Telephone. (Anxiety) 

*ring ring*
As a kid I hated talking on the phone. I have a specific memory filed with fear, panic, and tears when my mom forced me to call my babysitter for a reason I can’t remember.  Even to this day I rehearse what I’m going to say to strangers on the phone and I get a little panicky when the conversation talks outside of my carefully collected lines .

I had trouble making friends growing up.  When I was 6 we moved to a really small town and because I didn’t go to kindergarten with all the 1st graders I felt like the new kid from day 1 through about 4th grade when there were finally enough other new faces around.

Regardless I was made fun of a lot and I never really felt accepted, except by a few.  So as I grew older and the few friends I did have came and went, I was driven inward, downward, deep, dark, circling, spiraling depression consumed my middle and early high school years. 

I learned how extroverts acted. As an introvert I prided myself on keeping my dark feelings hidden. All the while pouring my soul out on to journal pages; mourning my loneliness. Wondering why a good Father would allow my life to turn out this way. 

Flash-forwad: I’m 24 and married, working full time, cat mom who loves to cook, keep a clean and orderly apartment, and creatively express herself in various fashions — and still wondering why sometimes things are like this, realizing now that the root of depression isn’t loneliness, it’s anxiety, and loneliness is a byproduct. 

Because yes, I would love to have a girls day, group date, fun-in-the-sun, exploring adventure. I would love to go to every consultant party and buy products I don’t need and be happy – but I’m going to worry about my finances- pointlessly, I might add. And I’m definitely going to worry about what to wear. Even though I tell myself I don’t care what people think.  Because I really do. And I desperately need their approval. 

And I’m going to worry about how to get there. Does my husband have off work? Because we share a car and I’ll need a ride. My town doesn’t have buses or Ubers (and don’t even get me started on those). And now I’m worried about my dependency on others because I was raised to do everything on my own and I don’t always have transportation. 

And this social situation I’m heading to has too many strangers anyway,  who will judge me, or worse, people who know me really well and say they won’t judge me but secretly do anyway. 

But the most stressful of all, especially for quiet introverts like me, is small talk.  I try to stay up on politics and world news to seem educated and cultured, I think. But I’m not a talker (oh,  the irony), especially to strangers. And is not because I don’t care about how your spouse and kids are, or what you did last weekend. I just don’t always think about it. 

So I’m sorry if this tightly wound ball of stress and sadness has offended or hurt you in anyway. I truly didn’t mean it. And I thank God every day that His mercy is brand new every morning.  Nothing quiets chaos like His peace.  Some days I take it for granted. Some days I fail to believe.  But He is a loving, patient Father. And His kindness always draws me back. 

An open letter. 

I am a Christian. Now I know that a lot of you have tuned me out already, but just hear me. I’m not going to shove Jesus down your throat. I’m not going to whack you with a Bible. I don’t care if you’ve had an abortion, if your hetero-, homo-, pan-, a-, (or any other descriptive sexual. I don’t care if you’re an athiest, agnostic, Hindi, Muslim, Jewish, Pagan, or some other mosiac religion. I don’t care what you do, what you believe, or how you perceive me. But I’m sorry that some of my People do. I apologize for the hateful, cruel, insensitive words my people have spoken against you, whether in ignorance or not. And I’m sorry for me, too. I’m sorry I’ve said things, and even thought I may have been ignorant, that does not excuse my crime. You see, my people (as do most people with a holy book) interpret a strong moral code from our Bible. What we have gotten wrong, however, is to whom this code applies. Christian laws and values do not apply to those who are not Christians, plain and simple. No where in the Bible does it say that we, as followers of Jesus, should impose our beliefs, our moral code, our opinions, on others. And if you haven’t noticed yet, doing so does not make Jesus look good; in fact, it usually drives people away.

What Jesus does say, however, is that we should love God and love our neighbors. He also says to do onto others as you want done to you. If all of Jesus’ teachings can be boiled down to one word, the word is Love. Jesus’ love is kind, it’s compassionate, it’s gentle. Jesus didn’t point out sin, he offered love and then said, “Go, and sin no more.” 

You see, my God loves people. He loves the LBGT community. He loves Muslims. He loves women who’ve had abortions. And He has asked His people to do the same. I’m convinced that if my people could learn to love as He loves, we wouldn’t care about the laws of our land. I certainly don’t. Because my scripture says that His kindness leads people to repentance. Not Christians. Not local, state, or federal law. Not theology. Just kindness. And it’s only His kindness, His mercy that can convict sin. I am freed by the thought that I don’t have to worry about anyone else’s sin but my own. 

