Sunday, November 15, 2015

Marriage Boot Camp : Bridezillas

If you’re unfamiliar with “Marriage Boot Camp” it’s where they take (barely) celebrity couples and put them in a house for several weeks for “Marriage Counseling.”

The season where they hosted previous stars of another cerebral show, Bridezillas, is on Netflix. And SINCE we’ve cancelled cable and SINCE I am about 99% homebound thanks to a gorgeous newborn baby peach I just finished the finale last night while the husband was out watching the fights.

It was horrible. First, it was just bad TV. Second, it was horrible.

I was almost most interested in the four licensed counselors.

When they would interview them and they had to describe why they were doing these specific “drills” they must have had to reach far, far down to justify them. It was great. “OF COURSE we have to put one spouse in a coffin and hire actors and make the other spouse, on the spot, perform a eulogy.”

You guys. Seriously.

Super helpful stuff. Not at all dramatic and surface. Not at all for TV.

SO ANYWAYS.  I am going to elaborate on two exercises that I felt were the most damaging (it doesn’t even include the one where they have everyone take off their wedding bands and go to a bar…) and then two exercises that I felt were … the least soul crushing and possibly, under the right circumstances, maybe even helpful.

First, the bad.

The second-worst-drill-ever-in-the-history-of-marriage-counseling…

The Sticky Note Drill

This one I thought was going to be awesome.

They gave each spouse one minute to write everything they needed from their spouse on a sticky note. They ranged from “more bling” to “trust” to “sex” … whatever.

Then they had each spouse explain each need and then post each sticky-note-need on their spouse.

Awesome! I thought. What an opportunity to then take off the sticky notes and put them on the giant crucifix they were obviously rolling out next.

Then, weirdly, they edited that part out or something because they were literally kind of left in this sticky-note filled purgatory of “….so what now?”

The message was “do better.” “Try harder.”

Your wife NEEDS more bling. That’s important to her. And if she doesn’t get it. You’re failing.

Yikes.

And, the WORST-worst-WORST …

The Fake Proposal

Now this one there is NO WAY those “marriage counselors” developed this one.

This was ALL the directors.

They had the men line up on one side and the woman on the other side.

Publically, they had to then propose to anyone BUT their spouse and then explain in front of EVERYONE what that person has that their spouse doesn’t.

Oh GOOD GOD. That’s stuff you cannot unhear. That’s stuff you cannot unsee.

It was AWFUL.

Comparison ROBS us of joy.

Everyone together: Comparison ROBS us of joy!!

Not only had they known these other “spouses” less than 72 hours, but what a horrible experience for everyone.

And, not to mention the underlying message of, if you don’t like this one, get another one!

Their actual goal in this “exercise” was to ACTUALLY create jealousy to “motivate change.”

Again. OH GOOD GOD.

And, now, two exercises that didn’t in my opinion immediately illicit further ACTUAL counseling:

The Tango
It was simple. They had to learn a tango as couples.

This drill actually addressed actual marital issues.

#1. Communication. They had to communicate. Both of them.

#2. Physical Touch. This was an appropriate level of public intimate touch for married couples. Sounds simple but apparently quite a few of them hadn’t touched in quite a while!

#3. Male Leadership. This isn’t even from the Bible y’all. This was from the women on the show. These are Bridezillas. These men didn’t get a whole lot of opportunities to lead. But, their spouses craved it. It was a recurring theme throughout the series. Eventually, these men forgot how. This was a teeny tiny step (pun intended) in the right direction.

And, finally,

The Boxing Match

The spouses were given a hypothetical fight and 3 minutes to mock fight.

Unknowingly, each person was knocked off a point every time they fought “unfairly.”
This included putdowns, name calling, history-bringing-upping, etc.

One gal got TWENTY “knock offs” in THREE MINUTES.

No wonder nothing is ever accomplished!!

Fighting fairly, and not avoiding the fight, is critical in a marriage. Unfortunately, this was kind of abandoned after the actual screaming and no actual growth was practiced. But…maybe a seed was planted?

In conclusion, I want to talk about my absolute FAVORITE part of the show.

It was also absolutely cringe-worthy.

As I mentioned before, a common theme with all these broken and struggling marriages were the husbands’ inability to express themselves in the relationships; let alone lead these marriages.

The counselors were “trying” to touch on this and the subject of “being able to check your wife” became a common conversation. This was said as a “desirable trait.”

