If Only We Knew

There is rarely, if ever, a point where getting pitied becomes easy. I could graciously put up with pity if the reason for the pity was temporary. But when I’m pitied because someone heard my story (and then misunderstood) from someone else… All I want to do is scream. Don’t pity me because of something I can’t fix. It becomes devastatingly hard for me to keep smiling.

There is nothing more infuriating than being resented because of something I can’t control. Resent me when (if ever) I disrespect you on a regular basis. Please attempt to refrain from resenting me when mentally I can’t understand you so you have to take extra time with me. That’s not my fault. It annoys me more than it does you, I promise.

A lot of precious people ask me why I make my half a brain, epilepsy and other disorders the brunt of my jokes. Very few understand that I jump at a chance to joke in order to possibly help other people skip over pitying me. If they’re laughing so hard at my quirkish jokes, they don’t have time to pity me… And there’s nothing to resent me for.

None of this has bothered me much until recently. Almost every disabled person, no matter what the bounds of their limitations, will tell you they dread starting over with new people. After 16 years with the same community, I forgot how embarrassing teaching a new crowd can be. In a moment of desperation this week, I begged God to explain to me why people resent, pity, and border-line fear me. The revelation shocked me but it also humbled me.

Pity comes from fear. Fear of having the same disability/situation happen to you, and realizing you couldn’t handle it. So therefore, the person with that disability must be pitied. If you couldn’t handle it, neither can they. Wrong. A lot (though by no means all) of disabled Christians will tell you they wouldn’t change their circumstances for the world. Don’t try and belittle it, don’t try and understand it. Just realize pitying that person is a slap in the face. To some disabled people, you’re pitying the very thing they treasure most about themselves.

Resentment, like with anything else, comes from the unknown. You don’t know why I’m holding you up, but it’s annoying. If you knew… Maybe patience would be your go-to attitude. If you knew, maybe you’d discover the joy of helping me laugh away the awkwardness, rather than watch me cry at the emotional pain. Everyone has a story that helps them make sense. Learn it.

All of this humbled me because I ran to my Abba God with the idea that I was the only one hurt. Though that was technically true this week, in a way only Jesus can, He put the shoe on the other foot. I’m resented for my mental delays, when have I resented someone because of their cultural differences? I’m pitied because of the obvious frustrations within my body… How many times have I forgotten what it’s like and done the same?

Half the time, our biggest issue is we don’t take the time to see people for who they are. We settle for drawing our conclusions of them from what they are. Disabled or socially acceptable. Because of that, we are equal in our brokenness, but when was the last time I took the time to see that?

Mandatory Worship

“Mandatory worship night tonight.” I giggled. I sighed. The thought, “you know you’re at a Christian Campus when” most assuredly arose. Mandatory. The “m” word made me instantly not want to be there. The “m” word makes me cringe no matter what it’s in front of.

Mandatory Chocolate? No thanks
Mandatory pleasure? Nope…
Mandatory dating life? Ya know.. I always loved being single (this one is completely hypothetical.. I love my dating life)
Mandatory worship…? To heck with it- I don’t have to if I don’t want to.

Anyone who’s sat in a car with me longer than 10 minutes or watched me walk to work know that singing songs is something I do all the time. So why did the idea of having to worship with a huge group of my friends turn my stomach? Feasting on the Word? YES! Being with friends? Absolutely!

But dang it, don’t tell me my worship is mandatory. Mmm..no. You crazy. Leave me alone. I have stuff to do.

I went to the “brother/sister worship night”. It wasn’t bad. As a matter of fact, I was completely blessed. But still, it was mandatory and as such, I watched my watch. I’m not proud of it. Call it the American dream being pulled out in full force. I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to, it’s a free country. Mandatory?! Why???

This of course led me to a spiritually-minded “eat your food- there are starving people in Africa” self-talk. I’m dreading the freedom to worship openly because it’s mandatory. How many of my brothers and sisters whom I’ve never met would love it if singing Jesus Loves Me was mandatory? They’d die for that right. Literally.

And then the club hit me over my head once again. I was created to worship God. Revelation 4:9-11 speaks of how God’s creation of us and His creation of the Universe prove that He is worthy of praise from those He has created. Most would say it’s a privilege and it’s an obvious step. Christians that willingly follow Him joyfully sing Hallelujah.

We’re called to worship Him. It doesn’t have a time stamp. It doesn’t have an amount… But we are made by Yahweh. We’re called to worship. It’s mandatory, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s a heart thing.

