Candid Chatter

Just Say It

For Real July 17, 2008

Filed under: Life... The Way I See It — candidchatter @ 7:22 am

I love the blog Stuff Christians Like. Most of the time it’s really funny. Sometimes, like this post, it is seriously true. Jon hit the nail on the head today. “Spot on”, as one commenter said.

I have written some ugly stuff on here over the past few months. Each time I do my readership grows. Isn’t it amazing how many people can share our pain and sorrow? Isn’t it amazing how many lives can be affected by our honesty? I’ll be the first to admit my imperfections. What a glorious work God has done in my life since I gave my heart to Christ back in 2002. Those who knew me then and know me now can testify to the difference the Holy Spirit has made in my life. It’s big.

Am I perfect? Oh my heck no! Not even close. And I don’t pretend to be. And He (God) uses that to His advantage. So I can connect to those who have been through similar experiences or who are curious about my past mistakes.

Some Christians have to suck it up and be all embarrassed by becoming transparent. Whatever it takes, my friends. Whatever it takes. Your authenticity will reel ’em in. Your plastic silliness will repel them.

Nobody is always full of joy.
Nobody is always kind.
Nobody is always a good mom/wife/friend/daughter/niece/granddaughter, etc.
Nobody is always the greatest or best.
Nobody is always so into all the stuff all the church ladies seem to be into.

And it’s fine.

Be real daily. Practice honesty in your walk with Christ. Let your imperfections show. You will be a much better witness and a more effective Christian if you aren’t squeaky clean. Because the truth is… nobody is squeaky clean. Nobody.

What is something
you’ve tried to hide
from “the Christians” who
surround you?
I’ll start (click comment to read)
Now you spill it.

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12 Responses to “For Real”

  1. candidchatter Says:

    I’ll start. I struggle with my sex life. I think it’s partly because I lost my virginity at the tender age of 14 (may have been 13, I can’t remember). My view of sex was distorted and then just about every boyfriend I had from then on became a sexual partner. One of my “friend’s” dad’s used to write me dirty letters when I was in the 9th grade. I mean explicit he could have gone to jail if I had shown my parents kind of letters. Now I wonder if he molested his own daughter. He even gave her friends (not me, thank God) sexual nicknames. I remember one was “Nickel Nipples”. Her real name was Nicole. Nicole = Nickel. He was sick. At that age, I thought it was funny. It wasn’t until years later that I realized how sick it was.

    I had 2 affairs with married men. One of them I married. He was 20 years older than me. At the age of 18, he started to court me. I didn’t know right away what was happening, but he lied and charmed me so much and I was so young that I fell for it. After I had been in a relationship with him for about a year I began to realize things just weren’t right. Now that I’m almost the age that he was when he started hitting on me I get sick to my stomach thinking what a freaking bastard he was. I have forgiven him. But for the life of me I cannot fathom what he saw in an 18 year old girl fresh from high school other than sex with a girl barely beyond her childhood. It sickens me to the pit of my stomach.

    Now I’m married to the man of my dreams. But because of all the sexual abuse I encountered (some of my own doing) during my teenage years, I have trouble with intimacy being what it should be. I have to get over that it’s dirty. I pray about this all of the time. Thankfully God is helping me overcome these past scars. And one day I hope to enjoy sex without the dark pains attached to it. One day I hope to make love to my husband and feel just that… love. So far, we’ve been together 10 years, it still takes a lot of mental and emotional effort. But I believe that God will set me free.

    Your turn.

  2. Sarah Says:

    Hey – I’m new to the site, but I’ll jump right in. I grew up in a Christian home. I was a Pastor’s kid and knew exactly how to “work the system” at church. I knew when to raise my hands, when to pray, when to hug a crying friend at the alter… I had it down pat. But as I grew up, I realized it was time to take things seriously… but just becuase I realized that I needed to, doesn’t mean that I actually did it.

    I didn’t even start dating until High school (which seems to be much older than teens these days…), and even then I have only ever had a total of 4 boyfriends in my lifetime (3, but 1 when I was “going out” with one… meaning we hardly even held hands at church). All of them were VERY spread out. I was so against the thought of constantly dating someone, and I Was the one who always dogged her friends about “needing” to be in a relationship. I was the “You don’t need a man to be happy!” spokeswoman! But then… I had the biggest crush on a guy that I grew up with.

    Growing up, I constantly struggled with my self-esteem. Most people didn’t have a clue, becuase I was a little firecracker with an attitude, but it was true. I was bony, skinny, wire-haired, ugly glasses, lots of freckles, under developed as a girl… I was miserable. And I still struggle with a lot of that. It’s not liek I ever told myself “you’re ugly” – it’s just that I was never good enough, never pretty, and never noticed.

