Sunday, August 25, 2013

Useless Escape

I am required to do two internships in order to graduate from college. Amazingly, one of the internships I am doing this semester is to start a writer's small group. In the gap between consummation and hatching, I am attempting to put into practice on my own what would be done during the small group. This implies reading and meditating upon specific scripture, allowing God to speak to me through it, and then enter the writing process as I encounter God. This is a wonderful thing to be doing; however, it is also extremely demanding. Mainly, because it requires all parts of my being: physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual. When one of these components is off, this glorious process can become quite laborious. This is exactly what I experienced yesterday.

First, you have to realize that I was a week behind. I had just finished talking with God about being loved--a conversation through which He completely swept me off my feet. And yet, my goal was to repeat the whole process (this time discussing importance) with only two days before my self-imposed deadline. This is not a wise thing to do. I highly doubt God is a fan of deadlines. God is not even bound by time. How can I expect Him to abide by my deadline? Yeah--I didn't really think that part though well.

But I tried anyway.

The passages given were Psalm 139 and Luke 15. Now, I am well acquainted with  Psalm 139; but not in the this-psalm-breathes-life-into-my-soul-every-time-I-read-it-which-is-very-often way. Rather, I am acquainted with it in the I-know-what-is-in-this-psalm-because-people-always-direct-me-to-it-when-I-am-a-mess-but-I-can't-relate-to-or-believe-any-of-it way. So, needless to say, after reading through the psalm once, I moved immediately on to Luke 15.

The majority of Luke 15 is dedicated to the parable of the prodigal son. It is a parable I am very familiar with, especially when "You Are the Older Son" hit the top sermon charts a few years ago. Furthermore, the theme of the younger versus the older son had recently resurfaced in my life. So I decided to jump into Luke 15.

However, the process was not as easy as I was hoping it would be. I felt like I was forcing the process--which I was. I will include what little progress I made:

“What did he say again?” God asked, He was stroking His beard.
Stereotypical, I thought, biting my finger nail. I glanced at Him over my hand. “He said, ‘Perhaps you are the older brother.’”
“Ahhh,” God replied, nodding His head with understanding. “And what do you think he meant by that?”
I turned my head away and rolled my eyes. “Probably that I have had access to You all this time, and yet I never ask You for anything.”
“Why not?”
“Geez!” I exploded. “You sound just like him! And her!”
“Well, what do you expect?” God shot back.
“Maybe to actually have a decent conversation with You. To not be treated like a child who knows nothing!”
The contrasting decibel of God’s response magnified my preceding outburst: “Well, you’re not exactly acting as an adult.”
I took my finger out of my mouth and gaped at Him. “What do You mean?” I asked. The genuine nervousness in my voice startled me. I don’t think I want to know His answer.
“Jaime, you are sitting there complaining and whining; thinking about Me stroking My beard; accusing Me of being your counselor—which, by the way, is one of the sacred roles of My Spirit. And this is not even to mention that you had your finger in your mouth.”
“I was biting my nails,” I mumbled.
God didn’t hesitate: “Why are you avoiding what you really want to talk about? Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. You desire and do not have, so you murder—”
               “I haven’t killed anyone recently,” I murmured under my breath.
“Jaime!” God snapped.
I opened my mouth to say some pithy remark, but any thoughts dissolved when I saw God’s face. I let Him continue: “You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”
My passions?! I challenged in my head.
              “Don’t bother, Jaime. I can hear your thoughts anyway.”
               I gave God my best glare. He didn’t appreciate it. “Jaime, you are not even listening to Me!”
               “Yes, I am. That is exactly why I think I am the older brother. I have access to everything that you have, and yet I don’t even ask. I don’t ask because I don’t trust You!”
              I lifted my head to look at God. He was resting His chin on a closed fist, watching me. “Yes, we are back to that aren’t we?”
             I nodded solemnly. “Yes. But I don’t understand why. Because I’ve done the prodigal son path, too. That was what my whole struggle with anorexia was.”
            “I am not so sure of that,” God cut in.
            “What do you mean?”
            “The prodigal son asked for his inheritance and then left Me. But you were never near enough to Me to even ask for your inheritance. Therefore, you simply could not have been the younger son.”
            I let my jaw give way to gravity. "I've never thought about it that way."

