Spiritual Whitespace: The Honest Truth With God and Others

In the past when I have been upset and angry with God, I shared it with him.  After all he was my best friend and I knew he could handle all of me and my emotions.  Since about January I have been experiencing flashbacks of several different assaults I have had.  My anxiety and depression has skyrocketed.  Panic attacks, flashbacks, nightmares would leave me exhausted.  I started to become angry with God and instead of sharing I shut him out.  I told him, I don’t want to talk to you right now, I am angry.  I had no clue how to breakthrough to him and my own barrier I had built between us.

I still prayed for other people I was concerned about.  I still loved singing the songs on K-Love Radio.  I shared my heart with in skin friends and my recovery group, who I know listened to me and prayed for me.  I was working through it all with a Christian counselor.  Yet the one thing  I refused to do was talk about why I was angry with God, to him personally.  It has been several months since I really shared and wrote in my journal, “Dear God….”

I have been reading Bonnie Gray’s book Finding Spiritual Whitespace. This post is part of the  “Finding Spiritual Whitespace Blog Tour” which I am a part of, along with a group of soulful, journeying kindreds.  

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Bonnie is also the author of the blog Faith Barista.  I have been reading Bonnie’s blog now for about four years.  We have become kindreds on  journey together.  I remember two years ago as she started to write a book and began having trouble writing and blogging due to her own struggles, praying for her regularly.  She has become a dear friend who I have never meet in person, but we have exchanged emails and talked on each other’s blogs to one another.

She has been emailing me encouragement to keep going and walk the journey through.    She assured me the anger was a normal place to be in and to tell it to God.

“But there comes a time when it takes more faith to fall apart with Jesus than to stay strong enough to stop it from happening.”  pg 32

I also have another person who I remember telling me that walking into the dark parts of me with Jesus is better than walking in the light without him.

After work one day last week, I was doing some errands. I stopped and got a drink at Sonic and went to Pertle Springs. I sat in my car under a shady tree listening to K-LOVE radio watching the sun sparkle on the lake. The song Just Say Jesus came on. I just screamed out Jesus and broke the silent treatment I had been giving God because of being angry with Him. I poured to him that I was angry and how come things couldn’t be easier and when would this go away and whatever else came to mind. Another song… I didn’t know the name of it…. but the line, “I AM … holding onto you” is what I heard. I have since looked up the song,  I AM by David Crowder.  It is all still there the anxiety, depression, and flashbacks but I have more peace than I have had in awhile.

 

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Even the past couple of days have been harder, since that one moment last week.  I have had several triggers and moments of overwhelming tears and panic.  I am struggling to hold it together. I have had several friends and my dear husband, who I have been able to tell about the flashbacks and panic attacks.  I am not only walking with God in my mess, I am sharing with trusted friends.

Open-hearted vulnerability.  We seek a deeper level of friendship when stress and anxiety bit us.  We seek friends who are not afraid of the vulnerability, friends who meet us heart to heart.  Being known. This is what we find in the whitespace of friendship.  Vulnerability is what our soul needs to rest.” pg 131 

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Bonnie’s book is NOT just another book about REST.  It is a book that has helped me to look at my own soul.  In all honesty it is a book that I am taking slowly and thoughtfully.  I am not just reading it to check it off my check list.  I am letting myself connect with parts of me that previously I have left untouched and  hidden.  Please go here to learn more about Spiritual Whitespace.  

Faith Barista

Re-learning My Story

Have you ever told yourself that everything is fine and nothing is wrong?  I know I have.  I have pretended life was great and nothing hurt me.  I lied to myself so long that I believed this to be true.  I had walls around me to protect me that were lies and were actually hurting me.

The first time I shared my story my heart was racing and everything in my mind screamed, “DON’T TELL!  IT ISN’T SAFE!”  You don’t know if they can be trusted with your heart.  You don’t know if they will go gossip about you.  You don’t know what will happen.

God whispered to my heart… “Share your heart.  Tell others what is inside.  You are not alone my beloved.  You are safe hidden in my love.”

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God began to crack those walls around my heart and slowly began sharing the hurts inside with a few trusted people, including a counselor.  Cracking those barriers around my heart hurt so much but in a good way.  For the first time I was dealing with hurts of my past.  I began to tell others my story.

I found grace and acceptance and LOVE in telling my story.  I found I was not alone.  Others were hurting like me and just needed to hear that they were not alone either.  I found that telling my story encouraged others.  I found that I was able to connect with others around me by sharing pieces of my heart.

