Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Box


I gave the door a swift shove with my butt, and smiled as I heard it slam behind me.
“I’m home!!”
I dragged myself laboriously down the hallway.
“Hello! Anyone here? I’m ho—”
My words died in a sigh as my eyes caught God in the sitting room. He was in his usual pose on the couch: legs crossed, newspaper in hand, head tilted down so that he could read the words above the rims of his glasses.
“You could have answered me,” I said bitterly.
“You knew I was here,” God answered without turning from his paper.
I was not giving up that easily.
“Nice of you to greet me.” I looked eagerly for blood to be dripping from my bitter knife—
But it was clean.
“How could I possibly hug you with that behemoth in your arms?”
I hardly had to lower my eyes to see the object of his contempt. The brown haze never left my lower horizon of vision.
“Whatever,” I said, brushing aside what vaguely felt like pain. Retreat seemed safer. “I’m going lay down for a bit.”
“You don’t have to carry that thing.” God still had not taken his eyes from the newspaper.
I hesitated, hoping he would look up at me. . . . Nothing. “It’s fine. I don’t mind it.” I turned to go.
“You wouldn’t be so exhausted.”
I stood still; my back to God. I wanted to look back. I wanted to see him looking at me. I wanted to see him smiling at me. But I knew he wouldn’t be doing either. So I stood still, and trembled with starved desire.
God’s words crept tantalizingly over my shoulder: “Maybe I could actually hug you again.”
A tear began to slither down my cheek. It paused to hide in the crevasse of my nose. The pause was long enough for me to catch it—annihilate it—before it got any further. I bridled my body to rigid stillness, and then proceeded up the stairs to my room.


I felt her back turned to me. I felt her tremble. I felt the desire cursing through her vessels.
That is when I looked at her.
I looked on her with Love. All the Love I could muster I poured out upon her small back, bent as it was in order to support the huge weight in her arms.
And I smiled.
That is when the tear broke free from her weary eyes.
I felt it meander down her cheek. I felt it brush up against her nose.
But an icy blast shot over her heart and extinguished the tear and desire in one swift strike.
I watched her as she walked determinedly—and yet slowly, painfully up the stairs. I felt her feet becoming heavier with each step taken. I watched her disappear from my view. I continued to watch the void as another butt-shoved door slammed behind her.
Then I heard her drop in exhaustion to her bed.
I knew that abomination-of-a-box was sitting beside her—her feeble arms still wrapped around it in a spiritual death grip.
I looked back at the paper in front of my eyes, but once more saw nothing. All I saw was my daughter—my precious daughter—wasting away before my eyes.

Her breathing deepened. Her heart rate slowed. Her delta waves broke upon their shores.
I put down my paper and crept up the stairs. Her door was slightly ajar, and I stood still outside gazing within. The foot of the bed faced the doorway, allowing for a complete view of the sleeping girl inside.
Despite Jaime’s own battle with her body, my own eyes never ceased to find peace resting upon the sight. Her wavy, brown hair cascaded from her face, to the pillow, to the mattress. Her pale blue eyes were hidden below long curved eyelashes, made all the more prominent in their reposed stillness. Her small lips were slightly parted to allow the slow ebb and flow of her chest. I noticed the deep curve of her waist and the smooth rise of her hip. Her legs were tangled up in each other. Her small body was tucked—almost cuddled—around the large box in the center of her bed.
The sight of that abomination threatened to bring torrents of rage over my body, but I looked once more at my sleeping girl, and the anger was replaced by sadness. Grief over the inane anguish she was inflicting upon herself.
I pushed open the door, and softly entered the room. The box was before me.
I glanced down at my daughter once more. A small dribble of saliva dangled on the edge of her lip. I smiled. Even sleeping beauties are human, I thought, dotingly to myself. Reassured, I returned my attention to the box. It was a boring, mundane, run-of-the-mill cardboard box. No print to disrupt its monotonous brown.
In a rush of passion—whether of anger or love, I care not—my hands rushed to the box and opened it wide; they plunged inside ready to release its contents. But I paused. Hands still submerged, I pondered the darkness of the box. Not many knew what this box contained. I was not even sure Jaime fully knew. She had simply acquiesced; allowed denial and repression to imprison the contents to their cardboard vault. But I knew what was in here. I could never forget.
And so I allowed my hands to plunge deeper into the darkness until they felt the smooth, cool surface of the object of my expedition. I clutched the object and pulled it up, out of the darkness.
I could not help but revel at what I saw in my hands. It was a small wooden box. Had I not been familiar with this box, I would have been surprised at the comparative size and weight when I considered the massive cardboard box that so exhausted my daughter. This wooden box was roughly twelve inches long, eight wide, and four high. It was a beautiful deep mahogany, and was inscribed with miniature leaves, flowers, butterflies, and birds. It was captivating to behold, and my heart ached at the thought of Jaime’s ignorance to its delicate richness.
My fingers caressed the golden clasp, and I was about to unlatch the wisdom and strength held within when Jaime stirred in her sleep. I quickly placed the mahogany box back within its debilitating captor, and resealed the lid. I moved swiftly back to the doorway and turned to watch Jaime as she slowly stirred into wakefulness. But before she opened her eyes I was back on the couch; legs crossed, eyes blankly staring at the page of news, waiting for her to emerge, feeble arms clutching that horrid cardboard box, oblivious to the life within.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Elizabeth Gilbert's Confessions of a Control Freak

The following is an excerpt from Elizabeth Gilbert's book Eat, Pray, Love. This is one of those scary moments where I can completely relate to Gilbert as the narrator. (Too bad I am not on the same physical journey that she is as well...)

"Then I ask Richard, 'So how long will it be before all this grieving passes?'
'You want an exact date?'
'Somethin' you can circle on your calendar?'
'Lemme tell you something, Groceries--you got some serious control issues.'
My rage at this statement consumes me like fire. Control issues? ME? I actually consider slapping Richard for this insult. And then, from right down inside the intensity of my offended outrage comes the truth. The immediate, obvious, laughable truth.
He's totally right.
The fire passes out of me, fast as it came.
'You're totally right,' I say.
'I know I'm right, baby. Listen, you're a powerful woman and you're used to getting what you want out of life, and you didn't get what you wanted in your last few relationships and it's got you all jammed up. Your husband didn't behave the way you wanted him to and David didn't either. Life didn't go your way for once. And nothing pisses off a control freak more than life not goin' her way.'
'Don't call me a control freak, please.'
'You have got control issues, Groceries. Come on. Nobody ever told you this before?'
(Well . . . yeah. But the thing about divorcing someone is that you kind of stop listening to all the mean stuff they say about you after a while.)
So I buck up and admit it. 'Ok, I think you're probably right. Maybe I do have a problem with control. It's just weird that you noticed. Because I don't think it's that obvious on the surface. I mean--I bet most people can't see my control issues when they first look at me.'
Richard from Texas laughs so hard he almost loses his toothpick.
'They can't? Honey--Ray Charles could see your control issues!'
'OK, I think I'm done with this conversation now, thank you.'
'You gotta learn how to let go, Groceries. Otherwise you're gonna make yourself sick. Never gonna have a good night's sleep again. You'll just toss and turn forever, beatin' yourself for being such a fiasco in life. What's wrong with me? How come I screw up all my relationships? Why am I such a failure? Lemme guess--that's probably what you were up at all hours doin' to yourself again last night.'
'All right, Richard, that's enough,' I say. 'I don't want you walking around inside my head anymore.'
'Shut the door, then,' says my big Texas Yogi."

