I tell him he can read it later when he’s older.
I tell him this is a book with some hard, grown-up stories.
Stories that are kind of sad.
That are not for little children.
I tell my seven year old son TJ that I’m writing these stories because I want others to know how I’m finding Jesus through tough times. And how Jesus is finding me.
I tell him I’m writing to encourage.
To let them know that Jesus is with them too.
That it’s okay to be sad.
When times are tough.
That God will always be with them.
No matter what.
“I want to read it,” TJ replies, as he munches on a chocolate chip granola bar after school from the backseat.
“You will, sweetie… You will…” I assure him.
Behind A Flickering Screen
You know, friend, you have a lot to do with this book.
You know, friend, God put you here — behind a flickering screen — miles, miles away to come keep me company.
Because you are so, so close to my heart.
While I’ve been crying.
While I’ve been panicking.
While I’ve been struggling to breathe. To write.
You’ve been here.
Even when I told you I decided at the start of a new year, I wasn’t going to write any more.
That it’s not worth it. All this panic-riddled anxiety. I was going to shut down the blog. And walk away from it all.
Until God brought to my mind, the apostle Paul. In prison.
Just a few letters. That’s all he could scrawl through.
Maybe that’s all I have left.
A few digital letters to tap to you. In the form of blog posts.
Lost in a sea of billowing blogs across the digital sphere.
Whenever I could make it front of the keyboard.
Whenever my heart dared to whisper.
You’ve been here. Keeping company. To journey with me.
With your stories.
Some spoken as comments. Emails. Tweets at times or a few words left on Facebook. Or linked-up in the Faith Jam.
Some shared in silence. As you’ve read along with me.
And I know… Yes, I know… your unspoken prayers.
Each time you’ve come to my mind, I remember you in prayer too.
I couldn’t even reply to you, most of the time. Even though I wish I could. I wish I could sit here and type, and type, and type my heart out to you.
Still, God apparently chose us.
To journey alongside one another.
God spoke to me, through the words He once spoke to Paul the apostle — when He changed Paul’s plans and pointed him to Macedonia –
“Don’t be afraid.
Keep on speaking, do not be silent.
For I am with you… and no one is going to harm you,
because I have many people in this city.” Acts 18:9-10
You have been God’s people for me in this city — my journey through post-traumatic-stress –
A city of finding my voice.
Amongst the ruins.
Of broken revelations.
Of who God wants me to be.
To recover my full voice.
As it creaks its way out to you.
The Only Way
Since my last post the week of Easter, I’ve discovered God is changing my plans again.
I had to face the deadline of my manuscript for my book.
It’s been the third time — the third time — the publishers have so kindly extended the deadline for me.
But, the little girl in me has emerged, and I can’t put her away.
So, I made the awful decision in the past few weeks.
To kill my old book.
Because every time I’ve tried to resume the book the way I started it, I’ve gotten choked up with panic attacks.
I. can’t. write. that. old. book.
That book the old me dreamed up. I can’t go back the way I came.
I told my publisher, the only chance I have to write this book now — is to write it the way I’ve been able to write on my blog. To you.
The only way I can write is if I write it broken. With the little girl in me
A New Book
I told them that I wrote some new sample chapters — when I asked the little girl what she wanted to say.
This is what I have now (I sent her sample chapters).
This is not the old book.
This is a new book.
Written in my new voice.
My broken self.
I’m sorry I can’t do it. The old book.
It’s okay if you don’t want it.
But, this is the only way I can write this book — if you still want it.
I want to write it.
And I think God wants me to too.
What’s At Stake
My heart stopped.
Because my editor said.
Yes. I like it.
Do it. Write it.
I’m sharing this important juncture in my journey.
To let you know. The journey of faith may not get easier.
But, it gets deeper. And the deeper it goes, the more of what’s at stake emerges.
You — Jesus in you.
So, I whispered back to Jesus in my hiding place.
To walk this little girl in me out into the world.
To join my sisters — and friends — as they walk out into the world — in their journeys of faith too.
Then, Jesus gives me a new prayer –
Don’t be afraid.
Run into the path of my words, for I will set your heart free.
Pray for Me
This morning, I open my screen of blank space.
I want to ask you to pray for me.
For my heart to grow in freedom. I know it can’t be total freedom. Because for me, it’s not coming this way — instantaneously.
Pray that I will have courage, during those brief moments my heart slips open.
For even greater courage during those other moments when my heart shuts closed with anxiety and fear.
As I take my steps to follow His voice, to write my new book.
And as you take your steps to write your story. As you live it in your life. I am praying with you too.
Together we can walk out into the world with Jesus.
I am going to try to make my deadline.
It’s due very, very, very soon.
I want you to know I’m not going away. I will be back. But, it may be quiet here on the blog a bit.
I’m going to be heads down again, trying to type as much as my heart allows me to. Up until the deadline.
To see, if I can do it. If it is time.
Grateful For You
Jesus is taking me on far beyond a book — to journey where I don’t know the outcome.
I know this is a journey of faith I must make — even if in the end, there is no book.
Because my heart — is what Jesus is loving Himself into — every time I dare to write to you through this book.
Because I love hearing your stories.
