Monday, November 18, 2013

Trudging Through The Mud of Rededication

     Turning your life around isn't easy. Any change is messy. It takes awhile to get things right. We have all of our plans.."my life is going to be this way or that way after a make this change", we think. Yet, nothing ever goes according to our plans. Sometimes, things are better than we planned. Sometimes, they are worse. Other times, the are completely different, different being the key word, because they are not necessarily better or worse, simply unexpected.
     When, I decided to rededicated my life to Jesus Christ not too long ago, I knew I had a hard road ahead of me. I had been through this before. I'm an all or nothing kind of gal and that is something I will have to unlearn if I'm going to follow Christ with consistency. In the past when I had doubts about my faith, if I didn't understand something, if I couldn't decide which slice to eat from the many splintered pie of theology, or if I did or thought something unworthy of Christ, I would go in the opposite direction of Him. I would go my own way. Perhaps, I can not know or please God, I thought, but I can know and please myself, right? Surely, I'm not the only person who thinks/has thought this way, but you rarely hear this sort of raw honesty or transparency from others who follow Him. Here's the thing, I KNOW others have had to think this way, but I doubt they take it as seriously as I do. I, personally, have not seen many fall from grace in such depth as I have and actually return. I want to scourge myself of these things, these imperfections and when I can not, I give up. Remember, it's all or nothing with me. All of us know people who 'backslide' and all of us have been 'backsliders' at one point or another, even if only slightly. Yet, no one wants to admit or talk about it. That makes it really hard for me. I fear, well, not really fear, but I dread (Yes, that IS the proper word!) people's reactions when I speak of these things. They go into what I like to call 'Extreme Makeover Mode' or EMM for short. The part where they try to fix me or the 'morally superior' attitudes suck, but nothing hurts or isolates me as much as the lack of honesty, transparency, and vulnerability. I just want understanding. I want someone to say. "Hey, I've been there." I need prayer and encouragement through the scripture. So far, I have done a decent job of encouraging myself (and others!) Yet, I have struggled greatly and I fear being sucked into my old ways. I know a day will come when Christ will urge me (He is already doing so, to some extent) to pick up my cross, dedicate myself to the ministry He has called me to, and, excuse my fleshy-ness, interact at a more in depth level with other Christians. The latter fills me with dread. I know it is my own heart that keeps me from loving others. Maybe, once I get past this fragile state, I will do better. Right now, I'm trudging through the mess I have created in my life as a result of not following the Lord. It turns out, the flesh leads to destruction. That is what I have learned and what I'm resisting fiercely. Please, if anyone is reading this, pray for my strength. Pray that I am able to keep seeking Christ and that this muddy bog I'm in doesn't take me under, yet, again. Pray that whatever ugliness is within me that is holding me back from fellowship and community, dissolves. There is nothing I need more in my life right now.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Prodigal Daughter

     I don't know how many of you know who Caleb Kinnaird is, especially those of you who are not from these parts, but if you don't know about him, you should check out his mom's blog. It can be found here: Though Caleb is only a child, the Lord is using him in people's lives. I know God has used Caleb in my life. There really are no words to describe the type of anointing the Lord has placed on Caleb. For lack of a better word, it's almost magical. There is something super-natural about his story and the power is has to reconcile people to the Lord.
     Here is my testimony about what the Lord did in my life recently; I hadn't been a part of a church for a long time and, I certainly wasn't focused on God. Sure, He was there, but on the back burner of my mind. My life had ended up in a vulgar place, much like the Prodigal Son. While he was in a literal pigsty, I was in a metaphorical one. My life had sank into darkness. I no longer felt gratitude. There was an emptiness in me that was a source of great sadness.I had been watching Caleb's story since before he was born. In all honesty, I didn't think things would end well and my heart ached for him and his family. I haven't prayed much in the past couple years, but I couldn't help praying for Caleb. My heart desired a miracle for him, though, I had lost faith in the Lord and His willingness to help any of us. I thought the Lord was finished with me, that He would never forgive me or renew me, and I dared not ask. I ask for the Lord to help Caleb, but I dared not believe.
     One day, a few weeks ago, I logged onto facebook to find a miracle had happened. Caleb had a new heart. I was shocked that the Lord had, indeed, answered my (and so many others) prayers! I became very emotional. Tears slid down my cheeks. I put my hands in the air and began to praise God. I got lost in the moment, worshipping Him. I don't know how long I went on praising Him, but when all was said and done, Caleb wasn't the only one who received a new heart that day.I had a new heart, as well.
    I rededicated my life to the Lord that day. I have been filled with the Holy Spirit since. I know I am a new creation. I don't really know what is going to happen next, but my faith has been restored. My heart is filled with gratitude and hope for the future. My faith is renewed in the risen Christ.
    This has been the song my heart is singing:
Please, keep me in your prayers, that I continue to grow strong in Christ. The spiritual battles have already begun in my mind and life. I'm not going to let go this time. I will cling to the Lord. Also, keep Caleb and his precious family in your prayers.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

