Michelle Buck

A little peek at things I love

The Rescue

psalm

 

The smoke billows and rises
With the sound of their cries
And the stench of flesh burning
Raises itself to the skies

The dungeon of darkness
Wailing, weeping, they cling
To their idols, their masters
From their lips, of death sing

Cursed, this place of torment
In the blackness of hell
A fiery glare, the only sign
Of light that can dwell

Companions and friends
You once called them your own
And treasured their idols
At their feet, yourself thrown

He knew you, He loved you
For himself, made pure
Wrath once your inheritance
God’s enemy—you were

Snatched from that land
Where death called your name
The Liar clothed you in shackles
The Rescuer threw it in the flame

“Under my feet, Satan I tread
Like lightning, he falls from the sky
The curse of the cross, where my Son bled
Taking your sins to the grave when he died”

Suffer in grace, not in wrath
Suffer a cure, not a curse
Tremble you will not, but be blessed
Jesus brings life, not a hearse

Look to the pit, see the place you once stood
Listen to cries you once screamed
Remember at Calvary, He paid the cost
Jesus, your soul He redeemed

The Real Thing

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Growing up without, I have some interesting, yet embarrassing stories. When I was a kid, we didn’t have a lot of money and I really wanted a Ken doll to go with my Barbie doll. Because you know, every Barbie needs a Ken. So I took one of my Barbie dolls and cut off the hair to look like a guy and then I melted the female parts off with a lighter (Please stop laughing now.) “Ken” had two giant war wounds in his chest, he smelled like burned rubber, and wore makeup, but Barbie loved him nonetheless.  He looked like a boobless Sinead O’Connor. But I did not care. When you are poor, you take what you can get–or make it work.

So many jokes I could say right here, but I won’t.

I thought about this story today when I was thinking about how people respond in times of suffering. It’s easy to say something quickly and without thought than to take the time to counsel someone or give them words of life. I think a lot of times Christians will say things that are more hurtful than helpful.  I saw this recently on a facebook post when someone said “Just think more positively and good things will happen.” Cringe worthy as that is, I’ve heard that more times than I care to admit in the face of my own suffering. It’s like playing with a makeshift man doll that smells like burning rubber and trying to pass him off as the real deal. It stinks, literally. And if you have any sense of what the real thing is, you know it’s fake.

When I was a kid, I loved nature. I still do. But for some reason, I loved animals almost more than people.  So one day I was in the woods behind our house and some baby bunnies had been left there by the mother. My older brother decided to try to nurse them back to health. Only one survived. So I took the bunny in my room and tried to care for it, but one day it went missing and I never found it again. Months later, I pulled my bed out and found that baby bunny smashed to the heating vent under my bed. I am certain I was the one that ran the poor thing over. At the discovery of the dead, smashed bunny, I sat and wept that I had caused its death. Sometimes words are just like that. We think we are being helpful, but we don’t really know what we are saying. Instead, we cause more harm than we do good. We think by telling someone to think better thoughts we are offering help, but really we are saying, “I don’t want to hear you suffer”.  Intentions may be good, but that is not what a suffering saint needs.

I am not an expert on such things. I only can tell you what has helped me and how I’m grateful for those that didn’t silence my pain. I’m still learning though and have a long way and a long battle to go. The people that have helped the most are the ones that have showed me the cross. Jesus did not minimize pain and neither should we. He did not think positive thoughts and then everything was better. Jesus was the real thing. He suffered just like we do, but much worse. He agonized and cried out in pain and felt the separation of His Father. He was sad, lonely, and asked, “My God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus was not silent. He didn’t say things to lighten the mood. He saw through to the heart of sin, to the heart of pain, and spoke words of life. He brought hope in a time when all felt hopeless. And He brings hope to our hearts too when we feel hopeless.

Maybe there are some out there who enjoy the plasticity. The thing is, when fire comes, what’s left? You can’t hold on to some cheesy saying, some life hack given by a guy that probably shines his teeth with bleach. You need someone, you need Jesus, who walked through the fire and still lives to ever intercede on our behalf.

Sang this song in church on Sunday. Listen and find hope.

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul.

When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul, for my soul,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.

To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb, I will sing.
To God and to the Lamb Who is the great “I Am”;
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing;
While millions join the theme, I will sing.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be;
And through eternity, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And through eternity, I’ll sing on.

