When it’s hard to speak

Sometimes it’s hard to speak. Sometimes there are things in life that seem to overshadow everything else, blot out the sun, and make time stand still. Have you ever received news like that? It makes it hard to think. To focus. To speak. And it especially makes it hard to write.

This week, I received news that shook my world. That turned everything upside down. And it’s been very hard to write. But someone I dearly love taught me never to give up. Never to allow the moments of uncertainty or fear stand in the way of something you need to do. So I’m going to put my fingers back on the keyboard and I’m going to write.

Fear has a way of stilling our fingers, clouding our mind, and paralyzing our bodies. It makes us unable to function normally and contributes to poor decision making. It shuts our mouths and silences our voices. When you’re fearful or overwhelmed, it’s important to remember that one day at a time, one step at a time, you will regain your voice.

If you’re being silenced by people or circumstances, if you feel powerless to do or say or change anything around you, please know you’re not alone. This will not last forever. And you will be able to speak again.

If fear is stopping you from leaving a toxic environment, relationship, or church, don’t feel ashamed. Reach out to people who have gone before you. Allow them to lift you up and help you walk and speak again. You are not alone in this struggle to be free. And I won’t promise that it will be easy. But there are many others who have walked this road before you and will help you along the way.

Sometimes we’re struck by fear from situations that are outside of our control. In moments like this, I refuse to be held captive. I know that God walks right in the middle of this with me. I don’t have all the answers and I never will. I’m not going to lie and say that’s totally okay with me. I’ve yelled and cried and pleaded with God for many things before. And God has never turned away. God is right there with me, experiencing every one of the rolling wave of emotions that comes with bad news, bad circumstances, or even just the normal, run-of-the-mill bad day. I believe the face of God turned away from Jesus on the cross for the first and final time, so it will never turn away from me.

I believe the face of God turned away from Jesus on the cross for the first and final time, so it will never turn away from me.

I once saw a meme that compared God to an abusive boyfriend. He demands you obey him or he’ll punish you. He refuses to allow you to socialize with people who don’t agree with him. You’re not worthy of his love. You’re not allowed to think about leaving him. etc. And honestly, it hit waaaay too close to home. That’s the god I used to serve. That’s the god that fundamentalist religion gives you. An angry, controlling, demanding, abusive god. One that I lived in constant fear of crossing or making angry. I lived searching and yearning for the ever-elusive “hand of blessing” to remain on my life. It was held like a carrot on stick, ever just out of reach. Just one more “tithe and offering” away. Just one more “visitation” day away. Just one more sacrifice of a secular music band or “immodest” outfit. Just…one…more..

Balderdash.

God meets you right where you are.

Full. Freaking. Stop.

No ifs, ands, buts, or expectations.

God isn’t man-made. God isn’t rules and demands and threats and terror and shame and condemnation.

God isn’t man-made. God isn’t rules and demands and threats and terror and shame and condemnation. Don’t let the grasping, choking, clawing hands of guilt or shame keep you chained in human expectations or demands. Don’t let fear keep you from the earth-shattering, religious rule-breaking, societal-barrier-smashing, all-consuming love of God. Just go for it. Open your mouth and speak.

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