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?

hello darkness my old friend

Hello darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again
Beause a vision slowly creeping, left it’s seeds while I was sleeping
And the visions that was planted in my brain stil remains
With the sounds… of silence. 
– Simon and Garfunkel

I recently came across some details and information that hit me hard. And once again, it traps me in darkness and silence. I don’t want to be silent about it, but for now I have to be. And once again, I’m talking with the silence. Once again, my voice goes unheard. And I don’t know what to do with that. I don’t know how to feel about that.

Details about the past that made me angry, hurt, and confused have left me feeling even more so. While the queestions are answered, the anger rages. WHY is this person still allowed in a position of authority in the church? WHY hasn’t anyone spoken out? The answer is simple – if they do. they will be hurt. And I clinch my fists in anger and rage because, just like I was when all this shit hit the fan when I was 18, I am helpless. I cannot do a goddamn thing about it, and it breaks my heart. More people can be hurt, but I have to stand there wordlessly and watch it happen.

I’ve been asked with all the shit I’ve dealt with within the church, why I am still a Christian. Why I’m not an outright atheist. Why I even want to go into the ministry.

I know that there are people hurt by the church.
I know that there are people who are standing there in the sounds of silence, unable to speak for fear of what might happen.
And I know that there’s another side.

I also have a side passion, but that doesn’t fit with this blog entry so I will blog about it later.

One day… I will leave the sounds of silence.

I said, sometimes I hear my voice and it’s been here…
silent all these years. 

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

Halloween, Reformation, and Independence

I find it interesting that my Independence Day falls on Reformation Day. I don’t expect all my readers to know the details about it, but here are the basics:

Once upon a time in a land far away, there was a dude named Luther. His teachings radically reformed Christianity, and even formed a denomination (called, you guessed it, Lutheranism! Wow, y’all are a smart lot!). Luther, more or less, decided enough was enough and nailed the 95 Theses to the door of the Schlosskirche, a castle church in Wittenberg in 1517. This sparked the Reformation. That’s a very barebones version, and likely not the most historically accurate. I’m not a profound theologian.

It’s certainly interesting. This day is also Halloween – grim grinning ghosts, candy, trick or treat, and more. Halloween was banned when I was a kid because, you see, Jesus wouldn’t go door to door begging for candy. Clearly.

But when I think of 31.10, my brain goes back to a different place. 31.10.2005. I was 18 years old, and a senior in high school. A few days later I got the rest of my possessions out of my father’s apartment, but that was it. It’s hard to believe I’ve been away from him for six years. It’s hard to believe where I was when I was 18. I was still cutting at the time. I was deep in depression (understandably! I had faced things that no one ever should, and made decisions that some adults never have to make). My father later sent me emails chastising me for my decisions.

It gets more complicated because this anniversary also marks the shattering of my faith. Up until this point, I was pretty confident in my faith. But when I went to the church for help and assistance with a difficult, painful choice, and was turned away, my heart broke. When they helped him (note: he needed help, he NEEDS help so badly. But he didn’t get what he needed and it breaks my heart. I still want nothing more for him to get the help he needs) instead of helping me and literally turned me away, then I got angry and bitter.

This is a song I remember hearing on Christian radio a far amount those days:

She fools all of her friends into thinking she’s so strong,
but she still sleeps with the light on
and she acts like it’s alright on
As she smiles again
And her mother lies there sick with cancer
And her friends don’t understand her
She’s a question without answers
Who feels like falling apart
And she knows, she’s so much more than worthless
She needs to find a purpose
She wonders what she did to deserve this
And she’s calling out to you
This is a call, this is a call out…
This Is A Call – Thousand Foot Krutch

I think this song sums up that time frame well. Replace mother with “grandfather” (who died the summer after I graduated high school) and there you have it.

I don’t know anymore. I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever recover from what my father did to me. Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t. Maybe I will and it will always shape a part of my personality.

But sometimes, oh sometimes, I wish when my insomnia is rampant I could pick up my phone and cry to my Daddy. I wish that I could find a friend to get in a car with and drive home, knock on the door, and shock him by showing up randomly. Oh, how I wish beyond wishing that I had a Daddy. But I NEVER had a Daddy – I had a father. And at times, since I don’t speak to either parent, I feel orphaned. It makes for some really awkward moments in class some times. For example: “How did your parents parent you when you were five?” Cue instant panic attack from me trying to avoid thinking about it. We had to do a family survey in adol. psych and thank GOD the prof bailed me out when she took one look at my face and could tell it was distressing me.

Gosh. As much as people say it’s boring to be normal, trust me, this is one place where I’d love to be normal. Trust me.

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!

a king, a priest, a lover.

“Imagery of Christ as a king is often exciting to Christians, and rightly so. We belong to a great and glorious king, who has made us His own.” (Mueller, page 143)
“King of my heart, I crown you now. I fall at your feet, and before you I bow.” I think that this is something we think a lot: we know that Christ is our King. But I agree with the fact that it says that this is sometimes viewed as a future. Christ is our king yesterday, today, and forever. He will stay our king!

“Our saviour is Christ, the annointed one, the prophet. He sreves us as our great high preiest who offeres himself as the greatest and final sacafrice for the sins of the world.” (Mueller, page 143)
Ths verse in Hebrews is one of my favs. He is our priest – who makes the sacafrice and who loves us deeply.

Author reflections:
Christ is not only a king, but a great high priest. He loves us deeply, and cares for us beyond measure. What a priceless gift!