Category: ME

The Crash

It was almost a month ago…. its taken me awhile to get myself together from this one, so here’s what happened:

I was sitting in my car, waiting for one of my mom’s students to come out of class for pick up, I sat there reading something on my iphone, feeling peaceful, blissful almost. Suddenly I felt the urge to move my car up a few feet to insure I’d be out of the way of other people coming through the little driveway of this  school. After moving up, my eyes returned to my iphone reading some scripture on you-version. Seconds later my car door opens, and the student gets inside of my car.

Making small talk I ask, ‘ How was your day?’, to this he replies it was good. I put my hand on the gear shift in my car and went to move it, when suddenly I felt like I should, or I needed to go back to my bible app and read something. 2 seconds later, out of the corner of my right eye I see a SUV coming over the left side of my vehicle, crashing down into the ground, hitting three cars in front of me. In the midst of all of this chaos of the moment, I see a concrete boulder the school had planted as a barrier flying in the air and seemingly headed towards me. I’m sitting there screaming, ‘ Oh my God, Oh my God’ I look over at the kid next to me, ‘ Are you ok? Are we ok? Did we get hit?” he looks at me, shock evident in his young eyes, ‘ I don’t know, I think we’re ok,” At this point my windshield is covered in dirt and earth clay, my sunroof has rocks and pieces of concrete reflecting through the side I could see from the inside.

May 11th 2010, I met grace – unmerited favor.

So you get the point of this one, let me give you a little back story on all of this, but I must warn you, I’m honest to a fault and will reveal some of my ‘stuff’ I’ve been dealing with.

For weeks before the accident, I had been having a concern or paranoia that something bad was going to happen. Coupled with stress, aggravation, and a few trying times in my family I had all but given up on God, the church, and ministry itself.

told ya I was gonna be honest….

For a period of two weeks, while working on my finale presentation for school, I had been wrestling with my faith. Between immersing myself in my short film on God & Suffering, being frustrated with politics and the christian pov, questioning my self and motives, I was burned out. Burned out because I made it a point to be one of an open mind with a ‘bull dog’ faith, and yet watching other acting the opposite of Jesus, burned out because I tried to be strong and got reduced to the heart of a seven year old girl when my dad had a heart attack, burned out ‘cos I was working hard to keep it together.

to remain in control…

The night before, the crash, is when I realized what was going on in my life. I was dealing with panic.

Here’s what panic means to me: a fear of uncontrollable circumstances, unanswerable questions.

Sitting in the computer lab at school I began to shake, and have breathing problems because of pressure, anxiety and fear. I spoke out loud saying ,’I refuse to have a nervous breakdown at twenty-three because of pressure.’

The day of the crash was an interesting one by far. I woke up with a need for the word of God, after 3 weeks of intentionally avoiding church, church people, ministry stuff, reading my bible. I was sitting at my desk and asked God a question:

Did I screw myself with that last jump?

If you follow my blog, you’ll realize that the post directly before this one is the very post I wrote that day. I was sitting there feeling like I complicated my life, and stepped out of the will of God, not realizing I was only going through the oil press.

friend of mine said I’m olive oil…..

I was questioning my decision to leave new Life, questioning my decision on my major in school, questioning, questioning questioning. Then, because God is a good father and loves to give good gifts to his children he answered me, with this verse.

Isaiah 41:9-10

Telling you, ‘You’re my servant, serving on my side.
I’ve picked you. I haven’t dropped you.’
Don’t panic. I’m with you.
There’s no need to fear for I’m your God.
I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you.
I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.

So, no matter what you go through, are going through, have gone through, don’t panic. He won’t and hasn’t dropped you. I realized, because God showed me how he could and would spare me, I did  not screw myself with that last jump, but indeed landed where I was supposed to. As for panic…. I’m learning not to. I’m learning to breathe, I’m learning to crawl…..

wait, thats a switchfoot song.

So all in all, all is well! All will be well, and remains it. Whats next? I’m not sure. I guess you’ll find out with the next post.


So this week i’ve been on autopilot. I go on autopilot when things get rough and I don’t have time to process anything.

I go on autopilot when I don’t want to feel anything.

I go on auto pilot when im scared.

