Category Archives: Christ-following questions

Why the hey am I so angry?? Get a grip. (I sorta did so now I can talk about it) So Odd.

Dang!

That was a rough PTSD last week. (holding my head.)

It seems that my PTSD flares (or I make it flare….keep reading) and leaves me spiraling into -

…. exhaustion, irritation, and hypervigilance – plus anxiety. Sounds like a ball of fun, eh?

But last week….it included ANGER.

And I mean ANGER with ALL CAPITAL LETTERS!

You are thinking….


“Did she scream and yell?”

“Did she throw things?”

No. I did not. (okay I might have… but I not at the kids. Wow. I’m amazing. sheesh.) 

It was almost a “sad anger”. Sad that this mental health issue is here. Sad that it affects us still. Sad that I cannot, consistently, wake up and just feel “good”. But, it was also an unusual anger that I allowed to build.

The anger … this type …. was definitely new to me. 

I sort of wanted to just be alone until the feeling went away, but I knew that was a bad idea and also not that reasonable.

However,  I wanted it “gone”. I am not used to “super angry”. It is a bit un-nerving. 

[okay...we are not talking 'murder-angry' or anything...though I did 'murder' a few cartons of ice cream last week]

By last Friday, I was standing in our room, crying. 

I was trying to do my hair or throw some makeup on or whatever (I feel better dressed, etc when I’m struggling with PTSD)

Jim walked in … stood in front of me …. and I said, “I have NO idea how to make this go away. None. If I did I would. I want to be mean. I want to scream. I want to tell people off. I have controlled it all but this is not me and it needs to end.”

What’s a guy to do? It’s not like he can come over and give me a big hug. I’m irritable, itchy, sensitive to touch when in this state…a hug would have made me scream.

Jim was left with the same phrase that has begun to haunt us…”We can get through this.”

To know neglect of his own, I already knew that. I didn’t, truly, expect to be that angry for days and days. 

The scary part was not being able to understand it. 

Now that it’s subsided, I can see through it a bit more. I can see why I acted the way I did when that sad-anger was sitting on top of me.

I let things build up.

Specifically, stressers/triggers. 

I lied to myself that I could handle it all last week.

There were events occurring last week that were super-struggles. But I was not true to myself about my ability to handle it all. 

I, instead subtly let the stress of each situation build, and I think the “mound-o-stress” (ha)  turned into a strong anger that I did not understand until the feeling left.

Some stressers were related to a situation that I do not blog about (out of respect) but which causes me significant sadness.

I did not consider that those situations would bring on such anger. 

All the {oh I wanna insert some sort of mean adjective but I won’t} specifics in this situation are NOT new in any way shape or form. I was sure I could handle it all.

I have experienced “regular” anger towards the situation, the people involved, the losses we’ve experienced…but not “THIS” anger.

THIS anger was deep. Sad. Until it was dissected, um like right  NOW, it was just raw, sad, anger that was leaving me confused last week.

Add to that, just before the difficult stress that occurred last week, we had enjoyed a long weekend away. That was JOY … coming home is NOT. [enter stress]

(the following may seem petty…but to someone getting her brain all-balanced again…it is SO SO SO not…)

I LOVE home. I NEED home. It is my “safe” spot.

But…I do not like a super-messy home.  But, durrnit, coming home from a long weekend, at a beautiful and sandy beach with five kids,  means MESS. 

{insert ANGER … at least that was what happened when I saw all that vacation stuff laying around…why???}

I am not a “Has to Be Perfect” Stepford Housewife!  I have gotten OH SO MUCH better at letting a lot of messiness go. 

I let it fly out that dang proverbial window ….. I was even getting better at that BEFORE PTSD…(pat me on the back…  ;)

But MESS that comes through the door and sits in piles for a day or two…blah. gag. boo. stress. [anger growing]

You are thinking, “Just deal with it. Just put it away.”

Yeah. Well, um, can you come put it away? Or better yet…Wash it and put it away? While life continues?

(Said in complete kindness of course…sorta)

One of the things a PTSD sufferer deals with is lack of focus and a component of this is that SMALL things seem MASSIVE. Unattainable. Why-Even-Try-I-Cannot-Do-It.

Now, medium to hard stuff? Somehow that does not affect me as much.

Take homeschool for instance. Teaching my kids is a pretty “big” thing on a daily basis. A huge responsibility. 

