I thought about it once. Just once, but for almost a whole year.
Plans that I didn't even know I wanted were falling into place in my head. A future, a life, a home.
I thought about names, the places we would go, things we would talk about, things we would do.

It became deeply entrenched in my heart, this idea of it that I thought we were both on board with.
But it was all a farce. Well intended lies to keep tears from my eyes.
I think back still, to that almost year. I think about the tears that were bound to come either way and wonder.

How deeply entangled, detailed, hopeful it was. I can still remember the names, the places, the things we would do. I can still feel the sting on my cheeks from all the smiling I did.

It wasn't nearly as perfect as it all sounds. Not even close. Hind sight is often 20/20 but sometimes it's blurry and edited for adult content. Hind sight blurs the ugly, the billboard signs I missed, the way it really was.

It has damaged me in a way that causes me to withhold and withdraw in such an instinctual way I'm not sure who I really am in relationship to it anymore.
Because no matter who it is, I always wonder when the farce will end. When the truth will come out, when it will end with me alone feeling foolish.
I'm trying to not be jaded. I'm trying to not be "that girl" but it's becoming harder as it gets farther behind me.
No longer feeling foolish about falling for the farce, I only feel foolish for still being affected so deeply by it.

Seeing him still affects me. I don't want it to. I don't mean it to. There was this moment that I looked over and felt so detached, so disconnected from myself that I felt what it could be like to not be so affected. But then a brush of the leg, the sideways smile and I was reconnected to it.

What's it been over a decade?
It still smarts like it was four minutes ago
We only influenced each other totally
We only bruised each other even more so

How long can a girl be shackled to you
How long before my dignity is reclaimed
How long can a girl stay haunted by you
Soon I'll grow up and I won't even flinch at your name

Posts that may only be slightly related:
Your Woman
Wrap Me Up
Broken Things


Can't See

Late last week I baby sat for my nieces and nephew whilst my sister was at choir practice. Matthew had had a really rough day and as a result was writing lines and then was to go straight to bed.
After many tears, whining and outright begging to not have to go to bed I had him snuggled into his bed. We talked about his behavior that day and why he shouldn't hit his classmates. He said that he couldn't help himself and he didn't know why he did it.

I told him to think about that guy they talk to him about in church, Jesus. That Jesus just like his mommy, daddy and Aunt Bethany love him no matter what, and that we want him to not hurt other people by hitting them. Matthew started crying because he didn't know what Jesus looked like so he couldn't see him in his brain. I pulled out his sisters story bible and started going through the pictures with him reading him a story. After answering his questions about "What would happen if the earth ran out of oxygen and there were no more air tanks" I turned off the light and tried to go back downstairs.
A few minutes later I was summoned by his yelling "Aunt Bethany Aunt Bethany!"
Back upstairs I trudged. "What?!" I asked him a little more forcefully than I ought.
He put on his best scared face and summoned crocodile tears to his eyes, "Aunt Bethany, I can't see Jesus anymore there are to many toys in my head."
After calming him down I was released to sit at the top of the stairs making sure the shadow monsters don't get back in his room.
Sitting there I started thinking about our conversation and thought, "Me too buddy. Me too."

On my way home that night I thought about all the toys I let fill up my brain to the point where I can't even see Jesus anymore. Frivolous toys like TV shows, books, music, relationships that don't honor God. Less noticeable toys like gossip, jealousy, anger, lust. How they fill up my brain and I forget what Grace through Jesus Christ looks like. Simple, amazing, unearned Grace.

A pauper to God's scandalous grace, all I know to do with the overflow is serve. -Beth Moore

Posts that may only be slightly related:
The Thud of Grace
Kirsten, Shelby, Matthew


10 Things I'm Thankful For

Ten things that I am Thankful for this Thanksgiving (in no particular order):

1: Songwriters that write lyrics that soothe my soul and put into words my wordless prayers (I'm looking at you JJ Heller)

2: The heat from a nephew snuggled close to my side after a hard day of kindergarten

3: The non stop stories and stream of nonsensical words streaming from hyperactive nieces. Because it means they're still talking to me about everything important and unimportant to them.

4: Friends that work hard to stay connected with me even when I go underground and hide out for awhile. The conversations that pick up right where they left off hours, days, weeks, months, years before.

5: Family, a mom and dad that would do anything for me and teach me how to be a good person. A sister that I laugh till I cry and cry till I laugh with; one just a moments drive, a phone call, a beating heart away.

6: A church that practices what it preaches and asks others to do the same.

