ten years.

Ten years ago tonight I didn’t think I’d be spending much of this day with music in my ears and tears in my eyes at the goodness of God. Because if you asked me ten years and a month ago today, and I was being honest, I probably would have said I wouldn’t be here. A little over ten years ago, at fourteen, I had too many mornings where I didn’t want to wake up.   

i spent my days giving my heart away
to anything new
only to ache from the poison of my
temporary muse
and there were times i’d cry myself to sleep at night
only to wake up wishing that i didn’t.
 

And now, I can’t imagine not being here. 

September 7th, 2005, at about 10:30 pm and without the faintest understanding of what I was doing, I surrendered my inner screwed-up-ness for something greater.
Which doesn’t mean I’m no longer screwed up inside, just that I know everything is for a reason. Nothing is for nothing. I am still alive because of this. The last few weeks, I’ve had more God-moments than I’ve had in a long time. Moments where I haven’t turned away from His voice, speaking through music, and often bringing me to tears. It’s been beautiful.

thank You for never giving up on me
when i looked to everything else,
and lived so selfishly
and You bled
and You died
to be with me
why would You do something like that 
for someone like me? 

[…] You formed my heart with Your own hands
and now i finally understand
and i give You my life, and i’m healed by Your grace
i was made for Your love that no one can replace
this is it, i won’t miss, everything i am made for
to be Yours—all Yours.

the reason, lacey sturm

I don’t understand it, at all. I know I am here for a reason. I try to embrace that every single day—even if I don’t embrace God every day like I should. But somehow, I keep finding my way back. I’m not perfect—but that’s kind of the point. I have too many questions and I can’t follow blindly—but in my world, that’s kind of the point, too. God can handle my questions, and I know that He is bigger than my questions. Still. My questions have only evolved over the last ten years, and they’ll keep doing that. I’m okay with that. I’m okay if I can’t fit into boxes now—Jesus didn’t fit into boxes, and Jesus still doesn’t fit into boxes.

This September, I’m working on self-care. On healing. And then today happens. It’s Suicide Prevention Week. If you need help, please find it. 
I am not here by accident. And I have not been distant for nothing, either.

so how does this work? how much will it hurt to open my heart again?
and will there be scars, reminding me of the way that You healed me?
i wanna be well—i wanna be well…

i’m splintered, i’m many
there’s light and dark within me
but i’m bringing all these pieces
only You can heal me, Jesus
i’m here now, i’m ready
giving everything that’s in me
only You can mend these pieces
be my Healer, be my Jesus.

‘cause i wanna be whole.

be my healer, jenny simmons

Each moment I stretch my arms up or out while my heart sings to Jesus today, I am getting closer and closer to being whole. And, while for now I’ll try to keep up that vibe for as long as I can, I know I’ll wander again—but those who wander are not lost, and I know I’ll learn more about God’s love, and myself, in my wandering, too. Even in the wandering, I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. Because I am still here.

Ten years ago tonight I was writing about taking the leap into faith, into trusting God to heal so that I didn’t end this journey mid-sentence. He did that. So I celebrate: by smiling and laughing, being free of anxiety—being the opposite of who I was on that night.

And, I like this version of me a lot better.

eight years.

hello, I’m trying to focus but my eyes deceive me / focus — I’m witnessing history repeating.

–Made for TV Movie, Incubus

At about 12:30 am yesterday I thought about it. It being September 7th

And did not think about it again.

In semblance to what the rest of the faith aspect of my life has looked like for the last year and a half. if not more. If not more than the last year and a half, if not more distance. If not more of everything–except closer.

This was last year. And that is the same as my thoughts at present.

But I know I don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve anything. I am blessed. I am blessed to be here, to be thriving, to be alive.

You keep healing me in spite of me / opening my heart and killing me for me / bring me back to life, yeah I’m gonna be alright / i got You on my side tonight.

me, october 2010

So, I will say thank You. Thank You for having patience, thank You for giving me hope, and thank You for life. Because I don’t deserve this. At all. And I need to not forget that. I need to worship, I need to love, and I need to live.

