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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Kid Randomness

Did you know that if you mix spit with crayons you can make finger paint?

This is just one of the many interesting things I wouldn't have learned if I didn't have kids.

Kailey decided that she wants to fly helicopters. She also thinks that fairies live in the back yard and is determined to find one and put it in her bug jar. We tried keeping a caterpillar alive in her jar but it died after 2 days. Probably in self-defence. She keeps asking me to find her some pixie dust so she can fly. She thinks the local grocery store carries it. I'm not sure how to tell her the truth, but she probably wouldn't believe it anyways.

Faith apparently knows to cheer at football games. We were at a pizza place last week and a football game was on the TV. She started getting excited and making the sign for "ball". Then she threw her hands up in the air and yelled "yay!!" at the top of her lungs several times during the game, causing everyone in the restraunt to look at us. Oh, for the abandon that children have. Did I mention that we don't watch football, nor have we ever taken her to a game? Also, never give her your cell phone. She can rearrange the icons, change your wall-paper pic, and text someone in 30 seconds flat. Don't ask me how I know.

Joel found out he could stand all by himself yesterday and the look on his face was sheer wonder. I'm in trouble with that one. Whenever Elvis comes on, he starts shaking his little booty and clapping. It's pretty cute. He loves the kitty (though his love in unrequited) and chases bugs around the floor. He wrinkles his nose when he grins at you. I think he's going to be a genious because I'm intuitive like that.

Sky took Kailey with him to run some errands the other day. When they came back, she was chewing gum...a huge no-no in my book. I asked him why he gave her gum and he said "It was the only way to get her to stop talking". Well, yes, the child talks non-stop. My mom says what goes around comes around. Sky says, "Then why do I have suffer for it, too?" I keep claiming that the ADHD comes from his side of the family but he won't have it. Oh look...a squirrel! Wait, what was I saying?

Oh yeah, crayons. So did you know that crayons have more uses than are described on the box? You can chew them up and make multi-colored spit, then use that to finger-paint the table, chairs, fridge, and kitchen floor. Also, canoe paddles make great swords. And work wonderfully for leaning up against the tree, so you can climb them to reach that branch that is just too high to get to.

Give my kids a swimming pool, and they'll have it full of mud in no time. Then they'll put the slide in it and slide into the mud. Occasionally I'll fill it with bubbles for them. Mud and bubbles are a strange combination, let me tell you.

One of the girls' favorite pass-times is wrestling. Sometimes I intervene because I'm not thrilled with their game of trying to beat each other up. It hurts me just watching them. Most of the time I don't watch and if no one is screaming then they must be fine.

Whatever happened to sugar and spice and everything nice?

Kailey keeps walking up to random women and asking them if they're pregnant. She seems to think all women have babies in their tummies. She asked my friend this the other day and my friend replied with a laugh, "No, I'm just fat!" Kailey then turned around and announced to the whole room, "Mommy, she's fat!" *head in hands*

Faith wouldn't eat her dinner the other day. I caught her later, sitting on her swing, happily munching on a bowl of cat food. I'm tempted to try it myself since the kids love it so much. I feel like I'm missing out on something.

Kailey took scissors to her hair, which resulted in her waist-length hair becoming a cute, sholder-length cut. She then chopped off a bunch right in front of her face a week later. When I asked her why she did it again, she replied coolly, "It was in my face, Mom". Like, duh.

Sometimes it is all I can do to keep my kids and the cat alive and in one piece. Somedays I think I will be completely insane by the time I'm 30. If I make it that long. I haven't even told you all about the mud pies in the kitchen, insects in their beds, sliding in boxes down the basement stairs, climbing and jumping out of trees, eating sand, and numerous crises and disasters that happen every single day. And they're only -4 years old. How do mothers keep their children alive and well long enough to graduate?!

Now I know why there are mother of pre-schoolers support groups.

I wish I could say that I always love being a mother and that life is a bed of roses. But I don't and it's not. Oh, I have many moments of joy, usually mixed with moments of "that's it, I'm through! I QUIT!!!!" and there's usually more of the former than the later, thankfully. I love my kids, love their creativity and passion for life. But sometimes I wonder "what they heck were we thinking?!" Then Kailey tells me I'm so cute and Faith gives me a huge kiss and Joel falls asleep all snuggly in my arms and I just want to freeze those moments and keep them that way forever.

