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I have been totally sucked in to the Casey Anthony trial this week. I have had emotional reactions that are different from most people that I hear talking about it. I have learned that when I have a strong emotional pull to some drama that really has nothing to do with my own life that it is because it is pointing me to something emotional about my own life that needs dealing with.

Of course the loss of a two year old girl is too much for me to imagine because my daughter is two, but strangely my heart is broken for the young mother accused of murder, Casey, also. Most people seem to want to see her as the heartless cold blooded murderer of her own precious child, but because of my own experiences I can see it differently.

So far every single witness from her ex-boyfriends to her friends and family have stated that they saw her being a very good and loving mother to her child. They said that her daughter was always with her when she spent the night out. They said that she did not spend the night out often or drink much before this because she did not want to leave the child with her parents. Was she protecting her from something? They said that she taught her a lot and interacted with her in sincere and loving ways. They said that the love between the mother and child was obvious and genuine. So why do many think that she is the murderer?

It is because of her inappropriate behavior after the child’s death. It is because she says that the child died by accidental drowning in the pool and that she hid the death and pretended as if everything was normal, along with her dad, out of fear and desperation……basically an insane response to a tragedy.

She says that she learned this kind of extreme behavior from being a victim of sexual abuse by her father. Her defense is that she was raised in extreme trauma and dysfunction and so when a tragedy occurred with her own baby she and her father made horrible decisions and continued the cycle of hiding things and moving on as if nothing happened because she was afraid of the consequences. This snowballed out of control because she had to keep lying to hide it and to remain in the extreme denial that she was living in.

Now I have no idea what really happened in this case, but unlike many my heart tells me that there is something very wrong with this family and that it does not make sense for her as a loving mother to suddenly decide to murder her daughter so that she can go party. Even a very troubled lying young woman who likes to party and has learned to live life in denial and to hide crisis behind the mask of  a happy social butterfly does not a cold-blooded murderer make.

Why is my heart so stirred for this young woman’s story?

Because it takes a person who has come from a dysfunctional background filled with family members in deep denial….filled with smiling happy faces hiding trauma….filled with inappropriate responses to crisis to understand that this really could happen to a very young woman who is hardly even an adult.

When I was growing up I was known by my friends as a social butterfly. I was the life of the party. I was the captain of the cheerleaders and full of life and energy. I even heard one of my classmates describe me as “always happy.” And not one friend ever knew what I was really dealing with at home. I was not purposely trying to be this way. I was not putting on a show. That is just the way that I was. Somehow that is just how I learned to be.

I hid things very very well. And I had a strong drive to create happiness wherever I could.

When I became a very young adult of 20, 21 years old my life started going off the rails on a crazy train. I made some very bad decisions that had traumatic consequences and once again I hid them not only from the outside world but even from my own family and kept going as if nothing happened. It was not until years and years later that I ever even began grieving over those things. And I still have the tendency to stay weirdly okay during trauma as I have written about before. I can also still keep a secret and carry it to my grave if need be. If you want someone to confide in….I’m your woman!

I have seen all of my family members engaged in some strange coping behaviors. I have seen a family member acting like a clepto from the time of his/her toddler hood. I have seen family members become compulsive liars so that they were lying about things for no reason, and so when it came to telling the truth about the abuse they had genuinely suffered people did not believe them. I have seen family members behaving violently and being committed or just having it brushed under the rug. I have seen severe addictions in many. I have seen most of  us hiding something major in our lives, and it was either kept in the family or hidden from even the family. I have seen two family members involved in cover ups together….sometimes siblings….sometimes involving a parent or even a grandparent.

So this is the reason that her defense seems possibly believable to me when others who are not used to this type of dysfunction cannot possibly believe that life could be this way.

This is the reason that my heart hurts for the young mother who acted insanely “just fine” after her little girl died.  This is the reason that instead of  strongly desiring to burn her at the stake… my heart longs to see redemption for her life.

I know from experience that a child does not grow up to be as messed up as Casey Anthony for no reason. A young woman’s life does not snowball into this horrible situation where her child is dead and she is in prison facing the death penalty just out of the blue. This kind of nightmare is exactly what it looks like when an extremely dysfunctional family just continues riding down the wrong side of the road at 100 miles an hour, and no one knows how to put on the brakes. This young girl did not happen in a vacuum. She is the product of something horrible, and that is obvious to me.

Now I am not writing this to plead her case. I could be wrong about her. I am just working on understanding myself. I am figuring out why I feel so angry when I hear people say that she is definitely lying through her teeth about the abuse that she claims she suffered. I have seen this in my own family.

I am working out the reasons that instead of hating her and wanting her dead my heart bleeds with compassion for her…..I see traces of my family members in her.

Thank God nothing ever got as far for us as it has for her.

My heart longs to see a tragic story of a tragic life filled with death, lies, pain, and soul sickness…… healed, redeemed, and restored.

That it what I am working towards for myself and my loved ones. That is what I want for all of us humans who share this kind of story.

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Chaos comes before order. There is confusion right before understanding. This happens in nature, in the forming of the universe, in life, and in our own learning and development.

As a teacher I learned this in college and later saw it in students as I taught them new things. When a student is presented with brand new material and ideas the brain goes into a state of disequilibrium for a period. That disequilibrium or confusion can be frustrating for a time, but it is necessary for the brain to go through this in order to reorganize with the new information integrated into its files.

