The Letter I Never Wrote My Dad

21 06 2015

old-letters

Daddio, Daddy Jones, Trusty,

Oh how time flies when you’re within its constraints. Six and a half years have passed since I last hugged you, bopped your head, or asked you to stand by your bed so I could ram my shoulder into your stomach and “sack the quarterback”. Seven Father’s Days have come and gone without being able to give you a Far Side desk calendar or a nose trimmer or a cartoon tie or some other “useful” gift you so graciously accepted. So much time has come and gone.

Sometimes I still can’t believe you’re no longer here. Someone that was so faithful to always be there isn’t easy to part with.

You were always there, dad. Every track meet and road race you were at the sideline cheering me on with honey sticks in hand for energy and Aspercreme in your back pocket to rub down my chicken-legs after I crossed the finish line. Every basketball game you were in the stands videoing such important middle school footage and ever-so-kindly putting mistaken refs in their place. Every REI garage sale you were first in line and coming home with hoards of things you thought I might like. (I still have quite the stash today, dad. Those random gifts still come in handy.) If I ever vaguely mentioned I was interested in some hobby or that a friend of mine liked cycling or snowshoeing or collecting gum wrappers, there you were with gifts in hand, freely giving from the “Daddy Garts” sports store conveniently located in your garage.

You always put others first. Always. You would make sure our fishing poles were always set up on those all-night trips to the pier. (I’m fairly certain your line never even got in the water because you were always too busy helping me with snags or teaching me how to put the shrimp on the hook.) You shelved your love of surfing and gladly opted to wade in the water beside me as you pushed me into the wave, knowing full well that my scrawny arms could never paddle into that 6-inch swell. You would be up at the crack of dawn making the princess (me) her must-have snowboarding trip breakfast (pancakes). You would always make sure us kids made it to church every Sunday, something I will ever be grateful for. You would commute three hours roundtrip to work every day, come home, and make us dinner with a smile on your face, even if that dinner was your tuna/mac/pea combo thing. You were selfless, dad, utterly selfless, utterly reliable, and utterly trustworthy.

I don’t remember exactly when Trusty came into my life, maybe at age four or five. You were always there with the most dependable horseback rides, so my little brain opted to forever nickname you Trusty. Every night before bed, mom and I would call you from the stables. You’d clip clop over to me and pull me up into the imaginary saddle on your back. I’d fling my arms around your neck and you’d whisk me off to bed. You’d clip clop down the cobblestones in our living room, splash through the stream in our hallway, and slurp up a drink of water before squishing through the muddy terrain just shy of my room. Without fail, you’d get distracted by some apple tree and eat one along the way before dropping me off at my twin-bed destination for a good night’s sleep. You signed my birthday cards with hoof prints and ponds and fences to leap over. You left sticky notes on the mirror with horseshoes as a signature. If you ever acted out, I made sure to put you in your place by telling you I would send you to the glue factory if you didn’t shape up! I’ve never heard anyone impersonate a panic-stricken horse’s neigh like you!

For years you carried me. You were Trusty and even now it makes more sense as to why.

As I think back to a private conversation you and I had in your nursing facility just weeks before you left, I distinctly remember the remorse in your eyes. You choked out the words and drenched them in tears. You told me how bad it hurt to think you wouldn’t see me grow old, that you would never have the opportunity to walk me down the aisle. You cradled an imaginary child in your arms and cried at the thought of never being able to hold my babies. One thing was certain to me on that day, the pain of abandoning your little girl in life was more excruciating than the pain of the cancer eating at your body. You had put your all into being there for me. You were my Trusty, that faithful old horse. When you died, who would make sure I was okay?

Dad, I love you. I may have lost you for a little while, but rest assured, for this time while I no longer have you or mom here on earth, I am not at a loss. I am not lost. I am okay. It is unfathomable just how faithful God has been to take care of me.

