Talitha koum…



God is good


I haven’t written in a long while.  And this is so not what I imaged my first post from hiatus to be. Not that I hadn’t wondered about this day.  What it would feel like, be like…  because I have. 


It isn’t anything like I thought it would be.  And yet a little familiar too.  Nothing could really prepare me for this.


How could it?  The kind of relationship I had with my father doesn’t beget neatly boxed or mentally prepared moments…


My life has always been a whirlwind of crazy and chaos.  That much has stayed consistent.  I’m quite good at waking up and rolling with what ever comes my way. 😉

My mind is fighting myself with each tap tap tap of the keyboard as nothing in me wants to continue this post.  It’s forcing me to be present.  I don’t want to be present right now.  As my sister of my heart is always reminding me ‘that which I fear is often that which I should write about most’…  Love her so much.  She makes me brave.  ❤ How blessed we are to have people in our lives that encourage us to be better and more courageous people??? ❤  ❤ Very…  (love you, Sum) ❤

I wake up early every morning declaring this day a battle against the forces that fight against me — and I push through every single voice in my head that has me defeated already (so many layers…) — before my feet have even hit the floor.  Because I have to keep living — somehow.  This is a blessing.  Yes.  A blessing.  Because it keeps me present.  It keeps me focused.  And I know He’ll get me through another day, like He always does — and I have faith — if I just keep moving and if I just keep walking, I know that little by little I will get there.  Life is a journey.  So I breathe.  So I pick up my mat.  I begin my practice, and I connect my body to my spirit.  And dammit, some days it’s so very heavy and it’s so freaking hard for those of you who do not know this pain.  We all have our “things”, right?  I remind myself of this and pray for all of us.  So many of us.  I know I’m not alone…  (I see you too…  hang in there, loves,  hang the hell on…) ❤  Some days are hard.  Some days are easier.  But every single day is a blessing.  And every single day we get to BE a blessing! ❤

These past few days have been somewhat of a blur of numb.  And I don’t WANT to be present or connected anymore.  This is a slippery slope for me… so.I.write.

After I got the bizarre phone call — because of the nature of the conversation — that went from one story to another as it changed, my sister said she ‘wasn’t going to do an homage of sorts, of course’ (and I was thinking, ‘why on earth would you???’ as my first visceral reaction of procession to all of the contents of the words of what just transpired) but then she put together an Instagram post.  One of which I didn’t even know about until a couple of friends reached out to me and asked if I was okay, and to let me know they were sorry.  So there was that.  Using the word father.  Crediting this person with life and addressing heaven.  It was all just too much for me in this instant of a moment.  Maybe one of her ways or  pieces of healing.  We all choose differently and uniquely.   It’s what makes us human, after all. ❤  And I wasn’t going to write a darn consonant or vowel.  Cause numb.  Yet here I am.  In this head space.  Writing.  Because it’s how I heal…

Huge life events bring out different things in all of us.  We’re human and so unique in that humanity, aren’t we?  In death some of us choose to remember better than it was, some of us choose to remember as it was, and some of us choose to not remember at all.  The mind is interesting like that.  In a way, it ‘takes care’ of us like that.  And equally interesting is the way in which those different ways of remembering can cause pain to those close to us.  It’s not intentional.  It just happens.  It’s all part of the circle of things, isn’t it?  It’s a process unique to all of us.  This is mine.

For me, authenticity is the only path through anything.  My brain is super annoying like that.  It’s super annoying to other people like that.  Really.  It’s a disorder of sorts.  It’s just pedantically how I tick.  I can’t escape it.  I’ve tried — for the sake of my husband and the “awkwardness” this sometimes entails sometimes for his family as well (and social situations 😉 ).  Apparently, there are no meds that really work for it.  😉  Yet — ultimately everyone has their choices in which to deal.  And we all have our lens, we all have our experiences, and we all have our way of dealing with the pain those experiences illicit.  And sometimes our brain tries to save us.  I get this.  I often wish mine would.  Sometimes I wish I never started therapy.  Just kept suppressing.  But then, I would have never started really living.  I would have never been free.

So now we get awkward… (it’s what I do best…)

See, the “creating” part of life isn’t all that difficult to me.  Sure, it’s a miracle — but a miracle that was created by God.  Not by us mere humans.  I’m not so hubristic as to think that we came up with and manufactured this whole process all on our own.  We’re fantastic yes, but not THAT amazing.  Shooting sperm into an egg takes a couple of seconds (give or take).  It’s the process thereafter that means more to me in terms of our significant fingerprint on the relevance of things.  The lifetime process thereafter of raising a child.  How we build up and strengthen our children, not systematically choose to destroy them or use them for our selfish purposes…

In that regard, I had a God that created me — friends, my husband, family, myself, teachers, several therapists (God bless them –really, amazing people, so thankful), amazing people (I do use that word often 🙂 ) and the Holy Spirit — that were involved in my creation.  And part of that creation?  It involved freaking YEARS of surviving and undoing what had been done to me, by my parent’s choice.  And I’m still working on all of this.  Respecting creation, I’ll thank God and everyone who truly had a part in that.  Not the person who didn’t think I was worth breathing and made a point to let me know that pretty much every single day he had the chance.  And if my father had a mental illness, it would have been amazing to know this as a child, young adult, and adult.  I was not made aware of this.  I was only ever aware that it there was something wrong with me.   It was something that I hoped in the exchange for the possibility of my inherent evil, but was not told.  I really thought the voice he was hearing was God’s.

I thank God for breath.  He had me in His plans before the creation of the world.  And how I came to be?  He had a plan for that too.  So I will credit God, who holds the plans he has for me — and always has and always will.  If He wanted me here, I would have come to be. 🙂  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29: 11

I understand peace and transcendence and wanting that for your self … yes, I SO do — but truth doesn’t need to be void from it.  They all coexist.  In fact, for my journey, true sustained peace requires it.  Years of walking THROUGH pain — not over, not under, not around — but THROUGH — has taught me that much.   Again, my journey.  Not everyone’s.  And part of this through? — reading through diaries I had kept since the age of 7 all throughout my college years until my babies were born — then I got too busy and started reaching out to all of you here.  Painful as hell.  Especially the first time.  Yes.  But necessary — especially in my family where things weren’t talked about and are forgotten.  It’s like I have to remind myself that it was bad.  That it wasn’t okay.  That it wasn’t normal — in the scope of your average, typical “family” fare.  That hey, it’s really more than okay that you freaking feel this way, Ang.  Because it  became my “normal”.  And really, until I got out of that “cult” of living and went to college?  I did not truly and fully know or grasp or even understand how messed up it was.  How messed up I was.  And how deeply and utterly self preserved I was — all in my neat little quiet package (because we do not speak or betray the family — my phone conversations were even listened to)  — all of the mechanisms I had used to self cope, to take care of me, to just make it on a daily existence — one foot in front of the other level, to rationalize the abuse — and it all went into self harm (because I needed to inflict more abuse to my body!!!! (ug), and to my brain, because I believed I was so vile) — and I took personal responsibility for absolutely everything (because I had been taught to and told to —  “you were always such an anxious child”). Barf.  All of it.  And I wasn’t really angry about it, on the outside.  That would draw attention.  I didn’t want any attention.  I so perfectly internalized it all. I was a good girl. A good kid. Despite everything being said about me.  So ironic looking back on all of that.

Loves, if you’re angry, rage a little.  Really.  If you’re sad, be sad.  Cry.  Feel it.  It’s okay to feel it.  And you might still feel it from time to time for quite some time.  That’s okay too.  You’re not a bad person for having feelings.  For having a voice.  Have a voice.  I found mine so very late.  I’m just so blessed by the people who helped me find it at all.  Really. For encouraging me to sustain it.   Thanks to all of them.  I still think quite often, is it okay if I talk? now sometimes…  because it’s still scary. But —  We are here to be who God created us to be.  We all have a unique purpose.  No rival.  No one gets to take that from us.  “Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created.”  Esther 4:14.  “For such a time as this.”  Speak, sister.  He’s got you.  ❤

And it’s funny how this is SUCH a hard habit to break.  I actually had this epiphany just a few days ago during yoga.  I am critically hard on myself.  On my awareness of myself.  I expect nothing less than perfection and am acutely aware of my endless flaws.  So.many.flaws.  I’m REALLY good at being flaw-full (y’all get this from my other blog posts, I’m sure 😉 ). I’m a hot mess of mistakes.  I try SO hard to get away from this (hence the yoga — smile), but it is a prison and a bondage I wrestle with constantly.  I demand the absolute best from myself at all times.  And yet, the absolute best has yet to be given TO me by anyone but Jesus (and I realize he’s the only one who will 🙂 )…  I give so much breadth and width to others.  Why can’t I give it to myself???  When those who were supposed to give me love, provide and care for me have  failed  — and I am totally okay with them simply throwing their hands up in the air and saying “oh for heaven’s sake, I did the best I could.  I don’t remember.  I didn’t.  I forgot.  Everyone makes mistakes”  — and my all time favorite — “Just get over it…” and it’s all forgiven — and I, somehow, end up taking responsibility for it all.  I yet I continue to demand perfection from myself, take absolute responsibility for all things (those that aren’t even mine to take), yet don’t really seem to demand it from others…  Why?  Because I don’t ever want to be like them?  Because some one HAS to?  Because I never feel worthy?  Because I believe everyone gets five billion chances? Because Jesus said to turn the other cheek?  Because I always feel like one should have hope?  Or because I am the only piece of this cray fest I can control?

