Whispers

Image result for tornadoThe pitter patter of small running steps coming toward me awakens me from my trance as I closely look upon the late winter thunderstorm outside my bathroom window.  Rain pellets fall, flashes of light come, and a thunderous sound booms from the heavens shaking my feet placed perfectly in the bathtub facing the window peering into the storm.

“Mommy!”  A shrill familiar voice drags me from my place of reckoning, my meeting with the dark, and peace being made with a familiar difficult day.  I shake it off and bring myself into the world where my four-year-old daughter cries my name.

“Yes, baby.”  Grabbing her small frame, I bring her onto my lap and hold her kiss for a second too long.  “Mommy’s watching the beautiful storm.”  I form myself from my shaken voice.

Her head turns into my chest, “but mommy, I’m scared.”  In slow motion, I lift her chin to face my eyes.

“Never be afraid of the storm.  This is when God cleanses us.  Look, all of this rain purifies, it makes us new again.  It is a good thing, my sweet daughter.”  She smiles, lifts her posture high, and we await the next bolt of brilliance together.

We hold hands and rejoice at every beam of electricity and boom of sound as I relive the past twelve hours of my difficult day…

A humid afternoon in August of twenty sixteen I left a very readily able eighteen-year-old son in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the forefront of greatness that this world has called him into.  From my home to North Central University, he was ready to fly.  

Now if you are a mother who has had to let go of a child, you totally know where I’m coming from.  This is why “Toy Story Three” made mother’s ball like little babies across the globe as Andy’s mom stammered, “I thought you’d always be there.”  

But that’s not our job, we are meant to give them to a world that we know is horrible, brutal, unforgiving, and uncertain.  In that knowledge, we still have to obey, and somehow some way, give them away to live the life God has masterfully planned for them.

That day in the commons of the heat, the loss struck me in a way that I knew was coming, yet had no way of how it would affect me to my core.  I cried.  Lost my mind.  Missed him, yearned, blessed God’s name in the way he handled himself on his won.

Yet, today, on the last day of February, I found myself really, really….mad.

As I sat in my place today, the work I do to provide for my three other children still with me, and the one who is living his purpose six hours away, I became angry, filled with a rage I didn’t expect to come when I dropped my oldest son off at college six months prior.

I mean for real?

This is it?

I gave, and gave, and bled and, breathed and cried and rejoiced.  And then what?  I just give?  It all away?  I mean… for real, God???

Anger came even more so as the early evening storm clouds moved in.  My jaw tightened, heart clenched as I missed my oldest boy.  Day after day, I miss him. 

 But today, I’m ANGRY… at God.  That this is my purpose, to give my everything, love my last blood of red and then be left…behind?

But yet,

Giggles met me at the door as I came home from a long, hard, emotionally toiled day at work.  An eight-year-old blond haired boy screamed, “Mommy!” and a four-year-old little girl bellowed, “did you bring us a treat?”  My sixteen year old had just texted me that he loves me and will be home later.  Do I take it all for granted, every last second forged in time somewhere lost in their past?  In their childhood, and my memories that we are making today?

My mind went blank as I found myself to the comfort of my yoga pants and hot tea.  Eyes, lulling to sleep as my daughter watches Mickey Mouse Club House, and I shake off a tough day at work.  My body came to a stance as the reality of the early evening hits me, it’s only five o’clock and I still feel…as empty as this day began,  I still miss the one that is gone. 

Brewing clouds finally collide to tell its story of growth, formation, and finally, one of a crescendo that brings my unknowing, uncharted, heart to its knees.  The sky cries, I hear the voice, and in the midst, I see his young face, my first born baby boy.

Small, little.  Needing.  Wanting.

Big brown eyes, round rosy cheeks, seeking me first.  Loving me the way you love the one who gives you life.  I hold my hands to my heart as the thunder pounds away to remind me that no matter where he is, no matter where I am, he is my treasure.  My reward.