"Public Pool"

By Autumn Gomez

Engulfed in summer heat
Clear water over a blue bottom
Lounge chairs as far as the eye can see
Bare feet running on wet concrete
Yes, this is the bubbling center
Of life, of humanity

An old man sits,
His legs crossed at the ankle
Wearing socks and tennis-shoes
Green and white Hawaiian trunks
A shirt that says, simply, 'Weenie'

Of course, there are children
They are the most prominent thing 'round here
Laughter, laughter, laughter
Splashing, screaming, sneaking
(Breaking rules)
Adorability in huge, brightly colored goggles

Life guards, pacing and watching
Checking their watches
Dragging life-saving contraptions behind them
Like a ball and chain, ball and chain

Teenagers, interacting awkwardly
Trying to pretend they don't notice
Their childhood friend's newly formed
Breasts and muscles
Confused, torn between
Civility and primal urges

Ah and the blessed parents
Trying to relax,
Few actually achieving relaxation
They sit nervously,
Imagining all the horrible possibilities

Then there's me, the poetic observer
Am I the only one who notices
In this place, the sky always looks bluer
The clouds bigger, puffier, whiter
The persistent sound of water
Constantly moving

Does anyone else realize
The sun is a lover?
She kisses my skin
Pressing her burning lips
Against my pale bare skin
She leaves little red kisses
And freckles on my milky flesh
Intermittently, thick patches pass
In front of her shinning glorious love
Giving my flesh a small, yet, appreciated break
From her blistering passion.

This place is the reason I dread winter.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I woke up in a Nightmare

I wish I could have taken a nap all day nap...maybe even longer.

Today was not a good day. Actually, the previous sentence is an understatement. I started crying around 11pm and didn't stop until 2am, after losing my temper on the boys for refusing to go to bed. I came very close to a complete and utter mental break-down with suicidal thoughts and all, but please do not be concerned as I have managed to get my head back above the water. I just hope that I can keep it there,

Pete has been sick for a week now. He has missed several days of work and his job is in jeopardy. That is not good at all. His income is the only income in our household. If he were to lose his job, chances are that we would lose our home. The thought of being homeless again terrifies me. Also, the fact that Pete is an illegal alien makes his chances of finding a job around here slim to none, especially finding a job that at least pays $7.50/hour and a boss that doesn't treat him like a slave. The whole prospect is worrisome to say the least. It is killing me to watch him in pain. He needs a doctor. He needs treatment, but we do not have the money for these. He fever has been on for three days now. He can't walk. His big toe joint is swollen to five times the normal size. His knee is inflamed beyond belief. He cannot even bend it. It appears to be completely disfigured. From the waist down, on his right side, he doesn't even look human. His lower spine seems to also be affected. All of these areas are extremely hot to the touch. He's also having severe stomach pain. I assume that part is from the amount of Aleve that he is taking every day to combat the pain. He's taking a very unhealthy amount, way more than the bottle recommends. He cries out in pain intermittently all night long. He curses and asks God why. I'm awake all hours with him. I keep begging him to let me take him to the hospital, but he will not go. He says he doesn't want to bother my grandma about watching the kids and that we already owe the hospital too much money. I don't blame him. From past experiences when these attacks have happened, we have went to the hospital, they never give us answers. They only give him a hydrocodone and send him home. I just want this to be over. I would give anything to see him healed, but I don't think it's going to happen. I fear this thing will eventually cripple him. After the attacks are finished, they always leave him a little more disfigured than he was before. We can hardly find shoes wide enough to fit his feet anymore. I'm really frightened.

