Halloween, Reformation, and Independence

I find it interesting that my Independence Day falls on Reformation Day. I don't expect all my readers to know the details about it, but here are the basics:

Once upon a time in a land far away, there was a dude named Luther. His teachings radically reformed Christianity, and even formed a denomination (called, you guessed it, Lutheranism! Wow, y'all are a smart lot!). Luther, more or less, decided enough was enough and nailed the 95 Theses to the door of the Schlosskirche, a castle church in Wittenberg in 1517. This sparked the Reformation. That's a very barebones version, and likely not the most historically accurate. I'm not a profound theologian.

It's certainly interesting. This day is also Halloween - grim grinning ghosts, candy, trick or treat, and more. Halloween was banned when I was a kid because, you see, Jesus wouldn't go door to door begging for candy. Clearly.

But when I think of 31.10, my brain goes back to a different place. 31.10.2005. I was 18 years old, and a senior in high school. A few days later I got the rest of my possessions out of my father's apartment, but that was it. It's hard to believe I've been away from him for six years. It's hard to believe where I was when I was 18. I was still cutting at the time. I was deep in depression (understandably! I had faced things that no one ever should, and made decisions that some adults never have to make). My father later sent me emails chastising me for my decisions.

It gets more complicated because this anniversary also marks the shattering of my faith. Up until this point, I was pretty confident in my faith. But when I went to the church for help and assistance with a difficult, painful choice, and was turned away, my heart broke. When they helped him (note: he needed help, he NEEDS help so badly. But he didn't get what he needed and it breaks my heart. I still want nothing more for him to get the help he needs) instead of helping me and literally turned me away, then I got angry and bitter.

This is a song I remember hearing on Christian radio a far amount those days:

She fools all of her friends into thinking she's so strong,
but she still sleeps with the light on
and she acts like it's alright on
As she smiles again
And her mother lies there sick with cancer
And her friends don't understand her
She's a question without answers
Who feels like falling apart
And she knows, she's so much more than worthless
She needs to find a purpose
She wonders what she did to deserve this
And she's calling out to you
This is a call, this is a call out...
This Is A Call - Thousand Foot Krutch

I think this song sums up that time frame well. Replace mother with "grandfather" (who died the summer after I graduated high school) and there you have it.

I don't know anymore. I sometimes wonder if I'll ever recover from what my father did to me. Maybe I will. Maybe I won't. Maybe I will and it will always shape a part of my personality.

But sometimes, oh sometimes, I wish when my insomnia is rampant I could pick up my phone and cry to my Daddy. I wish that I could find a friend to get in a car with and drive home, knock on the door, and shock him by showing up randomly. Oh, how I wish beyond wishing that I had a Daddy. But I NEVER had a Daddy - I had a father. And at times, since I don't speak to either parent, I feel orphaned. It makes for some really awkward moments in class some times. For example: "How did your parents parent you when you were five?" Cue instant panic attack from me trying to avoid thinking about it. We had to do a family survey in adol. psych and thank GOD the prof bailed me out when she took one look at my face and could tell it was distressing me.

Gosh. As much as people say it's boring to be normal, trust me, this is one place where I'd love to be normal. Trust me.


I sit here locked inside my head

All your insults and your curses
Make me feel like I'm not a person
And I feel like I am nothing
But you made me, so do something
'Cause I'm fucked up because you are
Need attention, attention you couldn't give
I sit here locked inside my head
Remembering everything you said
This silence gets us nowhere, gets us nowhere way too fast
Staind - For You

How long before you screw it up?
And how many times do I have to tell you to hurry up?
With everything I've done for you,
the least you can you do is keep quiet
Be a good girl,
you gotta try a little harder
That simply wasn't good enough
to make us proud
Alanis Morissette - Perfect

Mommy, don't you love me?
Then why do you hurt me?
Daddy, don't you love me?
Then why did you hit me?
Well I tried to make you proud,
but for crying out loud
Just give me the chance to hide away
Exhaustion takes over,
won't this someday be over?
Jars of Clay - He

I can't stop obsessing over the fact the anniversary is coming. I can't stop thinking about it. I want to stop thinking about it, but my stupid brain won't turn off. I want to be free from this crap.

I just want to be free.


Love in any language, not so spoken here.

I find myself struggling with love. It's such a simple concept, really, but at the same time it's so complex and layered. It's seemingly simple, but also complicated and painful. There are so many Bible verses that speak of love:

"Perfect love casts out all fear. We love because He first loved us." 1 John 4:18-19
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not post, it is not proud. blah blah blah" 1 Cor.

