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Thoughts on Faith

When I found the iron that sharpened me, and he dropped “f” bombs at church

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photo by Kendall Lane

Having grown up in the church, I knew the rules about dating long before giving out my first phone number. First, and most important, I had to find a Christian to date. When I found one in youth group or young adult Bible study, we would both abstain from premarital sex while we built the foundation of a healthy relationship that would carry us through marriage. At worst, it would end in an amicable breakup because God was leading us elsewhere. It seemed so straightforward.

Looking back, I find that idea laughable not because I don’t think that’s a good plan, but because that wasn’t my experience. Dating was complicated, especially when the Christian label was just that: a tag for people, including me, to wear to look like we were doing the right thing. For me, it got even more confusing when I found dating non-Christians easier and safer. Yet by the time I decided I had to get serious about finding a Christian spouse, I was sure most Christian guys I pursued would find me too bitter and heavy with emotional damage to risk a date.

As mentioned previously, I always knew I was supposed to date Christians, and committed ones, too — no rookies. I thought being “equally yoked” meant finding a cradle Christian who knew Bible stories and went to church camp (2 Corinthians 6:14). Non-believers, naturally, were out of the question. Despite believing this, I mistrusted it before I was allowed to date. At 15, I discovered the hard way that too many Christians aren’t all that different from non-Christians, and it disappointed and frustrated me to know that I wasn’t safe around someone just because he said he was a believer and played in a worship band. If a Christian would take what he wanted from me without my permission, why would I differentiate him from the vast group of potential mates out there?

Continue reading “When I found the iron that sharpened me, and he dropped “f” bombs at church”

Me, and the baby riding shotgun

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A tiny gray-and-orange onesie and leggings paired with a little fox hat hangs in my closet in front of my husband’s dress shirts. The tag tells me it’s for babies anywhere from zero to three months, and it’s the only baby outfit I have, which makes sense. My child isn’t here yet. Every time I pass the outfit, I touch it. Sometimes I smile at it, and sometimes I pick it up and spread it on the floor to talk about names with my husband. I hang it in that spot in the closet because I need a reminder that not everything about becoming a mom has to be overwhelming. On an especially bad day of morning sickness recently, I took some bibs with me to put in my car for my commute to work. I patted them and held the soft fuzzy part between my fingers. After only a couple of months into the pregnancy, I find that I needed to keep symbols of my unborn child to remind me to pray, and it’s helped when I’ve been unable to subdue my fears.

People have encouraged me to journal about pregnancy so that one day I may share with my child all my precious hopes and cute stories from the months preceding birth.

I’ve never been good at cute.

Telling your kid that you mulled over aborting it isn’t exactly what all those pregnancy books and good friends probably had in mind.

At times, I think about how I could still get an abortion. This could be over, if I really wanted it to be.

I feel terrible for that, but I’ve decided not to worry much about having homicidal thoughts toward that blueberry-sized cluster of cells that has been turning me into a sluggish, exhausted, moody, and uncomfortable person.

Continue reading “Me, and the baby riding shotgun”

Not my own

Not my own

Illustration courtesy of Seth T. Hahne. Check out Seth’s graphic novel and comic review site, Good Ok Bad.

I wrote an essay for Christ and Pop Culture about how a lifelong struggle with body image and worth would never get better unless I could begin to grasp that I’m not my own.

This is out there because I thought someone might need it, and because no matter what I do, some part of this story will make it into most of my personal writings, whether or not it’s explicit.

Here is an excerpt:

“An abandoned aluminum foil container next to my sandbox provided me with my first razor when I was 4 years old. The box had been left outside after a cookout. At first, I was intrigued by its teeth. Then, after I pricked my finger, I couldn’t believe it. I was bleeding, and it didn’t hurt badly. Running my fingers across the sharp row again, I discovered I could cause and contain my own hurt. I didn’t need to cry, and no one saw me.

That incident taught me a lie that has haunted me ever since: My sadness is singular, and my body worthless.”

 

 

Safety is my middle name

Neither of my parents ever approved of horror films, but we could watch movies that were funny and a bit campy yet never demonic or gory. That is how I saw quirky classics like Beetlejuice, The Goonies, Gremlins, Scrooged, and one of my favorites, The Burbs.

For those who haven’t watched it, The Burbs features Tom Hanks as an average American suburbanite named Ray Petersen who finds himself entangled with his neighbors’ plot to out the new family in the cul-de-sac, the ambiguously foreign Klopeks.

When I found out my husband had never seen it, we watched the film with friends. We laughed, but at the end, my friend Logan remarked that it could have made a statement about the dark nature of humankind, but instead reinforced stereotypes. Continue reading “Safety is my middle name”

Soap

soap

I hadn’t seen Dial glycerin soap since I was in grade school, so when I did I could almost taste the imitation raspberry flavor. I grinned, remembering being eight years old and holding onto this little secret: it didn’t taste all that bad. My mother said I had to sit on her toilet think about mouthing off and cussing at my older sister. Instead of thinking about losing my temper or using bad language, I compared the soaps I’d tasted over my cursing career. Continue reading “Soap”

Shopping for Soul

Shoes

My very first public post on Present Ghost came from sitting in a bathtub on a fall break from teaching school. Since then, it has been my most popular post to date. Through several follow-up pieces* on this site, I formed a series about several unconnected experiences with strangers during shopping experiences.

I was lucky enough to take those pieces to distill the message into one essay for Christ and Pop Culture this month. Go check it out. While you’re at it, check out the rest of the site. It has a lot of insightful articles regarding—you guessed it—Christ and pop culture.

*You can read the second here, and the links to the other stories at the bottom.

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