Archive for the LinkWhoring Category

Cynical and disillusioned

Sheila Gregoire of to Love, Honor, & Vacuum did a series on her blog this week about problems she saw with the popular Christian marriage book “Love & Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. I commented on the 3rd post because she said I’ve been thinking for a while – that Jesus often isn’t the center of our teaching. I started a comment and then realized I was about to typed out a big rant, and decided that the potential length called for my own blog post.

There are a couple of posts I should probably finish first, but I’ll start with this and let the other 2 be explanations after the fact instead of a build up to.

So here’s Sheila’s posts:
A Review of Love and Respect: How the Book Gets Sex Horribly Wrong
Love and Respect: Why Unconditional Respect Can’t Work
The Ultimate Flaw in the Book Love and Respect: Jesus Isn’t at the Center
Our Podcast: The Love and Respect Earthquake, Tidying Up, and More!
Your Stories of Women and Marriages Damaged from Love and Respect

Here’s my comment on the 3rd:

The church I quit last year did a sermon series on this book back around January 2015 (my guess based on when I added and updated Love & Respect in my Goodreads). I didn’t see a problem at the time. But this time last year I started to see what was consistently missing from most (if not all) of the formulaic sermon series (plural) that I was started to really listen to. The Holy Spirit.

I was about to type out a whole rant, but I’m going to save that for my own blog when I have more time.

The “Love & Respect” series was from November-December, 2014. That was during my first year of sobriety, and while I was “coming to,” I was still entrenched in patriarchal indoctrination. And I was still kind of desperate to save my failing marriage. So I didn’t see anything off at the time. That came later most glaringly with the InCite Conference of 2017 with fired pastor Perry Noble who was billed as a headliner of the conference shortly after his stint in rehab for alcohol abuse.

An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. 1 Timothy 3:2-3

Noble had no business being on that stage. Around that same time I noticed several megachurch pastors around the country using the phrase, “The Best is Yet to Come” just as ours had done in connection with a fundraising campaign.

By this time, I had a little bit of sobriety, I was working through some issues, and I was questioning everything. One of my twitter friends was talking about Robert Morris’ book “The Blessed Life” and Morris saying Jesus was “God’s tithe.” That reminded me that he said that garbage when he spoke at our church in 2014 for a sermon series based on that book. I found it odd when I heard him say it, but I was in early sobriety, and barely able to discern yet. Now? God didn’t “tithe” himself. Jesus is God. And even if we divide out the Trinity, Jesus is 1/3 not 1/10. But still, how can God tithe himself and who is he tithing to? HE IS GOD! I haven’t yet been able to get through that book. I have it, and started it because the pastor sent a signed copy when I started giving money only he addressed it to my daughter not catching that it was MY name on the check and apparently assuming that “Jamie” = “James” and as husband he was the spiritual leader. He was not. But I digress.

I had to step down from serving once I went back to school because I couldn’t put in sufficient practice time. If I was just singing, I could, but not playing guitar, and there were loads of vocalists by that time. Also, at this point, I was only attending when I was scheduled on the worship team. I was still listening to all the sermons via podcast, but then a sermon series happened that got all over me. The pastor made the statement, “Jesus was a carpenter. He was a man’s man!” This wasn’t the only hypermasculine statement, but it was the one that pissed me off. I am a carpenter. I don’t do it for a living, and rarely have time to do it as a hobby (for now), but I’ve been building and fixing things that fall under the carpentry umbrella since my very early 20s. You don’t need a penis to be a carpenter! Does this also mean that men who aren’t carpenters are less manly? That’s just ludicrous. He even made a statement about men who’ve been “wussified” and I was like, “That’s the ‘clean’ version of Mark Driscoll a few years ago talking about how men have been ‘pussified’!” That whole series could have been a Driscoll series, and may have been one of his recycled. And Driscoll is another disgraced pastor who has no business on a stage or behind a pulpit.

It was a couple of months after this that there was a guest preacher who gave a standalone sermon to tell parents what they need to do to guarantee their children will follow God. That’s the sermon when it hit me that there was no mention of the Holy Spirit at all, and only a passing mention of Jesus. It was all about doing a set of things “right” so that your kids will turn out all right. But you can do everything “right” and kids will still have a mind and will of their own. Without the Holy Spirit to guide your relationship with them, and without the Holy Spirit guiding them, there is just behavior modification to be accepted by your tribe. The odds are certainly better if you raise them up, but motives matter, and if it’s to make y’all look good and not for them to actually love Jesus and obey Jesus in order to love others, it’s just empty works. There are no absolute guarantees because “Christian formulas” are NOT Jesus.

