Diary of a Misfit


Church calls it “Advent,” World calls it “Holiday.”

“Merry CHRISTmas” vs. “Seasons Greetings.”

The spiritual expectation of something holy. And the flesh expectation of a lot of THINGS.

Some of us trying to have it both ways. WHEW. On the one hand, we need to do the things we’ve done for love of friends and family for years—gifts, meals, get-togethers. On the other hand, we long for the “silent night” as baby Jesus is born in our hearts. Hard to do in the wild n crazy commercial shuffle it has become.

Plus….keepin’ it real here…lots of painful things mixed in with the beauty of this “season.” What we DIDN”T get that we needed. The things we CAN’T “fix.” People we loved and lost. Others we don’t understand. All magnified by the emphasis on “giving” this time of year.

The World calling us to BUY stuff to give. The Lord calling us to draw near to the miracle of His birth as a human baby.

The sometimes crushing challenge as we walk the line between the two? I call it the HOLIDAZE.

Always a dilemma. We feel we can’t “do it all.”

But we CAN have it both ways!

We might not have enough MONEY for all the ringing charities, enough TIME for all the work, or enough ENERGY for all the festivities.

But the BEST gifts are from our spirit, as scripture says, “every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights (James 1:17). And simple as choosing to give one.

So here’s a Christmas miracle for you! Search your own heart for your own unmet need…then give it to someone else.

Not feeling the love? Give love to someone else who isn’t. I know for sure, if Jesus had left me a hundred dollars it would not have meant as much as the promise that He loves me.

No peace? GIVE the gift of peace–acceptance, forgiveness–to someone who might not “deserve” it, who suffers a turmoil you cannot “fix.” Feel the gift go down into your OWN soul.

Lonely? There are many who need a phone call or visit.

A million ways to give what you aren’t getting yourself. Many richer blessings.

This is one way we can share the Christmas miracle AND still honor our part in the World’s demands. NOT to add to your chore list. Just the one open hand with a gift.

I recommend LOVE. There’s NEVER enough of THAT goin’ around. And God couldn’t have put it plainer:

~Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. I Corinthians 13:4-7

Forgiveness works too. I myself am in the dark gut process of forgiving someone I love for something hard that I don’t understand. Every step closer I get to doing it, I heal from the rejection and pain myself.

~…bear with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:1-6

Anger does not achieve the righteousness of God. James 1:20

Many true “gifts.” The ones our real Father gives to us. When we give them to someone else, our souls heal.

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What Are YOUR Top 3 REGRETS?

We don’t have room to list ‘em ALL do we? So here’s the top Three:regrets




Older n wiser now, we have that killer 20/20 hindsight.

Know we COULDA finished school instead of partying, picked a better mate, had that baby, eaten better, lost weight, been nicer, taken better care of ___, gone to…Well, a million of them, aren’t there?

We kick ourselves cuz we know we SHOULDA quit drinking earlier, been more careful driving, gone to the doctor sooner, paid the bills on time, …….yeah.

And the odious WOULDA…Woulda done them all better if we hadn’t found a million ways to lick our wounds, many lying ways to “cheer” ourselves. Eat, drink, smoke,”use,” sleep, our way through the dark.

So even when we know the Lord and kneel before Him grateful for His forgiveness, His guidance, part of us knows we missed the mark a million times and feels guilty for it. Inside we wonder, tremble a bit, cry when we could sing, afraid He’s disappointed in us. Cowering in fear we will mess up again and ruin it all.

God is not like that. People can be. God is not.

A favorite blogger sums it up perfectly:


“If you feel like you’re late to the party, just know that we are ALL late to the the party. It’s been going on for 2000 years now, there’s just nothing we can do about it, this is when we were born. Come to the table, bring your stale, brackish, dirty water. Because Jesus is waiting to turn even your murky water into the sweetest wine. The feast must go on.”

