Saturday, September 12, 2015

Speaking Out

I ended a relationship last night.  One I'd ended before and gone back to multiple times.  The relationship was abusive and volatile and unhealthy.  But it was hard to get away.  And yet, I woke up this morning feeling free. Feeling something I have not experienced in a great while: serenity.

The relationship I speak of was with Facebook.  For months, now, I've been allowing a social media website to steal my peace.  To instill fear and confusion.  And anger.  The agitation of late that has been consistently growing has not been of the I'm-spending-too-much-time-looking-at-people's-food/vacations/cat memes-and-therefore-wasting-my-day variety.  I sort of long for those good ol' days in a way.  No, what I'm talking about is the type of angst that has arisen out of the fact that the political climate has changed so drastically and so quickly in our society and that this has become evidenced on my Facebook account.  I can only speak for my experience with my own page.

I have a friend who for as long as I can remember would deactivate her account and then reactivate. She would explain that when she was on, she just felt pulled into debate and then wound up feeling discouraged and disheartened. I couldn't understand this until recently. There is no denying the disunity that is present in our culture today.  We are one year away from an election but the unrest has been swelling for some time now.  People seem to be more divided than ever on all numbers of issues. This, in and of itself, is not a problem.  In fact, as a democracy, we need differing points of views. We need debate.  We need voices to be heard from all angles of any given subject.  But, herein lies the trouble. This isn't happening.  Many are being silenced.  Many are being ridiculed.

I am not sure if I happened to be friends with an inordinate amount of people who believed differently than I, or if those who share my beliefs were simply quieter.  I suspect it may be the latter.  Personally, I will admit to being silent too much of the time.  It seemed easier.  I don't like conflict.  I've come to a point in my life where I don't believe I change either individuals or entities.  I can only change myself.

But over the past several months, there has been an indignation stirring up inside me.  Daily, on my newsfeed, I was reading not just articles, or memes, or viewpoints that stood in stark opposition to my own belief system, but was faced with articles, memes and viewpoints that were insulting, inflammatory, and hateful in their onesidedness.  Everywhere I turned was journalism that was clearly an opinion piece written and presented as fact, 'studies' that shamed the way I choose to raise my children, attacks on the God I believe in, and then of course, Facebook being what it is, I was privy to all sorts of personal disagreements that had nothing to do with me among "friends." And I've observed over the months a pattern.  I've seen time and again, within the comments section of friends' posts, tension arise and it culminates in the same way.  Someone is publicly defriended or silenced.  And noticing this as it happens to others, I've felt increasingly uncomfortable.  I've begun to wonder what happened to the era where we believed firmly in freedom of speech; where we not only accepted it but embraced it.  It's important to note that the tension I referred to was merely discussion.  An opposing viewpoint brought up with respect.  And yet, quickly, the dissenter was dismissed and rejected.

Now, this could very well be exclusively the dynamic on my own page.  Other people's feeds could be full of those who are open-minded and thoughtful in their assertions yet humble and polite.  I don't know.  What I do know is that my own experience played out again and again and I watched and bit my own tongue and read and vented my dissidence to my husband where it was safe rather than in a public format, but finally last night my tongue began to bleed.

A "friend" posted an article which I read and which upon reading had a strong reaction to. The piece was a strong opinion piece and in turn, my opinion reading it was strong.  And I responded with my opinion on the article itself.  And I was careful to speak only of the author's viewpoint and to express what I feel are the problems with that viewpoint.  And within a matter of minutes, the "friend" who had posted the article deleted my comment.  And that would be fine if this was an isolated event.  But it's not.

And now I cannot hold my anger back or bite my tongue.  Because over and over again, I'm seeing it. I am witnessing one "side," if you will, continually silence the other.  And it's working.  There is a "side" who has grown fearful.  Who fears to stir things up, to speak their truth, to call out what they see as wrong, because those who disagree, disagree in a domineering and threatening manner.

