I Can Laugh Again

There is a moment of my life that I will never stop writing about.

It is you, Jamal. You fiery young one, left alone in so many ways.

I find myself burning with the desire to write about those moments which cannot be written or comprehended: they cannot be anything more than marveled at, danced with.

Yet here I am, writing just like people write about one another, about pets and history and anatomy. We do not know. We are alive. We explore, either because we want to know, or because we are alive, or both. Only the people know why.

There is me, there was me, there was that moment. Then there is the power that moment has to touch today–two years later–and to shape the moments I have survived between those two: today, that day.

It was Love, that moment. I thought I knew something of God (or gods) then; now I know I do not. I attributed it to God then, that love, but today I know less of that day than I did then though I have gained much from it.

When I saw the vein in his neck protruding and his head hung and his arms slung around like he was trying to convince us to be against him though, really, he was begging someone to be for him when he could not be for himself.

As something or someone in me rose up to be that one, graciously, unconditionally, for him in a crowd of embarrassed scoffers, I experienced the inexplicable Love. I pushed in as he pushed against himself because I know what it is to be trapped and alone and have no idea which way would be a better way because this is all I know.

That love changed everything because I felt such a wave of grace, such bizarre empowerment, that from then on (skipping like a school girl with a jump rope from that day to this day to all the rest of my days) I knew that if Love is true you will not need it anymore when it goes.

True Love gives you something so that when it leaves, you will not ultimately doubt its goodness but will trust its infilling power and know that when it is just you with yourself again, you will have a bit more of you to face you with.

There will be moments that skip across your life like smooth stones on a river, they will touch you, change you, and you will find yourself in that unpredictable phenomenon.

Someone or something will move toward you and you will move toward someone else. That is called dancing, and it is born from and carried out by Love.

You are loved

and

you will come to Love you.

The Cry of the (White) Kids

Yesterday there was a 4th of July party at my parents house. I walked in the door, hugged my mom, and willingly exiled myself to the kids room. The kids table, outside with the kids after dinner, the whole deal.

I am 23 and I have been working with kids for 7 years.

When I was in Chile, who did I miss? Right: kids.

I do not have my own kids and I do not want my own kids.

However, it is clear that I like kids. I want to be around them. I do not like them because they are small and say random things and I can boss them around and sound smart while telling them historic or scientific facts that everyone who has any sort of middle school education knows. No, actually, I like them because I respect them. I feel that by being the only ones here brave enough to be vulnerable and ignorant and small, they earn my respect. When I am in a room with adults my interior screams: WHY DONT WE ALL STOP FAKING IT. When I am with kids, well, it gets quieter.

The most shocking cultural behavior that has impacted me this year during my re-entry has undeniably been the way people in the U.S.A. treat their children. White kids, in particular, get my attention because I have only ever been one, and I know exactly how it feels to be a sensitive creature at the other end of that repremand, that painted smile, that flippant laugh.

Interactions in restaurants, at the gym, in the neighborhood–anywhere!–have exposed me anew to the egoistical disrespect with which children are treated. We have got to stop! If we do not acknowledge our children as humans, and being a human as intrinsically good, how will we love this world back to life?

The lie of badness is daily hammered into children, in all spheres of our culture. Home. School. Play. Good Lord, no wonder we are killing each other! I almost do not blame us. Except for all of the goodness I have seen, and have learned to see. There is so much goodness & we are truly all intrinsically good, accepted, loved, and valued. This darkness cannot last long. Our souls were made to be free, if not as children, then as adults.

I wrote the following piece after witnessing a particularly harrowing parenting episode in a restaurant. Parenting truly must be difficult, but I know it is not impossible to hear the cry of our children. I know it is possible for each adult in the U.S.A. to welcome their the truth of their goodness home into their deepest selves that they may pass it on. That the cry for love may be heard, and may heal the generations to come.

The Cry of the White Kid is a cry for respect & love. May we, as adults, receive the love and respect that is freely poured out on us from the Divine, and may our children absorb it and thrive.

The Cry of the White Kid

Mom, Dad,

Please dont look me in the face and tell me that I am bad.

Please dont teach me to see the patterns of my shadows–I need you to teach me to see the light that will lead me into and through that darkness.

