Christianity

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Published June 1, 2018 by Chloe Madison

“The unknown distance to the great beyond

Stares back at my grieving frame”

My God, I have been struck by massive headaches lately. Some have been full on migraines, others just close to migraines. Today, yesterday, the day before, the day before that, it goes on and on.

I even left the house to run an errand, thinking if I got up and moving, my headache would subside. It got so much worse, that I had to turn around and go back home. Ridiculous.

I don’t know what’s causing this- perhaps the stress of moving? Other than that and dealing with the young girl who was raped and continuing to deal with my own stupid stuff, that’s the only stress I have at the moment.

I’m in for a big life change with this move. It will turn my budget upside down and a lot of things are going to change. But I’m so ready for change- any kind of change. If I could literally go to the moon, I would. It wouldn’t be far enough away from this place. So as stressful as the move might be, I’m actually really looking forward to it. It’s a ton more money and a lot less pretty and a lot smaller, but I’m ok with that. I truly feel it’s in a safe place and I really, really need that.

I dreamed last night that my rapist who lives here was at my front door. I freaked out and ran around the house, closing blinds and locking things down and cowering down in an anxiety ridden mess. It was terrible…but honestly, this dream wasn’t nearly as bad as others. I think it shows how vulnerable I feel- that I don’t feel safe and that I feel anyone can do me harm and intrude upon where I live. Everyone has a right- a basic human right- to feel safe where they live.

I often wonder how long this crap will last. I am so sick of this. I remember when I was healed and thought I could handle anything life threw at me with God, my Father, on my side. And now…

Now…

Ugh. I just don’t know anymore. I don’t trust him and tears stream down my face as I write this. I feel so guilty about saying that. But it’s the truth of where I am.

I struggle with this every day, practically all day and all night long. I talk to God and pray…but I doubt him and his intentions. I doubt his goodness. I doubt his trustworthiness. And I doubt my own ability to carry on.

My church is doing this thing where they want to “hear people’s stories” and for a second, I thought it would be a great place for me to share. But they’re doing it so others can learn and be inspired by peoples’ successes and how God has moved in their lives. So that cuts me out. That isn’t the place for me to share. I’m not a success and I’m struggling so much with God that no one would be “inspired.” And that’s ok. I know I’m in a tough place with God. I hope he doesn’t give up on me like everyone else has. 😓

My church and my job are the only things not about to change in my life. Actually, my job just did change. A full-time position is called a 1.0. So if you’re 0.8 or less, you work part time. Since I was hired there, I worked a 1.2, which is a full time position and then some. For the last 2 years, I worked a 1.4. That’s practically unheard of. I think I was only able to do it because I have no family, no friends, and no social life here. I needed that 1.4 with this move. It was such good extra money and I needed it so badly to pay down debt. I was told a few weeks ago that I would be down to a 1.2 again. Argh!!! I really need that money. This is part of what will make my budget super tight in the future. So I guess even my job is changing…I will have less work. And honestly, I don’t think that’s a good thing. Being able to busy myself with my job has been important to keep my mind occupied.

Ok. So I guess my church will be the only thing not changing for me. And this is good because my church is amaze balls. Even though I shy away from talking to people there, I absolutely love the people there. And I have a phenomenal pastor who is so gifted at preaching- it’s unreal.

I just don’t know how long I can hang in with this shit swirling in my head. I’m trying to focus on others- on being an encouragement to other people. I’ve been talking a lot with the young girl whose uncle molested and raped her and with her friend, who was raped a few weeks ago. I’m checking in on both of them and encouraging both of them and letting them know I’m cheerleading for them and believe in them. I’ve got their back. I know I would have loved to hear that. So I’m trying to focus on being a positive force in peoples’ lives…but even then, I feel like a failure.

I think often – every single day- of my friends who abandoned me. I wonder what it was about me that they didn’t like. Was I too needy? Not nice enough? Not caring or loving or supportive enough? It makes me so, so scared to lose more friends. I mean, I barely have any to begin with. I wish people could be more understanding. Why throw me away? Why not talk to me? It makes me feel like trash that is discarded. And I already felt that way from the men in my life who used me and cast me aside.