As you can see, God still got though to me, but I fought against Him and my responsiveness was mud. I was quite agitated while writing this. So much so, that after I reached this point I stopped working on everything. My mind and my emotions were shot. I tried talking with a confidante. I tried walking. I tried sleeping. I tried chatting with friends. I tried eating. When I finally tried praying--God broke through.

God: Jaime, you're not letting Me in.
Me: Why would I when I am in this state?

I don't know whether it was me or God; but one of us finally identified the state I was in. I feel alone. The realization caught me off guard. I had been fine all summer, and nothing had changed from the week before (which was still technically "summer"). So I didn't understand where this was coming from. And yet this feeling of loneliness was undeniably true--its intensity pulsed through me. Being back at school had to have some role to play in this. I just wasn't sure what it was yet. I didn't have the answer, so I simply packed my bags and went home--shoving the feeling away.

Fast-forward to this morning. This was today's entry in Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence
"I am all around you, hovering over you even as you seek My Face. I am nearer than you dare believe, closer than the air you breathe. If My children could only recognize My Presence, they would never feel lonely again. I know every thought before you think it, every word before you speak it. My Presence impinges on your innermost being. Can you see the absurdity of trying to hide anything from Me? You can easily deceive other people, and even yourself; but I read you like an open, large-print book. 
Deep within themselves, most people have some awareness of My imminent Presence. Many people run from Me and vehemently deny My existence, because My closeness terrifies them. But My own children have nothing to fear, for I have cleansed them by My blood and clothed them in My righteousness. Be blessed by My intimate nearness. Since I live in you, let Me also live through you, shining My Light into the darkness."

All I could think: Psalm 139. And of course, the suggested reading was that same psalm. 

God is telling me something here. He is telling me something about my loneliness. And He is telling me not to avoid Psalm 139--there is something in there He wants to show me. 

Psalm 139

"O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue, 
behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, 'Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,'
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.

Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
O men of blood, depart from me!
They speak against you with malicious intent;
your enemies take your name in vain!
Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
I hate them with complete hatred;
I count them my enemies.

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!"

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Song

            I leaped up from the couch and darted across the room. But a hand clasped my arm, halting me.
“Jaime, no! Wait!”
My body spun around, naturally torqued by my pinned arm. I met His eyes and—gasped. This was not the God I had just been speaking to. No—this man was much younger. His skin smooth. His body tight and agile. His eyes no longer guarded by lenses; yet still just as penetrating.
Cut it out, Jaime, I scolded myself. This is only a manifestation for your visually-bound benefit. Get past the physical appearances.
But the effects of the transformation were not lost on me. I could not help but refer to the man before me as “Jesus” instead of, simply, “God.” And—worse—He was undeniably handsome. I noticed my eyes resting upon Him—captivated—and I quickly diverted my gaze. His beauty was such that it made me ashamed and uncomfortable in my own skin.
Jesus’s grip loosened. His soft voice uttered my name again. “Please stay,” I heard Him plead. He took His hand from my arm and pushed back the hair I had been hiding behind. Goosebumps prickled my skin as He slowly smoothed the renegade strands behind my ear. Every sensory nerve focused its attention on this powerful presence before it—each undulation of His voice and graze of His touch.
“Jaime, will you listen to Me?” I looked away again.
“I can’t,” I replied, as I slowly began to turn from Him.
The firm hand returned to my arm. “Just trust Me,” He urged.
His words churned my stomach; my whole body wanted to close in on itself. I allowed my free arm to wrap protectively across my body, placing another barrier between myself and Jesus.
My response was barely a whisper: “I can’t.”
Jesus placed both hands upon my shoulders and turned me toward Himself. In its freedom, my other arm crossed over me, enclosing me into a cocoon—my head lowered, eyes nearly closed.
I felt Jesus’ eyes on me. I knew He wanted me to open up. But I can’t.

