Alone.

*A note before you read this. After doing an audit of my blog in 2022, I have decided to leave content that speaks to the Christian I was at the time this was written. I no longer identify as Christian (and haven’t for a very long time.) I chose to leave these posts because it is who I was then and it is important to me to be honest and true with every iteration and evolution of self that I experience. I may decide to add comments to the end of posts like this as well

from my journal:

Last night (yesterday in general) was tough. Not the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but difficult. Some people (ok, a lot of people) from last year remember my bad attitude. That stings. Even though I was completely honest and wouldn’t have lied or covered it up–but to know the impression I left was so not appealing? yuck.

I so sorry I showed you my ugly. Thank you for showing me a reflection of Christ and his love instead of a reflection of my nasty heart.

Large groups of women frighten me, but Christian women especially give me pause. The squeeing especially. The girliness. The make up and hair and fashionistas. And I judge you. I think you’re going to be like all those other Christian women who have hurt me–some knowingly. You look the same, you speak the same language of being washed in the blood and you say “oh my word” and “bless your heart” and you drink tea and homeschool your children and you don’t allow all that secular trash into your home and  you have no clue how much that turns me off. I do not know how to be like you.

Oh yes, I’m an introvert who knows how to access a brief extrovert, but I’d always rather be home or away from masses and being with the people does not energize me, it exhausts me.

After dismissing the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone.

Jesus. My Number One Introvert.

And yet, even though I’d always choose being alone to being in a sea of people, there was a time when I yearned for a spiritual mentor, a woman with whom I could share. Prayers sent up often, falling on seemingly deaf ears. But then He answered.

(from my journal, from the writing prompt “memory” at a Relevant session)

2005. Lifeway Women’s Leadership Conference.

Travis Cottrell takes the stage. I’m reading my program deciding where God would have me go. ha. I’m deciding. right.

The music starts. Thousands of women rise to their feet in praise of our Savior. I can see them in front of me. Looking to my left, though, the pew is empty. To the right. Emptiness again. Behind me, women overflowing every pew in the sanctuary.

Except the one I’m in.

Alone.

And I pray again, “Lord really? Can I not have a woman come beside me? Why am I not blessed with a spiritual mentor?”

and He said,

“Am I not enough for you?”

* * *

Like David admitting to Nathan, “I am that man,” I understood. And He led me through the valley, the dark, and I got hurt. He picked me up, pushed me along. Forced me to rely upon Him.

but then

he forced me to depend on you. you women who have broke my heart and trashed my love. you who have accused me of the nastiest of nasty. you who have cast stones. you who have betrayed my trust. he forced me to depend on you.

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In my mind, there is a deep separation between me and this mass of women. As you cannot detect one molecule of H2O in the ocean, so I cannot detect the individual in a crowd. You are water to me. I can dip my toes in. Get used to the temperature and wade in slowly, eventually neck deep. But as you envelop me, breathing is labored and I might drown, so I back out.

But a glass of water–controlled by the barriers formed by my cup, a cup I can hold in my hand. A cup from which I can sip…this is where I can meet with you and not drown.

and maybe

maybe I am not supposed to be like you

maybe (really?) maybe I am just me.

rough

empty

hard and cracked

dried out and knowing that God will break me

and it will be painful

and maybe He allowed a few of you, just enough of you, to quench my thirst.  To be added to the hard, cracked, dry clay of my heart

just enough water to make me pliable.

maybe

Relevant11

31 thoughts on “Alone.”

  1. Well, I probably wouldn’t be much of a mentor as I need a map to find my kitchen. But know that you have a bosom buddy in Texas. Thanks for being honest and transparent so that people like me feel like we belong somewhere.

    Reply
    • Laughing at you trying to find your kitchen every morning! LOL I do have a wonderful, loving friend in Texas. She’s my people and I love her so much!

      (((hugs))) You do belong. I’m starting to learn that even though I’m different, I still belong. Somewhere.

      Reply
  2. You are a beautiful mess just like the rest of us! AND he wouldn’t have provided for you in such an amazing way to take you to Relevant and not meet you there!

    Lovely to meet you at the David Nevue table!

    Reply
    • Cherie–loved meeting you too!! There’s a country song called “Beautiful Mess” and I’ve always identified with that phrase! You’re right, I think He was showing off for my unbelief! LOL (I believe! Help me in my unbelief!)

      Reply
  3. I love the aching, raw, honesty of this, Michelle. I struggled with my own sense of not-fitting-in this weekend, that hollow, ugly emotion with many echoes from my past. God blessed me, too, in that I was able to find those few raindrops I needed to bless my heart with their acceptance and friendship… just enough, as you said.