The "friend" who deleted my comment, did so with a comment of his own, stating that I needed to post my views on my own page, not his.  And then in his next post, he personally attacked my Christianity. Now, mind you, I had said nothing in my response of my religious beliefs.  Nothing. This is what I feel we're up against. I feel strongly that this epitomizes how many today operate when others don't agree with them.  They have nothing in their vocabulary to defend their own views, so the viciously attack their opposition.  And it works.  To avoid being spat on, we just shut up.  Everything has been spun, so that we appear to be the perpetrators.  And this is how it happens.  This is how an entire faction of society begins to be eliminated.  It's happening on a much bigger scale, of course, than my very small Facebook page.  It's just that this was the first time I felt it so intimately.

I did not deactivate my account because of this interaction.  It's been something I've been inwardly struggling with and this was my final motivation.  Do I believe I need to stand strong and stand my ground and own my own voice and truth? Yes.  But right now, I need to do so while in prayer, unswayed by the noise of the enemy.  I do that here.  I cannot, currently, do it there.

This blog has always been a prayer closet for me.  One that I've visited less and less.  But I return to it now because I still need to hear myself pray aloud as I grapple with God over words while I'm here.  It's how He and I have done things for a while.  And partly, I'm doing it here in order to not be silenced.  I don't care if just one person comes across it and I don't care whether they agree or disagree with it, the important thing is that there has to be an outlet where I do not feel silenced.  Where I do not feel like what I have to say is not valid.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


I have never been very good at making decisions.  I've been afflicted by self-doubt and fear for more of my life than I'd like to admit.  Remembering daily to turn my will and my life over to the care of God has relieved this in recent years and yet there are still too many moments where I just feel immobilized by anxiety; the "right" answer always seeming elusive.

I should be in Kentucky right now.  Spring residency for my Master's program started last Friday and I was supposed to be there.  For the past month, I had been feeling increasingly uneasy about the upcoming trip.  It would have been my fourth residency and nerves had plagued me prior to each trip before but this apprehension felt different. I couldn't shake it and each time I've been before, excitement had always eventually edged out the worry.  But this time, even though I prayed through the fears, practiced positive thinking, talked my feelings out with others, still the feeling of foreboding persisted.

The week before I was to leave I felt like I was starting to come down with a cold.  I started popping the Vitamin C.  Then my knee started acting up.  I'm scheduled for knee surgery on June 3rd and had hoped everything would be fine.  As the week wore on, my cold grew worse, my knee swelled bigger and by Thursday I couldn't get around without my brace.  "I'll be fine," I kept assuring myself but the inner nagging continued. I reminded myself,  a cold is just a cold.  I have the brace.  I'll push through.

I could have pushed through.  I do it all the time.  I'm a pretty determined person.  Sometimes things work out positively when I do that and sometimes not.  I could have gone and slowly felt better while I was there or I could have gone and developed pneumonia and been unable to walk at all half-way through the week.  Those aren't just silly exaggerated concerns.  With a chronic illness, those would have been possible realities.

So, I started to feel a little like, maybe, God was telling me something.  But then my other voice was saying, "It's only fear."  So, I woke up Friday morning at three to leave for the airport.  My ten year old and eight year old daughters were both awake.  The oldest said she'd prayed that God would wake her up to say another goodbye.  I dressed, had a quick cup of coffee and hugged and kissed them goodbye.  As I hugged my younger daughter, I noted that she felt hot.  Very hot.  So, I took her temperature and it was 102.5.  She had a bulge in the side of her neck, as well.  She'd been complaining of a "stiff neck" all week but we hadn't noticed any bulge and she hadn't had a fever.  My husband said he'd take her to the doctor and go into work late, so we left for the airport.

I knew he had it covered.  That she'd be okay and well taken care of but by now I was seriously starting to doubt my decision to go.  It seemed like signs were coming in all directions that it was not a good idea.  I prayed in the car.  I texted my sponsor and a friend.  I asked my husband to exercise his husbandly leadership and tell me what to do. We parked at the airport and we walked up to ticketing ( I limped) and my sponsor texted back the simple words, "Follow your heart."

So, I did.  I cancelled my trip.  And something's happened in me since then.

