Tag Archives: faith

It’s Gone

I’ve never been ready. I’m still not ready. I don’t know how to express what’s inside and I’ve never been able to prepare myself for the responses I may receive. I’m still not prepared. This was an immensely difficult post to write and share, and my only request is that any responses could be thought out sensitively and lovingly. I’m battling this out the best way I can, and I fear that in sharing, I may retreat even further. I know that as soon as I share this, I will want to wither up into a ball. I will feel small, judged, useless, and far, far away from where I want to be. However, I also hope that in sharing, I leave some of this darkness behind. With that hope leading the way, here we go.

There are parts of my story that I just can’t talk about yet. This part of my story has been clawing its way out for a while now and I suppose the monster finally got out.   I’m sorry in advance, this is not an uplifting post. I know that this blog has served to bring light and love and hope to some, and that has always been my prayer and my purpose. More than that, I’ve always made it my purpose to be honest and genuine, no matter how raw it may be.  There is a gaping hole in my soul that can’t seem to be filled, and to keep it inside seems to be untrue to you and untrue to my journey.

I don’t know how to start, because the brokenness of my spirit seems so fragmented that I’m not sure I can.

The gaping hole? My faith. It’s gone. It wasn’t a decision. It can’t be forced back in. (Please, I beg of you not to try.) I’ve tried. I’m still trying.  Oh if I could only describe to you the desperation in which I have called out to God, the broken-hearted tears that I have sobbed, the emptiness in scouring the Bible for that glimmer of truth and light that used to always find me in the darkness.

The best way I can describe how I feel is as if someone has died; someone so dear to me that a piece of me died with them. I suppose that is true in a way.

I’ve had dark moments, but in those times- the light always shone in the window to guide me home. Today, I am lost in the woods and the candle has quit burning.

It’s not like I’ve become a drug addict, I’m not sleeping around, and I don’t party so hard that I don’t know what day it is (all things thought to lead to a lack of faith within the church world) My life looks the same.  I just. Don’t. Feel. God’s presence anymore. Surprisingly, life didn’t end there.

But I won’t sugar coat it either and try to tell you that everything is ok. I’m less patient, I’m less kind, and I’m less capable. My depression, which used to hit me hard somedays but always lifted shortly after, has become persistent, overbearing, and debilitating at times. I’m not going to deny that this isn’t a massive battle for my mental health as well as my spiritual life.

I am just a girl who has had some crappy things happen. In the midst of the pain I sought God’s comfort. I sought Biblical counsel. I desperately ran after healing. I busied myself with things that I love doing. I tried to do the right things and often failed, I’ll admit that. I tried to find meaning in the healing, and purpose in the journey. More and more, as the feelings of being lost, hopeless and the overwhelming desperation settled in, I felt myself floundering and often wondering why I was doing what I was doing, but I was just trying to survive. I still am.  I needed a break from feeling completely, and utterly broken. I think the worst part is having grown up in the church. I know all the answers that I could possibly hear:
1. I need to pray more.
2. I need to go to church more.
3. I need to just let God love me more.
4. I need more time in a community (which is effing hard when you are dealing with external and internal demons)
5. I’m probably making sinful choices that block me from sensing God’s love.
6. “Here are the top 10 verses when faith is hard.”
7. ETC…

(I even know that some people will be thinking, “no, you don’t do anything– it’s God who does the work”)

I would be lying to you if I didn’t tell you that I resented every word.  Songs that used to encourage now discourage. Quotes that used to inspire now breed hopelessness. I always wanted to be a better version of myself, because I was never good enough– and now I just wonder why I felt that way? Outside of the church, I have never felt more loved for my brokenness and struggles– loved Just as I am. Seem backwards to anyone else? Please hear me when I say that I don’t think it was the fault of any church body that I attended. I just wasn’t in a place where being at church seemed to help more than hinder. (I attended an amazing church for the past few years, I want to say that right now.) I  don’t understand how being in the midst of those people made me feel terrible, while being with non-christians felt more uplifting/less judgmental/more safe. I think it’s because so many people within the church seek to live honestly with their struggles, and I didn’t want to think about what I was going through, I didn’t want to be asked, I just wanted to hide from the pain.

