Peace And Grace For A Mind That’s Been Through A Lot.

So I didn’t think I’d be coming down to my basement to write, but sometimes plans change and you have to prioritize. Especially when you’re getting that shoulder tap again.

Many individuals have been on my heart and mind lately, and I’ve been wondering how they’re doing and for some of them I know how they’re doing and the prospect doesn’t seem rosy. Before I start I pray that you’d be given a time of quiet and peace as you read this, because He’s good, He does respond to your prayer and petition, and He’s kind. And it’s in His kindness to show you some things and draw you out of dark places that you’ve fallen into or dug yourself into.

Before writing this post I was wondering if I would be limiting the material by going from a personal stand point, but after some thought and prayer, I’m feeling pretty confident that this won’t be the case.

In a time of things going wrong, what do you call a room that one is permitted to enter, but not permitted to leave?

 

a prison cell.

After years and years, many mistakes, many mishaps, I’ve finally come to the conclusion that the grace I have for myself is NO WHERE NEAR sufficient to the grace I need. When things go wrong because I’ve made an error in judgement or things are crumbling through my hands despite much thought about all the outcomes, I cease up and lock down. It looks a lot like not caring for appearance, forgetting to eat, overindulging in eating, general apathy, overly emotional times, catastrophizing, shutting people out, or spilling my guts all over them. There’s just no sense of moderation anymore because my perception is that I’ve lost all control NOT that things are out of control around me.

So what do I do?

I lock myself in my head. Sometimes for days, sometimes for weeks. I think about all the things that went wrong. Try to piece events and faces and facts and intuitions together and try to make sense of it all and see if it could’ve gone differently. And almost always, there’s some level of berating myself for either not seeing it coming or for not doing better. The overthinking was intense enough that it would keep me up for days. Or weeks.

Spoiler: I’d get no where with my thinking. The incident still had occurred and I still just felt like junk. Even if I did manage to “make sense” of things – which was rare, it was still beyond my control to do anything or to be back in control of my surroundings (and believe me, I’d thought it through from all angles).

In essence, like that riddle suggests, I’d made my mind a prison cell. It sometimes wasn’t even intentional. I love to ponder all sorts of things over and my mind’s a safe place to do that. Please, by all means thinking things through and reflecting is not a bad thing. But if life is spiralling and your first move is to charge into your think space thinking you can somehow snatch the controls back… if life is spiralling despite your best efforts, were you really in control in the first place?

Things were going wrong all around me, and I’d entered my head and over thought and rethought and marinated and – I felt like a failure. And I was ashamed it went wrong. And I was scared that if I couldn’t understand it or make sense of it, it’d happen again. And I’d have the floor fall out from under me. Again. Sometimes, I would get so sick of thinking that I’d try and throw myself into other things but would still find myself haunted by thoughts of inadequacy. It seems that the door of the “safe” place I’d slammed shut behind me was more willing to remain closed than open up again.

I’m just gonna throw it out there, but that’s not healthy or right. The fact that I’m feeling scared, ashamed, afraid of the future and reoccurrence, or sometimes straight up hopeless that I’ll get past this because I’ve seen so much “proof” in my past and current situation that “how could it be any other way”.

Just, please. Stop. The problem is not God being mean or failing us or having it out for us or not listening. It’s that we didn’t take Him with us when we charged into our think space-turned-control-room mind. And that someone else who likes to mess with you snuck in with you while you weren’t looking. Things like being fearful, ashamed, and hopeless are not things of the Father or even of you. Yes, you hold yourself to a standard and you try to do your best, but you’re called His child for a reason. Because sometimes, children make messes or they find themselves in them. Good grief, He has grace for both scenarios. So be at peace. He’s here for us.

Have you ever seen a child try to get themselves out of a mess? Exactly. It just really doesn’t work, or it gets worse.

There’s a reason that He says, “My grace is sufficient for you.” It’s because we need it. Did you get blind sided? Did it not turn out the way you planned even though you were meticulous? The things you put your trust and hope in are the things you’ll fall by.

And if you put all that trust in youself and you took matters into your own hands without Him? Then you’ll fall. If you put your trust in Him, you’ll still fall but the difference is that He’ll catch you.

It’s the most basic logic that if the world is crumbling around you, then you can’t catch yourself on anything to pull yourself back up because there’s nothing to grab.

Except Him.

It’s okay to not want to talk for a time, or to not cope well for a time, but if your history feels like it’s repeating, then maybe it’s time to start calling for help through the bars. If you feel like you can’t get out of the cycle of overthink, if you can’t stop berating yourself, if you’re intimidated or afraid or evasive, those might be red flags that your trusty think space has now become your permanent residence. It’s time to start calling for help through the bars to people you trust.

