Monthly Archives: May 2012

Day Six-ish: Ida Gets Called on Her Crap

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Well then.

I’m alone in the house for the first time in so many years I can’t begin to recall. Do not know what to do with myself.

So today, I did the only logical thing and went online job hunting, mapped out a three year life plan and scheduled something for every day left in vacation-land. Then I painted a bowl of fruit-like objects.Came out pretty good although the spherical shapes continue giving me fits. Whatever.  They’re in a bowl, I like them. Then I took a bath.

Whereupon the Lord above invaded my space (metaphorically speaking) and poked me with sticks. He said (not so gently either, mind you)  that a) I was suppose to be resting and b) I was not resting one bit and c) I needed to call every single person with which I’d planned all sorts of bone-tiring excursions stretching into the foreseeable future and cancel already.

So I did. But I am not liking this one bit.

I have cleaned the bathroom, done every bit of washable laundry, scrubbed every available surface and painted all the fruit I can stand. Final assessment? I do not know how to be still.

Okay fine. We had some wine and flat crackers on the sofa, I spent some time remembering all the wonderful things He’s done so far and I promised to be good.

Please pray for my sanity folks. It could be a very long week.

Day 3: Ida Gets a Little Retail Therapy

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Day Three started off quiet. Too quiet.

As soon as I noticed the quietness, I sprang out of  bed and scanned the street for city employees of any variety. Seeing as the coast was clear, I made the usual morning trek around the stations of the cottage– potty (now fully functional, thank you Mr. Plumber), coffee pot, laptop.

Then I painted this:

This is called, blank paper.

For us artist types, there’s an annoying little ritual before getting along to the fun parts.  One tapes a perfectly good sheet of paper to a board, then slops water all over. It now becomes rumpled and crinkly.  This is called ‘stretching’ but it’s a lie as the paper is not stretched, its just lumpy. Once dry, its called ‘done.’

It’s also boring and slows down the creative juices but I do it anyway because all the cool kids do  and artsy types always ask, ‘Did you stretch the paper first?’ So I do so I can say yes.

Then I painted this:

This is called, scrap paper with some swishes, but I promised pictures so there you go.

Then I painted this:

This is called, Ugly, but I was getting bored by this time. An executive decision was made and off we went to God’s Store for a little within-my-budget retail therapy.

And I got this:

*PICTURE REMOVED FOR PRIVACY CONCERNS.

This is called, Loot.

Let’s all pause now to contemplate the total awesomeness of this haul.

Top left corner: The most amazing vintage purse I’ve ever laid eyes on anywhere, in this solar system  or the next. Genuine ’50’s era, Atomic Awesome. Lucite handles *and* front piece, genuine chrome thingies and pristine interior. I’m going to be buried with this baby. $6.99

Top right corner: Tie-dyed maxi skirt *in my size* in the most wonderful shades of purple $5.99

Lower right corner: A hammered aluminum water carafe with Bakelite handle. Perfect condition. $2.99

Lower left corner: My new watercolor palette (not to be confused with a deviled-egg plate which it may have been in a former life and probably explains why it wound up at God’s Store in the first place. Now repurposed for a life of art and such.) $6.99

Underneath these four lovelies, nestled amongst the packing sits *more* loot– vintage jewelry including scatter pins and an old 1940’s sweater grabber/holder thing that looks like two roach clips attached by a chain  (no fair asking how I know such naughty stuff), a set of pillow shams in a lovely gold vintage print, a cool vase for cut flowers and so forth and so on.

I’ll spare the details as I’d hate to cause anyone to stumble into the Pit of Envy.

Meanwhile, Back at the Kleenex Box

Yesterday saw lots of things repaired that needed repairing whether I wanted to hear the clatter or not. Today was quiet and I didn’t know what in the world to do with myself. In the spirit of total disclosure– and for those reading along who might be going through something similar either now or in the future–here’s the fine print.

Overall, things are good. Feeling a little  jumpy/stressed/weepy still. I’m guessing those are just symptoms working their way through. I let myself cry for an hour on the sofa and didn’t try to figure out the reason. Had a little trouble sitting still which explains the trip out and the inability to get going on a watercolor project. I suspect soon enough things will settle and then I may not feel like doing a blasted thing.

Goodness, I sure hope so.

In the meantime, I’m going to go play with my loot.