Opposites Attract

opposites

Sometimes I laugh when people tell me that my husband and I are so much alike. My Pastor is about the only one who actually nailed it when he said “You guys are so opposite, but in a cute way.”

I like taking personality quizzes (I’m sort of a junkie about it). I’ve taken a lot of Meyers Briggs ones online (here’s a good one if interested) and they all say I’m an INFJ, which stands for the following:

I – Introverted (vs. Extroverted).  Us introverts prefer lots of time to recharge and dislike being the center of attention. We prefer the quiet, thoughtful life as opposed to the busy, talkative one. We have a busy inner dialogue.

N – intuition (vs. Sensory). Intuition types tend to look at the bigger picture and are more abstract. They get clues from things in the world and tend to be idealistic.

F – Feeling (vs. Thinking). Feeling types base their decisions on feelings rather than a well thought out decision. Feelers consider others feelings before making decisions, unlike thinkers who want things to be logical.

J – Judging (vs. Perceiving). Judging prefers rules and structure while perceiving is more flexible and adaptable. This has to do with how one interacts with the outside world and works with the other types (intuitive, sensing, feeling, thinking).

The only thing my husband and I have in common is that we are both introverted. Otherwise, he’s sensory, thinking, and perceiving all the way. We tend to butt heads because of this. So it is interesting to me to look at personality quizzes, not as a final authority or some sort of box to put ourselves in, but to see how I think vs. how he thinks.

introvert

So while we do seem to understand each other’s need for down time, recharging, and generally being left alone, we tend to be very opposite on how decisions are made. For instance, if we are working on a home project, I tend to be more of a person who just wants it done quickly. My husband will take his time making sure it is perfect. Sometimes he tends to procrastinate and if something else comes up, he’ll do that instead. I’d be one who worked straight through until it got done. I’m much more creative as well. I like writing, poetry, and music. He tends to like technical books, statistics, and sports.

I am idealistic in the sense that I don’t have a good grasp of how things are in actuality. I tend to want things to be better than they are and when they aren’t, I get really disappointed. But I’m not a “pie in the sky” person either. I don’t like taking risks nor am I adventurous when it comes to life. I tend to keep my feet planted on the ground, but I always hope for things and people to be better. To which my husband would reply, “Lower your expectations”, which both irritates me and makes sense.

So I guess opposites do attract and in my case, this has been true. We couldn’t be more different despite both being introverted, but somehow we make it work. I like to think the areas where I lack, he completes and the areas where he lacks, I complete. It doesn’t matter what personality type you are or your spouse is, it only matters if you understand them and can adjust your life to help them as they navigate life with you.

 

INFJ

 

Burn It Down

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You can’t tell from the picture above, but I walked by this tree today and it had branches twisted into the center, broken, or fallen into each other. The inner part was a tangled mess of dead branches. Springing up to the top and around the outside of the tree was life–lots of bright green leaves, still alive, not yet affected by any sort of disease or harm. I stared at the tree for a moment because for one instant, I felt as if it could understand me. No, not in some sort of “Mother Earth” kind of way, but it was a picture of how I felt and continue to feel. It was as if my brain could accept that at least something else had been grappling with it’s own failures and pain, even if it was just a tree.

There the tree stands in the midst of woods with other beautiful trees. They are there, still looking healthy and vibrant. They go on with their “lives” and sway in the wind, blow up their leaves, and soak in the water and sun. They are not bothered by the tree that is dying. They seem not to care. And so it is with the rest of the world, who seems to get by and flourish and make the world better.  They walk by with their happy faces and exciting news and bubbly personalities and no matter how hard I try, I am still the same person with a dead heart, dragging the rest of humanity down with whatever this is that I am.

Long after the branches are gone, the stump removed–no one will remember that tree. Maybe it was just always a bad seed and nothing could have made it grow more green. That’s the greenest it will be, with death at it’s center. You can throw as much rain and sun on it and it will still be a dead tree. It can’t fake itself to life. It’s dying.  No words or happy thoughts will change that fact. Someday it would make a decent bonfire but today it’s just a heap of dead branches pretending it’s still lively when it’s not.

