Sunday, October 13, 2013


Life is insane. I work two jobs, I sleep three and a half hours every night, and sometimes I sleep during my lunch breaks. I'm planning a wedding, I'm trying to coordinate two work schedules so my fiance and I can see each other. I'm trying to breathe.

"If you're too busy to take a day off for the Sabbath, you're forcing yourself to do too much and not following God." Paraphrased quote from K-LOVE tonight.

Doing too much. I always do too much.

I don't remember the exact wording of the quote, but I remember the feeling of being overworked, stressed out, panicked, with no end in sight of the hectic crazy. I feel it every day, with or without my Bible time, and it's really upsetting when Scott and I can't get one day to ourselves without work obligations. I always feel so much more loved, so much closer to him when we do get those days together to just be. And that quote stirred something deeper, like a promise of something better when we stopped doing too much.

And now God's request for a Sabbath makes sense. When will I learn that sometimes the easiest things to let go, like one devoted day, are the ones that make or break a person?

It's not that He wants us lazy, but He wants us to just rest in his grace and love and to spend time with Him and devote an entire day to enjoying life with Him. No harried checking email, no fantasy football updates, just Him and us...

And suddenly I feel kind of ashamed for missing out on my day together with Him, I prioritize work and being busy so much. And I feel like I miss out on His leadings so often because I'm so busy, I pack my days to where I get three and a half hours of sleep at night and I can't sit back and LISTEN.

"We miss out on the newest divine direction because we failed to honor the last one."

I have been stressing out over so much lately, how I'm going to handle an aspect of the wedding, how I'm going to keep working while not feeling well, how I'm going to maintain friendships if I have half an hour I can talk to people...

I learned a long time ago that money goes a lot farther after tithing. I really feel like I'm being called to tithe my time, to actually sit back and take one day to just be with God. No running around, no insane demanding schedule, just be with God. Yoga to worship music, eating fresh foods outside in the sunshine, just rest and be and read the Word for hours like I used to...

I always force myself to do too much. Sometimes I joke it's because I have something to prove. Sometimes I feel worried that if I don't work my absolute hardest, God won't help me, that He gave me two jobs because I CAN work my absolute hardest and that He expects me to WonderWoman it. But my body has started acting like it wants to fail, like it can't keep going without a very long day off. I get the feeling that we were designed to only work very long days of physical labor for six days in a row.

Saturdays are my day devoted to church. What would my life be like if that day was devoted to enjoying God's presence like I do my fiance's, and fellowship with other believers was just a bonus?

Monday, June 11, 2012

All the change. Ever. Of all time.

So... busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy time...

New boyfriend, new job, new routine, new computer, new cell phone, new adopted cat...

And that transitions into:

Fiance, twenty-hour days, computer games, contact with people, and cat beating up my sister and wishing I had a dog. :P There is indeed much to go over. However, the biggest change (the whole upcoming wedding thing) will be gone over elsewhere. It's my new hope to write at least two blog posts a week, one for this one, and then one for a new blog. That blog will be combo writing and video, detailing history with fiance, and upcoming wedding planning, and will be found at Wedding Planning Is Only Dancing In The Rain.

That is, as soon as I get a post up. :P

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Life... abundantly

An abundant life. That phrase brings concepts of prosperity, usefulness, and work to the forefront of my mind. It's almost a revolting phrase. Pastor Jim uses it liberally in every sermon and prayer. Miss Mandy and MIss Theresa put it in every time they pray with the nursery workers. And I see abundance as part of the Misery-Inducing American Dream.

I have hit, not THE lowest I've hit but still down there, low points in the thirteen months I've attended JCI (Joy Church International). I've started having what can best be described as black-outs, where I'll stop breathing and seeing and forget how to start again, and seizures, where I will be aware of what's going on but incapable of responding. I've been cutting and spending hours in solitary confinement in my room or outside. I've even spent hours a day dreaming about suicide, beating myself up, imagining scenarios where I get what I deserve. I'm twenty years, three months, and nineteen days old. That's a lot of sin to be punished—painfully—for.

At all of these low points in my life, the thought of an abundant life made me stomach-sick, and I couldn't talk to anyone about it without them bringing it up. You can't interrupt the pastor and ask him about it, at the beginning of nursery is not the time for a two-hour discussion on abundance, and it's not really a phrase we use here at home. I was honestly repulsed by the idea ofmore work, living your identity through your usefulness, and living in a state of prosperity that falls away in moments. I'd already dealt with that, thanks anyway. I didn't want abundance. I just wanted it to be over. I was tired of cutting, I was tired of false smiles, I was tired of working to let no one worry about me, and I was just plain tired. I wanted to die. I tried to make people angry, tried to make them hate me. Maybe they would cast me out, hurt me like I deserved, or kill me like I wanted. Maybe I could finally be at peace, live in a place I was loved unconditionally, be with the people who went before who I mourned daily... maybe Christ Himself would hold and comfort me like I was promised. Cause I sure wasn't seeing it now.