Day 2: Happy Place is Loud

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Woke early this morning to joyous quiet which lasted all of twenty-eight minutes before jack hammers started up outside my bedroom window.

Yes indeedy. Jack hammers. I went outside in pj’s for visual verification purposes.

Jack hammering lasted until 2:32 at which time Loud Blowing Noises Made With Unknown Tool Thingies began. LBN’s lasted until five minutes ago.

Much hand waving and lip reading combined with trots back and forth to the front door yielded the following information:

  • A major gas line in the neighborhood is leaking
  • This is not a problem and there is no need to panic
  • Oops
  • The leak is bigger than we thought initially and many more holes must be jack hammered into the concrete right-this-minute
  • No problem, no need for concern
  • Just for funsies we’re turning off your gas. Not because there is a problem or anything.
  • The other guys were suppose to fix this yesterday.
  • We are calling in bigger trucks and more equipment so this might take a teensie bit longer than first mentioned
  • Everything is under control
  • The gas company now needs to inspect the premises. Just for grins as there isn’t any real problem
  • Have you been burning that candle all day? No reason for asking as there is no danger to you or any other citizen within a three block radius
  • Really

On another note,  the tiny bathroom is currently full of plumber. Nothing inside said bathroom works. Not the sink, nor the potty, nor the awesome tub which is my nightly quiet place. The sound of Great Progress goes forth and we are hopeful for a successful outcome.

Mr. Plumber is very nice and keeps telling me how the Lord has blessed him, including a recent successful back surgery which has given him his livelihood back. I like Mr. Plumber very much.

In Summary

No painting, no music, no napping. Only jackhammers, job site foreman on the porch and plumbers who love Jesus. Not a bad day overall.

Did I mention we only have one bathroom?

There is no need to panic.

 

 

 

Burnout: Going to My Happy Place

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A few days ago, I realized I’m just about crispy fried. Hand shaking, nail biting, random crying, nervous edging. Not like those months right after leaving, mind  you. Just enough to know something needs to change pretty dadgum quick.

I wrote a few friends, asked for advice and prayer, then settled in for a nice vacation.  Not actually going anywhere,  but for the next two weeks I’m purposefully disconnecting from the thoughts, worries and activities that litter my days with reasons to freak.

This morning I realized just how often we all struggle with burnout and decided to share. I’ll post a quick update every day or so complete with pictures and a bullet point list of stuff that’s helping along with the crap that most decidedly is not. I’d love to hear your comments and ideas if you’ve got a notion.

Right now, the plan involves extra sleep which may or may not work out so well but I’m going to give it the old college try regardless. I bought a couple of how-to-paint books which look hard enough to engage the mind and easy enough for some instant gratification. My ipod is fully loaded and, I swear, I’ll drug the dog is he barks one more time.

Things not to do:

  • No job hunting
  • No serious blog post writing until vacation is over
  • No worrying over things I can’t control anyway (I am cracking myself up over here)

Thoughts and prayers much appreciated.

Death of an Abuser

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Tonight I’m going to the funeral of an abusive man. No, his wife did not kill him although how she restrained herself all these years is a mystery.

In fact, this wife was just about as mean to others as her husband was to her. She served him slavishly, catering to his temper, his drinking, his demands for total control over her and their nine children. As far as I could see, he contributed nothing. She turned her anger outward, lashing out at anyone offering friendship. She circled the wagons, developed a them-against-us attitude toward outsiders and twisted realities to fit her viewpoint, carrying those twisted tales to others and causing all sorts of mayhem.

I doubt she ever knew why.

Once years ago, long before I realized my own mess of a life, this woman called crying. She said her husband had laid out his current demands for a cleaner house, children who obeyed instantly at his command (apparently their ‘rebellion’  was her fault because she did not ‘follow through’ when he wasn’t around) and greater progress with the children’s academic work as she was clearly lazy and his offspring, all being geniuses, should be above grade level in every subject.

Listening to my friend, I knew her husband had her cornered. I told her he was being unreasonable. I said she needed help. Perhaps they could hire someone to come in once a week to scrub the floors and bathrooms? She said her husband contended that if she managed her time more wisely, she could get everything done the way he wanted. He believed the children should be cooking and cleaning but had zero tolerance for a learning curve, immaturity or ‘sloppy work’, spanking them if the cleaning didn’t pass his inspection. Even the toddlers were required to perform to adult standards or else.

