Friday, January 25, 2013

Welcome to Real Life

"Welcome to real life, Jaime."
The words of my Hebrew professor this morning in class. I had shared (easy to do since there are only two other students with me in the class) that yesterday I had had the realization that it takes an enormous amount of energy to learn. My professor was very excited to hear of my epiphany; however, I am still trying to become comfortable with this feeling.
You see, I have been able to skim my way through life. And since my life has been mostly concerned with academia, I believe I have been able to "cheat" my way through it. This realization has been building over the last week, as I have been trying to actually do all of my work. Last night, I was shocked to find that I may simply not have the time to do it all (or that I will need to cut other things from my life). Furthermore, I felt--quite acutely--the exhaustion of making myself open to learning. True learning, in my (premature) opinion, is simply being open and allowing the knowledge to seep in and through you. Openness allows for the whole process to even begin, and the seeping through is the processing and integrating part. My previous tactic for "learning" was to keep myself very closed; yet when I so chose, I would reach out, grab a select stone from the knowledge conglomeration, and then just stuff it within myself. That was it. It didn't require much energy. And I was smart enough to know what pieces to grab so that I could project an image of wise. But it was just an image!
My professor continued to explain that people who are intelligent often don't realize that they have to work like the rest of "us." But, he said, if someone is capable of combining intelligence AND work--that is "dangerous" and when something wonderful can happen. Bottom line: my professor is excited that the light bulb has gone off in my head. However, I'm not so sure I feel the same way. Not only does it mean that I will have to apply myself more (wow, I sound lazy--sorry, it's true), but being "open" sounds extremely terrifying and threatening and....well.....dangerous.
However, even after acknowledging my feelings and saying all of this, I do understand that openness is important. Now I do not mean being open to the extent that I am pushed back and forth by the waves of this world. What I do mean is that I want to be open to the probable impossibles of this creation, of which I am a part. Let me elaborate:
The concept of openness began for me with a willingness to explore to role of the Holy Spirit in my life (read my entry "Jumbled Thoughts on Life, Light, and Longing"). Only if I am open to seeing more of the Holy Spirit will God reveal these things to me. Yes, I am convinced that God can force Revelation; however, I think He prefers to fulfill our desires for Revelation. So I have been practicing the discipline of spiritual openness.
Openness was further pressed upon my heart by traveling the journey of Forgiveness. I have chose to forgive four significant people in my life over the last three weeks. This has not been an easy journey. I have hidden most of my life behind a solid brick wall of protective unforgiveness that I have erected myself. Forgiveness requires me to take down that brick wall. Forgiveness requires me to be vulnerable. However,--as I will explain shortly--there is Hope for another protector.
Another current and difficult path of openness that I am journeying on is the path of openness in relationship. This openness looks a little bit different. Let me explain...
The old Jaime, used to operate in the role of people-pleaser. I realize you may have heard this term overused and under-emphasized, but allow me to explain its twisted, deadliness in my life. I don't please people just because I want them to be happy and therefore I can be happy. I please people because it gives me a sense of control over them. If I can manipulate your emotions so that you are always happy, you will then want to be around me, and possibly do as I ask, and I will feel safe. However, the problem is that in order to manipulate your emotions, I must manipulate myself first. And that turns into bondage--where you are actually the one controlling me. If you are upset (especially if you are upset with me), then I will scramble to do everything I can in order to make you happy once again...even if it means making myself miserable. As I have described it, the role of people-pleaser is coated in deceit. I myself am deceived into thinking that I can control others and am therefore safe; when in reality, I am vulnerable to every whim of the individual I am trying to please. And if the person I am trying to please is extremely aware and crafty, then that individual can manipulate me as much as he or she wants. That is deadly.
So how does this tie into openness? Well, part of the process for me over the last few days was learning to let go of people--as in not cling tightly to them so that I can "manipulate" their emotions and control them. I then allow others (as well as myself) to react and respond in whatever way they so choose. This has not been easy. Although it gives me freedom, it also requires me to be the recipient of emotions that I am not controlling. Yes, I still might be the recipient of positive, encouraging, uplifting emotions; but I might also receive negative, degrading, dark emotions as well. This openness is terrifying, but it is also freeing--and, ultimately, part of real life.
As I mentioned earlier, this openness makes me feel vulnerable, unprotected, unsafe, raw, etc. If openness is such a good thing, then why do I feel this way?
I have spent my life with a self-erected, impenetrable boundary shutting me off from anything external to myself. But this is not how God created me to live.
Let me use a Biblical reference to help explain this. Zechariah was a post-exilic prophet to Judah during the time when the Jews were rebuilding Jerusalem and the Temple. Zechariah has the following vision one night: "Then I looked up--and there before me was a man with a measuring line in his hand! I asked, 'Where are you going?' He answered me, 'To measure Jerusalem, to find out how wide and how long it is.' Then the angel who was speaking to me left, and another angel came to meet him and said to him: 'Run, tell that young man, "Jerusalem will be a city without walls because of the great number of men and livestock in it. And I myself will be a wall of fire around it," declares the LORD, "and I will be its glory within"'" (Zech 2:1-5).
Okay, so first off, consider the idea of Jerusalem without walls. The city has already been destroyed by the Babylonians during their siege many years prior. So the goal of rebuilding a city would inherently mean rebuilding a wall to protect it. But, upon reflection, the wall was destroyed anyway--so what good will another wall really do? Then look at the description of the city: it is filled with men and livestock. This is a healthy, restored city. So why does the city not have a wall? Because Adonai will be the wall around the city. And He will not be a physical wall that can be destroyed and torn down; He will be a wall of fire. And, not only a wall surrounding the city, but Adonai will also be the glory within.
This is what I am beginning to see in myself. Initially I am terrified and confused: Why am I supposed to not have a wall to protect myself? But God says: Trust Me--I will be your wall. And the wall of God--who is now Christ, crucified, dead, and resurrected--is a boundary that keeps out Darkness, but also lets in Light.
God says, Welcome to real life, Jaime, but fear not, for I myself will be a wall of fire around you.
Thanks be to God.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My Heart in a Jar

