Stardust

 

 

Recall your darkest moment. One of the bleakest periods in your life that you feel define the brokenness inside you that is really hard to heal.

Those moments may come in flashes like a cool April thunderstorm. Wakes you up in the middle of the night like a boom of reality when you least expect it. Brilliant light against the wall, a commanding crescendo fighting the perfections of everything that tells you “all is well.”   You fall awake to realize that, “all that is well isn’t so well…”
When we keep it all together due to a fight inside of us to prove to the world that we are in fact “okay” despite the sorrow and hurt that has fought so hard to break us, there are going to be those times. The essence of darkness where bolts of light will make us shudder at the fact that we are not okay. People that who shouldn’t have failed us.

Sickness has come overtaken our bodies.

Hands have been put on us that should have never been there.

Words have fallen on our ears that should only exist in the pit of fire and brimstone.

Yet, somehow we have borne it all, we’ve taken it in and become the best part of us that we could have become.  Come what may…and we have risen above!  We’ve gone through the fire and materialized into something deeper than the hurt…past the agony and into what wasn’t able to be done right by us.

Life wasn’t good enough for us, as we bleed a broken heart in front of God.  He didn’t take it away because He needed us to be able and ready to be here in this moment. To answer the call…

A woman cries with a moaning sound that only a woman who has lost can understand. You are able to comfort her because you’ve buried a baby.

A young man in anger lashes out because his father has left not only him but his mother and younger brother. His fist becomes his only redemption leaving blood at every turn. Yet, you see it and know his pain because your dad wasn’t enough either, and after the lashing, he has on your face your cry with his tears he hasn’t been able to release.  After that he see’s the love of God and enters into a union with you that will continue into eternity.

Dark circles fill her crystal blue eyes as she puts on a pretty face, yet you can see through it.  Prisms of light shine in you that she is drawn to even though she has no idea why.  In that, she lets you in one dark night where she has a gun by her bedside that was her last call. But you were there because you have had hands on you too, that should have never been there. What was supposed to be enough wasn’t, but because of that you were able to hold her still and share the healing hands of Jesus that save her that night from the shame, disparage, and the fate she had proclaimed on her life.  

God can move any mountain in front of us. He really can.

But sometimes He doesn’t for a reason, and I can resonate with that throughout the decade plus three I’ve been on this earth… (you do the math…)  I have experienced…

Parents divorced

Sexually abused

Beaten

Left alone

Accused

Emotionally allocated for things I didn’t do

Depression

Anxiety

Anorexia

OCD

Fear

Failure

Success

Divorce of my own

Faith

Turned my back on God

A sick child I almost lost

Buried two infant babies

Anger

Substance Abuse

Anger

Fear

Failure

Success

….

Tonight I found myself on my knees. Not like the usual, “God. Help me I’m struggling….”. No, it was different. It was a bleeding of my soul…a reckoning of why? And He told me,
I am able, I was able.

But I needed you. To go through this.

Life couldn’t be what you needed.

So you could be enough for Me to use you.

Colors flooded my tears in the form of a rainbow and I saw my children. They haven’t felt the sorrow and hurt that I have because I did.

I held a child on Wednesday night who has been abandoned by her father. Words were able to flood from me like a tsunami because I knew her hurt.

A girl I know admited recently, she throws up after she eats, I listen, hug her, then tell her she is good enough. The food she is purging from her body has nothing to do with being “thin”. It’s about control. We talk, she opens up, and the dialogue leads us to a place of neglect. I hold her as her tears flood with absence of her mother.

I know He is able.

I know He is strong.

Yet, it doesn’t always work that way. Our darkness isn’t always healed so that the residue can drift off of us into a beautiful array of stardust to bless the next.

The Testimony

Hearing the testimonies of some amazing young people recently made me introspect and consilidate my own story…my reason for praise in midst of darkness.

 

lake_trail_by_alancross

I was raised in a Christian home.  Kinda.  My grandparents were my primary caregivers from age four until nine, and we went to church every Sunday morning.  Yet I longed for my mom and dad who were too busy living their own lives with their other families to care. At least that is how I felt.  And still do.

While doodling on the offering envelope with the smell of oak pews and mold in my essence I caught words in the sermon that yelled the consequences of not knowing Jesus as my personal Savior.  This revelation terrified me as I didn’t have a savior and the thought of flesh-eating fire was a little…well…scary.

