Faith and Wrestling

Jacob wrestled with God…and it is my experience He desires the same of us now. God is not afraid of the hard questions. This is where I will hash some of them out.

Lessons From a Wandering Jew





photo credit: Peas, on Flicker

Before my back injury, mine looked very much like this. It didn’t do well with the tender care of three teenage boys, and yesterday I decided to see what could be done to save it. The poor thing was about 90% dead leaves.

My Jew is sentimental to me, symbolic. I am very much a symbolism sort, those kinds of things connect deep inside, and help me in the daily remembering. I am also a diehard fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, which is odd for me to say, as I usually shudder at the thought of being a ‘fan’ of anything or anyone. That said, “The Silmarillion” especially, but the whole “Lord of the Rings” series also, spoke strongly to me in the early stages of my healing journey, and helped me along the path. The first time I encountered one of these plants was in the summer of ’08, on a day extremely meaningful to me. I had never seen a plant like it, shimmering silver, purple, and forest green. It wasn’t labeled, but I bought it and brought it home. It was very Elven looking to me, and fit the significance of the day in my heart. I didn’t even know what the plant was until this past year! My original had been left behind when my children and I fled, and I had cried a bit over that plant. Then last year I ran into it again, and again one came home with me, this time with a name. I had my Elven plant back, my commemoration to that day.

Coming home and finding it nearly dead didn’t make me too happy. My oldest-at-home son took it down from it’s hook for me before leaving for school. I set to work on it about 9am, house quiet. I love quiet mornings. I’ve come to accept I Need quiet about as much as I Need air.

The Jew didn’t want to co-operate. Seriously. It held onto those dead leaves like it’s life depended on it, while the still living colorful tendrils fell off all over my counter with barely a breath on them. I soon had a glass of water stuffed full of tendrils and leaves, and a potted plant with all sorts of very dead, very thin, threadlike but hard as wire bare brown tendrils.

It got me to thinking…how firmly do I clench onto the dead, dry shoots in my life that I should be letting go of? And how often do I throw off the vibrant, living shoots in order to cling to the old dead ones?




Categories: Faith and Wrestling, Gardening, Healing & Growing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Small Steps

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I seriously need to spend some time researching formatting. Every time I think I have it figured out, I’m wrong. Persistence!!

I took a step back from everything after my last post. I know I am not in this current trial to thrash around like a fish dying on the shore, which is very much what it felt like I was quickly becoming. I have been asking Jesus and Father for some time, “Who am I, and how do I find out, and what does that mean?” I am not one who can believe none of this has meaning-not my single life being lived, not the grass growing (or trying to in Texas) outside even. As has been evidenced by much of my writing here, this is a question I have wrestled with. Who am I? Why am I here, what am I to do? Specifically, not the platitudes of “make the world a better place” and such. My initial reaction to such is always an internal “Duh…do I look like an idiot??” even if I don’t give voice to it.

I am realizing it has been a journey to accept the fact of personhood, for me. Perhaps that is a result of the abuse, the loss of identity that goes with it. Perhaps it is a result of my childhood, the constant derision of my dreams and goals, the statements of “that isn’t what you really want/think/feel/mean/etc”, and the being forced into the mold my mother had for me, which never ever fit. Whatever the cause, some of the heart work of the last two weeks made me realize I was feeling guilty, STILL, for even existing. For being. That despite thinking I had grown past it, the repeated message of “you were a mistake, if I had a choice you wouldn’t be here” beginning when I was very small was still influencing me, still cutting and tearing deep inside, still undermining any confidence or sense of “I am, and that is right and good.” I spent many hours one day with a close friend, talking through this and other aspects, and discovering that this wound is still there, unhealed. Denial is a powerful blinder. One wants to think they’ve dealt with something, and it’s done, done for good, I’m all better now, thank-you-very-much!

Unearthing that though was key. My behaviors lately have baffled me. Why am I panicking SO MUCH?! It’s not the first time I’ve been around this mountain. I’ve been unemployed and wondering where and how my children and I will live more times than I want to admit. I’ve scratched and fought and worked my way back to a place of being able to make it only to have my feet kicked out from under me, multiple times. Although I think sometimes God tries to keep my blood pressure at 210/115, He always comes through. I wish He weren’t so fond of the dramatic last minute (or second) rescue, but I don’t have much say in that LOL! What I do have a say in though is my response. Realizing I felt like I DID NOT have a say in my response, as I could not be my own person, because I did not deserve to exist…THAT has made a difference.

