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give in to love, or live in fear

Image is of me holding up a sign with words written in many colours. The words say "LOVE IS THE MOVEMENT. MY GOD IS LOVE."

Image is of me holding up a sign with words written in many colours. The words say “LOVE IS THE MOVEMENT. MY GOD IS LOVE.”

So, once upon a time (that is, back in high school), I was anti homosexuality. I hate saying that. I feel disgusting saying that. I feel like it’s a part of my life I should hide. That whole “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” thing? I thought it was the most clever thing EVER. I thought it was amazing! I thought I was speaking in love when I called people out. I thought I was, you know, being a good little Christian girl and looking out for their souls. I was mistaken. I was wrong. I was cruel. I don’t want to think about the poems I wrote (yes, I wrote anti gay poems. I cringe majorly).

But the thing is, people can change. It doesn’t make it right. It makes it wrong. It doesn’t mean I didn’t hurt people with my words and feelings. I did. I hurt people who are now my friends. I hurt people before I knew them. I was a hateful person, even though I thought I was speaking in love. Even though I thought I was being kind and compassionate. I wasn’t. I was far from it.

What did it take for me to change? I read stories. My heart started breaking. I realized I was using love as a guise, I realized I was using love as a reason to hate. It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it? That I was using love to fuel hatred? I thought I was being so kind and caring and compassionate. I wasn’t. I was wrong.

I studied the original Greek and Hebrew texts. I prayed. I wept. I talked with friends. I talked with people deeper in the faith than me that I trusted. And I came to realize that using my love to fuel hate was wrong. I came to realize that there was something greater I could do with my so called love – I could rally to make a difference.

Instead of trying to change people for what I thought they were doing wrong, I could pour my energy into making a difference in their lives. I could be a kind, compassionate friend. A listening ear. Someone who wept with them when they were mistreated. Someone who stood up for them when they needed an ally. Someone who was ready and willing to be a voice for them.

It isn’t easy to admit that you’re wrong, you know. It isn’t easy to admit that you were once filled with hate. Am I ashamed of it? Yes, yes I am. But I know now, with all my heart, I am no longer that person. I can love. I can teach. I can learn. Anyone can. People can change and people can mature.

I’m sorry I was a bigoted asshat. I am that way no longer.

Love is love.

Love knows no gender.

Love is for everyone.

And I fully believe, with all my heart, that God feels the same way.

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Your heart will be heard through your unspoken word through generations to come

I woke from a dream last night; I dreamt that you were by my side. Reminding me I still had life in me. I remember you like yesterday, yesterday. I still can’t believe you’re gone. I remember you like yesterday, and until I’m with you, I’ll carry on. Every lament is a love song, yesterday, yesterday, I still can’t believe you’re gone, every lament is a love song, yesterday, yesterday, so long my friend, so long. – Switchfoot, Yesterdays.

It’s hard to believe it’s been four years since the guy who taught me there was a God outside the fundamentalist view of God existed. The guy who’s first profound question to me was “What is your favorite type of cheese?”. The guy who once peed in a cup for me. The guy who saved my life. One of the few who has physically seen me cry, and openly wept with me. Who motivated me to go into the ministry.

I forever regret the fight we had summer of 2010. If only I’d known then what I know now, but I can’t change the past, I guess. But I wish he could have seen the person I became. The girl who decided to become a hospital chaplain. Who had two back surgeries. Who struggled. Struggled. Struggled. But yet, still had her faith. The shaken faith stayed. And it’s thanks to him.

Jesus has overcome, and the grave is overwhelmed
Victory is won, he is risen from the dead

And I will rise, when he calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise, on Eagle’s wings
Before my God, fall on my knees
-Chris Tomlin, I Will Rise

How fitting now that the song we often had on repeat was I Will Rise by Chris Tomlin. It was even at his memorial service.

I admit the childish, immature side of me is jealous. Jealous that he is finally free of pain, at a younger age than me. Jealous that he gets to meet his saviour, his redeemer, his jesus while I am still here, longing and waiting.

It somehow gets easier, right?