And so many more. The Beatles sang that "All you need is love." We need love at the core of our being, it's something we all long and crave for.

But the thing is? Love scares the everliving shit out of me. Imagine being a child, and your father never telling you he loved you. Imagine being a child, and the hands that were supposed to love you wound up hurting you. Imagine it. (This is also why I cannot view God as a father and cannot grasp that theological concept, but that is another blog entry all together).

People who know me know I struggle to tell my friends I love them. Sure, I show it in many ways: I send them small gifts, I send them cards, I write out Bible verses on note cards to encourage them, and so on, and so forth. But to actually say the words "I love you" is SO DIFFICULT.

And I think that is where some of my God struggles come into play: I can't grasp the fact that He loves me so. I can't grasp the fact that I am loved by Him. And it's not that I don't want to be Loved by Him, it's that I don't fully understand fatherly love. At all. Again, the father rant is for another blogpost (likely on 31.10, considering that's my independence day)

Love is so much - and something I crave so deeply. Something my soul yearns for, something my spirit desires.

But I don't understand it,
and it scares me to death.


Sometimes you just gotta buckle down

People have often told me they don't understand how I do it.
How I went gluten free on a tight budget.
How I stay in school with all my health problems.
How I function on my own.
How I make ends meet each month.

The thing is I haven't done anything special. I'm not anyone special, I'm just your average 24 year old who loves Sims and Pokemon, anime and manga, the colour orange, monkeys and elephants, you get the picture. And the thing is before I had to do it, I thought I couldn't do it.

The truth is when you find yourself in difficult circumstances, you somehow find the strength to carry on. When you see others in dire places and think "Wow, I could never do that" the truth is when push comes to shove and it's your only option, you just buckle down and do it. It's not easy. It's painful. It sucks. It's difficult.

But I'm not a superhuman because I am where I am now. Because I stay in school with mostly decent grades (adol psych will come up!), because I live on a small budget, because I do so much myself.

Truth is I don't know how I do it, and some days I doubt that I can keep doing it.


oh, for grace to trust him more

I suppose this isn't explicitly from the bible verses, but I find it interesting how whenever angels appear in the Bible, they start off with "Do not fear!" Now, in our precious moments bibles and children's bible stories angels are portrayed as lovely, gentle beings. However, they always start off convos with "Do not fear!" So yet, angels are truly fearsome beings and I don't feel that this is stressed enough in theology.

Psalm 139:13-14
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
Even though I don't feel that I'm wonderfully made as my leg drags when I walk, my back fuses together from the surgery, and much more, I'm still wonderfully made. God still has plan for me - brokenness and incompleteness and all.

Author reflections:
God uses all things for this glory. Angels, me, everything. sweet! =)

they say the third time's a charm.

I swear writing this one blog will be the death of me! Aeirth (that's my laptop's name) has decided to eat it. Twice. That's not nice, Aeirth. It's 6 am and I need SLEEP! And the thing is, it's not even that long or complicated this time because I'm crabby and cranky and in pain so thinking isn't working well! Please, please, just post properly this time so I can crash for a couple hours before class, okay, Aeirth? Then I can take a nap after my 1 o'clock class and before my 4 o'clock. Please, Aerith. And please, Blogspot, I promise I will be very nice to you if you will just freaking behave! (Not to mention the other computer settings and other whazzits you messed up when you crashed, not just talking about this supposedly simple homework assignment!)


Quote the First:

"After the fall into sin, we love because God has come to re-create us and re-call us into that pattern." (Kolb, 35)

It's interesting, because this shows how love goes full circle. We were created to love and to be loved. We fell due to sin, yet we were still beings in need of love. And God loved us so much that God started the cycle over by submitting his son to die on the cross to be the atonement for our sins - so that once again, we are fully able to love and be loved as we were created to.

"We are righteous in this relationship because we fear, love, and trust in God above all things."

You know, this is interesting. Love and trust are two things that I struggle with greatly. I don't love easily and in fact struggle with the concept of love, full stop. I'd even venture as far as to say I fear love, but I know that's largely due to my past. As well as my trust issues. And so, the thought that in order to fully have the relationship work I have to have the two things that I struggle with so greatly, well, it has a bit of an impact. Earlier in the paragraph it stated how God is the "protecting Father". Suffice it to say I cannot remotely grasp the concept of God has a father, nevertheless a protecting one. And so - the thought that I have to overcome all this (and not just I, any Christan) in order to have a full relationship, well, it's scary.

