I'm not quite sure how to put into words what's running through my head.

It's this God thing again.

I was reading a book about Biblical femininity- you know, submission (pretty much considered to be a dirty word in our world today). Anyway, I just have so many questions... so much hackle-raising as I read through this stuff.

I can't argue the fact that it's biblical. It's there. I know it's there. But as to what it actually means, well, that's where I get fuzzy.

I guess it comes back to the issue that I'm grappling with with God- trust. If I "submit" to my father or to my husband, I mean.... that puts me in such a position of vulnerability. It's like, they can pretty much do anything they want, and I'm stuck, right? That's kind of the picture I get.

Really, truly, the message that I'm interpreting from their well-meaning information is this: You don't matter. You have been created to be a helper. Your dreams, ambitions, goals, interests, and personality are subordinate to that of the male you have been created to help. You don't get to have a future aside from that of the males in your life. You further their goals. Your purpose in life is to work towards their purpose.

Blech.

Hey, guess what? I received the same message when I was being abused. You don't matter. Your hopes, dreams, ambitions, goals, comfort zones, boundaries, mental and emotional health... none of it means a thing. I, the male authority-figure-person, want what I want, and you have to go along with it because you are nothing. You are mine, and you do as I say.

This book actually came out and said something to that effect later on. No, not that I am nothing and worthless, but it was discussing how submission requires self-denial. And not self-denial in the sense of, "I'm going to not do something that I want to do," but self-denial as a deeper practice, as in, "denying that you have a self". Whoa.

Whoa, whoa, whoa.

I refuse. I am NOT about to relinquish the hard-earned individuality that I have agonized over. I have spent so long as a mask, a puppet... an empty, hollow shell. I was who everyone wanted me to be. I was not myself. And now you're telling me that, in order to be a godly woman, in order to follow the Bible and to live a happy, fulfilled life, I have to go back to that?!

No. This is stupid. I am not about to become a brainwashed zombie. I refuse to be just another one of those "godly women" who wear long skirts, sew stuff, and have babies. I won't.

Does that make me a feminist? I don't know. But I'm not giving up my personhood for the sake of "godliness". God made me who I am. I'm not about to suppress that, even if it means I never get married. I can be single. Just let me be me.

D raised an interesting point. We (D, C, and I) were discussing this whole "submission" thing, especially in light of my past. I brought up a scenario where D had discussed something with me recently, then asked that I consider a certain option. I thought about it, realized that a.) he was right, and b.) he really cares about me, so I chose that option. D pointed out that, yes, I did in fact submit to him (my father figure, I guess), but that he was acting out of a desire for my best interest. If it's working right, that's the way it should be.

Maybe that's why I'm so sour on this whole idea. So much of it is completely foreign to me. Instead of joyful submission to a loving authority (i.e. father), I was merely physically dependent on my abusers. They didn't have my heart, although they had my body.

I also realized that, if this "submission" thing is right... if it really means to give up my identity or whatever... I have not submitted to God, nor am I ready to. I hate, hate, hate the thought of being a pastel, cookie-cutter Christian. I despise the idea of being one in a thousand, mass-produced person.



If I give up my identity... what do I have left?

I'm back to being nothing.

I can't handle that.
Well, its official- I'm pooped out. This family is high-energy, and, apparently, I am not. I've been dragging since last night (I think I'm coming down with something) with a headache, lethargy, and a general fatigue/slight fevery feeling. But I'm getting over it, and it's all good. (I think some-to-most of it may be due to dehydration.)

I'm glad to be leaving tomorrow, but I am glad that we stayed this long. D and R Gt and I got into an interesting discussion after watching a video called "Divided". It was about youth groups, and how age-segregation is contributing to the mass exodus of youth out of churches of all denominations. It was quite intriguing. I'm not going to go into the details here, because most of it is still ruminating in my mind, but the basic premise is that God designed families to be the ones to disciple and teach their children (they focused specifically on fathers), but with the rise of this youth movement, the family has begun "outsourcing" their job. The result is an incongruity that is tearing us apart as a Christian body. And I agree.

As a side note, we discussed "my" youth group, the one that meets to play racquetball every week and do something fun once a month. We agreed that "my" group doesn't fall into the category of youth segregation and isolation that they were describing. We have a broad range of ages, and we are certainly not advocating separation from the main body of believers. (Wow. That sounded pretty eloquent, to me. ^_^)

I've learned a ton of stuff since moving up here. There are a lot of conservative, homeschooling families in this area, since laws against homeschooling are so lax as to be nonexistent. Some of them I consider to be fanatics- narrow-minded, cramped individuals who cast a bad reflection on the religion we share. Some, however, give a real example of what God had in mind when he designed the family unit. The family we're spending the weekend with falls, I think, in the latter category. I mean, I don't necessarily agree with or enjoy everything they do, but all in all, I admire them very much. I think the same of the Sm's.

Well, we three began discussing this video, and the topic turned to homeschooling, how beneficial it is. I had always kind of thought it was weird, since I've been in the school system my whole life. Yet I can distinctly remember resenting the fake air, fake lights, and closed quarters that we were herded in and out of on a routine basis. It's not real. And the whole point behind this system is to take the "raw product" (the children), put it through a series of processes, and come out with a certain finished project. With homeschooling, it takes into account the personal identity and makeup of the child. They go at a pace suited to their individuality. They (should) learn practical skills along with the bookwork. Academics are not everything. Of course, this, too can be abused. People can do it wrong, and do it very badly. People who go through the "system" are not bad or evil. But I'm beginning to think that there might be a better way.

And I'm beginning to see how very, very important it is to marry a man who is willing to be that leader and teacher in the home. I don't plan on having children, but I do plan on being involved in working with youth and kids. Quite involved. And I want my home to be following the original design for families.

There is a Latin law saying which says, "The abuse of a thing is no argument against its proper use." I've been thinking about this in reference to my hardship in understanding the role of a father and husband, and, more importantly, how God relates to me and I to him. But I've come to the conclusion that, just because this loving father thing was messed up and misrepresented to me, I shouldn't give up on it. I have seen a few examples that irresponsibility and abuse is not all there is. AND, that's not what God even wants! I so long to experience marriage the way that it's supposed to be... and, should I ever have children, to build a family that is happy, healthy, and operating the way that a family ought to. The word "glorious" comes to mind.

I'm afraid that, because of my desire to "do it right" (sound familiar?), I may have overly high expectations of any guy that comes my way. I might expect too much, and miss out on what joys could be. I might even expect too much of myself (which is not a new phenomenon), and completely overwhelm myself, leading to a shut-down. Pity on the man who takes me for his wife.

Well, tomorrow we go home.

Home, sweet home. There really is no place like it.
We rode bareback this morning, and it was wonderful.

Someday, I would like a horse. An Icelandic horse ("pony"), one that looks like Voyager-- dark body and a light mane and tail. (One reason why I like palominos so much is that they have a similar color scheme.) He is the most handsome horse I've ever laid eyes on.

We could take long rides over the countryside... just marveling at God's creation... in silence. That would be the one thing I would have changed about our ride this morning. It would have been truly magnificent in silence.

But I am very, very tired. :)

(More than ever, I want to visit the Ranch of Rescued Dreams- Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch.)
Can it be? Truly? In all reality, am I actually... having fun?! Gasp!

I was fearful that it would be a big drain, and I'd come away depressed and anxious. However, I am finding that... I am genuinely enjoying myself, and the Gt's.

My stomach is cramping up a storm-- maybe something I ate I shouldn't have? Can't think of anything bad... that's the only "bad" part of this day so far.

