hope

  • Celebrate and Hunger

    Well, today, I am celebrating 11 months being clean. It is amazing to look at my scars and see them as they are... scars that have healed over and be able to be at peace with them. God has brought me out of a great darkness, but this only makes me want to release my other addictions with food and pornography even more. I will be honest, I have not let go of what kept me cutting to begin with and I really long to... My bitterness, hurt and rage towards myself and friends makes it difficult to continue in my recovery. Keep me in your prayers, please, my friends...

     

    Luceo Non Uro,

    Arianna

     

     

     

    Peace Hunger

    by Arianna Joy Schaffer

     

    It's hard to rest after today

    The clock ticks as the minutes go by

    It's past midnight and I can't even say

    Just exactly how I feel tonight

    You read this, and don't know what happened

    But, I long, hunger, thirst after Truth

    I would give it all up to Him

    If I could only be renewed

    12:30 nearing the time to rest

    But I cannot even will my own eyes shut

    It's taken this life's mess

    To learn how to escape the rut

    I want peace passing all understanding

    To find a way back to His love

    And these shall be the songs I sing

    "Glory to the Lord above!"

    Brother, sister, whosoever reads these words

    I need to find where the wounded can be healed

    My fellows at arms help me to bear good witness to His Word

    So that Christ will bridge to the Father, my appeal

    Haunted by memories of an internal war

    I am weighed down by my shame

    The corners of my mind have now been ripped and torn

    And the wildfires burns the land and cannot be tamed

    I want to experience a deeper peace

    I want to be the instrument of it

    No longer in bed in an eternal sleep

    No longer on the fence to sit

    But in my heart and my mind

    I can find it nowhere, all I see is rage

    I pray that God will grant the wisdom to leave that past behind

    Start all over with reconciliation and a new page

     

  • Finding Benvolio

    Copyright (C) 2013 Savannah Hensley

     

    "I can't take this from you, Rosie. It wouldn't be right."

    Rosie's heart sunk like a rock to the bottom of the ocean as Chris pushed her gift back across the table. It was a small, rusty skeleton key, tied onto a piece of dirty white ribbon. To anyone else, it was a piece of junk, but to Rosie, giving it to Chris was a step she'd been afraid to take for a very long time - and he knew it. He knew it, and he didn't want it.

    "Why not?" Rosie asked softly.

    "I know what that key means to you, and I appreciate the gesture - I really do. But to be honest I'm not ready for a happily ever after. I'm not even sure I want one at this point. I still have to finish high school and make something of myself before I even think about getting married."

    Rosie wasn't even listening. "Just tell me one thing," she said bitterly, choking back tears as she snatched the key from the table and stood up. "Was I ever anything to you besides a bag of arm candy?"

    With that cutting remark, she stormed out of the little cafe and headed straight for home, to the refuge of Grandma's attic.

    ***

    Now here she was, standing before the window at the far end of the attic. It was an old fashioned window, the kind with double panes, tall enough to step through, that latched together with a small metal hook. In her hand, Rosie held the skeleton key.

    She'd been thirteen when her parents got a divorce. It was a mutual agreement, and something Rosie had never expected, having believed that her parents were as happy as a fairytale couple. To watch them separate so coldly, without so much as a single tear shed or a single angry word shouted, was heartbreaking to say the least. And then, to put the cherry on top of the whipped cream and sprinkles, Rosie's first boyfriend and first love, Jeremy, had dumped her on the claims of "I'm too young to have a depressed girlfriend."

    Young though she was, Rosie took a solemn vow to never love again. Taking the rusty old key she'd found in Grandma's attic, she locked her heart away and became a social outcast, refusing to even associate with members of the opposite sex; and because of this, rumors of her homosexuality spread like wildfire and therefore she was shunned by her fellow womankind.

    That was just until Chris came along. Rosie never could understand his motive, but he picked and pried at her rock hard shell until it cracked, exposing raw, tender, vulnerable flesh. He'd said and done all the right things to make her feel special, giving her hope, hope that love wasn't so futile after all.

    And now this. How could she, of all people, have been so stupid to fall for the oldest trick in the book? All Chris had needed was to play the romantic to trick her into believing she actually meant something to him - that maybe he even loved her. That's why she'd tried to give him the key, because she had truly believed he held the metaphorical key to her heart.

    Well, maybe he had. After all, he'd gotten her to open up. But this stupid little rusty key was a gift he'd refused. What had she been to him - why had he bothered? Was he really so sick that he'd just wanted to be able to brag to his friends that he'd gotten Rosaline Capulet, the coldest ice queen in town, to fall in love with him?

    Oh, who even cared at this point? Rosie blinked away hot tears and reached for the window latch. She was beginning to understand the gravity of the vow she'd taken five years ago - because now that she'd tasted love as an older, more mature woman of nearly eighteen, she realized she didn't want to live without it. She realized that in reality, there is no life without love...and if that were true, she no longer wanted to live. She'd rather take her own life than to keep living it completely and utterly alone.

    She stepped out onto the roof, lining her Converse sneakers up with the edge of the gutter, and got a good look at the ground three stories below her. It was a patch of concrete patio, with a glass table and metal chairs on it. Rosie pictured what her death would be like: glass shattering, its shards embedding themselves in her skin; metal rods impaling her body; her bones twisting and cracking; blood gathering around her in pools. It would not be a romantic death by any means.

