I felt retarded

Dear Lynn,

You had me at "I washed every towel in the house that day." I didn't know that Normal people did that too.

I'm so used to the stigma that I don't expect people to relate to me.

Though I've been a Christian for some time, I'm still overwhelmed with this whole adopted identity concept. I'm certain others are too and just quiet.

Sure: I'm learning not to speak or think of any part of myself as ugly, weird, retarded, abnormal, or subhuman. But I'm just so used to being treated that way. It's not all the time, and it's getting better, but it's still too many often when it seems to count so much.

And since I'm being honest, most those past people were church folk. I learned to think of the church as my orphanage. Not AN orphanage, just mine.  When you acknowledged that churches don't always feel safe, I felt like Second is a home for me because God does not see me as trash. I didn't hear you bashing Second or promising it'd be safe. You weren't talking about a church institution but a too commonly patterned heart that's well... too common. 

I heard you affirm the people I've met really are genuinely different because they're not afraid, to be honest. They'll love me more than they hate saying, "I'm sorry." That's why I'm safe. Love is safe.

And when you talked about authority in our lives sometimes feeling unsafe, I thought you'd met during childbirth. I knew you knew why I stay woke: 

"If my own --- doesn't love me,
why would I expect God to love me?" Thank you for not trying to rationalize that thought. It doesn't any more of anyone's attention.

Lynn, I liked that you talked about restlessness as a common human experience that all Christians have. Do you know how long I've been living my life trapped in a box of binaries?

This or that. Black or white. Me or her. Past or present. Good or bad. Blah blah blah. Boxes didn't work for me before trusting God, and they haven't worked for me since.

When you said Christians struggle with restlessness too, I didn't feel so scum-of-the-earth. Christianity is not a pass-fail game.

That Tuesday is still a big day for me. I grew less afraid of God and more able to separate Him from hurtful human taskmasters who likely didn't know Him. And genuine Christians with good intentions who knew no better. It took a few more of those bitter, caustic hard parts of my heart and melted them. I know it's cliche, but I think I really might be able to love my enemies.

Lynn, here's what I heard you say

  • Feelings are real. Thoughts around them may not always be true, but feelings are real and God-given. 

  • Our God is in the heavens. He does whatever He pleases.

  • God doesn't depend on me to do His work. I couldn't mess this up no matter how hard I tried.

  • He who started the work in me will finish that work until it's done.

  • The gospel is not dependent on me.

  • God and I might look backward to move forward. But Death will have me zeroed in on my past.

Lynn, I'm so tired of people telling me that my continued emotional and physical suffering cannot - does not - make sense if I really have hope and faith. In the past few weeks, I've been grieving a lot of hurt around those suggestions. I've become withdrawn and felt like failure buried me 10-feet deep. (Condemnation dug the extra four feet.) People have noticed, asking where I went, what happened, what changed and affirming I'm not okay.

There's not one particular person that says I just need to be better - I wish there were because it'd be easier. It's embedded into our whole culture. That's why I'm having to rewire my brain. That's why I'm glad you spoke at Revive. And I'm really glad I have a church family who understands that process so much it opened up a psychological center that recodes that rewiring process into layman's terms.

If it were true that I'm so orphaned like shame tells me, you wouldn't have spoken about worthiness so boldly. The room full of women wouldn't have tilted their heads in attention and nodded their heads in agreement.

From now on, when I feel like an orphan, I'll remind myself that if I'm an orphan, we're all orphans. And my 2PC family is not abandoned. So logically, I'm not abandoned.

I think it does feel like starting over every day, Lynn. Exactly like you said. But I'm so glad that's a sanctification feature and not my lack of worthiness.

So maybe tomorrow (or really later today with this insomnia spell), I can remember that my pain isn't an ending. It can be an opportunity. But no matter what happens, I don't have to put on a fictitious, superhero emoji face and hustle. 

Thank you for being bold, Lynn. It would have been so easy for you to stand up front in a pretty outfit, smile, and tell funny stories about your husband. I'm really glad you didn't. You shared the tough stuff. Then you told funny stories about your husband.


I'm finally not a retard, Lynn.



*PS: Lynn didn't actually share any funny stories about Todd.

Kendall Crouther