Tag Archives: discouraged

Hello Twenty-Thirteen

I started this blog back in September I had no idea where it was going to go, but I knew that it would help my recovery from my past. I didn’t expect it to take off, or to find myself wanting to do more with it. I have written 22 (now 23) posts, had over 5,000 views on the blog, and 49 comments. I have loved every comment, and there are many times that I have needed those comments to make it through the down that caused a post that day.

There is much relief in knowing that I am not alone in what I have been through. There is relief in knowing that I am not crazy for having a difficult time deconstructing and not wanting anything to do with religion. I stopped going to church and it was after many conversations with my husband that we stopped attending the local SGM church, and I noticed an immediate difference in my uneasiness and anxiety about going to church. We ended up attending, most Sundays, a small Presbyterian church and have made a bunch of new friends. It amazed me how much stronger my blogging “voice” got once I was out from the influence of the people who’s opinions I feared. Removing yourself from the presence of someone you are afraid of and who has power over you greatly helps the healing.

I have greatly learned what tolerance looks like, there are still those people who push my buttons so hard I will not hesitate to say that I am not willing whatsoever to work on “our relationship.”  As I have said before, I value friendships very highly. They mean so much to me that I will willingly drop everything to help a friend out if they give one hint that they need help. I do not do this to gain favor for myself, or to cause someone to feel obligated to return the favor. I help my friends and am there for my friends because I care, and I care deeply. But woe to the one who breaks my trust or uses me.

Twenty-twelve was exciting, discouraging, new, and difficult. I enjoyed most of it, fought with part of it, and waited out more of it. I am eager to see what this year brings, and I hope that it will continue to bring joy and happiness into a life of working through the past and pushing toward the future.  I have several ideas for blog series and topics for the coming months and and I am excited to start taking this blog in a new direction!


All hell broke loose – Courtship, Part 3

That warm October day, when I finally worked up the gumption to call Daniel and ask what he felt towards me, changed our existence drastically. That first conversation after 6 months of silence jump started the next hellish chapter in our story. We got off the phone, me privately trying to calm my racing heart, and Daniel doing fist pumps on the other side of the phone. We both felt so elated to have finally been able to talk, and to finally tell each other how we felt. We continued having secret phone calls; me sneaking out on long walks, Daniel, going on long drives. I don’t remember who came up with the idea first, but we decided that it would be a good idea to come up with a relationship guidelines presentation. We worked on Google Docs (yay for technology!) and chatted and talked while we wrote together a list of the things we thoughts the parents would approve of and that we would be able to do. We talked about finances, we talked about how we could make it work to get married in a year, or two. We talked about our dreams for a family, and what we wanted to do when we had kids. We talked about where we wanted to live, and dreamed together about what our dream house would look like.

For one blissful week, we talked, and talked, and talked. We talked with my grandparents, and discussed what would be the best way to present the parents with our presentation without setting them off first and us getting shut down. We had the parents figured out by this point. If I was seen anywhere near Daniel at church, I was chewed out later by my dad about how disappointed he was with me, and how wrong it was that I had been near him. I was so sure that if we didn’t tell the parents at the same time, we would get in trouble that went far beyond our imagination. We finally worked out a plan, and as the week came to a close, both of us became more and more nervous that we were doing something terribly wrong.

I realized that I forgot to write about something in the previous two posts. When Daniel was approached by his parents and “told” him that we should cut off our friendship, they didn’t command him to cut off our friendship, it was a suggestion. But because of the church culture, and what our parents believe about courtship, Daniel took it as something that he had no choice but to do. Instead, he actually had the choice to not take the suggestion and do it. This really irritates me that we were old enough to be treated as adults, but we were still treated as children.

Our plan was that Daniel would tag my dad at church and ask if he could come over that afternoon to talk to him. And then Daniel would ask to court me, my dad would say yes, and then we would show the parents our relationship guidelines and everything would go as planned.

But, of course, that would never be the case.

