Hurt People, Hurt People

My heart broke into a million tiny glass fragments as my eight-year-old son told me of a classmate who was beating him to a hot bleeding pile of hurt with his words. Pulverizing him into a bloody pulp of a mess of emotions Trasen shared with me the awful, untrue words this boy slammed at him like a lashing in the face.

I held him, cried with him, ad told him that people can be deeply mean in this life for no apparent reason.  Rocking him in my arms, it pains me to admit that it doesn’t stop in the third grade, sadly it chases you throughout your whole life.  Heartbreaking as it is,  bullying isn’t a clear view as to who is on your side and who is jealously and deceitfully against you.

Looking back on my life, I feel as if someone has always wanted to “beat me up.”  From the reaches of a challenging and abusive childhood to this day, I feel the slaying of cruel words chastising me when I least expect it.  When I was Trasen’s age, the mean girls at the bus stop tortured me for months, telling me they’d beat me up after school.  I would run and hide at every opportunity to not ride the bus after school or to be “sick” when I wasn’t.  I was TERRIFIED!

“Beat” me up?  What does that mean, a punch to the nose, a kick in the stomach?  Or even worse, vicious words behind my back that I was awkward, too tall, lanky, without the coveted “Guess Jeans” and “Esprit Shirts”, and my worst insecurity (at that time)…that I was ugly?  The thought of the latter was much more abusive than a kick in the gut.  Slam your fist in my face, make my body bleed, but words…those cut far deeper than any knife could.  For what others speak of us when we are not there is the truth, right?

Sadly as I comfort my sweet child, I realize that these people follow you through your entire life.  Those who find joy in making fun of others, trying to sabotage our best efforts, our innate gifts.  They are fearful of the unique and wonderfully made person that God made, and they are in a race to seek peace but have no clue as to how to reach it…

Recently, as I am doing a 21 day fast with my church, where you give something up that is important to you, for me, that happens to be social media.  I love spending time with my readers and friends all over the world!  It is a joy that brings me to a humble place that I have the opportunity to engage in.  Although it is distracting, and something God has called me to give up, to spend more time in prayer, reflection, and the Word.  Values that will bring me closer to my God, myself, and my family.  Can I just say here that it has been SO INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT!  For a person like myself, demonstrative, outspoken, gregarious, and super social I have had to literally conjure up the deepest of my self-control to use the time I had been on social media to spend in prayer, reflection, and introspection.

The outcome has been a deeper connection to God, to my writing, my family, and myself.  I have grown in the past two weeks more than I have in the past six months.  Deep devotion has the ability to provide us with a bird’s eye view of what we fear, love, and a plethora of things we may need to alter in our lives to become closer to Him…  

Last Saturday night, instead of wasting my time on Facebook, I wandered up to a quiet place in my house where no one could find me, and I laid on the floor  and said this simple prayer:

Reveal to me.

What you want.

For me to put You first.

Please let me see some things from my past that I’ve blacked out so I can finally heal.

Please.

Please.

Please!!

In that moment a vivid recollection came to me, jolting me to my core.  I screamed my husband’s name for comfort.  ALAN!  

I crawled into a tiny ball under the sky of this great big world that is often times so very hard to understand.

Needless to say, it wasn’t a pleasant memory from my childhood, to the contrary, it was something no child should ever have to endure.  Yet, somehow, someway…I did.  But why should a child be made to suffer so?  In that moment of question, God declared to me:

It has made you who you are.  

Who I needed you to be.

My everyday world has been a never ending brigade of attacks the past fourteen days. Doors have been shut, people have betrayed me, I’ve been accused of things I’d NEVER do, but mostly, a nerve has been electrified in my deepest of insecurities.

Am I good enough?

Am I lovable?

Why don’t they like me?

Am I smart enough?

And for God’s sake why did God make me the way He has…

Happy.

Joyful.

Vocal.

And PLEASE tell me…why do I have such an annoying loud laugh?  I mean, come on now?  It’s just NOT normal!!

