Mar 182017
 

I sat there at the table in the rec center with a pencil borrowed from my child and the back of my grocery list, jotting down two poems in about 10 minutes while dealing with people inquiring about what we were doing there. I was just the chaperone as this was the kids gig, but I answered questions and handed out free things just the same.

The nausea is still plaguing me whenever it feels like it and the exhaustion and fatigue are definitely assaulting me. Vivid dreams in full colour are sticking with me through the days and laughing until I am crying or crying until I am laughing are also becoming a new normal.

But, today, the words flowed from me in a poetic prose that I had missed. The pain and sadness that lives deep within my soul, was eager to hit the slip of paper and is currently tucked inside my wallet. As I read the words aloud to the child who loves to listen to rap and lyrics full of suffering and pain I heard the words “that’s deep and really good. If I didn’t know you, it would almost be scary, almost.”

You see, I have a dark side, a side riddled with past pains, abuse, rape, physical and emotional neglect and loss. My dark side often finds its way out when its pen on paper, never rehearsed or even edited, just the need to hold a pen to paper and write the words that flow, whatever they may be.

I often wonder to myself, how do people who don’t write deal with their dark side? Surely, I am not the only one who has this. Certainly, I am not the only one with a tumultuous past.

I believe in God. I believe I am redeemed. I believe that Christ has already bore my sins and that I am saved. I believe that my faith is more than sufficient and yet I am human and the darkness still lives within the broken cracks of my once shattered soul. You see, you can glue a mirror back together, no matter how many pieces, but the reflection will never be the same. While Christ is the glue that strengthens me, and has rescued me from the past, it doesn’t mean the past never happened.

I love deeply and wholly with all that I am. I don’t trust easily. I break often. I hide the pain behind a smile. I am content in just ‘being’ and in knowing that the present doesn’t last forever and that what comes tomorrow will be history the following day. I’ve learned that I have to be my own best friend so that I can live the life God would have me lead.

Mar 052017
 

I’m all alone, when the sun, goes down
What I wouldn’t give, to have someone around
The nights are endless, and dreams, are few
But when they come, well they never come true
And so it goes
No one even knows, the pain behind the smile
How all the while I’m cryin’
SAVE ME…..SOMEONE SAVE ME
SAVE ME…..SOMEONE SAVE ME
‘CAUSE I’VE BEEN SAVIN’ MYSELF FOR HER TOO LONG’
IT’S TIME I’M MOVIN’ ON
Won’t you save me?
Too many memories in this, old town
My face turned up to meet the rain..the rain that’s fallin’ down
Let it come
And so it goes
That no one even knows, the pain behind the smile
How all the while I’m dyin’
SAVE ME…..SOMEONE SAVE ME
SAVE ME…..SOMEONE SAVE ME
‘CAUSE I’VE BEEN SAVIN’ MYSELF FOR HER TOO LONG’
IT’S TIME I’M MOVIN’ ON
Won’t you save me?
Are you gonna be the one to make it right, or am I only dreamin’
Baby am I dreamin’?……Am I dreamin’?
No one even knows, the pain behind the smile
Whoooooh…baby, baby, baby, baby-they don’t know
They don’t know…that I’m cryin’ all the while
All the while
Somebody save me….save me
Save me……somebody save me (Mm Mm)
Save me…..save me
Save me…….someone save me
‘Cause I’ve been saving myself for her too long
It’s time I’m movin’ on
Won’t you save me….save me
Can’t you see…..that I’ve been lonely?

 

This weekend was a crazy one, lots of random things happened, and the one I least expected was seeing a message on Facebook saying that a girl I had talked to the night before was in ICU and wasn’t likely to make it, followed quickly by the announcement of her death.

I guess I was one of the last to talk to her as her brother reached out to me, which I am grateful for, unfortunately, I couldn’t tell him she was in a bad state the night before or that she seemed to be depressed or in a frame of mind that would make me think that our conversation was one that would be our last.

We spoke about how we were doing, mentally. She had done some amazing things in the past year, leaving her husband and other toxic relationships, delivering a healthy baby (her third child), getting a job and being the caregiver and breadwinner and even trying to reconnect with family while seemingly getting a hold of her own demons. She lost around 50lbs and looked amazing. Her frown had turned to a smile and her cynicism had for the most part became a sort of comic relief rather than what appeared to be a distress call.

So, what went wrong?

The pain behind the smile.

That’s what went wrong.

We had spoke about how being happy was a frightening thing because when you deal with mental health issues there is often a crash after a bout of happiness. She said “it’s like you’re jinxing yourself”. She was dead about 18 hours later.

After talking to me her posts on Facebook stopped. She was a chronic poster but I thought nothing of it since I don’t use Facebook that often for searching through posts. I only noticed this afterwards.

I have spent the last 30ish hours wondering if our chat was her being happy because she had made the decision to end her life and felt free for the first time. Did she talk to me that night because she was in her own way saying goodbye?