Oh what I wouldn’t give to just love Jesus and walk with him like I used to. We were so close. He was my best friend. And now, I feel like He’s moved on. Like he was my imaginary friend and has decided to make me grow up from my childhood fantasies. I feel like I’m the desperate one post break-up who just doesn’t get why things had to end.

Right now, there are so many people who think I’m still the girl who loves and leads with a godly heart, and earnest faith. Oh if I could only just BE that person again. What I wouldn’t give to go back in time. There are moments, when I feel so lost. Because now, with all of these questions- if God isn’t real. If Jesus didn’t live and die for me. If my whole relationship with this “living” “loving” God has been a lie, then my whole life’s purpose has been shattered. I still live for love. I still live for people. I still believe every person is created/here with a purpose. I just don’t know what is at the root of that purpose anymore. And I’m not saying that I reject the idea that God exists either, I’m simply admitting that I struggle with it immensely. This is NOT where I wanted to be at 26 years old. This is NOT how I wanted to feel, and this is a faith journey/struggle that I NEVER expected, perhaps that was my problem: believing that this “Blessed Assurance” would never leave me.

I’ll leave you with my last journal entry, I think it really captures the internal battle that wages on. I can’t face the thoughts in my soul, but maybe someone else is struggling with this too. Power to you, my fellow desperate faith-vagabonds, my soul aches for you and with you and our journeys. I hope and pray (to anyOne who will listen and care) is that your souls find rest and peace.

December 14, 2015

I’m back. It’s been another long haul. I wish I could blame my silence on the fact that I can’t find my journal, but the fact of the matter is that I was avoiding the act of journalling. I didn’t want to self-reflect. I didn’t want to think about the things that have been consuming my mind– the questions and fears that I have been relentlessly pushing as far away as possible. There is a dark, ugly, black pit in the midst of my soul and I fear it grows everyday.

Doubt.

I lack faith in all regards. I lack it in a way that I have never known; In a way that terrifies me, yet brings me to a new horizon of true, honest questioning.

For the first time, I’m standing in an understanding of how calloused, insensitive, and ridiculous Christianity can sound to an unbelieving mind. Sadly, that is because I currently possess such a mind.

Although, most days, I still can’t admit it. It hurts too much.  I still possess all of the “Biblical, Apologetic knowlege”  that my hungry mind and eager soul has consumed over the years. My mind, when I allow it, is wrought with an internal struggle; an endless debate.  I desperately long for intimacy with Jesus, yet feel hopelessly lost in the thought that He might exist solely as an imaginary character that I have loved, cherished, and clung to all of these years because a religion enabled it. Simultaneously, my flaws are both embraced and disgraced. I love and hate myself because 1. God is love, yet 2. He “calls me to be Holy and Righteous, which are attributes far from how I would describe myself these days.  I celebrate and despise myself because we should love everyone, including ourselves but I still wonder how that lines up with conservative Christian opinions on many topics.

However, in the midst of this struggle, I have never felt more earnest, genuine, or willing to be unbiased in my questioning.  Is THAT love? Am I ignorant? Who is right? Can love and righteousness co-exist? How can/does love have limits? Can faith and science be reconciled? Where does faith come from?

For the first time in my entire life, no answers bring me peace.  Nothing makes me feel safe, nothing makes me feel sure of anything except that I am sure that I will never be the same. I will never fit in where I once did– and I will never fully understand any of the ideas that I currently question.

I say this out of desperation, not of arrogance– I’m not sure if there are any answers that exist that I haven’t heard, nor speeches that could help me in this journey. I’ve always been one to enjoy the journey of life, but this one can’t help but feel like a massive shackle that I will never shake. It all seems too big.

I still find myself talking to whom I used to call Jesus. I still call Him Jesus. Because I’m not prepared to give up on “It” being Him. He’s all I’ve ever known– But I can’t deny this growing knot inside. “What if I just needed Jesus to exist? What if I just believed that He is there so that I could feel more at peace about the unknowns in life? What if I want to be a Christian so that I can be the person that everyone has thought me to be?” I’m trying so hard. I only hope that if I’m totally wrong, and that the God I’ve loved and served with my whole heart for over 25 years is truly there listening and loving me- that He truly is as patient and kind as I always used to say that He was; As kind, and patient, and loving as I believe that He would be.