    And that's just the way Rosie wanted it.

    She had just begun to lose her balance when someone - or something - grabbed her by the back of her sweatshirt and pulled her back inside the attic. In her startled state, Rosie was so angry that she whirled around ready to cuss out whoever had saved her. But she was shocked into silence when she looked into the transparent green eyes of a very young, very handsome ghost.

    ***

    "What - what in God's name?" Rosie exclaimed, falling a couple of steps back as she stared at the spirit boy before her. He looked not much different from a regular boy her age - t shirt, jeans, battered converses, messy haircut. The only difference was the fact that she could see straight through him into the attic.

    "I'm Benvolio," the boy laughed. "You can call me Ben if you like. It's easier."

    "I don't care what your name is," Rosie said breathlessly - "What I wanna know is what are you?"

    Ben threw his head back and laughed heartily. "Now that is a good question!" he said. "You'll want to sit down for this one though." He walked over to one of the dusty chairs in the attic, piled with old newspapers and sewing patterns; clearing everything away and even dusting off the upholstery, he gestured to the chair. Rosie gave him a strange look and sat down.

    "Are you a ghost?" she asked bluntly the moment she sat down.

    Ben grinned. "Of a sort."

    "What's that supposed to mean?"

    "Well, for you my dear Rosie, a ghost is someone who has died, yet his spirit hasn't yet passed on to the afterlife. Me though, I'm not dead at all. I'm alive somewhere this very second - I'm just having a little nap while my spirit stands here talking to you."

    "That doesn't make any sense," Rosie said with narrowed eyes. "I'm hallucinating, aren't I. I've gone crazy." Her voice broke a little at the last word, and she bowed her head, covering her face with her hands as she fought back another bout of tears.

    "Rosie," Ben said kindly, getting down on one knee and tipping her chin up so he could look her in the eyes, and taking both her hands in his. "You're not crazy. I really am real. This key is what makes it all possible." He drew the skeleton key, still on its ribbon, from her tightly clenched fist.

    "Years and years ago, there was a woman living in this house by herself. She was what most people nowadays would call a witch, although she never really did anything very notable - she just performed small acts of kindness, a little like a fairy godmother.

    "Now there was a girl living just down the road from here who wasn't much unlike yourself - she had been heartbroken one too many times, and she came to this woman asking for help, because she simply could not bear to live without love.

    "The woman knew what very few people do: that all heartbreak leads eventually to true love in the end. So she had this necklace made and placed an enchantment on it to teach the poor girl that lesson.

    "After the girl put on the necklace, the next time she was in so much despair she felt she couldn't go on, she met a boy a lot like me, but different of course since he was to be the girl's husband in the future. HE gave her hope, and the strength to believe that someday, she would find her happily ever after. It was a number of years, but she did find this man in the end and she was married to him.

    "The necklace is designed to find the soulmate of the wearer's spirit, and Rosie, that is why I'm here today."

    ***

    "So you're telling me that you exist out there somewhere right now and you're the guy I'm supposed to be with?" Rosie questioned, still a little skeptical - although it must be admitted that she did believe him. Of course she did. She would cling to any scrap of hope now that she was so deathly afraid of being alone.

    "That's exactly what I'm saying," Ben said with a charming smile that made Rosie's heart skip a beat.

    "So," she said shyly, tucking a strand of her brown hair behind one ear, "now what?"

    Ben stood up. "I, my beautiful lady," he said, extending a hand to her, "am taking you out to dinner."

    ***

    "When you said 'dinner,' I wasn't expecting you to walk me through a drive in," Rosie smiled, as Ben paid the cashier and handed her a giant hot fudge milkshake. They walked to one of the picnic tables and sat down.

    "I don't like fancy restaurants," he said with a shrug. "They're too stuffy. I think dates should be fun, not fancy - because the purpose of a date is to get to know one another, right?"

    "Right," Rosie nodded, taking a sip of her milkshake.

    "Well, if you were wearing a dress that cost about 200 dollars and a pair of high heels, sitting in a fine diner eating ridiculously expensive chicken with a guy dressed in a suit and tie, you wouldn't feel comfortable enough to be yourself, now would you?

    Rosie thought about it. "I guess not."

    "No, you wouldn't, because you would have to wear a pretty masquerade mask and the date would go absolutely nowhere."

    Ben abruptly changed the subject. "So, what do you think of the milkshake?"

    Rosie took another long gulp of it. "You were right - this really is the best milkshake I've ever had!"

    Ben quirked up one eyebrow. "Just wait until you try the chili cheese fries and the nacho burger. They're the best around, too. I think this place just IS the best since it's family owned."

    She had to agree with him after she'd tried the burger and fries as she was told. "I can't believe I've lived here all these years and never knew this place was right down the street!"

    "Well, now you know," Ben said with a wink, sipping at his milkshake.

    There was a bit of awkward silence. Rosie stirred her milkshake with her straw. "So. Um. If you're - you know, real and all, what kind of person are you? I mean, what do you like doing?" She facepalmed herself. "Ohhhmigosh, this is so freakin' awkward!"

    Ben laughed. "Don't feel awkward, Rosie. We're getting to know each other for the first time and you don't exactly have experience. I don't blame you.

