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Are You There God? It’s Me, Bipolar Girl

March 27, 2015 Comments off

something horrible happened
at work yesterday…
but because of where
i work
i can’t talk about it.

confidentiality is a bitch.

nobody was talking
about it today
which only made
me feel a little bit
more crazy.
did I imagine it all?
not bloody likely.
so what gives?

i mean
aren’t people
bothered?
doesn’t anbody
care?

it all felt so surreal.
today went on
as today
always does.
people laughed,
joked…
did what people…
usually do.
and it just felt weird.

Me?
i went home.
the only downside
to living alone
is that I don’t have
anybody to talk to
in todays like this.
all these thoughts…
all these questions…

I emailed a friend
and told her.
she doesn’t live
in the state…
so who’s she gonna tell?
then after she responded
i was still.
she prayed in her email
actually told me to stop
doing anything and read her prayer.

Now, it’s just me
how alone on
a Friday night
with all my questions
and thoughts…
only now I realize
that I can take them
to the One who knows completely,
sees completely, and cares completely.
He hears me
and not matter how
weirded out I feel.
I know I’m going to be okay.

I’m Walking on Sunshine

March 25, 2015 Comments off

I’m exhausted
and it’s only 6pm
on a Tuesday.
All this walking that
I get to do now
tires me out.

:)

I got to play Upwords
with some students
in my last class.
It was cutthroat.
Just the way I like it.
One student is Palauan
and was ecstatic about putting
that down as one of his words
and just crushed to find out
he couldn’t use proper nouns.

On the way home from work
a pain started to take hold of my
right side.
It was deep and intense.
Of course, the residual fears of
Kidney stones started to settle in.
The pain intensified as I drove.

I see it as a wake up call.
Now that I can walk
I can’t just sit on my butt
eating as I sit and watch videos
on my laptop.
The heavier I get the more
things seem to hurt.

I’ve been afraid of working out
because I always seem to end up
in pain for days afterwards.
Today I felt like I had to work out
even thought I already hurt like all get out

One mile walk with a dvd.
I did it and the pain didn’t get worse.
The plan is to get up tomorrow
and do it before work.
I’m about 30 lbs overweight.
I don’t know if I’ve moved past the
point where you merely contemplate
losing weight to actually trying to lose it,
but something tells me that if I don’t get to that
point soon…

I’m going to end up like my sister, Lisa.
she died from complications related to diabetes.
she wasn’t overweight but she didn’t take care of
herself. She ended up having limbs amputated because
she got gangrene.

or worse, end up like my mom
who also died from diabetes.
She had both legs amputated
and a veritable ABC of weight related
diseases when she died.

If I’m “wonderfully and fearfully made”
it’s not God’s fault if I put too much sugar
in the gas tank.
I feel bad right now because I
neglect to take care of myself.
This has to change.

Let’s see if I’m singing a
different tune tomorrow morning
at 4:30 when I’m supposed to wake
up and walk.

 

 

LMT

March 22, 2015 Comments off

Yesterday I had my last appointment with my LMT. I am not fully healed, but I’ve come so far that I’ve got no complaints. I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for all that God did through her. I’m not sure why, but when I got home I started reading an old journal… one of the ones that I wrote when my life was a total train wreck. I was a “hot mess” before they coined the term. That’s one reason I’m glad I journal. That journal is the only record of where I’ve been because when you live your life in constant crisis… the details along with the weeks and months and years begin to run and bleed together in a really gnarly way. The gaps in my memory seem to be getting larger and I can’t stop it, so if I want to retain my memories I either need to journal or blog.

There are some things I remember but wish I could forget and there are many other things that I wish I could remember that are totally lost to me. I think God has given me this stillness so I can stop running from the sound in my head and just be still and let him be God. I started to say, “voices in my head” but decided against it. I would have been going for “artistic,” but people would have read it as “schizophrenic” and I’ve already got enough baggage. The white noise has settled to a dull hum and I can look at where I am with a hope for the future rather than an abject dread.  And what is all this stillness telling me?

I’m ready to be healthy.

Sounds like a weird statement, but I honestly believe that I needed to get to a place where I could receive healing before Jesus would heal me. Which makes me think of those times in Scripture where Jesus couldn’t heal anybody in this one town because of their lack of belief or that guy at the pools who kept making excuses for why he couldn’t get healed. He sat by the healing waters every day and yet never even got a pinky toe wet. Jesus asked him if he wanted to be healed. I used to think that was callous, but since Jesus would never be callous, I realized long ago that he meant something else that I could apply to my own life.

