Tuesday, September 30, 2014

In Hiding

     We try so hard to fake the funk.

     We want to give the constant illusion that we're okay, even though something is rumbling and wrestling within our skin, right underneath the surface.

     And then we snap at the most inopportune times.

     I could feel myself wanting to hide. I'm in a season of transition, and I have a feeling many of you are too.

     With that said, I've made the choice to transition out of youth ministry in the summer of 2015. This was in no way a result of any drama going down at my church or me being tired of teenagers. In fact there were many tears shed on my part to even consider such a move--such a transition.

     The decision was made in love. Because you see, I wasn't running from something, but rather running towards something.

     I'm pretty vocal about the fact that I'm about being married and having a family one day. And I knew, the pace of life that I was living wasn't going to leave room for either marriage or family to truly exist and thrive in my life.

     It's becoming clearer and clearer to me that one of my main callings in life is to cultivate family. That's why I love pastoring. Because I get to be a mama every week and love young thirsty hearts with God's love.

     Therefore, my heart is always to pastor, it will just take on a different form in the seasons to come. And you'll still find me at my local church on any given Sunday, ready to give you a hug, a listening ear, cry with you, laugh with you, or simply pray with you.

     Youth ministry has been my life for over 10 years. It was a call that I was drawn to at an early age and in many ways effortlessly transitioned into in my twenties and thirties.

     But now, seasons are changing.

     Without such labels, I'm struggling a bit to understand who I am now at this stage of the game.

     Taking off one coat makes you feel a bit defenseless...until your other coat arrives.

     The natural reaction once that initial coat comes off is to run, and to run as fast as you can!

     The time passing between one coat leaving and another so firmly wrapping itself around your body feels no less than an eternity.

     But stand your ground.

     We love labels. We love knowing where we stand.

     But I think we can gain a new appreciation for labels, by sitting in the moment of unrest and not running.

     It's like you don't know what you really have until you experience the opposite.

     Plus my personal favorite, "wherever you go, there you are."

     And whatever it is you might be trying to outrun is most likely connected to your own heart first--An undealt with issue within your own heart and skin that needs attention; and needs to be taken care of first, before a new season and chapter of your life can fully emerge.

     Have you heard of that song, "Deliver Me" originally by the British group, The Beloved and later covered by Sarah Brightman, and then David Crowder?

     Well, I LIVED off of that David Crowder version from 2003-2006.

     David Crowder turned what appeared to be a unique love song, into a mystical and beautiful worship song, of a heart crying out to God as well.

     It spoke so deeply to me. To my core, like down to my toes.

     I would spend some mornings just looping that song over and over, while I lay on the floor of my bedroom weeping before God. Trying to grasp the fact that I was worth being loved, being known, being seen, being respected.

     "All of my life, I've been in hiding..."

     I find that courage often comes by way of love.

     Love makes us come out of our shells.

     But it's not enough to love others.

     Or to fake the funk so well, that everyone and their mom thinks you're pretty darn okay and doing quite well for yourself.

     It's also learning how to love and honor yourself in the process.

     And when the coat is off, it feels as though Love has abandoned us. But Love hasn't. No. Not at all.

     It's just that---a new coat is arriving, one tailored made for the new journeys ahead.

     Loving yourself in this process has a lot to do with simply being honest. And letting the truth really hit you where it counts: In your heart, your motives, and your actions.

     Look, just be honest.

     And if you ever find yourself at unrest and/or trying to run, admit that you're in hiding.

     Because when you do, that's the very moment you're ready to be found. 

Wisdom's Knocking:

"Deliver me out of the sadness
Deliver me from all the madness
Deliver me courage to guide me
Deliver me Your strength inside me

All of my life
I've been in hiding
Wishing there was someone just like You
Now that You're here
Now that I've found You
I know that You're the One to pull me through"

-- Jon & Helena Marsh, "Deliver Me"


To hear the David Crowder version of "Deliver Me":

Friday, September 19, 2014

To Be Seen & Heard

     I don't talk much about the youth group that I've been pastoring for almost 8 years. Not as a means to negate its importance and weight in my life, but rather as an effort to protect these special hearts from the attention that might detract from their own personal journeys and awkwardly prying eyes of the interwebs.

     But their journey in many ways has been my journey.

     I was a cliche.

     Let me explain.

     Picture the ill-prepared Big City teacher thrown into throngs of Big Country Livin'. In certain ways destined to fail.