In the midst of that, Spirit finally said “It’s time…” regarding taking the RHETI test. I have been researching the Enneagram since this last winter, off and on, as some people I deeply respect and regard as teachers and mentors use it for their own growth. The more I learned about the origins, development, and applications of the Enneagram I began to think this might be an extremely useful tool in my life, growth, and healing. I would not let myself read about the types, as I did not want to know before taking the test. So when Spirit led, and I had a morning all to myself in quiet, I did. And I think I will be blogging about it for a while. The test was amazingly accurate, and in being so it also mysteriously afforded me permission to Be Who I Am, and gave me hints as to who that is. I am still processing, will be, and will do some of that processing here. Looking forward to that!

Also, I am working slowly through a writing course. It took me the first 2 weeks to accept that I had been accepted, so now I am playing catch up *rolls eyes at self* The course is teaching me also about myself…who I am. What is my rhythm, how do my words work, what do I need to write, and increasingly, that I *am* a writer, and I can embrace that. There are signs of life stirring deep inside, life in this area that I have fought so hard and pushed down in fear so much. Words are coming now, story pouring out. I have much to learn…but the plug has been unstopped. Thank the Lord!

Categories: Faith and Wrestling, Healing & Growing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments


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The past week or so has been interesting, internally. I find myself doing much pondering, and much avoiding of it.

The 14th was my 2 months since my injury. I do not think I have EVER spent anything near this long in bed. I had no idea that when I first went down, it would be for anything but a few days. I was, after all, due back at work for the elderly couple I took care of a couple weeks after, once they returned from vacationing in New Mexico. I had a kitchen to paint in the meantime, and other things to do around the home to make it start to feel like “our” home. I had my daily horse job, 7 days a week, twice a day, and then I had my own Minis-to-be-used-somehow-one-day to take care of. My kids, school starting…

Then one day, this.

I have been alternating trying to listen and running away inside. Running away, daydreaming, has been winning more here lately.

Do I trust You, Lord? Does the north wind blow?
Do I trust You, Lord? Does the river flow?
You can see my heart, You can read my mind
and You’ve got to know I would rather die
than to lose my faith in the One I love.
Do I trust You?
(lyrics from an old Twila Paris song from the 80’s)

That song kept me alive, more than once. I have never been able to escape the lyrics. He knows how deeply I mean them.

For the first time, I find myself wondering about “I would rather die than to lose my faith…”

There are times it feels like He has taken you out into the desert and left you. I have felt like Hagar the last few years, for various reasons. But He wasn’t the one to desert her in the desert. He was the one to send an angel to lead her to food and water, and to keep her safe.

There is more to this than I can see.

Three things hit me last week, and one this.
Three different women followed my blog, and going to visit their’s…well, the first two kicked me in the gut. They are doing what I said I was going to do here-be real. Yet there are secrets I have not told here. Ways I feel impressed to tell, to hopefully help others, but I have been too afraid. The internet, after all, is very searchable. I have children to raise that I love with all of me. There are/were jobs I needed, and my …situation is one that is not only stigmatized, it is stigmatized and attacked and said it doesn’t exist by people who cannot even begin to fathom what it is like to live with. What it has been like, for 43 yrs or so. Those who accept the reality often mis-portray it. I couldn’t have an employer or prospective, searching me and finding this. Or family.

But those young women, half my age, are being so much braver than I. They are doing what I knew He was leading me to do from the start, but I have been too afraid, and I have tried instead to …to what? Do what I have had to do my whole life, keep the masks on and be what others needed me to be.

The third woman had sites on her blog that kicked me more. is an amazing website. I spent 2 days in obsessive mode, reading reading reading. I took a few of the quizzes. “If you score 14 or higher, you have a very high likelihood of having PTSD”. I know this….I scored 23. Took the psychopathy test from my ex’s vantage point..after 20 yrs with someone, you know their answers to stuff, esp when you have to study them daily to avoid the worst of the abuse. Way into the “your score indicates you could well have serious psychopathic tendencies”. Again, I know this, about him. I was told by medical professionals and others…Of course the site is not diagnosing, but encouraging you to seek help, and actual diagnostics. Won’t happen with him. I have been seeking for years, but not finding.

Then this week I have to get some paperwork for the state, for the Medicaid they are putting me on so I can get some of this taken care of, as the MRI taped me out. He told me to start the disability paperwork. Told me I am “permanently disabled”.

I am still processing that.

