Monthly Archives: June 2007

Mission Accomplished

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Shower, Ibuprofen, nerve pill. And even though I wanted to take lot of nerve pills, I only took one.

I think it’s pretty sad when things look so bad you use substances to numb the pain. It’s not really numb, though. Mostly I’m just too tired to cry anymore. Well, almost.

I think this is called despair. I first found this thing when I was very sincerely a Christian. It might have been a year [maybe less] since my conversion when something started to go wrong. I was doing the things I was supposed to, I was loving God and trying to grow closer to him through prayer and study, I was going to church and taking a class on discipleship.

What I honestly don’t understand, and what destroys me, is that the more I studied and prayed, the more miserable I got. Why? How did something that was supposed to be so wonderful, that was supposed to make me holy and perfect, end up making me so incredibly miserable?

What did I do? Why wasn’t I worthy enough for God to help me? Why wouldn’t he show me the way out? Why did the church I was in start out a loving place to be, and by the time I left, it was completely dark there? Did I cause that? How could my sincere heart cause something so horrible?

I stayed there, hoping that my ‘dry spell’ would finally come to an end. I waited over seven years. Then we left the church and moved to a different church. It had a completely different atmosphere, but nothing changed.

I had begun to be suspicious of the church, I guess. I just know that when I went into Christianity, I was fairly happy. When I came out, I was in a chronic state of clinical depression that lasted for three years, non stop, and a few more with intermittent spells of it.

So many people testify how God changed their lives and made it better. How he’s helped them to deal with issues and heal. If God is real, he made me do it myself.

There’s one lady who talks about how God reaches down and rescues you from ‘the pit’ I prayed, believed in faith, prayed some more, and even tried to get counselling [but financing fell through] but nothing changed. The pain in my soul was so great, it almost destroyed me, and yet… nothing.

So we moved after Steve got his assignment, and I was feeling better because I got on medication for my depression. It was a temporary fix, but it allowed me to function, although from a numb place. I looked at churches here, knowing that God would lead us to the right church.

We were here to start over in a way, and I figured, maybe at last the drought would end. Maybe I would find some people who could guide me and help me find where I had gone wrong earlier [this was before my search into other religions].

I found a decent church, and some good friends within that church, but still the issues within the church detract from its purpose. And still, the drought.

I began to learn about self-talk through reading books, and eventually was able to largely control my depression without medication, just through the power of paying attention [and controlling] what my dominant thoughts are.

I read some books on post-modern thought, and how to be relevant to the current times as a Christian. I kept thinking that there has to be a way to be so close to Christ that you just glow, or have some kind of something like he did, and then people would see the light and, you know, go toward it like little bugs or something.

I was dealing with my depression on my own, and figuring out how to direct my own life because most of my life has been about waiting. And things started to come together.

But my spiritual hunger was still there, and Christianity, whether through a fault of my own, or of the religion, failed miserably. And that’s completely backward from what you hear people say about it.

Maybe it was my own fault, although I would think that a true conversion, a sincere heart and a willingness to trust and learn from my ‘elders’ would count for something?

My anger has come out as being aimed at the church, because if it wasn’t me, and it wasn’t the church, then it must be God. And if it’s God, is he unwilling to help me because he loves me and wants me to learn something from this?

What I’ve learned is that if anything is going to be accomplished, it will only happen through my own efforts. Shit. That’s not Christianity.

If it’s God, is he unwilling to help me because I’m not worthy?

Is it because he really doesn’t care about me at all?

Is predestination true and I’m not invited?

If God did this. Wow. Then he really, really hates me, and that really hurts and brings me back to despair.

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Exhausted

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I’m supposed to go to church in the morning.  I’ve got the shakes from being hungry, tired, and borderline hysterical for a while.

I don’t know what I want.

I need a shower, and some ibuprofen, and a nerve pill.  I want to wake up tomorrow and know.

I’ve tried different ways to find answers, and it’s just not working.  Things only go so deep, and I hit a wall.  I look elsewhere to find the answers to the questions my heart is asking, and I find more confusion and loneliness.