The core resistance as to why it took me so long to come back to God was shoved in my face.  Like a court jester dancing around me in a prelude to victory.  Sadly, for five days I deeply bought into the lies of the enemy.

My mood becoming uncharacteristically sullen, watching my back at every moment, incapacitating my words, actions and deeds hoping that the people who are made so uncomfortable by my existence didn’t try to crucify me, I realized I was fighting an unwinnable battle.

While I would have been asking for answers on social media, I chose to lay in my bed, with a big white comforter to seek out an answer from God, not mere people like I would have done on Facebook.  But in reality,  when all I wanted to do was quit this silly game of drama, I was called to stay in the battle.  Get that Eye of the Tiger back, and be… me.  If joy isn’t welcome in a place of misery than I’m doing something right!

For I am not of this world, I am only living in it.  Knowing I’m called to a ministry of Joy (thank you, Pastor Kevin, for that revelation) it puts my existence into perspective.  For, I have suffered much, fought battles that young children never should be subjected to, and have cried myself to sleep more times than I could ever count.  I have struggled physically, emotionally, financially, and professionally.  Yet, I’ve been victorious on all the same platforms deeply into the sunset of my deepest insecurities.  

This world can beat us down along with hurt people who want to hurt us deeper than they have been berated.  Life can throw things our way that we never saw coming (especially during a twenty-one day fast), and we can feel like giving up.  I know I have.  I’ve wanted to throw in the towel and start over, possibly at a place that didn’t hate my guts.  But God told me otherwise.  I have to admit it really made me ANGRY when He clearly told me in the prayer room at church this morning, as I was meeting with my mentor, Christine. I hammered away at how toxic a certain environment is for me, how I’m unfit to be subjected to such torture, God stated to me loud and clear….I’m not done with you where you are.

A full on cry leaped from the deepest place in my lungs as I took in the symphony of His direction.

“But, God I thought you were going to deliver me?”  I pleaded.

He answered:

I need to spread your joy,  to speak deliverance through Me.

Um okay… how do I argue with that?

With a wet face and a trembling hand, I took the prayer of my mentor into my being, knowing that the anointed room we talked and prayed in had given me comfort, strength and an answer

That I am right where I need to be, even if it’s not at all where I want to be.

For, He has greater plans for using me in a dark world that I am not apart of, one that goes against my inner sensitive fibers of my heart.  

Press, on.

Divorce your emotion of ridicule.

Lean on me.

Because I have great plans for where you are at this moment, at this time.

I left the anointed prayer room lifted up, filled with joy, courage, and a strong feeling that there is a triumph against the bullies of this world. Interestingly my life has a grander picture than running away, it is encompassing me loving the hurting people who delight in hurting others.  I will answer His call until another door opens for me to run freely into because I’m not of this place, I’m in His comfort forever no matter how much the hurt strive to hurt me…

 

His Price Was Paid, Twice as Much

I did it twice yesterday, and I don’t want to do it anymore. I really don’t.

Compulsion screams at me the need to get rid of it all, but deep inside I ask of what more I could be if I didn’t want to do it anymore?

Looking out at the perfect sea, on a sunset meant for me to see, I beg for redemption from the white caps that beacon me home. Into the white foam of perfection that the world screams that I must be.

My stomach rolls.

Fullness takes over. A need to rid. To be done with all the turmoil, takes over.

Why, oh why do I feel this way, I ask, finding my way to the closest bathroom. Where is it., where is my reprieve? Where can I give back what was given to me in vain? The replenishment that I do not deserve, I must give it back to the sea that somehow brought it to me.

I don’t want to do it. It hurts, and makes my eyes water like when I cry so deeply my heart feels as if it could combust.

Yet I find myself at the brinks of the floor, cold and alone, as if my knees were bleeding on the sterile cold tile.

Full and alone.

Feeling as if I need to be empty because that is the the way I need to be. Stripped of goodness and life.

