rants

Falling apart

In the end everything always falls apart. It always hurts, at first as a sharp pain and later as a dull, ever-present ache. I’ve watched a couple of my friends, whose lives I used to joke were perfect in comparison with mine, go through hard times lately. It hurts to watch. I don’t believe in happy endings anymore. Or, maybe, in my head I do believe in them (I believe in Heaven, after all), but my heart contradicts that belief. I’ve watched every good, happy thing fall apart and injure those who cherish it; I’ve been through heartache myself. I cry a lot more than I used to. I read the Bible. I read about the righteous and the wicked, judgement day, repentance, hope…I listen to sermons.  I know that God can turn heartbreaking events into beauty, but it doesn’t feel that way. Yes, yes, feelings can be wrong, I know, but let me be raw and vulnerable, ok?

All around me there is so much pain…that I’m supposed to have the answer to. Another person trying to get by, get through another day. A few weeks ago, sitting in a parking lot waiting for my sister to get off work I overheard a tear filled conversation. “I’ll get through. I’m a big girl. Ok?” It was clear she was trying to convince herself as much as the person on the other end of the line. A conversation like that is only supposed to happen in a movie, a story that will be brought to a satisfying conclusion. But shattered people aren’t just in stories. They’re everywhere. Striving, sad, imperfect, struggling people fill the pews on Sunday, drive the streets, check out as I (just another person fighting through another day) bag for them at the grocery store, stand behind the register and check others out.

How can I, just another hurting member of the human race, help them? So often the broken don’t even want to heal, instead they embrace and work towards their own destruction. Maybe the only happy endings are the funerals of the saints, to which we wear black, at which we mourn. No surprise, humanity always seems to have everything backwards, from priorities to what we mourn. Here I stand, again, having exhausted my mind considering a question only to be still without answers. Any thoughts?

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Categories: Ponderings, rants | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Calling?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe empty page taunts me again, the bane of every writer. Beginning, especially when you don’t know where you’re going to go is a daunting task, but I’ve promised myself to try and write a post per week again. So, I’ll brave this ever-decreasing white space. I’ll try and fill it with something meaningful.

The pastor talked this Sunday about work and calling and vocation. (Did you know the Latin root word for “vocation” actually means calling? Me neither). In Sunday School we talked with the visiting college students about majors and minors and roommates and college life. Afterwards my sister found a fellow graduated-at-16, homeschooler going into the chemistry field and chatted for ages. For me it’s almost always easy to pick out the former or current homeschooler in a group. But that’s a rabbit trail if I’ve ever heard one.

“Calling.” I’m not sure if I believe in that word so much as most do. I’ve been admonished from little up to know or find my calling. To pray and “Don’t go to college unless you know what you want for sure.” The pastor said to not get good grades and go to college and get a good job without finding your calling. He said find your calling “And then get good grades and go to college and get a good job.”, which struck me as laughable. God doesn’t call everyone to college, and, I get the feeling that God’s definition of “a good job” would be far different than society’s. But what do I know of holy? What do I know of what God wants, for my life, let alone for yours? Not much. Next to nothing.

I don’t get precise direction like most people seem to. They graduate high school and “God called me to this school.”, and then to this mission field or that job. I got my current job because I was job hunting and it was offered to me. Could that be God’s direction? I think yes. I didn’t pray before accepting it, I don’t know that I’ll know when I am called to leave it. I only know that I do life messily; I make it up as I go along. Is that so wrong?

I have dreams of saving up enough to take at least a year off of work and going adventuring. To meet people, and travel places, and take offers I currently have to refuse because I’m working. You want a companion to bike with you to the Grand Canyon? Yes. There is an opportunity to sail for four weeks on The Flagship Niagra? Yes, I’d love to do that. Let me be a wayfarer and join the WWOOFERs for 6 months. Let me buy a cheap round ticket to another country. Let me meet new people and live frugally, but well. Granted, my roots are deep in this country, in this state, this county, this place. I plan to return. Maybe I’ll never muster up the gumption or the money to leave for a while. But I can dream, right? The pastor said that only 60% of the population is working like that’s a bad thing. Jesus didn’t start his intended job, what he was called to, until he was 30. Somehow (and maybe I’m biased), I don’t think he’d mind so much if I took a year off to explore the wonderful planet and the wonderful people that my God has created. But I’m not ordained, and I don’t always feel his spirit. What do I know of God’s elusive will?