We took Verity to the doctor who ruled out strep throat, ear infection, and UTI.  We were sent to a radiologist for an ultrasound and told it might be an abscess and if it was she'd most likely have to be hospitalized.  Thankfully, it wasn't.  It was just two very large lymph nodes reactive to...something. Five days later, we still don't know what they're reacting to.  She's on an antibiotic but each day her fever is higher than the day before and we've now been to the doctor three times.  Currently, we're just waiting for results of the latest tests.  It's been scary and frustrating but I know God's got it.  I don't fear the worst.  And I know I'm here because even though she would have been well watched and well tended while I was away, it would have been horrible to not be with her while she's so sick.

But there's more going on, I think.  The decision to stay, not fully knowing the entire 'why' of it was pretty huge for me.  I like to know things.  I drive myself crazy with the need to know things.  And I can't know all things.  God just doesn't tell me everything whether I like it or not.  And this is why I think I have such a hard time with decisions.  I like to gather facts.  I do not like to be wrong.  I like to be right.  One hundred percent right.  But, this time, I followed my heart.  And I felt peace pretty immediately.  For a couple of hours.  And in those couple of hours I began to make plans: alright, well, postponed graduation, so now, the kids and I are both on summer break and it will be glorious;  quality time and I'll catch up on housework and start cooking again, etc.  And then as the evening wore on doubt started to creep back in.  By Saturday, even though Verity wasn't on the up and up, I was regretting my decision.  It began to sink in what I'd "given up:" a much needed break, time to focus on just me, silence, solitude, creative enlightenment and for what?  To hobble around the house in the mess and the noise and the chaos doing laundry?  Like I do every. single. day? And I started getting a little comfy on my pity pot.  But then, I also got quiet enough to look at what I was feeling.  To identify my feelings without judging them, to sit in them, to move past them.  And I stayed quiet.  In between doctor's visits and keeping vigil with the sick child and entertaining the well children, I've been examining my life a bit.  Recognizing too much to write here, today.

But I'm going to keep looking at the awareness and I'm going to pay attention to what I'm trying to tell myself -- what God is trying to tell me.  Because that's what I'm most taking away from this experience at this point, that I can trust myself.  So rather than draw up an elaborate plan of what I'm going to do with my free time (which, one thing I'm realizing about myself is that I like to be busy and have plans; free time is slightly uncomfortable for me) is just spend more time be-ing.  Being still and quiet, without expectation.  I'm going to listen to what's inside.  And I'm going to make some changes in order to do that.  I'm going to deactivate Facebook as an "experiment."  I can't be inside my own moments if I'm always in someone else's moments.  But I'm going to come here and write.  I could journal and that's great for sort-of vomiting out all the swirl inside my head, but when I'm here, I come closer to God and to what I really need to say.  And there's a bit of freedom knowing that even though I post here, I won't be, after today, linking to Facebook.  So, now I can just write and send my thoughts out to space in a way.

I'm excited because this is overdue.  I've been talking over myself for a long time and I'm going to practice really listening instead because I'm beginning to believe I have something important to say.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

This has become a place I don't come anymore.  A place that when I do come, I talk about how I don't come.  It's a "place" to me because I've spent time here, I've been changed here, it's a place I abandon and return to.  Anymore, I only come when I am finally so burdened I don't know where else to go. 