My heart in a jar;
sitting on my shelf.
"Do you love me?"
It asks, innocently enough.

I've filled it with words of others;
of affirmations and denials--
the words of mere mortal men.

My heart in a jar;
sitting on my shelf.
But who am I to think
that I can control such a wild thing?
Telling it what to feel
based on the words of mere mortal men.

And if God is my Creator,
who wove me in the womb;
who am I to think
that I can even hold
power over a wild thing
that is His and not mine to mold?

If God is my Maker,
my Father,
my Lover;
is it God I have placed in a jar
sitting on my shelf?
Who am I to think
that God is someone to manipulate?

And think of the words
of those mere mortal men.
Think of the power
I hold over them.
If God is Creator
and Master
of all;
Who am I to think
I wield power over them?

My heart.
My God.
Their words.
Temporal power.
Eternal darkness.
All in a jar
sitting on my shelf.

Oh God, what am I doing?
Cleanse me of this Idolatry!!

Slips of paper in a jar;
set free to the wind.
The jar--
my idolatrous scepter--
set free to the river
and back to my Maker.

Oh God, my dear God:
Forgive me my sins.
Oh God, my dear God:
I place my heart back in your hands.
Oh God, my dear God:
I trust that You are in me and I am in You.
Oh God, my dear God:
my heart will be satisfied--be my All in All.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Is God Love? Or is Love God?

In order to help me get through the last few weeks, I created a special playlist on Spotify. This playlist, entitled "Void," does two things: acknowledges the void that I feel, and then asks God to fill this void.
I was listening to my playlist last night, and a particular song came on that caused the hairs on my body to prickle. I was laying in bed with my lights off, waiting fearfully for the song to be over.
I think back to the time that I added the song. It has the same title as a different song that I was looking for, and so I haphazardly added this one as well.
The song is "I Miss You" by Nomy:

As I was listening to this song last night, it sounded demonic to me. It sounded as if I were being encouraged to commit suicide because life is empty without love.
There is some truth to that idea: life is empty without love--because Love itself emanates from God. However, there are many people that hold to Love as if it is their god, rather than realize that Love comes from God.
Today, I did some research on Nomy. I was surprised to find that "God" and "Jesus" are found in a few of his songs. And yet....something doesn't seem quite right. Here are some of the lyrics from another song by Nomy, "Crucified by Love":