I’ve known far too many people who have committed suicide. I’ve attempted it many times myself, but I have never been among the last to speak to someone before their demise. I can’t honestly say how I feel, shaken is about the only word that comes to mind.

At first, I was worried about her three sweet babies, what will happen to them? Who has them? Did they find her? What did they see? Will the older two remember her?

Then I felt a sadness within myself, not because she was gone, but because I will be missing out on having someone around who often understood the darker side. Who was eager to seek the Lord and often confused by it during times of struggle.

A quote I have on my Facebook talks about how when one commits suicide it is really the first time that they have taken hold of control of their lives. After experiencing suicides through my whole life, I still believe that.

“If I commit suicide, it will not be to destroy myself but to put myself back together again. Suicide will be for me only one means of violently reconquering myself, of brutally invading my being, of anticipating the unpredictable approaches of God. By suicide, I reintroduce my design in nature, I shall for the first time give things the shape of my will. ”
~Antonin Artaud~

Unfortunately, it’s a painful ending to those of us left to figure out the pieces, never mind pick them up. Then again, there never really is a good time to die, whether your 102 or 22… There really, never is “unfinished business.”

Sometimes, our stories become more powerful when we have a powerful departure from this earth into our heavenly realm. I believe that will be the truth for this dear lady. Because, “The dead are not lost to us. They speak to us everyday” -unknown

Feb 022017
 

He sat there absorbed in his video game and me in my book and as the hours ticked by I could see he was holding his breath more often, afraid to breathe but trying to ignore the silence of the phone. No news is good news, right?

Finally, we laid down and slept for a few hours -smack in the afternoon and into the early evening, and his breathing relaxed, his stress slipped away as I watched him before dozing off myself.

When the phone rang it’s awful ringtone he shot out of bed like a cat, straight into the air and answered it quickly.

He held his breath when it was his dad and not his mom who said she would call when her surgery was over.

When his dad passed the phone to his mom the audible sigh of relief that escaped his body caused tears to roll down my cheeks, quickly swiped away by the blanket.

She was okay. He was okay. I was okay. We could breathe knowing his mama survived the surgery.

The holding your breath and doing your best to focus on the good and handing it to God thing seemed to be working through the day, it was a nice day, but lingering in the back of our minds was a part of our souls that just needed the know what God’s plan for us that day actually was.

Breathing out the negative and breathing in the relief felt fresh, new, amazing.

Suddenly we both wanted to eat and found ourselves thirsty, realizing we hadn’t done either all day as we did our best to stir our minds from the what-ifs.

It was only 2 days before that I was the strong one, standing on the stairs into the night speaking to his mama about her faith and her journey through the church, through life, and her telling me that I was reminding her to just trust God.

Why is it so much easier to say than do? Preach but not be preached to?

I hold my hands in reverence to the One who is in control of it all, whose plans I will never know until I am walking through them. To Him I give praise, because praise is deserved even in the darkest of days. Gratitude in the middle of chaos. He triumphs as I stumble. Picks me up when I fall. When the air is knocked from my soul, He breathes life back into me. CPR for the soul. The Bible my personal First Aid Kit!

Jan 062017
 


I have been disconnected feeling for so many years, from myself, from others, and worst of all, from God. And, when I have had the opportunity to connect I have pulled away, recoiled like a snake stepped on whose only reflex is to tangle up on itself.

I have purposed this year with my OneWord365 to be “intentional”. How that is going to play out, I don’t know. But, I am excited to be intentional with my children, my parents, my boyfriend, and of course my relationship with Christ -my God.

The desire to connect to myself and to others, especially the One who created me, has overridden the desire to pull into myself and hide from the world the way I used to. I want to, no I need to, live life in the love that was ordained by Christ Himself when He spoke to us saying “And a new commandment I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you…” He didn’t add in an “if, and, or, but, unless” etc to the command, so I am going to live with the intent to connect through Christ, to connect in love and to work at connecting with my soul and strive to reach my potential.

I love connecting with each of you every week as we flash-mob write. As we tweet about sports and justice and chocolate and ask for prayers. Connecting through our own words and the Word of God, the words in the books of our dear friends as they follow where they are to be lead.

I am excited to see who will join us this year and who I will connect with and what we will connect over, maybe a favorite dish, children the same age, mentors or a friendship that makes no sense to the naked eye but simply feels natural and right.

We all live with fear. It hangs around, whispering in our ears, reminding us of all we can’t do or will never be. But that’s not the end of the story. We also have a God who draws close to say, Fear not. I am with you. This Spirit transforms us into fear fighters–women breaking free of trepidation to find bold dedication to God’s peace-, purpose- and joy-filled callings.

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Nov 102016
 

I often feel like an outcast, like I don’t have much in common with the Christian community or the secular community. I am a single mom who has lived through hell -literally. I struggle to see other families married and having kids and being on the same page and all of that when I am co-parenting with my own parents and I was a teen mom.


And yet, I feel like I belong at the same time because Christ didn’t accidentally make me fall in line with the people in my life, He didn’t cause me to check and email, stumble across a blog post or fall into a chapter in my Bible that spoke to me by accident.