People keep telling me that they don't stay little forever. My answer? I certainly hope not! ;) Someday I'll miss the sand in their diapers, mud all over them, and crayon-spit "paint" all over the kitchen.

Then again....maybe not......

Monday, September 13, 2010

Moving On

"Why don't you just move on?"
"You're being selfish...complaining about your past...all I hear is 'me, me, me'"
"Paul said to forget what lies behind and press on toward the goal."
"Don't let your past define you."
"Get over the 'victim mentality' and get on with your life."
"Writing about such things breeds malcontent, bitterness, and unforgiveness."
"You must not be healed completely if you keep going back to these things."

Any of the above sound familiar? Sometimes I feel like a broken record is playing.

What I want to know is, who says that those of us who write against spiritual abuse, using our own pasts, aren't "moving on"? Do they think that writing about what happened, about our own stories, means that we're still stuck in that place? That we cannot "get past it"? Why does it have to be either/or?

I don't believe it does. These people like to quote Phil. 3:13: "But this one thing I do, forgetting those things that lie behind, and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." They claim that we are not doing this. That by not "forgetting" we are not "pressing on". But I say that we are. Do you realize that Paul, previous to saying this, spent an entire chapter talking about where he came from? Talking about his past? He obviously didn't "forget". As in denying who he was, what he'd done, and where he came from.

Are we supposed to do this as believers? "Forget" where we were before Christ saved us? The New Testament is full of such phrases as "you once were....but now you are". The writers of the epistles constantly speak of what things were like in their past and the past of their readers, while pointing to their present. Why? Because who we are is in part defined by who we were.

Think about it.

How can you write about healing without first talking about brokenness?

How can you proclaim victory without first speaking of defeat?

How can you claim freedom without first describing bondage?

How can I "comfort those who are in trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God" if I cannot speak of how God has comforted me?

How can I speak of salvation without talking about what I was saved from?

How I praise God for His forgiveness if I cannot remember for what I was forgiven?

I cannot. It just doesn't work that way.

I can speak of my past sins with sorrow, but as one who is not bound by them anymore. I can speak of past pain as one who has been and is being healed. Without the perspective of the past, we cannot understand our present or our future. This isn't bitterness, though it definitely could be there. No matter who we are we must constantly be watchful that we don't let such things as bitterness and resentment take up residence in our hearts. That doesn't mean we live in constant fear of being bitter. But there is a huge difference between remembering where I came from so as to not go there again, and dwelling on the sins of others in such a way that we let hatred of them consume us. I and others who use our own pasts to speak against a vile wrong in conservative circles are not "breeding malcontent or unforgiveness". Anyone who says differently obviously hasn't read very much of my blog or my friends' blogs.

And, yes, I will always be a "victim". As my friend, Lore, put it: "I get so tired of the way people like that use the word "victim." A victim is a person who has been wronged, a person against whom a crime has been committed. The word has nothing to do with being strong or weak, or having a good or bad attitude. If someone was hit by a car, even if it was an accident on the part of the well-intended driver, that person is a victim of an auto accident. If someone's house is robbed, even if that person took every possible security measure before, during, and after the robbery, and even if that person has a very proactive response to the situation, that person is a victim of a robbery.

Likewise, if someone was subjected to a system of spiritual abuse, especially if that person's parents imposed said system when the person was a child, that person has been wronged. To borrow from the Lord's Prayer, that person has been "trespassed against."

I am the victim of a house fire. I always will be. Because it happened. This helps to explain a little about my heart, who I am, how I react to crisises in my life, and why I hyperventilate when I see huge fires or freak out when I think I smell smoke in the middle of the night. When others find out, they have a better understanding of me. Remembering the fire doesn't mean I'm still "stuck" back there in the past. It doesn't mean that I haven't "moved on". Obviously I have. I've slowly collected new clothes, kitchen utensils, and furniture. The pain of losing all of my belongings does still cause my heart to twinge every so often, but that's because pain doesn't go away over night. Healing is a process. I will never forget that memory. But it's effect on me will change as the years go by.

