Time Changes Much

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Sometimes each little cut on my heart, all the wounds from the past, just ache at once. Even the healed ones light up with phantom pains as the newest still bleed and throb.

“It’s difficult to keep a soft heart when you get hurt. The tendency is to withdraw. Press on. Soft hearts are easily bruised, but survive, while hard hearts crack and crack completely.”

~Eric Wilson, Author

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The Temperature of a Heart

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Ready for a super cliche, super typical, song stuffed post?

If you’ve never read my “bio”, it’s located at the top-ish area of this blog, it’s a tab labeled “Meet That Quiet Girl”. You’ll see a very brief explanation of who I am, just the tiniest glimpse into the scars on my heart from careless people who earned my trust, got me to let them in, only to prove every fear I had, and leave behind a mess for me to clean up. I’ve spent years of my life trying to take down my walls, let people see me for who I am, learn to trust again, be vulnerable, wear my heart on my sleeve sometimes because despite all it’s scars, it’s beautiful. I’ve been fighting, with God’s help, to keep my heart soft, to keep it from growing cold.

I’ve been back-stabbed, betrayed, left behind, forgotten, rejected. And I survived.

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I held my mom’s hand as she got a new IV put in, the day before she died. I watched tears stream down her face from the pain, but her hand was barely strong enough to grip mine. I watched the oxygen meter count down as she breathed her last breath. And I survived.

And last night, I looked into the eyes of someone I care about with every fiber of what’s left of my heart, and saw…emptiness. Listened to the words I was promised, assured, that I would never have to hear cross their lips. Seven years of friendship came crashing down around me, and all I could think was, it’s happening again. I can’t go through this again. I can’t loose you. I can’t survive this again. You promised me you were different, you asked me to trust you.. You lied to me.  

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How many times can a heart be broken before it’s beyond repair? God’s answer is that nothing is impossible in Him. And I know that to be true. I fight the old nagging voices, telling me that by now surely I must know that no one can be trusted. No one stands true to their word. A promise is a promise, no matter how much time passes, it remains.

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I don’t make many promises. “I promise” are words I use very rarely, very exclusively, because of this. And when so many have been made to me, and so many broken, it becomes so hard to trust.

I’ve never understood why heartbreak can cause actual, physical pain, but I assure you, it does. It feels like a sickening heat in the depths of my chest, at the base of my lungs, burning. A heat that chills your bones and makes your lungs shudder.

As I was at work today, feeling this, unable to focus on my work, my thought storm was interrupted by a compliment from the patient I was with.

“You know, you have such a kind spirit. A very soothing countenance. I can tell you’re a very kind and thoughtful person.”

Tears welled. How is it that a total stranger can catch me in my worst moments and see something worthwhile in me, yet the ones I let into my heart seem to find it so easy to leave?

Later, from coworkers today;

“You’re beautiful, you know.”

“Everyone needs someone like you in their lives, you’re such a genuine, kind, calming person.”

But I don’t feel like that person right now. I just feel deadened, chilled from the inside out. I don’t even feel real, as if I’m just a figment in someones imagination, and they’ve stopped writing my storyline.

These songs that I’m sticking in random places here are ones I’ve always felt connected to, with what I’ve been through. They always seem so relevant. And listening to them holds me back from letting my mind twist itself into an endless knot of frustration.

So, there you have it. A cliche, “my heart, ow” blog post complete with songs that support the emotional state of the blog writer. Oh so original.

Nevertheless, here it is. The temperature of my heart. Injured muscles feel warm to the touch, but my heart burns with ice. Maybe it will grow warm yet again one day… Maybe.

Can I be honest?

This post may or may not be very long, include multiple, seemingly unrelated topics, and appear somewhat disjointed. You have been forewarned.

I heard a song the other day one Air1. It was incredible, it set a fire in my mind, a chain reaction that lead to the most electrifying, thrilling thoughts about Heaven. Allow me to share with you the gist of the thoughts it inspired within my lil’ head.

We often think of Heaven for what will be there when we arrive. The untouched, pure nature, the animals, the people we miss, and of course, more than any of that, finally being with our Creator. And that is AWESOME. But there’s a part of Heaven I never even considered in depth until hearing this song.

We’ll be there. The real us. Not the sin hampered, war torn version of us that is present currently, but the part of us that is true and perfect. Everything truly good about us, the things that were knit into our being by God, those little glimmers of what we are truly meant to be when fully realized in Jesus will finally be set completely free of temptation, sin, and the weight of the burdens of this world.

