i had this realization the other day that on May 27th, i will be divorced for 8 years. one more year and i'll have been divorced as long as i was married. how does that happen? i can't believe that i got married almost 17 years ago. i still feel 17 most days.
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rus told me today that he'd talked to one of our high school friends (who i can't ever get to maintain contact with me) who was visiting in S.A. and she'd run into another of our friends and they'd been discussing a (nebulous) reunion. (rus and becca and kevin and i have been talking about this for years and have mentioned it to her). rus and i joked around about it, and i made some joking comments about not wanting to be judged by them, he said how we'd be the "heathens".... but i got to thinking about it after. and i realize that i'm really not joking. i've been talking with someone, finally, about some of my feelings about Covenant, coming out of that. i'm sure it will come up in therapy tomorrow. and i'm realizing just how deep those wounds go. driving home, i kept thinking, would i really want to put myself in a space with all those people again? Rus and Kevin and Cheri, absolutely. but none of them are part of Covenant anymore. i don't feel bad about leaving Covenant, it was the right thing to do. but i have this vision of myself standing among all those perfect people with their perfect husbands/wives & children. and remembering how desperately i wanted to fit in with them when i was young, how hard i tried to be good enough. how much i needed their approval and validation. and they were children. back then they rejected me. even after graduation, when Cheri moved away, i still tried to fit in and no one wanted anything to do with me. well, Laurie did try a bit. but i think my heart was gone from the church by then. i wonder, if i was to go back, for a high school reunion, would i become that abandoned and rejected teenager again. would i feel anger and pain and rejection? would i resent them for their prosperity, their beautiful children, their happy marriages?
or maybe, just maybe... would i be able to remember that everything isn't as it seems. that they lost out by not getting to know me. that i don't know the struggles and doubts and insecurities that they battle on a daily basis. that maybe they resent me for my freedom or experiences or for getting away from Covenant....
i just don't know. it's been on my mind though.
Cross posted in robindanielle
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I realize that it’s been a long time since I’ve written anything of substance. Not to make excuses, but things have just been hectic around here lately with work, and work and getting ready for momma’s visit here and my trip home with her for Thanksgiving. Spending lots of time on the phone with the family, working out the particulars of the Jordan situation, working out Becca’s work and moving situation, working out my work and moving situation. Lulu on vacation this week, Lisa on vacation next week, and me taking care of her house and three Maine Coon’s while she’s gone…and that’s barely scratching the surface. Words…words…words….and that’s barely scratching the surface. Although, really, all in all, things have been great.
But that’s not to say that my mind hasn’t been going a bazillion miles an hour. I’ve got at least three journals going in my head. But I was thinking about this one in my sleep and first thing when I woke up this morning. Maybe because these things have been much on my heart anyway. Maybe because Rus and I have been talking about some of it. Maybe because I’ve changed so much over the last six years and I’m moving back to my home town in less than a year. Who knows? Too much time spent in introspection and not writing…
I’ve been thinking a lot about the whole concept of being “gotten” lately. I’ve wanted it so badly for so long. I’ve crossed a few things off that list of things I want in a partner over the years. I’m not saying I’ve given up, just maybe gotten more practical. But somehow, I’ve never been able to bring myself to let go of wanting some one who truly GETS ME.
Rus and I were talking the other night about me not getting him. Even though I’ve said for years that I do, and I think that I get him better than most. It’s not the first time he’s said it to me. 5 years ago it crushed me; 5 months ago it pissed me off. 2 days ago it just made me think. Maybe, he’s right. Maybe, I really don’t get him. Inasmuch as I empathize to the best of my ability, and understand to the limits that I’m capable of and love him with every fiber of my being, there are some things that I will just never ever get. Why didn’t I ever figure that out before? Nearly thirty years of friendship, love and fights, laughter and tears and fights, instead of trying so hard to convince him that YES I DO GET YOU DAMNIT! why couldn’t I see, that no, some things, I just don’t get. And in that realization, there was this huge amount of freedom. That I could let go of spending all my time trying to convince people that I really did understand them, that I really was there for them and really was going to love them even we disagree. I could just love them, even when I wanted to shake them because I felt like they were being assholes or making stupid choices or repeating destructive cycles, because they are their choices to make, and it’s just my job to be a friend and to listen until I’m asked to do something different. Well, maybe I’m oversimplifying, but, indulge me this post isn’t about that. Followed closely by that feeling of freedom, was a feeling of huge loss. If I had to let go of this….thing…this need to make Rus and others (Granted, there are friends that I TRULY get in some ways, Rus included, not just all the ways they would like to be gotten and vice versa) feel gotten, do I have to give up my dream that some one is going to get me someday?
