Voiceover

Thursdays are not typically exciting days in my life. The usual order of events goes like 1) class, 2) study, 3) work. That’s it (what a trip, I know). Today class happened and after beating my head against a Physical Science textbook for a good 30 minutes I scuttled into my creative writing instructor’s office for a visit. Ms. Sandy is a Northerner (from the upper half, give/ take a state or two, of the U.S.A.). I have had mixed experiences with Northerners due to cultural differences but one thing I will say: they call it like it is. Cut and dry. Black and white. “You stink.” “You’re extraordinary.” “What exactly are you referring to?”

That being said, nearly the first thing out of Sandy’s mouth to me was: “You have what it takes to go as far as a writer as you want. If you want to get your master’s [degree], write [professionally], you can do it.” 

Compliments happen. Warm fuzzy feelings, gushed gratitude. Blah blah.

But when Ms. Sandy said those words my heart sang. I laughed until I cried in my truck on the way home because the words Ms. Sandy said are true.

Truth is the driving force behind joy.

At a dear friend’s request I met with 4 other women this afternoon to form a panel that was consulted on issues faced by young people today. We contributed our voices hoping that the curriculum our interviewers create will offer insight and guidance to a generation in tumult. Sitting in the dim light I noticed something about the 4 of us. Two of us, myself and one other, have lived the most utterlysplendidprivilegedlives for which any girl could ask. Have they been hard lives? Yes. But they have been lives filled with love and Truth and opportunity. We are extraordinary blessed. The other two–girls dear to my heart–have not been granted the same gifts. Neither have Godly father figures to turn to for help or support and both carry deep scars not yet fully healed. Of the four of us, myself and the second “privileged one” were the quickest to speak, the most eager to voice our opinions. Though their stories and opinions are arguably more gritty and riveting, the other two had to be coaxed, and still did not speak as much.

When I have something to say a fire burns in my belly until it is said. I know that it is my human right to be heard. I know that my words are important. Knowing this leads me to treat the words of others with equal importance. It’s respect, the right thing to do.

But when you’ve been ignored your whole life? When a man has never asked you what you think about…anything? When no one has taken the time to get to know you? When you’ve been yelled at and treated like an unwanted pest?

Inevitably, you start to doubt the value of your own voice. You begin to question the importance of what you have to say. You decide it is better to keep quiet because no one wants to hear it.

So there they sat, the girls with the most to say keeping quiet. I blame the powers of darkness for the loss of anything on their hearts that went unsaid. I praise the One who gave them the courage to utter the few words they did into floating microphones. And further, I recognize my small role in the puzzle God is masterfully putting together.

He has nurtured and grown me via parents and community, literature, travel, and music, to speak eloquently and boldly on behalf of the Truth. Not just the blessed Truth of the Gospel, but also the Truth of individual experiences all around me. Harsh realities, tragic memoirs, unique celebrations, epics of the downtrodden: the stories of timid ones need to be told. Minorities are cast aside, virginity is cruelly stolen, words are misunderstood, drugs drive knives through families. And those people keep quiet because they have been told that their words carry no weight.

Their words do carry weight, and they are burdens God created me to bear.  He sent a blunt Northern woman to reiterate the truth of my gifts: I am a writer. Not every word I pen is perfect (HA!), but writing creatively is one thing on this earth that will come naturally for me. Oh, the freedom of knowing that is true! By His guidance and mercy I speak, I write, and in so doing I will flesh out a small corner of His plan.

One woman with a host of hushed people trailing a humble King. It’s a weird story, but it’s mine.

When condemnation grips my heart
And Satan tempts me to despair
I hear the voice that scatters fear
The Great I Am the Lord is here
Oh praise the One who fights for me
And shields my soul eternally

Boldly I approach Your throne
Blameless now I’m running home
By Your blood I come
Welcomed as Your own
Into the arms of majesty.

~Rend Collective Experiment

All the other Thursdays have (and will) serve an equally great purpose, but today was a big mile marker in the journey of arriving for my purpose here on earth.

Your story is valuable, as is your voice.

Speak.

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Let Me Learn By Paradox

Pain crawls up my legs
From the balls of my feet it comes,
Slowly, achingly treading its’ way up my body.
Calves, knees they shake now, hips feel out of joint.
My back aches, arches, contracts, fights against me when I try to stand. Inhale. Keep going. On and on and on. My body is telling me that it won’t go anymore, that it just won’t work right.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day ~St. Paul

Meanwhile my heart and my head and my soul are excited for all the work there is to do.
I carry a message the way my Mama carried me. Everyday it is ready, longing to come out. I want to tell! There are more people everyday who need to hear this Truth. The Good News is eager to be shared. There is so much work to be done: look at the immense fields, ready to be labored over. Souls are ready to be won for Christ!
I long to work in the “fields” from sun-up to sun-down, and I know it is what I’m supposed to do.
Until my body slows me down

And I’m quite confused.

He’s my God and He never lets me go.
He said, sing it on the mountain.
Or fight in valley low
Every man is going to see,
And everyone will know
That peace runs deep in Him.
~Josh Garrels

Head, Hands, Feet

So I went to sing songs in the kids class this morning (like I do every Sunday) and we sang the hymn When I Survey the Wonderful Cross.  Then I migrated to my “adult” (what does that even mean, really?) Sunday school class where we sang O the Wonderful Cross: a slight rendition of the aforementioned, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.  I enjoyed that because it was a little bit different.  Yay.  Guess what we sang in actual worship?? When I Survey…!!!   Hahahaha!  Funny, but I wasn’t as annoyed as you’d think a typical American would be over that. Why?  Because I saw a parallel between it, and my life.  That song contains the Gospel.  Week after week, day after day, God shows me the Gospel.  He lays it in front of me saying, “Eat this, the bread of life,” and then He weeps as I exchange it for the bread of the flesh.  He holds on, however, and He offers the bread once more.  He plays that song again:

When I survey the wondrous cross

On which the Prince of glory died,

My richest gain I count but loss,

And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,

Save in the death of Christ my God!

All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,

Sorrow and love flow mingled down!

Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,

Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,

That were a present far too small;

Love so amazing, so divine,

Demands my soul, my life, my all.

On Sundays He sings it to me like a melody. Most of the time He has to scrape it into my skin like tattoo ink.

Thanks for doing that, Jesus. I love you.

Exhale Gold Dust

“…Depth beneath depth and subtlety within subtlety, there remains some lingering idea of our own, our very own, attractiveness.”-The Four Loves, by C.S. Lewis

I know that I am a piece of clay in my Father’s hand

To Him I have offered up

Myself.

“Mold me,” I bid Him.

“Make me what you wish.”

But I didn’t realize-

I could not have foretold:

The grating,

The sanding-down,

The chipping away.

I expected it to hurt for a while,

And then get better.

I thought my heart was maleable,

Warm.

Wrong.

It is not a massage

Or a gentle forming.

It is scraping and thus

I am reduced to a heap of dust;

So hard was my heart.

Blind eyes deceived me.

The wretched soul holds onto lies,

Looks for good in itself.

Mistaken creature that I am,

He holds me dear.

His whisper I await,

I know it will come.

Even when I least expect it:

“Take heart”

“You are beautfiul”

“I will renew your strength”

“Give you wings”

Hallelujah, God Strong Tower

Make my dust

Golden.

Breathe me in,

Never exhale.