I didn't want abundance and I resented people who pushed it on me like it was a requirement for Christianity and those who resembled that abundance to me. Donna, Cassie, Jason: I apologize. I really resented those who wouldn't hurt me or just let me die, so major apology goes to Raen, Linny, Rachael, Scott, and Jacob.

A few weeks ago, I was stressed to my maximum, going nonstop and learning a new job. I resented being forced to get a job and still struggle with bitterness that absolutely no respect was given by my mother to my pursuit in finishing my novel and trying to get it published. Labor Day "weekend" was insane, quite literally, and I was pushed to my limits in every way possible the first two weeks of this month... only to find I'd been shortchanging myself. Ican work six hour shifts without energy drinks. I do have more patience than the average chihuahua. And with these realizations came bigger ones. I've fought depression for over five years and I'm still alive, so I'm stronger. I haven't cut since January (or March, I forget which) 11th, and I can only see the scars when searching. I deal better with my problems after praying with someone over theirs. Maybe I could get through these seizures and black-outs after all?

Last Wednesday, my ten year old sister was so excited. She was getting baptized that evening. I felt the strongest joy I've felt in years for her, and when I got dropped off at church at five that evening, I was calm enough to read for the first time in awhile. I pulled out my 113 year old volume of Tennyson. Starting with my favorite, "Crossing The Bar", I read aloud a little. I loved that poem so much, I memorized it in my freshman year of high school. It's about death, but it holds a major key in the end: "I hope to see my Pilot face to face/When I have crost the bar." I, too, longed to see Him face to face when I died. And my sister would have visible confirmation that day that she would too. I turned back to the beginning.

I found a poem called "The Two Voices". I started crying. I wasn't alone. That voice inside whispering to me, "would it not be better to remove yourself" hunted him as well. I wasn't alone! I kept crying, devouring his refusal to kill himself, feeling his fight. And then it came. His final stand. Loosely translated: Whatever crazy emotions tell us, nobody's really longed to die, they just thirst unquenchingly for life and it more abundantly. When at the most numb, I just wanted to feel something, which was why I cut. "Yeah, you bleed just to know you're alive..." I listened that evening to Pastor Jim's exact phrasing of the abundant life phrase. I heard what I thought I heard in Tennyson—life... and it more abundantly.

Abundance is not the subject of the sentence. Life is. I heard a cry for hope in Tennyson, a need to find something to rejoice in. There was a second voice and it spoke of a hidden hope. I heard it too. I heard life in that voice's words. When Pastor Jim talks about an abundant life, he's not talking about prosperity, usefulness, and work in an existence (alone, anyway), he's talking about life and large amounts of it.

When I think of abundance, I see superficiality. When I think of life, I taste fresh strawberries, feel snow on my toes, hear laughter, see dancing, and smell rain. When I think of life, it's joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and perseverance and self-control and, above all, love. That is the life Jesus came to bring, and it more abundantly just means large amounts beyond anything we could ask or dream.

And I have it. It is literally right now in my own spirit. I don't have to go beyond death for what I've been thirsting. It's available to me in the here and now and in that availability, I found healing. I tested it yesterday pretty hard and spent a lot of yesterday evening resting from the trying of the strength found in the joy of the Lord.

  1. I had an eight hour workday and I discovered I love opening shift. I saw my favorite constellations on my way into work.
  2. I got to go to church. Amber Davis scared me for a moment with her lawyer-assistant role and I got to thank her for following Christ and being who she is because she might have been that woman who scared me.
  3. I spent about an hour talking with Hannah Marrero, who is an epic blessing.
  4. I watched Cassie, Tim, Will, and Scott be themselves (can't vouch for Jason, but he doesn't seem to have very many masks if any) and I loved every moment of it.

After twelve hours of sleep, I woke up at 10:10 in the morning. I could never remember the reference for the 'life and it more abundantly' verse, so I looked it up. John 10:10. My family used to joke that 10:10 was happy hour, because when the hands of the clock are on 10 and 2, it looks like a smile. What an awesome reminder of His promise!

So today after more than five years, I sit, healed, with Tennyson and wondered why I ever chose the lesser of two voices.

"I marvell'd how the mind was brought

To anchor by one gloomy thought;

And wherefore rather I made choice

To commune with that barren voice,

Than Him that said, "Rejoice! rejoice!"

