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": http://www.christopherhopper.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/The-Lost-Ones1.mp3
www.enterthedoorwithin.blogspot.com (Wayne Batson's blog)
www.heedtheprophecies.com (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)
www.christopherhopper.com (Christopher Hopper's website)
www.sharonhinck.com (Sharon Hinck's website)
www.daviscrossing.com (Bryan Davis's website)