Wednesday, April 24, 2013

LORD, Reveal Yourself!

I have been angry at my fantasy world god. My fantasy world was created to keep me safe, protect me. There was a god in that world—maybe it was even יהוה Himself—but if so, then I had a very FALSE view of Him. Either way, I’ve been ticked off at my fantasy god because my fantasy god let me down. He let me get hurt; of course I’m going to be mad at Him. He lied to me in Romans 8:28, telling me that everything would work out for my good! I don’t see good for ME in what happened to me.

But what if my fantasy god is a lie? What if off-and-on for the last few years—and even more so for the last few months—the real יהוה has been trying to get through to me—has been trying to reveal Himself to me? And because I have been so attached to my fantasy god, that I haven’t been letting myself see this REAL יהוה? Am I willing to let go of my fantasy god?—Because that is the god that I can’t trust—that is the god that can’t handle my anger—that is the god that I feel betrayed by. But in reality, it is my own fantasy that let me down. What would happen if I choose to trust this other God? This יהוה who is outside of my comprehension and control?

I wrote a “Dear John” letter to God last night. I was ready to walk away from Him today. But what if who I really need to walk away from is this fantasy god that I have been holding onto?

I envisioned two things: 1) יהוה battling my fantasy god and 2) my fantasy god as a branch that I am holding onto so that I don’t have to let myself drop into the unknown. Because all I have “known” for so long is my fantasy god. I don’t know anything about this יהוה. I have a suspicion if I actually read my Bible—I mean really read it—then I will find something out. I have been depending upon worship songs, contemporary Christian songs on the radio, preachers, pastors, my parents, my grandparents, my professors, my friends….for so long that I have a twisted view of God. Who is יהוה?

A friend of mine prayed this morning that God would reveal Himself to me. Well….first step accomplished: tear down my fantasy god.

Flashback: my therapist on the phone…. “Jaime, you are clinging to your fantasy world. You need to get to the point where you see your fantasy world for what it is. You need to get to the point where you are sick of your fantasy world.”

Am I sick of my fantasy world god? I’m pretty pissed at him.

Can I let myself cling to יהוה? To this unknown being that seems so incomprehensible and unpredictable and dangerous?

Flashback: The character Aslan….
"'If there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than me or else just silly.'
'Then he isn't safe?' asked Lucy.
'Safe?' said Mr. Beaver. 'Don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you.'"

I sat by the river today. Our local river isn’t raging by any means, but I still thought about the power behind it. Every time I feel lost, I go to the river’s edge. Why? The river is dangerous. It is uncontrollable; unpredictable. And yet, I must feel it is good. I always go to it.

I’ve been struggling with this forgiveness thing. Mainly because I couldn’t handle the pain. But of course I can’t handle the pain—because my fantasy god was not a good role model for handling pain—he just let me ignore it. And furthermore he probably couldn't have handled it. All day yesterday, I could not forgive because the pain was too much. But today… After realizing I’ve been clinging to a weak, lying god…. I was given the opportunity to get my vengeance: “Let me feel the pain that I caused you yesterday….You deserve to.” In my head I said, “You’re right. I do deserve to, because you did hurt me.” But instead, with tears in my eyes, I refused, and gave a kiss where permission to snap had been given.

Maybe, just maybe, I can do this after all. Because maybe, just maybe, this יהוה is much bigger than the god I created in my head. Maybe, just maybe, יהוה is worthy of my trust.

Exodus 34:5-8 “The Lord descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of the Lord. Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.’ Moses made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship.”

1 Kings 19:9-13 “Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He said, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.’ So He said, ‘Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ And behold, the Lord was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of gently blowing. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’”

Psalm 18:6-19 “In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry for help before Him came into His ears. Then the earth shook and quaked; and the foundations of the mountains were trembling and were shaken, because He was angry. Smoke went up out of His nostrils, and fire from His mouth devoured; coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down with thick darkness under His feet. He rode upon a cherub and flew; and He sped upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness His hiding place, His canopy around Him, darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies. From the brightness before Him passed His thick clouds, hailstones and coals of fire. He sent out His arrows, and scattered them, and lightning flashes in abundance, and routed them. Then the channels of water appeared, and the foundations of the world were laid bare at Your rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of Your nostrils. He sent from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my stay. He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me.”

Nahum 1:2-9 “A jealous and avenging God is the Lord; the Lord is avenging and wrathful. The Lord takes vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies. The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. In whirlwind and storm is His way, and clouds are the dust beneath His feet. He rebukes the sea and makes it dry; He dries up all the rivers. Bashan and Carmel wither; the blossoms of Lebanon wither. Mountains quake because of Him and the hills dissolve; indeed the earth is upheaved by His presence, the world and all the inhabitants in it. Who can stand before His indignation? Who can endure the burning of His anger? His wrath is poured out like fire and the rocks are broken up by Him. The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who take refuge in Him. But with an overflowing flood He will make a complete end of its site, and will pursue His enemies into darkness. Whatever you devise against the Lord, He will make a complete end of it. Distress will not rise up twice.”