Or let’s break down the REAL fear here. Is there ever going to be a MAN who truly gets me? I mean, my best friend Robin really gets me. About as well as any one in the world could ever get me. My sister Becca and my friend Lisa really get me. Lisa scares me sometimes. And she’s only known me about 5 years. Becca’s known me her whole life and Robin’s known me 20 years. There was a time when I thought that Hans knew me about as well as any man could, but really, that’s only in bed, although he did make me feel so special and safe and smart for soooo long. And Robert knew my mind really well, and he still makes me laugh when he calls. I guess I always prayed that if I wasn’t going to get back the history with one of them, that God would send me someone like them someone who made me feel….GOTTEN I just can’t come up with a better word.
So I’ve been wrestling with the concept of letting it go.
And of course, this need to make my friends feel like I GOT them was my issue, not theirs. This is performance Robin, care taker Robin, people pleaser Robin. Covenant Robin. (Post Bob Covenant Robin… because despite what people say, I was there, and I remember when Covenant wasn’t a dirty word, even though I was little) not that it was fake. It was totally genuine. I really want to understand people.
I realize that I've been unconciously making an effort to do better at these things for a while now, I think that's a good sign. Although I may not have gone about it the right way in one or two cases.
The need to be gotten I realize comes from abandoned & abused Robin. And that’s nobody’s fault but Bob’s. And mine for not dealing with it sooner. I’m not a little girl anymore (or a teenage girl for that matter) who needs to still be seeking her daddy’s and step daddy’s love and approval. Albeit from other places.... One left, the other did unspeakable things. They both got away with it. Robin always tells me that I’m attracted to the kind of men I’m attracted to because I’m looking for a father figure, and I think she’s right. Maybe I think they will get me but they always wind up hurting me more.
Maybe, just maybe, it’s time for ME to get me.
Brennan Manning – Abba’s Child (Spiritual)
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“When I allow God to liberate me from unhealthy dependence on people, I listen more attentively, love more unselfishly, and am more compassionate and playful”
“Failure to recognize the value of merely being with God, as the beloved, without doing anything, is to gouge the heart out of Christianity”
Dan Brown – Angels and Demons (novel)
“it never ceased to amaze her that so many of CERN’s so called “brilliant minds” failed to comprehend the importance of the church. Did they really believe quarks and mesons inspired the average human being? Or that equations could replace someone’s need for faith in the divine?”
"i love you more than the sun and the stars that i taught how to shine, you are mine and you shine for me too...i love you"
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i don't know the band....
"prayer is a passion, inscense upon the flame
worship is battle, no enemy can tame
Lord Your breath is a rightous fire
the zeal we need and we desire
Your Holy Spirit we require....
Holy Holy Fire
Holy Jealous Light
Holy coals of cleansing
purist Holy white
Holy Holy Flame
A Holy Gods desire
Wholly purify us all consuming, Holy Fire"
Morgan Cryer, from memory... i wish i still had that tape....
maybe, it's all me.
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maybe i'm so afraid of being failed that i've stopped making myself vulnerable? i know that i'm truly vulnerable with Jen, but i've always known that ours would be a relationship that crossed state lines or even borders. she sees the naked me and loves me and treats me like a Christian, not as someone who's struggling to become one. that's a powerful bond. i think it's easier for me to be vulnerable with my friends who aren't here, because i don't have the expectations that i do of an actual church family... not that they aren't my church family... and, just maybe that's the point, maybe i need to redefine what church family means to me?
it's hard, because i haven't found a church that i fit into here. but i have found Christians that i fit with. but how do i attain that level of family and intimacy and still avoid overstepping boundries, avoid any hint of impropriety, avoid asking too much?
it's been a really rough couple of weeks for me. i don't really know how to fix anything anymore, if i ever did in the first place.