Depression has been biting, hard. I need to be with my children. I want to go home. I need income, NOW, not 2 yrs from now when the process of getting on disability is done. I am tired of this. I do not want to be disabled. Yet I still cannot even make it to the bathroom without help, or stand up, for that matter. I have rent to pay, and utilities, and such. The more I try/look/research, the more I am finding out I am not currently qualified to apply for most freelance writing or etc jobs. I have signed up for more survey sites than I like, and spent hours to have a total of 5 points? and it takes 1,000 to get $10? I’ve spent 5 hrs working on a Crowdsource site, to earn $5.41. I have listed horses for sale, quality Minis, for very fair prices, and I have gotten “the checks in the mail” but no checks, written contracts and sent after hours of discussion never to hear from them again, and a variety of crazies. There are so many nuts in the animal world…sigh. The people, not the animals. I am working on courses to learn, so I *can* qualify for freelance work, but that will take time. I do not have time.

So, Jesus, what now? My children NEED me. But I’m told I cannot go home to them, because there is no one there to take care of me. What do You want of me, Lord?
I think there will be some changes to this site.

And if I can ever figure out how to get the pictures to line up right again, I will feel like I conquered something.

Categories: Depression, Faith and Wrestling, Healing & Growing, Pain and mourning | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ugh…then Hope

It’s been an “Ugh” sort of week, but tides are turning. My friends’ friend’s suicide started things off with grief in my heart-for her, for him, for so many. I avoided the Robin Williams topic when that happened, because so many were speculating and writing and it just seemed..I didn’t need to participate. I am sorry for his family…for their loss. What an incredible human he was. As this man also was. They have found peace now, and healing, I am sure, in the arms of One who knows. But still…it hurts those here. And for that, I grieve, and give thanks yet again that I wasn’t successful.

Medication changes this week also didn’t help. New pain killer, new muscle spasm med, both cause depression and yup boy do they! Getting adjusted now, and that is backing off, thankfully.

And then was told that the specialist my Dr referred me to is retiring in 4 wks, so I have to go back for a different referral. Yippee…ugh. Did I ever mention I hate going to the Dr, for anything?

That said…it’s raining again. In Texas!! WooHoo!!! It’s been raining since yesterday, even. Twice in about a week…and somehow, there is hope again. I also have never understood how rain is depressing…and now, especially so, seeing how we get so very little. Rain is life, and hope, and verdant green all encased in tiny droplets, one after the other. My heart needed it, so much. Almost as much as the parched earth.

There was a writing prompt a few days ago, asking what are five things you would change about your life. Thinking on it, I come up with:
1. Steady work with reasonable income that I don’t have to worry about
2. A home of my own, with acreage and a barn too
3. General good health, but esp this back issue over
4. To be out of debt, completely, and able to stay there-see point 1.
5. I’m having trouble coming up with #5. I’d lose about 50#’s..but that kind of goes with #3. To be married to the man I love, but I don’t necessarily mean State sanctioned marriage. Marriage is more than that, and is, in my opinion, between God and the two involved…the State only needs to come into it if you want the “benefits” they offer. That said, he and I have a ways to go in healing, and after the abuse of his first wife, he “doesn’t believe in marriage anymore”. That’s a statement out of his wounds, and they are deep. So that is in God’s hands. But it is hard having him and my sons under different roofs! I’d say to be able to work from home, so I can be a stay at home Mom, be there for them…as that is, in many ways, ALL I want. My kids are growing…they won’t be home much longer. I ache to be there, and to be able to do all of the “little stuff”…

So, I guess I’ll leave #5 open, for now.
If there were 5 things you could change, what would they be?

Categories: Depression, Faith and Wrestling, Goals and Desires, Healing & Growing, Pain and mourning | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment












photo credits Christian Silva (1&2) Propaganda Times (3rd)



I’m not really even sure how to start this post, but it’s been burning since last night, since I saw yet another
oh-so-popular Bash The Poor meme on FaceBook. But it’s not JUST FB. I hear it on radio shows, on the news, on television when I have a chance and bother to watch. There are YouTube videos, and print ads, and articles. There are angry politicians, what a crock that is when they are getting rich on the backs of the middle class. Makes me think, “you know, if we just gas chambered everyone who makes less than $50k a year, all of America’s problems would be solved apparently!” Then I remember I’m one of them.

