I push towards JOY!


Everything feels abstract, as if looking into a kaleidoscope that is a bit askew. The caverns and dales of my mind can be toxic - filling a void full of illusion. I live there, amongst the bramble and waste. It is my Utopian world where I can rule. Every mistake is humorous and witty, everyone finds me fascinating, and I am always engaging, lovely, and desired. I play same scenarios over. They juxtapose the pain and hurt of rejection that I feel in the confines of my skin.

So much pain drains a colorful life to grayscale. I shut down, put up walls, and close myself off. I have come to expect rejection, silently hoping for it – proving myself right.

These thoughts and emotions are weights about my ankles. The tide rolls in and I sink deeper. If it were not for the beautiful amazing people on this journey with me I would have sunk deep into the mire long ago.

I come from a family that deals with depression, and I know how its fog can distort beauty to ugly. I have stood by and watched as it ravaged, and still ravages, a beautiful soul who thinks self-medicating is the only way to survive.

The thing that I do not like about myself when the pitch begins to blot out the light is how hopeless and cynical I become. It is if someone dims the lights so slowly that I grow accustomed to the coming darkness and mistake it for light.

It has been some time since I have felt this tight and withdrawn, but it is here and I cannot wish or hope it away. I recall another dark period, pleading with God to just take it away, as I rolled the trash down to the end of the curb. He met me and spoke tenderly to my spirit: “I am here Melissa. I am right here. This is something you cannot get over, but I will walk through it with you!”

I was left speechless. I so often want to get to the other side of suffering. Afraid of making the same ancestral mistakes, becoming something I am not, I hunker down in the bow of the boat instead of taking Jesus’ hand amidst the crashing waves.

Today, sweet Jesus, today I am coming out of the fog. It has been a week’s process really. The dry and barren places always feel the first nourishing drop deeply. Everyday Jesus has washed my feet through other’s love for me. Everyday He has held my hand and given it a solid reassuring squeeze.

I am well aware of the measure of my life. The rich beauty that is breathtaking and staggering. Even in darkness I do not forget to remind myself of this in photographs. I see the pictures of brilliance and give thanks. Thanks is a door that opens fresh to grace if we would allow it. I am willing to do that. I don’t ever want to get so far marred by myself that I forget who I really am. The letting go of and accepting that I deserve real authentic love can leave me trembling.

I am really good at being there for others, but allowing someone to be there for me trips me at times.

Satan is crafty. He has brought dead things to surface. What he has meant for harm God has purposed for good. The dead things have surfaced and can now be skimmed away leaving breathtaking beauty in their stead.

I have used the word “beauty” in some form or fashion many times. I love the word. I love how ‘beauty’ and ‘beautiful’ sound. They truly embody their definition. Feeling beautiful is one of the biggest struggles I have. Over the years I have grown ever comfortable with who I am, but inevitably when pain strikes or hurt walks in, Satan will use the beauty card. I’m ashamed, but it strips me – surfacing all those ugly insecurities.   

Yet, I stand at a crossroads. I am making a choice to drag my feet from the mire and follow Jesus to the deep. I want to dive deep into His love, grace, and mercy. I want to be washed clean of old and be raised into new. There is a wondrous mercy and astounding grace in the way that Jesus loves us. My dear sweet Tamera reminded me that God called things that were not yet as if they were! I want to fall into sure arms. He has already called in me the things He desires. The bitter waters of Marah will be made sweet. The valley of trouble will become a door of hope to pass through.

I push towards JOY! The fullness of living the life God has given me. I may not know all the steps, I will likely slip and fall, but I will get up, dust myself off, and reach… knowing His hand will be right there to steady me.

When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don't throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer. – Corrie Ten Boom

The sight of any trouble strikes terror into the heart of those who do not have faith, but those who trust Him say, "Here comes my food!" – Watchman Nee

Where does your security lie? Is God your refuge, your hiding place, your stronghold, your shepherd, your counselor, your friend, your redeemer, your saviour, your guide? If He is, you don't need to search any further for security. – Elisabeth Elliot

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6

She is clothed with strength and dignity,
    and she laughs without fear of the future. – Proverbs 31:25

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