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I Am Not Qualified For What I See Needs Doing
In 2010, I joined one of America's microcultures, with high hopes and ideals.

It did not take long at all to realize that there are a lot of hurting people in this one.

(This can be said of every culture, of course, but this one has a combination of people being very free about expressing their pain, while being mistrustful of outsiders. There are a lot of people who want to help, support, encourage, but the idea is, unless you've lived our pain, you can't understand it, and we don't trust you.)

Roughly two years in, I found a spot in an organization, mostly within said microculture, made of members who want to disciple other members and bring them to knowing Christ more deeply. One of their staff was part of the community I belonged to, and he mentored about a half-dozen of us, while teaching another twenty who were less confident about depending on the Bible.

I decided then that I wanted to be staff someday, like this man was. I envisioned joining part-time, and mentoring under someone who did this full-time, and being part of this marvelous mission.

(One of the very bad chapters in my life came about because I didn't listen to that particular mentor's instruction - which was to start each day with God, and do nothing until He told me to do it. Said mentor knows how that works for me, it's not booming voice from the sky, but I do not yet know how to describe it to someone else. The problem was, I was panicked at such a suggestion, because I knew God, and God sometimes does things that don't make any sense from my end*, which could result in me getting punished by the people I worked for. This was unthinkable. I basically lived to try to avoid punishment (which is a really crappy way to go through life, but it was the best I knew at the time.) So, the result was that I was willing to listen to God AFTER I listened to my manager/boss/employee handbook, and there came a point where I had a manager who wanted me to do something I knew was wrong, and I did it, pretty consistently for a year, and that year was so painful that I ended up losing /leaving my job**.)

*I have compared this to me doing things that make no sense to my beloved pet rabbit. Look, sometimes the floor just has to be vacuumed. She hates this.
**Stress resulted in depression at near-lethal levels. Rick went into action. Rick is very kind and gentle when he interacts with me, but Rick interacting with something that threatens his treasured bride is a persistent force who Does Not Play Fair. Well, maybe he plays fair, but he uses rules no one has thought of looking into.

The downside of having left that job is that, after a year of recovery, I've largely forgotten about the need, about how many people are hurting there. I'm focused on my marriage, focuses on the teenagers and preschoolers, getting connected with our community and getting to know the area, learning more about this cool new area I've landed in. I'm focused on many positive things...and forgetting what we cared about.

Joining staff now would not look the way I'd anticipated. I'd anticipated a sort of apprenticeship, studying under someone who'd been staff for years, probably into the next stage of life. We're it. Everyone in our group right now is in about the same life stage.

I've been holding a focus of, "What do I need to do to make myself a better Christian? A more dedicated follower of Christ? To increase my understanding of the Bible, and who God is?" And, in doing all that, clean forgotten that anyone we don't know has similar needs.

One point would be taking off from our church every so often to meet the new incoming people at the only location where they know to go for meeting other Christians. Do I want them to know that there's a safe place for them, a place where we practice more in-depth study, life-on-life, pushing our comfort zones? Absolutely. Am I willing to miss the time with the youth and our choir in order to be there? Oh, hold on now, wait a minute. Those teenagers only start to trust me when I indicate to them that they're a priority to me. When they think I prioritize some other ministry over them, they pull away, clam up, shut down.

...well, can I serve the teens, without them trusting me?
Yes. It's less gratifying for me. It means that someone else will have to be the one to receive their secrets, those precious moments. It means working for fruit I don't get to see. That's okay.
Or, can I pray that they would still trust me even when, from my perspective, it does not make sense for them to do so?

Can I pray that another leader would move into the area?

Can I pray that God would give us another place to meet, that's large enough for the current group?

Can I pray that God would give direction to the group? Would give life and purpose again?

*sigh* We're in a weird position. The last person who led, who was really able to do so, thought it would be wise to shut things down for awhile, until a new leader emerged. Have everyone grow strong in their own churches, marriages that were just starting get somewhat established, keep meeting for the purposes of fellowship perhaps but let teaching be done by those who are qualified to teach. (This is marked out for us in Scripture, by the way, the older men teaching the younger, the older women training the younger women.)

Well and good. But there's pressure from the leaders up north of us. They know so, so many people come through our area - we have the capacity, locally, for some of the largest communities within this microculture, and we're also THE central location for a pile of the most isolated communities within the microculture. And they're not finding anyone here.

One scene from Doctor Who keeps playing in my mind on this. Opening the second season, there's an episode where the Doctor (who generally acts as the problem-solver for interplanetary time-traveling mix-ups) is out of commission, so his friend Rose, completely unqualified, squares her shoulders and says something like, "Doctor's unavailable, somebody has to be the Doctor."
She puts forth a solid effort, and completely fails, but her effort ends up buying a little bit more time until the Doctor heals/wakes up and can save the day.