I know there has to be more than this, but I don’t know what else to do to find it.

My head hurts.

Stupid conscience.

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So my mom offered to keep my three year old daughter at her house for the eleven months that I go to LPN school.  She lives three and a half hours away.

Mom e-mailed me and said, “Sometimes you have to sacrifice to succeed.  Is this one of those times?”  And I thought of my baby daughter, who will only be this age once, and I realized that I can’t possibly bear the thought of letting her go anywhere for a year.

I looked at her today, and noticed every little mannerism, every cute thing she did, her gorgeous eyes and smile, and I realized that in a year, all of that will be different, and a new child will have taken her place.

So now I’m thinking.  Do I have any other options?

I am incredibly picky about who watches my kids.  I’ve had friends who I thought would be good with them, and they were complete jerks to my babies.  It wasn’t anything horrid, but if they were harsh for no reason, or didn’t seem to enjoy them [or love them] I couldn’t do it again.

No one will love them like I will.  My mom and dad come close, and if we lived closer, she would be my babysitter, no question.  But 180 miles is too damn far.  And the one person that I would have trusted from here to take care of my kid  is not doing daycare anymore, and the other person already has a job, working days.

I need to talk to Steve and he’s asleep.  Dammit.  I really think that I’m going to put it on hold until she goes to kindergarten.

The thing is, we are surviving on what Steve makes.  The budget is incredibly tight, but we have enough money to take care of all of our needs [most of the time], and a few of our wants.  If it was an issue where we were going hungry, the sacrifice would be a no-brainer, but this is really about trying to reach a point where we’re comfortable.

We live on the edge of financial ruin, and have for over ten years now, but we’ve always made it through.

My desire to get a job is partly to give me something to do that will help me feel worthwhile in society, with family and friends, but mostly, it’s so we don’t have to worry so much about finances.

So if I send Michaela to my mom’s, am I sacrificing watching her grow up for money?  Is it worth it?  Is money more important than spending time with my child?

That’s kind of a no-brainer, too, isn’t it?

Well Now.

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So.  I start nursing school in a month and a half.  I was stressing about paying for daycare for my youngest [Michaela, who’s three] and worrying about finding a good place for her to be.

I e-mailed my mom about my worries, and she wrote, called and left several messages demanding that I call her tonight [this is not annoying to me, but sweet, cute, and funny ’cause my mom is absolutely wonderful].

So I did.

She is going to keep Michaela with her while I go to nursing school.  She hates the thought of daycare [so do I.  No one will love my kids or raise them the way I will, and I really really reallly have to trust you to let you take care of my kids.  I’m protective of them, Mama Bear style:  If you hurt my kid, I’ll rip you to shreds, you know?]

It will be hard, because they live a long way away, but honestly, I can’t imagine something that will be better for my baby.

Wow.  I really didn’t expect that, and a massive load is lifted.

In other news, my religious discussion with ArtemGr is moving to e-mails, but if I learn something that interests me, or my views change on anything, I’ll let you know, ’cause you know, that’s what I do.

You know, I enjoyed my sabbatical from blogging, but I really love this.  It’s good to be back.

That’s a funny joke, right there!

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An e-mail forward from my mother-in-law.  It made me giggle.

Pecans in the cemetery

On the outskirts of a small town, there was a big, old pecan tree just inside the cemetery fence. One day, two boys filled up a bucketful of nuts and sat down by the tree, out of sight, and began dividing the nuts.

“One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me,” said one boy. Several dropped and rolled down toward the fence.

Another boy came riding along the road on his bicycle. As he passed, he thought he heard voices from inside the cemetery. He slowed down to investigate. Sure enough, he heard, “One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me.” He just knew what it was. He jumped back on his bike and rode off.

Just around the bend he met an old man with a cane, hobbling along. “Come here quick,” said the boy, “you won’t believe what I heard! Satan and the Lord are down at the cemetery dividing up the souls.”

