Does Christianity work on me?

Hey fahm.

You know, I never talked like that before I liked Camie’s character in mha, it’s funny how you can change how you talk based on things like that.

Well, I think it’s fun to have more of an accent anyway.

How’s everyone doing? I know I haven’t updated this blog a whole lot lately. I’ve been writing a lot on Wattpad.

But hey, I’m up to 2.3k views on one story, if y’all want to go check that out.

[ https://www.wattpad.com/user/worldwalkerdj ]

I’ve also not had a lot to blog about, other than getting a new kitten (who’s doing great still btw, I wrote more about her here: New Kitten)

But an important milestone happened last month, it’s officially been 2 years since my dad moved out.

WOOOOO!

I cannot believe it’s been that long. Still feels like a few months ago he was here.

And I still can’t believe it was mostly my efforts that made it happen, with some help from my siblings.

It’s so weird. That’s a part I rarely tell people who actually know me, I feel like it would shock them. People already don’t get why I was happy about the whole thing.

In hindsight, I could have been more tactful about it, but I am an open book…

People have to get used to that about me, it’s a shock at first.

To this day, we do still feel bad about it at times. My dad didn’t hesitate to lay the guilt trip on thick when I did talk to him for the first time.

And it bothered me.

I still get dreams about it all too. They tend to make me doubt myself, my worth, my decisions. My sisters gets them too.

But the difference now is, he’s not here. We can replay all his words in our heads, but he’s not here to say them. At some point, either you embrace that or you don’t, I think.

Something that bugged me a lot about it all too is this:

Does Christianity really work?

If my mom and dad really believe, how can they act the way they do? Why are they not kinder?

But recently, I’ve realized I could ask myself the same questions.

Christianity ought to make me happy all the time, if it’s true. It’s truly an amazing belief. Puts everything in the right place, mean that life has a meaning beyond what we can imagine.

I think the very reason it doesn’t make me feel that way all the time is because humans cannot hold the whole truth in our heads for very long. You grow into it…

But really even a piece of Christianity is enough food for thought to last you your whole life, so the whole things is even harder.

Other religions usually just have piece of Christianity in them, and the make more of one thing than another. Then add their own stuff to it.

If we could fully realize it at all times, I think we would live completely differently always.

But our focus shifts from one element to another.

In my life, I’ve accepted that God highlights certain aspects of it for me when I need them. That I can’t try to focus on it all at once, I grow in one thing at one time, and another thing at another time. And hat is the only way I think we really can live.

If that’s not your life, you’re probably not grown at all.

And why would I want to exclude certain parts of it anyway? I want the whole picture.

All the immature Christians I know tend to end up stuck on one thing, and they refuse to leave it, ever.

You’ve met the type no doubt, if you life in the West. They harp on about judgment, or holiness, or grace, till you’re sick to death of it.

And you wonder “what about all the other elements of it?”

Yeah, being a well rounded Christian is kind of like being the avatar. You can’t rely too much on one element, you need all of them together, or you’re off balance.

God is a consuming fire, you have to know him as such–but he’s also the living water, and you need to know Him as that.

And really, that’s what make God interesting, isn’t it? As well as people, if you really get to know them.

We spend too much time in our niches now. It used to be you had a friend you learned different stuff about that friend.

But now I can have online friends for each interest i my life, and never need to go beyond that, ever. And it’s no wonder I feel like I don’t really know any of them that well.

That said, I can’t always know why some Christians don’t live the way I want.

But there’s two point to be made here.

  1. Christians are never promised to be 100% perfect while on earth. We’re told that will not happen, n fact–and we wouldn’t’ be able to relate to anyone else if it did.
  2. It’s entirely possible my idea of what everyone should live like is shallow and narrow minded. Do I know everything? No.

And those who criticize Christians for that reason are actually kind of arrogant. Like, you think you can judge us for still having issues? Do you have a better way of life? Are you doing so much better?

Christianity does not promise to fix all you problems overnight. It promises to save your soul.

What you do with that, is going to be a journey.

But whats the alternative?

I’m convinced that there is no way of life we can take as human that it will turn us into angels.

But Christianity is the only thing that will make anything close to it.

The idea is how close are we getting?

Christian re not always good peopel, but mor chirsitn are good people than people who have no God, and no faith. Or who have iath ina ahrshed God.

Not all charitiyes are chirsitn, but most of them are.

Not all world chagner have ben chirsitnst–but mst of the ones we still revere to this day were.

Not all really good books and sotreis are christiant, but many of the ones we still like after so many centureis were.

One has to look at the tendancies of man, not isioated indivuaile, sometiems.

While my dad was a jerk, and still is. I can’t being to guess how much worse it would have been if he did not at atle thav eto rpetend to be Christiatn. If it spared me one bad moment out of two, then it was something.

And he at least taught me to trun to God, even if he did not practice it himself the way I think he shoudl ahve.

My dad, while the most destructive force in my life next to my own human nature, also ushered in a lot of moments of truth for me.

Do I like him? No.

Can I ignore that? No.

God brings good out of bad, that’s what He does. He doesn’t just keep all bad away from us.

I find that view of life escapist.

I know that people often see this explanation as a christian cliche, and bitter, angry people do not want to hear it anyway.

But I’m to the point where I think: Well, sure, it’s cliche…but what else could you conclude based on the world around us?

God has to be good, I know, because if God was evil why would anything good still exist?

An Evil God would not bother giving us free will, would He?

You can’t reconcile the presence of Good and Evil in the world without a good God giving his creations free will, it’s just not possible.

If God was evil, we all literally wouldn’t have a prayer. If God didn’t care, then we would all be dead already from our own stupidly.

If God is Good, but does not force us to be, then we have our answer. Evil has consequences. To stop them is to render it meaningless to choose at all.

You can’t give your kids keys to the car, and then put it on autopilot, and say that they drove it. It’s just not how choice works. If they crash it, that was a a risk you took.

But it’s more of a risk to not let a kid learn how to do things for themselves, is it not? If you cannot coddle them through life, what will they do?

And God could do that for us, but he seems more interesting having adults, or at least kids with some sense of self.

Every child understands the idea of choice, it’s us older people who try to say we don’t have one.

It’s an old answer, but maybe let’s old because it’s true.

We should consider that, you know.

Some things are just true, so they are eternal.

I know that people who have been hurt do not want to hear that it had to happen.

And maybe it didn’t, I’m not sure sin ever “had” to happen.

But it does.

We all do it.

I’m inclined now, at 22, to think it’s a better use of my time to let God heal and teach me to live better, than to whine about how it all sucked.

Jesus suffered too, after all.

I still have lots of memories of self pity, but God willing, they are getting less.

And I do have some things I still need to work through, but I’m leaning also that it is not the most important thing in the world.

I guess, I’m saying, we can complain about our lives…or we can take the offer to have them made new.

But guess what, whether you take Gods’ offer or not, you’re life is still going to have bad things in it.

It’s just a matter or whether you ever want there to be more to it than that.

That has always been what Christianity offers. Not an escape from the world, but from yourself, and your pain.

With that thought, I think I’ll just end this here, this is short for me, but I think that’s okay.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Father’s Day– How to deal..

So, it’s that time of year again.

I don’t remember the first Father’s Day without my dad very well, my health was spiraling at the time, so the day itself wasn’t my focus.

I remember even before last year, Father’s Day never felt like a big deal to me. We’d give my Dad stuff that said he was awesome, and the best dad, and… it didn’t feel real for years before we finally woke up to the fact that is was a lie.

He ate it up though.

Yesterday was the day where I live, and I had mixed feelings.

I always want to think I’m okay on these days, but a day where I will constantly be hearing it talked about to appreciate our fathers, and that we don’t appreciate them enough…

It makes me a little sick. And to be honest, a little resentful and envious.

Envy is the great enemy of people with traumatic or just sucky childhoods. Once you start asking “Why couldn’t I have that?” It’s a dangerous slippery slope.

You’ll find yourself hating everyone who has a good dad, or even just a decent dad, or a dad who’s not that good but isn’t abusive.