Maybe it doesn’t matter much, but I will remember you tree. I will remember you when you are gone and your branches have been cut off and thrown in the fire. I will remember that you and I are not so different. For a moment, I understood you and you understood me. And we didn’t have to explain ourselves to one another or pretend to be someone else–we were just who we always have been. Walls down, you saw me for who I was before I turned back to face humanity who doesn’t.

And maybe I made this analogy up in my head to convince myself that this place really isn’t as lonely as it seems. Maybe there is a place I can just be me. Maybe there is a place where I am not the alien, not the dying heap I feel I am. So let it wither and die, if you will.

Burn it to the ground. Maybe something new in its place will grow.

Alone

alone

 

Sometimes you just don’t want a pat answer. You want someone to care. Some day I’ll afford the plastic smile and matching plastic heart. You know, because feelings are bad and I shouldn’t have them. Today I do.  And only my tears seem to understand.

Wait For It

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Time seems to stand still and I’m lost in thought, staring at her face, remembering when I felt the hope for her was lost. What lessons can be learned from when my heart has lost hope? What things has God chosen for me to find? I watch her turn into a young lady and I know there are things I have missed and have neglected to teach her.

I think back to all the news that seemed to drain my heart of all goodness, of all hope: “She has Aspergers.” This also entailed a learning disability and the grim hope of how she stacked up with other kids her age. I questioned myself as a mom, as her mom specifically. Did I not do enough? Was this my fault? Could I have done something better? Am I too late? As if my own questions didn’t convince me of my failures, other people did: “I knew something was wrong before you did“…as if I was completely clueless. Then there were comments about homeschool and socializing and how I should just put her in public schooling because they are the experts and I clearly was not. I could not even begin to understand my own child and I was stupid for thinking I could up to this point.

I thought long and hard about my own pride. Was I just homeschooling because I thought I knew better than everyone else? Was I trying to control everything too much? Was I thinking I could really have super, robotic, intelligent children and that they would one day prove how great I was? How did I not see this coming? And so I wrestled with myself and my pride and with seeing the hope in my own child. I enrolled her in public school part time, dragging my heels the entire way. I cried when my daughter told me her backpack which displayed little hearts all over the back of it was “to show the other kids God’s love”.  I felt like I had handed my child over to a pack of wolves.

She spent 2 years in public school (with not much progress and not much complaint) and I then homeschooled her again full time. We had been through some anxious meltdowns, learned a few things about coping, and even got angry with one another and fell apart around each other. We grew when my daughter was in public school, but even after, I was still learning how to be a better mom to her.

Somewhere along the lines, I lost the love of learning with my kids. I looked at schooling at home as a task, not a way to make memories or learn something new. I fell apart in so many ways and my kids watched it all. I unraveled and completely fell apart in a disastrous emotional, fatigued mess last year. I was spiritually, physically, and emotionally spent.

A mom can tire out easily when she sets her mind on being a lot like Martha and a lot less like Mary. And then the people, Oh God, the people. Would their voices ever get out of my head? Would they ever understand how hard this job as a mom is and give me some grace? No, they couldn’t. They aren’t God. And God is the only one who can give grace even on days when other people choose to say stupid hurtful words and you want to curl up in a ball and die. I could forgive their words, but could I forgive myself for repeating those words to my own heart? I knew better than they did yet I lied to my heart and said I was a failure.

Life is full of little moments. If you look hard, you will see them:

  • The once frustrated writer turns into a teenager that can’t put down the pen
  • She laughs at a joke even though everyone says kids with Aspergers don’t get humor
  • The act of empathy in a question to her dog, “Lily, why are you so sad?” Asperger kids are often labeled insensitive and unaware of emotions.
  • The relationship between her younger sister and her grow into something beautiful when they both come running into your bedroom with enormous smiles because they braided each others hair.
  • Her love for her family growing because she has grown up with them being her biggest cheerleaders
  • You becoming more patient, more loving, and less controlling and anxious
  • Seeing the small accomplishments that are both outward and inward and learning the lessons that only God can show you through hard times

Hope is strange that way. We hope for something we know nothing about because we think we know what is best for us. God doesn’t always give us what we hope for–sometimes he gives us something much better. Sometimes he gives us a beautiful person in a package called “Aspergers” who teaches you that you are enough–that even on the bad days we are growing, that our failures do not define us, and that Jesus has enough grace to carry us through.

