Friday, June 21, 2013

Wouldn't Wanna Be Ya

Okay, there are a few people I would not want to wake up and be this morning. In no particular order:

~ Grumpy Cat:

Self-explanatory. No wonder this cat’s grumpy.

~ Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s baby: Those crazy people went and named Lil’ Miss West, NORTH! I don’t care how much money and fame you have… that’s just wrong.

Nor would I enjoy waking up this morning answering to the name of Alan Chambers, former leader of the now-disbanded organization, Exodus International, a group that used “reparative therapy” to “heal” gay people into straight people.

He’s pissed off just about everybody.

Some comments left on his Facebook page

* Your organization most likely contributed to the suicides of LBGT youth.

                                           Can you really apologize for that?

* "I cannot apologize for my beliefs about marriage." * * * "I cannot apologize for my deeply held biblical beliefs about the boundries I see in scripture surrounding sex." * * * ""[The shutting of Exodus] doesn't mean i believe anything differently than I did a decade ago, when my message was different than today. ... I'm not saying that we abandon what we believe."

I ask this one simple question: just what the red flaming fuck are you apologizing for?!!? It looks just a tad like you are saying, I'm not sorry for anything; please stop hating on me. I see no reason to accept this know, untill you actually APOLOGIZE FOR SOMETHING.

* I was glad today to hear you're quitting with Exodus. However, I would like to encourage you to really quit, retire. You should realize that you never have done, and never will do, anything positive for LGBT people anywhere. Just retire in shame and instead of forming some new religious organisation (which I suppose will be run by yourself and other idiots) you should donate the blood money you've made from the many lives you've destroyed to a real charity that actually helps LGBT people. Now that you've apparently realized that what you've done was destructive, stop deluding yourself to think that you have the capacity to do anything good. Leave the work to those who have proven themselves capable, not of ruining relationships, causing people to commit suicide, etc,                                           but of actually helping people.

And from the other side:

* You are asking for our prayers? You have them but it is NOT in support of what you are now doing…God called me out of a SSA relationship, and my sin has consequence,, so does everyone else who leaves the gay lifestyle. You cant apologize for someone doing the right thing. You can't heal that pain guys, only Jesus can. You are compromising truth, and you won't have my support in it !!
But you will get my prayers.

* Yes, I saw this report on TV. Looks to me, Chambers has been corrupted by the "cult of niceness" that calls principled Conservatives "haters" for recognizing that homosexuality is unnatural, lustful, and deleterious. But it is a seductive thing to want to be considered "nice."

* You and Exodus should be ashamed. There is no room for the avalanche of compromise in the church today. I suppose the thousands of dollars and the help I have received from Exodus is all a farce. I should tell my family and kids I am was all wrong and return to the gay lifestyle. I am sick to my stomach at the disgust that I feel on hearing the news of your compromise.                         Sure this post will be deleted.

What a quandary of Biblical proportions, ay?

Writing this post is not an invitation to debate this issue or whether Alan is right or wrong, was right or wrong, was right before he was wrong or wrong before he was… you get the picture. Not looking for that at all. What I’d like to point out here is: 
…a man on a journey.

I saw Lisa Ling’s piece last night on OWN, and I was riveted the entire hour. I’m not sure we could call this an ‘epiphany’, since Alan seems to have been chewing on this for a while now. I would not have (and didn’t) support the ministry of Exodus and I have disagreed with and have been vocal about the way that the church has generally treated the LGTB community as a whole and pissed off a few people myself. Exodus would not have been an entity I would have aligned myself with at all. And now, Alan has not only separated himself from the work he’s done for many years, he is apologizing for it because he has seen the harm it has caused:
…he regrets what he’s done.

People are enraged—on both sides. One camp says his apologies mean less than dog crap on the bottom of their shoes. The other camp claims he is now a heretic. And yet I have to wonder this morning if he woke up today with more peace than he’s had in a while. Here’s a guy who is trying to fix what he’s broken, he’s doing it in real time, and he’s doing it in front of the whole world. Could he be breathing a sigh of relief this morning?

Some of us would go into hiding, I think.

I think I like this guy.

I think this guy has some chutzpah. Or he’s certified. Either way, I think he’s doing his best trying to do what’s right. He has done something that few people do who have painted themselves in the tight corners of their own relentless dogma:
He has reflected.
He has turned around.
He’s walking the other way.

Who in his right mind does that?