I’ve envied people with no dad. I feel like it would be easier to just not have one, than to have one who abandoned me emotionally, and tried to do it physically, but still blamed me.

I still remember what he told me before walking out on one of his temper tantrums(the last one he got away with) “YOU WIN.”

Like this was what I wanted.

But in the end, it became what I wanted. He never thought it would, but it did.

As you know if you read my recent posts, I talked to him recently. But I didn’t call him on Father’s Day, as talking to him was not a real success.

After 20 months, he still makes me so mad I feel sick at times. And the worst feeling is knowing I can’t get through to him in anyway, you can not reason with an unreasonable person. Better to just let it go, if I talk to him, I now I will try, I cannot help it.

After all, rational people can’t really help trying to reasons with others, but irrational people just enjoy our frustration.

I don’t think he is ever going to change.

But I have. I may still be mad at him, but I don’t have to live around it anymore.

A big thing is just to realize that, I can end the call, and that’s it. I don’t have to interact with him.

We tend to bring other people into our lives even after their gone. Constantly saying “Well they used to do this.”

Key words “used to”

I know as well as anyone that we relive those moments. I’ve been reliving some of my own.

For example: I just got a kitten.

I wanted one for awhile, and the opportunity finally presented itself to rescue a black kitten when I met a lady who had just found 6 (may she have speed in finding homes of ht rest before they get too big to be easily taken care of).

Though everyone else in my house told me the dog might eat it, I got it anyway. So far the dog has chased it, but not succeeded in biting it, I’m not sure she’s actually trying to , she thinks chasing the cats is a game we all play, but she’s never bitten any of them. And she’s a dog who bites other dogs and tries to get people, so if she really was trying, it seems she’d have done it by now

But it’s a little kitten, and I don’t want to risk it, plus its scared of her. So we’re keeping a careful watch until it gets big enough to defend itself.

But it did bering up some trauma for me.

When we got our older cats, also as kittens (they were left in our backyard by their mother) they were very playful, and my dad loves cats, allegedly, more than he loves his children, my grandma aid once.

I think she was right

But anyway, my dad once held our boy cat, and the kitten bit him playfully like hey do, they don’t know it hurts us more because we have no fur, after all.

I guess it shoudlnt’ ahve surpised me, since he resented me as a baby too but my dad just loked at the ktten weirdly and siad “Whya reyou biting me?I could snap your neck.”

One of my sisters went “DAD!”

And he said “I was just kidding…”

But it didn’t sound like he was kidding.

My dad never actually hurt one of the kittens, but he wasn’t always nice to him, and cats are his favorite animals too. He never liked dogs or cared about our birds or fish.

Now not being an animal prosper is one thing, but… why was he so psychotic about it?

That’s haunted my memory for years while being around my cats. I project what other people do on to myself, and worry about myself doing it. I’ve never been cruel to a cat, and I’m no animal abuser in general, I like animals, but…it doesn’t matter to me whether I’ve done it or not, I still picture it.

It’s very stressful, especially since I love my pets and the idea of them being hurt is very sad to me.

I’ve clued in finally that I think this more because of my dad than because I am a sick person. He is the sick person, and I am suffering some kind of secondhand complex about it.

I can actually attribute my suicidal thoughts to the same thing. My dad talked about it to us openly, not caring if it scared the crap out of us.

I project it onto myself. I think it was easier to blame myself than my dad.

I think I can control myself more than him, and I couldn’t handle it if he did that, so I project it onto myself, but that is just a guess.

Same with any other thing I find disturbing. I’ve always feared becoming the villain. I was a very good kid, and didn’t do anything of the tings I worried about doing.

To this day, there are still somethings that bother me, but I a happy to report, I’ve been doing a lot better with them.

The feeling of being tense, worried, and suspicious of myself is what still lingers. Feelings take longer to heal than our thoughts, and thoughts take longer than our spirit. It’s kind of just how it works.

But when I read what other people deal with in their PTSD, I feel lucky.

I have had my issues, but, even in those issues, I had help.

Of course, I just came out of a year where for several months I wasn’t eating properly becuase of stress, and I dropped 15 lbs, I’ve gained it all back now and I eat more than I ever have probably. My stomach is better now than it’s been for years.

But it was intense. I was depressed because of all the issues I had, because I was impatient to get on with my life, and because I was anxious.

I was anxious because I feared my dad had jacked me up for good. How would I ever get past what he did to me, and what he was like? Every activity I did, I could be reminded of him.

I think it was worse for me as a homeschooler in some ways, because you never get away form it. Other kids have school, and can escape briefly into a different world,for me, I had to create that word in my own head.

I think I turned to writing partly to get away from my life. And to make sense of it.

And I turned to God to ease the pain.

I know that God is the only thing that has ever really made me feel better. When I was aching from my dad’s actions and words, (and my mom’s too), I would cry and pray, and eventually, peace would come. I’d feel loved by God while I felt hated by my parents.

David wrote in psalm 27 “When my mother and father forsake me, the LORD will take care of me.” I love David.

The Bible is clear that God has a special place for orphans, for people without families. I think because, first of all, He is LOVE. And second, those people are less pretentious about their needs.

With God’s help, I have been able to return to a normal life much faster than may people.I considered that maybe I shouldn’t, but since I never suffered from any crippling behaviors outside of the eating thing, and few panic attacks, it didn’t seem right to pause my whole life. I found doing normal stuff to be more helpful to keeping me form dwelling on my problems.

I needed school, honestly. And church.

And by doing more things I like and that matter to me, I felt less depressed. It went form “this stops me from enjoying life” to “I can still do what I love.”

It’s taken a while for it to feel at all the same as before, and it still doesn’t every day, but people tell me, eventually, I should feel better about it than I ever did.

Once thing is for sure, once you’ve walked through hell, if you come out the other end, nothing fazes you as much anymore.

I write a lot about about people with traumas… really, almost everyone has it. We used to just call it being broken.

Being human. Having difficult times in life that are hard to get out of, it’s nothing new. I think we’ve made it too big by giving everything a fancy name. Names are okay, but they can feel so final.

It used to be expected that people would get over it, with enough time. Now we tell people some issue are permanent. We dont really know that. Depression may not be permanent. You just haven’t lived long enough for it to go away.

If you believe it never will, though, then it never will. It’s simple.

I had to realzise that.

Also, I’m learning to be okay with having negative feelings, and not turning that into anxiety. It’s taking a really long time, it’s an ingrained habit for me to freak out over sadness, anger, and envy instead of just accepting them and asking for help.

My way of freaking out is to push it away and worry about it, not to lose face. I sometimes think it’d be easier if I was less composed, but I am wired that way. Very different from my dad, who never hides anything he feels.

I thin I did not want to scare people like he does, so I chose my mom’s way of hiding emotions. My mom never, ever volunteers information about how she feels.

I tell people how I feel, but I have a hard time just staying open to it. I can admit that. if I make myself stay in the moment long enough, I can feel things more completely.

For example, I was sad when one of our cats went missing for 36 hours. I found her eventually, but we were afraid because she’d been acting kind of sick, and it was hot.

I knew I was upset, but I couldn’t cry or properly feel anything except fear, until I sat down for several minute together, thought about it, told myself over and over “It’s okay to be sad.”

Then I finally cried about ti. I felt better.

I did the same thing with Fear. Anxiety is easy to feel, but actually facing the Fear behind it isn’t. Anxiety is like fear toned down to something we can stand to feel all the time, at the price of it never going away. While facing the fear can finally end it, but is what terrifies us the most.

But if I do it, the anxiety gets better too.

What is sad is that this is true of my happy feeling too. If I think too much, I can’t feel happy.

I can’t feel love.

When I foucs on it, long enough, I can feel it.

Honestly it’s the most helpful. l just slow down, relax, rest… and then let the feelings come up. I think I go too fast. I think fast, but I also push myself to feel things too fast too.

It’s the pressure I feel to be normal, as well as this microwave society we live in. I always think I need to be doing something productive.

Not everything has to be a complex people, sometimes it really just is our attitude toward sour schedule that is creating our issues, not trauma.

And if trauma is the reason we have that attitude, we’ll realize it most when we try to stop.

