Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Its an honest night friends.
I haven't been blogging.
I have had words, so many words.
But truly, i get so afraid to voice them.
To say this out loud.
Because I feel like I don't get "better" fast enough, that I'm too negative,  and that I'm just too much.  I always believe I'm too much.
Here's the truth:  I don't care tonight.

I feel alone.
I feel forgotten.
I feel like every dream and desire I've had... ever single one.... has fallen on the ears of a God who hasn't heard.
I feel like I don't want to love anymore.  Because love hurts.
And I feel disappointed.
I feel angry.
I feel frustrated., because I know that I do have words, and I'm afraid to say them.
The holidays are hard.  This place right now... is hard.

And I sit in that, while reading about advent.
This evangelical / happy clappy pentecostalish girl is pretty new to this advent stuff.
But you know... I wait and I still hope.

I hope for that Messiah.
For Him to come.
For presence.
For peace.
To see things that I thought were dead, for them to come to life.
A resurrection.

Emmanuel, God with us.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


I read a quote this week that reminded me of something that I used to ask a lot of people I care about.  The quote was this:

  "Every time I tell God about my opinions, He asks me about my heart" - Bob Goff.
I realized its been a very long time since I have asked anyone I care about how their heart is.  And it has been an equally long time since I have sat and allowed myself to evaluate my own heart.   2014 has been a year full of a lot of wonderful things regarding this heart of mine, and a year of terrible things for this heart of mine. 
I think this heart suffered loss this year that I am still trying to rally back from. There were multiple things, but my faith crashed hard in February and I began to grieve the last 39 years of all I'd been told and believed blindly and realized that I didn't know where I fit in that anymore.  I left the only kind of church that I'd ever known, and I embraced the wild wilderness that I found myself in. 
But that all those things brought their own grief. 
And pain.

So how's my heart today, at this very moment as I type this?

My heart wants to hope.  In fact, I've felt this wild crazy hope for the next year but I'm afraid to do it.  I'm afraid if I let myself hope they will be dashed worse.  But I am choosing to hope.  Deliberately.  Intentionally.  I will hope.   Its feels foreign, because this lightness to her I haven't felt for a very long time. 
My heart. still has wounds that bleed.  The wounds of situations where I wasn't enough.  Wounds that still bleed from church hurt years ago, that for every cut that gets bandaged and starts to heal, I find another bleeder.  I don't think I can embrace church with all I have again, until I am speaking out of scars instead of wounds. 
My heart still loves.  I love people.  If I call you friend, even if your are the biggest jackass in the world, I will still say I love you and when you want to come back around, all is forgiven and it won't be held against you.   I say that because it happened this year.  It has been a concern for me this year that I would grow callous to people, and I am thankful that I don't think I have. 

This post is obviously nothing special and nothing fancy, but I find that question incredibly important... of simple asking how my heart is, and taking inventory of what I'm feeling, and getting in touch with the deep places. 

And I simply ask if maybe its been awhile since you've done the same....  so how's your heart?

Thursday, October 9, 2014


My deep soul friend who I will love:

Oddly, I'm blogging this about you and to you, and I still have not met you.   Or perhaps I have.  I really don't know.

Said by a woman who doesn't believe in soul mates.  I do believe, however, that I want to meet someone that I have this connection with.   This deep soul friend crazy stupid love connection.  Maybe there is only one of you out there, and maybe not.    So does that mean I believe in a soul mate?  I honestly don't know.  Maybe I say I don't believe there is a soul mate, a "one", because to say that means I may never find you.  Perhaps I was a silly woman to think that this was at all meant for me.   ( That's me over-analyzing...that comes with the package.  You're welcome. )

There has been twice I thought I had met you.  But they were not you.  And on they went with their lives, and truly, I was blessed with time with them.  I still call them friend.  Those relationships helped to show me a lot about myself, and what I need and what I love, and what I don't want.  Those relationships taught me that I was worthy, and in many ways, I saw the heart of Jesus through them that I hadn't before. I hope that someday I am a better girlfriend/wife/whatever because of those relationships.   I believe I am a better woman because I know them.  Because I let them know me.  I hope that they are better because they knew me. 

Those relationships also caused some of my greatest heartbreaks.  They left.  One left with no explanation for two years as to why he did.  When you have a sensitive heart like I do, that was devastating.  Both losses were honestly so hard.  Because of that, I fear that I will want to run rather than open my heart up to you.  You could leave. Its true.   I apologize in advance for when I will want to push you away.  I will most likely give you the option to leave, as I do that sometimes with my friends I love, because somehow I feel my emotions are a burden to them, that I am a burden to them, and I never want anyone to feel they have to stay by my side, or stay in my life.   Please be patient with this heart of mine.  It gets afraid because she, in every kind of relationship in her life,  has known more of people leaving than staying...  Or worse, people who have said they won't leave, but then just pull away and become silent in my life. 

You should know that holding me cures a multitude of things.   I am one of the most simple women you will ever meet in that way.   Happy,  sad, angry, anxious... holding me will provide safety for me.  It provides security for me.   Telling me I am loved, will do the same.  I need touch.  And I need words.  They are like breathing and eating and drinking for me.  You could never buy me a gift, never take me on a fancy date, or mop a floor, but if you do those things, it fills a place in me.  Hold my hand.  Kiss my head.  I need it.  

I've started to grieve the fact I may never find you.  I may never get married.  I probably will not ever get the joys of being pregnant and of new little life and motherhood.  Its this grief that I can't even explain, but the last 10 months... has made me cry almost every day.   But I am okay when all is said and done if I don't get that.  The other side of that grieving is that I want to give up hope that I ever meet you, my deep soul friend I love.  If I could simply give up that hope, surely my heart would hurt less, and I wouldn't wonder so much as to  who and where you are, and why the hell you haven't come into my life yet.   I want to grow old with you.  I'm so, so weary of this hoping. 