We rode horses earlier, and I trotted! Then we hung out, had supper, played music, read the Bible, and now are getting ready for bed. I think tomorrow will be nice as well. J is coming, and bringing her harp so we can practice for our upcoming concert gig. We'll take a soak in the wood-heated sauna/hottub. We'll ride horses again, and this time, I'm riding bareback. And cantering. Or maybe just one of those options. We'll see.

But it's been unexpectedly fun. 

Thanks, God.
It's K's birthday. She's now... old. :) Just a couple years younger than I am, actually. I remember turning this age... actually, it was after just a few months at SOULS, and A and the girls gave me a surprise birthday party! That was so wonderful... I'd never had a surprise party before, and I love surprises.

So this morning, we'll have a special breakfast, and K will get her presents. Then, after breakfast, I'll pack (since I worked all day yesterday, and we had a fun movie night last night-- I ate waaaay too much popcorn, nectarines, cappuccino ice cream, and rootbeer! But, oh... it was heavenly), and then we'll vamos mid-morning down to the Gt's house. K wanted to spend her birthday weekend there, so we will. It will be cold, which I am not anticipating in the least, but I'll deal with it. This is her time. I can't let my petty selfishnesses get in the way. That would be dumb. Plus, I want to show her how much I truly do appreciate her, and what better way than to support her fun weekend with her friends?

It's been a rough week, from what I hear. Surprisingly, it's been a good day for me, except for a few bouts of depression. I find it funny that I can have such a good couple of days, and everyone else can have such rotten ones. Usually they're the ones on an even keel, while I'm the one riding the emotional roller coaster. To be frank, I haven't really known what to do except pray for them.

I had the weirdest dream last night-- J, whom I've known forever, and I liked each other. Actually, he liked me first, and the more I thought about it, the more I thought, Hey, this just might work. But it was really weird in the dream, too. Like "kissing your brother" (though we didn't kiss, it's still the same sentiment). When I woke up (slightly panicking), I had an almost irresistible urge to text him and say, "Hey, we're still purely platonic, right? 'Cause I had this weird dream...." Whew. Close shave. (Even though our families have been hoping we'll marry since we were 4.)

Okay, time to get the day started. Enough jotting down of thoughts. Nothing really worthwhile is surfacing, and so I say adieu.

Birds

Dear God,

I've been watching birds this morning. I sat down, prepared to read something in the Bible ('cause I really want to make an effort- I want this to be a mutual relationship), but the scene outside held a magnetism I cannot explain. It started when I heard a bird call, repeated again and again.

I opened the window, and just sat, listening to the myriad little chirps and trills, throbs and warbles. A stellar's jay swung out of the sky and perched on a bare tree-top. Then, I noticed the snow that glints in the early morning light, rounding out all the harsh edges of the world beneath. I noticed the fresh sweetness of the cold air that rushed into my room, past my face, into my lungs.

There's a whole world athrob with life out there. It's beautiful. It's simple. Bad things happen (our alpaca was killed last night), but the dawn comes, and life carries on... still beautiful. Everything outside my window right now is brimming with vigor and beauty and purpose.

God, you made that. You created the order, harmony, and simplicity.

Can you create that world of life within me?
Will you create that world of life within me? I'm asking you.

I want to be like the birds- to trust implicitly in the fact that you see them, that you care about them, and that not a single one is hurt without your notice.

I want the world inside me to be fresh, clean, and beautiful... covered with snow, and alight with the sound of birdsong.
I skipped last week. My bad. I could use some positive re-focusing, though. Here goes...

Triumphant Tales
- I babysat for H this morning, and we went out to lunch. It was normal. It was nice. I told her about "the guy". We had girl talk. Fun.

-I have plans to meet with H, my sponsor, tomorrow.

-I haven't given up on God.

-I'm still alive.

-I don't feel overwhelmed right now.

-I did a couple random acts of kindness this week.

Thankfuls
-Whatever was wrong with Mom has been fixed (we think).

-Friends

-Families

-My cats

-My gas money stretched farther than expected this month.

-New kids at youth group

-Randomly unexpected cute hiking boots for our upcoming backpacking trip

-Birthday plans

-Acceptance in the community as a musician

-God

Thoughts to Ponder
-"Is this really what God/my family/my friends think of me?" (In response to distorted thoughts)

-This, too, shall pass.

-Into every life some rain must fall.

-"We love you."
Dear God,

I was raped in my dreams last night. It was awful.

I think it started with my visit to the chiropractor's. His secretary was gone visiting grand-kids, so it was only him in the office. I immediately had misgivings about being alone with a guy (not even this guy in particular, but ANY guy-- even working for B has been somewhat of a mental challenge at times), but I put them aside. Don't be stupid, nothing's gonna happen... what, you think you're that irresistible? He even asked, "Do you want to reschedule? I don't want you to be uncomfortable." I airily replied, "No, it's fine." (I immediately began mentally kicking myself, because I knew that if anything did happen, it would now be my fault.)

Well, it was fine, in the way of nothing happening. He's an upstanding guy. But he did a new stretch, which was to have me cross my arms, and then he leaned over and sort of did this twist/pull thing on my arms to pop my thoracic back. It wasn't anything, but I guess it must have been triggering in some way, because I left ASAP, and in a funk. And then... the dreams...

In my dream, I was playing guitar in some sort of vacation home, and the windows were open. It was a beautiful day, and I was enjoying myself. Then two guys walked up to the open window and started chatting with me. I tried to ignore them, because they had that "vibe", and they went away... but then one of them came back and attacked me. I put up a whale of a struggle- I even tried to hit him with my guitar! It didn't work, though. Fortunately, my mind fast-forwarded through the act itself, to the end, where he made some crude, derogatory remark and left. After that, it seemed that every creep in a five mile radius knew that I was defiled, and I had to deal with at least one other attack. I managed to fend that guy off, though, and run away and hide. When I came back out of hiding, I was accused of leading him on by a friend of mine, which really hurt.

All in all, my dreams sucked. I wish I could control my dreams like some people I know.

At least it was nobody I knew.

I'll see you later, God.
I'm glad I can tell you this stuff.
I just discovered that I have trichotillomania. No, it's not a contagious disease, it's, essentially, a compulsive urge to pull out my hair. I've been doing it for years and tried to stop, albeit unsuccessfully. It's good to know that some others out there share this weirdness. I do notice that it increases with stress or depression, and it's ritualistic in a way- I only pull out certain types of hair. Two schools of thought on this one: 1. an impulse-control disorder, or 2. a bad habit. If I choose #1, does that make me less of a loser?

Dear God,

I thought about driving off a cliff on the way home today. At first, I thought I might just go into the river-- it looked so... pure. It rushed and surged past, glinting and ice-cold. I thought that maybe it would cleanse me, purge me. But then I remembered... I don't like the cold. It might be neat to watch the bubbles rise and the current spin past me from behind glass... to just wait until the darkness claims me... but I don't like the cold. So then I thought that a cliff might do well. I can just imagine soaring through the air in one last graceful arc... the freedom might overwhelm me.

But then, I thought, You know... that would be an easy way for my adversary to get rid of me. No way! I'm not going down that easy! I'm sticking around, if only because I hate you! I WILL fight, because you can't take me down. I won't let you.

Why do I hate myself? It seems that, no matter the scenario, I cannot escape the snide, condemnatory voice in my head. I tell myself, No, it's not true! You're being lied to! It doesn't seem to make a difference.

God, am I doing this all wrong? Am I failing? Am I not doing this, or something, anything, right?

I'm doing the best I can. I think I'd rather have it this way than trying to work through the checklist each day.