I truly do not know what the answer is to that question…  but I’m also truly done asking it.  We all have choices.  And mine is to get off of this infernal wheel…  I need to let go of feeling like I have to have it all together and be everything to everyone.  And so I write… ❤ It frees my brain, it frees my voice, it frees my soul…

I am at peace.  I have forgiven.  And the shortness and quickness of those words does nothing to show the incredible length and struggle of that process and journey. But forgiveness doesn’t mean I have to make it prettier.   God makes beauty from ashes.  That’s so amazing, isn’t it?  (this journey isn’t pretty, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hold holy beauty. ❤ ) Or that I need to somehow imply that any of  it was okay or just a different way of ‘doing things’ — a mere ‘difference in philosophy’ or ‘lifestyle choices’.  It was pretty ugly.  There was some lovely in it too.  But it wasn’t all pretty.  I’m proud of the work,  I’m proud of the person I’ve become for it, and I’m proud of the voices that have been released because of it…

Forgiveness, for me,  is realizing that the deep pain that person caused really had absolutely NOTHING to do with you.  It had everything to do with them and the kind of person THEY were.  Those were their choices.  That was their walk.  And yes, you gotta pick up all the broken — but you will.  Every single freaking day of your life, you will.  You will make that choice.  For you, and for those you love.  Because that’s the kind of person YOU are.  And your life will be beyond amazing.  Because you are you and God is God.  And that — THAT person He created for good and for an incredible purpose — and that is a holy miracle.  And that is YOUR miracle.  Amen.

There is peace in knowing that someone that evil is no longer taking isn’t here on earth.  That presence is gone.  And that may sound horribly cruel to some of you.  I realize this.  It doesn’t mean that I am “happy”, it means part of my mind is relieved.  One of the weird effects of my PTSD is that I would see him — when he wasn’t there.  Standing on the corner as the kids and I drove to school, in my home, in my bedroom — actually SEE him.  And then I would have panic attacks.  I would sometimes vomit.  I am hopeful that knowing that he is no longer physically here helps with those episodes.  I also hope the nightmares that I would have here and there diminish (they become more frequent with stress).  That I don’t wake up in my own puke, or having sweat through all of my clothes and wet the bed in terror — because I’ve been raped.   Throughout childhood, one of the ways I was punished was having to stand naked for periods of time (as chosen by him) before my father.  If I struggled with taking my clothes off, I’d have “help”.  He’d look at his watch and the minutes would start.  If I tried to cover myself or cried, the minutes would start again.  This happened well into adolescents.  As did timed and watched showers.  Until high school.  This accounts for the rape dreams for me.  My therapist link it to other issues that don’t bear talking about here.  Some things need to be kept private.  And everything is so real in those moments.  Because even though I am 41 years old, I never feel like an adult.  Ever.  And sometimes I am afraid he is going to come and take everything I love away from me.  Because that’s what he did.  Over and over again.  Friends, who I was, my dignity, all the junk that was made up about me, and I was left to fight for myself. Even within my own family.   And yet I would.  And God never let me go.  We are all such miracles…

And because all of that was hardwired into my brain for so long,  I would also STILL have to remind myself this is MY house and MY family and I am a grown up — I am a grown up — and he can NOT hurt me anymore.  I would have to remind myself of these things — when I would get the psychotic birthday cards, the notes stuck in my doorway — just so Marty and I would know that he knew that even though we’d moved he now knew where we lived (each time we moved, from apartment to apartment from house to house) — the calls from various people asking if we had money to help with this that or the other thing, the calls from the ex-wife he was married to for a year because she was divorcing him — could I help? — if not for her, for her boys — the all of the crazy of it all. That was just in the past nine years or so.  That is my reality.  Not to mention after college.  What my husband and  I went through with our wedding.  And helping my mother through the divorce.  After not being so very blessed in the family’s graces for so long up to that point.  Crying three month old in hand (colic is fun 😉 ), Marty and I did that together.  Off to the court house.  Because I wanted to be good daughter.  I always wanted to be good.  So incredibly thankful for my husband.  Through all of our issues (and as much as I can complain about him 😉 ), he has been through and supported me through so much of life (and has seen so much).  I thank God for him.  Going through everything with his mother and all of this has been tough.  Marty is amazing.  There’s that word again.

And Chuck was graciously given opportunities for reconciliation.  I have my own children.  This was important to me.  The “how could a parent do this, allow this, to happen to their child???” hit me beyond hard after having my first.  It still hits me from time to time during big (and small) childhood moments with my own boys.  But what also hits me is the want and need for family.  So I tried.  I tried.  And I feel like I constantly try and give chances in this department.  And I am also so incredibly aware that God gives us family all around us.  That that word is a verb. Not just a noun.  It’s what we do.  Another gorgeous moment(s) in reading my diaries (took a few times) 🙂 — is seeing all of the people God placed in my life along the way.  Thank you, heavenly Father.  You have always taken care of me. ❤

And I do I believe in hell.  I know it’s not a popular theology as of late.  I’m a minority.  And I believe there is some sort of a place for people who choose to crush innocence and mitigate the existence of childhood.  I don’t morn the loss of it, my childhood that is.  I just know I really didn’t get to have one.  And I know it doesn’t really matter what I believe to any of you.  At all.  Not a single bit.  It shouldn’t.  And I am not pretending to be God.  I’m not Him.  I’m not the one who does the judging nor the condemning.  Regardless, I don’t believe in a God who doesn’t have a sense of justice — of right or of wrong.  And that for those of us who can’t scream or have a voice on this earth through epochs of our lives, who are invalidated, smeared, silenced — just maybe those who take our voices away get to do some screaming somewhere else…  And maybe it’s not hell, for those of you for whom that word is too harsh.  Maybe there’s a middle place.  Maybe there’s a place of omniscient understanding.  A place where everything comes together.  Where our pain connects to the place of the hearts of people who weren’t able to feel or understand that pain.  For what ever reason.  A connection room.  I can’t imagine we get to go around hurting people all of our lives and then not learn from that — ever.  That makes this existence the most futile and pointless reason for creation… for all of us.

I can’t honestly cry over the loss of a father.  Because I never had one of those.  That word is reserved for someone precious.  I can’t even cry over the loss of a relationship — because I truly never had one of those either.  It was rather one sided in the trying department.  You can’t really have a relationship with someone you fear.  Someone who tells you who you are, but doesn’t know who you are or even takes an interest in getting to know you — because all of the you is bad.  It was all (and is still, to some extent) absolute insanity.


Thanks to the friends that have been with me through this all of this and that stay up till midnight and beyond through my bad times and get me.  Who don’t shame me.  Hold my hand, my tremors, and my heart.  You are so very precious.  I get beaten up and broken from time to time.  We all do, don’t we?  Other times I know I won’t let you in for anything.  In those times, thanks for understanding that I need space.  For understanding that during these times I am not building walls, that I just need space.  And often much of it (smile).  Sometimes it’s too freaking scary in there.  I know you know me well enough to understand that I don’t do fake.  So I just need time.  And all of this?  It’s sometimes just too dark.  And sometimes that dark is even too dark and heavy for me and I don’t want to put that on you.  Or just walk around sad all the time. Because I know it will pass.  It always does.  It never lasts forever.  Nothing lasts forever.  Not even the darkest darkness.  ❤ ❤ ❤

But it’s never too dark or heavy for Jesus.  So I will give it all to him.  Every day.  And what a blessing that is?!?!?!?!?!  And how close we walk.  ❤ And in him there is no darkness.  And he’s been through it all (and then some).  How small are my tribulations! 🙂  I may often feel like a little girl trapped in an adult’s body (smile). Yet HE makes me strong.  He IS the reason I AM.  I KNOW this.  Down to my bones and my beating heart and the soul that is filled with his Holy Spirit.  This.much.I.know.   His.love.remains.  His love always remains.   Again, what holy miracles we are. ❤ ❤ ❤

To hear that the person that gave me the literal sense of  life and then subsequently did his best to destroy it passed away on Father’s Day — and how do I feel, and how am I doing?

