Thursday, September 24, 2009
I’ve been looking for Christ a lot lately, and I have found him. I’ve found him in the voice of a friend, and I’ve found him in the compassion of a group of men.
A friend stayed with me on Monday night, and as it usually is with this friend, I was able to open up my heart to her and she poured into me with such grace and enthusiasm. We talked about Celebrate Recovery and the journey I’ve been on the past 2 years searching for freedom from my broken relationship with my father and other men along the way, from insecurity, lust and approval addiction. We talked about my issues with scripture and the process that took me from a sold-out believer to a burnt-out believer. We talked about my hesitation to stay in Dallas and pursue what is next and my hesitation to leave Dallas and pursue what is different.
And she poured into me. I wish I could have tape recorded what she said. Now, it’s difficult to recall. The one thing I do recall is feeling, for the first time from someone else, acceptance with my struggle. It wasn’t the apathy of a non-believer or the fear of a true believer, but acceptance. She looked at me in the eyes with an earnest heart and said, “Hey, it’s okay. We all have to do it. Your questions are real. They are hard. It’s going to be okay.”
Last Thursday, another friend sat in my living room and told me how she was able to reconcile her issues with scripture. Her words were that the way that is dictated in scripture is the way that works. No matter how hard it is to believe or how uncomfortable it is at times when your tolerant heart disagrees, it’s the way that works. Time and time again, it works. I wish I had that perspective. I can’t quite wrap my mind around that, though. If it worked, why would we all interpret it so differently? If it works, why have humans taken liberties and smashed truth into the garbage bin? If it is God’s word from beginning to end, and I am God’s child, how come I can’t make sense of it? And how come He isn’t fighting for it? The fight I pick is not with scripture itself, it’s with the authority that humans have given themselves to dictate God’s message to his people. Do we really have that kind of authority? I can’t imagine that we do. I see what humans have done with authority, and it’s ugly. The God I serve is a God of beauty and wonder and peace and justice and unity—not a God of intolerance and war and divisiveness. How are we to unify the Body if we see ourselves as unequal?
Tonight, I went over to a friend's house to watch The Office premiere and met Christ there instead. Gary is a veteran who now works as a landscaper. He has 4 hernias, no steady income, and no home. Gary was participating in my friend’s community group Bible study. When I walked in, he hurried to grab me a chair. A gentleman. A gentleman whose odor I smelled before I saw him. An odor that made me nauseus, and a story that made me ill. But there, in that room, he joined men in pursuit of truth and meaningful life. Men who had invited him to join them in community and who had taken him under their wings in the name of Christ’s love. I love what I found tonight. It turns out that we are, in fact, our brother’s keeper, and that there are brothers who are keeping steady on that word.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Fast forward 5 years. I’m about to graduate, and my experience at college had molded and shaped me into a person who was passionate about the love of Christ, Latin America, social justice. I had fallen in love with a boy and had decided to forego a commitment to the Peace Corps to maintain a relationship with him and to strengthen my relationship with my father. After I graduated, my boyfriend broke up with me because of his struggles with homosexuality. My heart was broken, but the next day, I got an interview for a job in Dallas--in the same city where he lives, far from home, far from anyone I know. This sent my world tumbling to the ground, but as I started picking up the pieces, I remembered one thing. God remains constant. God is dependable. God is my foundation. When I had nothing else, He stood firm. His love surrounded and protected me.
I knew in the furthest realm of my being that Dallas was where God was calling me. Drowning in sorrow and fear, I had the chance to sink or swim. Because of His great love for me and the pattern that I had seen in my life that convinced me of His presence in the past, I knew He was there in the present and would be with me forever. I chose to swim.
Fast forward to now. I am living an adventure, and I am pursuing the things that make me come alive in Christ. Looking back, there are a few elements that were key to not only my survival, but to my success. In the midst of struggle, I found solace in community. Through community, I have begun to allow myself to be loved by God, to love God, to love myself, and to love others. God was and is able to be glorified in my struggle. He continues to rescue me from the trenches and set my feet upon His solid rock. In Him, there is peace. In Him, there is hope. In Him, there is love for all of us.
"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
Sunday, October 19, 2008
I was created for adventure, and I'm about $4000 away from freedom.
I wonder if I can raise $4000 to pay off my loans with a bake sale. I bake a mean cookie.
I just know I was made for more than an 8 to 5, Monday thru Friday, with mini adventures on the weekend to Ultimate tournaments or cleaning my apartment.
They miss the whisper that runs
any day in your mind,
"Who are you really, wanderer?"
and the answer you have to give
no matter how dark and cold
the world around you is:
"Maybe I'm a King."
- William Stafford
Sunday, September 7, 2008
And it isn't me.
I am not the problem.
This is a breakthrough, and I want to tell the whole world about it. Press Release: the era of my self-loating may be coming to a close. Monumental, I know.
A woman spends her entire life trying to prove her worth to herself. I read that in a novel last week. If anyone tries to convince me that God doesn't use creative ways to reach his kiddos, I'd punch them in the face. Not really, but this was a monumental sentence for me tucked in between the pages of a non-monumental work of fiction.
I have been spending the last 22 years trying and failing to prove to myself that I'm worthy of a man's attention and affection--my father's especially.
Pause button. Fast forward over one month later:
Vulnerabilty. Transparency. These things are what I fear. I wrote this post on August 20. It is now October 15.