The Amplified Bible, John 10:10: "The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)."

Our God is more than just something to bow to. He is a Fulfiller of promises, a Redeemer, a Healer, and Love itself.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Do They Have To Scream?

"Does anybody know how I feel?

Sometimes I'm numb, sometimes I'm overcome
Does anybody care what's going on?
Do I have to wear my scars like a badge on my arm
For you to see me, I need release

Do I have to scream for you to hear me?
Do I have to bleed for you to see me?
'Cause I grieve, you're not listening to me
Do I need to scream?"

The opening to "Scream" by ZOEgirl. To the right of my posts, you'll see a music player. Listen to it. Listen good.

I know the end holds more hope than this beginning.

But how many people actually know there's hope out there? And how many of us KNOW someone's hurting, by instinct or by admittance, and still fail to offer hope or even a hug?

I have a friend I've recently been comfortable enough around to realize how hard they force themselves to remain invisible and keep the 'I don't think I'm good enough' barrier up when all they need is care. I've known their mask. I've used it. Even today, I used it.

But what breaks my heart the most is when I DO see and I do something about it... and I'm told that no one else has for months. For SEVEN MONTHS, no one has hugged this person. The same month I left Colorado was the the same month this person received their last hug. I'm asking around how long it's been since my friends have had an in-person hug. So far the replies are ranging from two days to a week. My mother can remember going five years without a hug, obviously before any of us were born. I personally can remember going three months without a hug, family included. That was four years ago now. But seven months? A DANCER going seven months without a hug? Is that even possible?


The fact that my friend can REMEMBER that it's been seven months and that much time has passed? That was just so completely heartbreaking... I know they think the world wouldn't miss them if they disappeared.

To know that I can hug people and be hugged in return, to know the world has some sort of touch? That's great and all, but there have to be hundreds out of the six billion who don't have that. I know I used to be like them, that I went long periods of time without a hug... But to know someone who needs it and who has no hope of getting one? I remember what it's like to wonder if everyone is just an empty shell and even the shell is just air. Sometimes I still wonder, though not for lack of love, but just lack of touch. To live like that is more painful than I care to recall... And to know that I KNOW someone who hasn't been hugged for that long and that I could've changed that? How could I have been so blind? How could I have walked by them as often as I have since I've been home? What was I waiting for? A scream?

Do they have to scream?

I spent much of last night crying, again most of this morning and much of this afternoon, and once more tonight as I write this...

Do they need to scream? If one of us fails, can't another pick up the slack? Do people HAVE to go seven months without a hug because one of us is too blind to see what's going on?


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Purchasing links for the books I just referenced in previous post









Bryan Davis's Amazon Page:

Sharon Hinck's Amazon Page:

Truly Never Alone

This year has been so different than many of the years before. I started out believing I was worth something more than what I chose to do, who I chose to be around, and where I was content to sit and be apathetic. Rough times happened, what I believed was challenged, and I was scarred and broken because of it. But breaking isn't the end. They broke Christ, you know. They broke his legs, they KILLED him. And he came back. Alive, better.

Back in January, my pastor started a sermon series called "What's Right With Me: Learning to Fail Forward". I don't like the idea of failure, even if it IS failing forward, but it prepared me for what's happening now. There was a series in between that and the series we're doing now, called "Who Am I: Learning To Respond To Life From Your Position, Not Your Condition". Our special verse for this series is Philemon 1:6 - 'that the sharing of your faith may become effectual by the acknowledgement of every good thing in us in Christ.' EVERY GOOD THING IN US. That's what's right with me. There's something in good in me... IN CHRIST! :D

And it's true. There IS something good in me. I may have been challenged and I may have fallen, but I fell forward, not back. I AM worth more than spending my life pointlessly, worth more than choosing to spend time around people who use me to fill something in their life, and worth more than apathy. Things had to change. I had to take what I did every day and use it for something better, like learning piano and learning languages so I can more effectively communicate my faith through things I love and have a gift for. I had to block the friends who misused me and who I allowed to do that. I had to choose to let God's joy truly be my strength.

But in order to do all of that and not quit? I had to learn I was never alone. I can say it a billion times. I have friends with whom I always exchange "Never Alone"s at the end of every letter, phone conversation, and chat. Not easy for me. I learn by reading. I could probably give you seventeen verses about how He will never leave my side. Great and all, but there's no proof, just a promise. I needed to read about how someone else could make it through. I needed something I didn't have to support, something that would support ME. But there's very little to no fiction out there where I can truly experience never being alone. Bonnie Silver is who I long to be like, she knows innately and LIVES the concept of Never Alone. But I never really got to see her learn it. I saw her battle, which gave me hope and faith that I COULD battle it out. But I never saw the process. And I was lonely.

