A Deconstructed Easter


This has been a different Easter season for me on several fronts.

My grandmother was devout Catholic until the day she passed. As a way to connect with her, I have observed Lent my entire adulthood. Even though she passed in December of 2006, I continued the observation. Over the years I have either given up something or several things. Other years I have set a goal to be completed by the end of the Lent. This year, I just wasn’t feeling Lent. I “know” how that sounds. When the faith walk is weird and uncertain, there doesn’t seem to be an appropriate response to Lent.

I have felt like a faith wanderer without a home. I haven’t really felt like I had a place to “lay my head.” My husband and sons have been attending our old church, while my daughter and I have been in the next town over at the Episcopal Church. While returning the denominational roots of my family has been great, it’s been hard to not worship with my husband and kids.I know what my daughter and I feel towards the old denomination, as well how my husband and sons feel. I loathe being in this position. I don’t know what the answer is to have all five of us worshiping together again under one roof again.

Honestly, the majority of my prayers have either been “Really Lord?” The other has been “Lord help!” While sitting in the pew of the Episcopal Church, the “Nicene Creed” and “The Lord’s Prayer” have been the most words I’ve actually prayed out loud in a while. I’m grateful in the sighs and the groans, the Lord knows what my heart wants and needs, even though I don’t.

My family and I chose to worship with long time friends, in a church where we both like and respect the pastor. Towards the beginning of service the pastor asked us to “Take a minute and ask the Lord for what we need.” My internal response was “Really Aarron (senior pastor)? If I had the answer to that, I’d have a lot of other things figured out.” I had to attempt to come to terms with the fact the Lord knows what I need and that at some point He will show me.

This Easter was also different in that my husband and I decided to not go big. There were no fancy clothes. We wore what we’d wear on a typical Sunday morning. I wore jeans, which almost felt like a sin. I’ve always felt like we needed to dress extra nice and buy the fancy clothes. My kids aren’t fans of dress clothes and I just didn’t have it in me to have that fight this year. We didn’t do big Easter baskets for the kids. They did each receive a chocolate bunny and small gift, but there wasn’t anything extravagant, or expensive. With our lunch, we had a ham, corn casserole and rolls. Most years we have enough food to feed a small army and neither one of us wanted to do that this year.
Once lunch was over, the kids headed to hang out with the “bonus siblings.” The girls are at their house. The “big brother” took the “little boys” to the park. Pretty sure this is the first Easter where the kids have left the house. I took a nap. Hubby is currently cleaning the kids’ bathroom. It just seems appropriate that even our typical day at home isn’t typical or happening today.

I honestly have a ton of faith questions. I am having a conversation with a long time respected friend and my favorite pastor’s wife this week. I also plan on emailing the priest at the church where my daughter and I have been attending. I’m grateful for godly women who are willing to have the hard conversations and allow me to be honest about what I feel and where I am. I’m grateful for them being willing to listen to my story and especially their willingness to jump into my story and walk alongside me.

While I still hold to the absolute foundation of my faith, I have no clue as to what the final faith house” will look like when all is said and done. I don’t know where my family will land. I just know what my daughter and I can’t do at this point. I also want to respect what my husband and sons need.It’s been a much longer process than I expected, but at the end I trust the Lord will show me where His hand has been all over this and I will have an incredible story to tell.


Trail Mix to Gordon Ramsey: A Faith Journey


Y’all ride this out with me. My brain is weird and wired differently than most. Oh wait, that’s true because trauma literally rewires your brain. Anywho.. I’m sitting in the sunroom of our cabin in Pigeon Forge, TN as I write this. My family is on a Spring Break trip and a much needed getaway. Hubby and the younger two are over at the indoor pool. The teen has commandeered a space upstairs, playing on their phone.

On Sunday, the mess hit the fan over on social media. I made the horrible mistake of attempting to engage and let someone know how their post comes across to people struggling to process trauma. It did NOT go well, at all. I’ll add that my friends’ list shrank a little that day. It sucks, but it’s the reality of this journey. I did have a good number of people support me, validate my feelings, as well as offer encouragement. True to me, I haven’t been able to let it go. My brain continues to play the situation over and over and over again. My emotions go from one extreme to the other. It’s Tuesday, honestly right at typical session time with my therapist, but I’m not home. Even though I could do Zoom and meet, I’m doing the other thing I do best when I need to process; I’m writing.

My brain loves analogies and metaphors. Most revolve around football, yep the “Good Southern Girl” that I am. I also love analogies that involve the outdoors. People who know me well and even my therapist tell me I am a better and happier person, in nature, especially on the water. The metaphor my therapist uses frequently with me, is an onion. There are a ton of layers to an onion. Just when you think there can’t be another layer, Ta Da, there it is! So, my brain doing what it does, managed to combine food and the outdoors to explain the following analogy.

Here we go….

Make sure your Timberlands are laced up tight. The terrain is a bit too much for my beloved Chacos. I hope you like trail mix. You know, the one with the raisins instead of the M&Ms and lukewarm water in your bottle because that’s all we have. The car is parked in the parking lot and the trail head is just before us. The view at the top is supposed to be breathtakingly gorgeous. The thought is, “This hike can’t be too bad, if the reward at the end is a Gordon Ramsay Steakhouse.” Walking to the trailhead the trail looks pretty. The woods are full and green. At the moment, the sky overhead is clear blue. This could be a great day. The reward at the end will be worth it.

My hiking partner is an expert. She knows this mountain like the back of her hands. She knows the risks and the rewards of this hike. She has led many like me on this journey. She is honest on the front end about the expectations. She tells me there will be times when I won’t want to take another step. She tells me there will be times when the rocks will shift and I will slide backwards. She tells me there will be bumps, bruises, and even some pretty nasty gashes before all is said and done. She also lets me know that I will never be alone. Even when I feel like she has left me because she is out of my sight, she will be there to guide me to the top. My attitude is “Cool, just a few hours and I can trade my trail mix for a Chef Ramsey steak. Let’s GO!” My guide shakes her head and we start off.

At first, things are easy. Nothing scary. The conversation is easy and surface level. This journey is going to be a piece of cake! Oh, cake, that would be a great dessert at the end of this. I can totally do this. The hike won’t be hard and the meal I’ve had my heart set on is waiting. It’s not long into the hike and things are getting a little rocky. Ok, I can do this. The path levels out and the trees are pretty and green. Oh look, a great distraction, there is a beautiful creek just asking to be played in. We can stop, right? My guide tells me to stay focused, we still have a ways to go and the next stretch will require more work than I’ve put in so far. That does not sound like a plan to me. Let me take a break and play and avoid what’s coming. It will only be a few minutes and then we can keep going. My guide is patient. She knows what’s ahead and will humor me for now. After a while, she tells me we have to keep moving.

The next stretch is a little rougher than I expected. My thoughts are telling me this will be too hard. Maybe, I should just turn back and forgo what’s waiting at the top. My guide is gentle, encouraging, but firm that we must keep moving forward. I have doubts and am not sure I really want to do the work to get to the top. Walking away seems to be the easiest option. Instead of anger and frustration, I’m met with more encouragement. Reluctantly, I keep following my guide. She really is amazing, but I don’t like the things I’m being asked to do.

We round the next bend in the next part of the hike. The view is actually kind of pretty. I mistakenly assume we are close to the top. My guide, again kind, tells me we are just getting started. I don’t like the sound of that, not even a little bit. As we continue on our way, we see another set of hikers. Perfect, a distraction and maybe an excuse to take it easy. Can’t let someone do this alone, right? They need a guide as well. My own guide allows me to drag this extra hiker along with me for a little bit. I realize the connections I have to this hiker. I feel loyalty to the hiker. As I continue along with the extra hiker in tow, my guide is helping me to see how much extra work this hiker is for me. This hiker is also out for themselves. They state they want to see me succeed and make it to the top of the long awaited dinner. Instead, I realize the longer I allow this hiker to stay with me, the more banged up I’m getting. I’m not really moving. This hiker doesn’t seem to appreciate that I have made a great deal of progress to this point. They are trying to convince me that I am ok and my guide is unnecessary and I start to struggle. Technically, I could go back down to the trail and forget about the goal ahead. A part of me struggles because I really want the long awaited steak dinner, prepared by Chef Ramsay. I look at the trail mix and wonder, if I really deserve or even should want better than my trail mix. The hiker reminds me I’ve never had the steak dinner, so I should be content with the trail mix.

As I think about my trail mix. I realize, I can’t stand raisins. I’m also up set the trail mix I was given doesn’t have an M&Ms, or even cashews in it. I have a Nalgene, which is great for holding water and is pretty indestructible, but it hasn’t kept my water cold, or even cool. Now wondering why I didn’t grab my Piper Lou, stainless steel water bottle instead. When I comment to the other hiker, they laugh and tell me how it was for them with their water bottle and I should be grateful, I comment about what kind of trail mix I wish I had. Again, the other hiker makes me feel less than. They had it worse and again, they point out they don’t like the fact I have a guide. My inner turmoil is ridiculous. I don’t like feeling like this. I want to find a large rock and hide. Stopping, shutting down, and not talking is the way I cope. I was too easily distracted and now I’ve lost track of my guide. I’m pissed. My guide is patient. She seems to know exactly where to find me.