When someone has been so loud, so adamant, so convinced about one thing, how do they back-peddle if they have an “aha” moment? Are they pigeonholed forever? Are we not allowed to change our minds? Our hearts? Our message? Must we choose a camp and remain there? Have we robbed ourselves of the luxury of the pursuit of truth? Can we think twice? Three times? Are we allowed to think at all? Are we entitled to pause? To ponder? Contemplate? Dare I say, evolve? To turn around?

I remember when I was loud and adamant and convinced. I have had to back-peddle out of a tight little corner in which I painted myself. I didn’t just change my mind. I was transformed by the renewing of my mind. My heart. And my message has changed so much from when I left my old camp. I have critics too, although not like what Alan has awakened to this morning.

I consider it a luxury, the pursuit of truth, and I think Alan is in pursuit this morning of making right what he feels he’s done wrong. We are all entitled to pause, to ponder, to contemplate, and to evolve.

Has anyone else out there had to eat crow? How did that go?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Happy Father's Day

Picking out Father's Day cards was always a tough one for me growing up. I certainly couldn't stomach those mushy "thank-you-for-being-the-greatest-dad-ever" cards for my mother's husband. And I didn't know anything about my real father for many, many years. Even after I got to know him, I couldn't exactly send the "thank-you-for-patching-up-all-the-skinned-knees" cards because none of that happened. 

One of the surrogate fathers I've had was my grandfather. This is the eulogy I gave at his memorial: 

Elmer "Ben" Bennett

When my grandfather was born, there were places on this earth called Siam, Saxony, and the Ottoman Empire. Women could not vote. Movies did not have sound. He was older than television—older than hair spray—older than sliced bread. He was twenty years old before there was ever such a thing as a ballpoint pen. In his 92 years, he saw the world reinvent itself a thousand times over. Wars. Trans-Atlantic flights. Prohibition. (I think he was happy THAT whole thing got straightened out.) Social Security. Rockets. Spaceships. Hippies. He saw the Berlin Wall go up, and he saw it come down. Civil Rights. The Beatles. Star Wars. The Internet. In 2004, he was alive to see the Red Sox win the World Series. He was also alive the time they won before that…

And he had an opinion about every single thing that I just named.

How does a man, whose birth precedes plastic, remain so germane, so connected, so relevant—his whole life? He certainly figured out how to hold his respective place in a moving world. I was continually mesmerized at how forward thinking he was in regard to politics, culture, current events, philosophy, social dynamics, and the human spirit. He had much to say. He was ingenious and is one of those rare individuals who is truly timeless.

He was not the sort of man who needed anyone to agree with him on any issue. No validation necessary. He could stand on his side of the fence all by himself, thank you very much. If you heard the words, “Clam up!” the conversation was pretty well over.

Ben had a work ethic that was staggering. His hands were never idle. His wit and his willingness to venture into so many endeavors filled his life with experiences that were so rich. Few of us ever even imagine finding ourselves in the places and situations he’s been. He earned a Soldiers’ Medal for that same ‘wit and willingness’ that prompted him to put out a fire that had ignited on an airplane in WWII. Not long ago, we talked about that day. I asked him, “What exactly did you get that medal for, Grandpa?”

He told me, “That medal was for not having all the necessary information. There was a row of planes all lined up on the tarmac, and one of them had caught fire. Everybody ran the other way, but I grabbed a fire extinguisher and ran straight for it. I put the fire out.”

“So, what information were you missing?” I asked him.

He said, “Nobody told me that every single one of those planes, sitting side by side, on that tarmac had been fueled up and filled to the gills with ammunition. If I’d known that, I would’ve run the opposite direction like everybody else.”

I told him, “It sounds pretty brave to me.”

“Brave?” he said. “When they told me that all those planes were filled with gasoline and all that ammo, I almost passed out. There’s bravery for ya. I got that medal for not having adequate information—and that’s it!”

When an officer suggested to him that he could have a long and successful career in the military and that he should go over to the next building and re-enlist, he said to the man, “Now, which way do I go to talk to those people?”

The officer smiled and replied, “You go THAT way!”

My grandfather looked at the building he was pointing to and said, “Then I’m going THIS way!” and walked off in the opposite direction.

