Thursday, February 24, 2011

Those Little Coney Cups....

So this blog really isn't the typical one I'd write.

Not about deeper meanings, or inner struggles and such...not that those are bad.

No, today I am writing to you about those little cone shaped cups, you know, the ones that you could find sno-cones in or something. Most businesses that have them if they have water dispensers in their lobby and they intrigue me to no end.

Actually, if I'm perfectly honest with you...as I tend to be (for better or worse); I find them the most ridiculous waste of material ever. I mean seriously, who wants to drink their water out of a cone? You can't set it down anywhere, and, let's face it, it isn't like most businesses come with seats which have open bottomed cup holders.

So in the end if you are stupid enough to take one of these coney shaped cups you either have to hold onto it until you finish your drink, or slam it, like a shot so that you can free up your hands to do something that might benefit society!

It is a certainty that those little coney cups, on a scale of one to ten, probably don't even rate.

Stick to normal cups.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Low

You can't live without the feeling low.

It's just a natural part of life. Last night I hit a wall, and was legitimately questioning my significance. It was so paralyzing. The feeling that I didn't want to get out of bed again; feeling like it wouldn't matter to anyone if I did anyway.

I am also finding myself questioning whether the things I hold closest to my heart are actually healthy for me.

This is the book about life that doesn't get written. It's too painful. The idea of broken relationships, lost love, lack of respect for self and others...these are things that happen on a daily basis. These are the endings that don't have a nice little bow on top of the box. The reality that there isn't always a happy ending and that people will leave hurting.

In the end you end up questioning if anything is worth it. If there will be healing, help and a newfound peace despite the loss. I questioned it last night. I find myself wondering if this is how it will be for the rest of my short stay here on earth.

Know this....

It does get better.

Today is a new day, and despite the feelings I chose not to act selfishly. There are so many people in this life that have helped me. Who have repeatedly picked me up and brushed me off. They have stopped the bleeding from my wounds. They are the reason I live.

There's also this guy I know. Jesus. I know for a fact the truth amidst the chaos of my mind... and that is that He saved and continues to save me from myself.

I'll be the first to tell you that life is hard, and as a follower of Jesus I won't sugarcoat the truth. It can be ugly. Things do get messy and people do leave. It's just the reality of living in a broken world...

Each day is a battle and I may face more trials, but in Him I know I will win this fight.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Eternal Threads...


So I recently went to a concert featuring a band called Write This Down.


Their big thing is promoting something called the Red Thread Movement which is a project by an organization called Eternal Threads.


It's a fantastic movement which rescues girls out of the sex-trade and starts providing them with working wages and a safe house to live in.


I'm very excited about this! Check them out and spread the word!




Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Love and Icky Candy Hearts

To Write Love On Her Arms has a blog on their main website and I follow it occasionally...ok, I'm there a lot.

The post Jamie (TWLOHA's founder) put up on Valentines Day was super awesome and I think I agree...

Check it out!

http://www.twloha.com/blog/dear-valentines-day

Love is super powerful. I think it was designed that way... and oftener than not we do what Jamie refers to as making the significant other into our "god". I mean...after all love is a little slice of heaven, and once we're in the clouds it's damn near impossible to come down!

I think I'm learning more and more why people say that it's so important to keep God as the center of a relationship. It's not so that the couple can be presentable in the eyes of their peers as the "model church couple". Nor is it because God is supposed to be the electric fence between the couple and will zap them when they hold hands a little too tightly or if they kiss...

The reason God wants to be in the center of our relationships is because he knows our tendencies to become fixated upon that person. To build them up into someone who can do no wrong. Jamie says that is a lot of pressure to put on a person...and I agree.

Sadly I've done this in my life...
I can't imagine how hard it must have been for those girls, and even though my intentions were good, it doesn't change the reality that another person will not be perfect. They won't be sinless. They are just people. People like me.

Trust me, I know I'm far from perfect. I can't even imagine someone acting as though I was...

My prayer is that God would continue to remind me of this.

I also pray that I would demonstrate a love to my future companion that doesn't create a false illusion of perfection; an illusion that breeds unrealistic expectation and pressure. That I would let her be human, broken and imperfect like me, yet love her unconditionally.

