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Archive for July, 2011

Life’s been a bit insane lately

Life’s been so insane lately that I don’t even know where to start.
I’ve been sick, really really sick for about 2 weeks now. It started slow with a headache and then got much worse. For those of you that follow me on Facebook you are probably wondering what has been going on. I have been really cryptic in my postings.

I’m usually so honest and transparent but when it comes to my health I have a tendency to be cryptic. Not that I want to keep that part of my life secret but it is so gross. I mean seriously, who wants to hear about my bowel movements?

But since everyone keeps asking I will tell you. I have been nauseated and have had diarrhea everyday for the past 2 weeks. In the morning I take many trips to the bathroom with cramping. Then I’m usually okay by about 2pm. I feel rundown and I have no energy but I don’t have to run to the bathroom. This usually lasts until about 9pm when I have a headache and a fever and feel like I’m going to pass-out or throw up. 2 weeks of this and I’m ready to give up.

So after a week and a half I went to the doctor (after some encouragement from friends). I told the doctor that I thought I was having a colitis flare-up. She agreed with me but decided she didn’t want to prescribe anything so I have a visit with a GI doctor on Wednesday. While the doctor was examining me she found a weird mole on my stomach and made an appointment for me to see a dermatologist. I was a little freaked out by this because I had a cancerous birthmark when I was kid and had to have it removed. But when I saw the dermatologist on Thursday she said that everything was fine. She gave me a bookmark so that I could watch my mole for changes and she gave me some cream for a foot problem.

So that’s my sickness story. I’ve been really quite sick for 2 weeks but this week has really wiped the floor with me. I went grocery shopping yesterday (mainly because I found some food that didn’t make me feel too awful) and during my trip I took things slow. I walked at a much slower pace but after a few minutes there I started to feel really awful. I started to feel really hot and the ground started to move (it wasn’t an earthquake even though that is possible in Southern California). Luckily I didn’t pass out but that must have been God’s providence. I lasted about another half hour before it happened again and I decided that I had enough to last me a while. Next time I will take someone with me or I will send someone with a list.

So that’s the account of my week. Its been full of downs but it has also been full of ups. Good news from the dermatologist and so forth. Here is now an accounting of the ups of my week.

1. Yarn Night
One night a week my friends and I get together to crochet/knit. We call it Yarn Night because we all use yarn to make something even if we use different means to make our projects. This week my friend Betsy suggested that I have Yarn Night at my house. I thought this was an excellent idea because I could be comfortable at home in case I got sick and I would be in the company of great friends. It worked out great. They came over, we all worked on a project (which hasn’t happened in a while) and I got to visit with people I care a great deal for and they care a great deal for me. It was awesome. I got sick as soon as they left but I had a great time while they were here.

2. Friends and Family
My friends and family have really stepped up to love on me. Everyone has been praying and people have been checking up on me. Its great during this time to be reminded that I am not alone in this battle. I may be the only one who is sick but I know that there are people I can call upon to love me and to carry me when I cannot stand.

3. Books
The best news of the week came from a few good friends and my supervisor at my internship. Gwen, my supervisor, had asked me to research what materials were out there. When I received my calling from God I did some research and found nothing so I was pretty sure nothing was out there but I wanted to honor what my supervisor asked of me. So I searched with no expectations and I wasn’t surprised when I found nothing. She and I decided that I would write the material to be used in the group. I was super excited because that was honestly my dream. I came home immediately and started outlining the curriculum as well as a book idea and a few more fun projects.

One of those projects came from my friend Denise. Denise and I had dinner the other day and she and I were talking about Colitis and so forth. We were discussing how I have been through so many sicknesses so far in my life and always as the abnormal. I have an aliment that only effects women after they have given birth and other ailments that doctors have assured me I cannot have because of my age. Oh please! I have it so what! I’m young so what! Just treat me! Anyway I was getting passionate about all my trips to the doctor and she suggested that I write a book about my experience. That it might be good to share with others how I have met each illness and how I have gotten through it. I liked the idea so I made an outline for that book as well. I was actually really surprised at how quickly the outline came to mind.

