A Series on Abuse:To Love “Our” Own Abusers? Only Maybe.

Yesterday one of my “get-me” girls shared a thought that I’d like to start with today. For backstory, this all started with the following that I shared before writing yesterday’s post:

“I’m loving reading all the posts y’all are writing, about the hurt, the redemption, being at the table…

the fire in my bones wants to tell another side of the story. the side i can contribute to right now. But i’m afraid. 

i want to write about how abuse needs to be labeled. normalized. how we need to be able to say “abuse!” when something happens because if you treat cancer like a cold, you don’t get you don’t get the necessary intervention for the malady you have, you treat a symptom that is far from the problem. 

and i want to write about how, in that, we are called to love abusers. 

which holy hell and God almighty, that means a lot of things. 

what i want ot write here is that i am NOT NOT NOT calling anyone to a blind forgetting that others would label as forgiveness. I am NOT diminishing anyone’s story. 

i want to talk about my struggle in this, in fighting  what i want to do, which is take a bat and kick the shit out of abusers and get survivors out of there. I want to talk about how violence breeds violence and i want to fight to stand in the gap. to somehow use Christ’s call as an instrument of change. 

what i’m saying here is: I want your thoughts and reactions. the real ones. and if what i write hurts or stings or offends, i want to know. because it’s all so sickeningly complex. 

so… now i’m going to go try and write about labeling and loving abusers. im sure it will be a series.”

dear triteness, you are sometimes true and good. not now, though.

dear triteness, you are sometimes true and good. not now, though.

to which I got a lot of amazing, encouraging replies. The one that I’m chewing on right now is this:

 “I love your heart. I love your honesty and your gift. Like E said, I trust that The Spirit is working this out in you. And you’re right- it’s a complicated issue. Have you read Wounded Heart? My honest first reaction is I’m glad it’s you and not me being called to this (how is that for honesty). If I’m not mistaken, the biblical definition of abuse is to treat or use someone for a purpose other than their created purpose; aren’t we all then, abusers? I believe we need to find ways to love the very worst offenders. But, I don’t believe it’s a general call on all Christians to love their OWN abusers (not to say God won’t call one of us specifically to do that ). Of course, we now need to define ‘love’ and on and on it goes. I think it doesn’t really matter what I think. Go write.”

So for today’s post, I want to just say that as I chronicle some more musings on this, I am not suggesting that anyone feel or act out of the burden of facing his or her abuser with open arms. Like my friend said, God may call us to do that. But if he calls you to that, he will also equip you for the task.

The specific message I am trying to send in this series is that as people, as groups, as a society, I think “we” would all benefit each other by taking the time and effort to look at people who abuse as just that: PEOPLE. A person who abuses is a person. A human, made in God’s image, with unique traits to bame, I need the time to step away, put down the bat, and remember who my enemy really is,

and who it isn’t.

boundaries are one of the keys to my ability to act out of love for this person

boundaries are one of the keys to my ability to act out of love for this person

To be practical and transparent, I’ll use myself as an example again. In my life, I have found that some of the abuse I survived was committed by persons who I have learned to love well and freely(ish. boundaries are actually the key to my ability to act out of love toward this person). But some of it was different.

When I was 4, 5, and 6, a tiny, innocent little thing not much for sticking up for myself or making a fuss about…anything, really, I spent the summers with my daddy in Tennessee. We were neighbors with my Pawpaw, whose mere memory brings me so much joy that it’s quite difficult to put him in the same sentence with the following the other people living with him: his wife and stepson, the latter who was just 10 years older than me. During this time, I spent a not-unusual portion of my days at and around Pawpaw’s house. Around his stepson. Where he lived. Where he has access to me. Where he would hurt me. The sexual molestation I faced in that time was just the beginning of the pain in my life as a result. The years and years of aftermath, or lack thereof, created a deep and ugly place in me. And God gift of healing has touched it. That place is, by his mercy and through counseling and the love of others, mostly rebuilt into something strong, something beautiful.

