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It's been a long time, way too long since I've written on here. A few people have encouraged me recently to get back to it, to "pick the pen back up" so to speak. It's hard though. So much has happened since the last time I wrote on here. And honestly, I'm still going through the pain of the hardest loss of my life-- my dad passing away.

As I sat here contemplating what to write, asking God what I have to write that could be of any value, He reminded me of how I cannot live unaffected...

"What, God? What does that mean?"

He reminded me of how many things have happened in that last year-- the good, the bad, and the ugly-- and how I can try and numb myself, water down the feelings and emotions, and think good, happy, positive thoughts, but when it comes down to it? I cannot live unaffected.

Looking at the drafts on my blog of things I have written and have yet to post or finish writing and I realize there are 27 drafts. As I read the titles, skim over the content, I am brought back to all the different seasons of my life that I had begun writing these posts. Things that, honestly, I don't really wanna open back up most of the time. It's like trying to only crack open a dam... you know good and well it's gotta open all the way up so that the floodwaters can come rushing out. My emotions and feelings and memories are attached to so many of these things, different times and seasons of life may be more or less intense at this time and I can choose what to do with that. But whatever I choose, whatever you choose, whether it's to bury it or let it out, you cannot live unaffected.

Today marks 6 months since my sweet daddy left this Earth and went to his Heavenly home. I can say all the cliche Christian things people say after someone dies, but I'm not going to act like this is all fine and dandy and like it doesn't change the way I live and feel every single moment of every day. Of course, I'm grateful for the time I got with my dad and that he is with Jesus, but that doesn't change the fact that his life and death affect me.

I think oftentimes as Christians whenever we are going through hard things, traumatic things, situations and circumstances that make us uncomfortable, confrontations in relationships that have to be dealt with, etc. we tend to do this really counterproductive thing where we put a superficial band-aid on a wound that is wide open and gushing blood. Sorry to be graphic, but it's true. We say things like "well this will all work out for our good" or "I know that person is in a better place" and it's not that those things aren't true, they are but, also, the truth is our hearts tell a different story. I can say it's all good and I'm fine and still be cursing in my heart and screaming for a way out of this mess. But that's torture and that is the exact opposite of honesty.

One of the biggest comforts for me these past 6 months has been reading the Psalms over and over again in various translations. And you know what I'm constantly reminded? We can be honest with God. We MUST be honest with God. If we want a true, genuine, deep relationship with Him, we absolutely, no matter how painful or awkward it may feel, be honest with our Father. Yes, He already knows, but what kind of relationship is built on hiding feelings? Not a deep, flourishing one, that's for sure.

As I read David's cries, screams, songs, and word-dances throughout the Psalms I'm reminded of the condition of my own heart... messy. Lots of emotions and feelings and thoughts. A massive list of questions. And I find that if I don't go to God with all the things, I fake it and I don't make it anywhere, I just crack over and over again. Or I completely ignore Him and act like everything's great while feeding the world a plastic message of "I'm good, we are good here" that doesn't hold up to the gut-wrenching pains of life.

I talked with my pastor about the anger I was feeling a couple of months ago and shared a bit of my process through that anger with various people and on social media. I've never been one to cuss, I have always hated those words that feel like they are full of venom when they come out. Yet every day I was finding myself wanting to scream the F word for no particular reason other than I was angry that my dad was gone and that I had to watch him die twice (once in our living room, and finally after 9 days of fighting for his life in the ICU). So, finally, I let it out. I screamed it out to God, the venomous words, the pain, the questions, the anger, the confusion, all of it. And He didn't strike me dead or take His spirit away from me, no. Instead, He met me right there, with the most loving, comforting arms wide open awaiting me to run into Him. Being honest with Him about what He already knew was going on inside, it changed me. It reminded me that His grace and love were never and will never be something I could earn with being good. He transforms my heart, but I have to give it to Him in full before He can do that.

You can't live this life, go through all the things that come with life, and be unaffected. And you can't live in relationship with God and be unaffected. When His love touches your heart and life, it changes the way you see things, and, yes, you will still have questions but that does not mean that He will run. He welcomes you in, questions and all if you will only humble and quiet yourself to hear what He says in response.

Death affects us. Words affect us. Silence affects us. Everything, from a gentle touch to a harsh look, affects us in one way or another. We can deny it all we want but the fingerprints are still all over our hearts. It's time we take all that affects us to the One who can change every effect, good and bad, to do something essential in our hearts and lives.

(P.S. I could write out dozens of Psalms here but instead, I want to encourage you to take the time to read through them yourself. Try to read 1-3 Psalms a day for the next 30 days and see how it changes your perspective. Write your own Psalms, using the Bible as your guide, writing out your honest heart-cries to God. Watch what God does in your heart with that kind of raw honesty.)

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