I feel…and I worry…that I’m too needy. I need people. I need support. And everyone has quit on me. Every. Single. Person. It’s not their fault…it’s mine. And this is part of what makes me so angry at God. And here come the tears again. Will I be this much of a mess forever? I feel like this is not my fault. I didn’t ask for my father to sexually abuse me. I didn’t ask to get raped and molested by others. I didn’t ask for my mother and grandmother to cover up everything and protect my abuser. I didn’t ask for a fiancé who degraded me and cheated on me. It’s not my fault that I’m so fucked up. But this is what tires people and chases them away. I guess I can see that people can only deal with so much- they have their own lives and their own issues. And this is why I stand here alone. I’ve always said that and it’s because it’s true. No one is strong enough to stand by your side forever.

So it brings me right back to the same question- how long will this fucking shit last?? I can’t take this forever. I’m hanging in by a thread, carrying on as if I were normal…and I can barely do it. I absolutely cannot take this for much longer. I can’t be this fucked up forever. There is no way in hell I can do this much longer. I’ve got to get better. I cannot go through the rest of life like this. I just can’t. I don’t have the strength or the energy.

“I feel my faded mind begin to roam”

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Published March 18, 2018 by Chloe Madison

Oph. Nightmares have been unreal. And unrelenting. Last night I had several. The most notable was when a friend killed me. The killer’s face in my dream actually kept switching back and forth between two different people, both friends of mine. At one point, my friend/ the killer was threatening my life. I retorted with the fact that he should go ahead- he’d be doing me a favor. Smh.

I’m not quite sure why the last 2 days have been so difficult. My sleep has been so interrupted and when I do sleep, it’s nothing but nightmares. I’ve been overly emotional these last few days as well. When I was hiking this weekend, I kept breaking down crying. Hiking and crying doesn’t mix. I’m not gonna lie. I thought of ***** and ***** quite a bit out there.

These last two weeks have actually been GOOD. I was beginning to get hopeful that I was on my way out of this dark mire. But now I’m not so sure. I keep wanting to stay away from people and keep them away from me. I just want to be left alone and yet I absolutely despise it. I actually hate, hate, hate being alone. It’s just a safe place to recoil to.

Up on the mountain, I was begging God to be with me. He wasn’t. I asked out loud over and over throughout the hours, “God, are you there?” I tried to humor myself by replying to my own question with a sound effect of lightning striking. I thought I was funny. But that didn’t change the fact that I was alone up there.

I don’t know why I cried so much. Both today- during church again- and all day yesterday.

The only thing I can think of is that I’m wrestling with how I view people- and men, in particular.

I know my abusers have been men. Throughout my life, I tried to be normal and be in relationships, but my two most serious relationships ended because I was being cheated on. So I haven’t had the best men in my life- obviously including my own father. And I even think of my grandfather who was a verbally abusive a-hole.

I’ve tried to counteract this and combat it by looking to good men in my life. I think of a teacher I had in high school who I fantasized would marry my mom and be my dad. He was gay and and I chuckle, knowing even back then that my little fantasy would never happen. But I wonder if him being gay is what made him feel so safe. He would never hurt me. Beyond that, he was a gentle, sweet old man. And I love that about him. I was crushed when I ran into him a decade later and he didn’t remember me.

I fondly remember my youth pastors and how awesome they were. They were great examples of Christian men and they were fun and loving and just plain awesome. Then, after my teenage years, I ran into a void of good men. I stopped going to church and didn’t exactly surround myself with the best people. I was involved in the music/ rock scene and saw every single guy use women nonstop for sex. It was unreal. There was even one band I know who have special backstage passes made for girls called “Chicken Head” passes. It’s a lewd reference to girls giving oral sex. I mean, how much more degrading can you get?! And I’d see guys laugh about that.

Then, I started coming back to church. And I came into contact with my former pastor. He’s an amazing man. I love the guy to pieces. He told me he thinks of me as one of his daughters and I loved that. I miss him a lot. He’s the one who said my dad was a monster. But he was a pillar of strength to me and a source of encouragement through long, daily emails for years and years. Both he and his wife are phenomenal people.

And then I moved out of state. It took me several years to find a good church. And almost immediately, I found a guy at that church who was a great, trustworthy person. He’s my 911 friend. I love how he interacts with people and how he cares for and loves his wife and family- and everyone else, for that matter. He’s the most recent person I’ve tried to use as someone to look to as a good example of what a good, Christian man should be like.