Author comments:

Blog readers; if this entry doesn't make sense blame the lack of sleep. Feel free to text me saying "Hey, you sillyface, SLEEP!" I feel that I didn't make enough sense (my first entry was great!) and that it's just discombobulated, incongruous thoughts. But at least I'm pondering things, and at least God is helping my stubborn, stony heart melt into a heart of flesh and be made whole agian, right?


Independence Day

10 days until the most difficult anniversary of my life.
10 days until the day my life completely fell apart.
10 days until the day that I realized I was no longer a child, and had to make the most heartbreaking decision of my life.
10 days until it marks 6 years since I left him.

It's haunting, really. To think that I suffered 18 years at his hand, and even more through emails later on. It's haunting to think that at 18, I had to make such a painful choice, to tear away from my own father. Part of me screams it was 6 years ago, you should be OVER it by now! It's been SIX YEARS. SIX YEARS. But I'm not.

I miss him. God, I miss him. I don't miss the abuse (well, not really, but that's complicated) but I miss having a father. I miss having a Daddy. Sure, he was a buttwaffle, but he was still my Daddy, and yes, I still love him. I'll never understand how I can hate someone so deeply, yet love him so passionately. It's such a mindfuck and the emotions are so twisted, so complicated.

I'm scared. I'm completely scared. I still live in fear of him, even though it's been six years. He got off scott free, so I shouldn't still be so terrified. But I am. And lord, I miss having a father. It's been six years, six long, painful years. And I don't know what to do with it. It's hard to believe, but in some ways it still feels like it was just yesterday I made such a painful, difficult decision.

This is something I wrote just a few weeks after my entire world crumbled at my feet:

SOMETIMES - written November 17, 2005
We can't control what's going on around us. The world literally crumbles in pieces at our feet. Try as we might, we can't make sense of the shreads. We try, we hope, we beg, we plead, and yet, we're just left with brokenness. We're just left with shattered fragments. Hope seems just out of reach. You reach for it, you long to just hold it, and draw it close. And yet, you're just broke. You've reached brokeness. You long for comfort, you look for comfort. You long to be free, you just long to break free of the past. Everything you once held on to, seems to literally shatter at your feet. You just want something to cling to. Some stable ground. Some "strong tower". And yet, you can't find it. You're stuck. Grasping at straws. Reaching for starbeams, and yet falling short. And just longing for happiness. For hope. And yet, you come up blank. You're dark, you're bleak, you're hopeless. You know there's hope somewhere, you know there's light somewhere. It's just so hard to grasp it, and to keep a hold of it. You wonder what it's worth living for. You're tired of being sick, tired, worn out, scared, stressed, weary, and just beat all the time. You just want an answer. Something better. And you just want a happy ending. You just want a better life, a better time. And it's hard. It's so cold, it's so broken...so worn out."

Six years later, it still rings true. Six years later, I'm still looking for all those things.

Suffice is to say my depression is raging now. Suffice it to say things aren't going well. They never go well this time of year, but right now it seems to be particularly difficult. Doesn't help that I don't want to let people in. I've worked for years to throw up these walls, I've worked for years to hide inside myself. And even though I could take them down, brick by brick, step by step, minute by minute, it's terrifying.

Even though it's a bad place where I am currently, even though it's not a good thing, it's what I know and what's safe. It's scary reaching out beyond what I know.

And so, when Halloween rolls around, while other people are trick or treating, celebrate beasts and ghouls, I'll be mourning what I lost six years ago. And at the same time, stepping forward for another year of Independence.

I hate it.


Just take eveything down to highway 61

I hate how my theology class is taking over my blog! So, I'm taking a break from that to do some REAL blog writing. After all, we know I love to write. And babble. And ramble. But that's okay, because that's me, and who I am, right?

My friend and I went up north for the weekend. And I realize how much I fully LOVE nature! I love it I love it I love it. I mean, it's hard for me because it's hard to get around, but gosh, I love it. I loved walking around the outside of split rock light house. I loved walking around and seeing Lake Superior. I LOVE BEING OUTSIDE. I love nature. Even though I hate the cold, I love the feeling of the wind whipping my hair around. Being outside just makes me so HAPPY!

Granted, it's difficult with crutches. Walking is painful, and my weak leg makes things difficult, as well as my off kilter sense of balance. But it doesn't make me not enjoy nature any less, it just means I have to enjoy it differently. I can still climb trees with just my arms (I love climbing things!), and I can limp around and enjoy it.