He came home from the war a man who was content with simplicity. The happiest years of his life were spent in a space that was 12 x 28 feet, with the woman he cherished. He kept the same tee-time every Saturday of his life for over 40 years. All he needed was the air in his lungs, the woman at his side, and the little Smokey Joe charcoal grill on his front porch. This is the man who taught me how to be happy—because the best years of my childhood were spent in that little olive-green, singlewide trailer, eating barbequed chicken legs, watching MASH, and listening to him play the guitar. Or at my Grandma Jean’s house during the summers when we swam in the pool that he kept sparkling clean for us. Or spending the holidays there, waiting for Grandpa and Grandma Polly to take the turkey out of the oven. Or the parties that my Grandma Jean threw, when my grandfather would stand at the big BBQ grill with a Pabst Blue Ribbon in one hand and a big metal spatula in the other.

My favorite memories of my grandfather: His little sayings and rhymes—none of which can be repeated here. I loved all his stories. The best is probably the one where he was a little boy of about 6 or 7, sitting in church and a rather large woman—we’ll call her ‘a woman of substance’—was sitting in front of him. When the congregation stood up to sing the hymn, he noticed from his view that her dress was stuck in the… uh… well, the middle of her rear end. He thought he’d be helpful, so he yanked it on out. She turned around and clocked him right in the head. Those were the days you could not only smack your OWN children in public—you could smack other people’s children! She turned back around and started singing again. He was feeling badly that he had taken her dress out and made her so upset so he went ahead and just put it right back. That’s the best story ever. And I don’t care what anybody says—I believe it with all my heart!

Most of all, I loved how he loved our Polly. I loved the way he laughed and wiggled his eyebrows whenever she told HIM to clam up! I loved how he protected her whenever I took them out to the store or to doctor’s appointments—they looked like two little birds in the storm—he always cradled her right under his arm. He never left her side in her final days.

When his precious Polly passed away, we all worried that he would not be far behind her. But he rallied. It was because he believed with all his heart that, no matter what, life is precious and life is a gift from God, and not one minute of it should ever be squandered. I knew he was so grieved when Grandma Polly died, but the day I stopped being worried about him was the day he said to me, “Maybe I should buy a laptop computer?”

He was 84.

He said, “Well, I don’t really know how to work one, but you know, a person should never, ever stop learning.”

He never stopped learning, and he took every chance he was given to live. The evolution of Elmer Bennett never lost momentum—not for one second of his life. He kept learning until the very day he died. He learned to forgive. He learned the power of surrender. And he learned to say, “I love you.” I was blessed to hear that often.

I believe this is why he has remained ever so germane and connected and relevant for the entirety of his life: Forgiveness, surrender, and love. He never lost his wit. Even when the nurses in the hospital during his final days were asking him questions to see if any senility had crept into his mind, he set them straight.

When one asked him, “Ben, do you know what day this is?”

He said, “Why? Do I have some place to be?”

And you know what? He did have some place to be. He needed to go be with his dear Polly—in the place where she has been waiting for him. The emptiness that we feel now is filled up with the knowledge that this is so.

Erma Bombeck said, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything You gave me.’”

Surely, this man we honor today, has already looked God straight in the eye and said those very words: “I used everything You gave me.” And I can only imagine that our Heavenly Father threw His head back and laughed, rested His hand upon his servant’s shoulder, and agreed, “You certainly did, Ben. Well done. Well done.”

There are the words we all long to hear at the end of our journey: “Well done.” Those two little words hold so much. They are the validation for how we’ve used the sacred, precious life God gave us. Grandpa Ben loved life so much that he could not waste it—nor should we. I think that’s the message he would want us to have today: Don’t squander one precious moment of the life that you have—live it to the fullest. Don’t miss the humor in life—find it! Or better yet, create it. And most of all, love well. Cherish those around you. Learn to BBQ. And be grateful for every moment you are given.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Ten Confessions of a Sex Slave

Confession #1
 I was a sex slave.

I served as a sex slave in my own home from the time I could remember until I was 19 years old. I had only one customer: my mother’s husband. He had two other sex slaves under our roof—three, if you count my mother. He also had another sex slave who didn’t live with us. That child was a sex slave, and she had two customers: my mother’s husband and the man who lived next door to her. He and his wife would babysit her when her mother went out of town.

Confession #2 
My theology was seriously jacked.

My mother and her husband took us to church and baptized us by immersion in their hypocritical worldview. This included unquestioning submission to a patriarchal authority, strict adherence to the rules and regulations of the subculture, and an arrogant superiority to those who did not serve Jesus. It also included merciless and relentless pedophilia. You can imagine how hard it was to sift through the sacred and the insane.

