love stayed

//

When everything else fell away, love stayed

When consent wasn’t given and my body used and abused, love still was with me

When he gathered us all up to say he wanted out, that he wanted to divorce us all, love still clung on

When he cut me with his sharp words and relentless control, even then I had love

When another love was offered, a forbidden one, one not meant to be, the lasting love caught me as I fell to my knees

When they kicked me out of their midst, like a disease that needed to be gotten rid of, love dug down deeper in me

When they whispered behind my back and plotted against me because they couldn’t bring themselves to line my truth against their versions of reality, love treated me like they should have, love embraced me without shame

When she loved and cut ties with man after man after man, when love couldn’t seem to find her or us with all the imposters, still the love I speak of stayed

When betrayal within your blood ties came and you felt like the breath was knocked out of your lungs, disoriented and confused who really was who they said they were, love coiled vehemently, unwilling to let me go even if she did

When her heart stopped beating and she was born without breath and life, love got wider to encompass all of the broken shards that were left of me

When old friends turned their backs with mumbled excuses and cutting lies, love stood strong in contrast to their weak facades of caring

When those meant to accept me turned on me and instead towards those who really had their allegiance amidst shallow rules and untruths, love told me I could still raise my chin up steady and strong

When another one was here and then gone oh so briefly, it was only love that was able to seep into the bleeding places and offer any comfort

When the house of faith brutally tumbled to the ground, like one which had a faulty foundation that gave way one dark night unexpected, love remained as the dust of a repentant life almost choked me in the releasing of itself

Love surprised me in its loyalty, it was a severe mercy that always held hands and remained, never let go, was present at every turn, even in the dark and in the silence, and now in the light

Love brought me to myself

Love was always what I was looking for

Even now, when the days and months are peppered with anxiety and sadness, the love still mingles in, it still shows up the loudest, is the brightest color

When mothering strong willed kids day in and day out threatens my grip on sanity, love will continue

When I long to find community and my bigger purpose in serving humanity, yet all the valleys I’ve had to travel through have worn me down and shaken up my purposes, love will guide me, this I know now

When my beloved loves me on the many hard days, when his kindness cushions the blows of everyday life, when he loves me so very very well, love is here

When everything else fell away, love stayed

Love won’t let me go

this thing called life

//

I didn’t go outside the other day

Not even a glance at the sky or the sound of a bird

It’s that thing I like to leave unsaid

It stalks me, breathes down my neck

Makes the walls close in and the spaces get smaller and smaller

I don’t think I breathe as deeply on those days of hiding from the sun

Is there someone else I’m hiding from

Or is it that I don’t know how to exist out there anymore after everything changed

No-one knows me, strangers everywhere

A stranger in the mirror staring back at me

I don’t know who I am anymore

And yet sometimes I get glimpses

Some days I don’t avoid the sun or the sea or the birds

Some days I think I can face the world

Those days when the pain isn’t swallowing me whole and I can breathe a little slower

You know what I mean

Like a map whose roads all disappeared

I’m wandering through life trying to convince myself I know the way and that just around the next bend I will come to the clearing

Like a raging storm at sea when your boat sinks and leaves you to fend for yourself

I’m a child learning to walk all over again, except this time there’s no one guiding me, no rules to follow, no straight line to try and stay on, I am the compass now, there’s a new north

Like a mother whose child vanishes, he is simply gone, slipped away in the thin air, no trace of him left lingering

What left was never there, what was lost was never really found, what was gained was never really granted

Like the mirage in the desert, the oasis seems so real, yet the more desperate you become to really drink the water, to feel it on your lips and have it slide down your throat, you go after it, only to find it fades into the scorched earth and you land hard sideways on the scratchy sand, left scraped and bleeding on the unforgiving ground beneath you

This recovery from the land of trick mirrors, from the maze of head games and bitter riddles

I stumbled out alive and went into hiding

Maybe one day I can become me again

Maybe one day I can forgive myself, trust myself, give myself another chance at this thing called life.

crack in the armor

//

I always wondered if I really asked for it

Trusted the wrong person at the wrong time

If only my timing had been different

If only I didn’t have a pull towards him when deep down I knew he was bad news

I bore my heart, somehow tricked into thinking he was a worthy confidant

He saw an opening, a crack in the armor

A woman broken and splintered into pieces

He wedged himself in there, wooing me in my shattered innocence

Purity washed down the drain already

What was one more rendezvous now that she had been down that road

A kiss returned on the whispers of salty tears and a choked out confession of a girl gone bad

He pushed and pushed, trying to assure me that what I really wanted was him

That he would make it all better

Smooth out the rough edges

Show me what a good time really meant

But that isn’t what I came to him for at dusk with a throat holding back the sobs from pouring forth

He pushed and pushed, pretended not to hear my no

Assured me I must just be messing with him, that I surely didn’t want to turn him down

He thought himself irresistable, and I unable to resist

He didn’t listen

He didn’t take me seriously

He had his way with me against my protests

The pain was too scorching and shocking to even find the will to try and stop him again

I felt guilty giving up on resisting, for succumbing to his advances once my no didn’t matter

No after no after no wasn’t heard

So i let him finish rather than claw his eyes out like I wanted to

Why? Where was the fight in me?

