Thursday, November 15, 2007

and for this i am grateful

i realized tonight, through a conversation with a person i care for very much, that God has been chasing me. perhaps this seems like a silly revelation being that i have been a "christian" for about as long as i can remember. whether it started when i was five and felt convicted about some silly childhood fib, that my parents would never have found out about, but i still thought i'd die if i didn't tell "someone" i was sorry. or at ten, thirteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, when i was baptized (yes more than once) or "re-commited " my life to God for the umpteenth time. or if it was when i had my heart broken for the first time. i am not entirely sure when that was. because it has broken in small places throughout my entire life. but of course there were the big ones. my father's affair. telling my mother about my father's affair. the boy for the first time. the same boy. for a second time. or the deaths of people i loved. or perhaps there was no beginning. maybe i have subconsciously always know that, although i was born "into sin," God had long ago bought me at a price and was just waiting for me to figure it out. because people have been telling me for some time now that "God is after you." "God loves you more than anything." "you are made in His image." "He just wants to spend time with you. He wants you to talk to Him. to give Him all your worries." sometimes they even yelled it. i heard their voices. sometimes i even took them to heart. my eyes burned with tears while someone played acoustic guitar in the background. you know the classic church soundtrack to the movie version of your life. and your salvation. at some point within the last year. it got real. or maybe i got real. i know God has always been real. maybe even some of what they were saying was real. so i guess that leaves us with the last option. i got real. my life got really real. things were bit too much for me. i was living this terribly legalistic lifestyle on the outside. but i was so miserable on the inside. to be completely honest. i wasn't living it either. i would bible thump for a couple months. beat myself up. go party. feel bad, but keep partying. go to church. lie. not go to church. beat myself up some more. tell myself that if i couldn't get it together God would never want me. and if i was doomed to keep messing up then what was the point in trying. stop! do you see what i see? it was all about ME. it isn't about me. i couldn't have dreamt me up if i was tripping on the best acid known to man. (i've never actually done acid, but i was thinking about how creative the Beatles were and i hear they did a lot of it.) only He made me. only He made all of us. this whole thing was His idea. so when i make it about me, i take the focus away from Him. the only one who knows me. the only one who knew every stupid, ugly, good, and loving thing i have ever done or will ever do. i never got what the word grace meant, until i was shown it by people who were truly after His heart. until i was loved in a way that was always gracious. always forgiving. even before i said "i'm sorry." what is the sense in apologizing to someone who has already forgiven you? what is the point in fixing yourself when He sees nothing wrong with you to begin with? when i tell myself that i'm not good enough to go to Him with everything and for anything i am blatantly denying the gift Christ gave me in His death, burial, and resurrection. i am looking into Jesus' big, brown, endless, sparkling eyes and saying "no, thanks dude. i can do this on my own. you don't want me anyway. i'm a mess." can you imagine how that makes Him feel? "alright, caitlin. i was beaten and bruised. mocked, shamed, spit on, and killed. i saw your face. i was cleaned with my mother's tears. buried. and ROSE FROM THE DEAD. and i saw your face. i was the spotless sacrifice my Father sent to rid you of the excuses you're offering me now. and i saw your face. i want you. just the way you are. right now. trust me." how can i do that? i can't. i won't anymore. as i allow myself to be stripped of all the bull, i am continually running in to layers of my past self that are very painful. some of them are so ugly it takes me days to admit to just myself that they were revealed at all. but when i give them to Him, when i begin to believe what He says about me, that i am beautiful, beloved, sought after, loved, and a co-heir in His kingdom. the ugliness is dissolved. eradicated. bound and sent to the foot of the cross to be dealt with accordingly. now don't think that just because He wants you exactly the way you are, wherever you are, that He won't change you. because He will. when you encounter the living God you can't help but be changed. i am constantly being redefined. whether it is as simple has hardly being able to stomach television (which is just my thing) or wanting to talk through, walk through, and fight for love in every corner of my life no matter what the cost is to me, it happens. dying to self. i've heard that saying somewhere before. haha. but to feel it happen. to take your pride by the throat, kicking and screaming, and hand it over to i must have been a very angry girl for a very long time. this is the most free i have ever felt. and this is just the beginning.

