Monthly Archives: November 2012

Breaking the Silence

I know I’ve been pretty quiet recently, both here on my blog, and on other blogs. After the last post, I stepped back from posting for awhile. It has helped taking a break from writing, and now I’m ready to jump back in for a bit more time. A little bit of news though. My husband’s and my courtship story was put up on Julie Anne’s blog, BGBC Survivors, yesterday, so please go take a look! I will probably be starting a series of more in depth posts about our story sometime in the coming months.

Over the past few weeks, life has been doubly hectic as my husband prepares his finals and is busy with his nose stuck to the computer screen or buried in a book. We also had Thanksgiving, and I’ve decided that I really don’t care for the holidays. Every major holiday brought a frantic calling around to see which family we could invite over for the holiday. We were desperate for others to be there for Thanksgiving, or Easter, and sometimes even Christmas. If there were other people there that meant that there was a better chance of Dad not blowing up at someone, or making everyone miserable with his degrading words. Having never lived close to relatives, getting together with them for holidays never happened. Over the past 4 years, it’s been harder to find people who were willing to get together with my family for holidays. Because of not having a lot of traditions for holidays, my family pretty much spends Christmas, or Thanksgiving, like it’s a regular old day with an abnormally large meal in the middle of the day.

Integrating into my husband’s family has been quite an eye opener to me. They have relatives in the area, and each holiday that they celebrate, everyone gets together. It’s been a blast, and I do regret not having these traditions with my family, but at the same time, I don’t regret it. We could all barely stand each other and due to that, birthdays, holidays, and other celebrations were awkward, uncomfortable, and more often than not, felt fake.  The cute little cards my siblings would make for each other on birthdays and the card from mom and dad would be sweet and encouraging, I guess, but I couldn’t take them as truth because it was only once a year I would read that my parents were proud of me, or encouraged to see this or that in me.

A week ago today was Thanksgiving. Memories of last years guilt trips from my mom and dad about not eating a meal with them haunted me as I prepared to buckle down for the whirlwind of activities. The curse of living 15 minutes away from both families is trying to make everyone happy and content with what we decide. Neither of us enjoy spending time with my family, and besides, they don’t plan anything. Ha, I remember Mother’s Day this past year….it was miserable, and I spent the entire time trying to ignore the jabs my dad was constantly making to my younger siblings. I finally snapped and told him that it was so uncomfortable to be around him, and would he please just stop. He got mad at me and told me “welcome to my life.” Sheesh, it’s no wonder I don’t enjoy being over at my family’s house for holidays.

This year for Thanksgiving, I checked, checked, and double checked, to make sure that we knew what my parents were doing, or not doing. They didn’t have anything planned, nor did they have any idea at what time they would eat the thanksgiving meal. I finally told my mom that I didn’t know if we’d be able to stop by since we were driving an hour with my husband’s family to spend thanksgiving evening with his extended family. We did finally decide to stop over at my family’s for a little bit, and thankfully didn’t run into my dad at all for most of the entire time we were there.

I went inside to grab my coat to head out and I walked in to my dad getting in my mom’s face yelling at her. Great. Just the memory I wanted to have to carry with me.  I walked out the door as several of my siblings verbally came to my mom’s defense, and to my dad storming off back upstairs to whatever he does up there.  That simply solidified why I do not go to my family’s house right now.

The rest of our Thanksgiving was good, and we had a lot of fun with my husband’s family and extended family. Even still, I do not like the holidays. I don’t like the holidays because there is so much emphasis on family, happiness, joy, peace. I don’t know what that’s like, and it’s hard for me to feel anything other than please let this pass quickly. I don’t like birthdays because they were always awkward affairs with the family trying to pretend to be happy that one of it’s members was turning a year older. I have broken down and told my husband I can’t go to his family’s birthday celebrations because it makes me realize how much I’ve missed and it really hurts. I’ve never told them this truth, but it still hurts a little bit when we celebrate one of his siblings’ or parents’ birthdays.

Christmas is coming up, but I hoping that my family will still be going out of town. if they do still decide to go out of town, we will not be celebrating Christmas with them because it’s too long of a drive to where they’re going for us to go for one day. I am looking forward to my inlaws’ Christmas celebration though. It is promising to be quite an adventure, and I am really discovering I love doing things with this family. They are always very gun-ho about doing spontaneous things, and I love being told what to bring to make the gathering so much more exciting!

I still don’t like the holidays though. I will be much more happy when January 1st passes and I can breathe a sigh of relief.


