Je suis prêt…for this to be over.

brooke

“I am awake and the air is pulsating
I am awake, as it gathers, see it growing
I’m in doubt, here it comes, am I ready?
Am I ready?
See the tempest looking my way
Drain the skies of all their color
And I need eye to eye
With a fire in my breast
Je suis pret
I am ready, I am ready”

This song makes me nervous. It should just make me excited because I know it’s true. There’s something coming. But not knowing the particulars or the when or what are continuing to take their toll. I look back on Instagram posts and I know I’ve been saying the same thing for an entire year. That’s not very comforting. I know that God holds my future but I worry I’m expecting too much. Not that God isn’t good or wants amazing things for me. But that my mind has been corrupted to think that life works in a way that it doesn’t. I can identify some of those lies and the exact authors of them. But other lies are floating about and they take root because I’m exhausted. Sometimes I want to just settle. But it’s impossible to do that because every once in a while I get this day where I feel completely alive. I can’t un-feel that. I want that to become my normal.

These tangled feelings get overwhelming on days like today when my soul feels on fire. Like I’m legitimately angry. It’s gotten more intense lately. I worry it’s not just righteous anger. Is it anxiety? Am I getting worked up over nothing? Judging those who judge others is just as bad, right? Am I being too dramatic? Am I naive to think that anything can change? My mind flips through these thoughts like it’s shuffling a deck of cards. Never staying on one for too long until I stop them and choose to trust myself. Because time and time again God confirms my passions and my experiences through conversations with others.

I guess I shouldn’t have prayed for God to break my heart for what breaks His, unless I was willing to feel the ache before I knew what He wanted me to do about it. I shouldn’t have prayed for Him to use me unless I was willing to feel unfocused passion for a bit. I wish I could turn off these feelings. I wish I could stop paying attention to the parts of the city and the issues and the people that make me feel alive. But I can’t. Because God made me this sensitive for a reason that He’s revealing at a much slower rate than I would prefer. But His timing is perfect, He only gives perfect gifts and I truly believe that about 80% of the time. All I can do is to keep engaging with those soul-igniting things by spending time with the people who get me, seeking out others to learn from, following up on the quietest of whispers from God, and fighting the urges to retreat and sleep. So today, that looks like: 1. getting these feelings out and allowing tears to come. 2. getting in the car before I take a nap. 3. Driving to LA today (and several times this week) to be in community.

P.S. For those of you who are wondering: yes, I’m okay. In some strange way…I’ve never been better.

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Just Start…again!

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Hello friends!
I’ve re-vamped White Fence Media! I’ve had to set aside blogging and other projects for the past year, as I’ve been focused on finishing grad school. It was well worth it – I launched a website and learned a ton about myself and my creative/intellectual abilities. (But MOST importantly, I learned the ins and outs of margins on Word). *insert eye roll here*
But I’m done with school and excited about the next chapter of my life! I have my ideas of how I want it to look, but I’ve also been learning lately that God’s plans are more amazing than anything I can dream up. So I’m opening every door possible by growing The Cave Place, finding a full-time marketing job, and continuning to freelance! I’m using this site as an online portfolio and a place to blog all I’m learning in this season.
So take a look around, especially at the About page, and feel free to contact me with anything you think I might be interested in!
Thanks,
Katie

New Year’s Reflections

I posted back in June about my Twenty Something Playlists. Basically, I started collecting songs around 24 that were helping me through post-college awkwardness, career disappointment and family fun. And a few weeks ago, on my 27.5 birthday, I wrapped up my 7th one and went on to my 8th. It’s a much more serious/spiritual playlist than many before and represents a lot of soul-aching.  These songs led me to the face some of the deepest parts of my fears, to continue to reach up to God in new and freeing ways and to celebrate the small victories along the way. So here are some of my favorite lyrics from these 16 songs:

1. Shake it Off – Taylor Swift –

I never miss a beat. I’m lighting on my feet.

2. Guns/Napolean – John Mark McMillian

You’re hanging pictures on the walls in the houses where I haunt.

3. Love Gives Chase – Chris Molitor

Well, I must admit your love scared the hell out of me. Especially when it took us to the grave . But that lion broke out and a roar flew from his mouth saying “brother, come out of that cave!”