Another thing that has happened is that I have had to break tie with yet another of my family members. This time, my aunt on my father's side. She hurt me deeply. It breaks my heart that my family is so incredibly dysfunctional, abusive, manipulative, selfish, unloving, and apathetic. It seems like every day I feel more alone in this world. I have to give my mother credit, though. She really is trying to build a relationship, but she is afflicted, which always has and continues to make having a relationship with her difficult. My father, God love him, is unable to be in relationship with anyone as he is bed-ridden and quadrapeligic. It may be wrong of me, but I wish that I had someone, anyone to lean on. I grow tired of always having to be strong, always having to be the one that gives and gives, but never receives. I don't blame my parents. I know that even if they wanted to be there for me, they are unable to do so, as has been the entire length of my life. The only other family I have is my dear grandmother. She helps me in a physical sense, but it is impossible to talk with her. I'm not sure why that is, but that is just the way it is and always has been. We work side by side to get everything finished that needs to be finished and to care for all that need cared for, but it seems we are both to weary to speak to eachother or even acknowledge the others prescence. Besides that, I really have no one. My friends are nowhere nowadays. It seems we have all grown far apart. I try to talk to them, but they have no compassion, always turning the conversation back to the topic of themselves. Some of my closets friends, who I have always felt a strong bond with are drifting away. They are too busy having fun, partying, going out, etc. Those are all things that I used to do, but no longer do and I think it has caused seperation between us. There are others who have changed completely into someone I do not know anymore and it's almost like I can not understand them, nor can I understand them. It feels as though every single conversation that I have been a part of in the last few months has ended badly and I walk away feeling more depressed and hopeless than I was before attempting to make contact with another human being. I feel completely isolated and alone. I need some kind of connection with another, but at this point, I'm afraid to even try anymore. I can't risk adding anything more to the burden that I'm feeling.

In school I'm not doing well at all. I dropped one class in hopes that it would give me more time and energy to focus on the other classes. I'm way behind on my work in those classes and not faring well at all. As for the grades that I am earning, they are not good at all. With everything that is going on in my life and the lack of encouragement that I am experiencing, it's hard to be motivated or to focus on anything. Sometimes, I wonder if I will ever have a degree in hand. I'm almost thirty years old and have accomplished nothing. My life is slipping by and I have yet to reach any of the dreams that I set for myself to achieve as a much younger woman. What I really want to do is write and I have some great ideas but I never follow through to the end, always losing interest before I get half way in. I'm starting to feel as if my life has been a waste. I find myself constantly questioning the purpose of my own existence. Perhaps my life was never really meant to be. It is hard because I blame myself for being a complete and utter screw-up and for all the foolish decisions that I have made based on my belief in love, faith, miracles, and goodness, but I also can not help, but feel that I was disadvantaged from birth. I keep trying to figure out how that part is my fault, but I can only find compassion and sympathy for the innocent child that I once was. Perhaps it is my destiny to eternally fail at everything I ever attempt to do. I just hope it is not a curse that I pass on to my children. This is not the life I imagined for myself or my children, but it seems that no matter how I try, I can not escape this hellish nightmare.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Letter to Martin Luther King Jr

Dear Dr. King,

When I see an image of you, I get a strange feeling; A feeling that is most peculiar and unfamiliar. There is a trembling inside of me, a surge of nervous energy passes through me. I can't quite describe the feeling. It is respect mixed with reverence. I also feel mourning over the fact that you are long gone and there is no one to stand against the generation of oppressors that I am now living in. I wish there were more men and women like you in this world.

Simply looking upon your face evokes a feeling of empowerment. I'm not speaking of the type of empowerment that lifts a man above God and other men in his own mind. I'm talking about the kind of empowerment that one feels when he is in the center of God's will and in unity with God's other creatures. You, sir, were a diamond in the ruff of society. Every man should look to your example if he's interested in learning what it is that God expects of men, just as you looked at Christ to learn from His example.

Like your namesake, Martin Luther, who nailed his grievances to the door of society's powerhouse of his day, taking a stand and leading men on a mission to find truth, you nailed your grievances to the front door of the facade of a free society and led this nation out of the dark and barren land of hatred and injustice, toward the promised land of social justice and equality for all.

Sometimes, I think of how great it would have been if YOU had been our nation's first African American president, but, you, my hero, were not a politician. You were too real. The presidency would have never withstood such a man, with an absence of malice in his soul.

I often read your words and am amazed. I often long to here your voice when I'm feeling defeated. I find sound clips on the internet of your "I Have a Dream" speech or "Letter From the Birmingham Jail" and I close my eyes and listen to your voice, so powerful, filled with love and conviction. I try to imagine what it would have been like to know you, to have been your friend. Sometimes, I pretend that you are my father, after all, you were like a father to the oppressed. You adopted us all, took us under your wing. You cleaned the dirt from our faces and taught us how to stand straight and tall in the midst of adversity, how to walk in peace with the whole world is hungry for our suffering, how to march for what is right in a blind and hedonistic society. You gently wiped away the scars of victimization and placed over us a banner, proclaiming 'We Will Overcome!' Your powerful voice drowned out the other voices in our heads that told us that we would never be free.