It’s been a long day without you, my friend
And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
We’ve come a long way from where we began
Oh, I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
When I see you again

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Homosexuality & Jesus

This is actually a repost from my old blog. But I feel it needs to be said again. 🙂

A few years ago, I thought that being gay was a sin. I didn’t think that anyone should be gay. I was squicked about by people being trans. I can’t say I’m proud of things I said or things I wrote. But I watched people I care about deeply struggle. I saw how hard it was for them and the way they were treated by something that isn’t their fault. I saw their struggles, and it broke my heart. It changed me. I saw the struggles in their lives, and you know what? It’s not fair.
It’s not fair that because of who they love, they can’t get married. It’s not fair that because of who they love, they can be discriminated against in the workplace. Oh, I know some Americans will say that “Well, I’m a Christian and I get bullied/I get ridiculed/etc”. Know what? It’s not the same. As Christians in the US, we are damn lucky to be living here. Sure, we may get “persecuted”, but we keep using that word. It doesn’t mean what we think it means. Just because our children can’t pray in public schools, doesn’t mean anything bad. Just because they don’t teach creationism, doesn’t mean anything bad. Doesn’t mean we’re some kind of martyr or that everyone is out to get us.
Back when Jesus was on the Earth, he hung out with the undesirables. The tax collectors. The ones that society threw the stink eye to, both proverbially and literally. If he were here today? I imagine He’d be hanging out with the homosexuals. Because my God, my Jesus, is a God of love. He doesn’t condone hate.
I don’t want to make anyone change their views about homosexuality. You may think it’s morally wrong, and you have a right to think that. Your neighbor may think it’s morally right, and they have the right to think that. The person across the street may fall in the gray area between, where maybe it’s okay but certain aspects aren’t. But the heart of the matter is that we live in a country where certain rights are for ALL people: Christian and Atheist, gay and straight, male and female, and every other living person has this promised to them: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Thomas Jefferson didn’t write “Oh, but not woman” or “Oh, but not homosexual people.” ALL MEN.
I am a Christian, and I support human rights. I support equality for all. I think that they should have the same rights as any of us, because we live in the “land of the free, and the home of the brave.” It’s not just the people who fit our mold of Christianity, it’s everyone. Everyone. We can’t pick and choose who gets the right to marry, the right to this and the right to that, because that’s not what this country was founded upon.
“Oh, deep in my heart. I do believe… we shall all be free someday.”
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Ministry Major Malaise

I wish that I could write a post that fully shows how much depression sucks. I wish that there was a way I could let you take a peek into my world and what it’s like living in this world. A world where you don’t trust anyone, lest of all yourself. A world where it’s like you’re reaching and grasping for something, a shred, a spark, but perhaps it just doesn’t exist. A world where it feels like a game of Jenga, and that you never know if the next block being removed will cause you to wobble, collapse, or stay sturdy.

But yet, I’m taking a break from writing about depression to try and write about something else. Because it all interlinks together. It all fits together, somehow, someway. It all overlaps and it’s all a part of the same puzzle.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t talked a lot about my week at IHOP. How it completely shattered my faith. How in so many ways, it screwed up how I view God. How it completely broke me. How it played mind games with me. How I went on such an emotional roller coaster. And frankly? I feel stupid! HOW could one week, “onething”, affect me so deeply? It was just a week, for God’s sake! There’s no reason it should have shattered my faith so badly, that it should have so badly demented how I see God. There’s no reason, and I beat myself up constantly for it. I know who God is. I know logically, I know all the facts, but convincing my heart to believe what my head knows is a struggle.

I find myself on the brink of self injury. Why, you say? Your scars are fading. You’ve been free for so long. Why would you throw all that away for just a few moments of solace, of false serenity, of bittersweet relief? IT HELPS. It lets me out of my inner hell, my inner demons, for just a little while, and that is help enough. It’s not worth it in the long run, but sometimes we do things that aren’t worth it in the long run just because we don’t know better. But no, how dare I ruin God’s temple. How dare I screw up the gift God gave me. How dare I turn to myself! I’m a pathetic excuse for a Christian because allegedly His blood was enough so I don’t need to shed my own. (You will see how this relates, I hope, and this paragraph isn’t just random).