So I accepted Jesus into my heart in the depths of the night, in the suburbs of Chicago as a little girl who had wide eyes of fear of a God who could abandon her and send her to hell as fast as the night turned to day.  It seemed real enough given my circumstances thus far in life.

Fast forward ten years where I was given the opportunity to truly experience Jesus through worship.  Music in its truest form has a way of convicting the heaviest of hearts and breaking through the thickest of oppositions.

I was sixteen, passionate, and in love with Jesus, proclaiming His Love and shouting His mercy at every turn.  I wrote an award-winning poem, I sang in worship, played my flute to his honor Him and brought the Word of God whenever I was asked in the form of speaking.

I.  Was. On fire.

Pain and parental abandonment meant nothing in the face of Christ’s unconditional love and that can be the raw beauty of a life story, the light is outweighed by the darkness.  Love gives way to hate and we can be set free…

I met my first husband at Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and we praised our God together.  Our testimony alone was the place we were despite the places we had come from.  And our spirits were full.

Until tragedy struck our young lives and instead of turning toward Him we fled.  Faster than the wind and swifter than a famine.  We abandoned our faith in exchange for anger and resentment of a God who had always given us all we needed.  We left Him and neglected His Grace because we couldn’t see The Testimony in the face of devastation.

We had a child, a  baby boy with black hair and big eyes encompassing possibility that I just couldn’t leave in a mess of complications filled with single parenthood.  So I followed the journey of godlessness, believing every last lie I was fed.  We were a family filled with love and questions of how God could bring tribulation to good people, and how Jesus could leave us unwashed with His grace?

I lived breathed and knew secularism.  It suited me, being a strong independent woman who knew who she was and where she wanted to go…on her own.  My future seemed bright and filled with joy and promise.  As the enemy screams so you succumb to the lies.

Eventually, divorce came and left me ragged, turmoil knocked at my door and Jesus never felt so far away.  I married again, a Canadian with a heart bigger than hearts themselves; just not enough to save me.

Because people never can save us.

We had a baby together in the cold of March and we felt the loveliness that a child comes from.  Yet we didn’t praise our God who gave, we simply just didn’t...

Then a year later we lost a baby in the warmth of spring with the songs of birds and promise.  Jaden Hope went on to the next and I hated God more now than ever.

“See!” I cried.  “You are not my God.”  No God would take the one thing I love the most, my children. 

Yet, eighteen months later I found out my twenty-three-week old baby boy would die too.

My anger peaked, my faith diminished further into a blur of reality and existence, a place where no one knows which is more powerful.

“This is why I don’t believe!”  I bellowed into the night’s sky trying to figure it all out.

Why?  Why just why?

He told me that I was not broken that I was filled.  And I shouted, “leave me alone, I don’t know what you want from me!”

Days later a dear friend from my youth prophesied over me telling me that God had provision over my life that I would find Him again and be even more of a powerful tool than I was in my youth.  My eyes rolled and my heart churned in a cadence of anger.  “You are not using me, God, for you have wrecked me.  You’ve taken from me.  You’ve left me for dead.  I hate you.”

Yet I didn’t hate, or regret, or demolish my God.  I was finding my way back through His grace.

For He had a plan.

Four years later as I gave birth to a perfectly healthy baby girl in the trenches of a cold December Wisconsin afternoon and then I saw His grace come full circle.  The hospital room was filled with people watching the unfolding of God’s promise and Truth as my tears met my husband’s forming a perfect Rainbow, letting us know we will never be stricken by the same tragedy twice and that we had finally met our Grace.

My climb back truly began somewhere in between.  My older sons at that time immersed themselves at Journey Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin after I brought them there instinctively after a major life crisis struck.

The sound of song flowed beautifully throughout my home as my oldest son, the black haired baby who had grown up found a passion for music as I had as a teen so many years ago.  My second son Cameron bled the Word of God and even though I wanted it back only in small pieces God always had a plan.

They begged us to come to church and I fought it until I just couldn’t deny the gift of grace on my life any longer.  The testimony begged to be told, the ending needed to be unveiled.  Because God told me one cold February night at Saturday church as Pastor Jordan sang and the angels watched that it was time to come home.

To fulfill the prophesy allowing my life to be used in a greater manner than it was in my youth.  It was time, and He told that through my suffering He was using me, waiting for me, but mostly, loving me.

And…He really was all along the way.

Luke 15:32… My son,the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.  But we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”
My life isn’t perfect, I struggle and then I fall.  I get it and then I don’t.  But through my vision of loss and redemption,  I see that my testimony alone is the place I am despite the place I came.  