But I know me, and I know that I will keep praying for you.  I pray that your decisions are wise, that you are blessed beyond anything you could imagine.  I've prayed peace for you, and joy for you, for a community of friends that are amazing.  That you aren't left in want.  I pray that you hear the voice of God, and that you know the wild love of Jesus.  I pray that you aren't a good church boy, but rather, someone who has found this abundant grace, and who has found so much life out of conventional church that I have since leaving, and that you have a simple faith.     And that somehow, we find each other.

You won't be perfect, before you decide I think that, I'm well aware that we all have our baggage, issues, and bad habits.  And we all have these ugly moments... all of us, but I want to walk through those moments with you.   Seriously... I want to. 

I hope someday that you read this.  And that by then, you've known me awhile. 
And that you know that I loved you, I think, before I ever met you. 

You are worth waiting for.



Tuesday, September 30, 2014


I've wrestled round and round with this piece.  I wanted to find a way to make it tactful. 
Something wrapped pretty, with a big bow.
And for no one to send me awful messages after they read it. 
I wanted that. 
I always want everyone to like me. 
But this has been like a fire in me. 
And something that I need to own.
Church that helped raise me, it wasn't ok what you did.
Can I please shout that from the rooftops, its not ok what you did to me?
It isn't ok what you've done to others.

You never really knew me, you know.  You didn't know my heart.  Ever.  In 28 years or so, you never knew me, the Andrea that is.  The person I am.
I wore a mask because I was raised that I needed to do that. You taught me that.
It wasn't even in those final meetings that the deepest scars were born. 

Perhaps it was the time I shared for the first time in my life about my abuse.  And that was met with conversation that somehow when it ended, I believed it was my fault. That I deserved that.   I was made to feel shamed.  I was made to think it was ok, that somehow that Jesus thought that as well.  And before the next Sunday, I learned that it had been already shared with others.

Perhaps it was when I was told to just be positive.  And for years, I stuffed every question, and every doubt, and just happy clapped my way while wearing this mask and never acknowledging what I felt, because somehow, that was bad.  A sin.  I couldn't feel what I was feeling.  I couldn't process, and this girl had so much to process through. 

Maybe... maybe it was when I would question my pastor... I was met with the fact that I wasn't being submissive.  And that what I was doing was rebellious, and again, forcing me to be put under that yoke of shame, and that  me owning my feelings was wrong.  Because it did that.   Please, show me the heart of Jesus in that.  Show me.

All of that was the most heavy load to bear.  So heavy.
And those moments and more, every time, they made me bleed. 
And I did become cynical, rather than vocal about how things could be changed. 
I will own that.  I was so cynical.  I still struggle with not be cynical.

And then that meeting.  The meeting where I was told I could bring no one, but so thankful for a woman who stepped alongside me and insisted that she come.  Because I didn't want to stand up and say that's my right to do.  To bring someone with me.  I was afraid.  I knew that it was my crucifixion, you know..  I walked in with a jury present.  Call it what you will, but it was a jury.  I listened to the charges against me. They were written all down on that legal size yellow notebook.  I was divisive, I didn't get along with leadership, I wasn't submissive, I was rebellious....  I could continue, but I won't.  Even told that some of those things were rumors, but somehow, they became fact.  It was decided before I ever came in that room, and I knew that not one word of defense could make it better.  So I didn't.  I sat.  And listened.  What you didn't see was the fact I could barely walk to the car I had come to that meeting in.   The wave of emotion that hit was unlike anything I've ever experienced.   I felt emotionally raped.  I said those exact words that same night to my friend.  She sat and wept with me, and truthfully, I don't know here I would be right now if she wouldn't have been there.  I said that I wished that I'd been physically assaulted, physically abused because I knew already how to deal with that kind.  I didn't know what to do with spiritual abuse. 
I sat while you, church, you told people who sat with me in those meetings, if they wouldn't stand by me, if they wouldn't be my friend, that they wouldn't have to come to meetings anymore either.  That was perhaps the worst part for me.  Being alone in that.  I told them they could, you know.  I told them they could walk away.  They didn't.
You left me to bleed, church, with no hope of restoration, and no binding of these wounds.
And I continue to process
All of it. 
However many years later.
My first step in healing was right before I moved to Oklahoma, and simply walking back into there, and finding some closure and being able to come to a place of forgiveness...but this is the next part.  This fire in me that I couldn't write about anything else until I wrote about this.  
To bravely say that it was not ok what happened to me there.  
Because it wasn't.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


I can over analyze the hell out of anything and everything. And lately, its my writing.

Its true.

Such as today, I posted on facebook that I was thankful for friends that carry hope for me, and who speak life, and I posted it.  And I meant it.  When suddenly, all I could think was that people would think less, that I'm too much, that I have too many emotions, and that something is wrong with ME.  And I deleted it, hoping that no one saw it.

That happens far too much. 

It also happens when I want to comment on blogs that I like, or when I write.    I worry about what other people who communicate with their words so effectively will think of me commenting.  Do they roll their eyes?  Do they sigh?   I want to thank people whose blogs have honestly brought me hope and freedom.  And that their writing has said to me "you aren't alone".   But I get awkward and weird and then afraid to do so. 

Or the fact I didn't finish college.  I'm not as educated.   I type and write like I speak, fully knowing that's not "how" to do it.  But its how I work.  Its how these thoughts come out.   I'm not eloquent.  I'm blunt.  I'm really honest.  I'm raw.  I don't know any other way to write.  And I may never.

I have a friend whose been encouraging me to write poetry.  Here's the honest thing... I'm afraid.  I'm afraid to.  Terrified.  I read others poems and I could never write like that.   I can almost hear him saying, "so write like you.."... maybe not, but I think that is close to what he would say.  