God, if you are real, I desperately need you to show me.  I don’t know how I go from believing with every fibre of my being that you love me and hear me and care for me, to this listless sense that I’ve been living a lie and talking to an imaginary being for my whole life.
What is happening? Why can’t I feel you? I know, I know.. it’s not you, it’s me, right? You’ve never left.. I’m the one who “turned away”, right? But why, when I’m turning and turning and turning around, I still don’t see you? I still don’t feel you?
Emotionally, everything inside of me wants you to be true; to be real; to not be a fairy tale.  But I can’t wish you into reality anymore than I could with a dragon. I want to be sure that you are real- that would be easier.  All I know is that my so-called faith as of late is nothing more that this: a desperate hope that you are true.  But for my lack of trust, I can’t help but feel as though I wouldn’t really deserve your love if it is there.

love ehjae

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An Open letter to the Brokenhearted

I’m sorry. Those are words that you need to hear, but you may not have heard them yet. So, I am sorry that you are hurting.

You are hurt and confused.  You thought this relationship was the end of the games, the confusion and the hurt. You’ve thought, “Given the pain I’ve been through, there can’t be more.” Yet here you are again, alone with the pieces of your fragmented heart, wondering how it could happen again. After all of the time that you spent rebuilding and learning to trust again, how are you sitting in your room, crying over someone?

It will be your first inclination to close off that wonderful heart of yours. You are thinking, “That’s it. I’m not doing this again.  I don’t ever want to hurt like this ever again.” Please don’t hide that light from the world.  Not everyone will speak lies.  Not everyone will betray you.  Not everyone will hurt you in your weakest moments.  But everyone DOES see that glittering light that shines from your soul, and they are drawn to your love and joy. Don’t let him/her steal that from you on top of everything else.

You are asking yourself, “How will I ever trust anyone again? How will I ever trust myself again?” You will.  Not today, and probably not tomorrow; but you will. How do I know? Because that’s what makes you you.  Your resilient heart, your enduring optimism, and the light that you see in every other person. You have your own beautifully unique way of reaching others. Only you can love people the way that you do. Don’t let anyone put out your light.

Don’t run away from those wonderful friends and family in your life; those people who see your worth and never capitalize on your love.  They will endure with you, encourage you, and speak truth to you. (Even when you don’t want to hear the truth).  They will listen with love and care for you in the ways that you need.

Do listen to your feelings.  Do feel. Do process with your closest people. Do trust again, it will be worth it. The right person will never let you feel like this. The right person will never let you question your worth. The right person will see you, all of your darkness and scarring, and they will still choose you.  The right person will make you feel like you are the only person in the world that they could possibly love. The right person will be the one who makes you feel alive again.

For now, let that person be you.  Love You with all that you have.  You are worth loving.  Your heart is worth protecting.  Your mind is worth knowing.  Your soul is worth celebrating.

You will wake up one morning and the ache will be a memory; you will breathe deeply into your soul and celebrate the new adventures you are about to embark on. When that day comes, I hope I can join you on that journey.

 

love ehjae

Moment

Life is full of moments.

Moments that stand still

Moments that fly by, where you soar high

Moments when you can’t see and you can’t breathe

and you begin to wonder if you’ve ceased to be

       Anything

Worth loving

——-

NO

——–

We

need

to see

that this is not who we’re meant to be

That life is full of these moments

So that we know what it means to be free

A new year doesn’t mean no tears

Happy New Year.

I wish I could sit here and fill your hearts with inspiration, but the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.  I spent the New Year surrounded by people, yet feeling completely alone. In truth, I’m writing this post half out of desperation to escape the tears I’ve been crying in the darkness of my house, and partially to reach out to those of you who are in the same place as me.  You are not alone.

2014 has been a year full of milestones for me.  My business has been flourishing, doors have opened, and I’ve had recognition in ways I could never have imagined. The opportunities are endless.  However, the past year has also been full of heartache, depression, anxiety, and loneliness.

There have been days when the darkness suffocated me, and I hid my tears and anxiety under the covers of my bed.  I know people don’t understand because I can be laughing and having fun, but they don’t see the emptiness I can be feeling in the midst of my laughter.   While it’s true that I’m having fun in those moments, nothing can fill the skeleton that has overtaken my soul.