John Lewis (“Not for Punks” on wordpress.com or healthy-people-don’t-need-a-doctor.com)

I wish I could take back every day spent watching TV, every night on the town, shopping spree and 99% of what we did in college. Would spend it another way now that I know what I know.

But the Bible doesn’t talk about REGRET when it talks about miracles and new lives and His wisdom. Joy in Heaven when we come to Him, that’s all He talks about. We can FORGET what lies behind, and just press forward to the eternal prize.

Because the party doesn’t start until WE GET THERE! And once it starts, it lasts FOREVER.

….forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,

                       I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

                                                                        Philippians 3:13




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God’s Most Dangerous Gift



Can God USE a sinful misfit?

 Noah got drunk

Abraham was too old

Jacob was a liar

Moses killed a man

Gideon was afraid Samson was a womanizer

Rahab was a prostitute

David had an affair and was a murderer

Elijah was suicidal

Jonah said no to God

Peter denied Christ 3 times

Martha worried too much

The Samaritan woman fooled around

The Disciples fell asleep while praying

Yes, I think so.

So we don’t have to be perfect? What about the bad things we did when we were young and ignorant? When despair makes us lose hope? When we…

Our lists go on and on. Things we feel guilty about, wonder, fear, regret. Easy to forget why we NEEDED a Savior in the first place. Hard to believe He actually LOVES us, imperfections and all.

It is all because He wanted us to be FREE. You can’t LOVE someone if you aren’t free NOT to love them, can you? So He made us free. Free to choose. Free to fail. Free to look up, even while we are falling.

There’s plenty of stories in the Bible about sinful people He loved and used. King David—a “man after God’s own heart” and lineage of Jesus? Had a guy murdered so he could commit adultery with his wife. Beloved disciple Peter? Who knew Him right away, then DENIED Him three times? Beloved. “On this rock I will build my church.” The prophet Elijah wanted to DIE he was so scared and miserable! And yet….

So take heart when you wonder. About yourself. Or someone you love. His mercy is beyond our comprehension. His GRACE what it is all about. “Grace” means UNMERITED favor. His BLESSING that we know we don’t deserve. His SALVATION we realize we could never EARN.

Those of us who are broken, who know we deserved it the least, will be filled with His glory the MOST.

Those cracks are how the light gets in!






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Beginner’s Prayer

Beginners Prayerprayercloset

We hear about the “sinners prayer,” but what a lot of us need is “beginners prayer.” If our mommies n daddies didn’t pray with us when we were little, where would we have learned how to talk to God? Now we are embarrassed to ask. And awkward around the One we know we need.

No matter where we started out in life, our prayer life is going to echo those early years.

I can still remember my first feeble attempts many years ago, in a darkened clothes closet. I had started reading the Bible, maturing in my faith for the first time. But when it came time to actually talk to God, I was shy. Not even sure if I should address Him as “God” or “Jesus” or even “Sir.”

I tried them all out in that dark closet, my children playing in the other room. “God, Sir” when I started out. “Jesus” when I had more scripture under my belt. (You have to be braver with that one, because the world’s been trying to ruin it, make it a cuss word.)

And He met me there in the dark as my eyes slowly adjusted to the tiny crack of light under the door. Our eye pupils won’t open any faster no matter how much light we have. He whispered to me that my spirit was the same. That all I had to do was share my heart with Him and He would then share His with me.

And it soaked in and “showed” me things in my soul. Ways to hear what He wanted me to think, do, choose. I remember like yesterday touching my own ears and crying to Him, “I see!” and feeling His gentle “nod” in my spirit. I knew, from then on, that hearing from Him was as simple as wanting to, choosing to, being still and listening. And understanding that it wasn’t going to be audible, not “heard” with my physical ears. “Heard” in my soul. The rest grew from that, because, frankly, there was no one else I trusted enough to ask back then.