My life has changed so much since I first began writing here.  Within the change, I somehow lost my purpose for this place.  I suppose I still don't know what the purpose is except that it's here when my heart feels heavy.   
I read Ann Voskamp's second post about Iraq last night. About ISIS selling nine year old girls in slave bazaars.  Then I couldn't sleep.  I kept thinking about my eight and ten year old daughters.  I imagined my ten year old already gone.  My husband and sons, taken and being left with my eight year old and six year old little girls.  I thought about how small my eight year old daughter is.  She's tiny for her age.  Beautiful, frail almost, bird-like.  I kept thinking about Ann saying this:  The United Nations reports this week that at least one young girl’s been “married” over 20 times — and forced at the end of each violation to undergo surgery to “restore” her virginity.
So it could be ripped open and destroyed by the next highest bidder" 
And then I can't help but think of my daughter being ripped open and I can't make my stomach not turn and I can't stop thinking about how wicked this world is. 
How this can even be happening.  How we're not doing anything.  How I'm not doing anything.  How I don’t know what to do. I just know that it doesn't seem or feel right to be living here, in cushy America, making up problems when there are real problems.  And it’s true, “we aren't where we are to just peripherally care about the people on the margins as some superfluous gesture or token nicety.”  There has to be a reason we’re here and not there.  And I can’t believe that it has to do with luck and it certainly doesn’t have to do with any superiority of character.  It can only have to do with responsibility and opportunity.  Because thinking about all this, I can come up with just two scenarios: Either there’s no God and there is evil (because this evil is undeniable) and we just live out this hell on earth and wait to die, some of us with the luxury of turning away from it and ignoring its realities, others enduring the worst of it or... there is a God and there is also evil and if that’s the case…then what?  Are those of us who call ourselves Christians, who believe in God and believe also that there’s spiritual warfare, just supposed to stand on the sidelines? Are we really supposed to be only joining in with and identifying with the petty concerns of the United States or are we supposed to be doing something about the fact that right now for all appearance’s sake it looks like the dark is winning?  We know that evil’s current triumph is an illusion.  We know Who wins.  But right now.  Right now, people are not just hurting but dying horrible deaths at the hand of darkness and we’re what?  What are we doing?  I don’t know, buying stuff, weighing in on the perceived persecutions we have to endure on this safe soil, and just sort-of generally going about our business like this is not our problem. It’s a joke.  If this is not our problem, whose is it?  
I don’t know the solution.  I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing.  I just know that I feel “heavy.”  I can’t shake off the burden of what I’m not doing.  What so many of us are not doing.  I rarely post this stuff but when I do, I get, maybe two “likes.”  True, there’s nothing to like about the news that reports this, there’s nothing to like about the tragedy and the evil but it seems no one’s responding, either.  I know they are, we are.  In small ways.  But sometimes, I feel like we don’t share these articles.  We don’t comment on them, we don’t talk about it.  I can’t help but think, we just don’t want to deal with it.  We feel  helpless, maybe, so we turn away.  I know I do.  I get bogged down with all the self-imposed crises of the day here in America: real, imagined, small and personal, national and on a bigger scale, but, still, it all seems relevant only to the here and now and then I read about what’s happening over there and I’m just broken.  I can’t do anything but either shut it out or weep.  And I turn away sometimes.  But, then, when I don’t, when I make myself pay attention, I wonder why not everyone is paying attention. I wonder why we’re not all weeping.   But, no, I’m not really calling anyone out but myself. I’m not here because I think I can say anything at all about what’s happening any better than those who are already saying it; the few voices calling out in the wilderness.   I’m here because I’m calling myself out.  I’m calling to my own desert places, the places that are barren and I’m sharing because I don’t know what else to do right now except be one more small voice, if only to myself.

Friday, July 25, 2014

A rant in which I try not to rant....but end up ranting

Ugh.  My spirit is vexed.  I don't want to get all 'Sister Woo-Woo' but I can't think of any other way to say what it is I feel.  I've written nothing but poetry for months, however, this morning I came across a blog post by Matt Walsh regarding the upcoming movie 50 Shades of Grey and while I agree with everything the author states, I think more could and should be added.  It's not that my voice is so important or that I seek a platform to spread my own personal opinion but rather that I'm so disturbed I feel the need to 'write it out.'  I'm saddened, even grieved, by just the existence of these books and I'm convinced that the conversation needs to be deepened because I think that what bothers me the most is that we're talking around what needs to be talked about.  We may not be seeing what is actually wrong, not just with the content of these books but with our society.

I did develop an opinion on this series however long ago it was that the first one came out.   A strong opinion.   And, no, I haven't read the books.  I could barely stomach reading the plot summary of each installment on Wikipedia.  I did read excerpts from the book because I had read that the writing is terrible.  Which it is.

So, I am bothered and I do have something to say.  I don't want to come across judgmental and, in fact, I'd love it if I was able to argue my point without inserting my faith but that's not completely possible.

Although I do believe that these books are an example of principalities at work and while it does bother me that even Christian women are justifying their merit, I'm troubled at a deeper level.  

