We walk together
Joined at digits
Trudging and hiking
Braving the slopes
Bracing against the wind
From stone to stone
In the muddied rapids
Stirred up by miles
Blown about by distance
But we won’t get too cold
Our bones won’t freeze
Because we walk on
But we walk wrapped up
We walk wrapped up in love
And swaddled warm
By our Father who is Love
We walk together
Stability and protection are fitting for Him
As are love and hope and peace
Because He pours Himself out on broken pieces
And quenches a parched, cracked land
Though your pain is deeply felt
Find His song of joy
Our salvation is here
To hold and to share
And in graceless days
It gives power to rejoice.
The miracle of Jesus
Of His death and resurrection
Is the unity and interdependence
Of a people seeking their own
Through Him they are edified
Through Him they build a new Babel
And because He is the cornerstone
What the people build is good
As they build towards heaven
They are strong
But it isn’t like the last attempt
This time, they are strengthened
By the hands of brothers and sisters
And all are rooted in the cross
Planted in the empty grave
This new Babel stands tall
And reaches ever to the love of God
This restored temple is how it should have been
We are the redeemed
And we are taking Babel back for our Father
I send you on your way
You’ve overstayed your welcome
In the cage in which I’ve put you
You may go now
My door won’t be open for you again
Despair, don’t come around
No more will I entertain you
No more will I open my doors or my arms
To your persuading,
Now that I’ve set you free
Your friend fear has followed close behind
And he’s taken anxiety with him
I’ve better things to own
Better things to take hold of
And those things are too big
Too powerful and beautiful
To be locked up tight in cages
The road ahead of me looks brighter
It calls me like and old friend
“Come, experience the rocky way!
Build up your muscles, your endurance!
My twists are sharp and my hills are steep
But they’re excruciatingly beautiful
And there is hope in climbing
On to better things, my child
On to a bigger God than yourself, dear one.”
I wish it weren’t true
That wherever I am
There I am too
I wish it could be said
That I’m not always followed
By the thoughts in my head
My ideas have great elocution
But they’ve no resolution
I wish they’d lead to absolution
Instead of prostitution to myself.
Wish I could escape the drought
But at the same time
Not take the easy route
Wish I could carry only me
That wouldn’t make me free
My ideas have great elocution
But they’ve no resolution
I wish they’d lead to absolution
Instead of prostitution to myself
I feel out of place on this campaign
Too self-centered to be ever free of stain
Thinking only I should gain
Though my life to yours pertains
Don’t want what once was my pain
To force my bruises to remain
I just want tangibility to sustain
Though I know what kept me sane
Is also what I can’t contain
How truly human am I
Scraping my skin with pottery
Sitting in the dirt uttering sighs
My friends tell me which way to go
To fake the path till I find my way
But friends, that’s not the way I know.
I’m a college student, so I don’t get the chance to write very often… What I mean to say is, if I have a free moment, I’m vegging. When I get the urge to be empowered by Gungor’s “This is Not the End” and write at almost midnight on a week night, I’m gonna take it.
My name is Katie, and I’m learning about healing.
I never thought I’d be one of those girls with the stories about struggling with insecurity and pain, and I never thought I’d understand what it was to truly need healing. But… Here I am.
Several years ago, I wrote a stanza that defined me so well I’m almost surprised it came from my own pen.
My insecurities, my self-doubt
Lie not on the outside,
But on the person within
I only want a lovely heart
You guys can hate me now, but I’ve never dealt with body image issues. I was asked to do a talk on body image for a class last semester and I didn’t feel qualified to talk about that at all, but I could do a thousand talks about what it feels like to never feel like your heart and brain are good enough… I became very good at mastering those things, though. I did meaningful things: I went to different countries, I took care of everyone’s babies, I filled communion trays and made coffee at church every Sunday before the service. Every single day of my life was devoted to something. (Sometimes I had grumpy days, but I still did stuff.) That was my lifestyle: I masked the insecurity in things I did, and shoved them deep deep down… But sometimes monsters come back up when you are just broken enough.
