My Brand of Crazy

“I want to be a mouthpiece for hope not a megaphone for fear.”
– Joy Cannis Original

Now more than ever, we need someone to lift our face from the ground, back to what’s in front of us and up to the heavens, reminding us who we are and that there is greater purpose just beyond our edges of self-preservation. Recognizing and utilizing that which has been inside us all along. (Yet what we’ve been looking for everywhere but where it is.)

Stop waiting for hope to find you and be the hope right where you are. I am learning that the only way to become unstuck is to put one foot in front of the other until I’ve repositioned myself to excel and grow.

The last 18 months have been some of the most difficult in my journey.
My children have struggled beyond my ability to step in and rescue.
I weened off of a two-year opioid prescription.
I ran back into the arms of my eating disorder.
I cried on my doctor’s exam table.
I shared my testimony with thousands of women.
I entered into a season of intensive outpatient therapy.
I broke apart…shattered…into tiny pieces that I wasn’t sure could ever be repaired
until the Master Creator picked them up, one by one, sanctified each jagged edge and put me back together in a new way than I’ve ever been before.
And the Holy Spirit is present with me in a way I never thought possible.

Have you heard the saying, “Feelings are constantly changing so don’t rush to act on a certain/current feeling”? I have experienced a multitude of feelings in this season. I would go from sheer elation to utter hopelessness within the course of 24 hours. Sometimes more than once. Most days I felt like I was on the brink of insanity. I’m so grateful I didn’t act on any one particular feeling.

I think back to a time, 22 years ago, when the head of psychiatry at the treatment center where I had taken up temporary residency wrote, “This girl is narcissistic and beyond human aid!” on my treatment plan. I cut out of rehab 1 day shy of the required 30 and was therefore considered to have left “against doctor’s orders” and didn’t receive any of the personal items I had come in with. Nope. Just the clothes on my back. That was my m.o. You say I’m ________________ and I’ll prove it.

I stayed mad at that shrink for a long time. I replayed his words while picturing the scribbled notes in blue ink. I used it as an excuse to stay drunk.

Now, today, in this moment, I can tell you that doctor was right. His definition of me was spot on. I wasbeyond human aid.” Which allows no room for doubt…

Only God.
Only God could heal what was fractured.
Only God could restore me to sanity.
Only God could allow me to be broken, once again in such a way that He alone could pick up each piece, breathe life back into it, and put me back together.

Although I have had a tribe of badass physicians, friends, prayer warriors and family surround me with their incredible courage, love, and support, God changed this girl’s heart. From the inside out. He gets all the credit.

I don’t know what “feeling” you’re sitting in today?
For what it’s worth, I’m living proof that yesterday’s feeling turns into today’s relief.
Whatever it is,
However hopeless or wonderful it “feels”,
It’s going to change.
So if it’s incredible, enjoy every moment
and if it’s seemingly unbearable,
Hold on.
Hold on.
Relief is coming.
Maybe not the way you are expecting or what you’re used to, but it’s there and it will be yours.

Who is God?

This is the question that my 4-year-old asked on our way home from work today.

There’s nothing like that kind of question to make one realize that they don’t really know the answer.

The question that followed was of equal significance, “Does God love us?”

I have thought many times that I know who God is. Turns out I’m still learning and will hopefully continue discovering for eternity. The answer to the second question is one that I know for certain. Even when chaos abounds and sorrow seems to triumph, “Yes! God loves us!”

Several hours later, I followed the boys upstairs to put them to bed and the conversation picked right back up. “Will there be animals in heaven?” “Are there rules in heaven?” “Is everything gold in heaven?” “Can we buy a Nintendo DS in heaven?” “Do we exercise in heaven?” “Is Jesus in heaven?” “Will I be my same age in heaven?” “What if someone really old dies? How old is too old to be in heaven?”

As the questions came at me, I had to smile. In part because I didn’t know the answers to all of their questions and partly because I love that they are thinking about these things.

Eventually the more difficult questions came. Those that I too wrestle with in the dark when my thoughts are my only companion.

Mommy, what about your friend who was real sick and died.” said my 4-year-old. “Is she still sick in heaven?”

“No Darling, she isn’t. Elliot is perfectly healed and complete now.” I responded.

“How do you know?” asked my 6-year-old.

(Gulp) Well…I know because…well…because…I believe.

“Mommy. I know a baby in heaven.” said my 4-year-old.

“Which baby do you know in heaven?” I asked.

“Baby Hallie, from Miss Katie.” he responded.

It took me a moment to regain my composure. Katie and I were just talking about Hallie earlier today and what those days were like for her in the midst of uncertainty. It was a miracle that Hallie was born and the fact that she lived several days after was a gift.

“Will there be babies in heaven?” he then asked.

“Yes. I think there will be babies in heaven.” I said.

My 6-year-old chimed in, “If you die, who will be our mommy?”

Thankfully my 4-year-old was too curious to wait for my answer and launched into a new set of “Will ________ be in heaven?”

I continued answering as best I could until finally my 4-year-old said, “Can you sing now? I’m ready to go to sleep.”

I walked away feeling ill-equipped to have these conversations. If anything I caused more questions than I had answers.

I have experienced various seasons in my faith. One thing has held true. If ever there was separation, I was the instigator. If ever there was doubt, I was the first to question. Even now when trying to grasp an understanding of something so big and so far from my ability to comprehend, I find myself thinking, “Is what I believe really true?” If I think too hard or analyze too much, it does seem like the fairytale to rival all fairy-tales. Thankfully I am always snapped back into a realm compatible with my understanding. Jesus.

He was a man. Born a baby. He was grace, truth and incomprehensible love, in the flesh. He chose me. How can I not believe? When it all seems too farfetched and I begin to doubt, I turn my eyes back to Jesus. The tangible God. Is that wrong to say?

Whether one believes in Christ or not, history tells the story of Jesus. So here I sit. In a place where Jesus and faith collide and merge into one big question that my inquisitive little boys want to uncover and dissect. I will answer them the best I can and I will always point them back to Jesus.

I don’t think that God is one to be understood. Why would I want a God who is intelligible by the finite brain? I enjoy the mystery always unfolding. The twists and turns are what make this life interesting. I love viewing life and God through the eyes of a child who has yet to be influenced by the unsolicited feedback of inconsequential onlookers. Not only does it seem clearer, but the answers are not stressful. There is no argument or hostility. When they had talked enough, my little one spoke up and said he was ready to go to sleep.

I want to be more like that.

Dare I ask what your thoughts are on this? Should I open myself up to the obvious ridicule of possible responses? I think yes. Why not?