But gosh, nature gives me such a sense of happiness. It doesn't judge me for being depressed, it doesn't judge me for not being as physically nimble as other people. It lets me take my own pace (until it gets too bitterly cold for that, but you know what I mean). It makes me HAPPY!

but I can't have that happiness often, but for those few glimpses I get to grasp of nature,
for those for moments outside,
it's peace. it's happiness.
it's where I'm meant to be.
I'm able to be outside and see lighthouses (I've always loved lighthouses) and think of how the same way the light saves the ship, there's a light shining head for me, that I'm reaching for, yearning for, leaping toward, that's just waiting for me.

And in that same way... maybe hope, love, grace, joy, peace, all these things I yearn for and dream of are waiting for me.
Waiting to accept me.
Waiting for me to just walk out into them.


and wonder how He could love me, a sinner condemned unclean

"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree"—" (Gal 3:13)

I know I, at least, don't fully realize the impact of what Christ did. I mean yes, I was taught as a kid that Chris died for my sins. But the church I grew up in (an Arminian church) did not really lay this out. When we are taught the Apostle's creed, the line "he descended into hell" is omitted, and so I don't know that the full ramifications of Christ's sacrifice are felt. I mean, the Crucifixion is clearly taught, as even stated in a very popular hymn in the Nazarene church: "He took my sins and my sorrows, and He made them His very own. He bore my burden to Calvary, where he suffered and died all alone." And so, even though so much is taught, I don't think we fully realize that he became a CURSE - and that by that, he took the curse AWAY from us. HE became the curse, and by rising up from the dead and coming over the dead, he takes that curse AWAY.

and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. (1 Thess, 1:10)

I am irrationally afraid of angry people. If someone even raises their voice in frustration, not even anger, I start trembling. If I even think I've made someone remotely angry, I start apologizing profusely. So... the thought that Jesus delivers us from wrath is comforting, because it is something that shakes me to the core so very much.

Author comments:
I love being able to tie things to hymns, and relate the way I was brought up to the what I'm learning now. It's fun!

here is our king

"Jesus came as a substitute or vicar for us; he cames a victim of the accusing law of God and all the assualts of evil in every form." - Kolb, 139
But this I know with all my heart, His wounds have paid my ransom. Jesus took the sin, the blame, the guilyt, he took it all for us. He took everything for us to pay the price that we don't have to pay! Praise God, from whom all blessings flow! Praise him, who became the victim to take the punishment he didn't deserve, so that we don't have to have the one we do deserve.

Author reflection:
He takes the evil for us, he is our king. He is our lover, the one who persues our souls. It is so cool how one great God can do so much.


a king, a priest, a lover.

"Imagery of Christ as a king is often exciting to Christians, and rightly so. We belong to a great and glorious king, who has made us His own." (Mueller, page 143)
"King of my heart, I crown you now. I fall at your feet, and before you I bow." I think that this is something we think a lot: we know that Christ is our King. But I agree with the fact that it says that this is sometimes viewed as a future. Christ is our king yesterday, today, and forever. He will stay our king!

"Our saviour is Christ, the annointed one, the prophet. He sreves us as our great high preiest who offeres himself as the greatest and final sacafrice for the sins of the world." (Mueller, page 143)
Ths verse in Hebrews is one of my favs. He is our priest - who makes the sacafrice and who loves us deeply.

Author reflections:
Christ is not only a king, but a great high priest. He loves us deeply, and cares for us beyond measure. What a priceless gift!


god help the outcasts

Yes, I know I'm just an outcast
I shouldn't speak to You
Still I seek Your face and wonder
Weren't you once an outcast too?

I'm struggling. I feel like an outcast - such an outcast. I don't fit the cookie cutter mold I feel it cut out for Christians. I'm "rough around the edges", sarcastic, and cynical. I don't know what exactly I believe about God, and I don't even know why I'm going into ministry. Maybe it's because I want to right the wrongs. Maybe it's because I want to prove to people you don't have to be perfect to be a Christian.

But Lord, I feel like an outcast. A crippled, limping, orphaned outcast. And the thing is?

I ask for nothing, I can get by
But I know so many less lucky than I

I have no reason to whine. No reason to complain.
So many more have it worse. I just want to help people.
To make a difference.
To help people not harbor bitterness like I have, because it's an awful way to live.


An elephant never forgets

I like elephants. That's a bit of an understatement, I love elephants. I also love monkeys, but that's for another post. Well, I'm wearing a monkey t-shirt but the picture angle kind of hides it.

Elephants. An elephant never forgets, they say. A Nora never forgets, either. It in some ways a cool quality I have, I remember when my friends mention wanting something badly, and I try to make it happen for presents. I remember old nicknames and inside jokes. But at the same time, I remember old hurts, old aches, old pains. I don't forget easy, and it's hard because so many things I'd just rather forget. I'd rather forget how much pain I've been through and I'd rather forget where I've been. But forgetting the bad and remembering the good would hardly do me any good. It would only cause further pain.