7: A ministry that I am passionate about, that gets me out of bed most mornings. A ministry that tells people, "I see you, I love you and so does God. You are worth being loved and cared for" each and every week.

8: Hope and faith in a call I'm beginning to listen to and believe is possible. A new determination to take the next step no matter how small or large, no matter how scary each and every day. Even when I don't want to.

9: My lovely home. It's hard and scary and expensive. But it's a lovely home. Owning it has taught me more about myself in 1 year than I learned in 3 years living alone in apartments.

10: Jesus. The Grace I am afforded through Him even and especially when I forget it and get so lost I can't figure out which way is up. "Your love can heal the wreckage of my soul"


Low Batteries

I had nightmares last night. Nightmares about home invasions, robbers and killers.
It's all very melodramatic this irrational fear of killers and robbers and I'm trying to get over it.
I woke up so early this morning it was still the middle of the night. I woke up with the nightmares tangled in my head. I had a killer headache and stumbled to the kitchen for medicine.
Standing in the brightly lit kitchen with all the lights between my bed and the fridge burning I heard it. A chirping noise coming from all around me. I looked towards the basement stairs and heard it. I heard it coming from the hallway and the still darkened corners of the living room.
My first instinct was that it was a secret code between a team of would be killers that were hunching in the corners with semi automatic guns and red laser scopes. A code warning that she was awake and they needed to remain hidden.
I gulped my medicine down and sprinted back to my bed, where killers cannot harm me. I slept the next hour or so with all the lights in the house on to scare away the darkness that holds the killers.
When I woke this morning for good and walked into the kitchen after showering and getting dressed I realized the chirping was my smoke detector. The batteries are dying and need to be replaced. I wasn't surprised, in the cool light of morning, that there were no killers. I even nervously laughed to myself as I walked out the door, sneaking a glance behind me just to be sure there was no masked man hiding in the stairwell.

I've stopped watching CSI, Criminal Minds, true crime stories on news magazine shows. I've stopped watching scary or even suspenseful movies and I change the channel when previews for such things come on. I've stopped reading scary books too.
But I can't stop my memories. My memories of all the Friday the 13th movies I've watched, the Stephen King books I've read and those years of my obsession with all things serial killer. They won't go away. Imprinted on my mind are these images of terror, mayhem, murder and fright.
I know there are no killers in my house. I know that if there were the lights wouldn't deter them and neither would the cushy expanse of my bed.
But I also know that killers strike everywhere. That in a sense no place, no small town or cozy well manicured home is immune from tragedy and death.

Sometimes I think, this is how I look to God. This silly girl running around pretending that she has control over what happens to and around her. Sometimes I think that when I ask for forgiveness he forgives me but has a hard time stopping the memories of my sin and disobedience from coming back to the forefront.
I end up trying to make God small. I try to fit him into this me-type god that thinks, acts, and says things like I do, like the people that have hurt me do.
I'm trying to stop. I'm trying to open my eyes wider to see this big God that I have seen do miraculous things.
Because I don't want a small god, a god I can put in my pocket and carry around and take out when it's most convenient for me.
I want a HUGE God, an inconvenient God that shakes up my life. I want to see where the pieces he's shaken up have settled and I want to stay out on the edge of this limb, outside of my comfort zone.
I don't want the memory of when that happened, I want it everyday.

Posts that may only be slightly related:



I'll start tomorrow.
It's what I always tell myself.
I'll do the dishes tomorrow, I'll vacuum tomorrow, I'll fold the laundry, wash the laundry, mow the lawn, start eating better, stop drinking soda, get up to work out....tomorrow.

Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow.
Hello my name is Bethany, and I am a chronic procrastinator.

I'm done procrastinating. I'm done, I'm stopping, I'm over it.
I'm going to be proactive, active, decisive and completely motivated.

Starting tomorrow.



I was thinking through the discouragement I wrote about yesterday and wondering what exactly I can do to make more room for working out in my life. My life is pretty full and I quickly because overwhelmed.
I wanted to quit; to admit that it was ridiculous this idea of getting in shape and becoming more physically powerful. There were much more important things to do. Things like family night, Washington Project stuff, making money to pay my mortgage stuff.
Here's my typical week:
Sunday: Washington Project and church in the morning. Working in the yard or inside the house, laundry, baking, cooking, possibly working out and hopefully a nap

Monday: Work 8-5. Drive about 45 minutes in traffic, then depending on the day I have either a WP life group, a 2nd life group, a meeting with Michelle to plan for WP or working out (working out being the exception instead of the rule) Those meetings whatever they may be end about 930-10pm

Tuesday: Work 8-5, 45 minutes in traffic, workout with trainer for 30 minutes, cardio 30 minutes then attempt to cook dinner or just not puke depending on the workout

Wednesday: Work 8-5, 45 minutes in traffic, dinner with Diane before bible study at her house, bible study until 930ish.