A few months ago, I couldn’t sleep. My heart was aching for more of God, my Father, in my life. One thing I have learned through the pain of losing both parents is if I have more of Him, all else will be okay. All else will be okay. That night, in that moment of desperation, I reached my arms up in the air, crying as I laid in my bed as if to grab hold of the Dad I needed. I was craving to know my Father more. With a tinge of frustration, I said, “Show me more of you, God.” Suddenly and gently, an image of you popped into my head.

I was stunned and a bit puzzled. A few seconds passed and the lightbulb switched on. God whispered to me about you, about Trusty of all things. He chose to use you as an example of His love. Over six years have passed and I’m just now seeing how well you pointed me to the Father by your lifestyle.

You were so trustworthy, and yet it was just a shadow of the most Trustworthy One.

You took such joy and pride in every interest of my heart, and yet that was just a mere glimpse into the fondness He has for me.

You thoroughly delighted in giving good gifts to me, and yet that was a simple taste of His delight in meeting my every need.

I know the Father more because of you. I know Him! You couldn’t have given me a more thoughtful, everlasting gift if you tried. And God couldn’t have given me a more thoughtful gift in you, with every horseback ride, with every appearance at my sporting events, with every outing to the mountains. He knew what I needed in a father, and He knew you would be the best way to fulfill that need. Thank you, dad, thank you.

For years you carried me. You still do. You are Trusty.

Love,

Your F.O.





The Valley of the Shadow of Death

16 09 2014
My mom's hand in my own, months before she was gone.

My mom’s hand in my own, not long before she was gone.

Part 3 in the Me Too series

“The two most powerful words when we’re in struggle: me too.” Dr. Brené Brown

. . . . .

Tomorrow is my mom’s 64th birthday. Four years ago, unbeknownst to us, my family and I celebrated her birthday with her for the last time. We ate at a Luby’s cafeteria in Texas, and I nostalgically ordered the meal of my childhood: fish filet, fried okra, a yeast roll, and strawberry shortcake. (It tasted much, much better as a child.) I can’t tell you how many times I have told myself how I wish I had celebrated that special day with just a little more overt and spoken appreciation for the beautiful woman I called my mom and best friend. I just wish I had doused her in much more of my love that day. Two weeks later, she was diagnosed with incurable liver cancer. Six months later and she was gone.

 

I write this with tears in my eyes. I miss her. I miss that sense of peace and comfort when she and I would lay on the bed, chat about nothing and everything, then fall asleep for an afternoon snooze side by side. I miss her homemade soup and her piecrust and how she’d slap my hand as I always reached to eat more dough. I still grab my phone to call her at times when I want to share exciting news or see if she wants to spontaneously join me for a movie. I still randomly sing her quirky songs and laugh at her oddball sense of humor. I still listen to the few remaining voicemails I managed to salvage. I still pore over her photo albums, albums that will never be filled with new pictures of her. I still try to remember her as vividly as I possibly can.

 

My mother died on February 19, 2011, two years and five days after my dad died. (That story is its own, one of extreme loss and grief, yet one of restorative healing still taking place to this day. He was a wonderful, selfless, giving man that I learned love and life through). But I had just barely poked my head out of the swirling black clouds that came with my father’s death. And February 2011 brought on a darker and heavier storm than the one I had just survived.

 

Those who have experienced deep and personal loss can understand the journey. While our journeys of grief are never identical, we yet relate to each other simply because we have all shaken hands with grief. We cling to memories, we gather the moments that stick out and compile them in our brains, we hang onto the images that are burned into us forever. We remember so we don’t forget.

 

I remember her soft brown hair and how bad she was at dyeing it herself. I remember that nightgown of hers that looked like pea soup had been the designer’s inspiration. I remember how silky her hands were. I remember how she always tried to keep a smile in her eyes.

 

And then I remember the yellowing in her skin and the spots on her hands. I remember the glassy look in her eyes. I remember our last day out together before she was bedridden and the effort it took for me to keep her from falling down. I remember my words shredding the nurse to pieces as I told him how careless he was with my mother, that he had no idea what I was going through. And I remember breaking down in his very presence as he humbly apologized, told me of his personal losses, and then said he had just heard life-threatening news about another family member. I remember crying myself to sleep every single night for weeks before her death and months after her death. I remember how nothing in me had the willpower to do what I loved to do, sing from the heart. I was mute, my soul choked by grief. I remember how my bones physically ached in my mourning and how pain medication never helped. I remember fidgeting with every coping mechanism—both healthy and unhealthy—that I could get my hands on. I remember the sleepless and lonely nights, my only companion found in my tears.

