I see through closed eyes

I'm dog sitting this week at a fancy house with a fancy master bath. The shower is delectable and large with frosted glass all around.
I was in the shower this morning and I heard a click, then a crash. I tried to look through the glass to figure out what happened. No surprise, I couldn't see anything.
The glass was frosted and cloudy from my showers steam. I had to open the door and walk through in order to see that the dog had busted down the doors to the massive walk in closet.
Every morning, no matter where I am, I open my eyes and I can't see well at all. Not until I put on my glasses or put in my contacts. Then I can see clearly.

Why then am I so surprised that I see through closed eyes? I've been pretty silent these last few days via phone, twitter and facebook. I was pouting. I was mad.
Mad about my weight, mad about my job, mad about complete strangers and everyone I'd ever known or thought about before in my life. I was slipping back into angry girl mode and dammit I liked it.
It was comforting, that killing rage. That idea that it was justified that I be that angry. That it was ok for me to deflect any and all responsibility for my physical, mental and financial health on the "idiots" of the world. That none of it was my fault, that I was simply a victim of circumstance.
Because that's who I used to be. I was angry and angry was an addictive bed fellow. Without realizing it I closed my eyes, turned up the volume of the TV and stuck my fingers in my ears. Lalalala not my fault. Lalalala I don't want to hear it.

Discipline, self-control, never have those two been the main words associated with my name. Never has that been more evident than in the last week.
But then I stopped. Stopped talking, stopped typing, stopped chit chatting. I muted the TV, I took some long walks with two very big dogs and I read my bible for long hours. I didn't read anything that sexy in the bible to be honest. I'm reading through the bible in 90(ish) days and I was stuck in Exodus/Leviticus. But I sat and read it even though it wasn't all sexy.
I was disciplined. I read even when I didn't want to. I read the next assigned task even when I didn't feel like it.
I've done it before, I've done it begrudgingly and with a lot of anger in my heart. But this time I just did it. I didn't think about it to much I just read. Out loud, on the patio, in my car (while parked)

I stopped eating. For almost a day. I waited until I was hungry, until I didn't want to eat because I was bored but because I was hungry. I didn't eat until almost 7pm.
(Yes I realize that isn't healthy to do all the time, but I really needed to understand again what hunger was, because I am rarely the girl that waits until she's hungry to stuff her face)I chose carrots over Twix, I put back the little debbie.
All of this was after shoving fistfuls of food hand over fist into my mouth to the point that I couldn't even breathe.

I don't see my life clearly. I honestly don't have the faintest idea how to begin to. But I'm trying. I don't see myself clearly. I'm hateful to myself and I'm wounded the deepest by my unforgiveness of my own shortcomings.
But I'm trying.

I long for the days that I'll see through opened eyes. For the time when I'm reunited with the one that loves me so perfectly and deeply.

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
1 Corinthians 13:11-12


Cracked Sometimes

Sometimes it feels like the cracks are just spackled over poorly and painted with bright colors.
Sometimes this new normal still feels like I'm a stranger in a foreign land.
Sometimes it seems that I only make the cracks worse, picking at them and prying the edges back.

Sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday; the blow to the chest, the very breath being sucked from my body. Cracked. Fissured. Broken.

Sometimes the crack sits like a lump in my throat waiting to break open again. Sometimes I stand still, thinking if I just don't move the crack won't affect me, us, anymore.

I brought it up to you. The crack that we share. I finally told you that sometimes I'm still so angry about it I can't see straight. You defended him. You said it was a mistake. You said I didn't understand.

Sometimes I think I'm the only one that can still feel this crack. That I'm the only one that can see the discoloration of the brightly colored touch up paint.
Sometimes I wonder if my staring at the crack is keeping the crack from healing completely.


Some days

Some days I don't want to be brave. I don't want to fight the good fight and I don't want to see the best in people.
Some days I want to kick, scream, spit and curse my way through life and hole up in my room all by myself.

Some days I want to eat whatever I want and not constantly be seeing my big fat cheeks bobbing up and down out of the corner of my eye. Some days I wish it was as easy as slicing the rolls off of me.
Some days it's really rough inside my head because I'm so cruel and unwilling to see reason when it comes to my own flaws. Some days I talk myself to the edge of a cliff with all the hate speech I slop over my heart.

Some days I feel so far from the girl I want to be that I can't even see her anymore. On those some days I'm so overwhelmed that I just shut down, shut up, and shut myself off from those that can speak to who I truly am.
Some days I feel so tempted by the girl I used to be. The angry sad girl that spent so much time angry she didn't know she was so sad. Some days.

On those some days I walk around like nothing is wrong, because as much as I know for a fact it isn't true some days I feel attempting to be perfect and flawless will almost make it true. Some days I feel the plastic smile straining to the breaking point and I just don't know how to get out of this pattern.
Some days I duck, joke, demur and slide my way out of conversations about my shortcomings, because to come up short is like a death I don't want to live.

On these some days I cling desperately to the idea that it is not supposed to be this way, it's not. It's not supposed to be shut up alone and dark. It's not supposed to be strung out on food that my body doesn't need. It's not supposed to be dodging and deflecting it's supposed to be community and friendship lifting each other up.
But some days the thunder cloud is to black and thick, the cranky pants are to tight and I retreat into the arms of a box of debbies and a triangle of greasy pizza.
Some days I feel like so much of a failure I'm surprised you will even still speak to me.