My guide and I start to have a scarily, real conversation. I don’t like where this is headed at all. For the first time on this hike, my heart and mind are at odds. I don’t know what to do. I know what my ultimate goal is. I know I’m hungry and the trail mix isn’t cutting it. I’ve had dreams about the Chef Ramsay Steak at the top. I’ve worked my tail off to get to this point on the trail. My guide gently points out the mile marker on the trail. I want to cry and scream. I have been trying to move forward for several hours and yet, I’ve only gone about a half a mile. It’s decision time. My guide isn’t one to give ultimatums. She doesn’t tell me what decisions I need to make. Instead, she listens to me whine, fuss, and somehow process the things. Somehow, in talking and walking with my guide we’ve actually made it the next mile marker. I’m finally open and honest and tell my guide, I need to let the other hiker go. I need to let them find their own guide. When I let the other hiker know that I’m moving on with my guide, the anger is scary. The comments let me know the other hiker isn’t safe. Because I’m the person I am, leaving someone behind goes against everything inside of me. I know I need to keep moving forward. Did I mention, I know my husband, kiddos, and inner circle are waiting on me to join them for this amazing dinner? I really need to let this other hiker go, if I want to be with the people I love and care for the most. Shouldn’t I be able to let this hiker go with me to the top? Shouldn’t I be able to care for someone other than myself and still enjoy the long awaited dinner? I continue to try. I can’t leave the other hiker alone. I can’t let them continue on this trail by themselves. Several hours later, my wonderful guide points out, we haven’t made it to the next mile marker. I feel like an ass on a couple of fronts. I don’t want to leave people behind. It’s not who I am. I also want to be with my people at the top of the mountain. I really want to enjoy my steak dinner. I’m hot, sweaty, gross, covered in scrapes, bruises, and have some nasty cuts that may eventually need stitches. I get mad at myself and know I have to move forward. I tell my guide, I need to let the other hiker figure things out for themselves. For the first time on this hike, hot, angry tears fall. Decisions like this should NOT need to be made.

Because my guide is as experienced as she is and has seen this situation over and over again, she begins to ask questions. Now, I know I “hired” this guide, but this is really personal. Why do I need to open up to my guide like this? Shouldn’t I be able to do this and just move on? Do I really need a guide to process this and move forward all at the same time? I break open like a dam. The words are just flowing. I’m emotionally exhausted. This is stupid and I want to be done. I’m starving, and all I have is this stupid trail mix. My water hasn’t been cold in hours. The sun is setting and my guide tells me it’s time to set up camp. Wait! What? Set up camp? Umm.. NO thanks! I have the people I love waiting on me. I don’t have time to stop and deal with this. My guide is now asking really probing questions. I feel totally exposed. I really want to run. There is not enough sun for me to get down the trail. If I stop now, I will never make it to people I love. I freeze. I don’t know what to do. After a meltdown, reluctantly, I listened to my guide and set up my tent. The tears are hot. I’m grateful I can’t see the other hiker. I pray I don’t see the other hiker for a good, long while. At this point in the hike, I’m not sure I want to see, or talk to the other hiker again. I have a crap ton of guilt about that. The guide and I built a fire. She surprises me with hotdogs. I inhale them. I’m still mad I’m not eating my steak dinner. The guide wants to know if taking on the other hiker is worth sacrificing the people I love and the steak dinner at the top. My head is saying “Hell NO!” “My heart hears a ton of Bible verses about this particular hiker. We talk until the wee hours of the morning. I finally curl up in my sleeping bag and fall into a fitful sleep.

The next morning, I woke up and didn’t know which way was up. I “know” the decision to leave the other hiker behind was the best choice for me and the ones waiting for me at the top. The guide and I talk over lukewarm water and trail mix at breakfast. At this point my anger at the other hiker is almost scary. I know I can’t go back and get the other hiker. I can’t carry them and their sack, along with my own and reach my goal. With tears in my eyes, I pack up with my guide and move forward. I have a new determination and a little more pep in my step.

As we move along, the conversation seems to get a little bit easier. As my guide asks questions, I answer them honestly. I’m a little terrified at the revelations made. I’m angry with what the other hiker told me. As I trudge forward with my guide and meet up with other hikers along the way, I realize how many lies the other hiker told me. I also realize some of the things I missed out on because of the actions of the other hiker. These revelations renew my spirit and give me a much needed boost. The other hiker never really cared for me. They really didn’t care if I made it to the top to get to my husband, kiddos, and friends. They wanted their needs met, but had no desire to do any work and would only fight me, as I tried to make progress. My emotions are high, but the guide and I are making progress. She points out the next mile marker and lets me know how far I’ve come since morning. I’m thrilled, but know there are still many miles left on this hike. How many more miles could I have made it on day one, if I would have let go of the weight of the other hiker when I realized they didn’t have my best interest at heart?

The next several hours seem to fly by. The hike is not even close to being easy. The hike gets harder and more steep. I slip more times than I care to admit. Yet, every single time, my guide is there to give me the tools to get back up. She helps me see how much progress I’ve actually made. She won’t let me give up on myself. She won’t let me quit, even though there are times when I’ve really wanted to. She’s given me permission to take a break. She gives me time to take in the view. I look up and want to cry. Why are we not at the top? I can’t believe the sun is getting ready to set again and there is NOT a steak dinner waiting on me at sunset. It’s aggravating and frustrating. My guide tells me that even though this was not the “couple hour” hike I expected, my people love me and they will wait for me at the top, no matter how many days this hike takes.

Again, I set up my tent and cry myself to sleep. I’m now two days into a hike I thought would only take a couple of hours. I’m angry with myself. As much as I trust my guide, I wish I had known ahead of time how this hike was going to be. All I can think of are the people I love and how I am now craving my Chef Ramsey steak dinner. I convince myself that now that I’ve agreed the other hiker was not the best for me and I’ve made this much progress, that surely I will have my reward the next day. The morning dawns and then the sun sets on the next several days. Now, the feelings I’ve kept buried are really bubbling up. Even though I’m not truly angry with my guide, I start to share big feelings and tell my guide how much I hate the feelings, she has the audacity to PRAISE me and congratulate me on these feelings. I look at her and ask “What the actual hell?” She assures me that feeling all the things is a huge part of the hard work on this journey. I’m brutally honest with my guide and call it “bullshit.” There is NO way the emotions need to be processed as a part of this hike. My guide assures me they are just as important, if not more so than the other work on this hike. Now, I’m pissed all over again. I’m too far up to give up and turn around. At the same time, the next stretch is straight up. I don’t know whether I’m coming, or going. I’m not sure I want to keep on going. I don’t know if I can keep going. I want my people and my steak dinner, but this is just too damn hard. Jumping off the cliff seems to be the easiest thing to do. When I think about my people and the steak dinner, jumping doesn’t get me there. The guide and I talk about the desire to jump and I’m afraid of being chained to a tree, so I don’t get stupid. My guide lets me set up my tent. She hands me a couple of hotdogs, tells me to eat and get my tail into bed. This is definitely not going according to plan. I struggle to see why I should have to work this hard to see my people and enjoy a steak dinner. Pretty sure if I eat one more raisin, in my trail mix, I will lose my ever loving mind.

My guide and I go on for several more days. Then, there is a group of seven more hikers. They spent several days with us. Three of these hikers I really connect with. We spend hours talking with each other, their guides, and my guide about where we’ve been. While I don’t necessarily like sharing this hike with that many people, the miles, and the days are flying. Shockingly, I’m making great progress with this group of seven. One evening the group, their guides, my guide, and I had a hard. open, honest conversation. I was shocked to learn we had a great deal in common. I was shocked to listen to the stories of these seven and all they experienced. I realized we all struggled with a group of city dwellers who didn’t have any respect for hikers. The city dwellers had caused a great deal of damage and hurt not just our group of hikers, but large groups of hikers all over the place. If the city dwellers had their way, they would control us, continue to cause harm to us, and refuse to give us permission to hike. These city dwellers only like and respect those who look like themselves. Those of us who are hikers have broken the “rules” set forth for us. As hikers, we want the freedom to explore and see what else the world holds for us. Yes, we actually like “The Gov” over the city dwellers, but they see us, as hikers, as rebels, and those who refuse to conform to the expectations of “The City.” We know “The Gov” and know He didn’t expect all of us to be city dwellers. He knows some of us are different and are ok with being different. We like our jeans, t-shirts, Timberlands, being book nerds, and desiring to be fully ourselves, and not conforming with the rest of the city dwellers. We don’t fit in “The City.” These seven hikers and I share a history of not only being harmed in a specific manner, but also a horrible struggle with city dwellers. None of us are huge fans of these city dwellers. Some of the seven have found their place among the country folk. Others, like me, are still trying to find our place. The seven and I know city dwellers are not safe people. My guide knew I had been through a lot. She knew how tired I was and suggested a night away from the seven and their guides. I agreed. While trying to get some time to myself, I unknowingly ran into a city dweller. This person claimed to be a hiker. It didn’t take long for me to realize this person was not a hiker. This was a city dweller who took it upon themselves to convince hikers to return to “The City.” This person wanted to convince me that my thoughts and emotions weren’t real. They wanted me to believe I was better off in “The City” and “The Gov” preferred me to be a city dweller and not a hiker. Even though I missed a hotdog dinner with the seven, I was able to gain some clarity. Y’all city dwellers are NOT safe people! It’s past time to move on and not fellowship with city dwellers.
Honestly, I’ve been on this hike for more time than I care to even think about. I’ve lost track of time. My hubby, kiddos, and friends are patiently waiting for me at the top. For now, I will continue to eat my sad, pathetic, raisin filled trail mix. I will continue to drink my lukewarm water and trust my guide. I am not done with my hike. My guide assures me I will eventually make it to the top. I wish I could end this story with my Chef Ramsay Steakhouse dinner, but I’m not there yet. My people are amazingly patient. I know the more I climb with the seven and work with my guide, the more confident of a hiker I will become. Eventually, one day, I will reach the top. Once there my hubby, kiddos, and friends will be there waiting for me. I will eventually get to trade in the raisin filled trail mix and lukewarm water for my Chef Ramsay steak dinner. At that point, I will have the most fabulous bone in ribeye steak, with caramelized onions, delicious butter, sautéed mushrooms, a loaded baked potato, delicious honey glazed carrots, and the smoothest glass of semi-sweet, white wine I have ever tasted. There will be a dark chocolate slice of cake that tastes like heaven in my mouth to end the most perfect evening.