If I’m feeling even just barely so-so…I can do homeschool. I feel great about it!  But there is NO WAY IN HADES I could hang up some clothes in my closet. WHA????  

It is so weird to be me. 

AND, adding to the above events (stressers),  there were a few other more relational-yuks that were occurring that absorbed me last week.

AND, last but certainly not least – adding to the above ,  our “Nala” (3 yr old, sweet momma-dog) ran away from a friend’s house while we were gone. (I mentioned that in my last post…sigh)

We were looking for her all week in 90-100 degree temps. I struggle, deeply, (like we all do) when my kids are hurting but I did not think to associate THOSE feelings with triggering my PTSD so much. 

{insert stress-obviously. But I did not ‘feel’ angry about this event. Sad? Sure. Angry? not so much. This is one of the reasons some of this hit between the eyes maybe?}

As I am typing this all out … at this very moment … I am thinking,

Andrea, it probably wasn’t all THAT unhealthy to feel such sad – anger last week.  For the love of pete, give yourself a break. Why didn’t you last week? 


Yes, it was new and strong and scary. But why are you still surprised at PTSD stuff?

Why didn’t you wave the white flag and just HIDE for a few days? Why do you push so hard?

You have PTSD. You ARE sick. [growl]

You cannot plow through like you used too. You need to remember stuff like this for next time.

Because there might be a next time when you feel like a complete failure because you want to scream, and throw, or act out in anger-induced ways. You are smarter than this!”

Dang this is real writing. Here’s to transparency!

I hope my kids read this in the future (hey future kids…I adore you)..and know “me” from all of this. 

Mercy. 

How could they not, eh? 

And I am certainly not scared of them seeing their “true” Momma who isn’t perfect. They see her in-real-life right now!

Reading about it in the future will probably be humorous….”Ha! I remember when Mom was doing that! She was a trip!” 

or “Yep. She sure freaked about that sand.” 

or “Wow. Mom REALLY fought to have our family be tight even when she was struggling.” [this one is my favorite]

I am happy the sad-anger has left…but so has the stresses that were mentally straining me, although “Nala” is still missing. [sadness]

Apparently these events were desperately more difficult on me than I was aware of.

And there’s where the rubber hits the road. 

That’s when the anger slipped I think. I let it all build until is passed “irritation” and slid right into raw, pure, sad, hot anger.

So now what? Hide in my house forever? Never interact with others? Stay away from sand-related long weekends?

No….I simply need to plan better. 

If you are a person reading this who is or knows of people who struggling with mental health wellness…please talk about being completely honest with yourself (or help your friends be honest with themselves…) 

Sometimes it is HARD to allow yourself to be constrained by the truth.

“Will this event draw you out long term?” 


“Add up all the stressing events going on yesterday, today, tomorrow. Can you handle more?”

That kind of stuff. That kind of HONEST stuff. That hurts. Makes you feel like a failure, a louse, a weakling, if you have to say “NO” oftentimes.

I used to be good at asking myself these questions…Jim was especially good at seeing events that would put me in bed for the famous 31 hour sleeping events. [those haven't happened in a happy long while. Improvement!]

But, now that I’ve gotten somewhat healthier, (hey…don’t I sound oh so healthy?! ha) I’ve gotten out of the habit of ‘checkin’ myself like I was.

OR I assume I am bionic and can plow through difficult things with ease and comfort, and be fine the following days.

Well. If there were ANY doubts (oh please)…I am not bionic. ;)

I am a fighter who fails (danggit…) but who, with the help of God, Jim, kids, close friends, and ….

(truly…and I don’t give a fig if this sounds odd…because….if you are reading this then you read this entire novella so you get my ‘weird’ a bit.)

….you guys.  

Here, I have an outlet to throw it out.

I have a place to write my brain down and to hope & pray that what I am writing, as raw and as somewhat embarrassing but yet oh so true it all is, MIGHT be touching a reader right now.

THAT also pushes me and makes me a fighter. 

I can come back out of the corner of the fighting ring, makes me put my (pink) boxing gloves back on, and go another round. 

I am pretty sure I lost this last round but I am hoping to make up for it or should I simply say “improve” this next round.

Because what HAS happened doesn’t necessarily need to be “made up for” but it can be used to IMPROVE oneself, yes? [this may be one of my best blogging sentences ever ... I should probably take heed.]

Wowza…thhat was some really real writing!

Okay…push me outta the corner…
Andrea

"But Momma, he was my Grandpa Bruce. Aren’t you sad?" said Aven, about my (passed) Poppa…

oh vey.
It is ALWAYS in the car. 

