Regarding the Voice of the Lord

I don’t know if you have ever talked to someone that claimed they had heard the voice of God. I have heard this claim from numerous people. I have read about it, listened to sermons about it, and even had whole conversations revolving around this experience. I have heard so many different descriptions regarding this Divine voice. Some say it is loud and overpowering. Some claim they have even attempted to cover their ears at the sound. Others claim it was an audible whisper that made the hairs on the back of their neck rise and fall like a refreshing breath after a steep climb. In my case? The voice of the Lord wasn’t a supernatural roar than shook the walls of the bathroom I was standing in. It wasn’t a Divine command that reverberated off of the concrete walls, rather it reverberated, with resounding peace, off of the walls I had built in and around myself. The voice didn’t slap me in the face with conviction, or put fingers in gashes of sins left open and untended to. The voice managed to touch each of my wounds with the care of a concerned Father.  It rested over my shoulders and arms like a warm blanket, like the first ray of warming sun after standing outside on a cloudy day. The voice brought in a wave of love that was simultaneously so strong and so gentle. The words given to me ran around my tongue and through my teeth until they willed my mouth to move. The words pushed their way out of my mouth until I whispered them aloud in an empty room, to an audience of myself and the ghosts of mistakes that often inhabit my alone time. And as I whispered the words, unsure and confused in the best way possible, the ghosts seemed shaken, like a television gone static. And in that moment, I didn’t feel torn. I didn’t feel broken. I didn’t feel the need to apologize or cower. I felt loved. I felt complete.

“My people will hurt you. My people will reject you. But I will not. The church may let you down, but I will not.”

Today wasn’t different than any other day. Today I didn’t expect to hear from God. Today I woke up really late and horribly congested. I woke up feeling discouraged as well. And I woke up with a Bible verse already in my mouth: “‘And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. (Luke 11:9)'” This is a Bible verse we had discussed during a morning devotion at camp. Now, I had heard this verse a myriad of times, as it is quite the popular verse, but it had never stuck with me as it did this week. But, it did not stick with me in the way that I wanted it to. It seemed to discourage me. Strange, right? Let me explain.

For as long as I can remember, I have been a “lister” and a “comparer”. These are two bad traits to have together. I love to make lists. I love both the act of writing out a list, and the act of compiling mental lists. Unfortunately, these mental lists usually revolve around the ways that I fall short. I list the ways that I fall short of the grace of God. I list the faults that put miles between me and my Savior. I list the reasons I do not deserve to know God. And these lists begin to feel like itches that I cant scratch; sins that I cannot take back. They keep me up at night and trip me up on my best days. Not only do I enjoy detrimental listing, I also find myself CONSTANTLY making comparisons. I blame this partially on my immense love for metaphors and similes. I enjoy taking two seemingly unrelated things and weaving interesting comparisons and connections. But I also compare myself to others. I use other peoples’ strengths to highlight my weaknesses, and then I let those weakness define myself. I have come to discover how toxic these two traits are to my spiritual wellbeing. How do I draw close to God when I am incessantly racking up mental lists of reasons that I am unfit to know Him? How do I grow spiritually when I use other believers to undercut my growth on a daily basis? And with this constant stream of negative, self-induced doubt, how do I convince myself to keep asking, seeking, knocking? Sometimes, giving up seems like it would be a relief.

