espoir

meh. writing is hard, especially when you want to come off as put together, well thought out, cohesive, and coherent. but lately, my thoughts have been a blur of “AKJHsdfeSDFgjhakdKJHLKS” and “…..” so we won’t aim high. nevertheless, I want to try to put into words what Jesus has been doing in this season of my life. so, teedbits of thanksgivings:

[silence & solitude] coming home and setting a timer for ten minutes. I lay down on the ground and try my best to meditate on a verse and listen for Jesus. I could feel Him speaking to me the first few times I did it. Now not so much. But, I still do it because I’ve come to sort of like it? I’m always rushing about, never stopping for a moment to breathe. Doing this forces me to be quiet, to be still and after a few weeks of doing this, I found I was silly to think that I didn’t have ten minutes to spare to keep my world turning. Sometimes it’s still hard because I can’t wait to pick up my guitar, or trim the flowers I bought for a bouquet, or get started on a print. But, I know I’ve made it when my alarm rings and scares the bejeezus out of me. That’s how I know I haven’t been counting down the seconds and am really just enjoying being still.

[faith is a choice] recognizing my moping, looking it in the eye, and telling it to flip off. Not today, Satan. I can catch myself when I’m in one of those moods now. I can tell when I’m slipping into a depressed state and I can feel the Spirit nudging me: “will you hold on to Jesus?” Sometimes I just want the depression to overtake me. To just be in one of those moods. To mope and not care about anything. Don’t I deserve it? Haven’t I been through crap the past few months? But, when I have enough willpower to look at Jesus, I feel hope fill me. As if He is saying, “I’m not letting you go down without a fight.”

Fighting. My days are full of fighting, losing, rallying – then repeat. But, I know victory is on the horizon. Somewhere, over the rainbow, God’s promises await me.

[edge] work always passes by super fast, even if I’m doing tedious QA work. Even then, it’s so much better than burrowing through mounds of tax returns, competing against time to get them filed and out the door. I really don’t know if God could have managed a better fit for me than this job. But, what’s the most exhilarating, rewarding, gets my blood pumping and heart skipping a beat is stuff like this: my supervisor, John, asking me when I can take his family out for dim sum because he missed the first outing with our other coworkers. John, who took his family out with Pearl, Andy and I for KBBQ because Pearl faithfully pursued him for a date to be set in stone to venture out. John, who I argued with and felt bitterness and anger towards because I felt like he wasn’t listening to me, wasn’t valuing me, wasn’t fighting for me.

Now, I know many things about him. Like how his oldest, his daughter Marisse is going through a tough time in high school and is acting out. Like how his mother in law has been diagnosed with breast cancer for the third time (and I think oh how funny and ironic God can be). Like how he plays electric and likes to mountain bike and campaign for better programs among the youth. Now, I understand that he’s stressed, feels like he’s in over his head, has a lot going on at home and that’s why sometimes he doesn’t reply to my emails or have an immediate answer for me when I’m hounding him for one. I’m starting to care for him. When he complains about a headache, when he’s late coming in, I wonder if it’s because his daughter refused to go to school. I’m wondering if his health is keeping up. I’m finding out wonderful things to pray for for him, along with the steadfast prayer that he, along with everyone else at my firm, would come to know Jesus.

Pearl, Andy, and I have been planting faith flags but no one has has yet to take a bite. Not really a hint of curiosity. Nevertheless, I feel like the Lord is calling us to keep going. Teaching me to love first as opposed to trying to get results using whatever method I can fathom. Behind my work, prayers, and intentions is the Spirit sowing seeds of eternity in ways that I could never think to and I really pray that I could witness some of the fruit that they will come to bear. My prayer, for the time that the three of us leave this dinky little Co…is that three more will come to Christ.

[community] Jane pulling me to her is the best feeling in the world. For some reason, when her face falls as she sees my expression, I know that she knows what I’m feeling. She knows, even if she doesn’t completely understand or is able to empathize with what I’m going through. The point is, she knows I’m hurting and is extremely practical in offering her comfort, help, and prayer and I feel like I’m not alone. When I unload the past few months on Elizabeth in a couple of short, shaky sentences, her face scrunches up in pain, arms come round me in comfort, and cries as she prays for me. Cathy asks to pray for me on the spot after I update her about my mom and when I her her voice tremble, my whole body starts to shake. When I pull away, there are tears on her cheeks and it makes me feel whole. Why? These are the moments where I feel like Job – where I feel lucky to be like Job, in that he had friends who came to him in his grief and sat silently with him in it. I want that. No, I need thatIn the end, there is nothing anyone can do for me and my family except to sit with us in our pain and cry. So I know I’m not the only one weeping.

