Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Please Excuse My Ineptitude

We are in the process of moving. I have decided I am completely incompetent at this.

How I pictured this move in my mind.

How this move is happening IRL.

Dead. Fail. I can't go on. 

See that sad little lamp in the background? That's exactly how I feel. Tucked away in a corner. Trying to hide from this chaos. Off kilter. I feel ya, little lamp. You just can't go on like this, can you little buddy? Me neither. 

I've had approximately 3.427 zillion talks about how this is all going to work with myself, and this is a pretty accurate description for how those talks go:

Self to self: "Hey let's go all Monica Gellar with this situation. Let's pull out the label maker, color code everything, and dazzle your husband with your brilliance here. He will be SO IMPRESSED that you've organized something FOR ONCE in your marriage."
Self back to self: "Let's not."

Self to self: "You've got this. Drink enough coffee and you can conquer anything."
Self back to self: "Nah, you're good. Drink enough wine so you just don't care."

Self to self: "But really. Do all your stressing now so that moving day will be a cakewalk."
Self back to self: "YOU CAN'T MAKE ME! LA LA LA LA LA [poking fingers in ears] I really just want to write about feelings and watch Netflix."

So since I'm so inept with this move, I wanted to talk about all the other stuff I'm really terrible at. I'm not talking weird stuff like basket weaving or competitive bowling or training a troop of animals to sing and clean with me like Disney princesses. I'm talking about things that every other human seems to ace in their every day lives that I miserably fail at. I'll tell you what I'm really awful at, then you can tell me what you're really awful at. That sounds a whole heck-of-a-lot more fun than comparing our greatness like we do on social media, yes? Yes. Let's.

I can't walk on flat ground

Really. I can't. You might think this is something an average human masters during their first or second year of life, but I've never mastered it. I can't tell you how many coffee stains I've scrubbed from my clothes as a result of tripping on air and dumping the contents of my travel mug on myself. Zero motor skills. Zero. Don't get me started on stairs.

I can't live without coffee

If someone were to ask me 'coffee or food'? As much as it would pain me to think about a world without buffalo wings or tacos, I would say coffee. Without coffee, I can't anything. I can't do anything. I can't think of anything. I can't feel anything. I just cannot. Me without coffee typically means me without matching shoes. Me with no coffee may mean I may show up to an important function with no pants. America may run on Dunkin', but Sara runs on Costco's finest blend.

I can't keep my house clean

You don't know my life. I live with savage beasts. I'm always amazed at the places pee can hide when cleaning a bathroom that men, boys, or tiny male toddlers use. Crusty socks have taken over my life and my floors. I know you'll send me your Pinterest board of chore wheels. "It's easier because everyone does their share" you say. But it doesn't matter what system you use, I'm confident in stating that we cannot do it. We will reach masterful levels of sabotage and failure EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. It doesn't matter how "idiot proof" your system is, I assure you, you have found idiots who can't crack your code.

I can't listen to my voicemails.

Or emails. Or anything. I often get texts from friends that say "SARA. COME ON! YOUR VOICEMAIL IS FULL AGAIN?! I LOVE YOU BUT LOVE HAS LIMITS." If you want to get in touch with me, your chances are better with smoke signals, a fax to a fax machine I don't have, morse code, or sending a pigeon. I will not and cannot listen to anything you communicate with me in voicemails. It's goes against all my DNA, and my religion.

This is actually a really good day in terms of voicemails and emails. Seriously. Top notch. I don't know how I have any friends at all.

I can't run updates

iOS version 97.4 when I seriously JUST downloaded 97.3?! Nope. I know we're only on version 9 point something, but just like a year is like seven to a dog, one update is like 10 point something to me. Can't do it. I will hit "remind me later" but what I really mean is GO AWAY!

I can't eat without spilling

You know how people always say "that's why I never wear white"? I wish that worked for me. There's literally no color shirt I can wear that masks the evidence of what I've consumed in the last few hours. I should own stock in Shout, or at least be the spokesperson in their commercials. I will always walk around looking like a Jackson Pollock mural of buffalo sauce, chocolate, and toothpaste, which can often resemble the victim on an episode of CSI.

