Take chances. Abandon all the rules. Ditch the recipe. Color outside the lines.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Embracing Arrows

As I sit here and stare at this blank screen, my cursor rhythmically taunting me to write down all the things I really want to say but definitely shouldn’t because, you know, grace and all that, I find myself conflicted.  Sometimes I feel like positivity either stands just out of reach or sits on my head and threatens to fart, normal people call that writer’s block. 

There are days when I find negativity so much easier, so much more tangible, and thoughts of butterflies and warm fuzzies really just make we want to hurl or flip someone off.  I guess maybe that makes me a bad Christian?

I don’t talk about my pain very much.  Sure I talk about my past and struggles with religion but I don’t even really talk about what tears my heart apart right now and I guess I never really paid attention to that until recently. 

Have you ever heard those people give their “testimonies” that go something like this, “Years ago I USED to struggle with porn addiction but NOW I am leading 4 Bible studies, training to be a missionary, and only wear Jesus T-shirts!”  Those always translated to me as “I used to have problems but not anymore!” which for people like me, whose reality is often depravity more than holiness, seemed completely unattainable.  It made me so mad that no one would ever talk about their pain.  Then, this week, I realized I don’t really talk about mine either.

I play tough on a regular basis, dawning my metaphorical tights and cape before stepping out of my phone booth into the world of relationships.  It keeps the tattered heart of a vulnerable girl locked away and protected.  Still, as much as I’d like to convince myself otherwise, I’m not bulletproof. 

I really hate Christians sometimes.  They are so harsh and unrelenting.  At the first sight of something different, outside of their system, they swiftly jump into attack mode using the Bible as their weapon of choice to cut down those at all different from who they are.  The world, they call their enemies, as to justify the unyielding battering of the broken with their religion.  I find myself on the other side of the line they’ve drawn being beat down with words of condemnation, named a heretic for daring to stand opposed to them. 

I feel so conflicted by the need to protect the abused and the desire to show grace to the abusers, though they don’t see their need for it.  There I run, up and down on the wrong side of that line they have drawn, trying to comfort the wounded while being a pin cushion for the arrows of anger and arrogance aimed at my back under the accusation of treason to the God that I do it in the name of. 

I am so conflicted.

Do I speak out or remain silent?

How can I show grace to two opposing sides?

I don’t know.  Sometimes it keeps me awake at night. As I toss and turn, my craving for justice and the gentle whisper of grace tear me apart.  I remember those arrows in my back and I cry because they hurt; I’m not bulletproof.  And I wonder if my craving is for me or for the broken ones that I claim it is. 

I find some solace in knowing that I'm not alone on this side of the line. Tattooed Lutheran pastors, curly haired single moms, worn out passionate coaches, and punny pastors with ugly pocketed shirts, stand on this side, taking care of the broken and embracing their arrows with me.   God reassures me that it will all make sense one day.  I honestly don’t know if that’s true but I hope that it is.At the end of the day that hope is really all we have, isn’t it?  People can stand up and say that they used to have problems and don’t anymore but when the darkness of this wretched world claws at that Sunday School skin they hide behind the nasty truth of their brokenness will ooze out.  We are all the same underneath it all, that skin we hide behind.  We are all terribly broken. 

Maybe that’s the point.

That we are all terribly broken and God is wonderfully gracious. 

That He sees our brokenness as beauty and offers to give us completion.

That we don’t have to understand it all.

That we can cry about the arrows in our backs.

That He won’t be angry at us when we choose our cravings over our whispers.

Maybe that’s the point.

I don’t really know.  I don’t have the answer or a way to eloquently end this with something warm and fuzzy to be inspired by. I am just going to cling white knuckled to that hope and believe that’s that point.  


  1. Enjoyed reading this.
    I find that every day I am much more content when I go to God and say, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; And see If there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalms 139:23-24 and; when I remember to ask God to help me to receive each person even as He has received me. Romans 15:7

    My favorite thing to do is to quote the scripture in I John 1:9 I do that many times through the day! It makes me happy to know, that if I will keep confessing my sins, He will forgive me my sins, and He will cleanse me from all unrighteousness . I have been saved since 1966 and I am so thankful that He is still working on me.

    1. Thank you so much for your sweet words! I find comfort in knowing that His forgiveness is lavished on me even before I ask for it.