Thursday: Work 8-5, 45 minutes in traffic, family night at my sisters house until 9ish

Friday: Work 8-5, 45 minutes in traffic, depending on the night work at the bookstore or workout (most likely the bookstore)

Saturday: Occasionally work at the bookstore, work in the yard or inside the house, bake, cook, laundry, run errands with Sharen, maybe work out/hang out with friends

The trainer said I needed to have at least 4-5 days of cardio and 3-5 days of strength training to make a dent in what I want to do. When exactly am I supposed to do that!? I could do it in the morning but I hate (HATE) showering in public showers. I come out feeling dirtier than when I came in, and I can't/won't go to work all sweaty.
So I'm laying in bed, twirling my hair and thinking about what to do. I could get up at 5am, go to the closest gym to my house and work out for 30-45 minutes and still have time to come home and shower at my house before leaving (on time) for work.

But it's to early, to hard, to much, to inconvenient, I'm not a morning person blah blah blah.
Then it occurred to me. For a year I used to get up at 5am every Monday and Wednesday to serve breakfast to the homeless community. I had very few problems getting up and showered and making the trek to Over The Rhine to do that.
Why wasn't it to early, to hard, to much, to inconvenient? Why was I a morning person during that year?
Because it wasn't about me. It wasn't a sacrifice for only me. I was serving them. They were worthy and deserving of my time, my energy, my inconvenience.
I realized with a start that I didn't believe that I was worth the sacrifice. I wasn't worth the effort. I didn't deserve it.

On one hand I know that it's not true, but I don't believe it.
I think about the words he spoke that day saying that I deserved to be healthy and I deserved to be in shape. I remember dismissing him and thinking how silly it was that he thought I didn't know that, because I knew it.
I don't, but I'm trying to learn. Because as silly and trite as it sounds God has requested that I get this body of mine under control and that guy just doesn't let up.
So if I'm a little crankier than normal it's probably because I was up at 5am working out. Now I just need to actually do it....

Posts that may only be slightly related:
Knowing but not Believing



"It's just not enough"
For a girl that rarely feels like enough for anyone or anything that sentance can devestate.
My trainer said that it's not enough for the loss I'm aiming for to just work out 2-3times a week. He said that if my nutrition was better it could be ok. He said if my nutrition was perfect it would be perfect. I thought, "If I was better...."
But my nutrition sucks. I thought, "I suck"

I'm overwhelmed with how much of what to eat when. When I get overwhelmed enough I just shut down and do nothing. I shrink back and withdrawal because I don't want to look stupid or like I don't know anything. I have denial down to a science.
I condemn myself with harsh and nasty words blaming my laziness and stupidity for the choices that I'm making. I get frustrated that I'm not losing a million pounds a minute and that I still get out of breath when I go up the stairs to many times.
I started holding my breath again.
I can see in my head the actions to take but I just can't seem to get my body to put forth the effort.

I'm going to try something different. Something new. I'm going to try to remember that I'm worth the effort. That I deserve to be healthy and happy. Because most of the time I forget that or believe I've never really known it before. So if I forget from time to time (all the time) maybe you could remind me.

Posts that may only be slightly related:
Learning to Breathe
The Only Balm
Still Broken


Bad Girl Bed

Most of the time I went to the house it was with my sister. But there were times I went over all by myself and stayed the night.
I would ask if I could sleep in the taller bed. The bed that was straight and didn't tip to the side. I was never allowed to, because that was the good girl bed.
They said bad girls slept in the bad girl bed.

There was a door beside the good girl bed. Behind it lurked a bad girl monster. If the bad girl slept in the good girl bed the monster would come out from the behind the door at night while she slept and carry her back behind the door. She would never see her mommy and daddy again.
So I would stay up late, watching David Letterman and eating cinnamon toast that tasted better than anything I've ever eaten, to avoid the bad girl bed for as long as possible. But eventually upstairs I would go.
To the crooked bed that tilted towards the wall. Accepting their word that I was a bad girl.