So in learning and growing we all go through this, just as the creation of the universe began with chaos and then moved to order we go through a period of chaos before we come to a deeper understanding and are back in order and equilibrium.

I am going through this now. I am in a period of wrestling with a deepening of my faith. I am not wrestling with whether or not I have faith because I have already reached order in that area. I have faith, but I am in a moment of confusion about some deeper ideas. I am growing, and I am in a stage right before understanding something more, and so I am in a bit of momentary chaos in my mind and heart.

This can be frustrating so I pray. I pray for clarity and understanding, and I pray for truth no matter what the truth is. I want the truth even if it throws me off for a moment. I want the truth even if others around me do not understand it. I just want THE TRUTH.

I, like most people, have never been satisfied with understanding things just because someone else thinks that they understand it and tells me their ideas. That may suffice for a period, but eventually questions begin to beat at the doors of my mind, and I have to find the answers for myself. These are never really new questions. They are questions that have always been in my heart, but the time has come to let them surface. Sometimes I come to understand what I was told by another, and sometimes I come to a new and deeper revelation than that.

Not only is this frustrating and confusing, but it is exciting. I know that I am standing on the precipice of something larger. I am in a moment of expanding rather than stagnation. It is only a matter of time before something new clicks and I experience that wonderful “Aha!” moment again, and I am again in awe of my loving creator.

I welcome it. I do not know where it might take me. I do not know if it will allow me to stay right where I am or if it will force me to move on to something new. I embrace the growth though wherever I end up going. I have always longed for and enjoyed the expansion of my mind and the opening of my heart wider. I have never been a person comfortable in a box or happy with a limited God.

My tendency to question authority, to be a little rebellious, and to be a risk taker has gotten me in some trouble at times, but it has also pushed me passed the confines of limitations at times. When channeled well it serves me well and pushes me out of the shallow end into the deep.

The chaos and confusion are not comfortable, but just as the universe is slowly expanding….. so am I. And for that I am grateful.

Sometimes in life I can feel a shift occurring, and it is hard to describe in words. I can feel things or even see hints of things happening in a spiritual dimension before things happen in the material world. It is weird, but that is how things work. You hear phrases that describe this phenomenon like “mind over matter,” but I have noticed on a strange intuitive level that things happen or are formed on some kind of energetic dimension before they manifest physically.

This is one way that faith works. You “call things that are not as though they are. ” You speak things into being.

Also sometimes illness can begin on an emotional or soul level . A person can have severe emotional trauma that they never deal with or a wounded soul that eventually manifests itself in the physical body as sickness, addiction, or pain.

I know this sounds like mumbo jumbo, but all I can say is that I have experienced this enough in my life to be able to vouch for the fact that there is something bigger going on, and I can intuitively feel something sometimes before I see it materialize in reality.

The funny thing is that I do not know what is about to happen or materialize. I can just feel that something is about to change or shift. I even felt it right before I got pregnant with my daughter.

Well I feel that now. And there has been some interesting synchronicity lately that affirms my feelings. I do not believe in coincidences.

Lately, for a while now actually, I have been praying differently. Every day I have been praying about the breath of  God. I have prayed that I would sail in the wind of God’s breath and that He would breath into me more and more. I wrote a blog about it a while back.

I have also been praying another strange and different prayer. I have been praying that I would vibrate in tune with God, and that I would vibrate in a tone that harmonizes with God’s song. I know that is different, but that is what I have been lead to pray, and I wrote a blog about the “music of the ethers” recently because this prayer brought a dream back to mind that I had about this harmonic music.

Well, a couple of nights ago I was looking up videos on you tube. I decided to look up Rob Bell. He is a very controversial church pastor that I honestly had never heard of until he came out with a very controversial book this year. I really don’t keep up with all of the different pastors and Christian writers that much, but all of the controversy surrounding his new book as well as the topic of the book caught my attention. So the point is that I have not read any of his other books or watched many of his videos. I really have not  even known about him before until this latest book.

Well, I went on You Tube a couple of nights ago on a whim to see some of his videos. I have not even thought about watching these videos until this week when I saw the DVD’s at a friend’s house on her shelf. Out of at least 30 videos I happened to pick a video called, “Breathe.” I was blown away when I saw him talking about the breath of God in a very similar way as I have been thinking and talking about it lately! And it is a very different way of thinking. It is kind of a strange way of thinking.  Ha! It was a serendipitous moment of affirmation for me I guess.

Then I wanted to see more so I clicked on another video. This one was called, “Rhythm.” And it was talking about being in tune or out of tune with the song that is God! Wow! How strange that an actual pastor is talking about the odd things that I have been thinking and praying about, and I honestly had never heard this before! I thought, “Is he reading my blog? ” But I was only being silly because his videos are older than my blog. More synchronicity!

And of course I am having this moment of affirmation and serendipity with a highly controversial pastor who many are calling a heretic! Oh well! I trust God, and this is where God is leading me, and things are aligning.

And like I said before, nothing has changed yet. Things are still the same right now, but I can feel a shift happening in the spirit that I have felt before, and I know that things are about to happen. I do not know what they are, and that is a little unnerving.

My husband has been feeling squeezed tightly in all areas lately as have I. It seems as if everything is going wrong and things are really difficult right now. It feels like we are at our breaking point in every area, but I know from my past experience that even this is  a sign of the shift.

