Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain


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Somewhere Down There

Every once in a while, and less and less often, I get into a funk of sorts. Not a good one like this, either:

It’s like I’m in a deep, deep, hole and can barely see the light of day beaming down through a pinhole at the top. I’m somewhere down there.

Then I envision myself scratching at the sides, piling the dirt beneath my feet.  A little at a time I can build myself up until maybe, just maybe, I can climb out.  When I get like that I feel like I need to kick ass and take names, but just whose ass and whose names I do not know.

So I kick my own.  First I kick it for feeling this way and then I kick it into high gear.  I run.  I do pushups.  I lift light weights.  I ride my bike.  I need to sweat.  I need to punish something.

I want to write but I have no idea what.  I’m blank.  Yet I have a million thoughts in my head that won’t shut off.

I don’t want to cry.  I don’t want to be down in the hole.  I don’t want to take it out on someone else.

It’s time for one of our Little Talks.

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Broken and Spilled Out

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Often when reading blog posts I’m triggered.  Not into a downward spiral of despair.  More of a remembrance.  A remembrance of who I used to be.  A remembrance that causes me to take note of who I am today in relation to that person.

As I read this post at VictoriaNeuronotes and the subsequent comments I was brought to just such a remembrance. I remembered when I thought so little of myself that wanted nothing more than to be broken and spilled out because of what my supposed savior had done for me.  I was, in my mind, such a wicked person; so evil and vile that only a perfect blood sacrifice could atone for my shame, my depravity, my iniquity.  Unworthy of such a sacrifice I would be willing to sell my soul to the one who had made such a sacrifice.

I was reminded of this song by Steve Green which used to be a sort of personal anthem:

Broken and Spilled Out

One day a plain village woman
Driven by love for her Lord
Recklessly poured out a valuable essence
Disregarding the scorn

And once it was broken and spilled out
A fragrance filled all the room
Like a prisoner released from his shackles
Like a spirit set free from the tomb

Broken and spilled out
Just for love of You, Jesus
My most precious treasure
Lavished on thee

Broken and spilled out
And poured at Your feet
In sweet abandon, let me be spilled out
And used up for Thee

Lord, You were God’s precious treasure
His loved and His own perfect Son
Sent here to show me the love of the Father
Just for love it was done

And though You were perfect and holy
You gave up Yourself willingly
You spared no expense for my pardon
You were used up and wasted for me

Broken and spilled out
Just for love of me, Jesus
God’s most precious treasure
Lavished on me

Broken and spilled out
And poured at my feet, in sweet abandon
Lord, You were spilled out
And used up for me

I so identified with the very first verse of Amazing Grace:

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me….
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

I even took to heart that John Newton had originally written, “…that saved a worm like me.”

A worm.  I was nothing more without Jesus than a wriggling worm in the dung heap of life. As a result of being told over and over that I was born as an affront to God, his enemy, I needed Jesus to mediate on my behalf. Made in God’s image, of course.  But I marred that image from the start by my own unrighteousness.  Anything good, and noble, and beautiful were the remnants of God’s perfect image.  The blackness, the ugliness, the humanness, that was all me. And that part of me deserved eternal damnation in a lake of fire. I needed a savior. And like anyone who has ever been saved from a sure fate of hell I was enamored with the savior.

This, folks, is the prescription company defining the disease and selling the cure.

I wanted to be broken and spilled out and used up in sweet abandon for any cause to which my savior called me.   And I was.  I was broken.  Every bit of my essence spilled out.  Shattered into a million little pieces.

You see, just as Victoria states in her excellent post, this all comes at a price.  Any notion of self-worth is hijacked and jack-knifed. Why would any loving parent want their child to be so broken?  How can this be called love?  In any other setting, if you removed the super-natural being from all of this, we would see it as twisted and abusive.  How can we just excuse this and say that because this is God there is some sort of caveat that makes this all different?somethingnew

So I’ve taken my million little pieces of broken and spilled out mess and I’m putting them back together.  I’m making something new.  I am reborn.


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Childless

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BFFs

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I love these dogs!