            I heard her inner words, and my heart nearly rent in two. I pulled her into My arms, adding My cocoon around her own. I felt her body shaking; it was nearly imperceptible. Perhaps she could not even feel it herself. But I felt it.
            The sensation of her pain sent shocks through Me. I felt blood and water trickle down My side. There was nothing more that I wanted to do than to simply hold her. So I did.

            I don’t know why I let Him hold me. There was a part of me that screamed out against this man. He was dangerous. If I let myself be this vulnerable with Him, he would have every opportunity to destroy my fragile strength. And yet, there was something else in me that couldn’t resist—perhaps did not want to resist—the peacefulness emanating from Him. His peacefulness was palpable, and it radiated from Him in warm cords, drawing me near.
So I let Him pull me in. And I let Him hold me. For as long as it took.

            After several minutes, her body released its tension. The shaking stopped and her heart slowed.
            I pulled her from My arms and held her steadily in front of Me. She allowed her gaze to meet my own.
            I was startled by the sharp intake of My own breath. Her eyes. It was always her eyes. The pale blue inviting Me in—asking for Me to get lost on their endless shores. If only I could make her understand . . .
            “Jaime, I need you to know.” I felt her body tighten, but the shivers were still held at bay. “Please,” I pushed ahead—aware of the difficulties before Me—“Stay with Me and listen.”
            She slowly nodded her assent.
            And so, I began.
            “Behold, you are beautiful, My love, behold, you are beautiful! Your eyes are doves behind your veil.” At the mention of her eyes, Jaime hid them from my sight. But her long, dark lashes only encouraged Me further. My gaze slid to her tumbling brown hair, caressing her face and shoulders.
            “Your hair is like a flock of goats.”

            Flock of goats?!
            I had been about to pull away—the compliments becoming too much to bear—but the flock of goats stopped me in my (as of yet, unmade) tracks.
            He’s a little old-fashioned, Jaime, I reminded myself, only barely stifling a much-needed laugh.

            I felt her laugh. Not physically, but spiritually. I smiled to Myself. The rouse had worked. I needed her to let Me in.
I continued: “Your hair is like a flock of goats leaping down the slopes of Gilead. Your teeth are like a flock of shorn ewes.”
Jaime snorted.
“That have come up from the washing.”
I watched her run her tongue across her teeth.
“All of which bear twins, and not one among them has lost its young. Your lips are like a scarlet thread.”
The smile disappeared from Jaime’s mouth. I knew I was pushing her, but I needed her to hear the truth. And not just hear it; but believe it.
“And your mouth is lovely.”

            The blood began to drain from my face and fingers. My stomach soured. He’s getting too close, a voice hissed in my mind. The words—though still distinguishable—became hazy and distanced.
            “Your cheeks are like halves of a pomegranate behind your veil. Your neck is like the tower of David, built in rows of stone; on it hang a thousand shields, all of them shields of warriors. Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle, that graze among the lilies.”
            Darkness began to swell through my consciousness. The whirlwind of black lashed out at my mind, and icicles stabbed at my heart.
Jesus’ words were being swallowed up: “Until the day breathes and the shadows flee.”
It’s not possible! the voice screamed. I am gross! My cheeks are puffy. My breasts are puny. My belly is a muffin top. My butt too big. And my thighs too jiggley.
“I will go away to the mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense.”
            My face gets spotted with pimples. Callouses cover my hands and feet. My hair is always tangled and in disarray.
            Suddenly, Jesus’ words were crisp and clear: “You are altogether beautiful, My love; there is no flaw in you.”
            My eyes flew open. “LIAR!” I screamed.

            Red anger flashed over the regal blue of Jaime’s eyes. Although I was expecting this moment to come, the explosion still caused My hands, feet, and side to burn. The pain lodged My succedent words in My gaping mouth. Silence descended as I allowed My breathing to sync with Jaime’s.