JJ Heller

I heard this song on the radio the other night on the way home from bible study (that was in and of itself very intense). I didn't quite catch the name of the song or the singer, I thought it was Helen.
The song I heard was Your Hands:

I have unanswered prayers
I have trouble I wish wasn't there
And I have asked a thousand ways
That You would take my pain away
That You would take my pain away

I am trying to understand
How to walk this weary land
Make straight the paths that crookedly lie
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

When You walked upon the Earth
You healed the broken, lost, and hurt
I know You hate to see me cry
One day You will set all things right
Yea, one day You will set all things right

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

Your hands
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave You when...

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave...
I never leave Your hands

I was working at the bookstore and saw an older cd of hers called The Pretty & the Plain on clearance for like $4, so I bought that one. Then had to download her Painted Red CD which had the Your Hands song on it.
So many songs just speaking so directly to my heart.

Isn't the load that you carry heavy? Isn't it time to let it down already? -Grow


New Favorite

I'm pretty sure Alece is my new favorite blogger. I love her openness and her depth, her silliness and her introspection. Here's another way she put it so much more eloquently than I have:

I’ve spent my whole life apologizing for being me.

Those who know me well, know I say “I’m sorry” a lot. A lot. A few people have repeatedly told me to “stop apologizing!” But I can’t seem to.

I’m quick to apologize for things I’ve done wrong, but I’m also quick to take on myself what isn’t mine to own. I am a peacemaker; I can’t stand lack of resolution. So I am almost-always the first to apologize, even when I’m not the one who did wrong.

But more than that—beyond apologizing for what I’ve done, or even for what I’ve not done—I live with a demeanor of apology simply for being me.

I can remember feeling that way as far back as second or third grade. I did well in school, and we all know being the smart kid is never “cool”. So I learned early on to hide my grades from my classmates. Even as an elementary school student, I was apologetic of being myself when “myself” wasn’t socially acceptable.

And it’s bled over into every area of my life as an adult. I apologize for my quietness, for my desire for intimacy, for my personality. I apologize for my opinions and for my lack of opinions. I apologize for who I’m friends with; I apologize for who I’m not friends with. I apologize for my weaknesses and my strengths. I apologize for being… For just… being.

So I’m trying to stop. I’m trying to be okay with being myself and am trying to ease up on the unnecessary “I’m sorry”s. I want to apologize only for those things I actually need to own. I shouldn’t apologize for what’s not mine. Easier said than done.

They say step one is admitting your issue, and that admittance is half the battle. So…

Here’s to progress?!


More Eloquently

I read this on a blog I just discovered today thanks to Jenni Clayville. This woman said it so much more eloquently than I have in the past.

“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” I know that. Cognitively. He cares for me. He cares about what I care about. I should cast my anxiety upon Him.

All too often, though, I subconsciously take the word cast to mean the same as it does in fishing. I give it to God, but I’m still hanging on to the other end. As far as I throw it, as much as I give it over, it’s still attached to me. Because I’m holding on tight.

“But I gave it to God…” I try to convince myself. Meanwhile I’m poised and ready to reel it back in whenever I want. And reel I do. I decide to take it back from God’s hands. Which means I think it’s better off in my capable hands than in His.

Oh to be so smug.

I looked up the word cast in the dictionary. When it’s not referring to fishing, it means to get rid of, to discard, to throw off or throw away; to hurl or fling.

I need to let that sink in a bit. I need to let it sink in a lot.

When I give something to God, I need to hurl it at Him (He can handle the blow), get rid of it (forever), throw it off me (with as much vigor as I can muster). And then I need to leave it there. For good.


“Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you…”

I’m trying…


Flat like Micheal Jackson

Yesterday (which was Thursday the 12th) I had an inkling to get my hair cut. I'm trying to grow it long-long but needed to touch up my bangs and layers (gosh that makes me feel like such a girl to type!). So I call Sharen to see what's happening for family night. Turns out Matthew needed a haircut and my nieces were staying at their mom's house thanks to copious amounts of homework.
We head to Great Clips and get hair cuts. Here's the finished product:

After the haircut we head to Sharen's to have some dinner. Matthew had a mask picture from school that he wanted to finish coloring so I helped him with that. After coloring it in he decided it looked more like a rocket ship so we drew some flames on the bottom and made it a rocket ship. Matthew also decided that we should make Earth so the rocket would have someplace to launch off of.
But it was dinner time so that would have to wait.
During dinner we talked about all sorts of things and Matthew said this:

"When you die your heart stops beating and you get flat like Micheal Jackson. Then the next day you come back as a zombie"

I have no idea where he gets these things from. I also have no idea why kids only want to sit on you and hold your hand when it's time to eat:

When dinner was finally over we decided that since we were making Earth we should also make Saturn and all the other planets and Earths moon while we were at it. Saturn was really hard to cut out.