On top of my consistent self destruction, my relationships with others suffer greatly. In the spirit of complete honesty and transparency, and in the spirit of shedding light on mental illnesses, I will admit unashamedly that I struggle daily with a personality disorder called Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). This looms in the back of my relationships and coils around connections with surprising strength. This disorder coupled with a naïve mind results in a persistent stream of let-downs. The truth is that people get hurt, and then they hurt others. People get hurt; it happens. And people that call themselves believers, that call themselves part of the church, will hurt you too. I consider myself a believer, and I have hurt others. However, the real shame comes when you begin to let these faults and loses influence the way that you see God and your relationship with Him. The church is the body of Christ, so if part of the body hurts you, God must have neglected you, or hurt you, right? Wrong. If you have a cramp in your foot, you don’t say that there is something wrong with your stomach or your brain, do you? No. So, if a part of the body hurts me, why do I automatically assume the entire body will let me down? Why do I assume that the Head of the body let me down? Today I was reminded that God doesn’t let His people down. God doesn’t hurt His people. God doesn’t make lists of reasons why He cant love me; He just loves me. He always loves me. The body may be sick, but the Head is strong. Our Lord is strong. And His love for us is impenetrable.

Spending an entire summer living in close proximity with other believers is challenging. People are imperfect, myself especially, and we are going to hurt each other and let each other down. But these incidents should not influence the way that you think about and approach your Heavenly Father. He is always looking at me with love and care, and I forget that so often. The past few days, I have been feeling like I am really not good enough to serve along side of believers. I have been living in my weaknesses, instead of thanking God for my strengths. I have been comparing myself to others, and coming up short each time. And in this cycle, I have found it so difficult to keep asking, seeking, knocking. Throughout my time in Honduras this summer, I feel I have been seeking and coming up empty, but I realize I have been feeling empty because I have failed to look past my self doubt and comparisons a single time. I have been seeking the holiest parts of myself instead of inviting God to infiltrate even my darkest parts.

Just last night, I wrote in my journal:

Good Father,

I am seeking, but I can’t feel You. I cannot find You. I am trying to please You, but I feel so unfit to be the person that You want me to be. All I know right now is that I am so distracted. Why can’t it be easy to find you? You’ve loved us and died for us, but I am still so rootbound in this Earth, and in the things of this Earth. I feel very stressed and confused. I need help.

amen.

Last night, I was fully convinced that I was unfit to seek and serve. I had defeated myself with my own insecurities. I had let the hurt caused by other believers convince me that God had hurt me as well. And I woke up thing morning to a promise that if I seek continually, I will find. Talk about Divine intervention! How amazing is it that God knows us, and pursues us. Today, I make a new promise that I will continue to ask, seek, knock. I will continue to rejoice in the promises that God has given us. He is faithful to us. I will continue to battle the parts of myself and the parts of the body that attempt to deter me from the presence of the Lord. Today I am imperfect. Today I am a sinner. Today I was filled with doubt. and TODAY GOD LOVES ME. He never stops loving me. I will seek Him still.

Above all, I find it astounding how our Lord knows us. I felt my fragile faith this morning, and approached me with a gentle, comforting voice. He doesn’t get annoyed by my constant straying. He knows me. He knows the saddest parts of me. He knows the parts of me that I choose to hide from the world. He knows my hideous doubt, and He chooses to approach me gently. He chooses to reassure me and pursue me. I deserve to be broken by the roar of His wrath, but He knows me. He breaks me gently, and hold me together afterwards. What a good, good Father.

For weeks now, I have been experiencing a draught of words. I haven’t been able to conjure up another blog post to tell how beautiful Copan is. I haven’t been able to put my experiences into words. I have been empty. I have been seeking within myself. I must start seeking beyond myself. God abilities are beyond my abilities, so why wouldn’t I seek beyond my abilities. Today I will seek. Tomorrow I will seek. I will ask and God will hear me. He will never fail me. His church may hurt me, but He never will. And I’m not saying I won’t be a “lister” or comparer” anymore, because I probably always will be. But I will start listing the promises that God has given to us. I will stat listing the ways that He is faithful to us. And I will start comparing myself to the person that I was before God. I will start comparing life and death. Because I was dead, but praise God I am alive now. God knows that I do not have the strength to defeat my weaknesses and abandon my doubt, but He asks us to allow Him to reside within us and make our weaknesses strengths for His church. God asks for our hearts, God seeks our hearts, God knocks on our hearts. I will decide to let Him in everyday.