Why do these thoughts of killing myself come? And why, even though I dismiss them, do they linger in the back of my head? Why am I depressed? Why do I get these funks? Am I blaming too much on my past? Is there just something fundamentally flawed within me? Do I have a mental illness? Do I have a disorder? Is there a reason I experience these things, or am I just not doing it right?

God, I don't want to be this way. I don't! If I could wake up tomorrow and be different, I would. No, I would NOT choose this pain. So why did you? Who are you, anyway? What kind of a god voluntarily puts himself at the mercy of the demons that torment me? In my darker moments, I might just tell you that you shouldn't have done it. Obviously, it hasn't fixed me. Go on... save yourself. Noble, right?

I wondered tonight, on the drive home... I think I care entirely too much about "the church" and what they think of me. I'm just afraid of being attacked... rejected... of more stones added to the weight that already crushes the breath from my lungs. But, really... who cares what they think? They're not the ones that let me into heaven. Besides, if they kick me out, I know a few sunday churches that would be happy to have me, warts and all. Sad, isn't it? "The Church of Destiny" strikes fear into my heart. Also, the fact that if I walked away I would be considered "fallen", possibly even damned, really irks me. (Being irked...that's so not Christ-like. *sigh*)

I'm sorry for my confusion. I'm sorry for my rebellion, for my pain, for my darkness, and for my instability.

I'm scared. Backpedaling in my mind. I don't like him, I don't. If I don't like him, nothing will ever happen (because he might be "too old" for me anyway), and if nothing ever happens, then he will never have to deal with my pain, my issues, and he will never see my darkness, and I will never be rejected, and...

I just want to be loved so desperately... I'm afraid that I'll jump at the very first chance. Any chance. Just love me. Don't leave me. Don't hurt me. Above all, don't condemn me.

I cry entirely too much for my own good these days.

Goodnight, God.
I'll see you tomorrow.
I hope you don't mind. I need to have this here so that I can read it... often.


Dearest C,

I had some more thoughts come to my mind this weekend, after reading your last several blogs. 

I heard a recurring theme in a couple of them (the Phantom blog, and the Eat, pray, love blog):  one who does not allow me to have free choice—is not trustworthy, and not worthy to be loved.

So, one question that begs to be answered is:  so what does God do with people who make different choices than He wants?

The phantom manipulates and controls.  So--are the Phantom and God alike?!

OK, so we know you DON’T trust the Phantom (or the dude on Eat, pray love),--so what kind of a person WOULD you trust?

Maybe someone who loves you for who you are? who encourages you to be the best you can be? who allows you free choice—to stay, or not to stay? “There is no fear in love, for perfect love casts out fear.”  TRUE LOVE cannot be FORCED by fear, power, or money.  If so—we would be slaves, employees, or prostitutes.  No—God calls us His FRIENDS—and His BRIDE!

I encourage you to spend some time with the Parable of the prodigal son, considering what it tells us about God, and free choice .   When Jesus decided to tell us how He deals with His kids—even when they do things He wishes they wouldn’t—this is the story He told!

*  **  **  **  **  ** 

Wow--I love this about God!  I love that He allows me free choice—no matter how He feels about it—and longs to have me back.  Now, I want God to give ME free choice.  But I’m not so sure He should necessarily give free choice to others.  I mean—do YOU think He should have allowed the prodigal son free choice?  Because the Prodigal son hurt other people while he was living a wild life.  He hurt the women he took advantage of.  He probably hurt his friends in dishonest business deals. . . . maybe he hurt his girlfriend and his horses in a drunk-chariot-driving accident.   The Bible doesn’t tell us about all the people he hurt while he was living his crazy life.  But I know that he did, because that’s what sin does.  And it doesn’t just hurt the person who DOES the sin.  It hurts the people that are a part of the sinner’s life, too.   That’s sin.

So, I’m glad that God allows ME free choice.  But I don’t think He should allow other people free choice.  If they are going to do anything worse than earn speeding tickets—then I think God should force them.

What?!  I hear you cry.  What are you saying!?  OK, OK.  You’re right.  I take that back.  God doesn’t force anyone.  That’s one of the very foundations of a perfect-love relationship.  Each party is there because they WANT to be.

That’s one thing that you are longing for in a truly intimate relationship some day.  Free choice and respect of your free-will.  And here-in lies the big problem.  If the foundation of God’s character is LOVE, and love allows free choice, then who should He allow to have free choice—to have a love relationship with God, or not. You?  B-----?  H-----? S------? R------? G------?!!!!!!!

Every person has free choice—to follow God’s good ways, or choose ways of rebellion and sin.  And every time they choose to follow ways of sin—someone gets hurt.  They get hurt personally—and too many times, others around them suffer, too.   Is it fair?  NO!  For God’s sake NOOOOO!!!  It is not fair.  SIN IS NOT FAIR!!!! And God completely agrees.

But created beings are still having a hard time ‘getting it’.

So if, out of LOVE and MERCY, He gives everyone free choice—then what kind of God do we have?!!!  Is He like a spineless teacher, who sits and watches helplessly while the bullies beat up on the wimps of the class?

That’s what we would have—if LOVE and MERCY were the only things in God’s character.  But that’s not all. . .! (Paid TV advertising, anyone!?).  There is also JUSTICE and WISDOM and POWER, and UNSELFISHNESS. . .

**---The JUSTICE in his character says, “I will NOT allow this sin problem to last forever—I WILL solve it once and for all—forever.  It will NEVER raise it’s ugly head to bring pain and sorrow again.”
**---The WISDOM in His character has designed a PLAN to deal with it—successfully.  And what does ‘success’ look like?  1.  Sin will never arise again (What we discussed already—Only when created beings are  all TOTALLY convinced that sin is completely intolerable, will sin never arise again.)  and 2. As many as possible will be saved from it.   But this is also hard, for in His wisdom, He knows that more time must go by, to ensure success.  So He hasn’t lowered the final boom.   From my perspective and yours, that is a problem.  Because that means that we are still suffering the natural results of God allowing us and others, to have free choice.  For while there is sin—it will always hurt.

**---The UNSELFISHNESS of His character put Him in the middle of the battleground—and led Him to demonstrate the depth of His love through suffering, pain and death.  When our hearts cry, “But God—You just can’t understand how much it hurts to be betrayed. . . or misused. . . or abused. . .or lied to. . . or be in the most agonizing physical pain. . .”   He really DOES know.  And the really crazy thing is He CHOSE that pain, of His own free will—because of the lesson is could teach! (How many times has that lesson been MISSED?!) I wouldn’t choose pain like that.  Would you CHOOSE your pain, if there were any other option?!!!

Does this sound like the phantom!!??  ANYTHING even remotely like the phantom?

Will the real Phantom of the Opera please stand up!?  Satan wants to paint God as the Phantom of the Opera!!!

I suppose this all is why Joy Swift (They’re All Dead aren’t They?) finds comfort in looking ahead.  She has been able to see God for who He really is.   Love, mercy, justice, wisdom, unselfishness. . . . Joy can see God's cosmic plan in action.   The rescue vehicle has not yet arrived; Justice has not been served—yet! And while she waits for Him, she still has HOPE.   It is coming!  And she TRUSTS that it will be worth waiting for.

I so much want to be able to promise you what kids in Kindergarten class want to believe:  That IF I obey mommy and give my offering for the missionaries, THEN God will not let me hurt.  Oh, dear God—I want to promise you that.  I want to promise D that he will stop hurting and that he won’t lose his colon.  I want to tell him that church people will always be nice and tell the truth.  I want to promise my friend Debbie that her mom is not going to hurt, while she has bone cancer.  But I CAN’T!

