Saturday, March 29, 2008

Don't be stupid

A couple of weeks ago, someone mentioned I should get a yappy little dog for protection. Yappy little dogs are handy for yapping at just the right moment to hopefully scare of any marauders lurking around your house.
I shrugged it off and didn't even consider it again until this morning, early morning, when I was woke up by a sound (that I want to quickly point out I later found out it was nothing), and as I laid in the darkness listening to the sound I thought, "Sure would be nice to have a yappy dog about now."

And as I sat and thought about all those things my frustration level went back up. I'm a teetotaler when it comes to some things. And any gap in the totality causes me to doubt.

Why would a Christian need a dog for protection?

This post really isn't about dogs. I'm protected for a bunch of things. I pay good sums of money every year to make sure my car is protected in case of an accident, because "Don't be stupid, it's the smart thing to do."
I pay good sums of money every year to make sure my house is protected in case of, of all things, "Acts of God".
Another insurance company called last night asking if I wanted to protect all the equipment in my home for a low $40.67 a month.
My doors are locked at night, and I don't venture into bad neighborhoods because, "Don't be stupid, it would be unwise to do anything else."

And yet, isn't the Christians standpoint that God allows many afflictions, but has promised to deliver us through them?

I said recently that I've realized that God lets a lot of things through His hand of protection, and I'm just wondering out loud right now if all of our protective measures are just to protect us from the things God would let us go through that we don't want to?

At what point do our own protections turn from 'It's the wise thing to do" to a simple lack of trust in God.
**Hold in perspective here, this writer is currently sequestered in her home, plugging her ears to the bad news of the world while questioning her salvation. Trust, is a serious issue.**

In reading a book a few years back there was a young girl about to take a walk in the woods with two young men with very bad intentions, because they told her they were willing to listen to her tell them about Jesus. One of her friends saw what was about to happen and before they could make it to the woods he stopped them, and ultimately ended up fighting with the two guys to get them to go away. The friend asked the young girl if she knew what those two guys were up to, and she said yes, but it was worth for the chance that they might listen to the message of salvation.

Most people, most Christians, would shake your head at that foolishness. But I haven't seen too many Christians shaking their heads over the missionaries going into areas where their lives may be in jeopardy on the chance that they might win one. Not many call Jim Elliott foolish.

So where is the line? Where do you drop your own protections and simply rely on the protection of God, and trust in the allowances of God when bad things happen? **Keep in mind also, I believe the protection of God includes that urging to get out of situations**
When do you get rid of the yappy dog and say "If the Lord Wills, tonight I shall sleep and wake up tomorrow".
And, does the presence of a yappy dog mean that whether the Lord allows it or not, you're going to keep it from happening?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Can we win this?

Let me set the stage:

A man, maneuvers himself onto a jury so that he can effect the outcome of the verdict. Each side, both prosecuting and defense receive information on how they can successfully 'buy' the verdict. The prosecuting side is full of the good guys, wanting nothing to do with jury tampering and holding out hope that justice, real justice, will prevail.

There's a moment where the good guys realize that the bad guys (defense team) aren't telling the judge about the juror because the bad guys really are going to buy the vote. You can see it in the good guys face, that all they're fighting for might be for nothing, just a show to put on until the end where justice becomes a transaction, rather than an action.

Immediately after receiving the news, face fallen, the prosecuting attorney turns and sees his client heading towards him and he puts on a big smile. She's been hearing rumors about a mistrial, the jury being sequestered, she's nervous and she wants to know - she just needs to hear it - "Can we win this?"

Somehow, he puts on a forced smile, and says "We can. We are gonna win."

And I realize suddenly, there are two types of good guys in the world. There are those who say "we're gonna win" to keep others going when the going gets tough, and those who need to hear "we're gonna win" to keep going when the going gets tough (and not only that, but are able to keep going just because someone told them we're gonna win - that takes faith too).

I'd rather be the first type.
Somehow I'm neither.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Are you lookin' at me?