Please dont smile at your friends and tell them how bad I am while I have tears streaming down my face.

Please dont laugh at the way I swim or only point out my weaknesses.

Please assume that I am right where I should be, instead of stressing constantly that I am behind the others.

Please dont use me to puff up your ego or make your decisions or shield you from your emotions.

Please dont always point out my imperfections–I already see them in full color. I need you to show me my perfection. No one else ever will.

Love unconditionally and with all my respect,

Future You in the World

 

Amen,

Lydia Nomad, a white kid ūüôā

 

P.S. Here is a Great Parenting Blog Post.

 

Tend-and-befriender

It is odd to tell a story as if it was a thing that happened and it has an end and tra la la. This story is a chapter, it is a leaf only recently flipped over, and I am not sure which parts of its’ green vines to write, and which to leave for later.

Yet today, here, now, all I have is cute little me and my inhospitable life story and path. Here, friends, is a part.

August 2015 I am in a restaurant in Birmingham, Alabama with my best friend Emily. She is chewing red and yellow tortilla chips in the magical way only she can, and I gaze at the shiny bottles of alcohol propped on and around the bar caddy-corner to us.

‚ÄúI‚Äôm just afraid that I will marry him and go to be with him and then hate it and not want to be there,‚ÄĚ I say. Emily and I do not talk about everything but we talk about most things and all the deep things, yet somehow there is a unique heaviness to the fear I share in this moment. Emily nods like the sane, level-headed being she is, and validates my concern with restraint.

Sadly, utter heaviness was no stranger to my experience of life then, and still maintains a fairly reliable presence (always forward, always healing, always hopeful). At that point I was back from an emotionally stressful overseas trip, and had returned with a new tend-and-befriender. What is that, you ask? Using language from Teresa B. Pasquale’s book Sacred Wounds, tend-and-befriend is a defense mechanism used by someone in survival mode or trauma response. It is associated with the bonding hormone, oxytocin, that serves humans by helping us feel connected to others. It becomes nefarious, however, when a person is stuck in a trauma response and feels dependent emotionally on (often potentially hurtful) people or communities.

At the age of 21, I had spent the majority of my life (read: every second) moving from a stress response. The emotional and religious trauma of my developmental years left me stuck in frozen distress (things can get reeeeeally hairy there is distress-arctica, let me tell ya), and there I was, about two months after the difficult trip, feeling a deep obligation to return to be with someone in a foreign country who had helped me through a VERY rough 13 days. I felt that I owed him something, and that to return and live the life I assumed he wanted from or with me was the undeniable right thing to do.

I felt it not on a spiritual level, nor on a level of dutifulness, nor on an intellectual level. It was deeper than those parts of me, and now I know that when I feel that deep, guttural obligation it is coming from my very evolution. Those stress responses are a part of me because I am a part of an evolving body of humanity; sounds beautiful, sure, but in that moment, I was very stuck. Living in this kind of stress response is like trying to breath with air that is only 0.09% oxygen. It is having your insides in the fetal position when you need them to open and flourish and say things and be responsive to people. It is a jack-hammer in your mind that leaves you vulnerable to re-experiencing the abuse combined with a sense of badness that stings and prods like horse flies on the beach. It is no sleep and avoidance of every love-light ray that comes near your personal darkness.

The religious trauma compounded with this process has continually led me to my knees, trying to bargain with push-and-pull gods off in the cosmos who made me, so must want me, but also must not want me since here I am in this turmoil again.

Thankfully, the kind man who helped me when I was overseas, lived, yes, overseas. After 5+ months in contact with him, I suddenly cut all conversation–text, calls, video. He offered advice and was kind and looking back I think he must have sensed the turmoil I was in though he did not understand it either, and I said goodbye.

January 2016 I am at my part-time cleaning job the day after cutting off the relationship and the air is back to 20% oxygen. Sweet, sweet clear oxygen filling my shriveled lungs. I lift my Pledge-covered rag over my head and dance; I feel elated, happy, for the first time in months. I am happy because I see that I am mine. As the jack-hammer lifts off my mind, I am thinking over and over: this is my life. I clean this house. This is my heart. I feel these things. The fetus my insides had become is suddenly a seed of new life, rather than a posture of protection. I am mine again, independent, and my muchness is slipping back into the ghost of myself that has been living misguided and drained for the past months.

