Feeling Sentimental

Today was Church Outside the Walls where Oasis Church has a service with a few songs and then goes and does community type service all over Pasadena, CA and then meets back up for a potluck lunch at the park afterwards.  It was such a good day.  The weather was beautiful (it was even a little bit chilly) and lots of people came out for lunch. I helped set up the lunch part…I may not have done much but it is still a wonderful thing to watch so many people do so many different things as service for God.

As many of you know this is my last year at Fuller. I have enough classes for 2 quarters and then I can do my CPE and graduate.  But that also means soon I will have to step outside the safety of Fuller and do things “on my own.” I mean I won’t be on my own but still there will be no professors guiding my way.  These past 3 years (going on 4) have been amazing.  I have learned so much about myself and my faith and I have been challenged in really amazing ways.  It has been wonderful. 

I am so excited for the next chapter of my life.  God has set before me the end goal and together we will figure out how to get there.  It will be scary and people may not like me as much in the process but I really feel like God is leading the process.  For instance, there are people in my life that wish my secrets could stay secrets but I really don’t live a secretive life anymore because it is destructive.  I started this blog because I needed a venue where I could express myself and strengthen my writing skills.  See, if people read my stuff on here, and heard my voice then there is a great possibility that I will be a good writer and when people read my book they will want to talk with me.

God has been lifting my thoughts about me in this process. What does that mean? Well, it means that before the past couple years I thought I was a crappy, good for nothing, waste of space but now I know that isn’t true.  I am pretty sure that I have insightful ideas and that I have a gift for public speaking.  I am pretty sure that I am a likeable person that is also relatable and easy to talk to. I am pretty sure that God is going to use all of these gifts in the work I will do for him and that excites me.  This whole time I have been at Fuller God has been preparing me for the work I am going to do.  He has been building me up.  One of my friend’s Laura has this gift when praying.  She asks God to write on people’s heart and then God writes something and then Laura shares that with the person she is praying for.  She has done this several times with me.  She said once that God was holding my heart for me in a bag.  I thought my heart was broken and beyond repair and she said that God was holding it for me.  And that I thought that was pretty cool.  I couldn’t hold my own heart because I would have destroyed it with bad thoughts about myself but God was holding it for me and taking good care of it.  Now I think I am ready for him to give it back to me…but maybe not just yet.  As the new school year begins I hope God will continue to show me how worthy I am to be doing his work.

So this post is called Feeling Sentimental and I really haven’t gotten to why I named it that.  I am Facebook friends with almost all of my family members and the only ones I am not Facebook friends with are the ones that aren’t on there.  This summer I was fortunate enough to visit my grandmas (dad’s mom and mom’s mom) and cousins from one side of the family (my mom’s side) and that was really great! I got to spend time with some people I haven’t seen in three years.  But then there is this other side of the family.  My dad’s side (he has one brother) and I haven’t seen my aunt and uncle on that side in years. I saw them one day about 2 or 3 years ago when my step-grandma died.  But that was for the briefest period of time and not even the whole family was there.

Any-who they have been posting pictures of their summer and as I look at their photos I really want to go and visit them.  I’m not really sure why…. I just feel like I need to see them.  It could be because of a secret that I let out when I was doing a project for a class but that doesn’t feel like the entire reason.  I’m a little confused by it.  I mean its been years since I have spent any amount of time with these people and only now do I feel like I want to spend any amount of time with them.  I think it has something to do with how much I have changed in the past 3 years.  But it feels like so much more than that. 

Last week when I spoke in church I talked about needing to be loved.  I have all my life felt like I needed to be loved and somehow I think if I make a connection with them I would get those needs met.  But part of me thinks that I might be let down by their reactions.  Maybe it is just that as I have grown up and become the person I am now I really want a connection to the family and to really know these cousins/aunts/uncles as they really are.  Does that make sense?

I have a need to be known and as I grow I really want to know these people not as I perceive them but as they truly are. 

Anyway the day after my 10 year high school reunion (that I didn’t go to) I am feeling sentimental and thinking about my life and how things around me are changing and how soon I will be leaving this cocoon I have been living in and its both exciting and scary.


Feeling feelings (at least trying to)

My therapist asked me to feel this week.  When she asked me to feel I gave her the Waggoner eyes that say, “What you talking bout Willis?” or “Are you out of your ever lovin’ mind?” When I gave her this look she pointed out that when she asks me how I feel about something I always say, “I don’t know.” I mean I will sit there for a few seconds and contemplate what I could possibly have been feeling then and I honestly have no idea. I mean I can’t even come up with, “I suppose I was feeling…..”

So she asked me to spend 5 minutes feeling whatever I am feeling.  Now surprise surprise there have been many incidents this week where I had to feel something and what I was feeling was uncomfortable.  I don’t like to feel.  It’s why I have so many addictions.  When one isn’t working anymore I will turn to another to see if it will work for a while.  I don’t like to feel.

