Thursday, March 20, 2014

It's Okay To Be Glad He's Dead

In case you have not heard, Westboro Baptist Church founder/leader, Fred Phelps, has died. If you are unfamiliar with who WBC is, they are the folks who spew hate filled venom at concerts (I'm pretty certain they were at Cornerstone the year I went), are infamous for their 'God Hates Fags' signage and protesting soldier's funerals. They are known for nothing but their hatred.

So this week when the news broke that Phelps was near death/died, it's not surprising that there seemed to be a collective sigh of relief... There was also a monsoon of articles and posts from Christians crying, 'you must forgive!'  I found that mildly unsettling, but it took me a couple of days to figure out why...

1) Immediately proclaiming, 'you must forgive' is in a sense, glossing over a range of emotions. We are not robots. We do not simply flip a switch and 'turn on our forgiveness'.  Forgiveness is a PROCESS. It's a very personal process and one that typically only occurs after many nights spent soul-searching... And there's a lot of anger and confusion and denial and tears all mixed up in there in between.  You may reach forgiveness, but it's certainly not going to be because somebody TOLD you to.

2) 'But Jesus Commanded Us To Forgive'...  Yes. We know. We all know.  He also talked a lot about money, but that hasn't stopped a lot of you from being stingy to your wait staff. He did tell us to forgive... and to never stop forgiving... That's the radicalness of it to me - the fact that we are even supposed to entertain the idea of forgiving those who have truly wronged us.

3) Search your feelings (Luke)... but don't stay there.  Process the anger and frustration and whatever else... If you don't ever allow yourself to feel those things, you'll never ever be able to embrace the concepts of love and forgiveness. And that's the real win.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Two Things:

1) I'm getting divorced. This blows.
2) I've decided to try Jesus and church again. This scares me.

Isaac was the first real, stable romantic relationship that I ever had. We still love each other, though we weren't very good at being married. But god-dammit, if we didn't try.

There are a few take-aways that I've been able to muster over the last few months. First and foremost, I am a stronger, more productive, self-assured woman because of him. I have learned eros love because of him. I am 100% a better person because he loved me. How can I be ungrateful for that?

I know and have always known that he will be such a fantastic daddy to his future kids. My faith in that is unwavering.

I mourn for the loss of my extended family.  I was (am) extremely blessed to have phenomenal in-laws who loved me like I was their own. I was blessed with four fantastic sister/brother-in-laws and three really great nieces and nephews. I will miss them. I do miss them. I can't even have phone conversations because I'll just burst into tears. How do you thank someone for loving you like their own child for 8 years? How do you say good-bye?


My grandmother passed away in September. We weren't exceptionally close, but I never doubted her love for me. It was simple and pure and unwavering. Her last 5 years on earth were pretty crappy. Death never seems very gracious. It runs amuck, overturning and disturbing everything along it's path.  God's silence did not go unnoticed to me in the past years where my Grandma, my family and myself prayed for her return to Jesus. It certainly did not go unnoticed in the chaos surrounding my grandfather's passing. I was angry. And hurt. And I felt turned against.

In the final days before my grandmother passed, I felt a sense of peace for her. I felt Jesus. Like she was safe. And I felt loved in the most simple and pure way. She loved her Lord the way she loved me - unwavering. And in the end, it was the simplicity of her faith that led me to believe she is ok now.  And please believe me when I say that I realize how stupid and weak that sounds to some of you. It sounds simple minded to me as well, I not even going to deny that.

Between the divorce and the death of my Grandma, something in me has changed. Through the shards of brokenness and hurt and pain, there is some form of light that is shining through. It is not bright, but it is there. It is hope.

So now I sit here... weeping uncontrollably for dreams that have passed, but holding out hope for the newness that's bubbling through. I am not the same woman I was 20 years ago. 6 years ago. 4 months ago. I have changed - I am broken and hurt and dirty and untrusting (in others as well as myself and in God) and righteously angry about things. I am a vulgar, liberal, unmarried, childless woman who questions everything, including people who don't seem to question their faith. I'm deeply embarrassed and annoyed at what most American Christians seem to think is persecution. I'm humiliated at the way Christians treat other humans in the name of their loving God. But I'm betting on Jesus. I'm betting that even if no one else loves me or I ever find my place or if I never stop questioning my faith in humanity, that what he taught is true. What he spoke and what he showed by example is true love. I'm betting all on Jesus.