My 911 friend kept pushing me to stay with another couple. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I didn’t trust the guy. There were stories of him being violent towards his wife when he used to use drugs and I could never fully let that go. It’s disturbing and highly alarming to me if any person has the potential to hurt another when not in self defense. That’s not ok. It never will be. I kept trying to tell myself that this guy is no longer a drug user, that it’s in his past, it’s not who he is anymore. But I still felt threatened. And now, in the last two weeks, I’ve seen him relapse. It’s not his relapse that’s so disturbing. It’s his mistreatment of his wife while he was actually sober. He treated her like dirt and continues to- even when he’s not high. THAT is what I’m struggling with. Of course, I’m worried for his relapse and don’t want him going down that road. But I can’t believe- I’m actually shocked- that his verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse of his wife is coming when he’s sober. I don’t know what to make of that. Part of me feels justified in how I never fully trusted him and this IS EXACTLY why. But part of me feels guilty…that I should be forgiving. He’s not remorseful though. He doesn’t see anything wrong with how he mistreats and “punishes” his wife. And that makes me question why she stays with him. If it were me, I’d dip out in a second. But hey, maybe that’s why I’m not in a relationship. I absolutely cannot handle a man being cruel or abusive in any way, shape, or form. I just can’t do it.

And we…women…shouldn’t have to! Why do women put up with this? Because they love the guy? Because they’re stuck in a marriage and they don’t want to dishonor God by divorcing? Smh. This pisses me off.

And frankly, seeing all this unravel with this guy and his wife has made me lose HUGE amounts of hope in humanity and in men, in general.

And I think that’s part of what’s bothering me so much. It was him in my dream who was killing me. Him and someone else.

And then I have compassion. And I see his demons and how they’re fighting to take over his life. And I know we have the same demons. We’ve both been sexually abused, among other things. I see him relapse and I see that there’s no way out for people like us. There’s no hope for us. We claw and crawl our way up out of the pit, only to be drug right back down again in an instant. This is weighing so heavily on me. We are not in control. Satan is. You can’t fight that. There’s no winning. If God wanted us to get away, he would have done that already. But he hasn’t.

Published February 25, 2018 by Chloe Madison

Is there such a thing as spiritual exhaustion? I don’t know how to explain what I’m feeling.

I spent Fri night and all day Sat in a sleeping pill-induced stupor. At least it was slow moving and restful. Today I went to church and for the first time in over a year, I was actually normal. It was so odd! I was ok…I wasn’t scared and intimidated, nor doubting everyone and everything that was said. I was even able to sing from my heart. It felt great. I knew I was a mess, but for a short period of time, I also knew God was good. Until my worship pastor said something about God being a good father…I flinched and immediately felt guilty about my doubt….but what can I do? I sang that song though. And I meant it. I was able to pay attention to my pastor as he preached. Dang, is he talented at what he does. The sermon was very applicable. It was about how we can be so independent that we don’t need help- God’s help. How sometimes our independence gets in the way of us admitting our brokenness and our need for God. He mentioned how we were “designed” to need God. That can explain a lot in our lives. And I was fine for most of the sermon. Then, suddenly and out of nowhere, I started crying again. I can’t even say why. I was just suddenly overwhelmed with an overbearing sadness. It lasted maybe 10-15 minutes and then it left. And I felt normal again and was even able to pay attention again. I don’t know what that was. But today in church was one of the better Sundays I’ve experienced.

I have so much weighing on me. I have no clue where I’ll be living in 4 months. I have stupid hospital bills still to pay. Oh…that reminds me of a very…I don’t know how to explain it…sharp, stabbing (?) truth that my pastor spoke about today. Shame. I hate that word, but it’s been my life for over a year now. I felt it’s weight and all that comes with it from who my father is and the terrible things my family did to cover it up. For months, I tried with my therapist to convince myself that the shame I felt belonged to my father, not me. That it belonged to my family who wronged me, not me. And then came the hospitalization. And I had no idea how devastating and shattering that shame could be. I never thought of it before because I never imagined it would happen. But now I have my own shame to carry in that. It’s mine, not my dad’s nor my family’s. I was the one hospitalized, not them. I’m the one who carries the stigma, no one else. My pastor said that shame is the most devastating of human emotions. I would agree. It makes me feel like I can’t recover. It makes me feel like I’m not good enough and never will be. It makes me understand why people don’t love me and care for me. It makes me understand why my own parents and grandparents didn’t.

