Jun 252016
 

Tears are the pain my soul displays when it has nowhere else to go

Pain are the words my soul speaks, the black shroud that makes the dimmest of stars blindingly bright

I’ve needed a rest from words lately. A lot of rest. I don’t know why, maybe because I was diving deep in search of words for so much of the winter and spring.

It is exhausting to go into yourself, into the darkened depths where you have everything chaotically stashed away in mounds that would give a librarian a heart attack. Much like the wall of post-it notes that only an author can decipher and turn into a grand story.

Only life isn’t a post-it and no matter how big they decide to make those sticky sheets it won’t all fit and the darkness will creep over like fog over a marsh when the mercury rises, blanketing over the muck with a reflective dew that disappears with the rising sun and somewhere along the broken road you place your hand in the palm of the Son who has risen and you simply rest.


And yet here I am with the thunder booming in the background and the lightening flashing down on a blackened earth and my fingers are tapping away the thoughts that linger in my head and fear greets me in places I had forgot existed and I wonder who I really am?

Am I the child that hopped from rock to rock over snail infested ponds to find a place to sit and soak up the sun, the child who looked at metal barrels laying in the water 20 years ago and wondered why someone would do that to the earth?

Am I the adult who see’s a saltwater tank and grieves the loss of corals and anemones and secretly blames Finding Nemo for the tang’s and clown fish being stolen from our oceans just to beautify someone’s home?

Am I the girl who prays for the whales and the dolphins and has considered jumping ship just to land in the Antarctic whale sanctuary to protest, protect and fight for the whales whose song often falls on the ears of poachers?

Am I the 16-year-old girl who found herself pregnant and madly in love with a child growing within or am I the mother of that child whose smile is enough to light up any room and whose tears threaten to drown me because her pain are the nails through my hands and feet, the spear in my side. The pain a parent must bare in a twisted way so that their child can be fully alive?

Is that how my parents felt? Is that what Jesus told Himself as He felt the weight of His flesh tearing him apart, the sweat stinging into deepened wounds as the sins of the world separated the darkness and the light causing Him to cry out to God, “Father, why have You forsaken me?” before the sky turned angry and His flesh became Spirit?

And then there is my son, the child who nearly drowned drinking water because his laughter got the best of him and the water rushed into his lungs and sent those watching into a near panic and as he told the story he tells me “I wondered if Darin knew the Heimlich, when he pushed on my belly I knew he didn’t.” And I wonder why I worry more about the girl then I do my boy. Is that how it’s meant to be? That the boys can brave this broken world in a brotherly solidarity where the desire to protect outweighs their fear?



A world where your lungs fill with water and moments later you are playing football in the grass with a fire burning down in the background and your laughter and the sounds of your mother and your sister chatting are what fills your world because the moment you drowned you were also resurrected with a lesson learned?

Did my child really have me in stitches on the clouded, stormy ride home and did we almost hit that blur of a deer that for all I know could have been a golden shrub? Did he really just tell me that 50,000 of my cells die every day and that over the course of 7 years every cell in my body passes and has been replaced with one that is new and fresh? Did he just tell me that a sunburn hurts because the cells are protecting us from cancer and committing suicide so they don’t mutate?

How did you become so wise young children? Where did you learn these things and when? Why is it that I see so much of myself in your love for everything and then sometimes I look at you and don’t see me at all?


I am proud of you, both of you. Because you aren’t me and because you are pieces of me that I never allowed to develop and grow. You take big leaps and tiny steps and go where the wind blows, color outside of the lines and walk against the grain all at the same time. You are far more brave than I ever was or ever will be and I am so happy that you aren’t me. That you walk your own paths.

I love that you embrace conflict and hurt and pain because as the saying goes “no pain no gain” and I want you to gain. I want to see you suffer because that leads to growth. I want you to fear because that leads you to cling to the One who alleviates the need. I want you to love fully and be passionate and chase your calling, whatever it may be, whether it’s the Antarctic whale sanctuary where you take on the poachers of the world, or into a mission field learning a new culture and language and sharing your own journey with the world in the name of the One who saves you each and every day. Maybe your dream is to be a mom or a dad and never leave this small town and you want to plant your roots down deep and firm.