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before thanksgiving, i read Damaged Disciples, by Ron & Vicki Burkes, an excellent resource for anyone from Covenant, definately. but since reading it, i've felt more lost and lonely and angry than ever before. i just haven't known what to do with it, or where to go with it, i've asked my mom and my friends to pray for me, and i know they do. and i feel it, it helps a lot. but i'm still so frustrated. last week, a man in my office who is a Christian, came up for something. a little while later, i got an email from him, asking me if i needed some prayer, or if there was anything he could do for me. i just started crying. because i know, that's what's missing. that sense of family and intimacy and love and fellowship. i was grateful beyond words, not just for the prayer, but for his willingness to ask. it's so hard to be obedient sometimes, and it helps to know others are trying too.
i talked with Ron Burkes yesterday for close to an hour. he is a very kind and gracious man. very gentle and smart. he said a lot of things that really kind of startled me, asked me questions about things in my life. it's really kind of scary that some of the issues that people who've been abused by a church deal with are the same as people who've been sexually or physically abused deal with. but that's beside the point. the big thing is the result of a little mini conversation we had.
i told him i was looking for that sense of family we had. that lifestyle, not religion... where people played together and worshiped together and genuinely loved each other. anyhow, i was describing how Covenant used to be. and i told him that i still believe in that concept that Covenant started from. i still believe in the way of life we had before greed and power and ego took over. but i'm rambling.... he said to me that it sounded like i was looking to live in the 50's... and that we had to realize that Covenant wasn't what we thought it was. that there was a brief golden era for some, but for the most part it wasn't what people bought in to. basically, it was a facade. ok, i know that part. but i was part of the brief golden era. no matter how young i was... i was there and i remember.
when i got off the phone with him, i was so depressed. i have been thinking about it non stop really.
so, i'm fairly certain that i've secured my place in hell for sure now. last night, at my ropes end, i sent a not very nice email to someone who i'm sure is a very nice man.
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i don't understand my need to actually SEE Gods love IN humans. and for that matter, i see it in my family, i see it in Dave & Renee and Jen and Chris and Stacey. i even see it in Rus, though he might argue with me. why do i care so much if i ever see it from Louie or Carter or Jim or Joe? why are those old father figures so important to me? i could care less if i ever see it from my own "father".
and why would i take it out on a person i've never met, much less had a real conversation with. like he could save me. sometimes i still feel like such a little girl. not an almost 40 year old woman. sometimes i forget how much i've already saved myself. (with Gods help of course) sometimes i can't let go of those old dreams i had for my life. it's so different from what i'd anticipated. so dissapointing, even amongst all the good. mom told me yesterday not to let those old dreams cloud the good life i've made for myself. and it is a really good life. but today it's just so damn hard.
Dear “Men of God”,
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Do you remember me? The little girl with the curly dark hair and baby sister? The one with a mommy who was scared to death of the world, but in love with Jesus? Back when it was all good and love? Remember us yet? Then you made my mom marry a pedophile, segregated us from the rest of our family and we became that North family with all the kids. Ringing a bell? I wouldn’t exactly call this a love letter.
But I have some things to thank you for, some of the things you taught me. First of all, you taught me intolerance. Intolerance for anyone different than us. Anyone who didn’t go to our church, walk our walk, talk our talk. You taught me that women and children were subservient slaves. That we needed someone to hear God for us and we were incapable of making choices or decisions without first submitting them to a pastor, husband, father or elder. That appearances were more important than reality, that talking was more important than doing, that preaching was more important than practicing. I really should say, you tried to teach me these things. You failed. Because in spite of your best efforts, I had my mom, I had Muddy, I had Lynda and Sid. Some truth got through.
But I did leave with a few other gifts from you, perfectionism, performance orientation issues, the need to please everyone and make everyone happy, at any cost. Guilt, fear, anxiety. Self doubt, condemnation, the fear that I can never live up what God requires of me. The fear that I couldn’t hear God for myself.
