Sugar Spice and Everything Nice

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Have you ever done something a little crazy in a good way?

Like, “Omygosh, no one is gonna see this coming from me because I didn’t even see it coming!”

Maybe it was a decision, or a change of direction. Something that thrilled your curiosities, and pushed you out of your comfort zone. Something that was completely uncharacteristic.

Well, all of those feelings, that’s exactly how I felt when I decided to take up martial arts.

I’ve always been known for being weak. I’ve been called “skinny” more times than I can count, even after I started lifting weights.

And don’t even get me started on my lack of coordination! I am the antonym of the word “graceful”. So, when I found myself in a room with a bunch of black belts for the first time all I could think was- “What am I doing here?”

My first week of training for Modern Arnis, I took off my shoes before stepping onto the training mat, and to my horror discovered that I was wearing my bright pink Blossom PowerPuff Girl socks!

Picture it for a moment: I’m inside of this obscure club tucked away in an ally, surrounded by punching bags, rattan sticks, and four other people dressed in black and decorated with tattoos; the floor is blood-stained, and I have the cutest cartoon character known to man on the tops of my feet.

Talk about embarrassing!

Thankfully, they were mostly merciful about it. Haha!

Now that I’ve been training for a few months though, I realize that those were the perfect socks to wear that day.

My love for the PowerPuff Girls is no secret. The original show first came out when I was a little girl, and I immediately related to them. As cheesy as it sounds, they were huge role models for me and were a representation of the woman I wanted to become.

I wanted to be sweet like Bubbles, confident like Blossom, and tough like Buttercup. I wanted to be feminine but also self-reliant and strong.

The PowerPuff Girls embody that. They are small and girly, but they also save their town against impossibly large creatures and the evilest of threats.

So yeah, I’m small. I’m cute. I’ve got blue eyes, long lashes, and a sensitive soul. I cry over squished spiders, and I like pretty things. I’ve also got callouses, scars, and bruises. I love sweat. And I’m learning how to throw a good punch.

And even though I’m not a little girl anymore, those adorable, colorful, butt-kicking, monster-slaying PowerPuffs still inspire me.

They taught me that you don’t have to sacrifice your softer parts in order to be strong. They proved to my seven-year old psyche that tiny can be mighty, and that has stuck with me.

So, go ahead and call me skinny if you want.

Accuse me of being scrawny in body and you would find me guilty. But accuse me of being scrawny in heart and you will find no evidence. Because I am resilient through and through.

 

Breaking Faith

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I never thought it would happen to me…

Ever since I was a young teenager, the stories have been carved into my impressionable mind.

The stories of the backsliders, the ones who dropped out of church, the ones the world got a hold of…

They were not good stories. Some of them died young. Some of them became unrecognizable. Most of them were never heard from again.

And with every shocking and horrific tale from the pulpit I promised myself that I would never be one of them.

I wanted to be the one who stayed.

But, as it turns out, none of us are very good at keeping promises.

I am the backslider.

The dropout.

Unrecognizable.

How I got here is complicated.

It started with a leap of faith, but it ended with a betrayal I never saw coming.

The whole story is not one for paper, but I can sum it up for you:

I cared about someone, they abandoned me, it destroyed me, and when I sought healing from the God of my youth, it was nowhere to be found.

It didn’t happen overnight. I held on for a long time. But slowly my faith started cracking.

I prayed and nothing happened. So I prayed less.

I sang at the top of my lungs, hands raised, but nothing happened. So I praised less.

The Word seemed to me powerless to stop the pain. So I read less.

First it was one missed service. Then another. Then another.

And there was no one there to stop it.

I am not proud that I have become this. I am desperately confused, lonely, and ashamed.

But once faith is broken, how can it ever be put back together? If I must have faith to even approach the Healer, how can I be healed?

I’m thinking tonight of the impotent man at the pool of Bethesda.

How his faith must have been broken too.

How he watched everyone else receive their healing while he lay helpless to help himself.

He thought that the pool was the only way to healing. But Jesus didn’t put him in the pool…

And I think maybe, Jesus isn’t just the Heal-ER but the Heal- ING.

And maybe if I keep waiting, He will find me.

But oh how cold I’ve grown. How angry. How prideful. How distrusting.

Breaking faith.

That’s why backsliders slide.

It’s not because we are horrible people, it’s because we are broken ones. Our realities turned inside out from the beatings of a cruel world.

Hoping desperately that God really will rescue us, but never quite being able to believe that it will happen.

I don’t know the answers here.

I don’t know why cruelty exists in the name of love.

I don’t know why God heals some and not others.

I don’t know why separation is a better solution than compromise.

I don’t know why the innocent suffer.

All I know is that I must write my story.

However ugly it gets.

And today, this is it.