I’ve been struggling to breathe under this new shame. Only one person told me that being hospitalized doesn’t define me. I find that so, so hard to believe. I’m trying to cling to that, thinking that I can move on. But, I think I’m only fooling myself. It’s not like I can forget being hospitalized and what it’s done to me. It has literally damaged my psyche. And I’m afraid that’s permanent.

I was afraid the damage done from my perpetrators was permanent. I know God is able to heal. I just don’t understand why he doesn’t. Why does he let people die? Why does he let people suffer? Why doesn’t he heal everyone and show us his love and compassion in that way? Why is it rare that God will do this? I don’t know. And that’s part of why I think praying is useless. God will do what he wants to do. It’s not like you’re going to change his mind! But even with that, and I feel terribly guilty about doubting God’s goodness, I’ve been praying a little lately. I’ve asked God to help me find a safe place to live. I’ve been asking him to take care of my 911 friend and his family. I’ve been asking God to heal my Madagascar friend’s marriage. (They’re good, they just need a little repairing and they’re working on it.) That brings me to another topic. My isolation and lack of connection to people. My Madagascar friend has been writing a little bit every few days to me. He’s shared that he’s in counseling with his wife and he’s shared some of his own weaknesses and struggles. I am so grateful for that. Him being open with me makes me feel connected. It’s given me something (besides myself) to bring before God. I’m so grateful that our friendship is slowly blooming again. I don’t think I’ve seen this guy in 16 years… we went to Madagascar in 2000, I think and we saw each other maybe a year or so after that. I’m grateful that he hasn’t thrown me away as a friend because I was hospitalized. I’m grateful that he still trusts me. He trusts me enough to share his struggles with and not only is that opening a two way street, but like I said, it makes me feel connected to another human being. I can’t believe how much I lack that. It’s unreal.

Published February 11, 2018 by Chloe Madison

There is so much wrong with me- physically, emotionally, psychologically. I am so confused. I feel like I don’t know what’s going on around me. I don’t know how I function at work. As a matter of fact, I’ve been terribly ineffective and unproductive at work. I’d like to blame depression and being preoccupied with suicide, but it’s my fault no matter which way you look at it.

Today’s sermon was so full of stuff. I cried during it. A few times. I zoned out a few times, but I think I heard most of it- which is a miracle. I feel like most everything said was specifically for me. One of the things my pastor talked about was persistence vs. perfection. How we need to press on in spite of everything. I’m so horrible at that. It’s part of why I feel God has given up on me. Because I gave up on me. I’m not persisting anymore in anything, including my faith. I also feel so strongly that God is disappointed in me because I’m not good enough. I know I carry that from my own parents. I constantly tried so hard over and over to win the affection of my parents with good grades. Even as an adult, when I won 3 awards in police academy, I gave them to my mom and told her I did it for her. I just wanted her approval. She gave the awards back to me. She didn’t want them. That was 4 years ago. I know God is disappointed in me because I’ve been so terrible lately. I’ve been so self-centered, angry, pissy, impatient…and I’ve wanted to give up the life He has given me. I’ve wanted to quit and run away from it all. There’s no way God is pleased with that. I think that’s why He’s not pursuing me anymore. That was part of this morning’s sermon too. But that’s definitely something I have not felt from God in months. I can even draw the line- my hospitalization or right before it. That’s when I last felt loved and pursued by God. Could it be that once I was hospitalized that He no longer wants anything to do with me either?? It honestly wouldn’t surprise me. I feel branded- like a homeless person- the stigma of having been hospitalized bleeds through to every aspect of my life. So many people have rejected me because of that. I fear so many more will do so if they ever find out.

This is a song we sang in church today. Ok, everyone else sang. I listened and felt. I like this song a lot. It speaks volumes to me. But it’s not entirely true. God, I wish it was. The idea of God chasing us down- every word of the bridge to this song…I wish it were true. But God has given up on me. Everyone has. Including myself. I don’t blame anyone. How can I? I’ve given up too. Hell, I was the first one to give up. I’m so thankful for those in the very near past who helped me feel God’s love. But it’s not there anymore.