I will not repeat the past

The weepy teary-eyed moments usually hit when I least expect it. More phrases or memories have been triggering these weepy moments recently, and it’s becoming harder to predict when something will trigger my emotions. I find myself getting to the evening and starting to crash emotionally and hitting a wall, and wanting to just curl up and not have to work through things anymore.

My hubby and I had a conversation the other night about hoping for something and what it looks like when that hope is disappointed. I tried to explain to him how hard it is for me to hope for something, and to pray for it, because of how many times I’ve been so bitterly disappointed. We didn’t really agree on what it looked like to hope in Jesus, but as I rolled over to fall asleep, a bitter memory hit me, and I ended up curled up in my husband’s arms, crying, and hearing him whisper in my ear about how sorry he was that I had to deal with what I did growing up.

I never thought I’d say this, but I am angry at my mom. Like seriously angry, and what makes that harder is she does not know what she did. I’ve finally accepted the fact that I was truly alone growing up. I had no defender, I had no one to take my stand or to back me up. I keep trying to tell myself that I’m wrong, that I am exaggerating and making things up, but I can’t escape the truth; I. Was. Alone.  My siblings were alone, and most of them still are. We were alone as I watched my brothers get thrown around during my dad’s anger fits. We were alone when mom was out, and dad decided to start yelling and throwing things around because the house wasn’t clean enough for his high and mighty standards.

I never want a child of mine to feel the pain of having to stay at someone’s house for two hellish weeks, only to have found out at the beginning that that family really didn’t want you, they just wanted your younger brother. I don’t ever want any child of mine to feel like I would never defend them or stand up for them. I would never stand by and watch while a child of mine is verbally chewed out. The guilt (wrongly felt) and the shame (wrongly felt) I have grown up with is something I never want my children to feel.

I feel like my heart is breaking again trying to accept that I truly was alone growing up. I have opened up memories that I have not wanted to remember as I’ve looked back with these new eyes. I keep trying to defend my mom to myself, and telling myself that she really did stand up for us, for me, and the more I uncover, the harder it is to convince myself that she did. It’s like telling myself that this memory is the worst it’s going to get, and then being thrown back by the next memory when it is worse than the first.

I have had this post draining my already low energy reserves for the past week, and I’m still not sure of how it’s turning out. If anything, this opening of hard memories has shown me just how strength Jesus actually gave me through all of those years at home. I never really saw myself as strong, I just simply had to be the defender. It was that or I kill myself.  It was be my siblings’ defender, or let them crumble like dust. I am tired of being strong. All it takes to break my strength is one sleepless night followed by a day of major aches, then followed by a second sleepless night full of more aches and pains. Once in that cycle, it’s hard for me to break out, or to find the strength to hold up under memories I don’t want to remember but that have been triggered. The past two weeks have been that cycle for me, and it started when my mom told me that someone challenged her to repent of not standing up for my siblings and her response being she doesn’t know how she didn’t do that.

I passed my dad in his car on the road today as I drove home from a job. I almost burst into tears when I saw him because of how present the pain is right now. I want to have a relationship with him, and it hurts to not have one. I want to see him care and love my siblings, my mom, me. I want to see my mom recover and realize how much she’s denied throughout her life, and I want to see her heal.

I am fighting doldrums many times a day now, and I never know if I’m just going to break down and start crying or if I will find the strength to hold my head up and not let the memory get close to my heart. Jesus is a fading and shifting shadow to me right now. Sometimes He’s easy to reach out to, and other times He feels far away. I never doubt his love for me, I just get lost inside the pain.

It’s a low time right now for me. Especially as the weather gets colder and my fibromyalgia starts reacting towards the cold with a lot more pain than usual. The more pain I’m in, the more worn out and weary I feel. The more worn out and weary I feel, the less I fight to be strong.


To doubt or not to doubt

(Please feel free to read my fellow bloggers’ take on this subject in our three part posts.  here is Joanna’s,  and here is Hännah’s)

 

I grew up under the mindset that to doubt Jesus meant to doubt my salvation, the bible, my faith, and that Jesus is real. I remember being a newly baptized 8 year old, crying on my bed because I was disobedient and I needed to be baptized again because I had sinned. Even though I was thoroughly reassured by my mom that I couldn’t lose my salvation and that I didn’t need to be baptized again, that fear that if I doubted, or messed something up big time, I would lose favor in Jesus’ eyes.  So as I started really questioning the church, my bible, and seeing my faith with eyes damaged by my dad’s hypocrisy, this fear started crippling me, and I felt trapped; stuck.