So I am sorry if I’ve been anything but love. I’m sorry if I’ve passed judgment (but rest assured, I’ll be judged by the same measure). I just can’t go on living a two-faced gospel. I can’t sing about love and grace without extending the same grace. I am horribly flawed, stained, beaten down, broken, bleeding filth of humanity. I am angry, hateful, frustrated, filled with crippling anxiety and darkest depression. But His love has set me free. I know I’m not perfect, but I can breathe easy. I can sleep peacefully, and I can cast my worry onto the One who’s yoke is light. And I’m holding out hope for the day I can leave this dark reflection of a world behind and enter into rest. 

But until such a day, I will strive to do nothing but love. When all is forsaken, yet I will love, because He first loved.

Keep Drumming

It’s the end of the world, it’s the end of the world! The signs show it, the earth groans, groans, GROANS! But creation continues to turn. And we say that we wait with eager anticipation but we struggle to see His plan, to hear the voice of the Most Holy.

So we keep living out our days, complacent enough to be comfortable but to appear to be walking in His ways. All the while hoping that life will pass us by quickly so we don’t feel guilty, too busy to do Kingdom work.

Because when people don’t get healed at our hands we get disillusioned, like, why would You tell me that signs and wonders will follow me, but You didn’t stick to the plan. And we scoff at the Organizer orchestrating all thing omnisciently but we fail to realize Redeemer’s reasons regarding reigning and ruling. Miracles are Master’s marvels to make. But how do we expect Him to walk into the room if we’re too concerned with the room’s fate?

His miracles happen daily, barely we seem to notice, the breath in my lungs keeps coming, my faithless heart keeps drumming, pumping, banging, thumping. This heart keeps drumming. And my faith might amount to a mustard seed. If only Your Spirit’s fire could set the embers of my heart ablaze, but I keep sabotaging the flames.

Less than half of my faith remains.

But I still believe You’re going to restore this worn out heart of mine. And until that time, I’ll prepare myself to be your bride. I might not be perfect, but I’ll sure as heck try. And maybe then I’ll finally hear Your words again. The Lord’s language lovingly lavishing my soul.

Just please keep this drum-heart beating.

Dusty Words.

There’s something about traveling that makes me think about God.
It makes me think about creation and beauty and love.
I don’t know why, but something about long drives reminds me of a land called Georgia.
It’s something about seeing farms again, on those back country roads,
On the highways and byways that stretch through the hills and wind the fields to bring me back home.
Like spring streams overflowing with winter’s melt cutting their way through the green terrain.
There’s something about creation that inspires me to write, to create something beautiful like my Daddy did.
A shadow’s imitation of Light’s perfection because He used nothing.
And me? I’ve only got words.
But there aren’t enough. There aren’t enough words to adequately describe Him, to create something beautiful for Him.
Like a foggy mirror, my words are a distorted perception, a poor reflection of what I’m really trying to say.
Even if I could use every word from any language to reach Him, well I’d still be at sea level.
But there is something about words,
And there is something about writing that makes me want to sing.
But I don’t know if I can,
Because new things scare. me. to. death.
And I’m comfortable where I am.
But don’t wait up for me.
Cuz I’m reflecting on where I’ve been and I’m dreaming of where I want to be
And I’ve got to be trying harder than this to get there.
So in the struggle, in the wrestling out of this faith of mine, I’m praying that the distinction of my past and dreams to my present will motivate me to fly.
To propel me into my dreams in the sky.
And I can’t look back even when failure looks me dead in the eye.
Because there is something about grace that lifts my spirit high.

The Harlot Bride

Painted pretty perfect outside and within

But just because you mask your skin doesn’t mean that your bones aren’t decaying.

You’re a mummy with no tomb,

Nothing more than an Egyptian queen

Cake on that foundation and lipstick extra thick to impress all those pass you by.

Then watch it crumble off at the end of every night.

And as the days go by, your bones begin to collapse within turning your pretty painted figure into dust and ash.

The stench of rotting flesh rises freely through your mask.

But you sell yourself anyway! Whatever it takes to keep you alive,

But you’re dying inside.

Where is your heart beat? Have you become deaf, even to its rhythm?

Oh, painted, broken harlot, you were meant to be a Bride.

It kills me inside to see what you’ve become.

Did you know that your Groom is still waiting?

Did you know that He’s still buying you time?

Yet, you reserve your hand for other men

Who use the exact purpose creation was not intended for

Your mind has become an enigma in which your beautiful being, is nothing more than a whore

 

You’ve got a heart-shaped box in the back of your closet with all the romantic trinkets He’s ever given you.

