Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Worthless Is A Lie

Sometimes I feel worthless. Sometimes I feel like a failure. Sometimes I wonder if I should just give up on my dream. Sometimes I wonder if I should numb the pain with alcohol. Just go to work, and hate my life, and numb the pain emotionally.

These are horrible things to think as a person, and as a Christian, but they are there, nonetheless. They’re all lies. They’re things that seem true when you’re trapped in self-despair. Escape seems like the only option, even though it is dull and listless. But you think you’re not worth anything, so escape is all you got. Again, lies.

And sometimes I push God away, when I’m like this. More often than not, actually. The one person who I need the most, and I push him away. I’ve thought more than once that I don’t deserve his love. And it’s true. I don’t. You don’t. But it’s not about deserving it, and I know this. But sometimes I feel like I’m not worth saving, and I’m not worth his love. I know there is a difference between being worthy, and having worth, but sometimes it’s hard to see that.

Part of it is unmet expectations, I believe. We put so much expectation on success today. All the entrepreneur stories; all the people who had nothing and worked hard to succeed. If they can do it, anyone can do it. But then when you don’t you wonder where you went wrong. You wonder if maybe you just don’t have what it takes. You wonder if you’ll never get anywhere in life. Even as I write this I know these are lies and they sound ridiculous. But when you are in that desolate way of thinking it can be difficult to see things clearly.

I’m not where I expected to be in life, and that should be okay. I’m sure I’m not the only one. I thought I would have a good job by now, or a successful writing career, or maybe even a house, but I don’t, and that’s okay. Maybe I’m where I need to be. Maybe I’m where God wants me to be. Maybe I just have to wait a little longer for things to work out.

But the truth is, it’s not really about things working out. It’s not about all the success, and things, and extras life has to offer. Not that these are bad things. Success isn’t a bad thing. It’s when success (or whatever else) becomes the only thing, or the first thing, that it can be bad for us. Truth is, it really shouldn’t matter where we are at the moment, because for those of us in Christ, we are children of God.

And that is what matters. Because God values us. God loves us. God wants us. God doesn’t think that we are worthless. And if we say that we are then we are calling him a liar. And I don’t think anyone wants to be in that boat.

God’s love, God himself, is what matters most. His love is the guiding light that can fulfill us. Everything else is secondary to him. And when we feel worthless, or like failures, we need to turn to him, and not away from him, because he is waiting to enfold us into his love. We need only let him.      

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Depression Is Not The End


Once upon a time there was a little girl. A little girl who thought that she was all alone in the world. She had no one who understood her. No friends to confide in. Even her family didn’t really “get” her. They loved her, of course, and she loved them, and they were close, but she didn’t really let them into that dark place inside, at least not all the time. 

The little girl would cry week after week because she was alone. She found solace in writing. She found solace in writing out her pain, writing about tearing her body open with knives and letting the blood run free. But none of it really helped. It helped her express herself, and feel like some of that negativity floating around in her was gone. It helped her cope. But it didn’t heal her.

This went on for quite some time on and off. Some days were better than other days. Some months were better than other months. Some years were better than other years. But the darkness lingered around her like a dark shroud.

The little girl thought that certain things would “fix” it. She thought when she could do what she wanted that the darkness would magically go away. She thought that when she threw herself into a goal it would fix her. She thought that reading self-help books and learning techniques would help her evade the darkness. These things helped, but the darkness kept pushing back against them.

Then she met Jesus.

Jesus Christ came into her life and he started to help her cope. He started to help heal her, and not just treat the symptoms. He loved her. He nurtured her. He held her through the dark nights. He stayed by her side when she told him she wanted to die. He never let her walk through life alone, he never had, and he was always constantly by her side.

And the little girl got better. She really did. The darkness didn’t go away, but Jesus was her light in the dark. Her constant companion. Staying with her through the fears, and the doubts, and the many, many tears. When she wanted to kill herself, he told her no. When she wanted to give up on life, he gave her a reason to live. When she wasn't sure about him, he went after her, and pulled her in tight, never letting go.