I still wonder if people without an over-active stress response system feel that elated all the time. I wonder how many times I will have to survive a response like that again until my Holy Trinity (body, mind, soul) can look a stressful situation in the face and know that I am enough, and that it is going to be okay and I am going to make it regardless of what goes down.

I never should have accessed this place of stress and trauma. I certainly never should have gotten stuck in it for so long. But this is my life. MY super unique and immense life, people. I am grateful that I get to live it, know it, figure it out. This life is path and path is where my insides and outsides come together and I experience joy and love and laughter. Here, on path, I take the hands of my loved-ones with my own, even when I feel that my hands are not worthy to be inside of someone else’s.

Last week someone I love very much was angry and I could see the anger that she was trying to protect me from as I stroked her black hair.

I could see. I have lived. It has hurt. I can see.

Live free, live inside of the Big Love.

Namaste, nomads.

 

LN

 

 

 

 

Looking for More Than Scars

I escaped into Arkansas wilderness today, despite the rain, because I needed poetry and a deep breath of the holy (whole) God I have come to know. Tramping over a creek I looked down and saw watery patterns.

Where is Jesus in this? I thought, and saw a pattern of stripes.

Bloody¬†ones¬†on the back of a man that¬†prompted¬†me¬†to¬†remember¬†a¬†verse¬†about Jesus being¬†pierced¬†for¬†my¬†‚Äútransgressions‚ÄĚ.¬†Then¬†I¬†quickly¬†backtracked¬†mentally¬†as¬†that¬†train¬†of¬†thought¬†began¬†to¬†unravel¬†the¬†healing¬†work¬†I been faithfully cultivating.

Phew.

Looking for the scars is not doing much for me.

I’m tired of my faith centering around an act of violence.

If redemption stops at violence then this story isn’t any different from the last and, oh, how I need a new story.

19 For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. (Isaiah 43:19 NLT)

Tell me, please, that

There¬†was¬†‚Äúgood‚Ä̬†before¬†there¬†was¬†death

and

There¬†was¬†descent¬†for¬†the¬†sake¬†of¬†ascent* (rather¬†than¬†for¬†the¬†necessity¬†of¬†endless¬†chaos,¬†as¬†my¬†childhood¬†fears–and the childhood fears of many fundamentalist religious leaders, it seems–would¬†propose**)

 

Maybe you need to hear a story of death

Where you may be lowered

Perhaps your ego needs a jolt & a bit of righteous de-centering will help you find your true center

 

Today, that is not my story. (I know that our will is made to be broken.)

Today,¬†that¬†isn‚Äôt¬†the¬†Gospel¬†I¬†need. (I know that blood is necessary for cleansing–what woman doesn’t?)

My soul won’t come out to play for anything less than a story that offers me the chance to have a “center”, to regain the hiding parts of me.

So tell me the story, instead, of the Essence that got so excited to know & be known that

it belched a ballad with me right in the middle.

 

Tell me the story of a girl who wasn’t born to suffer;

whose oceanic depth is mysterious on purpose.

Voices are starting to welcome me into this story–words of women¬†who write and speak with¬†a¬†confidence¬†I¬†don‚Äôt¬†yet¬†have¬†(Jen¬†Hatmaker,¬†Rachel¬†Held¬†Evans,¬†Opal¬†Tometi,¬†Sarah¬†Bessey, Rosemary Ruether, Maya Angelou, Sojourner Truth);

women who aren’t stopped by the patriarchal language of a tradition they have found Truth in (though very bothered by the problem of patriarchy).

Their vulnerability makes Truth more accessible to me:

 

‚ÄúI¬†have¬†my¬†own¬†quiet¬†sorrows,¬†of¬†course,¬†but¬†they¬†are¬†mostly¬†common¬†sorrows;¬†and¬†joy,¬†especially¬†the¬†everyday¬†quiet¬†joy¬†of¬†loving¬†and¬†being¬†deeply¬†loved,¬†has¬†been¬†mine¬†in¬†abundance.‚Ä̬†~Sarah¬†Bessey,¬†Jesus¬†Feminist¬†(140)

 

Why didn’t anyone tell me that before?
My shocking stories of abuse,

hands of cruelty that still reach from the dream world and shake me awake:

those hands aren’t as strong as they seem.