Psalm 139:1-18 “O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and You are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O Lord, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high, I cannot attain to it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You. For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows if very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You.”

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Dear John?

Dear God:
Quite frankly, I am not okay right now. All I want to do is cry. All I want to do is give up. I don't understand what You are doing. I don't understand why You made me the way I am. I am not sure I can do this anymore. I am not sure I can be real anymore. It hurts too much. It drains me too much. I am exhausted. What was I thinking signing up for an internship? I don't even think I will make it to the end of the semester. How am I supposed to give a speech on something I screw up every single time? I'm tired God. Why does this life have to be so difficult? Sometimes I really do wish you had removed our free will--just made us into automatrons. Then life wouldn't hurt so much. He says that I have myself to blame for letting my heart hurt so much. I don't think that's fair. I think circumstances set me up this way. I don't know how to find balance. It is so all-or-nothing. I just want to push everyone away. It would be easier that way. I don't think I can push further anymore. I am being crushed. I can't fully live this life because it is too overwhelming. Didn't I just tell that other guy not to focus too much on things? Isn't that what I am doing here? Screw it all. Just screw it. I hate this. I should just go to bed. Maybe sleep will erase it all. Oh, there you go, Jaime--escaping again. Sigh. I was supposed to be talking to God. Sorry, God. I'm pretty mad at you again, God. I wish you would just take me now, God. I really do. Sure he will get mad at me for saying it, but I am just so exhausted of fighting with my own emotions. I am supposed to be a student. I am supposed to be doing work. It's been about 31 hours since I've done homework. What kind of student is that? A crappy one--that's what it is. I suck. Alright, God, I should just shut up, becuase I am not even talking to You anymore. Sorry. (No, I'm really not sorry.....can You handle that?) Whatever. Talk to you later.

Finally--A Rare Moment of....Happiness

After spending two weeks swirling in a vortex of anger, pain, fear, and shame, I found myself the last couple of days quietly trying to numb myself--just slightly. Not the deadening numbness that removes me from reality. But the quiet numbness that muddies my emotions just enough that I can't recognize them unless I stare intently at them. Perhaps I was successfully doing what my therapist suggested: focusing on Christ instead of focusing on my emotions. Maybe. But I am not that optimistic--I'm assuming there was some numbing going on. Especially since both God and my best friend asked me what my feelings were, and I couldn't tell either of them because I was afraid to remove the veil and peek in.

But last night, a feeling of happiness overtook me quite unexpectedly.

I was in the lounge of my very small college surrounded by people. I was sitting on the couch, comfortably tired after a game of ultimate frisbee (which, by the way, is something totally out of my comfort zone, but which was totally worth it). My boyfriend was sitting next to me, sometimes just looking at me, sometimes talking with me (....sometimes looking at Facebook on his phone). A friend of ours was playing songs he had written on an acoustic guitar. Seven other of my friends--or at least acquaintances--were scattered around tables working on various assignments (or perhaps just relaxing). Two young children were in the room while their parents studied else where. The young boy was sitting next to me playing a video game, and begging me to watch him play. The young girl was dancing to the music of the guitar, asking me to watch her as she twirled. There was quiet banter and subtle giggles. Every once in a while laughter would ring out above the other sounds.

I found myself smiling. I found myself thankful that I could be sitting in this room with these people. I found myself wondering at the idea that my life has brought me to this place. I found myself inexpressibly happy.

I have heard it said that happiness occurs when things go perfectly in an imperfect world. I guess I could call that moment perfect. But my may day certainly was not perfect. I had been nervous to go to Hebrew. I had gotten angry with myself during frisbee. I had argued with my boyfriend. I had struggled with food. And yet, this happiness seeped through.

Is it possible this was something more? Is it possible that this could have been a manifestation of Joy? Can one experience happiness without Joy? I suppose. But that happiness would be fleeting.

This morning I felt a twinge in my stomach. Usually twinges in my stomach mean fear or anger. I stopped and I listened. I had been thinking about a request from my former roommate. She wants to interview me infront of our Abnormal Psychology class today as part of her presentation on anorexia nervosa. The twinge made me wonder if I am feeling fear or shame or anger concerning this request and my subsequent assent. But no. The twinge was something different. It is excitement. I am excited to be real in front of my classmates. I have been sitting in this Abnormal Psychology for about four months now--keeping my own abnormal past a secret. Now is the chance to be real. And I am excited.

Look at that! Two emotions that I have not felt in so long: happiness and excitement.

