It’s Time

Belittled. Demeaned.
Hiding in her room.
Creeping down hallways,
Tears staining a frightened face.
Stop the yelling!
It’s too loud…
Why do you tell everyone you’re so proud?
Do you even know what love is,
When smiling photos are just a lie?
This is God’s plan, they say.
So, He wants little girls and boys to 
Suffer this way?
Who couldn’t even make their own choices,
Or know of anything else?
Stay strong, they say.
As if I have another choice.
Just give it to God, they say.
But, wait, didn’t they say it’s been
In His hands all along?
How do I trust the God who led me here…
Again?
Where do I begin…
Again?
Lord, I do believe,
Now, please help me in my unbelief
Because, on my own 
I.Am.Nothing.
On my own, 
This will surely
Crush.My.Soul

10 years. 10 years I fought the biggest battle of my life. Depression came in 2nd only to my choking anxiety. Though, I felt insecure, sad, and confused early on – I was 10 years old when I can remember actual depression starting.

The dark cloud followed me. My world lacked definition and color. I existed in a grey world. Lacking joy. Lacking peace.

I was just a little girl…but one voice in my life told me a big lie, showed me his words were “true” and an enemy unlike any I could have imagined took hold.

But, though God had never abandoned me, He finally took hold. There was finally a release. And, for 8 years, I’ve been free. Beautifully free.

Six months back in the worst place I’ve ever known, around the most toxic person I’ve ever had to have in my life, and it’s almost back in full force.

When I moved back, I thought it could be different; things were getting better. I thought I could stay clean here – but I’ve relapsed.

I thought I had the tools – I do have the tools.
And, though I do this with others daily, still the question arises:

How do we use these tools when the toxic environment doesn’t change?

You see, we lack a voice.

Depression and anxiety have kept me so worried about my family that I have no voice – no way to expose the abuse & injustice done…Unfair for a 5 year old. Unfair for a 13 year old. Unfair for a 28 year old.

And, after all, who can I talk to in the church? The “safe place”.

Because, honestly, the church has, as a whole, been extremely irresponsible when it comes to Mental Health concerns & abuse.

Over the years, I’ve heard:

Well, what did you do?
He’s the head.
Your job is just to be submissive. Your mom, too.
This is God’s plan.
Just try to stay strong.
Shh. You can’t talk about that. Especially not here.
How he treats your mom is none of your business.

The most freeing words I’ve ever heard from a pastor was that the ABUSER breaks the covenant with God by abusing the power & breaking God’s will. Not the spouse. Not the kids.

This is why I have spent my entire adult life giving a voice to others’ struggles…reflecting places where I could not give a voice to my own. (Proverbs 31:8-9)

But I refuse to be afraid anymore.

So, I’ve decided to attempt to extend an olive branch, do some patch work, explain my side, demand a response, and let the chips fall where they may.

But, I will no longer stay silent. I will give a voice – finally, a true & honest voice – to my pain, my struggle. I will no longer live in fear or walk on eggshells.

Not for my family. Not in my church. Not in my life.

Because, I fully believe God did not intend for me to live this way.
He intended for me not to live in the darkness that has been so familiar, but in His light.
He did not intend for me to fear judgement of others, but to trust in His love.
His intent was not that children would be used, rejected, & broken,
But to be loved, trained, and disciplined through both.

You see, what happened in the darkness – secret things like this – are not meant to remain secrets (Mark 4:22, Matthew 10:26, Luke 8:17)… So, after 23 years, it’s time.

It’s no longer a burden I will carry. At least, not alone.


Linked up with Tuesday @ 10 over at FindingtheGraceWithin.

Real – 5MF

It’s Saturday! (Right?!?) So, here’s is my ever late 5 Minute Friday post.

The theme this week: Real.

Ready? GO:

“Do you have an imagination?” This question started the friendship of my forever BFF and I…I don’t know, but in 5th grade, that seemed like the most important thing in the world.

I have always had a great imagination, very good at fantasizing and idealizing. To this day, it happens to be one of my best, most practiced qualities.

From idealizing a job, a school/career choice, or even a guy (so, so often in my life…Perfect Relationship? Anyone? No?)