Most days I'm ok. Most days I see the light at the end of the tunnel I see the good despite the bad. But when the some days come, I feel like I'm suffocating.

By the time you read this the some day will have passed. I will have wiped the grease from my lips and wiped the tears from my eyes. I'm sorry that I don't tell you these thing, I'm sorry that I find it paralyzing this idea of coming clean and shaping up into a healthier shape. I'm sorry that it makes you mad that I can't come tell you these things and the tears in your eyes that day are still imprinted in my mind.
I can only promise to try to do better.
Some day.


Hangin' Tough

Rumors had been swirling for weeks.
Someone was going to go for it. Try it. Maybe get fired because of it.
We whispered about it in back rooms and by soda machines. We passed notes with cash boxes, our eyes gleamed with the possibility in the darkest corners of the bar.

If it happened (could it even happen?) if it happened it would be EPIC.

Then, on one balmy day, mid-morning, while not much else interesting was going on it happened.
The sweet calypso beat and steel drums went silent.
It was so silent it was deafening.
Even the park guests seemed to sense the gravity of the situation. They stopped, dead in their tracks barely breathing.

The park was eerily quiet for what seemed like hours. I slowly turned, mouth agape. I walked towards the door, feeling the warm lake air brush my skin. The silence was broken by and oh, and an oh oh, and an oh oh oh oh oh oh oh.

Listen up everybody if you wanna take a chance.
just get on the floor and do the New Kids dance!

The few of us in Park Plaza started shouting, jumping up and down and pumping our fists. We abandoned our registers and ran into the midway. The employees at Tinks came rushing out of their store, one employee in particular lagging just a little behind.
He had done it. The sound system at Cedar Point had been hijacked with New Kids on the Block.
Because when you aim to replace really bad causeway music why would you choose a high quality song?


Is it Alright? 12/28/06

Is it alright that I don't smile all the time? Is it alright that sometimes I don't feel like talking or being around people? Is it alright that sometimes I have no idea what it is that I want...so is it alright if during those times I don't know what to tell you?
Is it alright that most of the time recently the person I feel the closest to is the person that is farthest away from me? Is it alright if I tell her to shup ut now?
Is it alright that sometimes I wonder what would have happened if you had lived, if we had never met, if I had never told you that, if I never moved, if you had, if he never lied, hid the money, taught her his deceptions? Sometimes I wonder if I'm going to grow up to be like her. Is it alright that I would rather not grow up if that is going to be the case? Is it alright that you are still one of the only people that I'm comfortable talking openly about it with?
Is it alright that I only want you to be happy? That all I really want is for you to be so loved that you forget what being hurt feels like. Is it alright that when I hold your babies I could almost cry over how much I love them?
Is it alright that I have a staring problem? Is it alright that sometimes when I stare at people I feel like I have to memorize them so that when they leave me I can remember them? Is it alright that I am held together by thinly veiled desperation sometimes?
Would it be ok with you if I sometimes disappear off the face of the earth? Is it alright that when I do, and you call wondering if I'm still alive, that I feel more alive then before?
Is it alright that loving all of you this much terrifies me beyond reason? Is it alright that I don't apologize for pushing you away so hard and fast? Because I don't know how to be this close to people without fleeing as if from a crime.
Is it alright that I will probably never wear a pair of bottoms that are under size 10? Do you think that people could still think I was beautiful? Could you? Who are you by the way? Is it alright that even though I'm content on my own I still wonder when you will show up and sweep me off my feet? Is it alright that I just got a little nauseous thinking about it?
Is it alright that I love God? Would it kill some of you to just realize this isn't a phase? Is it alright that I can't explain to you why I know God is real? Is it alright that I have no scientific method to explain the way my heart skips a beat just thinking about how majestic and amazing God is, and how floored I am that he loves me even 1/1000 of the amount that he does?
Is is alright that my house is a mess? Do you think you could love me anyway? Is it alright that I never make my bed? (unless I have company and even then I usually just close my bedroom door)
Is it alright that I stop asking for all of this permission from all of you that really just want me to be me? Is it alright that I'm convinced that if I were really just me that you would all run screaming like a banshee?
Is it alright that the you(s) in here are all mixed together and jumbled up? Is it alright that this is addressed to more of you then you all think?

Is any of this alright? I've got no excuses, how am I supposed to hold it?


Things I Learned at the Skating Rink 5/7/07

So on Saturday I had a special niece/aunt day with my 12 year old niece. At the end we went to a local skating rink for about 2 hours and I learned quite a few things....the first being that I'm old and terribly out of shape.
After taking a 2-4 laps I would roll over to a bench and rest for about 15 minutes....as I was sitting there people watching I saw:

1) A young girl, maybe 8, skate onto the floor and fall, hard. She wildly glanced around for a second. I thought she was looking to make sure no one else from her party saw her fall. But then an older guy skated up and scooped her into his arms as she began crying "Daddy Daddy!". I started thinking how comforted she must be to know that Daddy is always there. How often when I fall down, do I wildly look around, not for my Daddy but to make sure no one else in my "party" saw me fall? How many times to I look to make sure that my Father didn't see me sin, even though I know he always does. How much more do I chafe under those loving arms, that only want to comfort me?
The little girl was comforted, she understood that sometimes, we need comfort. But when that time passes, we are still going to need to be set back on our skates and head out "on our own". How many times have I wobbled out into life, into relationships knowing that my Father is there, but he can't do everything for me? There are times that I am going to need to be brave and strong, knowing that if I fall, he'll still be there.