I don’t know…

But I do know that the God he claimed to hear and speak to he has finally met.

And I will too. 

So humbling.

I will too.  That very same God.

So, as my tattoo in Aramaic daily reminds me —

“Talitha koum” Little girl, arise! (Mark 5:41).

Because we don’t get to choose the hand we are dealt, but we get to choose how we walk with it and carry it now — don’t we?

And I am certainly thankful for what I went through and daily struggle with in that it has taught me to see people and love them in ways I otherwise may not have.  I know this. It has taught me to be brave.  It has taught me to be humble.  And it has taught me to love and hold onto God in a way I know I would not.  Vulnerable?  Painfully, yes — from a space that is constantly pierced open.  Making lots of mistakes?  Yes.  But I’d like to think, always growing.

Slow is still a pace.

Namaste — the light in me, sees the light in you.

And it’s holy beautiful.

(After having a lengthy conversation with my beautiful sister, I want to reiterate and make it very clear that I did not have any intention of coming off as angry in this post… and I had no intention of hurting or disrespecting my family…  I love them very much. ❤ My father was constantly in my prayers.  And it may appear as if this girl is stuck in the past — but I don’t believe that is so — some memories come back up with big things like death, I believe — but I also believe that some things are ‘forever heals’ — till we meet the one who heals all things.  And that this is not a bad thing.  Not a bad thing at all.  In fact, it makes us strong and present and courageous.  Not only for ourselves — but for others.  It’s kind of like our super power.  It makes us more — not less.  We are not less.  We were never less.  So every day we take the chance to grow and use our healing for others.  To do what we can to lift those who aren’t yet ready to lift themselves.  To let them know that we were once there too.  And that they can.  Maybe not right at this moment.  But one day.  They will.  And that’s not living in the past.  That’s living in a miracle.  And that’s pretty freaking precious.  So yes, when I wrote this — in that space of just finding out all of the everythings of death and what that all brought rushing back for me — some things came up.  But they don’t last forever.  Nothing ever does.  Not even darkness.  It’s not eternal.  But love is.  But.love.is.  Let’s not forget that.  And be kind to each other.  Please.  Love is never wasted.  Ever.  Nor is forgiveness.  Blessings and hope.) ❤ ❤ ❤

You did not waste your love




Who we are…


I have lately found myself being something I am usually not.  Vague.  Hidden.  Keeping big things suppressed and to myself (I KNOW, what is THAT? 😉 ).  Obsessively talking about things that don’t matter to cover up the all the noise that is in my heart and head (‘oh so THAT’S why you won’t SHUT UP!!!’, says the husband… 😉 ).  Joking about packing up the boys, buying a yurt, and moving to Colorado.

So.dead.serious.  If the opportunity presented itself, I would do this.  In a heartbeat.  Opportunity, go ahead and knock.  I freaking dare you…

Because despite my best intentions of being a together and all feeling yet present and in touch and deeply connected and breathing in and out with my Lord sort of person, I’m kind of suffocating.  Not like ‘panic attack’, whoa is me, the end is near sort of suffocating — because that was SO last year 😉 …

But that ‘had enough’, ready to close the chapters — all of them — and move on to an entirely different book sort of suffocating.

My husband simply thinks it’s a nervous breakdown.  A midlife crisis of sorts.  I know myself better.  I’ve had lots of those 😉 .  Those are freaking nothing.  We INFJ’s have those for breakfast.  This is more.  This is awakening.  This is not wanting to sleep through my life anymore.  This is so far from being tired.  So far from being exhausted.  So far from being used up.  This is so far from being aware of the bullshit.  This is just being done.  Plate’s full and I’ve had so much more than enough, thank you.  Here it is — you can have it back — washed, sparkly clean, because this sister is moving on without taking anything else you have to dish out in this perimeter of my existence, life.

A few weeks ago, who’s counting?  Time has been one giant cluster of no sleep and that cry praying where you’re talking to God and listening and breathing him in so close that you feel held but yet he’s still just too damn far away.  Sometimes I long for home so much it viscerally hurts.  I went to look for a few books and papers and binders full of information I had saved concerning autism and other things from education and behavioral psychology classes at Simpson and some journaling I had done while working at Westminster House and teaching a few preschool kiddos at Methodist as this new preschool year began — to brush up on a few things.  All of this was in a gigantic tote of my personal stuff I didn’t quite know where to put or what to do with but felt I should keep.  So, I dug it out of the basement and opened it up.  Part of me wishes I hadn’t…

Also in it were all of my diaries and journals.  I started keeping one when I was a tiny seven — so close to Griffyn’s age (the connection gripped me and held me and the same grip squeezed when I hit ‘my age’ at Max’s age for the entire time I read).  I named my journals at the beginning — they were “friends.”  Feels sad just writing that.  About ten to fifteen bound books — all various pieces of me.  Also sheets and sheets of poetry–some typed some scribbled, and books I had written when I was little through high school (really quite terrible — not being humble — they are awful).  And magazines I had created with mock interviews with created people, fashion editorials, complete with ads.  I thought I was a designer too? Not really, I just loved to draw and write and pretend to be a journalist 🙂 . And letters.  So many letters.  And everything from graduation –both high school and college — and all the letters from teachers that wrote in to scholarship committees for me (I applied to at least 100 or more 😉 — paying for college yourself is tough, friends 🙂 , when you pay for the everything else of life for yourself too 🙂 ).  These letters from teachers were the first thing I read.  And it was all downhill from there, I guess you could say.  I just lost it.  I couldn’t take the beautiful words.  Why did they hurt so freaking bad?  And why didn’t I know this about myself or remember ANY of this?

“If I had had daughters instead of sons, I would be quite fortunate to have a daughter with all of the attributes that Angela possesses…”  what the hell?

The letters from previous bosses, friends from all.of.the.places from which we had moved, teachers I had kept in contact with (I had such an incredibly close relationship with my teachers), and the friends I still call my sisters today.  Dammit.  They were all such gorgeous words.  I was not this person they all said I was!!!  I was not this person… (Summer, Kari, love you…)

I looked at the stacks of journals looming in front of me.  Part of me felt like vomiting.  I had never actually sat down and went through them all–consciously, present, on purpose, for real.   Seven years old. That’s so little.  I was literally shaking.

I think, no, I’m lying with that ‘think’ word — I KNOW — that a huge part of me hopes  that everything in that “then” box I keep in my brain was actually better than I remember.  That my mother was right, that I cast a darker shadow on that past place than actually was — because that’s human nature, right?  And that’s what little kids and adolescents and people in their twenties do…  And who can trust therapists that ‘help’ you dig up your memories, right?  Hypnosis and REM (rapid eye movement) therapy is just weird and probably does strange stuff to your brain that isn’t right or trust worthy at all.  I mean, all of those highly trained professionals probably even “suggested” some stuff to you and then you just “remembered it that way, Ang”.  It really wasn’t THAT bad at all.  It’s just you.  It’s always been just you.  In fact, it’s just you period.

And it would make sense — because everyone else seems to be just fine.  I’m clearly the one that’s the most fucked up.  Still struggling.  Still quite awful and has so.many.issues (get over them already, would you?) and has to be told how it “really was” despite having lived it and been there–you know,  for all of my actual living of it.

And my mother would often tell me when I was so confused by the chemistry and connection of this mother and daughter relationship that is so difficult for me to grasp, but I will forever in relentless faith forge ahead — trying, always trying — to maintain, to carve in the love that I have learned and know how to give in my own way from an eternal Father– that when I was younger she and I had an “understanding”.  And I must have.  Because I don’t know how a person could let a monster do what a monster does and just stand there.  Just watch it.  Just be present and do so little to stop it — or at the very least, weaken its course.  But we were all doing the best we could, alright?  I swallow that — choke on it sometimes — but I swallow that and I let it burn all the way down until my insides consume it.  Because I want to believe it.  I want to believe it so badly.  But some of us were children, and some of us were grown ups…

And I open, page one of me — it’s my birthday, I am seven, and I just ‘got my ears pirced’ and bought this little lavender unicorn and rainbow diary with money I got from Grandma Sundsvold.  The rest my parents kept.  And I was in the basement with all of these memories for the rest of the day.  Losing my ever loving mind. I came up for tea.  Only for tea. And it sucked more than my worst nightmares.  Because not only was it just as bad as I remember, loves, it was freaking worse.  Dammit.  Dammit all to hell.