Walsh makes four points in his article, entitled, "To the Women of America: 4 Reasons to Hate 50 Shades of Grey" and I concur with each.  Walsh happens to be a ranter.  He's not afraid of getting in his reader's face.  He doesn't mince words.  But surprisingly, as I read his article, I realized that if I were to rant about this book / movie I'd be ranting even more.  But I don't want to rant.  And I don't even really want to appeal to anyone.  I just want to shed light on what exactly it is I find so disturbing about the popularity of this series and why it actually makes perfect sense that we've been drawn to it, despite the fact that the writing is beyond terrible.

And the writing is godawful.  That alone frustrates me.  It frustrates me that we've devolved as a nation so much that content (shock appeal, really) trumps style and skill.  But, whatever.  It's not shocking. I've heard that the average American reads only at a seventh or eight grade level.  I was unable to verify that statement but the popularity of the 50 Shades books inclines me to believe that it's probably true.  It also frustrates me that the publishers, no doubt, were well aware that the writing sucked but published anyway because they knew that the content would drive the sales.  Again, no surprise.   Still, the quality of the writing merely adds insult to injury.

The injury really lies in the content because the content is a clear attack on women.  It's my feminist bent that's so riled up rather than my Christian convictions.  Which is why I don't even want to speak to Christian women about it. I don't need to list a bunch of Bible verses to make my point.  One would suffice:

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.  -Philippians 4:8 NASB

That was my primary reason for choosing not to read this series.  My own personal Christian based reason.  But Christians are entitled to their own convictions, their own choices and their own relationships with God so I'm choosing not to call out in judgement what any individual Christian woman chooses to 'dwell on.'  That's their business.  I also, for the most part, feel that what people do in the privacy of their own bedrooms is their business. I have to focus on myself and what feels right to me.  I don't have time to get caught up in the legalities of other people's intimacies.

But looking to Feminism, then, rather than focusing on Christianity, I still don't find the answers I'm looking for.   What I want to know is:  What is so appealing about a book where the heroine chooses degradation and dominance?  What attracts us to these books?  If Feminism was working would we be lured by this kind of thing?  How can we on the one hand have videos circulating like these: Britteney Conner's poem, "Consent";  Venessa Marco's poem; and this one on sexual objectification and then on the other hand be so strongly defensive of and captivated by something like 50 Shades?  It seems rather inconsistent to me.  

I've struggled all day with these words, put them down, returned.  I've wondered if I shouldn't just write a poem about it and be done.  But for some reason I've been compelled to keep at it.  So, in thinking about these questions and looking at the subject in a number of different lights, I've formed a few answers for myself.  

I think one reason for the inconsistencies I see is that we're afraid, as women, to admit what we want. Maybe we're not even sure anymore what we want.  We think we want equality and that we want respect and then along comes 50 Shades and it flies off the shelves and this all goes out the window? And then instead of just admitting that our flesh is strangely turned on by smut we try and justify it.  We tell ourselves that the heroine makes a choice for herself, that it's about the relationship of the characters rather than the sex, that the girl in the end becomes empowered.  So, of course, we're not perpetuating rape culture and of course books like these have nothing whatsoever to do with atrocities like the rape of a fifteen year old girl photographed and spread on social media.  

Yeah, something doesn't seem right, here.  Both Feminism and femininity are under assault.  And I think that the popularity of these books speaks to that and also points to what many women do want.  A desire that both Feminists as well as women who would not consider themselves to be Feminists might be afraid to touch for different reasons.   

While I consider myself a feminist, I am sure that most Feminists would not count me as one. In the political spectrum, I lie closer to Conservatism than I do to Liberalism.  I consider myself a feminist on the grounds that I believe in equality for women. I believe that the Feminist Movement was good and necessary.  We said we could do what we were already doing and more; that we could have it all.  We proved that we could do what we were already doing and more.  However, I also think we sacrificed certain things for the sake of other things and found that we cannot, in fact, have it all.  And in the process, to some extent, we displaced men.  Because this is how the pendulum swings.  This is how these things go.  We needed and we still need to fight for equality.  I'm by no means saying we should have not begun the fight.  Yet, I do want to point out that now we are in this place where women continue to speak out, women continue the fight to be heard, women continue to fight for their rights (however these rights happen to be individually interpreted) and this is good.  But it seems to me that somewhere along the way we've become a bit confused.  Everything has become skewed including the ideas that began our fight in the first place.  We've 'progressed' to a point where it's become practically politically incorrect to insist that men 'be men' or to state what it is we want from men.  While stating that we need nothing from men we're forgetting that we might want something from them.

