The In between

“Where to hide?”  They start to sing
The corner engulfs me, as the truth assails me
I’m a fraud and I stand in the court of the king.
“The stains” I gasp as I scrub at my dress
They’ll know, they’ll see, I’m not supposed to be.
What a disaster, what a mess!
“I didn’t know”, I whisper.  Its a foreign land, a foreign place
The culture abuses, the rules ensnare
Won’t they let me plead my case?
The prince arrives, He glows with mercy and love
No where to hide, no place to escape
I push into the wall, trapped like a caged dove.
“My Love” He whispers, His fingers brush my chin
his eyes pierce my soul, love burns as He pays my debt
dross burns away, I am cleansed from within.
“Finally” He sighs, “my love has arrived”

 I wrote this poem a few months after I stumbled into Christ’s arms.  I was lost in the ‘Christian culture and confused by everything.  My defense had always been an ability to blend in, but I had no context and couldn’t blend.  I stuck out like a snowstorm in the desert. Ten years later I still do the same, here in the bible belt the tension is even greater.  It is easier to just go to church on Sunday and pretend the rest of the week.  In the in between I find myself drifting more towards the world than towards Him.  Luckily He always finds me in my corner.

Truth is he is my corner, He is the strong tower I huddle against and He is the hand that brushes my tears away.  He is the one who laughs with me and pierces my heart when it gets too hard. But the tension between Him and the world, has always been hard for me.  I’m a peace maker, I don’t like conflict.

But is that tension really conflict, or is it the dance with our savior in the In Between.  While I walked the beach several years ago, He showed me just that.  as I walked, the waves periodically lapped my feet, sometimes up to my knees.  Then they would ebb and I would be left on the sand.  But for a moment I was in both worlds, the sand under my toes, the slight touch of the water and we began to dance.

In the middle I stand alone.

One foot in the world, one foot in the Kingdom.

I like it here.

Different days I venture one way or the other.

Neck deep in the Kingdom, to drown in the light of His love.

Or into the world to spread seeds from above.

But in the middle I stand alone,

Alone with Him

I like it here.

Sunset Walk

I long for this dance every moment of my life.  And someday, when my time here is done, I will dance with Him forever.  Until then, I will ebb and flow with the beat of this life; being in the world but not of it.

How do you handle the tension of being in the world but not of it?

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Legacy: “Something handed down or received from an ancestor or predecessor.”

Legacy in is the good stuff, right.  The great genes passed to me by mother that help me look at least 5 years younger than I am.  Or my love of music, also from my mother’s side of the family, which produces a constant flow of music from my heart and pours out of my lips.  I can’t stop it, I can’t start it, it just is.  So I praise the Lord for the Legacy left me.

Legacy has a dark side though, all that negative stuff is passed down as well.  Recently I met a large portion of my mother’s extended family.  Great aunts, regular aunts, and uncles whom I cherish and love.  I noticed a trait that all the women had in common.  Our stomach area tends to be whee we all carry any excess fat.  Whether short or tall, thin or not so thin, there it is.  For years I have hated my body because of this trait!!  Forcing myself to look at the dark side of legacy brought peace and a new acceptance of myself.

I have another legacy,from the dark side.  This one spews from the same same heart filled with music, and from the same mouth, that sings God’s praises.  I am a fantastic smart ass.  I mean, I am good, I can get people rolling!  And most of the time what comes out is harmless, just funny,  and focused on myself.  Lately though, I’ve noticed the mean tone I take when I focus it on others.  And that tone rings with more truth than I want to admit.

I noticed it at the reunion, when one of my uncles recoiled at a comment I made.  (And he is the one with thick skin.)  Or the blank stares from new friends who don’t realize I am ‘just kidding’ (or am I).

Yesterday, I said something to a new friend that, at the time, I thought was funny.  That friend did not agree and those sharp knives returned to me in full force.  Looking back, it was something I am frustrated with and instead of being honest with myself it spewed out through sarcasm.  As I reeled from the knives sticking out of my heart, I sat in the place where all my previous stings had landed.  I didn’t like it.