 

I remember the good and the bad. But most of all, I remember the unwavering faithfulness of my God.

 

I don’t fully comprehend how I made it out of the valley of the shadow of death, but I do know that, as is promised in Psalm 23, He was with me.

 

Every storm that I face in the future will be girded with my memories of His faithfulness. I remember Him in the pain and I remember Him each day I wake. I’ve felt His strength pull me through. I’ve seen His eyes tell me with just a look that He’s got me. One glimpse of His face and the heavy burdens melt. For in His presence is fullness of joy.

 

Less than four months following my mom’s death, I got my voice back. On a night of utter grief and pouring out my heart to Him through tears, He showed me Himself. Not in the present. Not in that very moment as I was driving back to Colorado Springs after a worship night in Loveland. Rather, He showed me Himself on the day my mother died. It was all too real, and it changed me in a split second. On my mom’s final day here, I had a brief moment alone with her by her bedside. The hubbub of nurses and visitors had waned for a second, and I had time. I threw myself across her body and wept. I hugged her with all that was left in me. And I told her, through my choking sobs, that it was okay for her to go. I released her and gave her permission to depart. I went home, took a nap, and woke up to the call that she was gone. I will never forget that day. But months later on that drive home from Loveland, Jesus took me back to my last day with her. I relived it all. The tears, the embrace, the exit out of that room. But this time He showed me I wasn’t alone in that room. No, there weren’t any nurses taking her temperature or monitoring her heartbeat. But there was a visitor in that room, one I hadn’t noticed before. Jesus stood at the foot of the bed and watched me mourn over her. He approached me and held me as I embraced her. He let me tell her I was letting her go. And then he whispered to her, “It’s ok. I’ve got her now. You can go. Everything is ok.” And He and I walked out of the room arm in arm.

 

In that moment of deep revelation and intimacy, in that moment of seeing Jesus’ face, I was changed. I had spent months in agonizing grief over the loss of my mother. And in a single moment, although many tears and much sorrow accompanied me in the years to follow, I knew I was not alone. Jesus had promised to not only walk me through the valley of the shadow of death, but he promised to walk me through the entire journey of my life. For months I had lost my voice, my ability to sing joyfully from my soul. But in that car, early June 2012, a simple song poured out of my heart and I sang it over and over again:

Show me Your face

I long to see

The deep wells of love in Your eyes

I want to see You tonight

Let me gaze, let me gaze

Let me gaze on the face that changes me

Let me gaze on the face of love

(Face of Love)

 

This song that God hand-delivered to me on a night of grief and overwhelming ecstasy later became my personal anthem and one that has touched lives around me. I will never forget that moment, I will never forget that song, and I will never forget the face that changes me.

 

If there is only one thing I know it is the fact that Jesus is faithful. His love is overwhelming. To those in the storm right now, I speak hope, peace, comfort, and strength to you through Jesus. May you know him intimately and run towards his outstretched arms. May your wounds find healing in Him. This day, through your tears, remember Him. His love never fails.

 

If the darkest night is upon you as you read these words, know that the risen Jesus is wild about you, even if you can’t feel it. Listen beneath your pain for the voice of Abba God: “Make ready for my Christ whose smile, like lightning, sets free the song of everlasting glory that now sleeps in your paper flesh like dynamite.” Brennan Manning, from his book, The Signature of Jesus

 

. . . . .

If you need strength through the battle right now, I highly encourage you to read Christine Caine’s recent blog about her fight with cancer. It has strengthened many.

 . . . . .