He offers a lifeline in a ship called “Hope” which will never be taken away:

Let me have silence, and I will speak,
    and let come on me what may.
Why should I take my flesh in my teeth
    and put my life in my hand?
Though he slay me, I will hope in him;

Job 13:13-15a (ESV)

 

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Romans 8:18-25 (ESV)

The Thing With Feathers

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She was only a child, surrounded by a big family, but in it, she felt alone. She was the “quiet one” and often referred to as such, but her mind was a flood of words wanting to be said, but never being heard. Her gifts and strengths were overlooked by more ambitious efforts, nevertheless, she had many if someone would stop and listen to her. Praises were few, although maybe those memories are stifled by the overwhelming amount of criticism received for not adding up or being good enough, or by the angered faces of people she disappointed by not being “good”.

Shame is a board, with a handle, and the words written, “Spare not the rod” across the front, used to ingrain in her this sense of the terrible person that she had become. As if somehow you can beat the monster out of a person. It wasn’t the “rod” that scared her, but the person who angrily grabbed the board, leaving bruises on an already broken person. It’s as if these marks were bleeding through the skin to show what she already felt inside.  The person possessing all the power, her mother, could have chosen to love her, but at that time, she had nothing to give but angry punishments and critical words with no hope.

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She waited for him to come and when he did, her joy was short-lived. How does one love a thief, an adulterer, and an alcoholic? Her Father wore happiness through his own pain and in the moment, he was there. He listened. He held her close. And then he was gone. Gone to find the things in the world that continued to make him happy. Gone to chase women, booze, and money. It was only a moment of joy, but that would remain her hope until he returned. To escape whatever kind of life this was. He would return, but death came with him and hope would die once more.

What prayers can be said to a God that thinks of her as terrible? Constant prayers where she bargained with God, hoping if she did something good, he would give her something in return. It’s all she had left in her arsenal of works. So she prayed these prayers hoping to save her Father from the disease that would destroy him. But even this proved to her she was not “good enough”: I can’t even pray a prayer. I am a failure.

She learned to keep her head down. If she stayed low, no one would find fault in her. She learned in school and at home this important lesson. In school, the criticism and sometimes abuse continued. “Do not let them see you cry” was her motto by the time she was a teenager. She had spent many years trying to be heard, crying and emotional, and what good did it do her? Her tears were a megaphone to people who had fallen deaf. I will be invisible.

Depression was her companion and poetry her friend. One tormented her. The other saved her. As a child, she spent hours by herself, imagining the world was not ugly. She’d wander the woods behind her house and pretend she was living the life she imagined. The tree was her home and the clearing was her back yard in the castle of hope she had built for herself, when she escaped the misery of this life; when she was gone from here. And poetry became the escape when she had no back yard, no tree “house” to run to. Paper and pen do not speak back. They only understand what you lay before them, without criticism, without duplicity.

Destination Unknown

He was the brother she grew up with, shared a womb with, loved despite their differences. Was there a reason he chose a tree as his last place of breath? She had pen and paper. What did he have? Was the criticism too much to take? Was the loss, the punishment, the anger too much for his soul to carry? What would his life had been if there was love? She did not know, but it seemed as if love did not live in her world. Her kingdom of hope was just a fairy tale.

How does hope die? It dies when rules are more important than hearts. It dies when anger is more important than love. It dies when feelings mean nothing and facts mean everything.  It dies when results are king. She feels these words, wearing her unworthiness: “They leave because of me.

But hope can rise up in the face of evil. It  can survive it. It says, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.“(Genesis 50:20). It cries out, “Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?Then I said, “I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.” (Ps. 77)

Hope is weeping over what was lost, but seeing what is good. Hope is that she is here. Hope is that she survived. Hope is that God was on her side, despite the evil done to her. Hope is seeing for the first time.

Hope is in this story because it’s my story–the one that was written for me before the world began. Hope lingers in the darkness, exposing the evil, and holding it’s hand to something better. Hope is sometimes a slow crawl through the landmine of other people’s sin while carrying your own and then holding up a mirror and realizing you are the same. The difference is not that you are better, not that you are worthy, and not that you are good. Hope is that this lost soul is found, this worthless life is redeemed, this hated sinner is loved. Hope is Jesus.