Yes, Jesus has already freed us from sin, but how many of us have had those many, many times when we tried to rely on our own strength to fight temptation and failed miserably? *raises hand*  We are free from sin, but sin still has and influence on our lives, whether through our own actions or indirectly through the actions of others. Take a few moments to just sit and imagine being totally yourself, minus every sinful thought you’ve ever had, minus every memory of every failure, every unkind thought that ever crossed your mind. The freedom of no longer having to guard your heart, your eyes, your ears, and your mind from the evils of this world. Total freedom. Totality of redemption. The fullness of perfection. The weightlessness of your soul, no longer oppressed by a hostile world, or poisoned by the unavoidable inundation of crude humor, language and images.

I don’t know about you, but that is extremely exciting to me.

With that in mind, please enjoy the song. 🙂

If, at this point you’ve wondered about the title and warning at the beginning of this post, “Be honest about what?”, here it is.

I haven’t actually sat down and spent time in my Bible in …. I’m not even sure. A while.

I haven’t spent true, quality time praying and talking/listening to God in almost as long. Not counting the three or four times I’ve cried myself to sleep while talking to God recently, or the times I’ve spent maybe 20 minutes in prayer in my car before work.

Related to the above, I’ve cried myself to sleep a lot lately. Actually, I’ve just plan cried a lot.

I have been struggling so hard to be positive, to put effort into my friendships, to even reply to text messages.

Now, I consider myself to be somewhat of a smart cookie. (Is that a phrase? Or is it tough cookie? Because cookies should be soft, tough cookies are gross…) I know that if I solved the first problem (spending time in God’s Word), the other ones would pretty much take care of themselves. I know this. Truly. How can I experience the peace of God when I don’t spend time seeking His face? Answer, I can’t. I must seek His presence if I want to be lifted from this depressive state I’m currently in. But will you, whomever you may be, please pray for me? Even if it’s just a quick little prayer while you’re reading this post, it would be appreciated.

I miss my mom. I miss home cooked food. I miss having time to make my own home cooked food. I miss having someone to talk about “girl stuff” with. That’s what I’m crying over. I miss the life I used to have. Before the loss. I feel crushed under the weight of that loss sometimes.

We finally had her stone engraved and placed. It’s beautiful, but, they only put one “T” in Matthew. Not that big of a deal, you say? No one will notice? That’s true. But I cried about it for almost 30 minutes when I noticed it.

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I wanted it to be perfect. Does she care if there’s a T missing from Matthew? Nooo. But still, it bothered me that much. Less so now, but still… It’s there.

I feel like a total train wreck on the inside lately, and I miss being a child. Being able to just break down and cry whenever and wherever you are when you feel overwhelmed, and it be socially acceptable. Adults aren’t allowed to break down. Adults have to be… “adult” about it. Take it in stride. Keep on keeping on. But I feel like I just need a week to break down, fall apart completely, and start from scratch, much like I did when I was off work for two weeks after my mom died.

But I can’t do that. I have to keep going. Keep smiling. It may be a dark night, but there is a dawn approaching. I can’t see it yet, but through the promises of Christ, I know it’s coming. I have hope.

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.

~Isaiah 42:3 (Matthew 12:20 as well.)

I may be a bruised weed, but He will mend me and set me straight and tall again.

Next Chapter Of Adulthood

Less than one month of 2014 left, and today I started the somewhat daunting but also exciting task of becoming my Dad’s personal accountant. Together we are delving into the dark chasm of bills and debts and setting up a special bill paying schedule for me to work from, so that I may take on my new role as payer of the bills. Though this is a pretty big task, I’m actually happy about it. It’s something I’d have to learn to do eventually, but this way I’m learning it while I still have someone to help crunch numbers and build budgets. Someone who actually knows how.

The last.. two weeks? Has been quite a roller coaster. Lots of family and friends in town, dropping food by, spending time with us, keeping our minds busy. But this week we are mostly (but not totally!) alone as far as company goes. Which is good, we aren’t very good company when we’re trying to pay bills. (Paying bills can make one a bit gwumpy.)

My parents and I have always had a very close relationship. And now that we’re missing one, my Dad and I have stuck close. Both of us have been having dreams lately, dreams that try and convince us that Mom is still alive. Mine often include Mom showing up and saying the doctor’s lied to us, and that she survived, and when I wake up, I feel like I’m still dreaming. It doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t feel real.

So often I see or hear of something really fun or cute, and my first thought is “I need to save that and show it to Mom!”. Or I’ll get dressed, and want to ask her opinion on my outfit. But I can’t. And every time my brain makes that subconscious suggestion, the reality of her loss hits me again.