But Matthew did a bang up job cutting out Mars.

We weren't sure what color all the planets were so the whole time we were saying, "Mommy what color is Pluto, what color is Mars?" It all culminated in a lot of giggling when Matthew looked at the next planet on the list and said, "Mommy, what color if Uranus?" He wasn't sure what we were laughing at, but he decided to join in the giggling anyway.

When it came time to trace the Earths moon I asked Matthew how big he thought it was, he decided it should be as big as his head:

We were finally done! Time to go upstairs and hang the solar system, our rocket ship and the meteor Matther wanted to look like was destroying the rocket ship. (Which looked like a meatball with fire coming out of it's bottom). After much discussion and deliberation Matthew decided to hang the solar system up on his door.

Sharen and I were trying to get them hung in order of the actual solar system (thank you 5th grade science camp at Firelands College) but Matthew insisted the Earth be hung in a specific location out of the order of the planets. So I said, "Ok you can hang them wherever you want." A few minutes later I tried to persuade him to hang Saturn in a specific location and he put his hands on his little hips and said, "Aunt Bethany I can hang them where I want!" Well played young man, well played.

Here's the finished product with it's proud creator:

After convincing him that Michigan was not a planet and never could be ("Aunt Bethany I know Michigan is a state, but SOMETIMES it could be a planet too right?") He looked over his masterpiece and proclaimed:
"This will confuse and scare the monsters that come into my room at night. They will think I'm on the rocket going to Saturn....or Florida!"

It was a lot of fun and there were no tantrums and nary a whine the whole night!

Posts that may only be slightly related:
Bobcat Bethany


The Date

The ice breaker at Life Group this week was to tell the story of your most interesting/awkward/best date. This is the (longer version of the) story I told:

In about 2002/3 or so I was working for a bank correcting teller errors in Bowling Green Ohio. I had just gotten saved and God was telling me to move to Cincinnati. There was a branch team leader at a banking center near Cincinnati that I had a crush on. We would chat on the phone about all sorts of things, work, non-work, church etc.
Stephanie sat next to me in the office and she would mock my "boy voice" which was apparently high pitched and caused me to elongate my vowels. But I digress.
One weekend I came to Cincinnati to visit my sister and her family. So I told this fella that I was coming through Cincinnati for a brief window and maybe we could have dinner. Dinner never worked out but we were able to have breakfast and it was lovely. A month or so passed and I was heading back to Cincinnati. This time we set up a lunch date.
I met him at his branch and we headed to lunch. I fought to open every door, like literally would speed walk to the door to fight him for the door opening position. I jumped and asked him what he was doing when he put his hand on my back and that's not even the best part.
While we were at the table eating an awkward silence fell over the table. I panicked. I had to say something breezy and witty to spark the conversation again. I thought for awhile and then, I had it! As the poor unsuspecting fella took a bite of his chicken salad I said, "Did you know that turtles can breathe out of their butts?"

Uh-Oh I thought, the silence isn't going away! "Well, I mean...I don't know if it smells like poop or anything, but I know they can breathe out of their butts"
He replied, "OooooKay" Then a few second passed and he caught our waiters eye and said, "Check please"

We spoke only one other time after that, when he told me he had gotten back together with his ex and was engaged. She probably didn't know about the turtles and when he told her she swooned and they fell back in love. At least that's what I'm telling myself.


Stinky Feet

This past Monday I had a Life Group meeting at Uno's. I was planning to go to the gym for some cardio before, but the lovely and extra careful drivers of Cincinnati decided to all drive slowly so I didn't have enough time.
Ok, I might have had enough time...but just barely and not really worth me changing my clothes twice and getting all sweaty before our meeting.

But I still had about 30-45 minutes to kill. So I went to Barnes & Noble because I need a new day timer for 2010 and let's face it, I love Barnes & Noble.
I couldn't find a day timer but I found Pioneer Womans cook book and the new Post Secret book so I was planning on settling down in a comfy chair and flipping through them.
Earlier as I was looking for the day timer I walked past this gentleman who looked about 50ish. As I walked past my eyes slid over the chair he was sitting in and noticed that he craned his head a little and looked back at me a little funny.