The Veil Removed...(Easier Done Than I Had Hoped)

God, the world around me is spinning so fast. He was right--I don't have my own individual world--there is one big world and we are all forced to live our lives in it.


This is what the message has been about...
How do I engage in this world?--It is impossible to completely withdraw from it unless my life is ended. So now what do I do?

Be an agent of Love...
of Life...
of Laughter...
of Joy...
of Peace...
of Compassion...

Can I be this kind of person?
Not without Christ. I cannot do this unless I am filled with the Holy Spirit. Because without Him, I am left terrified and overwhelmed.

How much do I really want to rock the boat?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Plea for Understanding

I'm sitting here with tears streaming down my face.
I am so tempted to ask myself, "What is wrong with me?"
But I am trying to look at myself differently . . .

So let's try a different question: "What happened?"
What happened is that I have been drained to the point of crashing.
I don't understand why I have such a low emotional capacity.
I am crying for no other reason than I have been engaged emotionally for too long today.
And this is such a predicament because interacting with people demands emotion.
There is no way around it.
I have tried being numb so that I can protect myself,
but people have emoti-meters . . . they pick up my numbness quickly.
Maybe I just numb myself too deeply that it becomes too apparent.
But if I don't numb myself I become drained.
Like today.
I don't want to see or talk to anyone else.
I feel like I have to go lay down and recuperate.
This is when I wish I had a couch.
All I have to retreat to is my bed.
Hide away--
from people.

I really don't hate people.
I promise.
I would be lonely without them.
But I can only handle being around people with large emotional vacuoles for so long.
And it is not just physical presence either.
In today's technology-inflated world,
I would need to take a sledge hammer to my phone and my laptop.
(Please envision Office Space printer scene here--or at least pause to look it up on YouTube.)

There has to be another way.
There are truly people out there that understand me.
People that are not offended when I say that I don't have enough energy to hang out with them tonight.
Or people who don't flip out when I say I want to end our conversation quickly.
But those people are few and far between.
Once again, I am tempted to say that there must be something wrong with me--some mutation that me and a couple other people have in our genes.
But I am going to resist.
Instead I will simply say: I am different.
(And that's okay.)

But now to deal with the tears running down my cheeks;
and the fact that I don't want to deal with another single person for 12 or so hours.
(Which is not going to work out well because my mother is on her way over to my apartment.)
I think a huge part is making sure that people--people that I want to keep in my life and avoid hurtting--understand me: who I am, how I operate, what makes me tick, what makes me colapse in a puddle of tears, pull down all the blinds, and hide under my covers.
But I so rarely open my mouth to explain.
Because I am worried that the other person is going to misunderstand me and get hurt by me.
And this fear has proven true!
I have tried to explain myself--
and hurt the other person in the process.
It happened today, in fact!
So I try to keep my mouth shut.
But then I end up with tears running down my face.

What do I do?
I suppose I keep trying--
trying to be respectfully myself.
Keep trying to explain who I am,
and what I need.
Is this a version of boundary formation?
I suppose it is.
But it is exhausting.
Especially because it involves the very real risk of letting others down.
And what about those who continue to misunderstand me?
Those who refuse to accept who I am?
And push me to the limit--
until I have crashed and no more relating is even physically possible?
I suppose . . .
I suppose I keep trying. . . .
But eventually I have to protect myself.
Because to allow myself to continually be drained is to deny the way that I was made.
I was not made with a large emotional capacity.
I don't care how much the world--
the people around me--
want me to change.
Only so much change is possible.
Clay is very moldable--
and I am clay in my Maker's hands--
but I am only moldable in His hands.
If someone other than the Potter tries to--
pull clay to its limit,
after it has begun to set,
eventually the pieces will break apart.
I don't want break.

please try to understand.
I don't hate people.
I don't hate you.
I am just a fragile person
with a small sized emotional lung.
Please don't try to hyper-inflate me;
it hurts,
and eventually my elasticity will run out.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


There is something wrong with me.

Have I said this before?
Yes, of course I have said this before.
It is as if every morning I wake up and say to myself, "There is something wrong with me."

Why do I do this to myself??

What were the triggers today?
1) I was terrified to get out of bed, because I was convinced that today could have been the day that God would slam a door in my face.
2) Someone asked me a question that I have asked myself multiple times. I didn't want to answer. But my lack of answer confimed his--and my--suspicions.
3) I have been struggling with food again. Dealing with an unquentionable emotional hunger.

These triggers make me feel like there is something wrong with me.
Why am I struggling?
Why am I failing?

Because the next statement which follows is, "I am getting fat."
Then, "I am a failure."
"I am hopeless."
"I am going to be miserable forever."

Yes, the negative thoughts compound that quickly.
(Talk about an interest rate to be envied! Oh, wait . . . wrong area of my life.)

Why have I taught my brain to think this way?
*Insert some psycho-hyped quote by Albert Ellis here.*

The answers to why and how are not as important as figuring out a way to stop.

Do I dare stop saying that there is something wrong with me?
Do I dare accept who I am? Who God made me to be?

God made me to have dreams . . . dreams that have the potential to be crushed.
God made me with specific likes and dislikes, and then He uses those in order to determine the types of people that I will most naturally connect with.
God made me with desires (and needs)--emotional desires, intellectual desires, physical desires, spiritual desires. When these desires and needs are not met, I experience a hunger. I am finally feeling my hunger--which is a good thing. I have just mistaught myself the method for identifying and satisfying the source of the hunger.

So is there really something wrong with me?

Can I really trash a creation of God like that?
Psalm 139:13-15
"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 it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;"

No, I can't.

Say it, Jaime.
Say it. . .

There is not something wrong with me.
I am created by God.
I am created to be me.
I am beautiful.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


"God knows exactly how and when to turn us in the right direction, and the more we study His Word and His nature, the easier it becomes to recognize and trust His voice."

This is a quote that I have hanging on my wall. I have been staring at it quite a bit the last few days, and slowly coming to grips with the fact that I have no idea what God's voice sounds like. It is a sobbering realization.