I left when he was in the bathroom, snuck out and we never spoke of it again

I spoke of it to no-one because who would believe me that something wrong had taken place

Hadn’t I asked for it, come for it, always wanted it?

No. No. No.

Locked away in a deep deep place inside

I finally decided to say out loud that it happened, that I was raped, that this was done to me and I was tired of pretending it was somehow his right and my fault

Speaking our truth gives others the courage to do that same

No means no

living within the edges

//

I want to say that she was real

She was mine and she was here

I want to say it changed me forever

Touching her toes and fingers

Holding her, singing to her

But it wasn’t enough

But it had to be didn’t it?
I want to say there was no divine reason

No lesson for me to learn

This wasn’t punishment for past sins
I want to say that the world doesn’t like grievers

They want to choke us with flowers and sunshine and frilly words

But don’t they know we just need their presence with us?

We just need them to sit with us in the discomfort, to let us be where we are and know that it won’t always feel the same
I want to say that grief is a fickle thing, it twists and turns and shows up unexpectedly
I want to say that I will never get over you.
I want to say that I will never get over her either.
She was mine too.
I want to say that trying to figure out why didn’t work
The days and years kept rushing past, waiting for no-one or for anything to be over and done with before it started ticking again
I want to say that I still haven’t tied up all the strings in my heart left hanging and shredded
I want to say that I’ve threaded them all back together as best I can, because there was no-one else to do it for me
I want to say that I love you
I want to say I miss you and you and what your lives would’ve been like
I want to say that it is true that love and joy and grief and gratitude all live together, with none ever canceling all the rest out
I want to say it is all a delicate dance
I want to say I don’t know why but I know things now I didn’t know then
I want to say that I am determined to live and be and soak in as much as I can in the time I have left here
I want to say that loving you and knowing you enriched my life more than it tore it apart
I want to say I’m learning to live within the edges of all the unknowns
I want to say that I am fighting my way through and that life in all it’s curves and intersections is still beautiful to me.

//

#october15th #october15 #pregnancylossremembranceday

no more sleeping giant

to whom does one go now?

screaming into the silent endlessness;

there was no answer.

to whom does one cling?

what are the new absolutes?

old truths now as rotting caverns;

even colors look different now.

am i finally awake now?

for decades a sleeping giant?

if I could find a solid place for my feet,

if only just large enough upon which to stand.

is there anything in the universe to help me?

I know where to go now

I know what to cling to

I’m no longer screaming

No more sleeping giant

I am fully awake

Fully alive

Eyes wide open

I know where I’m standing now

I know where to get the help I need

Love

Love is what was left

Love is what I’m calling home now

Love is what is real

//
::words to a silent god::

I get to be here

 ​                                     ::

I wrote the following in May 2013, three years and four months ago.
                                     

                                      ::

“This song (Stay by Big Daddy Weave) has been speaking to me for months now, as I am sure it has many people who take a listen. For me, it speaks to me on the level of feeling so far away from God for so long now. People call this sort of season all different things, the dark night of the soul, a grand canyon experience, a desert time, a wilderness experience etc. I don’t know much these days but I do know that as much as my feelings may want to tell me differently, God has not left my side, He has not stopped working on my behalf intervening in my life and in the lives of those around me. I have felt like a runaway, like a child lost and afraid, but I cannot deny the truth that reaches deeper than the emotions that come crashing down: God is here. He may not be showing up in certain ways I have wanted him to, or speaking in ways I would have preferred, but he is here nonetheless. I have felt so faithless. Thank God that He will and is coming to find this runaway and bringing me back home again. The darkness lies to us, our feelings lie to us. Grief lies to us, and even happiness lies to us. God is the way, the truth, and the life, nothing else can fill those sovereign places. I am no theologian, I am no strong Christian. I have been wounded deeply, words don’t explain or suffice, but I cannot live the rest of my life angry with God or defined by my past hurts and failures. I don’t know how to hear God again like I used to, I don’t know how to change myself or my heart, but thankfully God knows where to find me, how to speak to me, and how to change me. So, I’m still here, still reaching out, still crying out, still hoping, and still trusting on some small level. I believe, help my unbelief. I know that I know that I know that He will.”