By the time I'd grabbed my books there were no other chairs to sit in (of course) other than the chair right beside him. I figured I just misinterpreted his look and slouched over there to sit. As soon as I sat, the stench over took me. Stinky feet had his shoes off and they STUNK. But I didn't want to be rude so I settled in and occasionally looked the opposite direction and inhaled deeply.
I started flipping through the books and started feeling a little eeky. So I glanced up at Stinky feet and he shifted his gaze just slightly above my head. He was apparently looking at me. :shudder: This happened about 3 or 4 more times.

Stinky feet was also fidgety, sitting on first one foot and then the other. I was about done with my books, and it was almost time to go to Uno's when I saw him shifting again, but it was different.
So I tucked my chin down and looked up with just my eyes to see him staring at me while stretching his stinky foot towards me and then he wiggled his toes as if to say hello.

I got up and left. I figured sitting at Uno's a few minutes before group had to be less awkward than that.


All the demons look like prophets

I was sitting with a group of people the other night. All of them married, of course. They were saying things like, "my wife will tell you" "my husband knows this better than anyone" I just felt overcome by a sense of aloneness. Not loneliness per say, just this feeling of being unknown by someone that intimately but at the same time not really wanting to be known by someone that way.

The older I get the more I am surrounded by almost exclusively married people. Not that I mind all that much. I love my friends, married and otherwise.
It's just that sometimes, I don't want to be alone. I don't want a husband, but I don't want to be alone.
It's hard to explain that in the moment, because the easier answer for most of my married friends is to start dating (as if it's that easy). My 5 year old nephew has even told me that I need to go to "husband land to find a husband". I asked him where husband land was, he didn't seem to know, which wasn't very helpful.

I restrain myself from telling people that I don't want to be alone because most days I can't bear the idea of being alone. But I can't bear the idea of being married or even in a serious relationship either. So what's a girl to do?
There aren't many single ladies around my age (or even within 10 years of my age) that I hang out with or that are around for me to hang out with in my "circle". The ones I know live on the other end of the state (even though I keep begging them to move to Cincinnati)
It's all very whiney sounding in my head.

I know that marriage is good, important and lovely sometimes. I know that it's awful, stressfull and full of tension at other times. I'm not trying to imagine a marriage between Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan or anything. I'm just saying that when I'm sitting in a group of people that are all married I sometimes feel like standing up and shouting that not everyone there is married. Not everyone there has kids. Not everyone there that's single is looking (sometimes desperately) for a spouse to fill their arms.
So when we're all together, please don't look at me and say, "Oh you'll find out when you're married" or "Oh get ready when you have kids you'll..." because I don't know that I will, or that I even want to most days. Keep in mind I don't know that I won't or that I don't want to most days either.

I have a pretty high tolerance for all things marriage and babies, thanks to my lovely friends that are deeply entrenched in spouse and parenthood. I love my friends babies, I love their spouses and I love getting a glimpse into a marriage on some level. But on other levels, I'm more than happy to hand the babies back and go home to my empty house and dance around in my underpants without wondering if I'm bothering someone.

At the same time as all of that, I wonder. Do you know what I mean when I say I don't want to be alone? Because I don't know most of the time, it changes moment to moment.
All I know is, no one has to buy me a ticket to husband land anytime soon. But I know some ladies that would love to know which direction it's in if you figure out where it's at.

Do you know what I mean
When I say I don't wanna be alone?
What I mean when I say
I don't wanna be alone?
Empty spaces
Shadows hit by streetlights
With warning signs and weight
Of tired conversations
In the absence of a shoulder
In the absence of a thief
On the brink of this destruction
On the eve of bittersweet
Now all the demons look like prophets
And I'm living out
Every word they speak
-Jars of Clay Work

Posts that may only be slightly related:
Christian Singles
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Uh-Oh 3-0


It's the breathing that's taking all this work

I do pretty well with the drama. Sifting through it, thinking through it and hashing it all out.
It stresses me out sometimes, but a lot of the time I'm really good in a crisis.
It's the everyday that drives me batty. It's the mundane, the paying of the bills, raking of the leaves, vacuuming, laundry, driving to and from work and making sure I have edible food in my house. I just lose focus, motivation and energy.

I'm working on that and I'm finding it way more challenging than I thought it would be. I'm finding that I'm loathe to ask for help to tell people I'm struggling. I feel like I'm making things way more melodramatic than I need to and that I'm digging my own pit that I'm languishing in.
It's a weird time. A lot of stuff swirling around in my head and my heart. God's been busy pulling back the curtains and shining light in the dusty hidden corners. I have no fear of drowning, it's the breathing that's taking all this work.