I can't plan ahead

I try. I really do. And I HATE being late. So when the queen of "let's just wing it" and "oh hey, I found something more fun to do while I procrastinate on this practical thing I should be doing" meet with "DON'T MAKE ME LATE!"…. Houston, we have a bit of a problem. 90% of my life is daydreaming, creating ideas-for-later, lounging, reading, mindlessly watching TV, the other 10 is pure panic. I'm always paying for overnight shipping because I "forgot" to order that thing. I scramble. I curse myself. I cry. A few weeks out, I plan out well-intentioned moves I should be making for that big project. A week before I say to myself 'gosh, I'm tragically far behind I really should get on that'….and half an hour before, I'm rushing through the shower praying for hair that dries quickly and no traffic on the way to wherever I'm going. This system works for me. It's amazing what I can accomplish in a panic. 

I can't return things. 

Reads return policy on really ugly dress I had to buy online: you have 30 days for a refund and 60 days for store credit. On day 61, well, I guess we're stuck together forever now. I'm sure we could send our child to college for two years with what we've paid in library fines and Redbox late fees over the years.

I can't do school fundraisers

I don't care if the nice, charismatic, fundraising fairy promised you a unicorn ride to Legoland with the cast of Star Wars and a light saber made of hope and dreams, my dear child. This fundraising sheet for stale popcorn is going right in the trash. #sorrynotsorry But do tell me who to make the check out to if we need new computers or whatever. 

I can't fold my clothes as soon as the dryer finishes

Why yes, super fancy dryer I convinced myself would make me love doing laundry, I will keep running a "steam fluff" cycle…. FOREVER.

What say you? What are the things that every other human seems to conquer that end up conquering you? What do you fail miserably at?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

To the One Who Is Drowning

Do you ever feel like you're drowning? Like no matter how hard you kick and struggle to keep your head above water, you still get sucked under? Sometimes, it doesn't feel worth it to even keep trying. Your body is exhausted, your lungs are on fire, and fighting feels futile. I see you, sweet one. I see you.  I see your kicking slowing down, I see you giving up, and I see your lost hope. I see you, completely overwhelmed, in the grocery store. I see you in faking a smile in church hallways. I see you on the verge of tears, in the carpool lane at your kid's school. I picture you searching for motivation to go to work. I picture you coming home, throwing on some sweats, sinking into your couch, curling up with the remote, and giving up. It feels like you've lost the war, and you won't ever experience God the way you once did. So you choose to camp out at home alone. You're not answering the phone when your friends call. You're just not excited about anything anymore. You're drowning, and no matter who offers you a life raft, you're just not interested. The thought of swimming against the current to grab on to the raft seems so daunting, that you're perfectly content to just stay and sink. Do you relate? Pull up a chair, sweet one. 

God has been whispering to me what I'm about to whisper to you. You ready? OK, listen up:

You can't keep your head above water.

I know what you're thinking. "Whoa, what?! I thought you were going to help me, Sara. Why would you say something like this to me? I'm reading to be encouraged, not discouraged." Read it again, closer this time. YOU can't keep your head above water. But that doesn't mean you have to drown! You have the power of God within you. He can keep you above water, but you can't. You are a part of the winning team, but the losing team is putting cinder blocks on your ankles to keep you from rising to the top. The devil will say and do anything to pull you under. He'll say things like "you're damaged goods" or "no one wants you" or "you have nothing to offer" or "you may as well quit, you'll just fail anyway" or "there's nothing lovable about you".

….No ma'am. Not even close.