So, what does the voice of God sound like? It depends on what you are seeking to hear. God is faithful to what you seek. God knows us. For me, the voice of God sounds like love, reassurance, answered promises, forgiveness. It sounds like talking to your best friend and smiling so big because they know you so well. It sounds like my favorite song on repeat. It sounds like full acceptance. It sounds like every beautiful word that you didn’t know you needed to hear. It sounds like home and like falling in love, and like your favorite person telling you that everything will be okay after an exhausting day. It sounds like seeking and finding.

Adaptation and Adoration

“But thank God! He has made us His captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now He uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God…” 2 Corinthians 2: 14-15

The word ‘Beautiful” does not do any justice to Copan, Honduras. The cobblestone streets are lined with pastel colored houses, complete with window flower boxes overflowing with tropical foliage and colorful blossoms. The central park at the end of our street is enclosed by modest shops, markets, restaurants, and cafes. The streets are alive and bustling with taxis and friendly faces. Stray dogs and chickens frequent the streets as well. The mountains in the distance call to me and make me feel comfortably small. The steady trickle of sweat down the small of my back keeps me delightfully aware of my environment, while making me anticipate the return to my quiet house, guarded and kept cool by a canopy of trees. With all of this being said, it is not difficult in the least to fall deeply in love with Copan. The friendly greetings of neighbors and store owners mimics the small-town feel and hospitality of my home in Kentucky. However, like every new place, making Honduras a comfortable home for 6 weeks has taken some major adaptation.

Over the past week, I have dealt with some incredibly strong pangs of loneliness. I have had trouble connecting with people – which is an issue I have never really encountered before. The steady beating of the rain on our leaky roof at night made me long for home, in our tiny apartment, where my brother was just a few steps away. I have felt misunderstood and outcast because of my curious ways of thinking about animals and plants (with myself being the only vegetarian in our group). I have had to resist the urge to run up to every malnourished dog I cross paths with on the street. I have had to learn the rules and expectations of a foreign place, and I did this by messing up… a lot. I am also probably one of the only blonde people in the entire country of Honduras, which results in an abundance of staring and curious looks cast my way. I have had to adjust to waking up sweating, and going to bed sweating. I have adjusted to going to sleep to the sound of lizards chirping in between the rods of wood lined upon our ceiling, and the large spiders and flying cockroaches that often inhabit our closet and shower. I have adjusted to beans for breakfast… and lunch… and dinner… (which I actually love). But, I still have not adjusted to the loneliness. However, I do understand it. For as hard as I am working to seek God and grow closer to Him, Satan is coming at me with feelings of being inadequate from every direction. So, please pray that I can shake this feeling, and begin believing whole-heartedly the God sent me here, without knowing the language, for a reason. There has to be a reason.

Another thing I am getting used to is the quiet of Honduras. I mean, sure, there are ALWAYS chickens making noise, or dogs barking, or children setting off firecrackers (yes, children). But there is a peaceful silence the follows me along the streets and back to my house. There is technological silence, and people actually look up when they walk, rather than being absorbed in their latest text message or blog post. There isn’t the distracting noise of being in a hurry all the time. There is so much space and opportunity to think. Deeply. At home, in the States, there is an abundance of distraction and noise that prevents us from having to face our thoughts and interpret them. And this lack of distraction, this startling present of silence is proving to be very fruitful for me. I can feel the Lord. I can hear the Lord.