Daniel, in all his nervousness, was a bit hasty with my dad that Sunday morning, and he was a bit blunt when asking if he could come over that afternoon to talk with my dad. My dad, always courteous in person, told Daniel that he could come over around 2 that afternoon. We left church, and my dad mentioned that Daniel asked if he could come over this afternoon, and wanted to know if I knew anything about that. I denied knowing anything about it, but my insides were quaking as I knew that potentially that afternoon would mean that we would be able to start talking again. Daniel called me to tell me that his car battery died.  Thus started the hell that afternoon ended up being.

Almost a half hour late, Daniel finally got to my family’s house, I hid on the side of the house to say hi to him and to say a little prayer before he faced the lion, er, dad. Daniel marched, shakily, around the corner of the house to talk with my dad, and I began the anxious wait in the back yard waiting to hear what the verdict would be. I watched from the bushes as Daniel and my dad wandered up and down the sidewalk, and I noticed that my dad, as usual, was doing most of the talking. When they finished, I managed to grab a few minutes with Daniel before he headed home. He said that my dad gave him this long talk about being responsible, but he didn’t get an answer about being able to court me or not. He left to go face the music at home from his parents, and I went inside to face mine.

I don’t think I have ever seen my mom get that mad. My parents chewed me out to within an inch of my self esteem and self confidence.   My dad couldn’t believe that Daniel would have the gall to pull him aside at church, no less, and ask, no demand, that he come over that afternoon. My mom couldn’t believe that we had gone behind their backs and talked. They kept asking what I had to say for myself, and how disappointed they were in me. I was reduced to tears, and feelings of guilt and worthlessness. I couldn’t figure out what we had done wrong, or why it was so wrong that Daniel and I had talked. I called Daniel sobbing and asked what we had done so wrong! He told me that his parents had chewed him out as well. He said we should stop talking and stay away from each other until things calmed down. He said he felt just as humiliated and condemned as I did.

That night was torture, I felt like I had lost my love again, and I didn’t know how many more of this I could take. A few weeks later, everything seemed to have blown over, but I still felt the shame for something I still wasn’t sure I had done. November came and went, and as Christmas rolled around, things were still very rough. I was still chewed out when I got seen around Daniel, but my dad still believe that there was nothing going on between us and that was that.

As New Year rolled around, I was getting excited about going to a friend’s party and I knew Daniel was going to be there as well. We were looking forward to it very much, but I still had to ask if I could go. I finally worked up the nerve to ask my dad if I could go. He asked a few questions and then asked if Daniel was going to be there. I knew there was trouble, so I said I wasn’t sure. I knew he had been invited, but I didn’t know if had decided to go or not. He had this look on his face, and then proceeded to tell me that if Daniel showed up then I would have to leave right away. my heart sank because I knew that my conscience would not allow me to stay if Daniel showed up. I was crushed because I really needed to get out of the house, and I needed to see friends since I didn’t get to see many people otherwise. I hid in my room, called Daniel and pleaded with him to not show up at the party. I told him why, I said that I couldn’t handle not having to leave.

He sweetly told me to please go and have fun for both of us, and that he would enjoy hearing about it later. I felt lonely that night as 2010 rolled in. I missed my other half, and I felt trapped. I had no idea what the next year would bring, but I had this really strong feeling that it wasn’t going to be easy.

January past, February, March, and then April. I met a new friend in April, really clicked with her, and found it really cool to know that her husband was one of my husband’s good friends while growing up. We talked for a very long time over dinner one day, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Daniel and I had started talking with more frequency by this point, and even though we tried to hide it, I think my mom at least knew. We were talking a lot, and it was so relieving to know that I could call him whenever I needed to and he would pick up.  Anyway, I got home from the dinner with this new friend, and found an email in my inbox a few hours later. She wrote to tell me that they would be moving, and they wanted to offer me a room in their house because they knew my family situation was rough, and they wanted to offer a way out.

I could hardly believe my eyes. I was shocked and at the same time felt a small flame of hope. Could I really have a way out of this wretched situation?

I emailed her back and started making plans.

I knew I wasn’t going to tell my parents, but I knew I wanted to move out.

Little did I know that things were about to get a heck of a lot worse.


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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