    "As for what kind of person I am, I'm leaving that for you to decide after we've finished up this date. As for what I like doing - I love to hunt. I love camping out in the open, under the stars; I love hiking through the wild; I love watching the animals. I even have a guidebook I keep with me, that tells me what all the wild plants and different kinds of trees are. I love guns, too - not shooting them of course, I just like the intrigue of collecting them, cleaning them, loading them. I guess I do shoot at the animals and there's a little thrill there. But I always miss." He winked. "Don't tell my hunting buddies that I miss on purpose, though. They wouldn't take me with them anymore."

    "So you love the wild and you like guns, hmm?" Rosie smiled. She took another gulp of milkshake. "What else do I need to know?"

    "I carve," he went on, taking a small box out of his pocket and laying it on the table. He didn't bother to open it, though; Rosie was dying to know what was inside, but she held her tongue as he continued. "When I'm out in the woods I pick up pieces of wood - branches, limbs, pieces of dead logs - and bring them back home. I just hold up a stick and stare at it until I see a shape, and then I bring that shape to life." A distant look came into his eyes. "I like being able to create things. When I'm carving, I feel like I'm making a difference in the world." He kept fiddling with the box until Rosie couldn't stand the suspense anymore.

    "What's in the box?" she asked.

    "Oh," Ben laughed nervously, coming out of his reverie. He pushed the box forward. "Here, open it. I actually made it for you."

    Rosie gave him a curious look, wondering how a ghost of such temporary nature could have made something for her. She opened the box; there was a wooden pendant on a piece of twine inside. When she lifted the necklace out and let it hang between them, she saw it was a beautifully carved wooden key.

    Ben kept his eyes on the table, nervously twisting his long fingers together until they cracked. "You might not understand it, Rosie," he said softly, "but you're not the only one waiting for a happily-ever-after. I'm waiting for you, too. So, you take this necklace and wear it, every single day, every single moment - and I promise that someday, somehow, I will find you."

    Ben seemed almost reverent as he spoke, his eyes glued to Rosie's. And as crazy as all this was, she had to believe and trust in him. "Alright, I will."

    "Here, let me put it on for you," Ben offered, and Rosie handed it to him. She swept her hair out of the way as Ben tied the twine in a neat knot behind her neck. The warm touch of his fingers sent a lovely tingle down her spine.

    "Just keep believing, Rosie," he whispered in her ear, kissing her head tenderly.

    When Rosie turned around, Ben was gone.

    ***

    Two years later, Rosie sat at the same exact table, drinking a giant hot fudge shake just like she had before. She was toying with the wooden key around her neck, thinking about Ben like she often did. Even though she hadn't known him for very long, the few hours they had spent together had been enough for Rosie to fall in love. But this time, she was able to wait patiently for the real Ben to come for her. Even better, she was able to open herself up and make friends, both male and female alike. This Rosie was a very different Rosie from the one who had sat there before.

    A slight movement - the sound of converses scuffing on gravel - drew her attention to the left. She looked up. At one of the other picnic tables now sat a young man about her age, with a shaggy black mop of hair, a simple t-shirt, and rugged jeans. Their gazes met each other at the exact same time, and Rosie smiled when she saw a pair of familiar green eyes.

    Ben recognized her almost at once. His eyes widened and his mouth dropped open in shock. He stood up quickly. "Rosie?"

    "Hey," she smiled. "I've been expecting you."

    Don't think about the hows or whys, wheres or whens, whos or whats of your soulmate. Every person has been made with a match; God has provided each and every one of us with one. It's written in His divine book of love stories. So don't despair. Someone, someday will come along for you. You just have to believe.

  • Freak of Nature

    As far as I can remember, I've been an outcast, especially in the church. I sensed it even at a young age, but I didn't grasp it enough to know why... I was a freak of nature-- at least I was in the company of mirrors and in my bedroom, alone... Hey I'm Arianna. That daughter of Valerie's, the one with bipolar disorder NOS. I was already struggling with my mental illness by the age of 3yrs. I was like a lion caged in the body of a little toddler, which grew with me even to and through my teen years. In my early teen years, I believed my disorder was a monster inside me and could never be tamed. I often wished I was "normal", as my mother sometimes wishes she had a "normal" family. But, with that out the window, I had-- and still have to learn to live with and embrace this monster that lived inside of me... I began to befriend it.

     

    There are times it still leaps out of me and almost swallows up family and friends. Also, my days of living through the years have been filled wishing I was someone else, never born, or worse..... dead. Mental illness has been, and is a struggle that I have fought since birth. And though I began cutting at the age of 14... I have been self-harming much longer. I often beat myself up over mistakes I've made-- even the ones that happened in my childhood. With shame being the trigger of it all, and all this self-inflicted abuse being a punishment for just being myself. To be honest, I often struggle to understand why I do these things, and often don't know why I even have these problems... If anything I wish I could stop these things... but, when you are addicted to something, you are dependent on it, and it is not as easy to break lose as most Christians believe.

     

    Most of the beliefs of my being a monster were formed from several phrases that, I'm sure anyone with mental illness has heard...

     

    "True believers cannot be depressed."

    "You must be in sin."

    "You must not have enough faith."

    "Mental illness is demonic possession."

     

    Do any of these sound familiar to you guys? To the young children who grew up to adulthood with these things being said of you as gossip, or directly at you, or even said to your parents... I want to tell you this one thing; you are not in the wrong to be depressed. Your depression, your mental illness is NOT you. Would you point to a handicapped man on a wheelchair, with an amputated leg, and tell him that his disability is his identity? If not, then do the same for yourself, and realize you are not your disease. You're not necessarily faithless, in sin, or possessed just because you have these problems... I grew up believing the voices out of the home and I never trusted the Lord for his wisdom and truth to pierce through, so you guys aren't alone in your experience...