Before I left home, I got my heart shattered by a beautiful boy for about the millionth time. And while I usually don’t openly talk about subject as fragile as this on social media, this time it is necessary. For as long as I can remember, I have been drowning in feelings of being unwanted, and misunderstood. I have gone so many consecutive years thinking and accepting that I am not enough. My love has felt defective and unwelcomed, and my relationships have left me unfulfilled. God is using the silence of Honduras to tear down the definition of myself that I have created. He is breaking through my self-depreciating cocoon. He is showing me what it means to love and be loved. He is showering me in His love, and I feel more spiritually fulfilled than I have in a long time. Maybe the reason I am feeling all of the overwhelming feelings of loneliness is because God had to bust down the walls I have built with rejection, and now everything is spilling out. But, for once in my life, I feel content with being out of order and out of control. He has got this. He is using my loneliness to teach me to fully depend on Him and His unending love. He is teaching me that I have been investing my love in the wrong places. And He is better equipping me to love those that deserve it when I return home. And He isn’t equipping me with a passive, shy love, that hides in corners and slinks away when it is not reciprocated. He is arming me with a bold love, that is far stronger than any feelings of rejection or fear. God is using my loneliness to show me that He NEVER leaves. Find comfort in that, find comfort in Him.

God is also challenging my future plans. I have always assumed that I would end up in the hustle and bustle of a big city someday. Rushing down the street, with a cappuccino in my hand. But, I always seem to feel most complete when I am in the unfamiliarity of foreign places. I feel most satisfied when I am walking down dirty streets and holding hands with children with ill fitting clothes and untamed hair. I always find the pieces of myself that I am most proud of when I am serving in foreign places. And once again (with the first time being during my 2015 Haiti mission trip), I feel the overwhelming call to complete school on the education path, and move away from home to teach English. I have always joked that I love things that have no money in them: poetry, blogging, journal keeping, the art of synonyms, the dying curves and loops of cursive writing. But, here, those passions seem to make sense. God wants me to teach. I was made to travel out of my comfort zone and love. I was made to love, and teaching is such a wonderful way to do that.

So far, Honduras has fulfilled me and challenged me in ways that I didn’t think possible. I have cried and laughed and loved so much in this past week, and I have 5 more to go! I cannot even begin to image how God is going to move in Honduras this summer. This is my greatest adventure yet and I am so ready for it. Camp Joy starts next week, and it will be full of early morning coffee runs and smiling children. I cant wait to love on these sweet Honduran babies!

Thank you for reading this post, and your continued support and PRAYERS!

With peace,

Kallie

Small Town Poem (that is entirely too long)

This will not be another unrequited love poem.

I repeat; this will not be a love poem.

I’ve been looking through old poems.

Ones I’ve composed through various stages of school, and relationships that may as well have been made of sand.

I’ve been consolidating and condensing poems because my phone is full of incomplete ones.

iCloud storage is full.

iCloud storage is full.

iCloud storage is deterring my creative process.

Typing poems into my notes rapidly before they melt right out of my brain like candle wax, hardening over my soft skin, making me even more indifferent.

Always typing them at the worst times.

Typing behind the hostess stand at work.

Typing while the shower is running and has been running for 20 minutes, but I am sitting half naked on the sink typing furiously at a poem that I assume to be the next best one.

One that isn’t about loving a stubborn, sun kissed boy that will never be in a position to love me back.

But they always seem to lead back to him…

But this will not be another unrequited love poem.

Truthfully, I haven’t been able to write a poem in a while.

Making my worst fear come true…

A drought of words and ideas.

My words dry up often when I am speaking, but not usually when I am writing – or typing.

To say I am scared of losing them completely is an understatement.

Scared of the poems just going away.

Of words abandoning me like so many people have.

Words have always been there for me.

Cradling me in curves of vowels, and cuddling me in twists of consonants.

They fill my brain when I am alone, which is most times.

But I’ve been putting the poems off.

Because I don’t want to write another love poem.

I can’t write heartbreak in a unique way that my pen hasn’t already touched.

But I have been reading through the poems.

I have found that I have written poems about everyone that couldn’t seem to love me back, so it’s only appropriate that I write a poem about myself.

I am sloppily put together,

The back of my hair never looks brushed, and my shoes are frequently untied.

I walk with a curious bounce in my steps, like a constant limp.

