It’s Monday and I feel like this weekend I got pretty emotionally wasted and now I’m hungover. I was going to write on Saturday on our way home from Chicago but it was too dark and bumpy. I wish I could have though, because now my emotions aren’t nearly as raw as they were in those moments.
On Saturday God just decided to teach me A LOT. More than I thought I needed to learn, which probably made it even more difficult to do so. Jamey and I went antique shopping and in the first store/gallery we went in, we found a super cool peacock wall hanging on a giant canvas scroll. It was regular $450 clearanced out for $180. It fit my style, it was a good price, it was a one-of-a-kind piece of art. I absolutely did not want to pass it up! But I did. Jamey thought it was expensive and understandably wasn’t as in love with it as I was. He said I could get it if I wanted to but that seemed more like permission and not an agreement, and I just didn’t feel right making a bigger purchase like that if he wasn’t all on board with me.
So it haunted me the rest of the day. I kept going back to it in my mind, wishing he would make the decision himself to go back and buy it just because he knew I loved it. He never did. He asked again if I wanted to go back and buy it, but my response was the same— I only feel comfortable getting things for our house that he really likes, too, especially since so much of our money comes from him and his hard work.
…Oh. There it was! After several hours of pitying myself and harboring a deep sadness about not getting what I wanted, I started to realize— no, FEEL— God working in my heart about issues deeper than a wall hanging. First of all I was feeling guilty that I couldn’t walk away from a materialistic want without internally struggling over it. Secondly, I kept thinking a weird thought: that back when I was single, I used to jump on things I wanted like a ninja, and walking away from something I wanted because someone else didn’t want it shocked me a little. You see, when I’m not careful, I am a spoiled brat. That’s where all the sadness was coming from and where all the guilt was coming from. The sadness was there because I am my mother’s daughter. I am spoiled because she spoiled me, I am used to having too much because having too much was her normal. The guilt I was feeling had more to do with a fear of becoming her, an addict to stuff and self. Finances were a huge part of my parent’s broken marriage. Her unwillingness to submit to her husband was a huge part of my parent’s broken marriage. Put them together and you have a recipe for disaster, and that’s exactly what we all got.
On one hand, I wanted what I wanted and I wanted it now. Just like mom. On the other hand Jamey works and contributes much more financially to our bank account than I do, out of purely strong work ethic and dedication. Just like my dad. But if I were to take advantage of him by purchasing things with the money he has earned for us without him feeling 100% valued in his differing opinion, I will take a step toward the very disaster I came from. I will be just like mom. I will push my husband away. I will end up alone.
At least that’s what I’m afraid of. I really like the way God let me cry on the way home that night because after letting Him chisel away at my heart all day, I felt Him hug me. I told Him I hope I can be the wife He wants me to be. A virtuous wife. A selfish wife. A submissive wife, in the areas that are important to submit. I’m concerned about being deserving enough, knowledgeable enough, wise enough, resourced enough, to do this wife thing. I’m probably not, but I’m dedicated to trying for the rest of my life.
Lord… refine me.
There was a ton of us locked up in a building, being held hostage. I had a friend or two there, like one of my friends growing up, Liv, was next to me the whole time. I don’t think I knew anyone else. The person that was holding us hostage (oddly enough, for part of the time this person was a man and for the latter part of the time it was a woman) threatened us that he was going to kill us all. Then he said we each only had one chance to change his mind. We had to write down some things about us on a sheet of paper, specifically including a description of who we are, what our sense of humor is like, and why we wanted to live. He would read over each one and decide if he wanted to save us individually or not. There wasn’t anything specific we could say that would change his mind; he was pretty much just going to base it off of whether or not he liked what we wrote about ourselves. We were split into 3 groups. I was in the second group, and I watched the first group have their “revisions”. The man in charge chose to only save a few. I saw the looks on the faces of the people who went into the room where they would wait for the rest of us, ultimately waiting for their early death. My group and I went into another room, the room where we would be judged. Everyone handed the man papers with their personal facts about themselves and why he should save them, and I realized I was supposed to have done this task already whereas I thought we would be writing it out when we got there. I panicked, thinking I had blown my chance. I asked him if I could have a few minutes to finish up. He allowed it. I sat down next to Liv and put pen to paper, though I didn’t know what to write. I was too scared to think straight. I had walked into that room thinking my death was so near, and that was the only thing I had on my mind. Everything else went blank. I was petrified, much more scared than I ever knew our bodies were capable of handling. As I sat there trying to think about what I could write to save my life, Liv started playing a YouTube video from her phone that everyone in the room could hear. It started off as a debate or some sort of political speech. It went on like that for a couple minutes and I whispered to her to shut it off, because it would only make the man in charge angry. She didn’t listen. Instead, she got up, went to the desk where he was sitting, and the political speech stopped at the injection of that old record-scratching sound. Then the Fresh Prince theme