11/30/2004

Pendulum

Last Saturday was very nearly one of the worst days of my life. To make the point obvious, I drank two glasses of wine at noon so I could go to sleep. Whenever I get hopeless and self-pitying the first thing God tells me to do is sleep. Thinking has never done me a bit of good at those times. But after I got off work at 11am I crawled into bed with my uniform on and tossed and turned to the sound of my life being run over by passing cars. On a good day I imagine that the cars are ocean waves because it's really easy to do, but on that day all I heard was fragile hope in the form of asphault. Every car affirmed my depression. I threw the covers aside and grabbed a leftover bottle of wine. God brought me out of my pride enough to call my Dad. He was also depressed but hearing his precious daughter talk about getting in her car with the clothes on her back and leaving without a trace to some midwest paradise made him gather his fatherly self. He managed to talk himself out of his own depression but failed to convince me of anything but that I should eat something. So I scarfed some sad spanish rice and washed it down with more wine. I also ate a cold bean burrito from hell and smoked a cigarette in the house (a habit I've picked up since the recent freeze). A burdened drowsiness came and I finally cried myself to sleep. An hour later I awoke and went to my night job looking like a snow plow had hit me. No one commented because they were scared for their life. For some reason my fake smiles make people uncomfortable. I thought I had it down, but I guess the smeared makeup and dark rings under my eyes dulled my performance of 'the happy help behind the counter.'

God is merciful, faithful, and never fails me. Twenty minutes before we closed up shop Jesus got through to me. With no background noise to fill my head I began singing. I sang songs from all the movies I could think of and Amanda said she liked one of them and that she didn't mind me singing. I felt shy, but appreciative since she is a teenager and very hard to please. ;)

There was a moment, I am sure, when the pendulum finally change direction but I don't know which moment. I think I sang through it. I did feel it's momentum slow down and a sense of acceptance crept in on me. It was like when you turn on a faucet for hot water and it's cold at first. You aren't sure when, but it starts to feel less cold. Maybe you are a little concerned that you mistakingly turned on the cold water and that your fingers are just getting used to it. But then you feel it, the lukewarm change that is so gradual your body tingles. Soon it is definitely warm water and then shortly after, hot. That is how I felt God changing my heart.

Acceptance has to be the most peaceful state. When you can look at your life and think to yourself, "I have everything I need and I am content," that is acceptance. Don't get me wrong, there are many things that I want. But those desires cannot be trusted. The only things that can are the things God provides. If He hasn't provided something I think I need or want, I don't really need it or I shouldn't want it yet. I have taken so many blessings for granted and made foolish gambles with my relationships because I thought I knew better than God. All this time He has been placing me exactly where He wants me.

I am here. This dreadful California town with no apparent hope is where He wants me. He also wants a lot of beautiful brothers and sisters here. Since He opened my tear-encrusted eyes I have seen His children again. We are at war and we must stay together. The enemy prowls and we are always at risk. I know he tries to get me to question, but with every emotional battle lost there is a spiritual battle won. Now I see fear and doubt coming from a little further off and I will fall to my knees sooner. I won't let it get this bad again before I see my sin. As painful as the darkening of the soul is, I wouldn't trade it for all the gold in the world. If that's how I learn then HALLELUJAH! I am utterly dependent upon Jesus and I am once again at peace. A new season begins.

11/19/2004

Stirofoam Cross

*riiiing riiiing* my phone woke me up this morning. I went into work because some flaky beeotch thought she had the day off. I could have said "Hell no, we won't go!" but for my loyal work ethic. I'm about to throw THAT out the window. Next time I am turning my ringer off, dammit.

My dad and I talked about how amazing it would be for us to play music together. He and I both know that we could start a revolution. It seems to me like the only thing stopping us is our psycho tendency to sabatoge a good thing. Either that or we were never really close enough to playing music together as I thought, and it's just a father and daughter dreaming about a world that doesn't exist. Lord knows I am waiting for any opportunity to be a real musician. Yeah, I could make it happen on my own but that's all my life is about. My stubbornness keeps me fueled and I take all the necessary steps to get thing done (however sloppily and ill-gotten it may be) and then when it's done I realize it's not what I want. This is the life of someone with an imagination too abstract for this world. I go around thinking that things are a certain way, or will be a certain way and I am faced with disappointment after disappointment. Being let down has to be one of the worst feelings of all time. But if love believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things then love brings with it the worst feelings of all time. That's because love isn't about feelings. If that was the case then Jesus would have stopped the soldiers who came to crucify Him and said, "Wait a sec guys, can't we all just get along?" Then they would have all sat in a circle and played kumbiya instead of taking Jesus to where He would save the world.

