" Any patch of sunlight in a wood will show you something about the sun which you could never get from reading books on astronomy. These pure and spontaneous pleasures are 'patches of godlight' in the woods of our experience."

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Like a Tree

Help me to be like a tree,

Standing tall amidst the storms
Arms raised to the sky 
Reaching for You
Like green branches ripe
with leaves and fruit.

Let my roots grow deep
And feed off Your words,
To give me strength
when flood waters rise;
When the winds blow away
 weak branches and leaves.

Help me to be like a tree,

Flexible enough to bend
with the wind
 To know when to let  
my leaves die and fall away

But strong enough to stand firm
through all storms
Roots planted deep in Your love.

I can endure all things
if I am like a tree.

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Little Girl Who Saved Me

Transparency is here and it isn't pretty. I haven't posted anything in a while because I felt like I had nothing to say. This has been on my mind a lot lately and I feel like I need to put my story out there.

Over the past few years, I have been struggling spiritually. I haven't been attending church regularly, haven't been reading my Bible or praying regularly. I've mostly been questioning everything I've ever believed. There have been moments of clarity and renewal - moments where I'm on top of the mountain. I believe, I trust, I pray and I know God is there with me... BUT...

Most of the moments have been the opposite...Is God here? I don't know. I can't tell. I go weeks without talking to Him and He to me. I go weeks without even thinking about Him. I honestly don't know what I believe anymore. If you can't tell, I am at one of those low points right now - possibly the lowest I have ever been. Yesterday, I cried a lot. I cried because everything feels pointless. I cried because I hate myself and what I have become. I cried because I don't know what to think or feel or believe anymore.  I am trapped and I don't know where God is. I don't know what I'm doing with my life and I want out of this mess.

So I am writing this so you will know the truth about me -  I am not some good, upbeat, loving Christian.  I am broken!! I have withered away inside - my heart is as black as night. I am struggling so much that I am afraid I will give up. I don't want to give up, but I am clinging to a tiny thread amidst a storm tossed sea. I feel like the man in the Bible who asked Jesus, "I believe! Help my unbelief!"

Each time I think, "What's the point? Why am I believing in God? How do I know He's really out there? How do I know He loves me?" I remember this little, brown haired girl sitting in a small church in Batesville, Arkansas listening to a man named James Forlines preach about Heaven and Hell. I remember that little girl going home and asking her mother to help her to be saved because she didn't want to go to Hell. She was so afraid, yet she believed. She trusted that God would save her from that place. She trusted that He was real, so real. She believed every thing the Bible said about Him. She believed that He loved her. When I remember that, my breath catches, tears spring into my eyes and all I can think is that I can't discount what little Cherith believed!! I can't throw out her faith. She trusted in God all those years ago. Her childlike faith saved me! It's still there, that faith, somewhere in this old, stone heart of mine and for some reason I can't let it go. So every time I have those thoughts of disbelief, I grab onto my memories and I think of little Cherith, her tiny seed of faith and I pray, "Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief."


** I know a lot of you who are reading this pray for me, whether it be daily or only occasionally when I ask for it on Facebook and I want you to PLEASE keep praying. Thank you! **

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Where's peace when I need it?

As I begin this new week, my heart and soul are still feeling the effects of everything that happened last week, included a car wreck on Friday morning. My stomach is in turmoil, thinking about having to teach and also thinking about only having one car for the foreseeable future. I feel like my chest is being crushed on a continuing basis. I don't know how to shake these feelings. I distract myself as best I can during the day, but the moment I am still, all the memories from this last week come flooding back. I see myself crashing, literally and figuratively. It plays over and over in my head like a broken record. I know with time these feelings will go away. That's how it always works. But time isn't passing quick enough for me.

So I sit here and write this blog post. I honestly don't know what's going to happen over the next few weeks and months. My husband and I have a lot to work on and try to change in our lives.