But if I ever saw this man, at this point in my life, I would have to fight to keep vomit down. It would take all my strength, and no small amount of the strength of my support system, not to let rage boil in my heart. Because I am finite and weak, in the grand scheme of things. And it is too close a thing to my heart, the deep and treasured parts of me, for me to handle with a necessarily-detached grace.

And there is freedom in that. In knowing my heart is not yet strong enough for a call I have graciously not been given. So if you are here, and you are hurt, please know: that is not what this is about. Maybe you cannot love your abuser, no matter what that means. May you are not ready to receive love for the abuse you committed. Okay. It’s okay. We’ll get there, loves. God is not through with us yet.

More tomorrow on what I do actually mean. :)

What’s next and Why I’ve Been Gone

Sometimes there are things that, because you can’t talk about them right away, you need to wait. Until things calm down, until you have the proper words, until the sting goes away.

And there are some things that you have to just say. This is a little of both.

I’ve been M.I.A. from the interweb world for the past few weeks. I didn’t have internet at home, life was busy like whoa, and some great/awful things happened.

You know. Great/awful. Like, my great grandmother, a woman who we joked would NEVER die, died. Awful. But I got to go to Tennessee, I spent 24 hours in the car with my mom AND ENJOYED IT, I saw my daddy and generally learned to experience that whole side of the family in a new way/was challenged to see my sin in the way I view them now.  Great!

But I tell you, it’s God mercy to me that things have been so crazy, because something that happened weeks ago is something I can just now update you on, because I needed this time so I could tell you and make sure it was the truth, and not just how it feels (especially because at first, it did NOT feel anything like what it actually is). I should get to “it,” right?

 

Okay, some of you knew, some of you didn’t, that my next “step” in life, after myKidStuff internship was up, was to begin student counseling at a Gospel Counseling Center. It was something I was super excited, although never fully peaceful, about. I was hesitant to talk about it for some time because it just always felt a little off. (You non-feelers have NO idea what I’m talking about) But it seemed clear that this was the next logical step, a great opportunity, and an amazing chance to hone skills that I definitely want in my professional career.

A few weeks ago, while discussing the details of the job, those involved (myself included) determined that I was not yet ready for this role.

In the interest of keeping minds from wandering, I will share a few details:

There was no moral failure on anyone’s part, though some honest mis-communication.

I didn’t fail to grow in any way that was ever asked of me.

But I’m just not ready for this exact role.

I (as well as my professors) feel I AM equipped to give beyond-adequate care in a student counselor role.

But that’s not what’s being asked of me.

 

I won’t be working there. But nothing is wrong, no one has been wronged, or failed, and life is still just as beautiful.

 

Now, that’s all I’m gonna say about that.

 

HOWEVER:

Get ready for some AWESOME coming your way. Complete with a new house where I live that i LOVE LOVE LOVE, a new semester of awesome learning opportunities, and random musings of conviction, love, and life as your favorite gypsy/counselor/fashion-wanna-be. Oh and pictures. I haven’t been posting them, but i HAVE been taking pictures. :)

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?

The Blessing of Unrequited (shadows)

As you may have expected, people have been asking me how I’m doing since that little “in love with someone who wants someone else.” fiasco. (which you can see more about here, here, and here.)

And honestly: I’m OKAY.

See? Cute outfit. I must be okay. ;)

I mean, i’m probably better than okay. I don’t feel any differently about him, but I am trying every day to be faithful with whatever is in front of me. And you know what’s NOT in front of me? That man.

But what is still in front of me is my God and His goodness. And one of my favorite things about God is that since His glory is the point of everything, I can count on everything to teach me something about His glory. Circular references can be the bomb sometimes.

And I am so grateful that my feelings are what they are.

I am grateful that I have no control over this strong, abiding, i-know-will-go-away-when-God-sees-fit, beyond-all-sense love.

Not because it shows me how I should love God,

but because it shows me how God loves me.

And that man not loving me* shows me a lot about how I love God.

I hope this can make sense.