Sigh…

Prepare for whinging.  Yes, I’d love some cheese with this whine.  Thank you for asking.

I’m not sure I should even be writing this.  It’s…personal. Perhaps it would be better if I didn’t but writing is cathartic for me.

I have helped to raise children that were not mine who I loved(and still do).  Because of my divorce they don’t really want anything to do with me.  I tried for a while to stay in touch but it became increasingly clear that maintaining a relationship with me was more difficult and awkward than it was beneficial.  I have gracefully bowed out.   They know I love them.  They know I’m here.  There are consequences to decisions we make and we don’t get to choose them.

When I met The Brit a whole new world opened up for me.  I began to hope against hope for things that I had long ago given up on. I was getting a second chance.  For reasons beyond my control but which had nothing to do with an inability to conceive(to my knowledge) I hadn’t been afforded the opportunity to have children of my own. When TheBrit and I got married we decided to start trying to have a baby.

I knew going in that my age was going to be an issue for fertility. I told myself not to get my hopes up.  A year went by and nothing happened.  My doctor prescribed Clomid.  Each month that has gone by since has been a let down.  I’m now in my sixth and final round of treatment.  I’m disappointed.  I’m beyond disappointed.  I’m sad.

I’m not just sad.  I’m angry.  I’m pissed at my ex for not allowing me to have my own children.  I’m pissed at myself for not leaving him sooner.  I’m pissed at myself for having waited too late.  I know it’s irrational to be angry about this.  It’s not fair for me to be angry at my ex for not wanting children with me.  He had a right to his feelings on the matter.  But still.  I am. It’s stupid to be angry at myself for hanging in there and trying to make a thing work that was busted from the start.  But still.  I am.

The what ifs in life can drive a person mad, you know.  If only this.  What if that.

This is the part where the old me would have prayed.  Then prayed harder.  Then prayed some more.  This is the part where I would have begged for healing and forgiveness. This is the part where the old me would wonder and search my soul to find out what cherished sin I had that prevented God from answering my prayers.  This is the part where I would have driven myself crazy wondering what I’d done wrong.  This is the part where I’d assume that God just said, “no”.

I know, I know, I have so much to be thankful for.  The Brit and I have each other.  We have Dottie and Sarah.  And just think of all the things we can do, like travel and have our freedom if we don’t have a child.  I’ve just never heard anyone on their deathbed regret not taking one more trip or having a bigger house or a nicer car.

We could try IVF but  I don’t think I can handle the roller coaster ride that would be.  Not only that, TheBrit and I both started over with nothing.  It’s a side issue, really, but it isn’t cheap. Insurance doesn’t cover it for obvious reasons.  I’m not sure we could afford to pay for IVF and then a child as well.  And if it didn’t work the money we spent on the IVF would eliminate the possibility of adoption.

Adoption is an option.  I may get there.  It’s quite selfish, really, but I wanted the experience of becoming a mother.  I really wanted our children.  Selfishly I wanted children that wouldn’t just flip a switch and just like that I don’t exist.

This is just a rambling rant about something I have little control over.  It is what it is.  It will be what it will be.  I’ll probably get over it.  Maybe.   And who knows…it could still happen.


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Holding God Back

“When all is said and done …. Two wrongs do not make a right…. And revenge is a sin in itself, the best revenge is forgiveness … Cause until you forgive, you are holding God back from His Vengeance. In layman’s terms as long as you hold onto the transgression you hold God powerless…. Let go and let God “~ A Facebook ‘friend’

“no matter what someone says or does to you. stand your ground and dont do or say anything to hurt them or put them down. Remember GOD DOESNT LIKE UGLY and he will ‘get them’!!” ~ A different Facebook ‘friend’

I have a few Facebook ‘Friends’ who, when they go through anything remotely challenging, blow up everyone’s news feed with cryptic messages about their tribulations on their favorite social networking medium.  And they post this kind of….stuff.  Yeah, that word will do, I guess.

