know how others would think and react so that I can make them happy or at least not mad at me. I know that if I give voice to my honest opinions that I become the antagonist, and the destroyer of relationships, even if those relationships are based on the false premises that I don’t upset the emotional balance of others.

This twisting has made living in intentional community, in a completely different context than the one I grew up in, a painful, yet transformational experience. Old habits of holding things in until I blow up, don’t work, when my input is required and valued. Even so, I still hold on to things longer than I should, and they come out more forcefully than I would like, because the built up emotion has no place to go except out, when I do open my mouth.

I know that although, I’ve lived under the darkside of co-dependency, I also know this is the beauty of the make-up of my personality and gifts. I have the ability to consider different sides to issues and arguments. I will hold off speaking until, I think I can at least grasp the whole of something. I want to encourage instead of tear down.

I have a voice. I’m not well practiced in using it yet. It might come out strained or overly loud as I learn to communicate and express. I don’t intend to shout over anyone or whisper in a place of dire need, but being mute is no longer an option.

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Confidence

I had known about the opportunity for advancement in my career for nearly two months.  I had talked to the powers that be, and felt confident that if I applied, I would get the position that I wanted.  There was more at stake though.  This wasn’t just an advancement opportunity, it was a dream job.

When  the official announcement of the new positions was given at a meeting last night, my heart and confidence fell to my feet.  The atmosphere in the room became intense.  I could feel eyes on me, as for the first time, I realized an intense competition had just begun.  What felt even more deflating was the realization that if I didn’t get the position at my current school, I would have to relocate to another site; I would have to leave the kids that I had worked so hard to gain their trust.

The house was empty when I returned home after the meeting.  I flipped on the TV for some distraction, while I tried to gather my thoughts.  I felt physically sick.  Anxiety pushed my mind into overdrive.

Thirty minutes later, my roommates returned home.  Explaining how my day was, reminded me that I fall toward pessimism, and that I was no longer confident in myself or in God for how He leads.  I lost the place of hope and realism.

I needed to take control of something to counteract the negativity flowing around in my brain.  So I started rewriting my resume.  Not many things make me squirm inside my head and heart like writing a resume or filling out applications.  Its a shame trigger, but in that moment, I was taking on all the fear and anxiety I was feeling and put into writing that I am, in fact, qualified.

Midnight came, though I was not quite finished, still needing to add some technical information, but my heart had returned to my chest from my toes and I could smile, knowing that God had indeed prepared me for such a time as this.  I saved my work and closed my laptop, heading off to bed.

I will cycle through hope and doubt in the days ahead, waiting for the application and interview process to start.  Fighting for this job is fighting for those kids that have taken my heart, and it is fighting for myself.

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Coming Out of Silence

I took a period of silence, not really knowing that I was going to, or that it would be over a year between posts.  It that time, I sat and simmered with things.  Shame.  Sexuality. Humanity.

I first started blogging to give voice to my own thoughts, not really believing that anyone would really read them.  Even if no one read them, I offered my thoughts to the world.  A few people did read.  I met a handful of people across the country through blogging, but silence came when I knew that what God was calling forth in me to write about, I was too terrified to even think about.

I sat and I waited.  I let myself think about things that most profoundly affect my heart and the way I live.  I listened to the blogosphere go back and forth over these very issues, and yet God told me to hold my silence, to ponder their thoughts and my own.  I put myself in counseling after admitting that these were big thoughts and that I could not do this process on my own.

I am bisexual.  I mean that I am attracted to both men and women.  I choke over these words, stumbling to speak them even to those who have earned the right to know the depths of my heart.  Shame hovers very near.  Like the first time I confessed this to a friend in my church family, my heart is pounding.  I put those words out there for everyone to see and all will make a judgement about me.

I fear that judgement and yet I know that we are all continually making judgments of others all the time.  I fear reject and condemnation far more.  I hold that fear at bay, knowing, reminding myself that I cannot explain, even in multiple posts, the path that I walked and the process I am still going though, to come to what I believe now about myself.  There were both good and ugly therapy sessions, journaling, prayer, the times of mindless distraction to avoid engaging with emotions, the conversations with trusted friends.

All of these lead me to a place that I am now.

I believe that I am not my own.  I believe I was bought with the blood of Christ.  I believe I honor Christ with my body.  I am attracted to the same sex, but I won’t act on those attractions.  I pray for strength to flee my temptations but I don’t know that they will ever stop coming living in our fallen world.  I am denying myself, that I may pick up my cross and follow Jesus, in His suffering and in His life.

I’m not here to be a spokesperson.  I’m here to tell my story.

Please remember, we are people, not issues.

 

 

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