Nothing nor Everything

I became too angry to care.
Anger dragged and crushed every emotion with it at this strange, new height.
My sobs became dry.
My heaving became breathless.
My tear ducts empty.

Call me hypocritical, but what can I do?
I am one person. My anger does nothing.
My anger at the moment when the city of lights grew pitch black. It did not bring those lives back.
At the tyranny upon the streets of Beirut. How little compassion there was for them.
At the people who daily fight the battles of depression. Loss. Worthlessness. All battles of equal numbness.

Anger does nothing. Numbness does nothing.

Where do I stand?
Isn’t it impossible to stand at both far ends of a spectrum?
I am cut in half. Both halves struggling to meet each other
To become whole again.

Oh, how I want to feel.
Neither extreme anger, nor extreme nothingness would do.

I want to feel again.
Lord, I want to feel the equilibrium you feel.
The anger, but the hope Christ has.
The weariness, but the perseverance Christ has.
The sadness, but the joy Christ has.
The hate against evil, but the love for humanity Christ has.

I want to feel
even though I am dried out.
I want to see puzzle pieces of broken hearts put together.
I want to love those pieces.
I want to rise.

Help me to raise my right hand,
as the militant who takes the oath of faith, and say:
– I no longer accept feeling “nothing,” when Christ gave his everything.
– I no longer accept feeling “everything,” when Christ already bore that everything.

And since I have asked these things of you,
I, then, accept one type of extreme:
Extreme Desperation
For you, my God.
Lead me. Show me. Instruct me. I beg of thee.

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Your Worth in the Attack

Sometimes depression and anxiety can keep you from doing so many things. When destructive thoughts come into my mind, I feel no strength to do anything. And to think, the Lord has called me (someone who cries all the time) to lead a congregation into worship??

Friends, I’m coming to terms with the fact that the Lord really does equip the called, and does not call the equipped. I wrote a SOAP (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer) devotional today that I would like to share with you. It shares the fact that I am never defeated, no matter how powerful the feelings of depression may be. It shares the fact that with God, all things are possible.

SCRIPTURE: “But you, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me. Deliver me from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs. Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen.” – Psalm 22:19-21

OBSERVATION:
– The Lord is the ONLY source of strength. It cannot be found anywhere else.
– He is Father. He will come quickly when He sees His own child in distress.
– “my precious life” – a life is precious in the Lord’s eyes. It is his treasure.
– He will come to rescue at ALL times.

APPLICATION:
– My body feels “poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint” (verse 14). But I will still call on the Lord.
– As long as the Lord is in my heart, as long as Christ still stands as Lord, and as long as I call on Him, I will NEVER be defeated.
– The Lord comes to MY rescue at all times.

PRAYER: My God, I call on You right now. My body has felt weak with anxiety. Weak with destructive thoughts. Weak from constant tears. But, like David, I still call you Lord. I ask you to be my strength. To come and rescue me from all things that are against me. Tell me that my life is precious, that I am Yours, and that You love me. Keep me in your arms and under Your protective wing. Comfort me in the fact that I will ALWAYS be your child, and that Satan will ALWAYS be defeated. I love you Lord and in your name I pray, Amen.

I pray that you find worth in yourself even if you do deal with battles of depression and anxiety attacks. You are worthy to take part in any form of leadership, as long as you are always willing. Ask God to give you an outlet into that strength. I am with you as I try to continually remind myself of the victory. Through Christ, we can do anything.

Jesus on World Suicide Prevention Day

Hey all 🙂

It’s been a long while since I last posted on my blog. In the past couple of weeks I’ve been praying for a message that God would like me to share. My prayers were ironically answered as I checked the New York Times website. I found an article about Japan’s “World Suicide Prevention Week” plans. I Googled the day and there it was: “September 10, World Suicide Prevention Day.” God, you are too good.

I’m so grateful that all around the world different countries are doing what they can to raise awareness about suicide and mental health. Russia, the U.S., Japan, Nigeria, Canada, Germany, etc. are all doing amazing things. They tell the world that the numbers of suicide/suicidal attempts in their home countries have been increasing like wildfire. In Japan, 25,427 people took their lives last year. It’s thousands, thousands, and more thousands. Thousands of more lives. Thousands of more souls.