FOR THOSE IN THE VALLEY

The day after my mother died, I opened the book of Psalms to search out every ounce of comfort I could find in His Word. I clung to them in hope. I underlined them in faith, trusting my God Himself would bring me through the valley, not just point the way and say, “Good luck, kid.” I’ve listed a few here if you or someone you know needs strengthening.

 

But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. Psalm 3:3

 

With my voice I cry to the Lord, and He hears and answers me… Psalm 3:4

 

The Lord listens and heeds when I call to Him. Psalm 4:3

 

In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for you, Lord, alone make me dwell in safety and confident trust. Psalm 4:8

 

But let all those who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice; let them ever sing and shout for joy, because You make a covering over them and defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirits. Psalm 5:11

 

Have mercy on me and be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am weak (faint and withered away); O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled. Psalm 6:2

 

…the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping. Psalm 6:8

 

…for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek (inquire of and for) You… Psalm 9:10

 

The unfortunate commits himself to You; You are the helper of the fatherless. Psalm 10:14

 

…lighten the eyes [of my faith to behold Your face in the pitchlike darkness]… Psalm 13:3

 

Therefore my heart is glad and my glory [my inner self] rejoices; my body too shall rest and confidently dwell in safety… Psalm 16:9

 

…I shall be fully satisfied, when I awake [to find myself] beholding Your form [and having sweet communion with You]. Psalm 17:15

 

In my distress [when seemingly closed in] I called upon the Lord and cried to my God; He heard my voice… Psalm 18:6

 

He reached from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. Psalm 18:16

 

For You cause my lamp to be lighted and to shine; the Lord my God illumines my darkness. Psalm 18:28

 

Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place. Psalm 23:6

 

Although my father and my mother have forsaken me, yet the Lord will take me up [adopt me as His child]. Psalm 27:10

 

O Lord my God, I cried to You and You have healed me. O Lord, You have brought my life up from Sheol (the place of the dead); You have kept me alive… Psalm 30:2,3

 

You have turned my mourning into dancing for me; You have put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, to the end that my tongue and my heart and everything glorious within me may sing praise to You and not be silent. Psalm 30:11,12

 

The Lord preserves the faithful… Psalm 31:23

 

The Lord is close to those who are of a broken heart… Psalm 34:18

 

Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, my Help and my God. O my God, my life is cast down upon me [and I find the burden more than I can bear]; therefore will I [earnestly] remember You… Psalm 42:5,6

 

His beautiful promises go on and on and on, and He is so faithful to show their truths to the brokenhearted, the crushed, the bruised, the tear-stained, to me, and to you. I know it well.





Me Too: Not Enough

5 09 2014

you-are-enoughPart 2 in the Me Too series

“The two most powerful words when we’re in struggle: me too.” Dr. Brené Brown

 

Just a few days ago, I attempted the unthinkable. I bared my soul for the world to see. Upon clicking “Publish” I immediately burst into frantic tears at the thought of being exposed and shortly thereafter graduated to a nosebleed. Classy. If that doesn’t tell you how unaccustomed to vulnerability I am, I don’t know what will.

 

The response to my first blog, “Me Too: A single, Christian woman bears all,” was humbling and eye-opening. I saw women, men, single people, and married people relate. I saw people around the world inspired. And it made me realize two things: there is an immense lack of raw openness we share with each other and there is an overcoming power that realness lends to one another. A very close friend worded my newfound victory in this struggle perfectly: “What you used to view as weakness (being transparent and vulnerable) has become the strongest weapon in your arsenal against the enemy. Your act of stepping out and declaring your testimony is the epicenter of overcoming in your life. And just like an earthquake, you are now watching the shock waves go out and defeat him over and over across the world.” What happens when we speak out our testimony, our story, beautifully stained by the blood of Jesus? What happens when we choose to court Truth instead of residing with Lies? We overcome (Revelation 12:11).

 

There are many lies that I am finally beginning to reject in my own life. Thirty-two years of protecting these villains and I am just now becoming brave enough to say, “No more!”

 

“You’re unworthy.”

“You’re not good enough.”

“You’re not smart enough.”

“You’re not educated enough.”

“Life doesn’t really count until you’re married.”

