At the Well

It’s been a long while since I really spoke of my hurt.

It occurred to me recently that many of you newer readers may not even know that much about it beyond snippets still given here and there.

A dig through the more distant reaches of my archives would enlighten, of course.

And I can make it more convenient by indicating that you may click here for perhaps the best rundown, if so inclined.

But, overall, there are reasons I resist touching too much on it.

I haven’t wanted to feel as though I am eliciting sympathy or sinking down into the past and staying there.

I also don’t want to dip into any unfair comparisons from past to present.

Insecurity has a way of painting everything in dark, foreboding shades.

What may, in fact, be unintentional on the part of a loved one now looks like the same heart-shattering experience as before when glimpsed through the lens of an oft-wounded soul.

Still, I am nothing if not honest here.

The fact is, though I speak often of “Be still and know that I am God”-something I am truly striving to live in the light of every day-there is a growing melancholy weighing on my heart at present.

A deep-seated sadness settling in that is stealing at my ability to rightly express it.

Depression has long been with me, mind you. We are certainly not strangers.

More than once, it nearly snuffed the life out of me, in fact.

Now, it is something that hovers in the background and makes itself known by turns.

Right now? It’s a “making itself known” season.

I fight to go to sleep with this heaviness these days, reawakening frequently, an unidentifiable fear cloaking me in the midslumber haze.

Where it is coming from, I can cast about a few ambiguous notions, but, where there are some aspects of my life to definitively point to as a source, I can’t necessarily call too much of it concrete.

Is it all rooted in my past, so littered as it is by abuse and abandonment?

Or is it my ever-present anxiety over signs that such pain, real or no, is or is about to revisit me?

Angry shouts do ring in my head long after they have ceased and have an unfortunate tendency to visit me in my dreams.

It’s quite the challenge to rest my soul in any “it is well” feeling, even when life is managing fairly pleasantly, let alone when it is not.

For there is the nearly constant question mark in my head:

“When’s the next time the wounding will come?”

How will it come?”

And-“Will I be able to sustain myself following it?”

Now, there are days I can rightly shove this aside and recall to myself just Who my sustainer is.

Most days, in fact.

But, other days?

Ah, other days, I find myself forgetting.

Perhaps, it is the old recordings in my head getting louder, stating in dismissive tones how try as I might, I’m still just no good.

A loser.

A wimp.

A tramp.

Unwanted.

Unworthy.

Unable.

And I know that I know that that is most emphatically not true-not in God’s eyes!

But…circumstances make my hands slow to switch off the tape sometimes.

So…what do I do?

Dig myself further in one way or another.

Either into deeper wells of sorrow, cranking up that ugly noise and feeding upon the slow death of it.

Not a good thing!

Or…the better part-

I dig in deeper to prayer.

To worship.

To His words-to me and for me.

The far superior well to spend my time in by far!

Full of Living Water ready for the drinking in.

Bread of Life to feed upon.

Brothers and sisters that come alongside and nourish you even further in encouraging words.

And, of course, The One who intimately knows sorrow to carry the burden of it beside me.

It doesn’t mean I don’t still feel what I feel.

There’s a funny little truth about hurt.

It does not disappear in a snap.

Painful memories are long and thoughts often remain reactionary.

Trust is a shaky rope bridge at best.

Time to heal is key and, even then, some scars are prominent.

But, in that gift that is time, wounds can be eased, joys resurrected, trust finds firmer feet, and life continues on…

With all its seasons of delight and grief, smooth planes and blessed bumps alike.

Not absent of hurt by any means.

But, perhaps, richer for it.

Whatever season you find yourself in, dear friends, may you find the well full of the riches of life in the Lord! Blessings and prayers! ❤

What’s in a Name?

Inspired by our ever changing society and the way we as humans grab at the “quick fix” and forget to seek real change through Christ.

Much ado is being made today

On the subject of branding and mascots,

As we squirm in the spotlight

Of our less-than-exemplary days.