Scripture is plain that He doesn’t care how or where we pray, just that we DO pray. Talk to God the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. All one. The only “rule” I’ve seen in scripture is not to pray to show off in front of others. (Matthew 6:7) He means it to be a loving relationship. Our best one, for sure. Maybe our first one.

He must love us perfectly, to be so patient and humble. Takes some of us longer to realize it because we never had it before.


Pray without ceasing I Thessalonians 5:17

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 4:2

…we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes

for us with groanings too deep for words   Romans 8:26

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.   James 1:5


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Broken Heart, Holy Heart


Remember scratching your initials into the wet concrete of new sidewalks or house foundations? That’s what trauma does to our souls. Some things we just never “get over.” Never “heal.” They change us forever.

You know if you lost your precious child.

Or your innocence.

Or your hope.

Some things are set in concrete.

What do we do with pain like that? Even past the “WHY?” and the “Are you THERE, God?” we are crushed by the void. Life never the same as it was. Never what we hoped it would be.

Think of the Lord’s own mother, the joy when the angel Gabriel announced she would bear God’s own son…then in the Temple with her infant, when Simon knew her beloved baby was the Messiah? Joy beyond imagining.

Then 33 years later, the stunned horror watching Him carry His cross on his bloody back to His own death. Weeping at the foot of His cross. Her life never the same. The Bible says she lived “many years” and traveled with His disciples. So she knew. Knew what it was like to live on anyway.

And her cousin Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s mother, thrilled to be carrying a baby when she thought her chance was gone with age. Beyond joyful when Mary visited, carrying the Lord in her womb, and her own child leapt in HER womb in His presence!

Where was she when, many years later, his head was served to Herodias on a silver platter? Broken. All hope dashed.

What IS there for a void like that? No more joyful youthful hope.

Mary Magdalene knew. Jesus cast seven demons from her, removed her from her life as a “fallen” woman, made her a holy one. A follower, mentioned twelve times at least in the Bible, more than some of the apostles. She knew. She washed His feet and dried them with her own hair, anointed them with expensive perfumed oil, gave Him everything she had, followed Him the rest of her days. Was the first to find Him risen at the tomb that first Easter morning.

Job knew. Lost it ALL. ALL his children. ALL his possessions. Sat on the heap of ashes while his friends made him wonder if it was all his fault. Mourning, weeping, in an agony of suffering, he answered them in faith:

The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;  may the name of the LORD be praised.” (Job 1:21)

Then, when he answered in faith, trusted God with his very life, the Lord restored his treasures, gave him more children. Turned it all to good. Like it was? No. But holy beyond the pain.

All of these women and men, many more unnamed, recovered an unspeakable holiness as they went on to serve in spite of the horrors and losses of their lives. Walked on to build the “Kingdom” Jesus came for in the first place. Found the “why” in the holy journey. Like He said in the first place: “Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor.” (I Corinthians 10:24) Cuz SOME things ain’t NOTHIN else gonna cure.

The world only offers “therapy” to heal wounds like that. The comfort of friends and fellow mourners might be an occasional mercy. But never the same again. We know that.

Different. Changed. Struck down. Like the broken clay pot of scripture fame. Fashioned by the Lord who watched as our hopes were dashed. Then broken into a million jagged pieces.

There IS no cure for that kind of pain. No. Nothing that will make us like we were before.

But there is the unspeakable hope of seeing them again, the one we lost. The trembling curiosity “what will they be like?” The daring hope: “What are they doing now? What is it like there?” We chew the words of Jesus promise: “I go to prepare a place for you.” And a glimmer of light. Find a new joy in the known innocence of a child we lost too young to find anything but glory there, never sullied by mistakes or bad choices. Develop a new patient hope for the day we will be made holy and be with them again.

And the Lord Himself sweeps up the splintered pieces, lets us dare to hope again. Shows us ways to take the pain and let His light shine to others through our jagged broken wounds. Shows us it is HIS light that goes in now. Not the fake Vegas light we fell for before. Not the empty promises of the things we sought before. A different light now. His light.