I don’t just mean sharing my story up in front of crowds of people, although I have done that now.  Just sharing parts of my story one on one with someone means I have connected with someone.  In connecting and sharing my heart often others feel free to share their own hearts!

“When we tell our stories, the truth about our lives – the broken parts, the secret parts, the beautiful parts – then the gospel comes to life, an actual story about redemption.” Shauna Niequist

Telling the secrets I kept deep inside me, gave me freedom.  Sharing tears with others let others see the real me.  Sharing fun and great things that happened with laughter let others see the real me.  God brought redemption to what I kept hidden deep inside.  God was shown to me through telling my story. I have a recovery group I share my story with weekly

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Yet somehow even though I know this is the truth of what God has brought me through in my past, I found myself the last 4-6 months or so shutting down and forgetting this, even though I still told my group.  Overwhelming fears and flashbacks paralyzed me.  I was functional in that I could go to work and do my job but that was about it.  I shared, but realized I needed more help than I just they could give me.

I have sought out a new counselor.  It has been a rough journey, wishing for my old one back, but wishing him well in his new life at the same time.  I have begun to talk through my story once again with someone new.  I am re-learning sharing my story and connecting with God and others in ways I have not before.  Take a risk.  Share your heart with someone today.

What is your story?  Who do you share your story with?

Faith Barista Whitespace Community Link UP

”Whitespace

One Heart and Mind

My Easter was spent at work, in the fitting room at Walmart.  It was a good day, just busy working.  It was my first Easter that I had not been to church to celebrate what Jesus did for me on the cross and with the resurrection.   I took some Easter candy and passed it out to people and wished them a Happy Easter.  My personal Easter celebration actually came on the Thursday before Easter.  
 
My friend and Pastor got a group of us together and we read through the whole book of John from start to finish.  He had one person per chapter randomly scheduled to read and we read from the Message version.  He has done this several years now and it was amazing. 

My prayer for myself had been for several week prior to this event, Lord help me see myself through your eyes.  Please help my mind and my heart match up and see myself the way you see me.  I had been struggling with my own sins and view of myself.  My chapter was chapter 17 of John.  

John 17

The Message (MSG)

Jesus’ Prayer for His Followers

17 1-5 “Jesus said these things. Then, raising his eyes in prayer, he said:

Father, it’s time.
Display the bright splendor of your Son
So the Son in turn may show your bright splendor.
You put him in charge of everything human
So he might give real and eternal life to all in his charge.
And this is the real and eternal life:
That they know you,
The one and only true God,
And Jesus Christ, whom you sent.
I glorified you on earth
By completing down to the last detail
What you assigned me to do.
And now, Father, glorify me with your very own splendor,
The very splendor I had in your presence
Before there was a world.

6-12 I spelled out your character in detail
To the men and women you gave me.
They were yours in the first place;
Then you gave them to me,
And they have now done what you said.
They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt,
That everything you gave me is firsthand from you,
For the message you gave me, I gave them;
And they took it, and were convinced
That I came from you.
They believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.
I’m not praying for the God-rejecting world
But for those you gave me,
For they are yours by right.
Everything mine is yours, and yours mine,
And my life is on display in them.
For I’m no longer going to be visible in the world;
They’ll continue in the world
While I return to you.
Holy Father, guard them as they pursue this life
That you conferred as a gift through me,
So they can be one heart and mind
As we are one heart and mind.
As long as I was with them, I guarded them
In the pursuit of the life you gave through me;
I even posted a night watch.
And not one of them got away,
Except for the rebel bent on destruction
(the exception that proved the rule of Scripture).

13-19 Now I’m returning to you.
I’m saying these things in the world’s hearing
So my people can experience
My joy completed in them.
I gave them your word;
The godless world hated them because of it,
Because they didn’t join the world’s ways,
Just as I didn’t join the world’s ways.
I’m not asking that you take them out of the world
But that you guard them from the Evil One.
They are no more defined by the world
Than I am defined by the world.
Make them holy—consecrated—with the truth;
Your word is consecrating truth.
In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world,
I give them a mission in the world.
I’m consecrating myself for their sakes
So they’ll be truth-consecrated in their mission.