            I stared in horror at Jesus. He had stopped talking.
            What have I done?
            I felt the anger recede as my breathing synced with His, but it did nothing to still the fear that was spreading over me.
            “I’m so sorry.” The words rushed from my mouth. I tried to pull myself away from Jesus. Every time I pulled my hands free, He would entangle them with His own. “I’m sorry. I—I—I don’t know—”
            “Shhhhh,” Jesus tightened His grip, crossing my arms across each other to pin me against Himself. He lowered His head, positioning His mouth beside my ear. “Come with Me from Lebanon, my bride,” He whispered. My body yielded to the sound of His voice. I felt resistance slip from my power as He continued to speak.
            “Come with Me from Lebanon. Depart from the peak of Amana, from the peak of Senir and Hermon.” As He spoke, He loosed His grip on me. He was now holding my hand, leading me forward, beckoning me to follow Him. My eyes focused on Him alone. “From the dens of lions, from the mountains of leopards.”
            Suddenly, my eyes perceived what had materialized around us. We had somehow been transported to a lush garden. Voluptuous flowers surrounded us; a rainbow of exotic beauty that was foreign to me in both sight and smell. The garden was far from silent; it was filled with the trickle of water, the hum of bees, and the song of birds. An emerald green butterfly floated over my shoulder, and an iridescent blue dragonfly darted amongst the flowers nearby.
            I returned my gaze to Jesus. He was staring at me; a smile dancing on his lips.
            “You have captivated My heart, My sister, My bride; you have captivated My heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace.”

            I watched her blush as I mentioned her eyes a second time. She seemed to be glowing. I felt the vitality pulsing from her hand into My own. She is listening!
            I continued: “How beautiful is your love, My sister, My bride!”
            Jaime’s hand twitched. I knew her objection before she even spoke it.
            “But my love is so broken—”
I placed my finger to her lips. “Trust Me,” I reminded her. She must not only hear, but believe.

            I didn’t understand what Jesus was saying. I knew my love to be broken and prideful and—human. It is inadequate, I thought. It is not worthy of beauty.
            But Jesus continued: “How much better is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your oils than any spice! Your lips drip nectar, My bride; honey and milk are under your tongue; the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon.”
            I don’t understand, I thought, running my tongue over my lips. Jesus squeezed my hand, pulling my attention back to Himself.
            “A garden locked is My sister, My bride, a spring locked, a fountain sealed.” I allowed Jesus’s hand to direct my gaze around the garden, noticing the wall that surrounded it—enclosing its beauty within. My skin prickled. Is this garden actually—but my thoughts were cut off as Jesus continued speaking.
            “Your shoots are an orchard of pomegranates with all choicest fruits.”
            My focus shifted to spot a pomegranate hanging from a small tree behind Jesus’s right shoulder.
            “Henna with nard, nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense, myrrh and aloes, with all choice spices.”
            Once again, my senses whiffed the exotic scents around me. Then a twinkling beyond the pomegranate tree caught my eye, and, behold—the spring.
            “A garden fountain, a well of living water, and flowing streams from Lebanon.”
            Suddenly, Jesus removed His hands from my body. As He raised them above His head, I felt my spirit rush up with them. Jesus angled His face toward the sky. “Awake, O north wind, and come, O south wind! Blow upon My garden, let its spices flow.” The wind obeyed His command and rushed toward and around us. The branches swayed, causing the rainbows of color to blend in their beauty. The hums of the insects and the songs of the birds and the trickle of the stream rose in their symphony with the wind. My spirit rose higher and higher. It was filled with fear—trembling and awe—and realization. I knew whose garden this was. I knew who this garden was. And I knew to whom the ending words of this song belonged. Jesus lowered His head to look at me. My breath caught. His eyes penetrated deep into my soul. In His gaze I saw my spirit—wanting to harmonize with the wind, the stream, the bees, the birds—but momentarily frozen, awaiting its liberation.
            I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.
            What are you waiting for? This time the voice in my head belonged to Jesus.
            I opened my eyes. He was still staring intently at me.
            I stared intently back. “Let My beloved come to His garden, and eat its choicest fruits.”
            Jesus smiled, as my spirit danced toward the heavens.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Free to Fly

