Posts Tagged ‘maturity’

Overcoming my unbelief.

For the last two years, we have not served in a church or participated in a church. My “breakup” with the church was far more personal and painful than I ever expected.  I never expected “my God” to allow such harm to come to us. You see, God was the one who loved me unconditionally.  I was from a rough home, a rough family life that told me I wasn’t good enough, so God was my comforter, my shield. Our breakup from the church was so much more painful than anything I had experienced in my past, because I never believed that God would allow me to enter into that kind of pain in His name.

In these past two years, our views on others and love have changed, and for the better. I believe that. More than that, I have entertained seeds of doubt about God: Does God really exist? Does God really care? Is God the active, intimate Being that we proclaim? Is religion even necessary? Does it do any good?

I’ve felt the pressure to walk away from God.  So many of the intelligent, wonderful people I look up to have done the same. Would I proclaim myself to be foolish and simple for continuing to follow God?  Also, would it align me with the people who say and do terrible and awful things in the name of the Lord? I don’t want to be known as judgmental and angry. Can I love the earth and want to take care of it and still be a believer? Can I care about the “least of these” and be aligned with the American Church?

The truth is: so many terrible, awful things have been done and said in the name of the Lord, and they have been lumped under the term “conservative Evangelicals.”  But the actions of the few (majority) cannot change what I feel in my heart. I cannot walk away from the teachings of Jesus. I feel compelled to follow Him.  I am also entering into this time with my spiritual jargon in disarray. I cannot use the old phrases anymore without needing to know exactly what I am saying. I cannot teach my child blindly.

It’s a disbelieving, agnostic world we live in.  That will not change.

Every day I encounter a thought, a bold word of unbelief, and I have to ask myself, “Will I believe this? Or will I follow what I am not sure of, even if this makes me look like a simpleton?” Perhaps this is real faith — following when you know the other side.

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The Motherhood Club

There is a club that I sometimes wish I never belonged to.

The Motherhood Club.

My reasons for this has nothing to do with my child.  I love my child more than life.  I have a problem with other club members, and this makes me incredibly sad.  Being a mother changes a person. I’m still who I was before I had my daughter, but my life has definitely been enlightened by her.  I have been blessed to know other wonderful mothers who will do anything for their kids and they make me want to be a better mom in a very good way.

Still, I am shocked by other moms. I was aware that there were women out in the world that were petty, mean, competitive, etc, but I guess I never really understood that there were so many. It seems like all I read and hear about are other moms criticizing and berating each other.  Why all the comparisons?  Why the passive-aggressive and aggressive competition?

I would never dare call another woman a bad mom to their face.  Well, unless they were doing their child legitimate harm.

Why are we being so mean to each other?  I mean, aren’t we all in the same boat?  We all love our children.  We all want the best for them.  We all believe they are little geniuses and that they are simply perfect. So why do we brag about them so blatantly in a way that alienates other women? Why do we look down upon other women whose kids aren’t having a good day?

I can hardly get on Babycenter (at least the community aspect) or read a lot of “mommy blogs” anymore because they make me feel inadequate if I linger too long. I start to worry about the fact that my kid isn’t talking or walking or the fact that I don’t play on the floor all day with her.  I feel guilty for breastfeeding – both because formula fed moms already assume that you feel superior to them (and I don’t) and because I feel pressure to not breastfeed.  I can’t be proud of it because of the war-like stance women take. I feel guilty because I let my kid explore on her own.  I feel guilty because I haven’t read to her Anna Karenina yet (lol, not really, but you get the idea).  I don’t drill words or the ABC’s to her every day.  I don’t take her for daily walks.  I don’t structure activities.  And on, and on, and on…

Why in the WORLD do we do this to each other as women?

Am I guilty of loving my child less because I have fed her a jar of baby food or because she has had juice already? Am I a jerk because I have made her baby food from scratch and therefore I am automatically a “superior” mother? (and on and on…)

The Motherhood Club.  Where women tear down others to make their own inadequacies diminish.

I don’t want to be a part of it.

I know that this is NOT all women.  I just wish that there weren’t so many women like this out there.  We should be allies, not enemies.

