Thursday, January 9, 2020

Tales of a Grinch's Holiday Hangover.

 It’s me, I’m the grinch.

“Have you been stressed?” my chiropractor asks me. I’m getting a full exam instead of just a regular adjustment. It’s a super exciting way to ring in 2020. She informs me that I’m tight from the base of skull down to the curve of my ass cheeks.

I pause to consider if I’ve been stressed, somehow forgetting that I just recently escaped the abomination that is the Holiday Season.

“Well, I hate December and everything that comes with it,” I give as an answer.

It seems my back and neck are still clinging to the after effects of the holidays. My muscles are suffering from a Christmas hangover. I was wondering where I was hiding that anxiety, glad to have found it.
Photo by Lynne Hl

The fact that I was born in December doesn’t seem to save the month from my yearly aversion. I have also grown to detest the yearly reminder of my march towards oblivion.

My chiropractor briefly agrees with me regarding the awfulness of the holidays. This comes as a relief. Often when the secret of my grinchiness gets out, people pry. People seem to expect me to present a burden of proof to justify my hatred of the holidays.

The thing is, I don’t hate your holidays. I hate MY holidays.

I’m a fairly open person. Ok, if I’m being an honest, I’m a recovering over-sharer. Boundaries and personal space were hard lessons I eventually learned in my mid to late twenties.

I learned these lessons partly because I married a very private person and I respect my husband enough not share on his behalf. 

Also because in the last 8 years I’ve morphed into a woman whose mom is slowly dying from a wretched disease AND who suffers from infertility and the resulting childlessness. It’s a heavy combo and it doesn’t always make for the greatest small talk. Therefore, I avoid talking about these things with new people. Or I introduce these gems of my life by making jokes about them. I’ve found out, not everyone appreciates dark humor.

If I let my holiday hatred spew out, people are certain to press me for more information. I’m sure it blows many a mind that a vocal Christian and church goer like myself does not want to get all tinseled up to celebrate the birth of Christ.

Listen, I love Jesus, and I’m grateful for Him every day. I just hate His birthday. I mean, I hate mine too.

This year there as been an interesting change. My mom died in February. Therefore when people are trying to figure out my reason for the bahhumbugs they get this really pitiful look on their face and say something like, “Ohhh, the first year without a loved one is really hard.”

To which I tend to blurt out, “But she hasn’t actually been a part of our holiday festivities for like, 8 years. She’s been in a nursing home and hasn’t spoken. So, it’s not the first year without her,” because I like to add an extra dose of awkward to the situation.

This exchange tends to make people pretty uncomfortable and tends to work in my favor. Everyone wants to tell me what grieving my mom is supposed to look like and that’s a great distraction so I don’t have to ruin their Christmas joy and get into the real reasons I hate the holidays.

Truthfully, at first it really was about my mom. Those first few years post-diagnosis I created so many expectations for myself to attempt to fill the gaping hole that my mom’s deteriorating brain had left. 
By the time the 23rd of 24th of December rolled around I was ball of nerves yelling at those I loved or crying about pie crust or monster cookies. 

I had to let go of that stuff and allow new traditions and new expectations (or no expectations) replace the years of healthy mom holidays.

After she moved into a nursing home I started wishing December had a forward button on December I could push and somehow safely land in January avoiding holiday-induced crying jags on the living room floor.

But still the worst of my grinchiness hadn’t set in yet.

The real killer of good tidings of comfort and joy is ....continue reading on Medium.  
  





Monday, December 9, 2019

"You can have some," and other Remembered Words of Alzheimer's

I don’t remember the last time I heard my mother say, “I love you.”

I don’t remember the last time she said it to me or to anyone else.

She died this past February. But the last time I heard the words, “I love you” pass through her lips was many years before. If I had to guess, I would guess it was in 2011.

It’s hard to remember much of what she actually said to me in my life. When I was 24 she was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s disease. Even then in the early stages, conversation was difficult and awkward. Alzheimer’s was like the ugly elephant in the room stepping on our mouths, preventing the usual chatter exchanged between mother and daughter.


So I would sit and watch Family Feud with her. Or sit next to her and thumb through books of cross-stitch patterns, writing my name next to the ones I wanted her to stitch. I probably wrote my name on over a 100 of those patterns. I didn’t really want any of them. Cross-stitch wasn’t my thing, and it definitely wasn’t my style. But she learned cross-stitch when she was young, and her hands remembered it even when her mind failed her. She couldn’t work as a nurse anymore, couldn’t provide the emotional support to her children that she used to, so she spent hours on elaborate cross stitch patterns. She threaded together words and pictures almost every day. I didn’t want those pictures at the time, but I wanted to give my mother purpose- and she wanted to give us whatever she could. So I wrote my name, and she stitched.

I can’t remember many significant conversations with her. I just remember hours sharing space with her on the couches in her living room and occasionally on long walks. In later years I shared space with her in cramped nursing home bedrooms. Regardless of the venue, I strain to hear her voice in my memories.


Even when Mark proposed, I know she was one of the first people I told- but...Continue reading on Medium here

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Update and Exciting Announcements

Hi Friends!  Or whoever still pays attention to this very neglected space.  2019.  Oof.  It's been a weird year.  This is literally the second post on 3-Fold Cord this year.  And it's the first time you've heard from me in almost 2 years.  I can't tell you how many times I had 5 or more ideas floating around my head that I wanted to flesh out into a post.  But somehow, it hasn't happened.  Call it busyness, laziness, or a lack of commitment, I will admit to any of them.  The last 4 years have been full of both changes and also much of the same. 
This year has been a strange for me.  In January Mark declared it would be THE year and it has definitely not been THE year I was expecting.
  