Back in 2008, the creator of Bonnie Silver (Bryan Davis, author of the "Dragons In Our Midst" series, "Oracles Of Fire" series, "Echoes From The Edge" series, and "I Know Why The Angels Dance") was on a Christian fantasy fiction tour with three other authors: Christopher Hopper (author of The White Lion Chronicles), Sharon Hinck (author of The Restorer series), and Wayne Thomas Batson (author of The Door Within Trilogy). I list Wayne Batson last because out of the three Bryan Davis traveled with, he stands out most clearly in my mind. Meeting him changed my life. Mr. Batson was friendly and awesome and hilarious like a big teddy bear with a sword and a rolling laugh. After meeting him, I HAD to read The Door Within.

I cried. I found exactly what I needed. With Adrian, I learned HOW to believe in Never Alone. A kid from Maryland had to move to Colorado to take care of his grandpa. Leaving THE known home, and therefore the known world, to go somewhere completely unlike it (I've been to both states, trust me, they are NOT alike) to go fulfill a familial obligation? Check. From California to Oregon, from Oregon to Tennessee. Been there, done that. But in the process, Adrian and his parents come in contact with REALITY. The grandpa believes wholeheartedly in The Realm, a world neither seen or evident in this world. Adrian is called to go to The Realm through the Door Within and become the Twelfth Knight on a dangerous mission. This wasn't the reality I knew. And I needed it. I needed the escape, I needed someone to follow after. Abstract concepts I can handle. Down to earth instructions like recipes? Hang the code, and hang the rules. I needed the fantasy and the fiction, it was how I learned, how I understood. I cried. This is where I KNEW I wasn't alone. It was proven over and over for Adrian, then for Antoinette who had already believed and was ready to take on the world. I related to her most by the time I read the second book. Already a believer in The Realm, ready to rock and roll the instant she was called. Skilled fighter, her test was to choose wisdom and compassion time and time again. With her, I knew I was ready to take another journey and SERVE, not just learn how. But something still held me back. The third book came and we see Robby's battle, an old best friend of Adrian whose father is on the clearly defined evil side and who has promised Robby all sorts of power in both worlds. The same father that ran out on Robby years ago has come back powerful and popular and rich. The past Robby knew haunts him and he's not sure how to adapt to how things are now. He'd been broken before, and although he was a real popular athlete at school and everything, he knew it wasn't quite enough to just use his mask to get through... then Robby was called into the Realm. And I remembered. I remembered being broken, I saw me broken now, remembered my past, remembered my masks. And though I KNEW Never Alone and I knew what came next, like Merewen and Robby I still wondered: is there really complete rescue? Not only did the third book in the trilogy prove that there really was complete rescue, but there was also PURPOSE beyond what had already happened. Robby was someone SPECIAL along with Aidan and Antoinette. And I knew I was Never Alone, I had His wisdom available to me at all times, and I was someone SPECIAL.

After learning it and finishing the trilogy, I realized I had yet to live it. Last summer, I left my home and went to live in Colorado with another family because of their needs and mine. From there, I began slowly changing, believing in Never Alone. I faced a hard battle where Bonnie Silver and Antoinette Reed had already tread and I knew what had to be done. And I did it. This year I've begun living out the fact that I know I'm special, that I'm meant for something more. And I know what I believe in and I know it's worth standing up for.

Today my pastor asked who we were. He said we were three things. Number one, we are a spirit. (John 3:3-6, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Colossians 2:10, and Ephesians 4:24). Then he said that number two was that we are not a soul (our emotions and will) or a body, that it's just as important to know what we are not as it is to know what we are. Something God told me in the middle of the service was that MY EMOTIONS DO NOT DICTATE WHO I AM. I may have a bad day and I may hate myself BUT I AM NOT WORTHLESS OR DESERVING OF HATE. I have been forgiven by the One God whose opinion is the FINAL answer on who I am. MY DISABILITIES CAN NOT CONSTRAIN WHO I AM. I recently got off crutches again after screwing up my right leg by falling out of the bathtub while cleaning. Sitting day after day after day, trying to be patient and heal, that is all SO not my thing. It drives me insane, I hate myself for NEEDING to be lazy and heal. But my inability to be perfect does not define the limits of who I am. My spirit is still loving and willing to do things for people and be there and tumble mountains for Him even while I'm physically stuck to a chair. I, the real me, CANNOT BE PHYSICALLY CONSTRAINED. I can still be of value and still be of productive worth to the family sitting just as well as I can up and about, sometimes even better while on crutches. My feelings do NOT represent my spiritual status as God's princess, and my feelings CANNOT tell me the truth about who I am.

