**All photos and posts are my original work. Please do not reprint photos or articles without permission.**

Monday, July 19, 2010


I feel....empty. No, that's no quite right. I feel like I'm searching for something and I can't find it. Spiritually, something is lacking. I go to church, hopeful for that elusive Something. I look for it while reading articles from really spiritually-together people. While interacting with friends, online and in real life. But I can't find it. I sit and listen to the sermon at church, waiting, hoping for the piece that will fall into place and make everything make sense. But instead, I find myself cynically replying to everything the preacher says. "God will always take care of us!" (except when He ...doesn't.) "Everything happens for a reason" (even that little girl that was abducted the other day? God better have one hell of a reason for that.) "Ask Him to show You where He wants to heal your heart" (I've been asking a long time, Lord...) "Isn't God good?" (Maybe. Sometimes. Then there's those other times...) "Lord, we pray for Your hand of healing on Brother Smith" (Right. Because that works.) "Lord, thank you so much that you spared Sister Jones' house from the fire" (what about the other houses that didn't get spared? Why do we give God all of the credit and none of the blame?)

I feel so guilty for thinking such things. I pray, but with no faith. I want to, but praying with faith didn't make much of a difference. I know that Jesus is a huge part of my life. That He cares about me and about my family. That's He's healed me from so much pain and sin and He's directed my life in obvious ways. I try so hard to listen and believe but I can't help the barrage of cynical questions and thoughts that bombard my mind. I try to talk about it with others but I'm only met with tired cliches and Christianese. It just isn't enough anymore! I'm so tired of hearing them. I need answers, real ones. And I'm wondering if there's anyone out there in Christendom who can give them to me.

I'm tired of church. I go only to find community. I love the people, the friends we've made, the community we've formed. But church...even some of the songs we sing drive me crazy. It's not the church's fault. Honestly, this church we're attending is great. The people are passionate and sincere, and the preaching is full of grace and truth. I feel accepted and loved. But for some reason, it's not enough. Enough to answer the burning questions and fill the void in my heart.

Why can't we get a break and get ahead financially?
Why can't God help us find a job that would be easier for our family?
Why do little children have to suffer at the hands of adults?
Why does my daughter have to struggle with autism?
Why doesn't God heal people?
What good does following Him really do?
If God isn't inept, that seems to make Him aloof and uncaring....

And if one more person tell me to "just take your questions to Jesus" I'm going to blow. What do they think I'm doing?? I read my Bible and all I get is more questions. I used to be so optimistic and passionate and now I don't feel much of anything except cynicism. And I hate that! I am craving community, close friendships, someone who won't either freak out or offer pad-answers when I ask questions. I sat in church on Sunday and I looked around at eager people soaking up the Word of God and I wondered, What's wrong with me? I listen to my friend tell me her problems yet still saying "but I know that God will work it all out" and I think, I used to say that. Do I still believe that? I don't know. What happened? Life, I suppose.

I think we're missing something. That Christianity, with all it's ministries, programs, churches, worship, and VBS's is missing something. There's should be so much more to this thing we call "church", this label "Christian". But I walk into a church and it's like time freezes around me, and I'm the only one still moving while everyone else is frozen and I can see all the happiness and joy on people's faces but I can't be there, experience it with them. I want to reach out and connect but I can't. Am I the only one that feels like this doing church isn't enough? Everyone else seems perfectly content while I sit here, frustrated and lonely. And doubting. I just can't seem to reconcile what I read about God with what I am experiencing on a daily basis.

I crave a real relationship. With a real God. Not the God everyone has neatly in their church-defined boxes. But the God of the Bible Who came through for His people in mighty ways. I crave community. Not Sunday morning "let's stand and worship the Lord". But Monday night Bible-study-turned-comforting-and-holding-up-the-broken-ones. Friends that do life together. Fellowship that you literally cannot live without. I've seen glimpses of this amazing life. And it leaves me wishing, longing, grasping for more. And tired of missing it.

Does this resonate with anybody?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What's With the Comments?

So Blogger is being wacked out. Several people have thought I deleted their comments when I didn't. Honest! The comments seem to be coming and going at will. I would never delete someone's comment just because they disagreed with me. I welcome discussions and dissenting opinions. =) So please, know that the only reason I would delete a comment is if it were mean, crude, or vulgar. So sorry about the confusion! I hope it gets fixed soon. Peace to you.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Just Try Harder and Do Better

I read something that really ticked me off. It came from this blog. I don't like the Botkin's teachings anyway, but this...this tops my list of Worst Blog Posts Ever. I hurt to think about the poor girls that are going to read this and get the messege "There is something wrong with you, you need to try harder". At best, it's confusing and contradictory. At worst...it's driving the arrow of shame and blame deeper into the hearts of girls everywhere who want to know why they aren't married yet. It is their response to the so-called "Marriage Crisis" and it is a painful thing to read.

First they claim:

If there is a problem, we believe it’s not that so many young people are not married – it’s that so many young people are not ready to be married. The capper is that we have such low standards for ourselves that we don’t even realize it.
Let’s be honest with ourselves about the ways we’ve been compromised by our society, usually without knowing it. We are still swaying to the beat of our culture’s drum, in many of our attitudes, our affections, our expectations, and our actions. Many of us have picked up Hollywood ideas about what men should be like, and what makes a good match. We’re often double-minded, with our convictions and our affections running in two different directions, looking for a man that will somehow gratify both. Many of us claim to be preparing for godly wifehood, but actually are doing so with a narcissistic and feministic self-focus. We often have lofty demands for suitors (well, not that lofty – just that they be Jonathan Edwards in Edward Cullen’s body), but love ourselves just the way we are. So the men we want to marry often don’t really exist – and if they did… well… why would they want to marry us?