Snippets of Sarah Bessey’s experiences, honestly conveyed in her book, Jesus Feminist, are one way my heart is hearing a message she never before believed could be true.

Let me see through your eyes, sis.

Her story shuts me up:

Oh, how good it is to be silent,

to hear instead of chaos the deep truths of joy, love, daily grace.

How good it is when women who know their belovedness aren’t silent.

(These are the words of God, and they find success in the lives of the women who have forgotten the belovedness that birthed them. They find success in my life.)

How good it is to entertain the idea that there is an ever-clean shore, and

thousands of arms upholding the daughters who, day after day, watch-wait-hope to see healing break the horizon line.

For me, this is news worth searching the creekbed for. This is Gospel.

Check the drama at the door: I’ve had enough and I will shake the expectation of its return.

This is the other story and it isn’t tumultuous or violent;

it tells me of an unjeopardized, completely accessible wholeness.

The¬†Gospel¬†of¬†Jesus‚Äô¬†fullness: today’s liberation and bread of Life.

And there’s more as her bold words uncover hidden hopes:

‚Äú.…women¬†who¬†have¬†been¬†abused¬†rising¬†up¬†in¬†strength¬†to¬†lead¬†us¬†all….‚Ä̬†~Sarah¬†Bessey,¬†Jesus¬†Feminist¬†(149)

Mother¬†Teresa.¬†St.¬†Clare¬†of¬†Assisi.¬†Rigoberta¬†Mench√ļ. Christine¬†Caine. Opal¬†Tometi. Becca Stevens. Deb.¬†Rosario.¬†Jan.¬†Countless¬†others¬†leading¬†in¬†their¬†own¬†ways,¬†big¬†and¬†small. If they matter I do too. My¬†footsteps¬†fall¬†amidst¬†theirs and if they can climb the mountain to wholeness, so can I. Together we can win bigger. For me that victory starts today, it starts at the feet of these women as they stroke my hair and bid me to take heart. I am humbled by their Grace and mothered by their legacies. My gratitude is¬†all¬†I¬†have¬†to¬†give for this life–for this tiny, sacred role I get to play in the story–and¬†I¬†will¬†give it as a¬†thank-you-mark¬†at¬†the¬†sentence-end¬†of¬†each¬†exhausting¬†day.

 

‚ÄúFor¬†I¬†believed¬†then,¬†as¬†I¬†know¬†now,¬†that¬†we¬†are¬†meant¬†for¬†love.‚ÄĚ~Sarah¬†Bessey,¬†Jesus¬†Feminist¬†(142–I‚Äôm¬†putting¬†page¬†numbers¬†because¬†I¬†SO¬†want¬†you¬†to¬†read¬†this¬†book–at¬†least¬†look¬†up¬†the¬†quotes.¬†Please?)

 

This¬†is¬†the¬†Truth,¬†the¬†message¬†of¬†Jesus‚Äô¬†beautiful,¬†coming¬†Kingdom. (I’m retraining my ears to hear its’ soft footstep).

Though the thumbprints of patriarchy still leave smudges on the language Jesus’ people use for a better world,

I give myself to Kingdom.  

Because it is so good for us all, and we need it desperately.

An existence of Love, for Love.

 

The feminist scholars whose teachings I am deliberately choosing to sit under are bringing to memory the candles lit by women in my life. Sparks, small and persistent, that have brought me out of the shadows. Just some examples….

Brianna who dared to love the angry, confused, proud, and fearful child I once was. Who risked forgiveness as seeds of a fresh start.

Jan, gentle & kind, never using her words to jab me or make a point, soft to her core. Present and available without insistence. Carefully respectful of every person she makes contact with. Her tears are her testimony over a dinner of flaky fish and a rainbow of veggies, and the index cards on her fridge make me a little less afraid of the Bible.