"But Eve was tricked by the snakes clever lies. And I'm afraid that in the same way your minds will somehow be led down the wrong path. They will be led away from your true and pure love for Christ." -2 Corinthians 11:3 

Clever lies. That's what the devil does. He saves his best work for what he hates most, and he has clearly hated God's people from the very beginning. Therefore, you sweet one, have a big honkin' target on your back. He's coming hard for you because you represent Jesus. You represent light. You represent hope…. and he wants nothing more than to obliterate it, stomp it out, torch it, and defeat it. He wants to defeat you. He targets those who seek the heart and will of God, because he knows what you're capable of. He sees the power of God ready to be unleashed in you, and he's threatened by it. He's threatened by you! You're no one who is weak, you're no one who has nothing to offer, and you're definitely no one who is doomed for certain failure. You're someone who is intimidating. IF YOU ARE UNDER ATTACK, THAT MEANS YOU ARE A THREAT! Stand strong in that truth, dear one. 

"Be on your guard. Remain strong in faith. Be brave." -1 Corinthians 16:13 

Even though you may not feel strong, sweet girl, our great God IS! You can be brave knowing that He is always on your side. Though people may fail you and feed you these lies, He never will!

"Be strong and brave. Don't be afraid of them. Don't be terrified because of them. The Lord your God will go with you. He will never leave you. He'll never desert you." -Deuteronomy 31:6

He will protect you. He is our hope, and our only hope for peace. He'll pull you up out of the deep end, but only if you'll let Him. He's waiting to clean the lies out of your head. He's waiting to pull you out of this flood, because He'd so much rather flood your head with His peace. 

"I will offer you peace like a river and glory like an overflowing stream." -Isaiah 66:12

I'm not sure about you, but I'm DONE drowning in the tumultuous ocean of lies in my head. I choose to float in the peaceful river of His peace. Come on in with me, the water's fine!

Friday, February 12, 2016

To the One Looking For Purpose

WHAT. A. WEEK. I've had all the feelings. Every last one. So deep. I felt sadness, joy, frustration, relief, brokenness, healing, despair, hope, exasperation, forgiveness, love, loss, overwhelmed, empty and everything in between. I posted this image on Facebook, because for realz….

It feels like decades of stuff has happened this week. It's funny, but not. So I had to take a moment to laugh at it. Because if you can't laugh at life sometimes, you're doomed. 

So, hey y'all, my name is Sara and I'm an emotional-hot-mess. I feel like I feel things more intensely than your average individual, and I feel like it's easier for me to pick up on other people's emotions than it is to deal with my own. When someone I love feels sad, so do I. When someone I love is on top of the world, so am I. Seriously, I'm a bawling mess every time I listen to an Adele album because I start feeling what she's singing. Sometimes it has felt like a gift and sometimes it has felt like a curse, but I definitely learned to accept that it's a gift. Some people are good a fixing broken air conditioners, some people are good at fixing people's finances, I'm good at fixing people's broken hearts. I love people so ridiculously hard it hurts; but it also heals. Loving is what I do. 

It's been hard to figure out how to translate that into a way to make a living. For a while I thought I was supposed to be a stay-at-home-mom, for a while I thought I was supposed to work in ministry, for a while I thought I was supposed to be a counselor. I'm still open to all those things, but one by one all these ideas of mine have fallen through in one way or another. So many times I thought I just wasn't good enough for any of these, and that I had no purpose in life. Relate? Sit down, pour a cup of coffee, and let's chat, mi amiga. 

When I was little, I put my slipperiest socks on and "skated" and twirled around the kitchen like I was Nancy Kerrigan. {If anyone relates to broken dreams it's her!} ….and good grief I'm the klutziest person I know walking on flat ground, no way I could ever be a champion ice skater. But dang, it was fun to play around all twirly and swirly. What did you want to be when you were a little girl? A teacher? A vet? A singer? Cinderella at Disney World? A mom? A lawyer? An astronaut? POTUS? A marine biologist? I bet you played outside and imagined a world where you were grown up and had reached your dream, and you just couldn't wait to grow up and be that. And now… here you find yourself, grown up with your dream evaporated into thin air. You grew up, and you had to get practical. You have to think logically, because reality ran over you like a truck. Maybe you have overdue bills to pay, maybe you have kids to raise, maybe you have an addiction you're wrestling with, maybe you're in the midst of a health crisis, maybe you're not getting interviews, maybe you're not getting into the college program you wanted, or maybe you already have your degree but you're stuck serving coffee and doing something that feels like it's beneath your skill set. Everyone else seems to be updating their LinkedIn profiles, they're getting promoted, they're getting the corner office, they're chasing their purpose…. And you? You're wondering why God is holding out on you. And you're so frustrated, worried, brokenhearted, or just plain pissed. I know, sweet girl. It sucks. 