When I was finally done making excuses or wallowing in unbelief, I was willing to go an   unconventional route to healing. Like that guy who was expecting a miraculous healing from Jesus and instead got mud in his eyes, my healing did not come as expected.  It took me over two years to get to the point where I was finally willing to try it.  Today she mentioned some other people she thought I might try and I could feel my walls of resistance go up. I told her I wasn’t there yet, but that I’d file it in the drawer marked “Possibilities.” But in the meantime, I needed to chronicle this. I do not want to forget my last session with my LMT. Today I feel healthy but I know in order to continue to heal I have to be open to health. I don’t know exactly what that looks like, but God got me this far. I’m finally at a point where I’m not worried about what comes next.

And So She Wrote

March 20, 2015 Comments off

Most of my adult life has been spent battling an enemy I couldn’t defeat. While I do believe in a very real Satan and a very real Hell… this enemy wasn’t demonic. It was me. I take the whole “you are your own worse enemy” way further than is absolutely necessary. Years of dark depressions and suicidal episodes, resulted in so many lost years. There is not a single period in my life that ended well. Oh, they started out with a lot of promise but then I’d morph into my altered ego, Bipolar Girl, and all bets would be off. One of these days I’m going to start blogging about that stuff because it’s taking up too much space in my head. I keep replaying conversations in my head that I never had or am too afraid to have. Like so many hampers full of dirty laundry, this stuff needs to get aired before it becomes toxic, but not tonight.

Tonight I am in a good mood but I also feel unsettled. I’m under a lot of pressure right now, but I’m mentally stable. I’m experiencing a little bit of pain, but overall I felt great all day. This morning I went into a grocery store and the checker, whom I don’t know, remarked on how I wasn’t using the disabled scooter anymore. That simple fact of having a complete stranger remark on my healing put a grin on my face so big you couldn’t have wiped if off if you slapped me. A colleague retired today and I had a chance to pray with her and encourage her to expect the unexpected from God and to believe him for the impossible. Would you believed I actually used my disability to make that point? I never thought I’d ever be able to speak positively about being physically disabled because I hated it so much and couldn’t see the point of it. Today I saw a partial point.

I also got to rejoice with two of my students who scaled a major hurdle to reach a major mile stone.

And then I left work and came home… where I live all alone.

Not a moment of every day goes by that I am not thankful for my home. I think I say that in pretty much every post. I can be me when I’m home. I am safe at home. I can just have a running stream of conversation with Jesus and not worry or care who hears. It matters that he hears. So I know he hears me when I talk about how heavy my heart is. One of my students is in trouble. I have no idea how to help her either. My heart is so heavy for this girl. They all so desperately want us to see them as adults, but it’s hard when they do stupid things. When I was their age I lived on a steady diet of stupid things, so I’m not casting judgments. I’m calling the kettle black and the spade a spade.

When I came back to California after I ejected myself from the mission field I found myself on a Greyhound bus headed for some destiny I couldn’t see. My dream was to be a missionary and I found myself on a big white ship sailing around the South Pacific. I did not expect the bottom to drop out of my world. I didn’t know that I had Bipolar Disorder or that I would be forced to flee the ship because my life depended on it. To all intents and purposes my dreams had crashed and burned. Huddled on that bus I couldn’t imagine what God was going to do with me. I couldn’t imagine that he had any use for me at all. Then he led me to a verse:

“‘Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband’, says the LORD.” Isaiah 54:1

I have always believed that verse was prophetic over my life. I  received it in 1997… before becoming a teacher and years before my failed relationship that ended my hopes of marriage or my hysterectomy that ended my hope of ever having biological children. Also years before I got to be on the worship team at church where I got to sing my heart out until I lost the nerve. Now before anybody starts to think I’m having a pity party of one, relax. I accept this. I’m sing, no children, and I can’t sing anymore.

The upside? My students are my kids and since I’ve been teaching since 1998 I think the whole “many are the children part of the desolate woman” part has been fulfilled. Which leads me to why I’m unsettled. My student… my kid… is in trouble and I ache. I look at her life now and my life when I left the mission field and I see many similarities. Just like Nixon insisting that he was resigning when everybody knows they would have ousted him… I may have left the mission field voluntarily, but if I’d stayed much longer I might have been let go. My student may be let go, but just as the mission field was no longer the right place for me, I wonder if our school is the right place for her?