Fiddling with age-old monikers,

Wielding a heavy broom at the past,

Banishing chapter and verse,

Seeking to make vanish

Anything remotely troubling-and fast!

Understandable? Well, yes, I can get the desperate acts of contrition.

Yet, I feel compelled to express this cautionary addition…

What exactly is in a name?,

(As wise old Will might say.)

To be sure, some rightly evoke

Centuries of grief and plenty of pain.

And it’s certainly not that I stand

Stubbornly in the camp

That such words should forever remain…

But, still, I find I must also say-

All this panicked wiping away does

No earthly good

If the heart forgets to further pursue

What it should!

For, you can change a name all you desire,

Take a scrubbing brush to history,

Sand out the surfaces of blame,

And hope ugliness will expire.

You might even extend a

Well-versed,

Expertly rehearsed apology.

But, none will ever wash the years of shame

Nor fix a broken philosophy-

Especially if we allow ourselves to plunge from one dissonance to another,

Refusing to embrace the opportunity afforded

By the Lord to lift us

From opposing forces to brother.

For what we ought to ask,

Perhaps,

Is- what’s in His name?

Meekness.

Power.

The ability to bless.

The sin-cleansing shower.

What’s in His name?

Well, friends, that’s called change.

Real change and healing.

And only in Him will ever come the

Much-needed, ever-alleviating rain.

Oh, nothing can ever replace that feeling!

May we seek after that real change in a world addicted to quick fixes. Blessings and prayers, friends! Thanks for reading! ❤

When God Makes a Match Out of Our Mess, or the How Marisa Met Joe Story, Part Three

Hello, friends! Thanks again for all the prayers going up for Pastor Don, his wife, and church family. I will keep you posted as this continues to unfold…

So…in honor of Father’s Day, I thought I’d lighten the heaviness in so many hearts and share my final piece.

This goes out in tribute to the man who went from single guy to instant father for me and my precious own. Love you, Joe. ❤

If you missed the first two parts, check here and here. 🙂

So…ready? Ok. Well, let’s see…

When last we met over this winding road, Joe and I had “met” over the mysterious space out there known as the internet and began paying our gratitude to Alexander Graham Bell for the spiffy invention of the telephone.

But-

We had yet to meet in-person, though the idea had been furtively nudged at.

Nor had we introduced my kids to him, though they did witness a lot of mommy giggling into the phone or merrily tippety-tapping keys on the computer.

They knew there was something to this.

Much more than the vague “dates” I was out on prior.

So…eventually the nudging formulated into actual plans.

And these plans became one of my first inklings this all could be for real.

Because, he wanted this first date to be all of us!

Oh, I still tear up nearly a decade later on this point…

Never had that offer ever been extended in all these long and troubled months of grappling with the nightmare of online dating.

Ever.

And, to top it all off, he wanted it to be the kids’ favorite spot.

So…we met at our neighborhood McDonald’s on one of his days off.

My mother dropped us off so she could get a gander. He immediately won her over with his politeness and good humor.

Ok. Good. Passed the mama check. 😉

He was as fun and animated as he had been in our chats. My nervous self was definitely still present and accounted for, but had rarely banished itself to the background so quickly!

Part of what warmed me was that he became a kid with the kids, an avid listener to their tales( which were extensive in those days, especially for my oldest!😊 ), and quite the clown to their delight.

He also handled every sensory- issue-laden order with ease, ensuring Elijah’s burger was absolutely pickle-free, Timothy had his root beer, and Sarah had her usual pile of ketchup packets.

As if he had always been there doing this very thing with me.

It was…surreal.

I kept waiting for the bubble to burst. Fearing it. It always happened, after all.

Yet…it never did.

Our sweet Sarah, blunt autistic beauty she was at just 6 and still is at nearing 15, assessed the situation with a moment that is still one of the richest in our family history.