Although I was at the psychiatric unit back in April, I can’t lie and say that I am completely healed and have “reached the other side.” These thoughts can still be really hard to battle with. There are times when all I want to do is stay in bed, and pray for the good Lord to take me home with Him. Luckily it’s not only just my battle. With the help of family, friends, my church and the Word of God as my support system, I still stand. I fight. And if I ever enter into that mood I tell the depression, the thoughts, the weights on my body that they have no place in me because with Jesus I am victorious. As David said,

I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping, and drench my couch with tears.
My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes.
Away from me, all you who do evil, for the Lord has heard my weeping.
The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.
– Psalm 6:6-9

Friends, I’m grateful to have the people and the God in my life that I have now, but there are others in this world who have no one, nor God. They have never heard of the One who took their pain away. They need the support system. I challenge you to show Christ’s love and tell someone, anyone on this day who He is. Suicide numbers are on the rise, so it is time for you to rise. The numbers of those who hear the Good News could be even greater. 

With much love,
Ariel


For more info on World Suicide Prevention Day/National Suicide Prevention week, check out:

WSPD-for-website

Slips and Kids

And he said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”Matthew 18:3

I’ve been working at a summer camp for kids of ages 2-4 (they’re basically babies). Each counselor is assigned one or two children to take responsibility over. So yesterday, as my little 2 year old baby girl entered the room, she got so excited and ran so fast that she suddenly slipped over a piece of paper that no one knew was on the floor. She was so shocked that she just buried herself into my arms out of embarrassment and small fear. This precious child didn’t cry. She’s a trooper.

Friends, to be completely honest I’ve been avoiding this blog. I’ve been avoiding all talk about “healing” for sometime. I avoided my daily SOAPs/devotionals. Let’s face it, I avoided God. I felt so ashamed, having been all “yay, let’s spread the word about healing” one day to shutting down completely the next.

Working two jobs for the past three weeks took a toll on me physically. I also neglected taking my medication for the past month, which was a really dumb mistake I made. (If you’re prescribed antidepressants, please. Just three words: Take. Your. Meds.) I was angry all the time. I had the same thoughts and feelings that I had prior to entering into the psych unit. I kept punishing myself again: “I don’t care anymore. I’ll never get better.” In reality, I was simply tired and wasn’t taking my meds. I slipped, but hey, that’s just life. You get up and move on. You can’t ever control what happens.

What I love about my baby girl is that she’s always giggly and smiley. She was shocked when she fell for only the slightest bit, but she was also immediately comforted as I held her tightly in my arms. God the Father is an even greater example of someone who offers so much love and comfort. I failed to let myself be comforted by Him when I slipped. I turned the other way from Him and resorted to chronic numbness. This is simply not the way to go.

Let yourself be a child, just like my precious little girl. Ask Him to comfort you. Let Him. He is always willing to despite what you may think about yourself. Our Father loves you that much.

With much love,
– Ariel

To See and To Understand

“‘He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts,
so they can neither see with their eyes,
nor understand with their hearts,
nor turn — and I would heal them.'” – John 12:40 / Isaiah 6:10

As I prayed for certain people and about certain things tonight, the Lord brought this verse upon my heart. Then I thought about other stories in the bible that I’ve read several times before:

  • The woman who bled constantly for 12 years, but strived to touch the hem of Jesus’ robe. (Luke 8:43-45)
  • Mary, who used the most expensive perfume, and massaged Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair. (John 12:3)
  • Thomas, who touched Jesus’ hands and believed. (John 20:27)

The most beautiful thing that I once overlooked in these stories is the power of touch. With Jesus’s touch, we are healed.

When I admitted to myself that I was depressed two months ago, I asked the Lord for healing. Since then, everyday, He never ceases to extend His loving hand out to me. He always has in my life, but the difference between then and now is that I finally see how my hands look in contrast to His own. His hands are pure and beautiful, but mine are dirty, cut, and bloody.

We sing worship songs in church or in prayer meetings that literally have the words “I want to touch You.” But when we do touch Him, are we seeing the difference between His face, and our hands? His pureness, and our filthiness? The woman who bled for 12 years knew she was sick. Mary knew that she was in pain from the death of her beloved brother Lazarus. Thomas knew, once He touched Jesus’ hands, that he was guilty of not believing. They saw their sicknesses, their sorrows, their doubts, their sins for what they truly were. Jesus still loved them and accepted their touch.