Please pray for my student. I want God’s will for her as if she were my own. Who am I kidding? I want things to work out for her because she reminds me of me and I want things to work out differently for both of us. Being able to write this made me cry and I so desperately needed to cry. I’ve been so tightly wound about this and so many other things of late. Blogging used to help me find balance. Free therapy and all. I’ve been trying to figure out who to talk to and then I realized writing does more for me than talking. So she writes….

 

They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To..

March 14, 2015 Comments off

A few days ago I typed out a brilliant post. Ok… maybe I’m the only one who actually thought it was brilliant. Guess the world will never know since I somehow accidentally erased it. I do that a lot. I pour my heart out in a post and my new laptop eats it. Then I get mad when I can’t retrieve it and I don’t post anything at all.

When I tried to retrieve the automatically saved version, I have absolutely no idea what I did, but all I was left with was “why.”

No. Not the word “why,” the letter “y” which only served to make me madder. A post of a thousand words reduced to “y.” I tried for a good twenty minutes to retrieve the post with no luck. As I groused about how chintzy laptop keyboards are now compared to the one that I had for seven years I decided I wasn’t going to exert the effort to retype it. It was enough that I’d even thought it in the first place. It was a bridge from my last post to where I am now. Evidently, God thinks nobody needs to know that but me. Yet, I was left with the profound question of “Why?” and I’m finally accepting that while it’s totally permissible to ask God, “Why?” I think I’d be better served asking, “Why not?”

Why’d the post get deleted? Why not? Technology is not infallible. It happens and it happened to me. After my last post I had a physical set back that left me asking, “Why?” I was doing really well then I started poking around the notion of suffering and why we have to experience it. Next time I think I’ll start poking around the notion of why people have a million dollars because that seems like it’d be a lot less painful.

After doing something really minor I began to experience physical pain unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life. My gut felt like an alien was trying to claw it’s way out from the inside. Because of my past experiences with modern medicine, I’ve decided that the next time I visit a hospital I will be in the morgue and won’t know that I’m there. Hospitals haven’t been able to help me these past few years and I’m done. So I suffered in silence. Only my closest colleagues at work knew that I was in pain. I’ve kinda distanced myself from most human beings (including my friends). Whereas I used to have a really solid support network, now it’s just me and Jesus. I come home from work and it’s just us. He gets me and I don’t have to try to explain to anybody what I’m feeling physically or emotionally. When I’m in pain or in crisis I do not have it in me to try. Jesus is the God who sees me. No explanations or apologies necessary.

The peace that I was experiencing was amazing.

I have never experienced anything like it. That verse in Philippians (or Ephesians??) about doing everything “without grumbling and complaining?” God put that in there for me. I spend a lot of time giving thanks to God daily to offset the fact that I have my first negative/grumbling/complaining thought a few minutes after I hit my alarm but before I put my feet on the floor. Bipolar Girl doesn’t just see the glass as “half empty.” It’s full of poisoned Cool-Aid and it’s about to shatter sending purple poison flying out in all directions.

Health wise it has been a rough few weeks, but my LMT helped fix what I had negligently broken. I’m not going to over do anything anymore. I realize that I have to walk straight before I can run. God doesn’t need me to don my cape and morph into Bipolar Girl in an attempt to make up for lost time saving the world. The world needs a Savior, but it’s not me. Today, I am able to walk with only minimal pain. I can walk quickly too. The horrible abdominal pain that was leaving me feeling tense and clinched is gone. I find myself doing my little jig when nobody is watching because I am happy. And the best part is that I’m not saying that I’m “happy again.” Even though I was in incredible pain my “happy” never left me. Makes me wonder… am I finally experiencing the “joy of the Lord? ” It’s hard to understand what “joy” is when you have a depressive mental disorder that leans toward deep/dark depressions and suicidal episodes. “Joy” seems like something that other people get to know and I don’t.

I am more mentally and physically functional that I can remember being for some time. Work is manageable. The peace that I have in my home helps keep everything else in check, but I know that any peace that I have really comes from God. Why did I have to go through this recent bout of suffering? Why not? On a planet this size  probability says that there will be suffering. Right now I know a family whose infant son has cancer. I know a single mom going through a divorce. Two cops just got shot in Ferguson and some woman in the middle east had her ears and nose cut off by her husband’s family when she tried to leave him.