She was 47. Way, way too young to spend her last week of life in a hospital bed, getting stuck with needles multiple times a day. I held her hand for some of those needles. And I was there, in the room when she died. Every memory of that night sits at the edge of my mind, nagging at me. Threatening to show up while I sleep.

The first three days next week, I’ll be home alone for most of the day. I’m intending to go to the gym a lot, read a lot, do laundry and clean. But even so, neither my Dad nor I have any desire to be alone right now. We’ll see how it goes…

 

Dreams Don’t Turn to Dust

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They’ve done brain scans on people experiencing heartbreak. Interestingly enough, they’ve proven that your brains physical pain receptors light up light a Christmas tree when experiencing heartbreak, it’s not just “hurt feelings”, it’s real, undeniable physical pain. Have you every been toasty warm and then jumped into a freezing cold lake? That feeling of your chest seizing up, electric pain preventing you from breathing? That’s it. But also, at the same time, heat, boiling, burning in your stomach, aching, clashing with the cold of your heart and making you sick.

I’ve felt that. The day my first “best friend” started stealing from me.

The day I got a letter from a friend so dear we called each other sisters, when she told me she hated me and that she never wanted to see me again because I had sought help after discovering she had been having suicidal thoughts.

The day I received a letter from the father of, funny enough, the friend who helped me survive the above heartbreak, saying that I was no longer permitted to see her or communicate with her.

There are others, more recent ones, that I just can’t bring myself to talk about currently…

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Just now I was writing a letter to God. Not an angry letter, but a hurt one. Because I thought I understood what He was doing, I thought I’d figured it out, but I was wrong. My own understanding still seems to make so much sense to me, but He obviously has other plans. I thought I could see the path ahead of me, but now it’s shrouded in fog, totally hidden, looming in mystery and whispering words of fear into my weakened heart. I’ve asked Him to give me some form of encouragement, some sign that the dreams I have are not going to be left as mere fantasies.

Let me repeat, I’m not angry with God, and I still believe He has a plan, and that it will work ultimately for my good, the good of my family, the good of my future, etc. But I just can’t see how. And I hurt. I feel like the walls are closing in on me, and I’d just like one aspect of my dreams, hopes and prayers to get a definitive answer, just to keep my heart alive.

Also, separate from that, I’d like to figure out what the heck is wrong with my vehicle so I can actually have wheels again. That would be great. Preferably without costing a lot of money…

I won’t pretend that I’m not asking for a lot. It’s a lot to me, at the very least. A wisp of smoke to God perhaps, but I am a speck of dust in that wisp, it feels huge to me.

Breakdown

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Today I’ve reached an all time low high. SIX. Six times today (so far!) that I’ve cried about… Something. I cried when the baby beaver on the show I was watching found it’s mommy beaver. I cried when the Vulcan/Human couple on Star Trek finally expressed their feelings for each other and officially became a couple. (Don’t judge me…) I cried while reading old IM conversations I’ve saved and pictures I have on my laptop. I cried before leaving for church because my emotional threshold is like that of a teaspoon right now, and I cried when I was asked if I had any prayer requests while at bible study after church. (Which was in a room full of guys, I loathe crying in front of people, but especially guys.) And lastly, I cried while driving to the store to get veggies because the song on the radio was one that hit me in a very tender spot. Tender as in sore and raw not tender in the positive sense.

At any given time today my hands are shaking slightly. Barely noticeable, but it’s there. One of my good friends after being told all this said “You are not an emotional wreck, you’ve just got too much going on right now. That’s it.” And she’s right. More than the sudden realization of just how bad off my mom is, there’s stress at work as the holiday rush kicks up, and a few other stress areas I prefer not to mention. Any avenues I usually go to for a bit of solace are plagued with stress right now. And the energy it takes to be the happy, bubbly customer service person I have to be at work totally drains the life out of me more than usual.

Desperately in need of hugs. All the time.

 

Anyway… Basically just venting here. Sorry. Carry on with your lives.

 

~TQG

Tired & Torn

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Sometimes I’m tired of being brave.

Of going out into a world of hostility and putting on a good face.

I struggle to keep smiling when I have to fight just to stay me.

To keep myself from the habits of those surrounding me.

Staying on the higher ground.

When a word of profanity tickles my tongue and I have to bite it.

When a hostile attitude boils within me and I struggle to remember to Whom I belong.

At every turn, I see only obstacles.

I feel as though I clamber over them,

No one by my side.

Is it too much to ask for a friend who cheers me on rather than telling me to turn back?

We could help each other over the mountains,

Stroll through the valleys in unison.

Don’t tell me my fight is pointless,

Don’t tell me I try too hard.

Tell me to push harder, to strive to be more.