song blasted through the room. Liv started dancing in front of the man’s desk and motioned with her hands for anyone else to join in. I was the first one up. I danced with her in a silly way to a silly song in front of a man I thought might kill me shortly thereafter. I don’t know why, but it seemed like the right thing to do. He had asked us to tell him about our sense of humor, and this was the perfect way to do so. Liv was onto something with this idea. The man in charge didn’t stop anything from happening, so about half of us had a dance party around the room while the other half sat in stunned silence, still scared of the near future I’m sure. I had a blast and nearly forgot why I was there. But when the music was over and I sat back down, I realized I still hadn’t turned in my personal facts sheet. I quickly wrote what was on my heart. I wish I could remember what I wrote, but it’s just out of reach of my memory. One thing I do know is that I was too scared to boldly claim my faith in Jesus, worried that it would seal my death if this person wasn’t a Christian, and I assumed they were not. So I referred vaguely to God and my desire to please Him with my life, just to be on the safe side. I was ambiguous and cowardly, and in writing about myself, I did so without including the most important thing. I turned it into the man who held my fate and he thanked me by name. I saw him reading it as he walked downstairs where we would all meet shortly, where I was sure my death was just minutes away. I was still more scared than I could ever imagine being. [When we all arrived in the room and it was time to judge, the male captor was now a woman.] The woman called my group together and as I sat there trembling, trying to think of every possible way to run away and escape all of this, she miraculously told us we were all saved. A rush of unexplainable relief and joy swept through me. Our dance party worked. She got to see our sense of humor, like she wanted to, right? For a moment I wondered if what I wrote to her influenced her decision to save me. To save us. So what she told us next was not something I expected to hear. She told us that we had a responsibility to serve the Lord, and we were taking it lightly. She told us that many of us had beat around the bush when we wrote about ourselves, glossing over the topic of God. (That was precisely what I did! Dumb idea, Bridget.) I was shocked, and as she spoke and reprimanded us, I wished I would have known she was a Christian so I would have been more at ease writing about how much He means to me. What I didn’t realize yet at that moment was how lukewarm my heart for God was. She continued with a challenge: “Isn’t He worthy of every opportunity we get to speak His name? Isn’t He worthy of risking your life to declare Him as Lord? Isn’t He worthy of so much more credit than you are giving Him in your life? Why is the man who died for you not important enough to be claimed as Lord in your last hour? Furthermore, why not in every hour?” I finally realized how right she was, and I wanted to hug her. She had spared us all our lives for one more shot to give Him glory when it’s easy and when it’s hard, when it’s safe and when it’s risky. And the cool irony of it was that the tables were in some ways turned now, because probably less than half of the people she was preaching to were not even Christians. Even my friend Liv sitting next to me was not. But as I looked around, everyone looked different than they did before. I could see through everyone’s tears that each one of them looked like they had been reborn, this new look of purpose and valor in their eyes. I hoped my eyes looked like that, too. Then they opened.
I was asked this question when going through a book with my boyfriend called “101 Questions to Ask Before You Get Engaged”, and I thought the question was insightful. I wanted to share it with all of you and maybe you could answer the question yourself if you think it might be beneficial to take a deeper look inside your past and what it has done to your heart and your plans for the future. I am going to share my answer with you all, only because I really feel like I’m not alone in what I’ve gone through and when we step out of a victim role to connect with others who may feel burdened by the same burden we know, the world becomes a smaller place and healing can happen. That’s my hope.
Q: What is your idea of “family”? What would you change about your family and how you were raised? What steps would you take to make these changes?
A: My idea of family is people that have come together in love and commitment to each other. People that live life together because God Himself said aloneness is not good. Family is shown in God’s Word to be important because He chose familial relationships to reveal Himself to us; He gave up His one and only Son to bear the weight of our sins; He told us we are adopted into his family through Jesus Christ; Jesus in flesh calls his followers “brothers and sisters”; and of course there is the metaphor of the Bride of Christ that is the perfect example of marriage. A family unit should strive to represent all of these elements of God’s Love that He’s taught us about.
If I could change something about my family and how I was raised, I would change 80% of it. I would change what was most valued and prioritized. I would change the way roles were defined and the way respect was demanded and given. I would change the tone of voices used regularly. I would change the mood of the home and atmosphere we lived in. I would change attitudes. I would make us eat meals together and talk about our days and build relationships with each other structured around an understanding of unconditional, not conditional, love. I would get rid of the vast amount of clutter and “stuff” that we were buried among and replace it with a modest amount of homemade crafts, family pictures, and tangible memories. I would change why we went to church and I would talk about God outside of church and pray prayers together that came from our hearts and not from our catechism books. If I could go back and change one thing, I would give it all to Jesus.