All the things that you fought against have not been completely eradicated from our society. They still linger in the shadows around certain people groups that are a part of American society---undocumented immigrants and the poor come to my mind.

Thank you for opening our nations eyes, giving hope to the oppressed, and ultimately dying in order to do so. I pray that all oppressed people learn to be courageous as you were and that, one day, we will have a nation that fully realizes and lives in the reality of your dream! May you words continue to be the arrows that pierce the hearts of the apathetic!

A Modern Day Sister for Justice and Equality,


Some of my favorite Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes:

An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.

“Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” 

“Love is the only force capable of transforming
an enemy into a friend.”

All men are interdependent. Every nation is an heir of a vast treasure of ideas and labor to which both the living and the dead of all nations have contributed.... We are everlasting debtors to known and unknown men and women....

If an American is concerned only about his nation, he will not be concerned about the peoples of Asia, Africa, or South America. Is this not why nations engage in the madness of war without the slightest sense of penitence? Is this not why the murder of a citizen of your own nation is a crime, but the murder of citizens of another nation in war is an act of heroic virtue?

One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly ... and with a willingness to accept the penalty.

Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.

"As long as there is poverty in the world I can never be rich, even if I have a billion dollars. As long as diseases are rampant and millions of people in this world cannot expect to live more than twenty-eight or thirty years, I can never be totally healthy, even if I just got a good checkup at the Mayo Clinic. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the way our world is made. No individual or nation can stand out boasting of being independent. We are all interdependent." - Martin Luther King

“We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to mankind.” 

"Many people fear nothing more terribly than to take a position which stands out sharply and clearly from the prevailing opinion. The tendency of most is to adopt a view that is so ambiguous that it will include everything and so popular that it will include everybody.
Not a few men who cherish lofty and noble ideals hide them under a bushel for fear of being called different." 

“At times we may feel that we do not need God, but on the day when the storms of disappointment rage, the winds of disaster blow and the tidal waves of grief beat against our lives, if we do not have a deep and patient faith our emotional lives will be ripped to shreds.  There is so much frustration in the world because we have relied on gods rather than God.”

“Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals.”

Saturday, January 14, 2012

My Boys Are SNOW Cute!

The color of springtime is in the flowers, the color of winter is in the imagination.  ~Terri Guillemets

Winter came down to our home one night
Quietly pirouetting in on silvery-toed slippers of snow,
And we, we were children once again.
~Bill Morgan, Jr.

"Hear! hear!" screamed the jay from a neighboring tree, where I had heard a tittering for some time, "winter has a concentrated and nutty kernel, if you know where to look for it."  ~Henry David Thoreau, 28 November 1858 journal entry

The tendinous part of the mind, so to speak, is more developed in winter; the fleshy, in summer.  I should say winter had given the bone and sinew to literature, summer the tissues and the blood.  ~John Burroughs

Black-Haired Blue-Eyed Lover (Revised)

I once had a Lover
Full of theories
On life and love
In the darkness
He said to me
“If a woman is satisfied,
After the fact,
She never reaches
For a cigarette pack.”
I laid by the side of
This man, who had died
From ecstasy
Listening to him speak of
Dreams, music, memories
The high price of cheese.
Then, I levitated
Off the bed,
Unaware of my nudity,
And softly played the bongo
To the rhythm of
His speech.

Clothed in his
Paisley print shirt,
Bending wire hangers
Into the shape of Cadillacs
Admiring all of the
Musical attributes of Ledbelly
His southern, black, old-timey
Voice wafting from speakers,
Injecting our ear drums,
Coursing through
Our thoughts, feelings, emotions
Each note possessing
An eternal soul

While standing on the bridge,
Gazing down on black water,
I saw Mozart’s Ghost hovering,
All the Caddy doors burst open wide,
Inviting him inside,
His symphonic reverberating apparition
Rode shotgun.

Snowflakes melting
On burning skin
Heat radiating from within
I felt no cold
That blustery night
Holding your naked, warm body
Ever so tightly
Against the icy
Bitter breeze of maturity.

Playing your guitar
Sweetly singing to
Your audience;
The moon and the stars,
I, an honored guest of
Celestial beings and
Ancient, flaming rocks
Reflecting the sun’s glory on
Your dreamer’s face
Making you shine and illuminate
At mid-night
A dark and lonely place
In that moment,
I was unafraid to
Stand in the desolation of
The human race.