And one day, the darkness disappeared. The little girl chose life. The little girl chose to live. Because of Jesus the little girl healed, and she didn’t want to die anymore.

That little girl is me. Only I wasn’t actually that little when it happened. Around age 15 or 16. Only it wasn’t really that bad in the beginning. I was just kind of sad and lonely, and it really was on and off like I said. It didn’t really turn into depression until around my second year of university. I didn’t meet Jesus until around age 21 or 22. There was a long period of searching that led to it, and things were kind of rocky in the beginning, but he stayed with me and he healed me.

I was actually going to work on one of my works in progress when I wrote this, but Jesus told me to write this instead. I felt like he was guiding me when I wrote it. Anyway, I hope you liked this post. And if you’re suicidal or have depression, lean on Jesus. He’ll be there for you. Try to keep hope alive. Talk to someone you trust. Talk to a stranger that you pay, if you can afford it. Call a help line. But don’t give into the dark thoughts. They don’t own you. You don’t have to think you’re worthless. Write them down, paint a picture, or however you choose to express yourself creatively. If you just need to cry and grieve, that’s okay. Sometimes that’s all we can do. But this isn’t the end for you. You can get through this. Depression does not have to win.

Also, I know that I mention Jesus in this post, but I just want to say that God the Father, and the Holy Spirit were also part of the process, as they are one God in three Persons. Just wanted to clarify.

Another point, I'm not saying everything from here on out will be perfect. It won't. But you probably get that. I'm just putting what I went through in words. 

Friday, 21 April 2017

Choices

This post is for all the other writers out there who are frustrated like crazy. Sorry I probably won’t be able to offer you any solid advice, but maybe my thoughts will offer you some solace, or some nugget of wisdom.

writer

I’m having career issues. I’m at a crossroads, and I’ve gone from one road to the other twenty times and back, trying to make sense of what the hell it is I’m supposed to do in this life.

I want to write. I know that. I live that. But society tells me I need a real job. No, that’s wrong. Society tells me a need a good job. One that I love. No, that’s wrong too. Society tells me I need a job that makes a lot of money. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as I make lots of the green stuff. Or at least a half decent amount.

It doesn’t seem that bad on the surface. Go to uni or college. Get a degree. Get a good job (lots of money). Meet a nice guy or girl. Get married. Have kids. Live happily ever after.

It’s not that bad. On the surface.

Problem is: I don’t fit the mould.

I’m not against getting a good job. I’m not against making lots of money. What I’m having trouble with is that all I want to do is write. It’s the only thing I want to do. I don’t even really want to be a journalist or some other writing related job. I want to write fiction and tell the stories that want to be told.

But that doesn’t make money. At least not right away. Sometimes not for a long time. I mean, I can’t even call myself a starving artist, because my body would have consumed itself by now, and I’d be a dead artist.

The way things are now I have a job. Not particularly good, but it pays me. And I sort of hate it. But I don’t think I hate it because of what I do, (although truth be told it can get pretty aggravating), I think I hate it because it stops me from writing. It stops me from doing what I want to do. That was the problem I had in university. I really liked the courses, and I’m glad I went, but there was so much work that there wasn’t much writing time and I fell into depression partly because of it.

The thing is, I’m looking for a new job. A better job (more money). But I’m wondering if that’s the right choice. Is it the right choice to pour all my time into finding another job so that I can come to hate it so that I can build a career on the side writing novels? It just seems cyclical. It just seems pointless. It seems like I’m trying to build a career I don’t want as a failsafe so I can go after the career I do want, but in the meantime the career I do want is getting strangled because it’s not getting enough air.

I mean, I get the reasons for getting a better job. Writing is looking bleak. And it’s so hard to keep the doubt at bay sometimes, and believe that this thing could actually work. But I wonder if I owe it to myself to try, to really try to make it work, before succumbing to another job I’m liable to grow to hate.

Or maybe I’m being too cynical, and I really should just get a better job, then focus on my writing.

I don’t know.

Any thoughts? 

