America

I come into the staff room. One lady immediately says: “You’re young and smart,” and then proceeds to ask me about some musician.

“Here’s the thing,” I say. “I was homeschooled and I’m really not into pop culture. So, I can’t really help you out on that one.”

“Homeschooled?” she says. “He’s got good music. You really missed out.”

Here we go again. I’m not sure why I even mention at my job that I’m homeschooled  (I work in the school district). The reactions are always the same.

“Homeschooled and smart,” I say. “And there’s a lot of other great music I like. So I doubt I’ve missed out too much.”

I settle on the far end of the room and set up my asthma nebulizer. I have a mix of early laryngitis and asthma.

Over the sound of my machine I hear a bunch of nasty verbiage about Trump, our recently elected president. Buggers.

I turn off my machine and look up. It’s that one gal. “You have to be nice,” I say gently with my half apologetic look that I typically use to soften people up.

She tells me she’s seventy and doesn’t have to be nice. She then proceeds to tell me exactly what she thinks of Trump, with her nasty potty mouth included (which cracks me up because that’s what I’ve been getting after two of our autistic kids for lately).

I say gently: “He’s our president.”

“He’s not MY president!” she tells me.

(Well then, move to Canada, I say in myour head).

My other coworkers kept their heads down and their mouths shut, per usual. And I know at least one gal is a Christian.

What would America be like if more Christians spoke up?

I somewhat shrug it off and go back to my nebulizing and Bible reading.

Midnight Conversations

Front door opens (it’s 2am)

“Hello?” I say. (I’m in the kitchen because I’m hungry. Big surprise).

I hear my brother’s voice.

“You freaked me out,” I proclaim.

“Sorry about that,” he says.

“Where were you?” I ask.

To my surprise he answers my question. He’s smiling and seems relaxed. It might be because it’s night. Both of us are night owls.

“At the bar.”

“Which bar?”

He tells me.

“Where’s that?”

He tells me. Shocked at his openness, I continue with my interrogation. He’s still my kid bro, even after all these years. Sometimes catching him in a good mood is challenging. Like an owl, he’s grouchy most daylight hours.

“Who were you with?” I ask.

He tells me. It’s a church guy and the cousin to a kid I grew up with.

“He good?”

“Geez!” My kid bro says.

“Hey, just want to be sure you’re safe,” I say.

“Yeah, he’s a good.”

I feel satisfied. I’m very protective when it comes to my brother and his friends.

“Why you up?” he asks.

I tick off the reasons on my fingers. “I’m going off my depression meds. I’m moving tomorrow. I miss Cinaed. And and and.”

“I get the feels,” he says.

Sometimes I really love my brother.

 

Demolishing Strongholds

Once upon a time there was a dungeon. The king over that dungeon was the devil, and the demons–those who tortured the inhabitants of the dungeon.

An abused woman stood at the entrance to the dungeon. She, too, was its captive. With a trained smile, she called to many on the streets, and the men came into the dungeon willingly–even those of the “Way” (as the Christians called it). Many men entered, and few ever left.

The first step a man took was not looking away from the abused woman given the role of Seductress, by the devil. The second step was when the man turned toward her. The third step was when he walked toward her. The fourth step was when he let her lead him inside. The final step was when the door thudded shut behind him, leaving him a captive to that dungeon.

The dungeon was an evil place. Each room held pleasure though. Don’t get that wrong–each room held pleasure, even as it damned the soul.

The dungeon promised “to teach.” The dungeon promised escape. The dungeon promised to wipe away all past pains. And why shouldn’t it promise these things? Its master was the Father of Lies.

The dungeon tortured. It was filled with lust, pain, addiction, pleasure, and shame–deep and abiding shame. But once in, few men made it out alive. Even if the men wanted out of the dungeon, it was close to impossible for them to leave.

But that is only half the story. The other half of the story is of the King of Glory. HE had made the heavens and the earth. HE was All-Powerful, All-Knowing, Perfectly Loving, the Great Healer, and the Rescuer and Savior of the world. And next to Him, the devil was a bug.

Then, there was His daughter. She hated that dungeon. She hated it passionately, and she was going to destroy that dungeon by its roots (but that is a story not yet lived out).

She had two swords in her hands. The first was Truth. The second was Light.

The truth destroyed the Devil’s lies at the roots, so healing could come in. The light she held exposed the darkness, and the darkness fled, because it was afraid. And it should have been! Her Abba Father was her Master and Love, like David when he fought Goliath.

She was going to destroy this stronghold.

The first task was for her to seek her Father-God. The second was obeying Him in the path He had laid for her feet. The third was to live in truth and confess the part she had had in getting sucked into a portion of the prison herself–led by her hand by a man made Master Deceiver by the Father of Lies.