Can legacy be changed?  Can a way of speaking,started in my youth, be shut down?  I hope so because apologies really don’t take those words back.  “I’m sorry does not apply balm to the wound”.  I have apologized to my friend, and I have yet to hear back.  My uncle, I owe an apology to (hopefully he is reading this).  But my Lord, I have wounded Him the most.  He blessed me with a voice to speak kindness and encouragement to others, and to make beautiful music in His name.  Instead I have used it for a vile purpose and wounded those He loves (and I love).

This is my new prayer, would you please pray it over me, for the one who gives life is the only one who can take this away.

“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14



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The Day The Depression Won

The rain pelted the windows that morning.  The dim light shined through the windows and reminded me that the sun would not appear today.  I snuggled in further to the warm bed and started the habitual morning debate:

“Get out of Bed Angela!”

“I don’t wanna” as I shoved my face under the covers.

Sunset walk

It was Sunday, the day for worship with fellow believers and to learn more about the man I love.  Of all the days of the week, shouldn’t this one be different?  However, a brick the size of Texas had settled itself on my chest and my limbs no longer had the strength to pull me up.

Eventually, I swung my legs off the edge of the bed and sat up.  It was too late to make it to my usual service, but if I hurried I could make it to the 11 am.  My legs didn’t move, any will I had, had been used just to sit up.  Life had lost all its meaning, all its joy and all its purpose.

I finally shuffled into the kitchen as my roommate left for church:

Roommate:  “Are you coming this morning?”

Me:  “I don’t think so, I feel like I just need a down day.” I shrank inside as the words escaped my lips.  I had been needing a lot of those lately.

Roommate:  “Ok, but if it is the depression, don’t let it win!” she walked out into the rain.

I watched her drive away and plodded back to my room.

The argument resumed:  “You should go.”  “I don’t want to go”.  “Then get up and do something productive.” “why there is no point”.  For a split second my will returned and I found myself slipping into a pair of jeans.  Then I collapsed into a heap and began to sob uncontrollably.

“God, why did you make me this way?  What possible purpose could I serve when the act of brushing my teeth is more than I can handle most days?”  Silence, not even an echo from the void inside.  I felt Him wrap His arms around me and I continued to cry.

“Lord heal me, please.” I begged.  “Make me different.”

He rocked me back and forth.

After a while I rose, and plodded around the house.  I got dressed, ate, watched TV, and played solitaire on my phone.  Christmas was coming soon, so I forced myself to work on presents.  I love Christmas and look forward to carefully crafting each present I get.  But the joy of the season was no where to be seen.

All this time I held the tears at bay and attempted to ignore the uncontrollable outburst that morning.  Soon my roommate strolled in from her busy day and sat down on the steps.

“How was your day?” She asked.

It all spilled out.  The growing complacency with life, the desire for it all to just be over.  I finally admitted I was depressed and I needed help.

That is when the defeat set in.

I couldn’t beat this without medication and I no longer had the strength to beat myself up about it.  (I might write about this another time)

The next month was spent gasping for air each day as I waited to see my doctor, waited for the medication to kick in, waited for the side effects to abate.  I am one of the lucky ones, it only took me about two months to find the right medication and the right dosage.  By the end of January I was starting to level out.  My world was looking much brighter, and I began to find hope again.

I still struggle with side effects from the drugs, my hands have an uncontrollable shake that affect my ability to take pictures.  The weight gain through the depression and then the drugs was horrible.  But my Lord has carried me through.

You may be thinking, ‘My Lord, aren’t the drugs the ones that helped her?’  Yes the drugs helped.  But my Lord was the one who held me that day in November.  He is the one who pulled me out of bed each morning and pushed me out the door.  His peace and comfort are the only things that kept me away from suicide.  And His eternal Hope gave me a light to focus on as I clawed my way out of the pit.

The depression may have won the battle, but My Lord has won the war.


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