Having permission to break down, getting the affirmation and validation that this is normal, has done wonders to my soul. Actually, being told that it’s abnormal to be okay at this point has helped shift my perspective. Sisters like Erin and Jun, who encourage me to continue sharing with them and thank me for being vulnerable, give me hope that I am actually cared for, not just when I’m put together and “contributing”, but, also when all I can do is take, burden, and ask “why?”. Almost as if the Lord is telling me: “you’re not meant to be okay right now – and that is okay.”

[Jesus] my chest, without fail, always starts aching when it comes time for me to go to bed. It’s hurting right now. I don’t know why the anxiety likes to come at night – probably because my body knows there’s nothing to distract me from my thoughts. I have to face my fears when I turn off the lights and wait for sleep. I think about many things and I feel the saddest at night. I dream often of my parents separating. Nightmares are the norm now. But, what is merciful, what is wonderful, what brings a smile to my face as I write this now, is the knowledge that despite sleeping fitfully and miserably, the Lord wakes me every morning and my spirit is made new. The chest pain rarely accompanies me into the morning. I wake up feeling light and refreshed and eager. Meeting with the Lord when the sun has barely come up, searching for Him amidst the cracks on my screen as I peruse the bible app, crying out to Him as I think of what the day will bring – it feels sweet. He is the home that I come home to, that I will always have to come home to, even when my mother barricades me from returning for Thanksgiving. He is the hope that I hold on to, even as depression knocks at my door and seeks to point out all the reasons I should stop trying. He is my courage and faith that comes to life through the Spirit when anxiety shakes me; it is He who reminds me, “Here I am! Emmanuel. I am with you.” He is my reason to leap out of bed (yes, I do leap. In the winter season, my roommate and I keep the apartment quite cold and I have to jumpstart my body to stay warm getting out of bed) with purpose and mission. He is my joy – He makes every day worth living. When I write about these things, when I think of Jesus, I cannot stop smiling. In these moments, I feel more than okay. How lucky I am to have Jesus. How lucky I am to be alive, to be experiencing these things with Him.

This season has been filled with ups and downs. I have the hardest time saying what I actually feel. On one hand, I feel extremely lucky to be blessed with a job, coworkers, friends, and family whom I love so dearly and am thankful to have. And on the other, I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus, run over by a car, and then strung along the cement like roadkill. In the moments in which I’m actually losing it, this is what I wish I could say, without fear of being judged for being weak or dramatic, without shame for losing my composure, without guilt over failing to be faithful and grounded:

“Church, I am sad. I am frightened. I am lost and confused and weary and weak and numb and hurt. I need prayer. I need community. I need people to sit with me and accept me when I’m being downcast. I need to know that I’m not boring people, that I’m not ruining everyone’s day. I need wisdom taught to me and grace shown to me because I don’t know how to deal with what’s going on right now. I need healing and I don’t know where to find it right now. I need to be reached out to – because reaching out right now is hard for me. I need help – please help me.”

Sometimes, I wish I could scream these things. But, I’m not brave enough to ever say these things in person which is why I write them. Perhaps there will come a day where I can verbalize all this in a fit of faith-filled desperation but until then, I am sticking to venting on my dusty old blog. Regardless, I’m thankful for each and every one of you who reads and prays for me.

To the author of my life, faith, and accompanying woes – did You ever know that there would come a day where I would thank You for my suffering? Of course You did. I am slowly starting to understand Romans 5:3-4 a little better in this season of my life. Watching suffering produce perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. I don’t think there was ever a time when I felt so much hope fill my life. Yes – circumstances are grim and dark in this moment, but You have trained my eyes to see by now how You work. Slowly, steadfastly, faithfully – in my mother finally eating her first meal in days. In test results coming back negative. In surgery dates being scheduled and travel plans being arranged. There is hope yet, and I am so hope filled in this moment I want to scream at the depression that has lingered over my family all this time and tell it: “you stand no chance against my God.”

“Where is my hope?” is something my dad asked me a week ago and I’m praying for the day that he will come to know the answer: “Jesus.”

I feel a cold coming on and I have many things to attend to in the next morning so signing off for now. Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I pray that I will always find reasons to give thanks, no matter the circumstances.