2) A couple was skating together; they looked like one of those couples that probably went on skate dates and were actually able to slow dance while skating because they were able to skate backwards. For a long time they skated, slowly, as if they were the only ones on the floor. The laughed, giggled would probably be more accurate, whispered, and gazed lovingly at each other. I thought, "I want that" whatever it was that was emanating off of them, that love, I want it. Then an even more amazing thing happened. The couple had children. A darling girl in Dora roller blades, and a little boy pretending to be braver then his wobbly knees wanted him to be. The kids were skating on their own, circling around and coming up behind the parents occasionally. Even though, to me, it seemed they only had eyes for each other the parents would always "know" when the kids were near. Whenever the kids passed them, or they passed the kids, there was always touching. This affirming, I see you, I love you, you are worthy to me type of touching. A hand on the shoulder, running over their hair etc. It was beautiful. I got to thinking, how often does God do that with us? How often can we hear his love in the rain, laughter with friends? Do we notice the love letter that he writes to us in the sunset, the letters that ride on the crest of the mountain tops? Can we see His Son in the faces of the kids that are beaten and abused, neglected and unloved, in the adults that feel that way too? If we do, do we reach out and "stroke their hair, touch their arm" to assure God that we love him too? Isn't that an opportunity for us to love God back, by loving his people? Whatever we do for the least of these right?
Before I was saved, God sent me all sorts of love letters. He often sent them on the lips of strangers in Kroger that would "see" me the very day I was planning on ceasing to exist. Now, I often can't contain my love when I'm faced with people feeling as invisible as I did.

3) There was this woman, she skated often alone, sometimes with other kids, other adults. But she skated her butt off! She was literally dancing on her skates, kicks, squats, twirls the whole gamut. When she loved a song that was playing she would throw her arms in the air and just belt out the song, as if no one was watching. The joy that was emanating off of this woman was so contagious she caught me staring several times (and for those of you in the know I have a substantial staring problem)
How often, have I been caught up in the joy that I have in Christ Jesus? Just the other day I could have wept thinking of how unending and unconditional His love and grace for me is. But I was afraid to be made fun of. I was afraid that people would think I was one of those "weird Christians". I was afraid. How I long to be like this woman on the skating floor. Unashamed of the deep ocean of love that I feel from my God.

3)The same dancing woman, whenever anyone would start to fall, (including me) if she was near, she would help then steady themselves. She reminded me then of a pure community. One that helps others without judgment, you need, I have so I'll give. We can help steady each other, catch each other before, or as we are falling. I often see wounds in people that I recognize as my same wounds. Sometimes I share, often I'm afraid they will reject me, refuse me in some way. People often recognize wounds in me that are theirs as well. Even knowing how afraid I am to be rejected by others, I will often inadvertently reject them. Because I am ashamed to admit my brokenness.
We can dance in our brokenness, because in Christ we are made whole again.

All of that and a cherry icee too, what a great day.


Captured 6/10/07

The really cool thing about re-reading this post is seeing how much growth there has been at 4Corners and how I'm not sitting at home alone all the time anymore. I love re-reading these and seeing how God has moved!