One of my greatest fears is to end up alone, and friendships change when you write honestly.  I had the same small group of friends back home.  As I've been writing, a few have backed off.  Some of it could be that seasons in friendships change at times.  But I know theologically, I'm a different woman than I was.  I see and smell and taste and believe the world differently than I did for so many years growing up that good Pentecostal girl who honestly just always pretended to have it together.   I also know that in that environment, at times we took it very literally that if someone is not believing like you,  and they don't heed your warnings/advice, its best to just back off because you can't be close friends with them anymore...   A few I love dearly, they believe that.  I fear losing more friends that I love.

But here's the truth... or truths:

I have to write.  I have a million words all the time, and I feel like I'm going to explode if I don't put them somewhere. 

I want to write poetry even if they are stupid, or ridiculous, and  if only I and perhaps a friend or two ever read them. 

I have to come to love this passionate, emotional part of me.  Its Andrea.  Its who I am.  I want to always feel and love deeply.  I want to feel it all deeply.   Its often an equal blessing as it is a curse.   And I am often a raging sea rather than a calm one.

I don't have it together.  I may never.

I find God in different places than I used to.  Nature.  Partaking of the Eucharist on Sunday mornings.  In the faces of the tribe I call church.   In sacred spaces that I've found I have to carve out for me... in the quiet.    On this wilderness road that has been lonely, often I'm met there.  I love Jesus.  Probably  more than ever before.  But its a honest, raw, relationship that we have.  And I have found a love that I don't earn, and a God I don't have to perform for.  There's freedom there.

I am not afraid of asking the questions.  Of challenging what I've believed my whole life.  And I'm working at not being afraid in the risk of writing them.  I may lose friends.  I may have people say mean things.  I may not be accepted.  BUT... I will make new friends.  I will have people say good things, AND... I will be accepted in another circle. 

But with all that overanalyzing said... its still worth it.   I will still write, even if not a soul reads it anymore. 

Because I think its worth it. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014


This week its been a stormy sea.
Often, I see me trying to stay afloat with giant waves I can't see over, and I'm clinging with all my strength to one board.  That's all that's left in the crashing of everything I know.
I left on a ship full of faith, and a ship full of dreams.
And then the storms came.  One after another after another.  With all that wind and rain.
Then the ship began to fall apart.
Board after board after board began to give way to the waves and wind and that ship that held my life together, and that was supposed to take me to the other side... it was destroyed.
I will say that at times, the waves are calm, and while I can't see land yet, I'm not struggling.
And then sometimes like this week, the waves are so big, and I get so incredibly tired, and I struggle to find this joy, and to hope in my future.
Sometimes I feel like I'm drowning.
Tonight is one of those nights. 

Its 11:30, and I should be asleep. 
But tonight is a night the tears don't stop very well, and I'm doubting this Jesus that I follow. 
I'm not looking to my future with hope. 
And any dreams.... I sat them down around last... oh... Monday. 
Surrendering to the waves, and choosing that to simply survive today is better than drowning.

I don't want to drown.  
I want to come to a place where I see land, and I see a home.  
And I don't see water and wilderness anymore.  
Surely there is more in this journey than this. 

I want to say that I've that I've heard that still small voice that tells me He's not forgotten.  
I think I have. 
That I've heard him sing of love and freedom... that He's sang it over me.  
I think I can hear that in the distance. 
I want to say that I've heard him say that while He won't resuscitate that which is dead, He wants to breathe life into me.  
I want to believe that I've heard right. 

But maybe I didn't.  
Maybe I have to drown to live.  
Or maybe tomorrow I see some shore.  
I wish I knew.  

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


I have been obnoxiously cynical about church and life for the last... oh... 11 or so years.  A couple really awful church experiences, plus seeing those I love wounded with no hope of restoration ever offered.... that'll do that.  Seeing this church that has become this market place, and a place of death, rather than life and resurrection.  I was and even still am bleeding from wounds inflicted in a place that should have been a safe refuge for my heart.

And then a year ago, I began to listen to these podcasts from this church called Renovatus.  As I listened to their pastor, I tasted hope in my chaos that had simply tasted so bitter.  In fact, I began to have moments of peace in my chaos.  I felt normal. I realized I wasn't alone, and that others have been where I am.  As I listened to podcast after podcast I was reminded every single time of this merciful love of God that was full of hope, and that my chaos... it was ok.    From there, I was introduced to people via blogs and podcasts such as Sarah Bessey, Micah Murray, Brian Zahnd, Chris Green, and Cheryl Bridges Johns.... those are the ones that come to mind as I type this.  I know there were more.  In either spoken or written words of these individuals, I heard the voice of Jesus so loudly to my heart.  It was like a balm that began to seep into the crevices of someone who had been so, so angry and cynical for so long.

Along came Praxis this last June.  I was drawn to this conference because ALL of these people were going to be there.  I respected them, and to hear them live...seriously that was this girls idea of a really good weekend.   Even in the fact that I had ZERO finances for this, within 5 hours in one evening... people stepped up to help me go.  That has never happened to me, and everything to meals, ticket, hotel, and gas money was all paid for.  I mean... seriously?!

I have tried to come up with words to what happened in me at  Praxis and what the weekend was about really.  That's all been super difficult, but I will attempt it.  I mean, it honestly was a bunch of disciples that had all ended up on this same road, but all from different places, and we landed in the same place for a weekend. We came to the Table together, we talked about church and re-imagining it, and I was again reminded that I wasn't alone in this place.  Often, I sat with tears because simply it was healing to me..  every bit of it.   Meeting these people who had been pastors to me without even knowing it or had challenged my thinking with their writing was honestly so fantastic.