I’m not hurt, I just tend to make very simple things difficult… like walking.

I bite my lips when I’m nervous, or thinking, or mad, or excited… okay, I bite my lips all the time.

Old people hands scare me, and I always save drowning bugs out of swimming pools.

I trip a lot… I like to say it’s because I’m down to earth, but in reality, I’m just horribly uncoordinated…

I love to dance, music or no music.

All the time.

Most of the time barefoot.

I once broke my foot barefoot dancing.

I’m passionate.

I sometimes think my poetry is the most spectacular thing about me, and even my poetry is rather mediocre.

That and my ability to make up believable lies on the spot.

When I can’t come up with a witty poem, I feel the world might forget me entirely.

Which is so silly because nobody reads these anyway.

I just go back and read these to myself to reassure that anxious blonde shadow that follows me around that I am worth something more than cheesy love poems…

Even though that is all these are; cheesy love poems.

I read them to remind myself that I feel real things.

And speaking of real things, I like the way that skin feels after a good sunburn.

Every inch of exposed skin marked with light, and so alive.

I feel combustible on the outside as well as the inside now.

I grew a lot over my first year in college.

I learned how to make friends.

I learned that it’s okay to be proud of yourself when you work really hard for something.

I learned that it’s okay to let yourself be happy.

Someone recently told me that there is a distinct beauty in suffering.

That resonated with me.

It bounced around inside my hollow ribs and made an echo that kept me up at night.

It took me back to the messy haired little girl in the back of the old family car.

Back when my parents were still held together by marital promises said in vain and mutual disdain towards one another.

The only thing they seem to agree on to this day is that they cannot stand one another.

I remember how quiet the car was.

Parked in a church parking lot, across the street from a huge fire.

The castle in my hometown was ablaze.

Glowing like a violent flower against the dead of night.

Demanding attention, and receiving it.

My parents had packed us into the car to watch the fire.

The whole world seemed to freeze around that burning moment.

There was something so eerily beautiful about watching something so solid burn to the ground.

I watched, wide eyed, until I fell asleep.

I can recognize now that the fire very much resembled my parents’ marriage, soon to be snuffed out.

And it resembled the residual anger that would burn inside of my storm shelter of a body for years and years to come.

It would take a flood of grace to tame the flames, but they still flicker from time to time when I turn out all the lights.

They lick my ribs in the most familiar of ways.

So yes, there is beauty in suffering.

There is familiarity and comfort in it too.

A terrifying beauty in watching something fall apart.

Dust to dust.

I suppose this is why I’ve held onto my depression for so long.

Ashes to ashes.

It felt familiar, like the sharp burn of fires lit during my childhood.

My depression has always been the only thing I know for sure about myself.

The only friend of mine that made an appearance every day.

Who caught me when I fell.

So, I held onto my depression.

Thinking that someone would see sad beauty in my crumbling.

See beauty in the fire burning at my insides.

I wanted to be saved.

My depression is the only thing that I knew would be the same in the morning.

I might have moved houses.

I might have lost all my friends.

I might have forgotten what it was like to look in the bathroom mirror and see life looking back at me.

But I knew what my depression looked like: a blank gaze, a sad smile, and a nervous gesture.

But college has taught me that it is okay to release that definition of myself.

Sometimes it is okay to be undefined.

Because, while there is a quiet beauty in suffering, there is a boisterous cacophony of beauty in being happy.

Returning home after my first semester of true growth and discovery was unsettling.

This little town tends to hold me pinned against walls.

To take away the breaths that I need.

Judgement grows faster than the corn in the fields of this small town.

And I’ve spent so much time in the fields, wandering to find pieces of me, but they still don’t know my name.

Each time the wind blows, it tends to remind me that I don’t belong here.

Every relationship that I have established in these backwoods soils have withered away with the inevitable shifting of the seasons.

These fields are filled with ghosts.