(me, 2013)


                                        ::

To say I’m at a radically different place now is the understatement of the century. It is staggering to read words written in that place where I was standing at that particular time. I cringe at the words, my breath catches in my throat, I begin to feel twinges of that old record of desperate searching playing over and over again. Somehow I survived about 7 years there in that place. That season had been going on at full force since 2007, when our second child was stillborn and I had a watershed moment with the one I clung onto as god, the one I had devoted my life to, hook-line-and-sinker. It was time for all the faith, all the years, all the service, all the prayers, all the reasons piled upon reasons….It all came to an abrupt crescendo. It was do or die. Show up or sit down. Speak or hang up the phone. Put your money where your mouth is. It was time for reality to come down and be real. I’m not talking about people or money or circumstances. I’m talking about one on one, me and god. God and I in the ring. On the phone, hand in hand walking together, however you want to view it, but he and I together, the unseen becoming seen no matter all the loose threads, no matter the questions. If he would just be in it with me, be present with me even if nothing else changed but the aloneness.

Here’s the thing. The reality. The truth. The real deal. The way it all came down. The end of the story. The rest of the conversation. He didn’t show up. He didn’t ever find me. He never came. He didn’t rescue me. He never broke the silence. It’s not that he didn’t change my circumstances or give me a vision, it’s that nothing happened. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. He was absent. Silent. Because he was never there to begin with.

I showed up to my own life

I found me

I came running to myself

I came to my own rescue. 

I did for myself what I never thought possible, what I never understood was conceivable became conceivable.

All the soul-stripping shame,

The slow drip of constant not-measuring-up-ness,

Now I’m running into my own arms.

And into the arms of those who really love me, the real me,

The me I lost track of as a child,

The one buried alive underneath all the rubble of the shoulds and musts and have-tos.

Now I understand this moment is really and truly it. This is where I am alive, not some random point in the future or some distant far off land where I will live forever. But now. Here and now. This is the real life, the real deal. This is no dress rehearsal. I don’t get to do it again down the road, there are no do-overs, no eternal wonderland within which all can be made right. 

Now. 
Now is the time. 

I get to be here, get to be alive. At such a time as this, for real. 

Here’s a favorite song of mine for you today, it has been a favorite since I first heard it years ago even in the midst of trying to wait for a god to show up and save the day. Even then I knew deep down on some level. “The Riddle“, by Five For Fighting. 

There was a man back in ’95

Whose heart ran out of summers

But before he died, I asked him

Wait, what’s the sense in life?Come over me, come over me

He said Son, why you got to sing that tune?
Catch a Dylan song or some eclipse of the moon

Let an angel swing and make you swoon

Then you will see, you will see

Then he said

Here’s a riddle for you
Find the answer

There’s a reason for the world

You and I

Picked up my kid from school today
Did you learn anything causin’ the world today

You can’t live in a castle far away

Now talk to me, come talk to me

He said Dad, I’m big, but we’re smaller than small

In the scheme of things, well, we’re nothing at all

Still every mother’s child sings a lonely song

So play with me, come play with me

And, hey, dad
Here’s a riddle for you

Find the answer

There’s a reason for the world

You and I

I said Son, for all I’ve told you

When you get right down to the

Reason for the world

Who am I?

There are secrets that we still have left to find
There have been mysteries from the beginning of time

There are answers we’re not wise enough to see

He said You looking for a clue

I love you free

The batter swings and the summer flies

As I look into my angel’s eyes

A song plays on while the moon is high over me

Something comes over me

I guess we’re big, and I guess we’re small

If you think about it, man, you know we got it all

‘Cause we’re all we got on this bouncing ball

And I love you free

I love you freely

Here’s a riddle for you 

Find the answer

There’s a reason for the world

You and I

>>Youtube Video of The Riddle <<

{words to a silent god ©2016}

beyond the looking glass

 

{I wrote this in response to a prompt about how we all have different selves that reside inside of us, and sometimes we leave ourselves. So this is me talking to a younger me that left in the midst of personal, spiritual, and relational tragedy.}

//

You left when he did
When they said go because someone must

Only a ghost of you was left

Traces of a girl hollowed out by love

Or what she thought was love but ended up being something entirely different

Reaching back through time to find you, chase you down, where are you

When you left where did you run to, where did you hide?

From them? From him? From me?