There is much I did not explain–the ones who stayed, the ones who loved, the ones who continue to be in my life when I’m ugly. This is only part of the story–with much more pain and much more grace than I’ve mentioned here. I did not mention how much the soul battles against it’s own evil when evil has been done to it. The point is that this is not the end. Evil does not win. Death does not prevail. Until then, there is hope.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops – at all.
(Emily Dickinson)

 

Dear Heart of Mine

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Dear gaping, giant hole in my heart
I cannot keep protecting you
You’re gonna just have to fall apart
And pray that God will come through

I can no longer hide the gash
In vain, I’ve tried repairs
But words like knives, cut and slash
Even empty words are hard to bear

I can’t numb it, stuff it, hide behind walls
Don’t tempt me—I’m on a thin string
If in a moment, I could end it all
I really would not miss a thing

P.S. Before you label me “lost”
I’ve had to let things go to be free
Giving up everything is part of the cost
Dear heart, you are bound for eternity.

Uncomfortable Grace

Destination Unknown

How can you live in a world of suffering and not be defined by that suffering?

The world around me reminds me everyday of my own suffering. The losses are deep, the anger sometimes springs up without warning. Some small thing is said and reminds me of a deeper pain that I have yet to overcome. And sometimes my heart feels as if it just cannot take one more single bit of bad news or suffer another thing. And I wonder how on earth I can live a life with all the pain and not be defined by it.

Steve Saint tells a story in the book Suffering and The Sovereignty of God (p. 112) that I think clarifies suffering a little bit by giving it a purpose:

When I was a teenager, I knew a family whose son was terribly burned when he ran into a car and the gas tank on his motorcycle exploded. In the hospital burn unit he begged his mother to just let him die. She responded by inviting friends to cheer him up, but he refused to see anyone. Finally one day there was a knock on his hospital room door. When his mother opened the door there was a stranger with hideous scars all over his face and arms standing there.

The mother slammed the door, hoping her son hadn’t seen the man. But he had, and insisted his mother let the man in. His mother resisted, thinking the sight would further discourage her son. Instead of discouraging the boy, however, that man convinced the boy that there was reason to live.

People who suffer want people who have suffered to tell them there is hope. They are justifiably suspicious of people who appear to have lived lives of ease…sufferers want to be ministered to by people who have suffered.

I wonder how much courage it took that man to walk in to a room with a child who was suffering the same exact thing he had and to hold out encouragement to him. The details don’t say. It only says that the child was encouraged and given hope. Maybe the man walked out of the room and was encouraged himself. Maybe he too was able to speak the words of truth and was given the faith to truly believe it.

Books have been written about suffering and how to “get through” suffering (as if we ever really get over it), but I have yet to fully understand how to suffer well. It goes against everything our culture thinks and feels. We want to hide from suffering. We want to prevent it. We want to cover it with band-aids and nice sounding words. But never do we want to live in it. So how do we suffer well (not trying to escape it or cover it with band-aids) without being defined by it (or becoming consumed by it)?

We are told that Jesus can minister to us because he suffered. I don’t know if I’m the only one who thinks this way, but sometimes Jesus dying seems so far removed from my own personal suffering. Further, I think sometimes I don’t view his suffering the same way I view my own. Selfishly, I think we all tend to think that our suffering is worse than the next guys–and that includes Jesus. To take it a step further, I often think that Jesus was given something “extra special” to endure the pain. Maybe God made him some sort of robot with no feelings or maybe he got some sort of Batsuit that made him deflect pain (although one could argue Batman’s uniform isn’t very cooperative. I have thicker bathing suits.)

In Feel: The Power of Listening to Your Heart by Matthew Elliot, he illuminates the love Jesus shown for us at the cross:

Who is our Jesus? The Spock-like Jesus who overcame his emotions in Gethsemane to logically choose the many over the one? The Jesus who did the right thing no matter how he felt? Do we embrace the words of author John Eldredge, who writes, ‘Equating the heart with emotion is the same nonsense as saying that love is a feeling. Surely, we know that love is more than feeling loving; for if Christ had followed his emotions, he would not have gone to the cross for us‘?

No. Without a great motivating love…Jesus would have never chosen the cross.