Here lies my first relationship.

When I loved him until I ran out of love for myself.

Here lies my longest friendship.

We grew together until we started to strangle one another.

I haven’t talked to her in so long.

Sometimes in run into her and we exchange sad smiles.

It is so hard to part ways with someone who knows you better than you know yourself.

Or maybe she knew only the part that I wanted her to, the parts that I chose to show her…

Maybe that was the problem.

Strike the match.

I tell everyone I hate her now.

Because I cannot admit that losing my best friend was my second heart break.

And it still hurts every day.

And I still pick up the phone to call her every time something good happens.

This little town has a sure way of taking every failure, short coming, slip up, and force feeding them to you through clenched teeth.

I’ve told myself I’d get the hell out of this town as soon as possible.

For years and years, I have cursed the clumsy blonde girl for not fitting into her hometown.

Why can’t you just make friends?

Being left out of parties and never asked to dances.

For hiding from popular kids in grocery store isles.

For being embarrassed because of bags of hand-me-down clothes.

For years, I have tried to separate myself from her.

I’ve convinced myself that there is something deeply wrong with her, this was the reason that she poured love out like cold coffee, only to receive nothing in return.

She fell in love with strangers in the grocery store.

And the way that people sometimes talk to themselves when they think nobody is looking.

She fell in love with the way that people sign their names, and dot their “I’s”.

And the way that people curl up right before they fall asleep.

She fell in love with people who were brave enough to offer polite smiles to strangers.

She fell so many times.

I still fall all the time.

I like to say it’s because I am down to earth, but I know I am just gullible.

If I’m being honest, I don’t know how I still manage to get up.

I have tried to stop cursing that little girl though.

She shoved herself into a snow globe to sit pretty on shelves, and she spent years getting shaken up and rained on.

She broke the glass.

I was always clumsy.

I’ve started telling myself that there is nothing wrong with love that spreads like wildfire.

Maybe the problem isn’t your love, but the fact that the world cannot ever seem to give any back to you.

Maybe there as nothing wrong with that nappy haired little girl after all.

Maybe this town couldn’t hold her.

And the fields never learned her name because she spoke a different language.

A language of love and good intentions, that had never been spoken directly to her, but she taught herself.

She is intelligent and bright.

This town will never know me.

I am still very much that little girl.

I carry her with me.

She is light.

Hollow.

Hallowed.

And the scars that she has obtained from falling are still visible on my body.

This town doesn’t have the right to know the barefoot, blonde-haired, bulletproof woman I have grown into.

There is nothing wrong with my love.

What went wrong was that I forgot to give it to myself so many years ago, and I never have.

And in saying that, I lied.

This poem is about unrequited love.

Only it was me who couldn’t love her adequately all this time.

But I am still living.

And I am still learning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obligatory Introduction

I am trying so hard not to convince myself that this is the first tiny step towards widespread, literary recognition. No, this is merely an outlet to get all of the words swimming around in my head to one place. And if people feel like reading my poetry that lacks meter, but drips with emotion, then so be it!

I have been writing poetry since middle school. When I matched my eye shadow to my Abercrombie shirt and I avoided drawing too much attention to myself. It was a way to cope with not fitting in completely. I started to write a world where I could openly express my feelings. I would really like to think that my poems have gotten better since then. I have stopped trying to rhyme, thankfully.

I continued to write through high school, fueled by heartbreak and regular teenage angst. Also coffee. Lots of coffee.

Now, in college, writing is still the outlet I run to every chance I get. The words keep me up at night until I get them out. This blog is an effort to organize them. Maybe this will keep me from doing crazy things like tattooing the poems on my arms, and forcing my sorority sisters to sit through dramatic readings. My ultimate goal is spoken word poetry. Reading them aloud allows me to weave personality and emotion into the lines.

These poems have both healed and broke me. I only hope that someone can relate to them. Heartbreak is universal, and healing is within reach.