Erase my name, from the past
So many years have gone so fast
So take this life and begone
You are no longer my number one

You made me live
Hoped you'd stay
Never knew what she was about to say

Im sorry for the time
You're still one of a few
I'm sorry you were mine
I'm crucified by you

And what we had was fine
Yeah god was crying blood
Yeah life are left behind
I'm crucified by love

It turned out you're no longer mine
Without a whisper and without a sign

So nail me, nail me to the cross
Oh baby, fail me fail me just for us
And haunt me haunt me in my dream
Oh baby thrill me kill me sins redeem

Now, obviously I cannot judge Nomy's heart, nor am I an expert analyst of song lyrics. Mainly, I am simply struck by the realization that it is a struggle to differentiate between God/Jesus ("nail me to the cross") and earthly love. 
This terrifies me!! Especially given my own "deceitful heart." (Jeremiah 17:9)
Love--earthly love--without God, is deadly. It is the cliche: playing with fire. Love is something very real and something very deep. But if it is not within the kingdom of God, then it must--without exception--be within the kingdom of Darkness and therefore controlled by Satan. When we think we are being fulfilled by earthly love--and furthermore that that love gives us life--we are setting ourselves up for death. Because as soon as Satan, our flesh, and the World realizes that we are hooked, it will all disappear. And we will encounter such emptiness--such a void--that death will be the only option.
Oh LORD, forgive my idolatry! I've seen the emptiness of that which once was. Pull me out of the kingdom of Darkness and place me into Your kingdom of Light. Protect me from the snares of Satan, the lures of the World, and the sinful desires of my own flesh. The battle is waging, LORD. And You are my only Hope for victory--my only Hope for Life.

Borrowed Words

Tonight I was overwhelmed with emotion to the extent that I had difficulty putting my own words to my feelings. So in order to help rediscover myself, I turned to the words of others. These are the two collages that I made tonight. They would have been one single collage, but I didn't have a big enough board to paste to.

As I look at my collages, I realize that the words I chose where encouraging words. Words to remind me where I have come from and where I want to go. So the words do not reflect my emotions; rather, they reveal a response to my emotions. Therefore, I can assume that I was feeling lonely, dark, overwhelmed, weighed down, confused, and sad.
Thank you, God, that you have given me a mind and a spirit that recognizes deadly cycles and quickly tries to turn things around. I suppose I must give credit to the Holy Spirit within me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Deceitful Heart

Alright, time for another poem type. Today's poem is an acrostic poem. Most people know what acrostic poems I'm not going to explain it.

Deceitful Heart
Delighted to see him.
Enjoying his company.
Celebrate together what we thought would be empty.
Eloping in the cover of darkness;
Illuminating the way in naivety.
Thrilled to talk;
Free to smile.
Unexpected blessing?
Love rekindled anew?

Have you forgotten what happened?
Easily erased the pain,
And abandoned the plan?
Remember to be careful; remember to think.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and is desperately sick.

O LORD, please be my wisdom and my guard. My mind is susceptible to the whispers of Satan, my flesh is weak, and my heart is deceitful. But my spirit is willing. Please, guide my way. O LORD, please be my wisdom, and please have Your say.

Monday, January 14, 2013

What is This Feeling?!...Different.

I can't get over this feeling of different.
I am sitting next to the window in the living room of my apartment watching the campus slowly re-populate. I've done this many times before. Sit at my window. Watching. Seeing people re-appear. I am not watching any one or any thing specific. Just letting my gaze and my mind wander.
But I can't shake this feeling of different.
I saw a former friend of mine walk to the post-office. We have made amends to our open wounds, but we are no longer friends, nonetheless. Different.
I watched a couple show up. Both students of the college. They are engaged, in fact. He is dropping her off at her apartment. Helping to carry her bags. And my mind drifts to another man. A man who will no longer be carrying my bags. No longer accompanying me to my apartment. A pang of regret, and I try to avoid reminiscing to the point of remorse. Different.
I was asked by a friend last night about parts of myself that I missed. Parts that I had killed when I became consumed by my eating disorder. And it is true that there are parts of myself that I genuinely miss. I am different.

