la cucaracha

“sometimes the beauty of my people is so thick and intricate. i spend days trying to undo my eyes so i can sleep.” ― Nayyirah Waheed

Month: April, 2013

Psalm(ing)

The kisses of the wind
make my eyes write praise on 
these cheeks-

Sometimes, gulped down by
the knight of sin,
dusk is my pew
and your dew falls afresh from 
the freckled love you’ve drawn above my thoughts.

You woo my mind, captivate my spirit-
suspend my faith with clothespins upon the 
depth of your constellations.

My soul hangs at the tip of the Foolishness 
of your tongue
and I cry, pierced by the eternity
and vastness of the victory you have drawn with my veins

I am small, sleeping often
in the dark hanging like a muddled towel
I forget my skin
is sown by the buttons of your bosom- 
your needle always piercing the knight.

Your Son impregnates the song into the pores of 
being, his rays draw your freckles into 
a galaxy of love across the canvas of my heart

Where there was nothing, and darkness lied
I was woken by
your kisses in the wind; they write praises
across my cheeks,
those cheeks that sing of star gazing with you, every night.

The Scary ‘S’ Word: Submission

I don’t know about you, but the word “submission” pretty much freaks me out, especially when it’s one of the essential parts of a woman’s role or calling in relation to her husband (outlined in Ephesians 5). Actually, when I first read this verse I immediately dismissed it because I found the submission to the opposite sex to be a completely archaic notion; I held feminist rants in my head, got in heated debates over the connotation and meaning of the word within the verse with many friends (who thank goodness extended such grace and love that they still remain my friends today), and just generally pouted over this word’s existence in this verse.

So as the idea of one day being the other part to a marital union went from being completely dead to me, allowing the desire to grow within me, to avoiding the dialogue with God on this subject, and then arriving to where I am right now: demanding answers on the subject of marriage. So, Ephesians 5:21 and forward seemed like a good place to start the dialogue with God, and that brought me to my first question, followed by the inclination to share the conversation that followed, with you.

What the heck is up with this whole submitting to your husband thing?

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything…” (Ephesians 5:21-23 NIV)

The key, I found, towards understanding this word and verse in general was in taking a step back. Taking a step back both from the connotation “submission” to the opposite sex carries, and from the verse itself: scroll up to Ephesians 4.  The whole beginning of the book of Ephesians, for starters, is a focus on the relationship with God. In Ephesians 4, Paul further dissects the anatomy of a life of unity with God and life as part of his family.

That is not the way you learned Christ! For surely you have heard about him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus. You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds…” (Ephesians 4:20-23)

This verse is reminiscent of verses in both Romans and 2 Corinthians: laying aside the lifestyle before knowing God, and becoming new creation in Him. There is connection between this verse and the command to be submissive to your spouse; in order to understand the meaning of submission, it’s imperative to understand your relationship with God. Deciding to follow God, means choosing to soak in His bubble bath of love: where you’re choosing to place God as the core of your being, understanding that you were created in a value based on His truth (love), and that as you seek Him you are also being renewed on a daily basis by the power of the Spirit. That’s the life that we have through Jesus: a direct relationship with our creator.

I strongly believe that submission to your husband is not reflective of an act of retreat under the shadow of the male figure, but reflective of the same submission that Jesus had to God’s plan for humanity through an unconditional love for us. So, as husbands are called to love us like God loves his church, so wives too are called to love like Jesus loved humanity: submitting our lives in service first to our God, and then to the love of our husbands, who also follow God (ultimate love).

Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21). That’s where it begins: submitting to the ultimate Love, submitting to God. And as wives, we have the awesome responsibility of bringing unity into the marriage as we submit to the love of our husbands; so in submission we become unified, we become one under a love that surpasses all individual power and understanding.

I’m down for that.

Getting real

I’m feeling that this needs to be talked about tonight, so here it goes…

So for the past couple of years, I think that one of the greatest struggles I faced was learning what recovery was. By recovery I mean, that word people often use to describe overcoming any sort of unhealthy lifestyle that consumed you at any given point in time. For me, it was recovering from the symptoms that reflected my greater internal condition that was not liking, even less, loving who I was. When those symptoms finally erupted to the surface, the immediate medical response was to bring a cure into the equation. And so from that moment, I began to wrestle with recovery. And here’s what I learned from that wrestling match:

I was first introduced to a concept of recovery that entertains the idea of adopting a life divorced from any attribute or attitude of the problem. That didn’t really seem like something I wanted a piece of, and I was enormously turned off from recovery; to also add that I was comfortable in the facade of a life with control. I didn’t want to think of letting go of something that I held so deeply and so tightly to. To the point of feeling as though that was the only thing that defined me. So I closed the door on that.

Then I was kind of shoved into recovering. Amidst in my rigidness, I complied to test the waters; to see why everyone would rather label me under a recovering addict than hear my SOS under the false identity I had adopted because I felt like a barren wasteland. 