I stopped listening to the sermon podcasts during that summer’s “Hot & Heavy” series. A story was told, that I have heard told before that I don’t believe actually happened. It’s the reason for following the “Billy Graham rule” because a female congregant tried to seduce him to go to a hotel room she had reserved right across the street from where they were eating as they had met for counseling. I am just as skeptical of that story as I am of Billy Graham’s claim of finding a naked woman in his hotel room. Maybe one of those stories is true. Maybe they both are. But even if so, isolated incidents do not indicate a pattern of women to fall on their backs with their legs up in the air for pastors. It goes right along with patriarchal and complementarian men blaming women for men’s lusts and fantasies while portraying themselves as hapless victims. It makes women enemies just by their very existence. And this is not of Christ no matter how big of a platform they get.

This turned into the long rant that I figured it would. I wrote about magic formulas 3 years ago. I guess once your eyes get opened, you just can’t unsee it. Sheila is right. If obedience to Jesus is not our primary desire in every aspect of our lives, all else will become idolatry and we will chase after and follow anyone who makes us feel better or promises us a comfortable life rather than following Jesus.

Trump is not savior

I used to read Charisma News regularly. But then I stopped because there was just too much prosperity teaching and imminent end-times prophecy, that I decided it wasn’t worth weeding through all the false teaching for the few good articles. I am not a cessasionist, though I was raised to be one, so it’s not the charismatic gifts that put me off.

What happened is that I couldn’t let a political discussion go by on Facebook without adding my 2 cents. They are good friends, so I tried not to be a jerk, because I love and respect them. We just disagree. That said, the following article came into the conversation as part of the justification to vote for Trump. I have found no argument for Trump, Christian or secular, that remotely convinces me he would be a good choice. I did not want to vote for either of the previous 2 Republican candidates for president, but I held my nose each time to vote Republican rather than the Libertarian candidate even though my values are more in line with Libertarian than Republican.

Anyway, I disagreed with almost every single point Dr. Garlow makes in the following article, and because I can’t just let it go, I decided to respond to each of his points. The title told me it would me another fear-based argument.

If You’re On the Fence About Your Vote, This Pastor Clarifies How the Very Future of America Is At Stake

1. I can’t necessarily speak to this one. I’ve read neither platform. I have read the Libertarian platform, and it is more in line with my principles. I’ve never been liberal enough to be a Democrat, though from 1988 until 2004 (when I became an NC resident) I was a registered Democrat in Arkansas. The Republican party tarnished itself in my eyes with it’s treatment of Bill Clinton (of whom I am not at fan) over the Lewinski affair. Pun intended. I considered myself a right-wing pundit when I first started blogging in late 2004, and up until late 2008, was a staunchly conservative who fit right into Donald Trump’s base. It was in 2008 when I started going to church again for the first time in 19 years that led to a fresh encounter with the risen Jesus, and I have not been the same since. That’s when I really started hearing the right, and rejecting the fear-monging and hate. When I was a high school senior, I was chatting with one of my teachers, and I asked her if she was a Democrat or Republican. She told me, “I vote for candidates, not political parties.” Mrs. Lynch made no effort to hide her strong Christian roots and her absolute trust and love for Christ. She was smart, and kind, and I have loved and respected her for many years. She also knows first hand about persecution, because she is a black lady who grew up during Jim Crow.

2. Everybody is flawed. But the “Trump-type” is just the flip side of the “Hillary-type.” They are both liars. They are both on the far ends of the political spectrum. They have equally bad character, and the fact that Trump is so open with it makes it blatently obvious that he is not fit to represent our country as a leader.

3. This is flat out false. His blatent rude, crude, hateful behavior and speech show that he has neither character, temperment, nor demeaner befitting a leader. He is a bully who made himself a caricature of the far right with all of it’s fear-mongering, and sold it to a constituency who has been fed false fear for decades.