It is just like childbirth. When a woman is in labor and she feels squeezed in every area….when everything gets really hard and painful….when she has reached the limit and cannot take it anymore…..something is about to break through. She is about to give birth to something new. A baby is about to join the outside physical reality that we are living in now.

I have noticed that this is a pattern in life…all over life. When you feel like you are over the limit and are in such a tight place that everything feels like it is being squeezed….when you feel like you are at your breaking point and you cannot take anymore….when the pains of life get harder and closer together….you are on the threshold of  breaking through to something new. Things are about to change. Nothing is permanent on earth….even hard things. It is in the darkest places that you can eventually begin to see the light breaking through.

This is the pattern even in nature such as when the sun rises after a dark night or when rays of light begin to burst through dark clouds, or when a baby comes out of the dark womb into the light of life.  So much can be learned by watching nature’s patterns because they run parallel with the patterns of life and spirit.

Well I feel it, and I cannot deny it. I know it sounds spooky wooky, but I have been in this place enough times to recognize it. I am excited to see where it takes us.

I have felt for a long time that the whole concept of male and female has been completely skewed and twisted by society, culture, and honestly maybe the devil himself.  And so the whole point of sex has been warped , and we have lost our ability to connect with God in one of the highest ways possible while in these fleshly bodies on earth. I have had an inner knowing of this since before I even got married, but because I have such severe issues with intimacy on many levels I still have not been able to get it all right yet. But now that I know in my heart and spirit what is supposed to be happening and what is possible I am unhappy and at times actually disgusted with anything less.

Man……I hate writing about this! But I am following my inner nudging……Why must I be nudged to write about this delicate subject? Lord help me! Why? Why?…….The only comfort that I can get is that writing this may just be one of the steps that brings me or maybe someone else closer to a wholeness in this area that I honestly do not think that many people enjoy fully.

So let me begin with a quote from scripture:

“So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him: male and female He created them.”    Genesis 2:27

It then goes on to say that God blessed them, told them to be fruitful and multiply and gave them dominion over every living creature on earth.

This is the first and the oldest version of the creation of mankind story in the Bible. In this story when it says that God created “man” and created “him” in His image it seems obvious to me that “man” and “him” are referring to mankind or humanity because it goes on to say….”male and female He created them.”

So I see that both man and woman are created in the image of God. It is not as if a male is created in the image of God and then some new thing is made as an after thought that happens to be a female and that this female is somehow made of something less than or outside of God’s image.

In this story they are both created by God at the same time and both are created in the image of God. Both are blessed and both are given dominion.

So when I see this I think that everything that is male and everything that is female are an image of God. We are both created in God’s image so God must contain all of it within Himself. As I see it, having only male or only female human beings would not be the image of God in its entirety. It takes both to express an image of all that God is.

In the Bible which is a book from a very patriarchal Jewish tradition and culture God is seen as very masculine and is called the father  many times, but there are amazingly a few examples where God compares himself to a mother nursing or protecting or having compassion on her young! We don’t get to hear much about those for some reason, but they are there.

In the next (yes…there are two) story of creation which is a younger version of the creation story God creates a man out of dust and then breathes life and spirit into him. (This story does not mention the image of God by the way.) He then creates everything else and then sees that this man, Adam, needs to be in a relationship with another human being so God puts Adam to sleep and basically pulls another human being out of Adam’s side.

“Then Adam said, This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman because she was taken out of man. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and shall become united and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”  Genesis 2: 23, 24

Now I have heard some ridiculously degrading interpretations of this. I have heard that a man is created in God’s image, and a woman is created in man’s image! In my opinion that is just rubbish.

First of all this second creation story where “man” was created first does not even say that he was created in the image of God (which I do believe he was by the way.) But this horrible interpretation of the second story also totally negates the first and oldest creation story that clearly says that mankind, both male and female, were created in God’s image and that both were given blessing and dominion together.

Now this may be hard for some people to take, but after much study and prayer I see the second story a little differently. To me it seems that Adam was containing the image of God all within himself as one being just as God is one. This means that he (Adam) had it all inside of him…..everything that God is…..all that is male and all that is female…..everything……everything that makes up the entire image of God. God saw that Adam needed relationship just as God needs relationship so he basically pulled another being out of Adam to make two complimentary beings. And now it is not one being but two and together they are the image of God.

This is the reason that the two complimentary beings leave their parents and come back together to become one flesh…..again. The way that I see it is that when the male and female come together as one flesh they are reuniting two parts of God’s image that were separated so that in their union they become the entire image of God again in its fullness.

This is the reason that sex is or at least is intended to be a spiritual act….maybe the closet we get to experiencing being the full image of God. And it is through sex that we are able to create new life just like God creates life. Is this when we are closest to God????

I believe that it is very possible that this is how it should be, but most of us are not experiencing this. Sex has been so horribly cheapened, degraded, abused and cut off from everything that is spiritual and so we are sexually sick as a human race.

In many cases we have made sex the farthest thing from the image of God that we can! It almost seems in many cases to have been dulled down to a fleshly animalistic act like when one big chimp chases down and mounts another chimp (male or female) in order to show dominance!

So many times sex occurs (even in marriages) when there is no emotional or spiritual intimacy involved. There is no connection of souls….only bodies. Many times it is done just to relieve a physical urge or stress while people are fantasizing about gross things or replaying pornography in their minds. Icky!

