- wonder (bethel music + amanda cook)
- strong in grace (justin rizzo)
- shine (allyson prior + cory asbury)
- wedding dress (derek webb)
- mercy changes everything (ryan stevenson)
- fearless life (the surrendering)
- mercy (laura woodley osman)
- wallflower (laura woodley osman)
- what joy (sarah emerson)
burned out, bedraggled, and broken. these words speak my soul’s cry these past two months.
it was slow at first, the absorption of my life. they asked me to close the young infant room. nothing out of the ordinary. they liked my energy. they liked how i worked with the children. then they moved me to that room as lead teacher. okay, i’m flexible. i’m happy working with newborns-5. then they asked me to take over opening the young infant room, meaning a seven thirty am to six pm work day. okay, it’s temporary. i’ll do it. then some kids moved away and others moved up to the older infant room so they took my assistant. tl:dr i have been working eleven hour days (in a room with three little nine month olds by myself) for the past two and a half months and it is leaving me beyond tired.*
but more than that, there is trauma unhealed painted over by new wounds that are more pressing.
pressing. that’s a good word for it. life is pressing. pressing new memories onto old. pressing new wounds onto old. like stuffing layer after layer of stuff into a too small vessel. but it is no tourniquet.
the sting of failure. the inability to keep from doing what you know you should not. the constant questioning of whether what i struggle with, what i do, with who i am… is valid.
and is it not validation that we are all after? validation from others? from ourself? from God?
yet, when i [we?] receive little crumbs of validation, the words never sink in, it cannot be accepted. compliments are hard.
my old therapist constantly reminded me to “be kind to myself.” and i find her words coming back to me so often, yet i feel so unable to carry out what she so hoped for me.
what i do that seems like kindness is so often unkindness, a chasing after the wind, a filling of myself that will only be purged and punished later.
and God, oh, God, how i wish it were easier to have a relationship with you. and i know the fault lies entirely on my end of things (which does not help matters), but i am so easily swayed and confused. so uncertain of what real love looks like. so sceptical and so afraid to trust.
my identity is uncertain. my heart is numb. it is so easy to think in negatives and numbers. love and kindness and grace are such foreign concepts.
i vomit words because i don’t know what to write, what i need to write. and i promise i am not really this said and despondent (but then, sometimes i am?). i promise i can hold it together (but what if i don’t want to anymore?). i promise i won’t unload all my sob stories and junk onto you (but what if i need to?).
the quiet voice, the one i haven’t heard in many moons, whispers as i type: “stop trying to do this life in your own strength… that’s not how this works.”
and that old voice so true. it is always right. but to truly be submissive, to truly surrender? play acting is one thing. but in truth? in reality? that is terrifying and i am so scared of losing control. of what could and will happen. of letting others into deep and not running away. i left and i left and i cannot run from life forever.
i don’t know. life is hard. it is like playing a game but not having any instructions or rule book. life is a guessing game and i think i am losing.
*don’t get me wrong, i love my job and my kiddos. it’s just a lot right now. and sometimes i feel a bit burned out.
i think there is an expectation* that a retreat or missions trip creates a spiritual high that returns with you and lingers for a few days post trip.
and while i had long let go of that expectation, i find myself curious at an opposite effect happening post-lake champion. instead of feeling spiritually high, i am feeling spiritually turned off. starting saturday night it’s like i keep hearing these thoughts to just leave the faith, just quit. and tonight at small group, the topic of suicide came up a few different times and instead of being shocked and grieved, i related.
i don’t want to call this a spiritual attack, out of fear or over-spiritualising things, but i don’t want to ignore that as a possibility for my recent hopelessness and relapse into depression.
i know i’ve been disassociated from life lately. i’m trying, i really am. it’s just hard when hope gets lost.
*i have long loved and personally subscribe to the following two pithy statements: “expect the worst, hope for the best, and accept whatever happens;” & “expectations breed resentments.”
written: 11 December 2012; based upon a dream i had had that previous night. posting it now because i had a similar dream the night before last.
Her knees had healing scrapes and she wore a guarded smile. I don’t know what I said to get her attention, but she sat down on the curb and looked me in the eyes. I am you, at age twenty-two. Her eyes widened, but I could tell that she believed me. Children are impressive that way, at eleven she accepted the statement that I still had trouble believing. But then again, I had just spend time talking to our six year old self so maybe this wasn’t too bizarre. I took my younger self by the hands and asked if everything was okay. My twenty-two year old memory was hazy when it thought back to this eleven year old sitting in front of me. She looked me in the eyes and then down at the pavement. There was a secret too great for words. We let it be a mystery and I felt the words rise up in my throat and come out flowing, “please talk about it darling. It will save you so much heartache if you open yourself up to someone and let this secret out.”