I suppose the following could be considered a poem. It was not written as such; it is a compilation of  fleeting thoughts. I have the poem enclosed between two songs by Sara Bareilles. The first song, "Gravity," has been  haunting me. As I discussed my situation with an older man, he told me that perhaps it is my vulnerability that makes me so prone to what I am going through. His suggestion was that I become more icy and distant. There are moments I can achieve this feeling, and the accompanying song is "King of Anything." However, the icy, distant Jaime is not truly me. I value my vulnerability because I see it for the beauty that it gives me. I am therefore left with the question: How do I maintain the balance between "Gravity" and "King of Anything;" between victim and rogue; between arms of love and wall of frost; between vulnerable beauty and rigid strength?

You squashed my openness.
You sucked the life out of me.

You may say you understand;
but you’re still not acting the man.

You have missed the path to my heart,
and you cannot force down its walls.
(The way to my heart is not through a deck of cards.)

You say you know me.
Thinking that possession
comes from knowing this or that.
Using each new fact
as another bar to cage me.

I let you close as a courtesy,
and you take that as an invitation to touch.
Your hands reaching out to suck
vitality from my veins.
I need a sign that says,
“Look; but DO NOT touch.”
But you would ignore it any way.
Pushing me back into my cage
while you guard the exit.

What sign am I holding
that invites you to me?
Does it say “Come to me
all ye who are weary
and in need of . . .?”

You still don’t get it.
I want to be free—
free to fly away.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Brown Mouse

The rustle of the newspaper pierced the silence. I glanced over at God, and watched Him turn yet another page.
  An invisible cord yanked at my heart; I winced. I was convinced that if my rib cage did not successfully keep its captive, my heart would have succumbed long ago and landed solidly in God’s lap. The frantic flutter of wings brushed against the restraining bars; the cord beckoning my eager heart to its desired resting place.
I clutched my hand to my chest in an attempt to ease the yearnings. But it was useless; I knew what my heart wanted.
I looked at God again. He seemed so peaceful; sitting on the couch, reading His paper. And yet here I was sitting not even two feet away on the same couch, my heart ready to burst out of my chest. Yes, my heart knew well what it wanted; it wanted love. But not just any love; it wanted a love that was unique and passionate. The kind of love that says, “My life would be emptier without you.” My heart—I—yearned for that kind of love.
Am I just yearning for too much? I thought to myself.
My heart gave another lurch. The pain blurred my vision. I willfully forced the haze to flee. But my success was short-lived. Instead of finding myself reoriented to the sitting room, I found myself surrounded by throngs of white mice. My skin prickled; I was familiar with this nightmare. I glanced down at my own fur-covered body. My horror was confirmed as I watched my once-brown fur fade to a dull white.
“But, Jaime, you are a brown mouse.”
In response to the disembodied voice I examined my fur again, discovering that it had been restored to its brown hue. For a moment I felt my heart ease in its fanatical flight. But then doubt crept in and icy anxiety sent it back into spasms.
“Oh yeah,” I cried in my squeaky voice. “But that one is grey, and that one is black.” As I labeled each mouse, pointing it out with my tiny claw, its hue shifted to match my accusations in a single poof. “And that one is white with brown spots, and that one over there is black with grey stripes!” Victoriously convinced that my point had been proved with this last extravagant example, I hurled my accusation: “You say I am unique, but EVERYONE is unique!”
“But imagine if I didn’t have my brown mouse,” the voice replied, calmly.
“You’ve got a whole rainbow of mice! You wouldn’t miss me!”
“My rainbow wouldn’t be complete without you,” the voice reasoned.
“Yeah, but . . .” Suddenly, I was back on the couch. The sight of God staring intently at me dried up my angry attack. My mouth slowly shut, and I diverted my eyes from the penetrating irises that had been searching them.
God continued in a level voice: “Jaime, you struggle to believe My love simply because you continue to reject it. I’m sitting here telling you that My existence would be emptier without you, and you simply shove it all back in My face.” God hesitated for only a second, and then He spat: “That stupid cardboard box is proof of it!”
I didn’t even have to drop my eyes in order to become very aware of the huge box in my arms.
God continued: “I have given you that beautiful gift. But you choose to hide it instead. As if its beauty is too bright for your eyes! As if it truly will fry you!”