Confession #3
Not only was I the most inauthentic, fake, and phony “Christian” you could ever meet, I was the most inauthentic, fake and phony human being you could ever meet.

Secrecy was part of my DNA. Protecting my customer was my #1 job. (Well, maybe that was my #2 job.) Perish the thought of subjecting myself to the embarrassment of ever coming clean with the most humiliating events of my life. It wasn’t going to happen. Whom would I tell? My kindergarten teacher? My first grade teacher? My fourth grade teacher? My eighth grade teacher? Tenth grade? Twelfth grade? My Sunday school teacher? My youth leader? My pastor? Those people were all “normal”, and the people I knew at church were all “walking in victory”. I wanted to be normal and walk in victory too. The biggest sucker who fell hook, line, and sinker for all my lies… was myself.

Confession #4
I was genuinely the most arrogant, condescending sarcastic little sass who never passed up an opportunity to engage with anyone who had different beliefs than what I was taught at my church.

This is harder to admit than the fact that I was a sex slave. It hurts more. It is the most shameful thing I’ve ever done and still cringe when I think about what I used to be. But here was my thinking: I didn’t have to be nice… because I was right. I didn’t have to be polite and caring or remember my manners because God was on my side. I was armed with my effed up theology and a Bible so big it could knock the tracks clean off a tank. Anyone who didn’t sign off on the teachings of my church was going to Hell, and it was my responsibility to make sure they at least heard the “truth”, even if the delivery was hostile. If I was going to be “held accountable” on the Day of Judgment then, by God, so was everybody else.

Confession #5
Being like that is the single most miserable burden I carry to this day.

Confession #6
It secretly pissed me off that God would withhold His forgiveness of my sins unless I continually and repeatedly forgave my customer while concurrently ignoring my pleas to be released from my bondage.

This doctrinal tidbit was dangled in front of me like a carrot on a stick. I never could quite fully provide that forgiveness, probably because my customer used me up faster than I could keep up. As a result, I always felt like I was standing on the precipice of Hell ready to fall into the fiery darkness for all eternity if I suddenly died or Jesus came back while I was still in my state of unforgiveness. I was betting it would be just like God to send Jesus back during one of those spells. Furthermore, the fact that my prayers for safety bounced straight off the ceiling (or at least pinged off the free will of my customer) caused a distrust of God so deeply embedded in me that I figured God was either too weak or too cruel to rescue me.

Confession #7
I said the F-word… a LOT!

I think that’s pretty self-explanatory.

Confession #8
I had to get brutally honest. It was ugly.

I was honestly one shattered, pissed off little girl and had to have a meltdown of Biblical proportions before I could grasp even a shred of hope for my recovery. Shortly thereafter it occurred to me how much work was going to be involved to overcome my childhood and live a healthy life, and this did not raise my opinion of the ask-and-you-shall-receive-automated-miracle-worker god of my childhood. I'd always been taught that you "leave your troubles at the altar". I had to get to know a whole other God—the real One.

Confession #9
I think that the church preaches only half the gospel a lot of the time.

You’ve heard this song:

Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow

Before I was transformed by the renewing of my mind, I always sang these words thinking only that Jesus was broken and died for my sins. I owe Him because He paid my debt. My sin had left me stained, tainted, dirty… but He washed me white as snow. This is all true.

However, now when I sing those words, I think that Jesus was broken and died for the sins that were committed against me as well. I owe Him because he removed the sins that were not mine and made it impossible for those awful memories from ever making my life miserable again. I’m no longer a slave to my customer or to my own unhealthy dysfunction. I owe Him because He provided my freedom. My customer’s sins had left me stained, tainted, dirty… but He washed me white as snow. This is also true. This is the other half of the gospel, the good news. In fact, that’s great news. 

Confession #10
I’m not precisely interested now in picking a fight with evil, but I’ll be damned if I will ever back down from stealing back the beautiful souls of those who are lost in the kind of sin to which I was a slave for so many lonely years.

