Tuesday, August 09, 2005

My S@*#

I bleeped out the title as not to startle anyone, but I won't be so kind to do so in the following text.

Let me preface this by saying that I'm doing this for me. And for some reason I have an incredible desire to put this on my blog. I don't know why, but I need to do it. If any of you are offended or whatever, tough. This is my blog. If you don't want to read it, no one is forcing you to do so. Also, I am not asking you to rationalize or try to talk me out of anything that I list below. Actually, please don't. These are my feelings. There is nothing "wrong" or "right" about how I feel. It's simply that: how I feel.

I had a pretty intense counselling session today at church. My minister started a group for women who have been going through some tough things in their life recently. I am very thankful that he thought to invite me. Today was the first "real" meeting day, and I think this group is going to be incredible for me. So far, I have realized that I've got a lot of stuff. My minister today said that he's sick of us Christians not sharing our stuff with each other, and that he believes that it's high time that we started talking about our shit. This is tough for me considering that I will see a lot of you guys in person soon, but, you know what, you are my brothers and sisters. If I can't share this with you, who can I share it with?

So, with all of that said, here's what realizations I had about my emotions and my faith today, my "shit":

Pain changes people. Pain has changed me. I am not the same person that I was a year ago. This is tough, especially being married. Now, not only do I have to deal with my shit, my husband does, too. I don't even know who I am right now, how in the world should I expect my husband to know?

I am upset that people think my pain is more intense than theirs. It upsets me that I've got friends who preface the story of their crappy day with, "I didn't have a liver transplant, but..." Pain is pain. Pain is relative. Your pain is no worse or better than mine. It's still pain, and it's still valid. You're my friend. I want to be there for you.

I don't want people to trivialize what I've been through. People saying, I know how you feel...I had my gallbladder removed a million years ago. Trust me, you don't know how I feel. I also get sick and tired of conversations like this (this actually happened last week):
Group: Why didn't you start your master's degree last year?
Me: I had some health stuff I was working through. I needed to hold off for a year.
Girl in Group: Oh, yeah! I had health problems, too! I cut my hand!

In addition to that last one, I have very little sympathy/empathy for people right now. I want this to change. I want this to change now.

I can't believe that people see Christ most in us when we're at our lowest point. I am for sure at the lowest point that I've been at in a really, really long time, and I'm doing a really shitty job of showing Him to people right now.

My pain better have purpose. If it doesn't, I have spent the last 7 or 8 years of my life intensly searching out a God who is cruel and mean and spiteful. I am willing to take time to search out this purpose, but it had better be there.

I feel abandoned by God right now. I have been writing that series about how God has brought me here because I need to see it. Everyday. I do not deny what God has done in my life thus far, but now I feel as if He has brought me here, dropped me off, and is saying, I've brought you this far, now I'm done. You're on your own.

My minister said today that he believes that there is one thing at the core of people who have been through such tramatic events in their lives and are dealing with it like we are. One fundamental truth: we don't believe that God really loves us. I need to think about this one some more, but maybe he's right. Maybe I don't believe that God really loves me. Maybe I believe that He's up there, using my life for His ultimate purpose at my expense. Not because He really loves me, but because He can use me.

I'll probably regret posting this tomorrow. I may delete it.


At 9:49 PM, Anonymous Mark said...

I have similar feelings to you. I'm fortunate, I don't have physical pain, although maybe I might prefer to the psychological/ mental pain of depression.

I've been reading your stories Part .. with your God thing #x and just realized I was blessed with something similar happened with my parents.

Last Friday, my dad had serious abdominal pains - he thought he was dying and then thought how awful it would be if he didn't actually die but had to live with that pain. My mum got a cab and went to a hospital - which was not the closest hospital to their apartment. (God thing #1) The doctor sent my dad for some x-rays, blood work, and then a cat scan which showed that he had 4 aortic aneurysms which need immediate if not sooner surgery. (extra tests == God thing #2) The reason for God thing #1 now comes to light - the best surgeon in the city for dealing with aortic aneurysms was at this more distant hospital. On top of that, he has a really wonderful bedside manner.

Thank you for posting your unexpurgated story, Amanda. Not everything in life is sweetness and light and you don't need to apologize for it. Although I've been reading yoru blog for some time, I haven't commented as I've always felt so imperfect compred to you and the other commenters.