I pointed out her workload which included a newborn waking her up randomly all night ( her husband couldn’t be bothered as he had to work the next day), three toddlers in various stages of potty training and five others taught entirely by her ranging from those learning to read to one preparing for the SAT, a huge home that in olden days would have required an entire staff to keep clean and an almost grown son who wasn’t allowed to help as this was ‘woman’s work.’

When she insisted they could not afford to hire a maid, I pointed out her husband could sell his private airplane and the monthly fee for hanger rental alone could pay for someone to come in weekly. She said I didn’t understand and I never heard from her again.

She’s right. I didn’t and I still don’t.

We haven’t spoken in years and I doubt she wants to see me. Knowing then what I know now, I would have approached things different, speaking to the root of the poison tree rather than the rotted branches.  More than likely, our friendship would have ended regardless. But telling her to hire a maid when her husband had the entire family under lock and key makes about as much sense as insisting she sprout wings and fly.

She never thought of herself as abused. I tell myself  many things can change in seven years and I pray truth broke through at some point. Call me cynical, but I doubt it.

My guess? She will now canonize the creep. In death, he will become the Godly Man of her Dreams he never was in her nightmarish life.

I hope I’m wrong. I hope for her sake and the sake of her children she found the truth. Otherwise, I suspect the entire bunch will repeat the pattern for generations to come.

Dear Lord above, please let me be wrong.

Email Address

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I’ve been swimming in the dark here at Thoroughly Christian Divorce. Some have found me due to persistence and dogged determination for which I think you should all get badges in sneakiness. I love writing new friends and I’m not ashamed to tell my story. In fact, nothing I write here is a big secret and when I left, I promised myself and my children to stop covering for the anti-husband.

So while I’m not trying to be all mysterious and stuff, certain circumstances still in play make it needful to blog anonymously or not at all. As a writer, the choice came pretty easy.

All this smoke and mirrors stinks for various reasons. I like connecting with real people. I love email. I want to interact. Some day soon, I hope circumstances change again and I can own my name. Until then, I think I’ve found a solution.

I’m working on a website for work stuff and along with hosting, I get free email addresses (so fun!) so I’ve set one up for this blog.

thoroughlychristian  @ webwrinkles.com

Just remove the spaces.

I remember when first venturing around the internet trying to find help I could not, would not  comment on blog posts for fear of getting busted by the beast. If you’re in that boat, believe me, I understand. Please feel free to email privately if you want to discuss anything.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Recommended: Jeff Crippen: Why is Forgiveness Even Possible?

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Here’s another article on forgiveness that clarifies Jeff’s teaching on the subject a bit more:

In my ongoing discussion of forgiveness, I am challenging much of the contemporary thinking among Christians regarding this important subject. I trust that all of you realize (and I think that you do) that when I maintain that because God does not forgive His enemies (they must bow and humbly repent of sin and confess Christ as Lord and Savior, thus laying down arms against God), I do not mean that we are to remain hateful and vengeful toward those who sin against us and who, in fact, are our enemies. No. We are to reflect God’s own character in dealing with them. He does good to them, and so must we. He tells us to pray for them. We are not to seek personal vengeance, but to leave that to God. But what I mean is that in all of this, we do not declare that they are no longer our enemy, when in fact, they are. They continue the warfare. And I address this because so many victims of abuse are being told that forgiveness means that they must no longer regard their abuser as their enemy, which is simply a denial of reality.

Personally, I think it goes without saying that only God can truly forgive sins but then I’ve been accused of saying much worse so there’s always that. You never know what sort of crazy ideas people might get these days.

You’ll find the rest of the article here and I’ll go insert a link into yesterday’s post just for fun.

Forgiveness Matters

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These days, we’ve got some mighty squishy ideas about forgiveness.

Jeff Crippen recently wrote another brain-niggling article over at A Cry for Justice titled,  The Lord is Merciful and Gracious but He Does Not Forgive His Enemies:

Every victim of abuse, especially Christians, know what it is like to be pushed and prodded with “as a Christian, you are required by God to forgive your abuser.” Too often this pressure includes the demand that the victim reconcile with the abuser, and it leads to being deceived by the typical false repentance abusers love to claim for themselves. Here is the principle:

“God does not forgive His enemies. He never has, and He never will. As His children in Christ, we are to reflect His character and attributes. Therefore, this has profound implications for how we deal with our enemies, who are also the enemies of the Lord.”

