Hallelujah anyway

Hallelujah anyway

Y’all I saw Jen Hatmaker last week on the Moxie Matters Tour, and I just have to say Hallelujah and Amen. She is such a down to earth, genuine human. She showed up sick and tired and persevered through the evening. She is just one of my favorite humans.

The theme of the evening centered around being a good neighbor and what that meant. She used the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10:25-37, to illustrate what Jesus taught us about being a good neighbor.

See, Jesus tells the story of a man that is robbed, beaten, stripped and left for dead and how a priest and a holy man not only pass him by when they see him; they move to the other side of the street. The person who stops to help the robbed and beaten man is a Samaritan. Now in biblical times; a Samaritan was someone who was cast off and despised. Yet, this is the person who Jesus uses as the helper and caregiver. (If you want to read the verses yourself check them out here.)

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.”

I know, I have a blessed and beautiful life. I get that. But Y’all, we every single one of us, have experienced pain. We have all had some form of beaten down-ness even if it is in the metaphorical sense. Jen shared this, and I wholeheartedly agree. Pain is common ground.

For me it has been this journey to be my whole self out loud; to finally follow my calling to mediumship. Even though I know what I am doing is right, it still seems to strike shame, hurt and fear in me.

See I have been talked down to, told I was the devil, said I speak to demons, that I capitalize on other people’s pain. People who love me have said that the only reason they believe me is because it is me. While that is nice; it still means that what I have been asked to do; called to do, is something vile and wrong in their book; that there is this notion that it is all hooey. That what I do cannot be real.

Even I have doubts; I am human after all, but those doubts don’t come from my soul at all. The shame, fear and hurt all come from human interaction and logic. When I let my soul do the talking, there are no doubts; there is no fear, there is no shame. But when I have to interact with other humans, the lump in my throat stretches, and I can’t seem to get out the words to explain what I do without feeling some shame.

The trick is, I was born this way. Being able to see spirit is as much a part of me as my hazel eyes, bad temper, and the blood that runs through my body. This is me. This is my normal. This isn’t something I created out of thin air. It isn’t even something I can escape. Believe me I have tried. Baptism made it stronger. Hiding didn’t stop what I was seeing it just kept me safe from other humans knowing and their reactions.

I spent most of my life in hiding. Straddling two worlds. Living in them and between them. Being someone different on the inside than on the outside. I know many of you understand this. You get that it sucks big time.

I didn’t want that for my kids. I don’t want that for anyone at all. We should have our inside match our outside. We should be free to be ourselves. We should all love our neighbors as we love ourselves. And for Pete’s sake we should love ourselves.

But it was ironic listening to Jen speak. Listening to her talk about what she felt and how she had dealt with ridicule last year, and I thought; I wonder if you knew who I was, if we were sitting down talking to me, would you accept me? All of me? I didn’t feel like I would be allowed in. OUTCAST. That is how I will forever be branded.

Seeing Jen felt like going to church on a school night. I am not saying it like that is a bad thing. It made me miss a connection to God like that. Now God and I are good. Jesus and I are cool. I think I am okay there, but to have a church and a community that loves God also accept me; those things are mutually exclusive. I don’t believe that there is a church that would welcome all of me with open arms. It stings a little because I feel like that is something missing in my life. Not God or the four walls, but the community of like-minded souls in worship.

I sat in this event thinking I want to be a part of something like this and left feeling like that will never happen. Yes, I know having God love me is enough, but we are all human, and man it would be nice to feel whole and unashamed in a room like that.

It made me think of my event and how the people who have known me all my life, saw proof of things I could not conjure up, research or find out on my own, saw evidence that spirit can speak through me and still somehow wanted more clarification that God was okay with what I do. I can’t give anyone that. It isn’t my place.

I think a part of me felt that if I spoke my truth out loud it would wash away the hurt and the shame and I could be me without feeling wrong somehow. Nope. I will have to defend myself to my dying day.

Dentists, doctors, teachers, stay at home moms, marketers, gardeners, chefs, cashiers they don’t have to hide in shame when they tell people what they do for a living.

Just posting my live event brought out people who thought they could heal me with Bible Speak and damnation. I do not need to be healed. I am already whole. I am a decent person who loves her children, puts time and energy into the community she lives in, has a stable, healthy marriage, is kind to others, and hasn’t ever committed a crime in her life. Okay, okay, I once checked my email on my phone at a stop light; I have a ticket for that, but that is it. And still, I feel like some abomination. It just makes me tired.

I know sometimes it feels like it is only doom and gloom here on the blog, but this is where I can work out my shit. It is in my blog where I can feel all the feels and then get to the other side. I know, some people say you shouldn’t share your story until you are all the way through, but I get stuck in the middle a lot. I get stuck and need to vent to find the light at the end of the tunnel or to see the damn switch on the wall that has been there all along.

Some people told me after seeing me live that they didn’t know I was that funny or they didn’t realize I was that engaging. Well, duh I can’t be myself most places. But there in that room, people bought a ticket to see the real me, and I showed up.

My instinct to hide has been a part of me since I was two years old. I knew I wasn’t like everyone else. I was something different. That is all I have been all my life, something different. I count myself lucky, besides being female, I was able to hide who I was, to escape judgment because my difference is something that couldn’t be seen. And yes, I also know that I chose to speak up, I decided to let this loose. I get it. You can’t have it all.