4. This in no way excuses Trump’s behavior. The Clintons are not worse than him. He has his own scandalous past and he is completely unrepentent. At least Bill Clinton apologized over the Lewinsky affair. Not that anyone on the right accepted it. Hillary has the emails, Benghazi, and Whitewater. Nixon had the missing 15 minutes of recordings, Reagan had Iran-Contra, George W. Bush had deleted emails. Congress held multiple hearings on Benghazi and could not find evidence of willful wrongdoing. And for all his aggressive investigation, Ken Starr could not find enough evidence to bring any charges on Whitewater. He bribed an Attorney General. Meanwhile, Trump refuses to release his tax returns while pointing to the Clinton Foundation. What’s he hiding? He’s awful friendly with Russia…

5. Trump is not being surrounded with good people. He is surrounding himself with white nationalists, and fear-mongers.

6. Trump is wrong on most issues. Hillary is not wrong about everything. This is standard right-wing propaganda that conservatives alone know the truth and the liberals are evil and wrong. It is a lie and it is this polarization of us vs them that is the biggest problem right now in our nation.

7. More fear-mongering. Trade and partnership among nations is not evil in and of itself. “Principalities and powers” is not referring to humanity, but is referring to demons and spiritual warfare. “For we do not war against flesh and blood…” He conveniently left that part of the verse out.

8. He has the right to be wrong also. Christians absolutely should vote their conscious. And if that means not voting because they can’t in good conscious vote for any candidate, who are we to judge? I beleive Paul had something to say about Christian conscious/liberty, and it wasn’t about someone with “stronger” faith coercing someone with a “weaker” faith.

9. This is flat out bullying and a LIE. A 3rd party vote is a vote for a 3rd party candidate. Period.

10. Trump didn’t move pro-life. And being anit-abortion does not make someone pro-life. This is another matter where Trump is playing the right. And Trump’s overall rhetoric echo’s/parallels that of Nazi Germany. Roe v Wade is not going to be repealed. That fight is over from a legal standpoint. But we can stop shaming unmarried pregnant women by stop holding them solely responsible for their pregnacy. Stop calling them whores. Treat them with the dignity that we would want shown to us if it were us in that position. Most women who go for abortions feel they have no other choice because of the way they are shamed – most often by Christians. Support pregnancy centers. Support adoptions. This will do more to drop the abortion rate (which actually has dropped during the Obama administration) than name-calling and fear-mongering. As for the talk of “giving an account,” either the blood of Christ is sufficient to cover every sin, or we have a works-based salvation. And if it is works-based, we are all doomed.

11. This is just a load of crap. Trump supports torture and killing of innocents.

12. Given our history of human trafficking and enslavement of Africans during our early history, further treatment of black people as “less than” (even to this day) since the Civil War, the forced relocation of the indiginous peoples of North American (which amounted to genocide), along with breaking every single treaty made with the Native American peoples, I think we have never really been the pillar of morality as a nation. We are no worse now than we ever were. As the proverb states, there is nothing new under the sun. This is a whitewashed narrative of our nation’s history, and I emphasize “white.” Our nation is just another Gentile nation with no special significance over other Gentile nations. We’ve always been temporary. I grew up with plenty of end-times teaching, and so I know that the United States is not mentioned among the nations who will be players in the end times. Oh, and we have been in the end times since Jesus ascended. The writers of the New Testament refer to their time as the endtimes. No one knows the day nor hour. And NO party or candidate is going to hasten or delay the day and time that God has already set.

13. The Republicans are just as bad as the Democrats with regards to government spending, and Trump has filed bankruptcy 4 times. He clearly is not financially responsible.

14. Cronyism is not just a problem with Democrats. And Trump isn’t going to have that kind of power to stop it particularly when he is surrounded by his own cronies. He is a rich kid who inherited his money, profited off of gambling and objectifying women, and is known for not paying his contractors.

15. Doubtful. Wait, is this guy claiming to be a prophet? Because isn’t this said of every Republican? And Republicans are just as guilty.

16. We have not lost any religious liberty. What we are losing is religious privilege and we NEED to lose that because we shouldn’t be expecting – and certainly not demanding – special treatment. This is not what Jesus taught.

17. This is again, complete bull. The right complains about the left legislating from the bench, but wants to put conservatives on the bench to do the very same thing. It’s hypocritical, and just more fear-mongering.

18. We honor Christ by voting as the Holy Spirit leads us. Any Christian leader telling us we need to vote for a certain candidate or party or “suffer dire consequences” is engaging in spritual abuse. It is controlling behavior, which is a character defect I have making me able to easily spot it. (“If you spot it, you probably got it.”) Jesus called us to lead by being servants, not tyrants. The Gospel is good news, and love drives out fear. When we base our vote choice on self-preservation (whether individual preservation or tribe), we are not only acting contrary to the Gospel, but we are acting contrary to the spirit of American freedom which is to work for the common good of ALL people – not just those who look like, act like, and agree with us.

