10.28.2013

spilling guts

i'm not editing this (not like i ever "edit" this writing) but i'm not even mentally pre-forming my words.

sometimes i'm really sneaky at lying to myself. i don't like feelings so i'm not always in touch with my own. a silly thing for an introvert to say. sure i can over-think & psycho-analyze toooo death. _but_ it doesn't follow that i analyze my emotions. what i think is far more important, right? ;)

when real things are happening i tend to shove it down. don't think don't go there don't feel.

so i'm gonna spill my guts & maybe get a handle on what's really going on this lil person. i need honesty with myself and the Lord.

i want so much to be brave & beautiful (on a deep character level). right now it doesn't look like i'll get there. that takes faith in Jesus, since both spring from vital, unshakable hope. i don't have hope right now. some days God fills me with it. but then i wonder later if it wasn't just hormones or feelings when i'm back to lifelessness. what if i never reach a point where my joy isn't based on circumstances, shallowness, comfort?

and i'm not talking brave & beautiful in usual terms. not "brave" in that i do fantastic heroic feats. the quiet brave, the kind of inner strength that endures and bears up under discomfort without complaint. bravery that nobody else knows is there. the kind of person who can be shattered inside without shattering totally outside. who still has strength to care for others & not turn self-obsessed inwards or let inner hurt block out the world.
well. this child ain't there yet.
i know honesty & weakness are good things. but i think its a fine line to just being weak in a whiny i-don't-want-to-try-anymore way. i'm not saying i'm there, i don't know. but i know i'm too close to giving up to have a healthy weakness. mine is lazy...

beautiful. not the kind of aesthetic beauty that makes heads turn (although lets be honest, if gorgeous just happened to me i wouldn't complain) but what i want more than that is bright beauty. blech, i don't know what to call it...
i want to bring beauty with me, call attention to the sparkle & color God has infused this broken world with. so much of it lies hidden in the small joys we take for granted. i don't want to *be* the beautiful one; i want to make it & give it & share it.
i'm not saying i want to be the one people look at and see "oh she's beautiful" or even "oh she really appreciates beauty". i want to be the person who genuinely makes other people see beauty. i want to be the kind of woman that when i leave, those left see more light & beauty & Jesus & hope around them. i mean i can't really bring or create beauty; i can only reflect God's, & the sparkle He has put in me. i don't want attention. sure it can be a temptation, but really i'm rather awkward with that & its not satisfying. but i want to be a the one to open eyes to what is already there.

problem: these days i am all complaining negative mess. but i suppose when you're watching a loved one die, it's not a good time to assess your hope/faith radar.

or isn't it?
isn't it supposed to be when things are darkest that true courage, true light, true hope emerge? isn't this the scenario when those most rooted & secure in God shine brightest?

i am not well rooted. because i am not shining. some days i fight. but some days i just crawl back into bed and ache for God to stop the human heart inside me. i'm not even really feeling the pain yet! but i know it's coming and i am so afraid. i don't want to go down this damn stupid grieving road again.

one thing i do see, one way God's hand MUST be upon me? i stubbornly refuse to suit up and prepare for the pain that's coming. i will not mourn while nana lives. i will enjoy all the precious moments i have left with her. i will treasure them & value them more than the 4.0 GPA i'm losing. i will not taint them with any future apprehension. life lesson learned the hard way: you can't prepare for the actual renting of ones heart. all that does is rob you of the present.

well that was disgusting...it's surprisingly hard to write without a filter. guess i'm supposed to feel free-er now? i'm not as hopeless as i sound. or maybe i don't want to admit or confess it. maybe i'm not, because wouldn't that hurt intensely like the year-of-hell-2012? this might all be a bunch of crap stemming from no sleep, impossible deadlines & so much coffee my body is revved strangely in spite of mental fatigue.
on to homework.
i'm a little ashamed of this post. but i need to be honest & open about my most shameful places or how else will the light come in and restore them?

10.19.2013

welcome to the Sahara (& for the first time i am seeing it is love)

here's the deal.
spiritually, i ain't so hot. just sizzling. in a will-there-ever-be-water-again way. i'm in a desert something fierce, since Oct 2011. that's when i think it began. i noticed a distance, a parching. something was less-feeling in my walk with God. i thought maybe it was the boyfriend, but that ended and the heat didn't. i thought it was all in my head; "maybe i'm just hyped on experiences" or "i'm not listening enough". i thought it was depression, but God brought me through that with no renewal of the vibrant, living-waterness. there's been terrain change... pits, different sand, sometimes rocks underfoot. a few mirages, but no rain. no oasis. i tried to dissect where i went wrong. what sin is trapping me here. what mistake did i make...i tried getting out. i started faking. i've started to doubt if i ever even loved God. if God really ever conquered my heart. but in the past few months diff words have been sneaking in an idea:  _it's not about what i did/didn't_
this sermon by {Matt Chandler-- Approaching the Divine} brought clar-i-ty. excerpts:

"What do you do in that moment where you wake up and everything your profess to believe seems so far from you? Because if you spend a lot of time in church, like here’s just one of the craziest things. [...] 
What do you do when you have the right answers, but it does nothing for your heart? Where do we go? Because if we sat down and talked to someone, they’re just going to tell us the answers that we already know, aren't they? That was my experience. I would unpack it and just wait to hear what I knew was coming next. And then, sometimes I would tell them the book they got that from... How do we approach God in those moments?
[...]
[on praying honestly like David] I mean, we don’t ever want to get to the real issue, we don’t ever want to pray the real prayer. You know what? Because I think the real prayer reveals the sinfulness of our hearts. And that’s not a topic we like to deal with. That’s not a topic we want to embrace, look at or even consider. The thing that happens when you set yourself under the truth of God’s word is it begins to flow through the heart and you finally get to real prayers. And real prayers are like this real fertile soil that spiritual growth occurs in.
[...]
Look at the last part. “...but God is the one you must fear.” Solomon ends this whole thing by saying this, “If you do these things, maybe you’ll walk out of the desert, but in the end, maybe you won’t. In the end, God is the one you must fear.” Now look at me because I want to say something that’s wildly unpopular, but in the end it’s beautiful. Sometimes, God ordains the desert. Sometimes, it’s not because of sin and it’s not because of disobedience, but because God put you out there. In New Mexico, for some reason, I began reading through the book of Hosea, a real family friendly book in the middle of the Old Testament. Hosea was a normal man who God came to, and He said "... I want you to marry a woman of ill repute. And here’s the thing, Hosea. She’s going to be horrible to you. She’s going to cheat on you over and over and over again. She’s going to betray you. And each time she does, I’m going to increase your love for her so that you can’t wash your hands of it and walk away. And you’re going grieve and you’re going to hurt and you’re going to sob and you’re going to wail, but I’m not going to let you walk away from her.” [...] But here’s the thing He says to Hosea in chapter 2 [...] He says, “Here’s what I’m going to do with Gomer, your cheating wife. I’m going to take her out to the desert, I’m going to allure her, and out in the desert, she’ll finally get tired of herself. And when she finally gets tired of herself...” You want to know the character of God? Listen to what’s next. “...there I will speak tenderly to her.” So, He doesn't take her out into the desert and go, “Shame on you, woman of ill repute.” He doesn't take her out into the desert to berate her for her sins or to pile on for her poor decisions, He says, “I’m going to take her out into the desert, and when she’s gasping for water, when she’s exhausted of herself, there I will speak tenderly to her and I will increase her vineyards.” In the Old Testament, wine and joy are this parallel, they’re equal. Like, if you see wine mentioned, they’re talking about the increase in joy. ... And He says, “I've got to take her out into the desert. I've got to take her out there, because the only way to kill certain things is to deprive it of water. And so, I’m going to walk her out into the desert, and I’m going to starve this thing out. And when she’s and almost dying, I’m going to speak tenderly to her, and I’m going to increase her joy.” And then, look at me, because the next line to me was so heartbreaking and encouraging. He says, “And out there, out where it’s dry, she’ll finally learn to quit calling me master and start calling me husband.

And so, for some of you, please hear me ... Tonight, your in a dry time not because God’s angry with you, but because He desperately loves you. That’s why. Right now, for some of you, the reason you can’t find Him is because He desperately wants you to really find Him. ...

So, maybe you've been allured out there. Maybe it’s not sin, maybe it’s not disobedience, maybe God just said, “Okay, I've got to kill some stuff in you. Let’s go.
“Well, what stuff do You want to kill?”
“Well, I could explain it to you now, but you wouldn't actually believe that it’s actually in your heart, because it’s really, really deep down. I mean, I've got to take the plow to you. Let’s get out of here. Let’s go to the desert.”
“Well, I don’t like the desert.”
“Well, I know you don’t, but let’s get out there. Because out there, I can really do a work in you, a work that will make you quit coming to church and quit doing Christiany stuff. Because you think in the end, I can kill you or that I wish you harm. It’s out here, it’s out in the struggle, it’s out in the fight that you’re finally going to learn that I love you.”
Sometimes the desert, it’s here for awhile, man. Because I think that’s the question when God goes, “Come on, let’s go to the desert.” “Well, how much water do I need to pack?” Maybe six weeks, maybe six months. Listen to me, maybe six years. This ain’t no Rubix Cube, man. This isn't math. Sometimes with God, 2 + 2 doesn't equal 4. He says, “Come on, let’s go. Out to the desert, come on. It’s dry, it hurts, but pay attention to your feet. Draw near and listen. I have not abandoned you. Pray for real to Me [...] I know you’re hiding in the closet. Let’s not play this game. Be honest. It’s where we have to begin. And when I whisper to you, follow Me because I’m trying to get you out of here. I don’t enjoy the desert either.”

Okay, for some of us tonight, this doesn't do anything because you’re sitting next to the spiritual pool with a piƱa colada in your hand [...] But for some of us, this is where we find ourselves tonight. It’s frustrating and agonizing and we begin to start wondering if we were ever really saved of if God’s real or if maybe it would be better to just walk away. I pray you find your hearts encouraged tonight. I pray that you would look at your feet. I pray that you wouldn't pretend. I pray that you’d be honest before God and man. I pray that you would put yourselves under the weight and the truths of Scripture. I pray that, in the end, you would listen to the still small voice, the still small voice of the Holy Spirit resonating inside your to come, walk this way, this way to water."

it makes sense, why i keep thinking the theme of this season is g r a c e

& how this ties in with abi's letter.
it takes a devastating, a breaking, a long walk in the desert to rid this woman of her fierce independence. her strength in self-sufficiency. her wanting to be enough for everybody.
all the while just to get at a deeper root:
i still view Him as Master only.

& how this quote revealed myself:  "God is a father, and you're His blessing. Some of you say: 'I don't act like His blessing, I don't feel like His blessing;' you ARE His blessing. If you accept the fact that you are, you will start to live like a blessing. it doesn't start with your performance but with His affection."

i am still afraid of Him. afraid He doesn't approve of me. afraid i disappoint Him. afraid to get close, because what if I find out He just tolerates me? how can i ever have worth if God does not see value in me? what if it is based on me?

here. in this sahara. i think maybe one of those deep deep things
is for me to finally stop calling God "Master" and learn to call Him "Husband"
aka
r e c i e v e
a c c e p t
g  r  a  c  e

[this might be a 6 year journey]

10.17.2013

things I learned this week


rough week. but last thursday, mum & i didn't think nana would live through the night and here she is doing better! praise Jesus for small miracles. there's been light, good moments. I want to focus on the beauty. so here are things I learned from spending every spare moment in Apopka with my dads family:

1) family means everything. i didn't know how tight we really were. tragedy tears apart or brings together; we're together. of course, 4 sons with strong & different personalities plus 4 necessarily strong wives; there are bound to be a few small explosions... but. after the smoke clears, we pull together. division is not the lasting note. underneath it all there is strength & loyalty. I've been so impressed, encouraged, & grateful at the way my uncles & aunts & cousins dropped everything. they put their lives in wyoming & texas on pause. they've taken care of Nana and worked through rough days. everybody wants Nana to be happy. we want what's best for her. I'm so grateful to be in a family where love is greater than pride or greed. we're not the family you hear about in the paper.
unless it's the humor section...

2) we're hilarious Bullshitting runs in the bloodlines...my uncles make things up faster than you can blink. we're also fluent in sarcasm, off-key singing, & colorful storytelling. "american girl dolls are racist. the only one with green eyes is the red hair girl." like nana herself said: "we've had some giggles" 

3) my grandfather really adores his wife I already knew this, but they've never been a very PDA couple. so when Buffie calls her honey & holds her hand, it knifes me. so precious, and good to have what I always thought confirmed. he truly loves her like nothing.

4) I've seen new sides to my uncles there are specific character traits that haven't been highlighted in the limited time spent with them over the years. but now they stand out clearly in each of them: uncle Kenneth is steady, level-headed; the rock of the family trying to keep spirits up. uncle Kevin pays more attention to people than I ever knew, & sees needs. uncle Mark is the most compassionate, more bent towards serving. I've always respected them, partly for being somewhat like my own dad. but now I have a stronger basis for that respect.

5) Nana is truly selfless  she STILL tries to take care of all of us! even when talking is nearly impossible, she asks who is where & if they need anything. she so badly doesn't want to be a burden. here she is suffering; & she's concerned about our lives and our comfort & worrying about us. 

6) nana is secretly Sherlock she may be sick, but she can hear somebody in the kitchen or bedroom or talking even with the tv on. she's very aware of who is where & what's going on. she figured things put when we try to avoid telling her things that may add to her worry. sometimes she gets confused, but it's only physical. mentally she is still sharp as a whip!

there are other things that come to mind but I'm tired and I've had my "life is beautiful" for the day. Thank you Jesus for lightheartedness. 

10.12.2013

theme song: what Sarah said.

I never thought I'd be living this song again so soon. I guess 5 years isn't that soon; but it feels that way.  
goodbyes never get easier. watching someone die never gets easier, it's line a character in a tv show said recently: "normal? no. I see this all the time & it's the job; but it's never normal." 

I don't have anything coherent to say. I just thought maybe a few words would release some of the ache. 

I've seen every one of my aunts cry. ((& the daughters-in-law are not wimpy; only strong woman can marry my dad & his brothers))

but seeing my uncles cry kills me most. their hurt compounds my own heartbreak. these boys are not criers. they're hunters who drive big ole trucks, strong personalities & drinkers & tough & storytellers & crazy embelleshers & goofballs & dads. but not criers. 
the way my oldest uncle, who has to be hurting even more than the others, has been so cheerful & goofy & trying to do what's best for nana. my own dad, how he's risen to the occasion & had grace during tense moments & cared for everybody. 

grief is raw. dragged out grief & the roller coaster of better--death's door--again better is killer. even when you know it's a matter of days, or weeks; the cycle is just. brutal. 

I'm grateful for eternal life. & hope. 


10.09.2013

green eyed soldier

hey you,
yeah, you with the clear green eyes, crazy hair, and scarred hands that can't take off that ring even though it holds no meaning and i swear it burns you just sitting there.

i know you don't get why i keep denying you. i don't get why you keep trying? i mean, i guess i know but i don't want to admit it? that this magnetic draw might be a mutual thing. it's never happened to me before. the room went electric when you walked into it and looked straight at me, like you expected me to be sitting in the back left corner. is that part of my "i just lost my mind for a bit and it still plays sensory tricks on me sometimes" or is that what attraction always feels like to other people? i'm the wrong girl to answer that one...dear lord, here i am 24 and you're the first man on gods green earth to make me feel things outside my ability to shut off. this goes against all of me.
like that doesn't make it hard enough to work with you. then you gotta go & switch from casual friend to dropping these smooth-player-pickup-lines with no warning. why do you do it? i mean cmon they are so over the freaking top--i'm not an idiot. you're very into sexiness & girls who play up their sensuality & flirt well; i'm very into star wars tshirts & wearing my cowboy boots to every test & blunt honesty. you can't be physically attracted to me.
the whole room responds to you, but instead you only try with me. i don't believe you and you know it. have i become this challenge because i'm the only one you can't get? it would be so easy for us to get along if you could just be normal. the whole opposite-life-values thing is a good foundation for friends who challenge each other's viewpoints. but a horrid foundation for lovers.
here we are, two baby adults, deeply cynical; surrounded by wide-eyed 17,18,19 year olds while we start over our life paths at a local community college. maybe that's the problem. it's easy to talk about real things. but then you'll try to make it sexual and i have to shut you down faster than cops at the west oaks mall on a friday night and leave. or mid-sentence in a science debate you switch gears and ask me to grab dinner or come over to work on a project, and your eyes are a dead give away. turns out there's a huge downside to green eyes. they lighten and darken, (storm if you're talking about your wars) with your mood. i read you much better than i let on. do you know i can tell when you're lying & when you're sincere? it's pretty easy. you lie more than anything. except when you talk about your ex-wife, your kids, ask me out for the 546 time, or talk about your buddies, about iraq & afghanistan & all the things you've seen. do you know how hard it is to listen? to be unable to do anything but act like i believe the bravado. play along with your bluffing when you start straight bleeding in front of me. do you know i can see it? or do you think your cavalier attitude is as thick as your carolina draw? you do realize that's the only reason i let you get away with so much. sometimes i think it's intentional. that you're trying to emotionally manipulate me. see, we're both pretty scarred & beat up. but you're hemorrhaging and i'm duct taping myself into pretend whole. neither of us are in a place we can help the other.

i'm sorry. not to mention, yeah i know i told you i just went through a break-up (def thought that would make you think rebound and run?) but i wasn't in love with him. i loved him as my friend, but that's what i miss. the friend i'd had since middle school. my heart was shattered by different things. and you, well you've just had your heart wrecked by a woman you loved enough to have children with. how can i help you heal from a loss i can't even understand? & the ptsd from all you've seen...i don't even know where to begin helping you through that.

but i do know we can't keep doing this, this tension & balance and pretending we don't both feel like magnets. one of us is going to lose it. so. once this class is over, we're going our separate ways. i'm deleting your number and you're going to stop texting me. because you can't take no for an answer, and i can't hold out forever. i really want to be your hero; but that's not how recovery works. it can't be found in me. you've got to find it in yourself.

but i won't forget you. and god i hope i run into you someday far in the future, to see you doing well with a smile that reaches your eyes & a light from inside.