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I’m Baaaaack

I stopped writing publicly because I wasn’t able to write without intent of hurting someone else. The lines blurred between writing about my life and writing at someone else. Or rather, at other people. When the lines blurred, I stopped writing. See, as upset as my family was with the content of my posts, I did not believe I was doing anything wrong nor was I trying to be hurtful. I have now gone back and read through those same posts that caused my family to threaten a lawsuit, go to a pastor and plead with me to stop embarrassing myself.

I stand by every word I wrote.

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Game Night

Monopoly was a family favorite growing up. It was our go-to game perhaps because it was one of the few games we had where we could all play together.  Still to this day, when we are together, competition is fierce.  Even when we were all little kids game nights were intense. So I suppose one might say I grew up in a competitive family.  In fact, my mom used to reminisce and tell me how she and my dad would race when making their bed together. Whoever got their side done first was the winner.  Or something like that.

It turns out that in many ways I married a man who is on the opposite end of the spectrum than me.  When he was first introduced to my family game nights he would laugh and shake his head at the high level of intensity. Everybody would be up in arms about who was doing this right and who was gloating too much and who was being the most annoying.  I’m not sure if he ever got the privilege of seeing anybody cry during one of these events though.

Catan, a family favorite.

Catan, a current family favorite.

You can probably gather that family game nights, at least for me, created more stress and strife than anything. As Mr. Sexy and I began growing our family and creating our own traditions, game night was something I wanted for my kids – but not with me up in arms over who was winning or losing at Candy Land.  Yes, Candy Land.  It happens. I became particularly concerned about my competitive nature when I saw the same qualities blooming in Michael.  Again, it was Candy Land.  Candy Land is where all game nights begin, I imagine. So Mr. Sexy and I began to coach Michael on breathing techniques and lecturing him that win or lose, the purpose is to have fun and enjoy each other’s company.  I quickly realized I was learning right alongside Michael.

I began taking a few pages from my husband’s book.  It started with an adult beverage during game night.  (We all gotta start somewhere!) I practiced saying as little as possible.  This would cause my heart to race and my body would become rigid from the desire to whine, gloat or say something snarky. That’s when Michael’s breathing techniques came in to play. It’s still a little amazing how a few deep breaths can calm my racing heart.

It has been a few years but I think Mr. Sexy would agree: Game nights have improved.

Even a puzzle can be competitive.

Even a puzzle can be competitive.

Now, game nights when all my brothers and parents get together is still another story. I have decided to be very picky about when I choose to join in – for my own sanity, of course.  And even though I get chided for this, I know that it’s in my best interest. I also have a rule that ANY game with these crazy family members of mine should be accompanied by an adult beverage of some sort. What can I say?  I’m an imperfect person and I really like being an adult.

All this to say, I’m incredibly thankful every day for the husband I have.  He continues to challenge me simply by how he lives his life in front of me. My kids are so blessed to have him around – if for no other reason than to keep their crazy mom in check!

He also has a crazy side.

He also has a crazy side.

Today is my first time joining Retired not Tired for Memory Monday!

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Fear or Obedience?

I logged into blogger this morning with the intent to unpublish my recent post, Girls, Let’s Leap!  Then I read some of the comments and I decided, well, this is all part of the story.  So I’m writing instead.

In my current state of mind, I’m embarrassed by what I shared recently.  In the moments I felt led by the Holy Spirit to bring everything I have to the table.  Now, I’m not so sure I heard correctly. I feel like I made a mistake.

Perhaps I need to grow a thicker skin.  I thought I had, but either it’s still growing or it wasn’t there to begin with.

Perhaps my life is better shared intimately by a therapist, rather than a group of people who don’t know me or my family very well. 
I say this over and over again: I try to share my struggles as openly as possible to bring light to the sins, for accountability, and to make it known to others that they are not alone in the harsh  dealings of a fallen world. 
So, I’m constantly torn between fear of the world and obedience to what it seems I’m being led to do. Today, I’m giving in to the fear just a bit.  I’m an imperfect person.  Tomorrow, or even later today, hopefully I will decide to lay that fear at Christ’s feet.

A Process of Healing

Open wounds still hurt.