Verse 1

Before I spoke a word, You were singing over me

You have been so, so good to me

Before I took a breath, You breathed Your life in me

You have been so, so kind to me

Chorus

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God

Oh, it chases me down, fights ‘til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine

I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, still You give Yourself away

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God

Verse 2

When I was Your foe, still Your love fought for me

You have been so, so good to me

When I felt no worth, You paid it all for me

You have been so, so kind to me

Bridge

There’s no shadow You won’t light up

Mountain You won’t climb up

Coming after me

There’s no wall You won’t kick down

Lie You won’t tear down

Coming after me

Will God chase after me? Not anymore. He’s done with me.

I’ve had such messed up dreams lately. I spent the entire weekend in a sleepy fog. I took a bunch of different kinds of sleeping pills. Some make you fall asleep, others keep you asleep. I need those last ones so badly, but I don’t dare take them during the week. I’d never wake up on time and I can’t afford to jeopardize my job by being late. I love taking those on the weekends though. It makes the weekends entirely unproductive, but it helps to pass the time without me doing something even more reckless or destructive.

Most of my dreams are of finding murdered bodies and then being wary of everyone else in the dream, not knowing if they’re the killer or not. That makes sense as I don’t trust anyone. I had one semi-normal dream- the first time I ever dreamed of my 911 friend. He was doing a sermon in my church, but in weird dream-like fashion, it was bizarre. It was more like game time for youth group kids or something. We didn’t talk in my dream…I just sank down in my seat and hid among the crowd, just like I do in church. After that, he disappeared and church did too and everything turned into a weird classroom where I was one of very few students in a large, empty room that didn’t seem to have a ceiling. We kept moving our desks out of the sunlight coming in through the giant windows because it was blinding. Then, everything turned into a dark, nighttime environment- almost like a post-apocalyptic scene. In that scene, I was searching for treasure under a rotten, old trailer. Then, there was the part of the dream where I was explaining spectroscopy to someone and it’s uses in astronomy and the study of the composition of distant objects in space. I woke up missing studying astronomy. 😂 It’s absolutely fascinating. Anyway, I slept and dreamed away the entire weekend. Mission accomplished.

I was so, so angry on Friday. One of the young people I work with shared her story of being sexually abused with others. I’ve mentioned her before and she had privately shared her story with me, but she went into greater detail this time. I think I couldn’t handle it and maybe that’s why I was in such a foul mood that day. God, I could easily have ***** ****** that day. She had been molested from age 6-12. Age SIX THROUGH TWELVE. What in the actual ****?! Her uncle did it whenever he came over. She said every birthday, every Christmas, every holiday that her family would have him over- he molested her. She talked about the first time it happened in a shed outside their trailer. That’s why I hate sheds- those are some of the most heinous, evil places. I flashed back right then as she spoke. I swear, if I ever met her uncle face to face, I’d wind up in jail. I honestly don’t think I could control my rage against him. What kind of a “man” takes advantage of a little girl? What kind of person hurts those who can’t defend themselves?? It just brings such hate in my heart for people like that. I know God isn’t pleased with that, but this is where I’m at. I think of ways to deal with this- like clinging to the idea of the very few men I know who are good people… but I doubt even them sometimes. Even when I do have faith in them, it doesn’t seem like it’s enough. This is why I want to leave this God forsaken world…because God really has forsaken us.

Published January 28, 2018 by Chloe Madison

If you are a follower of Christ, please do not read this.

I am completely overwhelmed by feelings of anger, hate, of not belonging, and of feeling detached from absolutely everyone. In church today, I was so agitated and angered by everything. I was even annoyed by the singing and felt like I wasn’t welcome the second I entered. That unwelcome feeling never waned. I don’t know why I have so much anger there. I think it’s just my anger at God. I’m not sure.

Today my pastor was talking about Revelation 2:12-17. Gah. Now I can’t remember what he said. But whatever he said, he talked about Satan.

It triggered the memory of the time a few months back when I told Satan to kill me. I wanted to die so badly. I had already begged God to take my life over and over and he wouldn’t do it. I knew Satan would. I also knew Satan would screw me over. I figured he would make me get into a horrible car accident, where I’d be horribly maimed or a vegetable- but wouldn’t die. I’d just suffer indefinitely. I knew it was a mistake, but I didn’t have the courage to take enough action myself to ensure my own death.

Sundays are terribly difficult. It’s all I can do to go to church and I instantly feel like I don’t belong there. Half of what’s said are lies. I have so much rage that builds within the service. I swing back and forth between tears and rage.