I can’t, because that’s not what the Bible says.  It only says that ‘all those things’ will not be able to destroy our souls, by separating us from the love of God.  It only says that we will be more than conquerors—through all those things!  It only says that ‘The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

It would be wrong of me to tell you a lie about what it means to live in a world of sinners who have free choice.

(Truly, living a family/church life by God's principles really does reduce the pain we have to deal with.  My parents and I were just rejoicing over that this weekend.  We are working out some business dealings that are going to allow them to live here on our property, so we can care for them in their golden years.  We are having to ask each other difficult questions. . .'What if you died?  What if I died?  Then what?  What if I my parents are debilitated--what am I willing to do for them?"  The huge blessing is--D and I, and both of my parents--all have each others best at heart.  We are working out how we can care for each other in the difficult circumstances that will probably face us down the road.  So many families make these plans amid fighting and pain.  We are so privileged to make these plans, in an atmosphere of love.  God's principles DO reduce the pain that we have to live with.  But they certainly don't eliminate pain.  

We are going to have to go through pain.   But at LEAST—I can promise that God IS MAKING YOU A CONQUEROR!  I have seen it.  I have been watching.

I write all this, and look back on it, and say to myself—who am I to even try to say something about this?  It might not even speak to anything in your heart.  And if not—at least you can know you are never far from my thoughts.

I ADMIRE your bravery.  To face your questions and your brokenness.  To tell the truth.  To seek.  To risk.  I am SO PROUD OF YOU.

And remember—I say this, with all sincerity—in spite of all you have shared with me!

I am completely convinced that God, having seen all that brings you to where you are today, feels the same way I do. 

Love,
J
Dear God,

I contemplated suicide on Friday. It's not because I hate my life, or I hate you, or anything like that. I was just tired. Tired of fighting... tired of trying... tired of being tired. Tired in body, and tired in soul.

Usually, my curiosity is the deciding factor between life and the taking of life. I hate the thought of not being around for whatever's next. I want to know, but if I die, I won't know. But on Friday, I didn't even care anymore. It was scary, in retrospect.

But I am tired... I'm tired of trying to make it work between us. I'm tired of carrying the weight if this relationship. It seems like I'm the one doing all the work, and you just kind of show up when it's convenient for you. That's probably not how it really is, but that's how it feels. My understanding of the events around me is totally subjective, so you're just gonna have to bear with me.

If you are really who you say you are, then I can be weak. I can throw my hands up and say, "I'm done," and you're strong enough to carry the relationship. If you are who you say you are... you can handle my dysfunctions and rough edges. You can deal with my depression. And you're okay with my imperfection. Why have I never believed this?

You've answered my Big Question a little lately, too. That's nice. I do appreciate it. I'd been wondering if you were even going to respond. But you have. That puts my mind at ease a little. The Question(s) is/are still there, but I think I'm starting to understand.

I'm scared about the future. Money worries me. A lot. That's one of the reasons why I "quit life" the other day. I'm just sick of worrying... but I'm scared that you won't take care of me. It comes back around to the Big Question again. You say that you'll take care of me, and that you'll provide for me... but where were you when I needed you the most? Why weren't you taking care of me then? How can I trust your promises now, if you didn't act on your word then?

You see why I have these problems relating to you? It's like... you say you'll take care of me... but I have absolutely no guarantee that my life is not going to explode into a million pieces and I will want to die. But yet, it's not that bad things won't happen, but you'll be there through it, right? Yes, you'll be there... standing off to the side while I wither and collapse? I don't know if I want the care that says my life can implode, but that you'll be there while it's happening. That sounds like duplicity, to me. Like, yeah, you'll be there, but you won't do anything? I don't know...

Why is this so HARD? Why can't I just suck it up and trust you?

Because my heart has been shattered so many times... I don't even have all the pieces.

Christianity is HARD. Then again, so was non-Christianity. Either way, I get hurt...

Dammit.

God... I want this to work so badly. I feel bad that I have all these questions and doubts and problems and wonderings and fear and hate and... all kinds of stuff. I want to be a good, trusting Christian, I do. But it's so hard for me. You understand that, right?

I know that I have some sort of trust towards you, somewhere inside... because I'm always asking you to open the right doors, and to guide my future, and asking you for guidance and whatnot... your will for my life. I do trust you, somehow... but it's not complete. I know that. But I want it to be. I want that peace that passes understanding. I want all that stuff I hear about Christianity-- love, joy, peace, happiness, forgiveness, etc. You know I want it.

I'm fearful that I'm too broken... that I'm too messed up. Can it really happen for me? Are all my questions turning you off?

And then there's this guy... I think he likes me, and I like him at least a little. But I'm scared. What if this turns into something? But how can I do this relationship thing if our relationship is so screwy? *Sigh* I don't know. I'm just so confused... about everything...

God,
grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference;
living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as the pathway to peace;
taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that you will make all things right as I surrender to your will;
so that I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with you forever in the next.
Amen.

That's it. That's what I've been craving. Not a relationship. Not sex. (Necessarily.) Those two make up part of the whole of intimacy- emotional, sexual, and spiritual intimacy.

I've been longing for another person to truly know me, and to love me despite it... and to help me love God more. And, though I have that in several platonic relationships... that's not what I'm longing for.

But you know what? That's okay. It's okay that I'm longing for it. That doesn't make me a bad person. I mean, after all, God designed us with this need and desire within us. And boy, am I experiencing it.

So, someday, the need will be fulfilled... but until that point, the question is, What am I going to do with those desires? If I try to fill them some other way, that would be harmful (both for now and the future). So I guess I just have to wait.

...Are we there yet?

(P.S.- I do not have to have a relationship to be happy. I do not have to have a relationship to be happy. I do not have to have a relationship to be happy.)
I'm done. Done trying.

I'm done trying to figure out my future.

I'm done trying to make things work between me and God.

I'm done trying to make my family work.

I'm done trying to fix myself.

I'm done... trying.

I'm going into survival mode.

I'm done.
I remember, when I was a child, Mom used to play me her cassettes of the Original Cast Recording of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera. She saved them for special times... like doing the dishes. Oh, how I loathe doing the dishes!! Somehow, the Phantom of the Opera made it bearable. That, and coffee.

So, today, I had a sudden and insatiable craving for Phantom of the Opera. I haven't listened to it in years, literally, but I realized that could still remember the words as I sang to myself in the shower. (I used to love pretending that I could sing like Christine.)

As I listened to it today (thank you, grooveshark.com), I actually listened, and for the first time I was able to pick up on the story line myself. Mom had explained it when I was a girl, but I never could remember it well. It was all rather confusing to me. I just liked the music. (Actually, that's an understatement. I loved the music, particularly the organ pieces. I think that Andrew Lloyd Webber was the catalyst for my persistent love of organ music.)

The story I heard, however, chilled me to the core. I had never before understood how... creepy... demented... truly savage The Phantom is. His thought processes are so twisted and warped! And so he thinks that, because he taught Christine to sing, that she "owes" him love? Instead of thinking of her best good, he thinks only of himself and how she can serve to meet his needs and soothe his ego. He doesn't care that she truly loves and is loved by Raoul. It doesn't matter to him. He will force her to his side, if necessary. If she will not come with him willingly, he will use psychological torture to imprison her. He will deceive her. He will break her down until she is but a shadow of the woman he actually fell in love with... all so that he may have what he wants... so that he may poison her with the darkness that roils within and around him.

I have walked with Phantoms. I have been deceived, used, ensnared...

But now I am free. I serve no man. I am no one's ego prop. I belong to myself, and to God. I have the right to say, "No."