     

    I'd love to say I'm used to my illness... if I told you I was then it would be a lie. I can be terrified of myself. Afraid I''ll self destruct... hurt others,or I'd soon kill myself. I've been so unpredictable that I was terrified of the idea of even stepping outside of my room. I don't always have control over my thoughts... and actions, and at those times, I'd do anything to regain that control. I never chose to be this way. And if I could I would pray it all away... but, sometimes God lets you go through this flame of refinement to build your faith, and perfect you... I have often went through this refining fire, and sometimes it held the illusion of hell to me... But, unlike hell's fire, this fire was there to design me into the person the Lord made me to be... It's a process, a war, and it can take a long time to overcome, and more times than not, it continues untilwe are 6-feet below... But, still God can use it. And He continues to use it for His purposes.

    "Be at peace with yesterday. Be wise with today. And be secure with tomorrow."

    In Christ Alone,

    Arianna

     

  • Healing DOES Come

  • Heaven

    Dedicated as a belated 21st Birthday gift and as words of encouragement in a time of trial for a dear brother in Christ, Eli that ‘ginger madman without a Blue Box’(but in possession of a smithy.)

    Words from a brother to a sister and now back again....


    My dearly struggling brother, I do not know if you remember the conversation we had almost a year ago... I remember it well and it is what has kept me living for these hard times... When I say living, let me elaborate... being truly alive, by seeing purpose in my steps...and in that, wanting to stretch out and show all their purpose. I know you may be wondering why I'm bringing it up, if it seems to have only have affected me in this way... But let me go deeper into it. When you spoke to me I saw a part of your heart reveal itself to me... and I want to show that part to you again.

    In Christ Alone and to His name be the glory!

    --Hazel Sincerity Shepherd

    I sat on a log, weeping. I had done it again, I let my emotions have me again. Blood was spilled on my arms. Now, long since cleaned and tended to, the cuts still stung and smelled of iron. Scared to be honest to my best friend. Scared to come out of this wood. But come out, I must... to stop walloping in this self piteous state. I rose and directed my steps on a path well-worn. I wanted to talk to someone, someone who I looked very highly to... I was almost numb as I drew near to the door of his cabin, just blindly walking towards it. I raised a timdly trembling fist to knock, I hesitated... Then knocked softly three times. I waited with my fingers fiddling and breath held. It always scared me to come to the cabin, why? I never understood it, but too late to back down, now... As the door opened abruptly and a man stood tall over my short, trembling, plump figure... I began to really feel puny again... The man's blazing red hair always made me think that it came from a fiery heart of passion... Shaking that thought from my head... I looked at his deep blue eyes, that revealed a hint of a no-nonsense attitude. He read deep into me and I shrunk again... I was a mess, I knew that and my face was still stained with tears.

    "What's wrong now, child?" Andrew asked me, the question wasn't unkind, but it sent a squirm in my stomach.

    My words caught in my throat and I shook as I spoke, "I'm finding out truths that I really need to talk about."

    Andrew sighed wearily, but stood out of the way of the door to let me walk in, with my shoulders tense, head cringing...

    AFTER AN HOUR OF TALKING

    "All of my deliberate disobedience backfires on me..." I said, almost emotionlessly by this point.

    "Because, you finally regained Christ." Andrew said, pointedly, "Think on that."

    I sat on a sofa, after pouring out my entire problem, hoping for a way to release myself from what I had done. I wept long enough, that I knew I might have sounded like a blubbering idiot, but I hadn't cared... I once I let everything out I stared out into space... Blankly looking through my surroundings... I held a mug of tea, long-since after becoming lukewarm. Lights twinkled in my eyes, and pictures moved in my mind, and I could have sworn I could hear music in the far distance of the mountains beyond this forest. When I looked to where Andrew had gone, I saw he had stood up with both our mugs in his hands to place on the table in there corner. My eyes twinkled and sparkled with images of a scarred hand wiping away all tears. Visions of dancing in fields, with the Bridegroom... laughter, joy, all sorrow since victored in one roaring swipe of this Lover's Hand. Then my heart began to ache and long for it... I excitedly shook, my childlike joy unable to be contained and my tongue loosed in heartwrenching yet rejoicing speech, "When will Christ return? Forget about dying, I want to see Him return! So that all His people may partake in paradise and not just me!"

    Andrew's eyes snapped to me and I looked down at my lap with a tearfilled smile at it. He sighed and sat down next to me, "Christ will return when it's God's will. Christ himself said that no man knows when He'll return, only the Father."

    "What a mystery!" my face leapt to look at Andrew with tears of absolute joy.

    "Part of what makes God so righteous," Andrew's long and old gaze to the distance made me want to leap from the sofa and speak a truth so beautiful... a hope so colourful.... a love so great, tears spilled over my face and fell all over my hands.

    I couldn't resist the pull anymore... I jumped and held my face wiped the tears, threw my hands up as it went through my long chocolate-brown curls, "Leave it a beautiful glorious mystery! That's what I'll do!"

    Andrew looked up at me, with a softened glance, then rose and patted my shoulder, "Good on you, lass."