Friday, January 18, 2019

4 Dangerous Words




I believe the four most dangerous words in the English language for Christians are: “Thy Will be done.” I realize we Christians give a lot of lip service to these words- and the truth is- how can we not? I mean when the disciples asked Jesus to “teach us how to pray?” Jesus uttered these exact words when reciting what has come to be known as the Lord’s Prayer. That being said, have we really considered the ramifications of these words? Up until a couple years ago I know I didn’t. Many of us really believe that wherever we are, and whatever we are doing, it’s God ordained. I have come to realize that nothing could be further from the truth. 

My personal experience, when I prayed those powerful words, and meant it, was my world began to be shaken to the core! The things that once gave me security started to foundationally erode; the things that I thought made me happy gradually became bitter. This was God’s Will…this was God’s plan. And while common sense would say, “just surrender”, I had other ideas: I fought it tooth and nail; I became angry at God! I believe my response is all too common in Christendom. We have been programmed to believe that if we are comfortable and secure, God is blessing us. However, if our supports and securities are getting kicked out from underneath us, God is angry and punishing us. The truth is, God has had a plan for each and every one of us before time began, but ultimately, when it comes to our life, we have the choice of “thy will be done” or “my will be done”. The former is not the smoothest most comfortable path, it is the narrow path. This path is often wrought with trials and attacks from the enemy…however, this is nothing more than a refining process that strips away the follies of the flesh and molds us into the image of Jesus Christ.

In closing, when you pray the words, “Thy Will be done”, do you really mean it?

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Rapture Theology


I must admit, I enjoy a good theological debate. However, I find most Christians would rather endure the pillory or the rack than engage in a good Biblical discussion. I believe people fall into several categories concerning this issue:

1. There are those that think it's a waste of time and divisive. 
2. There are those that feel they are uninformed and have nothing to add.
3. There are those couldn't care less.

No Biblical debates please!


That being said, I will push forward anyway. 

About a week ago I put up a Twitter poll where I asked people the following: "Do you believe in any form of Rapture theology?" I had 133 kind souls chime in and the results were as follows:

74% voted Yes, they believe in Rapture theology
21% voted No
5% voted that they thought this was song sung by Blondie. (God bless them!)

So as you can plainly see, a vast majority of the people polled believe in some sort of rapture doctrine. Now for full disclosure, I do not believe in the Rapture. Now at this point you may be tempted to pelt me with rocks and verbal rebukes...but please hear me out! 

My first contention, which I will deal with in this post, involves the Rapture theology not being taught in the first 1800 years of church history. It wasn't until 1830 that John Darby formulated this theory. In his own words he said: "it literally jumped out of the pages of the Bible." And while this is all fine and good, we must ask: "is it really possible that all of the church fathers up until 1830 missed this little gem?" 

Church fathers like: Augustine, Athanasius, Ireneaus, Basil, Tertullian, Origen,Cyril, John Chrysotom, Justin Martyr, Jerome, or Hilary. 

Is it also possible that the theologians of the middle ages: Aquinas, Anselm, Abelard, Calvin, Luther, and Zwingli missed it too?

Lastly, is it possible that more modern theologians like Barth, Bonhoeffer, Bulgmann, Moltmann, Tillich, and N.T Wright missed it also?

Now it's your turn...












Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Creeping Lies of the Enemy


Ugh. Ok friends I can’t post out of nowhere without mentioning that we haven’t posted much in the last year(s).  I promise you, at any given time I have at least 5 blog posts floating around my head, waiting to get out.  I am just undisciplined.  I promise by summer, I’ll have at least 5 more for you (if we have any readers left).

For the past 6-8 months I’ve been experiencing a comforting renewal and regeneration in my faith life.  After a couple years of beating myself up about not being where I used to be, I finally let go of the times I was stronger and just accepted the now. No easy feat for someone who continuously wants to be better and do better in everything.  But I am not in a competition with myself, and no matter the crisis or tragedy that I previously overcame through Jesus, comparing myself to myself was getting me nowhere.  After a long dry season of feeling like God wasn’t speaking to me and wondering why I was more often a hot mess crying on my bathroom floor than pouring over my Bible and breathing in the truth of Jesus, somehow I let go.  Through deepened and almost constant prayer and stepping back my from my intense focus on my desire for children and subsequent pain of those unmet desires while opening myself up to the pain and needs of others,  I could finally hear God again. 

So as I was basking in my resurgence of faith I was surprised to find myself hit with lies from the enemy.  Lies that sound so true, it’s tempting to believe them. I was very tempted to return to my former place of wallowing- usually on the bathroom floor, because I thought Mark couldn’t hear my sobs and would just assume I was struggling with tummy problems and not pressing my face into a towel attempting to both muffle my sobs and drown out the pain.  Sobbing isn’t wrong, friends, but moving in and making camp in a place of wallowing to the point that Jesus seems like a distant stranger is.  I was beginning to believe that I had left such moments behind.  Until that Sunday.
  

Monday, November 13, 2017

Prayer




“Lord, teach us to pray.” – Luke 11:1.


Prayer was an important part of Jesus' life and ministry. Jesus knew, and wants us to know, that prayer is mightier than the sword, and has the ability to slay the enemies of the soul. 

Prayer is brighter than the rays of the sun, revealing the hidden depths of the human spirit. 

Prayer is quicker and stronger than eagles’ wings, bearing us up from the confines of the earth and transporting us to the throne room of God. 

Prayer is a greater power in the transformation of the world than all legislation and military might. 

The center of its power is in the heart which utters it; the radius of its influence is as infinite as the mind of the Living God. It is the cool breath that comes to ease the fevered brow. It is the Holy lever of Archimedes to move the world! 

How is your prayer life my friend?

Also, let us know if we can help or pray for you!