1 John 4:18 New International Version (NIV) There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

What I read this week – 1/22/16

Bookstore-WM

I do a lot of reading, and when an article resonates with me or is interesting (or funny or weird), I will post it to Facebook. I posted an article recently in a private group along with a plain statement about who the article reminded me of. One of the members thought I had posted that comment on my personal wall, which would have been a bold move, but a jerk move. And that’s when she called me out for how I post articles clearly (from our perspective) directed at certain groups passive aggressively. #truth Anyway, same person made the statement that she sees articles I post and makes a mental note to read them later, but then doesn’t. So I offered to send her an email compilation. Instead, I’m going to do a blog post so that I am actually posting. And perhaps adding some commentary.

10 Things That Scare Me About the “Purity” Culture

The “Purity” Culture came along after I was a teen, so I missed out on the purity rings and dating my dad stuff. Which, I didn’t want to go anywhere with my dad anyway. However, I was still taught much of the legalism behind the Purity Culture, and bore the weight of not measuring up alone and also got some added shame piled on me from not being “good” enough.

Sheila also wrote a great follow up to that one:

A Letter To All Those Who Feel They Have Lost Their Purity

Why You Should Tell Your Story, Even if It’s Messy

I have learned in the last few years that while my story is unique, it’s also not. There are loads of people who have gone through similar things and are struggling with similar stuff, and we need to know that we are not alone and someone else understands. Which isn’t to say that I’m not freaking out a little bit about speaking this weekend and telling my story. Even though I’ve done it before.

because this is the year you’re facing your demons & fears

“Have you ever had to face a monster? What did it look like? Where was it lurking when you found it? What did it take to face it without getting taken under?” I am actually in the process of facing a “monster” that’s been with me my whole life.

To You who Shames Yourself

I think those of us who grew up in an abusive environment are especially susceptible to self-shaming. Part of my “monster.”

What Have I to Fear

Petra and I had a really good discussion over this one even though she didn’t read the article. But I quoted the money quote with the article, so she got the gist of it. And I made this comment: “You know this is my “passive-aggressive” means of calling out all my uber-conservative christian fb friends who think the sun rises and sets on Franklin Graham and Fox News quoting 2 Chronicles 7:14 as if it’s even applicable because they have their flags so tightly wrapped around their bibles they can’t see that they really worship at the alter of American prosperity rather than following Jesus and enduring the suffering that he told us would come with truly following him.” And that was when she told me to drop my shoulders and breathe. Haha!

You’re All One Team

Good stuff from Joseph. I don’t care where you are working, or whether it’s volunteer or paid, when your teams are not working together, it hurts everybody.

Biblical Womanhood … Not What Many Think (RJS)

I’ve had to say this before, and I will say it again. I am not a “man-hating feminist.” I don’t believe that women AS A WHOLE should rule. But, neither do I believe exclusive male-rule is what God planned for mankind. I believe patriarchy is a result of the fall and male headship is part of the curse. Men and women are each uniquely gifted, but not according to gender. Men and women were created to lead together. To have dominion over the earth together. To have one gender asserting complete control over the other will always end up resulting in oppression, abuse, and blame shifting.

Rather than end on a contentious note, I will share a bit of a conversation I had with Petra yesterday via FB messenger. The whole thing was made funnier by the fact that I didn’t have my glasses with me at the start of it and couldn’t read it properly on my phone. But she told me that we should have gone to Fayetteville last night to see Peter Cetera. Not that she was really up for it, but I have my own reasons not to go to, well, most concerts.

PeterCetera-WM

If you liked this post or it resonated with you, would you please share it below?

Thank you!

I used to think ___ but now i think ___. #OutofSortsBook

Sarah Bessey’s new book, Out of Sorts, released last week. She is doing a synchroblog with a writing prompt about how and why we have evolved in our beliefs over the years. I’m all about a writing prompt, even if it takes 3 days to write. Ha!

LetMeOut-WM

I think so differently about so many things now, I don’t even know where to begin.

I always felt torn between 2 extremes. I either felt so utterly broken that I was beyond hope, or I felt like I had all the answers and was in the fast lane with the saints on the stairway to heaven. I think the self-righteous arrogance was a coping mechanism to deal with the massive inferiority I felt. I would find people whom I was “better than” in order to feel better about myself. Of course that was only when I was sober.