That is the reason that I say it disgusts me at times. I know that sounds harsh, but when I think of sex as two souls becoming one and connecting on every level…emotionally, spiritually, and physically….two souls coming together to create one larger more complete soul….getting back to the wholeness that is the image of God…..creating an energy that actually sparks new life….a beautiful truly ecstatic experience that God intended us to have….

And then I think about the “Who’s your daddy, kinky, degrading at times, nothing but flesh kind of sex that seems to be the norm in society or pornography that treats women like objects of pleasure to be subjugated rather than the precious image of God that they really are or the horrible abuses that take place in this world where sex can become one of the most evil acts on the planet….I literally get disgusted.

Maybe I am setting my sights too high and expecting too much out of this experience. There is probably some kind of balance somewhere. I am trying to sort it all out, but honestly I would rather set out to reach the stars and maybe get to the clouds than reach for the gutter and end up settling for the sewer. But that is just me.

If men and women start to see each other as the true reflections of God that we both are then we all would approach sex very differently….very reverantly….very deeply, and the world could be a very different place.

Some music is timeless because it comes from a place in the soul that everyone can connect with if they allow themselves to go there. This song still evokes the same feeling and touches the same place in me now that it did back when I was a teenager sitting in my second story opened window sill at night looking out at the stars in the country night sky pondering, dreaming, and allowing my soul to soar where the music would carry it. I have always used music as a way to communicate with myself, God and others. I have always used it as a source of travel for my soul to places deep within myself and places outside of three dimensional reality. Sometimes there is no better way to communicate than melodic poetry, and the video imagery makes it even fuller especially when it includes dancing. So relax and enjoy the journey wherever the music takes you.

I think that there are some Christians who just cannot understand why there are  certain types of non-believers who resist no matter how hard we hit them over the head with the Gospel. Why…we wonder…why do they dislike Jesus? Why are they so angry and annoyed with us? How can they not want to run to the Bible and to church. How can they reject the love of God? Why won’t they believe us???? (Shaking fist into the air)

Well I certainly do not have all of the answers about anything, but I do know at least a few of the answers to some of these questions for some people.

This is not intended to be an attack on Christianity. I am a follower of Christ and a believer in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. I just think that it is important that we as Christians try to understand others more instead of judging them.

First of all we tell them that the Bible is true and that we know this because it was divinely inspired by God. It was spoken by God to prophets and apostles and men  (no women???) who wrote it down for us so that we can know and understand God. Well I understand this as a believer, but let me tell you what many people are thinking about this.

They are looking around at all of the other religions who also have Holy Books (Koran, Book of Mormon, Bhagavad Gita etc. etc.) that they also say are true. And they also claim that they know that their books are true because they were divinely inspired by God. They also believe that these books were given to prophets by God so that we can know and understand God and his ways.

Just like people who were born into Christianity or converted into Christianity were taught the Bible as the true Holy Book, others were born or converted into other religions and were taught that their book is the true holy book. And if you read these books there are some really good things in them, and there are some really strange things that are hard to believe in them as well as some really disturbing things.

Non-believers see this in the Bible too. They see some really good things and some really off the wall sounding, hard to believe things as well as some disturbing things. They know that the contents of the Bible were decided on by a group of men (no women???) and that some of the books were thrown out too. So they do not see why they should choose to believe us Christians over any other world religion. Many times non-believers see us all (religious people of the world) as equally brain washed to believe the faith that we were taught is true.

So they think, “Why should I believe this crazy story just because someone is telling me to believe it? After all that is how people end up in cults!”

They have heard it a million times before. They have had family members badgering them. They have been given Gospel tracks. They have had people coming to their door, and they have even been to church. So they are just getting annoyed by it all now. Telling them the same thing over and over is not working! Arguing with them, and telling them that they are going to hell is not working. Just like telling them how happy you are now that you have “found” Jesus while they can see right through you and can see that you are no happier than anyone else is not working either! It is making it worse because now they see you lying so now they really cannot trust you!

I say this because it is the people who have to constantly tell others and try to convince others that they are happy who are obviously not really that happy inside! People can tell! People who are genuinely happy or have genuinely changed do not have to constantly tell people or try to convince people. They do not have to say it at all. People can just tell!

So just like many Christians or believers in God in general see atheism as an arrogant and self elevating belief…..many atheists see Christians as arrogant and holier than though too. Yes, it does seem a bit arrogant and self-centered of an atheist to think that they are one of the few in the world who have been intelligent enough to escape belief in a mass delusion caused by brain washing or to think that there is no power higher than themselves. But many times they see Christians the same way.

They wonder why Christians think that they are the ones who are right about it all. Why do Christians think that their religion is true and everyone else in the world is believing some false doctrine. Why, they wonder, do Christians seem to think that we have the moral high ground? And why, they wonder,  do we seem to use the Bible to back up our own personal world views while completely ignoring some of the other things in the Bible that contradict our views. And why does the Bible itself seem  contradictory sometimes such as a merciful loving God sending people to eternal damnation or giving laws in the old testament that say that the men in the town should stone a woman to death if she is not a virgin at marriage! (Deuteronomy 22:20) But nothing is said about a man’s virginity. YIKES! This alone is enough to scare any woman or kindhearted sane man away!