I pray I would leave the God stuff where it belongs, and be content to live and make mistakes, covered in the glorious grace from above...

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Things We Carry

Last night the message at Cru was on shame and it was pretty sweet.

Kyle, the speaker, talked about his past and how he spent much of his earlier years feeling worthless. Carrying feelings of shame with him. What he said really resonated with me.

See, shame (like many other things including depression) has this tendency to tear us apart inside.

Not only that, but it also makes us feel so alone. This is a deep struggle for me.

Understand this, I have had many many great people in my life, this is not a product of poor relationships. I have had a great family, this is not a byproduct of how I was raised.

It's very interesting how, even someone growing up with the positive environments and opportunities I have been exposed to, could feel so worthless and disgusting. Much of my life I've felt that I'm not good enough.

I've allowed shortcomings and failures of the past to not only shape me, but define me...at least in my mind. But these things have the uncanny ability to manifest themselves on the outside in different ways.

Shame makes you want to punish yourself.
Shame tells you that you deserve it because you are a stupid and worthless waste of life.

And what is inside generally comes out.

For me this happened to be self-injury coupled with self-deprecating speech.

I'm glad Kyle spoke about this last night, because it helped remind me that I am worth something. God hasn't written me off because I fall short, in fact, He loves me despite all of that junk!

I periodically need to be divinely nudged by these little instances... I still have a lot of healing to do, and a lot of old habits and tendencies that need to be broken; but with His grace I can do all things...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

TWLOHA is on Twitter

If you are on, or are thinking about joining the Twitter community, make sure you follow To Write Love On Her Arms! :)


It's a pretty cool thing to do...


https://twitter.com/#!/TWLOHA

Purpose for the Pain

The incredible story of Renee Yohe's story of struggle and redemption is available in print!

Check it out!

www.twloha.com

Forever Love

To Write Love On Her Arms teamed up with Forever the Sickest Kids to make this sweet shirt!
Check this one out along with other cool stuff on:
www.twloha.com

Conditions/Desires

Everybody wants something. We long for things. And this longing is perfectly normal, it's within us and a part of us.

But something got messed up. I mean really messed up.


When I look around I see the human condition, and that condition is a desire for the things that destroy. I had a friend tell me once that it's really fucked up that the people who try to do the right things and the good things in life are the ones who get stepped on. The "bad" people are the ones that get rewarded and reap the benefits.


After all, evil spelled backward is really "live" so maybe all this societal taboo on the things that are bad are really just repressing us from living freely and fully. I'll take it a step further...


Maybe this Christian thing is the true evil, and it holds people who should happily indulging the desires of their heart in captivity.


There are some who think that. Really. Truly.


I'll be honest, sometimes I completely 100% agree with my friend. It is so much easier to go the route that everyone else seems to be going. I mean, heck, I can't even count the number of times this winter I've wished I could be drunk or high just to kill the feelings inside.


But the more I understand about my nature, I know that it would be a foolish move for me to just go with my desires and feelings. It is the human condition. The things that we think give us life and freedom, oftener than not lead us into a darker place than we could ever imagine. Conversely, the way that may seem the oppressive one leads to a freer life than one could ever fathom.


Am I saying everyone who gets drunk is a slave to alcohol or will regret it for life? Absolutely not! Am I saying that sleeping around won't feel good at the time and somewhat alleviate loneliness? Not at all.


Doing the "wrong" thing gives a rush that can definitely imitate life. It's exciting. Makes you feel so great that you are alive and living in the moment!


But honestly, alcohol never made any of my problems go away, oftener than not it made my problems worse. Drugs don't work either. Because you always eventually come down. You eventually have to face yourself, unless, of course, you have the bankroll to keep you doped up for the rest of your life.


Companionship without commitment can satisfy...temporarily. But in the end you find yourself sleeping alone again. Just as lonely as before.


My own father, caught in a string of affairs, thought that he was living an exciting exhilarating life. However, by indulging his desires, it affected more than just himself. It affected his family. It caused unspeakable pain to my mother. Nobody wants to talk about consequences resulting from living in the moment...it's too uncomfortable. It hurts too much.