The last fun project ideas came from Stacey. I had posted on my Facebook page that I had finished a novel and she had assumed that that meant I had written one. After I corrected her I began to ask myself why I couldn’t write a novel. I used to love writing fiction. I used to win contests and I was published in a high school publication. I have written poems in the last few years that have been so much fun to write so I am going to try to write a novel. I have no idea if it will work or if I can create a fanciful world but I think I can. And even if no one ever reads what I have written it will be fun to just write it. To create a world and write a story. It sounds like so much fun.

So even in the midst of great suffering there has been great fun. I also have been fortunate that this week has not been too hot. I mean I think we got into the 90s one day this week which helped my illness. Its so much worse when I am hot.
I almost forgot that last week I saw Harry Potter with my roommate which was just awesome. It was so cold in there and I was so focused on the movie that I was able to leave my illness behind. It was great.
I was just telling Stacey that there are glimmers of hope in times of deepest darkness. God has been filling me with times of hope this week and I have been grateful because of it.

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Backseat dating?

I’d like to try backseat dating. I’m not sure it could actually work but I really want to give it a try. Have you seen Must Love Dogs? In the movie the main character’s sisters end up signing her up on a dating website and then set her up on dates. She is strictly hands off. Now the character gets upset that people are making the decisions for her but I kind of like it.

It reminds me of Friends when Rachel asks Monica to make her dating decisions for her. I want to make all the dating decisions but I want my friends to do all the work to make it happen. I don’t want to talk to the guys online I want my friends to just set me up.

Do you think it could work?

After 8 years without going out on dates I’m a little weary of dating. I’m guy shy if you will and a little afraid of both finding something real and of getting hurt again. So I’d like to try backseat dating, wherein I enlist the help of friends who know who I am and what I am looking for in a man. They set me up on dates and until the first date I take a backseat to dating. My friends take over until the time of the date, then its up to me to get in the front seat and take over.

I think it might be absolutely ridiculous but I also think it might work. For centuries parents set their children up so what if my friends instead took up the challenge.
Last night I spent some honest time with a friend where I took an honest look at myself and what I am actually looking for. The things I am looking for are simple:

Good looking which not only includes outside factors but inside factors as well. A good looking body can be ruined by a horrible personality and an average looking guy can become a hunk if his personality is awesome.
Reformed bad boy a plus. I go for the bad boys because they have an understanding of relationship and they don’t live boring lives. They like to have fun but know when to just have a night in as well. Its not a must but an added bonus.
Faith. I’ve dated the non-Christian guys. I’m not saying he has to be a certain denomination but faith is important. He has to share my beliefs because I don’t want to spend our entire relationship fighting about how we are going to raise the kids. I’ve watched my sister go through the pain of that and I don’t want to do that.
Driven. The guy has to have a purpose. I’m not saying he has to have a calling to ministry (although that would be nice) but he has to have a goal. I have big dreams and I need someone as driven as I am. I won’t be content to be with a guy that has no goals and likes a dead-end job. I need someone driven.
Interested in me. I want a guy that can’t wait to spend time with me.

I think that’s it. Last night this friend and I discussed who we thought would be perfect for the other and once we were honest we were pretty sure that we didn’t know. In other words, we were sure we hadn’t met them yet.

So how exactly would this backseat dating work? I’m pretty open to how it would work. Ideally my friends would pick through their single guy friends and pick someone that way. Or they would set up a dating profile for me, wherein they would take the reins and only give control to me once they had set up a date.

Its probably not going to happen but a girl can dream can’t she? If it did happen it might for a while allow me to let go of the control. To really give control to someone else with an understanding that I would still be dating. I think that’s why I have trouble giving up control to God. God’s answer for 8 long years has been silence. He won’t take away the desire to be with someone and he won’t give me dates to go on. I want assurances that I will be dating soon. That someone will find me attractive and want to take me out on a date. I have this fear that if I’m not searching no one will find me.