I find myself in a quandary. (Yes, another one.) I've been in sort of a funk lately, and I desperately want to blog and just get all my thoughts out, yet at the same time, I feel just rather... stuck. Stifled. Like I can't get it out, and I don't particularly want to expend all the effort it would take to pry these thoughts out of me and slap them onto a piece of virtual paper.

But here I am.
Maybe it's not the internet shutting off that is my problem. It's probably just me.

I watched Eat Pray Love. It was pretty good. The only bad thing is that when she goes to Italy, the amazingly delicious food in vast quantities always gets my hunger up... so I gorged on potato chips, and now I feel sick. This always happens when I eat potato chips. You think I'd learn to leave them alone. But, no. It's insanity. Delicious, oily, crispy insanity.

Eat Pray Love. The things she learns on her voyage of self-discovery. First, Liz learns to eat. She cultivates an appetite- not just for food, but for relationships other than romantic ones. Second, she learns to pray. She seeks God, and peace. She goes through many struggles, but finally forgives. Third, she faces her fear of loving again, and learns to live a balanced life.

It's interesting, the journey that Liz goes on... so similar to my own, in ways...she finds truths that I, myself have found... but in some weird places. Like an ashram in India. Or a medicine man's hut in Bali. Or a pizza shop in Naples. Hmm.

Actually, I watched it twice. Once yesterday, and once today, with a notebook by my side and a pencil in my hand. So many things resonated with me that I couldn't just remember them all, so I wrote down a lot of quotes. I'll divide them up by location.

But first, I think the biggest, biggest thing that struck me about Liz's journey and the conclusions she came to is that she learned to enjoy life, not to simply endure it. What about me? How do I learn to enjoy life, to live with... passion, purpose, gusto, joy... all those heady words that I don't know how to apply to real life???

New York
(She's married/divorcing/dating/deciding to pursue self-discovery)
-Her first prayer- ever. She starts with the cliche, "Thanks for all the blessings," etc., but quickly breaks down. The tsunami of her pain sweeps away the forms, and she simply begs for help, for direction... and finally realizes, I think, that she is deeply unhappy.

-Permeable membrane: "I disappear into the person I love. I am the permeable membrane. If I love you, you can have it all. My money, my time, my body, my dog, my dog's money. I will assume your debts, and project upon you all sorts of nifty qualities that you've never actually cultivated in yourself. I will give you all this and more, until I am so exhausted and depleted that the only way I can recover is by being infatuated with someone else." Oh. My. Lands. This so accurately describes how I have conducted my romantic relationships all my life. This is what I saw modeled. Seriously... how co-dependent. I give all to make you happy... and when I can't take it anymore, I leave. Maybe not even physically. When I was with C, I went through this cycle several times... yet I never physically left. I stayed in the relationship, but my heart was elsewhere. And this... this is what is touted as love in our culture. This is what I am so desperate to avoid... and this is why it didn't work out with GM, either. I was dissolving, melting... becoming GM, Jr.... so that he would like me... so that he would love me, and I wouldn't be alone anymore... I wouldn't hurt anymore... Well, it didn't work. It hurt like hell, despite my absorption (probably because of it). No wonder I couldn't breathe.


-Dove out of marriage into new relationship, disappearing completely (in her own words). This is in keeping with her relational pattern... and the sick thing is, he knows it. He doesn't care. He just wants to enjoy her while he can, and hopefully keep her forever.


-"You know what I felt when I woke up this morning?...Nothing! I have no pulse! I want to marvel at something!" (I consolidated a whole speech into this fragment.) She is waking up to the fact that she is still not happy, even with this new relationship... and realizes that romantic relationships have not filled her. She is empty. She doesn't even know who she is, because she's never given herself time to discover it. SO ME.

-"I am not checking out! I need to change."

Italy
-It strikes me as interesting that she could so easily have jumped into a relationship with her Italian tutor, yet she refrained... even though she realizes, "I am alone." She begins to enjoy herself... with just herself.

-"My word is writer." "That's what you do, not who you are."


-"We all want things to stay the same. We settle for living in misery because we're afraid of change, of things crumbling into ruins...Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation." I agree. It is in breaking down the crumbling citadels of past lies, past dysfunctions, past hurts and bruises and heartaches and mistakes and failures that we find the foundations for our tomorrows. We must not fear change.

-Her new friends are grateful for Liz helping them to appreciate life... even though she is just learning herself. She took them on her quest with her, I guess.

India
-"You have to learn to select your thoughts the way you select your clothes every day. Now that's a power you can cultivate... You wanna control your life so bad, work on the mind, and that's the only thing you should be trying to control. 'Cause if you can't master your thoughts, you're in trouble forever."
I probably would have taken beef with this not too long ago... but even Christianity teaches this. Our thoughts are, generally, something we can control. Like my friend says, you can't stop the birds from flying overhead, but you can keep them from nesting in your hair. So even if unwanted thoughts come, just let them go. Is that a prescription for ADD or what?

-"I know you feel awful, but your life's changing. That's not a bad thing."
Yes. Change feels awful. At least, it has for me. But it's not a bad thing... riiiiiight?

-"God's not interested in watching a performance of how a spiritual person looks and behaves. The quiet girl who glides silently through the place with a gentle, ethereal smile on her face, who is that person? ...that's not me."
She goes on to say that "God dwells within me, as me," but I disagree with that. I'm really impressed with the truths she's discovered, though. Seriously, because of my "Christianity programming", I thought for some time that all other religions were basically from the devil and nothing good could come from them. I've now adopted a slightly different point of view... while I do believe that the premise that a lot of these other religions operate from are faulty, I do see that God works even with this. The adversary wreaks havoc everywhere... even in "Christian" places. It cannot be a black/white-thisplaceiswrong/thisplaceisright issue, because then you lose the focus of the entire matter. You can be a Bible worker in an upstanding church and still not know God. You can be a devotee in an ashram in India, pursuing God with all your heart... who am I to judge? I cannot. I know that I believe differently, and, yes, I do believe that religions like Buddhism and Hinduism and etc. etc. are, in reality, designed to keep people from knowing the true character of God (like I have a lot of room to talk, eh?). But I do know that God has children in every nook and cranny... as well as enemies.

Bali
-"...in order to stay happy, you must always know where you are, every moment. Right here is perfect for balance. Right at meeting of heaven and earth. Not too much God, not too much selfish. Otherwise, life too crazy. You lose balance, you lose power."
Ever hear the saying, "They're so heavenly-minded that they're of no earthly good"? Unbalanced. In my opinion, there's a lot of that up here where I'm at... And while I don't think that we are to purposely keep selfish, for the purpose of staying balanced, he has a good point...

-"Now you are afraid to open your heart. You are afraid hurt will happen to you again. Only way to heal is to trust. This okay. To have broken heart mean you have tried for something."
If your heart is never broken... you have never let anyone in. Easy on paper, hard in practice.

-"Don't feel bad about Filipe. Everybody needs affection, honey. Make people do funny things. Everyone gets like that at beginning of relationship. Want too much happiness, too much pleasure, until make yourself sick. Even to Wayan, this happen at the beginning of my love affair. I lose myself, Liz."
Another one of those things I'm desperate to avoid. This is what I am afraid will happen if I date again.