We're all on a journey. None of us get there overnight. Sometimes we backtrack, have set-backs. Some days we go miles, other days mere inches. But if we ever forget where we came from, we will be just as lost as if we do not know where we are going. Without the perspective of our past paths, out future paths aren't as easily understood. We talk about our journey so that others might be encouraged on theirs. We tell them "I've been there, you're not too far now" and they get the courage to keep moving on. We say "you don't want to go down that path...I did just that and let me tell you where I ended up". And some person might be saved from that mistake. We overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. By the word of our testimony, others too might be saved.

One last thought: I am sorry for the person here who said that if their daughter were to write about them the way I write about my parents that they would feel horrible. I certainly hope you would. You should feel horrible when you have hurt someone you love. But then you should "move on". Confess your sins to them and seek forgiveness. Pray for reconciliation. Be real and open and honest about your mistakes. And let grace have its way with you. But do not be offended if they then learn from your mistakes, take them and use them to help others light their paths. Hopefully you too will be able to say "Yes, I did that, I said that, I was wrong" and let the shame roll off your back and into the gutter where it belongs.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

On Emotions

I used to say that I don't like physical touch. But after I fell in love and married, I realized that I had to believe that. Because I was so affected by a loving touch that the sheer strength of it scared me to death. Since I didn't know what to do with those feelings, I suppressed them and just didn't touch people. It took me forever to be OK with hugging.

I know why I had to suppress my emotions growing up. Why people used to tell me that I was like a rock...was never affected or "wore my heart on my sleeve". Because, when I finally let my guard down, I realized just how passionate I am. And how deeply I DO feel things. Like I had to control and suppress every emotion every feeling, because I didn't know what to do with such strong forces as my own emotions. I was afraid of them. Sometime they'd come out in spite of me and I'd get told not to "let your emotions control you". So I'd suppress them again.

That and emotions were supposed to be unreliable, deceitful, and bad. Lead you into a world of sin and hurt. You were just better off without the inconvenience.

Really? How is that a healthy way to live your life? Emotions are like the barometer of your body. They help to gage your mental, physical, and spiritual health. They aren't inherently "bad" or "evil". To ignore your emotions is like ignoring the gage on a pressure-cooker. Something's gonna blow.

And often, as a young woman, something did.

I'm learning now. Learning how to listen to my own feelings. Learning how to feel, to just let those emotions be, without trying to suppress them, without fearing them. I know that I feel everything very deeply. And it's OK now because I've learned how to direct those feelings in a healthy way.

It's such a relief to allow myself to feel. I look back on my teenage years and I hurt for the girl I was; for the pain that girl needlessly went through and the scars I bear from it now. I read my journals and delight to see the awakening of a heart that was longing for passion and warmth.

It really began when I experienced the love of a man. When a good man chose to love me, regardless of everything. Isn't that the theme of so many movies? The girl nobody noticed, or everyone thought was ugly, suddenly blossoms into a beautiful woman under the influence of a man who sees her, truly sees her, and draws her heart out. Waters and showers love on her until she is becomes who she was always meant to be. If that's not a picture of Christ and His Bride, I don't know what is.

So many times, when my heart gets burned, I am tempted to go back....back into the place where there was no feeling. It seems safer there. Less painful. No one can hurt you in that place. But there, in the dark recesses of a heart that is hiding, you cannot feel love either. I remember that, and reach for love instead.

It hurts something awful sometimes, this being alive business. Giving my heart, even when it's been trampled on; will be trampled on again and again. Choosing to stay alive, to feel, to love, to be vulnerable. It's scary. But I know well the alternative. I've lived it. And I don't want to go back. I choose to feel everything deeply; to savor every thought, feeling, touch, and to let myself cry or laugh or get angry. It is who I am, and I am not ashamed.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Here Goes

This song really struck me today. I think it is the theme song of my life. Even when I'm faltering, afraid, not wanting to make the jump or take the step, holding tightly to what I know because the unknown is....well, unknown, I still end up in the place this song describes. Because I've lived in fear, and in numbness, and with a heart that is shut down. And I never want to go there again. So here goes nothing, here goes everything.