Then. She was called to take up her cross. And it wasn’t fun. It wasn’t fun. But she knew God was faithful.

She exposed the darkness for what it was. She let God fill her heart with love. She let Him heal her. She persevered through the many paths of pain snaking spider-web-like through her heart. And she let her Love heal them. Jesus was the Great Healer.

And she called to those bound inside: “Come out. You will be loved. I will not condemn you. I will not cast you away. God help me, I will not be false. I will stand by you. I will not listen to the lies of those not living in the Christlike way. Come out, and be free.”

It was the greatest of adventures, it was the hardest of adventures. And it made a great true-life story.

Trouble Trusting

I have trouble trusting men.

I almost always sat at my old church alone.

Once, an old man and his wife sat next to me. You know sometimes how you feel defiled by just a man’s eyes on you? That’s how that old man made me feel. He creeped me out all the way through service. I felt sick, and like I wished I was ugly.

My first boyfriend’s dad made me feel the same way.

I have trouble trusting.

Poison and Stones to the Soul

I used to go to a Chehalis church. It was “the best of times. It was the worst of times.”

The darkness of the youth room during worship was what I needed. I cried often and cried out to God during the worship. God was right there with me. I was so very broken from my two years at WWU.

It was the worst of times. “Sisters” in Christ excluded me from friendships and social gatherings, while “praying” over me during worship services. Others used me as a third wheel and were manipulative. They were so very toxic for my soul. To each their own. I left them to their own sin and fled.

But God was there. He showed up, despite the spiritual sickness of that church.

It was the worst of times. I had never felt so uncomfortable and so much like a piece of meat. My “brothers” in Christ hovered and cast sidelong glances at me and only wanted my friendship for personal gain. I felt like nothing more than a piece of meat. They fought over me like ravenous dogs. And the other “sisters”? They chased me down for my friendship, just to keep me away from a guy I had liked at the time.

Now, I can only name two people there (a young married couple) who were beautiful and godly to me. The rest were snakes.

It all still hurts, so I guess I’m not healed yet. I wanted a home so very badly, and I was given stones instead of bread. And I was fed poison.

God, save.

Slavery and Healing

I’ve read quite a bit about slavery in America, before the Civil War. People were bought and sold. The white masters often raped the African women to produce more “livestock.” The slaves were often beaten horrifically. Marriage between slaves wasn’t really allowed. Families were sold apart. It was hell.

I’m reading through Romans right now, and am in chapters 7 and 8.

Here is how the slavery of sin works:

It starts with a wounding and a lie. The person is sold as a slave to sin. Then, the devil heaps condemnation on the person. They are told they are horrors. They are told they will never be loved. They are attacked and beaten down by the enemy of our souls. The sin will leave horrible woundings on their life–painful woundings. They will be told they are worthless and that they deserve whatever pain they have been dealt.

And then God comes with His faithful love and gentle arms. And He heals. He binds up the brokenhearted. A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out. THAT is who our God is.

And we are His Hands and Feet, church. His hands and his feet.

God Hears

Trump is President. My relief is profound. Thank you Franklin Graham for calling Christians to vote. Thank you Ben Carson (the candidate who was my first choice) for not ever getting caughthe in petty squabbles. My respect for you both is to the moon and back.

Thank You God for providing in the small things as well. My flower fairies I made for dance fundraiser are almost all complete. God provides.

I finished sewing my dancer’s practice skirt. It’s beautiful because I made it from scratch and without a pattern. It’s beautiful because I succeeded and God blesses me.

My God answers prayers, from the huge things that affect our nation and beyond, to the small things that mean the world to me.

A Hope and a Future

I think being abused affects our view of ourselves. We are made to feel worthless. And the trauma doesn’t just vanish.

That’s when the lies sneak in.

We have to know how much God loves us, and that He turns all things for good. Every time I go through something horrible, I tell myself that I will be able to reach more people for Jesus because of it. Every trial has our victory. God is faithful.

Every time I hold a crying child (even if it’s as small a thing as a scraped knee), my heart grieves. I wish we’d been friends back then. I never give up on my friends.

The worst thing about abuse is that you feel like it steals your future. And that is a lie of the devil. The harder the life story, the more opportunity we have to witness.

God is loving. That is the truth. He died a horrific death to call us His own. Our God is faithful.

True Roma

When your home becomes your un-home and they make it clear you are not welcome, that is when you leave. Sometimes things must be broken before they are made whole again. Thus, my relationship with my mother is utterly broken, and I am remaking it, even if it costs her tears.

In that moment, find another place, away from her words and tears you didn’t want. I sit by a glass window in a place full of books and very little noise. It is blissfully silent, with only a few voices. And I read a book of goblins and outcasts and seekings–a children’s book.

Wherevery I go–that is my home. In this way I have become Roma.