But First, We Start With the Things

 

The closer we get to others, the higher chance that their story will be able to reach out and touch us. When that happens, our hearts might break. And when two or more people are standing together with our chests ripped open, and our arms outstretched, and our hands wrapped around each other’s heart-shards, we will become stained with the blood of each other’s history, and of our here and now. It’s inevitable.

This year has ripped me open in an invisible kind of way. I’ve questioned all the things. My beliefs have been both torn down and cemented.

At least 12 things have led me to this place. Some of them are past or present events, others are beliefs. And more are questions, beliefs not yet held. There are probably more things. But growth sometimes looks more stumbly than graceful, so they’ll reveal themselves as I go.

For now, these are my 12:

1. I’m a 36 year old Christian woman who is in her second marriage, and who is currently separated for the third time in five and a half years. I don’t enjoy divorce or math. But here I stand, with both stuck to me like magnets. Sometimes, it feels like I’m the wreckiest of all.

2. I’m not even fully sure of who I am. Here’s what I do know: I am wholly loved and I am fully broken all at once. I am a bunch of pieces, some put together and some still trying to find where they fit.

3. Jesus is my favourite.

4. I’m a Christian and also a feminist. This is new to me. It seems that the idea of men and women being equal is actually controversial in the church, and I wasn’t completely aware. I would like to wave a white flag here instead of my pitchfork. I’ve seen the pitchforks and held them myself. It’s exhausting.

5. Sometimes I feel like the very worst mom/stepmom/wife/friend/sister/daughter in the world. Shame has been a big part of my life for a long time. It’s like a superpower, the ability to take almost any situation and use it to re-baptize myself in my inner shame river.

6. Grief has been my default mode for longer than I even understand yet.

7. Abuse is a big part of my story. I don’t know where or how or why it fits in to my future, but it does. I see it a lot. I see it a lot in marriages within the church. I see denial about this, and that needs to change.

8. The church and I are in an “it’s complicated” relationship. I love Jesus. I feel closer to God than I ever have. But the way His kids have hurt others has broken my heart. And I have probably broken theirs in return at times. Am I the prodigal son? His brother? His father? Or am I just a guest at the party? Most of the time it feels like I’m watching the party from the outside, through a window, hungry for some cake but also not dress code appropriate.

9. Sometimes I get mad at God, like good and mad. He can handle it.

10. A part of me hoping that no one actually reads this. And another part is hoping that humans who have been or are being abused will read this. I want to be known and yet I’m terrified to be known. I have found comfort zones to be so nice and cozy and soul killing all at once.

11. Speaking of comfort zones, God has been teaching me how to speak up. Speaking up, for me, feels like arguing or causing conflict. Neither one of these is awesome. But I want to be a peacemaker and not a peacekeeper, and that means speaking when words need to be spoken.

12. It seems that I have an issue with authority. Maybe that doesn’t mean what you think it does. Maybe it means exactly what you think.

Each of these things is a thought and/or wound of mine, and possibly of others. It’s time to open and clean the wounds out. Some are older and have scar tissue; some are fresh and screaming in pain still. This won’t be pleasant, but it’s necessary.

If anyone happens across this in their interwebs travels, welcome. I hope you find meaning and love here. I hope you see Jesus here. I hope you find hope here.

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14 thoughts on “But First, We Start With the Things

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  1. This was sad and empowering at the same time… not a christian… tried it… wasnt for me… im working out my own salvation ( whatever that means…) your story seems tormented…😒
    It touched my heart…

    Like

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read and share your kind thoughts. I appreciate it.

      I guess I’m a mix of grief and freedom and joy. But the joy part is warm and fuzzy and acceptable, and the grief part is what needs to come out for now.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We need more people willing to be real. I found myself saying “Yes!” and “Yes, yes!” to most of your things – particularly about the shame-filled, guilt-ridden existence I have endured for so long.

    (Seriously, does anyone else have anxiety attacks because of the bell-ringers this time of year? The other day I was leaving Walmart and digging for my keys and suddenly flooded with shame because I heard that persistent “ding-a-ding-a-ding”… and I didn’t have any change or small cash to put in that damn red bucket…and I felt like such a small excuse for a person because…giving-is-a-THING. And then, as I feel my heart start to race, I start mentally shaking myself thinking: “WHY is this so important to you? You’re worried that that bell ringer is going to feel bad for not getting change?! You’re worried that they are going to think you’re a bad person…? They get paid to stand there – it’s not like they are going to be tortured on a rack if they don’t collect X amount for the Salvation Army by the end of their shift. You do not have to justify your existence by dropping a couple of coins in a bucket…sheesh. What is wrong with you?” The holidays are so stressful on so many levels…)

    Anyway. There’s one of my things. Thanks for being real. You’re not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel like you’re right: it’s funny how we set these unrealistic expectations on ourselves – like “I must ALWAYS be sure to have extra cash to give” and then we judge ourselves on those standards.

      And when we walk in shame and self-judgement in these ways, we look at others like they’re CLEARLY seeing what horrible humans we are because of our own lack of perfection.

      And that’s when we start to walk with our heads down, and others do in turn.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Like

  3. This was so well written. I know a lot of people feel this way they just don’t know how to say it out loud. I had to learn who I am in Christ so as not to let the outside world influence my emotions as much. Took years and I still struggle but it helps

    Liked by 1 person

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