But I guess because I was straddling both worlds and keeping it secret for so long; I miss my secret hiding place sometimes. I miss a place where I could pretend to feel whole and not have to feel what people think of me.

hallelujah anyway. I choose to stumble forward with as much grace as I can muster and hope for the best.

The good news, I guess, is that I am who I am. I know that my relationship with God is intact. If HE was pissed at me, I am pretty sure I would know it. And if I keep doing what I think is the next right thing that is all I can do. That is all we can ask of anyone. To do the best they can with what they have. So even if I can’t fit in places I would like to, and I might be seen as an evildoer in some circles; I just have to be the best me I can be. That is all I have to offer and at the end of the day that is good enough. So I say, hallelujah anyway. I choose to stumble forward with as much grace as I can muster and hope for the best. I will be a good neighbor and a good human. That is enough and it is okay if I stumble through it. I think moving forward with as much grace as I can muster is A-okay.

April Lessons 2014…

April Lessons 2014…

April Lessons

Has this first week of May been a doosey for you, too?  Lots of weird little things popping into your day. Running into strange occurrences while you are out and about? It just has been an odd little week, but it got me thinking about my April Lessons and what I should be learning in this life. Do you ever do that? Wonder what life’s events are trying to teach you? Maybe I attach meaning to too many things, but it is what helps me keep on keeping on, so it is what I do. If you are that kind of person that you get me and that is why I share my lessons in hopes that they will resonate with you. So if you are taking a rest from a crazy week to be a bit reflective this post is for you.

1. Find your church:

Alright so let me be clear, I am not saying go out and find an actual church exactly. I say exactly because if you have found a church you love then go there. If you think an actual church is what you need and you don’t have one, then by all means go out searching. Even though I am baptized Catholic, the Buddhist Churches have always been my favorite. But church is not for everyone. Church is not everyone’s place that they feel the most connected to God or where they even find peace.

For me running is my church. When I am out jogging I am talking to God. I spend the majority of my run being thankful and grateful for my life. And most of my time out there witnessing God’s work. The mastery of the landscape and the gifts that have been bestowed in my life; that is where I connect with God in ways I have never found anywhere else. When I stopped running 18 months ago I lost this. This past week, I am on my way back to it again. Finding your church fills you up in ways nothing else can.

2. Never give up:

We live in a world full of excuses and blame. When I taught I used to write this on the white board.

I can't

Then I would draw this over it:

I Can't crossed out

We can do anything. I know sometimes it seems impossible, that everything is stacked against us and obstacles pop-up in every instance. The one thing I have learned is that if you want to do something you will find a way; no matter what. If you don’t want to do something than you will find an excuse. So my point is if you are after something, if you want it; do not allow excuses to happen. Get past the obstacles, get past the doubt, get past the objections, keep going and you will get to where you want to be. When the haters out there tell you, you can’t; when you tell yourself in weakness that you can’t – make sure that the strength inside you answers, “watch me”.

3. The upside of depression:

So when you live with depression your inner voice and your brain feel as if they work against you. Waking up is hard, taking the first step is hard, you feel like you are worthless in every sense. You feel like you damage everything you touch. You walk around the world with your nerve endings on the outside of your skin. Each thing that happens to you; you feel it for days, weeks, months. You feel each thing deeply.

There is goodness in that . You develop a sense of empathy that other people cannot match. You know what it is like to feel and to be broken. With that comes an understanding of others that is vast and deep. If you are “extra feely” as I like to call it, then you are extra kind, extra caring, and you reach out to help others even when you don’t always help yourself. You know hurt when you see it in someone else’s eyes even when they are wearing their strongest mask. You see the line in someone’s smile that is just a tad bit off, that shows their pain even when they laugh.

These things can help us connect. Depression leaves you feeling alone, so lost that sometimes it seems like a dark, dank never-ending cave. But if we use our “extra feely-ness” as a spidey sense; then we can connect to others when they need it most. We can catch the things others might miss. Our kryptonite can be our super power if we learn to use it instead of succumb to it.

4. Every single day is a do over:

You know when we were kids and we got do overs. The other day I was thinking about how much I missed those. And then it hit me; every single day is a do over. We get another shot to make things right and do better because we know better.

To quote Glennon Melton, “God is forever tries.” God is forever tries. He gives you another chance every single sunrise.

5. Shake the “busy’s”:

Everyone is busy. Anyone you talk to you can tell you how fast life is going, how busy they are and how little time that they have. I fall into this trap all the time. Do you?

I know, it is hard not to. There really is so much going on in our lives and the blessing of technology also has created a much more fast paced environment. Everyone is in a rush to get through all the things.

It is my goal each day to try to shake the busy’s. You have as many hours in the day as Beyoncé. Now I know you may not have as much help as she does to get through your day, or the funds to do all the crazy adventures you might want to; I get it. But if you take excuses out of the equation and you envision the life you want to have; then all you have to do is make that your goal for the day. Don’t be too busy to get your work out in. Don’t be too busy to read that book to your little one. Don’t be too busy that you can’t check in with that friend you have meant to. Don’t be too busy that you can’t take five minutes to yourself to reflect upon your day. All of these things are important. Focus on what you want in a day and make that your priority. Everything else will still be there and still get done, eventually. Take your time and do what you think is important and time will slow down.

So know you know what I have reflected on during all the craziness this week. What are you learning? I would love to hear more about what meaning you are extracting from life’s events. Tell me all about it on my facebook page or your facebook page with the #myaprillessons. Or you can just leave me your lesson in the comments.

We are unlimitedI can’t wait to hear what you are learning…

On pins and needles,