I have wondered why some things still keep me up at night in a frustrated trance. Perhaps it’s because the wound(s) never really healed.  In fact, that makes a lot of sense.

Yet, how can I heal when the wound is being hit again and again and again? Band aids get ripped off in my sleep.  In other instances, my poor choices start the bleeding all over again. I’m at fault as much as anyone.  In fact, perhaps I’m the most at fault – if not the only one.

I am in charge of me, my emotions and my actions.  Nothing comes from my mouth that I didn’t really want to say somewhere deep down in my sinful nature.

I still feel the twinge from lost and hurt relationships. While I know that God can heal what is broken, it feels that, in the world I live in, what is broken will stay broken.  I alone can only do so much.

I believe in a church family.  There have been times when that family cut me down, once again preventing a wound to heal. I lost faith in people.  I doubted goodness that might come from church.  I felt eyes on me everywhere.  Watching.  Waiting for an excuse to call me out on the mistakes I was bound to make.

Do you know what that’s like?  To live in fear of who you thought was closest to you?  It’s a constant battle.  Do I smile or appear stoic? Do I sit here or there? Should I speak or save it for the comfort of my own home? Should I break down in front of everyone or continue to shove the torment deep inside to appear put together?  Hopefully, if done right, the eyes will stop watching… One day…

Fear.  Rejection.  I know the meaning of these words all to well.  They are the open wounds that continue to bleed.

Yet somehow, my faith prevails today. My faith in the goodness of people is being renewed.  This wasn’t my idea.  I didn’t try to accept the goodness of others.  In fact, I was ready to deny it.

It’s just that God has His Perfect Timing.  Last year, when we moved into the woods, I wasn’t ready to be openly vulnerable again.  I don’t know why God isolated me.  But He new better than I or Mr. Sexy.  What we needed was time and space to grow in our marriage and in our family. Our marriage still isn’t everything it can be although it has deepened tremendously. Our family is still in pieces.

But we’re trying.  We’re working.  We’re moving forward.

It makes no sense that I should once again open myself up to people in church and show them the scum that I see inside myself.  But I am doing it.  It’s wonderfully painful.

Eyes will continue to watch – even if it’s just from a distance.  I will not make good choices all the time.  In fact, I made some not so great ones already this morning.

But for some reason, I’m able to once again try to move forward.

I want the wounds to heal.  I want my marriage to be all that it can be.  I want my family to be whole.

True or false?

More specifically, is the Bible true?  Or is it just a bunch of old and somewhat interesting stories?  Are some stores true and the rest fabricated? 

Mr. Sexy and I rented the new movie, Noah, over the weekend.  It was different than I expected in some ways.  It was better in others.  I’m glad I knew to start the movie with an open mind of someone else’s interpretation of the Noah’s Ark story. I understand the need/desire to change details or fill in the gaps in order to make a film a blockbuster. 
There are three main things I walked away with after watching. 
1. Some of the details were obviously not in line with the original story.  Other details, well, who knows?  It’s sometimes fun to let our imaginations put the pieces together. 
2. Noah and his family were human.  Disgustingly human, even.  You will have to see the movie yourself to see why I use the term, “disgustingly human.” 
3. Hollywood’s version of Bible stories will generally not be shown to my kids until they know the true story well enough to know the difference between truth and imagination. 
This then begs the question, is the story of Noah true at all?  If not, what about the rest of the stories? Can we decided that some stories are too far fetched but the others could possibly have happened? 
I grew up with all the famous Bible stories and characters. Eventually I got to a point when I had to decide if it was true or not. Jonah being swallowed by a whale and surviving?  Two of every single animal on a boat with the one “perfect” family left while everyone else was essentially murdered?  A father ready to murder his own son?  Incest? Even now, as I make this list, I am thinking of how much the world hasn’t changed.  The problems, at their core, remain the same. 
I have decided that the Bible is true from beginning to end with everything in the middle. I have not yet been able to justify that Noah’s story would be made up and Jesus’ story was not. I have to believe all of it or none of it.  When I tried to pick what I wanted to believe as truth, I tried to disregard what I didn’t want to hear. But in the end, I couldn’t justify that kind of faith.  In fact, that wasn’t faith at all. 
The Bible is complicated.  The stories are difficult to understand. I still struggle with the “why’s.” Some of the stories I would rather not know because I can’t imagine what it would have been like.  But it’s all part of history.  It’s God’s story to us, for us and about us. 
I have been enjoying Hollywood’s portrayal of the stories I grew up with and I hope the trend continues. As imperfect as their portrayals might be, I enjoy seeing “perfect” Bible story characters I have heard about my whole life becoming human and therefore, more relate-able. 