“You’re not attractive enough.”

“No one will listen to you.”

“You’re uninspiring.”

“You’re too shallow.”

“You’ve been passed over.”

“You should have known better.”

“Those walls will never come down.”

“Just face it, you’ll always struggle with that.”

“Your blatant sin disqualifies you from ever being used by God.”

“You’ll get hurt again if you put yourself out there.”

“You’re not equipped enough to do that.”

“You don’t fit into the social norms.”

“You’re just not worth it.”

“You’re forgotten.”

I’ve given these lies enough stage time. I even watched my beautiful mom live much of her life in the debilitating and fear-inducing grip of many of these lies as well. It is about time I ended their reign in my lineage. Enough is enough.

. . . . .

Sharing a piece of my story with the world has done wonders for me. It has unlocked a cage I climbed into years and years ago. There is power in exposing the shadows and giving way to the light. But a blog here and there is not the key to my freedom. A few “likes” or “shares” or encouraging pats on the back from friends is not the key to my freedom. It is not enough. No matter how much of my life I share with the world, no matter how many masks I pull off, I will find it ultimately and eternally ineffectual without the blood of Jesus coursing through my words, actions, and life. The lies I have battled, the rejection I have sheltered, and the loneliness I have felt will all remain unless the love of Christ is embraced. And oh how I am embracing that profound love! Nothing, absolutely nothing, is as satisfying and healing.

 

“As we allow ourselves to experience our own pain, we can know that what we feel is Christ suffering in us and redeeming us. Rather than condemning ourselves for our weakness and making self-conscious efforts to try harder, we can allow the Crucified to love us in our brokenness. There is no way of healing from the wounds each of us carries except through the love of Jesus that forgives seventy times seven and keeps no score of our wrongdoings.” From Brennan Manning’s The Signature of Jesus

 

I could serve a life sentence in the prison of lies. I could waste years beating myself up for every sinful and filthy trench I have made camp in. I could cower in the corner of condemnation and live a minimalistic Christian life, suffocating the power of the cross. I could tremble at my inability. Or I could cling to that cross and look into the eyes that wash, transform, and embolden me. In myself, I am weak, messy, untrained, and feeble. But take that same brittle soul and leave it and its weaknesses in the hands of an all-powerful and all-giving God, and hear her proclaim, “I am enough!”

 

You are enough not because you have stressed and strained, worked and trained.

You are enough simply because Jesus is enough.





Me Too: A single, Christian woman bears all

1 09 2014

Vulnerability-Just-Ahead

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” Dr. Brené Brown

 

It’s 4 a.m. and I haven’t been able to get this short burst of bravery out of my soul. If I wait any longer, no doubt I will question my actions, sloughing them off as stupidity in action. I fell asleep to Bethel’s “You Make Me Brave” on repeat and woke up a few hours later with my story forming in my head. I felt like I had just enough courage to share with the world a piece of me that I rarely ever expose. Should it bring courage and comfort to just one person in the world, then it is worth it. Even if it doesn’t, I still can rest knowing I was obedient and my wings grew slightly stronger in the effort.

 

I write this for every girl or woman that has ever felt the pangs of rejection or loneliness. You couldn’t ask me to write on a more painful and personal topic.

 

“The two most powerful words when we’re in struggle: me too.” Dr. Brené Brown

 

I am two months away from my thirty-second birthday, and I am as single as a Kraft cheese slice. And that stupid cheese slice has been the source of a decade of deep sorrow. Until now, you never heard me addressing it to friends and definitely not acquaintances. If it came up, I quickly joked it aside and put on an air of confidence that probably fooled the world. But deep down I was sheltering a torrent of rejection and loneliness, that, given 9.3 seconds for my heart to dwell on, I would be in uncontrollable tears about. One of my greatest desires in the world is to have that best friend, that companion to adventure through life with, share all with, conquer the world with, someone to strengthen and be strengthened by. And having my hopes deferred year after year has led to pain after pain.