And a followup article here to clarify a bit more:

Now, think about this. Do YOU have authority to forgive sin? I mean, do you possess that authority and ability within your own self, simply because you are you? No. Any authority given to any human being to forgive sin is really authority that resides in Christ alone. When we pronounce a person’s sins forgiven, it is only because we do so by the authority of the Word of God. The sinner is not forgiven because of my words, but because of Christ. This is why there is forgiveness only in Christ and nowhere else. Ultimately, if a person will not have Christ, then their sins remain unforgiven. Only Christ can forgive sin, and He can do so only because of His work of redemption for us.

Acts 26:19-21, Matthew 3:7-8

First off, let’s make a distinction between those who genuinely repent and, as a result, bring forth works of repentance. These we are urged–make that, required to forgive if we want our own sins forgiven when we repent ourselves.

As believers in Christ, we have repented right? We’ve agreed with God that our selfish, unloving actions harm others. We’ve agreed with God that His authority on the matter is righteous no matter how much we might squirm, no matter how we try to justify our gluttony, gossip, lust or murder. If we have not repented, the point is mute. If we continue to cling to our own sin, thinking we know better than our Creator, all bets are off,  just saying.

But when we approach the throne in genuine repentance, willing to accept the consequences of our actions here on earth, ready and willing to make full restitution for the harm we’ve done, fully trusting in the sacrifice of Jesus to restore us to fellowship with the Father, then we must forgive those who have done the same.

Apologizing is fine when you bump someone in the checkout line. It’s great when you’re late to a doctor’s appointment and the nurse looks pissed whilst holding instruments both sharp and pointy. In fact, it’s a really good idea for all manner of thoughtless bumping about in any area of everyday life. But an apology is not sufficient when we sin against each other.

I’m sorry but saying sorry does not equal repentance.

In this day of  inch-deep, pop-christian culture, apologizing is nothing but cheap emotional blackmail to lure the naive and undiscerning into dropping their guard for a better shot on the next go-round.

By definition, an enemy  has not repented. They took up arms against us, intent on our harm and destruction and the fact that they are still an enemy means they have not laid them down. They do not believe they need to repent and they will rip us apart at the first glimmering opportunity. In fact, they fully believe they are justified in their actions and if we are honest with ourselves, we’ll see the apology dance as just one more weapon in an overstuffed arsenal.

The Priesthood of the Saints

I’ve come to see forgiveness as a sacrament– something extended to others as part of our inheritance and position in Christ. After His resurrection, Jesus said this:

John 20: 22, 23

22 And having said this, He breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit!

23 [Now having received the Holy Spirit, and being [b]led and directed by Him] if you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of anyone, they are retained.

Its a lot harder to discern true repentance and to struggle before the throne with our responsibility as a child of the King. Instead of offering a blanket of easy forgiveness for every offense, how about we trot ourselves into our Father’s presence and present our case?

What if this Christian life is more than just a sanctified spreadsheet of good works to check off before departure? ( Forgive everybody? check. Love my enemies? check. Cast out demons? check.) What if being a born again, child of God involves a relationship with our own High Priest where we must hear His voice, stay before Him until we know His heart and then faithfully obey His righteous judgements?

What if learning and growing in this intimate relationship with the Divine is the key to bringing the Kingdom of Heaven here to earth?

In no way does this negate our personal accountability before God. We are to guard our hearts, allowing Him the space and time to do His job and trusting that He will,  refusing to seek personal reckoning or vengeance and guarding against  a root of bitterness that might take hold and spring up, defiling many. These are all personal, internal, heart issues. Before our own Master we stand or fall. And so do our enemies.

Its a whole lot harder to wrestle with our own fallen nature, our own desire for vengeance, our anger, bitterness and wrath before the heavenly court.

Maybe it’s time we grow up.

Screaming Over

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I’ve removed the contest from the last post. I thought it might be a chance to share a little and snicker at the zombies/vampires/cross dressers in our collective subconscious but the statistics say otherwise. Bad idea. According to site stats, gobs of folks looked at the post and walked away with nary a comment.

So sorry! I’ll post something more traditional about dreams further along. For now, I’ll go fight my own alligators 🙂