I SWEAR the “big” conversation ALWAYS.HAPPEN.IN.THE.FLIPPin.CAR.

 http://www.autoevolution.com/images/news/audi-r8-turns-into-matryoshka-doll-for-new-print-ad-34695_1.jpg



Kids KNOW they have you “stuck” in there.  You can’t whisk yourself  away and claim you have to do laundry, you cannot answer a phone (that really isn’t ringing but is a great way out of conversations you are not ready to launch into), there’s no where for the parent to “go”.


Oh kids SO KNOW THIS!

http://walyou.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/star-wars-matryoshka-dolls-8.jpg


I promise, upon my purple hair, that I have had more theological, spiritual, and conversations of the deepest kind….while stopping at stop signs, hurdling down the highway, and looking at my GPS to figure out where in the heck I’m going (hm. kinda symbolic with the GPS and all, ain’t it?!)


Today…Aven decided she needs to talk about death. 

While we are coming home from dance. Luckily, this drive is only 30 minutes, at most, so I took the opportunity by ‘the horns’ so to speak (as if I had a choice…if you know Aven or have read at minimum 2 posts on my blog..well..you know what I mean ;) .


“Momma, the only bones we can see are our teeth, right?”


[my brain tries to jump back to anatomy class cuz I'm really not sure a tooth IS a 'bone' but then I remembered she is FOUR]


“Yes Aven. You can see your teeth and they are alot like bones.” (ha. got her.)


…wait for it…wait for it… ……


“Momma, will we have bones in Heaven?”

http://thelittlechimpsociety.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/matryoshka450.jpg



3….2….1! 

we’ve LAUNCHED into yet another theological question while in a moving vehicle.


“Aven, we are made in the image of God and God was Jesus so we will look like we look now, so, yes, we will have bones.”


“Mom, will I still have brown skin?” asked the girl-that-wants-fair-skin-and-blonde-hair.


“Precious girl, God created you perfectly. He wanted you to have brown skin. Remember, Jesus had dark skin too…Just like you. You are lucky! Yes, will have your beautiful brown skin in Heaven.”

http://th06.deviantart.net/fs70/150/i/2011/029/e/9/matryoshka__love_by_burningxleaves-d38apzu.jpg


{insert Andrea whispering prayers that these answers are at least 90% to close to ‘correct’ within the realm of what Heaven will be like :}


….get ready for it….get ready for….the 4 yr old’s about to dive even deeper…

……AND we’ve hit every red light on our way home so I know God’s smiling at me saying, “gotcha Andrea. Now stop checkin’ your phone and answer Aven’s questions with your full attention.” dang….busted.


….Aven jumps too……… MY DAD of course.

http://www.oneredrobin.com/wp-content/blogimages/2008/matryoshka_july_1a.jpg


“Grandpa Bruce was my Grandpa. It is not fair. He’s dead. Aren’t you sad Momma?” asks a truly inquisitive, soft-hearted little girl who my Dad would think hung the Moon.


“Yes, Aven. I am sad but I know my Daddy feels better now. AND, I just bet that he knows about you and your brothers and is very happy. I think my Dad is happy that I am happy.” I respond…

[anyone else sweating? and if you are looking up scripture to prove I'm wrong .... please don't... just shut your Bible and role with me...she's FOUR ya know ;) ]

I am now whispering to God that ‘could He PLEASE step in any ol’ time cuz does He remember that I have driving anxiety with my stupid Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and talking about my deceased father, while driving, probably IS NOT the best mix for this girl????……..


“But Momma, dead people aren’t happy. They look like this…” 

I look in the rearview mirror and she’s mimicking a dead body by frowning as big as possible with her eyes squeezed shut and her pigtails all hanging to one side, drooping over the side of her carseat.   (HELLO!! Anxiety?!)

http://en.kllproject.lv/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/matryoshka_02.jpg


Oh.My.Word.


{okay…now comes the part where God takes over because I’ve NEVER EVER thought of this before}


“Aven, you know how we love matroyshka dolls. We think they are so beautiful and each one has more inside than what you can see from the outside?” I say thinking…’where’d THAT come from?’…oh yeah…God’s steppin’ in! phew!


“Yes. My favorite is the teeny-tiniest baby one …. the last one.”  said Aven, who’s no longer mimicking a dead person, which is nice.

http://blogs.nature.com/a_mad_hemorrhage/2011/05/30/matryoshka.jpg


“Well, sweets, the teenist-tiniest one…THAT one is like your SOUL! 