She slid in between us in the booth at one point, slipped an arm around us each, and with all the seriousness she could muster, stated the facts:

“You two on a date. You two gonna get married.”

Of course, we each laughed nervously, blushed like mad, and I think would’ve liked to have hidden under the table.

Her older brothers each had raised a brow then but did not comment. They were still in that boyish “eww-romance?” phase.

And yet…here we are. More than eight years later. 😊

The night continued on in that same homey vein.

On so many points, though each of our stories had their own unique struggles and joys, we could match experiences.

Rough childhoods and painful rejections. Awkwardness, failures and triumphs in carving out places for ourselves.

Where I had struggled in abuse, abandonment and seeking self-worth in relationships, his foster care beginnings had led him to addiction,theft, and some youthful years locked up.

Yet, for us both, the best of what we could share was our respective new lives reborn in the Son.

When at last it was time to take our reluctant leave, Sarah begged for a piggyback ride on the stroll back to our nearby apartment. She was obviously officially sold. 😏

The boys were also chatty and playful. They may’ve been “eww-romance” but they were also loving having a guy around to bounce their superhero discussions off of.

And…me? I was… full of wonder.

Still am.

At God’s astronomical providence.

His awesome love.

His astonishing attention to detail.

For He reaches through the messes we make of ourselves, plucks us up, and matches us with just who we need.

Not that all has been as easy as that, of course.

There have been falls from grace aplenty and graces extended once more.

I wish I could say our mutual hold on God had always kept us from spiralling into sin.

But, alas. I cannot. For we are human.

Banged-up, prone-to-sin humans.

For, the drawing together of so many scared and hurting souls naturally brings out the ache of scars and the risk of new wounds.

Both will press deep into the heart and bring emotions and wills to bear.

And…sometimes, we embrace the victory over sin He has given us…and sometimes, we don’t.

Without going to details best left to themselves, I will just say a bonus baby entered swiftly into the mix in our case.

He would be treasured, to be sure.

But, he was coming before we were ready, bringing us to a painful and needed place of repentance, reminding us of both the vulnerabilities and the joys of being human.

For there are so, so many of both, my friends.

And I could’ve either shrugged it off as “just the way of the world” or swept it under the rug unacknowleged altogether.

Or else lingered in the shame of taking His gift to me and misusing it.

I still could.

But, then, what would that say for His tender mercies to us?

That which indeed are new every morning.

Not at all that they should ever be taken advantage of!

But, neither should they not be allowed to do their miraculous healing work in our hearts.

So…we were set to marry as it was but the ceremony was somewhat hastened with this turn of events.

Still, it was beautiful. A bringing together of us all under one umbrella kind of beautiful.

And, indeed, what a beautiful way He has of taking the splotches our fumbling hands create on the sketchpad of living and etching out masterpieces!

For, here we all stand, over eight years later, a testament to His amazing grace.

With so many more stories than I could ever fill these online pages with.

Suffice to say, in my myriads of current struggles, this is what my heart must stir itself to rest upon.

And, so, where there is so, so much more I could say, I will end on that note, dear friends.

It’s been fun to share these tidbits with a new audience.

If you find yourself wanting more of this testimony in greater detail, I will fight my usual tendency to break out in a rash on salesmanship at this point. 😏

Here is a link to my book from a few years ago:

I don’t know what God will do here. Don’t know if this is a resurgence of my work or just a rebirth of the joy in sharing it.

Either way, it’s in His hands. 😊

At any rate, thanks so much for joining in on this reading journey with me! Blessings and prayers! ❤

Quick Update on Pastor Don

Hey, friends! Just wanted to share a praise:

Reports, as you may recall from the other day, were little to no eating and massive pain.

A bleak outlook, to be sure.

And then, recently, to add to it all, Pastor’s kidneys were actually beginning to shut down. He wound up being hospitalized.

Hard not to wonder if this was it.

But, ah, usher in the mighty Lord and His prayer warriors faithfully on their knees…

Today? His numbers are improving, he’s actually eating and drinking, and pain, while still there, of course, is easing as well!