In the last few weeks something has caught my attention and so I've started watching it pretty closely.
I've got some new readers.
It helps that my site stats are so low it's pretty easy to keep track of newcomers.
In these last several meltdown months I've lost quite a few readers. Or at least they've quit popping in from their google readers. But I expected that. I haven't been posting regularly, and when I am posting it's not exactly guideposts inspirational writing.

I've let God have it.
I've let the church have it.
I've let people around me have it.
And I've let me have it.

But, since I'm not posting regularly, you're getting only the main highlights that are driving me up a wall. And, since I don't know if any of you new folks are Christians or not... here's what I want to say.

In the past few years God has been the most amazing thing in the world to me. In the past few months... not so much. But imagine if you will a little kid learning to tie his shoes. Every parent knows that the world will be much easier for the kid once he learns this simple trick, because all sorts of things need to be tied - not just shoes. But the kid only sees the shoe, and hates the stupid shoe, and wants to just wear his flip flops. Attempts to make them keep trying to learn usually end up with them yelling or crying, yanking the laces or throwing the shoes and saying they just can't do it, the shoe is stupid, and "I don't wanna go outside ANYWAY!"

Is my analogy starting to sound like my blog posts yet?

But I have a responsibility to say, right here, and right now, if for no other reason than it has come to my attention:
God's worth it.

I'm hurting, angry that He led me into foster parenting when it hurt so much, scared because I've seen how much He allows through this protective hand of His, and I don't feel very protected anymore.
But even in the middle of it all, I know I'm still alive, and that there are very specific instances when things could have been worse.
Most of all, I know He loves me.

Growing up in a family that believed in spankings, one thing sticks out in my mind. Between two parents, you knew one hurt you in discipline because they loved you, and the other one didn't. But for the one, even in a painful moment when you wouldn't generally expect to feel loved, you didn't feel it, but it was understood. And that understanding was the foundation upon which the discipline grew, whereas for the other parent the only thing they grew was resentment.
I'm thinking out loud now I suppose.

Going back to what I was saying before, there comes a moment when all you can do is patiently show and explain to your child how to tie that shoe. Ultimately though, the 'got it' moment is just something you have to sit and wait through the frustration for.
I don't feel Gods love for me, but it's understood. He's just waiting for me to 'get' what He's trying to teach me.
So, excuse me while I throw some shoes around screaming "I can't do it, christianity is stupid, I don't want to be a christian ANYWAY!"

It's frustrating.

But, for all my complaints (see me complain more in 6 mos than ALL the children of Israel did in 40 yrs), and for all the days when I'm ready to call it quits: God is totally worth it. I just hope I finally 'get it' soon.


In a small blurb to hold myself accountable because I made it public knowledge, I want to announce that some major changes are taking place in my home. I'm giving technology a major boot from my life. Tv's, vcr, dvd players, my oh so precious DVR, and my main computer are all getting the boot. For months the idea that I really just don't care who wins American Idol has really been clear. Now that Little One is gone, and my absolute weariness with watching stupid stuff has festered up to a miserable boil... it's time to make the change.

The bible has begun taking up a huge chunk of my evening, as is just wandering around my neighborhood (or riding around it on my bike). It's been good. It's released some of the pressure, which is an excellent thing since after Little One left I was about to blow.

If you new folks are still reading this long-winded post....If you don't know God, He's worth getting to know. More worth it than anything else you'll ever do. But if you walk into a new church and some Christian throws their shoe at you, don't be offended, just duck and cover and be thankful that God chooses the most undeserving people sometimes. Because otherwise you might not have been chosen either.

And for those who didn't duck fast enough before my shoe hit them - I'm very sorry.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Bad news

I killed a baby last night. It lay in a basin while I filled the basin with water and I just wasn't paying attention. I can close my eyes and I still vividly remember turning around and the shock setting in as I looked at the baby, entirely submersed in the water, lying so still. Actually, I don't even have to close my eyes to see it.
It was a dream, it was only a dream.
The night before that there was a huge gang of bad guys with knives.
Only a dream, I remind myself.