While Jesus remains the hope I cling to, somedays it just doesn’t feel like He is enough. My one saving grace has been expressing these emotions through my art and poetry.  I’ve also begun to speak to someone who has professional insight into the biology behind the darkness I live within. I highly recommend it.

While everyone else has been excitedly writing new resolutions and plans for their futures, I’m barely holding on while the thoughts are crashing in: another year may bring many more sleepless nights and this overwhelming sense of despair will come back to steal more of my joy.

My New Years resolution is nothing new at all. If anything it is a revolution against painted smiles and being shamed into silence.  I desire to be transparent with my emotions, find strength in my weaknesses, to speak truth into darkness and shed light onto desperately lonely places. So this is to my dear ones who have stumbled upon this blog, desperate to know they are not alone in this world, seeking a place to be heard:

You are not alone in your sadness.  You are not alone in your despair.  The darkness will NOT overcome you. Stay strong, beautiful ones. You are stronger than you know.

love ehjae

 

 

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/depression-signs-and-symptoms.htm

http://depressionhurts.ca/

http://www.cmha.ca/mental-health/understanding-mental-illness/depression/

http://www.camh.ca/en/hospital/health_information/a_z_mental_health_and_addiction_information/depression/Pages/default.aspx

What’s going on with Ehjae?

What’s going on with Ehjae?
Many of you have been wondering this for the past little while.  If you haven’t been, now you probably are.
Let me start off by saying that I have been through possibly the most topsy-turvy, stressful, emotional, life-giving, spirit-filled, faith-testing, yet irrational times of my life to date.
Yet, after that segue, I still feel like I don’t have the right words to describe what I have been going through.
However, I am a person of many words.. too many words as some of you are well aware, and I can’t keep this to myself because the things that God has been doing have been too full of His goodness.
Some of you may have been aware that I went to Africa this summer, then from there I moved out to BC. My original plan was that I would work and then attend Trinity Western beginning in the fall of 2013.
After applying at more jobs than I have ever even considered in my life prior to this, I got a job, however that fell apart quickly. I was treated unfairly (and have yet to even receive pay for the work that I did do there. (Don’t worry, I will contact the labour board if I still don’t have it soon.)
What followed was one of the darkest times of my life.  I couldn’t find work. I couldn’t find a place to call my home.  After being so loved and allowed to love and minister to people at Ebenezer, I found it incredibly difficult. I prayed that God would open my eyes to see where he would have me serve in BC.  I learned a lot about God’s family.  I was challenged in my perspective of where and who I could call home and family.   (I talked about this in a previous blog)
As I watched my bank account drain, in my moments of despair and distress I was blessed to see that God is my provider.  As money would miraculously appear from someone, I would receive a generous discount on services, suddenly I would have just enough for what I needed.
In the early days of me living in BC, I applied for a job at an airline.  I was very hopeful that something would come of it, but unsure whether I was who they wanted.  It was in the midst of a very dark time that I heard back from them and was asked to fly to Calgary at my own expense to interview for a possible opening.  I pray about it and I sensed within my heart that if I didn’t do it, I would regret it.  I also sensed that if I didn’t do it, I would know that it would be because I didn’t trust that God would take care of me. I was terrified of the extra costs of flying at my own expense, but I knew that I should do it.
In that 2 day time frame of booking flights, packing and ending up in Calgary, it just happened to work out that a friend of mine was driving home for the weekend from Edmonton.  I bought a cheap bus pass and ended up at home unexpectedly.
While at home, I felt like God gave me a fresh perspective. (Here’s the blog post )
I was not choosing the joy and peace that He offers to us every day.  I was choosing to see the negatives and the failures.  I had chosen to see the worst of myself and my situation.  In that week, I was reminded of my responsibility.  It wasn’t to find a job.. it was to trust God and choose joy.  So, with new energy, I set out to do what I could.  If I couldn’t work, why not go to Trinity in January? I applied to Trinity and waited to hear back.  I was still not at peace about attending, but I couldn’t know why that was, and I didn’t know what else to do.  All I sensed when I prayed was that I was supposed to WAIT.
I returned to BC rejuvenated and reminded of God’s faithfulness.  At this point, I was absolutely, completely uncertain of what would come, but for once in my life, I wasn’t fazed by that.  God had shown up. I trusted him.  I knew that He would do good things. So, we took it day by day..