But what if while I have been searching he has been searching for me? What if its like when I call home and the call drops and I try to call my mom back while she’s calling me back and we keep getting each other’s voicemail until someone stops calling back and then we can get through? What if I have been chasing my own tail for so long that he can’t find me because I won’t sit still.

I don’t think it actually works like this but if I believe it even a little I might be able to convince myself to slow down.

7/10/11 HRock Service that reminded me I’m interning at a Charismatic Church

I’ve been bewildered all day by what I witnessed today at HRock. Not upset. Not conflicted. Somewhat confused. Some disbelief. But mostly just bewildered.

I’m Presbyterian. To my core I am Presbyterian. We acknowledge the Spirit but spiritual gifts are outside of our comfort zone. Give us some word and sacrament and we are in our happy-content zone. What happened today was not in that zone. It was completely and utterly outside of that zone. And I’m a little freaked out by it.

God’s been doing a work in me the past couple of years. He has been showing me things literally and figuratively about myself and about him. Its been incremental and at times a little freaky but he’s slowly made me comfortable with it. I am no longer freaked out when I see things in rooms (things that no one else can see). I get excited when he speaks to me. When he gives me pictures I say them instead of keeping silent. I have enjoyed playing with God, painting with God and overall just enjoying my time and new experiences with him.

I have learned to be attuned to the Spirit when he is there and to follow him when he leads me. I have learned to listen and to see and to interpret. Its been fun and overwhelming and a little bewildering. But what happened today went beyond that. It went waaaaaaaaaaay beyond my comfort zone. Beyond what has been done in the past couple of years.

4 years ago when I came to Pasadena I visited HRock, back when it was Harvest Rock. My younger sister and I visited this church not sure what kind of church it was. We showed up on a day much like today. Someone came in and was prophesying to the congregation. It reminded me of televangelists like the guy in a Chevy Chase film. It was cheesy and disconcerting and I was totally freaked out. My younger sister was in her element and wanted to go downstairs to get her prophesy read and I wanted to run out of the church as fast as possible.

What happened today was not as freaky (although I can’t put my finger on why) but it was close. The two hour service started as usual with songs I didn’t know…although today we sang a song that I knew and one that we have sung before that I am beginning to love. I’m not really sure why…maybe its the excitement in the room. Any-who. The service started with worship and many many people came down to the front to dance. Which I absolutely love. I love dancing to worship music and I love seeing the joy on the people who go up there to dance. They made announcements that women from Africa were in the room with us and then we prayed for the group of missionaries of sorts who are in India and we prayed for their success.

Any-who that was all normal. Then there were announcements, which to be honest I was barely listening to. And then they announced that the speaker today was a guest (much like the person that spoke 4 years ago) and would be talking about the office of prophesy. I thought this could be interesting. Rebecca Greenwood took the stage and then asked that the worship team come back out so that she could prophesy over them. Some behind the scenes person came and stood behind each member as she did her thing. I was just about to ask my supervisor sitting next to me what that guy was doing there when I got my answer. She was forcefully putting her hands on these people. So much so that I thought she was going to push them over. If they had fallen at that moment I would have thought what happened next had been practiced.

It was actually kind of funny because each member of the worship team looked kind of freaked out which matched what I was thinking. Any-who she had prophesied over three of the team members when she came up to a guy and asked to hold his hands (which is how I can be certain she didn’t make the next part happen). She started prophesying over him and he started to stumble back and before you knew it he was on the floor. She didn’t push him and the behind the scenes guy did catch him. He literally fell in the Spirit. And in that moment I thought, “What the frack (because I was in church) is happening?” And I have been thinking it all day. Now if he had been the only person to fall I probably could have dismissed it as low blood sugar or something but no such luck. After the guy fell she moved on to another guy on the team, one of the guys I love to watch. I think he is the reason I love one of the songs they sang today because the words aren’t very profound but he has this energy that is just awesome. Every time he sings that song and dances to it on stage I just feel God there. Its actually pretty awesome. Anyway he got his prophesy and nothing physically happened to him which was awesome because I wasn’t sure I could handle more, but more did come. When she got to the last person from the worship team she also fell but not only did she fall, she convulsed. I have a friend who does these kind of weird movements in the spirit so I was kind of used to it, kind of mind you. Any-who this girl was convulsing before Rebecca got to her and as she got her prophesy she fell back, passed out and then began convulsing again.