I cannot fathom the fractures so deep only the heart can feel

There are no words for the deepest of things

You left and I cannot find you

Then she left

Then he left

Then another one, and another one, and another one

All the leaving left me

Left me altered beyond repair

Broken pieces shattered and scattered so far the winds can never return them all

I get glimpses of you sometimes, as though beyond the looking glass

Through water and fog and beauty

You come to me in whispered words

Caresses by a phantom who loves me

I wonder sometimes if you pass between the worlds to come to me

To tell me one day it will be okay

That you are busy gathering up the pieces

And that you will bring them all to me once you have been completely found

You search far and near, here and there to find every last one

You are convinced it is worth the fight to reunite them all

You work to convince me to convince myself

To get me to believe I am worth the trouble

It is not a journey of impossibility, although quite improbable

All the twists and turns, the new devastations that hurl us canyons apart again

And again and again

With each hurling the layers multiply and the pieces scatter again

But you are convinced

And you are not leaving me again, yet you and i are still standing on separate islands

Together yet apart

One yet separate

Same yet different

And you won’t give up

And you beg me not to either

 

::words to a silent god, 2016::

{written in response to a prompt about how the different selves that live within us intersect. the prompt came from this lovely writer found here: JENA SCHWARTZ}

I want 

I want you to exist, to be real, not a mirage in the desert for a soul dry and parched, thirsting to death
I want you to not have broken apart, like a mirror I threw my grief at and it shattered into sharp and ugly pieces, jagged and rough
I want to find the ground again, I lost it when you bled and died and faded away
I want you to give me back the years, those decades given in blind allegiance to serve a supposed king of hearts who was leading the way to life upon life
I want to rescue her, to reach back through time and jerk open her eyes, tell her not to swallow the blame and shame, to not go down that straight and narrow path
I want to find the truth that is there, has always been there, underneath all the words, all the rules, in her, at the center of it all
I want the fog to clear, for the world between worlds, the land in the middle, the discomfort of the liminality, that waiting space, I want it to dissipate for life to come alive
I want you back again, or for the first time, to see the light in your eyes, to recognize you again and not know you only as a stranger, the stranger that is me
{Words to a Silent God, c. 2016}

bone named faith

Bone named faith

A bone once thought to never break

That bone was the strongest of strong

A life was built around that bone

A composition of dedication and passion

Of fervor and loyalty

Of knowing and knowing and knowing

 

A broken bone now

A valley of dry and dead ones

Mountain of dedication now dead and buried

Life of single-minded purpose for a higher being

Now a life of shards and sharp points where the breaking made her fall into herself

Cut herself

Bleeding into the collasped canyon of a soul bruised and battered beyond recognition

Of a god whose tongue got cut out

Of a god who hung up the phone

Of a god who pulled the rug out from under her

Of a god who threw the broken pieces like darts on a dart board

Bone after bone after bone

What good are they now

 

That bone named faith

Put back together like needles glued together from her haystack of a life

That bone renamed

Freedom it cries

Freedom is its name

 

{words to a silent god, c. 2016}

::written as part of #diveintopoetry found here::

silent roar

Processed with VSCO with 7 preset

 

“fleeing the self
running from the life i thought i would have
chasing ghosts
drinking tea and wiping tears
throwing angry words to the wind
i don’t know me anymore
and now i will never know you

 

coughing up regrets
and choking on unforgiveness of the self
bitter towards a body that failed me and you
closing my eyes and listening to the sounds of a life stalled in its tracks
knowing the unknown will always haunt me
and the known will chase me in my dreams

 

ignoring the irreverent words offered up on a silver platter
they are meant to bring healing yet they only smash into my wounds
and make me feel even smaller and you even less real

 

i am running away from myself
i am running away from you
i cannot catch up with the life i was meant to live
yet i cannot stop trying to find my way back
i have fallen down the hole and everything is altered
my throat burns and my stomach churns
there is no turning back, no bypass or shortcut”

 

{me}

Here and now I am stuck between darkness and light. What I thought was light has become dark, and the darkness is becoming illuminated as I walk into it. What a place to be in, what a journey it has been. Words cannot carry the weight fully of the truth that weighs them down and curls them around themselves. What is coming up ahead at the next bend in the road, no one can ever know. Who I thought I could count on I cannot. The who-what-where-and why have all changed. Like chicken little the sky fell, it fell more than once.

Silent woman, silent peers, silent parents, silent friends, silent him, silent elders, silent child, another silent child, silent god. Silent me.

My words come in nose-burning, watery-eyed, throat-tightening sobs, in waves. I am dry and then it rains. Do I really even have something to say? Will I be taken seriously? Believed? Does what I have to say even matter? Yes, yes, and yes. Let the tears fall, let my nose burn, let my throat tighten. Here is my roar.