However, reality is where I try to live…and right now,

Real is the pile of laundry I haven’t put away in about two months, it just gets recycled from wear to wash to chair pile to wear and back again.

Real is the stress of will I or won’t I graduate on time? (I will, but it’s going to cost me some extra $$$).

Real is the awkwardness I exude day in and day out, especially when I find myself talking to an attractive person or someone I deem “better” than me.

Real is the anxiety over talking to the guy I like, making up crazy scenarios for why I should stick with small talk to avoid any real friendship or potential relationship, thereby avoiding any rejection that may occur…Real is the total melting puddle I become when he enters a room & I see his smile, yet totally being able to make small talk anyway.

Real is sitting with broken & hurting clients, and knowing this is exactly where God wants me right now.

Graffiti wall at Block Party - legal "street" art spreading His name. It's always a good time at Block Party.

Graffiti wall at Block Party – legal “street” art spreading His name. It’s always a good time at Block Party.

And, Real is sitting in the first of another fantastic season of what my church calls “Block Party” and seeing youth use their talents to spread God’s message to their friends. Seeing local rappers, DJ’s, worship leaders, & youth leaders unite to build

the Kingdom rather than divide it.

Real is being a part of this Kingdom work on Earth; knowing I am a part of something so much greater than myself, and believing that God has so much more in store for the future.

STOP

tRUTH @ 10

  • I spend a lot of time acting like I have it all together & am able to get up each day and push forward…

But, the TRUTH is, I’m always exhausted.  

  • I like to act like I can do everything on my own.

But, the TRUTH is, any energy I have comes from Him, because I stretch myself too thin & refuse to ask for help until I almost break. I tell people God is who is helping me, but not as often as it comes up. Not in a way that says,

“I’d likely have run myself to death like a hamster trapped on a wheel if God’s divine hand wasn’t on me…”

  • I like to display my artwork & writing to encourage/touch others.

But, the TRUTH is, though I do genuinely want to encourage/touch others, I also really like the pats on the back from putting myself out there.

The other truth? I feel a bit let down when no one takes notice.

  • I like to act like I work as hard as I can in school, so that I can get frustrated when things don’t go my way.

But, the TRUTH is, there is a little more I could give; I just want everyone (including myself) to think I am extremely intelligent, because, much of my identity comes from academia.

  • I waited a while to break up with The Airman, believing that maybe I would change my mind; because he is an amazing & sweet guy; not wanting to give up the first real relationship I ever had; fearing I may not get another.

But, the TRUTH was, our lives were not moving in the same direction & more than that, He was not ready to lead spiritually & I wasn’t in a place to follow him. 

  • I said I was heart broken over the decision.

And, the TRUTH is, sometimes, I still ache a little bit. But, it was the best choice to make, for me & him. Those closest to me know it was a tough decision to end things in my short-lived relationship. But, I don’t share that I get sad sometimes because I miss him. I don’t let them know the fear that is there that maybe no one else will want me, especially not one who is passionately in pursuit of Christ.

  • I think the biggest reason I got into the field of psychology is because I want to help people & take care of others.

But, the TRUTH is, I don’t know how not to take care of others.

As I sit here tonight, I think about what I am reading today in my devotional time: RUTH.

She is a woman in the Bible many people have compared me to: Loyal, hard working, honest, dedicated, faithful, & motivated. All words others have used to describe me.

But, the TRUTH is, unlike Ruth, my motives are often extremely selfish. 

Ruth’s desire was to help her mother-in-law, to get to know the God of her mother-in-law, and to follow the laws laid out in that land.

My desire is, oh so often, to make the world think the best of me. Knowing I may not be the best to look at, but still have a lot to offer, and trying to polish that up to give the world something to look at.

Far too often, I am my own idol. I don’t need foreign gods, a golden calf, or baal on a mountain. I need look no further than my mirror to find the idol I have spent much of my life worshiping.

This is something I have to work on daily. Something I have to put off in the flesh, in order to live a life worthy of the Spirit.

“And God spoke these words… ‘you shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourselves an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them: for I , the Lord your God, am a jealous God…” -Exodus 20:1,2-5


How about you? Do you have any idols that need to be put down daily, in order to walk in the Spirit?