Rebuild a burnt bridge

Recently, I had the chance to chat with a dear man who has known my family for decades. I barely know him, and yet God allowed us to lean on each other and share our experiences, our joys and heartaches with each other. We laughed till we cried, we cried till we laughed and there was unity between us which could only be explained by the power of Christ in both of us. It was a good thing. Although it was unique, it was not the first time I’d shared my hurtful past with another Christian and found understanding. The look on my friend’s face told me that although I wasn’t the first friend he’d trusted, he was still mildly shocked that he could.

My heart overflows with gratitude for the blessing I found in his friendship. At one point he said something that broke my heart for the Church. He looked at me and simply said, “See, you don’t have to understand where I’m coming from, but at least you accept the fact that I’m trying to work through this journey.” Well… Duh. If I had the audacity to chide him for hurting, or scoff at him for struggling with anger towards God, I’d be the biggest hypocrite of them all.

Why is it that we kick our loved ones when they’re down? Why do we often times feel as if we have to lord our righteousness over a fellow Christian and then walk away with the drippingly poisonous words, “I’m praying for you”? Often times, it’s overly obvious that we aren’t praying for them– we’re just thankful we don’t appear to be as spiritually low as they appear to be. (Which ironically, puts us spiritually lower than them by default. ) Why is it more uncommon for people to tell their story and walk away feeling as if we have helped them achieve healing? Why are we more scared of family than we are of foes?

So, I’ve officially stepped on my own toes this morning.

******
Stones

‘Mercy for me! Justice for them!’ we cry
Quietly the condemned stand to die
We whisper, ‘our lives will never be as bad as theirs
They’ll be blotted out. Praise God! Who cares?

We giggle with Glee as the stones start to soar
We laugh as we see the blood and the gore
Our lives will never be as bad as theirs
They’ll be blotted out. Praise God! Who cares?

Lest you think we believe we’re all right
Remember, they sinned during the day, we at night
So therefore, their sin was playing the fool
Slyness and tact are a sinner’s perfect tool

Atleast we only threw one or two stones
The heart still beats, we left broken bones
tough love is our motto, please, don’t you see
As long as you keep judgement away from me

When God calls us out, He leaves nothing behind
No one can say, ‘He cannot hear, and yes, He is blind’
What stones you throw will always be thrown back
On Judgement Day, Christ shows the perfection you lack

The body I hate; the heart I love

I wanted to break down crying today. In not-so-me fashion, I holed myself up in my room and just stewed. Actually, stewing would mean I did something with my thought patterns. That’s not the case. I wasted a day doing the simple tasks because I didn’t want to admit something, let God scold me and then let Him disciple me. I was ticked, and dag-frikkin’-gummit, it felt good.

For the first time in years I wrote something that chilled my blood. All I could write was, “Lord God- I hate this body. Take me home. Now.” For every epileptic joke I possess, there’s nothing in my storehouse for when my body turns on me and seizures have nothing to do with it. When certain body functions become impossible for an unknown amount of time, and it’s simply a side effect of long term chronic epilepsy; tears come and anger still happens. Joking would be a relief, but joking can’t happen.

I mutter it again- “Lord God Almighty, I hate this body.” My stomach is in knots and I’m just done fighting for the day. I’ve tried to ignore the fact that this discrepancy in my character is blaring through loud and clear- but I can’t.

I’ve witnessed miracles in this body… and I hate it? This body has spent periods of time void of human contact, but knows what it’s like to mercifully be rocked to sleep by unseen hands… and I hate it? This body is the only ever-ready reason I need Christ… and I hate it? This body has been an instrument in the hands of My Creator to turn others towards Him… And I hate it?

No. No, Lord. I’ll say it again, although right now, I don’t feel it as much. I want epilepsy in Heaven. I need it- it’s been the one thing to make me want You. But there are days, Sweet Jesus, where I just want out. When body functions no 24-year-old should have to barter with become an impossibility- I want out. I want a break. Please Jesus, I just… Make me laugh, smack me upside the head- do something. I want out, Lord. This is too much.

As I muttered those words, I heard one thing from the heart of my Savior. It didn’t solve my immediate problem- but it smacked my heart around.

Baby Girl, you said you wanted to identify with Me in My sufferings. Not having what you think you deserve keeps you humble. It also keeps you alert. If you lack humility, you lack a huge part of what agapè love is. Do you see Me in your sufferings yet? Or are you still focused on what the world is telling you?

No, Lord. This is just as much your gift as anything else. My hands may be trembling as I start over, and forgive me if I still fight you- but what’s left of me, what’s left of my dignity, my identity and my joy is still yours. I can’t hate what is making me more like You.