It’s not that I’m without fear as I step into the ring with this kind of evil, but I didn’t start this fight. Evil crawled into my bed for 19 years, and you know what? I’ve had it. I’ve had enough heartache and humiliation for my life. God is restoring the years of my life that the “locusts” have eaten away. I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit by and not share in the suffering of those still haunted and still enslaved to the sins of their pasts. Even with full knowledge that I could get hurt, I could still suffer, and I could lose everything; despite it all, some days I just want to stand up in the face of evil, point my finger in its revolting face and warn through clenched teeth, “You are so FUCKED right now! You know why? Because I’m free, and God is with me! I’ll be taking those poor souls clenched in your filthy grip because they don’t belong to you—you’re a thief! They belong to God, and you know it. Release them right now, you mother FUCKER!”

Stand in judgment of me for the language all you want, but I must confess that that is exactly the emotion I harbor against this insidiousness. (And, really, are people more vexed by the fact that I still drop the F-bomb or the fact that children are still being used for sex?) I never set out to be a scrapper. I can’t stand the battle. I don’t want to fight. I want to cuddle. But there’s work to be done, and the laborers are few, and none of this is easy. I’m praying for laborers. For partners. For contenders. I’m praying for those who are sex slaves, right now as we speak, to throw fits and get honest and surrender to a God they will discover is actually tender and loving and do the hard work that needs to happen for healing to occur. I’m praying for people to truly be walking in victory—not pretending like I did for so many years. I’m praying for the demise of evil and the annihilation of child sex slavery around the globe and in this country and in our churches and in our homes.

I am in it to win it.

* Daisy Rain Martin is the Author of Juxtaposed: Finding Sanctuary on the Outside, a comedic spiritual memoir. Please connect with Daisy on Facebook/Twitter and visit her website: If you have ever been the victim of abuse, contact her to receive her free book, If It's Happened to You.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Mending Broken by Teresa B. Pasquale - A Book Review


Our spirits are not built for this.


Our spirits were made for this. 

This is what our Creator intended. Even if we have lived in utter darkness, something in our spirits still longs for the light. It was the original order of things. It was always the plan for humankind to live well. The notion that we are beyond help or hope, irreparable and beyond redemption, is a deception.

I met a girl.

In her book, Mending Broken, Teresa B. Pasquale offers those who suffer from PTSD extravagant hope. She doesn’t merely speak of her own experience with trauma and PTSD. If this book were purely a memoir, certainly we would celebrate the fact that she was able to overcome living in her own personal terror-zone, but would it give us hope for ourselves and those we know who remain in terror-zones of their own?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Which is why this wounded healer became the “Magnum PI of PTSD and post-PSTD”, researching the biology of this disorder and how the brain’s “neuroplasticity” can help those whose brains have literally been derailed by trauma to regain purchase on the road to health and wholeness. Teresa offers more than just her own personal story. She offers more than a spiritual solution. She reveals a tangible, physical solution that is, in itself, every bit miraculous.

She’s a Hopegiver, y'all.

Her journey through trauma is one more story of the human condition on this crazy planet of ours. It’s her coming out on the other side that is remarkable and available to us all. She is not an anomaly. This healing and wholeness is available to all of us who have suffered trauma. But she is a trailblazer. She is speaking out against the paradigm that PTSD is permanently debilitating. She says, “Every path to healing is like a fingerprint,” and that healing is waiting for us if we are willing to do the work.

A “wounded healer” myself and having been through my own fair share of trauma, I could relate to this woman who had been drowning in the dark waters of despair, but was incrementally able to push herself upward and break through to the surface. Mending Broken is a lifeboat for anyone caught in the undertow of paranoia, anxiety, and flashbacks. If you are a sojourner suffering from the onslaught of war, rape, abuse, assault, despair, terror, or trauma and find that you are struggling to cope with the perils of simply being a citizen of this planet, please let Teresa’s story and research work its way into your spirit and remind you what you were made for.

She assures us that, “We are never abandoned by grace, even if we stray away or forget it exists—it is always one breath, one prayer, one moment of unabashed selflessness away.”

You can find the link to order Mending Broken and begin your own path to wellness or gift this treasure to someone you love by visiting Teresa’s website:

* Daisy Rain Martin is the Author of Juxtaposed: Finding Sanctuary on the Outside, a comedic spiritual memoir. Please connect with Daisy on Facebook/Twitter and visit her website: If you have ever been the victim of abuse, contact her to receive her free book, If It's Happened to You.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

GUEST BLOGGER: Donna Wallace - A Bungled Crime

A Bungled Crime
by Donna K. Wallace

“You can tell it any way you want but that's the way it is. I should of done it and I didn’t. And some part of me has never quit wishin’ I could go back. And I can’t. I didn’t know you could steal your own life. And I didn’t know that it would bring you no more benefit than about anything else you might steal. I think I done the best with it I knew how but it still wasn’t mine. It never has been. ”
Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men

Have you ever wondered at seeing a person mourn the death of a loved one if the mourner is grieving the end of many wonderful memories shared or whether her tears are from the remorse of never having lived?