It’s been 23 years since then. 23 years for me to realize what really happened. 23 years to call it what it was, to call it what it is.

23 years since they said this. You can’t come back. Someone has to leave and they’ve been here longer and he is our pastor, so you have to leave. But hey, we are paying for eight counseling sessions for you and we wish you all the best, now leave, please, but let us pray for you before you go, and we really hope you will be okay. We feel so very sorry for you, and you really need help, but we can’t be the ones to help you because we have others who are more important than you to help. Go on now, troubled young woman. Leave. Let us get on with the Lord’s work, we don’t need women like you in our midst. You might rub off on us. And besides, didn’t you know it is really all your fault?

23 years of having the “A” on my forehead.
23 years of silence.
23 years of shame.
23 years of blame.
23 years of taking it all on.

I was 21 when it all hit the proverbial fan. What had been happening had been happening for several years prior. Building up to the watershed moment when it all came crashing down all around me, and the water rushed down a different path for us all, a path I never wanted to go down, but yet I was on a path at that present time I had never really wanted to go down anyway, so surely this couldn’t be worse, right?

The knock on the door. They knew. He had decided to spill the beans. Confess to the sin of his choosing versus what he had really done to me. Severed from a family, from a life, from a man I thought I loved. How would I ever really be okay again? Life felt over. The pills called to me, to take them, take them all and end this. It just needed to be ended because this was a nightmare that there was no waking from.

I believed the well-mannered lies, the shame-filled accusations, the dirty looks, the letters of well-intentioned yet empty advice for a girl gone supposedly bad, one who lost her way and couldn’t get what they thought she apparently wanted, her pastor. Oh please. What I wanted was trust, love, acceptance, attention. What do most high school girls want who are in a new town after her parents divorced and she is tired of an emotionally and verbally abusive boyfriend? Did I fall for it all hook, line, and sinker? Yes, I did. Did I pursue him? No I did not. Abuse of power and position. Clergy sexual abuse. Ugly terms for exponentially uglier truths. These words cannot carry their weight either, just a dim reflected shadow of the inescapable brutal truth. The wasteland of a life stomped down and out, no longer recognizable. Shredded, beat down to the bone.

Yet, life did go on somehow, some way, the way life often does as it flows forward onto everything in its path, determined to create anew. Changed denominations, changed towns. Ruined reputation. Past used against me time after time. The secrets had to stay secret. There was no way to air them out, to get away from them, except to stay quiet and move on. Years passed. Good things, beautiful things, wonderful things. Life felt like life again and not a prison sentence I was serving out.

Then tragedy struck and our second child was not alive anymore. It was as though the shores of my life split in two and crashed up against each other in a thunderous explosion that left everything shredded and in disarray, unrecognizable, broken beyond repair. Years of darkness and grief upon grief followed.

“the white was everywhere, sterile, as if everything was pure, untouchable, clean, crisp, to the point, yet understated, barely any colors, devoid of emotion, shhhh be quiet because noise and white don’t go together, no blood no screams, be quiet, be white, be colorless, be empty, feel empty. so i bled and she was pink and i screamed and color burst onto the scene and the air was electric with emotion and there was no more white anywhere anymore. she is just beyond my reach always, just beyond my voice, just beyond the edges of my days. in between the ordinary and the sacred, between the old and the new, between the past and the future, she is here yet she is not.”

 

{me}

Then tragedy struck again. Another one dead and this time we didn’t even get to hold her.

Then tragedy struck yet again. The slow death of god. He wasn’t who I had always believed him to be. I felt like I was living in a world of trick mirrors, like it was a big fairground of harsh lights, illusions, and exaggerated clown faces mocking me with angry laughter, all waiting to trick me again once I began to get used to things or know my way around a tiny bit. I became someone I didn’t recognize. I died a million tiny little deaths over and over again. will the bleeding ever stop?

“found
revealed
nurtured
loved
trusted
built my life around
dedicated
believed
integrated
but then…
the miracle didn’t happen
faith unraveled
prayers unanswered
screaming silence
born into death
devastated
manipulated
brutality
nothingness
darkness
bleeding revealed truth
stillborn jesus
yet you were never alive to begin with”

 

{me}

So here I am and I am finding my voice, the voice that has been a scream stuck in the back of my throat, in the back of my life, for so many long silent years. A silent roar will become a roar that is heard. I will be heard. I am being heard now. There is such joy in that.

{words to a silent god, c. 2016}

::::this post was originally a guest post shared HERE at The Roar Sessions::::