I may or may not have a slight addiction to old western movies. The drama, the suspense, the solid ending get me just about every time. And when there is a band of men fighting together to save the story – my heart leaps and wants to be a one of them. That’s the part that really gets me. I wonder what it would feel like to know that no matter how despondent or how captive I am, that someone will fight through for me. One of my own will come for me.
The Christian church is messed up. I don’t have to be smart to figure that out. I love the church dearly so please don’t think I’m a hater. There are too many people walking away from the church. Do you know why? Its because the church doesn’t have answers. They don’t know how to help people and they don’t know to help people heal.
I wish church were more like old westerns. How would it change your life if you knew no matter what happened, that someone, maybe even several people had your back? That even if you were tied up in the desert held by evil forces because of a mistake you made, that your ‘brothers’ would come for you. There would be no battle too hard or too dangerous that would keep them from securing your freedom. You would always know that they were convinced you were true and you knew the same about them.
That sounds more like church to me than what’s going on right now.
Somewhere in the middle, between good and evil.
I have no place to call home.
I pray from the bottom of my heart, I love to do good but evil comes natural.
I put my chin up and step out to greet the day, a brand new day, a clean slate but ten minutes in I’ve already cussed a stranger.
I spit out venom
I spit out praise
I live a miserable wretched life but I love the Lord, I love the church.
They tell me I’m a wild girl, I smile and lift my chin.
Inside I weep and no one sees.
This is me: this is the life of your average church girl.
I’d like to tell you about something I’ve learned recently. Here it goes.
This past year I have been learning more about lies. Not about what a lie is, but what it does to me. Lies dig deep under your skin like a parasite. You don’t have to know where they are for them to destroy you. Lies have been trying to destroy me – they want to take out my life. I was reading a book the other night when feelings started stirring inside me. The book was amazing, it wasn’t about the book. When I started processing, I felt something coming to the surface.
Most of my life I have been labeled as strong willed. Just recently a couple of my respected human beings told me that I am strong. I want to believe that. And I might be just a bit smug that people believe that about me. But I don’t fully believe that I am strong. This is the lie that came boiling up to my mind after reading that book.
“I am not strong enough. I have fought hard to prove to myself and everyone around me that I am strong enough, but I’m not. I, Hope am not strong enough.”
On New Year’s Eve, KD and I were writing out our new year’s resolutions together. Actually she was writing and I was goofing off. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to actually think about resolutions. In between writing my goals, I scribbled this down in my notebook. “I hate New Year’s Resolutions. It just feels like another thing to fail in. I’m so tired of trying only to blow it.”
I don’t actually hate resolutions. I enjoy them. Why did I write that I hated it? Deep down inside of me there is a weariness that dreads the thought of more things to do. Every task is another test of whether I am strong or whether I’m going to blow it and reveal the lie’s truth. Projects are not just projects in my life. They are the enemy’s way of inserting the lie over and over again. “You, Hope, are not strong enough. You don’t have what it takes to survive this battle. Everyone else, now they are strong, but you are a failure.”
I know this is a lie. That means I’m on my way to freedom. This is step one. I know this is a lie. But I only know it in my mind not in my heart. My heart still believes that it is weak. Lies don’t come out overnight, I know that too. The strangest thing about this lie is that fighting doesn’t seem like the way out. I have to actually tell myself that I don’t have to fight to prove my worth. I am enough whether I fight or not.
This is what I do know.
With Him I am enough.
He is my Fight Song.
He will bring me out from the lies. I can’t do that on my own.
He is my enough.
Empty like the smile on your face
like all the words you say
it’s all meaningless.
Tears are in vain
pain is inevitable
but I refuse to feel.
Joy is an illusion
life is void of purpose.
God remains silent
Hope whispers quietly,
I turn away because
hope takes courage and
I don’t have the courage to hope.
My eyes are dry
my laugh is hollow
the lights are out and the rain is falling.
One day it will wash away
all the heartache of
this wasted life.
Life is good.
You can get up in the morning and accomplish a lot of things.
You teach Sunday school.
Praise and worship songs are your favorite.
Life is good,
Then, something happens. Someone says the wrong thing to you at the wrong time or the wrong place. And suddenly you are swimming – no drowning in levels of pain you had tucked away.
Why did that have to show up?
You have to get out of that pain as fast as possible. You go with the quickest fix.
Extreme physical labor
Taking it out on someone that wasn’t even involved
Because, you know this game. It will work, for awhile. The pain will be pushed back down to it’s proper place. The world will be okay again. If you are one of the talented ones, it will look like you are farther ahead. Bigger paycheck or better spikes. It will all be okay. Except for one person. You. You are hurting more than ever. Your body and heart begin to believe the lie that they deserve to be punished for feeling the pain. Pain is dangerous. Pain will kill us. Don’t ever allow the pain to surface. Whatever you do, don’t tell anyone about the pain. They will just add more guilt and shame to your life.
If this is you, then we need to talk. No judgment – just talk. Because there are some things that you need to hear and if you could see my eyes, it would help you believe me. This pain you are going through, it is NOT because you were a horrible child. The lies that are attached to pain are just lies. You do not deserve this pain because you believe you are stupid. You are not an accident. You are not unwanted. You are not trash.
When the pain comes, the lies come with it. The pain won’t destroy you, the lies might. Do you have a safe place? Do you have someone to wrap their arms around you and help you reject the lies? No judgment – just grace and love. Let yourself be honest about the pain. Was your childhood a nightmare that you felt responsible for? Just let the pain hit you. It’s okay; I know a rock that won’t let you get washed away. That childhood pain was not your fault. The abuse that happened to you – that was not because you were a monster and deserved it.
Maybe you are just fine with avoiding the pain. You have life together. I need to tell you something. Pain can always run faster than you can. You might be okay for the moment but it will probably find you.
There is also something else I want to share with you. This is my favorite part. There is freedom waiting on the other side of the pain. Life is so much better on the other side.
Find a safe person.
Don’t hide from the pain.
Don’t keep hurting yourself.
Walk through the wall of pain.
It is worth it.
Freedom is waiting.
The Good Father is holding you.
Let it go.
~Your sister, Hope
It’s so valuable that without it we die but few of us have it.
I feel my lack of it with an intensity that takes my breath away. I beg God for it then I snuff it out with my own bitter perceptions of all it should be.
It’s Christmas time, all the towns are lit up, everyone is trying to create it but no one is successful, we have even started reaching into each others trying to rob what little they have for ourselves but we all just feel empty.
No one has time to stop and be still, but that’s how it’s found.
I beg for it with every breath I take.
I want peace with my self, my life, my God, my world.
God, help us all.