So if anybody knows of a place where hurt people go to heal. Where they are not looked upon for what they can give to further a fund. Where ALL are accepted and loved. Where the weary tread. Where the broken go for shelter and are loved for who they are and not who they have been, then give me a ring. Cause I need a respite in Jesus.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


I originally posted this 2 years ago today. This has definitely been on my heart and mind lately, and I felt the need to share it again.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Dear Self

Dear Self, 

As I look back at all the pictures that are hanging on the walls at mom and dads, there's so many things that I wish I could tell you. You're not a fat cow even though you're certain that you are. You will eventually eat your way into obesity, but in those captured moments, you're not. 

It will take you a long time, but eventually you'll begin to embrace your quirkiness and randomness and just your own strange since of humor. Not everyone will be able to get it, but that's okay. 

This is really hard to believe, but eventually you will learn to love yourself. It'll start very slowly and extremely painfully, but moment by moment you'll learn to like yourself and embrace yourself and eventually just be okay with who you are. Not all of the decisions that you make will be wise ones, but hey, nobody's perfect. 

McDonald's will still be your favorite restaurant. Jeff Frankenstein of The Newsboys will get married but it won't be to you. You will find this to be appalling. 

You'll never do illegal drugs and wont smoke. You'll be pretty proud of this, though you do drink. Almost everything that you think up until your 30's that is extremely morally important, goes by the wayside. The things that last are loving others, taking care of others, taking care of yourself. 

A few short months after you graduate high school you'll develop an OCD habit where you think that you're never wearing pants. This will continue for at least the next 15 years. Everyday you will check to make sure you wearing pants. If you're really nervous or anxious you check A LOT. Rest assure, you have never actually left the house without pants on.

Grandma and Grandpa Johnson will eventually pass on. Grandpa's death will hit you the hardest. You'll find yourself doing things just to try and make him proud... You're not sure if he can see or hear you, but you kinda hope he can.

There will come in time when you just hate yourself. You'll wish that you didn't exist. Things that you thought were normal growing up, actually weren't. Things that you always believed to be true, including your theology, you will struggle with for very long time. 

You're not stupid and even though you don't have a dramatic story to tell, you learn to embrace the imperfections of life and just tell the story that you have.You'll  recognize that there's other people out there who see parts of themselves in you, just like you see parts of yourself in others. Imperfection's a good thing - it'll make you bitter and jagged, a little jaded - but that's okay, so is life. Suck it up.

If I could go back in time & tell you just one thing it would be this, love yourself. And when that seems too hard, love others. Love never fails.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

You're A Little Bit Country, I'm A Little Bit F*cked Up

couple of things that are semi important to know about me:
* I despise liars/lying. It's my #1 pet peeve.
* I believe that it's not what you do that defines you, it's who you are on the inside. (ex: I could care  less if Isaac became a potato farmer if it made him happy. His job title has nothing to do with his character and heart) ... I'm pretty stellar at believing this about other people but sorta crappy applying to myself.
* I've been told :) that I push people away. It's a fear based thing. I'll probably always be a 'wear my heart on my sleeve' sorta girl, but I'm always convinced people will leave if they knew the 'real me', so I typically try and tell the worst things about myself and/or just backpedal out of the relationship. Most times I don't realize I'm doing it until it's too late and I'm guessing that it's confusing and hurtful to others. It's probably one of my ugliest flaws.
* I love the idea of justice and things working out for the greater good. Hero wins, bad guy gets his ass kicked. I'm guessing that's why I'm so drawn to law enforcement/justice shows and comic book movies.
* I went from 'super christian' to 'I have no idea what I am' in the course of about 3-4 years. I am both deeply ashamed by this and slightly relieved. I feel like I can 'be the true me' now, but also that I've lost my community and my sense of belonging. The last 2 make me both angry and sad. Most days I feel very lost.
* It's also important to note that there wasn't this one terrible incident or person that 'wronged' me at a church. A lot of my issues stem from just pure selfishness. I thought or least assumed that if I played by whatever moral and churchy rules, that God would kinda owe me something or at best, things would just 'work out'... I think I believed Romans 8:28 a little too literally... "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." 
* Anyway, so as it turns out, I'm kinda of a selfish bastard. And the more I learned about my own fallacies and inadequacies, the more I began to admit and recognize flaws in both theories and stories in the Bible. Or just even the hypocrisy in the idea that if something good happens we believe that it was God... but if something happens that we don't want to happen, it's of Satan... or worse, if something terrible happens to a person or a city we don't like... that was the sign of God's wrath. We can't have it both ways. God is not as flippant as our opinions are.
* Regardless of what I realized about myself or the questions that I had about faith, I knew I didn't want to be what I was before... which was rather judgemental and harsh. There were always things that didn't set right with my own personal belief system growing up, but it seemed so much more deep rooted now. I genuinely feel that I tried to 'come back to Jesus', but I got burned time and time again. It was just insultingly painful.
* I used to 'serve with a purpose'... and that purpose was that I felt called to do something... Now when I fight against perceived injustice and/or give of myself or whatever, it's more because it's A) partially who I am as a person and B) I feel like if there is a God, this is my way of following/honoring him.
* So whatta do when you realize you don't/can't be who you were but aren't sure of who you want to be?