It's just one more aspect of the bad news that surrounds everyone, it just happens to follow me into my dreams. And I wonder how many others out there are tired of it as well? Surely, someone is.
Even trying not to hear it, I'm still swamped with it. This one died, this one has cancer, some guy I'll never know just died because he was at wal-mart when some other guy decided to shoot someone, and don't forget the old man, literally sick with grief, who doesn't want to live now that he's lost his wife who, by the way, didn't get appropriate treatment because they couldn't afford healthcare. At lunch a couple of weeks back, I actually had to leave the table at lunch as my dad began describing in vivid detail a 6 yr old that ultimately, and mercifully died - I ultimately ended up watching cartoons with my 7 yr old nephew. He had the best ideas of all of us.
I go home and check my mail and there's a child looking at me from the envelope with cystic fibrosis. Will I give even $5.00 to help find a cure?
The jokes give laughs about someone being hurt, or being unfaithful to their significant other. The games make sport of killing other people. The movies make light of the gut wrenching, life changing events that destroy the lives of the "audience" that is the victims.

But then I imagine that no ones gut has been wrenched. We're too immune for it. We have to be. If we truly felt for each and every sorrow that we saw, or heard about, and we grieved over it... we would never stop grieving. Literally. There's just too many.

There's just too many.

I realize I'm not alone in feeling afraid and hurt, there are people everywhere just like me. And I'd like to think I speak for all of us when I say:

God, I just want to see you do something.

I want Him to be louder, and more newsworthy than all the other stuff that's out there. Maybe I don't see Him doing major things just because I'm not open enough to see it. But I feel short-changed sitting on the Christian side of things celebrating the miracle that is another day, while the enemy celebrates 4,000 abortions every day.

If I stand back up into Christianity again, start walking and following, once again, it has to be different this time. Everything else is just mediocre, and I'm sick of mediocre. The biggest problem is that I don't yet know how it would be different. I have no direction. And I guess that's what makes the whole Psalms 18:32 all the more frustrating. "It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect".

I don't even have a "way".

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Psalms 18:32

I smashed into a wall tonight. No... I really do mean I walked into a wall. I turned the lights out in the house, and, assuming I knew the contours of my house well enough to make it in the dark, I literally smashed into a wall. It hurt too. Bare toes lose big time against walls.
But, as is my habit, I'm always making a connection between the stupid physical stuff that happens and my spiritual walk.

I'm arrogant when it comes to Christian things.

I've been in church my whole life, heard sermon upon sermon upon sermon. But, sometimes the lines between being a Churchtian and a Christian get blurred and I find myself smashing into a wall. I had a good walk, a personal relationship with Christ, but... well, life happened.
I get the connection with Peter, stepping out onto the stormy seas to walk to the Master. I stepped out (though not nearly to the same extent as Peter), but I all too quickly looked at the storm.. ok, I admit, it was probably just a brisk wind,... and the only time I looked back at Christ was to scream "I'm DROWNING".

In some ways, part of me wishes God would just give me up. Stop this incessant tugging at me to be something that I don't know how to be, and don't know how to let go enough to let Him make me. Then the other part remembers nights like Sunday night when I wondered if He really had.

Tuesday night, I lay in bed telling God that the hurt and fear I'm feeling seems to be stronger than Him. Whether He's promised to be stronger or not, the hurt and fear is winning. I told Him I'd rather go His way, but I didn't know how I could.

Quite literally, He said Psalms 18:32.

I lay, in the dark, thinking that most of the Psalms are too short to have 32 verses. I thought about how disappointing it would be to get up, turn the light on, pull out a bible, and find that chapter 18 stopped at verse 26 or something. Or worse, that there would be a 18:32 and it would say something like "They cried out, but there was none to save them, Even to the Lord, but He did not answer them." - That's verse 41 of that chapter.