I know I don't deserve it, but I look up to God and I pray, "Please, Lord, I need a break!" I just need one moment of peace in my heart and mind. I can't seem to find it anywhere. I know He is here with me, because I don't think I would be alive right now if He wasn't. But He's not giving me peace. He is allowing me to suffer mentally and emotionally right now for some reason. I have to trust in that. I have to trust in the fact that I know He is here and He is in control. Otherwise, I might just walk away and give up.

It's one of those times when you have to say to yourself, "In two weeks, this will be over." "In a month, you'll be fine." "This too shall pass." There will come a time in the future when all this mess, hurt and pain will be finished. I'll be free from it and things will return to normal. I have to keep reminding myself of that.

"The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Trial of Humiliation

This week I have been struggling with humiliation and embarrassment. I never thought I was the type of person who would suffer so much under these conditions but I have been sick to my stomach and randomly crying.

Most of you probably know that I am a new teacher. I became certified to teach English as a second language in June of this past summer. I didn't begin teaching until the last week of August. I am teaching two classes, both from separate employers. I understand that being a teacher requires you to be scrutinized and observed occasionally. I'm OK with that as I know I still need a lot of help and improvement of my skills. Of course, it's necessary for your employer to make sure things are up to their standards.

I found out yesterday shortly before one of my classes that I would be observed. This caused me to become very nervous. I hadn't planned and prepared as thoroughly as normal and I was having technical difficulties with my printer at home. I didn't get very far into my lesson before the person observing me asked me to stop and then took over my class and began teaching. I was mortified, terribly embarrassed and humiliated. It took all my strength just to keep myself together and not run out of the room crying. After about 30 minutes of this, she then attempted to hand the class back over to me. I had no idea where to begin or what to do, which I expressed to her. She seemed upset that I mentioned this, so I tried to continue. Then at the end of the class, the woman left with only a goodbye.

I cried the entire way home while I was driving. When I got home, I knew I had to talk to her but there was no way I could speak to her on the phone or face to face so I emailed her. I tried to explain that I was very nervous about her being there. I basically bared my soul to this woman that I barely know. However, I never heard back from her. I spent the rest of the evening in a tizzy. When I reached out to her again via text today, she told me she was planning to email me back this afternoon but that was all she said. At this point, I am at a loss. I am still very upset. I am crying and praying, hoping to hear from her soon. I texted her once more to let her know that I was still very upset and I needed to hear something from her as to how she was feeling before tomorrow when I am supposed to teach again and also see her for our weekly meeting. Still I have heard nothing from her.

My emotions have been all over the place the past 24 hours. Yes, I have been praying and reading my Bible. I have received messages, phone calls and texts of encouragement with promises of prayers. I'm very appreciative of all these things. But the embarrassment and the humiliation seem to be determined to follow me around, which is why I am writing this post.

I feel like a complete and utter failure. I am humiliated and sad. I have a permanent lump in my throat and my chest hurts, not like a heart attack but like I am heart sick. My confidence is completely shredded. I don't want to face either of my classes tomorrow. I don't know how to shake these feelings. I am trying to rely on God and pray. No matter what I do, where I go, or how I try to distract myself, I can't shake my heart free of these feelings of inadequacy and humiliation.

One thing keeps coming to my mind - that song I learned many years ago when I was a kid - "He's still working on me to make me what I oughta be." I don't know why this happened or even what I'm learning or going to learn from this except that I am still a work in progress and I have to try my hardest to lean on Him and WAIT for Him. He is coming to save me, even if He's not as quick as Superman. He working on this situation and working on me. That's all I have to cling to right now. I'm hanging on for dear life because if I let go, I might drown.

Transparency

I made a decision when I turned *cough*31*cough* a few days ago. (Just pretend I said 29!) I decided that it's time to be transparent with the world. It's time to share all my struggles with my family, my friends and any others who may venture to this blog.