And it wasn’t just my family that bled in those pages, in those books.  It was Marty’s too.  His mom.  My marriage.  All.of.that.shit.too.  Because I walked from one inferno of crap, and was just finally finding the recourse to heal from through therapy — so.much.therapy –that I didn’t need to set myself on fire to save my family — but was still simmering — and just learning the everythings of all of that (I can’t even tell you what all of that is like — there aren’t words — your world isn’t even turned upside down, so much — it’s more like you just constantly wake up in a completely different version of hell and acclimate as best you can to who you thought you were and what you thought was real) — and I walked into a family where someone had a gallon of gasoline and yet another set of matches –ready to take full advantage of someone she saw was broken — yet she plays the savior AND the victim both at the same time.  And while I’ve forgiven her, I’m still wracked by the betrayal of the person who let it happen, who KNEW her — who was supposed to protect me — who was supposed to respect, love, honor, and cherish me.  Who I was supposed to be good enough for (God, would I ever be good enough for anybody?).  And I’m so freaking over blaming myself when I was the only voice for so long who would stand up to the truth of that situation–which incited a secret family meeting all about me (in which I wasn’t invited and Marty wasn’t privy to the agenda–and the agenda was full of bullshit).

And yet I still apologized for my part.  Conceded to the very few things that were actually true that were said.  She admitted to nothing.  She hoped I would lay down and die, I think, feel completely over powered by her and accept all of her crap as fact — be the target and move on.  But I still believed in God and what was right.  I always had.  She forgot that.  She didn’t really know me.  Just the version she wanted me to be.  The doormat.  And I wouldn’t take her saying things that weren’t true about me.  I wouldn’t agree to that.  I couldn’t believe that she was basically laying out everything that SHE was on to me.  It was so insane.  I had loved her so much.  I had called this woman Mom.  I had started to question some things and I had started to question her and had asked if she could stop being so negative (mentioned in several journal entries) about several family members (including her son).  And this is what happened.  This meeting.  All about me.  She even blindsided and was dishonest about what the meeting was about to my husband.  It was so surreal.  If I would have been a different person then, I would have walked away from her and all of the insanity then.  But in the grand scheme of how I had been treated my entire life, this was actually kind of “normal”…

Marty and I decided not to lay all of her garbage out for everyone (she talked about it all to him too — it wasn’t just to me), instead we simply asked her to stop lying.  We gave her a huge second chance.  I don’t know that she necessarily thought of it in that regard.  And we continued to go to family functions — but paired it down a bit.  This was an eye-opening experience of the very biggest kind.  Yet the bs continued.  Really crazy shit happened.  Things that made me go into the bathroom and vomit crazy shit happened  — then she would cry, and it would always be my fault and something I did and would need to apologize for because she was just trying to be a good mother and grandma.  And I fought on.  An army of one.  For so many years.  Till I got stronger.  And then I finally said enough.  I realized I was worth more than this, even if I wasn’t to my husband or to this family — I was to me and to what I was teaching my children what family was.  I was for two boys who were watching all of this.  And I had been through this all before.  And I deserved respect.  I deserved honesty.  And I could not live my life without those things ever again.  And asking for those things was never, ever asking for too much. Not because I was an amazing person — but because I was a child of God.  And so was she.  So she claimed to be.  So she was able to do those very things she claimed she was.  And I would hold her accountable.

And it was so incredibly important to me what my children were seeing and hearing in all of this.  We are love.  And love is action.  A person doesn’t get to abuse you because they are family.  They don’t get to lie about you and crap all over you because they are a certain word in your apparent circle of blood ties — it doesn’t give them a free pass to degrade you.  We stand up for one another.  We say, no, this isn’t okay — and we honor and we respect one another.  All of us.  So, even though I was solo once again, I wasn’t afraid.  It didn’t matter to me what anyone else thought or what anyone else said.  And I really wasn’t alone.  Because I was NEVER alone.  I had learned that much in my life. God would be my strength.  And he is bigger than any narcissist — however many tears they shed, however many lies they spread, and however altruistic and wonderful they appear to be to others.   No one really knows what we’re going through in this.  And there that all was.  Incident after freaking incident, letters, all that crap, staring back at me.  Journal after journal. That was, and is, so very real too.

And it all came crashing in.  This.

That I am so tired of surviving people.  I am so tired of surviving my life.

(I don’t mean to sound ungrateful or unthankful.  My life is FULL of beautiful and amazingly gorgeous relationships!  I am innately blessed.  I am.  Please understand this.  This was my initial overwhelming feeling after all.of.this.)

Usually when someone says they feel they have lived a full life, it is full of adventure, travel, incredible and fantastical things, yes?  The oddity and absurdity of me is that I feel that I have lived so.many.lives.  It has been so full.  I feel it has been TOO full.  It’s not so much all of the moving or all of the incredible amount of people I have met and places — nothing so extravagant as oceans away — but the complexity of survival that has completely worn me.  It’s the before and after of who you are.  The contrast of who that person was, yet all the people you carry with you (the you’s of you — and the people you have to say goodbye to, the real ones 🙂 ).  Because I loved all of those people so hard.  I did. All of them.

Reading through teacher cards and notes, I was struck by the fact that in so many respects I was kind of raised by my teachers.  I know this is why I wanted to be one so badly.  Their impact on my life was not missed.  I loved them so much and I truly felt their love for me.  Out of all of the things I have forgotten or suppressed in my life, I remember so many of their names.  This is telling to me. They were the ones who actually told me they were proud of me, they cared about me, and often — so very often — they were the ones that told me they loved me.  From kindergarten all the way up to graduating from Simpson.  And I may have forgotten it sometimes, but looking over all of this paper mess strewn everywhere — it was God’s way of telling me and reminding me through the people he created and graciously placed in my life journey that maybe I was okay, maybe I was something — when his voice was muffled by who my father told me was god.  How absolutely AWESOME is our God?!?!??!?!?!??!?!??!?!? None of that had to happen.  None.of.it.

And my teachers tried to help. They did.  I was reminded of this in a diary of the fifth grade me.  I was so scared because Mrs. Love — seriously her name was Mrs. Love ❤ — called my parents to let them know she was concerned about me.  It all came rushing back.  I remembered all of it (this.kept.happening — dear heaven, it was exhausting! the voices, the smells, the images!!!!). I was deeply anxious, seemed depressed and agitated and jumpy all the time.  I was a perfectionist child and although she appreciated my hard work and eagerness to please, she wanted me to be able to relax and enjoy life too.  She got me a little button (remember jean jackets and buttons? 😉 ) that said “take time to stop and smell the roses” — wrote my fifth grade self.  My parents were furious and completely offended.  My mother was exasperated and explained that I was “always just that kind of kid”.  I even got sores on the inside of my mouth and had stomach aches all the time just because of stress, for goodness sakes.  I was annoying, at best.  And my father told her that “‘maybe she gave out too much homework and should stick to teaching and leave them to the parenting.’ (Non believers.  They think they know everything.  She’s going to hell.)”

And then there was that…  Being told I was “just that kid” — the anxious kid, the kid that worried, the messed up kid, the kid that was sick all the time, the weird kid — and all the other traits and adjectives they would use when teachers wondered if I was okay.  And it would progress to other things when I got older as I was reminded later on in different additions of me.  My father and mother would tell family I had turned my back on God, was an ungrateful daughter (for all the things they had done for me — I was lucky to have such great parents!), I stole from them (my father was so convinced I had stolen the vacuum cleaner and taken it with me to college that he came banging on my door screaming for it and calling me all kinds of lovely names — great memories — thankfully I had an awesome RA right across the hall at Hamilton), was an alcoholic and a slut and other defaming words.  Nothing that was true.  Nothing that was remotely true.  Anything to shame me and make me out to be this awful and crazy person.  ‘Sometimes I wish I had the exciting life they said I led’ — that was actually a line in my journal… They never knew me.  They never tried to get to know me.  That would involve loving someone.  I was fully aware of that and just how awful of a me I must have been for that transaction not to take place…  They wanted to blot all of the me out of me.

So because of all of these pages that are me, I tend to see red when a kid consistently comes into our room with marks that he or she cannot explain.  Or a kid is completely withdrawn and sad and guarded most of the time — or on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, often angry and defiant.  And the parent(s) immediately have excuses or label the kids as this or that.  It’s all neatly wrapped up in a box and tied with a bow.  I may be over sensitive.  I will completely and totally give you that.  I will also give you that I get anxious in these scenarios.  Because I was that kid.  I.was.that.kid.  I’m not bitter because no one tried to help me or be my voice.  That’s not why at all.  I get frustrated because some parents are so very good at silencing the voices who try to help.  And we believe them.  Because maybe we want to.  Because maybe it’s just a little easier for us.