At 5:35 AM, Blogger Sarah said...

Please don't delete it! My internet filter didn't even warn me that my eyes would be harmed from reading an open, honest look at how each of us go through way highs and lows in dealing with our pain.

Your post made me realize the irony that we all think/ say in times like that -- we do want there to be a purpose or better use for all of our pain and struggles than simply pain and suffering. But none of us want to think/ believe (and I don't) that God visits such things on us. Makes me realize the tight rope that is our faith.

I think people see Christ in us when we're at our lowest because it's then that we realize how ugly, human, and fleshly our own spirit is and we can only be holy through him.

I agree with your minister so much that we spend more time and energy trying not to acknowledge our stuff than being transparent and letting people see our struggles. You may feel as if you are in a bad place right now, but I can see that you have learned some things through your journey that I am just now learning in my mid-30's.

I fear that in my own ramblings I have said some of those idiotic things people invariably say to people going through a hard time. But, again, thank you for your openness! It has blessed me today!

At 6:44 AM, Blogger Debi said...


I'll never say I "understand" what you're going through, because I don't. (I don't want to insult you by saying I do - that wouldn't be fair.) I can, however, empathize with you and share that my mom has been ill (with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) since September 1988. Her life was basically taken away from her with this illness. She's been, basically bedridden, for all these years. During this time, she has shared that she's struggled with her own faith in a similar way as you have over the years. The one thing she said to me, that I thought of while reading your post, is this. She said that "God must be preparing her - here on earth - for something REAL BIG that she'll have to do in heaven, because she can't think of any other reason why he'd allow her to be put through this hell for just about 17 years." She tries to take comfort in that thought, but still struggles.

I don't know if that is helpful, but it's the first thing I thought of while reading your post.

You're always in my prayers (even though I've never met you.) And yes, you are an inspriation whether you realize it or not ... God IS working through you.

Your sister in Christ,

At 7:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amanda, you are so open and honest and bright. I have no idea who you are, but I have become "addicted" to reading your blogs and find myself loving you like I would someone I know. Your faith struggle is probably more common than you know. I remember a movie several years ago (don't even remember the name) with Susan Sarandon and Dustin Hoffman where their daughter was killed. It shows a glimpse of their grief. Susan Sarandon says something like this: "It pisses me off when people mention my daughter, and it pisses me off when they don't mention my daughter." That seems typical of trauma and grief. No one can say anything right because things are NOT "normal." I felt the same way when I went through a divorce years ago. Everybody (including God whom I thought had not answered my prayers to heal my marriage) made me mad. If they were empathetic, I thought they were patronizing poor, pitiful me. But if they treated me normally, I thought, "Don't they know how bad things are and that I hurt?" That's because I hurt so badly that nothing said or done was appropriate. My prayer is that you give yourself the time and grace to experience whatever you need to experience. Faith tells me that there is a purpose in everything. I suspect God cares so much that He bottles your tears or records them on a scroll (as in Psalm 56). God will still be there at the other end of whatever you experience, waiting patiently for His beloved child Amanda. How could He help but adore such a beautiful heart? You may not feel it, but we all see it.

At 10:00 AM, Anonymous Jodi said...

Thank you so much for you honesty. Please don't delete. You are precious to me and encourage my faith despite of (or maybe it's because of) your shit. Thanks again for sharing. I love you, girl!

At 10:13 AM, Blogger Andrea said...

All I can say, my dear friend, is:


I love ya, gal.

Your sister in Christ,


At 11:32 AM, Blogger Tony Arnold said...

Not much I can say other than if you need or want my help for anything, I will try to give it. If you don't I won't. Nothing you said changes how I feel about you.

Also, if anyone is offended or put off by your use of shit, they need to consider that it was at least used in a more true and correct application that when we all usually say it. Much more appropriate to use it to describe a real situation than as an invective.

Your friend and brother in Christ,


At 1:04 PM, Blogger Natalie Brooke said...

Don't delete it! Don't have regrets about sharing what you feel and what's on your heart. Good for you for even having the courage to post it.

I recently read a book that helped me get through alot of stuff. It has also helped alot of other women. I don't know if it is something you'd want to read or not. But just thought I'd mention it to you. It's "CAPTIVATING" by John and Stasi Eldridge and there is a journal that you can also buy to go along with it.

ps...sent you an email. Natalie

At 7:39 PM, Blogger DigiGirl said...

