Sinking Sand, Lifting Praise

I’m stuck in a pit of mud, the dark thick kind that keeps sucking me in deeper and fuller into its abyss.  My hands can’t move, my legs can’t kick.  My mind is racing for a rational way out, to race to the top and surge my way up.  I’m sucked in like a storm surrounding me without a name, no prediction of its force, only a gale force wind and black clouds closing in faster, my breath is gasping.

I move without motion.

Emancipated in a silenced fear that races through my inner mind that rages with a blank stare, I lie in silence.

I see her.

Her long blonde hair and gypsy green eyes tell me it’s ok.  A small hand reaches out to my sinking appendage that can’t move from the blackness I’m covered in.  “Help me!”  My voice is but a sound of no accord as my throat is parched past the shadows that are covering my shoulders now.

Light will come, just hold on.  Her song sings, loud and like honey to my ears.

Yet, I can’t.

I’m sinking fast and far, dark and smothered by the stretch my body is capable but that isn’t there.  My muscles tense as I wage the war against the black smoldering slithering mess I’m in yet again.

I turn my eyes down as the love is undone.  I’m not worthy, my life has surely become what it deserves to be-swallowed. 

Light will come, just hold on!  Her voice is getting more panicked.  I know she needs me and my teeth push together making a sound that growls with the wind.  Howling is coming as the breath of the sky shakes the leaves and makes ripples in the mud bath I’m lying in.

I’m sinking deeper into me.  Faster into the demons of my past and the fear of my future that the weakness will always hunt me down and eat me up, piece by bitter piece.

My mouth is close to the murky substance that collides with me every night.  The sick taste fills my buds before I can even feel it touch my palate.

You’re closer than you know.  Her voice is a shrill now.  Calling to the wind, begging for my mercy.

Closer than you know, she cries.  Fight your way out!

My lower lip feels the cold taste of the earth as it starts its wage against me slowly etching its way toward my lungs, to fill them deep so I can no longer taste air and slowly drown in my own demise.

Fight, fight FIGHT!  She is screaming now which is coming out in a singalong sonnet of her hope.  Her voice rises with each octave that raises its plea.  FIGHT, Mommy, FIGHT!  

My lids close, my lips are covered and I dip my face in head first.  I open my mouth and let it all in, the sin, the darkness, the feel of the rocks and debris fill my senses as the last thing I see before my eyes fill completely with the mud of my life is her long hair and gypsy eyes.

Lift up your eyes and see, Heaven is closer than you know!  I hear in a symphony before my ears are filled with the murky death that is calling me to fall into.  It’s not just a singular sweet honey voice anymore, it’s the orchestra of many.  Five voices sing out in unison.

Come back!  Fight!  You’re closer than you know!

I succumb to it, fall forward and backward and wayward and deeply into what the demons in my head say I deserve.  The last thing my ears penetrate is all of them; singing praises and a plea to God.

I know you’re there, come back!  They bellow to the storm above, the shadows that are taking me away.

My lungs collapse.  My body shakes with the faint air that’s left in me.  My mind goes blank and all I see is the mud I’m encased in.

God are you here, I calmly ask?  I let the mud in and then I’m nothing but motionless.

It’s dark here, silent.  The fear is gone and the sleep is deep.  Peace is on me and I’m walking on the mud now, yet it is a sea of blue not brown disparaging bleakness.  I am still.  And I am quiet.

But He is there reaching out to touch my hand and He grabs my heart to heal it from all my pain.

I’m there, where I thought I wanted to be.  To be rid of it all, the torture, the fear, the sinking sand I was falling deeper into every night, even as I smiled and tucked them into bed, wasn’t this what I fell asleep to after night fall?  The thought of it all ending here, me in quicksand, them okay without me being the burden I know I am.

LIFT UP!  LIFT UP, LIFT UP.

I hear her, him and him and him and him.  My head turns and my eyes open in the black of death and I shake with a fervor I haven’t felt in months.  For, I don’t really want to be in this sinking mud, this really isn’t what I desire, for them to be at the top and me at the bottom of a deep grave I’ve dug myself into.

I’ve got to find a way out.  To lift up.

By your spirit I will rise, from the ashes of defeat.

In your name I come alive.  The resurrecting King, is resurrecting me.

By your spirit I will rise. 