And the kids?  Dear God I love them! ❤ Because despite what we tell them — that this is a safe place — that this is a place where you can tell us anything?  What you can’t possibly know unless YOU HAVE BEEN THERE is that the wrath of home is a bazillion times worse than any “help” they’re going to get from us.  And that’s their normal.  Because it’s our normal.  It’s our crew.  It’s our family.  And it’s betrayal to even wonder if it’s anything but what Susie or George have going on in their home, alright?  It’s GOT to be what’s happening across the apartment hall.  And I deserve it.  I deserve all of it. Because if my own Mom and Dad don’t love me, who the hell does…  Because what YOU don’t get is that you can’t just say the words “trust me” and it magically happens.  You HAVE to grow it — you HAVE to SHOW me.  And that takes time.  That takes LOVE.  It really does.  It REALLY takes that LOVE word, okay?  And for some of these kids?  Well, they’re just not going to let you love them.  They are going to be the most unlovable kids in the history of ever.  And you’re just going to have to show them what love is — because what really, really sucks is when the people who are supposed to love you show you everything about what love ISN’T…  So, stay there anyway.  Please. Don’t give up on them. ❤

And that understanding my mother was talking about?

Over and over within all of those pages I questioned if my mother loved me.  From the age of seven all the way till — if I’m being so completely and achingly honest, even sometimes now (I innately know she is truly doing the best she can and my ‘lack of’ is not her doing — she is giving all she can from her best place of giving).  But I consistently wrote those words.  I always thought I got something then that I didn’t now.  Because I also knew and  remembered that I stuck up for her.  That’s all in there too.  I didn’t like how he talked to her and made her feel less.  And I wanted her to feel strong and smart and brave.  I wrote those things too.  So I couldn’t understand that when I wiped off the kitchen table and accidentally got crumbs on the floor and got the crap smacked out of me when I was just seven — for something I didn’t mean to do and wasn’t done with malicious ill intent — how getting a lecture on my sins and hell and physically “punished” was okay?  Because that aggressive physical punishment came with putting myself in his way for her too — all the way through my twenties.  And I kept doing it.  Because she was my mom.  At what point would it be enough that I was her daughter?

I was hoping to find that “understanding” that we had — that she had told me we had.  I didn’t.  I never did.  Every single journal, over and over again — through all of the hell that was my father, I asked and I wondered if my mom loved me.  And the interesting thing to me is that I never wondered if my father did.  I knew he didn’t.  He wasn’t capable.  He just wasn’t.  So why was I holding on to some shred of hope that my mother was?  Was that the understanding?

And I prayed.  And I did church.  And I saw all the fallacy.  Funny.  Kids are so good at seeing dishonesty and bullshit, aren’t they?  I think we are almost born knowing Jesus.  We look at creation as tinies and we know something bigger and mightier and far more magnificent than us had to create all of this.  THIS, this heaven and all the stars and all the butterflies and all things that make a tiny wonder don’t just happen.  I think you have to work really, really hard to disparage faith in a kid.  They know something, SOMETHING amazing is out there to whisper their hopes and dreams too — SOMETHING is holding the magic and miracles — there is SOMETHING MORE.  I knew this.  And I knew my father’s God and much of the church’s God wasn’t my God.  I knew this because my father was the good guy at church — he was the BEST Christian.  Because all that mattered was what you presented.  Not what you actually lived.  But the blessing that came from that, loves?  Dear Jesus, I vowed every single day of my life to never be one of those people — and to rage, to rage against the Pharisees — to flip some freaking tables — and to try my very best to be love to people.  Not fancy, ‘we’re better than everyone else’ love.  But the tough as nails love that held Jesus to the cross.  I would try.  I would FAIL, but I would try.  And that, all of THAT is very, very good…

And I lived in my bubble of books.  And I wrote on pages in journals and named them and called them my friends.  And I tried to take care of my sisters and I abandoned my Molly and Tim for college — at least that’s what I felt like.  And I was going to run away as far as I could from this place.  And yet I stayed.  So close. Everyone else ran away.

And here I am.  Wanting to run away again.  Is this what they call coming full circle?  For some reason, I don’t think this applies…

And in the midst of all this head stuff — the dark head stuff — life marches on.  And sickness came (I think this dark head stuff makes me sick…).  Who has time to heal physically, emotionally or spiritually these days?  Life marches on.  I’ve never been one to find comfort in that statement — it just seems to trample all over us.

And work is just hard this year.  But I know there is so much hard in education right now.  And I used to love a challenge.  It meant purpose to me — never something I couldn’t do or wasn’t up for.  But I find myself being more spent than purpose filled or purpose full.  And wondering if I’m even doing the right thing by being where I am.  I find myself full of questions.  And crying out to God.  And wanting things I shouldn’t and possibly couldn’t have — but knowing he is SO mighty so having the insanity and selfishness to ask for it anyway.  Because he can and he could, so why not — not making any bargains with him THIS time — just asking ‘if it is your will’…

Yet fully understanding that his will for me isn’t necessarily mine.  It may never be mine.  And getting in a really good place with that.  Because I have to.  I really have to.  Because I find myself getting really selfish lately in all of this tired.  I want an easy button.  Like that big red Staples button.  Yes, I.want.that.  Just once.  I want to push it and whisk my boys and I away to the life “I” design.  That’s pretty disgusting.  This thought makes me want to puke.  This is not how I think.  So I know what this means.  It’s time to read Jeremiah again.  All of it.

Because Jeremiah reminds me that it’s not my beliefs that make me a different person or a new creation in Christ (the devil is pretty freaking fantastic at theology too, y’all — just sayin’ 🙂 ) — it’s KNOWING my God — it’s my personal relationship with him.

“‘Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this:  that he understands and KNOWS me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord.'” Jeremiah 9:23-24

Now, I’m not a boasting type of person — I’m too much of a mess and make WAY too many mistakes for that route (let’s just say, people would laugh — hard 😉 ) — but this verse is one I hold tight.  I get wrapped up in my personal quest with  “autonomous have it togetherness”.  I think I must have it — I think I have to push through and be tough and be strong and take care of everyone and everything and fix it all and save the entire planet from drowning in calamity!  Truly.  I do.  That’s how insanely I suck.  And then I plummet into this black hole of things like having my doctor find bad moles on my back out of absolutely nowhere that need to be hacked out, lingering bronchitis proceeded by the flu for my G and I — all in the matter of a month or so and I try to kick all of it — and I fail — and I don’t feel strong or mighty and I feel like I’ve failed the Philippians verse of ‘I can do all things’ and so I’ve failed God too and I’ve failed those I care about who need me to DO those “all things”– but, dammit Ang, it’s not all about me.  And here’s where I get so lost.  It’s never about me. None of it.

It’s not about my past.  It’s not even about my questions now.  It’s about my God.  It’s about understanding him.  Loving him.  It’s about how he loves me.  And, it’s about his will for me.  And what does that verse say above?  What’s that?  There’s a promise of sorts?  Yes — yes, there is.  God has SO MANY promises for us, doesn’t he?  In fact, we ARE a promise!  It says that he exercises kindness and justice and righteousness here.on.earth.  What does that mean?  It means a great many things.  But in short and sweet terms for this girl it means, he is good.  In all of life’s crap and agony, our God is good.  There is a constant.  There is one thing we can always understand and KNOW about our Father.  Our heavenly father is always good.  And the relationship, this understanding I have of him?  That RADICALLY changes ME…

God speaks so often to Jeremiah about knowing him.  Knowing him before he was formed in the womb.  Setting him apart.  Creating him for a purpose.  Now, Jeremiah’s purpose wasn’t roses and rainbows and sunshine.  It was pretty brutal.  It was tough.  And he wasn’t treated fairly or kindly and he went though some pretty heinous things.  He was one heroic prophet.  Did he sail through all of this smoothly without any human frailty?  Nope.  Of course not.  And that is also what is so endearing to me about this man.

Now, I’m a crier.  Tears seep out of me for absolutely everything.  They just build up and my heart often speaks in tears.  I can’t help it.  Sometimes they stream down my face and I’m unaware until I feel wet stuff.  It’s part of how I talk.  And I love Jeremiah for his vulnerability .  He cries.  He laments.  He even complains and wails from time to time.  But does he give up?  No.  He remains faithful and steady to a God who gave him a purpose that he may not necessarily love — but it was given to him by a God he so fervently does.  And he knows there will be building and planting after the uprooting and tearing down (Jeremiah 1:10).  Hey, it’s another promise!