I picture you clocking into that shift at a job you hate, or praying for the phone to ring, or begging the power company to keep your lights on, or praying for that acceptance letter, or sitting in the coffee shop choking back tears wandering through all the want-ads online. You have no direction, and everywhere you turn feels like a dead end. So sorry. I wish I could grab your hand, sit down with you, punch up your resumé, pray with you, and tell you exactly what to do. I want to point you in the right direction.

Here's the thing: I also wish I could point ME in the right direction. I'm a personal chef, and it pays the bills, but I just don't love it the way I love people. I'm wondering all the same things. I wish "broken-heart-fixer" was an occupation, I keep looking for ways to do that, and I keep getting doors shut in my face. God, You see me, right? You see what I need, what I want, right? Is this not what You want? You don't want me to use You to mend broken hearts? Do You have a plan for me? Hello? Is this mic even on?

Read Psalm 139 here. Of course he has a plan for us. He tells us this over & over. 

So let's walk through this weird spot together, sweet one. Let's figure this mess out.

"Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore He will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice. 
Blessed are those who wait for Him!" 
Isaiah 30:18

He is telling me to wait, and that He longs to be gracious to me, and that He will come through. He's telling all of us, His children, to lay down our pride. That pride is drowning out our calling, it's drowning out our ability to say "YES" to Him in this current moment. Do you believe that God created you? Do you believe that He knew you before you took your first breath? If you do, dry your eyes, breathe Him in, and breathe out fear. Walk in His truth. This doesn't mean that you'll walk away with all the answers for what to do or where to turn… BUT it does mean that that you can remember to whom you belong, hold your head high, and straighten your crown, dearest one. 

Close your search engines. Get off social media. Put down your phone. Unplug. Close your computer. Breathe. Close out the world, and open The Word. Don't place your hope in people. Don't place your hope in a job title. Don't place your hope in yourself. Don't place your hope in the world. Work as hard as you can, and confidently trust God to do the rest. Spend time with your Father. Learn from Him, learn about Him, and use the abilities He gave you to make Him famous. Move mountains for Him, not for you. That isn't just a good employee, that is a conquerer. She is a force to be reckoned with.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

To The One Who Is Stuck In A Storm

To the one who is stuck in a storm:

Girrrrrrrllllll…… I feel ya. 2015 was an entire year of loss, pain, anger, hardship, and despair. Sometimes it has felt more like a nightmare than like reality. I found myself standing in a storm I didn't expect. The worst part of the storm is over, but here I stand, searching for shelter in a place that has been wiped out. I'm wading through the flood, I'm exhausted from what I've already endured, and my fatigue is taking a toll. My legs feel like they're about to buckle under me, and I'm searching for solid ground. I don't understand how I got here. I don't understand why this happened to me. I don't understand how I got caught in this storm I didn't expect, and I surely didn't ask for.

Did you get caught in your own storm? Did you see yours coming? Or are you bewildered, searching for shelter, just like me? Are you wondering: "If God is capable of miracles, healing and quieting storms, then where's my miracle? Where's my healing? Why aren't You stopping my storm, Lord?" If that's you, take my hand, dear one. Let's make a plan for how we're going to make it out of this mayhem together. 