Long lost dreams are coming back to me
after I sweat out a nightmare of a year.
The whispers that used to fully form
are foaming on my lips like a violent storm.
Who are you? So sober-
For the first time since that rocky day,
where the stars hung in the sky like a sea of pity,
My arm brushes yours like strangers in a city.
Before I knew I did it,
it was too late to enjoy.
Too soon to wave goodbye again,
too much to reobtain.
Late May brings us showers from clouds
that block the sun from performing,
and I’m raging mad, feeling deprived,
desperate to hear birds chirping outside.
I just want to lie there and listen and feel alone.
I’ll think about the stranger-touch,
how to you it goes unknown.
I’ll cry one more cry as I reminisce,
But after this last time, I’ll forget we ever kissed.
We have an anniversary.
It’s today, and it won’t be good.
I wish you would change parts about you
that I know you could.
Only I settle for long lost dreams that pull at my brain,
when I could dream of a thicker love coursing my veins
in a very different way;
a way you don’t know in the least anymore,
I, too, no longer know you.
There is a chance that you are somewhat the same,
though changed in the ways I wished you to change-
In spite of that, I am to Heaven
as you are to earth
And we are strangers living worlds apart in one city.
If I were born with the wings of a fairy
skeletal in bone-
spiritual in marrow-
I would not feel guilty for spending time
back impressed to the crest of the moon
fantastical curves tracing this trail of stardust
aglitter in slow motion
And I would grow my hair wild as nature
skin like potter’s clay-
tears like ceramic glaze-
let them fall to the forest floor
penetrating thick mists of pristine Jade
no element can compare
to this mystical orb
listen to it gossip with the light of the moon
watch as it explodes in time, in tune
with the song of the hummingbird
who would be my dearest friend
I would soar with her-
I would hope in her-
If I were born with the heart of a fairy
would I trust sorcery to satisfy my hunger
to be kissed by a man who I’ve only seen in water?
maybe the kiss would consist of magic
maybe life is far from tragic
If I’ve learned one thing from this fairytale land
reflections never lie
to our precious stone eyes
If you bravely speak aloud my name
I will come into your life aflame
I will make new words roll from your tongue
I will make new breath invade your lung
I will rescue you from this unsightly debris
to grant you all the worth in me
- but child, it will cost you one thing-
Hand me your global concern
Hand me the life that you didn’t earn
And die again,
Die to gain
one man’s disdain
Listen, wayward child
Live within my command to give
Each earthly possession you hold and hoard
with it’s transient beauty that corrupts my reward
Neglect it all for the sake of your soul
When you feel lack, I’ll vacate the hole
You will profit it all
If you do this one thing
If you die, my child,
the apple of my eye,
You will profit it all
You will be an heir to the King!
The birds are soaring on unruffled water right in front of our very eyes,
while the sun is baking our skin as if this whole day is July’s.
But in fact it is still winter, and in winter months heat dies,
until you raise from the dead Summer Love’s hot blooded highs.
I could not devise
even a decent idea alone.
I surely do not deserve to stand in the presence of a throne.
This body is worthless; I am just a woman of ailing flesh and bone
and you are just a man in love with a woman whose life is not her own.
I cannot atone
for last Summer Love’s mistake.
Light cannot traverse the time elapsed, moments passed become opaque.
So while we wait, we have time to kill and access to a lake.
My bristles are begging to mimic the ripples only sunflare can rightfully make.
Am I alive?
If I am, I’m in a pipe dream
floating on clouds born from cans of whipped cream,
across skies draped in a full palette color scheme,
inching closer and closer to the light beam…
I’m alive, Summer Love. I’ll meet you upstream.
I want to wake up and get dressed,
showered the night before so my morning hair is a mess.
I want to know that He thinks I always look my best,
as I walk out the door with only Him to impress.
I want to vividly remember how we met for the first time.
I want back what I gave the others before He came into my life.
I want His blood to run and pump through every vein of mine,
and I want to cherish the fact that He chose me to be His bride.
I feel like I need to apologize on paper,
because I’ve tried it vocally and I feel like a faker.
My flesh is so thick— God, I want out.
My flesh is so sick— God, I have doubts.
How can you love me? How can you trust me?
I lie to your face and my sins are disgusting.
…And still, I forget; on my pedestal I will sit,
thinking I deserve the gift you died to give.
Yet I can’t be enough to deserve it.
I can’t do enough to earn it.
I’m going to get up off my high horse and let you ride in on yours.