I have shared this entire analogy just to say my story is to be continued…  I can’t wait to see how my story ends. I can’t wait to tell you, if I become a country folk, or a suburban folk. Not sure where I’ll land, but I know for certain I am NOT a City Dweller. “The Gov” and I will also remain in communication and I know He will show me where my community is and where I will fit in and be accepted.

SBC and Excommunication 2023


First of all, to anyone who reads this and is not a believer, I’m apologizing for the behavior of the “Men” currently sitting in the SBC Executive Meeting. What’s happening is NOT of the Lord and I can’t believe on any level the Lord is happy with current events and decisions being made. Once upon a time I was proud to call myself Southern Baptist and now I feel like I need to apologize to those outside the convention as well as the women and girls inside the convention.

On Monday nights I am sitting in a group for those of us with a history of SA. Some women experienced the SA at the hands of church staff. Others of us did not, but the religious trauma is a shared experience. Many of us grew up in fundamental, conservative, evangelical churches. Y’all, the feelings rising to the surface are a little scary. This group is not for the faint of heart. It is not one you walk away from feeling all warm and fuzzy. It is real and more raw than even I could have ever have imagined. Processing all the things is not going to be quick or easy. There is major work ahead.

The last two group sessions I have walked away just plain pissed off. I have noticed the little things that I don’t typically think twice about are getting to me. I’m struggling to stay focused. My emotions are all over the place. I’m also noticing, especially after last night, I am honestly angry. I don’t even know how to channel this anger, or what to do with it. I did meet with my therapist today and she assures me this anger is healing moving forward. Not sure I like it, or agree, but I am going to keep on trusting her. Semi-joking and semi-not joking, I asked to give her my “box” of emotions. I asked her to “clean them up, make them pretty, happy, and then return them to me with a nice margarita.” She found it funny, but reminded me that’s not how this process works. I’m the one who has to do the actual emotional work. Nope, not a fan. I give it zero stars.

I’ve been on the struggle bus with church, especially the SBC for quite a while now. If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you know I’m walking a season of deconstruction. I realize so much of what I was taught growing up is honestly, dangerous, especially for women and girls. SA has been identified as a major issue, but the “leadership” is only giving it lip service. They turned to Guidepost, but don’t seem to have any real intention of following through with the recommendations. Women and girls are no longer really safe inside the doors of their churches because the “leadership” of the SBC would rather keep the “Good Ole Boy” system in place, rather than offer up consequences to their buddies, even with enough proof to have the perps thrown in jail. Yes, I put Patterson, Hunt, and Chandler in that category.

“Men” like William Wolfe have taken to social media to say “White women are the enemy of the church.” Yes, this is a white “man” disparaging WHITE women, the only race he seems to deem worthy of salvation. I guess, really, he only thinks white “men” have a place in eternity. I’m too afraid to go down the rabbit hole of his distorted, misogynistic, racist beliefs. I’d recommend reading his crap, but I don’t want anyone else traumatized by his BS. (I feel honored that I’ve been denied access to his account and can only see what someone else screenshots and shares). Under his above statement is a picture of Beth Moore! Really? Beth Moore, a godly, called, equipped woman is a “Threat?” She has more knowledge of Greek and Hebrew than most men I know. He also has a low view of women like Dr. Beth Allison Barr and Kristen Du Mez. These are women I look up to and respect. They have kept me from jumping off the proverbial cliff. They have reminded me I and other women have actual worth to the Lord. I had no clue white women were capable of destroying the work of The Lord, until I read his word. We are apparently paving the way to hell. I never knew The Lord was so weak? This “man” is also a Christian Nationalist and makes no attempt to hide this fact. It’s horrifying that people like him are allowed to have a voice in what’s happening in our churches. The last statement could be a whole other post in and of itself.

As I alluded to at the beginning of this post, the SBC Executive Committee meeting is currently in progress. To hear FOUR churches are being banished/ disfellowshipped from the convention because they *gasp* have dared to ordain and/ or call WOMEN!!!! The horrors!. Some people have developed a major case of the vapors over this one and just don’t have the mental or emotional capacity to handle it. One of these churches is SADDLE BACK out in CA. Y’all, is there really a church that didn’t do “Purpose Driven Life” at some point? Saddle Back led the way and many churches followed, even if it wasn’t the best fit, on several fronts. Rick Warren was one of the most sought after preachers for a couple of decades. The SBC is now ready to banish and exile him?

While I don’t have facts to back up my opinion, I do feel the Warrens’ son taking his life was the start of the end for that church and our convention. NO, I do NOT agree with that stance. The convention SHOULD have come around his family. Given the SBC does NOT have a high view of people who struggle with their mental health, nor mental health professionals, I can’t say I’m shocked. Appalled, but not shocked. That was strike one. Strike two was the decision to commit the “Sin” of ordaining an actual woman. Then, strike three was, horror of all horrors to call a FEMALE PASTOR? Can you believe it? They actually took the time to call a fully equipped, CALLED, woman of God to PREACH!!! They allowed a WOMAN to be a PASTOR! How will the men learn under the leadership of a female? How will women learn “their place,” if a woman is actually in the pulpit? Oh my goodness! Get out the smellin’ salts y’all. They’ve gone and done it now.

I know I’m attempting to add humor to this, but honestly, I am PISSED!!! I know they are only one of four being given the boot over these issues. The thing that really makes the bile rise and the blood boil is that there are churches with KNOWN perpetrators and NOTHING is being done! When it comes to sexual predators in the pulpit, the convention is choosing to state the convention holds NO power to do anything. So, here’s the sad, pathetic reality: A church decides to ordain and/ or call a female, the convention will go to their MAN MADE book of the “Baptist Faith and Message 2000” and declare that church is to be disfellowshipped. However, when a perp is knowingly allowed to continue in any leadership role within the church, the SBC immediately states they have NO power to do anything. Yep, the SBC cherry picks what and where they can or WON’T assert power. This means the Good Ole Boy System stays securely in place.

Here’s how it all boils down… If you are a “manly, grizzly man” who loves power and control you are welcome to belong. As a woman, if you are willing to be the “quiet, subservient, arm piece of a house wife” and teach your daughters to follow suit, you my also belong. Any woman, who dares to be independent, or be called and equipped in any way shape, or form, please take your leave now. We are NOT welcome. There is no desire to hold men accountable. Any of their failures apparently lay squarely on the shoulders of the women in their lives. “Men” claim we have no power until a failure happens, and then women have all the “power.”

It has been said by numerous “men” and “leaders” in the SBC that if women (and girls) didn’t dress a certain way, act in a certain manner, or go to certain places rape/ SA wouldn’t happen. They are turning a blind eye to what is happening in some churches. They are also turning a bling eye to women like me. I was in MY home, in MY room, and in MY bed, wearing a LONG nightgown (the first time), so please tell me how we were in places that SHOULD have been safe, but became hell on earth? Did I mention I was in middle school? Please tell me how ordaining and/ or calling women is far worse than rape/ SA? Common sense has long left the “room.” The focus is on the WRONG thing. I guess as long as your buddy can continue to fill the pulpit, it’s fine. The safety of women and girls are nowhere on the radar. Shockingly, people are leaving the SBC in droves, but no one seems to understand why?

YES, I believe The Lord can call a WOMAN to the pulpit. YES, I believe WOMEN are just as capable of leading a church as a man. YES, I believe rape/ SA are far worse than women in leadership YES, I hope and pray that some day the SBC will release a list of perps that is NOT redacted in any way and will finally disqualify those on the list from ministry. YES, I hope and pray the safety of women and children will one day be more important than protecting the reputation of perps and the Good Ole Boy system. If those things don’t happen, the SBC will eventually implode and it will be the fault of the so called “leaders.”

*The SBC does not excommunicate people or churches. There is a vote to withdraw membership and then disfellowship that person, or in this case, church.

*I know there are boys who have been assaulted/ victimized as well. Not going to pretend otherwise.

Shackles and Exhaustion


I had no clue when the mess hit the fan at SWBTS back in 2018 I’d be where I am today. I know the word “Deconstruction” has a negative connotation in the current Conservative Evangelical Church (CEC) world today. Many see it as people looking for permission to sin. They view it as people wanting to call themselves a Christian, but not actually follow Jesus. I can tell you from my own personal experience, as well as talking with others on this same journey it’s a far cry from reality. We actually desire to have a real relationship with Christ. At the core, we want to be more like Christ and our lives to look like the one He lived. We want to treat others the way He treated them. We want to offer love and compassion to people like He did. If you really take a look at Deconstruction, it’s not about becoming more like the world. In fact, at the core, it’s honest to goodness becoming more like HIM.

I can’t draw a straight line to save my life, so I am going to do my best to “draw” the picture in my head of how I feel at the moment. Shackles, chains, and locks are a huge part of this picture. If I could draw, this picture would be done in charcoal. The woman in the picture would be hunched over. Her clothes are in rags. Her hair is long and ratty. Her face looks exhausted, weary and tears are running down her face. Her feet are shackled together. Her shoes are worn and full of holes. The floor beneath her feet is dirty. Her dirty hands are shackled together, reaching out, in hopes of someone coming to her rescue. The thick chains that cover her body have locks all over them. On those locks are words “pain,” “emotional abuse,” spiritual abuse,” “rape,” “sexual assault,” “Purity Culture,” “shame,” “worthless,” “exhaustion,” “Patriarchy,” and “Proverbs 31.”

This picture is less than happy. In fact, it seems pretty hopeless. At the same time, I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one who feels this way. I would love to sing these lyrics from “Chain Breaker” by Zach Williams and have them be truth.

“If you’ve got pain
He’s a pain taker
If you feel lost
He’s a way maker
If you need freedom or saving
He’s a prison-shaking Savior
If you’ve got chains
He’s a chain breaker”

I am so NOT there. Walking into church takes every word from the “locks” and adds a level of anxiety you can’t imagine. I am emotionally and spiritually exhausted! I have been pretty open and honest about my lack of church attendance. It’s hard. Church is hard. It’s exhausting to walk into a building and be surrounded by people you “Should” be able to leave the “chains and locks” at the door and find rest and peace. For me, it’s hard because it’s where I feel like the “chains and locks” are added to because I don’t look or feel like a Christian Woman “should.”