Found this CS Lewis quote. Seems timely.

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My Baggage Looks Better Than Your Baggage

One lovely summer evening I was chatting with someone about hurt feelings they were experiencing with a mutual friend. I was trying explain how each of them came to the table with their own set of baggage. If there is unknown, or worse yet, ignored emotional land mines in a relationship, it can prove to be explosive.

It got me thinking though... Everybody comes into a relationship with baggage. Whether it's romantic, friendship, work, religious groups. Heck, we're born into baggage. Our DNA is intertwined with both maternal and paternal flaws and hiccups. If we happen to pro-create, we just add to the mix... Discovering what your baggage is, can be both tricky and sometimes an extremely painful process. There's not a huge learning curve, and rocky relationships can only seem to minimize the arch. 

As I've gotten older, I've recognized (or been told :) some of the crap I carry around. Some months I gain baggage at an alarmingly high rate... I've also gotten pretty decent at 'announcing' it. This blog serves as a show and tell sometimes. Airing out insecurities can be both healing for myself, and sometimes for other readers. It's good to not feel so alone... However, here's the weird part- as good as I've gotten about telling other people about my flaws, I still go into relationships assuming they're not coming with any baggage of their own. And on my worst days, sorta just marching in with all of my luggage, dumping it on the ground and saying, "Here's all of my stuff. Take me or leave me, but you're gonna have to deal with it." Never really considering that their wounds and emotional scars might come along for the ride.

Over the last few months, it's become increasingly apparent to me that the closer I grow to people, the longer I'm in friendships, the deeper I dig into relationships, the more baggage I start bumping into. I can only be in a close-knit room or group for awhile until each piece of my baggage starts bumping into the other person's. So then I'm left with the choice - do I throw my belongings down and have a hissy fit or do I apologize and have grace and walk more carefully because I love (or am called to love) the other person?

Saturday, November 24, 2012


I tend to pen either ridiculous blog material or what could be considered somewhat intense, deeply personal musings.  I do that in ‘real life’ too… I think it’s how I keep my sanity…. Regardless, this is one of those deep crappy sappy ones, so if you’re not in the mood, now may be an excellent time to go toss the football with the kids in the backyard…

It’s no secret that I struggle with my faith, my weight and self-esteem.  I doubt that I’ll ever NOT struggle with it.  Most days I can deal with it. But sometimes, they combine their nasty forces for evil and release some super storm. Sorta like when Jean Grey Summers became the Phoenix in X-Men… sorta…   

And as a side note… most everything ‘serious’ that I ever blog about is extremely personal.  Not to say it shouldn’t be shared – it’s not called the World Wide Web for nothing – but as an exercise for me.  There’s a few things that I’ve learned over the years… A) Bottling it all up and keeping it to yourself is extremely unhealthy and can have terrible consequences.  B) Somebody, somewhere, is probably going through or will go through some variation of whatever it is that you’re feeling at this moment.  C) Blogging for me is a way to keep myself honest. It’s almost a religious or holy experience for me. Being able to emote through written words releases an endorphin of sorts. It’s that gasp of extremely valuable air that you need while you’re in the ocean, allowing you to be carried away by the waves for a few more moments.  