No, He invited me in, even when I feel like the world may not want me, and I am learning that rejection is not only okay, but it is often necessary, because when we reject something that isn’t good for us, or are rejected by someone or something we thought was good for us, we are vulnerable and that vulnerability allows us to open up even further to prayer and to God’s love and plans for our lives -that is, if we allow Him in!

I no longer believe in coincidences. I believe that there is a reason for everything and while a LOT of those things have hurt and hurt really badly over the last weeks, I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am walking a path that the Light is guiding me down.


I am amazed by the kindness and care I have received. The things I have in common with people I never met and the quirks I have and that they have that blend us together and make us work.

I have spent a lifetime praying to a God that often doesn’t seem to answer and yet these moments of commonality and acceptance are like a big ole swat upside the head from the Father that loves beyond all, saying to me “Child, if you would just have some patience!”

Practicing patience as a virtue is hard when it’s something you weren’t born naturally doing, and yet because I was created in His image, just like you were, I know that it is something I can strive towards, I also know I will never be perfectly patient, or perfectly anything, other than His and I have learned that I shouldn’t strive for perfection, I should strive to be in the presence of the One who is always perfect!

Oct 142016
 

It’s been well over 18 months since my best friends letters quit coming. The last from a jail somewhere in Nova Scotia, with a piece of artwork inside like every week. In it he told me that his health was continuing to get worse and that he feared if anything were to happen that the facility wouldn’t provide the help that he required.

I haven’t heard from him since. It’s been over a year now since he should have been released. Since I met him 9 years ago he never missed a single week in mailing me, never missed calling me when he said he would, and when he said he wouldn’t.

I know he is gone, and yet each week I open up the PO Box and eagerly go through each bill hoping that there is a letter from him in there somewhere. Yet, there never is, and hope slowly and reluctantly fades and I place my faith blindly in the Lord because while my friend was a criminal, his whole life, he was also a Christian and his letters from jail would encourage me in my walk with the Lord each week.

We would discuss the books we were reading, the studies we were doing, what we had learned and how walking the walk with God daily was better than not walking it at all and that a daily goal was far easier to achieve then one created with a form of long commitment.

His last handmade card to me still hangs with a clothes pin on my Truly Blessed birdcage from DaySpring and I can’t help but worry that he is still alive and suffering somewhere that he can’t reach me from. Lord knows I have tried to find him, but there are no obituaries or news articles or arrest records or anything that I can find. It’s like he just stopped. Stopped what? I don’t know… writing? Breathing? Living?

I trust that the Lord has him safely wherever he is, I pray that there is no more suffering and that the lack of mail is because my friend is wholly whole with the One who is and always will be Holy.

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Aug 112016
 

I take a deep breath and point my bottom up in the air wondering how attractive THAT has to be and sorta laugh to myself how awkward yoga can look and how good it can feel. Even though I am not feeling well I decided to hit the mat and sweat it out and lift up my spiritual energy, centering it, refocusing it on the one who created me in the very beginning and saw that I was good.


It has been easy to be down over the last few months. I have felt a ton of pressure in the little things and a lot of slippery serpent heads slithering their ways into my thoughts and creating anxiety and fear, and a lack of trust. In the last session of Hello Mornings, which I have loved for years and even lead a group with Jen from Faith Mustard Seed in for several sessions. This intimate group of people I thought I could trust and ask for prayer in were the ones I went to when I found out my cousin had another baby born asleep. Before anyone had even commented or offered prayers in the private group I was being tweeted about it and my faith in a female lead church community collapsed -hard.

At the same time I had just finished a course in ministry and had received grades high enough to earn me a scholarship. I haven’t logged back into the site since to see what I would like to take, I haven’t even requested a copy of my transcript or diploma for the first course.


Women are supposed to be building each other up, for ever we have helped one another -raise babies, pray, stay strong in faith, cook meals for other families and even offered to help cook or clean for our female friends and acquaintances when they needed it the most.

We are supposed to be lifting each other up and instead this crazy world of social media, on every platform, has become a game of trying to be better or look better or take better photos or eat better foods or pray better. A game of my way is better than your way and the most beautiful of people from Facebook to Twitter to Youtube have worked hard to cut those life giving umbilical cords to the One who always loves and always pulls us up by showing us their ugly sides.

 

It is hard to not be pulled down when in the back ground they are spreading rumors, exposing your private moments and your broken-hard is exposed for the entire world to see.


I am having to remind myself daily as I check in with my soul that my faith in Christ has not changed, but my faith in humanity is definitely in question. It is so much easier to slam the laptop closed and keep it all inside, locked away inside the confines of my mind, but like the Queen song says “I want to break free” and in order to be healthy, I need to.

I am definitely on the defensive, my stress levels high and every one who I was trusting as my “church” community whether in real life or online has fallen into this line of wonderment where my PTSD is triggered and I have to ask myself “can I trust you?”

As I raise my hands up and breath in deeply and lift my heart I know that I am being held by God. And that is all that really matters.

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