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Flutter of Blue

I saw you hidden,
in the green lush.
The attack
had passed;
and yet you sat,
in shock,
eyes half-shut.
I reached down,
and gently
picked you up.
Not a peep
did you sound,
as I cradled
you close.
Your small
claw wrapped
around my finger.
Now, there I was,
you, comforting
you, not knowing
what to do next.
I gave you my warmth,
my comfort,
my love.
And yet, I knew
that would not be enough.
I heard your parents
out to you.
You seemed not to hear,
yet I could not ignore.
I lifted you up
above my head;
your eyes remained shut.
I held you out
to your family;
your claw remained clenched.
I introduced you to the wind;
your head popped up,
your eyes were wide open,
your senses focused
on the call
of your parents.
Then you were gone.
I watched you go;
for your future.
But knowing my time
was up.
in my ear:
“That moment
was for

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Ball and Chain

        “Jaime, what have you done?” God gasped as He entered the room.
I dropped the ball from my hands. It landed with a loud thud as I looked wide-eyed at God. “I don’t know!” I screeched back at Him. My eyes were drawn back to the menacing ball on the ground. Its shiny black surface reflected my horror; I traced the chain protruding from its side as it snaked its way to my chaffed ankle.
I felt God’s hands on my arms, rubbing sense and vitality back into me.
“Jaime,” He whispered.
I returned my gaze to His face, but it was washed out in my salty tears.
“Jaime,” He gently whispered again. “Are you alright?”
Shivers traversed my weakened body. My voice faltered as I spoke: “I don’t know why I did it. I don’t know what I was thinking. I don’t know . . .” The teary waves broke upon their sandy shores.
“Shhh.” God’s soothing arms engulfed me as I fell into His body. Warm peace radiated through my war-torn body, pushing consciousness away as it advanced.

The warmth tickled my toes and fingertips. I wiggled them, gaily; the warmth travelled up my limbs and to my inner organs. The beating of my heart filled my eardrums. I parted my lips and took a deep breath.
A large hand brushed my face. I slowly fluttered my eyes; God’s smile eclipsed my vision.
“Welcome back, sleeping beauty,” He said, endearingly.
I was still in His arms. Lazily, I flexed every stretchable part of my body. The pain in my stomach was gone. The dizziness in my head was gone. The ache in my arms was gone. The chaffing on my leg was—
I lurched forward to stare at my right leg. The skin appeared clear; no blackish bruises or bloodied rashes; only a vibrant, fleshy pink. All evidences of the chain were gone.
  “What did You do?” The words gushed forth of their own accord.
God pointed silently in front of Himself. My eyes followed His fingertip; off to my left. There, lying a few yards away from us, on the ground, was the ball and chain.
“I removed it,” God said, simply.
My face flushed. “Thank you,” I said, softly.
God brushed away the hair that I had let fall between the two of us. “What were you thinking, Jaime?”
“I couldn’t handle it.” My voice had dropped to a thin whisper.
“You couldn’t handle what? The freedom?”
I slowly nodded. “It seemed too good to be true.”
“Oh, my dear one, what do you mean?” God’s voice was saturated with barely suppressed pain.
“I didn’t think I could have all this. Surely, it is too much. Surely, You don’t want me to be this blessed. You really can’t have given me a new name.” Tears began to well in my eyes again.
“Oh, but I have given you a new name. I whispered it to you again earlier today. Why did you not listen?”
“I heard you. I just don’t understand. The name can’t fit.”
“Why not?”
“Because it is too good.”
“You think you are unworthy of it?”
“But it is yours.”
“How can I possibly claim it as my own? There are others so much more worthy of it than I am.”
“But, my dear, you don’t have to claim it. I have already given it to you. It is already yours. It has always been yours.”
“I cannot do it. I cannot be the woman that bears that name. It is too hard for me.”
“Jaime, look at me.” I turned my eyes to meet His own. “You are already that woman. You have always been that woman. You were that woman before it knit you in your mother’s womb. And I then knit that name onto your heart.” God picked me up and set me down in front of Him, His hands heavy on my shoulders. “Stop rejecting your identity, Jaime. You are Mine—Mine alone to name; and I will let no other name be branded onto your skin. Stop this pattern of looking into the mirror and then forgetting who you are the moment you walk away. I have set you free from your chains; do not put them back on again—do not hold your arm out to the brander of this world. I have called you to be more than this. Mine are not to live a life hidden in obscurity. Stop trying to be an ‘invisible star’ and begin living boldly—for Me.”

