The Altar of Lament


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I was curled up in the back seat of my car tonight talking with a friend.

We were discussing grief, I’ve concluded that all the times in my life when I thought I was going through grief I was actually dealing with alternatives.

I mean sure, I have had some really good long cries and I felt better afterwards. It was definitely not a bad thing  but they also have so far not helped me in the long term. Often I was simply feeling sorry for myself and I don’t think I ever faced reality enough to feel the full extent of my pain.

My friend was telling me how she always feels guilty when she pours her heart out to God because it feels like self pity. It made me take a good look at her life, she did spend years in bitter pain and agony but in the last couple of years she has walked an amazing journey and it started when she was honest with God. I knew that she was not feeling sorry for herself, she was actually lamenting. Then I took a good look at my life, I’ve never been real at all with my struggle and I’ve been wallowing in self pity.

I’d cry, I’d beat myself up both literally and figuratively, I would get lost in binge eating then attempted to throw up or overdose on laxatives and try to add more workouts. That’s totally not grieving, it’s just a sick form of idolatry.

I have scars on my body from cutting myself because I wanted to prove something:

  1. I was hurt
  2. I have a voice to let everyone know it.

But did it do any good? Not at all. Am I sorry I did it? I’m not sure yet. I sometimes have shame when I look at my scars but I more often have a sense of pride because I’ve felt they proved I have an excuse.

But now God has been calling me to the altar of lament and I really want to go but it means I’ll have to let go of this version of KD that I’ve discovered nad that means letting go of all of this bitterness and self justification and I’ll have to face the reality of what has happened to me and all the consequences of all I have done. It means I no longer have an excuse, I simply have brokenness and a God who will walk with me to wherever He wants to take me and that place might be somewhere I don’t want to go. I would have to come under authority and to me that’s scary, as long as I keep my knife, my alcohol, and all my other little idols in one hand I’m fine with reaching out to God with the other hand because then I’ll have some measure of control. But God has showed me that He has taken me as far as He can take me while I’m dragging the idols along on the other side of me.

I’ve been mulling this whole thing over for days now and I’ve been wrestling with God. It seems everywhere I look there is a message waiting for me on surrendering and facing pain and I know God is calling. Today I saw a quote “Let your grief be poured out so your cup can be refilled.” It speaks exactly into what I know, I can’t cling to this pain and expect to receive blessings, so I can either let go of the pain and walk with God or sit here in my misery till it either kills me or forces me into surrender.

I can just hear you saying, “but KD, why are you so stubborn and hesitant?”

I’ll be honest with you, I’m deathly afraid of the truth. I’m sitting here like a 3 year old who refuses to eat their broccoli and people all around me are coaxing and coaxing me to move on.

I don’t blame little kids for not eating their broccoli, have you ever tried eating something you hated and your gag reflexes kicked in?

My soul is rejecting the truth it needs and it feels like no amount of willpower will ever open me up to the truth.

I got drunk again this past weekend, it wasn’t planned but it happened, I found it was easier to keep pouring the drinks then to face reality but once again I’m seeing just how insidious and foolish it was.

I’m aching for the altar of lament if only I could gather up the courage to go there and cry and pour out my my grief. I’d become a whole new person I just know it.

But I don’t know where courage comes from. God, I need a miracle.


Without a Voice

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I have wanted to write about this subject for awhile now, but when I sit down to write, I don’t know how to say it. It hit me that this is exactly like the topic. I want to speak yet I don’t know how. Should I explain?

A very old quote that we have believed is, ‘children should be seen and not heard’. I understand why we recite it because children out of control are terrors, but I don’t believe or agree with it. You are more than welcome to disagree with me. But you should also know that I have experience backing my belief..

I was the child without a voice.

Writing that down actually helped validate the fact in my mind. Sometimes I wonder if it was all just created by my vivid imagination.

Here are some of the memories.

I don’t remember ever telling my parents that my church friends kept leaving me for other friends. If I did tell them (and I don’t remember), I never felt like they understood.

I didn’t share with them very many of my interests and passions. I was afraid they wouldn’t listen or approve.

I definitely never told them about my struggle with crushing on boys.