I can't lead any of the women in this group. (Rick asked me to think about mentoring one of our new young wives - no. Nope. Not happening. To mentor someone my age, I would have to have some clue of what I'm doing at my age. I can mentor teenagers, because I have some idea of how to handle being a teenager, but I cannot tell you in words how very in-over-my-head I am in relationships with my husband, my mother, my work (not having gainful employment makes me a failure in the eyes of our culture - try mustering up to that one every day), my long-distance family...look, it's sweet that you think I help someone else do this, but it gives the impression you have no idea how much I feel like I'm failing) But I can be a friend to any of the women here, and serve, and help. Lead? No. But serve, yes.
I can take off at least one Sunday a month and go to the chapel, make some connections. Three meeting-spots in the area, but actually only one of them holds any sort of Protestant gathering. I don't know what we're going to do about space, but it hardly seems Christian to decide, "God has not yet provided more room for us, so we're not going to help any more people."

We ARE plugged in with a really great church. They're not affiliated directly with the organization we're staff for, but if the overall purpose is to get people connected with a community that's oriented around knowing Christ, teaching the Bible, serving each other...okay, we might just be acting as conduits for a time.

Come to think of it, it was because of the afore-mentioned leaders that WE got connected with that church. It's a good place for new believers, and believers looking for other believers, and younger people looking for older people to learn from, and the church sure knows how to celebrate a baby better than we do.
And thanks to the purpose of serving the teens, I have a vehicle that can haul people who don't have wheels.

I don't know that this is exactly being staff, but it is serving. If we had someone who could disciple, I'd connect people to that person or couple.

Am I Overreacting??
Ok so wedding drama *eye roll*.
One of my bridesmaids is getting married 2 weeks before Pete and I. Her and her fiance are in our wedding party, but only Pete is in theirs.
So although she's getting married first, I am much more organized and got most of my girls together to go dress shopping, herself included.
We picked out the most gorgeous dress for the bridesmaids (and myself, but that's not the purpose of this entry).
Once we all get home from the appointment, she sends me a link to buy online bridesmaid dresses. Thanks but no thanks, that is too risky for me.

Anyways, she goes dress shopping with her bridesmaids a month later, fine whatever.
So I'm texting her 2 nights ago asking how it went, and lo-and-fucking-behold SHE WANTS TO GET THE SAME BRIDESMAID DRESS FOR HER GIRLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I think that is absolute bullshit. And when I tried to niceley explain how I find that weird and it makes me uncomfortable, she answers with "you can't pick out my bridesmaids dresses". WTF?! Are you serious?! YOU CAN'T COPY ME!
She also tried to tell me that this is the ONLY dress that looks good on her "bigger" girls. Like excuse me?! This is not the 1 and only dress on the face of the earth that looks good on big girls as well.

Am I being bridezilla right now or is she being shady as fuck?!

Like I feel like people are going to attend her wedding/see pictures and then 2 weeks later I'm going to have mine and people will be like "why did Shavonn copy her?".

Everyone I've talked to thinks she's being a copy cat and is pulling a low blow.
Like I get there will be other weddings with the same dress. BUT to come to my appointment and want the same dress for your girls, when you're in my bridal party?! Really? Like really??

And there are other wedding things that she'll ask me what I'm doing or who I've hired and then she'll do the same... Like ok it's one thing to ask for suggestions, but do your own damn research!!


Finding My Calling

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere
People's tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head, I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow

And I find it kind of funny,
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I'm dying
Are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you
'Cause I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It's a very, very
Mad world, mad world
Mad world, mad world

Children waiting for the day they feel good
Happy birthday, happy birthday
Made to feel the way that every child should -
Sit and listen, sit and listen
Went to school and I was very nervous;
No one knew me, no one knew me
Hello, teacher, tell me what's my lesson?
Look right through me, look right through me

And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I'm dying
Are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you
'Cause I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It's a very, very
Mad world, mad world
Mad world, mad world

Tears For Fears

Yesterday's...well, this weekend's events...well, the last MONTH'S events, it's all been percolating - got me thinking about why I'm drawn to healing. It's a complex over-under unfolding-weaving of ideas, and Tears For Fears unwittingly captured several of them in their song. (I assume this was unwittingly - I seriously doubt they wrote a song to explain why I think the way I do).

Because from what I've seen, the world IS mad. It was beautiful, and it's wrecked, and some places are more wrecked than others, and some places retain some glimpses of their original beauty.
And because of that, escaping this world, the dreams in which I'm dying - they're the best I've ever had. (Also dreams about flying or doing a lot of time underwater. They're different worlds.)
And because I'm not unique. I'm not alone in this. A lot of people, probably everyone, are also feeling their souls blister from exposure to this world.