Still, two simple words raise from my heart: “Thank You”. Thank You will never be enough, Lord.

Why?

Why can I not see all around me? Feel it? Reach for it? Think about it. Why am I so resistant, so distant?

So emphatic about staying this way? So consistently pushing away from God–the only One I need to be holding on to?

I have woken up in so many ways in the past two years–why not this one, too? Why don’t I feel like I want to try to fix this? Everything that’s kept me . . . made me alive. Why am I, like everything I hate, taking this for granted? My own cynicism is obviously part of the problem–seeing people who also identify as Christians–who frustrate me by their actions of hate. The label process that I try so hard to deviate from. The things that lead me to change the Religious Views section on Facebook so many years ago from “Christian” to “I worship JESUS”.

Jesus. He’s who it’s all about. And maybe, instead of trying to wrap my head around everything that the mess that is “religion” is . . . I should just focus on who HE is first.

I want to reach forward.

But even when I do . . . I still have to open my hands.

court is in session, a verdict is in / no appeal on the docket today, just my own sin / the walls cold and pale, the cage made of steel / screams fill the room: alone i drop and heal / silence now the sound / my breath the only motion around / demons cluttering around / my face showing no emotion / shackled by my sentence, expecting no return / here there is no penance, my skin begins to burn

so i held my head up high / hiding hate that burns inside / which only fuels their selfish pride / all held captive up from the sun / the sun that shines on only some / we the meek are all in one

i hear a thunder in the distance / see a vision of a cross / i feel the pain that was given on that sad day of loss / a lion roars in the darkness: only He holds the key / a light to free me from my burden and grant me life eternally. / should have been dead on a sunday morning, banging my head. / no time for mourning, ain’t got no time. / should have been dead on a sunday morning, banging my head. / no time for mourning, ain’t got no time.

i cry out to God, seeking only His decision / gabriel standing confirms i create my own prison

i created, i created, i created, i created, i created my own prison . . .

should have been dead on a sunday morning, banging my head. / no time for mourning, ain’t got no time.

my own prison, creed

I create my own prison.

And I’ve been freed. I only have to walk outside of this.

six years.

Always, always when I think of this, on this day, a wave of disbelief and dizziness in reliving those moments of desperation passes over me.  The day comes and goes, year after year, where I was so close to losing it all, and then in an instant, got it all back.  And I still don’t know what to say about it, what to do about it.  In a moment where everything was crumbling in front of my eyes, the darkness that surrounded everything around me and everything in me became light.

Six years later, I am still without words for the redemptive love of my amazing Saviour who saved my life.  Protected me from myself and saved my life when I was so, so close to throwing everything away.  Throwing my life away.

I have no other words.  I am still alive.

And thank You will never be enough. But those two words, HOPE for tomorrow, and a heart of love for my God is all I have.  Hope that only begun in me six years ago today, and love that I try to let shine through in my life.

I don’t deserve this.  I don’t deserve to be transformed, to be changed.  I don’t deserve the amazing people around me, my amazing jobs, the amazing kids I work with, my amazing church.  I don’t deserve all of the things I’ve been blessed with.  I don’t deserve the love of my God after all the times I pushed Him away and smacked Him in the face.

Yet He loves me despite it all.  He loves me enough that He opened my heart that September day in 2005 by telling me that I didn’t have to end my story then and there.  That He alone could get me through everything I was facing–lighten my darkness, take the depression, and heal my grandma of the cancer that invaded her for a few more years.

I’m living a life that six years ago I’d have never dreamed.  I’ve had amazing ups, and I’ve had huge downs.  I’ve learned, I’ve grown, I’ve danced, I’ve cried.  I’ve reached my arms to the sky in worship and fallen to my knees in desperation.

I’ve created new chapters of the same story that God is writing.

I am ALIVE.