Working my way through Jeremiah, I cry too.

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3

I’ll keep calling, God.  And even if I don’t have all the answers, I’ll keep walking with you.  Because I know that knowing you and trying to understand you better everyday is what I’m here for.  It’s what I’m breathing for.  The rest you’ll lead me to.  And you’ve gotten me through quite a bit so far.  You must be holding me for a reason…

And maybe this surviving business is to help others see that they can too.  That a rock and a hard place is somewhere you can hang for quite a while with faith.  That words like “comfort” and “happiness” are kind of silly things when you have words like “faith, hope, and love”.  You don’t need the other two.  That joy CAN be found void of circumstance.  Because you have a Father that created your soul — and it can sing and cry out to him.  And that’s reason enough for joy, isn’t it.  That answer is yes.  It is a confident yes. ❤ And maybe it is to be a stronger siren and voice for littles that get lost in the shuffle of voices that say “oh, they’re fine” or “kids are resilient” or “he’s just a weird or bratty kid”.  And maybe it’s to be the best mom I can be to two of the most amazing miracles a girl could ever dream a breath was possible to take for. Maybe it’s to help them understand the miracles and promises that THEY are in a world that desperately needs them to shine THEIR light, to help them struggle, to help them know and understand their God, to help them fail and succeed and be all the mess that God created them to be.  To help them understand that they are forever and ever loved and held by a God that they will see one day after walking and knowing him here, in a kingdom we will all praise him in forever, and that their “this little light of mine” will get to shine forever with a Jesus that bought them with his blood and knew just how much their momma would need them someday (and that’s why she still cries sometimes when she kisses them goodnight and tells them that they are her hallelujah). 

Maybe it is all of these things.  Maybe it is none of these.  Maybe it’s just living day by day in your grace, Lord, as the messiest mess that I am and giving you all of that glory.

Because as unworthy as I am to be called your daughter, you don’t mind that I’m crazy, that I am both too much of so many things and yet so very not enough of others.  God, you love me anyway.  And of all of the things I don’t understand — the trinity, sovereignty, salvation, and a giant host of others — this is one I don’t mind being lost in.  I don’t mind swimming in its vastness, being covered in its mercy, being cloaked in its warmth.  I’ll settle here forever, if you don’t mind.  Till I stop breathing, and even after. ❤

And thank you.  Thank you for teaching me about love.  And I’m so grateful I get to learn about it from you everyday.  And try to show the world what your love means.  I know I won’t do it right or maybe even well, but Father, dear Father — by heaven , I will try.  Thanks for letting me try.  Because I know me, and I know YOU know me — and so that’s kind of huge.

But you’re also so very you (and that’s even huger) ❤ …

“Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and out stretched arm.  NOTHING is too hard for you.”  Jeremiah 32:17

Nothing.  Even big messes like me.

Love you and thank you (even for nervous breakdowns, or what ever this is…),

This girl you created ❤



Magic and Miracles

“Why do you look for the LIVING among the DEAD?  He is not here; he has RISEN!”

Luke 24:5b-6a

Let’s talk about fairytales…

They’ve been around for hundreds and hundreds of years.  Maybe longer.  Let’s just say, they’re really, really old.  They’re kind of like pieces of  our history.  They are also unique to our cultures, our heritage, varying from continent to continent — changing and evolving as they have been retold from generation to generation.  They’re little pieces of us.

I happen to love them. They’re treasures.  I may be slightly infatuated with them.  I have been since my childhood.  They were a refuge of sorts for me.  They gave me hope.  Good verses evil.  In the most dire of circumstances.  The strongest faith was necessary to overcome the darkness.  Might didn’t make right.  Good could come in very small and unassuming packages.  But it always prevailed.  To a little girl with no voice, this was an extremely powerful message.

And as I’ve grown, they’ve continued to be a comfort.  Home comes in many shapes and forms to me — and it’s not often a physical place.  And as someone who thoroughly enjoys similes, metaphors, and all the ways in which fables and these fairytales of yore seem to so applicably apply to our very nows — well, I still cozy up to them with my own children…

I love the twists and turns, the magic, something your eyes thought was just isn’t, the impossible is always possible, the old is made new, those who appear so very weak can be so very strong — the urchins, nothings, cast aways of society have the bravery of lions, hearts of gold — appearances can be deceiving in good and bad ways, so you must judge a person by their character — kindness matters, and ultimately the power of love saves us all.  True love is everything. 

Fairytales teach us much.  They teach us to be kind.  That good conquers evil.  That faith and doing the next right thing will take us far.  That even peasants can be princesses.  That we should never judge a book by it’s cover.  Heroes can be everyday people just like us.  And the power in that?  Well, that’s pretty amazing.  You too can slay your dragons…

dragons can be beatenAnd so I’m sitting here with a cup of Earl Grey and listening to James Taylor, the original JT, allowing my heart to drift along to “Something In the Way She Moves” and thinking back to a different time — when things were altogether much more complicated — yet possessed a unique sense of simple.  Although dragons may weaken in their strength and size and their fire power may subside from a substantial blazing infernal bellow that could originally consume me from the inside to the outside to now just occasionally quaking my toes when I get the faint reminisce of smoke — new dragons often enter in to new phases of our lives — some taking advantage of where others have wounded and scarred so very deeply — intentionally striking at some of the same gashes that have yet to heal.

Life is a battle.  And many of us are walking wounded.  And there just aren’t enough Band-Aids in the world now, are there?

And why is it that we continue to get up and walk at all?  Why do we refuse to give up when there are so many dragons, when there will always BE dragons?  Is it because we are strong?  Because we are determined?  Because we are brave?  Because we are proud?  Is it because we have something to prove?  Because of this faith thing?  Because we believe in something bigger then ourselves like love, or something else that is more powerful than us? Is it because we are silly miracles chasers, because we believe in something truer, more real, and more powerful than anything we can describe or see with our eyes or even our hearts? Is it because of our children or those we love?  Hmmmmmm.  I wonder…

Maybe it is some of these things, or all of these things, or none of these things on any given day.  But, ultimately, it’s always this one thing for this girl.  Yes, ultimately it is this that I know the merciful and miraculous ending to my amazing great Rescue story (and we ALL have a great Rescue story)…

I know the last page. 

Well, this spherical one…

 And this is something that fairytales do NOT give us — will never posses or teach us.  It is something another book far more powerful has rendered this soul.  And this is no fairy tale, friends. This is very, very real. 

This hard, sometimes outright painfully miserable, yet full of so much beauty it hurts story — I know the ending — and it is pretty fantastic.  It is far better than any fairy tale ever written.  And it makes all of this — what ever the THIS may be — worth it.

So I hold out, and I hold on, and I continue to believe — no — I continue to KNOW that TRUE LOVE CONQUERS ALL.  So what ever I may seem to feel like I’m missing in these holes in my heart, what ever I may seem to come up short in in my “enough-ness” raging on in this battle down here for good against all this evil — sweet, sweet hearts — I know the ending to my story —

and the ending is —  there is no ending

and that’s the miracle — the biggest miracle

all because of a choice made for love — true love

a sacrifice — on a cross — the greatest Rescue

❤ the greatest love story  ever written ❤

And although I may spend this earth part forever fighting my dragons in this precarious and precociously teetering place of balance between listening to God’s voice and knowing when to act in bravery for Him and when to be still and allowing Him to fight for me — I know that when my last breath is reached, I will never have to fight again.  And when my body dies, my beastly dragons die with it.  My true self and soul will be set free.  And those angels who watch over me (poor things are quite busy) —  I’ll get to see them too!  And although I really don’t need or even desire streets paved in gold — a back country road is heaven enough for me — I’ll get to walk those too — with a Father who has always held me.  But this time, he will be so close, I will never feel that hole in my heart again.  No need for Band-Aids.  No need for fairy tales.  No need to fight any dragons or darkness.  Nothing but light.  Nothing but love.

Happy Easter, loves.

Happy FOREVER LOVE, my friends.

Here’s to KNOWING the ending to our story.