4. Steady Heart – Steffany Gretzinger

And as the dawn breaks and the clouds clear, In an open space together we will run

5. Cripple Me – Elenowen

Please cripple me, so I cannot keep running away from You.

6. After the Storm – Mumford & Sons

And there will come a time, you’ll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears

7. Power to Redeem – Lauren Daigle

No guilt competes with innocence crucified.
No grave can hold what your grace has justified.

8. Morning Song – Steffany Gretzinger

Night turns to morning. You have been waiting. Whispering to me. Gently I’m waking

9. Found a Heart – Emily Hearn

Oh I’m ready. Never been so sure or quite so steady

10. Behind Your Eyes – Jon Foreman

If you let your feelings go, dear. It’ll scare you what you’ll find.

No one needs to know. That you let me in tonight.

11. Cecie’s Lullaby – Steffany Gretzinger

So rock-a-bye baby
Come and rest
You’ve been tired lately
Lay your head down
Don’t you think, baby
I know best
I’ve been a father
For a long time

12. Pieces – Andrew Belle

There’s too much smoke to see it
There’s too much broke to feel this
I love You, I love You
And all of Your pieces

13. Tapestry – Hillsong United

Our lives a tapestry of grace
Your hand has weaved together
In You no thread will ever fray

14. The Heart – NeedtoBreathe

Slammin’ this door with a heavy hand
Signin’ this line like a deed to land
Keeping in touch with the windows down
Dreading this night since the rain hit the ground

15. Clean – Taylor Swift

The drought was the very worst
When the flowers that we’d grown together died of thirst

Rain came pouring down when I was drowning
That’s when I could finally breathe
And by morning gone was any trace of you,
I think I am finally clean

16. Out of Hiding – Steffany Gretzinger

‘Cause I loved you before you knew it was love
And I saw it all, still I chose the cross
And you were the one that I was thinking of
When I rose from the grave

Now rid of the shackles, My victory’s yours
I tore the veil for you to come close
There’s no reason to stand at a distance anymore
You’re not far from home

 

Reflections on 2014 – Courage

I finally had time to journal a bit yesterday. I chose to reflect on the “Courage” element on my Vision Board. My thoughts started out positive as I thought of all of the areas of my life where God has taken my little bursts of courage and done amazing things. But as I pointed out the different areas, I became a bit angry. Lately, I’ve been a bit discouraged – with my career, direction on The Cave Place, church, and community. I took huge risks in each of those areas this year, and although I know I have come to greater understanding and peace about all of these areas, the lack of answers took over. This lack of “pay off” in making courageous decisions, sticking to my convictions and continuing to exert myself socially, overpowered any strides I had made. But instead of shutting them down,  I felt the tug to go with these feelings, write in to them and just be honest with God. It opened up a can of worms about jobs and career specifically, so here is a bit of that:

“I just don’t feel like I’m good at anything specific. Help me. Show me. I’ve been keeping your promise of a job close to my heart. The promise of a job that helps others, sustains me, brings me independence and community and that hope is what I use to combat fears. But it’s hard to not second-guess that at times because practically, all of my searching only returns experienced director positions or un-paid internships. I know I will look back on this and laugh at myself for worrying. But I honestly don’t know even what to look for right now and sometimes I feel cheated. I took the time to go back to school and I feel like I’m in the same place- without the skills I want. Do I need to practice? Or is it a waste of time? Am I just not good at those technical and specific skills? Why do I feel so alive when creating things that help people when the avenues to do so are either stressful or not financially sustaining? The promise seems to defy logic and rationality and I’ve been trusting that You will bridge that gap…That’s the whole reason for networking – for people to know me – trust me & then take a chance on me. But everyone I meet is in the same boat – unable to hire or looking for something new themselves. Lord, I just feel it’s better to admit when I’m angry.”

I’m glad I got this all out in writing. To admit it to myself and talk to God about it. We chatted for a bit after I wrote this and I felt Him telling me to remember the times where things have taken longer than I expected or worked themselves out in a different way than I expected. To take those times of joy when a promise has been fulfilled and replay them in my heart. That He understands my frustration, but that bitterness has no place in His plans for me.