2 Corinthians 4.6-7: “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”

SOME OF US JUST WEREN’T MADE FOR THIS WORLD. We fan the flames that light the glimpse of that OTHER world. Determined now to share that light with as many as we can, tell them about the real glory. The prepared place that Perfect Love fashions from our soul’s hard journey here.

We join these holy ones. Know their pain, their loss, their despair. Then we know HOLY when we see it. Know Holy when we do it. Know to cling to the source of all Holy. Begin to sense the “why” and start to walk in the “how.” Find a new kind of joy, clinging to Him like the Magdalene, following Him the rest of our lives, giving Him everything we have. Knowing He keeps it safe…and holy…with the treasure we have lost.

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Mad at GOD?!




Life is hard. Sometimes we realize we have been mad at God for a long time. Maybe we blame Him for our lives not turning out like we hoped. Or wonder where He was when the Bad Thing happened. Maybe we even quit praying, leave the spiritual journey entirely, when our prayers aren’t answered our way.

Maybe—I confess here–even throw a little fit, have a little pity party, when we don’t get our way.  It happens. Our flesh continues to want what it wants, circumstances disappoint. Our prayers do not bring what we asked right away.

For a long time, I thought I needed to dream up what was best for me then beg God for it. Slowly, I came to see that is not what “prayer” is at all. Not even a “conversation” at that level. Just begging.

We want to tell Him what to do with our prayers, instead of trusting Him to do what’s best. Which, if we think about it, is like a baby trying to tell mommy how to mix his formula from the crib. Mommy knows what baby cannot know yet. We have to trust God to know more than we do.

Let me tell you about a saint I know from the streets. Born a hermaphrodite– physically, both male and female. Abused sexually and psychologically by a violent father. Diagnosed as Schizophrenic. Lived in mental institutions and on the streets. Now identifies herself as a woman in spite of the stubble of beard and gangly height. Nearly toothless from years of neglect. Yet the Lord is her shepherd. She has a peace and generosity of spirit that is downright holy. And gratitude! Weeps for joy for a favorite song. Prays “Lord, bless us, we love each other” over a hamburger lunch. And the rest of us are moved to tears. Her path in this world has been stony and hard. But she will be one of the “lesser” who will be “greater” in Heaven, I assure you. We are blessed for having known her, having held her hand in prayer.

WANTING is from the FLESH. LOVING is from His SPIRIT.

When I was 2, I wanted to take off the hot plastic pants I wore over the soggy wet diapers.

When I was 8, I wanted the Miss Elizabeth doll with the tiny shoes and purses and bride gown.

When I was 13, I wanted a pink and black motorcycle and matching pink and black outfit.

When I was 17, I wanted a hot pink suede cape. And a boyfriend.

When I was 21, I wanted a job that didn’t scare me.

When I was 23, I wanted to have a big wedding.

When I was 30, I wanted to travel.

Not one of those things do I want anymore. Some were blessings, some stupid adolescent ideas. Some were fulfilled, some weren’t. Some made my life better, some nearly tanked it.

I’m just sayin’…we always want stuff. Sometimes we even get it. But we never know what’s best until later.

God’s BEST is “later.” And it is FOREVER.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12


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Talk Back to the Devil



The wounds from early childhood made me very susceptible to the lies of the world and whispering spirits from…somewhere else, shall we say. Renew your mind,” the Bible urges us (Romans 12:2 and others. I found it verrrrry difficult to choose higher, holier thoughts when engulfed in depression and anxiety. I mean, it’s HARD to get the part that is the most BROKEN to do the work that is most IMPORTANT.

At first, it was only tiny little mewling cries of memorized verses (“I have been crucified with Christ”—Galatians 2:20) or longings (“He will never forsake me”—Hebrews 13:5 and many others) or days of tears without the energy to speak at all.