Again, I have pages and pages of notes.... Ed Gungor began the weekend's sessions with talking about his church, and how they had simply began introducing the Lord's Prayer into their gathering at first , and that "it smelled like resurrection."... and thus began the weekend of hearing about these great traditions, our rich history,philosophy, art,  and why that all matters.  And that yes, in that, there's resurrection.  These churches all represented here had began embracing things like the mystery of the Eucharist, common prayers, confession, and making room for the sacred again.  In The Message, Luke 5:39 says .. "And no one who has ever tasted fine aged wine prefers unaged wine."   We were drinking the aged wine, and Brian Zahnd spoke of  the fact that he felt as they brought these things into the church again, that "it was saving his soul"...  Stephen Proctor spoke of how the noise of many churches has become too much, and that "we have turned worshipers into consumers and fans", and he spoke of the importance of church being a sacred place.  Sarah Bessey shared her church story, and the good and bad of it in her amazing story telling way.  She cautioned to not rush the healing, and I know that for many of us, we had been wounded, and healing seems so much easier to rush.  In one of the last sessions, Jonathan Martin was talking about his journey of leaving Renovatus and such, and as he'd been speaking about for so many months, he said it again, that Jesus sits in the chaos with us.  For whatever reason, I need to hear that a lot.   And again... I have pages of notes, and I'm leaving out speakers here and that's simply a very quick overview.  I HAVE SO MUCH I COULD SAY!!!!

  Also... Andrew Arndt wrote some ridiculous good thoughts on the weekend, and you can read it here:
( Note: I've zero clue if that will work, I've NEVER linked anything to my blog... lol )

As I returned, to top all that off, I discovered Sanctuary OKC... a church in north Oklahoma City.  Their pastor, Israel Hogue, was also someone who shared at Praxis, and I now attend church there.  In the last 4 weeks, this church has been continued healing for me.  Perfect?  Absolutely not.  I do know that  every week I get to come to The Table and partake in communion, I say the apostle's creed with this tribe I've become a part of, and those things have become so sacred and special to me.   I've been welcomed with open arms, and I'm  treated as a sister, and for the first time since moving here, I feel like they are my people.  I have a home, as I'd felt homeless for such a long time, and I hardly know anyone yet.

That was my Praxis weekend in a very condensed version.  It changed me, and in a not hyped up post pentecostal camp-meeting way... but in a calm, quiet voice of God kind of way. God is good and kind, and I'm discovering that again.  I still question.  I still doubt.  I'm still floating on a stormy sea most days, but I'm not alone, and I'm realizing that falling apart isn't such a terrible thing.  In fact, I'm continuing to find God there.

Sunday, June 1, 2014


I need to process.  

I'm not even sure what I need to say. 

See, approximately 10 years ago, I went through this gigantic church situation that completely wrecked me about church.  I can say it with no disrespect or hatred today... but I still can't talk about it without physically feeling ill.  I have forgiven, but I truly still bear the scars of those months.  

The shame that was thrust upon me, and I have carried it for so, so long. 

The abuses of authority that accused and cast blame.  

The fact that no restoration was ever wanted for me... even if I would have at all been "guilty".... I was cast aside with no thought of the bleeding and the hurting that was occurring with me.  

I. wasn't. worth. it. 

See, that's often what I still hear.
I've heard it said we just needed better conflict resolution.  I say we needed to honestly have loved.  I say that you who speak never have been in my place, and you have no idea.  I say that you haven't seen the tears and the mis-trust, and the flashbacks and the fear, and to that... I say its so much more than conflict resolution.  What happened in those rooms, in meetings behind closed doors wasn't ok.  

Its why now, I feel ever so deeply of a friends pain today.  He's just been in the middle of it.  In the middle of church... stuff.   And my heart today.. my heart hurts with him.

As I sit here this afternoon, I am angry.   As I sit here this afternoon there is rush of emotions, and flashbacks, and triggers and all this... feeling all the feelings about church.  
My heart breaking for my friend.  And realizing that effective today, I can no longer do church as I've done it. 

See, I don't know how to wear the mask of I've got my shit together.  I don't know how.  I'm a terrible fake.  See, I'd rather you just know how I really am.  And tonight.. I am not ok.  All I feel is the effects tonight of 10 years ago, and how I felt. I still hear the accusations, and it still stings so badly.  And speed ahead to today and all I see is my friend who is hurting.  

Church... you have hurt so many of us.  Deeply.  

And I don't want to spout angry rants tonight, I just simply want you to see my heart.  That 10 years later, those memories affect me.  

Pastors... please be careful of how you handle things.  Get to know us.  Really know us.  Make church a safe place where emotionally we  feel like its ok to be ourselves.  Because right now, so many of feel like we can't be.  

I want to leave you.
I want to turn away, and leave ever being in leadership again and say screw you.  

I do. 

But I can't.  Because I hope for you.  I sit here typing with tears streaming because I believe in you.  Seriously... I believe that you can be re-imagined, and changed, and you can be a safe place and a place that is alive again.  A place full of people who longer have to wear these masks that we feel we have to wear.   

Its why I am attending conference called Praxis on Friday/Saturday this week.  I am completely intimidated to go to something where I know no one, but I have hope that there's things I need to hear there.  Connections I need to make.  And I believe that God wants to meet me in some moments.  I need it.  I need to be with people who are like-hearted.  Even if I'm going shaking.  And I am.  Shaking. 

And so tonight, I'll call a friend.  And I'll process this, and I will come to the same conclusion... that I can't give up on church.  And then will say again, its time for something different, even if I have no clue what that means for me right now... 

Because I don't.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


I struggle with depression, and recently started taking an anti-depressant to help combat it.

I also love Jesus.