This takes us to another reason that some people are completely turned off by us Christians. The whole hell thing……If we as humans love our children, who do wrong things constantly, enough that we would never lock them in jail or punish them with eternal torment and separation from us with no way back whether they believe in us or love us back or not…..how can our loving God send us, his children, to eternal hell for believing the wrong things during this tiny finite time that we have on earth? Why would God send us out of eternity into life on earth knowing that we have a few years to get it right before we are doomed to eternal torture and hell? Why would he say that we have a choice, but if we choose wrong during our short lives which are just a blip on the radar compared to eternity…… we will pay for it forever?

I actually had a friend tell me that he loved his daughter so much that he would never do this to her no matter what she did, and he could never worship a God that would do this to his children!…….heavy stuff.… I know. That’s why I am writing it because as Christians we need to understand these very valid concerns that people have about our loving God and our faith.

Another reason that some non-believers reject Christianity is because there are some very vocal Christians who completely reject science. They believe that in order to believe God and the Bible means that you must not believe that there is anything scientific about how God creates. They assume that if God spoke something into creation then there was no physics, quantum physics, chemistry or biology that occurred at that time. It just happened…..poof….and there is absolutely no scientific explanation. Some non-believers study science and understand it’s workings and so to completely ignore it makes these believers seem to be living in a fantasy world.

There are some (not all) Christians who try so hard to fit science into the Bible in order to legitimize Biblical truth that they end up missing the point. The Bible is not a science book. It was not intended to teach science or explain science so why are people trying to make science out of it? There is room for scientific truth and Biblical truth. Science does not cancel out the Bible, and the Bible does not cancel out science. The more that I learn about the intricacies of science and the universe the more amazed I become at God’s complexity, brilliance, and perfection.

And there are many more reasons, but I do not want to write an entire book on the subject so I will stop there, but you get the picture I hope.

I understand these questions and concerns because I have wrestled with them myself. I also talk to non-believers quite often and I understand where they are coming from. I am a believer, but I do not have all of the answers to these things unfortunately. I still wrestle with them at times. I have been given some explanations before that helped  a little but not enough to clear it all up.

So why do I believe at all? In a nutshell……

I grew up in church being taught about God, Christ and the Bible, but when I became old enough to think for myself  I could not believe all of it just because people told me to believe it. I did believe in God and in the love of Christ because I had too much experience with this love in my life to deny it. I could see that the words of Jesus were good, but I still had all of the concerns mentioned above plus some so I left the church and searched for about 10 years.

This search began with me being extremely angry with God for all that I had been through. I did even say,”Either there is no God or God hates me!” Deep down I knew that there was a God, but I was angry and hurt, and I let God know!

As I prayed and searched I came out of this anger. I studied many holy books from different religions including the Bible. I studied under several gurus and practiced different meditations and spiritual practices. I studied other cultures. I constantly prayed. That was the one thing that remained the same. I prayed.

During these years I had many many supernatural experiences. I had way too many tangible brushes with God to ever think that all of this life and the universe could be just a random coincidence. I actually learned so much during my time of searching, and I came to understand other people and their beliefs. Because of my learning and experience with other beliefs and cultures I am now able to connect with and understand different people so much better and without much judgment.

Honestly I cannot explain exactly how, but through all of my searching and learning and praying God brought me back around to Christ. I prayed continuously and genuinely cried out to God to show me the truth. And he did. He revealed things to me in a new way and did miraculous things in my life. But this time my belief was the real thing. This was not the religion that people told me I had to believe. This was not a belief just to keep me out of hell. This was not me blindly following my culture or my family. I had come to this belief through going out on my own in a search for truth. I had come to this belief through real tangible supernatural experiences. And I truly believe in the life, sacrificial death, and supernatural resurrection of Jesus Christ. I know the great love and mercy of God first hand.

I still wrestle with my faith and with unanswered questions, but God has revealed himself to me enough for me to know that I do not have to have the answers. I will never in this lifetime understand it all. I do not let that keep me away from God because God is way too complex for me to comprehend in my finite life with my limited brain. I just surrender it to him knowing that he is love, and he has it all figured out already.

I think that it is important for Christians to understand that there is a certain group of non-believers who have very legitimate questions, concerns, and problems with our religion. They are not going to believe because we tell them that they are going to hell or because we constantly preach at them or throw Bible verses in their faces. That just makes us sound more judgmental and self-righteous to them. And sometimes they may be right in thinking that.

If we refuse to understand them and accept that they have some good points to think about then we are not doing our job. If we refuse to acknowledge the hard questions and the confusing or even somewhat disturbing things about our own religion then we are leaving behind a large group of people who God loves dearly. And we are prohibiting ourselves from some of the most profound growth in God that can take place in a true believer.

If our own faith cannot withstand the hard questions then maybe we need to examine it and wrestle with it a little in order to grow stronger. If we are just believing because that is what we were always told and that is what we have always done, and we have never really faced the questions and doubts that we have deep inside then maybe we should just be honest with God about our doubts.

He knows already anyway, and I have found that when I bring my questions and doubts and fears to God I am always brought to a deeper faith in him and a more profound understanding in the end.

I have always had a very rich, interesting and actually supernatural dream life. I have had many dreams that were premonitions. For a quick and simple example, before I got pregnant I had a dream that I was having a baby in September then in reality I unexpectedly did get pregnant that year and had her in September even though she was due in October. I have dreams that are extremely intuitive that tell me when loved ones are in some sort of trouble, and I have dreams that sometimes seem to take me to another realm or dimension of reality. I also have the normal very random dreams that don’t seem significant, but the ones that are significant really stand out in some way.