    "It's like waiting for your birthday, except it's a rebirthday!" I leapt away from his hand and danced, cried, laughed, and cried again.

    Andrew smiled at me and I froze, "Pretty much, all eternity being reborn."

    I stared at my hands, trembling and wet by tears, and wiped my joyous tears from my eyes with one, "But I can't imagine a life without tears..."

    Andrew sat back down, "Me neither. Or pains... That sensation would be amazing."

    I gently sat back down and hugged him... rubbing his back, "I always imagined Jesus holding up his robes and running to me.... and picking me up and spinning me around... I thought of it that way when I was 17 I didn't imagine myself 17, tho.... I imagined myself a little child, yet ageless standing in awe, smiling not my normal mischievous smile no, but an indescribable joy filled smile."

    Andrew nodded, "Aye...Or me kneeling before him in my battered Earthly armor, and him stripping me of my sinful, bloodied gear and garbing me in fresh, pure gear. All my bitterness and worry about whether I'd really make it or not stripped away, to the quiet, kind-hearted little boy who loved to read."

    "I can't ever imagine me innocent... I never was... I had trials as long as I can remember. But, to think I will be innocent, in white garments of righteousness... washed by the blood of the lamb...new body...we'll know each other and I would see Papa Bud always thought of him with healed barefeet on the streets of gold, dancing!" my tear flowed again, I couldn't stop! The Spirit filled me... and I was just gonna let Him say these things to me... and I was going to speak it too!

    Andrew's smile didn't dim in anyway, and his reply sent pleasant chills to wash my heated bones, "Amen and bagpipes reeling."

    I could almost hear bagpipes in my heart now. I spoke the word as if savouring a scrumptious meal, "Bagpipes..."

    "...not having to worry about a knife slipping into my ribs, my mind and heart fully healed," Andrew looked down at his shoes, with a serene smile.

    My heart overflowed with joy for this man...my brother. I knew what he went through... and I knew this would be something best to stay silent on. So, I let him rejoice in his own thoughts.

    "...and I will be finally free..." he closed his eyes.

    Then I danced again in my own thoughts and let the words flow again, "I would be able to write poems, pure and true, with words I've never dreamed of....colours I couldn't describe now and there'd be no sun or moon, cuz God would be the only light! It seems too good... it seems way too good for me.... but that's why God is amazing!"

    "Exactly. That's what we have to hope for, to hold in our hearts..." Andrew's countenance was so filled with peace, that I almost couldn't recognize him...

    Tears filled my eyes again, and I drew him near and hugged him.

    Written and Finished August 1, 2014

    Inspired by a true story in a fictional setting

  • In the Depths

     

    It's been a while since I've felt so low, but nevertheless, here I am. This time it was stress-induced with stressors all around. Home, work, church. No regular doctor anymore, so I don't know what to do about it. Taking a week-long sabatical helped. Arianna being released from the hospital helped. Knowing that God cares for me helps. I need more...

    If you are experiencing deep depression, what has helped you in your journey?

  • Reflections, Part 2

    Last week I wrote about how the drama from my mentally ill daughter was affecting me. It was truth, and it was the nitty-gritty aspect of being in a family with someone with mental illness. However, I have to say that my post, although true, was written in such a way that it hurt my daughter. There are certainly aspects of the disease that are devastating to a family, but I want to emphasize that the characteristics of the mental illness that she suffers from is not her fault. She didn't ask to have this malady thrust upon her. And although stability is part of her responsibility, there are outside forces that dominate her ability to work on stability.

    When my husband or I think about running away, there is more than just each other or our youngest daughter keeping us from doing so. There is also the fact that Arianna NEEDS us. She needs our stability, our understanding, and our acceptance. No matter how we may feel at any given time about the burdens that mental illness gives us, we do love and accept Arianna for who she is, despite the mental illness that we despise.

    Perhaps we should focus on her many gifts, and how those gifts impact us from day to day. Perhaps we need to work harder on separating the symptoms from the rest of her being. Then maybe the burden I'm under will not be so great. There is always hope in the darkness. There is always light in the darkness. We just need to look.

  • Refreshment

    I love the fall. Even when I'm depressed. This is usually a time for people to experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) due to the shorter period of daylight. Me? I think I get MORE light during the fall. Seriously! I live in the southern portion of the United States. The oppressive heat of summer (which starts in about March or April and ends in September or October) keeps me inside as much as possible. I hate the heat. It sucks all energy from my entire body. It affects my brain. If I'm hot, I'm irritable;I'm angry. I can't regulate my reactions to outside stimuli. In short, it makes my depression much, much worse.

    If it's cool, or cold, I'm a much more pleasant person. I relish in the cooler temperatures. Furthermore, I love the smell of Autumn! It's sublime! I love the colors as the sun hits the leaves on the trees. It's great. In short, I'm refreshed, and it brings hope into the depths of my depression. Why, yes, I'm alive and I appreciate that.

  • Sacred Silence

    Sacred Silence

    By Ari J. Schaffer

     

    As I pull myself out of the depression

    I had cried out all I could

    Sadness over a loss of a friend

    But as I turned and took in a deep breath

    You come with a bigger loss than mine

    You say to me that you had no clue

    Who else to go to and asked if I ever

    Lost someone to suicide...