I hate comparing pains because every man’s pain is his own. But if I had to choose what suffering I’m dealing with — something like getting my ears and nose cut off… or being killed by psycho terrorists… it’s pretty clear that I’d chose my petty grumblings and complaints. I will not borrow troubles and trials by wondering why aren’t I experiencing more suffering than I am. That’s stupid and counter productive. I don’t want to invite more pain into my life. I want to acknowledge that God has walked me through a new trial and I have come out on the other end. I still grumble and complain… but maybe not so much. Besides, I was so excited a few minutes ago I was ready to jump up and dance, so I did. I found a video that I like and I danced and just rejoiced in the fact that God is allowing me to walk without major hindrance. I’d love to say it was a warm and fuzzy Christian song… but I’d be lying. It’s an a cappella group called “Home Free” and if you feel like jumping up and dancing… don’t ask “Why?” or “Why not?” just go ahead, do it. And give God thanks for what he’s doing in me. :)

Get a Job

February 13, 2015 Comments off

I find myself with a day off from work.

Ok. They were having a massive campus wide clean up and I decided to opt out. I hate cleaning with an intense passion. Always have. That’s why I don’t mess up my place much — so I don’t have to clean it. We had another cleaning day about a week ago and I managed to undo some of the work my LMT has done. I was in pain for four straight days. All I could do was sleep it off. It hurt to move. I still hurt… so I figured a day off was in order. I don’t think God healed me to have it undone by cleaning.

I woke up with a head full of thoughts. So many thoughts have been flying around in the cavernous space that is my mind. This whole healing thing has had me looking at the past 6 years of pain and suffering in a new way. It also has me turning to my bible more. I haven’t picked up any of my multiple bibles in a long time. Dust is a very real possibility.

The words just felt hollow. I never stopped loving God or believing that he loved me. I never gave way to unbelief. My life is God’s to do what he wants. If he wanted six years of physical pain piled on top of all of the years of mental and emotional pain, it wasn’t my job to understand even though I desperately wanted to. It was my job to believe that God was still God no matter what he allowed into my life. I didn’t have to try to believe any of the popular Christian sound bites about how he “would deliver me.” Living in this world on a daily basis provides enough evidence that, for many people, God’s deliverance was not earthly healing but deliverance into the next world where their pain would not be remember and where fear and suffering would no longer exist.

There are a lot of Christianese-y beliefs floating around that I do not think line up with Scripture but people bleat them out all the time to somebody in crisis OR they take perfectly good scriptures out of context and try to build some major argument for it’s lack of context. They are trying to comfort, but it is often comfort of the cold variety. And that does not comfort me. That confounds and disturbs me and only adds to the mental maelstrom being waged in my mind.

Nearly a year ago I started reading the book of Job. I wanted to understand the nature of unwarranted suffering and how to handle people who were adamant about giving well-meaning, but off base wrong counsel. People who thought they were helping, when in fact, they weren’t. I wouldn’t have turned to the book of Job of my own initiative. If it’s possible to hate a book of the bible, I would have to say that I hated Job. What is up with that story???!!! It always seemed like God hung poor old Job out to dry. He had a sit down with Satan and it was decided that he could mess with Job? It seemed like that scene in the Matrix where the good guy and the bad guy are playing chess with the lives of the people in the Matrix. It was all just a game to them. It galled me to think that Job’s life was a game to God. It all could have been avoided. It didn’t line up with the benevolent God that I worshiped, so I thought it would be easier if somebody came along and just edited that book out of the next edition of the bible.

It has taken me nearly a year to get through Job. As my life does it’s best imitation of a roller-coaster, my desire to pick up my bible wanes accordingly. Today, I have a day off. The big thing on my four day weekend agenda is to braid my hair. It’s going to take me three days minimum. It was not on my agenda to open my bible up to Job and start reading, but that’s what I found myself doing at 6:30am.

Over the years I have suffered. I continue to suffer: first with the Bipolar, then with the hysterectomy, and finally with the adhesions. I have wondered why God would so afflict me and take me off of the mission field where I thought I was supposed to be. The suffering infected every area of my life with the stealth of a chemical weapon seeping in unnoticed. I’m not like all those famous Christian suffers who can smile in the face of pain and thank God for said suffering. That requires a level of faith that I just don’t have. Yet what I’ve read in Job so far gives me a perspective that I didn’t have a year ago and couldn’t have had six years ago.

