I wrote this poem a couple months ago, as I was preparing to move back to the United States after living in the Philippines for a year.

Honestly, I feel somewhat guilty for not writing on my blog very often about my whole Philippines experience.  But I think my perspective shifted fairly early in the season from viewing the past year of my life as a “year-long mission trip” to simply just a year of life.  And it was the most beautiful, extraordinary, God-filled year I’ve ever had.

It was also the hardest, most fiery, three-hundred and sixty-five days I’ve walked.  I struggled with anxiety, depression, and shame for the majority of those days, and had a difficult time expressing those struggles to people here in America, because well, I’m terrible at vulnerability and I knew it would make my sparkly “missionary image” come crashing down.

So that’s why I have been so quiet lately.  I’ve been struggling, and I’m finally not so ashamed to say it.  I know I’m getting closer to my Father each day, and He’s redefining what His love is for me, and the identity that His love gives me.

As I emerged out of one of those “valley” weeks where my struggle seemed crushing, I wrote this poem, in recognizance of the deep love God has for me, which silences all my fears.  And as I process the reality of simply living in the United States again, I truly feel that this poem is a great start to that journey.  So here it is, a little something to break my silence.

And I, Myself, Grew Quiet

I, myself, grew quiet
When my secrets became heavy
And my burden was a basket of fears.
Darkness around me
And darkness inside me—
A darkness that I thought would scare away the light,
and I, myself grew quiet.

When the rage of my own storms
Thundered in my chest,
The pounding in my head rivaled my heartbeat.
And as the insides of my body raced around
My soul got tired,
and I, myself, grew quiet.

The loneliness set in
In a place unknown
And a territory of spirit
Foreign and uncharted.
I trekked through parts of my own being
That I didn’t even know existed.
Under the canyon walls of sins, I journeyed.
It was in the ravine where shame
Wrapped its cold fingers around my wrist, and as
I looked up to the towering heights, I tried to remember
How to see the way out, the light.
and I, myself, grew quiet.

I doubted the promise,
That He would come back for me.
I forgot that a wayward, fearful,
Orphan, broken daughter
Was not my identity.
My darkness tried to choke his goodness
And as I repeatedly jumped at
The shill screams of
“how dare you believe He could be that good?”
I, myself, grew quiet.

I scarce believed I was enough
To proclaim freedom to the captives
When I, myself had never felt
Such heavy chains
Weighty insufficiency
Crushing shame
Defeating sadness.
And I, myself, grew quiet.

Then the light broke through
The clouds parted over head,
The rays of sun danced over my thoughts
And newness was my name.
Dots of gold bounced through my story—
He hadn’t forgotten to add the final touches
Of my restoration.

Then in the Presence
All the spinning ferocity of my life dropped to the floor.
It was in the resting place where I found
The gentle but sure infusion
of energy and liberty to my bones.
The evaporation of the ocean that was
Drowning me.
And the warmth of the healing arms
That set the dislocated parts of my mind
And the tattered fabric of my heart
Into perfect peace.

I waited.
He didn’t forget to touch the face
Of His daughter
The reassurance of His radical love
And radiant light.
There, I breathed in the finality of “it is finished”
and I, myself, grew quiet.

 

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