Hanging By A Moment

I grew up Lutheran. Well I have parents that were Lutheran. Although my mom was Catholic and I was baptized Catholic but then my mom converted to Lutheran.

On Sundays when it suited my dad we went to church. I attended catechism classes at a Lutheran church and was confirmed in the church. Mostly during classes my BFF and I would scribble notes. I remember one note that we scribbled was a picture of a thumb with a red circle with a line through it – we called it WAT – Woman Against Thumbs. I believe it was during a lesson about how a woman should serve her husband. Yup I had a little feminism in me back then – ok still do.

When I was 16 I didn’t want to go to church on Easter Sunday. My mom didn’t have to go. Ok she had worked until 2:30am and wasn’t feeling good, but since she didn’t have to go I didn’t want to go. After a screaming match with my dad where he “gave up” I decided I would go screw around with friends only he had removed the spark plugs from my car. No church – no friends.

Sometimes my folks would let my older sister and I skip early service if we agreed to go to late service. We would get into her car to go, stop by the church and pick up the church program then go out for breakfast. We were such little sinners.

In college I proclaimed I was an agnostic. I barely know what the heck that means now let alone then but all my college friends were the same so I assimilated.

While in basic training in the United States Air Force I attended church service. It was a nondenominational service. They played great music. It was two hours a week where the TIs (Training Instructors – think drill sergeant) couldn’t yell at us or pop us in the forehead with the brim of their TI hat. Once during service the pastor asked those who felt the spirit of the Lord to stand and at that moment I did so I stood. (Although I may have just been hungry and thus light-headed). Still in letters home to extended family (aunts, uncles, grandparents) I wrote about a new-found love for the Lord. My mom told me some of them were afraid I’d joined a cult.

After basic training I attended technical training. I was learning to be a contracting agent for the USAF. Basically learning how to spend tax dollars. It was a lot to study and thus church on Sundays didn’t continue – also church got in the way of hanging out with other airman and watching TV.

Despite my requests to be stationed abroad – Germany, Italy, and Spain I was assigned to Lackland Air Force Base – the same base I completed Basic Training and Technical Training. That worked out well though since I met my dear husband in the contracting office.

We were young – early 20’s. We fell in love and were married. My folks pastor at the Lutheran church where they lived agreed to marry us despite the fact my husband was not Lutheran and didn’t practice any religion. (I think my parents might have lied to the pastor but I went along and so did Chad.)

We didn’t attend church at all during our four years in the service. Our first child was born and we took her back to WI to be baptized in the Lutheran church. It’s what Lutheran’s do – baptize – so we did. We both finished our 4 years in the service and became civilians again. Chad started a new job that allowed me to stay home with our daughter. When she was nearly two I wanted her to be in a mothers-day-out type program to be around other kids and I wanted to work a little. Thus I became a mother’s-day-out teacher in a Christian mothers-day-out school at a Lutheran church. Being around the church and teaching Christian lessons in my class drew me closer to the Lord once again. I got more involved with the church, attended service occasionally and my spirituality grew.

Our second child was born and we baptized him in the Lutheran church I worked at and had joined. I had to stop working while he was an infant although I continued to volunteer in the nursery on Sundays, teach music to the students at the school and attend church. At some point, and I can’t remember exactly why but I think it had something to do with the pastor retiring and me not liking the new paster, I switched Lutheran churches. Our third child was born and we baptized him in the new church. The pastor of the new church seriously ticked me off the day of Sugarboys baptism so we stopped going.

It would be two more years before we stepped into a church again and it was because I wanted to teach again. I was offered a job at a Lutheran Pre-school and I accepted. Yes – yet another Lutheran church – there was something comforting in knowing I could attend church then go out for beers and wings with the pastor and congregation members after late service.

All was going well. I started attending service again, began teaching Sunday school and felt my spirituality returning although watered down.

Then Sugarboy was diagnosed with diabetes. Oh that day sucked. It was a Wednesday. After we checked into the hospital with my tiny little 2-year-old I had to go collect my older kids from a neighbors. I hadn’t cried in the hospital. I didn’t want my baby to see me cry. But after I left the room and got in my van all bets were off. I sobbed. I wailed. I asked WHY WHY WHY. It was rush hour on I-35 in Austin, TX. So many cars. I couldn’t see straight because of the tears. I had to pull onto the left shoulder of the highway. I sat there slamming my fist into the steering wheel. Screaming and cursing. I knew I had to get it together. I had to get my older kids, feed them dinner, explain what was happening, take them to see their brother.

I turned the radio on in my van. A song had just begun.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4_woZ-LUvM

I hadn’t heard it before. I listened for a second. Then I felt something I had never felt. It was a whoosh feeling as if something had entered my body (picture some movie where a spirit/ghost takes over a body). The tears stopped. The shaking stopped. I could see – I mean SEE. I felt strong. I felt angry but with purpose like I was suiting up for a fight and I had an awesome coach whispering strength in my ears and I was pumped.

Over the next couple years the Lord and I became closer. I was reading the Bible and was very much involved with the church. It felt good. It felt right. It gave me the strength that I needed to be what I needed to be for me and for my kids.

Alas, the pastor of the church retired. A new pastor was called upon. He was fun, made jokes, and things went on. Although unrest with the congregation grew. Changes the new pastor was making with the school and church were not fully supported by many of us. I still had my faith but I wasn’t sure the new direction of the church was going to suit me and some of the things being said and done to co-workers was challenging my commitment to that church.