    So – when my “crush” broke up with his girl and almost immediately started looking at me, I was floored! And of course, I was completely stricken by him. He was 2 years older, and boy was he the guy that everyone wanted! And by the time he turned to me, most had already had him (not sex… but… they’d had a turn dating him).

    Well, at first, it was awesome. I felt like every girl in church (and mostly in school, too) wanted to be me and be with him. But little did I know how things would change. A few months after we started dating, the verbal abuse started, but only in private. He wasn’t stupid enough to do it in public… but I wasstupid enough to pretend nothing was happening.

    Gradually things worsened. It became a control thing – he didn’t want me hanging out with my friends without him there… then I couldn’t buy clothes without him there… then it was emotional… he’d say whatever he could to get to me and make me cry, so that he’d get his point accross and little by little I withered away.

    That little firecracker turned into more of a mouse than anything. Then… since we’d already had the verbal, and emotional abuse… we moved on to the sexual abuse… and even a bit of physical. He never hit me, but he’d sure swing at me. And he threw things at me, that never seemed to hit me… but he would grab my arm tigheter then I’ve ever felt before. And he forced me to do things I swore I’d never do, and even then… I fought it. And then cried the whole time.

    Then… he proposed. We were alone. There was no one around… and I said yes, becuase I was scared to death to say anything else. I remember hugging him afterwards and just thinking “Oh God… help me.” But then you get caught up – everyone is excited for you, and you pretend to be excited until you actually believe it yourself.

    But I couldn’t do it. Thank GOD I finally stood up. Not by myself, I had my Brother-in-law ( a police officer) near by when I broke it off in my church parking lot. And a Pastor, as well, becuase I still felt responsible… so he was there to talk to my now “ex”. And another friend in the car… becuase I couldn’t stand to be alone afterwards… I gave him all of his stuff in two bags, and for the first time, I defended myself.

    When I told him we were done, adn walked away… leaving his stuff there, he said “If you can’t be with me through this, then you’re not even worth being with.” I turned around and looked in square in the eye, surprisingly calm up until this point, and said “I’ve put up with that CRAP for long enough. I wont’ put up with it for another MINIUTE!” And walked away, crying.

    Literally, within a half hour, I was breathing easier. Silly me – I thought it was a health problem!

    I’m married now, and saved myself for my husband. I’m grateful for that EVERY day I’m with him. But I won’t lie – it took us a LOT to get to where we are. And there are still days that, when it comes to sex, I feel dirty doing certain things. My husband had a hard time at first, with this, but he’s the most understanding man, now. I can’t imagine being with anyone else.

    We’re still learning, and growing, and forgiving. But – we’re so many miles beyond where we were when we just got married this past November.

    Scars are easy to try to hide… but they’re so powerful when you show them.

    I think I try to hide them, because I don’t want to make people feel uncomfortable. When someone talks about Sexual Assault, you get uncomfortable… who wants to inflict that? But if I just do it… I know that it will heal people. Showing my scars will help someone’s to heal. And if it takes making people a little unncomfortable, or feeling a little embarrassed for a little bit – isn’t it so worth it?

  3. candidchatter Says:

    Sarah: You are one brave lady. I really appreciate your transparency. Your story will touch someone(s). It certainly will. Rock it, sister!! Congrats on being a newlywed!! Here’s to a lifetime of awesomeness in your marriage!!

    HR

  4. jenn3 Says:

    Uh oh! You may have opened a can of worms. (Where did that expression come from anyway?) Okay, deep breath… (I’m always worried about how much to say, because my story is uglier than most.)

    For me, it isn’t so much what I did (not that I’ve never done anything wrong, obviously). This scar is because of my ex-husband. When I was four months pregnant and had been married for five years, I found out that my husband was cheating on me with my minor cousins. Male cousins… (See, uglier than most…) Usually, when I tell anyone this story, like on other people’s blogs, I just say my ex-husband is in prison for a long time and let them wonder why.

    He played in the worship band at church and acted like a good Christian man. He even fooled me for all those years. After everything happened, obviously everyone in my small town knew about it, and it was extremely hard to hold my head up in public. My church was great, very kind, but no one talked about him or the situation. Just was I okay? Did I need anything? I always said I was fine. Even when I had to sell my house because I couldn’t afford to live there. Even when I moved in with my parents. Even when I had to sell my car and drive a crappy one. Even when I had garage sale after garage sale, to pay the doctor bills. Even when I was scared to leave my baby with any men, even my brother or dad, because I don’t know who to trust anymore. Even when I finally made the decision (just six months ago) to divorce my husband. Even when my husband tried to tell me I was a bad Christian for divorcing him…