Needless to say I’ve been feeling very blah, and I’m not one to admit that to anyone. Reasoning is because in ministry, when you minister, your taught to remain copacetic, always strong, and blatantly not real. But in the two years I’ve been out of ‘ministry’ I’ve learned that God can work more in my realness than in my stoic perpetuation of myself.

[yes i do realize I’m writing some big words here, just left humanities class…]

Anyways, so driving to school it all kinda hit me. It hit me that the man who raised me, in absence of my biological father who died before I was born, had a heart attack this week and almost died. It hit me that I’m not ready to face the idea of mortality with my parents. On the way to school I was sure my heart couldnt take this all, because for awhile I’ve felt to so strong. Driving down Staples Mill I began blinking back the tears forming in my eyes, telling myself to suck it up. You’ll be ok.

But that’s not ok. In the past two years I’ve felt somewhat alone as I’m making a new journey in my life which caused me to leave my friends, ministry, my life as I knew it and start over. In my alone-ness I’ve learned things that God could only tell me in private, beautiful things. Beautiful things like REALNESS is ESSENTIAL, owning what we are feeling while talking to God. Things like I’m not alone, never alone, nunca solo, He is mine and I am His. Things like starting over is ok, because its starting over that wrecks you. It wrecks every perception of how to live you’ve ever learned. Learning to do old things again with  a new attitude. Learning to see things with new eyes is starting over.

So what made me smile when I felt blah?

My buddy John. I’ve known him since I 17, we led worship together for 2 years in the college ministry at NLOI. John has always been an awesome guy, but he used to annoy me. He used to annoy me because he could read me like a book, know my thoughts, feelings, irritations, insecurities in like two seconds, and call me out while being gentle and comforting. I in-turn would get pissed, accuse him of patronizing me, and walk away. Yes, I, Heather Nicole Toler was, and probably still is,  a certified brat.

So today I got a message from him basically saying I haven’t forgotten you and see you soon.

Wow! How does someone you haven’t seen in almost two years, be able to reach in and pacify what you’ve been struggling with.  Because that is always my struggle, being alone, being forgotten. Well here’s the how, God. He gives us all the right combination of words knowing the meaning to someone else.

So I’m choosing and learning to Disengage the auto pilot. Its like an old friend said, ‘ Feelings are niether good nor bad, its what you do with them.’  So own them, give them to God and allow his comfort.

You haven’t lost.

Its amazing the things that God will use to make you smile when you feel blah.

John Piper is simply one of those dudes I love to listen to. I love it because I get a perspective change, when I know my selfish heart is fighting God, when my grief seems overwhelming, when I’m challenged in life, when I’m happy, and when I’m sad.

This is the living gospel message that changed my life.

God is enough

God is enough

He is good

He will take care of us

He will satisfy us

He will get us through this

He is our treasure

Whom have I in heaven but You?

None on earth I desire beside you.

My  flesh, my heart,  my circumstance may fail me

But You, Lord, are the strength of my heart, my portion forever.

I’ve heard alot of gospel messages in my 22yrs on earth. I’ve seen the, ‘send your twenty bucks for your magic prayer cloth’, the prophetic bumbles, and peter popoff’s, but I didn’t believe that was the true gospel. The true gospel is that I was a sinner, saved by grace, and kept by it through Jesus. The true gospel is that I will go through things, suffer loses, and have gains, but God is my strength and my portion.  God wasn’t here to make me rich, thin, and fit, but to make my desire  His all consuming fire. And that my desire for Him, would be satisfied by Him and Him alone. That He is all I need.

When God is all I need, all I have, all I want, I am most satisfied. I am made rich, when He is the stronghold of my life.

This is the message that changed my life.

Cos I no longer have to stumble my way through the valley of the shadow of death, no longer would I need to figure out how I’m gonna make it. I wasn’t alone because I have Him.

Him, God, is my great and exceeding reward. Past prosperity, past fame, His fame is my joy, and His love is my riches.

I continue to strive forward, until that day when these words are made flesh.

is God enough?

as we bury our dead

in my family we dont do death well.

come to think of it, we don’t really do life well.

February 28th, the hospice care began taking Great Aunt Carolyn off the machines, because nothing was working anymore. It made me sad because that meant we’d all be going through it again.  It, refers to the grieving style my family has.