 

I do not doubt for a second that many of you in my position can relate to how I feel. For a decade now I have heard words like “He’s just around the corner. I know it.” At 22, my heart leapt at those words. Ten years on, my heart despises them for I find I am unable to match the hope in their voice with the dwindling hope in my own. I’ve heard those close to me attempt to comfort my temporarily exposed pain by saying, “Marriage is overrated,” crushing my moment of vulnerability by trying to discredit my feelings within. I’ve even had those close to me openly question my sexuality. But most of all I’ve heard the screaming voice of societal standards telling me I must not be worth someone’s love; if I am single this late in the game, then something is wrong with me (I’m not attractive enough, flirtatious enough, not this and not that); if I am not married by such-and-such an age, then I am doomed to forever be a Cat Lady. A Kraft Single Cat Lady, the third wheel in all my friend’s marriages. Whether imagined or not, I feel society’s sympathetic eyes on me at all times, a look that simply says, “Poor girl.”

 

For the past ten years I have violently and quietly struggled with every possible rotten yet thriving branch that comes from the roots of rejection and loneliness. The select few in my world were privy to the pain I endured and the pain I brought on. Sin had a chokehold on me. But at the beginning of this year, I reached an all-time low. My thoughts and my actions had led me to a place of utter self-destruction. I hurt myself and almost threw away my future, I rejected God, and I deeply wounded those close to me. In that moment of “I can’t believe I have allowed myself to get here” weakness, and in that state of “Never ever ever would I have imagined I could have done this and that,” I wept bitterly and cried out for help. Ten years of keeping God the Father at arm’s length, and I was finally ready for Him to truly be my all. No longer would I think He was withholding the gift of a husband from me. No longer would I believe He had forgotten about me. No longer would I shun His perfect creation, me, by thinking He had messed up when He made me. No one else, no boyfriend, no husband, no best friend, no family member, no counselor, no Christian leader, could fulfill the deepest longings in me. In that moment, I gave in and gave way. After a lifelong journey as a Christian, I cried out even louder for my Jesus.

 

I haven’t chosen to fall in love with Jesus because it’s the cool thing to do. I haven’t chosen to fall in love with Jesus to prove a point to anyone. I have chosen to fall in love with him because it is too painful not to. In a sense, this is my last resort. You may huff and call me pathetic. Or you may entirely relate to the ache and desperation. But He is my only hope. I have tried everything else to find fulfillment and everything else has left me emptier than before. He is honestly the only source of true fulfillment out there. One day I do expect to get married, and without doubt, because we are all imperfect humans attempting our best in this world, my husband will not meet the standard of Hollywood’s Knight in Shining Armor. He’ll misunderstand me. I’ll misunderstand him. We’ll miscommunicate. He’ll smell. He’ll forget to buy cheese slices or cat food at the store after I reminded him three times. I’ll need forgiveness from him throughout our marriage, and he’ll need it from me. And instead of my foundation of love shattering beneath my feet in those moments of human error, I am going to have to lean on the One that never fails and always forgives in order to find the strength to say, “I forgive you. I still love you.” As long as I have my husband, my friends, my family, or Christian ministers on pedestals, my world will crash when they err. The faithfulness of Jesus is not just something I want to sing about anymore. It is what I want to rely on and experience day to day, it is who He is, all He encompasses, and it is who He wants to be for me.

 

“Only the one who has experienced it can know what the love of Jesus Christ is. Once you have experienced it, nothing else in the world will seem more beautiful or desirable.” From Brennan Manning’s The Signature of Jesus

 

In these few months of absolute surrender, I have experienced comfort and assurance that no person could have ever given me. Jesus has gently taught me where I lack trust, where I lack hope, and where my faith is frail and feeble. I’ve clung to His words and whisperings:

“Know that I am good.”

“Come to me with any desire.”

“MY testimony about you is TRUTH.”

“I have your best interest at the center of my heart.”

“All my intentions for you are good.”

“As you know Me, you will come to know the true you.”

“Sin does not hold you. Trust in My power.”

And, “Believe Me.”