Occasionally I have a very good dream that seems more real than life. It seems as if I have gone to another dimension, and it has a great effect on me. I never forget these specific dreams, and I always wish that I would have more of them. There is one that stands out in my mind.

Years ago when I was sleeping I dreamed that I was on the beach at night with several other young women. These women were my best friends in the dream but not in waking life. We had a very strong attachment, and we were swimming and splashing in the ocean and walking together on the beach. We were laughing and talking, and we were saying that we wished that it was Friday night instead of Saturday night because we didn’t want to leave the beach or each other. We wanted it to last longer.

It was dark outside except for the natural light of the moon, stars, and phosphorescence, but in the distance there was one extremely bright light shining. I saw this light as the light coming from our beach house and guiding us home.

We slowly began walking down the beach towards the light of our house. I walked alone in front of the other girls, and they began to sing. The song that they were singing was a repetitive chant. They were saying words that I have never heard before, but it was the same sounds over and over. The chant was hauntingly beautiful, and they were harmonizing perfectly. It had a tune that I have not been able to reproduce in my waking life, but I can still hear it in my mind but only faintly.

As they sang their song began to stir something within me. It was moving me deeply and starting to make me cry, but I would not surrender to it. I held back my tears with all of my strength. I did not look back at them but just continued walking steadily towards the light.

As they continued to sing I realized that the song that they were singing was harmonizing with everything around us. The ocean, the breeze, the moon, the sky, the stars, the sand, my soul, their souls, and their voices were all in complete harmony. And this song was filling everything. It was filling all of the space around us and within us, and it was as if everything in nature was singing this beautiful and ethereal song together. It seemed as if the actual breeze was blowing this chant along with the voices of my beloved friends. In my mind I thought, “I know this song! This is the song of the beach at night.”

There are no real words to describe how something so bizarre and other worldly could seem so familiar to me. There are no words to describe how this simple chant could be so beautiful and so complex that I honestly cannot sing it in real life…..I tried.

We continued to walk, and I continued to hold out from allowing myself to surrender to this song, but it was moving my soul. The complete harmony of this song seemed to be harmonizing with the actual cells in my body. Everything in me wanted to let go, but for some reason I would not. I would not even turn around and look at the girls because I knew that I would be forced to let go if I turned back. I just kept walking forward to the light of the house.

When we reached the beach house the light was so bright that I could not even see the house at all, but I knew we were there. I could see the step up to the door. I stepped up onto the entrance in front of the opened doorway which had light pouring out of it………and I finally turned around to face the singing girls who were still on the beach.

They were hugging each other and crying. When I saw this I just wanted to be with them. I wanted to surrender.

I tried to step back down from the doorway to walk over to them with my arms wide open, but before I could make it down the step two big hands came from inside the bright light of the house and grabbed me. The hands were so strong that there was no way for me to get back to the singing girls. I could not see who the hands were coming from. All I could see was light, but the hands pulled me in and hugged me so tightly so that I could not get back to the beach or my friends. The hands and the light that they were coming from were loving me, but they were making it clear that there was no turning back for me, and that I could not stay in this place with these girls that I loved. I was not allowed to totally surrender to this experience.

The whole thing had been so soul-stirring and moving that I was finally crying in the arms of whoever was in the bright light hugging me.

Then I heard my husband’s voice saying, “What’s wrong?”

In reality he was in the bed beside me and heard me crying in my sleep. Hearing his voice brought me back a little, but I was still in the twilight between asleep and awake, and I was crying. I said through the tears, “I just heard the most beautiful song that I have ever heard in my life.” But I immediately realized that I could not reproduce this song for him. I tried, but I could not. It was from some other dimension. I have never heard anything like it again.

I hesitate to write about things like this because I have a feeling that many people will not really get it. It is actually frustrating to try to write about it or tell someone about it because there really are no words to do this justice. Yes….dreams are weird, but this one was weird in a way that stands out from other dreams.

I do not know why I had this dream, but it was more than a dream. It was an experience that is beyond words. It was one of the fullest, richest and most real experiences that I have ever had. It had a major effect on me and in shaping who I am. I wish that I could go there and experience the music of the ethers and the love of those who sing it again, but I cannot do it at will.

I do not know why my dream life can be so intense in various ways, but it has honestly been that way for as long as I can remember. Many times my dreams are boring and normal or non-existent too.

But I always remember the amazing glimpses that I get into a larger, fuller, more complexly beautiful dimension of reality, and I pray for more and more.

Before I had my baby I thought that I knew it all, and comparatively speaking I kind of did! But nothing could have prepared me for what happened my first year of motherhood.

I was in my 30’s when I had her so I was no spring chicken, and I had spent all of my 20’s doing my own thing, growing up, and being young.

I had more life experience and book knowledge on raising kids than most new mothers. I had played a large role in raising my younger siblings. I had worked as a full-time nanny for a two-year old, a one year old, a six-week old, and a sick 8 month old at different times during my 20’s.

I had worked in day care full-time in an infant room with 13 babies under a year old, and parents would come in and see me juggling 3 babies at once and say, “I do not know how you do it!” ” You are the only one who can get my child to do….(fill in the blank.)”  I knew all of the tricks, and I had dealt with all of the different temperaments from high maintenance screamers to easy quiet babies.

I had a degree in early childhood education and a teaching certificate, and I had studied psychology. I had taught classrooms full of two-year olds, three-year olds, kindergarteners,  first graders, and second graders.