My emotions and disabilities cannot void the fact that I am a princess and I am a prayer warrioress and I am NEVER ALONE. My circumstances do not dictate me. I am beloved even when I am depressed, therefore I have no reason to be depressed. I am precious even when I am broken, therefore broken has no meaning for me anymore. The joy of the Lord IS my strength, He IS my Father and my Husband, I AM Never Alone!

And this is my theme song that Christopher Hopper and Wayne Batson wrote together called "The Lost Ones": (Wayne Batson's blog) (the new website for Wayne Batson and Christopher Hopper's collaboration called "Curse of the Spider King", a recent release I have yet to read) (Christopher Hopper's website) (Sharon Hinck's website) (Bryan Davis's website)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Inside My Mind

Synopsis of "Phantom of the Opera", as relating DIRECTLY to Christine. All outside interactions are cut out.

In the beginning of Phantom, we see a scantily-clad dancer transformed into a diva singing "Think Of Me". After her success, she lights a candle in the chapel and a voice tells her 'bravissima'. The smile on her face is one of hearing the praise of the one who matters most to her, even though she's frightened by the presence of the voice. Later, she is met in a side-room by an old friend from her childhood who leaves her to fetch a carriage so they can go out together. The voice confronts her after the friend leaves and she permits it full mastery. It appears behind her mirror, a masked man in black. He urges her to come with the 'angel of music' he masquerades as, telling her to turn her face from the light. They enter his richly-furnished lair under the opera house and he begs her to help him make the music of the night as he twines his magic around her naive mind. She unmasks him and he promises to return her, and when he does, she refuses to see anyone. The prima donna's jealousies provoke the phantom to ruining her show and causing the young diva to need to take her place through a murder. Terrified, the girl flees to the roof with her friend who attempts to comfort her. They agree to get married and the phantom swears his vengeance. At a masquerade ball three months later, the phantom declares he's written an opera, takes the diva's engagement ring. In the chapel, she confesses how afraid she is of playing opposite the phantom and her friend promises he'll protect her. Early the next morning, she goes to visit her father's grave alone, mourning and begging him to help her say goodbye. She is put under the phantom's spell again until her friend discovers her whereabouts, he and the phantom fight. She rides away with her friend the victor after begging him not to kill the phantom. The opera takes place that night and the phantom sings alongside her. She warns her friend subtly and the phantom draws her in again, then confesses his obsession with her. Crying, she rips off his mask and exposes him. He then kidnaps her to his lair where he demands she change into a wedding gown he prepared for his own wedding with her. The friend arrives and the phantom gives her an ultimatum: marry the phantom or the friend dies. She kisses the phantom and he cries, releasing both of them.

We were childhood sweethearts with Christ, but then tragedy/life occurred and we never maintained the relationship, allowing a voice masquerading as an angel to take hold in our lives. Put under its spell, we wander down, caught in the tantalizing music of the night. We refuse to see anyone after we return from our foray. When power is placed in our hand through the darkness's obsession with us, we realize how frightening what we're addicted to really is and we flee to the arms of a promise that says "let Me lead you from your solitude". For a season, we're together with Him, before the 'angel' claims us. Because of our history with the 'angel', and not all bad either, we're loath to let Him destroy it even when we see it defeated and shameful. We reach the point where dreaming of our loss won't help us to do all they dreamed we could and ride away with the conqueror robbed of a complete victory while we ask why can't the past just die. We're up on the bridge, still in its arms, and we face the choice: we can either unmask our struggle and allow Him to send reinforcements or we can pass the point of no return and fully cede to the darkness.

Right here is where the allegory ends, for when He comes for us in the end, He comes wholly victorious or not at all. We CAN'T give into the darkness to save Him, for He'd already died for us. So we must stand strong and let Him be wholly victorious.

But most don't. Most are too afraid to unmask the struggle, afraid of condemnation and death... and possibly also too comfortable in the seduction the darkness weaves over us. For death tastes sweet 'til you reach the dregs. Just drink five cups of coffee a day brewed in a french press that lets the most powdery and smallest grounds get through and you'll understand what I mean. Coffee should NEVER be even SLIGHTLY muddy-textured or crunchy! /bad metaphor

So when I say 'the phantom of the opera is there inside my mind', I mean 'I need you to know I'm not through the night, some days I'm still fighting to look towards the light'. But I'm getting there by His grace. So can you, and so can the others who still listen to the haunting strains of the music of the night.