They are all signing praise songs.  In my imminent death, they are closer now to what God needs of them, singing out a symphony of a pardon for my life.

My arms find their lift and I fight with every muscle in my body to find a way to the top, to fill my lungs with the air that He gave me forty four years ago.  My legs kick, my torsor begs to rob my grave and give me another chance at Victory.

It’s always going to be a struggle for me, to find my way out of the sinking sand, but relying on the wrong crutches to help me walk is never going to bring me back to the top.  I have to hold on to my King, who can defeat the ashes of depression and suicidal thoughts.  He declares that as the mud doesn’t quite touch the fullness of my soul, it only delights in my demise.  Loves me giving up, cheers me on as I give up.

Yet..God hears the voices of my army.

They are signing now.

And somehow I can hear them.  Their tearstained echos find their way into the pit.  I can hear them now.

I fight.  I climb my way out and my head emerges from the pit, filled with debris and sticky mud that covers my milky white face.

She’s going to be okay! I see her long hair and gypsy eyes come dancing towards me.

His and his and his strong presence come running behind her.  “Yes she is, baby, yes she is.”  He says; my husband and the love that needs me

I grab their hands as they slowly lift me out with all of their might, pulling me from the trenches of a thousand pounds of mud.

Mommy! 

Darling!  My voice dances with hers as I know I belong with her and him and him and him.

It’s all I hear as I lift my voice in praise for a God who doesn’t want me to hide my face from Him as he has surely come for me-sent my family-my friends-and the sounds of Heaven to Praise a God that wants me here.  Even when I cried out to fall into the sinking sand, He was lifting their voices in praise because I couldn’t.

They dry me clean and I hug her, and him and him and him over and over again, promising that I won’t fall so deep again.  I may struggle, I may succumb to pain and call out in the depths of the night where I only hear their rhythmic breathing, but I vow to never fall into the quicksand again, but to lift my praise in times of despair.

Just as they have done for me, I will do for Him, for He loves me and needs me here to lift up the heavens and tell my tale of being an overcomer.  A fighter, even when the quicksand of life beckons me to fall into it, I won’t for I have seen the cost is deep and my life is worth light and praising even in the despair of quicksand.

 

 

 

 

 

My Muse Called Joy

 

joy-of-joy

I’ve always believed that in times of joy my words leave like the summer turns to fall so fast I can barely blink.  Possibly due to the fact that I’ve had much less than happy times in my life than joyful ones.  That is why my words feel like the waves of the great Pacific Ocean. Over and over, forming stunning white caps of pain, struggle, and wreckage.  The muse has been many times over…sorrow, confusion, and abandonment.

Yet now, the sun shines.  A dark heart that is usually completely laden is light, lifted into the blue bliss that you see when you awake from a long slumber.  For me, this view is rare forcing me to find gratitude opposed to anger, aggression, and loss.  

Sunbeams blind me and in that, I cover my eyes yet still feel the peace of a thousand blue skies and sunlight mornings.  

So why have I found that I’ve lost my words in times of such rare…peace?

Searching through the dark basement of my cavern of vocabulary I find my Joy sealed in a box covered with cobwebs and fear of repercussions.  Afraid, I open it with more fervor than I’ve ever had.  I fear to see a contentment that I’ve never felt, yet kept at bay for fear of eternal repeats of the past pain I’ve felt.   I rip open the sealed box to the point of ache just to see inside.

As the brilliant yellow light filters into the dusk overtaking it, despite my reluctance, the dark cemented hole in my world implodes into a brilliance of light, color, ultimately manifesting into an array of my very best friends in the world.  In that moment they find me yet again…My Words….everywhere with open arms of need and an earnest to express more than just the sorrow I’ve felt, yet explode the joy I have inside me that now runs through my veins.  A brilliance that needs to implode the world as prophetically as my turmoil has.  My Joy comes to the forefront.  It takes away the darkness, with a glimpse of the sunlight on my face and in that the verbiage flows from me…that of…Acceptance.

Unconditional Acceptance:  Ten years in the arms of my gift in this life, my husband Alan has come to pass.  We’ve lived through the very best and the deepest of worst. Loved deeper and felt further than our minds could have imagined ten years past. Tonight he said to me, “Even though we had no idea, God was doing all of this far before we knew Him.”  Enough said.