The danger of staying in the cell and not calling out for help is potential rotting. What I mean by rotting is increasing despair, intesifying beratement and belittlement of yourself, perpetual and growing self doubt and fear. The right people help protect us. They say things that might at first make us uncomfortable or cut us but at the same time that thing they say should also soothe. We need people in our lives to be honestly loving and lovingly honest and say, “hey, what you did there or what happened to you is not all there is.” Even if it was wrong. Even if it was awful. In my own life and in the lives of many others I’ve been privileged to talk to I’ve found three things. They aren’t the Bible so please do use common sense and think them through. Even test them. Please. Actually, I challenge you to.

1) people who don’t talk or aren’t willing to be told they’re wrong “rot” and their stench sends away people.

2) people who dare to get vulnerable and ask for help, like a child (because that’s what we are), receive aid.

3) God has more than enough grace for both individuals and pursues them relentlessly with His wisdom, grace, and love.

Asking for help will probably be terrifying. Asking for help might be hard and be difficult to know where to start because it means prying the door to your prison open. Ironically and unfortunately, it’s hard to find a weak spot in our strongholds even though our strongholds are against us and ARE our weak spot. But if you ask Him to, He’ll give you the confidence and discernment on where to start working away, and He’ll give you the tools, instruction, and encouragement. He’s done this once or twice.

And also, please please know He loves you and that He was never your enemy and is an ever present help in times of trouble. Invite Him in and lay down your life history and circumstances at His feet. And ask Him to show up however He wants to. Just a forewarning, you may be made really uncomfortable but I promise you it is so so worth it. And really, what have you got to lose? A cell isn’t very compatible with a comfortable lifestyle anyways.

And I pray you find peace in knowing that your life will not always be the way it is today.

 

 

Sister, I Will Abide with You.

It’s been really impressed on my heart lately the necessity of abiding with one another as women. I don’t know about you, but I sincerely cherish the women who I am blessed to be surrounded by. All of us are in a different stages of growth, and every one of us -though still in the process of sanctification- has a beauty that points towards our Redeemer and King. Masterpieces take time and hard work, deep thought and planning.

But I can’t help but feel a heaviness, because everywhere I look I see girls and women holding themselves to impossible standards. I see them critiquing each other and themselves. Things that can only lead to self destruction or the destruction of others. I’ve been guilty of measuring myself to people I don’t even know and to those that I do. I have desires on my heart that I feel like aren’t getting fulfilled fast enough or that never will be fulfilled. I doubt at times if my prayer is doing anything at all. I forfeit dreaming for the fear that if I do, I will be dreaming to no end about things that will never come to be. I stare at myself in the mirror and find myself lacking in more ways than one. I wonder why I am not accepted by some, and long to be acknowledged by others. I am simultaneously a courageous fighter and a shameful coward. I am my own relentless critic.

We were given the gift of speaking life through our words. God created by speaking things into existence, and by being made in His image, we have the gift of speaking words that can create atmospheres of peace, safety, rest, and comfort, or words that can rip down and destroy.

I bring this up because it’s come to the point of being imperative that I do. The looks shot at each other to see how the girl sitting across from you on the transit to see how she measures up has to stop. The glare across the foyer because she’s wearing something that isn’t your style needs to be questioned. The shaming of each other’s appearances is deplorable; I’m sorry, but who put you in the judgement seat of what beauty is? Have you forgotten that beauty is not outward but internal and that you condemn yourself but making yourself judge and authority?

Or what if another woman is further along than you? What if she gets engaged sooner, has a stable job, is more accomplished in an area where you are lacking? I mean, we’re talking about desires here. Things you are constantly longing for to come to be, some of which obviously may not have been mentioned in that short sentence. And not only that, but desires that you have been waiting for, praying for, patient for, worked for, hoped for and seem to be so easily handed to someone else?

This year for me has been rough. I thrive off the people I’m surrounded by and I’ve been surrounded by people that.. make me feel like a ghost. I love God, but I want to love Him more. I’m so grateful that He’s as faithful as He is because quite unfortunately I’m not as faithful as I’d like to be. As much as I’ve had people encouraging me to stay in the Word, come to small group and the like, I’ve really been craving just someone to abide with me. I’ve just been longing for someone to just.. be with me. I don’t care if there’s talking, I don’t care what we’re doing. I just want to be around someone who is choosing to hang out just because, because I’m finally realizing the beauty of how much it means to have someone actively choose to be with you rather than leave you to fend for yourself.

And I can’t honestly say I’m alone in this feeling of loneliness. Time and time again I hear from girls that they too are lonely, and only the specifics differ. So what am I doing just sitting here?