    My daughter is almost two now and we’re doing “fine.” Haha. No, we really are good most of the time. I still have trust issues with men and don’t know if I could ever date or remarry, because I wouldn’t trust anyone around my daughter. I still have moments that I feel sorry for myself, but I really am blessed and I’m thankful that God has healed me from any unforgiveness or bitterness toward my ex-husband. Now I just need to get rid of the shame and trust issues…

    Sometimes, even on my blog, I have a hard time saying that I’m having a bad day or whatever. When I write an unhappy post, I feel like I’m complaining or everyone will see me as a victim and I feel like I should erase the post. Sometimes real seems too real and I’m always scared to be seen as a complainer or someone who is always struggling. I feel like, even if it isn’t true, other Christians expect you to just be completely healed and okay after a couple months (at the most). Then, if you don’t pretend to be okay, something is wrong with you. Life is messy and people don’t like to see that. It’s probably just my perception of things.

    Well, sorry this was such a long comment. Thanks for letting me get this all out. BTW- I found you through SCL. I read it everyday. God bless!

  5. candidchatter Says:

    Jenn: You too are one brave woman!! Thanks for the comment. I’m sorry for the pain you’ve been experiencing. Even though I haven’t “been there” on your path, we’re all in this together. Congrats on your sweet little daughter. I have a 2 year old too.

    HR

  6. mommato3blessings Says:

    Well Heidi dear, you know where I struggle. Mine is recent though. I guess I am still trying to hide it. But for the rest reading this- I found out a little over 2 weeks ago that my husband has been having an affair for 10 months with someone he works with. He is (was) a pastor. He also works a full time job, and she was someone in that office. He confessed everything to me- I didn’t find out first or anything. He wants to work things out, and after lots of prayer and advice I decided that’s what I want too. But I am completely embarrassed and ashamed and the thought of people from church finding out is horrifying to me. He stepped down from his role as a pastor, and we are going back to our old church. There are hundreds of people there who live in our community and I just know gossip is gonna fly around. It’s hard for me. But I know that I need support from people I trust to get through this.

  7. candidchatter Says:

    Mel: My heart has shattered for you a million times a million over this past year. You have been thru hell and then back thru it again. You are my inspiration and I truly commend you for trying so hard to forgive your husband. You, my darling friend, will touch many a soul with your stories of pain and healing. I pray for you every single day without fail. I love you!

    HR

  8. Jason Says:

    I guess one of the biggest things that I don’t adverstise to other christians is that I have a child out of wed lock. I got a girl pregnant not that long ago. I broke up with her and 8 weeks later she tells me she is pregnant. I found this out after I started dating my now wife. I was up front with my wife about the situation and she chose to stay with me (to my amazement). I am not proud of the consequences of the sexual sin in my life but I won’t hide it. I am a giant bundle of it and God is unraveling it and I don’t want Him to stop. Heidi, I have never met you and I am telling you and the whole freakin blog world about my sin.

  9. candidchatter Says:

    Jason: …and you have already been forgiven by the One who matters the most. You might not expect this, but congratulations on both babies. BTW I am praying for you just as you asked. Seems it’s working brother. Keep on!!

    HR

  10. Insane Mama Says:

    Thanks for keeping it real. I have the same sex issues, it always feels a little wrong, dirty… until recently, it has felt pleasurable, physically. Still have yet to see it as an act of love. I am 37. How much longer will it take? I was molested by the dean of students at my middle school. Now, I am dealing with my teenager having sex and it’s way too much!

  11. Sarah Says:

    I think we all forget how much everyone hurts… how HUMAN we are… and it’s okay to hurt. I feel like people – in the church especially – look down on people that are going through rough times, as if they must be “deserving” of it or something. WHich to me, is completely awful. But unfortunately, we Christians can also be the cruelest people.

    Thanks GOODNESS for people like you, Heidi. Sometimes, all we need is a forum to express our bad side… our discontentedness, our unhappiness, our hurts, our scars, our fears… but as Christians, we’re terrified to put it all out there, for fear of complaining, or judgement, or whatever.

    But it’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to be down. It’s okay to need help.

    That’s the hardest part of being a Christian, sometimes. We’re afraid that admitting we need help means we don’t have enough faith. But that’s SO not true!

  12. candidchatter Says:

    Mama: I feel you. I have physical pleasure every time. For me it’s mental/emotional. I have to get over my internal hurdles in order to turn up the heat and I still don’t view it/feel it as a love gesture. I think that’s why I’ve struggled with being in the mood. Cuz, truly, most of the time I am soooo not. It’s a process and lately it’s gotten much better. GL w/your teen. I fear those times as a parent.

    Sarah: Amen and thank you!!

    HR


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