I have been procrastinating this post since Easter. I don’t honestly know how to write this without sounding all the kinds of religious crazy. It’s funny how much easier for me to share my spiritual struggle than to share this.

This Easter, God sent me a gift. The city we just moved to has concerts all the time, and it is so hard for me that I never have the time or the money for them. A couple of days before Easter, I got a notification that Hillsong United was giving a free concert for Easter.
Hillsong United is so special to me. Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) was the song I walked in to at my wedding and it is my comfort when the ocean feels too far away. Their music centers me and brings me hope, and you know how much I was struggling with hope this Holy Week. I was so touched that I immediately wrote to my husband begging that we go. Despite all the sacrifices it required of him, he agreed. (He ended up making a lot of sacrifices to get me to this concert, but it was so worth it-at least, I think so.)
We almost didn’t go. It was SO difficult trying to maneuver our schedules and plans for Easter and for Easter Mass around the concert, and then we got in a huge fight on the way, and got lost, and then couldn’t find parking. I was so determined though, I was praying my heart out. “God, I believe this was your Easter gift to me, get us there.”
Those of you who did not grow up Catholic probably know already what I found out pretty quickly, this was a service, not just a concert, but even though I was kind of freaking out about that(Catholics technically aren’t supposed to go to other religions services) I decided the concert part was worth it. I hadn’t’ been to praise and worship in far too long.
Let me tell you, we celebrated Easter in a way I have never seen before. The lyrics to the main song we sang were “Here I stand high in surrender, I need you now, take my heart, now and forever my soul cries out. Once I was broken, but you have my whole heart now, sin has no hold on me, and your grace holds me now.” The worship leaders talked over and over again about how through Christ’s Resurrection sin’s hold on our lives is destroyed. If He can be victorious over death, than He can win over anything else. A friend who is studying to be a pastor had told me these same things, and technically, the Church teaches the same thing, but hearing them this way, with the music, something just clicked.
I kept hearing Dave Ramsey talk about ending a family tree that is used to debt, and how “the sins of the father are visited on the son” no longer has to be true because of Jesus, and everything they were saying gave me so much hope, and simultaneously so much fear.

It sounds crazy to say hearing this brought fear, but hope is a dangerous and terrifying thing. If you believe in hope, you could end up humiliated and ashamed. Embarrassed for even thinking you were worth whatever awesome thing you have believed in. Hoping in a good God who wants to save you from anything He can is terrifying, because He won’t always save you. So there will be times where your hope looks absurd and ridiculous, and you just have to trust that there is something else going on. That’s easy to accept when you haven’t been through tragedy, but once you have, its incredibly difficult to accept that a good God who wants us to live abundantly would allow your child to die.

Over and over again throughout the service, the songs, the talks, everything, the theme was believing that God wants us to experience life and joy and love. That He wants us to let Him inn, and He has wonders in store for us. The Our Lady of Lourdes saying that haunts me echoed in the back of my mind trying to create fear and despair, “I cannot promise you happiness in this life, only in the next.” I’ve written before how this phrase has been a stumbling block for me over and over and over.

I struggled so much to maintain the hope that the concert had brought to me. I kept downplaying it because it was weird that we ended up in a service, or it was hard to get there. Even now though, I am replaying over and over in my mind the celebration, the absolute joy of living in a religion that believes in hope. The thing is, Catholics believe this too, but it is so rarely emphasized. So often we hear about offering our sufferings to Christ, and bearing our Crosses, and we have Crucifixes all over our homes, but we almost never mention the Resurrection(yes there are exceptions to this, but in my experience this is a pretty common issue.) We almost never mention the fact that the reason why the Crucifixion is not a sign of complete despair is that we had the Resurrection three days later. We are not a Crucifixion people, we do not believe that suffering is our glory, though many people treat it like it is. We believe that suffering is valuable, but only like pain is-because it does other things.