Healing is so beautiful. With The Lord’s healing we are no longer blind to our sins nor hard-hearted. We can be honest with ourselves, humble, and cling to Jesus all the more. Ever since I touched the Lord and saw myself for the first time, He has continually showed me my wounds (my sins, my sorrows, even strong bitterness about certain things, etc.). Each time is simply just another wound He wants to patch up. (It’s so awesome!)

I encourage you to ask the Lord to see yourself the way He sees you. Ask Him what He believes you need healing in. Please, do not be afraid to truly see, as I once was. It’s okay to look at yourself and to see the faults. You are still beautiful. There is true beauty in your faults because of Christ, His love, and His healing.

With much love,
– Ariel

Our Purpose as Winners

Today, at church, was absolutely amazing for me. It marked my first time back in church ministry after a two month hiatus!! I took a break from ministry given all that had happened in the past few months. It was one of the wisest decisions I ever made. I had a good break to find my identity in Christ once again.

I rejoined my church’s worship team. If I were to describe how I felt while worshipping, it was these three words: beautifulworthy, and alive. My God saved me from destructive and suicidal thoughts. Not only did He save me, but He still saw me as worthy to be a worker for His kingdom. I’m back in worship and praise, letting the melodies and lyrics resonate through my mind, heart, and to my soul. Letting Him – His glory and goodness – resonate through every bone in my body, so that others may draw near to Him. This is only because He is so faithful. He’s not done with me, yet.

You, my brother or sister, have a purpose, too. Whatever the struggle may be, simply surrendering it to God the Father enables Him to make such great use of it. We are so blessed to be able to surrender everything we have because of Christ, for He already bore our transgressions. If Christ won, then we are not losers. We are winners. We are winners of souls – servants of God who call on others to find their purpose and their great worth.

You are NOT done yet. Please, please don’t give up. I beg you. He holds you lovingly in His open arms. He’s not done with you. He was clearly not done with me. Better yet, I know He still has so much more for me.

because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. – Psalm 16:10

With much love,

– Ariel

Why

I love my journal. I write my prayers, my SOAP devotionals (Scripture, Observation, Application & Prayer – thank you Pastor Joey and Pastor Gigi!), my thoughts, random lists, and once in a while I’ll sketch in it. I strongly suggest anyone to take out a piece of paper and pen and to just write. Get your thoughts down and write what you’re truly feeling.

One day after work this week I sat at Washington Square Park and pulled out my journal. I made a quick sketch of the arch and the fountain. As I sketched I took note of the quote engraved on the arch by Washington:

Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair. The event is in the hand of God.”

The quote simply solidified thoughts I’ve had for sometime. I keep thinking about the importance of honesty and knowing the “why.”

For example, you post a beautiful but filtered picture on Instagram of a moment in your life. Why? Is it really for you to keep track of your own memories, or is it for the rest of the world to see and to “like”?

Or you’re a college student who needs to make sure he/she is a part of this club, and that club, and that organization, and that non-profit. Why? To “look good” on your resumé?

As I also read the bible and write more of my SOAPs, I notice how honest and how real Jesus was. When He saw that his temple was being used as a market place, He was so angry and drove all of the animals and all of the people out. Jesus saw injustice and was angry. It was okay for Him to feel that way and to do what was right. He didn’t care if others disapproved of His actions. (John 2:15-16)

Can we all please take a step back and just be real? Imagine how much more productive your community would be if everyone looked inside themselves, rather than looked at what they believe others want to see. I realize more and more, too, that authenticity was the thing I once lacked. I had taken on responsibilities and lost myself along the way. I’d do all that I could to put down my “negative” emotions of anger and sadness, instead of giving it to Jesus. I was so controlling of my own emotions. I took the wheel. By the time I entered the psych unit, Jesus finally pushed the brakes and had me come to a short stop.

I drew this because drawing anything with an amazing view is one of my favorite leisure activities. It helps me to calm and wind down from long days (we all need something like that). I share this picture with you now to get you to think about why you do the things you do. I refer back to this page in my journal to ask myself the same.

IMG_6174 copy

My “why” to everything is now in the hand of God. With much love,

– Ariel