Reflections on 2014 – 6 Months

I’ve been feeling the need to blog again. Now that I’m finally done with my thesis (as of TODAY!) and not currently blogging for a company, my brain has space to process through writing. So I decided to take each of the 20-ish items on my 2014 Vision Board and reflect on them. 

The first entry is about the phrase “6 Months.” Printed in block black letters, this part of the board was probably the most bittersweet. I just wrote a page or so about it, stream of conscious – a conversation with God. But here’s what I’ll share on here:

As I drove to work on my last day, I was listening to a NeedtoBreathe song and these lyrics stuck out,

“Dreading this night since the rain hit the ground”

AND

“Oh I know I’m gonna rise again.

Set my sights on where I’m going

And my goodbyes to where I’ve been

Oh I know I’m gonna rise again

I could see us moving on I can feel that coming on strong

We’ll never start all over like this and I still can’t believe it.”

They stuck out not because of the actual words but because of the way they settled on my lips and in my heart. During my long commutes of the last couple weeks, I had been singing those songs and most of the time I would be reduced to tears. I had been praying desperately that this day would be one of peace. One of acceptance and genuine belief that You had something better. Not of complete understanding, but of complete trust. And that morning as I sat in traffic on the 5 and sang these songs, I realized You had answered my prayers. And I couldn’t help but smile and laugh.

Site Launch Tomorrow!

I’m overwhelmed by the love and support I have received from family and friends in the past couple months and especially the last week. They have confirmed that this project is important and reminded me about why I started the project and how far it has come. I feel like I’ve worked on it so long and been focused on the little things, but you have all made me take a step back and see the bigger picture.

I am super excited for the week ahead! I finally get to let go of The Cave Place tomorrow and see what God wants to do with it. For the next couple weeks, I have determined that these three things need to be my focus:

Awareness of the site/get the name out
Gathering a group of psychiatrists, therapists and other psychology professionals to write content and help moderate the website and social media.
Funds for re-design of the site to include interactive features.

Here are the things you can do this week to help:

Social Media – (A “like” can go a long way)

Follow along and interact before and on Launch Day!– if people of influence come across the social media profiles, it will be cool for them to see people already involved!
https://www.facebook.com/thecaveplace2014
http://instagram.com/thecaveplace
http://twitter.com/thecaveplace
Share www.thecaveplace.com TOMORROW with quotes or thoughts on social media platforms.

Launch Day Insta Challenge
Post the attached graphic on Instagram OR Facebook tomorrow, Monday October 21st.
Participate in the challenge on Tuesday, October 22nd by snapping or uploading a picture of your cave place on Instagram OR Facebook with #mycaveplace (your cave place = the physical place God uses to comfort, remind you of His beauty or reveal things to you. It’s where you let go of control, perfection, or outcome of the situation you are facing). Could be a chair in a corner, a beach, a hiking trail – whatever that place is for you.

Moderators – (Can’t move forward without them)
Pass this (or the previous email) along to any psychology professionals.
Email me (thecaveplace@gmail.com) with information about sound and trusted psychology professionals.

Funds – (ugh)
I have a donation page up at www.fundly.com/the-cave-place to start collecting donations.
Please let me know of any foundations or grants that would relate to this project.

Prayer – (I’m anticipating a roller coaster of a week)
Me – peace, strength and courage! No fears and insecurities.
Project – wisdom and clarity for direction and the right people at the right time.

Thank you, thank you, thank you,

Katie

The Cave Place is launching October 21st!