But what followed this encounter were only months of uncertainty. Months of trying to discern whether the reason I was where I was, was because of my own doing, or if I had simply allowed my identity to be shifted from being defined by this “problem” to the goals I was coached into reaching, also making me believe I was doing better. Don’t get me wrong, though- I know that where I am right now would not have been possible without this vital time in my life. It’s so important to have people that love you surround you and definitely coach you and support you through adversity. Actually, I’ll just side note here that, it’s absolutely essential to be in community if any sort of recovery is on the agenda (and I’m positive that this community will also strive to assure the well being of its members, so growth will always be an awesome player within these relationships). But there was a disconnect within me when I went down the checklist that marked my physical freedom from this struggle and the whipping that I felt each time I made myself crawl onto the scale at the gym, or letting the numbers dig their taunting fingers into my heart. So recovery kind of took on the same mask that I had previously been putting on anyway: looking perfect on the outside, kind of a big huge mess on the inside. I lost trust in anything that stood for recovery, as I did for recovery itself. (The awesome part that I didn’t see at the time, though, was that for the first time ever, I recognized I was a huge mess on the inside, and that that really affected me; that it actually really hurt me). 

But anyway, I took what I thought was recovery’s better side: relapse. And my hair started falling out again, no excessive amount of brushing teeth could wash away the smell of stomach acid, and I dressed in anxiety and deceit every time I could get out of bed. 

So that’s what recovery is not all about. 

Let me tell you what recover IS all about:

From what I’ve learned, it’s the process of rekindling the desire to live. And what and how that looks for you, well, that’s your story. And it’s an awesome one.

Recovery, for me, was was erasing that line that was made between an “unhealthy” and “healthy” living style or the common ideology that recovery means divorcing yourself from the person you were. Then, it was taking a first breath and saying, “today I’m going to ask for a hug”. And then the next day, taking another breath and saying, “today I’m going to ask for two hugs”. It was pulling out of the very pits of the gut I had hated the very love that I was made with and created for. It’s taking off the mask, and allowing to be drenched in a commitment to recovering the right and passion to live even if and when the dark hole keeps circling its promises to suck everything out of you. It’s recovering your right to live, because even when your mind says you’re not worth it- your spirit and your heart are screaming the truth: that you are valuable, you are worth it, and your essence is intact and ready to explode in all its beautiful glory the moment you acknowledge that you are love, that love will make you whole; love trumps all lies, and that means that you were created from the beginning for the purpose of breathing, no, absolutely screaming that declaration of victory over those lies of worthlessness.  

You’re worth it. 

I’m worth it. 

It’s not about divorcing anything, breaking anything, leaving anything. Recovery is all about being knit all over again in and with a love that honors your dignity, your life. And knitting, my friends, is the art of unraveling and tangling, unfurling and rebuilding. 

Let’s reclaim our right to live, and carry out the reason we are here: ask God for a hug today, and maybe even a whisper to have Him remind you that you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13-14).You are worth it. I am worth it. Let’s reclaim our right to live.

What better way to kick off a blog than to talk about piercings…

This post is really just to break the ice, get the ball moving: this is the story of my nose piercing.

I was lying in bed one night weighed down by heavy covers, a heavy stomach, and a heavy heart. Since sleep didn’t seem like an option that evening, I reached over to grab my Bible and opened to Genesis, flipped through the first couple pages, and stopped at Genesis 24. Here I found a new twist to this passage that I had been familiar with since infancy, realizing that Genesis 24 is also all about the love story between the servant Abraham sends out to find Isaac a wife, and God.

So Abraham asks his servant to go out and find Isaac a wife. I love the servant’s response to this command, staggering in front of his master he basically responds with, “well what if I can’t find anyone, Abraham?” And a valid question at that, I mean… what was Abraham thinking, to just stroll into Wife Shop and pick the best one out?

Abraham responds, God will provide.

That’s pretty sick. I mean, Abraham’s faith. But, I’m sure this just added a little more pressure onto the servant’s nerves, and maybe a little of, “this guy is crazy” under his breath.

But then we see that the servant follows Abraham’s orders, but when he sets off on the journey to find this wife and later makes a stop, he also does something really significant. He prays.

“Lord, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. May it be that when I say to a young woman, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”- Genesis 24:12-14

I admire the boldness of this man’s prayer: “God, bring me this woman, and this is how you’re going to let me know she’s the one.” The servant speaks out of his doubt, places his trust and reflects an intimate tone through his words towards God.

Then Rebekah comes along and one of the first things mentioned about her is that she’s a virgin. I think that super significant because, it represents the pure condition that envelops the gifts God gives us. And not only that, but she walks up to the servant and displays her own servant’s heart by pulling out water for the man and the camels. In just moments, the servant’s words to God went from being syllables thrown into the air to becoming a concrete sign of reassurance of His care, provision, and love to His people.

So anyways, when the camels had finished drinking, the servant took out a gold nose ring weighing a beka and two gold bracelets weighing ten shekels.
Then he asked, “Whose daughter are you? Please tell me, is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?”

This short scene sealed the deal, it was the servant’s “amen” to God, and God’s absolute faithfulness to His children. And so that’s why I wanted a nose ring: to wear it as a symbol of my covenant with God to serve Him and His people, as well as His promises to keep exposing new angles of His love as I follow Him.

The heaviness of my covers was transformed into the thick presence of His love, the heaviness of my heart became the strong pounding and passion to “roll up my bed and follow Him”, and the heaviness of my stomach was overcome by a thousand butterflies in excitement for His anointing over my life.

I had nose idea a piercing could come with that kind of story, either.

Growing up, my mother described me as a peculiar person. So as I follow and seek God, I have come to realize that I am far from normal, if that is even possible to be in this world, and look forward to waking up each morning to God closing doors, as He leads me through others. And I suppose that’s the vision for this blog: to share the moments of adversity and how those moments develop into my ministry.
A peculiar girl, redeemed by the Lord, telling her story…