I’m a walking contradiction. 

I’m ready to be better. 

Suddenly, I’ve woken up, and its already been 7 months. Seven months since my dad has passed, which resulted in my whole life crumbling to pieces. 

My once strong, firm, and secure faith was shaken. And through that core piece of my identity being jolted, the one thing I ran to, started to become something that I ran from. I was afraid that this suffering would cause me to not believe in God’s goodness any longer. Afraid that this would cause me to believe that God wasn’t who He said he was. 

I’ve processed through that over these past few months, and I think that I’m okay now. I think that I’m starting to understand that pain and God can coexist. That suffering does not show that there is no God, but rather points to the very reason why we need a God.

And now, I’m here. Caught in the in between. Between depression and hope. Between unmotivated and inspired. It’s a really strange place to be.  All of this constant tension of where I want to be and where I’m actually at. Recently, I’ve been feeling like a walking contradiction. 

As I’m lying here, thinking about who I want to be in this new year, the only word that comes to mind is:

Better. 

I want to be better. 

I want to serve the Lord better. I want to love people better. I want to understand who God is better. I want to challenge myself and push myself to be better. 

Yet, here I stay. Making all of these empty commitments of who I want to be. Not following through, but seeing them slip through my fingers as though they were sand. And I’m sick and tired of it. 

I’m tired of sitting here acting like I can’t push myself harder. I’m sick of making excuses for my lousy use of time. I’m sick of dreaming and hoping instead of bucking up and doing. 

I don’t just want to be better. 

I’m going to be better. 

Denial becomes your best friend without ever introducing itself.

Deny, Deny, Deny.

You never realize when you’re in denial. You never acknowledge the problem; you simply act as if it is not real.

Alcoholism is the most prominent theme in my story, and I have definitely been denying it. Too hurtful to think that those who were suppose to love me most have actually hurt me the most. Too painful to think that they should’ve been there when they weren’t. Too gut-wrenching to think that I wouldn’t be so broken if they just didn’t drink.

Anger.

Why me / why was I given the cards of two alcoholic parents / why was I given the family that I wouldn’t even give the title family to / why was I abandoned

Resentment.

You did this to me / you are the very reason why my self-esteem is so low / you are the very reason why I feel like I am never enough / you never even gave me a second thought / it’s all about you, mom / it’s all about you, dad / sorry that i’ve become such an interruption in your lives

Guilt.

Am I never enough /  would this not happen if i was better / if i wasnt such a problem / if i wasnt such a burden / if i was more

Blame.

It’s my fault that my mom started drinking / she never would have drank if he didn’t leave / he wouldn’t have left if she didn’t have me / am i the beginning of this miserable journey that they have begun

Denial.

I am different from them / this does not have an effect on me / i have conquered this demon of alcohol / it doesn’t effect me anymore

Acceptance.

I was lying / it effects every part of myself / it wasn’t until now that I even realized it though…

Healing

When will it’s hand deliver me from this mess that I have made my bed in?

I made it, mama.

“I finally made it, Mama.”

Not that you care that I did,
because you always claim that you were behind me from the start

but is that true?

I bet you forgot about all of your druken stuppors that happened
not once in awhile,
but every single night,
and on the bad nights you would yell until your throat was sore,

Claiming that, “you will never make it.
you won’t ever go to college.
you won’t be able to get out of this hell hole.”

Well mom,
I made it.

And for the record,
I’m not mad at you for spending all of our government funds on those bottles of vodka,
I’m not mad that you chose to spend countless hours at that ratty old tavern every night,
I’m not mad that you never came to my games or paid attention to my grades,

I’m mostly sad,
and in the strangest way,
happy with it all.

I wear these scars as battle wounds,
To show that I am proud of where I came from.
I wouldn’t be who I am without the constant trials that I was plauged with,
I wouldn’t be who I am without the requirement of being completely independent by the age of ten.

I’m sad that you never realized what you missed because you were so concerned with finding the bottom of that bottle,
And even now when you’ve lost it all,
Even when you’ve had time to reflect,
You still don’t even see that
you missed it.
You missed out on the key moments of my life.

When I find time to reminisce, I usually find myself alone in those memories,
because you just weren’t there.