It took me a very long time to tell my mom that I wanted to quit taking piano lessons.

Would they have listened? Probably. Would they have understood? Occasionally.

But it was hard to ever actually tell them. There was a wall between them and I. I didn’t want to be embarrassed. I didn’t know how to be vulnerable. I was afraid.

I felt like a child without a voice.

I wanted to be validated and not ashamed.

I wanted to be told I was brave.

I wanted to feel secure in my parents’ approval.

Why couldn’t I tell them that?

I think the first reason was that I was only a child and I didn’t understand what was happening. That was the way I thought everyone lived. The other reason is, I didn’t know how to voice my heart.

The few times I convinced myself to tell them something personal, I would write it on a note and leave it for them. One time after I blew up in a letter, Mom was kind and understanding. I felt guilty for laying everything open like I did. I felt stupid for being vulnerable.

I don’t know who taught me that I didn’t have a voice. Was it my parents or was it just something I learned as a survival tool?

What about you? Can you relate to what I’m saying?

Just in case you were wondering, my parents are very good people. Maybe your parents are good too. What is the truth about your childhood? Don’t try to lie to yourself. The truth will catch you eventually.

The truth about my childhood?

My parents did not pursue me. They didn’t know how to teach me to use my voice.

I tried to create my own voice.

That still hurts me today.

What is your story?

Where is your voice?


Diary of an Addict


August 25, 2018

Dear diary,

I am sitting on the edge of my bed tonight trying to make sense of my feelings.

I’m all alone.

Not really though, I mean I’m home alone but two really close friends just texted me and that happens a lot.

The thing is, I am an addict. I have been for a long time.

Since yesterday afternoon I have been feeling the urges to pick up my knife and cut myself again.

Does that surprise you?

In my nightstand drawer I have a knife and a box of matches. I often forget I have them but tonight I feel like I have to physically restrain myself so I don’t use them.

Why am I feeling this way? I’m not even sure….

I could go for some shots of liquor right now but I don’t have any. If you look into my laundry room closet you will find all my empty bottles of liquor and beer.

I could just stuff my face with food right? No, I do that often enough and right now I’m really not hungry.

I want to see my own skin sliced open and bleeding right now. I want to feel the pain so  badly. The truth is, right now I have a headful of unsorted emotions,

I can’t cry, I can’t laugh, I don’t know what I’m feeling.

But I have this one nagging thought.

Not good enough.

I never was to anyone.




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I hate islands; they are too familiar to me. While they are safe, they drain the life out of me. I know what it’s like to live alone. More than just being alone though, it’s also feeling lonely. To feel like no matter how loud you scream, no one will break into your loneliness and be with you.

Sometimes I think I can see you standing at the edge of your island wanting to be rescued. Well, I’d like to think that you want rescued. Maybe you like your land and the peace and quiet. Is this the only way we survive life?

Recently something has changed, I can hear the voices calling to me. They must have realized that there’s actually a human here. I’m scared but I think I’ll go with them. Hopefully they know the way out.

I was wondering… would you come with me? They said they have a boat and that there’s plenty of room. We can come and get you. I don’t know you but I can’t stand the thought of leaving you here. We can be brave and escape these islands together.


The System (Part II)

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How can a brick and mortar structure create so much emotion in my soul?

I long to go to church and worship God, to meet other believers and to belong. But I don’t.

People misunderstand me.

I misunderstand me.

I don’t hate church, I hate the system. Why is it that when we attempt to put God in a box we end up confusing ourselves and hurting people? I think when we take God and bring him down on our level we end up with another god. Our human minds can’t fathom their own Creator’s goodness.

I’ve concluded I have 2 gods. I gave my heart to the god of the system years ago. Then just recently I attempted to give my heart to the Eternal God of the Church but the god of the system won’t let me go.

There is nothing wrong with the brick and mortar structure we call church.

We are the church and the problems lies in us.

In me…

I carry years and years of pain from lies I’ve believed and still believe. And a deep anger at all the wasted years and energy I poured into being good and fitting in and serving a god who could never be pleased. It was all a waste and it never got me anywhere.