Sometimes I think I’m a broken record, that I write about the same things here too often to be at all compelling or interesting to read. I suppose I’ll apologize…but maybe not. This is my life. Coherency is overrated. I still repeat less than some Bible passages. This blog is supposed to be about God and I, and too often with Him I get rut stuck or go in circles. Life in transition isn’t glamorous or interesting. I had always thought that your late teens and twenties were meant to be the prime of your life. Maybe I’m not living that to it’s full potential? I don’t know. I don’t feel like I know much of anything these days. On that note, it’s time to wrap this post up. The page is not so blank anymore, and hopefully the words that fill it are at least somewhat meaningful, not only to me but also to others. Hopefully they struck a chord. Tell me, did they?

 

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Poem

A rather depressing, wry take… I wrote this during the final month of the long winter, during March. Things are getting better since then in more ways than one. Don’t worry too much, Mom. Writing is based off of the emotions of the moment, and even in the low moment when I wrote this it turned out even more calloused than I felt. But, it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted poetry, so I thought I’d put it up regardless. I’m hoping to post more regularly than I have been, and posting this is a part of that attempt.

 

“You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”
Or choke you like a collar attached to a leash as you run in the opposite direction.
“The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”
The spirit is willing…sometimes, but sometimes it flees His protection.

“Ye of little faith.”
I believe, actually. I’m just afraid of dying to myself.
“Acknowledge Him, and he will make your path straight.”
My crooked ways please me so I put God on the shelf.

“Why do the nations rage,
and the people plot in vane?
The kings of the earth
have all joined together
to turn against the Lord and his Annointed saying
“Let’s cut the ropes and set oursleves free.”
But the one who sits in Heaven laughs,
He scoffs at them.
Then, in His anger, He rebukes them.”

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Oh, Death

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI don’t feel invincible. I don’t feel like a young immortal, for I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death, I have drank from the cup of bitter darkness. I have loved and lost, and I live still. I am not afraid of my own death, though I wouldn’t call myself ready. I want to hear “Well done good and faithful servant.”, but truly I will never deserve those words. I’m told it’s unusual for one of my age to be so well acquainted with the end. Talking with a coworker: “I mean, my Grandma died, but nobody, like, my age.” I’m told it’s unusual, but some days I’m not so sure. The people around me don’t mostly seem to have lived otherwise…He lost his little sister to Heroin while high school aged, he lost his to cancer, her best friend died in sixth grade, he lost a fellow soldier, she lost her baby, the life inside of her, he lost his older brother to suicide, he lost his mom. Maybe it is good to come to know harsh reality young. The people who have are different, deeper. Though I don’t know if the depth is worth the blackness that crawls into the souls of some. For myself, I’ve always held that I would rather know truth than ignorant bliss no matter what the cost.

Death isn’t the worst. “Let the dead bury their own dead.” What is worst is those in the living death of depression. I hate depression. I hate the attacks of the evil one, and I hate the empty look it brings to the eyes of those I love. I hate that I cannot rescue them. I hate that depression is something that has to be slogged through, in many ways alone, over months and years. It is imperfection, a flaw in the world caused by sin, as with all the other flaws. They say it’s a “chemical imbalance”, which is all fine and good, but few want their brains to be tampered with. Happy pills may work, but they aren’t always the answer. Maybe it is because I push deeper, because I want to be more than shallow and surface that I see it so much.