 

He sees my rejection and knows it all too well. He knows what it feels like to truly be despised. He can recount stories of utter loneliness, when those closest to him shunned him entirely. But he can also define true love for me, for his name is the definition, his actions the catalyst of that love.

 

“For love of you I left my Father’s side. I came to you who ran from me, fled me, who did not want to hear my name. For love of you I was covered with spit, punched, beaten, and affixed to the wood of the cross.” From Brennan Manning’s The Signature of Jesus

 

There is nothing more that I want right now than to know him intimately, day by day, more and more. I have become that girl that I used to despise who would say, “Sure, I’m single. I’m chasing Jesus right now.” It is no longer an excuse or a spiritual bandage to mask the deep pain. It is an honest and heartfelt maneuver to expose and eliminate the pain as I stand naked and vulnerable before the only One who can heal me. May my freshly forming scars ever point to that beautiful Healer and may they ever remind you that He’s there for you, too.

 

“I desire to know the Father’s heart toward me and put to work the power of the cross in my life, to have the brokenness in my life made whole. I want to be restored to a place where I am my whole self, able and willing to give of myself freely to others. I want to be made well for the sake of others. I am believing for a whole, healed, content, joyful, faith-filled, and fully trusting heart. I feel my ministry calling will be an outflow during the journey and process of this healing.” My journal entry at the beginning of 2014. I stepped away from the traditional goals or New Year’s resolutions, and in a state of total brokenness simply listed my heartfelt desire. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine the route to fulfillment would be vulnerably sharing what is most precious to me.

 

(Part 1 in the Me Too series)





The Wonder Years

23 10 2009

Over a year ago I promised a follow-up to my ages 12 and up blog, one that recalled random yet vibrant memories from my childhood. It’s 1 o’clock in the morning and what better way to procrastinate and ward off such valuable sleep than to blog? Here are the random memories from middle school, a period in all of our lives…full of pimples, puberty, and pure pain.

6th grade: word spreading around my new school that I was a boy because I could dribble the basketball between my legs; playing POGS at recess and winning someone’s spider slammer; running for student council and trying to bribe my classmates with lollipops

7th grade: wearing my hair down in public–for a school photo–for the first time in…I can’t remember; getting a turtle off the side of the road in TX and bringing him home to CO as a pet; getting de-pants’d by the guy I had a crush on and wishing I never owned those granny panties

8th grade: almost choking to death on a wad of gum too big to chew just so I could look cool like the big league sports players; having never played volleyball before, joining the team just because I could jump high and block at the net; running the Indian Fartlek intervals with my fellow track team and cracking up because it sounded like “Indian fart lick”

Your turn…your vivid middle school memories. Go.





My Morning

14 10 2009

(originally an email to kate.)

I would love to relay a story from today. Be prepared. Sit down. And put a trash can nearby.

Today I had a midterm for my Italian Geography class. Last night I fell victim to procrastination. I couldn’t study. How could I when I was really hungry and needed to make dinner, when I was thirsty and needed to fill and refill my mug with Gatorade, when Tiramisu lured me like the Sirens, when my computer screen was dirty and needed a wipe-down, when my toenails needed filing, when Ellen’s one-hour standup comedy routine and Gilly’s little Italian friend were just a click away on the same computer I was supposed to be studying on? How could I? My roommate and I decided to call it quits and instead get up early to prep for the exam.

We made it, bright and early, to the little cafe just near the center where our midterm would be. I ordered a bombaloni (creme filled donut) and a hot chocolate, the latter primarily used for warming up my 10 ice sticks some may call fingers. Two other DU girls popped in the cafe with the same intentions as my roommie and me. We pulled out our notes and highlighters, revved up the powerpoint slides, and got in gear for the next 1.5 hours of studying. All was going well. Until…

Sonia and I were at one little table studying away and I saw, out of the corner of my eye, an older man walk right past us, coming from what I thought was the bathroom. As he left, Soni G (my nickname for her, pronounced “Sony G”) and I made eye-contact. The smell of foul poopies were wafting in the air. I looked over at the other girls sitting at a table across from us and motioned with one hand what I considered the non-verbal code for “shut that bathroom door…the one RIGHT behind you…the one with POOPY smell coming out of it!” all the while keeping my other hand pinning my nostrils shut. But then…I witnessed the culprit…

I looked down on the ground, and along the path–where the man had walked from the “bathroom” to where he was standing now at the cafe counter–like stones laid out along a mountain hike, a trail of plops marked his route. Five or six little piles of black tar poo had made their way down his legs, journeyed out of his pant cuffs, and sat perfectly formed on the floor. And they were rancid. And quite shiny. And no more than 2 feet away from me.