     

    A sacred silence

    A tiny tear

    I weep for you

    And no longer for me

     

    A sacred silence

    Extending love

    I listen now

    No longer the speaker

    A loss like this can gain no words

    In a moment for sacred silence

    Silence for you

     

    Listening to you now of trauma so deep

    You can't sleep; you dream of it

    A grief over a loss of a friend

    But as I hear and stay awake for you

    You unload it all and I don't know...

    You say to me that you had no clue

    Who else to go to and though I was there

    I wish I'd done more for you

     

     

    A sacred silence

    A tiny tear

    I weep for you

    And no longer for me

     

    A sacred silence

    Extending love

    I listen now

    No longer the speaker

    A loss like this can gain no words

    In a moment for sacred silence

    Silence for you

     

    Not much more can one do

    Not much more can one say

    (Let there be a sacred silence!)

    But a loss like that is hard to go through

    My friend, I guess all I can say

    Is that you can't avoid the grief

    (Let there be a sacred silence!)

    It'll take time to heal

    It'll be hard and won't be brief

    The pain is something real

    But you gotta have that sacred silence

     

    A sacred silence

    A tiny tear

    I weep for you

    And no longer for me

     

    A sacred silence

    Extending love

    I lost you now

    No longer able to speak

    A loss like this can gain no words

    In a moment for sacred silence

    Let there be a sacred silence for you!

    Let there be a sacred silence to heal!

    Let there be a sacred silence

    A sacred silence for you!

  • Sacred Silence

    Sacred Silence

    By Ari J. Schaffer

     

    As I pull myself out of the depression

    I had cried out all I could

    Sadness over a loss of a friend

    But as I turned and took in a deep breath

    You come with a bigger loss than mine

    You say to me that you had no clue

    Who else to go to and asked if I ever

    Lost someone to suicide...

     

    A sacred silence

    A tiny tear

    I weep for you

    And no longer for me

     

    A sacred silence

    Extending love

    I listen now

    No longer the speaker

    A loss like this can gain no words

    In a moment for sacred silence

    Silence for you

     

    Listening to you now of trauma so deep

    You can't sleep; you dream of it

    A grief over a loss of a friend

    But as I hear and stay awake for you

    You unload it all and I don't know...

    You say to me that you had no clue

    Who else to go to and though I was there

    I wish I'd done more for you

     

     

    A sacred silence

    A tiny tear

    I weep for you

    And no longer for me

     

    A sacred silence

    Extending love

    I listen now

    No longer the speaker

    A loss like this can gain no words

    In a moment for sacred silence

    Silence for you

     

    Not much more can one do

    Not much more can one say

    (Let there be a sacred silence!)

    But a loss like that is hard to go through

    My friend, I guess all I can say

    Is that you can't avoid the grief

    (Let there be a sacred silence!)

    It'll take time to heal

    It'll be hard and won't be brief

    The pain is something real

    But you gotta have that sacred silence

     

    A sacred silence

    A tiny tear

    I weep for you

    And no longer for me

     

    A sacred silence

    Extending love

    I lost you now

    No longer able to speak

    A loss like this can gain no words

    In a moment for sacred silence

    Let there be a sacred silence for you!

    Let there be a sacred silence to heal!

    Let there be a sacred silence

    A sacred silence for you!

  • Skyscraper

    I am below looking at myself on the top
    And I'm above looking down for your help
    I never knew it would come to this threatening drop
    But I am on the edge ready to jump to the end of me
    I'm out of my body tearfully begging for me to think
    To use the reasoning and wisdom to turn away
    And to pull away from the deathly brink
    Of shadows' ownership of my soul's desires
    Standing on the skyscraper of my disease
    I feel that all hope had been stolen away
    My pain and fear makes the enemy pleased
    So that is my push to stand up again
    If only I took a step back and beheld the view
    Of the sun breaking through the morning mist
    I would realize that God is here and true
    But would I dare to look up and see the beauty? Or would I just jump off the edge?
    A revolution of light could break right through
    If I boldly said enough is enough! I could stand up right beside you
    And I'd be filled and fear nothing in life or death
    The skyscraper is a turning point in all lives
    Dare to die or dare to live, the choice is up to you
    Life is compiled of baby steps and long strides
    And yes, even falls... But remember that we can overcome!

  • Supposed Suicide

    Copyright © 2015 Mari Fahel Mckimzey

     

    It happened so suddenly

    I hung myself to die

    Cracking my neck;

    Breathing my last;

    Dangling in the eyes

    Of a young 13 year old

     

    It happened before they could

    Stop me; alas, a child

    Has seen her sis

    Die before her

    The argument was wild

    Now she has PTSD

     

    I, now stand before the Throne

    God is seated in grief

    He gazes down

    In deep love asks;

    "You with little belief

    Why did you spit on my face?"

     

    Shaking in fear and sadness

    As my God asks again;

    "My child why did

    You spit on my face

    To right now have been slain

    By your hands you took your life?"

     

    I wept hard and responded

    "Lord I could no longer bear

    This life with all

    Of its trials so I

    Took my own life to where

    I would not suffer again..."

     

    God revealed everything that

    I threw away, showed me my

    Life got better

    And the ones who loved me

    I saw purpose in His eyes

    That had been transferred to me

     

    Then I finally knew that

    My life was not as dark as

    I made it out

    To be; then I cried out

    With pain in my heart "alas!

    Oh Lord please forgive my wrong!"

    He answered in grief, "I do.