Wherever you go, whatever you do, I will be in the cheering section while simultaneously handing you to God, because while this may be your journey, He is the one who holds the map.

Jun 042016
 

This week has been a whirlwind with a child travelling 18 hours from home and tracking flights and drop offs and pick ups and my mom collapsing in pain and being in the hospital up until a few hours ago with surgery on the horizon. I have missed my haven- home- my bed. I have missed sleep and the way my blankets comfort me and keep me comfortable, I missed food and water and I missed having my mom home.

I missed my time with God because there was no time between running around and going to the hospital to fit in my study -I tried but in the end not even the boy child got sent to school, it was just too much to deal with and the safety of my little cocoon felt so exposed as I sat in waiting wondering if surgery would happen or if release papers would come.

I crawled into my little haven last night at around 4:30am and was out the door to the hospital by 9:30am. The night before only left me with about 4 hours of stressed sleep as I entertained the boy child waiting to hear how my mom was, grandma, the woman who has helped me raise my children without complaint.

Sometimes our haven is a place, like bed, sometimes it is a person like my mom and it is ALWAYS God’s loving embrace.

They were glad when it grew calm,
    and he guided them to their desired haven.

~Psalm 107:30~

Tonight as I rest my head knowing my mom is safely upstairs in her bed and all my children are home and under one roof I can rest into my God, lay in my safe haven and know that all will be well. God has definitely been my guide this week and prevented me from burning out, helping me to triage all that life was throwing and still get us all safely home each night. God is good, always and always, God is good!

May 052016
 

I sat there as the modem was supposed to be resetting glancing through the pictures of the first few months of my daughters life that are in the album that hasn’t been put away. I could look at the pictures of myself even then and see the exhaustion and depression hidden on my face, the abuse by the smiling and oh so young man standing next to me making it appear as though I was nothing more than tired after delivering a child.

What the pictures miss though is that I was ecstatic to be a mom, even though I was only 17 years old. I was beyond proud of this little accomplishment that had just escaped my body and been placed on my chest, that doesn’t show in the pictures and it makes me sad to think that she will look back one day at the abusive one and see the pain and sorrow in my eyes.

What’s missing are the bruises and the pain, because no one hurts a woman who is over due thinking it won’t be noticed. No one realizes that those frozen moments in time are fraction of a second glimpses into a world that digs deeper than most anyone, including abuse victims, can fathom.

I use the term domestic abuse because people understand that. They don’t understand when I say I was beaten and brainwashed through the teachings of the Bible, raped for “the glory of god” because of my insolence, denied friends and family without supervision, or that when I speak of the phantom shackles that I still feel holding me that I literally mean, I was held tied up, handcuffed, restrained while being used as a “sex slave” and then beaten for refusing.

Yeah, that’s all missed in those pictures, and in the hundreds of others. In fact, the only pictures of any of this have firmly been in the hands of the police since 2005, when I escaped with my children in tow on a cold February night after being raped and nearly killed… escaped. I didn’t leave, I fled for my life, our lives. The pictures the hospital took of his hand print bruised onto my infant’s head, photos of my most intimate parts torn, bruised, bleeding with measuring devices and other “tools” to help the police understand all that happened. Restraints that are in the possession of the police sitting away in an evidence box.

You can take away the things and pack it neatly into bags and boxes, but you can’t pack away the scars, especially the scars that live on the inside. The images branded into my brain.

All of that is missing and I go down as a victim of domestic abuse, a survivor, meanwhile, I am bobbing up and down in waters too deep always gasping for my last breath.

So much of my story sits in files hidden away because the world isn’t ready for that, I am not ready for that. There are parts of me that have been missing since I was 15 years old and in the 11 years since my escape I have wondered over and over again if those are parts of the puzzle that will ever be found.

Apr 282016
 

The sky seemed to be another evening boring grey and then just as I was about to write, as my Word document sprang to life the passing of the sun caught my window and shone streaks of orange across the wall. I grabbed my camera because I don’t have a phone and I ran to the window, to look at the magic of the sky. Hues of pink and blue and purples, and yes orange, danced perfectly painted. I couldn’t pass them up. I have said it before and I say it now, it’s like God painted the sky just for me.