I knew I was watching my “faith” fall apart, I knew I was no longer comfortable reading my bible, attending church, or even talking the talk. When I tried to explain to someone what I was feeling, I felt like I had to quickly reassure said person that I wasn’t running away from God; in fact, I was running to Him! The looks of cautious disbelief I got were numerous. Seriously, though, was I running away from or to God? Deep in the recesses of my mind, I didn’t know. I still feared the conditionally loving God I thought I knew.  The questions that ran through my mind were overwhelming and yet I still tried to block them out and pretend that all was well. Those questions soon became like trying to hold oil in my hands. I couldn’t hold on to them, and they started affecting more than just wanting to not go to church.

The increasingly fearful and uneasy feelings I felt caught me off guard. I began to accept that I was doubting, but I still couldn’t put my finger on why I was doubting, or what I was doubting. I knew it had something to do with my past, my dad’s hypocrisy, and the beliefs I had willingly swallowed since I became a Christian some dozen or more years ago.

A friend lent me Rachel Held Evans’ book, “Evolving in Monkey Town“. I kept coming across things and saying yes, I agree with that, yes, I can totally relate and understand what she is talking about there. Even if I agreed and felt like I could relate, I still felt like there was more to the answer for my doubting. Then it hit, and through three different outlets, I got the same answer, all within days of each other.

Through a long email chain with a friend, she told me how her mom had told her it was okay to question, that that meant your faith was becoming stronger and was growing deeper. Through multiple blogs and many posts, I started seeing the same thing; it’s okay to question. It’s okay to ask, challenge, and doubt your beliefs. All of this sounded so good and was a relief to hear, but I was still stuck on the fear of doubting God and losing my faith; I was still stuck feeling like there was more to this.

I got the end of “Evolving in Monkey Town”, and that’s where I found my epiphany; I found the answer. Up to finishing the book last night, I still clung to the fact that I knew I wasn’t doubting God, I just didn’t know how to put into coherent words the doubt I felt. The fear of doubt was no longer strangling as I discovered how much Jesus loved me. I discovered that He will love me no matter what. He is the author and perfecter of my faith, and that faith will never be taken away from me. All that matters to my faith is the fact that I love because I have been loved first with a love that is deeper and wider than any figment of the imagination. Everything else is piddly details that many Christians get caught up with and oftentimes forget that we are loved and have been given a wealth of grace and mercy.

Rachel writes,

Doubt is a difficult animal to master because it requires that we learn the difference between doubting God and doubting what we believe about God. The former has the potential to destroy faith; the latter has the power to enrich and refine it. The former is a vice; the latter is a virtue.

This is what I couldn’t put into words. I was not doubting Jesus as I first thought, but I was doubting the fundamentals of my faith, my beliefs. I was, without realizing it, becoming a Berean and was no longer content with just accepting what I was taught, but was questioning, trying to probe deeper to come to a conclusion about why I believe what I believed.  To doubt and question what I’ve been taught is to throw my faith through a refining fire to burn away the false ideas that have taken root. To doubt and question my faith keeps my faith active instead of allowing certainty to freeze it and never allow for any growth.

My past with my dad and his influence to my faith is very toxic. Trying to question and rebuild my beliefs is like trying to get rid of a poison in my system but my system still craves it. This is not normal for me, nor is it comfortable. I wasn’t encouraged to question my faith growing up. I was given the mindset that once we reach a certain stage our faith will remain the same and constant.  I was taught not to question, not to dig deeper and constantly evaluate what I believed.

This epiphany was relieving, it was helpful, and has given me a break in the frenzy of doubts and questions that have been flying around my mind. I can now say with doubled confidence I am not doubting Jesus, I am not doubting His love for me, I am not doubting my salvation. I am doubting the beliefs I was raised under; I am doubting the things my dad would say and then do the opposite.  I am rebuilding the foundation everything else will stand upon. Jesus is my only foundation, and I want to get back to that place. I do believe that this is going to be a long journey, but I’m not worried anymore. I’m not feeling crushed under doubt I don’t understand. I understand where I am at, but I do not know where this all will take me. I am willing to question, doubt, and wait to see where I go. I do know it’s gonna be good.


Let Justice Be Served

Yesterday was a down-in-the-dumps day for me. I felt like I had hit another wall in this healing process, and it was freaking me out. I felt confused, lost, unsure of everything, and really discouraged. The deeper I go towards healing, the harder it gets to let go of who I used to be. It gets harder to step forward and trust that I’ll be okay. I don’t hit these walls often. Usually it’s only because I’ve started thinking again and trying to work things out.