"I am your Healer, your Joy, your Lord. You bid Me, your Lord, come. Did you not know that I am here? With noiseless footfall I draw near to you.
Your hour of need is the moment of My Coming.
Could you know My Love, could you measure My Longing to help, you would know that I need no agonized pleading.
Your need is My Calling."
--God Calling

The Void

“‘What I want most and what intimidates me the most are the same thing.’ Hmmm. I like that one,” God mused, quoting my words back to me.
            I looked up at him from my position on the floor, crossed my arms over my chest, and said nothing.
            We were back in the room: bare, white-washed walls; single chair in the middle of the room; God perched on top of it; one leg crossed over the other; His guise perfected with those eternal glasses, slid down to the tip of His nose as He peered at me from over the top of them. I had chosen to sit as far away from Him as possible: my back pushed up against the door. And yet, I could not bring myself to leave the room. So I stood—or more precisely, sat—my ground at the door and allowed the face-off to continue.
            God broke the silence: “Jaime, why are you avoiding Me?”
            “I’m not avoiding You,” I muttered. “I’m here, aren’t I?”
            “You are sitting as far away from Me as you can get.”
            “I haven’t left yet, have I?”
            “You are sitting as far away from Me as you can get.”
            “Yes, but I haven’t—” I cut myself short, pondering His words. God didn’t repeat Himself aimlessly. You are sitting as far away from Me as you can get. I narrowed my gaze at the Manifestation across from me. “Are You implying . . ?” The words became sticky in my throat.
            “Am I implying what, Jaime?” God’s right eye seemed to twinkle; my stomach contemplated turning sour.
            “. . . that I couldn’t leave this room even if I tried?” My words sounded thin and distant. In a haze, I looked down at my hands and slowly flexed them. My left hand inched up toward its corresponding ear and to the knob I knew was beyond it.
            But God’s response was crisp and clear, and it dropped me back into pristine reality: “Precisely.” My eyes flashed toward Him; both hands clenched in front of me.
            God nearly snorted. “What did you say?” He asked, incredulously.
            I paused and shook off my error. “I’m sorry. I just . . . I just don’t understand.”
            God’s eyes locked onto my own; their sternness sent a shiver down my spine. “Where do you think you are, Jaime?”
            “In a room,” I replied.
            “In what room?”
            “The Room in my house.”
            “You own a house?”
            “And you have a ‘Room’ in your house?”
            “Do you remember what the outside of your house looks like? Do you know how to get to your house from the store? In fact, do you know of any other rooms in your house?”
            The questions were firing too fast. “I don’t know—”
            “No. You know very well, Jaime,” God continued in His rapid attack. “You know the truth: there is no Room.” He paused for a split second. “Do you think that is a real tear running down your cheek?”
            Startled, I reached up a finger and brushed the salty wetness from my face. I stared at the glistening moisture on my finger. Then I allowed my focus to shift beyond it and saw God staring intently at me.
            “This is Void, Jaime. This is where you empty yourself to allow for the Uncontrollable. And that is Me. That door is no physical door. If it were, of course you would be able to open it and flee from Me. But because it is beyond the realm of matter, natural laws don’t work here. You cannot leave this room, because you don’t want to.”
           My eyes widened. “What?”
         “You said it yourself, Jaime: What intimidates you most is what you want most. That is Me, Jaime. It is true that I embody your deepest fears, but I am also the object of your wildest desires. That door is not going to open.”