As the hours and minutes of this four day weekend slip away I want to pause to hear and reflect up what Job is saying to me… or rather, what God is saying through Job to me. I haven’t felt much like blogging lately, but I want to write this down because my memory has gone all to hell. If I don’t write this down I am not going to remember it. Besides,  I know that God wants me to “get a Job” while I take this time away from my day job. He wants me to think about such things as grace, forgiveness, and godly communication/confrontation. I am experiencing a lot of this at work but I haven’t had time to just be still and reflect on it. Praise God for four day weekends and for understanding that I hate to clean. If I didn’t I might actually be work today and missing out on this.

 

 

I Never

January 31, 2015 Comments off

When I was in college
we used to play this
stupid drinking game
called, “I Never.”
Kinda raunchy
so I won’t go into
details.

But I will say that
this week has been
kind of a PG version
of said game…

I NEVER knew that after all these years, walking could be such fun.
I NEVER knew that I’d ever walk really fast ever again.
I NEVER knew that walking quickly up stairs could be so exhilarating.
I NEVER knew that I would want to do a jig and my “Snoopy dance” all in one day.
I NEVER knew that I would actually have a real dream about running
and actually believe that someday soon it might come true.

I NEVER knew that I could be SO happy about so many things I used to take for granted.
Walking… running… dancing… you don’t miss it until it’s gone.
I NEVER knew that those things would be returned to me.

I never knew that I could be so thankful.

This week has been a week
of things I thought I would
never do… but did.
Praise God that
what I never knew
I could do…
My omniscient God
certainly did.

One Small Step for Mankind

January 6, 2015 Comments off

I haven’t said much about my sessions
with the LMT.
I’m not sure why.
I started seeing her in Dec.
It’s not like I haven’t had time.
The sessions have been great.
So I should be singing
her praises like a big
old fat black canary.
My sessions have been great.
She has been great.
And tracing all this greatness
back to it’s source:
I have been reminded
that GOD is great.

All that greatness
oozing out all over the place
and I’ve been zip lipped about it.
Guess I’m not as chatty as I used to be.
In prior blogs I would have written volumes.
Maybe I’ll give a more detailed accounting
later then again, maybe I won’t.
I want to.
I don’t want to forget this stuff.

For now, it is enough to say
that I KNOW that God sent me in this direction
and I seeing healing that I never expected to see.
I’m also having pain that I never thought I’d have…
but it’s a different
kind of pain,
so I’m ok with it.

SO the update??
Will I get to it?

I can walk.

Maybe not the way I used to walk
but it’s a far cry from the way that I
was walking.
Every day I keep making people
watch me walk
because it is noticeably
different.

I give all props to God
because  I never would have
tried this a year ago.
I’m a cynic and it didn’t
fit anywhere on my grid
of preconceived notions.
It seemed to granola crunchy to me
and I hate granola.
Now, I wonder
what took me so long.

We have a few more sessions
which she threw in for free
and I can’t wait to see how
much more healing God has in store.
The LMT sees me as her “poster child”
and wants to see me restored,
hence the extra free sessions.
I think she wants healing for me almost
as much as I want healing for me.
She wants a poster child?

If she can fully fix
what was has been broken
all these years — I’m it.
Tell me where to look
for the camera
and I will smile like I just found the
pot of gold at the end of one of Maui’s
many rainbows.
It is the least I could do.

God sent me to her.
I wouldn’t have gone left to my own
devices.
Any healing she provides
comes from him
and it’s doing wonders for my faith
and my “what if?”

Today my “what if” looked different.
It’s run the gamut of what I want
to be able to do when my time with
her is done: long walks on the beach;
Art Night in Lahaina; dancing with some
gorgeous man.
I thought about going on long hikes
Then I decided that there’s just
not enough money in the world
to get me to go hiking.
I hated hiking before my surgery.
My friends like hiking.
I only went to try to fit in
and only ever ended up traumatized
and once I  nearly drowned.
I do NOT want to go hiking.

Today, my “What If?” held some regret.
What if I’d gone to see her after my
hysterectomy?
What if I’d tried something
kinder and gentler
than having doctors
cut me open and pull stuff out?