20-23 I’m praying not only for them
But also for those who will believe in me
Because of them and their witness about me.
The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—
Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
So they might be one heart and mind with us.
Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.
The same glory you gave me, I gave them,
So they’ll be as unified and together as we are—
I in them and you in me.
Then they’ll be mature in this oneness,
And give the godless world evidence
That you’ve sent me and loved them
In the same way you’ve loved me.

24-26 Father, I want those you gave me
To be with me, right where I am,
So they can see my glory, the splendor you gave me,
Having loved me
Long before there ever was a world.
Righteous Father, the world has never known you,
But I have known you, and these disciples know
That you sent me on this mission.
I have made your very being known to them—
Who you are and what you do—
And continue to make it known,
So that your love for me
Might be in them
Exactly as I am in them.”

Tears formed as I read the first part realizing this was Jesus praying for me over two thousand years ago.  He was praying the same prayer of having the same heart and mind as God, to see myself and others through HIS heart and mind.  It was all I could do to read aloud to everyone present.  I went back to my seat after reading and just cried and cried.  Realizing that Jesus and I had been praying the same prayer for me.  The Holy Spirit guided my prayers to be like Jesus.  Wanting to know deep in my soul how HE sees me is my own prayer. 

How did you celebrate Easter?  How has God spoken to your soul? 

How long until Spring?

Officially it is the first day of Spring.  Yet as I look outside and hear the forecast for the next week it sound more like winter is still here.  They skies are overcast gray snow clouds outside. The forecast says it will remain like this for a week.  We are also suppose to get snow some more.  We may have a white Easter.

Winter even with the beauty of the season and snow reminds me so much of the trials I go through.  It seems like it will never end.  Spring will never come.  How long must it go on?  How long must we struggle to make ends meet?  How long must we struggle to find answers to health issues for my husband?  How long until the everyday trials subside?  How long LORD?  How long will the hurt from my past haunt my heart?  How long must I struggle with anxiety and depression?

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

     a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

 What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.  He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 (NIV)

Even in the midst of the questions of “How long Lord,” in my heart there is peace that he is listening to all the struggles and doubts and pain.  The struggle cause me to lean into Christ and depend upon HIM instead of depending upon myself or someone around me. Yet just as things often seem hopeless there comes a time of spring, where laughter comes in again.  Seeing God provide for our needs each day.  A hug from a friend brings joy to my heart.  An honest expression of what is inside my heart brings joy to God’s heart.  Spring will come here eventually.  Hope always comes from God no matter the season I am in.

What season is your heart in?

Window to My Soul

Hidden Deep

Scared

Hurting

Screaming for release.

Will anyone notice?

Yes

You notice.

You notice when I do not shed them.

You notice when I do not share them.

You see through the fake smile. 

You see through to the deep part of my soul.

Only you LORD, 

sees deep within me. 

Tears shed finally. 

Tears released in worship to You.  

HOPE comes from You. 

Why won’t I shed these tears? 

What is stopping me? 

Why won’t I share this part of my heart with my love? 

The tears are widows to my soul.  

What if you see into my soul and reject it? 

What if you see into my soul and love it? 

Risk!

Should I?

You, LORD, give me strength to share.

You, LORD, give me my voice. 

You, LORD, bless me with my love.

My love accepts those tears. 

My love saw into the window of my soul.

My love received me and my tears.  

 

There is sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tonques. They are messengers of overwhelming grief and unspeakable love.                                     Washington Iriving

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Katie’s World

My world for the last several weeks has been busy!

  • We have had some major snow here the last couple of weeks.  I got lucky last week that my days off fell during the storm so I did not have to try to get to work in it.  My dear friends Ann and Ben gave me an extra shovel to use after the first storm before the second one so I was able to shovel a path to my car and then shovel it out once the plow came and did the street and our parking lot.  The snow each time was above my bumper of my car.  In total we got about 2 feet.
  • The snow allowed me time to snuggle in with my husband and watch some rented movies and tv shows.  We have been watching the first three seasons of Big Bang.
  • I finished reading Crossroads and The Reason.  I am still working on the other books I said last time I wrote about my world.
  • God rocked my world last week and meet me in the midst of my tears and chaos.  I will write about it one of these days, but I am not ready to share with the world just yet.  I love it when this happens my heart spoken to deeply.  God is an intimate God and I am so grateful for HIM!
  • My friend Krista at Reviving Identity has written for Women’s History Month (all of March) for the last several years.  The first year she wrote about famous Historical Women.  Last year she had women she knew each write about their lives.  This year she is having significant others write about the awesome women in their lives.  She asked my husband and he wrote something for her blog.  I will let you all know when she posts it.  I have already read it and it made me cry happy tears.
  • Tonight is Delta, my recovery group.  I am so looking forward to going.  It feels like forever since we meet.  Due to the snow we had to cancel last week for safety reasons.  I am so honored each week to hear the hearts of women as they share their life with me and others.  Having a safe group to share my heart with has helped me learn to open up.  Applying the steps have helped me to focus on my own heart and God’s heart.
  • We go to the heart specialist next week on March 13 for my husband Matt.  I hope the new EP cardiologist will be able to help us better than the current cardiologist he has been seeing.