The man said, “Beat it kid, can’t you see it’s hard for me to walk.” When the boy insisted though, the man hobbled slowly to the cemetery.

Standing by the fence they heard, “One for you, one for me, One for you, one for me.” The old man whispered, “Boy, you’ve been tellin’ me the truth. Let’s see if we can see the Lord.”

Shaking with fear, they peered through the fence, yet were still unable to see anything. The old man and the boy gripped the wrought iron bars of the fence tighter and tighter as they tried to get a glimpse of the Lord. At last they heard, “One for you, one for me . . . That’s all. Now let’s go get those nuts by the fence and we’ll be done.”

Shelbi’s thoughts on the infallibility of the Bible

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From the time I became a Christian, I heard from my fellow protestants that Roman Catholics were weird, and very likely wrong about a lot of things.

I heard about how the Catholics were in cahoots with various kings, and that many of the popes were depraved, evil men.  I heard about the “Apocrypha,” [that’s Maccabees and all those other books at the end of the old testament that you find in the Catholic bible, but not the protestant version] that the Catholics added to the Bible [turns out the protestants took it out, but that’s semantics, right?] and the protestants believed that the Catholics used the apocrypha to justify things like paying alms for the dead, purgatory, and various other things that protestants don’t believe in.

So here’s my beef.  Regardless of who’s right, either way, we have a real historical documentation of someone adding to, or taking away from, the holy scriptures.  If we have one such case of distortion/altering of the Bible, how can we know for sure that it’s the only one?

We can’t.  Which puts the veracity, the infallibility, of the whole thing in question.  Which parts were changed to suit the religious leaders of the day, and which were there in the first place?

Knowing that the Bible very likely has additions or subtractions that did not come from God is a whole helluva lot more difficult to deal with than blind faith in the Bible’s infallibility, but given that one ‘for sure’ instance of distortion, how can anyone seriously believe that it is infallible?

God gave us free will, so you can’t use the whole, “Well, because God wouldn’t allow it to be changed” argument.  If someone wanted to, he would allow it.  Besides the fact that we already know that he did allow it at least once…

Run Away!! [More religion stuff]

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This is from ArtemGr’s comment on the post addressed to him/her.

There is a difference between the essence and the act. What is essence to as is an energy to God. That is, the whole world is an act of God, His doing. To us our world has essence, to Him it is an energy, an act. You see, the One who created everything, can not be a part of that which is He created. What you’re saying, that we and the God are of the same energy, is logically unsound.

Dude! You have no idea how this cuts me to the quick! Logic is not my strong suit by any means, but this theory is one of the few things on which I’m logically sound. Here’s how I reasoned it out:

In the beginning there was God. Nothing else existed but God, and there was no beginning or end to him. He was just there, in whatever form he takes [spirit is my guess, and although I can’t really tell you what that looks like, I can feel it].

So at some point, God had a conversation with himself and decided to create the world. So he created a ‘void’ or an empty space, right? Which means that he gave himself, or our universe, depending on how you look at it, some boundaries. My guess is that either he made himself smaller than the universe, thereby giving himself limits, or he created a space within himself to contain the universe.

More than likely, he created the void within himself, and if God has a physical form that is roughly humanoid, I’m gonna say he created the void right in the heart area, ’cause I like the imagery.

So then he starts creating the universe. “Let there be Light,” and all that jazz. Now, I don’t doubt that he created it all, whether in six days or six hundred billion years matters little, you know? But my contention is that after he created the void, he created the universe within that void, and the thing he used to create it was himself, his own energy, because there wasn’t anything else around.

And because he’s God, he was able to take his own energy and form it into all sorts of interesting things, which is what we see [and don’t see] around us.

I was thinking about our molecular structure, and the molecular structure of everything in the universe. I’m sure you’re aware that on that level it’s all just energy, right? It has different densities and such, but it’s all the same stuff.

And then “AHA!” It’s energy. God created everything and used his own energy to do it. He used part of himself to make me. Am I separate from him? Yup. ‘Cause he made it that way, but I am also connected to him, and so are we all.