I had a much needed conversation with a staff member from our church. It was one of the first times I felt heard in a long time, from someone in the church. It was a step in the right direction. It by no means fixed or solved all the things. It was also a reminder that many people like me want to know we are heard and seen. As an introvert who tends to do what I can to blend in the background, a part of me does want to be seen and acknowledged. I want to know it’s safe to ask questions. I want to know that it’s safe to doubt. I want to know that I can and will be loved as me, for me, and not who everyone expects me to be.

I’ve always been the “Good Girl,” the “Obedient One.” I’ve done what’s expected of me. I’ve towed the convention line. Most of my life I’ve been in church on Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, Wednesday nights, and any other times the doors were opened. I read my Bible through the lens through which I was told to read it. If you wanted to be considered in good standing, and find favor with the Lord, then this is what was expected. I said a bunch of words and got wet in 7th grade because I was told I needed to do it. I went to a Christian College because I was a “Good Christian Girl” and that’s what was expected. I’ll add I was a sophomore in college before I truly had a personal relationship with Christ, but that’s another story for another day. When I wanted to go to grad school, I was certain the Lord was “calling” to go to seminary. I now question whether or not that was the Lord’s voice, or the voice of those around me.

My faith has always been what others have told me it “Should” be. It’s exhausting carrying the weight of other people’s rules, opinions, and expectations about my faith. I think I have finally hit the point that I can’t carry the “chains and locks” any more. I am beyond worn out and exhausted. I have no clue as to what it’s going to take to remove them and finally feel free. I want to experience true freedom in Christ. I do know there will forever be scars from these experiences. While the word “triggered” seems to be a fad word, there are going to be experiences and events that will trigger fear and I will revert back to my current modes of coping and retreating. I also hope at some point my own story will be a catalyst, or a stepping stone for someone else on their healing journey from rape/ sexual assault, and spiritual abuse.

Now, before anyone is ready to have me carted off to Vandy Psych, or MTMHI, I promise there is no self-harm or SI involved. This post has been about my spiritual walk. (If I could figure out how to get insurance to pay for my therapist and me to spend a week or 2 at the beach for some intensive one on one beach therapy, I’d go in second). Yes, the past assaults and events play into this, but I am talking spiritual health here. I still see my therapist on a regular basis and take my anti-anxiety. On Monday, my therapist is starting a faith based group for Church Hurt/ Spiritual Abuse. The majority of us come from SBC/ CEC churches. I think the timing of this group is perfect. Not sure where it will lead, or how it will play out, but I know it is much needed in my life at this time.

If you are walking this road right now, I encourage you to find someone you trust and/ or a therapist. I don’t know where I’d be without mine. She has thrown me a lifesaver more than once over the past 7 years. She’s been with me as we have “peeled back the layers of the therapy onion.” She has given me the tools deal with the “Stuff” that’s brought about the tears. About the time I don’t think there is another layer, “Surprise” here comes another one. I’m still working on having the ability to trust church leaders. I know they aren’t all bad, but after so many years the trauma is real. It’s definitely a process.

For now, hang in there. Find self-care that works for you and take it minute by minute. Also, remember you are NOT alone!

The Wandering Christian at Christmas


First, let me say I LOVE Jesus. Throughout the past 4 years and all that’s happened, I never turned my back on Christ. His Church on the other hand has driven me to the brink of insanity and the very end of my rope. The SBC has deemed women as less than and apparently doesn’t see value in women, other than birthing babies and keeping house. I will say my husband is not one who has fallen into this horrible trap and mentality. Wish the rest of the convention would follow suit, but that’s apparently wishful thinking at this point in the game.

I had no clue that when the mess hit the fan at SWBTS in 2018 that it would be the start of my deconstruction. I remember sitting my car on a Wednesday morning, staring at the church and not wanting to walk in. I wasn’t angry with anyone in our church, or on our staff, but I was angry. I was texting my favorite pastor’s wife, attempting to find the courage to walk in the doors of the church. When I was finally able to walk in, I went straight to my office and took my SWBTS diploma off the wall. It was truly the first time I was ever embarrassed to be SBC. A little over a year later I was laid off as a part of budget cuts. We continued to attend that church, but people around me kept talking about my lay off. Even though I loved being on praise team, there a came a point where I was having full blown panic attacks in the parking lot and fighting them off while in church. We eventually changed churches. To be honest, I was against going to another SBC church. We ended up in one anyway.

In 2020 the pandemic hit and no one was going to church. Other than choir, I really didn’t miss it. I will admit watching Christmas and Easter at home was bizarre. There was not much drama and we were all caught up in survival and staying healthy. 2021 brought about the #sbctoo movement and all the things broke loose. As more abuse came to light, convention took a nose dive. I also realized I don’t agree with a great deal of what I’ve been taught growing up.

My early childhood was spent in the Episcopal Church. Sadly, I was brat and didn’t realize and appreciate the beauty of that church. We were invited to an SBC church that was much larger than our smaller Episcopalian Church. The SBC church was big and beautiful. It offered so many programs. Honestly, being a military brat and not a native of my hometown, being SBC was much more appealing. It seemed the majority of the kids I knew were either SBC or Methodist. Joining the SBC church didn’t make me feel like quite as much as an outcast. It wasn’t all bad. I formed relationships with many wonderful people, as well as had some pretty incredible opportunities. It led me to a college where I made lifelong friends and honestly, eventually led me to my husband. These are things I will never regret, or wish I could change.

2022 was the first time I wish I could have attended the SBC Annual Convention out in Anaheim, CA. I was so angry at all that had happened and wanted to be a small part of a catalyst of change. I had a small glimmer of hope that the Guidepost Report was going to be a part of the much needed change. It turned out, that was nothing more than a smoke screen. On top of the long list of pastors who had been identified as perps, Hunt and Chandler were called out. Then much to the disgust of myself and so many others, these “men” were “restored” with zero call for actual repentance or change. Their actions technically led them to be biblically disqualified as pastors, but their friends determined otherwise. This year has been proof the SBC will continue to support the “Good Ole Boy” system. Women and sexual assault victims/ survivors will never mean anything to these so called pastors. We will always be seen as less than and viewed as the outcasts in our churches. I just can’t do it anymore. I can’t and won’t support what so obviously goes against scripture.

All of this brings me to the title of my post. While I typically love the Christmas season at church, I stepped foot in our church for the first time this morning in almost 2 months. It appears only 2 people have even noticed my absence. It’s hard to accept when you’ve gone to being involved to absent and no one seems to notice and/ or care. I struggle hard with church. It’s not that I don’t want to be in church, I just don’t want to be in our church. With my kids’ schedule and where my heart is, I stepped down from choir back in September. While I have missed being an active part of a church body, this morning was wicked hard. I put on my “happy camper face” and played the part I was expected to play. I have never really fit in, in our church and am not sure I ever really will. My heart just isn’t in it. I don’t think Jesus ever wanted, or intended for church to be this hard for His people.

Tonight, I had the opportunity to attend “Lessons and Carols” at a local Episcopal Church. It’s a church I’ve wanted to check out for a while. The church was simply decorated. Y’all, the service was so simple and yet, so extremely beautiful all at the same time. It was literally the reading of The Scriptures and the singing of hymns. I will add the guitar solo almost moved me to tears. I’ve been so used to pomp and circumstance and all the frills, I had honestly forgotten how precious and beautiful the liturgy of the Episcopal Church is. I have realized it doesn’t take flashy programs and services to praise and worship the Lord. It doesn’t take a mega church “super star” pastor to ring in the Holy Advent season. I’ve come to realize Jesus was born in a lowly, manger. He didn’t come with all one would expect of a King. There were no flashy services, only the darkness illuminated by the Bethlehem Star. Why should we expect to ring in the Advent season with pizazz, when our own Savior didn’t?

Even though my soul feels like a homeless wanderer without a home, I know Jesus will always be my north star. I desire to be in a church where I can worship wholeheartedly with my husband and kids. At this point, I have no clue as to what that looks like, or where it will be, but my faith remains steadfast in my Savior. In spite of what others may think of me, I know the Lord loves me. I can only pray at some point the Lord will allow me and my family to land in a church where He will be our sole focus and we can worship as a family. The only thing I can do in this moment is to pray for peace in the searching and the waiting.

Deconstruction: The Tomboy in Church


Disclosure: I adore all things musical theater, ballet, monogrammed and Vera Bradley. Beyond those things, there is nothing girly about me.

If you have followed me on social media at all this summer, you know my faith is a struggle. I have more questions than answers. While there are some core theological ideologies I align with, I struggle many of the core beliefs of the SBC. I have been willing to acknowledge I am probably wrong in many things I’ve held true for so many years. This is causing waves, but I won’t pretend to be the “perfect little church girl” anymore.

The more I get into my struggle and walk through the hard questions, it boils down to this. I DON”T FIT! I am NOT who the SBC expects me to be as a woman, wife and mother. I DON’T fit the mold. If I am honest, I am a people pleaser and growing up, I desperately wanted to fit in and be accepted. Because I am not girly and don’t enjoy the girly things, I am not what is expected. I have “failed” as woman in our convention. This is only one aspect of my deconstruction piece. There are other pieces and they will be discussed in later blog posts.

Truth: I LOVE all things outdoors. I love camping, hiking, kayaking. I prefer sitting my Adirondack Chair, by my fire pit, with my dogs, a rum and Diet Coke, with a book in my hand, over shopping and getting my nails done. Because I love my kiddos, I am a cheer coach with our local football/ cheer league. Honestly, I would rather be the OC for the boys, than the cheer coach. I LOVE watching football. I am a die hard BAMA fan. RTR!!!! I yell at Coach Saban and the players on Saturdays and then at the Titan’s players on Sundays. I am a fantastic “Arm Chair Coach.” I joke one of the reasons my husband married me is my love of football. Not only do I love watching the game, I actually understand the game and what is happening on the field.

