Luke 8:54

"And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid arise." Luke 8:54

Monday, July 31, 2017

Wounded Women

Wounded Women 

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All my life I've struggled with a sense of not being valuable. It was never very apparent to people around me, never led to stereotypical eating disorders, or promiscuous actions. But it was a perspective I carried with me throughout my pre-teen years until recently, a 25 year old.

I subconsciously considered myself sub-par to most girls. Normally it wasn't too distressing, it was just a fact. I knew I was less, and I figured it was as obvious to them as it was to me. It was “proven” by my inadequacy or my mediocrity. I wasn't good at sports, I had no exceptional talents, my outward looks were only so-so, and the list goes on and on.

As a young person it was easy to ignore. My family was biased toward me and appreciated my loyalty and service. I was worth “keeping” because I had something to give. I was good at serving. I am a Hutto.

But as I grew older, the more painfully aware I became of what I was “missing”. Somewhere in the past, I had curbed my natural behavior of telling stories and being flamboyant, wild, exuberant. I somehow figured drama was taboo and showing your emotions was childish, and I needed to stop being naive and vulnerable. I suddenly became aware that hugging was for children. No-one actually was interested in my stories about the day. They weren't listening. It was embarrassing to realize that I has been so open and real all my life and nobody else had been. I hadn't caught the memo.

So I tried. And I tried hard. I tried to fit into a personality that I thought was acceptable. Meek, obedient, encouraging, sweet, quiet, reserved, deep and mysterious. Subdued. I was envious of those around me who naturally fit such a mold. Why was I so messy? So innately transparent? Why did I crave to be heard? People around me knew how to behave. To open their hearts and filter what came out.

It was as if hearts were music boxes. Most people didn't share their song. But if they did open...out came tinkling melodies. Why was mine loud and jangled? Why couldn't I keep shut? But I tried.

For years I've felt like a failure. I couldn't compose a different tune. So I just kept silent. Even though it hurt. I craved to be heard and appreciated. But rejection hurt more than being silent.

Jesus gently challenged my delusion. I craved to love and be loved. He showed me that He, Himself, the Creator, Savior, loved me. It was such a relief to be loved unconditionally. And He led me to others so I might love them. And it hurt. It hurt to expose my tangled soul and let the music come out. But it was good.

And then I started dating.
And I was suddenly faced with the possibility that a human being loved me unconditionally. Of course God loved me. But He was a little biased. I mean, goodness, He's my creator and He invested himself in me. Jesus loves me, of course. But how could a man love me?

At first I was convinced Jonah was blind. I heard that love does that. If he really couldn't see that I was mediocre it was because he was blind. But that wouldn't last. And it made me sad. Either he was just being polite or this was a temporary stage. My heart would become ecstatic only to be cut short by fear. I've been here before. I've dared to open my heart and let the music out only to watch the notes fall on deaf ears. Expression feels foolish when no-one is there to receive it. Love only ever led me to pain...where was this leading me? Normally I ended up somewhere empty handed and committed to silence.

But from day one, Jonah told me that God gave me value, and he only was acknowledging it, not placing it on me. He claimed I was beautiful inside and out. Captivating. And I would feel like crying. It should have thrilled me, but instead I felt wounded. Why?

One day I found myself looking in the mirror, surprised that I didn't see ugliness. I actually thought for a fleeting moment I was beautiful.

I open, and the all-too-familiar jangled music starts. And I cringe. I am too much. Too wild. Too hurt. To impetuous. Too clumsy. How could Jonah love me....all of me? Why was I fooling myself?

Staring me down was my insecurity. My wound. It was this – Not that I wanted to be loved, but the fact I didn't believe I could be.

This is why I cried when Jonah loved me. Because it was opening my wound. And yet he sought me. He pursued. He desired me. He said he loved my wildness.

Love allows me to stop cringing long enough to accept my jangled soul. It is still a wound. It still hurts. But I'm learning to allow myself to hurt, while allowing myself to believe that I am valuable. So often, wounds leave scars. But Love, He is a balm. And Jonah is teaching me to accept Him.