Since that concert, I have been making every effort to remember Christ’s victory, and that He wants us to have a Resurrection to every Cross. We are not meant to worship suffering for sufferings sake, though we are asked to make the best of it.
The pastors asked us, “What would you do if you believed that God had already won your most important battle?” and I have been letting that question inform my decisions. I entered Academy Nicholls because if I believe that God loves me and that He can conquer anything for me, and I believe He wants me to do film, then He can get me into filmmaking. I took a break on the night I needed to, because God would take care of the last little bit of money stress, and He did. I dedicate myself more intensely to my kids during the day and ask that God take care of my worries while I love on them.
So let me ask you, “What would you do?” And why don’t you go do it now, because He is there, and He is watching you, and supporting you like none other can or will. At least, I hope He is because I’m going to stake my life on it.

God, it seems like everything is wrong in the world lately.

God, It seems like everything is wrong in the world lately. I am afraid at every turn what the next moment will hold. Every time I turn my eyes and see a shadow my stomach contracts in fear at what might be behind. Every time I get on Facebook I find out about somebody new who died. I keep trying to tell myself that you protect your people.but so many of your people are suffering.

There’s this mom with 10 kids and her husband died on a fishing trip, another family lost their dad to a car accident, another lost their baby to a liver cancer, and another, and another, and another.

And then, Notre Dame burned.

“And there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

What is going on?

Have you abandoned us? Are our sins too much now and you have left us at the mercy of those who would destroy?

Were we not grateful enough? Were we too distracted?

Please don’t abandon us.

We love. We love so much. We love with everything in us. We are hurt and scared and we don’t know how to go on but we love so much.

We love you. We love the people we see on the street. We are scared of them sometimes but we love them.

Lord, have mercy on us, we are good.

We are lost but we are good. Help us, protect us. We cannot save ourselves. Have mercy. Have mercy. Have mercy on us.

The Tension Between Gratitude and Desire

Lately I’ve been having a struggle that seems so stupid to me sometimes, but other times it is enough to paralyze me with anxiety. I have been struggling with being grateful for what I have when I want more. I think maybe I feel like it is inherently ungrateful to want things. The reason I feel silly about it sometimes is that some of the things I want are very normal things, but what paralyzed me is that so many people don’t have what I have; and I feel like I should just be grateful for having that.

I grew up with death as a very active piece of my consciousness. My heart would stop, and we didn’t know why; and then we knew it had to do with food but not exactly how so. Because of that I was always conscious and terrified of death. I was afraid I was going to die pretty much every second of every day. It was my reaction to anything that went wrong, and often still is. An event that actually could cause death, or a death of someone I know, can send me into a tailspin that I can’t seem to recover from for weeks, or longer.

Then, I lost Emma, and then more babies. Losing her wrecked me; like nothing I had ever experienced. My faith crumbled into anger, grief and loneliness. When I got pregnant again, I sobbed for days in terror of what I was sure was another oncoming miscarriage, and a worse one because I was further along.

When Willow survived, I was ecstatic with joy., I still feel it when I look at her, the certainty that I was going to lose her and the absolute glory of holding her.

Then there was Sage, who I feared for for different reasons. I feared her being early, more than I feared her death. This time; there was a part of me that believed she would live. Her childbirth was the successful home birth I wanted, but I feel a twinge if sadness when I think about it because it still wasn’t what I expected.

I struggle with that. I feel like I should be so grateful I had such a great childbirth, and I healed from what happened with Willow and Sage was so healthy. It feels blasphemous almost to grieve the parts I struggled with in the face of what could have been.

I think that’s why I hate the cliche mom phrases about children in Africa not having whatever you are upset about having, or the first world problem jokes, because I am all too aware of how lucky I am to be holding these precious people in my life. I have no right to complain or grieve anything else I may be upset about.

At the same time, I believe that God gives us our desires for a reason, and that He wants to fill them and give them abundance. It is a struggle for me to balance that belief with knowing just how much I’ve been given. I think sometimes I am not grateful enough; and other times I think that I am so grateful it hurts.

There are moments when I hold one of the babies and my entire body feels like it will explode in gratitude for them, other times they both pull on me at once and I want to scream, but I also shudder under powerful guilt for feeling that way.