There’s a darkness too deep to be healed in a heartbeat, there’s a lostness that I can’t rescue people from. God. Only God can. Yet he seems so silent. There’s a truth deeper than devotional books and three point sermons…sometimes I hear it in the hymns. Depression isolates, it blinds, but really everyone is going through the same things at one level or another. It’s scary, I listen to the people, I talk to a lot of people, and the same lines echo over and over again. “The world would be better off without me.” “I don’t make promises I cannot keep.” “I don’t think I can win this fight.” “I am worthless.” Bandaid fixes don’t work. Rich Mullins said he was told “God loves you man,” in his dark days, and his response was one I’ve heard repeatedly too. “Big deal. God loves everybody…that just proves He ain’t got no taste.” What words are you supposed to use to refute that?

Sometimes there are no words. We are ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and so much– so complex and yet so simple–in the in between. I won’t apologize for writing about death so much lately. I know it makes some people uncomfortable, but it is important to speak on. Maybe soon I will talk about life or some such thing to add variety, but for today I’ve rambled on long enough, so I’ll end, quoting Rich Mullins once more.

“I can hear the wild wind howling, and I can feel it in my bones.

And I know that the howling will take me Home.”

 

 

 

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Who I am

Maybe I’m selfish and maybe I talk too much or maybe I don’t keep secrets and promises well enough. Maybe I’m at my weakest now, or maybe I’m at my strongest. Maybe (like everyone says) this chapter of my life will seem insignificant someday, but I don’t think so.  I’m trying, and I’m failing, and I’m flailing about, maybe not accomplishing anything other than to make some waves…waves that I don’t want to make. Maybe I’m thinking too much, because I have the time. Maybe I’m too impulsive, or too pushy, and maybe I hurt more people than I help. Don’t try and tell me otherwise. I didn’t write this post so you would tell me I’m wrong. To be human is to be deeply flawed, and not always beautifully so. Often my flaws are ugly, and everyone knows I’m no good at hiding things. I’m not even good at hiding the ugly parts of me.

I know less now than I ever did. For instance, I don’t understand how it is fair that I came into a Christian family. People are shaped so deeply  by the circumstance of their childhoods. If I had grown up in his or her shoes I would be just as against Jesus. Who we are is so complicated, and the gospel is so simple. How is it fair to judge people by that one choice when their reasons for making that choice, the things that shaped their perception and worldviews, were in the hands of God? I don’t know. I don’t get it.

Maybe I complain too much. Who am I to complain? I live in America the home of the free. I have so much, yet I say that my life is in shambles. It sure feels that way. When it rains it pours, and it’s pouring on me, something new and stressful every day. But someone always has it worse. Maybe I’m not thankful enough. People I know don’t like who I’m becoming–pessimistic, critical, melancholy. No one wants to be around someone like that. I get that. But sunshine and rainbows seems very trite right now. I don’t really want to be happy.

I ask for truth. Maybe I ask for more than truth. I’m told I push too much. I care. I don’t mean to hurt people. I don’t mean to be this way. Sometimes I would like to be in a coma, oblivious. I’m tired of it all. I’m tired of failing over and over. Hurt me, be honest with me, tell me what you don’t like about me. Even if it hurts me, even if it kills me, I still want that. I still want to see peoples’ souls. I want to understand. Not because I can fix it, not because I know all the answers, just because. That is who I am. Maybe who I am hurts who he is and who she is. I don’t know. I don’t know much of anything anymore.

 

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So Ready

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“I feel like going home.”

“Beulah land, I’m longing for you.”

“I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”

He tells me I’m young. I have a life to live. But what is that life in light of Heaven? I’ve never been oh so ready to meet my maker, to rest easy–like Bilbo in Rivendell–to be at peace. “To live is Christ and to die is gain.” I stay for the people. I love them. They need Jesus. I stay to “go ye therefore and make disciples…” To love them as He has loved me. Caring so much means my heart is torn out over and over again. I can’t save them, and they choose destructively often. But I stay. To love is to be as Christ to the people. But I fervently yearn to go. Maybe God will take me early. I’m homesick for Heaven; I’m ready to fly away “like a bird from these prison walls.” I am not afraid of death, no, I am ready.