-Liz: I can't. I'm sorry, I can't.
Filipe: Why?
Liz: I haven't been home in 5 days. I haven't seen Ketut in weeks. It's just too much.
Filipe: It's not much. To get into a boat with me, to be by ourselves... it is too much for you?
Okay, here's where I rant. I am so frustrated with this guy! He's sucking her in, she's losing her balanced life and she knows it, and when she tries to put up boundaries, he dismisses them. "No, you're wrong. It's really not much. You're making this into a big deal, but it's really not." It smacks of, "If you love me, you will ______." Also, maybe I have a personal vendetta against this guy because he reminds me so much of Mom's creepy boyfriends... not in looks, but just in actions, how he treats her... Ugh. Get your tentacles off of her, and let her be herself.

-"I DO NOT NEED TO LOVE YOU TO PROVE THAT I LOVE MYSELF!"
Yes, she was yelling. And I say, Amen! You tell him, girl!

-"I ended it. I couldn't keep my balance."
"Sometimes losing balance for love is part of living balanced life."
What?! No it's not! Are you trying to tear down everything you've built up in her? He's smothering her! *Sigh*

Okay, get ready for a huge run-on sentence...


-"The Physics of The Quest: If you're brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting, which can be anything from your house to bitter, old resentments and set out on a truth-seeking journey, either externally or internally, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you."

I'm still super frustrated that she went back to him. I feel like she's falling into the same old relational habits again... only this time, it must be true love, right? Gag me with a spoon. He's a leech. You went around the world to find yourself, and now you give it up for a guy? Look, if he won't respect your boundaries, or give you the freedom to be a person and have a life separate from himself and your "sexy time" together, then there are some serious red-flag issues to be resolved. If you can't say "No", you had better watch out. I say run for your life.
"I think you're the sharpest person I've ever met. I do 3-4,000 treatments a year, and that adds up, but you've already absorbed more information than 99% of all my patients of all ages and genders and occupations... and we've only had 3 sessions!"

Seriously? Wow. Thank you. Ummmm.... how do I respond to this?

"You girls were the treat of the evening!"
"As far as I'm concerned, there was only one act last night, and it was you."
"You were by far the best."
"Your group was the only professional act the whole night."

You're being too kind. Didn't you hear me mess up?? It was totally obvious! That alone should discredit us.

"You have the skills and talents for this job. Obviously, they want you, and you would do a great job."
"You are so gifted."
"I think you'll do a great job, no matter what you choose."
"You have such an awesome personality."

No, really. You don't understand. I am not those things! I am only a teensy bit good. I am not very talented. I mean, sure... it's there... kinda... but I'm not anything great or special. Mediocre at best. Really. Trust me. I know myself. If I accept your praise, I'm doomed to disappoint you.

My life is ruled by one, overarching thought-- I want to do the right thing. Desperately.
I am constantly second-guessing myself.
It is so hard to just pick a direction and GO! because, I mean, what if it's the wrong thing? What if I mess up? What if I make a mistake? What if I should have turned left, and I turned right instead?
What if the decision I just made was wrooooooooong?

Equally frustrating is the quandary of what to do when I get it right? 
"Wow, you did such a great job!" "Hey, you did the right thing!" Um... Thanks.
I really enjoy the affirmation, but I secretly believe that, if they knew what I knew, or if they had really paid attention, or if they just watched for a little longer, it would totally invalidate their praise. They would find me/my performance to be lacking.

I hate making mistakes. My self-worth tanks through the floor. Yet I am also uncomfortable with success. I love it, but I loathe it.

There's a guy that I've seen a few times at community functions we play for. He's quite handsome, and seems to be a solid, mature, quality guy. Plus, he's musical. I know hardly anything about him, but everything I know, I like. But inside my head, the thoughts go like this...
Wow, he's really good looking... and nice... and musical. Seems like the guy for me! Well, I wouldn't mind going on a date with him, anyway... Wait, what am I thinking? I'm not his type, surely. He's probably got a girlfriend. Maybe even married. If he knew you were ogling him, he'd be uncomfortable for sure. Why are you even thinking about this guy? Shame on you! You know he wouldn't want you. Now stop it.

And so I dream... I dream of encountering a guy who can handle my issues, who will know me for who I am and not run away screaming, or slink into the shadows, or try to change me into someone else... to shrink me down to a manageable size... I've known these people before, but they are few and far between, and I didn't yet know how to have a relationship in any form.

Okay, I've got too many thoughts going on right now. I'm going to start another post and try to sort them out. This one's too long.
My mishmash of thoughts from throughout the day.

Roll film.

I thought autumn was my favorite season. I was wrong. It's the in-between times that are my favorites. When summer is turning to fall, fall to winter, winter to spring, and spring to summer... I get my favorite season 4 times a year!

There's just something about it... like all of life is athrob with possibilities. You can literally feel the vibrations of the world around you as they soak richly in through your senses.

Today was the kind of day that, had I had a choice and a beloved to share it with, I would have
a.) Spent a leisurely morning cuddling and making breakfast together with all the curtains up and the windows open and music playing lightly in the background.
b.) Packed a picnic lunch and driven deep into the wilderness, then take a walk/hike further into nature and enjoy nature, each other, and a yummy lunch.
c.) Drive back home as the sun sets, invite friends over, order pizza and watch a movie together/play board games.

Sigh.

Such is the fantasy life I create for myself. Is it so wrong to want someone to share these beautiful days with? Is it so wrong to want to actually apply the things I'm learning about relationships? Is it so wrong to want a companion to encourage me and teach me to encourage?

I've acknowledged the fact that at least part of me would actually like denominational schooling... but it's too expensive. It's probably not all it's cracked up to be, anyway.

Sometimes a little understanding goes a long way. I have heard that from so many people lately... over and over again. But how true is it? What good am I if I can't help anyone? Just, "Yup. Been there, done that. Sucks, huh? Sorry." I want to HELP people! I can't even do that. I have no answers. Frustration mounts with each person who crosses my path that I can identify with. Please, no more. Tell me that there are some happy people in this world. Is everyone broken? Even the respected elder and his wife... seemingly so happy... yet their marriage is devoid of love. God, why is everyone broken?! Are there any answers? Is life all this way?? Is it just brokenness and pain until we die?


The internet will shut off in 3.... 2.... 1....

Grr.
Why is that I only feel that God is okay with me when I've done everything right? The minute I do something "wrong", a horrible sense of condemnation rolls over me.

For crying out loud, that's the very premise of Christianity-- we're all screw-ups, and we can't fix or save ourselves.

So what's my deal?

Stupid father figures... screwed me up for life.

Cuddling

It's that kind of day... if I still had a significant other, I would want to spend this morning cuddling.

I'm going to see C when I visit Arizona this spring. (I'm getting my crockpot back from him.) It's kind of unnerving... because he's the one I used to cuddle with.

I have all kinds of justifications lined up for anyone who might ask. I'm so over him. I would never even consider him for a relationship now, so I'm totally not in danger. Yeah, his power over me is broken now, because I've learned so much about how dysfunctional our relationship was.


Just please, let me see him one more time.

It's all true. The "justifications", they're all legit. It's truth. But I still don't want anyone to tell me I can't see him again.

Just be careful, woman. It's like playing with fire.

I wonder if he'll still think I'm beautiful. Does it matter?

Frustrating.
I vacillate between Idon'twanttobeinarelationshiprightnowandpossiblyeveragainbecauseI'msoscrewedupandIdon'twanttomessupmylifeoranyonelses
 and IreallymisshavingthatspecialpersoninmylifewholovesmeandthinksI'mbeautifulandwonderfulandspecialandIjustwantsomeonetolovemeisthatsowrong?

(Do you know how hard it is to repress the urge to press the space bar when I'm typing like that?)

I've been single for two years. That's a record for me. And I'm so convinced that it's the right thing... until mornings like this, when all I want to do is cuddle and spend a happy day with my beloved.