I was sitting in church this morning, well, let me back up a little.
The Thursday before last our church was told that Sunday June 3rd would be our last day meeting at the high school where we had been meeting for about a year (holy run on sentence batman!). Our leaders had about 2 days to find another place to meet. We found a local church that had an extra building they used occasionally. They said we could use it, rent it from them.
The building needed a lot of repair work, bathrooms and most of the building gutted, carpets ripped up, new paint job, new carpet put in, landscaping, and fencing around the playground. In 6 days.
Over one hundred people volunteered, over 1500 man hours put into the building, heck, I even did some yard work and THAT is a miracle!. The point being, God has been moving in amazing ways all this past week. Tons of people have been working 12+ hour days, a lot of it manual labor in the heat, and spending a lot of time working together, and we're all still here.
The thing that I love about my church (among about 1200 other things) is that they are constantly talking about how church is not a building. The church that God has commanded us to build is not about the newest building with the biggest *insert gadget name here*. The church is about telling people the good news, that God came to earth in the form of a man named Christ. He walked this Earth and struggled with sin and temptation. He had free will just as any of us do now. Jesus had opportunities to walk away from the cross, but he chose to go forward, knowing what would happen, because he desperately loves all of us so much that he went to the cross and died for us. They know that church is not about baptist or methodist, it's not about black or white, skinny or fat, rich or poor, the church is about opening your arms and life to people and loving them. Showing people in practical ways the love of God, through our love for other people. But I digress.
They showed a video today, about a chain of friends, each who invited the others to church, each who observed the changes that were taking place in their friends once they started pursuing God, notice, I did not say once they accepted Christ and were saved. Alright let me come back to that because I have a tangent brewing....Ben (lead pastor) talked about seekers, how important it was to be able to seek God, to question things, in an environment that wasn't going to gasp because you have a question. He talked about how so often people will share everything about themselves. They will talk about their sex lives, their finances, they will share every single thing with a person except their relationship with Christ. Because, if you're anything like me, you've had people "witness" to you by pointing out everything that's bad about you. I've had "Christians" tell me (before I was saved, and honestly a bit after too) that if I *insert behavior, thought, etc. here* I would surely burn in hell. Well, inviting that is not. I'm certainly not endorsing a buddy Jesus philosophy that says hey it's alright to do whatever you what whenever you want because God loves you. But the point is, it's ok if you make mistakes, it's ok if you're not perfect. Lord knows it's ok because I would have been kicked out of church before I even tried to get in. Why can't people witness with their lives, with their behavior and the way they show love to other people? Keep in mind I'm number one in the line of "people who screw that up". Tangent over, I must refocus or this will last forever!
Back to this video. They all talked about coming to church, not all of them started at 4Corners (my church). They talked about this love and acceptance, this friendliness that happened and made them feel welcome. One of the couples said they found themselves "captured" by what was happening. They were captured by whatever it was that was moving through the church. It got me thinking, what captures me?
WHAT captures my time, my attention, my love? What incites my passion, makes me get up in the morning? What is it exactly that I can't stop talking about? It was this for a long time, then it seems that I got a little afraid. I think that sometimes I was afraid of the "freak factor", and I know that most of you know what I'm talking about. You know the "Jesus Freak" factor, that I'm going to start kung fu baptisms or something by sneaking up on you like a ninja and dunking you in the name of the Lord. I know that I was also distracted. My attention was elsewhere, and like I was caught is some kind of rip tide I saw the shore drifting farther and farther away from where I was. I'm swimming back now, I feel this passion bubbling inside of me, and I'm trying to figure out what it was that caused me to dive headfirst into that riptide, so that hopefully, if it tries to ensnare me again, I can stay focused on my God.
WHO captures my attention, my love and passion? It is JUST me after all. Even when Gertrude arrives at the end of the month I will still have no boyfriend, no husband and no kids. I get why people with those things don't have time, energy, etc., to always focus outside of their home. You know of late I've been purging my house. While I've been doing that physically I've also been trying to do that emotionally as well. I feel as if I've been waiting around for some guy so that my life can start. I mean, I never really thought that I was doing that, but it turns out I was! Stupid ninja emotions! The thing is, what if he never shows up? What if he shows up, but it's when I'm in my 60s. What should I do until then? If I sit on my sofa waiting for my life to start it will never start. So searching for my life I go. Small aside again, sheesh this should be like 3 blogs or something!. My friend Melissa wrote something on the DMF the other day, we were talking about how some of us were waiting for this "moment" you know this huge AH HA moment when we KNEW God was pushing in a certain direction. Melissa talked about how these stories we have about people God pushed in a big AH HA moment, how it was their obedience, their faith, their daily praying, reading scriptures, their daily being with God and going about their Father's business that allowed them to be in the proper place for these moments to happen. I think that was great and I have so gone back to that idea again and again in the week since she posted that.

Do you know what I realized? I realized that sitting at home on my computer and watching mindless dribble on TV is not what I want to do. I want to be connected to people, both people that I cherish and who build me up, but I also want to be connected to people that no one else wants to connect with. I want to hold hands and hug people that are considered less, and therefore unworthy of anything. The question is how do I do that? I don't know the answer yet, but I will. I feel so pumped about this. The other thing is that I'm not really just holding on to this in my head. I'm talking about it, not just on here. I went to lunch with a friend who I trust and whose opinion I truly value. I layed out a few options that were going through my mind and just asked him for his opinion, advice, basically to be my sounding board. I talked a bit to my other friend about how to go about doing what it is that I decided to do after my lunch with the other friend. She had some great ideas and advice, she also pointed me in the direction of someone that would be able to better guide me through the coming journey.
This thing that's bubbling up inside of me has come back to me time and time again in the last 3 years, and it's completely petrifying. But you know what's worse? Being alone and lonely, sitting at my house, waiting for my life to start.

So what captures you? What bubbles inside of you (besides gas) that you are almost afraid to speak out loud for fear that it will come true? Who besides yourself (and kids et al) are you passionate about? What is important to you that you don't share for fear of being a freak?
Are you captured at all? Are you just moving through life disconnected from feeling anything because to feel is to risk and the risk is not worth it?
I am captured by this passion, I'm completely terrified that if I pursue it I'll fall down a bunny hole and nothing will ever come of it, I'm completely nervous that I'll be labeled a freak, that I'll have to risk putting my foot down on my time so that I can give it to people who no one gives time to, I'm pretty much just scared. But it's ok to be scared.

