trust falls

written circa march 2013
and so so so relevant still.

I remember trust falls in 6th grade up at our school’s retreat center. I remember revisiting them again when they gathered all of us awkward freshman into the gym for Peer Leaders – a sorry excuse to miss gym for bonding with our classmates and learning how to trust and rely on one another.

Those moments when the group leader announced trust falls I’d feel my skin go cold and clammy. My head would start to spin in six different directions: from “I want to do this, to test and see if they’ll catch me” to “I don’t want to do this; I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.” Standing in the old gym I’d slink to the back of the crowd and appear composed when inside I was weeping and screaming and falling apart.

I never did trust falls, at any time. I tried them when I was alone though. To see if I could trust myself at first, then to see if I could trust God. I’d stand on my chair, or I’d lift myself onto my tiptoes on the diving board facing the wrong way. I’d give myself permission to fall. I’d start letting go, but always I’d catch myself. Never let myself truly go. I always had the soft bed to land on, the knowledge that I could stop the falling and jump up if things got to scary. Surrender was in my vocabulary, but it wasn’t in my heart.

No one will catch me, I reasoned. So after these experiments (that sometimes I still conduct) I vowed to always have a safety net. Keep this much money in the bank and don’t dip below the magic number, stop after this and that, don’t get too close to people, remember to push them away. Don’t ever let anyone in fully. I got so good at locking the whole truth away, that I forgot who I was myself. If you’re going to jump, make sure you installed the net yourself.

Recently God has been revealing to me the closed-fisted, heart walled up girl that I still am. The girl who would rather be alone and figure everything out then just take things day-by-day, the girl who wants to drive the shard of broken glass down her arm after being in community. God, in his divine perfection pointed out to me – with all the bluntness of the Almighty – that I have a problem with control. I want to be in control always. When I am not in control I despair, I cry, I run. Through the compassionate words of a friend and the letters strung together in the Word, and then again in the book I am currently reading God has shown me just how my need for control is keeping me stuck, is keeping me in the pit, is keeping me from being a true disciple and member of the body of Christ.

But, may I ask… how do you let go of control? How do you learn to surrender fully? The Word says, in numerous places, that God is trustworthy… so why do I still hesitate when there is not safety net – that I know about? Will I one day be able to trust fall into the arms of the one who created the universe, the one with nail scarred hands and arms wide open?

Help me oh Heavenly Father, to know true peace in full surrender.

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holes to holy

written circa february 2013

My Sunday-school classroom has a toy where you put shapes into their respective holes. The red square goes in the square hole, the pink triangle into the triangle-shaped hole. The kids all love this toy and enjoy figuring out which hole is the key to getting their piece inside the box.

As I have come to see, these children may just be teaching me more that I am teaching them. God is showing me more through them than the other way around, as I had once believed. As I watch each child struggle to put the diamond into the rectangular or the oval hole I am reminded of how I have tried to put this or than into my own empty spaces. As I see the delight on these precious little faces as they match the hole to the correct shape I am reminded of my Savior’s face when I allow Him to remove the poison I’d been filling myself with and allow what really belongs there – his own substance – to flood my being.

We all have holes. They are in different places and are different sizes, but nonetheless they are all places where we lack. We try to fill them will different things, but in the end our unique holes all need the same thing: the grace-driven love of Jesus Christ, his substance, his blood, his unique, tender, healing touch.

Two summers ago when my mom developed MRSA from a spider bite she only discovered this virus by a gaping hole that opened up on the back of her knee. To me, this is what I think of when I think of my own holes. Different places in my body, different areas on my heart, have these open sores and deep caverns. They weep, the bleed, and they hurt; and I try to fill them with stuff. I have tried to fill my holes with the touch and approval of naked men, with anything that money can buy, with knowledge, with alcohol, with food, to heal them by starving myself and hoping they’d disappear. I stick my finger inside these open wounds just to feel alive and see my hands covered in blood. But my blood doesn’t heal, it can only clot. All I was doing was further infecting what I would be unable to heal on my own.