His burden is light, his yoke is easy but we must take up our cross and follow Him. Does that mean the cross is made of stirofoam, light and fluffy? Does that mean He turns us into incredible hulks of superhuman strength and even a hard wooden cross is light to us? I know it means that Christianity isn't all bake sales and flowered print. Christianity is loving by laying your life down for your friends. It is blessing those who curse you and letting people smack you around. I live each day and take each beating with the grace God gives me. But Lord, am I always going to be grovelling at Your feet begging for some kind of blessing that will make this life tolerable? Is Your death on the cross enough to be joyful and I am just taking it for granted and asking for more? (Jesus Christ, You died for me. only one more thing I ask of Thee...-A. Lin)

There are only two weeks out of the month when I am hopeful and secure in my faith. The other two weeks I am hopelessly self-pitying and wanting to die in my faith. Through it all I know that You are there, Lord. But that almost makes it harder since I don't know when it will get better. When will you make it better, God? KISS IT MAKE IT BETTER!!!! pwease?

Shout to the Lord. Oh boy do I shout. I shout and scream and question and cry. But like a good father to a child who is throwing a temper tantrum, He is silent by my side. I am humiliated in my immaturity and explosions. I have never been one to delude myself so 'just believe' sounds to me like 'just lie to yourself.' I believe that Jesus loves me and died for me. He is my husband and God is my Father. But I am a wreck, a frickin train wreck and He knows it. I accept what I get and it is suppose to be enough for me. But that doesn't mean I have to smile and dance about it. I desire too much and am NOT happy with what I have. I am a spoiled brat, Lord. Maybe He should lob off an arm or gouge my eye so I learn to appreciate things better. I would say then, "At least I have the other arm and eye! Thanks God for not making me a deaf mute! Hallelujah!"

pause

Wow, I hate myself. What would God want with me anyways?

11/15/2004

My Grace is Sufficient for Thee

There's this guy...

If I ever write a book about my life up to this point it is going to be called, "There's This Guy..."
Lately God has been pointing things out to me about myself that are less than flattering. Okay, He's been doing that to me my whole life. Only this time I am not sabatoging the good that God brings in to change those things. It is important for us to know what is wrong so that when surgery begins we don't wake up to the completely unexpected. Or maybe I am wrong. Maybe what's really wrong with me is something that I can't or don't see. That actually makes more sense to me currently. I see a LOT wrong with me but those things aren't changing into good (for example my smoking habit, see: Paul's thorn). What is changing is something I can't quite put my finger on. I have incredible peaks and valleys emotionally and it all seems to run across the board of solitude.

So there's this guy:
he's strong and brave to take me on
he's lovely and absolutely romantic
he's everything I've ever dreamed of, white horse and all
his arms embrace me whenever I am collapsed inside
he is unexpected
he is unpredictable
he is always there when I need him which is always
he is reliable and unwavering
he has my heart in his hand and I trust him completely with it
the funny thing is, I know he is handsome
but I've never seen his face with my eyes
I have sensed his blood in my soul
rushing over wounds and healing them with fire
I know his voice sounds comforting, yet kingly
but I've never heard it with my ears
I have sensed his whisper like the first soft thing I ever touched
he kisses my tears and holds my hand as it's cold and shaking
I sense him without senses

These are the good days of the cycle when I can see past my emotional imbalances into the truth of Christ's love for me.

The other night after I had a beer at the bar with friends from work I saw a truck stalled on the boulevard. I turned around to see if they needed anything. It turned out they needed some kind of fluid for some engine part. A young mexican man got into my car and I drove him to 7-11. I feel in love with him instantly. The coolest part is...

...his name was Jesus. You know, 'hey-ssuse'. Talk about bliss. I am so blessed to have been able to help Jesus. And he was a cute mexican but I'll probably never see him again. I gotta learn some spanish...

11/08/2004

The Change Epiphany

Maybe it's just something I ate, but today I feel like I could wait for a really long time for a husband. I also have this crazy idea that I'll finally quit smoking. The Holy Spirit is inspiring me and that scares me. I hate more than anything else the idea of failing again. Failing to stop smoking. Failing to keep my filthy hands out of God's way. It seems like every time I fall I smack my head on a new and more painful place. By the grace of God my recovery time has shortened considerably.