Maybe saying that makes me apathetic or depressed. I would say it just makes me world worn. The monotonous repetitiveness of life drains me sometimes. I work every day for money I hardly care about. Everything repeats–large and small–there is nothing new under the sun. All is vanity. We are ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Who and what we are in between is complex and incomprehensible. Worldviews shaped by lives. Lives shaped by the choices of so very many people. Just when I think I finally understand someone in comes a new facet I had totally missed…

I think we fear death too much in the church today. Look back to the old songs and you catch that yearning for Heaven. Today we are entirely caught up in surviving and thriving and worshiping in the now. Which isn’t wrong entirely, but…the pleasures on this earth are merely appetizers, foretastes of the pleasure of Heaven. We devour them and chase them and still feel lack. At least, I do. We weren’t meant to live for the now. We were meant to live for the hope of then. To store our hope, our treasure in Heaven, for if our heart is there moth and rust cannot destroy and the thieves cannot break in and steal. If my hope is in that grand afterlife nothing and no one can take it from me. I like what C. S. Lewis said: “If I find myself with desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” Yes. The best of times here are echoes of what is to come.

I am ready to leave, but as I wait I’m going to invite as many of the lonely, broken people to come to my Father’s house with me as I can. I don’t force it down throats. But I try to live as His child. I try to show them why. And in a way, each day I say “Wait a little longer please Jesus. Just a few more days to get [my] loved ones in.” But sometimes I resonate much more with Rich’s word: “It won’t break my heart to say goodbye.” I am torn between two worlds. I am a sojourner here. But I belong there…”This is my temporary home.” Are you ready? Are you torn also? Are you reaching people for the Kingdom? Are you ready and prepared to finally go home? Oh, what a glorious day that will be!

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Muddling on

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf I told you everything that is happening in my life right now you would think I was making it up because it sound more like science fiction than reality. It’s odd, because I’m living under the shell of normalcy– I go to work every day, I’m applying for college–but none of that really matters. It’s the conversations in the wee hours that mean something to my numb heart. Answering questions about Hell and “Have you ever been depressed?”, acknowledging together that the hungry darkness doesn’t want to stop with taking just one soul, trying to help with unnamed problems…many other things I will not tell you here.

Sometimes I don’t know why the people trust me. God knows, many days continuing the fight seems just as impossible to me as to them, but (as a new friend of mine likes to say) “I know the rules. Muddle on.” There is nothing new under the sun. Man is still born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. And that trouble is heavy. The darkness is deep. There is no way to prevail without God, yet  I talk mostly to those who have not yet chosen Him. It gets sad sometimes. Someone told me the other day “I am a perfect, wretched soul.” Truly, God has planted eternity in the hearts of men. Yet we can be so close to truth and still so far away.

I am not better than them. I am human. Maybe I was unfairly blessed to have God in my upbringing, but that is the only difference. It is amazing that even with all the study of life and psychology and the human condition we cannot understand them. They are uncondensible. The only words that get them right are found in lyrics and the Bible because both are vague enough to retain the mystery. I laugh when people call the Bible God’s love letter. Have they read it?

But I am getting off topic. My train of thought is a train wreck of late–even more scattered than usual. I’ve been wanting to write here though. Again, I have no perfect ending, nothing to say except that I covet your prayers. I try to impart wisdom in the wee hours; I am struggling to live wisely myself. I am discovering how important it is that my hope is built on nothing less and nothing more than Jesus, that it be found in Christ alone because all else will fail. I am fighting emotions and lack thereof. “I’m not all-right. I’m broken inside.” But I don’t want pity; don’t worry over me. So long for now, friends. I will be back sometime, writing who knows what. It takes so little time for everything to change.

 

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Help

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADo you believe in spiritual warfare? I do. I have seen it, how the darkness attacks everyone and everything at once and strives to convince people to give up all hope. Because then it has won. I have experienced it. I have prayed, ad fought, and cried, and pleaded. When I have seen or felt no answer I have clung to hope because of the account in Daniel 10: “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days…” Evil fights God. God is stronger. My prayers matter. There is still hope. I have heard the testimonies of those who have made it through, and these too give me hope. This fight is not impossible. We are not damned.