Over time it became a braver choice. More insistent. (“Put on the full armor of God”—Ephesians 6:10-17) and more efficient (“Tear down strongholds”—II Corinthians 10:4)) as I began to see His way was better. Then, over the years, bolder. Never able to “fight” before, now able to confront the one who did NOT want God’s best for me. Learned to talk back:

Bark away, ornery flesh. You are not my boss any more. God is bigger than you, more powerful than my genes. Nibble at my edges every day, you jealous demons. I will press forward in spite of you. Nothing you do can take away my soul, my eternal Spirit. Rob my peace, sometimes even ruin my testimony, but fold when you see the inevitable glory that awaits me. I feel sorry for you, lying demons, but I cannot help you. You are lost. I am saved. Bound for heaven.

This cross I carry is the one He gave me. It fits. I would even have to say I am used to it. I believe Him that it has been for my own eternal good. I have not seen one I want to trade it for. I believe the blind will see, the lame will walk, and I won’t be sad and scared anymore. I trust His love.

That is the only thing that broke the strong-willed horse within. Tamed it. Guided it instead of being carried away by it. Never perfect. But more and more.

So, if we really want to change–or really want to change the WORLD!—then we have to change our thinking. “Renew our minds.” Find the old worn ruts in our brain that parrot the devil’s lies, plant scripture there instead.

Science is discovering more and more today, that even gets right down into your physical brain and fixes things we thought were irreparably broken. God knew better.

I call that a miracle.


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ONE Body? Or WHICH Body?–Branding Worship

crossOne Body? Or WHICH Body?

“Branding” Worship.

Christians are agreed on coming to JESUS CHRIST for salvation. From there, we tend to differ on everything. That’s probably the main thing that makes the lost world dislike us most. Hey…if WE can’t agree on anything, why would they think we are right about JESUS?

Jesus Himself was very clear. On His KNEES, his most fervent prayer to God the Father was that “those who will believe in me … may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17)

Guess He could see, even then, how it would go.

I’m not a theologian and have no desire to go toe-to-toe with one. But do you really think God despises any of the many ways we come to Him through Jesus? I love people who worship in mysterious incense filled room, and people who trudge to him in sturdy oxfords serving soup, and people loud and jolly dancing in His Spirit, and some silent and demure in prayers of their heart.  In every “brand” there are Spirit-filled followers.

Yet many of us still throw rocks at those in other “rooms.”

So let us hope and pray and do our small part to light the way to the One who set us free. Then trust His Spirit to lead us to the room off the entryway where He wants us to worship. And love our brothers and sisters in the Lord enough to see they have their own journey.

For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. (I Corinthians 12:12)

There’s just one Jesus. Just one cross.

We can cry about the way it is now. Or we can laugh. Here’s a little humor to defuse the tension:

I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said ‘Stop! Don’t do it!’ ‘Why shouldn’t I?’ he said. I said, ‘Well, there’s so much to live for!’ He said, ‘Like what?’ I said, ‘Well…are you religious or atheist?’ He said, ‘Religious.’ I said, ‘me too! Are you Christian or Buddhist?’ He said, ‘Christian.’ I said, ‘me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?’ He said, ‘Protestant.’ I said, ‘me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?’ He said, ‘Baptist!’ I said, ‘Wow! Me too! Are you Baptist church of god or Baptist church of the lord?’ He said, ‘Baptist church of god!’ I said, ‘me too! Are you original Baptist church of god, or are you reformed Baptist church of god?’ He said, ‘Reformed Baptist church of god!’ I said, ‘me too! Are you reformed Baptist church of god, reformation of 1879, or reformed Baptist church of god, reformation of 1915?’ He said, ‘Reformed Baptist church of god, reformation of 1915!’ I said, ‘Die, heretic scum,’ and pushed him off. –Emo Phillips


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The First Bonfire


The First Bonfire

Once we surrender to the Lord, it is like a fiery swirl of bonfire in the night.

First we gather the things we know need burning. The easy part. By then we know only too well.