I have.

That mourner would not be me. I was staking claim on my life. Yessir. As a young woman I was a romantic bent on living the dream, convinced that life could be lived without a shred of regret.

How’s that for optimism?

The past was past. I couldn’t change that. But I believed that from a marked moment in time—a monument of new beginnings, I could somehow choose well enough, right enough that when I finally arrived at the end, I would lift my soul nestled in my hands up toward heaven, as a gift, and regret nothing. I made a promise to myself to do just that.

Joe was my inspiration—he hated to sleep because it seemed such a waste of good hours that could be spent discovering something new or conducting selfless acts of service. I too made good choices.

Then optimism punched me in the throat; a time or two. Maybe three.

Life got hard.

Still, I failed to understand that to regret nothing, to refuse my clumsy brokenness and need for forgiveness, was merely cowardice. Maybe even a crime. (A famous author wrote something to this affect and I stole it….)

Convinced that my theory only needed a good hard tweak—after all, I couldn’t regret something for which an opportunity was never presented—I revamped.

I reasoned, for example, that I could not lament having married as a teenager before going to college or going to one university in particular rather than another— otherwise my husband wouldn’t have introduced me Daisy Rain Martin and I wouldn’t be writing this blog post.

Granted, a few big hairy regrettable mistakes were made along the way, but I was dandy: maybe the leadership guru’s were right, failures of yesterday are gems of tomorrow: sand into pearls, dirt into diamonds, shit into perfume… it’s almost criminal.

But when I reflect back, its not just missed opportunities I see. It’s wasted time, selfish thoughts, mean words, manipulations, neglected friendships … all in the name of Love.

“Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets,” wrote Arthur Miller.

Leave it to the novelists to awaken truth.

I am more sure now than ever of how hard life is and how many people are carrying their own burdens of remorse. When I reach out to touch the sleeve of an older woman whose life was stolen from her or to hug a child who’s greatest sorrow is having remained silent, I discover a sacred moment filled with both passion and pain—a crime often bungled.

It is only in the night when I’m kneeling to ask forgiveness for the things I’ve done and those I’ve left undone, I figure I’m stealing from a thief.

What does it mean for you to end up with the right regrets?


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Child Abandoned... I See You

One (or more) of the students in your classroom full of 12-year-old prepubescent, pubescent, or even post-pubescent darlings is flunking. Said child hasn’t turned in work since God was a boy and considers it a personal affront that you are even bringing it up. This after being suspended for a fistfight and spending time in ISS for throwing food in the cafeteria. You’ve already checked the grades, and this child has six F’s and a D+ in PE. Blazing eyes that look you up and down like you’re a leper, the smirk that pings off your patience like a rubber ball, and the words, “You don’t tell me what to do,” make you want to shove two fingers up those flared nostrils and drag that child by the head just to test whether or not you actually have the strength in your upper arm to chuck this impertinent, ill-mannered little biscuit clean over the balcony.

Instead you decide on a phone call home and while you’re looking up the student’s phone numbers, the situation you’ve seen a thousand times repeated, presents itself yet again: no parents listed.

Child abandoned.

I would say that 90% of the parents who send their kids to us every day are amazing. Their devotion to their children is appreciated as well as very evident. But in the 18 years that Sean-Martin and I have been teaching, we have seen countless children who are abandoned by their parents in some form or another. Kids whose parents are divorced and one is no longer present in their lives. Kids whose parents are divorced and neither wants to take the responsibility so they bounce the child back and forth. Kids who have had a parent commit suicide. Kids whose parents are incarcerated. Kids whose parents are more interested in their newest romantic relationship than they are in raising their own child. Kids whose parents are addicted to drugs and alcohol. Kids whose parents suffer from depression and can’t get out of bed. The scenarios are endless, and many parents lay somewhere on the spectrum between sympathy and blame.

