Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The brokenness that begins the healing

You know, I used to think that I had it all together
I believed I was invincible
I could fix my own problems
I could heal my own hurts and bandage my wounds

You know, it fell apart on me
All the lies of individuality
I couldn’t hold up my mask
And keep on smiling like nothing was hurting

You know, it was a good thing I was broken
And it was good to cry
Because when I broke in pieces
You gently picked them up and made me new

You know, it wasn’t pain free
It hurt more than anything to be healed
I had to let go of my isolation
And come out from the fa├žade I had been

You know, the freedom I feel
Knowing you, being known by you
It’s a feeling of peace and security
Knowing I can be honest and you’ll love me anyways

You know, this mask is trash now
I don’t need to hide behind my face
You’ve changed who I once was
All I can do is lift my heart to praise

You know, this heart is loved
And I’m only beginning this journey
It’s a wonderful mystery
How brokenness is what begins the healing


Monday, January 9, 2012

Crying in a Bookstore

...or, why I write, simplified.

I almost ended up crying in a bookstore today. 
I walked through the teenage section, seeing book covers filled with pain and sorrow and longing.     Depression and pain and suffering and suicide and despair.

I read the first page of a book.   I can't remember the name.   Itwas a diary, the diary of a teenager who eventually committed suicide.    On the first page he talked about how meaningless his life was.     He cried out against the fact that he had nothing to live for.    And I wonder, did anyone ever answer him?

John Updike said about writing "I want to write books that unlock the traffic jam in everybody's head."

Nathaniel Hawthorne:   "Words- so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them."

If I am going to be a writer, if I am going to combine words and phrases and characters and settings, if I am going to use my words as power...then I want to be someone who answers those who are in despair.

Sometimes I just want to shout Truth in their ears.   But I know that so many wouldn't hear it if I yelled.   They've heard too many people yell at them before.    So they stop their ears. 

And I whisper.  
I write a story.   I paint a portrait of love and life and pain and triumph.   I pour my heart out into characters and setting and plot.   I carve a bucket meant to hold a priceless treasure.

When you see the story, it's like you're taking the bucket.    At first, it may be the 'bucket' that draws you-  the outer shell of the story, the plot, the setting.     Something draws you in.      The story interests you, captivates you.     The bucket is beautiful in it's own right.

But what you really want is the water inside.    You want the Truth that I'm whispering in your ear through story.   Because what makes the bucket beautiful is what it is carrying.

Truth.   Life.   Love.   Hope.   JESUS.

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011: Of Grace, Love, and Relationships

When I think about this past year, one of the biggest thigns that stands out to me is the way God has worked in my heart concerning relationships.     As an introverted, lone-rider type of hermit, I hadn't really learned to rely, trust, and open up to people.    God taught me a lot this year about need, about relationships, about love and support and what it means to live together as God's family.     

I'm learning not to be such a hermit.     That's a tendency I've been consciously aware of for several years, but more recently God particularly laid it on my heart and prodded me in that direction.

God puts people in relationships for a purpose.     Even relationships that are difficult.    Even with people who are hard to love and hard to relate to.     Even when there is sin in my life and the lives of others.   God is teaching me.     He's stripping away the innate selfishness of my heart.      If I never love...I may never hurt.   I may never be uncomfortable, never have to apologize, never have to cry or show others my hurt and sinful heart.

But if I seal my heart up, it will die.     If I remain a hermit, what happens then?  C.S. Lewis said about this that if you never want to hurt, never love.    But then, your heart will die, shrivel up upon itself, and ultimately, know neither Sorrow nor Joy.

I need people.     My heart is sinful.    My circumstances aren't ideal.    And I need people by my side.   I need to be honest.    I need to allow myself to be broken because brokenness always precedes any healing.    It's in the stripping off of something dirty that you allow yourself to be cleansed.     It's in jumping into the dirt and mess that you find diamonds.

I've been blown away by the people that Jesus has placed in my life this past year, both new friends and old relationships that He's strengthened and given grace to.    Specifically, in July of this year, a group of young people started getting together to talk about God, pray for each other, and really support and build into each-other's lives.  It's become dubbed "Thursday Night Awesomeness," and the encouragement I have received simply from the regular time being with people who love Jesus has been immense.     I'm learning to love others.   I'm learning to encourage and challenge others.    And I'm being loved and encouraged and challenged by others.    I'm being challenged to break out of my selfishness and LOVE not just in words but in Truth.   I can't underestimate the influence of this in my life in the last 6 months.

I'm learning that love means sacrifice and that people, not agendas or strategies is what God is really concerned about.   Jesus came into the world to create a new kind of people, a people known for their love for each other.     I've just begun to taste a little part of that in my own life, and I still, daily, hourly, have to battle the selfishness in my heart and fight to love and let myself be loved.       
But, though the road is rough and I've fallen flat on my face more times than I can count, I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.     And I'm still walking this road gladly and with hope.
What else can I say?    In 2011, God was good.     He's taught me incredible things.     He's broken me.    He's healed me. 

He's changed me.   

How has God changed you in the past year?