Unfortunately, when you crave something Biblical (male led relationships) but you don’t go about it Biblically (i.e. 50 Shades style) it sounds a lot like that.
BUT ANYHOO.

This one husband, in particular, had struggled for years with no voice.

Here at boot camp. He was finally given a voice.

However, like most unaddressed issues in a marriage, it bubbled over at the complete worst time.

No drill was going on.

The gang was eating breakfast.

The wife asked her husband to get her more potatoes.

And, after years of repression, he screamed at her, dead seriously, “You get your own G*damn potatoes, b&(*$TCH!”

And then, crickets.

It was amazing you guys.

It was like “Yes…nice try! … but…. Maybe about her maxing out the credit cards and less profanity and more Jesus?”

…can you just get her more potatoes?

I could literally talk about this show for hours and hours, but I want to leave with just a couple remarks.

#1. Address your issues now so you don’t end up like “No More Potatoes Joe”
No one wants to be married to “No More Potatoes Joe.”
#2. If you have a teenager in the house, I would really think this would be a GREAT exercise to watch with them and discuss these episodes. There is SO MUCH content in here about what the world thinks about relationship, verses the TRUTH, verses…oh my gosh so much to talk about. Skip the episode with the sex dolls.

#3.  It’s on Netflix…so…if you liked this blog and wanted to get more “information” and you’re near the end of the vino…. You know what to do.

Oh, What a Savior

The pain that I was going through was real enough. To bring pain upon myself in an attempt to heal pain is one thing. 

When I started perpetuating this mentality onto other people is when I started to know things had to change.

I met a young man named Max. Max took me, like a gentleman, out to lunch on our first date. He even paid! He was an assistant manager at a grocery store down the street from where I worked at a Mexican restaurant in college.  He asked me out, in person, paid for lunch and posted on facebook that he had the best, most wonderful time with me, and THEN sent me a dozen roses to my work thanking me for the opportunity. I had no idea what to do with that at that point.

It was completely and utterly out of context for me.

To be honest, I didn’t think that lunch had gone that well and I wasn’t that attracted to him.

He asked me out a few days later and I said that I had to stay home because the brakes weren’t working correctly in my car and I didn’t feel like I could drive very far safely with them (it was a partial truth). At that point my regard for personal safety was a little hazy. He came to the restaurant the next day with a friend who was also a mechanic and while I was on my shift they fixed my brakes in the parking lot. He wouldn’t even consider allowing me to repay him.

After that, I felt like I kind of had to date him. I mean, c’mon! What a sweetie! But I didn’t recognize the depth of these actions, nor had the ability to appreciate him, nor the things he did for me.

I would use him as a sober driver to parties and then make some excuse (“it’s girls night!”) as to why he couldn’t come with me.

I would make him take me to expensive events like concerts, professional sports games, etc. and just get drunk.

He was a virgin and that totally freaked me out. I wouldn’t engage in sexual activity with him (“my boyfriend” who actually was super awesome) because it just plain weirded me out! I had been so sexually active and I was, usually, so drunk that I just could not deal with that. 

I, underneath all that, knew that I was not the one who he should be engaging in sex with for the first time. I knew that I would not be able to be that person for him.

Because of his infatuation with me, the relationship went on far too long, probably about 5-6 months. I ended up breaking his heart because I just did not have the capacity to even understand what was happening.

I starting thinking something was wrong with him. How could he like me this much? ME.

I tried to prove him wrong. I would get super drunk and act inappropriately with other men in his presence. He always forgave me and blamed in on the alcohol. He tried to help me in every way possible, for NO GOOD REASON.

I still don’t know why that man was so nice to (that) me! What a kind heart! He must have a gift for seeing the good in people. He has a beautiful wife now and I love that. She is absolutely a lucky lady!

Still, Max placed in me a teeny tiny seed of “what if I am worth it?”

And I am forever in gratitude to him for placing that there.

In many ways, Max absolutely saved my life.

He made me take a second look at my drinking habits (the first time I tried to quit was after we broke up).

He showed me what it looked like to stand by someone in their worst (yuck).

And he placed that precious seed.

That maybe, just maybe, there’s someone out there that can love, really love, me.

But before I could appreciate or recognize that, I had to love me.

And the only way that I could love me was to see myself as Jesus saw me, because if I were going to attempt to rationalize why I was worth anyone’s time, even my own time, I was going straight back to the bottle.