Two wrongs don’t make a right.  Heard that one all my life.  And it’s true.  It’s the rest of that stuff that gets under my skin.  I know everybody reacts differently to being hurt.  Some people are hurt at the smallest perceived slight and others it takes quite a bit for them to get to the point that they are aggrieved by continual abuses.

Regardless, if you take the position that revenge is a sin, wouldn’t wishing vengeance on said foe be a sin as well?  Isn’t that what’s happening here?  And do people really believe that God is that weak?  Or that powerful for that matter?  Is your lack of forgiveness all that’s holding God back from the revenge you wish to see inflicted but believe would be a sin to personally inflict?  What is the difference?

Me, personally, don’t care about revenge.  I don’t think it has anything to do with it being a sin.  It’s a personality thing.  If you hurt me it’s my choice whether or not to forgive.  I don’t think it’s a sin not to forgive (I’d have to believe that there is such a thing as sin).  If you inflict undeserved pain on another you have no right to expect forgiveness.

But, if God is an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present entity, is it possible to hold him back from anything he chooses to do?  There’s irony in believing in a powerful being who can vanquish your foes and believing you are more powerful than he. What’s more I find it odd to believe that God is your hit man.  Unfortunately I know so many Christians who honestly believe this.  And they believe that they are offering forgiveness by ‘making nice’ all the while praying for their God to “get them!!”


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Got Ten Cents?

In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.   John 16:23-24 (NIV)



You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.   James 4:2-3  (NIV)


I was driving by this church marquee in my hometown and couldn’t help but wonder, what exactly is a million dollar answer?  What exactly is a ten cent prayer?  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I get the gist of this sign.  Don’t throw up a half-hearted prayer and think you’re going to get a miraculous answer.  But really, who has given a half-hearted prayer and waited in eager anticipation for it’s answer?  Who I ask?  No one.  That’s who.

Allow me to elaborate.  I’ve thrown up some of those half-hearted prayers.  Heck, you might even call them penny prayers.  I didn’t really expect an answer.   You know what?  It was those penny prayers that most often seemed to be answered.  “Lord, I know I’m pushing it to get to work on time.  Please let all the lights be green between here and work.”  “Lord, let there be a parking spot close to the door at Wal-Mart”, on Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m.  “Lord, I’m almost out of gas.  Please help me make it to the gas station before I run out.”

It’s the prayers that I really thought long and hard about, the ones I was just certain I was asking with the right motives, the ones I knew from reading the Bible were clearly in God’s will that I waited expectantly for an answer to.  Those million dollar prayers that got ten cent answers.  Then that would get explained away.  God’s answer was no, and I didn’t like it.  I must have some sin in my life.  I must be asking with the wrong motives.  “Lord, we’re having a terrible drought.  All the farmers will lose their crops, wells may run dry.  We really need some rain.”  Of course if you ask for that long enough it’s bound to rain, and thank God for it.  Never mind all the burned up crops, the dead fish and other animals, the wild fires, people suffering from a shortage of water.  Thank God for that three drops of rain we got.

You live and learn.  Sooner or later you might acknowledge that God has no control over the rain or much of anything else for that matter.  “Ask anything in my name and you will receive it.”  Then when we pray expectantly we’re told God doesn’t impinge free will.  We’re told God doesn’t interfere in the laws of nature.  That would just mess things up.  So the deists weren’t that far off then, eh?  God started this whole shindig and then just stepped back to watch it unfold.  He’s impotent.  Bound by his own laws.  So much for sovereignty.  So long omnipotence.  If there is a God he can’t or won’t help us.  We’re on our own.

I’m not sure which is worse; that God can’t help us or that God won’t help us.  On the one hand He’s bound by His own laws and can’t disturb the natural flow of things.  Praying to that kind of God serves no purpose.  But we’re told that “the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)  What does it effect?  Certainly not anything outwardly.  On the other hand God could possibly be this omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient  entity who has simply chosen whom he will hear and whom he will ignore arbitrarily.  Either way it seems like a waste of time asking for anything of God.  I’m better off keeping my ten cents.