I had adult responsibility long before I was actually an adult, and now I’m at college… where there are people who are kids (which is super weird for me. I was home-schooled, so I’ve never really dealt with actual teenagers before), and about 15 times the amount of stress anyone needs to experience at any given time. My journey to college was a tough one; I’ll be completely honest about that. Three weeks after I came home from India after living and breathing India and babies and grownup jobs for 4 months, I was enrolled at a Christian university in the middle of nowhere Tennessee (If you don’t believe me, look up Henderson, TN). A lot happened to me while I was in India, and some of it was stuff that hurt… really bad… I’ve continued to deal with that over the past 1/2 year, and since I’ve always been the type of person who can jump in and learn to swim after drowning for a few weeks, I thought I could handle re-entry, a wounded heart, being a college freshman, being in a long distance relationship that was also my first serious relationship, and simply figuring out what I want to be when I grow up. And because of the lifestyle I doggedly kept to, I thought that was completely normal. I’m wondering now if it’s just because I’m totally off my rocker.
I’m realizing that in all of that, I never stopped and took time to heal… partially because healing feels selfish.
Taking any amount of time to recognize that I hurt feels like too much looking at myself, and taking any amount of time whatsoever to explore my brokenness and discontent feels selfish and burdensome to others and therefore, myself. I’m a very impatient person and I want all my problems fixed right now, so when they aren’t magically better because I’ve decided they will be, I get angry at myself. I just want to jump back into life, and I want to be okay, and I don’t want the painful things to still affect me. I don’t want to spend that much time devoted to myself.
Since I’ve only ever experienced coping, I’m not sure exactly how to go about healing, and I’m not even entirely sure how God fits into that picture.
I do know this, though… When I just stop and let God’s beauty be bigger than the crap I’m dealing with, I’m rendered completely speechless. On Saturday night, I sat on a dock by a pond with some ducks and a dog named Daisy and looked at this:
I was running my mouth, telling God about how I was struggling, and how I wanted to be done struggling, and for a moment I stopped just to look at the sunset and I had no more words other than, “Can I take a picture of how pretty You are?”
I don’t know how long healing will take, and I don’t know that life will pan out the way I want it to, and I may not have all my crap together, but I know that Jesus will still be bigger and more beautiful, and that alone begins my healing.
My thoughts have been extra scattered lately, therefore, bulletpoints.
- The God we serve works His restoration in the context of relationship, and therefore it follows that our faith is lived out in that same context. God’s love for us, our love for God, and our love for each another is expressed within community as we grow together and build each other. (That’s where the encouragement comes in)
- Isolation is a form of division. It’s also selfish. And stupid. Disembodied arms aren’t terribly effective. They just kind of sit there and stink and rot and stuff.
- God created us with the intention of allowing us to be creative with our lives, just as He is creative. (It’s that whole idea of ‘created in His image’)
- Paradigms are hard to rebuild and restructure, and sometimes the God we were taught to follow looks a bit different from the God we discover in living life away from that with which we are familiar.
- God values the honesty of His people. Take a look at Moses for that one: Moses mastered the art of the honest prayer and told God exactly what He was thinking. One particular exchange between them in Numbers 16 is especially beautiful to me. Go read it… See for yourself.
- The point of the story is the point of the story. When the point of the story becomes the pursuit of the minuscule, time is wasted. Sometimes those minuscule things are important, but that doesn’t make them the point. (I’ve spent a lot of time learning this one over the last 6 months.)
Can I tell you guys a story?
Two nights ago, I was afraid. I mean, I’m still afraid now, but two nights ago, my fear overwhelmed me. I got a grand total of 3 or so hours of sleep, and I was so anxious, my stomach turned itself into a bottomless pit. I spent the night eating to satiate the hunger as well as listening to Patrick Mead and the soundtrack for the HBO miniseries The Pacific. The main theme ‘Honor‘ makes me feel like I can fly. Sue me. (If you click on the link, it’ll open a new tab that will play the song and make it sound like you are reading something monumental.)
We all have fears and want to control things so that our fear becomes irrelevant because we are human, and since I’m not some strange alien and I’m writing a human story, I sometimes allow the fear to move in and take over.
I’m afraid of loss.