Then my daughter was diagnosed. With a faith already being challenged I was weak and this time I got angry. I got angry at God. I’ve been angry for nearly 4 years now. I quit teaching at the church school at the end of the school year. I stopped attending church. I put up my Bible. I gave God the finger basically.

I never stopped believing – you can’t be as angry as I’ve been at someone you don’t believe in.

The thing is – I’m tired of being angry.

I desire faith.

I long for and miss the feeling of a living spirit living within me.

I miss the strength I had felt after Sugarboy’s diagnosis.

I miss hearing the words of songs I love. I still listen to my playlist titled “moms spiritual music”. I mean it’s good music. Only over the last 4 years I would find myself listening to pop Christian music while rolling my eyes at the same time.

I still pray. Only I never pray for myself. I pray for others.

I really am just tired of being angry. I’m open to suggestions on how to stop being angry. I’m open to ideas on how I can forgive God because it has always been my understanding that He either makes something happen or allows it to happen. There is no middle ground. He is all-knowing, all-powerful, he is ALL. So why does he let so much ugly happen to the children, to us?

Yesterday I knew it was going to rain. My daughter knew it was going to rain. She didn’t take her umbrella. As it poured I considered taking her anĀ umbrella. Her school doesn’t have a hallways – the students have to walk outside to switch classes. I had her umbrella in my hand at one point. I had to will myself not to take her anĀ umbrella because I can’t always protect her from bad decisions or bad planning. Is it like that? Is God just not doing the helicopter parenting thing? Because that would suck. Diabetes isn’t because of a bad decision or poor planning.

 

I’ve rambled for a great deal of time. If you’ve read this whole post you are awesome (or have entirely too much time on your hands). This post was for me. Writing sometimes helps me recognize actions I need to take. I could use a map though. I tried putting God into map quest but it came back with – No results for “god”.

godphoto

 

Wordless Wednesday

I was tagged in a photo on Facebook today.

I assure you I wasn’t the cause of my dear friends ANGER. Her anger is directed at cancer and a life taken too soon. Anger manifests in many forms – tears, pain, and anxiety to name just a few. It isn’t easy to let go of especially when it is wrapped up in sadness. I had suggested my friend try to get down to the beach (closest one is 4 hours south) – write her thoughts in the sand and let the waves take them away – see here. She wasn’t able to get to the beach but it has been like a monsoon here in the Austin area the last 2 days. My friend took the opportunity to write her feelings in the mud collecting in her yard. It seems fitting – the pain and anger that attacks us after the death of a loved one can not be taken away easily or quickly. It is will be slow process of healing but I hope with each drop of rain my friends anger will lessen just a bit.

BTW- I suck at wordless anything – this is as wordless as I get.

Anger Issues

Hi my name is Christina and I have anger issues. That is a bit of an exaggeration – although my kids might suggest it is accurate. I will admit I have been and sometimes still am a yeller. I don’t like to yell it hurts my head and truly accomplishes nothing. I obtain better results if I whisper. I have friends who never seem to raise their voices to their children. The kids seem about as well-adjusted as mine though – each with their own issues.

My kids do have some aggression issues – but only towards each other. None of them have ever been aggressive towards others. However, if any one of them gets overly frustrated it can be like dogs fighting I almost have to throw a blanket over them or spray them with water to break it up. There don’t seem to be any rules either – punching, slapping, pushing, kicking, all fair methods of beating the crud out of each other.

I’ve never been the spanking type. I don’t judge those who do use that method of discipline. It is just that my folks were spankers and slappers. I don’t feel I learned anything from those moments of discipline. I have occasionally given it go – always unsuccessful – just made me feel cruddy and I am certain my kids learned nothing from it. So where did all the physical aggression toward each other come from?

The physical aggression isn’t even the worst of it. They are often just mean to each other. Middles intentionally annoys his sister with every ounce of his being. Sweetstuff (seems odd writing that right now seeing as she just slapped the crud out of middles then slammed the TV cabinet door but not before screaming at me and telling me she hated me – sigh…) anyway she has zero patience for her brothers – after all she does believe the world revolves around her (do most tween girls???) Sugarboy is the devious and manipulative one. He is so good at manipulation that often adults and kids don’t know they have been played for sometime after the event. Recently he did admit “my cuteness is failing me – you don’t say yes so much anymore.”

Sometimes I try to excuse poor behavior between the kids if one or more of their blood sugars are wacky but I don’t feel as though I am doing them any favors. Will their supervisors or teachers excuse poor behavior due to diabetes related issues. Likely not. Plus since Sweetstuff has never had a single behavior or academic issue at school – but has had numerous high or low blood sugars – clearly she has the ability to make proper choices while under d-influence. Same goes for Sugarboy – the one time he had an altercation with another boy at school his numbers were spot on. Middles is the only one who has a few behavior issues at school but never toward other students – more of arguing back to the teacher when she tells him to stop talking. (seriously he will argue till the cows come home if he believes he is right) So back to not allowing D to be an excuse for poor choices – I would love to hear feedback from adult PWD and how blood sugars effected your behavior while growing up and how they affect your behavior now.

Meanwhile I will be interviewing anger management specialists for my kids who honestly seem to hate each other more often than like each other. Where did I go wrong?