I have come to depend so much upon people. Which is not a bad thing, in and of itself. I am a strong advocate in encountering God through is people. That is the purpose of the Body, the Church, and community. But the problem, in my case, is that I have lost touch with God myself. So I can no longer discern who among me is speaking the words of God--if anyone.

My mother reminded me today that my grandfather is only human. My response: "So is my pastor." I wrote in my journal during the service today this reflection: "Am I hearing God, or only a man?" I don't know.

Then my mother crowned her advice with this: "I was wrong in my advice for you to talk to people; I should have told you to go back to God."

I have failed miserably at this.

Alright, maybe it is not that bad. I have talked a lot with God about this. Have I downright asked Him? Well, yes, actually. But that brings me back to my previous post (A Sign . . . Haven't We Already Been Through This?). How do I know what God is saying? I don't know because I can no longer understand His voice.

Do I have the time to learn to understand His voice again? Ha. I feel so dumb asking that question. So many retorts pop into my head. . . . "God doesn't live in time;" "Isn't that demanding of you, Jaime?" "God works in His own time;" "Learning to understand God's voice and reconnecting with Him is much more important than any of the decisions you are trying to make." "You run the risk of making the wrong decision if you don't learn first."

So does this mean my priorities are wrong?


Is it even worth it to think about this stuff then?
Should I just throw in the white flag, and give up all over again? Go back to being floormat-Jaime?

But it is my own fault.

My grandfather said something that stung yesterday: "Maybe if you had figured this out a year ago and had been more healthy. . . "
Those words make me think that I have lost my chance. I have run out of time to live my dream.

I thought things were working out. . . .

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Sign? . . . Haven't We Already Been Through This Before?

"Talk to God about it."
"Make sure this is from God."
"Seek God."
"Ask for confirmation from God."
"Ask God for an answer."
"What does God want?"

How in the world am I supposed to know something is "from God"?
How do I know that God is saying "Yes" to something?
"Do you need to know what it looks like, Jaime?"
Well YEAH! If I am going to figure out whether it is "of God" then I kinda need to know what that looks like--otherwise I will NEVER know!
And didn't we already go through this? Didn't you tell me that time that I shouldn't try to get a sign from God??
So . . . I'm a little confused. Because you seem to be contradicting yourself.

This is not something new.
I have wanted this for a while.
But it is just safer to numb out my desires
because then I don't either
work myself to the grave trying to achieve them
or become disappointed when they do not come true.

But this sleeping giant has been awakened
and it will not be put back down easily.

My grandfather started all of this.
"Dream forward."
Well . . . I'm dreaming now.
And I didn't plan to talk with my pastors about this.
I was going to be normal
and just ask them for money.
No--they dug up my unsatisfaction.
They dug up my dreams.
They dug up my hunger.
I could have gone on happily starving myself.
But, no.
This was not my plan--
I didn't ask to be awakened.
Then there's all this opposition.
Are You really going to dangle a treat in my face
and then tear it away from me???
What kind of loving God is that???
Oh, right, it's just my flesh. . . .
What is sinful about pursuing my dreams?
It's not like my dreams are sin!
Yes, if I use them to walk away from God in idolization--
Yes, that would be sin.
But that is not what I am doing!
I was given a brief glimpse of hope
that maybe God actually loves me the way I am;
that I don't have to radically change in order to be used in His kingdom;
that maybe I can actually enjoy my life
rather than be beaten into a submissive pulp.

"Delight yourself in the LORD;
and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD,
trust also in Him, and He will do it.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
and your judgment as the noonday.
Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him;"
"Cease from anger and forsake wrath;
do not fret; it leads only to evildoing."
"The steps of a man are established by the LORD,
and He delights in his way.
When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong,
because the LORD is the One who holds his hand."
"The Law of his God is in his heart;
his steps do not slip."
"Wait for the LORD and keep His way,
and He will exalt you to inherit the land"
"But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD;
He is their strength in time of trouble."

"There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your indignation;
there is no health in my bones because of my sin.
For my iniquities are gone over my head;
as a heavy burden they weigh too much for me.
My wounds grow foul and fester
because of my folly.
I am bent over and greatly bowed down;
I go mourning all day long.
For my loins are filled with burning,
and there is no soundness in my flesh.
I am benumbed and badly crushed;
I groan because of the agitation of my heart.
Lord, all my desire is before You;
and my sighing is not hidden from You.
My heart throbs, my strength fails me;
and the light of my eyes, even that has gone from me."

"I said, 'I will guard my ways
that I may not sin with my tongue;
I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle
while the wicked are in my presence.'
I was mute and silent,
I refrained even from good,
and my sorrow grew worse.
My heart was hot within me,
while I was musing the fire burned;
then I spoke with my tongue:
'Lord, make me to know my end
and what is the extent of my days;
let me know how transient I am.
Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths,
and my lifetime as nothing in Your sight;
surely every man at his best is a mere breath.
Surely every man walks about as a phantom;
surely they make an uproar for nothing;
he amasses riches and does not know who will gather them.
And now, Lord, for what do I wait?
My hope is in You.
Deliver me from all my transgressions;
make me not the reproach of the foolish.
I have become mute, I do not open my mouth,
because it is You who have done it.
Remove Your plague from me;
because of the opposition of Your hand I am perishing.
With reproofs You chasten a man for iniquity;
You consume as a moth what is precious to him;
surely every man is a mere breath.
Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry;
do not be silent at my tears;
for I am a stranger with You,
sojourner like all my fathers.
Turn Your gaze away from me, that I may smile again
before I depart and am no more.'"

"I waited patiently for the Lord;
and He inclined to me and heard my cry.

He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.

He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God;
many will see and fear
and will trust in the Lord.

How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust,
and has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.
Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders which You have done,
and Your thoughts toward us;
there is none to compare with You.
If I would declare and speak of them,
they would be too numerous to count.
Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired;
my ears You have opened;
burnt offering and sin offering You have not required.
Then I said, 'Behold, I come;
in the scroll of the book it is written of me.
I delight to do Your will, O my God;
Your Law is within my heart.'
I have proclaimed glad tidings of righteousness in the great congregation;
behold, I will not restrain my lips,
O Lord, You know.
I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart;
I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation;
I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great congregation.
You, O Lord, will not withhold Your compassion from me;
Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me.
For evils beyond number have surrounded me;
my iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to see;
they are more numerous than the hairs of my head,
and my heart has failed me.
 Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me;
make haste, O Lord, to help me.
Let those be ashamed and humiliated together
who seek my life to destroy it;
let those be turned back and dishonored
who delight in my hurt.
Let those be appalled because of their shame
who say to me, 'Aha, aha!'
Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;
let those who love Your salvation say continually,
'The Lord be magnified!'
Since I am afflicted and needy,
let the Lord be mindful of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God."

