On the boundaries of my body…

Sometimes I think about how hard life can feel.

Flooded house. Celiac disease. Neck pain. The list goes on…

In those moments, I often wonder about one question: “What is my own?”

I’ve thought about this for months. I’ve lost sleep over it. But one day, there’s only one thing that came as a consistent certainty.

My body. It is mine. It is always my own.

As a child, I was molested. That impacts you. But what it stole from me is this notion that my body was mine.

That followed me. When I dated boys, they took advantage of this weakness of mine. I thought my body was not mine, but it was for them to be used.

But this extends beyond physical pleasure.

My husband tells me I’m beautiful. But in my life, I’ve had maybe three days where I’ve believed that to be true.

My outward appearance has never satisfied me. I work out six days a week. I do it out of fear that if my body is not pleasing to others, I am a disappointment.

Again, my body is not my own. But it is all I will ever always have.

Yet this thing that is my own, is often the most threatened.

Women upset men online. A common male reaction is to threaten rape. A man wants to take from me the one thing I have.

A Disney princess is always beautiful. A Barbie is always thin. Name three ugly actresses?

When will it ever be enough? Why is external beauty even important?

Because somehow the devil has beaten me in this.

He took a culture, and convinced us the outside of our bodies are more important than our heart’s desires.

He took one whole gender, and convinced them that physical assault – or threatening it – is an option (1 in 3 women will be sexually assaulted – these are our sisters and daughters).

And he took children, like me – and put us in situations where the one thing we ever really had was stolen.

Well, today I declare the one thing we must always say to the devil: “Go fuck yourself.”

This body is mine. You cannot take it. It is my own, and no matter what you put on me – you will not win.

Because regardless of what you take, oh Devil, Jesus gave up His body so I could love this one.

So fuck you. Today and every day after. Because this body is mine own.

On the purpose of my depression…

I never talked to Kyle again after that day. After the day I hugged him.

Kyle, Del and I just sat in the mental health ward.

After few minutes Kyle looked at us and said, “Are you guys – like – religious? Because I think God sent you yesterday.”

That moment. That phrase. Those words – made everything worth it.

They made it worth Prozac, Wellbutrin, and Celexa. They made it worth swallowing pills, and almost driving off a bridge. They made it worth my trip to a mental ward. They made it worth depression, anxiety, and OCD. They made it worth thousands of dollars in therapists and hospitals.

I often wondered the “Why?” of it all. So much suffering in a world of “Just be happy.” Days of crying and laying around in pain, and wondering why I can’t move.

Kyle drove his truck into a tree to try to kill himself.

He had a hard life, and the trigger of a cheating girlfriend was too much.

I get that. I had been there. It isn’t the girlfriend – it’s feeling alone.

In that moment, death feels like it could be better than pain.

So when I pulled Kyle from his truck – I knew what to say.

When I walked Kyle to the curb – I knew what to do.

When I held Kyle and he cried – I knew to let him cry.

When I prayed with Kyle as the ambulance came – I knew what to pray.

And when we visited Kyle in the mental health ward – I knew what to do.

I always wondered how I would react if I had to go back to a mental health ward. Would I break down? Would it be too much?

I didn’t break. It wasn’t too much. It felt safe, just like it did 10 years ago.

And when Kyle said, “God sent you” I knew he was right.

It seems so trite, but I saved a life that day.

Just like a friend saved mine ten years ago. When God called, my friend answered. Now it was my turn.

Hopefully, one day, Kyle will do the same. I think he will. I know he will. And after he does, I’m sure he’ll know that it was worth it too.

On judging gay people…

I do not pretend to be a Theologian, although I’ve read the Bible a few times. There are people I know that are better versed on these issues. Yet it seems wrong to see groups of people being publicly condemned, and sit by idly without uttering a word.

Last week, I came upon a Facebook post that broke my heart.

A pastor I know posted on his church page about the evils of homosexuality. He then proceeded to condemn gay people to eternal hell fire.

There are so many things wrong with that post:
-It’s five years behind cultural discourse
-It pits people against each other
-It condemns an entire group of people
-It misses the opportunity to minister to people
-It’s a straight-up – douche bag thing to post

A close relative of mine left the church several years ago. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think of this person and pray for him. I pray for two things: 1) I pray that Jesus finds a way to work in his life – but mostly 2) I pray that the people that caused so much pain to my relative see the pain they caused and apologize.

There are many reasons people leave the church – or never come at all. And it is naïve to think we can do anything and everything to ensure no one ever leaves. But we need to do more to invite people in, and let them know they are welcome.

If you have been hurt by the church, I am sorry for that. That sucks. If I have hurt you, I am sorry for that.

If someone has unfairly judged you, that was wrong. There are many Bible verses about not passing judgment upon others. (Matthew 7:1-5; John 8:1-8; Luke 6:31-36; Romans 2:1-3).

When you ascribe to Christianity, you must have standards and there are things that must be believed. We cannot disregard that if you know you are leading a life that is detrimental to God’s purpose for you, you must choose to walk away from that. I do not ascribe to know the plan God has for each person. However, it is of the utmost importance to show kindness to others. That includes people you like, dislike, agree with, or disagree with. I can’t believe I even have to write that here. I mean, have you read like – ANY of Romans?

And why is there such a huge focus on homosexuality above all else? There are so many other issues impacting us, why is this the great focus? Why not topics such as: divorce (hey, I’m divorced), affairs, poverty, abuse, lust, theft, drug abuse, laziness, body image issues (I struggle here), working too much (I struggle here too), selfishness (ok, real struggle here), lying, etc.

In case you’re a judgmental jerk, let me spell it out for you. Just because you read the Bible every day, and pray a lot – doesn’t mean you get a free pass on passing eternal judgment against an entire people group. The only person that gets pass eternal judgment died on the cross. No one made you king of anything. So kindly hold your tongue.

Moving forward, instead of using these words we have to divide, let us choose to use them to unite.

Christ died for all. All. Period. End of sentence. (2 Corinthians 5:15)

We may not all agree on how we choose to live out our faith. But in the end, Jesus is what matters most of all. Let us try to agree on Him.

No matter what you have done, God wants you. You are forgiven by God. You are a child of God. You are loved by God.

If you want a church to attend, I’d love for you to attend mine. Attending church can be terrifying, but our church also has a way where you can attend online. You – all of you – any of you – are welcome here.