Maybe--just maybe--the Joy of my salvation is being restored to me.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Through Disillusionment

"In all true discipleship, and in the true spiritual development of each disciple, there is first the wonder and the joy of first acquaintance, then comes the long plain stretch of lesson-learning and discipline....
Joy is of two kinds. The Joy born of Love and Wonder, and the Joy born of Love and Knowledge, and between the experience of the two Joys lie discipline, disappointment, almost disillusion.
But combat these in My Strength, persevere in obeying My Will, accept My discipline, and the second Joy will follow.
And of this second Joy it was that I said, 'Your joy no man taketh from you.'
Do not regret the first, the second is the greater gift."

"Joy is a state of being; not an emotion." My therapist's words shocked me. I guess deep in my brain I knew that I had heard this before. But at the moment, it shocked me. "Happiness is the emotion that comes when things seem 'perfect' in an imperfect world. Happiness comes and goes. But joy is the solid hope that has the ability to keep you going."

I was not sure I was even going to make it to my therapist's house in one piece today. She seemed like a life-line that was slowly drifting away from me--that I would miss if I didn't grab it quickly enough.

Before getting to her, there was a litany of "religious" commands running through my head:
"Just let your emotions go--lay them down to God."
"You need God not a therapist."
"You are running away from God."
"Just go back to God."
"Give up your control."

I just wanted the world to stop moving for a bit. I wanted everything to become calm and silent.
So I could figure out what was wrong with me.

I shared my screaming emotions with my therapist.
The fear.
The anger.
The pain.
The shame.
And the horrible numbness.

I think the numbness is the worst.

Someone asked me why I don't just go back to that.
Numbing and avoiding everything.
It is tempting--believe me.
But it feels so fake.
I have numbed and forsaken and layed aside my emotions for 18 years.
I am not doing it any more.
They are mine. As painful as they are--I feel they are something that is genuinely mine for the first time.

And yet these emotions are terrifying.
They are powerful.
I feel alive finally.

But they are also addicting.

That is what my therapist said.

She said more, too. But instead of trying to quote her, I am going to give my own synopsis:

I have spent much of my life ignoring my emotions and creating a false identity with which to function "perfectly" in this painful and stressful world. When Christ pulled out that core shame of the abuse victim, this false identity was torn down in the process. So I was left without an identity (so it felt) and extremely empty. God finally did something with this emptiness last week. He poured emotions into me--He poured my emotions into me. Only He poured the yucky emotions that I have been avoiding all of these years. This is where I sit today.

And where do I go from here? Forward. However, my therapist warned me of the temptation to stay moving forward in the addictiveness of my powerful, dramatic emotions, rather than moving foward in Christ. Because my emotions will run the show if I allow them to, and I will lose many things in the process (relationships, my ability to function well, God's greater purpose for my life...).

"But, how do I lay down my emotions?" I asked desperately.
"You need to own them first, Jaime. You are not ready to lay down your emotions, because you have not owned them yet. Only once you accept them as your own can you offer them to God. And you will know when you are ready. Because you will be sick of your own shit. When you are sick of your own shit, you will lay them down. But not before then."
"But, what if I get addicted to them? What if I won't want to lay them down?"
"Oh, you will lay them down. I know you too well. You will lay them down."

My therapist told me to keep focusing on Christ rather than on my emotions or problems.
"Therefore, if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God." (Col. 3:1-3)
"let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, 'My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.'" (Heb. 12:1a-6).

"You are being disciplined, Jaime. But remember, God suffered first. He created Adam and Eve knowing they would reject Him. He leads the way in suffering. And Christianity is the only religion with a suffering Savior."

"The Lord your God will clear away these nations before you little by little; you will not be able to put an end to them quickly, for the wild beasts would grow too numerous for you." (Deut. 7:22) God knew that my emotions would overwhelm me if He gave them to me right away. But He has now given them to me--there is no doubt about that. However, as the presenter said to me last weekend, "God must think you are strong enough to deal with the emotions now."

Am I really strong enough, God?

Once again, I must choose to trust that God knows what He is doing. And I must choose to follow in His path of suffering--believing that He will guide me through it. And on the other side I will understand. "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known." (1 Cor. 13:12)

Keep moving forward, Jaime. Keep getting up. Keep focusing on Christ. Keep feeling your feelings, but don't focus on them--focus on Christ. Seek to understand what your feeling are telling you about wants, needs, attacks--but don't let them define you. Differentiate between your emotions and your identity. Keep walking. On the other side will be the Joy of Love and Knowledge--a Joy held in both your head and your heart.

P.S. I looked up the definition for "disillusion" on Merriam-Webster: "to cause to lose naive faith and trust." I think I can genuinely say, "Amen," to that.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Why can't I be a normal person????????????????????????

Why can't my emotions remain stable?