And here’s to LIVING our lives so that others may know theirs too… ❤

A Little Food, A Little Shelter (and other thoughts from a surviving evangelical…)


These past few weeks have been ones of soul struggle for this daughter of God as my heart, thoughts, and mind have been all over the place — which isn’t unusual — but there is a certain level of accustom-ness that I have achieved with my mind’s all over the place-ness.  That has been pulled out from under me and been replaced by a certain sense of wander lust.  I’m not sitting well with this sense of complacency that I’ve come to assuage my mind into believing is “being still”.  Yet, I want to trust God in this “in the meantime” phase of my life where there are more questions and uncertainties than there are answers — even as the years seem to drag on into bigger numbers (and I really should not even be counting or keeping track or holding God to any sense of an ultimatum to get this mess that is me together already!). I must simply wake up and give God my all for that day and wait patiently for His will for me in all things in my life.  Isn’t that faith?  Or is He wanting me to move forward in boldness and trust Him even though doing so would be so scary, so tumultuous, and not the safe or “still” way?  Is that faith?  Doing the thing that scares us most or waiting?  Or is it somewhere in the middle?  And what does that middle actually look like? Cause words can often be just pretty, preachy things…

And in the midst of it all, life is so busy isn’t it? We’re mothering, we’re wifing, we’re sistering, we’re daughtering, we’re working (so hard), we’re doing all.the.things, and it’s all.so.demanding.  And I’ve just been craving my time alone with God and just can.not.get.enough.  My Bible and journals are indicative of the state of my head and heart — marked up and all over the place with notes and scribbles and arrows.

And so something in my life needs to be organized, right? Ha!  Which usually means I go a little crazy within our home.  I often feel like I am drowning in our house.  I live with a couple of pack rats — my husband and my oldest save EVERYTHING — so we have so.much.stuff everywhere.  It straight up makes me depressed at times — and I want to throw everything away.  The living room and our bedroom are places of solace and organized free space for me — in which my minimalistic nature gets to play itself out — but otherwise?  There is just STUFF everywhere.  I’ve gone all “thirtyone” on most of it and attempted to contain it in every imaginable organizer you can possibly think of, but it all ends up spewing out somewhere.  So I manage what I can.  My things — and have as very little as possible.  And I declutter.  Often.  Things and thoughts.  Thoughts need decluttering too.  Our brains need room for more free space, more Zen.

I just don’t go back to the past often.

Unlike revisiting an old childhood playground — I have yet to go back to those places and find that those memories have grown smaller, more quaint, or even precious– so I just don’t venture backwards often… 

I tend to stay in the present.  The past has been laborious and grim.  And I’ve done my due diligence.  That was another me.  An entirely different planet.  A completely unique universe altogether.  And THAT girl is gone. THAT girl is dead.  And she had been born again.  Not in the religious “sin no more” sense — but in the very much ‘dead and gone and buried’ sense that only survivors of abuse can understand — survivors that want to start life again without constantly feeling the fingers of their father around their neck — survivors who must let everything go to breathe.

So, I haven’t been able to look back at this life with a sense of detached peace, wonder or awe — I haven’t been able to sift through and gather the bits and fragments of the utterly crazy magical or the majestically beautiful that haven’t been born from the ashes of the phoenix rising from the birth of the “everything that happened after” — because if I ever ventured back to find the good, the lovely, the pieces that may have contained a little golden sparkle — the darkness enveloped all around them and swallowed them up — rushing in, engulfing them in the same flood that wiped out Noah’s treacherous generation — only I had no ark, and I was completely overtaken with them — slightly destroyed again, and needing to rebuild myself back up.  Exhausting.  Every time.  Who voluntarily does that?  Years of therapy was enough of that crap.

Maybe it’s time that helps.  Lots and lots of time.  Or a sense of ‘growing’ — what ever that means.  Or a straight up miracle.  Or all three.  For what ever reason, I am inexplicably grateful.  Because this girl has lived a pretty wild life that has held some crazy beautiful magic — and I am thankful, yes utterly thankful, to.be.living.it.

It’s funny how the little, incidental things open the flood gates.  Things like organizing.

I have been struggling with this wildly popular devotional book for a year or so.  It’s just been sitting, unread, for quite some time now on my nightstand.  So mixed with spring break and some extra time to declutter and this avaricious appetite to spend time with my heavenly Father in the word and dealing with all of these other life issues — it’s as if God was getting me ready for and guiding me to this very moment…  I decided to put this devotional downstairs with all of our other “good will” and “garage sale” stuff to organize the space next to my bed.  I really had wanted to love it as a dear friend of mine had given it to me and so many of my sisters like it (best devotional book ever!!!). But it was just really, really hitting my heart and soul space all wrong every single time I opened it.  It was becoming painful.

I was having such a hard time accepting the author’s tone.  She spoke as the voice of God every single day.  It reminded me so much of my father (who constantly heard God’s voice speak clearly to him and would tell us what God had told him to tell us — which would often lead to very painful experiences in my life). It was as if I was willingly spending time with a person who brought heartache to my life every single day with this associative memory. But I wanted to fight through this because I didn’t want my dad ruining this for me if it indeed was supposed to be a good thing. I could do this.  Yet, it continued to bang up my soul — this author acting and speaking as God in the first person.  And it continued to feel so wrong.  Sometimes it’s really okay to trust your feelings.  I have to remember this as  I was incessantly told by my father that my feelings were crap and sinful and wrong.  Sometimes those feelings are actually the Holy Spirit.  When you walk and move and live and breathe with God, He’ll guide you sister.  You can taste and see that the Lord is good…  You can put your FAITH and TRUST in Him.

Before I brought the book downstairs to store it, I opened it up to read my friend’s inscription — I love and miss her.  And I realized I had never read the author’s lengthy forward.  I had just opened it up and started the devotional on the day I had received it.  My soul’s misgivings were well founded in my eyes as I read the forward and found that she felt her daily writings were God breathed like the scriptures and were the penning of God’s voice speaking directly to her — she was His median — His “listener”(hence why she wrote it in His voice).  She would sit in stillness, pencil in hand, waiting for Him to send her His message for that day.  While I DO think that God speaks to our hearts — in personal, unique, private, and beautiful ways that are meant for us — to guide us and grow us and steer us in the path of righteousness for His divine purpose — I do not believe that the scriptures are evolving.  They are complete, just as they are.  They have been written.  What I mean is, they are finished.  They don’t need an “in addition to”.  No median needs to bring God’s written voice to all of the masses.  He speaks to His children, yes.  He speaks loud and clear though his living word.  He speaks through His creation.  He even speaks though what His children create.  He can also divinely speak, as He did to me, though the power and gift of His Holy Spirit.

What struck me next and sent me into days of restless thought and nights of no sleep and long discussions with my Mom and sisters, was her page and a half reference to her experience in the Alpine village in France at L’Abri.  It actually made me physically catch my breath.  I had not seen, heard of or thought of that word or establishment in forever.  It was another world, another time, another life, another place, another me.  L’Abri.  They were such beautiful years.  And although it was rife with the consistency of the abuse of my father, it was a very magical time in my childhood.  And that I could even think that or rest in a thought like that…  I had all but forgotten them.  I completely forgave this woman for putting my soul in turmoil every day by pretending to be God.  She had known and experienced some of my people.  And my next thought was, Dr. Schaeffer would have so vehemently been opposed to such a devotional assuming such hubris (smile)…

L’Abri is French for the shelter.  How lovely and gorgeous is that?  My parents came to work for L’Abri fellowship in Rochester, Minnesota (I will always and forever be a Minnesota girl — it is just home to me) when I was in sixth and seventh grade.  They handled the “business” side of the fellowship.  It was the first time, in my life as a ‘kid’ — that we lived in a real, legit house — and not just a house — but a grand house.  And although it wasn’t ours, when you’re a child — that really doesn’t matter.

L’Abri had several international branches–and has grown even broader since then.  The only one that I knew of in my little mind was in Switzerland–because it was were Dr. Francis and Edith Schaeffer’s children lived.  I just want to mention right here that all of these memories are from the view of my childhood.  L’Abri was and IS larger than life in theology, in it’s outreach, in the lives it had changed — some for better — some for worse — and what I know of it and what I experienced of it — is from the perspective of a little girl who was going through her own hell.  This is not a grown woman’s synopsis of the theology of L’Abri nor of Dr. Francis Schaeffer or of his wife, Edith.  This is, quite simple, my childhood story…

I was startled, but so happy so find Sarah Young’s mention of L’Abri in her devotional as I have never heard mention of it or of Dr. Schaeffer or Edith anywhere in any Christian or Evangelical circles.  Ever.  They were such prolific people.  And I’ve been through a great deal of church (smile).  And it has often caused me to wonder if this part of my life, if these people, if these events, ever — indeed — did happen.

Because they were larger.than.life.  They were deities.  They were gods in themselves to my little mind.