Monday, November 12, 2007

now that i have seen

was there ever a time when it was easier to cry out to God? when people didn't mistake spiritual unrest for insanity? when we weren't prescribed pills for depression or anxiety because it was known that their root was separation from the Father? not that i don't believe that the brain can have certain imbalances, but if i didn't think i would be arrested i would probably tear my clothes and scream. dance naked in my yard, like david. unashamed. i would seek nothing, but His peace and love and company. always. my heart breaks most recently for the fact that there are so many things that attempt to separate me from my Jesus and i let them! i am falling in love with a man who has been in love with me since before i was known in this world and i let myself get distracted. i do things that hurt Him and then i wonder why i hide my eyes in shame the next day. i can't bear this life alone. without Him. without fellowship. without worship and constant prayer. how do i tap into the blessings He has promised me? how do i "go in peace" ? how do i love with the fervor He calls us to? how do i make myself of use when i despise myself? i guess that is the problem. i need to believe what He says about me. He says that i am holy. beloved. forgiven. why then do i walk around black and blue from believing what anyone other than Him says or has said about me? why do i look in the mirror and allow myself to call His creation ugly, fat, hateful, and despised? why do i let my worth be defined by the way ungodly men treat me? hasn't He given me examples of how godly men see me? yes. then why? why do i buy into these lies? why do i seem to take one step forward and two steps back? why do i feign ignorance, when i know He has given me wisdom? my friends look to me for advice and instead of giving them answers i know to be true, i tell them what they want to hear. and if i do offer them truth, they rarely want to hear it and seek "truth" elsewhere. i need a true spiritual friend. someone to talk to. someone to pray for me and keep me accountable. some i have looked to for support think that i am looking to them for what only God can give me. this is untrue. i need a friend who can recognize my vulnerability at this time. this is a call on their life as well, to comfort me with the comfort God has given them. and that is biblical. i believe i have acquiesced to this call before. i am seeking Him. actively. i know i cannot find true love or true peace anywhere, but in His arms. but He did not ask us to do this alone. He intends for us to talk and cry and laugh and fight and seek alongside each other. i pray for someone to come alongside me. to get on the other side of my burdens, like a couch too heavy to be lifted by one person, and help me offer them up to the One who can absolve me of them once and for all.

i wrote this last night. at the time it seemed valid. i was running around looking for someone to manifest characteristics of Jesus instead of just going to JESUS. i need friends. i do. but i count them and the rest of this world as loss compared to being with Him. in a matter a minutes He has turned the agony of the last few days into joy. i long with the deepest sense of the word to be with Him. i feel silly. my friends should want to be there for me, yes. but they are not my savior and none of them could know me or love me the way He does. no matter how hard they try. my deepest apologies to those i have looked to for something they are incapable of giving. be blessed as i am blessed.

so i whisper soft your name
and let it roll around my tongue
knowing you're the only one who knows me
you know me

show me how i should live this
show me where i should walk
i count this world as loss to me
you are all i want
you are all i want

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

leaves and bones

days like today, when fall is rapidly spinning into winter, it seems as though the world is soaking in a perpetual dusk. the light never brightens and the sun refuses to show even half her face through the clouds. the clouds that are all waiting, with bated breath, to spit out our first snow. i can see old man winter jumping from tree to tree on the coat tails of the wind. his feet and hands haphazardly knocking brittle leaves to the ground. the leaves, that are pushed into piles. scrunched into trash bags. chopped up. perhaps turned into mulch for someone's garden. thrown away with the rest of our waste. or burned. filling the air with my favorite smells. among the trees, where no man tends the ground, they continue to gather in layers of decaying life. soon they will rot completely under winter's blanket and seep slowly back into the earth whence they came. death breeds new life. the leaves remind me

the whole town smells like someone lit a giant match. a befitting odor as i feel as though i am on fire. like things inside me are burning up. passions not in line with what He has called me to are waning, while others are igniting in rapid succession. things i thought i wanted or needed have been tossed into a giant bonfire and i am helpless to stop it. i don't want to stop it. it is beautiful to rest in worship. to meditate on the Father. on His hand in my life. at times i find myself mourning. i am not always sure what. perhaps it is the times i haven't spent with Him. perhaps the needless pain i've attempted to suffer alone, instead of just giving it to Him as it presents itself. He was always there. reaching out to take it from me. i foolishly held onto it. thinking i could fix it myself. or perhaps i am mourning being here. not this town. but this earth. altered and scarred from the way He originally intended it to be. perhaps i am just longing for Him to come and bring us, and all things, restoration. what a day that will be. for now i am here. seeking truth and claiming it. loving and living as best i know how. (right lauren?) constantly asking for His guidance and strength. seeking counsel from others. taking it one day at a time. or trying very hard anyway.

i also find myself becoming familiar with the names i read in His book. i am transfixed on the stories surrounding the lives of both the familiar and unfamiliar people in it. they were real! they lived and breathed and cired and walked and bled and suffered and laughed and hugged and kissed. they had sex and made babies. they made mistakes and got in trouble with their mothers. they lied. they made amends. the reality of how closely tied we are to them is sinking into my head. my heart. my bones. the feeling it gives me is one i can scarce describe and suspect i will never shake.