My friend pointed out that I had my knees drawn up to my chest in class again today. I was also laughing nervously at the dumbest things. When my friend asked me to take down my knees--which I reluctantly did--I practically lost it.


I couldn't even look my professor in the eyes.
Fearful he would call on me.
Ashamed I didn't have that elusive right answer.
A person spoke next to me--drawing the professor's attention--and I withdrew even further.

What is wrong with me?
Why is my shame so strong that I feel it for another person even if that person is not really feeling it?
Is it really shame?
Or is it just an insane amount of fear??

I got a 100% on my project. He wrote "some of the best."
It doesn't mean anything.
He probably doesn't even realize who I am.

My friend got a lower grade, but a verbal affirmation from this same professor.
That means so much more.
That gives life.

Why do I keep my mouth shut?
I am letting myself die....slowly.....
I am killing myself.....for NOTHING!!
It is all worthless.

I am a 5-year-old girl in a 22-year-old woman's body.
This is wrong.
I don't feel like I belong here.
I feel like I am losing my grasp on reality.
How much longer can I hold on?
How will I make it through?

Useless Thoughts in the Dead of Night

The new Facebook how-are-you-feeling-emoticon application does not have the emoticon for "frustrated." That is the emoticon I wanted. And it doesn't have it. So I'm writing a blog about it any way.

I don't know why I am writing such a pointless blog post.


it is because I am sitting at my computer. It is 1:26 am. I have finished my homework for tomorrow. But I drank too much coffee, so I have no interest in going to bed.

And I feel alone.

I had decided to read through my Facebook home page to waste some time. Bad idea. I don't know why I torture myself so much. Reading other people's posts makes me....jealous. I laugh at someone's post, and then wish I could be just as funny. I awwww at others' posts, and then wish that I had the same type of friendships or relationships in general. I am convicted by another post, and wish that I was that close to God, or that I could at least appear to be that close to God. I marvel at some one else's post, and wish that I was that intelligent or that I had the same way with words. Facebook just doesn't make me feel good about myself. (Although, the question should be asked, why do I need to feel good about myself in the first place?)

I feel so disengaged from life; so disengaged from people.

My own fault, I suppose.

I'm the one who avoids people. I'm the one who can't differentiate my boundaries from those of another person. I'm the one who gets drained by other people. I'm the one who is more comfortable inside her head than in a relationship.

When I am constantly surrounded by people and interacting with them, I begin to lose myself. I have a friend who tells me that he is fearful that if he devotes himself to getting his school work done, then he will lose himself. For the first time, I understand what he means--except that I feel it when I am with people constantly. Is this a bad thing? Or is this just the curse of an introvert?

My jealousy seems to say that I want to change..... But I also very much enjoy my inner world. I enjoy observing. I enjoy thinking. I enjoy imagining. But it gets lonely after a while.

How do I find the balance?

Unfortunately, I am very good at making myself busy, so natural time alone is very rare for me. In response, I tend to push people away. I am too exhausted and unbalanced to be able to properly conduct myself around people.

The accusation often comes: Do you really hate people that much??


I just find people exhausting.

Will this always be true for me?? Will I always be exhausted and overwhelmed by others? Or is this just some extreme narcissistic stage--brought about by the introspection of healing--that I need to move out of?

I don't know.

I feel fear.

Fear that if I move out of myself, things will go horribly wrong. I will lose myself in others. I already get lost in others' emotions (compounded by my own blaring emotions).

But is my current comfort slipping into complacency?

It is beautiful when I come out of myself. But there is also the huge risk of harm.


I don't have it.

I need it.

I should go to bed. Or read a book. Or do something other than this.... Because these thoughts are going nowhere. Just circulating back to frustration.

I learned yesterday in Hermeneutics that, as Eastern thinkers, the biblical authors thought circularly (rather than linearly, as in our Western thinking), and that they often wrote to talk about something, rather than to come to a conclusion about it. So maybe that's what I am doing right now..... Although it would be nice to talk myself out of my frustration.

My grandfather has told me a few times, that I need to just accept things rather than try to do them or change them or escape them. I need to accept my emptiness. I need to accept my anger. I need to accept my cross. I need to accept my scars. Accept. Accept. Accept.

It's a foreign concept to me. If I have to accept something, then that implies that I do not have control over it.

Geepers....some "good" Christian I am......

Oh, that reminds me.... I'm pretty indifferent about God right now. My anger is not burning as intensely as it was. But I'm still struggling with the absent-minded "God is good" mumbo-jumbo. God is more complicated than that. And certainly His role in..... all of existence..... is much more complicated than that. I think I have held a distorted view of Love. Becuase I assumed Love meant that I was safe, or that I would be taken care of. I am not so sure that is true any more.

Oh, boy.... Am I losing my faith?


