Friday, January 20, 2012

A Disclaimer: It's About to Get Personal

It’s not easy to blog about your life and personal things when certain eyes are on your words and you know you’ll probably hear about it if you say this or that. I don’t care too much about appearances, but others close to me do, and appearances have to be maintained. Don’t talk about yourself too much. Keep your secrets close to your chest. Emotion is bad.  

Yes, it makes it really hard to write about your life. That’s where I come from. I don’t want to be there, but those things tend to follow you and they tend to tell you what they think whether you want to hear it or not.

It makes it hard to write about bipolar disorder, or depression, or loss, or sexual abuse or any aspect of your past. It easily turns you into a sarcastic, self-protective comedian. I never used to be that way, but I’ve become that way in the past couple of years. It shouldn’t matter, but it matters. I just can’t let it matter.

My old blog was popular. Why? Because I wrote about anything and everything, pretty passionately. That's what I do. I got a book deal out of it (and my publisher needed to make budget...) and lots of readers, but I've lost many of them because of Facebook and everyone knowing everything and I got weary of freaked-out voice-mails from my mother. I used to write and nobody knew and nobody cared, but it's not like that anymore. It's the nightmare that comes with social networking.

So, I’m going to try and go back to writing the way I used to – about stuff I care about. The things I struggle with, and how God is working in the midst of it. I won’t hang anyone else’s undies on the clothes line for all the world to see because that’s not how I roll, but if anyone is embarrassed by me airing my own laundry, or if you think I should just “get over it” and move on (whatever “it” may be), I suggest you just don’t read my blog. I already know your opinion. It has been registered. Thank you for sharing. I know you roll your eyes. It’s all good – but it won’t dissuade me. 

From now I’m going to write what I feel God is leading me to write, which means I’ll probably write a lot more.

That’s my disclaimer.
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Monday, January 2, 2012

The Badger Family & the Unthinkable

If you don't know who Madonna Badger is, or what happened at her home on Christmas morning, you must be living under a dusty rock somewhere, but to recap: her Stamford house burned down, killing her parents and her three young daughters.

Why am I blogging about this? Because I haven't been able to get it out of my mind for a solid week. This has haunted me unlike any other news story I can recall. I've read a lot about devastating fires recently. First a house in the next town over burned down a few weeks before Christmas, killing a 24-year-old woman and her parents. Her teenage sister had to jump from the second floor to safety. Over in Australia, a beloved celebrity chef named Matt Golinski lost his wife and 3 daughters on Boxing Day and suffered third-degree burns to over forty percent of his body trying to save them. 

I actually found myself getting sort of angry the other day thinking about it. I don't know who or what I was angry at, I just felt... angry. I've been through some very painful things in my life, but isn't this THE absolute nightmare of everyone, everywhere? This really dwarfs all other fears and tragedies in my mind. It's senseless. The Stamford fire, in particular, was senseless - the blaze is blamed on a bag of smoldering fireplace ashes placed at the back of the house by Badger's boyfriend.

I don't know if there's something that presents a major challenge to your faith, but logic presents a major challenge to mine and always has. A loving God who allows people to lose, literally, their entire families in one swoop. Stupid freakin' logic - it's kicking me in the butt this time! I've devoted a lot of hours to mulling this one over. I've tried to envision what these people must be going through, and how they will - I hope - eventually put one foot in front of the other and simply breathe. I have thought numerous times that I would regret not dying myself. I don't even have children of my own.

I can sit here and tell you about the peace I had when my husband almost died this summer, or the way God has been healing me from a crappy childhood, and I can give you a list of things God has done for me through rough circumstances, and there is barely a comparison. Like trying to blow bubbles into a stiff wind. Right back in your face.

It leaves me feeling naked and terrified. And all I can really do when I feel that way - here's the irony - is pray. Pray because being afraid doesn't get me anywhere, and it doesn't get the Badgers or the Golinskis or the Risslers anywhere, either. I pray because it makes no sense to me and I still hang onto that little mustard seed of faith that tells me GOD understands it, and the only thing that can help these people breath and walk and carry on is HIM.

It makes me stare directly into the face of what a relationship with Jesus is supposed to be about in the first place: making Him my everything. Everything else can disappear in an instant, but God cannot be lost. Real relationship with God means you can never lose everything.

But I'm guessing none of those people are feeling it right now, and that's the emptiness that scares me. It scares me, but it brings me to my knees.

It's a messy grace that keeps us afloat, isn't it?
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