Yes, as a little girl I dreamed about getting married, having kids and owning a house. My husband and I celebrated 17 years of marriage this summer. We have 3 kids, 2 dogs, a mortgage and a minivan. To the average person, this is a great life, and it is. To those in the Conservative Evangelical Churches/ SBC, this is good, but I’m not who I need to be.

I worked full time until after my youngest was born, then I was a stay at home (SAHM) for a few years. Now, I am back working full time. While I love my hubby and kiddos, I didn’t love being a SAHM. I wasn’t cut out for it. I have a better relationship with my hubby and kiddos working full time, than I did when I was at home.

When you walk into my house, you know we actually live there. My house will not pass a white glove test. Even though we’ve moved beyond the toddler/ preschool toys, another set of stuff has taken over. We have 2 tweens and a teen. You will find electronic chords, tablets, Pokémon cards, backpacks, and dog toys for days. Our dining room table needs to be unearthed several times a month. It’s like school work, mail and other things just seem to grow up from under the table. Most meals are eaten at the kitchen peninsula. I will say my hubby is fantastic and doesn’t shy away from cleaning house. He is typically the one who cleans the kitchen and scrubs the toilets, among many other things. There are things he does that others would look at and say “that’s women’s work.” Right now, there is a pile of laundry on the bench at the end our bed. Thanks to the new puppy, our middle child is sleeping on a pallet on the floor to keep the new pup from crying all night. Our house is clean, not perfect, but what I am coming to realize is considered typical. In the CEC, women are taught to keep a home that looks like something from a “Good Housekeeping” magazine. If this is the house you are expecting, please don’t come over. If you want a comfortable and lived in home, then come on over. Well, only if invited, because let’s be honest, I’m an introvert and can only handle people for so long. I digress, let’s get back to the topic at hand.

My husband and I both cook. He is much better than I am. I don’t come home from work every night and cook my family a 3 course meal. There are nights when throwing frozen chicken patties in the microwave, putting them on buns and serving them with a side of chips is typical. When there are 3 kids, running in 3 different directions, meals have to be something that can be thrown together quickly. This coming weekend the weather is supposed to be beautiful and I’m looking forward to grilling brats and burgers. Yes, “I” am the one who will be grilling. I know, that “should” be the man’s domain. Guess what? Girls CAN grill too!!!

Clothes, hair and makeup is what really sets me apart from what’s expected of CEC women. I can count one hand the number of times I wear makeup every year. I am staring down the barrel of 45 and have only had my hair professionally colored twice. You read that right; twice. I “might” get my hair trimmed 2-3 times a year. I went from February of 2020 to March of 2022 without a haircut. Due to Covid, I wasn’t even coloring my hair at home. I lived in messy buns. When I finally made it to get a haircut at the beginning of this year, I had the lady cut it short, so I could wash it and go. I’m finally wearing my hair in it’s natural curls. My flat iron is currently collecting dust.

For clothes, I’m happier in my yoga capris, t-shirts and my Chacos. At work, I live in leggings and tunic tops. Even though I’m in the choir, I will either wear something like I wear to work, or wear jeans and a cotton top. I care more about comfort than fashion. I also wear the same jewelry every single day. I do have more pieces in my jewelry box, but rarely wear any of it. I will say I do see the value/ need to dress up when the occasion calls for it. That being said to keep up with all of that on a day to day basis seems exhausting to me.

Another thing is traditional women’s ministry. Once I was out of college and invited to join those events, I pretty well stopped going immediately. It was all fluff. I was always jealous when the guys went to ball games, hiking and canoeing. They really dug into the Bible on a deeper level. The women’s events were/ are about arts and crafts, making our homes look “perfect” The only reason I attended the last women’s ministry event was because a close friend and I were leading a breakout session on a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I also see a disconnect between the older generation and the younger generation, and I think some of my frustrations play into this.

I am OVER hearing lessons about Ruth, Mary, Martha, the woman at the well, as well as Proverbs 31, along with the words of Paul being used to shame us into quiet submission. We should be treated as people who have an education and are capable of teaching and leading. I will own I’m a Hebrew dropout. That being said, I love hearing a preacher state “In the Greek or Hebrew, _____ word means _____.” It puts things into context. Instead of chicken broth in women’s events, I’d love a good ribeye when discussing the Bible. Women are intelligent and capable of a deep dive into the scriptures. We are capable of talking about more than just a few women in the Bible. It would be nice to not have passages watered down. My views on women in the pulpit might be another blog post down the road. Yes, I am in full support.

All of this to say my line of thinking, who I am as a person and what I hold to be true about women don’t fit into the mold most CEC expect of women. I want to be accepted for who I am and not not what others think I should be. I want to know myself and other women like me have value in the church.

To those reading this and identifying with what is written here, I SEE you!!! I am standing WITH you.

Sexual Assault, My Story, and the SBC


Trigger warnings: Rape, Sexual Assault, Faith

If you are a victim/ survivor reading this, please know this is not an easy read. While no graphic material will be shared, it is real and raw.

This is a long post. You might read it one sitting, or you may need to take a break and read it in sections. To be honest, I’ve had to walk away and take breaks while writing this.

If you are a victim/ survivor reading this, there are some things I want to say directly to you, up front.

– You are NOT at fault!!!

– What you wore, what you drank, how you acted did NOT mean you asked for/ deserved what happened.

– The shame is real, but it is NOT yours to carry. The real shame belongs to your perpetrator.

– If you are a victim/ survivor and have not come forward to share your story, I am a safe place. I will post hotlines at the end of this post. You are WORTHY of help. You are WORTHY to move forward. SPEAK UP and use your voice!!!!!

– In case you have never heard it before. I BELIEVE YOU!!!!

I am now choosing to share parts of my own story of rape and sexual assault because I have been in therapy for a hot minute with the most incredible therapist. Honestly, if it weren’t for her, I’m not sure I would be here to share my story in this moment. I first opened up to my two best friends. Our friendship had been in place for roughly 15 years. Now we have now been friends a little over 20 years. I thought they would cast me aside and end our friendships. Thankfully, that was the total opposite of what happened. I was terrified to tell my husband because I thought he would view me as dirty and not want to be with me anymore. Thankfully, that was also a far cry from reality. Through the good, the bad, the nightmares that come with PTSD and the panic attacks, he has more than honored our wedding vows. I have also developed an incredible tribe who has walked alongside me in my journey to move from victim to survivor.

While I have been in therapy for a hot minute, I have not arrived. I still have work to do. Following the crap show that has been the SBC for the past several years on this front has been triggering. I hate that word because it gets thrown around so much and not used in the correct context. That being said, the stories, the investigations and finally the Guidepost reports have shown I’m still struggling on several fronts. To be honest, my faith has taken a hit, but I will share more about that later on this post.

I HATE porn!!! I hate what it does to people and who it turns them into. I was in 5th grade when I was raped. It happened in a living room. There was a VHS porn tape playing on the tv. In 6th grade, someone who “should” have protected me sexually assaulted me several times a week for about a year. A boy in my 6th grade class took upon himself to snap my bra on a regular basis. My first boss made sexually inappropriate comments on a regular basis and that was a situation I was able to walk away from.

I was terrified to speak up. I was afraid of what would happen. I wanted to tell my dad, but was honestly terrified he would have murdered both perps. If he went to prison for murder, I was afraid everyone in my family would have hated me for it. I have often wondered how my family would look like today, if I’d had the courage to speak up.

Even though I didn’t realize it at the time, I turned to food to cope. I started what I know now was binging. It didn’t matter if I had eaten a meal and was full, I wanted more. I gained a lot of weight. The people around me chalked it up to puberty. My hygiene also went out the window. I had one teacher who noticed the changes. She talked to me about the importance of showering, eating a healthy diet and exercising. However, she never once thought to ask other questions. She never once thought to see if there was more to the story. People at church noticed the changes in my physical appearance and temperament, but never bothered to ask questions.

Fast forward to college. I had friends and roommates who played volleyball. Because I wanted to support them and earn credit as a Human Performance minor, I often called lines for games and tournaments. On a Saturday, our college hosted a tournament and I was asked to call lines. I got to the gym a little early to help set up. Teams were coming in. I looked up and saw a man making a bee line straight for me. He hugged me like I was his long lost best friend. I wanted to punch him and throw up at the same time. The perp who sexually assaulted me through all of 6th grade was standing in my college gym as the head coach of one of the volleyball teams. I honestly don’t remember much about the rest of that day. I can just about guarantee I messed up my fair share of calls. That night, my roommate/ volleyball player went home with her family. I somehow made the walk to our 4th floor dorm room and stuffed myself with food. I ate until I puked. Binging and purging would become a habit for a couple more years.

Once I graduated from college, I served a Semester Missionary through NAMB. Christmas of 2000, all of the Semester Missionaries gathered for a Christmas party before we flew home for the holidays. I ate until beyond full. Later on that night when I was sure everyone was asleep, I went to the bathroom and purged. I “thought” I had gotten away with it. The next morning there was a knock on my bedroom door and two other girls I served with were standing there. They asked me straight forward about my behavior the night before. It was the first time anyone caught on to what I was doing and lovingly called me out. I begged for them not to tell our house parents. I begged for them not to tell anyone at the board. They agreed on the condition I would come clean to the YMCA Fitness Director when we came back. Reluctantly, I agreed. When we returned they held me to my promise. The director had me keep a food diary and I was only allowed to work out with her. Sadly, I jumped from binging and purging to restricting. There were days I only ate 500 calories. Since then my weight has consistently fluctuated. I have never had a healthy relationship with food and still don’t to this day.