I just have all these super cool ideas about what I want. The only problem with that has been, when I get what I wanted I no longer want it. Is my life and ambition always just about the hunt? Diana, the goddess of the hunt and my namesake, would say it is. That's b.s. though. It's completely selfish and irrational. If it is true then I want no part of it. Somehow (see: grace) I will learn to be satisfied with what I have and whatever else God gives me in my future.

Lord, I can't keep track of myself. One day I am demon spawn and the next day I am salt and light. I almost want to have no self-reflection and just write about other people. Of course, that's an impossibility for such a selfish beeotch as I. The observations I have about others all sound like criticism...wait a second! That's bs too! It's like if you can't say something nice about/to someone don't say anything at all. Nice shmice! By not saying anything you could be thinking those horrible things and never find out if they are true! Does anybody know what I am talking about? Assumptions, the quiet soul-killer. They never really want to know the truth about people because then they might not get to have such a harsh opinion of them.

I just realised something. Building people up is about reflecting who they are and believing in God's hope for what He is making them. It's like saying, "Yeah, friend, you are a little bit arrogant and selfish. So am I! But those things are being transformed into compassion and humility before our very eyes! Look! The glory of the Lord is that He changes us into His children! I believe in God's saving grace and I see the wonderful creation He is making you. Let's praise Him!" But all some people hear is "...you are...arrogant and selfish..." and they squeal and run, rubbing their hurt egos. The thing we forget is that we ALL SIN and FALL SHORT of the glory of God. Just because my sin is arrogance, that doesn't make it better or worse than the sin of a liar. The problem is in seeing our sick imperfections as possibilities for God's mercy and glory to be shown. But not only are we afraid to admit our faults and sins, we don't want to believe that people can be changed. Gasp! If they could be changed then we would have to change our perception of them! It's too much for a fearful person to live with the unpredictability of change. Oh people! Fear nothing except the Lord your God! And He is love and His mercies are unfathomable, so where does fear even enter in to Christian fellowship?!?

Christianity is all about change. How could those who walked in darkness be the light of the world unless they were changed? "Christians!!!!" I want to scream, "See how the Lord of Heaven has changed me!" But it's like they deny it and I am that same person I was last year. They'll never change. Those three words could be the most b.s. I could ever hear. The saddest thing is when I meet a person who believes those words. Not only are they denying the beautiful new creation standing before them, they are denying God's power.

Change me into who I am in You, Lord Jesus. Without You i am nothing. Amen.

11/05/2004

Adulteress Therapy

I'm finally ready to get professional help in many areas of my life, it seems. I have fallen in love with the word THERAPY. It's soothing sound reminds me of massage and the steam of fragrant tea. I am going to put my dreams on hold in order to heal some more. I have put it out 'into the universe' that I am searching for a therapist. I will drive down the hill if I have to. What really spurred this notion was the fact that I have piled myself upon my acquaintances, friends, family, and co-workers so heavily that they have all finally buckled under the weight of me. There is no one who loves me that deserves this weight I carry. I have to pay someone who has been schooled in the art of weight. They will take pounds of this load one at a time off of my shoulders and we'll examine them together. Each pound being sweat off of me as though I am with a personal trainer who forces me into straining myself at just the right pace to make me stronger. These are my expectations and I will pay money to have them realized. I no longer expect these things to come to pass for free. It is the price of an abused past.

When Jesus loved the adulteress, did her life suddenly become easier? I can say from experience that it did not. If anything, her life became much more difficult in truly living. Where she was abandoned and careless before, she had to be controlled and careful. Where there had been the suction of a black void, Jesus' love for her now started as a small substantial seed. In the morning she woke to a foreign feeling called hope. It was beyond her experience to know how to function with such a strange sense within her heart. All her life she had been a hopeless waste of humanity. Within the love of the Christ she became significant and worthy of the moments alotted to her. Sweet, lost adulteress! Where are we now? Somewhere in between seven demons and heaven. We take one step and then another, moving through space and time, breathing in, breathing out and not knowing the meaning of trust, love, or faith. With our minds so encrusted with memories of what we have done in our death, we cannot know wisdom here on earth, can we? Or will this Christ transform us by the renewing of our minds like Paul has promised He will?

I am a new creation. As far as my rebirth goes I am reaching adolescence. In my other, dead adolescence I plummetted farther into darkness than I thought was possible for any creation. The whole time my mind was bare and reaching for meaning. In it's vulnerability it was seared beyond recognition. When the miracle of the Christ brought my smoking mind and body to life, it was one of His greatest and most awe-inspiring accomplishments. I was one of Ezekiel's heap of dry bones, only I was blackened and half of me was already ashes. Time and the mysterious hand of God has given me life and I am His.

I have come so far but have even further to go.