In the Bible, we are faced with a different Jesus motivated by deep love. For the joy set before him, he endured the pain of the cross. Do you choose a Spock-like Jesus, with rational and logical thought taking the lead, dying on that cross having done his duty? Or do you choose the Jesus whose love held him to the cross when at any moment he could have called down a legion of angels to take him directly to God the Father? Love propelled him through the horror for your sake.

Further in the book he quotes John Calvin who says “How can the mind be aroused to taste the divine goodness without at the same time being wholly kindled to love God in return? For truly, that abundant sweetness which God has stored up for those who fear him cannot be known without at the same time powerfully moving us.”

I think you have to embrace the Jesus who suffered, who died, and who did it with love. How can you love Jesus when you don’t identify with his love for you? The problem with suffering though, at least for me, is that sometimes our hearts are so hurt we can’t see through our own pain. We don’t want to embrace Jesus because that means we have to somehow give up our anger at our abusers. We have to entrust ourselves like he did to the Father. Is God really going to avenge me? Is he really going to punish the evil done to me? Is he really going to undo all the dying and suffering? We want so badly to cling to our anger because, in a way, its our way of punishing those who did us wrong. We want to put trust in ourselves, because we think, inaccurately, that we somehow are a better judge of our own lives than Jesus is.

Suffering will not define me if I let God use my suffering to teach me to “hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” (Romans 12:9).  Through suffering, I see where my love lies and the tendencies I have to wander. If life is good, you don’t see the ugliness of your own heart. You are content to be happy. But in suffering, you see all the places in which your heart is evil. Don’t believe me? Step on a Lego once and see what comes flying out of your mouth. I’m learning though that I can’t change those things about myself.  I can’t build my own little kingdom and then ask God to show me His. There is only room for one. Which one will it be? Only suffering can produce in us that kind of change.

I’ve said enough, but I’ll leave you with this quote from Paul David Tripp from a sermon entitled, Does God Care?

I think for many of us—and I’ve been here many times in my life—there are moments where I’m crying out, “Where is the grace of God?” And I’m getting it. But it’s not a cool drink. It’s not a soft pillow. Oh, I want the grace of relief and the grace of release, and I get those in pieces, but largely those are to come.

What I actually need is the transforming grace of refinement. It’s grace! Sisters, we’d better become committed to encouraging one another and teaching one another and preaching to one another (get this terminology) the theology of uncomfortable grace.

Because very often, this side of eternity, the grace of God comes to me in uncomfortable forms. It’s grace! It’s grace! It’s grace! God will take you where you haven’t chosen to go in order to produce in you what you could not achieve on your own. That’s glorious grace.

This part of me

I have a million thoughts rolling around in my head lately. Some things in my life just haven’t been fair. People have lied, deceived, and abused. I find myself getting angered by things I can’t change. It’s why I’m quiet, introverted, weird sometimes. I’ve learned to survive things. I’ve learned to keep my head down and to say the right things. I’ve heard the cheap talk, the holier-than-thou crap. I’ve avoided further pain by being quiet and indifferent. I’ve gone into emotional survival mode.

I’ve suffered through spiritual abuse, physical abuse, and emotional abuse. I’ve watched people die at their own hands and others because they stopped caring. I’ve glared at dead bodies and watched life drain from others who should have kept fighting. I’ve been homeless and poor while churches got richer and turned a blind eye to a widow with children. I sat and listened to the Pastor speak of care and concern, but turn around and fund his own kids colleges meanwhile not caring whether we ate at all or lived another day.

I was teased and bullied and treated like the plague by people who didn’t know me–worse yet, by people who did and claimed they cared about me. I have been bruised and beaten by rods and sticks and hands, but even worse by the words from the lips of those who said they loved me and from those who said God did and they chose his name to dole out their abuse. I’ve watched alcoholism destroy a good man and his words ruin a little girl. And maybe the hardest thing is being forgotten–because at least when someone is angry at you, they still remember you.

I have no pretty bow to tie on these thoughts–but I am here. Brothers, sisters, mother, father, friends, teachers, pastors, church members…you have not killed me or taken me or left me for dead. I’m here. That says something. God put me here for some reason and not even you can thwart his plans.


This is the part of me that your never gonna ever take away from me…

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