Then Rebecca presented a rushed sermon and then spoke over two of the female pastors on staff. One, who seems mostly quiet began to yell and then convulse and then she fell as well. Another who fell back into her seat. Both after receiving their word seemed as confused and freaked out as I was. These people who fell were generally out of sorts when they stood again. They were not faking what happened to them. Which is probably what freaked me out the most.

They weren’t expecting what happened to them. They had no idea that at the end of the service they would be on the floor. They had no clue that they would get a word in such a bodily manner.

So all day I have been processing what happened at church today. Processing is probably too strong of a word. For the most part I have been avoiding thinking about what happened today. Mostly because I don’t doubt what it was. I don’t doubt the sincerity of it. I felt God in that room before that happened. I felt God there in the morning before I was blown away buy 4 people falling. I felt like crying because I felt the love of God in that room, falling over everyone that was there.

I’m still confused about what happened. I’m a skeptic at my core. Something I probably got from my Presbyterian brothers and sisters as well as my family. I’ve tried all day to dismiss what happened at church today as a fluke or something that was concocted for the benefit of the church but that doesn’t seem accurate.

As I was leaving church today I kept asking myself what was so disturbing about today. I’ve heard stories all year from my supervisor about weird things the spirit has been doing. I’ve mostly smiled and tried to wrap my mind around what she has been saying but seeing it is completely different. If you could have seen the skeptical group of worship team members that walked on to the stage and the believing worship team members that left the stage you would be as confused as I am.

I’ve heard of God doing such things but never in my life have I seen it. I have been so overcome by the love of God that I have laughed, cried, and danced but I have never seen someone fall down because of the Spirit. It was weird.

I don’t doubt that it happened. I don’t doubt that God made it happen. I’m just weird-ed out by the whole thing. I didn’t feel unsafe as I left church this morning I just felt numb. Like some weird thing had just been witnessed and I had no words for how I felt about it. I still don’t really know how I feel about it.

The only thing I know for certain is that this 9 month internship is going to be interesting…..

Loneliness

Today was the second retreat for my class this summer. We spent the day in solitude. When I got to class in the morning I was certain I was going to be writing about some of the prophetic words I have received in the last week but as the morning went on I realized that wasn’t going to happen. Below you will find some of what I wrote throughout my day.

Loneliness
A cute kid bends over his mother’s arm begging to touch the flowers
He wants to feel the pretty purple flower
He wants to touch it
To feel how it feels and how it is different from everything he has seen before
He is longing to touch it and probably taste it
I feel that way with love
I’ve seen glimpses of what it can be
I’m not so romantic to believe the fairy tales of my childhood
I’m not searching for my prince charming
I have no desire to be rescued
I’m instead looking for something real
I’m searching for someone real
With flaws
With annoying habits
Who will make me aggravated as many times as he makes me laugh
Who will forget important dates but make up for it later
Someone who wants to hear about my day, good or bad
And who is dying to tell me about their day

A little girl leans against her mother
She’s just playing
I want someone to play with
Someone to ride roller coasters with
Someone to play games with
Someone to go to parties with
Someone who views me as their best friend
Someone who is excited to see me just because I am me
Someone who kisses me just to say hello or goodbye or I love you
I’m looking for someone as enamored with me as I am with them

Friends are good but they are no substitute for the loving relationship you have with the man you love