How can they be serious? They are insulting every sincere, Godly young lady I know. Oh yeah, and the feminists, of course. Seriously, I don't know any girl who wants only "Johnathan Edwards in Edward Cullen's body".

Thanks to cultural confusion, personal baggage, or pendulum swings, guys and girls are can have a hard time knowing how to have relationships with each other.

Unbelieveable. So instead of laying the blame for dysfuntional opposite-sex relationships where it belongs, which is squarely on the sholders of people who teach what they and other ultra-conservative teachers proclaim, they lay it on the feminists, the culture, and the girls themselves. What?!?! This is so absurd. The reason that homeschoolers of my generation have skewed ideas about guy-girl relationships is admitted far and wide by we and our parents who are honest enough. Because, as a result of a pendulum swing against the culture, our parents were a little too over-zealous about promoting ideas such as courtship, betrothal, and "emotional purity", to the point that girls are afraid of speaking to guys and guys are scared to death of even looking at a girl. We bought hook, line, and sinker that if we "gave away pieces of our hearts" that we would have nothing left to give The One someday. And, thanks to a certain author that wears a fedora and will remain nameless, we had nightmares of all our "crushes" standing at our marriage alter claiming us for their own. Is it any wonder that we can't have normal, healthy relationships with each other??

There are, by the way, plenty of people who have maturely avoided these mistakes, or repented of them. Among our friends, they are getting married. (If panicky singles would start looking outside of their own situations, they might notice all of the wonderful marriages taking place.)

Right. All you "panicky" single girls should forget your own fears and notice that I, Darcy, am married. Then you won't feel so bad. Yeah, that's helpful. This is like putting salt in the wound of so many girls who want to be married and aren't. I'm married, and I'm insulted.

Whether or not the young men, fathers, and leadership involved have behaved infallibly is not our place to say; we are here to point out that we girls have no business fixating on anyone’s faults but our own. This is partly a point of Christian charity and proper jurisdiction. It’s also a point of having to be honest with ourselves. After all, in any one of our individual cases, the problem just might be: Us.

While I agree that blame-shifting isn't helpful, they then go on to do just that: Blame the single girls for being undesireable marriage material. It's painful to read.

This next section completely blew me away:

For every girl we know asking why so few young men are “ready,” we know a young man asking where the ready and eligible girls are. Our brothers and their friends have told us that many of the qualities girls have cultivated to make themselves “eligible” are things that won’t come up on young men’s radar screens, and the qualities the young men are most looking for have been neglected.
There are many girls who look prepared to be good mothers and good housekeepers, but not to be capable helpmeets. Our brothers and their friends have told us that they’re not looking for mere live-in maids and nannies; they want wives who would be capable of coming alongside them in the rigors of their lives; being engaging, iron-sharpening companions; and assisting them in business, ministry, adventure, risk, conquest, and uncertainty. The young men we know are asking, “Where are those girls?”

Where are THOSE girls?? Those are the girls who these people label as feminists because they dare to believe that God has gifted and called them too, not just the men, and they are the ones living out those callings. They are the girls who aren't staying home practicing to be Daddy's helpmeet and learning for years on end how to cook and clean and tend babies. They are the girls who are living for Christ, some inside and some outside their parent's homes, who have been sent into the world to fulfill their callings as daughters of God. They are the ones who have been ignored, looked down on, and labeled rebellious feminists and "harlots" for leaving their father's "protection" and learning how to live life and walk with Jesus. This is amazing. These people preach for years what a "Godly young woman" should do and be and now the guys want something else!!! And they blame the poor girls?!?!

The rest of the article is nothing but "try harder, do more, be better" and other such shame-heaping tactics. The messeges that I see loud and clear are "You aren't measuring up; you need to try harder; there is something wrong with you and that's why you aren't married yet; here's 4 steps to ensuring you are marriagable material". Then they contradict themselves by saying that God is actually the One in control of when you marry so try not to fret. But, in the meantime, you aren't good enough, you need to do better.

Girls, if any of you are single and have read this, please, don't believe it. You aren't "the ugly step-sister". You are a beautiful princess of the Most High God. These messeges of "try harder" will only break an already hurting heart. This is a burden that is way too much for you to bear. You are "accepted in the Beloved" and no amount of trying harder is going to make you better or ensure that someone will love you. The Botkins were right about one thing: God is writing your story. I don't have answers for you. I can't tell you what to do to fulfill your heart's desire for marriage. I don't know why God gave me my husband at such a young age while others are still waiting. And I don't pretend to know the ache you have for love. But this I do know: you are so loved! You are worthy because God made you so, not because you did everything right. Dear sisters, don't listen to the lies that tell you you don't measure up. You are beautiful, you are loved, and you are blessed, wherever you are, in whatever season you're in.

I speak out against such lies as this article because I see the damage that they do and I ache for the ones whose hearts are weighted down by them. Listen to the words of the One who made you:
"Fear not, for I have redemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine...Since you have been precious in My sight, you have been honored, and I have loved you."

"Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformedl And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me when as yet there were none of them. How precious are your thoughts toward me, Oh God! How great is the sum of them!"

This is the truth and don't you ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

Oh yeah, as a parting shot, the girls that wrote the article said this:

People sometimes ask why we, at the ages of 22 and 24, are not yet married. The only answer we can give is that God has not ordained for us to be married yet, and that is, like all His other works, “very good”; we are enjoying the extra time to labor with our family, to prepare ourselves more fully, and to “occupy until ‘he’ comes.” As much as we pray for godly marriages, there is much to rejoice about in the calling of visionary daughterhood.

So, every other girl isn't married because they aren't ready or good enough, but these girls are still single because "God has ordained" it?? This should be enough to negate the rest of this ridiculous, unhelpful, and burdensome article in the minds of every thinking woman who read it.