Life is too hard and too short to try to carry all your burdens alone. That's exactly what I've been doing for most of my 31 years. I don't know why I feel the need to always pretend like everything is OK on the outside when on the inside I am dying. I know someone else out there in the world has went through what I'm going through. If I would open up and share, then I would find help and encouragement from someone who has suffered the same way! What's that old saying? Misery loves company. So maybe someone out there is going through the exact same thing as me RIGHT NOW! Wouldn't it be great to be able to share with them? Have a little pity party and then encourage each other.

More importantly, opening up and sharing is not only helping me, but I hope it will help you too. What's the point in all this anyway if we just bottle it up inside? We are only damaging ourselves by suffering alone. Yes, I know Jesus is there. He fellowships in our sufferings but He also uses other people to speak to us and to help us, since He doesn't usually speak out loud to us! Sometimes what we need is to allow God to speak to us through other people. But how can He do that if we never share or tell anyone what we are going through?

Everyone's lives are messy and chaotic. Terrible things happen every day. We have a tendency to gloss over everything and plaster happy faced emoticons on every status update. But it's not real. I know that if my life is this messy, then yours is too. Why not join me in finding some help and some encouragement in one another?

Also I will also try to share happy things, so we can rejoice together!



Thursday, July 16, 2015

Hope

Hope - it's such a small thing, a tiny seed planted in the heart. At times, it blossoms and grows into a lovely flower. The heart swells with the fullness of the bloom. Things seem better during these times. The fuller the bloom, the happier the heart.

Sometimes, the flower dies. The precious earth that surrounds the seed dries up. The heart becomes dry and cold. Things couldn't be worse. Maybe the heart weeps from a loss or rages from injustice. Either way, emptiness and sadness follow.

It's such a small thing that affects our everyday lives. If the flower is blossoming and healthy, then the monotony of every day life seems easier. The sun shines brighter and the sky seems bluer, even when in fact, they remain as sunny and as blue as always. Tweeting birds appear to share our hope. Even thunderstorms can't dampen the flower. The heart is amazed and refreshed by the storm.

If the flower has died and the heart grown cold, the affect is quite the opposite. All the bright things now seem dull, even though the brightness of the thing has not changed, the heart has changed. Sunny brightness is now a bother, instead of a delight. The sky now appears in sepia tones. Those tweeting birds! Why won't they stop? Thunderstorms are worst of all, no longer amazing and refreshing. The clouds blanket the heart in darkness. The tiny seed is suffocated, perhaps it even dies.

Who can help a dead seed? Who can bring it back to life? Can a seed revive itself? Sometimes, the circumstances of life revive the seed and it blossoms again. Sometimes, no matter the circumstances, the heart stays hopeless.

Is there any way to heal the seed? Can the flower bloom even in the darkest times of life? The answer is yes; there is One who can heal all wounds, revive all hearts - the Great Physician, Jesus. Let Him into your heart. Let Him touch that seed and revive your hope. He is the reason you have that tiny seed of hope. He wants you to always have that flower blooming, during the good times and the awful times. Know that there is always hope! Maybe it is dormant or dead, but it is still there, waiting to blossom again and the Great Physician can help you. Let Him cultivate your hope!


*This blog post was inspired by one of Emily Dickinson's poems. "Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul..."

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Broken

My heart is crushed
Cracked open for all to see
Bruised by those closest to me
My broken heart -
I'm loosing the pieces - Help!
Too much pain,
Piercing and cutting me apart.

Every day passes normally,
But inside the pain haunts me.
Death would be easier to understand.
I'm dragging around a heavy load.
I try to let it go
I pretend it's not there
But I stumble,
And I feel it crashing into me.

Is this my fate too?
Will this happen to me?
Will I abandon the ones I love?
Will my heart turn to stone?
I can make my own choices.
That's what I'm told
That's what I used to think,
But now...what if it's my fate
To follow in your footsteps?

Can love be forgotten?
Can love leave so easily?
I never believed it - until now.
Your decision makes everything seem pointless.
Does it mean you love me less?
I think it means that I love you less...

So maybe I am like you,
Maybe my fate is the same.
I pray to God it's not,
I pray that He saves me
For I cannot save myself.