Yet we call ourselves a Christian nation. I call BS on that. Sorry, Jesus’ whole ministry was to the poor and downtrodden, and having the people for lunch who screamed all of the equivalent of what I wrote above in His time period. And He didn’t demand to know how many jobs they were working, not to mention how they were spending every last penny they made on those jobs, and then grill them as to why they thought they deserved to eat or have clothes or a roof over their heads like normal, contributing to society humans do. Or, *gasp*, where did you get that donkey or embroidered shawl when by god, you claim to be poor!! “But Goodwill donkeys are on sale for a penny on Fridays, Lord, and it might help me get out of poverty, because now I have access to other work….” I can just see the poor man saying.

That’s what he has to say today. How dare you have a cell phone and be poor, you lazy rotten liar! per the new, lovely meme.

Somehow, I don’t see the love of Christ in that.

Let’s face it, the goal isn’t helping the poor get out of that position for our society. The goal is keeping them there so we have a scapegoat.

Rising health care costs-it’s not corporate greed, or the fact that companies have billions if not trillions in profits and WANT MORE, more to sit on and say “we are rich” and do nothing with. It’s those darned poor people going into the ER because they have a cold and can’t pay a doctor and can’t get insurance. And it’s those darned poor people having accidents or cancer and doing the same.

Increases in the cost of living are now the fault of the poor, too.

Cities costs to “clean up their streets” due to those filthy rotten homeless folks. How dare they need a place to live like the rest of us? Ban them…jail them, and then tell people their taxes have to go up to pay for those costs. How about taking some of the abandoned buildings and handing those homeless a hammer and nails, some paint, and saying fix it up, it’s yours. Win win. Abandoned building isn’t dragging down the property values, homeless person off the street. Even America’s god, Mammon, is somewhat served in that (not dragging down property values). But cash isn’t changing hands up front, so it’s no good…

NPR did a report a couple months ago on a city in Oregon, or Washington…I can’t remember which. The new (a few years ago) leaders decided to do something about their homeless. Instead of jailing them or chasing them off to die somewhere, they did a RADICAL THING. They gave them homes.
The report talked about HOW VERY MANY naysayers there were. You can’t just do that-they will expect handouts, they aren’t worth it, they won’t change, they are worthless, less than human, how can you be so stupid to think that will make a difference, and so on.
A couple of years later, guess what? 98% success rate, or maybe it was 96%. The people, be they single or families, fixed up their places, cleaned up their lives. Alcohol addiction and drug addictions went out the window. They got jobs. THEY KEPT JOBS. Some went to school, got their ged, are getting college degrees. The few whom it didn’t work for turned out to be seriously mentally ill. They needed help of a different kind, and if I remember rightly, they are getting it.
The report brought me to tears. I had to pull over, as I was driving at the time. Why can’t people who call themselves human see this?
What the poor need is HOPE.
When you have NO HOPE, why the hell bother?
When you have NO HOPE, your only options are to escape, somehow. Guess what humanity’s best routes of escape have been for millenia? Alcohol and drugs. And if that doesn’t deal with the pain that you can’t escape because humans can’t survive without hope, you slit your wrist or drink yourself to death or OD or some other way to get away from the pain.

If we ever want to be a Christian nation as we claim, we have to take care of the poor. No, that doesn’t mean give them handouts for the rest of their lives. It means give them hope. Give them a reason to live, to TRY. And give them what help they need in the meantime to prove to them that there ARE people who give a damn, who will help them up, who believe that they are worth something, worth the effort and expense.

Sure, there are those who play the system. You know what, they aren’t hard to spot. What’s hard is getting a pair and doing something about it, like kicking them out of the system. What’s even harder is taking the time to get to know them, hear their stories, FIND OUT WHY they do what they do, and then offer them hope, call them up higher, call out the good in them to step up and show itself off.

I’m told I’m naive. I’m a country and small town girl, I can’t begin to understand the way inner city poor think and scheme to get away with all that they can. I’m sorry, but the country has poor too. I grew up in my small town in a 20×30 box with 5 people. I grew up…have you any idea how many broken down single wide trailers that can’t begin to hold heat house people in southern IN? And people wonder why meth labs are such a problem there?

You have a problem with the drug trade? Help the poor. It will be a lot more effective than the billions we’ve poured into the “war on drugs”. True, not all drug users are poor. But they are the only ones anyone gets angry about.

And yes, I’m NOT naive enough to think everyone will reform, become contributing members of society. There are some people who are just bad. Trust me, I know. But I’m guessing those bad apples would become more apparent. Then only the bad apples would get labeled as such, instead of the current situation of all poor are criminals, up to something, trying to leach off the system.

We have to get past the “Us vs Them” thinking. I didn’t even get started on the media mongering of race…ah well, that’s another day 😉

Categories: Faith and Wrestling, Pain and mourning, rants =) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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