I’m struggling to keep my head afloat. I’m struggling to keep normal sleep patterns, eating patterns, living patterns. I find myself escaping to books, video games, TV shows, and movies just to try and get a break from my brain, from my crazy self. And what I hate the most? Several years ago, I’d turn to God. Several years ago, I’d pray. Several years ago, I’d find refuge in my faith. And now I don’t. Now my faith, the very thing I’m studying in college, the very thing I desire more than anything to do with my life, is what is scaring me and plummeting me deeper into the pits of despair. I find myself angry at God: angry at Him for allowing that week, angry at Him for allowing all the hellish moments of my life. Then I get angry at myself for getting angry at God because who am I to be so angry at Him? I find myself angry from events at old churches that shook, shattered, and tore my faith to shreds. I find myself furious of what people do in the alleged name of God, the horrible hurtful things they do – some intend to hurt, some because people are just sometimes dunderheads.

And yet, I hurt myself. Because I see how I am not worthy. I see how I am a bad Christian, and maybe all those terrible lies I believe in reality are true. Maybe there’s a reason I went through those various church and ministry-place-related struggles, because they’re the truth. Logically, I know that’s a bunch of bullcrap, but who said my brain is always logical?

And worst of all, I’m terrified. What if I make some mistake in the ministry? What if I totally screw someone up, shake their faith, tear their soul to shreds? How would I ever live with myself? What if I mess someone up as badly as I was messed up? Am I being rational? Am I irrational? Would I have these fears if it were not for how badly I’ve been hurt “in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?” What would church pastors say to me? What would fellow Christians say to me? What would atheists say to me?

It’s difficult. I’ve been hurt in so many ways, by so many people. And an age-old saying is “hurting people hurt people.” What if… what if I hurt someone? What if my hurt ruins someone else? Is it just a vicious cycle that will never be ended?

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Through despair and hope, through faith and love

Seven years ago, everything was changing. Little did I know that just over a month later, everything would further spiral out of control. Me, the control freak that I am, would be left utterly helpless and shattered. How was I to know that age 18, soon everything I knew would change? How was I to know at 18, everything was going to be different soon? How was I to know that I would soon sink into utter despair, and not know when I would find hope again?

September 28, 2005 was the day I totally melted down from stress in the middle of my College Prep World History class. I remember just bursting into tears during a study period, and my teacher trying to console me. But me, being the stubborn person I am, threw up my walls and refused to let him in. Idiotic move there, Ang. Soon things would change so much. But I wonder how different it would have been had I opened up to the teacher then. But I was scared to death. I was only 18 and while legally an adult, if I told the other people at school what was going on, legal systems would be involved. Kind of funny how just over a month later, my faith in the legal system was shattered as well. Kind of funny how my faith in the church and the legal system both took a suckerpunch, and I still haven’t regained faith in the legal system.

I guess it’s kind of funny now that I’m going into the ministry. It’s kind of my ultimate “screw you, bitches!” to the people who hurt me in the church. It’s the proverbial middle finger to those who told me I’d never amount to anything, I’d never graduate college. Because you know what? I’m going to make a difference. My story of despair was not for naught, and I can turn it into hope. If I can make a difference in just one life, I will have had an effective ministry. If I can help just one teenager, just one child, if I can protect the child that others failed to protect, my work is complete.

I want to help the ones who slip through the cracks. The ones who fall to the wayside. It doesn’t matter if no one else loves them, I want to love them. To turn despair into hope, and to administer faith and love. To be someone they can trust, and not someone who will shatter everything when one of the darkest secrets come to life.

And that is my dream. One of them. The other is to work in a summer camp for disabled children, but that’s another post. Another day. Another night.

It’s bedtime. Alarm goes off too early, but it’s another little sleep night. Been too many of those lately, but not much I can do about it at the moment.

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Someday she’ll understand the meaning of it all

It’s kind of funny – at times people expect me to have so many answers because I’m a Ministry major. I feel that I’m expected to know all this stuff about Jesus, that I’m supposed to have the answers. But the thing is, I have my own doubts and struggles, and I feel that some of them would cause me to be labeled as a heretic. I hate how people automatically assume if you believe something controversial, you are automatically being heretical.

I don’t think it’s wrong to have beliefs that go against the grain. But I am terrified to make those beliefs known – because they are the cause of so much debate within the Christian community. I think it sucks that I keep silent on what I struggle with in Christianity, for fear of being called out and treated like dirt.

One of the things I personally struggle with is an issue of dogma versus doctrine, and that’s where it’s hard to speak it. I absolutely believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. I believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and fully believe they all exist. I believe that Jesus died on the cross, was crucified, buried, and rose again.