The tethered lines have frayed.  Caleb has left me, yet never left me.  Caleb is on his own, yet, more close to me than I could have ever dreamed.  My loss is his gain.  Growth in God has a way of showing you that even though you feel alone, you are NEVER left alone.

Never forsaken.  On both ends, we feel this as he navigates his way, and I mine.

In my dark bathroom, I watch the storm, and my daughter brings me from my moment with the realization of what Jesus asks of us.  To live like He did, broken, barren, forsaken, and finally hung for dead, yet with great Faith.  That Whispers come.

Beauty prevails.  

No matter the distance I may have with my children, the breath of life I gave them, the desperate longing to be with them resonates with their souls, giving them the strength to seek out the whispers of their own hearts.  The one God lays upon them, and that is all the comfort I need in this time of letting go, yet still clinging to the sound of pitter patter needing me during a storm.

A Forever Love

12299291_1706064462972839_7662594365277638010_nThe great love awaits.

I can feel it, on the curtails of the winds, and time.  It is coming.  Just like it was promised.

Small pigtails hit me in the face as a little girl, found my way to the mirror top, glaring into my small eyes, I just know my prince is coming.  Because that is what the fairy tale tells me.  Tilting my head to the side I stare until my legs give way.  Blue prisms of confusion don’t understand why such a prince would save this laden princess.  I mean, I have no Tierra, no castle, and no bright frilly blue dress.

The great love awaits.

Mustering up enough courage to ask my twelve-year-old counterpart to the junior high dance, (yes that’s how old I am we still called it Jr. High), he rejects me.

Echos fall off the walls of the old school as laughter jeers its way past me, yet deeply into my heart.  Rejection exalts itself inside me and all that I am.

I think I heard him say the word,  ugly.  A Dog.  A big fat joke.  My head bows in submission to the lies of this world.  The Valentines joke is on me.  I show him all that I am, and that isn’t good enough, so I gather my things, stand up, and move forward.  Brokenness and all.

…A great love…awaits…Right?

Standing in the mirror where I am tall enough to see what stares back is telling more than what is real.  I see a girl whose smile doesn’t reach her eyes, downcast and forgotten after I had tried out for the high school cheerleading squad, and even though I had the most amazing split jump I wasn’t chosen.  Was it the clothes I wore, my makeup not on point?  Or that I didn’t enslave the right friends.  How out of touch am I?   My head drops and the last glance I have in the reflection is a large chasm of tears that pour down my face into the drip of a faucet below.

My love has come!

Finally, he holds me in his arms and tells me I’m his everything.  His strong touch and soft scent lull me to sleep as he declares me as his only one.  I am the princess he had dreamed of if only I give him my everything.  If only…

I drift away….

Handsome green eyes look upon me with favor.  Large strong hands cling me tight, and I feel the safety I’ve sought my whole life.  He asks for my everything…but it feels like it’s not enough?

What do I do?  Give or take?  All I see in that moment is the eyes of a younger vision of me wanting nothing but…love.  The promise of an escape, to be born again.  Away from the dark valley and the afraid version of me that sleeps every night.  He says he’ll offer me the world.

But something tells me otherwise.

The great love awaits.

Pushing myself up from his bed I shake off my feeling that I need to run home, look back into his loving and enticing eyes, and I fall into his kiss, which finally feels like coming home.  Warm, inviting, accepting, telling.  I am beautiful.  I am his.

Hands follow further than I want them to go, I panic in a reach inside me to realize what I truly want.  Is this home?  Is this what I want?

Pardoning his advance the look I’m given is of frustration, like when I was a child and didn’t obey my father’s orders.  My mind goes black.

All I want is…The Great Love.

Backing up, retracing my steps, I grab my integrity and gather myself out of the fluff of pillows and blankets that were meant to comfort me. Somehow, I stand.

I stand.  

Grab my jacket off the chair and say goodbye.

Leaving his room the cold meets me in an imminent arousal of test and reach.  I breathe easy knowing that my Prince is the Prince of Peace.