Every woman has a wound similar to mine. I've been more open about my wound and suddenly I hear others. So many woman don't think they are captivating. They look in the mirror and cringe. They've wrestled with the fact they aren't beautiful. Their music is lovely, but they can't hear it.

I wish every woman could be loved and cherished like me. I wish you could hear someone tell you that you're beautiful. I wish you could bare open your wound and move on. It's relief to let go of a lie. Ladies, you are beautiful. Unique. Intrinsically valuable. Made in the image of your Creator. You are captivating. It's time to rise up and challenge the lies that have beset you. Start believing you're worth loving. Beyond your talents and looks and wit. Just you. The first step to healing is acknowledging your wound.

Now my heart runs wild

Freely passion sings

Now words convey soul surges

Unfettered love won't tame

Fear must yield to love

Hearts must learn to break

Declare a war on habit

And bare your scars to light

A risk to be bold

Accept what is claimed

Though handicapped uncertain

Dare to open grace

God I know I trust

But this time a man

Placed my heart in human hands

Gently he has held me

So love here I am

Go ahead consume

I will not be frightened

This is the path I choose 

Related Post:

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

God's Satisfaction In Singleness

Post by Guest Writer Hannah Herndon on singleness.  Encouraging! 

God's satisfaction 
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In Singleness 

...For she was given all to fleshly lust,
And poured forth in sensuall delight,
That all regard of shame she had discust,
And meet respect of honour put to flight:
So shamelesse beauty soone becomes a loathly sight.

Faire Ladies, that to love captived arre,
And chaste desires do nourish in your mind,
Let not her fault your sweet affections marre,
Ne blot the bounty of all womankind;
'Mongst thousands good one wanton Dame to find:
Emongst the Roses grow some wicked weeds;
For this was not to love, but lust inclind;
For love does alwayes bring forth bounteous deeds,
And in each gentle hart desire of honour breeds.

The Faerie Queene, Edmund Spenser, 1590

The difference between love and lust, and the avoidance of lust, is something that can consume a girl's time and energy to a great extent. No follower of Christ wants to imitate the fleshly lust that the world is consumed with, and that flaunts itself on magazine covers and in romance novels. We recoil in horror at the thought of being this lady, described by Spenser:

Nought so of love this looser Dame did skill,
But as a coale to kindle fleshly flame,
Giving the bridle to her wanton will,
And treading under foote her honest name:
Such love is hate, and such desire is shame.

But when you have real needs, it can be hard not to think on that "someone". It can make you spend all day constantly thinking, "am I overstepping the bounds in my thoughts?" I don't know how many other girls have this problem, but I certainly have. It isn't healthy, to walk between doubt and desire, fear of sinning and a need that feels unmet.

 "God's love isn't a substitute for a man's, but it is better. It doesn't satisfy in the same way as a husband would, but it is more than enough to satisfy the soul."

I think I have found the key to resolving that kind of thinking, and I wanted to share it here. It doesn't honor God to walk between fear of "overstepping bounds" and the real desires that we all have. Trying to just "repress" those feelings isn't the answer. Neither is telling yourself that you just must go without until God sees fit for you to marry (this can lead to a secret grudge against God, among other things.) Nor is it telling yourself that God can fulfill those needs, and trying to find an outlet for those feelings in thinking about Him. (Although it isn't far from the answer, it misses closely... like just barely missing someone in a game of blind-man's-bluff.)

Yesterday I was doing dishes, in the afternoon... feeling a bit lonely, and having this "feelings struggle" for most of the day. I knew it wasn't healthy. I knew that God had something better for me to do than think on love and lust. I just turned and started thinking about God. I thought of all the good things He's done for me, as His child... given me an eternal hope, an inheritance in heaven that will never fade, and the loving family around me... and just that quickly, the thoughts of the "someone" faded away as I looked on the Lord's face. "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits" (Psalm 103). I realized what had just happened, and turned in amazement to see the thoughts of the longed-for person fading away, in my mind.