But there are things I struggle with. And the fact that I don’t feel I will be treated with respect if I made them known sucks. Knowing that people won’t think I’m a true Christian if I voice some of my struggles, sucks. 🙁

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Now she’s left cleaning up the mess he made

I still haven’t forgotten that autumn day, ten years ago. November 28, 2001. It’s kind of hard to believe. I was depressed. And by depressed I mean really freaking depressed. I was fourteen years old. And I had a plan to end my life.

I likely would have gone through with it, had a friend not intervened and notified the police. Had the police not shown up at my small Christian school. I’m told I’m lucky I wasn’t taken into custody or admitted to the hospital.

But even more important was that was the day I realized my dad didn’t care. I was fourteen years old, depressed, and realized where my dad’s priorities were. My school principal had called my church youth pastor, and my youth pastor informed my father. Less than a couple days later, my father no longer cared that I had had a plan to end my life. He was back to his old self.

This is part of why I struggle to view God as a father. Logic tells me that not all fathers are like that. I KNOW good fathers. I KNOW good, Christian fathers and I know good, atheist fathers. I know there are good Jewish fathers, there are good agnostic fathers, it goes on and on and on. But the fact of the matter is I can’t wrap my mind around the concept that the father God is like is nothing like the father I had. Someone who was never there when I needed him. Someone who always had beer in the fridge, but not always a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread.

It gets harder and harder this time of year. Well-meaning people ask if I’m going home for the holidays, and I never know how to answer. I shrug it off, but it still hurts. The ache still lies inside. I have a place to go for the holidays, but gosh, it’s not the same.

and I don’t know where I’m going with this. 😛

Oh, you see that skin?
It’s the same she’s been standing in
Since the day she saw him walking away
Now she’s left, cleaning up the mess he made

Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

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have you ever heard of a greater love?

This is the day 6 years ago that I decided to write about a youth retreat I’d gone on the previous weekend. It was junior year of high school. To set the setting: I was still living with my father and I was homeschooled. I was attending the Church of Christ. I was full force into self injury, and starting to lapse into an eating disorder. I am not editing grammar or words, but to think the day that my faith was strengthened was six years ago, only to be shattered less than a year later. Only to be torn to shreds. That year I started to climb out of depression, to see the light, to see HOPE. But then senior year happened, and it all fell to shit.

*****

This retreat..blew me away. and I shall share it with you. Because you are all cool people..and I can.

Friday wasn’t much. It was Friday. Not much happens on Friday. Just cause it’s Friday..’ya know?

I watched soccer tournments on Saturday..fun stuff..and attended an elective Saturday afternoon..which was great…

Saturday was the day. I broke. I’ve been breaking for awhile, and I just totally broke, and I didn’t tell anyone what all was going on. I mean, I can’t even talk about it. I’ve never shared this part of my life with anyone. I’m Angelique. I’m strong. And I made it through the morning fine. Had a blast watching soccer, and eating, and just being a kid, just hanging out and goofing around and hanging out. Which isn’t something that I do often. Finally, it happened. The floodgates broke. And I mean, I was to the point where I was crying so hard, that I couldn’t talk..or sing the words to the worship songs. And I just felt so totally empty inside. And I was. I was empty and broken. and I just sat there and cried. and cried. for at least fifteen twenty minutes…it started out as nothing then got harder…and I was so tempted to walk forward, but let all my fears ingulf me. Kinda like the morning message, when he was talking about fears. I let my fears consume me.

And why? Everything. Like they showed a video of Christ on the Cross…and I lost it. I’ve cut myself when he died for me? Come on! How could I be so lame? How could I turn to myself, when he died for me so I could have life? How could it be? And I’ve felt so empty inside lately, even when singing the worship songs this weekend, and I can’t make myself belive the Bible, like I know what it says, and I know it’s true…and I can’t make myself believe it.

And you know what amazed me more? I was sitting there with two other friends. My youth pastor and the rest of my church was way behind me. A sponser from another church came over to me and asked me if I was alright. And he prayed for me and told me he would be contining to pray for me. It just amazes me. That I’ll most likely never see this guy again (unless I’m at other local Ohio events and see him)..and it’s just..wow..and he also came over to me on Sunday and told me he was..and it’s just amazing..it blows me away..that someone who doesn’t even know me can care about me and want to pray for me. That someone who knows nothing about me, my bitter past, my unknown future..and want to help me. And it hurts..and it heals.. ‘ya know?