Something had to change. Something big. Something real.

Although my path had started aligning me more and more closely with a relationship with Jesus I had to hit absolute rock bottom to get there. 

People who have to learn things the hard way? Right here. This girl.

In college, I had dabbled intermittently with different Christian clubs on campus and attended a few random church services. I always felt such the outcast at these events. These college Christian kids were, seemingly, twelve years old and starry eyed and super happy. I was none of that. But, still, I heard the gospel in a few different ways, in a few different places, in a few different times. 

And that, really, is all that mattered.

I knew who Jesus was, you know, theoretically. I felt like if I placed my total hope in Him that I’d immediately have to be like “them.” I wasn’t ready to change. 

I couldn’t change. I felt like, sure, a relationship with Jesus sounds good, but maybe once I get my act together, I don’t want to be Ned Flanders, at least, not tomorrow.

That brings us full circle to the very first story in this book when I’m sitting in the car heartbroken over an abusive man with a live in fiancĂ©. We’ll call him Zane.

I met Zane at a fraternity party. He was a veteran who had returned to school and lived about 45 minutes away from campus. I didn’t even think twice that I had never been to his place. I lived a stone’s throw from campus and the frat house was also nearby as well as literally every place we hung out.

I got a phone call from his mother. She screamed at me calling me a “home wrecker.” I had learned the truth. He had a live-in finance and she knew about me.

When I approached Zane about the conversation it was standard: “I don’t know what to do, I love you both, blah blah blah. This is so difficult for ME.”

Both I and the fiancé allowed this back and forth for about 2-3 weeks.

I placed the ultimatum. Me or her. Period.

To make matters worse, and the pain worse, I approached some of my friends about his secret life (who were also in the fraternity) and.they.knew. 

They KNEW and they didn’t tell me, because, well, “bros before hoes” or some lunacy to that tune.

They refused to “take sides” making me feel like the crazy one.

When he texted me that he had flipped those coins seven times in a row and that they all pointed to her I felt totally discarded by everyone in my life. It was my own personal emotional rock bottom. I had given EVERYTHING to EVERYONE and what did I have in return: nothing.

I pulled over. I gave it to Jesus.

My wording was not rehearsed. It was garbled. It was a mess. I was a mess.

But I said, “Jesus, I don’t know who you are or what this means. But I trust in YOU to make this better. I cannot do this anymore. I am done. Whatever you have for me, if you even exist, I want it. Take this away.”

Now, I can’t say I was struck my lightening or that anything physically changed.

But everything had changed.

I felt lighter.

I went home.

I pulled out a poster board. I drew a calendar with 90 days.

I put a giant “X” in day one because I hadn’t had a drink yet that day.

I went onto Craig’s List and found the first house I could find looking for a roommate (my roommates were fraternity “friends”) near my childhood home, about twenty minutes outside of campus.

I was done. And I was on Day One.

I went to school. I went home. I went to work (two jobs).

That’s it for about three months.

I changed my phone number (Zane kept texting me threats).
I deleted my social media accounts.

My calendar filled up with red x’s and I was finally starting to think clearly again.

I didn’t talk to anyone in my classes (it seemed people were always connected to the Greek Life).

I had a few friends who I would occasionally hang out with at the restaurant (one of my jobs).

After I had broken my original pattern of drinking for ninety days (we’re talking a good sized bottle of vodka (or whatever) each night) I slowly started to bring back in a beer or two, or a glass of wine. Later I would swear off hard alcohol permanently.

One of my friends at the restaurant, Kayleigh, was about to be the Maid of Honor in a wedding in a town about two hours north of Sacramento. Her cousin was getting married and they needed waitresses for the wedding. I and another waitress / friend at the restaurant volunteered to make the trip and serve.


I didn’t know it then, but I was about to meet my future husband, and father of my four incredible children (the bride’s brother) at that wedding.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

No Longer Broken Part 3

skipping several chapters for obvious reasons ... getting closer to HOPE now! :) 

It would be an easier and socially acceptable answer to leave my story as it was written above.

I could easily play the role of the victim and we could easily go into the whole “my religion is a crutch” argument; merely a self-help guidance to where there was no guidance before.

That would be a lie. It’s a smart and well-crafted lie. But, it’s a lie.

Although the circumstances of my past at this point had absolutely created walls and pain and vulnerabilities, the true reason for my fall from here was the rebellion against God and, more specifically, my personal rebellion against my true nature in Christ.