Now this could easily become morbid…
So I’m stopping now.
I cannot undo what I did
or didn’t do in the past.
But God in his wisdom
had a plan that was greater
than my cynicism
and could overcome
missed opportunities.

Today I could really walk
and I’m beyond grateful.
What if I just thank God
and call it a night?

Bipolar Deja View: Let the Adventure Begin Again

January 1, 2015 Comments off

It’s New Year and time to dust off one of the first pieces I ever blogged back in 2004. I actually wrote it in 1995 the year after I met Jesus and embarked upon what I considered back then to be an “adventure.” My life isn’t quite the train wreck it used to be, but it’s nowhere near that adventure I thought I was signing on for back then. I dusted it off today because my former student asked to read a copy of it. She’s sixteen… but I didn’t think my manuscript was NC17. My memory is so messed u[ that I don’t remember what is in the manuscript that took me years to write. I cried as I read the first chapter  aloud because it reminded me why. Why I accepted Jesus in the first place. Why I continue to follow him even though my life hurts. And why I share this old essay today: It’s New Year’s… ma birthday… it’s what I do:

 

All great adventures must start somewhere.

It’s only in the telling and the re-telling that details get changed or left out… but the adventure itself is always great. The moments in time that it unfolded in can only be relived if someone takes the time to carefully unpack the baggage, remove the tissue paper, and shake out each memory, carefully, and look at it intently, until such a time as it must be refolded and carefully packed away again. Each person who unpacks a memory takes a little piece of it away with them and adds it to their own storage of memories, so that no two people can ever unpack the same thing… and therein lies the beauty of the adventure. For each person an adventure is many things and anything… and with each telling and re-telling we grow.

The other neat thing about an actual adventure is the sheer spontaneity of it all. You can’t really plan an adventure. It just happens as it wills and the only true enjoyment comes from the acceptance of the fact that YOU CAN’T CONTROL AN ADVENTURE. It controls you.

Adventures are like that. So it’s no surprise that my adventure with Jesus often consisted of the completely unexpected. Ok… always. My adventure with Jesus always consisted of the completely unexpected. Just when I thought that I had the plot all figured out—Jesus would introduce a scene change that he hadn’t mentioned to me. I guess you can say that Jesus is like that. He likes to surprise me. That’s why I decided to pack my memories on paper and call it, “My Adventures with Jesus.”  This was one adventure that I wanted to pack carefully, so I wouldn’t forget anything. I also came up with what sounded like a really good one liner for the end of the story: the title is wrong.

It’s not about my adventures with Jesus. The focus of that title is all wrong. I’m not the focus. Jesus is. Jesus was creating the adventure around me and I was just along for the ride…. and what a ride it’s been… what a ride it is… what a ride it’s going to be!

Jesus himself is the adventure. He has to be the absolute most coolest guy I’ve ever met and I haven’t had a dull moment since I met him. The day I opened the door of my life to him was the day he came into my life and promised me a freedom unlike anything I could ever imagine. To this day, I’m still having a truly hard time grasping just how incredible the freedom he gives me actually is. But it’s like electricity or gravity or mom’s apple pie—it doesn’t matter if I completely understand it or how it works or even how to make it myself… I’m just glad that it exists.

Now bearing with me is going to be important. I have a tendency to digress and wander, but have you ever heard of a linear adventure? That just makes for predictability and predictability is boring. Jesus may be a lot of things, but boring is just not one of them.

Case in point about predictability: last night – New Year’s Eve? I stayed home to wash my hair. Boring? Predictable? Maybe. Maybe not. I’m watching a TV show that involves a murder with multiple suspects and no real leads. Then, AH HA! The butler calls the cops because he has “something to tell them.” Let me guess? The butler knows who the killer is?? When he heads for his car I think, “Okay Butler, you’re going to get into your car and it’s going to blow up.” I figured he’d never make past the first commercial alive. After all, I’d watched enough TV as a child to be able to write the script for most of prime time television: Classic “Kill Off the Butler Scenario #96.” I watch expectantly as he gets into his car and…

DRIVES TO THE END OF THE DRIVEWAY????!!!!

Hey! No explosion? No Exit Stage Left??? Not even a spark or a punctured gas tank? Ok. I was wrong. Maybe I couldn’t write award winning scripts for nighttime TV. I continued to watch as his car nears the end of the driveway and KABLUE-EE!!!

