Monthly Archives: October 2013

I’m writing my own bible.

I’m writing my own bible. 

Blank brown pages are slowly turning into colors of hope.  Questions are being asked and answers aren’t always given, but I’m leaving room to breathe.  Making this bible feels like I’m finally breathing again.  And so I spend my nights surrounded by glue and paper, cutting and pasting my heart into a work of faith. 

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Instead of finding comfort and peace through the words written in the bible, I am finding judgment and anger.  And that’s not working for me right now.  So I’m walking away.  I’m walking away from the hurt and pain and finding a place where I can ask questions.  I’m creating a safe place full of words that stir me.  I’m allowing god to inspire me and show me her love through different ways.  I want to feel as if I am someone god delights in.  So I’m letting her shower me with her love, and I’m recording it all down.

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I’m walking away from church in the usual sense as well.  I don’t want to run from seeking god, but I do want to run from her family.  And I believe she understands this.  I believe god understands how hard it is for me to stand next to her family and feel like such an outsider.  An outsider who longs for god to send me love letters under the door when I’ve locked myself in the bathroom crying tears of frustration.  An outsider who longs for god to be big enough to handle the “god-dammits” and “fucks” as I work through my anger. 

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So I’m finding church in the unexpected.  I’m finding church in the flickering flame of candles dancing across the walls.  I’m finding church in handwritten letters, sent with love.  I’m finding church in baking pumpkin muffins and celebrating birthdays.  I’m finding church in the unexpected.  And this type of church, this unexpected freedom of worship, is healing the brokenness inside of me.  It’s allowing me to ask questions and find freedom.  

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And so here I go.  I’m on a journey.  I’m on a journey to find god and fall in love with her all over again.  To find out if I believe in god and how I relate to her.  It’s a journey to find a god that is bigger than religion.  It’s a journey to find joy and acceptance.  It’s going to be wild and it’s going to be difficult, but I believe it will be worth it.  

I’m writing my own bible.  And I believe god is okay with that.

 

 

On writing the hard thing- I can sing.

As I sit down to write this, I am shaking from the fear of telling you this.  It seems silly to me (and probably to you as well) but I don’t know how else to get this out but in a letter to you.  You see, I have a part of me that I am hiding from you; a part of me that I am terrified to share because I am afraid of the response you will give me.  But dear friend, it’s time for me to share.  Please sit with me, as I try to explain the best I can.

I can sing.

Not “I like to sing in the shower” sing, but I was trained as a singer when I was a child.  And admitting that to you fills me with so much fear.  But it wasn’t always that way.  I can remember the first time I stood on the stage behind a microphone and I felt free as everything else melted away around me.  I sang everywhere: in line at the grocery store, during school, when I was alone, and even when I was surrounded by people.  It was the thing that brought me joy.

But I stopped singing when I was eight.

You see, my voice was taken from me.  Living a childhood of chaos and violence, I quickly learned the best way to be safe is to be quiet.  Between that and being forced to sing by my father as his “trophy daughter,” my voice no longer felt like my own.  So one night, curled up in a ball, I decided that my voice no longer mattered and I vowed not to sing for myself ever again.  There were times when I sang because as a rule follower, when asked I didn’t know how to say no, but my soul was never filled with music again.

A part of me died.

Eighteen years later, something happened.  I can’t remember when it first started, but one day I caught myself singing in the car very quietly.  It surprised me and I quickly stopped, but not until after I flashed a quick smile.  As days turned into weeks, the singing in the car increased until I could sing an entire song while alone.  One song turned into two, which multiplied into a dozen and my voice was becoming mine again.

But it doesn’t mean my voice is completely back.  There are times when I try to sing in the safety of my car or apartment, and no words come out.  And the thought of someone asking me to sing terrifies me to the core, but my voice is slowly coming back.  I’m reclaiming it as mine.  And I’m smiling as I do it.

I can sing.

I might not be able to let you hear me sing (although a couple of trusted souls have heard me), I’m starting this path.  I’m walking down this dirt road tripping and stumbling through holes and mountains, but I’m singing while doing it.  So bear with me, and maybe one day my voice will return completely.

Breaking the rules.

I have a part of me that is very good at following the rules. I show up places at least 10 minutes early, I say please and call everyone sir and ma’am. Breaking the rules may not give me hives, but my anxiety flares up so badly that I find myself wanting to throw up when I am not following the rules. Rules are supposed to keep us safe, to be a standard in which we live by, but I’m learning that maybe rules are meant to be broken.

This week was supposed to be a week of silence for the story101 course I am taking, but by Wednesday I started to notice that not only was I quiet from social media, I was retreating into myself and ignoring other people in favor of being alone. The chaos in my head got louder and soon I was unable to tell the difference between the thoughts, as lies swarmed around threatening to sting me at their next opportunity. And in the middle of spin class, I kept having the thought just reach out, but I didn’t want to fail so I stayed quiet for a while longer until some old and scary lies came back to the forefront of my mind. So with my head bowed in shame, I posted on our course page that I needed to end the silence. The grace that surrounded my admission was amazing but more than grace were these words from Jamie:

Is it a stretch to wonder if instead of the silence teaching you quietness, it’s urging you to recognize that sometimes we have to get loud to survive? Don’t be ashamed of drawing an unconventional answer.

Sometimes we have to get loud to survive. Get. Loud. from the time I was a child, I was taught that silence and rule following is how you survive. But now I’m seeing that for what it is: LIES. it’s time I find my voice. It’s time I start singing again. It’s time I break the rules. It’s time I found out who I am. And so I’m taking a deep breath and letting out a quiet squeak, practicing using this voice of mine until it becomes a roar.

I have a voice

I hear the judgment behind your questions and comments, the word abortion spitting from your mouth liker cancer, and I sit quietly.

You say you strive to show grace to everyone, but “some things I’ll never understand,” you sneer over your bible and I sit quietly.

I sit quietly and I resent myself for sitting quietly. I resent you and your comments. Your comments that reduce my pain to nothingness. Your comments that add to my shame. Your comments that minimize the loss I feel over my daughter. {click here to read more}

 

I wrote a guest post for Caleigh’s “I have a voice” series and I would love if you would go to her site and comment.