When I haven't been working or out with friends, I've been in bed for over a year. I've spent far too much time in yesterday's pajamas {OK maybe I wore those pajamas for more than 2 days}, with a dirty-hot-mess-of-a-bun on my head, with no motivation to do anything unless I really had to. I lost my mojo. I lost my purpose in life, and I've even believed that I have no purpose. I've spent over a year saying to myself "God has plans for OTHER PEOPLE…BETTER PEOPLE…. but not for me." I've had a lot of time to think. Too much time, even. I wouldn't call what I've been doing thinking, I'd call it dwelling. I've been LIVING in these self-destructive thoughts that came from the storm raging on around me. If you relate, where do we go from here?

….to the one fighting to survive in a storm….
….to the one who suffered unspeakable loss….
….to the one facing a devastating diagnosis….
….to the one who has a shattered heart….
….to the one who has "family" who acts nothing like a family….
….to the one whose trust was broken….
….to the one who loved and lost….
….to the one who feels like no one cares….
….to the one who wants to run away screaming….
….to the one who feels like they wasted their time/energy/emotion….
….to the one who had the rug pulled out from under them….
….to the one who's been abandoned….
….to the one sitting in shambles seeing everyone else's life go great….
….to the one with a worrisome bank balance….
….to the one staring at yet another negative pregnancy test….
….to the one who had had yet another miscarriage….
….to the one who is pregnant and terrified….
….to the one has to sit at yet another singles table at yet another wedding….
….to the one crying in a courtroom hallway as their marriage is ending….
….to the one who feels like she has no good choices….
….to the one who has been told she's not good enough….
….to the one who has to walk away from what you were so sure your purpose was….
….to the one with a tearstained face….
….to the one who just can't move on….
….to the one who once had support, but the letters and phone calls have stopped and your pain has been forgotten….
….to the one waving the white flag….
….to the one desperately searching for God's voice, only to find radio static….

This is your life. It feels like you're stuck in the middle of the inevitable. You feel powerless. You feel trapped. You feel like there's no safe haven anywhere you turn. There's no way out of the storm. You just can't move. Sometimes you even have to remind yourself to keep breathing. Your world is crashing down, and you just want to crawl under the covers and stay there forever. You're stuck, and being stuck sucks. I hear you, dear one, I hear you.

I don't know why this is happening to me. I don't know why this is happening to you. I don't know what's happening in your storm, and I don't know what's coming. I truly wish I had a specific solution for your storm. I don't. But I do know this: the devil is telling you "if God really loved you like He says He does, why would He let this happen to you? He definitely doesn't care about you." I also know this: THESE. ARE. LIES! He's got you right where he wants you. He's got you thinking "I think God lost my address." or "I prayed and He didn't answer", or worse, "He said no. He told me all it takes to move a mountain is faith. I tried having faith, and nothing happened." Don't believe these lies like I did. Don't love the miracle you're craving {that may never come} more than you're loving the One who already created a miracle: YOU!

You've gotta get up, baby girl. I know it's easier to lay in the pain than it is to get up and get moving. Staying close to the pain can make you feel closer to what you lost. Walking away from the pain feels like what happened didn't matter. But oh, how it mattered. I get it. Staying alone in pain can feel safer than trusting others with your pain. Pain feels certain in your circumstances, and hope feels scary. Staying in the same spot in the storm feels more safe than moving through it. But please hear me: you've got to get up and move though the storm if you want to get out of it. 

Jesus gets this. He gets this so much more than we give Him credit for. He gets this better than anyone. Read more about this here and here {for realz--don't miss reading those}. He knows what it is to be betrayed with a kiss by someone who once said he loved Him. He knows what it is to feel like the people who should be praying for Him are asleep at the switch. He knows what it is to be abandoned in His hour of need. He knows what it is to be terrified. He knows what it is to see death coming. He was in such agony anticipating His storm, He was sweating blood begging God for another way. And at the end of it, he said "Rise, let us be going…." He knew the only way out of a storm is to get up. Dear one, He gritted His teeth, rose to His feet, and got tortured and murdered…. FOR YOU! There's just no way He doesn't care about you. There's just no way He doesn't have a plan for you. Rise, dear one. Rise.