(What is this feeling so sudden and new? I felt the moment I laid eyes on-- No! Stop, Jaime. Be serious. Okay.)

Different cannot be all that bad.
I have changed so much just within the last few weeks. This type of different should be encouraging, should it not? Was I not just singing "I Will Never be the Same Again" with a joyful voice only a few days ago?
So why this heavy feeling of different?
Why is my heart so heavy?

Psalm 42:9-11
"I will say to God my rock, 'Why have You forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?'
As a shattering of my bones, my adversaries revile me,
While they say to me all day long, 'Where is your God?'
Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God."

I have also been listening to the song "Blessings" by Laura Story. I'm going to post some of the verses and chorus here:

"We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
. . . 
When friends betray us, when darkness seems to win
We know that the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears?
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near?

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst
This world can't satisfy?

And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise?" 

Do I believe the words to this song?

Psalm 42:11 (again...)
"Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God."

Isaiah 43:1-7, 18-19
 "But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel, 
'Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are Mine!
'When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.
'For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I have given Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your place.
'Since you are precious in My sight,
Since you are honored and I love you,
I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life.
'Do not fear, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
And gather you from the west.
'I will say to the north, "Give them up!"
And to the south, "Do not hold them back."
Bring My sons from afar
And My daughters from the ends of the earth,
Everyone who is called by My name,
And whom I have created for My glory,
Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.'
. . . 
'Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.

'Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert.'"

Okay. I will trust You, my Lord and my God.  
God: "Good, Jaime. That is all I am asking of you."

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Satan's Anesthesia

I have decided to begin experimenting with different poetry forms. The following poem is an ABC poem. It is a five-line poem that creates a mood, picture, or feeling. The first four lines begin with a word in alphabetical sequence. The final line is a sentence that begins with any letter.

Satan's Anesthesia

Deathly stench arises.
Every thought silenced.
Forgotten hopes and joys.
Groping for something; someone.
Lord, what is this fear in me?

I wanted to write a poem on fear tonight. I find it interesting that after a week of glorious healing, I find myself gripped by fear. It is a mildly felt fear, but true fear nonetheless.

I ask myself, Why? Has not God proved Himself to me enough? Or at least enough to last me for a good week?!
I have my suspicions...
Of course, fear was not a common emotion to me before. (I mean legitimate fear. Not surface fears, such as my fear of answering my cell phone or fear of murky water. I can handle those....or at least I can avoid taking my cell phone for a swim in Cayuga Lake.) Fear--deep fear--was not an emotion I let myself feel because I made myself into my own god. And if I am god, then I have nothing to fear because I can do anything! But see I am not God, and I can no longer pretend to be so--for I have laid down that idolatry at the foot of the Cross. So in some senses, I see my fear as something healthy. I am fearful because I realize that I can no longer rely upon myself.
Satan hopes that this fear will paralyze me. 
Many times I have heard the phrase: "Fear does not come from God."
Well, yes....but.....
How do you explain Job 28:28 "the fear of the Lord--that is wisdom" or Psalm 111:10 and Proverbs 9:10 "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom"??
Fear is not entirely evil.
Fear--when responded to appropriately--creates Faith. And Faith never paralyzes. Faith encourages me to reach beyond that which I know I am capable of.
My feeling of fear is real. The only question now is: How will I respond to it? 
May I never willingly give Satan any ground in this battle!
Instead of being put to sleep, I will choose to run faster than my legs can carry me. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

What Fellowship is All About

Acts 2:42-47 "They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."

Church-going Christians throw the word fellowship around a lot, but I wonder if any of them really understand what fellowship means. I also think sadly upon those Christians that consider attending a church service on Sunday morning as the end-all of Christianity--simply go to church and wait to die or Christ to return...whatever comes first.
Thank You, God, that You have not allowed me to remain complacent in that type of life style!!
Fellowship is not sitting in Church. In fact it is quite possible to attend Church and remain completely unconnected with other Christians there. How many people walk in a Church listen to the sermon and then walk out? Maybe they smile and wave to a few people; maybe even answer a few "How are you's" with a vague and facetious "good." This is NOT fellowship. Look at Acts 2!--that is what fellowship does. It creates gladness, praise, and joy. And it is blessed with increased numbers of believers in Christ Jesus.