What are You saying, God?
Should I expect an audible answer from You?
And I suppose these are actually King David's words right?

I was surprised you asked about that song--
that song that impacted me so much.
Funny that I will be singing it tomorrow at church.
The song is "Amazed":

"You dance over me
While I am unaware
You sing all around
But I never hear the sound
Lord I'm amazed by You
Lord I'm amazed by You
Lord I'm amazed by You
How You love me"

Do you think God is saying something?
Do you think God is giving me a gift out of His love?

Then I listened to this:
"Beautiful Things":

"All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us
All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us
You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new"

Do you think God is making something beautiful out of the ashes--
the ashes I have created out of my life?
Do you think this is Him making me new?

But NO!
Forget about awakening my heart!
We have to be practical, Jaime!
"Where is the money?"
"Are you just trying to avoid people?"
I am trying to live out who I think God created me to be!
I feel like He is finally opening the doors and saying,
"My daughter, you are free to prosper and increase in number
using the talents I have given to you.
Be an under-ruler of your world."
But you say I am being selfish.
You say I am afraid to finish what I started.
You say I am taking advantage of what has been given me.
But my HEART is involved!
Why did you awaken my desires in the first place??
You could have left me dormant!
I would have avoided this pain!!!
I would have been your door mat
and not complained once!
But now I have tasted and seen,
and I do not want to go back!

I went to the play.
I thought about the playwright.
He or she was exploring the world,
put words to it,
put actions to it,
put characters to it,
and created a small microcosm.
I want to do that.
I did it once;
I want to do it again.
Then I saw her.
(God, if you are playing a crude trick on me--)
There she was;
the professor I had
the one time I took a Literature class
at BU;
sitting directly in front of me.
"Do you think it is a sign?"
A sign of what?
That I should go?
That it was a good experience?
That I am just too desperate?
And a sign from who?
Satan? Trying to tempt me?
Or God? Trying to remind me what I once tasted?
Or maybe it is just my flesh--trying to turn coincidences into signs.

Do you believe in coincidences?
Or do you believe that everything happens for a reason?

I talked to her.
She is no longer at BU.
But she said I could email her.

Maybe that's a sign I shouldn't go to BU--
since one professor isn't there anymore?
(Yeah, right.
Oh, so that's reading too much into it, Jaime?
Where do you draw the line?)
Or maybe it was just meant to spark my attention?

I don't believe in coincidences.
I believe everything happens for a reason.
I also believe God is playing a horrible game with me if I am just supposed to ignore all this.
He awoke my heart--
or at least the desires of my heart.
And if it wasn't Him directly,
He used my grandfather and two of my pastors.
I don't believe in coincidences.
I believe everything happens for a reason.
The question is: What is that reason?

Friday, May 17, 2013

A Rocket Ready to Launch

God I don't understand what is going on.
It sounded wonderful this morning--like the doors were opening, like I could suspend my fear and my doubt.
And now it just sounds too good to be true.
Am I just really selfish?
Am I asking for too much?
Am I immature and self-focused?
Did I let myself listen to other voices once again?
But I feel like you are calling me again and again. It would be ludicrous to pass this up! I feel like I am going to complain down the road that you never let me use my gifts or my passions. And you're going to respond with, "Well, Jaime, I gave you so many opportunities, but you never took them!"
Tamara. My course at BU. My autobiography course. Brett. 8MM. Sal's wife. Katherine's change to SNHU. Drama Workshop. Reading at the conference. Blake and Josh. My blog.
You are doing something, God.
Aren't you?
Or am I just reading too much into things?
I cried today, God. I cried. I cried because I have been so unhappy. So alone. Trudging along . . . FOR YOU!!
No wonder I'm mad at you. No wonder I don't trust you. No wonder I resent you. No wonder I don't want to submit to you.
Because I feel like I have to change to be used by you; accepted by you; appreciated by you.
I feel like I have to mold myself into something different so that I can be picture-perfect Christian girl (whatever that looks like).
Who's voice am I listening to???
That's easy: ___!!!!!!
Why am I listening to his voice??
Well, you put him in my life didn't you? To challenge me or something?
Love me?
No. I don't feel loved.
Because he stands in my way at every decision I want to make.
I don't know why I put so much weight on his voice!!!!!!!
I guess I put weight on everyone's voice. I want EVERYONE to be happy with me and my decisions.
Ugh. Yes, we talked about that today. Yes, I get it: pride, pride, pride. Well you made me this way!
No. No. I don't regret being this way. Believe it or not, I actually like who I am. I just feel that everyone else hates who I am. Or doesn't want me to be who I am. Or wants me to be someone different.
Why can't you just focus on you and Me?
BECAUSE I KEEP BEING TOLD THAT I AM SELFISH!!!! So I must be doing something wrong!
Jaime, calm down. Can you just forget about him for a minute and listen to me?
You are making this a whole lot bigger than it has to be. This is just one internship; one summer; $500--
Jaime . . . please.
This is only $500; a few years of school; your first attempt at a life outside of college.
God, this is sounding bigger and bigger.
No, Jaime. You are allowing your distorted mind to make it bigger.
Okay. Okay. Let's try what Blake said. . . . Let's call my self-idolization, "Sophia". . . . Oh, boy, can I do that? Would that be blasphemous or something? That is my favorite Greek word!
Then that makes Sophia the perfect name for your self-idolization, considering its meaning.
Alright, then. God, Sophia is here again. Could you please make her go away?
Good job, Jaime.
. . . You're not going to answer me?
I just told you, "Good job." Isn't that affirmation enough? Actually, now that I think about it, I gave you MORE than you needed with affirming you.
Now, you sound like my therapist.
I put her in your life for a reason.
Okay. Okay. Okay. We are getting off-topic.
No. No. This is good, Jaime. We haven't talked in so long.
Well, it's true. How is your relationship with You-Know-Who?
There are many relationships with Those-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named in my life, and most of them are pretty sucky right now.
That answers my question then.
You don't handle sarcasm well at these times, do you? He was right.
Okay. Okay. I'll stop. Can you do me a favor, Jaime?
You are God, aren't you? They aren't exactly favors.
Oh, yes they are.
Can you just relax a bit, please? Just relax in knowing that I am at work here? I did something in your heart this morning. I know you felt it. (I made sure you felt it!) So try to shut out the voices. Even Blake's and Josh's. Just focus on listening to Me in your heart. Can you do that? I know what you are thinking. I know that your heart is wickedly deceitful. But it is also a place where I dwell. Can you trust that I am there? And that I am working? Can you willfully choose to trust Me?
(Sigh) Okay.
Now go to sleep.
But, God, I have decisions to make.
Have you even asked for My help?
Well, then, what are you waiting for?
God, I need help. I need help desperately. I have felt so unhappy. Those two men saw it almost immediately today. (Alright, my crying didn't help.) They gave me hope that you haven't given up on me. That you still have a plan for me. That you still might use my natural skills and passions. That was so cool, God! But in order to abandon my plan, I have to make many decisions. Decisions about my internship that is supposed to start in a few weeks. (Do I back out?) Decisions about what school to attend. (Do I transfer once again, so late in the game?) Decisions about what major  to choose if I go. (Do I choose my passion even if I may not be particularly skilled at it?) I need help, God. They helped me see. But now I have to carry through. And I am scared. I am scared of making the wrong choice. I am scared of abandoning ship--many ships. I am scared to disappointing people. I am scared of failing. But I am also scared that if I stay I will be miserable--or at least unfulfilled--or that I will be wasting my life. I am scared that I am just being selfish, and that I am missing the mark completely. I am scared of missing this opportunity! I am scared that it is going to pass by and I will never have the time to recapture it! There is so much fear, God. Because I am not in the practice of trusting you. I am sorry. I am sorry I try to be my own God. I am sorry that I have welcomed Sophia into my life. But please redeem those parts of myself that Sophia likes to attach herself to. Please allow me to use those parts of myself for your glory--for life instead of for death. Please! I have desires again. It is wonderful. But are they truly to go unfulfilled? I understand that you call us to sacrifice. But if I offer this to you. . . . will you reinstate it in my life? I miss it. I miss that part of myself. It will be hard. Becuase Sophia exists. But if I keep casting her onto you. . . . will it be possible? Could you please, please consider granting me the desires of my heart. (The funny thing is that they are sitting right in front of me. . . . I guess I am just looking for you permission to enjoy them. Is that okay?) I do want to trust you, Lord. I do want to serve you. I am sorry for my bitterness. I realize that I have no right to be happy or fulfilled in this world. . . . But it would be wonderful. It really would. Please, Lord. That is all I have left: begging for a gift--an undeserved gift.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Room