Now, there are several things I am waiting on that I desire powerfully and all-consumingly, and I am so angry at myself for that sometimes because I feel like I should just be content, but at the same time I keep reminding myself my desires are normal and valid.

All I can do is pray that God sees my prayers of gratitude amidst my tears of desire.

Maybe today pray:

God I give you thanks for everything I have, hear me thanking you even when I cry out in the struggle.

A Day Off’s Rant

Another job rejection today. I asked Wells Fargo for any more job openings because I didn’t get the job because there was someone with more experience. The email back said that I need to take another 6 months to gain the background they need. The old cliche, you can’t have this job until you get more experience, but guess what? You need the job to get the damn experience.

I feel like a caged animal. I get scared at why I am so angry, why I can never rest, why I never feel ok. Why? Because I am trapped, solidly and completely. I am married-that’s a good trap and I’m ok with that one. I am trapped in Colorado indefinitely, this dry, ugly, unfriendly, horrible state will never let me the fuck go. And I am trapped in retail. A job where the schedule bounces back and forth and goes crazy with no warning, where I have to beg for two days off in a row, where I am a number and a statistic but not a human being, where I do not matter and will not ever matter, where I am stupid, where I am never allowed to let my guard down for one fucking second, where I can’t rest ever. 

I want out and I’ve been begging God for an out, please let me out of my cages, please God. And everytime I ask I end up in a worse cage. I am pounding on the silver bars begging for just one more chance at happiness. I will never get it. Why was I born a person who will never be given a chance to be ok?

Today’s my day off well fuck that. Tomorrow is one of the worst kinds of days at work. And I got rejected today. I’m suffocating. I have no right to want to commit suicide because my life is not that bad, but God I just need to breathe for one second.

The Fight

There’s so much to be said today,
It’s like my heart might explode.
Like I’m wandering in that space again
Waiting to unload.

There’s goblins and witches
And demons and worse
Clawing at my insides
Drowning me, curse

But I find comfort in the glittering night
Of Gatsby’s holy green light,
The hope that he somehow held onto
While despair chants, so young and beautiful

Like, I never got to be, or maybe not for long
Some of us grow up to fast to sing
Neurotic as children that’s how my best friend says
We hurt too soon, lost our innocence

and now There’s goblins and witches
And demons and worse
Clawing at my insides
Drowning me, curse

Drowning the breaths that are meant to destroy them
Clawing at the life that might surpass them
Demons begging me to turn back from the light
Dragging my head with witch and goblin grip
And I can’t find my way out,
And I can’t survive,
Without someone Insanely powerful
On my side

because there’s goblins and witches

And demons and worse
Clawing at my insides
Drowning me, curse

And I’m awake tonight in the early morning hour
Clawing at the dark
Two sides of me, one that cries this hour, begs that I sleep
Sleep, Sleep, Give in, Sleep.

A beat that solidly ticks away the life I wanted to live
Cutting in, creating a grieving heart with every moment,
I know I can’t survive if it keeps cutting this deep
I won’t breathe anymore soon, if I still can’t see

Humans can take so much more than they think
Like a press that never,ever buckles down,
Those horrifying machines that they crush diamonds in,
But everyone says they wouldn’t be diamonds without them.

But we all imagine the pain that diamond bleeds out in clear
Screams that life was never even close
How could I have even kept on going?
If everywhere around there was death and 

(4x)There’s goblins and witches
And demons and worse
Clawing at my insides
Drowning me, curse


Something is so unutterably lonely
About the American way.
I saw it in the longing gaze of Daisy Faye.

She cried to her lover, begging for hope
That only he could find
Seas of chocolate sorrow begged his aid.

These seas of sadness languished in opulence
Surpassing all imagining
Tears inside a diamond box of anguish.

That’s when I saw the American Dream,
In all it’s haunting life,
As one sees it, both within and without.

Come to the land with cobblestones of gold,
Flowing with milk and honey,
And long for something else in the land of plenty.

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