The things our society glorifies as filling, and all you could possibly want or need are not, and won't ever be enough.


It was John Rockefeller, one of the leading authorities on wealth, who (when asked about how much money could one make to be satisfied) replied:


"Just a little more."


So clearly wealth won't ever completely satisfy a person...


Seems like a no win situation, this happiness thing.


Fortunately there is more to life than just living for our heart's desires. There are good people in this world and they do make a difference on a daily basis.


They serve others. Treat others as better than themselves. Help those who have little to nothing.


They are filled with a happiness that cannot be manufactured or duplicated. The fullness of life emanates from them and they refuse to give in or conform to the world's standards of "living it up."


It is my hope and aspiration to be among this group.


I am not completely there yet, there are many times when I'll agree with my friend and lose hope. There are many times that I'll want to just give in and live however the hell I want to live regardless of those around me and how they feel. 'Cause it feels so right and so easy.


But then I'm gently reminded of the fact that my life is not my own. That I am only here because of grace and that I need to spend my life emulating that fact.


I fail often, but that's the beauty of grace now isn't it?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

National Suicide Prevention Week



It's very difficult to begin to write about anything dealing with suicide and depression. It's not an uncommon problem.

According to the World Health Organization:

-Every year, almost one million people die from suicide; a "global" mortality rate of 16 per 100,000, or one death every 40 seconds.

So why is it so difficult to talk about?

I'm writing this because it needs to be talked about. Around us, at this very moment, there are people struggling, hurting, thinking that life has no real point to it...

See for those who don't stuggle with depression or suicidal thoughts, they cannot understand the feelings of sheer hopelessness one human has the capacity to feel. A friend of mine even dubbed those that suffer from this mental state as "mental midgets", which hurt. Real bad.

The point is this...

Those who have depression are not weird. They are not "emo". They are not crazy. True, they are far from well, but those who don't have to suffer from this need to become more perceptive to fellow humans who are walking in this dark place; and not only should they be perceptive, but they should also be compassionate!

We must educate ourselves about this issue so that we can help those who can't help themselves...

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

-Nelson Mandela

Educate:

Fact v. Fiction:

http://www.webmd.com/depression/tc/myths-and-facts-about-depression-topic-overview

About:

http://www.webmd.com/depression/default.htm

Speak up! (Join To Write Love On Her Arms as we seek to bring light to these issues)

www.twloha.com

Prevent:

http://www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/suicide/suicideprevent/en/index.html


A good friend of mine lost her father to suicide several years ago. I will never forget attending that funeral...

From the balcony I could see their tears, the sheer pain in their eyes as they tried to piece together why their father would do something like this. The now single mother racked with pain and sobs as the reality of losing someone whom she had been with for many years, and had children with, sank in. The high school daughter and her middle school brother (who would never get to have his father there for him in high school)... can you imagine?

Their father was such a cool guy. He didn't fit the label of depressed. He wasn't a "crazy" or "emo" guy... as far as anyone knew, things were going great in his life. Now he's gone.

His is the story of countless thousands of people who live, as Thoroeau would say, "in quiet desperation." They put on a cheerful face, yet are full of pain on the inside. The truth is that they feel alone and worst of all, they feel as if this will never get better.

But it does.

A couple years after that, I found myself in an ambulance on the way to a facility where they put me on suicide watch for the next three days. At that point I didn't care, didn't think life was worth it...it's too much pain, too much hurt, there is far too much injustice in this world. Why even try?

It was in that place I realized that this wasn't me. This depression.

I'm getting better now. Are there days when it comes back? Yes. But I am actively taking the steps to recovery. I am transparent and honest with those who care. I seek treatment actively and take medication when necessary.

More importantly however, I understand that God loves me unconditionally and that He is willing to reach even into the darkest places to which we fall and rescue us. I understand a little more about depression now and I want to share this with those who are hurting right now.

There is hope. It gets better. You are loved more than you could ever dream of, not only by God, but those around you who care so deeply for you...

This blog is titled National Suicide Prevention Week in honor of the annual event on September 6-12 but it is my hope that through education of those without depression, and the active pursuit of those who do have it and are going through a rough time, that we can make every single week National Suicide Prevention Week.