Hey friends,

Just wanted to let you know that I will be launching my thesis website on October 21st! I’m super excited to share what I’ve poured my heart into for the last year. Stay tuned for how you can help promote! For now, make sure to follow along on social media and engage with the content, share with friends and give me some feedback!

facebook.com/thecaveplace2014
instagram.com/thecaveplace
twitter.com/thecaveplace

Katie

Healing Through Revisions

More than a year ago, I wrote a blog entitled “The Rubble or Our Sins,” a reflection on my journey with depression, faith and guilt. I’ve revised it several times in the last year as I’ve been developing my thesis project. I thought it would be interesting to share the final version that is going up on The Cave Place because I feel the revisions reflect the healing that has occurred in the past year through research, writing content, and interviewing others. The original has a more feisty tone that captures a lot of the bitterness I was still feeling at the beginning of this thesis journey. There is still some bitterness, but now it’s more of a righteous anger as my own experiences have been confirmed by the thoughts and experiences of others. I’m more energized to love and educate those who don’t understand mental illness and that’s the perfect place to be as I launch this project (at the end of August). So here’s the new version called Letting Go of Guilt: 

Have you ever read a book or even just a chapter in a book and said to yourself, “Self, you should have read this years ago!”? That is what I thought (and said out loud) after I read Chapter 2 in a book called “On Depression: Drugs, Diagnosis, and Despair in the Modern World’ by Nassir Ghaemi. I was sitting on my back patio, enthralled in this chapter, underlining and starring sentences and whole paragraphs. I couldn’t help but reflect on my own journey and revisit the topic of guilt and blame.

Let me tell you a bit about this particular chapter. The author talks about depressive episodes vs. major depressive disorder, calling the former “depression nondisease” and the latter “depression disease.” The most insightful part of the chapter is when Ghaemi defines what he calls “first cause” and “efficient cause,” where first cause is “the initial biological susceptibility to depression” and the efficient cause is the “immediate life events that trigger a clinical depression at that time” (pg. 15-16). This concept was nothing new to me, it was particularly thought-provoking when he explained the relationship between them in regards to major depression disorder.

“…first causes are necessary but not usually sufficient; efficient causes are often sufficient but not necessary. One usually needs both, and neither alone is the cause of depression” (pg. 16).

Here’s how I explain it in my own words: Genes have to be there, but they usually aren’t enough to bring about issues with depression. Situational triggers are usually needed, but not necessarily. Therefore, both biology and situations are at fault in depression disease.

At first the chapter was strangely comforting, as it reminded me that my struggles with mental illness were probably inevitable. My DNA set the stage for depression and anxiety and like anything else that is less than “ideal” in our genetic make-up, God will always provide a way through it and will weave it into our purpose. Yet the chapter also brought up some old feelings of guilt. I’ve often wondered what set me off that summer and I have a few ideas. Overall, I think it was just a perfect storm of changing hormones and social situations. I remember asking my therapist if there was a point in trying to figure out what set it off. She told me that it was more beneficial to look forward and learn how to cope with it, than dwell in the past and speculate about what happened and that I should not feel guilty. Even though I knew this was true and knew that the main cause was biological, I still couldn’t help but wonder (especially in the beginning) if I did something to bring it on. Was there something I could have done to prevent it? Some sin or lack of faith that I had control over? This question still crept up every once in a while until recently and I’m not sure what to think. The first, biological cause is something I never had control of. But what if I did have some sort of control over the efficient cause? Does that particular efficient cause even matter if some later efficient cause would have set it off anyway?

As I write this, I’m genuinely concerned that it took me about 10 years to completely let go of the guilt. There must have been sermons or messages from family and friends that I heard as a kid that made my brain zoom in on sin and not grace. I think my church was pretty balanced in these areas, but I must have heard something (or a few somethings) that messed up my thinking. It’s much better than it was 10 or even 3 years ago, but it’s been a long journey of second-guessing and occasionally apologizing for certain sins, just in case they were the efficient cause. God has definitely been faithful in healing me and a few months ago I felt He released me from some of this by giving me clarity on one of these “sins.” But healing in this area wouldn’t have happened without the people, ideas, and books that I’ve CHOSEN to be a part of my adult faith journey as a proactive attempt to override the dangerous messages.

Ideally, it’s better for me to live in the present than dwell in the past. But I think with any traumatic experience, we’re bound to think about it every once in a while. I’ve decided that, if I’m going to look back at all, it’s more beneficial for me to analyze the messages instead of the sin. So I’m attempting to identify the messages that were my roadblocks to healing and caused me to dissociate from the church, and educate others about them. That’s essentially what the Cave Place is for me and the reason that I am comfortable with being vulnerable with all of you. I never want another teenager to go through struggles with mental illness without the overwhelming understanding of God’s grace.