It was a strange thing, these words that seemed to flow from the depths of my heart. The same strange feeling had come through my voice when I told my six year old self that I loved her and let down my hair to let her see that she would be beautiful someday. I whispered that she was loved and treasured.
But back to the eleven year old in front of me. She let her backpack fall over in the grass next to her and studied me carefully. For whatever odd reason she didn’t ask me any questions about her future, but only waiting silently for me to continue. I helped her stand up and led her down the hill to the playground. In my mind I wanted to show her the spinning swing, but I had forgotten that it was a modern design and did not exist for her eleven year old self. But then something magical had occurred and the playground looked like the playground of my college years.
We spun and we laughed and slowly my eleven year old began to blossom. Her smiled stretched across her face and I felt my heart healing inside my own chest. This is what freedom feels like. We nurture the child and tell her that it will be okay. We reach into her and show her that she is beautiful. My eleven year old self looks at me and we are both dizzy as we saunter over to the grass and collapse, staring up at the blue sky and white clouds. She tells me the scientific name for these particular clouds while I point out their shapes. I have long forgotten this middle school knowledge. We laugh and the world spins all around us. Little me looks at me and whispers, “I know what it feels like to be the fly trapped in the spider’s web.”
I whisper back, “I know what it feels like to be the caged bird.”
It’s silly code but we understand each other and I am proud of her for breaking the silence. I take her hand and we lay in the grass until the clouds directly above us move to the corner of the sky. Soon I will have to go, but first I work on middle school math problems and kiss her good-bye with a promise that she is free. Somehow I know she will have a surreal experience very soon of our Creator and his vast love.
do you ever feel like your name is not your own? when someone calls you, it takes a moment to realize they are talking to you. when you hear your name spoken, there is no connection. when it comes out of your mouth, it tastes wrong. it’s a pretty name, but it’s not your name.
i’ve changed my name several times over the years* (on social media, because that’s where i was free and able to, free and able to create my authentic/ideal self).
names are weird. they identify us, but do they really? it’s a label given to us before we are who we are. what if we don’t like our name? what if it tastes weird on our tongue? what do you do?
long story short: names are hard. i am really drawn to the name eden. emmy is nice too, but that’s the name of my inner child/younger self. i don’t know who i am anymore (i don’t think i ever did).
*names i’ve used with the most longevity: hallelujah/hally, remy, sophia/sofia (middle name).
also, i’ve been really drawn to the name emmy/emi, but that is the name of my inner child/younger self. i’ve also been drawn to the name eden.
written: monday 09 february 2015 @ 9:41pm
i am peach pits and wildflowers that didn’t bloom. i am seeds that people neglected to water. i grew anyway, but i grew crooked and wretched. i am much-afraid. i am a cracked vessel. i am a bruised apple. i am the scritch-scratchy tongue of a wild cat. i am untouched colouring books. i am blue and purple and turquoise crayons. i am the woman at the well. i am the girl who used to see faeries and angels. i am the girl who used to dance. i am flowing skirts and steaming mugs of hot tea. i am still deciding which fig looks the sweetest. i am confused. i was born upside down and i never got turned around. i am easily corrupted. i am breaking free. i am losing. i am gaining. i am learning. i am sunrises. i am i am i am.
who am i?
written circa march 2013
Will you help me elicit the words you have given me, allow them to come out from their corners in the delicate hiding places of my mind? They are shy, the words I must write. This is why we whisper, so as not to frighten the syllables that have come to play. Did you know that they are a timid bunch? A harsh ‘shush’ condemns while a willowy ‘shhhh’ sounds like the sea and brings healing calm.
Words in themselves are just a combination of syllables, morphemes and graphemes, it’s the way we draw them forth that gives them meaning. Deepest meaning comes from the heart of the Author and everything else is translation.
Breathe in, breathe out. Sink down into the clouds and let the Word come to you. Be still, darling. I know it gets crowded in your head and the slow motion is just a hallucination for really things are spinning faster than a carnival ride and you just want it to stop.
So you break open the flesh, hoping another outlet will slow down the speech and it does, but it has the dreadful side effect of leaving scars and bringing forth the melancholy. It is a false promise beloved. It promises peace, but brings fear and a need for more, more thoughts instead of the Word of comfort and hope.
I am who I am and I have called you healed. My mercies are new each and every morning and I touch my own scarred places to your heart wounds and it’s warm here, healing balm for your spirit. My blood was shed. My blood is sufficient. I have transfused my blood to you, redemption.
You are set free. Let the words come out of their scared places and testify. Your words are now washed and I love when you whisper your story because you speak Truth about what I have done and that helps heal the souls of the world. I am using your talents darling-one. You are a penholder in my story, give glory to the One who was pierced, the One who writes, the One who unfolds. I breathe my words into you by the very Word and I have redeemed you from the depths of Sheol.
Come up, arise little one. Talitha Cumi. Come up learning on your beloved.