In the Pentecostal world that I grew up in, those things can't mix.  Or, if you do decide to take the meds... you never mention it,  because to mention it means that I've obviously got some major spiritual issues.  Because one who has it all together would never struggle with this.

I call shenanigans on this.

I remember sitting with friends when I was in my 20's, and we'd talk about people who we knew took anti-depressants.  Yes, also known as gossip.  We'd say things like, "well, obviously they have some sin in their life they're not dealing with."  Or... "wow, they must just not trust Jesus to take care of it.  I'd be believing for my healing."   I am positive we said all sorts of douchey things... "out of love" of course.   I was one who most likely help load shame on people that they hadn't done enough... they weren't enough.  I was a jerk.

And all the while, this blanket of heaviness I continued to wrestle with.  Waking up crying, randomly crying throughout the day for really no reason, and just so incredibly sad all the time.  Its the pain that  hits so deep, and I couldn't fix it.  I know that I asked and asked for Jesus to heal me.  I went up for prayer a million times.  I went to these "deliverance" things... and examined generations before me, and shut doors that may emotionally been opened up, and asked forgiveness for watching rated R movies and seeing things I shouldn't have... blah. blah. blah... and that should have taken care of it.   ( note:  for those totally confused on the deliverance part... either comment below, or just go with the confusion and I'll tell you I still am a bit also... )   I never had a safe place to simply say hey.. several times a week, I randomly ponder the thought that life would be better for everyone if I were not here. 

Moving to Oklahoma only magnified this stuff 100 fold.  And in the last year, I just simply couldn't quit crying.  Crying about the deep places that I can't fix.  Crying about things lost.  Crying about people I love.  Crying about regrets.  So. Much. Crying.   And you know what?  One feels foolish when they can't stop doing that. 

When my dad died, I went to grief counseling.  And while at grief counseling we did talk about all this.  And a medication was recommended, but being the good Christian I am... I declined it.  To accept that, would be to accept defeat, right?!   

But I couldn't do it anymore.  The tools for processing, they helped but not enough.  A relationship had ended.  I was overwhelmed with financial issues.  I was incredibly lonely.  I was so, so sad all the time. 

I called my doctor and I sat and wept through an appointment telling her that I couldn't do it anymore.  Telling her that genetically, it is very possible that this is depression.  Because that's real life.  Most likely, my dad was depressed.  My  mom, suffers from depression.  I know that my mom's aunts... a few committed suicide.  Not one... a few.  I told her that all I wanted to do was sit in  my apartment and see no one.  I sit at my desk, and my living room and all the time... just cry and cry.   And that isn't me.  It isn't. 

You may wonder where my walk with Jesus was in all this... and you know, its good.  See, I believe I was supposed to go see my doctor.  I'm supposed to walk through this.  I'm supposed to share this.   The medication is helping.  I have multiple days in a row where I don't cry.  Do y'all know how big of a deal that is?  I'm still me and I still feel every emotion, but most days... its manageable and not overwhelming.  There are some days that still hit hard, and this week, has been tough, but you know... its going to be ok. 

I share this so that you also can be encouraged... depression isn't the end.  Its not the end for me, and surely, its not the end for you. 

If you have friends who are going through stuff...PLEASE don't be a jerk.  Walk with them.  Love them.  They need it. 

And take heart... Jesus will walk with you through it also.  Don't be ashamed to do what you  need to do to get better. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


I remember every detail of the day that I talked to my dad last.  6 years ago exactly... if you're reading this on Wednesday, May 7th.   

The room smelled like old people and cleaner and nursing home.

My family, we'd been there taking turns being bedside and making sure he wasn't alone  for 3 days.  He couldn't communicate back to us, but he would try to.  And his eyes... his eyes said so much.  And that morning... I'd sat reading to him.  And holding his hand.  And his hands... they were rough and calloused as they always were.  He was a hard worker.  His hair was totally grey and thin but so soft.  And his face needed a shave.  It was rough. He was cold, so cold.  And his body so thin from chemotherapy and the cancer that had taken so much from him, and ultimately, a massive stroke caused by combinations of lots of things that his body had endured would usher in the end of his journey here.

But I didn't want to let go of his hand.  See.. I knew that one of those times I let go, it'd be the last time.  I didn't want it to be the last time I touched my dad.  

I cried that day trying to talk to him. So much crying.   Over and over, I wanted him to know that he was a fantastic father.  That all that he thought he'd done badly, that all that he thought was so terrible about his past, that I didn't care.  I never cared.  And that I'd forgiven him for leaving us when I was little.  It didn't matter.  And that I loved him.  And that I'd never doubted his love for me.  Not once.  And it was ok for him to go.  That us girls, we'd take care of each other.  And we'd take care of mom. 

I wish he could have voiced an answer.  I'm sure it was so hard that he couldn't answer.  Only speaking with eyes that were sad.  And showed pain.  And eyes that said he didn't want to leave us, but tired.  He was tired.

And that morning, when another sister got there, I let go of his hand.  And I kissed his head.  And I stroked his hair.  And I said good bye.  And that I'd see him later.    And always, always that I loved him.  He and I never left a conversation that I didn't say that.  And that he didn't say it back.  

He passed away while I was gone, and I told my sister when I left that day that I felt like it wouldn't be long now.  I was right. 

And grief... the last 6 years, is a bastard.  

The first 4 years were hard, but not as hard as years 5 and 6.  

Even as I type this on Sunday... 3 days before the anniversary, I'm sitting here with tears streaming and this inability to stop crying.  And nor do I care to.  

I think these years have been harder because I'm starting to forget.  I don't think about him everyday anymore.  I forget smells that would always remind me of him... like his aftershave.  I used to be able to pick it out really well, and I can't anymore.  I haven't smelled it for a long time anyways.  I remember a ton about the day he passed away, but I forget things about when he was healthy and good

Things like he and I would road trip to Sioux Falls.  And we'd just go drive, my dad and I.  He'd hold my hand and tell me that he loved me, and I knew that he meant it.  He told me often that he was proud of me.   