Nevertheless, I got up, turned on said light, and pulled out said bible, and this is what I read:

It is God who arms me with strength,
And makes my way perfect.

Instantly I said, "BUT."

But, I'm not armed with strength, and my way is so far from perfect right now it's not even in the same zip code.

There was a fight that night, when as I was talking to God the devil began telling me what kind of person I was. He reminded me of all the people I'd hurt or caused to sin, and most especially he hit me with Little One as fear pressed in that I hadn't watched close enough for things that might needed to have been reported, he told me a better parent would have caught those things and Little One wouldn't be in danger.
Little One isn't necessarily in danger, everything could be just fine, I fear it's not though, and it eats me alive.

Unable to block out the words of fear and accusation running through my mind, I ended up holding onto the words "It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect." It didn't even make sense to me up against what the devil was reminding me of, but it was all I had.

I'm tempted to leave this entry with some kind of hopeful tone, indicating that somehow in the end I know that everything is going to be ok.
But I don't know that.
What I do know is I'm not strong, and my way isn't perfect.

Free Smileys & Emoticons at Clipart of.comYeah... not much comfort huh.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Dear God,

I'm losing.
I've been losing for a long time now, but tonight feels like the game is coming to an end and I will have officially lost. I've gone back and forth so many times with this struggle and tonight I'm wondering when you'll finally give up on me. People say you don't give up, but you do.
Tonight is scary God, because if I died tonight, I'm not certain what would happen anymore.
Please forgive me, and somehow help me get through this mess.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Fishing for nothin'

Someone recently asked me what I wanted for my birthday.

Ultimately I ended up telling them I could use a new lamp since mine broke earlier this week. And later on for the fifth year running I blew out my candles wishing I could go fishing.

I think this might very well be the year.
A few weeks back as I was thinking about how silly it is to keep wishing for it and never just going and doing it, I realized... if I take the hook off my fishing pole, I don't have to worry about catching anything. I'll be able to sit lakeside and "fish" to my hearts content. I can enjoy the quiet, peaceful serenity of 'going fishing' without any of the mess and smell that comes with actually having fished. I also don't have to worry about having done it wrong.
There are a lot of rules to fishing. Don't catch anything too small or too large, the wrong gender, the wrong breed. And I don't know enough about fish to recognize those things.
And, heaven help me if I actually caught something, because then I'd have to figure out what to do with it then.

And as I considered how much easier fishing would be without a hook, I realized with a start, what a good analogy that was for Christians today. We all want the serenity of God, the peace of His Spirit, yet when it comes down to "fishing for men" we take the hooks off, so no one will feel the pain of being pulled out of the water, and we'll never have to deal with the fact that the fresher your catch is, the more they smell. You don't have to worry about knowing the rulebook, and knowing all the answers or finding yourself being followed around by fish that our Religious Fishing Guide states should be thrown back in the water until they've grown a bit.

Best of all, if you sit at the side of the lake, holding a pole, and your little bobber bobbing in the water... no one knows you aren't really fishing.
And you don't exactly want to boast about the fact that you're hookless fishing...
Cause everyone knows fishing without a hook would be dumb.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

9,863 days and counting.

It really doesn't seem like that long when you break down 27 years into days.
But surely, that means I've had at least 9,863 opportunities to praise God, or to shame Him.
9,863 opportunities to be a blessing, or a burden.
9.863 moments to choose between anger and patience.
9,863 chances to make the world a slightly nicer place.
9,863 opportunities to encourage someone.
9,863 opportunities to discourage someone.
9,863 opportunities to be brave or afraid.
9,863 opportunities to choose God.

27 years I've been alive. That means, I've also given God 9,863 reasons (though I'm sure the actual number is quite higher) to give up on me.
And 9,863 times - He didn't.

Happy mybirthday.