     Completely out of her element in every way and constantly doubting if she could even teach given the new circumstances and eccentric characters at every turn.

     The amount of times I wanted to quit out of frustration is almost comical.

     And then this would appear in my email inbox from one of my teenagers:

"Hey Patrice, 
I just wanted to tell you that you are a really great person. You are an inspiration to me. I know this is super random ... But you just don't complain and you don't choose to be a downer all the time.. even when times are really darn tough. I want to thank you for all of the time, love, effort, money, and emotion you've put into our youth group. God has got some pretty awesome stuff up his sleeve for your future. Alotta babies too. I appreciate you. I thank God for good people in my life like you. I really do. Genuinely good people. Those are the kinds I like. Hope you're alright xxx"

     I mean.

     I would think to myself, do they know how absolutely bonkers and emotional I am in life at the moment?? That I actually felt as though I was lacking in love and skill on so many levels and yet...

     It's so amazing how other people see us--when we let them.

     Love is so much about being Seen and Heard.

     And that was the main thing.

     I was learning how to love, just like my teenagers were learning how to love God, themselves, and each other.

     Since the beginning of my time as a youth pastor, almost all of my kids have had direct access to me: My cell number, email, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

     That's been the main tool in my rusty toolbox. Invited Accessibility.

     I knew that these tender and fierce hearts just wanted to be Seen --and Heard.

     And isn't that what we all want in the end.

     And now my heart breaks a little, but not without a fragrance of hope coming forth from its chamber. Many of my first generation youth groupers are struggling with addiction, depression, anorexia, and a loss of faith. And I long for them to come home. 

     And when I say home, let me be specific. It doesn't mean to necessarily come home to me and our old victories.

     No. It means to truly come home to God, to family, to identity, to dreams, to truth, to love, and to new victories.

     To my brave, beautiful, and worthy loves (You know who you are), I simply wanted to tell you once again:

     You are always, always Seen, Heard, and most definitely and fiercely Loved.

Wisdom's Knocking:

“The majority of us lead quiet, unheralded lives as we pass through this world. 
There will most likely be no ticker-tape parades for us, no monuments created in our honor. 

But that does not lessen our possible impact, for there are scores of people waiting for someone just like us to come along; people who will appreciate our compassion, our unique talents. 
Someone who will live a happier life merely because we took the time to share what we had to give. 

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have a potential to turn a life around. It’s overwhelming to consider the continuous opportunities there are to make our love felt.” 

 ― Leo Buscaglia

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Dance Adventures

     For those that didn't already know. I love to dance. Like all day, erryday. This is not for fakes. But for realz.

     I had the chance to visit one of my old dance instructors (Tom Doriski of High Desert Dance Studio) this past week and I pretty much had the time of my life (Cue: "Dirty Dancing" Soundtrack).

     A few weeks back I saw a clip on youtube of the West Coast Swing dancer, John Lindo and absolutely fell in love with dance again in a new way. With that said, I'm now on a quest to master the West Coast Swing, but first I had to learn the steps!

     The video below is my first attempt at dancing the West Coast Swing. Hope you're inspired to try an adventure of your own!

Wisdom's Knocking:

"Adventures can be grand or they can small,
but as long as they ignite your heart
is the most important thing of all."

- Patrice Patrick

Sunday, September 07, 2014

The Almost Magician & The Could-Be Queen


     My dreams and hopes are made up of somewhat ridiculous, fairytale-like material.

     And you know what, I love that about myself.

     Yet I often loathe it at the same time.

     It's hard and I mean HARD believing in miracles.

     And yet we were made to be dreamers.

     My heart's been on a bit of a roller coaster in these past 2 weeks.

     I attended a beautiful wedding by myself.

     BY. MYSELF.

     This was probably the 4th or 5th wedding in the past couple of years that I've attended by myself.

     So naturally, at the end of the night, leaving the wedding reception, and walking down a dark pathway by myself to get to my car, I broke down and cried in my car for about 45 minutes. No big deal.

     As I'm sniffling my way down the 5 Freeway, I happen to catch a shooting star. It was blazing and it streaked in a type of slow motion, ending with a fizzle of bright lime green light.

     I thought it was beautiful and cruel.

     Yes. One of my favorite signs and wonders: A shooting star.

     Cruel:  There was still so much unresolve in my own heart.

     Here I was encouraging love and standing with love just hours prior, and yet I felt so dejected and void of love. I felt like some weird hypocrite of sorts.