Then we add what we know will consume and destroy those things that are destroying us. Telling the truth about our own secrets and settin the blaze of God’s own Truth to it all like a match.

We try to surround ourselves with others who know and care to watch the blaze.

A million kinds of bonfires, but always the same match. Life doesn’t get easy. But it gets beautiful, meaniful, purposeful. We lose the need for revenge or secrets or all the lying bandaids we’ve used and watch the beauty of the sparks swirling to heaven.

I remember the first time I read the story in the Bible of Jesus healing of the little girl, Jairus’ daughter:

He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Child, I say to you, get up!”).   Mark 5:40-42

“Talitha, koum.”

Child, get up. Come.

Jesus spoke His word to the little girl and she came back to life. She was dead and He spoke her back to life. She got up and walked around, the Bible says.


“Speak to me,” I told Him two thousand years later. “I am dead.” And I very nearly was.

And He did. Through the Bible I devoured, through the prayers of a trusted few, through the counsel of a Godly man, the preaching, the singing. And through His Spirit into mine, consolations in the night.

“Talitha, koum.”

And I got up. And began to walk. Faltering baby steps.

I was a slow learner. Maybe it goes in deeper that way, a slow drip. No presto renewed-o for my bent mind. No instant healing for my brain. I was alive, but I had a lot to learn.

If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. Romans 10:9

I didn’t know exactly what “saved” meant, entirely, but I wanted it. I chose it. I walked the aisle for it.

We start living when we believe. But it is kind of like when you quit smoking. Yes, there is one day you quit, give it up, swear off. The start. The choice. But from then on you quit every day, remain faithful to your decision. Once you put your faith in Jesus, you are “in.” Justified. Reconciled to God. In the “family.” Then there is the daily walk. Not always easy, but always worth it.

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Matthew 9:13

At first mine was just obedience. Trying to be a good child. Trying to learn the do’s and don’ts.

Baby steps. A little girl walking about.

But learned that what we do or do not do, once we decide to do things God’s way, is like a small child’s gifts to its parent. A rough crayon picture, a daisy plucked from the lawn. He does not need it or require it. But He loves it.

“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (Galatians 5:6

I learned He is more interested in our relationship than our behavior. Scripture does say what we were created and called to do. Keeping score? No. Buying our way into Heaven? No. Just our appointed mission from God, once we know Him well enough to listen.

Having your LIFE saved? Even more spectacular than fiery embers against a night sky surrounded by people you love.

That first bonfire is our REAL birthday.


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Calling in Scared

YIKES or YAY?!?888328953e3cc9c17a6b4c8f82b81ba7


My body can’t tell the difference between YIKES and YAY. Fear and excitement both set off the same alarm bells in my lousy nervous system. Statistics say that’s true for nearly 25% of us now. The chemical and cultural stresses of our fallen world are upping the figures all the time. “Generalized Anxiety Disorder” and “Panic Disorder” and lotsa other UNhelpful labels abound.

The horrid thing about “ANXIETY” is it’s INVISIBLE to others. And they think they know what you need to do about it.

Yeah. About like we know what THEY should do about their jock itch and anal fissures. NO!

For one thing, the docs need a new NAME for it, in my opinion. Instead of the dismissive little hand pat “there there, it’s just anxiety”. Because now science has proven there is an inborn GENETIC reason for a lot of it. It’s the way some bodies process chemicals, foods, meds, adrenaline, etc. People think “anxious” means you are scared. Or nervous. Or “think too much.” Or worry too much. Wound up too tight.

Well, sure, that could be true sometimes. But LOTS of “normal” folks do ALL of that and do NOT suffer from “anxiety disorder” or “panic disorder.” Those of us who DO know the difference. HUGE difference. The hardest part of which? That “they” do NOT. At least if you have a broken leg you get to wear a cast and get autographs on it. Sympathy. Not “The Look.”