Spiritually/emotionally I have no idea where I am right now. I simply look at my bible, and all I can hear, see, or remember is my dad’s hypocritical teaching, contradictory messages, and it leave me scrambling between places, unsure which is the truth and which is not. It’s dizzying, it’s mind boggling, and over all, it’s enough for me to walk away from my bible for a very long time. The two things I know for sure right now is that my faith is not dependent on whether or not I’m faithfully reading my bible, praying daily, or attending church each and every Sunday. The other thing is that I know Jesus loves me no matter what and He is faithful, He is loving me, and He is not going to hurt me, leave me, manipulate me, or force me to obey Him. He desires me; broken, hurting, lost, confused, weary me.

It is has greatly helped getting out of the SGM church we used to attend. I no longer feel pressured to fit into a certain mold. I am instead feeling love, grace, and mercy from people who are genuinely caring for me.

Several things happened this morning that has changed my down-in-the-dumps attitude. After the news about the SGM lawsuits came out about two weeks ago, I immediately sat down and wrote a long email to the senior pastor at the church we just left. My family still attends there, and I had a challenge for him. He had sent out an email to the church, and said that they, the pastors, take very seriously protecting children in abusive situations. My challenge for him was if they take that so seriously, then how come my siblings were deteriorating being under my dad, and are still in an abusive situation. It was a very long email, and one that was blunt, truthful, and challenging. I heard back from the pastor within 24 hours, and shortly after getting his response, I got a response from my parents’ pastor. Because my dad has been in counseling with the pastors for the four years that they have been going there, I also challenged the pastors on why my dad hadn’t been put in church discipline yet. I mean, come on, he has been addicted to porn for the past 30+ years, been married to my mom for 28 years, and has had kids for about 22 years, lost two jobs because of the porn, and has physically abused several of my siblings, and constantly lashes out in anger. How is that not cause enough to put him in church discipline?

I was surprised to get a response so quickly from the pastors. I have been trying to defend my siblings, sometimes unwanted on their part, for the past six years. How was yet another email/meeting/conversation going to change things? Writing my last post about being a defender caused things to get stirred up for me. I felt depressed and discouraged. I felt weary of bringing up my concerns again and again with no result. How was this time going to be any different?

After emailing back and forth a few times with my parents’s pastor, I finally said I could be convinced to meet with them, share my concerns (yet again!!), but I really didn’t see the purpose, nor did I want to meet. I knew walking back into that church was going to undo everything I’ve been able to work through since leaving. I have not stepped foot into that building for about 3 months now, and that has not been long enough. I haven’t heard back from the pastor again since telling him that I would be willing to meet only if the meeting could be specifically about my siblings and my dad, and if I could bring a friend/supporter with me. I thought that was it, and I expected this email exchange to be the same as every other time.

There was a curve ball that came out of all of this, and when I got a phone call from my mom this morning, I did not expect to hear what she called to tell me. About 5 months ago, my husband and I met with my parents’ pastor and shared concerns about how they were treating my dad too lightly, and to ask when church discipline was going to happen. The answer was that they were starting to lean towards church discipline. Not a definite, but they were definitely considering it. The months following that meeting didn’t bring any change, and I soon gave up hope that anything would happen.  That’s why, when my mom called, I was pleasantly surprised and realized I had done something to change things.

My parents met last night with the pastors, and their care group leaders, and my dad was told he was being put in church discipline if he did not repent. He was read a list of 6 reasons why they are putting him in church discipline, and there will be another meeting a week from today to challenge him again with those reasons and ask him to repent. My mom is finally, I believe, starting to see him for who he is, and not allowing her denial to cloud her judgement. As usual, my dad is blaming my mom for this church discipline stuff, and my mom is not taking it this time. I do not expect my dad to change, and I expect church discipline to come down hard on him. They already are coming down hard, and I am impressed that their pastor apologized for not taking these steps sooner. Now if only my dad won’t talk his way out of this. He’s one messed up guy, and I hope Jesus will be able to break through and show him his works will not save him, nor will his words, or legalistic beliefs.

I have gone from the deep lows of yesterday, to giddy heights today. I am unsure what to expect from my dad, but I hoping against hope that my siblings will get the care they need, and that my dad will be separated from them. In the mean time though, I will be taking my mom out to a bar, or maybe a spa, and giving her a break from the crappy mess my dad makes for her. I am disgusted that he still has the audacity to blame her for his faults. Let justice be served, Jesus!!!!

With that in mind, and without further ado,

Chryssie Rose


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