About oceanwrite

This is where I go to externally process. I hope some of my struggles can help others know they are not alone. I hope I can show redemption that points people towards their Creator.

Beauty in the Now

I don’t like to force ideas to write about, and I’ve been dealing with some health issues, so sometimes I write one or two days apart, and sometimes it’s one or two months apart.

I’m starting to flesh out my life story. It is easier for me to write about my life in a just the facts kind of way to avoid feeling all the pain I felt during the hard times. But it is time. So I started with the event I remember the best. It happened when I was around eight, and for years I couldn’t understand why this event was seared into my memories. It has come to my mind unbidden at least weekly for the last 40 years.

I decided to flesh out these stories long-hand with a pencil. It seems more intimate, and I need all the help I can get to reconnect with my emotions during these times. So as I wrote out the story, I started to remember the joy I had with my sister that day. It was one of the only times, as a child, I remember being alone with her – interacting in a big sister/little sister kind of way. She taught me how to make little cakes, and we went ice skating on the pond behind her house. And then I began to remember coming home and having my spirit crushed by my step-mom. She screamed, ranted, and raved about me wanting to spend time alone with my sister. How ungrateful I was to her. I was eight and wanted some quality time with my sister, who lived in another house, and who I never got to see.

I suddenly realized this moment imprinted the feeling or even knowing that when something good happens in my life, the “other shoe” will drop and stomp all the joy and good feelings away. After experiencing so much joy, feeling like it was the best day of my life, and then coming home to my step-mom crushing my spirit, this has affected me my entire life.

We live in California, and through God’s grace, we are able to rent this amazing apartment where the ocean is 100 feet from us. The timing was perfect, and the price, relatively speaking, is doable. I have not been able to fully appreciate my view in these ten years because I live in fear of it being taken away. I try so hard to experience the beauty and awe of it in the present, but my core reaction is to wonder how or when it will all end. I love living by the ocean so much that it feels like I would be destroyed if I had to leave it, but I can’t enjoy it like I should because of my core reaction of – when will it end.

Now that I know the moment this feeling was solidified in my person, the moment this became my core reaction, I can lift the wounded little girl in me to God for healing. I can truly work on forgiveness. And hopefully, more fully enjoy the beauty of the moment.

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Surrender and a Box of Tarantulas

Today I said the statement, “Surrendering to anything or anyone including God is like being in a box of tarantulas.”

That seemed to shock people at my church table. Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way, but I doubt it. I think maybe I’m the only one who will admit it.

I can even psychoanalysis myself and tell you why. Growing up and even as an adult, people in authority have not had my best interest at heart. There has been much abandonment and neglect.

It’s only recently I realized that even my sleep is affected by this fear of surrendering. I am a lucid dreamer (look it up, it’s a thing). However, as soon as I realize I’m dreaming, I wake myself up. This is a terrifying ordeal. It feels like I’m going to die and my husband always shakes me awake as I struggle in my sleep to wake up. I found out there is a name for this called sleep paralysis. I can’t move, but I feel awake. Guess what one of the cures for this is? Surrendering to it. What!? Ugh.

At least two people have said to me in the last few weeks, “Maybe you need to pray and talk to God about this.” Both times I blew them off, but I think maybe God wants to work on this fear of surrender.

Maybe now is the time to find freedom in surrender and learn that God is not a human who lies (Num. 23), but is the one who said, “Never will I leave you…” (Heb. 13:5). Maybe it’s time I find out if he meant it.

An Hour of Worship

I was worshipping today. I have the privledge to work for a church and our staff meeting today was a time of worship. God chose this moment to open a seed, which had been planted long ago. This little time of worship peeled back the hard shell and allowed the plant within the seed to quickly grow from a seedling to a beautiful tree with many branches. God showed me this seed had been planted in deep soil that my on and off again times with God had kept nourished until this very minute.

The seedling manifested itself by way of a softening heart toward my mother. God gave me the ability to see her how God sees her. Specifically, he showed me her heart of worship. This is the seed that she passed on to me. I felt an increased joy and heart of worship in that moment. I have always loved worship, but I felt like that was nothing compared to how I felt in this moment. I knew this was my mother’s heart toward worship. I saw how beautiful my mother truly is and how beautiful her heart is. Even as she loses the battle with her mind to dementia, I felt God show me how she looks to him even now, and more importantly how she will look to him in eternity. She gets to do her favorite thing for all of eternity and it made me burst with tears of thankfulness. Thankfulness for her beauty and joy as she gives glory to God – her favorite thing to do.

All of this in the span of an hour of worship.

It’s Not Working Anymore

Here is my list of what’s not working anymore:

Eating while reading or watching a screen

Avoiding life

Counting Calories

Deciding my worth based on my dress size

Hiding – from everyone

Not Writing

Is it peri-menopause or is it just time to grow up? My dad is dead and my mother is losing the battle for her mind. Me and my siblings are the older generation now as our children are having children. It is time to walk in the way of the King.