Last Sunday, I didn’t go to church. I walked for miles and miles, hours and hours, during a snowstorm. At one point, I felt so weak and dizzy (I hadn’t eaten anything), I thought of just laying down right there in the puffy snow. If it wasn’t so frigid, I would have just rested right there. Like, if it was a warm desert….that’s where I would lay to rest. I don’t know why I walked through that snowstorm. Half of it was for an adventure- to do something that was a bit of a thrill and made me feel alive. Half of it was…I don’t know. I was hoping I wouldn’t make it back. It was like a representation of where I am in life: struggling against forces greater than myself, wandering in the blustery void of coldness with absolutely no direction and no strength.

My friend, J and I, were talking about belonging. She said how in psychological circles, it’s one of the most basic human needs. Most people have that need met with their family unit. Others, like me, might have to rely on a church or some other group to get that need met. I guess not belonging and loneliness go hand in hand. Or is it that you can be lonely and still belong… but feeling like you don’t belong anywhere is a further, deeper level of loneliness?

I don’t know. All I know is I don’t belong at church. I don’t have a family. My father sexually abused me, my mother and grandmother lied to cover it up. What in the actual fuck? I don’t have a spouse or children. I guess I never will. Y’know, as a child, I had always wished I was adopted. I guess I knew my family didn’t measure up and I wanted another one. That’s funny and sad at the same time. What’s worse is I’m still there. I still wish I had a different family. I still wish I could be adopted into a loving, caring, gentle family. I wish I could have created one like all my other friends have. I do know I have lots of fears with that. I fear no man will actually love me. I fear if a man will love me, he’ll soon decide I’m not good enough and leave. It’s happened before. I fear I’d be a terrible mom. My mom was so violent- screaming, hitting, throwing things at me, constantly degrading me…I would NEVER want to do that to my children. But I fear being like her. I always thought God didn’t trust me with children and that’s why he never gave me any. And then I think of how I had 2 abortions and I realize that God did give me children and he’s not going to give me another chance.

I love God. But I’m mad at him. It’s not that I don’t believe he exists. I do. I know for a fact and would stake my life on it in a heartbeat. I think I believe that God is mad at me. He won’t love me until I’m not mad at him anymore. I hate this distance and detachment I feel from everyone and from God. Clearly it’s me, not them. I’m not blaming anyone. I take all the blame. We all know I’m a shitty person. I fucking know it. God knows it. Satan knows it. I’m so sick of this fucking shitty ass life. I want out. I don’t care if you judge me and think I’m a shitty Christian and a shitty person. I could have told you that.

Published January 15, 2018 by Chloe Madison

I don’t know why God would leave me alone here. I don’t know why God would take away so many people- through death or suicide or distance or those who just plain surrendered our friendship. People always say God won’t give you more than you can handle. I’d wholeheartedly disagree.

I know I have my two best friends- both across the country- who love me and care about me. There are very few people who truly support me, in an emotional and/or spiritual way, and those people, my best friends included, are so far away.

I try to have faith in God. He’s given me so much. He’s intercepted my dark path repeatedly and provided me with people who care. But it seems like all that is gone. I am alone, like I always have been. I keep thinking if I just hold on to the last thread- if I don’t give in to the darkness- God will catch me. He’ll support me. I felt supported in the past. Now, I’m just sinking. It’s like a heavy bog…dense, dark, and thick. You can’t float in it and you can’t swim in it. Only God can save you from it. And He likes to be silent with me. He makes me think He’s far, far away, that He doesn’t truly care, that He’s got more important things to do. I know I’m nobody. I know that. I wouldn’t dare think otherwise. But why would God be there or answer you or intercede some times and at other times…in what seems your most desperate and darkest hours, He chooses to leave you? I don’t understand.

Published January 14, 2018 by Chloe Madison

Today in church, I heard a lot of noises- they were either scratching noises or fluttering sounds. It seemed to switch back and forth. It came from the roof- as if the roof of the church was tin and a bunch of birds were flopping around on top of the roof. For a minute there, I thought it was something more sinister- but I swear I saw a few other people looking up too. It came and went for about 15 minutes and then stopped. It was just really distracting.

Anyway, it’s weird that my pastor spoke today about some of what I wrote about. He talked about busyness and how it doesn’t matter how busy you are, if you’re not loving people…then it’s all for nothing.