I grab the steel cold toilet seat to turn it up so I can meet my destiny. Tears prickle at the forefront of my barrier even though they aren’t supposed to come yet. Not just yet.

A sound comes from nowhere, from across the sea. Far from this land calling out. A cast that needs me more than I need to flow from my pain.

Wind blows, and somehow a truth makes way, from burden into my being. \

The whisper says, “cry no more. Bleed not, for I have done so in your name. Take your hand and lift it up instead of putting it down your throat. I suffered so you can see the light not the darkness you are pledging for in this hour.”

Wind blows. Faith beacons, and I have no choice but to take His hand instead of using it to hurt myself further.

Grace saved me tonight. I don’t want to do it anymore, across the sea, into forever my pain is His and His faithfulness is my greatest prize.

This is where I decide. The rising tide forging its anger, or the Promise of forever that He paid on my behalf, a choice that I have to make.

Feelings are fleeting and are easy to rid of in the turmoil of the water of the chrome oval object in front of me. Do I want an easy way out, or the way to redemption?

Take my hand.

I take HIs hand and come with Him…past the rough of the sea and feelings of abandon.

Off my knees I stand, perfect in His love and sacrifice. Knowing I don’t have to give myself the punishment I feel I deserve as His price was paid twice enough.

His punishment was paid twice enough.

Ministry of Joy

The tall reflective glass stared back at me in an essence of taunting. Mirror mirror on the wall, I’m the most unloveable of the all. More shameful words echoed in the distance, equivalent to a beast of a thunderstorm brewing on the horizon. Cupping my hands over my ears to shield myself from the barrage of chastising words, I all too soon realized that the jeers were coming from the inside out.

Navigating this turbulent life with a beat up self-esteem is hard enough. Fighting through years of neglect, abuse, and ill decisions makes it one thousand times more arduous, doubtful, and filled to the rim with fear. I deeply know what it is like to want, yet be given an interlude of an unanswered question.  Why in the world am I made to suffer so often in this life?
For often times we are meant to be put in the trials of tribulation in order to fulfill our greater purpose, or majesty of intention placed in our lives by a God who loves us more than we could ever imagine. We can feel alone, abandoned, scared.  Yet, m years later realize that the cup we were given was more than enough to fill us to the rim of a ministry of joy we had no idea was coming.

Let me explain:

When a child is given grim circumstances they can find joy in the smallest of things. I used to ride my bike around my grandparents neighborhood when I was little. Pretending I was the mommy driving my kids to all their sports and then to a home safe and warm waiting for daddy to come home from work, brought me more unexplainable happiness than I can describe. Pretending that my dolls were my babies that I loved more than the sky and deeper than the sea made me feel complete, despite I was living with my grandparents away from my mom and far yet closer to my father than I ever wanted to be.

We can envelop joy when pain is our only reality. We feed of of it like a man wandering in a desert of strife for many years without water or food. We cling to a smile because if it is all we have then somehow we can be okay. At least this has been my journey, my take on an ever turbulent life and even more deeply painful circumstance that I came from. Yet, in the wake of it all the one thing that always brought me back to my stance of joy was the unbreakable truth that God had a purpose in it all. A rooted meaning for me to grow closer, stronger, and further into Him. For when we have all of our needs met it is easy to get caught up in the happiness of contentment, the trap of consistency, and the ability to stop seeing the need that deeply envelops our world.

Recently I was privileged to meet with someone who I not only look up to immensely, but who I find absolutely engaging, funny, and transparent. God had placed it on my heart to reach out to the lead pastor of my rather large church in seek of guidance on the turbulent season of my life I find myself currently placed in yet again. His words of encouragement forged a great cascade of truth bombs blaring inside the deeply wounded subconscious of my inner child.

For I hear:

I’m not good enough.
I’m unworthy.
Unloveable.
Intolerable.

Adjectives I described myself to be, this spiritual leader, found deeply skewed.

“But, you are one of the most joyful people I’ve ever met. People have to smile when they are around you!” Was his response to my constant thought that I was all the things that big old mirror told me I was. The things that the enemy preyed upon and found delight in that I actually believed.