I still believe God exists. I still believe God is a whole lot more powerful than me. I'm pretty sure I'm infinitely smaller than an ant to Him. I'm just not sure how I feel about God right now. I'm not sure I like the idea of submitting myself to a God who is asking me to crucify myself....I mean--that's not cool. It doesn't feel good. It doesn't feel like He has the best intentions for me in mind.

Trust and hope.

That's all God leaves me with.

He is asking me to trust Him, even though He hasn't proven Himself trustworthy in the most base circumstance of my life. He is asking me to hope in that which I cannot see (that's in the Bible, right?....insert me rolling my eyes here).

Funny thing about hope.... If I remember correctly, I read somewhere that biblical hope, is trusting that something WILL happen. Not that it might happen, or that I want it to happen. But that it will happen.

How do I know that God will redeem me in the end?

Because the Bible says so?

How can I trust the Bible when I am struggling to trust its Author?

This thing called Christianity..... requires me to have faith. Faith is illogical. Faith reaches beyond my emotions. Faith is a consious act of the will. I have to choose to trust God even though I don't feel that He is trustworthy.

That feels crumby.

That feels unfair.

That feels.....
(Yeah, "Whoever said life was fair?".....and "Well, if God was fair, none of us would be saved" Thank you, I've hear those before...)

But see, I realize it does not matter what I feel.

Because if I do believe that God is my LORD..... Regardless of whether I feel like serving Him, respecting Him, honoring Him, praising Him, trusting Him-- If I do believe that God is my Master. Then I need to remain under His reign..... even when I don't feel like doing so.


This Christianity thing is not as easy as I once thought. I took it for granted. It is not simple. It is not happy happy joy joy.

It requires discipline.

It requires work.

It requires moving forward even when the way forward is dark.

It requires saying, "God, I will trust You."
"God, I will trust You."
"God, I will trust You."
"God, I will trust You."
"God, what are You doing?!"
"God, I will trust You."
"God, I will trust You."
"God, I will trust You."
"God, that hurts!!!"
"God, I will trust You."
"God, I will trust You."
"God, I will trust You."

(P.S. It's now 2:16 am....I might actually try to go to bed.)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Let the Angry Tears Flow--I Can Handle Them

If I try to think too much with my brain, I will not be able to write this post. I am just going to speak from my heart. So if you find something illogical.....I'm sorry ahead of time. Leave a comment, and I will address it in another blog. For now, it's just my heart. (And as of right now, my faith is a gift that requires me to tell my logical, analytical, doubtful brain to shut up.) (Sorry, might be some resentment there....again...topic for another post...)

My God
is quite patient.
My God
is pretty strong.
My God
is indescribable.
My God
is unmeasurable.
My God
is so personal
that He is going to relate to you
differently than He is going to relate to me.
And that
is a gift.

I was angry with God.
If you have read any of my previous posts,
you are very aware of this.
I was so angry with God.
But I didn't know what to do with that anger.
Because my logical, analytical, Bible College influenced brain
told me that it was a horrible sin to be mad at God,
and I had to cover myself with ashes like Job
or else God might smite me within the hour.
So I wrestled with my anger
in guilt
and even more anger.
Angry with God for not letting me be angry with Him!
Angry with myself for being angry with God in the first place!
Any reference to yeilding,
our purpose of glorifying God,
God's love,
God's trustworthiness,
the healing of God,
God's redeption,
God's salvation--
any of it--
How can I trust a God
who has let me get hurt so much?!
God wouldn't need to save me
if He didn't let sin exist in the first place!
He wouldn't have to build me up,
if He hadn't torn me down!
This was the attitude that I went to the conference with this weekend.

My notes from Friday night and Saturday morning are littered with angry accusations and doubts.
I feared that I might be losing my faith in God.
Are angry conversations considered communing with God?
Thankfully, I felt compelled to go to the first sexual abuse workshop.
Title: When Life Hurts.
It was about the life of Job.
Even more perfect.
I spent most of the session holding in my anger and my tears.
I dialogued with God for most of it.
Jaime: Crap, God! What are you doing?! I saw you carried me through stuff. But why did you do it in the first place? Why did you decide to "bless" me with suffering?
God: To make you like, Christ, Jaime.
Jaime: (Ignoring God's previous comment...) You took the shame upon Yourself. You didn't give it back to him. That is why I'm not mad at him. You have forgiven him and me. Are You going to punish him? I don't want You to. Do I? No. I am able to love him. I am not mad at him. I am mad at You! What do I do with my anger?!
God: Forgive.
Jaime: What do I do with my pain?
God: Forgive.
Jaime: Forgive who? You? I don't understand!!
God: Do you have to understand, Jaime? It's wearing you out. Why can't you just accept it?
Presenter: God doesn't have a purpose in the sin; but He has a purpose for us.
Jaime: What?!
God: Jaime, I let you suffer because I wanted to make you beautiful.
The air deflated out of me.
Tears streaming down my cheeks
in silence.
Finally, I spoke up:
"You talked about struggling to trust God,
and I can relate to that;
but right now I am so angry with God,
and I don't know what to do about it."
The responses were simple and straight forward--
and breathed life into my dry bones:
"It's okay to be angry at God."
"He can handle your anger."
"Anger is a normal step in the healing process."
As the two presenters entered into prayer,
I let my angry, painful tears flow,
When I finally reemerged,
two women came to me.
They hugged me.
They listened to me.
They reassured me.