I no longer considered myself a beautiful creation. I no longer considered myself worthy of respect or love or sobriety. I no longer held standards that I once had. I cast myself aside as useless and dirty and unwanted. I exiled myself from the calling that God had placed on my heart.

And, I suppressed the truth. I suppressed it mostly with alcohol and, in turn, in the arms of men.

I was saying “No” to the grace of God because I felt I wasn’t worth it.

I was saying “Yes” by dichotomy to the wrath of God, and my circumstances would soon show it.

By refusing to align my life and heart with the Biblical teachings that I once sang about in my young classroom’s I was positioning myself in the only other category, by self-condemnation, to live without the Good Shepherd.

God did not ignore me. I ignored Him.

God did not forsake me. I refused to be saved.

Without the wrath of God there can be no grace of God. We cannot be saved if we have nothing to be saved from.

Human “fallen-ness” and depravity is human nature. If we’re truly being honest with ourselves we, daily, are unable to live up to our own expectations, let alone any divine entity’s.

The “wrath of God” is one of those topics that even mature Christians dislike tackling head-on.

It’s not “pretty.” It makes (under the wrong lens) God look like a really scary “Thor-type presence” with a lightning bolt on hand to zap His creation into submission.

But, what really, is the “wrath of God?” Biblically, it’s merely the absence of His grace.

If we are not under His wing, we are destined to be out in the wind.

Now, to clarify, my actions did not subject me to the wrath of God, rather my inaction to call on God and to trust in Him, through faith is what subjected me to the wrath of God.

There have been entire careers spent unraveling and thousands of really intense books written on that simple truth. I can’t say that I’m educated, nor experienced, nor entrenched deep in theology enough to expel much more account.

I’ll say it this way, because, quite frankly, it makes the most sense to me:
John 6:28-29

Then they asked, “What must we do?”

Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe on the one He has sent.”

Period.

Because I was not living under God’s law as His child, I had no other turn of course but to align my life with what all my friends, all the world were offering.

In general, our society will tell anyone who will listen that as long as it’s legal and consensual, then it’s “healthy.”

Really when you pick this apart it falls quite quickly. However, have you ever heard the phrase, “Anyone will believe anything you say as long as it’s a compliment?”

In other words, we as a society are quick to assume this postulate of accepting norms and behaviors if there is no blaring contradiction: if it’s easy, if it feels good in the moment and if no one is “getting hurt.”

This ideology is not in direct refutation to our nature, in fact it indulges it, and ergo, it is easily accepted.

Society says that as long as sex is consensual, then it’s perfectly fine. But, again, if you’re being honest, immediately that warps into just this huge mess of “What is okay? Exactly?”

I don’t find that worldview really answers any of that. It just kind of lingers in this “journey of sexual exploration” phase never to settle on a direct course to really experience what sex, at it’s core, is really about.

If sex is truly “a unification,” on some level, of two people (and most people regardless of class or creed will agree with this) then how can ANYTHING consensual whatsoever all equally contribute to this unification?

It just doesn’t hold.

For those who are truly seeking the logic is unsatisfactory.

Os Guiness wrote:

“One less-satisfactory perspective is the attitude common…that the search is everything and discovery matters little. Often expressed in such phrases as “The search is its own reward” or “Better to travel hopefully than to arrive,” such attitudes fit in well with modern skepticism about final answers and the modern prizing of tolerance, open-mindedness, ambiguity, and ambivalence.
For the serious seeker this view quickly proves unsatisfactory. An “open mind” can be an “empty head,” and “tolerance can be indistinguishable from believing nothing. These are no help in finding honest answer to honest and important questions. To think that it is “better to travel hopefully than to arrive” is to forget that hopeful travel is travel that hopes to reach a goal or destination. Self-condemned to travel with no prospect of arriving anywhere is the modern thinker’s equivalent of the curse of the “flying Dutchman,” condemned to perpetual wandering.”

To be fair, Os was talking about the search for spirituality in general, but this concept is extremely applicable to my journey at this point.

Without clear guidance for how to obtain what I was looking for: i.e. love, acceptance, etc. and with the ideology that any path was acceptable I found myself time and time again lost and broken.

On repeat.

Flying Dutchman.

When we look at what the Bible says about our body and how to express it we see in 1 Corinthians 7:11:

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”

Here’s where the real key came in.