Ok, anyone still with me?


oh crap, sorry it was so long


Invisible 7/21/07

You saw me when I was invisible
In the valleys of my own making, you lifted me up to ride on the crest of the mountaintops you created
You sent your messengers to show me the path, to light the way, to bridge the gap
You heard me when I did not speak. You listened between the curses, beyond the lies. In you I inadvertently confided the deepest despairs that I rarely was able to even put into words.
You touched the parts of me that were blockaded in the fortress I built with my sarcasm, sharp tongue, and quick white hot rage.
You sent your Son to show me the higher road, the best intentions, and the sorrow that comes, deeply, painfully, for so long, before the joy.
You tasted my tears that I hid behind my boisterous laughter. You tasted the blood that I drew while attacking before being attacked, the blood I drew while trying to work up the courage to damn myself to a different hell then I was living.
You loved me anyway, you loved me more because of the fractures in my mind. You loved me in the deep of the night, in the dark corners of the bars, in the bed I made to lay in. You loved me true and consistently. I pushed you harder then anything I had before and have since. I push you still.
You smell my fear, the fear I still try not to feel. You smell the sometimes paralyzing fear I have that you too will discover that this was all a mistake and I truly am not worth the trouble.
But I mostly fear not. The first words that I spoke to you honestly, the first cry that I cried continually whisper to my still shattered heart. "I'm afraid" to which you replied calmly, quietly, "Fear Not". I fear not the wicked evil that often overwhelms me with his attempts to re-capture my heart.

"Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress, be merciful to me and hear my prayer." Psalm 4:1-2

Psalm 30
"I will exalt you, O Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. O Lord you brought me up from the grave, you spared me from going down into the pit. Sing to the Lord, you saints of his; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime, weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. When I felt secure, I said, I will never be shaken. O Lord when you favored me you made my mountain stand firm; but when you hid your face I was dismayed. To you, O Lord, I called to the Lord I cried for mercy; What gain is there in my destruction, in my going down into the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness? Hear, O Lord and be merciful to me; O Lord be my help. You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever."


Secrets in the Dark 8/3/07

The one good thing about being sick, now that I can finally be awake longer then 1 hour is that I finally have time to dig into "Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons" by Frederick Buechner. I've been wanting to read his work badly, but haven't had the proper time to devote to savoring it, as much as I knew I would. I'm only on the 3rd sermon and it's already touched me so deeply. Because I can't help it, and because if Stephanie was here she'd tell you I have an addiction to reading aloud....I've copied an excerpt that has particularly touched me below:

"A face comes toward us down the street. Do we raise our eyes or do we keep them lowered, passing by in silence? Somebody says something about somebody else, and what he says happens to be not only cruel but also funny, and everybody laughs. Do we laugh too, or do we speak the truth? When a friend has hurt us, do we take pleasure in hating him, because hate has its pleasures as well as love, or do we try to build back some flimsy little bridge? Sometimes when we are alone, thoughts come swarming into our heads like bees-some of them destructive, ugly, self-defeating thoughts, some of them creative and glad. Which thoughts do we choose to think then, as much as we have the choice? Will we be brave today or a coward today? Not in some big way probably but in some little foolish way, yet brave still. Will we be honest today or a liar? Just some little pint-sized honesty, but honest still. Will we be a friend or cold as ice today?
All the absurd little meetings, decisions, inner skirmishes that go to make up our days. It all adds up to very little, and yet it all adds up to very much. Our days are full of nonsense, and yet not, because it is precisely into the nonsense of our days that God speaks to us words of great significance-not words that are written in the stars but words that are written into the raw stuff and nonsense of our days, which are not nonsense just because God speaks into the midst of them. And the words that he says, to each of us differently, are 'Be brave...be merciful...feed my lambs...press on toward the goal'"

Buechner talks in this sermon about God proving that he existed, by writing in the stars or brightening the Milky Way. His conclusion to that thought is, some people would probably still not believe.
I don't know why some people believe and others don't. I can't really tell you specifically why I moved from disbelief to belief.
I can tell you that whether you believe or not, whether you are angry or glad, God loves you. He loves you in a way that is almost painful to receive sometimes because you know there is nothing you can do to love God back that much.
When I was a little girl, my dad left me in the car while he ran into the market. It was a stick shift and I wanted to be like my dad, moving that stick around to make the car go faster. He didn't set the emergency brake, so when I moved that stick on the floor, the car started rolling onto the highway. My dad walked out of the market just in time to see the car start down the parking lot to the highway and he ran like I'd never seen before, jumped in the car and slammed on the brakes. I knew I was in trouble. But he didn't yell, which we all know just makes it worse; he just sat there looking at me, and told me he loved me and didn't want me to be hurt. I followed my dad around the rest of the weekend trying to prove that I was worthy of that love....sometimes, I still feel like I have to do that. That's how I feel about God's love. Which in my heart, where God meets me, I know is silly, because there is no way I'll achieve that. But in my head, I'm sure going to keep trying.