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace."

The thing was, I didn't try to visualize God as a substitute for the love of a man. I've done that many times, and it never worked. I realized that the love of God and the love of a man are two different things. God's love isn't a substitute for a man's, but it is better. It doesn't satisfy in the same way as a husband would, but it is more than enough to satisfy the soul. I realized that it is quite possible to live and be whole without the love of a man, by experience. It doesn't mean that a man's love isn't good or wonderful. It's just an extra thing, optional in the course of life. Not necessary. I felt that I could live quite happily just serving God. Marriage will be wonderful, if I get to have it. But I don't need it.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017


Spiritual Lessons


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My Dad just taught me something on forgiveness. And I wanted to share.

Forgiving someone can be like bringing an account to zero. Kind of like writing off bad debt. But then, sometimes, we have relationships we can't write off. They are still in our lives. But honestly, they are messing up our balance. How do you account for those relationships?

These relationships are normally the ones we've invested in. And somehow, sometime, we are now in the negatives. Something happens. Forgiveness decides on not holding onto that debt. And so, Dad mentioned, how do you fix the books? You put it into "accounts clearing". A Clearing Account is an account you use to move money from one account to another account when you cannot move the money directly. This account normally has a balance of $0.00 because you always take out the same amount that you put in. In other words, it's a way to start back at $0. It's normally also a temporary account. Until you can find where to move that transaction accurately.

I wanted to just write off my hard relationship. Reconciliation is impossible at this point. I craved some sort of closure. And Dad told me to move it to accounts clearing, and to let God figure out the rest. Start at zero.

But how to practically apply that? How to interact with that person? do I interact with people I've had zero investment in? I am cordial. I am polite. I have a level of interest in their life. I'll smile. I'm kind. That's how I'm to act. The negatives are erased. Gone.

Hurt and pride would like to hold some people to their debt. Forgiveness says "you owe me nothing."

Should some people be held accountable for their actions? Should tyrants be defied and abusers exposed? Should we be intolerant of sin? Should truth be irrevocably proclaimed. Does love call for repentance? ABSOLUTELY YES.

Is that compatible with forgiveness? YES. Love, truth, forgiveness, rebuking, provoking, exhortation, confrontation -- all of them are expected by our God. Commands. And we must obey. They are all results of obedience. And they are holy responses.

Spiritual Abuse Part 1
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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Call It Sin

Spiritual Lessons 

Call It Sin
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Most people won't say it. They won't talk about it. They shy away.

Most Christians refuse to talk about certain sins. Especially in the church, but also in the home. Drinking, cussing, smoking are all addressed. Immodesty and adultery are sometimes talked about...

But most sexual sins are hardly ever mentioned. Let alone explained. Homosexuality, pornography or masturbation are barely ever acknowledged subjects in the conservative Christian home. (Let alone the topic of sex itself. Most conservative young people I've talked to grew up in a home where “sex” was kind of a bad word. Mysterious. Maybe even funny. I know of quite a few Christian adults who had to figure out sex themselves, once they were married or one the verge of marriage. ever told them.)

I'd like to address masturbation. Simply because NO-ONE ever will.

The definition is as follows:

Maturbation: erotic stimulation especially of one's own genital 2) organs commonly resulting in orgasm and achieved by manual or other bodily contact exclusive of sexual intercourse, by instrumental manipulation, occasionally by sexual fantasies, or by various combinations of these agencies

Most Christians that dare approach the topic are unwilling to call masturbation a sin. Probably because it's not really a black and white issue. It isn't addressed specifically in the Bible.

But the Bible does address vain imaginations. It does talk about lust. It does say that our body is meant to glorify God. Sex can and does glorify God. It is holy and good when between a married man and woman.

