Tag Archives: God

All The Tears I Never Cried

Psalm 56:8  New Living Translation (NLT)

You keep track of all my sorrows.
    You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
    You have recorded each one in your book.

The message is clear; touching.  We have heard it repeated and expressed in many different ways.  Through songs, blogs, stories and in inspirational articles.  In sermons and poems. God has our tears.  Every tear we’ve ever cried.  Not a single one is lost.  Not a single one went unnoticed.  He collected them each one.  He recorded them in His book.  God is moved by our weeping.

But what about all the tears never cried?

All those tears I was never able to release.  All the pain still held behind my eyes.

Most of my tears haven’t been cried.  My eyes have stayed disturbingly and resolutely dry.  The dam I built when but a child remains strong.  No water is released, no matter how great the need for relief.  No matter how much the pressure behind it.

It wasn’t safe to let them flow freely; not when I was a preschooler.  Nor when I was in junior high. Not when married to the man who rejected me.  Who didn’t love me.  Never loved me.  It wasn’t smart to release them to form rivers that would drip from my cheeks and drop off the tip of my nose.  It wasn’t safe to feel.   I held them in and kept them sealed tightly inside, carefully hidden in the darkest depths of my soul.  Until I forgot how to open the floodgates.

There they remain.  Tears never cried.  Stagnant.

My heart has been in deep pain most of my life.  My journey hasn’t been easy.  It hasn’t had many ups.  But the major blows have been plentiful.  I’ve encountered too many difficult challenges that beat me to a pulp until I was too numb to respond.  Until it was all I could do to get up off the floor.  Take a step.  Then another.  I’ve had abundant reasons to cry and I’ve longed many times to weep uncontrollably.   But showing vulnerability has never been safe.  Feeling such raw emotions has proven to be foolish.  Letting someone see my heart has always been idiotic.  When I slipped and exposed my weakness, the repercussions were many and they were terrible.  So I have swallowed the pain.  And the tears.

They have remained dammed up behind a massive wall of numbness.  Repressed for years and years.  Every blow has caused the wall to be built higher.  Wider.  Stronger.  The ocean of tears to grow deeper.

What about those tears?  The ones I’ve never cried?

Are they of no significance?   Hidden and unexpressed, have they lost their authenticity?  Is unexpressed pain of no importance?  Do only the tears actually released have meaning?  Are they the only ones that count?  The only ones God collects and treasures?

The tears we cry matter. He sees.  Has compassion.  Wipes them away.  Holds each one.  Knows the reason for them; for every single one.  These are the precious tears that are kept in His bottle and recorded in His book.

Are they the only tears God cherishes?

If so…

I have a million uncried tears rotting in my soul and they will never have significance.  They are worthless. The battle I fought to contain them is meaningless.  The struggle I went through to carry them, to prevent them from inconveniently raining down on others, is inconsequential.   I carried them when sharing them would have been easier…if riskier.  I held them back and pasted a smile on my face to survive.  And when surviving became all I knew how to do, the uncried tears multiplied until they were legion.

They are legion still.

But they are not in His bottle.  They are bottled up in my heart, a painful reminder of all I have suffered alone.  Of how my life has left me with nothing more than regrets and toxic memories.

“He knows your name
Every tear you cry
He knows the pain
How you feel alone”

 (Moriah Peters, “No Shame”)

When I do not cry, is He unable to know my pain?  Does He not discern how alone I feel?  How the nights are empty and silent?  And the days are wrapped in rabid isolation?  Does He continue to absent Himself, uncaring of the hurt that rips me apart and stomps me helplessly into the earth where I am ground again to dust?

When I can’t cry, does He not care?  Is He untouched by my tearless brokenness?

I wish I could cry freely and let God collect the tears in His bottle and record them in His book.  I wish I could believe my pain moved Him, whether I managed to shed the tears or remained too afraid to let my guard down; to open my heart.  To be that vulnerable.  Revealing weaknesses through tears is risky.  It can give those who are intent on hurting you a way in to your most tender places.   Places where they can do the most significant amount of damage.  But I cannot cry.  I am imprisoned behind this wall.  I have waited too long to seek release.  The ocean of tears I have held in for a lifetime know the boundaries set for them so long ago and no longer cross the line.

They are contained in my bottle.  A dead sea.

All the tears I have not cried.  That I’ve held inside trying to survive.  That I’ve choked down while they almost choked me.  The only bottle my tears reside in…is the cavern of my heart.  I am drowning in them.  Their salt stings my eyes.  I taste them in my mouth.  But God doesn’t gather them.  He does not hold them in His hand.  There is no comfort to be had.  Only this ocean of sorrow.  Growing larger, deeper, wider with every passing moment.  And I do not know how to swim in the foul waves any more than I know how to weep until this endless sea of tears is finally drained dry.

The “Daddy Did Me” Club

I am a member of the “Daddy Did Me” club.  Not a proud member.  Not at all.  This is not the kind of club you want to join or about which you are happy for having earned membership.  It’s the secret club to end all secret clubs.  For it harbors a dirty secret.  It is a dirty club.

Members, you see, have all been introduced to sex by their fathers.  Learned at his penis instead of his knee.  Swallowed the ejaculation of the man whose sperm brought them into being.  Had his sperm swim inside of them.  He, the man who was supposed to protect them from such things, was their first.  Taking their virginity, often before they even knew what virginity was.  Not content with the kind of sex men usually crave, these fathers prey on their own children, performing despicable and unnatural sexual acts with them, against their will.  Because, you see, they are too young to have a will.  To give consent.  Too young to understand.  Too young to process the pain and shame.