When I go to church all the pain surfaces and I choke up. All the lies come back… You don’t belong, you never will. You don’t fit in. God hates you, he’s long ago given up on you, you’re just wasting your time. You’re all alone in this. The thoughts swirl and I feel alone in a crowd of well put together people.

I smile, I talk, I say amen, I ask questions and I agree to help out with things but I’m not there.

That’s why I quit going to church.


Rescuing Myself

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Why do I feel like apologizing to God when I can’t fix myself? Where did I ever get the idea that I can heal myself? I didn’t become a Christian and get this far by fixing myself. I didn’t save myself from my own sin.

The truth is that I can’t rescue myself.

Somehow I like to think that I can.

After all this time, do I still not trust that God will come through for me? Does it feel safer to believe I can save me?

I’m afraid that I am not worth freeing. I don’t know if I want God pursuing and rescuing me if I’m just a mess.

“It’s safer for you to stay out of my mess and just encourage me while I fight for freedom. I feel bad about making you get involved in my painful life.”

When I write that, I suddenly feel like the prodigal.




“Really God, I’ll try to make it easier for you. You can just make me a servant. I don’t expect full freedom; I’m too muddy for that. If you come the whole way over here, you’ll see it all. That will be even more shameful. It won’t be safe. Just come partway and I’ll do the rest.”


“That’s not what you want is it? You want to come all the way into my pain and wipe it away. You want to put your hands on my face until your tears wash my shame away. You want to wrap your strong arms around me so I won’t collapse from sobbing. You don’t want to leave me ever, do you?”

“Why didn’t they tell me you were this way? The way they talked, you sounded like a school teacher making sure I learned lessons correctly and gave the right answers.”

“You really are good. Just like a Good Father. Next to you my saving doesn’t even look freeing. You rescue with love I’ve never felt before. You are a wonderful rescuer. Somehow you’ve managed to make me feel worthy again. You believed I was worth pursuing when I didn’t. I don’t have the words to tell you how that makes me feel. Is this how freedom feels?”
~ Hope

Who Are You Really?



What are you hiding behind that smile?

Your life looks amazing from my perspective. Your outfits are well put together and bought brand new right? Your hair is always on fleak. You show up to work always on time, a few minutes late sometimes maybe. You are climbing the ladder of success.

But who are you?

What are you carrying inside of you? I’d like to know.

Are you looking at me the way I look at you? Do I seem well put together?

I’m not. My life is held together by thin threads of borrowed hope.

Could it be that you need someone to believe in you? May I loan you some hope? You have an amazing life ahead of you but you need to hang on.

What’s behind your smile? What do I hear in your laughter? What’s that I see in your eyes?  I think we are a lot alike. Your life isn’t perfect at all.

you are sad and lonely just like me. Are you afraid too? It’s ok. You will be ok. Let me give you a big hug. I can’t put the pieces of your life together but I can tell you there is hope and you are not alone.

I can be your friend but I cannot carry your pain for you. We all have a battle to face and it feels like no one understands.

But we all have a need to be understood. Jesus says come to the light.

Friend, lets go to the light of Jesus Christ and expose all the ugliness and broken pieces of our hearts because you know what? That’s how healing happens.

You are loved, you are chosen, you are important.

Be honest no matter how hard it is, and quit hiding behind that smile. You are worth so much more.




She heard his footsteps echoing down the corridor. She kept her head down. What she didn’t want at the moment was one of the guards tormenting her. The footsteps stopped in front of the cell. When there was only silence, she looked up. He was looking at her through the bars. She hadn’t ever seen this man before. There was no way he was one of her guards. The kindness in his face hid any distinct features he had. The last time she could remember seeing kindness like that was, well…

He finally spoke. “Why are you here?” His voice was soft, not at all accusing. She lowered her head but kept her eyes fixed on his.

“I, I messed up. I didn’t want to come here. But I couldn’t be good enough.” A tear ran down her face. She begged him with her eyes to believe her story. The only thing she couldn’t understand was why she wanted this stranger to believe her. For all she knew he could be a spy. Would he leave her after she had admitted the truth?