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

When Life Looks Bleak

So ideally this post should have been put up before Easter, or on Easter, but it wasn't written yet and I'm not waiting until next Easter to post it. My hope is that someone who needs the words will see it and it will speak to them.


How do we have hope in the darkest, bleakest times? How do we continue to keep hope alive when all seems lost? When all is dark and gray and falling to ashes around us, when our hopes and dreams disintegrate into dust, when it feels like God himself has left us alone, how do we have hope? How do we press on? How do we keep going when we are weighed down by a weight that we cannot even see? How do we have hope?

You just do, some say. Or you just pray hard enough. Like it’s your fault. Cause you’re not praying hard enough. Pray tell, (pun intended), what does “praying hard enough” look like? How is it different from regular prayer? Do people put extra passion into their prayers, so God hears them better? Do you think God cares about extra passion? He cares about the heart, of course, but that’s not exactly the same thing.

I read an article you can see here about how Mary the mother of Jesus, her sister, Mary Magdalene, the disciples, and all the others, didn’t know what was going to happen on Good Friday. We know. We know exactly what was going to happen. But they didn’t. And they lived it. Everything was crashing down all around them. What do you do when the Son of God has just been crucified? How do you have hope after that? I can just imagine them telling themselves and each other that it’s going to be okay. Jesus said it was going to be okay. Everything is going to be fine. When really they have no idea that it’s going to be okay, and no idea what the future holds. They’re trying to hold onto hope when it seems that all hope is lost, and they’re probably just barely getting through the day.

But then comes Easter.

They didn’t know that Easter was coming, but it came. Because God is good, and God wasn’t going to leave them. He wasn’t going to forsake them. He didn’t forget about them or stop caring. He just had some errands to attend to :)

And the same is true for you and for me. The same is true for those who are in Christ. It looks bad. It looks hopeless. It looks bleak. It looks like it is never going to end. Like we will never win, and never get anywhere with our lives. But what we can’t see is that our Easter is on the horizon. It will get better. Our God is not a God who breaks promises. And if it doesn’t get better. If things never go quite the way we want them to, then that’s okay too. Because we’re not in it alone. We never were. 


Sunday, 2 April 2017

The Neighbour

It took longer than I thought it would, but I recently published a novella called The Neighbour. If you're into suspense or romance, it might just be your cup of tea. Here's the blurb:

Life was simple for Alissa. Easy. She had an exit plan from life. Nothing and no one was going to stop her. Her mind was made up. She was done. Except for one problem. The neighbour. The neighbour with the good looks and the bleeding heart. The neighbour who inserted himself into her life like it was nothing. The neighbour who’s determined to save her. But there’s a problem with that. Alissa doesn’t want to be saved. And the neighbour isn’t telling her the whole truth. He has a few secrets of his own. What’s he hiding? Will he be able to save Alissa, or is it him who needs saving?

And here's a bit of chapter one to get you hooked ;)

Blood was trickling down my arm. Blood was everywhere. Coating me. Bathing me. Turning my blond hair into a gruesome red. A deliciously sweet smile on my face. I licked my lips. Tasted the blood. It tasted so good. But I think that was just my imagination and joy that I finally did it. That I finally cut and cut and cut, until it was too late to be saved.
            
I glanced out the window. My neighbour was walking by. I didn't even know his name. His head jerked toward the window as I dragged the sharp metal of the razor along my arm. I guess I should have closed the curtains, but I liked something about the sun shining in when I died. It made it more dramatic. I laughed when I pictured his scared face. So concerned. I couldn't imagine why. I never knew him. Maybe he was just the type who wanted to help everyone, no matter who they were. That type of person made me sick. But it didn't matter. I wouldn't have to deal with them much longer. No one could save me. I was a lost hope.
            
The brilliant ivory of the tub sparkled white against the bright red of my blood. Drops fell then cascaded onto the ivory, so darkly beautiful. I stared at it, fixated on it, fearing that my mind would wander back to the reasons why I did this. I did not want to be burdened with them. I wanted to be in peace before my death. I smiled as I felt the world fading, slowly, slipping away. I sank deep into the tub, slipping under the curtain of red.
            