The car bomb must have had a timer instead of being connected to the ignition. I guess I could still win an Emmy some day. I also guessed that the “butler didn’t do it.”

That movie made me think about predictable. “The predictable” is safe and easy to plan for and, well, boring. Take alcohol for example. That’s boring. Believe me: Been there. Seen that. Drunk it. The drill goes something like this: Girl meets boy. Boy flirts with Girl. Girl and Boy date. Girl gets dumped. Girl drinks to drown her sorrow. Girl gets so drunk that she spends hours puking up her soul and is nearly hospitalized for alcohol poisoning.

Extreme… but predictable. Thousands of high school and college kids, millions of people everyday get drunk for one reason or another (and everybody has their reason… only thing is that not one of them is original) and they all usually end up the same way the next morning. They roll over and open gritty, bloodshot eyeballs as they contemplate their bruised stomach and pounding head while savoring that pasty, “yuck-mouth” feeling coating their tongues. If you stop to think for just a moment… not only is the morning after boring and predictable, but it’s downright ugly. And thousands of high school and college kids, millions of people everyday do this for one predictably boring reason or another. I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t sound like an adventure to me.

I guess I only started thinking about adventure today. Today I realized that Jesus is the adventure. One year from the day I met him I decided to go back to where we met: a beach on the island of Maui. All great adventures need exotic locations – – a tropical island, a quaint cottage, but hey, even your office or the ladies bathroom become awesome on-site locations when Jesus is in charge. Anyways—Jesus and I have a date and I’m pressed for time. At the last minute I almost cancel even though I know that he’ll be there waiting… patiently… for me. I figure that if I bail, he’ll forgive me. He always does. He’ll still love me – he promised to love me forever. He’ll never leave me. No, he’d walk with me right into the next age. I was all set to forget all about him and go do something else…

Then I thought, “Wait. I love him too.” And figuring that no one has, or ever will, love me the way that he does, I got dressed and hauled my carcass to the beach. Talk about beautiful scenery: Kam III Beach in Kihe’i, Maui… definitely Oscar material for Best Direction, Costuming, and Set Design. As usual, I don’t have my lines memorized. I find that method acting is more my style. So I winged it. I just sat there on the rocks and talked to him. What he told me in return was so cool… and absolutely none of your business. I’m realizing that some things are best left between me and God. It was then that I decided to call my story “My Adventures with Jesus,” but it was a split second later that I thought up that one liner about the title being all wrong. (Remember– it’s never about what happens when I’m with Jesus. It’s about who Jesus is and what He can do through me).

Anyways– I’m walking back to my car and I see a woman. “Happy New Years” I say to her. I notice that her feet are bare and she walks shufflingly, like her feet hurt or something. Her clothes are dirty and she looks lost. I figure it’s time for a scene change and she’s an extra or something. Y’know, put there by God as a bit player in my life to remind me of just how much I have to be thankful for.

Predictable,” I think to myself as I walk on by.

Do something,” Jesus tells me.
“Must I?” I whine, “And if so, what??”
“Her feet,” Jesus says.

I knew then that I had to give her my extra shoes that were in my car. I hurry to get them and return to see her eating out of a garbage can. I pressed a ten dollar bill into her hands and turned away ready to rush off clutching the shoes. She’d tried them on (they didn’t fit). She made me feel nervous and scared and sad all at once and I wanted to escape her suffering. Besides, I figured that I had done my good deed for the day. Time for a scene change or a commercial or SOMETHING. But Jesus had other plans. I got about thirty yards away before he asked me to go back. I stood there with my back to her. Struggling. Wanting the safe and the predictable, not this detour into the unpredictable adventure of caring for a hurting soul. He asked me again to go back.

“Do you love me? Then feed my sheep.”

He didn’t force me. Jesus will never force me to do anything. He’ll just lay out choices and trust me. When I turned back to her, that’s when I saw her fish a piece of cake out of the trash can. My heart just about broke. “Jesus??!! I can’t handle this. I’ve never done anything like this before. Help me! God, please help me.”

And he did. Jesus and I spent the morning with her and it forever altered my way of thinking. What really blows me away, though, is that it was all so unexpected. Yesterday, I didn’t even know that she existed. Today, she is all that I can think about. I pray without ceasing that she is packing her own bag to begin her own adventure with Jesus even as I write.