Anyway writing is often what helps me do that the most.

One thing therapy taught me was to stop hating on the ways I deal with things. As long as I am dealing with them non destructively, its fine if writing is how I want to vent.

Just writing isn’t always enough, but if you can’t do anything else, then write.

Someone said that Depression isn’t a sign that you are weak, but that you have been strong way too long.

That is not always true. People get depressed for different reasons.

But I do think it is true if you are the type of person who pushes yourself, like I do.

I push myself because I had no one to rely on as a kid. I had to be self motivated. My parents would criticize what I did do, but encouraged me to do nothing else except be a Christian. I am grateful for that, as that saved my sanity, but we need more than that.

My dad did encourage me to do things he liked, but would still criticize me more than necessary when I did them.

Anyway, to get back to my main topic…Father’s Day is complicated for me.

But I do think I can dwell on the bad too much.

I talked to God about it, and He seemed to be telling me that, He as a father wants to be very different.

God has always done for me what my earthly father should have done. I go to Him when I am upset, He praises me when I need it, and He provides for me and doesn’t demand I do anything in return. He does not guilt trip me, even though I often expect it because, of course, trauma.

I think it would surprise people who don’t have this, how much like regular a human relationship it is.

Because yes, I can get triggered even with God.

The words “I love you” are a rigger for me (I found out that I’m not the only victim who feels this way) because my dad’s disgusting hypocrisy is the feeling associated with them when I think of them.

But God also says “I love you.” A lot, it’s all over the Bible.

So what do you do? You don’t want to hate those words.

Something I think God gave me about it to help is this, “I mean them when I say them.”

The whole trigger is that you don’t believe the person means it when they say that.

And instead of marginalizing that to the one perp who is responsible, we apply it to everyone who says those words.

The only way to undo that, is to believe the One who is saying it is sincere.

I think it works differently for everyone. Truthfully, I used to resent that I didn’t have more human help for this.

It sounds arrogant (and it is) but I would think “I want more than just God to help me.”

Right…right Natasha, complain about God himself helping out.

You know, we do this because we believe God is less real than humans…not because we honestly think Good’s help, if we understood ti, could be less effective.

I believe God knows I am just a silly human who doesn’t know what I am talking about, and forgives me for having those thoughts, but it done’st mean I don’t need to try to think differently.

We can’t help being human, it’s true. Even those of us with strong faith doubt in God’s realness, and it bothers us.

I think it maybe bothers God less than us, because He sees what we choose despite having doubts. It takes courage to go with something you have doubts about because you believe that it is more important than your doubts.

And that’s what faith is, for someone who’s never had it defined before.

A belief you hold and act upon regardless of doubt, that is faith.

It’s most surprising, int h end, not how hard ti is to reach God, but how easy.

And I do say that as someone who’s had a lot of times where I felt like my prayers were not getting through.

Somehow, it hits you after awhile that God is actually not the One who’s changed, it’s you.

God has been there with me in all of this.

I still attribute the fact that my mental health is not worse than it is to that. I think it’s miraculous that I didn’t walk out of that situation with much more lasting problems.

Something I will still deal with years from now, but I don’t think it will be like it is for others who didn’t have that.

I read about people who’ve have the same problems for 5 or 7 years, and have just about given up hope.

I look at myself, I’ve had the same problems since I was a little girl, but, they weren’t consistent. I’ve had breakthroughs, freedom, and changes in myself, no once can deny that.

I now that many, many people don’t get that. They don’t even know it’s possible

Christina may not get out of some struggles, we don’t get out of abuse, or mental health problems, because everyone has flaws, and that’s just enough word for it, or another word for trials, and everyone has those.

God does not promise we won’t be mistreated.

Jesus said “Blessed are you when they persecute you for righteousness sake.” “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

We forget so easily that Jesus is the “man of sorrows” and “acquainted with grief.”

That he dealt with loss.

I know that I may not comfort anyone who is still in it to think that we are not promised a trouble free life.

But no one has that.

I think that it’s helped me more to realize that I am not owed a pain free life by God. But he will heal the pain I am dealt.

And God does not spare himself pain, so he will not spare us pain, but he does pare us the worst part of it, and take that on himself.

God was with me all the time I was with my dad. And I was never hurt badly by him, physically. I could have been. I see God as the only thing that kept my story from being that bad. My dad has not picture that would help him.

I didn’t get to escape all of it, but what I did escape, was God.

And I can be the bitter about the rest, or grateful that I got what I did.

We are each given outs in life, little patches of beauty. Some of us have more than others, but I believe firmly that if we cherish what we have, we will be given more. The Word says “To him ho has more will be given, but to him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

A friend recently asked me if I have any good memories of my dad.

I wondered if she meant to gently warn me I should not keep only talking about the bad with him.

And the truth is, for along time, I didn’t like to admit it.

I ahve ver fe untainted meoreis with him.

But, the thing I have noticed for a while is this: All my good memories with my dad are the one centered around Jesus.

He used to pray with us every other night (my mom and him would take turns) and he’s pray good stuff, I still hear it go through my head at times, and it’s nice.

Taking us to church.

Watching Christian movies.

Doing ministry.

All the best things I remember, God was the reason.

God is the only reason my dad and I have anything good, because Faith can trump even deep resentment at certain moments.

It is still the only thing we have in common.

Even things that weren’t Christian directly, like movies we both like, are influence by your Christian values.

My dad also played a huge part in my actual salvation though his approach was not one I’d employ myself, but God can use anything.

I could resent it…or, I could be grateful that any good got through.

It’s more dramatic to claim my dad never did anything right…. but it wouldn’t be honest.

Most people with dad who had any kind of morality have at least a few good stories. Those who doesn’t have my sympathy, I still think Go can make it better.

And… that’s my father’s day story.

Thank you, Earthly Dad, for passing on the Faith to me, even if nothing else you did was right.

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Thank you Heavenly Father, for being the One Worthy of that Faith.

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That’s all for this post, until nest time, stay honest,— Natasha

When you want to help…

It’s funny how telling the truth can open doors for you.

My sisters and I spent 4 hours yesterday talking to a girl whit a very similar situation to the one we got out of. Same kind of abuse, mostly, same hiding behind the church, same manipulation. Same fear too.

She seemed relieved just to be listened to her. Like us, she’s had people blow her off one too many times.

It’s hard to hear other people’s stories, knowing they are still suffering, but haven’t been able to break free yet. We encouraged her to have a plan, and reach out for help, but we can’t do it for her, not without proof.

I don’t know where it will go, but I do know she seemed a little lighter after unloading all that. Just not suffering alone can be helpful.

It’s funny, between being at home, the life of a victim can be pleasant by turns, just like anyone else’s. What makes abuse a little hard to explain is that you can seem like you do normal things, and the twistedness is always in how it’s just not done the way other people do them.

Like while we talked her parents must have called at least 4 times to ask if she was okay, but she was with us the “Super Christian purists” as her mom thinks, at a cafe two minutes from their house, just talking.

I was like “what do they think you’re doing to do? Drugs?”

But that’s her reality.

At least I didn’t have to deal with that, my dad was paranoid, but didn’t really care about me enough to check in most of the time. Only if I was out past 10pm usually. He did try to discourage me from liking most of my friends, and boys…and anyone who wasn’t in his circle.

Well, comparing stories is useless except to sympathize.

I could see plenty of myself in her experiences, and some things are worse. The physical abuse is worse for her, the emotional abuse was worse for me, but, really, it’s just as damaging either way.

It’s so sick to think how normal this is for so many people, and how often it is even in the church. I don’t blame the church for what these people do, just for not being open about talking about it so that people can seek protection there, like they should be able to do.

My church is better than many, and I can’t speak for every church, of course, just none of the other ones I went to were useful, but since my dad did pick the churches we went to, that may be a symptom more than a cause. He always picked ones where he could get away with it.

Perhaps other people may be wondering what it’s like for us to talk to others with similar experiences, knowing what we know now.

I think the hardest thing is, knowing how much to say. There are somethings I was only ready to hear after months of therapy, recovery, and healing. There are some things I was only willing to accept once I had already decided to trust God.