     

    "But you had to see what I

    Had planned with your life when I

    Created you;

    And molded you in My

    Image; see the many eyes

    Of those you were destined to

    Guide; it grieves me you threw it out

  • The Big 3-6-5

    Yesterday marked my first whole year from cutting! My parents put a lot of effort into a 3-course meal and dessert to celebrate also taping a $15 iTunes gift card too!

     

    In a tight time in our finances, I know this was an expensive meal, and appreciated this all the more. The whole thing touched me so much that when I left the room, I was crying a little.

     

    Thankee, mum and daddy. You have no idea how much this touched me! I love you both!

     

    Luceo non uro,

    Ari J Schaffer

  • The Source, The Engineer, and the System

    Inspired by: Jonathan Thulin & Rachael Lampa’s “Bombs Away”

    “Thank you for purchasing your life insurance policy. All we ask is that you keep your lifeline untampered with and always connected. In the rare event that your connection is compromised… the consequence is death.”

    A woman and a man held hands together in a union. They smiled at each other then, looked up at the light above them, casting a small surrounding light in the room. They sat in the silence and serenity of being connected to the Source.

    Until they felt and heard a knock on the door. And in the moment, they saw a friendly Cyborg smiling at them, slyly. He came to their side and silently handed them a plan, with a concerned look.

    “The Source is using you.” he whispered in their ear, “The Source fears what you can become… let me help you… You shan’t perish…”

    The couple looked to one another with confusion and the looks on their face made one united decision. They looked up at the Cyborg and nodded in unified moment… The last they’d ever see. The Cyborg smiled at this silent thought, as he strut behind them, and first he grabbed the lifeline of the woman and yanked it from her heart-port. She gasped and felt her chest and confusedly stared about. Then to the man, he yanked from his heart-port. He stared about then the woman and the man’s eyes met in disgrace. The Cyborg stripped the lifeline and threw it before the couple.

    The room shook like a furious quake of passion and wrath. “What is it that you have done?”

    The man pointed directly at the woman, as she held her mouth and tearfully cried, “The Cyborg deceived me…”

    The Cyborg looked up at the Source in fear as he spoke directly to him “You are futile. I send you down to the depths. There will be one engineer to terminate you. You will be shut off and he will be bruised on the heel.”

    The Cyborg fearfully and in outrage tried to make an accusation, but before he could he was cast into an automatic pit. Silence reverberated in the room. As the man and the woman stared at each other in shame. The Source’s light had to be shut off and they were cast into darkness…

    3000 days later…
    The man and the woman attacked their insides, looking for anything to refill them… malware and more filled their minds and hearts. And their days slowly faded into memory. Until… one day as, one they cried out

    "System Error: Spirit Overload. Initiating termination."

    They stared at the ground with closed eyes, covering their ears. Falling, once more, on their faces, getting back up, screaming, cutting out, glitching, re-screaming, again and again. In a unstable implosion of emotions. They hit, one another, one hit after another.

    "System Error: Emergency Shutdown."

    Once the shutdown was made, they bowed their heads. They were now, two robotic and metallic skeletons. "System Error: Searching Connection. Searching Connection. Searching Connection…"

    3000 days more…
    “...Searching Connection. Searching Connection. Searching Connection…”

    An Engineer walked over to them and touched their faces. They deathly gazed with blinds over their eyes… as their lifeform flickered back on to look at him. He fixed them up and helped them to stand.

    “System Invasion!” they shouted at once, but the Engineer did not make a move to stop them, they attacked all at once. He allowed them to tear him apart, as the Cyborg came around the corner with his controls. The Engineer fell to his face and moved no more.

    The Cyborg came up behind the robots and smacked them hard to the floor, “Look what you have done. Think about it… His hands were there to help…”

    He vanished in one leaps and they cried… The woman reached out to the Engineer and held his hand as the man kicked her. She screamed in anguish, “Come back! Please, come back!” She cried her plea.

    “System Error…” she spoke , “Initiate automatic shutdown…”

    The man and woman froze as robotic skeletons, once more.

    3 hours later…
    The Source revived the Engineer. Who rolled over and saw the robotic skeletons once more, standing, lifeless before him. He got off of his feet and fixed them up once more and grabbing a new wireless lifeline and hooked it to their heart-ports. They stood up straight and spoke in unison, once more;

    “System Error: Connection Complete.”

    They looked to the Engineer who commanded; “Do not be tempted by the Cyborg anymore. You are free, with a spirit of courage. Of love. And of a sound mind…Your bounty has been paid.”

    He left the room and left the door open, as he continued to walk. They followed…

    2000 days later…
    “And we are one and still free. Looking for the time we will in eternal peace with the Source.”

  • Visionary Colours

    Imagine a little girl in green.
    All her shades of colors are seen,
    She means what she says and says what she means,
    That her life is new and redeemed!

    Imagine a little girl in blue.
    Her tears of pain cry out to you,
    Her heart so cold, she knows not what to do,
    Her light fades, is no longer new!

    Imagine Him dying in red.
    Truth rings out, He rose like He said,
    When will you all rise out from your bed,
    To do as He commands and said?

    Imagine a child in darkest black.
    To go to glass from using tacks,
    Realize the dark in you will hack,
    If to Christ’s grace you won’t go back!

    Imagine yourself in bright violet.
    You have just escaped the violence,
    You’re free, able, so don’t you fret,
    It’s because Christ’s mercies you have met,

    Imagine a man in dimming brown.
    A smile from him changed your frown,
    You knew he was strange in that town,
    But he claimed he'd get the crown!

