By Angeline M Duran Santiago

I think I've tried as much as I can to be what I thought I was supposed to be.
In my journey of walking through each moment, I've fallen, I've missed the mark, and I've gotten back up again. My feet have taken me through adventures I never would have imagined I was good enough for, but I've been there at the top, with the recognition and the applause. My heart has also taken me through life's experiences where I've had my highs and lows, receiving the pain that comes with never feeling I've done enough. Even in the joy, there's been the whisper reminding me more of my shortcomings and rarely the well done moments.

I look back and realize I should have said, "No." many times, many more times than I ever did. And, that when I said, "No." I should have meant it and the tears should not have made me change my decision. I look back and wish I could change so many things and so many moments in my life, but who can walk through the looking glass to find Father Time, (if he were real) and convince him to allow me a retake, a make over or a second chance. It is those memories where we've fallen short of the mark in the eyes of those we hold close that make it hard to move forward sometimes. We live as if stuck in their image of our failure, our mess up and our absence.

These thoughts come and press against my mind and against my heart. I am very aware that this is definitely not the Christian was to think and therefore I continue to do what I've always done, turn every moment of my life, everything, to the Lord. It's in choosing to continue the routines and the disciplines I forced myself to learn and do as a new believer that keep me going, even if I go at it alone. There's is great joy and a true refuge that I find when I dive into the ocean of God's word. There is a healing that I cannot explain that happens in my mind and in my heart when I call for heavenly rain of God's love to pour down into my life, and it does. 

In my worship, even when the silence of my thoughts are the only place I can shout to the Lord, I am able to surrender all my cares, all my inabilities and all the reminders of where I've never been good enough, or made too many mistakes, or am reminded I'm to blame for what has been or can never be. It's there in His arms that I find my hiding place. In His presence I am able to sing and not care if my songs bother anyone, because I need to sing the song that no one else knows but He knows. I am able to cry out to the Lord, even as I make the futile attempt to fall asleep for two or three hours before going to work, I am crying out to Him, asking Him to fill my life with His life for mine is wasting away.

It's in the dark rooms that remain erect in our lives that we continue to relive the pain. It's into these rooms, these broken rooms in our lives that we need, I need, to constantly invite the Holy Spirit to come, refresh me, and pour out a fire that burns the cobwebs and incinerates the remnants of past hurts, past failures, dreams and expectations that were never allowed to come forth. 

So, I lay it all before Him tonight and every night because I cannot live without Him. I cannot even think of success in any small form without His presence in my life. Yes, there are things that will never be, some will never again take place, and many things I once hoped for may never take shape of form, but I ask the Lord to do a new work and make the old truly be gone and that He will truly allow me to see my purpose for this time in my life, clearly.

It's a beautiful and painful thing to have but one that is worth holding on to. God is ever present to provide us with new strength and new meaning. In Him I hide and turn to, today, and forever more.

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