Tell me my quest is worthy,

Take my hand and join me.

Maybe we won’t scale every mountain,

Maybe we won’t always win.

But God is on our side, my friend,

And He has concurred sin.

Curing the Funk

Been quite a week! Started out pretty great, God is doing some awesome things, not just in my life, but in lives of those around me. It’s awesome to be a part of.  I’m so blessed.

But somewhere in the stress of trying to find a job (many applications, no progress) and getting accepted to Liberty University (stressful because it’s been two years since I graduated high school, it will be such a shock to my system to start again, plus I have to choose my classes now), I started to get bogged down. Letting the stress blind me to the gifts God is giving me and the ways that He’s guiding me. God has been changing me so drastically lately, helping me grow closer to Him, strengthening my passion for kids ministry, showing me what to do to pursue that, providing for me. I’m so thankful.

But last night at my College & Career group I wasn’t. The worship was great, the message was awesome, but I kept getting distracted, frustrated, couldn’t bring myself back to the message for more than a few minutes.

After the service, a group of us were still hanging around, and one of the guys lead the group in prayer.  It was seriously awesome, I felt the fog lift. Prayer is powerful, guys. Talk to your Savior. He wants that communication. He craves it. And whether you think so or not, so do you. Often times I’ve found that the cure for a funk is prayer and scripture. Take your stress, your fear, your pain, to the feet of Jesus. He wants to comfort you. You’re His child.

Anyway, that’s all for now folks! Sorry I haven’t been writing much! Had a lot on my plate lately!

~TQG

God’s Megaphone

The human spirit will not even begin to try to surrender self-will as long as all seems to be well with it. Now error and sin both have this property, that the deeper they are the less their victim suspects their existence; they are masked evil. Pain is unmasked, unmistakable evil; every man knows that something is wrong when he is being hurt… And pain is not only immediately recognizable evil, but evil impossible to ignore. We can rest contentedly in our sins and in our stupidities; and anyone who has watched gluttons shoveling down the most exquisite foods as if they did not know what they were eating, will admit that we can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists on being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

 

~C.S. Lewis

For reflection on Jeremiah 25:30

Overwhelmed

I can’t quite explain it, but my heart feels like it’s going to explode.

I’m so overwhelmed right now with the strength of my emotions, both good and bad. The last few days have been roller coasters for me.

My grandparents are in town, and being with them has really brightened the last couple of days. I love my dad’s folks. Especially his mom. When I left my house today to go to work, I was feeling this overflowing love for them, for God, and for people in general. And as I listened to the radio, that grew stronger and stronger until it suddenly flipped from joy to sorrow. And dangerous as it is, I started to just cry as I drove. (I wish I could say I was crying because there are so many beautiful, amazing people who don’t know Christ. And that does really get to me at times, but today it was a selfish sadness.)

Because it made me so, so sad. Because there are people in my life that I just love. Deeply. And it’s killing me. It hurts. So much. People that live far away that I don’t get to see. Love is the most painful thing I’ve ever encountered in my life. Every person I’ve ever truly loved has been unbearably human. And my that I mean, imperfect. And by that I mean normal.
Translation: They’ve all hurt me. And that’s okay. I forgive them. I still love them.

But my heart feels so tired. Sometimes I feel like I’ve spent so much of my life being strong in the face of attacks on my heart that I just don’t want to be strong anymore. I just want to collapse. And give up. To be held close in someones strong arms and told that I don’t have to pretend everything’s okay. Just hold me and let me cry until there are no tears left to be shed. I don’t cry in front of people generally, except my parents. But I want to. I want someone to just take me in that broken state and just love me.

Am I “depressed”? No. Not at all. I’m just worn. I feel tattered and raw.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

~Psalm 147:3

 

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

~2 Corinthians 12:9

I find these verses both encouraging and also frightening. Because they’re a promise that I will have heartache and pain in my life; but, I will not have to face it alone. It doesn’t make it any less painful, it just makes survival possible. Christ is the one who saw my brokenness and loved me enough to die for me anyway. And I am so grateful for that. (FYI, “greatful” is apparently not a word, I just looked it up. It’s grateful.)

Sometimes I wish I could turn off my heart. Stop loving. Stop caring. Stop aching. But God made me with a soft heart. Easily bruised, but extremely strong. The people who love me do so because of my heart. So, though I often wish I could just remove it, I’m glad I am the way I am.

It’s difficult to keep a soft heart when you get hurt. The tendency is to withdraw. Press on. Soft hearts get easily bruised, yet survive, while hard hearts crack and crack completely.

~Eric Wilson

Until next time.

~TQG