Fast forward to summer of 2014. Married, 3 kids and in the process of buying our first home. We had moved into a temporary rental while waiting to close and move. Anyone who has ever bought a house knows it’s far from easy and the stressors can be high. My emotions were all over the place. For whatever reasons the stress triggered nightmares and flashbacks. I couldn’t sleep at night because I could feel the assaults all over again. The people around me assumed I was overreacting to the stress of buying a home. They had no idea the hell I lived when I attempted to sleep.

Things were so bad that summer, I wanted to end it all. I prayed for the courage to end it all. There is a picture of my daughter that sits in the dashboard of my van. It was taken when she was around 3 years old and in day school. I don’t remember how are why it ended up there, but I am convinced the Lord knew what that picture would come to mean to me. That picture literally saved my life. Every time I made up my mind to follow through with my plan, I would see that picture and wasn’t able to do anything. Even with as bad as things were, it still took another two years before I could finally open up to my best friends and my husband. July of 2016, I finally walked into a therapist office to start my journey towards healing.

Several years later, all hell broke with the former president of the seminary I attended. I was serving on a church staff. I was embarrassed to be SBC. I was embarrassed to be serving in an SBC church. I had been following the “hearing” over Patterson’s behaviors. I stayed up until a little after 1a following the story on Twitter, because I had to be at work the next morning, I finally turned off my phone and attempted to sleep. When I turned to Twitter the next morning, I couldn’t believe what I reading. Even though Patterson basically patted a perpetrator on the back, shamed and punished the victim, he was handed retirement on a silver platter. I pulled into the church parking lot that morning and had zero desire to walk in. I was not angry with my senior pastor, the missions pastor I served under or anyone else on staff. I angry with the fact the reputation of a misogynistic, hypocritical, so-called man of God was getting a pat on the back and smooth ride off into the sunset. After texting my favorite pastor’s wife, praying and talking myself into walking into the church, I walked into my office and pulled my SWBTS diploma off the wall. To this day, I have not hung my diploma back on the wall in any place.

Patterson continues to placed in prominent, prestigious, places of honor. Based on scripture, he has ZERO reasons to fill any pulpit. I see where he is being allowed to preach on Sunday (5/29). There are so many biblical reason to have his ordination pulled. Because no one has offered biblical discipline, according to Matthew. He continues to be allowed to leave damage in his wake. He continues to be allowed to demean women. He is allowed to continue to be completely hypocritical and contradict scripture at every turn. I could write a whole other post on the hypocrite that is his wife, but that’s another blog for another time. (I do plan on writing one on women and the SBC and I have plenty to share on her and my first hand conversations with her).

As all of the sexual assaults have come to light. The good old boy system has forged ahead like a bull in a China shop. Perpetrators masquerading as pastoral staff have been protected and moved around. Victims/ survivors have been shamed and called liars across multiple social media platforms. The investigation that finally happened was fought because “reputations” were on the line. I can’t even begin describe my anger and rage at what I’ve read and heard. Against all odds and legal battles, Guidepost finally performed an investigation. I have read the majority of that report. The details that have emerged “Should” be a major call to repentance and a large number of men who have been biblically disqualified from the pulpit “should” be stepping down. Instead, reports have had sections redacted. Perpetrators are STILL being protected. Yes, Guidepost posted a hotline for victims/ survivors in the church, but I struggle to believe anything will actually change.

Many churches, both large and small, and have posted statements to the Guidepost findings. Unless pastors truly step up and put action behind their words, the words are empty and meaningless. It’s past time for pastoral staff to come alongside us. My assaults did not come at the hands of pastoral staff, but the view of men and women in the SBC played a role. Until the SBC sees women as valuable and reteaches how men are to treat women, nothing will change.

A victim/ survivor hearing “Oh that was hard” and “I’m praying for you,” then sending us on our way helps nothing. I have shared my story and been dismissed. To say anger at those who have attempted to silence me and send me on my way has been more harmful than they realize. My faith has taken a massive hit. While the core of what I believe has remained, I question so many other things. I don’t agree with so much of what the SBC teaches at this point. I don’t agree with view of men and women and their roles in the SBC. I honestly don’t believe Christ would stand in affirmation at the current state of the convention. I think He would be overturning tables. I believe righteous anger would displayed.

I believe the perpetrators in the pulpit should be called out and cast out. I know I am not the one sitting on the judgement throne at the end of days, but there are a large number of perpetrators at/ from our seminaries, universities and churches who will find it too late to repent. They are convinced because they have filled a pulpit that they will hear “Well done thou good and faithful servant,” when in reality, they will hear “Depart from Me because I never knew you.” These perpetrators “Should” fear eternity and the ultimate judgement. These perpetrators “Should” be in fear of the eternal fiery furnace. I am far from perfect and wholeheartedly acknowledge this, but know I strive to live a life that would honor Christ and how He calls us to treat others.

I’ve spent a large part of this post calling out so-called pastors and “Men of God,” but parents you also have a responsibility! I understand the anger of the Duggar sisters. Parents teach your sons how to treat a woman. Teach your daughters to be confident of who they are. Teach your sons and daughters that “NO” means “NO.” Give your kids a safe place to speak. For the love, BELIEVE them when they talk to you. If you have any ounce of compassion and love your child, do NOT speak the name of a perpetrator in comparison to/ over your children and/ or your grandchildren. If you do, don’t be surprised when the relationship ends. Defending and placing a perp on a lofty pedestal will never end well. Relationships will be destroyed and it will be your own fault.

I am hurt. I am angry. I am frustrated. I could write so much more, but I will stop here, for now.

As promised, here is a list of supports for victims/ survivors.

RAINN: 1-800-656-4673

Guidepost Hotline: 202-864-5578

Lantern Lane Counseling Center- 615-973-5454

Terri Atwood Counseling- 615-477-3073

Vertrees Clincal Group LLC- 615-784-4056

Sexual Assault Center- 615-259-9055

Suicide.org- 1-800-784-2433

Crisis Call Center- 1-800-273-8255

The Jason Foundation- 1-888-881-2323

Please know this is only a small number of resources. You can Google resources in your area. 

Jesus Would be Mad


This morning, a Facebook post struck a nerve and honestly made me angry. I will admit, I don’t think the person had any ill intent in the post. I will also admit, given my current struggle with faith and my past, the post hit me in a way it may not have in the past. It was also a reminder of the amount of damage and lack of compassion/ thought the current Conservative Evangelical Church (CEC) has when preaching, teaching and posting.

It seems to me the CEC is more intent on using Scripture as behavior modification, than heart transformation. You can change behavior all you want, but unless there is a change in the heart, you have really accomplished nothing. The CEC seems more intent on how you look and behave, than anything else. I just can’t imagine Christ would give this mentality an “Atta Boy.” Pretty sure the Lord would throw out the verse “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD sees the heart,” I Sam 16:7. Even the Pharisees “acted” correctly, but their hearts were hard. I’d rather be the woman who gave her last 2 Mites to the Lord (Luke 21: 1-4), than be thought of as a Pharisee.

When one says “Nope, I don’t agree,” the decision to write that person off, is deemed appropriate. I had a lady I respected and look up to, unfriend me and stop talking to me because I dared to agree with a post by Beth Moore. I was told “My mental health can’t take what you shared, so I am unfriending you.” When I told this person it hurt me they chose to write me off, instead of attempting to see where I was coming from, they became angry. This person saw zero issues in dismissing me because I chose not to agree with what they believed. I am still upset with this person. I loathe this seems to be acceptable in the church. We seem to have zero margin for disagreement or different views. I am not even talking about the major theological issues, but man made rules.

When I look at who Christ spent His time with and the things He deemed important, I struggle to imagine He would be pleased with CEC as it stands today. Yes, the CEC is great about taking care of the poor and the orphans. On the whole they are good at carrying out The Great Commission, overseas. Stateside, the CEC will mostly reach out to the people who walk in their doors. Beyond that, they want you to be “careful” about the people you choose to hang out with. There is underlying encouragement to stay in the “Holy Huddle.” And, as long and you look like you “Should” and hang out with the “Right” people, you are golden.

If I only hung out with the “right” people, I would have missed out on some pretty amazing friendships. I am an introvert, so my inner circle is small and tight. That being said, outside of that my friends are unique and diverse. I have a large number of friends who would be deemed as “undesirables.” Honestly, my life is more rich because of them. I learn from people who don’t think and look like me. Honestly, I have friends who are non-believers who have shown me more love, support, encouragement and compassion, than those who who profess to be believers. There are those inside the church, I had sadly expected to walk alongside me in this season of life, and they are the very ones who have chosen to ignore me. I do have a couple of ladies who have been there in the thick of it with me, but a couple others I hoped would be there, but haven’t.

I grew up in a CEC. I went to college and earned my master’s degree from from CEC institutions. I guess to be in the place I am now, seems weird. That being said I have walked too much and experienced too much to accept the CEC status quo. The more I read from women like Beth Moore, Dr. Beth Allison Barr, Jen Hatmaker, and the late Rachel Held Evans, plus being the mom of a tween girl, I just can’t seem move forward with same ole, same ole. It doesn’t work for me anymore. I can’t look and act how I am expected. I can’t limit my friend group to only those deemed acceptable. It seems like the CEC is more about limiting than moving people, especially women forward.

For the the LOVE, can we PLEASE STOP using Proverbs 31 as a way to control women. Can we please STOP using it to shame women and girls into acting a certain way? Y’all this passage is about WISDOM!!! It is used in the feminine voice. It is NOT an actual woman. For years I read a Proverb a day. This meant I read Proverbs 31 several times a year. It didn’t always bug me the way it does now. Proverbs 31 is now my least favorite passage of Scripture. Yes, I said it. It’s no longer a passage that steps on my toes. It is one that makes me angry. The anger now comes from how that passage is thrown in the face of women to control them. Again, not sure Christ would approve of the use of this passage.