Birthday Eve Reflections

So I have these 20 Something playlists. I started collecting songs around 24 that were helping me through post-college awkwardness, career disappointment and family fun. I’ll be starting my 7th one tomorrow (I normally start a new one on my birthday or half-birthday). I’m reflecting on the 18th songs that have touched me in the last 6 months. I don’t think I have ever relied so heavily on music for my sanity since the summer my depression/anxiety decided to show up. These last 6 months have hurt. I’m not sure how else to describe it. No boy has broken my heart, no friend stabbed me in the back and there has been no tragedy in the family. But it’s been a period of  learning lessons, opening my soul up in new and frustrating ways, and limbo in seemingly every aspect of my life. It’s been emotionally exhausting and for 27, I honestly just want rest. A place of my own to rest. The peace of providing for myself financially and not always juggling projects and jobs. Clarity when it comes to theology and church community. A person to come alongside me and bring my heart rest after years of longing for him. I don’t know what of this will happen, but I just know something’s got to give. And I know God is putting me through of all of this for a reason and He’s closer than ever. It’s a twisted blessing to learn these lessons and I’m so thankful to my amazing parents, loyal friends and all my incredible co-workers that are helping me learn them. So here is my 26.5 playlist with lyrics that better describe these experiences. Some are comforting and some just helped me process that day or week. Some are current and some are throwbacks that finally made sense. I hope they mean something to you too.

“In the wake of every heartache. In the depth of every fear. There were diamonds waiting to break out of here. All your curses will surrender. Every demon worth will kneel. They’re just mountains, mountains about to turn into fields.You’ve taken down so many others. Oh but you’ll know my name when you see. And in these ashes I’m stronger still. You’ll learn to feel my pain, yeah you will.” Diamonds, Johnnyswim

“Far be it from me to not believe even when my eyes can’t see. And this mountain that’s in front of me will be thrown into the midst of the sea. So let go my soul and trust in Him. The waves and wind still know His name.”It is Well, Bethel Music.

“Сause you are loved more than you know. I hereby pledge all of my days to prove it so.” Light, Sleeping at Last.

“Tell the reaper, tell the repo man. I’ve got nothing that belongs to him. Ruin pushes rubble in the city of sin. But I found love at the end of the world.” End of the World, John Mark McMillian

“Your time will come if you wait for it. It’s hard, believe me… I’ve tried. But I keep coming up short.” – Amsterdam, Imagine Dragons

“You make me brave. No fear can hinder now the promises You’ve made.” You Make Me Brave, Bethel Music.

“So let your heart, sweet heart. Be your compass when you’re lost. And you should follow it wherever it may go” – Compass, Lady Antebellum

“You’re the only thing that I love. It scares me more every day. On my knees I think clearer.” – Chocolate, Snow Patrol (throwing it back to high school).

“Cause I’m so sick and tired of being sick and tired” – Closer to Myself, Kendall Payne (and junior high).

“In the process, in the waiting, You’re making melodies over me” Shepherd, Bethel Music.

“Everything that kills me makes me feel alive. Make that money. Watch it burn. Old, but I’m not that old. Young, but I’m not that bold.” – Counting Stars, One Republic

“God of mercy, sweet love of mine. I have surrendered to Your design. May this offering stretch across the skies and these Halleluiahs be multiplied.” Multiplied, NeedToBreathe

“Nothing’s going to bring me down this time. Nothings going to break my heart. Shed those tears that couldn’t be ignored. Back to basics. Back to the here and now. Getting back on my feet again just like before. Getting back to the drawing board.” Drawing Board, Tony Lucca.

“The one who reigns forever, He is a friend of mine” Whom Shall I Fear, Chris Tomlin.

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters wherever You would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander. And my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.” Oceans, Hillsong.

“I hope to learn as time goes by that I should trust what’s deep inside. Burning bright, my sensible heart.” Sensible Heart, City and Colour.

“What you say is your religion. How you say it’s your religion. Who you love is your religion. How you love is your religion. All your science, your religion. All your hatred, your religion. All your wars are your religion. Every breath is your religion.” The World You Want, Switchfoot.