I know I’m young, and I definitely don’t want to play the martyr, but I’ve lost some stuff in my life. I’ve lost very significant pieces of myself–Things that tore my heart out. Sometimes I get to this point where I just don’t want to hurt anymore; I just want to stop losing things, so I take the things I feel the desperate need to keep and I pull them in as close as I possibly can and control them, and squeeze all the drops of security out of them as I can. When I stop being able to control them and when I lose my sense of security, I end up in bed at 3 in the morning tossing, turning, and sobbing at how completely alone I feel, because I just want arms around me– holding me and telling me that it’s going to be okay. And in that place, my world stops existing outside of myself. I get trapped inside my own head, and and realize that life has become solely about me. In that place, I’m stuck inside myself, looking at the person I am, and being so completely unsatisfied. I get anxious, because continuing on the road I’m on is too safe and predictable, and how can I ever make anything of my life if I’m boring? How can I ever be someone amazing if I don’t stop to listen to other people?
When I realized I probably wasn’t going to sleep much, I nestled in, and started thinking of and praying for people like LaQuinta that I met several weeks ago at a church I’ve been to a total of 4 or 5 times. She’s a single mom with a daughter in a children’s home (She goes to church so she can see her daughter). She is a fiance to a man who goes to Wally-World on Sunday, because that’s his day off. She is, most of all, a shoe and purse lover. She was beautiful and funny, and I absolutely cannot get her out of my head. I prayed for people like beautiful Maria who inspires me to love Jesus more, people like Emily who is so strong, and has so much more going on in her life than you’d ever guess, and problems that you often forget about because she never complains, people like Nikki who is so incredibly beautiful but doesn’t know it yet, and people like Logan who is so far out of his comfort zone for a week, and you just want to tell God how much you love him because it’s 3 in the morning and you can’t tell him for fear of waking him prematurely… Now I’m rambling…
Something cool happened, though. The minute I stopped thinking about how alone I felt, and started thinking about how alone other people might feel, and the pain that other people were experiencing, once I stopped paying attention to my emptiness to tell Him that I loved these people He’s created, I felt full.
I fell asleep praying– In my Papa’s arms.
The next morning I went to church, of course irrational, very hungry, and wanting to shed tears about everything, even the apple I never ended up eating. I sat in the car with my brother Drake and told him part of the story of my restless night. When we got to church, I was reminded over and over and over of how much I’ve still got.
During this video, God talked to me. Sounds crazy, I know, but it happened. ( Go ahead and watch it. It takes a lot for me to actually include media in a blog post.)
It’s such a relief that I don’t have to fix myself, and that’s not too say that I won’t work at changing things, but it’s a relief to know that I don’t have to control my own redemption, because if we face it, I’m sure as hell not even close to being strong enough to be something incredible. I’m breakable, and it’s a relief to know that I’ve got Someone who will help me walk with grace and love, who will redeem the messes I always seem to make.
One final thought, and then I’ll go away. An acquaintance of mine posted something about Psalm 18 on her Facebook, and I felt compelled to go read it. What I found was beautiful. It was a poem about a Father that becomes indignant on our behalf and saves us from the things that try to tear us down and beat us up. He loves us so much, that He hears us and comes down and wraps us in His arms while He rebukes the hatred and death that try to advance on us. I, for one, feel lavished when I read that.
Is not my very life at risk if I am clinging so tightly to security that I forget that He has given me the gift of life, and lavishes me regularly with His huge love? Am I not wasting myself if every step is not an adventure because I am too afraid to feel pain? I often forget that He uses the pain and makes something beautiful out of it. How? I’m not entirely sure. He’s just really talented like that.
You are worth dying for
Do as You will with my heart
My whole being
You are more than worthy
Of every bit of dignity I want to own
So let my very image
I am undeserving
Of Your great power in me
Let it be used to glorify
Your mighty name
Take this sacrifice
I offer up my total self
For you, oh, Adonai
Are worth dying for.
I told a baptist of my problems
She listened quite intently
Then told me some of hers
I told some Mennonites my pain
I shed my mask and tears
Then we poured out souls together
I conversed of the works of God
With my Seventh Day Adventist friends
And God continued moving
Church of Christ has seen my heart —
The rawness of my anxiety
And God reveals His love
I spoke the meaning of life
With an Atheist I know
God’s hand was working all the same.