Also, head over the the Tuesday @ 10 link up & see what others have to say about Truth.

Life Unmasked: Living Worthy

“Whatever happens, live in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ” – Philippians 1:27

For the past couple of weeks, I have been FAILING at this. Absolutely failing…more thoughts than not have been on the things of this world, on what will make me happy, on how I can just get by in this life.

Apathy and a lack of focus have set in with each passing day that I am not in school or moving towards a goal. Each day that progress is painfully small should still be exciting, but I’m a big picture kind of girl, and I am not liking the picture that I am seeing.

I know what I have been called to; I know who called me. I know He wants more from me than escaping into a fantasy life because I’m discontent with where my life is currently.

Even my One Year challenge has been slowed, almost to a screeching halt. I am so anxious about the changes, it all seems overwhelming, and all I want to focus on is what makes me think I “feel good” right now, at this instant.

But, there is beauty here:

I CAN CHANGE IT, TODAY.

I don’t have to stay defeated. I don’t have to give into the failure day in and day out. Each day I can decide to keep moving forward, to keep trying to live in a manner worthy of Christ. I can decide in that day to live out in faith the belief that I claim.

I can turn the last couple of weeks into learning experiences, not outright failure, and then they become a part of my story. Time utilized, not lost. Knowledge absorbed, not hours wasted.

Sometimes, I just don’t live up to what I am called, but each day, each hour, each minute, is a chance to change that.

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Thanks so much for reading! This is a life: unmasked post. A portrait of me living honestly…sometimes, life is messy. How about for you?


New Direction

This weekend I was blessed to attend a Bay Area Christian Writers’ Conference at Redwood Chapel. As a writer, it was a wonderful blessing to get instruction from professionals. As a Christian, it was great to be in a place of fellowship with others seeking God’s plan for their lives.

While there, my brain was filled to the brim with rules, tips, and tricks to improving my craft.

One tip I heard was actually something I had been mulling over in regards to this blog space:

Write what you know…


So I thought, what do I know? What can I share from?


From experience: I know Depression. I know Anxiety. I know Cutting. I know Suicidal Ideation. I know Paranoia.
From my studies: I know an even broader scope of Mental Health Issues.

It is precisely this that inspired my novel Please, Never Forget (Available soon through AngelInk Illuminations). The book is about two girls and their affliction of depression, how it weighs on their souls. How the search for a way out looks for each as one chooses God and the other chooses the world.

On the other side, from experience: I know Grace. I know Forgiveness. I know Freedom. I know Beauty. I know Love.

And, to this point, this blog has focused on these areas. The ways God has blessed me and is teaching me each day how to live as a whole person. But, I want to share more.

Another thing shared at the conference was that though we are all unique, if you are dealing with something, chances are at least one other person out there is too.

So, I that’s who I want to reach out to. I plan to start including more posts related to mental health and wellness. I want to bring resources into light, I want to open up doors to discussion, doors to understanding. Most of all, I want to reach out to the others out there (even if there is just one) who are going through now what I went through then:

Those that feel the darkness all around them. Those who wake up and don’t really see light like everyone else. The others who know what it’s like to wonder if Joy is real, much less attainable. Those who feel like they are worthless, and wonder if they are capable of feeling anything else. Those who feel the need to drag a pin or razor across their skin (or deeper) just to know that they are still alive.

I want to reach out to the ones who know what it’s like to be suffocated by anxiety. Who are afraid to walk out their front door because all their mind can process is the horrors that may await them. I want to connect with the one’s who don’t know if they will ever truly be at Peace, because the anxiety chokes everything else out.

So, though I haven’t quite figured out how, I will incorporate more posts on these subjects. Perhaps starting with a bit more of my own story. Perhaps with some resources for anyone who needs them.

I am praying over this, and anyone who may read this.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE…

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If you are one of these people, I am praying for you. If you are not one of these people, I am still praying for you. I pray for each that reads this. If you are unaware of where to start, you can email me candice[at]angelinkilluminations.com

This is a Life:Unmasked post & it’s On My Heart.
Linked with:
    

Life: Unmaskedwoven starlight