Two size 10 Sketchers pad the concrete as I try and tread away from stingy tears of disappointment & noose-like arms of depression. Wet leaves coated in moonlight drip tears onto my hair, the tops of my ears, the cool metal of my eyebrow ring.
Pain shoots through my broken heart. Why did I get the damn eyebrow ring? I couldn’t see it then but now I know: self-mutilation stuck through epidermis with a ball on either side. Memories that wouldn’t stay buried, brought to life by words that, sadly, met their intended target (my soul).
I come deep within myself, speaking to the Emmanuel whose breath is pressing against the egg shell that my walls have become;
these deep fortifications that Truth has dug a tunnel under. Now I’m shaken.
Dare I invite a voice so deep that it scare the hell out of me? But this is hell and I’m tired of it. It was Monday and I had a panic attack. I stared at the lights on the Christmas tree until I could breathe again. It became Monday again and I stood with wind whipping my face hung over a bridge wondering if it was high enough to kill me fast. 7 days of desperation in between.
The urge is real, and it surprises me. I might actually climb the rail and jump. Not for an adrenaline rush. For an end. So that I can stop hurting & being hurt. Because surely redemption roots can’t reach this far.
Desperation, when it is directed towards Jesus, is an expression of faith. ~Jack Moraine
The water churns, like memories of how I have failed, how I have hurt those I love most dearly. The men who have pinned their lust & self-loathing on me. The women who have hardened their hearts against me. These regrets that I will always live with (this eyebrow ring probably the least of them). The tension that arises in relationships when money is mentioned. The foreboding sense that it is always my fault. Broken sexuality that surfaces in inconvenient interactions.
Wait. Back up.
I get to live.
The force of my being won’t be spent hurling itself over the rail of this bridge. This is not how I want my story to end. This is not how I want the next chapter to begin. The chemicals in my body scream out against health & sanity. My fingers tense and curl as my soul threatens to cave in on itself. My fingertips brush the rail. I don’t step back because I want to choose. I want to make the choice to live. I won’t live by default another minute. I won’t drag my soul along behind.
I want to live on purpose.
I want to give 110% to my relationships.
I want to forgive & be forgiven.
I want to see reconciliation come after I fail again & again.
I want to believe in the Lord who lived to die to know me.
The difference is made there in one word. I am reconciled to God. We are friends again. He isn’t mad at me. He likes me. SO much that I don’t have to cover my head with a blanket or hide behind a plate while he reads my poems. I am the glorious & rich inheritance chosen by my Beloved, this God. His light cracks the egg shell around my soul & the flame has a beautiful whipping sound like a candle within a round glass vase. Fed by the oxygen of grace, lit by two sparks–gifts–of faith & peace.
Grace is God working. Grace is God working. He is (actively!) caring for the ones I care about. My relationships will not be defined by my failures. The work of reconciliation has been done. Jesus did it. Light is chasing me. He will go through every creative avenue to speak with me. My thickest walls can’t keep out the light of his love, the joy of new life.
Through a friend in Colorado leaving me a message with a hum of background noise, telling me that Jesus talked to him about a girl named “Lydia” & how (falsely) eternal the temporary darkness can seem, yet how everlasting his love for her is.
A friend of a friend, thousands of miles away, worships on her bathroom floor. There she asks God how she can learn more about being a light. And he whispers my name to her. My name? It’s on His lips.
He speaks to me–when I can’t hear him for the oppression of my negative thought patterns–through a children’s book written over 60 years ago;
“No,” said Aslan. “I am sad and lonely. Lay your hands on my mane so that I can feel you are there and let us walk like that.” ~C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Trust. I can trust him. He isn’t privileged. He isn’t insincere. I can let my guard down in His presence. He sees my humanity and weighs my soul carefully. He’s stood on the edge himself. So I bury my hand in His mane.
“It is he, not you, that will save….” ~C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Exhale. Trust them to him.
“There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane (for it had apparently grown again) stood Aslan himself.”~C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
The mane grows again. The mane always grows again.
Trust me to Him? Trust me to him. Remember? Remember his ways of mercy and grace. Remember that the dehumanizing voices aren’t his. Remember that the lies stirring turmoil within me are the opposite of his voice. Remember that he roars. That the Lion of Judah conquers those voices.
“10 Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has happened at last! God’s salvation and the power and the rule, and the authority of his Christ are finally here; for the Accuser of our brothers has been thrown down from heaven onto earth—he accused them day and night before our God. 11 They defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony; for they did not love their lives but laid them down for him.”~Revelation 12:10-11
The accuser–ever-present within me–will be cast down. The Good News is good news. For all. Oppressed & oppressor. Sisters & brothers. And for this confused twenty-two year old, whose whole life will be a healing journey (eye brow piercing and all), there is good news. Because of my friend named Jesus (also called Love) the pain is carving out space for more joy. This I choose to believe.
But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish.~Isaiah 9:1a
…and the sanctuary was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power…~Revelation 15:8b
Deep inhales of smoke from his glory expand the lungs of my soul. Water pools in upturned leaves like truth fills the cracks of my broken heart. Moonlight baptizes me in frothy whiteness. My Skechers tap out rhythms of endurance all the way back to my car.
Merry Christmas, friends. (the solemn, holy, bright-light-in-darkness kind)