Not only did God use His body--
women who have gone before me
on this painful path--
to reassure the
and faithfulness
of my God;
but He also gave me a personal token
directly from Himself.
"I let you suffer because I wanted to make you
Notice He said "wanted"
instead of "want."
That is past tense.
That means.....
I am already

Who ever said,
I can't bring God out of Living Waters?
Granted I had to search.
And granted God provided a Self-saturated place
in which to seek Him.
But still...
He got through to me.
Or maybe I got through to Him.
Well....really it doesn't matter.
All that matters,
is I felt validated in my anger--
free to feel it--
no longer condemned.
And I was able to reconnect
to my God.

Do I think everything will be perfect
from here on out?
But God reminded me that
He is faithful
and He won't let me go--
no matter how much I try to shove Him out of my face.
My God is relentless.
And I am immeasurably thankful for that.

Friday, April 12, 2013


Give up my anger?
Yeah, right.
What was I thinking?!
I took that back real quick.
My anger is my only protection in a world that constantly
And my world definitely
2 and 3
8 and 9
Everywhere I turn there is hurt.
I can't do it.
I can't handle this.
Everytime I get my head above water--
I'm up long enough to get a gulp of air--
and then I'm dragged back down.
I can't do this.
I want to give up.
Give up.
Give up.

(Jaime, where is God?)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Wrestling with Sin

What is sin?

In this moment...all I can say is that it is something that hurts.

I woke up this morning exhausted;
not because I was super physically active yesterday,
but becasue my emotions had been raging--
raging in anger.

I received a message from an old friend of mine--
a young man who had called forth my God-designed feminity--
and he has fallen away from the Lord;
a profound emptiness.

I just left a friend of mine
who confessed the sinful thoughts that had filled his mind--
mostly as a response to my own angry sin.

I've been working on an exegetical project
on Romans 7.
Here, sin is not just an action or a thought,
but it is a being all of its own.
An entity that has the power
to manipulate the Law and
to control our flesh.
Sin has the power
to inflict death.

Paul describes the war
between the law of God
and the law of sin.
He calls himself a
to sin.
Wretched man that I am!
Who will set me free from the body of this death?

I sit here.

And wait for a response.

Paul continues:
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!


Thanks for what?
Because I look at the next sentence
and the war
is still raging.

I read on;
to chapter 8.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Chirst Jesus
has set you free
from the law of sin
and of death.
But, Paul, I don't understand.
Because the war is still raging.

For the mind set on the flesh is death,
but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.
Well then my mind--and the mind of countless others--
must be on the flesh...
This isn't helping me.

However, you are not in the flesh
(Really, Paul?)
but in the Spirit
(if you insist...),
if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.
But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ,
he does not belong to Him.
Alight, I am not convinced that I am of Christ then,
because this battle is not going well for me.

I can hear Paul telling me to wait.

If Christ is in you,
(and He is, Jaime)
though the body is dead
because of sin,
yet the spirit is alive
because of righteousness.
So are you telling me that the war
will go on forever?
This seems to be torture!

But if the Spirit of Him
who raised Jesus from the dead
dwells in you
(as He does),
He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead
will also give life to your mortal bodies
through His Spirit who dwells in you.
But this is not now, right?
Because if it is now.....I'm skeptical.

 Paul tells me I have to wait.
For if you are living according to the flesh
you must die
but if by the Spirit
(by the Spirit, Jaime)
you are putting to death
the deeds of the body
(this requires effort, Jaime),
you will live.

For you have not received a spirit of slavery
leading to fear again,
but you have received a spirit of adoption
as sons by which we cry out,
"Abba! Father!"
(Are you crying out, Jaime?)
I am a child of God?
I am a child of God.
My spirit testifies that I am a child of God.
For I consider that the sufferings
of this present time
are not worthy
to be compared with the glory
that is to be revealed in us.
I must wait.
All creation groans with me.
For in hope
we have been saved,
but hope that is seen is not hope;
for who hopes for what he already sees?
But if we hope for what we do not see,
with perseverance we wait
for it.
In the same way the Spirit
also helps our weakness.
If God is for us,
who is against us?
Who will separate us from the love
of Christ?
For I am convinced
 that neither
death, nor life,
nor angels, nor principalities,
nor things present, nor things to come,
nor powers,
nor height, nor depth,
nor any other created thing,
will be able to separate
us from the love
of God,
which is in Christ Jesus
our Lord.