The soul that God put into your body.  Remember how that last, littlest one…your favorite…doesn’t open? It’s because that is the REAL, never changing part of the matroyshka doll…just like our soul never changes.”

http://blog.fosketts.net/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/floral_matryoshka_set_2_smallest_doll_nested-300x285.png


[I'm thinking...'hey..I'm not doing to bad with this one! woot! woot!. Thank ya Jesus I CAN listen AND obey WHILE driving! who knew?!]


“Right now, the bodies we have are like the ‘outside’ matroyshka doll. The one you can see.” I continue.


Aven says, “Oh my favorite is the pretty red one that has blonde hair but I’m still mad that that dog, Benson, chewed part of her up.”


http://www.matryoshka-dolls.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/wpsc/product_images/Russian%20Dolls.jpg 

“Yep, Aven, you are right. I get mad about that too because that makes me think of my Daddy. His ‘outside’ matroyshka doll got sick. It wasn’t his fault. 

But it is because there is yuck in this world that wants to keep us from being really happy and really healthy.  God hates that yuck, ya know that yuck is the Devil.”  I say, seriously wondering if God is stretching time because this car ride is taking FOREVER.


matryoshka rings.JPG



“I hate the devil. I would be like my brothers and just “Tae Kwon Do” kick him Momma.” said Aven.  (laugh:)

http://gadzetomania.pl/images/2010/11/Ninja-matryoshka.jpg


“You CAN, in a way, do that when you pray Avenita because the Devil is such a whimp he doesn’t even let us see him. Your prayers are your kicks.” I replied.


I wanted to get back on topic (if possible with Aven :)


“Hey Aven, you know how we are the ‘outside’ matroyshka now, right?  Well, when we die and go to Heaven, which is not scary, it is like we get to be one of the other, inside, matroyshka dolls!  

No scratches, no doggy bite marks, no chipped paint!  We are brand new but we are still ourselves because that littlest ‘matroyshka’, your favorite one, is still inside….like how your soul will always be with you.”  

http://openparachute.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/matryshka.jpeg?w=200&h=182


She looks out the window for a second and I am PRAYING to the SWEET LORD ABOVE that she does not bring up that not EVERY ‘inside’ matroyshka looks like the outside one….kwim?!  

http://0.tqn.com/d/goeasteurope/1/0/l/C/-/-/MatryoshkaFamily.jpg


She didn’t. {PHEW}


She said, “I’m glad that little one is always going to be there. It’s my favorite.” (from the mouth of babes, right?!)

http://photo-dict.faqs.org/photofiles/list/2123/2777matryoshka.jpg



“Aven, it’s who makes “you” you. Your soul is “Aven”.  No matter what the outside looks like….you will always be how God made you…which is perfect.”


I looked in the rearview mirror, and saw my daughter….who looks nothing like me, who does not share my DNA, but who is so much a part of me that I sometimes forget where she starts and I end….

…..who has questions that seem beyond her age….who will have questions I do not have answers too….who seems to know that the world curiously complicated….

…A child that was knit together within her birthmother’s womb with perfection……with a purpose and a plan for that baby to have hopes and a future…not for harm….


and…I saw this precious creation, my kiddo,  smiling BIG.  

Thank you Jesus.

 http://media.dwell.com/images/478*503/matryoshka3.jpg



I do miss my Dad.

I miss that my Dad cannot enjoy my kids (oh my heck he would have LOVED them SO much!) but I am HAPPY that there is a hope for us which promises us a much brighter future that what we toil away for here on this rock we live on.

I  am thrilled that God helped me answer one of my precious treasure’s deepest questions using something she and I both love and share and see as “beautiful”….. matroyshkas.

God IS beautiful like that…always making it as easy for us as He can….wanting us to feel Him and His love. 

Not fear. Not doubt. Love.


A LOVE that can be described in SO many ways….and today….oddly enough……it was via a matroyshka doll. 




Happily….we pulled into the driveway before Aven ended her “looking out the window smiling really big moment” and launched into more theological questions….

[cuz my heart was on overload...]


Regardless….What a joy to know that there ARE answers to ALL of our hard questions.

And, a joy to know that inner-matroyshka doll that makes “us” us…will always be there.

http://belindaschneider.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/prague-matrioshkas21.jpg


God Is Good. 

