A Time to Heal

“There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.” -Ecclesiastes 3:1

I am trying to reconcile the incongruence between my extroverted self, and my painfully introverted self. On the one hand I present, without an effort as amiable and warm. I am bubbling over with joy and a desire to be social with everyone around me all the time. My heart is bursting with vibes of love and genuine good will toward every creature around me.
On the other hand all the life is zapped right out of me due to the series of mental illnesses that I battle and I don’t so much as want to look at anyone.

I’m tired all the time. I’m weary. It is by the grace of God that I arrive to work each day by means of a 20 minute bus ride followed a 20 minute walk because the bus doesn’t take me quite all the way. I’m constantly thanking God throughout the day for the strength to endure the shift, and then comes the big debate about how I am going to get home. It is my responsibility to save money so I must trot my way back to the bus stop somehow. I must muster up the strength. More often than not I find that I cannot strain past my limits any further and I end up spending the money on an Uber home. I thank God I at least have the money, and I pray that next time I will find the strength just to walk instead.

My body constantly aches from head to toe. I’m not in any extreme pain, but I feel overcome by those aches you feel when you have the flu. Yeah those, except mine is derived from depression. My body is so overwhelmed by chronic depression that it manifests itself as physical pain, and I find myself swallowing ibuprofen and wondering how much my stomach can actually take before this is bad for me.

It really just feels like a long dream. I’m experiencing the world from a really deep place within myself, constantly in some profound state of rest and inner meditation to avoid sensory overload. It’s all in someway so damned beautiful and yet it needs to end because I wasn’t made for this. I cannot do this forever.

I’ve resolved it in my heart that I will not let this overcome me. I am too much of a fighter for that. Then again an echo of honesty reminds me that I do not know how long I can do this. I need rest. So much rest. So I find myself lulling in and out of sleep countless hours throughout the day. Moments that I am awake are spent staring into space…in a sort of peaceful daydream just resting my thoughts— sort of talking to God without speech.

Part of me thinks I was made this way. This is the beauty and the uniqueness of my life. These are the things that make my soul so unsearchably beautiful. How mysterious it is that God has formed me this way…

I cannot find fault in my maker. His ways are higher than my ways after all. That said. I do long for rest. I long for stillness, poetry and the sounds of running water. I long for cozy snuggles with throws piled on top of the bed. I long for hugs and fellowship. I long ultimately for more of my creator. More of Him.

Prayer: Father I know that in your wisdom you have formed me the way that it pleased you to form me. You know what hurts, where it hurts and how much. Give me this season father to rest, to heal, and to desire more of you!

With Grace,

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.

Delicacy

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

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,