His doctors say if this upswing continues, he’ll be released to go home tomorrow, praise God.

Chemo is set to start soon. The goal is to target the largest mass.

So, obviously, there is still a long road ahead, but things are beginning to present a ray of hope! 😊

He, Deb, and his family contribute this to the countless prayers going up to an incredibly gracious Father who loves us all so.

Keep them coming!! He is MOVING!

Thank you so much for reading and joining with us on this journey! Much love and many blessings! ❤

The Fix

Just some pondering over the many discussions of the last few days. I felt like sharing a poem or two, maybe an old post, was enough. God said otherwise. 😏 Actually, what I heard was when you’ve got an answer, don’t sit on it. Even if your voice is simply joining others saying the same, you never know who needs to hear it from you….

How do we fix society’s ills?

Ideas abound:

Give what you’ve been given for centuries.

Hurt for hurt. Pain for pain. It’s “Biblical”.

Forget trusting God who says “vengeance is mine”. We can’t wait or trust in His results.

Instead, we must nurse the rancor.

Build that festering wound of bitterness.

Blame whoever is handy, as if they possess the power all by themselves to heal what is actually a heart problem that goes on and on because of the disease of sin!

A disease we all carry! Not one is righteous! No, not even one!

That’s His words, by the way. Not mine.

But, ah, do we listen? Can anyone truly hear above the din of our own endless rhetoric slung back and forth?

Oh, we do hear the words. But, hearing and heeding are two different things.

Hearing without heeding does bring a reply. But, it often goes something like this:

No! the cry goes up in return to His voice. That can’t be right! We can’t all be guilty! That goes against the very fabric of our narrative!

We are the blameless put-upon! We can’t be part of the problem! It’s them. Not us!!

And so, in one fell swoop, ears turn to stone against His call to holiness.

We grab our band-aids in an attempt to stem the gushing wound of our debauchery to no avail.

Keep rallying the shouts there! comes the command. Shame anyone who isn’t properly towing the line or advancing the pre-approved agenda!

Throw a few bricks. Fling a molotov or two. Set some fires.

Doesn’t really matter where. Everywhere, after all, represents a place of oppression.

Shatter the glass holding you out.

Grab what you want or need.

Grab even if you don’t want or need it. Grab it because it’s theirs, but should be yours. Grab for anger’s sake because anger justifies all.

Bail out those who have committed lesser crimes, because why should they have to be held accountable for anything because those guys in blue are worse?

All guys in blue are worse!

It’s impossible to recognize the grievious fault in both sides!

Ruins the narrative!

You are either on one side or the other:

Cowering in an apologetic heap because of the color you were born as or lording it over others because of the same.

There is no room for pinpointing the harder truths, namely:

There is no fixing a mortal wound of bleeding morality with anything humanity can devise.

Only in Jesus Christ and Him crucified do we find the balm for all these ills we’ve wrought on ourselves.

We can talk a good talk about deeper regulations, further accountability.

The importance of voting in someone who cares.

We can claim turning our cities into war-zones will teach those who need to learn and right all the wrongs of generations long.

We can misquote previous leaders to apply their words to the agenda which suits.

And we can verbally browbeat all those who do not follow suit.

We can even claim God for our “side” and wave Him like a banner.

Consulting Him is often considered optional in such cases, of course.

Yes, we can do all that, but, not one bit of that will ever heal us. In fact, for quite a few of those things, they are destined to further harm us.

Oh, friends, I know so, so many are hurting. I know. I cannot offer much but to say and keep saying:

Only in Him. Only in deep, ongoing abiding in Him can we ever find healing!

Now, more than ever, salvation through Christ must be our answer.

The fix, if you will. The one and only fix.

