“Course He Isn’t Safe. But He’s Good.”

I don’t want your god of rainbows and butterflies, your god who dances in fields and makes daisy chains and takes you on picnics, or your god who always forgives, is never angry, is always gentle, and is always super positive. I don’t want your sheep, your bright ball of light, your grandfatherly figure, and your heavenly Santa Claus.

Sorry, lovely, the God of this universe is not a kindly, old, gray-haired, hippy grandfather. Yes, He romances us. Yes, He always, 100%-of-the-time, no-matter-what forgives us. Yes, He is gentle with us, even when He breaks us.

But please, please, don’t lose sight of the sword in the folds of his robe. Don’t lose sight of the fire in His eyes. Don’t forget that, when people see Him without protection, they die. Don’t forget that His angels cause warriors to fall to the ground and fear for their life. Don’t forget that this is the God who ripped His own heart out of His chest and put it on earth for us to trample on and abuse. Don’t forget that He has sacrificed everything and daily fights for us.

There are times in my life when I need the God who romances me, who paints sunsets and plants flowers, and who puts people in my life to say a gentle word, and He is always faithful to provide that. But mostly, if I’m really honest, I need the God who will stand over my curled up, incapacitated soul and fight away the darkness with His sword.

I need the God who pushes my boundaries. I need the God who chisels away painfully at my soul, working on me and convicting me to become more like Him. I need the God who is covered to His elbows in the blood of my enemies, who fights for me while I cower behind Him, who hands me a sword and pushes me into the fray when I don’t think I’m brave enough or strong enough.

I need the God who doesn’t cut me slack, who demands perfection, who is angry with a righteous anger when I walk away or hurt Him, who lets me face the consequences of my choices, and who is always waiting to take me back. I need the God who knows me better than I know myself. I need the God who molded my face with His fingers – the fingers that built up the mountains and leveled the plains and carved out the unfathomable, deep places for the oceans.

I need the God who is strong enough to carry me when I can’t walk on my own. I need the God who never tires, never sleeps, never fails, and never gives up on me. I need the God who is as desperate for me as I am for Him and will go to whatever lengths He must to win my heart and soul.

One of my most favorite quotes of all time is from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Susan is talking with Mr. Beaver about Aslan, and she says, “Is he – quite safe?” And Mr. Beaver replies, “Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

The God I need, the God I serve, is not safe.

To be safe, He would have to be small enough to be understood. He would have to be something I could pull into tiny pieces and figure out. He would have to be small enough for me to wrap my head around. He would have to be predictable and quantifiable.

I could never worship Him, serve Him, give my life to Him, or follow Him if He were small enough to be safe.

So, please, throw away your safe God. Throw away the thing you’ve shrunk God into. Throw away your tiny, one-dimensional view of God. Throw away the PC, kind, loving, old man floating on a cloud in the sky. Remember that the Creator of the Universe and all its intricacies could never be small enough for you, the created, to truly grasp.

But always remember that He is good.

No matter how ferocious He is, no matter how angry He gets, no matter how powerful He is, no matter how strong He is, no matter how much control He has, no matter how much you run away, no matter how jealous He is for you, and no matter how much He longs for you, He will always be good. Always.

I rest in His hand, covered by the strength of His mighty right arm. I know that His unfathomable love for me is why He protects me. I know that He will always be there to bind up my wounds and carry me to safety.

Because I know the strength of my God, I know that there is nothing He cannot face, there is nothing He will shrink from, and there is nothing that can defeat Him. I know that, because He loves me as His own child, I am cherished with both the ferocity of a warrior and the gentleness of a father. I know that I am always cared for, always loved, and always safe when I rest in the palm of His hand.

I can rest knowing that I will always be protected. I have peace knowing that I will always be delivered. I have courage knowing that I will never fight alone. I have hope knowing that He will never stop fighting to make the world right again.

My Protector, my Father, my Savior, my Lord, and my God will never abandon me, never grow tired of me, never hurt me maliciously, and never forsake me. The Destroyer of my enemies is my Great Physician. The Pillar of Fire is my Calm Waters. I am never alone. I am never forsaken. I will never be abandoned. I am safe.

I’ll take that over your puny half-god any day.

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I Don’t Want to Be Eaten By a Saber-tooth Tiger

I don’t know how to describe this. It’s one of those things that is a mix of emotion, color, and a couple random words.

Forgive me if I ramble. I don’t know how to put this in simple words. This is me processing this and allowing you to read my brain.

You’re welcome, Darling Creepers.

There’s an experiment where scientists put a group of people in a room with music playing softly. They encouraged them to talk among themselves and do whatever. Then they turned the music up really gradually. The people in the room never noticed the music turning up. It got so loud, during the experiment, the people were shouting to be heard, but they didn’t notice they were shouting and they didn’t notice that the music was louder. Finally, someone realized it was super loud, and they all found themselves in agony over how loud it was in the room.

That’s kind of how my life is right now. In this exact moment. I think.

Almost two years ago, my life was overshadowed by black. It was a black like what you get when you’re in the deepest parts of a cave.

That kind of black is scary. There is absolutely no light for your eyes to see, so your brain freaks out and starts imagining you can actually see things.