“Do you want out of this place?” He asked as he looked around at the peeling paint and stains on the floor. He turned his gaze back to her face. It took her a moment to plant the question firmly in her mind. Did she want out? Wasn’t that the dream that haunted her for so long? Isn’t that the only dream she had since being there?

“Oh yes, I don’t want to stay here.” Almost without hope, she watched to see what he would do. He slowly reached into a pocket. She heard the clink of metal. The sound with its memories almost paralyzed her. He brought his hand back out of his pocket. Something glinted inside of his hand. His hand went for the lock between them. The key slid into place. She held her breath, barely hoping. With a small click and rasping sound, there wasn’t any bars separating the two anymore.

He held out his hand. “Come with me please.” She slowly stretched out her hand and placed it in his.

“What if,’ she looked fearfully around. ‘What if they find us before we can leave?”

He stopped and looked her directly in the eye. “If you stay close to me, they can’t harm you.” Relief washed over. She moved closer to him. It had been that long since she was brought there that she didn’t know the way out.

They moved slowly down the passageway. Her legs trembled as they tried to support her body. Then there was the unmistakable sound of stomping. She knew that sound. He held her hand tighter as a guard came directly at them. The guard opened his mouth to degrade her. His look turned to terror as he recognized the man. Without a word, he pushed past the two. When the sound faded away, she looked up at the man. Who was he? She had never known anyone who wasn’t afraid of the guards.

Then she heard a sound. It was a gentle, soft noise. He was laughing. Who was this kind man who laughed at giants?

~ Hope


Potatoes and Lives



I have a potato. For the sake of extreme creativity I will call it Potato A. If I take this potato and cut a big slice off of the side, I now have only a part of a potato. It’s very easy to see what happened.

But if I take another potato out, (let’s call him Potato B) and go outside. Then I find a rock. I take Potato B and rub it against the rock. At first you can’t see much, maybe just a little scraped skin. I don’t do this just once though, I do it again and again. Soon this potato is as damaged as Potato A.

The problem is that Potato B will have a harder time figuring out what happened.

Who are you?

Because this isn’t just about potatoes, it’s about people.

It’s about you. Are you broken? Wounded? Hurting?

Who are you?

Were you damaged like Potato A? Did your wound come in big blows? Maybe you were abused? Were you abandoned? You can look at your life and say, “This is where the knife came down.”

You are hurting. You have a reason to hurt. You were wounded.

But what if you weren’t hurt like that?

What if you can’t remember big traumas in your life?

Then you can relate to Potato B.

Maybe it was a lot of little things.

A friend’s rejection

An angry parent

Cutting remarks



Each time things like that happen, it scrapes away at us until we are badly damaged. The problem is that it’s harder to believe you were hurt. Somehow we think life should be okay.

Whether you are Potato A or Potato B, you are hurting.

I don’t know what happened.

But I do know this. You did not deserve that. You were not hurt because it was your fault. There was someone that already took that hurt for you. You don’t deserve the hurt. You are worth freedom. You are worth being loved. I want healing for you. Even more, He wants healing for you.

Will you let God heal you?

He is good.

He can put the pieces back together.

~ Your sister, Hope

The System (Part I)

The System

It sits empty all week long. Maybe an evening a week it’s visited and every Sunday morning it’s full. It’s where so many good things happen. People get married, people become friends, grow together and learn, they pour their hearts out to each other and cry together. Sad things happen too. Like funerals. They bury the dead in a plot of land beside it and mark the deceased with a stone to remember them by.

It’s more then a building, it’s like a system and it’s supposed to work for everyone.

I started off as a regular Sunday school kid. I learned all the songs, memorized the verses and earned my stickers just like everyone else. Then also just like everyone else I “gave my heart to Jesus” at just the prime age and was baptized at exactly the right time. I never skipped communion, I rarely sat on the back pew and I even kept notes of the sermons.

But it seems like I blinked and missed something important. I failed the system. But to me it seems like the system failed me.

I hate church, it makes me bleed.

It hurts like hell.

But what really happened? What is reality? I have more questions then I have life to find answers for. At this rate I’ll die with them or they will kill me.