Sunday Shortie: Raggedy Holiness

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Another Sunday Shortie. A few quick thoughts, typed out fast, minimal editing.

Hang with a few abuse survivors and you’ll see—we’re all a little rough around the edges. Living in a dung heap will do that to you.

Once upon a time, I thought I had control. I watched my mouth, trying like crazy to never let a stray word get out that might betray my thoughts. Eventually I realized nothing in my life remotely resembled control  and whatever was in my heart was coming out, one way or the other.

I told the beast he was full of shit.

The sky did not fall, lightening did not descend. This little slip, however, gave him ammunition—he retold the story countless times as proof that I’m a hypocrite and (get this) demon possessed. How do I know? Because for several months, I heard versions of this story from his new recruits. Each telling became progressively wilder and by the last version, he had me dragging him around and snarling in his face with an unearthly glow emanating from my eyeballs.

I went right down to the local bishop and signed up for exorcism classes.

Interesting to note that if we’re counting curse words as proof of demonic control, the man is one pig short of a one-way trip into the Sea of Galilee. He might want to google ‘hypocrisy’ sometime before bible study.

Control is an Illusion

So many things out of control, so few ways to compensate, but brethren, I found them all.

For awhile, I went all Pentecostal and refused to snip my hair, wear makeup or pants of any variety. And since skirts were holy, frumpy skirts were extra  pious as everyone knows God shops at Goodwill. Pictures from this era  are just sad. Everything looks black and white, even in full color.

Another time, I purged my household of all secular items. Children’s book with animals dressed like people went in the trashcan. I can’t remember why. Nursery rhymes and fairy tales also exited the house as they weren’t true.  I listened to only Christian music, then filtered down to only Christian churchy-type music full of organs and stuff.

This is no longer the case. I paint my toenails and—to top that off—I pay someone *else* to paint my toenails sometimes. The fact I can’t reach my feet so well has nothing to do with anything.  It’s a tiny luxury I can afford, something I would never consider back in the day.  I read regular old books from the library without a Christian disclaimer in sight and if they get offensive, I know how to close the book and find another author. My music playlist is rich with all sorts of artists who’d never pass the respectability code of my more uptight days.

Once I broke open on the Truth, I learned that holiness is internal. As the fire of these trials does its work, I’m sanctified—set apart for  fellowship with my Father. I’m changed into the image of His Son because He loves me. And I love Him right back. Spending time in His presence transforms my heart.

I do not have to pretend everything is hunky dory when it most certainly is not. God accepts me just like I am, He simply has no intention I’ll stay this way. Working on all those outward signs of godliness did nothing but turn me into the hypocrite the beast accused me of being. And furthermore, it took up way more energy than I had available when I should’ve been doing things like figuring out why I lived in hell.

You can argue if you want, but the night I told the anti-husband he was filled to overflowing with bodily excrement, I was closer to the Father’s heart than all my mascara-free days put together—because I told the truth.

The truth sets us free. I don’t regret it one bit.

But I sure would like to burn some of those pictures from 1983.

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7 responses »

  1. Whoa boy, you may wrinkle a few stuffy shirts today, sweet sister, but this has needed to be said. Have you ever thought that maybe YOU are the one to speak the words that have never been spoken before in the Christian community? After all, what is there to lose? The ones who love you unconditionally and truly understand will always be walking alongside.

    There IS a book ahead, and hopefully you will find a publisher that won’t change a word.

    Maybe burning those pictures might feel therapeutic. A little bonfire out in the backyard underneath a beautiful evening sunset sounds pretty divine to me.

    p.s. I love deep pink on my toe nails

    • If I said I had to reread the post to figure out what would ruffle the shirts, would you still love me?

      (snicker)

      There’s a point here somewhere but not so sure I know how to make it. I tried so hard to be extra-good and never miss a step. I don’t know if I thought God would forsake me completely or if I just knew with a certainty that any little show of being human gave my enemy ammunition. I kept trying to be right (righteous). Right with God. And to look right to others so they could see the truth of what the estranged was up to. Never happened.

      The truth is the truth and abuse is abuse whether I made a few missteps or not. My old religious friends refused to see that– even though I know some of them pretty dadgum well and they’d have a hard time living up to the yardstick they imposed. As you said, the people who know and love you love you regardless. Haters gonna hate.

      Also, I think those who love the Lord don’t make excuses– they try to be honest with themselves and when something crops up that might show a heart problem, instead of burying in the backyard, they take it home to Daddy. I worked that shovel for decades. . .

      You’re such an encouragement! Thank you, Morven~

      P.S. This summer, I stuck with blue and sparkly just because it was much more shocking 🙂

  2. Oh my… yes!

    Over the 32 years, the few times that a cuss word slipped out of my mouth (translation “Telling the
    Truth”)… he called me “demonic”, with him acting all “holier that thou”.

    Mind you, coming from the man who for the entire 3+ decades had barraged me with verbal and emotional abuse, berating, belittling, name calling, horrid oppression… on and on.

    Hypocrite doesn’t even begin to describe him! He is in the music business and still sings, speaks, gives seminars & workshops on reconciliation, healing. love, peace… blah, blah, blah. All to his oblivious, adoring fans… if they only knew!

    I used to only listen to Christian music and read Christian books… Imposed the same “restrictions” on my kids… Ha! No more. I’m free to be “rough around the edges”, learning who I am and starting to know and like the me that’s been hiding inside all these years.

    Thank you and keep sharing Ida Mae!

    P.S. I may join you all for that little bonfire in the backyard… if I can bring some of my own “kindling”

    … AND some pink polish! 🙂

    • Ouch! That would be annoying. I’d love to be a fly on the wall of one of those workshops. Wouldn’t it be funny if someone changed out the PowerPoint and displayed a few recorded conversations from earlier days?

      Oh wait– I think that’s what judgement day’s going to look like. I guess that’s why we leave all this vengeance stuff up to the Lord.

      *He* has better sound equipment.

      *holy moment of goodness*

      If both you ladies are going with the pink, I’ll have to give it some consideration next time around 🙂

      • Ha! You crack me up! I can tell you I’ve thought of that many times…
        I know that vengeance is the Lord’s… I just hope I’m able to watch the show when it starts!

        On another note; wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could plan a retreat, a seminar or something of the sort? I mentioned that to Cindy Burrell a while back and she said she’d pray about it with me.

        I know that it would be a HUGE undertaking… but I can just imagine all of you amazing ladies sharing, speaking, ministering… to many, many women who are hurting and needing validation, education, encouragement, direction, resources etc.

        You, Cindy, Barbara, Morven, Anna, others… it would be incredible.

        I became aware today of another friend from days gone by, hat her 33 year long marriage to a “Christian” man is ending and that – shock of all shocks – he’s verbally and emotionally abusive! She felt safe to share with me b/c of something I posted on FB. The count of women the Lord is bringing into my circle of life continues to rise and my heart continues to grieve with them as a fellow sojourner.

      • I’m game. We’d have to have a half way point from Barbara in Australia and me in Ohio, so how is Hawaii?? 😉

        Seriously, it would be a wonderful thing. Now we have to pray for a tenderhearted, passionate and wealthy patron to organize this. It’s always good to dream, and this would definitely be bringing ‘beauty out of ashes.’

  3. omg! IdaMae u make me laugh & u make me cry! I Iook forward to what comes next, as I can so relate. Thank u for helping me not to feel so alone in the mess. Please don’t stop writing!

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