No matter how “removed” spirituality and emotionally I was from a sexual partner, I always felt a bond to that person that had to be broken with rejection and/or ambivalence.

I was repeatedly bringing myself under the power of many.

As I did this, I lost any sort of control or power over my own body.

I could have really used this verse whacked upside my head in college!

The Bible is totally rejecting the world’s postulate here. The Bible is saying, yes, it’s legal (or “acceptable”) but is it helpful: is it freedom creating or freedom prohibiting?”

This behavior would lead me to be intimate with a man and then attempt, based on nothing else than our intimacy, to try and create a relationship from that tie. The act of sex is tethering.

Again, most people in society agree with that statement.

You have the choice then of unification (rare) or, of tethering that tie yourself through self denial or through rejection of the other party.

I would venture to assert that neither option is especially helpful nor “freedom creating.”

Even when I did forge “relationships” out of “intimate moments” (i.e. “hook-ups”) they were extremely unhealthy.

"Relationships" were often violent (which we in our immaturity mistook for “passionate”) and a variety of psychological and emotional abuse would stain my heart for years.

Whenever I got close to leaving a relationship with an ounce of self-respect bubbling, one man in particular would tap into what I wasn’t prepared (yet) to affront: “Do you know how many men you’ve been with Kaitlin? And you want a Christian man? A church-going man? Ha! He’d never want you!”

And, logically, I believed him.


Monday, November 9, 2015

Adam

I was fifteen when I first met Adam.

My best friend, Laura, was dating a boy, Landon, from the northern neighboring town’s high school.

I spent a lot of time over at Laura’s (most days after school and most weekends, often straight through Monday).

I eventually got tired of being “the third wheel” as Landon spent a lot of time over at Laura's as well.

Landon had someone in mind that he thought would be a good match for fifteen year old me.

Our first date was a movie group date.

We went in a group of maybe six or seven to see Just Married at the movie theater downtown.

I remember him walking into her house (where we were all meeting up to carpool).

He was “alternative” (I think that was the word back then) with his Spitfire baseball hat and skateboard gear and always carried at least one guitar pick in his jeans. His wallet had one of those chains that looked super edgy … well, at least back then.

He had light brown hair and light eyes, and he played guitar (in “a band!”) and basically any instrument he could get his hands on (mostly self taught) (c’mon!). He was smart and funny and had a great smile.

He was a year older than me, a junior, and I was smitten instantly.

We held hands halfway through the movie and immediately arranged “guitar lessons” every Wednesday after school at his house.

It was no surprise to my mother, when a few months later, I had to come clean about our relationship.

It was not that I thought my mom would really “disapprove” of him. I mean, she drove me to his house every Wednesday for “guitar lessons.”

When, clearly, after months I didn’t get any better, I mean, I knew she wasn’t stupid.

Things with my mom have always been “don’t ask, don’t tell.” We’re not “close.”

I had to tell her though eventually, because his junior prom was coming up, and I desperately wanted to go.

It was young, sweet, innocent puppy love.

You know the kind: holding hands, mostly sitting on the couch doing homework while he had “jam sessions” with his band. Me pretending to know how to play drums and looking through hours of prom issues of magazines with the other girlfriends. I used his mom’s car to take my driver’s test. We watched a lot of history channel with his dad. He would come over to my house and I would force feed him FRIENDS marathons and quesadillas. My dad would take us out tubing on his ski boat in the summer. When I would get grounded, we would pass notes (yeah, old school) between towns (remember, different high schools). We were crafty. His older brother and girlfriend annoyingly called us “the happy couple.” We never really fought (what do fifteen year olds really have to fight about anyways?). We just had fun.

He was my first kiss. He was extremely patient with me on the whole sex thing.

We dated probably for three or four months without ever having kissed; a true feat for a sixteen year old boy.

However, of course, there came a point where, without proper supervision, training, conversation, from parents, or really, anyone, and with all of our friends lightyears “ahead” of us in that arena, the conversation came up after almost eight months of dating.

He posed the question about getting more physical with our relationship. We had been saying “I love you” for months and, in high school, along with the comparative longevity of our relationship, that was practically an engagement.

He definitely never pressured me in any way; we would just talk about it.

The only conversations my mother ever had with me on the topic of sex was simply: “If you get pregnant, you don’t live here.”

I knew getting pregnant was not an option. Sex, well, again, never really discussed.

I don’t think my father would have had that conversation with me at that time if someone offered him a million bucks.