I love really hard on the young people I work with. A few years ago, I was going to change careers and go into law enforcement. I had this massive desire to help people get justice- the justice that I have never received. (That’s how I knew Zack. We were in academy together for a year.) But just as I was about to get hired on with a department, I realized God was calling me to stay with my current career, working with teenagers. Before then, I’d always known that I had the power to encourage these kids and pour positivity into their lives. But this renewed calling made me realize I had to take every single day to make sure I made a positive impact on these kids, their hearts, and in their lives. I became much more purposeful in instilling everything positive that I could. I also became purposeful in sharing Jesus with them- even though I’m not supposed to.

But since last year, I’ve become so self-centered and wrapped up in my own issues. I fear I’ve fallen away from loving on the people God wants me to. I’ve noticed He still brought certain kids to my attention. He won’t let me get away with being wholly wrapped up in myself at work.

But I question how I can love on them better…or more. Or both. I want to give these kids what I never had. And I want to give them the good things I did have. I want to be an encouragement to them, a source of strength, positivity, confidence, tenderness…and a way in which they can learn how to do the right thing in this twisted world and how to treat other people with respect and love and kindness. I think I need to step up my game.

I’m not sure how much longer I will walk this earth. We know if it was up to me, I would have already bowed out. But while I’m still here, as unhappy and as messed up as I may be, I think I should return to focusing more on these kids. I think it’s what God wants. I’m not sure.

This is kind of how I view January…except I can’t see ANY steps in front of me and instead of it being a white fog, it’s a dense, dark blackness that obscures absolutely everything. I’m still surprised I’m even here. I didn’t think I would be. And being halfway through January and still not being able to see it…well, it’s surreal. I don’t quite know what else to say about that.

A few days ago I had a strange dream. I was spending time with my pastor and his wife and children. (Weird, huh?? I barely know them!) In my dream he had two little girls and we were riding around in a Jeep. In real life, I think he’s got three young boys. In my dream, we went to this giant store- like a warehouse store- full of Mexican souvenirs. We all split up and walked around the warehouse/ store separately and then joined back together in the Jeep and rode off. As odd as this dream was, it’s made me feel more comfortable with my pastor. 😂 I know it must sound strange because I barely know the guy, but whatever. I know it’s bothered me that I feel so disconnected with my pastors at my church (even though I think they’re all amazing people). I just don’t know them that well and we simply don’t talk. I was wondering why I would be riding around town with my pastor and his family in my dream. The connection that popped into my head came from a friend of mine. Last May (I think), I was planning to commit suicide. A friend of mine stepped in and asked me to stay with him and his family at his house. I remember being shocked at first. And then I remember being thankful and in awe. I was so thankful for him caring enough and I was in awe of his family and the way they interacted with each other. I learned so much from staying with them. Anyway, I remember riding around town with him and his children doing various things. I wonder if this is where my brain got the idea for a dream about riding around town and going to a store with my pastor. I don’t think it really matters, but I always try to figure out why I dream what I dream. I’ve been thinking about this dream for a few days now. And as silly as it might sound, I DO feel so much more comfortable with my pastor…even though none of that was real life. But you know what? My pastor came and said hi to me today before church. That’s the third time we’ve spoken. 😂 I’m thankful though. I feel like that simple gesture was God confirming to me that he’s a good guy, he’s trustworthy, and I need to chill out. It actually does mean a lot to me that he said hi today.

There are some other positive things I’d like to share.

I received an anonymous note and little gift at work. Here’s the note:

I don’t know who’s on the Me, Myself and I Committee, but I like how they think. I like that they do random acts of kindness like this. It made me smile more than once that day. 🙂

Here’s a note one of my best friends gave me as I was leaving her after Christmas break:

She wrote a lot of the stuff we’ve done together at the top as good memories for me to focus on. And see that part that says, “you are not alone”? Yeah…that means the world to me.

I’m very, very alone in this world. I go home to an empty house every single day. I work with teenagers, so I barely speak to other adults throughout any given week. I am very much alone. But it means a lot when my friends tell me I’m not. Remember when I shared my most favorite text ever? It simply said “you are not alone” over and over. I STILL smile when I remember that. It made such a huge impact on me.

I’m very, very thankful for the good people in my life. I want to be a good person to someone else.