Just in case
I will leave my things packed
So I can run away
I cannot trust these voices
I don't have a line of prospects
That can give some kind of peace
There is nothing left to cling to
That can bring me sweet release
I have no fear of drowning
It's the breathing
That's taking all this work
-Jars of Clay Work


Quotes: Pete Gall

Here are some quotes from just the intro and 1st chapter of Learning My Name that I had to write down:

Maybe it's time for me to give up my illusions about my condition in hopes of giving up a condition that needs illusions to make it survivable

Truth be told, my sin isn't what makes me feel like a failure. What makes me feel so lousy is the lens through which I see myself and the meaning of my sin. The problem is woven deep within the fabric of how I see the world and it has everything to do with my ongoing refusal to truly -even indolently- allow myself to be love by God

"Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly. For he is victorious over sin, death, and the world." -Martin Luther

I don't want to be broken. I hate the sin within me and I do want God to reshape me. But when I look to people like Augustine, Luther and Yancy it doesn't take long before I see that maybe I focus more on my sins than on Gods love for me. Something is broken with the way I interact with the world and with my sin and it costs me the experience of God's love. It leaves me trapped in my own fallen stated. I want to experience the healing and freedom in addition to the forgiveness of God's love.
I am coming to have this feeling that for all of us in one way or another, God eventually lets the pressures of our sins pile up against our best efforts and most ardent attempts at faith so that we crumble, throw in the towel and give the bastardly parts of ourselves to God to do with as he will

I don't want to pay the social cost I'm sure to pay if other people see me in my desperate need and brokenness

As dutiful Christians who've come to believe that Jesus only heals all at once and often only to the level of our faith, many of us refuse to give each other permission to admit it yet, but the embarrassing truth is that we need to return to the Cross again and again, even if it's only a brief visit under the cover of night or because a profound momentary crisis drives us to cry out for Christ's mercy once more.

We will forever stumble back into the need for the Cross, whether it's for salvation or relief from our burdens. The horrible bottom-line truth is the Cross is the only place where we make sense.

Posts that may only slightly be related:
On Serving
Ye Olde Forum



Sometimes I still find myself running towards the lies. Believing that I am truly way down deep inside unlovable. People I love, that I deeply respect and admire have gone to ridiculous lengths to convince me I am in fact lovable.
Even on wonderful fanfreakintastic days I hear an echo of long ago and long since dead voices telling me I am a nasty selfish girl that no one really loves.
I hate that echo.
I've tried to drown it out, smoke it out, cut it out, sweat it out. I've tried to kill it with food and I've tried to distract it with shiny boys. But still the voice remains.
I've tried to silence it with loud angry music or the blaring TV. I've given it over more times than I care to count to a God that has shown himself as nothing less than gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. But still it returns. The echo, always there in the deepest part of the night and the brightest time of day.
You are not lovable it hisses and slithers. I don't know how to make it stop. I don't know how to stop attributing that echo of long ago voices from over taking me. I don't know how to stop from thinking, "Any day now. Any day they'll figure out that I'm a fraud, that I'm unlovable"

I hold my breath, waiting for the hammer to drop. For you to figure it out. I find myself terrified and tongue tied when I try to pray because I don't want Him to find out, or more so I don't want to remind Him how truly unlovable I am.
The contradiction is found in knowing it is a lie; but still believing it's true.

It's prideful, this obsession that I can truly be that unlovable. The idea that I can have information that God does not already know inside and out. The idea that I am beyond the redemption of a God that created the universe. This guilt is not well founded. This shame is not from God.
I'm just working through some things people. I'll be just fine. But sometimes this junk just needs to get out of my head before it drives me batty.

Posts that may only be slightly related:
I was Afraid


Knowing the Truth; Believing the Lies

I'm reading Learning My Name by Pete Gall. It's a really intense book for me and I'm having a hard time reading more than a few pages.
I started it right after reading another really intense book and had to put it down. I just couldn't do it anymore.

But I dog sat this weekend and decided to give it another crack. At the end of the intro and each chapter there are questions to answer and reflect on. I'm only partly through the 1st chapter. Because I just can't push through this book. It's challenging my views on forgiveness, healing and redemption. I realized with a tearful start that I still believe a lie. Lies that had been tattooed on my heart for years I'm still finding them holding on in the deepest corners of my heart and mind.
I know they are lies. I know they are lies. But I still believe them to be true. I choose their sharp broken edges over the loving embrace of a God that has never harmed me.