Truly, underneath any bravado I put up, I always felt less than. Not good enough. As I wrote about not too long ago, “If I couldn’t ever measure up to my dad’s standards with my behavior, how could I ever hope to measure up to God’s standard of absolute holy perfection?”

I thought I knew who God was, but I really never saw Him for who He really is.

For many years I did not consistently have someone in my life speaking truth to me about the character and nature of God. That means I definitely did not have someone reminding me of the Good News – the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I forgot that I couldn’t earn my way to God.

I had neither a dramatic falling away, nor did I have a dramatic return. I had a gradual descent into a breakdown where something had to give. Things started to change from the time I realized I was having a breakdown.

I changed when I realized I needed help.

It began with a medical doctor appointment where I walked out with an antidepressant and a couple of recommendations/referrals for therapists. Then I not only picked a therapist, but started attending Al-Anon. While I was largely silent in Al-Anon for a while, I sat in that first session with my therapist and verbally vomited on her. I told her things that I had never ever said out loud. To anyone.

I learned first in my therapist’s office to be honest about both my present and my past. To talk about what happened, what was happening, and how I felt. And nothing would ever be the same, especially once one of my close friends told me I needed to quit drinking. And that’s when I had to get really honest.

When you grow up in a fundamentalist culture with an abusive father, you learn things about God that just aren’t true. Sure, I believed Jesus saved me, but I didn’t fully believe I could be and was forgiven. I had to revisit everything I thought I knew about God, and tear down a lot of false teaching of legalism. I had to work through a lot of resentment not just with the religion of my youth, but with God himself.

I used to think that God was just waiting for people to do the wrong thing in order to enact a swift and thorough punishment for the least little infraction. Therefore, I had to be on guard all the time to not mess up, and when I did (because we all do), I lived in bondage to shame and fear. For many years, my only relief came from a bottle.

But having been delivered from the compulsion to self-medicate, I now know that God is kind and loving and merciful. I now know without a doubt that Jesus is enough, and because of Him, I don’t have to try to earn my way into the Father’s good graces. I am fully known and fully loved. The Holy Spirit wasn’t the one filling me with fear and shame. Oh, no. It’s the Holy Spirit that reminds me who I really am – a beloved daughter of the Father.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36 (NIV)

#medicatedandmighty – It’s complicated

This is it people. Two prescriptions to maintain this crazy. Wish me luck.

A photo posted by @muthalovinautism on

That is my friend Erin Jones. Her story has just blown up over the last few weeks. It’s a story about hitting bottom, and getting help back up. I encourage you to follow her on Facebook and/or check out her blog at Mutha Lovin’ Autism. Her story is shedding light on mental health, and seeks to break the stigma associated with mental illness.

I’m standing with her.

#medicatedandmighty Standing with my friend Erin @muthalovinautism and sharing my story of needing help, and before and after pics. I might have been running regularly in 2012 and looking ok on the outside, but I was trapped in a cycle of self-medication and denial. Midway through 2013, I hit a bottom, and started getting help. 5 months after I started taking an antidepressant, I stopped drinking. 17 months later, I stopped smoking (again). 18 months later, I put on makeup and a skirt, and told my story to a room full of people. 20 months later, I weaned off the antidepressant because it gave me the emotional reset I needed along with my program to feel my feelings without fear of them and without being consumed by them and work through the pain if the issues I stuffed, suppressed, and numbed for most of my life. #throwbackthursday #tbt

A photo posted by Martha Nemec (@dragonlady42) on

The last time I posted, I mentioned wrestling over sharing my unsanitized story. Since then, I have added My Story to the menu above (below on mobile). Because I have reached the point that I am ready to share it. Because one thing I have learned in recovery is that I am not alone and someone else has done or experienced something I have. Which means, there is someone out there who thinks that no one can possibly understand what he or she has been through.

It’s what my Manifesto is about. It’s about letting just one other person know they are not alone. And someone cares.

And there is hope.

I may or may not be on the autism spectrum. I don’t have a diagnosis, but I show a lot of signs. I’m still not convinced that I developed symptoms that would be considered on the spectrum due to trying to cope and survive the abuse as a child. Regardless, I have never felt “normal” and came up with my own coping skills which work well for a child, but not so much as an adult. I am certain that the abuse and all the methods I used to cope contributed to my own mental illness – namely depression and anxiety.