    Wish I could’ve spoken with you in person!

    Reply
  4. I don’t remember meeting you, but I must have at some point because I have your card. I’ll admit all that blond, fashionista, perkiness makes me want to run for the hills on first contact (just ask my roomie about my reaction to my first glimpse of attendees). I love your “About.” Nothing wrong with some good wine and country music. You lost me on the raw potatoes, though.

    Reply
    • I don’t remember meeting you either. Weird!! I hope you got over that first impression and made some good friends! I know God has used Relevant in my life like he’s used no other conference and the women? God has a lot of tough cookies out there. I had to come to Relevant to meet them (and I’m GLAD I did!)

      Reply
  5. I think you truly captured the underlying voices and heartaches that most women feel in a group of women whom they do not know…and sometimes even when they do. I, too, have experienced those hurts from Christian women, and while I have forgiven, sometimes reaching out again is hard. Relevant was a big step for me, and I met beautiful people and walked away with 2 new best friends. I hope that you were able to find…maybe even just one…who “got” your heart. Those “ones” are His gifts to us!!

    Reply
    • Thank you Lindsey, I wish we would’ve met–I don’t think we did. 200ish seems like a small number until you try to talk to everyone! The first thought that popped into my head when I read your comment is, “Do you really think *most* women feel that way?” It might be that they do, and that might be one of the lies surrounding the community of Christian women. One this is for sure, there is a lot of healing that needs to occur. I guess it never hit me just how much we all hurt inside, yet, hardly anyone knows.

      Reply
  6. Sweet girl. I’m not sure what to say right now except that I believe Satan uses “different” to prevent some of the most loving, reliable relationships. I believe it, because I feel so different myself. I may not look all that different (I do enjoy a good pair of boots ;), but I feel it inside. As I’ve gotten older, my sense of different has changed though. Sometimes I still feel it keenly, but most of the time I just use those feelings to look at the beauty in how God made me exactly how He wanted me, which is not how He made everyone else.

    YOU are beautiful. YOU are amazing. YOU are fearfully and wonderfully made. YOU are a work in progress, just like we all are. And that’s beautiful because God looked on us with love and wanted to make us all better. How cool is that?

    (By the way…I want to say that I’m not really trying to encourage you here…I don’t always love it when people think that I need encouragement because of what I write…I’m just telling you what’s true and believing that because you have the truth living in you, you’ll know it’s truth too.)

    I still believe that you are uniquely positioned to do some major damage FOR the Kingdom of God BECAUSE you are different. You challenge me to get outside of my box. And it’s good.

    I adore you 🙂 And I love raw potatoes 😉

    Reply
    • I do agree about Satan using “different” to prevent loving relationships…I read the first chapter of Angie Smith’s book last night and I’d never thought much about how Satan didn’t directly tell Eve to eat from the tree, he just questioned God’s intentions. So here I sit, knowing I’m different, questioning God’s intent for me. I think Satan has perpetuated the deception. (of course) So what I’m seeing, (and you’re a big part of why I’m seeing it) is that you’re right–God does have me uniquely positioned for His glory.

      I love you for telling me what’s true. God knew exactly what he was doing with us last year and I don’t know that I’ll ever get over how well-played His hand was. 🙂

      Reply
  7. Michelle. Your transparency here is stunningly beautiful and so very honest and real and I couldn’t possibly love it more.

    I can’t tell you how often I feel that I’m judged, too. Sorority girl. Blonde hair. Blue eyes. Probably an airhead. No substance. Liked boys. A bit wild back in the day.

    And yet what I am is a girl that has a horribly sad story that has left a legacy I’m working hard to release. I don’t reside in a perfect world though that seemed to be the assumption. Because of the pain and the dysfunction, I ran deep. Fatherless in so many ways so looked to boys to fill the emptiness.

    Until I met Him. My Daddy.

    He sees our heart and doesn’t notice the exterior which is just another reason why I’m so in love with Him.

    Confession? I don’t know how to be like them either. And really? I don’t think I’m supposed to be.

    We have a skeleton in our front yard as a Halloween decoration because my boys were DYING for it. I bought it. It brought them immense joy and they had a ball.

    But we were judged by other Christians in our neighborhood.

    Apparently, I don’t know how to do it either but it’s just between Him and me anyway.

    Now that I have completely hijacked your blog, thank you. This moved me so much.

    Reply
  8. Girl, you made me cry. Again. I’m usually the one in the pew by myself, feeling sorry for myself that I don’t have a close friend to share my heart with. So often. Even at Relevant it happened. And yet God is always there with his hand extended saying, “Do you trust me?” He always provides for me, even that one friend at the most important times. You were the one. Thank you.

    Reply

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