Sunday School Answers 8/15/07

Have you ever received a Sunday school answer? You know, one of those answers that is most likely meant to comfort and encourage, but really is mis-delivered, at the wrong time, and most certainly by the wrong person?
"It's God's will" I mean, I know what that means...but what does that mean? When someone is going though a devastating time, someone they love has died, to young, to tragically, is that what they need to hear? Is it even true?
Does God cause these things to happen?
It's easy for believers to talk about the loving God, the buddy Jesus. Is that the sum of His parts? Is God always kind, and loving? Does that translate into complacent and permissive?
The God in the bible is a jealous God, a passionate God, a God that convicts and corrects His sinful flock. What is sin? Is it adultery, or murder? Is it anger and bitterness, lying and stealing? Of course it is, it's easily all those things.
But is sin also, withholding yourself from those that love you? Is sin gossip and rumors, idolatry of celebrity?
But we can't talk about sin can we? It's not pretty, it's not popular, and it doesn't "convert" the masses.
Does that mean it doesn't exist? Does it make it any less sinful?
Does God love murderers less then people that have never killed, adulterers less then those that have always been faithful?
Does God love me less then he loved Mother Theresa?
No more then you that have children love one less then the other.
God loves as a parent loves. Now, I know that some of you had shitty parents, have them still. I can only imagine that people with parent that have failed them, can often only think that God will fail them too. But he won't.
Sunday school answers, platitudes, without time, compassion, and deeper searching do no good. God's will isn't that someone close to you die tragically and young. God's will is that what happens in your life, what consequences come from your choices, be used as opportunities for growth, for growing closer to Him, closer to a relationship with His Son, or a deeper one.
God's will isn't that there is sin, but there is sin, there is deceit and hatred. But God's will is to drown those things with His light, love, and compassion.
So before you give a Sunday school answer, take the time to think about who exactly you are trying to make feel better. Because the truth is, the platitudes are easy. Sitting in the silent grief with someone is hard. Forgiving someone for the wounds they inflicted with out reason on you is hard. Moving out of the darkness of sin is hard, often impossible.
But in the deep of the night, alone in your bed, in the corner of your heart you're nursing that hatred, on the tip of your tongue where the gossip spills from, God is there too.


Touch 9/19/07

So I was thinking today about those babies. I hear about them sometimes in orphanages. I want to say it's mostly in Russian orphanages, but I think it would be unfair to say it only happens there. Do you know what babies I'm talking about? They are the ones that are just set in a crib, or tied to a chair and left alone. They aren't touched, loved, snuggled or anything. If they are adopted, rescued, they often have severe attachment issues, and some are never capable of forming healthy attachments with anyone. Some of these kids literally die from the lack of love, touch etc..
All morbidity aside, how often do we feel dead, or dying because of this lack of touch, of love? How often do we act out, cry out just to be touched in some way. Of course, I'm not talking about this need for sexual touch, although that is often how the search for touch ends. I'm talking about that, "I see you, you matter, you're important" touch. That touch that says, "I love you and care about what happens to you".
I remember many many times a few years back that I would sit across the table from a person that I love deeply, strongly. For many good reasons the touch in our friendship is very limited, but I just remember sitting there and almost crying because I just wanted to touch. Brush the hair off his face, give a reassuring hug, squeeze his hand while he revealed a deep and lasting wound in his life. They told me things that I'm not sure they even meant to. I wanted to touch, to reassure them that their secret was safe with me, that I loved them because of their brokenness not despite it. The words I used, and use still, somehow seem to fall just short of where I aim them. I wanted to hug him and tell him that everything would be ok, even when I knew perfectly well that it wouldn't be. That's the touch I'm talking about. That's the touch that I most long to express with people, without it becoming this perverted come hither touch...

I feel that way about you, and you, and you too. I don't know how to tell you that I see your pain, I hear it and feel it with you. I don't know how to transition to this affirming, loving touch, the one that says, "I have a shoulder should you need it".
I don't know how to lean on the shoulders that I'm perfectly aware are there when I need them. I just don't know how.

But I think about those babies. Those babies that, after so long without touch, without affection of any kind, just give up asking for it. I think how true is that of me now. How afraid I've grown to ask for this affection, how I've prided myself on not needing it, when really it's all I'm looking for. I think about those babies and how they can die if love is withheld from them and I wonder, how can people not believe in God, in a loving God? These babies get the nutrition they need, they are physically sustained. But they don't have love. I realize that doesn't make sense. I'm pretty tired so I don't know what of this makes sense.
All I know is I was just so overwhelmed by this knowing that this love, this touch, this affirmation that we are seen, that we are worth being seen, loved, and touched is vital to our very survival. But so few of us know how to ask for it, or receive it when offered.


I Want Him.... 9/25/07

I still feel exactly the same way, almost 2 years later.

I want him to be kind. I want him to be compassionate to others no matter who they are. I want him to love God more then me. I want him to be funny, stupid funny and makes you think funny. I want him to have a great laugh, one that sticks with you after he's done laughing.
I want church to be important to him, I want him to jump into service at church feet first, and I want him to seek out ways to serve other people.
I want him to be well read, but not snobby about it. I want to be able to talk about the books I read with him. I want him to enjoy cooking and cleaning up, because I feel like both of those at different times. I want him to be comfortable enough in his own skin to love, but not so comfortable that we become slugs together.
I want him to be a good uncle, to his nieces and nephews, and mine. I want him to love my family and I want to love his. I want us to be a couple that builds each other up both privately and to other people, I don't want us to air our issues (and we will have them) to anyone that will listen. I want to be his biggest champion and he mine. I want him to be my best friend so I can finally stop avoiding all those survey questions.
I want him to be the first person I think of running to when I've had something amazing and devastating happen.
I want him to go grocery shopping with me, because I think it's more fun to go with someone I love anyway.
I want him to see injustice and need and not be able to stop himself from doing something about it, from being brokenhearted by it. I want him to do anything within his power to help people that need help, no matter why they need it.
I want him to know my friends, I want him to like my friends, or at least understand why I love them so much. I want him to love swimming. Because I love swimming and it would be nice to have a pool in the backyard, even if there are never any kids. I want him to be ok whether or not we have any kids, I want him to think that adoption is just as good as having a baby that is from your body.
I want him to think that I'm beautiful, even when I feel the farthest from beautiful that a girl can get, and let's be honest, when I AM the farthest.
I want him to rearrange living room furniture and decorate the Christmas tree with me.
I want him to love God more then me and think that church is a priority, and it's important enough to repeat.
I want to fight with him. I want us to keep our fights about what the fight is about, not some fight we had months, years ago.
I want to know him when I meet him, or recognize who he is that I already know when it's time for me to know.