Step 1: We all are numb.

2. We get mad at each other over stupid things.

3. We act civil and like a family at the funeral.

4. We act outlandish when it comes time for buriel

5. Then we go on, and our grief rears its ugly head later down the road ‘cos we don’t deal well with these things.

Thats my family, and I love them. But see this time around I’ve learned differently.

See we’ve been trained to grieve as those who have no hope.

The word of God says we’re aren’t to mourn as those who have no hope, see we have hope of heaven. We have hope that when Jesus come or our human body fails, we will rest in His presence eternally, and be with those who also trusted in Him.

Thats some good stuff!

Something to truly have hope in.

I used to view death as a horrible, tragic thing, as I have had a life filled with those horrible and tragic things happening to me and the people I love. I once was one who grieved with no hope at all, just raw pain. But now recently its changed, I don’t know when or how, but I now know its ok to be with Jesus.

So as we bury our dead, I pray my family comes to know the comfort of God and the knowledge of Christ. I pray that the come to understand that aunt Carolyn is pain free and rejoicing with Jesus.

as we all bury our dead I hope we all know it.

I woke up this morning and just knew.

Knew what?

I knew, past tense, I was okay.

To know something is to have deep intimate knowledge. The present tense of know, makes you think now.  But I knew.

I have past tense knowledge that I was ok, I am ok, and everything was going to be ok. Thats a strong cup  to drink.

more on this later.

*I understand most of you who read my blog see my problems with tense’s in my writing, but this time around I know it.

Love Me Now #fb

Here’s a few things I’ve come to know:

There’s a strong craving inside of each of us for Intimacy – to be fully known fully joined with another, to be fully known without having to say very much.

God is the perfect fit to that jonesing, that craving. For He alone knows us completely and complete. David also recognized that as he  says in the Psalms:

You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.

In the past three months, why its always a journey of 3 – I don’t know, I’ve come to understand in a small scale of things that GOD KNOWS EVERYTHING!

So one of the other ‘few things I’ve come to know’ is there’s really no weight and anything powerful we can do through worrying.

I determined to simply know, to have intimate knowledge, that God knows my needs so I need to choose not worry.

The other thing I learned was just this past weekend.

When I feel buried under the weight of my life, overwhelmed by circumstances, burdened by my own schedule, left out, feeling like whatever, in that moment He knows and is waiting for an invitation.

Invitation to what?

Friday night during the Fuel School I heard something so profound come from Sarah who was speaking. She simply said,’ Love Me Now.’ In the midst of trying moments, circumstances, whatever, ‘love me now God’.

So here in this moment, I’m saying

Love Me Now

sometimes the deepest lessons about God is the most simple ones.

That in a moment of heaviness, simply saying ‘love me now’ invites Him in to do just that.

“Why Me?”

One of the most loneliest places in the world is to feel ignored by those you feel or felt most connected with, the only ones your connected with.

Its been a long while since I’ve written, few weeks maybe but thats long for me.

One of my constant struggles in this new season of my life is feeling ignored or forgotten, by people in my life and sometimes by God. Now please, remember this one thing when reading my blog: God is big enough to handle my questioning heart.  So let me be honest here about what I mean:

I left one place and moved to another.

Now I’m almost 2 years on the other side of this thing and I still feel alone, not connected, by myself.

So instead of dwelling on ‘poor me’ and getting angry with people and refusing to work with them or make advances to be nice to them, I dwell on the eternal factor. Not the ‘why me’ of a victim mentality, but ‘why me’ as in what are you allowing me to learn through this.

I sit here today, a writter, encouraging you to ask the Lord ‘Why Me’ as in what can I learn from this.

Peace and chicken grease!

I was SandTrapped #fb

So here’s my story and I’m sticking to it….

Sand doesn’t absorb jack! I’ve come to know that intimately over the last 2 years. Year 1 – I was living boldly with false ignorance. Year 2 – I was learning to grieve, being OK with being broken and wounded, even being angry as I asked why and heard nothing. I’ve trying to figure out how to do this post without it reading like a testimony written to a pastor, which it probably will end up being sent to. So here goes…..

Sand Doesn’t Absorb Anything, But You, Me, and anything that is built upon it.