Friday, March 07, 2008


When I follow the recipe right, I make terrific chocolate chip cookies. And while I can boast about the woman who gave me this recipe, and how good her recipe is, I don't have to because she already knows. She's got the ribbon to prove it. This recipe won an award. How much better can it get?
The recipe, comes from my very appropriately named friend, Grace.
She's in Canada, which is too far away for me to get to right now.
And Gordon, her also award winning husband, just passed away.

I love you Grace, Ms. Tisket, and I'll be praying.

Doing and hearing and knowing and being.

You know, I think everyone in my family knows more about music than I do. My mom was the one who started my education on it by adding piano to our home school regime, but at 7 or 8 yrs old I'm pretty sure I wasn't listening well enough for her to have taught me everything she knows. After a series of music teachers none of us liked (my brother was learning also), my brother was the one who ultimately taught me the main trick that entirely changed how I play.

To this day, I tend to sit, smiling and nodding, while my brother and dad talk music. Or worse yet, ask me about music.

And yet, I'm the only one in my family who would call themselves a musician.

I've played, and I've played and I've played and I've played, until one day it became something I was. I'm at home at the piano. I hear the music in my head, and looking at the keys playing the song in my mind, I don't even hit the notes to know that I'm playing the right keys.

Yet often a song comes along and I'll listen to it, and when I sit down to try it myself I find that I just can't seem to duplicate the sound. I need notes, (which I can at least read) and once I have read how it's done, with practice I'm able to duplicate it.

All of this came to my mind this morning as I thought about being a doer of the word, and not a hearer only. Sometimes we're full of a lot of knowledge, and maybe we do Gods will, but we haven't done it enough and made it into such a vital part of our lives that we have transformed from 'someone who does' to 'a doer'. There's a big difference in those two things and I think the most obvious of which is that a 'doer' will walk into almost any situation in the realm of their 'doing'. If you ask me to play before a crowd of a thousand people, as a musician, I would do it. Whereas, "someone who plays" would generally laugh off the question itself.

To me though, the best part is that I'm not a great musician. I flub up all the time, and generally can't play outside of my own style of playing, and only with immediate practice can I play in the key of A#. Those facts, even by Mr. Websters definition don't keep me from being a musician. That makes me believe that I don't have to be an exceptional doer either. I just have to keep doing and doing and doing and doing, until I become a doer. Until the act of doing is so common for me that regardless of the circumstances, I'm not only willing, but confident that I will be able to 'do' upon request.

I guess, knowing how much I play and how little I know about music; and how much others know about music and how little they play, it easily translates to spiritual things in that the doers aren't always the knowers, and the knowers aren't always doers.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

I just can't seem to die.

Usually a few times a week I find myself, shoe in hand, trying to kill these huge black bugs that wander into my house.

Just to be on record, I'd be happy to shoo them outside to live their buggy little lives in peace in the great outdoors, but I've yet to have one of them willingly walk out the door when I've held it open and politely requested they leave my home.
I will give them credit though... for what they lack in brains, they make up for in sheer indestructibility, they are hearty little runts. I'll thwack away at one until I'm convinced it's dead, I'll be convinced I've killed them, and walk away for a tissue to cart their remains off to the trash and I'll come back to find that even with missing 3 legs, it's guts, and it's head, it has somehow managed to crawl a couple of inches away from where it began it's demise.

I'd begun to believe that no living thing, whether man or beast, or vermin, could be as indestructible as these little fellows.

Until I tried to kill me. I'm talking murder, not suicide.

And then today I got the mental picture of God thwapping at my head with His shoe trying to kill me. Smashing away and I just won't die. It was a living picture of Him trying to save me. He's trying to kill me. So that me will quit killing me.
I'm just a hearty little runt too I guess. Too bad that's not a good thing.

Monday, March 03, 2008

I'm not there yet.

One of the many blogs I read each day is Tolle Lege. They always put a "Lords Day Hymn" out on Sundays posts and this one just happened to catch my eye. So I wanted to post it and see the words, and then remember exactly what I said afterwards.