Wait, what. I’m lovable?

So many times it is easier to take in the lies that play out in our minds then the truth that is in front of us. I took in Pastor Kevin’s words, permitted them in my soul, and did something I don’t usually do. Let them find truth in my being and greater purpose in this life.

Since our meeting I’ve been able to see the joy he spoke of. My smile shines in my mind’s eye more than my past struggle can.  My ability to see the good rather than the evil ability this life has on us is more at the forefront of my thinking than my years I’ve spent in exile from love and acceptance. God brings people into our lives to lift us up and give us tools that we had no idea were beaming at the surface of the greatness God has in store.

I have now taken on a ministry of Joy. To smile more confidently, feel berated less, and accept love on a deeper level. What do I say to that girl looking back at me in the tall mirror? God loves you, He has you, and He absolutely has a purpose for your Joy.

Pieces of Glass

 

13307492_10209179031022491_7503621198356673458_n

The glass is alway half full to me, no matter the circumstance, turmoil or besiege.  Until it cracks and spills the captive juice all over the place.  Then, it is nothing but a fallen hot mess.  Who is there to pick it up, the broken glass and shards of ice that pierce my skin?  

Alone, I tried so hard to figure this out.  Sinking deeper into despair I realized that I alone cannot figure out how to keep all of the tiny broken pieces together.  The ones that exist inside of us all.

I isolated myself.  I left the land of the living.  I clung to my writing, husband, and kids.  For that’s all I really need, right?

A cold February night one year ago told me that it is indeed not true.  For in my isolation,  I found a darkness that was unparalleled to most.  For humans are simply not meant to be alone, God deemed it so in the Garden of Eden.  In fact, He gave man woman and woman man to comfort, lift up, and encourage one another.  And that great man and woman grew into an empire of humans that would co-exist until…well…now.

In my darkroom of aloneness,  I realized that I was suffering because I encased myself in a world that was existing without community.  I was lost, angry, and hurting with no one to wash my tears away.  For the first time in my life, the glass half full looked dull and empty.  I no longer cared if it broke, because in my isolation everything was shattered to the core.  

Two years ago plus some, I did this very imprisoning act to myself.  Thinking that becoming a full-time author on the brinks of greatness was enough.  Flowing toward dreams of grandeur I locked myself into a cave of creativity only to fall to my knees without communion.  For in my words, I was tormented by my own demons.  Words came, but that was all, as I was found bleakly alone.  

A stark winter’s eve almost a year ago, I was called home.  Out of isolation and into a tribe of people who I’ve come to love and adore deeper than I could have ever imagined in my backlash of anger on a life that I didn’t choose.  For we truly don’t know what we don’t know.  Through the depths of the grand moment of finding my true purpose as an author, God called me back to an even greater calling to serve a true purpose as a child of His once again. The pastor,  Kevin spoke of a prodigal son.  Pastor Jordan sang the lights dimmed so I could cry freely.  In that moment on a still frozen night, I answered the calling.  That no matter how far away I had been, how much damage I thought I had done with my hot mess of broken glass of half full liquid, God was greater, a Healer, anticipating my return.

You see, I had left God, for longer than I’d like to admit.  A decade plus some, which was enough time for two of my four children to be influenced by a life far from God.  Plenty of time for me to have seen the light again after many life experiences had left me listless.  The loss of my two infant baby boys, back .  to backYet, I still remained cold.  Angry, held off by the idea of letting go of control.  For in surrender bad things can happen to us, right?  A lack of a tight grip on our lives can lead to the most ungodly persuasions imaginable.  A road I wasn’t willing to travel again because my life had dictated to me that when I gave up my stronghold I was left with pain and invasion.  There was NO WAY I wanted to go back to the place of a small child who had no say in the turmoil that surrounded her.