Please enjoy the song that inspired this blog post…and may its words soak into your heart as you overcome odds and fulfill your destiny…

 

10 Reasons Why my Facebook Life is Fake

We all are guilty of taking 51 shots on our iPhones in order to get that one selfie that makes us look incredibly skinny, pretty and oh so perfect! That is the lure of publishing our lives on social media, we are finally in control of our lives that in reality we have no control over what so ever. So here it is folks, the really bad selfie of me!

Alan and Ami's bdayI am imperfect.    We all are.  Yet I feel social media is the perfect medium to allow our imperfect beings to show a false reality of what we really want to be seen…I admit it, right here, right now I fall into this category.  In the depths of loving the selfie taking, word choice moments that may have formed an unrealistic vision of who I really am, I want to call myself out, to let you see a glimpse of true reality.

I’m sorry if you feel lied to but this is really who I am…

1.  A divorced woman.  Yup.  I failed at marriage the first go around.  Indeed, my ex and I are still friends, we chose kindness not hate.  But we are still not one.  We are left nothing but..painfully divorced as a couple.  Leaving my two older sons with a mom and dad who didn’t keep to our original marriage vows, who are scattered amongst the wreckage of the rest of the world.

2.  I am an author.  I get to tell amazing stories for a living.  Yet in order to do so, I have lived a lifetime of hardships that allow my words to flow from my ache-ridden heart the way that they so fluently do.

3.  I have lived with a painful eating disorder.  I have posted pictures of a skinny skeleton of myself from my past with a story of the torture that comes with being so thin.  There is always at least one in the crowd who tells me how “great” I looked.  Yes, it looks great to live on 400 calories a day and to succumb to the pain that comes with the pressures of perceived perfection.

4.  I have no clue what I want to be in this life…still.  I’m 41 years old and have no idea what I’m going to be when I grow up.  Most women at my age can identify with being a stay at home mom, or having a career.  I am still in-between and after a few unpredicted situations of having to take a late stand in life against abusive people, I am still finding out just who I am and where I am supposed to be.

5.  I have a child who is leaving and one who is just starting out.   My oldest son of four children is getting ready to go to college and I am so very proud, beyond belief!  Yet, accepting he is leaving my nest is more difficult than I could have ever imagined.  I want to chase after him every time he comes home this last year he is under my roof and give him one last hug, just in case he should forget what it feels to have my arms wrapped around his neck.  Yet…I have a baby girl who I have dreamed of having my whole life who is just three years old.  She is just starting out, the breath of life is fresh and every new discovery is a light in her eye.  As much as I embrace it, there are times I wonder what it would be like to be simply saying goodbye to the teenager who begs for freedom, not starting all over again.  A sign that we are never truly content with what we have, are we?

6.  Depression, it hunts me down when I least expect it.  Ins and outs.  Ebbs and flows.  It always finds me.  End of story.

7.  I’m a figure skater.  I always wanted to be on the ice, and made the dream come true at the age of 30.  But by choice not by recognition of simply wanting to be something I wasn’t.  And  I’ve fallen more than I’ve landed.  I have more bruises than pretty dresses.  Anything worth while comes with hard work that is unthinkable to most…

8.  I have a love-hate relationship with any form of alcohol.  Being an ultra-controlling Virgo, I absolutely hate the idea of anything controlling me.  Submersed in the freeing feeling of one too many martinis I have to ask myself, is this where I really want to be?  Numbing the difficult day away, or truly feeling it through good times and bad?  Scrolling along on social media all we see is ways “wine” is the only solution to a difficult day, yet is that really any kind of a solution?

9.  I don’t speak to my father.  Because it is healthy.  And that alone hurts.  Way more than I ever lead on.

10.  My husband and I aren’t perfect.
  We take date night selfies.  We post our dinner recipes for the night, and show you our children’s pretty faces, but please know that we do fight.  We clash.  We are at odds, more than we’ll ever let you know.  But if anything in my life that is imperfect, my marriage is the one thing I’m the most proud of because no matter how flawed I am, no matter how much I struggle to find balance, my husband chases that dream with me.  And he perfects my imperfections with his own struggle, and he forces me to see my beauty more than any single human being ever has.  Simply what we all truly need in this life is that one person who has our back.  And that is what I don’t say enough on social media, that I’m flawed, I hurt, but through it all, I have a partner who is too.  He holds my hand and says, “we will make it through the struggle…together.”