     A preacher of romance with no romance story to tell.

     It's so very hard believing in miracles.

     But yet we were made to be dreamers.

    The pain of being a dreamer at times can feel quite tangible.

     My heart truly ached.

     And I could feel myself just going through the motions of living.

     But then later that week, the tide turned dramatically.

     Thoughts and words and names of people I would say with the least bit of conviction and faith, would somehow become present in my path.

     It was like I would randomly say: "Disneyland, Red Dress, and Diana Ross" in a sentence one day. And the next day, someone would give me tickets to Disneyland and a T-shirt with Diana Ross on it with a red dress on.

     It was all too surreal.

     The clues were everywhere, but what the heck did they mean?

     So yes, miracles were still happening---Just not the ones that I necessarily understood or even wanted.

    Because now my heart was becoming even more vulnerable than it already was.

     And if I were to fall from this height...I imagine it could be somewhat fatal...

     But the signs and wonders continued. And my path mysteriously crossed with some key people in this time frame. It was mindblowing and refreshing to say the least.

     I could feel my heart being renewed.

     And I looked up to God and simply asked, "Can I keep these things? Can I keep him?"

     And there was silence for quite some time.

     So I asked again.

    "Can I keep these things? Can I keep him?"

     And it was like my spirit knew what was coming.

     "Let go."

     But why would I see a shooting star? To simply see it pass? How mean and cruel.

     "Let go."

     But it all seemed so perfect and in my favor. Plus, I'm always letting go. When will I finally get to hold firm?

     "Let go."

     And so, my resistance lasted less than 24 hours.

     And in an instant, I chose to let go.

     And in letting go, I found myself in my most dreaded place: "The Almost"

     I hate that place. I want to throw rocks at it.

     Being so close to the very thing you've always imagined you could have, only to be told, "Hands off--Not yet--Surrender and let go."

     Yes, something feels very cruel and out of order in the midst of letting go. The same type of cruelty of a dying meteor that goes through our atmosphere in a blaze of glory. It's last bit of life showing us something beautiful in the midst of its dying.

     And I think that's what God was trying to show me ahead of time.

     That there's beauty in the letting go, beauty in the breakdown.

     And if we allow Him into this sacred space in our hearts, He will prove to be the miracle we need.

     He is renewing our strength, our hearts, and our ability to believe.

     Because something is happening. Something beautiful is actually forming.

     Not just for me, but for you as well.

     Because the breakdown and the letting go is not the end in itself. It truly is unto something with purpose.

     It's positioning us towards the fullness of the miracle in our lives.

      I wasn't asked to let go in this particular instance because I had done something drastically wrong (as far as I was aware). But rather, it challenged me to trust beyond my own ability to make something happen. And to truly taste and see that God is faithful and good through it all and to let Him author this miracle of romance I've waited for, for quite some time. .

     Believing in miracles is often hard on our hearts.

     But you and I were made to be dreamers.

     The signs and wonders in the midst of our daily grind are absolutely important in this season of life and not to be ignored. But they are not the main plot point in this story. These humble shooting stars of confirmation are simply showing us we are stepping in the right direction.

      And what does my grand dream and miracle entail?

      Quite simply put: Love.

     I want to love well.

      I don't want to be afraid to love with my whole heart. And it starts now. Not at the moment I meet the man I choose to marry. My love begins now.

     It starts with my trust walk on the daily with God.

     It continues with my letting go.

     And it is inspired by shooting stars.

     To my could-be, would-be, almost lover: You will bring constant peace and a sense of home to those that have the privilege of being your captive audience, and I have no doubt you'll be an amazing father one day.

      And to my future self: You are a Queen. And I'm so glad you waited and Let Go. Thank you.

      And to you:

     We are almost there Beloved.

(Now don't punch me because I said the word "Almost"--)

      But remember--God is on our side.

      And He will get us to the other side.

      Past the land of Almost and Could-Be

      Into the world of it Shall Remain.

      Breathe deep.

      We were made to be dreamers.

      And miracles still happen everyday.

Wisdom's Knocking:

"So, let go
Jump in
Oh well, what you waiting for?
It's all right
'Cause there's beauty in the breakdown
So, let go
Just get in
Oh, it's so amazing here
It's all right
'Cause there's beauty in the breakdown"

-- Frou Frou, "Let Go"

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13WAhlE02ew