I am praying it’s yours. Blessings to you and thank you for reading! Much love in Christ to you! ❤

If you have questions about salvation or anything else, email me-

godslittlebutterflyphil413@gmail.com

Iron Sharpens Iron at the Family Table

Coming back following holidays left my mind tired yet full. This thought rose above others tonight…

Sometimes, it’s difficult to be with family after a long absence.

Well, duh, Captain Obvious. 🙄

It’s also difficult to leave them when time draws nigh.

Also pretty much a well duh statement. 😏

There are the numerous delights and countless challenges alike to our spirits in coming together after extended months apart.

You’re no longer a child and your tendency is to attempt earnestly to prove it, all to varying degrees of success.

For, there is also the something of being in their midst that pulls you back to that place of littleness compared to the elders in your life.

In my particular case, there’s a lot of shadows to that former existence, some areas stepped into tentatively, others not at all.

Apprehension can seize my soul if I don’t take care to surrender it to His hand.

Now, forgiveness has been flowing in abundance among us for decades now, and, yet, must still rise up to be met again in entering into one another’s presence.

Past is not swept under any rugs, by any means, but, in looking back, love softens the edges of the pain.

Hearts don’t necessarily forget all the twinges, but they do connect afresh through the knowledge Christ makes all things new.

Including each other.

And, then, we get to share that newness of being. What a wonder that is!

Thoughts fly back and forth across the table. Struggles are examined in a different light, growth is noted, wisdom imparted.

Each moment, both the tender and the hard, threads itself to the ever-changing tapestry of our existence, tethering us tighter together.

Iron sharpening iron sounds sort of scary at first glance, but, how it shows itself in our lives can be incredible.

Home can be a great place to see this at work, for you get to surprise each other with what God’s given us to bring to the table.

You get to witness the learning you each have done and become that safe place to reach across said table with it.

It may not exactly feel like light family fun at times, yet these times the Lord affords us to deepen our walks, both with Him and with one another, are vital.

Hence, the observation at the beginning.

Difficult to be there, difficult to leave…

But, this truth I hold fast to to keep me going:

God grants us fond memories to soothe the bittersweet and carry us through to the next day we meet.

In Him, we are never truly apart.

I hope your Thanksgiving was a blessed one, dear friends. May we ever seek those iron sharpening situations, whether by family, by friends, or both.

A Time to Refrain

There is a time for everything under heaven, according to Ecclesiastes 3:1.

But, the knowing of what to do and when is sometimes like peering into the fog.

Everything is murky from intentions to executions thereof when mist shrouds judgment.

Such has something in my life been of late…

This situation, of which the particulars matter not here, has arisen of the longing to help an individual who is in desperate need.

Frankly, I was not first to see it. I, shamefully, had to be dragged kicking and screaming into it.

Mostly for the fact pieces of said situation pierced at tender points in my past.

Causing surprisingly bitter rancor to ooze out as a result.

After all this time and all these years…

It tasted terrible!

Would that I had immediately spat it out as such, but there is something about resentment.

It’s hard to extract once begun.

So, some of me feels I should do penance, so to speak, for having the capacity yet for such hateful thoughts.

I should care more, I chided myself recently.

I worked on caring more.

Time and again pleading with the Lord to take away the acidic sensations inside, to replace it with the compassion I knew I ought to have.

I did things I didn’t necessarily feel motivated to do for this individual but knew needed to be done, praying my feelings would fall in line with this painful obedience to His call.

I struggled and strived to yank back the drapes tightly held on my soul to begin letting this person in, to open the door for my dearly loved partner in these mercies to move more freely, as he wished.

Then, just as I began to feel like we were all rounding a corner, unhappy truths began to stare me in the face.

Inklings I had had instincts on, but feared to voice out of a sense it would just be my mixed emotions talking, or, at least, be perceived so.

Yet, red alerts would continually blink at me none the less.

I gave them over to God, begging for wisdom, only to take them back, fretting my way through them for a while before beginning the process over again.

Finally, I surveyed the need and the recurring cancer of it despite all our efforts, and saw clearly what God was telling me.