I feel like the boy begging to touch the flowers
God holds me in his arms just out of reach of love
I’m leaning out of his arms and trying to capture love in my hands
To feel it in my heart and soul
I want to grasp it to see how it is different from what I already know

A kid trails behind his mother
He’s thinking “from back here I can touch anything I want”
I sometimes feel this way with God
If I trail behind him promising not to touch anyone and wishing that maybe just maybe
While God’s back is turned
I can touch love
I can find someone to love who will love me in return

God asked me to play and I did
The first steps I took, took me to a bunny hiding under a bush
Then a fountain that was a frog
Beautiful flowers and streams
My fun or play time led me to a bench under a tree
This song started playing on my mp3 and I felt God talking to me
I sat with God under this tree and played with him
I let his breeze kiss my skin
Listened to the water in the stream
And I knew I had to let go
Let go of control
Of dating pretenses
Of finding answers in books
Written by people who tried something that worked for them and after the fact wrote theology to fit it

You, God have the plan
You, God know my desires and my frustrations
You know the ache that is still growing
You know it all
You know the man I will meet
Or have already met
You won’t let him be afraid to ask me out
You won’t let him pass by me
You won’t leave me behind
And you won’t let us miss each other
You will hit him by a 2 by 4 if you have to
And when we meet you won’t allow me to dismiss him
You won’t allow my preconceived notions get in the way of something real
You won’t allow the questions in my mind stop us
You will make it happen

I’m content to play
I’m content to believe that God will care for me
That I won’t be left behind
And when the guy that will love me comes along, God won’t let me miss out
He won’t let me get in my own way
He will take care of and love me
I may get restless
But God will remind me that he has this
That he is taking care of me
And there is no need to worry
I just need to play now
Get back in the groove
And God will make sure I don’t miss the man for me when he comes around

After I was done writing I noticed this quote in my journal
“God often takes a course for accomplishing His purposes directly contrary to what our narrow views would prescribe. He brings a death upon our feelings, wishes, and prospects when He is about to give us the desire of our hearts.” –John Newton

My heart breaks for abused children

Another shocking trial verdict today. As I read that Casey Anthony was found not guilty I started asking myself questions. The first questions were about her: Did she do it? If she did how could she kill her child? Is she mental? Did she have some sort of disorder that caused her to do this? But my final question got me thinking: Could she have been stopped? Were there signs that no one saw? What was happening to this little girl before her mother killed her?

Are there signs that people are psychotic that we miss? When I started dating the man that raped me were there things in his personality that I missed. These signs or flags if you will are called red flags. These are the little things that people do that cause bells to go off inside of us. For the most part we ignore these. We think we are being overly cautious or that we are scared but what could be prevented if we paid attention to these red flags or warning bells.

As I read the story of what happened to Caylee Anthony I kept asking myself what could have been done to prevent this. We never catch abusers until they have abused someone. What would the world look like if we got abusers help before they hurt someone?

I think it was a year or so ago when some other abuser was in the news and someone had posted on their Facebook that they thought the abuser should be killed. I found myself upset by this notion that someone should be killed for killing someone else. I’ve always found the death penalty a little hard to swallow because killing someone for killing someone just seems absurd. I’m still working on it though. I don’t think death should ever be celebrated. Some people say, “Christians celebrate Jesus’ death.” Which in turn causes me to say, “Actually we celebrate his life. We celebrate the fact that death did not overcome him.” There is a difference there even if it is difficult to explain.

Anyway today reminds me of last year when there was an outrage and people were calling for another abuser’s death. My issue with this is that in most cases an abuser was once abused. That doesn’t mean that the abuser should not be held accountable for the horrible acts they have committed but it does cause me to pause. It makes me wonder what was done to Casey that she thought she had to kill her daughter and then cover it up. What happened to her? What was her breaking point?

What if we could figure out what the breaking point is and prevent it? What if instead of just healing abuse we actually stopped it from happening? What would the world look like then?