I used to think I was the only one, back when I was a kid.  When “it” was happening to me.  But then, I learned.  The truth.  It was shocking to realize there was actually a word in the dictionary for what he was doing to me.  A word that seemed far too benign for something so horrible.  “Incest.”  Doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, considering it’s akin to getting cut into a million little pieces with a hand saw, then trampled into the dirt.

It never felt right.  What he did.  Though he told me he was “teaching me” for my own good, his words never felt genuine or truthful.  There was too much lust and evil dripping from his naked body.  His breathing wasn’t natural.  Nor were his desires.  I begged him to stop.  Pleaded with him.  But a father in the grip of his twisted, licentious, perverted desires didn’t care about natural.  Natural, if he ever embraced it, was years ago and many prior evolutions before my birth.

And so, I became a member of the “Daddy Did Me” club when I was but a preschooler.  That dark and covert club no one would willingly admit actually existed.  The initiation shattered me.

How many little girls will be whisk into this hideous underground club where they are utterly destroyed before we stop the madness and depravity?  Before we challenge those who hide beneath the cover of darkness and who wield intimidation like a bomb?  Who put themselves before all others.  Who use their penis like a sword, taking what they want, destroying the innocent.  When will the decent people take a stand for the victim, encouraging them to come out of the nightmare where they have lived for far too many years, ushering them into the light, freeing them from their prison of shame and secrets?  There have been too many victims.  Too many broken souls.  Too many destroyed lives.

Isn’t it time to finally plant our feet in the dirt, to expose the perversion of the sick men who play in the shadows, who eat the heart of their own child to satisfy their tainted cravings?  Isn’t it time to end the shame and blame we have placed at the feet of these innocent children?  Isn’t it time to finally say “no more.”  No.  More.

I Want to Believe

I’m like Fox Mulder.  In many ways.  In far too many ways.  Though I love the “X-Files,” it’s not a positive connection.  Because…

I want to believe.

I want to believe crazy things.  Crazy things, against all odds and in spite of fact and logic.  I want to believe that God actually loves me.  And that maybe someone who lives here on planet earth could love me too.

I want to believe it even though I’m totally worthless and unlovable.  Undeserving.   I want to believe in possibilities.  I want to believe I’m not a lost cause.  That there is some purpose for me being here.  That I can connect.  That I matter.  If only just a little.

I want to believe God somehow stills loves me and wants a relationship with me.

Oh, how I want to believe!

I’ve tried to convince myself that I believe.  I’ve searched.  Prayed.  Reached out the only way I know how.  With my heart.  Numb as it is.  Broken as it is.

But…get real.  I’m so flawed, so imperfect, so unworthy, why would any man want to be with me?  Why would a perfect and Holy God ever love me?

Makes it hard to believe.  Even though I want to.  Desperately want to.

There hasn’t been much evidence to disprove my gut feeling.  The gut feeling that I’m not lovable.  The gut feeling that God wants nothing much – if anything – to do with me.  Because I’m not a good servant.  I’ve failed too often.  I haven’t done any great things.  Or even many good things.  Just surviving the day is a victory for me.  I want to believe there is more to life.  But I’ve lived a lot of years now.  And there hasn’t been more.  There has only been less.  Less and less and less.

Less to look forward to.  Less to hope for.  Fewer dreams.  Fewer opportunities.

And there has been a critical shortage of love throughout the years.  From people, the people who matter to me, as well as from God.  I’m starved for it.  Starved.

I have been alone far too much.  For far too long.

I want to believe this won’t always be the case.  But the evidence is hard to refute.  Years and years of evidence.  Reality is harsh.  And cruel.

I want to believe that the abuse – sexual, emotional, physical, verbal – I suffered as a child didn’t destroy my life.  Didn’t completely taint my perspective.  Didn’t utterly limit my possibilities.  Didn’t kill my spirit.  Or my future.

Fool that I am.  I want to believe.

Even though it’s unrealistic.  And a little crazy.

If I don’t believe, what is there to live for?

I want to believe.  The only alternative is not much of an alternative.  The only alternative is death.  Because life without hope, life without belief, isn’t life.

I want to believe.

I have to believe.

I want to believe.

 

 

Angry

I am angry.  Really angry. With God.  Stupid, I know.  For all the good it will do me.  But there, I said it.  I’m boiling angry with Him and here are the reasons why.

Very early in my Christian walk, I did something really awful.  I was deceived and believed it wasn’t awful. But over the span of a few months, I began to realize, just because all the rules changed when I became a Christian, some things didn’t change and this thing was one of them.  It was a relationship.  A wrong relationship.  And I broke it off as soon as I realized the deception and sin.  I begged God for forgiveness.  I begged Him to take me back, make me clean again, to be my friend and lord.  But a chasm had been opened and nothing I did or said seemed able to close it.  It was as if I had one chance and having screwed up, I was forever doomed to be kept at a distance and cast away.  For years, I prayed, read the Bible every day, repented, did my best to keep all sin out of my life…but nothing changed.  God had become a distant and uncaring, demanding and cold, Father.  I had been rejected. And nothing could ever make me acceptable.

I thought God was kind enough to have a little mercy on me when He lead me to the man I eventually married.  I fell so deeply in love.  I wasn’t looking for a relationship at the time.  Didn’t expect one.  I sought prayer and guidance from some solid Christians because I didn’t want to make another stupid mistake.  I received reassurance from God, in my heart, and from others who prayed with and for me.  They felt God was leading us together.  So I put my fears aside and married.  Only to find out a few short months later that he didn’t love me; didn’t even really like me.  I was a continual disappointment to him.  He disdained the things that matter to me.  Everything about me was wrong and unacceptable.  And I died inside a little more every day until I was nothing more than a zombie.  The walking dead.  I was faithful to him for 22 years, praying for a miracle.  Believing the best God could do for a worthless mess like me was to find someone who would tolerate me.  And then, even being tolerated was too much to ask.  He left me for another woman after all that time.  After I gave him my youth and my heart.  All hope was lost and I crashed.  My life has never been the same.

While I know I haven’t done everything in the best possible way throughout my life, I have sought God’s counsel continually.  I have sinned.  I have made wrong choices.  But I have tried to the best of my ability to be the Christian God would want me to be.  In the process, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong has gone wrong and I have been continually rejected.  By friends, employers, my spouse, family.  Nothing I ever was or did was good enough to buy me any degree of acceptance.  And I’ve worked hard to be good enough.  Very, very hard.  While others found mentors who encouraged them and helped them to succeed, I’ve been thrown away, overlooked, judged and found to have no value.  Others have found surrogate parents.  People who made a difference in the course of their life.  I prayed for parental figures in my life and had exactly zero people who fit that role.  Zero.  I have had to go it alone.  I have had to take the hard road and do things the hard way.  I have had to fight for every scrap.

Do I deserve better?  No.  I’m a sinner, a failure, a mess.  I try.  To do the right things.  To perform.  To be good.  To make a difference.  To be what I’m supposed to be.  But I’m like everyone else in that I experience varying degrees of success in my attempts to be perfect.  I don’t deserve better; but I expected a little more from God.

First of all, there’s that forgiveness thing.  As in, He says He will, if we turn from our sin; if we turn to Him.  Then, there’s the grace and mercy thing He’s supposed to have going on.  And He’s supposed to love us.  All of us.  Even me.  And He’s supposed to supply some wisdom to influence us when we ask for it.  And provide for our needs.  You know, ask and you shall receive and all that.

Good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people.  Life is like that.  But we are supposed to be able to pray for, and receive, God’s protection, help, provision, healing and guidance.  I know I’m pa pretty inferior, worthless piece of meat…but, damn it!  I’m NOT chopped liver!  I’m a human being too, though a vastly inferior human being.  One who has called out to Him, begged and pleaded for His forgiveness and acceptance, done the best I could in really bad situations and tried to do what was right, even when it was hard.  Why won’t He help me?  Why won’t He accept me?  Why?!!!

And now, the most wonderful, perfect, sweet little dog I’ve ever had is sick.  Her liver is not functioning properly.  She’s only three years old and I shouldn’t have to be worrying about her at this stage in life.  But I’m very worried.  And I pray for her all the time.  Again, begging.  For God to heal her.  She is so precious to me.  She is all I have to live for.  All I ask is that He give her a little touch and fix what is broken.  Is that really asking too much from a big, powerful and mighty God?  A God who is supposed to care?

Oh, and how about a job?  It’s been over a year.  I’ve applied for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of positions.  Positions for which I am amply qualified, which proven experience and ability.  Over 25 years of experience.  And 90% of the time, I don’t even get an interview.  I’ve also applied for jobs I could do with one hand, in my sleep, with no effort.  Jobs I’m vastly overqualified to handle.  But they don’t interview me either.  Why?  What is going on?  Why are God and the universe against me?

Yes, I’m old.  I have wrinkles and sags.  Employers see this and they have a choice of a young person or me.  They choose the young person.  But where is the “God factor” in all of this?  The provision?  The opening of doors and leading me to a place where I can belong?  Where is God?  And why does He hate me?

I may not be much, but I expect more from God.  What I’m experiencing doesn’t line up with His Word and that makes me mad.  So, God, if you aren’t going to come through, don’t make the promises.  If you aren’t going to love everyone…even me…don’t say you do.  If you don’t want a relationship with worthless pieces of crap like me, don’t put it in writing and say that you want a relationship with everyone.  And try communicating!  Stop slamming doors in my face and help me with at least a few things here.  You won’t heal me, but can you please heal my dog?  You don’t love me, but she is nothing but a little unconditional love machine.  If that doesn’t touch your heart, what will?  Just THINK in her direction and she will be okay!  Can’t you do that one little thing for me?  Just this once?  You won’t help me or open any doors to provide a job for me, in spite of all my effort, but can you please provide for her?  Please?  Won’t you let me have her for a normal life span?  A life span that is already too short?  Or are you going to rip her away from me this early because she means everything to me?

Why are you still punishing me?  For that relationship so long?  For my every failure?  My utter decimation isn’t enough payment?  What do you want from me?  Why do you hate me so?

It may be what I deserve.  But I expected more.  I expected a little bit better.  From you, God.  I expected you to love me.  Even though no one else in the world can love me.  I expected mercy.  I expected guidance.  I expected protection and care.  I’ve never had that; not from anyone on earth.  But I expected it from you.  I expected you to be who you say you are.  And I’m beyond disappointed that you haven’t come through.  I believed.  I believed you.  But now, I’m just angry.  With both of us.  And I don’t believe anymore.  Your live is a lie, at least for me.  I’m tired of hanging on, waiting for your approval and assistance. 

Prove me wrong.  Heal my dog.  Then I may be able to hang on a little longer.  Just one act of mercy and intervention in almost 60 years…can you do that?  Or do I have a very real reason to be angry with you?

 

 

 

Not About Me

When I was a child, my parents made it abundantly clear that life was not about me.  Their concern was not for me.  Their needs were supreme.  I existed to meet their needs and to make their life seem better.  I was supposed to make them feel good, look good, appear more successful and to fulfill at least a few of their dreams.  The better I was at this, the better the day would go.  I was at their disposal.  To clean the house, wash, then iron the clothes (an odd ritual we preformed to remove wrinkles from our dresses, skirts and blouses back in those long ago days), mow the lawn, dust, pick up, vacuum…and to perform whatever sexual act my father decided would appeal to him at any given moment when he found the opportunity to whisk me away in secrecy. Which happened all too often.  I was to keep my mouth shut, keep the secrets, make the family look good and not need anything myself.  Those were my sacred jobs.  Failure was not an option.  Performance was required, as was a smile.  It was all about them.  What they wanted, needed, cared about, dreamed of, lusted after and desired.  It was never, ever, ever about me.  Because I was nothing.  Less than nothing.  And nothings are not allowed to be a drain or burden.  Nothings must do something to justify their use of air. Always.
 
When I married the man I was to spend the next 22 years with, I believed I had finally found love.  Someone I could love; someone who loved me.  Someone who had my back and who would do what they could to protect my heart.  Who wanted to hear what I had to say, to know what I thought, to understand what I felt, to know the true me.  I thought it was finally about me.  Oh, not JUST about me.  That would be selfish.  But I thought what I felt for him was mutual.  So while I would listen to, nurture, protect, love and cherish him, he would do the same for me.  I would have a place in his heart as he would have a place in mine.  A safe place.  A home.
 
But I was wrong.  I may never know why he married me.  Perhaps it was only an act of obedience.  Because he believed, as did I, that God was leading us to each other and that we were meant to be together.  That we would have a divine edge because of this and our union would stand the test of time.  For me, this wasn’t a burden.  I fell in love with him.  But he never fell in love with me.
 
He didn’t want to hear what I felt, thought, believed, wondered and dreamed about.  He didn’t want to know the real me who dwelt deep inside, where I had learned to stay to protect myself.  He had no desire to understand any of the things that made me who I was.  He simply didn’t love me.    He didn’t cherish me.  In fact, he disdained me.  I was never good enough.  Never pretty enough.  Never said or did the right things.  Never performed quite well enough.  He had needs.  Requirements.  Demands.  I was once again in that place of performing to please another.  Another who had no real concern for me.  His needs were supreme.  I existed to meet them and to make his life better.  I was supposed to make him feel good, look good, appear successful and help him to find  a way to fulfill his dreams.  But I was not his dream partner.  He couldn’t hide his deep disappointment.  It dripped from him.  Formed rivers that pushed me away and eventually drowned me.
 
As you know, I stayed.  In spite of the fact that he didn’t love me and never pretended that he did.  I stayed until he finally left me.  For another woman.  A woman he could love. 
 
Our life together certainly wasn’t about me.  I didn’t count.  He counted.  Even she – the other woman – counted.  I failed to be a factor yet again.
 
Now that I’m alone, without a job or income, living on borrowed time in a borrowed house, desperately trying to find another position that won’t be so discouraging and horrible I want to kill myself when I wake up each day, the big question becomes, “How does God feel about me?”  Does He care?  Is He willing to help me?  Will He provide a way for me to provide for myself?  Because, you see, I’m out of resources and out of time.  I don’t have options.  And I don’t know if God is concerned about me in the least.
 
Do my feelings and needs (those things I’m not supposed to have) matter to Him…at all? 
 
I’m told my view of God is broken.  In my view, He has an agenda.  He will use you to achieve His agenda.  And if, in using you, good things come your way, you hit the jackpot.  But if, as He uses you to achieve His ultimate goals, the world crashed down around you, smashing you like a stupid little bug, and nothing good comes your direction, that’s just the way it goes.  You’re on your own.  YOU don’t really matter.  Because it’s not about you.  At least, it’s not about me.  Because I exist to perform, to meet the needs and fulfill the requirements of others.  And I can’t even do that right.
 
I am intelligent enough to realize my picture of God has probably been tainted by the treatment of my parents and every significant person who has wandered into and through my life.  But as I sit here…alone…without…hurting and needing and broken…having worked and prayed and tried and beaten on walls and read books and looked for answers and prayed some more, it’s very hard to believe the picture is wrong.  In spite of the words in the Bible.  In spite of the sermons telling me differently.  Experience speaks so loudly and writes with indelible ink.  Where I am and who I am weighs heavily on the side of proving I am nothing.  Insignificant.  Even to the loving God who created me.  Just as I was to my parents who created me.  A tool.  A means to an end.  A toy.  A possession. A failure.  Who just couldn’t perform.  Unworthy.
 
I fear everyone has their own agenda and I don’t really fit any more.  I’m too old and too broken.  And it feels very much as if even God is tired of me and my continual failings.  And so He has turned to another who won’t fail Him.  Who will accomplish what needs to be accomplished and do the job that needs to be done.  With a smile and joy.  Who will shine light instead of bring darkness.  Someone who is worth the time.  Deserving.  Deserving of the story being about them.  Deserving of having their needs met and dreams fulfilled.  Of actually having our Creator bestow on them great favor and riches.  While I’m not even worthy of the scraps that fall from their table. 
 
I pray I will have to eat my words someday.  Someday soon.  But since the story isn’t about me, that doesn’t appear likely.  I will never be the star.  The one who matters.  I’m the insignificant extra who is lost as the hero saves the day.  It’s not about me.  It’s never about me.  I exist to make the hero look better.  The real people, the people who count…I’m supposed to meet their needs.  And I can’t even do that right.  So what use is there for me?  What hope is there for me in this story that will never, ever, ever be about me?
 
My performance was not adequate.  I have failed to justify my use of air.
 
 

Mercy

Last night, I went to bed early, at 9:30.  I was exhausted and it didn’t take long for me to go to sleep, which is unusual for me.  And I slept.  Until about 2 a.m.  And then, I woke up and lay in bed thinking.  And the more I listened to my thoughts, filled with fear and worry and dread, the more panicked I became.  And terrified.  Utterly paralyzed with overwhelming fear.  Because of how much money I owe.  And how, the way things are going, I will not only never be able to pay it off, but I will not be able to stop it from snowballing into an even more unmanageable amount.
 
How did I get in this horrible mess?
 
How can I ever get free?
 
The interest credit card companies charge is criminal.  Even if I pay more than I charge each month, I have to pay, at this point, $600 in interest.  So I have no hope of ever paying them off.  Because I simply can’t pay enough to whittle down the balance.  Ever.
 
I was always responsible with money.  I worked hard, spent some, saved some, paid off bills, helped friends and balanced my budget.  Then I was unemployed for two years.  Then I had medical issues requiring several surgeries.  And in early 2007, a latent eating disorder suddenly consumed me and my grocery spending shot through the roof.  I had to replace furnace.  I had car repairs.  Vet bills for my dogs.  Health insurance premiums.  Before I knew it, I was in big trouble with no way out.
 
I’m so afraid.  I don’t know what to do.
 
I am responsible for part of my dilemma.  I had some money from the sale of my parent’s house after my mother died.  Then my ex left me and took all the furniture his parents had helped us purchase, plus some additional items he liked a lot that I didn’t like.  The result was that I had a very empty house.  In hindsight, that could have been survived.  But at the time, I was gainfully employed, had never had a big break in my employment history and the economy wasn’t in too bad of shape.  I used the money to pay off my car and buy furniture.  I also gave some fairly nice sums of money to friends in need.  And I started a side business, making jewelry with lampworked beads, silver, gem stones and Swarovski crystal.  Expensive components.  But my thought was, if I got it started now, when I retired, I could make a little extra money to help make ends meet.  The crash of the economy pretty much ended that dream.  My little nest egg didn’t last long.
 
If I had known what was coming, I would have hung on to it.
 
I lost my job about 2 years after my ex-husband left me.   The division president of the company I worked for required me to do something illegal.  I should have been protected, but the legal department refused to stand up to him.  So I was told to “move on down the road” (exact words used) after 7 years of pouring my heart and soul into my job.  I should have sued, but I was still struggling to recover emotionally after my divorce.  I just didn’t have it in me.  I used my savings, my meager 401(k) balance and my credit cards to live for the next 2 years.  And everything that could go wrong during that time did.
 
It took 2 years because the spiteful division president who had tried to force me into a corner had all reference calls routed to him and he gave me a very bad reference.  A friend called and confirmed this is what was happening.  I had suspected it because I would get verbal offers that were to be followed up with a written confirmation pending my reference check…and the written confirmations never came.  I had 20 years of experience in my field, most of that as a manager, and I couldn’t get a job because of a man who wanted to ruin me.  In many ways, he succeeded.
 
That was when I tried to kill myself. 
 
My dog died fall of 2006.  My house was suddenly devoid of life.  She was a rescue Miniature Schnauzer and I loved her with my entire being.  I couldn’t bear the aloneness.  Christmas was approaching and I was at the end of all of my resources.  I had NOTHING.  No hope of getting a job.  No friends to bail me out.  I even called my brother and asked for help, but was turned down.  Told me to get a job at Walmart (I tried, they didn’t hire me).  Alone, broke, depressed, despairing, I gave up.  I took 300 – 20 mg. Adderall pills that I had saved up for just such an occasion…and I lived.  I couldn’t believe I was such a failure I couldn’t even kill myself.
 
Then, on top of all the other problems I was having at the time, I was placed in the mental hospital against my will because of the suicide attempt.  And I had all of those bills, along with the hospital bills (ICU for 5 days) to pay off.
 
Miraculously, that following April, I was finally offered a job.  I was not aware that I was in the grips of an escalating eating disorder at the time.  I was just beginning to lose weight and felt great.  I was employed for 5 years and, though the job didn’t offer the best work environment, I was being paid fairly well and getting bonuses.  I thought I had a chance of eventually getting out of debt if I worked hard at it. 
 
Which was when the company sold.  And they consolidated the HR function with their Houston location.  So they didn’t really need someone at my level.  At my salary.
 
I was unemployed for 6 months that round.  And once I got a job, it required a $20,000 per year income reduction.  With no option for a bonus.  And inadequate benefits.  The economy was in shambles.  I was lucky to get a job, period.  But…
 
The hole just keeps getting deeper.  The world just keeps getting darker.  And scarier.
 
So I lay awake at night, gripped by terror that chokes me and causes me to labor for each breath.  I search my mind for plausible options, but can’t come up with any good solution.  I beg people to pray for me.  I beg God for a miracle.  Mercy, I need mercy.  And in the meantime, the vice continues to tighten.  Turn after turn, the pressure builds.  It’s unbearable.  I have no hope of obtaining relief.
 
It’s going to get much worse.  It may never get better.  Without mercy, without a miracle, I will soon be out on the street with nothing to show for all the years I’ve worked and travailed.  No home.  A 1999 car that I pray keeps running.  Two little dogs who give me a reason to live, who are looking to me to care and provide for them.   Out of options. 
 
Mercy.  God.  Please.  I need a miracle.  I beg You.  Mercy.  I need Your comfort.  A place to rest.   One little spot in which to exist.  To survive.  Mercy.  Please.  Help me. Please set me free.
 

Someone To Watch Over Me

I attended a training program this afternoon on leadership.  It’s a great topic, one I’m very interested in, particularly since I’m preparing to teach a class on the topic to the young leaders in the company where I work.  The speaker was very good.  Had lots of activities to keep you focused and involved, activities  that weren’t too embarrassing.   They were also very on-topic, helping to drive home the points he was making.  It was good material, inspirational, informative and…hurtful.
 
Yes, hurtful.  Leave it to me to get wounded while enjoying a speaker talking about leadership.
 
Here’s the deal.  It was going well.  I was getting into it, not feeling too stupid or self-conscious.  And then he asked us to think about the people who had helped us move forward in our careers. He wanted us to write down their names and contemplate what they had done to help us grow and advance.  About their “influence” in our life.  But this was one exercise I couldn’t participate in, no matter how badly I wanted to because I had never had anyone who took me under their wing and helped me succeed.
 
No self-pity (not much, anyway)…it’s just simple reality.  I have longed for it.  I’ve even prayed for people like this to appear in my life.  I’ve looked for these relationships.  But they haven’t happened, in spite of my hope, desire and attempt to find those who would give me a helping hand.  I suppose I wanted them to rescue me.  I certainly wanted them to hold me, to wipe away my tears and to tell me things would get better.  I desired to be cared for and protected.  To be removed from the horrible, toxic situation I was living in, and to be given a chance to live a more normal, less hurtful and less burdensome life.  But it never happened.  I lived with my parents, suffering, being destroyed piece by piece, until I was 17.  I fled after I graduated from high school.  Never looked back.
 
When I was a kid, still living at home and suffering physical, sexual and emotional abuse (how my parents showed their love and care), I used to wish there was someone somewhere that I could talk to.  Someone who would care.  Who would reach out and tell me I was worth something, that I didn’t deserve what was happening to me, that I had value even though I could never live up to their high expectations. I longed to be sheltered and cared for.  To be protected and guided and wanted. To be looked after.  But it never happened.  I had to get through it alone.  And I did…barely.
 
After I escaped my parents, my big dream was to find surrogate parents.  A loving couple who would take me in emotionally, nurture me and help me to heal.  This desire to have a surrogate parent began to grow when I hit my mid-twenties.  I had heard or read enough stories by then to understand having someone in your life who was older and wiser, who cared about you and had your best interests at heart, could make a gigantic difference in your ability to navigate successfully through the many challenges life presented.  I had encountered the living God at age 23, and though I had many difficulties trusting and believing He cared, I started praying for people to come into my life who could be my advocate, protector, guide,mentor and surrogate parent.
 
My prayers were never answered.  Or, I guess you could say they were answered and the answer was, “No.”
 
I don’t have one of those personalities that draws people to me.  I am quiet, a bit intense, fairly shy initially and closed, even when people “get to know me.”  I have a good sense of humor, but I’m not bubbly and warm and fun.  I’m serious, reserved, thoughtful, troubled.  I have some serious issues:  an eating disorder, severe on-going major depression, hopelessness, post traumatic stress disorder, distorted thinking, anxiety disorder.  I don’t handle stress or life challenges well.  I get discouraged and frustrated easily.  I feel like the world is against me.  I perceive things without being told and I have deep canyons within me.  Deep enough to make people uncomfortable.  Life looks dark to me rather than seeming sunny.  I see the flowers, but the flowers don’t compensate for the thorns and weeds and rain and storms; not in my thinking.  I’ve speculated that my personality and deficits are perhaps why no one has ever become interested in me personally.  Why people have been unwilling to invest in my life, give me a hand up, help me in any way.  Instead, I always find myself on the outside, pushed away, managed out the door, far from the inner circle of cool, capable, successful people.  And on a personal level, I continually find myself alone.
 
So, no surrogate parents.  No loving husband either…a story that you are, undoubtedly, familiar with if you have read many of my previous blogs. 
 
As I grew older and the chance of ever being parented by an older couple became less and less likely, I started thinking about finding a mentor.  Someone who was relatively successful who could help me to see where I was failing and what I might do to improve.  My prayer changed.  During this stage, I asked for a healthy, successful peer(s) to take an interest in me.
 
And once again, the answer was, “No.”
 
I know some really successful people.  I know a few millionaires.  I have “friends” who have it all.  The marriages, the kids, the houses, the cars, the vacations, the toys.  Many own their own business.  Several are leadership consultants.  I know a successful author.  There are MANY people around me who have come through my life who truly have it made.  I have tried to cultivate a closer relationship with some of these people in the hopes of being mentored.  And I have watched these wonderful, delightful, successful, joyous people bring other people into their sphere to coach and encourage.  Time and time again, I have seen it happen…and I’ve seen the amazing results.  But I have never been chosen.   I remain alone with my heart in my hand and my hopes shattered.
 
Now, I have reached an age where no one would even consider mentoring me.  Or parenting me.  I should be mentoring others.  I should be parenting the younger generations.  But I have little to offer.
 
It’s very difficult to give what you have never received.  Or to pattern for another what has never been demonstrated in your own life.
 
I have tried to make my own path as best I could, doing the right things as each choice or opportunity was presented in my life.  I have tried to overcome.  I have been swimming in an ocean filled with concepts and rules I frankly often do not understand.  I’ve never been good at playing the games.  I despise the politics of getting ahead.  I’ve hoped my integrity, loyalty, intelligence, dedication, hard work, responsibility and concern would win me enough points to allow me to have a little piece of security on this very unsafe planet.  But my actions and dedication have not been rewarded.  Instead, I’ve been weighed and found sadly wanting over and over and over and over and over again.
 
I’ve known others who have had the critical intervention in their life that they needed at very vulnerable points.  They have FLOURISHED.  They have overcome.  They have found meaning and fulfillment.  And love.  That intervention tipped the scales in their favor.  And I am jealous.  Envious.  Because I wanted this desperately.  I prayed for it.  Sought it.  Begged for it.  Tried to develop those relationships when there was a potential.  Instead, people have wanted more from me than I had to offer and they have demanded I be someone other than the person I am.  My ex husbands, my parents, my friends, my bosses, my co-workers…all have determined I wasn’t worth their time or care.  Not worth helping.  Not worth nurturing.  
 
I don’t think I’m bitter.  But I am hurt.  Very hurt.  Being chewed up and spit out is a painful process. 
 
The question that haunts me is simply, “Why?”  Why could I never be loved, never be desired, never be appreciated, never be viewed as being valuable, never be thought of as someone worthy of knowing and caring for?  Why has my whole life been filled with rejection?  Why have I never been wanted?  I have seen the rejection in my personal life and in my professional life.  Time and time again.  And I remain baffled.  Because, imperfect and messed up as I know I am, I have seen others…many others…who were as bad or worse off find love,fulfillment, contentment and satisfaction.  I have watched them move forward.  Leaving me behind.
 
I dreamed of someone to love me, but that was asking too much.  So I asked for someone to watch over me. The answer has always been and still is, “No.”
 
Always, it seems, I ask for too much.
 

God and Other Mysteries

I have struggled in my relationship with God for many years.  I totally believe.  I KNOW God is real because I’ve met Him; encountered Him.  And once encountered, you can no longer deny His existence, power, or force, or convince yourself that He is not a living, breathing being.  He is.
 
But what is He truly like; what is He at heart?  This is where my struggles come into play.
 
As I said, I know He is powerful.  But is He a powerful good force, a loving being, a caring father, a doting dad?  Or is He an authoritarian?  A disciplinarian?  A master who demands to be obeyed and who doles out consequences when you do not do what He requires?  Does He help us as we journey through this difficult world, during our life on this planet?  Or does He watch without intervening?  Does He want good things for us?  Does He work on our behalf to protect us and bring those good things into being in our life?  Or does He allow us to suffer because He can’t be bothered?  Because He’s too busy with His big, magnificent overall plan.  And does He just watch benignly without lending a hand when we so desperately need one or can we count on Him to lift us out of the mire when we are drowning?
 
I see God in much the same way I saw my earthly father.  I’ve tried not to, but they are hopelessly intertwined to me.  I see Him as being distant, demanding, harsh, rigid, uncaring, angry, inconsistent, unhelpful, unconcerned.  Not someone who could be depended on or relied on.  Not someone to go to when you need a hug.  Nurturing and protecting were not my earthly father’s things.  He was someone to be feared.  Cowed to.  Who had all the power and who abused it, never using it to help in any way, never offering a hand except to hit and slap and knock you down.  Or to take what he wanted from you.  He had many rules that had to be obeyed or one would suffer dire consequences.  Ditto the God of the universe.  How much more dire of a consequence can you get than hell, after all?
 
Some people that I know personally and who I completely respect see God as a loving father.  To them, He is someone to run to when you are hurt, when you need help, when you need strong arms around you, when you’re afraid, when you’re overwhelmed.  To them, He is THERE for them.  He makes life doable.  Bearable. 
 
I so want to know this God.
 
But the God I know is someone who demands that I get my act together, then maybe we’ll talk.  He judges me.  He’s not happy with all of my failures.  He’s given me a few chances in the past, long ago, to be what I should be and I failed.  So I’m not in that top tier of people He loves and people He’s concerned about.  I’m not complying.  I’m not someone He’s going to move mountains for, if indeed He feels inclined to move some.
 
Plus, I continue to fail.  And honestly, I’ve mostly given up even trying these days.
 
I’ve given up in the sense that I’ve stopped trying to make myself into the person He wants me to be.  I’m not blatantly sinning, but I’m not a stellar example of what it’s like to have His presence in one’s life, nor of what His proclaimed goodness produces.  I know I’m a failure in His book.   I’m hanging on to my eating disorder and basically forbidding Him to take it away from me, much like a drug addict hangs on to their illegal drug habit.  I can’t find healing for my heart and soul and if you’re read recent blog posts, you know I’ve pretty much given up on that too.  I can’t get my thoughts in line with what He requires in His Word.  I feel like I’m trying to brainwash myself into believing something that doesn’t feel real or genuine to me.  I want to know it’s real before I grab it, but God’s way seems to be that I have to grab it before it becomes real.  I struggle to get past that.  I can’t seem to make the leap of faith that is required.  I’m not going to church either…I got really hurt by my church when my ex left me and I struggle with putting myself under the authority of some pastor who will more than likely misuse their power yet again and cause further wounding.  I have stopped reading the Bible or doing any kind of Christian reading because I feel so condemned by the Word of God and I’m utterly discouraged by how poorly I’m performing against His standards.  When I compare myself to others, others who are seeking after God, I may not be a total heathen, but I’m far from a good Christian.
 
