A Life of Purpose

“Tell me what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” -Mary Oliver

I recently made a friend at work whose been stressing to me the importance of having a sense of direction and springing forward, full-throttle in pursuit of what you think your purpose in life is. “Make sure you have goals”, he told me.

“I do”, I replied.

“Yeah but do you have them written down?” He challenged me.

“Of course.” I lied.

The thing is that of course I have goals, but I don’t necessarily have them written down, and now that I’ve settled into a completely different state with minimal support and have sold and given away most of my “estate” if you will, my identity has been flushed clear down the the toilet. It is drifting out somewhere in the ether waiting to return to me on these simple terms: “You are a gift from God Mauriel; a light in the darkness.”

The bedroom I used to call my own

And so I find myself in these humble circumstances working part time in a grocery store and relying on disability checks from social security, just praying that the devil would not outwit me into a sense of shame and nothingness. I work at a grocery store… and you know what? I do it with my head held high because I was born for something greater than this moment.


Baby Me

The other day I I came across a woman coddling her infant, and he was so contented just nestled in her arms. I looked at him and thought what a miracle it was that he survived childbirth. He is a warrior in my eyes, to have left the safety of the womb in order to enter into this cold “every man for himself” world. He won’t be in his mother’s arms always, but the fact that he was born, tells me that he was marked by something divine with a purpose. I know his mother’s heart sings to that melody in her gratitude for her sweet babe.

The chat with my Coworker:

Chatting with him sort of peeved me initially because he was striking a sensitive nerve inside. I knew that I had stopped dreaming and hoping in God, because my heart had been broken by life. I’ve come all the way from Texas’ thriving economy, a full time corporate job, a degree and my own place down to virtually nothing except a couple hundred in my bank account and a part time job meant for teenagers. I am at the foot of a big mountain, climbing back to stability and a sense of settlement, and it feels like I have a long way to go. Somewhere underneath all of those raw words he was speaking I heard: “I see you, I believe in you, you can do this.”

And so here I find myself, at the intersection between the fragility of life and strength of my own soul. All the trauma of my childhood has not destroyed me. Here I still stand like a tree planted—“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength(Philippians 4:16). I am not the sum of all my failures. I am the sum of things I’ve overcome.

While on the onset, I was frazzled by these “Dad talks” I think in retrospect that it was God’s favor. So having had my faith rekindled by my co-worker’s strong sense of hope and responsibility, I have returned to my own—that is “hope and responsibility.” I understand (God) the Father’s love, a little bit more, though not entirely, and I so look forward to the plans that He has for my life, and I am ready to be disappointed by life. What can shake someone rooted in the Lord?

“For I know the plans I have for you”, says the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday Shenanigans

Today is the kind of day where I roll myself up in blanket like a burrito and think of interesting ways to soothe my soul. This revive essential oil put inside vegetarian capsules made me feel cleansed and relaxed. I love alternative medicine from tea to herbs and essential oils and this really impressed me. I’m looking forward to exploring more essential oils by Revive.

Healing Isn’t Linear

It’s been a while since I last checked into this safe space. Life has been tossing me to and fro between high hopes and utter hopelessness. I’ve seen beauty…even miracles that were unfortunately followed by shattered dreams and coming face to face with the dull reality that I have a mental illness and by legal definition a disability of sorts. Sobriety tells me that perhaps the rest of my life is going to be a bit unorthodox—spent finding unique ways to adapt in a world that is meant for the sane, the strong—the “fittest” so to speak.

What I have come to terms with in my pessimism is that this world is spinning on it’s axis and is held in place by forces of vanity and self-reliance. You’re not human enough if you can’t do it all on your own and yet I may never be able to. How has society defined strength? At my age is that just holding together a full-time professional job in corporate America, and showcasing my degree and intelligence to the world? If by such shallow standards society has measured my dignity, it is important to note that I had already achieved that, and yet I was crumbling under the weight of it all. Is there any room for the lame in this “dog-eat-dog” western society?

This question brings to mind the lepers of society in Jesus’ day. It was taboo to even go near them and there was a complete lack of empathy for such suffering for they were thought to have brought it upon themselves as a result of their sin, or some sort of demonic oppression. No one was to come near them lest they’d fall ill to the same curse of a disease, and yet “having been moved by compassion”, Jesus cleansed the leper (Mark 1:41). The heart of God is always being revealed in the person of Jesus.

It recently occurred to me that perhaps Jesus is more concerned with our being molded into his very person than with measuring up to society’s standards. Boy it is that a cross to bear, and relief all at once. It sort of frees me from my ego. It gives me rest in this time of working part-time and receiving disability benefits from social security instead of being the strong go-getter, hardball woman that I envisioned myself to be.

Coming to the Hem of His Garment

Haven’t you heard of the prostitute who wept at Jesus’ feet? Jesus spoke of her saying “the one who has been forgiven much loves much”. The whole time that I complained about the ach from these thorns of flesh, I was really feeling the weight of his glory. He was really bringing me deeper into the tides of his love and compassion. While, the Lord has all authority to give me a traditional lifestyle, he would much rather go deeper into my heart, healing wounds, by peeling back bandaids and showing me that he can minister to the irreversible damage that that has marred my soul. I am not alone and yet I realize that most in my solitude where the presence of God is most pronounced.

God is not Cruel

I am totally not saying that God does not want to give you beautiful things. I am simply asking you to dive deeper into what “beautiful” means. You were uniquely created. He knit you together in your mother’s womb and predestined you for a path designed for you! Can society heal the leper? No! Society shuns the leper, but Jesus gives him value, and more than that a testimony. Can you find beauty in the unfolding of your testimony? Can you remember that he will bring you out of these very trying times? Most importantly….he is healing you!

I love you,

Underneath His Wings

“He who dwells under the shelter of the most high, shall abide under the shadow of the almighty.”

Psalm 91:1

On Wednesday September 2nd my dream came true as I moved into a two year recovery program for women seeking to rehabilitate themselves from a wide array of addictions, bondage, mental illness etc, with the personal goal to also draw near to the Lord, who is the great physician.

I personally battle with Major Depressive Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Dissociative Disorder. I do not have an addiction, but saw fitnto join the program because of how thorough it is with the process of healing and because it lasts two years. That’s pretty neat! All three diagnoses have interrupted my ability to function and thrive well in society and have left me begging to only touch the hem of the Lord’s garment. I am grateful for the staff here and the peace that guards my heart every time I set foot on the property.

There are rules and regulation I must follow loving here, but are each designed for my freedom and wellbeing. For example: I cannot date. That seems pretty restrictive but is a sure sign that they mean business about healing, and that’s great because I’m just as a serious!

I thought I’d share some pictures of my cozy nook of a room in a this grand old 20th century home in downtown Denver.

I thank the Lord that after ceaseless panic attacks, flashbacks and pain, He made a way for me to come all the way from Texas to Colorado to heal, and enjoy the well spring of his peace. He is so loving. He is so gentle. He is so full of mercy and I am glad to be called his daughter.

I know that life will still present it’s challenges. This is not the end of suffering however, I feel the Lord wants to give me a break and equip me for whatever hardship I may face in the future. When we are armed with his love, tough blows do not leave permanent indentations of hollowness in our lives. The Lord fills us with his peace, and comforts us with his Holy Spirit.

To my friends:

Whoever you are that is out there suffering right now and wondering why you feel so lost in the thick of life and cannot seem to find the way out, know that God is in control, and He loves you!