Anything outside of that God seems to see as defiled. Is masturbation sin? There is such a thing as carnal appetite. An unlawful desire for carnal pleasure. Depraved affections. Concupiscence. Lust. In some, this manifests itself in a desire for the same gender. It leads some to defilement with their eyes (pornography). And for some, a defiling with their bodies, (masturbation).

“But! It is impossible to fornicate with your own body! It is not sexual intercourse!” A friend told me that once. Masturbation is not fornication. True. But neither is pornography, and rarely does the Christian hesitate to call porn wrong.

Masturbation is often degrading to oneself. Even if it is only in the mind. It opens doors to impurity. Evil imaginations. Things you might not do in “real-life” you commit in your imaginations to conjure the necessary emotions to spur on your habit.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

You are precious. Made in God's image. Everything about you is valuable. And as a child of God you are meant to be holy. Your thoughts are meant to be held captive for Him. We must renounce the hidden things. The dishonest parts of ourselves. If we call ourselves pure saints, but commit sin in our minds, we are lying. Jesus is meant to be made manifest in our our minds, in our actions. No sinful habit can be conquered until acknowledged as sin and repented of. THEN, God can begin a new work in you. THEN, begins the healing. THEN, He begins to faithfully keep you.

I'd like to say that children ought to be told about it. Obviously there is an age appropriate answer for every age. But many people who engage in sin were introduced to it at a young age and just weren't equipped with how to deal with it, or aware of the consequences. Many children are embarrassed to ask. Parents have a responsibility to train up their children in the way they should go... which includes what paths they should NOT go. No Christian parent would like to think that their child struggles with homosexuality. But they may. I've talked to broken-hearted Christians who have borne their shameful secret sin. No Christian parent finds it easy to address uncomfortable topics. No Christian parent wants to think their son may struggle with masturbation. Or that their daughter is plagued by immorality. But better to address the topic and equip your children, no matter how uncomfortable, than to abandon them to their own discernment and resources. They will figure it out, let me assure you. I've talked to them. But only after years of pain and scarring.

There. I said what most people won't.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Spiritual Abuse

Spiritual Abuse 

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Abuse: To use ill, to mistreat, to misuse, to violate, to defile, to deceive, to impose on, to pervert. Improper treatment.

People who mistreat you, violate you, deceive you, impose themselves upon you, are ABUSERS.

It doesn't matter if the abuser has a title. He is still guilty.
It doesn't matter if others trust him. He is still guilty.
It doesn't matter if he's a nice guy. He is still guilty.
It doesn't matter if he suffers. He is still guilty.
It doesn't matter if you remain silent. He is still guilty.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Pants vs Skirts

Spiritual Lessons
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By Guest Writer:  Arlene H.

I hate to state something so obvious but there are only a few reasons to wear a skirt:

1. You like them because you like to wear colors, have comfort & wipe your hands at the same time.
2. It is fun to swish in them while you dance with your kids.
3. It is a cool way to stay warm if you live where it's cold.
4. It's a hot way to stay cool if you live where it's warm.
5. You can write on them... which is fun and provoking to the culture around you.

There is absolutely nothing moral about SKIRTS Regardless of whether they are part of the Uniform of the Local Religious Social Club or not.

For my part, I am inclined this summer toward shorts and spaghetti strap tanks for a change. It works better for the new Otts Basin running club, and... Everyone in my town has already seen all my messages anyway.

The irony about silly uniforms is that they change but the fact of their existence does not. Men create things to comply with and the rules they create always tend toward self-righteous piety and isolation of Christians... Which is exactly what Satan wants. All of it is much more flesh pleasing and much less difficult than true Christianity.

Morality is action.
Love is good works.

Idolize no one but Christ and do not adopt and settle for trite religiosity like dress codes... cause Satan would like for you to set yourself apart with these things and channel people's energy into outward expression. Don't settle for pleasing men who change and whose breath is in their nostrils. FEAR GOD.