What I told her is what I think I needed most to hear when I was stuck:

That, I didn’t get explanations and answers until I had already chosen to trust. Understanding does come, faith does come, once you have left that up to God.

I also mentioned that I don’t know why some people get saved from these situations supernaturally, and others don’t. But that God did work in our lives, and I can’t deny that. Why do some people get the fairy tale rescue and others get the action hero type where you’re trained to do it yourself, who knows? Could have something to do with ones calling.

Not everyone who has been abused is called to help other people get out of it, but the girl in question is already one of the healers, I think, and like us, it could be she is supposed to learn how to overcome it so she can help other people.

Let’s be real, for every Christian in this situation, there’s probably 100 non Christians at least, if not more, in a similar or worse situation. Christians may still get abused, but, it can’t be denied it happens to us less often. It would be very strange if it didn’t.

To be able to enter that field and understand the kind of pain and damage those people carry, and knowing how God fixes it, you have to have felt it yourself.

I like to quote Betsie Ten Boom “There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still. They will believe us because we have been here.”

We were there.

I am still recovering. New breakthroughs in defeating anxiety are still happening for me every month. New memories that are losing their power. New things I realized about freedom. I am not the same person, but also, I have always been this person.

I tried to give our friend hope. I said “It’s not easy to choose that path, but if you choose it, years from now, at the other end, you will be a new person.”

It’s up to her and we know that. As much as I believe it’s morally wrong to give in and choose hatred and bitterness, I know it can not be forced to forgive and heal. You have to want that.

We told her how we wanted a better life than that, well, I did. And how I fed myself with stories about it so I knew there was something better out there, so I had something to hope for.

I still do that to this tday.

I read Webtoons obsessively sometimes, and sometimes just casually, I know they aren’t very realistic for the most part, some are better at that.

But what it does is constantly put before my eyes a best case scenario, a better version than what I saw growing up.

To the point where my idea of marriage is far more connected to what I believe it should be, than to what I saw. I realize that is actually rare for someone in my position.

I didn’t realize it till recently, talking to other people, and seeing how they hate men, they hate marriage, and they hate relationships, all because of that association with their past.

Like Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice, I was not informed just by my own family.

Trashy romances (of which many webtoons are not by the way, all due respect to those authors) have few uses in this world, but if you read it with an eye for what is real, even amidst what isn’t, you can begin to dream.

Its also good to read true stories of happy couples, realizing they really do exists, and not listening to bitter people who’ve never made a relationship work tell you that it never happens.

My father spoke very negatively of marriage, though he said my mom was the most wonderful woman in the world, he also referred to her “jokingly” as his slave, made fun of her weight, her singing, and would gross us all out on purpose and tell us stories we said we didn’t want to hear, if we protested, he got upset.

If I went by that, I’d think men were just what the angry feminists say.

But I’ve also read of men who are much, much more considerate, and been treated better by other guys I know, and had some stereotypes called into question even by my cousin.

Heck, men can be more emotionally damaged than women a lot in this country because of our gender stereotypes about them. At least people will believe me if I say it happened.

I don’t hate men. I do detest the kind of men who do thinks I detest, I detest women like that too.

I’m lucky. I was shown the foolishness of doing that much sooner than many women are. But I also wanted to be fair.

I think really, it’s all in what you want to be true.

Someone who really wants it to be true that true love exists, that gentlemen are not extinct, that women are actually compassionate (some of them), that freedom from trauma happens… that person will not give up until they find those things. The odds are, in this life, they will eventually, if you live long enough.

Someone who has already accepted that it’s all a lie will stop looking, and if you don’t seek , you don’t find.

Jesus promised that everyone who asks receives, everyone who seeks finds, and to whoever knocks the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:8)

He didn’t say it happens the first time you ask, he told us to ask again and again until we get it.

He also said he who endures to the end will be saved.

It maybe that some people do not make it out, but I believe, if they seek, if they ask, if they knock, either they are delivered in this life, or in the next. Usually in this life.

Lucky for us God also controls the next life.

I suppose that could sound naive, childish, and even crazy to many people.

Many people are bitter and jaded, and have never understood God to begin with.

To the true believer, the knowledge of God provides something that makes all this suffering worth it. What can we explain about it? It’s like breathing, or like sleeping, it’s not something you really overthink while you’re doing it, you just are.

Of course we have times of questioning if it really is worth it, but it’s my understanding that anything you really love in life, you only really love if you do it when it’s not fun, and believe it’s worth doing even when you’re not getting rewarded for it.

I don’t write for attention, though I do appreciate every view and like that I get, but it’s not why I write.

Just the same, I don’t believe in God and walk with him to get out of pain. I do get out of more pain because of that, I get through pain because of that, but it’s not why I do it.

Getting credit for hard work is the proper reward for the work, but so is just doing the work itself and seeing what you made. In the same way, getting to know God is the proper reward for putting effort into it, and relief form suffering is just the other natural outcome of doing it.

I mean most things have more than one good result. Sex gives pleasure in the moment, but it also creates new life, that takes a little longer doesn’t it? And it’s a lot more work to bring that to fruition than it is to have sex (so I hear) but neither one nor the other is unnatural, or bad. Only one might argue that the long term, harder pleasure of having children is more valuable than the short term pleasure of sex. I’d agree there.

Sometimesknowng God is like sex, exhilaritng, and instantous, and the eoffrt is met with a reward in the moment, you cna’t distuibngis them. (of course there’s going tob e some margin for erro here, just like in real life, not like the movies).

Sometimes knowing God is like having a baby. Plenty of pain, discomfort, and confusion before the final miracle happens, and that miracle tens to just start another series of miracles in the form of child rearing.

Not everyone likes children, not everyone likes sex, for that matter. Ad not everyone likes God. But it doesn’t change how the natural order of things works, and to my mind, whether I am liking it or not, this is the way life works.

If it seems naive, then all I can say is I’ve tried cynicism, and it didn’t do anything for me. Perhaps child-likeness is better in the long run. Cynicism doesn’t make you happy, only self satisfied, and that pleasure just isn’t worth it for what you sacrifice along the way.

all this is osmehting y firend is going to hav eto elarn for herlse,f htough, ad so will anyone else. All I can do is pointe them to wehre this could go, if you are willing. I can’t walk for them.

There are times we have to carry each other, but at some point, all of us will have to stand on our own tow feet and choose what to do with our lives. Love, or Fear; Forgiveness, or Hatred. Complaining or Patience; Depression, or Gratitude.

We can’t make that switch all at once, but in one moment, we can decide what we’re going to aim for. And get as close as we can until the day we die.

And that’s whay I’ve learned about it. I don’t know if oeopel will take my adivce or not, but it’s the trueht. And here, even secular thearpay agrees to a certiane xtent.

Hope this helped, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

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The Memorial and the Speech

Sorry for the wait, I got majorly busy last week. I got a job though! Yay!

And it’s high paying too, at least for a non professional worker. Though at this point, I really am a profession, they just don’t give certificates in nanny and babysitter–well, I think they do, but how many people really bother to get them? (Maybe I should though…)

And some of you who read my recent posts may be wondering how my Grandmother’s memorial went.

Well the answer is, actually, very well, all things considered.

It was odd hearing stories from her sons and step kids, and granddaughter, and realizing I’d heard most of them from her personally. I’ve seldom had that experience at a memorial, I usually hardly know the person in question…which is less sad for me, but can feel like a waste too.

The weird highlight of the day was my Dad’s speech.

Yeah, brace yourself. This is just my crazy family.

My dad was glaring at me most of the time leading up to the actual service. My friend came with me, and he didn’t seem to dare to approach, and I walked away any time he got close. I think mostly, he just did it to reject me, and tried to make a sad face. The result was more of a sullen one, but he never knows how it looks.

I ignored him, and no one else took much notice of it. I’m sure he talked crap about me to whoever would waste time listening to it, but I didn’t hear any of it. I only know because I know him too well.

Anyway, so when he got up to speak, I thought “Why…oh.” and I knew exactly what was coming. I thought “He’s going to put some message directed at me in his speech.” And then I thought “But, at a funeral? And when it’s about Grammy?” Deep down, I knew though.