It was time to refrain.

Not for my petty complaints. Not out of spite.

But for the sake of this individual who took our help, our love of the Lord, and seemed to accept it.

Yet, enacted no lasting change.

Not for herself or for those the Lord entrusted her with.

So…just this week came a time to put one foot in front of the other, take some needed actions, and put some distance between us.

But-

Without the shadows of anger humming over us as before.

Rather, with the Lord’s love and prayers between us.

My heart contracts with the heaviness of it all.

After all, God does direct us to answer need when it’s right in front of us, does He not?

Yet, there does also come that place when we must recognize assisting has tipped into enabling, leaving help a rather moot point.

And, for the sake of love, He directs us to walk away.

I pray this is a not-for-always.

I pray the seeds planted will still one day sprout.

But, whether it is us or another to do the watering, I cannot say.

Only the Keeper of Time has it all in His hand.

The whens, whats, and whys are all there. We need only trust the Lord in the fog and He will make it clear.

In His time. 🙂

Prayers and blessings, friends! May we all seek to hold on to Him and allow Him to direct us through all our various times.

Self-Help Never Helped Anyone

There aren’t too many brick-and-mortar bookstores left these days. (Makes an old-fashioned, flip-through-the-pages girl like me rather sad. 🙁)

But, on those occasions I happen upon one still, what is one of the biggest sections I find?

Self-help.

Usually right next to the Christian section, no less-when they’ve got one.

Kind of speaks to society in general:

Don’t like the idea of God’s help? Well, then, here you go, help yourself!

And there’s a veritable sea of publications with slick covers, beckoning to the struggling with empty promises for a new life by Friday.

Self-improvement. Self-reliance. Self-empowerment.

Pick one up and a few may even allude to some sort of faith at times, though it seems more of a cursory nod than the foundation of their philosophy.

So many authors, so many books, so many ways…

So much foolishness!

For, every one of those books lay claim to the secrets of “successful living”.

And so few ever acknowledge the God who holds the real secret!

For successful living has not an iota to do with what house you live in, what’s in your wallet, or your driveway.

Nor with the length or contents of your resume, your online followers, or cookie-cutter, Instagram-ready family.

For all those things are just that.

Things.

Some of them quite nice.

Family, obviously, is extremely important and not just a thing! As a wife and mom of four, I can definitely attest to that!

But, the idol of the “perfect” life with them or in general?

Well, that is just that-an idol.

And idols are dangerous, false gods in the way of our loyalty to the One True God.

As is trying to self-help ourselves.

For there is no helping ourselves…

By ourselves.

I know. I have tried so many times-and have the trail of failed attempts behind me to prove it! 😉

Having been through a few rough patches in life often leads to grasping at band-aids of all sorts.

But, nothing ever stuck till I recognized that the only real help comes when we bow every bit of our self-serving ways to our desperate need for a Savior.

It’s not that all advice out there is bad.

Scripture, naturally, is full of wisdom for the ages. When I need help, I prayerfully reach for the Bible and find God answers quite well!

It’s a matter of being open to listen, of course. 🙂

There are also many wonderful writers and teachers versed in the Word and a lifetime of walking with the Lord who have a lot of insights to share.

I am just especially cautious with whose work I read and listen to these days.

Anything that does not place God and His Word first, last, and in between is not something I linger on anymore.

It isn’t worth it.

So… suffice to say, where in those few bookstores left (or that huge online landscape of offerings), the self-help section is wide, would that we choose the narrow aisle of biblical truth:

Self-help never helped anyone.

We need His help for now and all time to see any real change.

Blessings and prayers, friends. May we ever be in pursuit of the help only the Lord can provide.

Of Trust and Forgiveness

Thanks to my dear brother-in-Christ David Ettinger for stirring my heart on the direction to head next here…

Trust.

A very difficult matter in my soul.

Has been since I can remember.

Being a four-year-old girl and already so unsure of your world you don’t really let anyone in is not the sort of thing one likes to spend a lot of time talking over- though I have written of it in blogs and book past. 🙂 ( Hello, old friends. You might remember some places where I’m going to go. I’ll try to add fresh perspective here.)

I haven’t brought it up in this venture much yet for reasons I’ve alluded to before.

But, today, in participating in a great and challenging discussion about Joseph and his brothers, my heart felt a pull towards discussing a bit more about the issues of trust and forgiveness.

Particularly, how they have manifested in my forty-plus years experience on this earth.

So, for testimony’s sake…back to that little girl. I hope I can make this concise enough. So much to tell…

I can’t quite remember the first time my mother turned on the sudden switch and took out her displeasure on me verbally and physically.

That part of my past is more a patchwork quilt of living, ragged at the edges, wild, screaming colors representative of the tough days, some muted squares for the quieter ones.

All I knew was what the proverbial eggshells felt like to walk on from an early age.

I tried very, very hard to be as good and unobtrusive as I possibly could, tucking myself away with my older brother most of the time, asking for as little as possible.

Dancing lightly around the edges of the days she poured out unexpected affection, taking it as a momentary relief, but being sure to remind myself it wouldn’t last.

In the midst of all this, my dad was on the road working, home some weekends, very much aware of us and yet…not.

They’d take us to church a lot of Sundays, various non-denominational gatherings that leaned heavily on “experiential” services.

Somewhere in there I did hear about Jesus loving me. I prayed a sinner’s prayer once with a Sunday School teacher, a prayer I didn’t fully grasp then, other than that I was full of intense longing for this unconditional love thing they spoke of.

And wondering how it could possibly be real.

There wasn’t much discipleship to assist with that, honestly. Mostly, a confusing jumble of “laying on hands”, urging for the further “baptism in the spirit”, and the occasional Bible story from my dad when he could be home.

I wanted to believe this Jesus was doing a work in me, but, like most of my world, my understanding was just…unsure.

So, that is how I grew up, mostly ducking in the shadows. Not much changed for quite some time. By middle school, church was something fading from our world after a sour experience at our last go-around with attendance.

Sometimes, my dad would play a B.J. Thomas or Sandi Patti record and I’d hear God’s name. I’d remember He was supposed to love me. But, honestly, I struggled to feel it in the midst of the pain.

Thoughts of suicide crept in, though I can’t say courage to carry it out then was there. I really just wanted someone to see me. Anyone.

Then, low and behold, my parents started to go to a new church. Still very much in the charismatic vein, but, they didn’t make my brother and I go this time.

And something in those services resonated with my mom. We never sat down for a big conversation in those days, but, by the time I hit high school, the abuse began to fade away.

It was surprising, to say the least. Yet, I remained wary. The other shoe always, always dropped. If I put my guard down, she could blindside me.

However, my dad did finally persuade me to attend a few services for myself, hoping, I think, that this would help us all heal. My brother, for his part, was having none of it. Felt weird to break from my loyalest friend, but go I did.

Yet, where I so wanted this to be it for me, I couldn’t find my fit. Between the heartfelt worship still came too many unusual practices I could not figure out for the life of me.

Maybe it was doing my mom and dad good, I thought at the time, but not me ( Charismania is a whole other ball of wax for another post, by the way. I’ll delve into it further down the blogging road for any wanting a more detailed perspective.).

So, out of that came my “pinball” years, ricocheting from that bewilderment into the relationship that would become my first marriage, attending a few different types of churches with him, in some still feeling a disconnect, but one in which I can say Jesus did become real to me at last, thanks to some very loving mentors.

Forever grateful for the tender way they took a wounded girl and showed her the grace of the cross in a way no one ever had.

But, still, the man who’d be my first husband and I were prone to drifting and, honestly, dragging each other down. Egos and lack of trust kept getting in the way of growth in the Lord and in our relationship.

Eventually, after a few bounces, we began to give heart and soul into his desire for youth ministry, hoping that would give us much-needed stability.

But, three kids (one still in the womb) and nearly complete studies later, the strains of our all-too-often emotionally stunted existence had collapsed us.

He found comfort in someone else’s arms and the kids and I were left behind.

And a lance stabbed through my ability to trust in love once again.

Suicide’s dark spector revisited in earnest, but, blessedly, not for long. Because, Jesus was there, too. Only a whispered prayer away.

My desperate prayers, yes.

But not mine alone!

My mother and father were on their knees, too.

As well as by my side, scooping up the grandkids and me with more overwhelming love than I had ever known from them.

My wariness took time, but, finally, it began to melt away and forgiveness began to bloom.

Need has a way of threading together healing in broken hearts.

On this point, the story of Joseph and his brothers resonates with me.

“Though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good…” Gen. 50:20

For it was need that circled all the pain of those years back around and knit that family back together, too.

All those thousands of years ago, and God is still the same.

Still about the business of reconciliation-when we give our hurt over to Him.

If you find yourself hurting and just need someone to pray with you, send me an e-mail via the info page.

God bless you!

Light Switch in the Dark

When you’re in a dark place, it’s hard sometimes to find the light switch.

It could be right next to your hand and still, you could fumble for so long just trying to find it.

For the dark can be disorienting.

Enveloping.

Convincing you it’ll fasten on for good with its unseen claws and smothering armhold.

Depression is like that-

It’s something I am rather well-acquainted with after my 40-plus years and many miles on this earth.

I could and have pointed to the varying circumstances in my life as to why I have spent so much time in the pits.

The world and even many believers would nod their heads as I shared about the physical and emotional turmoil of my youth.

They’d be breathless as I told the tale of a ministry dream robbed, a marriage betrayed, and a mother of three left behind.

Of discovering special needs in my children, of scraping poverty, of the pain to rebuild a life, remarry, and reimagine…

Heck, it was enough to write a book.

And I did…once upon a time. Printed and everything. 🙂

But, where I wanted and still want to testify to all the pits He rose me from, I don’t want to necessarily linger in those stories anymore.

For in lingering comes the temptation to wallow.

And wallowing never helped a Jesus girl grow up in Him.

It’s not that it’s “put on a sunny fake smile for the world, deny sorrow, and then cry to myself.”

Been there, done that, worn the ugly T-shirt. 😏

No, rather, it is an unflinching acknowledgement of the fact depression is there.

Going to be there.

Woke up with its grayness this very morning.

Where one would wonder if trust in Christ has made any difference if I still have that going on, I’d have to say I can actually understand why.

Aren’t we Christians supposed to float on a carefree bubble singing about how happy we all are? 🙂

But, there is a difference and it comes in this:

I own the presence of depression, it doesn’t own me.

God’s the only owner I desire.

And then, of course, there is the giving over every mucky emotion to Him. Nothing can be accomplished without it.

As many times as I need to throughout the day. Thank you, Lord, for never wearying of it.

This difference also means not pummeling myself or making myself feel less a Christian for not being able always to “put on a happy face”.

Scripture is packed full of evidence Christianity is not all skipping down a pretty, rose-petal path, anyway.

As well as reminders joy is not the same as happiness. Happy dissipates when circumstances sour, but joy?

Well, joy is our strength, that which abides beyond the temporal overhang of darkness.

In our core of cores where we know Jesus lives, hope eternal and wellspring of life.

And that will never dissipate.

So, where I could resist these harder emotions or just sink down in them, I choose neither.

Instead, I allow for the tears, navigating honestly, reaching beyond what I can’t see here on earth for what I know to be true in heaven.

I snatch out in the dark for the Word and for heartfelt prayer, knowing He is right there next to my searching hand.

Always ready to help me find the light switch. 😉

If you find yourself in the dark, please feel free to contact me via the info page. Prayers and blessings to you.