I still have some hurt left that I need to redeem, but I do forgive you.
Every last thing that you did to me,
I forgive every single word that you would sling at me.
The unmentionable utters that should have never been muttered,
especially to your own daughter.

I cast that away from me,
From these cities to the slums,
I forgive what you have done.

Not because I am great or mighty,
but because I serve the One who is.
I lift up praises and thanks because He made a way,
and the story that was written did not go to waste.

Mama, I made it.

And I hope that one day,
you can make it too.

Threnody – Goldmund

I want to lay on our backs and watch the stars until dawn,
Talking about where we come from, and why it took us so long to get to here.

Here.

The place of lying our walls and burdens down, because we finally believe that we are loved by the King.
The place where we’re finally okay with not being okay;
the utopia of giving enough grace to ourselves and each other because
this work is not over.

Don’t give up now, precious child,

You just finally began to sing,
To sing the melody that has been trapped in your heart for far too long,
This is a song that can change the people of this world
The people crying for something more,

Darling, you are the more that they are looking for.

Your heart races as you read that sentence once more,
because you cannot even imagine that could be true,
But Christ laid his life down for you, simply so that you could show where you’ve come from,
And more importantly,

How you survived it;

How you decided to grit your teeth, clench your fists, stand up and fight it;
How you finally had the courage to look the devil in the eye and spit those words
one more time,

“You will not win.”

“You do not own me any longer.”
“I may have been stuck in sin, but Christ pulled me back into Him again.”
“Your consistent whispers of my guilt and shame can no longer be the anchor dragging me under, because Christ has overcome your plunder.”
“I will not give you power anymore.”

“You. Will. Not. Win.”

Do you hear that?

Can you hear me scream at the tops of my lungs?
Not because you broke me,

but because I have finally won.

Sweet victory,
I owe it all to Thee.

B.D.

“It’s a monster that clutches on with no thoughts of letting go.”

Depression.

Even the thought that I COULD possibly have it makes my stomach drop. How could this be me? How could I, who seems to have it all going for me, struggle with something so life-taking like depression?

I have a Savior who I know loves me, so how could I even possibly have the slightest possibility of depression.

I’m stuck. and I’ve been stuck for a really long time. I know all the things that I want in my relationship with God, but I don’t know how to reach them or put them into action. I know that I need to pray, but I just can’t make myself pray for more than a couple of minutes. I am lost in the depths of this, and I’ve never felt so alone. Yet I know there are so many people around me that care for me so much, and I just feel like I can’t tell them I have something that I should not be struggling with.

I love the Lord. I love people. But why am i so lost in the hopelessness of never getting out of this rut?

I’m so scared, because I don’t know what it means to be depressed and I don’t know how to deal with it. I don’t know why I am depressed. What does this mean for me? Will I have to go on medication?

I don’t want this to be a part of me. And I don’t even know why I’m so sad. I could say it’s because of my friends and how our friendship is kind of on the rocks, but other than that I can’t even tell you why I’m so afraid. Or why I’m so sad. Or why I’m so alone. Or why I feel so left behind.

Life is happening and I feel like I’m stuck here, not knowing where to go or where to turn.

How can I feel like this when I know that I have a God on my side.

Is this something I can be freed from?

“If a writer falls in love with you, you can never die.”

I long to be one’s muse. I long to inspire someone to write, compose, sing, paint, draw, or whatever artistic medium they choose.

I long to inspire someone to create.

I’m not so sure why I have such a passion for this, but maybe it’s because I think that’s what true love looks like. A type of love that makes one long to be better than they are. A type of love that pushes them to be who they were created to be. Love that makes someone feel like they are more than what everyone else presumes they are.

Love is about noticing the details. Like the way I like my tea, or the way my lips purse when I’m being made fun of. It’s about noticing how I like the rain because of the way it smells. It’s taking the time to look past what everyone else sees, and exploring to find the true treasures that are hidden within their hearts.

To me, that’s what love looks like. It inspires, challenges, and encourages.

It’s almost like watching a sunset from a new perspective. Looking at it, and realizing that you are smaller than you remember. Looking at it, and taking the challenge to try and create something of the same unmerited beauty.

I think I want to be someone’s muse so that I will completely believe that they love me, not because I feel like they would lie to me, but because I feel like I don’t deserve that kind of love. Since they took the time to search for the innermost parts of me that everyone skims past, then I will know.