/ / Just You and Me / /

/ / Across the Sea / /

John 14:27l

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

Tears prickle at my soul as I realize what could have yet didn’t happen.  That I am not ready to beg for a love to save me that is at the hands of a man until I accept the power I can embrace that truly sees me.  A shore that casts only for me.

I take His hand, make Him mine and dance until the wee hours of the morning knowing that building myself up through the Love of my Savior and myself I will find a Forever Lovee that awaits me.

The Upside Down Masterpiece

jesus

Imagine yourself being able to create a masterpiece of astounding art.  One that prickles at the skin of any onlooker, a painting so intense that you can’t think of NOT staring at it.  Now, captivate in your mind this very undeniable piece of art being painted…upside down in front of your eyes!  Brush after stroke, having no idea how it will all turn out.

I recently embarked on a 21 day fast (a period of time giving up something) that distracts me from focus, prayer, and introspect along with my church.  For some, this may be food, wine, soda, or swearing, but for me, my great distraction is Social Media.  Oh, how I love to demonstrate to the world how I am loveable, I have talents, my children’s smiles and a great batch of cookies that turned out on par splattered all over a platform that allows me to.  I love the likes, comments, and affirmation that I am accepted.  Like a drug, it can take up time, focus, and has the ability to rule my thinking; creating a pendulum of reality and a facade.  After deciding that I would only eat fruit, veggies, and nuts for 21 days, and then almost passing out at work due to low blood sugar, I had some OJ, concluding I was eliminating the wrong distraction.  For, when I was hungry and irritable for the first two days of my fast, I found myself scrolling endlessly on Facebook, looking for some answers, I mean this is the internet, right?  Immediately I knew I was giving up the wrong distraction and deleted all social media apps from my phone.

An urge swelled, a deep desire to post a picture of my adorable kids coining a quirky and loveable caption on Instagram, occurred pretty much the second I swore off my fix.  I put my iPhone down and actually lived in the moment of their laughter and joyous play.  Okay, I can do this.  Live in the moment instead of foreseeing the likes that could pour in after a second in time played out in front of me that I will never see again.  In that, I realized that every stage in time is bottled up waiting to explode in a brilliant color.  Quite possibly anticipating to expand our hearts and reshape our thinking.  Day one of fasting a venue that I love so much was a success.

Moving on to the next level of what a fast truly calls us to was a bit of a challenge.  God’s purpose for a fast is to cling to Him in prayer and His word when our belly groans, or in my case, a surge of online approval screams.  My first Saturday night without such pleasure, I found myself lying on the floor of my bathroom, while I would have usually been wasting my time scrolling away… but this night I found myself…praying.  

Focus Ami, you can do this.

My mind wandered…what will I wear to church tomorrow?

Focus!

Okay, God, I’m here, and kinda want to…talk.

In that introverted moment, I rallied all of the courage I had been meaning to have for months asking Him to reveal something to me in past that I know I’ve blocked out.  A security blanket of black, to protect a fragile little girl who wasn’t ready to peer into the mirror of an iniquity seeming to be far too reaching to process.

Lord, I’m ready.  Let me see it, all of it.  No matter what it may be I know you are here…with me.  

In the essence of vulnerability, He allowed me to remember.  He showed me a vivid vision of my four-year-old self-experiencing an intrusion I’d obstructed from my memory bank, yet somehow knew had always taken place.  Jumping up off the floor I instinctively cried out for the one person in the world who I knew could make it all better.  My husband.

“Alan!”  A shrill astounded throughout twenty-three hundred square foot home.

Two seconds later, he appeared.  “What is wrong, baby?”

“Just hold me.  God will do the rest.”

I didn’t sleep into the trenches of Sunday, wondering if this really was a good idea, as I couldn’t erase the image from playing out in my mind over and over again.

Monday brought more unveiling of anguish, un known battles that were being fought while I lived in bliss.  I felt as if what I relied on for affirmation was punching me in the face, talking behind my back, and shunning me at every avenue.  Unbeknownst to me apparently I wasn’t doing as great of a job as I thought, mulling through my everyday routine.  There were things I could change, improve on, love more, talk less, and humble myself before.