Illusion Buster

Dearest Lord Jesus,

I come to you again saying that I can’t do it.  I want control.  I want someone  to change.  Yet I can’t change anyone besides me.   As my heart breaks again and you see the tears I shed and the tears I hide from others.  I want my heart to stop hurting from the same hurt over and over again.

Jesus I need you now.  More than ever I need you to hold me close and tight.  I need you to help me realize that I am the only one I can change and yet I can’t even change me, you have to change me from the inside out.  Control is but an illusion.  You are the only one truly in control.

Help me release control.  Help me depend upon you.  Help me to trust again.  Help me to break the walls I place around my heart when I am hurting.  Help me to cling to YOU during this heartbreak.  Help me to realize that the control I seek is an illusion.  Break through that illusion and reveal yourself.  You are the only one truly in control.

Love, Katie

Forever My Love You Will Be

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Back when we were dating/engaged I read my husband a children’s book called Love You Forever by Robert Munsch.  There was a poem inside that the mother sings to her son each night before bed.

 “I like you for always.

 I love you forever.

Forever my baby you will be.”

We changed it up for ourselves and said to each other often:

I like you for always

I love you forever

Forever my love you will be.

I even inscribed the last line inside his wedding ring before I gave the ring to him on our wedding day.  Last May we have been married thirteen years.  As Valentine’s Day approaches I have been thinking of this.   There have been so many things over the years that have happened.

Fights

Betrayal

Chronic illness

Money struggles

Job loss

Death of close family members

Depression

Anxiety

Codependency

So much to drive walls between us.  At times I was angry with you or you with me.  There were times I didn’t like  you or you didn’t like me.  Yet as I think back over the years I continue to remember there is so much more than our trials to look back on.

Walks in the park discovering nature together.

Going on drives looking for deer.

Taking care of one another when sick.

Watching shows together and snuggling.

Looking deep inside the other beyond the walls.

Listening.

Acceptance

Holding One Another

Giving GRACE

Hope

God has been there in the midst of it all with us.  Holding us.  Helping us.   I say to myself and you once again, in front of God and the world.

I like you for always

I love you forever

Forever my love you will be.

Trusting You With My Heart

How do I trust you?  You break my heart time and time again.  You don’t mean to but it happens.  Deep betrayal.  Deep hurt.  I just sit there and listen.  I don’t tell you how it makes me feel.  I don’t show you the tears that are inside me.  How can I when you are the one who breaks my heart time and time again.

When I am hurting, I push you away.  I put walls up.  I do it automatically without thinking about it.  I did it again when you told me about your betrayal.  I did not share anything except I am glad you were honest with me.

Now what?

I know the answer.

I have shared the tears with God.  I have shared the tears with some trusted friends, from my recovery group.  My part is telling you the TRUTH and trusting you with those tears and heartache that you caused.  It is taking the RISK and sharing my heart with you.  I need to do this.  I don’t want to.

What if you hurt me again?

What if you reject me?

What if it happens some more and nothing changes?

BUT……..

What if I tell you and you listen?

What if I tell you and you hold me while I shed those tears?

What if I tell you and change occurs?

God I need you here with me.  I bring my broken heart to you to mend.  I need you to help give me strength to trust.  I need you to give me courage.  I need you to give me the words to say.  I need you to help me.  I am hurting.  I am afraid.  I am yours.  Help break my walls down.  Help me to forgive.  Help me to feel my feelings and express them.  I hear the words in my mind that you once whispered to my heart long ago when I first started recovery, “Share your heart.  Tell others what is inside.  You are not alone my beloved.  You are safe hidden in my love.”  Help me find safety in Your Love, so that I may share my heart once again instead of hiding behind my walls.