It’s also a wonderful way to procrastinate when you don’t really want to talk about what’s bothering you…

Okay, so here’s my baggage.  I’m still really upset over the whole Africa trip thing… I feel like I was going there with very pure intentions and it was mistaken as something otherwise.  I’m not exactly sure how it could have been, but I’m devastated by it. Isaac sometimes tries to explain the possible reasoning behind the other person’s response, but really, all I want to hear is, “They were completely wrong and you were completely right.”  That’s probably totally immature and I’m sure there’s a few of you who would say, “Just get over it”, but hey, that’s where I’m at. That wound is still very, very sore. And I’m having a lot of difficulty moving past it.

I hate how much weight I’ve gained. My breathing is labored, airplane seats are tighter, clothes don’t fit. I eat all the time. I eat everything. It’s my comfort and my thorn. I have no idea how that works, but I’m stuck in that hamster wheel again.  I joined Weight Watchers again in February. I’ve gone once since then. I haven’t been to the gym in months. I really don’t want to go back. What I really want to do is sleep. And eat. And then sleep more. I have headaches all the time. I don’t go certain places or see certain people because I’m so freaked out by how many pounds I’ve put on since I last saw them.  When I was thinner, I liked some of the attention I got and the clothes that I could wear… but I hated hearing people comment on in. It was like a little stab in my heart when people would say something about how “skinny” I was. (For the record – I’ve never been skinny.  Just less fat.) I wasn’t able to take the compliments well. That, and I still felt like a fat person stuck in a thinner person’s body.  Weird shit, I know.


Ah yes, and now on to the most painful one.  The one I don’t really want to talk about, but feel like I should… the stupid, God damn baby issue. Nothing in this world makes you feel like a bigger loser as a woman, than not being able to pro-create.  Zippo.  Nada.  Zilch.  There are so many emotions that come with it. Anger is really the one that I’m pretty stuck in lately.  Haven’t bothered with birth control in over 3 years. “Trying” for around a year or more. To some people that nothing. But to me, it feels like eternity.  Periods are never an enjoyable experience, but once a month, I am now reminded that I suck at making babies. It makes me hate myself and my body even more. Again, a million and one emotions all the time. Guilt, shame, anger, betrayal… all kinda wrapped up in there. Until 3 or 4 years ago, I didn’t actually want a baby.  At all. (side note: my incredibly good friend, Katie, is fond of reminding me that whatever I swear I don’t want to happen, eventually happens. So please, let me take this time to say, “I never want to be rich. I never want to be rich. I never want to be rich.”  Okay, back to seriousness…)  I had no desire to be a mom, mainly because I thought I would be so terrible at it. My child would hate me; I wouldn’t want it; I’d be a horrible parent; I wouldn’t want to be involved in its life; there would be something wrong; I would miscarry; I wouldn’t be able to afford it… Lots of deep seeded shit that I had to wade through.  With a lot of help from my shrink and friends, I was able to release some of that pain.  I think I believed that if I let go of the pain and the unsubstantiated thoughts, everything would work out. However, Life does not work that way.  So now I’m a bit tangled between being angry that I can’t seem to produce the one thing my body was made to create and all of those funky, ugly thoughts and emotions bubbling up again. The fact of the matter is, I could write this and next month, be pregnant and have this really great kid/life.  But I’ve also thought that for the last 3 years.

People try and say really nice, helpful, comforting things. While I appreciate the thought, they aren’t helpful.  Some people close to me have offered to pray. That’s fine if you want to, but please don’t tell me about it. I don’t pray anymore. I feel like God’s kinda just thrown me into a bunch of shit the last several years, and I’m worn out. I’m burned out. I no longer belong. I have lost my tribe and I feel homeless. I’m not going to go to church and beg God for something that he already knows I want. Something I’ve prayed for long ago. I will not use him as my magic genie any more.

I’m depressed again and that frustrates the life out of me. I feel l have nothing left to give most days. I am mentally and physically worn out. I don’t enjoy the same things that I used to. I want just a very few select group of people around me so I kinda of retreat otherwise. I would love to just sleep all day. But I can’t. I get really needy when I get like this. I feel deserted and alone and like a failure. I feel like I bog down my marriage and friendships and life. Blah.

I dunno. So maybe there’s someone out there who sometimes feels alone or sad or wants to have a kid and can’t seem to.  Or maybe you think I’m as big of a loser as I do. Who knows. Feel free to comment or post your struggles anonymously.