Being with her set the tone for my entire day… and what a day it was: my first birthday as a Christian. A year ago today on a beach in Maui I met a man named Jesus who’d been waiting for me all of my life. I went back to that beach today to meet Him and He introduced me to her. Later, that same day, Jesus and I returned to the beach. This time I was with another woman he’d recently introduced to me. We, three, sat watching other people ushering in the New Year with their barbeque and beer… while we just sat there enjoying the Creation. We had an awesome time talking about anything and all things. Jesus sure does have cool friends. She shared the amazing story of how she had begun her own adventure with Jesus. It was 100% unplanned, 100% awesome, and 100% ANYB (absolutely none of your business– you know the drill.)

To make a long story shorter, I’m here at home on my bedroom floor writing about today. What a day it was!! I pray to have many more days like this and even more that surpass it. Today, Jesus made my calling and election sure and boy, am I excited! But even unpredictable adventurers must sleep. So, for tonight, I bid you adieu. The curtain is closing or your screen is fading to black. Good night and God bless.

Adventurer’s Log Date: January 1, 1995

9:48 pm Maui, Hawai’i

Christmas Present Extraordinaire

December 24, 2014 Comments off

Today I came home after a fairly good day at work. The students are on vacation and the campus is a ghost town. In this down time I am able to get a lot of work. In the last few hectic days when I was having mood swings all over the map, I wondered, once again… why God has me in teaching. Teaching effects my mood and it’s generally in a bad way. I often end up feeling like a horrible person at the end of the day. And I’m not one of the militantly dedicated teachers that they make Lifetime movies about. Whoopi Goldberg and Halle Berry are never going to argue over who gets to play me so they can win an Oscar.

I sometimes wonder if it ever even matters to anyone if I teach or would anyone notice if I were to just get up and walk away.

Today after my fairly good day I came home. Early. Since we’re on holiday mode my boss gave us a half day. I like my new boss. I looked around my classroom as I left. A pile of my old manuscripts were on a table. They were my failed attempt at trying to chase my dream. Too many rejection letters and I’d quite.  I’d brought them in to school to shred them. For some reason I haven’t brought myself to do it even though they’ve been in that filing cabinet for months.

As soon as I got home I opened up my email… and what I read made me cry. I don’t usually share private messages on my blog because “private” implies, well, privacy. But I see the hand of God in the background weaving together loose edges. It’s from a former student back in my Christian school teaching days. She’s Indian and was very much an atheist. I’d say she had a quick mind for a fourth grader, but that wouldn’t be accurate. She had a quick mind period. We had many a religious debate this kid and I. I felt like for this one, I had to really practice what I believed or she’d see me as a hypocrite or a charlatan. I think it was the year later that she accepted Jesus. I always wished that I had influenced her decision. And it is from this young woman (now 16 years old) who sent me an email:

 

Hey Ms. G! 

I’m not sure if you still use this email, but I’ve been thinking of you a lot recently. I am currently 16 years old (12/1/1998) and a Junior in HS. I am in accelerated learning classes (including AP English, which is undoubtedly one of my favorites). Actually, when I was in eighth grade, I took a test that would later qualify me for Honors English.The question was, “Why do you want to be in Honors English?” I actually wrote all about how our creative writing group and how you inspired me to utilize my creative talent in the form of writing. (*Note: I had a small creative writing group that met at my house with four young girls).

 2014 hasn’t been my best year. I was admitted into the hospital on Oahu on October 27. My diagnosis was inconclusive, but they tried many experimental medicines, which only made my condition worse.

 In my hospital bedroom, I had meager strips of paper. On it, I kept writing the Bible verses I memorized in elementary school. At that time, I knew that no one would really help me but God. I also thought of your testimony, and I really wished that someone would bring me a hard copy version of your novel so that I would read it and feel comforted. I miss you so much, and I really hope that I can see you soon.

 

All I could do was sit there and cry. I’m still crying even though I did pull it together enough to reply to her email. She wants a copy of my manuscript. Now I know why I couldn’t just shred them all yesterday. She thought of a writing group that I had hosted that I had also long since forgotten. My testimony gave her strength. There are days that I hate my testimony… but God used it to touch a child I haven’t seen in nearly six years. More importantly, God used a child who used to be a hardcore atheist to send an email that would touch me. I normally hate Christmas. It makes me feel alone and broken.

Today God gave me a very extraordinary gift….

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