Disconnected

Disconnected from the worldFeeling disconnected, how did I even get here? Just two weeks ago, I was getting close to feeling alive and part of the world. I did have a “trauma” last week. Why does fear do this. It should draw me closer. I think I disconnect from life itself when I’m afraid. I don’t even know it until the fear diminishes and I feel safe. I should say I feel less scared. I don’t know if I ever feel totally safe, but I do get some space around me, and I no longer feel the breath of danger on my neck.

You would think that I am an international spy or something with how I talk; but really, I’m just a wife, mom, and software coordinator. Nothing too dangerous. I realize, right now in this minute, that disconnecting from the world is how I coped as a child with the real trauma of being abandoned at four, picked on most of my childhood, and finally called about to parent my mother before the age of 15. It all overwhelmed me, and then I disconnected. It is almost automatic. Kind of like Click with Adam Sandler.

I’m aware of it now and will work to catch myself and allow myself to experience life even in the things that scare me. One of the first ways I disconnect is disconnecting from spiritual disciplines. Why is that? Reading the Bible and listening to music should sooth me, but instead I hide in silence and stay in my head. I listen to my scary thoughts almost as if they are my friends. I need to let them go like Nash in A Beautiful Mind. Maybe I watch too much TV.

It feels a little empowering to realize what this is. It is the little girl in me who needs to know she is safe. I do not need this coping mechanism anymore. It does not benefit me as an adult.

I let it go and I ironically leave you a link to Let It Go.

You Sit With Me

There is a piece of me that is hidden. So hidden, in fact, that I don’t know how to find it. I hid it to protect it as a child since no one was protecting me. No one cared to make sure I was secure, so I secured myself.

What was once a safe place has become a prison. I want to release it to you, Lord, but I don’t know how to find it. There is a piece of me, which would connect with You much deeper than the part of me you see, but I don’t know how to find it. It is the pure, truly human part of me, the image of you that you breathed into me. It is buried alive within me. Only you, Lord, can resurrect it. The piece of me that can truly connect with you. Only you can find it. I need to be still, to not cringe in fear of being seen by you. I need to be quiet and allow your Spirit to seek and find me – the real me. Bring shalom to my core, restoration to who I was created to be. Find the pure, created piece of me buried deep. Spirit connect with my spirit and bring forth who I was created to be. Break the lies that are holding the doors closed, release the truth to set me free.

Even while that piece of me is hidden and buried, you meet me in my prison. You talk to me and give me hope while the Spirit breaks each chain, removes each wall, working to free me. You sit with me.

What is your cross?

Whenever I think of Luke 9:23 NIV, “Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” It makes me think, “What is my cross.” I get embarrassed by my cross. Most of what needs to be put to death are first world problems. I don’t count my daughter’s extreme GAD as a cross, more of an opportunity to trust him and see what he is going to do. When I think of my cross, I think of what in my life needs to be put to death on a daily basis. Here is my list of things I daily need to put to death.

  1. Gluttony
  2. Lack of Transparency (I need to practice being completely honest with my husband.)
  3. Lack of Exercise (I have health issues that require certain exercises to be done daily to stay healthy.)
  4. Lack of Devotions/spiritual development (Now I’m getting real.)

As I look at this list, this is a list of prevention for living joyfully. If I put Gluttony to death, I will love life more. If I put deception to death, all the things I hide will be off my shoulders and I can share the load with my husband. If I did my exercises, I would be energized and be uplifted and hopeful. If I sought God with all my heart, I would find him. Jer. 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Romans 8:13, “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”

I’m not writing this to be a buzzkill. Jesus is instructing us on how to be joyful and thrive. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

John 15:11 says, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

Jesus wants to live to the full and our joy to be complete. Why do we cling to these habitual sins that drag us down like weights we can’t remove.

I would like to put these things to death once and for all, but according to Jesus, this is a daily/consistent murder of our flesh through the Spirit of God. Well, sign me up.

Crucified with Christ by Phillips Craig and Dean

Jesus Paid It All (Oh Praise the One) by Alex NiFong, Elvina Hall, John Grape

Lead Me To The Cross by Hillsong United

Stabbing My Heart

I have been depressed lately. Bouts of depression occasionally infiltrate. I’m such a hypocrite. I feel strongly that mental illness and disorders are physical illnesses that need therapy and medicine just like diabetes and broken arms, but I don’t treat myself like that.  “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” Runs through my mind or, “You have no right to be depressed.”

Numbing oneself always breeds more depression.

Tonight I asked myself why? Why numb myself with food and television – that is when I’m not working, cooking and shopping, of course. Numbing oneself always breeds more depression.

A picture came into my mind of me and a knife. At first I was stabbing food, which is such an angst to me. My relationship with food, and how I abuse my body with it, anger me greatly. I saw myself stabbing the food and it felt so good. I stabbed it and stabbed it until it started to dissolve and I realized it was flesh. I kept stabbing it, in my mind, until it left deep gashes. I kept stabbing it even as I realized I was stabbing myself – realized it and kept stabbing away. I was stabbing my own heart and it was a bloody pulp in my mind. I asked God why I wanted to hurt myself. Why was I so angry at myself? What was it that made me hate myself. There was something lurking in the background of my mind. I saw a shadow of something in the deep gashes of my heart and grabbed it. It went through the cracks in my fingers and dissolved into nothingness.