I shoved the ear buds deeper into my head and surged the volume even more. Maybe if this made me deaf I would finally have some peace. But it was no use. The sounds in that room could not be ignored.

I yanked the buds out of my ears and walked across the room. I stopped at the wooden door and stared at it.

Despite being the gateway to my least favorite room in the house, this door never ceased to captivate me. The deep mahogany whispered of wisdom and strength. Intricate leaves, flowers, butterflies, and birds danced across its surface. How could such a horrid room be shut off by such a beautiful door? I contemplated this question every time I came to stand at this doorway—willing myself to get lost in its heaven instead of encountering my own hell on the other side. It used to be that this door was thick enough to deaden the sounds from within, but over the last few weeks the screams and wailing had become progressively louder.

I had never actually been in this room. I didn’t even know what it looked like. All I had done is throw things into it. The sounds that come out of there always made me shudder. Up until this point I had only had enough willpower to crack the door—just enough to discard one more thing within.

A high pitched scream pierced my fantasy of butterflies and birds; catapulting me back into reality. I looked down at the door knob.

Something needs to be done about this, I thought begrudgingly.

An angry voice challenged the screaming, which then dissolved into a pitiful whimper—not as painful, but just as heart-wrenching.

I put my hand on the door knob. It only turned with effort, and slowly at that. In my reluctance I pushed halfheartedly on the door, but it refused to budge.

You should known better; you have done this before, I chastised myself.

I took a deep breath, and thrust my body against the door.

The door gave way, and I was thrown unmercifully inside.

I stumbled to my feet; fists and eyelids clenched shut, ready to face whatever was in the room. But the impending pain to my eardrums never came. As I listened all I could hear was my own heavy breathing. Nothing else. Silence.

I lifted my head and opened my eyes.

There, before me, sitting in a chair with his legs crossed, looking at me above the rims of his glasses was God.

I felt my face twist up in disbelief.

“Nice of you to visit,” God said. His voice was deceptively cheerful, because there was no hint of a smile on his face.

This isn’t right, I thought, my mind clouding over in confusion. I looked around the room. It was completely bare except for the chair and the man . . . (Can I even call him a man?). . . sitting in it. The concrete walls seemed to be closing in on me.

“I know, Jaime.” God interrupted my thoughts, pulling my focus back to himself. “You were expecting to discover yourself in here, weren’t you?”

I met God’s eyes. Remember who you are dealing with, I told myself. I had interacted with God before, but it had been a while. And he was right. I hate that. God knew what I had been expecting behind that door. I had been expecting to find myself.

“Yes, I knew I was right. But you don’t have to admit it to me, Jaime. It’s not like I have to feed my own pride. . . . Like some people I know.”

The stab was well placed. I scowled at him, but remained sullenly silent. Maybe if I keep my mouth shut, he’ll leave me alone.

“You cannot shut me out, Jaime.”

I spun on my heels and stepped toward the door.

“Yes, you can leave, but do you really want to?”

I stopped short and flung myself back toward God. “And what would you know about what I want?!”

“You want me to be a genie.”

“Don’t you dare use other people’s words against me!”

“Aren’t you just going to reject them again?”

“That’s not fair!”

“Are you going to tell me what is fair; what is right or wrong; what I can and cannot do? Really, Jaime—I thought you were going to let me out of your box?”

Any potential comebacks coagulated in my throat. My jaw dropped, but no sound emerged.

“Are you upset that I have ruined your self-discovery adventure?” God continued.

I recomposed myself enough to reinstate the scowl on my face.

God recommenced his prodding: “Are you going to go back on what you did a few weeks ago? Are you going to go fishing for that stone you threw into the river? What are you trying to do, Jaime?”

I crossed my arms over my chest, scowl still intact.


I didn’t budge.


God’s anger shattered through my own, and I took a step back in fear, eye’s once again clenched shut.

God’s face softened for a moment as my fear revealed the frail girl within. But he resumed his coldness as I lifted my eyes.

“Tell me what you are trying to do, Jaime,” God said, sternly.

I tried to find my anger again. That wonderful emotion that made me strong—invincible. But it had been chased away by God’s jealous fury. My only other option was a blank numbness. It was out of this lack of emotion that I was able to respond.

“I am trying to get myself back on track; put myself back together.”


I chuckled to myself at the irony of an omniscient God asking me that question.

“I am not laughing, Jaime,” God interrupted my momentary escape into revelry. “Why?”

“Because you aren’t doing a good enough job at it.”

“Jaime!” God threw up his arms in exasperation. “How many times are we going to go in this circle? How many times are we going to do this? How many times?!”

My anger began to well up again, but this time in tears.

“Obviously we are going to have to do it until I get it!!” I yelled in desperation.