“More Love to Thee, O Christ”
By Elizabeth P. Prentiss, 1856

More love to Thee, O Christ, more love to Thee!
Hear Thou the prayer I make on bended knee.
This is my earnest plea: More love, O Christ, to Thee;
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Once earthly joy I craved, sought peace and rest;
Now Thee alone I seek, give what is best.
This all my prayer shall be: More love, O Christ to Thee;
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Let sorrow do its work, come grief or pain;
Sweet are Thy messengers, sweet their refrain,
When they can sing with me: More love, O Christ, to Thee;
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Then shall my latest breath whisper Thy praise;
This be the parting cry my heart shall raise;
This still its prayer shall be: More love, O Christ to Thee;
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

And what do I say immediately after such a touching song? "Yeah.. not there yet."
I used to seek peace and rest? But now I seek only Thee?
No... not there yet.
Sweet are the messengers grief or pain?
No... not there yet.

It's songs like this that have me hiding out from church. Songs like that, literally make me want to kick something and yell hogwash. Nothing to do with the song, and certainly nothing against it's Christ-loving (I say that in all sincerity) author, but it's my issue... I'm "NOT THERE YET."
I can't even possibly tell God that I'd stop seeking peace and rest and seek only Him because.. well.. God would already know I'm lying wouldn't He.
And the idea that grief and pain are sweet... well, seeing as my stomach is already twisted in knots over those two things, it wouldn't take much to put me over the edge.

So I'm sorry Ms. Elizabeth P. Prentiss of 1856, I'm glad somehow you were able to sweetly wallow in your grief or pain, and be content without peace and rest.
But as for me -
I'm not there yet.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The 2nd longest day.

I'm still doing laundry. There is absolutely nothing dirty in this house anymore. Literally, I washed 4 full sets of bedding, and every single potentially dirty article of clothing. The main thing I learned is that laundry is not a good distraction, since as much as you might groan about doing it, put it off, and whine about it, it takes very little time to shove clothes into a tub of water, add soap, spin a dial and shut the lid.

Brushing your teeth is a good distraction though, if you really look at your teeth while you're brushing. My teeth are entirely plaque free at the moment, and half a tube of toothpaste later (ok, surely that's an exaggeration) either way, I still smell extremely minty fresh.

Random things around the house have been fixed, and since I was running out of laundry soap for my cleaning spree I went grocery shopping. I had parked before I realized I was about to walk into a place at 11am on a Sunday morning... a grocery store where typically you always see someone you know if not two or three of them. It was my quickest shopping trip in history.

By 4pm, I couldn't start any other projects because everything in me was screaming. Desperate, and I do mean desperate, I walked to my church. I left just before I thought people might be showing up for the evening service, but it was enough... I don't know exactly what God did, but it was enough. No more, but no less either.

As I walked back towards home I found myself thinking that God didn't give me strength to make it through Monday. But for today. Only today. Tomorrow, you just wake up and start it all over again.

Last week, God just kept saying over and over again "Wait." Every time I told Him I was done, couldn't take a lick more, wasn't going to try any more, He said "Wait."
I hate one word conversations.
Can I just say,
I HATE one word conversations.

This weekend I've constantly asked God why I was here, why I was left to hurt like this, and now He's telling me over and over "It was necessary."
I don't much care for 3 word conversations either.

Despite the fact that all I've done this weekend is try to not think, I've done a lot of thinking this weekend. And one thing I've noticed is that I'm calling Him Lord, rather than Father as I used to. In the last few years I've made a big deal that I needed Him to be a Father to me, and He was. Now, I've wondered about how the new title reflects a new relationship.

Or maybe it's not a new relationship at all. Maybe it's the same one with a new dimension to it.

I'm just so tired.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The day that just won't end.

4am and I was still awake. I stopped staring at the ceiling and checked my e-mail. A friend had e-mailed last night pretty much just asking me to say something.