While I do believe the pulpit is place to be protected, it is not women it needs to be protected from. It is not a place we don’t belong. I don’t feel called to preach or teach, so I know I don’t belong in the pulpit. There are some amazingly gifted women whom the Lord has called. It is past time the CEC allows those women to step up and encourage those gifts. I am sick of the “Good Ole Boy” system that exists within the CEC. I am sick of the patriarchal mentality in the CEC. It seems we are limiting, rather than expanding our reach because there is a “fear” of women who have been gifted and called.

Being the mother of tween girl, who will be an official teen this Spring, I want to be careful and intentional about what I teach her. She is my artsy child and has a great love of music, art and writing. I don’t yet know how the Lord will grow her, or lead her down the road. That being said, I refuse to teach her that she is limited because she is female. To tell her she can only go so far because she is female, is to fail as a parent. I have prayed for her spouse since before she was born. However, should the Lord call her to be single and serve Him in other ways, does not mean I have failed as a mother, or that she has failed either. My job is to support and encourage her. My job is to allow her to be whoever the Lord has called her to be.

I can see where this post seems to be all over the place, but really it isn’t. I am so over the CEC and its limiting mentality. I am over the judgmental mentalities. I am over being told a woman can only do so much because we are female. I am over the church being known more for what it’s against, than what’s its for. I am over being told who I should and shouldn’t hang out with. I want Jesus to be pleased with me. I want Him to be pleased with who I am as a wife, mother and friend. I want to be known for who I love and what I am for, than what I am against.

Transparency, Truth and Deconstruction


My name is Heather. I am 44 years old. I am a survivor of rape and sexual assault. I have PTSD, GAD with OCD tendencies, Disordered Eating NOS, and take Lexapro. I also have nasty migraines and take a script when needed for these as well.

This past year has been a roller coaster of a year. There have been some extremely high highs and wicked, valley lows. I won’t say I wanted to see this year end, like I have the past two. I have been challenged in ways I never expected. Difficult boundaries were set. When I say difficult, I mean many tears shed, prayed and sought out godly counsel before I made any decisions. There is nothing easy about this post. It’s long and filled with hard things. You will want to settle into a quiet place and might even want a glass of wine to get through the whole thing. My goal is not to be petty or vindictive, but for you to see me as I am and not who you think I “should” be.

I’m a part of an amazing group of badass ladies, called #the4500. I would need an entire separate post to talk about all I’ve seen the Lord do in and through these ladies. We are literally a group of launch team rejects, who were all picked to a part of another launch team and the Lord allowed us to bond online. I’ve had the privilege of meeting some of these magnificent ladies in real life. We have been on online community for five years now. When they pray, things happen. Lives are changed.

All of that to say, every year we are challenged to pick a “Word of the Year.” My word for 2021 was “Forward.” I had NO clue as to what that was going to mean. I had no idea the Lord was going to open the door for an incredible full time job. I had no clue it was going to mean setting boundaries like I’ve never had to before. Certain friendships were fortified. I had a group of friends surround me like I never imaged. They have hugged me as the tears fell. They prayed over me and with me. They cheered me on and encouraged me when I started my new job. These same friends surrounded me when other relationships came to a screeching halt. It hasn’t always been easy, but they have been by me through the good, the bad and the ugly of this year. I don’t even want to think about where I’d be without them.

My “Word of the Year” for 2022 is “Truth.” Honestly, this word has been on my heart for months. When the “Word of the Year” conversation in #the4500 came up, I didn’t even have to hesitate or pause before I responded. I am a people pleaser in recovery. I never in a million years would have ever thought I would identify as a people pleaser. Through five years of intense therapy, it’s a reality. I can’t stand for people to be upset with me. It terrifies me. I have spent my life hiding the reality of my past. I have spent most of my life pretending my childhood was wonderful. I “honored” a certain person by keeping things secret, so as not to bring “shame” to them or anyone else around us.

I am DONE hiding. I am DONE pretending. I AM a sexual assault SURVIVOR. To let you in on the depth of my “acting” skills, I was a raped as a 5th grader and then had another perp sexually assault me through all of 6th grade. It was during this time, my temperament changed. I had a quick temper. My hygiene changed. My weight greatly increased. I did have one teacher notice the changes, but she NEVER asked a single question. I was “reminded” about the importance of good hygiene, diet and exercise. I am guessing that others noticed the changes, but chose to stay silent. I don’t know if I would have opened up if asked, but it would have been nice to have at least one adult in my life to keep asking questions and to see through the anger and the weight changes.

The brain is an incredible thing. It has the ability to “file” things away and “protect” you. While the overeating and the anger issues continued, the memories of the assaults disappeared. Fast forward to my junior year of college. Several friends were volleyball players. I was a Human Performance minor, and often called lines at tournaments held on our college campus. It was during a volleyball tournament when the second perp walked into our college gym, as a coach for one of the visiting teams. He saw me and hugged me like I was a long lost friend. I felt the urge to punch him and throw up all at the same time. Pretty sure I didn’t call lines correctly that night. Once the night was over, I went back to my room and ate until I literally got sick to my stomach. At that point, I “liked” the sensation of eating to the point of being sick and then “losing” it. Honestly, when he hugged me, ALL the memories came flooding back. Binging and purging became a constant part of my life for the next two years.

Once I graduated from college, the Lord called me northwest to Wyoming to serve as a Semester Missionary through the North American Mission Board. When I arrived, my new housemates were all in TN for a conference. I was completely alone in the apartment. On one of my first nights there I went to the grocery store. Looking at what was in my buggy, one would have thought I was having a get together with friends. The harsh reality was I set myself up for one my largest binge and purges sessions I have ever had. I sat on the floor, with my back against the kitchen wall, with food all around me. I ate until I was sick. I returned to my spot and did it one more time. Eventually, I crawled into bed and cried myself to sleep. The next morning, I threw everything in a garbage bag and placed it in the dumpster. No one was any wiser as to what I’d done.

I was able to get away with a few more bring and purge sessions before Christmas of 2000. All of the people I was serving with, across the state had a Christmas Party. I ate until I was beyond full. The urge to purge was strong, but I didn’t want anyone to hear me get “sick.” Later on that night, when I thought everyone was asleep, I went to the bathroom to release all the food. The next morning, there was a knock on my bedroom door. One of the other girls came in and sat on my bed. She was the first person to ever ask me point blank what I had done. She had been there and earned the Bulimia t-shirt. I was embarrassed and scared. I knew if she told one of the pastors over us, I would be sent home. I had zero desire to be sent home in disgrace. At this time, I was also working part time for the local YMCA. She understood me better than I realized and made me promise I would confide in the fitness director, who was also one of my bosses. I went from binging and purging to restricting and working out for several hours a day. My boss at the Y made me keep a journal of what I was eating. She made me track my workouts. I started working out with her. Thanks to 500 calories a day, I dropped to the smallest I had ever been. From then until now, my weight has continued to fluctuate. About the time I think I have a handle on my weight and health, something happens and I tailspin in a downward spiral.

Fast forward several years, two engagements, seminary/ grad school, marriage, several miscarriages and three kids later to 2014. My husband and I were in the process of buying our first home. My brain had once again put the assaults back into their “files” and I was living life. Food and weight were still very much an issue. That summer, the memories and flash backs came back with a vengeance. My husband and our realtor, a long time friend, both thought my emotional outbursts were due to the stress of the homebuying process. What they didn’t know is that I wasn’t really sleeping at night. Every time I fell asleep, it was like I was being assaulted all over again. I could almost physically feel the assaults. I was far too embarrassed to tell them what was really going on.

This season was one of the darkest I would ever walk. To be completely truthful and transparent, I wanted to die. I prayed the Lord would call me home and/or for the courage to end it all. There is a picture of my daughter that sits on my dashboard, taken when she was in day school. Every time I thought I was ready to follow through, I would see that picture of my daughter. When I looked at her picture, I knew I didn’t want to punish her, the boys, or my husband. The guilt was wicked. I was also way too embarrassed to let anyone in on what I was feeling. I also feared the Lord would send me to Hell, if I chose to end my life before He was ready to call me home. It took almost 3 years of therapy before I was able to state out loud, I wanted to die.

It would take another 2 years before I finally spoke up. It seemed my brain refused to “file” the assaults away again. A long time friend and someone I greatly respected shared his story on Facebook. I loved and hated him for it. His story let me know I really wasn’t alone. Why couldn’t I be that brave? Why couldn’t I speak up? At the end of February of that year, I finally told my two closest and dearest friends. What I expected was to be met with shame, or to be told I wasn’t believed. I expected to be asked ” Why didn’t you speak up sooner?” Instead, I was met with love, support and encouragement. The one friend “strongly” encouraged me to find a therapist. If you know her, you know the “suggestion” was more of a command. It was all in love, but she was not afraid to speak truth in love to tell me what I needed to hear and not what I wanted to hear. Therein was the problem for me. I hold a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Counseling. I “know” healthy coping skills. I “know” how to help others through their issues. I “shouldn’t” need anyone to deal with my past. I “should” be able to cope with all the things and move on. Truth, I had no idea how to move forward. I hated that she was right, because I honestly wanted her to be wrong. She was far from wrong. Even though it was hard to hear, deep down, I knew she was right.

I made the decision to wait to another couple of weeks to tell my husband. I was afraid he would see me as less than. I was afraid he would see me as dirty, used and not worthy to be his wife. Even though I know him to be a great man of honor and dignity, I was afraid he would feel he married me under false pretenses and leave me. Instead, he met me with the same response as my two friends. I waited until the craziness of the Easter season was over before I even had the courage to look online for a therapist and finally make a phone call. The counseling center I felt the most comfortable with had a waiting list. Even though I made my first call towards the end of April, had an intake at the end of May, it was the beginning of July 2016 before I started my counseling journey. My original therapist moved over to private practice less than a year in. Due to insurance issues, I couldn’t follow her. She transferred me over to one of the most experienced therapists in the center. She knew the type of therapist I needed. I was hesitant, but I made the switch.