So when my cousin basically ordered me to help out when my grandpa comes to visit in November I spent a day and a half yelling in my apartment.  Now that may not make sense to you. So what if you cousin ordered you to help out with grandpa? Its family right? Wrong. I hate to be ordered around.  So when I was sitting in my apartment trying to figure out what in the heck I was feeling and how best to convey that to my cousin I had to work hard to get beyond the “pissed” feeling. Being ordered around makes me feel like I no longer have a free will.  I feel violated when someone takes away my free will. When someone’s actions cause me to feel violated it reminds me of the other times in my life when I have been violated and I want to escape that feeling.

So I felt violated when my cousin ordered me to help out with gramps but that wasn’t the end of what I was feeling.  My grandpa creeps me out.  He is my only grandpa (by blood) and he creeps me out.  Maybe because I only have the one but most likely because he touches me without asking.  And when I say touching I mean rubbing my leg, rubbing my back, holding my hand and kissing me on the lips. ICK!! EEK!!! When he came to visit us at Christmas I spent the entire time trying to get away from him and trying to get him to stop touching me!

So the idea of spending any amount of time with him in November completely creeps me out! So in November when I spend one day in Riverside with him I will make sure it is one day at the most! So I was pissed when I got this order/e-mail from my cousin because of the double violation I was feeling.  Now for the next couple months I have to worry about this encounter. Yay go me! (said with sarcasm dripping from it)

I have had other encounters with feelings this week but those other times I could not name exactly what it was. Why do have such a hard time feeling? Or even naming what I am feeling? Probably because I avoid it like the plague. I don’t like to feel and will do anything to avoid it. But after feeling this week for 5 minutes at a time it isn’t as scary as I thought it would be.  But after I was done feeling for those 5 minutes I wanted to use. I wanted to escape immediately and for the most part I did okay.  Not great but I didn’t drown my sorrows in a bottle of Captain Morgan rum and I didn’t spend money that I don’t have.  I did spend some time fantasizing about finding someone who will love me but it didn’t consume my entire life.  And for that I am grateful!

Feeling isn’t too bad as long as it doesn’t last more than 5 minutes 🙂

Anger and forgiveness

Many of you know that I am starting a ministry at my church in about a month.  It is for women who have been sexually abused and I named it Fractured Wholeness.

Any-who I am currently reading a book by Paula Sandford Healing Victims of Sexual Abuse and in chapter 4 “A Garland for Ashes–The healing process” there is a section about forgiveness. As I was reading it I was recalling a conversation I had with someone a few weeks ago. She mentioned that forgiveness is an integral part of healing.  In the moment I thought “sure, whatever” but I nodded my head and said, “sure.”  But now as I read this section I believe she was right. 

Forgiveness is an important part of the healing process. Not because it lets someone “off the hook” but because it frees you.  I was angry for many years at my attackers. I thought I will punish them by never forgiving what they did to me.  They changed my life, they changed who I was, and they took something I did not freely give.  They should be punished but my passive aggressive anger towards people I don’t even know anymore does not hurt them it hurts me.
The anger I had toward them ate away at me.  It made me fly off the handle and every time I thought about the abuse in my past it wasn’t really in my past.  By holding on to my anger it made everything an ever-present challenge.

Now don’t get me wrong I have to deal with it on a daily basis but holding on to anger made it much worse.  I never confronted any of my abusers.  Some of that was due to confusion about what happened (was it abuse? did i deserve it?) but some of that was fear that if people knew then I would be bad.  Most women who have been abused feel that they are bad on the inside and unloveable.  When I held on to my anger towards my abusers I thought I was punishing them. I thought that somehow if I held them off with my anger then I could survive. 

But I AM STRONGER than that! When I let go of the anger towards Lisa, Jason, and Travis I began to live again. I could see that forgiving them did not mean that what happened was okay.  It wasn’t. I did not cause it. I did nothing wrong.  They are to blame  but holding on to anger towards them won’t make me feel better.

I also had to let go of anger towards my parents.  When we are little we just assume that our parents are superheroes that can save us even when we cannot speak up.  It is not their fault that I could not tell them. It is not their fault that they ignored bad feelings they had toward my abuser.  When I let go of the anger I was able to see that this is a common occurrence.  Which fueled me to want to develop classes to teach parents to listen to their instincts.  When you have bad feelings about your kids’ friends you should go with it. You should pay attention to that feeling and do something about it even when your kid(s) say nothing is wrong.

Before I could let go of my anger towards my abusers and towards my parents I had to let go of my anger towards God.   I believe God sees everything.  There is nothing he does not see and there is nothing he cannot do.  So why didn’t he save me from my abusers? Free will.  I firmly believe that God has a plan for all of us but I also believe that God allows us to take a different way.  He has A-Z figured out but sometimes we take A2 or C2 and sure that route will get us to Z but it might have more bumps in the road than the original plan.  My life has had numerous potholes and speed bumps that I might have been able to bypass if people didn’t get in my way.  Lisa, Jason, and Travis got in my way.  They made the road a lot rougher than it had to be.  For a long time I thought God could have saved me, he could have stopped it.  But when led through a prayer I asked God to show me where he was and I got a vivid picture of God weeping in the corner of my childhood bedroom as Lisa abused me.  God weeps for and with us.  He does not abandon us but he does not save us from other’s free will.  He did not remove me from that situation or the situations that followed it but I’m okay with that. I find him weeping for/over me very comforting.  Sure he didn’t step in but HE DIDN’T LEAVE either.  God never leaves us. 