It is. It's spinning. Not my head itself, mind you, but the mind inside it.

I have to go make lunch in approximately 5 minutes (we're having curry, dahl, and rice! Yeah!), but I did want to jot this down so I don't forget it... that way I can come muse on it later.

Have I been approaching this trust thing with a faulty premise? This whole time, I've been thinking, If God is trustworthy, he won't let me get hurt. Is that true? Because it doesn't seem so, if the Bible is right. (I believe it is. Already been through that one, not gonna go there again.) It seems to be more of a, God allows things bad things to happen to/around me, but he won't actually do bad things to me. Though isn't it kind of the same thing? Guilt by omission, right?


I also had a good friend add something else to my "pot" to stir around and think on, which is stepping back and looking at the situation of trust from a global, human-wide perspective, rather than just my own life. From a global, "big picture" perspective, it makes sense that God can't/won't stop all pain, because we (meaning mankind) need to understand just how awful, terrible, and downright heinous sin and all its accoutrements are. I had been thinking something along those same lines recently, too... that "hope" that I wasn't able to spit out yet.

Could it be that God is more concerned with bringing me to himself than he is with making sure that I don't experience pain? I mean, if I hadn't been hurting so badly on the inside, I never would have turned to him in the first place. But if he had stopped the abuse from happening, I wouldn't hurt in the first place. But because we live in a world that is hell-bent, literally, it stands to reason that I would get hurt by someone, somewhere, at some time. I can't just avoid pain my whole life. That's why I'm so dysfunctional in the first place, because I've been trying to do just that.

And, truly, if it weren't for the pain we experience, we'd have no need for God, verdad? If we lived in a happy little cushy bubble, we'd never feel a need for anything outside ourselves or our happy bubble. We'd never reach out. We'd die in our contentment.

Is pain a gift?

Does this mean that, if I trust God, I have absolutely no guarantees that I'm not going to get hurt badly in the future?

That kinda sucks.

Suffering

Suffering is like a pile of rocks. You can choose to carry the load, throw them at someone, just let it lay there, or you can build an altar.
-Chad Arnold-
Come Too Far- When you can't go back to how it was.
A hushed family conference in the other room.

Oh, no. What did I do wrong? Maybe she saw my blog, and took personal offense... I can't think of anything else...


I do need to clarify, for the record, that my rant about the slightly hypothetical person was borne of frustration with the person's actions. I am not angry at the person, or with them as a human being, but very, very frustrated with their actions and my perception of their motives (or lack thereof). Anyway, that's pretty much cleared up the past few days, and I can breathe again. It's hard for me to sort through what is genuine frustration, and what is anger brought about by my distorted ideas and standards.

Darn it. I was going to try to sort through some of the soupy thought fragments in my head... but I'm not quite in the mood. I want to try to line them up a bit in my cogitations first. Then we'll see what comes out. Surprise, surprise... it's about trust again.

That's right. You heard me. Floccinaucinihilipilification. Say that three times fast! It means "the estimation of something as valueless; an act or instance of judging something to be worthless or trivial". It's basically 4 Latin words strung together, with "fication" stuck on the end, and all 4 words mean "little/no value". Cool, huh?


Anyway, I've been thinking about trust. No, not again, still. It's in the back of my head. Though I've started to delve into a couple other topics, they're all being weighed in my head as helps me understand trust or does not help me understand trust


I read a book this morning called They're All Dead, Aren't They? by Joy Swift. The subtitle is "A Grieving Mother's Journey Toward Hope". What happened was that she married an older man at age 15. He already had 3 kids, who she loved as her own, and then they had 2 girls together. The youngest was only one year old when they were all murdered by a "friend" of theirs. He shot them, some multiple times, and he stabbed the 4 year old as well. Anyway, the book is her story of how she got married, came to love the kids and lived with them as their mother, the murder and her own emotional turmoil, and her journey to healing and peace. (Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that the oldest daughter wasn't killed, because she was in the hospital. She died 20 days after the murder, from cancer.) As I read through the book, I came across a couple paragraphs that really interested me, and sparked my thought processes.


   "'God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.' Revelation 21:4


   The former things, the wicked, the evil, will pass away. So many times people have tried to blame God for the loss of their loved ones. When a singer dies they say, 'Perhaps God needed a good singer in heaven.'


   If God had meant for my children to die, how can we punish the murderers for fulfilling God's plan? In a day of man-made chemical additives and cancerous pollutants, how can we blame God for Stephanie's cancer? Years of man's mismanagement of God's earth has created cancer. Man's pain is self-inflicted. Innocent people suffer under the hand of another.


   Retarded and deformed children are a result of man's degenerative state. Babies who die in abortions are man's choice, not God's. We were created perfect, and each of us has the capacity to be perfect. Years of man's mismanagement has caused our diseases and deformities. Man's lustful, self-satisfying desires have turned our earth into a cesspool in which we all must live.


   But someday soon Jesus will return to restore the earth and do away with the evil ones of this world. They will burn just as the tares that the time of harvest in Jesus' parable. A cleansing fire will destroy all the impurities of our present world, taking all the evil ones with it.


  For the first time I began to feel sorry for the two who were responsible for my children's deaths..."


I have been anguished in my mind because of the thought, God, why didn't you do something? Why didn't you stop them from hurting me?


And yet I see that God has promised to someday wipe out evil. He'll stamp it out for good. Is that why he did nothing when I was being beaten? Is that why he did not intervene during the years of molestation? Because he knew that, someday, it would all be made right?


It's funny, because there are also grains of hope yet undissolved that swirl amidst the eddies of my thoughts... but I don't know how to get it out onto paper.


I can see the big picture-- if he had stepped in and just stopped them in their tracks... where's the fairness in that for the perpetrators? He would be taking away their freedom of choice if he were to do that. And yet... sometimes, he does intervene. I don't get it.


So we cling to the hope of eventual righting-of-wrongs? What about all those promises that say the Lord is a strong tower? That he is our refuge and fortress? That he'll protect us? What do I make of this apparent contradiction?


But for Joy... she was able to be satisfied with the fact of a future retribution. Can I?


Is trust based on what someone has or has not done for us? Or is trust based on something more than actions? Perhaps those are the questions I need to be asking...


I really want a turkey sandwich right now.



I almost forgot that I had started this tradition!! Nonetheless, here it is... Tubular Tuesday. (Actually, it's remarkable the difference a week makes. I feel so much better this week.... which goes to prove that my statement from last week was true: This, too, shall pass.)

If you want to see my original inspiration, it is here, @ Dialectic Dichotomy.

Triumphant Tales
-I have begun taking steps towards dealing with my rage healthfully.
-I said no to something, even though it was good.
-I am going to say no to something else, despite the guilt, because I believe it's the right thing to do.
-I am "sharp", a fast learner. I discovered that this week.
-My colon is squeaky clean now.
-I have a sponsor for Celebrate Recovery.

Thankfuls
-Mom is still doing well, health-wise.
-My chiropractor is the bomb. I'm glad I found him.
-I have health insurance now.
-I feel better this week.
-My relationship with Slightly Hypothetical Person has improved.
-I learned how to run a chainsaw.
-I have lots of people who care about me.
-My cats.

Thoughts To Ponder
Those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still.

This, too, shall pass.

No matter what else has happened, I'm still here.

My todays are the foundation for my tomorrows.

My pain shall not be wasted.
I was going to blog last night after I got home from work. Alas, the snow interfered with the internet and made this impossible. So I did this instead:

(You see, the family has this tradition that the birthday person gets to choose the food and activities for the day, so I've really been putting some thought into it. What would be a perfect day?)