Honestly, it took a little over two years before I could finally even attempt to go below the surface with the new therapist. I said all the “right” things, but my therapist knew I was blowing smoke, and yes, she called me on it more times than I can count. She showed and has continued to show a great deal of patience over the past several years. She has allowed me to say ALL the things. I find I can speak freely in her office and not have to filter anything. When I say no filter, that means certain words I don’t say in regular conversation come out frequently. You see, in therapy, words fly and they are often needed in order to move forward. She is better at reading me and what I’m not saying than I’d like. She has known when to push and when to let me sit in silence. She has given great “homework” and “homework” I’d rather not do. It’s only been in the past year that I have been able to face certain things with certain people in my life.

She was able to walk me through the things I thought was going to cost me my marriage and even a great relationship with my kids. There were boundaries I was terrified to set because of guilt. I also knew the cost of not setting those boundaries. I honestly felt and still to a certain extent still feel like I can’t win. To work towards a healthy marriage and relationship with my kids, unfortunately meant stepping away from another relationship in my life. I pray it’s not a permanent stepping away, but I had to for my own mental health and other relationships my in life. My peace and my future were on the line. I had to decide what and who I wanted more. I will choose my husband and children every day of the week. They are truly God given gifts and I won’t blow it with them.

I had a confrontation with someone who “should” have been there to protect me. This person, once they knew the truth “should” have comforted me. Instead, this person sided with my rapist. They spoke his name in comparison to and over my children. The last time I spoke to this person and reminded them of what I walked, they shushed me and they went on the defensive. Later, this person accused me of being “controlling” and was angry I refused to have a conversation on their terms. I laid out a strict set of boundaries and was met with anger and defiance. My heart aches and it’s not at all what I wanted. I “know” the Lord calls for peace and reconciliation. I have no idea as to whether or not that will happen this side of eternity, but I do pray it does.

As I have walked the past five years, I’ll be honest, my faith has taken a massive hit. Deconstruction is a term I didn’t know existed until I was well into my healing journey. It’s a path I never expected to walk. I believe my foundation is strong, but also believe I was given subpar materials to build my “house of faith.” I have questioned and still question everything I was taught growing up. Many women who have walked this same journey have landed as agnostics, or non-believers altogether. I can say I have seen and experienced way too much to land there. I have watched the power of prayer and faith from others work. I still identify as Christian. I still believe in the virgin birth, the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. I still believe in the cross and a relationship with Christ is required for salvation. All of the other things, I just don’t know at this point.

I know I have a stronger personality. I can’t believe Christ made a mistake there. I can’t believe the way I was wired was a mistake. Reading books by women like Jen Hatmaker, Rachel Held Evans, Dr. Beth Allison Barr, and the current teachings of Beth Moore have opened my eyes to a different interpretation of Scripture. I have seen women viewed in a different light. While I hold to the basic tenants of my faith, the other seemingly manmade, overly patriarchal rules don’t really make sense to me. I no longer identify as conservative, but more as moderate. While I do hold to the absolute core of what the SBC believe, I don’t know that I completely identify as SBC at this point. It’s an ongoing process. I can’t say when or where I will land. There are those whom I know will cheer me on and support regardless and others may get a case of the vapers based on what I say and come to believe. I just know my faith needs to be truly mine and not what someone else tells me it needs to be. As one who likes to do what is “expected,” this is a difficult path to walk. I promise, it’s not one of defiance, but one of wanting a complete and genuine faith, that is mine and mine alone.

I haven’t shared all of this for attention, or for anyone to feel sorry for me. I have shared this because I am beyond exhausted from pretending to be someone I’m not. I’m tired of trying to be the person other people want me to be. I just can’t and won’t do it anymore. There are things about myself I know to be 100% true. Other parts of me I believe have only been an act. I am trying to discover who I truly am and who the Lord created ME to be. If you have made it this far, thank you. If read to the end, please don’t make any snide comments. They aren’t what I need. If you’ve made it this far, I hope only to receive support and encouragement as I move forward. I love my hubby and kiddos more than life itself. They are my top priority. If your choice is to cause drama in my life, I can’t and won’t deal with it anymore. If your choice is cheer me on in my healing and faith journey, along with cheering me on as a wife and mother, I welcome you with open arms. Again, my word for 2022 is “TRUTH.” I only need people who are truly willing to listen to the truth of my story and the truth of healing journey. If you can’t. I respect that and will allow you to quietly depart from my life. I am ready to turn a new page and write a whole new chapter. My truth will no longer be hidden to make those around me comfortable. I am Heather. In the words of a song that has carried me through this season:

I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make NO apologies, this is me!
(“This is Me” from “The Greatest Showman”).

If you are a victim/ survivor of rape/ incest/ sexual assault, please know there is help. Please call R.A.I.N at 1-800-656-4673 for assistance. You are NOT alone!!! I am here for you. I was encouraged to speak up because of a long time friend and mentor. I hope you will also find your voice and speak up as well. We are in this together. We can’t walk a healing journey alone. Please reach out and speak up. You are braver than you think! Share your story and speak your TRUTH!!! Let’s face 2022 head on!

A Wretched Pandemic of a Year


I started this as a FB post, but then realized it was way too long. It’s also been way too long since I’ve updated my blog, so here you go:

One year ago today, was our last full day at the beach. It was also the day my hubby started texting me that he was losing gigs left and right. The amount of money in gigs lost was insane. I was struggling to wrap my head around it. The tears fell on and off all day long. One of my besties made a Walmart run and reported back there was no TP on any of the shelves. Text messages from my husband continued to roll in. Texts from other friends and posts on FB sent me over the edge. There, in one of my favorite places, I had a full blown panic attack. I couldn’t believe it, any of it. My other bestie wisely snuck me out of the condo before the kids could see me. We took a walk to give me a chance to calm down.

The next morning we packed up the van and headed back to TN. Based on information we received I decided we needed to stop at the Walmart in my hometown of Ozark, AL. I was sure my hometown wouldn’t let me down on this mission. I was almost in tears to see the shelves so empty. We then continued our trek home and stopped at the Dollar General in Brundidge, AL. There were 2 packs of TP left. I took one and my bestie took the other. We made it home and then the nightmare really began. Not only had our sweet just taken a hit due to a tornado, we were now facing a pandemic. Because we ate down our fridge and pantry before this trip, we desperately needed food. I made stops at 4 different stores and circled back to our Kroger and it was awful. I watched a woman clear and entire box of pizzas into her cart. She had also done this with multiple other items and her cart was over flowing. I was just trying to get the basics. At that point all I wanted was a single back of frozen chicken breasts and the freezer section was pretty well bare. I had a pretty ugly meltdown there in the frozen section. I wanted to scream at the people with overflowing buggies. I wanted them to share what they had, so I could get food for my family. Like so many other families, we settled for what we could find.

I shared my family snuck out of town for a few days this week. Saturday night I fought off a panic attack. I wanted to go to Kroger and buy all. the. things. I was terrified to go out of town and not make sure we were stocked. Honestly, I have done my best to keep us stocked. Sunday afternoon, I picked up a pack of TP and a pack of paper towels. I picked up chicken strips, popcorn chicken, chips and some snacks, a few other smaller things on top of what we needed for the trip. In the back of my mind I “knew” I could come home and have what we needed to make meals through the first part the upcoming week, but I was so scared to not have a little extra at the house.

Honestly, I don’t know if the fear or anxiety caused by empty shelves will ever allow me to go on a trip and not be concerned. I have talked to several others who share the same fear. It’s crazy that one year in a pandemic affected us on so many levels. I don’t share this for sympathy. I share this to let you know that you are NOT alone in your fears or anxiety. Yes, I am dealing with the anxiety with a professional. If you are getting ready to head out of town pick up what you need keep your anxiety as low as possible. If an extra pack of TP, paper towels, a large jar of PB, jelly, chips, crackers or even Chef-Boy-Ardee make you feel better, than do it. Your piece of mind is worth it.

We have survived a year of pandemic. We have survived a year of several styles of schooling. We have gone long periods of time without hugging our loved ones. We have been scared. We have cried an ocean of tears. We have struggled with anxiety. We have watched our kids deal with big emotions. We have felt lost and even helpless as how to help them. We have said goodbye to friends and loved ones due to Covid and not been able to attend their funerals. We have yelled and screamed at the Lord and questioned where He has been. (Just me? Ok). In this day and age this all seems impossible. It’s almost like we have been living more in the 1800s than our current time.

We are sick of wearing masks. We are hoping and praying the vaccine will allow us to return to some semblance of normalcy. We are hoping and praying to return to large gatherings (maybe?) and to have our families together again. Our sweet town is still rebuilding from the tornado. I would be remiss not to mention we also survived a dereche in May, which caused almost as much damage as the tornado. There is not a place in town where you can’t see some remnant of the tornado/ dereche.  I posted a week or so ago on FB about how disheartening it was to see fences going up around our church and know that we are finally going to get to start rebuilding. Yet, as I turned to the other side of our church, an elementary school and middle school are still in ruins and there is not a definite timeframe in which those schools will be rebuilt.

There are so many huge feelings around all of this. I am still struggling to wrap my head around all of the events. Again, I know I am far from the only one struggling with these feelings. Our kids will continue to struggle. Honestly, I will never make light of PTSD and as I look at people around me, I see it. Our kids freak out whenever there is even the suggestion of bad weather. When the rain comes down in torrential downpour, the kids are in our room. So many kids now use the term “safe place.” It has absolutely nothing to do with emotions, but everything to do with physical safety. It’s hard to hear and watch.

I have no clue as to how we will move forward and heal from the past year, but I do know I am grateful for my tribe. We survived because we clung to our faith and to each other. There is no way to heal, if we try to do this by ourselves. Seeking out a therapist and/ or taking meds is OK!!!! There is ZERO shame with either. I am sure there will be several more posts as I attempt to process this past year. Honestly, I don’t see any of us “getting over” this past year any time soon. Please know I love y’all and have a shoulder to cry on and ears to listen, if you need a safe place to process.