A memory popped into my head of bad, unloving parenting on my part to my boys and then I caught my breath and realized how much I miss my boys. I felt like I missed their entire lives and with them in another state, I’m continuing to miss watching them grow into men. I miss my boys. I remember all the wasted chances I had to spend time with them while they were growing up. The stabbing slows and the tears flow.

I fear of what I’m going to do with this pain if I let it come up and experience it. How can I survive it? At least I will be living and feeling something – anything. I’m not sure if this was the shadow that flitted across the bloodied stabbed heart of mine, but I’m getting close – close to something, maybe healing.

 

Karma

As a Christian, what does Karma mean? After experiencing some things, which have basically hurt my feelings, I finally brought it to God (I hope to remember to do that sooner.), and he reminded me of the times I have done the very thing that someone was doing to me. It made me reevaluate how I treat people. Taking the time to really listen and hear what others have to say is a great way to acquire wisdom, which is something I’ve been asking for. My recent experience was an answer to prayer. God created community with each person unique for a reason.

Often those who are overlooked are the very ones we need to hear. Sometimes we have to take a little extra time to talk with them and get them to open up. I’ve experienced this with my father. I’m always so busy and have an aversion to the phone. He has never used a computer in his life and is not about to start now – no email, texting and definitely no Facebook. This has made it hard for us to connect. I decided to make the effort a few months ago and out of the blue he let me know he dreams amazing dreams and knows he is in a dream – lucid dreaming. He has written down over 60 of them. When we went to visit last month and I took pictures of them to bring back with me. They are amazing. He has a lot of times on his hands and his prayer life is incredible. This is an easy example. Of course our parents are a wealth of knowledge and wisdom.

My daughter’s good friend Ysabel is amazing. She is funny and engaging, inherited it from her parents, and we love her. She has been through so much in her life. She is often overlooked as she is special needs. People see a wheel chair and they look right over her. If a person takes the time to get to know her and hear what she has to say, they will be the better for it. They will discover they are the lucky ones, who she has deemed worthy to talk  and share with.

When I was in my twenties, I strove to fit in. I was a single parent with two children by the time I was eighteen. I had nothing in common with those my age and the older crowd didn’t always welcome me in. I would find the group I wanted to be a part of, the cool crowd, and work my butt off to become friends with them. It was exhausting. As I’ve gotten older and married, the desire to fit in has diminished. I have a built in best friend who gets me, but Jesus wants me to go deeper.

Not only does he want me to quit striving to fit in, he wants me to seek out the other people, like me, who also don’t fit in. Who did Jesus eat and hang out with? He is telling me, part of the wisdom and knowledge I seek can be found in those who he created in His image. Those who are loved and honored by God, but not always by His people.

You Know Me – Bethel Music

 

 

Being Strong

Being strong to me meant being self-sufficent. It meant not relying on anyone or anything. It meant keeping people out and not letting them hurt me. This is what I was taught as a child. Cynicism was rewarded and crying was seen as weak. You were made fun of for showing a soft heart. So I learned to suck in the tears and put on this tough persona. However, it was always a struggle because my DNA, how I’m made, is to love and have a soft heart. What I was doing for self preservation went against my core. So I was and still am at odds with myself. My gut reaction is to not show emotion and keep it inside, but my spirit shouts against that. The only time I cry is when I’m being used by the Spirit. I always blamed my tears on the Spirit as if crying wasn’t my natural self. God has been showing me the reason tears flow during these times is because this is when I’m being my true self.  This is when my spirit can be free.

Okay, some of the persona is real. I love heavy metal music, especially Christian heavy metal music so I can enjoy singing with it. I love the thrill of going down that first huge hill of a roller coaster. I’m not afraid of speaking to a group of big “scary” looking guys. I enjoy movies like transformers and other shootem up movies. I’ve always been a bit of a tom boy. But those loves are not at odds with a soft heart.

God showed me this didn’t just extend to the world. Intimacy with God terrifies me. I feel like a flipped turtle if I open up too much and I try desperately to flip myself back over so I can keep an acceptable distance between me and God. He is the one who can do the most damage to my heart if he chose. I hear the collective gasp, but it’s true. I’ve always depended on him, but if I truly give him my heart, his response could be devastating. What if he rejects me. That would kill me. What if he takes a look and says, “hmm” and moves on.

You may say, “How can you think he would do that.” Just a gut reaction to growing up how I did. I don’t think I’m the only one who feels that way. I didn’t know that was how I felt. I was just asking God why I only get so close and then back off. This is what he showed me.

The new definition of strong for me is exposing my heart to the creator of the universe and allowing him to do the work he wants. And maybe finding out the work he wants to do is to love me.