Also, I received a gift from some friends/family of mine. I decided that I would wait to open it, since it's not ACTUALLY my birthday yet. So I did. I waited until today! :)

Hey, it's exactly a month until my birthday. Shouldn't I honor this milestone? Besides, one of the gift givers is a reader of me bloggy, so show it to the family, and we can pretend like I opened it there, k?






P.S. It's totally awesome! THANK YOU!!! I <3 practical yet thoughtful gifts.
My colon hates me.


It's all like, "Oh, you're having a good day? Hmm. That's nice. Well, what do you think about the--HIYAAAAAH! Take that! And that! I will never be silent! NEVER!! Bwahahahahahahahahaha!"

And all I can do is kinda sit there and hurt. Something tells me that this is not a fair arrangement.

It's weird, because the spasicity comes and goes. (Spasicity. It means the spasticness. Apparently, neither of those are words... but you get my drift.) I haven't been particularly stressed lately (that's a relative statement, not a definitive one, since my idea of "stress" is highly skewed) that I can think of, but it could be all the emotional irritation and anger is causing physical irritation...

Anyway, I'm gonna give my colon the what-for and do a cleanse. Whatcha gonna do now, buster? NOTHIN'. Hah.

Irritations. It's interesting how theoretical that word sounds, until you're face to face with it, and it's rubbing salty sandpaper in your metaphorical eyes.

I think, if I were to trace to the root my recent onslaught of anger and irritation and frustration, it could be boiled down to one word... irresponsibility. And maybe some OCD perfectionism, too. Seriously, I know that part of it is just my standards and my ways of doing things that maybe this other slightly hypothetical person just doesn't meet or follow, and that's okay. Slightly hypothetical person is just that-- a person. Someone distinct from myself. Thus, different. Egads.

But I don't think that's entirely it. Yes, it's a part. I'm trying my best to acknowledge, own, and work through that part. But the other part is a genuine rub against my grain. As I've been thinking about it lately, I've been trying to figure out exactly why the irresponsibility is so galling to me. I can think of a few reasons...
1. Irresponsibility was always a key trait in my abusers.
2. It seems unbearably selfish (especially to one who is always laboring under the guilt-burden of making sure everyone is happy with her-- read: "co-dependent").
3. It burdens everyone else around.
4. It brings tension and conflict.
5. You're twenty, for crying out loud! (Slightly hypothetically speaking, of course...) Shouldn't you be, like, more grown up?
6. One of the rules of "the real world" is to be responsible. It's not fair that you can totally ignore that rule and not suffer.
7. Having been on my own (and, while not "on my own" now, at least living life as an adult), responsibility is a key part of every day functioning.
8. My leadership training compels me to be responsible or the world will fall apart.

But really, I think it's the selfishness that gets under my mental skin. It's like you don't even care about anyone around you. It doesn't matter that we get the brunt end of this, that you waltz on your merry, absentminded way and we are left to pick up the pieces. It doesn't matter that we scramble to cover your butt. You don't care. And that BUGS me.

You don't care enough to think ahead about what we're going to eat... so we don't get enough, or it's not nutritionally balanced. You don't care about the person who takes a shower next... so we get Idaho winter water to bathe in. You don't care about the family's order and clockwork, or the fact that we have someplace to be (and could have already left by now)... so we wait for you to do your hair (which, by the way, is the same hairstyle you do all the time-- you think maybe you can find a faster way to achieve that look on rush days?). The rest of the world waits while you wield your can of hairspray.

And that's not fair. That's not what families are supposed to be about. And then, when we say something, we're the problem? I think not, O Slightly Hypothetical Person. Take a good, long look at yourself and see where the ripples are emanating from.

I'm not saying that I don't have problems. Lord knows I've got a passel. Just look at back posts of this blog, for crying out loud! What I am saying is that at least I care about the people around me. At least I think about how my actions will affect other people. And at least I have the guts to look my problems in the face (...eventually. lol) and walk through them, instead of attacking the ones that are trying to help me.

And that's why the internet shuts off at 9 p.m. Because we're trying to help you. It frustrates me that I am cut short for your sake... and you don't even care.

Someday, you're going to walk into the real world, and you're going to be very, very rudely awakened... and I pray that the people in your life will not have adopted your philosophy. I hope they still care.



K: When will I learn that hot things are hot, that they'll burn me?!

Me: When you're burning at the stake.

Error: Brain to mouth filter malfunction. Please restart unit.


Sigh. I'll get there eventually.

I'm going to go back up my computer's data, and then make a couple lists. I'll be back later.
I realized that I've stopped working my 12 steps. But I got myself a sponsor who WILL hold me accountable :)

I also realized that some of the good things in my life that I've been holding on to are blocking my path to greater healing and freedom. They're good, but they're not the best that God has in mind for me.

Got a job offer to go travel around southern Cal to different Adventist schools and pump up Cedar Falls Camp. Apparently, they had an employee go psycho and kill another employee, with plans to murder ALL the employees there. Needless to say, it damaged the camp's reputation, so they need someone to help boost the camp's image back up. It's a package deal, from what I understand-- I'd also work the summer camp. Plus I get a camp shirt. What more could I ask for? lol. And though this only came up on Thursday, I've spend the past few days praying and thinking, and while I still have a few questions, I've decided that if they come back and still want me, I'm going for it. After all, I'm young, single, and the job fits my interests and skills. It's a short-term job, so if I absolutely hate it, I'm not tied down. Plus, I get a camp shirt. (Oh, wait... I think I said that already. ^_^) I was totally transparent with them about my counseling and where I am with God, as well as my food allergies... and they were still really interested. Huh.

The internet is going to shut off in just a few minutes. It's a mild irritation that breeds mild frustration... more about that in a later post, I guess. I don't have the time to delve into that right now.

But as I was talking to D and C about my family's history, I realized that God has, in fact, been creating spaces for me to fill along the way. D's sermon today was about the charges Satan brought against God, and how God answered those in the Creation Week, and in the act of creation itself. It was really cool. One thing that particularly stood out to me, though, was the point that in the first 3 days, God prepared the spaces for things to go. He made dark and light, he separated the waters, and he brought up dry land. He took his time, and created spaces for the things he knew he would later create to occupy. Then, on the 4th day, he made food for all the creatures he was about to put in their designated places.

Anyway, it just really encouraged me that God is in the business of creating spaces. He's done it for me over and over. I especially see it with the family, and with Julene and Celebrate Recovery. I mean, he created this perfect little nest for me to experience meaningful growth and healing for the first time.

This doesn't mean that I'm over my trust issues. But it is not something that I will refuse to consider. I still don't know why God didn't stop any of my abusers. I know he could have, and I know he has done it for other people. And, honestly, that bothers me. It's something I'm searching out for myself right now. But this thought of God creating a space for me to be helps me understand a little more of who he is and whether or not I ought to trust him.
Chicken/tofu with a pomegranate-chipotle marinade/sauce, black rice, and a big salad.

Does that sound impressive? I'm impressed.

I'm not impressed with the fact that I forgot to take a picture, though.

But man... it was so good.

This ^ is me. As J and I have delved into the blackness of my soul, we have processed through relatively "new" issues, ones I've acquired in the last, oh... 6 years or so.

Now, however, I'm burrowing through the upper mantle, into the lower mantle and outer core, releasing spewing fountains of pure molten magma (and possibly some iron, nickel, and sulfur). We're bumping up against the old dysfunctions of yore, the ones I have cherished and nurtured from infancy on.

No wonder I'm reacting so violently... and spurting vast quantities of toxicity, like a severed, gangrenous artery.

Gross.