If you hold your hand in front of your face, your brain will say you can see it. But you can’t. If you touch the outline of a jagged point on a rock, your brain will paint a faint picture of it for you, but it really has no clue what it looks like. It could be that a saber-tooth tiger has crawled in the cave and yawned, and you’re really petting its tooth. You think you’re touching a rock because that’s what your freaked out brain is telling you, but you don’t really know if it’s a rock or a saber-tooth tiger tooth because you can’t actually see, no matter how much you think you can.

This is one of the reasons people go insane if they’re left in that kind of darkness too long. It’s also why they fall into deep, dark holes even though they thought they saw a safe way.

The point is, in a darkness that deep, you can’t trust what your brain is telling you you’re seeing. It’s too dark for your brain to really know what’s going on.

When your life is in a darkness that deep, your brain lies to you again.

“You can’t tell anyone how you feel; they won’t understand.”

Lie.

“It would probably be better if you just stopped breathing. Whatever way you could come up with to manage that would be fine with me.”

Lie.

“Maybe if you cut a little deeper next time, everything will feel normal again.”

Lie.

It’s so dark, your brain is making things up because it’s freaking out, and, it all sounds so convincing, you want to believe it. Bad idea. A lie is a lie, no matter how cleverly it’s dressed up. Even if it’s coming from the brain you trust.

The safe, hard, steady rock you think you’re touching is really a yawning saber-tooth tiger and, as soon as it closes its mouth, it’s going to bite your face off.

So, who do you trust when your brain is a freaked out, lying, traitorous organ?

Well, purely by accident, someone came along and reminded me that I wasn’t alone in my darkness. They brought me a flashlight.

I refused to use it for a really long time, but I looked up today and discovered something.

My world’s not black anymore.

Like the people in the experiment, my discovery of this change was sudden, shocking, and strange. And it happened without my consent or overt desire for change.

Looking back, I can see where my world has lightened. I can pinpoint moments where my world changed colors, ever so slightly, and I never noticed.

I can also pinpoint the moment it started changing. It was when someone brought me my flashlight.

It wasn’t that I turned it on, and I could see again. I didn’t do that. Remember, I refused to use it.

In that moment, I learned I wasn’t alone. And I learned there were other things I could trust.

My eyes were lying. My brain was freaking out. I was hearing things that wanted me dead.

But I still had all my other senses.

They say that, when you go blind, all your other senses enhance. I think they’re right.

My brain was telling me the tooth was a rock, but my nose knows what stinky, saber-tooth tiger breath smells like. I trusted my nose and learned to walk away.

My brain said there was no one there in my darkness, but my hands met other hands around me, reminding me I wasn’t alone.

My brain was telling me lies about what I should do to myself, but my ears heard quiet whispers of love that grew as I listened harder.

And I took a step.

I think that, with every step I took, my life got a little brighter, but I was so busy being distracted by everything else going on in my life, I never noticed the change.

It was gradual, and I don’t think I’m completely out of the cave yet. I may never be, but now I remember that the sky is brilliantly blue and leaves are full of seventy million shades of green. I remember that darkness doesn’t always win, and I can trust my life to Something much larger than me.

I can’t always see. I can’t always trust my brain. I can’t always believe the terrible words in my head.

Yeah, sometimes I walk back into the darkness because the light hurts and, quite frankly, I don’t always like touching people.

I do know, however, that there is no darkness where Light comes in. I know that, when the depths of the cave steal my voice, the Spirit inside me intercedes and interprets my senseless groans into cries for help. And I know the Light comes. Not all at once, but slowly, as I let Him come, as I walk toward Him.

The Light always beats the darkness.

In this moment, I’m in The Dark Place. I define myself by how smart I am, and I just did terribly on a final. It drastically affected my final grade in the class, and I’m beating myself up over it.

I also know I won’t be here long. Right now, The Dark Place I’m in is so much lighter than The Dark Place I was in a month ago.

All that to say, I’m constantly moving. My life is a mix of forward and backward steps. I’m not always headed in the right direction in the fastest way possible, but I am always headed somewhere.

Ultimately, I’m making my slow trek back out in the sunshine. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to have really bad days, but I think that’s okay. Ultimately, I’m going in the direction I need to go, and I’m learning coping mechanisms and how to hand things over to God and better ways to communicate with people while I’m going.

I think, even though I’m in The Dark Place this evening, I’m still headed in the right direction. I’m not walking by myself, and I’m not about to get my face eaten off by a saber-tooth tiger. That’s progress.

My First Real Nursing Clinical Was Today

I really should be working on paperwork right now. Like, I’ve got a deadline for all this stuff, and it’s constantly sneaking closer. However, I am exhausted.

My feet hurt from walking the hospital floor (note to self: the first thing you will do when you graduate is get a pair of non-white shoes).

My head hurts from having my hair on top of it all day.

My hands are dry because I washed them at least a hundred times this morning.

My brain is in agony from remembering everything I needed to do and know.

My eyes hurt from staring at my computer, working on paperwork all afternoon. 

I could go to bed right now. I woke up before the sun did, and I was still almost late to the hospital. I’m barely functioning right now. There’s no way I can get anything productive done from this point on.

And this wasn’t even what a normal clinical day will look like.

I’m going to die.

Actually, probably not. I thought I was going to die when I thought about today, and I rose to the challenge. 

Next week and the weeks on out are going to be rough, but, as I learn what I’m actually doing and get in the swing of things, it will get better.

I hope.

This just goes to prove, I’m stronger and smarter than I think I am, and I have an amazing God looking out for me. 

Clinicals, prepare to be rocked.