I didn’t choose to want this man. In fact, I fought it like CRAZY. Until I just knew. KNEW  that I couldn’t fight it anymore. There wasn’t anything I could do to change it. And like he told me again and again, the man didn’t change in any way to make me want him. He didn’t measure up (not that he had some failing to cover) or win my affection with his goodness. He didn’t suddenly warrant my love in some way that changed for those feelings to resurge SO STRONGLY. It just happened and I knew it wouldn’t un-happen.

But he didn’t want me.

It reminds me of the love of God. Except he CAN and DOES choose to love us. To love ME in a way that isn’t EVER going to un-happen. He loves me not because I measured up or won his attention with my worthiness. He loves me no matter what I do.

And so often, I just don’t want him. I choose other things (and here the analogy breaks down because I choose far less worthy things. Q didn’t choose anything less worthy, just different).

See I love the way I feel about that man, and even the way he feels about me, because it points me again and again to the greatest love story, told on Calvary with an empty cross and an empty grave. It reminds me that the strongest love I’ll ever understand (which no, i don’t think i’ve experienced yet) on this earth

Will still only be a vain shadow of the love God has for me.

It points me back to how grateful I am for this unmerited gift. This thing I could never earn. This thing beyond words and understanding.

The blessing of an unrequited love all wrapped up in the love I could never hope to match. The love of the Father and King and Lover of my soul.

How have past loves taught you about His great love?

*not romantically, anyway. He’s still a kind, sweet creature. Just one exercising his privilege to prefer another. I can malign no one this choice. Please no, “he’s so {anything}.” comments about him not wanting me. ;)

Mrs Dubs

I just found out that the mother of my first love has cancer.

Which made me think of two things: First, that I will start to pray for this woman who deserves a thank you for putting up with my rowdy teenage angst while I dated her son. And second, about her son:

The man I loved back in high school.

i was going for sassy, but came out angry. the matching fauxhawks we AFTER we broke up!

Tall. Brown hair. Hazel eyes. Grew his beard out for me. Played every instrument he touched. Yeah, you can imagine how 15 year old me felt about 16 year old him.

Though years, states, and circumstances have separated us, and though I smile back on every memory I have of the man(the boy, back then!) I don’t feel any unresolved business between us. We had a rough break up, we went different places in the world and in our lives, and eventually we just… were okay, I guess. I mean it took a lot more drama than that but it’s sweet to look back and remember that during a time I was sure I wouldn’t make it (it really was a ROUGH break up, now that I think about it) God carried me through. What at the time was THE most important thing in my life is now something I have to search to remember.

God’s mercies are new every morning, and after 8 years of new mornings, it’s difficult to truly recall what pain that time was. But I wanted to remember for a minute because it wasn’t the last time I felt that way.

And there will be times in the future when I feel it again.

When what I think is THE most important thing in the world suddenly becomes no longer part of my world.

And I will hurt.

And I will cry.

And I will be sure that I am not strong enough to handle this.

And I won’t be.

But God always will.

If you pray, please take a moment to pray for Mrs. W and her family.  As she faces a treatment plan she cannot afford and a sickness she cannot fight on her own, I know they will all appreciate the strength and peace of the Lord.

Psalm 22:3

::and old draft and WOW HOW PISSED do i look in this pic? movingon…::

“…Yet you are Holy…”

sometimes, that’s all we can cling to. And it seems like SUCH a cop out.

Sometimes it’s not all we can cling to, but we can’t see the other stuff. Stuff, that’s such a grown up word. I’m so good at stuff.

I woke up this morning in an awful mood. Horrible Terrible No Good Very Bad.

t.i.c.k.e.d.

I was expecting a certain aspect of life to work out a certain way, and when it didn’t, I could not walk away, or move on, enjoying everything else there was to enjoy. I got all hung up. Stuck. Angry. All night long, it was stuck in my mind. When I woke up, it was all I could imagine.

Finally, the sun came up and the light streamed into my room, onto my face. And despite my groaning and bad attitude, he wouldn’t let me ignore the fact that no matter what else is going on,

He is Holy,

he didn’t allow my grumblings to be so big that they blot out the sun. He didn’t allow me to keep ignoring the sacrifice of His Son.

via

I’m not really better now. In-case-you-didn’t-notice, I’m a bit feely by nature. So I’m still feely. But I’m soaking in truth.

