To say that my husband and I were having a chaotic season was an understatement. We were finally settling into our new home here in Denver after two major cross-country moves earlier that year. I was halfway through my pregnancy with our third child and chasing after two other littles who were 2 and 1. We wiped butts, went on date nights, and laughed (a little) when looking back on how difficult that time truly was. As close friends would, we gave each other a high five and looked forward to a slow down.
Slowing down to enjoy life sounded dreamy, but in reality it came to a dead stop. I was going along business-as-usual on a sunny Thursday afternoon when turning on my husband’s computer revealed a betrayal I didn’t see coming. He was cheating on me with another woman.
Let me tell you a story about a young boy.
This boy, at a very young age was sexually abused by two separate family members, one male and one female. Both were old enough to know they were doing something wrong, but young enough to not be considered adults. This young boy was made to think that he was playing a game and it never dawned on him that there was anything wrong. Though it stopped short of anything occurring that might be considered medically harmful, it was emotionally and psychologically damaging for him as you can imagine. “It was a game and people liked him”, thought the boy. They wanted to spend time with him. In some weird naive sense, it made the boy happy. Then, it stopped. The boy doesn’t remember the exact details of it, but he just knew that it stopped and it left him with a weird feeling inside. For sure, it was good that it stopped, but this boy being so young, didn’t know how to process that. From here on in, like a curse, the boy and his view of intimacy would be forever slanted by his experience. Continue reading
These events occurred during the Winter (2012-2013)
I stood there watching my friend put my clothes on hangers. I had no energy, but attempted to “help.” I looked at her for any sign that there was still hope for me. She didn’t look me in the eyes when she said, “You’re a good Christian, BUT…” And then she spewed out a list of things I needed to do better. I replied sobbing, “I am NOT a good Christian. I am NOT a good steward of what the Lord has given me, and I have hurt so many people. I have to get my act together.” I don’t remember her response; I just remember retreating into my closet trying to hide the tears—all I could see in her eyes was that I was a failure.
Life on the ground is messy. Sloppy, really. We like to pretend it isn’t, but it is. We prefer hiding behind whatever mask we’ve created in the moment that we think hides our messiness and undone-ness from others. But it doesn’t. Not really. Nowhere is this truer than inside the church. It’s there that we refer to life on the ground as sanctification with the incorrect assumption that sanctification means continuous movement away from life’s messiness into some type of have-it-togetherness. We equate sanctification with self-sufficiency. That’s because the message we’ve heard for so many years has been heavy on progress and light on justification; heavy on behavior modification and light on mercy and grace; heavy on moralism and light on brokenness. The banner of the Christian life has become my (and your) progress. “Am I pulling it off?” has replaced “it is finished!” If it appears you aren’t pulling it off like I think you should be, I morph into fix-it mode which I think gives me Biblical permission to put you in a spiritual headlock until you cry “uncle!” and superficially produce the “change” I need to see in you in order for me to be happy. At least, that’s how I remember it.
In the last post, I wrote about a good friend of mine who called it quits and walked away from the faith. I hadn’t heard from him in many, many years but more recently, he’s been on my mind. Then, he called me. Right out of the blue. We haven’t talked in so long I don’t remember our last conversation. I had no idea where he was and I certainly didn’t know how to reach him. But he found me. He tracked me down, found me, and called. That’s crazy, even for a five point Calvinist like me.
My friend walked away from the faith a couple of years ago. Not all at once. It was more like a slow walk. A leisurely stroll. But one that brought him to a bad place. From his first exposure to Christianity and his profession of faith, he was full of zeal. As a young believer myself, I remember one of the first questions that always came from my friend’s mouth when we would see each other was, “What are you doing for Jesus? God’s done so much for you, what are you doing for him? What are you doing to pay him back?” I remember how uncomfortable that made me feel, even as a new Christian and being so young in the faith and naive. It made me squirm. It made me feel guilty and condemned because God had done so much for me and I seemed unable and grossly inconsistent and incompetent in doing much for Him. I eventually started avoiding my friend, at least for the first few minutes after he would arrive. Once the preliminary “what are you doing for Jesus?” Q&A with everyone else in the room would subside, I would emerge from the back room, breathing a sigh of relief and congratulating myself that I had successfully avoided another interrogation. Sad, but true.
Pressure had been building like steam in a tea kettle all morning long. Piles of dishes from the night before, missing shoes, children who won’t get out of bed, who won’t eat breakfast, who don’t answer when I call to them. Steam. Building. And then….Where’s Ezra? I open the back door. A once clean, blonde haired, blue eyed boy standing in the middle of his sandbox covered in mud.
That’s all it took. The absolute last straw of the morning. Boom.
“Why?! Why can’t you people just do what I ask you to do? Why do you have to make everything so stinking difficult?!” Wide eyes staring blankly back at me, while I continued on my rant. “Why do you guys refuse to clean up after yourselves? Why do you have to make such messes in the first place? This is just insane. I can’t find anything. Just know when you guys get home, everyone is cleaning this house. I can’t possibly be expected to keep up with all of this by myself. If you guys can’t stop making mornings so difficult, I’ll just start waking you up at 6am.” And then the big kahuna finisher, “You guys just have to get your act together. Seriously. Or I’m just going to go crazy.” Continue reading
2009 was the year grief began to hit our family. That is the year the miscarriages began (back to back to back) that brought everything I thought I knew crashing down. Before 2009, I had answers for everything. I had eloquent prayers for every situation anyone could ever face. In fact, I often received praise for my ability to pray so eloquently. I was eager to offer counsel and prayers for others in their grief. Mostly because of compassion….but also because I thought I knew.
“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith—just as Abraham ‘believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness’?” Galatians 3:3-6
Paul was so protective of the gospel, and the young believers in his care, that he penned the explosive letter to the Galatians. Why was he so upset? It’s actually quite simple. False teachers had visited Galatia and began teaching the believers there that in order to be more pleasing to God, they had to do a few things—things God did not require. We learn in Acts 15:5 that this form of false teaching originated even among early church believers. They were so convincing that even the apostle Peter fell Continue reading
One of the fun things about being a cop’s wife is that you know when your husband comes home from work, there will be plenty of interesting things to talk about. Especially when they work in a big city like my husband does. It’s interesting though, as fun as the stories are about his actual arrests, high speed chases, and drug bust, the majority of the truly fascinating stories that he shares are his everyday conversations with people on the streets. Recently, He was telling me about a relationship he formed with a strip club manager whom he sees each day on his way to the bus stop.