I am here yet again, friends. The Enemy, the Deceiver is attacking those around me. Maybe because they got too close to me. Maybe because they don’t all know God, and the Dark One wants to ensure they never will. Maybe not. I don’t know. But I know it is strong and attacking hard, and I am not strong enough to hold it back. But I know the one who is. So I pray hard against the darkness. I plead for light. But I also know that in God’s plan one individual isn’t supposed to have to plead alone. I know “Where two are three are gathered…” I know the body of Christ is supposed to support me and come alongside me and fight with and for me. So I’m here. I’m asking for help.

I can’t tell you the details. There are people’s stories–lifetimes of hurt and bitterness that are not mine to share. But I know you can pray and be a powerful support regardless. I also know you are busy. I know you have your own lives and your own struggles. Even still, I am asking. I need your help. A few posts back I quoted someone who had said to me that I can’t save the world. But even further back than that I posted another quote, this one by Rich Mullins, saying that God has no plan B. We, the Church, are His plan for the salvation of the world.

So, all that to say this: Will you pray with me Church? Will you come behind me and support me? Thank you. I appreciate it. I love these people I am praying for so desperately. Your support would mean the world to me.

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To Save a Life

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“You can’t save the world.” #wordofadvicetome

Late night conversations with the truly desperate shake my soul. I quake, and I pray hard against the consuming evil. God is powerful, but they need to accept him. So many people praying…God has to win this battle. Right?

But there is a bitterness. The Enemy has a hold. With so many of the people I hear that God didn’t answer in their times of need. That they were “Christian”, but things just got worse with their prayers. And the bad people who hurt them have it good…while they struggle to meet the bills. What do you say to that?

I know I can’t save the world. But I know the One who can and has. And he loves them, he loves us–the broken, desperate ones–with a love so passionate that no one can fathom it. But we have to choose Him. He won’t inhabit us, and evil can have more of us, if we don’t choose him.

The battle still rages. Beyond the dimension of this world the fight over those in this world is occurring. And it is fierce. And it is bloody. The stakes are high. They fight for the beloved of God–each human’s soul.

But the people have to contribute. They have to choose.

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Pushing the Broken

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Cause I’m broken when I’m open.

And I don’t feel like I’m strong enough.”

Broken, Seether

Humanity is so broken. That is a truth that we speak, often flippantly, often judgmentally, failing to see the dents scrapes and tears in ourselves. But I think maybe the moments that I see that fact most clearly come in my own failures, my own self-evaluations. Because when I fail I fail big, and leave a trail of unintentional, yet still horrifying, deep pain in my wake.

Sometimes I also feel the depth of our depravity in others. Because I push. If I’m going to know a person I want to know the whole, real person–wounds, biases, and all. Sometimes it takes a lot of words, questions, and time to get that deep. People have walls. Trust has led to knifing pain for them before. But I push, albeit gently, slowly, tactfully. I am persistent so usually I get in. I see the beauty even in the dark brokenness. A true picture of a person both kills and nourishes my soul. We are so used to facades, but I am not content with that.

Often lately I’ve wondered if it is wrong of me not to be content. If really, despite my prejudicial perceptions of myself, I am a selfish, manipulative, hurtful, fool. I like to think that I help, but lately I’m not so sure. I don’t want to lie to myself, I want honesty, no matter what the cost, and while that desire may be a fair expectation of myself, maybe it is wrong of me to impose it on others.

But I don’t know if I could stop if I wanted to. I am addicted to uncovering the truth of perfect, beautiful souls marred by sin.Like beach glass smoothed by the battering waves, each person worn and tattered by life leaves me awe-struck. Each story is better than fiction–how events, people, and words stamp and affect lives forever is sobering. Maybe I should take that as a warning, that the deeper you push the more impact you leave.But each story is different. Each holds meaning, infuses my life with it…

I’ve said before that the people give me a purpose, but maybe you didn’t believe me. Maybe you didn’t realize just how true those words were.  They each see the world so differently. Taking a walk in their shoes is enlightening. Maybe one life isn’t enough for me. So maybe you didn’t realize how deeply all this went with me, how broken I am, but hopefully now you do. I strive to be truthful here, always. I never ask for an honesty, a vulnerability I will not give.

 

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