Our home, not far from Mayo Clinic, was a revolving door of all of these grand people.  Artists, musicians, missionaries, writers, theologians, students — largely European, Australian, from places on the globe I had never heard of.  We would clean up the house and cook and “make ready” and and then the bustle of activity would begin.  And there would be music, and singing, and deep, deep philosophical and theological discussions — and so.much.food (all kinds from all places).  And tea, ALWAYS tea.  And in the midst of it, I would sit.  And I would be welcome.  Because to Dr. Schaeffer there were “No Little People.” And I remember my parents attending Dr. Francis Schaeffer’s funeral.  And everyone being so solemn and so incredibly sad.  As if a fourth person of the trinity had died.  I wasn’t sure the sun would rise the next day.

Francis in Gods sight

And I remember boys with names like George.  My first complete, head over heals crush.  George. He was the most.beautiful.boy.I.had.ever.seen.  Names like Priscilla (Dr. Schaeffer and Edith’s daughter), Fiona (their granddaughter), Franky (their bratty son — their only son — in MY mind he was bratty — I believe the word they used was rebel –smile), Dr. Keith and Maggie from Australia (who lived right next door to us in another L’Abri house and who introduced me to this incredible band called U2 and this album entitled “The Joshua Tree” while I babysat their wonderfully chubby little baby — I never breathed a word of this U2 business to my parents), Boe, Katherine, and so many others.  But my most vivid memories are of Edith.  Mrs. Edith Schaeffer…


She was the quintessential European woman, and to me — she was absolutely perfect.  She was this bundle of energy — a force to be reckoned with, powerful, and always slightly stressed — and I was both a bit afraid of her and yet so completely wanted to BE her.  Her home was so lovely.  Gardens, always flowers, pictures and more pictures, I swear there was a harp or maybe it a grand piano — a Steinway perhaps — tapestries, throws, and elegant lounging chairs, books, books, and more books, a grand kitchen, it was a world where I envisioned that fairies could very much exist.  They may have added cubes of sugar to our cups of tea. Large open windows where the sunlight always streamed so majestically in — as if God was pouring out His blessing onto her home in the form of the brilliant rays He had created so many, many, many years ago.  And my mother and I would often help her in preparing for parties and get togethers within her home.  There were so many.  I am remembering something with a poster that was black and white and something regarding “Forever Music” that was particularly important, but that could just be a memory and not a real thing.  But there was always music.  Always talks of art and books and violins and things.  And that was my heart space.  As someone who loved and lived to read and write — that was my God space.  So I felt such a connection to that movement of thought…

Edith taught me how to candy orange peals. I didn’t know such a thing was possible.  Who eats orange peals?  Europeans (smile).  You had to cut them so straight and so thin.  And sugar them.  And dip them in dark chocolate.  And then there were dates which we would stuff with various cream cheeses and walnuts.  And the big, decadent marshmallows.  I love marshmallows to this day–but have never tasted one like the ones Edith had in her home.  And we would dip then in dark chocolate and place a perfectly halved pecan on top.  And tea.  We always had a perfectly exquisite cup of tea in the most elegant and lovely tea pots and cups.  There was ceremony, there was tradition, and everything was done just so…

Edith Schaeffer

And I wanted to look just like her.  Her chignon and pencil skirts, big earrings, lovely scarves and heals.  Her bright, gorgeous smile that just ate you up and took up her ENTIRE face.  She was warm — demanding yes — but so warm.  I desperately wanted her to like me and love me.  I wanted to please her.  I wanted so very much to just be good enough…

She, like her husband, was an accomplished author in her own right (Affliction, Lifelines, The Tapestry — just to name a very few).  A mother.  A homemaker.  And so incredibly smart.  Who wouldn’t idolize this woman?  She could do it all (and she was a girl!  this was unheard of to me who had been taught since birth that women were mindless, weak, drivel some nothings basted in sin). She just proved my dad’s god all kinds of wrong.

ediths books

Her husband was the voice of the, what I would call, the right wing conservative force of the time–which is still going strong today.  Our home was scattered with all of his books — the covers STILL so vivid in my mind — The Mark Of A Christian, How Should We Then Live, No Little People, Everybody Can Know, Genesis In Space And Time, True Spirituality, and on and on and on and on.  There must be close to 90 books written by this great thinker.  As well as a couple of film documentaries (that gave me nightmares as a kid).  His face, beard, knickers, mannerisms, voice, are all embedded and engraved in my mind.  He was a prophet.  A man who encouraged discussion, thought, and discourse — but there was really only ONE correct way of thinking and any other way or cause to deter from this way was going to be the fall and demise of the evangelical church.  That was my little mind’s take on this larger than life man.  He was going to bring us all back to Jesus, back to real truth…

complete works of dr. schaeffer

I remember tracing the green ivy that was scrolling all along the walls of the wallpaper in my bedroom — the green vines curling here to there and everywhere — and listening to all kinds of music and conversation downstairs and wondering where it is I would move to when I grew up.  It would be somewhere far, far away.  So far away.  What I loved most about L’Abri as a child was it’s embrace of all the arts.  There was no “Christian” art — like there was for my Father who only let us listen to ‘Christian’ music and read ‘Christian’ authors and so on and so forth (Christian as defined by him–because some Christian labels weren’t even really Christian) — there was only art.  Art in music, in painting, in writing, in singing — it was all just art — an expression of the divine in all of us.  It was proof of the existence of a God himself.  We have the need or desire to create because we come from one who creates.  Therefore, we must create because we come from a wonderfully creative God.  And if we have no specific “talent” in the fields that are defined as art, well then, we wake up every morning and live our lives for our God — and that is our gorgeous and beautiful creation.  That is our masterpiece.  And that was everything to me.  It gave me purpose.  It gave me hope. It game me meaning.  And my life was lacking all of that.  I had more than enough religion.  L’Abri, in this sense, really did give me shelter.  A resting place of purpose.


It wasn’t all perfect, of course, as nothing ever is.  In all of the swirling about of brilliance and glitter and magic and people from different places and far away lands of mystique and wonder — I often did get a sense of a “better than others” attitude.  People talking just to hear themselves speak — but maybe that’s what you do when you have doctorates and are well traveled (smile) — maybe you earn that.  Talking without any sense of a definitive end or finding a solution — not to solve anything really — just to feel important.  Again, I was sitting in this circle of philosophers, artists, writers, authors, missionaries, and all kinds of people with all kinds of accolades with a private sixth and seventh grade education — so who was I to judge pompousness?  But at that time I often remember wondering, shouldn’t we all stop talking about this and start doing something about this?  Talking for hours on end about these same theological issues doesn’t put food in people’s mouths or heal broken hearts…

But the outreach of L’Abri is incredible.  I saw it. I felt it.  On an extremely personal level.  I actually just ordered one of Dr. Francis Schaeffer’s books — with some trepidation as I am willfully putting myself BACK THERE.  Those words.  Those discussions.  It is all so full of sensory rich memories — food, smells, sounds, sights — and all of the theological discussions. Most of which I am uncertain I mesh with anymore.  The all of the all of it.  I’m not even sure I’ll read it, but a part of me just needed a piece of my history.  I don’t have very many tangible pieces of my history.  With this book it’s like I have a piece of my past I can hold — Ang, this was a part of your life — as so many of my people, my memories, those who were so close to me — are just packed up and moved and gone.  And so very, very often — I never even got to say goodbye.

Edith and Francis

I don’t know why we left L’Abri.  I never really knew the whys of anything as a kid.  Nothing was ever really explained.  We up and moved all the time — and it was always someone else’s fault and someone else’s egregious mistake and mistreatment.  It was hollow.  It was heart wrenching.  It was sad.  It was cold.  But there wasn’t choice.  We were kids.  Life wasn’t about choices.  Life was about surviving.

I missed my magical people.  I missed my little play house shed in the back yard.  Many wonderful stories were made up there between my sisters and I.  The brick fireplace and brick stove. We cooked up some scrumptious pretend feasts.  I missed the fairy like world of dreams and magic where every one around me held tales of possibility and beauty in different accents within their hands and sparkle was always in their eyes.  Where tea time was a constant.  Where chalets and daughters named Priscilla were queens in another country that I might get to visit with grand women named Edith some day.  Where I would just LOVE the mountains and the wild flowers and the snow caps that were still warm and caught the glitter of the sun just right.  And even if it never, ever happened, I could sit with my tea, next to a woman named Edith, and look at the pictures, and dream that it could. 

L’Abri was my shelter.  It’s people were my home, even in a house that wasn’t.  Ever single person that came through it’s doors a warm heart that spoke my language (even if it wasn’t English).  And it’s a place I can go back to now and smile for all the blessings.  I wonder what the French word is for ‘miracle’…

Love and blessings to all of you.

And may you see the miracles in your every single days, past and present… ❤

Dr. Schaeffer excited