I was born 2 months early, and was in a hospital 2 hours away...and every single day for 60 days my dad drove 2 hours after work to see me, and to drive 2 hours back, to be at work at 6:00 the next morning.  

Or the times that he'd drive through blizzards to pick me up in Minneapolis at college, so that I could come home. 

 There was a time I watched him go check a vehicle that was filled with flames and smoke to make sure no one was in there, while telling me  to stay back because the gas tank was close to exploding.   Followed by me freaking out and not wanting him to go, and him simply telling me again that he had to, because if another life was at stake, "his was worth losing to save someone else's ." 

One night, around 3 am, in my 20's... I was driving in a field... ( don't ask... ), and my car got stuck in some incredibly deep ruts from mud that had dried from where bulldozers and heavy equipment had been driving on this field.   I called my dad.  And he came with no complaining, and no lecturing, and he pulled me out with a logging chain and his pickup.  I apologized a million times, and he only hugged me and said next time, I should possibly not be driving in fields at 3 am.   

Those stories, those were all the kind of man he was.

I don't want to forget.

I feel guilty for not thinking about him everyday.  Even though that's perfectly normal. 

And the waves of emotions around this time of year.  Especially being away from all my family.  There's so many tears.  And I'm a crier anyways... but  there's a lot of tears happening right now in my life.   I miss him so much.  And I grieve some other losses as well right now, which makes this all the harder this year.

So I try to find comfort in the wilderness I'm in.  And Jesus... I'll tell you He simply comes and today, he's sitting with me in the dirt of that wilderness road. I'm covered in dust and dirt.  And so He's covered in dust and dirt.    And He simply is feeling all this with me, and no judgement and no hurry up and process, but just says "Hey sweet girl... just be where you are right now.  I sit with you.  I don't cause cancer and I don't cause pain, but I do bring comfort, and I speak hope and love and peace.  And because of who I am... you do not have to grieve as one who has no hope.    So hey... let me hold you.  Because I will.  And I am.  "  

I'm not sure where I am on that hope thing.  Hope and I...we've done a lot of wrestling the last 6 years.  But you know... there's a little part of me that never gives up with this hope thing.  Hope that I'll see him in a bodily resurrection someday.  Hope that his spirit/soul is in the presence of God right now.  Hope that this wasn't a permanent good-bye. Gosh... even aside from this day, hope that all the rejection in the last few months from people I care about... even in those places I'm not without hope, and that there's something better for me.  Even though I wrestle and want to tell you I don't always believe it.  A piece of me has to.  Its part of me.  Its who I am.

So if you grieve.  Whatever that grief is, because it doesn't have to be a person you loved or cared for who died.  It could be the death of a dream, the death of leaving something behind...the death of a marriage that just didn't make it,  the death of a relationship that you deeply cared about and they didn't feel the same way, the death of disappointments, the death of relationships from what you thought were life long friendships and you find that they aren't...whatever the hell died in your life... I would tell you this....

  You don't have to do the running, God comes to where YOU are today.  And He'll sit in the shit and muck and the mire and the dark places.  He will.  And He does.  Let him.  And there's more than enough grace there.  And more than enough love.  And more than enough room for all those tears and all those emotions and you... you are not too much.  Did you hear me, friend?  Those emotions...they aren't too much.  They aren't wrong.  And you... will have a morning and a sunrise, and there will be joy again, and there will be dancing again.   

Or that's what I hear being sung over me.  And I believe with all my heart that this big God... sings it over all of us who are grieving. 

Monday, April 21, 2014


"Sweet girl, you need to let some things die.... and there's a resurrection that is far greater than what you want me to resuscitate."   Ironically... I was getting ready to play a podcast entitled just that "Resurrection or Resuscitation"  But I'd barely hit play and I sensed that very sentence.  

This is how God and I dialogue sometimes.  And this morning, in the midst of a morning of feeling all the feels, and hot stinging tears and to the point of simply feeling not well... that's what I heard.  For me to just let my fingers go from that ledge I cling to.  That ledge that holds control, it holds my relationships, it holds my dreams, desires and well... everything that I love to pretend I have control of. 

I've been wanting God to breathe life into things I know are my past.  I know they are.  And I love them.  I don't want to let people I care deeply about go.  I don't want to.  I don't want to trust Jesus with my future.  The depression that I've struggled with again that is like a suffocating blanket..... I don't want to trust God with that.  And today.. .with that one statement, in my car, at 6 am... I unraveled.  

Here's the truth.  I don't know how to die.  I don't.  I told a friend today, as tears were streaming and my heart simply just overwhelmed... that I don't even know how to ask people to help me do this.   How do I let people go?   How do I let desires simply die, and somehow trust in a resurrection that really, I can only be hopeful for.  There's no guarantee of what anything looks like afterwards.  How do I do that?  

That's where I'm left tonight.  To somehow let go.  And to die.  And to trust that God will breathe life to my dead places, and make them live again.  

Monday, April 14, 2014


I’m at the end of my rope with this single thing.


I’m at the point of crying when I hold babies, knowing that is such a longing for my heart.  A family.  To be a wife, and to be a mother.

I cry after attending friend’s weddings, because I honestly do not know if I will ever get to be that bride. 

I struggle still sometimes with what I could have changed in my last relationship to have not been broken up with, even knowing that it was for the best.  And that we are better friends. 