I want him, I want all of him. I think it's ok to wait for all of the above and more then I can imagine. So I wait.


A Heart So Broken: 10/4/07

The other night I had two meetings for church. The first was with Justin (holla shout out whore, I'm thinking maybe I should stop calling you a whore...) about outreach. During the meeting his boss called, but he didn't answer the phone. Justin said his boss' dad was dying of congestive heart failure. On the way to the church offices (in his own car) Justin called his boss back to talk. At the offices for our programming meeting Justin was telling Greg (exec pastor) and I about his boss' dad. Greg asked what congestive heart failure was, was it just a heart that's not working? Justin replied, "It's when your heart is so broken it can't be repaired". It made my ears perk up and my brain start working.

I thought back to the drama this weekend in BG, I thought about the non-reality I lived in for about 24 hours at the beginning of this week because of a silly phone call. I thought about how often we operate out of a broken heart. Are hearts ever so broken they can't be repaired? Are we ever so betrayed that it robs us of the ability to have healthy intimacy with anyone ever again? I think yes, and the thought of it makes my heart break.
Sometimes I think my heart has been so broken that it can't be repaired. I'm trying like hell for that to not be true, but some days, like this week, I suspect that it's true. Many of you I'm sure suspect what I'm talking about, and you are probably right on both counts. I'm thinking of one issue in particular, but no names will be mentioned to protect the innocent.
I often think that my heart has been so shattered by your lies and ambivalence that I may never be able to be in a healthy relationship again (for the first time I'm sure many will contend). I'm trying, I'm praying and working and risking the shreds of my heart that have been slowly and painfully sewn back together. But I'm not sure there's anything scarier then extending your love and having it handed back to you.
What about when we're not talking about people, or more so we're talking about people and the way they relate God to others? What about when a person that defines themselves as a follower of Christ has wounded you so deeply, rejected you so abruptly with the parting words of "I forgive you, and am praying for you" (for what again?) that your heart doesn't have a chance to make it back in your chest in one piece? Were does that leave you with God? Hurt, damaged, broken beyond repair? Perhaps. It's scary venturing back into a realm of God after being so badly burned. What if God really IS like all those people that laughed and pointed at you? What if God is really mean and nasty, gossiping and a liar? People humanize God because we can't comprehend that someone would truly love us no matter what. If we never experience this love from people, who are made in God's image, then how on earth can we expect the God they are made in the image of to love us any differently?
The farther I dive into God the more of Him I find. I was always frustrated before I was a believer, when I would ask people how they knew that God was real, that God wouldn't leave them. They didn't have easy answers wrapped up in a bow, which pissed me off. But then again, there were people that had pretty answers all wrapped up, and I didn't trust them because I didn't think it could be that simple.
Only through loving God and accepting his love of me have the few tattered pieces of my heart found a way back together. Oh, they strain at the stitches sometimes, because of old habits and hope being sprung right before the door is slammed in my face. But all my life I've felt like I've been looking for this salve to heal the darkest most shredded parts of me, and I've found that in God.
Once again, I digress....anyone shocked to terribly? Didn't think so...

So hope is presented to me in laughter and comfortable conversation, late night conversation about next to nothing. Hope is presenting to me in the familiarity of your voice and the way you already know what I'm going to say before I say it (somehow, and I still am not entirely sure how you do it). Hope is found in the fantasy I nurture secretly in the most obvious ways. Then, there is the hope that is taken away, as quickly as it was given. In the nuances of your confirmation that the one thing, the one thing left that I can not abide by is still there, festering and hooked into your heart. Reality slams me back to earth and I am exhausted by the roller coaster of planning and ideas that you have inadvertently planted in my mind.
These are the days that my heart seems so broken that it cannot be repaired. These are the days that I flee back into my God's arms hoping that He will once again repair the damage that I've done again. Because, while I would like to say it is your fault that my heart is so tattered, it is mine. It is in my stubborn love and faith that I run back into the shredder every so often and find that there is no more there now then there was the last time.

In God, a heart is never so broken that it can't be repaired. In God, I can hope and have faith that one day I will find someone that doesn't invite my heart into the shredder for the distinct privilege of loving them.



So it's been a little silent around here and I'm not really sorry. But I logged into Myspace for the first time in months and thought I'd re-post some of my pre-blogger blogs over here for anyone that cares. I'll post them for awhile and see if I can muster up the fortitude to post something new soon.