I need the antiseptic of Jesus’ blood to cleanse me. I need the image of Jesus on that cross – taking my sin and shame upon himself – to remember who and who alone heals and fills. When I tried to fix myself on my own I just gave myself more holes and a worsening infection. The holes opened and oozed. But when I finally came to Jesus, saw how the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had been pursuing me, my holes were cleansed and slowly they were filled in with what is holy. What once nearly killed me became bruises – battle scars to remind me of where I have been and marks to show others that I am not perfect but continually being restored and made whole in Christ alone. Soli Deo Gloria.

We all have our holes. We all have our bruises and scares. We all have a story. Let the master craftsman in. We will all be limping to the table of eternal feasting and grace, and it’s okay. We carry our bruises in different places, but only as a reminder to what once was and what Christ has done. Where are your holes and how have you tried filling them? Do you know how much God loves you and wants to be The Great Physician to heal your wounds?

the victory is ours

written circa february 2013

There is love in my heart, words on my tongue and breath in my lungs and this is the way it is supposed to be. There is silence in my head and the Mighty Counselor whispering lyrics into my ear.

I don’t know how to just write anymore. Words get tangled up in the sinew of my muscles and my tongue gets tied into knots the same as my stomach. There is so much to say, but I’m tired of choking. People say that this is a war and I am starting to believe them because it feels like a great cosmic battle over whether or not we can speak. Are we more than pawns on a chess board? Are we not soldiers actively participating in the fighting?

After a battle I emerge bloody and covered from head to toe in bruises. After a fight I am sore. When the skirmish ends for the day – when the next on watch take my place on the front lines – I feel a kind of tired that permeates my bones. I am worn out and empty, a broken vessel.

The day after I wrestled with demons… I am tired. I ache. My muscles are still and my heart is in a tender state. My brain is heavy and I want nothing more than to sleep. It is not pain, no, that came the day before as I walked into the battle arena (but do we ever really walk out of the battle zone?) The pain rising in my limbs. Hot. Like fire in my bones, that is the only pain I feel. Pain is good, pain means I am alive, fighting, serving One who is higher.

The time after the fight I am drained. I am weak. I am susceptible to the sneak, freak attacks of the enemy. He plays dirty and when I want to let myself unwind, come undone I want to give in. But this, this dear Beloved, are the demons’ most cunning attack of trickery. They don’t play fair because they leave the battlefield. We then never leave the battlefield. The enemy knows he will not be the victor. The demons know their brute strength and physical attacks will never be enough so they curl underfoot when we think the fight is over for the day and we think we are safe enough to let our guard down – when we let ourselves be tired.

But I know that there is a place where I will be mended and refilled. I know a man who will heal my scars with only the gentlest touch. He has wounds of his own and when I look on them I feel my black-and-blues mending and my heart swelling once again with what is alive.

Even though it aches, even though it stings, even though it hurts, even though doing anything feels like the final straw – feels like we will break in half – we must press in. We press into the One we are fighting with, the One higher than any demon, power, or enemy. We seek refuge in the one with scars of his own, to the Father who gives us strength, love, and freedom. We press into the Son – our savior, redeemer, and friend – who died so that we might truly become alive.

Press in and walk out. Don’t succumb to the attacks of a beast who knows he is defeated and insists on playing dirty, waiting until you are weak and vulnerable to attack, a beast who cannot win the war. Press into the God who created you.

Beloved, we have the victory in Christ. Who can fight us? Who can call us out? What can they do to us that God cannot heal, fix or redeem? Don’t be tricked that you are fighting on your own – or that you have to fight at all. We are fighting as community, not as independent mercenaries. We are fighting by the strength and power of the Spirit. Keep going to the wellspring of life to be cleansed, filled, edified, and breathe… breathe, Beloved. Drink deep of the Father. Press into him. He is our salvation, strength, our refuge. Press into him for comfort and healing. He has overcome and we are part of that community. We don’t run foolishly into battle, but there is a Master with a plan, a Master who protects his servants, and a Master who will fight for us, if only we are silent, if only we submit and press in.

beauty from ashes

written circa february 2013.

We yell, scream, bicker, and fight with each other over whose grain of sand is bigger, over whose speck of dust is more important.