God put his arms down, feigning shock at my response.

“You admit that you are the one not getting it?” God skeptically questioned.

I sighed, desperately trying not to get irritated in my wounded pride. “Obviously,” I said. “Because you are God, and I am not. It’s not like you can actually be wrong.” Despite my efforts, the sarcasm was beginning to drip out.

Disappointment crossed God’s face. “That was not the answer I wanted, but I realize it is the only one I am going to get. I suppose it is better than nothing.”

“You’re God: You can magically make me grovel at your feet.”

“Is that really what you think I want from you, Jaime? You groveling at my feet like some worthless being?”

“Yes.” I spat the answer at God—staring directly into his eyes. The challenge clearly made. He stared back at me.

“Where did you get that idea from?”

I pondered. Job—he pretty much got his face shoved in the dirt. God is a King—aren’t all kings power hungry. The priestly stuff—God’s too high and mighty to get near to us.

God interrupted my thoughts. “Jaime, do you actually have any biblical examples? The only one I’ve heard so far is Job—and, in case you forgot, I blessed him at the end. Most of your examples are mere worldly perceptions.”

“Yeah, but—”

“Let me give you a different perspective. I created humankind, and declared that they were good. I made humans to be under-kings on this earth. I have walked and talked with mankind. I sent my son in the form of a lowly human—born in a filthy barn. I let my son die for you. When mankind is exalted, he—you included, Jaime—will be higher than the angels. How can you deny that I am intimately involved in the lives of humans?? How can you deny that I have been infinitely involved in your life?”

God was getting closer to my problem. “I cannot deny all that. But I don’t trust your motives. You seem so selfish!”

“What do you mean??”

“You do it all for your own glory!”

“So?!?! You still get amazing benefits (listen to me—trying to sell myself to you)! You get LIFE! Eternal, glorified life! Why are you complaining?? Because you don’t get to be me? You don’t get to be God?”

I looked down at my feet, the shame beginning to flow. “Yes,” I answered quietly.

“Jaime!” God said, sounding exasperated again. “You can’t have everything!”

“You promised me the desires of my heart.”

“Within reason, my girl!”

“But . . . then you lied to me.”

God fell silent for a few moments.

“No, Jaime. The world lied to you.”

“What do you mean?”

“The world told you that I was someone that I am not. And you are swallowing the lies whole.”

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Too Many Voices?

I feel disjointed.

"Dream forward." "I can't dream forward--I only dream backward."

"If I were to make you in my image." "If I were to make myself in my own image."

"Jesus said to him, 'Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen yet have believed.' " "I am just like Thomas in my desire to experience God." "The real question is, why do we allow it? I think we allow it because we're so hungry for God, we're willing to do anything to experience him. It's not just fringe Christians. Islam has the whirling dervishes; Hindus chant mantras trying to reach nirvana. . . . Hunger for God is part of the human condition."

"I will stop comparing myself to other women."

"I prayed to God this evening. I haven't done that in years. . . . I'm not religious by any means and I have no idea if I was talking to air but it was a chance I needed to take."

"Listen to you: You would believe in your own legend."

"Is there a limit to what I can dream?"

"Maybe dreams aren't meant to come true."

"Are you going to let one man destroy your dreams?" "He is the only one who encourages me to dream. No one else does that." "God does. The real God. Not the one you have made up in your head."

"I'm so afraid that they are going to see right through me and say, 'You're a mess and a heretic.' "

"God, why are You so far away?" "It's your own fault, Jaime."

"Who says your world has been a fantasy? It seems like there is some truth to it."

"It is not a dream; it is a not-so-distant reality."

"If I keep them as dreams, then they will never become real."

"I still count you as one of my close friends." "I have no clue why."

"All it takes for meaningful friendship is 1) close enough proximity to do things together 2) informal and unplanned interaction and 3) an environment that encourages intimacy of ideas and feelings."

"Here we are sitting on the side of the road." "I sit on the side of the road a lot."

"I think you just gave me my thesis idea."

"I'm trying to argue for an artistic expression of the heart...through a scholastic endeavor."

"I'm extremely postmodern." "And that's not a bad thing." "But people tell me it's a bad thing." "It's because they are Christians. Christianity is stuck in the past."

"I feel like a heretic. I don't fit in." "I'm called a heretic all the time. It is actually where I want to be."

"I feel like it is my artistic side that makes me so postmodern." "So find a church that embraces art."

"It's so refreshing to talk to an intellectual. I don't get to do that very often. I feel like part of me is suppressed."

"If you are going to stay, then you need to figure out where you can get that fulfilled elsewhere. Which is not a problem--as long as you are both okay with it. Davis kind of destroys that."

"At its fundamentally flawed core, the aim of almost any learning program is to help us become who we are not."

"You cannot be anything you want to be--but you can be a lot more of who you already are."

"But I miss you!"

"We all have our own worlds. I have ------- Land, you have Cloud Jaime, and he has ------'s World."

"The weird thing is that our worlds are creepily similar, so we can understand each other."

"I wish I could figure out the root." "The root is deep; he won't even let me touch it. . . . I have my ideas as to what it is, but he won't let me touch it."

"Who has told you these things? I feel like it is just some vague conglomeration from your perception of the world."

"Turn out all thoughts of doubt and of trouble. Never tolerate them for one second. Bar the windows and doors of your soul against them as you would bar your home against a thief who would steal in to take your treasures. What greater treasures can you have than Peace and Rest and Joy? And these are all stolen from you by doubt and fear and despair. Face each day with Love and Laughter. Face the storm. Joy, Peace, Love, My great gifts. Follow Me to find all three. I want you to feel the thrill of protection and safety now. Any soul can feel this in a harbor, but real joy and victory come to those alone who sense these when they ride a storm. Say, 'All is well.' Say it not as a vain repetition. Use it as you use a healing balm for cut or wound, until the poison is drawn out; then, until the sore is healed; then, until the thrill of fresh life floods your being. All is well." "I am filled with doubt and trouble. I am constantly allowing myself to be robbed of Peace, Rest, and Joy. I rarely Love and Laugh. My life has been a constant search for protection and safety. I have been hiding in a harbor. I cannot even say, 'All is well.'"

"I am avoiding my mother because I can't handle my step-father. I am avoiding my church because I can't handle my step-father."

"I need to be late to church today so that I can just slip in the back and"

"We want to leave a legacy . . . but something happens when we grow up . . . and the dreams die . . .  but those dreams were not young naivety . . . they were/are part of who we were made to be."

"This is not a sermon. Is it okay for me to be here? But this is exactly what I need to hear. I keep hearing exactly what I need to hear. As distant as I feel from God, He is using this church to walk along side of me."

"Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.' " "Each of us is an idol of
.יהוהAn idol of a god 1) makes a relationship with that god possible and 2) does the work of that god on earth."
"For we are his workmanship, created in Chirst Jesus for good works [beautiful things], which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."

"Remove from your vocabulary the phrase, 'I am just . . . ' "

"If you knew where I've been, you would understand why I needed to sit alone today."

"We can just avoid life altogether, or we can get it all out and say, '(Sigh) Life.' "

"You are doing well, I see. Or at least your smile says so." "Well . . . "

"I've drank water from sewers and gutters; too shameful to utter that You're not like the others."

"I just want to be free to be me. All of me."

"You are going to work for a guy who believes in you more than you believe in yourself." "Ditto."

"Supposedly you have a God who created you and knows everything about you; who wants to have a relationship with you." "How do you feel about that?" "I don't know; I haven't figured that out yet."

"Our relationship is crisis based. We only ever deal with our emotions, so there is no time for anything else."

"The more we talk about love, the less I think I actually love anyone."

"Have you ever tried?"

Where is the coherency?

Sunday, May 5, 2013


I sat
with my stone
still in my hand;
watching others
lay down their burdens.
Do they see me? I thought.
Do they see me sitting here,
refusing to get up?
I buried my face in my journal;
in hiding;
in shame.
Of course they can see me.
It's written
all over my face.
There is no such thing as a secret
But there I sat;
through coutless others rising;
through others singing
wellness of their souls.

"When will you give up?" You ask me.
"You will never be ready."
Inside Im shoving you away
and screaming,
"Shut up!
Get out of my life!"
I had more choicier words than that.
But I'm supposed to be a good Christian girl, right?

So what am I holding back?

I watch the others rise
and relinquish.
Pride wells up within me.
Do they even know what they are doing?
Does this even matter to them?
This very edge-of-decision
has been my every
for a month.
How dare they make it look so easy?

I glance inside myself.
All I see is anger.
Anger is my strength.
Anger gives me power;
power to hold on.

Hold on to what?

Control of MY life.
How dare God try to take that away from me?

You looked at me, pleadingly:
"You're time is running out."
Once again, inside I screamed,
"Running out on what?
God can wait!
He's got eternity!"
But in my silence
I answered my own question:
"But I don't have eternity--
not in this state--
not in this life."

"God wants more for you."
Could I believe that?
Because I'm so busy
at the "what if's"
and "what could have been."
I'm so busy
that I cannot embrace today
or hope for tomorrow.
I spend my days lamenting
over how I lost control.
Thinking that if only I exert more control,
maybe I will gain it back.

Maybe I can shove God
back into his box.
Or maybe I can bypass him altogether.
And why am I even talking about God?
Because I have been serving a god
who is a projection
of my own imagination.
A god who abides by the rules.
If I obey, he is to bless.
If I mess up, I'm his child, so he still must bless.
No wonder I get upset when I obey
and something goes wrong!

But why am I even allowed to define
what is right and wrong?
God didn't create the rules for himself;
he created them for us--
for me!
So here I am sitting in judgment
of God.
Oh, mighty smiter,
smite me now!

I've heard it so much:
"Lay it down,
lay it down."
But do you realize what I'd have to give up?!
My right to look back.
My right to compare.
My right to define the exact proportions of God.
My right to expect blessings.
My right to complain.
My right to demand that God come meet me face-to-face.
My right to plan.
My right to control;
to control my weight,
my shape,
my hunger,
my pain,
my fear,
my shame,
my anger,
my loneliness,
my emptiness,
my friends,
my family,
my god.
I would have to give up my right to protect myself.
I would have to give up my right to talk to god . . .
and must submit myself in unconditional trust
to the One who's Name I am unworthy to pronounce.
The Almighty Adonai.
 יהוהwho cannot be defined.
 יהוהwho does not follow rules.
 יהוהwho does not fit a formula.
 יהוהwho will not be controlled.

This is the God
who created me.
This is the God
who began to intrude into my life in my nineteenth year.
This is the God
who has brought my darkness into the Light.
This is the God
who stuck himself in my face.
This is the God
who said, "Let your angry tears flow; I can handle them."
This is the God
who said, "I let you endure suffering in order to make you beautiful."
This is the God
who has left me in the dark night of my soul until I am ready to place blind trust in him.
This is the God
who is jealous when my love is wasted on a wimpy god in a box.
This is the God
who says, "I have all eternity, but you are wasting your life."
This is the God
who says, "I want something better for you."
This is the God
who says, "Jaime, throw your rock, and don't look back."

The water under the bridge is so smooth.
Why is it so smooth?
I'm used to it being wild and turbulent in the cold wind.
But today it is smooth;
Do I dare shatter the glass with my rough stone?
What if people see me?
What will they think?

I hear God--
I hear יהוה
"It is just you and Me.
What will you choose?"

I take the stone out of my bag.
It feels dirty in my hand.
Do I really want to keep holding it?
Even if I let it go, won't I be tempted to pick it back up?
"Yes, of course you will,"
יהוה whispers.
"But that doesn't mean you have to."
Then He chuckles.
(Can God chuckle? He doesn't play by the rules.)
Anyway,יהוה  chuckles.
"Besides, Jaime, that is why I am asking you to throw it in the river.
I know you are symbolic."

I clench my fist tightly over the stone.
I feel safer with my hand clenched over it.
But is it worth it?

I stand up.
"God, give me the strength to not try to pick it back up."
Immediately, reasons to not let go flood my mind.
My palms sweat;
my hands shake,
my stomach churns,
my heart drums.
I am spiraling in fear--
ready to turn back.

I yank my arm back.
"Jaime, you'll never be ready!"
My arm flys forward,
releasing my fist
and the stone within it.

I stood still,
watching the ripples
spread outward.
Then the water returned to glass.

I turned and left.
"No looking back, Jaime.
No looking back."

Friday, May 3, 2013

Don't Read This, It's Worthless Self-Absorption

"Most artists have pain in their lives: it's why we make art: to create beauty out of chaos, to find meaning and healing in the art." --Susan Isaacs, Angry Conversations with God

This line terrifies me. I immediately ask, "If I heal will I no longer have any art?"

Art has been the one constant thing that I have enjoyed throughout my life. Art in any form and fashion. Observing art and creating art. But it is the creating that I am fearful of losing. I don't actually think of myself as creative. It has sort of been a gift out of my pain. If I let go of the pain, will I lose my art. Will I lose this gift...until more pain comes?

This thought makes me squirm. Why am I even considering holding onto the pain and the wounding for the sake of art?

Reading this book has been a necessary and liberating, but also a terrifying experience. Susan Isaacs's life almost mirrors mine. The stages she goes through. The thoughts and feelings she has.

At first I was overjoyed to read this book because I felt like someone understood me. Someone was feeling the way I was. I was no longer condemned or told to stop doing what I am doing. I felt validated.