Associating with Job

I’ve been thinking about Job recently. I have a sweet aunt
that is considered the “Job” of our family. She is one of the
sweetest, most cheerful, loving women you will EVER meet and she is
the Godliest woman I know. Every time she and her husband
have obtained something that would be considered “successful,” it
has been taken from them. They have served in numerous
churches, some with some horribly nasty results. She still praises
God for everything and you believe that she believes in Him with
all her heart. How can I explain to you how loving and sweet she
is? Just take my word for it. Watching my aunt made me think.
Everything I think and do now is tinted by a cynicism that I have
never held before. I used to think I was heavily shielded to
the hardships of life — that I could survive like Job — because I
had dealt with blow after blow as a child and teenager. I
would still praise God because He loved me and while He could deal
with the people who have hurt me, He chose to love me and take care
of me. When the place that I associated with love, comfort, and
hope decided to act in a way that was unbefitting to itself — it
crushed me. Legally, a corporation wouldn’t do what the
church did, and it seems so unthinkable and
ungodly that the church acted in this way. In
my mind I had decided, “God, you can allow life to be tough.
You can give me struggles. Please, You cannot take away my comfort
with You.” When that was taken away, my foundation was
shaken. It’s easy to be grateful when your “non-negotiable”
is still intact. Money has always
been tight for me.
I remember welfare and
WIC, my grandparents paying for everything, and secondhand
clothing. While it made for some hard times with other kids, I feel
like I appreciated what I received and that makes me more
appreciative as an adult. I have had a shaky
family.
It doesn’t scare me or break me down if Todd
and I are having a rough time. It makes us stronger and we are a
better couple for it. For some people, that’s a
non-negotiable. I’m always a little scared when I hear of a
female referring to her man as a “knight in shining armor” or their
“prince charming,” placing him on such a pedestal that will surely
get shaky. My kid will break my heart one day. My
family will always be a little too dysfunctional. That’s
life. I don’t have the nicest home, cutest clothes,
or skinny body.
I would like them, don’t get me
wrong. I would love to be in my old jeans again (when did a size 12
become a desire? ha!), I would LOVE to have a home that people want
to go to. Heck, I would just like a home, but the pressure of
meeting those are too much for me. When my comfort with God was
taken — it shook me to the core. My non-negotiable. Job had
EVERYTHING taken away from him, even his comfort. In fact,
that was the thing that struck me most about his story. He
couldn’t feel God, or see or hear Him. He felt abandoned, yet
he didn’t “Curse God and die.” My aunt hasn’t either. She
still praises Him with a gentle passion that makes you want to curl
up in her presence, if only to soak Him in through her. Can I be
that way? Can I get there? I’m trying. I hope
so. My aunt gives me hope. Do you have a
non-negotiable? Are you or have you been in this place in
your life? Can you still praise God if your non-negotiable
was taken away? The baby you always longed for, that church
position, finances, a nice home, a marriage, your family, your
talent/ability… could you still praise Him as you do
now?

Unloading the Gun

I realize that if I don’t begin to release some of the emotions that I am feeling right now, I may explode into a million pieces. That would result in a very messy cleanup and my workplace is not interested in shutting down the office long enough to let the hazardous materials cleaners in to remove the macabre stains on the walls.

I sympathize with pain. I’ve experienced the feeling of a hand breaking through your chest, wrapping long spindly fingers around the bloody mass of a heart, and ripping it out. I’ve battled with depression. I’ve heard the person who gave birth to me tell me that I was the reason she took pills, and that she hated me. It was “all my fault.” I was tortured in school by a bunch of ridiculous girls who told the class that I had multiple personalities– and that I was just like my mom. I contemplated suicide in 7th and 11th grade. I fell in love with a boy that I worshiped, and he broke my heart and never spoke to me again. That, to date, was the worst pain. The night he dumped me, I drove 1 hour to see him, bought his dinner, then he dumped me. We cried for 4 hours, I threw up, and then I had to drive 1 hour home in an ice storm to a dorm room that was literally 90 degrees. I had the flu for a week. I had a less than great childhood. I was the “mom” for many years. I watched my parents do drugs. Sometimes they sold them. My mother went to jail, wrecked the car, was in rehab 6 times, overdosed and had to have her heart restarted, blamed me, and I had to pick up the pieces.

This doesn’t make my pain superior to anyone else, but I believes that it verifies that I have felt at least some degree of pain before. I had to learn to pick myself off the ground and make decisions to fight against the torrential currents of destruction. My childhood has taught me some valuable life lessons:

1. You ALWAYS have the choice to rise above the current situation.

2. Rising above the current situation doesn’t always mean a socioeconomic change, or a financial change, or a geographical change. However, it can always mean an internal change. You can ALWAYS choose integrity. Honesty. Class. Maturity.

3. A “Pity Party” is only acceptable for so long. If you wallow, you’re not showing integrity. You can always choose to fight.

4. Pain and emotions are completely valid. One person’s pain is not diminished because you do not understand it. Every person has a different tolerance level. I may be able to handle a larger amount of strife. Or vice versa.

5. In lieu of #4, this abolishes the whole “you just don’t understand” statement. You may NOT understand. However, you can understand pain and emotions. You can remain supportive even if you don’t personally know what it’s like to _____.”

6. Therefore, for a person to cling to the “you just don’t understand” statement and refuse to allow another person into your bubble long enough to at least be supportive, then you are throwing a “pity party” that has been going on too long.

In conclusion, I say this. It’s OKAY to hurt. It’s natural and necessary. But, you have to start on the healing process sometime. Bitterness is too easy to cling to, and trust me, it’s not worth it. If you never allow anyone in, then you’re going to be very lonely indeed. That’s something I can relate to.