Y’all, you can’t function “normally” when you are bouncing between the 2. Self-medicating will prolong the inevitable breakdown. Stuffing and suppressing will only last for so long before you blow up. And the isolation will slowly wear you down until you want to die. Whether by your own hand – quickly or slowly – or through recklessness, without professional help, you will find yourself in such a depressive state that death looks like the only viable option.

And I know firsthand, you can’t just pray that away.

No, you need people who have been there and back and will walk with you or just sit with you without blaming you or trying to fix you. If you have been struggling with depression and/or anxiety, you probably do have a chemical imbalance which will require medication. Years and years of stress will throw the chemical balance off because your body has been on alert for so long it doesn’t know how to not be on alert.

It absolutely is a physical, mental, and spiritual sickness. You can’t just treat one area and expect the other areas to recover also.

And you absolutely cannot fix yourself.

If you liked this post or it resonated with you, would you please share it below?

Thank you!

Changing ain’t easy

I have had a raging case of PMS since yesterday evening. TMI you say? Perhaps, but hey, it is what it is. Everybody and everything has been getting on my nerves. When I’m not angry, I just want to sit and mope. I want to eat all the things, and it makes me a little angry that there isn’t any chocolate in this house. Well, there might be some cocoa, but I sure as heck don’t want to cook.

I did do some work though. I did a couple of hours of coding, which did not improve my mood even though it was slightly easier coding in Dreamweaver than just typing all of it manually. Of course it didn’t work, and that pissed me off. But really, I have never written any code that worked the first time. And I love troubleshooting. Since then I have realized why it isn’t working and it’s not my code, but at this point I am not going to log into GoDaddy and upload it. After all, I need to save some work for tomorrow. ;) And I practiced for Sunday.

Anyway, I couldn’t stand my bitchiness anymore so I texted Petra to whine. She told me to organize something. HAHAHAHA! Right. Like I even know where to start, but I did remember about partially cleaning the toilet this morning and gave her all the details of that. That led me to make myself go finish cleaning it. Which was oh so gross. Once that was done, I looked at the shower curtain and decided it needed to be washed. Well, heck, might as well clean the shower too. It just snowballed and I cleaned the whole bathroom including baseboards and walls. Then I thought, “Huh. That was a lot more productive than sitting on my pity pot wishing I could drink a glass of wine.” Because of course it would be at least a whole bottle.

During one of my many breaks, I read this blog post: The Problem with Asking for Advice. He hit me right away with this:

Often, when asking for advice, a person isn’t really seeking something new. They’re just looking for validation, affirmation of a choice already made. And this is a problem.

That hits close to home. But, after reading that and looking back on what I have done today, I can see where I am making changes in my behavior when the crazy creeps in. I didn’t want to write code today. I didn’t want to call the security office at work to see if I can get back in the compound yet and work on site. I didn’t want to practice. I definitely didn’t want to clean. But they were all things that needed to be done, and they all kept my mind occupied with something besides obsessing over escape. I mean, for real. It’s just freaking PMS. It will pass in a day or too and then I can piss and moan and whine about having cramps for a couple of days and look all miserable like Brownie when she has her “special time.”

I was telling my therapist last week about the trip to Arkansas and some things I did to make a little bit of peace with the past. She didn’t let it pass and “forced” me to go more in depth about one of the things. Then she asked me what I had done about it at the time. I kind of laughed and said, “Well, I avoided.” Then she laughed and sarcastically said, “Really? You avoiding?” because she called me out on that months ago. That has been a hard change to make. But as I work on changing that behavior, I can see that it really is easier to confront something or someone that is legitimately bothering me in some way than avoiding the situation and storing up resentment. Go figure. ;)

And funny enough, just writing this has chilled me out.

Moving on

My name is Martha, and I am a Missionary Baptist deacon’s kid (DK). And I’m an alcoholic. I just reported the latter to my security officer so it can’t be used against me now. My co-workers know too. My mother does not, and I intend to keep it that way because that might be the one thing she doesn’t forget. ;) And I got sober before I got the nose ring. haha! :)

I was told not too long ago that I have been pretty open about blogging about my “junk.” Well, now that I have dragged all of my skellingtons out of the closet to my sponsor (and lived through it), I feel much more comfortable sharing my junk publicly. Because I kept a lot of crap bottled up for so long that I nearly imploded. It’s been a year now since my emotional breakdown which could in a sense be considered my rock bottom even though it took me a while after that to admit that my drinking was a problem that was perpetuating my other problems.

