Something happened after I discovered my ACE score, and the realization of how far from the "norm" I am (so to speak) began to sink in.

It was like God spoke to me very gently and very quietly, but I got a distinct message.

This is what I "heard":

Look at where you "should" be, statistically speaking. Don't you see how far you've come? You're doing well. You're doing very well. Keep going- don't stop now! But just know that you're doing well.

Also, don't judge yourself according to other's walks. You're right- they don't understand. They can't, because they haven't been through what you've been through. Remember, though, that you haven't been in their shoes, either. Every person has a distinct fight, and I've given you yours. Stop trying to fight their fight, and focus on your journey and on Me. You're doing well. Don't stop now.

Wow. Talk about affirmation from on high. It was... uplifting, yet humbling... and so exactly what I needed.


This is an extremely interesting article about a "new approach" to school discipline adopted by a principal in Washington. Having attended in one of those "dumping ground" schools described for a couple of years, this hits home for me. The article also talks about ACE scores (Adverse Childhood Experiences) in relation to the troubled teens at the school, and how "A whopping 70 percent of the 17,000 people in the study had an ACE score of at least one; 87 percent of those had more than one. With an ACE score of 4 or more, things start getting serious. The likelihood of chronic pulmonary lung disease increases 390 percent; hepatitis, 240 percent; depression 460 percent; suicide, 1,220 percent.

The percentages climb to grim and astounding levels as the ACE score climbs – people with an ACE score of 6, for example, have a 4,600 percent increase in the risk of becoming an IV drug user. Grow up with an ACE score of 10, and you’re likely to find yourself homeless, in prison for life, or end up dead by your own hand. People with high ACE scores die, on average, 20 years earlierthan those with low ACE scores."

I found a link later in the article to see what my score is.

I have an ACE score of 9.
(The only reason I didn't go 10 for 10 was because none of mom's boyfriends or husbands beat her up in front of me.)

What I want to know is... why aren't a crack addict hooker on the streets? Or imprisoned? Or... dead?

God, you have been merciful to me, and I am grateful.
So I braced my happy little self for the enlightening experience of applying for federal school loans this evening.

However, there seemed to be no links for what I was looking for on the FAFSA site, which puzzled me. Upon further research, it has become clear that the missing link... is the school.

They're supposed to be the ones facilitating this, but they're not.

I sent in my FAFSA in February, and I've talked to the finance lady since then. She didn't offer to help guide me through anything, even when I was very open about the fact that, and I quote, "I don't know what I'm doing!" She hasn't done anything towards my finances that I'm aware of, and this is very frustrating and troubling to me. (Now, the school in Colorado was pretty much the exact opposite. I tell you, they were on top of things! Even before I had applied, the finance guy had figured out exactly how much I would need in loans, which loans, and how much I'd be looking at per month. Maybe it's not too late to change my mind and head out to Colorado....?)

I need to speak up. I've got to say something. Ay, all this confrontation stuff... why do I have to keep standing up for myself? What a pain! lol
I just finished a novel by Joyce Meyers called The Penny.

The basic premise of the book is the story of a girl, Jenny, who lives in a very abusive household. They're the classic dysfunctional family-- a father who is verbally and physically abusive to all members of the household, and who sexually abuses the girls at night; a mother who, out of fear or from being beat down or whatever, turns a blind eye to the abuse, all of it; two daughters who are going through the same thing, yet cannot speak to each other about it, so they have this weird, tenuous need for each other that usually comes out as bickering and sullenness.

I wonder if that's what went on with K and I. Maybe she felt like she should have said or done something to stop G, but she didn't, so she failed to protect me... and so the tension enters the relationship... despite the fact that we are fiercely loyal to each other.  (And despite the fact that she's my younger sister, and I'm supposed to be the one protecting her!) She protected me many a time, as I tried to do for her. I was going to come back for her after I ran away-- I just had to make sure I had a safe place to take her to.

Anyway, Jenny finds a penny in the street, picks it up, and a chain of events is launched into motion that begins her journey of healing from the abuse, though she doesn't see it for a long while. She gets some safe people in her life. God enters her life. The pennies are like a symbol, a message from God reminding her that he loves her, that he's taking care of her and watching out for her, even though it doesn't necessarily seem like it. (Like rainbows for my family.)

 I have to say... reading that book was both good and hard. I couldn't put it down. I had to finish it.

And I understand Jenny... I understand her far too well for my own liking. Miss Shaw, as well... how she hid the pain from her own past of abuse behind a well-kept, well-mannered exterior. Perfectly groomed and poised, pleasant, yet detached. Jenny is a far more abrasive character than I ever was. Her insides are like mine, though.

And I think about my past... the memories... the things I'd forgotten... the darkness. The shame. The wishing it was just over already so he would leave my room and I could read a book and forget about everything. The "I'm asleep, I'm asleep, I'm asleep, so it can't be my fault, 'cause I'm asleep." The why is he still hitting me? The doing something "wrong" and standing in the corner for over an hour, or being forced to skip meals. The being ignored when all I want is to be loved.

I wish I could just permanently delete the files. The memory of the way his skin felt. The sound of his breathing. The helpless, seething anger when he threw things at me, and I knew I wasn't allowed to fight back, or even be fazed.

I'm pissed off, and I'm grieving, and I'm wondering, God, will I ever be able to forgive?

Will I ever not be ugly inside?

Because when someone sends those messages to you over, and over, and over again... it wears you down. Especially when you're already vulnerable, and you don't know what to believe about yourself... you don't know who you are...

You stop thinking. You just act.

You believe it.

Are they lies? Or are they reality?

Are they lies to begin with, and then they become reality?

I just want to run outside, pull my hair, pound my fists on the ground until they're bloody, and scream for the whole world to hear, "I WAS ABUSED! I WAS WRONGED! And I just want somebody to tell me that it was all a lie, that I'm actually precious, and worth protecting, and I didn't deserve it! It wasn't my fault... right?"

Tell me I'm worth protecting.

God, I need to hear this from you. Tell me you will protect me. Tell me you will treasure me. Tell me that you want me, that you actually like me. Tell me you're not just using me.

Tell me I don't have to bear the weight of my family's failure.

Please... tell me it's okay that I can't clean this up by myself, that you don't expect me to. Tell me it's okay to ask for help.
I look back now, and I realize how thoroughly ridiculous it is to let a child's room get into this state (I realize now that I was a hoarder of sorts as a child), and then demand that they clean it up in one morning, with no help, under the threat of no food until they finish. (And to do that over and over again is... madness.)

No. That is NOT right. I would never do that to my child, and I would not stand for that being done to any child I know.

So why do I accept it? Even still... I am not outraged for myself. Sad? Some. But there remains this distinct core within me that somehow feels that, if I had been better, or if I had _____, or if I had not ______, or if something something anything, then it wouldn't have happened, and I somehow deserved this, because if I were really worth protecting, someone would have done it, right?

If I were really worth protecting, God would have done something, right?

You know what, I am pissed! I'm really mad at you, God, for just standing by and watching this happen. Where were you?

If you're so almighty like you claim to be, then what the hell?!

Why didn't you DO something?

How can you just show up now, all cavalier with your promises and smooth words, and expect me to just trust you?

How can you say it's going to get better, when you could have stopped it from getting that bad?

Are you just some cosmic clean up crew?

I'm sorry. I'm sorry I'm mad. I really... I really want that whole "loving trust relationship" with you thing, I just... don't know how long it'll take me to get past the "I'm so angry I don't want anything to do with you" part.

Yet... my intense longing for a father and his approval always keeps me coming back for more.

I think our relationship is dysfunctional.

Ugh, I'm a wreck. I need sleep.

(And here I thought that I was going to end up with this great, inspiring post. I did NOT expect all those feelings to come gushing up.)

And I wonder... how did I ever get along with J and K? We're... worlds apart. No wonder there was conflict.

I'm angry with them too, oddly enough... angry that they get their perfect little world and I went through shit. Angry that K thinks she's missed out on so much, but that she has no idea that I would give ANYTHING to have had her life! Angry that J's biggest crises are comprised of grades and boys. Angry that they would be jealous that I was befriending their father. It's like a princess riding through town in her carriage, seeing a street child eating a slice of bread, and covetously snatching it because she forgot to pack a sandwich. Does the princess not realize that the street child has been hungry her whole life? Does she not realize that the piece of bread is life to that child? Does she not realize that she has a whole freaking bakery at her palace?!

Wow. Yeah. I am angry.


I've been wanting to be angry lately.

Now... what am I supposed to do with it?
It's official...
  • I'm starting school in July. Which means... I need to begin applying for loans THIS WEEK. (The finance lady at the school hasn't been very helpful at all when it comes to letting me know what I need to be doing and when. I'm pretty much figuring it out on my own. E, however, gave me some good info on loans and whatnot, so I feel more confident than I did twelve hours ago.)

This also means that I'm going to be seeing my ID peeps in approximately 6 weeks.

What a countdown.

I was so looking forward to taking C up there with me, showing him off, and taking him to my favorite places... but that'll have to wait for another time.

Now, I'm just looking forward to seeing my loved ones again. (I'm sure they will all marvel at my tan.)

  • Pre-marital counseling is set. We begin next week, as does my own personal counseling. (The same afternoon, as a matter of fact!)
I felt very honored when C called me on his break to work out the schedule for our counseling, in response to my text earlier that day on the subject. It shows me that he places a priority on our relationship, on respecting my wishes to do this counseling together. Because, really... it could have waited until tomorrow.

  • I've got the paint and the sander. I'm ready to rock and roll on redecorating the guest room (a.k.a. "my room"). That will be my project for the upcoming week. (I consider it to be a kind of "room and board" thing.)
  • E had a brilliant, albeit obvious, idea today-- instead of freaking out about not being able to find a job that will hire me for 6 weeks (down to 5, now, by the time I get back from P and do my other work this week), why do I not simply go to a temp-hire agency and do work that way, day by day? Duh! Why didn't I think of that?
  • I'm really mean to myself. I beat myself up a lot. It hurts. I wouldn't treat other people this way... so why do I do it to myself? (Well, actually, I DO treat other people this way in my head sometimes... I'm a real jerk inside my cranium.)
  • I've got an awesome life. Truly. When E asked me, "So, what are you going to do now?", the answer was this: I'm going to go to school, get a degree, come back and marry the man I love, work with E and survivors, and massage people. Does it get any better?! (Not to mention that I'm going to settle down... which involves planting a garden! ^_^) 
And this "awesome life" puts my fears and distresses into perspective. Yes, I'm unemployed. No, I have no money to go to school on. But it's only 5 weeks. Five weeks. It's okay.

As D reminded me today... when God leads you, he also provides for you. "It's a package deal with him!" 

I love it.
So maybe this observation is a product of my madness. Or perhaps it is just the byproduct of a paranoia honed by experience. Then again, it may be a genuinely valid observation. (I tend to lean towards the former explanations- I'm a chronic self-doubter.)

There's a guy at church who watches me. And he is, naturally, an older man whom I respect and am drawn to as a father figure. Naturally.

I don't know how much he watches me, but whenever he's on the platform, it seems that his eyes are on me.

And it makes me nervous.

I think of "the B situation", and I panic a little inside.

I also wonder... What is it about me? First of all, why does this happen, and second of all, why am I so hypersensitive to it?

The last question is a dumb, self-answering question. The first and second questions... are ones I've been asking for as long as I've been self-aware enough to. (Hah. That's an incredibly vague time reference. It could be a week, for all anyone knows! I just thought it was a little much of an exaggeration to say "my whole life", because that's clearly not true.)

On a slightly related note, I learned something about G last week. I got to thinking about familial roles and whatnot (Domestic Violence group is really somethin' else! Can I say I'm really enjoying it without being looked at askance?), and I thought to ask Mom if G had ever hit her.

The answer? No.

So, essentially, it boils down to this: I was pretty much the focal point of the abuse. He didn't hit Mom. K was a bit young, but she got it anyway sometimes, and Jr. and J were way too young. In addition to that, they were his own flesh and blood, so of course he would favor them. And I'm the only one he molested. So... what the heck, dude?! Seriously? What's your deal? WHY ME?

But, as explained to C in response to some prodding, I'm glad it was only me. If I had to take the hit so that the other kids could be okay, then I'm willing to accept that. (I mean, I know they're not okay, but relatively speaking... Could anyone come out of that hell-hole "okay"? Doubtful.)


It's no wonder my family is f----d up.

And yet, against all odds... we're all healing. Slowly but surely.

You can't ever say there's no hope.

(Unless you're dead.)
J came and stayed with me for a couple of days. It was real nice- reminiscent of our roommate days :)

Mostly, I think we just laughed and ate. Oh, and teased each other about boys. (Ahem, sorry-- young men.)

I got in touch with the school I'll be going to, because I need to begin figuring out finances and whatnot. I found out from the finance director that there is a course beginning in July, the very course I want to take! So, I thought about it briefly, did some date figuring, and decided to go for it!

That means I'll be visiting ID in about 6 weeks, rather than 2 months and some change. I've found a few interesting ways to make money- we'll see how they pan out. I'm not going to worry about it, because it's Sabbath now.

The bummer mcgummer is that C won't be able to travel with me, because it's too short of notice. He can't get the time off. I really want to take him up there, but to postpone school 'till September when I could begin in July, just for the sake of a roadtrip... that seems pretty silly to me.

And it's funny, how the obstacles for this timing seem to have fallen away before I even so much as knew about it. Like, the very day classes start is the day that we were supposed to be hiking Mt. Whitney. However, we didn't get picked in the "lottery", so that's out. (That would have been a major objection for me, and probably have induced me to wait until September.)

And when I was speaking with yet another J this evening, the new dates for me to go up there slip perfectly in between all the weekends that they're going to be gone. I got the only one they'll be home! (Triumph! hehe)

It's like God's setting me up or something... and I didn't even see it until today.

FB is back in the office this Mon, so I'll be contacting him about the p-m counseling.

My own counseling begins in a week and some change.

Things... are looking up.

This coming week I'm going to P with Gramma, and I'm going to sand down and re-paint the bedroom set here in the spare/my bedroom. I figure... I've got time on my hands. :)

Oh... and I gave away Petra. To the Humane Society. She was adorable, and I loved her, but it's the best thing. I know she'll get snatched up, 'cause she's so unbelievably cute!

Whew. This is starting to go fast. Time is going to fly...
I lost my job today.

I could go into reasons why and what happened and vent my anger and raise my frustrations... but I'm honestly not in the mood right now. I want to get the frustration out, but it's just sitting there, somewhere below my ribcage, and it seems to be shy.

Suffice it to say that there were unspoken expectations in play, along with mixed messages (or mixed interpretation of messages), personality conflicts, and the realization that I really, really dislike being a salesperson. Even if it's not showing up on someone's doorstep, I don't like selling people things.

That's good to know for the future.

But what really gets me is... it's just... I mean, is it me?

Why can't I hold a job? Why do I dislike so intensely the "normal" work scenario?

Why do I keep getting these jobs that seem like a dream come true, only to have them blow up in my face, to find that I dread going to work everyday, to find that my boss is... something other than what I thought they were, to find that I'm trapped in purgatory and I can't get out because I need the paycheck so badly?

Is it me?

Am I really just that hard to work with?

Am I deluded in thinking that I'm a good worker?

What a rollercoaster this week has been...

First, the tv interview and the talent show and Beautiful You...  it was like I was getting this message from everywhere, "You're awesome! You're amazing! You're so strong! You're doing great things!"

And then a few days later, Life is like, "Hah, I was just kidding. You actually suck."

And then I'm all like, "...Mer. I always knew it."

Why do I automatically believe the bad and distrust the good?

Yesterday, my first counseling appointment that I was supposed to have? My appt. was for 2:30, so in the confirmation call, they told me to come at 2. Okay, I can do that. So I show up at 2, only to find that I can't be seen because I was supposed to be there at 1 to fill out paperwork and nobody told me. So now I have to wait another two weeks.

You know the funny thing? I've been trying this whole "give your day to God before you even get out of bed in the morning" thing, and both days I've done that, sucky stuff has happened. And yet, even while it's going on, this little thought bursts through a tiny door in my brain and shouts, "But what if this is paving the way for something more awesome than what you would have gotten if it had gone your way? What if this is part of something better?" And that thought is what has gotten me through with a minimum of freaking-out.

And now I realize the importance of not basing your self-worth on the messages you're receiving from "outside"... because it'll drive you crazy. I've gone from being an awesome, strong survivor to an inept, unsatisfying employee in the span of a few days.

Who do I believe?

I believe... I believe myself. I may not be awesome, but I'm at least okay. And I did my best. No one can fault me for that.

So, to my former boss whom I'm still somewhat ticked at, I simply say, "Your face!" and leave it at that.
The kitten, Petra, slept with me for the majority of the night. It was a restless sleep for me, because I was worried about crushing her (she's so tiny!), but it was really sweet, because she cuddled right up to my side and stayed there. She started off in the curve of my neck, but I guess my stomach was the place for her!

This morning when I was showing her to Gramma again after her feeding, she burrowed into my shirt and splayed herself across my lower back. I've noticed she likes to be under things, next to warmth or, preferably, next to a person.

I did some research and ordered two books last night-- "Is The Bible True?" and "How To Read The Bible For All Its Worth". I hope that they help give me clarity and perspective in the midst of my confusion.

I did discover an alternate translation/paraphrase that my grandparents have stashed in a drawer, so I think I'll be using that for my quiet times for a while. Maybe it will help me get more out of it.
It's official-- I'm a crazy cat lady.

My friends up in ID joked that I should go into rescuing kitties full-time, and I'm inclined to agree with them.

I was settled comfortably cross-legged on my bed, ready to balance my bank account, when I heard this repetitive noise through my window. Thinking it to be a bird, I ignored it at first, but then the thought came to me, That sounds like a kitten meowing. Listening more closely, the sound galvanized me into action. I quickly strode outdoors, heedless of my bare feet.

I followed the sound to its apparent origin, but I didn't see anything. The almost desperate mewling had stopped. I made a small clucking sound with my tongue, and was startled when a meowing kitten nearly exploded from the brush before me and clambered over my feet. The little black creature was tiny, fitting neatly into my cupped hands, but I hadn't reckoned what a spitfire this kitten was! Ineffectual hissing and clawing made sure that I dropped that kitten in a hurry.

After fetching a pair of flip-flops for my thorn-encrusted feet and grabbing a can of cat food, I re-attempted the wooing of the kitty. A few minutes into the process, I realized that this little one was in need of help, so I scooped it up and carried it indoors with a minimum of protest.

And now... I find myself the possessor of a tiny black kitty. It is so young, its eyes are still blue! I can't keep it, though I want to... After all, I just rid myself of Holly not too long ago. (Funnily enough, I was thinking to myself just this morning how nice it was to not have a cat anymore, since I'm gone at all hours of the day and night and trying to take care of a cat would be a pain. Now, I have a baby who can't even eat on its own yet. Of course. ^_^)

Well... I hope C is okay with my rescuing animals. He's going to have to deal with it for a long time to come.
It occurs to me that I have a hard time accepting affirmation and love.

No, make that a VERY hard time!

The last few days have been... almost an overload for me. I had that interview on tv, and then I was the first act at the talent show (no pressure, though! lol), and today I attended the Beautiful You event that a local church puts on every year.

The comments I've gotten, the "You did SO good on tv the other day!", the approval, the "You have a voice like an angel!/You did GREAT last night!"... it should be something I savor, but I'm finding it all is just crashing over me like a pleasant wave.

I don't know how to process and absorb it, although I want to. I feel like I've been deficient in a mineral, and my body doesn't know how to absorb it when it comes along, so I'm slowly starving. I want to take this in, to fold it down and tuck it away inside me to nourish myself, to sustain me for days of hunger to come... but I don't know how. All I can do is smile, nod, and say, "Thank you."

What else can you say?

And then, today, at Beautiful You... so many ladies came with the approving comments, and some even remembered me from like a year ago when I told some of my story and sang You Are More. The whole event is about spoiling us ladies who come-- showing us that we are beautiful! There were several stations- nails, haircuts, hairdos, makeup, jewelry, shoes, clothes, food, etc. There were even several ladies walking around with arms loaded with purses, encouraging me to take some.

I was truly in a daze. As soon as I walked in, I felt I do not belong here. If it weren't for E, I would have turned tail and run. But she led me over to a station, all the while introducing me and showing me off ("She was on tv the other day!" etc.), and sat me down to have my makeup done. The purse ladies came by and encouraged me, "Pick out two! Yes, take two!" I sat with my new purses, with a girl I don't even know doing my makeup (and doing a good job of it!), with all these wonderful things and loving volunteers around, I almost started crying.

I don't understand... Why are you doing this for me? You don't even know me! I don't deserve this... why are you doing this for me?

I almost cried several times. Well, I actually did cry during the message.

I mean... these ladies gave me purses, clothes, jewelry, laughter, a haircut and style, they prayed over me...

And I didn't do anything for them.

I'm just... overwhelmed. I don't get it.

Well, C and his bro D are here to go hiking with me. I'll try to process this more later.
And life inexorably grinds on. Working at the herb store... I can hardly wait until time to go home!

I hate it when you think you're doing the right thing, then you get busted for making a mistake. And the "solution" for avoiding that mistake would only get you into trouble because it would be in direct opposition to the instructions for doing a good job previously received. *sigh*

Finished my work week, then I ended up on the local news! When I informed my friends, they asked me "Why were you on the news?!" I said, "Well, you see, first I robbed a bank, then I set fire to a bunch of babies, and then I threatened the President, all the while going over the speed limit."

In reality, it was a story on my involvement with the Healing Journey, and my own story of abuse. (They ran it three times!)
"Abuse survivor speaks out"

After that, E pulled me into an impromptu "counseling" session with the secretary from the church we hold the meetings at. It was... intense. But good. And she's going to start coming to group! :) (Funnily enough, I had just talked to her a few days before about seeing FB for pre-marital counseling, but I don't think she recognized me.)

Then I headed over to C's and cleaned the apartment. As his roomie S said, "She came over and cleaned because she loves us." Darn tootin'. I just wish that I was going to be able to see his Hamlet production, but I already have plans for tomorrow night. :(

Today was practice, practice, and more practice (as well as talking through some things with C, which was good). The talent show was today, and it was my first time performing for an actual audience besides church friends. It went well. (Actually, I ended up singing and playing for the news crew, but that was just a few people-- didn't FEEL like I was playing for the whole city! lol)

Outside, the wind is whipping and howling through the dark night. (Think, "Master the tempest is raging".) It feels like a reflection of what's going on inside me.

So many voices, all pulling me different directions... Which one do I listen to? Which one is my voice, the voice that will tell me what I think is right and good?

I know what my friends think. I know what my other friends think. I know what my other, other friends think. I know what my mom thinks. I know what my dad thinks. I know what my grandparents think.

But what do I think?

The frustrating thing is that I'm the one that has to live with every teeny-tiny decision that I make, regardless of whether it's my voice I'm listening to or not.

Right, right, it's God's voice I'm supposed to be listening to. I know.

I know who God is- he's the one who made this universe. He's the one who sent wind and clouds for me  when I was testifying against G. He's the one who puts rainbows in the sky for my family and sends invisible winds through courtrooms as a sign of his presence. He's the one who designed the labradorite I delight in, who crafted the olfactory system so that I can enjoy the incense that wafts through the room.

He's the one who sent me C, to keep me from wandering off into dark paths. He's the one that sings to me through KLOVE.

Yes, I know who God is, of a sort... but who am I? And how do the two relate to one another?

I'm just a child looking for a daddy. All I ever wanted was to be loved.

A friend pointed out my theological errors in the thought that C and I are married in the eyes of God. She's right. It's not true. There's more to marriage than sex.

I had broached the idea of the August wedding to C, but he patiently talked me out of it. He says he doesn't want to rush back into anything, and that being married is hard enough without my being gone for the first year of it. I see his point, and acknowledge that it is superior in wisdom to my own. (Also, he pointed out that sometimes I rush into things and then regret it later. He doesn't want that to be the case here.) He is much like R, and I'm glad for that. So the plan now is to go through the pre-marital counseling, and if we're still good we'll get engaged. The wedding would wait until after I graduate.

He is good for me. We complement each other well. (His strengths are different than mine, etc.) And, he's getting a taste of my "issues"... and still loves me. He wants me around. And I want him around. I know that I could live without him... but why bother?

We complement each other, yet we are similar in ways as well. His morals are very high, but they are more lax in the area of sexual purity, and we had a good talk about that today. I really think we're making headway.

He was expressing his frustration today about "religious people", how they totally write him off and basically ignore anything he would have to say or contribute, simply because he doesn't believe in God. (Yet. Heh.) It's like they put up this brick wall, assuming they've got him figured out, and that drives him nuts.

I gave him Case for a Creator today. We'll just have to see what happens. I'm going to be praying like crazy.

And I changed my fb status today from "Seventh Day Adventist" to "Monotheist". I think it's a more accurate depiction of where I'm at. I mean, I'm still going to church for the time being, and I'm keeping Sabbath, but I'm in this weird limbo where I'm not sure whether or not I trust the Bible, yet still very much believing it and influenced by what it has to say. I know God exists, and I've had personal contact with him. But... I just don't really have the energy to pretend to be this great Christian anymore.
Don't look up to me. Don't set me up as a role model for your children or young adults. You have no idea what's going on behind these eyes. I'm not what you think I am.

I'm thinking about taking off Sabbaths and grabbing a book and going hiking.

But you know what sucks? If I stop going to church... people are going to blame C. And so I want to keep going, if only to protect him. Because there always has to be a reason for apostasy. It can't be as simple as "I'm having a lot of questions and I need some time out to do some research and think through things on my own."

And I gotta figure out where Jesus fits into all of this.

And here's something else that is weirding me out lately: my uterus is still tripping out some. I can't be pregnant, so what's going on? Oh, yeah, and I've been seeing doctors a lot lately- echograms, bilateral renal artery ultrasounds, and now a CT scan. Found out after the scan that I'm supposed to go see a cardiologist?! Huh. I wonder what's going on.

So Loved

I have amazing friends. Is this... what God's love is like? Yes, I think so. Not at all like G. Not in any way. Hmm...

-----Original Message-----
From: J <"someoneamazing">
To: C <"ebullire">
Sent: Mon, Apr 9, 2012 7:01 pm
Subject: Responses to a brussel sprout

Dear C,

So I just read your blog. Hadn't read it in ages. It's fascinating and incredibly honest. I'll try to be equally frank and honest as I respond.  Don't think my 'response' is an attempt at 'counsel' - it's really just what I said - a response.  Oddly, a lot you said really resonated with me (more on that later.)

Do I, as a 'church friend' approve of your decision? Well, does it matter?  I care about your ultimate happiness, so I'm afraid for you as you plan to marry someone you've referred to as 'an atheist.'  (I have my doubts - is he really an atheist? Or is he a hurt and confused agnostic?)  You still consider yourself a believer, apparently, despite all your questionings.  I consider you a believer.  As near as I can tell, you're trying to figure out what exactly you believe in - but you ARE a believer in God.  I'd hate to see that faith wither and die.  I believe that through these questionings you will come out the other side with a stronger faith and, perhaps as many questions, but a greater realization of how great God's grace and love is - He's not so concerned if we understand everything as if we trust Him to provide for all our needs.  I dunno.  Cliches, sure.  But you can understand where I'm coming from - I love you and want to see you happy - joined for life with a man who will care for you and encourage you in your pursuit of mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health.  I want the BEST for you.  But, you know, I don't know C.  I don't know all the situation.  I just know I'm scared for you.  And I'm praying for you.  A LOT.  So, do I approve? I think that's an irrelevant question, since I'm not on a different plane of authority from you - but will this affect my desire to be friends with you? That's a relevant question.   Answered with a resounding NO.

So, about your blog resonating with me...  I've felt many of the same things in regard to my relationship with J.  I certainly demonized him when we 'broke up.'  I felt I had to end things, to choose between him and God, as you said.  I created quite the false dichotomy to be sure.  So when I saw him again at W, it was so weird.  Because I'd set myself up to view him as the 'bad boy' that I broke up with to be faithful to God.... and here he was, sharing how God had been leading in his life, leading us in prayer, etc.   

Did I do the right thing by breaking things off when I did a year ago January?  Honestly, I still think so.  But I did wrong by causing myself to believe so much junk about him in order to self-justify my decision.  I didn't want to deal with the grief, so I overspiritualized it away.  So now, I'm dealing with this fear of the opinions of others.  I'm afraid of what people will think, particularly the few with whom I shared the reasons I ended things with him in the first place.  I'm SO glad that I was very careful in what I shared though!  I've always respected him enough to not talk bad about him to anyone, so that's a mercy.  But as I think of what BK will ask, what he will say, I'm a bit afraid.  So in some senses I agree with and totally relate to your decision to MAKE YOUR OWN DECISION.  You have to!  Regardless of how good your counselors are, ultimately you are the one who will deal with the result of your decision, for the rest of your life.  And so, yes, make your decision.  But think 15 years into your future.  50 years ahead.  Where do you want to be then, doing what, and who with?  I think of J's parents.  Someday I will ask how they met and decided to marry.  M is such an incredibly sweet and spiritual woman.  D is a good man, but he doesn't believe in God.  It's caused such division and pain, even though they are still married and still love each other.  For example, J and his mom love to talk about God and discuss spiritual things when they're together.  His dad doesn't 'mind' of course, but ends up feeling left out of their connection.  It hurts them all, but what can they do? Just not talk about God when he's around?  Include him in the conversation? He doesn't want that.  Even when J's not there, D and M don't connect with each other on that spiritual level that is so important.  And so they're both lonely.  J is determined never to end up like that.  I don't want you to end up like that, 43 years from now.. married to a man you love but with whom you cannot connect on a deep level.  I don't want to end up like that myself.  Goodness, there's so much heartbreak out there.

If you do marry C, would you invite me to your wedding? I'd like to be there.  Okay actually, no matter who you marry, and when, I WILL be there.  Unless you have me locked out. ;)   But I'd like to meet C sometime this Spring.  (Hoping to be on the Y blitz..... hoping!)

I figure I've rambled enough.  It probably doesn't make much sense.  Whatevs.. I'm tired.

Talk to you later.

Dear J,

First of all, I want to say that I feel so incredibly loved right now! Your concern, your care, your honesty... they just remind me again why I am SO grateful to have you as a friend. Even if our friendship was the only good thing to come out of my time at SOULS, it was worth it! (It isn't by the way, but I needed a dramatic statement there.)

Yes, you're right. I do still consider myself a believer. This is as close to being an unbeliever again as I've ever come, but I cannot doubt God's existence. (Thank God for books! ^_^) As far as C, he claims atheism, but I've seen softenings in him (and so have my grandparents) that make me wonder. Yes, he is definitely a hurt agnostic/atheist if ever there was one. He's agreed to read The Case for a Creator, and I have some hopes pinned on that. Oddly enough, he reminds me a LOT of R, my dad, which also gives me hope, because I've seen God slowly working on him in the past 8 years. Now, he gives ME spiritual advice and sets me straight about God's character! LOL.

"So, do I approve? I think that's an irrelevant question, since I'm not on a different plane of authority from you - but will this affect my desire to be friends with you? That's a relevant question.   Answered with a resounding NO." 
I'm so glad. It's just... hard for me to believe in that unconditional love. It's not you, it's me. ;)
"Did I do the right thing by breaking things off when I did a year ago January?  Honestly, I still think so.  But I did wrong by causing myself to believe so much junk about him in order to self-justify my decision.  I didn't want to deal with the grief, so I overspiritualized it away.  So now, I'm dealing with this fear of the opinions of others.  I'm afraid of what people will think, particularly the few with whom I shared the reasons I ended things with him in the first place." 
I understand. (Of course I do, because you were sharing how you understand my situation because of this! Ahh, circles.) One thing I've been slowly learning over the past... half a year or so?... is that I have the right to change my mind. I can say something, and that doesn't mean that it is the hard and fast determiner of my reality from that point on. I can change my mind, admit I was wrong, and start over. And that's okay. Other people can do that too.

And, yes, I believe that I did the right thing when I took off my engagement ring and headed to SOULS. I was doing the right thing. I needed to grow in a lot of ways, and so did C. He even told me that, could he look into the future and see the way things have turned out, he would choose the same path. (Interestingly, our years of separation showed me one very important thing- I can live without him. I can. I don't need him for fulfillment, and I don't need him to make me happy. I think that's one thing that wasn't right about our relationship before- I wasn't sure I could live without him. Now, I know that I can... I just pretty much don't want to anymore. lol)

I acknowledge what you're saying about the pain and division that comes from a "mixed marriage" (for lack of a better term), and I've heard it many times. Maybe I just have a different perspective, but to me, I don't see a difference in the pain I will encounter in this path versus the pain I see from people who have married the spiritual person, the "right choice", and found total emotional abandonment, or blatant hypocrisy, or (like in my Mom's experience), someone who abuses and molests their children. (Or find themselves trapped in the "missionary box" their whole lives- having to pretend to be the good Christian at church AND at home.) Julie, pain is ceasing to be a deterrent for me. I've been through so much of it, and I fully expect more to come. And, whichever road I peer down, I see the same magnitude of pain waiting for me. My mom married an unbeliever, and it's definitely been hard at times- possibly even agonizing- but I would take their marriage a thousand times over 75% of the married couples I see in church every week. (The other 24% I don't know well enough to say, and then there's 1% that I actually admire.)

I need to get to bed- working at the herb store tomorrow, but I do want to address one final thing you brought up...

INVITE you to my wedding? Girl, you're gonna be IN my wedding! Feel like taking a trip back to Idaho? :) (C wants more of a traditional wedding, so I imagine I'll be doing the bridesmaid thing. But... I'll be wearing tie dye shoes! Bwahahahaha! lol)

Yes, I would definitely like you to meet C. I super much hope you get on the Y blitz! I mean, you work in the office... can't you just bust out the white-out or something? ;)

Oh, and I'm sorry for not telling you myself. I wanted to wait until after he actually proposed to start telling people. It's a little awkward when you don't have a ring to prove it lol. (Or an actual event, for that matter!) Mom knows and Gramma and Grampa know, but that's it. Oh, and E, sort of. She doesn't know it's actually on- I've just been kind of joking about it up until this point.

Thank you for writing. Really.

C took me to the county fair last night. It was real nice, except the part where he batted his eyelashes at me and in my smitten stupor I agreed to go on this crazy, death-defying ride that I didn't care for at all!

Well, okay... maybe it didn't happen like that... lol

I'm still dubious about his desire to take me to Six Flags. Very dubious.

While at the fair, I saw several of my friends from church, and, since C and I were linked by the hands, it's pretty clear that we're an item. I guess this is part of the "getting the church people used to the idea" stage.

Interestingly, Gramma and Grampa took C and I out for lunch on Friday to celebrate C's 26th bday, and they've been singing his praises since. They like him very much, and see him as a respectful, mature, upstanding young man who quite obviously loves me, treats me well, and treats them well. Grampa's praying his big ol' heart out for C, and I am, too.

Mom is also in favor of the match. I think R is a bit hesitant, just because he's thinking that this is a rebound from my time with D. Mom and I are both inclined to think differently. Oh, and E is pro-C, too, surprisingly, because she was one of the loudest voices against my marrying him last time. I believe she's come around to this point of view because she has seen my growth, she has heard me talk about him and his growth, and she sees it as a good match. She wants to have us over for dinner so she can get to know him for herself, and I'm totally cool with that.

I've never "gotten over" C totally, although I did manage to (mostly) keep him out of my mind during the 2 1/2 years we weren't communicating. Something I realized a while back is that, in my attempts to move on, to explain things from the past, and to keep myself from wanting to be with him... I demonized him, of a sort. I projected things that arose out of my own dysfunctions onto him and then cried, "Abuse! Abuse!" In reality, they were miscommunications, misunderstandings, and my own lack of boundaries and assertiveness. And this is not to say in any way that I'm messed up and he's normal and any conflicts or issues are my fault-- no, that would not be true. He has baggage, too... but different. And maybe not as much or as dramatic as mine.

I'm fully cognizant of the fact that I've made many, many mistakes with C. I've gone back for the wrong reasons, recklessly seeking freedom from the darkness that plagued me... and that was wrong. And what we did was wrong. I know that. I've asked God and C for forgiveness.... but it caused me many hours of tormented grief. Wanting to be with him, yet knowing that what we were doing was wrong... I couldn't live that way. So I "broke up" with him. I ended the fling. I felt so much better. No more afflicted conscience! Plus, my church friends approved of me again.

In that two weeks of being torn, many people shared 2 Corinthians 6:14 with me, which says, "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?" (I got that one way back in the summer of '06 from the canvassers-- it was part of the catalyst for my first breakup with C.)

And taking that one verse to apply to my situation seemed to sum up everything nice and tidy- I keep my standing within the church,  people are relieved, I go back to life as I know it, and things move on.

And then... fertility struck. I suspected I was pregnant, and came to believe that I was. This, of course, led to conversations about how to raise the kid, which led to discussions about our underlying values and morals and codes of ethics, and I realized... Oh snap. a.) He's totally way more amazing than I remembered and I still love him hopelessly! b.) Our values, morals, and ethics are the same/incredibly compatible, with a few small variations. Our motivations are even eerily similar, which is odd, because he's an atheist, and I'm a Christian...

This, in turn, led to my examination of my thought processes and motivations. I mean, it's been 9 years, and we still love each other as much as we did at the beginning. Can I really dismiss that with a single Bible verse? Not to mention that my process of questioning was already underway, which meant that I was less looking for proof to back up my conclusion and more looking for a conclusion to come to.

I knew that verse in 2 Corinthians, alright, but a balancing verse had also been making its presence known in my life, and that is 1 Corinthians 7:13-14, which says, "And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy."

Then, as I believe that the Old Testament is just as valuable as the New, I wondered what the OT had to say about this kind of thing. In an article I was reading about unequally yoked marriages, it brought up a passage in Deuteronomy 22, which talks about different marriage and adultery situations, and what to do. I found it very interesting that, when a woman was betrothed, it was considered adultery to sleep with someone else, even though the ceremony hadn't happened yet. The one that really boggled my mind, though, was in verses 28-29, and that says, "If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he shall not put her away all his days."

I always knew that God designed sex to be within marriage, but now I was starting to get a glimpse of just how important it really is in God's eyes. (I realize this is talking about rape, so it's not a perfect analogy.)

Then, I went back to Genesis and read this: "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and shall become united and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."

The implications of this stunned me, and especially so when I read 1 Corinthians 6:16- "Or do you not realize that when a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? The two, it is written, become one flesh."

It's not that sex just belongs within marriage... Sex defines marriage. No wonder God is so picky! When you have sex with someone, you are choosing them as your partner... for life. Just like divorce, you can leave that partner and move on to someone new, but you're breaking bonds that aren't meant to be broken, and damage will result. Inevitably. Neuroscience has even proven it to be so.

And so I came to the conclusion (probably gonna be an unpopular one, but hey, whatevs) that if you have sex with someone, you are basically married in the eyes of God. You are saying, "I choose this person to be bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, and to be my partner for life. We are now one."

And then I realized... I've been "married" for 9 years... without realizing it. C and I got together when I was still an unbeliever, but I've since come around (sort of... do I count as a Christian when I have all these questions and wonderings? I don't know.) I believe that this puts me in the camp of the believing wife with an unbelieving husband.

So, with this little bit of dawning awareness under my belt, I thought and prayed about whether or not to get back together with C... with the intention of marriage. Like, the ceremony.

Honestly, I was afraid God would hate me if I did, because I've been so conditioned to believe that C is bad, and he represents all darkness in my life, and there's no way that I can have C and God, so I was choosing between them... but when I realized that I'm not choosing between God and C, it was such a relief! Interestingly, this here process of thought is part of what led to my epiphany about my perceiving God as being like G.

As I was hiking last week, I thought again about the "three lights as one", and I compared that to my life and my experience right now. I do believe that I'm okay, Scripturally, to go forward in this. What about my heart? Yes, there's peace there ever since I made the decision. (Granted, I do have some tremors of panic about actually settling down in one place... for. ever. But I realize that it's not so much an issue with C as it is just me on that one... I'm going to talk to my counselor about that.) And circumstance? You wouldn't believe the doors that I see cracking open from my decision to stay here in Yuma. It's... kind of unreal. And it makes me kind of giddy.

Another thing that I have had to deal with since making this decision is the fact that some people are going to be disappointed. And, quite frankly, that was almost enough to dissuade me from choosing C. But I realized... I cannot go making personal, life-altering decisions based on whether or not I think someone will be happy with my decision or not. As an SDA, we are barraged with the end-time scenario of remaining faithful to God, even though the whole world is against us and trying to convince us to go with their flow. If I continue to make decisions based on what I think others think I should do, I will in no way be prepared to stand up for myself and stick to my guns despite pressure. Whether I choose C or not is irrelevant-- it's whether or not I'm making this decision for myself or not. (And, quite frankly, I think I'm making a good choice.)

And you know what else? Those people can be disappointed. They have a right to that, and they can feel what they want or need to feel, and that's okay. I'm not going to stop them. But I'm not going to let it stop me, either.

So, tomorrow I'm stopping by the office of the Episcopalian priest who we're renting space for the support groups from. He came to speak to the women's groups twice, and I'm thoroughly impressed. Turns out his wife was abused before they were married, so I know he understands what it's like to live with that kind of damage as a factor in the relationship. E told me he does pre-marital counseling, and she says he's good. We'll see where it goes, but I think I'd like him to do that for C and I.

You know what's funny? Mom and R were married by an Episcopalian priest ;)

So C hasn't officially proposed yet, but the upcoming wedding is a definite reality for us.

I'm actually thinking as early as the end of August... I mean, I'll be taking off to school right away, but I'd be doing that regardless. And, while C and I have not had sex, we are having a hard time maintaining sexual purity. I know there are choices I can make that will make it easier, and I'm trying to consistently make those choices. I'm not where I'd like to be, but I really am better than I was, and constantly getting better. And C really feels the burden of being "the strong one", but he is warring against himself, and that's always hard.

So I'm thinking that August might be judicious, because, to sum it up in the words of Paul, "But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion." (1 Corinthians 7:9)

I'm really proud of C, though, for trying so hard.
Today didn't start off so auspiciously.

First, I took issue with God over something I read during my daily quiet time. It just brought up a lot of questions... not to mention the questions I had over something I read last night in the Desire of Ages.

Then, I forgot to brush my teeth... for the second day in a row. I headed off to church and realized when I got there that I had forgotten my Bible! (That was about the time I realized I forgot to brush my teeth, too.)

It was a lovely Resurrection celebration service, with lots of singing. I appreciated that part. But I left frustrated, as I found myself simply having more questions about the character of God and Jesus. The very things meant to soothe and inspire instead leave me wondering and detached.

Like, for instance, "God sent his son to die for each person. Every person. Isn't that wonderful? How many of you would be willing to sacrifice the life of your child for someone else?"

And I immediately think, a.) If I weren't aware of the fact that Jesus is basically an extension of God, then I would deduce that we weren't worth coming down here for himself-- he sent someone else because he didn't want to/couldn't do it himself. b.) I know it's supposed to increase my appreciation of the value of the gift by understanding that it is given to every single person ever, but it seems to me that it is cheapened. Maybe that's one of the paradoxes.

I finished The Case for a Creator this afternoon. In the Summary section, he tells a story of this young medical doctor and his wife who are skeptics, but finally decide to look into this God thing and disprove it once and for all.

This segment really got me, because it echoes exactly the questions that I've been finding within myself.

"Based on evidence and reasoning independent of the Bible, they were able to answer the first of the three questions that formed the basis of their investigation: 'Is there a God who created the universe?' They surprised themselves with their verdict: yes, a personal Creator-God does exist.

With this established, they began exploring their next two broad questions: 'Did God reveal himself to humankind through the Bible or other sacred scriptures? And is Jesus the Son of God--deity united with humanity--and can he help us as he claimed?'"

(By the way, spoiler: they do come to believe in the Bible and in Jesus. At the time of interviewing, the doctor is into his 70's, and has spent the last several decades in Bangladesh spreading medical help and the gospel.)

I am to the point where I can in no way deny the existence of a Creator-God. I am becoming less and less interested in organized religion, although I can see how that one has been developing over the past several years. I really just want this:

"You'll soon find that the universe is governed by both physical laws and spiritual laws. The physical laws point us toward the Creator; the spiritual laws tell us how we can know him personally, both today and forever.
After all, he's not just the Creator in a broad sense; he's your creator. You were made to relate to him in a  vibrant, dynamic, and intimate way. And if you seek him wholeheartedly, he promises to provide all the clues you need to find him." (emphasis mine)

I mean, is Christianity really supposed to be this hard? This confusing? This much like a field riddled with land mines?

Is it just that I have such a hard time trusting?

Is it a combination of the inherent difficulty of Christianity and the scar tissue that's gnarled and twisted my heart and mind?

Because I have heard over and over again how becoming a follower of Christ changes your life, and makes you a better person, and your character is transformed, etc. etc.

Why do I seem to be getting worse the longer I follow him? It's not for lack of trying!

This reminds me of the whole natural remedies thing. I can see that it's good, and it's the right way to go, but I seem to just be pretty immune. It doesn't work like they say it should, like it's supposed to, and I wonder, Is it me? Or is the "remedy"?

God, help me. I'm just so... mush brained. Confused. Questioning. Seeking.

I want to know truth. Real truth. And I want to have that vibrant, dynamic, intimate knowledge of and relationship with you.

Help me, please. I just want... the real thing.
I'm still in the throes of what I call "spare bedroom life". This means that, though I have illusions of having my own space and independence... I pretty much don't.

So, when it comes to matters like keeping a feast that my "landlords" don't believe is viable anymore... you end up with a Spare Bedroom Passover.

Factor in food allergies, and it looks something like this:

Grape juice and, yes, those are Veggie Chips. It's the closest thing I have to unleavened bread. Well, either that or tostada shells, but these are infinitely tastier!

The Feast of Unleavened Bread is a little tricky, because I can't exactly go through and throw out all my grandparent's bread and leavened products. Talk about awkward. So I figure I'll just worry about my own food and space, and call it good.

Contemplating the meaning behind Passover and Communion, though, has proved interesting.

It seems to me that most things in the Bible really boil down to trust-- am I going to believe that God will do what he says he will do, regardless of extreme circumstances?

That, to me, is the essence of Passover. Freedom from literal slavery, freedom from figurative slavery... do I really believe God can do it? That's definitely a personal challenge to me at this point, as I look at the bondage of fear that I have been a slave to for so long... and find myself wondering, "Can God really heal me? Will God really heal me??"

I'm glad to have these reminders and food for thought.
Is it a sin to love thee? Then my soul is deeply dyed,
For my lifeblood, as it gushes, takes its crimson from love's tide;
And I feel its waves roll o'er me and the blushes mount my brow
And my pulses quicken wildly, as the love dreams come and go:
I feel my spirit's weakness; I know my spirit's power;
I have felt my proud heart struggle in temptation's trying hour;
Yet, amid the din of conflict, bending o'er life's hallowed shrine,
Yielding all, my soul had murmured, I am thine, forever thine!

Is it a sin to love thee? What were existence worth,
Bereft of all the heaven that lingers still on earth!
Friendship's smiles, like gleams of sunlight, shed their feeling o'er the heart,
But the soul still cries for something more than friendship can impart.
Frozen hearts, like ice-bound eyries, that no summer ray can melt,
Vainly boast their power to conquer what their hearts have never felt;
But envy not their glory, 'mid the rapture that is mine,
When with earnest soul I tell thee I am thine, forever thine!

Is it a sin to love thee? Gentle voices round me fall,
And I press warm hearts about me-- but I've given thee my all.
What though stern fate divides us, and our hands, not hearts, be riven--
My all of earth thou hast--wilt more? I dare not offer heaven!
But in some blessed moment, when our dark eyes flashing meet,
When I feel thy power so near me, feel thy heart's quick pulses beat,
Then I know--may God forgive me!--I would everything resign
All I have, or all I hope for--to be thine--forever thine.

Is it a sin to love thee? I remember well the hour
When we would our love to conquer, resist temptation's power;
When I felt my heart was breaking and my all of life was gone;
When I wept the hour I met thee, and the hour that I was born;
But a hidden storm was raging, and amid the muffled din
I flung my arms upon thy bosom, with thy warm hands clasped in mine,
I smiled through tears and murmured: I am thine, forever thine.

Is it a sin to love thee? with love's signet on thy brow?
Though thy lot be dark as Hades I'll cling to thee as now;
Not mine the heart to fail thee, when other cheeks grow pale;
We have shared the storm together; I'll stand by thee through the gale.
Though our bark may drift asunder, yet, with true hearts beating high,
Let the golden sunlight cheer us, or the angry storm clouds fly.
From our helms with steady brightness our beacon lights shall shine,
And the watchwords on our pennons shall be-- thine, forever thine.

Is it a sin to love thee? When I bend the knee in prayer,
And before a High Omniscience my burdened heart lay bare,
On the breath of love to heaven ascends thy blessed name,
And I plead weak and erring nature, if loving thee be shame.
Heaven knows 'tis no light sacrifice I've offered up to thee,
No gilded dream of fancy, but my being's destiny.
Since our fates we may not conquer here, divide thy lot from mine--
In the starlit world above us, call me thine-- forever thine!

So I thought I was depression free. Why do I always think that?

Like, Yeah! These herbs are helping! I mean, I've been "down", but I'm not mired in the darkness like usual. I think I finally found "it"!

Meanwhile, my symptoms have been getting more and more pronounced as I continue on the downward slide... but no, if I deny it, it's not happening!

Think happy thoughts. Life is great, life is grand. I can handle this. I can do it. I. AM. NOT. DEPRESSED. ANYMORE.

It's still mild. Just pronounced fatigue and apathy, overwhelming lack of appetite and/or nausea. I mean... it's not darkness... but it's shadows. And I don't wanna go there anymore.

This is what these outrageously expensive natural remedies are supposed to help with!

I'm seriously, seriously getting to the point where I think that natural remedies only work if you "believe" in them... and even if you do, it's still spotty.  Yeah, you hear all these fantastic stories about natural stuff doing miracles for people, but it's always "someone else", isn't it? Just like accidents, or cancer, or really bad stuff always happens to "someone else", so does natural healing, I think.

Maybe I'm just immune. Wouldn't that be awful? Charcoal never worked for me. Wait, I take that back. It did help me throw up one time, I think. It was either the charcoal or the kombucha.

And hydrotherapy broke my bronchitis fever towards the end of SOULS. And hot water bottles really help my stomach when I'm hurting. And flushing my sinuses with salt water really, really helps when I've got a sinus infection going on.

So, yeah. I can't say that natural stuff doesn't entirely work, but I am becoming quite dubious and skeptical. Great words coming from the employee of an herb store, huh? ;)

I've been toying with the idea of going on that prescription antidepressant my doctor gave me... if nothing but to break the cycle. But the potential side effects are awful! I mean, do I really want to chance it? I start counseling in two weeks... surely I can just hang on until then...

But if I keep going down (and today was an indicator that I am, though I'm going to FIGHT it!), then my productivity as an employee and as a person is going to be seriously compromised...

Maybe I ought to just do it. For two weeks. See what happens.

Ugh. I don't know. I just don't know.

I wonder what Jesus would do. Seriously.

Then again... Jesus wasn't depressed all that often... and his depression was for a "purpose".


You know, I think about how Jesus understands everything that we go through (according to the book of Hebrews), and I understand that he was horribly, horribly depressed in the garden of Gethsemane, and when he was on the cross dying. (It's funny, because a few times I've been so depressed that I simply can't speak, and when I read that Jesus didn't really say anything during his trial, I thought to myself, It's 'cause he was so depressed! I understand that! I've totally been there.)

However, the thing is that, though he was so horrifically depressed... he got to die. I have to keep living, carrying on, and somehow function and be "normal". So I know he "gets it", but maybe not in its entirety.

God, what exactly am I supposed to do?

I'm getting that question more frequently lately, because several close friends and family members know about my miscarriage.

It's nice, nice to know they're thinking of me and concerned about me, but I just... don't know what to say.

"I'm fine"? Not entirely true, but true enough.

"Better than I thought I'd be." That one's more accurate, and that's what I told J today. Still kinda "meh", but I'm doing much better than I anticipated. Then again, I have no way of anticipating or predicting my responses in this situation, since I've never experienced anything like this before.

I wish I could feel more anger.

A situation came up this week that should have really ticked me off, but... it didn't. I showed all the correct outward signs of being upset, because I knew that I was upset, but there was no stir of passion within me. I feel almost dead inside.

I came to Y brimming with passion and ideas, but the longer I am here, the more drained and lethargic I feel, on pretty much every front.

I just got cut back to two days a week at the herb store, so maybe that will help.

And I'm starting counseling in about two weeks. I'm looking forward to that.

Maybe it's just this spiritual confusion that's got me... scared? I'm almost frightened to know what the response would be from those who perceive me as this wonderful, solid Christian.

(Why does this feel like when I quit Bible work, all over again?)

I keep going through these cycles of "breaking free" of the imposed mantle of uber-Christianity that somehow manages to fall upon me.

I make decisions out of fear of disappointing those I love... and I'm really tired of it.

I've run up against a decision that will, either way, hurt and/or disappoint someone.

So I've thought through it, studied through it, prayed about it, sought counsel from both perspectives, weighed the pros and cons, and made a decision for myself, on what I feel is the best thing to do. Quite frankly, it feels great!

I'm still fearful of revealing the decision, because I know I'll meet with disappointment, even opposition, but I've made my choice. In addition, some of the people that I love and respect the advice of the most actually do, after a time, view my decision favorably. (They didn't at first, but after I explained my position and thoughts, they realized that it is a good thing.)

Honestly, I've never really been one to be evasive, and I kind of have been of late... for fear of running up contrary to the ideas of those I love. But I can't live a double life like that. It's wearing on the mind and soul.

So, I'm just going to come out and say it- C and I are in a relationship, and we plan to be married sometime in the next year or two. And I'm very happy.

It kind of reminds me of my decision to come back to Y. There were several points in time, on in particular, that I thought about coming back here, but I knew that I couldn't-- because it would be running away. The timing wasn't right. Finally, when I felt I was ready, I willingly chose to come back, and it wasn't running away.

With C, so often I've wanted to go back to him, to be with him, and several times I have, but I knew I shouldn't-- because it was running away. The affirmation I received from him was like a drug that I self-medicated with. I've come to some realizations lately about myself and about him, and this time... I'm not running away to him. I'm choosing him, willingly, because (for one thing) we love each other.

There's WAY more to my thought process than that, but I don't have time to put it down on paper now. I need to be sleeping in just a few minutes.

Oh, and this time... we're not sleeping together. We're gonna do this baby right. (That's gonna be a hard thing to stick to, but my mindset is different now as well, and that helps.)