Monday, April 22, 2013

"Oh, But God Can....."

Insert your favorite platitude here....

 ........... make all things work together for good....

............ restore the years the locusts have eaten...........

There's quite a few of them, actually, and I think I have heard every one.

It is what Christians throw at each other when they can't fix the situation.  Like slapping a bandaid on a wound.  It doesn't fix anything, isn't even always the best choice, but it makes the platitude say-er feel better.

My most recent one to have thrown at me often is the locusts one.

"Don't worry that your kids have been raised in this atmosphere their whole lives, God can restore all the years the locusts have eaten."

Sadly, my kid's lives aren't grain.  And a bountiful grain harvest one year won't make up for what they've been through.  It won't heal the wounds on their hearts.  It won't create a different foundation on what they think is normal behavior as they go out to face the world.

Things this week have been normal.  Normal to me is pain.  Normal to me is odd.  Because it is the day to day going on ignoring the wounds that are unhealed and the deep scars.  Normal is just pretending they aren't there.  So normal hurts.  It hurts because I hurt.  And the pain has never been addressed, only added to.

People say, "Have faith.  God can fix it.  He can restore the years the locusts have eaten."

I think that should be added to the list of verses most misused as a platitude.  God can not give back those years.  He can not go back and raise my children in an environment without anger.  He can not erase all the curses thrown at me.  Sin has consequences.  It does.  It does, whatever people might say with their nice platitudes.  It has consequences, and I live in them.  My children are raised in them.

Joel 2:25 is the locust verse.   "Then I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust, my great army which I sent among you."

 I read it in about 15 translations.  Most of them, unless they were influenced by old English, say what my Bible says. A version of "make up to you" or "repay you".  Not restore.  Not give back.

Time goes on.  You don't get a replay on life.  Joel speaks of the day of the Lord.  The final day when God comes and judges the world and the heavens melt.  After that comes the blessing and a time of perfection and blessing.  The verse says that on that day, God will make up for those years.  The good He gives will be so great in comparision to what we have come through.

I believe that.

Believing that does not take away one bit from the truth that living in this is damaging to my heart in ways that may never heal.  I want - we women need - Christians to understand this.  We don't need helpful platitudes of verses taken out of context.  We need the love of hearts broken over the pain we live in, the strength of those willing to look at the pain without throwing a platitude blindfold on.

It is not ok.  It is not going to be ok.  God is not going back in time to make it better.  I need strong, aware hope, not platitudes.  Platitudes are an easy out.  A way of saying, "I can't handle looking at your pain, so I am going to throw something at it and run."

Another possible interpertation of Joel's verse is that God has judged, and He is going to repay.  He sent a famine, and the people suffered, and now He is going to send a bountiful harvest and He will make up for the shortfall.  Again - not helpful here.  Not unless you want to say that living in this anger is God's judgement on me.

Which I struggle enough to keep believing that isn't true.  Because the enemy whispers that it is.  And the church puts it in different words and agrees with him.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sewing Time

I got tired.  And bored.  So I began sewing.  Being creative is relaxing to me.  Mindless in one way.  And fun.

My daughter is hard to buy for here.  She's not skinny, skinny, so she's hard to find clothes for.

This summer, I'd had it.  I wanted her to look and feel cute in clothes that still were designed for a little girl, but that fit her body type.

This is one of the outfits I came up with.  So far, I've done two pairs of shorts, two capris, five shirts, and one dress.  I have one sun dress and one nicer dress to make and three more shirts, and then she will be set.  I'm starting to enjoy this.  It took awhile with the first one, but then I am getting the hang of it more.


I am so physically, emotionally, and spiritually tired.  I feel completely worn out.

I want to just sleep.  I can't.  I'm a mom.

But I want to.

My husband is tired to.

He told me today that everyone says to change, but no one is willing to help.

That he's tired too of waiting for helpers to come.

He just wants to rest.

I think we're burnt out.

But we are also parents.

Right now, I want to go to the beach.  To sit somewhere warm and watch the water.

To cry.

To feel.

To rest.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Oh, By the Way...

With all the changes needed to my blog, I put comment moderation on.  I just realized that the last two people that commented commented twice.... likely because the comment doesn't show up right away. 

It won't

Not until I post it.

So, that's fine.  I'll post them.

But it also means if you want to write and NOT be posted, just say so.  Just say, "please don't post this one."

And I won't. 

'cause I'm nice like that.  :-)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

What If We Loved Instead?

Wow.  Last night, just looking through links friends sent and links on the bottom of those links, I came across two posts about God, Christianity, and homosexuality.

I read it and stopped.  Even shared it with my husband.

Because it made sense.  I'll share it with you when I have time to digest it, make sense of it, and comment on it.

