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!

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.

The Radical Underground

I dedicate this piece to my son Cameron, who is a leader in the radical underground movement. A group of people who make the reality of the spotlight shine its very brightest.

13029648_772307906236924_2223564325859210780_oFor anyone who knows me, you are fully aware that I am not a “behind the scenes” kind of gal.  I love the spotlight.  I’m not going to sugar coat it, if you give me a microphone in front of 30,000 people my endorphins would immediately fly through the ceiling and pop every single one of the balloons that were meant to drop on your heads at the end.  I LOVE to skate in ice shows, write books for people to read, and give speeches in front of large groups of people.  In conclusion,  I love, wait no I ADORE the spotlight.

Reflection always takes place when you see your children take flight, into the person that they were groomed to be.  Blessed to take part and pardon in God’s magnificent grace, I have watched my two teenage sons grow toward their purpose.  My oldest son is me in every way when it comes to his ability to jump on a stage and truly own it.  He loves to sing and bless the world with his gift of leading worship.  He has preached, ministered to the masses, sang in front of thousands.  He, like me, loves to be center stage.  

My second son is the opposite and this is what gives me great pause and has inspired this piece.  Someone recently asked Cameron, in lieu of his older brother singing, writing songs, preaching at church, living boldly in the arena of sight, what he did.  Because in that person’s eyes, he doesn’t do much.  For the work that Cameron does is not vivid to the naked eye.  In this moment my  Cameron lay silent, as usual, because that is what the underground does.  They are the inaudible hero’s that create the formation of what is able to transform when the people like me set out to conquer the excitement of presentation.

The lights come on.  

The music of background decibels magically meets the onlookers ears.

A book is edited perfectly, fixing all the errors of the author who brings creation onto paper.

A cover is designed with artistic impression that grabs at emotion in a manner that provokes readers to grab your book.  

Back stage hands make it possible to know that exact moment to go on stage.

The perfect camera angle enables the stage hungry performers to articulate exactly what will capture the viewers to go with them where the story leads.

We don’t see them.  They are miraculously invisible, and that is what makes them deeply and infinitely important.  For, in essence, the availability of the show stoppers who have the ability to reach the masses cannot function alone.  We are unable to perform in our God given talented ways without you; the background foundation that without all would not be possible.

To the lights person.

To the tech expert.

To the editor.

~Digital designer.

~Person behind the camera.

~Song writer.

You all deserve our applause and deepest of gratitude.  For even if you seem like you are quiet and stand behind the lights and action, you are our rock.

As a profound team, we bring the Word of God and His promises into a light that can assimilate with the masses.  Profoundly, we do this together.  Not only the showman, or show-woman on the bright shining stage, but, side by side with the radical underground movement that supports the dream of bringing the love of God to the world.

Fifteen (In The Essence of Grace)

537465_10151588726537977_437446480_nTo Jon and Janet Brown,

Fifteen years ago today I was holding a sick baby who I had no clue was sick.  It’s an odd place to live in, one that you think is crystal clear with the visions of gold pastures abound, but underneath the surface is gray, dark, and bleaker than bleak.

Fifteen years ago, I held Caleb Scott in my arms as I sang him to sleep.  His body was waging a war deep within that I didn’t know anything of.  Decade plus Five ago you must know what I’m talking about.  Holding God’s calling for you in the breast of your soul, yet terrified that you may not be good enough.  

Fifteen years ago I had a sandy blonde haired boy who knew nothing more than sacrifice.  Tender age of two and all I knew of him was of protection for me, of life, of sanctity.  Fifteen years ago, in his world,  Cameron Wesley Otis looked onward with blue eyes of steel and majesty

Fifteen years ago, I walked away.

Angry.

Torn.

Bitter.

Left Behind.

I left.

Without a second thought.

Yet then, after years in oblivion, dessert and famine aboud, I fell to my knees.  Not because of my last breath or famine…yet in the very whisper of an essence of grace.

The Essence of Grace has the ability to:

Bring us to places we could have never foreseen.

Takes us further than any beauty we can conjure.

And gives us gifts that we are left in awe of…

Pastor Jon and Janet Brown,

In this essence of my life, you are a whisper of grace that God has placed in my life at this time and in this moment.  

Thank you for your service, for the fifteen years of ministry to what my mind can see the magnitude of.

Thank you for being…

Present.

Interwoven.

The lives of our youth…

In the Fortitude of God and Grace.

~Fifteen years ago, I had no idea of a Trasen Alan.  Who is a loving, sweet, smart, funny eight year old who will eventually come into your hearts.

~Fifteen years ago, the thought of a daughter, my delight, and heart’s desire was next to impossible.  Yet Lilia Opal Lorraine comes crashing into your lives in less than a decade!

Your service is forever imprinted in our hearts as parents, but more so in the souls of our children who we have trusted you with…For a decade plus five and into the next 15.  

Xx