Because here's a series where Anastasia -- the heroine (?) gets some version of the 'fairy tale ending,' right?  She gets some version of a Prince Charming.  The frog morphs in some way into a marriageable man, right?  It's just a sexed-up, adult version of the lie most women have been buying into since our youth.  Can we at least, collectively, admit that?

 I, for one, believe that we do want something from men.  Books like 50 Shades confirm this.  If women weren't looking to be stimulated or offered something in some way by men, these books would not have been bestsellers. They wouldn't be basing a movie on these books.  They'd be irrelevant.  No, if we're being honest, these books give us some of what we want-- what many of us have been trying to deny for decades that we want. 

So, what do we want from the male species?  Do we even know anymore?  Do we want to dominate or be dominated?  I thought we just wanted equal standing.  So, why are we castrating men on the one hand, portraying them as stupid and child-like in the media and then asking them to stand up in other arenas?  What are we doing with our relatively new power? These are the questions I feel we need to answer for ourselves.  These are the questions we need to ask.  And it's okay if our answers differ.  But the questions are valid.  

Reading through the comments on Walsh's blog I was struck by the nature of quite a few of the dissenters.  I read a lot of statements by people claiming that Walsh shouldn't speak on what he doesn't know about.  He hasn't read the books so he can't understand how the two main characters' relationship develops.  Develops into what?  From the plot summaries it appears that Christian remains, at the very least, a narcissistic abuser with a hero-complex who continues to control Anastasia even once they're married.  You don't need to have a degree in Psychology to understand that a. abusers don't change because they've fallen in love and b. that healthy relationships don't evolve out of unhealthy premises. They devolve.  

There were also a lot of comments stating that Walsh should leave the subject alone because this is, after all, fiction.  I will agree that yes, the idea that a sociopath can somehow become an amazing and loving husband is indeed pure fodder for story line.  

Another line of reasoning that troubled me in these comments was the idea that Anastasia ends up empowered.  For the love of God, people.  One of two things happens in any abusive relationship.  The victim either becomes empowered or they remain a victim.  So, supposedly, Anastasia becomes empowered.  Let's say that's true.  She rises up somehow out of the midst of degradation and punishment and becomes a better version of herself.  Why was she so unempowered in the first place? Why did she choose to enter a relationship of this nature?  Why was she attracted to a man, who at first wants only to use her?  Why was her self-esteem and her self-worth so low that this would be appealing at all?   

This is where I feel the Feminists have failed their own call.  This is where I feel like we're not asking the right questions.  What is so appealing about a book where the heroine chooses degradation and dominance?  Shouldn't we be able to raise girls into women with a high enough self-esteem, a strong enough sense of worth, empowerment enough already that they feel no need to travel down a dark path with dangerous men in order to find their own 'hard and soft lines?'  Why can we not consistently send this message?  As women? As Feminists?  What attracts us about this book?  Why do want to read about a character dabbling on the edges of cruelty and perversity to figure out that what she really wants, in the end, is love?  Because we're afraid to say that's what we want.  We're afraid to say that our feminine nature desires strength in a man.  

I suppose that because I am a Christian I cannot fully separate my faith with my view of these books.  As a Christian, I can't help but believe that through these books, the enemy is, once again, perverting something that God created as good into something harmful and twisted.  Oldest trick in his book.  And I'm not talking about sex, though clearly sex is perverted in these books.  What I'm talking about is a woman's desire for a man to lead.  And I realize that I need to tread carefully here.  Many women who consider themselves Feminists would at this point ( if they hadn't earlier) vehemently disagree with me. So, I'll concentrate for a minute only on femininity and under the assumption that these books pervert that in some way.