And I swear to you all, I am not making this up for dramatic affect, my friend has never met my dad before, and she told me he was looking right at me a lot of the time. And she could tell it was directed at me. My mom could too.

My dad chose 1 Corinthians 13 as his text for the speech, not that it was necessary, we weren’t preaching sermons. As soon as she said that, I knew what I was in for. I grabbed my phone and kept my eyes on that.

“I’m not given him the satisfaction of seeing me make eye constantly,” I thought. When I looked up, I made sure to look at the wall or my mom or friend I did steal a few glances at the others but I couldn’t’ tell if anyone else know what was up, but my aunt probably did. He maybe even talked the idea over with her!

Anyway, this was what he said, in a paraphrased nutshell:

Reference himself, he said there was a time when he didn’t speak to his parents for 2 years because he thought he hated them, or they hated him (or both, I don’t remember, it doesn’t matter).

Then he said a lot of stuff about love (1 Cor 13 is about love, if you don’t read the Bible). Dwelling on where it says love suffers long, is kind, keeps no record of wrongs, and all the other stuff about love and forgiveness.

He said my grandmother was a very forgiving person (which is true)

And that she was very loving (also true)

But the way he said it all, I had heard those phrases directed at me many times, always to wound. And I knew the tone he used was the one where he tries to sound holy and profound… but it’s really just begging for sympathy.

My chiropractor, who know my dad, told me he’d come in months ago, after I started coming, and had displayed behavior that indicated he’d had no change of heart. If I go into specifics, it would be too disturbing for many readers.

I wasn’t surprised.

But this speech sealed the deal. I already knew nothing has changed, but I really thought, my aunt will have nothing to say to me after this. If she even tries to tell me he’s different, I can point to this incident.

At a memorial!!!

My friend was disgusted, and she’s a much less judgmental person than I am. I warned her though.

Yeah… really, I was just glad he didn’t say it to my face… then again, if it was too my face, I could have told him off. Doing it this way was sure to guarantee I couldn’t’ call him out on it, he can deny it. No one would believe that who knows him well, but he could still claim it.

While it was less uncomfortable for me, since I knew, at least not everyone there would know it was aimed at me, it was underhanded and petty on his part.

It’s also impressively conniving. I mean, once you renounce any sense of decency about respecting the dead, it’s genius isn’t it? Perfect security plan.

Ugh….

Well, I endured.

It’s okay, when I Write my book about all this, everyone will know the truth. My friends say I should write a book, I’m sure I will… I just haven’t decided quite what I want to say yet. I mean, I can tell my story, but I want to know how God is going to get me out of it, even more than now, before I try to tell people about it. a blog is one thing, you can update it, but a book is just out there, unchanging, unless you re-release it…so it would be wise to be sure I was saying the right thing before I write one.

But maybe I will soon. I’m sure some people would be interested in the story.

I’m not about revenge, but it would be a real relief to set the record straight… and can you imagine the look on my dad’s face if he read it? Ha! Priceless.

I would definitely not name any names, just to avoid humiliating him… though that would, of course, not be something he would do for me. But I’m not that low, you know.

Well, that’s a subject for another time.

I guess the profudn tpoi o fhtis post could just be: What do you do when your toxic family just refuses to stop being toxic?

Well, you can two things (that aren’t unhelaty)

You can ignore it, learn to not mind it, by growing more and more apart from them, and forming bonds with healthy people who really love you. And not being around said family anymore than you absolutely have to be. In my case, they were all civil except for my dad. Who is probably just pissed that I didn’t care about his temper tantrum.

The other thing, which is what I had any writer and artist do, is use it all as fuel for the fire.

Difficult experiences are what turn your writing, (or art) from good to great. If it’s possible for you to achieve greatness, it is usually through pain or toil. My writing got exponentially better during the period of darkness following my dad’s exeunt form my life. It was hard, but I faced more gloom and doom than ever before, and coming out on top, I learned from it.

Even this blog changed. I never used to lie to share my personal business, I was ashamed of the situation, I knew it wasn’t right, but I though I could never complain. My blog had pretty doubled in size since I started sharing personal stuff. More of you comment, more of you like and share. And not that I do it for that, but I think it shows people connect to what I say more.

My blog has more of a theme than it used to.

And I have become a kinder person through all this. And more stable, as odd as that sounds.

I also have become a little craftier. I know how to get around a difficult situation. My dad may be petty, and childish, and psychotic at times…but I know how to prevent him from doing much real damage.

Folks, you have to get crafty sometimes.

Jesus told us to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” That should be a Bible Study series, I’ve yet to hear it preached on though, we don’t like being told to be wise and shrewd do we?

But we must be. If we wish to navigate this dangerous world we live in. Some risks cannot be avoided, but they shold be the smart risks, the ones done for the right reason.

My dad is smart, unfortunately, it would be easier for us if he wasn’t. But I am smarter. And God is on my side in all this, so, there’s always a away.

And if you’re in the same boat as me, turst me, God will be on your side too.

I don’t know why everyone does not get delivered the way we did… I do think, very few people would have done what we did. I’ve met no one so far who has, I’ve read no account of it.

All the prayer and healing I did for years alone was what enabled me to have the courage to go through with it. And it’s worked out amazingly, I must say.

All of us are happier now.

The hardest thing to convince our family of is that we could really be okay. The drama in the family (melodrama at times) has killed a lot of their joy and happiness in life. How can we be any different?

Jesus, that’s how.

I’ve stopped asking why it happened, mostly.

Everyone has bad stuff happen to them. I was lucky that through the bad stuff, I had good stuff too. I was lucky that I never got permanently hurt by it. I was lucky people helped me get out of it.

Others may get more or less than me.

But here’s what I know:

Jesus said that God will pay everyone the same wage, whether they worked all day or only for a few hours.

In the same way, God will heal everyone to the same degree.

We are not all given the same amount of bad things in life, or of good things. Anymore than we can compare the bad and good of humanity as a while from place to place, without having a hard time deciding where it’s the worst and best.

I was given more bad than some, and more good than others.

I do know, that once you give all that to God, the good, the bad, the ulgy, the beuatiful, He makes it all a par to fhte samething.

To God, compairng our evil is pointelss. He knows he can reedem it all the same, no matter how bad it is, just like luangdy sopa wil clearn both a shirt that’s been dragegd thorugh the mud, and one that looks fine, but has been worn for too many days straight. Both get clean in the end.

Sometimes it’s harder to clean something that looks fine to begin with, until you get closer and see it’s not so fine.

At least I can point to were a lot of my issues came from. That’s useful.

Some of you who feel you’ve had it way too rough my actually be better off than someone who thinks they are fine, bcaue they aren’t fine. And you aren’t hopeless.

Really, after all I went through, I circled right back to where I began. Like Chesterton said, we go looking for a new thing, and find that the old thing was right the whole time. We just didn’t understand it.

All right, I think I will wrap this up for now, homework is calling me, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

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New Life, New Season

I suppose it’s unchristian not to do a post about Easter… have I ever done one before?

This may not be the most conventional subject for an Easter post, but I was thinking today about some of my old posts. Back from 2015 and 2016.

I wrote one post about how much I didn’t like being wrong. This was not long after I started my blog, probably just a couple months. Nothing has changed, I still hate being wrong.

Being wrong and surviving

And I wrote another post about forgiveness, at this time I was about 16 or 17, I’d say. I know it was before I moved.

At the time, my dad was still at home of course, and would be for a few more years, and he was as awful as usual, though at that time we interacted less, he was addicted to video games and unless I interfered with that, or was working with him to earn money, we hardly spoke.

By then I was already reading books about healing and coming to realize just how much pain I had from him and my mom. This is an except from a post I wrote at the time.

Then

Letting it go-from another angle.

“Forgiving is hard. Yet, I wonder why? We all make mistakes and so why are we so hard on each other for making them? Maybe we want to see a fairness in others that we don’t possess in ourselves.

Let me be clear; by forgiving I don’t mean letting people get away with serious wrong doing. Nor do I mean living in a sort of denial that the damage other people’s words do to you, is not that bad. It is actually much worse than most of us know. Forgiveness is actually acknowledging they did wrong and letting it go. In the words of Stasi Eldredge “It was wrong, very wrong, and I release you.”

