I took a break from packing and found a journal that traced from 2008 to 2010.
It talked about the severe depression that I had after graduating SEU and not being able to plant a spanish church at my home church. It talked about the hurt I held for some church members who were really mean to me. Some would use my confessions against me and judge my character. I was sure I would be hired at teenchallenge in another entry. Then that fell through. I really screamed at God in this journal and many times outloud.
I then went to Columbia. Right before I left Leigh Jarvis told me she could see me being a professor. I laughed at the thought. I wanted to be a missionary. But I had failed or opportunites seem like they passed me by. My homechurch was growing, but my synical nature and depression kept me from being a smiling face that season. I wanted to teach a small group on spanish, and was asked blunty if i believed everything my home church taught. I was so prideful and full of my new education that I decided to answer one question with a hint of doubt. stupid me. It wasn’t even an issue that mattered to “salvation.” I was quickly reprimanded and i humbled myself and asked if my comments could be deleted. So i taught. two students. and I waited tables. Nothing glorious. and most of the time my lessons were sloppy reflecting the inward chaos. Then a minister called me and told me someone had paid the full way to go to Columbia and couldn’t go. I was depressed. and pissed. But excited to be given a free ticket, after all I was their bilingual girl with the drug overdose testimony. I went. I quickly made friends with one young man who had stumbled sexually and was suspended from his masters commission for it. We were both hurt. frustrated. wondered if our callings were intact. And on this trip, I kept hearing God say “teach”. Yet my pride got in the way again. I argued biblical interpretation with a zealous woman. I argued evolution. I argued. and argued. after all I was a prideful idiot who knew everything, and deep inside I carried hurt for the church and christians in general. I met a missionary there who was a DR. and a missionary. He told me I should go to seminary. he was super humble. I admired him.
I returned home to find a message on my mom’s answering machine. A seminary had called and offered me a scholarship. Maybe i would go. Hell yes, I would. I hated being at home. I was a loser in the biggest since. teenchallenge wouldn’t hire me. I couldn’t put lesson plans together. No hispanics wanted a woman pastor. It seemed like the right answer. My friends freaked out. said it was dumb to go. said I would be puffed up by knowledge. wasn’t i already? I hadn’t been humbled enough yet. Even though I had suffered so much pain at the hands of the church, my father, and lost relationships I was still a prideful mess. Thought I should have been a tv preacher or something. I really begin to struggle. I wrote in the journal: rid me of my pride. remove my need to be right. help me to forgive the church. help me to love the hurting.
I packed my crap and moved to Missouri. I was immediately welcomed at the Seminary and made friends quickly. Then I struggled living with people who were politically and religiously different than me. I had sworn years earlier I would never be a children’s pastor or work at a little church. Funny how I found myself working as a children’s pastor who still struggled with anger and a need to correct the white conservative church goers. I wrote in the journal about my pain. I asked God if I had failed him. I asked him to humble me. I asked to break my heart. I asked him to reveal to me the people who hurt the most. and then all hell broke loose. My battle with sexual addiction popped back up. I didn’t want to be talking dirty to a fifty year old, but every other man looked at me like I was a lesbian, He made me feel wanted. I hated and adored the little church I worked at. I wanted to teach those kids about love, and I did. But I didn’t want to wear a dress or comb my hair. The pastor repeatedly asked me to wear a dress. I hated it. but I did.the first sundy i put one on, combed my hair and dawned lipstick the dirty old men licked their lips. I felt threatened again. I hated that. I felt like the little girl at church who kept telling her mom she didn’t want to wear a dress anymore. I suffered through the perverts and prayed that God would veil me. I was good at wearing a big “f off” sign but it didnt keep the perves away. I loved the people at the church for their hospitality. They paid for my doctors visit when I was sick. Although the pastor announced from the pulpit I had a rash. awkward. I was thankful for the prayers, never the less. I watched hurting people pile into the country church every morning. I watched an elderly pastor love on them as best he could. I wanted to reach out to the outcast, and I felt like I was stuck in deep baptacostal tradition, where my opinions were waved off as rebellion or heresy. Every sunday I struggled to open the hymnal. I dawned my dirty clothes and some murphy’s oil soap and cleaned every pew. I prayed that God would help these people and myself. Sunday would come and the music would be off tempo and off key. I always prayed that God would show up, so many hurting people needed his love on those sundays. Old farmers, divorcees, and grandparents raising toddlers. It seemed routine that a message in tongues would come. and then it happened…suddenly i heard God speak clearly. My heart was moved. I loved the church, but i felt called to the highways. I kept praying. I had a series of dreams. I prayed and my replacement came. They wished me off and prayed over me. They were such sweet people.
The next semester at school was so busy. I was elected to be a member of our student government. I accepted the position with delight. I hoped we could get recycling in place, I had big ideas and was opinionated. I wanted to bring radical change! I wanted us to reach out to the community. I wanted to do anything and everything. But I started to argue again over theological matters with people back home. so much so that family members shut me off and church people thought I was a heretic. I felt disallusioned. I begin to have a relationship again with a man 20 years my senior who just wanted me but didn’t love me. I felt so abandoned and broken, yet strangely intoxicated by the sexual excitement. Then I started to date an atheist. same thing. and then this Christian man, known for being highly opinionated started to date me. I just couldn’t handle him, either. I ran home. worked for a large homeless ministry. I met a couple of gays while I was there. each night I would pray for them. I loved them. I had always felt an affection for the Gay community. after all, they embraced me when the church seemed to spit on me. I kept praying. I wrote in my journal my heart for the homeless, the gays, and the atheists. I also wrote about my owngoing battle with anger and sex. I sought out a counselor. My father and I got into arguements. My sister and I argued. I was so prideful. I broke up with the Christian guy again, who had all but convinced me I was paranoid and rebellious. I cried everynight to God. in the meantime, I begin to befriend more gays. I kept praying.
I had a class on social justice. The class ripped my heart apart. In the journal I asked God to give me a heart for homosexuals. I asked that he would humble me. I asked that he would make me celibate or burn my desire for a man away. The counselor showed me I wasnt crazy. He helped me heal from the hurt men had caused. He gave me hope in the church. And God planted me in a church that was made up of 20 year olds. I had a great group of friends. they slowly graduated and moved on. or started to date each other. it wasnt the same. I felt odd again. then I took a job working nearly 60 hours a week. its funny to read all this later. To watch how God planted dreams in my heart. worked through my anger issues. Walked me through my sexual problems. One entry askes God to do something about the hurting Gays in Atlanta. Another entry asks if I can get tatts all over my arms. One asks that I be reconciled to my family. Another asks that I rekindle my love for the Church. One prays that my hurt be healed. One I thought was extremely funny asks if I can marry a man who wants to disciple others, unify the church, and have a heart for the outcasts. I asked God if I could start painting again.
wish I had journaled this past year.
Good reminders of what God has done.