I do believe that women were born with an innate desire to be submissive.  I'm wary of using that word-- however, I think it's the correct word.  I think that for the most part women want a leader; to be led.  I do not think women are incapable of leading or that women need a man or need to be led.  I'm saying that I believe deep down, when in a relationship, women desire to be protected, desire an example of strength, and desire leadership.  Leadership, not dominance.  But leadership from men sadly seems to be in short supply these days.  So, Christian Grey enters the scene and he is some of what we want.  He is a warped version of what we want.  He provides much of what we're unwilling or afraid to admit that we want. 

Meanwhile, we continue to stand strong on what we see as important issues in regard to how women are viewed. We've got videos circulating on social media that speak to true empowerment for women.... and then we have 50 Shades.  So, essentially, we take two steps forward and twenty steps back.  We say we want a voice, we want power, and then we say, wait, no we don't.  We want a little bit of BDSM in the bedroom where the man's in charge.  Cause that's hot.  Why is it hot, ladies?  I'll tell you why.  Because the layer under the layer under the layer if we're willing to keep peeling is that we want more from men.  We don't want to be responsible for the children and the household and the finances and men's delicate emotions, too.  We want to share the responsibility.  There's a difference. But we're soaring ahead of men at a higher rate than we ever have and that's great that we can accomplish all we've accomplished.  I want us to continue soaring.  But I also want men to keep up.  It's as simple as that.  And you do, too, or your desire for 50 shades wouldn't be so immense.  

Friday, September 20, 2013

I am either a very slow learner or very stubborn.  I'm not sure which is preferable.  I woke up this morning with that ever so familiar gnaw of indecisiveness.  The very thing I wrote about yesterday.  So, I prayed.  I loosely settled on a 'plan for the day.'  The monkey wrench came, as is not uncommon. Indecisiveness returned.

You know, I have this character defect of being much attached to what I want.  I tend toward inflexibility.  This is bad enough in itself.  It leads to stress and seeds of selfishness being sown, rather than seeds of love and service.  It's compounded by the fact that I don't actually know what I want.  I just seem to want something else a lot.  Something other than what's presented me.  This is a problem.

I was sort-of ruminating on this this morning and I realized that of course, this all goes deeper, as character defects often do. Often these flaws sprouted in childhood in self-defense and we have fed them for so long that they can not be easily extracted.  And I'm an over-analyzer.  I like to know cause.  Which can be tricky.  See, I think if I know the why, then I can deal with the what.  But really, I can't deal with the what at all.  Awareness and knowledge are necessary and should be sought after but the only way to actually shed any troublesome character defect is to pray it away.  Sometimes God is more than happy to oblige.  Other times, He lets us struggle so in our weakness He can be made strong.

And sometimes analyzing can be a tool we use to postpone giving something over.  At least, in my case. And then, sometimes, analyzing leads to realizations that aren't exactly settling.  This was the case this morning.  I realized that my indecisiveness over the small things is a cover-up for the big things.

There is unrest in my soul because I am living my life in a way that is incongruous with how I desire to live my life.  How I know I am called to live.  And so it manifests in unease with small decisions. I am avoiding big change so resisting small change.  Oooh, how painful it is to write this.  But I feel that if I don't acknowledge to myself the truth, I will stay stuck in the wavering.  Which is an unpleasant way to live.  So, I have to give all of myself over.  I have to allow God to lead my life in the weighty matters as well as the seemingly inconsequential ones.  Only then, will I have peace.

"...sometimes when we listen, we are led into places we do not expect, into adventures we do not always understand."

-Madeline L'Engle

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Already wondering what I was thinking when I wrote a couple days ago.  Why, again, did I want to return here?

So often I'm prompted toward what doesn't make sense.  Or, probably, more correctly worded, I'm prompted toward what goes against my flesh.

I was praying yesterday, lying on the floor of my room, and in need of answer.  I wasn't feeling desperate or sad.  More like anxious and slightly irritated.  I felt indecisive and feeling that way makes me grouchy.  It's all a time issue.