Is there anyone out there, 'cause it's getting harder and harder to breathe?
Is there anyone out there, 'cause it's getting harder and harder to breathe?
Maroon 5

If you've ever been in a real fire, house fire, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, sit down with me a minute. It's hot on a level you have to invent new words for. Some of it's searing, some of it's blistering, some of it's baking, some of it's burning. Your mind gibbers, really, from trying to find ways to describe an environment you instinctively must escape. It's cooler near the floor, there's air there, you crouch or crawl if you have an idea of which way is out. The ceiling is choking, stifling, oppressive, it hurts your skin, hurts your eyes, hurts your throat, hurts your chest. It's dark, dark, little flickers of flame, but you can tell it's the choking smoke filling everything that makes it dark. Visibility varies - maybe ten feet, maybe six feet. Sometimes you're down to two, and you're just crawling in the direction you believe is out, only able to see what you immediately have to deal with, nothing beyond. Sometimes you can't see your hand in front of your face. Your eyes burn whenever you open them, but trying to escape blind is maddening.

This is the world a lot of people live in. This is depression. This is a host of other emotional, mental, social, US-issues.

When you feel-more-than-see that smoke-ceiling rolling down lower, towards you, because it's filled up the top of the room and has nowhere to go, it's getting harder and harder to call out, and I'm there. That's my place. That's where I belong - I'm supposed to be there, where you can't breathe and I know the way out. I'm going to be a gentle hand and a strong arm in the dark, and you're going to make a decision about whether to trust me.

If you trust me, if you lunge and seize my hand, I can get you out of here. I just came from a place where it's not burning. You can breathe there. You won't be alone anymore.

There's a landscape I know well. It's always night there. It's volcanic slag and exposed bedrock, an undulating lifeless plain, the smoke is still in the air but you can breathe, realize it's smoke and mist. While that means you still can't see very far most of the time, except when the wind clears some of it off (and makes you wish you hadn't seen) the mist is starting to heal your burned throat and lungs. There are pits open to magma below, there are stretching plains of undulating bare rock.

This is what most people call rock bottom. Everyone hits it, some people hit it often enough that they get familiar with it, even comfortable.

I've been here a lot. I know this place. I'm not afraid of it anymore. I know how to build my house here. And while it's bleak as all-get-out, I can run with confidence over those big rocks, finding sure footing. I know there's nothing else here for life, but you glance down at your hand and I'm still holding. I'm still here, until you don't want me, or until we get you out of this place. Rock bottom, as far as I'm concerned, is the best foundation imaginable, as long as you've got the right Rock.

I don't make permanent ties. Rick is the closest it gets, and we both know one of us will precede the other. In my line of work, industrial accidents are common. In his, people simply disappear. I have friends who've run deep with me, and we've passed out of each others' lives, untroubled by this. First time a friend of mine died, she was 20. First time a friend of mine was widowed, she was 26. I've accepted that most of what I attach to here will be a temporal attachment, and this is not disheartening to me because both of us are blessed by that attachment to go on to whatever, whoever, is next.

And then I'm going to go back to doing my thing, until I hear someone else desperate to breathe, and I will run back across that bare rock into the smoke and find her.

I'm not special. I'm not uniquely gifted. It isn't me alone doing this, who feels compelled to do this - there are a lot more of us. I'm one thread in the tapestry. The tapestry is strong not only because some threads are strong, but because the Weaver is skillful. The picture is discernible because the threads run as they were planned to do. I'm just running where I was designed to run.

This is what I do. What I have to do. I can't exist and not do this.

This is why I feel lost when I go for weeks without seeing people.

This is why my day-of-rest involves being alone, and my other six days are all about connections.

This is why I see the world in terms of relationships.

This is why, when I know that it will be better still to leave this world, I'm still here.

we are better but our truck needs help
So we are all finally nearly fully recovered from that horrible bout of flu. Thank the Lord! I didn't know what I was going to do if it persisted for longer than a week. My son still has a bit of a cough, but it's so slight it's not even worth meds. Hubby is still going through his week of flu fun, but he should be fine really soon. 

Now we need to get our truck in total working order. It needs a new radiator and a new windshield AND new upper control arms. After that, we should be able to fly through long as they don't look for high beams. Them things cost 50 dollars and after the other 400 we are putting out for the truck,  I am really not beat for that 50. We also need some minor truck accessories such as the side steps. They are rusted beyond reason. One of the plastic strips is only being held on by spit. It is still a nice truck, runs great, doesn't guzzle TOO much gas. If it weren't for the running and the space, I probably would have given up on it by now LOL.

This means everything to me right now. (edit)
does anyone know who wrote this? Google is failing meeeee :(

Edit so I found this image again but captioned with this:
Selection from Bombshells: Jezebel, and other excerpts from life as a Dancer by Jezebel, published by Clinophobic Press, June 2011.
but can't find anything about that book or whatever wtffffffffff

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