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.

The messenger

The messenger

Vague

Amazing

Insightful

Wise

Funny

Wordy

Transparent

Authentic

Relatable

Lunatic

Bully

Hate

Hypocrite

Liar

Monster

Sinner

Fraud

Stupid

Ignorant

Racist

Words are so powerful. Each of us has either been lifted or defeated by a few simple words.

Since an early age I have had a love of words. I love the shape and sounds of them. I have been in awe of their power both spoken and written. Words can stir people into action and bring people to their knees.

What I find amazing is the contrast of what we crave as human – positive affirmation and what we consume and download in mass quantity by choice – negativity.

Reality TV – Real Housewives, Real Crime Dramas, 24 hour Media Coverage of anything awful. These are highly watched, highly rated programs.

Ever read comments on social media posts? I know you do. One thing that always strikes me is those comments can get negative really quickly. People who are “friends” can exchange words through a screen that can alter their relationship. Words can create emotional wounds that are never forgotten.

It is interesting to me that while we want so much to be loved, accepted, and understood we purchase and buy into so much visual and auditory negativity. That we can quickly and angrily type messages to one another that are full of rage and hurt.

Many struggle with self-love. That has always been a struggle for me. Always. I need the Chip Gaines voice of self-confidence! Regardless of how we feel inside, it is how we treat others that matters when our time is up. I have that information on pretty good authority.

It is okay to disagree with one another, of course. We have to be open to critique. We can learn a great deal through the sharing of different opinions. It can change us for the better. Plus the world would be boring if we were all exactly the same. But it is paramount that we are respectful in our dissent. It isn’t open season for a personal attack because your opinion differs from another; especially in a world where tearing others down is becoming the norm; we must restrain from attacking one another and stick to thoughtfully and respectfully stating our difference of opinion.

Positivity starts and ends with us. If we focus together to be positive in our rhetoric and our actions that will change the world. Great leaders, local and worldly, are remembered by their actions, of course, but also by the words they chose to speak. And so are we. Maya Angelou was right when she said that people will be remembered by how they make others feel. Our words carry our emotions into the world. 

If we are going to change the tide of a nation it must begin by how we choose our words and actions. The frequency of the energy we radiate is the frequency of the energy that comes back to us. It is important to choose our words and tone carefully. There are people who I admire who have defined themselves as warriors and neighbors when it comes to their delivery of love and good news.

I think some of us are messengers. I am a messenger. Those of us that feel compelled to write and speak. Those of us that are filled with a knowing that we must share; we are the messengers. With the choice to share our words and have them read and then spread like fire we must remember that those words have power to build and to break. My choice is to deliver messages of hope, faith, peace, love and vulnerability. I choose to be a messenger that connects and builds. Some messengers are making the choice to breathe negativity and fuel a fire that continues to divide and separate. They think the power of potent and open hostility is what is going to spur change. It just breeds contempt and mistrust.

I know that when the warriors, neighbors, and messengers all move in a direction of positivity and love it will turn the tides of that flame. The good that flows through their actions will extinguish the pain and division. There is more good in this world than bad. I feel it in my bones; I know it in my heart, I see it in the quiet day to day actions of the people in my community. We have to stop paying attention to the negativity. Stop allowing its voice to roar.

So my friends, neighbors, warriors and messengers choose carefully and wisely and with a compassionate heart to listen as you work. To spread and share compassion and positivity so that we can build bridges to one another and continue to make this world a better place for each and every soul in it. It starts and ends with us.

With hope,