I read a couple of articles this morning that hit home and prompted me to be willing to put some more of my junk out there.

5 Reasons Pastors Kids are Leaving the Church – Guest Post by Emily Wierenga

Do Prodigals Feel Welcome At Our Churches?

I learned as a DK very early how to keep up appearances. I knew the right way to speak around the right people. I learned how to smile and pretend everything was okay. I might have missed my calling as an actress because I kept up quite an act. Things were not okay, and I was not okay. My dad was verbally and emotionally abuse to my mom and I, and it couldn’t be shared. So we suffered in silence. I can’t speak for her, but I can speak for how it affected me. It nearly destroyed me. I learned not to trust anyone, and not to respect authority, but to go through the motions as if I did. Of course that can’t be maintained, and so I would act out. I felt different from everybody like I didn’t fit in.

Then I got drunk, and that changed everything.

It was my 3rd time drinking when I hit that sweet spot of drunk where I felt good. I was confident and relaxed for the first time. I could be myself without analyzing everything that I or anyone else said or did. I enjoyed life, at least until I sobered up. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I never did drink like I “normal” person. I drank to get drunk – trying to get back that feeling of that first good drunk. Sometimes I did it, but more often than not I went way beyond that sweet spot. It became a means to escape. It didn’t matter how many hangovers where I swore I’d never drink again, I was going to end up doing it again. And when I did, I was going to drink until there was no more alcohol or I passed out or I was throwing up. I would feel guilty the next day, but still kept drinking.

I was extremely fortunate that drinking never got me into any trouble with work or the law. I never missed work because of my drinking, didn’t go to work drunk, and rarely went in with a hangover. I never got into any trouble with the law. But for the grace of God, it never progressed farther than having Petra tell me I needed to stop for a while. Which, of course, I couldn’t.

What really stood out to me in the first article I linked above is: “PKs aren’t given a chance to experience God’s grace and mercy; they’re just forced to memorize the concepts.” The same was true for this DK. Grace and mercy took a back seat to following rules to maintain your own reputation among other people. Or rather my dad’s reputation which he destroyed himself.

In the second article, there was this: “And when prodigals bottom out, they often return home and to the church.” I returned to the church before I actually bottomed out, but I nearly left again. I did leave the Baptist way behind because I could still see and feel that pressure to maintain an outward appearance of righteousness. I couldn’t live up to that standard as a child and I can’t live up to it as an adult.

What I can do, though, is learn how to rest in the finished work of Jesus. It took over 30 years for it to finally sink in, but I am not accepted and loved by God because of anything I have done, am doing, or will do. It is through Jesus and Jesus alone that I am made righteous. He paid my debt. I have nothing to earn. The best work I can do on my own is like a used tampon before God. Oh yeah, that’s the literal translation of “filthy rags” in the Bible. But if Christ’s death on the cross is not enough to pay for my sin, it’s not enough to cover anyone’s and none of us have any hope. The justification of salvation is an instant event, but sanctification is a process rather than an event. That is why I can put my junk out without wallowing in the pit of self-pity from guilt and shame due to not being perfect. That’s why I no longer look at trials as punishment but as instruments of growth because they are chipping away at my self-centeredness and my guilt and shame of not being perfect. Only Jesus was perfect.

I have 5 1/2 months of sobriety by the grace of God, one day at a time. I am making peace with my past and letting go by the grace of God, one day at a time. I am learning to open up and call people when I am feeling the insanity of the committee in my head and need someone to talk to and to talk me down, by the grace of God, one day at a time. I am learning to live in the present and not reliving the past or trying to control the future, by the grace of God, one day at a time.

Making the most of it

I had to run a virtual 5k this weekend because my foot was broken the previous weekend. “Broken” is an exaggeration. It hurt like it was broken, but 1) I didn’t go to the doctor over it and 2) whatever I did to it happened at work while I was sitting at my desk. Saturday was just nasty windy, and so was yesterday morning. But after noon yesterday, the wind died down some, and the sun was out and I made myself go run. I tried every way I could think of to not do it and yet still count it, but I finally just texted Karyn and Molly “Tell me to run,” knowing they would give me that bit of motivation I needed to just go do it.

I hated every single step of that run.