They took the time to not only read the story thus far, but to actually run their finger down the seam to make sure that they hold on to every word on that page.Image

Insignificance is the Enemy

          He walked through the main door as if he owned the room. He possessed this bravado that he was clearly unaware of. Once he entered, everyone flocked his direction. They just wanted a taste of his presence, and he didn’t give it a second thought. Although there were many times that I witnessed this, there was something different about tonight. I ran his way in anticipation for a hug, but as I leaned in his comforting scent wasn’t present. I took in another whiff, and the distinct smell of smoke was clutching on to his clothes. Taken aback, I stared into his lively sky-blue eyes to find them dead, obstructed by the toxic fumes of the stick he lit prior. As though a string connected my heart and face, they simultaneously fell at the thought of this act of defiance.

            He was a young man trying to follow Jesus and ended up trying to earn Jesus instead. That is the exact belief that kick started a cycle that spun out of control too quickly for him to grasp. A month prior he was serving God and taking the steps to reflect Christ in every action he took. He felt the desperate stirring inside of his soul and decided to satisfy his hunger with the promise of God’s truth. Now looking at him, I felt as though I did not even recognize him. Within a period of thirty days, he found something much more tangible to sink his teeth into. The world’s lies became his favorite food, and it consumed his every thought. 

            Grabbing his arm, I pulled him aside to reevaluate the situation. When I touched his arm, it was as though I could feel every inch of sadness within him. He peered down at me and smiled, and it was evident that he took every broken piece of his soul and glued them together just to put together one smile. He tried to hide the depression that he was plagued with, but it was too palpable to turn away from.

            “Trent, let’s go for a walk,” I said.

            He didn’t object, and that showed me just how desperate he was. He was desperate for someone to notice that he wasn’t okay, although he tried to advertise a completely different message that everyone else seemed to have bought. As we walked through the gloomy, summer night, his bravado started to unfold in front of me. He built his walls so tall and thick that it blocked out all of the light from his darkened spirit. I was humbled that he let down the walls without a second thought. When the walls came down, I realized the amount of strength it took him to constantly keep them up. His face that once held a smile had wilted, his posture drooped, and his eyes became honest with fear.

            Once we found a place to sit, I poured my heart out to him. I told him how dead his eyes looked, and how loved he was regardless of what he was doing. I shared that there were bigger plans for him, and that it was okay if he was hurt, confused, angry, or afraid of the One who loved him the most. I did not speak much more than that, and it was simply because my words weren’t the ones that mattered. He finally had the opportunity to be real and honest with someone who was not going to judge him, condemn him, or punish him.

            Word after word came spilling out of his mouth and it was obvious how much he just needed someone to listen. It was difficult for him to be vulnerable, but as the tears welled up in his eyes, it was clear that this was the one thing he really needed. He wasn’t in need for advice or for another person to tell him that he wasn’t living right. He was in need of the love of Christ, and the comforting truth that there was a Savior that had already won this battle.

            A couple of months later, I asked him about this conversation and how it affected him. He shared that this was the moment he was going to choose whether to completely walk away from God or once again try to fight for his relationship with Christ. I was so completely awed that the God of the universe could use me to be a part of his story.

            When I was two years old my father left my mother and I to be with his mistress. One could say that it was engrained into my brain that I was insignificant and that I didn’t really matter. It wasn’t until God used me in Trent’s story that I realized that I wasn’t just another Christian. Though being a follower of Christ means becoming part of something bigger than yourself, I have never felt of more importance. Through helping Trent, and just showing him the truth about God’s love, it was clear that God had a plan for me.

            We are not called to believe that we are insignificant, but to acknowledge the power that has been freely given to us through the blood of Christ. We are to make significant impacts for the kingdom of God, and that’s not by condemning those who are struggling, but by loving them as Christ would. When I confronted Trent, I didn’t do it out of anger or of hopes to humiliate him, I did it out of love. I knew that the only way for one to truly come out of their sin was through love, for Christ’s love pushed me to pursue Him with no reservations. We must realize that the motive to confront a person is much more important than the actual confrontation. We must realize that insignificance is the enemy, and true value is found in Christ.

Image