Yes, Jaime,
there is a war in your being.
A war between My Law
and the law of sin.
But My Spirit is aligned with your spirit,
and I know that you are My child.
Yes, Jaime,
death dwells within your body.
But, be patient, for I will restore life there as well.
Yes, Jaime,
sin causes pain and ultimately death.
Yes, this war is real.
But you must trust Me.
Trust that I
and glorified.
Trust that this war
will not
of my sheep from Me.
Yourself included.
You must
be patient,
have faith,
and love.
Do this...
until I give you further instructions.
I got this, Jaime.
I know what I'm doing.
Leave this to Me.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Screaming Match With God. (Guess Who Won.)

God, what is wrong with me?!
Why am I like this?
Why am I angry one minute
and then crying the next?
Why can't I keep myself in a good mood?
Why can't I control this?
I talk so much about not letting my emtions control me.
But it is all just talk.
I fail.
(Maybe it is because you are trying to control your emotions, Jaime.)
It should be easier than this!
I should be able to do it!
I should be better.
A better friend.
A better girlfriend.
A better daughter.
A better sister.
Why can't I output relationships like I output work?!
I should be able to!
Why am I failing?!
(They are people, Jaime.)
I can't get control!
(They are not tasks, Jaime.)
I want control.
I want to be able to do this.
I want to be perfect.
I want to be able to be depended upon at all times.
No matter what.
I won't listen.
I won't.
I won't.
I'm so angry.
Angry at myself.
Or maybe angry at God.
I screwed myself over with an eating disorder.
I get it.
But if God hadn't let me be so messed up in the first place,
then I wouldn't have gone through any of it.
I would be fine now.
I would be a normal person.
(So a normal person is perfect, Jaime?)
Yes, I would be normal.
(Jaime, you're not making sense any more.)
I don't care.
I'm losing people.
I'm pushing them away.
I'm losing my best friend.
I feel like I stab him with a knife everytime I open my stupid mouth.
I hate this!
I hate it.
I hate it.
I hate it.
Why can't I just get it together?
Why can't I just fix myself?
God, You're taking too long!!!!!

Heavy breathing. Silence.

(Jaime, I heard you.)


I want You to do more than just hear me, God.
I want You to change me.

(But I made you the way you are, Jaime.
You are precious to Me this way.)

This way?!
This way?!
A mess!!!
You love me as a mess?!
Are You keeping me this way on purpose???

Silence. Glaring.

(Well, you do cling to Me the closest when you are drowning.)

Screw this!!!
What kind of God are You anyway?
A sadistic one?
You like seeing me suffer?!

(Are you really suffering, Jaime?)


Yes, I am!
Do you see this?
I hate this.
I hate being this way!
I want to be fixed!

(Are you really suffering, Jaime?)


( For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18.
For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. 2 Corinthians 4:17.)

Oh, so You're going to quote Scripture to me now?


Pull back in fear.

(You have NO right to sit there and COMPLAIN to Me!
What are you thinking?!
So you're having trouble with who you are?
You are My daughter, Jaime!
So you're having trouble with your moods?
Welcome to humanity!
I thought I'd make it interesting for you to live life.
You know how to numb it all out.
I have no doubt.
But I ask you this:
Is it worth it?
Really, Jaime, is all of this worth it?
Is numbing everything out worth it?
Is your anger worth it?
Is it worth it to avoid your pain?
Is it worth it to walk away from Me in anger rather than cling to Me?
Come on, Jaime!
Answer Me!!)

Whispering: No.


It's not worth it.

(Then what are you doing?)

I don't know.

(You want to know what I think you're doing?)


(You're letting Satan play games with you.
You're letting your sin curse rampant within your veins.
You're giving up.)


Then what do I do?



(You need to stop.)

But it's not that easy....

(The first step is actually stopping, Jaime.
Satan will not flee from you;
you must flee from him.
You must stop
letting him throw you around like a rag doll.
You must stop
letting sin run unchecked within yourself.)

Slow nodding.

(I don't expect you to be perfect, Jaime.
But I do expect you to try.
I will not do your work for you.)