Why do I post on a public blog? Anyone can find me. Not many people know that I write here.
Why do I post? Why did I begin to post publicly? My hope was that someone could read my thoughts, my life, and relate. That someone somewhere could follow me and know that they aren't alone--and in some way, I would know that I'm not alone either.
But this time--much like the other times that I've deleted blogs--I was afraid. Someone would know too much about me. Someone would be able to peer into the glass that I've covered long ago with newspapers and fabric, so that no light could shine through.
So YOU might read this. The one person who knows nothing about me except for what you read. The person who knows everything about me except for what I write. You might find me. You might find out that I have issues with my dad. You might find out that I rejoice in peace and community. You might know that when I look in the mirror, sometimes I don't like what I see. You might come to know the love that I have for my family, my friends, my Savior. You might come to know the problems I have loving myself.
I hope you do, and I hope it helps.
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
In some way, I feel deceived. I grew up living a dream--my family was perfect, we had plenty of money, my dad loved my mom, my parents loved me. I was smart, beautiful...perfect. Everything was going to be..perfect.
Behind Door #1: Divorce.
Behind Door #2: Emotional abuse.
Behind Door #3: Pain.
And somehow before I even realized what exactly was happening and how it affected me, the dysfunctional family cancer had taken over my entire being...so intricately woven into every aspect of my life.
I had no chance. For six years, I've been swimming upstream and going nowhere fast.
Yet little by little, I have become more aware of the issues, and as I sort through them, they begin to unveil a deeper layer where this painful probe has penetrated. I'm drowning, and just as soon as I find myself at the surface to take a breath, I'm pushed back down into the current, pedalling as fast as I can--and achieving unsatisfactory results.
As I came into my teenage years, I became more like my mother. Simultaneously, I became more like my father. I couldn't help it. I became a fatal combination. As I sit here, I wonder if there was ever any hope for me (for us) to begin with.
Obligatory love. Filial love. Familial love. Love because you have to. This is what I'm told. But this is not what I have to hear.
I refuse to believe that this is my destiny. I'm not interested in hearing how I'm not worth your time. He has promised me unfailing love. He has promised me true love. I will know the love of a Father, of a man. I will know what it means to be liked and loved.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Saturday, August 2, 2008
It has crossed my mind quite a few times to write "God is in control. Go all in. Trust Him" in every single place that I look regularly---every corner, every mirror, every computer screen, every person’s forehead that I walk by. To tattoo it in my mind and hope that the repetition could somehow lead to a reality, a truth that I really believe with all that is in me. A truth that I breathe in and live out.
God is in control.
Go all in.
Hindsight is 20/20. I know that. My life is a written record of God’s promises, of His perfect timing, full of His invisible fingerprints that have taken me on the ride of a lifetime, that have turned my world upside down and brought me here. It’s easy to look back and see how He’s been there, how things have worked like magic to come together so perfectly like puzzle pieces to this unsolvable puzzle that I call life.
My Senior year of high school, I led the high school freshmen in my student ministry on a scavenger hunt. Each group of 9 had to find 9 pieces to a puzzle. Each piece was a square of canvas, painted black, with another figure painted in a different color. When they put their 9 pieces together, the painted figures formed a cross. At the end of the day, each group laid down their cross with the others. When we flipped over each cross, it revealed one large cross on the other side.
What I used as an illustration of the body of Christ and how each member serves a purpose for the greater good, I now consider an illustration of each chapter in my life. Every step of the journey, I find a puzzle piece. I have no idea where it goes or how it fits in to the greater picture, but as each chapter of my life closes, I find its meaning. And as the chapters compile, I’m learning to trust that they will all form the single, brightly colored cross that brings meaning to it all.
Go all in.
I had a recent conversation with my mom about happiness. I can’t quite decide if I’m happy here in Dallas. What does happiness even mean? How does it compare to joy? What does it mean if I’m not happy? If I’m just content? I like my life. I like my friends. I like my job, but I know there’s more. I’m fully aware of the potential I have to live life, and I feel as if I’m waiting on something else, outside of my control, to pull the trigger and say, “Go. LIVE!” But go where? With who? Do what?
My mom says I don’t live in the moment. I live in anticipation of the future. In college, I remember having a conversation with her where she told me that’s the right way to live. Now, she’s telling me otherwise. In college, I was miserable because I wasn’t being pursued by any boys. No one was interested in me. I couldn’t find a good set of friends like I had in high school. I was torn up about it, and she said that I shouldn’t wallow in my present circumstances. I should live in anticipation of what is to come, that God had plans for me far greater than Southwestern—far greater than if Johnny so-and-so wanted to date me.
So to go “all in” as my friend describes, would require a delicate balance of living in the moment and living for the future. Right. Frankly, if I were to be honest with myself--I have no idea how to do that.
“Trust the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.”
I have no idea what I’m doing. I have no idea where I’m headed. I have no comprehension of how God is moving in my life. But I have a history of God’s presence in my life. I am constantly humbled by, a believer in, and completely and utterly banking on God’s perfect timing at this point.
As a pastor at Watermark said last week at church, “I’m in. Come hell or high water, I’m in. Even when I see no resolution, I’m in.”
I’m in. Even though everyday is a battle. Even though I am constantly catching myself in doubt. Even though I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, I’m still in. And I always will be. God has been faithful to His daughter for 22 years, and it’s time I put a little faith in Him.