So honestly I had the resume of one of the most educated and experienced new mothers in all the land! So of course I thought that raising my own child would be a breeze. How hard could one baby be after all of that? I had no worries about it at all. My pregnancy was even relatively easy.

BUT…….

As confidence in myself and my experience cunningly and slowly turned into pride nothing could have prepared me for what happened.

It began on a Thursday night when the baby in my womb literally did flips all night long, and I stayed awake the entire night. Around 6:00am that Friday morning as I lay in bed still wide awake the pain and cramps began to come in waves and slowly I realized that I was in labor a week early.  By 7:00pm (13 hours later) that Friday evening I was having severely painful contractions every 3 minutes, and I was throwing up. This is when we went to the hospital the first time, and to make a long story short this was only the first day of a full 3 days of labor.

After being awake non-stop since Thursday morning and painfully laboring from Friday morning until Sunday night I finally had a C- Section Sunday night at around 10:00pm.

During that surgery I lost so much blood that I was not even allowed to stand up without help. I could not walk to the bathroom or even stand in the shower because I was so weak. For months afterwards I would literally shake uncontrollably just from standing up for too long such as in the shower, and I would have to sit. And the pain from the surgery made it difficult to move or walk for a couple of months as well.

I remained in the hospital from Sunday until Wednesday, and I did not sleep one night while I was there. I got very little sleep during the day because of all the visitors and nurses coming in. One nurse even came in my room (I think it was the last night, but it is a blur) and said, “You never sleep.”

“I KNOW!” I snapped back at her.

So from Thursday until the following Wednesday I did not sleep one night. I was already so sleep deprived that I had some hallucinations. I barely had enough blood to function. I was recovering from a hard labor and surgery, and I had a newborn to care for.

On top of that I was breastfeeding which became very painful when I got engorged and had bleeding scabs caused by the baby’s constant suckling, and even that got more complicated when they made me give her formula at the hospital the last night which completely messed up my milk supply.

When I got home the sleep never came. My baby never slept even one hour in her bassinet. She was high maintenance and had to be held at all times. The only time she ever slept was while I was holding her…..EVER.

She never sat happily in a carrier or bouncy seat or swing. She never laid on a blanket for more than 5 minutes. She had to have me holding her at all times, and she breast-fed every 45 minutes. This meant that I never slept, and I only showered once a week! When I was in the shower I could hear her screaming bloody murder the entire time….How relaxing.

My body has never been so depleted in my life, and my entire body was in so much pain that I could hardly bare it all year. Even when the baby slept I could not sleep. And all of the nutrients from my already anemic and depleted body went straight to the baby when I nursed her.

And so then the depression and anxiety set in. I sobbed and sobbed all the time. I felt completely overwhelmed and exhausted. I had horrible nightmares that my baby was dead. I had anxiety that caused me to stay awake and check to see that she was breathing all during the night, and I had thoughts of suicide and of running away. I could not imagine being without my baby though so that is why I did not run away or overdose. Postpartum depression is a monster that is very frightening and cannot be described appropriately. It is unlike anything else even other types of depression.

Even though I really did know what I was doing, and I knew things that most new mothers have no clue about I still thought that I was a horrible mother because my baby was fussy, and I was so depressed and sleep deprived that I was almost delusional.

The horrible depression lasted about a year, and my baby did not sleep through the night for 15 months. I never slept through one night that entire time, and remember I had been awake for four nights already when she was born.

As much as I loved my baby and had always wanted her more than anything else….it was not the ecstatic experience that I had hoped for and had seen in the movies and TV.  It almost sent me over the edge.

My point is not just to write a “woe is me” story. My point is that no matter how much difficult hands on experience or college education a person has sometimes life throws us a few curve balls that nothing at all can prepare us for. Sometimes things happen that are so far beyond our control that we could never have planned enough for them. Sometimes people are going through things that we have not experienced and so there is no way that we can understand it or judge it. Sometimes people might warn us about something or tell us about an experience but until it happens to us we just do not get it.

I had a little pride and then I got pumbled in ways that I could never have imagined. My body, mind, and spirit took a beating that year and then got kicked with steel toed boots. Now when I see a mother struggling, exhausted, losing her mind or crying…..I get it!

I had another mother tell me that when she had her first baby she just did not understand what all the fuss was about. She said that her baby was so easy, and she did not comprehend what other mothers were so wound up about……then she had her second child. And she got it! That second baby cleared it all up for her!

So if you have had a pretty easy time with your baby, and you see another mother looking pale with black eyes pulling all of her hair out of her head piece by piece and cussing someone out……don’t throw stones at her. Or if you see a mother who cannot seem to function normally in the world for a season. She cannot ever go anywhere or do anything because her child will scream the entire time…..don’t assume that she is just a rookie or a drama queen. Pat her on the back. Giver her a hug. Look at her with love because you never know what things are like for her, and one day it might be you.

I am happy to say that I survived, and my daughter sleeps through the night now. She is in the terrible twos, but for me that is a relief  compared to the first year. She is the light in my life. She is my little side kick. She is more than the daughter that I always dreamed of, and I would do it all again right now for her.

I also have a happier more inspirational story about her birth that I hope to tell soon, but this one is for all the moms who have been to hell and back and have lived to tell about it. My hat goes off to all of you. I understand! I get it now!