The question was "What do you believe happens when God forgives you?"
I know what happens, I've read about it in the bible, what happens when you ask for forgiveness. I know the truth. But my mouth opened and out of it came this damn lie that He patronizes me, says "yes yes I know you'll try to do better, just like the last hundred times" Out of my mouth and the dredges of my heart came the characteristics and habits of people that have hurt me, lied to me, used me, abused me...and my very own broken and damaged character came out. That forgiveness isn't true, it doesn't exist. There is no redemption for this horrible nasty girl.
I can't even explain really what happened after that. I wrote and wrote and wrote in my journal. I prayed, I cried I begged for this to go away, these lies.
I know these are all lies. That no one, myself included is beyond redemption. I know that when you ask for forgiveness you are granted it immediately. But I don't believe it. I don't trust that it could really be true.

It's infected my relationship with God to the point of infecting my time in prayer with him. It's is a brick wall that I've built between us that I'm tired of ramming my head into. It's a battle that is raging that is whispering to me that God merely tolerates me and my antics because I'm useful to Him in some way. Which is the same battle that rages in my heart about my relationships with other people.
It's terrifying and reassuring, this realization that these lies exist along with my knowledge of the truth. It's terrifying that I can have known God for so long, that I have seen Him do amazing things and that He has delivered me from so many things but I still don't seem to trust that it's real. It's reassuring because at least I know the truth...which is someplace to begin.

Because I know, that we are all redeemed freely through grace. That it is not what I do, the tasks I accomplish, the words I do or do not say, the actions I have taken in the past or the actions I'm taking now that will earn me grace. It's free. Completely unearned and completely amazing. Now I just have to find a way to truly truly believe it and allow that grace to heal the scars the lies have left etched in my heart.

Romans 3:22-24
22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Posts that may only be slightly related:
Beautiful Idol
Thud of Grace
Still Broken


The Thud of Grace

I read this here.
You have to read it. I cried. It was exactly what I needed today.

I often wonder how she felt.
Standing there, caught in her shame, there was no way to hide.
No chance of passing the blame – she was caught in the act.
No chance of getting out of punishment – these guys meant business.

But, so did He.

He already knew her. He knew her habits, her vices. He also knew her dreams. Her secret longings. Her desire to be beautiful and to feel beautiful. Yeah, he knew all about her. And he still loved her.

I often wonder how she felt; humiliated and scared out of her mind. Her eyes darting towards the jagged stones held by the hands of men – many of whom she had already met before. Many of whom she had already…known before. The cat calls and hissing of men and women in the crowd, the plea for justice in the form of stone against flesh, none of these could distract her attention though of this man standing next to her.

Majestic yet simple.
Fierce yet serene.
Jealous. Oh my, he was jealous.

A voice cried out, “Abba! We caught this woman having sex. Adultery! Fornication! It wasn’t even her husband! According to Moses, we should stone her.” The man, silently remembering his own indiscretions with the targeted woman, threw a furtive smile towards his friends. “What say you, LORD?”


A few chuckled. She groaned inwardly. They had him now. All he had to do was mention this thing of…grace and they would have him trapped. She was a slut. A whore. A good-for-nothing piece of trash who gave away her body for a few scraps of bread and measly change.

Every one waited.

Quietly, he stooped down and wrote in the sand.

She braced herself for the first stone’s impact.

His voice shattered the silence, “Okay. True. She has sinned. But. Let the one with no sin throw the first stone.”

She closed her eyes, tears making rivers down her cheeks.


One stone hits the ground with stunning finality. The man who dropped the stone, shoulders slumped, turns around and walks away.


Another stone fallen; another man turns to leave.

One by one, the stones hit the dirt. The woman – was she amazed? Did she have the strength to stand under the weight of a sin forgiven?

Quietly, without much ado, the men left . Only One was remained.

“Where are your accusers? Did no one throw a stone?”

She managed a whisper, “No, LORD.”

He smiled. “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

I often wonder how she felt.

With the thud of grace ringing in her ears, did she dance? Did she sing?

Or did she cling to His hand? In desperation for love and acceptance, did she for the first time feel beautiful? Did she see her worthiness as far more than pearls as He gingerly wiped tears from her cheek?

I’d like to think she did a little of all of these. I’d like to think that humbled, she fell at His feet and wept the bittersweet tears of redemption. I’d like to think that when she was done, she finally felt what it was like to be forgiven.

To be free.