So, being the "responsible child" that I was, months before we decided to take our relationship to the “next level,” I went to the local clinic for birth control pills.

I made sure that I was on the pills for much longer than the recommended time before engaging in sexual activity. And then, like most stories, in a moment, my virginity was gone.

Maintaining our sexual relationship was, really, pretty easy.

Between friends houses and less than strict and rather busy parents it became routine.

The message was simply, “your sexuality is your business.” “Kids will be kids.”

Oh, and firmly, “Don’t get pregnant.”

In every message I was getting from the media and my parents, and his, we were doing nothing wrong. We were monogamous, we were consensual, we were in love, and we were “being careful.” We never drank. We never smoked. We got great grades. I played varsity sports. He was well respected in the musical community.

Still, underneath this, I was becoming more and more and more physically and emotionally glued to a boy that I would, ultimately, not spend the rest of my life with. This relationship would affect all my other relationships and my future marriage to the father of my children. This was not a lighthearted and calculated decision of passion; this was a bomb waiting to be set off in my heart, and I would spend years amid the rubble.

After a while, towards the end of his senior year, I started having panic attacks.

I can’t really explain them, but that’s when the tension started to grow. Perhaps it was being too adult too fast, or perhaps we just weren’t meant to grow old together and I was feeling that tension.

I loved him, truly, but I started having social anxieties. He said I ruined his prom.

I couldn’t stand to slow dance with him. Again, I cannot remember why.

I would be in a house full of people and all of a sudden need to get out of there and leave without telling him. I can’t say that any of that was directed at him personally, but I imagine it stemmed from my relationship with him just being too much too young.

As he approached, and passed over graduation, I started thinking about the future. I didn’t have a plan, and the plan used to be him, but now, I wasn’t so sure. We had more and more fights and as the future cast its shadow more heavily on the two of us, I had reached maximum capacity.

We had been dating for over two years when I asked him to drive me in his pick-up truck to the park. I ended it. It was horrible. I will never forget that moment. He hated me. I could tell. And, I kind of hated myself.

I told myself (and many other people around me as well) that I “deserved” to sew my oats, to date other people, to “experience life!”

And, so, I broke his heart, and in many respects, especially because of our sexual relationship, broke mine as well.

The next few months I simply “had fun.” I was working at a local country club and had met several older people working there: the kind that could buy alcohol.

We would go out, I would use one of their IDs, and I was introduced to the bar scene. I never got overly drunk, but at seventeen, a little goes a long way.

One of Adam’s friends often went out with us because I had connected him with a job at the country club. He made some advances toward me one night, but I rejected him.

A few weeks later, I tried to reconcile with Adam. He said he had heard about my “promiscuity” (I’m sure he used a different term) and declined the offer. I was really confused because the only “promiscuity” I had encountered at that point was the advance (which was refused) by his friend.

Obviously, there were some games of telephone being played, as they often are in high school and early adulthood, but the “damage was done.” Often, in a woman’s sexuality, perception is 9/10th of the law. Once I started to be “known” as promiscuous it almost allowed it to be okay. I never had sex, or engaged with any other young man in sexual acts, but I had a lot of “drunk make-out sessions.” Yeah, super classy stuff. But, Smirnoff Ice will do that to a girl. You’ve heard the country songs. And the rap songs…and the…oh, never mind.

The rejection from Adam was a huge blow to my esteem. The person who thought most highly of me in the whole universe thought, and whose opinion mattered most to me, had spoken, out loud, that I was unworthy.

Conversely, I had no one in my life countering this opinion. I would stay out late and was constantly getting into trouble with my parents. I was a nuisance to them and an annoyance to myself. I began drinking more and more and tried my first hit of marijuana (I didn’t enjoy it). I flirted with anyone who would pay attention.

And, then, like any teenager with their parents out of town and personally struggling, I threw a party.

The night of that party would become the real switch from suffering self-esteem to guttered self-esteem. That night would be something I would tell no one about for years. That night would destroy me and the next several years of my life. It would obliterate my previous openness and childlike seeking for God. It would unravel any lingering thread of dignity or direction I had left.

That night, I would be drugged by a man I had never met and would never see again.

The above is a work in progress towards my book which inspires the Christian wife with a troubling sexual past  ... if you would like to see this happen, please consider a donation to help me attend the next step in my journey : The Mount Hermon Christian Writing Conference 2016