Forgiveness is actually more for us than the offenders… Emotionally most of us have probably heard about the necessity of forgiveness. When you hold on to the actions of another, you build them into your brain. I don’t mean in a mind control sense. But when you hate someone you obsess over them, you think of them and the things they’ve said and done to you; if it’s someone close to you then you struggle with not having their approval on your life even as you despise their opinion. You feel indifferent to their pain and even glad when they suffer. You say you’ll forget them but you can’t, because you can’t let what they’ve done go. If you don’t remember who will? It won’t matter to anyone. And that is what scares us, that our pain won’t make a difference in anything. That we ourselves don’t matter. These people who hurt us were right about us then. The emotional and mental damage this does to us couldn’t be fully disclosed if we took hours and hours to talk about it. To not forgive is to agree with the people who hurt us and to sink to their level at the same time.

That is why the first step toward forgiving is admitting it was wrong and you were damaged. A lot of people don’t get this far. They won’t admit their weakness. Or in some cases they will only admit their weakness but never that they can overcome it. They wallow in their pain all their lives…

So, if you are willing to take step one and admit you have been hurt–bad (And someone may be thinking “I can so do that.” Well hold on.) What is step two? It varies. It may involve crying your heart out. Grieving the wound the Eldredges call it. (I highly recommend their books Wild at Heart or Captivating for more detail on this very important part.) In my own journey of forgiving, I cried several times; I shared my pain with trusted people–but don’t do it with the person who hurt you, that was always a disaster–I prayed about it. To which I attribute all progress I made. Pain can be scary because it is so deep. Sometimes we wish we’d left it alone in apathy and numbness. But really that’s even more frightening.

After sadness, or sometimes before it, will come anger. More anger. And fear. Here we face yet another choice, we can press on, releasing the anger and fear, or we can let it drive us back. At this point you will not feel like forgiving, nor will you feel like the person deserves it, it will be purely a choice. I suggest writing it down. Saying it. “I choose to forgive (insert their name).'”

Now

Now that I know so much more than I did then about the situation, this level of grace on my part astounds me. Yet, I know it wasn’t me, I wan’t that wise, I was simply following what my teachers taught me, I always did have that childlike faith.

Actually for some context, (sorry for burdening you with my dark past), at the time I was attending a very toxic church– not by choice, my father forced us all to go. I hated it. “

Well they hounded us from the pulpit about forgiveness and how unforgiveness would land us in hell.

I don’t disagree, the Bible is pretty clear about that… but this church took it to an extreme that ignored that real damage other people’s sins did to you. No talk of therapy, no talk of long term healing.. I ‘m not sure the idea of emotional healing was ever introduced. I know plenty of the parishioners had family issues.

My dad would repeat all this at home, expressing fears over himself not making it, and praying that we all would. His fear scared me, I would not have felt dubious about my own salvation, but he constantly introduced doubt. Small wonder I still struggle with it.

I’m not naturally much of a doubter, not anymore, but it seems sown into me. Popping up when I least want it to.

My dad also found testimonies on the internet about people who’d been to hell and back, or saw visions, and warned about unforgiveness.

I cannot say how much of it was true, all I know is the Bible has no stories of any Christian visiting hell and coming back, and no precedent for it, though heaven is permitted we know from Paul and John. Perhaps hell is not impossible, though no one would like it, but at the very least, many of the testimonies were too much like Dante’s Inferno, a human’s explanation of what hell would be like, and I am skeptical hell could make any more sense to us than Heaven, and no human would come up with what the Bible says about Heaven (read Ezekiel sometime)

That’s not really the point. I have to thank my dad in a way, that is what pushed me to salvation, finally. One has to learned to be thankful for what good did come of anything in our crappy past, though once I felt offended at the very idea. And I wouldn’t take kindly to anyone else telling me that, since they’d be dismissing what I went through.

No, my dad did a few things for me, though not really out of kindness in this case, it stands more to God’s power that the fear and doubt of those years actually led to something good for me, God truly can make goodness out of anything.

My dad also read the post I quoted above. Which I wrote with him in mind. I heard him talk to my mom about it while he was reading it. I remember what he said, I may never forget it:

“I was reading (my name)’s post… I can’t imagine who (she) could know that would have hurt her so badly.”

In said post, I wrote how talking to the person who hurt you did no good… thanks Dad, for proving me right.

I really didn’t want him to read my post, and wished my mom would have stopped him, but turns out I had nothing to worry about. I think that was one of the last times he read my blog at all. I know he doesn’t now, he’d not like what I write about him, I’d be sure to hear about it.

Now, I no longer think that telling someone they hurt you does no good, if they are a mature person who truly loves you. Or even immature, but not toxic (it’s not the same thing, after all), but I was right not to tell him.

Years later, probably a year before he moved out, my dad also said in one family meeting that he got a sense that I had very low self worth, and he prayed for me about it.

I was aware enough by then to be thinking “Thanks Dad, who do you think gave me low self worth”

Wasn’t you treating my like dirt my whole life, neglecting me, abusing my emotions, telling me I was responsible for all your problems.

Now, this is not a post just for me to whine about my life.

But, we’re talking about rebirth today.

I’m starting to, like Paul, boast in my weakness. If I can take pride in nothing else, I can take pride that I have this terrible story (though it wasn’t all terrible), and I still held onto my faith.

There are man things I am still waintg for, the fullr edmeption of my past, the full meaning of why it happened t o me. A chance to tell more peopel my story. I aprpeciate ou 220 or so followers, but IW ant to reach even more peopel, more and more.

I haven’t to dlit all here, some things I did not even realzie were significant until later. soem thing sId id not feel comfortable sharing yet.

What can I say about this trial that other, wiser, better peopel have not alread siad? All I jave if my own story.

I can tell you that I’ve never heard of anyone else doing what I did, reading the books, pupmping thmselves full of self-help, roads to healing, seeking and seeking and seeking.

It was terrible to go through that dark time last year when I feared all that was for nothing, I invented years of my life in healing, and I though I ended up just as screwed up anyway.

While no amount of reading could have prepared m for the shock of getting out of abuse, it did give me something to fall back on. I took the leadership role in my family in my dad’s absence. Not fully, perhaps, but as the other dominant personality, it just happened naturally.

I felt I had to protect them, that since I hatched the plan to get rid of him, I had to make sure they were okay.

It’s been a blow to crumble as much as I did, and not be able to work steadily either, but I had to let go of the idea that everything is my responsibility.

When my dad left, I got my life back.

Really, I was getting it back every time I wrote those posts like the ones above, that I was basing off my real efforts in prayer and self reflection. My dad put all that venom into my brain, and I spat it all out through prayer, tears, songs, and resolutions.

5 years later or so, I still do that. Thouh I make less resolutions, I’ve learned to be suspisonv of those.

While I was still deeply damaged by my dad, the way I handled it back then, by God’s leading, has gotten the poison out of the wound, so it could heal, and I’ve haled faster than I thought I would.

I still have bad days, today even, doubt assaulted me again, even in Church, but I didn’t give way to it like I sued to, I do not know when I will stop being tempted, but I am a lot stronger now.

I gained back the weight I lost too. I’m walking straighter than I ever have, and I have less stiffness and back pain.

My chiropractor tells me I will be a new person when the treatment is finally completed. It’s taken 3 times as long as I wanted to see results, but God never promised it would be done when I wanted, just that it would happen.

I eat more now too. I think I eat more now than before all this happened since I’ve learned when I feel bad, I’m usulaly hungry and low on calroies, not sick.

My gaggin epidose have been over for proably 5 months or more now.

New year, new me, is what I said when 2021 started.

But when I look back at those old posts, and remember how I was then, and see that my heart was more pure than I thought, and that I was trying my best to obey God, as I always have… I think, I’m also just ht old me.

Somehow, my dad never dseprtryon who I am. Though he treid. Somehow, I kept waht I wanted in mind. I’ve never waved for long on what I want.

I want to have a great ministry.