    Now, picture the man in streets of gold.
    By Christ, he sings songs of old,
    That claims the Gospel that was told
    Proclaimed by his tongue, so bold!

    Imagine the saints arrayed in white.
    Cleansed by the blood of the Lamb,
    Their faith has now been made their sight,
    Lifting up their voice and hands!
    Imagine a knight clad in light grey,
    A sad, wry smile comes your way,
    You look at him with no words to say,
    Unknowing the price he pays...

    Will you just stare at these troubled souls?
    Forget what Christ to you told?
    Or will you reach out and your hands unfold?
    Comforting these shattered souls!
    Some will have lost their dearest loved ones.
    Others forget Yaweh's vows,

    Some will never see the light of the sun,
    Some want out and don't know how!
    "You are the light of the world," Christ said
    So, why don't we shine His light?
    Take these lessons to you, which I've laid
    And be strong with Christ's love and might!

  • Well-Intentioned Words

     

    Well, I have been thinking about the fact that many of my friends have been telling me that they believe God can cure me of my mental illness. And I know this is well intended, however I'd like to emphasize that just because God can do something does not mean he will. Sometimes, God uses these flames (illnesses) to sharpen us in his forge.

     

    Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 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. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

     

    ~2 Corinithians 12:7b-10

    In reality, I have found that people telling me that God can cure me from my mental illness does nothing to encourage me. It makes me grieve. For I was given this thorn the day I was born. Many people speak of the many people that Jesus healed, raised from the dead and preformed miracles. But sometimes the miracle is a person who is not healed instantly. It's the person who carries on through all their life with the same thorn that keeps them humble and relying on God. My thorn is my illness. And it is also my tool. I am able to relate and have compassion on the ones that are like me because I am there too...

     

     

     

    Something I'm learning about following God, is trusting that He knows what He is doing. Following Him should never be about expecting everything to be fixed. There is a process and sometimes the scars remain. We are in a body that can scar on flesh. And our minds are connected to that flesh, because the brain is just an inner flesh... It scars and is as broken and unbalanced as the outer flesh... Sure we may pray for healing. And healing will come. It might not be in the way you expected or wanted, but it comes... and one day it shall be complete and if you acknowledge Christ as your Lord you will experience that full a completed healing in Heaven.

     

     

    "Prayer shouldn't be about God 'fixing' things, but God being present in the midst of those things."

     

    ~Rev. Nowell Copley

  • What I'm Thankful For

    It's that time of year. People all over FB have been posting what they are thankful for. Some are the normal things like family, children, jobs, etc. We are supposed to be thankful these things. Me? Well, I'm thankful for my husband, for my children, for the opportunities I've been afforded in my life, my church, my job, and for my Christ. These are things I'm thankful for. I'm thankful for the autumn wind, and the colors of the leaves on the trees, and a place to live, and food to eat, and friends

    I also have some pretty abnormal things to be thankful for, and if you don't have to be thankful for these things, that's so wonderful, and I'm thankful for that as well.

    I'm thankful that my daughter hasn't gotten involved in drugs, or sex, or illegal activities, because so many children with mental illness get involved in these things. Thank you, Lord, and help me be more thankful for these gems.

    I am thankful that my mentally ill daughter has not committed suicide, even though the thought hasn't been absent from her mind. Thank you, Lord, and help me to not take that for granted!

    I'm so thankful for stability, even though it is elusive and never stays long. The fact that it is ever here is a sign of progress. Thank you, Lord, and let it happen again and again.

    I'm thankful for medication because even though there are side-effects, they work, even if they don't always continue to do so. Thank you, Lord, because one hundred years ago the mentally ill were cast into terrible places where they had no existence. Because of this, I get to have my daughter with me, improving slowly but steadily.

    I'm thankful that today there is less stigma concerning mental illness, even though it's not where it needs to be. Thank you, Lord, and I pray for more and more progress!

    Last, but definitely not last, I'm so thankful for the hope of Christ that gives me and my daughter a future, and a glimpse of heaven beyond where there is no illness. Help me to always be thankful for the hope of Christ, and for all the blessing I have, regardless of the difficulties presented.

  • Yaweh Remembers

    The Lord took me by my shoulders

    He shook me until I yielded to heed

    That He most certainly remembered me

    With demons cringing, as they shuddered

     

    The Lord, He spoke through the madness

    He raised a sound like that of true freedom

    Then drawing near, He spoke with kindness

    Calming my fears and whispering love

     

    The Lord told me what I must do

    He caressed my face like a father's love

    Commissioning me with urgent truth

    "Let it loose and focus on the Above"

     

    I struggled, I knew what He meant

    I grew sad as if I was the rich man

    His gaze read me deeply and then sent

    Conviction that pierced this little human

     

    "You don't have to" they begin to whisper lies

    "We'll preserve you the easy way

    You can stay here and you shan't die

    And in this bondage you shall pave your way"

     

    I stared at the Lord

    His eyes gazed to my soul

    And I cried out

    "Lord, Lord! What am I to let loose?

    I try with every way for You

    And now, these demons will not release

    Me into Your gracious peace!

    I want back but they have my throat!

    Whatever there is for me to let go

    Take it away when I don't know how!"

    And with that I fall to His feet in a reverent bow

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