Some have reduced the act of prayer to simply having fellowship with this invisible being who doesn’t speak back except through a book.  It’s only a way to commune with our “creator”.  Is that all he is?  Is that all he’s done?  Ask any child who has been birthed and left on their own how much they think of the one/ones who brought them into the world and see what answer you get.  Better yet, ask that same one how loved they feel by their “parents” and see what answer you get.

Better still is the “prayer isn’t about changing others or the world around us, it’s about changing our own hearts”.  Hmm…any type of meditation will do that.  It’s about getting alone with your thoughts in a quiet and peaceful setting.  It’s not the particular object of the meditation that is important.  It’s the focused energy, the stress reduction, the self-regulation that are important.  •”[M]editation refers to a family of self-regulation practices that focus on training attention and awareness in order to bring mental processes under greater voluntary control and thereby foster general mental well-being and development and/or specific capacities such as calm, clarity, and concentration”[48]:228-9 
 
I think I’ll meditate for awhile and take two aspirin. It seems about as effective. It appears God has taken an extended leave of absence or he just isn’t there. That’s just my ten cents worth.


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Head Games

IMG_2197 Fresh Head
I H.A.T.E. Head Games, but this looks kind of fun.
Seriously though, yesterday on another blog the post was about some kind of test that determines if a man is an alpha-male.  The Dating Market Value Test for Men (click at your own peril: rated R for language and general offensiveness) was pretty disgusting. The bottom line for the tester is that alpha-males tend to treat women like a piece of meat and want a girl for sexual purposes only – another notch on the bedpost (blech!).  Basically what I got out of it is that if you’re an alpha(male or female) you’re really good at the “dating game” and the opposite sex just throws themselves at you.  By “dating game” I don’t mean just simple flirting, I mean playing head games.  
So yeah, head games are a huge turn off to me.  One of the particular tactics is to pretend to be disinterested in the party to whom you’re interested.  Yeah, got it?  Instead of smothering the person in whom you are interested with attention and intent simply pretend to be disinterested altogether, because apparently there is no in between.  It’s one or the other.  Pretending to be disinterested makes you suddenly more desirable and mysterious.  People want what they can’t have so they in turn throw themselves at you, following you around and showering you with attention.  To quote another commenter, “My theory is pretty simple: most people are attracted to a challenge. Someone who just follows you around saying, “Please love me,” is no fun, whereas someone who won’t stop to give you the time of day seems like they probably are. And, of course, if that person doesn’t pay attention to you then that makes them seem far more mysterious, far more interesting and, therefore, far more attractive.”
Now I’m not saying this doesn’t work.  It evidently works well.  Reverse psychology.   In the end I think this  might land some folks in psychiatric treatment, though.  I digress.  Anyhow, who wants to constantly chase after someone who is either acting or really is completely disinterested and doesn’t give you the time of day?  I think mostly people who don’t value themselves behave this way.  They feel they need this other person to give them value.  So they follow them around, jump up and down, say it softly and loudly, “please find me lovable”, “please, pretty please, love me”.  
Most of us have been the puppy dog and the disinterested owner at one time or another. I personally hate head games, so if I sense that’s what’s going on I’m walking.  These days I don’t have the time nor the inclination to play along. It just won’t last as long as a fart in a whirlwind with me.  One party shouldn’t have to do all the pursuing. If you don’t give another the time of day, anyone worth having isn’t needy enough to hang around to beg you to spend time with them. They feel valuable enough to find someone who values them too. See, therapy does pay off. 🙂
Here’s where I’m going with all this:  the God of the Bible seems like the ultimate alpha-male. He wants to see how many of us will chase his shadow, following this mysterious, completely disinterested, elusive entity around – jumping up and down, waving our arms, begging him to notice us and shouting, “love me, love me, pretty please with a cherry on top”.  We feel we need him to give us value because we’re filthy sinners. And he’s not giving us the time of day.  It seems like we’re doing all the pursuing.  We thought he glanced our way.  Perhaps we even thought he flashed us a smile.  Then when we showed an interest – nada from him.  The more elusive he seems the harder we pursue.  Just like one big, fat head game, only we’re doing it to ourselves.  Some people have decided they value themselves enough to walk.