All the love notes He’s ever sent

You are rubber-banded there too.

Every once in a while, He sends you an invitation, just a reminder that He’s still waiting.

And every time you see it, a spark of life appears in your heart.

Just an ember, but hot enough to catch flame if you would just let it

Yet, you’d rather be subject to gentlemen like Cleveland and Madison

Could your heart still beat without the adrenaline?

Has this nature replaced your purpose?

 

He is so jealous for your attention, your affection,

to just look Him in the eye and tell Him that you remember Him.

He’s got a ring in His pocket, the one you gave Him back.

The same one that you thought was a shackle, that ring is the key to your freedom.

Kara Darkseid has his grip upon you

You’re not one of them, you’re one of us

An alien to a world you don’t know

 

The Groom is a gentleman, He won’t force you, He won’t make you, but He won’t stop chasing you.

He seeks you, He longs for you. He wants you back; all He’s ever wanted is you.

His jealousy endures.

As strong as the grave grips the dead, so strong is His love for you.

His passion for you burns with unquenchable flame not even ocean floods can extinguish.

But you lick your scars alone in the dark, afraid that accepting this invitation will inflict bullets on the wounded.

 

So, as strong as his feet upon this ground

He won’t leave Apokolips without you

He’s desperate for you

Open up your ears,

Let your heart be heard

This is not your war

So, where have you gone?

Whatever you’ve done,

He doesn’t stop loving

He always sees the good in people

Even when justice sees the darkness

This is not your war,

Put your eyes down

Midnight Drives.

It’s on those late night drive where the land stretches out to the sky and headlights blind your eyes that you start thinking;

You start thinking about life and all the things you’ve tried and failed at.

And as your mind races you wonder if you’ve done anything worth mentioning at all.

Because when the scales come off your eyes and you see for the first time you realized that everything you’ve ever done was a lie because selflessness was just a mask for your pride.

Our eyes have been blinded to the truth.

The window to my soul is clouded and distorted by things not of you, Father.

How do I take out these grey-scale lenses?

It’s like headlights on foggy nights that reflect back at you on the mist.

You start wandering in circles because you knwo where you’re going and you don’t need a hand to guide you.

This pride is a cancer to my soul.

It’s terminal, stage four.

But if only there was a Healer out there who could cause a miracle,

Who can cut out this disease and make me whole.

Healer, won’t you make me whole?

Please, please! just heal this sickness killing my soul.

I don’t ant to give up, and I can’t do this on my own.

But to come to that place of absolute surrender?

Easier said that done.

Easier sang, that followed through.

I surrender all, I surrender all.

All to Jesus, my Blessed Savior, I surrender all.

But on Monday morning, when the world starts spinning are you really making a difference?

Are you really living the change you proclaimed?

Because pride’s one of those things that doesn’t go away so easily.

It’ll sneak up and get you again before you know it.

And you realize it’s got you again when you’re so far gone.

Am I too far gone?

Jesus, there’s got to me something more than this roller coaster life I’m living!

I know that there are people supporting me, and pulling for me, and I feel like I”m about to let thema ll down.

Father won’t you reach Your hand out of the sky and hold me tight?

Because I feel so alone on this dreary night.

I just want a hand to hold on to.

I just wanna know that someone is out there fighting for me and that I’m not in this alone.

Because this familiar numbness is creeping back inside.

It’s on these late night drives where the land stretches out to meet the sky and headlights blind your eyes that you start thinking.

You start wondering about life and all the times you’ve tried and failed and failed and failed…

Retrospect’s lenses show that there was never a hand holding yours but powerful, loving arms embracing you at all times.

Father, won’t you embrace me tonight?

Grey Scale.

City lights reflect off of wet roads on cloudy nights

And as the mist from car tires rises to meet the sky, so my soul longs to rise on high.

Just to commune with my Father in the secret place;

to just get a glimmer of  glimpse, like the seraphim,

Just enough to cry, “Holy!”

But these emotions are so far away.

And as life keeps spinning faster each day, I wonder how close to Jesus I really am.

Because how can I be so close to something, someone so awesome, and beautiful, and life-changing and not know it?

It’s like the days before the rain.

Clouds slowly accumulate on the horizon.

Day by day they grow until the sky is dark and grey.

It stays that way for days and you know there will be rain.

But sometimes you can get used to shadow and forget the cloud until the sky breaks open above you and rain falls in a torrent.

Father, You’ve been hovering for quite some time.

The clouds churn in a blended grey scale as the first drops of rain break free.

And when the rain finally begins to fall I feel Your rain filling me.

It reminds me how much I love this rainy weather.