In a lot of ways He did! No one else has the view from my window. Theirs all show a similar sky from a different perspective. They don’t get the shadows of the truck or the tractor or the trees and while the angle is all too familiar from sunsets and sunrises over the years, they are never the same.


All those colors like the sky is in itself a rainbow. A promise of better things to come and I pull the blanket a little bit tighter as my eyes feel a little bit more solemn and I shoot a prayer up into those heavenly lines knowing that they can’t escape the rainbow, a direct line to God Himself.

In only a few seconds I have prayed for my best friend who has been missing a year, I pray for Andrew, I pray for the money I don’t have and for broken hearts to mend and friendships to restore. I pray that I can feel a bit more lively tomorrow and get my Bible study finished with eagerness instead of weariness.


I crawled onto the bed and my knees cry out that they are sore, but my heart it is the gaping door to my soul that is vulnerable. Ready to be wounded, ready for whatever is in store.

In life we only have a set amount of sunsets before we exit into Heaven and while I don’t know the number, He does, and it is He who I need. I can chose the achy knees to witness His art or I can pass up the bounty He places in front of me and become a victim of myself.

Apr 252016
 

I wasn’t really raised as a Christian, don’t get me wrong, I always had a spiritual relationship with God but it was definitely not something I was being taught outside of school. I dated very young and developed even younger. I remember in grade 7 being relentlessly teased about the size of my breasts, the joke being that I had to have been stuffing my bra with triple-ply toilet paper. The girls saw what I had and they pounced on it, making me dread being a woman and eager to hide myself beneath layers of overalls, hoodies and oversized shirts.

Later on I realized that this same issue worked to my “benefit” and attracted the boys so I did what I could and wore low cut shirts and anything to accentuate my curves. I continued down this path until about 2 years ago when God began to place modesty on my heart. Suddenly I found myself being uncomfortable showing my chest, and finding myself loving the way I feel in a skirt or dress. I mean, really, a dress is so easy to wear, it already matches. Slide it on and voila!

God also placed it on my heart to quit dying my hair and to let it grow and be healthy, the way He created it to be.

I have to admit, this whole long hair thing sometimes gets in the way, I am learning though. Learning by asking friends how they pin their hair up or pull it out of the way so it doesn’t end up being washed with the dishes.

I have had a blast going through my wardrobe and purging everything that wasn’t modest and to my standards, it makes getting dressed SO much easier, and I feel silly that I never took that advice seriously when I had read it the first ten thousand times.

I still love to wear hoodies and oversized clothing around the house, especially to clean or when its super cold and I just want to snuggle in, but having clothing I love and know aren’t going to send the wrong message has motivated me to get and stay dressed a lot more often.


This is most definitely a journey as I strive to obey God and I am excited to see where God is leading me on this journey. Going from the girl who showed too much and was a teen mama as a result really makes this journey into modesty so much fun, because of how completely unexpected it was. I am now the mother of a teen, surrounded by Christians with strong values, especially online. Who will offer me prayer, words of encouragement and scripture that evades me.

I would love to hear about how God speaks to you about your wardrobe or other areas in your life! Maybe He is speaking to you about parenting or marriage or being single. For whatever season you are in I pray that God’s loving hands cup your face and engulf you in His radiant love, light and peace.

If you have a prayer request please feel free to message me or leave it in the comments below!!

Apr 232016
 

A few months ago it was just a tweet made by a friend that she was wanted a group of us to submit a post to a book compilation that would be sold with our words stretched over the pages with the proceeds going to charity and I scoffed at her idea, thinking there was no way that I would be submitting my work because I am a blogger, not a writer, because my posts aren’t educated or thought out, they are journal entries that are the result of my fingers tapping without thought across the keyboard, often faster than I realize I am thinking.

My outlet.

When I was specifically asked by a friend who was contributing if I had submitted I said I wasn’t, because my work was not worthy of being put in a book. She nagged encouraged me to just consider it and even offered to help me select something if I needed help. I still said no.