Rosario who cries in front of the class semester after semester as Powerpoint slides tell tales of systemic oppression against her own people: female and native, ongoing since humans learned to speak. Who doesn’t harden or bristle when arrogant students expose bigotry during class but faithfully leads her flock through the stories and argues with stagnant faculty members in both English & Spanish.

Heather who wrestles faith as heartily as she struggles with every day challenges of the business world. Who invites and beckons and keeps firm boundaries up while slipping hundreds of dollars into the hands of her hopeful daughters who dare ask for help.

Meghan and Emily, friends who tell me that my healing journey isn’t easy for any of us

but who beg me not to walk any other path;

who¬†I¬†know¬†will¬†be¬†waiting¬†anyway,¬†always–no¬†matter¬†what.

 

There’s an army here that I haven’t dared to see, but now, as the fog of fear lifts, I can’t help but acknowledge. They’re women. They’re mothers of the Queendom of God. I stand on their shoulders and I’m going to touch Heaven.

 

Let my life be see-through.

Let my love be genuine.

Let me, at the very least, give it my best.

 

To honor the women who have gone before

To honor those I have forgiven

To honor the me inside of me (who I repent of mistreating)

To honor the earth beneath our feet we often forget to respect

To offer higher shoulders to the younger sisters

 

Let¬†grace¬†settle¬†on¬†the¬†forest¬†floor¬†of¬†my¬†heart,¬†with¬†roots¬†pushing¬†deeper¬†and¬†deeper¬†into¬†dirt.¬†A¬†wood¬†of¬†love¬†&¬†hope–never-dying¬†trees–is¬†growing¬†in¬†me¬†as¬†I¬†evolve,

as poetry tunes my ear to hear the new story, the real story of an upside-down reality:

that I was not made to suffer, but for Love.

 

The dancing moments when my ankles and knees fly past one another

The ecstatic yelps

The deep breathes of cinnamon-y scents in the kitchen on Christmas

The curly locks slipping through the teeth of my lucky hair pick

The intimate jokes robed in laughter

The essays that take days to write

The ideas that still elude language

6 mile hikes in the rain, shoes squelching through muddy ruts

Peaceful conversations on slow mornings

Adventures filled with discovery;

Community and closeness with others I have only yet heard whispers of….

 

This is the Gospel I need.

This is what persists.

The¬†stone¬†rolled¬†away¬†for¬†this,¬†for¬†me,¬†for¬†us–as¬†a¬†family.¬†

 

Women still locked within the lies, know this, my sisters, my loves: those lies will lose their hold. God is coming. Her people are rising up. It won’t be long. In the meantime, Immanuel is with you.

 

There¬†is¬†an¬†alternate¬†story¬†and¬†hope¬†for¬†the¬†next¬†life¬†is¬†not¬†where¬†it¬†stops–that¬†is¬†where¬†it¬†begins. The story isn’t about a man dead on a cross. It’s about life after the stone rolled away. It’s the wonder and awe, not the wounds, that we march towards. Watch¬†as¬†the¬†next¬†life¬†comes¬†closer¬†and¬†becomes¬†more¬†real,¬†more¬†new,¬†more¬†now¬†than¬†you¬†dared¬†to¬†imagine.

Let my hopeful voice join the ensemble of women whose struggles are the struggles of our cosmos,

whose bold examples are North Stars pointing me towards the Jesus no hurt can chase away, whose stories hush my hopelessness.

 

Mine is the story of a girl born blind,

whose God gave her poetry,

whose poetry gave her eyes.

 

Just a little bit more free (from those haunting, misused verses about violence that echo childhood voices still stuck to our brains),

just a tad more alive,

just a couple steps deeper in.

The drip of everyday Love and faithfulness are

eroding granite,

shaping a new path for humanity, a path each of us is invited to walk.

 

 

 

*http://www.chabad.org/theJewishWoman/article_cdo/aid/335943/jewish/Chavah-Mother-of-All-Life.htm/mobile/false

**http://robbell.podbean.com/e/episode-86-richard-rohr-and-the-alternative-orthodoxy/

All a Miracle

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.

Hey.

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.

Reconciliation.

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, ‚ÄúIt has happened at last! God‚Äôs 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‚ÄĒhe 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)