My dad says that I have always had great faith.  And I think he is right.  I have always been touched by the Spirit and I have always had faith that God exists and because of that faith I am never left alone even when I try to leave God behind. 

Now to turn a bad situation into a good one I have turned to helping other women out there that have been abused and used as I have.  Our situations are different and we may heal differently but I know God is going to show me how to help them.  I have this unique experience so that I can help others like me.  Others who are angry at their abusers. Others who are angry at their families. Others who are angry at God.  Others who need healing. Others who need help and don’t know how to ask for it.  Others that are looking for someone just like them.

God didn’t stop this from happening to me and I can honestly say I am okay with that.  I want to help others let go of their anger and accept that forgiveness is necessary for their own healing.

Sex, kissing, and the church

I was just reading Kevin Gonzaga’s post http://speakfaithfully.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/kissing-christians/ about the passionate kissing of Christians.  It was an interesting look at how the Penners view passionate kissing before marriage. 

Anyway I was gonna comment on his post but then decided anything I had to say would be best expressed in my own blog. 

Kevin has been writing about gender and sexuality and the class he is taking titled, Pastoral Care and Sexuality.  I took this class a couple of summers ago and it has been interesting to read his blog and talk to him about what the class is covering.

Usher’s song “Yeah” has a line in it that says, “lady in the streets but a freak in the bed.” I feel like this is the message that is sent to women everywhere.  We are supposed to be soft and dumure in life but freaky in the sheets.  Some how we are supposed to be able to turn into a animal sexually without training or explanation of what that might mean.

The church teaches us nothing about sex except that when you are single you are not supposed to do it.  Somehow we are supposed to learn everything we need to know from awkward conversations in school and with our parents.  If your parents’ don’t teach you anything about sex except that, “the bible says don’t do it  before marriage (which it doesn’t)” then how are you supposed to deal with your own desires and urges.

What I remember most about the Pastoral Care and Sexuality class is that we talked about masturbation every single day.  There was one guy in the class that asked every guest speaker what they thought of it. (I think he was probably dealing with something at the time).  We spent almost every single day talking about male masturabation. But we never talked about female masturbation.  Probably because it is taboo and most women “don’t do it” (well at least that is what they say). 

When masturbation is talked about in church it is declared an evil act and that you should abstain from it.  My question is how do you embrace your sexuality or sexual desires in singleness? I mean I really want to know.  I struggle with this all the time.  (If you have any ideas I would love to hear them).

Anyone that knows me knows my abusive past and how that past sent me into my sexuality way to early and has since heightened my sexual desires (this occurs in almost all child abuse cases).

The church says in essence that singles are to ignore their sexual side until marriage.  How do you do that? How do you ignore a major need in your body and then turn it on when you get married?  How is that healthy? Or even possible? 

Sex is not talked about in the church to singles or married people across the board. I visited a church last summer that was having a Sex month and every sermon discussed sex and the pastor before he began the sermon series said that sex was for married people and that singles should ignore their desires.  In fact one week he asked that the married couples engage in sexual activities every day and told the single people to each chocolate.  WHAT!!!! I was outraged by this…how can a church do that????

If we want to talk about sex in the church we should talk with the whole church. 

Kissing before marriage is a must! I recommend it wholeheartedly.  Do you know how much you can learn from a kiss?  The way a couple connects in a kiss directly relates to how they will connect sexually.  If the kiss is a no go then the sex won’t be that great either.

I think each couple has to discuss and decide on their own boundairies and what they think is “morally” right.  Each couple and each relationship is unique.  I have to wonder what is a relationship without kissing?  Where’s the fun?  How do you know you have chemistry. I cannot tell you how many relationships I ended because the kissing was blah. I mean one guy even did this thing with his tongue where it kept poking my lip.  WHAT IS THAT!!!.  I kissed him a couple times after that trying to teach him that that was no good but he couldn’t take the hint so I broke up with him.  Some people would say that is wrong but if he was that bad at kissing and couldn’t be taught, how bad was he gonna be at other things? 

I joke and laugh but really how can a relationship be a relationship without the fun of kissing? I can understand why some people might be against it because it could lead to other things but kissing doesn’t have to be a precursor to other things. Kissing just to kiss is fun.  Why would you want to keep yourself from the fun of kissing?

Sex should be taught in the church and not just “true love waits” but what that waiting means and how to deal with urges and desires and once in a marriage what to do if the sex is bad.  Kissing (face on face action) should happen in dating relationships. 

Boundary setting should also happen in dating relationships.  When a couple gets to the kissing portion of their dating relationship then they should sit down and discuss how far sexually they are willing/wanting to go.  That means defining what sex is: for me this means anything dealing with the gentials but for you that might mean something different.  If you cannot discuss this with your partner/boyfriend/guy then maybe  you shouldn’t be kissing. 

Just some of my thoughts about sex, kissing, and the church.

Sex is a gift from God to all of us and it should be treasured and nutured like any other gift.

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