As the deadline was already past I was reading back on some of my old writing while looking for something and stumbled on a couple of posts that I was surprised came from my fingers and didn’t belong to someone else’s. They weren’t great, but maybe they were good enough.

Maybe.

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
~Galatians 6:7~

So I reached out and sent my link and asked with the utmost apprehension if this was “good enough.” I almost immediately received a more than encouraging reply stating that it was great (it isn’t) and that she was so glad I had decided to submit something because I had been a part of the community for so long.

Every bit of anxiety I could muster up has flooded me, wondering what any of this means, mostly the negative things, though really, how can charity be negative? That’s an anxiety disorder for you right there. Fear has overtaken me on more than on occasion and silenced me, but not this time.

I hear that the book is coming along well and while I don’t know any specifics as to when it will be released or how many contributors there will be, I do know that it will be available in paperback and that means I will have a book, sitting on my shelf, with my own work in it. Not a chapter or anything more than a page, but still my words. My heart, my soul, my pains and sorrows, my love, tears, community. My faith.

That is a crazy thing to think about when everyone I know is writing a book and I have been asked to many times about the trials I have overcome, the pain I have endured and how I came to Christ. Maybe this is going to be my one and only moment published in a book, or maybe it will be a catalyst for my words to go to paper. I am a writer, I do it every day. But am I an author?

What I do know is I need to stop the inside chit chat that goes on from bringing me down and placing words in peoples mouths before they have even opened. I need to stop sowing seeds of myself stating that “I suck” and am “not worthy” because God didn’t create anyone to suck and He paved the way so that we could all be worthy if we chose to obey Him.

Sometimes we need to lean back on our six pillows (yes I have six) and let our souls exhale, whether it’s a physical release or a spiritual one that ends up being ink and paper, or a drawing, a prayer sent up. A moment of thanksgiving, or a realization that I am forgetting all about thanks-living. I need to hand it all to Him.

Amazing Grace is a gift that I don’t want to neglect or ignore or waste.

Today as my soul exhales in wondering what the future holds, it inhales the new life that is springing up all around and I am able to feel content, safe, fearless. The smile on my face not needing to be faked, no façade to break.

As I struggled to pull the deeply rooted weeds from what’s supposed to be a flower bed I was reminded that I must sow seeds of strength in the One place that they will grow roots strong and firm like those of the roots I couldn’t tear from the ground. The pot may be cracked but the earth is rich and full and the seeds I sow how more than enough room to spread and grow.

Apr 212016
 

We stood there in the hallway choking back tears after she had been hitting refresh for hours on end trying to find out what had happened and how, she reached for me for the first time in years, her 13 year old self, and I reached my arms around her and hers slid around me and in a single moment we became a part of the same club, united under the worst circumstances, our hearts shredded by death -suicide. Her best friend from a year ago gone, just like that and I had no way to console her broken heart outside of that embrace.

I understand it all to well though, growing up here I have been to some 30 funerals, a large majority because of suicide, and I have attempted it myself, on more than one occasion, seeing it as the only way out, to escape the pain of the day.

My throat grew tight like my allergies were acting up as we stood there in what seemed to be forever while not long enough. I didn’t want to let my sweet girl go because I just wanted to console her, to tell her it was all going to be alright, but there is nothing right about 6 teens killing themselves in the last 3 months. Nothing at all.

I knew then that this time it was different. This time she really was hurt. The other kids were simply faces with a name to her, not someone she had loved, I never imagined that my daughters heart would first be broken by death instead of a boy in the halls of the school.

Questions I couldn’t answer came flowing from her in those 24 hours after Facebook broke the news. Why don’t the boys grieve the way she does? Why is everyone dying? What happens next?

So we spend the week sitting with each other, saying not a word, the snap chats from her friends pictures of walls without words, solemn and in their grief they are forever united as well. They are the kids who survived. The kids who were friends with the girl who died. Titles they don’t want to bear that will follow them through life.

So this mama turned to what she knew and prayed. Prayed that eternity will unite them in God’s light. Praying for peace, understanding, help. Asking friends to pray because I don’t know how. Knowing that where two or more gather in His name… He is present, uniting us all.

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