No, I don’t drink, use drugs, do illegal things or immoral things.  I don’t hurt people intentionally and if I do hurt someone unintentionally, I do everything in my power to make it right.  Because I understand pain and I don’t want to inflict it.  I forgive others, try to live my life in a “right” manner.  Even though I’m struggling with massive debt, I make the minimum payments.  And I will do that until I absolutely can’t do it any longer.  Yeah, I cuss…sometimes a lot.  I am depressed.  Deeply depressed.  I don’t have connections.  And I feel very lost.  Even though I’m supposed to be found. But God has made some difference in me…I think.  Just not enough of a difference.  Because of me. Because of who I am.  Who I am not.
 
I don’t have a vital, viable, alive relationship with God.  Yes, I KNOW He is real and I truly don’t want to piss Him off or disappoint Him any more than I have already.  So it’s not like I’m trying to be displeasing or rebelling actively against Him.  I just AM displeasing.  And because I AM displeasing, I can’t do enough of the right kinds of things to ever get in His good graces.  I can never do enough to be loved.
 
And that’s the hard part.  Because all I’ve ever really wanted was to be loved.

Saved

I am a born-again Christian.  I don’t advertise the fact specifically because I am so far from being a good example, I’m afraid I’ll turn someone away from God rather than help make a positive introduction.  I know, as a Christian, that I’m supposed to have the ultimate answer to all the problems and issues in my life.  I have Jesus.  But what I have found over the course of these many years since meeting God is that I’m still a very imperfect being.  I’m an imperfect being who has been forgiven, yes.  And God has made some very positive changes in my life.  But I’m quite the work in progress and there remains a great deal of renovation that needs to be done.
 
I’m utterly embarrassed, truly ashamed, in fact, at just how much work needs to be done before I will in any way be “presentable” as an example of what Christ does to transform ones life.  Which is why, though I don’t deny my relationship with God, I don’t actively advertise it either.
 
We all need a savior.  I believe that.  But I feel as if I need Him more than most.  My imperfections are fairly glaring.  PTSD, depression, eating disorder, isolation with inability to connect with others in a meaningful way (particularly since being dumped by my ex-husband), abuse and sexual abuse survivor with many resulting issues, distrustful, fearful, with no sense of self-worth, I struggle a great deal just to get through most days.
 
I want to be a good example.  An inspiration.  I hate being a failure.  A drain.  Someone to be avoided.  To be shunned, who is pointed at and pointed out as what not to be and what not to do.  So I don’t often mention that I have a relationship with the God of the universe, the creator of all that is and was and will be.  I don’t want to be an embarrassment to Him.  I mean, like He can do all things, right?  So if He can do all things and has all power, I should be practically super-human, right?  My abilities to overcome should be wow-worthy.  Instead, well, I’m so far from being worthy, we won’t even talk about the wow.  The only wow I would inspire in my present condition is one of horror and unbelief over how despicable I am.
 
And then there’s the whole issue of how I see God.  I struggle to see Him as a loving father.  “Loving” and “father” don’t go together well in my experience.  My counselor tells me my image of God is intertwined with my image of my earthly father.  My abuser.  The person who trashed my spirit and destroyed my soul.  He was the only example of a father I had, so it makes sense that I would see God through that experience.  And struggle to believe He loves me.  I’m pretty much afraid of Him, in all honesty.  He does have all that power…and I don’t have any at all.  He can pretty much do whatever He wants and if I’m not in His favor, He can let a lot of bad things happen to teach me the lessons I am supposed to learn.  On one hand, I know my view is skewed.  On the other, I don’t know how to see any other way.  And I don’t know how to change my beliefs or my feelings.  I learned some lessons well…about fathers and how they operate.  Unlearning those early lessons that are burned into my soul and seeing God differently than my birth father is problematic, at best.
 
I know in my heart that I’m messed up and that I’m not seeing things clearly.  But I don’t know how to see anything differently than the way I see them.  I realize God is perfect and therefore, any imperfection comes from me and not Him.  He isn’t doing bad things to me.  I either do them to myself or others, making bad choices, do them to me.  But God doesn’t feel safe to me because I don’t feel like I can trust Him to protect me or take care of me.  I feel like it’s all up to me.  And I’m a total failure at most everything in life.  So.  I don’t talk about being a Christian and I don’t represent myself as being an example of what it means to have God in your life.
 
God seems far away most of the time.  I pray.  I call out to Him and beg Him to help me.  But I feel very alone and abandoned.  I need Him.  I need a miracle, or two, or three.  I desperately need the all-powerful God to reach down and touch me, lift me out of the mess I’m in and show me how to live, for real.
 
I feel like a total failure because I supposedly have this amazing relationship with the God of all things and I’m still worthless and way screwed up.  I’m still not making it.  I’m still an absolute horrid mess.
 
So I stay silent.  And try to hide my worthlessness and glaring imperfections.  And I remain alone.  And broken.  And afraid.
 
I feel like I’m so messed up, even God has turned away from me in disgust.  And if God has given up on me, what hope remains?