I’m feeling the weight of utmost importance that I open up and also maintain my friendships. Now that sounds kind of obvious to the point of being silly and embarrassing. But what I mean is that I’m feeling an energy build that is driving me to actively seek out and pour into the lives of the girls and women around me. Though I’ve struggled hard, I’ve been wildly blessed in some ways, so why not share the blessing? I’m not someone who even kind of has it all together (though maybe you’ve been misled so let this be me doing away with the guise), and so I can openly acknowledge that I will fail at this sometimes. But please promise me you won’t let where you are and where you want to be prevent you from reaching out to a sister who’s somewhere you want to be… because she’s struggling too in a different way and may really need someone to reach out to her and that person very well may be you. The mindset of comparison is the mindset that destroys. I’ve watched it try and happen in my friendships. I thank God I was able to notice it was happening before if did any real damage and that He gave me the courage to step out and address it. I’ve had to swallow my pride and be humbled. I’ve had to beat down feelings of entitlement, step back, and as a beautiful friend of mine said just last night “realize that people are on a different path than the one I’m on.”

But it’s so worth it. Because when evil comes a-huntin’ it’s looking for the lost, lonesome, and broken to pick off which translates to any and all of us if we don’t come together and fight for our friendships.

So how do we fight for our friendships? I became actively involved in celebrating and abiding with my friends. And honestly it was hard, because they did indeed have things working out for them in ways that I wish they were working out for me. We have desires for a reason, but we need to actively wait for them to be fulfilled and be pouring into each other while we wait. We need to abide with each other in trials. Please listen. We need to abide with each other in trials. We need to have each other’s backs. And I’m not talking some superficial click, “we’re all sisters forever can’t you tell by our selfies” sort of stuff. I’m talking about the being on the phone till late hours because a sister needs to be heard out. I’m talking about not even “joking” about a woman being anything less than beautiful. I’m talking being there when we’ve been disappointed. I’m talking holding us accountable so we can be our best selves. I’m talking about being honestly loving and lovingly honest. I’m talking opening up our homes for her to find refuge from a world that’s hunting her down because these days women are getting poached like our bones are going to be the new ivory tusk accessory or inlay. I’m talking sharing the gospel with her because she’s never had someone truly love her in her whole life. I’m talking not shaming her because she’s longing to be cherished by someone, anyone. I’m talking about being an emotional shelter for each other, pulling up two chairs, pulling out the tea and talking it out, praying together, or not saying anything at all and resting in the quiet.

And you may say gee, that sounds like a whole lot of commitment. You know what? For as many women as there are out there.. yeah. That’s a huge ton of commitment because every woman is broken in her own way. But that’s why we all need to get up and get in the fight for one another. This is not a spectator sport; consider this you being called to the frontline.

So to the lonely, the hurting, the lost, the unloved or those who feel unlovely, I have not much, but I will share it with you. I am one person and an imperfect one at that. I cannot fix you, I cannot promise you what no human can – that I’ll always be able to be here for you, but please talk to me, let’s go for tea. Or a chat. Or something.

I was filled to be emptied. So let’s go.

Sister, I will abide with you.

Hold On to Hope. // The Thing About Time.

“Any fool can survive a crisis. It’s the day to day living that wears you out. ” – Anton Checkov

This quote has always stuck in my head, but I’m really starting to feel it this year. For the past half of a year, nothing really substantial has occurred that is apart from the daily.

But this is one of those few times that I’ve struggled so hard to not be resentful of my present circumstance. Constantly biting at the bit, this dreamer is ravenous for adventure and to be anywhere but locked up in a room alone with stacks of homework to do but instead staring blankly at a wall or computer screen. I’m craving forests, mountains, the outdoors. I’m longing for loved ones, quality conversation and time.

And I could feel tension slowly grating away on my sanity.

 

Time. I once used to think of myself as a patient person. When I was going through this desert of a time, I knew that the trial would end eventually. I knew that I should take heart, for each season ends and brings to life a new one.

“My God, why? Why can’t we skip all these extraordinarily dull days so I can actually be out accomplishing things? I think I understand where you’re trying to take me (very, very vaguely) but why take so much time?”

Time.

Finally, a break. And I come to hear, like a small whisper in the wind, a voice say to my heart, “Life will move along regardless of you.” And then peace. If you’re reading this and going through “a time”, I really need you to listen. There are two things.

This time you’re going through will end, and bring forth a new time.

There is nothing you can do to make this time end any faster or slower.