God's had me on this journey towards freedom over the years, slowly challenging my thought processes and baggage I was raised in, and transforming me.

i still don't get why he's chosen to do it in this environment of unrelenting pain in a relationship....

It's been a journey.  It still is.

For some reason totally unknown to me, He's chosen to challenge my reaction to homosexuals - specifically lesbians.  To bring me into contact with parents whose children have gone that way, with lesbians themselves.  To show me them as people.  Wonderful people.  Loved people.

God did not love me any more than them.  Or any less.

To show me them as people with feelings.  Valid feelings, like I have.  Mothers who love their children and worry about them.  People in abusive relationships with pain.  People who care for and protect others.  To see my friend fight for and lovingly care for vulnerable older people with tenderness would warm your heart, too.  People with a great sense of humor.

My one friend and I want to join the TV show, "The Amazing Race".  We want to bill our team as "The Missionary and the Lesbian". :)

I'm blessed to have these friendships, especially in the environment of nursing.  Sorry to all of you married to nurses and haven't realized this yet, but we talk to each other.  About almost anything.  I've come to the conclusion that it is a side effect of the fact that no topic is ever off limits for us in our daily jobs, so we get used to that.

I've been given the chance with my two friends (both married, but not to each other, to other women.) to be able to ask questions.  Because I am a friend.  Just as they may ask questions about me.  I can ask what they like to be called.  What offends them.  When they made the decision to have children, and how that all worked.  How they planned their wedding.  What difficulties exist for them.  How their relationships work.

I didn't get that chance by barraging them with questions, but by working alongside of them as friends.  By sharing my life with them.  By simply being friends.

And I pray.  Not only for them, but for me.  For understanding.  For love.  But they are easy to love.  I want to be able to understand, to be able to have answers within myself first so I even know how to pray.

I hurt for them.  Both of them previously married to men, to extremely abusive men, who they left.  After they left, they "realized that they were lesbians" and came out, developed relationships with other women, and married them.

In some ways, I understand them.

I also realize that my two friends did not make a decision to be lesbian out of a sheer hate of God's laws and a desire to thumb their nose at God.

They made that decision out of prolonged, deep personal pain.

And I am not going to add to their pain by harshly judging them.

I will say, just so you all are clear, that  I am not re-thinking my faith to the point that I say homosexuality is not wrong.  It is wrong.  Just like anger, greed, immorality, and stealing are wrong.

But I will not judge them in hate.  I will not say that they must hate God because what they are doing.  I don't believe they do.  One has a belief in God and a desire to know Him.  She is sinning.  But so are my other colleagues who are out drinking and partying on the weekend and sleeping around.  God doesn't make distinctions between sinners.

I want to understand their hearts, and what it is in any of us - because they are like us - that could cause us to make that decision.  And, more importantly, what do they need to know about God that will allow them to begin to seek Him.

This article I read was the first one that spoke to those questions.  That allowed me to think and say, "yes, this makes sense."  I'll share it with you when I've re-read it and thought it through.

In the meantime, if I could speak to the church, I would want to say, "Love the next gay or lesbian person you meet.  Smile at them.  Defend their rights, protect them from harm.  Get to know them - honestly, not from a superior attitude.  You might surprise yourself and learn to love them.  Jesus does."

I sometimes wonder if we as a church are more responsible for the over-the-top in-your-face attitude of some gays than we are willing to consider.  If anyone lives in a culture of fear and hate for an extended period of time, it is going to have an effect on how they act.  And all this crass display may just be a cry of pain of being so rejected so long that they're angry and hurt, and now they lash out in that and "get in our faces".

I know what that feels like - to want to lash out because I am tired of being judged and hurt.

What if we loved instead?

Thinking Through the Pain

Iron and Coffee

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Another Day and a Needed Giggle

The ups and downs are hard.  I know they will come, but they are still hard.

This morning was a down.  Because a perceived intent was acted on instead of asking for the true intent.  Then, even when faced with the true intent, the perceived event still affected the emotions to a point that the emotions ruled.  For me that is frustrating.  To find a way that the emotions could just hang out for a second without triggering until the intent is clarified would be good.

I was reading something about that once.  About learning to distinguish between perceived offense and actual offense.  It was an excellent book.  One I wish I was brave enough to hand over and say, "hey, read this.  It's good."

Today, day five, I am finally eating a bowl of food.  Of hot food.  Simple carbs with a little protein.  Hoping my tummy will hold it in and I can get energy.  My muscles all ache and cold lives in my bones because I am so weak at the moment.  Hoping this food stays in.  My tummy is intrinsically tied into my emotions.

I work again tonight.  We have a psych patient transferred to us because of age.  I think that is unfair.  Unfair to those who now in their old age, as a reward, get to share a room with a severe psych patient.  He screams, curses, and hallucinates.  He thinks he is the devil or possessed by devils and he is going to kill people.  He tells us so.  When he loses it, the nurse's aides run out of the room in fear.