(Alright, let's go.
We've got lots to do.)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Depression and Loneliness by Elizabeth Gilbert

I'm in a weird spot tonight. Tired, but not wanting to go to bed. Knowing I should do.....something--anything... productive, but wanting to be lazy. Thoughts of food and not food swirling in my head. I want to escape. I was going to watch a movie, but something soured that. So I turned to my friends-of-old: books. The book I picked up tonight is Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I came across an amazing chapter by her that has reminded me a bit of myself. This entire blog is merely going to be a copy of her chapter:

"Depression and Loneliness track me down after about ten days in Italy. I am walking through the Villa Borghese one evening after a happy day spent in school, and the sun is setting gold over St. Peter's Basilica. I am feeling contented in this romantic scene, even if I am all by myself, while everyone else in the park is either fondling a lover or playing with a laughing child. But I stop to lean against a balustrade and watch the sunset, and I get to thinking a little too much, and then my thinking turns to brooding, and that's when they catch up with me.
They come upon me all silent and menacing like Pinkerton Detectives, and they flank me--Depression on my left, Loneliness on my right. They don't need to show me their badges, I know these guys very well. We've been playing a cat-and-mouse game for years now. Though I admit that I am surprised to meet them in this elegant Italian garden at dusk. This is no place they belong.
I say to them, 'How did you find me here? Who told you I had come to Rome?'
Depression, always the wise guy, says, 'What--you're not happy to see us?'
'Go away,' I tell him.
Loneliness, the more sensitive cop, says, 'I'm sorry, ma'am. But I might have to tail you the whole time you're traveling. It's my assignment.'
'I'd really rather you didn't,' I tell him, and he shrugs almost apologetically, but only moves closer.
Then they frisk me. They empty my pockets of any joy I had been carrying there. Depression even confiscates my identity; but he always does that. Then Loneliness starts interrogating me, which I dread because it always goes on for hours. He's polite but relentless, and he always trips me up eventually. He asks if I have any reason to be happy that I know of. He asks why I am all by myself tonight, yet again. He asks (though we've been through this line of questioning hundreds of times already) why I can't keep a relationship going, why I ruined my marriage, why I messed things up with David, why I messed things up with every man I've ever been with. He asks me where I was the night I turned thirty, and why things have gone so sour since then. He asks why I can't get my act together, and why I'm not at home living in a nice house and raising nice children like any respectable woman my age should be. He asks why, exactly, I think I deserve a vacation in Rome when I've made such a rubble of my life. He asks me why I think that running away to Italy like a college kid will make me happy. He asks where I think I'll end up in my old age, if I keep living this way.
I walk back home, hoping to shake them, but they keep following me, these two goons. Depression has a firm hand on my shoulder and Loneliness harangues me with his interrogation. I don't even bother eating dinner; I don't want them watching me. I don't want to let them up the stairs to my apartment, either, but I know Depression, and he's got a billy club, so there's no stopping him from coming in if he decides that he wants to.
'It's not fair for you to come here,' I tell Depression. 'I paid you off already. I served my time back in New York.'
But he just gives me that dark smile, settles into my favorite chair, puts his feet on my table and lights a cigar, filling the place with his awful smoke. Loneliness watches and sighs, then climbs into my bed and pulls the covers over himself, fully dressed, shoes and all. He's going to make me sleep with him again tonight, I just know it."

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

It's Like Exegesis (aka Unending Questions)

being reMade.
Three aspects of the label "Body of Christ."

Philippians 1:27a "Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ."

"Does your exterior truly reflect your interior?"

What does it mean to be a Christian?
I am a mess.
I know I am a mess.
But I do barely hold it together on the outside.
I do well in school.
Professors seem to like me.
My family seems to love me.
I have some friends.
I serve in my church.
This seems pretty together, right?
But does this reflect what is on the inside?
Am I falsifying what is on the inside by being "barely together" on the outside?
I am not necessarily convinced of that.
Do you expect me to dishevel my exterior for the pure sake of direct reflection?
I mean, intentionally?
Am I being hypocritical by trying to hold my exterior world together?
I mean, it would seem kind of…impractical (and perhaps selfish and childish) to let everything go. I mean, what about responsibilities? 
What is the answer?
If I don’t alter the outside to reflect the inside….then do I alter the inside to reflect the outside?
Well, yes, this would be preferred.
But also, impossible.
This would be akin to demanding that my heart automatically believe everything that I know in my head to be true. Yes, it would be preferred—but completely impossible.
I refuse to pretend that I can be perfect.
Perfection means no sin.
And I am clearly sinful.
Is it then impossible to have an outside that reflects my inside?
Marked by God.
Marred by sin.
Being remade.
Being remade. THAT is key.
I am not simply a mess.
I am not a mess that is hopeless.
I am a mess that is being cleaned up by God.
And to be realistic, I am not perfect on the outside either. Really. I’m not. If you think so, then you are not looking closely enough. You are merely judging me (perhaps out of jealousy).
So maybe I am the same on the inside as I am on the outside.
Just maybe,
if I do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with my God,
then I am the same on the inside as I am on the outside.
Maybe then I am worthy to bear the name of Christ.
God does not demand perfection of me.
He does not demand that I get myself in order for Him.
He only demands that I humbly submit myself to His washing.

being reMade.

Thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ.