A Series on Abuse: Introducing an Abuser

I think this will be a series. I pray my heart has the strength to write the things pounding against my head and heart, demanding to be let out. But as I even consider it, my tears well up, threatening to take me out. These are not freeing tears, they are crippling.

Jesus, I give them to you. The tears and the people. The fight for control and against your people.

I am part of a group of writers who I love and who, by God’s good grace and miracles abounding, get me. When something is wrong, I can tell them. When something is right, they can tell. And there is a certain magic of people whose hearts understand your words and whose words speak to your heart.

 

Currently, we seem to all be telling the same story. And even with all our voices and all our hearts, we are just scratching at the surface. We are not creating a masterpiece, releasing the angel from his stone imprisonment. Our movements are not so fine, so calculated. We are not even fashioning arrowhead weapons of flint, as our renditions have not the effect being able to take to war. Instead, we are battering ourselves against a boulder, coming away bloody and battered  and making the barest of impressions. We are walking away, knowing that this time, the pain was productive. The mountain we face is changing it’s face. The changes we make on it can make a change in the world. So we continue.

our tiny impressions are important. photo by Christopher Ernest

our tiny impressions are important.
photo by Christopher Ernest

 

Today I want to talk about abuse. The word, the action, the seemingly impenetrable walls that go up when the issue is broached.

 

I want to broach it, y’all.

 

I want to talk about what no one wants to talk about because I think that talking about it is one of the very best ways to prevent the perpetuation.

 

So to start this conversation, I’m not going to talk about abuse I’ve survived. I’m going to talk about abuse I committed.

 

 

what does the face of an abuser look like?

what does the face of an abuser look like?

 

I’ve thought a lot about this lately. About how to tackle issues much, much bigger than me. About how to tell stories that honor the inherent human dignity of all involved, that allows survivors* to speak and abusers* to walk into the light. My God, my God, I want us all to live in the light.

 

Wikipedia, which we all know cannot tell a lie, defines abuse as follows

Abuse is the improper usage or treatment for a bad purpose, often to unfairly or improperly gain benefit. Abuse can come in many forms, such as: physical or verbal maltreatment, injury, sexual assault, violation, rape, unjust practices; wrongful practice or custom; offense; crime, or otherwise verbal aggression.[1]

dicitonary.com’s definition is here 

and there are lots of other resources to read up on. 

Abuse is mis-use. Using something out of it’s intended purpose. And there is a great chasm of ways to misuse a thing, an animal, a person. But have you ever wondered how people get to the far end of that road? It is most often because no one stopped them on the close end. Abuse, of it’s own accord, only grows, multiplies, travels. Without intervention, abuse is a hearty, abundant, freely-moving thing.

 

And I know, I KNOW, friends, that we don’t our yelling frustration to lumped in with things that make us shiver and shake down to the soul. But I believe, BELIEVE, that when we talk about something, we understand it more. When we understand it more, we can better handle it, better handle life in it’s wake.

 

 

I have been an abuser. A person who abused. I have yelled hurtful, awful things. I have physically hurt (or at least attmepted to hurt – my physical smallness/impotence of my efforts to hurt does not diminish the intent) others out of malice, not defense. I have used a person’s emotions against them. I have manipulated words, feelings, and situations to benefit myself at someone else’s expense. Hell, in my twistedness I’ve done it at the expense of us both.

 

In those times, I WAS ABUSING. I was a person, with inherent human dignity, saved by grace (because certainly these actions occurred both before and after I came to know Jesus and his love for me), acting in a way that ABUSED others. Or myself.

 

My God, my God, i want us all to live in the light.

My God, my God, i want us all to live in the light.

I say this because in the coming days or weeks (however long it takes to post) I’d like to start a dialogue. One that opens up space for people to talk about abuse in a way that is not scary or shunned. Or even if it is scary, is worth it.  And I want to start by talking about how part of overcoming abuse is knowing that abusers are people too. And that to fight abuse is not always to fight the abuser. And that love does not always look like a blind forgetting that others call forgiving, just so they don’t have to deal with it anymore. And that fighting abuse, and loving an abuser, means loving them enough to introduce interventions that keep them from abusing, from assaulting their own inherent human dignity by committing acts they were never design to commit….

 

but there I go, getting ahead of myself. C’mon back later. Walk this road with me?

 

*for the sake of these posts, and the ease of readers/commenters engaging, I’ll be forgoing much person-centered language and using “abusers/surviviors” rather than “persons who abuse/ persons who survive abuse/ persons who have been abused.”

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I Read it Wrong

I know. Grammar dictates the above should be “I read it incorrectly.” 

Grammar can be such a communist leader, sometimes. 

I shouldn’t try political humor. I’m too unschooled on the subject. Of Politics. Humor I’ve got. Humility, also. :)

I am a person with dyslexia. I am not dyslexic (defined by the therm) or A dyslexic (as though I can be bound into a group based on this issue alone) but a PERSON, who has dyslexia.

A human female who has trouble reading, sometimes.

And who hates herself for it.

This is not a helpful attitude to have toward oneself in any sense, but especially when concerning a malady over which one has NO control. Especially when theology tells one that this has no bearing on one’s worth.

But I tell you what, I sure am hard on myself about it.

Every time I register for classes, I go through a 5-tiered check-and-re-check system when assembling my schedule. Because I’m so incredibly concerned I’ll do it incorrectly. I’ve done it incorrectly so many times that even now, with all these checks and plans, I still get mildly anxious when looking at the registration page for school.

Numbers are PARTICULARLY difficult. I mix them up more often than I get them correctly. When having to recite the sound of a number I fare well, but in writing or reading them, I’m a mess.

There is a part of me that absolutely gets all the reasons why this is just a thing and it is fine and no reason to be upset and even less of a reason to be upset at myself.

But there is another part of me that feels stupid and inadequate because I read things “wrong,” kind of a lot. I’m self conscious about it in new situations. Which, of course, makes it worse. Because (and I’m not going to go into the science or logic behind this but it’s just true) when your brain is busy worrying about things around you, it’s not best able to concentrate on the task-at-hand, and even less so when said task is something at which you have little natural ability.

Image

So.

I’m dyslexic a person with dyslexia (person-centered language is still hard for me in this area).

And I want to tell you this not because I want you to understand and be kind to me. No one has ever intentionally been unkind about it. (Well, before I understood what the problem was, some people did think i was stupid because, in reading things incorrectly  I’d get confused. But not anyone who ever had a real conversation with me.)

I say this because I think maybe you’ve got a thing too. Maybe you’re a person with trouble sleeping, or a person who often says the wrong thing. I think you might be a person who has trouble with your thinking or doing in some way that makes you think you must really be below the curve,

you must really be a broken one,

you must really not be worth much.

And that is just NOT the truth about you. Like it is NOT the truth about me. Like the things which trouble or plague me over which I DO have some control also don’t mean a damn thing about my worth.

Because the TRUTH about people is that they are made by God,

in His image,

Loved by him and therefore declared loveable and lovely because.He.loves.them.

And all the things we see, be they differences in ability or appearance or attitude, those are just descriptors,

not definitions.

And when I find something hard or messy or hurtful, I have come to understand that I’m not the only one dealing with it.

Entonces, I just prayed for you. I prayed for those who read these words, that they would know: that their worth isn’t tied up in the trappings of this world. That Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, came in strength and truth and through his life, death, and resurrection He rescued and redeemed all his people for all time* to walk forward in victory and LIFE abundant and good works that he prepared in advance for them to do IN HIM. That He is now and will continue until his return using every circumstance, even the ones that make me bad at reading, for His glory and our Good.

(check out the video on that link. especially if you’re iffy on this whole “Jesus gives me value,” or even “Jesus is real,” thing. Or for that matter, come over and lets have coffee and talk about it.)

Telling God What To Do

A few nights ago I was on the phone with a friend in crisis.

 

She was freaking out. She’d admit she would absolutely admit she was losing her dang mind. And my hear WRENCHED for her. In the middle of her story, realizing I was lost for anything helpful to say or do, I started praying,

“God, give her strength. Give her courage, calm her heart, let her, let her…let her….”

is this a band? it's what I feel like God was telling me to do

I couldn’t pray anymore. I was all caught up. Even the words in my head didn’t make sense. I very clearly understood that I was being quieted, that there was something even more that I was supposed to be paying attention to. So I listened. I listened to her, hurting, grappling with confusion and looking for an answer within herself.

And I listened to me, hurting for her, grappling with confusion over how to help and….as it turns out, even though I was praying, looking for an answer within myself.

Even though I was asking God to accomplish these tasks, I was giving him orders. Now, sometimes it’s appropriate to ask God for exactly what you want. But that’s not what I was doing. I know my heart, pplfriends, and what I was doing was TELLING God what my friend needed so she could be okay….or more accurately (i hate to admit) so that I could be okay with where she was emotionally.

I was reminded of who and what God is: Good.

 

I closed my eyes and took some deep breaths, returning to the Lord with a renewed heart and mind. “God, I trust you. I trust you. I trust your love. I trust your will, your plan, your spirit. I trust what you are doing here. I believe you are here already. You love her more than I ever could. You are not distant. You are not gone. You are not silent. I trust you. I trust you. I love you. I trust your love.”

 

It wasn’t the magic pill that made everything better. When we got off the phone, my friend was still reeling. When we talked the next day she’s had a hard time, she was exhausted from just feeling so much. And truth be told, even though it’s been a while, it’s still not “better.”

 

But the thing is, I really do trust God. I (clearly) forget it, all the time.  I forget, just like the Israelites, that God is in control and that he is GOOD. That anytime I am concerned for anyone I love, he is MORE concerned for them. And that includes me. I forget that his plan includes all factors and ALWAYS leads to my good and His Glory. I forget all these things, and I am desperately and madly in love with the God who is so kind as to remind me of them.

i only googled trust. i like that this one came with "love"

 

What are you telling God to do? What do you forget that you need to remember? How could you pray differently, or better, for the people you love?

Bubba and Belle

if I really think about it, if I really look at them, my brother and sister who are moving across the country and across the world, i tear up.

my heart, unbridled by TRUTH and giving in to perception, cries out along with my eyes. No.

No! Please, please don’t leave. Please don’t go away. I love you, I want you here, I want you near me.

I’ve done it again. I’ve grown attached to people. The deep veins of familial ties never truly established in blood have etched themselves in through these people, this spiritual family. They have become part of my daily routine.

They have become part of my heart.

I was not, at first, quiet about this displeasure. Especially with Bubba. With my Belle, I had more time. I knew this was her plan from the moment I met her. We’ve had years now to grow together and love and as I have supported her, i have, not thinking what it would really mean to not have her (or, in more faithful moments, believing that “what it would be like” is God’s plan – infinitely better than any alternative). So with my Belle, as the date has approached, I’ve kept myself (ever so slightly) in check with the (out loud) “OHMYGOSH DON’T LEAVE ME,”-s.

But Bubba up and made this decision OUT OF EFF…REAKING NOWHERE. (Not true. I’ve known he was thinking about it for months but literally REFUSED TO THINK (or even pray other than a randomly thrown up “oh god, tell him and make it clear….but mostly make it clear that he should stay but i mean, whatever you want, im just sayin..”) about it.

And long story short in a month, they’ll both be gone.

My sweet neighbor who I love and visit and spend time with and who is, as many have pointed out, a special friend, a brother-from-another-mother who plays with me so well that other people will miss our interactions, HE IS LEAVING.

My beautiful gypsy sister, the one who is so different from me, but SO GOOD AT LOVING ME, will be HALFWAY across the dang world and WHO  will i call to come over and have sparkling grape juice and strawberries with my while i scurry about cleaning my apartment and over-analyzing whatever is on my mind and with WHOM will i go on movie dates with my pink glittery flask (a gift from my bubby, the biological brother, the other Valle-felon) if my Belle in in TURKEY. Where the last time i was there, they kept trying to abscond with my passport and squinty-eyed at me even though I don’t have the evil eyes.

(that was a tangent. if those last few sentences didn’t make sense to you it’s only because they don’t make sense.)

This is not supposed to be a rant. this is supposed to be about not ranting.

i’ll ‘splain tomorrow. if i can pick myself out of the “what will i do without bubba and belle” despair.

Not the Fat Girl

::one of those “looking back and seeing how god has changed me” posts, written may – june 2011::

 

 

I can’t find it right now, but if I haven’t written it, i KNOW i have thought this before. I’ve thought:

“I’ll always be the fat girl on the inside.”

and what’s truly ironic is that I’m close to if not at the heaviest I’ve been in my adult life (alright, not Christmas 2009. That was a tough time. yuck). But you know what, even if I’m a big girl on the outside,

I AM NOT THE FAT GIRL ON THE INSIDE ANYMORE.

y’all. what the darn?

God is just so good.  I can look at my life and see how I’m seeing myself more the way he sees me. It’s not every moment of every day, but it’s more and more moments.  Times that I look in the mirror and i’m just happy with who I am. Or times tha I’m just happy with who I am, so i don’t feel necessary to look in the mirror.

I’m not the fat girl on the inside.

so okay with myself that I'm okay looking like the cover of "Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas"

 

Is there any identifier you thought you’d always have, that God has released you from?

What is Important?

::ohmygoshsoold. Look what I found!::

 

I’m writing this post in early December.

It’s late at night and looking at the situation in which I find myself, I think it is just as likely that when this publishes, a million days from now, that I will be dating Hoyt as that I won’t.

Anyway, part of what I wanted to do with my six-months-turned-three-months of singleness was to discover what really was important to me in a relationship. That way, I could know, could say, “Hey, if this is what you’re offering, okay, let’s give it a try. But if not, I know what I want and this isn’t it.”

And you know what? I surprised myself.

Because I’ve figured for a while that the only important thing to look for in a man was that he love and follow Jesus.  But that’s just not true for me. It’s the MOST important thing, but not the only one. God made me the way I am for a reason and for the right person, the way I am will be a blessing! So, for me to be in a romantic relationship with someone, I’ve realized I need some things without which I’m just not going to flourish. And it’s been hard for me to admit, but I know it’s true, and I’m trying to believe it’s okay. Like:

Affection and attraction. Some people need exercise to keep from going crazy. Some need alone time. I need affection. And I get plenty, I’m well loved. I’m always with kids and I’m around women who like hugs so I get my fill. But If I’m going to be with someone, this person is going to need to be really in to me. I don’t have the energy otherwise. I could go on and explain but right now I don’t want to. I’m just going to say that when it comes to this, I’m needy.

Along with that comes the fact that I need to play. To engage on a deep, intentional level. And often. Interact with me!

Pianoanna is like the opposite of me. She is the lowest maintenance wife I’ve ever met. She and her husband absolutely love one another, but they just don’t spend all their time doing lovey-dovey things. They do sometimes, but they’re chill. And that works for them. (It works WELL for them, they’ve got a STRONG relationship)

But I want lovey dovey! And no amount of DESIRE to be practical is going to change that.

It is important to me to go out and do things. I’m really bad at this on my own but if a relationship is going to carry the weight required of the step up from friendship, it’s just got to have better yields too. That’s just science. ;) I want to actually go on DATEs with someone if we’re dating.

That’s all of the surprising/hard-to-admit stuff for now.  Tonight I’m fighting the fight to know and believe that God is enough and that he’s in this, and I’m just giving him a chance to teach me what he wants to, and it doesn’t have to be scary. And if it ends, because Hoyt doesn’t have the time to pay me attention or just ends up not-that-into-me, that’s fine too! God will not stop being the big strong loving God that He is.

Just cause they're on my mind...these guys are important.

The Craziest Thing I’ve Ever Done

Yesterday, I did THE craziest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Those who have known me long enough to object – talk in code, it’s a family show ;)

And YES I will tell you what I did. NO i will NOT do it now. :)

But when i tell you it was the craziest thing I’ve ever done, I need you to understand some context:

once I decided, at age 19, to go to india. and a month later, I did.

twice, i shaved my head. once all the way to a buzz cut, once to a faux hawk.

more than I can count, i’ve decided to tresspass, often at the beach, sometimes during AWFUL STORMS that almost blow the car off the road.

until grampa forbade me, i picked up hitchhikers.

i spent 40 days fasting (as in not eating), even though I knew i had struggled with disordered eating in the past.

i have a tattoo on my ring finger. But Im not married.

as a child, i’ve counted tens of thousands of dollars of drug money on my relative’s kitchen counter. (i really was raised differently than you were) and carried bricks of illegal things to be taken to do illegal things.

i’ve gone on tour with the 5 rowdiest, most ridiculous band brothers i know.

i’ve sat in the hospital next to my dying parents (separate times, both miraculously healed) and made life-and-death decisions.

i put most of my dirty laundry on the interweb for the world to see.

i chose to spend three years of my adult life in a job that, when it COULD pay me, still left  me solidly under the poverty line.

i applied to and started grad school without consultation of anything but the :feeling” i was supposed to.

i’ve colored my hair every color in the rainbow. except green. even on a list of crazy, that’s just crazy talk. ;)

and well, we’re not going to talk about parties in college.

 

but all of that, still not the craziest thing I’ve ever done.

In fact, most of it wasn’t  even in the last three years. I’ve clearly calmed down a little. Oh but yesterday…..

 

Anyway, clearly some of my above choices (even though not all were choices) were not right. But I think some of them absolutely were. I absolutely needed to go to India. It was one of the singular most shaping experiences of my life. I was forever changed for good. Some of the others, too.

 

So if you are ever considering doing something crazy, I have the following advice:

 

Doing something crazy because it is the weirdest, sexiest, or most exciting thing is the WRONG reason to do something. It’s probably selfish and chances are, on some level, you’re likely to regret it later.

 

But if you feel like you really need to do something,

except that thing, it’s counter-intuitive, and painful, and scary and new and against everything you’ve ever known, if it puts you in a vulnerable place and the outcome is RISKY, it has the potential to change EVERYTHING….I encourage you to consider if all of that is just a side effect of the fact that God is calling you to it.

 

Because all of that, the counter-intuitive, the painful, scary,new, against everything you’ve ever known, the vulnerability and risk, the ability to change everything,

THAT sounds a lot like Jesus. And God’s plan for him, through him, for us.

People Change

a “just a thought” post.

looking in the mirror just now, i felt comfortable. I wondered if maybe i’d lost weight, maybe the tan or the outfit or maybe….. maybe I’m just different.

 

I think i’ve done an okay job on this blog of chronicling the ups and downs of surviving disordered eating and skewed body image. Tell me if i haven’t. But for the last year or so, I’ve just been MOSTLY happy with myself.  Even my “not that chubby” series culminated with: I’m happy with myself.

 

There are some of us who believe people do not change. I used to think that. There are some that think you have to CHOOSE to change. I used to think that too.

 

So I’d love to say that either I’ve always been this way, somewhere, deep down. But that would be a lie. And I’d love to say that I just chose once and kept choosing to love truth more than my perception of it. But, that’s not really how love works, is it?

 

I find more and more that instead of a bright light, a moment of revelation (although, as Paul and his donkey would affirm, those happen), love often happens as a whisper that says, “Hi, I am here, would you like to see me?” And most often, I say no. I would not like to see love. I’d like to see traffic or heartache or hunger but not love. Sure COGNITIVELY i’d choose love. But when I “snap” at someone or fall into despair, my actions are choosing to see circumstances, not love.

 

Love, though, is of all things, first patient. (oh and I am, of all things, often first IMpatient.) And love keeps whispering. And somehow, as I say “yes” more and more, as love convinces me, wears down my defenses with comfort and joy and kindness and always rejoicing, i find the film falling from my eyes.

 

Until FINALLY, love doesn’t have to whisper from across the room. Love knocks on the door of my heart and I am over-the-moon. I smile brightly, “LOVE! I’m so glad you’re here.” And love comes in.

 

and with love in my heart, i look back at all the times I’ve stomped on him, and I become ashamed. I want to turn away, I don’t want him to see me so close, to know just…ALL of me. And with this knowledge, this perfect knowledge of my past and my future, with power to do anything with me, what does love do?

 

Love….loves. There is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out all fear. And When he does, I, now fearless, run back.

 

So…I think people do change.

 

Love changes them.

i found love in the middle of a textile while making a gift. how kind of love to remind me, he's everywhere.

Tradish

Are you a fan or a not-fan of the abbreves people make?

As in presh instead of precious

or perf instead of perfect

or, abbreve instead of abbreviate, for that matter.

Maybe it’s not something that happens a lot where you are, but my people do it all.the.time. Maybe it’s a phase. Anyway, none of that is ACTUALLY the point but as someone who once met a man named “Steven” and proceeded instead to call him “steamboat” for the next seven years, I’d just like to get a gauge on what the rest of the world considers cute colloquial charm and what they instead deem as just ridiculous. Or, in my case, ridic. ;)

But the ACTUAL point of this post is to give one of those more traditional updates. I’m going to try my hardest to make perfectly plain sense (and not Palin sense, as I just typed accidentally, because I don’t ever want to live in Alaska) but we’ll see how far that takes us.

purely because i never used this photo before. this was in february, i believe.

School: In case you missed it, I’m pursuing an M.A. in Professional Counseling. I expect to graduate between August of 2013 and May of 2014. It’s a very long Master’s program. (61 hours, max 9 hours per semester, 6 hours per summer). After my first two semesters, I have a 3.8 GPA.  I hate that I only had a 4.0 for one semester, but that’s just because I’m prideful. There is nothing wrong with a 3.8. I’m learning a lot and will be in school this summer learning more, even though it will cost me time in the sunshine. The fact that I can say that with a smile is a miracle in itself.

i realize these photos don't at all match up, but i just thought this one was funny, and also hadn't been used.

Social: I am NOT dating anyone. Back in April I went through a break up so emotionally wrought that I actually flinch/shudder whenever I see the man I was dating. Sometimes things just hurt more than you can explain. Sorry, i’d be more poetic, but i’m trying to just be clear so the people who don’t see me that often can know what’s going on. My friendships are growing, though, and it seems just about every day I find myself thinking, “I have more amazing friends than i can count. How can one girl be so loved?” But i am kinda touch deprived (my own fault. After the break up, I got a little gun shy about being touched. Weird reaction, I know).

on the way home from TN during spring break. it's like spiritual. ;)

Spiritual: I’ve totally dropped the REAP plan but do still make time to read the Bible almost every day. I’ve even started reading a chapter of John every morning when I wake up to help me actually get out of bed (as opposed to twitter or google reader. My phone has all of those options). I’m journaling more again (I probably always journaled more than “average” but I’m actually getting back up to “normal” for me.

getting less and less related

Shackled: My felony accusation is still pending. Yes, you read that right. I was accused of a felony, and found out a year later (about 2 months ago) when someone stole from my wallet and then I got arrested. My bail cost more than I make in a year. Yes, you read that right as well. It was an odd night. Not my best, not my worst, and a funny story that I’ll type up someday. Anyway,I didn’t do what I was accused of and even have proof  (police and auto insurance records) to prove I didn’t, but I still have to have a lawyer present those things. I wish I could say I’ve proven faithful through it, but the truth is it’s wearing on me more than I realize. My stutter has presented twice in the past week. I’m learning a LOT through it, stuff that could go up in that spiritual section above, but i lack the right words to describe it now, so maybe I’ll tell you about it later.

i. love. my. bubs!! he does NOT love me taking his pic.

Sibling, etc: Family stuff is just as crazy as it normally is. People fighting, medical issues, surprise funsies, and facebook shenanigans. Par for the course on our insane, multi-cultural, never-boring course.

20 points if you can figure out what I'm doing here.

What else might you want to know? This fall I start working at The Austin Stone Counseling Center (a job with an hourly pay NOT involoving fundraising). So I’ll still be working for the church in the sense that I’ll be working at their Counseling Center. But it’s a more 9-5 m-f job. And I’ll still be in school full time. And I’ll move SOMEwhere at some point after the 1st of August, which is still exciting if for no other reason than I’ll be just shy of a year in the same place. The longest i’ve been anywhere since 2002. I’ve been working out more (meaning at all), and enjoy going to the gym 2-4 times a week to get in some quick time on the elliptical. Which is really a result of me taking self-care more seriously.

Questions? Questions? No?

heartsick -reader response requested

::a jumbly mess and gratefulness for that jumbly mess::

Yesterday morning, I woke up feeling awful.

I’d foolishly eaten some cake thinking it wouldn’t be that bad (I get sick when I eat Gluten) and…

i’m heartsick.

Is that a term people use? Sometimes I say things that seem so normal to me and people look at me, blinky-eyed, unsure if it’s rude to laugh in response. Like the other day when I told Kristen I didn’t want to poop on her party. Apparently ppl say “i don’t want to be a party pooper.” not “i don’t want to poop on your party.” Whatever. Poop is poop, rules is rules, and heartaches hurt.

FTR, no one hurt me. No one did anything wrong. I’m just upset about the outcome of a situation in which no one is wrong but just isn’t what i want. So y’all put down the pitchforks and torches. But thx. :)

Anyway, I was on my knees (never one to forgo a taste of the histrionic ) and opened up my journal to find a note Lovey had snuck in some time last week.

“Be vulnerable,” she said. “There is so much of you that is a gift. Let us see the part that hurts, the part that wonders. Those are gifts too.”

Admittedly, I tell you a good portion of my hurts/doubts. You know. After the fact. With lots of gospel. Lest ye think God isn’t good enough when I write a post thats just a jumbly mess of hurtfusion.

So…may I please have permission from y’all to sometimes say just what I’m thinking/feeling? I mean, if you read this, and if you’ve ever met me, you probably know that I love Jesus. That I believe He is enough. That I enjoy him and life and that the Gospel is the truth to which I cling. Would it be okay with y’all if, sometimes, I just work that out on here?

I’m serious about this, y’all. I’m really asking the question: If you are a regular reader (and you can leave an anonymous comment!) is that something you’d like to read? Would that encourage you? For today, at least, for Lovey, who asked me, I’m going to be jumbly, hurt, confused, and heartsick. out loud.

You know even committing to that helps me feel a little better? And oh my stars, have I been feeling blah. Tears I didn’t know I had for an emotion I didn’t know still existed have been flooding over me and onto others this week. Not too many others. I mean, even though the only thing I can compare this hurt to is that which I felt last year, the first time I experienced an in-love heartbreak, I think only Supermama and The Social Worker know it’s going on. Hah. So much for authenticity.

Anyway. Hurt. Pain. Sickness. Confusion. Frustration. And a desperate wish that someone could hold me long and tight enough that I could shake this chill that goes all the way to the inside, deep into places that don’t physically exist. Ya’ll, my space heater is 5 inches from my body and it’s the latter half of May. In Texas.

And THEN, in the midst of all this weirdness that isn’t but feels comparable to being in the middle of an emotional blizzard (I’ve never been in a blizzard. I’d take one look at a blizzard and die.) I got asked to teach the younglings (I work in a children’s ministry at my church) the lesson this past week. Sure, I can do that. I can teach. Even though all I really want to do is not exist. Cause… well I don’t know why I said yes other than usually, that’s what I do. ;)

So let’s go back to 8:30 am yesterday. When I need to leave the apt to get to service to spend some time surrounded by Jesus and held tightly by him before I go teach les littles. (yes. im making these names up as i go) I just sorta fall over, and I see my journal. I flip through it and find Lovey’s surprising note.  And I get up, wearing JEANS, no make up, hair undone, and go to work/church. Where I’ll see/be seen by a few THOUSAND people (most of whom don’t care in the sense that they are offended, I know, but still). Even though I want to cover up so no one is burdened by my hurt look, I’ll be vulnerable by not covering up the outside markings that I’m a mess. Cause I don’t really have the energy to do so anyway.

And right up until I get in front of los disciple-itos (the kids) I have no idea what I’ll do. So I open my mouth.

“Good morning,” i smile at them, sincerely but with little energy,”I’m going to tell you a not-very-secret secret. I don’t feel very well. Do you think you can do me a favor and pay extra special good attention to me today?” “Yes ma’am,” they replied, with the sweetest little concerned faces. And they did. They stuck through a 20 minute oral rendering of the story of David and Bathsheba. And when we were done, they raised hands and asked such sweet, confused questions.

“How could God do that? The baby died? He didn’t do anything.”
“Did Bathsheba know? Did she know that David killed her husband on purpose?”

For one of the first times I’ve ever seen, the kids were noticeably getting that the characters from their story were real people, with real hurts, with real hearts, that their stories were real stories.

And maybe-just-maybe, that’s partly out of the fact that I showed them a little more this morning about how I am a real person. With real hurts, and a real heart. And just so you know, my stories are real stories. So are yours, for that matter.

Xo  -r