I would like to say that all the changes came when I was a young adult, but it I let myself, I can remember the insidious discipleship movement slowly changing the structure of our family when I was young, before I turned 8 I’d guess. So deceptively slow, that… in my opinion, most people didn’t know they’d been brainwashed till years later.
I remember what life was like before you changed. I remember the love, the joy and the passion. The tent revivals and the river baptisms and the big family tables and kids running everywhere. It wasn’t religion, it was just LIFE. The men with ponytails and earrings, the women with ponchos and everybody had a can of TAB. Watching the grown up play cards and play guitar and sing with wild abandon, and dance. I remember the worship, free and easy and so full of love, so touched by God. Do you remember when I was the Angel of the Lord in the Christmas pageant, and I tripped over the stack of hay and fell on the baby Jesus? Back then that was ok. In later years, there would be no such humor in mishaps like that. But back then, life was beautiful. At least for us kids it was. We were loved. Unashamedly. Jesus was Lord, and that was cool. We were practically a commune. I’m sure that the “adults” will have some different memories, but I’d bet they had a lot of the same feelings. People cared about each other, people LOVED each other. It had nothing to do with power or money or status. It was about love. And people can tell me I don’t remember it right, but I don’t believe them, I know it, in my heart. We were safe, we were protected, we were family. And we believed that family would always be there. Because that’s what you told us; back when I still believed you. Somehow, that little girl in me has never accepted that that was not the truth. Even though only a few years of my life were lived in that way, it’s when I was formed. Its when I learned that God was my father and my church was my family, and I trusted every word you ever said. I’m here to tell you that that little Robin feels bitterly and repeatedly betrayed. Because you promised us that we would be safe, that you would take care of us. But where did you go?
Where were you whenmy best friend was loosing his faith? Or for that matter, where were you when he had his accident? During his hospital stay and recovery? When his parents needed support and he had to learn how to live all over again? Where were you when he wrote his resignation to God? When he left your church, did he become less a child of the King? Less deserving of your love and care? Where were you when I cried for days because I couldn’t do anything to fix his body? Where are you now when I cry because I can’t do anything to bring him peace and happiness?
Where were you when the stepfather that YOU chose for me was raping my sister and me? When he was beating us and calling it discipline? Why weren’t you listening when my mom was begging for help? Where did it say in the Bible that she couldn’t leave him, I still can’t find that passage. Where were you when my dad was beating me so bad that my mom had to move me out of the house for fear he’d kill me. And for that matter, if you were going to remove me, instead of …say, calling the police…why didn’t you bring my sister too? Why did you help him drag her back time and again, when it was so bad she had to run away? Where were you when my mom finally figured out that you didn’t have all the answers and left him, with four small children still? Where were you when we had to go to court to protect the little ones from him? Were you afraid? Afraid for yourselves because you had known and covered the truth for so long? Were you thinking that someone might hold you accountable? Don’t you think that God will someday? Where were you when my family struggled to survive after the damage that that man caused. Oh, wait, I remember. You were hanging out with him. Isn’t he still a part of your church? And thanks to your protection, he’s paid to carry a gun and a badge. You must be so proud.
When I started writing this, I felt that you had won the battle. Not the war, but definitely today’s battle. Because I hated you. For all the disappointments, betrayals, let downs and abandonment. But now I just feel worn out, tired, sad, disappointed. Maybe it’s because I asked my mom to be praying for me, I can always feel it when she is, and I know she is now. Maybe it’s because I asked the few Christian friends that I trust to pray for me, or because I know that they do even when I don’t ask. Maybe it’s because I needed to be able to put this on paper without fear of going to hell. But what does it matter? God knows my heart, He knew it was there anyway.