I read this at Stuff Christians Like today. It was really something I needed to read today because I've been forgetting who I am for a few days now and it's had me on the brink of tears that I keep hidden. Because sometimes I forget that what I tell myself, what I allow to loop around in my head isn't true.

More often then not I forget that I'm the girl Jesus loves. That I'm the girl God is calling to do something bold with her life. I'm the girl that is smart, funny, beautiful and loving.
Most of the time I believe I'm the useless girl, the inconvenient girl, the stupid girl, the fat girl, the ugly girl.

When someone I love and respect talks to me about my shortcomings, of which there are many, I don't hear the words they actually speak. My past rears it ugly and bitter head and puts words in their mouth. Instead of words like, "I just want you to be healthier so you will be around for a long time to come" I hear, "You fat worthless girl, I don't love you and no one else could possibly love you either"

I forget that the person speaking to me loves me deeply and wants nothing but the best for me. Instead their kind face is replaced by the faces of many that are dead and gone, or at least just gone from my life. It's not fair, and I'm really tired of doing it.

I forget to pay attention. The very thought of the idea of having a conversation about something so personal and so deeply hurtful brings me to my knees just thinking about it. The idea of adressing what I see as a glaring failure on my part is so frightening that I decide to just plant my feet firmly on the ground and shove my head as far down in the sand as it will go. So I distract myself with TV shows and gossip, with movies and novels about other peoples lives. I distance myself until I'm comfortably numb again, until I have forgotten what it is that we were even talking about in the first place.
I am nothing if not skilled at evading hard conversations about myself.

Because I've forgotten. I've forgotten the whisper of God so many years ago that pulled the razor from my wrist and the boy from my lips. I've forgotten the promises that we would get through this and that He would build in me a life worth living. I've forgotten the soaring heights of joy, even in the depth of such sorrow, that being a girl that Jesus loves should bring.

I forget that I lay down and sleep, that I wake again for the Lord sustains me.


My foot might need amputated: A Dramatic Retelling

My parents came down this weekend, the hottest weekend of the summer, to hang out and help tear down 90 feet of wood privacy fencing behind my house. All the fun details of that will come later, but first I feel I must alert you to a serious injury that I sustained while laying in a load of wood.

Saturday afternoon, while my dad was chopping up the fence into smaller sections I was pulling nails and bundling the wood slats into 4X4 50lb bundles so Rumpke would pick them up curbside (for free). I was straddling a load of wood and needed to take a giant step to the left to better tie up the load. I didn't realize that there was no more patio and my left foot slipped off. I left half my ankle shellacked to the concrete and I hobbled over to the stairs. "DAD!" I yelled. "DAD! I think I see BONE!" He came over, walking a little slower than my grievous injury called for if you ask me and said, "That's not bone" and went to get me a washcloth.

I wiped it down, slapped on some neosporin and about 5 band aids (what? I didn't have any big band aids) and went back out to work. Throughout the afternoon dirt, sweat and I'm pretty sure some bugs were all over that wound. I wiped it down and cleaned it out Saturday night and left it unbandaged. I went to church, kicked it several times while I walked and probably sweating in it some more, thank you 97 degrees with over 80% humidity, and went back home to help build a retaining wall around the flowerbed in the back. (Ok I supervised a lot of the time, but dangit I supervised my ass off). I was climbing around the backyard pulling rebar (that I hit my ankle with) and yard kindling for Dad and Jeff and I kept hitting the wound with tree branches, sticks, a brick and my foot. Needless to say, I can't imagine that any of this helped heal the wound much faster.
I watered my flowerbed and fought some bees that are living in the dirt by my front porch so I think I also sprinkled some mulch, dirt and probably the wings of a few bees that I killed in the wound.

I slapped some neosporin on the ankle and called it a night. My ankle HURTS today. It HURTS. I finally decided to bandage it while at work but I'm not sure how much it will help. I think tomorrow the only choice remaining will be to just chop off my foot from the ankle down and hope a new one regenerates....that happens to human feet right? Right?

The wound: It's about the size of half dollar, and there are 4 distinct gouges in my skin...which I'm pretty sure were to the bone although Dad disagrees.

The bandaging: Ok, so I may have gone overboard with the bandage. Maybe.


All Sorts of Things

I have all sorts of things to say. I want to talk about the two awesome weekends I had with great friends and how I turned 30 feeling more loved than a girl should rightfully feel. I want to talk about Washington Project and the AMAZING job all the people that serve with 4 Corners did loving the families in the Woodbridge apartment complex this past Sunday. I want to talk about the ridiculous amount of television I've been watching lately and how it's sucking the life out of my life.
I want to talk about my lack of discipline in regards to how I spend my time and the way I organize my personal life; about how God is speaking pretty directly to my heart about it and how my response is a tantrum.

I want to post pictures of these great things that have happened and tell you some more of my memories that are probably only partly true. But I just don't seem to have the mental stamina at the moment. So sorry Jake, I know you were pushing for a new blog every day...but maybe I'll catch up this weekend or later this week or something. Maybe I'll mine the blog and even the MySpace blog (gasp!) for some gems back before I was all mature and wise (belch, fart, doodie).

But I think for tonight I'm going to lay down, twirl my hair and maybe read this really good book I've been hacking away at on my lunch breaks. But I'll probably just fall asleep. I know you're all very jealous of the excitement!