I want to write great books

I want a great marriage

I want many children.

Whether all that comes in the form of adoption, or whatever I end up dong, and travel, or staying home, I don’t care as much as I used to, I know that all this must be part of me for a reason. I was born wanting those things. Except writing, that came once I knew I could do it, but I was always a storyteller even before that.

For ears I eceived little t ono enocuagemanet form anyone about these deams, but I didn’t lose them. That’s a mircale, from what I hear form others, pretty much everyone loses their fdreams as they grow up. To raitne then till you’e 22 is rare. Bt hte ime I’m 30, it’ll be a minoritiy.

I have a feeling I will still wan the same thing at 30 as I do now, only hopefully, I’ll have some of it by then.

I’m a girl from a toxic, abusive family, I’m not supposed to be the statistic that gets a good marriage, and becomes a good parent.

I’m the one who got told she was wrong, and criticized for everything, I’m not supposed to succeed at my talents.

I’m the one who had someone sow doubt into me a lot, I’m not supposed to have a good ministry.

Well, flip all that, God is the God of the unexpected.

Sure, right now, I have small blog, smaller YouTube Channel, and only a couple short published books on kindle that no one reads. I’m not in a lot of ministry, and I’m at a point in life where it feels no one sees all that much in me.

Perfect time to be suddenly launched into something unexpected, God has a pattern, but He’s not predictable.

I don’t know what will happen in the next 5 years, but I haven’t waited all this time for nothing, I’m sure of that.

New Life means Old things getting a new vitality, and new things springing up. Jesus coming back to life didn’t just give us His old life back, it gave us an entirely new kind of man, as C. S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity.

An odd hybrid between the Divine and the mortal, that is what we are. One that you won’t find anywhere else in heaven or on earth, and how can I say what the purpose of it is?

John said “It is not yet revealed what we will be, but we know that when He is revealed, we will be like Him.” (1 John 3:2)

As I’ve come out of my depression and anxiety, they’ve begun to make less and less sense to me, I no longer understand the logic behind them. I am sure, that is God.

To be sure, I’m still tempted at times, and I won’t say I have the cure all for either of those two problems, since the path I walked had to be for me personally, and my fears, but some stuff overlaps in our lives.

I can’t even be certain I’ll never have another time of my life where I feel this way, though I can’t picture it fooling me ever again. Feelings are not the same as mindsets.

I do think some changes will last.

Someday, I hope, God will give me the words to describe what happened to other people. Just now, I am still too much in the process to explain it, and I’ve noted others don’t really understand me if I try.

But someday, surely, I will be able to look back and see it clearly. Hindsight is 20-20. (That’d be a good blog post title)

I get it, some of you are still in the darkness. I hope some of you have begun to see light.

If you wait long enough for something, with God, it will happen. Or something better will.

God showed me that, actually, one time I was talking to Him, and He brought it to my attention that if I just waited long enough something was bound to change, no state of being is permanent for a human.

We hate being told it’s just a phase, but everything is a phase. The Bible calls it a “Season”

I don’t know if any angry teen or young adult will read this, but if you’ve heard those words “it’s just a phase” I know, it’s annoying, but, take it from me, you’ll want to believe that. All pain can pass. Even the worst and deepest kinds.

And while I was not assaulted with what humanity considers the worse crimes, I’d venture to say I knew that deep pain as much as the next person. I take things very seriously.

At least I could not lie to myself that way. God made me this way for a reason. If I could be blind, like others, I might still be in that situation.

One thing I kept saying to my sister was this “No pit is so deep that He is not Deeper Still” (Betsie Ten Boom).

Well, I tink that is enough for today. Thank you for reading, and have a great day

Until next time–Natasha.

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Coming Up

Y’all might be wondering how my recovery process is going… okay, you probably don’t actually wonder that, but you might not be adverse to hearing about it right?

Well, actually, these last couple months, I’ve been doing really well. My life coach has been very helpful, mostly she helps me realize I already know the answer, I just need to believe that I do, and that God has given me the key.

I actually had a brief bout with nausea that was the worst I’ve had in a while, but it lasted probably just 20 minutes or so, and I was able to stay much calmer than I used to and help it get lighter instead of stressing myself into feeling sicker than before. Mostly, I catch it before it gets bad now, but even so, now that I know it usually passes quickly, I’m less scared of it.

I feel fine most days. Though with the Summer heat coming, I may have to take more steps to stay cool if I want to avoid that heat exhaustion.

My mental problems are also at a new low for the last year. I really can’t believe how bad it was not that long ago, it seems foreign to me now. I’ve always come out of these periods, since becoming a Christian, after a year or less. Usually less.

I never came out of it when I wasn’t a Christian fully, I had better and worse times, but fear plagued me constantly back then, whether there was a trigger or not. Christianity works for me because that fact that I’ve known freedom at all is something I didn’t really have before. Something important to remind yourself of if you go through hard times again as a believer.

I’ve realized too that the person I a has never really changed, she just went into hiding for a while, only occasionally showing herself, now, I see her a lot more often. I needed to believe she was real in order to be her.

You have to believe in your own healing, in the healing that has already taken place, in order to keep healing.

If you live your life as if you are still hurt, even once you’ve healed, then you might as well still be hurt. That applies to physical and emotional injuries too.

I suppose it’s about time I mentioned that my step-grandmother’s memorial is this month.

I plan to go, but would you believe that my aunt has already been trying to get in some emotional manipulation on my sister over it. It’s so nuts.

I now my dad will be there, likely as not, and I am trying to prepare for it. I don’t know that’ll I’ll share my strategies here until after the fact, if they don’t work, I don’t want to take the chance anyone will emulate me, but I think they will.

However, someone in my position might wonder what the prospect of facing my abuser in person again feels like.

I’m not looking forward to it, but I am not utterly terrified.

It’s because my circumstances are a little different than one would normally have with a violent person.

My dad is aggressive, but he’s not generally the type to lash out in public at someone without provocation, and he would not be able to seriously injure me at a gathering like this without someone stepping in, because too many people would be there. He would not like to lose face, he’s never hurt me that badly, physically. My feelings were always more bruised than my actual body.

Some might not even call it abuse, but I call it that because of he power struggle and attitude involved, and the roughness of how he did it.

I don’t use the word abuse lightly, however. I see it all the time, people call stuff abuse that I don’t think should be called that. Abuse has a particular feel of powerlessness on the victim’s part, and sick satisfaction mixed with excuses on the abuser’s part. It’s more than temper, thought hat is part of it, it’s to break you, make you submit, feel like trash.

I mean, what’s abuse to one person isn’t to another, sometimes, but that’s a very vague line.

I guess what I mean is, sarcastic comments are abuse to some people, but to others it’s normal banter, and I don’ think victims should impose their standard on people who see it as a way to bond, the tone and timing will tell you whether it’s destructive or not. Someone should always back off if you make it clear you are seriously uncomfortable, but if you know yourself, and know you feel weird only because of past experience, and that this person in particular is not actually trying to hurt you, it’s also good to try to grow thicker skin. We have to heal from both directions, insider and out.

For me, a little light shoving isn’t abuse. I knew when my dad was being rough, I know when my siblings are being playful. I can compartmentalize.

I realize I am lucky to be able to do this so easily, at least in some areas, though not all. I am far more sensitive to verbal stuff.

I got into another work situation where I feel disrespected and criticized unfairly, and blamed for what is not my fault. I wonder why I keep doing this… and then my sisters stores of working at a sandwich shop tell me I actually ain’t even seen it all.

Seriously, I get people telling me I should work on my babysitting skills, she gets people telling her she’s got no idea what she’s doing. Whose job is worse? Well, it’s income.

We both like what we do anyone, but nothing is ever a positive experience 100% of the time, that’s not realistic.

Notably, this time, I am handling it differently. I’ve always been bolder that my sisters anyway, I stand up for myself. But I used to do it immaturely by getting really defensive and rude. Now I choose my words more carefully.

My dad responds to criticism by getting defensive and losing his temper, that’s not how I wanted to be, but I couldn’t go the route of my mom and just never stand up for myself at all. I literally can’t, I think I’m incapable… trying was excruciating, and I failed.