Abuse (not just sexual abuse) happens all the time to all people. What if we could prevent it from happening?

I’m not sure its possible. I’m not sure we can stop abuse from happening but as a woman who has been used and abused isn’t it worth a try? There are scientists and doctors all over the world trying to figure out a way to cure cancer…shouldn’t we also be trying to find a way to prevent abuse?

Don’t get me wrong some people are already trying to prevent abuse. “How the Catch a Predator?” has been doing this for years but again they don’t catch people before they commit the act. The person who shows up to that house in most cases has done this before and they were caught in the act. What if we could stop them before they committed the act? Is it possible?

If we healed all the abused children all over the world would that stop abusers from being created? Or would evil find its way into the world? I know the ministry I am going to start will be to women who have been sexually abused but again that is after the fact. What can be done to make sure it never happens?

What’s the answer? Can it be done? Can abusers be stopped before they commit the act? Can healing someone’s abuse before it ruins their life make certain that abusers won’t be created?

I’m not sure. The hope inside of me says yes. The realist inside of me says no. Part of that is because healing someone’s abuse before it ruins their life requires that abused person to get help. It requires someone to say something. It requires an abused person to do something they are not able to do: tell someone.

I had an incredibly weird dream last night. So weird and disturbing that it kept happening all night long. I kept waking myself up and then going back to this dream. I woke up disturbed and unwilling to fall back asleep. The dream was not an actual memory but it brought up some memories for me.

When I was 13 or so my cousin Doug was getting married. He was my closest cousin. I have tons and tons of cousins but Doug and I had a special bond. He’s no more than 15 years older than me (if that) and he used to come over to my house when we lived close and hang out. He took us to inappropriate movies 🙂 and out to ice cream. He made me laugh and he was just awesome. Any-who he was getting married and I was kind of freaking out because my best friend and advocate was leaving. He was going to get married and start a life with someone. So what did I do? As an abused child I made up a story to get his attention. I wrote down some ridiculous note that I needed to talk to him. I don’t remember what I wrote but I know it was written on notebook paper with a red marker.

Whatever I wrote he took me seriously and we went on a walk around the block. By this time in my life I was done being abused by my childhood abuser and I was not yet sexually assaulted and raped. I remember being so nervous to go on this walk because I knew I was losing him. He had been so close to me and he was in a sense leaving. He was going to start a life with this new person and I would never again be that close to him (which was actually quite true, sad to say). On this walk I asked him what he would do if I was ever raped. In my own weird way I was asking him if he would be my protector. If in a sense he would save me. I mean what normal 13 year old wonders what her cousin will do when she is raped. I was crying out to him even though I couldn’t say the words I wanted to. Even though I couldn’t actually tell him what had happened to me.

I had this person in my life who I felt could protect and save me and yet I couldn’t tell him what actually happened to me. I couldn’t tell anyone in my life what was done so many years ago. I couldn’t tell anyone. I was frozen in my abuse. I was frozen in my fear.

If I couldn’t tell people who loved me what was happening how can I expect others to tell right away. Most people never tell until it effects or ruins their lives in some way. Just last year I told my family what happened and I never told Doug in person or on the phone. I think I wrote him a million emails but I never actually sent them.

I’m odd. I know it. My brain has been trained for so long to be independent. To never tell anyone anything. Writing this blog is hard. Every time I post a new blog I wonder: who will read it? What will they think? Will people view me differently? Its never as bad as it seems. Everything always turns out okay but what if it didn’t?

What if my cousin thought differently of me? What if I lost some sort of respect from him because when I had the chance I didn’t say anything? What if?

My heart breaks for abused children because I’ve been there. I’ve sat in the fear that no one will believe you. I’ve sat in the heartache for what has happened. I’ve sat in the grief of a lost childhood, a lost innocence. I’ve been there so every time I hear a story about a child being abused or killed my heart breaks and I long to find a way to stop abuse from even starting.

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