But oh how I dream.
How I wish that I could just let go of all these things that have hurt me. And only remember the good.

"You can go on living as long as your heart believes,
although the scars of yesterday remain,
let's stay together always."

The scars will remain, both physical and emotional. The scars won't fade, but it doesn't mean I can't go on living and hoping and wishing and dreaming.


at the cross you beckon me

Descent into hell: is it humiliation or exaltation? Why would you say so?

Can't it be both? It's exalation, because as the words of the worship song "In Christ Alone": "For every sin on Him was laid, here in the death of Christ I live." If he took the sins, then he therefore has to take the punishment, which is eternal damnation. If he decended into hell, then we can see the qualities of exalation: he rose over it, he reigns over it, and hell now has no power over us because he is exalted above it for he went to it, and came back. Howver, if the other includes his death, burial, and suffering, it also intertwines with that, because clearly there was suffering in hell!

The classical Christian teaching about Jesus Christ as fully human and fully divine is confessed in the creeds and councils of the early church.
This is cool. I think we often (to use Christian-ese terms) get trapped in issues of dogma versus doctrine when talking about anything related to Jesus. And we collide on such things and get into verbal fistfights about who is right and who is wrong theologically. But in almost every single Christian cirlce, this is one universial truth. And so, it's cool to see how this one crucal thing goes all the way back and was even agreed on and acknowleded then.

Author Comments:
I like things that make me use vocab, such as the exalation versus humilation, but the English major still runs deep in me even though I switched to psych and ministry. I like how many classic Christian teachings aren't just tied to one particular church, but are more universial Christain truths.


holy, holy, holy

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 18:19 - HCBS)

The Great Commission, something that was taught to me as a child in the Nazarene church. It's such a simple command, but something that's hard to do. It sounds easy, to just go out and make disciples of all, but we all have our own comfort zones, and it's something that, well, feels kinda awkward to do. Doesn't change the fact it's commanded, though.

And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. (1 Cor:21-22)

I just think this is a cool mental image. God sealing and anointing us. It reminds me of Isaiah 43: "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name, you are mine." It's a sweet image, God sealing us, anointing us, and guiding us.

Author comments:

Everything intertwines so well in scripture. We go out to make disciples and in turn those disciples are sealed and anointed by God. And then they go out and make disciples. rinse, lather, repeat.


Cause you're my little girl...

"We should fear and love God that we may not despise nor anger our parents and masters, but give them honor, serve, obey, and hold them in love and esteem." (SC - The Fourth Commandment)

I have long grappled with this. I don't know how to honour my parents. Without going into explicit details, I have no contact with either one of my parents. It's not because I'm a bad daughter, but I was professionally and legally advised to sever ties. I was not honured by them, instead, I was badly hurt by them. And so, I've been trying to figuring out what honoring and obeying them looks like. I understand that it can't be the traditional view of looking at honouring them, because it's not feasible for me to have contact nor a relationship. But what does honouring them look like? I still love them for I don't hate them, despite the wrong they did. I still protect them the best I can, and try to respect them. I also know that the Bible says this in a couple places:

And, you fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. (Eph 6:4, KJV)

Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart. (Col 3:21, NASB)

It's frustrating, because I'm trying to find the balance. What do I do? Do I still honour God by not associating with my parents? What does that look like? I long to honour and respect my parents, for I know it's a commandment. But my physical safety has to be secure, my emotional health deserves to thrive. And finding the balance is beyond difficult.

(Sorta unrelated, but this is bringing to mind the Harry Chapin song "Cat's In The Cradle" And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me, he'd grown up just like me. My boy was just like me. And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon, little boy blue and the man in the moon, when you coming home, son, I don't know when, but you know we'll have a good time then, yeah, you know we'll have a good time then. It reminds me of how parents treat their children turns out to be how they treat them when they get older. And how do I find the balance between honouring God and keeping myself sane? I think this is the one thing, hands down, that is my biggest struggle with Christianity).

So will we verily, on our part, also heartily forgive and also readily do good to those who sin against us. (SC, The Lord's Prayer, The Fifth Petition)

This, I think, ties in well with my struggles with my parents, yes. I realize that I need to forgive them, and have started the process of forgiving them. To do good with them, I know I need to honour them. It all comes full circle.

Author comments:

Heh. The more I go through these blog posts, the more I realize my beefs with Christianity. And, of the same accord, the more I want to fix them and use my story of brokenness to bring people back to Him.