Because the world could come crashing down, yet He would still be Holy.

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?

Sorry for the Radio Silence

It was purely unintentional.

Because i got to take a totally spontaneous trip to see the squeezies. Dr and Mrs were taking a trip to the river. I had lost my joy, my appetite, and a bit of my mind, and just wanted to see them.

She cried when I left. she was just tired and i calmed her down, but it's still nice to be loved.

enter: a perfect two-day get away to somewhere so far removed that I didn’t even open my computer, and I let my phone go dead with no concern, since no one had reception anyway. I have not one single picture nor one single regret from the excursion once with left the Z’s house, but I do have a tan, a rested body, a smile on my face and an ability to eat. Jury’s still out on the sanity. ;)

But srsly folks, I’m SO SO thankful for this weekend. Having two days off in a row is a rare and special treat afforded only by the two-week break in school. (Don’t freak out. Yes I work 6 days a week, but I also get whisked away to Uganda sometimes. It all works out.) And two days away was SRSLY a need at this point.

i found this dead moth in my car. I was sad for the beautiful, muted colors on the strange, furry creature. I took her as a sign. I didn't want to keep loosing my brightness.

Lemme share something you’ve probably picked up on. I struggle with the occasional bout of depression. Thanks to the Lord and the amazing community around me, I’ve learned to recognize the signs, NOT FREAK OUT, and tend to myself (or ask for tending, when necessary).  One of the signs that I’m dealing w some emotional stuff I may not recognize is loss of appetite. Last week I ate one meal per day for five days. And the meals were getting smaller. I know better than to WORRY about this (never gonna make it better) and instead kept my closest friends up on the sitch, in case this lasted too long and I needed to start getting my calories from a cup. :)

But on day six, I finally felt hungry, and not like putting something in my tummy would cause reverse-peristalsis. Then I saw a picture where I looked fat.

Oh yeah,that IS me cuttin' bubba's hair. At the office.

Look y’all, bad posture bad smosture, I felt like i looked awful in this pic.

So I was TEMPTED to not eat. I knew it had been long enough that I could do it, without people really noticing. I used to be really good at not eating. And i lose weight when I don’t eat.

This was a big warning flag for me. I texted The Social Worker, “I’m tempted to not eat. I’m going to go eat dinner right now.”

There. accountability. Then I called Mrs Z.

“I feel awful. Can I come see you?”
“We’re going to the river.”
“Can I come with?”
“YES! Absolutely!”

Yes, it was a two hour drive, but I needed to shake the system. I needed to get out of the funk. And like I said, I’ve learned enough about myself to know it’s a BAD idea to just expect things to get better, if I want to get out of a bad funk, I need to do something about it.

i dunno what's up with the lighting in this one. after zumba, at the ball game.

When I got to Castroville, I told Mrs Z “I have to eat while I’m here. And NOT any gluten. If i say I’ll be okay or it will be worth it, I WONT AND IT WONT.”

We went to Zumba (secret: i love working out. wouldn’t figure it, i know) and then to a ball game for a niece of hers. sunshine, dancing, babies, friends, and lots and lots of hugs.

y'all are my teeth really that color? Don't tell me.

I hope, if you struggle like I do, you’re afforded the opportunity to know how to ask for help, to see what doesn’t need to be made an issue (In my case, missing a few meals because i’m tummy-sick) and what demands immediate attention (I am tempted to not eat because I feel fat).  And I pray you have someone, someones, who know and love you well enough to help you through it all. I thank God that I have the Spirit as my constant companion, and that he’s seen fit to give me lots of earthly companions too. But NOT the kind of companions they have on Joss Whedon’s Firefly. ;)

Once I could take this and laugh at it rather than stress abt it, i knew the fog was lifting.

And i just wanted to share. Because it was not always this way. I did not always have these helpful coping tools. I was not always able to look and God and say, “This is awful. Please come help me.”  I was not always able to look at my friends and say that. And I want you to be able to.

sometimes self care means walking around in flippers

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