The God’s honest truth is I’ve been avoiding the this post for the past week. I’ve been trying to figure out how to explain to my peers, friends, family, and some of the many pastors in my life, how I could dare to refuse God – His well deserved praised. Well folks, I figured it out, my foundation was built on sand rather than Him, and when the sand shifted so did I.  See God never changes, He is always good, its everything else that changes. If my life is built upon things that are subject to change my perspective, emotions, and mental stability will also be subject to change.

In the past 2 years I’ve experienced a lot of  storms, and unfortunately during those storms I was living my life with my house, my home, my Christianity, built on a sand. Rather than Him – God being my home and my foundation, my foundation was the ministry I worked for, my foundation was the christian friends I was surrounded with. So when storms came, and my ministry was no longer mine and my christian friends were no longer around, I sunk, and everything about me crumbled. When I was offended and hurt deeply in music ministry, because my foundation was always built on music – and not on God, my musical leadership and not God, when the storm bringing in debris of offense and hurt came near and blew on me,  I crumbled and walked away.

I walked away from the prophesies spoken over me since I was a kid. I walked away from the very thing I knew I was meant to do, the very thing I was created to do. I walked away from God, demoting Him from a beautifully intimate relationship, to a casual acquaintance. I didn’t tell Him much, spend time with Him much.  Because my life was built upon the shifting sands of ministry, relationships, friendships, and not God – I crumbled. I crumbled so badly I walked in a spirit of depression for over a year, and reached the point of suffocation. To the point where I couldn’t write anymore, sing anymore, play piano or guitar anymore. I got to a point where I couldn’t stand church, I couldn’t stand most ministers of the gospel, I was defeated and ok with that.

I was sandtrapped.

So here’s where I am now: I’m learning to build a solid foundation.

I am learning how to truly put God, not ministry, first in my life. God and ministry is not synonymous with each other. I can’t love ministry and ministry only – and call it loving God, and vice versa.  Balance – We like to act like that’s a cuss word sometimes. Getting deeply offended when we’re approached with that question of  ‘ Where’s your balance?’, but its a valid question, are you balanced in loving God first and then man. Meeting God’s needs (requirements)  first and the those around you. Building a solid foundation with your pastors and church. God gave us a body for a reason, it holds the head up. In the same manner, he’s given us all the body of Christ to hold each and everyone of our heads up. Use it.

So I’m digging out now, and starting over. Won’t you join?

Maybe your still trying to figure out if your sandtrapped, let me help you.

You might be sandtrapped if:

1. You feel lost and without purpose when those close to you don’t call or answer your text.

2. Your leadership at work or church changes and your ready to leave.

3. If every time something happens you pack up to leave or threaten it.

Those are things I’m guilty of…..

24-25“These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.

26-27“But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.”

In The Pursuit of Happiness…

I’m sick of the sour puss christian face I make consistently.

So I decided that 2010 is a year of life, and I wouldn’t simply exist anymore, but live. I’m working on my plans of relocating, figuring out where God has destined for me to be. Pursuing the joyous path God has set apart for me.

So in the midst of that, I’ve come to a conclusion:

Our happiness isn’t necessarily what makes others happy

So I may be happy, moving away, starting over with my life. But other’s may not. Theyre maybe some folks who will be hurt by my pursuit of happiness and where I belong.

So where do we draw the line?

Whats that perfect median of my happiness and the happiness of others.

Am I to just move forward and trust over time things will be better?

Am I to accept that the hurt that others feel, may be God using me to shake them up alittle?

or am I to just stop – stop being selfish- and exist for others?

Another game of questions and answers

Its 11:21pm and I am sleepy.

When I’m sleepy, my ability to shut down my normal inhabitions is hard. So now I’m sleepy and honest.

Its been a rough day, somewhat of a rough week, but God is good.

and truthfully I refused to give Him that.

Well until I read LosWhits blog.

So here’s why God is good:

He’s good, because when I doubt Him – He doesn’t doubt me.

He’s good, because when I refuse Him – He welcomes me

He’s good, because when I’m hurt by Him and His inaction – I’m still His.

He doesn’t repay me with the lightening bolt I so deserve.

He welcomes me, loves me, cares for me, inspite of me.

so God is Good…

My heart was made bitter, and I was pained by the bite of grief: I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand.

sorry God