God has done so much in my life since December 23, 2012. He has intentionally set people in my path in order to open my eyes to the faith that I have been missing. I am fully convinced that God is calling me out of my old self once again.

First, I was called out by an old acquaintance who was experiencing the Light of Christ daily and was involved in the battle against Darkness. I remember my bewildered words: "This is all beyond my comprehension." His simple response: "That's awesome!"
Next, I spent extended time with a friend from a foreign culture who described his ability to see figures of Darkness. He told me that he doesn't share that with many Westerners because they simply cannot believe in that sort of stuff. I was further amazed at the simplicity of his faith--he merely read the Bible, and then lived it out to the best of his ability; whereas, I tend to get wrapped up in thinking about my faith too much--trying to rationalize it.
I met with a friend of mine whom I have been estranged from for a year and a half. This woman is walking down a similar path as I am--in someways, I am ahead of her; in others, I am behind. Yet we were able to share God's blessings and then encourage each other that God has good (albeit tough) things in store for us.
In the early stages of my questioning the powers of Light and Darkness, I spoke with a friend of mine who has been on her own journey of revelation with the Holy Spirit. I was able to freely speak with her about my desire to have the veil drawn away from my eyes--to see glimpses of the spiritual world. She shared with me her own experiences with the gifts of the Spirit. God sent me a fellow seeker.
I have been reading a book called Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L'Engle. Here is fellowship with a Christian woman through the medium of writing--I can fellowship with her even though she has passed on from this life. Madeleine has encouraged me with statements such as this: "It is not that the power to understand is not available to us; it is; he has promised it. But it is a power far greater than the power stations for our greatest cities, and we find it easier not to get too close to it, because we know that this power can kill as well as illuminate. . . . This power, which is impossible for the finite being to grasp in any conclusive fashion, touches on the probable impossible essence of that which is really real." And further statements such as: "Am I suggesting that we really ought to be able to walk upon water? That there are (and not just in fantasies) easier and faster ways to travel then by jet or car? Yes, I am."
I have also had many discussions with a man who believes that UFOs exist and that they are related in some way to angels (I am not in a position to recount his beliefs here). He says that the Church should at least be talking about this....even if he is completely wrong.
If I was not in Living Waters....If I had not prayed with other women who asked Jesus for a memory; I would not have asked Jesus for my own memory. If I had not prayed with women who asked Jesus to enter their memories; I would not have asked Jesus to enter my memory. Bottom line, if I had not been present during the painful healing of other women, I would not have met with Jesus in my own memory and heard Him say the words: "It isn't yours." (See my previous post.) I would not have allowed Jesus to take away the shame that I had been carrying. I would not have been able to forgive, and to find freedom and healing. Granted, God could have manufactured this some other way in my life--but He didn't! He did it through fellowship!
Today I met with another friend from whom I've been estranged for a year and a half. As I shared my story of healing, she shared stories of the miracles that she had witnessed in Israel during her three month visit. She herself was physically healed there!! "I didn't believe it until I saw it myself." Her words, her testimony--for me--is becoming enough for me to believe. And to see her joy as I shared my story of healing--to hear her say, "Jaime, I want that!"--was so encouraging to me! I was able to confidently reply: "It's possible!"

This is what fellowship is all about! Meeting with other believers and sharing about the amazing God that we serve! Words are powerful!! Christ taught through words. The apostles spread the news of Christ's resurrection through words. It is the Word of God that we have been given as revelation. The Word became flesh. We are not called to be silent. We are called to go out and share! No matter how incomprehensible our message is.

I shared my healing story with someone, who--I could tell--could not rationally believe it. I continued through my story. I had to--the story had to be shared. I couldn't keep my mouth shut. God has given me the gift of freedom, and I want others to have that. I understand the skepticism (which is why fellowship is also important--to help counteract the skepticism), but it is my prayer that I will have at least planted a seed.