If you live in one of these religious clubs with dress codes, realize it for what it is. If you struggle with jealousy and are caught up in thinking that problems that you have in your marriage or that problems other people have in their marriages will be solved by women wearing skirts... Realize that is a Satanic facade to keep you from seeing the real problem and to keep you from looking inward. Having a soft heart and falling in love with your husband is really where it's at and would go much further.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Spiritual Abuse

Spiritual Abuse 
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The names have been changed in these stories for privacy.

Roxy was 13 years old when a man in a black sedan tried to kidnap her. She was riding her bike down her neighborhood street when a man stopped her to ask if she'd seen his dog. It was then that he tried to grab her. Turning her bicycle around she peddled as fast as she could to her parents. They didn't believer her.

Ethan was 10 years old when he took his first camping trip with a friend of the family's. The first night out in the woods, he felt his sleeping bag unzipped and the “friend” try to molest him. He ran for miles, with the man in pursuit, to a neighbor's house. They didn't believe him.

Carrie was 17 years old when she finally told someone her father beat and raped her siblings. She had been beaten with toys as a toddler, threatened with “Hell” if she did not give in to her father's demands, stood by while her sister was molested. Friends and family didn't believe her.

Do I really have to go on, or do you see the similarities in these true stories? These people were abused and those who should have stood up in their defense, refused. I know each of these people. And I know many of the people that these children went to for help. We might be tempted to think of these unresponsive adults as insensitive and idiotic monsters, but honestly, they are sweet, good, loving people.

So why did they refuse to help these children? Well, let's look at what THEY had to say...

“This is your father. All young people go through a rebellious stage where they feel their fathers aren't understanding. You need to get your heart right Carrie. Go back home. It's where you belong.”

“Honey, Mr. So and So wouldn't ever hurt anyone! You must be mistaken. Mr. So and So is a nice guy.”

“Your father loves you. Even if you don't always understand you can be assured of his good intentions. He won't always be perfect, he's human you know, but he knows what's best. You're the little girl.”

“Okay, let's not be dramatic. We know him personally – the entire town knows him. Think of all the great things he has down for our town... All the people he has helped.”

“ God has placed your father to be your authority. You are obligated to honor and obey your father. It's what the Bible says.”

If there are children being abused under your watch and you do nothing, you are guilty of negligence and condoning evil. You are ignoring God's command to protect the needy. You ought to have stones tied to your neck and be thrown into the sea. It doesn't matter how nice and loving you are, you're still guilty.

Some of you might be guessing where I'm going with this. If you know me well enough to know that I'm an abolitionist against human abortion, you're probably assuming that I'm going to compare this to abortion. If that's what you've guessed: you're wrong.

While there are similarities, (if there are children being murdered under your watch and you do nothing you are guilty of negligence and condoning murder...etc.) I'm not talking about abortion. 

Jewel's elders and pastors didn't agree with her evangelism “style”. They brought the matter before the church where she wasn't allowed to speak. After they gave their side of the story they gave her the ultimatum: leave your convictions, or leave the church. If she did not obey them, she was worse than the heathen, she would be excommunicated.

Beatrice's Pastor told her that he had been in fornication for a while now. But “shhhh, don't tell anyone”. He had the entire congregation fooled into thinking his actions were justifiable because he was...him. The Pastor. The man of God.

Matt was told that what his pastor said was final. If Pastor asked that he dress a certain way, he'd better. If Pastor asked that he attend every church service, he should. If Pastor said something felt wrong, it was.

This minacious evil I'm talking about is abuse. The first was physical abuse. The second, spiritual abuse. Physical abuse is rampant in the Western world. Spiritual abuse just as much. The churches are filled with authority run recreant.

Why won't someone say something?

Well, let's here what the spiritually abused are told –

“This is your Pastor. All young people go through a rebellious stage where they feel their authorities aren't understanding. You need to get your heart right. Submit. This is where you belong.”

“Honey, Pastor So and So wouldn't ever hurt anyone! You must be mistaken. Pastor So and So is a nice guy.”

“Your Pastor loves you. Even if you don't always understand you can be assured of his good intentions. He won't always be perfect, he's human you know, but he knows what's best. You're the layman.”