So, with no role model here, I’ve had to learn by trial and error, but I’m starting to get better. I try to acknowledge people may have a slight point, or grievance, but I refuse to let myself be belittled.

I had a mom tell me today that at my age (22) I may just lack the experience to understand how to take care of a 5 month old, and how a mother feels.

I asked her “How many kids do you have?”

This is her first. She’s 30..

I’ve been in childcare for 15 years. Paid and unpaid, private and in groups, doing int alone, and doing it helping adults. I have two younger siblings I’ve had to be basically a surrogate mom to for several years, at least in some areas. I have two cousins I provide love, attention, and mentoring too. I have taught Sunday school for over 6 years.

I looked at her and I said “I understand you are his mom, but I will not let my years of experience be disrespected just because I am a little younger than you and your other nanny.”

Where does this lady get off? Sure, she’s his mom, but this is her first kid, having a kid doesn’t automatically mean you understand child reading, as I think the loads of messed up kids form broken homes is proof of. I’m 8 years younger than her, so what? She didn’t give me any prior experience she had with children.

The amount of disrespect nannies get is unreal. We take care of children, the most precious things anyone has, and we get treated like barely above slaves with no rights to opinion, no better qualifications, and no right to complain if someone is literally filming us why we are doing our job, without our consent.

Isn’t that illegal in other circumstances? Sheesh.

And yeas, the nanny cam is real. Some people think it’s myth, nope, I’ve worked for two or more families at least with one. And one family just straight up spied on me with their friends. They told me this to my face.

Well, it would take a whole other post to list all my negative experience babysitting, but it has been a great trial by fire for seeing how well I can get past my issues.

If you have low self worth and want to get over it, there’s really nothing like having someone treat you like an appliance in their house and getting frustrated over it to push you to stand up for yourself. Seriously, if you aren’t annoyed, it’s probably just reinforcing your problems, not helping you grow, get out of that job.

But for learning self control, self assurance, and what you actually want, nannying has it’s benefits.

Back to the prospect of seeing my dad again…

I am nervous about it, but I’ve learned that if I acknowledge that, and decide before hand what to do, it doesn’t often turn into panic… actually, it never turns into panic.

That may not work for everyone, but I am a more confident person in areas that aren’t related to abuse, so channeling that towards he areas that are is mostly a matter of self control and prayer for me.

I also have learned not to overestimate myself. I should try to face my dad alone. I need other people around. I shouldn’t treat myself like I’m expendable and can carry the weight of everyone else’s problems by taking his crap.

While it would be theoretically cathartic to tell my dad off in person, I don’t expect it to happen.

At most, I think, I could tell him to leave me alone, that I won’t be engaging with him, and this day is about Grammy, not him.

Now, my aunt once tried this when her son died, my cousin, and my dad completely ignored her, so I don’t expect that to work.

But I have a few back up plans. It’d be really satisfying to just say: “Look, I already know what you’re going to say, and you’re going to be abusive, and manipulative, and there’s nothing you can say that will alter my opinion of you, and no apology you make will convince me you are sincere, and nothing you can say will make me feel guilty or bad for you. You abused me, end of story. Deal with that reality, or stay out of mine.”

I’d never get to finish that speech, even if it’d work. But it’s fun to fantasize about it.

The reality is, it’s best to just avoid talking to him. He will probably try to talk to me, unless he gets some idea of proving he doesn’t need me by refusing to talk, e might say “I didn’t want to make her uncomfortable” Which is a lie. He would only do it to show how innocent he is to the family, if we were alone, he wouldn’t hesitate, so I will have to take great care never to be alone where he can see me.

It’d be best to have another man around I can trust, as my dad will be more bold with women watching than men, I think, he can be a bit sexist.

Anyway, those are my basic ideas. But the rest will have to wait till after the fact to see if it worked.

Many victims remain oblivious to what their abuser will do to them, as long as they are locked i the cycle. There is strong deception associated with abuse, the perps lie, the victim believe them because otherwise they would despair.

Once you get out, mentally, not just physically, you start to see through it all, and you can predict their tricks. Then you can prepare for it.

I have picked up this stuff quickly due to be observant by nature, and I had to manage my dad for years before I finally got away from him. I know that I cannot win with him expect by not playing his game, he cannot stand that.

I also now that truth is powerful, but it must be worded carefully.

Pro tips for anyone consider in confronting their abuser:

Don’t try to be nice. Don’t try to be subtle, don’t be vague.

Don’t do it at all if you think they still have power over you, and don’t do it alone. Don’t do it in private either, they can hurt you if you do. Others should be able to see you, even if they can’t hear you. I’m not at therapist, this to me is just common sense.

Don’t confront them expecting to change them. It should be either to establish a boundary, or for closure. They aren’t going to change.

Don’t expect them to take it with any degree of dignigity.

You can expect immature jabs, passive aggressive digs, angry outbursts, accusations, or self righteous “I was only trying to…” statements.

I would say not to dignify any of that with even acknowledging it, say what you must, don’t change it no matter what they say. They won’t listen, but you need to know you were able to say it.

This is all assuming it’s the right time and right kind of situation for this to be appropriate. Some people should never confront their abuser, or go near them again.

I will have to do it sooner or alter, or else act like a pariah in my own family, and not all of them are bad people, so I prefer to make realistic plans for how to deal with it.

But some will not have the luxury of any family they can risk seeing again, and there’s no shame in admitting that and deciding not to see them again.

If it helps anyone else, these two passages have really helped allay any guilt I feel over not seeing my toxic relatives:

“He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37).

“Listen, O daughter,
Consider and incline your ear;
Forget your own people also, and your father’s house;
 So the King will greatly desire your beauty;
Because He is your Lord, worship Him.” (Psalm 45:10-11)

The Bible is so kind to people who have toxic relatives. Jacob is told to flee his brother who is plotting to kill him. Joseph is put in a position of power over his brothers who sold him into slavery. Tamar is given justice for Judah holding out on her. The list goes on.

Contrary to what may Christians think, it is not Christian to stay with an abusive person. Especially if that hinders your walk with God. Plenty of Christians left their families and went on their own to serve God. It is Christian to be single, it is Christian to marry and have children. Paul says we should turn people who refuse to live in a godly manner in the church out.

He also says church member should be kind to their family, and if they are not, they should not be in authority, maybe they are even false, if we follow his logic.

When my life coach pointed out this simple fact, that my dad was deceiving us into thinking he was devout when he was really not acting at all like a believer, it was a game changer for me.

Suddenly I felt hte fiel of not haivng to call what my dad did “trying to be a good chritian ” anymore, he was not trying, he was whining. There’s a huge difference.

Who knew, I was lcoser to God when I stopped playing alon eiwht his chruch, his prayers, his devotions, becaue the fakeness isckened me too much. AS a churhc girl, It hought It hsould like all those things mroe, but the duplicity was too much.

I now hate hypocrisy more than almost any other vice. I can’t claim I am never hypocritical, but I try not to be.

One other big change: I am starting to really believe that I am Allowed to have a happy life.

Whooo! Somebody get excited with me right now!

Maybe it’s okay to like myself. Maybe I don’t need to punish myself anymore. Maybe my anxiety isn’t permanent.

Some of you are afraid to believe that.

There are a few rare cases where someone has something their whole life in order to learn patience.

But I don’t think God would command us to be anxious for nothing, if most of us were not supposed to be completely free from anxiety.

In fact, that verse makes me think anxiety is not one of those life long struggles we are supposed to have.

We cannot force ourselves not to be anxious, but we can learn to stop ourselves from becoming anxious. The Bible said that thousands of years ago.

Perfect Love casts out fear.

I don’t feel full of love all the time, but I Know God loves me, I believe, it, I remind myself of it, and I don’t need to feel it for it to cast out my fear, I just need to now it.

You see, God’s love is so powerful, even the knowledge of it crushes fear, and the feeling of it makes you forget suffering period. I don’t feel it as often as I’d like, but I also don’t need to, knowing it’s there, behind everything, gives me hope.

“And now abide, faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

I hope this post encouraged you, until next time, stay honest–Natasha