And I’m left with wondering if I ever at least get that man who I can grow old with.  Whether or not any children are ever involved, will my life always be a rotation of roommates, and trying to fill this time so I’m not by myself so much?     That every holiday I will try to find somewhere to go so I’m not alone.  That continually where I live won’t feel like home, rather this perpetual feeling of being a college student, counting down days until I go to Iowa, where that STILL feels more like home, because I don't have a home.  Will I have to make every big decision alone for the rest of my life?

I’m left feeling defective at times.  I’m better at that, but seriously…  I have these moments where I am convinced that there is something so terribly wrong with me. Even though the ex-boyfriend said there wasn’t.  Even though men in my life continually say they don’t understand why I’m still single.  My friends are so encouraging.  But still, the evidence is that I’ve not been chosen.  The evidence is that I’m alone.

To the degree of this feeling at the end of my rope, I’ve become like Hannah coming to the Lord and asking for a child, I ask, daily, for a husband.  For a family.  For someone to share my dreams with.    I remind myself that in the story of Isaac and his pursuing of Rachel, often we feel bad that after 7 years, he got Leah.  But I take consolation in the fact that God didn’t forget about Leah.  He granted her a family.  Even though she  “had weak eyes”…whatever the hell that means. 

I can’t quit looking for that connection, for that deep soul friend whom I will love.  I can’t.  I want to.  With all my heart I’ve begged to have that desire taken from me, because its absolutely painful to go to weddings and to hold those babies, and to watch friends in serious relationships… even though I’m so very happy for them. 

And really… well-meaning people and their platitudes… I don’t need that.

I need you to sit with me.  To let me talk.  To let me cry.  To let me grieve over what may  not be.  And then… speak hope.  I need hope.   Hug me.  Seriously… please hug me.  I miss touch in my life.   Men who are brothers to me… please do tell me the good things you see without making it weird.  I need to hear things at times from a man’s perspective. 

That’s where I am the last couple of weeks. 

I am in no way desperate or willing to settle with someone I am not in love with, and cannot connect with, but I am tired.  And feeling less than hopeful about my future in this area of my life, and somehow, would love to get back to believing this for my life.   True story.

Sunday, March 30, 2014


The wilderness.

Almost 5 years here.

And tonight I'm taking time to rest on this road.  I'm sitting and I'm letting the wind and dust billow around me, and I'm letting myself feel the heat of the years, and I'm looking for the grace in this spot.  I'm looking for the piece or two that God has so graciously planted in my heart to hold onto that are reminders I will not perish here, and that from this place will come a voice in me.  A voice of change and a voice of hope.  I can almost hear it in me.

Isaiah 62:104a
"For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
    for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet,
till her vindication shines out like the dawn,
    her salvation like a blazing torch.
The nations will see your vindication,
    and all kings your glory;
you will be called by a new name
    that the mouth of the Lord will bestow.
You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand,
    a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
No longer will they call you Deserted,
    or name your land Desolate.
But you will be called Hephzibah,[a]
    and your land Beulah[b];
for the Lord will take delight in you..."

This becoming is so hard.  Its the the most difficult thing I've ever tried to surrender to.  

Surrendering to the struggle. 

And stopping wrestling. 

And stop being stubborn. 

To open this mouth of mine and speak. 

From the tops of the mountains shout truth.   

Regardless of the consequences.   Regardless of those who I love that I lose.  Regardless if I'm shaking in my boots.  Regardless if the church shuns me.  Regardless of the fact that I feel inferior and inadequate.   


Because I have to be who I'm becoming.  I can't live in this cocoon anymore.   

I have to fly.   

Saturday, March 15, 2014


I had my first full blown anxiety attack in 4 years.  


About 10:45 pm.  

See, my life is stressful right now.  Financially, I"m more pinched then I have been in a very, very long time.  I'm in the middle of changing churches, which for me, is super stressful.  ( Note:  I'm also so very excited about this...)  I am writing.  I am looking for moments to speak, which is terrifying.   My job lately has been really stressful.  I have also been missing my family so very much, and realizing that I may not see them this summer and that breaks my heart.    

Because of all this stress, I am incredibly more sensitive to my inner circle of friends and easily mis-interpret messages and conversations.  And because my inner circle of friends is so very important to me, if I feel like there could be conflict, and add to that all that stress I already have, the conflict, whether real or imagined, becomes a trigger for anxiety for me.  A giant trigger.  I can handle all the other stressors, as long as the people I hold closest to me, as long as that sea is peaceful.  And I try hard to make it peaceful.  Thursday, I believe that I had a situation where I mis-interpreted an online conversation with someone that I care about.  

So what that resulted in was for me, was a sudden rush of emotions that physically my body had a hard time handling.  Dry heaving, shivering that felt like a seizure, and sobbing, sobbing that shook all of me.  I called a friend, a mentor, from back home.  And what I love about Jan is that she's walked with me for a really long time, and she just simply began to pray peace over me.  And peace came.  I began to talk, and was reminded by that voice on the other end that I wasn't alone. Spiritually, I was so very peaceful.  Rest simply settled down around me, and I slept.  Simply slept.  

Jonathan Martin, senior pastor at Renovatus Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, he tweeted this today:"We wish all our raw, tender places could be healed, & yet find they are also sacred spaces, hallowed grounds. Places where God lives.”   I feel like my entire life, there have been so many raw, tender places.  I have asked again and again for them to be healed, but now, I am discovering  that these places are sacred spaces.   They are sacred for so many reasons.  They prove I'm strong.  They remind me I'm alive.  They remind me of God's sustaining power.   God truly does live there, and it reminds me that He is good.  Not in the fact that I believe He was the blame for any of it, but simply, because He comes and sits in those places and blesses me with peace and Presence.  

And I am so very grateful.