Monday, February 8, 2016

You're No One's Higher Power

Any 12 step program will tell you step 1 is admitting there is a problem, everyone knows that. People even crack jokes about it--someone will Instagram their red shopping cart full of stuff with the hashtag "#AddictedToTarget" followed by "#ThatsStepOne". People will double tap that situation and giggle about it because step one is so well known it's become a punchline. The lesser known {and less glamorous} step is step 2: "Come to believe that a higher power greater than ourselves will restore us to our sanity". The rest of the steps involve reliance and dependance on a higher power IN ORDER TO stop addictive behavior--NOT to stop addictive behavior and THEN thank your higher power for self control. To do the latter is to put the cart before the horse, and it's just not sustainable.

This Jesus life…it's so easy to get self-righteous, isn't it? [Self-righteousness = a smug display of moral or intellectual superiority that comes from the idea that the self's ideas, beliefs, dogma, house of worship, actions, or even afflictions are superior to another's]. We thank God that at least we aren't in THAT SITUATION. You know the one…the person who committed THAT SIN. That one that we whisper about. We love our God, we support Him, we want to live for Him, and yet we grasp for confidence that He is on our side. So out of our own fear and insecurities, we can start to believe that He's more on our side than others to make us feel better about us. It's so much easier to point to someone else's struggle than it is to deal with our own.

Life is like a roller coaster with precariously assembled tracks that can often fall apart. Life as a Christian…can still be like a roller coaster with precariously assembled tracks that can often fall apart. Even living this Jesus life, rooted in our beliefs, the roller coaster can implode. Disasters happen. We can torch our own roller coaster, and sometimes some else's roller coaster crashes into ours on the way down. Other people's sins are just as destructive to our tracks as our own sin is. Sin is naturally destructive, and that destruction splashes out on other people. When our roller coaster implodes, we experience shame and we crave forgiveness. When someone else's roller coaster implodes and wrecks ours, we point fingers and whisper with about how mad/sad/frustrated/judgmental we are. We're quick to hold people responsible for the wreckage they caused, and we're just as quick to want help picking up the pieces of the wreckage we caused.

Obviously, any religious person is going to want to become better. No matter what religion you follow, your goal will be to better at it, whether you succeed at it or not. Then, that goal can be extended to everyone who follows your religion, and it's a slippery slope from caring about your fellow man to self-righteousness. For me, I work really hard at fixing my flaws [not trying to be boastful here--I'm only this way because people in my life have let their wreckage crash over me time & time again--with no apology or effort to improve their behavior. I never want to make anyone hurt the way that I do]. I have always struggled with depression and self hatred every single day of my life. These low places led me down a path of choices that I'm not at all proud of. I was drunk every day at 18 due to my own brokenness, and I ended up having a baby at 19.  I wore the proverbial Scarlet Letter and lost almost every friend I had. People pointed at and whispered about me. As my belly grew, so did the shame. 

By the sheer grace of God, my family was the best possible outcome for a lot of stupid decisions. That period of my life led me back to church, and I became more focused on self-improvement and growth with each passing year. Multiple people have told me to "let it go" when I make amends for hurting their feelings. When I do something that's causes someone else pain, I often hurt far more than they do. The depths of my shame and regret tear me up for weeks, months, or even years to come. I torture myself over mistakes I make. I study my personality type, I look at weaknesses I have and work hard at making them better. I read a lot of literature [both Christian and secular] on self-improvement. Even though I admit my brokenness more easily than others, I also rely more heavily on myself instead of my higher power. This too, is sin. 