Deep Acceptance of myself:  Flaws and all.  In’s and out’s.  Great things about me, and terrible ones, I can somehow now miraculously embrace.  The highs and lows of living with Bipolar Disorder can bring one to a place of confusion and ultimate self-doubt.  One of the gifts I’ve been given recently is to just rest.  Love me through it all. Highs and lows.  Ebbs and flows, God somehow produces greatness for Him and manifests in ways I could never explain.

Unthinkable Acceptance of Forgiveness:  Recently in my journey, I have been able to forgive things done to me that I could have never been set free without the power of deep intervention.  A darkness that has blinded me, incapacitated and imprisoned me for years, I’ve let it go.  I completely have allowed it to fly away from me a few weeks ago as several hands were laid on me in a union of prayer and healing.  Forgiving the trespassers against me has ultimately allowed the inner demons haunting me to be set free and allowing the Son to shine upon me in a way that I could actually see it.

Acceptance of things I can’t Comprehend:  Losing my two babies has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to endure.  My husband tells me I’m beautiful when I’m crying for them.  I take that in, as I will always mourn Jaden and Zac.  I accept the loss as part of who God intended me to be.   Yet in that, He has given me a gift of how to accept the beauty we are given after the storm.  For me, it’s a beautiful little girl with my eyes and dreams of her own past the stars.  I rocked her to sleep tonight deeply taking in the acceptance of the beauty of things I couldn’t understand as I stood at the gravesites of my lost baby boys.  But now I hold a gift I never dreamed I’d have.  A daughter.

In closing, I’ve been proven wrong.  Words can flow in times of Joy.  The author inside of me is always at work, banking each and every emotion, echoing hardship yet also unforeseeable beauty.  It’s all mine to keep and bring to life forevermore.  

My muse is life itself.  In all its many faces, in times of turmoil, but now…I proclaim a season of JOY!

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.

All of Me

yImage result for freedom

Close your eyes and try hard to imagine what you were doing one year ago today.  I know it can be hard when a monumental thing may have not occurred at this time 365 days ago, but for me it did.

One year ago, I had just quit dream job, something that I had literally worked my whole life for.  Being a publicist for a national company, writing recognized magazine articles, public speaking, social media marketing, making great money,  it was everything I hoped I would become.  In that moment in time, I was living my life purpose…so I thought.

If it was so great then why would I quit this so called “dream” job you ask.  An office with a view came with a price.  A title with a grand business card was slowly stealing my soul as I reported each and every day to a boss that chose to belittle me yet praise me.  One who knew no boundaries and promised to equip me with fear yet accolades.  I just never knew which antidote I was going to receive.  He yelled, found joy in me, belittled, laughed, changed his mind, then back again, and finally pushed me too far.  For I had made a promise I was destined to keep, that I would never let a job ruin me again.

Two years prior that very occurrence came to pass.  I was loyal, obedient, and taken advantage of.  I had many chances to stand up for myself, yet, I stayed quiet and allowed the lashings to keep on coming.  My health deteriorated, my mind was dizzy with anxiety, and my self-worth demolished.  All because of a jealous and horrible boss who had it out for me in the worst of ways.  I took the bait and became her scapegoat.  Eventually, to save myself, and my family, I walked away.  I left.  Exited the building with my head held high in pursuit of my greatest dream, to become a published author.

I accomplished this goal, but my head wasn’t as upright as I wanted people to think.  I was beaten down, and the worst possible thing I could have done,  I isolated myself.  I wrote constantly, marketed my name, my purpose, sleeping little, and drinking a lot.  I mean a lot.  I clung to a numbing mechanism that took what I thought to be my demise away.  Got drunk on the good life, while the past slowly ate away at my bones making me weaker every second I continued such a life.

I ended up at Rogers Memorial Hospital because I chose to.  Dual diagnosis.  Depression and alcohol abuse.  Now that’s a tough card to read for a perfectionistic person who really wants the people around her to think she’s super great.  Humbled, I spent seven days detoxing, in counseling and meeting some amazing people who years earlier I would have dubbed as “losers.”  Titles cause pain because the back story isn’t taken into account, the seeming drug addict who is unable of quitting has a story.  I had a story.  They all had a story.  And in that our tales mingled in the midst of all the demons we were fighting.