The last thing I saw before I closed my eyes forever was the neighbour coming in. I vaguely wondered why he was there, then realized it would be some pathetic attempt to save me. But it's too late, I thought, I'm already gone.


And here's where you can buy it:


All Available Stores: books2read.com/theneighbour

It's only available as an ebook right now, but I am thinking of making it available in paperback as well. Let me know in the comments if that's something you'd like. Also, if you do like the story, a review would be absolutely wonderful. And it doesn't have to be long. Just a few words will do.

Happy reading!


Saturday, 21 January 2017

You Are Enough

Remember when I said I might write a happier post in a few days? Well, here it is.

You are enough.

There are voices in your head that whisper: you are not enough. But you are enough.

There are people who say to you, "you are not enough," but you are enough.

There are things you think you need to do or be or say to make you enough. To make you have value and worth, but you are enough. Just as you are now, you are enough. You have value and worth now, simply by breathing. You are enough.

You may think you’re not enough for life. You just can't do life right. You don't deserve the space you are taking up on this planet and maybe you were one of the people meant to die. But let me tell you, that you are enough. You are not destined to take your life. No one is. People are not made to kill themselves. They are made to live. They are made to love. You have purpose. You are enough.

Maybe you don't think you're enough for God. Find a new one. You are enough for God. You cannot be any more "enough" if you tried.

Maybe you're atheist and you don't think you could ever be enough for anyone. But you are wrong. You are enough. Some people might say you're not, I say, "find new people".

If you're agnostic caught in between, you are enough too. Don't let anyone say otherwise.

This post might seem a little Pollyanna, but it’s true. You can’t not be “enough”, because that would imply there is something fundamentally wrong with who you are as a person. And you can’t change that. There is nothing implicitly wrong with you. You’re just being you, and that’s perfectly okay.

Being enough is not being the best, being perfect, or finally doing that one thing that will make your life great and gain you all the approval you could ever want. Being enough is being who you are and recognizing that your worth is not based on things that you have or do, but on who you are. You cannot be more of yourself. You are enough as you are.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

The Literary Apocalypse

Decided to do the flash fiction challenge from Chuck Wendig's blog. You can check him out at terribleminds.


These are the last words that might ever be written. I warned them that it was coming. I warned the others. But they didn't listen. Why do they never listen? They thought it was a game. They never dreamed the law would past. They thought the club was just for fun. Something to do when they were bored. But they were wrong. So wrong. And now they've "disappeared" and it's just me Ally. It's just the two of us left to fight for the written word. For the truth.

I still don't understand how this all came about. I saw it coming, sure, but why? I never saw the "why". Until yesterday.

I was walking down the street. Words, written ones, anyway, were nearly eradicated by this point already, but it wasn't illegal. It wasn't a federal offence. People just thought it was archaic. They didn't need to read or write, they just asked their machine of choice and it did everything for them. It would surf the web and find the answers. It would control the oven temperature, lock your doors. People didn't read for pleasure or anything now. The machine read it all too them. New "books" were transcribed by voice. Company signs were now just images and logos, no letters, of course. No one owned a pen or paper or even a pencil. It took quite a bit of money and secrecy to come by the one in my hand now, but I had to do it. I had to warn the future.

Little by little they eroded away our dependence on writing and reading, and that gave them full control. Without written words to confirm the accuracy of what people said, they could just put in whatever loop they wanted. There were people who tried to tell the truth with their voice, but they controlled the media. Secret recorders were sent around by people who knew what was going on, but they sent out a signal to distort the recording so it couldn't be listened to. Pen and paper was the only way to get a message out, but the majority had never learned or had forgotten how to read and write. And only a select few like me and Ally, had banded together to stop what was happening. But I think we might be too late. I don't know if the world can be saved. And I don't know if it will matter in a few days. They’ve been purging everyone with the slightest connection to our group, and any group of our kind. Soon only the ignorant and the willfully quiet will remain, and they will have full control.

Bryan looked up from his writing. Ally had just slipped in the door, a nervous look on her face.