Anxiety is mostly the skid marks the traumas of life left on our nervous system. Your nightmares echo your darkest sensory abuses from childhood, and every slight of daily life is a fresh bloody wound. Complicated by iffy genes in some of us too. NOT the hyper, Type-A, overachiever, worrywart thing most people THINK it is.

It’s hard to live in the “make a list” world, even in ministry, when you never know WHEN your nervous system is gonna go off. So you find yourself backing out of life in iffy ways. Lonely in spite of desire to serve, a need for people. Wanting to DO more, lucky to be DOING at all.

Worst is, because of the “stigma” of the “mental” sticker, we never just say it out loud. Keep it more secret than hemorrhoids or “female trouble.” We call in sick to work or say we stopped to feed homeless people on the way to church. Because how to say “I’m scared to leave home?? Or “I think I’m having a heart attack but the ER tells me it’s ‘just anxiety’.” Or that you’d LOOOVE to go…but trapped on an airplane 4 hours would stop your heart?

99% of the anxiety tips on the internet are ways to relieve “stress.” NOT the same. WE know it, those of us too ashamed to just “call in scared.” We’ve worried about bills or life or kids and NOT had anxiety. We do know the difference. “Anxiety” is WORSE and it doesn’t go away when life’s problems do. It’s a DISEASE and it would help if they’d give it an honorable scientific NAME. But the Lord’s got His ways of keepin’ us humble.

There’s so many good verses in scripture about “fear” or “worry” or “anxiety”… and memorizing them helps fill that toxic void our traumatized brains will fill with if we aren’t careful. But most of THOSE are actually talking about “worry” too. Not to WORRY about the stresses of life. How that shows a lack of faith, mainly. And those of us with the YIKES n YAY Syndrome know we have OUR illness whether we have things to worry about or NOT.

So even us believers gotta be careful or we end up thinking God is mad at us or something. I myself have memorized most the fear verses over the years. But usually end up settling on “WHEN I am afraid, I will trust in You.” (Psalm 56:3). Because accepting that it IS gonna come is part of the RELIEF for it. Trusting His Love to be there at the other end of each dark tunnel of unreasonable fear and physical symptoms.

The MOST helpful way to use what we learn in scripture is that He can turn ANYTHING to GOOD (Romans 8:28). Hey, we’ve seen quadriplegics turn their suffering to God’s use in glorious ways. Why not ours? And that we can fight the flesh (and sometimes demon whispering) that tells us God must not like us or we must not have “enough” faith. Bullcorn. It MEANS that THIS is what we have and HE LOVES US and PROMISES to TURN IT TO GOOD.

I have trouble being grateful for the crummy genes myself. Not to mention the painful childhood scars. But can sometimes work up a holy gratitude for genes I DON’T have….and the blessings I DO. Because I have to admit, there’s worse genes, worse burdens, worse suffering. And many who wouldn’t recognize a blessing.

Our biggest blessing? When each fresh onslaught is over, we have to admit it HAS kept us closer to Him. Clinging to His love, His Word, His faithfulness. Close enough to Him day and night that only a whisper from Him turns us to His good purposes. We are never far from Him. We NEED Him. And have noticed, over the years, that the anxiety FREE days are not as holy in our steps as the HARD ones. Be honest. When we feel good we turn to good times. When we don’t, we cling to Him. Hard, simple, eternal truth.

So THANK You for these hellacious sensations in our bodies, Lord. The ones that keep us from doing something “else.” That keep us humble, skulking out of ERs and calling in to work. That keep us looking UP. That teach us about Your faithfulness. Thank you. Maybe not while we are sobbing or taking our pulse outside the ER or looking for the right pill. But all the holy space around it that we have filled with YOU. Because we know, more than most, we are entirely lost without You. Thank You, Lord. Turn it all to good, Lord. So grateful for Your gifts—righteousness, sanctification, redemption—that do NOT depend on what WE can or cannot do. Only on what You already did.

Whew. Thank You.

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