And, yet, if we continue to pass judgment on those broken parents, nothing will change. This is a dicey one for me. I'm the first to jump up on my platform and scream, "PARENTS! DO YOUR JOB!" But the truth of the matter is, there are so many broken people out there, and those people have children, and those children often end up being broken too. I've been getting this sense of urgency lately that I need to put the blame and judgment aside for these broken parents and remember that they're broken and, no matter how angry and indignant I get, I have to lock it into my brain that all that anger and indignance and blame does nothing to fix anything. So, by continuing to be frustrated, I am perpetuating the problem and I, myself, get caught up in generational brokenness. It just has to be a decision—that the judgment can't enter into the equation.

Tough one, huh?

I’m going to start praying that God shows me how to move forward from here. It’s not like we, as teachers, can say to a parent, “Hey, your kid says you’re a raging alcoholic which is why you are completely absent at home… that’s not really an option you have as a parent. What can I do to help?”

But something needs to be done. The abandoned children we see don’t think they’re being seen at all. And sometimes all those fistfights and bad grades and smirks are just a whole lot of pain coming out in their last ditch efforts for somebody to take notice that they exist. Sometimes I think I’m running an ICU.

Which makes me want to say to those precious children… I see you.

* Daisy Rain Martin is the Author of Juxtaposed: Finding Sanctuary on the Outside, a comedic spiritual memoir. Please connect with Daisy on Facebook/Twitter and visit her website: If you have ever been the victim of abuse, contact her to receive her free book, If It's Happened to You.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I Was Silent for a Whole Thirty Seconds

A few months ago, I wrote a smokin’ article for Provoketive e-magazine that addressed the slew of anti-public school trash talk that followed the Newtown tragedy in the name of Jesus. You can read it at your own risk here: (That last paragraph was a doozy, let me tell you…)

I got mixed reviews, to say the least. Many people understood my angst, but others, whom I love and cherish and would never hurt to save my life, were less inspired. Insulted would be closer.

I’m not looking to rehash the argument of the public school system being to blame for our societal ills. Public schools have never inhibited a student’s right to pray freely and it is not the Great Satan. I don’t need to take that discussion further with people who will never see it any other way. I do believe, however, that the discussion that followed on that thread was amazing and begged some great questions:

What’s a girl to do when she sees that a portion of the church adheres to paradigms that she knows in her knower aren’t true? What’s a girl to do when it feels to her that the church has taken that collective paradigm and seemingly created a mini “subculture” of thought which makes her feel as if she’s in the wrong if she pushes up against it? What’s a girl to do when she’s accused of being (let’s see… how many have I heard?) insensitive to the Holy Spirit, deceived by the father of lies, shaped by the world, or just straight up simple-minded. I have questioned those subgroups and voiced my opinions, sending the saints screaming into their prayer closets on my behalf, while I scratch my head and try to shake it off. I’d love some wisdom on this.

But you know what? I’m also falling in love with the church again. I see Christ’s body acting with patience and compassion all the time. I was Episcopalian for a day and fed the homeless a beautiful meal (which they do all the time—it wasn’t just a one-day shot) with some beautiful friends. A lady in my church is starting a support group for people who have been abused and just can’t seem to love themselves no matter what. She has a cure! I speak at churches whose members just can’t seem to hug me tightly enough when I tell them my story. They even let me sell my book with the f-word in it! Sweet, conservative, God-lovin’ folks who have read the book—all the words—still put their hands on my cheeks and say, “Bless you, child. You went through so much, and we can see that God has brought you from a mighty long way.”

I wasn’t expecting that.

I’ve underestimated the church. I’ve overestimated the church. When is it ever going to feel ‘jussssst right’?

Carlo Carretto captured my quandary when he wrote, “How baffling you are, oh Church, and yet how I love you! How you have made me suffer, and yet how much I owe you! I would like to see you destroyed, and yet I need your presence. You have given me so much scandal and yet you have made me understand what sanctity is. I have seen nothing in the world more devoted to obscurity, more compromised, more false, and yet I have touched nothing more pure, more generous, more beautiful. How often I have wanted to shut the doors of my soul in your face, and how often I have prayed to die in the safety of your arms. No, I cannot free myself from you, because I am you, though not completely. And besides, where would I go?”

Indeed. Where would I go?

* Daisy Rain Martin is the Author of Juxtaposed: Finding Sanctuary on the Outside, a comedic spiritual memoir. Please connect with Daisy on Facebook/Twitter and visit her website: If you have ever been the victim of abuse, contact her to receive her free book, If It's Happened to You.