There is nothing greater than sitting in the midst of chaos and having utter peace because you know that the presence of the Lord is in your midst and NOTHING can shake you. Nothing.
I decided that if walking with God in absolute faith for each unknown upcoming moment but having this peace that literally surpasses ALL kinds of understanding meant financial instability, looking absolutely irrationa,l and life not always making sense..then I’d choose it every day for the rest of my life.
Once I came home, I realized that even though I thought my lessons were over, God hadn’t even begun yet. We went on this journey of discovering what it was that I actually want to do.  My answer has changed throughout the years, and I have never been able to give a solid answer because the truth is that I didn’t know.  I could come up with really great sounding answers, but something never really felt quite right about the options I allowed myself to consider.
I realized that life as a people-pleaser has made me completely unable to make a decision based on what I actually want.  I also realized that it’s not bad to have a dream or a desire or to pursue them.  I guess I always thought that it was selfish on some level. I am learning about choices.. choosing what direction to go, choosing joy over despair, choosing truth over lies, choosing to protect myself from words, situations and lies that hurt me.. and choosing to stand in the authority of the truth of who I am in Christ over anything the enemy tries to throw at me.
After isolating myself from people, and not allowing myself to ask people for their opinions, I finally encountered a feeling of freedom in deciding what I want to do.
So to answer your questions, I am back. I am going to pursue my love of photography full-time. All cards in, fully committed to my dream. I want a  degree, so I’m going to study business. I wanted to be back, and I’m allowed to want to be here. It’s not selfish.  It took me a long time to realize that.  I`m still realizing it.
There are so many things that God has been revealing to me about myself. I need to grow in so many ways, it seems impossible when I think about it.  I know that I am SO far from even grasping at where I would love to be. But then Holy Spirit comes in and gives me that fresh, truthful perspective and reminds me that I can’t fix those things on my own.  In walking in faith, trusting His word in humility and eager expectation, I know that God will complete these current renovations in my life in His good timing.  It’s just the beginning, and I am so ready for what’s next.
A really crazy thing that happened was the day that I decided that photography was what I wanted to do, and had just sent in my application to study commerce,  I actually heard back from the airline that I had been successful and I had a job offer! Of course, the rational response would be that I should’ve been jumping at the opportunity.  All that I saw though was that I had finally figured out what I wanted to do, and pursuing this crazy lifestyle change and working with the airline would have jeopardized my dream and my desires.  For the first time in my life, I was able to make a solid decision based upon what I thought would be best in my life, despite what would probably make more sense.  What a huge opportunity! But it was the wrong opportunity for me.  So I graciously turned down the job.
I am so full of joy. I am so full of thankfulness.  I am so full of peace.  Yet, I can’t actually describe the freedom and this sense of knowing, TRULY KNOWING, that God is with me.
Thank you to those of you who have spoken truth to me.  You have no idea how timely your words were or how desperately I needed to be reminded of the things that you shared with me.  Know that you are a blessing and that you have been God’s hands and feet and mouth of truth.
(If you’re wondering whether this is you, it probably is you..)I am still so far from where I need to be, or who I want to be.  Now I at least know who I want to be, and I have this undying peace because I know without a doubt that beside me walks a God who loves me, delights in me and desires to be with me every step of the way.

“Some people feel guilty about their anxieties and regard them as a defect of faith but they are afflictions, not sins. Like all afflictions, they are, if we can so take them, our share in the passion of Christ.”
C. S. Lewis
Couple of things that spoke to me:
Prayers For All Seasons Sermon Series (Leyton and Scott)
Hebrews 12
Romans 8
Psalm 32
Psalm 136
Psalm 138
Psalm 23
(Pretty much the entire book of Psalms)
Forgotten God- Francis Chan

 

the silence

I’ve begun to rejoice in the silence. When I feel like nothing is happening and no one is there, because it is in those moments that I really, truly experience what it means for God alone to be my satisfaction.
So, bring on the silence and the loneliness.
Bring on the joy.
I trust in you Lord.
“Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.”
Psalm 73:23-26