He's religious - of a sort.  Amulets and charms surround him.  Crucifixes and holy water adorn his room.  But in one of his fits, a nurse tried reciting the Lord's Prayer thinking it would calm him, and he flew into a physical rage, coming out of his chair, walking on legs which cannot hold his weight, and lunging snarling at them.  We had one other incident with that with another patient - a priest.  He had an episode where four people could not hold him, and to calm him - he is a priest after all - someone tried to recite a prayer.  He snarled, growled, and attacked too.  An athiest aide left the room that day, looked at me, and said, "I don't even believe in God, but that made me believe in demon-possession."

Anyway, our new guy is religious of sorts.  We have a nurse who seriously is just missing some screws.  She told me about this guy, and then said, "You should get along just fine with him - you're religious, too!"

Um.  Um.  Wasn't even sure how to begin answering that one.  I might be someone who believes in God, but I am neither "religious" nor thinking I am possessed by the devil.

She walked away, and my coworker and I looked at each other out of the corner's of our eyes.  She said, "She's crazy!  Something is not connecting!"  I said, "yeah, I wouldn't exactly describe myself as religious, especially not THAT type of religious."  She just began shaking with laughter.

This is my friend who is lesbian.  And I smiled that day at the thought of my faith in a living God being defended by my lesbian friend.  Because she spoke back to the nurse and said "Ellie is NOTHING like that!"

In the middle of a rough weeks, and in the middle of deep personal pain, and in living with an unfair judgement sitting on me, this made me smile.  Probably the first real smile I've had in awhile.

I wanted to love these two lesbian friends/coworkers of mine enough that they would know that I love them.  That I do not judge them.  (It is not my job.)  That I love them, and willing to befriend them, and willing to help them in this new workplace.  That they would know first my love, and then my faith.

Faith should never be used as a hammer to hurt others.

And that day, sitting there in giggles with my friend, I realized I have done that.  My faith is being defended by my lesbian friend who knows me first as her friend Ellie, and second as a woman who believes in a living God.

I wiped the tears out of my eyes and the giggles off my face and told her, "Just because I have a deep relationship with a God who wants to know us, does NOT make me religious!  I don't like religion because it is rules and judgement.  I'm not religious.  I love God, and I know He loves me.  That is all."

She knows I am a Christian.  I've told her so.  But if anything else, I want her to see me as a person who loves, who follows a God who loves.

Because it is not my job to convert her.  That's God's job.  It is my job to speak freely of the love I find in God and to love her with that same love.  If I speak of the love I have in God, and hate her or judge her rudely... I discount the love of God and become a stumbling block to her knowing God.

God is quite capable of introducing Himself to her.  I am not God's only tool.  I am someone who can love her with the love I am loved with.

And you know what?  She's a really, really wonderful person who I really, really like.  I don't have to "produce" a love for her.  I love her.  I smile when I see her.  I like being with her.  I talk to her.

She's human.  Not monster.  Human.  And wonderful.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A Critical Talk

We talked last night.  First we played a game with our kids and a guest. 

Oh, first, our kids came home.  Our oldest won third in a badminton with his doubles partner.  That kid is incredible.  (I'm biased... but others think so, too.)  His sister had played goalie in another sport, and had missed a goal, and had lost the game.  She was sad.  She said she played badly.  I told her she had played well, but missed the last goal, and lost the game, and she was feeling disappointed.  And that is valid.  It was disappointing.  Tears formed in her eyes, so I held her and she cried.  Her ever-exuberant brother behind her tried to comfort her in a typical male way.  "But you did well." "But one, goal.. let me..."  I kept telling him to shush.  He kept trying, "but if I can just tell her this, I can fix how she feels!"  No.  You can't.  Finally, after I released my slightly comforted daughter from my hug, I turned to my half-man son and told him, "No.  I know what she needs.  She is a girl.  She doesn't need to be fixed or explained to that she wasn't bad.  She is feeling disappointed, and she needs a hug."

My poor son.  He doesn't quite get it.  But he will learn, and his wife will sympathize with my efforts to teach him, and I will sympathize with her when he tries to fix her feelings.

My husband laughed watching him, and agreed and told him, "I know, son, it doesn't make sense, but you can't fix them.  She really just needed a hug.  Mommy is right."

We played games that night with the kids after watching a show we like.




What a week.