The disciples foolishly asked Jesus which one of them was the best, which one would sit at his right hand. We today compare riches and fight for power, not realizing we are both specks of the same dirt.

Our immensely, unfathomable and powerful God owns all the cattle on a thousand hills. The the ancient Israelites this was a strong statement, but to us it means nothing. So, let’s try it another way: God created the universe by the sound of his voice, the breathe he expelled in one word. He is the owner of all things created – which is everything that exists.

To imagine God’s size is to drive oneself mad, but it is more important to reflect on our own minuscule stature in the face of such a big God. We are like grains of sand. We think we are so important – able to build castles and become beaches, but in reality you have to place us under a powerful microscope to see just who we are. Essentially we are nothing fighting violently over nothing.

But, thankfully, the story doesn’t end here. That God who breathed the universe into existence is a God of love, of mercy, of grace. He knows our size, our abilities and he loves us. He calls us, pursues us. Our God is a great Father who sent his only Son to save us and reconcile us.

In our smallness, he is bigger. In our fighting and bickering he consumes our hearts. Look not to the other grains of sand and what you can “possess” but look to the God who breathed you into existence with a purpose and feel the grace of that relationship – that someone so big, powerful, creative, and transcendent would come down for the sake of someones so small, weak, and easily amused.

And as we look up at the Father and focus on that we become a beach, a communal body that ebbs and flows, changes and reflects back the beauty of our Creator.

We are significant and made majestic because of an through him alone.

*A/N: it makes me look twice about beauty for ashes when I see the sheer beauty of the magnified sand.

twenty-five facts about me

facts about me as a human being.

  1. I adore young children with all of my heart. They are so full of life, so precious, curious, and free. I love how wild they can be, the freedom they possess to be themselves. I think that they teach me more than I teach them. I fall in love with every baby I meet and I love to play peek-a-boo and make silly faces with them. It is so easy for me to see God in little children, and it is so easy for me to know God’s heart for his children when I see little children running around wild and free.
  2. I am a certified Montessori pre-school/kindergarten (3-6) teacher.
  3. I have a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology & Philosophy. I have completed coursework towards a Masters of Science in Mental Health Counseling.
  4. I love books. I am definitely a bibliophile. I read more than is socially acceptable.
  5. I am an old soul.
  6. I am an INFP / INTP hybrid.
  7. I am a Pisces-Aries cusp.
  8. I am of the Melancholic type (4 Temperaments Test).
  9. I was sorted into Ravenclaw.
  10. Enneagram Type 4 [Individualist], Wing 5 [Investigator].
  11. Alignment: Neutral Good.
  12. I developed ED behaviours and started self-harming at 8 years old.
  13. I have been diagnosed with EDNOS (atypical anorexia; binge-purge subtypes), Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymia/Cyclothymia, Borderline Personality Disorder (quiet type), Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder. Currently I am diagnosed with CPTSD, Major Depression, and EDNOS.
  14. I love writing. I love the art of expressing myself, my surroundings, and my life with words. I love how writing allows me to connect with God, with others, and with the Universe. I love when I my writing makes people think, smile, understand, and grow.
  15. I want to publish my writing someday.
  16. I love to figure things out. I love stumbling upon a hypothesis and mulling it over until I can understand it and develop it. I have fun trying to figure out how different things work and understanding the ins-and-outs of various things.
  17. My dream is to help people (and animals). I’m not sure what that looks like specifically but I know I was designed with the gifts of encouragement, mercy, words of knowledge, and writing.
  18. I don’t really like coffee, but I am mildly obsessed with tea. I mostly drink tea and water.
  19. I am on a journey of unlearning — unlearning instant gratification, unlearning the lies that led me down a path of self-destruction and self-hatred, unlearning the selfish all-about-me ways of the world in favour of self-discipline and humility, unlearning what the adult world taught me so I can live once again through the lens of childlike faith and experience.
  20. I enjoy time spent by myself. In reality I am quite shy. I am a people-pleaser, deeply afraid of other people disliking me or thinking me stupid or strange.
  21. I have loved Aristotle’s definition of friendship since I first heard it (that there are three tier’s of friendship — friend of utility, convenience, and true friends, true friends being best described as those people with whom you can be apart from for years and meet again and it is like you were never apart, with whom you can talk about anything with). There are only a few people who fit into the category of true friends and those are friends for life. The true friends I have I cherish with all my heart. Two such people in my life both happen to have names that start with ‘N.’
  22. I have friends in several parts of the world and I love them so dearly. It hurts my heart that we are separated by such great distance.
  23. I have a truly amazing church and church family. To have found a church that is truly gospel-centred, deeply compassionate towards all people, so counseling based, and that is filled with people who are open, accepting, and always ready to extend love and grace is such a tremendous blessing.
  24. I really do want only to love people, to help them grow and see them flourish. I want to live a simple life, loving and learning, reading and making art, and always growing.
  25. I am ultimately a child of God. This is the bedrock of my identity. I stand on the foundation of Christ and I am learning more and more just what that means. I am working on rebuilding a fractured faith — to once again be as a child filled with wonder in the presence of her God.