On Sunday..I broke. Again. I’m tired of breaking..but I realized that I do. It’s true. I just like God. I don’t really love him, I don’t really have the burning passion I should. I have so much in my life eating up at me. But I’m too scared to recommit. Which is why I didn’t this weekend. Cause I always blackslide. I always fall back into my old habits. So why should I even try to change when I know I’m going to fall back into what I once was agian, ‘ya know?

And I feel so empty inside. And broken. And I like God. I don’t love Him. and I hate it. Both times..my youth minister asked me if I was alright and if I needed to talk. I told him I didn’tknow if I was alright and that I didn’t need to talk..orthat I din’dtk know if he could help..becuase I’m just hurting so much..hurting beyond words I guess?

My elective Saturday night was just plain out spiffy. Chris is so crazy and great. God forgives me, and I really need to forgive myself. I’ve sinned against God, and I need to realize that. I need to realize that God’s given me forgiveness, and I need to let it go. I just can’t sit there staring at my sins, and just be like..whoa..that’s cool…and not do anything. I need to get in gear, and do something wtih it.

I didn’t eat much on Sunday…and so of course, I got told I needed to eat..but I still didn’t, and I really don’t care. I didn’t take communion either. And I feel bad about it, because I attend a church that believes you should take communion every sunday. But my heart isn’t right with God. And eveything is broken. So..I can’t take it since everything is so wrong..

And I look at the bracelet I got. I didn’t even get it when everyone else did..I was crying too hard to go up front..so I dashed up after it was over and grabbed one, but that’s ok. Sure, it’s too big, and just dangles on my wrist..but hey. I wear it for a double reason. Livestrong. They livestrong through cancer. I support that cause. I am a surviour. I dunno how many of you know that. But I’m a surviour. I had a tumour removed when I was four. Of course, everyone has friends and family members who suffer from cancer, I don’t think there’s a single soul on planet earth who hasn’t been touched in some way, shape, or form by cancer. And in the same way, I can livestrong without cutting. I can livestrong in Christ.

And I’m seriously shutting up now.

****
I see this post, and long for that childlike faith to return. I’d already seen hell at that point and had no clue of the further flames of hell that would lick me again. How I wish I could stay innocent and naive. How I wish I could stay hopeful for such beautiful things.

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and wonder how He could love me, a sinner condemned unclean

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—” (Gal 3:13)

I know I, at least, don’t fully realize the impact of what Christ did. I mean yes, I was taught as a kid that Chris died for my sins. But the church I grew up in (an Arminian church) did not really lay this out. When we are taught the Apostle’s creed, the line “he descended into hell” is omitted, and so I don’t know that the full ramifications of Christ’s sacrifice are felt. I mean, the Crucifixion is clearly taught, as even stated in a very popular hymn in the Nazarene church: “He took my sins and my sorrows, and He made them His very own. He bore my burden to Calvary, where he suffered and died all alone.” And so, even though so much is taught, I don’t think we fully realize that he became a CURSE – and that by that, he took the curse AWAY from us. HE became the curse, and by rising up from the dead and coming over the dead, he takes that curse AWAY.

and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. (1 Thess, 1:10)

I am irrationally afraid of angry people. If someone even raises their voice in frustration, not even anger, I start trembling. If I even think I’ve made someone remotely angry, I start apologizing profusely. So… the thought that Jesus delivers us from wrath is comforting, because it is something that shakes me to the core so very much.

Author comments:
I love being able to tie things to hymns, and relate the way I was brought up to the what I’m learning now. It’s fun!

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god help the outcasts

Yes, I know I’m just an outcast
I shouldn’t speak to You
Still I seek Your face and wonder
Weren’t you once an outcast too?

I’m struggling. I feel like an outcast – such an outcast. I don’t fit the cookie cutter mold I feel it cut out for Christians. I’m “rough around the edges”, sarcastic, and cynical. I don’t know what exactly I believe about God, and I don’t even know why I’m going into ministry. Maybe it’s because I want to right the wrongs. Maybe it’s because I want to prove to people you don’t have to be perfect to be a Christian.

But Lord, I feel like an outcast. A crippled, limping, orphaned outcast. And the thing is?

I ask for nothing, I can get by
But I know so many less lucky than I

I have no reason to whine. No reason to complain.
So many more have it worse. I just want to help people.
To make a difference.
To help people not harbor bitterness like I have, because it’s an awful way to live.