“Okay, let's not be dramatic. We know him personally – the entire town knows him. Think of all the great things he has down for our town... All the people he has helped.”

“God has placed your Pastor to be your authority. You are obligated to honor and obey your Pastor. It's what the Bible says.”

People that physically abuse children have the same reasons as those in pastoral authority who abuse. Physical and Spiritual abusers are either deviant or delusional. They either have power trips or insecurities. They are predators or fools glut on false authority.

Often, criminals and abusive pastors alike, go unchallenged because of the failure of “good people”. The same family and friends who refused to believe ill of the men who tried to kidnap their daughter, or molest their neighbor's son etc. are the same people in pews who tell the victims to endure, to believe the best of “Pastor” and obey. In either case the truth is twisted. Somehow love is interpreted as silent forbearance and complete obedience. The mother in law defends the abuse to the victim. The pastor's wife defends the abuse to the victim.

The victims are silent out of fear. Out of obligation. Out of commitment. They are brainwashed by their abusers. Don't disrupt the unity. Don't make waves. Don't risk our reputation. Forgiveness would endure the wrongs.

The victim sacrifices so much to do what they believe is right, and yet they are not only endangering themselves, but others. For their abusers will not be satisfied to prey only on them. They will hunt out others. The abusive husband often attacks his children. The abusive Pastor rarely abuses one out of the congregation.

Some readers might find my comparisons are a stretch at best. If so, I'd encourage you to take off your blinders and have a look around. My personal experience of Pastoral dictatorship is not unique. The complaints from unbelievers are often justified. And the thousands of hurt Christians can testify...if they would be brave enough.
Are there illegitimate “victims” out there? Certainly. Some people make up stories (in the physical and spiritual arenas). Are there righteous pastors out there? Of course – just like there are godly men and fathers. I could make disclaimers all day – but here's the point:

Abuse is common in the church house. And those of us who remain silent are to blame.

The abusers will continue to prey, and victims will continue to suffer if we stand quiet. We must repent of our own apathy before we can hope anyone else might be saved.

Don't be a willing victim. Repent. Say something. Don't allow abuse. 

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Thursday, March 23, 2017


Spiritual Lessons

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Trust. A small little word with a lot of hurt behind it. Love. A smaller word, with just as much pain.

Anyone else in the world a person of extremes? Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who struggles with moderation. I blame some of that on my genes. If you trace my lineage back far enough I'm convinced we Hutto's were Vikings. Moderation probably wasn't in their vocabulary any more than it's in mine. And then add my Sicilian blood from my mom...and yeah. I'm doomed.

So as a young girl, when I trusted – I trusted entirely. I trusted everyone I loved. In my world, you were either a bad guy, or a good guy. Black and white. And the good guys, I trusted.

I've always believed the best of everyone first. Call it what you will: optimism, naivete, childhood – but it's all I know; it's me. Every person is made in the image of God, and everyone has a God-given personality that is unique and beautiful, and somehow I was gifted (cursed?) with the ability to see that in people as soon as I met them.

I wasn't necessarily a sweet child. But deeply sincere. Everything I ever endeavored came from the farthest recesses of my soul; and it was natural for me to paste my heart to window panes. When I shared myself, I shared all of me. Transparent. Sensitive. Passionate. And why not share all of me? I didn't know the art of handing out pieces.

And as you can imagine I was disappointed by people. I remember a friend telling me she thought it was sweet that I could share so much of myself, but that she didn't intend on doing that. It was too scary.

I was hurt by people. Close souls who trampled my heart. Betrayal. Harsh words. No appreciation. Abandonment. Or even simpler – At work I met the most darling woman. She is eighty three, five foot (maybe), a hundred pounds with pure white hair. She loves to plant flowers and lives with a goose in her house. She's Irish with sparkling eyes and underneath her quavery voice and many wrinkles is enough spunk to see her to 100 years old. The only problem: she's dying of cancer. Our job is to travel that journey with her and make her as comfortable as possible. As soon as I found out, I thought – why do I fall in love with people that destiny is bound to hurt me with? I wrote in my journal – “I can't pick one human being that's easy to love. Or is there no such thing? Is humanity hard to love?”