The setup now is that my kids go with their dad, one to two days a week.  At first I hated it.  Now I love and hate it.   In the beginning, I just felt lost without them and sort of wandered around the house in not quite knowing what to do with myself.  As time went on, I began to look forward to these breaks,  anticipating my 'alone time'.  My 'me time'.  But I've found lately, that these days arrive and I want to squeeze everything into a twenty-four or forty-eight hour period.  I want to write, do schoolwork, clean, paint, shop, catch a meeting.  But the bottom line is, that usually I can't do all that.  So then I feel stuck on the prioritizing.  What do I want to do? What do I want to do most?   This has become a pattern for me.  And I find that I've become resentful when asked to do anything I don't want to do on these days.  I've become selfish with my time.  This time where I end up not really accomplishing much of anything because I'm so busy debating on what the best way to spend my time is and I get angry if something pops up that isn't in line with the plan I haven't created yet.  It's ridiculous, really.

So, yesterday, that's the place I was in.... and I realized I'm sick of it.  So I prayed.  I asked for direction.  And I do pray every morning that God would direct my thinking.  But the goofy thing is,  I rush through the prayer so I can get on with my day, thereby, negating the entire purpose of the morning prayer.

So I'm laying there, and God shows me that I'm going about it all wrong.  I'm stuck because I'm trying to figure things out.  I'm trying to get the most for me.  What do I want to do with my time? Well,  it's not my time.  That's what God told me.  It's His time.  So, maybe, that's a basic understanding for most but it came as a revelation to me.  I hadn't looked at it like that before.  I had tried other 'tricks': gratitude, being in the moment, attempting to not rush.  But honestly, these things weren't working real well.

So, realizing that my time- my time with or without the kids, really belongs to God, seemed like a relief.  Surprisingly, I didn't feel the need to fight against that idea.  It didn't feel like God was snatching something from me and had plans to fill my time up with selfless acts of service.  Rather, it felt like a responsibility was lifted.  If it's God's time and not mine, all I have to do is obey His leading.  That removes the pressure of figuring out my every moment and then worrying about if I've chosen the most 'fruitful thing'.

So, I agreed.  With God.  With relief.  And I'm here.  Because it seemed, this morning, as if this was a good place to start.

And you know, a lot of things are being 'taken' from me right now.  In a spiritual sense.  And that's okay.  In fact, it's actually, pretty good.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I haven't written in seven months.  I feel a little rusty.  I had pretty much come to terms with the idea that I would no longer blog here.  Much has changed and I struggled with finding a place I wanted to share from.  Originally, when I began writing here, I was married.  I was homeschooling.  I was living in Iowa.  I was desperately seeking a closer relationship with God out of the depths of loneliness and a need for meaning.  In so many ways, I found that intimacy through this process.  I found that as I shared here, God met me and touched me and perhaps, used me on some slight level but ultimately, used this place and the writing that occured here to draw me into Him.

Life happened, as it does to us all and everything I thought I knew was suddenly challenged.  I moved home to Arizona and my marriage began to deteriorate.  Not wanting to share the details of that horror (nor would I have been able to had I wanted to) I wrote less and less.  I had nothing uplifting to say and no hope to transmit.  The pain, too, was so personal, that words would not come.  At least not in this form.  I did write poetry.  I returned to that form and there was a different sort of healing in it.  I could write the truth but with more vagueness.  I could touch on what I was feeling in the mystery and symbolism of stanzas and I was freed from the need for the sort of raw honesty this blog required.  This blog required that truthfulness from me because as I wrote here, I felt compelled, more and more, to share openly.  I had realized early in my writing here, that transparency would be the only way I,myself, would receive and was the only hope I could bestow.  When that openness no longer seemed an option, I trailed off.  I missed this place but began to look back at it as a season, rather than somewhere I had been permanently called.

And yet, I am here today.  And I don't know what that means.  I am not sure if God wants to use this place again as a means to reach me or if I am just feeling a little extra wordy.   All I know is that today, I feel story brewing in me, in my life, that perhaps, could be processed here; could be shared here.

I won't waste time on backstory.  I am no longer married.  I have returned to homeschooling after one year off and I am still in Arizona.  I am still and will always be seeking that deeper walk and that, I think, is why I have returned to this place.  Something is stirring in my soul.  Many things are beginning to shift and while many are still too new to share, I do feel prompted for some reason to process through these changes here.  To write about the joys and fears and ups and downs of this crazy walk with God.  I have found Him here before and I believe He has more to reveal, so I have returned.