Sunday at church I sought out Pastor Kevin as soon as I saw his six foot five frame gleaming at the door of our large church, waiting for someone who may need God’s provision.  

ME, yes please HELP ME!  I ran to him.  

“PK, is it normal to have the enemy attack you big time during this fast?”

His steely introspective blue eyes met mine and a smirk covered his face as he quipped,“Tell me something I don’t know.”

So this chaos is normal in my obedience?

 In that realization, licking my fresh wounds I decided, fine, I’ll just be like everyone else.  During my uncomfortable state of being called out by God…on what seemed to be pretty much everything, I drafted a version of me that wasn’t even close to who God made me. If I act different, I will be loved, right?  Sullen, downcast, introverted, not to mention pitifully sad, I dragged myself through the next three days.  Those around me couldn’t help but assume I was sick, filled with an anguish of a lost loved cat, or by chance they rejoiced at the apparent lack of my usually annoying joy.

Embarking on week two of this painful and deeply confusing fast, it became clear to me that I was not only being beat up Rocky Balboa style by the enemy but also by myself.  Like a brick slammed into my face-God showed me that I was clearly missing the point.

For, this time was intended for me to sacrifice, turn inward and run closer to God in order for Him to allow me to stretch.  Further than I could have ever imagined, as we rarely spread our wings to the point of ache in times of contentment.  I surrendered to the power of Truth and found the smile on my face once again, no matter the revelations of past pain, inequities I may be responsible for, and decided to take ownership of it.

Pain has been given when I didn’t deserve it, and I have brought some storms on others.  So, in prayer, I cried out to God as to how I may stretch and grow so I can rectify pain I may have caused others?

God clearly spoke to me through two wise women. My mentor and dear friend,  my mom in Nevada both voiced that I needed to humble myself and do what we all hate to do when we realize we were infinitely wrong.  Apologize for my wrong doings and forgive the pain forged upon me.

Ugh, really?  Yeah, um no thanks, God.  They hurt me, I didn’t ask for any of this!

“Yes you did, the moment you decided to come back to me.  This is how I heal, how I move.  Through Truth.”  God declared in my time of deep reflection.

Finally, I may be catching on.  This fast isn’t only for me to stop posting dinner plates on Instagram.  It is an outlet for me to heal, prosper, and feel pain I need to embrace in order to forgive.

Week three found me sicker than a dog (whatever that means) with a head cold that fogged my mind, and weakened my body.  As I laid in bed, departed from my usual routine of phone in hand, I answered God,  Fine, I’ll do it.  I’ll say I’m sorry.

After crying out to my mentor for guidance as to how to navigate such an arduous venture she insisted we meet in the prayer room at church after service.  In this still, dim lit, cozy room hung a painting of Jesus that escaped my breath at the mere beauty of it.  Jesus’ eyes were fixated on me in a telling way, as if He could see right past all of my turmoil and the disobedience of the past.  I prayed with my friend, felt His anointing in my life, and left through the narrow door believing that where I am, is where I am supposed to be.  

Days later my pastor told me that the life size painting in the prayer room of Jesus was painted upside down by an artist during a church service years ago.

UPSIDE DOWN?

How on earth did a painter create such an awe striking canvas filled with a divine view of Jesus looking upon up us, from the wrong side up?

As I sat in that very room on the last day of my 21 day fast with my husband, God revealed to me how He used the artist to create something so far reaching, upturned.  It is how He works.  While we are dizzy from seeing the world from our own point of view, the reality we chose to live in, Jesus craves for us to see it from His perspective.  

The church onlookers must have been in awe as the canvas was flipped right side up, thus showcasing the compassionate, loving, and sacrificing eyes of Jesus staring back at them.  Who knew such a possibility of greatness, could be formed from the bottom up?  God does and that is often how He works miracles in our lives.

For that is how He cries out for us to live our whole lives.  Having no clue what will come of it, except burying deep in our hearts that if we trust, obey, are faithful, and submit we can be turned around and displayed as His perfect masterpiece.

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

 

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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.