"Is it done?" Bryan asked.

"Yes," she whispered, going over to the crib off to the side. They're baby girl lay sleeping, blissfully unaware of what was happening. She was their last hope. Maybe the world's last hope. And she had no idea what was even going on. She was only two months.

Ally turned from the baby and looked over Bryan’s shoulder at what he had wrote.

"You told them about us?" Ally asked, quickly scanning the page. "Why?"

"Because they need to know our story, Ally. They need to know what this cost us."

Ally frowned but didn't say anything. They both knew what was likely to happen to them, and they both were willing to pay the price. They couldn't do anything to stop what was happening, but maybe someone in the future could. Maybe their daughter could save the future.

***
"Just a little further," Ally said, carrying the baby in a basket. They were on their way to a sanctuary, where they prayed someone would find their daughter and raise her as their own. It was the best they could do for her.

Bryan was following a little behind, mentally going over the last words he had written.

Some might wonder why it is so important to protect the past, but it is not the past you are protecting, but the future, dear child of mine, whom I will never know, will never see grow into a strong, talented woman. But I hope I can impart some wisdom to you. I hope you can learn the value of words, and that words, written words, hold the truth of the world. Even these are not fool proof, but if a person can no longer voice their opinion in the written word without fear of being persecuted, then we are no longer free as a society. We are all slaves living to the whim of our master. Voice recordings are not enough. They can be tampered with. It is harder to tamper with something that has been written out by hand.

It was too late for us. But child, and whoever else is reading this, maybe you can change the future. It wasn't always like this. Things were different once upon a time ago. Maybe you can restore them.

With love, Bryan and Ally

It was almost time. Ally set the baby down in the basket outside a building. It was the community centre for the sanctuary. Bryan looked around, then took the folded pieces of paper and tucked them inside the onesie of their baby, so no one would see. They didn't give the child a name. They hadn't dared to. Names were traceable. Dangerous. It would be easier for her if she started fresh. Bryan only hoped that whoever found her could be trusted with what was written on the paper. Otherwise this was all futile.

"Come on," Bryan said, tugging on Alley. "We have to go. Before someone sees."

With a last look at her daughter, Ally nodded. She would have liked to have said something in the letter, but it was Bryan who had the gift with words, not her. But she trusted him enough to know what to say.

It was starting to snow now. They hurried back up the hill they'd come from, wanting to get away from the sanctuary as soon as possible. They had an escape route planned, but they both knew they weren't going to make it. Neither of them were surprised when a group of soldiers stopped them just a few mile from the sanctuary.

"Kneel," one of the soldiers bit out. Ally and Bryan did as they were told, and kneeled in the mud and dirt on the road. It was the end. They both knew it.

"I love you," Bryan whispered, as he turned to look at Ally one last time.

"I love you, too," she said, a single tear slipping from her eye.

The soldier watching this display remained emotionless. He pointed the gun at Ally, and then Bryan, pulling the trigger as if he were doing something as simple as pulling out weeds.

***
"And that," said the history professor, "is what happens to traitors. People who betray the truth of this glorious country. Questions?"

A boy in front with dark hair raised his hand.

"Yes?"

"What happened to the baby?"

"It was killed, of course."

A girl with brown hair cast her eyes down. Her name was Gabriella. She knew what story the government pushed, but she knew the real truth. The baby didn't die, it had survived. She knew because Ally and Bryan were her great grandparents. Ella, that was the name the baby had been given, had been taken in by a kind old couple, but hadn't been able to do anything to fight back. It was enough trouble just to stay alive and keep what Bryan had written safe. But she made sure to pass on what was written to her daughter, Gabriella's mother, who had given the papers to her just last week, when she had turned 21.

Gabriella ran a finger over the smooth paper in the inside pocket of her coat. The paper was worn thin from the years. She couldn't read it, but she didn't dare let it out of her sight. She knew how important it was. If her great grandparents had died to protect it, then it had to be important. She didn't know how, but she was going to find a way to read it. And maybe, just maybe, she could finish what her grandparents had started.