So many things, so hard to write about.  I had to lock down my blog.  I'll work on figuring out how to work this later - on a steep learning curve.  I think I want a blog that is open, but has some locked posts, but I need to sort that out.  I had a reader that I forgot about, that I forgot that at one time she was a friend I trusted and she wanted to read a story about my daughter, so I gave her the address.  Well... she began to work with us, and that became a problem quickly.  Yikes.  So I locked down the blog.  Sorry for those of you who tried to get on the other day and couldn't.  I was out and didn't have the time to go through and send invites to everyone.  I still haven't, and I hope to soon.

So if you see a blue "show encrypted text" in a post, it means there is more to the post, but I have encrypted it.  If you want to read the whole post, just write me and ask for the password.  I'll give it to you.  That way it will keep those who should not be reading from reading, but still allow this blog to be a place where I talk among friends.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


Today is a good day for prayer.  I need it.  My kids need it.

I really can't write more than that today, but today is a day for prayer.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Losing Friends... and finding them again.

Some friends you should just never lose.  I had tried to contact this friend again after a crisis, but no response.  I thought she moved on to a new location.  I gave up.  I should have just hit the road and went there.

Just her very existence yesterday lightened my heart.  She is like that.  I used to work with her, and all the workers at the home said so.  "I wish she was here - things were smooth when she way here."  "She just was special."  I slept better last night for the first time since our trip to the counselor.  A deep sleep with dreams of being cared for.

She was so happy to see me.  She had looked for me, too, but wasn't able to connect.  She missed me.  We used to talk.  We are two Americans here, and from the same area, same culture within America.  Our culture is the more warm, relaxed, drop in anytime type of culture.

So I knew she wouldn't mind the surprise visit late at night.

Even my husband said so when we left.  "We should have more friends like that - where it is ok to just hang out without notice."  Even if they are in their pjs and the house was messy and two cats were chasing tinfoil balls across the floor.

She asked about my daughter, who she loves, and was concerned about her struggling after a crisis.  She said to bring her when I come next week.  I told my daughter, and she glowed.  This friend of mine was  special to my daughter and would care for her often while I worked.  Sometimes, I'd bring my daughter to work as our shifts overlapped an hour, and then she would take her home.

A friend is a good thing to hang on to.  Losing friends hurts.  I didn't need to lose this friend for four years and I wish I hadn't.  Now I get to see her for sure at least once a month since I will go to her for some of my medical treatment.  And my daughter can reconnect with her.

She has a peace about her.  And a crazy sense of humor.  I still remember the night she told us about something crazy she and her husband had done on their honeymoon - nurses late at night... we talk....  And the next morning, he husband, unbeknownst to her, was preaching about sex.  We tried very, very hard NOT to look at each other all service because we would shake from holding in the giggles, but we weren't entirely successful.

I like pastor's wives.  With one, I giggled through a sermon about sex.  With another, we went out to a late, late night drink - the only place open was the hotel bar, so we had a coke there and talked animatedly, and some guy paid for our drinks and winked at us.  We howled in laughter out of sight because we thought he'd never believe it that he just paid for a missionary's wife and a pastor's wife!!

And humor is good medicine.  Because when you can laugh, you can cry.  And when you can cry, you can laugh again.  And she's been in my life long enough to know what what I am facing right now means to me and what it feels like.  She believes me enough for me to trust her.

No, she's not the answer to all life's problems, but she's a good friend, and good friends are worth hanging on to.

And good friends are there even if you don't speak to them in four years - still there, still caring about you as much as the day you last talked.  Good friends love your husband as much as they do you.  Even when they know he's not perfect, just like neither you or they are perfect.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Chasing Down Friends

Sometimes you just chase down friends.  Because you need them.

I had a friend.  She moved away about five years ago, and I haven't seen her since.  But she lives close, only an hour away.  We just lost our phone numbers, and got busy.

But she is one friend I need.  For a few reasons.  One is that she can give me my iron that I so desperately need now.  The other, more important reason is that she is a friend who can hear my heart.  She knows what it is to be a wife of someone in ministry, a nurse, and a mother.  And we like each other.

Tonight, my husband and I drove out to see her.  It was late.  Nine at night when we got to her house.  But a light was on, and we knocked.  Total shock on her husband's face, but they let us in, and we hung out for an hour.  True, they were in their pjs and relaxing on the couch, but so happy to see us.

And I got a hug, and I'll go back next week for iron and for girl talk.

I sleep tonight already with less a load.  She is just like that.

I feel less unstable today.  Not only because of this friend, but others.  I feel cared for, loved.

"A Father to the fatherless".

I woke with this repeating in my heart.

"A Father to the fatherless."  

Monday, April 1, 2013


Making bread. Games with friends.  Good things.

But I feel like my life is on pause.  I have honestly no idea what I am supposed to be doing.

I feel like a ship adrift without a rudder in the dark on a cloudy night.  No clue where I am, where I should be going, or where I am going.  Completely bewildered.

And I want a light.  Something that says, "go that direction".  I can't see any.