I was devastated by people. Someone I respected. Those who should have known better. Gave away my heart to have it handed back – in a million pieces. The injustice. The sobbing. The anger. I remember wishing I was reserved and mysterious. That I could rip my heart off my sleeve and be like the quiet, normal people I knew. Everyone is intrigued by introverts. Maybe no one wanted to be my friend because I wasn't exciting. They could have all of me from the beginning – there wasn't anything to explore, pursue, figure out. Maybe people thought I was shallow because I so readily shared the deep parts of my soul. The more wounds I accumulated the more tempting it was to hide. To close off my heart to humanity, bad guys, and good guys.

And where has that left me?

I had two choices. To close the door to humanity and never trust again. It is possible. It sounds cliche or dramatic – but it's an easy thing to do. It's the safe and lonely route to take. Anger is easier than trust. It's the cop-out. It's self preservation. Defensive default. Self preservation and anger aren't wrong in and of themselves but I think we were created to trust. I know people who have decided not to trust anyone. They are miserable people. They are either bitter, frightened, lonely, or all three. They are safe. Safe from people, safe from trust, safe from love. 

“There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”  -- C.S. Lewis 

Or I could realize that not everyone is worth trusting. Even some “good guys”. There are levels of friendships. I'm not obligated to share myself with everyone. I'm allowed to pick who I wish to be vulnerable with.

Of course I'm still a person of extremes, so those I choose to trust I still inevitably trust with all my heart. And they still hurt me. Trustworthy people are going to hurt me. And people I trust can hurt me so much easier than those I don't trust. Pain is part of relationships; it's inevitable. There isn't such a thing as pain-free trust. Or pain-free love.

I was sitting across the restaurant table with my Dad last night. A man I decided a couple years ago was a man worth trusting. And I'm so glad I did. He is worth my trust. Worth the pain. He loves me back, and chooses to trust me too.  I am not an easy person to love, and yet he loves me back.
 I was telling him about a relationship that pained me. I told him how I keep reaching out and pulling my hand back, bloody. I vented about how I have chosen to continue the friendship, to keep wiping the blood off, only to have them accuse me. Pick at old wounds. His face softened. Instead of feeling defensive for me, he simply stated that it sounded kinda like the relationship we have with Christ. And even though that wasn't what I wanted to hear, it brought me back to some times I've apologized to God for my unfaithfulness to Him. The times I realized He still wanted to be my friend, even after I hadn't talked to Him all week. Even after I told Him that He didn't care and I was angry with Him. You know those relationships where if you could draw a picture to describe it, you'd have yourself at a door, in the rain, knocking? He waits. He knocks. And I leave Him out in the rain. And yet He has never forsaken me. He continually holds my hand through the darkest of times. He reminds me of Himself, gives me strength, listens, cares. God took the risk of loving humanity, even when he foreknew that we would deny him, curse him, reject him.

I've decided I want to love people. And I want to trust a few of them. It is too exhausting to preserve myself from everyone. And it's lonely. And it's even painful. Some people I've let go. And some I've gone back to. This time when I hand over my heart, I'm giving them permission to break it. I don't expect to keep it fully intact. Because they are human. And humans break hearts. And those I trust I know are going to do everything in their power to cherish the fact that I'm trusting them with something so fragile.

And there is a difference between loving someone and trusting them. I love quite a few people that I've chosen not to trust. But everyone I trust, I also love. With all of me.

I've come to the wild conclusion that trust is a dangerous thing. But coupled with love, it's beautiful and certain people are worth trusting. Even with the risk of them hurting me. And it's given me the ability to allow others to trust me. I desire to be trustworthy.

Toni. A small extreme person with hurts.

Addendum: Who is learning how to love and trust again.

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