One more quote:

But since you say it was ambiguous, i would risk expanding by saying that what i seem to like about your writing is that it is serious but instead of being boring, it’s humorous, it’s reserved, but instead of being secretive, it’s sincere. It reminds me of an Orthodox icon: plain (austere) in stature, but soft (kind) in emotion.

What bothers me, is that there is sometimes a cynicism, which might imperceptibly change kindness into humour into satire, change austerity into indifference and contempt. But that is a possibility which i fathom more with imagination and experience than with eyes.

Thanks for clarifying.  Some of my content kind of bothers you, but overall, you like they way I write… right? 😛

You’re right, there is a cynicism sometimes.  There are days when I’m pissed off about something [if you’ve read any of the posts from when I was on steroids, you probably have seen the best of my mindless rage] or nothing, but need to vent.  This is where I do it, and sometimes it’s not pretty.

There are days when I see something in the news, or hear someone spout garbage and call it Truth and I just want to scream.  The most frustrating thing for me, is that I’ve been there and spouted the same crap, so I know that most of the time, it comes from a sincere heart [mine was].  It’s just a sincerely misguided heart,  you know?

I give Evangelicals the hardest time, because that’s what I’m most familiar with.  I’ve found other denominations and beliefs within the Christian church who are just as sincere as their Evangelical brethren, but somehow get the truth within Jesus’s message and try to live it.

It is amazing how different those people look than the ones who try to control the moral lives of people through legislation, browbeating, and ‘grass-roots’ movements.  The Christians I get most frustrated with, and the people to whom my angriest religion posts are directed, are what I consider the “Pharisees” of today.

There were a lot of Pharisees in Jesus’s day who genuinely thought that they were doing what was right, but Jesus repeatedly tore into them because they missed the point.  Many of today’s Evangelicals are doing the same thing.

I know that by venting it here I’m probably not doing much to change the situation.  I mean, how many Evangelicals have ever read this thing?  But these are things that hurt me, and since I’m at a loss as to what else to do about it right now, I vent.

Mostly, I love these people.  I want desperately to help them ‘see the light’ so to speak, and yet I know that the chances of me changing any hardcore Evangelical or Fundamentalist’s mind about, well, anything, is slim to none.

I remember what it was like to be steeped in the religious teachings of a very conservative Evangelical denomination.  I remember what it was like to believe with all my heart the things I heard, to accept the arguments that ‘unsaved’ people could never understand the things that we did because God had given them up to their depravity.

I know the beliefs about the Bible being God-breathed, in fact, I embraced them whole- heartedly for a long time.  I studied the Bible, and learned apologetics, and tried to be an Evangelist for Christ.  I was passionate, gung-ho, scream it from the rooftops in my enthusiasm.

But then I decided to look at it from a so-called ‘post-modern’ view, or from the perspective of an ‘outsider’ and I realized that a lot of what I believed was more than likely garbage, put out by men who may have been good men overall, but had control issues, and wanted to control the ‘little guy’  Much like the pharisees of Jesus’s day.

I began to look into other religions, and learned that at their core, most of them come down to the same message, which is the message of Christianity [“Love God.”  “Love your neighbor as yourself.”]

They all have a little different take on it, but it’s there.  Buddhism skips the God part, but the second half of the ten commandments are in their Five Principles almost word for word.  Hinduism has a lot of ‘little gods’ but they also believe that there is one God over all… they even have a trinity of sorts, and their ‘rules of behavior’ are almost identical to Christianity.

I’ve learned the Christian arguments of why other religions are different, and therefore ‘less’ than Christianity, but when I did my own research and looked for the similarities in the various world religions, for their core beliefs, they were all amazingly similar.

There is a vein of Truth that runs through all religions, and because of that, I realized that while the Christian story of God is pretty cool, so are the others… um, and they’re probably the same guy. They all more than likely go back to the one true source of all that is.

Well, there’s my ramble for today.  Peace out.