What on earth would possess me to tell such intimate secrets and air such dirty laundry in a blog for the world to see? That is so against my nature and out of character for me. I am a secret keeper. I am a protector and a defender of my family and our secrets. Have I gone stark raving mad?

There are several answers to this question. One is that truthfully I have no clue why I would suddenly begin to tell the world about my personal and family secrets, but I am following an inner nudging, my intuition, the voice of God (call it what you will.) I am so familiar with this quiet inner voice because I have always been in tune with it, and it has always served me well. When I ignore it I always regret it, and when I follow it I am never lead astray. I believe that my ability to hear and follow my inner voice is part of the reason that I have survived. As I surrender to the flow of God’s breath and love I am compelled to blog about very intimate things in my life.

Another reason is that we are only as sick as our secrets. People recovering from various hurts and habits know this very well. The secrets that we keep out of fear, shame, and loyalty to family dysfunction will eat away at our souls and our bodies. And I am tired of being soul sick.

Truthfully though I do have some uncomfortable and guilty feelings about some of the things that I write. I do not desire to hurt any of my family or throw anyone under the proverbial bus. My intention is not to expose others, but I do have to tell some of my own story, and my story does involve other people.

Like I said earlier it is my nature to protect and cover my family not to expose them. So this blog is not always easy for me to write. I have to make it clear that I love both of my parents dearly. I have a relationship with them and a bond with them. Sadly they, for whatever reason, were troubled wounded souls, and that got passed onto me as their child even though that was never their intention. So now I have many stories about my own woundedness to tell.

I now have a two-year old daughter of my own and so I realize that I have to work twice as hard and twice as fast to release myself from the dysfunctional patterns that I have always known so that I do not pass them on to her. I am sure that there will be some things that I cannot protect her from because as humans we all experience brokeness, but I do feel a sense of urgency to allow healing to occur in certain parts of myself  so that I can stop some of the cycle before it comes around to her. That is part of my compulsion to write about some of my intimate secrets.

If we are only as sick as our secrets then I am ready to be done with the secret thing!

Believe it or not there are secrets that I have about things that I have been through, things that I have seen, and things that I have done that I will not include in this blog. Yes…….there is more……and it is too big and too juicy for me to blog about at this point in my life. Those secrets will be revealed only to certain people, and possibly later I will be able to write them but maybe not.

So in spite of the difficult things that we have been through and the things that we have done….. I have a love, and an attachment, and a deep connection with all of my family.  It is just that now it is time for me to reveal some of my secrets and get out from under the oppression of the family code of silence. I have to get free, and I pray that my family can be free as well.

There are certain gifts that people are just born with. Well, “gift” is not even the right word. It is who we are. It is not only part of our DNA, but it is somehow imprinted into our hearts and souls.

That is how dancing is for me. I am not saying that I am the world’s greatest dancer, but I was a born dancer. I was dancing before I could walk and begging to take classes by age three.

My parents saw this true desire and gifting in me and were good at supporting me by taking me to classes and coming to all of the performances. My mom even held my dancing as sacred for me because she stood up to my step father when he bitched about my loud dancing feet scratching up the wood floor of my bedroom on the second floor above his room. She said, “She’s a dancer! You cannot tell her not to dance!”

My dancing was the expression of my deepest soul. I danced for hours and hours in my room when I was not in the studio. I could free style and just allow the music to move me, and I also choreographed and performed daily for my family. My friends and I even spent our play time choreographing and performing for our parents during play dates.

I danced when I was sad or angry. I would passionately dance it out alone in my room. I danced when I was happy and celebratory as well. Dancing was my way of releasing everything, and it was my escape. It was my refuge. I could literally block out everything around me and enter another dimension when I was dancing whether shining like a star in front of an audience or all alone in secret solitude.

Dancing was also my way of connecting to God. I could feel a larger higher spirit pulsing through me when I danced, and I was even asked to dance in church as a young teenager. When I was finished and  “came back” to reality I saw everyone in tears in the congregation. Apparently they could feel it too. But usually this was something that I did alone with God.

When I went to college I immediately got into a dance company. At that time I was so depressed and still reeling from the things that I had been through before college that I no longer felt like dancing. I just didn’t care anymore. I could hardly dance, and that was my major red flag that something was horribly wrong in my very soul…….But that is not the story for today.

Saturday night I got the pleasure of dancing with my two-year old daughter in her very first dance recital. It was more than just a child’s recital for me because it was as if everything had come around full circle, and I was back on that dance stage. But this time I was with my baby…holding her hand….quietly whispering the next step in her ear….lifting her up….swaying and sashaying hand in hand….and experiencing her first performance with her.

What a magical and healing experience. I was taken back to all of my childhood performances. I was reliving them …not just through my daughter…..but actually with her.

Honestly I can hardly explain it, but if your soul is a dancer like mine you may understand. Or maybe if your soul is a singer or an artist of some sort you may understand too. But helping my baby as she danced for the very first time under the lights stirred my soul. It re-awakened something within me that is actually me, and I was teary eyed all weekend.

When she came outside after the show and saw her two grandmothers she gleefully said,  “I’m a dancer! I’m a dancer!”……

Wow!…… Me too!…… And forgetting that is forgetting who I am in my truest self.

I am thankful for the divine cycles that bring us back around to ourselves. And I will never forget the feeling of dancing with my baby girl in her very first performance. I will try to hang on to that feeling of life continuing…..renewing…..and healing. And I will try to dance again.