After finding my way out of the darkest hole of my life the light started to shine again.  I published my first book February 20, 2015.  A romance novel about overcoming the most impossible of odds to find a destiny in the midsts of pain.  Sunset Vibrations, my first go at fiction was a great success, and I hadn’t touched a drink in months.  I was finding my way back, forward, and all around the turmoil,  my life had brought me thus far.  After the painful burial of my infant babies, childhood trauma, poor adult choices, I was finally choosing to cocoon myself in a wonderful sense of peace.

Four months later I published a little memoir titled, The Return to Happiness.  Accounting my experience of losing two infant baby boys within the span of eighteen months.  I never held back, shared my soul, my despair, flooded a bucket of my tears, yet eventual hope.  After I hit the icon on Amazon, iBooks, and Barnes and Nobel that says “publish” I ran into my bedroom and hid under my covers.  Terrified of all I had bleed over the pages of my book I was afraid that the people of this world who saw my big smile, and wonderful children, and husband…what would they think when they found out the truth?  That I sucked at turmoil, and I gave into methods to numb myself ; what would the world think of this imperfect girl?  An agonizing hour later my husband pulled the covers off telling me I had to come downstairs right now!

Looking at the sales analysis as an author and seeing you are in the top 100 best sellers list is a moment we all dream of.  The Return to Happiness was sitting at number sixty nine and I dropped to my knees and sobbed.  Joy, pain, exhilaration and pure gratitude flowed through each and every tear that hit the floor.  I was a best-selling author because I dared to share my darkest voyage through grief.  I had made my greatest dream come true in the midsts of vulnerability and courage of my deepest weakness and pain through loss.

Slowly, I was finding my way back to the top of the water not drowning underneath it.  In my youth, I had a fervor for God that could shake the mountains.  I praised Him wherever I went, loving and breathing the breath of salvation with every passing air.  Yet, I turned away in my mid-twenties.  That is for another blog, but indeed I said goodbye to God, I’d figure it out on my own.  I’m good.

One year ago today I took my turn at reconciling the black color of the past decade plus five of my life.  After leaving the dream job of my life I told my husband, “this time we are doing it right.  I’m not isolating myself.  I’m not drinking myself into a stupor.  We are going to church with the boys.  We are going to make this work.”

My older sons were deeply embedded in Journey Church near our home and I felt the calling to attend after not being part of a church since I was twenty-three.  

It was a Saturday night, much like tonight.  We sat towards the back and the message was about “The Prodigal Son”, a child who had left and returned after so much time and pain.   At the end, I told my husband that I need a minute.

Standing on weak legs, I found my way to the stage…alone.  

My head bowed.  I pleaded, “God, I’m back.  I want you.  All of you.  Take me back.”

I exhaled pain, regret, sin, anguish, and then inhaled…love.

Forgiveness.

Acceptance.

A home.

That was me one year ago tonight.  365 days have passed and my world has exploded in a way I could have ever imagined.  I have matured as a wife, mother, friend, author, and woman more than I knew possible.  God instantly healed me from one of my biggest nemesis’…anger.  The rage inside me dissipated that night I stood at the altar of my church.

I’ve given up vices that I thought I needed to get me through.

God has given me a renewed relationship with my mother.  Also, I’ve been able to forgive my father which I never saw possible.

The beautiful love of a couple who were called to take me into their hearts and lives acting as a surrogate mother and father came to me almost instantly after prayer for such.  Grandparents for my kids, unity for my family.

I’ve been called into a job where I serve people with debilitating pain on a daily basis and have the opportunity to bring a smile to their faces.

One year ago I came home.  After loss of a career that I thought was my everything.  But was my everything.  Because if I hadn’t left I may have not found my greater purpose, my chance at rebirth, growth and righting all the wrong that I had done and that was done to me.

God has a way of doing that.  He takes us in, no matter how far we’ve traveled away, or what may transpire in our beautiful and angry minds.  One year ago, my life changed.  My struggle continues deep into the night, to not rely on things that promise me hope yet bring me darkness.  I’m still drawn to the mystery of wanting to take control, take the wheel.  The thick liquid that numbs it all still calls my name and at times I answer it knowing of its false healing powers.  Yet, the grace that grabs my hand over and over again tells me that no matter how much I fail…no matter how much I succeed…that  I am His.  And He is Mine.

 I am running fast forward toward all the purpose He has.   For me tomorrow and all the healing He will do for my yesterday.  The all of me that He is healing and creating because of the all of me that was, and is to come.

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.

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.