So I wrote to her:

It's 4am and I'm very unfortunately awake, considering painting the trim in my bedroom, cleaning my house top to bottom, and if all else fails, attempting to ride my bike to Mexico. How Mexico comes in exactly I don't know, except that it did pass through my mind this morning that if I left right then I could probably be in Mexico with her and impossible to find before they ever even started looking for us. I wouldn't have done it, it just passed through.

To which she replied only as someone who has been here could have replied:

I thought of running away to Biloxi, changing our names to Nora, Stan, David and Annie and living incognito for the rest of our lives. Didn't do that either.
Cleaning is a good alternative. So is painting. So is prayer and bargaining which will not be answered, but will be heard.
It gets better, but it never gets good where that's concerned.
I'm with you.

--- Somewhere around 5am the words "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord." ran through my mind. I managed to fall asleep then though not for long because the sun doesn't care if it's brightness wakes you up or not.

I turned my computer on, and put it on a christian radio channel and let it play, then sat in the floor wondering what to do with the day. There's no reason for doing anything right now except that it passes time. How a day could take so long to end is beyond me. It still won't end.

So I walked to the library and returned Little Ones library books. Came home, and threw a bunch of stuff away and cleaned outside my house because it was less quiet outside.

I finished all too soon and wondered what to tackle next when I realized I could tackle stuff Monday night also. A week night. I hadn't looked that far forward into life in the coming week. I haven't gotten a lot accomplished on weeknights since Little One arrived, and I realized how quiet those nights would be.

Then comes those blasted tears again.
But this time they were fortunately distracted by the phone ringing. It was my pastor calling to invite me to church tomorrow with the promise I wouldn't have to work at all.
I only know this because he left a message, I didn't answer the phone. Sorry Pastor. I'd have sounded all snotty anyway, and I don't mean rude.

I love being single, I love the quiet, and I even love being childless, but it's hard to revert back to. Right now, the quiet is louder than it used to be and hard to get used to. It will happen, I'll get use to this life again, but I wonder now what I'll be like when I finally crawl off the floor and stand up again.

I also wonder how I filled my time just 7 months ago. Surely I didn't just sit around all day and night, what did I do? Not enough I think.

For all the strange, evil, scary and hurtful things I've seen this last year I found myself trying to figure the God/child relationship out. Why on earth did God send me in this direction when He knew I'd crash like this? The best analogy I can think of came sometime in the middle of the night last night. I imagined a child that loves it's dad, trusts it's dad, and thinks their dad is the greatest thing on earth. And then one day, dad throws the child in the deep end of the pool.

Dad's not going to let the kid drown, if something happens he'll pull the kid out, but he's going to teach him to swim the quick way. So the kid is in the water, screaming "DAD!", panicking, and taking in swallows of water, convinced he's going to die and wondering why on earth dad would do such a thing and not come help him out of the water.
Of course, the kid doesn't die, and ultimately he did learn some about swimming.
But the kids perception of dad changes at least until the trauma of the panic subsides.

I've been hesitant to say this before, but for the last several months my relationship with God has felt like an abusive relationship. You know, the husband slaps you against the wall but then comes back and says they love you and the only reason they did it was because you made them angry or that you just had to learn.

My entire relationship with God prior to this last year, everything I know about God from the past, tells me it's not true. But.

I don't want to be a fair-weather Christian. But with this storm I've seen my thoughts have become survival centered: "Where's land? and how quick can I get off this boat?" If I ever had any aspirations of being like Peter, stepping out onto the water in the middle of the storm to walk to the Savior... well, it ain't gonna happen.

I remember last Sunday, all I could tell God was how sorry I was. If this is a test, it's got a big red F stamped on it. I'm sorry I can't just drop all these feelings and be happy because my sins are forgiven.

Billy Graham told me tonight that's where happiness comes from; not from the world or circumstances, but from knowing your sins are forgiven. I wonder where he'd say unhappiness comes from?