you are not worthless

written 09 february 2013.
still one of my favourite pieces written to date.

you are not as worthless as they make you feel. you’re worth is knit into the fibre of your being. it is in every bone, every muscle, every cell, every inch of your parts. your worth is that life was breathed into you by the holy and living God who has drawn you up and mapped out a place for you from the stardust of the universe. the name of God is the sound of our breath and we worship him with every inhalation. you are not worthless. pursue your journey in accord with Him who gives you life, worth, and a capacity for unending love. you are not worthless. you are loved. you are treasured.

you can speak volumes and bring answers to wandering hearts. you read voraciously and you understand. you transcend. you write and it is a healing balm. you knit and craft and make things mirroring your creator. you are a reflection of the living God – live like it – embrace your gifts and marvel at your being. look at the phenomenon of your whole being – soul and body. we are all people, but each are uniquely different.

treasured. beloved. cared for. worth it. fearfully and wonderfully made. set apart. hope. purpose. real.

you say; he said

written circa autumn 2014.
about a topic that is often taboo, with a word that is bad, but a story that is true. truth is messy. but Jesus isn’t afraid to walk into the mess to save the broken lamb.

you say my name is it.
that i am not worthy of proper pronouns.
no, those are for the dignified. the beautiful.
and you whisper, “you are not either of those things.”

you say that i am a pretty girl
but i’ve learned to know your words are lies
and you say these things solely to get me into the backseat
of your broken down hyundai.
because i am not allowed the privilege of your bed
because i am not allowed the privilege of dignity.

you say that psychologies lied and really
the parts are greater than the sum of the whole
because if i were just three holes for you to fuck
then i might be worth something.

you say that you know what is best for me
when you take my innocence and touch me
all over. and i am quiet. because that
is what i was taught a woman should be.

you say these things and your words burrow
under my skin and into my bloodstream.
the darts your words have fired infect my every synapse
and now this life is what i crave.

i swallow the pills. i am binge drinking and
starving. i etch tally marks into my wrist with
his razor blade and i feel the shame hot and heavy.

i seek out the things and the people who promise
to give me pleasure in the form of pain and chains
but at the end of every performance
for strange men
who sit in anonymous rooms
– those who i give my power to {power i never knew i had} –
i find myself up on the roof daring myself
to find the courage to jump.

at the end of every climax i find myself staring down
the barrel of the loaded handgun
wishing i had the nerve
to pull the trigger.

but it doesn’t end there.

a person named Hope whispers into my soul
and i am captivated by the voice. this Hope appears to me
in my prison and extends a gauze covered hand.

Jehovah Rapha takes the bandages from his own nail scarred wrists;
He wraps them around my wounds and carries me into the light.
Yeshua presents me with fine linen, jewellery, and crown.

does he see my wounds and simply not know
the story of my debauchery behind them…
or does he see my bruises and and know
the details of each one, and see something
that i cannot?

because i have no idea why he has whispered to me.
i cannot fathom why perfection would want broken.

but in my wondering and doubts Jehovah spins me around
twirling me in his arms; dancing as one would with a lover.
he whispers sweet words that become the melody
that will now and forevermore play in the background
if i leave my thoughts and listen.