I fly to another place when I tremble with amazement and my heart warms with joy to hear how Jesus is journeying with you too.
It’s a shot of faith. Everytime I hear your voice. As it echoes His story in you. It’s soul comforting isn’t it? When we know we are not alone.
Jesus in you.
You in Jesus.
Together with you.
Through our words.
This is the place I try to find.
When I search my heart for new words.
Thank you for being the sisters and friends, who offer me safety to speak in that voice, that Jesus longs for me to call my own.
Without your words of grace, being present with me here this year — I would have never known the broken voice within me was anything worth sharing. It’s true. You’ve changed my story.
You haven’t just done this for me. Your voice touches others who stop by here on this blog — because reading your thoughts and journey in the comments and Faith Jam link-up, they find their voices too.
I’m grateful for the amazing community gathered here on this blog, that’s turned into a soul rest for me.
I’m grateful that you are here.
In the meantime, take care of that little girl in you.
And I will try — and learn — slowly — how to take care of that little girl in me too.
“My soul is weary with sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word.
I hold fast to your statutes, O LORD; do not let me be put to shame.
I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.”
~ Psalm 119:28-32
Have you ever had to say goodbye to something old, even though you didn’t know if, how, and when the new would come?
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I’m trying to type words onto the screen.
But, there is only blank space staring back at me.
If you’ve ever experienced anxiety — the kind that wraps around your heart with the cloak of stress — you’d understand how it can tether you back.
It keeps you silent. read more…
“You see, there are two very different types of hope in this world. One is hoping for something, and the other is hoping in Someone.” ~ Pete Wilson
How can we celebrate Easter when we are overwhelmed with everyday questions?
I didn’t see it coming. I went to bed like I always had, ate dinner with my chopsticks and brushed my teeth just fine.
The next morning, I got dressed and drove into work as usual. Logged into my account and started checking my emails. I started typing.
Needles of pain shot through my wrists. read more…
“Before the river runs away, I find the shelter in Your Name. Jesus.” ~ Fernando Ortega in “Sleepless Night”
I remember what if felt like to be a little girl.
Sitting at the table of my desk.
Writing hard into the pages of my journal.
Because there was no other place for me to be.
No other place to hear my thoughts and seek some sort of answer in the silence. My heart poured out in ink — like the first waters of spring trickling down through moss, rock, and dirt as you walk by and notice the trail is suddenly moist and soft.
I know now, that the door that closed me in the darkness of my bedroom wasn’t the only door that shut me into my aloneness. read more…
Sometimes it’s hard to know the difference between how you feel and where God wants you to go.
I’ve taught myself time and time again never to trust my feelings, but to trust in what my mind tells me is right instead.
This way of thinking has led me to get through enough bad times and to accomplish a lot in life. I’ve come to trust it.
But I’m beginning to wonder if it’s kept me from good times.
Not to say I haven’t had good times. I’ve experienced amazing seasons of beautiful, moving times of happiness and contentment.
But, I’m talking about goodness from a place, deep in my heart, where I struggle with self-doubt. read more…
Not every night.
Maybe one day out of the week.
That strung into three.
It started happening randomly.
There was no formula. I’d been doing the same things, feeling the same way, battling the same anxieties.
But, for some reason, the nights I’ve been able to fall asleep — and stay asleep — started emerging every few days or so.
I still have to take a light sleep medication. Ambien — it’s the price of admission, to even have a chance read more…
Oh, love that will not let me go | I rest me weary soul in Thee |I give You back this life I owe | And in Your ocean depths its flow | May richer fuller be | George Matheson
I stared into the wall at nights in my bed as a little girl.
It was actually the moonlight slipping into the room, through the edge of the window curtains.
But, I looked at how white the light pierced into the paint.
Yet, it wasn’t so bright. Because my room was still swathed in read more…
Where do you go when you are lonely? Where do you go when you feel all alone, but you want to be with someone who understands?
I was walking along the ocean shore.
It was cold, but I wanted to feel. Something.
Even if the winter waves blew sideways into me from the Pacific coastline, seeping through the yarn wrapped around my neck, I didn’t mind.
It tickled me around my wrist, right where the cuffs of my gloves moved up and down away from my coat sleeves, each time my arms swung out, in rhythm with my sandprint pace.
I’ve been holding on, for so many days.
Weeks really — that turned into months, read more…
“Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.” G.K. Chesterton
Earlier this week, I decided to do something I hadn’t done in over a year, since my whole world turned upside down.
I didn’t want to spend the morning in bed again, so I decided to rummage through my drawers for a set of matching black fleece gloves, the turquoise scarf that was soft and not too fuzzy, and that old backback I last threw into the corner of the closet.
I went through my pencil cup and found my favorite pen that writes smoothly from a wide tip point and searched the house until I finally found my camera sitting in the dark on a shelf, where I forgot I last left it.
It was foggy when I first started driving read more…
I had come to a place where my new normal looked nothing like it did before.
I was someone who was walking through post-traumatic stress. But, what kind of life could I live now, while I’m in recovery?
I had been going to a mommy-and-me class with my three-year-old once a week since fall last year.
And I had started the class immersed in the silent chaos of anxiety attacks that could happen any time during the day.
I kept to myself and read more…