I used to think that brokenness was a temporary state. I used to think one day he'd be "finished" with me. I used to think he'd pick me up, superglue me back together, and I'd be good to go. That's not how this works. You can glue a broken vase back together, but it'll never be one piece again. I am broken right now, and I'll continue to be broken. I stop and think about how foolish I am to rely on my broken self to fix my broken self. #FixItJesus 

Everyone has their own unique brand of brokenness. It is something to be embraced, not hidden. After a storm, it's the enclosed dark places that grow mold and filth. The same can be said for sin. Brokenness is no secret, but we treat it like it is. As long as we keep the mold in our hearts covered up, it will continue to grow and flourish. It will also continue to choke out what is good and healthy. We all have moldy corners inside us. And yet he loves. You're broken, I'm broken, we all are. So when we witness a roller coaster crash, let us remember than Jesus is weeping and praying, not pointing and whispering. Then let us model that, let us never forget that. Self-righteousness has never fixed any thing. Not once. Guaranteed. The fusion of truth and love is the only way to move forward. Love is the only thing that matters, and it's the only thing that has ever helped.

"Later Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house. Many tax collectors and other sinners came. They ate with Jesus and the disciples. The Pharisees saw this. So they asked the disciples, 'Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?'

Jesus heard this. So he said "Those who are healthy don't need a doctor. Sick people do. Go and learn what this means, 'I want mercy and not sacrifice.' [Hosea 6:6] I have not come to get those who think they are right with God to follow me. I have come to get sinners to follow me."

Matthew 9:10-13


WHOA. Well played, Jesus. So well played. We can think we're right with God. We can think we're fixed. We can think we've been restored. We can stand in church smiling, with coffee in hand, thinking we have it all together. We can think it's all good now, and that's a dangerous thought. We're all sinners. The moment we declare that the battle is over and that we are "right" with God is the same moment we declare that we don't need Him anymore. But we do, dear ones. Oh, how we do.

If we could be completely fixed with higher morals or a better conduct code, then what the heck was the point of Jesus even coming for us? I have a higher power, but I'm not it [neither are you]. I love Jesus, but I'm not Him [neither are you]. Whether it's your crash or someone else's, you are no one's higher power. This means that you can't fix it. But you can sure hurt it. Be careful. Be mindful. And look up.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Prayers of My Broken Heart

"We are all broken.
That's how the light gets in."
~Ernest Hemingway

Dear Father of a brokenhearted daughter,

Please hear my call to You. The world around me is shattering. My tears are flowing down my face and my heart is bleeding out all over my keyboard at this very moment. I've been carrying my pain in hiding, and now there's no more hiding it. The more I've isolated myself, the bigger the wounds have gotten. No one tells you that in placing your guard up to protect yourself, you're building walls that becomes the cage that imprisons you. That's what happened to me. The walls I built for shields of self protection became my own little prison that shut everyone else out. I was broken and trying to feel safe, but I ended up feeling more alone, more broken, and more vulnerable than I ever had in my life.

Not all pain comes in the form of an easily recognizable enemy. Sometimes people who bring us pain are people we love. Sometimes we sit across a dinner table sharing a meal with people who break us. Sometimes those people who wound us share the same row in our church sanctuaries. Sometimes those people hug us and profess to love us, but cut us in the deepest and most unspeakable ways. Some wounds physically bruise our skin, and some shatter souls. Who hasn't been crushed by the sins and afflictions of someone else?

My pain came in the form of relatives who hacked our family tree into pieces. It came in abusive relationships. {EDIT: people are writing me asking me if I'm in an abusive relationship--I'm not!} It came in the form of old baggage. It came in the form of people watching my loved ones get victimized and doing absolutely nothing to help. But my greatest enemy is the one I see every day in the mirror. I have to fight the lies she tells me every day.

Oh Lord, please hear my prayer to you. Give us {the broken people} the wisdom to know how to navigate this brokenness. Give us the ability to use our brokenness to heal others. After all, isn't it the ones who are the most broken who are often called to be healers? Give me, your brokenhearted daughter, Your love that surpasses all understanding, and let that love leak out all over everyone I encounter. The only way I have healed is by tending to the other wounded people. My heart hurts SO MUCH for them, Father--their wounds hurt far more than my own wounds.

My sincerest prayer today is that the broken who are buried beneath all the lies be able to whisper to themselves: "I am my beloved's" …and that they actually believe it.

In the name of Jesus--who was the master at becoming broken in order to heal others,