So you see, you don’t win. As I said before, I had good people in my life, I had a good mom. And she taught me that as my Father, like a father should do He loves me even when I stamp my feet and throw a fit and tell Him I hate Him or at least His representatives. And He’s just waiting with open arms for me to wear myself out and throw myself in His arms and rest. You tried to tell me that you would save me, but you left me no place to run but into His arms. And that’s ok. Because that’s where I belong. But I will never give up the belief that God wants us to run to each other’s arms for comfort as well. That dream of what “church” really is. You don’t win.
|Subject:||if God really loved me.....|
I was having a conversation with a friend the other day. We were talking about physical pain, and I mentioned that when I have a really intense migraine, I've been known to pray for death. The pain is that overwhelming and all encompassing. Not to mention the fact that it feels like you're dying already, so why not get it over with? Here is the conversation....
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Him: If you're talking to God anyway, why don't you just ask Him why He gives you migraines in the first place?
Me: Because He doesn't give them to me.
Him: Well, He lets them happen. (Good point, btw)
Me: Well, He lets a lot of things happen, but He doesn't cause them, or want them. At least in my opinion.
Him: Why would He do that?
Me: He doesn't have a choice, men decided that they wanted to rule themselves. If Eve and Adam hadn't have eaten that apple, things might have been a lot different.
Him: Yeah, we'd have just continued to evolve from apes.
not a confrontational conversation at all. but very confusing. especially in light of the circumstances of friends (from covenant) very close to me. it's bugging me tonight
Today I am so disgusted with myself. I came in to work for a few hours, and I was sitting here thinking about how much I hate myself, and I thought, oh shoot, I can't hate myself because that's an insult to God. Then I got mad because I couldn't even have a pity party without offending God. It seems no matter what I do these days, I offend someone. There's nothing that I can say or do that is right. Nothing good enough, nothing. And I can't stop this anger and hatred inside of me.
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It's too much to deal with anger, hatred AND guilt.
Why can't it be normal to feel some self hatred with out hating God? I don't hate God, but on top of everything else, if I can't be myself with anyone, OR God, where do I have left to go?
And it's so stupid, because if God knows our hearts, why do I bother holding it in? He knows anyway, right?
But if I let it out, I hurt His feelings and admit to all this anger?
But, if God is my Father, doesn't He love me enough to let me be angry?
Or am I jeopardizing my status as a Child of God by having these feelings? Which, really doesn't matter, because I feel them anyway.
Somedays I hate those "men of God" more than words can say
I wasn’t planning on taking the first post on this thing. But my last post on my personal journal, and Kevin’s kind response to it, along with an exchange that he and Rus and I shared recently regarding those Corpus Christi trips has me awake and thinking. I realize this is rambling, and maybe I’ll remove it tomorrow, but tonight it has to be written.
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We all know the powerful affect of guilt on a person. I have been wondering if the elders and other grown ups of our church were consciously aware of how they used that to manipulate us.
I’m luckier than most, having been a part of Covenant from toddler hood. I got to be part of it when it was awesome, when the men had ponytails and earrings, and everyone drank TAB and wore ponchos. When people treated us kids like kids, not slaves or belongings. Along with everyone else, I have my own stories to tell of watching the descent… but that’s for another time.
Kevin said to me that he didn’t have me up on some pedestal to be the good example… and I don’t think he realizes how comforting that is for me. Because I feel as if I’ve failed so many people. Even people who put unrealistic expectations on me. Whether it’s true or not, it is how I feel. As a teenager, it was prophesied that I’d be a great evangelist. And I’m not. I’ve talked to my mom about this before, how I used to want to run screaming from the room after church, couples would come up to me, literally weekly and tell me that they prayed that their daughters turned out like me, that I was such a good example. And yes I smiled and thanked them, often times with one of their children hanging on my legs… but I’d be thinking, if they only knew, they’d never let their kids near me. And how could they know? For a church that preached the “truth” they sure weren’t interested in hearing it, or seeing it. For that matter, they kept my mom in and us kids in the church through fear and intimidation, but again … that’s for another time. I wonder, if those people who thought I was such a good example back then would have felt the same, if they had realized that I wasn’t Robin down at the waterfront praying. I was Robin, down on the sand, watching the waves come in and go out, getting bigger each time. I was Robin, listening to the sound that the ocean made, listening to the birds, watching the sun come up. I was Robin daydreaming. Would they have still wanted their kids to be like me, if they had taken the time to know who I was?
And does the guilt ever go away? Or will I always feel that I’ve disappointed God?