Church: Is it bad or good?

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about Gossip.  I may have given the impression that church is a bad place to be.  This is not true and I hope that’s not the impression I left my readers with.

As a church-goer my entire life, I have enough faith to know that it’s not church that is the problem.  It’s the people.  The sinners.  People like me and you.  And me.  Depending on who you talk to, the story can shift on who was in the right and who was leaning toward the wrong.  I am already able to allow thoughts of forgiveness and letting go to roll through my mind regardless of who was right or wrong.  Maybe there was no right or wrong.  It was a judgement call.  And it sucked.

While my recent wounds heal I won’t be attending my home church when I visit. I still love my church family and I love my pastors.  But right now, my trust in what a church family is supposed to be is a bit broken.

Today we attended our local church for the first time in months (camping tends to take up a lot of summer weekends).  We left feeling tremendously blessed.  We attended Sunday School where I was able to be a little bit vulnerable in sharing how hard this co-parenting/marriage/parenting/care taking/Christian thing is.  And then later a friend gave me her number with the demand that I call so she can watch our kids while Mr. Sexy and I have a much needed date night.

It was a good day.

But even with the good stuff, I couldn’t help but wonder who was watching as I sat next to Marie and whispered in her ear.

Did I look angry? 
Did I look mean? 
Is Marie responding to me ok? 
Are we attracting attention? 
Who is watching?

All that fear is from Satan.  I know that.  But it’s still there nonetheless.

Mr. Sexy and I are continuing with our weekly family counseling.  We are also continuing to explore the spiritual elements which I talked about in my recent post: Gear up: We are in War.  There will be more on that subject later this week.

Why blog?

It’s been a bit since I have posted.  For one thing I have been incredibly busy with my family, slowly continuing to move in, and we have adopted some more animals.  However, no matter the chaos, I can typically find time to blog.  Lately, however, I have felt stuck.  That happens every now and again.

I’m not exactly sure why I blog.

Popularity?
The joy of writing?
To stand on a self made soap box?
To encourage people?
Tear them down?
To cope with life’s stresses?
To learn how to share my life?
To vent?

There are so many reasons to blog.  More than my small list.

If I’m being honest, well, the above list are the reasons I blog.  Yup, I wouldn’t mind a bit of popularity and I tend to think I have better ideas than other people.  I’m a flawed person and some of my reasons for blogging are flawed as well.

I wonder if lately I have been blogging and doing it wrong.  Some say, yes, I have posted inappropriate material.  Maybe those people are correct.  Or maybe I am the one in the right.  Or perhaps it is what it is.

I don’t blog to please other people. My goal, in every post, is to let you, the random reader, to look inside my life and get a glimpse of how the world looks through my eyes.   I tend to be a bit blunt at times.  This usually hurts people’s feelings which is ironic because I’m a sensitive person.

I don’t blog to hurt people. However, it happens.  I have probably hurt people whether I am made aware of it or not. Sometimes I do feel the need to call people out.  I’m not sure if that’s right or wrong.  Mr. Sexy tells me, as long as I’m writing in love, and it’s a love that others can see, I’m doing okay.  I’m pretty sure I don’t always write from a loving heart.

So where do I go from here?  I have had many blogs since I was a teenager.  The two before this one were highly controversial.  Is that wrong?  I think sometimes controversy is a good thing.  Although, for me, the controversy typically revolves around my family.  That’s pretty personal.  The way I write about myself and my family causes me to wind up hurt, too.

So I will continue on.  The hard subjects of spirituality, parenting, feeling hurt and angry are subjects I will continue to write about.

I’m still not exactly sure what my purpose in blogging is but I think it’s what I’m supposed to be doing.