But now it makes me uncomfortable. Because I have to read to the end. Because I can't stay in my emotions forever. Granted Susan is not me, and our paths do not have to be identical. But, still. Here is a woman who was where I was and am....and this book is (hopefully) going to tell her story of getting out of it. Will I choose to do the same?

I feel so disconnected from my life right now. I feel like an outsider. Perhaps that is why Susan's story is affecting me so much.....because I am observing my own life as much as I am observing her. Seriously, I have only a few assignments left for school, and my brain is only holding on by a thread. I am going through the motions in order to finish. I have no clue how I handed in a seventeen page exegetical project..... Did it even impact me? I read out of the Bible right? And then I look at the people around me, and I wonder how they are connected to me. Am I really connected to them? Are they really my friends? Am I really considering spending the rest of my life with this person?

I am terrified. I am worried that I am losing my hold on my life. Am I losing my grip on reality? (That is what I really want to ask myself, but am afraid to.) And what about others around me? What will happen if I lose it? What will they do? I've already "lost it" once.....that didn't go over too well. Landed me in a psychiatric hospital. Don't want to do that again. Perhaps I am just being dramatic. Perhaps once again I am focusing more on my feelings than on Christ. But Christ.....God/Holy Spirit....they all feel so distant.

Susan comments on all of the extremes in her relationship with God. Most recently she recounted the focus on healing, and then also the extreme experience that caused her to walk out on God. I am going to quote Susan's analysis of it here.... becuase it is worth quoting...

"Rudy put down his note pad and rubbed his eyes.

Rudy: You know I was a pastor? I was in that denomination. I was as that conference.
Susan: With the gold fillings and animal noises?
Rudy: (Nodding) So many well-meaning people got caught up in it. I screamed as loud as you did, Susan. All I lost was my job. A lot of those people lost their faith.
Susan: How do these wackos end up speaking in God's name? Why does God allow it?
Rudy: The real question is, why do we allow it? I think we allow it becuase we're so hungry for God, we're willing to do anything to experience him. It's not just fringe Christians. Islam has the whirling dervishes; Hindus chant mantras trying to reach nirvana.
Susan: At least Hindus get the groovy yoga pants. We've got the permed mullets.
Rudy: Hunger for God is part of the human condition.
Susan: Is insanity part of the religious condition?
Rudy: Tell me why you chose those wacky churches.
Susan: I went to the Pentecostal church because I didn't want to vomit myself into a coffin. I went to the Rock 'n' Roll church because I had a hole in my donut. Call me an opportunist, but when you're terrified and depressed with your head in a toilet, healing is a big draw.
Rudy: Fair enough.
Susan: Look, what happened to me is nothing compared to a real rape or murder or the Holocaust.
Rudy: Is that what you think God would say to you? 'It's not the Holocaust'?
Susan: Maybe, I was so traumatized, I blocked him out. I don't know if I want to hear what he'd say now either.
Rudy: But you need to. Why don't you wait a moment and listen?

I sat for a while, but I could hear no words. No answer. No nothing. I picked up Rudy's Bible and skimmed through the Eighteenth Psalm.

Susan: 'In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. . . . My cry came before him, into his ears. The earth trembled and quaked . . . because he was angry. Smoke rose from his nostrils.' You see, Rudy, I told you he had a nose. 'He reached down from on high and took hold of me. . . . He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.'

I closed the Bible.

Susan: Only he didn't rescue me, Rudy. So I rescued myself.

We sat a while longer in the silence. Finally I thought I heard something. It was the sound of God weeping."

That is where I stopped reading last night. Last night was the most extreme disconnect I have felt from my life in a while. I had hoped reading would help reorient me. Instead I was led to this.

What am I doing? I am so confused. Am I wasting God's time? Am I wasting my time? Am I wasting my life? Why can't I move forward? Do I want to move forward? I want to be validated. I want to know that God cares for me and loves me--even if I am His servant . . . His slave. If I am a slave, am I even worthy of His love? No. But the Bible says He loves me, doesn't it? Am I looking for too much experience?

The nun that I listened to a few weeks ago, who spoke on psychology and spirituality, told us about the whirling dervishes. I was shocked. Here is a "Christian" woman who is seeking to experience God any possible way she can, even if she must run to the practices of other religions. And yet, here I am, doing the same thing, only my thing has a "Christian" label. What is wrong with me? Am I doing the right thing? Or am I doing the wrong thing? Is it even about right and wrong?

My Hebrew professor this morning spoke positively of getting a post-graduate education at a secular college since it offered a wider worldview. I was shocked (no--not really . . . the good little girl inside of me was shocked . . . the rebellious, angry girl inside of me shot her fist up in victory). (P.S. The Hebrew word for nose is the same as the Hebrew word for anger. So it is very possible that the phrase from Psalm 18 could have read, "The earth trembled and quaked . . . because he was angry. Smoke rose from his anger." My anger definitely blows smoke, even if my nose doesn't. My anger burns hot.)

I feel like I am losing my art. I have not written anything but this blog in months! Is it laziness? Or am I truly losing something?

I discussed with my psychology professor about whether healing prayer/ inner healing/ listening prayer/ theophostic prayer is something supernatural or just something psychological that our brains make up. Does it matter? Can God use us in our fearfully, wonderfully madeness in order to do something powerful? Does it always have to be so black and white, supernatural or natural. Is there an in-between? Can humans themselves be the in-between? We may not be God, but we are certainly made in His image.

What am I doing with my life? Where am I supposed to go? How am I to use my gifts? How am I to enjoy life (instead of being unhappy and confused) and serve God (instead of serving myself or other people)?

Do I dare even ask God to come down and meet me where I am? Susan did it. Job did it. I have done it in the past. Can I do it now? Or was I wrong to do it then? Am I letting myself be a baby--an infant in my faith--if I ask Him to do it again? What faith do I really have?

My professor is meeting with a young woman who has spent twelve years in China. "She choose Jesus over this man. I'm not sure whether it was because this man was the wrong man, or becuase Jesus was the right man. But I know it was traumatic." What does it mean to choose Jesus?

My grandfather seems to think I should go get my Ph.D. at a big secular university--without getting a Master's. Is this choosing Jesus? Or is this choosing myself again? Or my idol of academia? And what would that choice mean for the relationships in my life? (I know, what relationships, right?) And is a Ph.D. really worth anything these days anyway? It certainly doesn't give me any more direction in life.

People are hurting left and right. My family. My friends. Life is moving along. Finals to be taken. Internships to go to. People to see. Places to go.

And I have my head up my butt, trying to figure out who I am on the inside. Is there really anything to learn about myself from the inside of my anus? Not sure. But obviously I feel the need to see for myself.

God, I'm a mess.