And furthermore, I believe it is important to fellowship with Christians outside of our normal day-to-day lives. I attend a small, conservative Bible college. I see the same faces every day (I love them dearly, but still...). It was not until I got out of my comfort zone--spiritual comfort zone--that I began to be exposed to the greatness of God. Our God is big. May I never think that I have Him all figured out. And what kind of faith do I have if it is never challenged? My faith in God, in Christ, in the Holy Spirit is never challenged--but I should constantly allow my human perception of God to be challenged! And challenged it has been! And I am so thankful for it.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I Will Never be the Same Again

My God is GOOD.

In this picture you can see the red prayer shawl that was given to me in order to memorialize the journey of forgiveness and healing that Jesus took me on tonight.

I don't think I ever believed Jesus would meet me in prayer as much as He has during my time in Living Waters.

I asked Him for a memory; and there it was.
I asked Him to come into the memory; and there He was.
He let me cling to His legs and sob, "I'm sorry."
And then He stroked my hair and said, "It's not yours."
What's not mine?
"The shame."

It was as simple (albeit HARD and PAINFUL) as that. What kind of God do I serve?! What kind of God does that for me?!
A GOOD God--that's what (...or who).
It was as if Jesus was just waiting for me to....ask. That was it. All He wanted me to do was ask.

God, You blow my mind! First, You are a God who hovers over the waters. Then, you are a God who creates Order out of Chaos. Next, You are a loving Father who sends His Son. You are the Son who can heal with a single touch of Your cloak, and You call those who choose to believe out with You onto tumultuous waters. And you are the Holy Spirit who indwells Your children, and who is capable of incomprehensible wonders. And, to top all that, You are a personal God who wants to heal and restore me! Of all the great creations from Your great Voice, You still take the time to love me. Thank You. Thank You--thank You--thank You.

The Cross in my hands.
The cleansing waters poured over me.
I can still smell the oil on my forehead.
And I can hold this shawl close and remember....

"I will never be the same again.
I can never return; I've closed the door.
. . .
Whatever You need to do, Lord, do in me.
. . .
Fall like fire; soak like rain.
Flow like mighty waters, again and again.
Sweep away the darkness; burn away the chaff.
And let the flame burn to glorify Your Name."
("I Will Never be the Same Again")

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Forget Me Not

This poem is a sestina. Sestinas are composed of six stanzas of six lines each, followed by a three-line envoy. The final words in each line are repeated in a predetermined order and also occur in the final envoy.

Forget Me Not

Are you asking me to forget?!
Telling me that forgetting is the only way the pain
will go away? I sure hope
not! Because I doubt you can understand this emptiness.
This feeling like my joy
is forever gone--as if it will be impossible to heal.

I know I must let go of him in order to heal,
but don't ask me to forget.
Don't ask me to dump all my memories of joy--
it's worth the pain
to hold onto those. Perhaps it will make the emptiness
endure--but therein lies my hope.

Do I dare cling to this hope?
Will it prevent my ability to heal;
my ability to ask God to fill the emptiness?
O God, I don't want to forget!
But neither do I want the pain!
Will You be my Joy?

Somehow, someway can my Joy
come from You? Can I hope 
in You instead of feeling the pain
of hoping in him? I want to heal,
God! But to forget
seems to throw it all away. Is not that emptiness?

I see now the emptiness
in the relationship. But there was such joy
too! How can I forget
the hope
of a future (with him)? Oh heal
my heart, God! Take away the pain!

For the pain
is all I feel! My heart is overcome with emptiness--
he is gone; where are You? I know you can heal
with just one touch. That being with You brings eternal Joy.
I need that kind of hope.
May that be what I never forget.

But I need You to heal the pain; 
because I don't want to forget. But then it binds me to emptiness!
Will You restore my Joy? God: "I must be your only source of Hope."

Since writing this piece I have been reminded that we should not pray for God to take us out of the pain or out of the darkness or out of the valley; for it is in the pain that we most cling to Him. Therefore, my cry should be, "God, hold me through this pain." Once again, a song comes to my head: "Held" by Natalie Grant. Lord, I do not deny that this poem was a prayer from my raw emotions; however, I pray that You keep me where You will. Have Your way with me, Lord. Amen.