I took action like any good gagging citizen would. I played hopscotch around the black blobs and eventually made it to the counter with a look on my face that frightened the employee. I made some grunting/heaving noise, pointed at the poo, then mimicked throwing up once more. Who says you need to know Italian to communicate with people in Italy ?? Her reply: “Oh Madonna!” Yes, she said, “Oh, Madonna.” Poor lady.

We 4 DU students quickly made our way outside to take in the fresh air: even the smell of cigarettes and pollution were inviting at that moment. The Madonna was forced to soak up the poo with newspaper and sawdust. At one point she took a break to come outside and chat with us, to apologize, and to ask if I’d seen who the pooer was. I put my Italian language skills to the test and told her, “There was man. Old. Where now? No know.” It was then that I noticed she had tears in her eyes. It couldn’t have been my poor use of such a beautiful language, could it? Nah. I concluded she was either flustered from the entire situation or the fumes were so potent they were making her eyes water. Either/Or. Who knows. No know.

The End.

🙂

I later found out from one of the other DU girls that the “bathroom” was actually only a closet. They had noticed the man come to the door, open it, peek inside and then leave. He must’ve been looking for a restroom. He found one. On the tiles next to my feet.





Jackie Chan vs. the Coke Machine

12 12 2008

My mom and I were once again privileged to spend our evening and early morning hours in the presence of doctors, nurses, mechanical hospital beds, oxygen tubes, and portable plastic urinals. Partially filled. Lovely. In the midst of our ER visit last night, despite the ridiculous rants coming across the hall from an 18-year-old rebellious and depressed pimple-head, we found solace in the little room playing hangman on the white board and teaching/learning Italian. I must say she’s a good learner despite her age. That melon isn’t as overly ripe as I thought. Good going, Lady.

Hours passed as is common in the Emergency Room, with little direction or progress (similar to the style of US Government…crap, did I just say that?), and we noticed our blood-sugar levels teetering on cliff’s edge. But some genius, 5 years ago, thought to put vending machines in during the construction of Sky Ridge Hospital, vending machines which skillfully accept credit cards from debt-ridden people. “Suck us dry, insurance companies! Suck us dry, hospital admissions and billing departments! I may bleed all my money-blood for you, but I’ll walk away with my Twix and Coke in hand.” In fact, these little machines give us the air of having the upper hand in this business. Thank you, Mr. Vending-Machine Inventor. Mwah.

We’d charged $1.90 already to her credit card and had a bag of Cheetos and a Snickers to show for it. We moved on to the Coke machine. One dollar and a quarter. Note that we’d scrounged for this change before we knew these machines took plastic and literally threw away some of it in the trash by accident, and desperate for ‘nourishment,’ dove in after it. Weary at such a hideous hour, a bit disheveled by the evening’s events, and with eyes resembling alarmed blowfish, my mom sought the coin slot that’d take her money. I watched in amusement at her desperation and confusion. Finally, she found it. Bummer…I was having fun. Oh but fun was about to come. She put the 5 quarters in and in all her excitement about finally selecting and receiving a Dr. Pepper, she balled her right fist and outright punched the front of the vending machine. NOT the Dr. Pepper button as most would do. She punched the logo displayed on the front of the machine with force enough to bow the plastic inwards. The machine was caught off-guard. Who wouldn’t be?! Some desperate 5’3″ over-stressed lady just attacked you, knocking the air out of your gut. Needless to say, the machine surrendered its goods and the Lady walked away quite content and satisfied at her mid-life strength.