Monday, March 10, 2014


Four years ago, after moving here to Oklahoma from small town Iowa, I had the word "trust"  tattooed on the inside of my right wrist.  I knew from how my life had been, and knowing that there were more hard times ahead, I wanted trust tattooed on so that I could be reminded that not only God is trustworthy, but that my people in my life can be trusted.  I've come to hate that tattoo some days, because its a glaring reminder to do the opposite of what I often feel like doing.  And that's pushing away and going the opposite way.  

Often though, I feel like trust has went the opposite of how it should in my life, kinda like this poor, poor girl's failed trust fall.  

After you fall on your face a few times, you start wanting to not do this whole trust fall crap anymore. 

About 5 years ago, I was in Mexico, and we were in a village and I had this crazy dream.  I was on this very little ledge.  I was scraped and bleeding and I was dirty, clinging to the very wall of this mountain.  I wasn't going to surrender and drop for anything.  Simply, I heard a voice in that moment, and as I peered over my shoulder, all I saw was foggy cloudiness so that I couldn't even see the bottom to know how far I had to fall. I also heard in that moment heard,  what I believe was God, simply say, " If you would fall, and simply trust me, I will catch you. You can trust me."  I would love to say that I let go, but honestly, I woke up, and that dream has vividly stayed with me since then.  

Truly, I feel like I've lived my whole life this way, both with people I love and care for, and with Jesus.  Because to trust, that means I have no control.  I let go.  I fall off the ledge.  I trust people to not abandon, and to not purposely hurt me.  I trust that God is good, and that He meant what He said.   Instead, I've made the decision to fall a few feet at a time, rather than trust falling off that stinking mountain in one huge, crazy as hell trust fall.

The reality of that, though, is that I'm still moving down towards God.  And there's grace.  So. Much. Grace.  He never shoves or pulls me, nor does He bully me or guilt me.  Rather, he simply is gentle.  

And my friends.  They rock.  I am honest with them in my not trusting them sometimes very well, and they walk beside and they care, and so often, they are Jesus with skin on to me.  

Now, I say all that and make it sound easy, but the truth is, its hard as hell.  Lately, its more audibly saying hey, I will choose to trust, even when every emotion is freaking out.  Because really, what other choice do I have?!   I pretend that I have control of so many things, and in reality, in the deep things of my life that I want to control, I don't control them.  

And so tonight, I'm going to trust.  Even when so many other voices say otherwise.  

Even if I have to say "I choose trust"  a million times, tonight I'm going to do that.  

Sunday, March 2, 2014


Today is a hard emotions day.  A day where its all just under the surface.  And it churns and it wrestles and it fights... and I end up in tears and paralyzed by silly, silly fears that make no sense.   It starts off as a thought, and that thought balloons so quickly.  

The wrestling at this moment for me is that I want to apologize to a friend that I don't need to.  I'm certain that they are never talking to me again, and I'll never see them again... and I have zero basis for this.  Nothing they've ever said to me in the last 24 hours said that... in fact, quite the opposite. They are a person of their word, hands down.    The truth is that this person is my friend because they said they were.  Because their actions have proven such.  In my brain though, I'm so very anxious and distracted by it today because of fears from so very long ago, and I am struggling today so much.
To be my close friend for any length of time, is to know that I will feel this way about you at some point.  
I will fear I did something wrong.  
I will fear that I'm too much.  
That my emotions, my honesty, who I am is not good enough.
And that if you truly see me in the ugly moments, that you'll see what often I see in my self-loathing, and you'll walk away.  Because who the hell wouldn't walk away? 
I will fight the want to push you away, when in reality, I need you close.   

6 years ago, a close friend and I were sitting in a dark basement, and they asked me what I was feeling, and you know, I simply stated, "I don't want you to love me."...   And this friend, he simply stated that wasn't an option.  And that if I walked forever through this wilderness, he would love me.    He has.  I'd love to say that I've come so far, but sometimes, this still happens.  Like today. I do need you, friends, to love me.  I need it.  When I lean, know that I struggle to do that, and that its hard for me.  Please know that when I reach out, it is a big deal for me.  Please know that often, I simply need reassurance you don't think that.  I have to hear it.   

Well meaning people typically have platitudes for me over the years.  My personal favorite being that if I asked for it to be taken away, it would.  As if I haven't done that.   I've done deliverance/healing/whatever the hell we call those sessions at church, and while I saw some great insights, I still struggle.  I have sat thru therapist appointments and done my assignments, and again, I still struggle.  I have sat in the night and begged for me to be able to simply  feel normal, whatever normal is.  Some say that if I would simply fight to choose the better attitude, that somehow I'm the blame for this, I'm choosing the wrong thing. 

I have to say to hell with all that.  My struggle is part of my calling.  It is.  I can in no way deny that anymore.

 You who have laid at night with the tears and the darkness and the loneliness, I know how it feels. 
 You who worry that you are not loved and that you will be abandoned, I know the pain of it.
 You who have sat with a bottle of pills and wondered if this fight is worth it, I have done that also.
You who can't get out of bed sometimes because simply its too dark, I've done it.
You who can't shake the feeling that something awful is going to happen to you, I feel that also sometimes.

And all I can offer is that the night moments won't last forever.  It will feel like it.  Let friends be there, and to not let shame win.   And for me, I have to invite God into the chaos, even if I wrestle with Him more than I sit with Him.  He can handle everything you've to say, and for me lately...its a lot of wrestling and yelling and really honest words of how I'm feeling.   Before today is over, I can feel the bruises of the wrestling already, and my cheeks are raw from tears that just keep coming, and for me, still the nagging fear of being left.

But after the night, morning will come, and the sun will rise, and you will be able to breathe again.  And smile again.  These moments don't last forever.

Note:  I've no clue who will read this, but I do know that for me, I have to talk.   If you have noone to talk to, please email me at aogc116@yahoo.com.  I want to listen.  And its important that you are heard.