But. I’m working on finding bright spots among the suck. As I approached the halfway point, I noticed a pond. I’ve run past that house countless times, but yesterday was the first time I noticed that pond behind it. I noticed the squirrels, which really isn’t unusual. I noticed the frogs croaking in the ditch on the way back, and noticed how once I got past them, they stopped. And, by the way, I love the sound of a bunch of croaking frogs. I stopped at a neighbor’s house and chatted with him for a minute (pausing the workout – lol), and learned he was a boxer when he was younger.

The actual running (and my time) sucked, but the rest of it didn’t.

I tried to get the dogs in the photo with me, but only Brownie would even remotely cooperate. I also ripped a hole in the butt of my running tights while trying to get the dogs in the shot. :-/ But it really was a beautiful day for a run. The race was the Stop Stroke Shuffle 5k. Enjoyed supporting Dani’s cause, and would not feel the donation wasted if I hadn’t run. Thank you Dani for the reason to get off my butt! :)

Sometimes running is just weird

Also, race recaps are hard for me. This is why I generally don’t do them. Ok, I do them, but not like most runners do recaps. Perhaps it is the self-diagnosed ADHD. Squirrel! ;)

Anywho, I misunderstood the dates for the Snowflake Shuffle 8k, and thought is was last weekend. Which wasn’t happening. No running happened last weekend. Actually, no running has happened since the Morrow Mountain 15k. Because injury (mild), sick, and polar vortexes. So I have done absolutely no runs towards the Winter Miles Challenge. And then Thursday I went home sick with some kind of plague that came on suddenly and had me in bed wishing for death. I got better.

So, when I saw that the 8k was through this weekend, I saw a glimmer of hope to actually do it. Oddly (for me) I woke up this morning ready to run. That almost never happens. But I got dressed, and got out there and did it. I told the hubster the route I was going to take stating “I am NOT running down to the Rocky River and back up that hill.” Yet when I got to my turn around point at the top of said hill, I said “What the heck,” and did it anyway. That made the turnaround just past the river bridge, and I decided to stop and take pictures. Because that’s how I roll. I didn’t even pause my watch during the photo shoot.

I didn’t quite run all the way back up that hill. I made it halfway and then walked and wheezed my way to the top. But I ran the rest of the 2 miles back except for after I called the hubster and then couldn’t get my phone back in its holder. And the run felt good. The whole way. Minimal knee pain. No back pain. It was as if I hadn’t just run for the first time in a month. Weird!

With less than a mile to go, I had a little meltdown. Every now and then I’ll have a running meltdown that has nothing to do with running. It always happens in front of someone’s house. It wasn’t bad enough to stop over, but still. It was “public.” But brief.

So race 2 is out of the way for the year.

And I intend to spend the rest of the day reading and drinking chai tea lattes.

Maniacal Monday #27

I’m in a pretty craptastic mood (still), and actually spent yesterday evening looking forward to going to work.

I got up Saturday morning and ran the 12ks of Christmas. I mostly ran the whole thing. James called me right at the last mile and nearly threw me all off so I walked up that last hill while putting my phone back in the carrier case. But, I ran down the final stretch determined not to be dead last. lol. And I got the finisher’s medal, and most of the tribers waited on me to finish, and Nicole and George both gave me hugs which was just so sweet. My 1 picture was made when I finally got back to the car.

15-ReindeerRun12k

Oh, and I am still tremendously sore. :sigh:

George invited me to a race on Facebook, and I thought it looked interesting and invited Karyn also just because. Well, she will actually be in town, and so we are both registered for the Morrow Mountain Trail Race 15K which we may or may not end up regretting. And on that note, I think we both signed up for 14 in 2014. I did anyway, and I think Karyn is going to if she hasn’t already. I don’t plan on running anything longer than the Tar Heel 10 Miler, and that one only because I signed up for it last year. Because finisher’s medal. ;)

And the broken out window in the living room finally got fixed. It’s not completely fixed, but the panes are in place and just need to be caulked in. But it didn’t happen before tragedy struck. Sushi/Mako somehow got out of it, and the dogs made short work of ending her life. :wail:

RIP Sushi/Mako

RIP Sushi/Mako

I got caught up on grading this weekend, and got the kids’ work graded, mostly recorded, and new schedules made. There was one portion of Jamie’s Algebra II that I reassigned with “We will go over this together,” because she 1) didn’t seem to get it and 2) had a big “help” written on one of the assignments.

So, I went to YouTube looking for a Fleetwood Mac’s Oh Well, and found this.