And here I pull in a verse that people use all the time. Seriously all the time. They could have a shop full of merchandise with this verse plastered all over their stuff because that’s how much it gets used. I digress.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Look carefully. Who knows the plans for your life? The LORD. So, now a question for you. Do you see your name in that verse beside the Lord? Does it say that you and the Lord know the Lord’s plans for you? Nope.

If God know the plans He has for you, and He is sovereign, does that mean that you have to be on the in for it to be a good plan or to bring about executing that plan by the best possible way necessary? No.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:9

God holds the reins. There arises issues and conflict when we get control-hungry and try to take those reins away. We start to veer everywhere but “on course” it seems. This is either really good news or really bad. Really bad if it makes you overthink, “Well Delynn, I’m trying to do my best and do what God wills in this moment so He can do the most with me, but I just feel like I’m not where I’m supposed to be.” To which I have to say (and God please help me because I so desperately need to remind myself of this), “You are never in a place where God doesn’t need you to be in or can’t use you.” (Creds to my Love for this quote).

Time. It moves faster or slower for no man. There are no exceptions. We don’t have the full picture and sometimes are really prone to believe that God doesn’t know where the heck He’s driving. Please, He’s the best driver there is and He has the most comprehensive view than every man that has lived, is living, and will live combined. The only thing that makes for crazy driving is your rebellion of the action plan He’s trying to carry out.. And despite the maneuvers He’s doing or the actions you take that weren’t according to plan, He has the incredible knack for bringing the good out of any and every situation. How? Because He knows how all the roads and paths work out – He made them after all.

It would be like asking a total random stranger who has never been to a location before to workout an elaborate route through networks of roads and hi ways and byways they’ve never seen before in their lives. Are you going to ask the guy who made the roads and their systems to drive, or are you, the total stranger to such path ways going to try to make the best of it? Did I mention that your life is the cost if you don’t get to the end destination? But the guy who made the roads happens to love you more than you can fathom and has offered to drive for you. Don’t know about you, but I’m definitely going to take up His offer.

If you feel like your life is one move away from a 5 car pile up or that you’re already in the scrap yard, He has the ability to make even the most unquestionable of lost causes newer and better than the original form they came in.

“There is a time for everything, and a time for every matter under heaven.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1

This season will end. Hold on to the hope that is yours in Christ with unrelenting hands, because this world will try everything to try and steal it from you and make all your days insignificant. They aren’t, so don’t fall for the lie that they are.

Wha-Bam.

There are some things that God has most definitely given me.

A knowledge of self, the apparent incapacity for an emotional comfort bubble, and the inability to put my heart anywhere else but on my sleeve, and a deep and irrefutable desire to understand or at least be able to love on those I come into contact with.

And the majority of life, I’ve seen all of those things as weaknesses.

I thought once that I might be a strong young woman with a lion heart. I tried my best to have a shell, but if you know how, it’s really not hard to cut me to my core. Besides, trying to have the shell that I thought would be ideal was rather… well, it made me bitter though it was at first affective. Unfortunately it kept the good out as well as the bad.

There was a middle- aged man named Eddie who had Downs that I met while waiting for a bus on a cool day after some grocery shopping. Walking towards me with a new copy of Fame on blue-ray dvd, he saw me and walked right up to me and started talking to me about his love for the movie and all the dancing there was in it. He continued on about how he’d ordered it and it’d finally come in and how nice the sales people were for helping him and holding it for him. I also love dance, and our conversation continued on as though we’d been friends for a while. We got on to the half-filled bus, and I sat down and he came over and sat down right next to me so we could continue talking. He asked if I could read the packaging to him and I obliged. He then asked if I could take the plastic off so he could observe the inside. I again obliged. And all the while I was conversing with him, my heart was breaking. I almost started crying right then and there, because we (and this is a generally we as a society) need people like Eddie so desperately badly, but we are so quick to discard him because of some things he deals with.

I love people who come and talk with me about how I’m doing, or my day, or just want to strike up a friendly conversation about life. But to be honest, I get nervous around others sometimes because I’m not sure if what I want to talk about is something they will even consider talking about never mind want to.

Eddie had every right to be nervous and bitter because of how people may have treated him in the past. And yet he was so, so kind and has been such a blessing in my life even though I was around him for only 15 minutes.

I want to be like Eddie. I want people to walk away from me feeling like they’re appreciated and have had a breath of fresh air. I want people to walk away feeling like a better person: more inspired, more encouraged, understood, appreciated, loved, cared about.

My brother, Eddie, and my Father who created Him,

Thank you. I am inspired and encouraged because of you. And I will never forget how you blessed me. I pray that you use my “weaknesses” to bless others and bring glory to You. I pray that one day I stop seeing Your gifts as weaknesses, and that they are intentional and purposeful, and beautiful.