Then the ice crackled and time warped into one giant explosion of love.  The sun came up through the clouds and color shunned darkness and  I had no other choice but to see what was in front of me, a beautiful Love that I once saw as a trap.  God called me home almost a year ago, through a story of a boy who left home under the most despicable of circumstances; yet he came home.  In the midst of prayers, fasting, love and fortitude I found my way back.  Having no idea the magnitude coming back to God would have on my life, I plunged in head first.  The healing that would take place, the justice it would serve to the open cunning wounds of my past has been an explosion in the sky, a beauty foretold in the pre-destined book of my life.

The people I was called to meet, them serving me, and somehow, me making them smile from time to time, has served as a deep testimony in my life.  As the anniversary of my one-year reunion with Jesus approaches all I have to say is thank you.  Thank you, God, thank you, to my family that never gave up on me, thank you church, and thank you to my new friends who have lifted me up more than you know.
Mostly, this half full girl deeply states a year later, I am 100% completely filled up after a year in your embrace of love.  Here’s to the next explosion of grace and far past the desire and predestination of God’s goodness on all of our lives.  The ride has just begun, for in the eyes of God, our glass is nothing but a great reflection of Him far into eternity if we let it be so. No matter how many times He has to put all of our pieces back together again.

The Army Behind Me

12079575_10207494593232599_2240266360140653721_n

December found me lying silent, and in that season a blanket filled with quiet I fell into a thick darkness that I know all too well.
A war was waging, a fire blazing, and I could hear the gunfire in the background of my bleakness. Sleep couldn’t come fast enough, and the thought of leaving my house left me paralyzed with a desire to black it all out. All the goodness, the light, words, and song that usually consumes me was diminished to a dismal singular flame flickering on my bedside. Barely keeping me…here.
That is depression, the enemy, a stillness that can black out a once active and fertile mind and consume it with…black.
Recently, the silent enemy of depression knocked on my door, as it does periodically in my life for no particular reason. Finding it extremely difficult to explain this kind of struggle to the world has been a challenge my entire life. It seems simple for people to understand a disease that is medically coherent.

Heart disease, a wrecked knee, cancer, lung disease…all things that are tangible.
But mental illness it isn’t visible through my smile.

My hug.
Or in a peppy attitude that is saved for the hour you may see me.
What consumes me the moment I can let my guard down, is a desperate plea to my God who knows my pain. My suffering, and the reality of an imbalance in my brain that in unseen to the naked eye. The disfiguration of such a struggle is beyond words, metaphors, and enlightening.

The reality is black yet the tangible feel for people who haven’t walked in its ugly shadows is sadly gray.  Unforeseen. And misunderstood.
I’ve fought my entire life to hide the demons that wage within my mind. For, I do not want you to see me as weak.
I know this more than I know most things, I am anything but weak. What I’ve seen and been through in my life, yet still risen above proves so. God has given me a precious gift of an armor that has shielded me, kept me, and built me up despite horrid and unforgiving odds.
Yet…a child is only as strong as she can be. The mind can only take so much, and the body will eventually have an emotional response to repeated toxicity. Hence, my lifelong battle with depression and anxiety.
It’s hard for me to write when I’m struggling in the brinks of the darkness, therefore I have been silent lately. So this will be brief. It’s difficult for me to breathe, walk, get dressed, so the manifestation of the love of my life, my words, leave me as well.
But one thing I’ve learned in this past year of returning to my faith after a seventeen-year hiatus is that I am LOVED. I am not alone, and that I am capable.
My voice, though it may be small, is needed in this world. God told me so, on a cold February night last year when I re-dedicated my life to the Lord. He spoke through the pastor, into the music, providing a spiritual army as a portal into my soul. I will speak of mental illness as loud as it is needed. To normalize it, to forgive it, and to bring peace and hope to my fellow sufferers of such a hell.
The army has always been fighting. Praying, fasting and praying again. Now in the throws of my faith, I know this. I was never alone. WE ARE NEVER ALONE. And when I feel as if I am, somewhere deep inside me I know they are there, fighting when I am too weak.