Andrea

Do I have to experience deep pain to receive great blessing? AND a kickin’ music "video" during a "Combustible Lemons" practice session :)

 So I was in my room having a PTSD pity-party. I was, yet again, probably going to miss out on an event (seeing some of me besties) that’d I’d been looking forward too.

Then….I heard music. LOUD MUSIC.

Not just “music” but I heard my two oldest boys JAMMIN’ downstairs.

I shut my eyes and simply enjoyed the awe that hearing their art brought me.  

Enjoying the progress of their developing talents. Helping me realize that this little pity-party is unnecessary as I am about one of the most blessed people I know.

So, thanx my handsome boys for making your Momma feel uplifted when you didn’t even know you were doing it :)  
(and for the making the video even though you didn’t ‘get’ how hearing you play made me feel so much better…nor did you have any clue why I’d wanna put it on my blog ;)

Now…about feeling “blessed”. 

I heard a phrase the other day that has me really confused.

Here’s the phrase:

“It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.”    A.W. Tozer 
I simply can’t get my head around this statement.  
I’ve tried to find the body of writing that came before and after this statement, made by Towzer sometime during his life ((April 21, 1897 – May 12, 1963 and probably within one of the 40 books he wrote), but I cannot.
As a result, I am giving ‘credit’ for it being slightly out of context, possibly? But, even then, I don’t see this being accurate from a biblical perspective. (his opinion, yes..but still? really?)

I see God punish, provide/allow tests/trials, condone war,  issue plagues, etc.
But I do NOT see where only GREAT blessings comes after God has ON PURPOSE but a believer through a “fire” or a “deep hurt”.
I am the perfect example of a Christ-follower who is stronger in her beliefs after having gone through trials….but….I felt GREATLY blessed before any of my “DEEP” hurts occurred.
The “great blessings” I feel now do feel different but surely that has to do with age, maturity, etc….No ONLY the “great hurts” I’ve experienced.
Yes, I was younger but age doesn’t play a huge role in the Bible. Think David, Samuel, and Joseph. All used at very young ages.

That implies that a teen can feel “greatly blessed”.

As a teen, in many areas of my life, I felt great blessing.
Was my relationship with God as intimate then as now? No. But, intimacy comes with TIME as well as trials. Trials or hurt or pain just cannot be the only way to experience GREAT blessings.
I realize this is Towzer’s opinion. He did not quote scripture. He did say, “It is highly doubtful…” etc.
However, seeing that he was a famous preacher, his stated opinions are often “taught”, “re-used”, and quoted more often than an average person’s opinions would be.
Does this not require a more a bit more due diligence on a person’s part? Maybe he was mis-quoted and he did not say these exact words. Unfortunately, he is not longer living or would have had him on the phone by now!
Truly, these words have bothered me greatly.
I know the God I love has righteous and vengeful anger. I know He does not cower from protecting His people.
But I also don’t see where His word even comes close to saying something like, “To be greatly blessed I will put you through great hurt.”
I see where it says, “To suffer to pure joy.” Or “God can make good out of all.”
Anyways, I’ve been wracking my brain for an individual mentioned in the Bible who was “greatly blessed” without “deep hurt”.
(and “greatly blessed” is based upon personal interpretation I suppose? To some…running water is a “great blessing” to others it is a “new car” to others it is “loyal friends”)….
I cannot think of one but there has to be! 
Or even an individual, not mentioned in Bible per se, that has been richly blessed but has not experienced “deep hurt”

(again…”deep hurt” being up to personal interpretation but surely “deep hurt” would involve loss, physical pain, severe mental anguish, etc.)

PLEASE HELP ME THINK OF SOMEONE…IS IT YOU?!
I seriously need to work through this in my head.
I feel “stuck” spiritually until I do.
(not ‘stuck’ like I ‘give up’ but ‘stuck’ in that it is encompassing my spiritual thought process)

COME ON READERS…Help a girl out!
Since Towzer is no longer available for a phone call…..YOU all are “my Towzer”.

PLEASE give me your thoughts…SERIOUSLY please.
Because at this point…I am taking my frustration out on my twin sister. :)

Andrea
(don’t let the silly pix rabbit-trail ya…you gotta give me your thought on my post…you simply gotta or I shall remain “stuck”…and it could get alot uglier than just attacking my twin sister ;)
“The true Church preaches REGENERATION; not reformation, not education, not legislation, but regeneration.” —M.R. DeHaan