Why is "shit" a bad word? It's just slang for something we all do. So say it all you want, and don't apologize, sister!

I'm not going to try and "smooth" things over, or tell you things you already know. Sometimes, we just need to be angry. There's nothing wrong with it, we all feel it, and we all need to let it out.

Say what you need to say, get it all out, and don't apologize for speaking your mind. Even though i've never met you, I'm proud to call you my friend.

At 9:24 PM, Blogger Matt said...

Look, this may be a bit awkward, but did you steal my journal? I have said and written so much that is exactly the same as what you wrote. I feel how you feel, and that doesn't happen to me too often. I' sick of dealing with all my shit too!

I am sorry that you are so down right now; I know I can't fix that, but I believe there is a place for days (and posts) like today.

As per your minister's comment:

My minister said today that he believes that there is one thing at the core of people who have been through such tramatic events in their lives and are dealing with it like we are. One fundamental truth: we don't believe that God really loves us.

I think that is a bunch of crap; it IS something someone wholly devoid of experience says to someone they cannot label. I have read too many of your posts to believe that you don't think God loves you.


At 8:04 AM, Blogger Tony Arnold said...

A lighter note for everyone's enjoyment, especially yours Amanda.

President Harry Truman was known for plain speech and colorful speech at times. He had a habit of using "(horse, bull, etc.) hockey" often it describing information or communication he thought was wrong or useless. A group of media was talking with Mrs. Truman one day and asked, "Mrs. Truman do you think you could get the President to stop using the word 'hockey' in public speech. It is not becoming of the Office."

Mrs. Truman quickly responded, "Gentlemen, it took me 20 years to get him to use that word!"


At 7:04 AM, Blogger Jana said...

Amanda - I know the feeling of not being loved by God...like He could care less about what's going on with me. But I think it's a powerful lie from the Devil. GOD LOVES YOU. I love you, too, sweet girl. Thanks for being so honest and open and sharing.

At 8:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please know that you are in my special prayers, and I thank God for your honesty and sharing through your excellent writing.

At 9:55 PM, Blogger Michele said...


God brought me here tonight, and I am so grateful He did. It's been some time since we have talked, yet I think of you often. I read your post and here are my initial thoughts....don't delete it, embrace it!

God has given us all pain. I don't want to belittle my pain or focus too intently on others either. I merely want to walk a life of knowing Jesus. Fact is, he hurt.

I do know what abandonment from God feels like, I have been sensing it for some time personally. It's shaming, alarming and humbling all at the same time. I struggle daily in really knowing and believing that God loves me.....no matter what.

You have a searching, yearning and open heart. May He comfort you, uphold up and encourage your heart as you sweat those blood drop tears on your page of this blog, as Jesus did in the garden.

He knows.

At 5:25 PM, Blogger Vicki said...

I'm not sure how I stumbled across your blog, but here I am, and glad I found you.

You are so young to be experiencing all this--my heart goes out to you and I pray for you. I'm held captive by your sheer candor and honest emotional venting. Going through my own s--t, and honestly, the serious stuff always causes us to question God in ways we didn't before. It's human, and it's probably all good, even though we'll never have all the answers. There are so many people living out there, totally oblivious to other people's pain and/or struggles, until, of course, they hit a wall in their own life.

I'm a writer trying to balance my gut emotional reactions to life with what I think the reader can stomach. And yet I want to write the truth. It seems the more I share the really tough stuff, the more folks appreciate it, though. Never apologize for how you feel. Keep writing and opening up, and being real. God isn't far off, even though our feelings seem to contradict that.

As a fellow believer, what comes to my mind is, "our life is not our own" anymore. Because we are crucified with Christ. Each day is a continual dying to self and surrendering to Him, the One who loved us and gave His life for us. So I'm learning (slowly and stubbornly) to question less, surrender more. I can't figure out life or offer formulas or pat answers. But I am not afraid to sit with you, cry, or listen to the very deepest pangs of your heart. Learning to forgive those who are flippant about my struggles and realize that it is the Lord Himself who sticketh closer than a brother.

God bless you as you journey with Him on this rocky piece of road. You are loved the most when you least understand. I appreciate all you can teach me, and want to learn from you, my little sister in the Lord.


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